Showing posts from July, 2018

I'm Definitely Goofball

I Just Love Tom Tomorrow

He's kind of a "buckshot political cartoonist"... mows stuff down

Here's his whole  un-subtle take on Democrat/Republican thinking.

[A sample]
His most telling panel in this strip is the final one, where "Galahad" responds generally to the irrefutable arguments put forth by Goofball:

... Sounds like a Russian troll/bot on Breitbart.

Whassup in Transylvania?

For reasons totally mysterious to me, several page views are frequently recorded from Romania by some one(s) checking out Olde Scooters ramblings.
Romania  is a very beautiful country, where the history is deep and the mythologies dense.

It's also famous for housing many hundreds of brilliant hackers and other web geniuses.

This is  a not atypical count from the Blogger "Stats" report.

    SeniorJunior page views last few days.
United States 312 Romania 32 Germany 15 France 9

Holy Bird in Juniper

I Always Hoped to Find a Religious Figure in the Logs

Bet I've cut about a thousand juniper logs in our 20 years in the New Mexico mountains. 
I ALWAYS look at the cross sections, since the central red wood makes a collection of shapes worthy of Dr. Rorschach. Surely I would find a holy relic, maybe a saint or the Virgin Mary.

After chainsawing a log, what to my wondering eyes should appear but this wonder. A compound trunk sliced right at the point where a branch emerged and LO...

 Saint Dowitcher, the Longbill!

Not only does St. Dowitcher the Longbilled have a halo, it has a penumbra.   Talk about your holy glow.

There are several varieties of Juniper hereabouts. I think this one is a "single seed," but I'm not positive.

Stoopid Political Tactic

This Stuff Doesn't Work on This Olde Democrat
Email campaigning that starts with "fear shots" just doesn't do it for me. I think it is alarmist and mostly ridiculous to start donation appeals with stuff like this.

These are the subject lines of five recent emails I've received from various Democrats in the last few days:

Five from Downerville

D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for Democrats’ chances to take back the House!!
If the election were held tomorrow, we'd lose.
James Carville  : Kiss all hope goodbye. Will, we've just received some dire news.

HINT: I've got plenty of "dire news" in my in-box. I don't need more from my political party!

Who told the Dems this was a good communications tactic? It makes me want NOT to read the message.

Just saying....

Homer credit

What Are You Thinking, Machine?

DARPA To the Rescue! Better hurry before the Chinese figure it out first.

IBM's Watson, Google's AlphaGo Zero, Hanson's Sophia, Robots Without Borders' Lunaeven your humble house spy Alexa are all A.I.s to one degree or another, and the computation and tech worlds are flooded with all the new machine learning and A.I. endeavors. 

Problem is, most of these astounding programs don't leave a clear record of just how they did what they do.

Now DARPA is working on how to find out. I'm reassured.

I SEE you.  I think.

AI pioneers are ready to move beyond today's 'basic' machine learning and closer to AI that actually thinks instead of merely churning out data.  The report.

*eye credit

I & My Bald Friend are Pissed

Republican/Industry Attack on Endangered Species Act Sneaking it in a "must pass" bill

I'm sure you've read/heard about this anti-nature attack, but in case you haven't, and in case you don't think this is insane, read THIS

The "Great Die Back," of species* going on right now is about to be given a huge boost by the Trump administration. For years industry, ranchers and Libertarians have been trying to weaken the Endangered Species Act, and now they are really rolling.

Then write or call your Congressman, your Senators and all your friends who might not be OK with this. (Call your mom while you're at it.)


*Mass extinction underway

A Moment in Hummer Heaven - video

Hummingbirds, a July Evening in the Manzanita Mountains New Mexico
I started out to shoot video of our feeders when the famously aggressive and territorial rufus hummers, typically guarding "their" feeder ferociously, were mixing with the more peaceful hummers.

I only caught a couple, but believe me, something about the Olde Scooter (and Dorothy) feeders tames the wild beasts, and they integrate into our continuous swarms very peacefully and respectfully. There is nothing so lovable as a reformed bully.

Some of the stars of the video:

   I'm Calliope                                     I'm Broadtail                                          I'm the golden boy, Rufus

Here is two minutes and fourteen seconds of video, narrated by the man who fills the feeders three or four times a day. (Ok, Dorothy does at least half.)

Calliope credit
Broadbill credit
Rufus credit

Who's Working On New Antibiotics? Nobody Big.

"Superbugs" Are Lurking to Eat Our Tender Flesh..  All Antibiotics Are Becoming Impotent... We Desperately Need     New Antibiotics....

