Monday, May 02, 2016

Jonathan Cainer - Rest In Peace

I'm more shocked and sad than I can say to read, this evening, that the guy who has been my favourite astrologer for so many years - almost from his first newspaper and magazine forecasts in fact, has died - and way, way, way too soon.

I'm still a bit shaky, but away from home and doing my best to sort out a post on this laptop.

My sincere condolences to Jonathan's wife and family.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Two to the Dozen!

Yesterday, 30 April, was the 12th anniversary of the day Anyjazz and I were wed. As is our habit we intend to celebrate with a wee trip. Date of departure has been changed more than once, due to adverse weather forecasts. Anyway - come what may, the blog will be on hold for a few days.

Another of husband's photographs, taken in a junk store recently, made it to Flickr's "Explore" section during the week:

Past Time

Caption: "Past Time - If I could keep time in a bucket"

Which prompts me to recall the Jim Croce song - and how appropriate for our wedding anniversary!

"Time In A Bottle"

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you..................








This song from the 1980s kept popping into my head the other day. It's by Labi Siffre, and was about Apartheid in South Africa (Wikipedia). The lyrics could also be seen as relevant to any struggle, and I hope Labi Siffre would not object to my seeing it as relevant to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, now reaching a high point of struggle against Sec. Clinton and the DNC in the primaries still to be held. There'll be one on Tuesday in Indiana.

GO BERNIE! The higher they build their barriers the stronger you'll become....




Saturday, April 30, 2016

Inevitability or a Numbers Game ?

John Laurits (who is also an astrologer, according to links on his website) has invited his readers to "feel totally free to reproduce this article, re-post, re-use, re-cycle, or whatever, in whole or in part — credit would be lovely but, ultimately, I don’t really care! Do as ye will! Peace!" I'm doing just that - and thank you John! Comments are many at the website - linked in the article's title, below. Some commenters attempt to argue with John's findings. He politely and graciously responds to most of them.

Can Sanders do it? Or is Clinton truly inevitable?

Bernie Sanders has vowed to fight relentlessly for the 2016 Democratic Party’s nomination up to the convention and, despite the apparent consensus of the media’s talking heads that the campaign is a lost cause, he has held fast to his claim that there is a “narrow path to victory.” I am reminded of Galadriel’s ominous words of advice, in the Fellowship of the Ring: The quest stands upon the edge of a knife — stray but a little, and it will fail… ÷

It has even become something of a weekly occurrence for Hillary Clinton and her Wallstreet-backed campaign to imply, insinuate, or flat-out demand that Sanders withdraw his bid for the nomination — they are growing increasingly indignant about the fact that Sanders is trying to win. Which brings us to the heart of the issue — can Bernie Sanders–can we–win the delegates needed for the nomination?

The answer to this question is as simple as it is misleading — No. No, my friends, we cannot. And yet–! And yet, neither can Hillary Clinton — and I am going to show you what the media is willfully hiding from you. I am going to show you why, using the one thing that even the media can’t hide: Math.
Why Clinton Will Not Secure the Nomination, According to Math

According to the Green Papers, Clinton stands (today, April 28th) with 1,664 pledged delegates, while Sanders has gathered 1,371. The amount of delegates needed to secure the nomination is 2,383 and, if you’ll pardon me for my use of arithmetic, I will now demonstrate why that number is hopelessly out of reach for the Clinton campaign.†

Hillary needs 719 more delegates to reach 2,383 because:

2,383 – 1,664 = 719

Now, the pledged delegates that are available to grab in the remaining states all-together amount to 1,016 and in order to attain that blessed number, Clinton will have to win an average of 70.7% of the remaining states. This is because:

719 ÷ 1,016 = 0.707677 or approximately 71%

You might be thinking that 71% is not such an unattainable number for Hillary and her powerful Wallstreet backers — you might be thinking that but you’d be betting against longer odds than would be wise. You see, of the 1,016 delegates remaining, 475 of those delegates are to be won in California, alone — California, which has a semi-open primary. California, where Clinton is polling at a mere 49%. California, where Clinton’s support has been declining as the Sanders Campaign gains visibility and momentum. California — the ace that Sanders, as much as the media, have concealed up his sleeve.

