W.O.O.D. – 9 November 2018


This is another of the W.O.O.D. series of semi-regular
Weekly Occasional Open Discussions.
(i.e. if I forget and skip one, no big)

Immediate prior one here:
and remains open for threads running there
(at least until the ‘several month’ auto-close of comments on stale threads).

Canonical list of old ones here:

So use “Tips” for “Oooh, look at the interesting ponder thing!”
and “W.O.O.D” for “Did you see what just happened?! What did you think about it?”

What’s Going On?

There is a large fire ongoing in Butte County. There’s a thread open just for it here:


KTVU now reporting 5% “contained”, so some progress being made. “Strike teams” of 5 Engines and a “leader” being dispatched from all over the north State including 3 from one Bay Area county. I expect it will get much more “contained” over this weekend.

Near Los Angeles, in Ventura County the city of Malibu has been told to evacuate as two fires there are also being wind driven. Expect all the $Millionaire Movie Stars from there to pop up on various Talking Head shows bleating about how this HORROR!!!! is caused by Global Warming!!!! Not one bright enough to mention maybe not clearing brush, not having good wide firebreaks anymore, and building with wood instead of reinforced concrete with a tile roof. It could not possibly be that they are part of the cause. Oh, and having lots of flame prone trees planet right next to their houses…

POTUS Trump has put in place an interim AG sparking another kind of “wildfire”…


It was, for once, a predictable bombshell.

And met by equally predictable waves of media outrage.

Was there anyone in America, paying the slightest bit of attention, who didn’t know that President Trump was going to fire Jeff Sessions after the midterms?
But what really fueled the media’s “crisis” coverage was Trump’s choice for acting attorney general. It wasn’t Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, the man who appointed Robert Mueller. It was Sessions’ chief of staff, Matt Whitaker.

Whitaker is a former prosecutor, as well as a conservative activist, but he is obscure. He is a Trump loyalist, once described as the president’s “eyes and ears” at DOJ.

What’s more, as a CNN contributor and at other times, he has trashed the Mueller investigation that he will now be overseeing. He’s suggesting that Justice could curtail the special counsel’s probe by cutting his funding.

“The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign,” Whitaker once said. As for the left, “the last thing they want right now is for the truth to come out, and for the fact that there’s not a single piece of evidence that demonstrates that the Trump campaign had any illegal or any improper relationships with the Russians. It’s that simple.”

So Whitaker has, to put it mildly, a rather dim view of the investigation. And his associates are telling reporters he has no intention of recusing himself. Of course not — that’s why Trump wants him.

Now there’s a “spontaneous” thousands of people marching in the street (somewhere) demanding Whitaker “recuse” and that it is imperative to “protect Mueller!!!!!!!!!!”

Well, that’s a “tell”…

OK, Soros put his red spot on Mueller and the hired alley cats are all spitting and chasing that way today. Got it. So that’s THE place Trump needs to make sure gets a good proctology exam by Whitaker.

I’d say “I’m sorry but…”, except I’m not sorry at all. Ask 20 people on the street who Mueller is or what he is doing, you will get 20 blank stares and maybe if you are very lucky one saying something like “Isn’t he investigating something?”. This is just more Street Theater funded by Soros. Best to just ignore it and have Whitaker get to work.

In other Trump news, he issued an order that illegal entry means no application for asylum. You must present at a valid “port of entry” to make the claim. Expect this to immediately get more street theater and then to the 9th Circuit who is THE most overturned most leftist court, and eventually to the Supremes again. It would be a nice surprise if Trump’s appointments start to have an effect and quash some of this Theater Of The Absurd. We’ve already had a ruling that the POTUS can control who enters the country (prior executive orders) and we already know that breaking the law means you lose certain privileges you might otherwise have enjoyed. Then there is just the issue of process. There’s a process. It is via a port of entry. Don’t do the process? Not OUR problem.

I note in passing that the Invasion Mob “Caravan” has left the news cycle. Can’t have that splitting the limited attention of the Lo-info voter when the Rage-Of-The-Day is supposed to be Whitaker… Expect it to return in a week or two.

Probably ought to mention that The Fed declined to raise rates again. (Hey, the election is over…) So the Stock Market is having a perverse very down day. Wonder if the traders are wondering what to do with no Blue Wave and no Red Tsunami.

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

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

87 Responses to W.O.O.D. – 9 November 2018

  1. Ron Clutz says:

    This new paper could be a global warming gamechanger if it holds up to scrutiny. I note the lead author CA Varotsos has a 33 year career in atmospheric physics from Athens University, and has been cited by IPCC. The paper is This paper just published Has global warming already arrived? by C.A.Varotsos and M.N.Efstathiou https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682618305030?fbclid=IwAR2K7rMBEtRzuI7e0covP9r5vYr79lak–HnAAQWq0kRN7kT4xW-pouYpfQ

    • The global warming during 1978–2018 was not more enhanced at high latitudes near the surface.

