Friday, July 31, 2015

Your Friday Monkey Dacker - Chimps Not Yet People in New York

New York Court: Chimps Are Still Property, Not People
What has thumbs and no habeas corpus entitlement? Chimpanzees. A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled Thursday that chimps are still viewed as property, not people, under the law.

The lawsuit was filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project, a group that wanted two research chimps — named Hercules and Leo — out of confinement.

NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports "the animal rights group was trying to get them released to a sanctuary by arguing that the chimps have complex cognitive abilities and should be considered legal 'persons.' In the ruling, Justice Barbara Jaffe acknowledges that similarities between chimpanzees and humans 'inspire the empathy for a beloved pet.' "

The judge wrote that someday they may get legal rights, but that courts don't embrace change quickly. The chimps are held by Stony Brook University.

Acting pretty human. Given that it's New York, we should be grateful they didn't declare them to be native born Americans with the right to vote, to be exercised by a suitable trustee, like Green Peace.

Better Solar Power from Butterflies?

Making better solar panels by mimicking butterfly posture
A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy – or ways in which to convert light into power.

They showed that by mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent.

Crucially, by replicating this ‘wing-like’ structure, the power-to-weight ratio of the overall solar energy structure is increased 17-fold, making it vastly more efficient.
The research by the team from both the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, based at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, is published in the leading scientific journal, Scientific Reports.

Professor Tapas Mallick, lead author of the research said: “Biomimicry in engineering is not new. However, this truly multidisciplinary research shows pathways to develop low cost solar power that have not been done before.”

The Cabbage White butterflies are known to take flight before other butterflies on cloudy days – which limit how quickly the insects can use the energy from the sun to heat their flight muscles.

While I see a lot of butterflies using the "v-shaped" posture, it's rarely the Cabbage Whites, which I almost always see in the "wings folded" posture. Maybe I don't go out early enough.
This ability is thought to be due to the v-shaped posturing, known as reflectance basking, they adopt on such days to maximise the concentration of solar energy onto their thorax, which allows for flight.
Since lots of other butterflies use the "v-shaped" posture, I would rather attribute that to the fact that they are white, and therefore maximally reflective.
Furthermore, specific sub-structures of the butterflies’ wings allow the light from the sun to be reflected most efficiently, ensuring that the flight muscles are warmed to an optimal temperature as quickly as possible.

The team of scientists therefore investigated how to replicate the wings to develop a new, lightweight reflective material that could be used in solar energy production.

The team found that the optimal angle by which the butterfly should hold its wings to increase temperature to its body was around 17 degrees, which increased the temperature by 7.3 degrees Centigrade compared to when held flat.

Pre-Midnite Music - "Once in a Very Blue Moon"

The Blue Moon in the Sky Tonight Isn’t as Rare as It Sounds
In the evening of Friday July 31, a blue moon will rise in the sky. It’s an event supposed to happen so infrequently it has become an idiom for the exceptional, but the reality is that, by cosmological standards, a blue moon is hardly rare at all.

“It’s all relative,” says Jacqueline Faherty, an astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History. “Something that happens every two to three years I don’t consider to be that rare.”

A blue moon refers to the second full moon during a harvest month—and the name is something of a misnomer. “There’s no color change for it at all,” says Faherty. “The color of the moon is solely dependent on what kinds of particles are in the atmosphere.“ In fact, if the moon were to appear blue, there would be cause for some concern as it would be indicative of a “massive volcanic eruption,” says Faherty. The eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, for example, colored the moon blue for the two following years.
Enjoy tonight's Blue Moon!

Effective Ebola Vaccine Developed

Tests show new Ebola vaccine is 'highly effective'
Results of early tests of a new vaccine for Ebola shows it to be "highly effective," quickly protecting 100% of people against the virus, the World Health Organization said Friday. . . The vaccine took effect within 10 days of vaccination, according to the study, published in The Lancet. that could make the vaccine very useful in an outbreak, Osterholm said.

"This is an extremely promising development," said Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO. "The credit goes to the Guinean government, the people living in the communities and our partners in this project. An effective vaccine will be another very important tool for both current and future Ebola outbreaks."

Since late 2013, when the latest epidemic began in West Africa, there have been 27,600 Ebola cases, including more than 11,000 deaths. Liberia has suffered the worst, with more than 4,800 deaths, although the epidemic there has been better contained than in Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Which is not an exceptionally big toll by the standards of infectious diseases, but given its deadliness, and the nature of its transmission, it's still a pretty scary disease.
While doctors cheered the decline of the epidemic, they also worried that the falling number of cases would make it impossible to tell if vaccines were actually working, Osterholm said. He praised everyone involved in the current study for persevering under difficult circumstances.
Which is not the worst problem to have. What concerns me is that Canada beat us to it. . .
The vaccine, known as VSV-EBOV, was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
What does Canada have that we don't?

Obamacare Schadenfreude Lingers

Like herpes. . .

Financial Troubles Plague The State-Run ACA Exchanges
"The viability of state health insurance exchanges has been a challenge across the country, particularly in small states, due to insufficient numbers of uninsured residents."

Oh. Oooooooh.

Let me make sure I understood. Not enough uninsured people? That's what he said, right? Because it seems to me that Democrats spent years claiming that there ware millions of uninsured people who were going to DIE all over our sidewalks if the taxpayers didn't cough up the cash to build these Obamacare exchanges. Was that not true?

Read the whole piece because it covers all the tropes of failed liberal policy. . .
Read the whole thing. Both of them.

U.S. Health-Spending Growth Jumped to 5.5% in 2014
Growth in national health spending, which had dropped to historic lows in recent years, has snapped back and is set to continue at a faster pace over the next decade, federal actuaries said Tuesday.

The return to bigger growth is a result of expanded insurance coverage under the 2010 health law, a revived economy and crunchtime as Medicare’s baby-boom beneficiaries enter their 70s.

American spending on all health care grew 5.5% in 2014 from the previous year and will grow 5.3% this year, according to a report from actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published in the journal Health Affairs. In the years through 2024, spending growth is expected to average 5.8%, peaking at 6.3% in 2020.

The jump comes after five consecutive years of average spending growth of less than 4% annually—a rate touted by theObama administration as the lowest since the government began tracking health spending in the 1960s and a sign that the health law’s Medicare provisions were helping rein in health costs.
Fixed it! Just waiting for them to propose "single payer" as the fix for Obamacare.

