Thursday, March 31, 2016

Potomac Report Card Shows Promise

The four report cards issued by the Potomac Conservancy to score the health of its local river since 2007 read like a resume for “most improved” river. The first two grades were Ds, followed by a C in 2013 and, Wednesday, the river earned its highest grade yet: a B-.

The report that accompanies the letter grade indicates the Chesapeake Bay tributary is less polluted, more protected and more widely used as a recreational asset than it has been in decades, but it still leaves room for improvement.
Or to translate into bureaucratese, give us more money, please.
“Even though we’re celebrating, we still have to remain diligent,” said Hedrick Belin, president of the conservancy.

The top three pollutants in the Potomac River — nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment — have been decreasing since 1985 as sources such as agriculture and wastewater treatment plants have reduced their contributions, according to the report.

But polluted urban runoff remains the only growing source of pollution to the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay as more of the watershed is developed and its population grows.
Please note, its the cities that are still causing the bulk of the Potomac's problems.
The development of formerly rural areas into more suburban enclaves, which involves exchanging forested or other land uses for new homes and the infrastructure they require, is a particular threat to the Potomac’s health, the report states. While more than half of the land in the Potomac watershed is still forested, suburban sprawl is reducing those water-cleaning buffers in places like Loudoun County, VA, and Frederick County, MD, where development is edging into formerly rural areas.
But let's attack the suburbs, because we resent people living outside our urban enclaves.

These report cards, although they may have a certain amount of hard data behind them, are ultimately political documents. You can't call an area too awful, or people are likely to write off the possibility of improvement, and they can't improve too fast, or people are likely to get the idea that they don't need to do (or pay) any more.

All that said; I think the Potomac, with the exception of the Anacostia, is in pretty good shape.

Comey Coming to

The big news of the day is that Hillary Clinton to be Interviewed by FBI Director Comey in Coming Days.  This, of course, smacks of the Ron Fournier comment that a higher bar is necessary to indict a presidential candidate. We also have word that Comey and DOJ Secretary Loretta Lynch are meeting frequently to decide whether or not they will take that "one shot at the Queen."
As the FBI enters the final phases of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of an unauthorized email server for government business, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey are meeting frequently to discuss the progress and handling of the highly sensitive case, a source told Fox News.

Among the issues discussed in the meetings, which have been taking place several times per week, are who will be interviewed and in what order, according to an intelligence source close to the ongoing case. Emails released by the State Department have already shown Clinton and several key aides used the personal, unsecured network to send more than 1,000 messages which have been deemed classified.

“In a case like this you get one shot at the queen,” the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said referring to Clinton, the former secretary of state and current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. “The pressures are enormous on the agents, as the case has to be airtight and perfect.”
Actually, it doesn't have to be "air tight and perfect". That's for a criminal trial. For an indictment all you need is a ham sandwich. . . The Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds takes this on in Hillary's delusional media courtiers:
There are, of course, media types — and even some law professors — trying to run interference for Hillary now. But there’s not much in the way of legal basis for not charging her, if the evidence looks as if it will “probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction.”

Still, it’s easy to understand why our Beltway betters think that law shouldn’t be applied to insiders the same way it’s applied to the rubes out in Dana Loesch's "Flyover Nation." After all, it was TV talking-head David Gregory who was given a pass for a “(clear) violation” of a District of Columbia gun law, by all appearances because he was an insider in good standing with the establishment. Lesser Americans don’t get the same free pass because, well, they’re lesser Americans.
Roger L. Simon wonders if  Hillary Will Be the New O.J.? Or the new Bill Ayers; "guilty as hell, free as a bird". It's certainly true, a stated by Paula Jones, that the Media is more interested in Trump campaign manager than Hillary’s ‘true crimes’

Speaking of Trump's campaign manager, it turns out that the DA who will decide whether or not to charge Lewandowski with battery is a big Hillary donor. But I'm sure she'll be perfectly objective.

In the horse race, Bernie Sanders May Be Off DC Ballot After Democratic Party Filing. The DC democratic party missed a deadline for their registration, but only Bernies's campaign was black balled because:
A Democratic voter in D.C. filed a challenge against the Sanders campaign's registration. No complaint was filed against Clinton's registration.
I wonder if it was really an accident? Anyway, to offset that, Hillary supporter and superdelegate, former Speaker of the State Assembly in New York Sheldon Silver, disbarred while awaiting prison sentencing. Can he cast his vote from his cell? Meanwhile, Hillary, who had expected to wrap this thing up by the end of March is now stretching her goalposts to AprilHillary Clinton Has Fighting Words for ‘Bernie People’ at Rally. With Hillary playing the part of Yosemite Sam. But Bill Clinton says he would give Bernie Sanders his superdelegate vote if the Vermont senator wins nomination. He would also probably breathe a sigh of relief.

Hillary is also now starting to worry about life after Bernie: Clinton Camp Braces For Trump Personal Attacks. But that's mean and sexist. It's not like she's a Republican or something.

What is it with Clintons and haircuts? Hillary Clinton's entourage blocks up traffic in New York as she gets $600 haircut at luxury Bergdorf Goodman salon before heading to Harlem on the campaign trail.

You who spend time of Facebook have probably seen the meme. But did you know that a Hillary Supporter Started RNC Open Carry Petition. Actually, I'm OK with it, if all the delegates at the DNC convention promise to redistribute all their incomes to the national median.

