Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Liberal Redneck - An Appeal to Sanity

Here's for fair and balanced since I disagree with some aspects of it but he is one of the few voices of sanity in this election and you may want to listen.  Warning up front that he will spank Trump hard.  There's no need for a sucker punch so listen to it straight up or fly on as you will.

Clintonistas will not likely take offense but his presentation if not Trump is toward open-mindedness and openness toward her is part of it. That kind of sells out the trip but he tells it one hell of a lot better than I.

Take it away, Trae Crowder.

I love y'all like chicken - Trae Crowder

Wolbachia, the Bacteria You May Come to Love

The Wolbachia bacteria is exceptionally widely-spread with enormous numbers of organisms infected by it and yet it confers some benefits on the infected creatures.  (WIKI:  Wolbachia)

The bacteria is exceptionally good at spreading itself and it works these ways:
  • Male killing: infected males die during larval development, which increase the rate of born, infected, females.
  • Feminization: infected males develop as females or infertile pseudo-females.
  • Parthenogenesis: reproduction of infected females without males.  Some scientists have suggested that parthenogenesis may always be attributable to the effects of Wolbachia.  An example of a parthenogenic species is the Trichogramma wasp, which has evolved to procreate without males with the help of Wolbachia.  Males are rare in this tiny species of insect, possibly because many have been killed by that very same strain of Wolbachia.
  • Cytoplasmic incompatibility: the inability of Wolbachia-infected males to successfully reproduce with uninfected females or females infected with another Wolbachia strain. In the mechanism of cytoplasmic incompatibility, Wolbachia interferes with the parental chromosomes during the first mitotic divisions to the extent that they can no longer divide in sync.
It's a crafty technique it uses which should eventually draw into it any non-infected males.  The question is why it hasn't wiped out species which are infected with it now and no answer on that as yet.

The reason this is interesting is various strains of mosquitos are infected with Wolbachia but not Aedes aegypti which is the one which spreads the Zika virus along with other delights such as Yellow Fever and more.  (WIKI:  Aedes aegypti)

Likely you're there already that scientists plan on trying to introduce Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti populations for the purpose of controlling them.  Once you run out of non-infected males, the infected females should expire in short order and game over.

Gates Foundation and some others are supporting research into the possibility of this application but we have the same reservations as with anything of this nature that screwing with the ecology almost always backfires.  However, the approach seems viable and the effects of Zika become worse progressively with each new bulletin.  (WIKI: Zika virus)

Maybe we can jump ahead to what happens if introduction of Wolbachia results in triggering parthenogenesis in the Aedes aegypti mosquito.  Then you will still have a live population of mosquitos and the females are the bloodsuckers.  No idea of probabilities but it seems a valid concern when it has happened previously.

Note: parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction in which the males are not needed.  (WIKI:  Parthenogenesis)

Yours to consider and unknown on the best move.

The Young Greens Endorse Jill Stein

Supporters of Jill Stein speak of the reasons she deserves the support.  People with other motives elsewhere only talk about why they will not vote for other candidates.  After completing a brief tour of Facebook, the only positive things were Queen Bee going show and tell with wandering about Amsterdam and some pics of genteel living in Scotland from a cuz.  Everything of a political nature was vilifying Trump but nothing gave a reason to support Clinton or Trump.

There were also some disconcerting questions from those defensive about anti-vaxx but those I know better than to engage.  It's the same as talking about Clinton as their minds are closed with election fever or Huckleberry Finn's brain fever ... unknown.  If you see butter running down over their ears, you will know.

My Facebook page has had minimal hits today whereas Ithaka is approaching a thousand for the day so go to Facebook for exposure, right?  (larfs)  It's rapidly approaching total insignificance as a large puddle into which the Mainstream dissolved.

Solar System Has More Moons Than Anyone Can Remember

The latest is astronomers have just detected the likely existence of two more moons (i.e. moonlets) orbiting Uranus.  For extra coolness, they did it with data obtained by the original Viking probes thirty years ago.  Even all this time later, the data still has scientific value.  (Science Daily:  Uranus may have two undiscovered moons)

Here's a pic of Uranus just because it looks cool.

Uranus is seen in this false-color view from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope from August 2003. The brightness of the planet's faint rings and dark moons has been enhanced for visibility.

