Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's All About the Narrative

EPA Gives States More Leeway in Bay Cleanup
States no longer need to assign nutrient and sediment reduction targets that are measured in pounds to local governments to guide their pollution reduction efforts.

Instead, the EPA said in an October letter that states could use a "narrative" to describe the types of local actions they will implement to achieve broader nutrient goals assigned to them.
 So instead of actually using numbers, the state will be able to tell a story?  How comforting.

CBF Attacks Fracking Farts

A Chesapeake Bay Foundation infrared video investigation of natural gas drilling and processing sites in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia found invisible air pollution rising from almost three quarters of them.

One of the images in this video shows gases rising from a natural gas processing center in Western Maryland, the Texas Eastern Transmission LP compressor station, located near a town called Accident, Maryland. The facility self-reported to the Maryland Department of the Environment that it released 1,038 tons of methane in 2010, which was more than double the 483 tons of methane that it released in 2009, according to the state agency. The 2010 emissions were roughly the equivalent of the total annual greenhouse gas emissions from a town of 3,750 average Americans, according to an estimate by Dr. Robert Howarth of Cornell.
I'm not all that worried about methane and it's greenhouse potential.  Despite the talk of how strong a greenhouse gas methane is  (roughly 75 times that of CO2), the concentration of methane in the atmosphere is much smaller than CO2.  Current CO2 concentrations are ~400 parts per million (ppm), while methane concentrations are about less than 2 ppm and declining (see graph above), so its contribution to holding heat in the atmosphere is also declining.  Hey, maybe that accounts for the fact that the globe hasn't actually warmed in the last 15 years.

Publish and Perish

A group of scientists is pushing to publish research about how they created a man-made flu virus that could potentially wipe out civilisation. The deadly virus is a genetically tweaked version of the H5N1 bird flu strain, but is far more infectious and could pass easily between millions of people at a time. The research has caused a storm of controversy and divided scientists, with some saying it should never have been carried out.
Yeah, I'd say so.  I know there's all kinds of protection, and most likely the bug won't escape confinement.  But nothing has ever been made entirely fool proof (fools turn out to be remarkably ingenious). And worse, the guy wants to get this on his CV:
Fouchier admitted the strain is 'one of the most dangerous viruses you can make' but is still adamant he wants to publish a paper describing how it was done.

The study is one of two which has caused serious debate about scientific freedom and about regulating research which might have potential public health benefits but at the same time could also be useful for bio-terrorism.
That's right, put the instructions out there in the literature.  I mean, it was tough to do, correct, so what are the chances of someone being able to duplicate it?
Virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands lead a team of scientists who discovered that a mere five mutations to the avian virus was sufficient to make it spread far more easily.
Sure, and knowing what those changes should be would make it almost infinitely easier to achieve the second time.  And there really are people out there who think the world would be a better place with 95% fewer people (I know some, don't you?), and have the necessary biotech training to do the work.  I've got news for you.  Not all scientist are sane.  I know the "mad scientist" is a common stereotype, but that doesn't mean it's entirely wrong.

Laptops, the Next Great Threat to Western Civilization

In a report in the venerable medical journal Fertility and Sterility, Argentinian scientists describe how they got semen samples from 29 healthy men, placed a few drops under a laptop connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi and then hit download.

Four hours later, the semen was, eh, well-done.

A quarter of the sperm were no longer swimming around, for instance, compared to just 14 percent from semen samples stored at the same temperature away from the computer.

And nine percent of the sperm showed DNA damage, three-fold more than the comparison samples.

The culprit? Electromagnetic radiation generated during wireless communication, say Conrado Avendano of Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva in Cordoba and colleagues.
 A 10% reduction in the number of swimming sperm, and a 6% increase in the amount of damaged sperm?  I doubt if laptops can be used as a decent form of birth control.  And, as the article points out:
he mused, "I don't know how many people use laptops on their laps anyway."

