17 January 2018

Trump clump #3


(For a background on this type of linkdump, see my introductory paragraphs on Trump clump #1 back in August.  Trump clump #2 was in November.  Here's what I've bookmarked since then.)

As of November: "Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Secret Service reportedly spent $7,470 on golf cart rentals for its agents and the president while at Trump's private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, according to federal purchase orders reviewed by USA Today. In total, the publication reports that the Secret Service has spent $144,975 on golf carts in the 11 months since Trump assumed office. Golfing is such an integral part of Trump’s routine — he's been on 81 trips to golf properties while in office — that the Secret Service had to sign a ongoing contract with Golf Cart & Utility Distributors, a Florida cart rental company, which now amounts to $69,430."

Op-ed from early December: "Donald Trump’s Jerusalem statement is an act of diplomatic arson."

Are you old enough to remember the Talking Heads' video Once in a Lifetime ?  Here it is reconfigured to incorporate Donald Trump:


"On Thursday morning, Melania Trump followed the annual ritual done by all first ladies in the modern era. The @flotus Twitter account posted a photo of herself with President Donald Trump at the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii. But the tweet listed the date of the Pearl Harbor Attack as “11/7/1941,” which was a month off."

In December, the editorial board of USA Today took the gloves off:
With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office. Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low...

A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.  

This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.
  
Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed...

The nation doesn’t seek nor expect perfect presidents, and some have certainly been deeply flawed. But a president who shows such disrespect for the truth, for ethics, for the basic duties of the job and for decency toward others fails at the very essence of what has always made America great.
Trump tweets plotted by time of day as of November:


"In a speech to graduates of the FBI Academy, Trump talked about calling on Congress to end "chain migration" and "visa lottery," and compared legal immigrants to trash."  Informed discussion thread at Boing Boing.

"The glittering 72-story tower on Panama City’s oceanfront is a standout. Shaped like a sail, it was the tallest building in Latin America when it opened in 2011. It also marked the Trump Organization’s first international licensing venture. And, according to a new report from TED Prize winner Charmian Gooch and her colleagues at Global Witness, this particular building, known as the Trump Ocean Club, is a textbook example of how money gleaned through crime and corruption can enter global markets through what look like legitimate deals. Global Witness’ year-long investigation revealed how members of drug cartels and the Russian mafia used real estate in the building to launder money."

“I watched Alan Dershowitz the other day, he said, No. 1, there is no collusion, No. 2, collusion is not a crime, but even if it was a crime, there was no collusion,” Trump told the newspaper. “And he said that very strongly. He said there was no collusion. And he has studied this thing very closely. I’ve seen him a number of times.” “There is no collusion, and even if there was, it’s not a crime,” he continued. “But there’s no collusion.”

Trump tweet: "We are the highest taxed nation in the world."  Krugman rebuttal tweet: "We are, as pointed out many times, lowest-taxed major advanced nation.  Repetition of this lie shows contempt for the intelligence of the public." 

Trump often cites the rise in the stock market as validation of his presidency.  The Washington Post provides some perspective:


Harper's "Weekly Review" for the end of December offered a scathing summary of recent events.

In January, some reminders re accusations that the Mueller investigation is a Democratic "witch-hunt":  Robert Mueller is a registered Republican, first appointed to a federal position by Ronald Reagan, recently appointed as a Special Counsel by a Republican Deputy Attorney General nominated by a Republican president.

The Atlantic considered this "the most irresponsible tweet in history"
"North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"
"Stand back, everyone.  Stable genius at work":

An article in The Atlantic in January asked "Is there something neurologically wrong with Donald Trump?" - "Viewers of Trump’s recent speeches have begun noticing minor abnormalities in his movements. In November, he used his free hand to steady a small Fiji bottle as he brought it to his mouth [pix at the link]... Then there was an incident of slurred speech [video at the link].. Trump has exhibited a “clear reduction in linguistic sophistication over time” with “simpler word choices and sentence structure.”

