Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Net IS NOW A PUBLIC UTILITY! :)


NN, thanks to the FCC, wins out over Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, among significant others, in eliminating the threat of a two tiered web that would, in time, destroy the open source communication engine of the world. Awesome without question as BRT, like other tech blogs, have supported NN for years. Now it's here and, interestingly enough, it was a bipartisan effort as tech savvy republicans finally realized what would happen if we had gatekeepers like Gozer & Zuul telling us how data should be processed on the net. :)


Ghostbusters, another cinematographic gem without question. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The art of lying/UN Style



BRT doesn't do politics very often but when the lies are particularly egregious, silence cannot be maintained. To whit.

Just as Colin Powell lied about the weapons of mass destruction 12 years ago at the UN, we now have Netanyahu doing the same thing regarding Iran but this time, Mossad, the Israeli secret service, blows the whistle on the lies Netanyahu was foisting upon the world in 2012.


It was only after the second US invasion of Iraq (not to be confused with Obama's third) that we learned that not only did Saddam not have WMDs, but that the whole invasion was merely a pretext for the US to gain control of yet another middle-eastern regime and one of the largest producers of crude oil at the time. What was also revealed as the NYT Examiner reported is "how easily truth becomes irrelevant in the process of going to war."We know this because earlier today, in another historic Snowden-type whistleblower leak - one of the biggest such spy leaks in recent times - in which of hundreds of dossiers, files and cables from the world’s major intelligence services including Mossad were unveiled by the Guardian and al-Jazeera (yes, the leakers trusted al-Jazeera more than any US media outlet), it was revealed that Binyamin Netanyahu’s dramatic declaration to world leaders was contradicted by his own secret service, according to a top-secret Mossad document.

As the Guardian, one of the two leak outlets reports, in a secret report shared with South Africa a few weeks later, Israel’s intelligence agency concluded that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons”. The report highlights the gulf between the public claims and rhetoric of top Israeli politicians and the assessments of Israel’s military and intelligence establishment.

I, for one, can't wait for Netanyahu to make his grand appearance in front of the joint houses of Congress at the invitation of the esteemed John Boehner, a clueless politician of the third kind.

Politics and the English Language - George Orwell
  • Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  • Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  • Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  • Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  • Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
No doubt these timeless words of advice will never be adhered to in any way, shape or form, in any political arena located anywhere in the world.

Click the short clip below to see a collaboration of Aljazeera and the Guardian regarding espionage, something interesting to say the least.


Intelligent Convenience


Being an avid cyclist, transporting said machine can be a real drag because one has to take the rear wheel off (in addition to the front) if you want the bike to fit in a trunk, which means you have to deal with the chain, the one truly nasty part of the hardware no matter how clean you try to keep it. Enter this new folding bike with big wheels and small form factor. Helix looks like the real deal and yes, it looks like a keeper both in the city or on trips away from home.

The GW Factor


BRT has talked about GW ad nauseum but one article, posted in March of 2014, titled The-Thermo-haline-et-al , explains how the South Pole, in large part, drives the world's weather via Antarctic bottom water in conjunction with the Waddell Sea Polynya.

Seems other researchers are capping on these findings as seen in the IFLS piece titled, What's Going on with the Weather?

Jet streams exist because of differences in air temperature. In the case of the polar jet stream, which is responsible for most of the weather we experience around the middle-latitudes of the northern hemisphere, it’s the cold Arctic butting against warmer areas to the south that drives it. (A more in-depth explanation can be found here.) Anything that affects that temperature difference will affect the jet stream.

This is where climate change comes in: the Arctic is warming much faster than elsewhere. That Arctic/mid-latitude temperature difference, consequently, is getting smaller. And the smaller differential in temperatures is causing the west-to-east winds in the jet to weaken.

Strong jets tend to blow straight west to east; weaker jets tend to wander more in a drunken north/south path, increasing the likelihood of wavy patterns like the one we’ve seen almost non-stop since last winter.

When the jet stream’s waves grow larger, they tend to move eastward more slowly, which means the weather they generate also moves more slowly, creating more persistent weather patterns.

