Thursday, June 29, 2017

People Don't Like Machines Detecting Emotions and What a Surprise #Science


Tech firms want to detect your emotions and expressions, but people don’t like it. 

Credit: Sergey Nivens

Note:  the pic is not exactly Pink Floyd but roll with it.


As revealed in a patent filing, Facebook is interested in using webcams and smartphone cameras to read our emotions, and track expressions and reactions. The idea is that by understanding emotional behaviour, Facebook can show us more of what we react positively to in our Facebook news feeds and less of what we do not – whether that's friends' holiday photos, or advertisements.

This might appear innocuous, but consider some of the detail. In addition to smiles, joy, amazement, surprise, humour and excitement, the patent also lists negative emotions. Possibly being read for signs of disappointment, confusion, indifference, boredom, anger, pain and depression is neither innocent, nor fun.

In fact, Facebook is no stranger to using data about emotions. Some readers might remember the furore when Facebook secretly tweaked user's news feeds to understand "emotional contagion". This meant that when users logged into their Facebook pages, some were shown content in their news feeds with a greater number of positive words and others were shown content deemed as sadder than average. This changed the emotional behaviour of those users that were "infected".

Given that Facebook has around two billion users, this patent to read emotions via cameras is important. But there is a bigger story, which is that the largest technology companies have been buying, researching and developing these applications for some time.

Phys.org:  Tech firms want to detect emotions and expressions, but people don't like it

You get the gen already and had it long before you read this.  This technology is invasive and we not only don't like it, we fuckin' hate it.


We don't liked to be 'figured out,' do we.  If we say we have someone 'figured out' then that means the person is an easy mark or a gull, right?  We really, really don't like being figured out and we particularly don't want to be gulls so Facebook gets us riled just by the idea of it.

Note:  the Rockhouse really doesn't get riled since we see things of this nature and think, well, gee, look at what the li'l cupcakes did this time.


What do we do when SIRI asks if she can help?  Right, we send her thirty amps of DC love, don't we, my brothers and sisters.

Note:  I keep asking her what color a chameleon turns when you put it on a mirror but she just flips out and starts spewing recipes for chocolate chip cookies.  Go away, SIRI.

Note:  stolen from Steven Wright, best deadpan comedian evah, and adapted for the Emotive Age.


SIRI wants to figure us out too ... everyone wants to watch us and figure us out ... rant, rant, rant.

Nah, we don't just hate it, we want to stick it with pitchforks and throw it into a fire.  Get outta town with your invasive ways.


Apple is in this as well for emotive tech and the Rockhouse is happy to diversify to include Apple with Facebook in the category of Patently Loathsome Technological Endeavors.  They have become so obsessed with figuring us out, they lost track of how to do that for themselves.

Apple:  you mean we have just been hustling voodoo all this time?

Yep ... but ... don't worry.  So long as there's Facebook, you will never run out of customers.


Oh, you're not believing it's voodoo?

I found that more than half (50.6%) of UK citizens are "not OK" with any form of emotion capture technology, while just under a third (30.6%) feel "OK" with it, as long as the emotion-sensitive application does not identify the individual. A mere 8.2% are "OK" with having data about their emotions connected with personally identifiable information, while 10.4% "don't know". That such a small proportion are happy for emotion-recognition data to be connected with personally identifying information about them is pretty significant considering what Facebook is proposing.

- PO

The Rockhouse stays far away from Voodoo but we strongly suspect there's greater acceptance of Voodoo than there may be for intrusive software of this nature.


Watson:  Facebook wants a political tool more than more snaky commercial apparatus.

They want both, mate.

Impeding Tumors with Modified Plant Material #Science #Medicine #Cancer

This is NOT an article about curing cancer with organic food or anything of that nature.



Nanoparticle with chemo payload

Only credit I could find was for Buffalo.edu

In the current science, they find the idea above may not be the most effective since they found the chemo payload (i.e. all the bubbles inside the sphere) and the nanoparticle (i.e. the container) work better if they're not joined and can work independently.


Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in collaboration with researchers from Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine and RWTH Aachen University (Germany) have adapted virus particles -- that normally infect potatoes -- to serve as cancer drug delivery devices for mice. But in a recent article published in Nano Letters, the team showed injecting the virus particles alongside chemotherapy drugs, instead of packing the drugs inside, may provide an even more potent benefit.

Science Daily:  Injectable plant-based nanoparticles delay tumor progression

Note:  there's some sort of crazy riff in seeing the same virus which goes after potatoes apparently also goes after cancerous tumors but we won't be playing that one tonight.


The researchers discovered injecting potato virus particles into melanoma tumor sites activates an anti-tumor immune system response. And simultaneously injecting the nanoscale plant virus particles and a chemotherapy drug -- doxorubicin -- into tumor sites further helps halt tumor progression in mice. But surprisingly, when the researchers created and injected combination nanoparticles, where the chemo drug is physically attached to the virus particles, there was not a significant added benefit.

- SD

Real life is always strangest of all and here we have a tumor in human tissue which responds to a virus which infects potatoes.  The interested student is invited to pursue the full depth of it in the article since their intrigue is why should there be a difference in how the tumor reacts when the potato virus particles approach with or without a chemo payload.


There's one cautionary aspect the researchers observe in that there may not be as much real benefit as perceived from greater complexity in these types of approaches.

The results are the first to show "vaccinating" mice with potato virus nanoparticles at a cancer site can generate an anti-tumor response. But the results also suggest more complex nanoparticles may not correspond to added therapeutic benefit.

- SD


The research will continue with the general premise that reducing complexity may be more efficacious toward combating the tumor in this specific instance and possibly others.

Steinmetz and her team will next investigate mechanisms behind the potato virus particles' anti-tumor effects. She plans to test whether co-administering the nanoparticles with different chemotherapy drugs can delay, or slow the progression of other cancers. Said Steinmetz, "Dual-pronged therapeutic approaches may be our best defense against certain cancers. And, virus-based nanoparticles like the ones in our study may be used to enhance efficacy of existing medications."

- SD

The principle isn't less is more since they're ready and willing to throw everything in the basket at whacking the tumor but the part in which they're unwilling is in constructing some type of Monstro the Tumor Whacker which contains all the medical approaches in one.  It definitely looks like it's valid to say less complex is more.

Space Farms Will Feed Astronauts and Earthlings #Science


Matt Damon as astronaut and exobotanist Mark Watney in the film The Martian grows crops on Mars. 

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Handout

Everybody likes The Martian because he's an attractive young lad and the most determined survivor since Robinson Crusoe.


A number of misnomers exist in the title for the edification of all nitpicking nitwits such as myself since it's not about a space farm but rather a planetary farm on Mars.  They're not astronauts anymore if they have become farmers and nobody but nobody calls us earthlings.  The future may have Terrans and Martians but it will never, ever, have Earthlings.

Phys.org:  Space farms will feed astronauts and earthlings


Canadian researchers are leading an effort to grow crops in space, paving the way for humanity to live on other worlds and push the frontiers on Earth.

Food is the main obstacle to long-term space exploration. It limits how far away from Earth we can travel and how long we can stay in space.

We can stock enough food for inhabitants of the International Space Station or even for travel to the moon and back. But if we are to travel to Mars and support long-term exploration missions, we need bio-regenerative, self-sustaining food production systems. Or, in simpler terms, space farms.

- PO

We will take the point but there are many things limiting the push to other worlds and have no question about food being one of the biggest.  We have another language demerit since we don't care for simpler terms since they're a highly-inelegant way to patronize someone.


The interested student is invited to review the article regarding challenges in farming Mars, all of which are formidable but eminently worthwhile.  However, the Rockhouse is more interested in that which was not in the article.


There are two primary features about farming either hydroponically in space or in Martian soil since both are entirely bereft of bugs which eat plants and there are no bacteria unless we bring them.  Scratch the part about bacteria for Mars since we really don't know if any type of bacterial life lives on Mars yet.

If we assume for the exercise both environments are sterile, these farm locations will represent the safest place for production anyone can find since they eliminate the biggest plague for farmers in damage via insects and infections.

Nothing is ever that simple since we have presented articles from time to time on the complexity of the interrelationships between different forms of life in the soil and how vitally needed such biological relationships are for successful plants.  It's not all bacteria we want to eliminate, just some of them we which we really hate.

The same consideration applies with insects since we hate locusts but we're dead without honeybees to pollinate the crops.  We want to lose some insects but definitely not all of them.

You know those things from common sense and science backs that knowledge although I don't have an immediate citation.


Onward to the Robo Bugs on Mars stage of the program since we know the whizkids are actively working on robo bees and they might even work on relatively small plantations on Mars but they will grow over time since we will assume, also for the sake of the exercise, Elon Musk's plans to terraform Mars to recreate an atmosphere can actually work.  Given an atmosphere so the bugs can fly, the robo bees might even get it done.

Terraforming is typically used to mean the transformation of the physical characteristics of a planet to match those of Earth but introducing soil bacteria is, in effect, bioforming the planet.  The Rockhouse suspects the soil bacteria will represent the biggest problem for farming because we don't know where we can interfere with such cycles but we know we probably can't interfere at all.  Therefore, we may have an all or nothing situation with soil bacteria so the interested student is strongly suggested to pursue that aspect of the science.

Ed:  some kid could become the Luther Burbank of Mars  (WIKI:  Luther Burbank)

Yuck it up, Johnny Appleseed, but some kid really will.

A Harley Davidson Joke from the Pink #Comedy

Jim finally decided to tie the knot with his long time girlfriend.


One evening, after their honeymoon, he was welding some stuff in the garage, just for fun.

His new wife was standing there at the bench watching him.

After a long period of silence she finally spoke ...

"Honey, I've just been thinking, now that we are married, maybe it's time you quit spending all your time out here in the shop. You probably should just consider selling all your welders along with your gun collection and that stupid vintage Harley.

Jim got a horrified look on his face.

She said, "Darling, what's wrong?"

He replied, "There for a minute you were starting to sound like my ex-wife."

"Ex-wife!" she screamed, "YOU NEVER TOLD ME YOU WERE MARRIED BEFORE!"

Jim replied: “I wasn't."

- A cautionary tale for young wives from the Pink



Getting rid of that old Harley is never going to happen.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Busting the Catholic Church for Sex Crimes #News


Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell speaks to the media at the Quirinale hotel in Rome on March 3, 2016.


It's really not clear from the article just what exactly he did since it's comes across as vague as to whether he committed any sex crimes directly of sought to cover them from public view.  It's also not proven that he ever did anything although the Victoria prosecutors must believe they have a case.

CNN:  Top Catholic official charged with sexual assault offenses


The Rockhouse is torqued since this Cardinal Pell makes it straight to the front page but he's isolated relative to the snowstorm of charges which were flying about at one time and offenses, if any, were twenty+ years ago.

Ed:  are you standing up for the perv?

That's not the point, mate.  We're wanting truth without sensationalism.  We have seen within about the last year how there were high-level cover-ups of upper class pervs associated with the British Parliament.  We have seen Hot for Teacher scandals popping up in a steady sequence and I see quite a few headlines where I see them in the game all the time to the point at which I'll see, for the same day,  ... holy shit ... another woman nailing a student.


The fundamental premise for American justice is equal treatment under the law and we can go editorial all night as to why it doesn't happen but there's no mandate nor can there be regarding equal treatment by the press.  However, we have seen the way the news media have been radicalized to the point of being highly-polarized relative to one another with the result being a mish mash of pseudo-news which is loud but not much satisfying.

From that mish mash, Cardinal Pell becomes some kind of big deal beacon whereas the Hot for Teacher girls will usually be presented with an implied snicker and the Parliament scandals didn't make it much out of Britain.


I'm not saying the Catholic Church is a victim since maybe they are or maybe not but one thing I know for sure:  we are.  The low quality of the news robs all of us.  These kinds of distortions are just flat-out unacceptable.

#Photography on the Blog 6/29 | iPhone Dept and Some More


Li Jinquan from Beijing came third in travel

There's a mystical sense to the photograph which we don't expect in a picture from an iPhone.  The combination of the softer focus in the background relative to the sharper focus on the people worked well.




Smetanina Julia from Moscow won second place in the flowers section

Sure it's a flower pic but there's a lovely soft focus to it.  Unknown if it was permissible to post-process the image with filters, etc.




Juan Carlos Castañeda of New York City won top place in the America I Know category with a wintery shot of Standing Rock

Maybe you consider this one too harsh to be beautiful but the Rockhouse sees both in it.




Joshua Sarinana from Cambridge, Massachusetts placed second in travel

Whether this is graphic art or photography is your call but it does make for a dramatic snap and that taxi vehicle is highly cool.  The picture also has the sharpness iPhone photography often lacks.


Following photographs were not shot from iPhones:



Sydney, Australia

The roof of the Sydney Opera House is illuminated in celebration of the culture of indigenous Australians

Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

You would be able to see this from all over Sydney Harbor and what a spectacle.




Budapest, Hungary

A newborn bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) is nuzzled by her mother at the Nyiregyhaza Animal Park

Photograph: Attila Balazs/EPA

That camel looks like one of those old men who is bald on the top but has long hair from the sides.  Even so, she does love the young 'un.

#News on a Nailhead 6/29

Warren Buffett is the vanilla puddin' of rich white men.  We don't know what else happens when you're rich but you get all the puddin' you want ... and he's willing to share it.  (RT:  Warren Buffett wants more taxes on rich Americans, single-payer healthcare)

Note: adding white to the description is specifically because rich white men have furiously shitty reputations but Buffett, see, this guy is the puddin'.


The Pentagon hoots at the British military by saying it's too small even when they know Brits can't possibly afford to expand it.  Neener, neener.  (RT:   British Army ‘too small,’ warn US military experts)

Brits shouldn't worry too much since the big smokes in the Pentagon blow half a trillion a year and want more.  Keeping up with those Joneses only ends up in the Hulks on the Thames for inability to pay one's debts.  There is a bright side since if you survive the Hulks you may wind up in Australia.


Not surprisingly Moscow is pissed off at the American grandstanding in Syria since, like everyone else, they have seen this chemical weapons shadow play too many times already.  (RT:  Moscow warns Washington against ‘incendiary, provocative action’ in Syria)


When the banks chuck a conservative such as Theresa May into the briny, it's over.  (RT:  Theresa May will not last much longer as British PM, Citigroup warns clients)


John Travolta has got nothin' on this Frenchman.  (RT:  French Air Force chief in hot water over suspected use of attack jet for weekend trips)


Sooner or later CNN was going to get busted for all the tripe they have been passing off as fact.  (Observer:  Fake Stories About Russia Backfire Miserably on Democrats)

Note:  it did not backfire on Democrats since we were so disgusted by that farce of an election we did not vote.  Centrists are wearing their own hogwash from head to toe, however.


It's coming from all sides for CNN over the Russian hysteria they generated.  (RT:   ’Going for jugular’: Undercover filmmakers take aim at CNN)

We will have truth or we will have test patterns on the TV.  CNN still insists it's all true and maybe they also have some scintillating new information on Flight MH-17.


One for Social Media is Way Out of Hand Dept.  (RT:   Social media can be used to 'predict future' – study)

Social media isn't being used to predict the future but rather to force it as we've seen in Mark Zuckerberg's Victorian provincialism.


For the finest in Pentagon doublespeak, there's the Mad Dog.  (RT:   To avoid endless war in Syria, US deconflicts with Russia – Pentagon)

Please clarify, Mad Dog.  WTF are you saying?


Jeremy Corbyn gets kind of frisky when he is annoyed.  Now people are listening to him.  (RT:  Furious Corbyn blames ‘disastrous effect of austerity’ for fire safety failures (VIDEO))

Actually, Jer', I'm thinking shoddy, sub-standard building practices resulted in those fires but do have a ball since we don't like Theresa May either and, hey, that new aircraft carrier is a cracker, isn't it.


When Sarah Palin tangles with New York Times, we hope both of them lose.  (RT:   Palin sues NY Times for defamation after 'sickening' op-ed)


After eight years, Centrists seem to start realizing Obama was just jerking them around.  (Observer:  Still Smitten with Obama, Democrats Refuse to Enact a Better Health Care Plan)

The only one who is smitten by Obama ... is Obama.


Mike Huckabee said some guy broke all Ten Commandments at the same time.  As we see from the smashed tablet, yep, he sure did.   (CNN:  Arkansas' Ten Commandments monument destroyed live on Facebook)

Some years ago, the Supreme Court ruled putting religious monuments on state property is not a violation of the principle of the separation of state.  For Federal doublespeak, that one set a new standard.

What's Hot on the Blog 6/28

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What's Hot

#Photography - looking for the beautiful and it looks like you were too

Then - heavy times in the Rockhouse but the perspective is clear

News - these articles have been popping fairly well the last few days

Racism - still coming back since 2013

High-Speed - a clever way to substantially increase the speed data can be transmitted underwater

Outstanding - the Rockhouse digs RC aircraft for no better reason than they're intricate and cool to watch and this one is exceptional for detail and the pilot is excellent at making it dance

Hopkinsville - the Rockhouse isn't so intrigued by the eclipse gala but the Little Green Men sound kind of cool

#News - still hanging about from yesterday ... not bad

Tulsi Gabbard - she does as well and that's highly cool to see


The day has been unusual and a bit of sleep should stabilize things.

Hopkinsville, KY, Prepares for the August Eclipse #Science (sort of)

The first question at the Rockhouse is how much preparation is really needed for an eclipse.  It gets dark for a couple of minutes and then it gets light again; celebrate your new life.  This event strikes the Rockhouse much like planetary golf.

However, there's more.

Hopkinsville, a city of about 32,000 people and the birthplace of the "sleeping prophet" Edgar Cayce, is nearest the point of greatest eclipse — as the axis of the moon's shadow cone passes closest to Earth's center. Hopkinsville is in the area that will be getting the longest total eclipse — at 1:24 p.m. CDT Aug. 21, the moon will pass in front of the sun and cast darkness on the rolling farmland, plunging it into darkness for about 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

ABC:  In rural Kentucky, solar eclipse preparation keeps town busy

Now we see it; Edgar Cayce once lived here and, from the sound of things, maybe he still does.  (WIKI:  Edgar Cayce)

Note:  the link is because some seem afraid of him but he was pushing snake oil more than anything else.


Hopkinsville is putting some serious dollars into this gala event.

Hendricks said the city learned of its place in the path of totality — total darkness, as day briefly becomes night — about 10 years ago and has spent more than half a million dollars on preparations.

- ABC


But they have a reason; they have Little Green Men as well.

More than 20 local events are planned, including a three-day music festival, a bourbon tasting, and a festival commemorating the Kelly-Hopkinsville encounter — the reported landing of "little green men" in nearby Kelly on Aug. 21, 1955.

- ABC


Check out the result since this is big business in Hopkinsville.

The eclipse is expected to have a $30 million economic impact on Christian County. Carlisle, who opened Milkweed Health & Harmony Emporium about a year ago, designed an eclipse-themed T-shirt with the latitude and longitude of Hopkinsville. Most hotels are sold out.

- ABC

Anyplace which can make thirty million dollars on absolutely nothin' definitely deserves a Rockhouse hat tip.


We had not heard about the Little Green Men previously so maybe seeing them would be a treat for the missus and the kids.


There's a whole lotta strange emanating from Kentucky these days and inquiring minds want to know why.

High-Speed Communications Under Water #Science #Oceans #Europa


Chengzhi Shi checks the connections between the transducer array and the digital circuit. The experimental setup showed the potential of generating independent channels onto a single frequency to expand acoustic communications underwater. 

Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab


Low frequency acoustics is the option that remains for long-range underwater communication. Applications for sonar abound, including navigation, seafloor mapping, fishing, offshore oil surveying, and vessel detection.

However, the tradeoff with acoustic communication, particularly with distances of 200 meters or more, is that the available bandwidth is limited to a frequency range within 20 kilohertz. Frequency that low limits the rate of data transmission to tens of kilobits per second, a speed that harkens back to the days of dialup internet connections and 56-kilobit-per-second modems, the researchers said.

Note:  here at the Rockhouse we remember 300 baud modems and that wasn't communication; that was comedy although not so much at the time.  Actually, at the time it was a lot like magic.

Phys.org:  Study finds way to pack more data in single acoustic beam for underwater communications


There's all the physics the fun-loving student may want in the source article but we want the punchline.

"We modulated the amplitude and phase of each transducer to form different patterns and to generate different channels on the orbital angular momentum," said Shi. "For our experiment we used eight channels, so instead of sending just 1 bit of data, we can send 8 bits simultaneously. In theory, however, the number of channels provided by orbital angular momentum can be much larger."

- PO

While an eight times increase over 56K probably won't be blowing you back to Buffalo, the potential could be real within the audiences they have suggested.  The audience probably is not military since I gather submarines need to surface to send what I suppose must be large volumes of data.  Whatever way they really do it is probably more highly-classified than who killed Jimmy Hoffa.

Note:  see ... that information is so classified you don't even know who Jimmy Hoffa was.


We're not getting a strong vibe for the sci fi extension on this.  All of us see an eight times boost to communication speed is going to be a big tingle for those who use it but the audience isn't that exciting ...

until ...

we use this device on a robo which goes undersea on Europa.  How about that, mates.  Maybe a current robo finds the Coolest Thing in Creation ... but ... it uses the old way for communication and it can't convey sufficient information quickly enough to be useful.  With the new way, we even get pictures, albeit somewhat slowly.

That's kind of thin but the Rockhouse is going with it since maybe this new technology will make for cooler robos on Europa as they find whatever they will down there.

Then There Was Morphine

The Rockhouse approach to pain is 1000 mg of aspirin will solve it since any less only makes pain laugh and any more will blow a hole in your stomach.  With other non-opiated pain meds, the Rockhouse discerns no significant effect and hasn't used such alternatives in decades.

Any long-term use of opiates is terminal either by design in helping alleviate pain for someone in a terminal condition or by back-handed intention with those who use such drugs recreationally.

There's no need to hammer the point since you know it already.  I've omitted short-term use of opiates for extreme clinical situations (e.g. post-surgical) but they're unavoidable in such a circumstance and I've been in that one multiple times.


That should serve for an intro since aspirin hasn't been getting it done so this morning (i.e. around 2 a.m. by my definition), I tried a low-dose pill with morphine.  The regulars have seen my stance multiple times that opiates are the Plague of Black Death coming again to revisit humanity only taking a different form this time.  There is no change to that position and I would not do this without reason.

Watson:  infer an outraged slam at the egregious flaccidity of Washington's non-response to the opiate epidemic?

You're already there, my brother.


It really makes no difference if it's cancer or something else in my chest since ultimately it will box me and the only question is when.  The reason this is news is Ithaka won't survive opiates since they do, in fact, all the things you think cannabis does but actually does not.  If my thinking is not clear then writing only insults you insofar as it expects you to accept some substandard rubbish.

Watson:  infer the obligatory slam of MSM?

Thank you, Watson.


Use of the morphine backfired within two hours after which I took up the standard position of retching my guttywuts up into the terlet.  The stuff knows I hate it and is more than happy to hate me back.  However, the mitigation of the pain was real and it did do better than the aspirin.

Please do keep it straight that this is not Facebook and there is no drama, melodrama, nor rama dama ding dong.  This is the Cap'n speaking and it's lookin' kinda shitty ahead.

Watson:  how can you be sure it's a low dose when it was prescribed for Yevette for cancer?

That's what she said and her information came from the doctor who prescribed it.  I understand the flaws in chains of information of that nature but it's the best information I've got.  There's no danger of inadvertent addiction since there's not much of it and the stuff did not leave Yevette addicted.


Nevertheless, my purpose is specifically to find beautiful things and bring them to you.  (Ithaka:  #Photography on the Blog 6/28 | Because People Keep Missing the Beauty)

Hopefully some of that which I write is beautiful or otherwise I simply trip over it somewhere but in either case the motivation is the same.  The Rockhouse steadfastly asserts death doesn't mean much but the way you live out whatever is allotted to you means everything.  Even if I were planted somewhere with a stone over my worm-ridden corpse, no-one would ever look at it whereas the things I write may draw readers for years.  I regard the latter as vastly healthier for everyone although, regrettably, not so much for me (larfs).

However, this is health for me in since the motivation to find good things is inherently healthful.  That doesn't mean to become some type of cloying Pollyanna but it's falsely cynical to reject such things.  I'm deeply cynical and with good reason regarding Washington but I'm not at all cynical about how much better humans are than that.

If Uncle Silas isn't right about this, let's hear you, my brothers and sisters, rising to your feet to shout, "The people in Washington are more pure of heart, more honest of word, and more Christ-like in deed than I could ever hope to be."

Come on.  Ela, ela!  Let's hear it (larfs).

Watson:  you had to get political

Nah, that ain't political.  That's not about Washington but you, mate.

Outstanding RC F-100 Super Sabre | #Video

Before judging this video in any way, RC modelers frequently build studies of military aircraft but they're not weaponized and were never intended to be.  The sophistication of this one is extraordinary and the only time I ever tried with a model aircraft resulted in abysmal failure but I appreciate the evolution into the models of today with astounding capabilities.

The people who do this are pilots; they're not bombers.





Caution:  RC modeling can be an extremely expensive endeavor and you're likely to crack up a number of them learning how to do it.  However, if you make the cut with the Big Dawgs, maybe you will end up flying one of these.


No-one in the Rockhouse is a modeler since the extreme attention to detail likely would have meant projects would start but would get bounced off a wall before they even approached completion.  Nevertheless, I admire their strict attention to detail and you can see the result in the video.


The only operating model here at the Rockhouse is virtual in terms of the number of permitted articles per day.  Nine is now the maximum although that may go to ten if something just floors me with its coolness.  Therefore, an article about this aircraft is a big deal for Ithaka since that will be ten percent of the presentation for the day but I'm willin' because I think it's worth it even if RC modeling is not your fancy and, as above, it isn't mine; I just like to watch.

#Photography on the Blog 6/28 | Because People Keep Missing the Beauty


Düsseldorf, Germany

A light installation on the Rhine Tower in the French national colours promotes the start of the Tour de France in the city

Photograph: David Young/AP

There's probably as much nationalism in the peloton as anywhere else ... but they're so much cooler about it.  Note:  peloton is a word for racing bicycles which doesn't seem to apply to anything else in human existence ... but ... it will draw instant recognition for Le Tour.




Sochi, Russia

People watch a water and light show on the sidelines of the Fifa Confederations Cup tournament

Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty

This one is still in the context of sports but why not when it's stunning to behold.




Munich, Germany

Purple rain: lightning flashes over Munich

Photograph: Marcel Kusch/AFP/Getty

There's one tiny trouble with purple rain, mates.  As you have likely surmised, that problem is the purple lightning.




Eastbourne, England

Spectators shelter under a shawl as rain delays play between Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisol at the ATP Aegon tennis tournament

Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Maybe you disagree these women are beautiful but the Rockhouse is bored to bedlam by the runway and red carpet rubes.  However, right away I have a question for these ladies.  How can you be laughing when you're sitting out in the rain and my question is because maybe it's cool and my next question would be may I join you.

We're old and we're cranks at the Rockhouse but we paid the dues and we would much rather see a whole lot less prissy side boob photography and a whole lot more of authentic smiles.



And we have cats ...


Leipzig, Germany

Amur leopard cubs explore their enclosure in the zoo

Photograph: Jens Meyer/AP