    • The intrinsic properties of the lower stratospheric temperature are not related to those in the troposphere.

    • The results obtained do not reveal the global warming occurrence.

    The whole thing is just published and quite dismissive of global warming theory based on remote sensing measurements in the troposphere and stratosphere
    My synopsis is https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2018/11/09/atmospheric-observations-contradict-global-warming-theory/

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting write up. I’ll need to move “up stream” and read the paper next.

    One minor ‘polish point’:

    In several places you talk about a datum, the trend of the data, and the expectations about it. English can be tricky in that often with implied subjects it is difficult to know exactly which one is implied. So at times I found myself wondering if your conclusion applied to the basic data, the trend of the data, or?…

    For example:

    • At the lower stratosphere there is a negative temperature trend which is lower over both poles (compared to tropics and extra-tropics) with the lowest value over the North Pole.

    There is ambiguity about an implied subject in following statements. Is it the temperature, or the trend, that is referred to?

    Is “the lowest value” the lowest temperature, or the lowest temperature trend of the data?

    I know, it’s a pain to “decorate” every sentence with added words just to make clear to the dolt (in this case me), who is not so familiar with the material you reference; just what is a which… but consider:

    ~’ At the lower stratosphere there is a negative temperature trend, which trend is lower over both poles (compared to the tropics and extra-tropics trends) with the lowest value of {temperatures or trends} over the North Pole.’

    For smoothness of reading it is a modest loss, but for certainty of meaning a big win.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and I usually try to avoid saying “lowest trend” as folks can think that means “goes further down to low temperatures”. If I want to say there is little trend, I’ll call it a flatter trend – emphasizing it is the slope that matters not the end point of the data in the trend.

    So: ~’At the lower stratosphere there is a negative temperature trend, which trend is flatter over both poles (compared to the tropics and extra-tropics with steeper trends) with the {lowest value of temperature | or | flattest slope of the trend } over the North Pole.’

  4. Ron Clutz says:

    Thanks EM. I took the statement from the paper, and understand it as you have restated it. IOW,
    At the lower stratosphere there is a negative temperature trend which is more negative over both poles (compared to tropics and extra-tropics) with the most negative trend over the North Pole.

  5. YMMV says:

    Sometimes it’s good to ignore what’s going on around you…

    The video seems to have been in a Portuguese-speaking country? Brazil?
    The sound quality is terrible.

  6. Pouncer says:

    Chief, the recounts in FL and AZ deserve some thought.

    When Enron was still considered a actual enterprise instead of a Ponzi scheme, a few analysts noted the curious situation that every really close call broke in Enron’s favor. A quarterly earnings’ forecast just barely exceeded. An annual market share target just barely met. A takeover company’s stock price just barely affordable. Whatever. I am not a financial analyst. (Logistics, now … but I digress)

    It seems to me similarly odd that very close election results and recounts tend to break one way — except in a memorable case where SCOTUS forbade the count process to go forward. Coleman in MN seeing Al Franken “win”, for instance.

    Am I mistaken in my memories?

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Pouncer: I’d say nope, not mistaken.

  8. ossqss says:

    Dangit, I have been watching a few episodes tonight of “WWII’s greatest raids” on AHC, but the shows are not on their show list. Dunno why, and was gonna share some things that amazed me from back then. Oh well ;-)


  9. Another Ian says:

    E.M. As you’ve said

    “Terrifying New African Ebola Outbreak – Yet Politicians Still Witter On about “Climate Threats” ”


  10. EM any evidence of someone lighting those fire in California. Bushfires are common in Australia and those things you mentioned such as lack of clearing, no attention to firetrails, lack of slow burns in the winter, lack of quick action to backburn have been causes for severe bushfires which have killed people. However, everyone of the bad fires has been started by arsonists, stupid people lighting fires in prohibited areas on prohibited days or ( in a few cases) bad maintenance of power lines. Australian bushfires are more difficult because Eucalyptus trees give off an oil which can cause fireballs, which in turn can jump firbreaks, roads,& backburns by kms before the flame front. I have seen the result of the bad Tasmanian black Tuesday bushfire, in which 62 died, Old stone convict era mansions were burnt down while nearby less well constructed buildings survived.

  11. I meant to add I have been in three bad bushfires when we lived in the outskirts of Sydney. In two of these people died and we had all our fences burnt and lost a a couple of outbuildings. The fire roared like a Jet plane up from the valley to our place but we were able to contain as it slowed across the cleared area around the house (5 acre property with some horse paddocks)

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    Ebola has one feature that is helpful. It is so lethal it kills off many of the vectors (people) and self limits the spread. This “local extirpation” works only so long as transport is slower than lethality…

    So as long as Congo has disease in areas with relatively poor transport and wars, it will self limit.

