US Stock-market Bubble Is About To Burst

“Sen. Ron Johnson announced he is opposed to the tax bill Wednesday, making him the first member of the GOP to formally come out against the party’s plan, though the Wisconsin Republican said he was hopeful about being able to support a final version once changes are made.
Johnson issued a statement saying the current proposal in both chambers is imbalanced in favor of large corporations but he left open the door to supporting the bills if they are altered.”
See Republican Sen. Ron Johnson comes out against tax bill
It never ceases to amaze me how Trumpists shoot themselves in the feet with the rifle set to full-auto. Here they are with “control” of the executive branch, a good hold on the judicial branch and control of the legislative branch but they still can’t govern… They are like a pack of dogs fighting over a carcass and allowing the ravens to gobble things up.

  • Everyone agrees taxes are complex and could stand some simplification. Why not do that?
  • Conservatives want a balanced budget and a reduction in the national debt. Why not do that?
  • ObamaCare is not working perfectly. Why not fix it?
  • Everyone agrees the middle class and the poor are not getting a break. Why not fix that?

Instead, the Trumpists decide to give the wealthy a huge tax break permanently, ordinary people a short-term tax-break mostly but some will get an increase in taxes, and to reduce the increase in the debt they will cut out another leg from under ObamaCare causing still larger increases in premiums and loss of insurance which people need and appreciate.

Does anyone believe this monstrosity will become law? No D will support it. Many Rs will not support it. Moore may well cost Rs one more seat in the Senate… POP! That’s a tiny imitation of what the sound will be when investors realize this dog don’t hunt. Corporations won’t get a huge tax-break enabling them to buy back shares or raise dividends. Share prices will plummet. Trump can take the credit for that. He doesn’t care about deficits. He doesn’t care about the little people he persuaded to vote for him. He only cares about the wealthy and the tall and the white males… What will be the volume of wailing and gnashing of teeth when that truth dawns on people?

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Linux And Not-Xeon Take The Cake

See Linux Now Runs on All of the Top 500 SupercomputersIn an article about supercomputers and Linux now running rampant over them, I found this nugget:

Of the top two fastest machines. One’s a Xeon and the other’s a Sunway. The Xeon gets 3 Tflops per kW and the Sunway gets 8. There’s a good reason to avoid Intel products, IMHO.

In fact, the Chinese machine is not the “greenest” machine in the list. The Green500 list shows several Xeon machines do better but they are not #1 in performance… so it’s a competitive matter and Intel has no monopoly on performance these days.

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

HALLELUJAH! Firefox 57.0 Is Upon Us!

See Firefox β€” Notes (57.0) β€” MozillaI’ve used FireFox for ages. It was decent but had several annoyances, like huge memory usage and camouflaged tabs. I’m not kidding. If you are on the trail of some information on the web and have a bunch of tabs open, just try to figure out which tab is active and which is dormant… The indicator was that active one had slanting rounded edges, a feature that hid the tab for my eyes. If you want to hide something give it vague colours and shapes. That’s camouflage 101. In version 57, the tabs are sharp and square and the active tab has a thin blue bar above it, highlighting it. What an amazing improvement. Memory appears to be down and each “Web-content” has its own piece of RAM so I can kill what misbehaves. I love it!

Gasp! I don’t know if this is the promised land of browsing but it’s sure a sweet green valley.

PS – The first thing I did with 57 was write this post. That worked fine except my “Press” plugin would not close its window after selecting “Standard Editor”. Still the post is here… I guess WP will have to adjust. The browser does seem to be more responsive to my needs and wants. Huge pages like FaceBook load quickly and do not take control of my computer. I love it.

UPDATE – Slashdot has a good discussion post about the pros and cons. In amongst the naysayers there are some good tips about customizing the thing, like right-clicking on stuff and entering “customize” mode. I did that and was able to put the reload button back to the right of the address bar, where it belongs… πŸ˜‰ They also mention an extension called uBlock Origin, which I might try out.

