Saturday, September 23, 2017

Are You a Proper Range Chef - A Brigid Guest Post

Our home is simply known around the Blogosphere as "The Range".  The original home was out in the country and now is in a small village within a big city but still, the atmosphere inside has never changed. On weekends there is always activity in the Range kitchen, experimenting, baking or just laughing with my Partner in Grime while we try something new, between tearing our walls and floors as we renovate this (as is!) 100-year-old Mission Bungalow.
No one ever formally taught me how to cook, I just learned a bit by watching Mom and my Swedish Grandma who lived with us until her death, and I read a lot of cookbooks.  A cookbook is just like a Aircraft Operating Manual.  If you follow the directions and stay pointy end forward you usually have a successful mission.  But over time, I realized my cooking style had sort of evolved, to what friends call Home on the Range cooking.

 How do you know if you are a Range Chef?  Take our simple quiz.

1.  Your apron looks like.


2.  You are served a bowl of vanilla/bacon ice cream.  You:

a.  jump up and shout "Bacon Ice Cream!  It's a crime against nature!" and look for plain yogurt.
b.  mutter nervously, prod it with your spoon and ask "is that BACON?"
c.  wonder if this would make a better ice cream sandwich with Devils Food or molasses cookies.

3.  Last nights dinner came from:

a.  a bio-sustainable farm where the crops are sown according to the phase of the moon and the tofu is slaughtered to the soothing melodies of Yani while being massaged with aromatherapy oils.
b.  a gas station.
c.  500 acres a friend owns in Indiana

4.  Which of these foods can blow up?

a.  popcorn
b.  popovers
c.  gravy

5.  You join Weight Watchers to lose 10 pounds before that holiday party.  The first food you look up to see how many "points" it has is:

1.  an apple.
2.  a 100 calorie pack of crackers.
3.  bacon wrapped lamb shank with bacon garlic smashed potatoes.

6.  Which root vegetable is not put into mirepoix?
a.  carrot
b.  potato
c.  Slim Jim

7.  What is chipotle?

a.  a popular chain restaurant that makes burritos the size of a raccoon
b.  a cross between a chihuahua and poodle
c.  a smoke-dried jalapeno pepper

8.  You have a whisk in your bug out kit.

a.  What's a whisk?
b.  false
c.  true

9. Your spice cabinet is organized in:

a.  newest in the front.
b.  alphabetical.
c.  binary.

10.  You've cooked dinner with:

a.  liquid nitrogen.
b.  an acetylene torch.
c.  a Bunsen burner.

11. The way to a man's heart is thru his stomach?

a.  false
b.  true
c.  girlfriend, you need an updated diagram.

Honey - can you whip up some liquid nitrogen?

12.  Frozen Swanson pot pies are good for:

a.  a quick and easy dinner.
b.  door stops.
c.  replacements for bowling pins at the pistol match.

13.  Your cooking style is:

a.  Martha Stewart
b.  Julia Child
c.  Alton Brown meets Red Green

14.  The menu at the Cajun place says "blackened on request".  You respond

a.  "I've got an envie for some blackened fish!"
b.  "Huh?"
c.  "Heck, I can do THAT at home!"

15.  You like making popovers because:

a.  They're warm and filling
b.  They impress guests
c.  It's like making your own personal edible steam engine!
16. You wish Pillsbury had a can that popped out an inexpensive "Poppin' Fresh":

a.  donuts
b.  muffin
c.  biscuit
d.  1911

17.  You know the difference between:

a.  a steak and tofu
b.  a bag of flour and a bottle of juice
c.  solid foams, gels, sols, and suspensions

If you answered mostly "c's" and "d's" you are well on your way to being a Home on the Range cook.  To know for sure, ask yourself this final question. . .

Have you ever made a foot long hot dog with two regular dogs and a long piece of bacon to wrap it with?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Idiots with chainsaws

I quite frankly can't understand how some of this didn't end up in the Darwin Awards.

A summary of Trump's speech to the UN

In 97 points:
1. Welcome, thanks for being here.
2. Thanks for offering help with hurricanes, but we don’t need any.
3. I’m the best President
4. America FUCKING ROCKS!!
5. It’s the current year!
6. I know some of you bitch-ass bitches in here support terrorism. I got my eye on you motherfuckers.
This is pretty funny, in a "Ha Ha Only Serious" way.  Language warning, though.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How not to land a rocket

The eagle-eyed Queen Of The World spotted this - SpaceX created a blooper video of their failed rocket landing attempts.  It's pretty funny, and shows that they have a good sense of humor - and more importantly, a sense of confidence from a long string of successful landings.  They can afford to poke a little fun at their past "learning events".

