Reply #1912   
I need to check cause I think it switched up yesterday. Day DRAW yesterday came from workout 10/20 so it was 1 Day behind on the 20th 900 came off the 10/18 2 days behind I think today we are to use the CURRENT day 10/22, which has the 439 in it.

Night is another story 853 was not on ANY of the past 4 lists but a 1 off was but I usually don't count thta cause her list are so accurate it is an anomaly.
          Apache2 błąd 404 po aktualiacji debiana z 8 na 9   

@czeper pisze:

Mam dziwny problem, strona działała bez zarzutu, aż tu nagle tak po prostu:

Not Found

The requested URL /login was not found on this server.

w logach apacha mam taki wpis:

[Sat Jul 01 22:28:08.409154 2017] [:error] [pid 8092] [client 127.0.0.1:45624] [client 127.0.0.1] ModSecurity: Warning. Pattern match "(?i)([\\s\"'`;\\/0-9\\=\\x0B\\x09\\x0C\\x3B\\x2C\\x28\\x3B]+on\\w+[\\s\\x0B\\x09\\x0C\\x3B\\x2C\\x28\\x3B]*?=)" at REQUEST_COOKIES:laravel_session. [file "/usr/share/modsecurity-crs/rules/REQUEST-941-APPLICATION-ATTACK-XSS.conf"] [line "125"] [id "941120"] [rev "2"] [msg "XSS Filter - Category 2: Event Handler Vector"] [data "Matched Data: 9ONVJNNVFwdTZCVThZanZMUnc9PSIsInZhbHVlIjoibHNVVXhITTJoTWkwUVNCY2tFZ0twY1JRMFhcLzA3WmgxXC9Zc0FFYnR2dU5lZzVqcTRUXC9ZZFhZUXRaOHgwQ3QyaWxGbFU3azVqbHVMcUtaZE5TU2hibWc9PSIsIm1hYyI6ImIwYzc1ZjM4ZjhmZDNjNTlhYzM2Nzk4MWJkMDdmNWU5YzZjMzhmYjlhYWQyMWFiOTRjNzI4OTJkYzQxMDk3Y2MifQ= found within REQUEST_COOKIES:laravel_session: eyJpdiI6ImNUQk9ONVJNNVFwdTZCVThZanZMUnc9PSIsInZhbHVlIjoibHNVVXhITTJoTWkwUVNCY2tFZ0twY1JRMFhcLzA3WmgxXC9Zc0FFYnR2dU5lZzVqcTRUXC9ZZFhZUXRaOHgwQ3QyaWxGbFU3azVqbHVMcUtaZE5TU2hibWc9PSIsIm1..."] [severity "CRITICAL"] [ver "OWASP_CRS/3.0.0"] [maturity "4"] [accuracy "8"] [tag "application-multi"] [tag "language-multi"] [tag "platform-multi"] [tag "at [hostname "da.pl"] [uri "/favicon.ico"] [unique_id "WVgF2MCoAAoAAB@c@6QAAAAA"], referer:
[Sat Jul 01 22:28:08.414794 2017] [:error] [pid 8092] [client 127.0.0.1:45624] [client 127.0.0.1] ModSecurity: Access denied with code 403 (phase 2). Operator GE matched 5 at TX:anomaly_score. [file "/usr/share/modsecurity-crs/rules/REQUEST-949-BLOCKING-EVALUATION.conf"] [line "57"] [id "949110"] [msg "Inbound Anomaly Score Exceeded (Total Score: 5)"] [severity "CRITICAL"] [tag "application-multi"] [tag "language-multi"] [tag "platform-multi"] [tag "attack-generic"] [hostname "local.pl"] [uri "/favicon.ico"] [unique_id "WVgF2MCoAAoAAB@c@6QAAAAA"], referer:

to zaczęło się dziać po aktualizacji z debiana 8 na 9. Nie od razu wystąpił ten problem. Korzystałem z paginacji datable, przy którejś stronie pojawil sie ten bład i od tamtej pory nic nie działa. Framework laravel 5, php 5.6, apache:
Server version: Apache/2.4.25 (Debian)
Server built: 2017-06-20T19:29:11

Wpisy: 2

Uczestnicy: 2

Przeczytaj cały temat


          Comment on OLTP Compression, Drop Column, Partition Exchange by 255 columns | Oracle Scratchpad   
[…] anomaly of how Oracle handles dropping columns in a partitioned table.  (For a useful insight see this note from Dominic Brooks – and for a nice thought about preparing simple tables for an exchange with such a […]
          FG searches for a predictable budget cycle   
In this piece, IFEANYI ONUBA examines some of the issues affecting the take-off of the national budget on January 1 and what could be done to address the anomaly Two weeks ago, Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, signed the 2017 budget into law, six months after it was presented to both chambers of the National Assembly […]
          You know it’s not that hard, right?   

I don’t always do something stupid, but when I do, it’s usually reading comments on blogs. Seriously. I’m very thankful for the helpful quality and tone of 99.9 per cent of the comments I receive on this blog. But, dang, you all are the anomaly, I think. That or I’m just reading the wrong websites. […]

The post You know it’s not that hard, right? appeared first on Blogging Theologically.


          Elevation Difference and Bouguer Anomaly Analysis Tool (EDBAAT) User's Guide   

This report describes a software tool that imports gravity anomaly point data from the Gravity Database of the United States (GDUS) of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and University of Texas at El Paso along with elevation data from The National Map (TNM) of the U.S. Geological Survey that lie within a user-specified geographic area of interest. Further, the tool integrates these two sets of data spatially and analyzes the consistency of the elevation of each gravity station from the GDUS with TNM elevation data; it also evaluates the consistency of gravity anomaly data within the GDUS data repository. The tool bins the GDUS data based on user-defined criteria of elevation misfit between the GDUS and TNM elevation data. It also provides users with a list of points from the GDUS data, which have Bouguer anomaly values that are considered outliers (two standard deviations or greater) with respect to other nearby GDUS anomaly data. “Nearby” can be defined by the user at time of execution. These outputs should allow users to quickly and efficiently choose which points from the GDUS would be most useful in reconnaissance studies or in augmenting and extending the range of individual gravity studies.


          Monitoring the cooling of the 1959 Kīlauea Iki lava lake using surface magnetic measurements   

Lava lakes can be considered as proxies for small magma chambers, offering a unique opportunity to investigate magma evolution and solidification. Repeated magnetic ground surveys over more than 50 years each show a large vertical magnetic intensity anomaly associated with Kīlauea Iki Crater, partly filled with a lava lake during the 1959 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano (Island of Hawai’i). The magnetic field values recorded across the Kīlauea Iki crater floor and the cooling lava lake below result from three simple effects: the static remnant magnetization of the rocks forming the steep crater walls, the solidifying lava lake crust, and the hot, but shrinking, paramagnetic non-magnetic lens (>540 °C). We calculate 2D magnetic models to reconstruct the temporal evolution of the geometry of this non-magnetic body, its depth below the surface, and its thickness. Our results are in good agreement with the theoretical increase in thickness of the solidifying crust with time. Using the 2D magnetic models and the theoretical curve for crustal growth over a lava lake, we estimate that the former lava lake will be totally cooled below the Curie temperature in about 20 years. This study shows the potential of magnetic methods for detecting and monitoring magmatic intrusions at various scales.


          The oNe, thE aNOmaly is here to make war with GoD and the DeViL. ...to bring forth a NwO...   
He will defeat both god and devil and take both reigns that of the darkness and that of the light, ending with this, duality. .. With a superior power of...

- Poster: Osiris Lucifer (UID 7270988) - Views 921 - Replies 34

          The anomaly is now posting The Actual New World Order that is here   
This text was posted here a week ago but deleted by GLP... here is a link to the source: https://wordpress.com/post/amazinghonesty.wordpress.com/4

- Poster: Nobody (UID 71419139) - Views 350 - Replies 17

          NWo Wolfpac   
https://youtu.be/YyX_3zMJIbA

- Poster: ThE aNoMaLy (UID 73476631) - Views 109 - Replies 2

          Two-year increase in homicide   
I examined the top 55 cities in America. Collectively 51-million people live in those cities, that is roughly 1/6th of America's population. Between 2014 and 2016, those cities saw a 23 percent increase in homicide. (6,977 to 8,612)

In terms of raw numbers, the cities with the largest increases in people being killed are Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, Baltimore, and Memphis. [Were one to take these top five cities out of the equation -- and there's not any moral or good statistical reason for doing so, but just for fun -- the rest of the cities would still see, on average, a 2-year 15 percent increase. Even that would be worrisome. So, no. It's not just Chicago.]

I dropped cities with fewer than 40 or more murders in 2016 because statistically, a small n leads to overly dramatic year to year changes.

What's left is 43 cities ranging from little Richmond (220,000 people) to big NYC (8.5 million), from safe San Diego (homicide rate 3.5 per 100,000) to dangerous St. Louis and Baltimore (more than 50 homicides per 100,000).

Thirty-nine of 43 cities saw an increase. Three (Pittsburgh, Boston, Columbus) didn't. New York City is unchanged.



2-year change in homicide rate (per 100,000), 2014-2016

Albuquerque: +103% | Atlanta: +19% | Austin: +25% | Bakersfield: +153% | Baltimore: +49% | Boston: -15% | Charlotte: +60% | Chicago: +80% | Cleveland: +33% | Columbus: -11% | Dallas: +49% | Denver: +97% | Detroit: +6% | Durham: +95% | El Paso: -19% | Fort Worth: +35% | Fresno: -17% | Hampton Roads, VA: +39% | Houston: +44% | Indianapolis: +10% | Jacksonville: +25% | Kansas City: +140% | Las Vegas: +44% | Long Beach: +28% | Los Angeles: +13% | Louisville: +73% | Memphis: +63% | Miami: +6% | Milwaukee: +68% | Minneapolis: +19% | Nashville: +83% | New Orleans: +17% | New York: +1% | Oakland: +10% | Oklahoma: +City: +96% | Omaha: -6% | Philadelphia: +11% | Phoenix: +28% | Pittsburgh: -20% | Portland: -23% | Raleigh: +29% | Richmond: +45% | Sacramento: +46% | San Antonio: +36% | San Diego: +53% | San Francisco: +24% | San Jose: +50% | Seattle: -35% | St. Louis: +18% | Tucson: -11% | Tulsa: +76% | Washington: +29% | Wichita: +31%



In addition to the UCR, here are some of my source. Corrections welcome.
https://www.abqjournal.com/923137/city-sees-highest-number-of-murders-in-20-years.html
http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/homicide-tracker http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Bakersfield-California.html
http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/01/year_in_review_homicides_surge.html
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/durham-news/article123339719.html
http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/crime/2017/03/23/rash-homicides-anomaly-police-say/99555590/
http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article128019874.html
http://abc30.com/news/domestic-violence-related-murders-rise-sharply-in-fresno-during-2016/1679846/
http://fox59.com/2017/03/02/early-2017-homicide-total-climbs-as-mayor-hogsett-stays-the-course/
http://jacksonville.com/homicides/2016
http://www.kshb.com/homicide-tracker-2016
http://homicide.latimes.com/neighborhood/long-beach/year/2016
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article104679101.html
https://projects.jsonline.com/apps/Milwaukee-Homicide-Database/
http://www.startribune.com/statistics-show-minneapolis-violent-crime-edged-up-in-2016/409711555/
http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2017/01/new_orleans_finishes_2016_with.html
https://oaklandmofo.com/blog/oakland-homicide-count-is-rising
http://dataomaha.com/homicides/2015
https://www.phillypolice.com/crime-maps-stats/
http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2017/03/29/maricopa-county-phoenix-area-homicide-map-2017/99735018/
https://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/homicide/
http://koin.com/2017/01/01/4-of-portlands-20-homicides-from-2016-remain-unsolved/
http://www.kcra.com/article/meet-the-tiniest-deer-being-nursed-back-to-health/10247250
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/sd-me-county-homicides-20170226-story.html
https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/police/pt1_16_summarytable_0.pdf
http://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/tulsa-homicides-in-2016-interactive-map-shows-location-of-homicides-during-record-year
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/sd-me-county-homicides-20170226-story.html
http://wtkr.com/2015/12/22/norfolk-is-the-deadliest-city-in-hampton-roads/
          Comment on Alistair Overeem Says Fabricio Werdum Fight is a No. 1 Contender Bout (UFC 213 Video) by Sir_Roy   
At this point, for me, it's a "blame the game not the player" scenario with regards enhancers. I have a very, very hard time believing there exists more than a handful of top 10 guys from yesteryear to today, that have not enhanced at multiple times throughout their careers, both outside and within the UFC. The advent of random tests are definitely curving the trend, slowly and hopefully surely, but Overeem is far from the sole user. He's just a physical anomaly (like Lesnar, Romero etc. etc.) with freakish genetics making him easier to point out.
          Security Analytics - Visualization - Big Data Workshop Black Hat 2017   


VISUAL ANALYTICS – DELIVERING ACTIONABLE SECURITY INTELLIGENCE


BlackHat 2017 - Las Vegas


Big Data is Getting Bigger - Visualization is Getting Easier - Learn How!
Dates: July 22-23 & 24-25
Location: Las Vegas, USA

SIGN UP NOW


OVERVIEW

Big data and security intelligence are the two very hot topics in security. We are collecting more and more information from both the infrastructure, but increasingly also directly from our applications. This vast amount of data gets increasingly hard to understand. Terms like map reduce, hadoop, spark, elasticsearch, data science, etc. are part of many discussions. But what are those technologies and techniques? And what do they have to do with security analytics/intelligence? We will see that none of these technologies are sufficient in our quest to defend our networks and information. Data visualization is the only approach that scales to the ever changing threat landscape and infrastructure configurations. Using big data visualization techniques, you uncover hidden patterns of data, identify emerging vulnerabilities and attacks, and respond decisively with countermeasures that are far more likely to succeed than conventional methods. Something that is increasingly referred to as hunting. The attendees will learn about log analysis, big data, information visualization, data sources for IT security, and learn how to generate visual representations of IT data. The training is filled with hands-on exercises utilizing the DAVIX live CD.



