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Posts from — April 2017

ANZAC Day

Australia & New Zealand flags

It is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, which is similar to the American Veterans Day, in that it began as a remembrance of World War I, and has become more generalized over the years.

“Anzac Day commemorates the involvement of Australian and New Zealand troops in a World War I campaign on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey.”

The Gallipoli Campaign began as a Winston Churchill [then First Lord of the Admiralty] plan that spun out of control and got a lot of people killed on both sides with nothing much changing, but then, that was quite common in World War I.

Peter Weir made a movie, Gallipoli, which, if nothing else, proves that Sergeant Alvin York, and T.E. Lawrence weren’t the only people who fought in World War I.

[Note: The date is April 25 which April 24 in the US because of the time difference.]

April 24, 2017   No Comments

Weekend Update

Macron and Le Pen through to run-off:

The centrist Emmanuel Macron will face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a run-off for the French presidency on 7 May, near-final results show.

With 96% of votes counted from Sunday’s first round, Mr Macron has 23.9% with Ms Le Pen on 21.4%.

Macron is a centrist banker who has never run for political office before. Le Pen is “une Trumpette“, a populist, Putin loving, EU hating wingnut. The losing candidates seem to be united in telling their voters to vote for Macron.

In science news: Aurora photographers find new night sky lights and call them “Steve”

Testing showed it appeared to be a hot stream of fast-flowing gas in the higher reaches of the atmosphere.

The European Space Agency (ESA) sent electric field instruments to measure it 300km (190 miles) above the surface of the Earth and found the temperature of the air was 3,000C (5,400F) hotter inside the gas stream than outside it.

Inside, the 25km-wide ribbon of gas was flowing at 6 km/s (13,000mph), 600 times faster than the air on either side.

Feeling that some people would reject plain old “Steve”, one of the people in the Twitter exchange offered “Sudden Thermal Emission from Velocity Enhancement” or STEVE for the purple ribbon of light. [It sounds scientific, right?]

April 23, 2017   No Comments

Saint George’s Day

Cross of St. George

Saint George is the patron saint of England, Georgia [the country], Bulgaria, Portugal, Catalonia, and the city of Moscow. Orthodox countries tend to celebrate George on November 23rd.

PETA condemns George for his senseless slaughter of dragons. The YWCA condemns the condemnation and wants to know when PETA is going to volunteer to be DragonChow™

It is UNESCO’s International Day of the Book.

It is also the birth and death day of Billy the Bard, who was a great writer in desperate need of a spelling checker.

Master Shakespeare gave all of the best lines to villains supplying low humor to those who have read the Folio, e.g. Arlen Specter quoting Iago, reputedly in support of Clarence Thomas.

April 23, 2017   No Comments

Whatever You’ve Heard, The Truth is Worse

Ex-Florida senator who used racial slur hired Hooters, Playboy models:

The Miami Herald reports Saturday that state records show that Frank Artiles’ PAC, Veterans for Conservative Principals, had paid former Hooters model Heather Thomas $2,000 and former Playboy model Brittney Singletary $1,500. They were listed as consultants.

This guy is a former Florida state senator because he used the racial slur while talking to two black female Florida state senators. IOW: a standard issue family values Republican politician, like the recently resigned former governor of Alabama, Robert J. Bentley.

April 22, 2017   8 Comments

March for Science

March for Science logo

This Earth Day many people joined a March for Science as a counterweight to the ‘alternate facts’ favored by the Drumpf administration. Willful ignorance is leading the nation on the wrong path.

Crooks & Liars features some of the signs seen at marches.

April 22, 2017   4 Comments

Show A Little Respect

Momma Earth

She’s the only planet we have, if we blow it, we can’t pack up and move.

Wikipedia has an Earth Day entry, with links to other sites.

April 22, 2017   No Comments

Unintended Humor

From the CBC: WestJet to launch ‘ultra low-cost’ no-frills carrier. So they talk about a relatively low ticket price that keeps getting higher if you want “frills”. Given that almost every airline charges for luggage, and a guaranteed seat, and food and drinks, what exactly makes the new airline “no frills”? Are they going to have military sling seats along the side and cargo on pallets in the center of the aircraft? Will you have to wear a harness that will allow them to suspend you from rails in the cabin until it is crammed full or maximum weight has been reached?

What new indignity can they impose on the traveling public that will result in people willing to pay to avoid it? Come on, all airlines have become ‘no frill’. The only difference is how much they charge you for the abuse you receive when going from point A to point B.

April 20, 2017   9 Comments

This & That

The site was down for a while due to emergency maintenance by my host. They had a server failing and had to shift some stuff. It is very rare and quickly fixed.

Meanwhile the US accuses Iran of ‘alarming provocations’ for not following US policy in the Middle East and supporting Shi’ia Muslims through out the region. Oh, they are abiding by the conditions of their nuclear agreement, but Rex Tillerman doesn’t like that they do things the US doesn’t like.

The Pentagon addresses confusion over the location of the USS Carl Vinson strike group. The aircraft carrier group is heading down to a scheduled exercise with the Australian navy before heading up to intimidate North Korea … or not.

It finally happened: Fox News fires Bill O’Reilly after a pattern of harassment claims. When Fox fired Roger Ailes for his sexual harassment problem, O’Reilly should have seen the writing on the wall. The age when women would put up with this crap are over, and not dealing with it is getting expensive.

Theresa May got her wish: General election campaigning begins as MPs back June poll. Ms May feels that she needs a ‘mandate’ to deal with the Brexit negotiations, and thinks she can win more seats than the Tories currently have. If she is wrong, things are going to get even messier for the UK.

April 19, 2017   3 Comments

Stuff

As the new tenant has taken over most of the work in the apartment I get to shift my focus to emptying and removing a ‘super single’ waterbed which requires special sheets and is too big for one and too small for two. I decided against simply taking my Buck General in there and slashing the sucker, but it took all day to get most of the water out using siphoning.

Once that’s out of the way I will build a platform for a full size mattress so people can stay without getting seasick, and I don’t have to pay for the heater.

April 18, 2017   2 Comments

Happy Easter

Easter Eggs

This is what happens when you have small children – you dye your kitchen.

Yes, the festival of Easter, goddess of the Spring, is celebrated this time of year with the traditional symbols of fertility, the egg and the rabbit, by the people who settled around the Baltic Sea – the Teutons, Slavs, Finns, Prussians, Letts, et al. It is a festival of plenty after the hardships of winter, with the promise of new growth.

Of course, later groups took the celebration and turned it to other purposes, but I doubt Easter minds.

I celebrated by buying stuff to rehab an apartment. Everyone has their own way of observing holidays.

April 16, 2017   5 Comments

Tax Day

Friday Cat Blogging

Property and Excise are 10 today.

The traditional theme music for the day on YouTube.

April 15, 2017   4 Comments

Just Look At The Picture

An open thread illustration for Crooks & Liars.

Meanwhile ISIS claims that the MOAB only caused minor damage: “It’s just a flesh wound”.

April 14, 2017   2 Comments

A Big Ugly Mother

The BBC reports US military drops ‘mother of all bombs on IS’ in Afghanistan and provides a video of them blowing up nothing out at Range 70 on Eglin AFB.

I located a History channel video of the test with more explanation of what the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb is: a 30 feet long aluminum tube, about 3½ feet in diameter and packed with 11 tons of TNT. It is carried by an MC-130 of AF Special Operations Command and deployed out the rear ramp.

I was 15 miles away when they tested the thing down here and I could feel it as well as hear it. It is a very special purpose anti-personnel weapon that is only really effective in canyons or tunnels networks.

April 13, 2017   3 Comments

A Puzzlement

When did airlines stop sorting out overbooking at the gate and start doing it after the passengers were on board with carry-on luggage stored in the overhead bins? It is a lot easier to deal with problems in the open space of the gate area than trying to remove someone from the restrictive space of an aircraft cabin.

I’m getting the feeling that the flight was overbooked; people were boarded until all of the seats were filled; and then the four United employees showed up needing a seat. If the airline knew they needed four seats for a crew, they should have filled those seats first, and then start boarding paying passengers.

I realize that flying is now considered a privilege that requires you to submit to annoying/humiliating security theater, and you have almost no rights after putting out a considerable amount of money. This is why CEOs want a corporate airplane – so they don’t have to put up with this crap.

I was fortunate enough to have done most of my flying on commercial aircraft when even tourist class got real silverware to eat with, and the food was delivered by people who were smiling and seemingly enjoying their jobs. When flights were overbooked, airline employees seemed to be genuinely sorry about the problem and worked to get you on another flight. Today passengers are no longer customers, but simply objects to be moved from point A to point B when it is convenient for the corporation.

Update: Wikipedia has a decent summary of the event and the United contractor, Repulic Airlines flying as United Express, whose employees were responsible for this situation.

April 12, 2017   2 Comments