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2017-08-22 12:34 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 307 references
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Just wonderin'.... first crack, no editing (other than the crop) or stacking yet...

An extract from one particular frame twiddling a bit to remove the background behind the CMEs (or possibly prominences; hard to tell from stills) from a different shot; yes, they DO change that rapidly!

Another featuring same...

And one of the partial phase (yes, filtered -- no, not re-colorized; I have the no-tint-added filter) with visible sunspots.


No, Zuckerburglar may not make any money off my photography.  Nor may other social media outlets and similar and yes, I will send in the registrations on these and others.

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2017-08-21 16:00 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 433 references
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During the crash Fannie and Freddie were "nationalized" and bailed out.  The public was told that the firms were on the verge of failure, and that said failure was inevitable.

Shareholders, in due course, sued -- they didn't believe it.

And now, it appears, the government lied.

It didn't lie a little, it lied a lot.  It turns out that it appears the government knew that the firms were on the edge of massive profitability and that they were in fact not insolvent.

So why did the government do it?  They did it to steal the profits from the company -- which means they stole the shareholder's property to fund other things - including Obamacare.

What does this mean?

We shall see if there is any shred of the rule of law remaining in this country.

The odds are with "No", by the way.  If the medical and insurance system can screw you out of north of $2 trillion a year by violating 100+ year old laws and neither federal or state prosecutors will lift a finger to stop it what makes anyone believe that a "mere" $100 billion or so ripped off by the Obama Administration from the shareholders of a couple of companies will find any solace in the courts?

Let's be real here: Until there's a genuine fear that as long as these big thefts remain unaddressed the people might eventually decide that rope and lampposts are the only remaining remedies I see no evidence whatsoever that anyone's going to get one nickel of what was stolen by them in this regard back.

Further, the beneficiaries of said theft are in fact lawmakers who are in office today in no small part due to the campaign contributions made by those who benefited from those funds and the firms who profited from Obamacare and other Obama administration initiatives, all of whom under the principles of civil law should be forced to disgorge every single penny of said benefit to compensate the victims.  But they won't be -- and you know it -- and again, the reason is that neither the politicians or judiciary fear any public backlash for their willful and intentional refusal to follow and enforce the law.

And by the way, this isn't new news either.  Do you recall anyone caring about it when the depositions were unsealed?  Since when is stealing $100 billion not news?

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2017-08-20 11:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 13114 references
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Unless you're deaf, blind and have an IQ smaller than my shoe size you know there's a solar eclipse tomorrow, and it will cut a path across the United States.

You've probably seen various sites talking about safety issues.  The issues are real, and what I'm sharing with you on this post is important.  Read it, understand it, do not believe for one second that any of this can be trifled with and if you have young people around you make damn sure they understand all of this as well.

There will be thousands of people who will either damage or entirely lose their eyesight tomorrow and there is exactly zero that a doc in the ER or anywhere else will be able to do for you if you wind up screwing yourself by being ignorant, stupid or both.

Please do not be one of the people that have that happen.

Ok, here we go.

1. You have no pain receptors in your eyes.  What this means is that if you destroy or damage your vision you will get no warning before the destruction occurs.

2. During the partial phases of the eclipse, all the way up to totality and when it ends -- the sun's intensity is enough to damage or destroy your eyesight in seconds or less.  Worse, because the disk is partially obscured, your usual reaction to bright light which causes you to blink or avert your gaze may not protect you.   Do not look at the sun during the partial phases of the eclipse, even momentarily.  Your vision can be permanently impaired or you could even be blinded and the effects will probably not be instantaneous; the worst of the damage from infrared exposure takes several hours to show up after it happens.  There are very cool visual effects that occur on the boundaries of totality but you are taking a considerable risk looking at them with your bare eyes.  In particular there are two effects that occur right on the edge of totality -- these are safe, but the boundary between "safe" and "unsafe" is literal seconds and you're playing with the only two eyes you get.

3. Do not, under any circumstances, point any sort of magnifying (e.g. binoculars, telescopes, etc) or photographic equipment at the sun other than during totality without a proper visual-grade solar filter ON THE OBJECTIVE END (in other words, in front of the first piece of glass facing the sun.)   You will immediately and irreparably damage or destroy your camera/phone/whatever if you do.  If you are looking through a viewfinder, binoculars or telescope objective see #1 and #2 for what will happen to you along with your equipment.