What's New?

The workshop is being heavily updated over the next months. Check back here to see a list of new topics:

  • Security Analytics - UEBA, Scoring, Anomaly Detection
  • Hunting
  • Data Science
  • 10 Challenges with SIEM and Big Data for Security
  • Big Data - How do you navigate the ever growing landscape of Hadoop and big data technologies? Tajo, Apache Arrow, Apache Drill, Druid, PrestoDB from Facebook, Kudu, etc. We'll sort you out.


SYLLABUS

The syllabus is not 100% fixed yet. Stay tuned for some updates.

Day 1:

Log Analysis

  • Data Sources Discussion - including PCAP, Firewall, IDS, Threat Intelligence (TI) Feeds, CloudTrail, CloudWatch, etc.
  • Data Analysis and Visualization Linux (DAVIX)
  • Log Data Processing (CSVKit, ...)

SIEM, and Big Data

  • Log Management and SIEM Overview
  • LogStash (Elastic Stack) and Moloch
  • Big Data - Hadoop, Spark, ElasticSearch, Hive, Impala

Data Science

  • Introduction to Data Science
  • Introduction to Data Science with R
  • Hunting

Day 2:

Visualization

  • Information Visualization History
  • Visualization Theory
  • Data Visualization Tools and Libraries (e.g., Mondrian, Gephi, AfterGlow, Graphiti)
  • Visualization Resources

Security Visualization Use-Cases

  • Perimeter Threat
  • Network Flow Analysis
  • Firewall Visualization
  • IDS/IPS Signature Analysis
  • Vulnerability Scans
  • Proxy Data
  • User Activity
  • Host-based Data Analysis



Sample of Tools and Techniques

Tools to gather data:

  • argus, nfdump, nfsen, and silk to process traffic flows
  • snort, bro, suricata as intrusion detection systems
  • p0f, npad for passive network analysis
  • iptables, pf, pix as examples of firewalls
  • OSSEC, collectd, graphite for host data

We are also using a number of visualization tools to analyze example data in the labs:

  • graphviz, tulip, cytoscape, and gephi
  • afterglow
  • treemap
  • mondrian, ggobi

Under the log management section, we are going to discuss:

  • rsyslog, syslog-ng, nxlog
  • logstash as part of the elastic stack, moloch
  • commercial log management and SIEM solutions

The section on big data is covering the following:

  • hadoop (HDFS, map-reduce, HBase, Hive, Impala, Zookeper)
  • search engines like: elastic search, Solr
  • key-value stores like MongoDB, Cassandra, etc.
  • OLAP and OLTP
  • The Spark ecosystem


SIGN UP

TRAINER

Raffael Marty is vice president of security analytics at Sophos, and is responsible for all strategic efforts around security analytics for the company and its products. He is based in San Francisco, Calif. Marty is one of the world's most recognized authorities on security data analytics, big data and visualization. His team at Sophos spans these domains to help build products that provide Internet security solutions to Sophos' vast global customer base.

Previously, Marty launched pixlcloud, a visual analytics platform, and Loggly, a cloud-based log management solution. With a track record at companies including IBM Research, ArcSight, and Splunk, he is thoroughly familiar with established practices and emerging trends in the big data and security analytics space. Marty is the author of Applied Security Visualization and a frequent speaker at academic and industry events. Zen meditation has become an important part of Raffy's life, sometimes leading to insights not in data but in life.


          Comment on Anomaly Committee 7th Pay Commission by C Chourasia   
The similar case with me I was grant 2nd MACPS on 01.04.14 as grade pay of RS.2800. subsequent I was promoted to the post of OS with grade pay 4200 or level 6 wef Apr 17. Now my pay is being fixed as per 7th CPC where they upgrade me from level 5 to 6 i.e 40400 in level 5 to 41100 in level-6. where as as per macps govt was promised to grant difference of grade pay i.e 2800 to 42oo Rs. 1400 will be granted on actual promotion. As per this 1400x2.57 =3598 to be increased.
          Comment on Open Thread Non-Petroleum, June 14, 2017 by GoneFishing   
Arctic Ice Volume Anomaly is running lower. For the last 11 years it has been mostly below the PIOMAS average descent line. Time to think about a non-linear fit. http://psc.apl.uw.edu/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/
          Comment on June 2017 Temperature Anomaly projections by Javert Chip   
I do not see the value of forecasting (to 3 decimal-place "accuracy", no less) massaged climate numbers. A much more valuable analysis would be a close monthly inspection of climate dada sets so we know when "unannounced" adjustments are made.
          Comment on June 2017 Temperature Anomaly projections by Walter Dnes   
You want articles about adjustments? We got articles about adjustments. Wattsupwiththat.com can be queried by tags, one of which is "adjustment". See the output of the query https://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=adjustment for lots of articles to read on this blog. I have a few posts in that category too.
          Comment on Russia Issues Grim Report On North American Magnetic Anomaly by Commies4Saunders   
Were you able to ascertain whether the drunkenness was due to magnetic anomaly?
          Liberalism, secular religion, vulnerability   
There is a terrific review of a new book on liberalism over at First Things. The book is by a Polish philosopher named Ryszard Legutko, who was a dissident under the communist government and who believes that communism and liberalism share a similar secular religious framework.

The review, by Adrian Vermeule, is difficult to improve on, so I will limit myself to some commentary on one of the key points raised and then encourage you to go and read the whole thing yourselves.

What I found most interesting was the discussion of some contradictions within liberalism. For instance, liberalism emphasises both a materialist determinism (i.e. everything we do is predetermined by forces of history, genetics etc.) and a belief in the radically autonomous individual, including the idea that individuals, absent certain social conditions, will use this autonomous freedom to choose the good. How can you have a radically self-determining individual if you believe that everything is materially predetermined? One part of liberal philosophy insists that the individual is radically predetermined, the other that he only has dignity if he is radically self-determined.

The most interesting contradiction discussed, and one that is complained about all the time in alt-right discussions on social media, is why liberals seem uninterested in seriously illiberal policies in places like Saudi Arabia but come down heavily on mildly illiberal policies in places like Hungary. I think the answer given by Legutko, as summarised by Vermeule, is very interesting:
Why do Western liberal academics and EU technocrats object so stridently to the mild illiberalism of the Fidesz parliamentary party in Hungary, while saying little or nothing about Saudi Arabia and other monarchical or authoritarian nations, nominal allies of the West, who routinely control, punish, and dominate women, gays, and religious dissenters? Why are the EU technocrats, whose forte is supposed to be competence, so very bumbling, making policy mistake after policy mistake? How is it possible that while the sitting president of the United States squarely opposed same-sex marriage just a few years ago, the liberal intellectuals who supported him passionately also condemn any opposition to same-sex marriage as bigotry, rooted in cultural backwardness? Why was the triumph of same-sex marriage followed so rapidly by the opening of a new regulatory and juridical frontier, the recognition of transgender identity?

Legutko helps us understand these oddities. We have to start by understanding that liberalism has a sacramental character. “The liberal-democratic mind, just as the mind of any true communist, feels an inner compulsion to manifest its pious loyalty to the doctrine. Public life is full of mandatory rituals in which every politician, artist, writer, celebrity, teacher or any public figure is willing to participate, all to prove that their liberal-democratic creed springs spontaneously from the depths of their hearts.” The basic liturgy of liberalism is the Festival of Reason, which in 1793 placed a Goddess of Reason (who may or may not have been a prostitute conscripted for the occasion, in one of the mocking double entendres of Providence) on the holy altar in the Church of Our Lady in Paris. The more the Enlightenment rejects the sacramental, the more compulsively it re-enacts its founding Festival, the dawning of rationality.

Light is defined by contrast, however, so the Festival requires that the children of light spy out and crush the forces of darkness, who appear in ever-changing guises, before the celebration can be renewed. The essential components of the Festival are twofold: the irreversibility of Progress and the victory over the Enemy, the forces of reaction. Taken in combination, these commitments give liberalism its restless and aggressive dynamism, and help to make sense of the anomalies. Fidesz in Hungary is more threatening than the Saudi monarchy, even though the latter is far less liberal, because Fidesz represents a retrogression—a deliberate rejection of liberalism by a nation that was previously a member in good standing of the liberal order. The Hungarians, and for that matter the Poles, are apostates, unlike the benighted Saudis, who are simple heretics. What is absolutely essential is that the clock of Progress should never be turned back. The problem is not just that it might become a precedent and encourage reactionaries on other fronts. The deeper issue is that it would deny the fundamental eschatology of liberalism, in which the movement of History may only go in one direction. It follows that Brexit must be delayed or defeated at all costs, through litigation or the action of an unelected House of Lords if necessary, and that the Trump administration must be cast as a temporary anomaly, brought to power by voters whose minds were clouded by racism and economic pain. (It is therefore impossible to acknowledge that such voters might have legitimate cultural grievances or even philosophical objections to liberalism.)

The puzzle of the EU technocrats, on this account, is no puzzle at all. They are so error-prone, even from a technocratic point of view, at least in part because they are actually engaged in a non-technocratic enterprise that is pervasively ideological, in the same way that Soviet science was ideological. Their prime directive is to protect and expand the domain of liberalism, whether or not that makes for technical efficiency.

Liberalism needs an enemy to maintain its sacramental dynamism. It can never rest in calm waters, basking in the day of victory; it is essential that at any given moment there should be a new battle to be fought. The good liberal should always be able to say, “We have made progress, but there is still much to do.” This is why the triumph of same-sex marriage actually happened too suddenly and too completely. Something else was needed to animate liberalism, and transgenderism has quickly filled the gap, defining new forces of reaction and thus enabling new iterations and celebrations of the Festival. And if endorsement and approval of self-described “gender identity” becomes a widely shared legal and social norm, a new frontier will be opened, and some new issue will move to the top of the public agenda, something that now seems utterly outlandish and is guaranteed to provoke fresh opposition from the cruel forces of reaction—polygamy, perhaps, or mandatory vegetarianism.

If this is true, then it gives liberalism both a strength and a weakness. The strength is that people hold to liberal beliefs like a religion, and therefore as a source of meaning that is difficult to step away from. The weakness is that the force of the religious belief depends on an "eschatology" in which there is always a progress toward an ever more radical application of liberalism in society. Therefore, once liberalism is forced back it is vulnerable to collapse. In other words, if liberalism is seen to be obviously stopped, and some aspect of traditionalism restored, it is likely to trigger a psychological demoralisation amongst liberalism's adherents.

Liberalism needs opposition, it needs a force of reaction to battle against, but it needs to always win.

So we must not be content with being "house traditionalists" who exist merely to play a role within "the liturgy of liberalism." We need to be serious about building to the point that we are obviously regaining ground. At that point, liberals become vulnerable to psychological confusion and demoralisation. There may not be great depths of resistance once they lose a sense of inevitable progress.
          Adirondack Wintergreen   
I give a lot of tours at my 80-acre homestead, and have found that most visitors are delighted for the opportunity to connect nature with real life. Those of us who spend much time rubbing elbows with nature might say that it is real life, but for many people the connection is a serendipitous anomaly. “Remember teaberry gum?” I like to ask as we walk along a wide, sunny woods path. “That stuff that used to be around when we were kids, in the red package?” They always nod, even the people who are probably too young to have ever encountered teaberry gum on the shelves at the corner variety store. They suspect I’m leading up to something big and don’t want to miss out. I reach down and pluck a shiny leaf from a wintergreen plant growing along the edge of the footpath, sn...

Continue Reading.
          Day 280: Plans and Opportunities   
If you guys haven't noticed by now I should tell you: I'm a planner. I'm the kind of girl who knows what she's going to wear for the week and what she's going to eat for the week. I know pretty much how far I'm going to run and what I'm going to do to try and make my minutes fit into my life.

Really, there aren't too many situations I don't go into a plan with.

Which is why the last few weeks have been such an anomaly for me. Not only have I not been planning my runs I...
          NFL 2010   

Boy, Brett Favre looked shitty last night. Not only physically, where he was severely outmatched, but his spirit looked weak, his grasp of the defensive scheme looked weak, and his beard looked a touch grayer. He looked like he didn't want to be there. I think the success of last year's "show up for Week 1" approach was an anomaly—problem is, Brett won't admit it. So now you have an unprepared, underperforming quarterback who cannot be benched but will probably deserve to ride the pine by Week 5. I know this may be a hasty assessment, but the Vikings are done.

To answer your question, Stefan: The quarterback/receiver relationship is more about the quarterback than it is about the receiver. Each receiver is different: different speed, size, route-running precision, tendencies, physicality, mental prowess. A receiver does not change what he does based on what quarterback is in the game. He is trying to get open and hoping the ball comes his way. If it does, he goes and gets it. I was a receiver in college and for my first two years in the NFL, and my tight-end duties often split me out wide. When people would ask me how a certain quarterback was doing during training camp, I would say, "I don't know." Because I didn't. I never paid attention to who was under center. I was focused on reading the defense and getting open. The burden of keeping the passing game clicking falls almost entirely on the quarterbacks. Yes, the receivers must run their routes at the correct depth, which times up with the three-, five-, or seven-step drop the quarterback is taking. But it's up to the quarterback to learn the idiosyncrasies of all of his targets. This happens only through repetition, which Favre and the Vikings seem to have forgotten.

