Tips – March 2016

Since WordPress has decided that comments on Pages, like the Tips pages, don’t show up in recent comments, it kind of breaks the value of it for me. In response, I’m shifting from a set of “pages” to a set of “postings”. As any given Tips Posting disappears or gets full, I’ll add a new one. That will restore the broken function.

I will be keeping the same general format, with the T page still pointing to both the archive of Tips Pages as well as the series of new Postings. With that, back to the Tips boiler plate:

This is an “overflow” posting from prior Tips pages as they had gotten so large it was taking a long time to load. Same idea, just a new set of space to put pointers to things of interest. The most immediately preceding Tips posting is:

The generic “T” parent page remains up top, where older copies of the various “Tips” pages can be found archived. I have also added a Tips category (see list at right) and will be marking Tips postings with that for easy location.

While I’m mostly interested in things having to do with:

Making money, usually via trading
Weather and climate
Quakes, Volcanoes, and other Earth Sciences
Current economic and political events
(often as those last three have impact on the first one…)
And just about any ‘way cool’ interesting science or technology

If something else is interesting you put a “tip” here.

You can also look at the list of “Categories” on the right hand side and get an idea of any other broad area of interest.

This ought not to be seen as a “limit” on what is “interesting”, more as a “focus list” with other things that are interesting being fair game as well.

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Tips and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

121 Responses to Tips – March 2016

  1. omanuel says:

    If Nature publishes “Solar energy” [Nature’s tracking number NCLIM­16030433],

    Click to access Solar_Energy.pdf

    Two short videos will explain it:

    1. “Scientific Genesis”

    2. “The Origin of the Solar System”

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting read on the maturity of the ISIS foreign operations efforts. They appear to be a lot more capable than the general public is lead to believe by TPTB, and have been working for some time on building a support structure for European operations.

    The question is are the authorities down playing this because they don’t really understand what is going on, or are the down playing it for a tactical advantage or to avoid over loading the public with the gravity of the situation. It looks to me like ISIS is building the infrastructure for a bombing blitz of small operations rather than some single big event.

  3. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting ted talk on hacking consumer devices

    Confirms many of your observations about “the internet of things”.

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    Entertaining Ted talk about viruses

  5. Another Ian says:


    “Freedom = Economic Growth”

    Link at

  6. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting item on election fraud via the internet and hacking:

  7. Larry Ledwick says:

    E.M. I was browsing through some old posts and happened upon your “Unimpressed with Coleman camp stove” post. You mentioned in there that you were thinking about trying use of your Dutch Oven for an oven. Thought you might find this item I found on amazon interesting as at least an idea jog. Appears easy to construct something similar if you needed to bake over a stove or camp fire by using available materials to fabricate something similar. Cheap enough it might be worth a try. I have a new Dutch oven I just picked up a little while ago but have not had time to experiment with it yet.

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    Like the link…

    I think my posting was “not impressed with the Coleman OVEN”.. I like their stoves…

  9. Wayne Job says:

    In OZ a Dutch oven is when you pull the bed covers over your good woman and fart.

  10. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes should have been “oven” mental typo there when I was making the post. I got to thinking later that a small galvanized steel wash tub inverted over a dutch oven on a fire grate would with a little modification for venting serve the function of capturing heat for more uniform cooking temperatures. In the old classic cast iron dutch oven, the reason the lid has a ridge around the edges is so the cook can place hot coals on the lid to provide heat from the top as well as the bottom. So many ideas so little time.

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    Saw a news blurb on that, nice to have a link waiting for me ;-)

    Going to be real interesting watching those 72? ish heads of state cope with the backlash of having offshore secret bank accounts… not so secret any more…

  12. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting news coverage is finally starting to publically identify Russia’s use of weaponized internet trolling to manipulate public perception, and by cooking search results manipulating access to internet information if the user is not smart enough to dig below the first few results..

    Five types of troll were found: the “blame the US conspiracy trolls”; the “bikini trolls” (adorned with images of young women who would gently ask targets to rethink their views); “aggressive trolls” determined to drive people off the web; “Wikipedia trolls” working to edit blogs and web pages to Russia’s advantage; and “attachment trolls”, who would post link after link to articles and videos from Russian news platforms.

  13. Jonk says:

    While I disagree with the climate change intro, I thought this was interesting, relevant to your “Eat the weeds” and “We’ll never run out of…” posts

    View at

  14. Larry Ledwick says:

    Detailed take down of the misdirection and propaganda about jobs and unemployment.
    This is one of the few analysis articles I have read which actually squares with what I recall from the 1960’s and 1970’s up until today, and shows that the current “official” unemployment numbers are nothing but smoke and mirrors.

    It is also one of the few that notes that one of the driving demographic changes in the employment picture was that thousands of women were “forced” into the labor market by economic conditions during the hyper inflation and of the late 1970’s and early 80’s (ie to pay the bills), not because they necessarily wanted to. That shift plus the intentional changes in the work force with the onset of educated women who wanted to be self sufficient and bread winners, has fundamentally shifted the demographics in our work force and triggered lots of secondary impacts we are still dealing with today.

  15. Larry Ledwick says:

    More climate nonsense:

    A massive trawl of Northern Hemisphere rainfall data for the last 1,200 years revealed there had been more dramatic wet-dry weather extremes in earlier, cooler centuries before humans set off fossil fuel-driven global warming.

  16. Larry Ledwick says:

    Related to the internet of things postings, and computer security and privacy in several threads:

  17. Larry Ledwick says:

    More climate stuff pointing out the problems with the “settled science”

  18. J Martin says:

    Didn’t Rossi get 11 million dollars out of it ?
    But noiw he plans to sue, expect a counter suite I would think.

  19. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, outlaw knowledge… “Good luck with that”… hope nobody minds having ALL financial transactions and data hacked, ALL internet connected devices (i.e. dams, teller machines, nuclear plants) controlled by terrorists and ALL banks fully populated with Russian and Chinese hackers…

    The simple fact is that “unbreakable” encryption is a moving target anyway, and ONLY by staying one step ahead of the cracking tech as ANY use of the internet secure to even the smallest degree.

