On Asparagus

Asparagus officinalis is one of the few vegetables that I can reliably grow in my garden. It’s tough and rides out the winter wonderfully well. Its roots are aggressive and compete well enough with weeds. Especially, I love it because TLW loves it. She wants the whole garden growing it… Why not?

Years ago, I bought 10 roots of asparagus from T&T Seeds. Most survived and thrived. Two years ago I bought hundreds of seeds from West Coast Seeds. Their offspring will produce in a year or two.

Today, I went out to inspect the garden/greenhouse for damage after an hour-long thunderstorm last night. There was no significant damage but the bright red berries on the asparagus plants spoke to me:

  • I stripped the berries from the plants into a small container.
  • I washed them and crushed them gently against a fine screen, about the mesh of mosquito netting.
  • The juice and pulp were rinsed away in a stream of water.
  • I flushed the seeds and hulls into a deep vessel of water and sunk a few “floaters” with bubbles attached.
  • The hulls floated and I decanted them and drained the seeds.
  • I’m drying the seeds in the stream of warm air emitted by a dehumidifier in the basement. They are looking good.

So, early next year, I will plant a few hundred seeds in good warm earth in trays and start a new generation of plants for the garden. Next June, I will dig a trench or three, place good soil in the bottom and plant the seedlings there. Each year thereafter I will add compost and soil to fill the trench. In a few years my garden will be very productive with minimal effort. It’s all good.

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PCI Express On the 96Boards Poplar

“I am very excited to let our readers know that finally, thanks to some developments in the past month, we now have a fully functioning PCIe slot on the Poplar Board!
Late last year, we saw the release of Linux 4.9 for the Poplar, which brought in support for PCIe. But even then we noticed that an externally powered PCIe Riser, like the one shown below, was required for most PCIe card to power up and get detected.”
See PCI Express On the 96Boards Poplar Enterprise Edition Board
It took a while but I can now buy an inexpensive ARMed card (or a second option) with a PCI slot for SATA or Ethernet or more USB ports… It’s all good. The world is moving on as it should and ARM is becoming more useful. I was planning on using a USB3 hub to add SATA but now I can move Beast’s PCI card over and not even have to disconnect the new 1TB hard drives. I like it. The Poplar is an older CPU but uses way less power than my Beast, so this year is probably the year…

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GOP Retiring In Florida

“Democrat Andrew Gillum leads Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis (Fla.) by 5 points in the race for the Florida governor’s mansion, according to the first publicly released poll since the state’s primary elections on Tuesday.”
See Post-primary Dem poll shows Gillum leading DeSantis in Florida
Right-thinking people all over USA are fired up or regretting their choices in 2016. It’s all the same. GOP are getting swept away at an enormous rate as the mid-term elections approach.

It looks to me that the House of Representatives will surely fall to the Democrats and the Senate likely will as well. It will be interesting to see how GOP in Congress behave in the period after the mid-terms but before January, 2019. Will they cling to Trump, an anchor around their necks, or will they move to impeach the tyrant/traitor/liar/fool? Either way, the GOP will likely lose the White House in 2020 as the GOP are going to fragment giving, finally, a third party as shot in USA. The Democrats could fragment as well. Either way, Pence will likely keep on doing stupid things in Washington for a couple of years. He wasn’t cozying up to Putin or laundering Russian money, as far as we know. It depends on how angry Congress is. If they are angry enough they will impeach both Trump and Pence.

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Thin Clients Revisited

I’ve long advocated using GNU/Linux thin clients in schools and offices. It just makes sense to save licensing costs and simplify maintenance. IGEL reports “Shipments of Linux-based endpoint devices” were 35% of units shipped in 2017.
See “Linux and the Thin Client Management Market
I guess I was ahead of my time. I recommended ~80% of seats could benefit from using thin clients and GNU/Linux could certainly do the job. That was in the day when web-browsers did not have to sling much JavaScript. Today the burden on clients is much greater. WWW.CNN.com regularly chokes my smartphone… The downloads timeout. However, servers are now much more powerful and they can run the JS for the thin clients. Of course, most businesses and schools can control the websites browsed, cache stuff locally and avoid loading things up.

It’s all good. It pays to use FLOSS and GNU/Linux.