Senate Votes to Revive Export-Import Bank, Keep Obamacare
In a pair of losses for conservatives, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Sunday to revive the Export-Import Bank while failing to overcome a filibuster of an attempt to repeal Obamacare — with more fireworks to come.

The rare Sunday votes set the stage for the Senate to send a long-term highway bill tied to the Ex-Im Bank to the House later this week, but not before facing other gambits by conservatives, including a procedural vote forced by Sen. Ted Cruz regarding the Iran deal and an effort to deploy a maneuver akin to the “nuclear option.”
Lee also wants to go a step further. He has a proposal for a vote on an Obamacare repeal that would doom the highway bill — and take a big step toward subjecting the Senate to majority rule through the use of a nuclear option.

The Utah Republican said Friday the Senate will have an opportunity to add the repeal of the Affordable Care Act to the Export-Import Bank amendment with a simple majority.

“The first Obamacare vote on Sunday will have a 60 vote threshold, and Democrats will likely block it,” Lee said in a statement. “But thanks to the sequencing of the votes we just locked in, Republicans will have the opportunity [to] resurrect that Obamacare amendment later on in the process, and put it back before the Senate in a manner that only requires a simple-majority vote.”

But making that move would require a declaration by senators that the full repeal is “germane,” a simple-majority vote that would end the longstanding practice of construing the germaneness of amendments in the narrowest terms when the Senate has already invoked cloture cutting off filibusters.
With all due respect to the Senators, before Obamacare can be repealed we either need a new president, or a veto proof majority in the both Houses.


Cleaning the Clinton out of the digital fridge.

Congress warned: Hillary’s e-mails likely contained hundreds of exposures of classified nat-sec data

Yes, that was easy math. 0.1, the fraction of her sample email sampled that was properly classified X 33,000 emails, comes to more like 3,000, but close enough for government work. And that doesn't even consider the other 30,000 that her lawyers deemed personal and preemptively deleted.
Did they need to be warned? When a spot audit on a small sample of unsecured e-mail shows that 10% of it contained classified material without proper markings or handling, the presumed “spillage rate” applied to 33,000 e-mails will involve thousands of communications, not just hundreds. The warning reported by the Washington Times today went to the members of the House and Senate committees overseeing intelligence, and may understate the potential damage:
The U.S. intelligence community is bracing for the possibility that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private email account contains hundreds of revelations of classified information from spy agencies and is taking steps to contain any damage to national security, according to documents and interviews Thursday.
The top lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committee have been notified in recent days that the extent of classified information on Mrs. Clinton’s private email server was likely far more extensive than the four emails publicly acknowledged last week as containing some sensitive spy agency secrets.
A U.S. official directly familiar with the notification, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, said the notification of possibly hundreds of additional emails with classified secrets came from the State Department Freedom of Information Act office to the Office of Inspector General for the Director of National Intelligence. …
“We were informed by State FOIA officials that there are potentially hundreds of classified emails within the 30,000 provided for former Secretary Clinton,” DNI Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III late last week wrote Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat; Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican; and Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat.
“We note that none of the emails we reviewed had classification or dissemination markings but some included IC-derived classified information and should have been handled as classified, appropriately marked and transmitted via a secure server,” Mr. McCullough wrote the four lawmakers.
This clarifies a couple of points. The “markings” issue, as I surmised, relates to the failure of Hillary Clinton to properly mark the material within her communications, not whether the data was properly marked when she received it. It also emphasizes what the IG spokesperson said earlier this week — the material was classified at that time, not later as Hillary’s defenders and Hillary herself have tried to claim.

The Washington Times source also noted that the IG believes Hillary’s attorney has the entire collection of 33,000 e-mails that she gave the State Department on a thumb drive in his office. 
As I've said before, the whole Hillary email scandal is not so much that the Chinese (or whoever) got a hold of a few hundred classified emails. although that's bad enough, but rather that they probably had access to all of her email, from which they could deduce much more.

And right on cue: Obama heavily redacts latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails
The Obama administration slapped a secret designation Friday on a number of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails from her time as secretary of state, raising more questions about whether her controversial email arrangement led to classified information being left unsecured.

A new tranche of Clinton emails, released by the State Department under a court order to impose transparency on the Obama administration, contains dozens of documents with information redacted and labeled either “confidential” or “sensitive.”

The classifications generally appear to have been done on Thursday, a day ahead of the release, which means the information wasn’t necessarily classified at the time Mrs. Clinton was emailing about it — but has now been deemed too sensitive to put out in public.
Not too sensitive to hide from the Chinese, but wholly unsuitable for release to the American public.

As noted by Stacy McCain: Sex Scandal Hits Foreign Billionaire Who Gave $5 Million to Clinton Foundation
Hansjorg Wyss — a foreign billionaire with intimate ties to the United States’ top Democrats — wants authorities to imprison an American woman for speaking publicly about allegations of sexual abuse at his hands.

The revelations — first reported by The Daily Caller News Foundation — threaten to alienate female voters, a key constituency of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Wyss is a major donor to The Clinton Foundation, a director at The Center for American Progress, and once paid now-Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta $87,000.

Jacqueline Long of Aspen, Colorado alleges that Wyss would demand sex, and then later shower her with expensive gifts and contributions to causes she, as a development officer, advised the foundation to support. . . 
Yes, I know this doesn't directly tie to, but considering the past history of the Clintons with sexual abuse, you think they might be a little wary of such entanglements. Wyss sounds like a real sweety:
A woman who has known both Long and Wyss for many years and who requested anonymity because she fears retaliation by Wyss said the Swiss billionaire would often switch back and forth between harsh attacks, then offer gifts.

“This is the pattern of what he does,” she recalled. “He flourishes with one hand and then knocks down with the other. He likes to be in control. He doesn’t like it when he isn’t in control. And that’s when he lashes out.”
Yes, I know this doesn't directly tie to, but considering the past history of the Clintons with sexual abuse, you think they might be a little wary of such entanglements.

Hillary Clinton: My Greatest Weakness Is Stupid People Who Don’t Understand Why I Should Be President
Hillary Clinton’s greatest strength, the candidate explained in an interview with the morning newsletter The Skimm, is her “passionate commitment to helping people.” The passion was on display in 2009, for example, when Clinton personally intervened to help Swiss bank UBS settle a lawsuit with the IRS and thus protect the identities of tens of thousands of Americans who may or may not be evading U.S. taxes through Swiss bank accounts.