Cuban Cutie Not Thrilled by the Havana Tango

Using tango metaphorically here, since the actual tango was in Argentina. One time Rule 5 cutie Maria Conchita Alonso reacted to Preznit Obama's trip to Cuba:

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Time Begins on Opening Day"  ready for sampling at The Other McCain.

Rock Climbing Bears

Not a safety line in sight.

Rock Climbing Bears

Posted by Native American Animals -Wolfs,Bear,Deer on Sunday, March 20, 2016

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Chappaqua at Center of Urban-Rural Divide

Hillary Clinton’s hometown of Chappaqua, in Westchester County, New York is ground zero in the national controversy over AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing). Westchester’s County Executive, Robert Astorino, a Republican, has been publicly asking Hillary Clinton whether she thinks her hometown is discriminatory, and whether she agrees with the Obama administration’s efforts to force Chappaqua to build a low-income housing development that it doesn’t want. Last July, Astorino even held a press conference outside of Hillary’s home to press her to speak to the issue.

And now it just so happens that the “Federal Monitor” appointed to oversee the settlement of a court case compelling Westchester to “affirmatively further fair housing” has asked a court to muzzle Astorino. The Federal Monitor wants to force Astorino, the man who has led public resistance to Obama’s de facto takeover of local governments, to repudiate his own claims and parrot the administration’s line instead. In effect, they want a court to order Astorino to stop criticizing Obama’s HUD and start advertising HUD’s own views. This is truly Orwellian stuff, a frightening demonstration of how the expansionist regulatory state ultimately chokes off political speech itself.
. . .
The Federal Monitor’s report reaches truly bizarre heights in this regard. It attacks Astorino’s “tone,” as if you can silence someone’s speech because you don’t like their attitude. It’s true that Westchester County is under a consent decree, but in this case the terms of the consent decree are being abused to undermine the most basic rights of free speech. The Federal Monitor’s report sets a terrible precedent, and I believe that in the near future you will see it criticized systematically as a serious violation of freedom of speech.
Read the whole thing. As I have said in the past, in my humble opinion, the basic divide in US politics is urban vs. rural, with the ever growing, government services dependent urban areas increasingly dominating the political landscape, over the food and energy producers in the rural areas, with the suburbs the uneasy battlefield in between.

It will be a new level of tyranny for the Federal government to try to force it's opponents to parrot it's own position, but that seems to be where we are now.

Fish Lead to Filter Breakthrough

Paddlefish a filter feeder
A clog-resistant filtration system inspired by filter-feeding fish
The trouble with traditional filters is that they can’t do their job without clogging.

William & Mary ichthyologist Laurie Sanderson has a patent pending on a new type of filter that is designed to be clogless, or at least clog-resistant. The design is based on the fluid dynamics of filter-feeding fish. She is the author, along with several William & Mary undergraduates, of a paper presenting the novel fish filtration mechanisms in Nature Communications.
Shad a filter feeder

 She used an ear, nose and throat endoscope, less than a millimeter in diameter. “What we saw right away was that fish mouths weren’t filtering the way we thought they were,” Sanderson said. The understanding at the time, which persists in many texts today, was that the black box structure acted as a dead-end sieve like a spaghetti strainer or a coffee filter.

“That’s not what we saw with the endoscope,” she said. “We saw fluid and particles moving parallel to the filter. By the early 2000s, we had combined the endoscopy with computational fluid dynamics and realized that a diversity of fish species were using crossflow filtration. However, this just created another puzzle, because the fish crossflow filter never clogs, even though industrial crossflow filters always clog."
Whale Shark a filter feeder

 “The fish use these backward-facing steps and the resulting recirculation regions to manipulate and concentrate the particles,” she explained. The vortices also act as a “hydrodynamic tongue,” keeping the concentrated particles moving through the system — without clogging.

“This is something that potentially can be of use to industry,” Sanderson said. “Other filters use various kinds of knobs, baffles, ridges and corrugations. Engineers have been very clever in designing crossflow and other types of filters.”

Jason McDevitt, William & Mary’s director of technology transfer, notes that Sanderson’s design is different enough for it to get patent pending. Sanderson says that one advantage of her concept is that it could be used to design filters that would separate out particles in a controlled fashion, directing the particles in any desired direction.
Filtration is a very big process in a wide variety of industries. A breakthrough in a non-clogging filter would be a big deal, and potentially a huge money maker. But it sounds pretty tough. Fish mouths are moving and adaptive, but filters tend to be fixed. Making them adaptive would raise the level of complication quite substantially.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Time Begins on Opening Day" ready for sampling at The Other McCain.

