Saturday, October 29, 2016

"What You Gotta Do"

Michael Albright is a North Carolina filmmaker who is attracted to mental disturbances and disorder, so naturally he became interested in this year's election. (He also filmed what is still the world's best "Breaking Bad" tribute short film.)

Michael's new film focuses on a professional making an important decision (not much different from that an undecided voter will make on Nov. 8th).

Help support Michael's new film by voting the week of November 1-8 to send it to the 2017 International Audience Awards Film Festival at the Laemmle Theater in North Hollywood.

Vimeo link. Synopsis:
Blessed and cursed with an extraordinary ability, Leroy is confronted with a decision that will dictate his future. "What You Gotta Do" is a humble take on a superhero origin story that incorporates elements of horror and film noir. Political commentary weaves together with plot, building to a powerful crescendo.

Comey's Mysterious Career Suicide

Mystified as to why, after a long and successful career, FBI Director James Comey committed career suicide by ignoring everyone's advice and decided to mess with the election. Over E-Mails that apparently have already been logged and that weren't from Hillary's server. Everyone with any sense is fleeing Comey, leaving him absolutely and utterly alone to face howling Potomac winds, without even a dog for a friend. It's a mystery. Buh-bye, James Comey. Nice to know you.

Having an "Eraserhead" Kind of Morning

It must be near Halloween. Having an "Eraserhead" kind of morning. Even breakfast is suspect. One egg; two yolks.

Banner October Rainfall in Sacramento

So far at Sacramento Executive Airport, 3.59 inches of rain have fallen in October, more than any other October since 1941, except the 7.51 inches that fell in October, 1962. Only January and February are typically wetter than this month has been.

The story is the same even when comparing Sac Exec's 3.59 inches with data gathered at the older monitoring site for Sacramento (since 1849 - these days, at a site near Sac State). 2016 is the fourth wettest October on record. Only the years 1962 (6.85"), 1889 (6.02"), and 1899 (4.46") have been wetter. 2016 slightly-exceeds 1876 (3.45").

The radical climatic swing of the last few years appears to be moderating. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) abruptly dropped in July, and seems to have stabilized at nearly-neutral levels. Indeed, since July near the California coast, Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are now only slightly above average. Moderation is the new black.

Since 2011, extreme drought placed California under a great deal of stress. So far, relief has focused mostly on northern California. Getting back to more-normal rainfall will remove a lot of worries. (Of course, we could swing toward floods too, raising new worries, but one thing at a time.)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Zorb Rodeo

This is the life!

A 2D Mystery

I was startled by a strange display on the computer monitor, like an uncanny thread poking out of the screen and waving around. Turned out to be a tiny little inchworm exploring this strange 2D space.

A Heapin' Helpin' of White Privilege Right Here

Amazing! These folks are REAL dangerous! There are more charges, though, so not all is lost. Giving these guys more rope is just asking for trouble.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Armed antigovernment protesters led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy were acquitted Thursday of federal conspiracy and weapons charges stemming from the takeover of a federally owned wildlife sanctuary in Oregon last winter.

The surprise acquittals of all seven defendants in Federal District Court were a blow to government prosecutors, who had argued that the Bundys and five of their followers used force and threats of violence to occupy the reserve. But the jury appeared swayed by the defendants’ contention that they were protesting government overreach and posed no threat to the public.


Fierce Funk Thursday

What Are We Having The Election For?

Trump asks a rhetorical question: "And just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right? What are we even having it for? What are we having it for?” he asked.

Straight Lines

Take Two

Left my wallet at Step One, and just retrieved it. Second time I've lost my wallet this week. Take my money, please.

Sulfur Dioxide, In Bulk

Wow, Daesh is using sulfur dioxide as a tool of war. It's not as dangerous as a nerve gas so they pump up the volume to volcanic levels:
New images released by NASA show a dangerous sulfur plume moving across northern Iraq in the wake of the battle to retake Mosul.

As the Iraq military announced its operation to capture Mosul, which has been under ISIS control for over two years, ISIS set fire to the Al-Mishraq sulfur plant and Qayyarah oil field south of the city in an effort to provide cover from coalition airstrikes.

NASA said its ozone monitoring instruments detected a large sulfur dioxide plume dispersing across northern and central Iraq as early as last week. Initially, that sulfur dioxide was in lower parts of the atmosphere, but the plume has now reached higher into the atmosphere due to shifting winds.

Fourth Wettest October On Record, With More To Come

I'm surprised that Hurricane Seymour remnants are forecast to enter Southern California by the weekend and participate in the general rain fiesta. The Eastern Pacific has more hurricanes than anywhere else on Earth but very few remnants actually make it here from the tropics due to contrary winds and the forbidding stretch of cold water. All of this happiness is happening before the rainy season usually starts, around November 1st.

The purpose of this California storm is to rack up rainfall totals (0.62 inches today, so far, at Sac Exec Airport). Since it's before the rainfall season typically starts, I'm reminded of the movie 'Clerks' - it's not even supposed to be here today.

Fourth wettest October on record, with more to come.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ludwig Boltzmann and Oatmeal

I coming across fun stuff as I clean the basement. Here's a piece from 'Physics Today', January, 1992, pp. 44-51.

Ludwig Boltzmann, one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, spent the summer of 1905 in Berkeley, California. He was invited to dinner by Phoebe Hearst (mother of William Randolph Hearst) at her Livermore estate:
As the only European at dinner, I got to sit at Mrs. Hearst's right hand. First came blackberries. "No thank you," I said. Then came the melon, which my hostess salted for me most appetizingly with her own hands. Again I passed. Then came "oat meal," an indescribable paste that one might use in Vienna to fatten geese. But I doubt Viennese geese would touch it. I had already noted, however, a somewhat displeased glance from Alma Mater when I declined the melon. Such a one is proud of her kitchen. So I choked down the oat meal with averted face and thanked God that it stayed down."

Monday, October 24, 2016

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity

A wee bit touched:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — On Sept. 10, the house Brian Dorais shared with his wife in Madrid caught fire, killing her and reducing much of the second story to ashes.

Less than a month later, deputies say, Dorais, 53, attempted to blow up the broadcasting towers on top of Sandia Crest using copper wire, a pair of vehicle battery jumper cables and 17 milk jugs filled with gasoline – at least one of which had been fashioned into a Molotov cocktail.

That Was A Bad Idea

OK, maybe that wasn't such a good idea.

I was on an 8 foot tall step ladder, nearing the end of today's effort to trim hedges and tree canopies. I noticed a big dead branch in a tree canopy. As I yanked, the branch strongly resisted coming down, so I tried an eensy-teensy bit harder....

The ladder twisted and toppled onto stones and agaves. I spun around and landed on my back on top of the ladder. Poor, twisted ladder - I crushed it with my weight and it's likely ruined beyond repair. I've got multiple bruises on my ribs, arms, and back, and as I type I'm bleeding onto the computer's mouse from a small cut on my finger. But otherwise, I appear to be largely unhurt. No stab wounds, broken bones or trips to the ER.

Since the storm is coming in, I think maybe I'll resume this task on another day.

I Was Very Impressed With The New Disney Movie, "Queen of Katwe"

Phiona Mutesi has become a respected chess player and educational leader, despite starting in a slum on the periphery of Kampala, Uganda, adding to a rich history of chess champions coming the most unlikely places and circumstances.

Religious inspiration and organization is particularly important to Mutesi, as it is for much of Africa.

Here is a short documentary from 2011:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Saturday Night Live" Is Just Killing It This Election Cycle

An Eventful Day At Costco With Joe The Plumber

Classier people-watching than at Walmart. Here's a big heaping helpful of Coconut Cacafe.

Joe bragged about his many visits to Costco. I ahven't been here for a decade.

Big Dave, the murderous dilettante (who I understand actually makes good bread).

But there was trouble. Dang! The classy folks at Costco lifted my wallet! I drove home and cancelled my credit and debit card.

Several hours later, I received an E-Mail. A classy person had turned it in! We drove back and I got it back. It's sad about cancelling the cards, but there's an upside there too. I've been wanting to cancel certain monthly charitable contributions on credit card but didn't have the heart to. Now, that's done.

Landmark Birthday Party

Thank you, everyone, for a lovely Landmark Birthday party - Barbara Brown Silver and John Ewing (50) and Marc Valdez (60).

I Detect Arizona Hubris

She needs to take it down a notch:
Former Arizona governor Jan Brewer declared Friday that Arizona won’t go blue for Hillary Clinton because Hispanic Democrats “don’t vote.”

“They don’t get out and vote. They don’t vote,” she told the Boston Globe when asked if those constituents could help tip the historically conservative state to a Democratic presidential nominee.