UPDATEThe “Press This” plugin for WP does not work with browsers as before. Now you have to browse to /wp-admin/press-this.php and copy and paste a URI. WP has also removed their “Press This” bookmarklet which I found very useful. This is very sad. I used that a lot. This is not specific to FF 57 but all browsers. This cloud may have a silver lining but rain is still falling.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Zimbabwe’s Coup

“Zimbabwe’s military has placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest in the capital Harare, South African President Jacob Zuma says.
Mr Mugabe told Mr Zuma in a phone call that he was fine, the South African leader’s office said.
Troops are patrolling the capital, Harare, after they seized state TV and said they were targeting “criminals”.”
See Zimbabwe’s Mugabe ‘under house arrest’ after army takeover
There’s one good thing about murdering tyrants. Eventually they all age and are replaced by something else. Any opportunity for change is a possibility of rational governance in place of madness.

My first recollection of Mugabe was him leading revolutionaries who murdered tourists and farmers and anyone they encountered to terrify the country into falling in line. The farmers he replaced by people who did not know how to farm and the economy has been going downhill ever since. It’s in a mess. Let’s hope new leadership is a serious correction rather than just a new tyrant. There are enough tyrants in the world. One less is a good thing.

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“The BBC has uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters and their families escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the city.
A convoy included some of IS’s most notorious members and – despite reassurances – dozens of foreign fighters. Some of those have spread out across Syria, even making it as far as Turkey.”
See Raqqa’s dirty secret
Donald Trump has often touted how tough he would be on Murdering Bastards in Syria but it turns out his crew allowed hundreds of the bastards leave Raqqa in a convoy to avoid a fight to the death. It’s not clear what the outcome of that escape is but it’s not what Trump promised and these bastards will probably end up costing more lives and treasure for some time to come.

I get military expediency. I get minimizing imminent deaths. I don’t get why Trump trumpets one thing and does another. USA is just a part of the attack on the murdering bastards but Trump wants to take all the credit and avoid all the blame, like a child lying to parents. A child can be forgiven for telling little lies. Trump’s lies are too enormous to forgive. Don’t forget at the next opportunity to vote Trump and his supporters out of office. They are not making the world a better place. Trump promised annihilation and delivered a route for escape.

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It’s A New Deer

Well, I’ve gone out for deer twice, once with the muzzle-loader and once with a centre-fire rifle. The first episode was miserable. I’d dressed too lightly and after a couple of hours was chilled to the bone. Today, I dressed much more warmly, probably good to -20C and it was only -8C.

Anyway, we had just settled into our position when a little buck came out and walked across the opening we were guarding. The scope had to be zoomed to check for antlers… They were there but this took a few seconds and the deer was almost across. A slightly rushed shot resulted in high placement just behind the last rib. Not good. Still the deer was knocked over and managed to walk only a few steps before bleeding out. The heavy round-nosed bullet loaded in a 7mm Remington Magnum downloaded to about 7X57 velocity went clear through at 200 yards and expanded normally even on such a light animal’s abdominal wall.

This sets a new record for my shortest time on station to bag a deer. 20 years ago I was happy to have a deer in ~15minutes. At least I know the right place to be at the right time. Still, it’s a bit of a let-down. Last year I hunted days and my partner hunted weeks before one deer was bagged. Conditions are good for another if we want. All this week, winds are forecast to be light and temperatures just below freezing. Snow-cover is good for easy walking by both deer and hunters. Shopping for more freezer-space is in order.

On the lighter side, we’ve hunted for grouse for several days and never saw one. Today, when I was carrying the giblets back, a grouse was encountered just walking around in the underbrush eating seeds of weeds. It would let me get within about 15 feet always keeping some brush between us. When I quit watching and walked on by, the grouse did a “U”-turn and went back to finish his meal. It would have been an easy shot for a .22 RF but we are not allowed to carry those while hunting deer. Another happening was us forgetting an expensive hunting knife on the snow by the carcass. We realized our mistake when it came time to skin the beast. We drove back to the bush to fetch it and by then, just an hour or so later, the ravens and magpies had taken everything they could eat. I thought we were at the top of the food-chain. Those guys are good at what they do.

