11.18.2018

Sunday night checkmate


  • Nice win tonight
  • Advanced White Pawn at F8 is probably the key ... preventing Black King's move out of check

11.13.2018

The True Cause of the California Fires






California's Devastating Fires Are Man-Caused -- But Not In The Way They Tell Us

Excerpt:

The Sacramento Bee editorial board blamed the Carr Fire foursquare on a man-caused buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In an editorial headlined, “The Carr Fire is a terrifying glimpse into California’s future,” they write, “This is climate change, for real and in real time. We were warned that the atmospheric buildup of man-made greenhouse gas would eventually be an existential threat.”

The Bee editorial board goes on to attack President Trump for proposing to end California’s exceptional waiver from federal law regarding auto emissions—in this case, California’s push to curtail tailpipe carbon dioxide, something never envisioned when the Clean Air Act was debated in 1970. At the time, the concern was pollution that directly harmed health rather than carbon dioxide, a naturally occurring gas exhaled by every living animal.

The problem with the Bee’s editorial is that making a passionate argument is no substitute for the truth.

In 2005 while a freshman California Assemblyman, I had the chance to visit Northern California and meet with the forest product industry professionals who grew, managed, and harvested trees on private and public lands. They told me of a worrisome trend started years earlier where both federal and state regulators were making it more and more difficult for them to do their jobs. As a result, timber industry employment gradually collapsed, falling in 2017 to half of what it was 20 years earlier, with imports from Canada, China, and other nations filling domestic need.

As timber harvesting permit fees went up and environmental challenges multiplied, the people who earned a living felling and planting trees looked for other lines of work. The combustible fuel load in the forest predictably soared. No longer were forest management professionals clearing brush and thinning trees.

But, fire suppression efforts continued. The result was accurately forecast by my forest management industry hosts in Siskiyou County in 2005: larger, more devastating fires—fires so hot that they sterilized the soil, making regrowth difficult and altering the landscape. More importantly, fires that increasingly threatened lives and homes as they became hotter and more difficult to bring under control.

In 2001, George E. Gruell, a wildlife biologist with five decades of experience in California and other Western states, authored the book, “Fire in Sierra Nevada Forests: A Photographic Interpretation of Ecological Change Since 1849.” Gruell’s remarkable effort compared hundreds of landscape photographs from the dawn of photography with photos taken from the same location 100 years later or more. The difference was striking. In the 1850s and 1860s, the typical Sierra landscape was of open fields of grass punctuated by isolated pine stands and a few scattered oak trees. The first branches on the pine trees started about 20 feet up—lower branches having been burned off by low-intensity grassfires. California’s Native American population had for years shaped this landscape with fire to encourage the grasslands and boost the game animal population.

As the Gold Rush remade modern California, timber was harvested and replanted. Fires were suppressed because they threatened homes as well as burned up a valuable resource. The landscape filled in with trees, but the trees were harvested every 30 to 50 years. In the 1990s, however, that cycle began to be disrupted with increasingly burdensome regulations. The timber harvest cycle slowed, and, in some areas, stopped completely, especially on the almost 60% of California forest land owned by the federal government. Federal lands have not been managed for decades, threatening adjacent private forests, while federal funds designated for forest maintenance have been "borrowed" for fire suppression expenses. The policies frequently reduce the economic value of the forest to zero. And, with no intrinsic worth remaining, interest in maintaining the forest declined, and with it, resources to reduce the fuel load.

Some two decades ago, California produced so much wood waste from its timber operations, including brush and small trees from thinning efforts, that the resulting renewable biomass powered electric generating plants across the length of the state. But cheap, subsidized solar power, combined with air quality concerns (wood doesn’t burn as cleanly as natural gas) and a lack of fuel due to cutbacks in logging, led to the closure of many biomass generators. What used to be burned safely in power generators is now burned in catastrophic fires. Including the growing capture and use of landfill methane as a fuel, California’s biomass energy generation last year was 22% lower than it was 25 years before.


... Whether global climate change is a problem that can be solved by California is a dubious proposition—one year’s worth of emission growth in China is greater than California’s total emissions. But the action needed to reduce the state’s growing forest fire threat would be the same regardless of one’s belief in any problems posed by climate change: start managing our forests again.


 Comment:  The canard of "Climate Change" is always the 'political' villain

11.11.2018

The 2020 Democratic Candidates

Hillary 4.0?

11.09.2018

On the persistence of "radical evil"



What World War I Taught the Clergy - ‘A terrified and angry pacifism,’ C.S. Lewis wrote, ‘is one of the roads that lead to war.’

Excerpt:


The catastrophe of World War I, which ended 100 years ago Sunday, reshaped more than geopolitics. It also transformed a generation of Western Christians from holy crusaders into antiwar activists. This shift in thinking, coinciding with the rise of European fascism, contributed to the outbreak of World War II.

Religious leaders on both sides of the conflict demonized one another and conferred divine legitimacy on their war aims. In October 1914, German theologians endorsed a letter by prominent intellectuals that declared Kaiser Wilhelm II’s war policy a defensive necessity. In turn the Allies, backed by their national churches, characterized the German leader as “the Beast of Berlin.” London’s Bishop Arthur Winnington-Ingram said churches had a duty “to mobilize the nation for a holy war.” Germany, he argued, had abandoned Christianity for paganism. “The god the German leaders worship is an idol of the earth,” intoned G.A. Studdert Kennedy, one of Britain’s best-known chaplains: “a crude and cruel monster who lives on human blood.”

Although officially secular, the French government welcomed the crusading rhetoric of the Catholic clergy and helped lead the nation into a union sacrée. American Baptist leader Samuel Batten captured the apocalyptic mood when he called the war “a continuation of Christ’s sacrificial service for the redemption of the world.”

Four years of mechanized slaughter left the righteous crusade looking like an unholy debacle. With European democracy in tatters, a profound sense of disillusionment descended. The clergy were particularly affected.
By the early 1920s, churches on both sides of the Atlantic passed hundreds of resolutions renouncing war. Membership in peace societies exploded. In 1924 the Chicago Federation of Churches, representing 15 denominations, declared itself “unalterably opposed to war.” A nationwide poll found 60% of clergymen opposed any future war and nearly half vowed not to serve as wartime military chaplains.

The pacifist outlook culminated in the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact. Signatories, including the U.S., Germany, Japan and France, agreed to abandon war as a tool of national policy. Church leaders mobilized for passage. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in 1929. The Christian Century, liberal Protestantism’s leading journal, opined: “Today international war was banished from civilization.”

Yet within a decade, a series of political crises rendered the document moot. Japan invaded Manchuria, Mussolini marched into Ethiopia, and Hitler occupied the Rhineland and annexed Austria. Meanwhile in 1933, the University of Oxford’s debating society had decided overwhelmingly “that this House will under no circumstances fight for King and country.” Neither Britain nor France was in any mood to confront international aggression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt—with enthusiastic Christian support—signed the Neutrality Acts of 1935 and 1936, banning military aid to any nation in wartime.

When Hitler orchestrated the Munich Agreement in 1938—a desperate act of democratic appeasement that dismembered Czechoslovakia for a promise of peace—church leaders rejoiced. “The peace of Munich was possible,” Jesuit priest John LaFarge Jr. wrote in the Catholic journal America, “because of the habits and methods of peacemaking learned through two decades of international intercourse in the halls of the League of Nations.” Within a year Germany invaded Poland.

Throughout the 1930s Christian leaders played down the differences between Western democracies and the fascist regimes in Italy and Germany. When Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, Charles Clayton Morrison, editor of the Christian Century, denounced a potential Anglo-American alliance as “a war for imperialism.” Harry Emerson Fosdick, the popular social-gospel minister at New York’s Riverside Church, warned that American involvement in the war against Nazism would be “a colossal and futile disaster.”
Comment:Very good read

11.08.2018

The "unlucky tree" - the offense of the cross






Doug McLachlan's "unlucky tree" quote: "to the Romans the word 'crux' was so offensive that they referred to it euphemistically as 'suspended from the unlucky tree'"

The "unlucky tree"



From: Roman public life, A. H. J Greenidge

Cited in his message here

11.05.2018

Win before dinner


  • Similar to previous but as far as I recollect unique
  • Note how Black Bishop was boxed in and
  • How all White Pawns (save one) are on white squares

11.03.2018

A little different win


  • I made at least one mistake - losing a Pawn to the Black Bishop
  • Note at the end how defanged the Black Bishop is by nature of the fact that all (except one) White Pawns are on white spaces
  • I've used the White Knight post-position (F5) strategy before: protected by a Pawn
  • I boxed the King into moving to E8 ... then moved the Rock to checkmate position
  • I'm kind of proud of myself! (note at end how Black has 1 more Pawn than White)
  • Below: 2 mates in one evening