Protecting Minnesota’s Waters from PolyMet Copper-Nickel Mine Pollution

Every single place that Copper-Nickle-Sulfide mining has been done — every. single. location. — the mining companies left behind a destroyed landscape. There have been no exceptions.

This sort of mining can not be done without destroying the landscape.

It is quite possible that Minnesota’s boundary waters are not saving, and we should just mine out the copper.

Or, not.

Look: Continue reading Protecting Minnesota’s Waters from PolyMet Copper-Nickel Mine Pollution

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Seventy-4 Apprehendated in massively cooredinateion inter-Country operations happy to Target manyNumerious individals in Email fishing schema

Fourty-2 Allegdlyh Fraudsters Placed Under Arrested in the US of America.

Govern-Mental Authorities did do announced today a big significant coordinated effort to dirsupt BEC known as well as AKA Business Email Comrpimise Schemas that re deignated to intercept and high-hack wire transfer from Business an d Individuals including many veneragble senior citizens. If you feel you know someonw who is being hacked like this amount, CLICK HERE and provide personal details. Please do included the personal banking details so that we may deposit a LARGE (too large to name!) sum in said aformentioned account!

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Science Cafe in Minneapolis!

Year ago two things were true. First, there were a lot of science or science and art cafes or related events, getting regular citizens and scientists, or some combination of scientists and artists, together for an evening. These sorts of events have become less common in the Twin Cities.

The second thing that was true is that my great friend Lynn Fellman, was always around in the Twin Cities and the two of us would do a lot of things together, along with others such as Mike Haubrich or Ira Flatow (I’m sure you’ve heard of Mike, he and I do a podcast together), in the science and art and science meets art area.

But the science and art cafes have gone away (partly because the mover and shaker in that area, Shanai Matteson, who ran most of the Cafe Scientique, is now doing different and even more amazing things, and Lynn moved out east.

But now Lynn is back, with a great project that you should to go! (I wisely got my tickets before telling you all!)

Science Cafe! A special event for the public
The Genome Writers Guild presents our second annual Science Cafe
Thursday, July 19th – 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
McNamara Alumni Center on the U of M campus

In the midst of our annual three-day scientific conference, the Genome Writers Guild reserves one evening for the public. We invite science communicators to explain and inspire curiosity about genome engineering and synthetic biology.

Scientists attending the conference will be in the audience with you. Together we’ll ask questions and get insights on the powerful new genome writing and editing tools. Invite your family, friends, neighbors, and especially young people to this unique event for a lively conversation about building a better future for humanity through genome engineering.

Register for the Science Cafe
Adults: $15 per person Register here
Admission is free for humans 18 years old and younger. Register here
Registration includes two drink tickets. Please bring your I.D.

Science Cafe speakers
7:00 pm – Dr. David Odde: is a professor in the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering Department at the University of Minnesota. Read about the predictive models for cell behavior that his lab builds for more effective therapies.

7:15 pm – Lynn Fellman: is an artist who writes, illustrates and tells stories about the wonder and beauty in our genomes. See examples of her work at FellmanStudio.com.

7:30 pm Keynote – Dr. Ellen Jorgensen: is passionate about increasing science literacy of molecular and synthetic biology. She developed the community lab “Genspace” in Brooklyn, NY winning awards for outstanding informal science education for adults and young people. She also founded Biotech Without Borders, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting citizen science and access to biotechnology. Check out her Ted Talk “What you need to know about CRISPR”.

Getting there: Directions and parking information
Venue: The McNamara Alumni Center is located in the heart of the University of Minnesota campus on 200 Oak St. South East, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Parking is available in an adjacent ramp connected by tunnel to the Alumni Center. The ramp entrance is on University Avenue.
Light Rail: Take the Green Line and get off at East Bank Station. The Alumni Center is a five minute walk from East Bank Station.

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Minnesota’s Democratic Party (DFL) Convention, 2018

Today, Rebecca Otto, Minnesota Auditor, suspended her campaign for Governor of Minnesota.

Rebecca had run to seek the endorsement from the Minnesota DFL (that’s what we call Democrats in Minnesota). The state convention, at which endorsements are determined by a large collection of dedicated delegates and alternates, was held in Rochester. (Note: candidates can still run in the August primary, but it is often considered bad form to ignore the endorsement process.) I was there as a delegate. I’d never been to a state convention before, though I’ve been to plenty of state Senate District and Congressional District ones. The state convention was similar but ten times bigger, twice as loud, three times as long, and doubly exhausting.

Rebecca lost the endorsement process with a gut-punching and unexpected low number of votes on the first ballot, followed by a long period of chaos, followed by the exuberant endorsement of candidate Erin Murphy. Congratulations to Erin, who has doubled down on this process with her choice of picking a second Erin, Erin Maye Quade, as her running mate. That was a stunningly excellent choice.

But back to the Otto campaign. I was truly expecting the numbers to be different in this endorsement process. I was not personally privy to the detailed data on this campaign, but I had seen the top-line analyses. I expected Murphy, not Otto, to be in distant third. Clearly the numbers were wrong!

I don’t fault the people in the Otto campaign for getting that wrong. Well, yes, they did get it wrong, but this is not uncommon. I myself have had the job of counting delegates. I’ve gotten it at least as wrong. I know others who have as well. Campaigns often, perhaps to some extent, in most races, end up with incorrect delegate counts. (I note that as far as I know, the Murphy campaign had the numbers close to correct.) I have some ideas as to how this happens, and it might be helpful to work out some theory on this. But that is for later. For now, there is this one element of getting surprised by a low delegate count on the first ballot that I’d prefer to dwell on for just one moment:

It feels really, really, bad.

I don’t feel it is my place to relate how things were in the war room after the end of the process. That is private. But I was struck by one thing I’ll leak out. The people in the room, all of whom I have great love and respect for, exhibited the full range of expected emotional states from quietly stunned to liquefied-in-place, except for Rebecca Otto herself. Rebecca was the strength in the room. That was not unexpected, but I think it is something that should be said. I know she felt just as bad. I know her just enough to have sensed that. But she was not the quivering bowl of jelly I would have been.

I helped Rebecca in her campaign for two reasons. One is simply that she and her husband, Shawn, are my friends. But I’ve had a lot of friends run for office for whom I offered only perfunctory help. In the case of Rebecca Otto, there was another reason. I knew that Rebecca was blindingly smart, and a deeply good and honest person, and ever thoughtful. I know that for each area of policy, Rebecca would assemble her best assets and then ask them to assemble their best assets. These teams would then develop details and try ideas, in order to ultimately advance well developed proposals that could be brought to fruition in the State House to change the fundamental nature of economy, society, and culture in Minnesota, all in good ways. I was at the tail end of at least one of those assemblies, and contributed a bit to the policy development. There was a fact Rebecca often repeated in her stump speeches that I had worked on. I was proud to hear it mentioned again and again.

The other candidates are great people, great democrats, any one would be great as a governor, but I was supporting Rebecca Otto because I knew her approach and her results would be uniquely and powerfully transforming. People around the country were going to look at Minnesota, and go, “Wow, what the heck was that??? Why can’t we do that? Who did that? Let’s do that!” And the answer would be Rebecca Otto and the team she leads.

In the end, we are all Democrats. Just as importantly, those other guys? They are all Republicans. So, we have work to do. I like Erin Murphy. I will support her and her campaign, as the endorsed candidate. I’ll support all the endorsed candidates. I’ve been working on the campaign of our local Minnesota House, where my friend Ginny Klevorn hopes to unseat Representative Sarah Anderson, who is is a less religious but just as tea-happy mini-me version of Michel Bachmann, and leader of the evil Republican redistricting ploy in our state.

But I’ll be standing by for future versions of a Rebecca Otto campaign, should that happen, and I hope it does, somehow, sometime, somewhere.

A few notes about the other events at the convention.

The first one is a major piece of news that is still unfolding even as I write this.

Lori Swanson is the Minnesota Attorney General. Swanson has been the perennial heir apparent for that job forever. What I mean by that: everybody always assumed she’d be endorsed, then win. She has a great reputation and everybody likes her, etc. etc.

But this year, Matt Pelikan ran against Swanson for AG. Everybody seemed to like Matt, but everybody also said this about that race: we need Lori, she’s been great, Matt is great, but he has no experience, maybe he can run for something else someday.

Meanwhile, Swanson made a nuisance of herself at the very beginning of the pre-election season, last summer, telling everyone she might or might not run for Governor. This moved several good people into the position of running for the AG seat, but promising to pull out if Lori gives the governor’s race a pass. She pulled that trick (do I sound annoyed? sorry!) for way too long, using the fact that she was a state AG but also, not really an actual candidate, to exploit her moves along with other state AGs against Trump for positive Democratic Party cred.

