Things That Make You Go “Hmmm”: Trump Promotes Coal At UN Climate Talks

“According to reports, members of the Trump administration will lend their support to an event to promote fossil fuels and nuclear power as solutions to climate change.
Speakers from coal giant Peabody Energy, among others, will make a presentation to highlight the role that coal and other fuels can play in curbing the impacts of rising temperatures.”
See Anger over Trump support for coal at UN climate talks
For the greater certainty:
C (coal) + O2 -> CO2 yields more CO2 per unit of energy production than natural gas, CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2H2O. So, how is coal going to help? It isn’t. Sure you can mop up CO2 as it’s produced but it tends to get loose eventually. Carbonates fizz. Alcohols burn. Stuff eats sugar and then dies…

This is just more Trumpist nonsense trying to convince us that old coal is better than natural gas that pumps itself out of Earth or that renewable energy is too costly. What’s the cost of destroying all life on Earth? You can’t undo millions of years of biology and geology in a century and not break things. Coal and fossil fuels were once part of the biosphere and Nature locked them away as life evolved, Leave them locked up.

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Almost A Coup In Saudi Arabia

“A new Saudi anti-corruption body has detained 11 princes, four sitting ministers and dozens of former ministers, media reports say.
The detentions came hours after the new committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was formed by royal decree.”
See Saudi princes among dozens detained in anti-corruption purge
It’s been many years since I lived in Saudi Arabia and things have moved glacially since, as Saudis like that, except for Sadaam or Iraq, The Arab Spring, and the ascent of Iran lately. A coup is usually the overthrow of a government or ruler. In this case, it’s “the establishemnt” that’s being shaken up by the current ruler.

This could be for good or evil. The Saudi regime was built on segments of the royals providing checks and balances to tyranny. This could turn out to plant a new evil tyrant or to plant a benevolent tyrant eliminating corruption, fighting evil and building an economy for the 21st century. We shall have to wait to see the fruit of this tree.

My preferences would be to have Saudi Arabia move more rapidly into the modern world and shun the Middle Ages. I’d like to see women on an equal footing legally. I’d like to see a little separation of Islam and state, perhaps even the rule of law instead of some religious men telling Saudis what is the meaning of life and death. I’d like to see normalization of relations with the neighbours. That will be hard, perhaps the icing on the cake, but it’s necessary if we are ever to have peace in the Middle East. I’d like to see Saudi Arabia normalize relations with Iran to the extent that’s possible. They are their own worst enemies, being divided and conquered by USA and Israel for example.

We shall see. A wave of public executions could be the leading edge of uncivil war and more terrorism. Accepting wider participation in a democratic government could be the leading edge of peace in our time. The Saudis will figure it out. They learned a lesson eventually from Al Qaida. They learned a lesson from Iraq. They’ve learned a lesson from their women, I hope. I figure it will take another generation of enlightenment to figure out what the lessons of Iran will be. Let’s hope Trump and his sycophants don’t get too closely involved.

Posted in politics, Teaching | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Disgraceful POTUS Tweets On Disgrace

“President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that the decision allowing Bowe Bergdahl not to serve prison time is a “complete and total disgrace.””
See Trump on Bergdahl decision: ‘Complete and total disgrace’
A complete or total disgrace is a POTUS who:

  • boasts about assaulting women,
  • has nothing to say so repeats it three times,
  • didn’t even bother to serve in the military with a lame excuse,
  • believes rich white men are smarter, deserve more tax-breaks, and may lie with impunity while betraying the Constitution, and their country,
  • demands loyalty but gives none, and
  • slavers to be King.
Posted in politics | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Europe Gets FLOSS

“By signing the Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment, the ministers agree that using open source solutions and open standards helps to avoid IT vendor lock-in. They call on public services to make their ICT solutions publicly available, and to encourage the private sector and civil society to reuse the software.
In addition, the ministers call on the Commission “to consider strengthening the requirements for use of open source solutions and standards when (re)building of ICT systems and solutions takes place with EU funding – including by an appropriate open licence policy – by 2020.””
See ‘Tallinn declaration’ commits EU to increase use of open source
Little by little the EU is working towards removing all barriers to adoption of Free/Libre Open Source Software. It works for people. It works for governments. It doesn’t enslave organizations to mindlessly plod on treadmills such as those of M$ and Oracle, continually cranking out revenue and entanglements to the benefit of a mindless corporation.