    The point were this fails is when it reaches urban areas with modern transport. When that happens is when we risk pandemic. That’s the time to use your accumulated vacation time, live off your 6 months supply of stored beans and rice, and not visit anyone nor take any visitors…

    Until then, no worries!



    We have some fires clearly set by people. Most of the time the first fires are caused by lightning or wind driven electrical system sparks (occasionally sloppy campers, but few people camp with fires anymore). But once the big one hits the news, firebugs get the urge and start some more.

    The Oakland hills fire was “enhanced” by our population of Eucalyptus trees… We have them lining the main street about 1 mile from me. Ironbark, IIRC… There’s a movement here to remove them and only let “native” trees live here. Our native trees burn nicely too…

    Glad you were able to work the fire. Having grown up with it, IF I were to live in one of those places, i would NOT have nice shade trees around the house as most folks have. I’d have at least 100 feet (or 1.5 x tree height) cleared all around. I’d also have reinforced concrete construction with tile roof and metal shutters. Then I’d have a large water tank and sprinklers, on the house and for the surrounding dirt – and would be dirt most of the time… with some “greenbelt” of iceplant (very high water content).

    Then again, I’ve worked a forest fire so I’m biased….

  13. Actually, I believe some of the trees near the house were of benefit. One was a large Coral tree which has fleshy leaves and lots of moisture in the branches. Another tree was a Pin Oak which had new leaves ( it was spring time) Can not remember the name of the tree over the pool. The Pool had a greenhouse over it to keep out the leaves in Autumn. We think the deciduous trees protected the house with a shield of water vapor. Yes pine trees burn – one needs to keep them away from the house. Palm trees are also not a good idea.
    All the best

  14. H.R. says:

    T-mobile is my carrier and they claim to have blocked 1 billion scam calls.

    I think they have some tweaking to do because that’s pretty much all I get on my phone; scam calls.


  15. E.M.Smith says:

    Yes, I found it interesting.

  16. cdquarles says:

    A peeve of mine. Why do people talk of a climate system? I doubt that there is a climate system, at least one that isn’t Earth’s *weather* system. Climates, like the weather that creates them, are local. Sure, there are whole weather system effects, such as incoming EM radiation, but even that is conditioned on local environmental effects.

  17. cdquarles says:

    A quick perusal of this paper. It is interesting. A beef: they didn’t discuss, as far as I can tell, what effects filtering had on their results. Another beef: they didn’t do an error analysis and propagation, which limits the paper’s value. What do I think will hold up that this paper shows? That the weather system, writ large, is a damped-driven system with fractal properties, so decisions must keep in mind auto-correlation and that the system probably has two or more meta-stable ‘attractor basins’. Thus, the linear extrapolation trend will mislead you.

  18. Another Ian says:

    E.M. FYI

    November 10, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    5000 iptv ch – only 5 usd per month!
    /europe/usa/asia/arabic/latino/russian/israel channels…
    work on any devices like phones,tablets,smart tv,iptv set top-box…”


  19. Larry Ledwick says:

    NY police official says The Federal Government should designate ANTIFA as a terrorist organization.


  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    That’s looking interesting! I’ll need to look up what those channels are, and if they have geographic limitations, but still, has things I like ;-)

    Yeah, the way Carlson gets a mob and is ignored while Acosta physically arm-bars a woman doing her job and gets told to leave; and the media doesn’t give a damn about Tucker Carlson but goes ape-shit over a rude and boorish guy dissing and physically restraining a woman from doing her job. Oh Well, at least it lets us know that they are 100% on side politically and any moaning about how “reporters” are treated is only Faux Rage as they didn’t give a damn, really, about Tucker.

    @Larry L:

    Uh, yeah… about a year ago… and every member, chapter (and verse ;-)

  21. ossqss says:

    Well he has a good argument. I wonder if I can do something similar to change the score in Mondays NFL game if I don’t like the facts?


  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    While California is burning this is just a few miles from my home.

    First really icy road day of the winter – lots of folks are re-learning how to drive in slick conditions.

  23. Larry Ledwick says:

    Looks like Facebook it going deeper down the rabbit hole – Note to self, leave personal electronics at home when meeting with others. This is the same sort of network mapping that was used by the military in Iraq to find out who was connected to who in the terrorist cells.


  24. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry L:

    There’s a simple reason I don’t do Facebook or Tweet… I don’t do “creepy” well, nor tolerate it well in others.

