Friday, November 17, 2017

On Highway 41 north of Naples

Continuing our Streetview trek on America's Highway 41:

Crossing the bridge over the Cocohatchee River

Mel's Diner in Bonita Springs

Crossing the Imperial River

Hertz Corporate Headquarters (note the sign)

The Estero River by the Koreshan State Historic Site

Next stop: Fort Myers.

Close encounters of the fireball kind

If you haven't seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind, then you might not get this, but simply put, many cinematic alien abductions or other relationships with extraterrestrials tend to start looking a lot like this fireball sighting in Lapland.

Hopefully the aliens picked up the reindeer they were looking for and left quietly.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

And now some words from Robert Rubin

The House Republicans have passed a terrible "tax reform" plan -- it's hard to see how they can even say good things about it with a straight face -- but hopefully the Senate will derail their hopes.  Meanwhile, I am quoting from Robert Rubin's appearance in the pages of the Washington Post, in a piece entitled "The Republican Tax Plan's Five Worst Dangers".

"Adding $1.5 trillion or more to the federal debt would make an already bad situation worse. A useful measure of our fiscal position is the ratio of publicly held government debt to economic output or gross domestic product, called the debt/GDP ratio. In 2000, the debt/GDP ratio was 32 percent. The ratio is now 77 percent. Looking forward, the CBO projects the debt/GDP ratio to be 91 percent in 2027 and 150 percent in 2047. After $1.5 trillion of deficit-funded tax cuts, those future ratios have been estimated to increase to roughly 97 percent in 2027 and 160 percent in 2047. These estimates likely substantially understate the worsening of our fiscal trajectory. That’s because they do not account for the increasingly adverse effect on growth of the difficult-to-quantify effects of fiscal deterioration.
We have an imperative need to address our unsustainable longer-term fiscal trajectory with sound economic policies. Few elected officials want to face this fact, but, at the very least, they should not make matters worse. We can only hope that responsible elected officials will prevent this irresponsible tax plan from being adopted."

There might be just enough responsible elected Republican senators to stop this atrocity. These are dangerous times.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Probably sexist, and somewhat sexy

The Daily Mail had a fun/funny article about the sexist Christmas ads of yesteryear:

Sexist Santa! Cringe-worthy Christmas ads from yesteryear show how ironing boards, hoovers and toasters were marketed as ideal presents for women

Yes, we've come a long way, even though these recent reports of widespread sexual harassment indicate that in many ways we haven't come far enough.

(I personally respect women and their rights, and I also think that a fit woman naked is beautiful. Myself and thousands of artists and photographers -- mostly male, admittedly -- are all in agreement here.  And there's a reason that lots and lots and lots of men watch the Victoria's Secret Christmas special, and I daresay that it's not because of all those fancy wings.)

But getting back to the article:

One ad in particular caught my eye.  I expect that most women don't get fantastically excited about boot polish, but even given the lady's antique hairstyle, the figure under that flimsy lingerie is pretty darned fine.  And they even allowed a hint of the presence of what the French call les mamelons to show through.

Tu n'es pas d'accord?

Global warming makes it hotter more often

As if anyone with a functioning brain didn't realize that global warming will make the world get warmer, there's news from the AGU (that's the American Geophysical Union) that makes it clearer:

Human-caused warming increasing likelihood of record-breaking hot years

Yes, that should be fairly obvious.  But what's the statistical breakdown?

Quoting the press release:

"Global annual temperature records show there were 17 record hot years from 1861 to 2005. The new study examines whether these temperature records are being broken more often and if so, whether human-caused global warming is to blame.

The results show human influence has greatly increased the likelihood of record-breaking hot years occurring on a global scale. Without human-caused climate change, there should only have been an average of seven record hot years from 1861 to 2005, not 17. Further, human-caused climate change at least doubled the odds of having a record-breaking hot year from 1926 to 1945 and from 1967 onwards, according to the new study."
Here's something really interesting -- which I have told to numerous global warming denier-types on Twitter, sometimes repeatedly:
"He [Andrew King, lead author of the study] also determined human-caused climate change at least doubled the odds of having a record-breaking hot year from 1926 to 1945 and from 1967 onwards. The odds didn’t increase from 1945 to 1967 because man-made aerosol emissions generated a cooling effect, which counteracted warming due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases."

The press release provides a link to the article (which isn't even officially published yet), and I will do the same here:

Attributing changing rates of temperature record-breaking to anthropogenic influences

Final thought: sometimes you have to clarify the obvious for the benefit of those for which the obvious is not something they want clarified.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Rupert Murdoch's legacy

How Rupert Murdoch destroyed the Republican Party

by Richard Cohen in the Washington Post
"Murdoch’s lifelong passion has been newspapers, but his real power base is Fox News. The network is to Republicans what the Daily Worker was to American communists — the only trusted news source. With the possible exception of the way the once isolationist Chicago Tribune dominated the Midwest, there has never been anything like it. In the most recent presidential campaign, fully 40 percent of Trump voters said their main source of news was Fox News. Just 8 percent of them relied primarily on CNN — enough, nevertheless, to send Donald Trump baying at the moon about fake news."

And we wonder why some people would vote for Roy Moore even if he was a convicted child molester?

A Niklas Bendtner sighting!

Denmark played Ireland today for a spot in the World Cup tournament.  It was Ireland's first chance to get in for quite awhile, so the Irish were pretty excited.

Denmark played it cool and dominated, winning 5-1. 

The late highlight was an appearance by Niklas Bendtner, put in for the last couple of minutes.  But he saw action, drawing a penalty and converting the penalty kick.

I'm not sure what kind of shape he's in, but he's obviously still on the Denmark national team.  And it's noteworthy for the Danes, because they missed the tournament in 2014.

Bendtner (the Dane in red on the right) played in the first game of the playoff, too