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Wednesday links

  • Had to happen. Prosecutors in Arkansas are demanding cloud data from Amazon for one of its voice-activated Echo devices. Authorities don’t seem to think they need a warrant or a subpoena, just a “demand.” Amazon differs.
  • There’s also this little question among money-hungry local governments as to whether you should pay them for arresting you. The Supremes are expected to weigh in.
  • You ready for a new ice age? (C’mon, damnit. I still want my global warming! Especially now that we in this corner of the world are soon to “enjoy” some of the lowest temps we’ve seen in years.)
  • Seven “last-mile” commute solutions that supposedly don’t look unacceptably stupid. Hm. that monkey-bike thingie might go over that line a ways.
  • These maps are the coolest visualizations I’ve seen of the late presidential election: Trumpland and the Clinton Archipelago. I stole ’em from another blogger but now can’t recall who. So hat tip to you, stranger.
  • F*c*b**k: more intrusive, more creepy, and less honest to its users every day. I would love to see the entire data-brokering business go up in one giant flash. Boom. Reduced to ashes.
  • Remember that feral mother dog and her puppies rescued last year by all the members of a bachelor party? Sooooo damned heartwarming. And so’s the follow-up three months later.
  • And while we’re on the subject of pups, here are two on an epic shopping-cart adventure (which gets better as it goes along). Fans of YouTube dog videos may recognize the famous Maymo and Penny.


  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty December 28, 2016 4:04 am

    I’ve been waiting for years to have this “warming” thing… but it just keeps getting colder. Not enough heat to ripen most of the tomatoes last summer, or the one before. Last year I started writing a fictional story about how people managed in a true, deep ice age in the future. Had to do quite a bit of research in that area and was truly chilled to the bone when I got done.

  2. larryarnold
    larryarnold December 28, 2016 8:37 am

    Now that we’re facing cooling instead of heating, can we get our incandescent lightbulbs back? How about regular gasoline that’s just gasoline? Charcoal grills? Catalytic-free exhaust systems? All the other things Congress messed up for us?

    Meanwhile, I commute 2.8 small-town miles to work, on the two days a week I actually have to go to the office. I park across the street. I do spend time driving around town conducting interviews, but I never have to park more than 25 yards from where I’m going.
    Who needs a city?

    I note in passing that the Bachelor Bunch looks suspiciously like all those Disposable Trump Voters progressives are hyperventilating over.

  3. jed
    jed December 28, 2016 8:41 am

    I wouldn’t say Abdussamatov has been a “lonely voice”, but it’s true that the Chicken-Little climate-change cadre haven’t been listening. It isn’t difficult to look at the solar cycles, and forsee the possibility of an upcoming Maunder or Dalton minimum. Can’t find it now, but Borepatch (IIRC) posted a long-term temperature average graph, showing a recent trend towards cooling. I say we should start burning more fossil fuels, to combat the coming cold. 🙂

    Friend of mine has Alexa. It’s pretty cool how well it works. Too bad I didn’t think of saying, “Alexa .. tea, Earl Grey, hot”, to see what would happen.

    Nice election maps. Don’t think the Dems will get the message though.

  4. jed
    jed December 28, 2016 9:02 am

    @larry: Tetra-ethyl lead isn’t going to come back, absent some major upheaval, and even then, I don’t know I’d want it. The ban wasn’t tied to global warming anyway. I’d sure like to see an octane booster other than ethanol, but I have no idea what that’d be. I wouldn’t mind at all seeing the dumber regulations rolled back, e.g. the latest restrictions on wood stoves.

  5. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty December 28, 2016 9:14 am

    Jed, I think Larry was talking about ethanol in the gas, not the lead. Don’t know anyone who wants the lead back in it. The ethanol addition was most certainly tied to the global scam.

  6. Desertrat
    Desertrat December 28, 2016 9:20 am

    Ethanol does not boost the octane rating. It reduces it. It takes more energy to make ethanol than the ethanol produces. Regular gasoline has about 19,000 BTU per pound. I haven’t looked up the number for ethanol.

    Since it contains more oxygen than regular gasoline, you can get more horsepower via a higher compression ratio and a richer fuel mixture.

    I have found that in comparing gasohol vs. no-ethanol gasoline, my mpg is about ten percent better with the no-ethanol.

  7. jed
    jed December 28, 2016 9:51 am

    Ethanal does provide octane, however, at the cost of lower BTUs, which is how power production can suffer.

    … ethanol is an excellent octane provider, with neat (pure) ethanol having an octane rating of over 100. Currently, refiners create ‘sub-octane gas,’ which has a lower octane rating than required. Ethanol, which is generally the cheapest octane provider, is then used to bring the octane rating of the gasoline up to the labelled octane value on the gas pump. For example, 84 octane gasoline is typically blended with 10 percent ethanol to reach the minimum octane requirement of 87 for retail gasoline.
    A Brief History of Octane in Gasoline: From Lead to Ethanol

    (This is consistent with multiple other sources I found using a web search.)

    That using ethanol as a gasoline additive, overall, is a bad solution from an energy and land-use point of view, is where my objection to it comes from.

    @ML: I assume Larry was referring to leaded gas, due to his mention of catalytic converters. Lead products in vehicle exhaust will plate the catalyst, thus rendering it non-functional. In order to have leaded gas, one would need to eliminate using a catalytic converter. Well, the reverse isn’t necessarily true.

  8. Claire
    Claire December 28, 2016 10:42 am

    “It isn’t difficult to look at the solar cycles, and forsee the possibility of an upcoming Maunder or Dalton minimum.”

    It baffles me that scientists have reached an alleged “consensus” on manmade climate change in the face of both sunspot evidence and obviously faked data from others in their camp (most notoriously the Mann “hockey stick”). It wasn’t that long ago that predictions of a coming ice age were more common. Didn’t Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn even write a novel on the subject ( )? Albeit a novel blaming the early “warmists” for helping cause the ice age.

    Last night we had our third freezing rain of the season. Most years we have zero freezing rains. By the weekend, we’re expecting the coldest temperatures in many years (and we’ve already had the coldest in the last three years). While we don’t get the real deep freezes some of you get, the cold isn’t expected to go away quickly, and might bring us our second snow storm before it settles in.

    Even a “little ice age” would do far more harm to the world than a warmup.

  9. jed
    jed December 28, 2016 11:04 am

    I do remember the “doomsday” prediction from the 70’s regarding the impending new ice age. I’ve never bought into the doomsday notions about warming. A longer growing season in northern lattitudes would seem beneficial, though perhaps offset by reduced production elsewhere.

    The Renaissance of the 12th century came near the end of the Medieval Warm Period. Coincidental?

    I periodically look for the reference, but some years ago, I read a good paper predicting greater variation in weather and greater extremes, and I think it might’ve been from the same Russian Insitution. All fascinating stuff. Over here in CO, it’s been warmer than usual, though we did get some effects from that Arctic air mass.

  10. Bob
    Bob December 28, 2016 1:28 pm

    “It baffles me that scientists have reached an alleged “consensus” on manmade climate change”

    That’s the view that gets paid(via gubmint grants, etc.). If you subsidize something, you get more of it. One more reason for the feds to remain within their constitutionally enumerated powers.

  11. larryarnold
    larryarnold December 28, 2016 5:06 pm

    Sorry I wasn’t clearer, a product of shooting from the hip. Lead is bad in gasoline, but then so is corn. The converters, beyond their complexity and expense, tend to start grass fires down where I drive.

    Didn’t Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn even write a novel on the subject ( )?

    Which I reviewed for you, back in the day.

  12. Claire
    Claire December 28, 2016 5:27 pm

    “Which I reviewed for you, back in the day.”

    I give. That one’s lost in the mists of time. Thanks to Bill St. Clair’s private wayback machine, I was able to search the archives of the old Wolfesblog:

    And the friends section of the really old Wolfe’s Lodge:

    And I searched Living Freedom, too. No results.

    So, Larry. Where are you hiding that review???

    BTW, for anybody who hasn’t read Fallen Angels, I recall it being good and a lot of fun, particularly for people ever involved in SF fandom (which I never was, but my Significant Sweetie at the time had been; he knew a lot of the people in that and other Niven/Pournelle books and even made a brief appearance in one of their books himself).

  13. Claire
    Claire December 28, 2016 6:29 pm

    Here’s a good recent article on who’s fudging and whose telling the truth on climate and how to tell:

    You know, for a brief moment way back when I considered becoming a climatologist. I was always interested in earth sciences and thought it would be fascinating to look into how climate changes affected the rise and fall of ancient civilizations. I was never serious enough to pursue the career — and I become more glad with every year that I didn’t enter that cursed profession.

  14. Antibubba
    Antibubba January 1, 2017 11:40 am

    Isn’t it possible that both phenomena are happening? Global warming as a result of of increased CO2 in the atmosphere, AND a solar cooling? And if so, what would be the efeect of both occurring at the same time?

  15. Claire
    Claire January 1, 2017 11:47 am

    Bingo. I know there’s at least some speculation that increased CO2 is helping stave off an ice age. How well-informed that speculation is, I don’t know. But I believe that was part of the premise of Fallen Angels and I’ve heard others say it since.

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