It was interesting to watch Garrett Hartley shank those two field goals last night. I know Garrett personally—he was one of several kickers on the Broncos' training camp roster several years ago. I always got along well with kickers. Their personalities are usually much different than that of the average player, because their experiences are so much different. They're always alone with time to kill: no meetings, no physical contact, nothing strenuous. This dichotomy messes with the kicker's mind, isolating him in a chamber of self-doubt. The psyche of the kicker, well-documented in Stefan's book, is the most delicate on the team, eternally swaying back and forth between supreme confidence to hopelessness and despair. Anyway, Hartley had a poor camp with the Broncos and was cut without much thought. It was nice to watch him gain his confidence as he rode the Who Dat? train to glory. I hope he keeps his seat.

When I watch a game these days, I no longer see it through the 49ers-crazed lens of my youth. All of my friends back home are still 49ers fans, and they can't understand why I don't just go back to being a 'Niners fan too. I try to explain it to them, but I can never quite articulate why it has all changed for me, why it doesn't matter who wins. Last night's pregame display of player solidarity in the face of the upcoming labor dispute shows who is really at war in the NFL: It's not the Vikings and the Saints; it's the players and the owners. Teams are made up of a mishmash of players, shuffled around the league like trading cards, and players' loyalty to their teams goes only as far as the team's loyalty to them. Given that reality, I don't see how I'll ever be able to root for the 49ers like I did as a kid.

All of this being said, I still love the game. My spirit is not broken, my body has healed, and my dreams are still alive. I am a football purist, confounded by what the NFL has become on the inside. Yet my love for the game endures, and will endure, because of the movement, the aggression, the choreography, and the ability this game has to sweep us all up and take us somewhere else for a brief moment. We all experience that moment together, and keep it forever. For me, that moment is John Taylor in the end zone in Super Bowl XXIII. It is my senior homecoming game against Westmont High School. It is my entire career at Division III Menlo College. It is my first-ever regular season game at Lambeau Field. It is catching my first NFL touchdown in Denver in front of my proud parents. Those moments are what keep me devoted, and they are why I will defend the sport until no one will listen anymore, until it's all drowned out by announcers and analysts and tweets and beer commercials and fantasy leagues and labor disputes.

Gentlemen, and Stefan, the conversation has been excellent. We are all smarter now. The football season can begin.

Nate

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          Know thy Most Productive Mode (part 2 of Having Great Standups)   
When working with new Scrum teams, team members often don't recognize what is impeding them because even though something is obvious to me, to them it's business as usual.

Working with these new teams, I've stumbled upon a way to structure their thinking around this retrospection: Identifying the Most Productive Mode. Once the team knows what their most productive mode is, they can see what is impeding their ability to reach that state. Once they "see it" then they can do something about it such as bringing it up at standup.


MOST PRODUCTIVE MODE

Teams under stress will feel that cutting out some of their new development practices will somehow make them go faster. This is a natural reaction to fear--going back to the old way. This is why it's so important for each team member to intellectualize (know) why they are doing the practices and how *not* doing them will slow them down.

It's better to deliver as much code as you can with your new good practices and communicate what is keeping you from reaching your most productive mode:

Characteristics of productivity
Focus-- focus on one task at a time and getting the artifacts finished and checked in before dealing with distractions (email, phone, meetings, lunch break). Do this work with another (pair programming) who can bring immediate feedback, mentorship, and different perspective

Quick Feedback-- create feedback loops so you know ASAP that something is right or wrong:
writing tests and code in baby-steps (Test Driven Development);
executing the unit tests at least once every fifteen minutes and recognizing you've bitten off too much to do in one step when you can't (a coverage report is a medium-slow feedback mechanism, but will be a constant one once we get it fixed so it gives you feedback every time you run the tests in JUnit); and
getting feedback on the product owner as soon as a story is done.

When something gets in the way of you reaching your most productive modes, something is impeding you. (Examples: the unit tests take more than 30 seconds to run, the IDE is difficult to setup into a productive state, it's hard to setup a pairing station, people/email/IM keep taking you out of your most productive state, you've been pairing too long and you want to disagree with everything your partner is saying so you need a break, you come into work too tired to interact with people because you were up late developing code at home/work.) We're human, sometimes these can't be avoided. If most of the time you can't reach your most productive mode, then something is wrong.

PREPARATION FOR YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE MODE:
Clarity--
* You should know what is on the sprint backlog. If you're confused about this, then something is dearly wrong! During standup, if you can't see how what someone is saying maps back to the backlog, then ask. If they don't know, then solve the problem: stop working on stuff that's not on the backlog.
* Get those definitions of done for a Sprint and a Release in a clear, easy to understand state. If it has 20 separate items and you need a lawyer, it doesn't help with clarity.
* You should know your velocity by sprint planning for the next sprint.
* At standup, the team members should all understand at some level what each person is saying. If you don't have a clue, say "what's that about?" so you know. Sometimes you'll realize it isn't helpful for person A to recount a blow-by-blow of a meeting about some other concern that has little to no impact to your project. In that case, ask them to parking lot it or follow up after standup with the one other person they are talking to.
* Standups > 15 minutes should be an anomaly. If they aren't then something is wrong. Keep standup focused on the team talking to each other about the three questions. Make it clear when standup is over and your going to shift into something else so people can leave or understand what you are about to go into is a hallway meeting. Otherwise, standups turn into 45 minute hallway meetings every day. Immediately raise impediments during standup about why standup is going too long (trying to do release planning, trying to solve a problem by falling into a 5 minute discussion).
* Use the fist of five. It's simple and effective.
* Come to standup prepared. You may need to make some notes. You may need to meet with a subset of the team *before* standup (the ones which could be a 1-2 on a fist-of-five) and have those long discussions so you have some alignment so standup goes smoother.
* Use big visible charts. If you're team has a problem, then make a chart. If your standups run too long, make a chart of the time. If the team sees the chart, but refuses to adjust despite that, then you need another approach. (Setting an egg timer for two minutes and passing it around to each speaker really works because it provides a quick feedback mechanism). By day three most of them will have figured out how to communicate effectively in that constraint.)



          Re: Bogleheads: you should be buying 10-year old cars   
Recently we have been trading in our cars in 2-3 years with about 25k-35k miles. I think it is the cheapest way to own a car for us.

We live on a dirt road in Vermont. It is not an easy life for the car. We drive AWD or 4WD vehicles and the maintenance on them is expensive after the warranty. Any car on the road for 18 years in these conditions would have had repairs for rust.

We've found in the past few years that we can buy a basic model of a new subaru or toyota and sell it 2-3 years later at a cost (depreciation plus tax) of less than 22 cents per mile. The toyota even comes with free maintenance for two years.

This pricing structure (very high trade-in value for these cars) may be an anomaly. If it does not persist we will not trade in so soon.

--vtMaps
          Infrastructure Engineer   

Position: Infrastructure Engineer
Full-Time
Description:
We are looking for a Infrastructure Engineer who is is thoroughly familiar with AWS and modern data storage and deployment solutions.
Hosted 100% in the cloud - AWS specifically. We focus on automating, monitoring, and self-healing our services. The whole of our development team contributes to the quality-first, deploy anytime, customer-focused life cycle. We work with an agile mentality in fast-paced environment. We use tools like Jenkins, Fleet, and a plurality of AWS products including EC2, S3, VPC, Route 53, Kinesis, ECS. Additionally, our team is constantly investigating the latest and greatest technologies.
DevOps manages all of our services in the AWS environment. Starting with the physical infrastructure that runs our products, DevOps manages and optimizes costs, expenses, and access to our systems, ensuring system redundancy and maximum uptime. Providing 24x7 support, DevOps are the first responders to mitigate and fix technical problems. DevOps is not a separate team, but work alongside the development team to drive the best possible customer experience.
Responsibilities for this position will include:

* Designing and building infrastructure to support our AWS-based Cloud services and infrastructure
* Creating and utilizing tools to monitor our applications and services in the cloud including system health indicators, trend identification, and anomaly detection
* Automating system build outs and the application deployment process
* Working with development teams to help engineer scalable, reliable, and resilient software running in the cloud
* Participating in on-call escalation to troubleshoot customer facing issues (target rotation is once a week every two months)
* Enhancing monitoring of systems, services and hardware to solve problems before they become problems for our customers
* Analyzing and monitor performance bottlenecks and key metrics in order to optimize software and system performance
* Providing analytics and forecasts for cloud capacity, troubleshooting analysis, and uptime

Preferred Qualifications:

* BS in Computer Science / Engineering or related field, or corresponding experience.
* 3 - 5 years of cloud-based Operations background understanding concepts such as distributed systems, alerting, monitoring, logging, and incident management
* Understanding of one or more programming languages such as Python (preferred)
* Experience with highly available distributed Linux server environments
* Understanding of Linux core fundamentals, command-line operations, scripting, and service monitoring
* Experience with SQL and noSQL solutions including MongoDB Sharded Cluster
* Experience working with git
* Experience with AWS, specifically AWS EC2, S3, VPC, Route 53, Kinesis, ECS
* Experience with Docker cluster and associated management tools (Fleet, Kubernetes, Swarm, etc.)
* Experience with automation and configuration management
* Solid understanding of agile methodologies, working in small teams, Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
* Firm understanding of networking concepts and technologies
* Outstanding oral and written communication skills

Cultural DNA:

* Candidates should have an overriding passion for solving complex tech problems in interactive mobile, user-level applications, and/or real-time location-based services. The team is driven to go the extra mile to get the product right, make it better, and do what it takes to make a world-class experience.
* Start-up experience for potential candidates is important (i.e., involvement with a prior start-up/incubation/ v.1 inside a larger corporation), but not required.


          Guest Post: Jessica Lemmon - Is Trope a Five-Letter "Four-Letter" Word?    
We're happy to have Jessica Lemmon back on The Hot Pink Typewriter, and today she's asking: Is TROPE a Five-Letter, "Four-Letter" Word?  Jessica's latest book, HARD TO HANDLE, has just released, and she's giving away an e-copy to one lucky winner, so be sure to comment for your chance to win!

ONCE BURNED 
Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she's bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can't resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn't let herself fall in love . . .

TWICE AS TEMPTING 

Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he's determined to win back the woman he's always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden's not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?

AMAZON || B&N

Is TROPE a Five-Letter “Four-Letter” Word?
When I first heard the word “trope”,  I wasn’t sure what, in the romance-writing world, it referred to. Some writers believe it’s  synonymous with cliché. That a trope is nothing more than a collection of overused ideas or situations, tired and done way too many times. (Some familiar tropes: Love Triangle, Marriage of Convenience, Accidental Pregnancy.) I don’t believe that tropes are tired or overused, by the way. Tropes can be a fun way to spark your muse’s interest, and they give you an easy, relatable way to describe (and market) your book. My first book? Sexy billionaire hero. My second book? Lovers reunited. In a few words, I can let you know what my book is about, and in a few seconds, you formed an opinion about whether or not you might like to read it.

When I first started writing, I didn’t give much (okay, any) thought to tropes. What I focused on was hot, sexy heroes and how to blend the one-two punch of emotion and humor into a manuscript. I wanted my writing to be fun, heartfelt, and happy. Since becoming published, I was surprised to learn that my books do fit into tropes even though I hadn’t labeled them on purpose. Tempting The Billionaire fits into the Boss/Employee and Billionaire Hero tropes. BUT. Shane August is no Christian Grey (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Readers thought they had Shane all figured out. But Shane is an anomaly of a billionaire, and readers noticed. Several reviewers lauded the “fresh take” on the billionaire hero trope and noted they were “pleasantly surprised”.  So, while I didn’t consciously file my book into the “billionaire hero column”, everyone else did. Was it a bad thing? Quite the opposite. As a debut author, that title, that trope got attention. What kept it? A fresh, surprising story that wasn’t what readers expected.

What’s my point? I have two:
1) Tropes in and of themselves aren’t “bad”
2) A bit of thought and good writing can take something that sounds old or tired and flip it on its ear
My October release, Hard to Handle fits into the tropes of Redemption, Reunited Lovers, and the Tortured Hero.  Aiden Downey is a man who has loved and lost Sadie Howard, and still loves her so much it’s hard for him to accept that she’s the one who got away. How is my alpha motorcycle-riding Aiden different? For starters, he’s no bad boy. Aiden has sacrificed everything he had for his ill mother, and loves Sadie with a transparency and honesty anyone can appreciate. Sadie, my heroine, fits the plucky, determined mold, but breaks it because underneath that iron exterior of hers, she’s heartbroken and fearful. 

Throw your character’s unique attributes into the mix with a tried and true trope, and what you end up with is a story that’s  far removed from the same-ole, same-ole. Surprise and delight your readers, and you’ll find the path to their hearts. 

Writers, when approaching your story, don’t be afraid to think in terms of tropes. Are you writing a secret baby? A bet? A couple stranded in a snow storm? Ask yourself this: What makes my story different? I believe it boils down to two things: your voice and your characters. The way you execute the challenges they face will make your story different from every other “secret baby” story out there, and give the reader a way to return to something familiar, but be surprised by it at the same time.

Do I have a favorite trope? I do, indeed. Reunited lovers/second chance stories grab my heart and won’t let go. I am an absolute sucker for the angst between long-lost lovers (or lovers who never were lovers), which is probably why Hard to Handle(and its prequel Can’t Let Go) are so close to my heart. Oh, the angst! The longing! And a happily ever after that (in my opinion) is so, so worth the wait.

What about you? What are your favorite romance tropes to read (or write)? 

Thanks so much for joining us today, Jessica! To learn more about Jessica and HARD TO HANDLE, visit her website at www.jessicalemmon.com.

And remember, be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win an e-book! 

