Sunday, May 29, 2016

Catoctin Furnace

In Maryland, just off U.S. highway 15 between Frederick and Thurmont, is Catoctin Furnace.  This name refers to both the furnace itself and the surrounding unincorporated community.  The furnace was originally constructed in 1774 and was used to make cannonballs during the Revolutionary War.  Over the years, three furnace units were built at the site, but only the second one remains.  The furnace was closed in 1903.

I've visited the site several times and taken some pictures, but not with my most recent (and only digital) camera.  The open area in front of the furnace includes several trees, whose presence in my pictures is pretty much inevitable.  In this shot, the section in which the iron was produced, which is shaped like a truncated pyramid, is behind an open section having a wooden roof.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

"Controlling Grammar"

In the aftermath of the 2011 shootings in Tuscon Arizona, in which the best-known victim was then-Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D), some information gradually came out about some things that the shooter apparently believed.  One idea he reportedly had was that the government was somehow "controlling grammar".  As recalled in The Christian Science Monitor:
“The government is implying [sic] mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar," an individual widely thought to be Loughner writes in a Youtube video.
Loughner is the shooter's last name.  This quote appears to be itself quoted from another source, but TCSM does not mention or link any particular source, other than to credit The Arizona Republic as the source of an accompanying photo.  As also noted by TCSM, Loughner (or the person thought to be him) does not describe how controlling grammar is done.  Nor does he specify which government, as in federal, state or local, he thought was doing this.

How then, if you wanted to control grammar, would you go about doing so?  I would say that the answer to this question has come from the government of New York City, which requires businesses and landlords to use certain pronouns if a worker or tenant requests them, and levies heavy fines for not using them.  Read the details at the New York Post, MRC TV and Life Site.  While I'm not a linguistics expert, I do know that pronoun use is an aspect of grammar.  This means that if you're regulating pronouns, you are indeed controlling grammar.  Congrats, New York.  You've made, at least in a sense, one of the Tuscon shooter's weird ideas into reality.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Links

As the Memorial Day weekend closes in, here are some things going on out there:

From Fortune, the superbug is here.

From Reuters, Britain tells the G7 to do more to fight superbugs.

From BBC News, schools in Northern Ireland face bomb threats and hoaxes.

From the Daily Mail, in Iran, 30 students are arrested and flogged for attending a mixed-gender graduation party.

From The Washington Free Beacon, Hillary Clinton's deceit over her emails is called "mind-boggling".

From National Review, Hillary Clinton's style of deception "is more insidious than Trump's".

From Townhall, the rules don't seem to apply to Hillary.

From Real Clear Politics, the small group of staffers who surround Hillary.

From the Daily Star, a Danish woman fighting in Syria calls ISIS fighters "very easy to kill".

From Breitbart London, a church in Germany holds an Islamic funeral for an ISIS fighter.

From FrontpageMag, what President Obama appears to have overlooked about Ho Chi Minh.

From WGN, in Hiroshima, Obama calls for a "world without nuclear weapons".  (There's been no reaction yet from the Iranian leadership.)

From UPI, more on Obama's visit to Hiroshima.

From the Prague Daily Monitor, according to a Czech think tank, 44% of European Muslims are "fundamentalist".

From the Express, migrants brawl in the "Calais Jungle".

From PressTV, Turkey's foreign minister calls American behavior "two-faced".

From Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey's foreign minister complains about Kurdish patches worn by American troops.  (via Business Insider)

From Wired, the smart watering system for your lawn.

From WUIS, the Hokule'a sails around the world, navigating by the stars.

From Medical Xpress, a "new model" of how T-cells are activated.

From The Times Of Israel, the politicians bicker, but not about Elton John.

From the Washington Examiner, 21 famous people buried in Arlington National Cemetery that you might not know about.

From Woman's World, the weird demands made by divas (not all of whom are female).

And from the New York Post, this little girl might be the world's youngest water-skier.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

AP: Trump Clinches GOP Nomination

Fellow right-wingers, the shrill and obnoxious noise that is now torturing your ears is the proverbial fat lady singing.  According to the Associated Press, Donald Trump now has 1238 delegates, one more than necessary to clinch the Republican nomination.  The story has been reproduced by the New York Post, but the original may be read here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Anti-Trump Protest Turns Violent

Last night in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a protest against Donald Trump (R-NY) turned violent, as some protesters lit T-shirts on fire, threw rocks and bottles, broke a glass door at the convention center where Trump was speaking, and jumped onto police vehicles.

Read more at CNN, BBC News, The Hill and ABC News.

Baltimore Cops Sue State's Attorney

The fallout continues from the actions taken against six Baltimore police officers charged with offenses in relation to the death of suspect Freddie Gray.  This story comes via the Independent from The Baltimore Sun, according to which:
Two officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray are suing Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby for defamation and invasion of privacy, court records show.
Sgt. Alicia White and Officer William Porter, who are both facing charges of involuntary manslaughter in the 25-year-old's death last April, filed the lawsuit against Mosby, Baltimore Sheriff's Office Maj. Sam Cogen, and the state of Maryland in Baltimore Circuit Court on May 2, records show.
The officers claim Mosby and Cogen knew the statement of charges filed against the officers and other statements made by Mosby at her May 1, 2015, news conference announcing the charges "were false."
Read the full story.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bill Cosby To Stand Trial

Actor, comedian and pudding pitch-man Bill Cosby has been ordered to stand trail on three sexual assault charges stemming from an alleged incident at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.  At the time, his accuser was an employee of his alma mater, Temple University.

Read more at USA Today, CNN, BBC News and Reuters.

As reported by KTRH, before Cosby arrived at the courthouse, the MSNBC anchor covering the story got him mixed up with another Bill.  Considering the alleged behavior of both Bills, I'd say that the mix-up was quite understandable.


Monday, May 23, 2016

A Few More Stories

Some things in the news today, other than the previously posted end of the U.S. arms embargo on Vietnam:

Investigators analyzing flight data from EgyptAir Flight 804 are looking at a four-minute period.

A Lufthansa flight out of Munich was diverted due to a passenger apparently going crazy.

ICE officials seem to have figured out how to deal with transgender illegal aliens.

Pope Francis meets with an Egyptian Grand Imam.

The record 499 Syrian refugees admitted into the United States in May are all from one religion.

Meanwhile back in Syria, some people are getting ready to fight against ISIS.

Muslims attack Yazidis - in Germany.

Before anyone wants to call today's acquittal of a Baltimore cop, charged in the death of Freddie Gray, an act of racism, they should first acquaint themselves with the judge.

The cop now faces the battle to regain his reputation.

President Obama signs legislation to remove two words from government use.

Virginia's governor has been under FBI investigation.

How bad are things in Venezuela?  This bad.

Commuting on the Washington, DC Metro will soon be even uglier than usual.

Some say you can't fight City Hall, but if you're a peregrine falcon, you can build your nest there.

Obama Ends Arms Embargo On Vietnam

While in Vietnam, President Obama announced that he is lifting the decades-long arms embargo against that country.  Future proposed arms sales will be evaluated on a "case-by-case" basis.  Obama denied that the move was in response to China's posture in the region.

Read more at UPI, BBC News, Reuters, Politico and USA Today.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

United States Reduces CO2 Emissions, Europe Doesn't

When it comes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the United States has been doing a better job than Europe, even while the latter has had large "green energy" subsidies and a cap-and-trade scheme.  From The Daily Caller:
The European Union’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose in 2015 while American emissions fell, despite Europe’s environmentally conscious and progressive image, analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation has found.
The EU’s 2015 CO2 emissions increased by 0.7 percent relative to 2014, while U.S. emissions fell to its lowest level in two decades. The EU has spent an estimated $1.2 trillion financially supporting wind, solar and bio-energy and an incalculable amount on a cap-and-trade scheme to specifically lower CO2 emissions.
I'm dismayed to learn that one of my ancestral counties, Slovakia, is the worst culprit among the European countries for which data is available.  The overall comparison between the U.S. and Europe, I would say, begs a question.  What is the point of government interventions when better results can be achieved without them?  Read the full story, and look at the maps.