The reason I switched to FLOSS was to have software that worked. The reason I stayed with FLOSS was that I enjoyed the freedoms to run, examine, modify and distribute the code for my benefit and the benefit of those for whom I provided IT-services. The EU and other governments should do the same. FLOSS is the right way to do IT.

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments


There! Trump seems to think repetition is equivalent to reliability. I know there was collusion between Trump and the Russians. Perhaps he gets the message now that the first prosecutions have started.

This is not one of his conspiracy theories. Mueller has multiple reliable witnesses and documents proving Trump and the Russians were interested in working together to defeat Hillary Clinton. They had motive, opportunity and now the means are clear. It’s also illegal for an election campaign for president to be aided by a foreign government. That’s a crime.

Collusion: “An agreement between two or more persons to defraud a person of his rights, by the forms of law, or to obtain an object forbidden by law.”

Manafort had been working for Russian interests for many years and was extravagantly paid. He had so much money tied up in foreign banks that he couldn’t spend that he alerted the FBI by his many expensive purchases and bank-transfers as payments. Folks should realize by now that Trump’s belief that rich people are smart is not always true… Trump has surrounded himself with like-thinking criminals and covert racists and bigots as well as really stupid people who think we will believe whatever crap they repeat often.

The Internet was used to flood millions with fake news damaging Hillary’s reputation. Hillary and the DNC e-mails were obtained illegally too. So, there are lots of crimes to go around and Mueller is sweeping up various criminals in Trump’s gang for lying and cheating in other ways. Expect more shoes to fall soon. I’d bet there are juries that would convict Trump on the evidence already obtained but Mueller wants to make sure the most skeptical juror will be convinced. That means catching more liars lying. It is inevitable that Trump will be caught. He’s the biggest liar in the whole gang. The general population already seems convinced.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

Trump’s “Chickens” Come Home To Roost

“The former manager of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Paul Manafort, is to face charges related to an inquiry into alleged Russian meddling, US media report.”
See Ex-Trump aide ‘faces charges over Russia’
“Aide”? Nope. Campaign Manager. If Trump’s campaign manager was indicted for shady dealings with Russia, I know there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Face it. The Russians would not have it any other way. They exploit every opportunity to use the weak link to their advantage. Shady dealings? They are leverage… “Hey, Paul! Remember when… Where do your polls suggest Putin invest in the Trump campaign?” Do you really think Manafort would not talk with Putin’s mice to do a little collusion? What would be the harm? It might even help, and that would be good for Paul Manafort, unless he got caught and he was caught.

I like it when a violent action story has a happy ending. It makes me feel less sad about the high body-count.

Expect endless accounts from Trump’s apologists about how little involved in the campaign was Paul Manafort. Sigh.

UPDATE Oh-Oh! George Papadopoulos, Trump’s foreign affairs and security advisor has plead guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating in the investigation, revealing that Trump arranged lower-level people to communicate with the Russians so that Trump would have deniability. This is a short fuse burning into the powder keg. It’s not about whether this thing will blow wide open but when and how loud a noise will be generated. I think it’s big. I think denying collusion is growing pretty weak… Having someone sitting at a table with Trump and others talking about collusion with the Russians is going to be easy to pry open. Who wants to go down with Trump? …crickets…

See also Ex-Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleads guilty to lying to FBI about Russian contacts

I think anyone who voted for Trump should be asking themselves why Trump surrounded himself with so many liars and cheaters with close contacts with Russia. Trump always said he was going to put USA first in everything he did, but it hasn’t been so.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Hunting Season Is Upon Us

We went out today to test some rifles and ammunition. Gopher-sized groups were achieved in the cold and the wind even to 300 yards. We are ready for the general season. We didn’t test the muzzle-loader. It’s too reliable. Neither did we test the ancient 8mm Mausers. 😉 Those scoped newer things though are always being tweaked. Not today. Windage and elevation were perfect from last year’s settings. Saved a lot of ammunition today. Also, we arrived at the place right between two snow/rain squalls so we didn’t get wet at all.