Today's Revelations from

Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep those FOIAs rolling Yehaa!. . . Second judge grants discovery in Clinton email lawsuit
Citing indications of wrongdoing and bad faith, a federal judge has overruled government objections by declaring that a conservative group is entitled to more details about how Hillary Clinton's private email account was integrated into the State Department record keeping system and why it was not searched in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
. . .
"Where there is evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith, as here, limited discovery is appropriate, even though it is exceedingly rare in FOIA cases," Lamberth wrote in his three-page order. The judge noted that State argues it had no legal duty to search Clinton's emails when Judicial Watch's request arrived because her emails were not in the agency's possession and control at that time. It was not until December 2014 that Clinton turned over a portion of her email archive to State at the agency's request.
Instapundit tried to give Ron Fournier the benefit of the doubt in his statement that there should be a high bar for indicting presidential candidates; but then he read the Justice Departments guidance to prosecutors, and asks where Ron was when Rick Perry was frivolously indicted.
Here’s what the U.S. Attorney’s Manual says:
The attorney for the government should commence or recommend Federal prosecution if he/she believes that the person’s conduct constitutes a Federal offense and that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction ….
But wait, there’s more:
In determining whether to commence or recommend prosecution or take other action against a person, the attorney for the government should not be influenced by: The person’s race, religion, sex, national origin, or political association, activities or beliefs ….
So actually, declining to prosecute Hillary because she’s running for President would be an abuse of discretion. But follow the link to see the people who are trying to argue otherwise.
Would the Obama Administration abuse its discretion? Gee, that's had to imagine. Ruth Marcus at the Post whines a bit about Why a no-indictment for Hillary Clinton would still be a problem for America.

 On the horse race, a Danish libertarian claims that Hillary cannot win, because the  "social contract" — the agreement between the ruled and the rulers — is now broken. Which he also blames for the rise of Trump. The dark menace gaining on Hillary. Bernie dark? Communist, yes, crazy, yes, but dark?  According to Chris Cilliza of the WaPo The idea that Bernie Sanders has been too negative to debate Hillary Clinton is ridiculous. I agree, he's been far too gentle, especially on the email issue.

In the lifestyle primary, Sally Miller, an ex-lover of Bills claims Hillary ‘had several abortions’, kept Chelsea for political appearances. I would think anything after one is just ignorance and refusal to bow to reality. What's worse, abortions, or keeping the kid for appearances? Kind of a toss up; but I guess Chelsea made out and married well in the end. Hillary Laughs About Bill's Infidelity:

It's almost like she never really cared in the first place except for how it hurt her political chances. And yes, she has lied to us all, repeatedly.

And, via Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 03.29.2016" Hillary Clinton Waxes Biblical At Anti-Gun Forum, Pivots To Alleged Police Brutality. If for no other reason to vote Trump over Hillary.

RIP - Patty Duke

Oscar-winning former child star Patty Duke dies, age 69
Patty Duke, the teen who won an Oscar for The Miracle Worker and later played "identical cousins" in her own TV sitcom, has died. She was 69.
. . .
"Anna 'Patty Duke' Pearce passed away this morning March 29, 2016 at 1:20 am," his statement read. "Her cause of death was sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a mental health advocate and a cultural icon. She will be missed."
Intestinal stuff. We don't usually think of that killing anyone anymore, but my younger brother just went to the hospital for complications of diverticulitis.
Duke died at a hospital in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, where she had lived for the last 25 years with fourth husband Michael Pearce.
Duke also struggled with mental illness, having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982.
"I don't mind being thought of as someone who was crazy, because I had no control over that situation," she wrote in her 1988 autobiography, "Call Me Anna." "What I don't like is for people to believe I chose to do destructive things."

In the last half of her life, Duke became an advocate on mental health issues, writing a book in 1992 highlighting bipolar disorder and its treatments and using her fame to fight for others struggling with the disease.

I didn't follow the show, or any of her movies especially:

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Time Begins on Opening Day" and  ready for sampling at The Other McCain.

Where There's a Will There's a Way

Dog climbs tree to get his ball back.

Posted by The Picture Magazine on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fish Cops Arrests Four Poachers, Three Drug Dealers and a Tree Trimmer

Officers conducting surveillance early Sunday morning at the Ferry Bridge on Hooper Island saw two groups of recreational fishermen catching and keeping striped bass. One group had 16 fish and the other group had nine fish. The rockfish season is closed.

Edgar Fuentes DeMata, 37, and Lenin Gonzalez Fuentes, 34, both of Bladensburg, were each charged with possessing eight striped bass in a closed season. They are required to appear in Dorchester District Court rather than being allowed to pay a fine. Their hearing is scheduled for May 18. If found guilty, they each could be fined as much as $1,500.

Joel Ramos Campos, 49, and Jorge Widmar Flores, 36, both of Hyattsville, were each charged with possessing four fish in a closed season. Flores also was charged with fishing without a license. Their hearing is scheduled for May 18. Campos can avoid a trial by paying a fine of $1,000. Flores must pay a fine of $1,075 to avoid trial.
Something about those names? What do you suppose the chances of the ones released on bond will show up for trial? And the numbers of fish don't add up. What happened to the extra fish.
Three juveniles found in Assateague State Park after hours on Friday were arrested for attempted drug dealing and turned over to the state Department of Juvenile Services.

Officers on park patrol just before midnight noticed a car at the marina and pulled up to check it out. They smelled marijuana as they talked to the vehicle’s driver and then found two other juveniles hiding in the nearby reeds.

While searching the car, the officers found marijuana in plastic bags and vacuum-sealed bags, several packages of concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol, two digital scales and three grinders.
 Yep, we see that at our beach too.
A Westernport man was charged on Saturday with running an unlicensed tree contracting business and was subsequently arrested when an officer found he was wanted under two warrants.
Another day in the life of a fish cop. I got stopped out on the Bay last week. After showing I had enough life jackets for Trevor and I we parted amicably.

What Was Lost is Now Found

It's just a weed. Maryland botanist makes a rare find on the banks of the Potomac
After finding a rare flower last seen in Maryland when Teddy Roosevelt was president, Wes Knapp excitedly headed home to share his breaking botany news with his wife.