Credit: NASA/Erich Karkoschka (Univ. Arizona)

- Science Daily

There are five moons in the image but it's not likely the two just detected are in it or they would already have been announced.

The scientists give tribute to NASA.

"It's exciting to see Voyager 2's historic Uranus exploration still contributing new knowledge about the planets," said Ed Stone, project scientist for Voyager, based at Caltech, Pasadena, California.

Voyager 2 and its twin, Voyager 1, were launched 16 days apart in 1977. Both spacecraft flew by Jupiter and Saturn, and Voyager 2 also flew by Uranus and Neptune.  Voyager 2 is the longest continuously operated spacecraft.  It is expected to enter interstellar space in a few years, joining Voyager 1, which crossed over in 2012.  Though far past the planets, the mission continues to send back unprecedented observations of the space environment in the solar system, providing crucial information on the environment our spacecraft travel through as we explore farther and farther from home.

- Science Daily

It is oddly exciting that even now there are still signals coming back from the Voyagers, I believe.

All this started the trail of how many moons are there now.  The solar system has gained an incredible number of moons since I was a kid but I didn't realize how many.  The two new moons will bring Uranus up to twenty-nine moons.  Neptune has eleven.  Saturn has sixty-two and Jupiter has sixty-seven.

The only ones who can possibly remember all the names now are the same kids who memorize the names of all the dinosaurs.

About the Webcam On Your Christmas Gift Lift

Christmas may be the best time of year to find flashy gadgets you wouldn't consider at any other time and home appliances may be best of all.  They were they used as the base to attack various web sites in a recent attack poses something of a problem for Christmas shoppers.  (Scientific American:  IoT Growing Faster Than the Ability to Defend It)

As seen in a previous article, there is little attention paid to the security on these devices and some don't have a provision for changing password settings anyway.  (Ithaka:  When the Internet of Things Ate Itself)

Maybe Biff Bonehead thinks, 'Shucks, I just like the use the things.  I don't know how to program them.'

Judging by the recent attacks, there are battalions of Biff Boneheads out there.  In a small way he's right that even changing a password is a light form of programming and the problem is the same computers have always had; they're too fucking hard to use.

This stink bomb of an attack raised some curiosity about just what these Internet of Things devices do and it turns out they're surprisingly primitive.  (PC:  The Best Smart Home Devices of 2016)

Controller Devices

Units which can control other units, by voice command or other.

Surveillance Cameras

Nothing new here except better resolution, etc.  These apparently were the hackers choice for the recent attacks.  You really need 24-hour monitoring of your dog?  Really?

Security Systems

These devices are almost comical relative to the widespread hacks.  They manage locking doors, setting alarms, etc.

Heating and Cooling

What possible use there may be for control of a thermostat when you're not at home is for you to imagine.  If the devices had any real intelligence then they would know already when to turn up or turn down.


Turn on/off the lights and use when The Clapper just isn't flashy enough.


Assist with preparing flawless recipes.  Perhaps some coolness.


Connect vacuuming robos, lawn moving robos, etc.


A scale which transmits your statistics to a server or some such for a longer view.

Outdoor Management

Activate a sprinkler system, etc.

Most of them lump into the category of controlling functions the way it's often done currently with infrared devices.  Line of sight won't matter with these ones but they don't generally go much beyond that.

Maybe you're flying in from Europe and you have changed your schedule so you're arriving unexpectedly.  Your residence has been quiesced to save energy in your absence but you can contact it remotely to tell it to start powering up so it's all comfy when you get there.

Are you really flying in unexpectedly from Europe all that much?  Most of these applications seem like manufactured needs which don't require much anyway.  The vacuuming robos and mowing robos could save a lot of time but whether they're smart enough or powerful enough to be much more than expensive idiosyncratic acquisitions remains to be seen.

When Computers Can Read Your Mind ... and Translate It

It's not clickbait when that's exactly the direction the current research is following in trying to convert signals from the brain into text.  (Science Daily: Can a brain-computer interface convert your thoughts to text?)

There's not as much sci fi potential in this as we might hope since the subject has to be hard-wired to the computer for the signals to be read.  The research has not yet managed the translation but they are driving toward it.

