Friday, 25 November 2016

09:35 – Colin and I couldn’t find any wild women, so we (re)watched old disaster/horror movies last night.

One of those was Supervolano, on Netflix streaming. It’s a BBC production, obviously done on a small budget. The only actor I recognized was Shaun Johnston (Grandpa Jack from Heartland). The special effects were kind of cheesy at times, but that’s the only criticism I can make of the movie. Nearly all science-based films and TV series make little or no effort to get the science right. I was stunned by how accurately this film portrayed real science. No throwing around science-y words. No scientific bogosity. They actually got it right, at least as far as I could tell. I’m no vulcanologist, but I do have a pretty good layman’s understanding of geology, tectonics, and so on, and I didn’t spot any clangers. One review on explained why:

Actually… it’s pretty good science
By Ultramafic on November 1, 2008

Contrary to what one fellow reviewer avers, the science in Supervolcano is actually pretty accurate… at least that’s what the real head of the real Yellowstone Volcano Observatory says: “Scientists from USGS, Yellowstone National Park, the University of Utah and elsewhere in academia were visited by the film’s producer and writer, prior to filming. They asked us countless questions during script development, including the following: How do you monitor the volcano? What phenomena imply an eruption? Who is responsible for what tasks? What do you do in the field? Where do you stay? How do you get around? Later, we reviewed a draft script for the drama and provided them with our comments and critiques. Michael Riley, the actor playing the YVO scientist-in-charge, phoned me twice, and we had lengthy conversations about topics ranging from “my typical day” to dress code to the proper pronunciation of place names and geological jargon. In the end, the BBC Science team did an impressive job of addressing the sorts of scientific issues we would grapple with during the start of an eruption. The drama unfolds as a true scientific thriller, both gripping and fact-filled. The characters, though based only loosely on real people, had motivations and interests similar to mine and those of my colleagues. Although we strongly would have preferred portrayal of the effects of a small eruption, their intent was always to provide a worst-case scenario, and the final product did that very well.” [Jake Lowenstern, “Truth, fiction and everything in between at Yellowstone” GEOTIMES, June 2005; see […]

For those who don’t want to read this interview, I’d just add a couple notes in response to one negative review to this movie: Pyroclastic flows do not need to be going downhill to flow–in fact, they not only can flow laterally for miles, but they can flow UPHILL(that’s what killed David Johnston at Mt St Helens]; in “Supervolcano,” I don’t recall a cargo door falling off an aircraft to admit the eruption’s sulfurous fumes, but I do recall that in real instances, such fumes have got into aircraft that have flown through volcanic plumes (and, while the critic is correct that the USGS does issue volcano alerts for aircraft now, this was not always the case: the current practice was the result of pretty much exactly the experience shown in Supervolcano–although with a much smaller volcano, of course–and doubtless the example was included because most viewers are probably unaware of this danger). Anyway… the movie is good, does an excellent job explaining the science within the plot & dialogue, without seeming pedantic, and… well, it makes us wish we had Wendy Reiss in charge of FEMA.

Socialists/communists often attempts to explain their failures by blaming them on “bad luck”. To do otherwise would be to admit that their economic systems are inherently broken and dysfunctional. Like all kids of my generation, I grew up hearing the standard story of Thanksgiving, with the brave and hard-working people of the Mayflower Colony nearly starving to death because of bad luck. I never thought much about that until yesterday, when I read the real story of Thanksgiving: The Great Thanksgiving Hoax (Or How The Pilgrims Ended Socialism 400 Years Ago)

Or, as a Soviet worker commented decades ago, “They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.” I haven’t attempted to verify the Thanksgiving Hoax story, although it shouldn’t be difficult to do. Governor Bradford’s writings are easily found. I didn’t bother, because this alternate account of events is credible. Every time that socialism or communism has been tried, it’s failed miserably. Yet another example is happening right now in Venezuela, with a large percentage of the population literally starving in what, given its oil reserves, should be one of the richest countries on the planet.

William R. Forstchen touches on this in his post-apocalyptic novel, One Second After, where the authorities consider confiscating “excess” food and supplies from prepper families and farms. The protagonist correctly points out that nothing good will come of this, and that they’re better off co-operating and encouraging voluntary free trade to optimize their supply situation.