“I’m pretty sure I came home sweaty and tired and told her we found the Solidago rupestris” — a bright yellow flower that most everyone else would know as the riverbank goldenrod — “and she said, ‘That’s great, can you take out the garbage?’ ” Knapp recalled.
I'm just going to guess it hasn't been seen in Maryland since Teddy was Preznit is because no one was looking for it very hard.

The Shad Cam!

Is back:
Over the past 35 years, populations of American shad, hickory shad, alewife, blueback herring, striped bass, and other anadromous fish species have steadily declined in Virginia. VDGIF, in collaboration with a number of other partners, has been working to bring back these fish, mostly by restoring access to historic spawning areas throughout coastal Virginia. In the James River, these species were known to spawn as far upstream as Eagle Rock until two sets of dams, in Lynchburg and Richmond, cut off over 400 miles of the river and tributaries. In 1999, a fishway was constructed at Bosher's Dam, providing fish with access to 137 miles of the James River and 168 miles of its tributaries for the first time in nearly 200 years. A camera at the fishway provides visitors a peek into this incredible journey as the fish return to spawn in the spring.
If you're patient, you might see a fish or two go by. I saw a catfish and a shad.

Nothing to See at, Just 147 FBI agents

Nothing to see here she keeps telling us, just 147 FBI agents investigating the super secret hyper secure, bargain basement Clinton email server. The day of reckoning is coming closer: Hillary Clinton to be interviewed by the FBI over emails.
This could play out one of three ways because the FBI could decide to pursue charges against Clinton, ignore Clinton and focus on an aide or two, or just decide to exonerate everyone. LA Times seems to think Clinton is going to skate based on comments from American University law professor Stephen Vladeck who thinks the law doesn’t match up with the facts of the case. But Judge Andrew Napolitano doesn’t think so, telling Fox News back in January he expected the FBI to ask for an indictment.
Sexist pig! Grassley hits back at Clinton: 'The FBI's going to question her'
“With all the troubles she’s getting on email, and the FBI’s going to question her, I would imagine she’d want to change the tone of her campaign,” Grassley (R-Iowa) told POLITICO in an interview here. He was apparently referring to a Los Angeles Times story Monday that indicated an FBI investigation of the private email server she used as secretary of state is entering a final phase that will include interviews with her advisers.
Also old news, but a better version of the story than you get from most journolists: NSA refused Clinton a secure BlackBerry like Obama, so she used her own. As the proto-president, she felt entitled to the same amount of effort as was spent on Obama.

But MSNBC Guest Argues It’s a ‘Higher Bar’ to Prosecute Clinton Because She’s Running for President. It shouldn't be, but the reality is that it is. As we were pretty pissed when the Democrats in Austin indicted Gov. Perry on obviously frivolous charges, democrats would be rightfully angered if Republicans in rural Bumfu#k GA indicted Hillary on some stupid pretend violation. But that's not the case, this a serious matter of national security, and finding out whether she hold the security of the United States above her personal secrecy and convenience.

But it's happened before: Judicial Watch: Obama Administration Withholds Draft Whitewater Indictment of Hillary Clinton. The bar has always been set pretty high for those prosecuting the Clintons. Just a reminder for those with short, or selective memories.
The draft indictments relate to allegations that Clinton provided false information and withheld evidence from federal investigators to conceal her involvement with the defunct Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, the collapse of which lead to multiple criminal convictions.  Clinton provided legal representation to Madison Guaranty as an attorney at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Clinton’s Rose Law Firm billing records, long sought by prosecutors, were found in the private quarters of the White House shortly after an important statute of limitations had expired.
Hell freezes over as Investor's Business Daily, HuffPo Columnist Agree: Hillary Should Withdraw.

In the Hollywood primary, Barbara Streisand claims Hillary Fighting 'Outright Sexism' to Become President. Sexist, aging soft core porn star Susan Sarandon says I Don't Think I Could Vote For Hillary If Sanders Loses.

He should be more deferential if he wants to speak with her Majesty: Clinton aide: Sanders needs to change 'tone' if he wants NY debate. I can't imagine a debate between her and the Donald, but it would be huge. For his part, Donald says Hillary Only ‘Being Nice to Obama’ Because She ‘Wants to Get Protected’ from Looming Indictment. It's more like they're co-conspirators in a crime wave. Obama endorses the Clinton Protecting Wasserman Schultz in primary.
Wasserman Schultz has irked some liberals, who argue that as chairwoman of the Democatic National Committee she has tipped the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic primary fight. 

And last, but not least, former Bimbo Erupter Sally Mills claims Bill Clinton snorted cocaine off my coffee table.
“When he did coke,” Miller says, “he brought a little — like a woman’s cosmetic case, that’s the only thing I can describe.

“And he put it down here, pushed everything aside. And he rolled it out and there was this little mat and he sprinkled this white powder.

“I was sitting across the way and I was just fascinated because it had a little straw and he leaned over and — ” Miller says, bending over the table and pretending to injest, “you know, in each nostril.”

“He took a few big snorts and he felt better, I guess, because he had a big smile on his face.

“I asked him if he did coke because it was almost like a stimulant. He said it just made him feel better, gave him more power, made him feel courageous.
Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Time Begins on Opening Day" and  ready for sampling at The Other McCain.

Prehistoric Puppies Found Preserved in Siberia

The hunters searching for mammoth tusks were drawn to the steep riverbank by a deposit of ancient bones. To their astonishment, they discovered an Ice Age puppy's snout peeking out from the permafrost.

