Next Page: 25

On the eighth anniversary of his passing, Steve Jobs is remembered by Tim Cook   


Eight years ago today, the tech world lost one of its visionaries and Apple lost its leader when Steve Jobs succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Current Apple CEO Tim Cook sent out a tweet today to remember his predecessor. The tweet contains a quote from Apple's co-founder. "The most precious resource we all have is time," Jobs once said, and Cook added underneath the quote, "Remembering you always." The tweet includes a picture of Jobs looking at the Apple logo inside the iconic glass cube at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in (where else?) the Big Apple. After a two year renovation, Apple recently ...


Family asked Linda Robson to be their children's godmother    


Linda Robson took to Instagram on Monday to share a picture of herself becoming godmother to two children she had never met before. 


More Bobcat Pictures   


Bobcat The neighborhood bobcat passed by again. This picture was taken about 30 minutes after a picture of my cat in the same spot. Bobcat by chicken run The bobcat passing by the Omlet Eglu chicken coop and run, which still seems to... Read more


The Problem With #Family: A #Literary Dilemma   


So, I've written three drafts of my next book based on this essay, but I hated the way it sounded (too whiny), so I started over entirely. Blank page. And now I am on page 234 of the new and improved version, which is from a much deeper point of view, much more internal. I am getting ready to head into the second half of the book, which deals with disinheritance. I have to say I'm a little overwhelmed at the idea of delving a new into such a hairy topic, but here I go anyway. What makes things all a bit unfun is the fact that my family wants me to stop writing about the topic. I think they wish I would shut the F*** up, or fall off the planet, but I have to write this book. I have to figure out what exactly happened to me and why. I've even found a decent literary method for never mentioning any of them by name: I write about my brothers as The Three. How about that for clever? But, whatever. They don't get it, and never will.
     If they had the capacity to understand, I probably never would have been disinherited (by surprise) in the first place. Someone would have warned me. Anyway, they are all seemingly insulted by the essay, which I think is fairly gentle, to tell you the truth, and not even technically about them. There's barely a mention of them, but everybody has a right to his or her own opinion. Mostly, I've heard from them on the fact that they think we didn't have THAT many guns in the house when we were young. (!) (!!) (Huh?!) (What are you loons talking about?!) We had plenty of guns, believe me, more than I ever hope to see again in one place.
     And you know what else is freaking weird? The members of my entire family have all managed to act like the novel I wrote and finally published did not ever exist. No one has said a word about it to me or to anyone else. They must not ever run into anyone from the old home time: like, the English teachers who have written me notes, or my classmates, or my childhood sweetheart's encouraging family who posted a picture of them holding my book in the local Barnes & Nobles. My family must not go to the dentist either, because it was right there in People Magazine next to Stephen King and Annie Lamott. (My novel did exist. It did exist. I know it existed.) Ah, forgive my crazy: I grew up in a family without mirrors. No one ever reflected anything back at me that seemed even remotely recognizable. Maybe that's why they don't recognize my written version of them. Maybe I am actually in the same bind as The Three; we are blind to one another. I wish we could join together to work our way out, but that is just another fantasy I sometimes have on a Monday afternoon when I am feeling a little blue.
     Sometimes all this is a bit of a head trip, as you can see, but I know I am not the only writer who has ever dealt with the literary dilemma of having a family. Anyone want to share some wise advice, or links on the issue, or general thoughts, encouragements, criticism? I guess I'm feeling a little lonely in all this. Hoping there are still some mice out there to respond.




Stop this foolish war on meat! Eating it could help save the planet

Last night, I ate a steak. Very good it was too. A plump, exquisitely marbled slab of sirloin, beautifully seasoned and cooked blushing pink. It had come from Martin Player, a proper Cardiff butcher, who takes his meat, as well as the animal’s welfare, very seriously indeed. Just like any other decent butcher.

Grass-fed, fully traceable and properly hung, it was a paean to not just fine flavour, but first- class farming practice too. Sensible, sustainable agriculture, where the welfare of the animal is every bit as important as its impact upon the environment.

Yet this magnificent piece of beef is no longer mere dinner. Instead it has become a pawn in the gathering war on meat: a hysterical, ill-informed, one-size-fits-all assault that demonises farmers, butchers and consumers alike. A weapon, if you like, of grass destruction.

Take the decision made by the University of Cambridge catering service to remove beef and lamb from its menus to cut food-related carbon emissions. The head of the service, Nick White, claimed this was because ‘sustainability is extremely important to our students and staff’ and scientists have claimed beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gasses.

A few weeks back, beef was also banned from the cafeteria of Goldsmiths College in London for the same reason, to ‘drastically’ cut its carbon footprint.

But the concerns are not only environmental. I have little time for witless attacks on vegans or vegetarians but there is undoubtedly a creeping spread of anti-meat militancy. This week it emerged the vice-chairman of the RSPCA – a vegan and co-founder of Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion environmental movement – was forced to step down after calling on animal rights protesters to shut down Smithfield meat market in London.

Jane Tredgett, 52, was in charge of training activists in ‘non-violent direct action’, while the group has compared its efforts to the struggles faced by Martin Luther King and the Suffragettes. Seriously.

Each week seems to bring a new threat or outrage, with meat-eaters being turned into social pariahs. Michael Mansfield, QC, a man who should know better, last week suggested that eating meat should be made illegal, with offenders thrown into jail. And he’s not alone in his extreme (and publicity-seeking) views.

Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, declared that meat-eaters should be treated like smokers and be made to sit outside restaurants. Because meat is ‘bad for the planet and our health’.

What next? Could meat become illegal, butchers forced to deal black pudding and chipolatas in back alleys and pub loos? Custodial sentences for eating chops? Life for a leg of lamb? Should we be eating meat at all?

The arguments against meat are so widespread, it’s no wonder they seem overwhelming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared that we must drastically cut our meat consumption to save the planet. We must shift towards ‘healthy and sustainable’ diets ‘based on coarse grains, pulses and vegetables, and nuts and seeds’. The EAT-Lancet Commission, set up to look at how the world’s growing population can eat healthy, sustainable food, goes further still. Over three years, 37 scientists came up with the ultimate ‘plant-focused’ diet ‘for planetary health’. They argue this diet, which contains virtually no meat, would ‘transform’ the planet’s future. Under it we’re ‘allowed’ no more than one serving of red meat, a couple of servings of fish and an egg or two. Per week.

It’s an argument that meat is bad, plants are good. But not everything is quite so black and white. Far from it.

Many of the militants’ reasons for ditching meat are, in fact, completely misleading. Because properly farmed meat is not only entirely sustainable, but good for the environment and economy too. We should be celebrating good farming practice, not condemning it. There’s no doubt that there are some completely legitimate concerns about food production. Not all chickens, for example, are raised equally. On the one hand, you have an old-fashioned free-range chicken, allowed to scratch and peck outside. Slow growing, traditional breeds, bred for flavour. On the other, the wretched intensively farmed bird, which is crammed into vast, stinking sheds, with no more space than an A4 sheet of paper. Profit, not welfare, is its producer’s only concern.

The same goes for intensively farmed pigs, raised in cruelly confined squalor. We should be saving our ire and ammunition to rail against this factory farming. The long-term cost of intensively farmed meat is ruinously expensive, both for our health and for the environment. It follows, then, that the best quality meat will always be more expensive than the cheap, imported stuff. British farming standards are among the highest in the world, yet another reason to buy British meat.

And it’s important to recognise that, despite all the hand-wringing about carbon emissions, livestock production can actually be good for the environment.

Grassland absorbs carbon dioxide, reducing the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere. Two-thirds of the UK is still made up of grassland, and it is essential it remains that way to preserve the carbon in the soil. At the moment, traditional grass-fed cattle and sheep, kept at a low density, are helping to maintain that status quo. But if we reduce the demand for these animals in the food chain, then this delicate balance is bound to change.

We’re also reminded frequently about all the methane produced by cows and other ruminants. So doesn’t that damage the environment? There’s an immense difference between the emissions of the grain-fed cattle in American super lots and sustainably farmed, grass-fed British cattle. Patrick Holden, CEO of The Sustainable Food Trust, explains: ‘The methane emissions from those ruminants are offset by the carbon gain in the soil.’

He also points out that, to be useful for agriculture, arable land must go through a ‘fertility building phase’ lasting three or four years which involves it – by necessity – being grazed with animals such as cows and sheep. Lose those animals, the message is, and we lose that ability to keep our farmland versatile and healthy.

Also – and more controversially – does that mean you should eat MORE beef to save the planet?

‘Yes!’ comes the emphatic response from Holden. ‘Traditional grass-fed beef and lamb can help maintain the soil carbon bank.’

For years, I’ve believed the mantra of eat less meat, but eat better. It’s certainly a good starting point. There have already been huge changes to our diets in the past 100 years. At the start of the 20th Century, Holden points out, 80 per cent of our dietary fats came from animal sources, and only 20 per cent from plants. Today, it’s the other way around.