It is no secret that Sanders, a previously invisible independent senator from the tiny state of Vermont, consistently climbs in the polls as he begins to campaign in the weeks before each state has had its primary. You don’t have to take my word for it — check the poll-histories for yourself or read this.

Because Bernie Sanders performs at his absolute best in open primaries and because he consistently rises in the polls, while Clinton consistently falls, it is extremely unlikely that Clinton will perform better than 49 points, let alone win the contest. Let’s do some more math:

Of the 475 delegates available in California on June 7th, lets say Hillary takes 49% of those (even though she will almost certainly take less). That would give her 232.75 delegates, which we’ll round up to an even 234.

475 x 0.49 = 232.75

Next, let’s add that to her current total of 1,664, bringing her up to 1,897. Now, she needs an additional 486 delegates to reach the magic number of 2,383, right? Let’s find out how many delegates Clinton would have to win in the remaining states (besides California, of course).

Of the 541 delegates left, once the 475 CA delegates have been subtracted from the 1,016 delegate total, Clinton is going to have to win almost 90% of the remaining non-California delegates! This is because, when you divide the number of delegates that Clinton needs after California by the number of delegates remaining after California, you get 0.898 or 89%, rounded down:

486 ÷ 541 = 0.898 or 89.8%

Now, how likely does that sound? It’s not likely in Oregon, a fairly progressive state that shares its general attitudes with Washington, a state that Sanders won with about 70% of the vote. It’s not likely in West Virginia, either, where Sanders is currently leading in the polls. Nor is it likely in Indiana where Sanders and Clinton are almost neck-and-neck, which votes on May 3rd. That nomination is feeling a lot further away now, isn’t it?

Okay, okay — maybe you’re thinking, “John, I think you’re being unfair, Clinton could certainly win California.” To which I would reply: I admire your optimism, my friend — and since you’re so optimistic, let’s run those numbers again — but this time, let’s assume that Clinton, for whatever reason, defies the consistent trends that have prevailed over the entire primary season. Let’s say, she jumps up 11% now, winning the California primary with 60% of the vote. So:

475 x 0.6 = 285

Now, add the 285 delegates to Clinton’s current total:

285 + 1,664 = 1,949

But:

2,383 – 1,949 = 434

So, Clinton will still need to scrape up 434 delegates somewhere other than California, some how. Which means — Hold on, first we have to figure out how much of the remaining delegates she’ll have to win:

434 ÷ 541 = .802218 or 80%

Wow! Even if Clinton actually wins California with 60% to Sanders with 40%, she will still have to secure about 80% of the remaining vote! Again, this certainly doesn’t seem likely in Oregon, West Virginia, or Indiana, which means the actual percentage would climb each time she failed to take 80% of a state! Now, are you starting to see why I am saying that Clinton will not be securing the nomination before the convention?
Part Two: Why Sanders Will Win, According to Math

If you’ve found yourself thinking, “Well, Sanders won’t secure the nomination, either!” You are almost 100% right! Well, 99.6% right, anyway. Because, if we take Sanders’ current delegate total of 1,371, subtract that from the magic 2,383, then divide that by the remaining available delegates, we get 0.996, see:

2,383 – 1,371 = 1,012

1,012 ÷ 1,016 = 0.996 or 99.6%

Therefore, Sanders would have to secure a whopping 99.6% victory in all remaining states to secure the nomination! I think this may be one of the few things that both Berners and Clintonistas could agree on: that that is impossible. But to those of you that are thinking, “John! This is terrible” or “Haha! Take that, Sanders!” I would reply: You are both wrong. Mostly. Let me explain:

First off, let’s acknowledge that the math seems to prohibit both candidates from securing the nomination before the convention — so what does this mean? This means that, since Sanders will not give up before the convention, there will almost certainly be a “contested convention.”

“Um… But John…” you may be saying, “Won’t Hillary still be miles ahead of Sanders in votes at the convention?”

To which I would reply: I’m glad you asked, my paid Hillary-supporter friend! Allow me to demonstrate how that will also not be the case, no matter what the media would have you believe. Follow me!