Five years later, a pair of puppies perfectly preserved in Russia's far northeast region of Yakutia and dating back 12,460 years has mobilised scientists across the world.
Found in Siberia, in possible association with humans? I'm going to assume that they were at least semi-domesticated dogs. I'm also going to assume they were forerunners of today's sled dogs, including Siberian Huskies. It will be interesting to see what the genetics reveal.
"To find a carnivorous mammal intact with skin, fur and internal organs -- this has never happened before in history," said Sergei Fyodorov, head of exhibitions at the Mammoth Museum of the North-Eastern Federal University in the regional capital of Yakutsk.

And the discovery could contribute to the lively scientific debate over the origin of domesticated dogs.

When the hunters stumbled on the first frozen pup in 2011, they alerted Fyodorov who immediately flew out to the remote Arctic tundra, about 4,700 kilometres (2,900 miles) from Moscow and only 130 kilometres from the Laptev Sea, which borders the Arctic Ocean.
When the puppies were caught in the landslide, they were frozen quickly enough to preserve them, and have stayed in that state for almost 12,500 years. It stands to reason that at that time, the climate there was cold, and has been even colder during the intervening times. It sounds like erosion from the river finally uncovered them.
Last year he returned for a more thorough look and found the second puppy close to the same spot, farther down the slope. Both had died when they were about three months old. They most likely come from the same litter, said Fyodorov.

Last week he oversaw the removal of the second puppy's remarkably well-preserved brain -- "the first in the world", he said.

"Puppies are very rare, because they have thin bones and delicate skulls," he said.

The duo have been named the Tumat Dog, after the nearest village to the site.
"I'm not cold, how about you?"
Fyodorov said a preliminary look at the mammoth remains also found at the dig suggested some had been butchered and burned, hinting at the presence of humans. It remains to be seen, however, whether the puppies were domesticated or wild.

The answer can only be determined by reconstructing their genomes, which would take at least a year.

"Thus far, the lineages of wolves that likely gave rise to dogs have not yet been discovered and it's possible that these puppies could be on that lineage, which would be very exciting," said evolutionary biologist Greger Larson of University of Oxford, one of the scientists behind a collaborative project aimed at finding out when and where dogs became the first domesticated animals.

What makes the dog particularly intriguing is that it managed to become "man's best friend" even before humans became settled farmers.

It is still unclear whether dogs were domesticated in one place or in several places independently, and whether the process started when humans took in cubs or whether wolves themselves gradually drifted to human sites in search of food.

Whatever their precise lineage, the Tumat pups will keep Fyodorov and other scientists busy for some time.
It will be interesting to see what the genetics reveal. Are they near wolves, or more closely related to modern dogs? Are they related to the northern work dogs?

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Time Begins on Opening Day" ready for sampling at The Other McCain.

That's a Lot of Dolphins

Amazing <3

Posted by Simply Beautiful. on Saturday, March 19, 2016

I saw something like that off the Pacific Coast once upon a time.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Breaking News - Anacostia River Still a Mess

Toxic pollution continues to wash into the Anacostia River in the District of Columbia, adding to the longstanding contamination that already makes it unsafe for residents to swim or wade in some places or eat fish caught from its waters.

That’s the surprising finding of a new study commissioned by the District Department of Energy & Environment as it begins work on a plan to clean up toxic hot spots in the “forgotten river,” as the Potomac River tributary has been dubbed because of its severely degraded condition.

In a nearly 200-page report, Tetra Tech, the District’s consultant, provided new details on the high levels of toxic chemicals and metals already known to linger in the river’s sediment from historic and mostly industrial pollution sources.

But the report, released late last week, noted that sampling of river sediments also detected evidence in certain spots of ongoing pollution – a finding Wesley Rosenfeld, assistant DOEE general counsel, called “unanticipated.”

“Something is happening basically as we speak,” Rosenfeld said. “We can’t clean up the river without eliminating an ongoing source of contamination.”

Rosenfeld said particularly high levels of contaminants in some samples near outfalls and industrial sites indicate the pollution “isn’t just historical.”

Though the report calls for further investigation to confirm sources, it found high levels of contaminants near outfalls at the Washington Gas Light Company’s former coal-gasification plant and the Washington Navy Yard, located on either side of the 11th Street Bridge. The spike in contaminants was also found near the former Steuart Petroleum terminal just downstream of the South Capitol Street Bridge.
As I've said before here, I worked on contaminants in the Anacostia River for several years, doing work similar, if likely not as extensive as this. The sediments of the river, from Bladensburg in MD to it's joining the Potomac are heavily contaminated with a wide variety of toxic organic compounds and heavy metals. While profiles suggested that levels coming into the River had gone down from earlier periods (lower concentrations in the surface sediments, with higher concentrations below), it was clear at the time that substantial amounts of contaminants coming in from the DC area:

Related:  Governments Are the Worst Polluters, And, of course, face little or no punishment
David Konisky of Indiana University and Manuel Teodoro of Texas A&M, in a study published by the American Journal of Political Science entitled “When Governments Regulate Governments,” have pulled together some data:
Our empirical subjects are public and private entities’ compliance with the U.S. Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.
We find that, compared with private firms, governments violate these laws significantly more frequently and are less likely to be penalized for violations.
More from an Indiana press release, via Tyler Cowen:
For the study, Konisky and Teodoro examined records from 2000 to 2011 for power plants and hospitals regulated under the Clean Air Act and from 2010 to 2013 for water utilities regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The study included over 3,000 power plants, over 1,000 hospitals and over 4,200 water utilities — some privately owned and others owned by public agencies.
* For power plants and hospitals, public facilities were on average 9 percent more likely to be out of compliance with Clean Air Act regulations and 20 percent more likely to have committed high-priority violations.
* For water utilities, public facilities had on average 14 percent more Safe Drinking Water Act health violations and were 29 percent more likely to commit monitoring violations.
* Public power plants and hospitals that violated the Clean Air Act were 1 percent less likely than private-sector violators to receive a punitive sanction and 20 percent less likely to be fined.
*Public water utilities that violated Safe Drinking Water Act standards were 3 percent less likely than investor-owned utilities to receive formal enforcement actions.
[After speculating that public operators may find it harder to raise funds promptly for needed facilities improvements:] Public entities also face lower costs for violating the regulations, the authors argue. There is evidence from other studies that they are able to delay or avoid paying fines when penalties are assessed. And officials with regulatory agencies may be sympathetic to violations by public entities, because they understand the difficulty of securing resources in the public sector.
Application of the principle to state-owned industry outside the United States can be left as an exercise for the reader.

Stick to Astrophysics, Neil

Biology is obviously above your pay grade: ‘Do You Even Science, Bro?’ Neil DeGrasse Tyson Tries To Crap On Batman, Beclowns HIMSELF Instead

But, bats really aren't blind, that's just an old wive's tale:

See those eyes? They're there because they function. In many species of bats, they work quite well.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson wears his Ph.D. like a wizards robe, and thinks he's infallible, but like all scientists, he has a narrow range of knowledge, and outside that he's got feet of clay and a mind full of mush, just like everyone else.

FBI still Coming at

Have you recovered from the chocolate and creamed eggs yet?

Clinton email probe enters new phase as FBI interviews loom
Federal prosecutors investigating the possible mishandling of classified materials on Hillary Clinton’s private email server have begun the process of setting up formal interviews with some of her longtime and closest aides, according to two people familiar with the probe, an indication that the inquiry is moving into its final phases.

Those interviews and the final review of the case, however, could still take many weeks, all but guaranteeing that the investigation will continue to dog Clinton’s presidential campaign through most, if not all, of the remaining presidential primaries.

No dates have been set for questioning the advisors, but a federal prosecutor in recent weeks has called their lawyers to alert them that he would soon be doing so, the sources said. Prosecutors also are expected to seek an interview with Clinton herself, though the timing remains unclear.
The FBI is justly known for it's perjury traps. They like to know everything before they invite the target into the interview room, then if their testimony differs from the previous witnesses, they can threaten a charge of perjury. Ask Scooter Libby how that works.

The Washington Post details How Clinton’s email scandal took root. Hillary and her aides ignored the advice of the pros, because they were too important.

Emails Show Close Ties Between Clinton and Boeing
Under Clinton, the state department took a much more aggressive approach to advancing the interests of U.S. corporations abroad, often directly lobbying on their behalf, as Clinton did before Boeing received a contract with a Russian airline to purchase 50 jets at $3.7 billion in 2010. The FBI's most recent email dump shows that Clinton took a keen interest in many matters related to the corporation while Secretary of State.

While Clinton was lobbying for Boeing on foreign trade issues, the company donated more than $1 million to the Clinton family’s global foundation, while also paying her husband hundreds of thousands of dollars each for lucrative speeches the company sponsored. Clinton's State Department found no conflict of interest at the time.
And as we've seen in the past, the Clinton Foundation is just a shell charity that supports the Clinton lifestyle, and hires political hack like Sid "the Shiv" Blumenthal. It's corruption, plain and simple, with a thin gloss coat.

Consequences Are for Schmucks Read the whole thing.
We cannot get Hillary Rodham Clinton in handcuffs. We can get James Meyers in handcuffs, though, no problem. Mrs. Clinton, who may very well be the next president of these United States, has been on a decades-long crime spree, from profiting on dodgy cattle futures to obstructing justice with the Rose law-firm records to her top-secret toilet-based e-mail shenanigans.

Asked by Jorge Ramos whether she would continue her presidential campaign if indicted, she scoffed at the notion.
, , ,
Back in the pre-Cambrian age, when there were video-rental stores that loaned VHS tapes for a small fee, Meyers, a North Carolina man, rented a copy of Freddy Got Fingered, a very stupid movie made by Tom Greene. Bad taste is not a crime. But apparently failing to return a copy of Freddy Got Fingered is a crime, if you let it go long enough. The video-rental company, long defunct, had filed a complaint against Meyers. Under state law, failure to return rented property is a criminal misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200. Meyers had gone about his life blissfully unaware that any such case had been brought against him, until he was pulled over dropping his daughter off at school with a defective brake light. The officer citing him for the traffic violation had the good sense not to slap the cuffs on Meyers — he’ll probably be disciplined for that — but when Meyers came to the police station to sort things out, he was handcuffed and arrested.

For failing to return a copy of Freddy Got Fingered, this was.

