Friday, March 31, 2017


In a terrific article in the NY Times Magazine section titled Those Indecipherable Medical Bills? They’re One Reason Health Care Costs So Much, Elisabeth Rosenthal discusses the arcane science of medical bills and how they screw the American public in ways truly astounding via complexification or the art of making something more complex than it should be in order to maximise profit.

It gets better.

What is not stated is the fact billing, in effect, is forever separated from services rendered as the coding used in billing, as Rothenthal so eloquently describes is A. Completely different fromt the services provided by hospitals and doctors to the patient and B. Bills are always given out after said services are finished, thus insuring two realities.
  1. The complete medical history of each and every patient is never truly complete as billing is not organically connected to services rendered, something totally different from buying a car, which always comes with the all important invoice detailing the specifications of the car in question and ...
  2. The innate ability to obfuscate and complexify the bill to death, not only through the use of arcane codes to describe the bill in question but also to delay delivering said bill as this insures that the insurance company or hospital will have enough time to maximize profit by massaging the codes in their favor, something analogous to how investment banks massage credit default swaps and/or certificates of debt obligations in arcane ways to insure that unsuspecting investors never find out what kind of toxic crap may reside in these so called AAA rated investment packages of enormous complexity. Big Short anyone? Read the piece, you will learn a lot. Yours truly has. :)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

To Scale

This shows, in small part, just how truly insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Asking the right questions

It's so rare for a politician to actually make sense, especially regarding the Middle East and the Syrian Fubar.

This is exactly what Anthony Zinni said prior to the illegal C.F. "W" perpetrated in Iraq.

Too many GREAT pix! :)

Cassini yet again. :)

NASA's Cassini spacecraft zoomed in on Saturn's A ring, revealing narrow, detailed structures that get even finer as the cameras' resolution increases. Even at this level of detail, it is still not fine enough to resolve the individual particles that make up the ring.

High-resolution images like this help scientists map the fine structure of Saturn's rings. Features less than a half a mile (one kilometer) in size are resolvable here. But the particles in the A ring typically range in size from several meters across down to centimeters, making them still far too small to see individually here.

Don't want this mission to end. Have to put in another. :)

The wavemaker moon, Daphnis, is featured in this view, taken as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made one of its ring-grazing passes over the outer edges of Saturn's rings on Jan. 16, 2017. This is the closest view of the small moon obtained yet.

Daphnis (5 miles or 8 kilometers across) orbits within the 42-kilometer (26-mile) wide Keeler Gap. Cassini's viewing angle causes the gap to appear narrower than it actually is, due to foreshortening.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Day into Night

A one day shoot going from day into night with shots of the LI Sound to a short nighttime trip to Bethel. Enjoy. :)

The Northwest Passage

The assault on Earth continues unabated.

Protecting our privacy

Now that congress has deemed that our privacy means nothing does not mean we can't defend ourselves. The NY Times has an excellent piece with links to great resources like Tor, a browser yours truly has used with great success.

Terrific article well worth reading. I learned a lot, you will too.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Without our permission

Truly excellent, the Verizon's of the world will soon be able to share our browsing data in order to sell ads without our permission, forever. What can possibly go wrong?

It gets better.

4th Amendment anyone? The corporate kleptocracy strikes again. The Water Thief looms. 

The image says it all.

Our eye in the sky

Combine this with NSA surveillance, AI and face recognition and we have a problem Houston.

I'll have one too :)

Now you're talking. :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Trump was wiretapped

Well this is interesting. Not in love with Trump by any stretch of the imagination but Trump was, in fact, wiretapped if Nunes is telling the truth. End of story, for now.

Update: House Intel Chairman Nunes spoke to reporters when he left the briefing at The White House and had some more stunning things to say:

And the punchline: there are "multiple FISA warrants outstanding against Trump" Nunes also told reporters:

Bloomberg's take is spot on.

The Intelligence Committee chairman is taking a risk in providing a measure of cover for the president. His committee is one of the congressional panels that’s supposed to be providing oversight of the investigation by the FBI and other agencies into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential campaign. Nunes -- who served on Trump’s transition team -- said the surveillance that picked up Trump’s associates wasn’t aimed at Russia.

Schiff said Nunes has to decide whether he’s going to lead the Intelligence Committee or “act as a surrogate of the White House. He cannot do both.” The Democrat said an independent investigation is needed to investigate Russia’s interference and any contacts between those around Trump and the Russian government.

Any questions?

Event Horizon

Another wonderful graphic, this time describing the event horizon of a Black Hole, the point of no return for all things related to matter, photons and all things inbetween. :)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Detecting Exoplanets

There everywhere. Here's how to find them.

The Worm Moon & The Ides of March

Changeable weather is the watchword for this short clip with wet and dry snow, biting cold and a clear night for the Worm Moon. The Ides of March were originally keyed to religious rites and, you guessed it, to the Worm Moon. Go figure. :)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Jimmy Breslin RIP

Another giant is gone, Jimmy Breslin, the plain speaking journalist who touched the hearts of millions as a reporter for the NY Post.

The lesson is, if you want truth, you have to leave your desk, step away from your computer, and must certainly ignore your Twitter feed.

“Breslin hardly ever came to the office. He just sent his stuff in,” said Anthony Mancini, a journalism professor at Brooklyn College who worked at the New York Post in the late 1960s when Breslin wrote for the then-liberal paper.

“Jimmy got up in the morning, and put on his shoes. He never learned to drive, so he walked, took the subway, a cab, whatever,” said Denis Hamill, a former New York Daily News columnist and friend of Breslin’s.

“He wouldn’t sit at a desk and think up what to write. He would form his opinion based on the legwork that he did,” Hamill said. “He went out and really did the work.”

He will be missed, big time. RIP

George Carlin on Euphemisms

George Carlin, in his own amazing way is like George Orwell as both are masters of concise and clear language. A very close friend of mine turned me onto this gem. Awesome to a fault. :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pig in a Poke

Pig in a Poke, you know, means that something is sold or bought without the buyer knowing its true nature or value, especially when buying without inspecting the item beforehand.
is exactly what has happened regarding the so-called benefits of GMOs in terms of increased crop yields and reduced pesticide use, concepts Monsanto endlessly touts when selling said GMOs to farmers in the US but unsurprisingly, these claims don't jibe with reality.

To whit

But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.

Crop yield pix one, see any increase?

Or this?

On pesticide use, this claim is also refuted.

End result, Monsanto, in effect, owns the food supply through intense enforcement of patents due to genetic engineering while farmers in the US continue to buy a Pig in a Poke. Makes sense, right?

"What the real owners of the country don't want is people capable of critical thinking."
- George Carlin.

Top Secret Rules :)

Intense and really classy drum corps without question.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

You Gotta have a Boogyman

A very good friend, DD, turned me onto Slate's amazing article, How Hitler Conquered Germany, a cautionary tale in terms of how people can be manipulated through the artful use of propaganda.

The other part of this twisted philosophy is the fact one must have a boogeyman in order to solidify the notion of us against them, something akin to the US using Russia as the boogeyman in order to continue funding the MIC, aka the Military Industrial Complex, while bankrupting the country.

Goebbels channeled Bernays without question. Propaganda, written in 1928, was the blueprint Goebbels needed to enable Hitler to conquer Europe.

Edward Bernays the "godfather" of Goebbels

Slow Motion Death Machine

The Slow Motion Death Machine known as Fukushima makes US landfall and, It's Only the Beginning.

After the catastrophic triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, the Japanese government and the plant’s parent company, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), worked to cover up the damage done and downplay the amount of radiation the disaster had released into the environment. Though the disaster’s many impacts have been suspiciously absent from mainstream media reports in the years since, the radiation pouring out of the plant’s damaged reactors have never stopped. To this day, 300 tons of contaminated, radioactive water flow into the Pacific Ocean every day as many of the leaks can never be sealed due to the extreme heat. Now, nearly six years after the meltdown, radiation from Fukushima has made landfall on the West coast of the United States, signaling a dangerous new era for residents and wildlife along the Pacific coastal region.

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), a crowd-funded team of scientists, announced yesterday that they had detected, for the first time, seaborne cesium 134 in seawater on the shores of Tillamook Bay in Oregon. The group has been monitoring the waterborne radiation as it extends from Fukushima across the Pacific for years. According to WHOI as well as other scientists, cesium 134, a dangerous and carcinogenic radioactive isotope, could only have originated from the Fukushima disaster due to its short half-life, or rate of decay.

Cassini yet again

Just another gift from Cassini, the little probe that can.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Center Line

 Blue Wind

Storm Warning

Prelude to a Nor'easter

This hill, with its lone dominant tree, reminds one of the Great Plains. Austere, spare and totally connected to a big sky, something not often seen in N.E. 

Speed Limit 15mph

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Who controls the present ...

How easy it is to forget the fubar of "W" regarding his excellent adventure after 9/11 and his unique ability to get the world to hate us 24/7 beginning with his illegal and STUPID war with Iraq, the single worst strategic action in the history of this once great nation. 