  25. Graeme No.3 says:

    Not sure where this goes but I found it funny (while it is still available on YouTube).
    The migration of the skeptics

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    @Graeme No.3: OMG! I found that funny. Literally LOL. (Does need an F bomb warning but worth it…or maybe that needs a spoiler alert …) a bit over 4 minutes and wishing it was 10…

  27. philjourdan says:

    @EM (and others) – Re: Acosta

    Also, while you can debate whether physical contact happened or was incidental, the facts of the matter is that Acosta lied. He was NOT asking a question, he was pontificating. Trump was correct to cut him off. Pontificating is for Op Eds., not press questions. His pontificating was not even germane to any question. yet he claims (and the quacks of the YSM parrot) that he was just asking a question.

    More fake news from the group that brings only fake news.

  28. E.M.Smith says:

    IMHO, the White House Press Conference attendees are 100% at the pleasure of the POTUS. Nothing gives CNN any perpetual seat or preference on the guest list. Were I POTUS, I’d look at what was actually said, then what was reported. When it was clearly smear & spin, I’d just tell them (politely) that due to their making stuff up and NOT reporting actual events and facts, they were no longer credentialed. I’d NOT drop someone just for negative opinion. So if someone correctly reported my position and then said that in their opinion it would have some negative outcome, I’d make sure they were invited back as they are being honest.

    Pontificating instead of asking questions would also be a “drop” cause.

    The other thing I would do is assign seats via lottery. Have a ball cage at the door, pull their number and they sit in that seat. Then I’d take questions right across the front row (and second row if I had the time). That way it is absolutely fair to all the attendees and nobody gets special access. I think it would also result in much more interesting and varied questions.

  29. Another Ian says:

    “Like Prohibition is to Moonshine, Green divestment activists are a boon for coal investors”


  30. Larry Ledwick says:

    More IOT fun


    For example, in one embodiment, mischief may be inferred based upon observable activities of individuals in a household. FIG. 36 is a flow diagram illustrating a process 930 for detecting child mischief, in accordance with an embodiment. Specifically, the process 930 begins by detecting child occupancy or occupancy of other classes of occupants to be monitored (block 932). In some embodiments, these classes of occupants may be determined based upon audio monitoring, optical (e.g., video) monitoring, or other monitoring (e.g., infrared occupancy monitoring). For example, characteristics of audio signatures, such as speech patterns, pitch, etc. may be used to discern child occupancy. Next, the occupants may be monitored, specifically listening for low-level audio signatures (e.g., whispering or silence), while the occupants are active (e.g., moving or performing other actions) (block 934). Based upon the detection of these low-level audio signatures combined with active monitored occupants, the system may infer that mischief (e.g., activities that should not be occurring) is occurring (block 936).

  31. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting article on gun control in Australia – probably worth reading since Nancy Pelosi has clearly stated that her intent is to make a hard push for more gun control when the Dems take control of the house.


  32. Another Ian says:


    I lost a nice Garand in that.

    A friend is in a bureaucratic bunfight in which they are refusing to renew his hand gun permit. But are quite happy to issue him one for a semi-auto.

  33. Another Ian says:

    Semi-auto rifle for clarity

  34. Another Ian says:


    If not already in your sign collection

    “As they say, I wouldn’t wipe my (_i_) with it now.”


  35. Larry Ledwick says:

    New Federal guidelines for activity to maintain health>


    Adults need 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week, with muscle strengthening activities on two days during the week to stay healthy.

  36. Larry Ledwick says:

    Meanwhile the Dems are staging gun control legislation while everyone is busy watching voter fraud and the news of massive wild fires in overgrown California.


    They just keep pecking away and over time inch by inch advance the ball in the direction they want. Too bad conservatives are too independent to play hard core full court press politics like this over the long term.

  37. jim2 says:

    A Georgia State Senator has been arrested at that Capitol building because she would leave the area when the police told her, and others, to leave. Awesome. Just saw her on TV trying to paint it as a racial thing, but some of the police were also black. Don’t know if all the others were white, black, or whatever.


  38. E.M.Smith says:


    They all look like grumpy sourpusses with bags under their eyes… I’d not want to hang with that bunch. They look ill.

    @Larry L:

    Those maps are fun. Looks like a “big empty” inland south Florida… I also note the swampy area north west of Orlando (a population hot spot) shows up a a hole in the population.

    Hmm…. A nice “swamp house boat” would be very defensible in any Aw Shit, food would be a fish line / gator gig away. Only those tropical disease mosquitoes as a downside… and maybe some snakes ;-) OTOH, West Texas with a high fuel and water tank RV and wait a year, then you can pretty much write your own ticket with whoever is still alive ;-)

  39. Larry Ledwick says:

    1 minute ago
    BREAKING: Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti arrested

    Ooops big mistake

    Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti has reportedly been arrested for domestic violence.

    He was arrested after his wife filed a felony domestic violence report. She reportedly suffered serious injuries from the incident, which occurred Tuesday. His wife’s face is reportedly bruised and swollen.

  40. E.M.Smith says:

    How an implosion begins?

