Tips & Notices May 2018

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
Oh, and lately, cars ;-)

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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60 Responses to Tips & Notices May 2018

  1. Doug Jones says:

    Just a head up for you, two times earlier today my android phone got some malware from your home page, one of those damn “Your phone has been exposed to malware, click ok to to F it up completely” transparently stupid come-ons. I don’t know how your page got the crud (I haven’t noticed any ads on your pages) but maybe you should take a look for malware.

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    There isn’t really a “home page” for the blog. I presume you mean landing on the main URL of

    Note, too, that this just gives a list of the most recent posts. As these are the ones “just put up” they are also least likely to have any “issues”.

    Finally, note that ALL blog posts have the same level of protection and exposure on ALL clients of so any exposure ought to be exploited on all blogs there. Since we’re not seeing rampant panic over malware all over the place, it is unlikely to be the blog.

    I type, by hand, postings into the WordPress Editor. I do not embed binaries (though there are occasionally links to image files, usually .jpeg or .png files. Again, unlikely to find an exploit there.

    Now compare the alternative explanation:

    Your Android picked up some malware on some random site. When you open new links, it randomly pops up to try and complete the pwn… A fairly common mode of infection and mode of operation for malware.

    So I would strongly suggest you get your device malware powerwashed soon.

    It is substantially certain to not be the blog.

  3. p.g.sharrow says:

    Doug Jones; did you click on any links? I have encountered malware on a few links provided…og

  4. E.M.Smith says:


    If there is ever a link here that shoves malware at you, post a comment about it. I’ll then make the link non-live (i.e. have brackets touch it so you must cut / past to activate it) and then put a note next to the link that it is suspected of malware.

    Partly as I run such an odd mix of machines, I rarely experience any malware myself. I’ve experienced none from my blog. (But it is far more rare on Macs and Linux… so could be there looking to hit PCs and Android and I’d never know…)

  5. ossqss says:

    Clean the cookies from your browsers that are used in mobile. Most don’t, but should. That is step one.

  6. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; the times I recall it was on links that Larry provided that had links at those sites that dumped me onto malware. No big deal ,just kill and restart. Besides he who steals from me steals junk. I don’t do anything of value on my web browser machine that I can’t afford to lose…pg

  7. Sabretoothed says:
  8. Steve C says:

    @EM: Re your comment on the 9500-y-o city thread that “I’m thinking I need a boat” …

    Dmitry Orlov has an interesting little project (“The purpose of this project is to design and mass-produce kits for a floating tiny house that can sail.”) at the Quidnon blog. His aim is a rather cool houseboat kit for $50k, but there are interesting posts there ruminating on hull shape, sail shape, stoves etc. Give him a bit of useful practical advice and it might come down to $40k … ;-)

  9. p.g.sharrow says:

    35,000 year old Neanderthal notes?
    My first thought was Roman Numeral notation…pg

  10. H.R. says:

    @p.g.: Seems like tally marks.
    Neanderthal betting slip?
    Laundry ticket?
    Now serving number 13?
    Those would be really abstract.

    #Kills that year?
    #of Children?
    That would just be simple tallies.

  11. philjourdan says:

    @p.g. – How about knife slices from cutting up the woolly mammoth? That was just a cutting board. :-)

  12. H.R. says:

    I’d like to get a good woolly mammoth recipe.

    I suppose it starts, “Take one medium woolly mammoth, skinned and diced into 1″ to 2″ cubes…”

    The kids… “Woolly mammoth casserole… again?!?”

    Dad: “It’s Tuesday, honey. No time for that. I’ll just grab something to eat at the bowling alley.”

  13. H.R. says:

    “… Preheat the fire pit using there, 2′ dia x 12′ long logs. Let settle to glowing bed of coals.”

    600 gallons of cattail root stock
    400 lbs of root vegetables, peeled
    250 lbs onions
    1,200 cloves wild garlic
    pinch of salt

    Bring ingredients to a boil in a large pot, then reduce heat to simmer until meat is tender, (about 72 hours.)

  14. H.R. says:

    Pairs well with anything fermented.

