June 7th, 2016

#5227: The return of the blank sun

It's been four days since there were any sunspots.

The sunspot cycle is eleven years long. At the solar minimum in 2009 we went 250-odd days without a sunspot, something that's highly unusual even for a solar minimum. There were 51 spotless days in 2010, 2 in 2011, and then we waited until 2014 for another one.

The one spotless day in 2014 occurred at solar maximum. At solar maximum there should be no spotless days. At this point in the sunspot cycle we should be about where we were in 2011. Next solar minimum is 2020.

Hope for more sunspots. Weak sunspot cycles are synonymous with global cooling, and if it gets too cold we start having ice ages.

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Speaking of which, Arse Technica attempts to dismiss the about-face that the eco-loony community did after the 1970s were over. The science, they gravely intone, always said that warming would happen.

No, it hasn't.

The eco-doomsayers have always flip-flopped about what they claimed was happening. Warming, cooling, warming, cooling, warming, cooling--as long as science has known about ice ages, the dire predictions of catastrophic eco-something have alternated with the decades. The scientific reasons were always laid out with exactly the same certainty that the very same human activity was the cause of wildly different effects.

If you want to claim that particulates in emissions were going to cause global cooling, you need only look at China, which has taken the US' place as the leading emitter of particulates. If the United States' particulate emissions were enough to cool the planet and cause an ice age, I would submit that we're not out of the woods yet.

If, however, you believe (as I do) that humans have very little impact on global climate, and that the climate is changing due to natural forcings over which we have no control whatsoever, you recognize all this scaremongering for what it is: horseshit.

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Here is a map of states where the local economy sucks. Because taxes!

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Big surprise: if you let a boy compete in girls' athletics, he wins every time. And the simple fact is, the kid is a boy. He may wish he were a girl, and he may have a delusion that he is a girl, but he is a boy and he has the musculature and the skeleton of a male, which means that he is able to run faster and push harder than a woman.

But, yeah, let's completely upend our civilization for the sake of some 20,000 people.

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The commie-lib school faculty will find an excuse to censor political speech they don't like. That's been true of public schools for decades.

"The other kids don't like it." No, you don't like it. Why don't you just be honest? Oh yeah, that's right; because if you have the kid remove the hat because you don't like it, you're engaging in censorship and can get in trouble for it.

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Besides, honesty is for suckers, right? So, China is underreporting its unemployment rate by a factor of three. Sound familiar? That certainly sounds like what the US' own BLS is doing with our unemployment figures.

And for the same reason. Look: if the unemployment figures over the past decade had been reported honestly, the Government Party would long since have found itself dangling from lampposts all over the country. By making up more convenient numbers and having the propaganda wing disseminate them, the Party can attempt to convince people that the problem is not pandemic.

Then comes Trump, though, and the preference cascade.

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Tuesday, and it couldn't come soon enough.

It was so blissfully cool last night I needed a blanket to stay warm. Good sleeping weather, as they say, and I slept like a man drugged.

It's cool today, too, and that'll make cutting the grass easier. I also have to do some brake inspections; both the Jeep and the Toyota need examination. Hope that doesn't turn into a big deal, but the Toyota's rear end is squeaking a bit and the Jeep has made some sounds, too.

Plus side: I know how to do brake jobs.

#5228: No. Oh, no. NO NO NO NO NO.

Apparently a "brokered convention" is still on the table.

Trump has the delegates. He's won the primaries. If the GOP rewrites the convention rules so that they can nominate whoever they want, and completely ignore the expressed will of the majority of the party, what's the bloody point of having primaries? At that point the party is no longer representative of the populace in general but of a select, narrow band of elites.

And--worse--whoever the GOP fronts in place of Trump won't be able to win the election, because a lot of GOP voters are either going to stay home (since the GOPe ignored them yet again, as they have consistently for the past sixteen years) or they're going to vote for someone else. Ace says that his raison d'etre is "BEAT HILLARY CLINTON" but if the GOP ignores the express will of its voters no one they put up will win.

Unless the whole frickin' ball of wax is fixed and it's GOP's turn to win this year. Which, it must be said, would not much surprise me at this point, considering how eager the GOPe is to vote for Hillary Clinton if they don't get their way.

Even if the GOP fronts Ryan (or whoever) and he manages to win, it still means the end of the GOP as a serious political party. The rank-and-file, people like me, will leave and never vote GOP again. And I mean never, never, EVER.

You want to beat Hillary Clinton? Then you'd better get the GOP behind Trump, because he's the nominee, and ignoring the expressed will of the voters is only going to lose you the election. And if this is truly the "most important election in history"--which I doubt, because you assholes say that every two years--I'd think you'd be circling the wagons around someone who obviously has a shitton of grassroots support and who could easily walk to the Presidency if you let him.

Which you're not.

#5229: Oh, yeah, that grass is CUT.

I'm really glad I was able to get it cut today, because it really, really needed it.

It's not just that it rained while I was trying to cut it last time and I had to stop; it's that it's grown like crazy in the two weeks or so since then. I got the east 40 cut last time--it was the immediate back yard where I had to stop due to deluge--but it was long and shaggy and looked like crap. The front yard, too. It's been raining too much; I haven't had good weather when I've had time off from work. Today that changed, finally. I didn't really want to cut the grass, but it sorely needed it.

So: got the tractor out and whacked it all back. And this time, because the weather didn't start making with the thunderstorms, I was able to finish all the tractor work and get out the pusher, and got the trimming done; then I got out the weed whacker and had a go at some of the worst of that, too.

Result: the yard now looks 100% better than it did.

One of the problems I've had with the tractor is how unevenly it cuts the front yard. When I cut north-south, it comes out uneven, with a sawtooth profile; so the first time I cut it this year I had the brilliant idea of cutting it east-west, going up and down the (gentle) slope instead of across it--and it looks much better for only a little more effort.

I keep thinking I've got to get the loppers out and whack back some of the brush, but so far I haven't managed it--I haven't had the energy for it--but that's not an emergency, anyway.

It really doesn't take a lot of effort to keep your yard reasonably neat. You just need not be a total screwoff, is all.