    Clintons yesterday’s graft, er news …

    Lawyer with zip when he thought a big score coming going open loop violent…

    Now we just need some DNC implosions…

  41. Larry Ledwick says:

    And it will just get worse for Avenatti

    Ryan Saavedra

    Verified account

    44 minutes ago
    REMINDER: The Senate Judiciary has made two referrals to DOJ & FBI for a criminal investigation into Michael Avenatti relating to a potential conspiracy to provide materially false statements to Congress and obstruct a congressional committee investigation, three separate crimes.

  42. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmm looks like the fatal Lion air crash was likely a faulty sensor that triggered a poorly documented “safety system” causing a computer directed steep dive into the ground because the sensor input caused the computer to think the plane was about to stall.


  43. Larry Ledwick says:

    So not every researcher claiming global warming is a problem is afraid to admit they made a math error.


  44. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry L:

    Oh, I thought I covered that well enough in a posting.. or maybe not… Maybe it was just nattering at the wife…. Yes, a sensor decides to dive and you ought to consult the Manuel for a while, or just pull UP on your “suggestion input” of the “control” column…

    Folks killed by a decision to trust equipment over people who have their own life on the line..

  45. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well in this case (I suspect), and in another case that I know about (flight 296 below), the computer commanded dive out voted the pilot input because the computer was sure it was protecting the pilot from making a bad mistake.

    Air France Flight 296 was a chartered flight of a newly-delivered fly-by-wire Airbus A320 operated by Air France. On June 26, 1988, as part of an air show it was scheduled to fly over Mulhouse-Habsheim Airport (ICAO code LFGB) at a low speed with landing gear down at an altitude of 100 feet, but instead slowly descended to 30 feet before crashing into the tops of trees beyond the runway. Three passengers died. The cause of the accident is disputed, as many irregularities were later revealed by the accident investigation. This was the first ever crash involving an Airbus A320.

    The pilot claims that this indicated a problem with the aeroplane’s fly-by-wire system rather than pilot error. After a few seconds he got worried and thought there may have been something like a short circuit in the completely computerized throttle control, and responded by pulling the throttle all the way back then forward again. By that time the aircraft had touched the trees. The show also looks at the theory that it was the computer at fault, not the pilots- because the flight’s altitude had fallen below 100 ft, the plane’s computers automatically believed the flight was landing and therefore it would not allow any drastic maneuvers from either pilots. When they suddenly asked it for more power and lift, it simply ignored them.

    There are several major crashes attributed to safety systems misinterpreting the situation and out voting the pilot input to protect him.

  46. jim2 says:

    Politico is trying to frame the White House video of Acosta hitting the intern as doctored. IMO, the blurring in the WH version is due simply to the fact it is stored with lower temporal and spacial resolution.


  47. E.M.Smith says:

    I was watching it live when it happened (Acosta). He absolutely and clearly does an arm-bar with his left forearm. It’s a block movement I’ve practiced thousands of times to stop or deflect a strike or grab.

    Is it violent? Depends on the speed and force of it. It can be a gentle slow push of an offensive arm out of the way, or it can be a bruising strike with force and speed preparatory to a counter strike.

    Given that the young lady was reaching for the microphone a couple of times with her right hand (and Acosta pulled it beyond her reach and twists it out of her hand) before swapping to her left to do the reach that was blocked, it is clear she was not bothered by reaching past his arms for the microphone. When Acosta does the arm bar, she clearly startles and does an “Alert” look and posture change. She felt it was an assault, even if only a minor one.

    IMHO, the microphone interns all need to be shown how to “take a dive”. This is common in European Football (soccer), hockey, basketball and several other sports. Someone does a gentle arm-bar, you make the Face Of Pain, clutch your arm, and go to the floor as though knocked off balance… Just “sucking it up” and pressing on, lets the attacker continue to do it, so put on a “show” for the “referee” (in this case the public and media).

  48. Larry Ledwick says:

    Or she could have gone with the motion lowered her right hand and grabbed something he really values and whispered give me the Mic Ass*ole. (yes never happen but would have been fun)

  49. Pouncer says:

    Trump finally prompted Elizabeth Warren to take a test and release a result regarding her Native heritage.

    Can Trump prompt Maxine Waters to take a test and release a result regarding her own IQ?

  50. jim2 says:

    Why don’t they have a kill switch on the mic? Been wondering that for a while. Kill the mic and turn up Trump’s volume several decibels. That’ll learn ‘um.

  51. jim2 says:

    Or better, have two mics, hand the hot one to the President’s next pick and turn off the other.

  52. E.M.Smith says:


    It takes a certain amount of intelligence to realize there are IQ tests… facts not in evidence for M.W.


