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Sancho's Journal
Sancho's Journal
May 13, 2024

Project Hephaistos - II. Dyson sphere candidates from Gaia DR3, 2MASS, and WISE


The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is currently being pursued using multiple techniques and in different wavelength bands. Dyson spheres, megastructures that could be constructed by advanced civilizations to harness the radiation energy of their host stars, represent a potential technosignature, that in principle may be hiding in public data already collected as part of large astronomical surveys. In this study, we present a comprehensive search for partial Dyson spheres by analyzing optical and infrared observations from Gaia, 2MASS, and WISE. We develop a pipeline that employs multiple filters to identify potential candidates and reject interlopers in a sample of five million objects, which incorporates a convolutional neural network to help identify confusion in WISE data. Finally, the pipeline identifies 7 candidates deserving of further analysis. All of these objects are M-dwarfs, for which astrophysical phenomena cannot easily account for the observed infrared excess emission.
May 12, 2024

Sen. Rick Scott's artificial intelligence will surely keep socialists and commies out of Florida


Scott’s manifesto noted those socialists and assorted reds need to know: “We’re the free state of Florida.” And indeed we are — unless you want to read a book, or get an abortion, or enroll your child in a Medicaid program, or love whomever you wish, or feel safe walking down the street without bumping into some Florida man with a gun, or believe in diversity, equality and inclusion, or want to learn more about critical race theory, or perhaps enjoy your constitutional First Amendment rights, which include expressing socialist and communist view points. Other than that, well sure, you’re free.

While Scott wrings his hands over the prospect of a Woody Guthrie Convention coming to Orlando, he is remarkably untroubled that Florida is awash in Nazis, white supremacists, the Klan, Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, antisemites, Islamophobes, anti-LBGTQ hate mongers and folks who live in fear a 14-year-old might read “Catcher in the Rye.”

Would Gov. Ron DeSantis dispatch his chintzy State Guard to the Georgia border and the state’s airports to inspect luggage containing contraband such as tomes on the Material Dialectic (you know, an approach for explaining the transition from capitalism to socialism) or perhaps a purloined video copy of “The Battleship Potemkin”? Would the guard be ever watchful of anyone humming “The Internationale”? You never know.

Orange state insanity...

Florida likes to promote itself as a place “Where the rules are different here.” And they are, just as long as Rick Scott decides what the rules are. Isn’t all that freedom swell?

April 10, 2024

Florida pronoun law violates teacher's First Amendment rights, judge says


TALLAHASSEE — A federal judge on Tuesday blocked Florida education officials from enforcing a law requiring a transgender teacher to use pronouns that align with her sex assigned at birth, saying the law violated her First Amendment rights.

The 2023 law restricts educators’ use of personal pronouns and titles in schools. Violations of the law — one of a number of measures backed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis targeting the LGBTQ+ community over the past few years — can result in teachers being stripped of certifications and hefty financial penalties for school districts.

“Once again, the state of Florida has a First Amendment problem. Of late, it has happened so frequently, some might say you can set your clock by it,” Walker’s 60-page ruling began. “This time, the state of Florida declares that it has the absolute authority to redefine your identity if you choose to teach in a public school. So, the question before this court is whether the First Amendment permits the state to dictate, without limitation, how public school teachers refer to themselves when communicating to students. The answer is a thunderous ‘no.’”

DeSatan is evil....
April 7, 2024

Amendment 3: Florida's recreational marijuana ballot measure, explained


Here are seven key questions about Amendment 3, answered.

Will it smell like weed everywhere if the amendment passes?

“This is going to be part of your community,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said recently. “I’ve gone to some of these cities that have this everywhere. It smells.”

Lots of readers thought the FIRST question in their minds if marijuana is legal would be....does it smell?

March 10, 2024

Biden made claim about cost of prescriptions in US vs. elsewhere Fact check


It’s well documented that Americans pay high prices for health care. But do they pay double or more for prescriptions compared with the rest of the world? That’s what President Joe Biden said.