    But nobody ever said politicians either had a brain or knew how to use it. Most lawyers specialize in breaking things and causing trouble, so why would politicians with law degrees be any better…

    @J Martin:

    See comments in the “10 day to…” thread. Latest looks to be that both Rossi and IH are suing each other and both are claiming to have patent rights. Reading between the lines, it looks like an IH engineer was assigned to Rossi during the shake-down proving year and now IH are claiming they don’t need to pay Rossi since the reactor that worked was THEIR engineer’s work, not his. Rossi saying ~”oh yeah? I’ve got 18 volumes of notes and recordings showing it working and IH happy at each step”…, so it looks like he was appropriately paranoid.

    IMHO, it’s the best news possible from my POV. I don’t care who makes them, so long as they work. Since both are claiming the tech works (as is the independent evaluator) and are suing each other over who gets to make them and has to pay royalties to whom, and NOT suing over “didn’t work at all”, that is strong evidence that the darned thing really does work, regardless of who owns the IP in the end.

  20. Larry Ledwick says:
  21. Larry Ledwick says:

    Robot usage rising in China to increase productivity as wages rise.

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    Jeff Bezos on decision making — interesting observations.

  23. J Martin says:

    I understood from the wuwt article that after 3 years of trying to show it works they have comcluded it doesn’t and so the game is over for Rossi, or it ought to be but he will use the capacity of US law to drag it out forever. Lenr may work one day but I can’t see Rossi being part of it. I will re-visit the tease article. But the wuwt article claiming defeat for Rossi is more recent.

  24. Another Ian says:


    Met this one?

    Brandolini’s Law: “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”

    From comments at

    “What Would We Do Without Peer Review?”

  25. Larry Ledwick says:

    I’m just going to leave this here for future reference, tag as European social suicide by uncontrolled migration.

  26. E.M.Smith says:


    Not really a surprise. Al Qada had a specific stated goal of using drug and related criminal activities to fund operations, the Koran says it is fine for Muslims to run a brothel, so long as they use infidel women in it, and that it’s just dandy to demand a payment from the infidel for the “privilege” of being let be, so call it a dhimmi jizya tax and you’re all moral and good with Allah…

    Makes a nearly perfect “fit” with what the west would see as “organized crime” and what the Koran would call good business dealings with the infidel…

    I suspect things will need to get a whole lot worse before either:

    1) Europe finally falls to the Suleman’s invaders, just a few hundred years late…

    2) The Next Vlad and Charlemagne rise to the occasion.

    It will be one or the other. The two “systems” are mutually incompatible, so one or the other must eventually die or go to separate corners of the globe.

  27. Larry Ledwick says:

    I’m wondering why the pre-existing organized crime structure did not get into a turf war with the new comers? Seems perfect prescription for one other alternative (ie step on Russian Mob toes and you end up an a world of hurt). Sort of like 1920’s Chicago mob wars.

    Other than that third option I agree entirely.

  28. Larry Ledwick says:

    According to this item the Iphone exploit the FBI used to get into the terrorists phone was provided by a gray hat hacker.

  29. Steve C says:

    Eeeek. Sixteen years and still we see an rm -rf story. With backup drives mounted. And his entire business on the machine. One for the “There but for the grace of God and knowing what I’m doing” department!

    In other news, I’ve been playing with my FunCube radio dongle for a few months now, and recently have been using it to receive the weather satellite pictures on 137MHz – with eye-poppingly improved results over using a comms receiver. Can email you some “Before & After” images if you’re interested. It’s surprisingly easy to do, and very nice to watch the systems being blown over us by the Jet Stream in real-time.

  30. Larry Ledwick says:

    Another “must have” accessory program falls by the wayside.
    Quicktime for windows no longer supported and Homeland security recommends it be removed from windows machines.

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve C:

    “Funcube radio dongle”? Please enlighten ;-)

    I’m a long time radio guy (SWL who built tube radio from scratch …) and love radio gear…

    Per “delete your company”… yeah, saw that done. As programmer at an accounting SW company, had the “please rebuild my computer” case arise when they had the “system” backup to the backup pack (it was one of those ‘one disk in, one pack on top’ small biz machines) go the wrong way, overlaying the system with last month data… No Worries, they put the OTHER backup disk on… and proceed to copy now wrong system onto it…

    We got to spend a very long weekend rekeyng a lot of their physical records into a rebuilt system to get them back running. Time and Materials is your friend ;-)

    Why I have, typically, 3 copies on at least 2 different kinds of media and often redundant copies on really old media… then again, I’ve got a few TB of disks to store about 5 GB that really matters ;-)

    Per Quicktime:

    OTOH, sad to see it go, but Apple REALLY ought to have continued support for it. Then again, that they found it with security holes implies “has issues” and had issues all along… Then again, again, I can’t remember the last time I used Quicktime…

  32. Larry Ledwick says:

    Looks like the ring of fire is adjusting for changes in stress from recent earthquakes in Japan, just had a 7.8 in Equador.

  33. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmm autonomous submersible drones — new era in undersea warfare and reconnaissance.
    While working on a sub tender during Vietnam I heard stories of where the boats went which were never made public (short unclass version — places they were not supposed to be)

    Small composite unmanned submersibles would open up an entirely new domain of missions at very low risk (at least to crews) and let them penetrate areas which are currently off limits to all but swimmers. Using buoyancy driven propulsion like some of the sea research probes would also allow them to have very long range and duration if you were willing to trade a bit of time for the benefits.

    Trimaran hull on this design is intriguing, probably mostly for better sea keeping on the surface, it would also allow safer “parking” on the sea floor to watch and wait, then still be able to break free of bottom suction when done I suspect.

  34. Steve C says:

    @EM – The Funcube dongle is one of the (numerous) receiver dongles around – it was my choice because profits from it go to the UK Amsat (Amateur Satellite) group for funding an amateur Cubesat (the little 100 x 100 x 100 mm jobs). There are people out there forcing DVB-T, DAB and other dongles to receive stuff they were never meant to, but you need to enjoy playing around with experimental drivers, preselector filters and making it work for that level of involvement.

    If I were buying now (a few months after picking up my FCD), I’d probably go for the SDRplay – about the size of a packet of ciggies rather than a dongle, but according to a recent review it outperforms all the dongles. It has recently halved its price to 100 quid, about 2/3 of the price of the FCD, and gives gapless coverage from 100 kHz to 2 GHz. Probably my next receiver – not least because it can give you up to 8 MHz of band in the RF waterfall / spectrum display. Nice!