The free market is the best and most efficient economic system that’s ever been devised, and that’s true whether conditions are normal or a catastrophic emergency had occurred. Let’s hope that if such an emergency does occur, wiser heads will prevail. I suspect that would be the case in some areas, but by no means all.

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42 Responses to Friday, 25 November 2016

  1. SteveF says:

    I like low-budget movies with good writing and tolerable acting. Special effects are sometimes interesting, but tend to become the focus of the movie, usually at the expense of things like plot continuity, sensible science, historical accuracy, plausible character motivation, and non-cringeworthy dialog.

  2. Miles_Teg says:

    I loved the cheap special effects in Blakes 7.

  3. Miles_Teg says:

    So, just how did Venezuela fall in to the abyss? Where’s the wealth going?

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Venezuela has had a socialist/communist government for a long time now. That’s where the money always goes: into the bank accounts of the ruling class.

  5. Dave Hardy says:

    ZH got most of it right concerning the Plymouth and Jamestown colonies; those were truly miserable times for most of the peeps during the first few years; the Jamestown colony was a real mess; hostilities with local natives combined with political corruption and possibly at least one instance of cannibalism. For a self-serving primary source, check out Captain John Smith’s stuff concerning Jamestown, and of course Bradford for Plymouth.

    Too bad, though, that the Plymouth guys took a couple of years to discover that “socialism” is a major fail. My Mayflower ancestor was John Howland (1591-1672) a sort of executive secretary to Governor Carver from whom he inherited part of his estate. His son’s house is still extant in Plymouth and is a classic 17th-C English house. More 17th-C houses north of Boston in Ipswich, where more of my ancestors lived, and Salisbury, from whom another one sailed in an open boat in 1659 and became among the first several European settlers on Nantucket Island, at Madaket.

    Overcast with light rain and fog today so fah.

  6. SteveF says:

    Venezuela was corrupt for lo these many years, with the money being siphoned into monuments to the glory of the rulers and into the rulers’ personal bank accounts. No one noticed for years because oil prices were high. Then Chinese demand dropped and US production increased and the price went through the floor, and all of a sudden lots of countries are discovering that their infinite money supply, wasn’t.

  7. Dave says:

    All human economic systems work on bribery. The only difference is that in free market capitalism an astonishingly high percentage of the bribes are paid above the table.

  8. nick flandrey says:

    People gettin shot over the chance to buy crap they don’t need with money they don’t have.

    fighting over $1.50 TOWELS. If you’re gonna stake a claim and defend it, pick something other than cheap towels people…..

    And I draw the prepper’s trite observation- if they’ll act like this for cheap towels, what will they do when they haven’t eaten in a week…..


  9. SteveF says:

    if they’ll act like this for cheap towels, what will they do when they haven’t eaten in a week

    Yep. That’s why my disaster plan involves going on the offensive at the first hint of trouble. Alas, parts for my megawatt laser are still on back-order.

  10. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I have some spares for mine, if you’re interested.

  11. Dave Hardy says:

    Hmmmmm….megawatt lasers….gee whiz, fellas, y’all are way more advanced than I thought…I could kick myself for not paying more attention back in Mr. Fargo’s algebra class…warm spring days outside the windows…green leaves on the trees …some of the grrls in the classroom…thinking about smoking a doobie at lunchtime with one or more of them…

    Ah yes, going on the offensive immediately. Good call. They ain’t gettin’ my king-sized Egyptian cotton bath towel or my two-liter bottle of Moxie…I’ll blast ’em to Kingdom Come!

  12. lynn says:

    “Microsoft & Linux & Patents & Tweets”

    Wow, Microsoft income from patent licensing is $8 billion per year.


  13. SteveF says:

    I have some spares for mine, if you’re interested.

    Thanks, but I was bluffing. I don’t know how to build a megawatt laser. (Not unless you can order a kit, which would be very cool but improbable. And besides, the instructions would probably be in Chinglish and utterly unintelligible even if you can read both Chinese and English.)

    I do know most of what I need to know in order to build a kilowatt or even tens-of-kilowatt laser, and could probably figure out the rest with a bit of reading and experimentation. I also know that you can’t simply scale up to get to megawatt range, not unless there’s been a breakthrough that I haven’t noticed.