The surprising – and often overlooked – fact is this: the production of many of those plant fats can be just as environmentally unsound as those vast US intensive farming lots. According to Frédéric Leroy, a professor in food science and biotechnology at the VUB university in Brussels, a shift from animal products to ‘plant-based’ scenarios could make things worse.

They may have vast implications that will generate their own sets of serious concerns, including limiting the land’s ability to grow more than one crop, depleting top soil, using more fertilisers, the potential for nutritional deficiencies and the disturbance of ecosystems,’ Prof Leroy argues.

As far as methane emissions are concerned, he continues, they are real but need to be put in perspective. ‘If a Westerner goes vegetarian or vegan, this leads to only about a two to six per cent drop in their carbon footprint, which is far from being the best thing one can do for the planet.’

There are other, far more effective, ways to reduce carbon emissions – by reducing our reliance on air travel, for example.

Farmer and butcher Peter Hannan agrees. ‘Compared to our appetite for air travel alone, my beef farming pales into insignificance.’

What about the rest of us, then; the responsible meat lovers, caught in the scientific and moral crossfire? Is it really necessary for vegan activists to spray fake blood around McDonald’s? Or harangue and bully butchers and farmers – even Waitrose – in real life and on social media?

Of course not. Whatever happened to decency, common sense, and the ability to listen to both sides of a debate? It is possible to eat meat and have the utmost respect for vegans and vegetarians too. In fact, a couple of meat-free days a week is eminently sensible. So buy British, and the best you can afford. Trust in your butcher. And experiment with more unusual cuts too. Eat good meat and save the planet. Now THAT really is a radical idea.


California shocked to find bill decriminalizing retail theft resulted in… more retail theft

This is typical Leftist refusal to look ahead

A few years ago, California passed one in a series of bills aimed at emptying the jails and prisons. Proposition 47 carried the disingenuous name of “the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act and its stated purpose was to keep non-violent offenders out of jail. To achieve this goal, the state decriminalized a number of lesser offenses, including retail theft. The law raised the value of the amount of merchandise someone could steal while still only being charged with a misdemeanor to nearly one thousand dollars.

To the great surprise of the government, people noticed this change and began taking advantage of it. They have now recorded multiple years of steadily increasing, organized robbery. These plots are known as “mass grab and dash” thefts and they generally involve large numbers of young people all entering a store at the same time, grabbing armfuls of merchandise and dashing back out to their vehicles and hitting the highway. Not only are robberies on the rise, but arrests and prosecutions are down. Who could possibly have predicted this? (CBS Sacramento)

After searching police reports and arrest records, CBS13 found that while the rate of these grab and dash crimes is on the rise, the rate of arrest is down. We turned to law enforcement and the retail industry for answers. Both blame a California law intended to make “neighborhoods safe.”

“It’s a boldness like we’re seeing never before and just a disregard for fellow human beings,” said Lieutenant Mark Donaldson, Vacaville PD.

He explained these crimes have evolved into more than just shoplifting. It’s organized retail theft and he says it’s happening across the state. Cities like Vacaville, with outlets and shopping centers located near major freeways, tend to be a target for these organized retail crime rings.

Nobody is seriously contesting the numbers. The local and state police organizations blame prop 47. FBI crime data supports the contention. Retail sales organizations have tracked this trend and agree.

This is a trend that’s been building in a number of blue states and now it seems that the petty crime chickens are coming home to roost. The fact is that there are always going to be a certain number of people who will be willing to break the law if they don’t feel the risk of significant punishment is too high. An understanding of this fundamental principle is why the “broken windows” policies enacted in New York City and other municipalities in the 90s were so effective. If you crack down on even smaller crimes, you lower crime rates overall.

Sadly, liberal elected officials paint a picture of racism and inequity behind effective law enforcement initiatives. The people committing these thefts frequently end up being young black and Hispanic robbers because they are more likely to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This leads to laws like prop 47 hoping to keep more of them out of the “school to prison pipeline.”

But when you make it easier and less risky to steal larger amounts of goods, people will steal more merchandise. Did it really take a rocket scientist to figure this out? California basically incentivized crime and potential criminals answered the call. And since many of them were only getting the equivalent of a parking ticket for stealing 900 dollars worth of goods, police frequently didn’t expend much energy trying to catch them.

The ball’s in your court, California. Do you plan on doing something about this? Or will you essentially just legalize theft and tell the retailers that they’re on their own?


Once Again, Progressive Anti-Christian Bigotry Carries a Steep Legal Cost

Masterpiece Cakeshop continues to pay religious-liberty dividends.
Last summer, in the days after the Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop on the narrow grounds that Colorado had violated Jack Phillips’s religious-liberty rights by specifically disparaging his religious beliefs, a bit of a skirmish broke out among conservative lawyers. How important was the ruling? Did it have any lasting precedential effect?

For those who don’t recall, the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in large part because a commissioner of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission called Phillips’s claim that he enjoyed a religious-freedom right not to be forced to design a custom cake for a gay wedding a “despicable piece of rhetoric.” The commissioner also denigrated religious-liberty arguments as being used to justify slavery and the Holocaust.

While all agreed that it would have been preferable had the court simply ruled that creative professionals could not be required to produce art that conflicted with their sincerely held beliefs, the question was whether Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong condemnation of anti-religious bigotry would resonate beyond the specific facts of the case. For example, what would happen if, in a different case, state officials called faithful Christians who seek to protect the religious freedom of Catholic adoption agencies “hate-mongers”?

In the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, it turns out that such rhetoric has cost the state a crucial court ruling, granted a Catholic adoption agency a vital victory, and demonstrated — once again — that anti-religious bigotry can (and should) carry substantial legal costs.

The case is called Buck v. Gordon. My friends at Becket represent St. Vincent Catholic Charities, a former foster child, and the adoptive parents of five special-needs kids. The facts are relatively complicated, but here’s the short version: St. Vincent upholds Catholic teaching by referring same-sex and unmarried families who seek foster and adoption recommendations and endorsements to agencies that have no objection to providing those services. There is no evidence that St. Vincent has prevented any legally qualified family from adopting or fostering a child. In fact, same-sex couples “certified through different agencies” have been able to adopt children in St. Vincent’s care.

NOW WATCH: 'Trump's Chinese Tariffs Means It'll Cost Americans $1,000 More a Year Just to Live'

In 2015 the state of Michigan passed a statute specifically designed to protect the religious liberty of private, religious adoption agencies. In 2018, however, Dana Nessel, a Democratic attorney general, took office. During her campaign, she declared that she would not defend the 2015 law in court, stating that its “only purpose” was “discriminatory animus.” She also described proponents of the law as “hate-mongers,” and the court noted that she believed proponents of the law “disliked gay people more than they cared about the constitution.”

Then, in 2019, the attorney general reached a legal settlement in pending litigation with the ACLU that essentially gutted the Michigan law, implementing a definitive requirement that religious agencies provide recommendations and endorsement to same-sex couples and banning referrals. The plaintiffs sued, seeking to enjoin the relevant terms of the settlement, and yesterday Judge Robert Jonker (a Bush appointee) granted their motion for a preliminary injunction.

His reasoning was simple. There was ample evidence from the record that the state of Michigan reversed its policy protecting religious freedom because it was motivated by hostility to the plaintiffs’ faith. Because Michigan’s targeted St. Vincent’s faith, its 2019 settlement agreement couldn’t be truly considered a “neutral” law of “general applicability” that would grant the state a high degree of deference in enforcement.

Instead, the state’s targeting led to strict scrutiny. Here’s Judge Jonker:

Defendant Nessel made St. Vincent’s belief and practice a campaign issue by calling it hate. She made the 2015 statute a campaign issue by contending that the only purpose of the statute is discriminatory animus. After Defendant Nessel took office, the State pivoted 180 degrees. . . . The State also threatened to terminate its contracts with St. Vincent. The Summary Statement’s conclusion – that if an agency accepts even one MDHHS child referral for case management or adoption services, the agency forfeits completely the right to refer new parental applicants to other agencies based on its sincerely held religious beliefs – is at odds with the language of the contracts, with the 2015 law, and with established State practice. Moreover, it actually undermines the State’s stated goals of preventing discriminatory conduct and maximizing available placements for children.

The last point is key. As stated above, there was no evidence that St. Vincent prevented any qualified couple from adopting. In fact, if the state forced St. Vincent’s to choose between upholding the teachings of its faith or maintaining its contractual relationship with the state, then it risked shrinking the available foster or adoption options in the state of Michigan. The state demonstrated that it was more interested in taking punitive action against people of faith than it was in maintaining broader access to foster and adoption services for its most vulnerable citizens.

The judge rightly called the state’s actions a “targeted attack on a sincerely held religious belief.” Once again, Masterpiece Cakeshop pays religious-liberty dividends. Once again, a court declares — in no uncertain terms — that in the conflict between private faith and public bigotry, religious liberty will prevail.


Australia: Do sharks have a right to eat us?

That seems to be the Queensland Labor government's position

FOR almost 60 years, the State Government's shark control program has been making Queensland beaches safer. The program has been one of very few public policies to have endured for such a time while remaining blessedly free from the foibles of partisan politics.

The reason for this has been simple. Who would dare argue with the results? From 1915 to 1962 there were 36 recorded cases of shark attacks in Queensland. These resulted in 19 deaths. But since the dragnet of baited drumlines was introduced in 1962, there's been only one fatal shark attack at a protected Queensland beach.

Little wonder the program has been gradually expanded. However, the program finally found a naysayer in the shape of fringe environmental group, the Humane Society. And inexplicably, the Federal Court has agreed with the group's view that the drumlines do little to protect swimmers.

How the court came to such a view simply beggars belief. Surely, they only had to look at the statistics of recent attacks in northern NSW where there are no permanent drumlines to realise how effective the Queensland program is? What was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected

The court's decision was clearly out of step with public sentiment and requires the politicians who've supported the program to fix it. Given the long history of bipartisan support, not to mention the implications for. Queensland's tourism industry, you'd like to think it would be a relatively quick fix.

However, what has ensued instead has been an unedifying display of pointless political point scoring that has done nothing but advertise to the world that some of the Sunshine State's most famous northern beaches are less safe now than they were a few weeks ago.

Much of the controversy has centred around the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' decision to remove 160 drumlines from within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The court's decision only related to the marine park zone and that's why the department only removed drumlines in this area.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been particularly vocal. She's accused the Palaszczuk Government of choosing "public alarm over personal safety" by removing the drumlines when the court only said caught sharks should not be killed.

"Queensland should reinstate the existing drum lines, while increasing surveillance and exploring modern complementary technologies such as drones, smart drum lines and tags," she said.

There's ample reason for Ley to be sceptical about the Palaszczuk Government's motives in ordering the removal of the drumlines within hours of the court ruling. After all, the administration isn't exactly known for doing anything at pace.

And the States handling of last year's Cid Harbour shark attacks —when it first said drumlines were the answer but then recanted and claimed all it could do was erect signs instead — hardly inspired confidence.

However, what on Earth is Ley suggesting when she says the State Government should just drop the drumlines back in and increase surveillance? Is she saying to hell with what the court has ordered? Or does Ley reckon fisheries officers should just harden up and start arming themselves with a decent set of pliers so they can simply release the sharks?

It might be news to the minister but these officers are dealing with marine life a bit bigger than the cod they catch in the Murray River in her electorate. In fact, cutting a cranky 4m tiger shark loose from a hook is nearly as dangerous as getting between Ley and a bargain Gold Coast apartment buy, something she's somewhat famed for.

Yet, while Ley is happily ordering fisheries officers back into the water, the Morrison Government hasn't come up with a timeline for a legislative fix to what the court has ordered.

The LNP Opposition might be right when they say SMART drumlines, where sharks are caught and released,should be considered as temporary solution. However, it would take time to train officers and whether that's worthwhile depends primarily on how long it's going to take their federal colleagues to come up with a legislative answer.

Dropping in new drumlines at 17 locations just outside the marine park was a prudent move by the State but that still leaves 27 beaches no longer with protection.

However, what wasn't needed was State Fisheries Minister Mark Furner's ham-fisted suggestion that Ley would be blamed if there was an attack.

While the politicians squabble, the reputation of Queensland beaches is taking a further battering, the last thing the tourism industry needs after those terrible Cid Harbour attacks.

From the start, what was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected by drumlines again as soon as practical. Instead what happened was the political sharks began circling as soon as they saw an opportunity for a cheap feed.

"Courier Mail" 27 Sept. 2019


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


  ,, Shree Shyam Trading, 89 MPKS2, Delhi 110085 Complaint – Fraud Sent A Cheap Product Than What Was Shown On Website, Misleading Advertisement   


Subject: Fraud sent a cheap product than what was shown on website, misleading Advertisement
My Name: Amit Dewan
My City: Gonda
My State: Uttar Pradesh
My Complaint Against:,, Shree Shyam Trading, 89 MPKS2, Delhi 110085
Complaint Category: Fashion & Jewelry
Claim Amount (Approx.): 1749
My Complaint Description:,, cheated me with false advertisement. They complainted a picture of a different watch and sent a different one with poor quality and fake product.

The complaint,, Shree Shyam Trading, 89 MPKS2, Delhi 110085 Complaint – Fraud Sent A Cheap Product Than What Was Shown On Website, Misleading Advertisement appeared first on Grahak Suraksha.


Kommentar zu Hallo Welt! von viagra without prescription   


What you published was very logical. But, think about this, what if you were to write a awesome headline? I ain't saying your content isn't solid, however suppose you added something that makes people desire more? I mean Hallo Welt! - Wolfslaile | Entlebucher Sennenhunde is a little vanilla. You could peek at Yahoo's front page and see how they create post headlines to get people interested. You might add a related video or a picture or two to get readers excited about everything've written. Just my opinion, it could make your blog a little livelier.


Of Illness and I-cord   


Above you will notice a picture of where I have spent much of the past few weeks. Yes, that is my couch. No, there is not normally a neatly placed throw pillow there. Usually throw pillows end up on the floor at my house. However, yarn can usually be found there, and not only mine. But I digress.

I found out much about myself during my illness (it started as strep throat, became the flu, and ended at last. I'm much better now, thanks for asking.). First, when I am sick I apparently have the attention span of a two year old, only with less ability to understand anything being said to me. Thankfully my family members are old enough to take care of themselves. Theoretically.

Which is where i-cord comes in. I purchased (years ago) a nifty little machine that was supposed to crank out i-cord by the mile quickly and effortlessly. It was intended to make the long, braided handle of my Noro purse a dream. In reality, Noro Silk Garden is much too loosely spun for the machine and kept breaking apart. Thus I spent many a long road trip cranking out miles (ok, maybe not miles, but it was for miles) of i-cord by hand. Good discipline, though for what I don't know. (Oops, sorry, I am the Queen if Digression (and parentheses). Maybe we should just accept that and go on.)

Anyway, back to my nifty little machine. I've included a picture of it (gratuitous spring pictures of my flowerbed are completely free). Recently my sister was lamenting that she had miles of i-cord (ok, ok, fifty feet - to the hand knitter it's all relative) to make for a hat. I mentioned my little machine (which had not been used since said Noro mishap) and we brokered a trade. I got a box (!) of sock yarn, and she got (or will get) 54-ish feet of brain-pink i-cord.

Normally, I would have collapsed from boredom somewhere around 10 feet (especially since one of the little hook things somehow got slightly damaged and must be manually worked every fourth stitch) except for my inability to think (and knit, and read, etc.) when I have the flu. Hence, I was saved from death by boredom (I am not a couch potato unless I have knitting or a good book, and often not even then) by i-cord. Elizabeth Zimmerman may have loved that. Except for the intimation that i-cord is boring, she may not have liked that part.

Well, now I'm healthy (praise the Lord, I was sick for six weeks and beginning to think I really would die, and not from boredom). And thus the problem rears its true and ugly head. For in that picture above (with the lovely daffodils, I'm shameless) you see... 27 feet of i-cord. Yep, I ran out of yarn and now wait for another skein (sadly, this time it will not include sock yarn) so I can finish the deal. Only I have to do this skein with my full (ha!) wits about me. True discipline, I tell you.

Especially since it's spring (baby tomatoes!) and I want to spend every waking moment outside. Sigh. Such is love and the power of a promise.

And speaking of promises, I found this one:
"I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer..."
Psalm 40:17
(His flower garden is as pretty as mine, isn't it? Tiny wild violets)

Happy Spring!

P.S. There's new yarn in the shop! Some of which is perfect for spring. Colorways are limited though, just so you know. Thanks for peeking!


Please note: When boarding a plane, the TSA would prefer you have a ticket, a boarding pass, or at least some form of ID better than a picture on your phone [Florida]   


Florida [link] [43 comments]


10/8/2019: CITY + REGION: Bake shop revels in Hitman Hart’s sweet social media shout-out   


Former wrestler Bret (Hitman) Hart is a big hit with a Forest Glade bake shop. Hart posted a picture of himself with boxes of baked goods on Instagram Friday night saying “I’m in heaven. Thank you @sugarspoonbakeshop for the delicious treats. This...


About five things you should know about drones and GIS   


UAV has become the focus of business and media attention. McNeill Bill, a freelance writer, uses this article to introduce the reader to the basic situation of the UAV and analyze its huge market potential in the future.

And before the traditional sense of the "UAV" is different, and now the UAV is more accurately described as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs), which is characterized by the use of data collected to solve the application problem.

A wide variety of UAVs, whether from the size or price. From Northrop's Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle ($32, 200000000 hours of battery life) to launch an electric powered aircraft ($40, by the smart phone's Bluetooth control) via a small generator. In the paper, the author focuses on the "production and marketing of a" UAV and the collection of remote sensing information of small aircraft, the price of this kind of aircraft are generally below 5000 dollars, it can provide data for GIS application.

1 technology

Over the past 15 years, the integration of technology has created a radio controlled aircraft, which has spent more than ten years in the evolution of the aircraft. Clearly, the UAV can fly independently because of the acquisition of GPS signal, and to control the radio control of the aircraft, the pilot needs to establish a visual contact with the aircraft. If the flight is not in line of sight, it is unable to control the plane, because the defect causes the flight range to be within a few hundred yards. The GPS receiver can be added to the UAV, so that the pilot can be free to control the plane without seeing the whole flight path.

After that, WiFi technology is applied to the UAV, which is the first person (FPV). Equipped with WiFi cameras, such as GoPro camera and DJI, Parrot's integrated camera, smart phones or tablet computers will appear real-time flight data flow, that is, even if the aircraft is not in your sight, when it is independent of the time you can see what it is. So the operator can raise or extend the flight route, or even the next flight.

2 composition of UAV

Multi wing UAVs are generally composed of these parts: aircraft, a fixed frame, load or small equipment installed on the fixed frame. None of these components can be called drones.

The fixing frame is a connecting flight vehicle and the loading material, also plays a role, it can reduce the vibration in a large extent, avoid the picture of the "jelly effect". Figure 1 is the DJI company's production of unmanned aerial vehicles, equipped with a ZenmuseH3-D3 balance frame and GoPro camera, as there is a picture of the bracket and the camera.

Below is a Robotics LA100 3D camera with fixed wing UAV and Aviation Lehmann. Fixed wing aircraft in the flight process is very stable and therefore do not need a fixed frame.


Needs to mention is that although the UAV data collection has been commonplace, but to truly realize the function of collecting data is no computer equipped with various payloads. As long as the installation of the application, infrared cameras, high precision air pressure meter, multi spectral scanner, laser radar or high spectral sensors can collect data.

Most of the data is needed to deal with the data processing, the various developers have their own data processing software, providing accurate correction, image mosaic and terrain extraction, etc.. Because the software is also a part of the UAV, so many industry insiders call for the UAV (UAV) was renamed as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAS) system.

3 application of UAV

UAVs are not generated by the new GIS application, but it is lower than the existing methods of data acquisition, the cost is lower, so it can quickly expand the existing GIS application market. In other words, the same is a low altitude flight over the forest to collect data, no chance to drive a plane to a large extent save the cost of the pilot aircraft.

There is a part of the industry can be replaced with unmanned aerial vehicles: remote sensing, air monitoring, oil and gas detection, transmission line monitoring, measurement, film production, precision agriculture, terrain extraction, and the shooting image mosaic, digital image analysis and 3D terrain image analysis.


Figure 2 is a picture of the Skycatch site, is a case of the UAV to collect data.


Figure 2A real-time image monitoring map



4K Walpapers Cat   


The AKAapps team is proud to present the "4K Cat Wallpaper", the most amazing application ever created for Mobilephone, Desktop and etc wallpapers ... All wallpapers are from original 1000 pixel images.
Quality is the only aspect that makes us the best wallpaper application for Android phones.

• Wallpaper in the form of a picture of a type of cat
    - Abyssinian cat
    - Burmese cat
    - Exotic Shorthair cat
    - Maine Coon cat
    - Persian cat
    - Ragdoll cat
• Wallpaper can be downloaded for free
• Updates and additions will be updated
• Super fast & lightweight application
• All wallpapers are suitable for HD, QHD and 4K resolution phones
• All backgrounds are available in "Portrait and Lanscape" mode
• Save your favorite wallpapers and access via "This application"

"We thank you for all your support and always welcome your feedback and suggestions"


Twitter users face threat over comment on royal motorcade.   


The hashtag #royalmotorcade has soared on Twitter despite legal restrictions on criticism of the royal family as concerned citizens reported traffic problems caused by a royal motorcade. A twitter user has faced threats over their comments and an activist received a threatening message claimed to be sent by the Palace, but an official at the Bureau of Royal Household said it was unlikely to be from there. 

Activist faced a threat from a sender who claimed to be from the Palace.

Tuesday 1st October saw the hashtag #ขบวนเสด็จ or #royalmotorcade trending on Twitter in Thailand as innumerable critical tweets were posted in response to a motorcade causing a traffic jam around Victory Monument, Bangkok, in the evening rush hour.  It remains unknown who was being transported in the royal motorcade.

A tweet has been posed on Twitter, with 36.6K retweets, that an ambulance had to turn off its emergency siren when the royal motorcade passed by. Another reported with 46k retweets that 2 ambulances were halted.

A Twitter user also posted a similar tweet with 10.4k retweets, but the tweet is no longer accessible along with the account because of a witch hunt. A post appeared on Facebook saying that the tweet was fake news and an act of instigation. The post also revealed pictures which were claimed to be of the owner of the Twitter account. The post has been deleted. 

A picture by a Twitter user showing that an ambulance was halted. 

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reported that an activist who commented on the hashtag also faced a threat from a sender who claimed to be from the Palace. The message says “Please delete all your social network accounts by tonight for your safety.” Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said the threat had no legal basis and the Palace should investigate if it was made by an imposter.  

Our reporter contacted the Bureau of the Royal Household on this matter by calling the number given on the website (022243275). The person who answered said that the Bureau was not in charge of this matter and therefore was unable to give an answer, but personally believed that it was unlikely to come from the Palace because usually they have never responded to anything in this way.

In Twitter also sees a report that pedestrians were not allowed to walk to BTS Victory Monument Station. According to Thai custom, feet cannot be at any point above the head of a royal family member.

The hashtag #royalmotorcade existed earlier, but it does not go viral until Tuesday night and the afternoon of Wednesday 2nd October when the hashtag topped Thailand’s trends with 250k tweets.

Also viral was posts on social media about a news report from June of the Japanese Emperor Naruhito who stopped a royal motorcade at a side lane so that an ambulance could go first. 

Bangkok is the 8th worst city in the world for traffic jams with an average congestion rate of 53% according to TomTom, a traffic data provider from the Netherlands.

ilaw, an independent organization, reported that according to the 2019 Road Traffic Act an emergency vehicle is allowed to cross any red light and park at any restricted area. Pedestrians must stop and stay at the side of the road. Other vehicles (including animals) must stop or park on the left and must not stop in an intersection.

But while an ambulance fits the legal definition of an emergency vehicle, along with fire trucks and other vehicles with sirens authorized by the Royal Thai Police, it is not clear if a royal motorcade has the same status, nor which will prevail when emergency vehicles use the same route.   

In 2010, the Principal Private Secretary of the late King Bhumibol established a committee to design a protocol for royal motorcades so that they would cause the least inconvenience to people. The idea was based on the late King’s concerns expressed in 2001.

The protocol includes no enforced stoppage on frontage roads and opposite lanes. Pedestrians can also walk on overpasses as long as there are no safety concerns. BBC Thai reported Superintendent of Phayathai Police Station saying that the police still followed the protocols. 

Critics of the traffic jam caused by the motorcade may risk prosecution under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes defamation, insult, or threats to the King, Queen, Heir-Apparent, or Regent and carries a maximum jail term of 15 years, with currently at least 25 people reportedly in jail for lèse majesté. Any such prosecution would depend on who was in the motorcade.

Section 14 of Computer Crime Act, enforced more frequently in recent years, may also apply.  This carries a maximum jail term of 5 years and/or fine of 100,000 Baht for anyone who imports into a computer system data, such as tweets, that is deemed a danger to national security.


Screws -   


Hi friends round the world - I'm looking for 2
resonator holder screws for my
fender Leo
It is incredibly difficult to find any. Please contact me if they are lying around somewhere with you. I need urgently 2 of those or even a whole set (4) - no matter, the main thing, they are again full on my Leo.
Enclosed a picture of the screw.


gray or black tone finish for banjo   


I'm building a banjo with tortoise shell (fake) binding. I have a picture in my mind of a blackish finish with it, but so far have been unable to come up with something that pleases me on test pieces. The samples I've made don't seem to have the depth of color I desire. Any suggestions?


Political News and Economics Magazine   


Bob Clark
Governor Quagmire sits on her you know what and is doing nothing as it appears we have a MAJOR DISASTER with November’s unemployment numbers for the State of Washington. The numbers came in at levels signaling what I have been saying for 6 months: WE ARE IN A DOUBLE DIP RECESSION IN WASHINGTON STATE. To give you a picture of this disaster, 322,700 folks were collecting unemployment insurance in November in this state and that’s up almost 6,000 from October. Total unemployment in Washington was 602,846 or 17% in November up about 12,000 from the previous month. In the Tri-county area: King 9.1% or 134,270, Snohomish 38,110 or 10% and Pierce County 36,530 or 9% of the total workforces in those counties were collecting unemployment benefits. At the national level the US Department of Labor is reporting that 577,279 folks showed up to file for NEW unemployment benefits last week up more than 52,000 in the previous week (read the unadjusted numbers at this site). As I have said many times in the past SEASONABLY ADJUSTED NUMBERS ARE NOTHING LESS THAN A MAJOR LOAD OF MALE BOVINE EXCREMENT!

John Koster’s campaign has been questioning the vote counting in Whatcom County during the last election the grape vine tells me and that does not surprise me one bit. Larsen came in with 13,500 plus votes when the polls at the time showed him down against Koster county wide, yet the almost tie vote between the two swung the election to Larsen. Hmmm?

There was a major shakeup in the Snohomish County GOP with a whole new slate of leadership during the last central committee meeting. Activist Bill Cooper has taken over from Jim Kellett as county chair, Billye Brooks-Sebastiani takes over as Vice Chair, Olga Farnam takes over as State Committee Woman and Councilman Michael Plunkett assumes the State Committee Man position at the State central committee meetings.

A major battle is shaping up between conservative Bill Rennie and former radio talk show host Kirby Wilbur to take over the State Chairmanship of the Washington State Republican Party from the very unpopular Luke Esser (who is on his way out!). If I were to bet on the race I would say that right now it is to close to call with Kirby having a slight edge. The problem for Wilbur is that the Tea Party folks and most of the conservative wing of the state GOP are supporting Bill Rennie!

Foreclosures continue to pile up and threaten to destroy Washington State’s housing market. In the month of November, according to RealtyTrac, 4,067 homes were foreclosed on statewide. That brings year to date through November: 40,722 homes foreclosed on in the State of Washington. Here is the map for the month of November. I would like to clarify that a number of the 40,000 plus homes foreclosed on so far this year have been sold, but not enough to impact the continued decline in home values in Western Washington. To make matters worse many who signed up for ARM’s (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) a few years ago will find their mortgage payments double or triple during 2011 because a huge number of these ARM’s are expiring this year at the 3,5,6, and 10 year time frames all converging on this new year. That could mean that foreclosures could skyrocket in the first and second quarters of 2011.

The State of Washington’s tax revenue took a big hit this holiday season according to my sources at the State Legislature. Not with standing these bogus reports from the worst newspaper in the state: The Washington Post owned Everett Herald, the real number of this coming budget shortfall are already being talked about at the 5 Billion dollar plus level and that does not count unfunded liabilities for State Pension funds that could total as much as 20 Billion dollars according to my sources.
Breaking news: The US Department of Labor is saying that December's U3 number (the number of people collecting unemployment benefits) dropped to 9.4%. What they did not say was the fact that the reason for the drop is because a large number of people nationally left the work force because they have given up trying to find a job; that depresses the U3 number mathematically. Even though some 100,000 jobs were added in December, most of these jobs are TEMP/contractor jobs that ended at the end of the retail Christmas season. So if you see the "brain dead" media falling all over themselves saying this is good news, you may know the truth.

During the week ending 1/8/2011 770,413 people signed up for unemployment benefits for the first time up 191,686 from the previous week; an all time record! Meaning that all of those temp retail jobs for the holidays are over and the people are out of work. The total number of people collecting unemployment benefits as of 12/25/2010 was 9,193,838 folks, an all time record.


Get access to thousands of premium stock images for less than $40   


Good designers know that a picture can be worth more than 1,000 words. It can also be worth a fair paycheck if you find the right image. That's why you might want to take advantage of these premium stock photo services, both offering access to thousands of original pics and both on deep discount this month.

Scopio Authentic Stock Photography boasts a stunning lineup of artistic photography, and it's not limited to one worldview. This creative collective features content creators from around the globe, all constantly stocking an easy-to-navigate library of images. There are new photos added to the pile every day, and you'll be able to choose from them all royalty-free.

Right now, you can get lifetime access to Scopio for a full 98% off the original price.

For a full-featured plan that provides graphics professionals with plenty of versatility on storage, there's the picjumbo Designer Plan. Rightly billed as the "Netflix for stock photos," picjumbo has more than 100 collections stocked with over 6,000 high-res images. There's more than 50 added each month, and you'll get three premium fonts as a bonus just for signing up. Download them as zip files or send them to Dropbox for easy retrieval.

Pick up a lifetime subscription to picjumbo for a 93% discount this month. Read the rest


Borderline Personality Disorder Is Often Misunderstood - What It Means to Have BPD   


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) has made its way into the lexicon, thanks in part to the brave openness of comedian Pete Davidson, who revealed on SNL's Weekend Update a couple years ago that he had been diagnosed with the disorder. But while more and more people are becoming aware of BPD, it's still widely misunderstood. Unlike anxiety or depression, which are often talked about and recognized, BPD is a mental health disorder with a much more complicated diagnostic process and a wide range of symptoms.

We spoke with mental health professionals who explained what BPD is and its symptoms. If you think you may have borderline personality disorder, be sure to visit a psychiatrist or other health professional who can properly make the diagnosis. For more information on resources and treatment, visit the New York-Presbyterian Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

"Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental health diagnosis that is broadly characterized by instability and inability (exaggerated changes in mood) in one's emotions, attachment to others, and sense of self," licensed clinical psychologist Giulia Suro, PhD, told POPSUGAR. "It's often difficult to pin down because there are usually at least one or two other diagnoses present," she explained, including PTSD or an anxiety disorder.

Unlike depression disorders, anxiety disorders, or bipolar disorders, which are each their own classification of disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), BPD is a personality disorder. Dr. Suro said people may not take personality disorders as seriously as other mental illnesses. "Often, [BPD] is stereotyped in a negative light and a picture is painted of a hysterical woman or vindictive girlfriend," she explained. "However, BPD is an incredibly severe mental illness."

Although people may be more familiar with depression and anxiety disorders, personality disorders - which are a separate classification in the DSM-5 - aren't as often discussed. Other personality disorders include antisocial personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.

"Borderline personality disorder involves disruptions of mood and behavior that are generally triggered by external stresses, real or misperceived," explained David M. Reiss, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice in Boston, San Diego, and New York City. People with other mental illnesses, such as depression or bipolar disorder, have moods and symptoms that are more based on brain chemistry than external triggers, he explained.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Pinpointing the symptoms specific to BPD is tough since BPD is usually present with other mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder. In general, people with BPD may experience intense mood swings and view things in extremes, such as all good or all bad, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Other signs and symptoms include effort to avoid physical or emotional abandonment, unstable self-image, pattern of unstable relationships with friends and family, impulsive and often dangerous behavior, chronic feelings of emptiness, difficulty trusting, and problems controlling anger.

According to the NIMH, people with BPD may become angry and stressed over seemingly ordinary events, such as minor separations from people (i.e. traveling on a business trip). "While it may take one person a long time and an extreme situation to get to a nine or 10 in terms of anger, someone with BPD may shoot up the intensity scale due to something objectively small," Dr. Suro said. Like other mental illnesses, BPD varies from person to person and no two people experience BPD the same way. Some people may only have a few symptoms while others have many.

How Borderline Personality Disorder Is Diagnosed

There is no one test to diagnose BPD and diagnosis must be done by a mental health professional after a comprehensive clinical interview. The DSM-5 criteria for diagnosing a personality disorder, and diagnosing BPD in particular, is complex. To diagnose BPD, several criteria must be met, including:

  • Significant impairments in personality functioning manifested by impairments in self-functioning in identity (unstable self-image, excessive self-criticism, chronic feelings of emptiness).
  • Pathological personality traits, such as unstable emotional experiences and frequent mood changes; anxiousness; separation insecurity; depressivity.
  • Impairments are not from substance abuse or head trauma and remain consistent over time and through varying situations.

But while there are certain boxes to check for a proper diagnosis according to the DSM-5, Dr. Reiss said adhering strictly to the DSM-5 isn't always viable for treating an actual patient with BPD. "Basically, you can go by this number of symptoms or that number of symptoms or this combination, but what I'd like to say is that it's great for insurance companies, but it's lousy for diagnosing people," he explained. "When I'm really diagnosing someone, I'm looking at how they function in life." He added that the best way to diagnose a full-blown borderline personality disorder is not if the patient meets a certain number of the criteria but if the symptoms are chronically present and problematic.

"There's some people who can fall into it, but then have the ability to realize and pull themselves out and I would describe that as having borderline traits as opposed to a personality disorder," Dr. Reiss explained. "So it is a spectrum and there's no clear place where on that spectrum it becomes a disorder as opposed to traits." Overall, he evaluates each patient individually and determines a diagnosis based on how problematic his or her behavior is on the ability to function.

"The bottom line is when I'm working with someone clinically, I don't go by the diagnosis - I go by what they're presenting," he said. "So whether I make the diagnosis on paper is really dependent on what we're working with in the treatment."

Risk Factors For Borderline Personality Disorder

"The cause of BPD is multifactorial with research indicating that genetics and environmental factors both play a big role," Dr. Suro said. Although it's tough and inaccurate to pinpoint exact instances that could trigger BPD, there are some risk factors associated with the disorder. Some of these include having a family history of BPD, and brain factors; people with borderline personality disorder may have structural or functional changes in the brain that affect impulse control and emotions, according to the NIMH. There are other environmental, cultural, and social factors that impact someone's susceptibility to having BPD, such as trauma, and unstable childhood, or abandonment.

To develop BPD, Dr. Reiss explained, "you probably need some degree of biological vulnerability and some degree of external stress," he said. "But whether that's 90/10 or 50/50 in either direction really depends on the individual and the individual's underlying biochemistry and life stresses."

How Borderline Personality Disorder Is Treated

Borderline personality disorder is typically treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Dr. Reid said therapy is needed to tease out the symptoms of BPD and separate it from other coexisting disorders and is key in managing and treating BPD long-term, although which therapy and which medication to use are highly individualized from person to person.

"The best way I can put it is that you treat the person, not the diagnosis," Dr. Reiss said. To make matters more complicated, people with BPD tend to cycle through symptoms and can be more open to therapy and intervention at differing times. In fact, Dr. Reiss said he sees a lot of what he calls "polypharmacy," where patients are on a little bit of everything - antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics - as opposed to deliberately taking medication to target specific symptoms at the right times. Dr. Reiss prefers prescribing a low-level antidepressant as a "safety net" and antianxiety medication that's not a benzodiazepine (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin) since benzodiazepines can be addictive, especially for people with BPD, he said.

If the patient is experiencing mood swings or dysphoria (profound state of unease), they may be prescribed mood stabilizers, or antipsychotic medication, which may help with other symptoms of BPD. What medication you take and when you should take it should be determined by your doctor.

"The idea of using irreverence or confrontation - interventions that you wouldn't normally use in a typical therapy - is essential in dealing with borderline," he explained. "A lot of times I can engage a person on that level; a person who's pretty borderline will engage on respecting my irreverence and my willingness to just use whatever language I feel comfortable with and they feel comfortable with, which is very different from a more classical therapy."

Borderline personality disorder is still widely misunderstood, but it's nothing to be ashamed of or stigmatized. It is estimated that 1.6 percent of the US population has BPD, but that number could be as high as 5.9 percent, according to NAMI. And while it may take some trial and error to come to a proper diagnosis and seek proper treatment, help is available. People with BPD can go on to live happy, successful lives.

If you or a loved one need mental health help or treatment, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has several resources, including a helpline at 1-800-950-6264. You can also text "NAMI" to 741741 or email


Tesla Coils Science Patch, Glow in the Dark by StoriedThreads   


9.50 USD

Everybody knows that Nikola Tesla was awesome, and that the Tesla coils are one of the coolest pieces of science out there, at least from a purely visual perspective. This patch bears a pair of Tesla coils with glow-in-the-dark lightning arcing between them on black cotton canvas.

Second picture shows the patch glowing in the dark. I apologize for the slightly fuzzy nature of it -- taking a picture of something glowing like that is really hard, as it turns out!

The sew-on patch measures approximately 4.7" wide by 3.2" tall.

All patches are made to order. Please allow 7 to 14 days for construction before shipping.

Want a hook and eye backing added to your patch? We can do that for you! Just purchase this listing at the same time that you order your patch:

Patches ship USPS first class mail. If you are in the United States and want to upgrade to Priority Mail, please purchase this listing:

Design (C) 2013 Storied Threads/Veronica Bailey
Standard shipping for all items is by First Class mail and does not come with tracking information. If you wish to add tracking, please ask (an additional charge may be necessary).


Question: What would be the appropriate price for a butt ton of cassette tapes? (Please answer as soon as possible)?   


I found a metric ton of cassette tapes that I found while I was looking for a thumb drive that I, allegedly, had. My dad wanted me to pitch them, but I’ve recently started to question that choice because there are people who collect vintage stuff, and that possibly includes cassette tapes. I want to know what would be the right price for all of the cassette tapes. Here’s a picture of some of them. The reason why I’m asking this is because I personally want to sell the cassette tapes. There’s more cassettes than this. There are cassettes in 4 suitcase like cases, and a bunch more in bookshelves.


A Picture of Christ and The Church – Merle Burkholder   


Note: To download the mp3 file directly from this page, right click the download button and choose Save Link As… Browse to where you want to save the file and click save. Also you can subscribe to the podcast feed in your favorite RSS reader or on iTunes using the options in the sidebar. This […]

The post A Picture of Christ and The Church – Merle Burkholder appeared first on Bethel Mennonite Church.


William Barr and Winnie the Pooh   


Right now, Chinese users of WeChat, an app that includes text, video, and picture messaging plus a Facebook-style news feed (among many other features), can't message each other a meme of Winnie the Pooh. Why not? Because, being short and rotund, he supposedly evokes an unflattering comparison to President Xi Jinping. So, at the behest of the Chinese government, WeChat censors pictures of a beloved children's character in order to crack down on government criticism. Here in the U.S., if the Attorney General gets his way, Facebook and other U.S. services will be able to do the same to your private chats.


Late last week, Attorney General William Barr and the acting secretary of Homeland Security joined British and Australian officials in a letter to Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg that asked Facebook not to go forward with its plan to implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging services. The October 4 letter coincided with an event held by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that day, which featured Barr, the letter’s British and Australian co-authors, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, among others. Both the letter and the event focused on the use of online communications platforms for the transmission of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), warning that the roll-out of end-to-end encryption for messaging would risk stymying law enforcement efforts to detect, investigate, and prosecute that activity. The letter and event came hot on the heels of a New York Times article about the problem of CSAM on online platforms like Facebook. Barr’s demand may be the precursor to rumored anti-encryption legislation that might come out of the Senate Judiciary Committee soon, more than three years after the embarrassing debacle over a bill proposed by Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein (who is on that committee).


This is a significant escalation in the current Crypto Wars. The U.S. government has not gone so directly head-to-head over encryption with a specific company since its showdown with Apple in early 2016, when the government blinked first. (Well, it hasn’t done so in public, anyway.) The suddenness of this new push is alarming. Also noteworthy is that suddenly the main reason to demonize encryption is CSAM, with terrorism and other ills playing second fiddle. Even as recently as late July 2019, when Barr revived his predecessors’ habit of castigating encrypted service providers, it was drug cartels he invoked. But CSAM is the dominant focus now, suddenly and thoroughly. 


It is beyond question that CSAM is a real and serious problem for Facebook (and every tech company that has ever given users the ability to upload, store, send, share, post, or otherwise communicate files). It is radioactive, it is illegal everywhere, and no legitimate company wants it on their servers. Nevertheless, this new single-minded focus on CSAM in the revived anti-encryption push feels like an exceedingly cynical move on the part of the U.S. government. Out of the Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse (terrorism, drug trafficking, CSAM, and organized crime), terrorism didn’t work to turn public opinion against encryption, so the government has switched horse(men) midstream. 


It also feels like cynical exploitation of the “techlash,” as I’ve observed (a year ago, and a year before that). The techlash has made it more politically palatable to pick on tech companies -- particularly Facebook. Never mind that people distrust Facebook because of its privacy screw-ups, and so they should be glad that Facebook is adding end-to-end encryption to more of its services, because that will make Facebook less able to invade users’ privacy. It’s not important, for Barr’s purposes, that average people (or congressmembers) actually understand what Facebook’s end-to-end encryption plan will do; only that they create a mental link between encryption and crime, and another link between the problem of criminal activity on Facebook’s platform with the problem of Facebook’s own repeated privacy misdeeds, such that the privacy-related distrust commutes into distrust of the end-to-end encryption plan.


Who is the antagonist to be bested in this fight against Facebook’s effort to enhance the security and privacy of over a billion people? Not pedophiles -- or at least, not just pedophiles. The “problem” that Barr, Wray, and their counterparts are trying to solve is that of people being able to talk to each other privately without government ability to snoop on them. This was made plain in the October 4 letter. It stated, “Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes.” All well and good so long as there’s the focus on crimes, right? But later, the letter called on Facebook “and other companies” to “[e]nable law enforcement to obtain lawful access to content in a readable and usable format.” All content should be accessible by law enforcement. To get at evidence of crime, law enforcement must be able to get access to everything. Every text, every private message, every call. Every communication you make with another person through an electronic medium like Facebook.


Of course, as is the norm in government exhortations to the tech industry, the letter doesn’t say how Facebook should go about doing that. Governments have been wary of making concrete suggestions ever since the failure of the Clipper Chip in the ‘90s. But in recent times, when they do, there’s been some change. As I wrote in a whitepaper last year, Wray and former Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein both advocated around late 2017 and early 2018 for some kind of key escrow scheme. More recently, in November of last year, GCHQ (the UK’s NSA) made what’s called the “ghost proposal” for silently adding the government as a party to encrypted conversations. This reflects an evolution: by and large, government officials now understand that if they are going to make some sort of actual suggestion (rather than stating their goal of access to plaintext and leaving it to the tech companies to figure out how to get there, as the Oct. 4 letter does), rule #1 is now “don’t touch the crypto.” If you can say “this proposal isn’t a ‘backdoor,’ it doesn’t require breaking the encryption,” then that changes the proposal’s security impact -- and most law enforcement officials presumably do sincerely want to minimize adverse impact on user security. (Most of them.) So it changes the response by information security professionals. It also changes the optics of the proposal in terms of public relations, since the public learned from the Apple vs. FBI showdown that “breaking encryption” and “backdoors” are bad news. 


Enter “content moderation.” One proposal for enabling law enforcement access is to build a system where the provider (Facebook) would check content, such as a photo attached to a message, before it’s encrypted and transmitted to another user -- i.e. while the content is on the sender’s device, not traveling through the provider’s server -- to try to figure out whether that content is or might be abusive content such as CSAM. Jonathan Mayer has just published a very good short first-draft discussion paper about what content moderation for end-to-end encrypted messaging might look like. This is a technical paper. It is not a policy paper. Mayer expressly says that he is not claiming that the concepts he describes “adequately address information security risks or public policy values, such as free speech, international human rights, or economic competitiveness.”


So, allow me to state the obvious: There is no way in hell that Facebook or anyone else could introduce content moderation for end-to-end encrypted messaging without it inevitably sliding into abuse. It would start with CSAM, but it would not stop there. The predictable result is surveillance and censorship, a chill on privacy and free speech. No, client-side pre-encryption content moderation “doesn’t touch the encryption,” in keeping with snooping governments’ new rule #1 for proposals to “solve” the encryption “problem.” But that doesn’t put it in the clear (and, again, Mayer is emphatically not suggesting it does). As Jon Callas of the ACLU said in response to the GCHQ ghost proposal: this “proposal would not ‘break’ encryption, but it would nonetheless have the same effect by creating a situation in which people are no longer confident they are securely talking to their partners.”


A variant of this content moderation is already done in various contexts. Facebook already scans for attempts to upload and share CSAM on the parts of its service that are not (yet) end-to-end encrypted -- that’s the visibility that government officials are worried would go away if Facebook proceeds with its plan. Email service providers scan your email attachments against a hash database of known CSAM, as the Times article describes. Upload filters are also already in use for other purposes besides interdicting CSAM: for example, upload filters that are intended to prevent copyright-infringing material from being posted to YouTube. Upload filters have also been proposed for preventing the posting and sharing of “violent extremist” content such as the Christchurch shooting video. Indeed, as my colleague Daphne Keller explains, it appears that filtering requirements of some sort will now be the law of the land in the European Union thanks to a defamation case, though nobody knows what that filter is supposed to look like, exactly. So already, we are seeing CSAM, plus defamation, copyright infringement, and violent extremism (all concepts that are much harder to accurately spot on sight than child sex abuse), as the driving forces behind existing and government-demanded filters on people’s ability to engage in “one-to-many” speech online, through such mediums as YouTube or Facebook.


And already, “upload filters are inherently inconsistent with fundamental freedoms.” It’s a problem as-is from a fundamental-rights standpoint when filters are applied to interdict attempts to share content broadly to many people, through a channel that is not end-to-end encrypted. But it is even more troubling when the same idea is applied to flag blacklisted content (be it words or images) in a one-on-one or small-group conversation -- something we reasonably consider private. Particularly where the interlocutors are using end-to-end encryption to try to assure that their conversation is private (rather than broadcast it to the world à la YouTube). And it is especially troubling if the provider designs its messaging service so that this scanning for blacklisted content happens automatically, for every single user’s conversations, not just those users who are reasonably suspected of crime and for whom a wiretap order has been issued for their electronic communications.


I understand that the approaches Mayer describes include technical measures intended to respect the privacy of conversations as much as possible and winnow down the amount of unencrypted content that is ever actually reviewed by a human (though the potential false positive rates are very troubling given the criminal consequences). Designing privacy-enhancing technologies to deal with the trash fire that is the Internet is certainly an interesting, if depressing, research area. And I understand that ostensibly we are talking about systems that are only for CSAM, at present. But when you’re checking content against a blacklist (or fuzzily trying to predict whether content your system hasn’t seen before should be blacklisted), ultimately you are talking about a system that keeps a list of things that must not be said or shared, and that monitors and reports people if they do so. 


Interdicting and reporting unencrypted content pre-transmission surely sounds like a good idea when applied to CSAM (content the recipient is unlikely to report as abusive, if the content is being sent from one pedophile to another). Or malicious attachments that could do harm if you opened them — content you the recipient might think you wanted to look at and wouldn’t report as abusive because you didn’t realize it to be abusive (until it was too late).


But we do not live in a world where that system always stays tightly confined to CSAM, or malware scanning, and doesn’t end up enabling censorship of individuals’ private personal conversations with other people over content that is not illegal or harmful. That already happens in China (which is increasingly an object of envy by U.S. law enforcement). China uses its online censorship capabilities to keep its citizens from using WeChat to talk about Winnie the Pooh or “Tiananmen Square. An end-to-end encrypted messaging system that would do client-side scanning of content against a blacklist before it’s encrypted and report the positive hits? China would rush to fund that work, and likely already has.


The affinity for censorship is not limited to China. Here in the U.S., Hollywood, whose copyright supramaximalist views have long found favor in Congress, would be all too glad to have your private conversations filtered. Other Western democracies such as the European Union countries and New Zealand would want your end-to-end encrypted messages to be pre-scanned for “violent extremist content” and defamation. Never mind how hard it is to define “violent extremist content,” much less accurately identify it without false positives, and the fact that as a concept it covers speech that is not illegal in many countries. And the censorship demands won’t be just for images, but also for text. The recent EU court decision that Daphne discusses imposes a requirement to filter for defamatory textual phrases. 


And from CSAM, copyright claims, “violent extremist content,” and defamation, the blacklist will keep expanding. Tired of getting unwanted dick pics? Fine, the nudity filters Facebook would be called upon to implement in its end-to-end encrypted messaging apps might help you in some circumstances. But don’t be surprised when they deploy their Nipple Detection Systems, which have long come under fire for censoring Facebook and Instagram posts, to intervene to keep you from sending a nude to your romantic partner over Messenger or WhatsApp.


And on and on. “Hate speech” is impossible to define, but that won’t stop the calls to censor it, so that even willing recipients can’t get it, in addition to the people who would otherwise be abused by receiving such speech. There will be demands to stop and report any user who tries to send a picture of a swastika, followed by demands to do similar for the Confederate flag. Again, China is instructive: in the latest version of iOS, the soft keyboard no longer includes the Taiwan flag for users in Hong Kong and Macau. That’s a more extreme version of not allowing the user to transmit a message containing the flag—which seems so reasonable by comparison, doesn’t it?


When a government prevents you from speaking certain things or depicting certain pictures, it’s called prior restraint and, with narrow exceptions, it is almost invariably unconstitutional. When a platform does it at the behest of government, as Facebook might do if Barr had his way, we call it “content moderation.” That anodyne phrase obscures the evil at work here: of government ordering a private third party to censor speech that is, or under any human rights-respecting regime should be, legal. Yes, CSAM is and should be illegal everywhere. No one disputes that. But it is staggeringly naive to believe that, even in the United States of America, client-side pre-encryption “content moderation” would stop at CSAM.


And lest we forget, those measures won’t catch all content they’re intended to interdict. As Mayer notes, users could still encrypt their content separately and then send it. That means pedophiles can encrypt CSAM before transmitting it — just as they can now on services that are not end-to-end encrypted. So, getting Facebook to implement client-side pre-encryption content moderation would catch the pedophiles who are bad at opsec, but as Mayer notes, the rest would adjust, evolve their techniques for evasion, and teach those strategies to each other (which, again, they do already). 


Meanwhile, Hollywood would make damn sure you can’t just send someone a meme over WhatsApp unless you go to the extra effort of separately encrypting it first. Everyone’s perfectly legal speech would be burdened and chilled — because who wants to spend time separately encrypting everything? It’s easier just to not say the thing you wanted to say, to not send the picture that would be worth 1000 words, to express yourself in some other way. Some way that won’t trip up the censorship filter. Sure, you’ll find new ways, as the Chinese did by coming up with Winnie the Pooh as a stand-in for Xi. And then, as with Pooh, the filter will be updated, and you can’t say that either. So you stop saying the forbidden words or sharing the forbidden images. And then, eventually, you stop thinking them too.


If you are willing to accept Facebook (or Google, or Apple, or any other encrypted messaging service provider Bill Barr bullies into compliance) censoring all your private text conversations — and everyone else’s — because it might make it a little easier for the government to catch the most inept pedophiles, then I’m not sure I’ve got a lot else to say to you. But if this idea bothers you — if you don’t like the thought that before very long from now, you won’t be able to say what you please in private discussions over text, while pedophiles learn how to continue operating without detection — then I hope you’ll see Barr’s demand to Facebook for the grave danger it is. If so, let Facebook know. More importantly, let your congressional representatives know.


Now, this post isn’t a careful position paper like Jonathan Mayer wrote. All of the above is what is known as a “slippery slope” argument, and it’s easy to dismiss as hysterical. “Of course we would never do Y just because we are doing X,” platforms and the government would assure you. Then, once mission creep inevitably happens — which it always, always does — the official line would switch to: “Of course we would never do Z just because we are doing Y.” Slippery slope arguments might sound hysterical at the top of the slope; from the bottom, they sound premonitory.


Let’s look to China again. The highly intrusive surveillance of Uighurs in China used to be “just” for Uighurs in Xinjiang at first. Then it was “just” for them and people who visited Xinjiang, regardless of the visitors’ own religion or ethnicity. Then it was “just” for them and, oh, also Tibetans too, a totally different ethnic and religious group that China is fond of persecuting.


The ratchet of surveillance has a pronounced tendency to only go one way. End-to-end encryption is one of the best measures we have for pushing it back and maintaining our security and privacy. But while end-to-end encryption may be necessary to protect those rights, it is not sufficient, as proposals for measures like client-side pre-encryption moderation of private conversations demonstrate.


The rationale may change — national security and terrorism one day, and if that doesn’t work, child abuse the next — but the goal is the same: for governments to have the ability to eavesdrop on your every conversation, the legal power to require that all your conversations be recorded, and the authority to make private-sector providers do their bidding in the process. To have total control. And, if they really succeed, they will reach the ultimate goal: to not even need to exert that control to restrict what you say and do and hear and think — because you’ll do that yourself. You will save them, and Facebook, a lot of time.


It starts with something nobody could possibly oppose: reducing the scourge of child sex abuse. It will not end there. That is the slippery slope.


I don’t pretend to have the answer for how to fight CSAM without simultaneously opening the door to mass surveillance and censorship. I’m not sure there is one, but I appreciate the efforts of the technologists who are trying to find one, or at least to elucidate different technical approaches to different aspects of the encryption debate (such as Jonathan Mayer, who is hardly pro-surveillance). And I know that as long as I don’t have affirmative proposals of my own, just objections to others’, it makes me easy to dismiss as just another hysterical absolutist zealot. That is unfortunate, because, as some of my academic colleagues have privately observed, there is far more nuance to information security experts’ and civil libertarians’ positions in the debate than it might often appear from the outside, or than Bill Barr wants you to think there is. 


That said, this is not the most nuanced of blog posts. I find everything I’ve said above to be painfully obvious. And yet I feel it will still keep needing to be said as long as the Attorney General keeps pretending this debate is only about universally-reviled conduct such as terrorism and child sex abuse. After all, he is also the same Attorney General who was chosen to be, basically, the capo to a mob boss, one who wants Barr to investigate his political opponents. The sitting Attorney General of the United States is the last person we should trust with the ability to read everyone’s messages. We cannot afford the polite fiction that the nation’s law enforcement officials, even those at the very top, are all “the good guys.” 

Those who work for providers, in academia, or in civil society may be tempted to start down the slippery slope we can all see ahead of us, partially out of the commendable desire to help children, partially to show the U.S. government how “reasonable” and “adult” and “mature” we are when it comes to the encryption debate. Let me be clear: It is not reasonable for any government to demand that platforms build the ability to surveil and censor everyone’s private communications. You do not have to help brainstorm, design, build, rationalize, or excuse a system for pervasive surveillance and censorship. Technologists must design and build systems that acknowledge the uncomfortable truth: that China is much closer than we think.

Related Projects: 


Staff threatened with a 'large knife' during Caterham Waitrose theft   


Police have released a picture of two people they wish to speak with after Waitrose staff were threatened with a "big knife" during a theft.


Extinction Rebellion protesters pour fake blood over New York's capitalist bull   


Extinction Rebellion protesters pour fake blood over New York's capitalist bullDemonstrators were arrested in a wave of US protests that are part of a global week of action by the UK-based groupExtinction Rebellion climate crisis activists protest at New York City’s famous Charging Bull statue. Photograph: Mike Segar/ReutersMore than 20 people were arrested by police in New York City’s financial district after Extinction Rebellion climate protesters poured fake blood over the famous Charging Bull statue, a symbol of American capitalist might.The protesters launched a wave of disruptive protests in the city on Monday. A smaller number of arrests were made at a “die in” outside New York’s stock exchange, with protesters subsequently blocking a nearby road to traffic.Protests are also taking place in other US cities, including Washington DC and Chicago, as part of a global week of action by the UK-founded activist group, which is seeking to make its first major mark in America.Climate crisis activists demonstrate in New York City where Extinction Rebellion organizers expect several thousand to congregate this week. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/ReutersExtinction Rebellion organizers expect several thousand people will congregate in New York’s Washington Square Park for a week of protests and speeches that are expected to involve actions that will prompt further arrests.“There will be broad disruption of business as usual,” said a New York-based Extinction Rebellion spokesman. “Frankly we don’t have time to wait for an opportune moment. Climate breakdown is under way and we can’t afford to wait.”Extinction Rebellion has a philosophy of nonviolent direct action aimed at pushing governments to confront the climate crisis. A key demand is that planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions are reduced to net zero within six years.A climate crisis activist covered in fake blood is arrested in New York City during the Extinction Rebellion demonstration. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP via Getty ImagesThe activist network has gained a high profile in the UK, following successful attempts to shut down parts of central London. Activists are hoping for a similar impact in the US, despite concerns over a more aggressive style of policing and an unsympathetic federal government, led by Donald Trump, that actively promotes fossil fuels and is regularly derisive of climate science.“We need to account for the damage caused by fossil fuels because we have the chance of losing it all,” said Jim Navarre, a protestor from New York’s Long Island who help up a sign reading “You can’t comb over climate change” with a picture of Trump’s hair atop the globe.Climate crisis activists gather in Battery Park during Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in New York. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP via Getty ImagesYana Landowne, also from New York, said she was inspired to join the protests by British friends. “I see this as a movement I need to get behind, I realized I had to bring my whole being to this movement,” she said.The stock exchange protest featured a mock funeral with people strewn on the ground, covered in blood. Tombstones mentioning hurricanes and fires made worse by the climate crisis were held aloft, along with a coffin with the words “Our future” written on the side. A New Orleans-style funereal band played for the several hundred protestors.“It’s a powerful message,” Landowne said. “But more than death I fear living amongst the terror of people killing each other for water and food.”


Butterflies and Host Plants   


A newly planted butterfly garden at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge was aflutter with butterflies last Saturday.

Common Buckeye on Indian Blanket
A Common Buckeye posed nicely for me on an Indian Blanket flower, which happens to be one of its host plants. 

Host plants are important in attracting butterflies to your garden. Each variety of butterfly has specific types of plants that it will lay its eggs on. That plant then become food for the caterpillars when the eggs hatch.

Palamedes Swallowtail on Cowpen Daisy
The Cowpen Daisy, also known as Golden Crownbeard, was the most popular flower in this garden. It was attracting dozens of Palamedes Swallowtails as well as other butterflies and pollinators. Based on what I saw, this is a flower that I should add to my own garden.

Palamedes Swallowtail
I'd love to attract the Palamedes Swallowtail to our garden, though I've never seen any in our area. Perhaps we are out of its range, however it wouldn't hurt to try by planting one of its hosts, Sweet Bay, which is also a host plant of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail which we see frequently.

Duskywing on Cowpen Daisy
Also attracted to Cowpen Daisy for its nectar was a small butterfly which I think is called Horace's Duskywing. Oaks are its host plants. 

This butterfly was a little bit faded and missing the tip of one of its forewings, but it was still going strong. I've observed butterflies far more tattered than this one maneuvering in flight like they were newly emerged from the chrysalis. I've learned that butterflies are tougher than they look.

Bordered Patch Caterpillars on Cowpen Daisy
Soon we began to notice clusters of caterpillars on the Cowpen Daisies. A plant that is a great source of nectar and a caterpillar host is a bonus in any butterfly garden. I'm definitely planting this flower as soon as I can locate a source.

We later identified the caterpillars as the larva of the Bordered Patch butterfly. I wish I would have been able to get a picture of one. There were probably some around, judging from all the caterpillars we saw.

The butterfly garden at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge was just planted this year in April, but it's off to a great start.

Next Page: 25

© Googlier LLC, 2020