Saturday, June 24, 2017
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Friday, June 16, 2017
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
And last August after a similar comment by candidate Trump, Raw Story reminded us that Trump’s threat is nothing new — Republicans have called for ‘Second Amendment remedies’ for years. Maybe after yet another incident we can have a call for reasonableness. Meanwhile today there were also shootings in San Francisco and Brooklyn
.@Judgenap: Why do we have a Second Amendment? It's not to shoot deer. It's to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical!— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 23, 2016
Monday, June 12, 2017
There was an episode of The West Wing where Josh was filling in for CJ and did such a horrible job that he said "the president had a secret plan to fight inflation".
Well, now the for-real Senate has a secret plan to reform healthcare in America. Senate GOP won't release draft health care bill.
Senate Republicans are on track to finish writing their draft health care bill this evening, but have no plans to publicly release the bill, according to two senior Senate GOP aides.
"We aren't stupid," said one of the aides. One issue is that Senate Republicans plan to keep talking about it after the draft is done: "We are still in discussions about what will be in the final product so it is premature to release any draft absent further member conversations and consensus."
So the plan is to give the CBO two weeks to score it, that will be about June 26, and then vote by July 4th, and I assume their recess starts June 30 (certainly by July 3rd but I assume they'll take the weekend off). So that's a business week, where they might release their plan to the public and debate it before voting on something that affects one sixth of the US economy. Great job Republicans.
Sunday, June 11, 2017
People often ask me what movies or tv shows to watch and then say they only have Netflix streaming and I have no idea what they have available (usually nothing I think to recommend). Film School Rejects fixes that with the following lists: What to Watch: The Hidden Gems of Netflix, Amazon, and Filmstruck.
Any list that starts with In The Loop is a good list. If you haven't seen it, fix that. It's hilarious. Fruitvale Station, The Way Back, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World are all solid picks.
The Expanse is by far the best sci-fi show currently on TV. Their description of Eye in the Sky is dead on.
Thursday, June 08, 2017
Smithsonian Magazine reports An Iceberg Flipped Over, and Its Underside Is Breathtaking. "In the case of this jewel-like iceberg, the ice is probably very old. In glaciers, years of compression force out air pockets and gradually make the ice denser, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. "When glacier ice becomes extremely dense, the ice absorbs a small amount of red light, leaving a bluish tint in the reflected light, which is what we see.” In addition, minerals and organic matter may have seeped into the underwater part of the iceberg over time, creating its vivid green-blue color."
Wednesday, June 07, 2017
The Atlantic shows The Best of Cassini—13 Years in Orbit Around Saturn
This September, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will take its final measurements and images as it plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere at 77,000 miles per hour, burning up high above the cloud tops. Launched in 1997, Cassini traveled 2.2 billion miles in seven years to reach Saturn and enter orbit. Over the past 13 years, Cassini’s instruments have returned countless priceless scientific observations and hundreds of thousands of images of the Saturnian system—its atmosphere, its 60+ moons, its vast rings, and much more. Gathered here are 40 of the most amazing images sent to us from Cassini, as we prepare for this epic mission to come to an end in just a few months.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
I know I haven't been as active here as in the past, there's just too much news to follow. But I'm not going to be doing even as well as I have been lately for the next couple of weeks. I'm going on vacation, see you in June. There should still be updates to @HowardLikedThis the latest two posts are shown on the right. Enjoy.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Thrillist lists Oscar Winning Movies & Biggest Box Office Hits From Your Birthday Year. I've seen almost all the movies mentioned and while I can quibble a little bit, this is a list of very good movies. It's often hard to decide between the most fun or best movie, whatever that may mean. This list gets past that pretty well by listing the biggest box office, the best picture winner and someone's idea of best movie for each year.
My birth year was 1966, not a great year for movies. The Bible was the biggest hit and ... we'll... meh. I love A Man for All Seasons which won 6 the Oscars. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is filled with virtuoso performance and two hours of yelling and won only 5 Oscars with 13 nominations. I'll add that I think the most fun movie of that year was The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Entertaining 20 min video of the history of the world. It starts a little slow (with the beginning of space and time) but once it gets to society it's really fun tracking all the civilizations of the world. Saying I learned a lot is going a bit far, but I watched as he described a fair number of things I didn't know. I think this would be fun for kids except for the swearing.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
A few years ago, he set out to pull together the careful coverage of solutions that had so long been lacking. With the help of a little funding, he and a team of several dozen research fellows set out to ‘map, measure, and model’ the 100 most substantive solutions to climate change, using only peer-reviewed research. The result, released last month, is called Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.
It is fascinating, a powerful reminder of how narrow a set of solutions dominates the public’s attention. Alternatives range from farmland irrigation to heat pumps to ride-sharing. The number one solution, in terms of potential impact? A combination of educating girls and family planning, which together could reduce 120 gigatons of CO2-equivalent by 2050 — more than on- and offshore wind power combined (99 GT).
They follow with an interesting interview.
See the list here.
Time has a profile Donald Trump: Inside the White House With the President. IMHO he comes off as deranged.
