Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Gibson Guitar Company gives the federal government the finger.

The Gibson Guitar Company gives the federal government the finger.

A couple of years ago, the Feds raided the Gibson factory here in Music City, SWAT-team style, and shut the whole company down, allegedly for possessing illegally imported wood. From what I gather, it had mostly to do with how the shipping containers were labeled. Anyway, it didn’t merit a commando operation.

It was a disproportionate action on dubious grounds. Gibson later settled for $300,000. But not until after it had already lost far more than that by virtue of being forced to shut down operations.

This week Gibson has announced the “Government Series” of guitars, to celebrate the end of its tussle with the eager enforcers of the U.S. Customs Department. It’s a series of guitars made, purportedly, with the very same wood that was seized by the United States government, which was later returned at the end of the fiasco.

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A new harvest of vegetables in space!

A new harvest of vegetables in space!

Notice that this research is a partnership of the Russians and an American university. NASA is not included. When I wrote about this subject for Air & Space a few years ago, the American researcher explained that there was too much bureaucracy working with NASA. Moreover, the Russians were much more knowledgeable about crop research in space, as they had been doing it for decades already on their Salyut and Mir stations.

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Sick children in Washington state denied insurance coverage for specialty treatment at a children’s hospital.

Obamacare marches on: Sick children in Washington state denied insurance coverage for specialty treatment at a children’s hospital.

And then there’s this: A woman with a brain tumor finds she can’t afford treatment any longer, partly because her fees are higher and partly because her employer has cut her hours to avoid Obamacare.

In many cases, people will begin to negotiate directly with their doctors and hospitals. In the long run, this is actually a good thing, as it gets rid of the middle-man insurance company, which shouldn’t really be involved for most routine treatments.

In the short run it is a disaster, however. And just because Obamacare is causing this shift is not a reason to think Obamacare is good. The law was specifically touted by Obama and the Democrats as a way to reduce costs and get everyone health insurance. We now know that was an outright lie, as the law is doing the exact opposite.

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What life has been like for one engineer who works at SpaceX.

What life has been like for one engineer who works at SpaceX.

Key quote:

According to Pearce, the best and the worst things about working for Musk are actually the same. “He doesn’t feel the need to make reasonable requests,” Pearce says. “The whole idea of SpaceX is not reasonable. The idea that a dot-com millionaire could take [US] $100 million and start a rocket company that within 13 years would be taking supplies to the International Space Station, that’s on track to take crew to the International Space Station — that’s not reasonable.”

But SpaceX did it.

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One in five enrollees in Obamacare are likely to have their policy canceled for not paying their premium.

Finding out what’s in it: One in five enrollees in Obamacare are likely to have their policy canceled for not paying their premium.

And why have they not paid their premiums? “We figure either those people had a change of heart or thought it was too expensive.”

Wait until later this year, when the cancellation notices go out from small businesses. People will then be so happy the Democrats and Obama were willing to shut the government down in October to keep their law in place.

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The dislike of Obamacare has risen, among the uninsured.

Finding out what’s in it: The dislike of Obamacare has risen, among the uninsured.

Weren’t the uninsured the group of people Obamacare was designed to specifically help? If their rejection of the law has risen, it provides more evidence of the law’s failure.

Which is no surprise to anyone willing to listen to any analysis of the law by any conservatives these past four years.

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New Yorkers react to Obama’s State of the Union speech, before it happens.

No wonder they all vote Democrat: New Yorkers react to Obama’s State of the Union speech, before it happens.

The best question: “So, what did you think about Obama’s faking a heart attack at the end?” And the answer? Watch.

And yes, it is almost certain that every single one of the individuals in that video voted Democrat, as about 80 percent of Manhattan’s population voted for Obama in 2012.

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NOAA fudges the numbers to turn a January cooling trend since 1930 into a warming trend.

More climate manipulation: NOAA fudges the numbers to turn a January cooling trend since 1930 into a warming trend.

Adjusting the numbers might be justified in certain situations, but NOAA never explains why, and the adjustments they impose always create the illusion of a warming trend, even if the raw numbers say otherwise. If the adjustments were honest, I would expect them to move the numbers up and down much more randomly. That these adjustments only go one way — in favor of global warming — either suggests they are unconsciously allowing their biases to influence their work, or they are intentionally allowing their biases to influence their work.

Either way, their work is meaningless and untrustworthy, and should be ignored as less than worthless.

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Better medicine through engineering

For me, the last eight months have been very interesting when it comes to medical treatment. I have had my left hand rebuilt to eliminate chronic pain, I had my heart inspected to make sure it was working properly, and this week I had the retina in my right eye re-attached using some very clever engineering.

For once, this essay will not be about the politics of medicine and the disaster of Obamacare, which is still ongoing. Instead, I will outline how freedom and human creativity has now made possible a whole range of modern medical techniques that are either improving the quality of life for patients or literally saving their lives.
» Read more

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Illinois officials have ordered an eleven-year-old to close her cupcake business that was earning her $200 a month.

We’re here to help you: Illinois officials have ordered an eleven-year-old to close her cupcake business that was earning her $200 a month.

“They called and said they were shutting us down,” said Chloe’s mother, Heather Stirling.

According to the Post-Dispatch, health officials informed the Stirlings that they would have to “buy a bakery or build her a kitchen separate from the one we have” for Chloe to continue selling cupcakes. “Obviously, we can’t do that,” Heather said. “We’ve already given her a little refrigerator to keep her things in, and her grandparents bought her a stand mixer. But a separate kitchen? Who can do that?” Chloe was charging $10 for a dozen cupcakes and $2 specialty cupcakes. “I’m saving for a bakery,” Chloe said in the piece that got her into trouble.

“The rules are the rules. It’s for the protection of the public health,” said health department spokeswoman Amy Yeager. “The guidelines apply to everyone. People will react how they choose to react. But it is our job.”

If this doesn’t illustrate why the rules are a bad idea in the first place, I don’t know what will. A free society allows for this kind of creative innovation, and also allows the possibility that maybe all cupcakes won’t be perfect.

Sadly, we don’t live in that free society any longer.

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Multiple U.S. science agencies have been accused of fudging data to fake the existence of global warming.

Someone else has noticed: Multiple U.S. science agencies have been accused of fudging data to fake the existence of global warming.

The “adjustment” schemes in the official U.S. dataset are so drastic, according to Goddard’s analysis, that they managed to “turn a 90 year cooling trend into a warming trend,” he said, suggesting that there may be a “software bug” at work. “Bottom line is that the [NOAA National Climatic Data Center] U.S. temperature record is completely broken, and meaningless,” Goddard concluded. “Adjustments that used to go flat after 1990 now go up exponentially. Adjustments which are documented as positive are implemented as negative.”

Respected climatologist and NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer actually showed evidence of what Goddard described as early as April of 2012, saying that “virtually all of the USHCN warming since 1973 appears to be the result of adjustments NOAA has made to the data.” Commenting on the latest findings, Dr. Spencer said that his own examination of the data and corrections to account for urban heat island (UHI) effects “support Steve’s contention that there’s something funny going on in the USHCN data.” He also called the NOAA methodology for adjusting the data “opaque” and said he believes it is prone to serious errors.

This article is essentially covering what I have already noted, that much of the data coming from NASA and NOAA has been seriously compromised, with past temperatures adjusted downward without any clear justification in order to make it appear as if the climate has warmed in recent decades.

I will be talking about this very issue tonight on Coast to Coast.

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The National Science Foundation wants to get rid of some of its older big telescopes, and you can buy them!

The National Science Foundation wants to get rid of some of its older big telescopes, and you can buy them!

We are not talking small here. The biggest is the Green Bank Radio Telescope in West Virginia, which though only fourteen years old is unable to compete scientificially with the new large radio telescope arrays. In truth, when it was mostly built to satisfy the pork ambitions of the late Democratic Senator Robert Byrd.

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In a spacewalk earlier this week, two Russian astronauts on ISS successfully installed the commercial UrtheCast cameras.

In a spacewalk earlier this week, two Russian astronauts on ISS successfully installed the commercial UrtheCast cameras.

The cameras cost $17-million and are capable of beaming down images and high-definition video from the Russian part of the ISS to UrtheCast, a small Vancouver company that struck a deal with the Russian space agency to have its devices blasted into space on a Soyuz rocket and installed in exchange for imagery captured over Russia.

There had been a problem installing these cameras on an earlier spacewalk last month, so this was the second attempt.

Once operational, these cameras will also provide a continuous and free live feed of the Earth for anyone who wishes to view it.

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Eye update

An update on my eye problem. I just returned from the doctor. The retina has reattached itself. It looks like all will heal properly over the next week or so, assuming I continue to be diligent about treatment.

I will probably not resume posting until tomorrow, as today I still have to keep my head positioned a certain way so that the treatment can work properly. (I will explain this all when I can sit in front of the computer for long enough to write something substantial.)

Regardless, thank you to everyone who has wished me well. I appreciate it more than you know.

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Posting to be light

For the next few days posting will be very light, as today I developed a detached retina in the right eye and will undergo treatment tomorrow to fix it. The doctor is optimistic, but I will be unable to sit and stare at the computer much after tomorrow’s procedure until probably Wednesday.

If all goes well I should resume posting on Wednesday, with a two hour appearance that night on Coast to Coast to discuss climate, environmentalism, and the corruption of science because of politics.

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“The most dangerous years of the Obama presidency are upon us.”

“The most dangerous years of the Obama presidency are upon us.”

His conclusion says it all:

Holding the House and taking back the Senate in 2014, while extremely important, cannot stop someone who considers himself above it all. A united front is needed for the next three years. So what is Republican and Congressional leadership planning?

A war on the Tea Party.

This is no time to petty internal politics. It is time to unite against the threat the Democrats pose, which they have now repeatedly admitted to quite openly, which is to deny their opponents any say in the political process.

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NASA data has confirmed that the flat global climate temperature that started around 1998 has continued in 2013.

New NASA data has confirmed that the flat climate temperatures that started around 1998 has continued in 2013.

The link above catches the real story that most mainstream news organizations missed, focusing instead on NASA’s weak claim that last year was one of the warmest on record.

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Something is wrong with China’s lunar rover.

Something is wrong with China’s lunar rover.

The link above is exceedingly short, one sentence, and describes the problem as an “abnormity” which makes no sense, so there is as yet no clear idea what the issue is.

A longer report is here, but it doesn’t add much, other than the “abnormality” is related to “mechanical control.”

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A newspaper chain plans to assemble a state-by-state database of every person permitted to carry a concealed weapon.

Freedom under attack: A newspaper chain plans to assemble a state-by-state database of every person permitted to carry a concealed weapon.

The CEO of the chain has released a statement saying that

[Civitas Media] never had any plans or intentions of publishing in print or online lists of holders of “conceal and carry” permits. Nor will Civitas Media develop databases of permit holders. A poorly crafted internal memo meant to highlight editorial discussions and planning incorrectly indicated that such a database was being planned; it has been considered and rejected.

Maybe so, but that such an idea was even considered by some of the company’s editors tells you a great deal about what those editors believe in, and it surely isn’t privacy, the second amendment, or personal rights.

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