Tips & Notices – June 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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72 Responses to Tips & Notices – June 2018

  1. ossqss says:

    Is it possible to expand the recent comments section to list more? For some of us who had to drive 6 hours today evaluate job sites and talk to prospective future employers and customers and have not had time to catch up. That may be helpful as a short cut. ;-)

  2. H.R. says:

    RE ossqss request: Seconded, if it’s just a matter of filling in a box with “Display 15 (or 20)” instead of 10, E.M. If it’s a bother or will screw up something you deem more important, then nevermind. It’s your blog.

    I’ve been away for longer periods (usually fishing 😳) and I’m not sure if I’m caught up, particularly if someone had something to say on an older thread and it may be gone from the recent comments list.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, having hunted around a while, I found a “drop down” with “10” in it and changed it to “15”, which was the maximum.

    5 more doesn’t sound like much, so I’m going to call it a 50% increase instead ;-)

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    I have also on occasion needed to go back beyond the last entry of recent posts to catch up, more would be better for me as well, when I am tied up on some project for a while and cannot keep current.

  5. ossqss says:

    Nice EM!

    HR, I would have much rather been fishing than dodging today, dangit!

  6. H.R. says:

    Thanks, E.M.!

  7. Larry Ledwick says:

    On the blue light question I wonder if the effect of blue light is a significant cause to the general change in mood in the spring time when gray skies transition to bright blue skies. We tend to associate that shift in mood to getting out in the sun (vitamine D certainly helps here) but is there also a significant influence traceable to the bright blue skies and getting out in the open instead of being house bound in the winter?

    Day time blue light therapy might be something useful to investigate. I already use light therapy to set body clock and influence my wake up time since I work night shift.

    Hmmm need to buy some blue light bulbs me thinks.

  8. Larry Ledwick says:

    I already have some of the red and blue LED grow lights, will fiddle a bit with this and see what I find. Might be very useful in the depths of winter when I never see the sun and a blue sky for much of the week.

  9. nickreality65 says:

    The up/down/”back” radiation greenhouse gas energy loop of the radiative greenhouse effect theory is pencil on paper, a spreadsheet cell, a “what if” scenario and NOT a physical reality.

    Without this GHG energy loop, radiative greenhouse theory collapses.

    Without RGHE theory, man-caused climate change does not exist.

    And with a snap of the fingers and “Presto!!” the bazillion dollar global climate change fantasy is suddenly unemployed.

    Must be why nobody is allowed to talk about this possibility. Not newsworthy enough? Or too far outside the fake news hysterical CAGW narrative?

  10. Larry Ledwick says:

    On blue light and its biological effect

    According to the above (bottom) link blue light of (~480 nm) wave length most strongly triggers the nonvision light sensitive ipRGC cells which moderate sleep cycles, the hormone melatonin production etc. The blue LED grow light panel I linked to above is at a nearby blue of (465 nanometers in wavelength) so should provide almost optimal light color for my experimentation.

  11. Another Ian says:

    More results off to the gulag

    “Disappeared: Tide gauges showing negative absolute sea level rise removed from data base”

  12. philjourdan says:

    Re: recent Comments – Thanks for that. I was gone last weekend for a funeral, and even 5 more (or 50% – whichever is greater) is a big help. ;-)

  13. David A says:

    Larry, your light studies are interesting and I noticed the combination may be very important. (Blue spectrum during the day for alertness and red shift to below or about 1 lum at night. The combination of appropriate light – day and night – improves performance. Blue and adequate day time light helps night rest, and low red shifted night light helps sleep and day time alertness. This, in conjunction to reduced EM exposure may be a big sleep help.

    Regarding shrieking from Wi-Fi signals and electronics, does turning off such devices stop the transmission? Or can a simple cover be constructed to cover the source?

  14. David A says:

    Sheilding not shrieking!

  15. p.g.sharrow says:

    @David A says:
    Thanks for that correction. I generally read right thru miss spellings and miss placed words, but “shrieking” had me stumped.. 8-( …pg

  16. David A says:

    Thanks PG, although if such EM signals keep one awake perhaps they are metaphorically shrieking. (-;

  17. philjourdan says:

    I kind of liked Shrieking better. It had more intrigue to it. :-)

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @David A:

    I liked “shrieking” … if fit my experience ;-)

    But on to boring old shielding:

    Yes, you can shield them. Put a large bean pot over the thing and signal out will be strongly muted.

    Do note though that at those wavelengths, the signal bounces off all sorts of things. I did a test with a “cookie sheet” between the transmitter and the bedroom (so ought to be cutting out a pie shaped wedge of signal) but the thing mostly acted as a reflector at the chicken-wire in stucco of the exterior wall that bounced much of the signal back into the rest of the house. There was a tiny (perhaps imaginary) improvement in the bedroom in sleeping, but not much. FWIW I just repeated the cookie sheet test and was reading signal strength as measured by the router (from the Mac). It showed no change in “pips” so less than 20% (as there are 5 pips). It’s a log function gauge though as dB is a log function.

    So if you turn it off (all lights go dark) it ought to be zero power out. Some “modern” devices have adopted the habit of staying powered on when you put them in the “off” state, so that they wake up faster when you turn them on. This is, so far, mostly TV sets and some stereos. I don’t know of any routers that do that (but would not be at all surprised if some did) I have my entire computer / networking office cluster on power strips with “ON/OFF” switches in them. After I turn off all the devices, I turn off the power strip. “Belt and suspenders” as they say… It also helps prevent modest power spikes getting to the devices when I’m not home to pull them from the wall in storms.

    Oh, and the power strips go to a UPS that also isolates from the wall power.

    So yeah, you can power it down and have like 99.999% odds that the thing is entirely off.


    I wonder how much of the suicide reduction is just due to LED bulbs being garish and hard on the eyes. It’s hard to get all moody and emotionally focused on dying when you are annoyed and pissed at the lights ;-0

  19. Larry Ledwick says:

    I wonder how much of the suicide reduction is just due to LED bulbs being garish and hard on the eyes. It’s hard to get all moody and emotionally focused on dying when you are annoyed and pissed at the lights ;-0

    Yeah well what ever works ;) (or they just go someplace else to do their thing)

    Yes that is an issue with LED lights the actual light emitters are so bright and small that they are really hard on the eyes if the emitter itself is directly in view. I tried using those red & blue grow panels as a light therapy panel and placed it directly in my field of view but quickly found it was a bit much. I then shifted to an indirect lighting method. My computer desk top system is facing into the corner of my room, and I placed a cool white (daylight) florescent bulb fixture behind the monitor so it is hidden from direct view, but illuminates the wall junction of the corner behind the monitor. That large diffuse indirect lighting surface is much easier on the eyes as your eyes are not constantly trying to adjust to the very bright light itself but the more general illumination on the wall which is similar to the brightness of the computer monitor itself.

    I use that back lighting fixture in the morning when I want to “wake up” but shut it off at night and go to a low level low wattage bulb desk lamp for area lighting at night.

    I plan to use the blue LED panel in the same manner as an indirect light source pointed at the ceiling of the room but not in my direct line of site. Sort of like the effect you get when you open a north facing window so you get a lot of general blue illumination in a room.

  20. Ian W says:

    Hi E.M.
    You may want to consider these:

    The conical base and tap set low allow the simple reuse of the ‘must’ it definitely worked for me and was a lot easier than the barrel on its side approach of Mr Beer.

  21. Ian W says:

    @nickreality65 says:
    7 June 2018 at 3:05 am
    The up/down/”back” radiation greenhouse gas energy loop of the radiative greenhouse effect theory is pencil on paper, a spreadsheet cell, a “what if” scenario and NOT a physical reality.

    Without this GHG energy loop, radiative greenhouse theory collapses.

    71% of the Earth’s surface is water, a good half of what is left is plants which transpire water. Water cannot be heated with the ‘downwelling’ infrared of the frequency emitted by CO2 ‘scatter’ or by downwelling by water vapor changing state. All that happens is the top layer of molecules get more ‘excited’ and evaporate taking latent heat of evaporation with them cooling the surface. Warm air blown over the oceans also cools the surface by loss of latent heat of evaporation. So the downwelling infrared cools 80% or more of the Earth’s surface is and that energy is then carried upward by convection by the water molecules (humid air is lighter than dry air due to the low molecular weight of H2O compared to O2 and N2). The energy is then released high in the atmosphere as the water changes state to liquid then to ice..

    The Gas Laws automatically lead to lapse rates for dry and humid air that happen to match the lapse rates measured by balloon sondes. That is how the ICAN atmosphere was created. No CO2 needed.

    As you say the GHG theory is nonsense.

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    NASA is claiming discovery of organic matter on Mars. I would rate it more of being discovery of chemicals which might have organic origin rather than any sort of proof.

  23. Larry Ledwick says:

    From twitter:
    IG report will be released on .@realDonaldTrump ‘s birthday, June 14th which is also American Flag day.

    IG Harowitz to testify before Congress on the 18th.

  24. Oliver Manuel says:

    Hi, E.M. Smith

    It now appears that neutron repulsion may be “the universal energy of life” that the Japanese culture recognized many years ago:

    One of my friends visited with me this afternoon and made me aware of this intriguing possibility

    Sent from my iPhone


  25. jim2 says:

    @Larry Ledwick says: 7 June 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Yep, this whole push by scientists to get publicity is so misguided. I’m sick of it.

    The Martian atmosphere is chock full of CO2, little O2, and UV radiation, among other bits. There is probably a route to methane from CO2 or other starting materials.

  26. Sabretoothed says:

  27. Sabretoothed says:

  28. philjourdan says:

    @Sabretoothed – Agreed! WTF! So much garbage these days. Muller can indict a ham sandwich, science can peer review the rape of one!

  29. philjourdan says:

    Oops! Comment hit moderation. Not sure of any suspect word. But I guess this is a learning exercise?

  30. E.M.Smith says:


    Sabertooth got himself into moderation by failure to follow guidance to stop attacking my family and friends. Thus invoking his name sent your comment there too.

    Eventually that will be eased once I’m comfortable that the lesson has been taken to heart… and I get tired of servicing the moderation queue ;-)

  31. philjourdan says:

    AHA! So next time it is just ST. :-)

  32. jim2 says:

    I finally found a network monitor I like. Sort of like htop, but for the network, iftop.

    Akamai seems to be a constant companion and I can see the NIST time service.

    One odd looking bird is . I’m not sure what it is, although a web search led to some guy’s personal blog in New Zealand.

    I’m sure this will be interesting if not down right scary.

  33. Steve C says:

    Well, today (Weds. 13th) is the absolutely, positively last day of trading of Maplin Electronics, whose demise was announced at the end of February (link). For me, the last three months has been a matter of “now, what components / bits of kit / connectors / etc. might I need in the next 25 years or so …”, and I admit I’ve spent rather more than I can afford on tat.

    Some of it, OK, good stuff which will see plenty of use, like the rather nice Chinese SPL meter (same model as the American Recording Technologies SPL-8810), or the useful little Moonraker(®) coaxial switches (£4 for the last one in the shop … ye Gods …), or a couple of carrier bags full of mixed resistors (thousands off!). But whether I shall ever develop a need for a 20 metre VGA cable remains to be seen … but for £1? Obviously a never-to-be-repeated bargain! Maybe there’s a reason my home looks more like a warehouse.

    So farewell to a damned good business. I’d guess that the nearest US equivalent would be waking up one morning and finding that Radio Shack had gone belly-up: suddenly there’s nowhere to go for that necessary cable, that odd connector or component, whatever. Thousands more people without jobs. Hundreds more boarded-up premises (or charity shops …). And somebody (no, make that some bastard) in the City of London with a few more millions in his bank account.

    (Sigh.) Thank you for indulging me in my misery. Anybody need a 20m VGA cable?

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve C:

    Just sayin’… My local store went “POOF!” about a year ago.

    When I first moved here there was a very large parts store that started as a Ham Radio store and “just grew”. It evaporated about a decade ago under pressure from Fry’s (that started as a grocery store…) and on-line ordering.

    Don’t know as I have anything using VGA anymore. The move to SBCs / Pis has pretty much made me a HDMI shop now.

  35. Steve C says:

    @E.M. – Dear God, I hadn’t heard about that – from a few thousand miles away, Radio Shack has always seemed sort of immortal. Looks like you’ve been dropped into the same bucket as us, then. Online ordering is okay (I suppose, given the year and a half’s problems I’ve had with my pre-pay Mastercard), but really only when you’re buying new kit and already know what you’re getting – for that occasional need for the odd connector or component you really want a local shop.

    My nearest shop is now an hour’s busride away (in each direction) – happily, it’s a wonderful component shop of the old school, with “surplus bargains” in the window and a good stock of better-specced parts to substitute for what you originally wanted (!). He isn’t online, and he’s one of the busiest places on the street – the Maplin closest to him actually used to send him custom for stuff they didn’t do!

    The net isn’t much use for secondhand, either. At the moment, I’m looking for a top quality turntable with variable speed control and 78 rpm, and as I want top quality I want to see (and, if possible, hear) the thing before parting with the green stuff. There is, of course, no local outlet (if keeping a shopful of new stuff is now uneconomical, your s/h trader has even bigger problems).

    I think we’re symmetrical on video interconnections. I’ve been putting off getting a Pi precisely because of its HDMI connection, what I have not got anything to plug into. Having said which, another of my clearance bargains was a HDMI-to-VGA converter … well, I did say I was planning up to 25 years ahead! ;-D

  36. philjourdan says:

    I was very saddened to lose Radio Shack as well. While we have a nice place here for most of the stuff I bought from them (cables and connectors), they are primarily a business seller, so their hours do not mesh with the hobbyist. And when I want a cable or connector, I do not want to wait 2-3 days for it – I need it then!

    I guess I just wait now.

  37. jim2 says:

    I shopped at Radio Shack for components in its day. Use Fry’s store or Mouser on-line now.

  38. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes Radio Shack and similar small electronics outlets are slowly disappearing. Radioshack still has some stores open where they get good traffic but has mostly gone online.

    I get most of my stuff from amazon for the basic connectors and cables sort of thing.

    Another electronics outlet that is still in business is Gateway Electronics in St. Louis. They used to have a local store front here in Denver but closed it down about 10 years ago. It was one of those neat shops where they had bins and bins of open stock components you could pick your own basket of goodies from. Lots of surplus and never find this again stuff from over stock or close out sales in the industry, including older equipment for salvage or use.

    The days of being able to handle a part and trial fit it or verify that the knob turned the right direction of Oh I like this design better than that design because it will be easier to mount are mostly gone.

    With modern surface mount components and such direct kit building from components is going away. Kids no longer have the experience of rooting through a box of components and putting them together, making smoke or feed back or getting it right, popping fuses, and all the other fun that comes with one off assembly of a bread board project that does just what you want to do.

  39. Steve C says:

    There is, in fact, an alternative I’ve heard tell of but not yet tried: a m-u-c-h bigger supplier, RS Components, has a depot on a trading estate across town. Their prices, it is true, are not at the low-budget end by quite a bit, although quantity breaks are pretty good for business-sized orders.

    I first encountered them in the early seventies, via an employer who had an account with them (actually, they were called RadioSpares then, which tells you all about where the name came from). The first, really impressive, thing you noticed was that you could put in an order at going-home time one day, and it would be on your bench, complete, first thing next morning. Every time. Now, that sort of service is worth paying for – you can tell the customer to call back at lunchtime tomorrow, and you’ll be working on the job, guaranteed, when you clock on. A Radiospares story:

    We had, at the time, an ancient oscilloscope in the workshop, one of those immense machines which lived permanently on its own dedicated, steel trolley so it could be moved to where it was needed. Over the years, it had accumulated an impressive crust of dust, coffee spills, fossilised insect life and the like on top, and generally looked the antique it was. It caught the eye of Eddie, the Radiospares rep, one visit, and that eye lit up. Eddie was an old-school sales rep.

    “We’ve just introduced this foam cleanser spray,” he told us, holding up the can. He walked over to “Big Doris”, sleeping quietly by the wall, produced a handkerchief, and carefully sprayed a little patch near the back. He gave us a little spiel about how you could see it working, then deftly wiped a neat circle, about two and a half inches across, straight down to what, we discovered, was actually a light blue, textured surface, not dark grey at all. Wow. And, as Eddie had entirely intended with his demo, we had to buy a can then just to finish the job … all done with a style that left you wanting to applaud, rather than holding it against him. ;-)

    And now their catalogue is a shelf full of thick volumes covering everything from electronics components to pretty much everything you’d need to set up – to build! – your factory – full spec pro testgear as well as vast shelving racks and forklift trucks. Not really the place for the odd 3.5mm socket on a Sunday afternoon, though maybe for some of the interesting chips in the range it might be worth making up a non-negligible order and trying it.

    Ah well. If nothing else, it’ll be fun buying my more trivial components from one of those shops where you never know what interesting items will be in the window to tempt you next visit. But Maplin will be sorely missed for all that. At least their ex-staff will have what amounts to a gold star on their CVs, just for the reputation Maplin had for helpfulness, so bless ’em all.

    Anybody want a 20m VGA cable? …

  40. Larry Ledwick says:

    Oooh this is big if the order has some teeth.


    American Renaissance @AmRenaissance PRO
    an hour
    Today was our day in court against Twitter. We’re still sorting out the details, but the short of it is:

    We won!

    We’ll update our readers and supporters once we know more.

    American Renaissance @AmRenaissance PRO
    an hour · edited
    From one of our lawyers: Judge ruled that “Twitter may be held liable for false representations that it would not censor user content.”


    “This is the first time that a social media company’s argument that it has a First Amendment right to ban users from a platform for their viewpoints has been rejected by a court.”

  41. E.M.Smith says:


    But it is only for false representation. So all they really need to do, going forward, is state they have the right to edit / remove material not in keeping with the desired look and feel of the site…

  42. Another Ian says:

    “Given that all Intel CPUs since about 1995 suffer from the Meltdown vulnerability and the Spectre one as well, things online are going to be distinctly hairy. Intel is apparently not considering any recall (bye bye Intel) even in the face of now three Class Action Suits. They’re still talking “mitigation.” So there will be more and bigger Lawfare. ”

    More at

  43. Larry Ledwick says:

    I think they realize there “is no fix” the only solution is to tough it out until the re-engineer their processors. What is the lead time on new processor designs from clean sheet of paper to delivery, 3 – 5 years?

  44. llanfar says:

    @Larry – for the Apple A11 Bionic, the development time was 3 years. Given the ARM chips also suffer to a lesser extent to spectre, I imagine they are going to try and speed it up and get it into the A12…

  45. llanfar says:

    Now what would be interesting is if Apple tapes out an x86 CPU…

  46. E.M.Smith says:

    The bug can be removed trivially: shut off superscalar / out of order execution.

    The problem is the performance hit that comes with that. So you could take a very fast high end processor, shut off superscalar, and sell it as a middle / low performance secure processor…

    Figuring out how to fix superscalar and proving it is secure, now that’s gonna take a while…

    FWIW, I’m happy “enough” on my slow secure ARM platforms ;-)

  47. Sabretoothed says:

    Interesting, related to the school shooters on SSRI

  48. LG says:

    For What it’s Worth.

    IMHO, the most insightful and incisive analysis and …
    play-by-play analysis of the unfolding events for the last 20+ months have been provided

    NOT by the lame-stream media, NOT by talk radio, NOT by cable NEWS, NOT by “Insiders”.

    Those voices are ALL bought and paid for.

    IMHO, the best coverage has been conducted by Joe Citizens with a laptop, Twitter and accounts. and maybe a blog page.

    They have done it all for the love our country.

    If you’d be so inclined, check some of their archives out.

  49. H.R. says:

    @LG – Those are all good choices. I’ve not read much from rising serpent, just a few bits posted on other blogs. Thanks for the link and the reminder.

  50. LG says:



    In a five-part (so far) series, a blogger connects dots.
    In part 4 the connection is made.

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 3

    Part 4

    Craig Murray, the former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, linked to a very interesting piece by Paul Gregory that appeared in Forbes in January 2017. Mr Gregory is Professor of Economics at Houston University, and research fellow at both the Hoover Institution and the German Institute for Economic Research, and he also has extensive knowledge about Russia and the Soviet Union. Here’s what he had to say about the so-called Trump Dossier, just a few days after it was published by Buzzfeed:
    “As someone who has worked for more than a decade with the microfilm collection of Soviet documents in the Hoover Institution Archives, I can say that the dossier itself was compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports, in particular the practice of capitalizing all names for easy reference. It was written, in my opinion, not by an ex-British intelligence officer but by a Russian trained in the KGB tradition [my emphasis].”
    Now, we know that there is a link between the apparent author of the Trump Dossier, Christopher Steele and Mr Skripal’s MI6 recruiter and handler, Pablo Miller. And we know that Miller and Skripal met regularly. Not only this, but we also know that there is a direct link between Steele and Skripal dating back to the late 1990s, early 2000s. There is, then, a clear link between the man credited (if that be the right word) with writing the Dossier, and a certain ex-Russian intelligence officer, who would have been trained in the KGB tradition (he was actually in the GRU), living in Salisbury. In fact, the Daily Telegraph helpfully pointed out this connection a day before the Government slapped a D-notice on reporting on the issue.
    But is there another clue? I think there is. By itself, it would mean nothing, but it is an interesting possibility in connection with what I have just stated.
    According to the Czech magazine, Respekt, Mr Skripal had links with Czech Intelligence. This included a meeting in Prague back in 2012, but there were also subsequent meetings where Czech Intelligence officers came to meet with him in Britain. We are not told when or where this took place, suffice it to say that there was an ongoing connection.
    Indeed, the whole thing has all the look and feel of having been written by a firm that wanted a payday, but never in their wildest dreams expected the contents of it to become public knowledge. And they never expected it to be revealed because they never expected Mr Trump to win the 2016 election. In the infinitesimally small chance that he did win, I don’t suppose it even occurred to them that it might be taken seriously by US Intelligence.

    And so here is the supposition as to the “why” of this case: The Democrat Party paid Fusion GPS to dig up some dirt on Donald Trump. Fusion GPS contracted this out to British Intelligence, who put them on to Orbis Business Intelligence, a private security firm owned by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele. Steele took the money and farmed the project out to Skripal who, because of his knowledge of Russia and his contacts with intelligence agencies in other countries, could make it sound reasonably plausible, at least to those who were paying for it.

    But then – and this like that bit in the Lord or The Rings when it says that the Ring came into the possession of the unlikeliest creature – the Dodgy Dossier somehow found its way into the hands of US Intelligence agencies, and instead of seeing it as the obvious fraud that it was, amazingly they took it seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it became what the then Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, Peter Strzok, described in a text message to his mistress, Lisa Page, as “an insurance policy” – that is, insurance against the unthinkable happening and Donald Trump becoming President.

    But of course the unthinkable did happen. Against all expectations, Mr Trump won, and suddenly that same “insurance policy”, full of salacious gossip and unverifiable information, took on a life of its own, with all of the Beltway talking about it, and then with Buzzfeed eventually releasing it into the public domain. And so what was meant to be a product with enough plausibility to satisfy those paying for it, became the foundation for the attempts to bring down a sitting President.

    If the above is correct — and let me reiterate once again that it is simply a theory, not necessarily a fact — then Sergei Skripal, not Christopher Steele, was the main author of the Trump Dossier. If that was the case, isn’t it possible that he might have sought a payment to keep quiet about its origins and the nature of its contents? And isn’t it possible that there might have been others who would seek to keep him quiet by other means?

    Part 5

  51. jim2 says:

    The Docker team has pulled 17 Docker container images that have been backdoored and used to install reverse shells and cryptocurrency miners on users’ servers for the past year.

    The malicious Docker container images have been uploaded on Docker Hub, the official repository of ready-made Docker images that sysadmins can pull and use on their servers, work, or personal computers.

    These Docker images allow sysadmins to quickly start an application container within seconds, without having to create their own Docker app container, a complicated and painstaking process that not all users are technically capable or inclined to do.

  52. Larry Ledwick says:

    A useful reference to know about, almost too much info to take in, but bellingcat open source community have produced a reference document that lists the forensic tools that they use to geolocate and analyze on line images and news events.

    Some of these could be useful for general web uses such as:

    Malicious URL Tester – Testing unknown URLS

  53. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting potential connection to the UK. I’ve been pondering the UK connections…


    And here I was just starting to be interested in Docker ;-)

    I’d wondered about the safety of such a share and download operation. Now I know…


    A new toolbox is always fun!

  54. jim2 says:

    We got our first DirectTV Now bill. It was $35, as advertised. This is the lowest tier, ~60 channel offering. Back seasons/episodes can be viewed for many shows, although some episodes for some shows are missing. It also has a DVR feature. I’m not sure the storage size. I have a 300 mb download speed, but still get buffering issues from time to time. It is served via Roku which is a wireless version. I haven’t dug into what’s happening there yet, but overall, I’m happy with the service. Fox News, the History Channel, Discovery channel, CNBC, and other stuff I like.

  55. llanfar says:

    @jim2 I’ve been holding off on DirectTV Now until their DVR stuff got straightened out (and they improved their interface). I’ll take another look…

  56. jim2 says:

    DNS rebinding on Roku devices
    The same DNS rebinding attack vector is also found on Roku devices (CVE-2018–11314). The researcher says that Roku devices expose an API server on port 8060, accessible from a user’s internal network.

    An attacker could use a DNS rebinding attack to send requests to this API server and control basic device functions such as launching apps, searching, playing content, and even simulating keys input using a virtual keyboard app.

    Roku initially refused to acknowledge DNS rebinding as a feasible attack vector and a security risk for their devices. The company changed its mind after Dorsey explained the problem in more depth, pausing the release of Roku OS 8.1 to investigate the issue.

    The company anticipated that a patch would be released in three to four months, but expedited their work when Dorsey told them he was planning to publish his research, and as tech news site WIRED was also interested in publishing a piece on his work. Roku is currently in the process of rolling out the updated firmware to its customers.

  57. Qualitat says:

    Hi EMS,

    Years ago you wrote some speculations about Stonehenge technology. I recently found an article saying that those folks knew about the Pythagorian Theorem:

    The argument seems weak to me but maybe I am missing something.

  58. jim2 says:

    Of late, however, this habit of according importance to papers labelled as “peer reviewed” has become something of a gamble. A rising number of journals that claim to review submissions in this way do not bother to do so. Not coincidentally, this seems to be leading some academics to inflate their publication lists with papers that might not pass such scrutiny.

  59. philjourdan says:

    Oops! Looks like Mother nature wants to get rid of NE Liberals as well –

    In about 10-50 million years. :-)

  60. E.M.Smith says:


    How is that different from a Pluton? or a Batholith?

    Seems to me like there’s a lot of sellers puff going on about some magma and saying it’s all new and different this time…

  61. Sabretoothed says:

    {Reply: it is an unintelligible 1/2 hour of video that doesn’t play at all in 1/2 my browsers, that’s sound only that I can not vet. So deleted. -E.M.Smith]</b<

    Toxicity of Serotonin

  62. jim2 says:

    Our main result is to show that proper treatment of scientific uncertainties dissolves the Fermi paradox by showing that it is not at all unlikely ex ante for us to be alone in the Milky Way, or in the observable universe.

    Our second result is to show that, taking account of observational bounds on the prevalence of other civilizations, our updated probabilities suggest that there is a substantial probability that we are alone.

  63. LG says:

    Researchers discover volcanic heat source under major Antarctic glacier
    Surprising find plays critical role in movement, melting of Pine Island Glacier.

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet lies atop a major volcanic rift system, but there had been no evidence of current magmatic activity, the URI scientist said. The last such activity was 2,200 years ago, Loose said. And while volcanic heat can be traced to dormant volcanoes, what the scientists found at Pine Island was new.

    In the paper, Loose said that the volcanic rift system makes it difficult to measure heat flow to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

    “You can’t directly measure normal indicators of volcanism — heat and smoke — because the volcanic rift is below many kilometers of ice,” Loose said

    But as the team conducted its research, it found high quantities of an isotope of helium, which comes almost exclusively from mantle, Loose said.

    “When you find helium-3, it’s like a fingerprint for volcanism. We found that it is relatively abundant in the seawater at the Pine Island shelf.

    “The volcanic heat sources were found beneath the fastest moving and the fastest melting glacier in Antarctica, the Pine Island Glacier,” Loose said. “It is losing mass the fastest.”

    He said the amount of ice sliding into the ocean is measured in gigatons. A gigaton equals 1 billion metric tons.

  64. E.M.Smith says:


    1) We have no idea what all the kinds of life might be nor what their “signatures’ would be.

    2) Last I looked, inverse-square law had not been repealed.

    3) Any really intelligent species will recognize the risk of a BORG visit and rapidly STOP shouting to the galaxy that it exists.

    4) Once spacefaring, a species will consist of many small skyscraper sized life ships. They will tend to communicate with each other using laser light ( that inverse square thing) with power adjusted to just enough for detection by the target (both to avoid the BORG thing AND to conserve power. Heck, I’m doing “just enough” between my WiFi and Living Room as does my cell phone between it and tower).

    IMHO it is entirely unknowable if there are other intelligent species inside our own Galaxy, never mind the Universe. Now add in that tiny little problem that any Intelligent Species just like us and, oh, more than 2 million light years away, evolving on exactly our same schedule, would be invisible to us as OUR view of them is 2 million years before they came into existence.

    My belief is that the Universe is full of intelligent species. Mostly smart enough to keep their mouths shut and their heads down (or maybe that’s just the survivors… )

    Until someone can show FTL travel / communications, ever species is functionally isolated in their local solar neighborhood anyway. IF FTL is ever shown, then we will know the reason we didn’t find anyone before is they were talking on the FTL channels… and we were not.

  65. philjourdan says:

    “Until someone can show FTL travel / communications, ever species is functionally isolated in their local solar neighborhood anyway”

    ***Liberal head exploding alert!!!***

    And perhaps God designed it that way so we would not try to blow each other up before we advanced to a stage that we sought friendship instead preparing for war first.

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