Saturday, December 31, 2016

Black Holes/From Small to Humongous :)



Size does matter. Wasting time does also. Happy New Year. from BRT. :)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Capturing the Moment



Red Tail Hawks are notoriously shy. Normally, one cannot get close to them, especially when they're hunting, something not the case when this short clip was shot. Enjoy.

2016 ... Preposterous is it not?



This sums up 2016 save for the successes of NASA, the US fubars in foreign policy, the advancement of solar and the passing of creatives like David Bowie, Prince, Carrie and Debbie Fisher, George Michael and Leonard Cohen. among significant others. RIP.

Black Mirror writ large.

Cue nightmarish dystopian news footage,” Brooker said on his 2016 Wipe program, which aired Thursday night in his home country. From there, he hit viewers with the type of scene that would seem almost too preposterous if he put it in a Black Mirror episode: The USA Freedom Kids, who sang proudly, “President Donald Trump knows how to make America great, deal from strength or get crushed every time!”

Running through a montage of all the things that should have made Trump completely “unelectable,” Brooker marveled that more traditional Republican candidates were ultimately beaten by a man who resembles “a cling-filmed parcel of frankfurter meat that’s been kicked through a yellow cobweb.”

“At first, the media seemed to find all of this wryly amusing,” Brooker added, “smirking through Trump’s ascent like they were watching an adorable toddler playing with a power tool, without apparently considering that he might just learn how to switch it on.”

He has.



Thursday, December 29, 2016

The 1st





The most important Amendment there is, is now under threat, thanks to Obama signing H.R 5181 aka The "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act"

To whit: 





Why the 1st is so important as seen thru the lens of history. 









Read the rest of the Washington's Blog blurb. Chilling says it all.

Mintrue looms.



>2100 & ... Cassini Yet Again :)







Words not needed here. Stunning says it all while sailing past no. 2100, not bad, not bad @ all. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Voiceover/Face 2Face ... Fake News writ large



Voiceover takes on a whole new meaning with this upcoming app where fake speech becomes just an afterthought using code as powerful as this.

When recording voiceovers, dialogue, and narration, wouldn’t you love the option to edit or insert a few words without the hassle of recreating the recording environment or bringing the voiceover artist in for another session? #VoCo allows you to change words in a voiceover simply by typing new words. Have to hear it to believe it? Check out a live demo (above) using a recording of co-host Jordan Peele’s voice.

Now, combine Voiceover with Face2 Face. Now, the Fake News fun really begins, don't you think?



We present a novel approach for real-time facial reenactment of a monocular target video sequence (e.g., Youtube video). The source sequence is also a monocular video stream, captured live with a commodity webcam. Our goal is to animate the facial expressions of the target video by a source actor and re-render the manipulated output video in a photo-realistic fashion. To this end, we first address the under-constrained problem of facial identity recovery from monocular video by non-rigid model-based bundling. At run time, we track facial expressions of both source and target video using a dense photometric consistency measure. Reenactment is then achieved by fast and efficient deformation transfer between source and target. The mouth interior that best matches the re-targeted expression is retrieved from the target sequence and warped to produce an accurate fit. Finally, we convincingly re-render the synthesized target face on top of the corresponding video stream such that it seamlessly blends with the real-world illumination. We demonstrate our method in a live setup, where Youtube videos are reenacted in real time.

Minitrue anyone?

Polishing a Turd


Polishing a Turd aka the F 35, the plane that will never be ready for combat. To whit ...




The great Kelly Johnson must be rolling over in his grave regarding this fubar.

Click here to see the actual Air Force memo.

Interesting stats

Monday, December 26, 2016

XMAS 2016



Had to put this clip in to show the joy and insanity of XMAS 2016. Enjoy & ... HAPPY NEW YEAR! :)


Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Water Thief beckons


Everything has a cost, especially when corporations and private equity firms team up to take over public services like water with the prime intent of maximizing profit, much to the detriment of the users of said services, an increasingly common practice described in great detail in an excellent NY Times piece titled In American Towns, Private Profits From Public Works.

Even as Wall Street deals like the one with Bayonne help financially desperate municipalities to make much-needed repairs, they can come with a hefty price tag — not just to pay for new pipes, but also to help the investors earn a nice return, a New York Times analysis has found. Often, these contracts guarantee a specific amount of revenue, The Times found, which can send water bills soaring.

Water rates in Bayonne have risen nearly 28 percent since Kohlberg Kravis Roberts — one of Wall Street’s most storied private equity firms — teamed up with another company to manage the city’s water system, the Times analysis shows. City officials also promised residents a four-year rate freeze that never materialized.