NSA has made its job harder

This is big, big news:
An international group of cryptography experts has forced the U.S. National Security Agency to back down over two data encryption techniques it wanted set as global industry standards, reflecting deep mistrust among close U.S. allies. 
In interviews and emails seen by Reuters, academic and industry experts from countries including Germany, Japan and Israel worried that the U.S. electronic spy agency was pushing the new techniques not because they were good encryption tools, but because it knew how to break them.
Germany, Japan, Israel - these are our allies.  They clearly do not trust the NSA.  One of the researchers is quite explicit on this:
“I don’t trust the designers,” Israeli delegate Orr Dunkelman, a computer science professor at the University of Haifa, told Reuters, citing Snowden's papers. “There are quite a lot of people in NSA who think their job is to subvert standards. My job is to secure standards.”
There is an old saying in the Intelligence Community: there are friendly governments but there are no friendly foreign intelligence agencies.  I don't think that they really believed that applied to them, at least Back In The Day.

I suspect that we've reached Peak NSA.  Even our friends no longer trust it.  This likely will greatly compromise its effectiveness.

This is a very good article.  Recommended.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Koala goes for 10 mile joy ride

Luckiest Koala in Australia:
There’s at least one animal from Australia that won’t poison you or bite you in half and it is as durable as it is cuddly. This koala, a lactating mother, rode in this car’s wheel well for 10 miles. It must have been very stressful. 
The unidentified driver of the car didn’t notice anything until he started hearing“crying,” which is when he stopped and discovered the animal. He also called for help. Firefighters showed up and took a wheel off in the course of the rescue.

Well done to our keen eared hero, who pulled over.  The Koala has been released back into the wild.

Dog interrupts soccer game

This is hilarious.  The pup just wants to play with the ball.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Global Warming - not so much of a problem after all

Climate Scientists and Environmentalists - still as much of a problem:
An unexpected “revolution” in affordable renewable energy has also contributed to the more positive outlook.
Experts now say there is a two-in-three chance of keeping global temperatures within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the ultimate goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
OK, so the good news first: a newly published (peer-reviewed) article in Nature Geoscience says that warming has not been as fast as predicted.

Now the bad news: we've known this for a long time, so it's very strange to see Science™ only now catching up:
So a full half of the historical record of the most reliable global temperature data set [satellites - Borepatch] shows zero warming, despite enormous increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.  None of the climate models have predicted this, which is a layman's way of saying that the scientific predictions from the models has been falsified. 
Now the worse news: there is simply no data to suggest that the 'unexpected "revolution" in affordable renewable energy' has anything at all to do with the situation:
Even put together, wind and photovoltaic solar are supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry.... 
So the significantly lower warming is due to a "revolution" that supplies less than a percent of the global energy output?  I'd sure love to see any sort of data to back that up.   But let's look at that "revolution" and what it means in the Paris Accord context:
Meanwhile, world energy demand has been growing at about 2 per cent a year for nearly 40 years. Between 2013 and 2014, again using International Energy Agency data, it grew by just under 2,000 terawatt-hours. 
If wind turbines were to supply all of that growth but no more, how many would need to be built each year? The answer is nearly 350,000, since a two-megawatt turbine can produce about 0.005 terawatt-hours per annum. That’s one-and-a-half times as many as have been built in the world since governments started pouring consumer funds into this so-called industry in the early 2000s. 
At a density of, very roughly, 50 acres per megawatt, typical for wind farms, that many turbines would require a land area greater than the British Isles, including Ireland. Every year. If we kept this up for 50 years, we would have covered every square mile of a land area the size of Russia with wind farms. Remember, this would be just to fulfil the new demand for energy, not to displace the vast existing supply of energy from fossil fuels, which currently supply 80 per cent of global energy needs. [My emphasis - Borepatch]
What's the environmental impact of covering Russia with wind farms?  I'd love to see some data on that, too.  But wait, we're not done with the "revolution" in "renewable" energy.  What does that do to electricity rates?

The countries that have been most aggressive in their "renewable" energy targets have electricity prices two to three times the price we pay in the USA.  Who pays that?  The citizens, of course.  This is a particularly regressive tax on the poor and lower middle class to fund upper missile class prestige "Green" projects.  It's so bad that there's a term for the social damage done by these programs -"fuel poverty":
European Carbon emission agreements combined with an unsustainable "sustainable" power initiative have led to energy prices increasing 150% in the last decade.  Now the Brit.Gov is shutting generating plants, reducing excess capacity (read: "emergency capacity") from 15% to under 5%.

Next up, winter:
Spiralling energy bills contributed to 24,000 deaths last winter, as many elderly people cut back on their heating.
The shocking toll will increase fears that the number will be even higher this year because of further increases in energy bills and warnings of a particularly cold winter.
The figures for ‘excess winter deaths’, published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics, reveal the majority of victims were over 75.
And now let's look at what I consider to be the worst part of the whole situation.  All the poverty, all the deaths, the lack of any sort of real results (less than 1% of the world's energy budget), what's the justification?  How can anyone recommend the death and misery?

Because the computer models predicted a high rate of increase in the temperature.  A rate that we aren't seeing, according to Nature Geoscience.  What do we call a scientific prediction that is not backed by experimental observation?

Generally to be considered "scientific", something has to be falsifiable - where anyone can try to duplicate your observations or results. If there's no way that this can be done, then the thing cannot be held to be scientific.
When after-the-fact justifications are frequently made to explain why your prediction did not pan out, that is a huge, huge warning sign.  And that's exactly what we are seeing - the heat is being absorbed by the oceans or some such thing.  No data are presented to back this up, of course.  The problem is that a lot of people (including your humble host) have been saying for years and years that the Science doesn't hold water.

Bad science leading to disastrous public policy that kills and impoverishes without achieving its own stated goals, there's your modern environmental movement.

Arrrrr! Ye scaliwabs!

It's Talk Like A Pirate Day!  Even if you're a little unclear on what pirates did ....

Monday, September 18, 2017

ZZ Top - La Grange

How can I have been posting music for over 9 years and never posted ZZ Top?

The Queen Of The World is teaching me to be cool.

Road Rage, shotguns, and Go-Pro

Note to Oklahoma Good Ol' Boys (of the bad persuasion): if you let your road rage lead to bushwacking bikers using a shotgun, they may have a Go Pro and post it to YouTube.

Fascism started earlier than I had thought

General Lundendorff had absorbed (even more than Kaiser Wilhelm II had) the moral relativism and historicism that had become fashionable in the German elite in the decades running up to the First World War – ideas that can be traced all the way back to (in their different ways) such philosophers as Hegel and (far more) Fichte, whereas General Falkenhayn still clung to concepts of universal justice (morality) and rejected such things as the extermination or enslavement of whole races, and the destruction of historic civilisations such as that of Russia. Lundendorff, and those who thought like him, regarded Falkenhayn as hopelessly reactionary – for example thinking in terms of making peace with Russia on terms favourable to Germany, rather than destroying Russia and using the population as slaves. In the Middle East Falkenhayn came to hear of the Ottoman Turk plan to destroy the Jews (as the Armenian Christians had been destroyed), and he was horrified by the plan and worked to frustrate it. Advanced and Progressive thinkers, such as Ludnedorff, had great contempt for Reactionaries such as Falkenhayn who did not realise that ideas of universal justice and personal honour were “myths” only believed in by silly schoolgirls. Falkenhayn even took Christianity seriously, to Lundendorff this was clearly the mark of an inferior and uneducated mind. And Falkenhayn, for his part, came to think that his country (the Germany that he so loved) was under the influence of monsters – although while their plans to exterminate or enslave whole races and to control (in utter tyranny) every aspect of peacetime (not just wartime) life remained theoretical, he never had to make the final break.
We are taught that something went horribly wrong under the Nazis, where they corrupted the Germany of Beethoven and Schopenhauer.  It seems that the corruption was complete decades earlier.

Tonedeaf #2

The headlines this morning are all about the Emmy Awards. How it was all cutting edge and how they spent three hours sticking it to President Trump with Steven Colbert leading the charge.

The part they left out was how the rating for this agitprop was down again this year, falling off to a 2.8% share among adults 18-49.  If it keeps on like this, I might have to start having hope again.

Top Equifax IT execs out

It's a start:
Equifax's chief information officer and chief security officer “are retiring” and the company has admitted it knew Apache Struts needed patching in March, but looks to have fluffed attempts to secure the software.
No word on whether they sold stock in the weeks leading up to the disclosure.

Remember, here's what you need to know about protecting yourself after the breach.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

St. Hildegard of Bingen - Spiritus Sanctus

Today is the feast day of St. Hildegard.  Hildegard was born around 1098 AD and began having visions at an early age.  Likely due to this, she entered the Benedictine monastery at Disibodenberg young, part of a community of women attached to the monetary).  The education that she received there helped her flower.  Particularly interested in medicine, she wrote some of the earliest botanical texts in Germany and is considered the founder of German natural science.

But she is best remembered as a composer of sacred music.  It is very old but has a serene beauty that I find quite compelling.