Now Those are Tight Jeans

Skinny Jeans from Roger Hagadone on Vimeo.

Linked by Jake Finnegan on his Burkalesque Babe of the Week, this week with Scarlet J.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The All Purpose Survival Tool

If you want to fish and hunt, anyway

Weighing in at just under a pound, the .22 caliber single-shot bolt-action rifle is not only light and easy to carry, but the use of aluminum and carbon fiber make it weather resistant too. When you're hungry, or when the local wildlife decides that they are, you don't want a little rain to get in the way of putting this to good use.

The rifle breaks down into two main components in just a couple of seconds, making it easier to stash in a backpack. And with the addition of a reel screwed onto the pistol grip, and a rod that extends from the stock, you've got yourself another survival tool in the same $425 package. Let's see your corkscrew-packing Swiss Army knife do that. [Pack-Rifle via The Firearm Blog via UberReview]
But it might be a little light if your survival depended on killing a Grizzly Bear or catching a Great White Shark.

Why Are Politicians Like Christmas Lights?

They all hang together, half of the suckers don't work, and the ones that do aren't that bright.

$#!* that Ted sends...

A Year Ago Today...

I made my first post on this blog.  So far, so good.  I've been pretty consistent in posting.  I missed one day when blogger was on the blink, and another in the course of Hurricane Irene (although she was merely a tropical storm when she rolled by).

I'm amused to see what I presume to be the same old eagle in the same old tree in the first post as was in my last beach post.  I never get tired of seeing them; I hope you don't.

I've made a few over 2000 posts, and had over 160,000 hits.  I've learned a little (you can't underestimate the taste of adolescent males, and we're all adolescent males), and had some fun, and, I hope, made a point or two.  Hopefully, some of my readers have learned a little, too.

If You Hear Hoof Beats, Think Zebras?

It's one thing to see dogs, cats and squirrels around neighborhoods.

But imagine the surprise when Loudoun County homeowners spotted zebras roaming their streets.

That's exactly what happened Monday in Leesburg near Route 15.

One woman snapped pictures of the exotic animals in front of her yard. Investigators say the animals escaped from the Leesburg Animal Park Petting Zoo nearby...

...Animal Control eventually used a tranquilizer to safely capture them.

About a year ago we had an emu get loose from somewhere (I never did hear if they figured out where it came from), and ran around the county a while.  Unlike this episode, that one ended badly for the escaped wildlife, as it was shot by a local boy.

Virginia Farmers Seek Limits on Emminent Domain

The Virginia Farm Bureau to lobby General Assembly to limit takings
The federation's president, Wayne F. Pryor, said the constitutional amendment would more sharply define what public use is and "ensures more land is not taken than is necessary."

Pryor casts the issue as one critical to farmers, saying they "need the land to farm."

"For them, it's their land, they bought it, they paid for it, they pay taxes on it and they just don't feel it's right to take it from them and give it to another private entity," Pryor said in a video produced by the Farm Bureau.

The constitutional amendment provides that private property can only be taken for public use, and would prohibit eminent domain actions for private enterprise, job creation, tax revenue generation or economic development.

The Farm Bureau cites a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a Connecticut case. The justices ruled 5-4 that local governments may seize homes and businesses — even against the owners' will — for private economic development.
Ah yes, the Kelo decision.  The US Supreme Court sided with the city of New London, Connecticut, when it condemned private property for the alleged purpose of selling it to a developer for a comprehensive redevelopment plan which promised 3,000 new jobs and a million dollars a year in tax revenues.  Then, the developer failed to get financial backing, and the land became a vacant waste, after Susan Kelo was evicted.  Not exactly a high water mark in American jurisprudence.
"Farmers own a lot of open land, farmers own a lot of open space, and those spaces are targeted for roads, highways, parks and other things," Wilmer Stoneman II, a Farm Bureau lobbyist said. "We don't think it's right to take someone's livelihood and give it to someone else."
It wouldn't surprise me if farmers weren't thinking in terms of the "Bay Diet" plan as well here, the idea being that when nutrient controls fail, the state may start looking to take the land to prevent nutrient pollution. If so, I can't say I blame them

Will They Call It Even?

