Saturday, July 27, 2019

To live is to suffer...

Well, poop. I'm already past my work peak. (Duh. No one else is surprised.)
  • Apollo Extended Edition, a remastering of the original Apollo album plus a second album of totally new material, will be released by Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, and Roger Eno on July 19th.
  • AKKU Quintet's (founded by SONAR drummer Manuel Pasquinelli) latest album is Depart.
  • Scenes from the Flood is Bryan Beller's (bassist with The Aristocrats) new double-album.
  • The Aristocrats' 4th album, You Know What...? 
  • John Bonham's Moby Dick drum solo
Drummers may have different brains than the rest of us says science.

Helen Frankenthaler, For E.M., 1981 (source).  Inspired by an article about a current exhibition of her paintings in Venice.
Speaking of Frankenthaler, she shared tips for being an artist. #4 Let mistakes lead to invention.

Greg Bustin's recommended summer reading on the topic of leadership includes Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning which I just finished reading. One of the book's essential philosophical or psychological points is that life is not about pursuit of pleasure or power but of meaning.
From Present & Correct comes a collection of TV test cards.
If "ablaut reduplication" is too technical for you just remember I-A-O and you'll never flop-flip your flip-flop.

Hey, smart people. You choke under pressure because your mental abilities cause performance anxiety. (Instead of trying to be right, just do your best.) Also, if you believe that intelligence is a fixed trait you're likely to fail at activities you're not instantly good at.

I have never seen this spiral version of the periodic table before. See it and more unusual periodic table designs here.
A bit more traditional is the periodic table in pictures.

Deservedly so, the Colossal Cave Adventure was inducted this year into the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

This is from back in May but have you seen the surface of an asteroid close-up?

How about a font comprised entirely of colored dots?

Or some more traditional looking fonts by designer Clotilde Olyff?

Can you solve the secretary puzzle?

A longish and hard-to-read article on Disney animator Bill Tytla (think Chernabog).

Did you get some Ellsworth Kelly postage stamps yet?

How many mechanical movements are illustrated and animated for internet-friendly consumption? 507.

I enjoyed the Chernobyl series on HBO but what did actual Chernobyl survivors think of it?

How about the SR-71 flight manual?

Or maybe you'd prefer to fly the B-17.

A world map showing every city with more than 500 people.
The DFW Metroplex is the fastest growing metro area in the country and Fort Worth is now the 13th largest city.

At last we know: Libyan desert glass was created 29 million years ago by a meteorite impact.

Science has invented a drug that is successful against antibiotic-resistant bugs.

Thrilling to the live stream from Hungary this morning made me realize how sad it is that the Red Bull Air Race is ending this season after September's race in Japan. It "did not attract the level of outside interest as many other Red Bull events." I'm wondering if after some time off the event can be retooled and brought back.

Mark Rothko's Untitled (1961) recently sold at auction for $50.1 million.

Why does coffee make us poop? Science tells us it has nothing to do with caffeine.

If you ate rocks you'd poop sand too.

I'll take feline excretory systems, Alex. The answer is "Bacteria." The question is "what do cats farm in their butts?"

How long would it take for you to use up the forever roll of TP?


And I leave you with hours of potential time wasting: this is sand.

...and to survive is to find some meaning in that suffering. ~Friedrich Nietzsche 

Friday, July 5, 2019

The Mueller Report

It took several months but I finally finished reading the Mueller Report, also known as the Report on The Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. I don't recall where I downloaded the PDF from but you can get the PDFs from Part 1 and Part 2.

It was a tough document to read because it was so dry and boring. I'll admit to not reading the appendices in Part 2 and I only skimmed the last section of Part 2. I am not an attorney nor do I claim to have any special expertise on legal matters. But that won't prevent me from sharing my conclusions.

The Russians engaged in a massive and systematic program to influence the 2016 presidential election in favor of Candidate Trump. Why President Trump seems so eager to let Putin off the hook is beyond me. I've heard of "keeping your friends close and your enemies closer" but Trump's statements on the topic are ignorant at best, irresponsible at worst. The Russians and others will likely continue activities like this.

The Trump campaign did not collude, coordinate, or conspire with (interestingly, only "conspire" has a legal meaning within the context of criminal law - the former two words do not) agents of the Russian government or directly with the Russian government to influence the election. This did not surprise me. However, members of the Trump campaign, either through naivete or craven greed or inflated self importance, allowed the Russians to lead them around by the nose like a bunch of chumps.

Probably because they had been led around by the nose, several members of the Trump campaign and/or administration did commit crimes, evidence of which was uncovered by the investigation.

And the big one: there is a considerable body of evidence that indicates President Trump engaged in several acts consistent with obstruction of justice. And the caveats: because the Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion stating that criminal prosecution of a sitting president would be "bad" (my word), only an investigation was conducted without the potential for filing charges. (The section of Part 2 that I only skimmed was a refutation of the president's personal counsel's arguments that a sitting president could not be charged based on the obstruction of justice statute and Article II of the Constitution.) The significant paragraph from Part 2 is one we've all already heard:
"Fourth, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgement. The evidence we obtained about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." 
This leaves me to wonder: When Mr. Trump is no longer president and the OLC's opinion is no longer applicable, will the evidence collected by the Commission be sufficient bring obstruction of justice charges at that future time?