Dissenter is Here

Many news websites have eliminated their comment sections. YouTube has been disabling comments on some channels. Apparently, many journalists are upset about the feedback they’re getting on their articles. In the past, letters to the editor were carefully filtered, thereby allowing newspapers to censor any expressions of wrongthink. Gab has created a workaround called Dissenter: a way to comment at any website using a browser extension. It works with all your favorite browsers:

It’s hard to express just how much fun this is. Just go to your favorite lefty website (WaPo, HuffPo, Everyday Feminism, NYT, SPLC, the Guardian) and read the comments made on the main page. Sample comment on the HuffPo main page: “This is where fat women get their news.” Coincidentally, one of the news items on the HuffPo main page happens to be…

My Romanian pal Vee explains how Dissenter works, though he errs in claiming that it only works on Chrome. As he says, it is reminiscent of the early days of the internet. Enjoy it while it lasts.  [language warning]

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Steele is Stronger Than Iron

I was in heaven last night watching my favorite conservative author make an unusual appearance on my favorite journalist’s show. Shelby Steele was interviewed by Laura Ingraham. What a segment!

She asked him about the consistent accusations of racism in light of the progress made after the Civil Rights movement succeeded in attaining so many of its goals.

Professor Steele’s response knocked my socks off! He said and I have to quote loosely here:

“I grew up in the Jim Crow era and experienced the pain of segregation. Today I live a life that doesn’t remotely resemble that of my childhood. The problem now is that black Americans do not know how to handle freedom and opportunity and fall back on the comfort of victimization.”

Laura Ingraham was speechless as was I.

One further observation:

There are many fine scholars at the Hoover Institution (Thomas Sowell included) but Steele makes unusually original observations. It’s an oldie but a goodie so I recommend picking up his book White Guilt.

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Trading Tips

My husband and I are long term investors and 95% of our portfolio consists of dividend stocks. I do insist that we make a profit on the initial investment as well because dividends can mysteriously disappear if a company does not perform well on Dow Jones or NASDAQ.

However, I have set aside 5% to trade on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. The profits go into our “house account” meaning the money we have set aside to furnish our new home in NO Fla. The outer structure has obviously been paid for by the sale of our current home but as our new house is far more modern, we will unfortunately be unable to use a fair amount of our current furniture.

So….

I have been focusing on everybody’s favorite stock around here -Facebook- and just want to share some info that I know will infuriate many of you but I would feel remiss for keeping it to myself.

I’m having a ball with this stock because it is so predictably unpredictable. Y’all know I believe in the company and the founder but here’s a funny little secret – so does middle America. The U.S. govt is going after Zuckerberg as they did Gates and Sam Walton and I am using this to my advantage.

Everytime Mark Z is sued by the anti-capitalists in D.C. the stock plummets and I buy. Two days later the public moves on and the stock goes up by $2-3 bucks a share. I sell and move my profits over to my furniture account. I go back and forth as such and so far I have accumulated a new living room and outdoor kitchen.

I don’t recommend this if you don’t have the time to watch it every minute but as I mentioned, it represents a small percentage of my portfolio.

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De-Bunking UFO Nonsense

The nice thing about being an amateur is that you get to let the professionals take over.

For some reason (one of the authors had a book to plug), the New York Times ran a story about a purported UFO incident.  The Times’ behavior was bad enough, but the autistic screeching which followed it was deafening.  The editor of Flying magazine called them on it.

The New York Times story makes it seem as though the release of the videos came from high-level government officials, glossing over the information that the disclosures were actually spearheaded by an official who led the Pentagon’s relatively small UFO hunting program and who has since resigned to join a Las Vegas company called To the Stars Academy of the Arts and Sciences that is seeking private funding for more UFO research. That’s a major distinction that most in the media appear to be ignoring since the original Times report appeared.

Read the whole thing.  It’s not even new.

Here’s what is new — a comment on a YouTube video quoting me from this thread.  Who knew?  I’m anonymously internet famous!