    All the receivers work by mixing the incoming RF with two local oscillator signals, of identical frequency but 90 degrees apart. The resulting I (nphase) and Q (uadrature) signals are passed as audio data on the USB line to the SDR program, and because of the extra information in the quadrature signal the program can discriminate between the (LO + Nyquist) and (LO – Nyquist) sidebands. Thus, with a 192 ksps sound chip, you get a 192 kHz chunk of spectrum, the only oddity being dead centre where the LF cutoff of the soundcard bites out a notch (and usually puts in a spike, for which there are offset adjustments in the software).

    Whatever the receiver, the antenna goes in one end, the USB connection in the other. Like the hardware, there are numerous SDR receiver programs around – I use HDSDR, which is very intuitive to use and gives you two waterfall / spectrum displays, one for the bit of RF spectrum you’re looking at, one for the demodulated audio. That software turns the selected incoming RF signal into audio, usually via the PC soundcard.

    For receiving something (Wx sat pictures, FAX, PSK etc) which needs further software, you need to use one of the “virtual audio cable” type programs to feed the receiver audio to the decoder. Alternatively, I am currently just using two PCs – my laptop is being a radio, perched halfway up the attic stairs en route to the dongle (on a 5m USB cable) and homebrew antenna in the attic. The “shack” PC is currently in the living room, with about 15m of (Pound Shop quality ;-) audio cable bringing in the audio from the laptop. It’s a proper “ad hoc job” too – I’ve Gaffer taped the cable down where people might trip over it!

    And yes, results are excellent. There’s nothing wrong with my FT-817, which I’d been using for the satellites before, except that its widest filter is optimised for normal comms quality FM, and is 15 kHz wide. The satellite signal needs about a 35 kHz filter and, while WXtoImg (the decoding program) strives valiantly to extract a reasonable picture from the highly squeezed audio from a comms receiver, the results when you feed it the whole signal are superb. The program colorises the pictures nicely, and can apply various “enhancements” even though the VHF signal only carries two of the satellite’s five data channels. (And at low resolution, about 1 pixel = 4 x 4 km, IIRC. If you want to fill big hard drives with high res data, you want the 1.7 GHz signal, a steerable dish and rather more crunch.)

    The joy of the software radio is that, to get that 35 kHz filter, all I needed to do was click on a slider and slide it. This compares pretty well with either sourcing a decent crystal filter (if you’re building your own Rx), or finding a half-decent commercial Rx for a sensible price. As they’re phasing out the old analogue satellite signals, it’s not a thriving market these days.

    So yeah, much fun being had. I’ll get round to tidying it up a bit sometime – probably put the software onto one “old but sufficient” PC and leave it running in the attic – the image decoder can go online and pick up the Kepler files (sat. orbital parameters) automatically, can “drive” the receiver to the right frequency as each satellite flies by, even has basic webpage updating facilities to display the results. And if the FCD is tied up doing weather satellites, well, I’d need an SDRplay then … ;-)

    Yes, I do miss the old metal chassis studded with “firebottles”, the neatly wound coils, the perfect meshing of the tuning capacitors. There is a romance and aesthetic pleasure in “real” radio no dongle will ever match. But TBH even a bog-standard dongle will wipe the floor with the old ‘un in performance, and is a lot less hernia-inducing to move. If you haven’t played with a decent radio for awhile, you’ve got quite a treat waiting if / when you get round to SDR.

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve C.:

    My last radio purchas was a small Sony PLL SWL that replaced my 2002 as Road Trip toy… I’ve been coveting a SDR, but not gone there yet… Now you have me wondering what a search on “raspberry pi SDR” might turn up…

    My major SDR exposure is cell phone tech, but that’s a different story…

  36. Zeke says:

    inre tax evasion and the leaks on offshore accounts

    It appears to me that after the government overspends and runs up national debt, the persecution of tax evasion follows — like night after day. This happened in Italy and the result was that websites and government offices offered rewards to people who reported tax evasion. –or even failing to give a receipt.

    The latest leaks seem to fall esp. hard on those who have been critics — or even fake critics, like Cameron–of the European Union. I am not impressed much with the selection of targets for persecution.

    And there was this:

    Vatican to aid U.S. with info in tax evasion crackdown ……/vatican_to_aid_us_with_info_in_tax_evasion_cra...
    Jun 11, 2015 – Vatican to aid U.S. with info in tax evasion crackdown. Pope Francis talks to prelates as he arrives at the morning session of a two-week synod on ….

    Vatican aids U.S. crackdown on tax evasion – USA Today…tax-evasion…/71001568/
    USA Today
    Jun 10, 2015 – “As Pope Francis frequently reminds us, evading just taxes is stealing both from the State and from the poor,” Gallagher said in a statement …

    Vatican, US sign first governmental agreement to report tax ……/vatican-us-sign-first-governm…
    National Catholic Reporter
    Jun 10, 2015 – Vatican, US sign first governmental agreement to report tax evasion … Discuss Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment at your next group meeting. …. a “puppet of the Mafia dominated Curia” is a ludicrous statement.

    Pope Francis is crucifying tax-evading churches that don’t …
    Sep 17, 2015 – BY: SWIKAR OLI. With each speech, Pope Francis is looking less and less like his predecessors and increasingly like a political leader.

    Vatican agrees to enforce tax evasion legislation – fastFT … Times
    Jun 10, 2015 – In a statement, the Archbishop said: As Pope Francis frequently reminds us, evading just taxes is stealing both from the State and from the poor.

    Tell me what is so bad about an offshore account? It isn’t that big of a deal, but it certainly is a very selective political weapon. This does not deserve any traction. Look who is spending all of our money and raising the debt ceiling constantly. And the tax code is labyrinthine. Environmental regulatory mazes and onerous tax codes are the real enemy. We should all have offshore accounts. “We don’t need to know who has offshore accounts, we need to know how to get one.”

    Tell that Jesuit I said running up national debts and destroying economies through environmental regs is a very systematic form of stealing from the middle class and the poor, both.