    Which is too bad. I’d really like a megawatt laser on a turret atop my car. Not to worry: I wouldn’t blast everyone who annoyed me, just the buttmunchers who think that driving a 6000-pound SUV gives them right of way over anything else on the road, and the drooling imbeciles who are weaving all over the three-lane highway as they text or watch a movie on their tablet, and the sanctimonious sputum slurpers driving their Priapuses (with Bernie 2016 bumper stickers) at 5MPH below the speed limit in the middle lane of the three-lane highway. Hmm. I think I’d better put in an extra alternator to keep the laser’s capacitors charged.

  14. Ray Thompson says:

    just the buttmunchers who think that driving a 6000-pound SUV gives them right of way over anything else on the road, and the drooling imbeciles who are weaving all over the three-lane highway

    I am currently in Atlanta visiting friends for our annual Thanksgiving gathering. If you really want to do the above that would eliminate most of the traffic in Atlanta and it would be five, six, seven and eight lane highways. The traffic sucks. Friends used to live in Acworth north of Atlanta so it was not too bad. Now they have move to Smyrna requiring us to take I-75S to the I-285W bypass. All manner of construction and movs of traffic. Not fun at all. We went through at 4:00P on Wednesday before the real rush. I would not live in this nightmare.

    Picked up six Asus Wireless Routers that can be easily configured as Wireless Access Points. Going to replace the really old Linksys routers and wireless access points. Good price of $50 for each router. Tried a Tenda router as it was cheaper and had more features. What a piece of crap. Took it back and got the Asus. Plus it has schedules where the radios can be turned off when there is not supposed to be anyone in the church. Security is a problem that bit us in the ass once, not again.

    Seems odd that a true Wireless Access Point was about $100 each. The Asus is half the price, has a configuration option to set it as a WAP. Makes not sense to buy a real WAP unless you want a really unified solution where the WAP’s talk to each other. No need for that level of sophistication.

  15. paul says:

    Turkey stock is almost finished. Twelve quart stock pot simmered and strained through a colander into another pot to remove the bones and boiled into mush veggies. Next through the wire mesh strainer for parts about the size of chopped garlic in the jar, back into the stock pot to reduce from about 8 quarts to 3 quarts.

    Now in a very full 3 quart saucepan to cool enough to refrigerate. Tomorrow, remove most of the fat (not all, no way!) and then reheat enough to ladle into 2 cup zip-loc boxes and into the freezer. After freezing it’s time for the FoodSaver.

    Pretty darn good batch. Needs a bit of black pepper. Right now it’s like a gravy although a bit thin.

    I can see a few good batches of baked potato soup in the future.

  16. nick flandrey says:

    yum, lots of work, but you can call it prepping 🙂


  17. paul says:

    Prepping for “Top Secret Recipes version of Tony Roma’s Baked Potato Soup”.

    I don’t think I should paste it here, sells it for 79¢. Er, e-mail me.

  18. paul says:

    About access points, I have two of this:

    802.11bgn. 2.4ghz speed (not a problem here, Kindles and phones all seem to be 2.4ghz).

    Now $56.99, down from $64 in January. I bought two. #2 connects via wireless to #1 which in jacked into the switch. Once I set them up, they simply worked. I waited about a month and did a hard reset on both units. I wanted to practice setting them up again. Since mid-February they just work.

    For the connection from the EDC to the house, I have a pair of “Ubiquiti NBE-5AC-16 High-Performance airMAX Bridge NanoBeam ac 16dBi”. I’ve turned them down quite a bit, I’m going a couple of hundred feet and not 15 miles. They work well and tossing stuff onto moa from this box is a bit faster than it was on wire.
    I was going to mount the NanoBeams outside, they are about the size of a 250w floodlight, but while setting them up, hey, one blasts through a wall, one through a window, and a few shrubby trees in the middle.

    All of the above use power over Ethernet. Which is pretty handy stuff.

  19. nick flandrey says:

    I have used the Nano M2 on a couple of occasions now. Once as an “ethernet wire replacement” and one as an AP. The bridged ones were both outside and were killed in a big storm. They were replaced under warranty, for just the cost of shipping, and it only took a few weeks.

    The AP is in an attic and has quite a good coverage.

