Here’s something that many Americans — including some of the smartest and most educated among us — don’t know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.

Right now, we’re hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is “down” to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.

None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast “falling” unemployment.

I think I’ve made an interesting observation about Atheists that are former Christians and like to see what you all think. Christians who turn Atheist seem to think that getting rid of God is the cure for what ails them. That becoming an Atheist means that you have arrived at the Truth, But you haven’t. Atheism is just one very tiny step in the right direction. Christian Atheists still think like Christians and it takes a lot of work to move your thought patterns to a science based mentality. You have to embrace Reality – not just reject God, Just being an Atheist doesn’t get you there. You have to go “all the way in”.

Teachers would be able to use deadly force against students, and would be safe from prosecution, under legislation filed last week in the Texas state House.

Koch Brother to buy control of America for less than a billion

And we’re just going to sit here and let them do it.

This last week the Pope seemed to finally get it that world overpopulation is a serious problem when he said “being a good Catholic did not mean people should breed like rabbits.” For a fleeting moment I thought “Yes – the Pope finally gets it!” But then he took it back. So much for the infallibility of the Pope.

The Catholic Church, with it’s stand on breeding like rabbits is an environmental catastrophe in the making. Poverty, war, global warming are driven by too many people going after a finite amount of dwindling resources. While large families might have made sense in ancient times when the child mortality rate was 50%, in modern times with a global population of 7.2 billion, the problem of overpopulation is one of humanity’s biggest challenges. The Pope could help solve it, but he chooses to turn his back on reality. What a shame.


In addition to my SolarCity collectors I built an additional collector / yard art / garden shade. I saw something similar online and I thought “I need to build one of those.”

Yes – this is as simple as it looks. It’s 4 240 watt panels bolted together in a diamond. They are mounted on a 2 inch pipe. The 4 panels are connected in parallel and connected to a 1KW grid tie inverter that is plugged into a wall socket on my deck. It’s very simple. The sun shines on it, it makes DC power (40 volts / 20 amps) and the inverter turns it into AC power that is fed back into the grid. If the house is using less power than the collector it runs the meter backwards.

Technically this is a 1000 watt system. But in reality at the peak of the day I get about 750 – 800 watts of real power back into the grid so I’m calling it 800 watt.

The Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam has said Muslim immigrants who do not appreciate the way of life in Western civilisations can ‘f*** off’. Ahmed Aboutaleb, who arrived in the Netherlands aged 15, spoke out in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last week.

Appearing on live television just hours after the shootings, Mayor Aboutaleb said Muslims who ‘do not like freedom can pack your bags and leave’. Labour politician Ahmed Aboutaleb, a former journalist who was appointed mayor of the Dutch city in 2008, is known for his straightforward stance on integration.

The 53-year-old won the praise of London-mayor Boris Johnson over his comments last week attacking fellow Muslims who move to Western nations but refuse to accept the Western way of life. ‘It is incomprehensible that you can turn against freedom,’ Mayor Aboutaleb told Dutch current affairs program Nieuwsuur (Newshour).

‘But if you don’t like freedom, for heaven’s sake pack your bags and leave.

‘If you do not like it here because some humorists you don’t like are making a newspaper, may I then say you can f*** off.

Harbin snow festival
Click to enlargeBetter stay away from Harbin in the winter

A fatwa issued by Saudi religious scholar Mohammad Saleh Al Minjed bans the creation of snowmen, saying it is too western of a practice.

“It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun,” said the fatwa.

Let’s hear it for Illinois!

Incoming Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner campaigned as a reformer of the state’s often corrupt politics – but, watchdog groups say activities surrounding his inauguration Monday are among the priciest of any incoming governor and take advantage of a loophole in campaign finance that allows wealthy special interests to gain access to those who hold political power…

Rauner, a Republican, is allowing corporate donors to kick in as much as $100,000 for inauguration events, and letting individuals spend up to $25,000.

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So far so good with my SolarCity install. Today is Jan 8th and my system has been turned on since Octover 20th,

The solar system has produced 632 KWH of electricity so far total. here’s the numbers by month.

  • Oct 20-31 – 125 kwh
  • Nov 1-30 – 249 kwh
  • Dec 1-31 – 201 kwh
  • Jan 1-7 – 57 kwh

My cost is 15 cents per kilowatt hour. (KWH) and my bill from SolarCity has been exactly 15 cents times the number of KWH. There were no additional charges, fees, or taxes. Their billing is 30 days behind and it’s charged against my checking account.

Toyota is making a big bet on hydrogen fuel cars. Like Elon Musk with Tesla Toyota is opening up its patents to its competitors to encourage hydrogen fuel technology. So – it’s a showdown between hydrogen fuel and electric cars. Which one will win?


Thanks, SmartAlix

Kaci Hickox at her home in MaineSpencer Platt/Getty Images

Every day seems to turn up opportunities to abuse science in new and perverse ways, especially when it comes to health. You open a newspaper or news site, and you read about a health claim making the rounds: a diet that will give you the energy of a teenager, an exercise routine that will elongate your legs, a policy that will protect Americans from scary viruses…

In the interest of the correcting the record, we rounded up the most egregious abuses of health science in 2014…

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