    I was wondering that too. It’s standard in auditoriums. You hand out the mic and the guy at the sound board runs the volume up when it is your turn to ask a question, then runs it down for the answer, and then it’s a dead mic… No problems that way. With 2 or 3 of them ‘in play’ you can have them moving to new questioners and never have a gap in questions, but also never have anyone talking over another.

  53. Larry Ledwick says:

    Speaking of global cooling and disasters – apparently NYC got 3-4″ of snow and has come to a grinding halt as the bus services is hosed.

    Steve Burns

    Follow Follow @StvBurns
    A quietly fuming mob has formed at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Second and third floors are closed and everyone is being urged to try something else.

    (Yes I know this is normal but it still has great humor value)

    Boy it is going to be fun if they ever have an 1888 blizzard again.



  54. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting article on a “black start” exercise designed to learn about and develop tools and methods to restart a power grid from a ‘black start” after some outside event has taken it completely off line for an extended period of time.


  55. Larry Ledwick says:

    New York + 3″ of snow.

  56. E.M.Smith says:

    I’m amazed…

    I live in Silicon Valley California. It just does not snow here.

    I own 2 cars both 4 x 4 with mud and snow tires on them 24 x 7 x 365.

    And folks in New York can’t deal with a couple of inches of snow?


    FWIW, the cars are intended for Florida hurricanes and Chicago in winter in about a year. In prior years I’ve owned a 4 x 4 truck ( International Scout ) and always owned chains for my cars since about 1975. (Skiing don’t you know ;-) up in the Sierra Nevada… Snowy Mountains….)

    How on God’s Earth can folks who live where it snows NOT be prepared for snow?

  57. Another Ian says:

    November 16, 2018 at 1:50 am

    No evidence of systematic voter fraud, nothing to see here, move along: https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/politics/2018/11/15/florida-recount-democrats-launch-plan-altered-state-form-fix-ballots/2009178002/ funny how outside of local paper it did not make front page news? ”


  58. cdquarles says:

    Ugh. FL, get your electoral act together. Look, if I mess up a ballot, I’m going to show the spoiled ballot to the worker at the polls. You can’t do that easily with early or absentee voting by mail. Boy do I hate that, for that is a system ripe for fraud. If I undervote, that is, leave a line blank, there is no intent to discern. I guess I could mark the write-in spot and leave that blank, just in case some smart-aleck tries to pull a fast one. Locally they went to touch screen signatures. There is no way that my signature there will match my written one, for the screen is angled and the resolution is way lower. Fortunately, the poll folks know me. Plus, as I’ve gotten older, my handwriting has gotten worse.

  59. H.R. says:

    cdquarles: “Locally they went to touch screen signatures. There is no way that my signature there will match my written one, […]”

    You hit one of my hot buttons with that. The touch screen pens are OK or just barely good enough. The 8-10 times I’ve had to sign with my finger had me shaking my head as to how even I could tell if I signed.

    The touch screen signature using a finger to write with is just a lot of forgery waiting to happen.

    Oh wait! Maybe I’ll use it to sign for a substantial loan and then deny the touch screen signature is mine. I’ve got hundreds of signatures on paper that will look nothing like what will be claimed is my signature. Hmmm… new source of retirement income. (Not really. Soon enough, banks will ask for a DNA sample before they give you your account balance, let alone give you any money.)

  60. p.g.sharrow says:

    Florida is rapidly sliding down the Democratic sewer drain that ruined California…pg

  61. cdquarles says:

    @H. R.,
    Heh, some now require a thumb print before they’ll cash a check. They require a print if the check is large enough even for a deposit, especially if the check looks a bit iffy …

  62. H.R. says:

    @cd: What is this thing you call a “check?”

  63. E.M.Smith says:

    @H.R. & CDQuarles:

    I went to the bank to deposit a bit of cash into my Son’s account (a birthday present). I was informed they could not accept a cash deposit. I was required to go find a check book and write a check. They said “so there would be a paper trail”… I pointed out “for all debts public and private” but it seems the Legal Tender laws don’t apply to them…

    So crazy as it seems, they would accept a check for deposit WITHOUT an endorsement signature on the back; but would not accept a few $20 bills…


    Well, I’m going to do my part to keep it like it was ;-)

  64. ossqss says:

    Interesting seeing the traffic chaos with the first snow of the year above. One wonders how those self driving cars will do in those snowy environments. Do they have self deploying chains like EM had? Pehaps they have the Speed Racer Mach 5 capabilities, or Spridle and Chim Chim in the trunk to help? LOL

    Link to the pic is probably too long…..

  65. Larry Ledwick says:

    Another item on the Greenland crater I mentioned earlier, this one explicitly mentions the possibility that this impact was associated with the Younger Dryas.


  66. Larry Ledwick says:

    Take a memo if I get that time machine working lock out the year 536 – it was a bad year to visit Europe.


  67. H.R. says:

    ossqss: “One wonders how those self driving cars will do in those snowy environments.”