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Journ-o-list redux

A new platform for journalists to strategize on the narrative of the day.   This is based in Canada, I think, and is being pushed out to journalists in the UK and America as well.

Right.   They already think alike anyway.   No conspiracy needed.

The app needed to allow us to communicate and collaborate with teams, share files, chat in real time or switch to video/audio conferencing and even have highly secured “Off The Record” end-to-end (E2E) encrypted communication.
The result is a secure communication platform that doesn’t have the myriad of risk that comes with proprietary or off-the-shelf applications such as Slack.

The Enemy of the People.

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Sargon and Pool on Tommy Robinson’s Arranged Ban

Tommy Robinson has been banned and deleted from FaceBook and Instagram.  He just aired his “Panodrama” sting, in which he exposed the BBC (a part of the beast anyway) engaging in some really underhanded nonsense.  The BBC later apologized for using a gay slur, while pointedly *not* apologizing for railroad propagandism.

Robinson’s allegations were borne out by evidence which he produced.  YouTube interrupted his broadcast several times — network difficulties, no doubt.  I won’t dwell on it — dwell on these videos instead.

Sargon:

Tim Pool:

I don’t know a whole lot about Tommy Robinson.  I rely on the reporting of others to illuminate his fight, and I view reporting about him in the context of who is saying what.  On that basis, I like him.

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Analyzing an Illustration

I’ve been looking through the illustrations of Arthur Getz, one of my favorite New Yorker cover artists. Getz painted 213 covers for the iconic magazine between 1938 and 1988. In addition to illustration work, he painted cityscapes and landscapes – ‘fine art’ sold through galleries – although he sometimes signed them with his middle name, Kimmig, because at the time a fine artist was not supposed to cross the line into commercial art.

A particular favorite of mine is his cover from 1957:

Art by Arthur Getz. Prints available through https://condenaststore.com/art/arthur+getz

The moment it captures is utterly American, isn’t it? To the left, the bustling, spangly city with silhouetted crowds in frenetic motion, and in the foreground the relaxed parking attendant, contentedly oblivious to the high life a few blocks behind.

The skill and techniques of this artist make the painting especially appealing to me. The blazing city lights in the distance are warm, but it’s cold moonlight fluorescing down on the garage attendant – that’s the opposite of what you’re taught in painting class! Warm colors are supposed to come forward and cools recede – but Mr. Getz makes this inversion work beautifully. The covers of the magazine our fellow’s reading are slightly bright with the reflected light bouncing off the pavement – reflected light is a detail that a  master’s eye notes, and novices often omit. The splashes of neon red far off in the city are balanced by that rusty red wall to our guy’s left; there’s even the faintest red haze in the air above the cars in the garage, a delicate touch but it offsets all that chill October air.

And our attendant’s pose, balancing on the chair – another master stroke.  Let me explain: when you draw a standing figure and you want it to look steady, not tipping over, you draw it so the supersternal notch – that’s the central notch between your left & right collarbone – is directly over the inner ankle of the leg bearing the weight of the body – this makes the figure looks solid.  Well, Mr. Getz has this gent perfectly balanced: if you imagine where his supersternal notch is, and draw a line straight down, it’s directly over the spot where the chair leg bearing the man’s weight touches the pavement. This young acrobat is not going to tip over!

The contrasts in tone all around our nonchalant hero seal the deal for me. After your eyes take in the whole scene, where does your attention go? To the crisp cold page edges of that magazine and that tiny cusp of face and finger illuminated by the October moon. That’s intentional – they are painted with a razor edge and surrounded by blacks and neutral grays to draw your gaze like a pinpoint. The same goes for the swatch of city on the left, the contrast is so high between the yellows and blacks that you can’t not look at them – but even though those marks are skillful, they are vague, to give an impression of buildings and lights. The painting strokes in and around our parked friend’s figure, instead, are descriptive, deliberate and masterful.

There’s sometimes a bit of friction between illustrators and fine artists, over whether illustrations deserve the same esteem that framed paintings are given.  If you ask me, this garage scene by Arthur Getz could hang in a museum next to Hopper’s Nighthawks any day.

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WordPress Version 5.1 Installed

As of 13:34 UTC today, 2019-02-25, the Ratburger.org site is running on the recently-released WordPress 5.1 update.  All of our local modifications to the core code have been integrated into the new version and tested on the “Raw” server before being installed here on the production site.  The update should be completely transparent to users, as it consists entirely of internal changes in the code intended to improve stability and fix myriad flaws and performance problems in the “block editor” which do not and will never use here.

Details of the testing procedure for 5.1 are posted the Updates Group post for 2019-02-24.  This was simultaneously a massive and trivial update of WordPress.  Almost every PHP and JavaScript file in the software was modified.  Since JavaScript and CSS style sheets were modified, if you notice something odd-looking, you might want to try clearing your browser cache (Ctrl-Shift-Delete on many browsers—be sure to clear only the cache, not cookies or browsing history) and reloading the page.  So far, I have noticed nothing in my testing which required clearing the cache, but your kilometrage may differ.

When I say the update was both massive and trivial, among the 906 files which were modified in the update (every one of which had to be reviewed for possible impact on the site), the overwhelming majority contained only changes to enforce “coding standards” which seem intended to make WordPress code not only dumb but also ugly.  In particular, some member of the band of nincompoops decided that left and right parentheses and brackets should be separated from the material they enclose by spaces, a convention used in no natural language of which I am aware nor by essentially any programming language style guide from the 1950s until Microsoft started crudding up their code this way in the 1990s.  So, when you review the changes, what you see are endless pages of stuff like:

89,90c94,96
< if (empty($attachment))
< wp_die(__('Please select a file'));
---
> if ( empty( $attachment ) ) {
> wp_die( __( 'Please select a file' ) );
> }

This, of course, creates endless clutter and potential confusion for any administrator who needs to integrate local modifications to the WordPress code into the update.  In this frenzy of “cleaning up” they did nothing about the hideously long lines of code which, even if broken at white space boundaries by a text editor, obscure the logical structure of the components of the statement.

If you notice anything that doesn’t look right, please note it in a comment.

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Amazon Prime Flight Down in Texas

You may have seen this.  A Prime Air (Amazon) flight went down in TX yesterday, depending on your local value of yesterday.  Briefly, it looks to me like the thing suffered a catastrophe at altitude.  Good comms were in evidence leading up to the loss, but no communications were heard from the plane as it began a descent that can be described as free-fall modified by the aerodynamics of a broken airplane.

The plane is a 25-year-old 767 which spent decades in the care of several non-US airlines, including two years in storage before being picked up by Atlas, who held the lease (wet/dry unknown) while operated for (or by) prime Air.

Good job DocLor for the link to Flight-Aware, which has the majority of this puzzle laid out.

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/GTI3591/history/20190223/1608Z/KMIA/KIAH/tracklog

I followed up on the aircraft’s report “descending via the LINKK”.  See the linked approach plates, absolutely necessary to follow what comes next: https://flightaware.com/resources/airport/IAH/STAR/LINKK+ONE+(RNAV)/pdf

When the pilot reports “descending via the link”, the readout gives his altitude as 17.9K ft, speed 320Kts, (indicates he is a (H)eavy), and descending in excess of 1,000 fpm, which is normal.  Descent rates, especially in IFR, vary between 1,000 fpm at a minimum (well either we’re descending or not, right?) and 2,500 fpm.

I don’t actually know where any of these named navigation waypoints are — I’m just fitting the evidence to the approach cards.  So I could be off about the location og GILLL.  There’s some talk on the forums about the right turn being for weather avoidance.  But I still think that this is the programmed right turn at GILLL.