    ~$50 and recommended.


    (note that you need to use ubiquiti’s POE injector. Won’t work with others. Injector is included in box.)

  20. Dave Hardy says:

    Ima just gon assume (though we know what dat spells) that youse guys wid all the wireless have yer wireless OPSEC in place…

    …from here I can see half a dozen wireless customers in the village…and maybe piggyback on them or get into their machines…

    But they’s neighbors, so no can do.

    Got the turkey brining outside on the porch; cranberry-pear-ginger sauce made and in the fridge; biscuit-bacon stuffing made and waiting to be baked; spuds and squash and gravy tomorrow while turkey is on the grill. Pretty much a standard-issue T-Day for us northern New Englanders.

  21. Ray Thompson says:

    youse guys wid all the wireless have yer wireless OPSEC in place

    Indeed. Complex password for all the AP’s. Don’t even remember it myself and have to store in a password manager. 32 characters, upper and lower case, numbers and special characters.

    About access points

    Looked at those but also need 5G. A couple of the AP’s are far enough away that they cannot see any other AP. Was not sure how those devices would work in that situation. It was not clear if the devices communicated with each other over the air or the wire. Also read about some issues with proper configuration.

    Our needs are simple and adding complexity will just make it more difficult on myself and others for questionable gain. I have found that you can have a couple of routers with the same SSID within range of each other and when your portable devices moves from one device to the other the WIFI transitions without issues. Comcast does that with their XFINITY modems that project a public WIFI. Why can’t I?

    We will have two wireless networks, one for staff, one for the public. Staff is with Comcast and has high security. Public is with AT&T and has security with the answers posted in the bulletin. Plan is to change the password once a month. Also the WIFI will only work certain hours so a scheduling feature was important. Most of the time the public WIFI will not be operational, the staff WIFI only during office hours.

    I also needed the switch option for a couple of the devices as other equipment needs to be connected. With the devices I purchased I have an additional three ports that can be used.

    Yeh, it’s a crappy network. But I inherited the beast and have to make the best. Cables and ports were never identified so I had to spend time tracking them down. Still have one circuit from the punch down blocks that I have no idea where it terminates. One termination was up in the ceiling, about 30 feet high. Have to climb up in the infrastructure to get access. Scary climbing a vertical ladder, walking on those narrow walkways, sometimes hunched over, get through a couple of small access doors, in a dimly lit ceiling. (Never do it alone.) The lines are for the two overhead projectors mounted in the ceiling.

    Lot of geriatrics in the church who think high tech is a dial phone and a computer is just silly. Selling them on putting in wireless has proven to be a challenge. A lot of the time I just do it and ignore their stupid statements. But the youth, and middle age, consider access to wireless a positive, almost necessary item. I figure when someone is choosing a church ours having wireless may make the difference. But what the hell do I know?

  22. paul says:

    Sounds interesting Mr Ray.

    I have my Nanos locked to each in bridge mode. Encrypted. Wire may be more secure but thunderstorms blowing out all my stuff every couple of years has become very old.

    The wire in the ground is about 20 years old. Best I recall it was about $800 for a 1000 foot spool of CAT5. Pulling it out for new, compared to the price of the Nanos, well, fairly easy decision.

    I have software on phone and Kindle that see available APs. The 5gig Nanos do not show. I assume (too lazy to look up the specs) that what I have doesn’t do 5gig. But I see other stuff from the various ISPs around here. All passworded. Not much wire out here, wISP is the way we go. Damn it.

    As for my APs, one ssid is passworded and hidden. Although it shows on phone and Kindle. Internal network. The other is open. Come on over and connect to House, no password.

    I’m in the middle of 25 acres with 15 acres on one side that touches to about 30 acres. On the back, maybe 60 acres. Their house is on the far side from me. On another side, oh heck, I don’t know… it’s big and the far side of that borders Balcones Wildlife whatever. Heading towards the neighbor’s house, up 900 feet of driveway, it all goes away pretty soon. Lots of trees. Pretty much, if you’re going to sit outside and use my connection, you are almost in the dog’s yard. Might as well come on into the house.

    BYOB, ok.