4. If you wish to look at the partial phases of the eclipse the only two safe ways to do so are through indirect projection (using a pinhole in a box to project the light onto a white card on the opposite end, looking at the card) or by using a commercial-grade, visual-rated solar filter.  The latter cannot be safely made from household materials no matter you've been told.  There are multiple suggestions for making your own that I have read and exactly zero of them are safe.  Stacking neutral density photographic filters may make the sun LOOK less bright but will not filter the UV and infrared sufficiently and your eyesight will be damaged!  Worse, some of what's been sold for this purpose online may be counterfeit and unsafe as well.  REFLECTED SOLAR LIGHT OFF ANY SORT OF SURFACE IS NOT SAFE TO LOOK AT EITHER.  For photography the only way to avoid the certain destruction of your camera, lenses or both (never mind your eyes) is to have and properly use use a solar photography filter and there are two types; only one of them is safe to use on a camera with a viewfinder.  Remember that even a small magnifying class will light paper on fire when used to focus the sun; a camera lens works exactly the same way and will do the same thing to your camera and, if you're looking through the viewfinder, your eyes.  If you don't have a ISO-rated solar viewing filter, either in the form of eclipse glasses or for your camera lens by now you probably can't get one either and do not trust side-of-road vendors or similar.  In this regard be extremely careful about trying to "makeshift" a solar filter onto a cellphone or other camera if you don't have a proper holder that clamps on the objective of your lens, or if your lens articulates (e.g. retracts); if it falls off or shifts while in use you'll destroy the camera instantly!  Large-objective solar filters (safe and intended for use on a camera, pair of binoculars or telescope to directly view the sun) are not cheap.

4.5 THERE ARE MANY REPORTS THAT WELDING MASKS ARE SAFE TO USE.  This is NOT true.  There are multiple "grades" of welding masks but here's the problem -- no matter the grade welding radiation and solar radiation are different.  In particular welding radiation is very high in both visible light and UV, while one of solar radiation's greatest risks is infrared.  Welding masks are designed to protect you when arc welding; they are simply not designed for, nor tested against the spectral distribution of sunlight.  Using a specific shade may be ok and it may not but there is no way to be certain whether the spectral filtering is appropriate for solar observation.  DO NOT trust a welding mask to protect your eyesight!

5. DURING totality it is both safe to look at or photograph the corona unfiltered and you should, as it's really cool.  There is no other way for you to see the sun's corona; it is usually invisible due to the much brighter photosphere.  For an even better effect put a patch over your dominant eye five minutes before totality begins so that eye is already acclimated to the dark.  HOWEVER, it is absolutely essential that you not look before totality occurs (it'll be obvious; it's abrupt and unmistakable) and stop looking before totality ends as there is very little warning before vision-damaging intensity of light returns! This means you need to know (1) the duration of totality where you are, which can be looked up, (2) a reliable timekeeping device with a resolution to the second and (3) an absolute commitment to stop looking or avert your camera before that time ends.  While there is warning in a change in how the disk looks it's quite subtle and if you haven't seen it before you may miss it.  If you do not use a timing device at the first hint of bright light reappearing STOP LOOKING AND EITHER PUT THE FILTER/GLASSES BACK ON OR MOVE IT OFF THE SUN IMMEDIATELY.  There IS a very brief period on both sides of totality that can be photographed successfully without a filter but it's a high-wire act as the risk of damaging or destroying your equipment is quite high - if you intend to do that then use "Live View" so if you screw up it's just your camera -- and not your eyes -- that get damaged or destroyed.  AGAIN, YOU HAVE ONLY TWO EYES AND CAN'T BUY MORE!

6. IF YOU ARE INTENDING TO USE A CAMERA I hope you've used it to take pictures of the moon before now -- because if not, you probably have no idea exactly how much magnification you need to get an image that's worth anything.  Unless you have a quite-long telephoto lens you won't get even a moderately-large and usable image no matter how many megapixels you have.  I have a 600mm telephoto lens which I use for lunar photography and it works nicely, especially on a crop-sensor camera.  If you do not have a lens of at least 300mm focal length equivalent on a full-frame camera, however, you are likely to be disappointed.  In addition the light levels will be approximately equal to deep twilight, so cell cameras and "point-and-shoot" cameras are likely to be unable to produce a good image -- they lack both the ability to shoot at a high enough ISO without serious image noise and with a long lens you will need a tripod to get a stable shot.  Further, it's very hard to aim and nearly impossible without a tripod to do so at these focal lengths, especially when you need to use a filter and cannot "eyeball" the rough aim at all.  In addition for best results during the totality you will want to shoot bracketed and stack the images to get the best shot of the corona because the dynamic range is way beyond what your camera's sensor can capture with a single shot.  In other words most cameras, including essentially all point-and-shoots along with all cellphone cameras will not produce anything worthwhile from this event and you will consume the time you have in totality futzing with it and shooting what turns out to be a tiny little ring of indistinct light during totality -- if you get anything that's in-focus and not blurred by movement at all.  If you have serious photographic equipment then enjoy the potential shot as it can be truly spectacular (if the weather is good where you are and you get everything just right) but if not you're probably wiser to just enjoy the experience of the eclipse rather than trying to capture it, especially if your camera fits in your pocket.

And finally, if you're one of those crazies that is predicting a massive CME or other solar "weather" event I would like to remind you of something -- they rarely happen in that sort of severe, planet-damaging style form, to actually "get us" they have to come off the sun pointed the right way (at the Earth), you do get warning when they occur (a reasonable amount -- plenty long enough to shut things off and disconnect them), and are even more-rare in any sort of damaging, severe form, when there are few or no sunspots.  If you're curious here's what the sun looked like yesterday -- yes, taken through a proper solar filter:

For that matter a very low number of sunspots over a fairly long period of time also means less energy reaching the planets (light-colored things radiate less heat than dark-colored things.)  The sun has been in a rather odd cycle in the last few years in that regard, and science tells us that this is likely to presage solar-system wide........ cooling

This isn't quite a "once in a lifetime event" but it's close, especially with this much of the United States covered by it -- a good percentage of the population of the country is within a day's drive of the totality.  It's going to be an utter zoo (and probably already is if you're anywhere near the totality zone) in terms of traffic and people but please do not ruin the experience by winding up newly blind or with severely-compromised vision.

-- Tickerguy

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2017-08-19 06:35 by Karl Denninger
in Energy , 1239 references
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Mazda has announced that it has mastered and will produce HCCI gasoline engines, dubbed SkyActiv-X, for their 2019 vehicles.

This has been attempted by car manufacturers for some 30 years, yet tiny Mazda, not Honda, not Chevy, not Ford -- has apparently finally done it.

The value of this breakthrough cannot be overstated.

If it works to anywhere near its promise this breakthrough will utterly destroy the EV industry -- including Tesla -- for light passenger vehicles.

Mazda knows what it has as well -- it has announced that it has no intention of selling these engines to any other vehicle makers.

Let's be clear: This engine and the vehicles it will be deployed in will utterly decimate the EV industry.  The only remaining argument for EVs will be political, not economic or energy-related.  I note that gasoline can be produced from any carbon source desired, which means it's an infinitely-renewable fuel and it has zero range issues since the tank can be refilled in a couple of minutes.  The infrastructure to refuel a gasoline vehicle not only exists everywhere there are literally no places within the United States where you are more than a quarter-tank away from another fueling station on any road you choose to drive.

This will not be true for EVs for decades, if ever.

Further, battery-powered vehicles suffer from an inherent physical infirmity that cannot be overcome -- the reactants for their energy production must all be carried inside the case of the battery.  An ICE, on the other hand, obtains one of its reactants from the atmosphere -- oxygen -- and thus it will always have a massive size and mass advantage.

This in turn means the EV always loses in the total energy budget (from source to the wheels) calculation and it always will because the more mass you must accelerate the more energy is required.  Since you must carry the reactant and product mass with you in a battery all the time you therefore must lose in this regard.

We do not use petrol for fuel because we're pigs -- we do it because nobody can get 114,000 BTUs into a one-gallon liquid container via any other means than liquid hydrocarbons.  To put it more-succinctly, one gallon of gasoline is equivalent to ~33 kilowatt-hours of electrical energy; an "80 kWh" battery, assuming you can use all of it (you can't; depth-of-discharge limits range from 50-85% without damaging the pack) has less than two gallons of gasoline in energy contained in it at full charge and it not only massively outweighs the 12lbs of gasoline (by 100x!) it also consumes many times the physical space.

These are physical laws; they cannot be violated by political decree.

Diesel engines have, under heavier and heavier constraint on both particulate and NOx emissions, been forced to turn to expensive, efficiency-robbing and complex exhaust treatment systems.  These systems make the economic argument for current light-duty diesels impossible.

This problem does not apply to HCCI gasoline engines; traditional catalytic converters with common closed-loop fuel control, as has been available and in-use now for close to 20 years, is sufficient to meet those requirements.

What this means is that 50mpg highway-mileage mid and full-size sedans are now scheduled for production.  A "light" hybrid that can recapture braking energy and use it in city driving (a huge amount of the energy lost in city driving, occurring at relatively low speeds where air resistance is not a major factor, is from braking) will make that sort of mileage possible in the city as well, but whether the additional cost will be worth it is another question -- I suspect the answer is "no."

I note that my current Mazda "6" can break 40mpg on the highway if I keep the speed at or under 65mph (and I have proved it on multiple tanks in the real world) so reaching 50mpg is pretty-much right up the middle in terms of expectations.

I will finally note that in over 110,000 miles of operation to date my current SkyActiv Mazda 6 has required exactly zero in terms of maintenance input other than routine oil and filter changes, plus tires and one set of brake pads.  In other words the argument that the EV will "win" on service costs is flat-out bunk and I have no crazy-expensive battery pack to worry about either.

Put it all together and the bottom line is this: It's coming folks.

You see, this won't be a $30, $40 or $50,000 car -- base models should be right around $20,000 -- with a cost-per-mile of operation nearing if not at the lowest among vehicles on the road today.  Oh, and reports are that it has forced induction via a supercharger and as such the engine both has a higher peak output than the current SkyActiv engines for a given displacement and materially-superior torque as well.

What this means is that there is neither an economic or "green" argument for EVs compared against a vehicle powered by this technology.

Bye-bye Tesla.....

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2017-08-18 08:02 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 138 references
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Point your eyeballs this direction....

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