good morning, it's 29 march 2017

Mar. 28th, 2017 11:45 pm
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
So let's see where we are today.

Look, a story! Made of headlines. Looks like the "Trump administration sought to block Sally Yates from testifying to Congress on Russia," but got a letter saying they couldn't because it wasn't going to include confidential data, as "NBC obtains letter from Yates lawyers to WH stating her intent to testify despite attempt to block her." Upon hearing this, "Devin Nunes canceled Russia hearing same day Sally Yates promised she’d talk about Mike Flynn." "Was today's open hearing cancelled because WH did not want Sally Yates to testify re Gen Flynn's deception? Didn't want to assert privilege?" Good question! Particularly made more relevant after we hear from Rep. "Schiff: Yates would have testified on Flynn ‘cover-up’".

Trying to throw some spin on things, the "White House denies it sought to prevent Yates' testimony," but the "White House evasive as House Intelligence Committee grinds to a halt." Which suits their purposes of course. Meanwhile, "House intel panel chief Nunes says he will not divulge his sources," not even to members of his own committee. Well, that's neat. "Swalwell on Nunes fallout: ‘This is what a cover-up to a crime looks like’" begins our current-status analysis, on "How the White House and Republicans Blew Up the House Russia Investigation." And Representative Nunes's own hometown paper says, "Russia-Trump probe is in chaos, and Rep. Devin Nunes is to blame."

So that's a clusterfuck.

Meanwhile, oh good, the "Affordable Care Act Repeal Is Back on the Agenda, Republicans Say." I presume they have no more ideas than they have had for the last seven years. But people are increasingly convinced they'll complete their sabotage of the ACA without changing the law - it's not like they haven't been doing that already. See also: "U.S. judge finds that Aetna deceived the public about its reasons for quitting Obamacare."

In "The Offender of the Free World" news, "Trump Signs Executive Order Unwinding Obama Climate Policies." But that isn't even enough; "Climate Deniers Are Winning—and Getting Greedy" and trying to move to convincing people that air pollution has no real effect on human health. So don't think this will stop with carbon dioxide and methane, but even if it doesn't, the "Worst humanitarian crisis hits as Trump slashes foreign aid" - worst since World War II.

"Google tries to define a valid family. Predictable awfulness ensues." speaks for itself. And you're not imaging things: "Research Shows Donald Trump Is Making Men More Sexist." That isn't what they were trying to study, even, but that's what they found in the data. We actually got a heads up on this, because a Trump-like misogynist became PM in Italy last decade, and things got much worse. For everyone - even the men becoming more misogynistic - but that didn't stop it.

Over in corruption news, "Trump's business network reached alleged Russian mobsters." Neat! It isn't nearly as well sourced, but reportedly, "In Dec, Kushner met with head of SANCTIONED Russian bank favored by Putin" and a whole lot of things fell out of that - see the thread. But don't worry, there'll be no investigations; "Republicans vote to block resolutions on Trump's tax returns" late yesterday.

And finally, "Antiabortion activists face 15 felony charges over undercover videos that targeted Planned Parenthood." I doubt they'll get much and it'll make them a rightist cause celebre again, I fear - lying about who you are to make secret recordings of people without their permission is illegal in California, but nobody will care.

Good luck.

It's March 29, 2017; this is the news )

good morning, it's 28 march 2017

Mar. 27th, 2017 10:54 pm
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
Lots on the Russia situation - first, on Nunes's continuing interference-run on behalf of the Trump administration. "Nunes met source at White House before surveillance announcement," "Chairman and partisan: The dual roles of Devin Nunes raise questions about House investigation," "Nunes’ Surveillance Claim: It’s Coming From Inside the White House," "House Democrats Ask Devin Nunes to Recuse Himself From Russia Inquiry." Good luck with that last one.

I wish I could expect more out of "Senate Committee to Question Jared Kushner Over Meetings With Russians." But, as we've seen, lying to Congress doesn't mean anything anymore, so even if he's truthful, we can't really know that, right? (Another version of that story, more partisan but not paywalled: "Trump’s son-in-law had undisclosed meeting with Putin crony with KGB ties.")

In "so much for breathing" news, "Trump moves decisively to wipe out Obama’s climate-change record."

An opinion piece states the obvious: "The All-Male Photo Op Isn’t a Gaffe. It’s a Strategy." The channers loathe women. I cannot overstate how much they hate, despise, loathe women. It's the ocean in which they swim. And that extends well into Trump's larger base.

"White House keeps up sanctuary cities pressure with funding threat" and "King, Snohomish counties may be targets in Justice Dept. threat against ‘sanctuary cities’" are - well, the latest version of threats and stories made before. Still, keep an eye on it. Also in economic war news, "Next up for Trump Amateur Hour: NAFTA?" Cascadia is a net exporter. Hell, Cascadia runs a surplus with fucking MAINLAND CHINA. Or did, last time I saw figures. I can't wait to see how the Trumpists manage to screw that up.

"Seven Ways the Trump Administration Could Make Obamacare ‘Explode’" goes into detail about some of the ways the GOP will continue to play sabotage over the next few years.

In corruption news, we have a trifecta: "Carl Icahn Is Apparently Profiting Enormously From His Role as an Adviser to Donald Trump," "Finally, a Cure for Government Dysfunction: Nepotism," and "Why Republicans Are Ruling With Utter Incompetence." Well, okay, the last one isn't really... no, it is. "Trump keeps demanding credit for Obama’s successes" kinda is - let's call that the Plus4.

"Trump Repeals Regulation Protecting Workers From Wage Theft" is self-explanitory. "AP Exclusive: 'Bathroom Bill' to Cost North Carolina $3.76B" is kind of a lowball estimate, but is pretty solid as such and I'm good with that.

Finally, an historical: "How resistance overcame hate in Hood River" in World War II and after.

It's March 28, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (made her from parts)
[personal profile] solarbird

Build reports are nice enough. (I wrote up a little errata post yesterday, by the by.) But the real question, of course, is how does the RK-47/990B kit mic sound?

Early impressions are surprisingly good. Even with only the single microphone, there’s a sense of presence and space – even with a purely mono signal path – that I normally have to dual-mic to attain. Also, it has tremendous precision – this is a mic capable of great subtlety. And the amount of gain built into the microphone itself is crazy – this is one spicy meatball of a microphone. That’s something you won’t hear in recordings, but it results in a lower noise floor, which is always good.

Let’s start with some unsubtle differences, ones that’ll show up on laptop speakers. Because while I’ve never liked the MXL-990, they sell a zillion of ’em, and we should make a couple of direct comparisons.

Here’s a snippet of chords from “Lukey,” alternating between the MXL-990 (unaltered factory) and the RK-47/990B. It starts with the MXL-990, then transitions in-song to the RK-47, then back and forth. It ends with the RK-47. It’s a pure mono signal path until prepped for uploading to Soundcloud.

And here’s a short melody, on zouk – again, starting on MXL-990 (factory stock), then RK-47, then back to MXL-990. The last phrase is repeated to allow us to end on the RK-47; also, I wanted that ending bit to be presented on both microphones. The glissando really highlights some of the differences.

But that’s shooting fish in a barrel, as it were. The MXL-990, while popular, is not a good microphone. We should do comparisons to microphones I actually like – let’s say, the M-Audio Nova. At about twice the price of the MXL-990, it’s still a cheap microphone, just one I consider entry-level competent. But it has issues – not the least of which being it’s kind of a noisy beast as these categories of microphones go.

So let’s take the easy swing – here’s a sharply boosted noise level comparison of the RK-47 to the M-Audio Nova, at equivalent gain levels. This is not the noise you’d actually hear; I recorded a silent room at gain appropriate on each microphone for instrument recording, then cranked that recording up 32db for easy noise levels comparison.

Unfortunately, this really requires headphones, because it’s RK-47 on left, Nova on right:

NOT SUBTLE. But also, an easy shot. The Nova is noisy and everybody knows it. There are some mods out there to improve that, but they change the sound a bit in ways I don’t like, so I work with it.

comparison of waveformsSo let’s dig down a bit. Pictured here is a snippet of waveform from a bit of music played, in mono, over my studio monitors, into identically positioned microphones relative to those speakers. These two recordings were made simultaneously.

You’ll note in this highly-zoomed-in render how the RK47 waveform remains clear and unmuddled in these extremely rapid changes, while the Nova’s blurs into a bit of a mush. That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about, and also, the sort of thing you can hear in these very short snippets of horns from a jazz track. This comparison requires headphones, possibly good ones:

They’re short because they must be uncompressed for best comparison – sorry about that – but listen to them a few times and compare. Note how the edges of detail – bits which add flavour – are blurred in the Nova, but retained in the RK-47. Neat, eh?

That out of the way, let’s step up a level in comparator microphones. Oktava 012s are considered very good affordable microphones, particularly strong in their price ranges, and street for a new 012 and one pickup is comparable to the cost of this kit. With a second head (to add a second pickup pattern, as this mic has), it’s a bit more. They’re small-can capacitor instrument mics, rather than large-can, but we’re doing instrument recording, so that’s fair. The components inside – particularly older ones picked up used – can be a bit dodgy, but the design is great and the pickups are great, and you can upgrade the iffy capacitors and the suspect transistor if necessary. I have, of course, done this with mine.

Here’s the intro to “King of Elfland’s Daughter,” on the Oktava 012 (upgraded components) and the RK-47/990B kit. This recording repeats phrases, with the Oktava 012 first, then the RK-47/990B. Pure mono signal path, identical recording setup made within a few minutes of each other, but not simultaneously, as you can’t put two microphones in exactly the same place and I wanted the most equal comparison I could, modulo performance limitations. This probably also requires headphones, as the 012 is a pretty darned precise microphone itself:

44.1khz/16-bit uncompressed WAV file version here.

Once again, I’m finding that the RK-47 has a real staging advantage. There’s a sense of in-the-room presence with the RK-47 that I can make happen by dual-miking with my other microphones and mixing down, but not directly in mono.

Now, I don’t want to leave the impression that it is BEST AT ALL THINGS, because it’s not. These aren’t the only recordings I made – they’re just ones that show differences best. The first example I found was mandolin – the Nova likes my mandolin better than the RK-47 does. The specific response behaviour and foibles of the Nova work in its favour; a single RK-47 may have more presence and precision than a single Nova, but the Nova recording sounded more musical just the same. I’m sure there will be other examples as well.

In the end, I think this will probably become a heavy-use microphone in my kit. It may even become my go-to mic on the zouk – I need to do some stereo and multi-distance comparisons before I will know that for sure, but it’s looking very good. I also like what it does with piccolo and flute. I haven’t done any playing around with fiddle or drums, and one thing I want to play with is a two-mic setup with the ribbon kit mic I built, to see how those behave together – it’s a mic placement technique I’ve wanted to try for a while, but have never got round to testing. Now is probably the time.

I kind of wish I’d ordered the matched-pair version of this microphone kit. But it would’ve cost twice as much and I couldn’t know in advance I’d like it this much, so.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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good morning, it's 27 march 2017

Mar. 26th, 2017 11:38 pm
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
The NYC attack on a randomly-chosen black man by a white supremacist was explicitly intended to achieve a political purpose through fear and intimidation. See "White supremacist who killed black man only regrets his victim wasn’t younger and ‘more successful" and also, "Timothy Caughman’s Murder Was a Lynching and Donald Trump has said nothing," both of which are excessively important. 8pol seems not to be bothering to talk about it, 4pol isn't talking much but what discussion there is blames it on false flag/MK-ULTRA.

Meanwhile in Russia proper, "Protesters Gather in 99 Cities Across Russia; Top Putin Critic Is Arrested." Brave people. Of course, "The Trump Administration Is Silent After Russia Arrests Hundreds Of Protesters." He's too busy making an ass of himself printing fake invoices and handing them to Andrea Merkel expecting payment, I guess? That didn't work with Mexico, why the fuck would it work with Germany? ("Germany slams ‘intimidating’ £300bn White House bill.")

Remember how Trump promised brutality and savagery in the middle east? He may be delivering on that, as "Trump’s War on Terror Has Quickly Become as Barbaric and Savage as He Promised." This is, of course, how to ramp up the war. "The west condemned Russia’s bombs – now coalition attacks are killing civilians in Mosul" is another story on the topic.

"Pussy Riot's advice on how to defy Putin and Trump" is pretty straightforward, but I include it as part of the shared struggle. They have no illusions about what's going on. In related organisational/structural news, "A Harvard study identified the precise reason protests are an effective way to cause political change" - which is to say, people who attend protests are afterwards more likely to do things and get others to do things as well. The multiplier is nontrivial.

Post-healthcare-reform continues: "Blaming conservatives, Trump signals new openness to Dems" (presumably a lie), "Donald Trump is giving a lot of mixed messages about whom to blame on health care" (true), "Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War" (point and laugh, children), and "Reince Priebus lies after GOP debacle: ‘Obamacare is imploding and exploding and every other adjective’," indicating that Priebus doesn't know that "imploding" and "exploding" are verbs.

I suspect "Trump taps Kushner to lead a SWAT team to fix government with business ideas" is going to be a bit of a do-nothing position, not because they might not want to do some of these things, but because they still don't have a staff worth mentioning. Still, be aware. Kushner has no qualifications on this other than being Trump's son-in-law, and is overbooked already, so... yeah.

Only one immigration/expulsion/travel ban story at the moment: "‘Dreamer’ immigrant in Oregon detained by US authorities."

"An Oklahoma School Had a Christian Sex Educator Speak to Kids, and (Surprise!) It Was a Disaster."

And finally, locally, "McCleary roundup: Senate GOP’s budget plan draws swift opposition from Democrats, teachers union" - nothing to do with fascism, really, but a lot of Washington State people are subscribers, so there's your education funding update. It's hard to keep up with 'normal' things right now, but you need to. It's just life.

It's March 27, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (made her from parts)
[personal profile] solarbird

A bit of errata on the micparts rk-47/990B kit microphone build report yesterday:

First, I didn’t mention that the board kit includes extra capacitors, to be used either for different capsules than I chose, or to tailor the response curve of the microphone. I went for flattest response, but I could’ve had more or less high-end responsiveness by choosing which included tone capacitors to use.

Second, I said that the “omni” switch setting probably wasn’t really going to be actually “omni,” but was more likely to be figure-eight or the like. This was in response to both the capsule design, grille design, and older pictures of the circuit board which appeared to indicate that. In testing, I discovered that I was mistaken – as you can see here, levels as seen in waveforms made by holding a tone generator at the four cardinal directions remain constant. But read on, after the graphs, because there’s a catch:


rk-47 set to omni, against tone generator at 30cm, front, right, rear, left positions

And here’s the same test, with the mic set to cardioid:


rk-47 set to cardioid, against tone generator at 30cm, front, right, rear, left positions

And here’s an M-Audio Nova, same conditions, for comparison:


nova, cardioid, against tone generator at 30cm, front, right, rear, left positions

The total pickup is certainly omnidirectional. But this is not a true basket head on this thing, there are support brackets on the left and right sides, and that does affect tone! High-end harmonics definitely fall off on the left and right sides.

So while it does qualify as an omnidirectional microphone in “omni” mode, I’d have to call it flawed in that mode, and use something else – like an Oktava 012 with the omnidirectional head, which is built for true omnidirectional pickup and does not exhibit this behaviour.

Alternately, I suppose it might be usable in that mode if you’re recording someone who is a tad screechy – aim the wrong side at the performer and presto, fewer high harmonics. EVERYBODY WINS XD

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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good morning, it's 26 march 2017

Mar. 26th, 2017 12:31 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
The day after.

I've talked about the six month, the two year, and the four year wars. This may be the beginning of the end of the six-month war. It is, at very least, the end of the beginning: elected Republicans are no longer universally afraid of the Trumpists, and are no longer lining up behind him and his movement. The neofascist movement is still very much alive and very, very dangerous, as a whole, and this is one of the longer wars, but this goal - of capturing the entire government functionally unhindered out of the electoral box - has been smashed.

Not that they won't keep trying, of course. The six-month war is not over. But the skies - for the moment - are clear over London.

So let's look at what happened. "Pence: Trump 'won't rest' until ObamaCare repealed" - as I said, they won't stop trying. But "Inside the Trumpcare meltdown," we learn that "Steve Bannon Thought He Could Bully Republicans On Health Care. He Couldn't." The steamroller has broken down. It's a Democrat saying it, but "Dem rep: 'We must pause the entire Trump agenda' until Russia investigation complete" - that's not going to happen, because there's far too much consolidation of power going on inside the executive branch that he's managing simply by not appointing people. (See: the two year war.) But it can be talked about.

As fallout, "Trump asked his supporters to watch Fox News host. She then called on Paul Ryan to step down." There's barely any attempt to keep up a united facade now. This will further hurt the legislative agenda, but will not hurt the continuing personalisation of rule and the executive branch. If anything, it will help it. But, again - the two year war.

The investigations continue - and perhaps, if the Republican civil war ramps up, they will become useful leverage for the establishment GOP, and something might happen. "AP Exclusive: US probe of ex-Trump aide extends to Cyprus" is following the Russian money. "Boris Epshteyn, Trump TV Surrogate, Is Leaving White House Job" - his style was very much of Putin's Russia, and now he's being levered out. The CBC report that "A former NSA analyst says the Russia investigations could end Donald Trump's presidency," and there are rumours from a "CNN analyst: Sources say Mike Flynn may have turned on Trump and become a witness for the FBI."

What they were building for, of course, is their ult attack - a broad racial-religious war against Arabic Muslims. That's still the biggest card they have in their hand. And they haven't forgot it, not for a minute. "Civilian deaths from US-led airstrikes hit record high under Donald Trump" shouldn't be ignored. "U.S. Investigating Mosul Strikes Said to Have Killed Up to 200 Civilians" - the US is claiming procedures haven't changed, but the rise in civilian death toll is staggering, and other local sources say US procedures have changed. Finally, a US senator says, "Trump Is Dragging Us Into Another War... And No One Is Talking About It."

We most certainly are.

Possibly tangential, possibly related: "Five months, eight prominent Russians dead." Clean-up, consolidation, or coincidence?

Before this administration, this would've been the biggest headline: "Senate to vote on Neil Gorsuch nomination to Supreme Court in first week of April in a political clash with big ramifications." We need to force a loss here, or a rules change, because I'm confident that the Republicans will change the filibuster rules as soon as a judicial filibuster is used against them; they're a paper tiger at best, now, and more likely, an excuse to inaction. Or so it seems to me. Obviously, I'm not on the ground.

Before this administration, this would've been in "news of the weird" territory only, but we are where we are: "Alex Jones Admits He Blew It With Pizzagate Allegations, Sort Of." I don't think that'll bother the conspiracy goons.

Finally, a couple of cultural warfare stories of import: "Transgender passengers uneasy about TSA shift on pat-downs." and "Utah's governor signs abortion-halting legislation." The headline on the latter is misleading; the bill requires doctors to tell women taking RU-486 and similar drugs that if they only take one pill the abortion can still be halted. There is no medical evidence for this of which I'm aware, and I can't see it being a good idea. But, well, those are facts, and considering facts to be the problem...

...well, that is, in and of itself, part of the problem.

Good luck out there.

It's March 26, 2017; this is the news )

good morning, it's 25 march 2017

Mar. 25th, 2017 01:39 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
I thought it would be a good day to checkout the channers. 4pol is full of interracial porn and it's driving the nazis crazy and they want to know where the hell the mods are. It's hilarious. Also, (probably) fake Christians are mocking the fascist atheists particularly hard. There are also a couple of old-fashioned women-hate posts, and they still very much believe in the child-molestation-ring-run-out-of-a-pizza-restaurant conspiracy theory. Insofar as they have a discussion on the ACA, it's that TRUMP IS STILL A GENIUS and this is genius at work. There's some dissent on that, but it appears to be the majority.

A set of them are scared about ISPs selling browser histories. Specifically about being outed as white supremacists and neofascists.

8pol is more organised and coherent. They hated the GOP bill, and like 4pol, they're in camp GOD EMPEROR TRUMP IS A GENIUS and it's part of a plan to force out Ryan. Though there is _some_ whistling past the graveyard in it. There is also some out-and-out pushback ("Muh 4D trans-dimensional chess!"), but not a lot.

Now, to the non-obvious news. (If you missed it: the GOP/Trumpcare bill was withdrawn when it was clear it would not pass. I'm skipping that; we all know.)

Let's start with Russia: "The plot to sell America's foreign policy for foreign oil _and_ steal an election in the bargain began at the Mayflower Hotel." This is _incredibly_ explosive. But it's also a bunch of connected dots. Worth looking at, but be careful. "Nunes gives away the game: The GOP will never exercise real oversight on Trump" is an opinion piece, but probably a good one. "Trump’s Terrifying Comey Tweet" is a little clickbaity but the article's okay.

"Partisan split at House intel committee over canceled open hearing" is a bigger deal. Why is this meeting suddenly closed-door? See previously: Nunes. And, off to the side, we have "Paul Manafort’s Business Partner Left Pro-Trump Group Because of Russia Ties, Sources Say" and "Marine Le Pen of France Meets With Vladimir Putin in Moscow."

"Ex-CIA Director: Mike Flynn and Turkish Officials Discussed Removal of Erdogan Foe From U.S." should cause the government to fall. In a normal circumstance - if the contents are confirmed, anyway. But that was also true of a torture programme, and that didn't happen. Regardless, it's bad. And we have "Bannon Tells Trump: ‘Keep a Shit List’ of Republicans Who Opposed You."

I'm not going to completely ignore heathcare: "‘Hello, Bob’: President Trump called my cellphone to say that the health-care bill was dead" is something I watched unfold live on twitter; it was pretty bizarre. "How disastrous for Trump is healthcare collapse?" asks the BBC - very.

In neofascists, we have the world's tiniest violin: "Neo-Nazi fears stabbing of black man may lead to ‘unfair’ discrimination against white supremacists." Nice and appropriate use of quotes there. "Donald Trump’s Rise Has Coincided With an Explosion of Hate Groups" - no kidding. Also, YouTube is in trouble due to ad placement beside all this fascist content on their service, with "More brands, Starbucks included, pull ads from YouTube in widening boycott."

Civil rights my shiny metal ass: "Trump’s civil rights division will be headed by staffer who railed against civil rights for trans people." Yeah. And locally, "Aerospace firm Electroimpact agrees to pay $485K after AG finds ‘shocking’ discrimination against Muslims."

Also locally, "Was KOMO just bullied into airing right-wing rhetoric?" Looks like it. Sinclair is terrible and leans on local stations for things like this a lot.

"Lamar Smith, unbound, lays out political strategy at climate doubters’ conference" talks about how they intend to discredit climate change research.

Our last two are tales of two billionaires: "The Billionaire on a Mission to Save the Planet From Trump" and "The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency." Because yeah, that's how it works, whether you like it or not.

Good luck out there.

It's March 25, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (made her from parts)
[personal profile] solarbird

After a few suggestions that I do so, I finally went ahead and splurged for another kit microphone – the micparts RK-47 capsule and amplifier circuit board, both sized to use the dirt-common MXL-990 microphone case.

The MXL-990 is kind of a go-to microphone for people just starting at home recording. I don’t recommend it, even in that role; I think it’s a nasty piece of kit and sounds terrible. Even at $50 – the used price, roughly – you’re better off spending another $40 and getting a low-end AKG or Nova. But it is about the cheapest condenser microphone with XLR out that you could pretend to treat like a real mic, and that has meant a thriving mod community.

Here are the basic parts included with the kit. I didn’t have the capsule out – the actual thing that vibrates to sound – because it needed to stay in its protective box until installation.

This is technically an MXL-990 mod, one wherein nothing is kept but the case and socket. It’s also a nontrivial assembly, so I’m going to talk about building in this one, and have some sound samples in the next.

You can see the instruction booklet over on the right. It’s quite clear, and has some important commentary, about extra care being needed not to touch certain components any more than you have to, and which parts are particularly sensitive to heat. It does not say up front that about 25 pages in it will suggest that you use a couple of chemical products if you have them, so I ended up having to order some purple loctite and conformance coating.

If I had it to do again, I probably wouldn’t order the conformance coating, because the MDA sheet on that is not attractive. But now that I have it, I might as well use it. If anyone local needs some, let me know.

As you can see, the board is clearly labelled:

For the most part, this is one of those insert-and-solder projects. The tolerances are reasonable, though they were emphatic about working at a meaningfully lower iron temperature than I prefer. If you use 60/40 lead solder, their temperature would be fine.

(I ran at 350°C, which is a little hotter than they recommend, but I use silver solder, and it seemed to work out. In these cases, I solder only one leg from each component, then cycle back to the start, and do the second leg, then cycle around again for the third if necessary. This lets the heat that is building up in the component itself dissipate, reducing peak temperature inside the component. This is most important with semiconductors, usually – particularly transistors.)

They also have you cleaning the board with isopropyl alcohol regularly, and suggest cleaning your iron between each solder point. I don’t know if they just meant wiping the tip or actually using the sal ammoniac, so I kind of compromised. (Though for the most sensitive components, I did do a complete sal ammoniac cleaning between each point.)

This is the board essentially complete:

The process is a bit fiddly, I have to say. They’re quite strict in the manual about flux cleanup and so on, so you’ll end up using tweezers and foam swabs and lint-free cloth and and and. Still, with kits this expensive, it’s best not to take chances.

You might note that the connections on the switch are not made yet; that’s because you’re wiring two of the leads from the pickup to the circuit at these points directly. Those connections are where they’re most persnickety about how things are to be done – but I followed their directions precisely and it worked out.

Here’s the new RK-47 pickup canister in its mount:

I’m liking this canister already, at this point. I know, I know, “good feel” is silly, but this capacitor pickup has a good materials feel to it. The mounting system you see in use is also partly a replacement – the original was a ring mount system; this is a saddle, larger, and is also where you need the threadlocker. I’m not convinced MXL used a threadlocker on that post, but I see how the larger, heavier pickup does kind of call for it.

Once the board is mounted back into the bracket and grille, you end up with this:

And once you’ve wired the three leads from the pickup and the three from the XLR connector, you’re pretty much ready to test.

I did have an initially-worrying test result: voltage at the primary test point – the one you conduct before any audio checks – was running high. The manual had a lot to say about what you’ve probably done wrong if it runs low, and further tests to isolate your mistake, and spends a couple of pages going on making sure you’ve got a bare minimum of 45V going to the exciter, with a preferred minimum of 50v, and an “operating range” of 50-62v, where 60v is optimal.

The range on mine ran from a low of 62.45v to a high of around 68v, so I was concerned. But it turns out the actual operating range is 50v-70v – they just don’t expect anybody to be able to get to the upper end. Support even said that if I was mostly recording quiet material I could safely crank it up to 65v full-time for an even hotter pickup, but, heh, that’s not what I generally do, so I’ll leave it where it is. XD

As for the sticker – I put “MP-SVS” over the “MXL” logo because at this point, it’s not an MXL microphone in any way, so why would I keep that? It’s just silly. MP-SVS is MicParts-Supervillain Studios, naturally. I also changed the model number to RK-47, after the canister number.

I did not mention before that this is a switch-selectable dual-pickup-pattern microphone:

That will let me try an instrument miking style I’ve wanted to try for a while anyway. The only downside of using an existing microphone housing is that the switch has to live on the inside, and you have to unscrew the bottom of the housing to get to it. But it’s just twist-open, so not really an issue.

Regardless, as you can see, the switch says “cart” (for cartioid) and “omni” (for omnidirectional), but I think I’m pretty sure it’s really more figure-eight, given the construction of everything and what the switch does. And pictures in the manual actually agree with that – the printing on the board is different in the photos.

An optional modification to the case involves coating the lower half with silicate caulk (or a couple of other listed materials). I, of course, did that too:

The idea is that this reduces case resonance. Does it? I dunno, I just went ahead and did it because silicon caulk is dirt cheap – the local hardware store down the hill had a small tube for three dollars. The lack of silicon at the top is necessary – the upper part of the case scrapes into the lower half quite tightly, and any added material would be scraped off right away. As you can probably see, it’s even scraping off its own coating.

This is what it looks like all put together, and put in the standard MXL-990 shock mount:

As always, larger versions of the photos are at my Flickr account.

All in all, I’d call it a straightforward well-documented build. It’s far from the most difficult I’ve done. Not a good starter project, but if you’re reasonably good with a soldering iron, you’re going to be fine.

And this is already a long post, so I’ve decided to make it Part 1 of 2, and will talk about the important part – what the result sounds like – next time. Spoiler: a whole hell of a lot better than an MXL-990. But it also has audibly (and visibly, in the waveform) finer and more precise pickup than, say, my Novas.

I’m also going to see if I can’t do some comparisons to my Oktava 319 and possibly the (already-improved via mods) Oktava 012s as well before next time. That, too, might be interesting.

Have a good weekend, everybody!

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good morning, it's 24 march 2017

Mar. 24th, 2017 01:42 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
hooooooo boy. It's hard work keeping up! And honestly, since I have done things other than this today, I'm sure I've missed some things. Still, I try.

Let's go straight to Russia and the GOP. First: "RNC paid intel firm for Clinton dirt." So what, right? Well, they lied about it, a lot, and the firm lied about it, but now they're not, and the intelligence firm has ties to Russia and employs ex-KGB. So it's AND WE'RE OFF!

As for the investigation: "Nunes is asked if he got the info he briefed the White House on from the White House. He doesn't dismiss it." Because he says he can't comment. Except when he does. To Mr. Trump. And the press. Sometimes. Which leads into "Former counsel for the House intel committee explains just how screwed up Nunes' actions were today," by which I mean he is genuinely boggled. "Birth of the Biggest Lie" talks about Trump's attempts to claim He's The Real Victim Here. "FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at Breitbart, InfoWars news sites" - to suggest that there isn't an international, co-linked movement to build ultra-rightist governments is nonsense; you can go watch it talk to itself on places like /pol/. It's right there, just like the attempt by the American fundamentalists to internationalise their anti-LGBT movement. But the question is how much money is involved where, of course.

Meanwhile, "Gunman in Ukraine kills Putin foe in attack denounced as ‘state terrorism’."

In other lies, "Read President Trump's Interview With TIME on Truth and Falsehoods," which prompted this quick response, "Donald Trump said 14 false things in an interview about how he says false things."

HEALTH CARE! What a clusterfuck. They're literally to a place where "Fewer Americans Would Be Insured With G.O.P. Plan Than With Simple Repeal." See also: "CBO releases new score for ObamaCare repeal bill" Spoilers: much less deficit reduction; no additional coverage. That's how badly they've screwed this up. "Late G.O.P. Proposal Could Mean Plans That Cover Aromatherapy but Not Chemotherapy" is pretty hilarious, by which I mean sad. "The AHCA Would Force New Moms on Medicaid to Find Work 60 Days After Labor" is sad, by which I mean just mean. "Trump pledged not to cut Medicaid. Is he keeping that promise?" HAHAHAHAHAHA no.

And, of course, he's going all-in: "Trump delivers ultimatum to House Republicans: Pass health-care measure on Friday or he’ll move on." The approval rate for their replacement is 17% and falling, and the last two times the Feds tried to change how health care worked, the ruling party took it in the shorts. Is this some kind of loyalty test? We'll see.

"The Life and Death Issue Ignored at Judge Gorsuch’s Confirmation Hearings" speaks for itself.

In corruption: "Mr. Trump Goes After Consumer Financial Protection Bureau" - he wants to fire the head and presumably not replace. Or replace, eventually. Or replace, by somebody who won't do anything. And today, "US Senate votes to let internet providers share your web browsing history without permission," which literally no one wants except the ISPs selling the data.

In cultural warfare news, "Rick Perry challenges election of Texas A&M’s first gay student body president, says it was ‘stolen’ in ‘name of diversity’". Sure. Cabinet members should be spending their time talking about student elections. That's important! But it is where FAGS are involved, I guess. Meanwhile, in Oklahoma? "Oklahoma Republican Says God Can Use Rape And Incest To 'Bring Beauty From Ashes'." Isn't that nice. I hope he's crushed by his own truck.

Good luck out there. This isn't even their final form.

It's March 24, 2017; this is the news )

good morning, it's 23 march 2017

Mar. 23rd, 2017 01:08 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
Wow. I'm out of evens.

Trump/Russia was explosive yesterday. NO, REALLY, IT'S ANOTHER LEVEL. "Schiff: There is now 'more than circumstantial evidence' of Trump-Russia collusion." Just saying that. We found out via AP Exclusive that "Before Trump job, Manafort worked to aid Putin." Specifically politically. The "Former Trump campaign chief 'offered to help Putin advance interests'." And "The FBI may already have Carter Page on a major crime: 18 U.S.C. § 1001, punishable by up to 5 years in prison."

And of course GOP is stonewalling - or actively interfering - in the investigation. "Today, Chairman Nunes shared information with WH still withheld from our committee. He cannot conduct a credible investigation this way" reports the Democratic leader on the committee; there's more details on that in "Nunes claims some Trump transition messages were intercepted." Basically he went to Ryan and Trump (who is being investigated!) to give them insider information not even given out to Democrats on the committee. Shit like that is why McLean's is saying, "Party or country? The Republicans choose a side." (Spoiler: it's not country.) And useless faux renegade Senator McCain is saying, "Congress doesn't have 'credibility' to handle Russia probes."

We have more adventures in neofascism - "Gorka changes story from "I have never been a member of Vitezi Rend" to "I never swore allegiance formally."" is pretty neat. More on that in "Gorka Hedges, Evades on Vitezi Rend Tie." Also, "Roger Stone, the ‘Trickster’ on Trump’s Side, Is Under F.B.I. Scrutiny" and we now know "The Trump Campaign Has Been Under Investigation Since July" and Democrats want to know why that wasn't disclosed during the endless BUT HER EMAILS releases of the campaign.

I include as a contextual rerun, "Moscow had contacts with Trump team during campaign, Russian diplomat says." Regular contacts, he said.

In health care, they're LITERALLY REWRITING THE BILL AS I TYPE THIS. No. Really. There'll be no CBO score and nobody will even know what's really in it tomorrow. "Defying Trump, Freedom Caucus insists it'll oppose GOP ObamaCare replacement" and "Freedom Caucus Closing In On Deal To Rewrite Health Care Bill At 11th Hour" are the stories. This is no way to write legislation, but then - it isn't really supposed to be.

Regarding the Supreme Court, the two stores today are "While Gorsuch was testifying, the Supreme Court unanimously said he was wrong" and "Neil Gorsuch and the “Frozen Trucker”."

The terrorist attack you didn't hear about yesterday was in New York City. "Man Arrested For Deadly Midtown Stabbing Reportedly Came To NYC To Kill Black People" and "Racist Maryland man who fatally stabbed black New Yorker admits his intent to kill African-American men," and the latter story gets real specific - this was a white supremacist racial attack straight up intended to incite terror. But, you know, somehow it's different. Because white guy. I specifically picked stories that did not make a big deal about how well the murderer was dressed, WHICH WAS THE LEAD IN SOME STORIES.

A couple of stories on antl-LGBT activities: "This Bus Is On A Road Trip To Convince You That Transgender People Aren’t Real," and "DeVos funds group suing against transgender rights." The lawsuit is against a school, for allowing a trans student (a boy) to use the boys' washroom. And yes, DeVos's foundation helps fund the group suing.

An interview and reaction to that interview: "Trump's Diplomat: How Rex Tillerson Is Translating 'America First' Into Foreign Policy" and "Rex Tillerson is clearly out of the loop and out of his depth in Trumpland."

"Advocates call on lawmakers to resist environmental cuts in Trump budget" is focused locally, but applicable generally.

The article "Amazing Disgrace: How did Donald Trump—a thrice-married, biblically illiterate sexual predator—hijack the religious right?" has a misleading headline; the fundamentalist movement wasn't "hijacked," this is what it always was - but the article itself makes that case fairly well.

In more basic corruption, "Despite a Trust, Ivanka Trump Still Wields Power Over Her Brand."

In border cruelty, we have a story about an event from a few years ago: "U.S. border officers told a Mexican teen to drink liquid meth. His family received $1 million for his death." They had a test on hand that would've confirmed the liquid was meth in 2-3 minutes. They waited an hour to call for medics. Both officers are still employed. We also have "Khan Breaks Silence on Canada Travel Cancellation" - the story from a couple of weeks ago regarding his trip cancellation to Canada? Maybe not so well reported, maybe overstated on his part. He was in fear that he wouldn't be allowed to return, and given that this has actually happened this week to citizens, that's not so unfounded. But he wasn't placed under an individual travel ban.

You might recall another story from last month, about the GOP majority leader in Hawai'i being forced out for Trump criticism; well, she's no longer a Republican at all. "Hawaii Republican resigns from party after criticizing Trump."

Finally, a couple of more local-scope stories, but they're flavourful: "Wisconsin Republican urges cuts to college aid to keep poor students from buying ‘goodies and electronics’" and "Former Colorado GOP chairman Steven Curtis charged with voter fraud." Yes, it's the new cruelty and the same old irony. What fun.

Today's going to be extra lively as the unread, unevaluated Newest Version GOP healthcare bill is schedule to come up for a vote, and who even knows what else will spin out of the Treasonart. (I thought those blades got recalled, but I guess not.) ADVENTURES!

It's March 23, 2017; this is the news )

cylon wars: equestria

Mar. 22nd, 2017 08:30 am
solarbird: (korra-smug)
[personal profile] solarbird

We got our new hero – Orisa – in Overwatch yesterday, which means unlimited-selection-hero game mode is all-Orisa-all-the-time. She’s a robot centaur so basically it’s Cylon Wars: Equestria in there now.

There’s a skin called “Twilight” that has more or less Twilight Sparkle colours and you cannot tell me that’s not on purpose.

she even has a cutie mark SHE EVEN HAS A CUTIE MARK

And Janai and I were laughing about ponies everywhere when she said WE NEED A COWBOY THAT’S ALL WE NEED so for this I was willing to play McCree on purpose.


Back in the saddle again

He’s 120% laughing into his hat during this victory photo. I insist.

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good morning, it's 22 march 2017

Mar. 22nd, 2017 12:11 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
Have to get to bed early - but here's the news nonetheless. Republican approval of Donald Trump remains at 86%. Trump voter approval of Donald Trump remains at 91%. They think this is all just fine.

Russia:
New documents show Trump aide laundered payments from party with Moscow ties, lawmaker alleges

Supreme Court/Neil Gorsuch:
In E-mails, Neil Gorsuch Praised a Leading Republican Activist Behind Voter Suppression Efforts
Gorsuch’s Views On Women Disqualify Him For A Seat On The Supreme Court

Trumpism:
President Trump faces his hardest truth: He was wrong
Ivanka Trump has West Wing office and will get access to classified information

Nativism/racism:
U.S.-Muslim Teen Stopped From Boarding International Flight Home
No African Citizens Could Attend A Summit On African Trade After Visas Denied
Philly Cinco de Mayo celebration canceled over immigration crackdown fears

AMA repeal:
Trump Warns House Republicans: Repeal Health Law or Lose Your Seats

Misc:
Opinion: Sessions' hard line on pot doesn't help anyone

It's March 22, 2017; this is the news )

good morning, it's 21 march 2017

Mar. 21st, 2017 01:51 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
"Georgia nonprofit says it unwittingly gave $25,000 to white nationalist Richard Spencer" - on the instructions of a third party they refuse to name. Neat.

Lots of Russia and Trump, as you know. Some secondary fallout stories, too. "Fox News pulls Judge Napolitano over his Trump wiretap claims," "As it happened: FBI at Russia hearing," "Trump Russia claims: FBI's Comey confirms investigation of election 'interference',"Video: Here's that moment: Comey confirms the Russians hacked both Dems & Republicans, but didn't release any GOP info."

Not part of the hearings but part of the bigger story: "Russian elite invested nearly $100 million in Trump buildings," "Exclusive: Tillerson plans to skip NATO meeting, visit Russia in April - sources," "Exclusive: Powerful Russian Partner Boasts Of Ongoing Access To Trump Family."

"Why Is YouTube Blocking Videos By LGBTQ+ Creators In "Restricted Mode"?" gets another, slightly larger story. YouTube late today was tweeting about errors in categorisation; we'll see.

"The EPA Needs Lots of Money to Gut Itself" talks about how the Trump administration plans to end the EPA for all practical purposes.

"Supreme Court nominee: Senators clash at Neil Gorsuch hearing."

Some on the ACA repeal: "Ahead of Trump visit, Paul hopes health proposal will fail," and "Conservative senators disappointed after White House health care meeting."

Finally, a couple of social stories: "Tomi Lahren's show suspended over host's pro-choice views," and the much more in-depth "How a Sleepy German Suburb Explains Europe’s Rising Far-Right Movements."

It's March 21, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (made her from parts)
[personal profile] solarbird

I thought I was going to be posting about a new microphone I built today! I was pretty sure I could get the kit construction finished and even make a couple of recordings.

And I could’ve, but no, I had to have one of these moments:

…wherein on page 24 of the assembly instructions it talks about connection sealing material and special kinds of thread-locking fluid which aren’t strictly necessary but are definitely good to use, if, you know, you just happen to have them around, and if you don’t, well, you can add them later but EVERYTHING WILL EXPLODE.

Particularly the connection sealing material. Apparently.

None of this was in the components and tools list up front. Of course. So thanks, now I get to order all that stuff, which I already have, and it’ll get here Wednesday. (No, it’s not at the local hardware. I did check!)

Anyway, this is how far I got, and where it’ll be until Wednesday:

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good morning, it's 20 march 2017

Mar. 20th, 2017 12:21 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
Another night getting started late (this time it's my fault, or more accurately... my fault, or less accurately, Overwatch, because Tracer is my fps gf), so let's get to it already.

"Dr. Sebastian Gorka May Be a Far-Right Nativist, But for Sure He’s a Terrible Scholar" - an analysis of the Nazi-aligned Hungarian in Trump's administration. "New York Attorney General Steps Up Scrutiny of White House" and "The Unlikely Liberal Hero Adam Schiff Is Ready to Investigate Trump" are about investigations, which are necessary, but don't expect them to move quickly. "Lawmakers seek FBI, NSA answers on Trump, Russia at rare public hearing" isn't about new investigations but hopefully getting some data about what we already know.

In matters of political control, we have the Trumpist Commissars stepping up in, "White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears." Meanwhile, we're all worrying about the honest truth - that "For Donald Trump, a Terror Attack Will Be an Opportunity Not a Curse." Of course, other than 'taking massive advantage to tear down more law,' we have to wonder what else the Trump administration would manage in response to a crisis, particularly after how we saw "In One Rocky Week, Trump’s Self-Inflicted Chaos on Vivid Display." (One could say the same thing about every move made since the last election, I suppose.)

Finally, another moment of reality: "CNN's Zakaria: Trump got to the Presidency by 'bulls--tting'."

Only one direct racism article this time - "A California waiter refused to serve 4 Latina women until he saw ‘proof of residency’." Like you need to be a resident to eat at a restaurant? Seriously? What the hell.

But this is kind of related - "Message to YouTube Creators from YouTube about Restricted Mode" is actually from me, but in response to YouTube's apparent decision to create a "Restricted Mode" which is supposed to be super-safe mode? But queers are autoblocked while white supremacists like David Duke are not. LGBT coming out stories and makeup tips?" NOT SAFE. Genocide advocacy? TOTALLY SAFE. So, yeah. Fuck you, youtube.

To the courts, we have "Reported Gorsuch Statements Show Disqualifying Disregard for Women’s Workplace Rights," where Gorsuch reportedly told law students that corporations have a responsibility to grill women about child plans, because women will get hired, immediately get pregnant and go on paid maternity leave and never come back. NO, REALLY. (This will be in an action item.) Also, we have the less explosive but still extraordinary, "9th Circuit judges in nasty feud over Trump travel ban."

Two "please don't do what you said you would" stories - "Trump Proposes Cutting Billions to Urban Areas He Vowed to Help," and "Washington farmers tell Trump: We need more foreign workers." Not that it matters - Trump's approval rating with Republicans and white men continues not to budge. (White women are now majority opposed, though not by much.)

Two environmental stories: "Environmentalists warn about Trump Puget Sound budget," with Trump zeroing it out, the ecological (and resulting business) impacts would be huge. And also, "Effort to replace pipes to Flint homes off to slow start." They're far behind schedule and there's no promise of money to continue working.

Finally, a couple of cultural stories from the evangelicals - "The Resenters: Building Hell in Heaven’s despite," and I don't know what the title is supposed to be referencing (I presume some Christian religious thing), but it's basically about ressentiment as filtered through their lens. "Dying before We Reach the Promised Land" is one evangelical trying to work out how the fundamentalist evangelicals could go so completely against everything they pretended to stand for. I think he's overly charitable to his own - I just don't think they ever believed any of it, and that it was always just about power, and people like him were suckers. But that's me.

It's March 20, 2017; this is the news )

good morning, it's 19 march 2017

Mar. 19th, 2017 12:11 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
Well, another day. I'm running late, so it's mostly just a stories list this time rather than a writeup. Sorry.

"Trump and the Parasitic Presidency," and "Young Americans: Most see Trump as illegitimate president." And while a bare majority of young whites see Mr. Trump as legitimate, a clear majority disapprove. That's something, I guess.

Fox's Kilmeade: "We keep marrying other species and other ethnics" and it doesn't get better from there. It's not a new quip - it seems to be from 2009, based on the stories in the crawl - but it's a reminder that this horrible shit was always juuuuust below the surface.

The Gorka stories today: "Top Trump Adviser Faces Calls For Resignation After Reports Of Ties To Nazi-Aligned Group," a repeat with "Did Gorka Really Wear A Medal Linked To Nazi Ally To Trump Inaugural Ball?" (because it's relevant again), and "Nazi-Affiliated Hungarian Group: Sebastian Gorka Swore a Loyalty Oath to Us."

A reminder that Republican Senators have committed more crimes in washrooms than all transwomen combined: "Married GOP Senator Ralph Shortey Turns Himself In, is Charged with Child Prostitution: WATCH" - though this one is just a state Senator.

"Kellyanne Conway Is a Star" is an article on Kellyanne Conway that some might find interesting.

"After neo-Nazi-fueled disquiet in Portland, Oregon's U.S. senators call for harsher hate crime laws" - it won't go anywhere, but the effort of writing and filing the bill is worthy.

The Trump administration makes it easier to really dig into people who owe student loans: "Trump administration rescinds Obama guidance on student loan defaults: report"

"George W. Bush Gave Us Donald Trump. Now He Wants To Be Forgiven." FUCK NO. DOING THAT IS HOW WE GOT HERE. FUCK THAT FOREVER.

And finally, "Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?"

It's March 19, 2017; this is the news )

good morning, it's 18 march 2017

Mar. 18th, 2017 01:09 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
LET'S GO. Right out the gate I'm starting with my own shit, a couple of tweetstorms that got like 20,000 viewers: FASCISTS RUIN EVERYTHING. Because they DO.

Moving on:

"Unspeakable Realities Block Universal Health Coverage In The US." That's called racism. The neofascists, a lot of them? A lot of them outright want a whites-only welfare state, the key phrase being "whites-only."

Lies, lies, and more lies: "Sean Spicer’s angry, lonely defense of Trump’s wiretapping claim, annotated" talks about some. "Senate Intel leaders were 'fully briefed' on wiretapping allegations: report" should be pretty neat if we ever get to hear about it. "How Big Tobacco invented Donald Trump and Brexit (and what to do about it)" is a bit misleading, but there is a connection - specifically, how to tell stories that override science, which the tobacco companies perfected. "Debunking a Myth: The Irish Were Not Slaves, Too" gets to a white supremacist talking point that they use to downgrade actual chattel slavery. And it's kind of a budget story, but "White House says Meals on Wheels is “not showing any results.” Research says otherwise" is about lies too, so let's have that up here.

Relatedly, "White House Tries to Soothe British Officials Over Trump Wiretap Claim" - at least for three and a half hours, between the apology and Trump going back to the 'the UK helped Obama bug my campaign' again less than four hours later.

Aaaand then there's the budget. "Trump’s Budget Would Break American Science, Today and Tomorrow." "Scientists Brace for a Lost Generation in American Research." "Tom Cole: Trump's Proposed Cuts To NIH, CDC Are 'Short-Sighted'" - that's one way to describe them, sure. But pulling back to the larger picture, let's talk about how this is a WAR WAR WAR 5EVA budget, which is what it is - nothing fucking matters if it's not about killing somebody, which is how you get articles like "Trump’s Budget Blueprint: Pulling Up the Diplomatic Drawbridge" and "Now America knows what a tinhorn dictator budget looks like."

And hey, let's talk about war, shall we? "US says 'strategic patience' on NK is over." and "Rex Tillerson Rejects Talks With North Korea on Nuclear Program." Remember how Marmalade Hitler kept going on about 'why can't you use nukes' during the campaign? We might be about to find out why.

Oh, and Republicans can shut the fuck up about the UN's human rights bodies now - if you're going to send rabid anti-queer/anti-women's-quality groups to the UN Women's Commission, you've got nothing to stand on. (See: US Sends Group Rejecting Rights to UN Women’s Commission)

Remember GamerGate? Remember how the FBI had videotaped confessions from GamerGaters sending out death and rape threats and refused to act against them? Well, once it's a man targeted, suddenly, it matters. "Twitter User Accused of Sending Journalist Seizure-Inducing GIF: 'Let's See If He Dies'" and "The FBI, Which Still Won't Address Online Threats Against Women, Arrested Someone For Tweeting a GIF at a Male Journalist" both talk about that. Don't get me wrong: I hope they lock this motherfucker up. But still.

A few last stories don't really group into anything else: "Mayo to give preference to privately insured patients over Medicaid patients," which is part of a trend just being made more explicit; "White Nationalist Richard Spencer Gets His Money From Louisiana Cotton Fields—and the US Government" (via farm subsidies); "The Lesson of Trump’s 1040," and finally, "Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Said to Have Been Investigating HHS Secretary Tom Price." I'd rank that last one higher but it's all unnamed sources, so... yeah. May be true, but we don't really know. Get somebody on the record, goddammit.

It's March 18, 2017; this is the news )

good morning, it's 17 march 2017

Mar. 17th, 2017 12:39 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
Quite the day.

Normally, I'm "Always lead with international fascism." But we have something possibly more urgent: the Trump administration desperately needs a war, the sooner the better, and conveniently, on a trip with essentially no press, complete fool pretending to be Secretary of State "Tillerson says diplomacy with North Korea has ‘failed’; Pyongyang warns of war." Why, how handy! Obviously, it's not the war Bannon really wants - he wants the RaHoWa, the Racial Holy War, against Arabic muslims, all to service his white supremacist vision for the US. But in a pinch, maybe it'll do.

I suppose that means we've already gone straight to the fascism, haven't we? Well, here's more.

"Flynn Received Funds From Instrument of Russian Government." Also a company working with Russian spies, which likely means more Russian government money. Neat! And absolutely verified! He didn't know who was sending him this money? Oh, that was pretty clearly a lie. So that's fun.

But the even bigger bomb is "EXCLUSIVE: Nazi-Allied Group Claims Top Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka As Sworn Member." Now, after spending a lot of time very much not denying this, I read that Gorka has in fact come out and denied it late yesterday, buuuuuut frankly I don't believe him. There are too many people making too many connections and saying "no, that's totally what he did," and it includes people who are proud of being fascists. See also, "Gutter Trash: Sebastian Gorka’s ties to a group of Nazi collaborators is a new low for Donald Trump’s administration."

To round this section out, we have "Stephen Bannon Is a Fan of a French Philosopher...Who Was an Anti-Semite and a Nazi Supporter." o rly? just one? Well, just one French one, I suppose. He is, after all, a FUCKING FASCIST. What else would he like? Also, we have, "Trump to Michigan gov: 'I never forget' those who didn't endorse me" - which is a matter of personal rule, one of the hallmarks of authoritarianism in any form.

Now, in terms of associated insanity, we have a few stories. "Trump leaked classified CIA intel to Tucker Carlson on live TV: ranking House intel member." That's also neat. The "GCHQ denies White House claim that UK spy agency helped wiretap Trump," which is apparently fairly unusual? They don't normally comment? But this is too much. We also have "Intel chair pushes back on Trump 'literal vs. serious' debate, says President's tweets matter," and Wired weighs in with "Trump Can’t Quit His Wiretap Claims. That Won’t End Well."

"The sneaky way the Trump administration is chilling government oversight" belongs in here too, but honestly, I'm not sure where.

Immigration! Let's get that out of the way before destroying the environment and budgetary issues. "Vancouver-based metal band denied entry to U.S. for SXSW festival" is about the third band blocked by US border patrol for no apparent reason other than racist assholery. At least, that I know about. More critically, Detroit hospitals are in trouble, what with "Trump immigration policies kill work visas for specialized Canadian nurses."

Finally, to the budget! We have "This Is the Ending Conservatives Always Wanted," "Here's what Trump's budget proposes to cut" (everything that isn't a massive military buildup isn't too far off), and "Trump’s Budget Would Kill a Program That Feeds 2.4 Million Senior Citizens." Lots of research being cut - "UW, Fred Hutch slam Trump’s proposed budget, calling it ‘major step backward’ and ‘indefensible’." That won't stop the rightists from supporting it, of course. The politically interesting bit, I think, is how "Trump has promised big spending on infrastructure. His budget cuts it" - Bannon's plan has been from the start to deficit-spend his way to popularity via a massive infrastructure plan, and to do so right out the gate. Instead, we have opposite. Is this a defeat, or a delay, for Bannon this front, and have they just decided it's better to go straight to a war? No way of knowing.

The axe is falling particularly hard on EPA, since this whole busload of literal, actual fascists all hate the world anyway, I guess. "Trump budget chief on climate change: 'We consider that to be a waste of your money'" (even as "Trump’s Defense Secretary Cites Climate Change as National Security Challenge" but one of the hallmarks of this is that nothing has to make sense), and "Republican senator thinks EPA cuts will keep the agency from ‘brainwashing our kids’." Perhaps that should't been up in "associated insanity." In terms of resistance, we have, "Blue states rush to block Trump’s emissions rollback." Good luck.

Overall, the word is, "Scientists urge moving to China or Germany over Trump budget: ‘Your future is brighter elsewhere’." The US is looking at a massive brain drain.

Which is, let's be honest, just fine with the fascists.

It's March 17, 2017; this is the news )

entirely worth listening to

Mar. 16th, 2017 10:08 am
solarbird: (Lecturing)
[personal profile] solarbird
This is a presentation at GDC 2017 about virtual worlds and augmented reality and it is entirely worth your 55 minutes whether you are in game design or arguably even more if you are not.

good morning, it's 16 march 2017

Mar. 16th, 2017 12:49 am
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
As always, lead on the neofascist horseshit. "The culture war over religious morality has faded; in its place is something much worse" describes how the fade of the fundamentalist right didn't lead to less rightist extremism, but more. "The GOP Is America’s Party of White Nationalism" is pretty much just pointing out the obvious, but the obvious is real bad and a lot of people still don't want to face it - and as example, Rep. King is not getting GOP pushback on his move to overt white supremacist politics. "Trump to release 'hard power budget' with cuts to State Dept, EPA" points to a big upward ratcheting in militarism and an express preference for the use of military force over any other method of solving... anything, really. And closer to home, we have "Video: Nazis Thrown Out Of Portland's Lucky Lab Beer Hall" in Portland. Well done, Lucky Lab.

We've got a link for the "Text of court order against Trump's second Muslim-targeting travel ban," of course. Also commentary involving Trump's reaction at his rally; "Obama ethics lawyer: Trump 'digging grave' for future travel ban court cases." Of particular note is that Trump says the second is just a watered-down version of the first, which certainly means it has all the same legal failures.

And of course, add in "Trump stands by unverified wiretap claim" even as congressional GOP is going, '...we don't believe it.' Who are you going to believe, Leader Trump or your lying eyes?

In crackdown news, we have Texas leading the pack yesterday, with "Texas Senate Passes Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill, Now Closer to Becoming Law No One Asked For." Locally, we have Crosscut asking, "Washington’s legal pot experiment: Can it survive Trump?"

Finally, a few last stories: "Trump fuel economy rollback will kill jobs and cost each car buyer $1,650" is about helping the fossil fuel industry, which backs the GOP more completely than any other group. "Congress sends Trump drug test measure for unemployed" arguably belongs under fascism - it's about humiliating the unemployed, pure and simple. And finally, the NYT has a story on Trump's 2005 tax returns: "Trump Wrote Off $100 Million in Losses in 2005, Leaked Forms Show."

It's March 16, 2017; this is the news )

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