It looks to me that the aircraft followed route JEPEG / GIRLY / BBQUE / LINKK / GILLL, and at last turned for GARRR.  Per the approach plates, this suggests an (ATC) intended set-up to approach for a landing at RWY 26L or 26R.  [Yup, they were  directed in the audio to follow thr transitions for 26L]  Critically, the aircraft would be limited to between 10K and 8K feet as it crossed GILLL, and should have been doing 240kts.

Now, the approach plates are advisory.  ATC instructions are STRONGLY advisory, and the Captain at all times retains discretion over what his aircraft does.  So it may be that prior conversations or known schedule issues affected the speeds flown — facts not yet in evidence.  That said:

The aircraft is on a course consistent with the 269 required inbound to LINKK, slowing from over 300kts to somewhere between 290 and 300kts at LINKK.  His airspeed* crossing LINKK should have been down to 250kts per the approach plates.

The aircraft is required to cross LINKK between 15kft and 12kft altitude at 250kts, and to turn right to course 301, continue descent or maintain to cross GILLL between 10kft and 8kft at speed 240kts.

We see him cross GILLL at time mark 1:06 in this video.  He turns consistent with the expected transition from a course of 301 (LINKK to GILLL) to a new heading of 325 (GILLL to GARRR).  His speed was not 240, but 290kts.  he came across right at the top limit of altitude for GILLL, which is 10kft.

This to me is where the story gets interesting.  He is now high and hot, as they say (not in the airfield sense, but flight profile sense), and he needs to lose both altitude and airspeed.

This is assuming that he does not wish for some reason to keep the additional speed for scheduling reasons, but at this point he is close enough to the airport that excess speed no longer helps even in a time crunch.  The faster you go close to the airport, the more time you’re going to spend trying to bleed off the excess energy.  It’s challenging to lose airspeed and altitude at the same time, as it’s naturally a trade-off.

But I believe that this story begins with getting too high and too fast, and then trying to come down from that.

Just before the pilot reported “descending via the LINKK”, there is a controlled descent from 13:26 to 13:30 in which the aircraft never lost LESS THAN 2500 fpm, but maintained speed, and in the last minute (13:29 to 13:30), actually dumped 30 kts while shedding very nearly 4kft.  There’s only one way to shed that much energy, and that’s aerodynamics.

Just after he crosses GILLL and turns right, in the minute from 13:27:00 to 13:28:00, the aircraft dumps another 50 kts while losing 2000 feet.  he has gotten his speed down to 250kts (or so), which is the max speed for the initial deployment of flaps on the 767.  If the previous hard-braking descent stressed components of the airframe, this is where they finally let go.**

More to follow.


This weather radar picture (swiped from https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/cargo/120196-atlas-767-went-down-houston-3.html) tells a different story than the wx in the video above:

The time in this one is supposed to be 13:20, and the system is moving west to east.  That makes this line of weather significantly ahead of the one seen in the video, (last seen still far west of the bay by 13:40).  This line doesn’t show up on the video at all.

It could be a time sync issue; latency in availability of web products somehow.  Or maybe there was nothing wrong with the plane except for being configured to lose altitude and airspeed and then running out of both in a wind shear.  At their altitude, the first thing they would experience hitting a line like this would be a massive tailwind, and a massive updraft.  If it hit them hard enough, it could have caused an aerodynamic stall on an aircraft already doing its best not to fly very well.  This would be consistent with the unexpected left turn — typically one wing stalls before the toehr and drops, causing an uncommanded turn.  This is also consistent with the brief climb indicated on Flight Aware.  They may have gotten the wings level without being able to restore level flight, which would be consistent with the rest of the story.

The dog not barking but biting very hard would be an unseen line of weather.  If the wx radar is right at the airport or a little northwest of it, the smarty systems might have decided it was an echo of the obvious line just east of the city and blanked it out.  Hold this thought.

There’s a comment on a forum from a guy who says that he was in the air, in the area at the time, heard the calls, saw the wx.  Said it was mostly “false ground returns”.  Except that maybe it wasn’t after all.