Germany is the only country in Europe that can act to save the eurozone and the wider European Union from “a crisis of apocalyptic proportions”, the Polish foreign minister warned on Monday in a passionate call for more drastic action to prevent the collapse of the European monetary union.
“I demand of Germany that, for your own sake and for ours, you help it survive and prosper,” he said. “You know full well that nobody else can do it. I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity. You have become Europe’s indispensable nation.”

Go Ahead, Double the Bacon

The money quote (acronyms filled out):
"We conclude that avoidance of [saturated fatty acids] accumulation by reducing the intake of [carbohydrates] with high glycaemic index is more effective in the prevention of [cardiovascular disease] than reducing [saturated fatty acids] intake per se.
The total body of evidence suggests that attention should be shifted from the harmful effects of dietary [saturated fatty acids] per se, to the prevention of the accumulation of [saturdated fatty acids] in body lipids. This shift would emphasise the importance of reducing dietary [carbohydrates], especially [carbohydrates] with a high glycaemic index, rather than reducing dietary [saturated fatty acids]. 
In other words, calories count, but it's better to reduce calories by reducing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet than reducing saturated fat.  Robert Atkins is chuckling from the grave.

Found at Ace's ONT, who found it here.

The World's Scariest Sink Holes

Monday, November 28, 2011

Barney Frank to Retire

Good.  Few have done as much damage.

The Death of a Euphamism

“They can’t use the term illegals,” Sanchez said. “At best it’s undocumented immigrant, at worst it’s illegals and illegal aliens, and both are pejorative and condescending.”
 As Mickey Kaus asks:
Is this one of those cases where we just need a new term every decade or so as the old term becomes tarnished by popular opprobrium? Or is the whole idea of distinguishing between people who have complied with immigration laws and people who haven’t complied with immigration laws now a forbidden thought for those who would pander to a strategically ultrasensitive ethnic group “expand the coalition that supports Republicans” to “[include] Hispanics and Latino Americans”? Maybe “undescribable Americans” would be the best term. Or “superAmericans.” You can’t suck up to this crucial swing group enough!
I'm old enough to remember that certain melanin enhanced folk with recent ancestors from Africa were called negroes in polite society (now my PC spell check doesn't even acknowledge the word) before they were blacks, before they were African American (even in cases when they aren't from America).

PG Country Gets the Bill

Cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Prince George's County could cost roughly $800 million over the next decade -- possibly triggering new fees for already cash-strapped residents and businesses.

Local and state environmental officials are drafting proposals to implement the Environmental Protection Agency's plans for reducing pollution into the Bay, a "pollution diet" designed to restore the once vibrant Bay over the next 15 years.
Call it a cool billion dollars after acknowledging Cheops' Law.  That's for a county of  about 900,000 people or about $1000 per resident, or a $100 per year per resident.  That's not a huge amount of money, but it's not trivial either.  Try getting someone to give you a C-note every year on the promise that at the end of ten years.... What?  Now try that almost a million times..  And that's only one county in the Bay watershed, and one that actually has water frontage on the Bay.  What about the farmer in New York or Pennsylvania who rarely or never visits or uses the Bay.

I'm not saying we shouldn't spend the money, but we should be careful to spend it to the best effect.

Name That Smell!

Q: What’s that smell in the air (some people like it, others don't) right before it rains? I’ve lived all over the country and there’s no variation … when you smell it, you know rain is on its way.

A: The smell is called petrichor, the scent of rain falling on dry earth. It’s caused by a couple of compounds in the soil, one of them known as geosmin, “earth-smell,” a term I found wonderfully Tolkienesque. (O geosmin! O earth-smell! A Elbereth Gilthoniel!) However, the Straight Dope copy desk recoiled, noting that any such reading would necessitate a vulgar conjunction of Elvish, pseudo-Anglo-Saxon, and Greek. We’ll therefore refrain from literary commentary and proceed in strict accord with science.

