Friday, November 12, 2010

The Warm is Back

After most of a week of below-normal temperatures, we are back where we belong in the high 70's to low 80's. I didn't know this when we moved here, but apparently Seminole county has been in a serious drought. It's hard to believe that when there is water everywhere, but They tell me that it is true. It has been a lot drier than I expected. It rained once for about two minutes in the entire month of October and we've had one day of rain so far in November. The ten-day forecast keeps showing rain about five days out, but it never gets any closer; it's been going to rain in five days for almost two weeks now.

Not much else to report as evident from the lack of posting. Debbie's work is going good; my work is non-existent other than the unpaid kind. Tax class is wrapping up; class on Monday and final exam on Wednesday. Then all that is left is the online testing, renewing my EFIN/PTIN numbers (which the IRS now charges for), and completing the 17 or 18 sample returns. I should be all set by Thanksgiving, then it's just waiting until the tax changes come out and then jumping back into the soup on January 15.

Having solved every other problem, Miami cops have declared war on unlicensed barbering:

Berry said deputies entered his store and told his barbers to stop cutting and put their hands behind their backs. As barbers sat on the ground in handcuffs, he said, deputies removed his customers — including children — from the store, and began searching workstations and checking licenses without explanation.

Barbers and witnesses at several shops told the Orlando Sentinel that deputies shouted and cursed during the raids, demanding the location of illegal drugs, which they searched for extensively. They never found more than misdemeanor amounts of marijuana at eight of the nine shops they raided.

The War on Poor Brown People continues.

There is new web browser coming out: RockMelt. To use it, you have to have a Facebook account and provide your user ID and password. I assume that somewhere in the EULA that no one will read and requires a Harvard law degree to understand if you did, you will be giving Facebook permission to data-mine everything you do on the internet rather than just what you do on Facebook. What a great idea, especially given that Facebook and its third-party partners have proven to be grossly incompetent (or profoundly malicious; take your pick) in the handling of personally identifiable information. Now combine that with this:

“It was easy to break into those Web browsers’ password storage”, says ElcomSoft leading IT security specialist, Andy Malyshev. “Compared to all the trouble we had breaking into Internet Explorer 8 protected storage, these were a piece of cake”

"Those Web browsers" are Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera. ElcomSoft is a legitimate company that sells a product intended to help businesses retrieve data they legitimately have a claim to. For example, I bought a very early version of this in order to crack the passwords a fired employee had put on all the Word documents she had created for her employer. But if it's a "piece of cake" for ElcomSoft, then it will be a "piece of cake" for anyone else. I doubt RockMelt will be any more difficult to break into than the rest of the web browsers already out there. And on a side note, never ever ever allow any web  browser to save your login information.

The second-to-last shuttle launch ever has now been pushed back to the end of November:

Engineers have found two cracks on the external tank of the space shuttle Discovery after delaying its launch until the end of this month following a hydrogen leak, NASA said Thursday.

The cracks were found late Wednesday on an aluminum strip separating the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen tanks, after technicians removed a segment of foam insulation that developed a 51-centimeter (20-inch) fissure during the November 5 launch attempt.

I'm thinking that NASA pushing ahead with this launch by attempting a never-before-attempted on-the-pad repair would be at best reckless, and at worst, criminal.

Focusing on things NASA can do well, Opportunity is still chuggin' away on Mars covering better than the length of four football fields in a week. Spirit remains silent, but there is still hope she will wake up. I wouldn't bet on it at this point, but it was still a good run.

Remember when all we had to worry about was being turned into radioactive dust by the Ruskies?

NDM1 is an enzyme that confers resistance to one of the most potent classes of antibiotics, known as carbapenems, but what has been observed is different in many ways to what we have seen to date. This new resistance pattern has been reported in many different types of bacteria compared to previously and at least one in 10 of these NDM1-containing strains appears to be pan-resistant, which means that there is no known antibiotic that can treat it. A second concern is that there is no significant new drug development for antimicrobials. Third, this particular resistance pattern is governed by a set of genes that can move easily from one bacterium to another. Fourth, NDM1 has been found in the most commonly encountered bacterium in the human population, E. coli, which is the most common cause of bladder and kidney infections. A further concern is that of the two drugs potentially capable of treating an infection due to one of these new multiresistant strains, one of them, colistin, causes toxic effects to the kidney in about a third of people.

For most of human history, people got sick, then they either got better or they died. Seems our ability to sidestep that reality has run its course.

It's good to see the antibodies kicking in:

Hundreds of residents in Weston, Mo. -- as well as people as far away as California and -- rallied in support of Sgt. First Class C.J. Sadell, who died from injuries suffered during a surprise attack in Afghanistan.

The residents sought to block Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., and his followers from picketing Sadell’s funeral, according to the station.

The answer to people like Phelps is for the adults to forcefully say, "No!" And ridicule. Never underestimate the power of public humiliation.

Our "leaders" are now fully committed to openly printing money to solve the current "recovery." It's likely been going on secretly for at least a decade, but now any pretense that US dollars are anything but Monopoly money has been dropped. This has been tried repeatedly and it always ends the same way: Badly. But I'm sure this time will be different, which is why oil is up and treasury yields are crashing.

In other economic news, foreclosures are down due to fraudulent paper work and endless TV ads featuring lawyers willing to bugger up the foreclosure proceedings on the house you haven't made a payment on in two years. And the PIIGS are back in the news with Ireland on the brink. Good thing we're in global recovery. James Kunstler tells us how to cope:

Don't worry folks, that sound of heavy breathing you hear is the exhalations of the big banks reviving on their IV drip lines of financial liquidity. Pretty soon, the nurses will bring them Kansas City strip steak dinners, with truffled mashed potatoes, asparagus flown in from Chile, and even a nice year-2000 Clos Du Val reserve cabernet. You - you can go down to the food pantry and get yourself some government cheese. Melt it over some ranch-style Doritos and hunker down with Fox News where a dry drunk will explain to you the morbid workings of the Trilateral Commission and how the Rockefellers are scheming to take over the National Football League for the greater glory of Karl Marx while selling your daughter to Albanian white slavers. You'll think you understand the world. You'll feel fulfilled and easy in your mind.

Government cheese over Cool Ranch Doritos. Mmmmmmm. Must go to Walmart......

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good morning U2,
I LOVE your saying about the early worm - - now I have the perfect excuse for sleeping late.
MAKE it a FUN FILLED weekend,