A sample Trump day goes like this: "On Tuesday, Trump has his first meeting of the day with Chief of Staff John Kelly at 11 a.m. He then has "Executive Time" for an hour followed by an hour lunch in the private dining room. Then it's another 1 hour 15 minutes of "Executive Time" followed by a 45 minute meeting with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Then another 15 minutes of "Executive Time" before Trump takes his last meeting of the day — a 3:45 p.m. meeting with the head of Presidential Personnel Johnny DeStefano — before ending his official day at 4:15 p.m."

One suggestion on how to pay for the rebuilding of Puerto Rico.

Donald Trump tried to sue Macmillan, publishers of the new Fire and Fury book.  The CEO ("We cannot stand silent. We will not allow any president to achieve by intimidation what our Constitution precludes him or her from achieving in court") and the company's outside counsel responded: "...your attempt to use private contracts to act as a blanket restriction on members of the government speaking to the press is a perversion of contract law and a gross violation of the First Amendment. No court would support such an attempt to silence public servants and the press."  With an interesting comment thread at Boing Boing.

Trump's new ambassador the the Netherlands discovered that he couldn't bullshit Dutch reporters:
“If you are truly an honest and wise man,” another journalist asked, “would you please take back the remark about burned politicians — or name a politician that was burned in the Netherlands?” When Hoekstra, who was born in the Netherlands but raised in Michigan as a staunch social conservative, called for another question, two reporters asked him, “Why don’t you answer the question?” Another told the former member of U.S. Congress, “This is the Netherlands; you have to answer questions.”

Meanwhile" John Feeley, the U.S. ambassador to Panama, has written and submitted a letter of resignation, saying he is leaving the office on principle and no longer feels comfortable serving in the Trump administration."

In response to Donald Trump's comments demeaning some foreign nations, the San Francisco Federal Building was recently illuminated at night.

And finally, last night a special election for the Wisconsin state legislature yielded some surprising results with possible implications for the mid-term elections coming this November:
A month after deep-red Alabama voted for a Democratic senator, a deep-red Wisconsin district rejected a Republican candidate for a state Senate seat.

Patty Schachtner picked up 55 percent of the vote to defeat Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow. She credited the win to her message: "Be kind, be considerate and we need to help people when they're down," she told the Associated Press. She said that "negative mailings" against her from third-party groups likely influenced voters to rally around her.  Schachtner's win is sending alarm bells off in Republican circles, as the district has traditionally been a Republican stronghold. It was carried by Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election — even though he lost Wisconsin overall, as well as by Donald Trump (by a 55-38 margin) during the 2016 presidential election...
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called the loss "a wake-up call for Republicans.


Top photo via Reddit Pics.  "Stable genius" here. Bottom one also via Reddit

I frankly don't enjoy writing these posts, but they seem to be cathartic.  I'll minimize Trump mentions in the blog for the next three months or so, and then do another purge.

The comments are closed for this post, because the comment thread would not be a forum for rational discussion, so lets move on to more interesting matters. 

14 January 2018

Divertimento #144

Bet you can't guess what kind of creature this is in the first ten seconds.  (pine trees in foreground the best clue).

In ten seconds this gentleman illustrates all you need to know about black ice.

Recreation in Rotorua (click the fullscreen icon)

Spinning triple-kick.

Sibling prank.

Illustrating a lack of situational awareness.

Graphic illustration of Pythagorean theorem.

Sandbag-filling machine.

Flying with your family.

Gaussian distribution.

That thing on your leg is called a jumping cactus.  I'll get it off for you.

Office velociraptor.

Tiled access panel.

Trampoline fun.

Incorporating a shadow into graphic design.

Failure to factor in backward movement of the chair.

I wouldn't be eager to eat this pizza, but he's fun to watch.

Australian driver pulls to the side of the road?


Children

Child discovers antigravity.

Child loves his Christmas present.

Hearing-impaired girl learns she's going to become a big sister.

The pure joy of stacking blocks.

Shoveling snow on the deck :-)

Toddler and kitten.


Cats, dogs and other animals.

Nope.  Nope.

Lovin' the beach.

Likes the view.

Making a snow angel.

Carpet snake!!!

Get a cat, they said.  It'll be fun, they said.

Group snuggle.

Shower for a pet bird.

Ski dog totally loves his job.

Rooster hurries to meet his little girl.

If this is a quick brown fox, what does that make her?


Not much time to blog today (very important football game this afternoon); perhaps I'll add pix later.  Gotta go.

Countershading


Superb example of countershading on a Southern right whale dolphin

Photo source.

13 January 2018

Severed foot in the Garden of Earthly Delights


It has been almost two years since I've been able to add any material to the 29 posts in TYWKIWDBI's category of severed feet.   So, a tip of my blogging cap to Miss Cellania at Neatorama, who found one in Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights.

A quick search led me to a claim that "the severed foot is one of the most repeated in the Bosch's panel paintings, appearing in several works, as in the Garden of Delights and in the central panel of the Temptation of St Anthony triptych in Lisbon." Although this is offered as support for the premise that Bosch was depicting sequelae of ergot poisoning, the one pictured above appears to me to be traumatically severed, not withered by occlusive vasculitis.

And speaking of severed feet, by an improbable coincidence, the Washington Post is reporting this week that severed feet continue to wash ashore in the Pacific Northwest.  Those were the odd events that prompted me to create this category for TYWKIWDBI back in 2008.
Sixteen of these detached human feet have been found since 2007 in British Columbia, Canada, and Washington state. Most of these have been right feet. All of them have worn running shoes or hiking boots. Among them: three New Balances, two Nikes and an Ozark Trail.

The most recent one turned up earlier this week.
More information and a video at the link, but no explanation for the phenomenon.

Reposted from 2016 to provide some addenda:
I continue to encounter the odd report of severed feet (and longtime readers occasionally send me links of such incidents).  Rather than put new reports on the front page of the blog, I'm going to convert this post into a linkdump.

Via Nothing to do with Arbroath:
"Three severed human feet found in and around a park are likely to have been educational medical exhibits or from a private collection, an investigation has concluded. The first foot was found by dog walkers in Weston Park East Bath, Somerset, in February. A second was discovered in the garden of a property in Weston Park in July and a third in a garden in nearby Cranwells Park a month later. Avon and Somerset Police said they found no evidence of foul play..."
 A website that sells severed animal feet (dried, salted, or preserved in alcohol).

Severed feet as a theme for Cake Wrecks.

At Rio's 2016 summer Olympics: "A beach goer Wednesday discovered human body parts that had washed up on the shore, right in front of the Olympic Beach Volleyball Arena on Rio's famed Copacabana beach. A dismembered foot and another body part still unidentified was found..."

"The freelance journalist told the Bath Chronicle: "It was just like CSI. There were a few of us out walking our dogs and then a lady came running over to find us and said there's a foot in the hedge."

"The Sonoma County coroner's office is investigating a foot in a shoe that washed ashore at Doran Regional Park south of Bodega Bay" (Feb 2017)

"After a shoe with a human foot inside turned up on a dock in Charleston, South Carolina, investigators are trying to figure out whose it was and how it got there." (May 2017)

A severed foot in a tennis shoe was discovered in a county park in St. Louis, Missouri.  The park was adjacent to the Mississippi River, so it could have come from an aquatic incident.

A tip of the blogging cap to long-time readers Phil and Bub, who remembered this series of posts and sent me a link about yet another foot washing ashore in Canada (13 since 2007...).  This one was remarkable for having the tibia and fibula still attached (photo at right).

I was pleased to see in Neatorama today a link to a Wikipedia page that provides comprehensive coverage of this topic (at least as it relates to the Pacific Northwest.).

Optimal car routes


Not of any practical use, but quite interesting in and of itself.

Via the Data Is Beautiful subreddit.

The rivers of Wales


Via the Map Porn subreddit.

"Water transfer painting"


TMI (14 minutes), so you'll need to skip through the video.  The technique facilitates the transfer of detailed images onto complex surfaces.  Interesting.

Computer-generated waterfall images

In case you were curious what an "arm vagina" is

From an op-ed in The Guardian:
It’s hard for women to keep track of which specific body part is currently being shamed to death, when it seems to be open season on all of them. But even by the demented standards of female self-flagellation, the emergence of “arm vagina” – aka the slight fold of flesh created where the average arm meets the average body – is a low point.

If you’re reading this in a public place and unable immediately to check whether you have arm vagina, then let me help; you almost certainly do. Everyone does. It’s basically a normal human armpit, which tends to involve some spare capacity in the flesh department, what with it being difficult to raise your arm otherwise.

But in Hollywood, having a freakishly fat-free underarm, as taut and smooth as a plastic Barbie doll’s, is apparently the new goal...

From size zero to the “thigh gap”, or having legs so stick thin they don’t touch in the middle, today’s freaky A-list neurosis so easily becomes tomorrow’s fitness blogger’s goal, and next week’s impossible aspiration for your daughter. This stuff is infectious, and it stops being a frivolous issue when over half of British teenage girls say they’re unhappy with their looks, and when a smaller but still heartbreaking number feel driven to starve and punish the flesh that they have begun to see as repulsive.

Somehow we need to get across to girls that this is bonkers, unreal, insane: twisted norms that have nothing to do with their own lives or with the boys they will encounter...
Sample pic here.

Fifteen children age 17 or under


 And what's truly remarkable is that none of them were multiples -


The New York Times story said the father won a prize.  Seems the prize should have been awarded to the mother.

Reminiscent of a Monty Python sketch.

Via BoingBoing.

12 January 2018

Marble run with magnets


Reposted from 2016 to add this awesome marble run choreographed to music:


With a hat tip to Miss C at Neatorama.

I wish Earth had rings


Stay with the video past the 1 minute mark to see how the rings would look from the surface.

Reposted from 2012 because it's still a cool video (I hadn't thought about the rings lighting up the nighttime sky).  It's low-res but still looks pretty good in the fullscreen mode.

Dramatic ice deposits on Mars

The slope rises as high as London's Big Ben tower. Beneath its ruddy layer of dirt is a sheet of ice 300 feet thick that gives the landscape a blue-black hue... Planetary scientists located eight of these geological features, called scarps, on the Red Planet...

Open University's Matt Balme, a planetary scientist in Britain who did not participate in this study, said the key findings were the color images of a bluish tint. That indicates a sub-layer that is “somehow compositionally different” than the red dirt. It is unlikely that the frozen sheets are a mix of water and soil. “If the conclusions of the paper are correct,” he said, “you’re looking at something that's almost pure ice.”

The scarps exist along the planet's middle latitudes, ruling out glaciers that migrated from the poles. The study authors propose that these ice sheets formed when thick snows blanketed Mars.
More at The Washington Post.

Pigs vs. dogs as truffle-hunters

"According to the few truffle hunters I’ve talked to, sows are actually better truffle hunters than dogs, but dogs can be more easily trained not to eat the truffle they find. Prodan told me the reason for porcine superiority is that the truffle contains the steroidal pheromone androstenone, which also happens to be produced in the saliva of male pigs. Thus, female pigs, particularly when they’re in heat, go hog-wild when they pick up the scent of a truffle."
More at the BBC.

Introducing the "pelican spider"



As explained by Smithsonian:
Formally known as Archaeids, the creatures are perhaps best described by their common name: “pelican spiders.” Each spider in this group boasts an extended, arching carapace and two extra-long mouthparts (called chelicerae), creating the illusion of a “neck” and “beak.” The resemblance to pelicans is uncanny.
They live in Madagascar and eat other spiders.  And as the "Archaeid" family name suggests, this is an ancient lineage, probably dating back 180 million years to before Madagascar was an island.  More at the link.
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