Sunday, November 19, 2017

New Pict Carving Discovered

From Smithsonian:
Construction on a road link in Perth, Scotland, came to an abrupt halt recently after workers hit upon an unusual archaeological find: a Pictish stone engraved with a large-nosed, weapon-wielding warrior.
As Alison Campsie reports for The Scotsman, archaeologists who were called in to examine the relic believe that it is around 1,500 years old. The carving shows a figure who appears to be clad in a cloak and shoes. He clutches a spear in one hand and what appears to be a club or a staff in the other. The spear is consistent with weapons used during the mid-first millennium A.D., according to Campsie.


 Fascinating what people leave behind.  In the future blog posts will be as mysterious. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

From Little Acorns...

Image result for dead crops...Great oak trees grow.  Back in 2015 a single study commissioned by WHO kinda sorta maybe almost found glyphosate the active ingredient in RoundUp® might cause cancer.  
Since then all the well known actors have weighed in.  The government of [California] added glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, to its list of cancer-causing chemicals in July and will require that products containing glyphosate carry warnings by July 2018.

California acted after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded in 2015 that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic”.
For more than 40 years, farmers have applied glyphosate to crops, most recently as they have cultivated genetically modified corn and soybeans.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


A few minutes ago while languishing in the garden shed of spousal exile I heard a rustling above the bird feeder just outside the door.  This fellow was just chilling.  I just turned and snapped this pic.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Launch Photo

Update:  Nov 15th launch scrubbed.  Gave me a chance to improve my time exposure picture techniques.  

The launch was scrubbed due to a "red range" and late alarm.  They will try again tomorrow.
JPSS-1 will be renamed NOAA-20 and handed over After it is settled in polar orbit.

The faint vertical trail lower center left is where I expect the launch. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017


JPSS-1 is scheduled to launch on Tue., Nov. 14 at 1:47 a.m. PST (4:47 a.m. EST) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
An image illustration of the JPSS-1 SatelliteThe Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) satellite, the first in a new series of four highly advanced National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) polar-orbiting satellites, now is scheduled to launch on Tuesday, Nov. 14, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
Liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex 2 is targeted for 1:47 a.m. PST (4:47 a.m. EST). 
JPSS represents a significant technological and scientific advancements in observations used for severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring. The JPSS system will help increase weather forecast accuracy from three to seven days.


For once we get a good launch view.  

Friday, November 10, 2017

Pick Your Favorite Feature

Sometimes a property has everything.  Not this time.  What is the worst characteristic?
4600sf lot?
Built 1932?
Microscopic rooms?
Proximity to a busy road?
Some kind of pipe running through the yard?
The yard?
R-2 windows?
The price?

1440 Betty 92397

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Timeshares? Really?

Ballater, Scotland.  The white windows were our rooms. 
In 2014, consumers bought almost $8 billion worth of timeshare properties in the U.S., with an average sales price of $20,020 and average annual maintenance fees of $880. Though the median age of timeshare owners is 51, the concept resonates loudly with younger people. Among owners who have bought in recent years, the median age is 39. And half of them have children younger than 18 living at home.


“You’d be foolish to buy a timeshare for investment purposes,” says Randy Conrads, co-founder of RedWeek, a website that lists timeshares for sale or rent. “It’s a lifestyle investment, not a financial one. You’re buying a vacation property that you thought you’d use.”


But consumers who are disappointed that their timeshare has little or no value after lengthy ownership are missing the point. Think of it this way: You enjoyed that once-in-a-lifetime meal at a four-star restaurant. When it’s over, it’s over, and you don’t expect to get your money back.

 So.  To "come clean."  We own Hilton Grand Vacations timeshares.  Yes, more than one.  Finished laughing?  Good.  We bought them for several reasons.  Not to be poo pooed but to -force- Mr&Mrs Dawg to take vacations.  Far too easy to say "next year" and then the next.  Family obligations aren't supposed to count as vacations either.  Second we got very good deals.  Timeshares are like new cars where once you buy them they lose half the value driving them off the lot.  Not our buys.  Finally, seeing we could be sucked into this type of money pit we bought HGV stock.  Check the HGV stock track record. 

 There is a problem.  The third (three way ties for 1st, 2nd, 3rd) nicest place I've ever stayed is the Trump in Las Vegas.  This was before the recent political... ummm...  frictions.  Mrs Dawg declines to ever accept an "upgrade" to stay there ever again.  

Monday, November 06, 2017

Dammit Jim!

When i helped design the first stereo ultrasound the "head" was bigger than the entire mechanism is today. 

Here is the latest from MedTech which you all subscribe:

Butterfly Network’s ultrasound-on-a-chip technology snagged the FDA nod for 13 applications, the broadest clearance to date for an ultrasound transducer. The pocket-size transducer, which plugs into an iPhone, would expand the availability of diagnostic ultrasound imaging.
Traditional cart-based ultrasound machines comprise at least three transducers and are bulky, so they can be hard to get hold of or maneuver in the emergency room. They also use ceramic crystal materials called piezoelectrics to generate and receive sound, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering says.
Butterfly Network’s iQ device uses its ultrasound-on-a-chip technology, which integrates the capabilities of the three typical ultrasound probes into a single 2D matrix array comprised of thousands of microelectromechanical systems, the company said. This array is overlaid on an integrated circuit with electronics like those found in high-performance ultrasound systems.

Look familiar? 

How to Get to Heaven

The Catholic path to salvation is not particularly more virtuous than others but when it arrives via a Redheaded Irishman...


Before I came up here tonight to talk to all you great supporters of the Sister Servants of Mary I was in the back and having my picture taken with the sisters.  Now we all know "you cannot take it with you."  Still, if there is one thing I "can take with me" it would be that picture.   Why?  Because when I get up to the gates I plan on holding up that picture and saying; "I'M WITH THEM!"

Twenty Seven Hundred Dollars?

Central Camarillo Rental - Single story home with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, fireplace in the living room, and an attached two car garage. Home features updated kitchen and bathrooms, tile flooring throughout, dual pane windows and laundry hook ups located in the garage. The private backyard has no rear neighbors. Gardner included in the rent. Walking distance to shopping, restaurants, and parks. Easy access to 101 freeway.-----

"The private backyard has no rear neighbors" means it backs up on a busy street.  $2700/mo. 
Palmer Ave, Camarillo

Thursday, November 02, 2017

More on Full Employment

You have to love the Fred graphing functions.  This is the latest of one I built in 2014.  I shows what happened to the working age population overlaid the civilian employment total. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

But... but... -Earthquakes!-

This is the time of year when it is still safe and not particularly cruel to give back a little of the "why do you live there?" dished out to California the rest of the year.  Don't worry.  There are no less than 5 anti California rants in the hopper. 

Repost: Collective Iceboxes

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Collective Iceboxes

My grandfather was "The Ice Man." He was the guy that sawed frozen blocks from the lake in winter and stored them in the icehouse for summer delivery. In his honor I present the following:

Refrigerators are the most energy consumptive home appliances. They throw out of gobs of heat particularly at the times of highest demand contributing to heat islands where there are too many refrigerators in close proximity. It's time to stop this wasteful practice of PORs. It is time to promote public refrigerators. Large community freezers capable of handling hundreds even thousands of households' daily cooling needs thus taking an equal number of wasteful PORs off the "grid." Additionally, because the poor tend to own the oldest, least efficient PORs, the community benefits by also subsidizing their participation. Sure the inconvenience will meet with resistance so we'll have to make the switch by introducing a few minor public policy inducements. We'll allow dwelling units to be built with kitchens too small for an adequate fridge. We'll use public money to build the collective coolers so that people will be freed from the burden of high purchase prices for owning one's own "reefer." We may even need to subsidize operations in order to meet participation goals.

Okay, by now everyone is probably thinking, "this is insane" and you'd be right but reread the above paragraph and tell me how it differs from how we approach transit in the US. Every comment above is straight out of every transit advocacy talking points manual I've ever heard.


Grandpa's competitors just a bit down Rt 9. 
Nothing has changed.   And transit concepts remain stuck in the 1800s as well. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Wee Bit O'Scotland

Real life intrudes.  Sorry for the slow post schedule.  Back in the garden shed of spousal exile today and will hopefully get ahead of the tidal wave.  Family in San Diego over the weekend.  La Jolla is insane.  My sibling asked my opinion of a "village" property.  I don't even have the real estate vocabulary to couch my reaction/reply in civil terms. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Cramer Revisited

You want winners? You want me to put my Cramer Berkowitz hedge fund hat on and just discuss what my fund is buying today to try to make money tomorrow and the next day and the next? You want my top 10 stocks for who is going to make it in the New World? You know what? I am going to give them to you. Right here. Right now.

OK. Here goes. Write them down -- no handouts here!: 724 Solutions ( SVNX), Ariba ( ARBA), Digital Island ( ISLD), Exodus ( EXDS), ( INSP), Inktomi ( INKT), Mercury Interactive ( MERQ), Sonera ( SNRA), VeriSign ( VRSN) and Veritas Software ( VRTS).

We are buying some of every one of these this morning as I give this speech. We buy them every day, particularly if they are down, which, no surprise given what they do, is very rare. And we will keep doing so until this period is over -- and it is very far from ending. Heck, people are just learning these stories on Wall Street, and the more they come to learn, the more they love and own! Most of these companies don't even have earnings per share, so we won't have to be constrained by that methodology for quarters to come.
~ James J. Cramer, keynote speech excerpt, 6th Annual Internet and Electronic Commerce Conference and Exposition Feb 29, 2000


724 Solutions ( SVNX)
Ariba ( ARBA)
Digital Island ( ISLD)
Exodus ( EXDS) ( INSP),
Inktomi ( INKT)
Mercury Interactive ( MERQ)
Sonera ( SNRA),
VeriSign ( VRSN)
Veritas Software ( VRTS).

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Strawberries or Eels?

Strawberries or Eels?  What kind of question? 

Here is what happened yesterday:
Ventura County strawberry crash
Here's what happened last month:
Oregon hagfish crash

Any questions? 

Ojai So High

Cute little mid-century on 3/4th acre.

1354 Carne Rd, Ojai, CA 93023

2 beds 2 baths 1,232 sqft

Then the insanity started:
10/04/17Price change$1,295,000 -3.4%

08/22/17Price change$1,340,000 -6.0%

05/08/17Listed for sale$1,425,000 +26.7%

06/08/15Sold$1,125,000 -2.1%

05/05/15Price change$1,149,500 -3.8%

04/24/15Listed for sale$1,195,000 +82.4%


 Property taxes in 2001 were $609 per year.  Property taxes now are $12,430 per year.  Cute shouldn't cost well more than a million.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hypocrites All

This is surely old news since you all pour over every issue of Designfax:

Israel, Hong Kong and Taiwan joined a number of U.S. allies at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday to express concerns over a Trump administration executive order that calls on U.S. authorities to "maximize" use of American-made goods, products and materials in government procurement.
The 10 WTO members, also including the European Union, Canada and Japan, also urged Washington to continue honoring the trade body's "Government Procurement Agreement" that binds the United States and 45 other countries — mostly EU members — to open government procurement markets to foreign competition and make them more transparent.

Got that?  The US is the bad guy here?  Every single nation listed uniformly and unequally biases towards local procurement and everyone knows it. 

Why the hoopola?  Pretty obvious isn't it?  80 years of US laize faire attitudes towards market and IP predation are coming to an end.  It isn't Trump.  It was happening before and it will continue past his administrations. 

Check this from Layer Seven Security:

According to NSA Director General Keith Alexander, cyber-espionage has led to "the greatest transfer of wealth in history." This is supported by not only a recent report by Symantec, which places the cost of intellectual property theft in the United States at $250 billion a year, but a prominent report on cyber-espionage released by Mandiant Corporation in February this year.
The report is based on security breaches investigated by Mandiant at nearly 150 organizations between 2006 & 2013. It focuses upon the cyber-espionage activities of one of the more than twenty prolific Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups in the world. The group labeled as APT1 is believed to be state-sponsored and operating from the Pudong area of Shanghai. It is considered to be a branch of Unit 61398 of the People’s Liberation Army of China. The official mandate of the unit is vaguely defined as ‘computer network operations’ but there is considerable evidence to suggest that the actual mission is the collection of political, economic, and military intelligence. APT1 is estimated to control a large physical infrastructure comprised of thousands of Command and Control servers. Given the size of the infrastructure, the group is believed to be staffed with several hundred resources that are required to be proficient in network and information security and the English language.

Lock your doors.  

Geostorm Crashes

Thanks to a system of satellites, natural disasters have become a thing of the past,” declares the President of the United States in the new doomsday flick Geostorm. “We can control our weather.” Welcome to a fantastical future where the federal government has taken aggressive action against climate change, successfully mastering the whims of weather using advanced satellite technology.
But when this global network of satellites mysteriously malfunctions, catastrophic weather threatens humanity’s very existence. Rows of tornadoes rip up the landscape, tsunami-sized waves sweep through cities, massive hailstones crash through car windows, and flash-frozen birds fall out of the sky. And that’s just what you see in trailers.
The plot goes on to get raveled into conspiracies and last-ditch space missions, but as with climate disaster flicks like 2012 (when the feared Yellowstone volcano erupts), The Day After Tomorrow (when New York City turns into a frozen tundra), or Snowpiercer (when a climate experiment fails, killing all but a select few) the question remains: Could any of these apocalypse scenarios actually happen?
 As reported via THR‘s Thursday box office preview, Geostorm is expected to earn in the range of $10-12 million in its opening weekend, a terrible start for a film that cost $120 million to make. Even a full $12 million wouldn’t cover its extensive reshoots, which alone cost a reported $15 million.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Employment Bell Ringing at the Top

I have issues with Chris Thornberg dating back to some clashes prior to the bubble bursting but he's been pulling down big bucks for being wrong then and still to this day whilst I have not made pence.   I guess that makes him a good economist.  

“Housing is the chain on the dog that is chasing a squirrel,” said Christopher Thornberg, principal economist and founding partner with Beacon Economics. “Once that chain runs out, it yanks the dog back.” Like the dog, Thornberg said, the Bay Area job market has been restrained.
Overall, the Bay Area lost 4,700 jobs last month. While some smaller metropolitan areas in the region had job gains, employers shed 1,300 jobs in Santa Clara County, 1,700 in the San Francisco-San Mateo region and 2,600 in the East Bay, seasonally adjusted figures from the state’s Employment Development Department showed.
The EDD on Friday also revised downward the number of Bay Area job losses that occurred in August to 2,400, but those 2,400 job losses in August combined with the 4,700 newly reported job losses for September to paint an unsettling picture.

None of this has to do with the clusterfrack about to rain down on Tesla for their 400 layoffs.  One example being an employee who was injured on the job on Friday and terminated Monday.  It doesn't matter if the termination is justified, the optics in this State are going to deeply scar the company.   

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fishing Anyone?

The middle kid is working with the Dept of Fisheries. 

Word Challenge, Guess the Topic

These are the top ten results for a single word search term for the last 12 months.  Can you guess the word?  "Past 12 months" is the only hint I'm giving. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

PG&E Started the Fires

Okay, the authorities are trying to avoid it but it is becoming increasingly obvious what happened.

Mercury News: For the better part of a decade, California’s utilities have helped to stall the state’s effort to map where their power lines present the highest risk for wildfires, an initiative that critics say could have forced PG&E to strengthen power poles and bolster maintenance efforts before this month’s deadly North Bay fires.

For the better part of a decade, California’s utilities have helped to stall the state’s effort to map where their power lines present the highest risk for wildfires, an initiative that critics say could have forced PG&E to strengthen power poles and bolster maintenance efforts before this month’s deadly North Bay fires.

So rates will go down, the dividend will be slashed and executives jailed.  Right? 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Not Worth It Then Not Worth It Now

Who in their right mind would pay anything close to this much for this shack?

1765 Twin Lakes Rd, Wrightwood, CA 92397 

1 bed • 1 bath • 432 sqft • Year Built 1948

Cute and cozy home surrounded by large trees and beautiful log cabins. Excellent opportunity to use as an investment, vacation home. Home features one bedroom and one bath with a loft. Excellent opportunity! Check it out today!

Price History

10/05/17Listed for sale$185,000+208%$428RE/MAX TIME RE...
06/15/09Sold: Foreclosed to lender$105,800-53%$244

Yes you read that right.  432 square feet.  Yes 69 years old.  Yes asking $185,000 or $428/sf. 

Then read the price history and enjoy the round trip from 1998 to 2018 including the turn at 2011. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Amazon has it backwards. 

The people Amazon needs want to live in Santa Cruz, Santa Barbra, San Diego.  The people HQ2 is going to attract will be those willing to settle for Austin, Atlanta, Charlotte.  There is not a thing wrong with Austin. Atlanta, Charlotte.  Thing is Google is willing to gamble that settling for second tier candidates will be offset by the for now lower costs versus QoL equation.  My guess is that the challenges to Amazon will emerge from Santa Cruz, Santa Barbra, San Diego.

Nota bene.  California still innovates but you can expect the innovators to leave ever sooner.  Incubators not revenue sources. 

Pict Pics

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

California Prop 13 Distortion

Everyone has an opinion about Prop 13.  Most are based upon misinformation.  This however is likely to confirm the worst opinions of the detractors.

1667 Sparrow Rd, Wrightwood, CA 92397

2 beds 2 baths 1,375 sqft

For Sale
Zestimate®: $344,361 

A truly historic property, the first ranger station in Wrightwood built in 1801. Owned part of history, this whole CEDAR LOG cabin with 2 bedroom 2 baths home nestled in Wrightwood mountain on a 53,000 square foot lot and the adjacent lot a 77,000 square foot lot, a total of 2.98 acres. A massive rock fireplace in the center of the living room welcomes all who enters. In 1924, the back wing was built logs were used from horse corral. An extra large porch of off the front door large enough to wine and dine your guests. This nostalgic home has extensive wood work throughout for example the cabinets down the hallway, the front door and other features of the house. The driveway walls leading to the house, part of the house's walls and landscape curbing are made up of a beautiful rock masonry. Adjacent lot 18 is included.  

YearProperty taxesChangeTax assessmentChange

 3 acres plus a cabin paying $391 per year in property taxes asking near a million dollars for sale.  If it sells the new owner will face $10,000 per year in property taxes.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Cautionary Tale or Big Data Score?

Image result for big data surveillanceSuspect In Would-Be Airport Bombing Nabbed With Help FromREI


FBI agents also tracked down surveillance footage of a white male apparently purchasing some of those materials, as well as other bomb-making supplies, at a Walmart and Lowe's in Arden, N.C.
But he paid cash at both venues, and the FBI still didn't have a name.
Then they found an REI in Asheville where a man had recently purchased a new backpack. A Traverse 70. He also bought a spoon — gray, polymer.
There was no video footage this time. And again, the man paid cash. But, Anderson writes, "the individual ... used an REI membership number when paying."
An REI membership entitles a customer to 10 percent back on purchases every year. In this case, it also gave the FBI a name — Michael Estes. After releasing a still photo from the surveillance footage, authorities found Estes in downtown Asheville. He was arrested on Oct. 7.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Wine Country Fires and Mixed Feelings

Estimates are that more than 5% of the housing stock of Sonoma County have burned.  That's transformative. 

Here is an anecdote from MercuryNews:
Former San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan visits the ashes of his home off Mark West Springs Road in Sonoma County, Sunday, October 15, 2017. He and his wife Wendy Paskin-Jordan escaped from their home nearly a week ago during the first moments of the firestorm. (Karl Mondon/ Bay Area News Group)

Why the mixed feelings?  Same reason I cannot muster sympathy for nPOIC/Mudbiker.  Here is the former mayor of San Francisco.  What does he do?  Move to Sonoma County to escape what he helped create. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Scotland Nature Photos

Whither California Reason #34

When ThinkProgress and FoxNews report on the same event you are sure to get wildly different stories.  This is no exception. 

California lawmakers passed a bill this week that would give families on welfare with children under the age of two a monthly $50 voucher for diapers. ... When the bill was first introduced in 2014, it was estimated that 120,000 children would get the assistance.
Diapers are a huge expense. One infant can require up to 240 of them each month, which can cost $18 a week or nearly $1,000 a year. That’s an enormous share of a family’s budget for those below the poverty line — people in the lowest quintile spend nearly 14 percent of their income on diapers. Cloth diapers are not a viable alternative for many families, as laundromats won’t let people wash them and daycare centers usually require disposable ones.
That leaves families in a difficult bind. Nearly 30 percent of all women have experienced a time when they couldn’t afford diapers for their children. 

[T]he legislation comes with a more than $100 million annual price tag.
When it passed recently out of the California Assembly, no Republican voted for it. 
In an emailed statement that appeared in the Sacramento Bee, Republican state Assemblywoman Shannon Grove said, “Instead of expanding our welfare system and keeping millions dependent upon government, we should implement business-friendly policies enabling those out of work to obtain a job and provide for their families.”


 36 million people and this is what we are legislating. 

Cool Transportation Museum



Silly English

The infamous rotary

Friday, October 13, 2017