Clinton was also asked about her greatest weakness. Here’s what she said:

Got that? Clinton’s biggest fault is her inability to deal with you idiots who can’t comprehend why Hillary Clinton should be president. You already rejected her once in 2008, and God help you if it happens again. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

Everything About Texas . . .

. . . That you need to know this morning:

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links.

Organic Agriculture is a Joke

A bad joke: The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture
Many people who pay the huge premium—often more than a hundred percent–for organic foods do so because they’re afraid of pesticides. If that’s their rationale, they misunderstand the nuances of organic agriculture. Although it’s true that synthetic chemical pesticides are generally prohibited, there is a lengthy list of exceptions listed in the Organic Foods Production Act, while most “natural” ones are permitted. However, “organic” pesticides can be toxic. As evolutionary biologist Christie Wilcox explained in a 2012 Scientific American article (“Are lower pesticide residues a good reason to buy organic? Probably not.”): “Organic pesticides pose the same health risks as non-organic ones.”

Another poorly recognized aspect of this issue is that the vast majority of pesticidal substances that we consume are in our diets “naturally” and are present in organic foods as well as non-organic ones. In a classic study, UC Berkeley biochemist Bruce Ames and his colleagues found that “99.99 percent (by weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves.” Moreover, “natural and synthetic chemicals are equally likely to be positive in animal cancer tests.” Thus, consumers who buy organic to avoid pesticide exposure are focusing their attention on just one-hundredth of one percent of the pesticides they consume.
Indeed, plants wage war against herbivores by producing a wide variety of compounds in an evolutionary effort to avoid being eaten. Things that taste bad; things that make them sick, and things that outright kill them. Herbivores have been waging an uneven battle to keep up, becoming tolerant of some and avoiding others.

Chocolate is a  (weak) aphrodisiac to human women; it's a weak poison to dogs.

Found via Althouse, who was more entranced with the likelyhood of fraud in organic farming:
Few organic consumers are aware that organic agriculture is a “trust-based” or “faith-based” system. With every purchase, they are at risk of the moral hazard that an organic farmer will represent cheaper-to-produce non-organic products as the premium-priced organic product. For the vast majority of products, no tests can distinguish organic from non-organic—for example, whether milk labeled “organic” came from a cow within the organic production system or from a cow across the fence from a conventional dairy farm. The higher the organic premium, the stronger the economic incentive to cheat.
As a scientist, I'm interested in the scientific aspect of the colossal fraud, while as a lawyer, she's more interested in the legal issues.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Washington DC Sinking Away

A press release clearly went out from the USGS regarding a study of sea level rise in the Washington DC area.  Here's how the Washington Post has it:

Why sea level in the D.C. region is rising faster than anywhere else on the East Coast
Sea level in the Washington, D.C., region is rising fast — faster than any other region along the East Coast. Scientists have now confirmed that this is because, in addition to global warming pushing water levels higher and higher, the ground is literally sinking beneath our feet, and it will probably drop another six inches by the end of the century.

Even without the sinking action, sea level would still be rising because of global warming — melting glaciers (Alaska, Greenland, the West Antarctic ice sheet, to name a few), and thermal expansion (when water warms, it expands). Looking at climate change influences alone, average global sea level is likely to rise anywhere from one foot to to 2.5 feet by 2100.

Combine the two effects — sinking and climate change — and the Chesapeake Bay’s sea level rise could surpass three feet by the end of the century. Of course, that is assuming the absence of a catastrophic melting event in Greenland or Antarctica.
Left unsaid is that without the assumed acceleration from global warming, the rate will continue at about a foot per century, and that acceleration is not evident in the data to date:

Look at that rate 3.16 mm per year since the early 1900, with no evidence for acceleration. That is 12.4 inches per century (the low value they cite, which suggests they can't rule out the "no change" option).

They also added this amusing verbal image of the isostatic rebound effect:
. . . the “sinking” at hand is a remnant of the last ice age when a vast sheet of ice covered much of North America, as far south as the Ohio Valley and New York City. That glacier was heavy, causing the ground to sink beneath its weight. As a result, the areas bordering the ice — like Washington, D.C. — bulged upward. “It’s a bit like sitting on one side of a water bed filled with very thick honey,” lead author Ben DeJong explains.

In the thousands of years since the massive glacier retreated, the areas that were under ice have risen and the bulge has sank.
I don't really see the news here. I was taught about isostatic rebound and it's effects on sea level back as an undergraduate, sometime around 1972. Perhaps they added a decimal and some error bars to estimates of its rate, but that wouldn't ordinarily be cause for a big stir.

But they were relatively restrained compared to Huffington Post: Washington Is Finally Getting What It Deserves As It Sinks Into The Sea
Meanwhile, Congress has thus far failed to do anything to address climate change, instead spending its time trying to undo the actions the Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency has taken to address planet-warming emissions. And the majority of candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination maintain that human activity isn't causing climate change and that people who say it is are "alarmists."

"It's ironic that the nation's capital -- the place least responsive to the dangers of climate change -- is sitting in one of the worst spots it could be in terms of this land subsidence," University of Vermont geologist Paul Bierman said in a statement accompanying the research. "Will the Congress just sit there with their feet getting ever wetter? What’s next, forebulge denial?"
Political science anyone?

I have news for Kate Sheppard and Paul Bierman. If Republicans thought that global climate change would drown Washington D.C. a few years earlier, many of us would be even more excited about the future. I think we should move the nations capitol closer to the geographic center of the country. How about Fargo, North Dakota?, The Best Friends Money Can Buy

Donations to the Clinton Foundation by Swiss bank UBS increased tenfold after Hillary Clinton intervened to settle a dispute with the IRS early in her tenure as secretary of state, according to a published report.

According to the Wall Street Journal, total donations by UBS to the foundation grew from less than $60,000 at the end of 2008 to approximately $600,000 by the end of 2014. The Journal reports that the bank also lent $32 million through entrepreneurship and inner-city loan programs it launched in association with the foundation, while paying former President Bill Clinton $1.5 million to participate in a series of corporate question-and-answer sessions with UBS Chief Executive Bob McCann.
. . .
Clinton, speaking to reporters on Thursday, called any suggestion the donations from UBS to the Clinton Foundation were connected to her intervention "categorically false."
And yet, if UBS hadn't made the donations, and Hillary hadn't intervened with the IRS on their behalf, nobody could accuse them of wrong doing (on this matter).