  37. E.M.Smith says:


    I have a page open on material related to just that kind of “offshore account” issue. Still trying to decide if it is worth a posting, or not… I find it an interesting part of the present global political landscape…

    Me? No, I have no offshore accounts (of any kind). I wanted a Swiss Bank Account back in the ’70s or so (when they really DID have banking secrecy), but not because I was rich or had money to hide. I just liked the idea of paying my bills with checks drawn on a Swiss Bank ;-) Unfortunately, they wanted $10,000 to open and I had about $200 in hand… BUT, the checks were not pre-printed with “dollars”… You wrote in the currency when you wrote the check and could specify whatever currency was in use in a given country. They would convert to Swiss Francs and debt your account as needed. Nice ;-)

    If I were someone who frequently traveled to foreign lands, I’d love to have a bank account with checks that worked in any / all local currencies… But the modern Credit Card / Debit Card serves that purpose now, with the same automatic currency conversion. Oh Well.

    But yes, the rush to go after “tax evasion” is a pretty good indicator that:

    a) Taxes are just too damn high. (When low, they are not enough motivation to ‘evade’…)

    b) Government is spending more than it takes in even with high taxes. (They don’t care as much when they have excess money kicking around).

    c) Most folks want to stick it to “the bad guy” and think that isn’t them…

    So you get a Government Jihad against anyone with any money that isn’t being promptly handed over for squandering, and anyone doing anything “out of the ordinary” becomes a suspect of being a “bad guy”. Thus the stupidity of “Asset Forfeiture” laws where simply possessing cash becomes the not-quite-a-crime and your money is taken. Drive down the road in, oh, Georgia and get pulled over? Hope you don’t have $1000 on you, since the cops can take it and you get to prove a negative… (It happens in ALL States, I’m just using Georgia as an example) A business that deposits cash (AND reports and pays taxes on it…) can be whacked for regularly depositing amounts under the “reporting requirement” threshold (that was $10k but now?). It doesn’t matter that you might not want to carry $10k to the bank and might want to only risk carrying $8k or less. It’s “structuring” and “different” so you go to the pokey… All much more like the Mafia than an honest government. (Frankly, IMHO, we’re getting close to the point where the Mafia was cheaper…)

  38. Zeke says:

    Em Smith says “I wanted a Swiss Bank Account back in the ’70s or so (when they really DID have banking secrecy), but not because I was rich or had money to hide. I just liked the idea of paying my bills with checks drawn on a Swiss Bank ;-) …the checks were not pre-printed with “dollars”… You wrote in the currency when you wrote the check and could specify whatever currency was in use in a given country.”

    I would just have an offshore account for the suave and panache too.

  39. Larry Ledwick says:

    Long article but interesting read about how fragile (brittle) our economic well being is in this country.
    Talks about how few people have enough savings to cover even minor emergencies from cash reserves rather than more credit.

    Looks to me like this might be the thin ice that breaks under the economies feet when the next big down turn happens.

  40. omanuel says:

    CAUTION: Vanishing email messages.

    I recently received an email message in my Google email account from an editorial assistant at Nature Climate Change that disappeared from my Apple i-phone before I could answer it.

    Fortunately I remembered the first name of the sender, Anasthesia, and eventually recovered and replied to the message. I was told by a “Geek” that the problem was caused by technical conflicts between Apple i-phones and Google email. I am not sure of that explanation, but I am now certain that email messages can disappear after they have been received and read.

  41. E.M.Smith says:


    It stops when the Makers decide to stop giving away their production to the Takers for not enough return.

    That is put off a little by the intermediation of credit, but that only works until the creditor Maker requests payment. On default, splat.

    As of now, the bias is moving toward way too many Takers. SSI running out, unfunded liabilities, etc. Puerto Rico and Greece are what it looks like. Eventually the Makers stop carrying the freight. From not making loans, to covering less via insurance, to the $5 Taco Bell lunch that now costs $8 so I don’t buy it anymore… then folks go to hospital, get treatment, and don’t pay, so doctors retire and you have a doctor shortage…

    China has already started backing off on US debt. Now the lender is The Fed… but that just moves the pressure to their ballance sheet and asset inflation (stock market at 18, 000 with poor earnings…)

    When Japan, China, and the Saudis decide to cash out and we give them pennies on the dollar in real terms, thats when it blows up.

  42. Sera says:

    “Beware the new and full moons,” Berkland says in this exclusive interview. The “maverick geologist” says that 20 of the last 25 “megaquakes” have occurred on the dates of new and full moons, the result of “equinoctal tides,” extreme gravitational forces that cause solid earth to expand and contract much as ocean tides rise and fall.

  43. Pingback: Bit Of A Grab Bag | Musings from the Chiefio

  44. Larry Ledwick says:

    Bet the green folks never saw this coming — energy efficient incandescent bulbs (photographers will love these!)

  45. E.M.Smith says:


    I found it interesting that GE was disappointed at CFL sales… I now sit 5 feet from a lifetime supply of incandescent light bulbs and subsidy CFLS (some CFLs 50 ¢ per ) and do not expect to buy another light bulb in my life time…

    They think us stupid and manipulable… we think them transparent and vile. Sales figures support our POV…

  46. Larry Ledwick says:

    I also have a stash of incandescent bulbs I bought when they were closing out. There are occasions where you “want the heat output” of an incandescent. Not to mention the full spectrum light. If these go to market I will be buying some larger ones specifically for their full spectrum lighting and low heat output for photography. (photographers will love these things!).

    I also rarely buy a new bulb for the same reason except for specialty bulbs for specific tasks.

  47. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmm 3600 square mile coral reef found in the muddy waters at the mouth of the Amazon river.

    Maybe coral is a bit more resilient than the green folks think?

  48. LG says:

    THE SPARK of LIFE !!!

    CHICAGO — A stunning explosion of zinc fireworks occurs when a human egg is activated by a sperm enzyme, and the size of these “sparks” is a direct measure of the quality of the egg and its ability to develop into an embryo, according to new research from Northwestern Medicine.

  49. LG says:


  50. LG says:

    Spark of Life !!!

    ⭐️ 🌟 💫 ✨

    Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.
    An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.
    Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.
    Not only is it an incredible spectacle, highlighting the very moment that a new life begins, the size of the flash can be used to determine the quality of the fertilised egg.