The human nose, not normally considered a particularly acute instrument, is extraordinarily sensitive to geosmin; we can detect it at a level of just ten parts in a trillion. Today this is mostly an annoyance, since in our supercilious age many prefer the fragrance of machine oil and ozone to the sweet smell of the planet. But I’ll venture to suggest it was important in an era long past.

Geosmin is produced by several types of bacteria and algae, which manufacture a volatile compound that can be kicked up when soil is disturbed, such as by gardening, plowing, or a hard rain. When a storm threatens and a few molecules of geosmin waft your way, that signifies rain is falling to windward, and in the fullness of time will fall on you.

Because we’re so attuned to it, a little geosmin goes a long way, and a lot can be decidedly unpleasant. Geosmin and another fragrant soil-borne compound, 2-methylisoborneol or 2-MIB, can make wine taste earthy, water yucky, and fish foul. (Catfish are especially susceptible.) The scent of geosmin may tell farmers their soil is healthy, but this is one area where a lot of non-farmers would be content to leave their ignorance intact.

Info on this video here.

"I'll Have the Fish, If the DNA Test Comes Back Clean"

Restaurants around the world will soon use new DNA technology to assure patrons they are being served the genuine fish fillet or caviar they ordered, rather than inferior substitutes, an expert in genetic identification says.

In October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially approved so-called DNA barcoding - a standardized fingerprint that can identify a species like a supermarket scanner reads a barcode - to prevent the mislabeling of both locally produced and imported seafood in the United States. Other national regulators around the world are also considering adopting DNA barcoding as a fast, reliable and cost-effective tool for identifying organic matter.
This is not my biggest problem.  Probably 75% of the fish we eat I've caught, and so far, I've always been able to identify the fish to species pretty easily. I once had a little confusion with Weakfish and Speckled Trout, but I worked that out long ago, and anyway, they eat damn near the same.  Most of the rest is probably salmon, and as long as Georgia is happy after she buys it, I don't care much which salmon it is.

However, an astonishing amount of seafood is mislabeled.  Some of this is deliberate fraud; substituting a cheap fish for an expensive fish.  Caveat emptor.  If you can't tell the difference, you deserve the cheaper fish.  If you can, complain, or don't come back.

Some of it is due to the large number of fish and invertebrate species sold as seafood.  Among land animals, we are only accustomed to a limited number of species. Most of us eat cow, pig, chicken and turkey as meat.  That's pretty much it.  A few of us occasionally eat venison, rabbits, squirrels, and a few other non-mainstream animals (porcupine anyone? - I dare you). However, there really aren't enough common names for all the species of seafood that people eat.  And the differences between many of them are trivial.  To sell a catch a retailer may label them as something they resemble, at least in size, color and texture (after they've been cleaned prepared).  Again, I'm not too concerned with ignorance on the part of the consumer.

Finally, some of it is done to conceal the illegal (or at least undesirable) use of endangered fish that were caught illegally.  If the bar coding can stop this, go for it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

China Ready to Buy Canadian Oil

Boy, I'm sure glad we won't get to buy it, burn it and turn it into CO2.

I'm sure the Chinese will just pump it right back underground to protect the planet, right?

Thanks, Obama!

The Soldiers of Bollywood

Clearly not worried about the mercury in the fluorescent lights. Found at Theo's.

