Election Grinds on; Good news from ARPA; Data on Global Warming; Aliens among us? And a lot of mail

Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, March 08, 2016

“This is the most transparent administration in history.”

Barrack Obama

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.

Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.

Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.


The Republican Establishment, having alienated at least two thirds of its base – those who participate in primaries, anyway – has decided they must do something. They aren’t going to do much about the issues that have alienated their voters; they’re going all out to Stop Trump. So far they haven’t noticed, or pretend not to notice, that the only non-Trump candidate who might be able to appeal to the Trump voters is Texas Senator Cruz, who is not part of the Country Club establishment that is content to stay in the minority so long as their positions are safe, or that he is a great a threat to their sinecures as anyone.

They’ll learn. First stop Trump. Then woo Cruz, get him to join up with the insiders, win him over, make him grow in office. It worked in the past.

There’s a good chance that it’s too late. As it stands, an open convention would present them with a choice between Trump and Cruz. Mr. Trump scares people, and probably doesn’t really want the splendid misery of the Presidential office. It really is hard work, and it is unrelenting. An advisory post would better suit him, so long as he trusts the actual candidate.

We’ll see.

Meanwhile, Hillary’s problem grow: http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/email-scandal-hillary-clintons-last-defense-just-blew-up/


0045 AM 

Trump and Cruz have wiped out Marco, so it’s pretty well a contest between them; and Trump’s ahead, but being surprisingly blasé about the negative campaigning against him.  The Establishment country club Republicans don’t really have a viable candidate.  We’re in uncharted waters with no pilot.




And now for some good news.

Reusable spaceplane tops DARPA’s budget request, again


WASHINGTON — For the second consecutive year, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s top-funded space program is an experimental spaceplane intended to make frequent trips to orbit.

DARPA asked for $50 million in the Pentagon’s 2017 budget request for its Experimental Spaceplane 1, or XS-1 program. That’s up from a $30 million the agency asked for during the fiscal year 2016 budget cycle.

XS-1 aims to develop a reusable first stage that could carry an expendable upper stage capable of placing payloads weighing up to 1,800 kilograms into orbit. DARPA said the vehicle could ultimately fly 10 times in 10 days and boost payloads into low Earth orbit for less than $5 million per launch.

Three industry teams are working on the program: Boeing and Blue Origin; Masten Space Systems and XCOR Aerospace; and Northrop Grumman and Virgin Galactic.

In July, all three teams received funding to continue design work and risk reduction activities in preparation for a production contract.

DARPA said in 2014 it intended to pick one team in 2015 to work toward demonstration flight in 2018, but now it is unclear when such a downselect will occur.

DARPA said in budget documents that it plans to complete system and subsystem designs later this year, as well as coordinate with the Federal Aviation Administration for preliminary flight test planning.

A critical design review is planned for fiscal year 2017, the documents said.

In October, the Government Accountability Office said none of several Defense Department efforts to field quick-reaction launch vehicles, including XS-1, have advanced past the development stage.

In its 2017 budget request DARPA asked for $175 million for its space programs and technology office, significantly higher than the $127 million budget for 2016.

In addition to $50 million for XS-1, next year’s budget would also include:

  • $45 million for the RadarNet program. an effort to design a deployable lightweight, low-power and wideband-capable communications antenna for cubesats.
  • $33 million for Robotic Servicing of Geostationary Satellites, which would establish a robotics operation in geosynchronous orbit to perform servicing tasks.


And some good news for geeks; at least some of us:

Florida Senate approves making coding a foreign language (USA Today)

Madison Iszler, USA TODAY 3:07 p.m. EST March 1, 2016

Florida senators approved a bill allowing high school students to take computer coding classes in place of foreign language requirements.

The bill (SB 468), introduced by Sen. Jeremy Ring’s (D-Parkland), won by a 35-5 vote. It will take effect during the 2018-19 school year. Technological skills are a necessity “for every industry,” Ring told USA TODAY.

“It’s ahead of its time, but in reality, it’s in its time,” Ring said. “If you don’t have an understanding of technology, you will be left behind. It’s a basic skill, as much as reading and writing.”

Local groups are not pleased. The NAACP’s Florida Conference and Miami-Dade branch, the Florida chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Spanish American League Against Discrimination (SALAD) released a joint statement disputing the bill, reports The Tampa Bay Times.

“Our children need skills in both technology and in foreign languages to compete in today’s global economy,” the statement reads. “However, to define coding and computer science as a foreign language is a misleading and mischievous misnomer that deceives our students, jeopardizes their eligibility to admission to universities, and will result in many losing out on the foreign language skills they desperately need even for entry-level jobs in South Florida.”