  51. Larry Ledwick says:

    A different kind of spark — this one gets listed under new technology internal combustion engines
    One of the major problems with spark ignition engines is to rapidly and effectively light off the whole fuel air charge at ideal ignition advance to make best mechanical use of the pressure generated without getting engine destroying detonation. They have tried all sorts of new methods to improve on the good old spark plug like laser and microwave pulse ignition. Looks like they finally have a system that very quickly and reliably starts the ignition burn through out the volume of the combustion chamber rather than at a single point and having to wait for the flame front to burn across the fuel air volume. Make special notice of the increased thermal efficiency of the engine taking a gasoline otto cycle engine up to thermal efficiencies commonly found in diesels.

  52. E.M.Smith says:


    Ah, yes, the search for the Mythical Moment When Life Begins.

    The problem?

    Live began some 4.5 Billion Years ago or so. Ever since, all life has just changed form and remixed. The sperm is a live, single cell, organism. The egg is a live, single cell, organism. This stage is to “prove up” that both have a viable set of genes for metabolism. Then these two living things merge to make another living thing and the development process elaborates. If it finds errors of transcription, you end up with a miscarriage or birth defects. Hopefully, given the sperm / egg / miscarriage triage, most us end up with a good set of genes.

    So ok, the egg has a blush of light at “conception”. Nice. Interesting. NOT THE START OF LIFE. The start of a new individual? Yes. Life? No. It is the continuation and transformation of life that started as a single cell billions of years ago.

    So many people expend so much energy arguing over ‘when life begins’ and it is a “mu” question. (Buddhist idea roughly “The question is ill formed”)


    I have Devuan on the Evo. It (and Debian too) has an occasional “hang” on a step in how the video driver is handled. Not taken time to track it down, and that’s a strange old box with an odd video card anyway… Other than that, I like it a lot.

    I intend to run it on “some box some day” when I get something newer and x86 that it likes. For now, I’m playing with the R.PiM2 and Arch (which is SystemD afflicted) and liking Arch. Good enough for a Daily Driver. Later I’m going to try my hand at a Gentoo install. It is more complicated, involves local source compilation (so I want to build a distcc build farm of at lease 8 cores first… based on Arch most likely). Gentoo has a switch you flip to choose SystemD or OpenRC as you like it. That, and it is very small and fast. Oh, and they have a uLibC library choice – mostly used for routers and other small appliances, but also tuned for small, fast, effective and secure. I like that… No idea if I can get them all in one package. Then again, the whole idea of Gentoo and “compile your own” is that you get to mix, match, and compile away…(and QA Test and debug and…)


    I’ll take a look. At one point VW had a project to make a “combined cycle” (or some such) engine. It had injectors and spark plugs. IF it had Diesel, it did injection and compression ignite, IF it had gas, spark ignition, IF alcohol… well, you get the idea. Lots of sensors and computer driven timing of injection and spark and all. (It was on a design path diagram that was probably a leak… but I found it ;-) I’m still waiting for that “does all” engine. Likely a bitch to figure out how to smog test it though…

    However, as a die hard old school Bosch Injector Diesel fan, I’m happy with my Benz from 1980…

  53. E.M.Smith says:

    OK, they are a bit disingenuous to call it a replacement for the spark plug when it uses a spark plug… (keeping a tidy mind is sooo picky some times ;-)

    But in general, yeah, I like it.

    It reminds me rather strongly of the Mercedes Precombustion Chamber design in my Diesel. Same idea, with fuel injected into the pre-chamber where it ignites, then the flame shooting out into the main chamber. Differences: ALL the fuel goes to the pre-chamber in the Mercedes; it is Diesel so no spark plug in the pre-chamber (but it DOES have a glow plug that gets hot…) and… well, I don’t see much and.

    One injector instead of 2 for the gas buggy is due to all the fuel going one place in the Diesel.
    No fuel in the main chamber is a result of only one injector due to the above.

    Overall, the same benefits accrue. Smoother running on wider range of fuel / air mixes, high efficiency, cooler exhaust, etc. etc.

    I’d love to have it in a gas engine. (It would be even better if it could run both gas and Diesel ;-)

  54. Larry Ledwick says:

    It appears to be just the logical follow on to the old Honda’s lean burn system where ignition occurred in a precombustion chamber with a rich easy to ignite mixture which was then allowed to eject hot combustion gases into the very lean mixture in the cylinder to ignite that mixture which was very difficult to ignite lean mixture. Stratified charge systems did the same thing slightly differently. This system seems to have moved all that process into the “igniter” and rather than being a part of the engine proper it is a simple small device that essentially replaces the spark plug, and achieves ignition of very lean mixtures and also produces prompt ignition through out the whole combustion chamber volume leading to shorter burn times. That in turn, favors very high rpm operation, ideal ignition timing and reduced tendency to knock (detonate). As the combustion process is over before the precursor compounds needed to achieve detonation never have time to be “cooked” long enough to form.

  55. E.M.Smith says:

    Yeah, loved that Honda system. Bought one new in 1980, another in 1986. In about 1995? sold the first one with about 240,000 miles on it. The other one died about 1998? with transmission failure at about 235,000? Lots of fond memories… Wish I could buy another of that 1980 Civic design… That one, last I heard, had about 350,000 miles on it and was a daily commuter to SF! Manual 5 speed. The one that died was auto…

  56. Larry Ledwick says:

    Any body who had a clue already knew that CO2 is net beneficial to the planet at current levels but nice to see some publicity of that.

  57. Larry Ledwick says:

    Space-X 360 view video of the rocket landing on the ocean going barge. You can pan the view up (or look around before the rocket comes into view) and watch the rocket come down and make its landing like you were standing on the deck of the barge.

    Very cool way to bring the masses a front row seat.

  58. Larry Ledwick says:

    If hackers can crack the Swift electronic bank transfer system, by finding a weak link in the system, we have just one more indication that anything connected to the internet is vulnerable if the pay off is big enough. As you say there is no reason for my toaster to have internet connectivity, best way to avoid the vulnerability is to minimize access points/routes.

