One Thing Won’t Be Missed


Backyard flooding is a common occurrence this year

One thing that will not be missed in 2019 is the constant rain. How constant? The image above shows the areal flooding that has occurred pretty much every 24 hours since early October. And prior to August, most of us had never even heard of areal flooding.

On the news the other day, they summed up 2018. It has rained nine out of thirteen weekends. It was a washout this summer. We have had more than 60 inches of rain, probably close to 70 by now, as that was more than a month ago. That means 2018 was the wettest on record, every for the region. More rain that even Mobile, Alabama and other high rain areas of the US (which, oddly, Seattle is not). Our longest stretch without rain was 11 days, the first few days of December. It has basically rained every other day. Some days we do not go 24 hours without rain.

So here is to 2019, and the hope that it will dry out before it freezes. And worse, that it does not become snow. With all the rain we have had, if it had been snow, we would have had more than most cities get in a decade.

Good-Bye 2018

As we are less than 24 hours away from 2019, at least here on the East Coast where I live.

Rather than recount the success and failures of the past year, mainly because there were more failures than successes, I am going to put the year firmly behind me and move forward into 2019.

Can things be worse? Sure. It can always get worse. According to several folks, 2018 suffered some $155 billion in losses due to natural disasters. And there were a lot of those, and there can be more. But that is last year. For 2019, we are looking forward.

Most Are Looking

Shutdown ‘unnerving, frustrating’ for federal contractors | WTOP

Offering advice to impacted contract workers, Chvotkin said they should stay in close communication with supervisors because their status could change quickly. He also advised to be ready to return to work as soon as possible, if needed.

The reality is that if you are not reporting to work, your resume is already on the street. Fifteen to twenty percent of the contractors working for companies that are unfunded will not be returning to their current assignments. Which will make restarting after the shutdown even harder.

I Missed All Of These

The 10 worst movies of 2018

And while “velociraptors in a mansion” isn’t the worst idea, the film’s lackluster story and absence of character development made audiences even more nostalgic for the days of Laura Dern and Sam Neill.

And that is the best of comments about these movies. I guess it is a good thing I did not shell out to see them in a theatre.

Catch 22 Is Only The Start

An unfunded, unopened government sure is expensive

One email came to a friend from a contractor employee in Loveland, Colorado, who operates a large federal data center. The employee said the agency wants the servers turned off to avoid overheating. How’s that? The agency believes it can’t pay the electric utility so the cooling equipment, and hence the servers, will have to be shut off.

Trouble is, with the agency closed no federal employees can go on site. So the contractors can’t go in and do the power-down.

If you are scratching your head, let me put it this way, the contractors cannot be paid. The agencies do not really know what they can and cannot do. And so services may or may not be available when you need them.

Good luck, and …

Is This The Beginning of the End of Social Media?

As we approach the end of 2018, only people that have not been around the Internet for more than a microsecond are not wondering what will become of social media. In case you have not been paying attention, we are down to two social media players. Failbook (and their associated properties) and Twitter. So that, ladies and gentlemen, is it. On December 17, the exodus from Tumblr, the last pseudo-independent platform began as Verizon ordered all adult content remove. Now Verizon owns three failed platforms – the remains of AOL, the bad parts of Yahoo, and Tumblr. Zuckerbergland is composed of Failbook, Instasomething, and Whywoudyouuseitapp. Twitter is hanging on by a thread, but it is skating on thin ice. Snapchat is circling the drain, and other companies like MeWe and Diaspora are trying, unsuccessfully to fill the gap. G+? Well, Google is shutting it down, and it was a ghost town anyway (at least according to the technical press) and with a second data leak, Google has announced that it is closing G+ by April, instead of later in the year as they had originally announced. Not that it matters, most of the G+ communities have already shuttered their circles and moved on to Plusporia and similar nodes.

So why the end of social media? Well, you probably were asleep when Australia announced it is demanding the ability to crack encrypted streams. They claim, at the moment, that they are not asking for backdoors, but as a member of Five Eyes, it is only a matter of time before the US asks for a similar ability. Then do you think any encryption is valid? Meaning that anything you post online, you might as well post on a postcard and send it to your nearest newspaper. Many have already been doing this of course, but if you are not a fan of walled gardens, then does it matter?

I am not, nor have I ever been a fan of walled gardens. So as we go into 2019, and my options are reduced to Zuckerbergland or … well, this site, I am choosing this site. My G+ ID will remain for a bit. I am debating closing that account, but I have begun the process of closing all my other online profiles, Twitter, and email accounts. I do not need them, and they do not offer any value beyond taking up bandwidth, so why maintain them.

A return to the real Internet may be just what the doctor ordered. What about you?

Someone Explained the Outgoing DefSec’s Resignation Letter

Trump: Mattis out as of Jan. 1; deputy to be acting chief

Irritated with the criticism and fallout from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ resignation, President Donald Trump on Sunday pushed the Pentagon chief out the door two months earlier than planned, an acrimonious end to a tense relationship that had been eroding in recent months.

If I was the next guy I would make sure my resume is current.

Can I have what they’re smoking?

Mick Mulvaney says DHS can’t ‘spend money from Mexico’ for wall: ‘We have to get it from the treasury’

Mulvaney said that through the new agreement, “American workers are going to do better, the government is going to do better, and you could make the argument that Mexico is paying for it in that fashion.”

Seriously? This is how the current administration is justifying taking five billion dollars from the US taxpayer for a device to prevent border crossings. A device that the Chinese will tell you did not work as advertised, but did employ a lot of people. Mostly slaves.

I can think of a lot of things that five billion dollars can buy that will do a lot more good for the US economy. And for those playing the home game, five billion is the buy in. Current estimates are north of $20 bn for actual completion. For that the US could make Dominica a State. With cash left over. Or how about 50,000 teachers for a decade? No? 50,000 miles of road repairs. Surely that is just as important, and the follow on spending would boost a number of local economies. How about feed 3.4 million people for a year. We always hear about the homeless, many of whom are veterans in need of more than just food. We could also house some 300k of them.

Clearly preventing a tiny percentage of illegals has a cost (yes, tiny. The Census estimates less than 20 million illegals are in the US. That is the population of the state of Texas or a bit more than 4 times the population of New York City. A drop in the bucket) but the cost of building an ineffective preventative wall is even higher when you consider what can be built with it. (The next aircraft carrier is only $13 bn).

Let’s go Congress, show some leadership. Fix immigration.

New Year, New Keys

When I first created my PGP keys, all those years ago, I created them with PGP. And for some reason, that I am not sure of, they were created as only 1024 bit keys. So as part of my new year clean up, I have revoked my keys and issued new ones at 4096 bit.

The revoked fingerprints are as follows:

For the ARRL account:

5C44 E28D 49FE 24D6 A9DA  1545 CD57 C291 0A53 3C19

For my Gmail account:

2428 CE82 2E0C E6B7 E1E3  8D84 85BD BF93 B6CF CE1B

The new fingerprints are:

For the ARRL account:

7AB2 2840 5C8F 7427 78E3  9105 9DCE F014 AE06 230B

and for my Gmail account:

1E01 F6F2 E5C7 9405 336C  4E89 4128 6E0B 102B 8367

As usual, the keys are at your neighborhood public key server or you can download them below. These keys were generated with GPG, but they will be usable in any PGP/GPG program.

ARRL:

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gmail:

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Can I Get The Recipe For That – Prosciutto Fritters

As many people know, I spend my spare time cooking. I bake, and lately, I have been expanding out into full meal cooking. Moreover, as I do this, many people are asking for me the recipes for the various dishes I make. Rather than responding to each person individually, I decided to add a section to this blog, so anyone who wants to can make it themselves.

To start with, let’s dive into the appetizers from Saturday’s Italian dinner walk through. The menu was as follows:

Appetizer: Prosciutto and Cheese Fritters and a Virginia sparkling
Main: Fettuccine Carbonara and a Chianti (Nipozzano)
Dessert: Italian cookies and Sambuca

I will be posting other recipes as the week goes by, but let us start with the fritters.

Ingredients

1 cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 oz prosciutto crudo, diced
1/2 cup grated caciocavallo cheese
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
lard
salt

Directions

Heat the water, salt, and butter in a saucepan, preferably of copper, and when it boils, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to the heat and work the mixture continuously with the spoon; after a great deal of stirring the mixture will have formed a solid and homogeneous ball of dough. Let it cool, then incorporate the eggs one at a time, constantly kneading (using a mixer can save some of this effort).

When the dough forms bubbles, work in the prosciutto, caciocavallo, and parsley. When this is done, set the dough aside in a cool place.

Heat several inches of lard in a high-sided pan until hot (but not smoking), then drop in 1-inch balls of dough. (You can make the balls with a spoon or spread out the dough and cut it into cylinders to roll directly into the pan.) Let these fry slowly, reducing the heat if they start to brown too quickly

Remove them with a slotted spoon, put them on a serving plate covered with paper towels, and serve hot.

Enjoy!