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Blood In The Water – 2018 Congressional Election

OMG! A few weeks before the midterm election and the sharks are gathering for GOP blood…

Last week, the House of Representatives seemed locked for a Democratic Blue Wave. It’s getting stronger. Everyone sees Mueller getting more convictions and hauling more into court for dealing in dirty Russian money or just dirt. Everyone sees the mindless repetition of “NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION!” just isn’t gaining traction. Every week we see more signs of collusion and Mueller is months ahead of what is public. There is little doubt that Trump and Trump Inc. has depended on dirty Russian money for decades. Now even Trump’s inauguration was tainted with Russian money. When Trump was arguing his audience was the largest ever, he should have been arguing that it drew in more Russian money than ever seen before… People aren’t caring about reduced taxes and regulation. That’s chiefly benefiting Trump and his rich friends. What Trump has done lately for his base is take passports away from Hispanics along the US border, offend all branches of the military by raising the flag lowered for McCain after a few hours, ran the ineffective relief for thousands of Puertoricans, resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths, and so on. What ever happened to “hiring the best”? Seems more like Trump has repelled the best and punished the rest.

The Senate? That was looking pretty safe for Trump. Last weeks, Cruz was ahead in the polls by 10%. Now he’s neck and neck… Last weeks, RCP has 7 tossup senate seats. Now it’s 9. Cruz and Scott are the only ones above water in that list. OMG! It’s a blue tsunami. Montana switched from “leaning D” to “tossup” and Texas switched from “leaning GOP” to “tossup”. Montana has way more Republicans than Democrats. For it to be close is a good sign. I like the flow of this. Need more polling…

Expect Trump to be impeached in January if not sooner kicked out. Pence is eager to hold the reins of power. A meeting in some beer-hall is all that would be required to move the cabinet to do the deed.

See RealClearPolitics – 2018 Senate Election Polls

According to WAPO, 60% would be happy to see Trump go. It will happen whether he and sycophants believe eyes/ears or not.

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No Acorns Today

I went to collect the mail today and stopped by a local oak that overhangs the road allowance to collect acorns. I found none. I saw none on the trees. I guess the oaks are preparing to smother the ground with acorns next year. I’ll be ready…

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Thanks Wind. Welding Again.

TLW put on a Hell of a party last week. It went pretty well except the wind knocked down one of her new patio-umbrellas. It was bound to happen. She put a few rocks on the base but it wasn’t properly secured. Fortunately, no one was injured and I get to weld up a proper base.

I had a few choices for a base:

  • dig up her patio and put anchors into concrete…,
  • pile up more rocks…,
  • throw the thing away…, or
  • weld up 150 pounds of steel scrap into a nice paperweight and weld the umbrella’s stand on top…

Of course, the latter idea got the go-ahead. TLW just doesn’t like ugliness or doing away with her work…

The bulk of my scrap consists of T-bars 37.5 inches long. By laying 25 down on the top of a welding table and tacking them together, I got a heavy but flexible mat. By laying another 25 down on that with the stems of the “T”s down, I could weld the stems together at the ends and stiffen the mat while doubling the weight. I’m going to use my hoisting frame to lower it down to a cart which I can roll to the place. TLW is even being helpful by declaring that the umbrella will be mounted down on the patio instead of on the deck. That means I don’t have to roll things uphill. Unfortunately, I have to move a properly weighted base of another umbrella up to the deck. That base has two sandbags buckled together. That move will be work. I wonder why TLW bought two different umbrellas, one with a good base and one without… Is it to make work for me???

So, I paint and finish welding the stand to the mat of T-bars tomorrow. It’s all good. I love the smell of welding fumes in the morning.

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Linux Operating Systems Up In India

I know a few things about India but I’ve never lived there:

  • it’s a mix of ancient civilizations,
  • it’s huge,
  • it’s diverse,
  • it’s densely populated in parts, and
  • it’s hot.

Today, I added another item to the list. That Other OS (TOOS) runs only a small fraction of web-browsers in India. 20% is tiny compared to other parts of the world. I guess that’s because small cheap smartphones are what the majority of people can afford. I guess that’s because desktops and notebooks are only for the richest/busiest. Everyone else uses a standard smartphone which tends to be running Android/Linux.

It helps that government policy favours */Linux. It helps that many schools use */Linux. It’s a nearly perfect environment to break a monopoly based on cheating decades ago. It gives India a huge advantage in IT for the future, not being anchored to ancient technology designed to enrich and empower greedy bastards.

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FakePOTUS/TRUMP Circling The Drain

Yesterday was a great day:

  • Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, convicted of laundering Russian money through Ukraine and Cyprus, and
  • Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, convicted of illegal campaign contributions. Cohen also implicated Trump in the schemes.

So, now there is solid evidence that Trump illegally gained an advantage that may have put him over the top in one of the closest races in history (10 states won by margins less than 10%, 5 won by less than 1.3%, just thousands of votes nationally). Put this on top of Russia placing its thumb on the scales and it’s clear that Trump was not elected by the free will of the people. Now the people are really angry and the 2018 midterms are almost certain to flip the House to the Democrats and the Senate is a possibility. If a few Republicans see the writing on the wall, that may happen too. Watch the polls.