Hillary Clinton’s $600 haircut
Hillary Clinton put part of Bergdorf Goodman on lockdown on Friday to get a $600 haircut at the swanky John Barrett Salon.

Clinton, with a huge entourage in tow, was spotted being ushered through a side entrance of the Fifth Avenue store on Friday.

A source said, “Staff closed off one side of Bergdorf’s so Hillary could come in privately to get her hair done. An elevator bank was shut down so she could ride up alone, and then she was styled in a private area of the salon. Other customers didn’t get a glimpse. Hillary was later seen with a new feathered hairdo.”

Clinton regularly sees salon owner John Barrett, who charges regular mortals $600 for a cut and blow-dry. Hair color can cost an extra $600.

It is not known how much, or if, Clinton paid for the haircut, and her reps didn’t respond to requests for comment. But Clinton’s attachment to her hairstylists is well documented.
How much do you want to bet that the haircut (and many others) were graciously paid for using tax exempt money through the Clinton Foundation?

I got a haircut today. $15 and $5 tip, and it took all of 15 minutes. But of course, I didn't have an entourage in tow, unless Georgia counts as an entourage.

Mitchell: Experts can find no reason for a private e-mail system except to thwart oversight

When you've lost Andrea Mitchell. . .
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC: Is it possible, Andrea, that the media analysts and others have underestimated the impact of this e-mail situation on Hillary Clinton’s campaign?

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC: I think so. Look, you have two inspectors general, and they are referring this to the Justice Department… What they are suggesting is that there were classified– four out of the forty randomly selected emails had classified information…

This gets very confusing, and it can be confused further by statements on all sides.That said, the original sin, if you will, is having a private e-mail system...

I was at a security conference speaking to intelligence officials on all sides and the attorney general, we’ll talk about that later. But nobody can give an explanation for why a cabinet secretary would have a private email system other than to thwart inquiries, FOIAs [Freedom of Information Act requests].
Scarborough: IG report on emails “just the tip of the iceberg” for Hillary

Go to the link and watch the video. Poor Mika. . .

Forcing Clinton’s Emails Into the Open - Why we’re suing to make the government do what it seems disinclined to do: get to the bottom of this murky matter.
Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server while secretary of state is one of the great violations of government transparency in the modern era—a fact reinforced by the troubling developments of the past week. But until the emails stored on her private server are returned to the federal government’s possession, the truth will remain hidden behind a presidential candidate’s campaign-trail claims.
A new book gives some insights into the Clinton family: Author Ronald Kessler On Bill Clinton: ‘He Has A Blonde, Busty Mistress’
“He has a blonde, busty mistress, and she’s been code named Energizer by agents. This is unofficially, but that is what they call her…She comes in to the Chappaqua [NY] home whenever Hillary leaves. The details coordinate to make sure they don’t cross paths. She, unlike Hillary, is very nice to the agents. She’ll bring cookies.”
Evidently, unlike some of his relationships, this one is consensual.
“Agents say that it’s a business relationship. It’s not a marriage at all. It’s a total fake, like everything else about Hillary. It’s just a big show and a scam.”

“Hillary Clinton pretends to be this champion of the little people — she’s gonna help the middle class, she’s compassionate. But the reality behind the scenes is she treats her agents and others less powerful than she is with contempt. In fact she’s so abusive to her agents that being assigned to her detail is considered a form of punishment,” he said. “That tells you something about her character.”
Just wait until the whole country is under her thumb. . .

This Barely Passes as News

Another issue of All the News that's Fit to Bare:

1 in 2 say female toplessness taboo is fair
Research from YouGov shows that Americans tend to be OK with having different standards for men and women when it comes to toplessness. 47% of Americans think it's fair that men can generally go topless places women cannot, but 35% think it is unfair. There is a significant age divide on this question, however, as younger Americans are much more likely to think it is an unfair double standard than older Americans. 49% of under-30s think that it is unfair to hold women to a different standard than men, but 63% of over-65s think it is fair.

The offensiveness of seeing topless women with bare breasts varies greatly based on context. While 73% of Americans would not be that offended by seeing a woman breastfeeding in public, 60% say that they would be offended 'a lot' or 'somewhat' by seeing a topless women walking on the sidewalk. 58% say the same about the front page of a newspaper, on TV before 6pm (56%) and while sunbathing in a park (50%). Most Americans would not be that offended, however, by seeing a topless woman on the cover of a fashion magazine (51%) or on TV after 11pm (60%).
Why feminists are fighting a losing battle over boobs
Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a 47-year-old Illinois Democrat and a new mom, sponsored a bill this week requiring breastfeeding areas at airports. But public spending won't cure public squeamishness about exposed breasts, the root cause of the problem. Meanwhile, the Free the Nipple movement, which for years now been trying to cure this squeamishness, spews so many juvenile and fanciful theories that it has little appeal for mature women.
Giselle Bundchen nursing on the job

The Duckworth bill, dubbed the Friendly Airports for Mothers Act, would require all airports to create lactation rooms — separate from bathrooms — that are fitted with electrical outlets, sinks, and changing counters, and furnished with comfortable chairs for mothers to breastfeed or pump.

But the main problem with the bill is that it offers relief to a small subset of new mothers who frequently travel by air, but at the price of making things more difficult for everyone else. It basically signals to breastfeeding moms that they need to protect their modesty (which is why social conservatives like Rep. Steve Knight, a California Republican, probably are co-sponsoring it), rather than telling men that they need to respect these moms' privacy and avoid subjecting them to lurid glances, which would obviate some of the need for special lactating rooms.

Miley trying to convince you

The Free the Nipple movement (which has already become the subject of a 90-minute, yawn-inducing documentary) tries to cure such attitudes, but in such a ham-handed and shock-jocky way that few real women outside of college campuses can relate to it, other than publicity-hungry celebrities. Thanks to the movement, 100 students — men and women — at UC San Diego took off their shirts last month to fight for the equal right of both sexes to go topless. Likewise, Scout Willis, the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, earned her two minutes of fame some years ago when she went strolling topless in Manhattan to protest Instagram's nudity policies barring pictures of topless women. Not to be outdone, Miley Cyrus, who has never encountered a publicity stunt involving her body parts that is too over-the-top, tweeted a picture of her bare breasts with red stars on the nipples to express her solidarity.
Maybe they need better spokeswomen?