  15. philjourdan says:

    Personally, I like my Wooly mammoth al dente. Builds strong teeth and jaw muscles! :-)

  16. H.R. says:

    Hawaii County GIS map of the fissures. Just put up by the county for updates and use by residents and interested parties.

  17. E.M.Smith says:


    no No NO! Everyone knows stewed Mammoth is too bland! A BBQ is much better. But, as Mammoth is a bit tough and lean, it must be properly “larded & barded”… then slow BBQed.

    1) Line the BBQ cavern with oak bark. Start One Oak Tree of seasoned wood and let it make coals on the bed of the cavern.

    2) Skin and dress out 1/2 dozen wild boar, reserving the body fat for larding and barding. The rest of the boar can be dried and smoked over the oak fire as the tree is reduced to coals. (Thus smoked the boar bacon and boar ham will keep until the next hunting cycle).

    3) Using the 6 Stone weight of boar fat, cut into spear widths, lance the mammoth with the spear and insert the fat “through and through”.

    4) For added flavor the larding and barding can include one goat skin of onions & garlic, to taste. Or simply place in the body cavity.

    5) Leaving the skin on the Mammoth to preserve juices, roll the mammoth onto the bed of coals. Cover with a layer of smaller oak boughs (the bits not used to make coals) and pile over with a layer of soil.

    6) Return a few days later, uncover the pit / cavern, and serve.

    Suggested plating is a section one hand by 2 hands, and 3 fingers thick. One fist sized serving of smoked boar, sliced, artfully dropped on top. Vegetables optional, depending on what the spouse found… Sauteed mushrooms seasonally. For entertainment, slide strips of Scotch Bonnet peppers into Urgh’s serving and watch him holler!

    And yes, pairs especially well with anything fermented ;-)

  18. p.g.sharrow says:

    Generally any big kill was stripped of fat and meat that was dragged back to camp inside of the hide. The bones, blood and other waste was left to the scavengers and predators. only the liver was immediately consumed. The meat was dried and fat rendered for ingredients to make pemmican: All hunting societies made pemmican for their winter stores as well as for commerce.
    You can live on well made pemmican for years if necessary as it can be a well designed nutritional food bar that can be stored for years…pg.

  19. p.g.sharrow says:

    Damn, I think Smith’s recipe is a lot more fun. Mine is just a lot of hard work…pg

  20. ossqss says:

    I can see it now! No, I really did ;-)

  21. LG says:

    More rotating plasma structures on our star: Giant swirls on the Sun, of the Rossby Wave kind.

    “For forty years, scientists had speculated about the existence of such waves on the Sun, which should be present in every rotating fluid system. Now, they have been unambiguously detected and characterized for the first time. The solar Rossby waves are close relatives of the Rossby waves known to occur in the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.”

  22. I don’t use PGP, on the grounds that if I don’t advertise that something is secret then there’s so much data flying around in emails that there would need to be a reason for someone to actually read mine, but it seems there’s an exploit that can break PGP for emails. Details at if this may affect you.

  23. E.M.Smith says:


    Sadly, I have summarily failed to generate any interest in using encryption by anyone who communicates with me via email. My solution is to read email once a month and never originate any if at all possible. Eventually people stop… or any attacker gets a trove of repeated requests to respond to that email about the BBQ invite 2 months ago… I miss some invites, but get more free time and there is little to be used against me.

    Were I to send an encrypted message I would do it in the first manner of mitigation they described: external encryption and send file. That lets you vary encryptors and methods. Isolates the clear text from the transport.

    Since embedded “active content” has been known to be a giant attack surface and vector since the beginning, I’ve always shut it off whenever possible and never click embedded things (sorry all you e-Marketers, I’m never going to click your dancing Java craplette…nor hit the “reply” button in your text.) IF I ever wanted to reply, I would enter the email address de novo in a new email.

    Those have been my habits since I first saw active content email. Part of that general “paranoia is your friend” attitude of the “always under attack” sysadmin.

