Tips – November 2017

About “Tips”:

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

Computer stuff, especially small single board computers
Making money, usually via trading
Weather and climate (“Global Warming” & “Climate Change”)
Quakes, Volcanoes, and other Earth Sciences
Current economic and political events
(often as those last three have impact on money and climate things…)
And just about any ‘way cool’ interesting science or technology

If something else is interesting to you, put a “tip” here as you like.

If there is a current Hot Topic for active discussion, try one of the Weekly Occasional Open Discussion pages 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.

The History:

Note that “pages” are the things reached from links on the top bar just under the pretty picture. “Postings” are reached from the listing along the right side of any given article (posting).

Since WordPress has decided that comments on Pages, like the Old Tips Pages, won’t show up in recent comments, it kind of breaks the value of it for me. In response, I shifted from a set of “pages” to a set of “postings”. As any given Tips Posting gets full, I’ll add a new one.

I have kept the same general format, with the T page (top bar) still pointing to both the archive of Tips Pages as well as the series of new Postings via a link to the TIPS category.

This is the next posting from prior Tips postings. 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. The Tips category (see list at right) marks Tips postings for easy location.

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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...
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111 Responses to Tips – November 2017

  1. philjourdan says:

    The insanity of the left. Takei damns Trump for saying “grab her pu**y”, yet admits to grabbing male members.

    I guess Takei only grabbed white male members so that is ok.

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    First of its kind attempt – in body targeted gene editing to correct a genetic disease.

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    You just don’t get it, do you? Only White Male Heterosexuals can be sexual harassing. The others are just being Leftist Free Sprits…

    Though Kevin Spacey may be adding White Male Bisexuals to the allowed offenders…

    It’s OK for women to hit on men. It’s OK for gay guys to “reach out” … ’cause they are oppressed, you see… It’s OK just as long as you are not a White Male who likes women. (Black Males get accused of physical abuse instead of sexual misconduct…)

    While technically it is possible for women and non-whites to be run through the sexual harassment process (legal or ‘court of public opinion’) in reality it just doesn’t happen (at least, not enough to notice). Sure, you had Cosby getting the take-down, but IMHO that was mostly because of the drugging / rape aspect of it. Were it just ‘ol Cos getting “handsy”, well, that would be his “culture” now wouldn’t it? Then we all know Hispanics are just “hot” anyway, so they all get a pass for it’s their “culture” too… I’m still waiting for the first public flogging of a woman for asking men out to dinner or wanting to hold their hand without asking first…

    The “Left Think” truly is a brain disorder…

    @Another Ian:

    Saw a joke once that illustrated it… Two women (think old Italian city apartments with laundry flapping at the 4th story up… women hanging out the windows) on opposite sides of the street shouting at each other. Two men walking on the street below: One says to the other “They shall never agree for they argue from different premises…”

    Depending on what you value, two reasonable people can reach very opposite views, thus the importance of POV…


    I’ve ranted about why GMOs are evil a few times. One of my major complaints has been the unpredictable gene placement and all the crap that can cause (referenced in that article talking about earlier attempts causing cancer and other metabolic problems).

    Lately I’ve not ranted about it, in part due to the onset of CRISPR. We’re getting to where we can place the gene is a place where it belongs and without disrupting what the gene control systems do to turn genes on and off.

    Now that article was very interesting in that they use yet another highly targeted method of gene editing. It looks to me like we may actually (finally!) be getting to where gene editing can be done in a well enough controlled way to be safe.

    Then my complaints about GMO foods will reduce. Mostly to just 2 points.

    1) Bt Toxin causes allergies in some folks (data from folks in the Organic industry doing spraying with it). As a person prone to food allergies, I’m not happy with the idea of putting a known allergen in the bulk of our food production. It has also shown “issues” in gut / reproduction effects in ruminants feed massive amounts of GMO Bt feed.

    Bt Toxin in vast areas of crops means mega-tons of it spread everywhere. Stalks, pollen, roots, you name it. This has potentially disastrous consequences for all bugs even the beneficials. Makes me wonder about Bee Colony Collapse Disorder and the drop of flying insects by about 75% in many places…

    2) “Roundup Ready” and similar genes means mega-tons of glyphosate soaked into our food crops. Nobody knows what that much does in the food supply and soaked into the dirt. It’s now a suspected carcinogen in some places. I have a tree I sprayed with it some years back that almost ll died. A bit re-sprouted from the root/stump. The leaves have been small and weird and it just doesn’t grow right. Even years later. ( I left it to grow so as to observe it. Instead of growing by feet / year and adding 2 inch diameter stems i one season, it makes little 1/4 to 1/2 inch stems with distorted leaves. Like a mutant bush instead of a tree. As this is growing directly from the stump, it is clearly the same plant and the leaves, though distorted, have the right overall character of finish and edge It looks to me like once your soil is soaked in this stuff, you may be stuck with “roundup ready” GMO crops for years… Breakdown is not going as fast as expected…

    That is, IF they ever toss out the old shotgun gene insertion methods…

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    Safe in the context that we assume there are no poorly understood impacts to that gene and perhaps subtle interplay with the broken genes and other sites on the DNA. We may know that gene xyz is directly associated with a metabolic disease, and that people with out that disease all have gene yzx but we may still have unknowns about what happens when you replace xyz with yzx. Perhaps there are other ‘triggers’ or associated deviations that also need to be tweaked.

    It would be great if they come up with effective genetic treatments to common chronic diseases, but I am concerned that the math of probabilities are that sooner or later in that process, they will unintentionally trigger some totally unexpected black swan outcome of that gene replacement. Some of which could be really bad.

    Not saying don’t try, but I am saying be very careful when walking on thin ice and understand how little you know, rather than spending too much time patting yourself on the back while you break through the ice.

    Unfortunately humility and recognition of lack of understanding are not typically strong suits of Phd chemists and medical practitioners. In fact on the contrary you have to be a bit audacious to even try things like artificial harts, organ replacements etc. so the culture of that cutting edge of medicine is strongly biased toward folks who think they are little gods.

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    I have been seeing several items like this lately regarding changes Twitter is saying it will make to “monitor users on and off their platform”
    I take it they will do this by use of cookies.

    (yes I know twitter and facebook are evil – but what if you need to see what is going on in those social network products but don’t want big brother watching your every move?)

    So thinking of how to block this sort of behavior, it seems to me all someone of average computer skill would need to do, is open twitter in its own browser set to clear cookies when closed, and do all your other web browsing on another browser (not a second instance of the same browser used for the twitter account but a totally different browser application).

    For example open twitter in chrome and do your browsing in firefox. Is there any way that the chrome browser could become aware of your browsing history in firefox?

    Can one browser interrogate the cookies in a second browser session, or check your browsing history in the other browser session of both clear cookies and history when closed?

  6. llanfar says:

    @Larry The only way I can think for cross-browser cookies to be checked is through external (to either browser) malware.

  7. Larry Ledwick says:

    The other thought I had was for someone to write a browser app that puts twitter in a sandbox all by itself and makes it think it is running on a sterile box all by itself.

  8. Lionell Griffith says:

    “You also may not affiliate with organizations that — whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform — use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes,” the update reads.

    Interestingly “violence, civilians, and causes” are wide open for interpretation.

    For example, if your cause is to protect your life and property and you merely advocate you have the right of self defense you are subject to exclusion from twitter. Why? Because you are promoting the use of violence to further your cause.

    Consider that in today’s world of over the top political correctness in which, if anyone is offended for any reason by what you say, it is an act of violence against them. This could lead to you being excluded on the bases of making a simple statement of fact offends someone.

    For example, you could say “today is Tuesday” to further your cause of clear, correct, and complete communication, As crazy as thing are today that statement could well offend someone, Again you could be excluded because you are using violence to further your cause.