  59. Another Ian says:


    Maybe check what WordPress has been doing. Two sites I visit (yours and WUWT) have been doing odd things with scrolling (like very slow and no action from the down arrow bottom RHS after a while) and have occasionally hung the mouse (HP laptop W10 scroll pad not shut off) but I seem to be able to retrieve by tickleing the scroll pad. This morning I got a bombed script warning that crashed Firefox, and a friend to whom I’d sent a WUWT link got an AVG virus erase of the contact.

    Both seem to be scrolling OK now.

    But all along Jo Nova (also WP) showed no signs of any of this

  60. Rob Hannah says:

    @Another Ian: My iOS Safari (on iPad) only crashes when there’s too many YouTube links on the page (and only here). I’ve settled for staying on a blog entry page until the 3 current link-heavy posts have scrolled off…

  61. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW, until recently (and when on the road) I often have ‘modest’ connect speeds. I also frequently am using very old or very small hardware ( Raspberry Pi) – by choice BTW. Both of these cause ‘high page weight’ pages to be a royal PITA, so I tend to keep bookmarked:
    as a very low page weight start point where I can see who’s got comments and / or what article I want to visit. It’s also easy to remember to just put a /t after the main site name… It is the “Tips” index and have just a link to the various Tips pages and nearly no weight at all.

    Also, WordPress has this habit of “improving” things, that often isn’t an improvement nor is it as well debugged as it ought to be before roll-out. But hey, it’s free… So I’ve noticed lately that any page with videos in them tends to load, text then one video at a time… and that keeps ‘jumping around’ my location on the page as the page gets longer… (Made worse by the Pi not having the compute power to load those videos faster than glacially…)

    Also, FireFox now has a mis-feature in the browser by default. RAPID mouse wheel causes it to scroll back and forth in your site URL history and you can suddenly find your self in a strange place. There’s also something I do that causes a tab to become a window (against my will) but I’ve not figure out what it is or how to kill it / undo it. (I have shut off the scroll jump thing a few times, and need to find my notes on it again…)

    Between those two (W.P. and FireFox) it is sporadically a PITA. Both, IMHO, a matter of overzealous programmers becoming Feature Enamored when the rest of us just want simple, working, and stable. Feature Creep is a horrible disease, made worse when the developers are on Gig-E Ethernet and you are at the end of a long skinny wire doing maybe 56 kb… I’ve noticed on the “new” beep-bop-boop WordPress editor and pages that it loads a lot of some kind of script crap that is just way slow on a Pi. I’m sure they never even noticed the impact on their Octo-Core Engineers Game Station… So I’m in an ongoing battle as they try to force me into the “New” experience and I keep finding bits of the old code to run…

    Such is life in WordPress Land.

    Were I making a nice living from this, it would be on a private hosted server and none of that would apply. As I don’t even recover my coffee budget, we go with the free stuff…

  62. Thanks for the link suggestion – mucho faster :)

  63. E.M.Smith says:

    You are most welcome… I have to live with it more than anyone else, so figured that out a while ago :-)

    FWIW, the first few years I was on 56 kb and everything is all text, not even jpg pictures… Folks complained about the lack of graphics… Oh Well. So now I’ll do some video or graphics heavy posts, then a batch with mostly text and the odd light weight graph. Wash and repeat.

    Editing a “high video weight” posting on the Raspberry Pi is painful, so keeps me reminded ;-)

  64. Another Ian says:


    More discussion starting from Pat at comment #54 at

  65. Larry Ledwick says:

    If this is what you are referring to by jumping to a new window, cntl Tab will jump you to the next tab in your firefox window. I occasionally accidentally depress the cntl key because my left hand on the home row puts the palm of my hand (littlefinger) just a mm or so above the cntl key. If I rock my left hand to the left a bit while trying to hit tab it becomes a cnt-tab action.

  66. E.M.Smith says:


    I generally have one window of many tabs. I do {something} and the current active tab pops out to become a new window. OK, now I’ve got 2 windows, one with almost all my tabs and one with one tab, and no idea how to get back with the others.

    I think I just noticed it happen after a ‘triple click’ on {something} perhaps the URL line…

    Maybe I’ll try it again later and see if that’s it…

    @Another Ian:

    Well, I’ve been enjoying that page for a while now (thanks) and noticed the quote :-) up about #12…

    Per the security issues #54, I put up a comment about SSL vs TLS and how SSL can be poodled and if you have an old browser that doesn’t do TLS you will just get ever more problems.

    I don’t like it, but there it is…

  67. Another Ian says:


    For a long time I’ve saved quotes that are useful – you might see more of yours.

    And had a collection of similes that a bloke reckoned I should put in a book – less likely now from lack of use.

    On Firefox – I put a flag in WUWT tips and notes and the answer is use Chrome. Which I’ve fed in to Firefox as I’m trying to not be google-watched. See what happens.

  68. Regis Llanfar says:

    Until Chrome (and everything else) supports plugins to the extent that Firefox does (NoScript), I won’t touch it outside of validating any client code I need to test across browsers. The exception is Safari on iOS devices…where content blockers now provide limited whitelist/blacklist functionality.

  69. Regis Llanfar says:

    @Another Ian: Until Chrome (and everything else) supports plugins to the extent that Firefox does (NoScript), I won’t touch it outside of validating any client code I need to test across browsers. The exception is Safari on iOS devices…where content blockers now provide limited whitelist/blacklist functionality.

  70. Larry Ledwick says:

    In Firefox if you hit “cntl – n” it will pop up a new empty window with a single tab (at least if you have a blank page set as your default for a new window under “Options — General — when firefox starts” as I do. If you have google set as your home page the single tab will show that in the single tab etc). To go back to your previous window try hitting “Alt – tab” until the right window is active.

  71. Larry Ledwick says:

    Oh almost forgot, you can also drag a tab off the current window (left click drag to any place on the desktop) with the mouse and it will become a new window. You an also use drag and drop to move tabs from one open window to another window. I find it useful to do when I open a second tab and it has info I want to use to work with another tab on the same window. Just drag that tab off to create a new window with it and shrink the two windows so they are side by side. Handy if you want to cut and paste content from one tab into another tab. This is a relatively new feature (last year or so) I discovered by accident.

  72. E.M.Smith says:

    I think it may be that click drag… When I’m moving fast I could see a click happening with some residual motion… that didn’t matter a year ago but now does… Having my tabs suddenly become widows against my will is not a feature I enjoy… Needing to suddenly and without warning have a mandated zero speed to click is poor human factors design, IMHO.