Under the bill, which has undergone several revisions, high schools may offer students the opportunity to take computer coding courses. Originally, the bill said that high schools “must” allow students to do so. [snip]



‘NOAA’s best data shows no warming for 60 years.’



Roland Dobbins

Yet one more data point. I am sure it has warmed since the times the Hudson froze over hard enough to walk on, and there were market stalls on the Thames ice; beyond that I’m not so sure. It seems to be warming, but I recall in the 70’s at AAAS meetings the news was full of The Genesis Strategy and other means of coping with the coming Ica Age.


‘The influence of the CO2 warming theory built into computer models is so strong that the climate science establishment does not believe the data until the data has been manipulated to agree with the computer models.’



Roland Dobbins

Yet one more instance; if the data do not fit the model, adjust the data.


“We are saying there is incontrovertible evidence that Alzheimer’s Disease has a dormant microbial component. We can’t keep ignoring all of the evidence.”



Roland Dobbins

But surely we can; it is becoming increasingly common to ignore evidence. Excuse my cynicism.


What could go wrong?

China Is About to Get Even Better at Predicting Dissent









China Is About to Get Even Better at Predicting Dissent

Turns out, “Minority Report” should have been set in Beijing.


View on www.defenseone.com

Preview by Yahoo


Is “Common Core” rotten…to the core?


“In addition to dumbing down the important [SAT] test, one of two main standardized exams generally used by colleges for admissions, analysts say the revisions will play a key role in imposing Common Core on all American students — even children who are homeschooled, private-schooled, or in states that have officially resisted the widely criticized national standards.”

“Among the biggest changes are the removal of the essay requirement and an end to penalties for incorrect answers aimed at discouraging guessing. Also sparking alarm among experts concerned about the ongoing dumbing down of American education is the fact that the SAT will be drastically scaling back and simplifying the vocabulary and math requirements.”

Charles Brumbelow=

And they need know no history other than we once had slavery.


Mysterious repeating signals arriving from deep space

(NEWSER) – Researchers just announced the discovery of radio signals from beyond our galaxy that are behaving in strange ways. Fast radio bursts—or FRBs—are very rare, very quick blasts of radio waves originating billions of light years away, Popular Science explains. It’s unclear where exactly in the universe they’re coming from and what’s causing them. Since the first one was discovered in 2007, scientists have found only 17 total, and none of them ever repeat, the Verge reports. At least that’s what everyone thought. According to a paper published this week in Nature, researchers at Cornell University have found evidence of FRBs that do just that.

Scientists used to think FRBs were caused by “cataclysmic events,” such as neutron stars colliding with each other and exploding. Repeating FRBs means that can’t be the case. “This research shows for the first time that there can be multiple FRBs from the same place in the sky,” researcher Shami Chatterjee says in a press release. “Whatever produces the FRB can’t be destroyed by the burst, because otherwise, what would produce the next pulse?” And the mystery deepens: “We’re showing that whatever battery drives FRBs, it can recharge in minutes,” astronomy professor James Cordes says. “The energy of the event becomes very problematic.” Researchers hope to next pinpoint where the FRBs are coming from in order to figure out what they’re coming from, and they’ll be helped by three massive radio telescopes that start operating next year. (Speaking of space mysteries: “Alien megastructures” have scientists baffled.)

But see what’s next. Aliens among us? See Freefall http://freefall.purrsia.com/default.htm



This is interesting news:


A scientific study has revealed that the DNA make up of octopuses is nothing like any other living being on the planet Earth, hinting that they are more alien than Earthly.

Octopuses are present in all of the Earth’s oceans, and have shown a great sustainability among the other aquatic life that share the seas.

Their large brains and ability to solve complex problems with little observation have mystified researchers for years, coercing wonder of their true intelligence and cognitive abilities. The reveal of their DNA has researchers wondering more about the tentacled creatures, their origins, and why they are unlike any other animals on the planet.

It was found that the genome of the cephalopod mollusc, according to the Huffington post, is quite complex. Over 33,000 protein-coding genomes were discovered during recent research. In comparison, humans have approximate 20,000. Although the information is intriguing and will lead to further research, the findings have created more questions than answers.



So, it may be the alien invasion began a long time ago? All I can say

is: Ia ia, Cthulu ftaghn; ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. The seas are churning….

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

This is the first I have heard of this; informed comments welcome.


Want that Apple II experience? Now you can run over 500 rare 1980s programs in your browser (ZD)

A group of hackers skilled at breaking Apple II copy-protection schemes is helping save old education and productivity software.

By Liam Tung | March 8, 2016 — 14:21 GMT (06:21 PST) |

After creating a living museum for ancient Windows games, apps, and malware, the Internet Archive has reached a new milestone in its Apple-related preservation efforts, now hosting a rare collection over 500 Apple II programs from the 1980s and 1990s.

The 500-plus set of programs have been supplied to the Internet Archive by a group of hackers known as 4am, which aim to crack rare Apple II programs and preserve them as closely as possible in their original form minus copy protections.

The group hosts cracked games on the Internet Archive, which through an emulation program allows people interact with the programs through a modern browser.

The 4am-cracked programs are a subset of the Internet Archive’s much larger Apple II software library. But as archivist Jason Scott explained in a blogpost, the 4am collection plays a special role in balancing out a library that is skewed towards popular arcade games.



IBM’s Automated Radiologist Can Read Images and Medical Records

HomeBig Data and Analytics › IBM’s Automated Radiologist Can Read Images and Medical Records

I have been optimistic about the potential for voice recognition for many years. In my 2001 book, Net Attitude: What It Is, How to Get It, and Why Your Company Can’t Survive Without It, I discussed the ability to translate languages. Adoption was slow for a decade, but is now accelerating with Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Now, Microsoft Cortana, and the Skype Translator. Listening to a voice and converting it to meaningful text is one of many forms of artificial intelligence. IBM Research has developed another form of AI called Avicenna. The Avicenna software can read medical images, structured data, and electronic health records. The result is a productivity boost for radiologists. [snip]

And the robots get better and better…


“You can’t really get caught up in the cartoon because it’s a serious business.”



Roland Dobbins


Defense Secretary Takes Position Against a Data ‘Back Door’     (nyt)


SAN FRANCISCO — Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter assured an audience of computer security experts Wednesday that he was not in favor of a “back door” that would give the government access to data that is protected by encryption.

Speaking at the annual RSA Conference, Secretary Carter sought common ground with companies worried by Apple’s fight with the Federal Bureau of Investigation over access to an iPhone.

“Just to cut to the chase, I’m not a believer in back doors or a single technical approach,” Secretary Carter said to loud applause during a panel discussion at the conference. “I don’t think it’s realistic. I don’t think that’s technically accurate.”

Apple is resisting a court order that would require it to create software to break the password mechanism in an iPhone used by one of the assailants in the December mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. [snip]


She Had an Abortion at 15. How It Changed Her Life.


After a free pregnancy test came back positive, showing that then-15-year-old Nona Ellington was five weeks pregnant, she went forward and scheduled an abortion.

Read More


‘Who really owns a Tesla? Not the title holder, that’s for sure.’



Roland Dobbins

I find that interesting…


: NHS to harvest babies’ organs in proposals to mums pregnant with damaged babies | Daily Mail Online


Niven might recognize the similarities to his organ banks.


As long as the possible organ recipients are limited to infants, demand will be limited. What happens if fetal tissues can be used to treat life threatening illnesses in adults? Will the government run healthcare system start exaggerated the alleged fetal defects or even lie to expectant mothers so that their babies can be harvested? Will a certain quota become mandatory? Will aging voters mandate that access to contraception be regulated to ensure an adequate supply of spare parts to extend their lives?

James Crawford=

Indeed. In unrestrained capitalist societies you will find human flesh for sale in the market; in other, it will be a government monopoly.


‘Were there sympathetic pre-board screeners in Boston and New York who ignored the X-ray images of weapons on September 11?’


I don’t agree with the main thrust of this article, but it poses an interesting question, nonetheless.


Roland Dobbins

I think box cutters were not forbidden prior to 9/11.


A famous IBM employee took her baby to an IBM conference and had to deal with a smart aleck

Lisa Seacat DeLucaIBM super inventor Lisa Seacat DeLuca.

Lisa Seacat DeLuca is among the best-known women who work for IBM.

She’s a mobile software engineer and one of the company’s most prolific master inventors. She has close to 400 patents and patent applications under her belt as part of IBM’s massive patent-creation machine.

She’s often on the speaker circuit, including a TED talk she gave a few years back.

She’s also a new mom.

So on the last day of the IBM Connect Now conference, the ghost day when most people have cleared out, DeLuca married her two passions together. She loaded her 5-month-old daughter into a baby carrier and went to the conference.

While she was there, a man in his late 50s approached her to berate her for bringing her baby to a professional conference, she told Business Insider. He told her that having her baby there was a “security issue,” reports fellow IBMer Anna Seacat, who was so annoyed about the incident that she wrote a LinkedIn post about it. (Both women reached out and shared the story with me, too.)

DeLuca did some sleuthing and discovered that the man was an IBM contract employee.

Lisa Seacat DeLucaDeLuca and Emily.

