10 Jul 2017

Calculating the Odds at Gettysburg

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Military historians have long debated whether Lee’s decision to attack the Union center on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg with Pickett’s Division ever had any chance of succeeding.

Up at Norwich University in Vermont, Michael J. Armstrong (with Steve Sondergen) was the most recent to have a try at settling the dispute.

We used computer software to build a mathematical model of the charge. The model estimated the casualties and survivors on each side, given their starting strengths.

We used data from the actual conflict to calibrate the model’s equations. This ensured they initially recreated the historical results. We then adjusted the equations to represent changes in the charge, to see how those affected the outcome. This allowed us to experiment mathematically with several different alternatives.

The first factor we examined was the Confederate retreat. About half the charging infantry had become casualties before the rest pulled back. Should they have kept fighting instead? If they had, our model calculated that they all would have become casualties too. By contrast, the defending Union soldiers would have suffered only slightly higher losses. The charge simply didn’t include enough Confederate soldiers to win. They were wise to retreat when they did.

We next evaluated how many soldiers the Confederate charge would have needed to succeed. Lee put nine infantry brigades, more than 10,000 men, in the charge. He kept five more brigades back in reserve. If he had put most of those reserves into the charge, our model estimated it would have captured the Union position. But then Lee would have had insufficient fresh troops left to take advantage of that success.
Ammunition ran out

We also looked at the Confederate artillery barrage. Contrary to plans, their cannons ran short of ammunition due to a mix-up with their supply wagons. If their generals had better coordinated those supplies, the cannons could have fired twice as much. Our model calculated that this improved barrage would have been like adding one more infantry brigade to the charge. That is, the supply mix-up hurt the Confederate attack, but was not decisive by itself.

Finally, we considered the Union Army. After the battle, critics complained that Meade had focused too much on preparing his defences. This made it harder to launch a counter-attack later. However, our model estimated that if he had put even one less infantry brigade in his defensive line, the Confederate charge probably would have succeeded. This suggests Meade was correct to emphasize his defense.

Pickett’s Charge was not the only controversial part of Gettysburg. Two days earlier, Confederate Gen. Richard Ewell decided against attacking Union soldiers on Culp’s Hill. He instead waited for his infantry and artillery reinforcements. By the time they arrived, however, it was too late to attack the hill.
Was Ewell’s Gettysburg decision actually wise?

Ewell was on the receiving end of a lot of criticism for missing that opportunity. Capturing the hill would have given the Confederates a much stronger position on the battlefield. However, a failed attack could have crippled Ewell’s units. Either result could have altered the rest of the battle.

A study at the U.S. Military Academy used a more complex computer simulation to estimate the outcome if Ewell had attacked. The simulation indicated that an assault using only his existing infantry would have failed with heavy casualties. By contrast, an assault that also included his later-arriving artillery would have succeeded. Thus, Ewell made a wise decision for his situation.

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I’m afraid I do not buy the analysis on Ewell’s decision one bit. The Union 1st and XIth Corps were retiring in disorder late in afternoon having been beaten in a hard fight west of Gettysburg. Ewell’s Corps was arriving from the North, on the right flank of the collapsing Union line. What do you suppose would have happened to the Union Army if Stonewall Jackson had survived the Battle of Chancellorsville, six weeks earlier, and been commanding that corps instead of Ewell? Those computer simulations up at Norwich are clearly not accurately calculating for momentum and morale.

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For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstance which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it’s going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn’t need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago.

—William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust, 1948.

09 Jul 2017

Michael Mann in Contempt of Court

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You won’t be reading about it in the Times or the Post, but Michael Mann has blown his attempt to silence critics with lawsuits for defamation by refusing to release his data to the Canadian Court.

Newscasts.org:

Michael Mann, who chose to file what many consider to be a cynical SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) libel suit in the British Columbia Supreme Court, Vancouver six long years ago, has astonished legal experts by refusing to comply with the court direction to hand over all his disputed graph’s data. Mann’s iconic hockey stick has been relied upon by the UN’s IPCC and western governments as crucial evidence for the science of ‘man-made global warming.’

As first reported in Principia Scientific International (February 1, 2017), the defendant in the case, Canadian climatologist Dr. Tim Ball, had won “concessions” against Mann, but at the time the details were kept confidential, pending Mann’s response.

The negative and unresponsive actions of Dr Mann and his lawyer, Roger McConchie, are expected to infuriate the judge and be the signal for the collapse of Mann’s multi-million dollar libel suit against Dr Ball. It will be music to the ears of so-called ‘climate deniers’ like President Donald Trump and his EPA Chief, Scott Pruitt.

As Dr Ball explains:

    “Michael Mann moved for an adjournment of the trial scheduled for February 20, 2017. We had little choice because Canadian courts always grant adjournments before a trial in their belief that an out of court settlement is preferable. We agreed to an adjournment with conditions. The major one was that he [Mann] produce all documents including computer codes by February 20th, 2017. He failed to meet the deadline.”

Mann’s now proven contempt of court means Ball is entitled to have the court serve upon Mann the fullest punishment. Contempt sanctions could reasonably include the judge ruling that Dr. Ball’s statement that Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn. State’ is a precise and true statement of fact. This is because under Canada’s unique ‘Truth Defense’, Mann is now proven to have wilfully hidden his data, so the court may rule he hid it because it is fake. As such, the court must then dismiss Mann’s entire libel suit with costs awarded to Ball and his team.

The spectacular rise and fall of climate alarmism’s former golden boy is a courtroom battle with even more ramifications than the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. To much fanfare at the time, Mann had sued Ball for daring to publish the damning comment that Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn. State.”

RTWT

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More at American Thinker.

09 Jul 2017

The Left Wins Every Battle, But Loses the War

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Richard Fernandez finds cause for ultimate optimism.

David Gerlenter writing in the Wall Street Journal says something self-evidently true. The Left seems to have won every single culture battle fought.

    Although the right reads the left, the left rarely reads the right. Why should it, when the left owns American culture? Nearly every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation. The left wrapped up the culture war two generations ago. Throughout my own adult lifetime, the right has never made one significant move against the liberal culture machine.

The late Andrew Breitbart noticed the same thing. Observing that “politics is downstream from culture,” he argued the Left has made us the villains of our own stories.

    Our lives — indeed, our very species — has storytelling wound into our DNA. … Popular culture is delivered to us in the form of story via books, TV, film, music, video games, and new media. …

    Thus we come to politics … the vast majority of those with the power of content creation are Liberals. … Liberals control story. …What is some of that messaging? Think about movies and TV. Corporations are evil — using unwitting poor Africans for pharmaceutical testing (Constant Gardener) or dumping toxic chemicals into nature (Erin Brockovich, A Civil Action) or responsible for the end of mankind (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). American soldiers are bloodthirsty lawbreaking maniacs (Any military film). The CIA conducts illegal, secret operations that have nothing to do with protecting America. Radical Muslim terrorists are never villains. Trial lawyers are crusading do-gooders. David Letterman and Saturday Night Live ridicule the Right 95% of the time. Jon Stewart pretends to be centrist, but in fact jumps all over the Right far more often than the Left.

    Liberal political candidates are the embodiments of those Liberal tenets. The goal is to associate them in voter minds via the vehicle of popular culture.

Even before Breitbart’s warning there was Orwell, who understood that the Left’s ultimate ability was to uproot the past and plant their chosen seed for the future. His famous dictum “he who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past” is an unsurpassed indictment of groupthink totalitarianism. There seemed no doubt they would succeed. Within its bubble, the Left’s control of culture is so absolute they can watch 1984 without realizing it’s about them.

Yet the real mystery — one which even Orwell himself did not anticipate — is why,

Look around you. Every single country that adopted socialism as an economic system went bankrupt. The Soviet Union collapsed. Now the Western Gramscian project is self-immolating in the fires of its own absurdity. The current political crisis is the collective shudder of mortality passing through “every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation.” The left may have “wrapped up the culture war two generations ago,” but it is rotting inside the wrapping.

RTWT

08 Jul 2017

Copper of Iceman’s Axe Came From Hundreds of Miles Away From the Tyrol

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Telegraph:

New research has shown that a copper axe carried by a Neolithic hunter known as Ötzi the Iceman came from southern Tuscany.

The find has surprised experts because hundreds of miles separate Tuscany from the Alpine pass where the mummified body of Ötzi was discovered 25 years ago.

It is known that copper was mined in the Alps so it is a mystery why the Iceman’s blade should have come from so far away.

Nor do scientists know whether the copper was acquired as a raw ingot, which then had to be fashioned into an axe, or as a ready-made blade.

The hunter-gatherer, nicknamed Ötzi after the Otztal mountains where he was found, died 5,300 years ago on what is now the border between Italy and Austria.

He perished after being shot in the back with an arrow by an unknown assailant, in one of the world’s oldest murder mysteries.

His body was frozen forever in the snow and ice of the mountains.

“Our results unambiguously indicate that the source of the metal is the ore-rich area of southern Tuscany, despite ample evidence that Alpine copper ore sources were known and exploited at the time,” scientists said in a report published in the research journal Plos One.

The fact that copper was being traded between central Italy and the remote Alps was “surprising”, said the experts, who are from Padua University and the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, where the mummified body of the Iceman is on permanent display.

RTWT

08 Jul 2017

Watch Out For This Bear!

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07 Jul 2017

Mosaic Glass Bowl

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Roman Glass Bowl, 0-100 A.D., 12 cm diameter, Inventory number: H2901, Thorvaldsen Museum.

This glass bowl is in bluish green glass with a pattern in yellow, lilac, white and pale green. This colourful glass bowl has acquired its delightful pattern by means of a special technique called mosaic glass or millefiori, a thousand flowers, as the finished result often emerges as a flower-pattern. Glass using this technique was made by slowly melting different-coloured glass rods, fusing them together, cutting them into discs, placing them in a mould and finally polishing them.

07 Jul 2017

Oldest Wood-Frame House in the United States

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Vintage News says that the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts is the oldest:

The west wing of the house was built around 1654, and the east wing was added in the 18th century. After its construction, a chimney was built at its top, and around 1800 expansion of the parlor was made on this side. At the same time, a new wing with two rooms was added to the west side, and behind this side, a toilet was made as the last addition to the house.

The early inhabitants of the house carved hex signs into the mantle in order to protect themselves from witches. Also, shoes have been found in the attic to chase away evil spirits. In 1895, one of the heirs, Rebecca Fairbanks, was in a difficult financial situation, so she sold the house to John Crowley who after the selling allowed her to live there.

Later, Rebecca sold many of the family items including a unique wooden chest which was made by John Houghton in 1658. This item was purchased back by the family in 2003.

When Crowley wanted to tear down the house in 1897, it was immediately purchased by Mrs. J. A. Codman and her daughter. In 1904, the newly established Fairbanks Family took the house over, and in 1905 it became a museum. In 1960, it was declared a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Two buildings, the La Maison Puisseaux and La maison des Jésuites in Quebec City, date from 1637, but it unclear if they were wood-frame houses.

07 Jul 2017

First Elk Calf Born in West Virginia Since the 1870s

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Retri
everman
:

The recent birth of an elk calf is the first in West Virginia since elk were reintroduced in December 2016, according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

The agency confirmed the birth Thursday, saying it has captured footage of the calf passing by a camera set up to monitor a pregnant cow separated from the herd.

Out of the 24 elk brought to West Virginia in 2016, six were pregnant, though two died soon after arriving. Officials believe at least one other cow is currently pregnant.

“For our elk population to be sustainable, there has to be reproduction, and this calf is the first of many to be born here in West Virginia,” Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel said in a statement. …

Legislation in 2015 authorized the elk restoration plan. The Tomblin Wildlife Management Area in Logan and McDowell counties set aside 9,000 acres for elk restoration.

HT: Karen L. Myers.

Elk were reintroduced in Pennsylvania, via a small herd imported from Wyoming, in 1913.

06 Jul 2017

“What Is She Aiming At?”

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06 Jul 2017

Mu

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Mu (無), meaning ‘nothingness’ or ‘emptiness’ referring to the idea/essence of reality that exists beyond form.

06 Jul 2017

Sad

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05 Jul 2017

Fireworks Are Not Legal in LA

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05 Jul 2017

CNN Bullying Becomes National Scandal and Major Internet Meme

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CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski proudly explains how CNN tracked down the identity of the Reddit user who created the “Trump wrestling CNN” video that President Trump gleefully tweeted three days ago.

Using identifying information that “HanA**holeSolo” posted on Reddit, KFile was able to determine key biographical details, to find the man’s name using a Facebook search and ultimately corroborate details he had made available on Reddit.

On Monday, KFile attempted to contact the man by email and phone but he did not respond. On Tuesday, “HanA**holeSolo” posted his apology on the subreddit /The_Donald and deleted all of his other posts.
“First of all, I would like to apologize to the members of the reddit community for getting this site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened,” he wrote. “I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real life, I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on reddit and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts. I would never support any kind of violence or actions against others simply for what they believe in, their religion, or the lifestyle they choose to have. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did.”

The user further apologized for calls for violence against the press in his statement on Reddit.

“The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation,” he wrote. “I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it and then have it put up on the President’s Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more. What the President’s feed showed was not the original post that was posted here, but loaded up somewhere else and sound added to it then sent out on Twitter. I thought it was the original post that was made and that is why I took credit for it. I have the highest respect for the journalist community and they put their lives on the line every day with the jobs that they do in reporting the news.” …

[Emphasis added]
CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.

CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.

Well, Gentlemen, how do you like a news organization going out and hunting down the individual private citizen responsible for creating a joke at their expense, forcing him to delete his online comments and opinions, and extracting a promise from him never in future to express sentiments or opinions that CNN doesn’t like, under penalty of public targeting and exposure?

Presumably, if you create two videos mocking CNN in a row, matters will escalate to the point that they will despatch a hit squad to deal with you permanently.

Well, it may be that Mr. Kaczynski gloated publicly too soon. It may really be the case that CNN has really shot itself in the foot again. The Internet is actually exploding today with indignation over CNN’s identification and blackmail of that Reddit user. Free Speech, remember that?

CNN apparently did not like being mocked in one humorous video three days ago. Well, today there is now #CNNBLACKMAIL featuring a very large supply of brand new videos and other mockery at CNN’s expense.

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UPDATE: Apparently CNN is blackmailing the wrong guy.

05 Jul 2017

Not a Gif

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