  73. Larry Ledwick says:

    That was my reaction at first as well.
    I have now gotten used to it and it is a useful feature but not as user friendly as it could be. I have learned to never click near the tabs when trying to move the whole window or resize the whole window. Would have been better human interface design to require 2 actions to make that happen, ie hold down alt while clicking and dragging.
    Screen latency also makes it worse because your mouse pointer may not be were you see it as far as the computer is concerned when it records the click and drag.

  74. E.M.Smith says:

    It’s that latency thing that’s killing me… WordPress is very script heavy when editing articles, and the spell checker is in a constant cycle. So it is often bogged on the Pi. This means that I’ve often gotten quite far away from the “click point’ when it realizes I need tending and THEN detects a mouse move, that really came long after I’ve finished the ‘static click while stopped’.

    I’ve now got control of it (thanks!) and at least know what’s going on. I can also, now, drag the tab back to where it had been in the other window tab bar… and at least undo the damage…

    Now I just need to learn to click, go get a coffee refill, come back… 8-(‘
    move the mouse…

    Maybe I’ll just edit articles on the ChromeBox for a while ;-)

  75. Larry Ledwick says:

    Spring fire outlook just came out for the Rocky Mountain Area, has some interesting graphics on historic weather patterns due to El Nino conditions, and drought, snow pack and precipitation forecasts.

    Click to access Seasonal_Outlook_May.pdf

    Other outlooks are available here:

  76. E.M.Smith says:

    It is raining again in California… I’m torn between Yet Another Raining Posting? Or the desire to document that it really IS raining here, in May, in a nominal “drought”. The Narrative is a hot drought, the reality is a cool dank drizzly day… (I took a photo of puddles in the street…)

  77. Larry Ledwick says:

    Why Estonia, Latvia etc. are getting nervous about Russia’s intentions in the north eastern European buffer states between Russia and Nato. There has been an ongoing series of “interesting events” and blunt provocations in that area in recent months. Several of those countries openly state they expect Russian incursions later this year, much like Georgia and Ukraine.

    How much of this is just tweaking the nose of NATO and how much is real provocation and preparing the battle field for future action is hard to tell, but the locals are taking it seriously.

    Even in the high tension days of the cold war the much larger US military presence in Europe knew full well that they sole job was to be a speed bump to slow down Russian ground forces short of going nuclear. At today’s current troop and hardware deployments they would not even achieve speed bump status, more like bug on the windshield in the first few days of conflict.

    If Putin decides to take advantage of an historically weak posture in the west and the window of opportunity provided by a Europe who has forgotten how to fight, it would be over before the news broke in the US.

  78. Larry Ledwick says:

    Seriously where do they find these clueless bone heads to hire for important government positions?

  79. p.g.sharrow says:

    The Russians generally test the New Administration as it takes power. Wonder if Putin wants to start a war with the Americans over NATO in eastern Europe. Someone should publicly ask him as a way to defuse his adventure. Just like the old Soviet Warsaw Pact , the Russians greatly fear all out war with the Americans. In spite of the efforts of the Beltway to reduce the effectiveness of the American Military, it is still awesome if unleashed…pg

  80. Larry Ledwick says:

    I am not sure that is still the case. Putin is so self assured I think he might risk a big move to take America down. He detests the fact that America “broke” the Soviet Union and I suspect he is the kind who always gets pay back. Both Russia and China are currently engaged in near maximum efforts to modernize their military and in many cases the changes being made only make sense if they are willing to consider a first strike option (possibly working together)

    Russia’s new heavy throw weight SARMAT is being mirved with high yield weapons that will break the START treaty, while the current administration is still actively demobilizing our strategic systems. This smells like a break out move to me that by the time our new administration gets in office and (assuming) it notices the imbalance they will have stolen a march on us of about 2 years with multiple new high capability systems coming into full operation near 2018-2020 at which point we will be racing to catch a run away train as we try to catch back up and return to strategic balance. China is also rapidly moving to aquire first strike capability with their new missiles. The DF-31 and DF-41 which they are actively bringing on line. Plus their underground tunnel system to hide missiles in nearly 3000 miles of deep tunnels they will have an essentially invulnerable strike force, because it would be impossible to determine the actual location launchers in the tunnel system and target them with our current missile inventory.

    Both Russia and China have made veiled threats regarding their new missile capabilities. In Russia’s case they have specifically discarded “no first use” doctrine for nuclear weapons.

  81. Larry Ledwick says:

    File under disaster survival tips:
    While chasing a rabbit down a hole on survival stuff, stumbled on this document in English produced by the Japanese for earth quake survival tips. Has several cool tips in it.
    (typical pragmatic Japanese approach to problems)

    Click to access 04_Survival_Tips.pdf

    This guy (Fernando “FERFAL” Aguirre) has some very interesting stuff on his blog. He is from Argentina and is trying to spread real life lessons he learned from living through their financial collapse (so far). He has a nice book which I just finished and highly recommend for someone looking for practical no nonsense info on how first world economies and cities unwind when the music stops.

    Cliff’s notes version:
    First world cities don’t go all the way to zombie apocalypse when they melt down except in local areas during the rioting phase. First it takes time to unwind and for social norms to change from civilized to watch your six every where you go, and don’t go out at night. Second they rather quickly revert to violent crime infested corrupt cities and all the social rules change. Think of the worst neighborhoods in Chicago, and Detroit, plus the official corruption of Mexico and similar countries. The law is still there and you still go to work, but it gets very dangerous to do so if you are not paying attention.

    (google “The Modern Survival Manual” and his screen name Ferfal )

  82. Larry Ledwick says:

    I forgot the source line for the Japanese emergency documents:

  83. Larry Ledwick says:

    Just talking to myself here, but I wonder what impact the Canadian wild fire will have on weather patterns? Given it is such a big fire and at norther latitudes just as the sun starts to warm the north. The smoke plume should impact the warming process of northern latitude atmosphere and will in time circle the earth cutting heating at low altitudes and increasing heating at high altitudes as its massive particulate output changes the transparency and emissivity of the atmosphere.

    Something to ponder and a dig here as the summer develops and we see (potentially) weather pattern shifts which are not typical.