I can’t get to mp3 files from where I am now, but check this out: https://forums.liveatc.net/atcaviation-audio-clips/23-feb-2019-atlas-air-(amazon-prime-air)-3591-down-near-kiah/msg71969/?PHPSESSID=r4pqruvut4nmq9j2ukfcot0323#msg71969

I agree with the “Pull Up!” observation noted at that link.

 

*actually, the approach plates may be spec’d in kts over ground, as opposed to KIAS (Kts Indicated AirSpeed), as they deal with distances between fixed physical features.  I won’t be finicky for now.

** In the mudflats video somewhere, there’s a shot of the “smirk” showing that the rudder was with the aircraft when it hit.  So it’s unlikely that they ripped it off the way that one Airbus went in in 2001 or so.

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Big If Real: Navy Files Patent on Room-Temperature Superconductivity

A long-term technological holy grail is room-temperature superconductivity.  Normal electrical conductors have resistance, and convert part of the electrical energy that flows through them to heat, which is lost.  Superconductivity, a consequence of quantum mechanics, allows an electrical current to flow without any resistance at all, and would allow efficient transmission of electricity over long distances, more efficient motors, and magnetic levitation for devices such as high speed vehicles.

Superconductivity was discovered experimentally in 1911, but was not explained theoretically until 1957 by Bardeen, Cooper, and Schrieffer, who shared the 1972 Nobel Prize in physics for their theory.  The early superconductors required very low temperatures to operate: on the order of the temperature of liquid helium (around 4° K).  It is very expensive to produce liquid helium and keep it liquid: while liquid nitrogen costs about as much as milk; liquid helium costs as much as Scotch whisky.

In 1986 two researchers at IBM Zürich, Georg Bednorz and K. Alex Müller, discovered that some ceramic materials became superconductive at around the temperature of liquid nitrogen (77° K).  They immediately won the Nobel prize for this discovery the next year, but to this day there is no satisfactory theory for how this high-temperature superconductivity works—it is a major unsolved problem in theoretical physics.  Milk is a lot cheaper than Scotch (you can buy as much liquid nitrogen as you wish at your local welding supply shop—just bring a thermos), and there are substantial technological applications of this phenomenon even though we haven’t a clue how or why it works.

But still, liquid nitrogen is messy to deal with.  The ideal would be a superconductor that worked at room temperature without the need for refrigeration.  That’s something you could potentially use to replace copper and aluminium wire in power lines and all kinds of electrical equipment, permitting transmission of power without loss and waste heat.  So far, this has eluded everybody who has attempted to discover it.

On 2019-02-21 a U.S Patent Application, US 2019/0058105 A1 “Piezoelectricity-Induced Room Temperature Superconductor” [PDF], was filed on behalf of the U.S. Navy which claims that by abruptly vibrating a conductor by means of pulsed power it is possible to achieve room-temperature superconductivity.  The patent application modestly notes,

The achievement of room temperature superconductivity (RTSC) represents a highly disruptive technology, capable of a total paradigm change in Science and Technology, rather than just a paradigm shift.  Hence, its military and commercial value is considerable.

There is a great deal of speculation in the patent application as to the mechanism which might cause the electron pairing that produces the superconductivity, but there is no specific claim of a mechanism.  No experimental data are presented to substantiate the claim of superconductivity.

Ratburger member and physicist Jack Sarfatti’s quick take, in an E-mail to his list of correspondents, is:

This seems consistent with my Frohlich pump proposal.
“An electromagnetic coil is circumferentially positioned around the coating such that when the coil is activated with a pulsed current, a non-linear vibration is induced, enabling room temperature superconductivity.”
The pulsed current coil is the resonant Frohlich pump.
 
The effective non-equilibrium temperature of the pulsed device is
 
T’ = T/(1 + k(pulsed current power)]
 
T is the ambient thermodynamic equilibrium temperature when the pulse is switched off.
 
Applying the pulse lowers the effective temperature to the critical temperature Tc for the onset of superconductivity (macro-quantum coherence).
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