Perhaps the weakest link in the US electrical system

This talks about the fire risk of extension cords.


This Was A Terrible Recap.

The two games Magnus had as White were quick draws, playing the exact same moves.  Then the World Champion Magnus Carlsen gives his honest (blunt) assessment...


However, in the video, the two games he had as Black were pretty interesting.  He won one and lost one.


Tucker makes big announcement about Rush Limbaugh's successors

Since the passing of Rush Limbaugh, his show has remained on the air using a combination of guest hosts and classic clips by Rush.  Because of this, I have only taken a minor interest in the show.  I have been waiting for the show to move on since I find Ben Shaprio far more interesting than a dead talk show host.  I have my doubts about his newly announced successors because nobody can really replace Rush Limbaugh.

NVidia+ARM: Everyone's got it wrong

There is a huge computer processor hardware war going on right now.  I'm going to try to be as accurate as I can here...

Since most software is written for Microsoft Windows, people were forced to use x86 chips, which are mostly made by Intel, except for AMD which has a license going back to the 1980s to make x86 clone chips.  

Intel has been falling behind AMD.  They were slow to release chips with smaller than 14-nanometer circuits, with the latest offering using 10 nanometers.  However, AMD has already released 7-nanometer chips with plans to release 5 and 6 nanometer chips soon.

There is a 30+ year war over design philosophy.  The x86 chips have huge instruction sets, called Complex Instruction Set Computers (CISC), making them more versatile.  However, in the late 1980s, ARM starting developing Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) processors that could run more efficiently by limiting the instruction sets to what was most important.    RISC chips typically run faster while using less power, making them ideal for mobile devices. 

ARM RISC chips recently have caught up and even surpassed most x86 chips.  Apple developed their own versions of ARM chips for their mobile devices that were starting to rival desktop processors.  Then Apple stunned everyone by releasing their ARM-based 5-nanometer M1 processor for their new laptops and lower-end computers.  The M1 chip is surprisingly powerful rivaling some of the best x86 chips while using far less energy.  The M1 processor can also run many Apple x86 programs using emulation while still maintaining strong performance.

Reportedly Apple has plans to release much more powerful versions of the M1 chip for their high-end computers.

The x86 oligopoly is starting to fade.  Microsoft has released versions of Windows that can run on ARM processors, although these are not compatible with x86 programs.  There have been ideas around for a long time that have started to emerge again, such as Just In Time Compilation, and Virtual Machines such as Java that will allow software to be developed that can run on different kinds of hardware.  In addition, many companies are starting to make software for both x86 and ARM.

With Nvidia acquiring ARM for 40 billion dollars, they are looking to become the new dominant chip manufacturer.



Indiana number of new cases

In six months, we have gone statewide from thousands of new cases per day to hundreds.


Earth's Climate every 100,00 years

Something very interesting happens to the Earth's Climate roughly every 100,000 years.  The Earth's temperature very quickly spikes up 8 to 15 degrees Celcius, followed by at least 10,000 years of relatively stable warm temperatures.  This is then followed by a rapid decline in temperature leading to 80,000 to 90,000 years of glaciation where half of North America is covered by glaciers, during which time the Earth slowly gets colder.  Then the cycle repeats.  The last time we experienced rapid warming was about 11,000 years ago.  All of human civilization arose during this brief warm period, thanks in part to the fertile crescent in the Middle East making grains more available.

We should be in the cool-down phase by now, but anthropogenic greenhouse gases have at least temporarily delayed it.  It was predicted in the 1970s that we were entering a new ice age.  A period from 1500 to 1850 has been labeled "the little ice age", however, atmospheric CO2 levels started to go up in the 1800s.  Some have said that no matter what we do we can't avoid the next period of mass glaciation roughly 10,00 years from now, while others have suggested that we can delay it.  Previous ice ages have caused massive declines in the human population.

These temperature cycles are caused by the roughly 5 different Malankovich cycles aligning with each other to produce rapid warming.  These cycles affect the Earth's orbit and its axial tilt.  The Earth is currently halfway between its maximum tilt and its minimum tilt, which has a 41,000-year cycle.  At the maximum tilt, the glaciers melt more, reducing the Earth's albedo, which means that less sunlight is reflected into space.  The increasing temperatures cause the oceans to release more of their stored CO2 into the atmosphere, which creates a temporary positive feedback loop.  The warming effect of CO2 in the atmosphere is logarithmic, which means that it reaches a saturation point, producing a temporarily stable warm climate.

I don't understand why the cycle is every 100,000 years instead of every 41,000 years, and this Wikipedia article talks about this being an "issue" that they don't understand.  Prior to about 3 million years ago, the cycle was every 41,000 years.


NASA traces source of mysterious fast radio bursts sending signals to Earth - CBS News

Don't panic, but mysterious sources have been sending radio signals to Earth for years. Now, scientists have tracked down some of their origins — and they were surprised by what they found.

And no, it's still not aliens.  

Wuhan Lab

The State Department acknowledged in January 2021 the "United States government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019." It found that they'd experienced symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 "and common seasonal illness."

But, the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, citing a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report, went further and said these workers required hospital care. The report said it was not entirely unusual for people in China to visit hospitals instead of primary care physicians, but the report could lend weight to the theory that the coronavirus leaked from a laboratory.

US learned several Wuhan lab researchers sickened before COVID-19 outbreak: former State Department official | Fox News

Science Proves Dogs Really Love Us But For a Surprising Reason

The Discovery that Revealed Ancient Humans Navigated the Seas 130,000 Years Ago | Ancient Origins

The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?

"We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin," a group of virologists and others wrote in the Lancet on February 19, 2020, when it was really far too soon for anyone to be sure what had happened. Scientists "overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife," they said, with a stirring rallying call for readers to stand with Chinese colleagues on the frontline of fighting the disease.

Contrary to the letter writers' assertion, the idea that the virus might have escaped from a lab invoked accident, not conspiracy. It surely needed to be explored, not rejected out of hand. A defining mark of good scientists is that they go to great pains to distinguish between what they know and what they don't know. By this criterion, the signatories of the Lancet letter were behaving as poor scientists: They were assuring the public of facts they could not know for sure were true.

It later turned out that the Lancet letter had been organized and drafted by Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance of New York. Daszak's organization funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. If the SARS2 virus had indeed escaped from research he funded, Daszak would be potentially culpable. This acute conflict of interest was not declared to the Lancet's readers. To the contrary, the letter concluded, "We declare no competing interests."


A second statement that had enormous influence in shaping public attitudes was a letter (in other words an opinion piece, not a scientific article) published on 17 March 2020 in the journal Nature Medicine. Its authors were a group of virologists led by Kristian G. Andersen of the Scripps Research Institute. "Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus," the five virologists declared in the second paragraph of their letter.

Unfortunately, this was another case of poor science, in the sense defined above. True, some older methods of cutting and pasting viral genomes retain tell-tale signs of manipulation. But newer methods, called "no-see-um" or "seamless" approaches, leave no defining marks.


First, they say that the spike protein of SARS2 binds very well to its target, the human ACE2 receptor, but does so in a different way from that which physical calculations suggest would be the best fit. Therefore the virus must have arisen by natural selection, not manipulation.

If this argument seems hard to grasp, it's because it's so strained. The authors' basic assumption, not spelt out, is that anyone trying to make a bat virus bind to human cells could do so in only one way.


Shi returned to her lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and resumed the work she had started on genetically engineering coronaviruses to attack human cells. How can we be so sure?

Because, by a strange twist in the story, her work was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). And grant proposals that funded her work, which are a matter of public record, specify exactly what she planned to do with the money.

The grants were assigned to the prime contractor, Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance, who subcontracted them to Shi. Here are extracts from the grants for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. ("CoV" stands for coronavirus and "S protein" refers to the virus's spike protein.)

"Test predictions of CoV inter-species transmission. Predictive models of host range (i.e. emergence potential) will be tested experimentally using reverse genetics, pseudovirus and receptor binding assays, and virus infection experiments across a range of cell cultures from different species and humanized mice."

"We will use S protein sequence data, infectious clone technology, in vitro and in vivo infection experiments and analysis of receptor binding to test the hypothesis that % divergence thresholds in S protein sequences predict spillover potential."

What this means, in non-technical language, is that Shi set out to create novel coronaviruses with the highest possible infectivity for human cells. Her plan was to take genes that coded for spike proteins possessing a variety of measured affinities for human cells, ranging from high to low. She would insert these spike genes one by one into the backbone of a number of viral genomes ("reverse genetics" and "infectious clone technology"), creating a series of chimeric viruses. These chimeric viruses would then be tested for their ability to attack human cell cultures ("in vitro") and humanized mice ("in vivo"). And this information would help predict the likelihood of "spillover," the jump of a coronavirus from bats to people.

The methodical approach was designed to find the best combination of coronavirus backbone and spike protein for infecting human cells. The approach could have generated SARS2-like viruses, and indeed may have created the SARS2 virus itself with the right combination of virus backbone and spike protein.

It cannot yet be stated that Shi did or did not generate SARS2 in her lab because her records have been sealed, but it seems she was certainly on the right track to have done so.


On December 9, 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic became generally known, Daszak gave an interview in which he talked in glowing terms of how researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been reprogramming the spike protein and generating chimeric coronaviruses capable of infecting humanized mice.

"And we have now found, you know, after 6 or 7 years of doing this, over 100 new SARS-related coronaviruses, very close to SARS," Daszak says around minute 28 of the interview. "Some of them get into human cells in the lab, some of them can cause SARS disease in humanized mice models and are untreatable with therapeutic monoclonals and you can't vaccinate against them with a vaccine. So, these are a clear and present danger…."


the long history of viruses escaping from even the best run laboratories. The smallpox virus escaped three times from labs in England in the 1960's and 1970's, causing 80 cases and 3 deaths. Dangerous viruses have leaked out of labs almost every year since. Coming to more recent times, the SARS1 virus has proved a true escape artist, leaking from laboratories in Singapore, Taiwan, and no less than four times from the Chinese National Institute of Virology in Beijing.

One reason for SARS1 being so hard to handle is that there were no vaccines available to protect laboratory workers. As Daszak mentioned in the December 19 interview quoted above, the Wuhan researchers too had been unable to develop vaccines against the coronaviruses they had designed to infect human cells.


Where we are so far. Neither the natural emergence nor the lab escape hypothesis can yet be ruled out. There is still no direct evidence for either. So no definitive conclusion can be reached.

That said, the available evidence leans more strongly in one direction than the other. Readers will form their own opinion. But it seems to me that proponents of lab escape can explain all the available facts about SARS2 considerably more easily than can those who favor natural emergence.


Proponents of natural emergence have a rather harder story to tell. The plausibility of their case rests on a single surmise, the expected parallel between the emergence of SARS2 and that of SARS1 and MERS. But none of the evidence expected in support of such a parallel history has yet emerged. No one has found the bat population that was the source of SARS2, if indeed it ever infected bats. No intermediate host has presented itself, despite an intensive search by Chinese authorities that included the testing of 80,000 animals. There is no evidence of the virus making multiple independent jumps from its intermediate host to people, as both the SARS1 and MERS viruses did. There is no evidence from hospital surveillance records of the epidemic gathering strength in the population as the virus evolved.



Why Do Intelligent People do Stupid Things?

Why Do Intelligent People do Stupid Things?

Chinese studying Battle of Midway

Today, on the other side of the Pacific, the Midway battle seems to have become a rather hot study topic in contemporary Chinese naval circles. Maybe this is not particularly surprising given that Beijing has just launched its second aircraft carrier and is thought to be hard at work on the thirdA long article in the Chinese naval magazine Modern Ships [现代舰船] published by the enormous ship-building conglomerate CSIC, is especially interesting. The focus of the piece, entitled "The Road to Midway Island" [通向中途岛之路] does not take up the tactics, the technologies, nor the heroism involved, but undertakes a strictly disciplined examination of the planning choices made by the Japanese military leadership during the spring of 1942. Thus, among the ingredients that produced the miracle at Midway, this Chinese analysis is focused on "strategic acumen," or lack thereof, and how Tokyo squandered such a militarily favorable position so quickly.

The analysis begins by making the point that Tokyo's rapid conquest of all of Southeast Asia had come at a startlingly low cost. Victory had come so easily [赢得这些胜利是如此地轻而易举] and the obvious natural question was "What next?" [下一步 . . . 怎么半]. In March 1942, the Japanese Navy was said to be examining two vectors of attack: either south to Australia or north to the Aleutians. The Japanese Navy's chief planner and mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, has apparently also ordered an investigation of the feasibility for an invasion of Hawaii. Curiously, the Japanese Navy set off at that time on another project altogether deep in the Indian Ocean: Ceylon [锡兰] or Sri Lanka. As this analysis outlines, Tokyo's goals in the Indian Ocean were not completely far-fetched. The Japanese Navy's surge toward India was intended to menace Britain, perhaps even encouraging the people of the Raj to rise up against their colonial masters, while simultaneously impressing Germany and presenting the real possibility of the Axis powers jointly carving up the oil-rich Persian Gulf. The invasion of Australia was never seriously contemplated in Tokyo, according to this analysis, since such a campaign was evaluated to require at least two hundred thousand troops, as well as a third of Japan's sparse shipping resources. The Chinese author notes that the Japanese Army had no interest in supporting the Japanese Navy with various operation around the Asia-Pacific region, because Tokyo's ground forces remained obsessed with campaigns on the Asian mainland with their sites fixated, in particular, on the conquest of Siberia [西伯利亚]. While the Japanese Navy recognized that an invasion of Hawaii would eliminate America's most important strong point in the Pacific and greatly hinder its opportunities to strike at Japan, this author emphasizes the problems posed by the "passive . . . uncooperative attitude" [消极 . . . 不合作态度] of the Japanese Army that was unwilling to play a "supporting role" [当配角].

China Keeps Studying One World War II Battle For a Sinister Reason | RealClearDefense


Why Rockets Are Raining Down On Innocent Israelis


In other news: Jennifer Granholm, during a press conference yesterday about the hack of the Colonial Pipeline, said, "We have doubled down on ensuring that there's an ability to truck oil in — gas in. But it's — the pipe is the best way to go. And so that's why, hopefully, this company, Colonial, will, in fact, be able to restore operations by the end of the week as they have said."

Oh, pipe is the best way to go, huh? Safer, more secure, more efficient, less risk of accidents? Then maybe this administration shouldn't be canceling pipeline projects!

Joe Biden Is Getting It Wrong Across The Board | National Review

Wait for it!

This is interesting.


I would not want to mess with that animal.

States ranked by percentage of population fully vaccinated: May 12

Rand Paul Goes Full SAVAGE Against Fauci AGAIN in Senate Hearing

Just based on the video, the difference of opinion seems to be over definitions.  According to Rand Paul in the video, we reportedly funded "gain of function" research in the U.S., and one of the researchers collaborated with the Wuhan Virology lab.

I have been disappointed in some of the behavior in these videos.  It seems like Senators or Congresspersons will use the witnesses as punching bags and it has nothing to do with finding out information.


Fwd: J&J blood clot in Utah

The first case of a rare blood-clotting condition thought to be linked to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been diagnosed in Utah.

A male patient was recently diagnosed with vaccine-induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia, also known as VITT, at the University of Utah Hospital, U. health officials said in a Wednesday news release.

The patient, who is under the age of 50, was treated and is now recovering at home, according to Dr. Yazan Abou-Ismail, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology at the University of Utah.

"He continues to do well and feel well," Abou-Ismail said at a Wednesday news conference about the case.

The blood clot condition led to a nationwide pause on administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last month after six cases were reported among over 6 million people who received the vaccine. The pause was lifted on April 23 after federal regulators determined the vaccine's continued use is safe.

First case of rare blood-clotting condition linked to J&J vaccine diagnosed in Utah; CDC reports 17 cases from 8M doses | KSL.com


President Biden has proposed spending trillions, but does it have a chance in passing?

President Biden's proposals have been met with near-universal hostility by Republicans, who remain concerned about spending so much money so quickly.

Democrats and progressives remain pleased with the proposal for the most part. A number of moderate Democrats will ultimately decide whether or not these plans pass, however.

Democrats could pass this on their own, but it would require every single Democratic senator to support the measures.

If any Democrat in the Senate says no, it would then require some Republicans to get on board.

Already some moderates, like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), has expressed being "uncomfortable" with so much spending.

Negotiations will continue over the proposals for the next several weeks.

A final vote is likely still months away.

Spending like there is no tomorrow

A hundred million Americans have been vaccinated. The problem no longer is producing and distributing enough vaccines for the public but finding enough people who want to get them.

Whereas FDR confronted a 25 percent unemployment rate during the Great Depression, Joe Biden inherited an economy on the verge of takeoff.

GDP grew by 1.6 percent in the first quarter, or at a 6.4 annual rate. Some projections have GDP this year growing at the fastest clip since 1951. Consumer spending is expected to be the highest on record.

Biden has no excuse for his massive spending because the crisis is over (nypost.com)



Census result modified by white house?

More than a dozen House Republicans Friday are questioning Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on whether there "was any political interference" in the final census numbers used to decide how many House members each state will get for the coming decade. 

"The apportionment population results released by the Census Bureau are strikingly different from the population evaluation estimates released just months ago on December 22, 2020," the GOP members wrote. "Remarkably, the differences benefit traditionally blue states – which gained population compared to the estimates – over red states which tended to lose population compared to the estimates."

The GOP group asks Raimondo for a trove of documents, including communications between the Census Bureau and the White House, and whether the counting of illegal aliens in the congressional apportionment may have had an effect on the final result

GOP reps question Biden admin on alleged 'political interference' in census, citing departure from estimates | Fox News

Fwd: Must see...Ben Shapiro on "We the people are the government"