  84. E.M.Smith says:

    Massive is a relative term… The fire is about 30 x 20 miles (not actual just 600 sq mi from news resolved to an example). Even at 200 tons per acre, 640 acres per sq. mi., 640 x 200 x 600 = 77 million tons. The USA alone uses about 21 T /day of coal, so we’re talking 3 1/2 days… China uses more and burns it dirty… More of the Amazon is on fire at any one time… there’s about 3000 x 3000 or 9 million sq mi of north america as a rough order of magnetude, so it’s about 600 / 9000000 or 2/30000 or 1/15, 000 the area…

    Back In the 60s, rice stubble burning covered more area than that in my part of California alone…

    Then most of the smoke is low so rains out fast…

  85. Larry Ledwick says:

    I was speaking in relative terms to other known fires, it is already 3x bigger than the biggest wild fire in Colorado’s record which dumped so much smoke into the Denver Metro basin that some 65 miles away, it significantly changed the local micro climate (and made the air almost un-breathable for people with respiratory problems). It also created strong thermal inversion layers due to the shadowing effect of the thick smoke layer, surface heating was significantly slowed. You could feel it when you went outside, the sun at ground level was significantly weaker at ground level than it normally would be in clear air conditions, so the daily heating pattern was much different than normal. Likewise the large fires in Utah and Arizona in recent years have spread a smoke pall covering several western states. So from first hand experience I know it will change local micro climates at this critical time of the year for solar heating (approaching summer solstice). The intense heating and fire driven convection also significantly alter local wind patterns and drive convection to high altitudes which normally would not occur.
    I am quite familiar with agricultural burning and the smoke it produces but it is a very different critter than a large scale fire which has updrafts strong enough to carry large firebrands miles down wind and smother state size areas in dense smoke layers.

    Just pondering how that might change summer heating patterns in the northern latitudes this year and windflows due to the changes in heating due to the smoke deck that will develop down wind. It will be interesting to watch and see how or if these changes turn out to change regional weather patterns.

  86. E.M.Smith says:

    I wasn’t complaining, just pointing out that while it will matter locally, it will disappear on a global scale (and on a whole hemisphere scale, though maybe not on a 1/2 continent scale), though working out where it does reach would be a good pondering… You illuminated one edge, I was illuminating the other edge. The ponder is what’s in the middle and where they meet…

    But I’m up to my medulla in boot stap compiling Linux from sources in parrallel right now so likely not by me ;-) At least not this week…

  87. p.g.sharrow says:

    Brazil is having second thoughts about their communist administration?
    “Rousseff has vehemently denied her administration’s financial sleight of hand moves constituted a crime and argued that such maneuvers were used by prior presidents without repercussions.”
    OPM is running out and someone must take the blame…pg

  88. Larry Ledwick says:

    Ooops it appears that HRC knew that use of the blackberry was not premitted (new email) and was willing to use insecure communications when secure was a pain to use.

  89. Larry Ledwick says:

    And what are the chances that there are more grounds to being RICO actions against pro-global warming advocates then there are against the oil companies. They may end up opening a can of worms that they would later lament. Discovery for their charges against the oil companies might expose some actions on the AGW side that they would rather not get out into the public arena.

  90. E.M.Smith says:

    OMG, not only has Colorado moved to Wyoming, but whoever wrote the map legend has spelling issues with MJ… maybe spent too much time doing field research and in situ fact checking ;-)

  91. Larry Ledwick says:

    And now we have the other side of the story starting to come out.

    For background, Golden is a quiet little tourist town just west of Denver and the gateway community to the near by mountains. At one time it was the capitol city of Colorado territory. Home to Colorado School of Mines college and also Coors Beer’s original plant location and primary brewery facility.

    Not the sort of town you would expect anything like violent home invasions to happen in. There have been a half dozen home invasion crimes in the last 3-4 months here in Colorado. Until recently this sort of crime was so rare, folks could not recall the most recent similar event.

  92. E.M.Smith says:

    Golden? It is one of those “cute as a button” little mountain places (that has grown up some…)

    I thought Colorado has made pot legal so the need to buy it at some house had gone away?


    (And folks wonder why some folks wear a gun while sitting at home watching TV… “Home Invasion” robbery is based on the notion that a group can swamp one or two homeowners. A nice pocket pistol fixes that assumption “right quick”… Just be sure the hoods in baseball caps breaking your door down are not actually police, who are distinguished by… well, I’m not sure anymore. It used to be the funny hat and uniform, but now it’s baseball caps and tight shirts… but if you accidentally show your gun while the police are destroying the front of your home, you will be shot by them with nary a moment of hesitation… They killed one Marine home from war when they were hitting the wrong house and he reached for his rifle… “Oops” was about the extent of the remorse…)

  93. Larry Ledwick says:

    On the home invasion issue, I have looked at some videos that have been captured on such attacks while researching ways to harden a door to prevent kick in type attacks. The actual time it takes to force a door is very short measured in seconds. Of course such hardening does no good in cases of “scam in” attacks (can I use your phone), or “push in attacks” where the owner answers the door and unlocks it to talk to the person, or “out flank attacks” like the one in Colorado Springs earlier this year where a woman came to the door and knocked lightly and when greeted by the home owner asked her to confirm her address, meanwhile the woman who owned the home heard a noise behind her and turned to see three men with guns charging through an unlocked patio door. It was over before she knew she was under attack.

    In the true kick in the door type home invasions you only have 3 – 10 seconds to get to some way to defend yourself. With many doors, they can be kicked down by a strong man with a single kick shattering the lock striker in the door frame. Some survive 3 kicks. Some simple reinforcement techniques can make the door nearly kick proof, but the only real defense is being cautious about the scam in, push in or out flank attacks and having some suitable weapon close at hand. In the golden incident the man of the house was able to grab a kitchen knife and defend the house, although he was critically wounded as the attacker also had a knife.

    These sort of attacks have become quite common in collapsing economies like Venezuela and Argentina, and apparently on the rise here in the states.

    single kick entry

    This one took 3 kicks

  94. Pingback: Tips – May 2016 | Musings from the Chiefio

  95. E.M.Smith says:

    Additional tips continue on a new page here:

    as this one has gotten slow to load (must be all the videos ;-)

Comments are closed.