At the convention, two things happened, then the boat tipped over.

First, Matt Pelikan, who is one very impressive young man, gave a speech that in my view was in the top three given at the convention, maybe the best one. He had the crowd on their feet. He also landed about eight good punches on the Swanson campaign, including noting Swanson’s NRA endorsement over the years, and her stand on various other issues that have become highly questionable even though everybody loves Lori and assumes she’s the automatic candidate.

Then, the Swanson campaign totally messed up their own presentation. Each campaign gets a certain number of minutes, then they have to get off the stage. Most campaigns have a short video, a person or two talk in favor of the candidate, then the candidate gives a rousing speech. Swanson had a mediocre video. Then, some dozen or so people lined up to each speak on her behalf. They were mostly unpracticed and poor speakers (including at least one who is an experienced politician who simply had not woken up that morning, it seemed). Each one spoke for 3-5 minutes. But they were supposed to speak for one minute! SO, half way through that awkward and embarrassing event, the whole lot of them got thrown off the stage, and Swanson never got to speak.

When the delegates voted, Pelekan had denied Swanson the endorsement. A very large number of delegates had probably figured, “OK, Lori is the obvious candidate, but Imma cast this one vote for Pelikan because he is so impressive.” The outcome of that vote was so astonishing, they had to bring in a special sweeper device to remove everyone’s jaws from the floor.

Before the second vote, Swanson dropped out. Ear shattering collective gasp.

My first thought? She’ll run in the primary for the AG slot!

My second thought, seconds later? No, wait! She’s running for governor!

And, low and behold, seconds ago as I write this, the news has leaked out: Swanson is running for Governor with Congressman Nolan as her Lt Gov.

In a less dramatic and less complicated event, former Republican and Bush ethics lawyer Richard Painter ran against Senator Tina Smith for the endorsement. Smith got the endorsement, but Painter got a surprisingly large number of votes.

And, finally, another sad thing. I’ve always supported Jon Tolefson in his political career, and I wanted him to be endorsed for auditor. He had a lot of support, including the endorsement of the Environmental Caucus. In something of a surprise, Julie Blaha took the majority of votes on the first round, and Jon stepped away, allowing Julie to be endorsed by acclamation. That was sad for me, but more sad for Jon’s Mother, who was sitting with me in my unit delegation at the event.

That’s all I have for now, but later, there are some people I want to thank. First, some dust has to settle and and I have to go through some photos and videos I may post.

OK, everybody, get to work!

ADDED: Keith Ellison, US Congressmember and Democratic Party co-head, considering running for Minnesota AG? This makes no sense! The world is spinning in the wrong direction!

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Trump almost won in Minnesota, thanks to Democrats

In a year in which Democrats show up, like they did in 2012, Trump would have been trounced in Minnesota. Instead, he barely lost. It was a very very close call, just a couple of percentage points.

This graph says it all:

One thing this means is that the Democrats, in putting up candidates in Minnesota, are not trying to win back Republicans or Trump voters. They are simply trying to win back their own.

Many months ago I coined the term “snowflake” to refer to liberals, progressives, or Democrats, who felt that since their own personal point of view is not perfectly represented in the mind of each and every other liberal or progressive or Democrat, that they should therefore complain incessantly, stay home from the polls, and sit there in a funk hoping someone like Trump wins the election in order to show the rest of them how bad they are being.

Unfortunately, the snowflake moniker has been co-opted, without my permission, by others! But, here, I revise it for the special purpose of talking about this graph.

Roughly six percent of Minnesotans are snowflakes.

This year, dammit, show up.

Also, in the coming convention, if you are a DFL delegate, vote for Otto because you don’t need a medium size male with a lumberjack shirt and a booming voice to win in this state.

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Things to do after installing Ubuntu Mate 18.04

1) Uninstall it. It is flawed in key ways. It will be difficult to get your Dropbox working, if you use that, installing software form .deb files is not automatic and requires hacking. There are some other problems too.

2) Check back here in a few months, see if I’ve updated with good news. Meanwhile, get back to whatever you were doing, because you don’t want to be doing this.

Added:

I tried to get info from Mate about the problems I encountered. They really provide no way to do that, so I tweeted about it referring to their handle, so they would see.

