Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lazy Self-Deception

The price of living in the FOX News bubble is profound confusion about reality:
Perhaps the main way that self-deception hurt the Republicans is more basic. Because they overstated both the badness of Obamacare and the easiness of replacing it, they got lazy when it came to making policy. Serious policy critiques could easily be swatted away as inconsistent with some bit of magical thinking. If you can cover everyone and lower premiums without having mandates or taxes, why bother to wrestle with the real trade-offs inherent in health care policymaking?

When Too Much is Too Much

Interesting quarrel about benzoates:
Both the NBC and NAFDAC are appealing against the ruling, arguing that the Coca-Cola products do not exceed benzoic acid limits for Nigeria or international limits set by Codex, the international food standards body administered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
"The UK standards limit benzoic acid in soft drinks to a maximum of 150 mg/kg. Both Fanta and Sprite have benzoic levels of 200 mg/kg which is lower than the Nigerian regulatory limit of 250 mg/kg," wrote Sade Morgan, legal, public affairs and communications director of the NBC.

Thinking About Midges

In 2011, I saw fascinating midge swarms on the Interstate 80 Yolo Causeway between Davis and Sacramento, featuring rays and beams of flying insects. The rays were arrayed symmetrically on both sides of the freeway, 60 degrees from the horizontal, and gave the Causeway a majestic, Art Deco flourish. Until I started reading more on the Internet, I didn't realize these swarms are fairly common, especially at higher latitudes in summertime.

I find it fascinating how the midges will anchor themselves and swarm at an angle from a certain spot. Why that spot and why that angle? Inquiring minds want to know. I'm inclined to write a sci-fi story about these choices.

Disproportionate Polar Heating

As Global Warming heats the poles disproportionately, the jet stream weakens, allowing weather patterns to get "stuck" for far too long, aggravating weather disasters:
The study, its authors write, “adds to the weight of evidence for a human influence on the occurrence of devastating events such as the 2003 European heat wave, the 2010 Pakistan flood and Russian heat wave, the 2011 Texas heat wave and recent floods in Europe.”

...The Northern Hemisphere jet stream flows in a wavy pattern from west to east, driven by the rotation of the Earth and the difference in temperature between the equator and the North Pole. The flow is stronger when that temperature difference is large.

But when the Arctic warms up faster than the equator does — which is part of the fundamental definition of global warming, and which is already happening — the jet stream’s flow can become weakened and elongated. That’s when you can get the resultant weather extremes.

Self-Medicating Neanderthals

Neanderthals had varied diets, and apparently knew about medicinal plants:
"We found that the Neandertals from Spy Cave consumed woolly rhinoceros and European wild sheep, supplemented with wild mushrooms," says Professor Alan Cooper, Director of ACAD. "Those from El Sidrón Cave on the other hand showed no evidence for meat consumption, but appeared instead to have a largely vegetarian diet, comprising pine nuts, moss, mushrooms and tree bark -- showing quite different lifestyles between the two groups."

"One of the most surprising finds, however, was in a Neandertal from El Sidrón, who suffered from a dental abscess visible on the jawbone. The plaque showed that he also had an intestinal parasite that causes acute diarrhoea, so clearly he was quite sick. He was eating poplar, which contains the pain killer salicylic acid (the active ingredient of aspirin), and we could also detect a natural antibiotic mould (Penicillium) not seen in the other specimens."

Odd Granular Behavior on Titan

Like packing peanuts:
"If you grabbed piles of grains and built a sand castle on Titan, it would perhaps stay together for weeks due to their electrostatic properties," said Josef Dufek, the Georgia Tech professor who co-led the study. "Any spacecraft that lands in regions of granular material on Titan is going to have a tough time staying clean. Think of putting a cat in a box of packing peanuts."

The electrification findings may help explain an odd phenomenon. Prevailing winds on Titan blow from east to west across the moon's surface, but sandy dunes nearly 300 feet tall seem to form in the opposite direction.

"These electrostatic forces increase frictional thresholds," said Josh Méndez Harper, a Georgia Tech geophysics and electrical engineering doctoral student who is the paper's lead author. "This makes the grains so sticky and cohesive that only heavy winds can move them. The prevailing winds aren't strong enough to shape the dunes."