Voyeur uses drone to spy on nudists: Furious naked sunbathers say they were buzzed by radio-controlled aircraft that had camera attached
Naturists on one of Britain's most popular nudist beaches fear they are being spied on by a voyeur flying a drone.

A number of naked sunbathers were left angry when they were buzzed by a radio-controlled drone that flew up and down the famous Studland nudist beach in Dorset.

They feared a camera was attached to the device and that the operator, who could not be seen, had the bare cheek to take some shots of the bathers in a state of complete undress. Officials are looking into the matter and have stepped up patrols in case the drone operator returns.

A member of the Studland United Nudist group said: 'Several naturists heard and saw a drone fly over the naturist area including families who are concerned about this new invasion of their privacy and the possible subsequent use of any photographic material that may have been taken.
Studland? Cheeky? That's punny! Still, the idea of using drones to take pictures of nude sun bathers? Seriously, who couldn't have seen that coming?

In Berserkeley, protesters get naked to try to save trees
An estimated 50-75 people took part in a staged protest today at a eucalyptus grove on the UC Berkeley campus, many of them stripping naked in doing so, to make clear their opposition to a proposed FEMA-funded tree-clearing program in the East Bay hills.

The event was orchestrated by the Tree Spirit Project whose mission is “to raise awareness of the critical role trees play in our lives, both globally and personally.” Jack Gescheidt, who founded the project, does this partly by taking fine-art photographs of people, often naked, communing with trees and nature.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency in March allocated $5.7 million to the California Office of Emergency Services to remove eucalyptus trees as part of fire hazard abatement in Claremont Canyon — scene of a devastating wildfire in 1991 — and other nearby areas, such as Tilden Park and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. The funds will be distributed to UC Berkeley, the city of Oakland, and the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD).
They would probably welcome the drones. Eucalyptus (specifically the Blue Gum) are an undesirable invasive species in California, where they were originally imported for lumber. They have taken over huge tracts of land, burn about like regular wood soaked in gasoline (which is approximately true). Still, they can be very scenic, and smell nice. Maybe we should have imported Koalas to keep them under control.

And finally, Huffpo shows its nostalgia for the hippy era with this article: Haunting Nude Photos Bring 1970s Hippie Community Back To Life
. . . in 1969, Howard Taylor, brother of actress Elizabeth Taylor, wanted to get back at the local government of Kauai, Hawaii.

He hadn't been able to secure building permits for his parcel of beachfront land on the island's north shore. Frustrated with the local government and unable to build a home on the land he owned, he bailed out 13 hippies who had been arrested for vagrancy and invited them to set up their tents and live on his property for free.

He then left his new tenants and his property to run wild, and over the next eight years, the small campsite turned into a thriving village known as Taylor Camp.

Young transplants -- surfers, hippies, families, fugitives and Vietnam war veterans -- poured in from the mainland to live at Taylor Camp, free from society's norms. They built multilevel tree houses on bamboo stilts and tended to gardens that grew vegetables and fruits. Marijuana was smoked freely, clothing was optional, and it wasn't uncommon for people to howl at the full moon.
The kids that call themselves hippies now just don't know what it was all about.

Virginia, Maryland Fight over Crabs

Its the silly season in Chesapeake Bay, as Virginia and Maryland fight over the crabs. First, Virginia Governor Terry McCauliff claimed that all crabs originate in Virginia:

Terry McAuliffe says all Maryland crabs are born in Virginia
Maryland crabs, Maryland crab cakes, Maryland crab soup...Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says it’s all a sham.

"You know, Maryland talks about its crabs," McAuliffe said with a chuckle during a July 21 radio interview. "If anyone from Maryland is listening, I want to make this perfectly clear: All the crabs are born here in Virginia and they end up, because of the current, being taken (to Maryland). So really, they should be Virginia crabs." . . .
Briefly, the majority of crabs are released as zooea in Virginia waters, after the fertilized female crabs migrate down to the high salinity water near the mouth of the Bay. They spend a while in the ocean, then migrate back into the Bay and disperse into its nooks and crannies. A minority of crabs may be born from crabs in Maryland's Coastal Bays or other states, so it is absolutely false to use the word "all".

So really, Virginia plays a short but important role in the developement of the Maryland crab fishery, serving as a birthing center. As far as I know, having been born in a particular hospital doesn't make one the property of that hospital.

Virginia's role in this has long been a net negative, with it's winter dredge fishery, in which the pregnant females, most of which recently migrated from Maryland resting in the sediment prior to releasing their young, are dredged out of the sediment, and turned into "she-crab soup" (among other things), a practice they have temporarily halted until crab populations recover.

Maryland's response was in the form of letter from Mama Crab.

Maryland crabs at heart: A mother's response to a vicious allegation by the governor of Virginia
Dear kids,

As Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, I know all of you have developed a pretty hard shell over the months. It's the nature of who we are as Callinectes sapidus. But you may have heard something recently that you might find upsetting. That's why I'm taking pen in claw to write to you now, which, as you can guess, is not the easiest thing for a crab to do.

Earlier this month, a human being named Terry McAuliffe went on a radio show and suggested that there's no such thing as a "Maryland crab" since all Chesapeake Bay crabs are born in Virginia waters. Personally, I find this offensive, as I'm sure you do, too. We've always identified ourselves as denizens of Maryland. It's where your father and I met and had a wonderful rapturous experience in the marsh grass in the Miles River near St. Michaels on a glorious day last summer. (Where he is now I couldn't say, but I understand he's regarded as a Number 1 — as he still is in my book).

It would be tempting to ignore the ramblings of this McAuliffe fellow, but it turns out he was elected governor of Virginia even though he was born in Syracuse, N.Y. Why this doesn't make him a "New York governor" is a mystery that only a flabby, shell-less organism can explain. I strongly suspect that this 58-year-old politician wouldn't understand the life cycle of our species if we pinched him in the butt, which I'm sorely tempted to try. . .
Seriously, the Blue Crab fishery in the Chesapeake Bay is a product of both states, and both states need to cooperate in managing the fishery.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Judge Threatens to Put Wrong People in Jail Over IRS

A federal judge Wednesday rebuked the Obama administration’s IRS for refusing to divulge documents, including Lois G. Lerner’s emails, and warned that he would hold in contempt those who break his orders.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan called the administration’s defense “nonsensical” and said the IRS must release documents every Monday to Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that requested the documents under open records laws and then sued after the IRS didn’t comply.