Chosen for this year’s outings:

  • 7mm Remington Magnum with 180 RN grain reduced load for close-in stuff.
  • 7mm Remington Magnum with 175 grain SPBT full-power loads for long range stuff.
  • 308 Winchester with 165 grain SPBT full-power loads for long range stuff.
  • 308 Winchester with 180 grain RN reduced loads for close-in stuff.
  • .54 lead balls from the muzzle-loader or 1 ounce slugs from the shotgun will take care of most of it as one can get within 10 yards or so fairly often and 100 yards takes care of half the encounters. The long stuff is just for bragging rights on large openings.
Posted in firearms, food, hunting | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Fakest News?

“The cost to charge an EV already is more than the cost to fuel an internal combustion engine vehicle (for the same distance traveled).”
See comment by Jim Redmond in response to The electric vehicle revolution is coming, but is the infrastructure in place to maintain it?

I like numbers. They can be so unambiguous.

Consider the ElectraMeccanica Solo EV. The nominal range is 160km. The capacity of the battery is nominally 16.1 kWh but it probably takes 18 kWh from the utility to do the charging. Still, that’s about 9km per kWh, about 1₵ a km.

Consider the Nissan Leaf. The nominal range for 24kWh is 132km, about 5.5 km per kWh, about 2₵ a km.

Meanwhile, my gas-guzzler is rated by the EPA at 25mpg, 40km for 3.8L, $3.80 CDN, 9.5₵/km.

Then, we could count oil-changes, servicing the damned ICE, and changing the damned battery every five years. It’s no contest. Give up, luddites.

Posted in Teaching, technology | Tagged , , , , | 77 Comments

The “Nuclear Option” In The United States Senate

Today was interesting. Two senators who have announced they will not run for reelection made speeches/interviews to the effect that USA needs to wake up to the dangers of Trumpism, that USA is on the brink of a deep chasm. Another, John McCain, whose plans for the next election may be coloured by cancer, and who voted against one version of TrumpCare, stated more or less the same. There are two or three other senators who have publicly questioned lack of order in the Senate, where legislation is just dumped on the floor instead of going through “regular order”, proper review and revision in committees and with lots of debate/amendment on the floor of the Senate.

The result is that there is a body of senators who can block all legislation pushed by Trumpists at least until the 2018 elections. In fact, they can be more than obstructive. They can make demands and hold legislation hostage. For instance, they could form an ad hoc alliance with the Democrats and demand nothing gets passed until impeachment of Trump, or they could switch party affiliation to the Democrats or some other strategy dragging the Senate towards its proper role which is not to mindlessly support a would-be tyrant in the Oval Office.

This is the final proof that USA needs more than a “two-party” system. Clearly there are more than two views on just about everything and the dispossessed politically are not participating in the so-called democracy of USA. The Democrats have an extremely liberal wing pushing for single-payer healthcare. The Democrats have a centrist group who mostly seek individual liberty and support for the disadvantaged. The GOP have a centrist group who mostly seek individual liberty and want to curtail government to a large extent. The GOP also have an extreme group who want to return to the Stone Age of government where it was about armies and holding territory and little else. Why aren’t there four parties or more representing four segments of society? Isn’t that more democratic than having a tyrant in the Oval Office and a bunch of sycophants in the Senate? There isn’t even a hint of “bipartisan” legislative action there, just constipation.

If the legislative branch can’t accommodate diversity of opinion and feels compelled to accept continuous uncivil war in government, they won’t be doing anyone a favour. They have to eliminate the tyrant and accept reality if they want to make the government useful again. Maybe today was the first day that is possible.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Trumpism Is Not Just Nutty. It’s Fruity too.