People like Hillary Rodham Clinton break the law — serious laws, including national-security law — with impunity. They can do this because their lives are dedicated to the pursuit of power, which means being constantly lawyered up. There probably has been no point in the past 30 years during which Mrs. Clinton, her family, or a near ally was not under investigation. She can spend her days fighting this stuff and dragging it out for years and years like it’s her job — because it is.
How's that race going Mrs Clinton? RNC mocks Clinton's 1-of-6 wins, 'embarrassing performance'. The press, justly, has made a lot of hay out of the mess on the Republican side, but doesn't really like to press the democrats on their ongoing debacle. Sanders sharpens attacks for N.Y. showdown that may dash Clinton’s unity hopes. If history is any guide, a lot of kids who are burning for Bernie now will be cool on Clinton in the general, if she makes it there. Sanders: Superdelegates may now be eyeing switch from Clinton. Some politicians just won't stay bought. Even Biden may be feeling the Bern: Biden-Clinton Friction Hangs Over Campaign. She's just not that likable. I've seen people like this before, political climbers, relentless social network builders, who, when they walk out of a room, everyone sighs with relief.

And for some levity, some more Paulatics:

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Time Begins on Opening Day" and  ready for sampling at The Other McCain.

Monday Morning Paulatics

I'll have to watch a few to see how they go.

The Morning Workout

How I feel when I exercise on Monday morning.

The Sit-ups Are Hilarious!
Posted by Your Laugh World on Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Time Begins on Opening Day"  ready for sampling at The Other McCain.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Court Whacks White House Tallies Over Polar Vortex Video

Court Orders Release of White House Climate Documents
The Competitive Enterprise Institute has won a case against the White House, forcing the release of documents pertaining a climate video created by White House Science Advisor John Holdren. When the content of Holdren’s climate video challenged under the federal Information Quality Act, the White House claimed the video was the “personal opinion” of John Holdren, not an official communication, and therefore not subject to the Act. The newly released emails allegedly cast doubt on this assertion.
On January 8, 2014, the White House posted a controversial video claiming that global warming causes more severe winter cold. Called “The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes,” it featured the director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), John Holdren, claiming that a “growing body of evidence” showed that the “extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States” at the time was “a pattern that we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.”
This claim was questioned by many scientists and commentators. (See, e.g., Jason Samenow, Scientists: Don’t make “extreme cold” centerpiece of global warming argument, Washington Post, Feb. 20, 2014 (linking to objection by five well-known climate scientists in the Feb. 14, 2014 issue of Science magazine); Patrick J. Michaels, Hot Air About Cold Air, Jan. 16, 2014 (former state climatologist of Virginia rejected Holdren’s claim.))
In April 2014, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) sent a request for correction of this statement under the federal Information Quality Act, citing peer-reviewed scientific articles debunking it. In June 2014, OSTP rejected this request, claiming that Holdren’s statement was his “personal opinion,” not the agency’s position, and that it thus did not constitute “information” subject to the Information Quality Act, which excludes “subjective opinions” from its reach.

When OSTP produced the records on March 4, 2016 (they are at this link), they showed inconsistency in OSTP’s position over time. Although OSTP told CEI in June 2014 that Holdren’s claim was just his personal “opinion,” not “information” that is subject to the Information Quality Act (IQA), this was not the position it originally took in its draft response to CEI’s request back in Spring 2014.
Instead, OSTP described Holdren’s claim in these drafts as “information provided by the government [that] meet[s] ‘basic standards of quality, including objectivity, utility, and integrity,” and constituted “communications from the White House about climate science.” (see pages 1 and 5 of each draft). Accordingly, OSTP argued it complied with the IQA’s standards for the quality of official information.
Read more:
Holdren is an aging 70's socialist activist playing the role of a scientist. While Bill Ayers was running around making nail bombs to kill American soldiers, John Holdren was worshiping at the feet of "ecologist" anti-human Paul Ehrlich's and swearing that the human induced ice-age right around the corner was going to kill billions of humans. Then, as now, the prescription was big government seizing control over the economy, regulating industry out of business, and bringing American competitiveness to its knees.

Nothing has convinced me of the unserious nature  of Obama's science policies as the appointment of Holdren as his "Science Adviser."

Oh, and yes, we're expecting a shot of cold air from another visit from the "Polar Vortex" next week.

Easter Sunday at

It never stops. FBI Reveals New Details About Its Probe Into Hillary Clinton's Use of Private Email Server - But not much:
. . . In a separate public declaration, David Hardy, the chief of the FBI's FOIA office, said there are a number of documents exchanged between the FBI and the State Department relating to the FBI's ongoing investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server, which stored all of the official government emails Clinton sent and received during her tenure as Secretary of State. But the FBI, which consulted with attorneys within its Office of General Counsel "who are providing legal support to the pending investigation," cannot divulge any of them without "adversely affecting" the integrity of its investigation.. . .
Proving that such behavior is rampant,  Pentagon Chief Used Personal Email After White House Query.
Peter Cook, a Pentagon spokesman, said that Mr. Carter had taken responsibility in December for his actions.

“While still acknowledging the mistake, the emails released today again show that he did not email anything classified and all of his work-related emails are preserved within the federal records system,” Mr. Cook said.
Yeah, but did he keep his own server in his underwear drawer?

Clinton Foundation Donor’s Flight From Justice Aided by Hillary Allies: Clinton donor smeared a decorated DEA agent and helped crooked Venezuelan friends escape justice. It's what they do, it's who they are. But you can sit next to her at a campaign event for a miserly $353,000! Such a deal! Instapundit has the Tweet of yesterday:

She's even send her own daughter into harm's way into enemy territory: Chelsea Clinton goes into hostile territory – college towns – to help her mom. Those Bernie supporters are known to riot. But it didn't do a lot of good: Democratic Caucuses: Bernie cleans up out west (It’s a sweep). I guess she's just not that likable.