To cope with this new reality, the President says he is trying a mindfulness trick: he has tried to tune out the bad news about himself. “I’ve been able to do something that I never thought I had the ability to do. I’ve been able not to watch or read things that aren’t pleasant,” he will say later in the night, listing off the networks he tries to tune out and the newspapers he struggles to skim. Of course, as his public outbursts indicate, he does not always succeed, but he says he no longer feels a need to know everything said about him. “In terms of your own self, it’s a very, very good thing,” he says. “The equilibrium is much better.”
I'm also saddened that Trump and I have something in common, a love of TiVo.
Trump says he used his own money to pay for the enormous crystal chandelier that now hangs from the ceiling. “I made a contribution to the White House,” he jokes. But the thing he wants to show is on the opposite wall, above the fireplace, a new 60-plus-inch flat-screen television that he has cued up with clips from the day’s Senate hearing on Russia. Since at least as far back as Richard Nixon, Presidents have kept televisions in this room, usually small ones, no larger than a bread box, tucked away on a sideboard shelf. That’s not the Trump way.
A clutch of aides follow him, including McMaster, Pence and press secretary Sean Spicer. The President raises a remote and flicks on the screen, sorting through old recordings of cable news shows, until he comes to what he is after: a clip from the Senate hearing earlier in the day, as broadcast on Fox News. The first clip he shows is of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham speaking to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Graham asks if Clapper stands by his statement that he knows of no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump waits quietly, until Clapper admits that nothing has changed. Trump pantomimes a sort of victory.
“Yes. He was choking on that,” the President chortles. “Is there any record at all of collusion? He was the head of the whole thing. He said no. That’s a big statement.” Trump leaves unmentioned the fact that there is an ongoing FBI counter intelligence investigation into possible collusion, which has not yet reached any conclusions. Nor does he note that Clapper, out of government for nearly four months, could not possibly know everything the FBI has learned, and likely would have not known all even when he was in office. Trump also leaves unmentioned that he had a meeting that day with his new Deputy Attorney General about firing Comey, the director of that investigation.
But for now, Trump is focused on his TV. He watches the screen like a coach going over game tape, studying the opposition, plotting next week’s plays. “This is one of the great inventions of all time—TiVo,” he says as he fast-forwards through the hearing.
The next clip starts to play, this time showing Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley asking Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates if they ever requested that the names of Trump, his associates or members of Congress be identified by name, or unmasked, in a legal intelligence intercept. “Watch them start to choke like dogs,” Trump says, having fun. “Watch what happens. They are desperate for breath.”
Clapper, on the screen, pauses several beats to search his memory. “Ah, he’s choking. Ah, look,” the President says. After a delay, Clapper finally answers, admitting that he had requested an unmasking, which would have been a routine occurrence in his former job. The running Trump commentary continues. “See the people in the back, people are gasping,” he says, though it’s unclear who he is referring to on the screen. He also mentions the sound of photographers’ cameras clicking on the television.
Moments later, the President watches as both Clapper and Yates testify that they had reviewed intercepts containing the unmasked identities of Trump, his associates and members of Congress. This, to Trump, is yet another victory, the lead-lined proof of his still unproven claim that Obama surveilled him before he was sworn in. “So they surveilled me,” he says. “You guys don’t write that—wiretapped in quotes. They surveilled me.”
UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias has a good take on this interview (and the Economist's), The latest Trump interview once again reveals appalling ignorance and dishonesty
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
FYI, the Humble Book Bundle: Super Nebula Author Showcase presented by SFWA has a nice collection of science fiction for dirt cheap (no DRM, multi-format).
It's completely absurd what's happened in the last 24-48 hours:
- Sally Yates and James Clapper testified to the Senate about Michael Flynn being compromised
- The President fired the FBI director that was investigating him for ties to Russia. The reason given was an obvious lie with support from the Justice Department.
- Federal prosecutors subpoenaed associates of former NSA Michael Flynn
- The next morning the President met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
- A journalist was arrested for asking the Sec of DHS questions in WV
- The White House Press Secretary hid in bushes to avoid taking questions from the press
- DHS banned carry on electronics (laptops and tablets) from all flights from Europe
- The director of the Census Bureau resigned, 3 years before a census
- The Senate announced they will vote on healthcare reform with 20 hours of floor debate and no hearings or markup.
- Also this happened:
I don't know how I've never come across this theory about Inception before. Hal Phillips, back in 2010 postulated that "It’s all a dream. Ariadne (Ellen Page) is leading an inception on Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio). The entire film is that inception, and we never see reality." He goes into good detail and I'll have to watch it again (I haven't seen it yet this year).
Professor Ed wrote at Gin and Tacos All Right, All Right, All Right about how kids today don't know who Rodney King was.
"So he was OK?"
"He was beaten up pretty badly, but, ultimately he was. He died a few years ago from unrelated causes (note: in 2012)."
"It's kind of weird that everybody rioted over that. I mean, there's way worse videos." General murmurs of agreement.
This is a generation of kids so numb to seeing videos of police beating, tasering, shooting, and otherwise applying the power of the state to unarmed and almost inevitably black or Hispanic men that they legitimately could not understand why a video of cops beating up a black guy (who didn't even die for pete's sake!) was shocking enough to cause a widespread breakdown of public order. Now we get a new video every week – sometimes every few days – to the point that the name of the person on the receiving end is forgotten almost immediately.