    You say, “be reasonable, they won’t do that”. Are you sure? I am not. Hence, I don’t have and will not have accounts on twitter Facebook, or Google. I can’t keep them from doing evil but I don’t have to be part of it.

  9. Lionell Griffith says:

    If you don’t think political correctness has gone totally over the edge, consider the following from
    A proposed education regulation in Delaware allows children to self-identify as any race and gender regardless of reality.

    “All students enrolled in a Delaware public school may self-identify gender or race,” Regulation 225 says, and that will be maintained in official records.

    The regulation stipulates that students’ parents may only be notified of their child’s trans-race or transgender identification if they are “supportive of the student” and his or her confusion.

    Evil is as evil does.

  10. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yep I would love to ditch both twitter and face book but in both cases I need to remain on them for personal reasons.

    In the case of twitter right now it is the uncontested best source for breaking news events, and is a priceless resource for that sort of thing. You often get notice of newsworthy events anywhere from 10 – 45 minutes before the major outlets, and if the event is something that goes against the major media agenda you sometimes see things 2-3 days ahead of it breaking on the major outlets.

    That is why I export newsworthy items from twitter to here under fair use so other folks don’t need to mess with them. Their links also often tip me off to the original source that I would otherwise never see – but the power of crowd sourcing brings even obscure sources to that feed.

    The trick is how do you do you monitor twitter and other social networks without taking unnecessary risks and exposure.

  11. Jeff says:

    I think TWITter is asking for a buffer overflow or injection exploit. And it would jolly well serve them right. Slurping up someone’s cookie cache (probably supercookies too, DA-N you Macromedia) is a massive invasion of privacy. Granted their own cookies are OK, natch, but other cookies? No way, Dor-say…..

    Sooner or later it seems it will end up as a faceoff between President Trump and Twitter. And if Jack Dorsey is stupid enough to do that, he’ll lose. Bigly…..

  12. Larry Ledwick says:

    For example this CERT announcement of an Intel vulnerability that just showed up on twitter a few minutes ago.

  13. cdquarles says:

    Here’s a paper to look at:

    I have a quibble with it. Strictly speaking, thermal radiation is EMR solely due to conversion of internal kinetic energy to light. It does not have to be ‘long wave’. It can be short wave, too, where the peak of the emission spectrum follows the Planck relation. And, since the thermodynamic temperature is a statistical thing, some thermal radiation will be at a higher frequency than some other parts (that is, it is going to be a spectrum, not a single line) due to the emission’s generation from specific constituent’s actual kinetic energy and internal interactions.

  14. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes would be sort of funny if they started sucking up cookies wholesale and folks started putting poison pill cookies in their cache just for twitter.

    Or have some enterprising developer to write an app that hides all the users cookies from twitter.

    Since European rules are forcing them to announce the change ahead of time, the privacy advocate coders will have 30 days to figure out how they want to deal with this.

    Like I said my current plan is I only open twitter in one browser that has good add blocking, and do my other web browsing in a totally different browser application instance. In theory twitter should not be able to see anything I have visited in my daily web surfing browser application.

  15. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmm this might work on the browser you visit twitter with you white list the twitter cookies and let it delete all others.

  16. Lionell Griffith says:

    Found out about the security hole on a Slashdot blog post dated May 02, 2017.


    A deeper investigation found that the vulnerability is not on all Intel chips and that it can be turned off in most cases with a bios setting. Unfortunately it is defaulted to ON in current chips.

    It’s mostly found on newer chips in servers and business workstations. My development PC’s don’t have it but the mini PC I have planned for my software product does. That means I have to deal with the issue before I start shipping systems. Hopefully the vulnerability will be eliminated by then.

  17. E.M.Smith says:


    That looks to me like a circumspect reference to the Management Engine issues we’ve talked about for weeks. (or longer as a suspicion…) Why I haven’t bought an Intel processor in years…

    Per Twitter, cookies, et. al:

    IF there is some icky-service I have to use, I use it on a dedicated browser, or box, or even both with VPN to mask predominant IP address. At $35 for a Pi M3 (slow buy workable desktop) and $10 for a second chip, there’s no real reason NOT to have systems dedicated for particular uses. This is why at anyone time I have roughly a dozen different browser / system combinations and they are never put in sync. On the tablet alone I use any of: Opera, Pale Moon, FirePhoenix, and occasionally IceCat Mobile or Mercury (in addition to the built in crappy “Internet” named browser that is only used for checking the “I Accept” boxes on places that mandate you accept their terms to use their WiFi).

    Then the Mac has Safari and Firefox and one other I rarely use, but installed.

    The only system used “on the road” at the moment is the tablet (and it got a ‘reset’ about 2 years back) so the “out and about me” is disjoint from the “home IP me” (and the VPN Me and the TOR me and…)

    I have three dominant use cases at home, each on a dedicated system / chip. Internal work (occasionally need tech tips via browser or similar things), external “Dirty Driver” used for all sorts of crap including random links for postings or from postings, and “financial”, only used fo money things. Then there’s 3 or 4 other chips sporadically used for “whatever” and free to scrub / reset. If anyone can “profile” me from that mess, good luck.

    I religiously avoid Twitter and Facebook (and anything similar like LInkedIn) but IF I ever needed to use them, I’d have a dedicated device for ONLY that service. There’s just no reason not to.

    And all that without even getting into the whole Virtual Machines stuff… Remember I managed to boot a Solaris VM instance inside a Windows machine on a managed corporate box… Running a Pi class chip on top of a VM in a fast PC box ought to be quite usable. At one piont I had Virtual Box running on my laptop and playing with different OSs on it…then the fan died… Now I just use real cheap boards, one per service need.

    When you can’t stop the data collection, you can still facture the sources and inject dirty data.

  18. Pingback: W.O.O.D. – 20 Nov 2017 | Musings from the Chiefio

  19. Larry Ledwick says:

    What does this suggest about CO2 radiating away heat from the high atmosphere on earth?

    How do the IR emission characteristics of those gases on titan differ or match the emissions of CO2?

  20. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Larry; looks to me to be a refrigeration problem. :-)
    as the low pressure area in the polar region forms, the pressure drop causes change of state of some of the material of the atmosphere complete with volume increase and temperature drop. A demonstration of a mix of gasses with very different characteristics. Say water, hydrogen and ammonia, or hydrogen cyanide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen . A main mix of gasses that set the characteristics of the atmosphere and the activated change of state refrigerant. In this case it looks to me to be frozen something like CO2 snow that sublimates with little pressure change.. pg

  21. Lionell Griffith says:

    On the Intel chip vulnerability reporting time line:

    Intel May 1, 2017:

    Slashdot May 2, 2017:

    HP May 4, 2017:

    My discovery and report Oct 29, 2017.

    Government Nov 21 , 2017:

    Bottom line:

    If you expect your government to keep you safe from cyber attack, forget it. The only really safe computer system is one that is not connected to a network, turned off, disassembled, and dumped into a blast furnace. Otherwise, without constant vigilance and due diligence, it is going to get hacked and even that might not be enough.

  22. cdquarles says:

    Now, apparently, we can add photonuclear reactions to the list of sources of EMR in our atmosphere. See here (yeah, Nature):

  23. cdquarles says:

    Oops, hat tip WUWT for the link.

  24. Larry Ledwick says:

    Related to twitter monitoring seems Facebook is going to join the party as well under the guise of preventing election interference.

    Perhaps the “election interference” meme is really cover for and justification for added internet monitoring folks would otherwise protest loudly. Those shoes you see under the curtain are big brothers shoes.

  25. Larry Ledwick says:

    The Clinton political ATM – or making money by the bushel basket full for influence.

    You will need to open this in a viewer so you can blow it up enough to take in all the connections.
    The cash flow is mind numbing.

