Thursday, May 25, 2017

Jupiter Surprises

Many scientists had also supposed that Jupiter’s beautiful bands were really only skin-deep, and that there was little structure deeper within the planet. That turned out to be off, too.

The Juno Microwave Radiometer, which probed hundreds of kilometers beneath the surface, found a remarkable level of organization — including a strange band of ammonia sitting right above the equator that extends deep into the planet. Just how deep remains unclear.

“What’s always been assumed is that as soon as we drop below the cloud tops where the sunlight can’t get to, that Jupiter inside would be kind of boring and all uniform and everything would be mixed together and it wouldn’t matter where you looked, it would all look the same,” Bolton said. “It turns out it’s exactly the opposite.”

In fact, this band of ammonia seems to have dynamics somewhat reminiscent of an atmospheric circulation pattern on Earth known as a Hadley Cell — even though that pattern requires a surface like Earth’s land or oceans to work. Jupiter has no such known surfaces, as far as researchers know.

“You have to question now whether what we’re seeing now is a general feature of all planetary atmospheres, or is it just a coincidence?” Bolton said. “Or does this equatorial band go so deep that it gets to some kind of transition region really far down in Jupiter?”

Vaguebooking, For Now

The Family Slave

Slavery is one of the oldest of human institutions. It's still very much alive in America:
I let her words sink in. Then I came back at her, saying she would know all about being a phony, her whole life was a masquerade, and if she stopped feeling sorry for herself for one minute she’d see that Lola could barely eat because her goddamn teeth were rotting out of her goddamn head, and couldn’t she think of her just this once as a real person instead of a slave kept alive to serve her?

“A slave,” Mom said, weighing the word. “A slave?”

The night ended when she declared that I would never understand her relationship with Lola. Never. Her voice was so guttural and pained that thinking of it even now, so many years later, feels like a punch to the stomach. It’s a terrible thing to hate your own mother, and that night I did. The look in her eyes made clear that she felt the same way about me.

Jellybeans Have Sugar?

Who would have thought?:
Jessica Gomez filed a suit in a California court because these jelly beans, which are marketed toward helping athletic performance, are loaded with sugar – a fact she wasn’t aware of when purchasing the beans.

A Goofy Mother Road Kind of Song

"Bond - James Bond"

Cultural Appropriation

How do I feel about this? How do I feel? I don't know how I feel about this. We're squarely in the Iggy Azalea zone, where up is down, and left is right. I just wonder if its cutthroat Portland taco-truck competition kneecapping the competition?:
For the first few months, the weekend pop-up shop housed in an taco truck was a smash hit. It gained so much popularity, a local weekly newspaper decided to profile the entrepreneurial duo.

But that's when the trouble started for Wilgus and Connelly, after quotes they gave to the Williamette Week led to them being accused of stealing their success.

Explaining their trip, Connelly told the newspaper: 'I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did.

'In Puerto Nuevo, you can eat $5 lobster on the beach, which they give you with this bucket of tortillas. They are handmade flour tortillas that are stretchy and a little buttery, and best of all, unlimited.

'They wouldn't tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn't quite that easy.'

Those comments were latched onto by a food blog in the Portland Mercury, which accused Wilgus and Connelly of 'preying' on the women they met in Mexico.

Painting Projects Commence

After stalling for a month, I finally started this year's painting projects. Starting small, by first rejuvenating the 'Moonrock' tint on the back porch.

Welcome to Patribotics

Amused and alarmed by the arrival of this left-wing Breitbart wannabe. Mensch is an opportunistic libertarian British ex-pat, but these days, all the opportunities are on the Left. It figures an American liberal wouldn't know how to seize the opportunity:
That push-pull between belief and dismissiveness hints at a crossroads for liberals in the age of Trump. Unlike the fringy right, which has long relied on sites like Infowars and Breitbart to ratify its dreams and fears, the left lacks a well-developed infrastructure for spreading toxic and intoxicating innuendo. But progressives are angry and scared. They do seek out the pleasures of outrage and worldview confirmation. No political moment since at least the Nixon presidency has provided such fertile ground for conspiracy theories. ... Mensch’s scoops defy common sense and make a mockery of U.S. institutions. But so does Trump. Even her most tenuously sourced, outrageous tales feel like they’re on the cusp of tipping over into truth.

I'm Here For You

Equal-Opportunity Slayer

Wow, This Fire in Atwater was Quite the Hollywood Disaster!

Overturned gasoline tanker truck:
"I was running, I kind of stopped, I second guessed myself, because if I turned on the car, the fumes would have got in and I would have exploded."

CHP officers said the tanker was carrying 8,100 gallons of oil when it crashed-- the driver died on scene.

OK, GOP, Your Candidate on Today's Ballot is a Thug

How do you justify it?:
Gianforte violated that pledge when he attacked a reporter for doing his job Wednesday night. As readers of the Missoulian know, Gianforte had repeatedly dodged questions about whether he would support the House plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act because he wanted to wait for the Congressional Budget Office to assess its impact.

Wednesday afternoon, the CBO issued its report, showing that millions of people across the United States — and thousands here in Montana — would lose health care coverage under the GOP plan.

A reporter for the Guardian newspaper, a respected British publication with a broad following in the United States, walked into a room in Bozeman where Fox News was setting up for an interview and asked the candidate what he thought of the budget office report, noting that Gianforte had said he was waiting for those numbers.

An audiotape of the encounter shows the question was followed by a loud crash that a Fox News reporter who was in the room said was caused when Gianforte put both hands around the throat of the reporter, threw him to the ground and then began punching him.

Gianforte Attacks the Reporter ON PURPOSE!