Since neither of them will be securing the 2,383 needed for the nomination, let’s take a look at another number that has been hiding in plain sight for far too long. I’d like you to meet the number, 4,051. That’s the number of total pledged delegates that are available from all 50 states, plus DC, US territories, and the Democrats abroad. As it should be obvious, a majority of these delegates would be 2,026 because:

4,051 ÷ 2 = 2,025.5

At the convention, this number is going to matter more than the unattainable 2,383 delegates that no one will have. That being the case, let’s take a look at what Bernie Sanders would have to do to get there. If Sanders won 60% of the remaining contests (and remember how 475 of 1,016 are in California, where Sanders will do well), then the numbers at the convention would look like this:

1,016 x .60 = 609.6

Round that to 610 and add it to Sanders current total of 1,371, then divide that by the total delegate count, 4,051:

610 + 1,371 = 1,981

1,981 ÷ 4,051 = .489 or 48.9%

So, in the scenario where Sanders takes about 60% of the remaining vote, we’re essentially looking at a 49 to 51% vote total at the convention — not so bad, eh? And that’s easily within Sanders’ reach, if we do well in California (which we almost certainly will). Let’s look at what happens if he takes 70% (just like he did last time we went to the West/Left Coast):

1,016 x .70 = 711.2, round it down to 711, then:

711 + 1,371 = 2,082

2,082 ÷ 4,051 = 0.513 or 51.3%

If Sanders took 70%, the convention would look like 51.3 to 48.7%, in favor of Sanders! But 70%, while possible, is a bit of a stretch — the new magic number, for Sanders anyway, is actually 64.4% of the remaining states, which would mean winning 655 of the 1,016 remaining delegates, pushing his total up to 2,026, the bare majority of delegates, leaving Clinton one delegate behind at 2,025.

Now, does Sanders winning 64.4% sound too far-fetched? Not particularly, especially when we consider his advantages on the Left Coast, in California’s 475 delegate semi-open primary. An uphill climb, though? Certainly. Remember, though: it is all but certain that Clinton will not secure the nomination, while Sanders supporters are going to be pouring into Philadelphia for the convention by the tens of thousands. Even if Bernie fell short by a few points, we’re still essentially looking at a tie. And that’s when all hell is going to break loose.

Things are going to become very interesting if we have a near-tie at the convention to be decided by the super-delegates.

Things are going to become very interesting when they look back at the many states that are still crying out for a re-vote, states fraught with “voting irregularities,” polling station closures, and voter roll purges — all states which Clinton won and all states which so far have not received justice.

Things are going to become very interesting when the DNC and the super-delegates realize that Sanders, unlike the Wallstreet-backed Clinton-Machine, will bring in not only millions of independent voters that were unable to vote in the primaries, but even defecting Republican votes, sealing the GOP’s utter defeat in November.

Things are going to become very interesting when, while they are thinking about all of these things, they are doing so to the earth-shaking, thunderous chants of “Sanders! Sanders!” from his tens of thousands of supporters outside, who have time-and-again proven their ability to rally by the tens of thousands — do you think that we won’t do the same at the convention?

And finally, things are going to become very, very interesting when the super-delegates and the DNC are forced to choose, publicly, whether to hand the nomination to Clinton and watch the millions of independents walk away, along with millions of former-democrat Sanders-supporters, basically handing the general election to the neo-fascists Trump or Cruz — or, to hand it to Sanders, a leader who will have the support, not only of the entire Democratic Party, but of millions of Independents, Green Party voters, and — yes, indeed — even Republicans defecting from the extremist GOP. That will be the most interesting part, I think. I’ll see you all in Philadelphia.

In Solidarity,
John Laurits

P.S. Please feel totally free to reproduce this article, re-post, re-use, re-cycle, or whatever, in whole or in part — credit would be lovely but, ultimately, I don’t really care! Do as ye will! Peace!

#SeeYouInPhilly

†I have not counted the so-called “super-delegates” because they do not vote until the convention, which you might not know because of the media’s disgustingly corrupt attempt to warp the public’s perception of the election.

*All numbers pulled from the Green Papers, today 4/28/2016, at: http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P16/D-PU.phtml

Part 2 of John Laurits' article is HERE.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Mary Petty, Alan Dunn & the Fermi Paradox .

While searching for a painter, illustrator, photographer or sculptor to feature today I came across Mary Petty's name in a list of April 29 birthdays. She was one of The New Yorker's cover artists and cartoonists for many years.

From a 1994 article by Victoria Donohoe, Inquirer Art Critic:
It's said that the decades after the Civil War in America produced, in a rising level of prosperity, some of the most powerful and picturesque personalities in our nation's history.

That was an era of robber barons and incompetent politicians, to be sure, but also of utopian reformers with dreams for the betterment of mankind. And it was an era of major creative talents in the arts and literature who had to make their mark in Europe before finding patrons on this side of the Atlantic.

During this period, a series of women ruled social life in some major cities - in New York, for instance - with particular vim and vigor between the third quarter of the 19th century and World War I. Afterward came flappers and another round of prosperity in the 1920s, but those good times were quite unlike the ones experienced earlier.

Seemingly in response to this contrast of eras, Mary Petty staked her whole 40-year career as a cover artist and cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine between 1927 and 1966 on elucidating the difference. She zeroed in on what, to her, was the clear superiority of a way of life being lived around her in her youth
.


There are lots more examples at Google Image




 29 Apr.1899 New York City (12 noon)
There's precious little about Mary Petty's personal life on the internet, no photographs of her other than one from a school yearbook. I've added her natal chart, just for completion.
She was part of a generation with both Pluto and Neptune in communicative Gemini, a generation which, in adulthood during the 1920s onward gave us some memorable writers, artists and communicators in general. Her natal Mercury sextiles both Gemini outers, while Saturn opposes Neptune from Sagittarius. The Saturnian reflection upon Neptune's creativity could be seen as Ms Petty's gravitation to, and preference for, illustrating older, traditional lifestyles.



Ms Petty was married to another cartoonist, Alan Dunn, and thereby does hang a tale. A cartoon of Dunn's (below) is credited with inspiring the Fermi Paradox.



From Wikipedia:
In 1950, while working at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fermi had a casual conversation while walking to lunch with colleagues Emil Konopinski, Edward Teller and Herbert York. The men discussed a recent spate of UFO reports and an Alan Dunn cartoon facetiously blaming the disappearance of municipal trashcans on marauding aliens. The conversation shifted to other subjects, until during lunch Fermi suddenly exclaimed, "Where are they?" (alternatively, "Where is everybody?"). Teller remembers, "The result of his question was general laughter because of the strange fact that in spite of Fermi's question coming from the clear blue, everybody around the table seemed to understand at once that he was talking about extraterrestrial life." Herbert York recalls that Fermi followed up on his comment with a series of calculations on the probability of Earth-like planets, the probability of life, the likely rise and duration of high technology, etc., and concluded that we ought to have been visited long ago and many times over.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Mess of Pottage or a Dish of Porridge?

Once upon a time I wrote a post about porage/porridge. I've dragged it out of the dusty archives, brushed it down, slightly expanded it - makes a change from staring, eyes wide shut, at the US political scene!

The word porridge itself has several historical variations in its spelling, porage/porridge being the two surviving. The word, and the food is an altered form of pottage. Porridge's long history and variations are set out at Wikipedia.

My old post was inspired by a 2008 article about the World Porridge Making Championship.
One line from the article had tickled my astrology bone:
"They managed to source their own oats and all came up with very different quality of porridge. They were all varied, which is amazing considering they only have three ingredients of oats, water and salt. "

Three ingredients/elements or, if one adds the necessary heat for cooking, four. Astrology also has four elements/ingredients: Earth, Water, Air and Fire. Porridge: Oats, Water Salt and Fire .....hmm!

The four astrological ingredients can combine to produce very different personalities, just as the mix and proportion of porridge ingredients produce different tastes, textures and flavours.

In the porridge-making contest was a special section for more exotic porridge presentations. The winner of this section:
"Addy, a 38-year-old professional Dutch chef, made his special porridge with a mixture of marzipan and home-made ice cream with an 18-year-old Glenfiddich."
Yum!

In astrology also, it's the addition of special ingredients to the basic mix which adds spice and interest to a personality. Neptune conjunct Sun emanating as a gifted artist or writer; or a Jupiter/Venus/Uranus stellium in Taurus - a feeling of overdoing the good stuff (as in the above special porridge recipe, perhaps ?) Combinations of ingredients, beyond basics, are endless in both porridge-making and astrology.

Astrology and porridge have much in common. Who'da thought it?

There's this too, from the linked article:
Over the centuries, porridge - described as "Chief of Scotia's food" by poet Rabbie Burns - has been surrounded by myths and customs in Scotland.

Traditionally it should only be stirred in a clockwise direction using the right hand to avoid invoking the devil, while legend dictates that porridge be referred to as "they", and should be eaten standing up.

The kitchen dressers of Highland crofts often contained a "porridge drawer" which was filled with freshly cooked porridge that could be cut into squares when cold and taken onto the hills for sustenance.
Relate that to astrology ! Alrighty! Erm... not sure about the clock-wise right-handed stirring, nor any devilish input... but the porridge drawer with handy squares of cooked porridge could be likened unto newspaper, or online, Sun sign columns/websites consulted while at work or during travel. There ya go!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Another "Eve of ..."

CERN just dropped 300 TB of Large Hadron Collider data free online.
Oh goody!

Things had been quiet on the "God Particle" front and Large Hadron Collider so far this year. We were reminded of the old excitements as we watched a two-part mini-series on Netflix at the weekend: The Eve of Destruction. It's a too long 3-hour TV movie served up in two 90 minute slices. We didn't hate it, it did bring up, albeit in a somewhat garbled way, many of the ills of modern life on planet Earth: the greed of corporate bosses, the manipulation of nature for corporate gain, the dangers of human error, the dangers of well-meaning eco-terrorism, for instance. Eve of Destruction is a mix: one part mild sci-fi and one part disaster movie, on a moderate budget, special effects are limited.


Plot (hat-tip to Moria)
In Denver, Karl Dameron and Rachel Reed head The Proteus Project funded by GMO foods magnate Max Salinger. Their project, the DRIL Trigger, when activated, will tap dark energy and provide a source of unlimited power. However, a test run causes an energy discharge that kills a technician. Lineman Ruslan, a Russian immigrant, panics when he sees the purple glow the reactor emits into the sky. He tries to get to Dameron to warn him, saying that he was witness when the same experiment was conducted in Russia a decade ago and ended up wiping the entire town of Lhitiska off the map. Dameron is troubled by these claims and starts to investigate what happened. Meanwhile, the unscrupulous Salinger, who has an important government contract dependent on the success of the Proteus Project, starts putting pressure on the team to ignore the negative results and push ahead. At the same time, Dameron’s daughter Ruby has been drawn in by the radical protest group P53. She is able to get them one of her father’s security access passes, only to find herself dragged along as the group plans to blow up the power plant. As the experiment is activated, these coinciding factors create a runaway surge of dark energy coursing through the power grid that threatens the entire planet.

There's the kernel of a good movie there, but Eve of Destruction was either too long or too short to make absolute sense - even with disbelief suspended. The basic tale, with some repetition eliminated, and faux scientific chat pared down, could easily have fit into around 100 minutes. Using the same basic premise and two long episodes - plus much bigger budget - the ending could have been vastly improved. Heck - the whole world was being destroyed one minute, but a few linemen (nice touch having linemen as "the cavalry" for a change) stopped the "malfunction" (or whatever). Everything is hunky dory once again, but the big bad boss, evil look in his eye, and his sidekick are about to hop onto a plane to Mumbai where another of those collider thingies is already installed. The rest of the world, bless 'em are still trying to put out the fires, draw breath, and dig out the millions of dead bodies. Denver has been more or less obliterated....but hey, a fighting father and daughter are reconciled....and... here come the end credits!


Best actor in the film, by far, is Aleks Paunovic (Ruslan) the immigrant Russian lineman. Steven Weber (Dr Karl Dameron), Christina Cox (Dr Rachel Reed), Treat Williams (Max Salinger) aren't too bad, but at times were unconvincing.

There's an old pop song, sung by Barry McGuire with the same title as this movie; there was a 1991 movie with the same title too. It'd have been a good idea for producers of this 2013 movie to have stirred the old grey matter a bit longer to find a fresh title! Something about linemen would have been good, they never receive much applause, and they have been doing dangerous and essential work for decades.