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Member since: Sat Mar 29, 2008, 10:11 PM
Number of posts: 41,110

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Maddie & Tae - Girl In A Country Song

If you're tired of a certain type of bro-country song this is the antidote.


Morning Moon 12-11-2014

It was really clear here at five am and since I was up and about I decided to shoot the Moon again.

Lumix ZS15 pocket zoom + cheapo tripod, 170 exposures at 1/500 f6.3 ISO100 3 megapixel mode aligned, stacked and enhanced in Registax 6.

My flabber is absolutely gasted at how good the lens is on this camera, the thing is about the diameter of a nickle and the camera is the size of a pack of cigarettes.

Stiglitz: China now has the largest economy in the world


When the history of 2014 is written, it will take note of a large fact that has received little attention: 2014 was the last year in which the United States could claim to be the world’s largest economic power. China enters 2015 in the top position, where it will likely remain for a very long time, if not forever. In doing so, it returns to the position it held through most of human history.

Comparing the gross domestic product of different economies is very difficult. Technical committees come up with estimates, based on the best judgments possible, of what are called “purchasing-power parities,” which enable the comparison of incomes in various countries. These shouldn’t be taken as precise numbers, but they do provide a good basis for assessing the relative size of different economies. Early in 2014, the body that conducts these international assessments—the World Bank’s International Comparison Program—came out with new numbers. (The complexity of the task is such that there have been only three reports in 20 years.) The latest assessment, released last spring, was more contentious and, in some ways, more momentous than those in previous years. It was more contentious precisely because it was more momentous: the new numbers showed that China would become the world’s largest economy far sooner than anyone had expected—it was on track to do so before the end of 2014.

The source of contention would surprise many Americans, and it says a lot about the differences between China and the U.S.—and about the dangers of projecting onto the Chinese some of our own attitudes. Americans want very much to be No. 1—we enjoy having that status. In contrast, China is not so eager. According to some reports, the Chinese participants even threatened to walk out of the technical discussions. For one thing, China did not want to stick its head above the parapet—being No. 1 comes with a cost. It means paying more to support international bodies such as the United Nations. It could bring pressure to take an enlightened leadership role on issues such as climate change. It might very well prompt ordinary Chinese to wonder if more of the country’s wealth should be spent on them. (The news about China’s change in status was in fact blacked out at home.) There was one more concern, and it was a big one: China understands full well America’s psychological preoccupation with being No. 1—and was deeply worried about what our reaction would be when we no longer were.

Of course, in many ways—for instance, in terms of exports and household savings—China long ago surpassed the United States. With savings and investment making up close to 50 percent of G.D.P., the Chinese worry about having too much savings, just as Americans worry about having too little. In other areas, such as manufacturing, the Chinese overtook the U.S. only within the past several years. They still trail America when it comes to the number of patents awarded, but they are closing the gap.


ThinkProgress: How One Woman Could Hit The Reset Button In The Case Against Darren Wilson



There is a provision of Missouri Law — MO Rev Stat § 56.110 — that empowers “the court having criminal jurisdiction” to “appoint some other attorney to prosecute” if the prosecuting attorney “be interested.” (The term “be interested” is an awkward legal way to refer to conflict-of-interest or bias. The statute dates from the turn of the 20th century.)

The court with jurisdiction over Darren Wilson’s case is the 21st Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri. That means the power to appoint a special prosecutor is held by Maura McShane, the Presiding Judge of the 21st Circuit.

Missouri courts, at times, have interpreted their power to appoint a special prosecutor broadly, to include not only blatant conflicts — like the prosecutor being related to the defendant — but also subtler conflicts that reveal themselves through the prosecutor’s conduct in the case.

In the 1996 case of State v. Copeland, a Missouri court replaced the prosecutor because the judge “sensed that sympathies for may have prevented him from being an effective advocate for the state.” The judge “found the adversarial process to have broken down in that appeared to be advocating the defendant’s position.”


Toles Toon: Election Fallout

Ray Lewis: The major problem with policing in the United States begins before an officer is hired


A retired Philadelphia police captain is blasting U.S. policing, calling it “an oppressive organization now controlled by the one-percent of corporate America.”

Former Capt. Ray Lewis was in Ferguson, Mo., this week, demonstrating in uniform against the decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.


The major problem with policing in the United States begins before an officer is hired, he said. Every recruit is put through a battery of tests, including the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test which is supposed to assess psychological fitness.

"One of the aspects of a personality is a degree of sensitivity and compassion," he said. "Unfortunately, they do not hire those people that score high on sensitivity. They reject them believing those people will quit because they can't handle the blood and guts on the street. They view that as wasted training money.

"What they don't realize is that hiring the insensitive individual is going to result in brutality cases, and when those cases go to court, that's where they lose millions," Lewis said. "It's pennywise and pound foolish."

From two minutes and twenty seven seconds to nineteen seconds: A Boot Time Odyssey

It got cold early here this year and I spent a couple of days inside playing with the computer, my internet connection got cut off for almost a full day so I had a lot of free time I would normally spend online figuring out ways to speed up my more-sluggish-than-it-should-be computer.

So I have a Dell Optiplex 755 with Quad core processor at 2.66 Ghz, 8 GB of RAM, a 1 GB PCIe x16 video card and a 160 GB SATA HD, not top of the line by today's standards but for surfing the web and playing video, home theater type stuff, maybe run Flight Simulator or rFactor a bit and do some image and video editing it's more than adequate when it's running right.

The computer had been getting really sluggish, a two minute and twenty seven second boot up (remember Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit=big), I have a tendency to try out a lot of new software and I get slack on doing a backup before, lazy, forget, in a hurry or what have you and what at one time felt like a pretty snappy computer had become really slow, uninstalling things was a hit or miss proposition, sometimes it would speed things up and other times it would slow them down.

When I first got the computer it came with the OS loaded but no install discs so I immediately made a backup image of the OS drive and carefully archived it. Rummaging through a few junk computers in the storage shed I found another 160 GB SATA drive and I installed that and restored the backup copy of my original OS disc to it. Somewhere along the line I have found a nice little utility package called Glary Utilities 5 that when it is installed includes a routine that automatically measures boot time. Glary Utilities tells me that with a fresh install on this 160 GB disc boot up takes one minute and two seconds. That's quite a difference and the computer feels at least that much faster in use as well.

But that's not the end of it, since I had a fresh copy on a HD and a confirmed backup I thought I'd play with things a bit to see if I could speed the system up even more. Glary Utilities has a defragmenter with an optimizing option that moves older files and larger files to the end of the hard drive which speeds up loading the OS for reasons I'm not entirely clear on. It also has a boot time defragmenter that will defragment the portions of your drive it is not safe to defrag while Windows is running.

After playing around with all this for about four or five hours including figuring out what tools to use and rebooting the computer a bunch of times I got my system down to thirty seven second boot as reported by Glary and it felt even quicker than it did with the fresh install before optimization.

Now this is with the 160 GB drive which is older technology and kind of slow. I also have a 500 GB Seagate Barracuda drive that's somewhat newer tech and quicker so I used EaseUS free Partition Master software to migrate the OS on the 160 GB to the 500 GB drive. After the migration and a little more cleaning up with the defrag option the very same computer that took two minutes and twenty seven seconds to boot now takes twenty nine seconds to boot the same OS, Windows 7 Ultimate.

I wrote the above a couple of weeks ago and was going to post it then but at that point I had already ordered a hardware speed-up option that had not arrived, a 32 GB Sandisk ReadyCache SSD and I decided to wait and see what that did for my system before I put it up. So anyway, with the Sandisk installed and the dedicated and proprietary to Sandisk ExpressCache software downloaded and installed my boot time is now down to nineteen seconds, that's over seven times faster than when I started.

Not only does the OS boot quicker, everything feels dramatically faster, websites that crawled on the screen before now practically snap up and programs that took an interminable wait are now there in a just a few seconds, my computer feels significantly better than when I got it.

How the M$M would cover Ferguson if it were happening in another nation


FERGUSON — Chinese and Russian officials are warning of a potential humanitarian crisis in the restive American province of Missouri, where ancient communal tensions have boiled over into full-blown violence.

"We must use all means at our disposal to end the violence and restore calm to the region," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments to an emergency United Nations Security Council session on the America crisis.

The crisis began in August in Ferguson, a remote Missouri village that has been a hotbed of sectarian tension. State security forces shot and killed an unarmed man, which regional analysts say has angered the local population by surfacing deep-seated sectarian grievances. Regime security forces cracked down brutally on largely peaceful protests, worsening the crisis.

In response, ancient American tradition called for the gathering of a community tribal council known as a "grand jury" to weigh the case. On November 24, it announced there would be no charges against the responsible security forces. The stunning decision, which reflects the opaque and mysterious nature of the "grand jury" tradition, further outraged the already despondent local populace.


A Volkswagen Golf. With 400 horsepower and AWD.


In 1994, the Ferrari F355 hit the scene with a 3.5-liter V8 packing 375 horsepower. It was an incredibly fast car in its day. It did zero to 60 mph in about 4.7 seconds. It has nothing on the Volkswagen Golf R 400, which has 25 more horses and is far faster.

Along with their delicious 300 horsepower and probably not U.S.-bound Golf R SportWagen, VW showed off the Golf R 400 at the LA Auto Show. Having seen it in person, I can tell you that it's properly batshit fucking crazy, and of all the cars I've seen today it's the one I most want to steal and hoon.

There's a lot to like here, like the shimmery metallic silver paint, the boxed-out fender flares, the six-speed manual (!!!) gearbox, the Recaro seats, and the neon yellow trim everywhere, including the engine. Including the engine. So magical.

The Golf R 400 is slated for production, but no word on whether it will come to the U.S. or not. I think you and I both know the answer to that. The Germans think we're all idiots in America (have you driven our Passat lately?) but we aren't. Well, a lot of us are, but some of us are alright.

CBS releases pic of Darren Wilson's injuries in the struggle with Michael Brown

Evidently razor burn is a life threatening injury.


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