    So nice to know about the exploit (that isn’t really a PGP exploit – it stays strong; but is a SMIME / email package post decryption exploit) but it doesn’t impact me. My biggest secret is what socks I need to buy and when I need to fill out social security paperwork… ;-)

  24. Larry Ledwick says:

    That is the big weakness of common encryption systems, users on both ends need to agree before hand to use a given encryption method.

  25. H.R. says:

    Thanks to the nonsensical rules-making of the CFPB, I had to buy 3 stocks for my portfolio. They insisted that a brokerage customer have a market basket of 10 individual stock holdings. My investment firm was just fine with the seven individual holdings I inherited, and they were just fine when I only had one individual holding in my IRA. But nooooo, Auntie Nanny insists that 10 individual stocks are the minimum to be properly diversified.

    I bought a very small stake in GE as one of the added 3 holdings. Some divisions have been subsidy mining for years, but other divisions have had steady, profitable, business models. I bought at $17 and small change because I expect GE to be broken up with failing or untenable divisions going away and the divisions with ‘good’ prospects spun off with good prospects for growth.

    At $17/share, at that point the book value was about 5 times the market value of the stock. Anyhow, I’ve paced a small bet that over the next few years, I will wind up with shares of 3 to 5 (more?) spun off GE companies, each of which will have a stock price of better than the $17/share I paid for the tangled mess of divisions that exist in the current umbrella-company structure.

    We shall see. I’m prepared to lose it all or wind up sitting very pretty.

  26. Sabretoothed says:

    [Reply: Video deleted for language and content. You will be in moderation until your anti-vegan fetish is ended. I need not provide a forum for you to attack my family members and friends. E.M.Smith]

  27. Sabretoothed says:

  28. Continuing my exploration of foundations and axioms in physics, I’ve explored the reason for momentum being conserved and thus why it isn’t actually conserved (if the action and reaction are unequal, because the frequency is high enough relative to the distance involved, then momentum isn’t conserved). This implies that there’s no reason why a “reactionless” device such as the EMDrive can’t work. The EMdrive is however probably not the best way to design one. More at if you’re interested. If it’s true that momentum isn’t conserved and that a reactionless drive is possible, then that also means that energy is not conserved, either. It’s fun digging the foundations away….

  29. Sabretoothed says:

  30. LG says:

    “50 U.S. Code § 1802 – Electronic surveillance authorization without court order; certification by Attorney General; reports to Congressional committees; transmittal under seal;…of communication common carrier; applications; jurisdiction of court”

    REX aka @_VachelLindsay_


    5. ‘Foreign intelligence information’ in relation to a ‘US person’ (eg Team Trump) is information that’s necessary for the US to protect against attack, hostile acts, sabotage, terrorism, as well as ‘clandestine intel activities’ /…
    6. /…by a foreign power, or agent of a foreign power (Russia), OR

    information relevant to the national defense/ security of the US, or the conduct of the foreign affairs of the US.
    7. Now, this authorization by POTUS (eg Obama) requires certification by the AG (eg Lynch – DOJ) that MUST be lodged with ‘the court’ (eg FISC):

    ‘The (AG)+ shall immediately transmit under seal to the court …(FISC).. a copy of his certification.’
    8. So if my analysis is correct, a copy of that certification is currently under seal AT LEAST with the FISC & DOJ.

    THAT’S what they’re trying to desperately hide.

    The Act says that the AG has to
    keep the Select Committee on Intelligence AND the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence informed of these authorizations AND unmaskings under them.

    see 1802 (a) (1) (C)

    Connect dots :

    #1 – Obama authorized electronic surveillance on Team Trump, by-passing normal judicial oversight.
    12. #2- to create ‘foreign intelligence’, Brennan and others organized for UK intelligence, to conduct surveillance on Team Trump (either from UK, or from a UK govt asset within the US).

    Thats why the Brits were brought in.
    13. #3 – Obama’s authorization was certified by AG Lynch and is now held under seal by the DOJ (and FISC).

    The DOJ are terrified of making this known.
    14. #4 – From Obama’s authorization, ALL the unmasking followed, as well as the FBI fraudulent counter-intel investigation AND perhaps the FISA warrant, too.