Yes, the man’s comments were rude and out of line. And it was annoying that he somehow felt compelled (and entitled) to share his unsolicited opinion with a stranger.

But what I liked about this story is this: DeLuca describes herself as #motherworking not a #workingmother.

“I’m a mom first, a technologist second, #motherworking not #workingmother #lifeisshort,” she wrote on an Instagram post that featured a picture of her daughter.

But the question I have is, who says you have to rank the different parts of yourself like that? A cranky older man without the grace to keep his sarcasm to himself?

Whether you’re a mother or a father, you can be a professional, a hard worker, and lots of other things — a cook, a maker, a student, a sibling, a spouse …

Or to put it another way: If the world really has to choose between procreation and work — and if work is supposed to win — then the human experience wouldn’t be long for this world, would it?

So bring your kids to work sometimes, just as you bring your work home. And if someone feels the need to tell you you’re wrong, smile and tell the person, “Life is short.”

I liked this story.


I am Iron Man: That’s how these augmented reality goggles feel (USA Today)

A Silicon Valley augmented reality company called Meta, whose Meta 2 AR glasses go on pre-order this week, gives users the feeling that they’re superheroes able to manipulate holographic images with a simple hand gesture. Martin E. Klimek, USA TODAY

Marco della Cava, USA TODAY 10:17 a.m. EST March 2, 2016

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – I am Iron Man. At least for a few minutes here inside a small conference room at the headquarters of augmented reality company Meta.

With virtual reality goggles, you dive into worlds while blacked out from reality. With the clear-lensed Meta 2 headset, I am able to simultaneously see my host for this demo, Meta founder Meron Gribetz, as well as a range of hovering holographic images that are projected downward from the top of the device.

There’s a wide flat screen TV. A three-foot-high globe. A see-through human body. And even a Meta employee from down the hall who is rendered in three dimensions for a brief video chat.

But the real showstopper – the moment when the promise of augmented reality, AR, comes into sharp focus against the ongoing VR buzz – is when Gribetz tells me to reach my hand out and point an index finger at the translucent human figure floating in my field of view.

“When it appears to light up, make a fist and move your arm to the right,” he says.

When I do so, the body suddenly splits into four different images lined up one by one, each showcasing a different aspect of the anatomy. If I want to layer them back on top of each other, I simply reach out, make a fist, and move the image. Robert Downey, Jr., does the same action in Iron Man, only he’s not wearing glasses.

Although this aspect of the Meta 2 demo wasn’t operational during our visit, Gribetz says at a recent TED Talk demo in Vancouver he demonstrated how two Meta 2 wearers can pass a hologram between each other. This sales pitch is aimed at architects and other designers, who can use AR to jointly work on a virtual project as technology gets rid of physical models.

“Eventually, we’ll all be wearing a very light and inconspicuous strip of clear glass across our eyes,” says Gribetz, who has been working on his AR vision for the past six years, a passion he shares with those working on rival AR projects at companies such as ODG, Epson and Microsoft. “The goal is to make the operating system completely intuitive, and to replace computers.”

That’s where the Meta 2’s gesture control comes in. In another demo, I’m presented with nearly a dozen TV monitors in my wide field of view, stacked two high. By reaching out and “grabbing” one, I’m able to move it into a different position, much like one might move apps on a smartphone screen.

And you can interact with the screens, too. Gribetz hands me a physical keyboard, which I can see through the Meta 2 lens. I start to type a message and it appears on the computer screen in my line of sight, which of course isn’t really there.


A particularly powerful aspect of Meta 2 is the fact that the images it presents remain anchored in space, which allows me to walk around them and enhances the sense that I’m really in front of a solid object and not just a hologram. This has the added effect of banishing the somewhat disoriented woozy feeling that can accompany heavy VR use.

Ultimately, what’s truly significant here is that – thanks to both a lightweight form factor and the see-through visor – AR provides a liberating sensation that contrasts with VR’s often claustrophobic feeling.

I’ve hiked across Everest ice fields and retreated from angry dinosaurs in VR thanks to the magic of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, products that are coming this year. But in each instance the experience was compromised by my mind never forgetting that I was in a real room and by my worrying about bumping into walls. By keeping us rooted in the real world, AR makes its mixed reality universe all the more inviting.

Meta 2 rolls out to developers soon priced at under $1,000 (you provide the computer to power it). There already are a range of enterprise customers for Meta’s wares, ranging from Nike to Airbus, and it will be a while before the average consumer will be living with AR on a daily basis.

But what Meta 2 clearly demonstrates is that the outsized predictions about augmented reality – it will account for 75% of a $150 billion AR/VR market by 2020, according to Digi-Capital – aren’t just justified, they’re as realistic as AR’s holograms are illusory.




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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