“Officers of the court who fail to comply with court orders will be held in contempt,” Judge Sullivan said in a published order.

At a July 1 hearing, he ordered the IRS to turn over documents weekly. But after the hearing, the IRS approached Judicial Watch and proposed a new schedule. Judicial Watch said it would accept the schedule but wanted the IRS to make it official with the court — something the IRS refused to do.

Judge Sullivan was not pleased. He noted that the government attorneys agreed that his initial instructions were clear but violated them anyway.

“The government’s reasoning is nonsensical,” the judge wrote.
Instead of the governments lawyers, he should be threatening to put Koskinen in the pokey. The lawyers take their orders from him. Call it a conspiracy if you need to drum up a charge.

The newest revelations from the Lerner emails that have been produced is that the IRS deliberately sent invasive questions to at least one of the conservative non-profits to keep them from complaining to Congress:
More than 900 pages of those documents were released to Judicial Watch by the IRS this month. One suggested that Ms. Lerner’s colleagues sent an intrusive request for information letter in order to prevent a group from complaining to Congress about poor treatment.
The IRS must be destroyed to be saved.

Teach the Children Well

Their father's hell will slowly go by: Conference Teaches Iowa Kids About Diversity, Tolerance and Butt Sex
Parents in Humboldt, Iowa (population 4,690) are petitioning the school district “to prevent students from attending the Iowa Safe Schools conference after realizing it’s more about gay sex than bullying.” The controversy erupted after a conservative group sent an observer to the Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth in April. A recent report byThe Family Leader made clear that most of what went on at this gay activist conference had very little to do with promoting safety in schools. Everyone who has paid attention to controversies surrounding “anti-bullying” efforts in schools knows that this is a Trojan Horse by which LGBT activists are smuggling their agenda into K-12 education.
But it wasn't really that bad, right?
Hundreds of kids from around the state were bussed to the April conference in Altoona, Iowa. Among other things, teenagers were entertained by “a drag performer named Coco Peru, who delivered an expletive-laden presentation” and urged students to slash the tires of cars with bumper stickers expressing opposition to the LGBT agenda. Transgenderism and Internet hook-ups were also among the topics discussed:
“There were only two sessions [among more than 20] that had anything to do with bullying. It’s a conference teaching kids how to: how to be confidently homosexual, how to pleasure their gay partners — one session even taught transsexual girls how to sew fake testicles into their underwear in order to pass themselves off as boys.” . . .
• One speaker wore a dress made of condoms, so they could be easily detached and “used as needed.”
• Another told a rousing story of how he used social media to find friends and accidentally stumbled into an orgy.
• One session taught how to properly use “binders” to reduce the visibility of a girl’s breasts and discussed hormone treatments for delaying puberty, assuring kids the drugs were safe.
The point of such education is not really to teach transexuals how to fake testicles to avoid bullying, for example. It's rather to convince the remaining 99.997% of non-transsexual students that transexuality is good and wholesome, and far more common than it really is.

If Hillary ventures back into Iowa, reporters should repeatedly ask her if she approves of such teaching, using the most explicit examples. Hey, I can dream, can't I?, The Only Way to Fly

William Teach at Pirate's Cove takes on Hillary's climate change hypocrisy:

Woman Who Made Massive Fossil Fueled Travel An Accomplishment Really Worried About Climate Change
The question here is, is Hillary Clinton serious about “climate change”, or is she just pandering to the unhinged Lefty base? While she has included Hotcoldwetdry in negotiations and pronouncements previously, she has never seemed very passionate about the issue. During her time at State, it seemed more of a box check and an extension of Obama’s beliefs
(Bloomberg) Hillary Clinton on Sunday set two “bold national goals” to combat climate change, promising that if she’s elected president, she would set the United States on a path toward producing enough clean renewable to power every home in America within a decade.
She would also initiate a process that would bring the total number of solar panels installed nationwide to more than half a billion before the end of her first term, her campaign said in a fact sheet released Sunday as it also posted a video in which Clinton lays out her ambitions.
“We cannot wait any longer” to act on climate change, the Democratic front-runner says in the video. “It’s time we stand for a healthier climate, stand for cleaner air, for science, for innovation, for our children, for reality, for the future.”
. . . Says the woman who flew almost a million miles during her tenure at State, and considered that to be a Major Accomplishment. And will take quite a bit of fossil fueled flights and auto travel as she runs for President.
Hillary Clinton boarding private jet just hours after launching global-warming push – and she's using a FRENCH aircraft that burns 347 gallons of fuel every hour! 
Just hours after Hillary Clinton unveiled her presidential campaign's push to solve global warming through an aggressive carbon-cutting plan, she sauntered up the steps of a 19-seat private jet in Des Moines, Iowa.
. . .
The Trump-esque transportation costs $5,850 per hour to rent, according to the website of Executive Fliteways, the company that owns it. And she has used the same plane before, including on at least one trip for speeches that brought her $500,000 in fees.
Want to bet whether those jet rentals are provided by the the Clinton Foundation, through it's generous donors?

Do as we hyper-intelligent elites tell you to do, and not as we do, for the planets sake.

ABC News ‘Reporter’ Whines That Corrupt Clinton’s E-mail Scandal ‘Just Won’t Go Away’
Well, it keeps going away (in the media, that is), but her likely criminal behavior keeps emerging. Despite the media’s best efforts, Grandma’s got a lot of problems, and it’s not the GOP’s fault.

Sorry, toots.
On Sunday, reporters on ABC’s Good Morning America and This Week repeatedly complained that the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail while at the State Department “won’t go away.”
On GMA, ABC’s Clinton reporter Cecilia Vega labeled the scandal “e-mailgate” before she whined to George Stephanopoulos that the story “just won’t go away.” The ABC reporter then sympathetically questioned whether or not the story was “hurting her out there on the trail?”
Here’s a radical idea: Why don’t you go out and ask people? Crazy thought, huh?
Why Hillary Clinton’s numbers are down in the states that matter

Because she's a lousy politician, and an even worse human being?

Hopefully she won't be able to fool enough people long enough to get elected.

The ever sensible Megan McArdle on Hillary's plan to raise taxes on short-term capital gains: What Clinton's Capital Gains Plan Won't Do
Hillary Clinton does not like short-term investments. This I gather from her recent pronouncements upon the subject, and also, her new plans to tax capital gains on a sliding scale depending on how long you hold the asset. I have one thought about this proposal, and it is this: "Why?"