Trump has been proven a liar in court. Trump has been proven a womanizer in court. Trump has been proven an election-cheater in court. Expanding Trump’s base? Not very likely. In fact, some supporters are going to flip or at least not vote in the mid-terms. Trump has no hope in 2020 and there’s a good chance of impeachment in 2018/2019. He may eventually go to jail for some of his crimes. He certainly will if the Mueller probe ripens. The GOP have to unhitch their wagons from Trump or they will go over the cliff as well. I doubt that will happen before the mid-terms but afterwards, watch out!

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Global Cooling Or Bust!

“One cause is a weakening of the temperature gradient between the Arctic and Equator as a result of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The far north of the Earth is warming two to four times faster than the global average, says the paper, which means there is a declining temperature gap with the central belt of the planet. As this ramp flattens, winds struggle to build up sufficient energy and speed to push around pressure systems in the area between them.
As a result, there is less relief in the form of mild and wet air from the sea when temperatures accumulate on land, and less relief from the land when storms build up in the ocean. Last year, Hurricane Harvey had a devastating impact on Texas because it was parked an unusually long time on the coast, where it kept drawing up moisture from the sea and dumping it in the form of the greatest deluge ever recorded in the US. Scientists had previously noted that hurricanes are slowing and bringing more rain.”
See Summer weather is getting ‘stuck’ due to Arctic warming
See that, climate-deniers? Where I live there have been several prolonged dry spells where normally there would be one or two and we had one long period where the prairies saw record high temperatures. I’m OK as long as my well doesn’t run dry but it makes a hell of a lot of work to keep plants alive on my little property. Life would be so much easier if the Arctic were alive and healthy instead of becoming tropical…

There is a solution, of course. Drop hydrocarbons for fuel except in extreme/rare cases. Drive electrically. Heat with solar or renewable electricity. Don’t add any more CO2 to the atmosphere than the plants can handle and PLANT MORE TREES!!! Also, don’t forget to vote “D” in November to evict Trump and sycophants as soon as possible. The rest of the world is getting the message. USA will remain officially ignorant in denial as long as Trump is in power.

If you’ve been living under a rock and deny climate-change, note that even Trump-voters don’t agree… They didn’t elect a guy who’s helping the planet. What about you?

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“With PC makers like Asus and HP beginning to design laptops and tablets around ARM chips, ARM itself has decided to emerge from the shadows and unroll its roadmap to challenge Intel through at least 2020.
ARM’s now-public roadmap represents its first processors that are designed for the PC space. ARM, taking aim at the dominant player, claims its chips will equal and potentially even surpass Intel’s in single-threaded performance.”
See ARM challenges Intel in PCs with Deimos and Hercules chips
In the competition is good department, ARM has now dropped all pretence to be avoiding the desktop space. I’ve known for a few years that ARMed CPUs could do what I need done in the server space and a few systems using their chips could be useful int desktops but now ARM is explicitly aiming to do that. Key factors will be reduced resolution to 7nm and 5nm and higher clockspeeds. It’s all good.

It will be interesting to see how Intel responds. They are locked into supporting a backwards architecture due to huge investments in software globally. I don’t care about that. I use GNU/Linux and FLOSS exclusively. My software will run natively on optimized hardware designed by ARM and associates. I do care about having real competition in the space.

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Trumpism At The Polls

It’s not hard to notice that Gallup’s latest poll on Trump’s Job Approval is several standard deviations different between Gallup and Rasmussen. Let’s go with Gallup. They know how to take polls scientifically…

Here’s what Gallup says:

OH! MY! Notice the trend. Since Trump started breaking up families at the border, the trend is downwards. The behaviour started in October, 2017 but was at a full public boil in June, 2018. On top of that, Trump went to war with the world with tariffs while playing footsie with tyrants. Folks started to notice businesses being hit by this “tax”. That’s what a tariff is, a tax on people spending their money the way they choose. Folks who loved Trump (shortsightedly ignoring the long term tax burden repaying the increased deficit) for tax-cuts are now seeing the light. Some have even noticed the climate changing under Trump’s feet (hurricanes, fires, droughts, and flooding) as he and his minions gut regulation and fight with states trying to save the planet. Some have noticed lots of his “best people” being charged with serious crimes as the Mueller investigation grinds along.

The mid-term elections looming on the horizon have gotten people’s attention. The only cure for Trumpism is to vote the bastards supporting Trump out of office. That’s going to happen.

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