    15. Now, why is this a CRIME?

    Obama’s authorization was based on MANUFACTURED EVIDENCE (the Fusion GPS Dossier, secretly funded by the Clinton, DNC & Obama).
    16. You can be certain – Obama KNEW it was FAKE, when he made the authorization. As did Lynch, when she certified it.

    Obama’s entire ‘inner circle’, the ‘Secret Society’, ALL KNEW.

    17. They were trying to frame an innocent citizen and destroy a political rival using ‘trumped up’ evidence (lol).

    These were genuine police state tactics. This is the sort of thing that happens in Putin’s Russia. Or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.l
    18. If true, it takes the US into totally uncharted territory.

    It also has grave ramifications for any UK politician or official, who was involved in any way.
    19. A POTUS himself, hatching a plan to destroy an American using fake evidence?

    I really hope it ISN’T true.

  31. p.g.sharrow says:

    @LG; you pretty much have it correct, Except, This was started when the “We will fundamentally change America” Obamanation first took office. Van Jones bragged about their seizing the rains of power and would eradicate all opposition, “We know where you live ! ” He bragged. also, that there would need to be concentration camps for 20 million Americans that were their enemies. Remember that the IRS was weaponized to put down conservative political opposition for the 2010 and 2012 elections. They tried to create a national police force that would rival the Army in size. All,plays out of the Communist playbook to win one election, one time, and eliminate all opposition to “The Party” They failed not because lack of trying, but because of the American limits on centralized power and American inertia to change. But their tentacles run deep, some of this has been in place for 100 years. McCarthy and Nixon were right! They are everywhere, and will do anything to win. They were so sure that this time it was in the bag that they let it all hang out as they pushed for their fundamental change. But now, with the Trump win and the resurgence of the Republican Party, they are desperate to cover their tracks and save themselves.
    As this is revealed There will be a fundamental change in American politics, just not the one they desired. …pg

  32. interzonkomizar says:

    In this article, Gerry Pease discusses a syzygy pattern that he compares to SC24, 25. It suggests to me that ssn for SC25 wont start increasing until July 2021. Further, it may not peak until 2027.

    Sandy, Minister of Future

  33. Sabretoothed says:

    Uranium is going to run soon I think

    PDN stopped production recently too

    Check this guy’s twitter interesting

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    Metals are notoriously volatile and manipulated. Be careful.

    At $22 / lb Uranium is a BIG money loser. It must more than double to be making a significant profit. That means you must be careful HOW you bet, too. Betting on a mine going from “shut in” to “just below break even” is not a guaranteed win…

  35. Micro$oft buys GitHub. What could possibly go wrong?

  36. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, saw that. They own “Linked-in” too IIRC. MS is on a buying spree buying up “service businesses”. Their intent is not to sell you software anymore, but to let you rent services.

    So they will have all your resumes and contact info from Linkedin, your code from GitHub (plus info on all “pulls” of it and to whom), and entre into your computer from owning the operating system. Can you say “Pwned”? I knew you could…

    Well, the good news is I’d not gotten around to setting up that github account I was planning. Now I don’t need / want too…

    Wonder how long it will take for someone to launch an alternative to github…

    Oh, wait:
    they have…

  37. Steve C says:

    @E.M. – What originally made you think about Git rather than, say, (as the most obvious) Sourceforge? I recall a post a few months ago where you were noting the weird ways of Git. (Just wonderin’ – I haven’t got the sort of experience to make much use of any of them!)

  38. Larry Ledwick says:

    You are sort of forced to use git since many software / open source operations have centered their code distribution and version control on it.

  39. Steve C says:

    Ah, so ’tis mainly a “quantity” choice, then. (It’ll be interesting to see how many current users flee at the approach of MS …)

    Illustration of my current competence: trying to persuade Python to install the “Integrated Development Environment” so I can play with a BBC micro:bit, but actually spending most of the time learning error codes …

  40. Steve C says:

    (hardware info here.)