There are two arguments you can make about the war on capital gains. The first is that tax rates on capital may not really matter much. But if that's the case, then what's the argument for the sliding scale? If it doesn't matter, then it's OK to jack up the tax rate, but your sliding scale is not going to noticeably affect "short-termism" in public corporations.

The other possibility is that it matters a lot. In that case the sliding scale will make a big difference. But the case for jacking up the top rate to 40 percent for stocks held less than two years looks considerably weaker. This is basic Econ 101.

Actually, I endorse a third view: On the margin, it's probably going to affect investment if you raise capital gains taxes by a lot -- and nonetheless, this is not going to do much to shift the incentives toward longer-term thinking at companies. That's because Clinton seems to fundamentally misunderstand the reason that public companies are so focused on short-term results that impact their stock price, rather than longer-term growth. To the extent that you think this phenomenon is real, and a problem, the issue is not that American investors, for reasons known only to themselves, have developed the attention spans of gnats. Instead, I'd argue that the problem is the massive shift toward institutional management of equity assets.
. . .Taking out a large chunk of technical stuff about how institutional management of portfolios diminishes the impact of the proposal in real life. . .
So this proposal will not much affect the incentives of two-thirds of the market. I doubt the tax incentives of the one-third that is left are going to substantially alter the behavior of CEOs and corporate boards.

But that does not mean that this tax will have no impact. It can still very much impact the incentives of people to invest money outside of tax-advantaged retirement funds and nonprofit endowments. So you have here a policy that might impede capital formation -- hurting growth, not helping it -- while doing nothing to fix the problem at which it is targeted. Again, I ask: "Why?"

Of course, I do know the answer to that question. Hillary Clinton is running for office. Voters are unlikely to parse the effects on capital markets, if the sound-bite version sounds good to them.
So, basically Hillary is willing to trash the economic system to get elected. But we already knew that.

'Hillary must NEVER become President', says the woman who exposed Bill's affair with Monica. Former Clinton West Wing assistant Linda Tripp says Democratic contender is a liar who treats the public with contempt

Just the bullet points.
  • Linda Tripp, now 65, was a civil servant who had a ringside seat during Clinton's administration with office directly adjacent to Hillary's 
  • She exposed President Clinton affair with Monica because it was the culmination of years of so much corruption
  • Although she was vilified for her role in the scandal, she breaks years of silence to tell Daily Mail Online she would do it again
  • During the bimbo eruptions Hillary 'destroyed women so that their stories never saw the light of day,' Tripp says
  • She went from being a lackluster First Lady with unimpressive approval numbers to First Victim
  • Hillary will stop at nothing to achieve her end - the Presidency - and see the public as plebians easily seduced into believing her, says Tripp

Wednesday Wake up - "It's Not Easy"

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I'm Back Now!

Another long day on the water commercial fishing with Walleye Pete.

Before sunrise at Thomas Point Shoal lighthouse this morning. It was slow there in the morning, but better in the afternoon
Sunrise from between legs of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

After a long, and only somewhat fruitful diversion into the bay above the bridge (We caught a few fish, and I caught the largest of the day, a 30 inch, 8 lb slim summer striper) we ended up well south.

This is Bloody Point Bar lighthouse, near the south end of Kent Island across from Annapolis.
We finally found the acres of breaking fish we were hoping for near the south end of Poplar Island, the island being rebuilt with dredge spoils from Baltimore Harbor. This churning water marks a huge school of Striped Bass eating small Bay Anchovy (which they would spit up when caught). There were many such schools in the area.
This is what a thick school of Stripers looks like on Pete's depthfinder. Most of these fish were undersized, even below the 18 inch limit that commercial fisherman are allowed to keep, but about one in five were above the legal limit.

A pair of Ospreys on their nest on the channel marker on the way back into Deale this afternoon.

According to the GPS we had logged 97 miles.

We ended up with 38 legal fish. Not an awesome day, but one that paid Pete's bills and then some.

Gone Fishing - Back Later

If this post survives long enough to be auto posted, it means I managed to get up early to go fishing.

Hopefully I'll get back from the upper Bay, with some pictures, and enough energy to post them

Kate Upton Kicks Bill DeBlasio's Ass

. . . with some help from Demi Moore's former pet (and Mila Kunis's current squeeze) and some gay guy.

Kate Upton, Neil Patrick Harris, Ashton Kutcher lead Twitter war on Mayor de Blasio over controversial bill that would cap Uber’s growth
The “Game of War” vixen went to battle with Mayor de Blasio over the Uber ride-sharing service, part of a social media surge — combined with some Albany influence — that ended in a City Hall surrender.

“Why do you want to return to days when only those in Midtown & Lower Manhattan could get a ride?” Upton tweeted to the mayor as the City Council considered a proposal that would limit the company’s growth for one year.
No support from the cab companies or cab drivers required, I'm sure.

De Blasio ultimately backed down from his Uber cap proposal in favor of a four-month traffic study, but not before a flock of famous people flooded the Twitterverse with missives about jobs and competition.

Using the hashtag UberMovesNYC, Uber supporters, including actors Neil Patrick Harris and Ashton Kutcher, joined everyday New Yorkers in a drive to keep the cab competitors on the road.

“25K new residents use @Uber_NYC each week. How is a fixed # of cars supposed to serve this demand for rides?” Harris wrote.

Kutcher had engaged in an ongoing Twitter rant beginning Sunday, lambasting Hizzoner in more than 20 posts.
I agree with Instapundit that Republicans should come to the aid of new start ups like Uber.  Let the democrats defend the dying industries that supply them with graft and reliable union votes.

Besides, who do you want on your side, Bill DeBlasio or Kate Upton?

For what it's worth, I've never used Uber, I have no smart phone with which to summon a car with, and I have no idea if any significant number of them serve our area.

