November 2020 archive
Dryobates nuttallii ♂
A big metal triangular prism installed in a remote location in southern Utah has been in the news. Authorities are not saying just where it is because it's in remote inhospitable terrain. I imagine someone will ultimately post the location on the web but at least Utah authorities can sleep well knowing they didn't. A Dutch couple died in the California desert in 2011 while looking for the Joshua tree on the cover of the U2 album.

The most entertaining report I've seen on this triangular metal thing was from a TV station in Salt Lake City. They made a delightful low‑tech animation with toys on a paper map of Utah.

...on a mission to southern Utah to count big‑horned life forms
In recent news, Sidney Powell found herself disowned by Tr--p, probably not for being batshit crazy (although she was) but rather for being the wrong kind of batshit crazy.

And yet some of the faithful stick by her. Comments on rightie blogs show no shortage of people willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and hope that things will play out in her favor.

In the mid-1980s, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh's commune in eastern Oregon devolved into chaos, committing acts of arson, wiretapping, voting fraud, and the single largest bioterror attack in US history. Many followers stuck by Rajneesh. "I wouldn't have missed the experience for anything," one said. "Bhagwan showed us at firsthand how power corrupts. He showed us how fascism comes into being. Where else could you learn something like that?"
A couple days ago, in a right-wing blog:
What I think distinguishes the U.S. from the rest of the world when it comes to the coronavirus is the development of vaccines here. Pfizer and Moderna, the two pharma companies that have developed seemingly effective vaccines so far, are American firms. They succeeded in their efforts thanks in part to large grants from the U.S. government pursuant to Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.
There's material here for two Radio Yerevan jokes:

Is it true that the quick development of Pfizer's vaccine was due in part to large grants from the U.S. government?
Radio Yerevan:
In principle, yes. But Pfizer didn't accept government money to develop the vaccine. Pfizer's CEO said he thought the development went faster than it would have if they had taken public money.

Even so, doesn't the success with Pfizer's vaccine distinguish the USA from the rest of the world?
Radio Yerevan:
In principle, yes. But Pfizer's role has primarily been in finance, logistics, and running clinical trials. The underlying technology for the vaccine was developed by a German company.
Keeping watch while the humans climb.
Nice day here today.
A film crew is in Lone Pine for a few days to shoot scenes for Invasion (an Amazon sci‑fi thriller). We locals are encouraged to like this activity, it being good for the town's economy and so on. There are worse fates.

Around 1982, a friend and I were riding our bicycles on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles when we encountered a photographer blocking part of the road. Who does he think he is, I thought. Then I saw that the subject of his photos was Frank Zappa and my feelings changed to well, OK then.
On a few Veterans Days I've made a point of reading some of the papers my dad saved from when he served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. When I was a kid, I didn't really appreciate what it meant. He quit a position as a math teacher and enlisted to be a weather forecaster to support wartime aviation.

He's third from the left in the front row of this pic. 308th Reconnaisance Group
Dog at the climbing store this evening.
A poll worker's account of his experience in this year's election:
Trump supporters treated the outside of my polling place in West Boca Raton like a college football tailgate party, complete with their own sound systems blasting the music of artists who most definitely do not share their political and social views. There were overflowing coolers; cardboard cutouts of Trump and his wife for the time being; gigantic pick-up trucks over-adorned with Trump, MAGA, KAG and QAnon flags; and a palpable combination of anger, stupidity and revelry. They were joined at times by local lawyer and failed Palm Beach County Commission candidate David Irving Shiner and his similarly enthusiastic and raucous team. Trump's faithful followers blocked access in and out of our polling place with their vehicles, interfered with traffic by standing in the streets and waving flags, and directly interfered with voters in the precinct by blasting the train horns from their jacked-up trucks directly into the polling place where voters were voting.
"for the time being".
Leuconotopicus villosus, Cupressus arizonica
Hairy woodpecker (female), this afternoon.
About Sean Connery, Terence Young (director of three of the early James Bond movies) said, "With the exception of Lassie, he is the only person I know who's never been spoiled by success."
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