    Chart of Clinton Cash Connections

  26. Larry Ledwick says:

    A higher resolution version of the image is available if you tack on “(dot)large” to the end of the image link. as in

    High res version of Clinton Cash Chart

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    Kinda makes that “Skeptics paid by Big Oil” shout-down look paltry in comparison… ;-)

  28. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ll believe it when they demonstrate a working device. My two Wha? Points:

    They say the graphene must start with a negative charge. From where does it come?

    The graphine touches alternate sides delivering charge. Does graphene not conduct charge? So whould not ripples touching both dides at once a bit apart short it out? I suppose really perfect size choice vs sheet curvature could fix that.

  29. interzonkomizar says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! We were watching TV last night when Pawn heard two hisses at 10 pm. I heard nothing with my ancient ears haha. We went on the front porch and our little female cat had just jumped away from the corner of the fence where there were bushes. Pawn said I see a cobra get a stick. so we got sticks and chased it into a corner under a table and smushed its head. it was a juvenile about 1 inch in diameter and two and a half feet long.

    In other news I set up a Blog of speculative fiction for my floating city concept. Check it out here …

    sandy, Minister of Future

  30. tom0mason says:

    After a month of popping and grumbling, Red alert issued as ash from Mount Agung rises 4,000 meters (about 2.5 miles) into the sky.

    This is according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of information and data for Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency.


  31. Sorry EM – I corrupted the email address accidentally, so delete the one in the moderation queue.

    For the Graphene power generation, it should be fairly obvious that air molecules hitting it (mean free path around 70nm at normal conditions) will vibrate the Carbon molecules mainly up and down relative to the plane of the Graphene. If you’ve doped the sheet with some charged ions, then you can pick up the oscillations using a set of capacitor plates where each plate is of comparable size to the mean free path, and the frequency of those oscillations will likely be less than the ~7GHz collision frequency and thus easier to rectify. I haven’t worked out the amplitude or the frequency.

    There’s thus a two-stage process here in turning the random direction energy of the air molecules into first up/down oscillations of the sheet and then rectifying the AC electricity this produces. It’s possible, but would need fabrication processes at the limit of what are currently available. It won’t be particularly efficient, though, since it’s a two-stage process where separations are critical and difficult to control – for example you’ll need to hold the separation of the Graphene and the capacitor-array pretty closely and accurately and make sure that there are enough ions in each cell to give a sufficient response. May get around 1% efficiency if you’re lucky. Still, there’s around 10kW/m² available if I got my sums right, so if you can make the stuff cheaply it could be useful even at 1% (around half the output of a solar panel but runs 24/7). It would cool the local atmosphere by that amount, too.

    When you get down to the scale of individual collisions being affected, then it’s reasonable to expect that rules found to be good for a large collection of particles would not apply precisely, in much the same way as the results of flipping a coin 1000 times won’t tell you whether the next flip will turn up heads or tails.

  32. philjourdan says:


    Yep I would love to ditch both twitter and face book but in both cases I need to remain on them for personal reasons.

    You want them, you do not need them. I get by without both. Does that mean I miss some posting from a family member? Yep. But Email suffices for me. If it is important enough, they will send me a copy that way. If it is not, then it was not important enough to begin with.

  33. p.g.sharrow says:

    hey phil! you don’t want to face being a twit?

    nor do I 8-)….pg

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    I find Twitter to be like bad haiku. You are forced into a form of constraint, despite the needs of the concept being communicated. It is a useful puzzle if that’s your goal, to stress yourself with contortions for the exercise. It’s a bad way to communicate ideas as they have their own best form.

    So since my belief is that every idea has an ideal package, some just a few words (do not steal) some take a whole book (how to build a nuclear bomb) I can’t see the utility in an exercise of bad Haiku reading or writing…


  35. cdquarles says:

    @ Simon, hmm, that sounds like a cell membrane sized and type of a system. You could possibly get there with phosphated triglycerides and properly sized crown ethers. I’m wondering what your solvent would have to be.

  36. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well it depends on how you use twitter, I use it as a receive only news feed. It is the electronic equivalent of scanning the headlines in a traditional news paper combined with a news ticker tape.

    In that usage it is the best news source available, if you want to know what is going on in near real time. It also combines the power of crowd sourcing as all the feeds you follow in turn follow other feeds and act as aggregators (like the original Yahoo). Only in this case you can choose who you choose to follow to target the filter any way you like rather than assume that some aggregator like Yahoo or Drudge has your interests and personal choices of areas of concern in mind.

    “Need” is driven by “want”. If you “Want” to have the most current info on what is going on in the world country, community you live in, you “Need” the best source you can find.

    Right now I know of no other source that even comes close to matching Twitter in that regard let alone beating it. (besides it is free, unlike subscription news services who might on occasion break stories near the same time at twitter)

    The US Navy Seal assault on Osama Bin Laden’s compound was broken by some random citizen in Pakistan who could hear the helicopters and put out a tweet that something was going down.

    Same goes for major computer security announcements, financial breaking news, political breaking news, weather and geological news (major earth quakes in the world for example, hit twitter before the ground wave even gets to the continental US seismograph recording stations)

    Twitter often beats the major news networks by anywhere from 10 minutes to usually 30-40 minute and occasionally by days or 10’s of hours if the media are inclined to bury the story.

    Need – Want – same thing in this case. Will it be the end of the world if I don’t get a tweet – – – – in some cases it could be for extreme events. Not likely, but possible, for example North Korean Missile launches hit twitter before the missile has even splashed down in long trajectory shots.

  37. Larry Ledwick says:

    As far as constraints, twitter recently went to 280 character tweets from 140, those are a lot less restrictive, and it is trivial to break up a longer tweet in to a serialized “tweetstorm” of several tweets sent as a sequenced group of tweets each a couple sentences long. Longer documents can be passed as images, so short of book length items there are no practical constraints if you can write terse content filled statements.

  38. Larry Ledwick says:

    I detest their politics but that does not diminish the value of their service. Their efforts to suppress conservative non-PC sources is only driving the development of other similar services like which once they get fully populated with the folks I care about keeping informed about I will happily move to one of those other social media sites (or twitter will realize that like Microsoft they are driving the development of their competition, they will back off and preserve their market share.)

  39. cdquarles – thanks for the suggestion. I hadn’t thought of organic cells as a solution to making something at this scale. There are some types of bacterium that live on electricity that could maybe be given a piezoelectric coating or a bed of nanoparticles of piezo material. I don’t know enough about biological syntheses to be able to go much further at the moment, so it may take a while before I can work out a way to use it or run any tests. Running in a liquid environment (as bacteria will probably need to) also means the scale needs to be smaller since the mean free path is of the order of a few nm. Not impossible, just needs better synthesis.

    Bear in mind that these proposed methods of converting environmental energy definitely violate 2LoT. At this point in time I’m trying thin-film depositions that I can actually do now and where it’s fairly simple to understand what’s happening. In its essence, it’s a matter of producing a good-enough diode to rectify the wave motion, and since I’ve had long experience in electronics and semiconductors (the use of them, and not until now actually making them) I think in terms of electrons being sorted by electric or magnetic fields. These fields will determine the direction in which electrons will move, so if they are produced in random directions (as they normally are) then they will be constrained by the field to move mainly in one direction. The fields thus produce order from disorder, which violates 2LoT. Once I can show *something* that undeniably does that, and that can give us usable energy while cooling its local environment by a measurable amount and can be verified by anyone, then I expect there will be people finding much better alternative ways, including your organic approach which may turn out to be easier to mass-produce.

