Thursday, February 28, 2019

Science Marches Onward

Mice have been given "night vision" by injecting nano particles into their eyeballs. This works in the near infrared and persists for some 10 weeks. Rumor has it it helps red color blindness as well.

Also we now have yeasts that produce the cannaboids (sp?) found in pot. Not only that but there are a bunch of these and depending on how you treat the yeasts, you can get all the ones we know about and some we haven't seen before. No telling what the new ones do but there's a near limitless supply of hippies out there who will happily volunteer to try the stuff and tell you what happened.

One company says it has modified yeasts to produce opioids as well which would have a major impact on the drug biz as opium and its relatives might now be produced directly in beer brewing carboys in peoples basements, eliminating the growing and shipping business which accounts for most of the expense of production.

Redefining The State Lines

As a prelude anyway, the passage of onerous gun laws in several states has led to the announcement of certain of their counties as "2A Sanctuary" counties in which the questionable gun laws would not be enforced.

In Illinois, this is coming to mean that counties outside of Cook are declaring their independence from rule by the gun grabbers in Chicago. In states with a large metropolitan area, this is becoming more the norm. In Washington, the Seattle-Olympia corridor is distancing itself from the southern and Eastern parts of the state, and Eastern Oregon is following suit.

In New Mexico the southern half of the state is moving away from the northern half, and here in Colorado, as many as 4 counties either have declared or are considering declaring themselves as 2A sanctuaries.

This is a perfect example of why the founders disdained the democracy as a worthwhile form of government. In its own strange way it produces an example of why some states actually need to be broken up. If, for example, New York were to be divided into Southern NY (NYC and Long Island) and Northern NY (the rest of the state) the Senate would retain the 2 Dem senators from SNY, but pick up 2 Republican ones from NNY. Same sort of thing in other places with one big city and one big state.

For me it would mean that I wouldn't have to move to Texas or Oklahoma to get away from the Denver-Boulder Blissninnies, Just down to Colorado Springs.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

QOTD - Basic Economics

This from Sal the Agorist
So what we need to do is first elect a commie, then take him out and shoot him, then abolish his regulations, then enjoy the fruits of our labors.

Oh wait...

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

I Told You So

At some point I expected the robots to begin replacing the talking heads employed in their thousands by every media outlet in the world. At least the TV outlets, although I don't see why internet outlets that feature podcasts couldn't do the same thing. I know I have a face made for radio and a voice made for the keyboard.. Now a Chinese TV station has a cute female news reader in what  might be advanced beta test mode. She is the latest step after they put forth a couple of male versions that were reportedly less advanced.

The day when Kent Brockman had to sit behind a fancy desk and try to look sincere while reading bullshit are coming to an end. Now an AI will seem to sit behind the desk and rattle off the most outrageous stories without ever cracking a smile or expressing any emotion at all. Of course that feature can be added later. A contemptuous sneer or a look of swelling pride and admiration will soon be programmable depending on the story or the political party of the subject.

This can be done in a messy cube farm by former newspaper writers who took the advice and learned to code or more likely learned to use the software GUI. No fancy studios will be required, and interviews with real people will be conducted remotely, cutting back and forth from the perfectly dressed "news anchor" and the interviewee, wherever he or she happens to be when the interview happens. Think of the money the media outlets will save not having to keep celebrities on the payroll.

Sitting in a bar at 5 PM watching the news, people can make a drinking game of listening for mispronunciations of words resulting from the autocorrect function of the text writers computers putting a wrong word into the script.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Colorado's Red Flag Bill

The Donks, having obtained the glorious trifecta here, will almost certainly be passing a so-called Red Flag Bill enabling the state to confiscate firearms from people for whom the "preponderance of evidence" suggests some sort of bad outcome if they continue to have access to them.

The most notable difference between Colorado’s proposed law and what other states have implemented: The measure mandates that a lawyer be provided to the gun owner at the first hearing on whether a seizure order should be extended. The sponsors also want to provide the gun owner a longer period to be able to petition the court to re-examine their case, as other states have done.
Garnett and Sullivan hope that those two elements serve as ample due process protections — a major concern for Republican lawmakers pushing back against the red flag concept. A false or malicious effort to have someone’s guns seized, under the bill, would be subject to criminal prosecution.
The descriptions in the linked article make the process sound a good bit more reasonable, and I sincerely hope it is. Past experience observing the difference between legislative intent and judicial action does not encourage. The bold text bits are elements that sorely needed to be included to mitigate abuse. 

This bit is bothersome:
Also, if a person whose guns have been seized wants to ask the court to reconsider once a long-term protection order is issued, they must show proof that they are no longer a significant risk. In 2018, the burden of proof for every hearing was on whomever was petitioning for the guns to be temporarily taken away.
Proving a negative has always been regarded as impossible. How small a risk is considered significant? How do you assign an objective value to it?

First rule of writing legislation: If a law can be abused, it most certainly will be abused. Maybe sooner, maybe later, but with the certainty of the sun rising in the East.

The last time the Donks used their trifecta superpowers against gun owners here resulted in 2 recalls and a forced resignation to avoid a rollover of control in the Senate. Threats of a rerun have already been issued.

Here's another less than charitable look at the bill from the Independence Institute.

Update: Added second article link.

The Search For Immortality Drugs

Another study is claiming at least partial success on the road to creating an immortality drug or at least a cocktail that slows the ageing process. Having worked in the medical industry, I can tell you it's never going to happen.

The FDA process for approving a drug requires a double blind study over the expected duration of a drugs use and a careful statistical analysis of the results including bad side effects and ultimately, mortality. Thus if you have a drug that imparts immortality, you must set up a double blind experiment in which half the subjects are given the drug, and half are given non dairy creamer or something. All subjects are carefully monitored, and any ailments contracted are noted, and the ultimate outcomes are recorded.

As soon as all the subjects have died, the data are compared, and safety and efficacy is determined. Of course if half the subjects never get sick or die except from misadventure, waiting for the end of the experiment is going to literally take forever. Hence, the drug will never get approved. At least not by the FDA in this country.

Medical tourism will become popular. In England and Canada, the NHS will give you the preliminary exam and prescription but the wait time to get into the hospital will quickly exceed 110 years. In Mexico you can get the stuff on any street corner, right next to the taco stand. Try to avoid the "misadventure tacos." Also the pills made from non-dairy creamer and Fentanyl.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Fun IDPA Stage

This one is called Evil Roy and comes in 2 versions. The setup is 3 targets on a single stand, about 2 inches apart front to back. Target #1, nearest the shooter is, of course, a no shoot.
Next two back are threats mounted on limited motion swingers. #2 swings out to the left, and #3 swings out to the right. Both of them move just far enough to expose about half of the target, then immediately swing back behind the no-shoot and stay there. You get about 1 to 1-1/2 seconds to shoot both of them. Twice each.

The rig is triggered by a plate mounted above and behind the target stand.

On signal, you shoot the plate and get your sights on whichever side you think gives you the best vantage, then it's 2 shots on each of the disappearing targets.

Fast? Oh you betcha. I think only 2 of us out of 20 actually got off all 5 shots to complete the stage. Par time was about 3-4 seconds. The best shooters averaged about 8 points down. Everyone else was down around 14. Considering that if you missed everything including the no shoot, the worst you could do was -20, this is a very tough stage.

This week we saw the same setup but with 2 plates. Shoot 1 plate and the opposite side target pops out. Shoot the other plate and the other target pops out. Just as fast, but you only have to shoot one of the varmints at a time. "Good" is under 10 seconds and 2-3 points down. About 1 shooter in 5 got into that group.

Fun Stuff.

Monday, February 11, 2019

National Inventors Day

Today is National Inventors Day as observed in the United States, so I am encouraging all you inventors out there to roll out your latest and greatest
and show us what you've got and tell us how it's going to help save/conquer/destroy the world. Help carry on the traditions of Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Gyro Gearloose.

U.S. Popularity Overseas

We keep getting told that the U.S. under Trump is universally despised outside our own borders. Some fact-checking reveals that this is not so.

At a festival in Tuscanny, Trump is portrayed as a sort of God-King and in a favorable manner:

There is video of this here. The time on the video is in hours but be of good cheer, the part you really want to see in in the first 3 or 4 minutes.
This is impressive. It should be preserved and saved for use at the 2020 Republican convention. The video is in Italian, so I don't understand a word, but the size and animatronics are impressive.  Dazi Vostri means Your Duty in Italian. The body, arms, head, and eyes all move.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

AOC's High-Speed Rail To Hawaii

Perhaps we could bring Elon Musk in on this as the basic infrastructure looks just like his Hyperloop scheme to get people from the suburbs of LA to the train station in mere minutes.
Submerged freeway. More at the link, so click it.
Submerged tubes containing high speed rail and hyperlink facilities will certainly do the trick. On top of that, the floating support pontoons up on the surface can be enlarged to carry service centers, rest stops, scenic overlooks, and in a financial coup, a couple of Chinese air and naval bases, the leases for which can go towards funding construction and maintenance.

We can be assured that the PRC outposts will not be used as a basis for the Chinese to lay claim to the Eastern Pacific as territorial waters or a claim that Hawaii should become a province of China.

It's one of the things I liked about being in engineering: Nothing is impossible. Now let's talk costs.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Small Pickup Trucks

The Chinese have seen the niche and leaped to (almost) fill it. This one is a  bit under sized but as they say, might be suitable for localized work.
There are 2 articles on this citing different prices ranging from $5000 to $8950.
Presumably the U.S. model will have door coverings. Vehicles like this are legal on the streets if you have the red triangle on the back and they are limited to 30 mph max. With a 75 mile range, I'm guessing they use lead-acid batteries. Probably uses the same tires as the Harbor Freight trailers which limits the thing to 45 mph max anyway.

Note the rather Spartan dashboard:
I guess you need a smart phone if you want the deluxe package. Either the photo is backwards or this is an export model intended for Japan or Australia.

If they show up it might be fun to fit one with one of the Subaru 22hp V-twin motors from Harbor Freight.

Details here and here.

Gun Law - The New Approach

Got an email today from a former elected politician who was wounded by a deranged gunman, celebrating the change of leadership in the House:
  Amazing. Just amazing. Thanks to the work we’ve done together over the past several years, the House just concluded its first hearings on gun safety in almost a decade.
You demanded change last November, and we got it. Finally, we have a Congress that is willing to stand up to the gun lobby.
Standing up to the gun lobby seems to include prohibiting anyone with opposing views from testifying at their hearings including a sitting member of the house who was also shot and injured by a deranged gunman. That both deranged gunmen were Democrats who passed the very sort of background checks that Giffords & Co are pushing doesn't seem to matter.

The Dog(s) That Didn't Bark

Among the myriad observations on the SOTU one finds these: There were 2 that I thought stood out, First was Global Warming/Climate Change and the second was the national debt. AOC actually covered the first by announcing that if we didn't do something, we'd all be dead in 12 years. This position has been taken by one doomsayer or another for the last 60 years or so and people are tired of hearing it. Good move on Trump's part letting the noisiest whack jobs be the spokesmen for the cause.*

The second is far more important and really should have been addressed. Trump should have mentioned the problem and announced that he would be sending out a memo asking the heads of all agencies to reduce their spending by some minuscule amount this year vs 2018. 1% would come across to the American people as trivial even though the standard within the beltway is an automatic 6% increase year on year. Giving everyone a 1% haircut is also something that can be done without having to hold hearings and debates with endless sob stories about how the American people will be thrown to the wolves if the Department of Hairdressers doesn't get its increase to cover the population increases.

*UPDATE: See? I told you so!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Green New Deal - Investments

The Green New Deal being fronted by the extreme left has all the usual bells and whistles they've been pushing for the last 50 years or so including a complete disavowal of all hydrocarbon fuel sources plus NO mention of nuclear at all.

Never mind that wind farms require a backup power plant burning something to provide enough power to allow for heating of the wind generators in winter. An even larger plant is required if you want to continue to supply power to the end users when the wind dies down. Wind farms in Scotland, for example, are connected to the grid in France which is mostly nuclear, for this very reason.

As investments go I'd suggest bulk cargo ocean freighters as we have no neighbors capable of supplying the U.S. with power on calm  winter days. We're going to need massive shipments of dried cow chips to make up the shortfall even if we install dryers in every feedlot in the country.

Feedlots will have to be upgraded to include:
1. a digester to extract methane from the fresh manure to be burned in
2. diesel powered generators to supply power to the
3. dryers which will render the manure dry enough to burn in a
4. solid fuel burning generator which would then send any power not used at the feedlot out to the grid.

See? Green!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2018 NICS Final

Sorry, should have had this up a month ago:
Ignoring the 2016 Hillary panic, gun buying is increasing at a pretty predictable rate.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Safe Injection Sites

This item is a policy statement from the Colorado Republicans:
There are no heroin injection sites in the United States and we don't need the first to be here in Colorado. Even the Governor of California has vetoed legislation similar to the bill Colorado Democrats in the state legislature have discussed introducing. The Denver City Council has already passed an ordinance allowing for such sites, but it can’t be implemented unless and until the state changes state law.

Today, House and Senate Republicans hosted Steffan Tubbs, Peter Boyles, and Mark Crowley to share what they’ve learned about Vancouver's injection sites. The pictures and data they gathered on their investigative trip, and which they shared today, underscore the danger such a proposed site would pose to Colorado. For example, as they shared in their presentation today:
  • Since Vancouver's first injection site in 2003, British Columbia's overdose deaths have increased by more than 725%. 
  • Overdose deaths of British Columbians 10 - 18 years old are up 260%.
  • The number of heroin users in Vancouver is up from 4,700 overall in 2000 to over 7,300 at just one of the six injection sites in 2017.

Your House and Senate Republicans will continue to take a stand as this issue emerges at the Capitol. You can see Minority Leader Neville's interview here on why injection sites are bad policy. A policy that incentivizes self-destructive behavior and increases the number of overdose deaths is the opposite of compassionate.

For more details, data, and documentation on the effects of heroin injection sites on individuals and neighborhoods, you can visit KNUS's "No Safe Sites" page here.     
After thinking about this for a bit, I'm inclined to conditionally take the opposite position. 
1. Any and all such sites must be located at least 1/2 mile from any principally residential area. This will reduce the crime for the residents. Ideally I would like to see this done in City Park, in the block immediately West of the capitol building between the capitol building and City Hall. I am reliably informed that heroin and cocaine are pretty much freely sold at the nearby McDonalds, one on 16th st and one on East Colfax.

This puts everything within a block or so of the capitol building. Unfortunately it is also adjacent to the Denver public library which is already over run with just the sort of people you'd expect.

2. The result, as Sen Neville points out, would be death and destruction among the users who would have no check on their behaviors at all. Lots and lots of them would wind up dead. Is this compassionate? It is for the rest of us. It would probably spur a big increase in CCW applications from the residents 1-2 blocks away as well as an increase in Republican voter registrations or at least conservative unaffiliateds. Overall, a win for the good guys.