Working through my ignorance with your help.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Moon Is Meh

Last night, after some dinner guests left once they'd contracted the Wuhan Flu from us, I went outside and tried some moon photography with both the aging Nikon D60 Artillery Piece and the Fujifilm X-T10. It was meh.

My best shot came from the Fuji. Meh.

First, I was right about the Nikon. It is dying. It was unable to produce focused shots with the telephoto lens, even on manual mode, allegedly focused at infinity. It's developing other quirks having to do with the menu and settings as well. The error it threw during our recent night sky photography session was due to the autofocus feature, but disabling that did no good. I could take shots, but they were all blurry.

Sadly, that leaves me with the Fuji, a fussy, complicated, ergonomic disasterpiece of a camera. It gets good shots, once you wrestle it to the ground like a stubborn child with an unauthorized candy bar. 

I think it's time to get a new camera. The local shop has the latest Nikon consumer-level one on sale with the two-lens package. It's a pretty nice system. I'm debating whether or not I want to move to Canon as they have the best macro lenses and I do enjoy the odd flower, insect or lizard photoshoot. Oh well. No rush as the Fuji will work for now.

Finally, my post yesterday about being able to shoot night sky objects from the comfort of a home, mobile or fixed, was spot on. My first moon shots were totally blown out as I was using the settings for a moonless night sky. I ended up sitting in front of this desktop PC, looking up moon photography shutter speeds and apertures. They were way different than Milky Way shots. In the end, this photo was taken at 1/60 seconds with an aperture of 11 and ISO 200. 

Being able to go back and forth from a lit room with a good computer to the dark outdoors was key to learning. I should have done that long ago, before I started these experiments. You can't learn much if your lab notebook and texts are 90 minutes away from your laboratory. 

I'm much more familiar with the Fuji now and more comfortable with night photography in general. Wife kitteh is going on a girls' vacation in a few weeks. I'll use that opportunity for a longer cruise into the desert to get some real Milky Way shots, assuming the moon cooperates and isn't up the whole night.

Friday, June 26, 2020

RVs, Mortars And Moonshots

I've decided that the best way to do star photography is from an RV. Think about it. You go to some dark, remote location, set up your tripod, put on your cheaters so your old eyes can read the camera settings and then take some shots while you freeze to death because you forgot to bring a jacket. When you're done, you have no idea whether the pictures are any good because you can't see them on the camera's tiny screen.

No, that's no way to do it. If you had an RV, you'd saunter inside, put the memory card in your laptop, fire up Photoshop and see if you got what you wanted. Using your phone as a hotspot, you'd check the Internet to see when the Milky Way would be visible because you forgot that, too.

Also, if you had an RV, driving 3 hours to get to a darkness class 2, average dark sky, spot wouldn't be a big deal. You could pull over in a parking lot, get some shuteye and then roll home the next morning after stopping at a diner for waffles, sausages and coffee.

Yeah, that's the way I'd do it. If I had an RV. Which I don't. Instead, I'm going to take some experimental pictures of the moon from home tonight, where it's darkness class 6, bright suburban. At least it ought to help me figure out why my Nikon Artillery Piece was throwing an error when we were up at Mount Laguna.

I'm guessing my photography won't look nearly as good as this.

Today's Riot Wrapup

As for mortars, dig this piece on the continuing insurrection in Portland.
Protesters lit fires and looted and damaged businesses in North Portland early Friday morning, Portland Police Bureau said...

At around 10 p.m., police said several hundred people had gathered outside the precinct. The demonstrators arrived with supplies and began erecting a fence that stretched from the south side of the North Precinct to the north side of the Boys and Girls Club. While building the fence, police said the demonstrators blocked northbound traffic on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

While this was happening, police said demonstrators began throwing items at officers, including glass bottles.

By 11 p.m., police said the demonstrators were moving dumpsters and other barriers around the precinct. Some began ramming dumpsters into garage doors on the west side of the North Precinct to try and get inside the building, police said. When they couldn't get the garage doors open, police said the demonstrators began barricading exit doors so officers and people in custody inside the building could not get out.

At 12 a.m., police said a demonstrator in the crowd began yelling over a bullhorn that they were "going to burn the building down." ...

Police said someone launched a mortar onto the roof of the North Precinct building at 1:40 a.m. and at that point, officers began using crowd control munitions.

At around 2:15 a.m., demonstrators had set the north side of the North Precinct on fire.
Emphasis mine.

You know, nothing says social justice quite like trying to murder the police by locking them in a building and setting it on fire. Well, I mean, mortar rounds say that, too, but you knew that.

Would the last Portland Police officer to leave the city turn out the lights in whatever is left of the Precinct building?

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Reality Is Going To The Polls

While I sometimes hyperventilate on this blog about the Democrat-Nazi* insanity, in the back of my mind, I'm not all that worried. Yes, blue cities are being wrecked, but in the end, Reality will get it's vote and it's the only vote that counts. That vote will come in stages.

Stage 1 is where the cops leave black neighborhoods. Stage 2 is where those neighborhoods turn into abbatoirs while the news media ignores them because rrrrrrrrrrracism!** Stage 3 is where it gets so bad that no one can ignore it. Stage 4 is where we realize that the problem wasn't racism after all, it was the destruction of the family. 

Maybe we get to Stage 4, maybe we stop at Stage 3 and come to a different conclusion. Either way, it's going to get harder and harder to sell the fake noose stories as we watch the black bodies pile up in black neighborhoods at the hands of black criminals. We really do care about them and we really aren't racist. It's going to be very painful to see. The only question is when we start being shown it.

So here we are at Stage 1. Don't believe me? Dig these data points.
I found these with quick Google searches. There are tons more. In blue cities across the nation, the cops are making rational, informed decisions and allowing the residents of certain neighborhoods free reign. Since there are almost no traditional, nuclear families in those neighborhoods, civilization has broken down there, just like we social conservatives have warned for decades.

This is a massive, blue civil war where the wealthy, protected progressives live in their bubble and spout modern Nazi Race Theory rubbish while the poor, black people suffer from the massive increases in violence. That cognitive dissonance can't go on forever. At some point, the progs will have lost too many supporters as compassion overcomes ideology. That will be Stage 3.

Let's hope we get to Stage 4. Soon.

Dads matter. A lot.

* - Short description: Take Mein Kampf and change Jew to White and German to Black and you end up with a series of Elizabeth Warren / Kamala Harris / Random Democrat speeches.

** - I've fallen in love with the way Ben Shapiro trills the r in racism. I think it's hilarious.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

KT's Rule Of Noose Incidents

... is very simple.

If the person alleging the hate crime claims a noose was involved, it's a hoax.

Add Bubba Smollett, or whatever his name is, to the list. This black BLM activist who moonlights as a lousy NASCAR driver decided to slander the South in general and NASCAR fans in particular with the perfectly predictable charge of Rrrrrrrrrrrrrracism!

I've grown to love the way Ben Shapiro trills the initial r on the word. It makes me laugh every time.

Anyway, getting back to the subject at hand, who uses a noose to make a threat? Who even knows how to tie one of the things? Why would you carry one around with you when having it found on your person who subject you to all manner of risks? It's madness. If you're going to commit an anti-black hate crime, you'd be much more likely to do it with a Sharpie or some spray paint. Heck, even the spray paint is too risky. I'd stick with a Sharpie.

If you're not familiar with the story, Bubba said a noose was found in his garage at the NASCAR racetrack in Talladega, Alabama. The press did it's part and howled about Southern racism. No photo of the alleged "noose" was shown. In a sign of solidarity with NASCAR's only black driver, all of the drivers and pit crews of all of the other teams pushed Bubba's car around the track. #IStandWithBubba was marked in huge letter on the grass. NASCAR management made sure everyone knew they were going to make the racist villains pay. The FBI sent in no fewer than 15 agents to investigate.

It was a garage door pull. It's looped to make it easier to, you know, like, pull down the freaking garage door. It's on every door of every garage at the speedway. They've been there for years. The loops are small. The only person you could hang with one, assuming it was a slip knot, which it isn't, would be G. I. Joe.

It's a loop in a garage door pull rope.

My favorite meme of the incident. Bubba likes to wear an "I Can't Breathe" t-shirt because activism is his primary job.

The best tweet of the brouhaha came from Matt Walsh.

In completely unrelated news that can't have anything to do with the police bailing out of black neighborhoods because racist loons like Bubba and his enablers in the press push racial paranoia, there have been 1600 shots fired in Minneapolis in the past 30 days. Their locations trace out two neighborhoods. Three guesses as to whose neighborhoods those are and the first two don't count.

Black Lives Matter is a completely noble and righteous organization that cares deeply for the safety and success of all black people. They are not an amoral, predatory group of race-hustling, Nazi-like goons.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Milky Way Photography

On Sunday night, wife kitteh and I went to Mount Laguna to do some more night sky photography. As usual, you had no idea if you were getting good shots or not because it all looked like dark squares with tiny, white dots on the camera's view screen. Yesterday, I brought the pictures into Photoshop, made some adjustments and Voila! Not only did they look pretty good, but the Milky Way is visible in some of them.

This is the best of the lot. I left it rather large, so it's worth a click. Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Font Was Too Small

That's the only thing I can think of when I look at the player names on the EPL jerseys from the games this weekend and then look at the crime stats in Chicago and New York City.

It could also be that not everyone marched or changed their Facebook avatars to black squares. It's hard to tell. We need Science to point the way here.

In Chicago, there were 14 killed and 95 wounded over the weekend, compared with 6 killed and 17 wounded last year. In New York, it went from 12 shot last year to 38 this year.

Another Possibility

Given the extent of systemic racism in America, we might be seeing spikes in violence because we're not tough enough on cops. We might need more of this.
Investigators are looking for the person who hung a mannequin dressed like a police officer from an overpass in Jacksonville, Florida.
Either way, it's important we all do our parts. I highly recommend changing all avatars, using as many hashtags as possible and committing as many anti-police acts as you can. Remember, silence is violence and brother, is there a lot of violence right now. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Broken Mental Models

Ted Anthony, a patient, kind-hearted and highly proficient AP writer, made the mistake of asking me a question.

To borrow from G. K. Chesterton, it's probably a bad idea to ask for clarification from someone only too ready to write blog posts on the slightest provocation, but Ted did it and now I must respond.

Here's a data point that I feel is instructive. If the embedded video is fussy, here's the direct link to it.

There was a better one from Tucker's Friday show that I can't find online, so I will summarize it. A business owner in Charleston, SC, had his shop attacked by Black Lives Matter rioters while his staff and customers were still in it. Calling 911 accomplished nothing. The people managed to escape out the back, but his shop was destroyed.

In the name of Social Justice, left wing political leaders knowingly chose the left wing mobs over the shop owners. There are mountains of problems with their mental models, but I'll pick three of them for this post.

Ragged Red Rules

Why do you have police? Police exist to enforce the law. How do you get laws? Laws are enacted by the democratically elected legislature, signed by the executive and interpreted by the courts. Remove the police, either through defunding, withdrawal for racial reasons or simply stop responding to 911 calls and you have no laws. Without enforcement, the laws become words on paper.

If you've invested your life in a fixed asset like a shop or a factory and the police vanish, what's left to you other than arming yourself and your employees and enforcing your own laws? How many people know the rules regarding defense of life, home or business? Remove the police and you'll end up with 100 heavily armed shop owners interpreting the laws on the spot. The results will be mixed, to say the least. Mixed with a lot of blood.

The left has no model for this. When I watch interviews with store owners who have been burned out by the left's own BLM / ANTIFA crowd, the end result is blindingly obvious. Either the merchants are going to leave or they're going to arm themselves. The blue cities are in this position because they lacked the mental framework to predict this. That shines out as clear as day when you listen to the Chicago aldermen talk to their mayor during the riots.

Gratuitous paragraph: Part of the broken mental model of the left is the source of wealth. All wealth comes from people engaged in private commerce. The government gets its money by taxing said private commerce. That's it. There is no other source. Progressives think money comes from the government and are regularly shocked at what happens when businesses leave. That's part of why they don't protect them. They don't understand the owners and they don't understand their value to the community.

Countering Violence With Retreat

The recent destruction of monuments in San Francisco are the perfect example of this broken mental model. It's indescribably delicious because the final monument whacked was one for Ulysses S. Grant. Dig this.

Oh, so they're not going to let them tear down another statue, are they? And just how do they propose to stop the BLM / ANTIFA goons? Words. Talking. An open dialogue. It's all in the left wing mental model. If we just understand one another, if we try to get along with the other side, we'll find common ground and come to a mutually-beneficial agreement.

Grant came down directly afterwards.

The mob is willing to use violence. If you aren't, you'll lose. It's really simple and the mob can see it. At some point in time, you're going to have to bust heads and / or shoot people to stop this. Allowing it to continue is incredibly corrosive to society. Most people pulled over by the cops for a traffic violation are going to think of the rioters smashing and looting and see that there are two sets of rules. The BLM / ANTIFA mob gets to do what they want while you have to follow the law. Where does that lead?

Nothing Is Changing

In the end, it's the fundamental flaw in the left's mental model that makes all this pointless. The problem isn't race and it isn't racism, it's the loss of the traditional family. Dig these two data points.

Reading proficiency scores from South Senior High School in Minneapolis.

Reading proficiency scores from East High School in Cheyenne.

I didn't take the time to find more dramatic examples from Great Schools, but this tracks with the 60 or so schools I've sampled.

Here are two problems for the race-crazed among us.
  1. If racism is such a huge problem, why are black kids doing better in ultra-white, Trump +40 Wyoming than in ultra-progressive, pluralistic Minneapolis? With nothing to slow down the redneck KKK there, wouldn't you expect the black children to be brutalized to the point of catatonia? How can they study with all that hate? It's almost like racism, particularly on the right, is not a big factor.
  2. If blacks were inferior, why would they excel anywhere? They're doing it in Cheyenne. It's almost like race is irrelevant. Crazy!
The next time you want to wave racial data around, whether that's crime or education or income, take a look at family structure data as well and ask yourself which one seems to be a better indicator of performance. Spoiler: It's family structure.

That means the entire lefty worldview, the one that sounds like it came from a Mein Kampf madlib where the races are the blanks, is seriously flawed. The solutions we're pursuing will result in no changes unless they accidentally change marriage rates.


This is a stream-of-consciousness hobbyist blog and I'm tired of this post. I want to go have breakfast and then take the dogs for a run so I'm quitting here.

Oh, wait, that's not a summary. How about this one to answer the original question.

The Democrats own the education industry and outside of Fox and maybe the WSJ, they own the news media. Through those institutions, they taught our children that America is full of racism and hate and, as currently constructed, is illegitimate. We need to fundamentally transform it! That was great because it got the Democrats votes. Unfortunately, they went a bit too far and now the little monsters are telling the Democrats trying to manage the blue cities that America is full of racism and hate and is illegitimate. Burn it all down!

Lacking accurate mental models, the Democrat establishment can't cope with the violence and is about to get whacked upside the head by the fiscal repercussions while accomplishing nothing.

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