Fourth out of Four Astonishing Days at the Beach

Unbelievable, the fourth day in a row of absolutely astonishing November weather at the beach, all over a long weekend. 60+ F, light south wind, mostly sunny, with a few fluffy clouds, and an extra low tide, again.
The girls, getting ready to part.  Georgia stayed back and looked for fossils in the cobbles  (a couple of logs up), while Skye and I walked way up the beach.
The usual suspects were out and about.  Today I brought the point and shoot instead of the DSL, so of course, this was the day the eagle decided to fly as we walked past and gave us a good chance for a flying shot, and of course, I didn't get it.
 After four days of going to the beach, even Skye was being pretty relaxed about it all.
This was, by far, the best day for finding teeth all year.  I found 62 and Georgia found 23 (at least 85 came out of my pockets, there's no knowing quite how many went in), including this pretty nice Mako.  A little of the root is broken off, but all of the blade is there.
Here is our haul, all laid out (with a quarter for scale).  Mostly jar fillers, but a few better ones.  Also three Black Drum's teeth, and a few bigger fragments of ray mouth plate.
We also collected some beach glass, including the coveted cobalt blue glass.  But the best piece is probably the tiny light blue piece on the right, which is all nicely abraded and glows like a gem when wet. 

Ooo, Ooo, Ooo, Lookin' Out My Back Door

Georgia just spotted this backyard visitor:

After I disturbed her, she got up and slowly strolled away.

The Continuing Adventures of the Twelfth Wife

King Mswati and Queen Dube
Mbabane - A senior official in the Swazi palace Monday denied reports that King Mswati's 12th wife Nothando Dube had been banished from the royal household after quarrelling with a guard. The disgraced queen, who has been under house arrest since being caught in bed last year with the justice minister, was sent packing after she tried to leave the palace to take her injured child to hospital, South Africa's Sunday Times reported.
I first reported on Queen Dube back when Maggie at Maggie's Notebook posted her paean to dictators pretty wives, and I stole borrowed heavily from it...  Later when the scandal with the Justice Minister appeared it afforded the opportunity for this review.
"The inkhosikati [queen] is visiting her home and she will return," Timothy Velabo Mtetwa, regarded as the prime minister for traditional affairs, told local media. Mtetwa said the queen, known as LaDube, was visiting her grandmother in northern Swaziland and was expected to come back.

"Inkosikati LaDube left with her bodyguards, who are currently keeping a vigilant eye on her as she is still part of the royal family," said Mtetwa. He also threatened to take legal action against the Sunday Times for publishing false information.
It's good to hear that Queen Dube is still among the living. It's not good form to cuckold the last absolute monarch in Africa, even if it's with a powerful member of his cabinet.  I can't say what happened to the Justice Minister, though.  Probably nothing good. 

Can you imagine what would happen if Michelle Obama was caught cavorting with Eric Holder?  A Late Night Comedy meltdown for sure.
Dube, 23, married the polygamist king when she was 16. He has since married his 13th wife.
The Swaziland royal wife selection routine is, well, unusual hardly covers it.  Up to 50,000 bare breasted Swazi alleged virgins gather for the "Reed Dance", and the King gets to take his choice.  Hey, it's good to be the king!

A National Geographic photographers dream...
She told the Sunday Times that she was roughed up by a guard at the palace gate and had to pepper spray him to protect herself. "He threatened to hit me, saying I am not going anywhere with my child, who was bleeding from a deep wound," she told the newspaper.
The Great She Elephant (R) and the First Lady of Tanzania (L)

Her two-year-old child had injured herself while playing.

The matter was reported to the Queen Mother, who known as the "great she elephant" and she was later told to pack her bags and leave her two children behind, the paper said.

I look forward to further developments in Swaziland!

How the Drug War Is Killing Law Enforcement

I can't cut and paste enough but:

Arresting people for assaults, beatings and robberies doesn't bring money back to police departments, but drug cases do in a couple of ways. First, police departments across the country compete for a pool of federal anti-drug grants. The more arrests and drug seizures a department can claim, the stronger its application for those grants.

"The availability of huge federal anti-drug grants incentivizes departments to pay for SWAT team armor and weapons, and leads our police officers to abandon real crime victims in our communities in favor of ratcheting up their drug arrest stats," said former Los Angeles Deputy Chief of Police Stephen Downing. Downing is now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an advocacy group of cops and prosecutors who are calling for an end to the drug war.
The feds ruining something with too much money and unintended consequence; imagine that.