Combine this with the actions of Obama in continuing this fubar and we get
  1. ISIS.
  2. The destruction of Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
  3. The loss of thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Afghanis, Iraqis, Syrians & Libyans.
  4. The dislocation of millions of people and the uncontrolled flood of immigrants to Europe.
  5. All to the tune of 4 to 6 TRILLION DOLLARS. 
To yours truly, this is truly amazing but then again, DC is amazing, the center of delusions of grandeur and incompetence and now, the US version of Mad King George, the POTUS.

With Washington, DC, now transformed into a perpetual nonsense machine, it was easy to miss the George W. Bush Revisionist History Tour as it slid through the shallow plastic media trench last week on rails lubricated with old tears, but there he was. After eight years of almost complete radio silence, the former president was all over the place, yukking it up with the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel to peddle his new book and flash that folksy smirk we came to know so well.

So what? Every celebrity does a book, especially former presidents, and it is noteworthy that Bush had the common decency to put some rigging tape over his mouth while President Obama was in office. It didn't take long, though, for things to get weird. A lot of people who really should know better -- in the print, network and online news media, on social media and other forums, and in "real life" -- got all goo-goo-eyed over him. People I've known for years exclaimed over how funny and cute he was on Ellen! And how he's friends with Michelle Obama! And isn't he just so much better than Trump?

Full stop. We have just lost cabin pressure.

Truer words never spoken.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


With great fanfare, Paul Ryan introduced his demolition derby approach to healthcare that will 
  1. Invariably increase the number of uninsured people.
  2. Reward insurance companies and significant others with tax breaks and
    financial bon bons.
  3. Eliminate Obamacare no matter what the human cost may be because ...
  4. It's all about the money.

It gets better.

When looking at this ridiculous process of trying to ram through this version of HC as fast as possible with little or no due diligence required for managing something as truly complex as healthcare, no one actually asks the question of why healthcare doesn't work outside of the usual rhetoric of it's too complex, too expensive or too inefficient. 

It doesn't work because billing is separate from services rendered. It's akin to buying a  car. The invoice is the document describing. in very precise terms, what the buyer is buying. Said invoice comes directly from the car dealership selling the car and is part of the package being sold to the customer. In the case of healthcare, the insurance company, in effect, generates the PO payable to the practice or hospital with the gap being covered via the copay by the patient. 

This "invoice" given to the insurance company has no direct connect to the patient record set describing medical treatment like the car invoice has to the car as the invoice, aka the insurance claim, is not only separate and completely different than the patient record from the programming perspective but also is always generated after the service has been rendered, which means the connect of the bill, aka the claim, to services rendered, patient treatment, is tangential at best, thus giving rise to the inability of healthcare to be run like every other business on planet earth to include accurate profit and loss statements keyed to the services provided to each and every patient treated by the practice and/or hospital in question.

To cover costs, the insurance companies make doubly sure patient premiums more than cover healthcare costs as seen by the amazing financial perks given to the ceo's of companies like Aetna, Unitedhealthcare and Blue Cross & Blue Shield. 

When looking at Ryan's inept attempt at "improving" HC, one does NOT SEE this essential analysis of why HC doesn't work. It's all about tax cuts, financial compensation and increased power of the insurance companies to control the process more than ever. Simply unbelievable but, when Ryancare takes effect, the blowback will be intense given what this version of HC does NOT PROVIDE to the citizens of this once great nation.

Addendum: Had to add Krugman's take. A Bill So Bad It's Awesome

Trumpcare — the White House insists that we not call it that, which means that we must — preserves some version of all three elements, but in drastically, probably fatally weakened form.

Insurers are still barred from excluding the sick, but they’re allowed to charge older Americans — who need insurance the most — much higher premiums.

Subsidies are still there, in the form of tax credits, but they’re no longer linked to either income (as long as it’s below $75,000) or the cost of insurance.

And the tax on those who don’t sign up becomes a small surcharge — paid to insurance companies, not the public — on people who sign up after previously letting coverage lapse.

Affluent young people might end up saving some money as a result of these changes. But the effect on those who are older and less affluent would be devastating. AARP has done the math: a 55-year-old making $25,000 a year would end up paying $3,600 a year more for coverage; that rises to $8,400 for a 64-year-old making $15,000 a year. And that’s before the death spiral.

Same as it ever was - Talking Heads

Coring the Apple

The Intercept does news right. Investigative reporting done to the max with stories vetted for accuracy and dogged digging into info the deep state and other entities don't want exposed to rubes like us. 

To whit, the CIA attempt to steal Apple's secrets.

Question, why doesn't this surprise me?

Any questions?