Interesting Items 06/12

Howdy all, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –

In this issue:

  1. Comey
  2. Groundhog
  3. Winner
  4. SF Robots
  5. Carbon
  6. Taurids

  1. Comey. Former FBI Director James Comey spoke to the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday regarding his firing and the investigation into Russian interference in the November 2016 election.  For the most part, he failed to take President Trump out.  He did admit to a criminal act, leaking his personal note following his private meeting with the President.  This leak in turn, led directly to the appointment of his good buddy, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, as special prosecutor looking into the Russia affair.  Comey came across as the penultimate pajama boy, a whiney and sniveling coward, complaining of his discomfort and unease with his conversation with Trump.  He called Trump a liar.  He was infuriated at Trump, and was going out of his way to get even for getting fired.  We also found out why he got fired.  Trump fired him for sitting on the information that Trump was not being investigated and refusing to correct media stories to the contrary.  A year ago, Comey had no problem completely exonerating Hillary Clinton – twice – before the election of potential charges associated with her private e-mail server handling national classified materials.  Comey also admitted to a second felony by claiming to be pressured into backing off on the investigation and not immediately telling the Attorney General.  Instead, sometime after the meeting, he wrote a Memo to Self using FBI materials on FBA computer equipment.  He then gave the memo to a law school buddy of his with instructions to leak it to the media.  The buddy did as instructed, leading to the appointment of the special prosecutor, which was Comey’s real get even goal.  To date, the memo has not been given to either congressional or WH investigators.  Comey went on and on regarding his concern over the independence of the FBI.  But he admitted to pressure from then Attorney General Loretta Lynch to change verbiage describing the FBI investigation of the Clinton e-mail server.  While Trump was clearly his target, Comey managed to utterly trash both his reputation and that of his predecessor, not that either needed much help to do so.  Unfortunately, he managed to get a Trump-seeking guided missile launched, the special prosecutor.  Fortunately, he managed to undermine Mueller’s integrity and his investigation by his testimony last Thursday.


  1. Groundhog. Quaterra Resources announced a signed lease agreement with the Chuchuna Mineral Company, giving it an option to purchase a 90% interest in the Groundhog copper prospect, a 40,000-acre property located on the northern extension of the Pebble prospect which sits some three miles south of the claim boundary.  The geology extends an additional 30 km NE from Pebble.  The company will conduct five years of exploration to characterize the prospect.  Chuchuna is owned by the Kijik Corporation and Alaska Earth Sciences.  Kijik is the village corporation owning the claims.  Alaska Earth Sciences has been involved in major mining discoveries including the Donlin Creek mine.  Quaterra committed to $1 million for the first year and a minimum of $500,000 per year for the remaining four years.  This marks the third major mine in that part of the state, with Pebble and Donlin Creek being the others.  Donlin Creek, on native-owned land got little opposition.  Pebble did not have native involvement, and was opposed (and is still opposed) despite the 15,000 local jobs and enormous flow of tax revenues into the region.  Donlin Creek is about a tenth of the size of Pebble, and should create around 1,500 new jobs.  I expect the Groundhog mine to end up equivalent to Donlin Creek.  As of this writing, all the usual suspects are cranking up opposition, though the atmosphere up will be much different than last time around, with over 9,000 high paying jobs lost in Alaska last year alone.  Perhaps we can finally learn how to walk and chew gum – mining and fishing –  at the same time.


  1. Winner. NSA contractor Reality Leigh Winner, a mid-20s Bernie Sanders True Believer, was arrested last week after leaking what she thought was proof of a Russian attempt to hack the US election to the media.  Que the breathless story.  This little girl got her TS clearance via military service as an interpreter, something she is apparently pretty good at, with expertise in three languages.  She is not very good at many and perhaps most other things, one of which is not realizing every single communication into and out of jail is monitored.  After being arrested, she told her sister via jailhouse phone that she planned on playing the “… pretty, white and cute …” card to the judge to get her release.  The judge decided she wasn’t two of those three and declined to release her.  She also opined in earlier communications that she wanted to burn the WH down.  So what was the classified document that proved the Russians were hacking the elections?  It was a rather run of the mill spear phishing e-mail aimed at voting machine operators and maintainers, not unlike the standard Nigerian Prince e-mail.  I got a written one from some self-identified Canadian last week.  Same story.  Same attempt.  It is the sort of phishing that got John Podesta to get his laptop infected and thousands of DNC e-mails released.  As most people these days know that the Nigerian Prince e-mails are bogus, the perps changed their techniques, now using Amazon deliveries, UPS and FedEx delivery attempts.  All you have to do is click the link, respond to the perp, and you too can have everything on your system stolen.  The NSA claimed the spear phishing attempt was Russian.  This is the same NSA that had hacking tools released a few months ago that would blame other parties (Russians) for doing things the NSA and CIA are doing in cyberspace.  Chiefio had a pretty good writeup on the festivities.  Reality Winner reminds me of the quote from The Friends of Eddie Coyle in 1973 wrongly attributed to John Wayne “This life’s hard, man, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.”


  1. SF Robots. What happens when you price entry level labor flat out of the workplace?  Those that need the untrained labor will figure out how not to need that labor any more.  Among the ways are change are how you sell and prepare things, prices of product sales, and timeliness of meeting customer expectations.  One of the most important responses is automation – these days, robots and AI.  We are seeing a move toward automation in harvesting fruit and vegetables in the fields, something that has been delayed by decades due to the open spigot on illegal immigration.  In San Francisco, where the leftists in charge of municipal government pander to all things democrat, their $15 / hour minimum wage is successfully shutting down restaurants right and left while driving some enterprising owners toward automation (think of the new Kiosks at McDonalds for ordering).  Response by the Rocket Scientists in the local government?  Roll back the newly mandated minimum wage?  Not hardly.  The preferred response will be to make automation (robots / AI) illegal.  And that’s where they are going.  It will be a lot like trying to sweep water with a broom.  No matter how much you sweep in one direction, it always finds a way to flow back.


  1. Carbon. One of the great lies out of the manmade global warming due to CO2 emissions world is the notion of the social cost of carbon.  Essentially this allowed the EPA to put a bunch of numbers in a bin, stir it a while, and puke it out the finished end with some sort of hair-raising human cost due to increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere.  Like most stuff out of the EPA over the last decade or two, this ends up being fraudulent too.  The official figure from the O’Bama EPA was $40 / ton, a number crafted precisely so that the Clean Power Plan could pass a cost-benefit analysis.  The number requires the EPA pick a discount rate against projected costs in the distant future.  The problem is that real world calculations use discount rates so low that the Clean Power Plan would not have been fiscally justified.  So, the EPA used an artificially high discount rate far outside the range of standard practice.  The Trump EPA is reviewing the calculations as they explore ways to roll back the Clean Power Plan.  So, we have a cost for carbon.  What about the benefits?  Are there any?  There most certainly are, starting with the 11% greening of arid and desert regions as CO2 levels in the atmosphere rose.  Richard Tol produced a working paper “The Private Benefit of Carbon and Its Social Cost.”  He is a leading environmental economist.  Tol’s paper estimates the private benefit of carbon at $411 / ton, or an order of magnitude more than the cost.  These benefits come from abundant and reliable energy, something rent seeking greens and their government patrons are busily fighting via mandates for renewable energy (wind and solar).  The energy translates in turn into warm homes, cooked food, travel, transport, information, communications, etc.  Who’s your buddy?  Coal miners, apparently.  Ask Hillary.  She knows.


  1. Taurids. One of my ongoing science projects is investigating something called the Younger Dryas.  This was a sudden cold snap lasting around 1,500 years after the globe was coming out of the last great ice age some 12,000 years ago.  The temperature drop also took place at the same time as all large mammals in North America (giant sloth, dire wolf, mastodon, sabertooth cat, etc) disappeared.  The dominant native tribe in the SW US, Anasazi also disappeared.  There is growing evidence that the weather change was due to impact of one to several chunks of a large comet impacting the continent in the vicinity of Saginaw, MI.  The impact hit the ice sheet and blasted chunks of it continent-wide.  This was a continental size extinction event, one mankind actually watched take place.  So where did the incoming bodies come from?  Astronomers Clube, Napier and Fred Hoyle took a look at debris streams, the Taurids Complex that the earth crosses twice a year and determined that sometime 20 – 50,000 years ago, a large comet some 100 km in diameter was injected into the inner solar system.  Comets are notoriously fragile bodies, and this one fragmented, dissolved, and after an encounter with Jupiter was injected into an orbit just a shade over 3 years long.  As the comet fragmented, it created multiple streams of debris that the earth crosses twice yearly.  In the historic past, biblical and pre-biblical past, our ancestors were literally bombarded on a regular basis.  There are those who believe that these periodic crossings of thicker portions of the stream wiped out some Bronze Age civilizations.  There was apparently a very good reason that the Ancients were freaked out by comets, as they regularly got bashed by them.  These debris streams, associated comets, asteroids and even the Zodiacal Light are collectively referred to as the Taurid Complex.  There are a pair of known streams.  Earth’s orbit crosses denser portions of these streams every 1,500 – 3,000 years.  A couple of weeks ago, a group of Czech astronomers published a paper after analyzing bolide distributions over Europe.  They conclude that there is a third branch of the Taurid Complex stream.  They argue that the newly discovered branch, while currently quiet has a substantial population of quiet large caliber cometary fragments, asteroids, and other (200 – 300 m diameter) debris.  For comparative purposes, the Tunguska object which exploded over Siberia in 1908 is now thought to be part of the Taurid Complex.  It was about 100 m in diameter.  We live in a relatively busy part of the solar system.  Just because things have been relatively quiet for centuries for 1,500 years is no protection for a future encounter with a thicker portion of the stream.  I used to think comets were cool.  Now they worry me.

More later –

– AG


3 thoughts on “Interesting Items 06/12”

  1. These events are named based on the astronomical asterisms called constellations. There are 12 major ones that more-or-less appear on or near the ecliptic or the celestial equator. Anyway, the Taurids look like they’re coming from or near Taurus. There is another well known shower that appears to come from or near Leo, in autumn, typically November. One such shower occurred in 1833, memorialized later in a jazz production. Another happened in the 1950s, a Leonid, where a meteorite struck a lady and injured her. Near the spot, a drive-in theater was built. Guess the name ;). It closed a few years ago, but the neighborhood retains the name :). In/near the larger city of Sylacauga, there are a number of astronomically named neighborhoods. This particular neighborhood is in the smaller city of Oak Grove. A piece of this meteorite was on display in a museum at the University of Alabama’s geology department. That was a fascinating exhibit. I don’t know if it is still there, since that space rock may have been lent to other such exhibits over the years.

    1. Howdy CDQ –

      Many thanks for your continuing interest in II.
      In my experience and research, all meteor showers are connected in some way to a comet.

      The two streams of the Taurids are Sept 10 – Nov 20 and June. The fall Taurids come in at low angles at night. The June Taurids come in out of the rising sun. Tunguska was a June Taurid on June 30, 1908.

      If you fragment a 100 km diameter comet (and there is a conveyor belt out there that sends them into the inner solar system one after another – think Centaurs), there is a LOT of debris to get rid of. It just doesn’t disappear. And if the comet is perturbed into an earth crossing orbit like the Taurid Complex progenitor was, a lot of that debris will end up hitting planets in the inner solar system. And so it has.

      If the YD guys are right. And I think they are, we have been bombarded by comet fragments over the last 20 – 50,000 years. They have been participants in biblical events – Gilgamesh, the Great Flood, the Exodus, Sodom and Gomorrah, Jericho, the Roman and Greek gods, Celtic gods, Norse gods, Ragnarok, etc. The problem is the ancients had no language to describe what they saw in the skies other than the actions of various gods, most of them actively hostile to life on this planet.

      Like I said at the end, I used to like comets a lot. Now they tend to bother me.

      As this is mostly new stuff, there is a lot of pushback. A link for your consideration. Cheers –

      1. Very interesting article. A foundational premise in “hard” science is that the scientist is a human being and it is easy to fool oneself. Drilled into your head is that you must question your own conclusions and find fault with your own theories. When you present a finding, your peers are there to probe you deeply, searching for flaws in your presentation and, especially, your error analysis and whether you propagated those errors correctly.

        How does that saying go? Yes, nullius in verba.

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