Woohoo! Only Ten More Years!

Until the government writes me off!

So if you are a 70 year-old Nancy Pelosi, or Paul Krugman — with a potent private health insurance plan such as the one enjoyed by Members of Congress and other bureaucrats — you will get every appropriate surgery and treatment applicable. 

But if you are a 70 year-old former bookkeeper or waitress on Medicare, well — you have swung your last golfclub or danced your last waltz, because the “ethics panel” that assesses your unithood will have no problem inventing a equation that goes something like, “Potential-Tax-revenues-minus-potential-cost-divided-by-social-and-political-value-equals…a negligible unit.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Far Out, Dude

The Purple Haze Optical Illusion:

Found here after a short series of jumps.  Check out short...

Zombie Apocalypse Begins, In Harrisburg PA

Lower Allen Township Police said they arrested a “zombie shopper” at the Capital City Mall for trespassing Friday morning.

But Jenn Hara, a 34-year-old mother of four and member of the Occupy Harrisburg, said she was really there to protest. Hara was one of at least 35 occupy members there to protest consumerism as part of the Occupy Black Friday movement, a national event hoping to call attention to mindless consumerism and corporate greed.

The zombie protesters wore white make-up, drew black circles around their eyes and had fake wounds on their faces. They walked and groaned through the mall, often transfixed on shiny items in store-front windows.
I can see where an occupier might be confused with a zombie; having similar levels of sanitation and intellect.
A Lower Allen Township officer told Hara to either wash her face or leave the mall, police said, advising her that a refusal to do so would result in an arrest. Hara said she asked the officer about the policy three times before she was arrested on a misdemeanor trespass charge and taken to Cumberland County Prison for processing. All of the other zombies complied by either washing their faces or leaving the property, police said. 
Story and checklist via Jawa Report

Leave Occupy Alone!

A Toronto occupier laments the forced disbanding of Occupy Toronto in ways reminiscent of Chris Crocker's lament re. Britney Spears...

Sucks when they don't appreciate your taking over a public space for yourself, doesn't it.

Seen multiple places, not the least The Other McCain.

Turkey Day +2 At The Beach

Another really nice day at the beach!  Partly cloudy, with the approach of a front for tomorrow.  Temperature was 60+ F, the tide was low, and the wind was nothing (it did rise a little later, just enough to keep us from getting hot in our somewhat unnecessary extra layers of clothes).

Skye was having a blast.  Lots of people on the beach, including her favorites, puppies and little kids.  As Insanity Puppy says:  "I love children...

But I couldn't eat a whole one."
An optimist trying to catch fish off the beach.  When I went past an hour later on the return trip he hadn't any yet.  It's a good way to waste a Saturday, though.
Oh, goody! More little kids!

It was a great day for finding teeth.  I ended up with 32 found (Georgia had 5 or 6 too), so even though I gave a bunch away to kids, I came out way ahead.

I met these girls up looking for scallop shells up the beach.  I found out they were from the "Extinct Animals" class we saw on the beach a couple of weeks ago.  They were doing a project for the class, something having to do with measuring the growth rates the scallops from the lines in the shell.

I also gave them my best shark's tooth of the day, a 3/4 inch Mako. I'm such a sucker...

The eagle was back today, well up the beach away from the mob, but he steadfastly refused to fly, so I only got this sitting shot.

Somebodies little dog came running up as I got back to the start of the beach.  Kind of a funny shot; maybe I should sign up for Reddit and put up...
Skye showing she can still do it.
Last look back as we cross through the dunes to the parking lot.  It's still hard to believe the weather for November has been so good.

She Should Have Used More Cardamom

A Pakistani woman is being held on suspicion of killing her husband, cutting him up and trying to cook the pieces, Karachi police said Friday. Zainab Bibi, 32, was arrested in connection with the murder Tuesday of her husband Ahmad Abbas, police said.