In one measure of residents’ distress, people are falling so far behind on their bills that the city is placing more liens against their homes, which can eventually lead to foreclosures.

In the typical private equity water deal, higher rates help the firms earn returns of anywhere from 8 to 18 percent, more than what a regular for-profit water company may expect. And to accelerate their returns, two of the firms have applied a common strategy from the private equity playbook: quickly flipping their investment to another firm. This includes K.K.R., which is said to be shopping its 90 percent stake in the Bayonne venture, a partnership with the water company Suez.

To add fuel to the fire, two books, Matt Taibbi's Griftopia and Nicholas Soutter's The Water Thief, are must reads to see what happens when corporations own everything, something that could very well happen under the aegis of The Donald.





The Arctic is unraveling


The Arctic is unraveling. Click here to view the full report.  

Friday, December 23, 2016

Evocative... to the max


Remind you of anything? We know so little but New Horizons continues to make a difference.


50 - just the beginning


Temperatures in the Arctic are predicted to soar nearly 50 degrees above normal on Thursday in a pre-Christmas heat wave that will bring the frozen tundra scarily close to the melting point.

It’s the second year in a row the North Pole ― now in perpetual darkness after saying goodbye to the sun in late October ― has seen abnormally high temperatures around the Christmas holiday. It’s also the second time this year. In November, temperatures in the region skyrocketed 36 degrees above normal.

The weather forecast adds to a string of climate change-related indicators setting off serious warning bells in 2016. Polar sea ice is at record lows, and during last month’s heat wave, the region lost 19,000 square miles of it in just five days. The National Snow and Ice Data Center called the melt an “almost unprecedented occurrence.”

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive. - Donald J. Trump

Am I missing something here?

Merry XMAS to One & All :)


Merry Merry Everyone :)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Shadow Lines


A very interesting interactive map showing how big a deal NYC building shadows truly are is on tap with this very cool NY Times piece as the availability of light has tremendous impact on how man lives. Check it out, informative without question.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

FYI - Toothaches


When one cannot get to a dentist in timely fashion, these homemade remedies will help deal with the pain. They work as yours truly has done the drill with some of these recommendations in time of need. :)

Addendum: 
Cloves also work and ... The Red Cross Toothache First Aid Kit does wonders dealing with the pain as well. Note, this kit is available at all drug stores, not just Wallgreens.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Now it gets interesting



Jargon laden and incredibly optimistic, this clip is worth watching to see how the 4th revolution differs from the 3rd in ways that truly boggle the mind. The only thing missing in this documentary is the cost factor of implementing all this tech, something we ignore at our peril as we move further into the 21st century. Check it out. especially when looking at the fossil fuel addicted acolytes of the Donald, fearful of the future and what it portends for mankind.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Had to add another NASA gem :)



A new statistical study of planets found by a technique called gravitational microlensing suggests that Neptune-mass worlds are likely the most common type of planet to form in the icy outer realms of planetary systems. The study provides the first indication of the types of planets waiting to be found far from a host star, where scientists suspect planets form most efficiently. Contrary to some theoretical predictions, the most numerous cold exoplanets have masses similar to Neptune, and there doesn't seem to be the expected increase in number at lower masses. Lead scientist Daisuke Suzuki, a post-doctoral researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, infer this from current detections. The team concludes that Neptune-mass planets in outer orbits are about 10 times more common than Jupiter-mass planets in Jupiter-like orbits. Gravitational microlensing takes advantage of the light-bending effects of massive objects predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity.

Read on, it's well worth the effort. :)

CO2 Travelogue



Carbon dioxide plays a significant role in trapping heat in Earth's atmosphere. The gas is released from human activities like burning fossil fuels, and the concentration of carbon dioxide moves and changes through the seasons. Using observations from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) satellite, scientists developed a model of the behavior of carbon in the atmosphere from Sept. 1, 2014, to Aug. 31, 2015. Scientists can use models like this one to better understand and predict where concentrations of carbon dioxide could be especially high or low, based on activity on the ground.

NASA strikes yet again with this amazing 3D video showing how CO2 travels around the globe.

Question, why does the Donald want to eliminate the earth sciences part of NASA as this research looks pretty important to yours truly without question.