Nice to see BRT's ahead of the curve on this one. :)


NOAA's shot of the Jet Stream circa the Winter of 2015.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

IMp :)


Lego's rock. From Batman to jet engine mockups, this astounding "toy" has captured the imagination of millions, including yours truly, who played with this tech with his son for hours as there is virtually nothing you can't build with this ingenious offering from Denmark. To that end, researchers put together a clever tool set to display pinned insects to be scanned, something both incredibly sophisticated yet cheap, two essentials for tech of the most innovative kind.

“There’s no view you cannot get with the manipulator, which is cool,” he said. “It’s a working prototype. It’s good; it’s durable, and really cheap. You can order its pieces from anyplace in the world, and anybody can build it.” Step-by-step instructions to construct his designs were published and made freely downloadable this month in the journal Zookeys.

Seen below is Lego Batman. Nothing else needs to be said. Enjoy.


Mission Creep


Deja vu all over again, Groundhog Day, mobius strip, you know, the endless ways to repeat catastrophe continues ever onward as long as you don't do the fighting.

Quite frankly, this has been one of the more depressing weeks we have seen in a very long time. The country seems to be sliding down some very familiar tracks into a military engagement in the Middle East -- an engagement that, at the moment, seems to be cloudy in its objectives, vague in its outlines, and obscure on the simple fact of what we are supposedly fighting for, and who we will be fighting with. Can we fight the Islamic State generally without help from (gasp!) Iran? Can we fight the Islamic State in Syria without a de facto alliance with Hafez al-Assad, who was Hitler only a year or so ago? And the most recent polling seems to indicate that all the institutions that are supposed to act as a brake on war powers within a self-governing republic are working in reverse again. The Congress is going to debate how much leeway it should give the president to make war, not whether he should be allowed to do it at all. The elite media, having scared Americans to death by giving the barbarians and their slaughter porn the international platform the barbarians so desired, is jumping on board with both feet. (To cite only one example, Chris Matthews is suiting up again.) The country has been prepared to give its children up again. At the very least, public opinion on what we should do is a muddle, which means that any plan that looks "bold" likely will carry the country with it, unintended consequences be damned.With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans.



Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and
expecting different results. - 
Albert Einstein

Endgame: It's amazing that the resident chicken hawks - Cheney, Kristol, Wofolwitz, Pearle, Nuland, Kagan et al - who have NEVER been right about anything regarding foreign policy, i.e. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran, Russia, Ukkraine,, Chin etc., etc., are even listened to as they too push for war but, as former senator Mark Prior said, "You don't need to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate"." 

Into the valley of death rode the six hundred. - Tennyson


Saturday, February 21, 2015

On Reaching 1500


Reaching 1500 in terms of the number of articles written in a blog, IMHO, is fairly significant so, to commemorate this "awesome" event, here is a pix from yours truly that can be viewed in one of two ways: a look back on the distance traveled in terms of the number of articles posted or a look forward showing just how much more there is to write about in this crazy space we call reality. 

I, for one, will take the latter. Hopefully you, my loyal readers, will feel the same way. :)

Best from Robert E.

The Road Not Taken

BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.



Debunking as Art Form :)


A Tin Ear


Having a Tin Ear is the ultimate insult to a musician, something never applied to yours truly when I went to Berklee and played in some pretty outrageous bands back in the day but ... for Superfish and their malware debacle ensnaring users who unknowingly bought Lenovo machines infected with this crap, Tin Ear readily applies.



Superfish Statement





Click the graphic to read Ars' excellent explanation as to why Superfish's statement is bogus to the max.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Over the Top


Landsat strikes again with a long view of the Arctic on the 2014 Summer Solstice.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Of Mice & Men


BRT posted this World is a Business clip from Paddy Chayefsky's masterpiece, Network back in 2009, right after the outrageous bank bailout but now, more then ever, the Jensen speech rings ever more true as we slowly become a plutocracy, run by the rich, for the rich, while we, the middle class, slows melts away.

Arthur Jensen: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear? You think you've merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU... WILL... ATONE! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state, Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that... perfect world... in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.





Any questions?

Nostrums


This Dilbert sums up what we have in Congress, fools spouting off nostrums instead of actually providing leadership of any way, shape or form. The incompetence and corruption of the political space boggles the mind but never mind, just listen to the nooze to get insight from the well paid corporate shills commenting on the nostrums given to us, free of charge, from congress and the president.

But this is what nooze should really say to us rubes ...

Howard Beale: I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

Network - One of the greatest films ever made.


Howard Beale