    In order to change the direction of something with kinetic energy, we only need to have an exchange of momentum. It is not necessary to change the magnitude of the energy, so it does not necessarily require energy to be used. Given an electric or magnetic field and a charged particle, initial random directions of that particle will become less random under the influence of the field. This effect is widely used, but is not normally regarded as a reduction of randomness such that entropy is reduced even though that is what is happening – the tendency to order is normally less than the tendency to disorder so it’s seen that things tend to disorder. To make the tendency to order greater, we need to increase the strength of the fields used.

    I hope to get a first device made before the end of this year, so we’ll have physical proof of the idea. After that , methods such as using Graphene to rectify the random movements of air molecules won’t seem impossible, and maybe we’ll have various available methods of recycling environmental energy, rather than needing to burn stuff to produce heat energy and then only using a proportion of that energy to do useful work.

  40. E.M.Smith says:

    A tree increases order by absorbing random photons and cooling them. Nothing in that process violates 2lot. It is quite allowed to increase local energy and order at the expense of other energy being downgraded (cooled). All life depends on it.

  41. p.g.sharrow says:

    The idea that everything could have sprung into existence from nothing and then be on a one way trip back to nothing seems to be illogical to me. The existence of the Universe points to organization from chaos as being the natural tendency of things. So far we only have learned to utilize the destructive side of that equation…pg

  42. EM – I’m still searching for a better way to describe the balance between the tendencies towards disorder from random occurrences (such as collisions of molecules) and those towards order from a force-field such as gravity, electric field, magnetic field and nuclear forces. If there was only a tendency to disorder, we wouldn’t have this planet to stand on because matter would not have condensed and the universe would be a uniform mix of matter (in fact all Hydrogen since stars wouldn’t have formed). We can’t turn up the nuclear or gravity field strength easily, so that leaves us with electric and magnetic fields whose strength we can mess around with.

    A solar cell takes in photons from any direction and turns their energy into electrical energy that is in essence unidirectional. It does this by having a very strong electrical field internally so that electrons ejected in random directions by the photoelectric effect will only go in one direction to the collecting electrodes. In essence, this violates 2LoT although there are various arguments about how it doesn’t. An individual photon carries no information as to its source and cannot know anything about its destination – both source and destination are beyond its event horizons and in fact define the event horizons. Once emitted, it has only a certain amount of energy and momentum.

    It’s possible that photosynthesis itself violates 2LoT as well, since the scale of the process is molecular and the energy of the random-direction input photons ends up going in the same direction which is non-random. I don’t understand it well-enough to identify the electric field that is acting or to give a precise description of the processes.

    Seeing the non-random interactions within a process that is overall random can be a bit difficult, but it seems to be reasonable that if we make the field strong-enough we can change a random process to non-random. Drop a succession of apples and they’ll end up randomly arranged on the floor – but they will all be on the floor and not halfway up the wall.

    Still, given that my explanation is currently still inadequate to overcome the mind-set that heat can only move from hotter to colder, I need to make a physical device that demonstrates the truth and thus kick-start a different view on how we can recycle the energy we already have by making it all go in the same direction. Energy is a scalar – it has no direction. With kinetic energy, which has a direction, it is a combination of the scalar energy with the directional (vector) momentum. It’s only the momentum which needs to be changed to put that energy in a direction that is more useful to us. For electrons, an electrical field will do that nicely.

    If I take an infrared laser and use a lens to concentrate it on a bit of steel, we can see that the steel will get hotter than the temperature of the equivalent black-body that would have a peak emission at the laser wavelength. Similarly I can heat things up in a microwave oven. It’s really just a matter of how much energy I can concentrate, not the temperature. Temperature is a more-tricky subject than it seems. Somewhat like the change from viewing planetary orbits as epicycles around the Earth to viewing them as being around the Sun and thus simplifying the explanations, we need to change our viewpoint on how energy moves around and what affects it. The old way mostly gives good-enough answers, but a change in viewpoint gives new possibilities.

  43. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Simon look to gravity as your bias tool, that is the one that GOD uses. Actually caused by the tension/pressure of electro-static charge of “stuff”or Aether, high charge in chaos vers low charge of organized “stuff” or mater. Hydrogen, mater, is a singularity of organized “stuff” where as Aether is “stuff” in chaos. Everything is made up of this “stuff” or “charge in motion”
    Remember, charge can be in motion in 3 dimensions at the same time. 2 of spin and 1 in direction. The photon is a unit of charge in motion in 3 dimensions…pg

  44. pg – I’m looking to produce something that is relatively simple to make (depositions of thin layers) and where the theory of operation would be instantly understood by a mainstream scientist, even though the experimental results would show that 2LoT has a flaw in the derivation and thus a loophole we can drive a truck through. Although the device will in itself be useful, the main purpose is to show that flaw and thus prove that there is at least one way to recycle the environmental energy. I expect there will be better designs from other people once they realise it’s not actually impossible.

    Though gravity can and does work for producing order, it’s not a big-enough force to have a useful effect on either gas molecules or electrons at a scale where the effect is large enough to be undeniable and not put down to experimental error. I can’t measure temperatures with a resolution of 0.01°C, but need temperatures drops of at least 0.2°C to be able to show the device is cooling itself whilst delivering a proportional amount of power out of a few mW. Better to use electrical fields, where I can easily achieve fields of the order of MV/m for short distances (a few microns), or magnetic fields where I can buy a big magnet. At this sort of ratio to the naturally-occurring fields, I should be able to push the balance towards order pretty easily.

    I can show a water wave being “rectified” in several ways to produce an output power. It’s obvious that the wave is being produced *somewhere* (energy is conserved) and that the direction of the wave is not important. The extension of that concept to other random waves in the environment isn’t normally noticed, or that the source doesn’t actually matter but instead what happens at the collecting device. As to the question of whether we can produce usable energy from very low energy photons, we do it all the time with aerials, diodes, and radio waves. We just normally say it’s a signal that needs amplifying rather than usable as power, but with a crystal set you can directly use that power to drive the headphones. It’s really necessary to change the way people look at energy, where changing its directionality from random to unidirectional can be seen as easy rather than as impossible. It’s just a matter of finding the right sort of diode. To do that, we need to work at the right scale – atomic dimensions rather than human dimensions. Since it’s only fairly recently that we’ve been able to make stuff at that scale, and thermodynamics has been fixed for around a century and a half, then even those devices that (to me) obviously break 2LoT are not seen as that but instead have convoluted explanations as to why they obey it (or are simply ignored).

    I’m not immune to the “that’s impossible” reaction, either. When I started this line of thought I thought that such a recycling of energy was actually impossible until I worked through the logic. I’d been taught it was impossible, and hadn’t seen anything that showed otherwise. It took a while following rabbits down holes to change my mind.

  45. Larry Ledwick says:

    These fields will determine the direction in which electrons will move, so if they are produced in random directions (as they normally are) then they will be constrained by the field to move mainly in one direction. The fields thus produce order from disorder, which violates 2LoT.

    Doesn’t a polarizing filter do this, by sorting photons out that have a single polarization?

    You are essentially describing something like a polarizer for electrons.
    In a sense this is what a vacuum tube does between the cathode and grid, it creates an electrostatic environment that strongly predisposes randomly emitted thermionic electrons to move in a predictable way.

  46. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Simon; I once created a crystal radio receiver so effective that all 32 students of my 6th grade class could listen from their desks, if the were quiet. 8-) teacher loved it! AM transmitter about 20 miles distant from school.
    As in solid-state electronics I would suggest you consider electro-statics to bias your devise. Once the bias is established it takes little energy to maintain it. Electro-magnetics has more lose. Early particle accelerators were static driven rather then magnetic driven.
    Guess I need to do some design and creation large scale electro-static plates as part of my gravity mass/inertia experiments. Now that I have a real shop!…pg..