Republican Success

A hard journey, but successful:
WASHINGTON—Telling Americans this was the kind of leadership and accountability they could expect from the GOP, congressional Republicans held a press conference Monday to celebrate making good on their 2009 promise to block the president’s healthcare bill. “Eight years ago, our party made a solemn pledge to do everything in our power to ensure that a healthcare bill put forth by the president of the United States did not become law, and through our actions last week, that is exactly what we have done,” said Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy....

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Disney's 2017 "Beauty and the Beast"

Excellent show! Best Disney film I've seen (made me tear up several times). I liked their new songs. I think we were all surprised, though, by the absence of 'Human Again' and 'Maison d'Lune.'

What Happens in Santa Cruz....

Saw this in the Arden Fair Shopping Mall parking lot.

Gleeful Democrats

GOP falls on its face:
Other Democrats seemed content to rub in the victory.

"Hey Republicans, don't worry, that burn is covered under the Affordable Care Act," tweeted Bob Menendez, a Democratic senator from New Jersey.

Postgraduate Cylinder

Dank Rapunzel

Teed Up Ryan's health Care Bill

Ryan's problem is the exact same problem that bedeviled John Boehner when he was Speaker of the House. Which means, when conservatives and radical conservatives split, then the only way to get a deal is to work with Democrats. Ryan needs to pull the Obamacare Repeal in order to fortify Obamacare, not repeal it, with the aid of Democrats.

Democrats run this show. Trump needs to raise the budget ceiling soon. What will he concede to get a deal? Let's find out!

We wouldn't want Trump to lose again now, would we?:
But on Wednesday, once it became clear that the bill wouldn’t have the votes otherwise, Donald Trump signed off on adding that portion. Once that was negotiable, all hell broke loose. It became perfectly clear why Ryan never wanted to go down this path of negotiating the “off-limits” portions of the bill. You don’t just risk blowing up your Congressional Budget Office score. More and more of the already reluctant moderates begin to bail on the bill while conservatives, smelling blood, only demand more concessions. This is precisely what happened on Thursday afternoon, causing a surprise delay of a scheduled vote. Members will only say that negotiations are still “ongoing.” But going where?


Pig and Emu Babies

Love the Dancehall!

Land Park Murder

Separated by just three miles and three degrees of separation from this family. Wonder what happened?:
Four people were found dead Thursday morning inside a home in Sacramento’s South Land Park neighborhood, a normally quiet area of tree-lined streets and mid-century ranch houses. Police detained a man in San Francisco in connection with what they called a quadruple homicide.

Gravity Wave Clouds Imaged By Mars Rover

Awesome video!:
Using Curiosity’s navigation camera, Moores and Kloos recorded eight-frame movies of this wispy cloud belt for two martian years. They’ve used two angles to capture the clouds: one pointed directly up, to see wind direction and speed, and another that keeps the rover’s horizon in the frame, allowing a view into the clouds’ depth. The captured clouds are so thin as to be invisible without painstaking computer enhancement, Kloos said in his presentation Tuesday.

...Given the limited water vapor, solar energy, and atmosphere, the martian clouds lack the variety of shapes seen on Earth. But during one day of cloud gazing—Curiosity’s 1302th martian day, to be precise—the team got lucky and saw something unusual. That day, when Curiosity looked to the horizon, it saw a sequence of straight, parallel rows of clouds flowing in the same direction: the first ground-based view of a gravity wave cloud. Similar to the waves that follow a pebble tossed into a pond, gravity waves are created when some unknown feature of the martian landscape causes a ripple in the atmosphere that is then seen in clouds. Such waves are common at the edge of the martian ice caps, but thought to be less frequent over its equator.

Shiver Me Parrots!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Still Competitive

We were well on the way to having the rainiest year on record at Sacramento Executive Airport (which has been measuring rainfall since 1941). Then, we had a month with virtually no rain. "There goes the record," I thought. But we are still competitive, despite the month-long break in rainfall. We'll be close!


Buyer's Remorse

Really? How is it people are so stupid? What did you THINK was going to happen?:
Moss trusted Trump.

"I truly believe from the heart that (Trump) is going to do everything he can. He's going to create treatment centers for the kids," he said last year.

But last week, Moss read about the proposed American Health Care Act. The Republican bill would end the Obamacare requirement that addiction services and mental health treatment be covered under Medicaid in the 31 states that expanded the health care program -- which include Moss' home state of New York.

"This bill would devastate efforts to address the opioid crisis," said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "There's no question this legislation in the House of Representatives would cost American lives."

David Trott's Hot Mic Moment

This would be hilarious, if it wasn't so sad:
At around the 6-minute mark in the video below, you can hear Trott’s aide say, “We’re going to take that part where they’re booing funding the military and I’m gonna get somebody to write a story and we’re going to promote the shit out of that. It’s un-American crap.” He’s referring to the fact that the crowd booed him when he called the American military “the weakest it’s ever been” and for saying he supports increased military funding immediately after saying how much he enjoys meeting with groups like the Rare Diseases Association who are all asking for more funding (see video in Update 3 below.) Later in the video, Trott asks if they “bounced” any questions. His aide confirms they did.

Trump is Owned by Putin-Connected Russian Mob Bosses

This is what it all boils down to:
Human rights lawyer Scott Horton, whose work in the region goes back to defending Andrei Sakharov and other Soviet dissidents, has gone through a series of studies by the Financial Times to show how funds from Russian crime lords bailed Trump out after yet anther bankruptcy. The conclusions are stark:
Among the powerful facts that DNI missed were a series of very deep studies published in the [Financial Times] that examined the structure and history of several major Trump real estate projects from the last decade—the period after his seventh bankruptcy and the cancellation of all his bank lines of credit. ...

The money to build these projects flowed almost entirely from Russian sources. In other words, after his business crashed, Trump was floated and made to appear to operate a successful business enterprise through the infusion of hundreds in millions of cash from dark Russian sources.
He was their man.

Silly Brain

My sleeping brain wants to entertain me with a little-known Alfred Hitchcock movie set in the empty lobby of a San Francisco hotel. My brain doesn't know much about either Alfred Hitchcock or San Francisco, so it's making up a lot of shit about Cary Grant, casinos, blondes, and dirt bikes.

Grabbing With Many, Tiny Hands

Don't Be Like Arizona

Art Censorship

An atmosphere of fear:
Cuban artist and creative director Erik Ravelo is used to having his artwork censored. He was, after all, the man behind United Colors of Benetton’s UnHate campaign, which featured doctored photos of world leaders making out.

Yet his newest project, a personal artwork unrelated to his career as a creative director, has managed to spark even more controversy “I had people writing me, threatening me,” he said in a phone conversation with the Huffington Post. “At first the project was fun but it got a little out of hand.”

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Multiplication Trick

I guess Twitter is useful for something.

Glaciers Shudder in the Anthropocene

No Question, I'm A Nerd

I'm way over on the right.
geek - An enthusiast of a particular topic or field. Geeks are “collection” oriented, gathering facts and mementos related to their subject of interest. They are obsessed with the newest, coolest, trendiest things that their subject has to offer.

nerd - A studious intellectual, although again of a particular topic or field. Nerds are “achievement” oriented, and focus their efforts on acquiring knowledge and skill over trivia and memorabilia.

Stupid Baby

Academia Ails

Trying to get back to common sense:

As I say, this is well known. There’s even a term for it in social theory: reflexivity. And yet we persist in doing idiot things that can only possibly have this result:
  • Assessing school-teachers on the improvement their kids show in tests between the start and end of the year (which obviously results in their doing all they can depress the start-of-year tests).
  • Assessing researchers by the number of their papers (which can only result in slicing into minimal publishable units).
  • Assessing them — heaven help us — on the impact factors of the journals their papers appear in (which feeds the brand-name fetish that is crippling scholarly communication).
  • Assessing researchers on whether their experiments are “successful”, i.e. whether they find statistically significant results (which inevitably results in p-hacking and HARKing).

What’s the solution, then?

I’ve been reading the excellent blog of economist Tim Harford, for a while. That arose from reading his even more excellent book The Undercover Economist (Harford 2007), which gave me a crash-course in the basics of how economies work, how markets help, how they can go wrong, and much more. I really can’t say enough good things about this book: it’s one of those that I feel everyone should read, because the issues are so important and pervasive, and Harford’s explanations are so clear.
In a recent post, Why central bankers shouldn’t have skin in the game, he makes this point:
The basic principle for any incentive scheme is this: can you measure everything that matters? If you can’t, then high-powered financial incentives will simply produce short-sightedness, narrow-mindedness or outright fraud. If a job is complex, multifaceted and involves subtle trade-offs, the best approach is to hire good people, pay them the going rate and tell them to do the job to the best of their ability.

Shadow of Contrail Above on Cloud Deck Below

The cloud deck is thick enough that you can't see the contrail. You have to infer its presence.

They Call Me Mr. Gumby

"The Fool On The Hill"

Just Right!

A River's Humanity

Long revered by New Zealand's Maori people, the river's interests will now be represented by two people.

The Maori had been fighting for over 160 years to get this recognition for their river, a minister said.

"I know the initial inclination of some people will say it's pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality," said New Zealand's Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson.

"But it's no stranger than family trusts, or companies or incorporated societies."

The Whanganui River, New Zealand's third-longest, will be represented by one member from the Maori tribes, known as iwi, and one from the Crown.

The recognition allows it to be represented in court proceedings.

Funny How That Works

Throw Care To The Wind!

When You Know Too Much About a Subject

I don't believe there's a bus station west of Santa Fe:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Killing People For The Sake of Convenience

The GOP has a huge incentive to repeal Obamacare no matter how many people get hurt, and how much of a humanitarian crisis results. Geezers are the only thing standing in the way of the GOP's true goal:
Congressional budget rules exempt certain tax and spending bills from filibusters, but only if they don’t incur long-term deficits.
... As George W. Bush–era Republicans learned, if you use the budget rules to pass a large deficit-financed tax cut, the tax cut will eventually expire.

Repealing Obamacare offers Republicans a way out of that trap, because it pairs eliminating (or indefinitely delaying) all of the ACA’s progressive tax increases with gutting the financial assistance the law provides to help millions of people afford care. ...This filibuster-proof tax cut, in other words, would be permanent.

...If Republicans wanted to cut taxes on the rich, they could cut taxes on the rich....These millions of uninsured serve only to make the giant GOP tax cut for the rich permanent, as opposed to merely 10 years long.

Be Sure To Count The Cost Savings From All The Dead

The CBO certainly has a dark side, but numbers are numbers. Social Security outlays will drop $3 billion next year because 17,000 people will die next year, who otherwise wouldn't, because of Trumpcare implementation:
Approximately 17,000 people could die in 2018 who otherwise would have lived if a House Republican health proposal endorsed by the Trump administration becomes law. By 2026, the number of people killed by Trumpcare could grow to approximately 29,000 in that year alone.


Low-income older people are about to be screwed to the wall by Trumpcare. Daily Kos notes "In Nebraska’s Chase County, a 62-year-old currently earning about $18,000 a year could pay nearly $20,000 annually to get health-insurance coverage under the House GOP plan—compared with about $760 a year that person would owe toward premiums under the ACA." Younger people would fare better. Still, guess who votes:
There are lots of losers under the Republican plan to replace Obamacare, but perhaps nobody would suffer as badly as older Americans who live just above or around the poverty line. According to the new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, that group could see its insurance premiums rise by 750 percent within a decade under the House GOP's American Health Care Act, compared with what they'd pay under current law for more comprehensive coverage.

Yes, 750 percent. That's not a typo. That devastating increase is spelled out in the table below, in which the CBO models how premiums might change for Americans of different ages and incomes under the legislation Republicans have proposed. With Obamacare, a 64-year-old earning $26,500 per year in 2026—175 percent of the poverty line—would have to pay $1,700 for insurance, after tax credits. That plan would cover 87 percent of their medical costs, on average. Under the AHCA, or Trumpcare, that same person would owe a full $14,600 after tax credits for a plan that only covers 65 percent of their medical costs.

2017's Oak Leaves

Intriguing Wrinkle on the 2014 Michael Brown Shooting

I've always been mystified by the explanations of Michael Brown's conduct, but this better explains why he was doing what he was doing, especially if the morning clerks weren't the same as the nighttime clerks. Then the shooting becomes something like the Titanic: a series of small mistakes and miscommunications that end up in a tragedy:
A previously unreleased video sheds new light on the final hours of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014. The surveillance video is unrelated to the police stop that resulted in Officer Darren Wilson shooting and killing Brown. The newly released footage from a security camera at Ferguson Market and Liquor does, however, add insight to a video released shortly after Brown’s death that appeared to show Brown physically manhandling workers at the convenience store and stealing cigarillos shortly before his fatal altercation with Wilson later that day.

...The footage shows Brown going to the store around 1 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2014, the day he was shot, and appears to add context to Brown’s relationship with the store clerks and his interactions with them 12 hours later.

From the New York Times:
Jason Pollock, a documentary filmmaker who acquired the new tape, says the footage challenges the police narrative that Mr. Brown committed a strong-armed robbery when he returned to the store around noon that day. Instead, Mr. Pollock believes that the new video shows Mr. Brown giving a small bag of marijuana to store employees and receiving cigarillos in return as part of a negotiated deal. Mr. Pollock said Mr. Brown left the cigarillos behind the counter for safekeeping … But Jay Kanzler, a lawyer for the convenience store and its employees, strongly disputes that version of events, and said the new footage is unrelated to Mr. Brown’s later visit to the store.

Eureka! Some Progress on a Thread of Thought I Started Back at NM Tech

Place names are important. For 42 years I've suffered, wondering what they called this one place. Tonight, I learn it's called LA 575. That's a start....

Just Skate

Talking To A Raven

An xkcd Moment

Monday, March 13, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

D.O. Mills Building Will Be a Food Zone

Sounds like fun!:
Construction crews are at work inside the five-story building. When finished, planners say, the soaring ground floor that once served as a bank lobby will house a 33-foot-long bar and space for up to a dozen eateries/kiosks, featuring local chefs and recognizable names among the food purveyors.

A mezzanine will form the second level, with window views of downtown and access to another bar featuring specially crafted cocktails, champagne and fine wines. The basement – where two old bank vaults still dominate the space – will become a taproom packed with locally produced brews, plus plentiful, wall-mounted flat-screen TVs.

Significant space is being built to host private events, including the closed-to-the-public roof garden.

“The idea was to create something that is unique in its own right, not just in Sacramento,” project spokesman Patrick Harbison said during a tour of the building this week.

What Do They Do Down There On The Hopi Reservation Anyway?

I always look out the window when I fly anywhere, which is why I noticed this odd pattern while flying across northeast Arizona on Valentine's Day.

Look at those parallel strips! I got excited. Might this be modern Hopi religious expression? The strips are aligned north-south, mirroring Ancestral Pueblo parallel roads at Chaco Canyon. Oooo-weee-oooh!

Things looked murkier the closer I look, though. This land is Hopi Grazing Unit 568, near the eastern boundary of the Hopi Reservation. The strips aren't quite north-south. Strips maintain integrity despite crossing fences at oblique angles. Sagebrush-light strips are 175 feet across; sagebrush-dense strips are slightly-wider, at 180 feet across. And livestock trails riddle the landscape.

Why would anyone alternate sagebrush-light strips with sagebrush-dense strips? What possible benefit for what must have been a lot of exacting work?

I doubt there's any subject as subtle as rural land use.

Thursday Night Dancehall Fun

I Stop Parking in My Accustomed Spot at Work For a Few Months

And look what happens!:

Coming Soon: Big Fitness Fundraiser On Saturday

So, Get It Done Already!

Timothy Dimal's "The Greatest Hits Collection"

Ever since sales of Timothy Dimal's "The Greatest Hits Collection" starting spiking across Northern California, people have been asking: 'What is the secret of his success?' Is it his screaming mob of tween admirers? No. Is it his silken voice and suave demeanor? No. Is it because his agent relies heavily on a tool-of-the-trade that rhymes with 'Crayola'? No.

The unknown fact that has powered this locomotive of musical ambition off every trestle in Northern California is that THIS schmo took the album cover photo (just drop me a message for your album-cover needs).

Feeling Hungry

I'm as Dense as a Box of Doorknobs

My sister gave me a copy of Bob Odenkirk's book "A Load of Hooey" more than a year ago, but I didn't look closely at it until today:

Open Up Your Reading Habits

"Access" is Bullshit

As Josh Marshall says, "Access" is bullshit. What counts is "Coverage". And given the sharp reduction in money proposed to be spent, what's coming now is a whole lot of worthless "Access":
Here is the simple secret of health insurance and health care provision policy: You can create efficiencies and savings by constructing functioning markets. But at the end of the day, more money equals more care. Or in the proxy we judge these things by, more money means more people are insured. If you see a plan that costs a lot less money than Obamacare, it means many fewer people will be covered. It's as simple as that.

Creepy Chopper

California Cattle Rustling?

Californians doing weird shit:
Officers responding Saturday along a mountain pass in Southern California's Riverside County discovered a calf trying to escape from a Honda Civic's open trunk.

Another calf was crammed into the floor of the backseat. Both calves' hooves were tied.

Investigators say the driver was nowhere to be found. The car is registered to an address in Tulare County, more than 250 miles away.

Authorities said Monday that the vehicle had not been reported stolen. It's been impounded as evidence.

You Can't Fight The Chicken

The Uncanny Mountain

I was trying to understand how I got so wrapped up in "Breaking Bad". I think it's because I no longer live there, so the city is slightly unfamiliar. At the same time, I know it fairly well.

Vince Gilligan's Albuquerque is a nearly-perfect simulacrum of the city. It constantly surprises the viewer with its filming locations, and seems to be saying that even familiar places are not at all what you thought them to be, but contain hidden menace around every corner. The places scream "Stay alert to your surroundings!"

In many ways, it's the inverse of the "Uncanny Valley". More like an "Uncanny Mountain". In other contexts, it's been noted elsewhere.

For example, with regards to geeky humor, "xkcd" has a cartoon about the "Uncanny Mountain":

Getting Impatient, Waiting For "Personal Shopper"

I can't wait until "Personal Shopper" arrives. The Assayas-Stewart collaboration is producing the best movies of this century:
In the role, Stewart doesn’t act so much as inhabit a persona. She’s a full-body actor, her hands and arms and shoulders and back working as hard as her mouth and her eyes. As Maureen, Stewart broadcasts a crushing insecurity, a discomfort with even the simple act of being alive; she’s constantly opening beers and brewing coffees and then leaving them behind unconsumed. (The only liquid we see her drink with any ease is straight vodka.) During the film’s most frightening scene, she’s practically animalistic, reacting to a spectral threat like a dog might; the scene ends with her curled up on the ground. It’s a committed performance, but more than that, it’s a deeply felt one. The movie deliberately blurs the line between Stewart and Maureen, leaving her tattoos uncovered and dressing her in a style reminiscent of how she dresses in real life. In interviews, Assayas has been giving Stewart co-authorship of the film, and it’s not hard to see why.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Coming Slaughter

An initial look at the Republican health care bill suggest that not only will 7 million people lose insurance in the individual insurance market (i.e., Obamacare), but another 20 million people will lose employer-provided health insurance. Basically, most people who earn less than an average income will lose health coverage altogether, since the incentives for employers to make health insurance available will evaporate.:

Monday, March 06, 2017

Trump the Dictator Has Started Stripping Away the Rights of American Citizens

A slippery slide to hell:
Originally from Pakistan, Khizr Khan has been a US citizen for 30 years. His family made the ultimate sacrifice for America when his son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in service in Iraq.

Reports indicate that Mr. Khan has had to cancel a speaking engagement in Canada this week because his travel “privileges” are being “reviewed” by the US Government.

Nugent Brasher's "Exploring the Coronado Trail - A Case Study For Historians"

I'm so pleased! Nugent Brasher, the opinionated petroleum geologist who has been making huge waves this century in American archaeology with his efforts to pin down the exact location of the 1540-41 Coronado Trail in the American Southwest, has just published a new article in the New Mexico Historical Review (Volume 92, Number 1, Winter 2017, pp. 21-52) entitled: "Exploring the Coronado Trail - A Case Study For Historians". (Available for a fee at the NMHR website.)

I posted in 2007 about Brasher, and the clever way he associated Coronado's fabled ruin of Chichilticale with Kuykendall Ruins in Arizona. The connection eluded historians for many decades. A Eureka moment if there ever was one! There are other Coronado Trail hunters out there too (e.g., Buck Wells), and they seem to be gravitating towards a new consensus that the Coronado Trail passed from Arizona into New Mexico to Hidden Valley along the Gila River, following Blue Creek and the San Francisco River north. More direct routes to Hawikuh through Sheldon, Arizona, or farther west, are now in disfavor, simply because there isn't enough water on those routes. The huge size of the Coronado expedition meant they had to follow the water, no matter what. And now, there is some physical evidence to support the Hidden Valley/Blue Creek route - the discovery of 16th-Century artifacts: a belt buckle at Hidden Valley and an aglet on the Minnie Bell Ranch.

Brasher's new work is mostly a historiographic study of his methods: reading the original documents in Spanish rather than possibly-misleading translations, walking the ground, drawing on trail-walking experience in the third world, talking to ranch owners and others with intimate knowledge of the landscape on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border, making maps, building visualization software, and rating leads in order of importance. Brasher's (unstated) opinion seems to be that people who don't look for Coronado's Trail using the methods of petroleum geologists, or methods very similar, are a special breed of idiot. Brasher's right, you know!

Italian Importing Company Will Close Soon

These guys are two doors down from where I worked. An excellent store!

Nevertheless, I had an awkward relationship with them. I'm not a foodie and I know little about Italy. Not an auspicious start. By the time I started patronizing them they were all crusty old guys, and I was too. There is a reason customer-service businesses prefer to use young people. "What's this?" I'd ask, and they'd all roll their eyes.
Best known for her research into local culinary history, Burns traces Italian Importing Co. back to Mazzuchi Bros., a noodle and ravioli company at 622 J St. that opened in 1905. She says it was common in those days, especially for Italians, to have brothers form a food business, including Corti Brothers. Italian Importing changed hands several times, but the business has run uninterrupted to this day.

Drive-By Shooting Nearby

Within walking distance of my house:
Four men injured in a drive-by shooting Saturday night in Oak Park are expected to survive, Sacramento police said Sunday.

The men were shot after stepping outside of a quinceañera at a school on 33rd Street, according to police spokesman Matt McPhail.

The victims were transported to a hospital, with two men suffering from life-threatening injuries. By Sunday, all four looked as if they would recover from their wounds, though one victim’s condition was “touch and go,” McPhail said.

The shootings occurred at 7:31 p.m. Saturday in front of the Aspire Capitol Heights Academy and the Immaculate Conception Parish. By midday Sunday, there was no evidence of the violence the night before. Parishioners milled around the church’s parking lot, eating food and conversing.

Donald Trump Keeps Kicking the Beehive

Now everyone can speak on the record:
If I were to try to document all the evidence that the intelligence community sought to surveil associates of Trump during the campaign, it would make this too long of a post, so I’ll try to do that in a follow-up piece. For now, I’ll just point you to reporting done by Louise Mencsh at Heat Street, Paul Wood at the BBC, and Julian Borger at the Guardian, all of which supports the idea that there was a FISA court warrant issued in October to look at connections between the Russians and members or associates of the Trump campaign.

...Whether or not a FISA Court warrant was issued in mid-October or not may be relevant to what Trump has claimed, both as to whether surveillance occurred and whether it was illegal. But the broader question of surveillance during the campaign shouldn’t be in question. What, after all, do you call a task force that “included six agencies or departments of government” that was set up (in April or shortly thereafter) to look into allegations of collusion?

It’s obvious that collusion is suspected and even believed as an article of faith within a broad segment of the intelligence community, and they’ve been leaking like a sieve about it for months because they’re desperate to keep the investigation alive. But, until Trump invited this congressional investigation, none of these folks had permission or the ability to speak on the record or to testify as to what they know or suspect.

Republican TBD

Damned Elves

We have a lot more than one choice:

Sent to Flood the World

Maybe a transplanted Californian:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)– Police say a man who claimed he was trying to flood the world was arrested Friday night.

According to a criminal complaint, the resident of a home near Lomas and Central called police saying an intruder was flooding his patio with a garden hose.

The resident reported the man was in his underwear and claiming to be an angel sent to flood the world.

The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Obama Has Scissors!

Stephen King knows how to do this:
He followed up by saying, “Obama tapped Trump’s phones IN PERSON! Went in wearing a Con Ed coverall. Michelle stood guard while O spliced the lines. SAD!”

And concluded, “Trump should know OBAMA NEVER LEFT THE WHITE HOUSE! He’s in the closet! HE HAS SCISSORS!”

Wistful Memories of Sean Spicer's Good Ol' Days....

Back when he had some clout:
But alas, glory fades. Today’s beloved Easter Bunny becomes tomorrow’s despised, trembling poodle, kicked with disgust by its owner into the foyer to yap futilely at solicitors. No doubt there are times when Sean Spicer still closes his eyes and wishes he were back strapped inside that deliciously suffocating, vision-obstructing, fur bondage suit, where he finally feels loved.

There is No Atrocity Worse than a Geographical Atrocity

"J.Crew's New Mexico T-shirt is a geographical atrocity":
J.Crew has other state-themed T-shirts. Maine, for example, has moose and lobsters and canoes all over the place. Fine, probably accurate, who cares. California has the Golden Gate Bridge generally near where the Golden Gate Bridge is. The cities and lakes of Florida are meticulously identified, all in their correct places.

...But New Mexico? Eh, throw those landmarks wherever the hell. No one lives there anyway.

Nay — we, the downtrodden chile eaters, shall not be silent. We demand respect, J.Crew! J.Crew will not defeat us!!!!

A Good Analogy