    Ooooo… good question! Based on the reports I’ve read, self-driving cars still aren’t quite ready for prime time. I’m not sure where the programmers and test tracks are located but if it’s mainly or exclusively in California, I doubt if they considered snow.

    I think the cars will just come to a halt as they slip and slide and try to react to the cars erratically slipping and sliding around them.

    I would hope the programmers put in a subroutine where the car says, “I give up. I have no clue. I’m going to shut down and sit right where I am until a human can bail me out.”
    The other thing that creeps me out is if I bought a self-driving car for highway cruising on long trips but drove it manually around town and went al Watkins Glen with it on country roads, what are my options when the controller, supposedly off for manual mode, says ala HAL, I can’t let you do that, H.R.

    I think I’m going to skip this generation of transport and hold out for teleportation.
    “Beam me up, Scotty!”

  68. Pingback: W.O.O.D. – 16 November 2018 | Musings from the Chiefio

  69. Pingback: W.O.O.D. – 16 November 2018 | Musings from the Chiefio

  70. H.R. says:

    To be fair, there are drivers who are so bad and are essentially accidents on wheels. Even primitive self-driving car programs are superior a few people I know. (My brother-in-law is one. My son, wife, and I refuse to ride with him. I haven’t kept statistics, but I believe he’s good for about 2 reportable accidents per year and that’s not counting minor dents and dings from striking non-moving objects. I am not exaggerating. Oh. He doesn’t drink, so that’s not a factor.)

  71. E.M.Smith says:

    California spent a fortune to install “Bots Dots” (those round raised reflective dots in the line between lanes) everywhere. Seems that isn’t optimal for self driving cars, so…

    California has announced they will be removing all the Bots Dots and putting in some OTHER kind of lane markings that work better with self driving cars… Never mind what works for people…

    So where do they test these cars? Mostly in warm pleasant places without much precipitation. I see them driving around Cupertino and the rest of Silicon Valley fairly often.

    The work pretty well on well marked clear freeways (as long as a white truck doesn’t turn in front of you where they can’t quite figure out if it is sky or what…), OK on wide suburban streets and kind of crappy in congested urban areas like San Francisco ( then again, everyone drives pretty crappy in San Francisco…).

    I’ve never seen one in snow; or even during heavy rain. Now that’s a rare event here so it could just be that getting 2 rare events (seeing self driving car on the street and weather event) to happen at the same time is rare^2. They are reported to have trouble with intersections that have odd paint striping. Realize there are a few different makers, so they will have different issues.

    IIRC, Uber was testing their cars in Arizona (until it killed someone in the dark…) but supposedly the car’s built in anti-collision auto braking radar had been turned off so they could better test their system’s abilities. Ooops. So their cars may not be so good with dark clothing or animals at night…

    Yeah, not ready yet.

  72. Larry Ledwick says:

    They will really suck in blowing wet snow that covers the sensors and creates a view of lots of white blobs coming at the cameras, or heavy mist / fog.

    Not sure what systems they have to keep sensor lenses clear but when traffic lights fill up with wet snow and signs are covered with a blanket of snow and the whole world is white with very poor contrast I suspect they will go into panic mode and just shut down.

    A lot of successful winter driving in extreme conditions (glare ice) etc. is anticipating what conditions will be in 100 yards or several seconds down the road.

    For example lots of glare ice at an intersection you are approaching and seeing other cars slide through the intersection, but you have a relatively dry spot coming up where you can brake hard and slow way down. A human can make he decision to use the good traction segment to scrub off speed where the computer system would probably just hum right along until it discovered it had no brakes or steering control. Would it try to input steering and brakes based on inertial inputs or just go to full lockup and stop?

  73. H.R. says:

    E.M.: “[…] “Bots Dots” (those round raised reflective dots in the line between lanes) […]”

    Bot Dots… I learned a new term, today. I did not know those were installed in anticipation of self-guided vehicles.

    We had those starting about 20(?) years ago in two styles; round dome and rectangular with reflective material on the ramped sides. There were some complaints about the bumps when you changed lanes, but it wasn’t all that bad. Whiners gotta whine.

    Anyhow I loved those things! Painted lane markers faded relatively rapidly and soon were nearly invisible after dark or in the lightest rains. These were highly visible at all times except under a few inches of snow, of course. Even then, on unplowed roads you could at least determine the road centerline by feeling for the bumps.

    It turns out that, tough as they were, they still got wiped out over time and it was a royal, orange-barrel pain to drivers and to the DOT crews that had to go around replacing them. A fair number of the dots would get wiped out by snowplows each Winter. (I’m in the mid-west. We get snow.) Oh, and where they got wiped out, that allowed water intrusion into the paving to start the pothole creation. process.

    So the markers got phased out a few years ago. Some survive and some are specified even today in certain places for reasons unknown to me.