Her 22-year-old nephew, Zaheer Ahmed, is accused of helping Bibi stab Abbas to death and carve his body into small pieces. Police said she wanted to cook her husband's body parts so she could dispose of them without being caught.

Neighbors raised the alert when they detected a foul odor in the neighborhood, police said.
This seems to be the weekend for women with "unusual" cooking habits:

I've read where it's believed that the use of spices in hotter regions is due to the desire to disguise the taste and smell of meat that's gone slightly "off".  Eskimos Inuit can just drag the meat to the back porch of the igloo and let the outdoors do the preservation.  Besides, hot peppers don't grow well above the Arctic Circle.

So what possessed Mrs. Bibi to kill and cook poor Ahmad?
In an interview broadcast late Thursday, she claimed to have killed her husband because he wanted a physical relationship with their daughter -- and said she did not regret her actions.  "I killed my husband before he dared to touch my daughter," she told ARY News.
That reminds me of a little ditty by Dr. Lehrer:

Rule 5 Saturday - The Wet Ones

For lack of a specific inspiration, I decided to dedicate this Rule 5 post to the girls who get wet, and look good doing it:

Six Year Old Charged with Felony for Playing Doctor

Last week the parents of a Wisconsin boy sued Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker for charging their son with first-degree sexual assault, a Class B felony, after he played "butt doctor" with a 5-year-old girl. He was 6 at the time. When the boy's lawyer tried to have the charge dismissed, Riniker replied: "The legislature could have put an age restriction in the statute if it wanted to. The legislature did no such thing."
I presume the legislature assume that no DA was actually dumb enough to pursue such a case.   As they say, assume makes an ass out of u and me...
According to the complaint (PDF), the girl is "the daughter of a well-known political figure in Grant County," and her brother, who is the same age, also was involved in playing doctor but was not charged. In addition to Riniker, the lawsuit names as defendants retired Grant County Sheriff's Sgt. James Kopp and Jan Moravits, an investigator with Grant County Social Services "whose regional the political figure's wife's sister-in-law"—i.e., the aunt of the alleged victim.
 Ah. I get it. The DA was just doing the bidding of the connected politician.  How noble..
Although the boy, now 7, is too young to be prosecuted or named in a juvenile delinquency petitition, reports, county officials are using the felony charge to force his parents into accepting "protection or services" for him. The lawsuit says that once he turns 18, he will be listed as a sex offender.
 It makes me wonder how any of us grew up without a record.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratuitous Sunset

Trevor and I took off late for a little fishing. Fishing wasn't great; we only caught a couple each, and small. I did lose one maybe keeper.

Black Friday at the Beach

Another really nice day.  I would have to say we're beating the odds for getting good weather in November.  No wind to speak of, blue skies and mid 50s F temperature.

I drug the big camera (Nikon DSLR) down this morning, hoping the eagle would make a showing.  This was the first day in months I didn't see one...
I found out later, the settings on the camera had been set to low light (high ASA) as a result of something i tried months ago.  It really didn't help the photos much...
Skye is just amazing lately. After months of getting lame after a long walk, she seems like a puppy again.  I wish I knew what we were doing right, I'd try it myself.
A father and son team digging for teeth in the dirt that has slid off the cliffs.  They were new at the game, and wanted pointers. I told them it was easier to see them at the waters edge. 
Today was just fair, I found 13 teeth, none of them terribly exciting.  Georgia, however, found this Cow Shark tooth, which we find only rarely.
 A lot of people were out on the beach today.
And this mother and daughter were using the last few nice days for some sand castle work

That's Awful; She Should Have Used a Wok

Gina Robins asked to go into the kitchen to heat up food for her baby son but instead locked the ten-week old pet in the oven.

The kitten’s owner Sarah Knutton, 35, was sitting in the lounge when she heard a noise ‘like a crisp packet being popped’, followed by a loud ‘screeching noise’.