Debt Relief 101

Despicable Me


Despicable Me is a delightful comedy with a bad guy, aided and abetted by minions, becoming good after adopting 3 little girls who melt his steely heart after a career of doing nefarious things like stealing the moon. Funny, insightful and pretty damn cool, it's an animation that works but, as per BRT, this blurb isn't about Gru but rather about the Russians and their alleged effort to give the election to Trump by compromising the election process, Needless to say, this is serious business that needs full disclosure now before disaster strikes in the way of diplomatic relations with an extremely powerful adversary. As prelude, here is a rant by yours truly regarding this rather amazing story.

He said, they said. Where is the conclusive proof.? Is it a leak or a hack? A very big difference as to what these two concepts mean, something the mainline "press" and brain dead politicians conveniently have not defined. 

To whit. 

A leak is where someone physically takes data and distributes to outside parties. Think Snowden and a thumb drive. 

A hack is a remote controlled process requiring breaking into networks and servers. Phishing is a really good way to do that. 

Question, if it was a hack, the NSA would know who did it and how it was done. With a leak, it's an inside job. Thus far, no arrests, nothing in terms of definitive evidence of Russian government involvement in trying to game the US election.




It's time to put this to bed and now, before it's too late.

Had to add this bon bon. Phishing anyone?


And so it goes. - K. Vonnegut

Addendum - The betting pool favors a leak as seen by guys who know the intel drill from the get go.









Friday, December 16, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Dark Moon



The Dark Moon resides in both background and foreground in this short clip showing the environs of Greenwich, CT and various other haunts residing in Fairfield County and near LI Sound. Sadly,  December's DM is the last of 2016's super moon triad, an event that will not happen again until Jan 2, 2018. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Chatter




Yours truly is not a fan of James Clapper due to his insistence the NSA does not spy on us citizens but aside from that, the guy knows intel just as William Binney does so, to get to the bottom of the endless bloviating about the "Ruskies" and their alleged hacking into the election from hell, the august Electoral College members have sent an open letter to Clapper asking for the definitive answer as to who hacked the election and did the hacking in question favor Trump. To whit ...




This is why the EC's open letter makes such sense.








The Electoral College letter speaks truth to power. Let's hope Clapper's agency defines what "is " is to us rubes before Dec 19, the day the EC gives the election to Trump.

Recommendation ...






Yet another take from intel pros who know the drill on hacking vs. leaks.






Evidence, not innuendo, bloviation and name calling is in order here but knowing the sorry state of our so called leaders and mainline nooze, this is too much to ask, without question.

3 Agencies of Government ...


Dumb & Dumber, n'est pas?

President-elect Donald Trump may nominate former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy—the agency Perry wanted to abolish but infamously forgot to name during a 2011 presidential debate.

“It’s three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone—Commerce, Education and the, um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see,” Perry said during a Republican presidential debate in November 2011.

As Perry stumbled to think of the answer, Mitt Romney chimed in to suggest the Environmental Protection Agency, while Ron Paul suggested he actually meant to cut five agencies.

“But you can’t name the third one?” CNBC moderator John Harwood asked.

“The third agency of government I would do away with—the education, uh, the, uh, commerce and let’s see. I can’t—the third one. Sorry. Oops,” Perry said.

He later identified the Department of Energy as the agency he had been trying to name.

“From time to time, you may forget about an agency that you are gonna zero out,” Perry said in an interview following the debate, according to ABC News. “Everybody tomorrow will understand the Energy Department is one of those that needs to be done away with.”

Am I missing something here?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Witch Hunt/Phase 1


This picture is painful to see, an emaciated polar bear dying because of the loss of sea ice, the absolute necessity for these magnificent creatures to survive, something Trump seems not to understand in picking cabinet heads hostile to climate change, the 900 lb gorilla facing mankind if we do nothing about it. To this end, a witch hunt seems to be starting regarding the energy department and the people who work there. To whit 






Any questions?

Click here to see the transition document.

Pushback - Congrats to ED for saying NO!!!

Energy Department spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said Tuesday the department will not comply.

"Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of (the Energy Department) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people," Burnham-Snyder said.

"We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department," he added. "We will be forthcoming with all publicly available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team."

He added that the request "left many in our workforce unsettled."

Awesome.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Recent Pix :)


Fungi on the march


1/2 Moon


Xmas @ Nite :)


The Mushroom Theory of Power


The Mushroom theory of power: keep the people in the dark and feed them manure., something the Pentagon has been doing for years but to what degree has been a mystery, until now.





It gets better.







Now if The Donald really is a business man, he would do something about this atrocious inefficiency and corruption and do it now and save money doing it because this is just the tip of the iceberg IMHO, regarding the Pentagon and it's shoddy way of doing business. F 35 anyone? Click here to view the report. Interesting without question.

And so it goes. K. Vonnegut