Saturday, April 08, 2017

58th Annual Service Awards Dinner, Sutter Health, Flashmob Dancers, With Boas

Tucson Regional Ballet Presents "Peter and the Wolf"

My homies!:
Peter and the Wolf comes leaping and bounding into the Old Pueblo courtesy of the Tucson Regional Ballet company this weekend and Guy Atchley has brought us a preview of these ultra-talented young performers as they soar through the air at the TCC Leo Rich Theater, Saturday April 8th at 2 PM and 7:30 PM, and Sunday April 9th at 2 PM. Children are invited to meet and dance with company members following the performance. Tickets are available at or by calling 520-886-1222

The Answer is Blowin' in the Wind.

And the answer my friend;
Is blowin' in the wind;
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Job Interview Day - Off to Fresno

Strange interview. Perfunctory questions. Quien sabe?

New Zealand Got Pounded by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie

Edgecumbe in New Zealand is the worst-hit by ex-tropical cyclone Debbie. Looks like Canterbury is getting pounded, and Kaikoura is nearly cut off.

I Stumbled Into Another Dimension of Sight and Sound

We Are STILL Competitive!

I can't believe it! The 2016-17 rainy season is STILL competitive with the 1982-83 rainy season as the rainiest ever since they started making measurements at Sacramento Executive Airport in 1941.

What made the 1982-83 rainy season so spectacular was a series of remarkable late-April-1983 rains. Can we look forward to something similar in 2017?

So far, the forecast-modeling crystal ball is cloudy. There is definitely more rain coming in the April 15-17 time frame, but after that it looks more like misses than hits. So, odds are, we won't beat #1, but instead come in as a very-respectable #2. But like I say, the crystal ball is cloudy, so surprises may await.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

It's Not a Crime to Expose Crime

Just to remind conservatives frothing over Susan Rice, it's not a crime to expose crime, especially when the crime is treason.

Tell me again, why was the Trump campaign in CONSTANT contact with their Russian minders during the election campaign?:
But it sure looks like Flynn assigned Cohen-Watnick the task of reviewing intelligence reports that led to the discovery of his phone calls with the Russian ambassador.

I would remind you that Michael Flynn was initially fired by the Obama administration in 2014 for his erratic management style and was known there for his promotion of “Flynn facts” (i.e., lies and crazy conspiracy theories). He also bragged to Dana Priest about breaking rules he thought were stupid. It shouldn’t surprise us that his protege didn’t take kindly to orders from the White House counsel’s office to cease and desist.

The intervention by Bannon and Kushner to save Cohen-Watnick’s job takes on a whole new meaning in light of this information. It sure looks like they knew exactly what he was up to at the time.

Anything Susan Rice might have done appears to be in keeping with the law and her job as national security advisor. But by pushing this story, the Trump administration might have just outed themselves as the ones who are complicit.

Wild Risk-Takers in the Dakotas

Who Says We Don't Have Great Statesmen These Days?

Trumpcare 1.0 failed in the House because it was too cruel for moderates, but not cruel enough for conservatives. Trumpcare 2.0 looks like it will just let the GOP be the GOP, and go for full torture on the sickest Americans, mostly with the aim that when T2.0 dies in the Senate, Conservative-Radio-Host Blame can be diverted to the Senate instead of the House:
Allowing health plans to price-discriminate like this would, of course, require them to identify sick people in the first place, which would presumably entail a return to underwriting and practices similar to rescission (the right to cancel plans retroactively, which the ACA banned). Those already insured would thus face huge premium increases when they become sick, or if they have used too much insurance already. Those who are uninsured would have to disclose their medical histories to insurance companies before being given premium and deductible quotes.

It is possible, of course, that few states will seek a community rating waiver, in which case its existence would prove to be largely symbolic: Republicans could claim a victory for states’ rights, while also deflecting conservative donor-class ire away from Congress and toward those very states.

But the AHCA was a dead letter in the Senate before this proposed change; making the bill more extreme would render it even more toxic in the upper chamber. That’s why its resurrection, and the concomitant horse-trading, should be read first as an effort to reroute right-wing outrage, which is currently directed at the House Republicans, toward the Senate.

Gravity Wins

Big branch falls out of tree; hits my house and fence. I need to get ladder out and check for damage.

I didn't see anything, but worried about subtle damage.

I'm Just Saying....