  47. cdquarles says:

    @Simon, every cellular organism that I know of, whether multicellular or not, runs on redox reactions as electrochemical fuel cells. They pump ions differentially. When they can’t maintain the gradients, they die from chemical poisoning from their own chemical bodies.

  48. Larry Ledwick says:

    from Twitter
    N Korea has made another missile launch, still airborne 17 minutes ago, so probably just impacted in the last few minutes. (it will be a bit before we get flight details)

  49. Larry Ledwick says:

    Per twitter:

    probable launch was detected at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT).
    Launch site was Pyongsong
    Still waiting for range, apogee flight time info etc.

  50. Larry Ledwick says:

    Per twitter:
    Conflict News‏
    35 seconds ago
    BREAKING: Japan government estimates North Korea missile flew for 50 minutes and landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone – @ReutersWorld

    That flight time implies a high lofted trajectory (ie almost straight up) rule of thumb total max range is approximately 2x the max altitude in a lofted trajectory. This sounds like it will confirm ICBM range potential.

  51. Larry – sorting is used in many places. For polarising filters, it’s passive, but for things like the electron-tube there is a current supplied so this uses energy to do the sorting. Within a solar panel, on the other hand, there is a permanent electric field set up by the PN junction or a Schottky barrier, which does not require a current or energy to maintain. The electrons emitted by the photoelectric effect move to try to equalise the charge, but since the electrodes are connected through a load the charge passes through the external circuit, and inside the PV the electrical field is not negated until the load is removed. Peak power will occur at around half the open-circuit voltage, peak current is when it’s short-circuited so the internal electrical field is not reduced. At open-circuit, electrons will move to zero out the internal field, after which the photoelectrons produced have no reason to move preferentially one way or the other so simply drop back into an atom and re-emit a photon.

    pg – where you intend to use large voltages and fairly-large gaps, I’ll need to use the odd volt or so (maximum workfunction difference available) and a distance of a few microns to achieve the high field. The majority of the things I need to do are pretty standard in semiconductor manufacture, and the only problem is that exact data doesn’t yet exist for the materials I want to use. I need to make the devices in order to find out if they work. Fairly close to being at that point, though, and I need to improve some techniques and timings to get to the point of having something real to test. No guarantees it’ll work first time, though, or even that I’ve learnt enough to make it work at all with what I can actually get and what I can fabricate. I’ll tell you more by the end of this year.

    cdquarles – I doubt if I’m competent to design something that will take advantage of cells. It’s a whole different discipline and would take years to know enough to start. I can’t see a way of powering a redox reaction using the mechanical impacts of molecules, though there may be a way using low-energy photons if the redox potential difference is of the order of 0.1eV or less and there is a reason for the modified molecules to move in different directions. Maybe again an inbuilt electric field and an electrode where the charge is released. At this point in time I’m trying a semiconductor with a band gap of around 30meV, which should provide reasonable power down to a reasonably low temperature (-60°C) which may thus be more useful than a bio version. The bio version, if we can work one out, would be fine for a lot of places but not too near the poles. Living cells tend to need their water as liquid.

    Of course, even if I do succeed there will be a belief barrier against accepting the results unless people can test it out themselves or have it tested by someone they trust. I have such a third party lined up (Mark Dansie) who commands such trust for those that have heard about him, and maybe I could also send a sample to EM to test. Always better to have people doing the testing who don’t believe it will work, and they can run whatever tests they require. First devices are expected to produce around 24-30mV open circuit and maybe around 1mA (but could be 10mA if I do a good job). Needs good thermal insulation to be able to measure a temperature drop at maybe 12µW. Let’s hope I can get something a bit better than that in subsequent runs, to make it more convincing.

  52. philjourdan says:

    @Larry – I guess to some, seconds count. But if I find out 30 minutes after you that NK had launched a missile, am I any less safe? I get lots of RSS feeds on news. And I have several portals I check regularly. So yes, you know half an hour before me that some idiot has launched a missile, or another woman has accused Franken.

    And in the end, Twitter gets no support from me, cannot filter my feeds, has no bearing on what I read, and I am as informed as you are. If your wants are to be the fastest informed, then your need may well be twitter.

    If your wants is to be informed, then your need is not twitter.

  53. Larry Ledwick says:

    From twitter:
    Reuters Top News‏Verified account
    34 seconds ago
    JUST IN: Pentagon says initial assessment of North Korean launch was an ICBM, traveled about 1,000 km before splashing into Sea of Japan

    Many suspect this is another HS-14 test, which has a suspected maximum effective range that would exceed 10,000 km (6,200 mi)

  54. Larry Ledwick says:

    Finally: From twitter
    Conflict News‏
    2 minutes ago
    MORE: North Korean missile reached an altitude of 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) and travelled a distance of 960 km (600 miles), South Korean military says – @YonhapNews

    This implies an operational range of about 5600 miles, (9,000 km) with the same throw weight used in this test.

  55. Larry Ledwick says:

    Here is an image illustrating the trajectory for this test.

    This sort of trajectory would be useful for testing reentry behavior and heat limits of the nose cone, indirectly testing the total energy available (ie max possible range) without actually shooting the missile to maximum range.

    The parameters depend on the actual throw weight and fuel load in the missile at launch. For example using the rule of thumb and saying this test proved a range potential of 5600 mile, is only accurate if the operational warhead had a similar weight, and the operational fuel load was the same. If they loaded a slightly heavy dummy payload and short loaded the fuel by a few percent the missile might actually be capable operationally of a 6000+ mile range, or likewise if the test payload was lighter than the anticipated operational warhead and the fuel load was absolute maximum the true operational range might be less than this test implies.

    Why was the test shot at 3:17 am?
    Could have been a test of night launch operations.
    Could have been done to match some predetermined launch criteria (ie temperature)
    Could have been done to hide the exact type of launch system used from satellite observation.
    Could have been done to limit direct photographic observation of the launch and early stage flight of the missile due to darkness.
    Could have been done to time the breaking news of the launch to maximize its coverage in the US on tonight’s news, or breaking news in the early morning hours in Japan.

    Interesting times indeed.

  56. E.M.Smith says:


    Photosynthesis works by way of a metal ion surrounded by a carbon ring structure. Chlorophyll is similar to hemoglobin, but has Magnesium in the middle instead of Iron.

    Photons are absorbed and moved into the protein portion where it strips electrons from water. That, then can be used to power all the rest of the cellular chemistry.

    Don’t know if it violates 2LOT as the photons are one energy level, but I’m not sure what energy level to ascribe to electrons stripped from H2O… nor the intermediary states in the protein portion and ring structure… Since all this is really happening at the quantum level, I see no reason several photons could not be absorbed to “pump” energy to a higher level. Chlorophyll absorbs both blue and red, so either the red it thrown away, the blue is thrown away, or more likely IMHO the red has a couple of photons absorbed and “pumps” up to the blue range where it goes to work with all the other blue…

    In any case, there are many examples of photon pumping to higher states. Many light pumped lasers work that way.

    BTW, there are lots of fabless semiconductor companies. The Fab guys might think you crazy if you spec a device that’s a bunch of small conductor blocks standing on end on an insulation plate or something similar, but they ought to still go ahead and fab it up for you. Some even provide scanning electron microscope images for you to validate the product (at a price). Basically, I’m saying that if you can send a cad file of the device you want, there’s folks who will build it for you.


    You may have convinced me Twitter has value… When the “time to impact” is about 20 minutes, having a 10 minute warning to grab the go bag and scoot when everyone else finds out in 15 (or 20…) is all the difference in the world… I’m about 10 minutes from protective hills when the roads are not clogged…

  57. Power Grab says:

    I have a Twitter account. I probably posted less than a handful of times in the years I’ve had an account. It always surprises me when I get notification that someone has chosen to “follow” me.