The tweeted back two responses. The first one said a combination of “nothing is broken” and “tough luck.” The second twee is shown in this screen grab:

That is a moving GIF with the boy’s eyes blinking. It is intended to mean, “tough shit, sucker!” or words to that effect.

(I provide a screen shot because I assume cooler heads will prevail, maybe, at Mate HQ, and the immature dickhead who tweeted that will be countermanded. Or maybe not. We don’t ever hear anything good about their development community. Only bad things.)

So, don’t look for an Ubuntu Mate explainer on this blog.

Preparing to install Xubuntu right now!

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Facts and Fears: The Russians Did Elect Trump

General James Patton is famous for this advice. Carefully account for and consider all the facts, and all your fears. Armed with this information, make a plan. Then, put aide your fears and attack! James R. Clapper, who is the offspring of an intelligence operative and who has spent his entire life engaged in intelligence, under each and every one of the United States Presidents from Lancer through Renegade, just wrote a book. In it, he gives us something to be afraid of, when he presents a startling and important conclusion. Continue reading Facts and Fears: The Russians Did Elect Trump

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Remember Cecil the Lion?

Do you remember Cecil the Lion? He was a loin in Zimbabwe, living in a protected park, somewhat habituated to human presence. A Great White Hunter, who was also a dentist in Minnesota, killed him a couple of years ago, and took a lot of heat for it. The real story of what happened is now out in a brand new book by biologist Andrew Loveridge. Continue reading Remember Cecil the Lion?

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I can’t support NRA backed candidates of either party

What is the difference between a dozen dead second graders and a dozen dead high school students?

The high school students’ best friends will be able to vote next year.

And no, I will not apologize for the strong words and horrifying imagery. It is time for strong words and horrifying imagery.

As a voter, and a delegate to June’s state DFL (Democratic Party) convention, I am facing a number of different poltical choices this year. As a delegate, I will be casting my vote to endorse two US Senate candidates, the State Auditor, the State Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the Governor. Recently, I was engaged in the endorsement decision for my US House District, and my local state House Representative is up for election. Continue reading I can’t support NRA backed candidates of either party

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After you install Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

Installing Bionic Beaver

I’m not going to tell you how to install the latest stable release of Ubuntu’s Linux desktop. For that, just go to Ubuntu and follow the appropriate instructions. I recommend using a bootable USB stick, and how you manage that depends on exactly what computer you are going to make it on. All three major operating systems have their own way of doing it. A quick google search will find simple instructions. The general pattern is to download the “DVD image” onto your hard drive, put a large enough USB stick that contains nothing of value into the slot, open the correct program, and tell it to put the DVD image on that stick in bootable form.

I do have this advice. If you ultimately want a certain desktop (such as XFCE or Mate or KDE or whatever), use the Ubuntu “flavor” for that desktop, things will go more smoothly. For this particular iteration, I decided to install the main Ubuntu desktop, and I’m going to try Gnome 3 for a while and see if I end up liking it.

Ubuntu 18.04 walks away from 32 bit support, and ditches Unity. The default desktop is Gnome, but this is the modern Gnome that is not that different from Unity. I generally prefer a Gnome 2.0 style desktop, so I usually use Mate (pronounced Matt ay).

Post Installation

Most of these suggestions are pretty standard for any install of any Linux system. Also, you can ignore much of this. Continue reading After you install Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

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Book Deals

Cheap in Kindle format right now:

Robert Heinlein’s Expanded Universe: Volume One

Heinlein personally selected each story or essay for inclusion in this collection, which is ordered chronologically, starting with his first sale in 1939 of “Life-Line” to Astounding (for seventy dollars).This remarkable collection highlights the development of Heinlein’s writing style and his philosophy on life throughout his career.

More importantly, this collection is as close to an autobiography as anything Heinlein wrote during his life. Heinlein was an extremely private person who never wrote much about himself. In this exclusive collection, he offers forewords to most of his stories and essays (and an occasional afterword), giving readers a rare glimpse into the inner mind of the master.

Expanded Universe is a must-have for any Heinlein enthusiast and any fan of science fiction.

Get Call for the Dead: A George Smiley Novel (George Smiley Novels Book 1) if you feel like starting (or restarting) the Smiley Series, a story about happier times when Russian Spies were Russian Spies, and so were the British Spies. It is the first in the Smiley series.

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