New Claim for Comet Impact at Younger Dryas

I've covered the Younger Dryas controversies as they have arisen over the past few years. The Younger Dryas event was a rapid cooling back to near glacial conditions as the the climate warmed at the end of the last major glaciation, between 12,800 and 11,500 years BP. There have been competing explanations over its cause, between a collapse of the ice sheets causing freshwater to shut down the global thermohaline circulation, or a cosmological impact event and the resulting "astronomical winter". Several groups reports evidence of impact debris, around the right time, but no impact site has been reported. A new report claims to narrow the time of the impact debris from many sites to a narrow time window just prior to the start of the Younger Dryas cooling:

Younger Dryas cooling event said to be comet related
At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago­ — give or take a few centuries — a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

New research by UC Santa Barbara geologist James Kennett and an international group of investigators has narrowed the date to a 100-year range, sometime between 12,835 and 12,735 years ago. The team’s findings appear today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers used Bayesian statistical analyses of 354 dates taken from 30 sites on more than four continents. By using Bayesian analysis, the researchers were able to calculate more robust age models through multiple, progressive statistical iterations that consider all related age data.
I wish I knew more about Bayesian statistics. I distrust the kind of arm-waving that claims to "correct" all these various dates to the "right" range. It wouldn't be the first time scientists fooled themselves into finding the data their hypothesis demanded.
“This range overlaps with that of a platinum peak recorded in the Greenland ice sheet and of the onset of the Younger Dryas climate episode in six independent key records,” explained Kennett, professor emeritus in UCSB’s Department of Earth Science. “This suggests a causal connection between the impact event and the Younger Dryas cooling.”
Unfortunately, the impact site continues to elude researchers. Was it submarine and not yet found, or on top of a glacial cap which melted, erasing the evidence?
In a previous paper, Kennett and colleagues conclusively identified a thin layer called the Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) that contains a rich assemblage of high-temperature spherules, melt-glass and nanodiamonds, the production of which can be explained only by cosmic impact. However, in order for the major impact theory to be possible, the YDB layer would have to be the same age globally, which is what this latest paper reports.

“We tested this to determine if the dates for the layer in all of these sites are in the same window and statistically whether they come from the same event,” Kennett said. “Our analysis shows with 95 percent probability that the dates are consistent with a single cosmic impact event.”
The Younger Dryas is also notable for its coinciding with the end of the first major stone culture in North America, the Clovis culture, and the extinction of many species of large mammals in North America.

There had been some suggestion that the Clovis culture was descended from European migrants (based on a similarity between European Solutrean and Clovis tools), but recent genetics evidence show that Clovis were probably just early American Indians.

Previous posts on the Younger Dryas, Clovis Culture and the Solutrean Hypothesis:

Did a Cosmic Triple Whammy Wipe ...
More Support for Astronomical Origin of Younger Dryas
Diamonds are a Paleontologists ...
New Support for Comet, Clovis, Younger Dryad Hypothesis
Chesapeake Bay Spear Point Poses ...
Slip Slidin' Away

Monday, July 27, 2015

Honeybees - Not Yet Dead

Another wannabe environmental disaster which failed to live up to its hype: Call off the bee-pocalypse: U.S. honeybee colonies hit a 20-year high
You've heard the news about honeybees. "Beepocalypse," they've called it. Beemageddon. America's honeybees are dying, putting honey production and $15 billion worth of pollinated food crops in jeopardy.

The situation has become so dire that earlier this year the White House put forth the first National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, a 64-page policy framework for saving the nation's bees, butterflies and other pollinating animals.

The trouble all began in 2006 or so, when beekeepers first began noticing mysterious die-offs. It was soon christened "colony collapse disorder," and has been responsible for the loss of 20 to 40 percent of managed honeybee colonies each winter over the past decade.

The math says that if you lose 30 percent of your bee colonies every year for a few years, you rapidly end up with close to 0 colonies left. But get a load of this data on the number of active bee colonies in the U.S. since 1987. Pay particular attention to the period after 2006, when CCD was first documented.

So what happened to the beetastrophe?
. . . One word: Beekeepers.

A 2012 working paper by Randal R. Tucker and Walter N. Thurman, a pair of agricultural economists, explains that seasonal die-offs have always been a part of beekeeping: they report that before CCD, American beekeepers would typically lose 14 percent of their colonies a year, on average.

So beekeepers have devised two main ways to replenish their stock. The first method involves splitting one healthy colony into two separate colonies: put half the bees into a new beehive, order them a new queen online (retail price: $25 or so), and voila: two healthy hives.

The other method involves simply buying a bunch of bees to replace the ones you lost. You can buy 3 pounds of "packaged" bees, plus a queen, for about $100 or so.
Will the people who have been agitating against Monsanto for their role in making pesticides and GMO organisms as causes for the beecapolypse be mollified? I doubt it.

Incidentally, Honeybees are not native to the Western Hemisphere, and if we didn't like them (and their honey) they would be considered an invasive species for the way they've pushed aside so many of the native bee species that act as pollinators.

For the last several years here, I have indeed noticed an almost complete absence of Honeybees. However, our flowers are visited by a steady stream of a wide variety of native bees, wasps, and butterflies.

Rain Tax Fails A Court Challenge

I had pretty much given up hope for more news out the rain tax after Gov. Hogan was elected mostly on the promise to repeal it, a promise that he and the Democratic legislature of the state, to my surprise, actually carried out. It was, however, still acceptable for counties to keep the rain tax as their chose method to raise money for storm water abatement, and several, including Montgomery chose to.  This may be in jeopardy, as a judge has ruled the "Rain Tax" unfair:

Montgomery lawsuit raises questions about Baltimore area stormwater fees
The so-called rain tax is being debated again — this time in court.

A Montgomery County circuit judge has declared the county's stormwater management fee invalid, saying it violates a state law passed this year to reform the controversial environmental charge. Though the ruling only applies in Montgomery for now, it's creating ripples of anxiety in Baltimore area communities that still levy such fees to pay for reducing the polluted runoff fouling local streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

"My concern is that we may be in a similar situation," said Vincent J. Gardina, director of environmental protection and sustainability in Baltimore County.
. . .
Hit with an $11,000 stormwater fee, the owner of a 34-acre commercial development in Gaithersburg sued Montgomery County, contending he shouldn't have to pay anything because he had put in ponds that collect all the runoff from his property as well as from neighboring tracts. Judge Nelson W. Rupp Jr. agreed last week, saying the fee should be limited to what it costs the county to treat runoff from the owner's property.

In any case, the judge added, the landowner ought to get a pass if he's taking care of the runoff from his property.
It was always my contention that in the relatively urban areas in which it was imposed, the tax was deliberately designed to unfairly target the suburban and even rural residents with larger areas of impermeable surfaces, but even larger surfaces of natural land, such that less stormwater was created. I feel vindicated that a judge agrees with me on that, but I'm not convinced that the ruling will stand further review.

Don't They Know Shark Week is Over?

Caught this week in a pound net near Cove Point, a few miles south of us, a big Bull Shark: