My climate strike

Joining the striking kids in Malaga

Lu and I joined the children’s climate strike in Malaga yesterday.

Can you spot the odd man out? Photo by Lu

The photo is slightly misleading in that the majority of the protesters were older, with a surprising number of Seniores. A decent if not startling turnout, and all very good-humoured.

Our information-rich poster. Translation at the end. Bus by Playmobil. Hollin is soot – the streaks are the real thing from my wood-burning fireplace. The QR code links to a paper in Nature Communications, but only one other participant took a photo of it. No media in sight.

I did quite well on photos otherwise: several dozen. Very markedly, there was disproportionate interest from middle-aged women. I assume it’s the placenta reference: it doesn’t connect in the same way to young nulliparae.

If I were Francisco de la Torre, the 77-year-old PP mayor of Malaga, would I be worried enough to reconsider my policies? For instance on slow-walking the buying of electric buses? I doubt it: we weren’t enough, nor sufficiently focused. A lot depends on whether Greta’s army, or its parents, will get down to the plank-boring work of political organization. The Occupy Wall Streeters notoriously failed to make this transition. But I might be more worried by the middle-aged women, the kind that go to meetings, who may now be circulating photos of my poster and others on their FB feeds.

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Vegas pics

I was the leadoff speaker at the American Association of Individual Investors conference in Las Vegas. I enjoyed meeting participants, disproportionately older folk asking questions about how to financially assist their adult children and grandchildren. While there, I took some pics….

Vegas card dealer. “For I have seen your painted women…”

Veronica and I are really enjoying that new TRX class, though my neck is a little sore.

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President Trump does look better with nonlinear functional forms

…So says the White House Council of Economic Advisors, anyway.

I’d wanted to learn how to do K-means image compression in R. So I decided to fact-check CEA’s claim by seeing what President Trump would look like if I compressed his image. Total time from googling R code to posted image: 15 minutes. Props to this guy for the clear code.

On the whole, I would have to say that CEA’s claim checks out…

Some other cool compressed images below
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Weekend pics: Chicago Air and Water show

On a poorly-planned trip, I got fewer good pics than last year, but a few decent ones. Mainly, the trip demonstrated the value of high-quality equipment. My full-frame camera with a 300mm lens got much better pics than my new super-zoom Nikon P900. The P900 got a few cool pictures of parachutists from miles away, but the soft lens, camera jitter, and related challenges made it hard to do action shots at high zoom.

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Memorial Day at Normandy, 2016

(Me from two years ago)

A four-year-old with her toy basket and cute yellow boots plays with her father in the sand. She has no way to understand–not that the rest of us really do, either that the spot on which she is playing was once a killing field, Juno Beach, where so many brave Canadian troops were subject to withering German fire on the morning of June 6, 1944.


Our tour bus from Paris hit the usual sites. Memorials to Allied soldiers pepper the area. We saw no memorials to their German adversaries, who fought all too bravely and well for an unspeakable cause. I cannot honor these men. Yet they, too, left much behind.

Like many of my contemporaries, I was a childhood World War II buff. I’ve probably read a hundred books on World War II since I was a child. I learned world geography from the battle maps of American Heritage accounts of Midway, Stalingrad, and the Ardennes. So I was intimately familiar with our guide’s account of the logistical feats and planning missteps in Operation Overlord’s first day.

I knew of the bombing runs missed, the amphibious vehicles than had sunk. I knew about the currents and tides led many of the invaders to arrive a fatal thirty minutes late or to land a fateful few hundred-yards from their intended site. The greatest and most consequential victory of American arms since 1865 was, at ground level, bloody chaos, replete with tragic mistakes and accidents that led thousands of men to die.

I knew about the American Rangers who rappelled the steep face of Pointe du Hoc, while German troops on the ridge above slashed their climbing ropes and rained down grenades. I did not, until Saturday, know what that rock face looked like from above.

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