Our democracy continues to go down in flames:
Gianforte himself can be dismissed as an outlier. Last month, he joked with a Christian group about attacking a reporter—and, in that instance, apologized. What’s more worrisome than Gianforte is that the Republican Party has created an entire partisan infrastructure that is so heavily indoctrinated, they will defend a candidate no matter what.

Facebook "Dark Posts"

I found this article particularly interesting, how the Trump campaign used Facebook "Dark Posts" to selectively turn off critical parts of the Democratic electorate. Dark posts, invisible to all but the recipient, were originally meant to allow advertisers to try out different creative variations on ad campaigns. They are perfect for political campaigns, where you can design a blizzard of micro ads for "whatever squirrel everyone chases."

Certain portions of the Democratic electorate were easy to target: 1.) Bernie supporters (DNC outrage), 2.) young women (easily-manipulated by ads targeting Bill Clinton), 3.) African-Americans (targeted with ads stressing Hillary's "super-predator" remarks from the 90's). And it worked like a charm!:
Parscale’s strategy of using Facebook’s “dark posts” also turned out to matter, enabling the Trump campaign to attack Clinton with targeted negative ads that flew below the public radar. Dark posts are not illegal. They are not necessarily “dark.” Unlike a regular Facebook advertisement, which appears on one’s timeline and can be seen by one’s friends, dark posts are invisible to everyone but the recipient. Facebook promotes them as “unpublished” posts that “allow you to test different creative variations with specific audiences without overloading people on your Page with non-relevant or repetitive messages.”

Phrased this way, dark posts sound benign, even benevolent. Parscale and his crew had other ideas. Facebook dark posts, used in tandem with more traditional attack ads, were part of the Trump team’s concerted effort to dissuade potential Clinton voters from showing up at the polls. (In March, Cambridge Analytica won an Advertising Research Foundation David Ogilvy Award for its “Can’t Run Her House” ad, which used a clip from the 2008 Democratic primary of Michelle Obama criticizing Clinton.)

“We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” a senior campaign official told Bloomberg’s Green and Issenberg. One targeted idealistic white liberals—primarily Bernie Sanders’s supporters; another was aimed at young women—hence the procession of women who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton and harassed by the candidate herself; and a third went after African-Americans in urban centers where Democrats traditionally have had high voter turnout. One dark post featured a South Park–like animation narrated by Hillary Clinton, using her 1996 remarks about President Bill Clinton’s anti-crime initiative in which she called certain young black men “super predators” who had to be brought “to heel.”


This Is The Real Price of Fake News

Hard to believe that James Comey chose to believe this document of Russian origin. History changed because of it. What a chump he was! But it also means Russia basically runs the U.S. now. We do what they tell us and believe what they say:
The Russian document cited a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter. If true, the revelation of such an understanding would have undermined the integrity of the FBI’s investigation.

Current and former officials have said that Comey relied on the document in making his July decision to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement — in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence — set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election.

But according to the FBI’s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence — and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau. The Americans mentioned in the Russian document insist they do not know each other, do not speak to each other and never had any conversations remotely like the ones described in the document.

No End of Crap from the FOX People

First Annual ‘Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards’

Arabs Pay Attention

Trump is learning his ABC's in the Middle East political bazaar. Now THOSE guys REALLY pay attention to the details! This is just sad:
A "peace process" will be set up, Jared Kushner will preside over a meeting or two, and Netanyahu will settle back and wait for some kind of bombing or other terror attack to declare that he tried but the Palestinians just can't be dealt with. Every neocon in America will immediately jump on the bandwagon and insist that this is the final straw. Things were so hopeful thanks to Trump's goodwill, but they bombed innocent women and children while Israel was earnestly trying to make peace! They're savages! Netanyahu will ask Trump for a statement of support, and of course Trump will provide it because terrorists are bad. And that will be that.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sacramento Gay Men's Chorus at Davis Pride

Kay Hight on piano:

Curtis Park Wall

Highly-annoyed with feel-goodism Sunday morning. Creating this auto-free stretch, in conjunction with closed freeway ramps, created a series of impenetrable barriers around Curtis Park that made for massive traffic jams. Delays ruined my morning plans. I hope someone at least enjoyed it:
For four hours Sunday, May 21, a 2-mile commercial stretch of Broadway promises to be a car-free paradise, thanks to Sacramento’s inaugural Sunday Street.

The city expects 5,000 to 10,000 people to participate in Sunday Street on Broadway its first Open Streets Project, inspired by the public-space movement around the globe that encourages residents and governments to think of streets as destinations in themselves and more than merely corridors for travel. According to the Open Streets Project advocacy effort, the event will be the 19th initiative launched in California.


Literacy Test From 1960's Louisiana

Our Slow-Mo Coup D'Etat Continues

I wish they'd hurry the damn thing along:
I’ve been writing about this slow-moving coup in various ways for months now because its not well understood and it’s the most consequential thing going on in this country and the world right now. Nixon won a landslide reelection in 1972 even after many details of the Watergate burglary were reported, yet his efforts to obstruct justice were thwarted by leaks from the intelligence community.

...In Trump’s case, though, his operation has been the subject of a counterintelligence investigation for almost a year now. He appointed a man on the Kremlin’s payroll to be our national security advisor. He’s giving out information to the Russians that could get Israeli intelligence assets killed, or prevent us from stopping a mass casualty terrorist attack on civil aviation.

Nixon was abusing his power but we wasn’t endangering the country.

So, the proverbial shoes will keep dropping. The grand juries will start producing indictments. The pace will continue to make White House staffers feel helpless and under siege. It will get ratcheted up, step by step, until the GOP resistance in Congress breaks.

Instant Responses for Top Nixonites

The Endless Gift of Trump