In their review, Herff and co-author, Dr. Tanja Schultz, compare the pros and cons of using various brain imaging techniques to capture neural signals from the brain and then decode them to text.

The technologies include functional MRI and near infrared imaging that can detect neural signals based on metabolic activity of neurons, to methods such as EEG and magnetoencephalography (MEG) that can detect electromagnetic activity of neurons responding to speech.  One method in particular, called electrocorticography or ECoG, showed promise in Herff's study.

- Science Daily

It's not yet the ideal science with a cop spy beam which can read your thoughts ... but give them time (larfs).

How about some sci fi in which they can wire you since cops can hook you up to a lie detector now but this science can create the Big Daddy of All Lie Detectors when the result won't just be lines on a graph but your words.  Say there, Heavy Gangster, you are so busted and by your own words and thoughts.

The dream date on this one is the the cop spy beam which can read your mind but managing MRI data with a spy beam of some type isn't science but PFM (i.e. Pure Fucking Magic).  That one doesn't seems so likely but a junior G-Man can dream.

How about a possible health device when you have some sort of wearable appliance the brain reader machine can contact.  Even if you can't talk, it may be able to detect what you are trying to say.  This is for that old commercial scenario in which 'I've fallen and I can't get up' but it considers maybe you whacked your head or some such.  It's thin but some medical dreams should be ok too.

How about we fall back to the Big Daddy of All Lie Detectors and use it on the witness stand in courtrooms.  Now that would be big, big fun.  Check out that O.J. Simpson trial now, huh?

Best of all is how this applies to possible speech therapy protocols in which the afflicted person may know the world s/he tries to say but has lost the ability to form it to say it.  I have lived intimately with this precise situation and it's one of the most heartbreaking possible so what if the mind reader machine could have read his thoughts and spoken for him.  Conceivably it could even be designed such that it's capable of providing the therapy in terms of analysis of whatever the patient said and correspondingly, via its clever AI interface, suggesting directions in trying to voice the words.

WEBSTER was the software I wrote thirty years ago for a much less insightful approach since all possible at the time was to function as recitalist so my ol' Dad could relearn by rote.  How about if WEBSTER knew what he was trying to say ... yep ... that brought some surprise tears.  This is some sci fi which really could happen.

When the Internet of Things Ate Itself

No-one was ever really sure what the Internet of Things was supposed to be but the latest pseudo-definition is the array of devices in the home which now connect to the net for whatever bizarre reasons.  The devices used for the recent attack on what someone else called the Internet of Things (i.e. Twitter, Amazon, etc) were home webcams and similar ancillary devices.  (RedOrbit:  Webcams used in major internet DDoS attack)

Hang on as it gets better since most of the devices have factory-established passwords for access and some of them are hard-coded so they cannot be changed.

Factory passwords make home devices an easy target

Hackers were able to use home devices in such a way because many have unchangeable factory settings for usernames and passwords - and experts say those made in China are particularly problematic in this respect.

- RedOrbit

There's more compound stupidity in this one than can generally be found in a Senate committee meeting when these devices were openly begging to be hacked.  Even after decades of hacking of Windows systems and others, the security on these devices was almost zero.

Since there is no way to change the passwords on at least some of those devices that background sound you may be hearing is like the Internet of Things shutting down.

But it probably won't shut down because, you know, Clinton will fix that too, right (larfs).

(Ed:  do you care if she does?)

Nope.  I've said from the start I didn't believe so her so no flies on me although I do anticipate some amusement in seeing them realize they should have been more careful in what they wished for.

It's the Internet of Things I'll cheerfully watch self-destruct since who needs a webcam to monitor a dog unless your job is so empty and meaningless you have nothing else to do and that, largely, is the driver for most of this with people not having enough to do.  The emphasis will remain on science articles since those are people with plenty to do and it doesn't appear they piddle it away on crumby toys from Apple or they get the seriously rinky dink third-party products which it seems were a large part of this hack.

Speaking of Spiritual Corruption, How Much Will You Go For a Virgin

The owner of a Nevada cathouse said he gets offers from three or four girls a month who want to sell their virginity but this one, see, this one was different.  Apparently he was right because the current highest bid for the dastardly dash into deviling debauchery is going for $400K and, hot damn, that's some expensive poontang.  (RT: eBae: 21yo woman auctions off virginity to help cash-strapped family)

For $400K, you get to play Dallas Safari Club with this young lady who is getting into this with questionable thoughtfulness but definitely good intensions.  She's twenty-one so her experience is improbable unless she uses the standard oral / anal dodges since, well, technically I'm still a virgin, right.  In any case, when you're dealing with a young lady whose previous attempts at sex have regarded the rules like she's playing Twister with the space aliens in Men in Black then likely your best guide for the encounter isn't a sex manual but a ouija board ... or a copy of the National Enquirer.

In the span of two articles, we have gone from 'every sperm is sacred' to nothing whatsoever is sacred so do fasten your spiritual seatbelts and return your seats to the upright position.

It gets better as she currently offers at the (world famous) Kit Kat Ranch her 'girlfriend experience' and, well, we don't want to know.

Be sure to visit if you happen to be in the neighborhood to get your car painted and you already know the punchline to that so I'm not going to do it.

Nope, the Silas is bailing on this one because we got so quickly to truck & auto salvage that we see clearly there is no salvaging whatever is happening in this story.  This one is officially too weird for the Silas.

Now There Are Church Rules for Getting Smoked

After cremation, your body winds up a nondescript pile of dust which will fit in an urn about a foot tall.  The Vatican has just issued a new ruling on the dust due, naturally, to the important nature of dust management and their official dust policy is all those little dust particles have to stay together, you know, as dust is wont to do.  (CNN:  Vatican issues guidelines on cremation, says no to scattering ashes)

It's not likely Die Kaninchen will take offense at this one when all have a healthy sense of the ridiculous already and there hasn't been any observed commitment previously toward the sanctity of dust unity.

My family created a major order of dust confusion because we had dust for our ol' Mother and dust for our ol' Father and those were mixed so they could, you know, fuck for all eternity and, yes, that was their specific wish.  We respected the wishes of our Elders and now the Church says it was wrong.  Well.

Besides, it's not like they would be cheating.  You can't get any more faithful to each other than that.

Since I was the one who planted their ashes in the wall thing of some indeterminate burial nature, presumably I am the one accountable to the Lord.

Silas, did you commit the sin of dust confusion?

Well, yes, verily I fuckin' did, man.

Then verily ye shall burn, thy veritable wastrel of sinfulness.

Well, I tell you what, Father.  If you'll check the records you will find I'm going to get smoked anyway.  I'm going to be cremated also.

Then verily I shall damn your ashes, thy diseased monster of spiritual corruption!

Well, good luck finding them, pal, but have a ball when you do.  My request is they should be dropped into a dumpster at Wal-Mart.  Y'all have a nice day, hear?

Even when your wastrel self is nothing but dust, the Church wants to control it.  In today's dust ruling, the only proper disposal of the dust is in a sacred place, you know, a sacred dust place ... like a cemetery which, when you think about it, really doesn't have anything else to do except collect dust when there's no active funeral.

Previously we learned every sperm is sacred but today we learn every or at least some motes of dust are sacred too.

Solution for the Rock City Cooling Problem is Fusion

Welcome to the Future where we don't want some crumby nuclear reactor, we want fusion and MIT is pushing hard to make it happen.  (Science Daily: New record for fusion: Giant leap in pursuit of clean energy)

The problem to solve for the Rock City is what to do with all the heat which winds up in the water system, primarily driven by trying to cool the nuclear reactor.  The principle behind everything in the Rock City is we mustn't waste anything.  The heat is a resource and it needs to be returned to the system in that form or another.

The question is how much heat a fusion reactor makes since the gigantic magnets must require huge forces to drive them and that usually means heat.  It may be that we break even on the cooling but the deal is worth it because it's a clean process which generates huge amounts of electricity.

We may need a ruling from the RCPC (i.e. Rock City Planning Commission) on whether we can get a pass on the heat byproduct from a fusion reactor but it's already sounding dodgy on the pass simply from the fact of the existence of the question.

Note:  do check the article if this excerpt gets you giddy.

Alcator C-Mod is also similar in size and cost to nontokamak magnetic fusion options being pursued by private fusion companies, though it can achieve pressures 50 times higher.  "Compact, high-field tokamaks provide another exciting opportunity for accelerating fusion energy development, so that it's available soon enough to make a difference to problems like climate change and the future of clean energy -- goals I think we all share," says Dennis Whyte, the Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center, and head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT.

- Science Daily

Note:  France is building a tokamak eight hundred times bigger in volume than the one in MIT.  Meanwhile, MIT research is at the whim of Congress which routinely slashes relatively low-cost projects such as this while sparing no expense for the military.  Complete the editorial as you will.

In the general topic of heat management, there's some additional research into conductance of heat over 2D surfaces since heat conducts differently in the plane of some materials than it does out of it.  (Science Daily: How to tune thermal conductivity of 2D materials)

The thinking is we can use some type of coating of this nature to draw heat from our heated water and conduct it elsewhere such that the water can be released back to Nature and we will find some application for this heat.  The first problem is to cool the water or we can't return it because heated water will kill agriculture and will also not have any good effect on rivers.

We want to convert the heat into electricity and usually that means spinning turbines so it seems the solution is just about there but still needs a piece for that conversion.

Looks Like News Follows Ithaka on Robot Jobnappers

Every so often there's a fervent Ithaka reminder about the Age of Robots and a whole lot of jobs are going to evaporate.  The reaction generally, is calm down, Crazy Silas, and whatever medication you neglected to take, um, do take that now.  (Ithaka:  The Robots Are Coming, The Robots Are Coming)

That article was a couple of days ago and today we have a warning about the loss of a million jobs to robots in England by 2030.  (RT: Robots could put more than 1mn Brits out of work by 2030 – study)

Well, gee, who could have seen that coming, huh?

In that study, there was one cheerful note, however.

Although the figures appear to herald a future blighted with mass unemployment, Deloitte claims automation has created more work than it has destroyed over the past 140 years.

- RT

Here at the Rockhouse, we see blanket generalizations of that nature as less than useful since automation has applied at generally high levels with factories still requiring workers to run them and complex switchboards replaced by a simple Chatty Cathy computer front-end but backed by call centers staffed by humans.  In this round the people in the call centers will be eliminated and the same is true in factories where attendance by humans will become progressively more superfluous and redundant.

In general, if you're not making robots in the Brave New World it appears you will be, technically speaking, fucked.  This is why there has been solid emphasis on the sociology of the new world since there will be far fewer human jobs in it.

Insofar as there's tremendous resistance to changing anything, even among those who say they want change, the probability of anything being addressed in any sort of positive manner (i.e. anything which is not driven by a crisis) appears to be low.  Fear-motivated thinking never goes to any positive end and the election provides abundant evidence of that but we need to get past to the dispassionate thought which comes from reason rather than adrenaline.

This is where the richies cringe and they start loading their guns but they will still stay rich even if not as rich as they are now.  However, there is immense benefit to creating a stable economy due to documented benefits in reduced social dysfunction, etc.  That comes with a cost but so does anything else.  Even if that's as far as anyone thinks, it should still be enough if only from a functional standpoint.  The problem isn't the ability to pay for it but rather the rigidity of thought (i.e. fear) which prevents changing anything.

Fear causes one of two reactions:  you either become a Republican and lock down all changes or you shave your head and go to airports to start doing Hare Krishna dances in saffron robes.  Mostly the WTF Democrats have chosen the latter and they're dancing around and chanting while hoping Hillary Clinton becomes the Virgin Mary.  Republicans just laugh as they watch.

Die Kaninchen are much too hip for that and do look to the future as in beyond the next meal.  As you can easily see from social networks, looking past the next meal already makes you exceptional.

(Ed:  you seriously need to stay out of those social networks, mate.  Studying the species isn't supposed to be self-destructive.)

This I know and I must remind myself, do not engage, do not engage (larfs).

No question the rich will pay more but they're richer than the Vatican now (maybe) and they will remain so after the fact albeit with their hoards somewhat reduced but still vastly more than they could ever spend or need.  The purpose is toward a society which works which you sure as hell will not have with hordes of people out of work.  There's not likely anything else which leads faster to social unrest so just a wee bit of planning seems in this drug-addled freak's mind to be worthy of consideration.

The Rockhouse focus is entirely toward a glowing future which may come although indifference can easily subvert it.  The belief is information overcomes indifference but it needs to be disseminated in some way separate and quite apart from mainstream blasts of non-information or it will only be lost in the cacophony.

(Ed:  you gots the faith?)

Sure I gots the faith, my brothers and sisters.

We can do tremendous things but we can't fiddle about and we need to get cracking on it because the last time to prepare for something is at the time we need it.  This is a simple thing to see, right?

(Ed:  hallelujah!)

Hallelujah!  (larfs)

Respect for Police At an All-Time High

The Heinleinian nightmare has come fully to life with the elitist majority showing complete indifference to almost a thousand Americans murdered by cops this year.  We're the poors, probably black, and who gives a fuck.  (Hot Air:  Gallup: Respect for police is near an all-time high)

The result is also symptomatic of the general indifference to the killing in the Middle East when we see almost no wish to curtail it or even learn much about what is happening.  They're wild about the World Series because, get this, the Cubs are in it.

I'm not even a criminal but they don't care at all what becomes of me either as America is deep into the most deeply endemic case of narcissism the world may have ever seen in which the fate of anyone else is irrelevant and me, me, me leaps to the center stage regardless of whether me, me, me can carry a tune.  Where else would it go.

There's further example of it in the Facebook Vaccination Uprising which is based on nothing more than fabrication and fantasy but it's the new religion of those who don't have one.  (Ithaka:  The Facebook Assault on Medical Research on Vaccination Science)

They're indifferent to whatever effect it may come and fuck science because I'm the star of this show, buddy, and what I say goes.  But then they run straight a doctor when they're sick.  In other words, they don't know which side of their backsides the head should be attached.

There's only thing ever comes from indifference and that's poor quality products so, ladies and gentlemen, I present you the Facebook bourgeoisie.

The exemptions to indifference are with about half a dozen of Die Kaninchen but overall there's not simply indifference when they don't even do anything to improve the support for VA and are indifferent to the care it provides because it won't ever affect them.

The only positive note to the report is, well, it's probably manufactured hogwash.

Public respect for the police has hit a high which has only been topped once since 1965.  The Gallup poll of Americans views of police was taken earlier this month and found 76% of Americans have “a great deal” of respect for police in their areas and another 17% have “some” respect.  Just 7% of respondents said they had “hardly any” respect for police. Here’s a chart prepared by Gallup showing the trends since 1965.  As you can see the only time respect for police has been higher was in 1967.

- Hot Air

As those who were alive at the time may recall, there wasn't any respect for police in 1967 and this was in the heyday of when police were called 'pigs' and most regarded them as the enemy, the enforcers for the Establishment.  It was the hippie / freak malcontents who regarded them this way but, just as now, the elitists were indifferent to what became of us so long as they could keep their war.

The change between then and now is the malcontents became the elitists and Heinlein's neo-Fascist dream came true.  Not only do they fail to reject the militarized police state, they welcome it for protection against whatever their cowardly little hearts currently fear (i.e. just about everything and it doesn't have to be real).

Even one sister rolled over for it when she's closed to any question on it and likely is driven by people who never even saw what happened during Vietnam.

(Ed:  you haven't been taking your medications, have yewwww?)

Actually, I have and I'm rapidly coming to hate the Buspirone since I feel shitty and have growing concern this stuff is similar to Klonopin.  Maybe some recall what a nightmare it was to get that out of my system.  That was pitched as benign and fine for long-term use by the utter incompetent who passed himself off as my doctor in Rhode Island.

(Ed:  it sure is a marvel what it does as an anti-anxiety drug, huh?)

I'm tellin' you.  I wasn't even interested about anti-anxiety as my concern is sleep.  Pfft.

Note:  the Buspirone arrived unannounced when I re-upped prescriptions.  There has never been an opportunity to talk to any doctor about it.  Again, that's not the fault of VA but the inadequacy of support as has been shown by the difficulty in changing a distant appointment forward due to lack of resources.

The Buspirone arrived as a replacement for something which created an almost instantly bad reaction since it was an SSRI medication.  There was reason it arrived and the point is only there was no opportunity for discussion.

Indifference everywhere with utter disregard to those who will reap what their indifference has sown are the ones who are so busily sowing it.