Tips & Notices – November 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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21 Responses to Tips & Notices – November 2018

  1. Pouncer says:

    Nearly every paper receipt I am handed after a purchase at any store includes an URL where I am encouraged to let their corporate headquarters know what I think about their products and services.

    I’d like to encourage the regulars here to join me in becoming more active in taking such surveys and providing such input. Things I recently advised corporations about:

    McDonalds — You’re playing CNN into the dining area facing the kids’ play space. I note that recently CNN has become less popular in TV ratings than either Fox News or the children’s TV network, Nickelodeon. See Don’t you agree it would make for happier customers to match your TV channel selections to their tastes — just as you try to match your menu to families’ tastes? I don’t know whether you are targeting the kids or their parents in the dining room, but in either case, very few of your customers are watching CNN. Please change the channel.

    WalMart — I see the Christmas and related seasonal products out for the coming months. I certainly understand hopes to catch the early shoppers, and the problems of having products in store after traveling through long supply lines from China. Still, the displays are sufficient. I very much would prefer not to have seasonal carols, either secular or faith-based, played for the next two months straight. No matter how much I enjoy Bing Crosby, the 2nd or 3rd time I hear “Christmas in Killarny” — I’m done. I enjoy hearing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” maybe even four times.
    But by starting before Halloween you’ve ruined the music for me by Veterans’ Day. Can you please set the Muzak dials to whatever you usually do until maybe after Thanksgiving? And maybe save the Bethlehem and Baby-in-the-Manger hymns for Advent?

    Home Depot — Thank you for stocking those hinges. Your aisle associate was critically helpful to me in finding them, behind the cardboard stand up display of small appliances out three weeks in advance of Black Friday. I may even be in the market for various small appliances that weekend. In the mean time, I would consider it good customer service if your regular displays and stock locations were NOT obscured by promotional fixtures. Is there any way to keep the seasonal product OUT OF MY WAY when I’m in your store for actual hardware, lumber, etc?

    Spectrum (Time Warner Cable) — Thank you for the recent snail mail begging me to come back for your internet services. When and if you actually run cable to the address you’ve mailed, I would be happy to consider that offer. At the moment, and despite my payments these past 40 years into the Telephone Systems “Universal Service Fund” subsidizing such a run, and paying these past 20 years into Al Gore’s “Schools and Libraries” funds intended to similarly subsidize the run of the information super-highway out to rural communities, neither you nor your competitors are rolling out such options. You seem to be spending more money in postage advertising services I’m not actually able to hire; lobbying for “Net Neutrality’ regulations over existing capacity; and in buying over-the-air broadcast TV advertising, than in expanding either capacity in existing service areas, or expanding into new service areas. I’m not telling you your budget priorities are misdirected but I would like to point out that your priorities aren’t mine. Thanks anyway.

    I mean, they asked for my input I feel quite helpful in providing it …

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    Chuckling out loud! Would be laughing but I’m in the public… coffee shop (NOT Starbucks who have entered the “Track Me!) Game.)

  3. H.R. says:

    @pouncer – Thanks for the reminder. I need to up my feedback to retailers.
    A tale unhelpful feedback

    One of the hats I wore in the small company I retired from was Head of Maintenance, both facilities and equipment.

    We had a corporate account at Lowes so we didn’t have to stock much in the way of maintenance supplies and we actually used them for a few production supplies as well. Good prices and 12-15 minutes away, depending on making a few traffic lights. I’d just run down and get a toilet float or replacement light bulbs, or a door closer, etc. as needed, when needed.

    On each receipt, they had a “Take Our Online Survey for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card.” I always filled out the survey – needed the code from the receipt – before turning in the receipt to accounting. Oh, and before making any trip, I’d check that the store had the item in stock.

    Well, I’d answer every question about cleanliness, helpfulness, easy to find, etc, with “Fine.” Everything was always just “fine.” No negatives and no attaboys; a “meets expectations” type of response.

    Their money question was if they had what I was looking for in stock, and that was always a “Yes” because I always checked before going.

    Now, I never did win a $1,000 gift card, which I would have found to be very helpful, so I was determined to not give particularly helpful feedback until I did win a gift card. I always wondered what their marketing analysis crew made of a few hundred identical plain vanilla reviews from the same account holder.

  4. Pouncer says:

    This article confuses two uses of the word “network” — one to mean a communication system and one to mean a group of spies. In both cases the US government botched the administration of the network.

  5. philjourdan says:

    @Pouncer – AMEN! On the Spectrum one! (The others are good as well). That tax is a perfect example of how taxes are raised and never go away. All Schools and Libraries HAVE internet access! And we still have the tax.

  6. Quail says:

    Was Oumuamua an alien light sail zipping through our solar system?

    “… Known Solar System objects, like asteroids and comets
    have mass-to-area ratios orders of magnitude larger than our
    estimate for ‘Oumuamua. If radiation pressure is the acceler-
    ating force, then ‘Oumuamua represents a new class of thin
    interstellar material, either produced naturally,through a yet
    unknown process in the ISM or in proto-planetary disks, or of
    an artificial origin.
    Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that
    ‘Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a de-
    bris from an advanced technological equipment (Loeb 2018).
    Lightsails with similar dimensions have been designed and
    constructed by our own civilization, including the IKAROS
    project and the Starshot Initiative 2…”

    Click to access 1810.11490.pdf

  7. p.g.sharrow says:

    When I saw the information on Oumuamua, my first thought was Star Ship! But I don’t see it being a Light Sail type. More like a “Spacecraft Carrier” or “Research Vessel”. A Star Ship must be a space going city, as space is a vast place even at trans-light speeds. This thing is traveling fast but not nearly that fast. More like Babylon-5 with steerage and scout ships. At least that is the way I would do it. The propulsion systems of the scout ships could be utilized for the needed accelerations for steerage

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    This is an interesting detail:

    Although ‘Oumuamua has a red surface
    color, similar to organic-rich surfaces of Solar-System comets
    and D-type asteroids (Meech et al. 2017), this does not con-
    tradict the artificial scenario, since irrespective of the object’s
    composition, as it travels through the ISM its surface will be
    covered by a layer of interstellar dust, which is itself com-
    posed of organic-rich materials (Draine 2003)

    So the interstellar medium is full of organic chemicals, eh?

    And folks still think the oil on this planet came from dead critters… not just condensation of the ambient stuff like on all the other debris of the solar system (and now ISM)…

  9. H.R. says:

    Here’s an interesting link to a shallow dive into the potential benefits/dangers of sassafras.
    We were talking less-than-common woods to use for flavoring when cooking over an open fire or to add to charcoal. I thought of and mentioned sassafras, got some last month, and I have it drying in the garage for later use.

    I really liked sassafras tea as kid and mom would have us go dig some roots now and then so we could make tea. Getting that sassafras root gave me a hankering for some sassafras tea. I wasn’t going to use my smoking-wood stash, so I looked for the tea concentrate that’s commercially available. (Hard to find! Only one grocery was carrying it.)

    It finally occurred to me to look at why it’s so hard to find and to see if it had any positive or negative effects associated with it.

    The linked article is a pretty good summary of the good and the bad and why it’s hard to find. The safrole compound in sassafras is used to make two illegal drugs. The FDA banned sassafras as a flavoring because it is considered carcinogenic. It is also linked to preventing some cancers.

    There are indications that sassafras is quite helpful in treating diabetes. Good news for me! I’m going to keep drinking it.

    Anyhow, the linked article points out that the mouse studies may be worthless for predicting the cancer-causing effects in humans and that the poison is the dose (hi, cdquarles!).

    Here’s a link to the concentrate I’ve been buying; Pappy’s.

    I also noted from their site that it seems to be a good mixer with whiskey, which I haven’t tried yet, but I can easily see that the flavors would be very complimentary. 😁

    I believe, due to the FDA, that the safrole has been removed from Pappy’s Concentrate, else the sale would be illegal. But safrole just might be a beneficial component. So if I want some safrole, I’ll have to go dig some roots for tea.

  10. LG says:

    In France,
    Things are heating up.
    This Saturday Nov 17 2018, there is a grass root movement , Les Gilets Jaunes ,[the Yellow Vests, more precisely : Yellow Reflective Jackets ] (without any political party nor Union participation nor sponsorship) unfolding which is planning to take to the streets and main arteries and slow everything down to a stop, with calls of non-violence and non obstruction of service vehicles. At noon this Saturday, all drivers are invited to lean of their horns.
    The French, the most taxed nation on Earth, are coming out in protestation against their government.
    Anywhere from 78 to 85 % of the French, depending on which polls one Reads, approve of this movement

    The government and the elite class are scared, very SCARED on this movement, and because of its grass root nature, they have no leverage and no means to manipulate and control its outcome other than deploying the police and the gendarmerie. .
    To date there are hundreds of locations throughout France were citizens plans on getting in the streets.

    Image of the current map below :

    Another map:

    In a televised interview Wednesday evening, in attempt to diffuse the impacts of the upcoming Saturday protest, President Macron uttered a sentence which is getting the elites concerned:

    He said: ” “je n’ai pas réussi à réconcilier le peuple français avec ses dirigeants” which translates as :

    “I have failed to reconcile the French People and their leaders”.
    A more accurate translation of the his thought is :

    “I have failed to reconcile the French People and the ruling class”

    As noted by the French media,
    President Macron chose last night to address the anger of the French People from an Aircraft Carrier.

  11. jim2 says:

    Looser translation of Macron’s statement: My head is only loosely attached.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    You would think that if ANYONE was going to remember the French Haircut it would be the French “leadership”… Perhaps someone can start making Guillotines again and place them on public display…just as a ‘reminder’…

    Or maybe, just maybe, the good people of Europe can toss out their new Masters without them…

  13. p.g.sharrow says:

    for some reason the Elite think that they are “Leaders” just because they are in the front of mob. If that mob changes direction, they are in the back end….pg

  14. LG says:

    Professor Valentina Zharkova on The Solar Magnet Field and the Terrestrial Climate

    IMHO, well worth the time to understand her findings.

    From the video description:

    “Principal component analysis (PCA) of the solar background magnetic field observed from the Earth, revealed four pairs of dynamo waves, the pair with the highest eigen values are called principal components (PCs).

    PCs are shown to be produced by magnetic dipoles in inner and outer layers of the Sun, while the second pair of waves is assumed produced by quadruple magnetic sources and so on. The PC waves produced by a magnetic dipole and their summary curve were described analytically and shown to be closely related to the average sunspot number index used for description of solar activity. Based on this correlation, the summary curve was used for the prediction of long-term solar activity on a millennial timescale. This prediction revealed the presence of a grand cycle of 350-400 years, with a remarkable resemblance to the sunspot and terrestrial activity features reported in the past millennia: Maunder (grand) Minimum (1645-1715), Wolf (grand) minimum (1200), Oort (grand) minimum (1010-1050), Homer (grand) minimum (800-900 BC); the medieval (900-1200) warm period, Roman (400-10BC) and other warm periods.
    This approach also predicts the modern grand minimum upcoming in 2020-2055. By utilising the two principal components of solar magnetic field oscillations and their summary curve, we extrapolate the solar activity backwards one hundred millennia and derive weaker oscillations with a period of 2000-2100years (a super-grand cycle) reflecting variations of magnetic field magnitude. The last super-grand minimum occurred during Maunder Minimum with magnetic field growing for 500 years (until ~2150) and decreasing for another 500 years. The most likely nature of this interaction will be discussed and used to explain long-term variations of solar magnetic field and irradiance observed from the Earth.

  15. LG says:

    75% of French people approve yellow vests, support up by 5 points

    Revolution on the horizon ?

    Wordslike “maquis” [The French resistance of WWII], “insurrection citoyenne” [a citizens’ insurrection] are being spoken in discussions among “les gilets Jaunes”.

    A translated link to the poll’s results.

    According to the latest edition of our opinion poll Live Opinion, released this Wednesday, and piloted by the Elabe Institute, the support of the French yellow vests is at the highest, winning three quarters of the population.
    No, in the long run, the yellow vests do not see the popular support they enjoy erode, quite the contrary. According to our latest poll “Opinion live”, conducted by the Elabe Institute Tuesday afternoon after the speech of Emmanuel Macron and broadcast on Wednesday afternoon, the French are 75% to approve their mobilization, four days later the event on the Champs-Elysees enamelled with some excesses, a satisfecit up five points in a week.

    Only 17% of respondents say they disagree with the movement. In detail, this support is nuanced if we carefully examine the different social backgrounds. It is 75% among the middle classes, up ten points, the popular classes approve 83%, a gain of eight points. While the phenomenon is often presented as the expression of a peripheral France on the brink of rupture, it appears that it enjoys an impressive statistic in the rural communes: 83% of the inhabitants validate it (+4 points). They are 77% (+5 points) to respond in the same way in small towns, and 80% (+4 points) in medium-sized towns.

    Among the most popular movements
    These data place the yellow vests among the most popular social movements in public opinion in recent years: only the demonstration of police officers denouncing the lack of resources in October 2016, that of the staff of EHPAD and pensioners last March surpassing them, having reached respectively 88%, 86% and 81% of approval in their time.

    Original link.

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