Tripping over evidence in every direction:
On a political cartoon site, one otherwise liberal cartoonist made the mistake of expressing doubt about the Russian connection to Donald Trump, to which a poster (handle “Radish”) provided the following amazing response:

I don’t know – it’s hard for me to see any U.S. ties to Russia…except for the Flynn thing and the Manafort thing
and the Tillerson thing
and the Sessions thing
and the Kushner thing
and the Carter Page thing
and the Roger Stone thing
and the Felix Sater thing
and the Boris Ephsteyn thing
and the Rosneft thing
and the Gazprom thing
and the Sergey Gorkov banker thing
and the Azerbajain thing
and the “I love Putin” thing
and the Donald Trump, Jr. thing
and the Sergey Kislyak thing
and the Russian Affiliated Interests thing
and the Russian Business Interests thing
and the Emoluments Clause thing
and the Alex Schnaider thing
and the hack of the DNC thing
and the Guccifer 2.0 thing
and the Mike Pence “I don’t know anything” thing
and the Russians mysteriously dying thing
and Trump’s public request to Russia to hack Hillary’s email thing
and the Trump house sale for $100 million at the bottom of the housing bust to the Russian fertilizer king thing
and the Russian fertilizer king’s plane showing up in Concord, NC during Trump rally campaign thing
and the Nunes sudden flight to the White House in the night thing
and the Nunes personal investments in the Russian winery thing
and the Cyprus bank thing
and Trump not releasing his tax returns thing
and the Republican Party’s rejection of an amendment to require Trump to show his taxes thing
and the election hacking thing
and the GOP platform change to the Ukraine thing
and the Steele Dossier thing
and the Leninist Bannon thing
and the Sally Yates can’t testify thing
and the intelligence community’s investigative reports thing
and Trump’s reassurance that the Russian connection is all “fake news” thing
and Spicer’s Russian Dressing “nothing’s wrong” thing
so there’s probably nothing there
since the swamp has been drained, these people would never lie
probably why Nunes cancels the investigation meetings
all of this must be normal
just a bunch of separate dots with no connection.

Extending Drivers' Licenses To Illegals Boosts Public Order

California AB60 allowed undocumented immigrants to get drivers' licenses. What has been the effect on the state?

Statewide, hit-and-run accidents have been on the increase lately, but in counties where there are lots of undocumented immigrants, there has been a reduction in the number of hit-and-run accidents. Since accidents are not reported to ICE, undocumented drivers involved in accidents now have fewer incentives to flee.

California AB60 is a boost to public order in California.

Maybe The Physicists Will Start Coming Around on Dark Energy

James B. flags me:
Hey Marc, I know what you think of Dark Matter/Energy, so this should make you happy.

What might this be, this story?:
The ΛCDM model assumes a uniform expansion that progressively gets faster thanks to the increasing push of dark energy overcoming the pull of dark and normal matter distributed evenly throughout space.

Yet according to the physicists involved in this new research, the large scale structures – 'bubbles' of seemingly empty space and the galaxies surrounding them – would create zones where expansion occurs at different rates, almost like mini-universes.

By mathematically modelling the effect of gravity on millions of particles representing dark matter, the team managed to recreate the bunching up of matter in the early Universe in such a way that it looked like the large scale galaxy structures.

While the Universe in their model still expands, the individual differences in how these bubbles expand averages out to an overall acceleration.

"Our findings rely on a mathematical conjecture which permits the differential expansion of space, consistent with general relativity, and they show how the formation of complex structures of matter affects the expansion," said Dobos.

"These issues were previously swept under the rug but taking them into account can explain the acceleration without the need for dark energy."

The model makes its own necessary assumptions, but if it stands up to scrutiny it could explain why the Universe's expansion seems to be accelerating, all without the need for negative pressure.
This strikes me as more reasonable than a universal repulsion. The local, crowded universe appears to expand more slowly than distant empty parts of the universe, because gravity slows things down nearby, but you can see those distant empty places better, because they are empty. Thus, it appears as if there's a universal repulsion. It would be nice to know what caused the Big Bang in the first place.

Today, I've been reading papers on midge swarming behavior, which appears to be modulated by sound. Midges behave as if they have a gravitational attraction to each other, but biologic systems have saturation levels, so the attraction weakens as midges get close to each other. Nevertheless, they've been using cosmological models to study midge swarming behavior.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Tulsa Queen

Emmylou Harris, 1977. Happy 70th!