    I guess my following someone is what makes someone else follow me, even though I never say anything.

    I guess I could create a new account and never follow anyone, but just do searches for the things that interest me. Then see if anyone chooses to follow me…

  58. Power Grab says:

    Regarding the recent brouhaha about harassment, and who is most likely to get roasted for it, my current working hypothesis is that the left will pull out all stops to roast in a situation where the couple might end up creating another white baby. If the encounter has no possibility of that, then their outrage will only be lukewarm, if that.

  59. EM – thanks for the explanation, but I need to go somewhat deeper to really understand it. How is the photon absorbed, why the electrons move, what are the charge levels in the various parts of the molecule…. Could take a while to know enough, even if the information exists in one place. Judging by the composition of LED grow lamps (mostly red with around 10% blue) it may be a ladder (as with pumping a laser) with one step a bit bigger. I think there’s also a purple version that absorbs green light alone. Last time I looked (a few (5?) years ago) the precise mechanism wasn’t understood, but that may have changed in the meantime.

    There’s a good fab in San Sebastian about 2.5 hours’ drive away. Still, having seen Phil’s quote from them it would cost somewhere around $3000 to get the first fab done (and Phil thought they were surprisingly cheap), and that would only serve to find out the other data I need to know for the design for the subsequent fab. I’ve spent a lot less than that on making the kit, and since I know it will take quite a few runs to get the data I need, I figure that by the time I get to asking for a professional job I’ll know precisely what to ask for. It also means that I will be able to tell people precisely how to make their own if they want to, and the minimum kit required to achieve it. If you ask a fab, seems you might get the result delivered in around 6 weeks or so, so changing thicknesses and materials to find the precise parameters could be a year or two of work with a lot of waiting time (or pay a premium and get it in a week or so). Since I can run a fab in a few hours, turnaround is a lot faster. That gives me a lot more capability to just try something and see whether it’s better or worse, and the cost is mostly my time and a little electricity. One big problem is that the actual as-deposited work function of the materials can vary through purity, crystallinity, temperatures and a few others, and the book values vary by up to an eV or so, and I may need to be within 0.1eV of a particular value. Lots of tests required. With a lot of money I’d use professional fabs to get the repeatability, but as it is I need to go for cheap.

  60. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes there are some situations where a 10 minute head start is highly advisable and very valuable.

  61. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well this is cute, criminals are stealing electronic key cars without ever having possession of the keys by electronically capturing the electronic key’s code and repeating it to the car with a “relay device”

    So now you need an RFID secure storage place for your electronic key.

  62. jim2 says:

    LL – Yep, that’s been happening for a good while now. Isn’t our high tech life wonderful?
    Won’t it be even more wonderful with a “self driving” car? We need to figure out how to avoid that particular future!

  63. jim2 says:

    LL – your post sparked a memory. A year or two ago, I got a software defined radio on a stick. Label: DVB-T+DAB+FM. Got a special build of Linux, put that on a stick. I was playing with it and wondered if I could see my car key signal. I finally found it, but my wife came home about that time and asked why the trunk was open and the horn beeping :0

  64. Gail Combs says:

    E.M. Here is an early Christmas present.

    When I saw this I immediately though of you.

    US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: A toxic brew we cannot live without. Micronutrients give insights into the interplay between geochemistry and evolutionary biology

  65. E.M.Smith says:


    What a fun article! Thank you1 It’s right in the middle of what I like. Good to see “the establishment” finally realizing we evolved in a soup of “a little bit of everything” and not in a controlled laboratory of “just so”. Nature uses whatever is to hand; as everything is a resource (not just for people and products, but for nature and life forms).

    Space Aliens evolved in different mud pots will have different metal ions used in protein active sites. IMHO, that’s the major way we will be able to prove life is alien. The ones avoiding copper laden mollusks as terribly toxic but chowing down on a cadmium & arsenic heavy nutri-bar ;-)


    EE Friend and I were discussing this about a year ago… Why I don’t have ANY keyless radio.

    They could “fix it” with a double encrypted handshake, but despite known risks seem to have not bothered. Same thing being done with garage door openers. Makes home burglary easy. Drive into garage, close door, load up, open door, drive away…

  66. pouncer says:

    E.M. “I’m about 10 minutes from protective hills when the roads are not clogged…”

    Do I remember you are downstream of Oroville?

    (via WattsUp)

  67. E.M.Smith says:

    Was, growing up.

    Now I’m in South San Francisco Bay Area / San Jose / Silicon Valley.

    No worries though, really. I’ve spent about 1/2 of the last dozen years in Florida on and off and the Spouse wants to retire there next year or 2 (as do I). So if the spillway breaks or N.K. gets 100 ICBMs operational in 3 years, we hope to be snowbirds in an RV spending most of our time away from urban centers somewhere between Canada, El Paso, and The Keys as weather attracts…

    At least, that’s the muse today :-)

  68. Larry Ledwick says:

    Not too long back there were also problems with the key less entry FOB systems, the bad guys would sit in a parking lot with a magic box and read the FOB signals as drivers locked and unlocked their cars. They would then grab Christmas packages stashed in the car between store visits, or follow the car home (or track the license plate) to the home. If the car was of high value or interest for some reason then come back in the early morning hours and key themselves into the car and be gone in a matter of minutes with no forced entry.

    Was a big problem for the owners with no sign of forced entry it looked like the car had been left unlocked, and that caused both insurance and law enforcement problems because it was assumed the theft was either fraud or due to carelessness not intentional criminal activity.

    I have not heard much about this lately. Especially problematic for package theft were the electronic trunk lock releases.

  69. Gail Combs says:

    Another goodie, you guys might like.
    [Full Speech Transcript included] That is why I like this site. Has the actual speeches and not the Yellow Stream Media’s Slice and Dice with idiotic comments. Also often has a transcript for those of us without video capabilities.

    Internet ‘regulation’ peeled back. We had highspeed internet brought to within walking distance of the house and then they stopped installing because of Obummer’s regulations. Now maybe we will get that highspeed access.
    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Calls Out Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Silicon Valley for Censorship and Internet Content Manipulation

    Mulvaney is a joy to listen to.
    Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney Holds Press Conference

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – Speech and Questions And T-Rex is not shabby either.

    It is so nice not to have to listen to parseltongue double speak.

  70. philjourdan says:

    @Pouncer – Oops! Just posted the same thing over on WOOD. Sorry for the duplication.

  71. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well this could get interesting if they are economically recoverable.
    (Memo to China you may have competition)

  72. Larry Ledwick says:

    RT news Congressional press pass has been pulled since they registered as a foreign agent.

  73. E.M.Smith says:

    Rare earth elements are not rare. There is a big mine in California. Biggest issue is government…

  74. David A says:

    An enjoyable tale…

    An older man went to a job interview;
    INTERVIEWER; “What is your greatest liability as an employee?”
    OLDER MAN; “I am much too honest.”
    INTERVIEWER; ” I do not consider honesty to be a liability.”
    OLDER MAN; ” I do not give a rats ass what you think”

  75. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting – new artificial dna components allow creation of new proteins.
    First step toward synthetic / engineered life?

  76. Larry Ledwick says:

    Just change Financial Projection to climate projection, and Board to IPCC.

  77. Larry Ledwick says:

    This just popped up in my twitter feed.

    I find it interesting that they say a county wide emergency notification using the CODE-RED system will take hours due to the large number of notifications necessary. (background the two primary counties involved, are contiguous counties on the north west edge of the Denver metro subruban area)

    This implies that they do not have the bandwidth or hardware to make simultaneous notifications to a couple hundred thousand end points. SMS and email notification should be fairly trivial I assume that perhaps the time issue comes up with recorded voice mail messages, since they cannot be time compressed when sent to the end user.