  23. nick flandrey says:

    Yeah, I’m no network guru by any means. I’m just solving my client’s problem. Hawking repeater to provide wifi out at the pond, so the touchpad still works with the whole house audio system (so they have access and control over the media library while fishing). Wire replacement bridge out to the front gate for camera. 3 APs to provide coverage throughout the house and home theatre….

    If you can see what’s leaking, you’ve got a yagi antenna or are on the property as I had to make a big effort to get the coverage where it was needed.

    Now I’d use another Nano M2 to get out to the pond, but back when I put in the repeater, it was the best choice.


    Oh, and I’d love to have wideFi ™ <–coined a phrase! or fixed wireless as an alternative to att DSL for this place out in the countryside. Satellite isn't an option as I need the upload for the cams. No providers yet. Development in the area means att is pulling fiber nearby, but I don't know if it will get to this enclave. Amazing how it's gone from a luxury for a few to an absolute necessity for everyone in a relatively short time.

  24. paul says:

    Have never used DSL other that to see that my mom’s laptop constantly needed to do the whole log-in thing every time you woke it up. PITA. The router should log in and everything behind the router, well.

    My wISP speed is about 3 mb, maybe more some days. Sure, they are going to upgrade the tower. Soon. 15mb. Soon is a relative thing I suppose. It works ok, but way slower when the kids get home from school to the point of useless.

    The crazy part is checking mail on my phone. On the house wi-fi, meh. On 2 bars of LTE, dang, that’s fast.

  25. RickH says:

    I’ve given my wireless router an SSID of “FBI Tech1”. Another choice is “NSA Van 1”.

    Although that might be inviting miscreants…

  26. nick flandrey says:

    I used to name all of mine “disconnected”.


  27. lynn says:

    “The Mysterious Case Of Jill Stein’s Surging Recount Costs”

    Hillary is trying to get Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to recount their votes. BTW, Trump was awarded Michigan yesterday by only a 10,704 vote margin out of 4.6 million total votes.

    Am I the only one thinking that a few polling place judges are getting ready to show up with thousands of uncounted ballots in their trunks ? Just like Minnesota when that fool Al Franken was first elected in 2009.

    Keep on recounting until you get the right answer !

  28. MrAtoz says:

    Even Nate Silver says Jill Stein is nuts. I think millions of $$ are going down the toilet. Cankles has spent over a billion is my guess. Let go, Libturdians, let go.

  29. nick flandrey says:

    As long as there are no federal matching funds, I say let em spend it all.

    However, Jill now says “maybe we’ll spend some of that money on other things” proving beyond a doubt that she is in fact a real politician.

    My only problem with recounts is the new opportunity for new fraud. If they can keep new fraud from being introduced, a recount will only expose error or existing fraud.


  30. nick flandrey says:

    Putin’s window, still open:

    “Japan issues advice on how to survive a nuclear attack as Russia deploys missile systems on islands claimed by Tokyo

    Pamphlets offer advice on how to survive a nuclear attack amid heightened tensions
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has branded Moscow ‘deplorable’
    He is unhappy with a decision to move missiles to disputed islands in the Pacific
    Moscow said the islands are ‘integral parts of Russian territory’

    Read more:

  31. Spook says:

    Rum and coke, with lime, por favor !

  32. Miles_Teg says:

    Welcolme to hell Fidel.

  33. Miles_Teg says:

    Japan lost WWII. Yes, the Soviets were opportunists, but…


    Starting wars isn’t a good idea and the Japanese need to learn that.

  34. Miles_Teg says:

    “Sure Ben, I forgive you your many and varied sins…”

  35. brad says:

    @SteveF: “Thanks, but I was bluffing. I don’t know how to build a megawatt laser.” Too late, weak denial, the truth is out.

    OFD writes: “Ima just gon assume (though we know what dat spells) that youse guys wid all the wireless have yer wireless OPSEC in place…”

    Here we do, anyway. Separate guest network, on a different IP range from our private network. I just with the governments here would end the liability of net owners for the traffic that flows over their nets. It means that letting anyone use your network is a potential risk. Fewer and fewer companies are willing to offer open networks to their guests. It’s just stupid – I mean, you don’t hold a restaurant liable, if someone plans a crime while eating lunch.

    It’s all about copyright crap, of course – a problem we could solve easily enough by reminding companies that copyright is a privilege and not a natural right. I hope that Trump’s withdrawal from trade deals will weaken the copyright brigade.

    It funny how even the professionals regularly screw up network config, and gremlins get into the works. We have redundant network connections, because my wife’s business is pretty dependent on it (her ERP database is “in the cloud”). Last weekend, one of our internet connections suddenly gave us the address, which you experts will recognize as an internal NAT address, meaning it didn’t lead into the wild, open internet anymore. Our router is supposed to fail over, but it saw that as a fine address, and actually gave it priority over the other connection – so everything was dead. I hate debugging crap like that, because it always happens when you have no time for it…

    Vote recounting: Hillary should be careful what she asks for, or she might get it. It might be that some careful checking by Trump supporters will turn up the graveyard vote for Hillary, or something else that shows which side actually tried to rig the election…

    Anyway, how does Jill Stein have a dog in this race? She’s not going to benefit from a recount – is she somehow a stalking horse for Hillary? Smells of dirty politics, whatever it is…

  36. lynn says:

    As long as there are no federal matching funds, I say let em spend it all.

    They are giving the money to Jill Stein as a charitable contribution. So yes, your tax dollars are at work.

    Anyway, how does Jill Stein have a dog in this race? She’s not going to benefit from a recount – is she somehow a stalking horse for Hillary? Smells of dirty politics, whatever it is…

    She is getting a piece of the action. 20% ? 30% ? 50 % ?

  37. Dave Hardy says:

    Stein and her minions are just another passel of commies.

    Apparently the progs are gonna keep playing games with recounts and the like; they never stop, never give up.

    And from Patrick’s lips to Trump’s ears:

  38. lynn says:

    And from Patrick’s lips to Trump’s ears:

    Great article. When a no taxer calls for a tariff XXXXXX 18% VAT tax on all imported goods and services, listen.

    Trump can declare temporary duties and such, I wonder if he can declare a duty on the entire worlds imports to the USA ? Getting the same through Congress will be … difficult.

  39. ech says:

    Venezuela was corrupt for lo these many years, with the money being siphoned into monuments to the glory of the rulers and into the rulers’ personal bank accounts.

    Most was going to social spending to buy the loyalty of the populace and military. The long term problem was they weren’t reinvesting in the oil production facilities. They worked them hard without proper maintenance. Also, their crude is pretty sour and requires special refining.

  40. Dave Hardy says:

    “Getting the same through Congress will be … difficult.”

    Getting ANYTHING through that worthless Congress will be nearly impossible.

    As regards Venezuela, it was ruled by that idiot socialist douche-nozzle Chavez, and I expect he welcomed Fidel to Hell recently. Another great example of “socialism” run amok and a strong man type taking over the whole enchilada. We saw it in the Eastern Bloc countries and it’s old news. The ‘cloud people’ live like princes and everyone else is in squalor amid desolated landscapes and cityscapes.

  41. nick flandrey says:

    And Venezuela, like all the banana republics, treated the oil company as a sinecure factory for favorites. Like affirmative action hires only worse. So even if they wanted to be efficient producers, they have too much dead weight, too many know nothings, and no technological culture of achievement or merit.

    What native talent there is, isn’t encouraged, nor rewarded. Western contract workers can only do so much, and after all, what’s the point?


  42. Dave Hardy says:

    Indeed. It’s not much above the level of having human workers disappear from running power plants and factories and then swarms of chimpanzees and gorillas take over and try to do the gigs.

    It’s a failed state, like Mexico and most of the “countries” of Africa. We’ll be heading that way if wiser heads don’t prevail and soon.

    Imagine a failed state of 330 million with half a billion to a billion firearms and hundreds of thousands, millions, actually, of trained veterans. I know, I know, I keep hitting those same keys on this keyboard, but what if?? It would be entirely new historical territory for the human race. We had our civil wars but the weapons and commo we’ve got now are orders of magnitude greater than back in those days.

    Off to the recliner now, as it’s nearly 01:00 here; wife and I had a late T-Day dinner that panned out well, get it, “panned out”? Hahahaha.

    NFL binge tomorrow with an interruption to get her to the airport. I’ll have to put the Pats game on the radio for the trip. Yeah, yeah, I know; what’s the “NFL” and who are the “Pats?”

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