 




          Walking Sticks Stoke on Trent, Newcastle under Lyme, Stone & Stafford    
Castle photos Feb1
Copyright:CastleComfortWalkingSticks

Walking Sticks Stoke on Trent & Newcastle under Lyme


and all of Staffordshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire & Shropshire

The famous  -  CASTLE FOLDING ADJUSTABLE WALKING STICK  is always available at ...

A special offer price
                                                       of JUST  £10
                         Call us to reserve yours today.

WALKING STICKS .. Castle Comfort of Newcastle under Lyme in Staffordshire became kind of 'famous' for the supply of walking canes when they opened their stall in a Stoke on Trent market stall.  A decade ago, quite a stir was caused when visitors to Hanley, Stoke on Trent indoor market found themselves having their 'ferrules' changed on their walking canes - FREE OF CHARGE. The ferrule is the metal or rubber stopper on the end and folks came from miles around to see if it was true.

It started, not as a gimmick as such, but the firm who obtained the ferrules from manufacturers for around 50p each - found it time consuming and uneconomical to  account for and charge 75p-£1 and write out a receipt for each one. So they gave them away. Soon it was realised that peoples appreciation of getting something for nothing (and an item that can be difficult to find) resulted in one of Castle Comfort's best ever marketing policies. The local community got to know and love this local company that was clearly not out to make every penny it could - and naturally when time came to invest in a chair, bed or a stair lift - then CCC's Wolstanton showroom became the place to visit.

Castle photos Feb1
Source:Walking Sticks Stoke on Trent
To this day - a posse of Castle Comfort team members make regular visits to lots of care homes, residential complexes and  a 'coffee morning ferrule change.'  They can be found at place such as  Bradeley Village, Lisbon Place in The Westlands, Newcastle under Lyme, Gordon Court, Newhouse Court, Mill Rise, Amberly House, Lea Court, Berry Hill, Garners Garden Centre and many more.  You no doubt will have seen us when out shopping at your local Morrison's and Sainsbury's stores (the latter especially on Red Nose Day).

Castle Comfort Walking Sticks

If a similar product (and of a similar quality) is found elsewhere it will probably be around the £15 mark - thought it has been spotted retailing at up to £30 and even some suppliers may charge carriage.  Also, if people cannot get to the showroom and live within a fifteen mile radius, it will be delivered FREE OF CHARGE. Naturally if ever the ferrule needs changing- that will be free.

Details -

A height adjustable CASTLE WALKING STICK folds when not in use for compact storage or transportation. Available in SMALL or STANDARD. One or the other will be fine for a very tiny dot of a person - up to an Olympic pole jumper.  Simply try them out at  the Newcastle under Lyme showroom or in the comfort of your own home when the Castle team member arrives, of course, by appointment.
They are  made from strong powder-coated steel,  have an arthritic friendly shaped handle and have non-marking slip resistant rubber ferrules (tips.)

SO, NOW YOU KNOW WHO TO CONTACT WHEN  YOU WANT A WALKING STICK  - AND REMEMBER IF YOU ARE HUNTING AROUND FOR A LOVED ONE - THEN THERE IS NO FINER PRESENT - (AND IT DOESN'T NEED TO BE FOR A BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY OR CHRISTMAS)

CONTACT CASTLE COMFORT ON 01782 611411

NOW - WALKING STICK AND CANE ENTHUSIASTS - AND WE KNOW THERE ARE MILLIONS OF YOU OUT THERE, READ ON... AND ENJOY ONE OF THE MOST FASCINATING  ACCOUNTS EVERY WRITTEN ON THE SUBJECT OF WHAT MAYBE MAN'S (OR WOMAN'S) BEST FRIEND... EVEN MORE SO THAN THE DOG ................

If you thought that a walking stick was just a walking stick, plain and simple, you would be wrong. The humble walking stick, giving walking support to the aged and infirm, is anything but. Walking sticks have been seen as a fashion accessory by some and even a real, trusted friend by others with which to share life; akin to walking the dog!
Walking sticks are also becoming an acceptable self-defence tool for ladies. But if you ever bash a would be mugger over the head don´t tell the police you carry it for that purpose. Just invent ´´a little arthritis in the knee´´ - and wink at the copper. He´ll tick the right boxes.

“When you have no companion, look to your walking stick.”
(Albanian Proverb)

“The best, the most exquisite automobile is a walking stick and one of the finest things in life is going for a walk with it.”
(Robert Coates Holliday)

“Speak softly and carry a large stick; you will go far.”
(Theodore Roosevelt)
Edward VII (1841-1910) was the son of Queen Victoria. He served as heir apparent and held the title Prince of Wales. It is not hard to draw at least some comparisons between Edward and Charles, Prince of Wales. Both princes had mothers as reining monarchs endowed with longevity. Elizabeth 11 became Queen on the death of her father, King George V1, in February 1952. She was only 25 years old. The coronation was held in June 1953. Her remarkable 60 years on the throne, her Diamond Jubilee, was one of the triumphs of 2012. Elizabeth 11 is the second longest reigning monarch. Victoria was Queen from June 1837 to January 1901, a total of 63 years.
To be Heir Apparent, or monarch in waiting, must be one of the most unenviable of roles. When most people are looking forward to retirement, Charles, and Edward before him, cannot take on the role which destiny has assigned them until their latter years, and then not until the death of the parent!
Queen Victoria had a passion for all things Scottish and this was epitomised by her choice of interior design at Balmoral Castle. This is of course where the Royal Family spends their summer holidays. The pursuit of all things Scottish is still a feature of senior Royals and highland dress, with a stout walking stick, is a part of the holiday at Balmoral Castle. Prince William apparently preferred jeans!

Source:Wikipedia Public Domain
Edward VII at Balmoral. Note the Scottish attire. The photograph is thought to have been taken by his wife, Alexandra.

Look at the pictures of the two Heirs Apparent. What do you see in common? The answer is a walking stick, a stylish accessory for the gentry of the day. Edward VII (Albert Edward) was born on 9th November 1841. He was King on the United Kingdom and all of the British Dominions. He was also Emperor of India from January 22 1901. Edward is thought to have been a champion of human equality and at times derisory of the Government. He undertook a tour of India which lasted an incredible eight months. It was noted that he treated all people equally, with no exclusions on the ground of race, colour or religion.  In an outspoken and unpopular attack of the treatment of Indians by the British officials he wrote “Because a man has a black face and a different religion from our own, there is no reason that he should be treated as a brute.” At the end of the successful tour, the title ‘Empress of India’ was bestowed on Victoria by the British Parliament, thus creating Edward as the future Emperor when he ascended the throne.

His family route was the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and he was the first British monarch from that dynasty. The name, with its Germanic associations, was changed by his son, George V, to the House of Windsor and the name remains in the present day monarchy. During the long reign of his mother, Queen Victoria, he was largely excluded from affairs of State and became the personification of the fashionable playboy with a taste for the high life; fine wines, food and of course mistresses. Victoria spoke harshly of him “I never can, or shall, look at him without a shudder.”He was nothing like her beloved Albert whom she worshipped all her life.

Edward was no ‘dedicated follower of fashion’; rather he established the fashion for the gentry. He it was who made the wearing of tweed, Norfolk jackets and Homburg hats the fashion in men’s wear Outdoors, he was always accompanied by a walking stick, some styles for town and others for the country.

Edward was responsible for some traditions which still are followed today. These include the wearing of a black tie with dinner jackets and leaving the bottom button of a waistcoat unfastened. I think that this was born more from girth than fashion! Walking sticks too became the fashion and there are some fine examples spanning the centuries.



I include at this point an aspect of country life of which I have a loathing. Shooting living creatures in the guise of a ‘sport’, together with fox hunting with dogs. This walking stick shows the head of a Retriever returning the quarry. The fox hunting ban in Britain is still in force and will, I hope, remain so. I am visited by urban foxes every night which solve my food recycling! In common with the majority of the aristocracy and a rural way of life style of the less ‘well bred’, Edward had a passion for hunting. The rooms of Balmoral, with tartan drapes and carpets, adorned with stags heads, bare macabre testimony to the cruelty of a particular form of ‘Scottish’ tradition, so passionately embraced by Victoria. It is a regrettable anomaly that some senior Royals of today, Patrons of Wild Life Conservation, continue to hunt.

Edward did not restrict his guns to Balmoral. His passion led to a bizarre ‘naughtiness’ when resident at the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. It seems that he had the clocks altered to run an hour fast to create more time for the morning shoots.  ‘Sandringham Time’, only ceased in 1936 on the express orders of Edward VIII.

People who shoot game birds need a stable platform from which to fire, hence the design of another type of walking stick, the aptly named shooting stick. The handle opens out into a two part canvas or leather seat, mounted on a single leg with a ground spike. The user perches on the seat and supports their body with their legs for greater stability.

Pheasant shooting sticks and walking sticks

Collectors of antiques do include walking sticks. Many are exquisite pieces and demand very high prices. One such walking stick, dating from 1780, is a fine example. The stick itself is built from Bark Malacca with a highly decorative handle in fine German Meissen pottery. Malacca, referred to by makers as the “King of Canes”, is a species of rattan palm, found along the coast of Sumatra. It is an ideal medium for walking sticks; light weight but very strong. This opulent stick is valued at a staggering £9000. The Malacca is of course a factor, but far more so the fine Meissen.

Malacca Walking Stick
source:Flickr

Meissen began production of fine porcelain in Dresden. (Germany, not Stoke-on-Trent).
The ware can be authenticated by the crossed swords back stamp, patented in 1720.


Alongside‘Meissen’, the name ‘Wedgwood’ is world famous. Josiah Wedgwood was born in 1768 in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. In childhood, Wedgwood contracted smallpox which left him with a severely weakened knee. It was this weakness, rendering him unable to use the pedal on a potter’s wheel, which caused him to change direction towards design. He revolutionised the firing process with the invention of the pyrometer, to give accurate temperature readings in the kilns, for which he was recognised by the Royal Society. Being a son of Newcastle-under-Lyme, adjacent to Stoke-on-Trent, I thought that I had a reasonable knowledge of Josiah Wedgwood’s life. However, as in the adage,’one is never too old to learn!’ I did not know that in 1768 his knee problem resulted in the amputation of his right leg. Wedgwood was a perfectionist. It is recorded that he would tour the Etruria factory, closely inspecting the ware for the slightest imperfection. If the quality was not to his standard, he would raise his walking stick and smash the pot in pieces whilst shouting loudly “This will not do for Josiah Wedgwood.”


Modern day walking sticks may lack a little in elegance but they are a functional aid to mobility. Many are available in a telescopic design, and some effort is made to make them decorative for ladies! In common with their Malacca ancestors, the walking sticks are light weight and yet give strong support for those who need assistance when walking. The added advantage is that they can be collapsed and stowed in a shopping bag.






Walking sticks feature in Folklore and Fantasy. Fairies and ‘little people’ are more the stuff of Ireland, but one old tale comes from Wales.

A farmer from Cwmllan was tending his sheep in the hills. He heard a cry for help. Only people cried and he could not remember seeing people on the remote hill. He discovered a young girl. She had fallen and was trapped on a ledge above a rocky cliff. With no thought for his own safety, the famer climbed down and rescued her. A little old man appeared from nowhere, saying that the girl was his daughter, and thanked the farmer profusely for saving her life. The old man rewarded the farmer by insisting that he accepted his most valued possession, his walking stick. Within a moment, both the old man and the girl were gone from sight. It was as if they had never been.

From that day on, the farmer’s life changed and he became rich. His sheep always gave birth to two ewes. No accidents or diseases struck his flock. Sheep stealers were thwarted. Birds of prey never took a lamb. In the worst of winter, sheep buried in snow drifts always survived. In due season, his flock produced the finest wool. It seemed that the old man’s walking stick had brought good fortune indeed.

One night, having brought the sheep off the hill, the famer walked to a nearby village to a cock fight. He set off for home very late. A dreadful storm blew up with high winds and rain in sheets. He had to cross a swollen stream, using the stick to find a safe footing. Somehow the walking stick slipped from his hand and was washed away by the torrent. Exhausted, the farmer finally reached his cottage.

The next morning the storm had abated and the farmer set out to assess any damage and to look for his stick. Nearly all of his sheep had gone, washed away with the stick by the power of the torrent.
The farmer was ruined. His wealth had gone, as it came, with a walking stick.

(Adapted from ‘Welsh Fairy Book’ (1907) W. Jenkyn Thomas)

Fantasy is perfectly adapted to the cinema. Looking at the momentous success of the ‘Harry Potter’ films who could question that?


‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’


The original film, ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’, was made in 1971 with Gene Wilder in the star role as Willy Wonka, It was based on the book of the same title, written in 1964, by one of the greatest of children’s fantasy writers, Roald Dahl. It was not a success. A second adaptation, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ was begun in 1991 and first screened in 2005. Willy Wonka played by Johnny Deep. A young boy, Charlie Buckett, wins every child’s dream, a tour of a candy factory. It turns out to be the most wonderful candy factory of all, run by the wildly eccentric Willy Wonka. The sugar corridors are not as sweet as they seem. The story unfolds with fantastical plots and intrigues but Willy and Charlie triumph. The whole design is a colourful extravaganza with every imaginable candy colour and shapes made in incredible ‘Heath Robinson’ machinery.


The musical (chocoholic) fans amongst us will not be surprised to know that a new stage
version of the story will be premiered at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in May 2013. The show is directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes. Music is by Marc Shaiman with choreography by Peter Darling, who choreographed the poignant film ‘Billy Elliot’.

Source:flickr
It seems then that the story of walking sticks is far from being a boring mundane topic. However, as with sweets, I like to save my favourite ‘til last. It is Willy Wonka who created perhaps the most irresistible walking stick of all; a candy stick filled to the handle with confectionary goodies!

          China: Heavy-lift rocket launch fails in flight   
China's launch of a new heavy-lift rocket, carrying what the government said was its heaviest ever satellite, failed in flight on Sunday. Official news agency Xinhua said an anomaly was detected and promised further investigations into the launch of the rocket, known as the Long March-5 Y2. The same rocket type had been expected to take China's latest lunar probe to the Moon this year and to return with samples. It is not clear how the timetable for that mission could be affected by the failed launch. China's space programme has largely operated without many major hitches, though it is still far behind the US and Russia. "An anomaly occurred during the flight of the rocket," Xinhua said after the rocket blasted off early evening from the southern island province of Hainan. "Further investigation will be carried out," it said, without elaborating. China says launch of Long March-5 Y2 "unsuccessful". Anomaly was detected during its flight and further investigation will be carried out pic.twitter.com/qQlFVJufB3- China Xinhua News (@XHNews) 2 juillet 2017 China's space programme has largely operated without many major hitches, though it still has a way to go to catch up with the United States and Russia. with Reuters
          China’s attempt to launch heavy lift carrier rocket fails   
China’s attempt to launch heavy lift carrier rocket failsBeijing: Chinese state media reported that a heavy lift rocket launch had failed after an anomaly occurred during its flight on Sunday. The’Long March-5 Y2′ carrier rocket is one of the most powerful rockets in the world. Last year, Long March-5 had successfully made its maiden flight in Wenchang. The rocket is capable of lifting […]
          China's new Moon rocket fails in flight   

The Long March-5 Y2 rocket takes off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China July 2, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer Thomson Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's launch of a new heavy-lift rocket, the Long March-5 Y2, carrying what the government said was its heaviest ever satellite, failed on Sunday, official news agency Xinhua said.

The same rocket type had been expected to take China's latest lunar probe to the Moon this year and to return with samples. It is not clear how the timetable for that mission could be affected by the failed launch.

President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing China's space program to strengthen national security and defense, and the government has stressed it is a purely peaceful initiative.

"An anomaly occurred during the flight of the rocket," Xinhua said after the rocket blasted off early evening from the southern island province of Hainan.

"Further investigation will be carried out," it said, without elaborating.

China's space program has largely operated without many major hitches, though it still has a way to go to catch up with the United States and Russia.

In late 2013, China's Jade Rabbit moon rover landed on the Moon to great national fanfare, but ran into severe technical difficulties.

The U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China's increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets in a crisis.

China is preparing to send a man to the Moon, state media cited a senior space official as saying last month.

In 2003, it became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Louise Ireland)

NOW WATCH: See how geologists scoop molten-hot lava into a bucket for testing


          Sam Gordon, Viral Football Star, Opens Up About Her HS Girls Football Lawsuit   

Nearly five years ago, Sam Gordon went viral, taking the country by storm with a YouTube highlight reel of her embarrassing young boys on a football field. It was a striking visual—a girl with a ponytail slicing her way through an offensive line and dicing her way through the opposing defense. Gordon became an instant hit and had television appearances on Conan, Good Morning America and NFL Network while also landing her own Wheaties box.

Now 14 years old and entering her freshman year of high school, Gordon doesn’t want to stop playing football. The only problem is her high school doesn’t have a football team.

So Brent Gordon, Sam’s father and a lawyer, came up with a solution: file a Title IX lawsuit to force the local school districts to offer girls’ football in her county of Salt Lake, Utah, submitting the papers on the 45th anniversary of Title IX.

“Girls can do anything the boys can do,” Sam says. “We can hit just as hard, we can run just as fast, we can throw just as far. Having a girls' tackle football team would be an amazing addition to high school sports.”

The suit follows up on the success of the local recreational league the Gordons helped kick-start just two years ago. Immediately the league started with 50 girls playing competitively, and it grew to nearly 200 in a short time. The interest generated by the league locally, Brent says, will serve as the backbone for the lawsuit.

“We look at the girls rec league and 105 of the girls who participated will be eligible to play high school next spring,” Brent says. “In the entire state of Utah, there were only 10 girls who played on boys' high school football teams. We will be able to show when they have the opportunity to play against other girls, that there are 10 times [the number of girls who want to] play.”

The rec league is a start, and given football’s stronghold in American high schools, an appeal to make the sport available to girls should garner support. But as with any football league, there are going to be concerns, including those about safety and equipment cost. Fourteen girls, the lawsuit says, will be required to field a viable team, though Brent and Sam both don’t seem concerned about getting enough players.

“For girls who are afraid to play football or don’t feel like it’s the type of things that they should do, I think it’s time for us to be trailblazers and take away the stereotype that girls can’t play football,” Sam says. “They should believe in themselves to do anything they want to do.”

The success of the rec league proved to Brent that interest in football is there with girls, despite the lack of opportunity. A similar situation occurred in Utah in 2008 when skepticism rose about local interest in girls’ golf, only to be rebutted when hundreds of girls signed up.

“The opportunity’s been denied. It hasn’t been until schools were forced to give opportunity, and the girls demonstrated that they wanted to play,” Brent says. “These schools are trying to use their own discrimination against girls to say there is no interest. We’ve never had a girls' football team, and we’ve never provided equal participation opportunity. You created the lack of girls playing football by discriminating against them in the first place.”

Sam’s life outside the gridiron has changed since her highlight reel went viral, but she doesn’t want to change her life on it. She hopes that with the lawsuit, girls playing football will no longer be an anomaly.

“It’s eye-opening to see how much support we can get in a thing like this,” Sam says. “Women and people are out there wanting girls to succeed in this world.”

Read more Football news on BleacherReport.com


          China's 'heaviest rocket' Long March-5 Y2 fails post lift-off   
The launch of China's heavy-lift carrier rocket, the Long March-5 Y2, has failed after an anomaly was detected during its flight. It was the flight's ...
          China's 'heaviest rocket' Long March-5 Y2 fails post lift-off   
[China], July 3 (ANI): The launch of China's heavy-lift carrier rocket, the Long March-5 Y2, has failed after an anomaly was detected during its flight. It was the flight's second launch.
          Are You Emotionally Intelligent? Here’s How To Know For Sure   
When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success. Decades of […]
          After Sales Service Engineer SAS   
After Sales Service Engineer SAS&nbsp-&nbsp002KZBProvide Expert Service on the Medium Voltage Primary Sub-station Automation System Equipment at customer site to investigate rectify trouble shoot and repair the anomaly 1&nbsp Analyse the anomaly as found or reported by the customer 2&nbsp Coordinate with the customer and internal experts
          Long March 5 rocket fails after launch   

The flight of China’s latest heavy-lift carrier rocket, the Long March 5-Y2, failed on Sunday evening when an anomaly occurred after its 7:23 pm blastoff from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province. Experts are working to discover exactly what happened. The Long March 5, China’s largest rocket to date, made its maiden flight in […]

The post Long March 5 rocket fails after launch appeared first on Times of News .


          Open Heavens 3 July 2017: Monday daily devotional by Pastor E. A. Adeboye- Focused asking    
Open Heavens 3 July 2017: Monday daily devotional by Pastor E. A. Adeboye- Focused asking  
FOCUSED ASKING – Monday July 3rd 2017
Memorise: I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. Luke 11:8
Read; Luke 11:5-10 (KJV)
11:5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
11:6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
11:7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
11:8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Bible in one year: 1st Samuel 12-13, Lamentation 4:2-18, Hymn sing hymn 4
MESSAGE:

One of the conditions to be met before one’s burden is lifted is the need to see that burden as an anomaly. You must acknowledge the existence of the burden, and be willing to be helped, before you can be set free from it. In John 5:2-9, Jesus asked the man who had been sick for 38 years, “Do you want to be made whole?” You may wonder why Jesus asked him such an obvious question. Why didn’t He just heal him straightaway? The truth is, not everyone wants to be helped. I have shared the story of a sick woman who I prayed for many time without results. Then one day, the Lord told me, “Ask her if she want to be healed”. Initially, I wondered what kind of question that was, but later I asked her, “Woman, do you want to be well?” To my utmost shock she replied, “No”. In my astonishment I asked her why not, and she said, “When I was well, immediately my husband closed from his work place, he would go to club houses, but since I took ill, after work, he comes home to me. I would rather be sick and retain my husband’s attention. “There is also the case of a witch who was brought to us for deliverance some time ago. Open Heavens 3 July 2017: Monday daily devotional by Pastor E. A. Adeboye- Focused asking. Although we prayed, she would not be delivered. So, I asked, “Woman, do you want to be delivered?” She replied, “Do you want me to lose the power I use in controlling my husband? I don’t want to be free.” As long as you are not willing to let go of the burden on you, there is nothing God will do to take it off you. In any case, God does not force things on you against your will, except in very rare cases.
In addition, you must be ready to cry to the Burden Bearer for help like Bartimaeus did in Mark 10:46-52. He cried once and again saying:
“Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”
When others shouted him down, he raised his voice even higher. He kept calling until the Lord heard him. If you are weighed down by a burden and you pray lackadaisically, it simply shows that you are not really concerned about that burden. If you are, you will throw caution and decorum to the wind and call upon the Lord with your whole heart, and He will answer you. Some people call on God for a little while and stop. [Monday July 3, 2017] Such people may not get the answer they seek because they are not desperate enough. If you want results, call on Him and continue calling on Him. Use every opportunity you have to call on Him. Let Him see that you have resolved not to get Him rest until He answers you. When He sees that the answer to your prayers means everything to you, He will answer. As you call on Him this season, the Lord will answer you speedily in Jesus’ Name.
Key Point:
If you are not ready to petition God repeatedly until He has no breathing space, you are not desperate enough for your desired change.
Open Heavens Daily Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical Church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer's Ministries.
          NHL free agency: Grading best, worst deals and how Carey Price fits in   

NHL general managers displayed uncharacteristic restraint July 1, reluctant to hand out inflated contracts to free agents. Anomaly? Or a lesson learned?


          China's new Moon rocket fails in flight   

The Long March-5 Y2 rocket takes off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China July 2, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer Thomson Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's launch of a new heavy-lift rocket, the Long March-5 Y2, carrying what the government said was its heaviest ever satellite, failed on Sunday, official news agency Xinhua said.

The same rocket type had been expected to take China's latest lunar probe to the Moon this year and to return with samples. It is not clear how the timetable for that mission could be affected by the failed launch.

President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing China's space program to strengthen national security and defense, and the government has stressed it is a purely peaceful initiative.

"An anomaly occurred during the flight of the rocket," Xinhua said after the rocket blasted off early evening from the southern island province of Hainan.

"Further investigation will be carried out," it said, without elaborating.

China's space program has largely operated without many major hitches, though it still has a way to go to catch up with the United States and Russia.

In late 2013, China's Jade Rabbit moon rover landed on the Moon to great national fanfare, but ran into severe technical difficulties.

The U.S. Defense Department has highlighted China's increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets in a crisis.

China is preparing to send a man to the Moon, state media cited a senior space official as saying last month.

In 2003, it became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Louise Ireland)

NOW WATCH: See how geologists scoop molten-hot lava into a bucket for testing


          Colinet And Charretier Announce 'The Infinite Loop Volume 2: Nothing But The Truth' [Exclusive Interview]   
Originally released in 2015, Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier's The Infinite Loop is one of those amazing stories that uses a wild sci-fi premise to cut straight to the humanity of its characters. It centers on Teddy, a time traveler responsible for erasing anomalies that result form other time travelers meddling with history, and she's very good at her job. When she discovers a "human-shaped anomaly" in the form of a beautiful woman, though, she begins to question whether a timestream without a person she's falling in love with is one that's worth saving. Now, after its original time-bending climax, the story is returning in The Infinite Loop Vol. 2: Nothing But The Truth, with artist Daniele DiNicuolo joining Charretier and Colinet to tell the next chapter of Teddy and Ano's story. To find out more, we spoke with them about the changing political landscape of the past two years and the difficulties of thinking of stories as, well, infinite loops. Continue reading…
          Comment on How dependent are GISTEMP trends on the gridding radius used? by Nick Stokes   
<i>"So the equatorial region is still more crucial relative to the full mesh than your extra tropic subset."</i> This is all way off the rails. The head post was about GISS and interpolation. The discussion got onto the requirements for numerical integration, which is the more general issue. Olof showed that for UAH, a very coarse mesh could do fairly well, implying that sparseness of data in the full grid was unlikely to be a problem. It would probbaly have been better to have shown something similar with GISS, but UAH is readily available through KNMI. Then it went off the rails with red herrings about tropics, 9000 lines of code, sondes etc. There are two separate problems 1. Is UAH a reliable measure of, well, something? 2. Can it be integrated accurately? The second one is the relevant one for this thread. The dense mesh is available; how a subset of that can be used to estimate the integral is independent of whether UAH is accurate, tropic-dominated or whatever. It is just a set of numbers with various time and space scales, and the issue is a numerical one of convergence. It is an analogue, possibly imperfect, for surface temperature. Olof sought a representative subgrid, and showed agreement. Jerry has sought a biased grid (tropics) and also found agreement. That probably just means there isn't much bias; ie the tropics average tracks the global average fairly well. If true, that is just a physical fact about the UAH field, as measured. It doesn't have anything to do with the integration technique. And the 75% etc error numbers are a nonsense, just as <a href="https://climateaudit.org/2017/05/18/how-dependent-are-gistemp-trends-on-the-gridding-radius-used/#comment-772568">they were</a> for Celsius. You can't use temperatures in ratios, at least not if they are not in Kelvin. If they were, you'd get very small numbers which wouldn't mean anything. The reason is that there is an arbitrary offset (temp differences are meaningful). Here the denominator is an anomaly; choose a different anomaly base and you'll get a different error.
          Comment on How dependent are GISTEMP trends on the gridding radius used? by Gerald Browning   
Nick, Here is the code if you want to check my numbers. Jerry N=38 # number of years ann=matrix(NA,N,3) # to fill with annual averages mon=array(NA,c(12,N,3)) # and monthly iq=1:N; x=1978+iq # Range of years op=!file.exists("uah.sav") graphics.off() if(op){uah=array(NA,c(144,72,12,N))}else{load("uah.sav")} for(ip in iq){ # loop over years if(op){ # read and scrub up UAH file b=readLines(sprintf("http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tlt/tltmonamg.%s_6.0",x[ip])) b=gsub("-9999"," NA ",b) b=gsub("-"," -",b); i=grep("LT",b); b=b[-i] v=scan(text=b)/100 dim(v)=c(144,72,12) uah[,,,ip]=v }else{v=uah[,,,ip]/100} for(ik in 1:3){ # first full mesh, then 18 nodes # if(ik==2) {lon=seq(0,143,1); lat=seq(24,48,1) ; print(lat)} # if(ik==2) {lon=seq(0,143,1); lat=c(16,17,55,56) ; print(lat)} if(ik==2) {lon=seq(0,143,1); lat=c(seq(12,23,1),seq(47,60,1)) ; print(lat)} if(ik==3) {lon=seq(24,120,48); lat=seq(20,60,8)} if(ik==1){lon=0:143; lat=0:71} y=v[lon+1,lat+1,] # flattened subset data matrix n=2:length(lat) #weights by exact integration of latitude bands a=c(0,(lat[n]+lat[n-1])/2,72) a= rep(-diff(cos(a*pi/72)),each=length(lon)) # weights # normalising denom; with same pattern of NA as data wa=sum(y[,,1]*0+a,na.rm=T) # integral of 1 s=1:12 for(i in 1:12){ s[i]=round(sum(y[,,i]*a, na.rm=T)/wa,3) # integrating and /wa } mon[,ip,ik]=s ann[ip,ik]=mean(s) } }# ip years save(uah,file="uah.sav") # Plotting annual curves cl=c("red","blue","green") png("jerry.png",width=900) plot(x,ann[,2],type="n",ylim=c(-.6,.8),xlab="year",ylab="Anomaly",main="Integration of UAH mesh and Jerry's subset") # sets up for(i in 1:3)lines(x,ann[,i],col=cl[i],lwd=2) for(i in 1:3)points(x,ann[,i],col=cl[i],pch=19,cex=1.5) for(i in 1:9)lines(x,x*0-0.4+i/10,col="#888888") # gridlines legend("topleft",c("Full 2.5 deg grid","33 points","18 points"),text.col=cl) compare <- function(base,curve){ #print(sum((base-curve)**2)) #print(sum(base**2)) error <- sqrt(sum((base-curve)**2)/sum(base**2)) return(error) } errolof=compare(ann[,1],ann[,3]) errbrow=compare(ann[,1],ann[,2]) cat("errolof = ", errolof,"\n") cat("errbrow = ", errbrow,"\n") dev.off()
          Comment on Analysis: It’s become a buyer’s market, but for how long? by Spirit   
To me,the idea that you can have the term "buyer's market" and $40,000 Austin Healeys, $171,000 Porsche 356's and Mercedes 190SL's, a car we laughed at in period at $63,000 is the real anomaly. This isn't a "buyer's market": none of the cars mentioned in this article were worth anywhere near the $ they have been selling to fools for over the last ten years.
          China’s heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March-5 Y2 launch fails   
China’s ambitious space programme suffered a rare setback on Sunday as its new heavy-lift carrier rocket, the Long March-5 Y2 failed to put the country’s largest satellite into orbit.An anomaly occur...
          On Philo   

At hindsight, philosophy is a dreaded college course not so much as it is a chore to understand the groundbreaking concepts relating to self and the other, but more so of the fact that philosophy is an anomaly -- a useless but nonetheless important pursuit worthy of study. Useless in a sense that it is difficult to apply said concepts in pragmatic situations we face in our daily lives. Important, because no matter how students of the course get a glimpse of how futile everything in the world is, there is still a seed of hope that we cling on to in spite of society's degradation.

Philosophy does not produce a wealth of earthly pleasures, i.e. money, business success, and a reassured future. It deals with the realization of man's purpose that we are nothing and our perseverance to strive for become something.

I just came from a delicate discussion about poetry in class and it strikes me then how the retarded and pretentious philosophical ideas dealing with the impossibility to discover the object-in-itself helped raise the stage of poetry's objectivity prior passing through the spectacles of readers tainted with subjectivity.

Weird. After all this time of blaming philosophy (in good nature, no less) for my current worldview and mental state, it suddenly awakens my senses, reminding me how everything eventually leads back to philosophy.

Epiphany moment! Pillow fight!
          SES AMC-9 通信卫星在轨道上解体   

6 月 17 日早晨,卢森堡卫星运营商 SES 失去了对通信卫星 AMC-9 的控制。数天之后,卫星被观察到开始解体。AMC-9 于 2003 年使用俄罗斯的一颗质子火箭发射到轨道上,预期服役寿命 15 年,它已经到达了设计寿命的末期。利用遍布全球的 165 个光学望远镜网络监视地球静止轨道物体的 ExoAnalytic 公司 CEO Doug Hendrix 称他们观察到了多个碎片。

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          Comment on Vie-Long 12750 Horse Hair Shaving Brush, Butterscotch Handle by Hellwitz Frederic   
A few years ago I needed a shaving brush, I had decided on a horsehair brush from Vie-Long after leaning about the way the badger bristle was obtained. My first brush from them was excellent. Not so with this one. The low review is because of the quality for the price. This is NOT a review of Maggard. I will post a follow up when I receive a response. Stay tuned... See below. Here's what I recently sent Vie-Long Company in Valencia Spain. "3 years ago a bought a Vie-Long horsehair shaving brush. I was very happy with it, aesthetically and functionally. Unfortunately a few months ago I was shaking the excess water from it and it crashed onto the tile floor and the handle broke. It was still usable but awkward. I finally got around to replacing it about a month ago but I had trouble finding the exact replacement. I found what I thought was the same model from Maggard Razor in Michigan, USA (Model 12750). When it arrived the brush looked the same but was a bit smaller than the one I bought a few years ago. There was a bad smell when I began using it which I don't remember happening with my first horsehair brush from you. I considered returning it but after about a month of use the smell, while sill detectable, has considerably lessened. More importantly though, after just of couple of weeks of use the bristles began falling out. It's so bad now that every time I shave 10-20 bristles are in my sink. The more I use it the more they come out. I’m sure if I contacted Maggard they would replace it, but I feel it is important to contact you to let you know of my extreme disappointment having previously been using a horse hair brush from you that was of very high quality, only to replace it with one from your company of similar cost with these unacceptable deficits. I hope that you can tell me that this was the result of an anomaly and your brand is maintaining the high quality that your company's reputation deserves. If not, I will be using a different brush in future. Please advise. Thank you.
          Comment on Free Marie Callender’s Soup For Kroger Shoppers by Mike   
Most shoppers LOVE their boxed and freozn fare. I am a bit of an anomaly. There is no soda or Velveeta in my cart! I purposely shop the perimeter of the store for meats, dairy and produce with a few conveniences (bread, cereal) thrown in. This forces me to cook from scratch and menu plan whether I feel like it or not. You can even find coupons for healthier options.
          Anomaly Warzone Earth   
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          Open Heavens 3 July 2017: Monday by Pastor Adeboye   
Open Heavens 3 July 2017

Topic: Focused Asking [Monday 3, July 2017]

Memorise: I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. – Luke 11:8

Read: Luke 11:5-10 (KJV)

5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 12-13, Lamentation 4:2-18, Hymn: Sing hymn 4

MESSAGE:
[July 3 2017, Monday]
One of the conditions to be met before one’s burden is lifted is the need to see that burden as an anomaly. You must acknowledge the existence of the burden, and be willing to be helped, before you can be set free from it. In John 5:2-9, Jesus asked the man who had been sick for 38 years, “Do you want to be made whole?” You may wonder why Jesus asked him such an obvious question. Why didn’t He just heal him straightaway? The truth is, not everyone wants to be helped. I have shared the story of a sick woman who I prayed for many time without results. Then one day, the Lord told me, “Ask her if she want to be healed”. Initially, I wondered what kind of question that was, but later I asked her, “Woman, do you want to be well?” To my utmost shock she replied, “No”. In my astonishment I asked her why not, and she said, “When I was well, immediately my husband closed from his work place, he would go to club houses, but since I took ill, after work, he comes home to me. I would rather be sick and retain my husband’s attention. “There is also the case of a witch who was brought to us for deliverance some time ago. Although we prayed, she would not be delivered. So, I asked, “Woman, do you want to be delivered?” She replied, “Do you want me to lose the power I use in controlling my husband? I don’t want to be free.” As long as you are not willing to let go of the burden on you, there is nothing God will do to take it off you. In any case, God does not force things on you against your will, except in very rare cases. Open Heavens 3 July 2017: Monday daily devotional by Pastor E. A. Adeboye - Focused asking
In addition, you must be ready to cry to the Burden Bearer for help like Bartimaeus did in Mark 10:46-52. He cried once and again saying:

“Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”

When others shouted him down, he raised his voice even higher. He kept calling until the Lord heard him. If you are weighed down by a burden and you pray lackadaisically, it simply shows that you are not really concerned about that burden. If you are, you will throw caution and decorum to the wind and call upon the Lord with your whole heart, and He will answer you. Some people call on God for a little while and stop. Such people may not get the answer they seek because they are not desperate enough. If you want results, call on Him and continue calling on Him. Use every opportunity you have to call on Him. Let Him see that you have resolved not to get Him rest until He answers you. When He sees that the answer to your prayers means everything to you, He will answer. As you call on Him this season, the Lord will answer you speedily in Jesus’ Name.

Key Point: If you are not ready to petition God repeatedly until He has no breathing space, you are not desperate enough for your desired change.

Open Heavens Daily Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer's Ministries.

iOpenHeavens is the electronic version of the Hard Copy. The Open Heavens devotional application is available across all mobile platforms and operating systems: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Nokia, Windows Mobile and PC.


          Mass Murderer Charles Whitman   
Charles Joseph Whitman who was born on the 24th of June 1941 was shot dead by the police after killing 14 people and wounding at least 32 others in a shooting spree around the University of Texas (Sillup). He had previously killed his mother and his wife before orchestrating the deadliest university shooting rampage in the history of the United States before Seung Hui Cho killed 32 people in Virginia Tech in 2007. Charles Whitman had grown up in a complete nuclear family. His father was financially stable, running a successful plumbing business in Florida. His family was however scuttled after a dysfunctional marriage forced his mother to abandon his father and move to Texas (A E Television Network). His father is reported to have been too demanding and required perfection from his wife and kids.

Early life
Charles Joseph Whitmans father attended Bethesda School for Boys in Georgia. His mother Margaret was a devout catholic and met his father still in Savannah, Georgia and after their marriage, they moved to Lake Worth, Florida where Charles Whitman was born (A E Television Network). He and his brothers, Patrick and John, served as altar boys at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic church where Charles Whitman would later choose the confirmation name Joseph for himself. Charles Whitman was an extremely intelligent child he scored 138 on an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test when he was six years old. He loved music and sports and undertook piano lessons for five year. Later in high school, he became a pitcher for the school baseball team (A E Television Network).

Charles Whitman excelled in his academics and as reports indicate, he was very much loved by his neighbors and peers. He however complained of migraine headaches, which were later to be attributed to a highly cancerous brain tumor discovered during the autopsy on his body (Macleod). Besides the negative impact on his mind from living in a dysfunctional family, Charles Whitman abused amphetamines and had other health complications.

Charles Whitman Senior had a large collection of firearms and taught his sons how to use firearms at a very young age. He taught them how to clean and maintain firearms and even took them out for target practice exercises (Sillup). It is from here that, as his childhood neighbors would come to report later, that Charles Whitman developed a very keen interest in firearms at a very young age. Perhaps this was ill-informed as when his son finally got the motive, he used his extensive knowledge of firearms to kill so many people.

Struggles with life
When Charles Whitmans family became dysfunctional, he became much stressed to the stage of becoming psychotic (Time). In fact, a psychiatric serving at the University of Texas Health center later disclosed that the discussions he had with Charles Whitman centered on this topic. Against his fathers strong will, Charles joined the US Marines in July 1959. When the catholic father at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Father Leduc, asked him to explain his defiance to his father, Charles Whitman alleged that his father had been harassing him (Macleod). He said that on several occasions, Charles Whitman senior had come home drunk and physically assaulted him, sometimes shoving him into the familys swimming pool. If these allegations are true, then Charles Whitmans father contributed greatly into his sons becoming demented.

On September 15th 1961, Charles Whitman enrolled in the University of Texas to pursue a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering under a USMC scholarship. At the university, his hobbies included martial arts, scuba diving and hunting (Lavergne 12). By this time, he had already started to exhibit abnormal behavior. He once went on hunting hike while in campus, killed a deer and dragged in into the hostels and de-skinned it inside the shower of his dormitory. This outrageous prank coupled with poor grades in class prompted the USMC to withdraw his scholarship in 1963 (Time).

The previous year, Charles Whitman had met and fallen in love with Kathleen Frances Leissner, a fellow student at the University of Texas. They had traveled to Kathleen Frances hometown in Texas where they exchanged marriage vows in a wedding ceremony conducted by Father Leduc (A E Television Network). After Charles Whitmans scholarship was withdrawn, he resumed duty with the US military at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Even though he was promoted to Lance Corporal, personal woes continued to follow him. To start with, he was involved in a road accident when an army jeep he was driving rolled over an embankment. He was hospitalized for four days.

In the November 1962, Charles Whitman love for firearms put him into trouble at his military station. He was found to be in possession of a personal firearm while on base. In addition, he had become fond of gambling and once threatened a fellow marine who owed him 30 dollars (Sillup). Whitman was demanding repayment plus a 15 dollar interest. These events led to his being court-martialed after which he was sentenced to 30 days confinement, 90 days of hard labor and then demoted from Lance Corporal into a Private.

Charles Whitman was honorably discharged from the United States Army. He returned to the University of Texas where he enrolled to study architectural engineering. Meanwhile, he was working at the Standard Finance Company offices as a bill collector before being hired as a teller by the Austin National Bank (Sillup). In January 1965, Charles Whitman took up a temporary job Central Flight Lines. He also surveyed traffic as part of the team at the Texas Highways Department. At the time Kathleen was teaching biology. Family trouble began to haunt him again when his mother officially announced she was divorcing his father. Charles Whitman drove all the way to Florida to help his mother relocate to Austin, Texas. His little brother John also departed from Lake Worth but Patrick opted to remain with his father. Charles was under extreme pressure from his father to convince his mother to return to Lake Worth and move in back with him (Sillup).

The Killings
One day before Charles Whitman committed his infamous horrendous killings around the University of Texas his life was not out of the norm. He had previously purchased a cache of arms, binoculars and a knife claiming to be preparing to go on a hike hunting wild hogs (Lavergne 18). He drove as usual to pick up his wife from his place of work and took her to a matinee before meeting his mother for lunch. In the afternoon, they visited his friends Fran and John Morgan in the neighborhood and left at around five thirty so that Kathleen would make it to her night shift starting at six. At 6.45, Charles Whitman started typing his infamous suicide notes indicating that he could not understand the motivation behind the acts he was about to do and that he had been bombarded with many irrational thoughts (Sillup). He declared the true love he felt for his mother and wife and then started his mission.

Sometime after midnight, he suffocated and stabbed her mother fatally. When Kathleen returned from work, he crawled on her and stabbed her three times in the heart as she slept, killing her instantly. He then sat down and continued with his notes, noting down that he had just killed the two people he loved most in the world (Time). He then wrote an order directing that proceeds from his life insurance and estate be donated to a mental health research institution so that tragedies like the one he was committing would not occur in future (Time).

The following morning, he loaded his arms cache into a dolly and cheated his way up the bell tower. The first person to detect danger was the receptionist named Edna. After she asked if he had a workers identification card, he knocked her out with the butt of a rifle. Moments later, Whitman opened fire to two families who were making their way up the tower, killing two people instantly. At approximately 11.48 a.m. on August 1 1966, he fired his first shot from the bell towers outer deck (Time). What followed was a 96-minute ordeal in which he gunned down 14 people and wounded 34 more before police officers led by Martinez, Jerry Day and Houston McCoy and a hastily assembled force killed him (Lavergne 37).

Charles Whitmans Motivations
Charles Whitman was obviously mentally ill. He kept a personal diary titled The Daily Record of C. J. Whitman in which he openly admitted to himself that he was having a personality crisis (Lavergne 47)). He lamented in one of the entries that he was finding himself acting violently towards his wife Kathleen. Deep inside, a keen observer will see a deeply tormented man whose ambitions had not been fulfilled, a man who had not been fully appreciated by his father and family the way he would have wanted.

Charles Whitman was frustrated with life. Despite his being intellectually gifted, he did not manage to satisfy the requirements for the award of a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas. He was therefore in the process of venting his anger out on people. Some of his closest friends, John and Francis, disclosed during the inquiry into the University of Texas tower shootings that Charles Whitman himself had admitted to them that he had physically assaulted his wife Kathleen on more than three occasions (Macleod).

When Charles Whitman joined the Marines, his conduct was unbecoming. It would be correct to conclude that he joined the army merely to exert his authority and independence from his demanding father (Lavergne 27). In his journal mentioned above, he once wrote concerning his contempt and disrespect for the marines. Being the genius he was, he pointed out what he perceived were the shortcomings of the marines. He was therefore not content with his position not only in the marines but in the society as a whole and his overwhelming energy and ego made him feel he could either have become a better person and made considerable input to the society, or his potential was not fully utilized (Macleod).

Another explanation for the outrageous crimes that Charles Whitman committed was the anomaly in his brain and central nervous system. Charles confirmed in his writings that he had seen several mental health experts. The mistake that happened was that almost all of them believed he had a psychological disorder and gave him prescription drugs to contain his runaway emotions of anger and confusion (Lavergne 61). The problem was that despite the fact that Charles Whitman had had a tumultuous childhood and early adulthood, he had a life threatening brain tumor that was responsible for his bizarre conduct. Records available from the university health services prove that he had sought professional help on several occasions. On many of these and to close associates, Charles Whitman remarked that it would be simpler for him to escalate the University of Texass bell tower and indiscriminately kill (Lavergne 62) people. It is very unfortunate that no one realized he actually meant was he said until it was too late and 14 people were already dead and many others were wounded.

Conclusion
Charles Whitman was a good man who wanted to make the most out of life. In his journal, which he filled daily during his stay in the marines and later, he often expressed his desire to become a better man than his father had been. He also loved his wife Kathleen dearly. The explanation to what made him commit those murders however emanated more from his brain tumor than from psychological effects of life experiences (Sillup). Later research shows that glioblastoma tumors prompt victims to react with progressive irritation and rage especially in the latter stages. Studies carried out indicated he was to die early due to this condition it is an explanation as to why he could not control his emotions and actions.
          Comment on How Jetstar (and others) avoided a crash similar to Air France AF447 by Zarathrusta   
Hopefully this is an indication of improving safety culture rather than an anomaly.
          REVISION: The Causal Effect of Limits to Arbitrage on Asset Pricing Anomalies   
We examine the causal effect of limits to arbitrage on ten well-known asset pricing anomalies using Regulation SHO, which reduced the cost of short selling for a random set of pilot stocks, as a natural experiment. We find that the anomalies become substantially weaker on portfolios constructed with pilot stocks during the pilot period. Regulation SHO reduces the combined anomaly long-short portfolio returns by 77 basis points per month, a difference which survives risk adjustment with standard factor models. The effect comes only from the short legs of the anomaly portfolios.
           China rocket launch fails after liftoff    
The launch of China&#39;s latest heavy-lift carrier rocket, the Long March-5 Y2, was announced unsuccessful on Sunday evening. An anomaly occurred during the flight of the rocket, which blasted off at 7.23 p.m. from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre in southern province of Hainan, Xinhua news agency reported. But 40 minutes later, Xinhua flashed a headline declaring the launch a failure -- without providing any details. Dubbed Chubby 5 for its huge size -- five metres in diameter and 57 metres tall -- the LM-5 rocket is designed to carry up to 25 tonnes of payload into low orbit, more
          Radar show satellite being taken out   


4 Unidentified Objects Take Out Satellite/On Radar




A satellite may be falling apart in geostationary orbit [Updated]
It is not clear what might have caused the AMC-9 satellite to become unresponsive.
In the early hours of 1st July, the SES Satellite Control reestablished contact to AMC-9. SES and the satellite manufacturer Thales are working around the clock to evaluate the status and define the next steps.
Tracking information received on 29 June had suggested that at least two separate objects were located in the vicinity of AMC-9. Their source has still to be determined. The new piece of information was included by Thales and SES in their investigations.
All relevant operators and agencies are being kept informed and will receive regular updates from SES. The current assessment is that there is no risk of a collision with other active satellites. AMC-9 and its status continue to being tracked by SES and agencies, including the Joint Space Operations Centre (JSpOC) and ExoAnalytic, a private firm and tracking service provider.
Since the incident on 17 June 2017, AMC-9 has been slowly moving westwards with its payload disabled and not causing interference. A majority of traffic has been transferred to other SES satellites and SES is working on a long-term plan to minimize disruption to customers.
Original post: On the morning of June 17, the Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES lost control of a large satellite in geostationary space, nearly 36,000km above the Earth's surface. Shortly after, the satellite operator began working with another company that specializes in space situational awareness to track the drifting machine, AMC-9. A few days ago that company, ExoAnalytic Solutions, saw the AMC-9 satellite begin to fragment.
"We have seen several pieces come off of it over the past several days," ExoAnalytic's chief executive officer, Doug Hendrix, told Ars. "We are tracking at least one of the pieces. I would hesitate to say we know for sure what happened.

          Model Output Discussions 12z 01/06/2017   
would you?... the anomaly charts have been quite consistent since this strong azores high pattern emerged. it seems very plausible to me and much though id like higher heights over the uk/eastern europe i would bet on anything like that happening longer then 24-36 hours. http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/610day/500mb.php
          Wilson's Phalarope   
If any bird is an anomaly, it's the Wilson's Phalarope. In a birdbook, Wilson's Phalaropes are found among the sandpipers. But they forage while swimming. Spinning like tops, they create an upwelling, pulling food to the surface. The breeding of Wilson's Phalaropes is anomalous, too.
          Holomorphic anomaly equations and the Igusa cusp form conjecture. (arXiv:1706.10100v1 [math.AG])   

Authors: Georg Oberdieck, Aaron Pixton

Let $S$ be a K3 surface and let $E$ be an elliptic curve. We solve the reduced Gromov--Witten theory of the Calabi--Yau threefold $S \times E$ for all curve classes which are primitive in the K3 factor. In particular, we deduce the Igusa cusp form conjecture.

The proof relies on new results in the Gromov--Witten theory of elliptic curves and K3 surfaces. We show the generating series of Gromov-Witten classes of an elliptic curve are cycle-valued quasimodular forms and satisfy a holomorphic anomaly equation. The quasimodularity generalizes a result by Okounkov and Pandharipande, and the holomorphic anomaly equation proves a conjecture of Milanov, Ruan and Shen. We further conjecture quasimodularity and holomorphic anomaly equations for the cycle-valued Gromov-Witten theory of every elliptic fibration with section. The conjecture generalizes the holomorphic anomaly equations for ellliptic Calabi--Yau threefolds predicted by Bershadsky, Cecotti, Ooguri, and Vafa. We show a modified conjecture holds numerically for the reduced Gromov-Witten theory of K3 surfaces in primitive classes.


          World of Winless War: U.S. Special Ops Forces Already Deployed to 137 Nations in 2017    
We're dealing with a political and military establishment that often appears bereft of strategic vision and hasn’t won a major war since the 1940s.

The tabs on their shoulders read “Special Forces,” “Ranger,” “Airborne.” And soon their guidon -- the “colors” of Company B, 3rd Battalion of the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group -- would be adorned with the “Bandera de Guerra,” a Colombian combat decoration.

“Today we commemorate sixteen years of a permanent fight against drugs in a ceremony where all Colombians can recognize the special counternarcotic brigade’s hard work against drug trafficking,” said Army Colonel Walther Jimenez, the commander of the Colombian military’s Special Anti-Drug Brigade, last December.  America’s most elite troops, the Special Operations forces (SOF), have worked with that Colombian unit since its creation in December 2000.  Since 2014, four teams of Special Forces soldiers have intensely monitored the brigade.  Now, they were being honored for it.

Part of a $10 billion counter-narcotics and counterterrorism program, conceived in the 1990s, special ops efforts in Colombia are a muchballyhooed American success story.  A 2015 RAND Corporation study found that the program “represents an enduring SOF partnership effort that managed to help foster a relatively professional and capable special operations force.”  And for a time, coca production in that country plummeted.  Indeed, this was the ultimate promise of America’s “Plan Colombia” and efforts that followed from it.  “Over the longer haul, we can expect to see more effective drug eradication and increased interdiction of illicit drug shipments,” President Bill Clinton predicted in January 2000.

Today, however, more than 460,000 acres of the Colombian countryside are blanketed with coca plants, more than during the 1980s heyday of the infamous cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.  U.S. cocaine overdose deaths are also at a 10-year high and first-time cocaine use among young adults has spiked 61% since 2013.  “Recent findings suggest that cocaine use may be reemerging as a public health concern in the United States,” wrote researchers from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in a study published in December 2016 -- just after the Green Berets attended that ceremony in Colombia.  Cocaine, the study’s authors write, “may be making a comeback.”

Colombia is hardly an anomaly when it comes to U.S. special ops deployments -- or the results that flow from them.  For all their abilities, tactical skills, training prowess, and battlefield accomplishments, the capacity of U.S. Special Operations forces to achieve decisive and enduring successes -- strategic victories that serve U.S. national interests -- have proved to be exceptionally limited, a reality laid bare from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen to the Philippines. 

The fault for this lies not with the troops themselves, but with a political and military establishment that often appears bereft of strategic vision and hasn’t won a major war since the 1940s.  Into this breach, elite U.S. forces are deployed again and again. While special ops commanders may raise concerns about the tempo of operations and strains on the force, they have failed to grapple with larger questions about the raison d'être of SOF, while Washington’s oversight establishment, notably the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, have consistently failed to so much as ask hard questions about the strategic utility of America’s Special Operations forces.

Special Ops at War

“We operate and fight in every corner of the world,” boasts General Raymond Thomas, the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM).  “On a daily basis, we sustain a deployed or forward stationed force of approximately 8,000 across 80-plus countries.  They are conducting the entire range of SOF missions in both combat and non-combat situations.”  Those numbers, however, only hint at the true size and scope of this global special ops effort.  Last year, America’s most elite forces conducted missions in 138 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet, according to figures supplied to TomDispatch by U.S. Special Operations Command.  Halfway through 2017, U.S. commandos have already been deployed to an astonishing 137 countries, according to SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw. 

Special Operations Command is tasked with carrying out 12 core missions, ranging from counterinsurgency and unconventional warfare to hostage rescue and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Counterterrorism -- fighting what the command calls violent extremist organizations (VEOs) -- may, however, be what America’s elite forces have become best known for in the post-9/11 era.  “The threat posed by VEOs remains the highest priority for USSOCOM in both focus and effort,” says Thomas.

“Special Operations Forces are the main effort, or major supporting effort for U.S. VEO-focused operations in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, across the Sahel of Africa, the Philippines, and Central/South America -- essentially, everywhere Al Qaeda (AQ) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are to be found...”

More special operators are deployed to the Middle East than to any other region.  Significant numbers of them are advising Iraqi government forces and Iraqi Kurdish soldiers as well as Kurdish YPG (Popular Protection Unit) fighters and various ethnic Arab forces in Syria, according to Linda Robinson, a senior international policy analyst with the RAND Corporation who spent seven weeks in Iraq, Syria, and neighboring countries earlier this year. 

During a visit to Qayyarah, Iraq -- a staging area for the campaign to free Mosul, formerly Iraq’s second largest city, from the control of Islamic State fighters -- Robinson “saw a recently installed U.S. military medical unit and its ICU set up in tents on the base.”  In a type of mission seldom reported on, special ops surgeons, nurses, and other specialists put their skills to work on far-flung battlefields not only to save American lives, but to prop up allied proxy forces that have limited medical capabilities.  For example, an Air Force Special Operations Surgical Team recently spent eight weeks deployed at an undisclosed location in the Iraq-Syria theater, treating 750 war-injured patients.  Operating out of an abandoned one-story home within earshot of a battlefield, the specially trained airmen worked through a total of 19 mass casualty incidents and more than 400 individual gunshot or blast injuries.

When not saving lives in Iraq and Syria, elite U.S. forces are frequently involved in efforts to take them.  “U.S. SOF are... being thrust into a new role of coordinating fire support,” wrote Robinson. “This fire support is even more important to the Syrian Democratic Forces, a far more lightly armed irregular force which constitutes the major ground force fighting ISIS in Syria.”  In fact, a video shot earlier this year, analyzed by the Washington Post, shows special operators “acting as an observation element for what appears to be U.S. airstrikes carried out by A-10 ground attack aircraft” to support Syrian Democratic Forces fighting for the town of Shadadi.

Africa now ranks second when it comes to the deployment of special operators thanks to the exponential growth in missions there in recent years.  Just 3% of U.S. commandos deployed overseas were sent to Africa in 2010.  Now that number stands at more than 17%, according to SOCOM data.  Last year, U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed to 32 African nations, about 60% of the countries on the continent.  As I recently reported at VICE News, at any given time, Navy SEALs, Green Berets, and other special operators are now conducting nearly 100 missions across 20 African countries.

In May, for instance, Navy SEALs were engaged in an “advise and assist operation” alongside members of Somalia’s army and came under attack.  SEAL Kyle Milliken was killed and two other U.S. personnel were injured during a firefight that also, according to AFRICOM spokesperson Robyn Mack, left three al-Shabaab militants dead.  U.S. forces are also deployed in Libya to gather intelligence in order to carry out strikes of opportunity against Islamic State forces there.  While operations in Central Africa against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a brutal militia that has terrorized the region for decades, wound down recently, a U.S. commando reportedly killed a member of the LRA as recently as April. 

Spring Training

What General Thomas calls “building partner nations’ capacity” forms the backbone of the global activities of his command.  Day in, day out, America’s most elite troops carry out such training missions to sharpen their skills and those of their allies and of proxy forces across the planet. 

This January, for example, Green Berets and Japanese paratroopers carried out airborne training near Chiba, Japan.  February saw Green Berets at Sanaa Training Center in northwest Syria advising recruits for the Manbij Military Council, a female fighting force of Kurds, Arabs, Christians, Turkmen, and Yazidis.  In March, snowmobiling Green Berets joined local forces for cold-weather military drills in Lapland, Finland.  That same month, special operators and more than 3,000 troops from Canada, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom took part in tactical training in Germany.

In the waters off Kuwait, special operators joined elite forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council nations in conducting drills simulating a rapid response to the hijacking of an oil tanker.  In April, special ops troops traveled to Serbia to train alongside a local special anti-terrorist unit.  In May, members of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Iraq carried out training exercises with Iraqi special operations forces near Baghdad. That same month, 7,200 military personnel, including U.S. Air Force Special Tactics airmen, Italian special operations forces, members of host nation Jordan’s Special Task Force, and troops from more than a dozen other nations took part in Exercise Eager Lion, practicing everything from assaulting compounds to cyber-defense.  For their part, a group of SEALs conducted dive training alongside Greek special operations forces in Souda Bay, Greece, while others joined NATO troops in Germany as part of Exercise Saber Junction 17 for training in land operations, including mock “behind enemy lines missions” in a “simulated European village.” 

#Winning

"We have been at the forefront of national security operations for the past three decades, to include continuous combat over the past 15-and-a-half years," SOCOM’s Thomas told the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities last month.  “This historic period has been the backdrop for some of our greatest successes, as well as the source of our greatest challenge, which is the sustained readiness of this magnificent force.”  Yet, for all their magnificence and all those successes, for all the celebratory ceremonies they’ve attended, the wars, interventions, and other actions for which they’ve served as the tip of the American spear have largely foundered, floundered, or failed. 

After their initial tactical successes in Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, America’s elite operators became victims of Washington’s failure to declare victory and go home.  As a result, for the last 15 years, U.S. commandos have been raiding homes, calling in air strikes, training local forces, and waging a relentless battle against a growing list of terror groups in that country.  For all their efforts, as well as those of their conventional military brethren and local Afghan allies, the war is now, according to the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, a “stalemate.”  That’s a polite way of saying what a recent report to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found: districts that are contested or under “insurgent control or influence” have risen from an already remarkable 28% in 2015 to 40%.

The war in Afghanistan began with efforts to capture or kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.  Having failed in this post-9/11 mission, America’s elite forces spun their wheels for the next decade when it came to his fate.  Finally, in 2011, Navy SEALs cornered him in his long-time home in Pakistan and gunned him down.  Ever since, special operators who carried out the mission and Washington power-players (not to mention Hollywood) have been touting this single tactical success.

In an Esquire interview, Robert O'Neill, the SEAL who put two bullets in bin Laden’s head, confessed that he joined the Navy due to frustration over an early crush, a puppy-love pique.  “That's the reason al-Qaeda has been decimated,” he joked, “because she broke my fucking heart.”  But al-Qaeda was not decimated -- far from it according to Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. special agent and the author of Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of Bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State.  As he recently observed, “Whereas on 9/11 al-Qaeda had a few hundred members, almost all of them based in a single country, today it enjoys multiple safe havens across the world.”  In fact, he points out, the terror group has gained strength since bin Laden’s death.

Year after year, U.S. special operators find themselves fighting new waves of militants across multiple continents, including entire terror groups that didn’t exist on 9/11.  All U.S. forces killed in Afghanistan in 2017 have reportedly died battling an Islamic State franchise, which began operations there just two years ago. 

The U.S. invasion of Iraq, to take another example, led to the meteoric rise of an al-Qaeda affiliate which, in turn, led the military's secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) -- the elite of America’s special ops elite -- to create a veritable manhunting machine designed to kill its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and take down the organization.  As with bin Laden, special operators finally did find and eliminate Zarqawi, battering his organization in the process, but it was never wiped out.  Left behind were battle-hardened elements that later formed the Islamic State and did what al-Qaeda never could: take and hold huge swaths of territory in two nations.  Meanwhile, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch grew into a separate force of more than 20,000. 

In Yemen, after more than a decade of low-profile special ops engagement, that country teeters on the brink of collapse in the face of a U.S.-backed Saudi war there.  Continued U.S. special ops missions in that country, recently on the rise, have seemingly done nothing to alter the situation.  Similarly, in Somalia in the Horn of Africa, America’s elite forces remain embroiled in an endless war against militants. 

In 2011, President Obama launched Operation Observant Compass, sending Special Operations forces to aid Central African proxies in an effort to capture or kill Joseph Kony and decimate his murderous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), then estimated to number 150 to 300 armed fighters.  After the better part of a decade and nearly $800 million spent, 150 U.S. commandos were withdrawn this spring and U.S. officials attended a ceremony to commemorate the end of the mission.  Kony was, however, never captured or killed and the LRA is now estimated to number about 150 to 250 fighters, essentially the same size as when the operation began.

This string of futility extends to Asia as well.  “U.S. Special Forces have been providing support and assistance in the southern Philippines for many years, at the request of several different Filipino administrations,” Emma Nagy, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Manilla, pointed out earlier this month.  Indeed, a decade-plus-long special ops effort there has been hailed as a major success.  Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines, wrote RAND analyst Linda Robinson late last year in the Pentagon journal Prism, “was aimed at enabling the Philippine security forces to combat transnational terrorist groups in the restive southern region of Mindanao.” 

A 2016 RAND report co-authored by Robinson concluded that “the activities of the U.S. SOF enabled the Philippine government to substantially reduce the transnational terrorist threat in the southern Philippines.” This May, however, Islamist militants overran Marawi City, a major urban center on Mindanao.  They have been holding on to parts of it for weeks despite a determined assault by Filipino troops backed by U.S. Special Operations forces.  In the process, large swaths of the city have been reduced to rubble.

Running on Empty

America’s elite forces, General Thomas told members of Congress last month, “are fully committed to winning the current and future fights.”  In reality, though, from war to war, intervention to intervention, from the Anti-Drug Brigade ceremony in Florencia, Colombia, to the end-of-the-Kony-hunt observance in Obo in the Central African Republic, there is remarkably little evidence that even enduring efforts by Special Operations forces result in strategic victories or improved national security outcomes.  And yet, despite such boots-on-the-ground realities, America’s special ops forces and their missions only grow.

“We are... grateful for the support of Congress for the required resourcing that, in turn, has produced a SOCOM which is relevant to all the current and enduring threats facing the nation,” Thomas told the Senate Armed Services Committee in May.  Resourcing has, indeed, been readily available.  SOCOM’s annual budget has jumped from $3 billion in 2001 to more than $10 billion today.  Oversight, however, has been seriously lacking.  Not a single member of the House or Senate Armed Services Committees has questioned why, after more than 15 years of constant warfare, winning the “current fight” has proven so elusive.  None of them has suggested that “support” from Congress ought to be reconsidered in the face of setbacks from Afghanistan to Iraq, Colombia to Central Africa, Yemen to the southern Philippines.  

In the waning days of George W. Bush’s administration, Special Operations forces were reportedly deployed to about 60 nations around the world.  By 2011, under President Barack Obama, that number had swelled to 120.  During this first half-year of the Trump administration, U.S. commandos have already been sent to 137 countries, with elite troops now enmeshed in conflicts from Africa to Asia.  “Most SOF units are employed to their sustainable limit,” Thomas told members of the House Armed Services Committee last month.  In fact, current and former members of the command have, for some time, been sounding the alarm about the level of strain on the force. 

These deployment levels and a lack of meaningful strategic results from them have not, however, led Washington to raise fundamental questions about the ways the U.S. employs its elite forces, much less about SOCOM’s raison d'être.  “We are a command at war and will remain so for the foreseeable future,” SOCOM’s Thomas explained to the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Not one member asked why or to what end. 

 

 

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          The teen summer job isn't dead yet — but it's not what it used to be   
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A McDonalds employee works in a restaurant in New York City.; Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Elina Shatkin

This summer, Kourtnei O'Hara will be taking orders and operating a cash register as part of her new job at McDonald's — and that makes the Lawndale 17-year-old something of an anomaly.

Fewer American teenagers than ever before are working summer jobs, once considered a rite of passage.

It's part of a steady, 50-year decline. In the 1970s, close to 10 million teens worked summer jobs. That number dropped to between 7 and 8 million in the '90s. Last year, only 1.3 million teenagers looked for jobs, even as the population has grown.

Don't start mourning yet. Reports that the summer job is dead have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, for teens who want to find work, it's a great time.

"It's a really hot job market," Andrew Challenger, the vice president at outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, tells KPCC. "Tight labor markets in major metropolitan areas all around country means teenagers are going to be able to find some good positions."

They will, however, need to look in fields they might not have initially considered.

The devastation of the retail sector and shopping malls, coupled with the rise of e-commerce, means there are fewer front-facing customer service jobs but more warehouse and behind the scenes jobs.

O'Hara, who graduated from Leuzinger High School in June, spent  a year applying for jobs at fast food restaurants before landing her McDonald's gig. Still, she hopes to move on to a retail position after she turns 18, in August.

She wanted to start working so she could ease the pressure on her mom and save for community college, which she starts in the fall. She also has less tangible reasons.

"I wanted to get a start working to see what it felt like," she says. "I'm about to pretty much be an adult and I was going in with no work experience. Now at least I have a little under my belt."

It's an attitude Challenger would likely applaud.

"Anytime a teenager gets a position where they're getting some real-world work experience, it's valuable even if it's just customer service and showing up on time. We know from study after study that long-term career success is highly correlated with having a position as a teenager," he says.

If retail jobs are in short supply, where should teens look? Challenger recommends professional service firms and construction companies.

"A lot of the traditional retail jobs that were here even just last summer are not going to be around," Challenger says, but "professional services firms are hiring like crazy. In construction, there's a job shortage."

He also advises patience. Another trend he has seen is that teens aren't finding jobs in the first two months of summer but in July and August when the back-to-school season gears up.

This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.