    There are approximately 220,000 households in Jefferson and Broomfield counties, but no info on what percentage of households have registered with CODE-RED

    Total population = approx 590,000 in both counties

    I will see how soon after 9:00 am I get my notifications.

    As a ball park case, if they are leaving voice mails for 100,000 phones, that last 30 seconds each, that means it will take them 50,000 instrument minutes to record all the messages. Divide that by 120 minutes (2 hours) gives 417 instruments per minute can receive their voice mail messages which implies that they can call and leave a message for about 200 phones at a time not counting time lost dialing and waiting for pickup of the phone system to leave a voice mail or have a warm body listen to the message as it is delivered.

  78. Jeff says:

    What ever happened to “Conelrad” :) ???

    P.S. Dilbert for the 28th was pretty good, too, in regard to “John Cooking the books”…..

  79. Larry Ledwick says:

    The Emergency Broadcast system and “CONELRAD” has been through several over hauls since the 1950’s. Back then they could assume everyone had an AM radio, and even discussed having triggers installed in the radios so they could be remotely turned on by fiddling with the line frequency.

    It is now called the Emergency Alert System, and multiple path notification, SMS text messages, auto dial phone call systems, remote activated Emergency Alert “weather” receivers, crawlers on all TV (broadcast and cable) and public broad cast media voice messages. Some locations even have voice over warning siren speaker systems which will follow the alert siren with voice instructions. I am surprised they have not gotten to the point of push banners to all IP addresses in the warning area on all public internet carriers. (or maybe they already have plans for that but I am just not aware of them).

    Should be no more difficult than pop up banners from scammers on the web to push a page to everyone who has a browser open and if no browser is open to bring up the default browser with a manner message.

  80. Larry Ledwick says:

    They mention in here the need for an internet method, including perhaps to twitter.

    What is needed is a national internet back bone break in system where they can push messages to all connected devices (yes big security issues in this concept).

    Right now someone who lives on the internet like me who might have their cell phone turned off and not be near an active radio, TV or EAS alert receiver would have no clue an emergency was going on if they were immersed in a computer game or some similar non-media sourced activity like an interactive game or writing email etc.

    Looks like they are working on filling the internet connected holes how ever. ;)

  81. E.M.Smith says:


    Looks like it went internet:

  82. Larry Ledwick says:

    Summary of the details of the KN-22 missile launch by North Korea (they call it the Hwasong-15 )

  83. Jeff says:

    Weird Al Yankovic has a funny, and topical (for thisi time of year), “Christmas At Ground Zero”, which brings back memories of “Duck, and Cover”. Sadly, the video (original) seems to have been pulled off YouTube…

    Then again, considering how the younger generation seem to have genetically-attached i-Things, they probably wouldn’t be fazed seeing warplanes, etc., overhead – if they noticed them at all…..

  84. philjourdan says:

    The “rare” in “rare earth” is the percentage found on the planet. You have to sift a ton of dirt for a gram or 2 of them. Thus “rare”. They are essentially everywhere and can be mined everywhere, but it is not economical to do so (because of the low concentration). Even in the “high” concentration areas, you are talking 3-4 grams per ton (relatively speaking – the exact measure can be researched) instead of the 1 or 2.

    If it comes down to it, and China decides it is going to keep its rare earth elements, the “uneconomical” mines here will open back up. Prices will go up (that is why we are buying all from China – they charge less), but the quantity will meet demand.

    Aint Economics grand?

  85. philjourdan says:

    @David A – yea that one has been going around here. Every old person I tell it to, goes “Yep!” Myself included!

  86. Larry Ledwick says:

    Chief: That spontaneous mesh network you have been talking about being an inevitable outcome of the invasion of privacy on phone systems and computer networks?

    Looks like another building block is coming soon to a node near you.

  87. jim2 says:

    “The First Interstellar Object Ever Observed in our Solar System”

    “Analysis of the orbit reveals that the object entered our solar system with a velocity of 26 km/sec. This is fast enough that it can only have come from beyond, and it will keep going right out of our solar system, never to return. ”

  88. Larry Ledwick says:

    Apparently what we call intelligence is partially due to differing “wiring” in the brain and how connected various regions of the brain are. Perhaps this is why folks we think are stupid are literally blind to conclusions which we see as obvious. They may literally be processing different input than we are.

  89. Larry Ledwick says:

    In the modern era of the electronic battle field, a new problem is being identified.
    For years forward combat units have recognized they needed to be mobile and able to “shoot and scoot” to survive against a sophisticated 1st world military.

    In the process of becoming interconnected and “networked” the military has unintentionally turned their military command posts into beacons in the electromagnetic spectrum. For the sophisticated enemy they have become bright EMF sources in an otherwise dark battlefield.

    Seems to me, that the proposal in this article to convert them from hard wire to WiFi connected to facilitate easy set up and take down is exactly the wrong thing to do. What would make a command post more obvious than a WiFi node in the middle of the woods?

    Classic example of planners who have a poor grasp of the problem proposing exactly the wrong solution, because it is what they are familiar with in industry. Even using spread spectrum and frequency hopping you cannot hide EMF emissions. More importantly when things get really active the emissions from such a WiFi connected field command post would ramp up to make it the brightest thing in the combat environment short of high power radar installations.

    As it is, 100 guys walking around with cell phones in their pockets, create a beacon of EMF cell system pings for the opponent to zero in on even if all military electronics are shut down.

    Instead of moving away from hard wire to WiFi, they need to move toward hard wire in the form of double shielded CAT7 Ethernet and fiber optic cables inside mobile shelters that are EMF hardened and TEMPEST certified to reduce their EMF signature.

  90. jim2 says:

    Given the cheap electronics, even our poorer enemies could build an Arduino, EMF guided missile. It would just need to be accurate enough to hit within the area of the post. Just shoot more of them.

  91. Larry – an alternative is to have a large number of repeaters spread around a large area such that the centre is not discernible. Drones or tethered balloons could hold small routers that transfer the data around, with an ad-hoc network. Wi-fi isn’t necessarily the wrong way, just pretty silly if you pinpoint the command post by having a single source. Maybe some problems with network latency, but the large number of available nodes means that you could lose a lot without losing connectivity. A few nodes connected by line-of-sight laser rather than radio may be useful, too.

  92. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes I also pondered laser point to point communications, however those have some issues too.
    For example they might be visible from a high altitude point of view due to back scatter and sky glow even if you could not directly see the emitters and the receivers, the beams would have some scatter due to dust and smoke.

    The multi-point mesh network would work but would be a bit self defeating in that it would take time to place all the nodes, and the nodes would have to be something you could abandon if you wanted to move the location in under 30 minutes.

    Not an easy issue to resolve that is for sure, especially as we have become more and more data centered in our networked units where everything is tied to everything else.

    One possibility for WiFi would be to use very very low power combined with spread spectrum. That would defeat distant observation but once you got close or could observe the area with a high gain receiver (perhaps airborne drone) it would give away its presence.

    With modern electronic RDF (radio direction finding) equipment like doppler systems it only takes a few seconds to narrow down a source location to a general direction vector so you and move toward it if you can hear it. Two or three RDF units (drone swarm) could home in on the source in less time than you could drink a cup of coffee.

  93. E.M.Smith says:


    Um, the “rare” refers to those particular “earths” in which they were first found in, IIRC somewhere near Sweden. Neither the elements nor other ores are particularly rare.

    Despite their name, rare-earth elements are – with the exception of the radioactive promethium – relatively plentiful in Earth’s crust, with cerium being the 25th most abundant element at 68 parts per million, or as abundant as copper.
    They are not especially rare, but they tend to occur together in nature and are difficult to separate from one another. However, because of their geochemical properties, rare-earth elements are typically dispersed and not often found concentrated as rare-earth minerals in economically exploitable ore deposits. The first such mineral discovered was gadolinite, a mineral composed of cerium, yttrium, iron, silicon and other elements. This mineral was extracted from a mine in the village of Ytterby in Sweden; four of the rare-earth elements bear names derived from this single location.