  41. H.R. says:

    Steve C: “[…] but actually spending most of the time learning error codes …”

    Pro Tip for your resume:
    “Highly experienced de-bugging Python”

  42. E.M.Smith says:


    Just that there were a couple of projects hosted there that I was interested in so had thought “OK, folks going with git, projects here, in it. Guess I ought to go along to get along…”

    IOW, group inertia.

    Not so much “quantity” for me as it was “things I found interesting”. Only 1/2 dozen max.

    I expect we’ll see a lot of the hard core Unix / Linux folks migrating out the door. All it will take is one trend leader starting the cool place…

    Per debugging:

    Take what solace you can from the alternative:

    Booted up my Desktop machine, the XU4 at the moment, and discovered that FireFox was crashing. Decided to move some things, made a backup of my home dir (which is on a Monster USB stick) and that showed some odd errors (tar archive and saying some files had lost bits and sizes padded with zeros – mostly cache and crap from browsers). OK… do a reboot…

    FAIL!!! – hang in fsck on, you guessed it, the USB Stick. Attempts to recover it with everything from manual fsck to gparted go progressively down hill to where, ATM, I can’t even build a new file system on the stick. “He’s dead, Jim” comes to mind…

    Not Surprising:

    To some extent this is expected. I’d moved 1/2 to 3/4 of “my stuff” off the stick about 9 months ago. All the files and saved images and stuff. I left on it only the “Browser world” (cache, tabs, bookmarks,…) and an email archive (that is almost exactly up to date on a backup I need to find ;-) plus whatever new files showed up in downloads, screen shots and saves since then. About 3 GB (on a 32 GB device) where I figured that added room would let it spread out ‘wear’ better.

    So right now I’m back on my Pi M3 using the browser there (where I’d moved “everything else”) while I decide what to do next. I have 3? backups of the USB that are recent enough to be interesting. The only real risk of loss is the email stuff (browser status and cache I don’t care about much). BUT they have given errors in the copy out to disk AND attempting to launch a browser against them as my home directory has FireFox crash. So something needs a bit of cleaning…

    But having used that USB stick for about 1/2 a decade now, I’d figured it was getting close to the failure point and had moved off most everything I cared about and made some copies of the rest. I do have an older copy also, but it might be far enough out of date to not be so interesting. I’ll need to see.


    So for the rest of today I’ll be digging around finding where in the 4 x 3 GB copies there are good bits; and in the prior 28 GB (pre-split) how old it is. THEN also trying to answer which of the various errors I got in things like FSCK might be due to my leaving it an ext4 file system while knowing that they changed the format in an incompatible way – so was it USB fail, or ext4 non-compatible bite? I thought I’d moved most stuff to ext3 and that the present systems were all “new ext4” type, but don’t know for sure.

    Which means I’m in maintenance and recovery hell with re-validation of systems, OS levels, file system types and compatibility, and data recovery / integration…

    The Good News:

    None of this has any effect on my 8 TB file server or 8 TB of offline stores / backups / duplicates nor the 6 GB or so of misc. off-line disks. Nor does it touch any of the SD cards that drive misc. systems nor the Cluster Stack nor… It is ONLY limited to about the last 4 months of usage of one browser and one email reader, where I am pretty sure I have a good enough recovery point. If nothing else, this particular copy (that I’m using on the Pi M3) was synced in Nov 2017. I’m pretty sure I’ve not done an email download / delete from AOL since then (and 90% of it is irrelevant automated notices anyway…)

    But I need to go searching the other bits I’ve left scattered across the disk landscape first before I start the rebuild. Along the way, I found about 4 GB of EXT4 disk that I want to make safe as ext3 so that’s going to be running as a background task likely through to tomorrow…

    Ah the joys of slaving over a hot computer all day long ;-)

  43. Steve C says:

    @E.M. – Yep. Remember how once they were supposed to automate everything and make life easy? … Like the “Paperless Office” they promised us completely eliminated all those sheets of printed paper …

    @H.R. – LOL indeed! Man, you wouldn’t believe the expertise I’ve got at this level … ;-D

  44. Larry Ledwick says:

    Very interesting – commercial folks are starting to explore Tor services for privacy.

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