I spent some time tracking The River Fire in Mariposa and Madera counties this week, and it makes an interesting comparison to the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire in Santa Cruz county and which I also covered in my blog. The River Fire started on 11 July. Its development is documented by maps from the NASA FIRMS system, which I’ve included below. Today, after four days, the satellites no longer detect fire in the area of the River Fire. The Calfire Incident Report indicates 21% containment and ongoing mop-up efforts.

Considering the River Fire and the CZU Complex, here are…


Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Privacy protects criminals, who often value it even more than the rest of us.

This week Apple announced a collection of new privacy features, including a “Private Relay” service that encrypts communications and hides a user’s IP address from online service providers. It’s another example of Apple’s leadership in online privacy, a kudgel it wields against companies like Google and Facebook that rely on advertising for most of their revenue. Apple is not the first to offer such a service to consumers. Google has offered a VPN in its Google One package since November 2020, and the Apple and Google…


The flag of the State of Israel.

The United States is not the only country struggling to maintain democracy.

Eyes around the globe are on the United States as our democracy struggles with an entrenched minority employing well-studied tactics to displace democracy and reinforce minority rule. Billions watched the former American president with varying degrees of awe and horror as he rejected science and attacked news he found inconvenient. Now a swarm of lesser politicians are doing their all to compromise accessibility of the vote and manufacture uncertainty about voting integrity. The newsworthiness of these situations is evidence of something fresh in America, fresh like an open…


Are these the leaders that will define this era of American Democracy?

At an “America First” rally in Dalton, Georgia, Representative Matt Gaetz boldly summoned his audience to unite around their common cause:

“Silicon Valley can’t cancel this movement. Or this rally. Or this congressman. We have a second amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it.”


By Royalbroil — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18493223

A republic is a government that respects the rule-of-law. Will America’s Republican Party continue to be republican?

Part of understanding modern American politics is understanding words, and today’s word is republicanism. American politics adds a lot of complications and caveats to the historical concept, so this post will focus not on the Republican Party but on republicanism, the small-R historical notion that identifies a political ideology and a philosophy of government.

The Republican Party started in 1854 but small-R republicanism is much older than that, dating back to Greek civilization, centuries before the Roman Empire. The essence of republicanism is…


Thank you Jeff. The news on this topic seems so one sided it is wonderful to get your viewpoint, a platform perspective, and a perspective that the platforms struggle to provide for themselves.

How much harm do you think has been done by Google's capitulation? WIll this destroy the web, as per Sir Tim's most dire predictions?


Banned from Social Media: Alex Jones, Logan Paul, Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopoulos, David Duke, Louis Farrakhan, and Donald J. Trump.

It’s too easy to take for granted the structures that support accountability, just as we take for granted our democracy. Now is the wrong time for that.

Pick up nearly any book from your bookshelf and you can find, both on the cover and in the first few pages, the identity of the author and the publisher. For anyone with enough experience with books to read this article, it would be hard to make an observation less remarkable. Through years of conditioning, we take this information for granted. Yes it is a convenience to help you recognize books you might…


@realDonaldTrump. Source: Twitter

To understand the power of new media, it is useful to consider Trump before and after he was “deplatformed,” his banishment from Twitter and other social media platforms. President Trump was banned after inciting a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capital on 6 January 2021. His final tweets are no longer available on Twitter, but these authentic digital reproductions preserve the historic presidential communications for the benefit of my readers:


Excerpt of Section 230. Source: www.govinfo.gov

President Biden and former President Trump have one thing in common: a interest in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. As a candidate, Biden suggested Section 230 should be revoked, and Trump cited revocation in his rationale for vetoing the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 230, also sometimes referred to as “the liability shield”, prevents online services like Facebook and Twitter from being treated as the publisher of third-party content. That means, unlike publishers, they can’t be sued or otherwise held liable for problematic content, apart from a few narrow exceptions such as copyright violations.

Section 230, sometimes known…


The Cow Pock. Source: Wikipedia.

For those who object to vaccination there is a natural alternative. However, nature is not always kind.

When a highly contagious viral infection like COVID-19 takes hold of a population, the only way to defeat it is by reducing the R- number, the average number of new people infected by each individual who gets the disease. When the R-number is less than 1.0, the infection is in decline, with remission statistically assured as long as the R-number does not rise. Two ways to reduce the R-number are immunity and isolation. Immunity generally means you’ve either had the disease already or…

Exploring American politics from the view of an engineer.

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