    Yup, Sweden had the mine…

    The Mountain Pass deposit is in a 1.4 billion year old Precambrian carbonatite intruded into gneiss, and contains 8% to 12% rare-earth oxides, mostly contained in the mineral bastnäsite. Gangue minerals include calcite, barite, and dolomite. It is regarded as a world-class rare-earth mineral deposit. The metals that can be extracted from it include
    Known remaining reserves were estimated to exceed 20 million tons of ore as of 2008, using a 5% cutoff grade, and averaging 8.9% rare-earth oxides.

    Currently in bankruptcy due to California / USA rules, regulations, and costs vs Chinese mines that are cheaper to operate…
    Current activity
    The mine, once the world’s dominant producer of rare-earth elements, was closed in large part due to competition from REEs imported from China, which in 2009 supplied more than 96% of the world’s REEs
    The Mountain Pass mine dominated worldwide REE production from the 1960s to the 1980s (USGS).

    The Mountain Pass deposit was discovered by a uranium prospector in 1949, who noticed the anomalously high radioactivity. The Molybdenum Corporation of America bought the mining claims, and small-scale production began in 1952. Production expanded greatly in the 1960s, to supply demand for europium used in color television screens.

    The deposit was mined in a larger scale between 1965 and 1995. During this time the mine supplied most of the worldwide rare-earth metals consumption. The Molybdenum Corporation of America changed its name to Molycorp in 1974. The corporation was acquired by Union Oil in 1977, which in turn became part of Chevron Corporation in 2005.

    The mine closed in 2002, in response to both environmental restrictions and lower prices for REEs. The mine has been mostly inactive since 2002, though processing of previously mined ore continues at the site.

    In 2008, Chevron sold the mine to privately held Molycorp Minerals LLC, a company formed to revive the Mountain Pass mine. On July 29, 2010, Molycorp, Inc. became a publicly traded firm by selling 28,125,000 shares at $14 in its IPO. The shares trade under the ticker symbol MCP on the NYSE.

    On June 25, 2015, Molycorp filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company’s shares were removed from the NYSE and as of January 2016 are traded OTC under the symbol MCPIQ. At the time of the bankruptcy, Molycorp had outstanding bonds in the amount of $US 1.4 billion.

    On July 10, 2017, MP Mine Operations LLC purchased the Mountain Pass mine out of bankruptcy.

    So we’ve got a world class mine with an 8% to 12% concentration in the ore, and can’t compete with China… who has more and cheaper…

  94. E.M.Smith says:

    Per networked army:

    I’d use a swarm of bots, all disposable and with anti-handling fuses built in (i.e. anti-personnel mine inside.) Now the mesh becomes the HQ and it is spread all over… Inside the EMF shielded hut, I’d have everything hardwired. Why? Well, for one thing, you don’t want all those little radios blown out by a nice fat radar pulse now do you?…

    In the late ’70s a fellow graduate from UC was working as a radar guy for a defense company. His “thing” was an RF hardened front end that could glow and not blow… They also did software so that if ANY radar was looking at things, they could see the same things from the reflections AND know the location of that radar AND know which way it was pointed.

    Shared a fun story.

    In one test they were watching a Russian “Trawler” looking at the USA coast. Noting what it was particularly interested in. They waited until they knew it was pointed at them, then sent a 10 KW (I think it was) pulse down it’s throat. Smoke comes from radio room… Trawler turns back out to sea toward Mother Russia ;-)

    So you tell me that my enemy has WiFi / RF based HQ coms, I’m going to make a big ass Radar or EMP device and smoke their radios.

    It isn’t hard:

  95. Larry Ledwick says:

    On the political front tax bill has been passed by the Senate, after reconciliation will go to the President for signature.

  96. philjourdan says:

    @ Larry Ledwick – Re: bright EMF sources

    This is a known issue – at least to Hollywood (Battle for Los Angles). But it did get me thinking about the new communication of militaries.

    It was the LACK of communication that shortened WWII and led directly to the victory at Midway. Had the TDBs been in contact with the fighter and Dive Bomber crews, the attack would have been coordinated on the Japanese carriers, and probably not as significant. By drawing the fighters off, the TDBs sacrificed themselves, but ensured a successful attack by the dive bombers supported by the fighters.

    Communications work both ways in battle.

  97. Larry Ledwick says:

    Ref my comments above :
    Larry Ledwick says:
    1 December 2017 at 12:19 am

    I find it interesting that they say a county wide emergency notification using the CODE-RED system will take hours due to the large number of notifications necessary.

    I will see how soon after 9:00 am I get my notifications.

    So this morning I got a voice mail alert via CODE-RED at 09:41
    and I got the text message from CODE-RED at 09:36

    Assuming they started at exactly 09:00 as planned, that means that although such cell phone systems are timely for local emergencies (ie major fire evacuation etc.) for wide area alerts as you would need to perform for national emergency like a missile launch they will for a large number of users arrive too late to be of use. (flight time of an ICBM is on the order or 30-36 minutes, for SLBM near the coast flight time could be on the order of 5 – 12 minutes.

    Looks like the most timely wide area alerting is still the EAS system using broadcast radio and the NOAA weather radio systems. For broadcast radio the first notification would come from the primary station in your area. (these are often the 50kw clear channel stations in the area)
    In 1997, the Emergency Alert System (EAS) was designed. The EAS is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the President with communications capability to address the American people within ten minutes during a national emergency

  98. Larry Ledwick says:

    Very interesting read here in this roll-up of twitter posts. Puzzle pieces are beginning to fit together into a coherent picture that seems to make sense given what the public knows at this time.

    For your consideration:

  99. Larry Ledwick says:

    Possibly related to the above it this is true. (I am not sure of the long term credibility or bias of truepundit, I have not been aware of it long enough to have an opinion of its reliability in this sort of breaking news.)

  100. Larry Ledwick says:

    From twitter:
    #BREAKING: Supreme Court allows enforcement of Trump travel ban affecting residents of six mostly Muslim countries — Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
    2:30 PM – 4 Dec 2017

  101. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, looks like the ol’ Trumper has gotten things lined up enough to start knocking thins over the fence.

    Swamp Critters being neutered or made into Gator Jerky ;-)

    (I had gator jerky in Florida and really like it … )

    The putting Comey at risk is interesting. I didn’t know that was possible, yanking immunity.

    The “spy vs spy” stuff is why I didn’t turn in the CIA application I’d filled out when graduating UC… Got to thinking about one of the questions and realized the rest of my life would be 2nd guessing everything and everyone… I’d have been a good spy… but perhaps not good enough for a long peaceful life… Decided to go for less Life Drama and more simple paycheck ;-)

  102. David A says:

    Sessions is conducting an investigation of the FBI investigation, per The Conservative Treehouse, thus his DOJ discoveries are outside of any Mueller given immunity. Apparently Sessions is really doing his job!

  103. Larry Ledwick says:

    Another way to control movement, and force adoption of high density transport, make it so expensive people stop doing it.

  104. Larry Ledwick says:


    Another Ian says:
    5 December 2017 at 10:15 am

    “Do 40,000 volcanoes matter?”

    Raises an interesting question with respect to the following:

    How much volcanic lava would have to cool 1000 deg C to have the same energy at the entire atmosphere increased in temperature by 0.2 deg C ?
    material . . . . . Specific Heat Cp
    air …………… 1.005 (kJ/(kg K)
    Basalt rock 0.84 (kJ/(kg K)
    water ……….. 4.205 (kJ/(kg K)

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