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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: Left Coast
Member since: Mon Oct 10, 2016, 07:19 PM
Number of posts: 8,023

About Me

A Reformed Republican who has seen evil and shook its hand. (Nixon) He now spends his time trying to change the world for the better.

Journal Archives

A New Understanding of Herd Immunity

A lengthy and interesting article from the Atlantic. (not behind their normal paywall)

This is a very interesting discussion of the predictive mathematics behind virus spread and herd immunity. The author brings up an interesting point about the initial death spike killing off the weakest in a community. I hadn't thought about that, but he never mentions the second wave that we are currently experiencing which is brought on by the stupidest in society. That aside, it's a lengthy and fascinating article.

Edward Lorenz was just out of college when he was recruited into World War II. He was assigned to be a weather forecaster, despite having no experience in meteorology. What Lorenz knew was math.

So he started experimenting with differential equations, trying to make predictions based on patterns in data on past temperatures and pressures. One day, while testing his system, he repeated a simulation with a few decimals rounded off in the data. To his surprise, a radically different future emerged.

He called this finding “the butterfly effect.” In a complex model, where each day’s weather influences the next day’s, a tweak in initial conditions can have wild downstream consequences. The butterfly effect became central to the emerging field of chaos theory, which has since been applied to economics, sociology, and many other subjects, in attempts to deconstruct complex phenomena. That field is now helping predict the future of the pandemic—in particular, how it ends.

Chaos theory applies neatly to the spread of the coronavirus, in that seemingly tiny decisions or differences in reaction speed can have inordinate consequences. Effects can seem random when, in fact, they trace to discrete decisions made long prior. For example, the United States has surpassed 125,000 deaths from COVID-19. Having suppressed the virus early, South Korea has had only 289. Vietnam’s toll sits at zero. Even when differences from place to place appear random, or too dramatic to pin entirely on a failed national response, they are not.

21 hospitalized with injuries from fire, explosion on USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego

Source: CBS 8 TV, San Diego

Seventeen sailors and four civilians were hospitalized with injuries, according to Navy officials. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

SAN DIEGO — Fire crews continued battling a fire Sunday night onboard a Navy ship at Naval Base San Diego which injured sailors and civilians after it broke out Sunday morning, according to authorities.

At least 21 people were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after the three-alarm fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) was reported around 8:30 a.m., according to officials.

According to the Navy, there were 17 sailors and four civilians injured in the fire. At least 11 of the injuries were minor, according to officials. Many of the sailors were transported to Balboa Naval Medical Center

All sailors injured in the fire and a subsequent explosion were in stable condition as of Sunday evening according to Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck, commander of the Expeditionary Strike Group 3. Most suffered smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. The admiral did not say if any had suffered burn injuries.

Read more: https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/local/uss-bonhomme-richard-on-fire-at-naval-base-san-diego/509-6aec1280-f709-4e88-b9ee-2d393f942467

I finally got done with my yardwork, story now updated.

A friend who works in the local naval shipyard (Bremerton) says that when a ship is being rebuilt, it can be very dangerous. All the crew are trained how to fight a fire on board and will immediately deal with it. Not always the case when in port- crew is often on leave, and civilians doing maintenance are not trained to the ways of shipboard firefighting. The story says there was 160 sailors on board at the time of the first explosion, that seems light to me for a ship that size. Tough fire to get under control.

Article about the albatross

There are some really good articles in BBC about nature from time to time. I found another today, about how the albatross is being used to monitor pirate fishing in the southern hemisphere.

As an offshore sailor, I have admire these birds for many years, though I have never encountered one. The strength and size of these birds is amazing.


Sorry for the shouting title, but that was how the article begins.