““This is an apple,” the ad begins with a red apple on a white screen. “Some people might try to tell you it’s a banana. They might scream, ‘Banana, banana, banana,’ over and over again. They might put banana in all caps. You might even start to believe this is a banana. But it’s not. This is an apple.””
See CNN takes aim at President Donald Trump and his TV surrogates’ lies in a stunning abstract ad
Chuckle. I noticed long ago that Trump replaces logic, reason, and knowledge with mindless repetition. In fact, the more often he repeats something three times in rapid succession the more certain I am that it’s a lie and that Trump is trying to convince himself and others that a lie is the truth, but it isn’t.

Posted in politics, Teaching | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Impeaching Trump

“”high crimes and misdemeanors” could be defined as “abuse or violation of some public trust.” This president has clearly already exceeded these standards. Congress has impeached past presidents for far less.”
See Impeach Trump: Add Your Name
Amen! The “I”-word has been hiding for months. It’s time a wave of e-mails and telephone calls swept over Washington DC with the call. It’s long passed the time. Impeachment is not lacking for lack of evidence. Every week Trump supplies more. Pick your threshold of pain he has inflicted.

The problem seems to be that the GOP has still not sickened of Trump, hoping he will sign their legislation. That’s not happening because their majority in the Senate is too small and fragile. As long as a few senators vote with their guts and not the fervor of a mob, Trump will be checked in his headlong rush back to the 19th century. The citizens will not stand for that and I’m hoping the GOP loses its majority in 2018 mid-term elections. The support for Trumpism is at an all-time low today. I pray that continues downward for the coming year. Perhaps before the GOP follows Trump into the abyss they will come to their senses. If nothing else wakes up the GOP, perhaps it will be the looming increase in the deficit which dwarfs what Obama did even with a full on war going on. All of Trump’s promises seem to hinge on giving huge tax-breaks to Trump and his rich friends and to Hell with the deficit. The projection of 3-4% growth forever is utter nonsense without unfettered immigration and Free Trade and that’s not part of Trump’s plan. Neither is peace.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , | 41 Comments

Another Million Learn About GNU/Linux

“Linux is a free open-source operating system, which means the code is available for anyone to explore. Technically speaking, the term “Linux” refers to just the kernel, or the core, of the code. However, people often use the name to talk about the whole operating system, including the interface and bundled apps.

For a start, Linux is free and open source, which means you can add it to a computer or laptop you already own—or a machine you’ve built yourself—without paying anything. The system also comes with similarly-available software, including a web browser, media player, image editor and office suite, so you won’t need to fork out extra cash just to work on photos or documents. And of course, you get all future updates for free too.

To get started, head to the website of the distro you prefer, and follow the installation instructions. You’ll usually have to burn a DVD or set up a USB drive with the necessary code, then reboot your machine to run that code. In fact, one of the operating system’s advantages is that you can store it on a portable USB stick—read more in our full guide to putting a computer on a USB drive.”
See Why and how you should switch to Linux
Ordinarily, I would not notice or even recommend a brief article in a magazine but this is Popular Science, the Bible of DIY types especially the young and restless who might actually take the plunge into FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software). It’s a general magazine with a million subscribers.
TFA is decent but completely misses the issue of Free Software and seems to imply $free is the important thing in the name. The authour mentions that anyone can tinker with it and glosses over that the whole world tinkers with it and submits changes to Linus who herds the cats to make a state of the art kernel upon which billions of computers and users depend. I guess one has to entice kids into the pool before teaching them to swim.
There’s not even mention of Red Hat or Debian GNU/Linux, and not even a hint of how large the ecosystem is. Perhaps the world already knows. The advice to use the distro of one’s choice glosses over the glorious weeks one can spend reading about GNU/Linux and visiting a dozen distros before choosing a match, but it’s not bad advice to pick one, any one and give it a go. That will get inquiring young minds over the barrier to entry. It’s all good.

Posted in Linux in Education, Teaching, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments