Golf facts

Here you will find a page from Independent. I’ll give a few quotes just to whet your appetite. Emphasis mine.

First, let’s quote Donald Trump.

During a campaign rally last year, Mr Trump referred to his golf courses when he criticised Mr Obama. “You know what – and I love golf – but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again, I don’t think I’d ever see Doral again, I own Doral in Miami, I don’t think I’d ever see many of the places that I have, I don’t ever think that I’d see anything, I just wanna stay in the White House and work my ass off, make great deals, right? Whose gonna leave? I mean, whose gonna leave?”

Now, what is The Donald actually doing?

The White House press office, whose job includes keeping the media informed of the President’s diary, did not comment on this latest golf trip. It has only confirmed that Mr Trump has played golf on a few occasions when he has stayed at a Trump-branded property. The President has visited his own-branded properties approximately once every three days during the course of his presidency so far, according to The Washington Post.

Back to Obama:

Mr Obama is not believed to have played his first round of golf until his 65th day in the White House.

Back to Trump,

Some have complained that Mr Trump’s golf trips are a waste of tax payers’ money, with each trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida estimated to cost the US Government around $2 million, mainly for the cost of transportation.

I suspect golf course scores are subject to Douglas Adams’ distortion field: as in restaurants, math may not always work there. But.

On calendars, it’s not so easy to move numbers around.

My conclusion: the new POTUS is playing more because he’s simply fundamentally more entitled. Or perhaps his ‘ass‘ ‘works off‘ more easily than the previous POTUS.


Is justice blind?

I am a cynical person. I am especially cynical of the Special Investigations Unit, or SIU. I am cynical regarding all ‘self-policing’ organizations. Search for ‘automoron’ in this blog for rants on this.

Today’s cynicism is about the investigations of police killings by various bodies, often the above-mentioned SIU.

But first, a new way of letting a civilian accused off the hook. This might work or not, as it is still before the courts. Briefly, a judge did the unusual act of allowing a video camera in his court during the final verdict reading. Actually, it was a very lengthy summary of an even much longer official verdict.
In that summary of that verdict, the judge quoted a part of the criminal code. The fact that the language in question has been found unconstitutional did not go unnoticed, since the verdict was made so public. As a result, an appeal seems certain, if not a mistrial. You can find this interesting piece of Canadian legal history here.

In another case, the charges against an officer were raised from manslaughter to murder. As I recall, the officer (not nearest to the victim) ‘accidentally’ discharged his(/her?) firearm and the person in custody simply died.
By raising the charge to murder, and acquittal was ensured.


My spouse was on a murder trial a long time ago. After the trial she told me that, although charged with murder, the jury asked the judge (via some messaging system) if they could find the accused guilty of manslaughter. Which was allowed, and which they did.


If you’re a cop, the charges escalated to murder (when intent was clearly not present) can’t, for some reason, be reduced to manslaugter (which clearly, imho, did happen.)

In my world, if you kill someone with a loaded firearm, that’s got to be close to manslaughter. Not an automatic upgrade to murder and then a failure to have conviction.

If I accidentally drove my auto into a pedestrian, would I be charged with murder? If I accidentally drove my auto into a policeman, would I be shot dead?

Anomalies – and some warnings

I’m thinking mostly of ‘setting new records.’ In a normal situation, new records should be set ever less frequently. Let me give a silly mathematical example.

I have access to a very long string of binary digits – zeros and ones. This string is ‘random.’ I keep track of the longest run of adjacent ones as I read my way along this string.

Early on, five ones in a row would be unusual. Then six. If we play this game long enough, maybe a hundred ones in a row would turn up – eventually, if the string is truly random, this is guaranteed to happen.

What I’d like to point out is, the setting of new records (for consecutive ones) becomes rarer and rarer as we keep looking. It is an exponential decline: each new record takes roughly twice as long as the previous one.

Truly random observations, like coin flips, follow this pattern.

(You are, in effect, sampling the space of all possible observations. Outliers should take ever larger samples to be observed.)

When this pattern is not observed, there is cause to wonder why – and perhaps worry.

Sports is an example. For ages the four-minute mile could not be run. Then it could. But that record came down very slowly – until Kenyans (with an altitude-induced oxygen capacity advantage) made a few strides (pun intended.)

A rash of new records at the Olympics could be attributed, at least in part, to doping. Think of Lance Armstrong too.

Global warming is another example. New low and new high temperature records were becoming scarcer and scarcer – until maybe a decade ago. Here in Canada we observed both new highs and new lows in the same week. And not by trivial decimal points.

I’ll mention stock markets briefly. When new highs and new drops start making records too often, that’s an anomaly. It should make you wonder, like running times and daily temperatures, if the old rules are being shifted and no longer apply.

Progress in sports can be due to new competitors, new technology (trick swim suits come to mind) or new rule-breaking. Too much progress is a signal, an anomaly.

Progress in weather change – faster and larger storms – is almost certainly due to global warming. Denial of this is absurd.

Crashes in stock markets could mean that program trading is too much faster than humans can handle.

Now for the dumb question: Why should you care?

  • Sports should be fair. Athletes should settle for being athletic.
  • Global warming will damage us all.
  • The financial markets allow big FIs to take large risks feeling sure we’ll bail them out if the bets lose, and they keep the pot when the bets win.

I don’t much care about the sports part. I am saddened that many sports seem to be cheapened.

I care deeply about global warming.

I have the really bad intuition that global warming is partly happening because companies want to keep making large profits. Profits end up in bonus pools and stock options. The rich get richer. Harper and Trump dump environmental protections.

We all lose. All but the one percent, that is.

Kushner, and Great Companies

Jared Kushner doesn’t get it. Here‘s an obscure (to me) news source that echoes what I’ve seen elsewhere, including the Toronto Star. I’ll give a few quotes, emphasis mine.

This assumption is widespread in American politics: that competence in business translates to competence in politics. In 2012, during his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney said he’d like a provision in in the Constitution to “say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before he could become president of the United States.” But is there any evidence for this belief? Historians haven’t found any.

Sean Illing Let me start by reading you a recent quote from Jared Kushner: “We should have excellence in government. … The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.”I’m not sure the axiom that business and politics are equivalent can be expressed more clearly than this. What’s your response?

Gautam MukundaThe government should be run as well as a great American company, but that’s profoundly different from saying it should be run like a great American company — those are two completely different things.The first and most obvious problem with that is that American citizens are not customers. Someone has to tell Jared Kushner that citizens are his boss, not his customers. When you’ve inherited your job, that might be difficult to understand, but it’s an important idea.

Gautam Mukunda It’s not that there are no skills in common. If you asked me, would the CEO of a randomly selected, highly successful company do a better job as president than a person you selected at random off the street, I’d say yes. But we don’t, the most recent election excepted, select our presidents at random off the street. We select them from a pool of people who have been governors or senators or congresspeople. So that’s your comparison set.Now let’s talk about the differences between running a democracy and a company, which are profound. First, there are differences in ends. Companies are supposed to run at a profit. If your government is running at a profit, you have a problem; it’s not an indicator of success. More broadly, almost all companies have a level of authority that flows upward that much more resembles a dictatorship than a democracy.

Kushner is a number of interesting ‘things.’ He’s the husband of Ivanka Trump, whose nude photos came out during the campaign. (I’d hate to have a beautiful wife whose erogenous zones are on public display.)
He’s an unpaid white house occupant who has not distanced himself from his businesses, much like his father-in-law.

He’s today’s person of interest.

Health Care Myths

At one point, Ronald Regan was used to claim that Canadian health care was, er, crap. This is, of course, totally untrue.

At one point, the infant mortality rate in the USA was equal to that in Cuba. I think Cuba has done better since.

Now for a comparison between Canadian and American health care. Ready? Emphasis mine.

Canadians living with cystic fibrosis lived on average 10 years longer than Americans with the same disease, in part because of the very different healthcare systems in the two countries, the study found.

When severity of disease, age and other variables were taken into account, Canadians had a 34% lower death rate than American patients overall.

Ms Brotherwood spent three years working in a cystic fibrosis clinic in Los Angeles, after working at Dr Stephenson’s clinic in Toronto. The differences, she says, were striking. “In Canada, I make clinical decisions. I look at their case and I decide whether or not they would benefit from meeting with me. There, the decision is driven by their insurance,” she says. Ms Brotherwood says she had to forgo seeing patients who were in real need, just because they did not have the coverage.

Even when they were insured, high co-pays meant that some families had to reduce the amount of medication they used, or avoid going to the hospital, she says. Many researchers have suggested that this profit motive, and the strain it puts on families, may be to blame for the average lower life expectancy in the US.

Now go listen to The Donald and how he’s going to ‘fix’ health care in the USA.

Donald Trump is pro business. Pro in the British, not American, sense of the word.

Please don’t tell me that!

I’ll be brief here.

  • Tangerine (formerly ING Direct) just informed me that their foreign exchange rate charge is moving from 2% to 2.5%. I didn’t know it was best in class; now it isn’t. Please don’t tell me that.
  • Panasonic. Apparently they are going to reduce their digital camera efforts. I have several Panasonic digital cameras. I like them very much. The latest improvement was exactly what I wished-to-God they would do: a better, faster, longer zoom than the FZ18 with a much better EVF and weatherproofing. They did it. Now they may stop innovating.
    Please don’t tell me that.
  • Scarborough subway and John Tory. Apparently he’s got better numbers talking to ‘lots of people’ than real studies. The one-stop subway is imho an enormous boondoggle Tory hasn’t the guts to stop. His numbers are imho nonsense.
    Please don’t try to tell me that.
  • Vaughan Go station and John Tory. This comes out of the Smart Track budget. It will actually increase driver traffic. This is because the delay caused by an unnecessary stop will cause some 3% of current Go users to revert to their cars. So, we’re paying (out of a limited, almost non-existent traffic budget) for a stop that makes Tory Smart Track look like it’s on track. Which will increase vehicle traffic.
    Please don’t tell me that.

Person of Interest: John Tory, two out of four.


Knowledge is power. (Possibly Francis Bacon).

Information is power. imho, and I’m sure you agree. Logical from the above, eh?    Therefore,

Misinformation is power.

The person of interest here is, as it often is, Donald Trump. Apparently tweeting is power. Sometimes (but not, imho, reliably) Executive Orders are power. Alternative Facts are power. Pointing out quote marks (on two of four tweets claiming to have been bugged at Trump Tower by the Obama administration) is, apparently, sound enough misinformation to stabilize power. And to continue the misinformation … everywhere online and on TV.

Remember Spider Man’s Law. (feel free to search this blog if you don’t.)

Twitter has given Misinformation Power to …. the Apprentice. Who’s actually rather good at it.

OK, you were wondering why this is under Dumb Question. So here it is:

Any ideas out there? How can The Press (cordoned off by partisanship) or The Opposition (outnumbered) or the One Percent (somehow silent now, why??) or
anyone else
manage this tidal bore (pun intended) of misinformation?

Don’t post a comment here without the following:

  • your real eMail. I will test it if there’s anything even slightly weird about your comment. Or if it looks like garbage. Yes, I get that.
  • decent grammar, spelling, and logic. Any comment which looks like it went through a synonym generator will be ignored. Yes, I get that too.
  • only sensible hotlinks. or no hotlinks. cannabis and porn sites are not imho sensible. Yes, I get those too.  sigh.


I am not alone.

On March 3 this blog quoted a report about nuclear Armageddon and the risk caused by the USA’s new nuclear missile fuse technology.

I am not alone. Here you will find a Toronto Star article written by John Polanyi.

Quotes follow, emphasis mine.

The question today is not whether this guarantees U.S. “success” in the appalling eventuality of a nuclear first strike, but the effect it has on Russia’s faith in its deterrent. Absent assured second-strike capability, Albert Wohlstetter likened the standoff to a gun dual between armed cowboys — nothing could be less stable.

The weakening Russian position in the nuclear weapons equation is known to Russia. In September 2015 President Putin “accidentally” revealed on television Russian plans for a 40-ton nuclear-powered super-torpedo with a range of thousands of kilometres that could carry a 100 megaton nuclear warhead. Such monstrous weapons could render the east coast of the U.S. uninhabitable. Testing began in December. The Russian intention in developing this new weapon is surely to start redressing the nuclear imbalance.

The referenced bulletin (of the atomic scientists) came out, apparently, on March 1. My access via and Secrecy News prompted my earlier post.

I am scared by Donald Trump, who seems to ‘say anything’ and redefine what it means later. Who seems to ‘need to win’ at all costs. Who conducts diplomacy via Twitter attacks based on uncertain (I’m being generous here) ‘information’.

I am scared that the USA has tilted the balance of nuclear armaments a long way from neutral.

Thanks to Polanyi, I have (small) comfort:

I am not alone.

the Apprentice strikes again

Eight countries this time. Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. You can read the newscast here.

You won’t be allowed to carry on electronic devices larger than a cellphone. This includes laptops, tablets and cameras. 

This only affects foreign airlines – not US carriers.

Captain America is still throwing his shield up. Cluelessly, imho.

I try not to swear on this blog. But, what the f..k is going on here?

I’ve vacationed in, say, Morocco. (actually did that, twice.) Now I can’t bring my g…..n camera back, unless I’m on a US Airline????

What in hell sense do you find in that?

Even better,

Homeland Security says the ban is not based on a threat of an imminent attack.

Emphasis mine, as always. So what in hell is it based on?

Let me walk you along with my brain while I process this.

  • If you’re coming from one of eight countries, you can’t keep your camera out of your luggage. You may not treat it as a carry on. This is standard. ???
  • Unless you’re on a US based airline. ???
  • The eight countries are disparate. Saudi Arabia buys weapons by the ton from the USA. Qatar has a base I think. But Morocco has zero strategic importance, again, imho.
  • The ban is Not based on an imminent attack. Then wtfk is it based on?

Now for the dumb questions.

  • Is this an attempt to normalize stupidity in foreign relations?
  • Do any of you believe that a larger item, a camera, say, is intrinsically more dangerous? Than a cell phone?
  • Is this an attempt to ‘inoculate’ the US population to dumb international restrictions?
  • If, imho this is, is a power play, what is it designed to camouflage in later moves?
  • Are you happy?

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State

Here you will find that Donald Trump’s Secretary of State thinks military action against North Korea is worth threatening. This because of North Korea’s missile and nuclear development programs.

The US is hoping that China will help rein in North Korea. In fact, China has recently stopped buying coal from the North, which is a major source of revenue for the country.

However, the US has continued to annoy China, in particular by deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system in South Korea. China views this as spying on it.

So, here we have another potential ‘finger on the trigger’ of ‘conflict.’

This is the same Rex Tillerson who used a second, alias, eMail to comment on climate change while at EXXON. (Tillerson is the former head of EXXON Mobile, and spent some 40 years working there.) I’ll give you a pointer and a quote.

Eric Schneiderman says Mr Tillerson used an account named “Wayne Tracker” for at least seven years. Wayne is Mr Tillerson’s middle name. Mr Schneiderman is investigating whether Exxon misled investors and the public about climate change.

Given the Trump trumpeting about Hilary Clinton’s private eMail server, this looks just as self-serving.

No dumb questions today. Just ask yourself,

Do I trust this administration?