I heard the train
In the Tulsa night
Calling out my name
Looking for a fight
Well she's come a long, long way
Got a longer way to go
So tell me how a train from Tulsa
Has got a right to know

Well she sings a song
So sad and high
And the Tulsa Queen
Don't ever lie
And she don't care where she goes
Don't care where she's been
And the Tulsa Queen ain't crying
Because I won't see you again

And I want to ride
Like a Tulsa Queen
Calling out to you
Like she calls to me
As far away from Tulsa
As these ten wheels can be

Lately I speak
Your name too loud
Each time it comes up in a crowd
And I know it when I do
The Tulsa Queen and you
Are gone

What a Water Slide!

I don't really swim, but I'd worry about that later....

Cyclone Debbie Really Did a Number on Australia

Australia's Category 4 Cyclone Debbie killed surprisingly few people when it came ashore, but because it was large and slow-moving, caused vast amounts of flooding and property damage, hammering agriculture particularly. The Great Barrier Reef is likely damaged. The city of Lismore is flooded, which is many, many miles away from the point of landfall.
Debbie was not the most damaging cyclone to hit the Queensland coast, even in recent years. But it was one of the largest, and its legacy was still wreaking havoc on Friday, with flooding rains over a large expanse.

Lismore in northern New South Wales, 870 miles from Bowen, was inundated. In Logan City, south of Brisbane, more than 300 houses were expected to be flooded.

Rockhampton is bracing for a major flood.

Spaghetti modeling.

Such a strange-looking rainfall pattern:

Why Are You In My Home?

Running Some Companies Must Be Hard

Trying hard, but falling short:
Lululemon (LULU) stock fell 21% Thursday, one day after the company predicted its sales would drop this quarter. The culprit, according to CEO Laurent Potdevin: Its clothes don't pop online.

"We have clearly identified the issues: An assortment lacking depth in color for spring, compounded with visual merchandising that did not powerfully translate our design vision," Laurent said on a conference call for investors.

To stave off the problem, Lululemon will launch more colorful clothes on its website as soon as next week, Potdevin said.

...Lululemon has been hurt by problems with its merchandise before. In 2013, a recall of black pants that were too sheer -- in other words, see-through -- hit sales and profits. Former CEO Christine Day stepped down after the debacle. And in 2015, Lululemon recalled some women's tops because hard-tipped drawstrings were injuring wearers.

How Corporate America Loses

Civic involvement ultimately killed Sacramento's FM 107.9:
From her home outside the no-stoplight settlement of Fiddletown, Sue Wilson tilted at a corporate windmill, and a funny thing happened.

Sue from Fiddletown won, on our behalf. You can hear the sound of that victory at the end of the FM radio dial in Sacramento. Where there once was commercial pop music, hooting deejays and stupid radio stunts, there’s static.

“We the People own the air waves,” she said, and repeats: “We the People.”

The start of this story probably is vaguely familiar. On a Friday in January 2007, Jennifer Strange, a 28-year-old mother of three and a regular listener to 107.9-KDND, The End, entered a contest called “Hold your wee for a Wii,” the Nintendo gaming console that was all rage at the time. ... The person who gulped the most water without having to urinate would win.

...“Can’t you get water poisoning and, like, die?” one of the disc jockeys asked, 16 minutes into the show. A caller who identified herself as a nurse practitioner warned that a person could die from water intoxication.

...A friend of Strange’s called the station with word of her death. Rather than call the other contestants to check on their welfare, the station’s management called Entercom headquarters in Bala Cynwyd outside Philadelphia and spoke to company lawyers. When the deejays arrived for work on the Monday after Strange’s death, they were told to hire attorneys and were fired.

Ten Amazing Spiders!

Dancehall Master Class With Jean-Claude Val

Such a good time!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Suddenly I'm An AC/DC Fan

I stumbled across this video of an AC/DC concert in Buenos Aires in 2009, and I'm completely mesmerized.

First, the fans. I didn't realize that AC/DC had become the favorite band of Argentine fútbol fans. It's a bit of a stretch - the Australian band sings in English; the Argentine fans speak Spanish - but the clarity, simplicity, blue-collar orientation and easy understandability of AC/DC's music makes it universal. Hell, you don't need to speak English at all. And the fans' enthusiasm makes them the best fans on Earth!

Second, the size of the arena. This place looks huge. Bigger than any place I've ever seen. I wonder if it can hold 100,000 people?

Third, the superb lighting and camera work! Arena sound quality is usually horrible.

Fourth, these bandmates are my age. Look at Angus Young, still going in his Australian school uniform! The video is a fantasy come true for people my age.

Apparently AC/DC ran into a forest of difficulties by 2014, so who can say what the future holds for them, but no question, they've had a superb run.

And I've always liked this song too: