Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hurricane Coverage Continues; Live rescue in progress...

Live rescue in progress... 8:59 MST:

There was a man holding onto a sign...


Center Point workers attempted to reach him...


...And moments later he swam away, to the left, away from camera view in pic #1.  Another man was in the water trying to swim towards the upturned semi-truck, on the left side of pic # 2. Action News is reporting others in the water. This is all that is known as of publishing time 9:04pm MST.
- - -

38 lives lost to date.

Harvey moves towards Louisiana

NASA: Live satellite feed

Louisiana Dept. of Transportation (heavy traffic, slow loading)

Louisiana Road Conditions 

Reuters: Real-time updates

Gasoline prices up 

Check Gas prices in your area 

KTBS - Harvey; the aftermath 

Houston Traffic Conditions 

Houston Real-time traffic cams 

KHOU News 11 live feed 

Livestream News 

CBSN Live feed 

ABC Action News live feed 

FOX 10 Phoenix live feed

New Orleans: Live cams

Airplane Hell: Ottawa Runway Delays

Image: blogs.pjstar.com

From The BBC:
The Canadian Transportation Agency is holding an inquiry into two Air Transat flights held on the tarmac at Ottawa for hours in conditions passengers called "deplorable".
[.]
The flights were stranded for between five and six hours without adequate air conditioning, food or water.

Passengers on one flight eventually rang emergency services.

    * Delayed air passengers call 911
    * Air Canada collision avoided 'by 30m'
[.]
More than one passenger testified during the public hearings that they felt they were seen simply as "luggage".
[.]
The bathroom had run out of toilet paper. One young boy [vomited in the aisle and all over several passengers, [.]  [T]he stench was unbearable."
[.]
At one point passengers chanted "open the door, open the door" to cabin crew. The cabin temperature reached upwards of 31C.
And, from the same story above:
Flight staff said food and water were running low but that refreshments were available and temperatures seemed acceptable.


Uh...No...almost 88F degrees in a cigar tube/sardine can is not an acceptable temperature. Of course the staff is going to say the temp seemed acceptable.

Yeesh...how do airlines get away with this behavior?

Okay - here is how you get off the plane if it's stuck on the tarmac and appears you will be there for a long, long time.

What you do is you wait patiently for two hours. After that, you ask a flight attendant how much longer it will be. If they reply they don't know, and that they don't know when they'll know, you tell the attendant - very politely and courteously - that in 30 minutes, the seat in which you are sitting becomes the smoking section.

You will likely be warned that smoking is not allowed. And you nicely explain to the attendant that that warning will expire, in your seat and the area around you, in 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes passes, and you're still on the tarmac, you fire up that cigarette. I guarantee it will get you off the plane. Maybe somewhat forcibly...and you will most likely be fined. But at least your not sitting on the tarmac any longer.

Bernie Sanders 2020

Yeah...he'll be only 78 years old.

I remember...I'm pretty sure...that a bunch of people said that at age 72, John McCain was too old to be president. Gosh...who said that??? Oh, yeah; Democrats.

From The Independent:
Bernie Sanders' upcoming scheduled events - including appearances in New Hampshire - have prompted rumours [sic] of a 2020 presidential bid.

The Democratic Senator from Vermont is set to appear  at events over the US Labour Day holiday weekend.

Let's Hope They're Wrong About Irma

NOAA home page is Here.

And from the NOAA regarding Hurricane Irma:
...HURRICANE IRMA RAPIDLY INTENSIFYING OVER THE EASTERN ATLANTIC... 
The Jeff Bozos Peoples' Republic (WaPoo):
Hurricane Irma is expected to become a formidable cyclone[.]
[.]
Irma is forecast to intensify significantly[.]
From WMGT 41 - NBC Macon, GA:
“Irma is forecast to become a major hurricane by tonight [Aug 31] and is expected to be an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next several days,” [warned the (National) Hurricane Center].
[.]
“The good news is we have lots of time to watch this develop,” said [Dennis] Feltgen [of the NHC].
NOAA

Despicable Price Gouging in Texas

Average reading time (excluding links): 3m

I understand the economics of when the availability of a commodity decreases, and the demand for that commodity increase - or remains the same - that the price for that commodity will increase.

From The Houston Chronicle:
On Monday afternoon, someone reported a Houston convenience store charged $20 per gallon of gas, according to Kayleigh Lovvorn, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Ken Paxton's office.
[.]
...price gouging can carry civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation and up to $250,000 per violation for victims over 65 years old.
[.]
Other complaints include a Houston gas station charging $3.50 per gallon of fuel, $8.50 per water bottle and $99 for a case of water.
From The Jeff Bezos Peoples' Republic (WaPoo):
At a Best Western location in Robstown [.] [a] crew from [KXAN station] booked a room and was charged $289.99 a night, according to KXAN. The total, $321.89 including taxes, is nearly three times the normal rate of $119 a night.
[.]
In Corpus Christi, a RaceWay gas station drew ire after a woman said she was charged more than $60 for two cases of beer [.] RaceWay told the station that the overpricing was caused by a clerical error, not price-gouging.
From The Boston Globe:
Best Buy says it is ‘‘deeply sorry’’ following accusations of price gouging after a photo posted online showed cases of water for sale at one of the electronic retailer’s Houston-area stores for more than $42.
[.]
The company explained in a statement that it doesn’t have pricing for cases of water in its system and employees priced the water ‘‘by multiplying the cost of one bottle by the number of bottles in a case.’’

Image: BBC

Maybe - maybe - some of the price increases were made in error, or by an independent franchise with a chain name (although "independent franchise" is such an oxymoron. How can the parent company disassociate itself from its "independent franchise" ?!?), or, as in the case of Best Buy, an employee calculating the cost by the number of bottles in the case.

I wish I could remember who and where, on my blog roll, I read what I read about Tim Worstall, but I've been reading a lot, at many sites, on all things related to Hurricane Harvey. And price gouging is nothing but despicable.

The short story from the L.A. Times:
Conservative economist Tim Worstall posted a very provocative column on Forbes.com Sunday about the dire situation in Houston, arguing in favor of price-gouging.
[.]
It appears that Worstall’s column was too provocative for Forbes, which customarily has been a great advocate for the free market, as is Worstall. Mysteriously, the column disappeared from the Forbes website sometime Monday. It hasn’t been seen since. Anyone clicking on its original Web address gets an error message.
At Tim Worstall.com, on his post titled "There's an awful lot of people who don't get economics you know" [sic] -  (Tim, you may want to familiarize yourself with "The Comma",)  - I found the below reply from Tim to someone else. The full comments and exchanges are at the link, what I blocked out was just something that was out of context and, by itself, didn't make sense:


"I'm entirely fine with public provision of these things...as also the bottled water. I'm arguing though against the making of private provision illegal. Should it be illegal for there to be security guards (private police) or private ambulances?"

Most of us, I think, can analyze that last sentence and, reasonably conclude, that as a moral matter of economics, one cannot compare the price increases in bottled water, beer (for whatever reason), hotel rooms, and gasoline to those of  security guards/ private police or private ambulances. And I have never read or heard anything, ever, about trying to quash private businesses providing special services for premium fees to those who can pay for them.

In purely economic terms (and I should defer to those far more knowledgeable - Cafe Hayek - in economics than am I), is it price gouging when someone with the financial resources voluntarily contracts out for their own private ambulance service? And they are willing to pay that price rather than depend on the public service ambulance? 

If a person with the financial resources contracts with a private security firm and they do it voluntarily, and they agree to a "premium fee" for those services, is that price gouging?

Worstall seems to fail in distinguishing price gouging and voluntarily paying  premium fees for special services. Or is there something I'm completely not understand here?

These Guys Know What They're Doing

I caught the very last of CNN's feed of Anderson Cooper interviewing the two guys in the image below. I didn't catch their names. All I caught, other than the screen grab, is that they've been driving around in high water in the big truck all day, helping out whoever needed it, and plan to keep doing it until no longer needed.

Cooper asked them, which one of them owns the truck.

One guy said, "oh, neither of us own it, it belongs to a friend."

Cooper: "Does your friend know what you're using the truck for?"

Guy: "Oh, yeah."

Cooper: "Does it take a lot of gas, was it hard finding gas?

Other guy: "Nah, we filled up this morning and it only took 30 minutes."

Yeah - these guys represent a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of good.

Screen grab: CNN






CNN

Continuing Live Feed of Houston flooding; Hurricane Harvey; Louisiana; Storm Tracker; Road and Travel conditions; Best Buy $42 water; Fire Ants on the move

Best Buy apologizes for bottled water priced at $42 per case. 
- - -

Mounds of Fire Ants. KHOU:

Flotilla of Fire Ants; From KHOU

Ongoing coverage.

KHOU 11

ABC 13

Fox 26 Houston Live

KPRC TV 2 Houston

FOX 10 Phoenix

LiveStream Feed

CBSN

ABC Action News

Real-Time Feed; Houston Traffic Cams; TranStar

Houston TranStar Traffic Map

DeQuincy, Louisiana Radar Weather

Port Arthur, flooded

Port Arthur Bower Civic Center shelter flooded

Louisiana Dept. of Transportation Travel/Weather map (site slow; likely due to high traffic)

KTBS Shreveport, LA Storm Tracker

Louisiana Highway Conditions 

KPLC TV, Lake Charles, LA

South Lake Charles, LA Skycams KPLC TV

WeatherBug: Lake Charles, LA Doppler Radar

Houston freeways reopening; Bridges and overpasses need to be inspected ASAP.

From Business Insider
- - -
Spelling correction: 8/31/2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Minnesota Professor Massoud Amin Accused of Illegally purchasing several guns

From KTOE:
Massoud Amin is under felony indictment for a charge of providing fabricated financial documents during his divorce. The indictment bans him from buying guns.

But investigators say he purchased 14 handguns from seven different gun shops in Minneapolis in a two-and-a-half week span this summer.

Mr. Amin at UMN.edu 

At LinkedIn
- - -
Spelling fix 8/30/2017

Tracking Hurricane Harvey;
State of Emergency declared in Louisiana

From AccuWeather:
While Harvey has made its final landfall in the United States and will ultimately diminish over land, impact from the storm will be ongoing as new incidents of flooding and severe weather occur.

Ongoing and new flooding to threaten southern US

"Very heavy rainfall will continue as Harvey's intensity slowly diminishes," according to AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.

Source: AccuWeather

Current tracking of Hurricane Harvey at Intellicast.

Louisiana Governor declares State of Emergency- The Weather Channel:
Up to a foot of rain is expected in parts of southwestern Louisiana through Thursday.

Louisiana Gov. Jon Bel Edwards is urging state residents not to get complacent as Hurricane Harvey churns over east Texas.

Lak Charles Mayor Nic Hunter joined the governor at a press conference Friday afternoon to urge people living in the western half of the state to pay close attention to the latest forecast developments.
[.]
[The] flooding could become worse if Harvey reenters the Gulf after landfall in Texas. The storm could re-intensify and bring additional heavy rain to the western part of the state.

Glenn Beck - Stop Defending Joel Osteen

Average reading time: 2m 30s

Today, Wednesday, Glenn Beck again defending Joel Osteen, saying Lakewood Church doesn't have the resources to help those seeking a dry refuge.

Glenn said that he is glad that there are "those of us who know what's in Osteen's heart."

No Glenn, no one is pretending to know what is in Osteen's heart. What is happening is the reaction from people who, for the life of them, could not believe the initial reporting of Lakewood Church being closed, and the claim that it was unreachable due to flooded roads around the church which turned out to be an inaccurate claim. 

Glenn - stop it. If, for whatever reason, you chose to be on the "other side" of this issue, we'd be listening to 3-hours of your verbal pining of "...how could someone of faith not open their facilities to people in need?

"How can a man, the leader of one of the largest and most prosperous religious organizations, say their building is unreachable?"

Glenn's voice would raise an octave, and he'd ramble on with an endless, wordy monologue about "what has happened to humanity? Where is the goodness of people who have so much money, and a building (the church) with so much space, and who could provide so much room for those who have nowhere else to turn? And who claims their church is unreachable because the roads around it are flooded when we can see that's not the case?"

Lakewood Church doesn't have the resources? There have been many reports of people taking others into their homes because those people had nowhere to turn. Do you think these people who are housing others just happened to have, on-hans, enough extra food, room, sleeping facilities, band-aides or other minor medical supplies? Or, do you think that in doing this, everyone under that roof is making some degree of sacrifice to make-do with a little less than usual so that they can SHARE what they have?

Tell us Glenn, who has more resources? The leader of a MegaChurch and who is personally worth MILLIONS of dollars;  or someone with a 3 or 4 bedroom home who decides to do what Christ would do and provide food and shelter for those in need?

Glenn Beck. Image: Independent Sentinel
Bill Gates:
"I believe that with great wealth comes great responsibility, a responsibility to give back to society and a responsibility to see that those resources are put to work in the best possible way to help those most in need."
Joel Osteen failed the above. At least initially. And you know what? I fail too. A lot. In many areas. I'm not judging Osteen or Beck. It's commentary. We all fail; we all fall short because we are human. And this is why we seek forgiveness from Christ - for our human faults.

Maybe social media, including me, reacted too hastily on the whole Osteen/Church story. Then again, Osteen did not do himself any favors by responding too late and with too little substance.

Although I know of much smaller places of worship - smaller in membership and in square footage - that have a kitchen and seating area that can hold a couple hundred people for wedding and funeral receptions. But, in all fairness, despite its size and capacity, it appears this is not the case with Lakewood. From their site:
Wedding Options at Lakewood

Chapel Wedding
There is a Chapel available on the third floor for Lakewood Church members, seating up to 600 people.  Dressing areas are available for the bride, groom, and attendants.  The Church has available, at no extra charge: ten aisle candelabras with material, two sets of candelabras for the altar, one unity candle stand and one kneeler.

Office Wedding
We offer Office Weddings for those who prefer a simple, inexpensive wedding ceremony.  Services are performed in our New Beginnings room.  A maximum of 20 guests can be accomodated [sic]. Decorations are not permitted for Office Weddings. 
I don't know why Lakewood wouldn't have included in its design a larger-scale meal prep area and reception area. One would think Lakewood would be a sought-after venue to rent for providing services for a wedding or funeral.

If every person in social media, and those involved with the initial and conflicting reports from those speaking for Lakewood Church, all walk away from this with a heightened awareness of our own needs for atonement, then maybe we've taken a step forward in our future reactions and decisions.

Texas Flood / Hurricane Harvey live coverage


Coast Guard Assistance phone: 281-464-4851

PLEASE RE-TWEET -  HIGH WATER BOATS or VEHICLES NEED; to coordinate: 713-881-3100

RT @ReadyHarris: Do you have a HIGH WATER VEHICLE or BOAT and helping rescue in your community? Call us to coordinate: 713-881-3100.… https://t.co/WciEFh2Vq4

- - -

Live coverage:

LiveStream ABC 13

KHOU 11 Live

KPRC 2 / NBC Live

FOX 26 Houston Live

Right Side Broadcasting Network

Real-Time Feed; Houston Traffic Cams; TranStar

NASA satellite live feed of Hurricane Harvey

Houston TranStar traffic map 

Texas Dept. of Transportation - Highway Conditions Phone # 800-452-9292 

CBSN Live Coverage

AP
 
Houston TranStar (screen grab)

ABC 13

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

West Houston Aerial Photos of Flooding

Both from KHOU.



If Lakewood Church had water problems, why didn't Joel Osteen just say so?

This story becomes more odd with every new update.

From yesterday's IBT:
Joel Osteen apparently refused to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, the storm that killed at least five people, injured more than a dozen and displaced tens of thousands of people. Instead of opening up his church doors to victims, Osteen canceled services at Lakewood Church and locked the doors. The megachurch is an arena that could seat nearly 17,000 people and was not flooded by Harvey.
Osteen was harshly criticized on social media.

Now, we are told that there is - or was - interior water damage in Lakewood Church.   Heavy:
The Houston Chronicle also posted the flood photos from “inside the church,” but a spokesperson for the church said that the floodgate was “almost” compromised in the storm — which means the church was not flooded.


Yes, I agree, the picture above shows interior flooding in a building, and it most likely is from Osteen's church.

While there may have been other areas that were not flooded or a leaking ceiling or wall, considering the size of that church, there had to be plenty of dry areas available.

Anyway, I tend to believe the above pics are legit, but it begs the question; why didn't Osteen just say so?

Houston Curfew Changed; Midnight to 5AM

From GMA:  Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has imposed a mandatory curfew in the city from midnight to 5 a.m. in an effort to prevent potential looting, he announced at a press conference Tuesday evening.
- - -
Typo fix: 08/29/2017

Houston Looting; Police Impersonators; Houston Curfew 10PM to 5AM; Coast Guard Assistance phone number: 281-464-4851

Coast Guard Assistance phone: 281-464-4851 

Unfortunately, it is inevitable, I guess...looting and a small percent of low-lives impersonating police officers.

The Houston Chronicle: Authorities warn against police impersonation:
Houston Police say a possible police impersonator accosted a motorist not far from the Lone Star College Kingwood campus on the afternoon of Aug. 14.
The victim was stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Kingwood Executive Dr. and Sorters Rd. at approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday, said HPD spokesman Keese Smith, taking a few moments to check for messages on his cell phone when another car stopped behind him.
From KTNC Action News: 14 arrested for looting.
The Harris County District Attorney's Office announced on Tuesday that 14 individuals have been charged with looting in recent days as the Houston area is recovering from record rainfall tied to Hurricane Harvey. 
According to Kim Ogg, the Harris County District Attorney, the 14 people charged with looting will face additional charges for committing the crimes during a crisis. 
The News & Observer asks: Is taking groceries in a hurricane looting?
On Monday night, at least seven people were arrested in Houston, according to KHOU, four of whom were impersonating authorities and telling people to leave their homes before looting them. The other three were caught raiding a video game store.
[.]
Matt Pearce, a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, reported that he “drove around Houston all day and didn’t see anybody steal anything.” He also tweeted that the idea that looting was widespread was “bulls---.”
From AP: 10PM to 5AM Houston Curfew per Mayor Sylvester Turner. 

Flood / Hurricane live coverage

Live, on-line flood and hurricane coverage:

Fox TV News 26

MSNBC

KPRC TV - Houston

NASA live feed from space

KHOU TV - Houston

LiveStream TV News

Real-Time feed; Houston Traffic cameras. Houston TranStar

NPR: Does Trump Care?

Only from NPR. Only from NPR.
Written by Domenico Montanaro:
...tragedies present a special challenge for American presidents. It's one President Trump faces Tuesday in Texas[.]
[.]
This will be Trump's first test as consoler-in-chief, and it's not a role he has much experience with. Empathy is not what this president is known for.
Well...Domenico...how about if Trump tells those affected by the hurricane and flood that, he "feels their pain"? That should be all it takes, right Domenico?

Hurricane Harvey flooding and damage in Houston

See The Guardian for an up-to-date status on Houston.
Some parts of Texas may experience 50 inches (127cm) of rain or about a year’s worth of rainfall in just over a week.
[.]
The former hurricane turned tropical storm is regaining strength and continues to batter south-eastern Texas, with life-threatening floods surging through Houston before moving toward Louisiana.
[.]
Officials estimate that 30,000 residents are likely to need shelter.

Glenn Beck defends Joel Osteen

Average reading time (excluding links): 1m 15sec

Glenn Beck defended Joel Osteen on his Tuesday radio program.

Osteen came under intense "attacks" for not opening his Lakewood megachurch to people in need due to Hurricane Harvey and flooding.

Osteen, in the early hours of Tuesday, said his church would be open for those in need.

Beck was critical of the internet backlash from people who lambasted Osteen for not opening the doors of his megachurch. Beck called those who were critical of Osteen, "despicable".

Beck said the church doesn't have adequate shower and hygiene facilities, is unable to provide adequate shelter and food for anyone seeking refuge in Osteen's church.

Glenn Beck is "okay", in my opinion - but sometimes his stance on an issue leaves me scratching my head.

Yes Glenn, we understand anyone seeking shelter at Lakewood church won't have the accommodations that one might find at a Hilton hotel. And I don't believe anyone is expecting Lakewood church staffers provide 24 hour concierge service or provide meals made to order.

Look, there are people in Texas who have nothing but the clothing on them, and nowhere to go. Should they stay on the roof of their homes or wander about in flooded streets, Glenn, or could they be at least find some comfort in a place like Lakewood Church?

For whatever reason, have you ever not had anything to eat or drink for a significant amount of time? And then, when you do have the opportunity for food and/or drink, no matter what it is, it tastes fantastic because you have gone without for so long?

I think anyone with nowhere to go would be more than grateful to sleep or rest on a clean and dry floor, rather than having to remain outside in the weather elements we see in Texas.

Lakewood church doesn't have the resources to gather some blankets, some food (hell, just some sandwiches), some toothbrushes and toothpaste, dry T-shirts, a place to rest?

Big swing and a miss on this one, Glenn. BIG SWING and a MISS.

No room "at the Inn"? Maybe there's a manger somewhere.

Updated: Dear Glenn Beck, see the people in the below photo? Do you think they'd rather stay in their garage or be somewhere dry? Like...Lakewood Megachurch?

Getty Images. People wait to be rescued from their home after the area was inundated from Hurricane Harvey in Houston on Monday.
 

More Rain expected?

Image: AP
From AP, more rain expected.
The storm is generating an amount of rain that would normally be seen only once in more than 1,000 years, said Edmond Russo, a deputy district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers, which was concerned that floodwater would spill around a pair of 70-year-old reservoir dams that protect downtown Houston.
[.]
Forecasters expect the system to stay over water with 45 mph (72 kph) winds for 36 hours and then head back inland east of Houston sometime Wednesday. The system will then head north and lose its tropical strength.

Before then, up to 20 more inches (51 centimeters) of rain could fall, National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini said Monday. 
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.  - see Prayers In Times of Natural Disasters.

Joel Osteen = Not a total asshole

Joel Osteen has seen the light. A bit late, but better late than never.

And it's probably Green light; green...the color of money, not wanting to impede the flow of green in the collection plates.

Osteen opened his megachurch to those in need in Texas. MSN:
HOUSTON — Televangelist Joel Osteen says his Houston megachurch has "never" closed its doors to people seeking shelter as Harvey swamps the city.

Osteen has faced criticism for not opening his massive Lakewood Church as a storm shelter. In a statement to ABC News, Osteen says the church "will continue to be a distribution center for those in need" and is "prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity."

The 16,000-seat former arena served as the home of the NBA's Houston Rockets from 1975 to 2003.

Osteen's comment stands in contrast to a church Facebook post and a since-deleted Instagram remark by Lakewood associate pastor John Gray, who said flooded highways had made the church inaccessible. A spokeswoman for Osteen didn't immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.

O$teens' Megachurch

I don't see any flooded highways or water holding anyone back from reaching the church.

In the future he can ask himself, "WWJOD"...What Would Joel Osteen Do? And then...he should do the opposite.

Tech News

I mentioned the attack near the end of this post. But it turns out it was FAKE NEWS. From Gizmodo:
Remember that guy on Facebook a couple of weeks ago who said he got stabbed by some stranger because he had a “neo-Nazi” haircut? You’re never going to believe this, but the story was total bullshit. He accidentally stabbed himself. And blamed it on a non-existent black guy.
What a douche bag.
- - -
C|Net looks at the 2018 BMW i3.

The i3 interior.
- - -
BEWARE OF Hurricane Harvey Charity Scams. From Next.gov:
The U.S. Emergency Computer Readiness Team, known as US-CERT, warned email users to be cautious of any messages related to Hurricane Harvey, even if it appears to be from an organization or person they know. Fraudulent emails could include malicious links[.]
- - -
Wired: Hurricane Harvey spreads floating Fire Ant colonies.
Rafts of fire ants have been spotted floating around floodwaters in Houston, Texas, colonies banding together to weather super-storm Harvey.
[.]
If you’re wading around flood waters and run into a raft of 100,000 fire ants, your day will get considerably more complicated. The ants will board you and sting and not let go, even if you submerge.
- - -
Your ISP is spying on you.  Techcrunch:
Never, ever stop being afraid. To top up your paranoia reserves, a new study finds that internet providers can, if they so choose, monitor all kinds of things from your smart home’s traitorous metadata.
- - -
Geek.com: Elon Musk approved to drill.
[Musk's Boring Company] got the thumbs up to dig a two-mile-long underground test tunnel in Hawthorne, Calif.

The City Council last week voted four to one in favor of moving forward with the track extension.
- - -
InfoWorldWill AI replace customer service as we know it?  Well - how much worse could AI customer service be from human customer service?
- - -
Russia tightens internet control.  Security Week:
...Russia's parliament voted to outlaw web tools that let internet users sidestep official bans of certain websites.

It allows telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor to compile a list of so-called anonymiser services and prohibit any that fail to respect the bans, while also requiring users of online messaging services to identify themselves with a telephone number.
- - -
Image: noisey.vice.com

Live ScienceEcstasy ingredient may help PTSD?
[The active ingredient in the drug ecstasy, MDMA]  passed an important hurdle on the path to becoming a prescription drug for treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

[MDMA] was granted "Breakthrough Therapy Designation" status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), [which means] that the FDA will "expedite the development and review" of the drug.
- - -
After the FAKE NEWS of the neo-"Nazi-haircut attack guy", I'll consider the following FAKE NEWS until proven otherwise. Although...never underestimate the stupidity of some people.

From Live Science: Eclipse watchers in California put sunscreen on their eyeballs.
According to KRCR, a local news outlet in Redding, California, a few patients visited a nearby clinic complaining of pain after they put sunscreen on their eyeballs during the eclipse on Aug. 21. They did this because they did not have protective glasses to view the eclipse[.]
- - -
Typical Microsoft behavior. Beta News: Microsoft's Windows phone fails the NYPD:
Windows Phone isn't just an embarrassment to Microsoft, it has also been a waste of time and money for consumers[.]
[.]... Microsoft abandoned it, leaving many users without support and, ultimately, forcing them to buy new devices.
[.]
One of the saddest cases is the NYPD, which trusted Microsoft and equipped its officers with Windows Phones[.] These brave men and women deserve the best technology and equipment, yet when it came to smartphones, they were given some of the worst. So, now, its officers are effectively handcuffed by obsolete and unsupported tech.
- - -
Live ScienceA collection of tweets from people experiencing Hurricane Harvey. 
- - -
PC World: DOOM, DOOM II, DOOM III and more - all priced to sell!

- - -
Grammar fix 8/29/2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

North Korea fires missile over Japan

From The Sydney Morning Herald:
North Korea fired a missile early on Tuesday from near Pyongyang that flew over northern Japan, the South Korean and Japanese governments said.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that the missile broke into three pieces and fell into the waters off Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan's main islands.
More here at Radio Australia.

And here at the BBC.

So...what's the deal with Kimmy? Childish Tyrant? Death Wish? Not enough bran?

Kimmy II

Joel Osteen = Asshole

Pastor Asshole Joel Osteen refuses to offer shelter to Texans with nowhere to go. IBT:
[Pastor] Joel Osteen apparently refused to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, the storm that killed at least five people, injured more than a dozen and displaced tens of thousands of people. Instead of opening up his church doors to victims, Osteen canceled services at Lakewood Church and locked the doors. The megachurch is an arena that could seat nearly 17,000 people and was not flooded by Harvey.

Original Image: Getty
 If you remain a member of his "flock" after this...I...don't know what to say...

Harvey; More Rain To Come

More rain will fall in Texas.
The National Weather Service calls the flooding "unprecedented," and warns things may become more dire if a forecasted [sic] record-breaking 50 inches of rain does fall on parts of Texas in coming days. 
Unless you have lived through something like this, and I haven't, I don't think anyone can imagine the feelings of loss, anger, frustration, hopelessness.

Pray for Texas.
The Houston metropolitan area received 24.1 inches of rain in 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service, which issued its statement around 7 a.m. on Sunday — an incredible 340 billion gallons of water.
Map via Weather Underground

Left: Cody Duty AP                   Right: NBC News




Image: Houston TranStar

World News Links

Unidentified Chemical haze mist off Sussex Coast sends over 100 to the hospital. Sky News:
People were warned to avoid beaches and keep doors and windows shut after an "unknown haze" drifted in off the Sussex coast.
[.]
"This seems to have been caused by an unknown haze coming in from the sea, but the source has not yet been established[.]
Mystery mist over Sussex coast. Photo: Jacob Ward
- - -
...it's time for people all over the world to be outraged over ISIS slaughtering and beheading Khalid al-Asaad, the 83-year-old caretaker of antiquities in Palmyra[.]
[.]
...jihadists dragged him to a public square on Tuesday and cut off his head in front of a crowd.
- - -
New Eurpoe: Man shot dead after stabbing soldier in Brussels.
- - -
French President Emmanuel Macron's popularity plummets. The Express:
...over half of French voters are now dissatisfied with Emmanuel Macron’s performance as president.
- - -
Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams says one-third of the U.S. doesn't recognize a joke when they hear it. CNS News:
"... they can only tell you’re kidding if they see somebody else laughing, or you say, “Ha, Ha” or “JK” or something after the joke. They actually can’t tell."
- - -
Red Orbit: Experts don't think middle-age people walk fast enough.
- - -
RTT News: Morning Asian markets open lower.
Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Monday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi refrained from providing clues on monetary policy outlook [.]
- - -
The Local: Swiss woman charged with being a jihadi tourist/terrorist:
...30-year-old Zurich woman, a Swiss national,
[.]
... who tried to travel to Syria to join Islamic State is charged with supporting terror groups and will be tried in Switzerland’s federal criminal court[.]
- - -
NeowinChina implements Real ID Procedure for online commenting.
- - -
Living in an inverted pyramid. TecheBlog:
...an inverted pyramid home in Spain...

Photo credit: Sadao Hotta

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Texas; Hurricane Harvey - How To Help

I should have published a post like this much sooner. But most people know where to find this info.

The Salvation Army.

The Red Cross.

Donate Blood.

Money is tight; but praying costs nothing.

It's Light Up Time!



My life would be markedly improved if people would deliver cigarettes to me from walking out of the television.


I'm sure most everyone has seen Fred and Barney with their Winstons.


And all the doctors, dentists, nurses, entertainers, ex-president and others who all advocating smoking.

Doctors are never wrong.

The text in the three squares above, surrounding the doctor, say starting at "noon" and going clockwise:

Family doctors, surgeons, nose and throat specialists...doctors in every branch of medicine were asked: "What cigarette do you smoke?"

Three nationally known independent research groups did the asking.

The answers came in by the thousands. Actual statements from doctors themselves. The results? Camels...convincingly.


So...how's your T-Zone?








Toasted for your throat protection. See, it turns out the tobacco industry was looking after our health all along.
 
Doctors are never wrong.
Perry Como smokes? I need no other reason to start.
 
Science is never wrong.

Not ONE SINGLE CASE of throat irritation!

Here's a composite of three separate ads. Babies used to sell Marlboros? Heh - I can only hear the anti-smoking banshees cringing in agony over using a baby to peddle cigarettes. And Fatima cigarettes? Never heard of them.

"Mom, calm down and have a cigarette. I'll have one, too."

 
Science is never wrong.
Dentists are never wrong.

This ad is so low key, and the music so trance-inducing, I swear it was a hypnotic ad that, once seen, caused you to rush out and buy Lucky Strikes:




You must feel like starting smoking right now, even if you've never smoked. No? Will these dancing cigarette packages change your mind?


Now...you want to talk about niche marketing? I'd never heard of this brand.


NOT a REAL Country:


Scientists and EDUCATORS seem to agree that Kent is the brand to smoke:

The Micronite Filter - Heh...It was probably asbestos.

Even Granny and Jed lit up:


You cannot enjoy water-skiing without a cigarette. Ever:


It's Light Up Time...it's...Toasted...