    Now they have this lane marking material that is made of some asphalt-like reflective substance that is in strips and precut shapes such as arrows that get pressed into the asphalt when they are adding topcoats or laying new lanes. It gets rolled out and pressed into the asphalt as a final step. It’s thick and it rises about 1/8″ above the surface.This is great stuff and much lower maintenance. It doesn’t get wiped out by snowplows either.

    => I don’t see how any self-driving car system that depends on markers or “bot dots” of some sort would work in snow country. Companies in snow-prone areas wanting to use self-driving vehicles for deliveries may not have taken that into account. If they have deliveries that can’t wait or carry perishable goods, they will still need human backup drivers.

  74. Larry Ledwick says:

    From twitter:
    1 hour ago
    4 inches of snow and NYC looked like it went to war with China. That’s what you get when you have Democrats at the helm!

    Want to bet someone set fire to his car by spinning the wheels at 100 mph to try and get up a slick hill?

  75. E.M.Smith says:

    The ones I’ve seen have nothing to clean the sensors. Well, really, they do have something, it is called the driver… What they are doing is using the public to work out the programming and operational bugs. One death at a time, they will “discover” weaknesses and add programming to deal with them.

    At present, for example, Tesla says the driver must be ready to take over and have hands on the wheel. (One guy got busted for drunk driving when his hands came off the wheel as he fell asleep and the car just came to a smooth stop in the middle of the Bay Bridge.) Tesla also learned that a broadside white truck is not recognized as different from sky so decapitated the car (and driver) as it shot under the trailer.

    A couple of Teslas have bounced off concrete lane barriers at construction sites as they followed the road paint straight forward instead of making the lane change the signs (and concrete barrier) mandated. So note to programmer: Increase priority of front object detection, de-weight white lines…. and when in doubt consider a lane change…

    Uber learned that the Volvo object impact avoidance radar was better than their optical sensors for a lady pushing a bike across the road in the dark. Note to engineering staff: As disabling an existing safety feature will cost $Millions for the wrongful death suit, don’t do that. Consider adding object detecting radar.

    Many cases of car vs pedestrians at corners have happened. As most of these are very low speed not a lot of deaths, but jumping and shouting… Hard to predict when a person is going to step of the sidewalk and which direction if you can’t see their faces and what way they are looking / leaning / stepping. So far they have not been able to run around San Francisco without intervention by the Safety Driver. But they’re getting better!!!

    I think it will be a few more years before they get good. Right now they are at about the level of a mild stoner. Too cautious, tentative in complex situations, but able to get past the cop car on the roadside most of the time, and usually can make it home OK… only occasionally waiting for the stop sign to turn green…

  76. E.M.Smith says:


    Looks like I spelled ’em wrong. Bott’s Dots.

    They were NOT installed for self driving cars. They were installed for people.

    NOW California wants to install something else for the self driving cars. What is unclear. What happens on back roads without them when your self driving car expects them is unclear. What happens when you leave the State with your self driving car is unclear…

    Any self driving car that needs some special “stuff” on the road is going to have issue…

    Yeah, snow is going to be fun. I’d bet it will be a decade before they certify them for use in snow. Between road markings gone, signage obscured, surfaces not as predicted for traction, sensors clogged, etc. etc. it isn’t going to be easy at best. Then add in that none of the folks designing these things is in snow country, and it will be last on the list of things they deal with.

    Right now we are still at the “Just make it work at all” stage. Nowhere near the “what to do when things go bad” stage. Barely started on the “Oh, that special case” QA testing / bug fixing.

    @Larry L:

    I just don’t understand that. Living in snow country and not having the equipment for it. We’re going with 4 x 4 (car and sorta-truck) just for the rain in Florida and occasional drives north in winter. It just isn’t that hard to do. Heck, I’ve carried chains in an ammo box in my trunk since about the mid-70s in winter. Used when skiing but available if any “traction enhancement” was needed. I’m rarely in snow country. If I lived in the East, they would be in the car year round.

    About $20 worth of chain, a couple of ends off a set I wore out, and 3 tools in the box. I now make my own chains and / or repair them as needed. It is fairly trivial to do. (Bolt cutter, Vice Grips, special chain pliers thing for spreading links, regular old link chain) On more than one occasion after arriving at the ski area I’d see a cross bar wearing thin, so spread them on the floor of the hotel and ‘rebuild’ them while watching the TV. Easier than putting them on the car…

    That reminds me, I need to dig them out of the garage and put them in the non-4×4 car…

    Maybe they decided to run into the car in front of them when it started drifting backwards… just because they lost traction why let that be my problem… “outta my way! coming through!” ;-)

  77. H.R. says:

    Bots dots or Bott’s dots; doesn’t matter because the snowplows don’t care how it’s spelled..

Comments are closed.