“If I put you on Air Force One with me, and you have a prescription — no matter what it’s for, minor or major — and I flew you to Toronto or flew to London or flew you to Brazil or flew you anywhere in the world, I can get you that prescription filled for somewhere between 40 to 60% less than it costs here,” Biden said Feb. 22 at a campaign reception in California.

He followed up by touting provisions in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act to lower drug prices, including capping insulin at $35 a month for Medicare enrollees and limiting older Americans’ out-of-pocket prescription spending to $2,000 per year starting in 2025. The law also authorized Medicare to negotiate prices directly with drug companies for 10 prescription drugs, a list that will expand over time.

Biden’s statement is accurate but needs clarification and additional information. We rate it Mostly True.

Why doesn't the news report this everyday? Just asking...

February 28, 2024

New College of Florida is sanctioned by national faculty group


A national faculty union has voted to sanction New College of Florida, saying the Sarasota school’s leaders have imposed “an aggressively ideological agenda” since taking over more than a year ago.

The American Association of University Professors, which has placed 12 other universities on its sanctions list since 1995, pointed to its investigation last year in justifying the addition of New College. The group sanctions schools for violations of shared governance, the principle of joint decision-making between university administrators and faculty.

It pointed to the “unprecedented politically motivated takeover” of New College marked by a “complete departure from shared governance” since Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed six new members to the school’s board of trustees in January 2023. The board quickly made changes that included replacing the president and eliminating gender studies as a major.

The union’s website says sanctions are published “for the purpose of informing Association members, the profession at large, and the public that unsatisfactory conditions of academic government exist at the institutions in question.” Sanctions can also be removed.

DeSatan's attacks on education hurt students and employees.
February 24, 2024

Weird story that keeps growing: Tim Burke's lawyer says they don't know alleged co-conspirator's name


A lawyer for Tampa media consultant Tim Burke says his client doesn’t know the identity of the person that federal officials say he conspired with to access video from Fox News and other organizations.

The indictment says Burke worked with an unnamed person, and identified them by their partial username on X (formerly known as Twitter) as “@E---es.” The indictment said the alleged co-conspirator lived in Washington, and prosecutor Jay Trezevant said Thursday in court that Burke knew who the person was.

The indictment does not name Fox News, but a letter from a Tampa federal prosecutor to the media company, obtained last May by the Tampa Bay Times, described a criminal probe into alleged computer hacks. The Times confirmed with people close to the investigation that it related to the search of Burke’s home.

The Burke case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who was appointed in 2020 by then-President Donald Trump. In 2022, she made headlines for her decision to strike down the federal mask mandate for airplanes and other mass transit. Mizelle was nominated for her position eight years after passing the bar; during her nomination process, a committee of the American Bar Association raised concerns about her qualification because of a lack of experience.

Who is Tim Burke? How the feds cracked down on the Tampa media figure. How Fox News, Kanye West and Tucker Carlson relate to the case.


A profile of Burke published in the Tampa Bay Times last year described Burke’s approach to harvesting stories from video. A boss of Burke’s said he “looked at video the way someone who came from a traditional print journalism background would look at obtaining documents, or working a source to find something out. ... He aggressively pursued video in that same way, like it was a story to unearth.”

In 2018, Sinclair Broadcast Group had journalists in dozens of the local television stations it owned read a public service announcement about what it claimed was “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.” To some, particularly those on the left, the message sounded a lot like the warnings coming from then-president Donald Trump about “fake news.”

Burke stitched together a video of more than two dozen anchors reading the script. The product was effective. In 2021, Burke tweeted that the video had been viewed nearly 65 million times.
February 18, 2024

Clearwater woman was denied protection from ex. Two days later, he killed her.


Two days before police say Audrey Petersen was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, she filed for a temporary injunction seeking protection from him, court records show.

In the petition, Petersen wrote that Scoza repeatedly sent her unsettling text messages over a weeklong period about their relationship. She also wrote that Scoza had handguns “in his condo and possibly in his car.”

Clearwater police say Scoza forced his way into Petersen’s home on the 2300 block of Hillcreek Circle East, in the Countryside area, shortly after 8 p.m. As Petersen fled to a neighbor’s house, Scoza shot her multiple times before shooting and killing himself in the same neighbor’s yard, police say.