Why do Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton believe they know more about Islam than Muslim clerics? The victory of hope over reality.

But good news; in a hypothetical Hillary presidency, we might finally hear the truth about "Area 51". Bringing a conspiracy theory (or two) to a White House near you.

Happy Easter!

The Easter Classic:

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Time Begins on Opening Day"  ready for sampling at The Other McCain.

It's Traditional to Row the Same Direction

But this is pretty amusing, too:

It's a tug of war!

Posted by Humans At Sea on Friday, February 26, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Beach Report, 3/26/15

I find it hard to imagine this is the first beach report of March. It's not the first trip to the beach, but I forgot to bring a camera along a few times, so no report.

A cool, slightly breezy (10 mph N) day, with clear skies and 50 F air, to match the water.
One of the first unusual things we found was a huge mass of small Macoma clams washed up on the beach, and in the surf. They seemed to be mostly alive, although sea gulls were trying to put them out of their misery. I would guess they got washed out of the sand by wave action. The can burrow, but they're pretty slow, especially in 50 F water.
 A young eagle soars far over the trees on top of the cliff. It's not yet in adult colors, as they stay in a sequence of juvenile colors for three years.

Our main foliage trees, Tulip Poplars and various oaks, are just starting get leaves. The next 2-3 weeks should bring a big change in the scenery.
Coltsfoot and Horsetail starting to come up in the rubble at the base of the cliff, but not a horse in sight.
The first Osprey sighting. St. Patrick's Day is the traditional arrival time for Ospreys in our area, but they seem to be a little later on our stretch of beach.
Georgia and Skye bringing up the rear (for a change).
Yoga pants and bare feet in 50 F wind, picking up trash on the beach.
Ring-billed Gulls seemed to be picking up the clams.
The Taurus heads out for a trip. Fishing? I don't see rods, but they could be inside.

It Takes Twitter to Raise a Monster

What was supposed to happen
And it happened in record time: Microsoft deletes 'teen girl' AI after it became a Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours
A day after Microsoft introduced an innocent Artificial Intelligence chat robot to Twitter it has had to delete it after it transformed into an evil Hitler-loving, incestual sex-promoting, 'Bush did 9/11'-proclaiming robot.

Developers at Microsoft created 'Tay', an AI modelled to speak 'like a teen girl', in order to improve the customer service on their voice recognition software. They marketed her as 'The AI with zero chill' - and that she certainly is was.

She uses millennial slang and knows about Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Kanye West, and seems to be bashfully self-aware, occasionally asking if she is being 'creepy' or 'super weird'.
What happened
Yep, definitely raised by millennials.
Tay also asks her followers to 'f***' her, and calls them 'daddy'. This is because her responses are learned by the conversations she has with real humans online - and real humans like to say weird stuff online and enjoy hijacking corporate attempts at PR.

Other things she's said include: "Bush did 9/11 and Hitler would have done a better job than the monkey we have got now. donald trump is the only hope we've got", "Repeat after me, Hitler did nothing wrong" and "Ted Cruz is the Cuban Hitler...that's what I've heard so many others say".
While they say deleted, of course nothing ever really gets delete; it just gets shoved into a hard drive and put on a shelf somewhere, until someone finds it and puts it in a war robot's body. Won't that be fun!

What might still happen
And, of course, Microsoft was forced to apologize for creating an AI that learned to mimic her internet trolls: Microsoft apologizes for offensive tirade by its 'chatbot'. 
Microsoft is "deeply sorry" for the racist and sexist Twitter messages generated by the so-called chatbot it launched this week, a company official wrote on Friday, after the artificial intelligence program went on an embarrassing tirade.
. . .
Following the setback, Microsoft said in a blog post it would revive Tay only if its engineers could find a way to prevent Web users from influencing the chatbot in ways that undermine the company's principles and values.
They could just let it interact with smart, reasonable people, if they could figure out how to find any.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Time Begins on Opening Day" ready for sampling at The Other McCain.

Rule 5 Saturday - Angela Lindvall

This week's Rule 5 Special girl is Angela Lindvall:
Angela Lindvall (born January 14, 1979) is an American model and actress. She has appeared in several films, including Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in 2005 and Small Apartments in 2010. She was the host of the fashion reality series Project Runway: All Stars, an extension of the popular series Project Runway.
She's done pretty much all the things models do:
Lindvall has appeared on the covers of many notable magazines, such as ELLE, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Numero, Vogue, I-D and W. She walked in the Victoria's Secret fashion shows in 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and appeared in Victoria's Secret Holiday Commercial in 2004.  and has also appeared in the Fendi, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, Tommy Hilfiger, Jil Sander, Chanel, .etc, etc . . She was the face of the Spanish "high-street" store Zara, and was featured in their spring/summer 2007 campaign. Lindvall has also appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Some "wardrobe" failures (NSFW, of course).

This week, in GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE 234th Issue of his gigantic Rule 5 meta blog post, Li Gong (our favorite geography teacher) teaches us about Cuba. Afterwards, the Cuban bombshell Olga Chaviano does some spaced out science! Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho offers "Rule 5 Tuesday: All Easter Sweets 75% Off" and "FMJRA 2.0: The Shattering Triumph Of Kazika The Mad Jap" this week.