Thanks to a new book from President Donald Trump’s niece, Mary, there is now an allegation that as a young high school student, Trump reportedly paid someone to take the SAT test for him so he could gain entry to the University of Pennsylvania:
“Penn’s new policy details the investigation process after potential misconduct is discovered. An investigation can be launched if information is found that confirms or suggests wrongdoing in the process of obtaining the degree. Graduates will have the option to come to an agreement to possibly voluntarily give up the degree, or a formal investigation and hearing will be launched."
“After the launch of the investigation, the graduate in question will be notified in writing of the investigation and the information used to make the decision. The information from the investigation will be summarized and given to the dean of the school that conferred the degree, who will make the final decision on whether to move forward into a hearing.”

I have been trolling the far right

I have been playing a fake RWNJ on social media and after reading that garbage for an hour a day, I feel so slimy. Like I need to shower with bleach. Those people are so evil and they truly believe the bullshit they spew.

I'm not sure I can keep this up.

I fixed the Windows 10 v2004 update problem

I have been having too many issues with Win 10. After it updated my wife's machine and removed her copy of Office I was pissed. She needed to edit some docs NOW, so I bought a new copy of Office 2019 for her and had her up in 30 minutes. It was faster than trying to get through to a knowledgeable tech support person.

Seeing the impending threat of a new "update" to version 2004, I began looking at alternatives. For 3 months I have been using various versions of Linux and I have found one easy enough for my non - tech wife to use. I have used Deepin, Mint, and several Debian variants. I've settled in Ubuntu 20.04LTS and I'm very impressed by the quality of everything.

This will be the end of windows in our house, and I worked for Microsoft at one point.

DFT brags on the economy, Twitter sets him straight


The Law of Classified Information: A Primer

This is a great article on what makes something classified or not. It comes from Lawfare Blog, which does things right, with lots of inline references. It's in depth.
There is no paywall, so read it and enjoy.

The ongoing legal battle over former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book is in large part a fight over classification. The Department of Justice argues that Bolton published classified information in his memoir, “The Room Where It Happened.” Bolton alleges that a career official at the National Security Council had approved his book for publication after several rounds of edits in prepublication review before political appointees reversed her judgment. On June 20, Judge Royce Lamberth denied the government’s motion to block release of the book but determined that “Bolton likely published classified materials”—and could face the loss of his book royalties as a result.

The Bolton debacle provides an opportunity to explain how the classification system—a system that affects some 4 million Americans—really functions: what law governs classification, what kinds of information may be classified, who decides what’s classified and how classification is enforced.

Junco nest on my front porch

They have been coming back every year since 2016.

How Presidents Talk About Deploying the Military in the United States

Lawfare Blog

It's a long and well researched opinion piece. I have copied in the conclusions, but the whole thing is worth the time to read. No paywall, either.

In the post-World War II era, a handful of presidents have sent troops to quell violence sparked by desegregation or systemic racism. But before Trump, presidents deployed federal troops only to enforce federal court orders or support local officials who requested it. Before Trump, in moments of violence and division, presidents called for unity and respect. And before Trump, presidents viewed the decision to send in federal troops not as an opportunity to display force, but as a solemn duty to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.

Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and George H.W. Bush seemed, for various reasons, keenly aware of the dangers of overplaying their hand. Eisenhower, after a distinguished military career, deplored the idea of sending a force trained for war to patrol a local school house. Kennedy wanted to secure a peaceful arrival to university for an American veteran, while negotiating with a governor who came from his own party. Johnson waited for Gov. Romney to use the right words, to make sure he did not overstep his constitutional authority. And Bush intervened only at the request of the governor of California and in the face of mounting evidence that law enforcement alternatives could not keep the people of Los Angeles safe.

Trump, by contrast, has adopted the language of battle. And he has not seemed at all concerned with fundamental constitutional notions of federalism and the rights reserved to states under the U.S. Constitution. Of course, Trump has not taken the final step of deploying the military to the states. But by deploying them cavalierly and in huge numbers in Washington, D.C.—without articulating what authorities he was using and over the objection of local officials—he showed that he is not particularly reticent about taking such a step. Trump’s approach, of course, is consistent with two central themes of his presidency. In moments of division, he peddles conspiracy theories and lashes out against his political opponents. And when it suits him, he pushes aggressively on the outer margins of his presidential authority with little regard for the precedent it sets.
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