After the kitten had died, Robins, 31, sent her a text message, calling time on their friendship and saying: ‘Remember the saying “What goes around comes around?” It has started already to bite you in the a***. The cat? Karma.’

The court heard how the pair fell out when Miss Knutton called the police because Robins’s boyfriend was shouting abuse outside her house in Torquay.

Robins denied causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, claiming that the microwave, which starts automatically when the door shuts, was accidentally turned on by one of Miss Knutton’s other cats.

That reminds me of that classic, "Cat in the Kettle".

Your Friday Monkey Dacker WWE Edition

Except the gorillas are more realistic:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

America's First Socialist Experiment

From Professor Paul Rahe, Republics Ancient and Modern:
On Thanksgiving, it is customary that Americans recall to mind the experience of the Pilgrim Fathers. This year, it is especially appropriate that we do so — as we pause, in the midst of an economic maelstrom, to count our remaining blessings and to reflect on the consequences of our election of a President and a Congress intent on “spread[ing] the wealth around.”

We have much to learn from the history of the Plymouth Plantation. For, in their first year in the New World, the Pilgrims conducted an experiment in social engineering akin to what is now contemplated; and, after an abortive attempt at cultivating the land in common, their leaders reflected on the results in a manner that Americans today should find instructive.

William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth Colony, reports that, at that time, he and his advisers considered “how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery.” And “after much debate of things,” he then adds, they chose to abandon communal property, deciding that “they should set corn every man for his own particular” and assign “to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end.”

The results, he tells us, were gratifying in the extreme, “for it made all hands very industrious” and “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.” Even “the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”

Moreover, he observes, “the experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years . . . amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times . . . that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing.” In practice, America’s first socialist experiment “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.”

In practice, “the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it.”

Naturally enough, quarrels ensued. “If it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men,” Bradford notes, “yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And [it] would have been worse if they had been men of another condition” less given to the fear of God. “Let none object,” he concludes, that “this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

The moral is perfectly clear. Self-interest cannot be expunged. Where there is private property and its possession and acquisition are protected and treated with respect, self-interest and jealousy can be deployed against laziness and the desire for that which is not one’s own, and there tends to be plenty as a consequence.

But where one takes from those who join talent with industry to provide for those lacking either or both, where the fruits of one man’s labor are appropriated to benefit another who is less productive, self-interest reinforces laziness, jealousy engenders covetousness, and these combine in a bitter stew to produce both conflict and dearth.
Socialism, it's one of those things you have to try once in a while to remind yourself how badly it really works. Quite likely, numerous Indian Native American societies tried it and failed a few times before Europeans came.  Chaco Canyon?

Found at Powerline.

Looks Good!

A Cherry Pie, an Apple Pie and a Pumpkin Pie, Each Cooked Inside a Separate Cake, and Then All Cooked Together inside Another Cake

If It's Loyalty You Want...

Get a dog:

Although, I'm pretty sure Skye would go off with the first person with a treat.

Giving Thanks at the Beach

It was another really nice morning at the beach.  About 50 F, winds light, 5-10 mph out of the north, and a cloudless sky.  After the end of a prolonged northern blow, the tide was exceptionally low, and we arrived just after the lowest point.

Despite the low tide, and the abundance of shell hash, fossil finding was only fair, although I did find this big Snaggletooth sharks tooth, right after Georgia walked past it.  To be fair, though, she did find more teeth than I did.

Not the best picture, but this is the local eagle gone from his/her usual tree, starting a swoop down on some prey, I assume successfully, as it then made a beeline for the tree...

where it appeared to be eating something.

Skye was in fine form, running like crazy, getting wet, pestering anyone else on the beach for a pet, or better yet, a treat.
Here Skye passes Georgia in flash, on her way down to try and talk me out of a treat (it's easy, I'm a sucker).
 Ornamental grass back lite by the sun at the top of the cliff.
The empty shell from a Horseshoe Crab in the water.