In September 2021, when Luna was running for Congress, Loar dismissed a temporary stalking injunction against Luna’s opponent, who Luna said had plans to kill her. In Luna’s case, Loar said she dismissed the injunction because the law requires two instances of harassment in order for an injunction to be upheld.

People Control, Not Gun Control

This is my generic response to gun threads where people are shot and killed by the dumb or criminal possession of guns. For the record, I grew up in the South and on military bases. I was taught about firearms as a child, and I grew up hunting, was a member of the NRA, and I still own guns. In the 70’s, I dropped out of the NRA because they become more radical and less interested in safety and training. Some personal experiences where people I know were involved in shootings caused me to realize that anyone could obtain and posses a gun no matter how illogical it was for them to have a gun. Also, easy access to more powerful guns, guns in the hands of children, and guns that weren’t secured are out of control in our society. As such, here’s what I now think ought to be the requirements to possess a gun. I’m not debating the legal language, I just think it’s the reasonable way to stop the shootings. Notice, none of this restricts the type of guns sold. This is aimed at the people who shoot others, because it’s clear that they should never have had a gun.

1.) Anyone in possession of a gun (whether they own it or not) should have a regularly renewed license. If you want to call it a permit, certificate, or something else that's fine.
2.) To get a license, you should have a background check, and be examined by a professional for emotional and mental stability appropriate for gun possession. It might be appropriate to require that examination to be accompanied by references from family, friends, employers, etc. This check is not to subject you to a mental health diagnosis, just check on your superficial and apparent gun-worthyness.
3.) To get the license, you should be required to take a safety course and pass a test appropriate to the type of gun you want to use.
4.) To get a license, you should be over 21. Under 21, you could only use a gun under direct supervision of a licensed person and after obtaining a learner’s license. Your license might be restricted if you have children or criminals or other unsafe people living in your home. (If you want to argue 18 or 25 or some other age, fine. 21 makes sense to me.)
5.) If you possess a gun, you would have to carry a liability insurance policy specifically for gun ownership - and likely you would have to provide proof of appropriate storage, security, and whatever statistical reasons that emerge that would drive the costs and ability to get insurance.
6.) You could not purchase a gun or ammunition without a license, and purchases would have a waiting period.
7.) If you possess a gun without a license, you go to jail, the gun is impounded, and a judge will have to let you go (just like a DUI).
8.) No one should carry an unsecured gun (except in a locked case, unloaded) when outside of home. Guns should be secure when transporting to a shooting event without demonstrating a special need. Their license should indicate training and special carry circumstances beyond recreational shooting (security guard, etc.). If you are carrying your gun while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you lose your gun and license.
9.) If you buy, sell, give away, or inherit a gun, your license information should be recorded.
10.) If you accidentally discharge your gun, commit a crime, get referred by a mental health professional, are served a restraining order, etc., you should lose your license and guns until reinstated by a serious relicensing process.

Most of you know that a license is no big deal. Besides a driver’s license you need a license to fish, operate a boat, or many other activities. I realize these differ by state, but that is not a reason to let anyone without a bit of sense pack a semiautomatic weapon in public, on the roads, and in schools. I think we need to make it much harder for some people to have guns.
February 10, 2024

DeSantis wants to ban 'fake meat.' The world is watching.


China Weekly, a Chinese language publication, mentioned a Florida bill that would ban the sale and manufacturing of cultivated meat, also sometimes referred to as lab-grown meat.

The Chinese government is investing heavily in the technology behind cultivated meat, the publication noted, according to a translation provided by University of Florida Assistant Professor Stephan Kory, who studies the language.

The cultivated meat issue could put Florida’s Republican leaders in an awkward position. As a candidate for president, Gov. Ron DeSantis ran on making American food production more competitive.

But DeSantis seems to be supporting the ban on cultivated meat, which he referred to last week as “fake meat” — a position that could cause American companies to fall behind worldwide competitors in a key area of food science.

Read the whole story...

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