Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Saudi's are an important American ally

Saudi Arabia is Sunni, contains the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina, has the respect of its Arab neighbors, has a working relationship (abet under the table) with Israel, and has both oil and oil money running out its ears.  All good Moslems are supposed to make a journey to Mecca (the Hadj) in Saudi at least once in a lifetime.  All in all, having the Saudi's on our side helps us dealing with all the other players in the middle east. 
   The disappearance, most likely murder, of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, may well break up our good relations with Saudi.  The TV news is saying that Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents inside the Saudi consulate at Istanbul.  I'm never all the sure that the TV news has it right, but today it's all I have to go on.  If the TV newsies have it right, we have a problem.  Much as we might like to continue our good relationships with the Saudi's, it will become politically difficult-to-impossible to ignore the outrage among the American electorate and Congressmen.  This outrage will likely force us to take action against the Saudi's.  And things will go down hill from there. 
  I have to think that the Saudi's have really botched this one.  Offing a political enemy, on foreign soil, is so provocative as to make me wonder it the Saudi's have there heads screwed on right.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Inferno, World at War 1939-1945, Max Hastings 2011

A worm's eye view of WWII.  It's 700 pages.  It covers the European War and the far eastern war.  It dwells on killings, casualties, cruelties, concentration camps, civilian hardships, prisoners of war, Gestapo atrocities, anti semetism,  ship sinkings, the holocaust, and every other horrible event the occured in the period.  Little discussion of the causes of the war, the failing of the west to stand up to Hitler, the reasons for the astonishing German victories of 1940, the means the allies used to finally crush Hitler.  In short, a lot of colorful, if miserable, stories of little people getting stomped on, little discussion of how the war was fought and won, little discussion of the future effects of WWII.
   The author, Max Hastings, has written a fair number of other books on politics and military history.  Some of them are less down beat than this one.   

Friday, October 12, 2018

Annie the Kuster has a new TV ad

The ad claims that Annie passed a new law to reduce opioid smuggling into New Hampshire.  Since she is a US congressional rep presumably this was a federal law.  Strange, I don't remember ever hearing or reading about this before Annie started running this election commercial just the other day.  I wonder what the number of her bill was.  I wonder what her bill really says. 

New Hampshire Greenies release a new state energy plan

I heard about this on NHPR yesterday.  The greenie's plan calls for 100% renewable energy state wide by 2040.  Sounds great, but...  They did not describe just what they mean by "renewable".  At a guess they are talking about wind and solar.  Usually the greenies don't consider hydro to be renewable, even though it rains a lot and refills the reservoirs.
   They did not explain how we keep the lights on since solar doesn't produce any electricity after the sun goes down.  Even up here in the White Mountains, we have long calm spells of no wind.  How do the greenies plan to keep the lights on after dark on a calm night?  This is important.  My furnace doesn't work when the power goes out.  That means my pipes freeze in winter.  I am not the only electricity user who needs dependable 24/7 electricity. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Some advice for Google Maps software weenies

1. Fix the bug that causes a blank sheet of expensive paper wasted before getting down to the business of printing the real map. 
2.  Remember that white is free, other colors consume expensive inkjet ink.  Make the background of the printed map white.  The road map people had this figured out long ago.  Don't make the roads white, they don't show up against the grey background.  Roads should be bright primary colors.  Color ought to indicate the quality of the  road, from interstate down to dirt. 
3.  Make the printed map fill the page.  Most of us have inkjet or laser printers that handle A size paper (8 1/2 by 11).  That gives you a target to shoot for. 
4.  Once you get it working, if you are smart enough to program it, don't change it.  Remember, in software there are NO HARMLESS CHANGES. 

Archiving all the TV newsbroadcasts

I listened to this piece on NPR yesterday.  There is an organization that has been archiving all TV news broadcasts going back to he 1960s.  Cool.  They went on to describe various obsolete technologies, used on the older archive, videotape, VHS, and how they had transcribed everything to DVD's.  And, they plan to move the entire archive to "the cloud" real soon now. 
  Me, I have serious doubts about the reliability of "the cloud", especially after natural disasters or war.  I'd feel better with racks of tapes or DVD's, and the machines to play them, in a nice deep underground site that I owned, outright.  A site on high ground and away from city centers. 
   For that matter, I have never read anything about the life of a home burned DVD.  Are they truly permanent? Or does the data fade away after ten years or so?  The old floppy disks would become unreadable after a few years in a desk drawer. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Kavanaugh squeaks by the Senate. TV Newsies still talking about it

I was hoping, after the full Senate voted to approve Justice Kavanaugh yesterday that the newsies would move on.  Surely there are other things of interest  happening somewhere in the wider USA or the wider world.   The TV newsies are still talking about the Kavanaugh appointment.  Is that all they know about?