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GNU/Linux Is Still Cooking

“SAMSUNG HAS TAKEN A SHOT at Microsoft with the announcement that owners of its Galaxy smartphones will soon be able to run a full-fledged Linux operating system.
At the launch of the Galaxy S8 earlier this year, Samsung first introduced DeX, a system that allows you to connect your handset to an external display, mouse, and keyboard in order to bring a desktop-like experience to your smartphone.
Until now, S8 and Note 8 users have been able to run Android apps in this desktop environment, but soon, users will be able to transform their device into a GNU/Linux PC.”
See Samsung DeX will soon run full desktop Linux
It’s true that smartphones have taken a huge share of personal computing away from desktops and notebooks but there are still huge limitations around screen-size, computing power, storage etc. where smartphones are not enough. I’ve long recommended using smartphones and desktop equipment together. Every time I find my text runs outside a text-box or some page is viewable only in portrait mode in Android/Linux, I long for some way to get to GNU/Linux. Today, I get up off the sofa and walk to my desk. Perhaps some day, I’ll dock the smartphone and carry on. Now, I have to reopen work from the desktop PC I call Beast.

Will it happen? I don’t know, but at least the idea is still alive and well. Others have tried before. Perhaps it’s an idea whose time has come and Samsung will make it happen.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

GOP – Impeach Trump Or Die

“You can’t really look at tonight’s results and conclude that Democrats are anything other than the current favorites to pick up the U.S. House in 2018”
See Democrats’ chances of taking the House improve
I think the writing is on the wall. Democrats and Independents are so outraged by Trump himself and what he tried to do with ObamaCare that a wave of voters ran to the polls last night in Virginia and elsewhere to express their displeasure with what the GOP are doing.

There are two solutions for the GOP:

  • Oppose Trump openly and bring forth legislation that many Democrats can support, and/or,
  • Impeach Trump to remove him from the picture completely. He’s not a Republican. He’s not a conservative. He’s just a negative force in politics. Impeach him for the weight of his misdemeanours or encouraging Russian intrigues.

Otherwise, Ds will gain in a big way in 2018 and may well gain control of the whole government. The only thing Trump can do to stop this wave would be to restart war with North Korea. The GOP needs to impeach Trump ASAP, before that can happen. How about next Tuesday? That should give every member of the GOP ample time to reflect. Oh, and about Pence? Let him know he’s supposed to carry out the will of Congress, not impose despotic rule.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Trump, The Nothing President

“Trump has called for “extreme vetting” of immigrants from Muslim-majority countries in response to terrorist incidents. But he has resisted any action on gun laws in response to the deadly mass shootings that have occurred during his time in office.”
See Trump dismisses question on extreme vetting for gun ownership
Some people feel “all or nothing” is the right approach to situations. Gun Control is not like that. While any particular measure at regulating acquisition and usage of firearms may or may not prevent some particular outrageous event, reasonable measures are sure to prevent some event. How many dead bodies have to pile up before the US Congress understands that?

Do seatbelts save lives? Are they an imposition on free will? Yes. Do the lives saved justify the measure of requiring seatbelts? YES! The same could apply to restrictions on kinds of firearms, magazine capactiy, licensing of people to own and use firearms, and prohibiting legal transfers of firearms in parking lots. USA does a lot of these things now at the state, local and federal level. They just have to do a bit more.

The Second Amendment to the US constitution does not guarantee the right to own machine-guns, or huge magazines or body-armour. That’s an extrapolation to the absurd. One needs to interpret a right befitting the era of muzzle-loading firearms in the modern era. A nut-case with a muzzle-loader could not rush in and slaughter dozens of people in a few minutes. Ordinary people could defend themselves or flee while the nut was reloading. The Second Amendment was about the right to own weapons that could be used to defend against a tyrant. The tyrant now is not the government (except for Trump) but criminals and murdering bastards. It only takes one shot to defend against those guys, not hundreds. The murdering bastard at Sutherland TX was stopped by a good guy with a rifle who shot him twice with well-aimed bullets. The good guy used an AR-15 but could have done the job with a Mauser 98 or even a muzzle-loader.

Even NRA members agree that more has to be done to prevent some or ameliorate some of the outrageous mass shootings. It’s time Congress got off its butt and did something about that with or without Trump’s approval.

Posted in firearms, politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

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