So what Big Pharma company has the next super antibiotic in the pipeline  to save us from the coming germopocalypse?
Basically NONE
The "Plutocrat's Paper" Forbes Magazine put it this way: Big Pharma has basically given up on antibiotics. It’s not that the risks are too high, it is that the rewards are too low. New antibioticsarebeing introduced. But their sales are a tiny fraction of sales in other drug classes.
A Headline Last Week
Novartis joins the Big Pharma exodus out of antibiotics, dumping researchBig Pharma started bailing on antibiotics research years ago, discouraged by the notable absence of profits. That left R&D to a small group of biotechs looking to come up with new approaches that could be used as drug-resistance become increasingly common.
Thing is, the really profitable new drugs are those you have to take and take …


When You Just Can't Bear It The Joys of Living in the Mountains

This guy (I'm pretty sure) was having a drink last night from a pond about  a mile away. Looking good. Ripped. He'll gain some weight in the fall for the long winter's snooze. 

We've had three bear visits to our house this year, but I haven't gotten any pictures, so I'll use this one. Our Airedales love it when the big boys drop around.  We have a high powered electric fence ("Will Stop an Angry Bull" - Lowes) around the outside of the top of our fence, and the bears have learned about the yellow wire. No intrusions in a couple years.

Amidst all the craziness going on these days, these guys just improve my attitude.

My New Hero

Way to Go, California At last, a governing person who hates bots as much as I do! California state Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Bots of the Internet, Reveal Yourselves!A bill in the California legislature would regulate bots by making them disclose their automated nature. But how?
Bots are the body lice of the Internet.
Bots are stealth brain boring parasites.
Bots are the pliers and screwdrivers in the Devil's workshop.
Other than those, my opinions about bots are neutral.


Perhaps you have noticed, I have been honking this horn for a while, including "how to do it."
"Like Bots" - the newest weapon
...To Save Our Country
50,000 Russian Bots... and Counting
Deliver the Coup de Grace!

The bigger Bot comment list.


The Common Uncommon Nighthawk Swarming over our humble mountain cottage.
Back in Bonham, Texas, we called them bull-bats. I'm not sure why. Oh yeah, they fly like bats and boom like bulls. (I've never heard the bull-bat booms, but I believe in them.)
*I have rarely seen them by the flock, a swarm of dozens. Mostly I see them in pairs or four or five at most. Tonight, after an afternoon of thundershowers, there was a nighthawk convention right over our bit of land. I grabbed my phone and started taking video. The bull-bats are just flickering spots mostly, but the clouds are cool.

Here's three and a half minutes of clouds with a few flickerings. Grab a beer and check it out.


*Nighthawk pix credit

China's Pharma Invasion

"Biotech*," the Growth Wing of Pharma Didn't know that? The Chinese certainly do
Some headlines and paragraphs spelling it out

Money is rushing into biotech at breakneck speed this year, and one part of the globe is accounting for much of the uptick: China. VC deals were teeming with Chinese investors in the first half of the year, with China-based firms participating in US biotech investment rounds worth $5.1 billion, according to data from PitchBook. For some perspective, that beats 2017's total figure of $4 billion — and we're only six months into the year.  ENDPOINTS NEWS**

Chinese funds participated in investment rounds in US biotech companies worth $5.1bn in the first half of this year, beating the $4bn in 2017, the first year of large Chinese inflows into the sector, according to PitchBook.
Financial Times🔐

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals on the prowl for acquisitions in US and Europe The Chinese pharmaceutical firm plans to open a research centre in San Diego and acq…
New Secret Russian Troll Weapon Now being unleashed.   Guard Your Mind!

Just when you thought the master propagandists couldn't do more damage, they UPPED THEIR GAME.
Introducing the LIKE BOTS
Here's how they work...
  Troll #1 writes some hyperbolic comment ("All Californians are pedarists!")
                                   Bot #1 shoots out a nasty insult. ("Go back to your safe place, coward!")
                                   Bots # 2-10 starts "liking" the hyperbole.  Like, like, like, like, like, like......

      Now there is a full suite of deception: Fake troll statement; fake nastybot response; fake "likes"

        The reader, not on full alert for false propaganda tricks,  thinks, "Wow, a lot of people agree with that; it must be true! " He is deceived. Again. 

Careful what you believe. The tsunami of propaganda, riding the crest wave of BIG LIE technique, is already underway. It's the Russians, but it's also the …

OK, I Just Don't Get It.

Seven Republican Senators* in Moscow on the  4thofJuly What in the world?.....

My international sophistication (Yuge, I tell you) is boggled.  These worthies slipped over to Russia to do what?  Grease the skids for Trump's visit with Putin? Secretly urge even more pro-Republican election interference? Just wanted some real caviar?  Or as the author of this piece asked the questions:

 "Why are they there? How did they get there? Who invited them? What were the discussions? Did any of that link back to the things we know Bob Mueller is looking at?"
When you find out, please slip me the answers so I can look less dumb about this!

*  (and one Congressman)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) Sen. John Thune (R-SD)Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)