And the Trumpets Sounded

Blogging is a funny thing, often you end up having friends, all over the world, who you are fairly sure you’ll never meet. I’ve met people from every continent (but Antartica) and quite a few have become friends, and a fair number of them have been featured here, over the years.

One of them is TonyfromOz, who told us this week about his ten years of blogging. His actual career (and the reason he started blogging) is a fairly close parallel to my own, and I was going to talk about it today. But Tony got superseded today. I hope he understands, actually I’m sure he will. Maybe some other day.

This summer will mark my seventh-anniversary blogging, and yes, I still enjoy it, although it is occasionally a strain, to find something to say, and to keep it suitable for work, as we say. Over that time many other bloggers have come into my life, and sadly a majority of them have gone, almost all are missed.

Sometime in the fall of 2011, I got a like from an unusual source, danmillerinpanama, the Gravatar showed a gentleman about my age, in a quite nice Panama hat. The likes continued to come as did mine on his blog, and so did occasional comments both ways, and something unusual here reblogs both ways. As I came to know Dan, I found that in some ways our outlooks were similar, and in some, they were quite different. We were both wise enough to understand that did not preclude our friendship.

Dan’s personal blog is here. One could profitably spend some time there.

One of the more interesting things is that we both greatly admired Robert E Lee, not least for his conception of duty. Our outlook on the world was quite similar.

So today I was very saddened to read on Warsclerotic, where he was the editor, in addition to making some posts on his own blog, that he had passed over. They were kind enough to share what Dan’s wife, Jeannie had written.

Dear Joe,
Dan asked me to communicate with you should he not make it through the latest of his health problems.
He felt a deep connection with Isreal, with Warsclerotic, and with you, Joe.
Please forgive my delay in communicating with you.  It, as you must know, has been a tremendously difficult time for me.  I needed some time to recover even the tinyest bit of perspective.
Please keep him in your prayers.
Best,  Jeanie
Here is what I wrote to our families:

Dan and I started our adventures together almost 26 years ago. Over the years, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve won and we’ve lost. Always, our

​mutual ​

love and respect made it possible to overcome the inevitable obstacles that present themselves over a lifetime.

Dan died last Sunday afternoon. I will miss him forever. He has preceded me in this last and greatest adventure of all.

As was his wish, I will spread his ashes over the finca he loved so well.


Rest in peace

​ and
Namaste, My​Darling

Curriculum Vitae and subsequent life:

Herbert Daniel Miller was graduated from Yale University, cum laude, and the University of Virginia Law School where he was notes editor of Law Review and a member of The Order of the Coif. After he graduated, he joined the United States Army JAG Corp where he was Special Courts Marshall Judge for the Country of Korea. Upon returning to civilian life, he joined the law firm of Koteen and Naftalin in Washington, D.C. until he retired as a partner in 1996.

Thereupon, he and his wife cruised in the Eastern Caribbean as well as Trinidad, Venezuela and Colombia in their sailboat, Namaste. They achieved their Dive Master certificates in Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. In 2002, they reached Panama, spending a month in the Kuna Yala Islands on their sailboat before settling in Western Panama.

He leaves behind his wife, Jean Fiester Miller, his son, Nicolas Miller, his daughter, Elizabeth Korchnak and his sister, Margaret Zilm, his nephews Andrew and Gregory Zilm, as well as three grandchildren.

There are a certain number of us around, who have known each other (through our blogs) for years, and have become friends. Dan was a leading member of that group for me. After all, not that many American bloggers post YouTubes of Harlech Men or Scotland the Brave and connect them to our posts. He taught me much, while never denigrating anything I did.

One of our favorite quotes from General Lee was this:

Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things.

You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.

Dan epitomized that outlook, he’ll be mourned and missed for many a day here.

Rest in peace, dear friend. As our Navy friends say, “Fair winds and following seas”.

We’ll take the duty, amongst us.

And may God give comfort to Jeannie and his family.


The Late Week in Review

Well, Good Morning or Afternoon or whatever, somebody seems to have stolen an hour last night. What a joke DST has become.

Almost as big a joke as International Woman’s day, which seems to celebrate leftist, women with good jobs, and without the brains to hold them. Or something.

On March 5, 1982, Actor and singer John Belushi died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin.

On a Mission

A bit wordy, but…

Really, BBC? Even for you, that’s pretty bad.

Yesterday was Chuck Norris’ Birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. Norris

Of course he’d approve.

As usual, most from PowerLine and Bookworm, and a couple from various posts at Ace.

Have a good week.


Quantifying Google’s Bias

Leo Goldstein wrote a guest article on What’s Up With That, and it is arguably important, to those of us that blog, but also to those of you who are looking for unbiased information. The short form is: Ya ain’t gonna get it from Google.


The percentage of domain traffic, referred by Google Search, net of brand searches (PGSTN), tends to be in or around the range 25%-30% for a broad class of web domains.  This hypothesis is tested by calculating the correlation between the popularity of news/opinions websites and their PGSTN, and finding it to be near zero.  Thus, PGSTN can be used rigorously to detect and even quantify Google Search intentional bias.  Intentional bias is the bias that has been introduced by internal Google decisions, and unrelated to external factors, such as the dominance of particular viewpoints on the web.  Here, the PGSTN method is applied for intentional bias detection about climate debate and in general political discourse.

Google Search is found to be extremely biased in favor of climate alarmism and against climate realism.  The PGSTN ranges for climate realism and climate alarmism do not even overlap!  Some of the most important climate realist domains, including low-controversial, have such a low PGSTN that they can be considered blacklisted by Google.

Google Search is found to be biased in favor of left/liberal domains and against conservative domains with a confidence of 95%.  Further, certain hard-Left domains have such a high PGSTN that their standing raises suspicions that they have been hand-picked for prominent placement.  Certain respected conservative domains are blacklisted.

[…]  Google servers crawl the whole web, extracting text, links, and other data from trillions of pages.  Google constantly and successfully fights attempts to artificially promote websites through collusive linking, and other search engine optimization techniques.  In its undertaking, Google also uses an enormous amount of off-web information, which it collects through Chrome browser, other Google applications and services, analytics beacons, domains registrar status, and so on.  This information includes domains popularity and ownership.  Google also processes immediate feedback from the users in the form of frequency of clicks on the results, bounce rate, the frequency of repeated searches with modified terms, etc.

Google is very good at its job.  Sites and domains that are less popular with the visitors tend to be less likely to receive traffic from Google, and vice versa.  The effect is that percentage of net traffic that domains receive from Google Search tends to be similar across web domains!  […]

Given the robustness of PGSTN, I conclude that statistically significant difference in PGSTN between a priori defined sets of comparable domains is due to intentional bias by Google, unless there is another good explanation.

I’d say this is by no means a manual operation, like nearly everything Google does, it is an algorithm. But my anecdotal evidence confirms what Mr. Goldstein is saying here. Historically, our search referrals were in that range, until July 2016, when they dropped drastically, as they did at AATW where I also write. I  was very noticeable here since we are a small blog and our view stats dropped almost instantly about 50%, nor have we yet reached the level we were at in June of 2016.

Google Bias in General Political Discourse

To quantify Google general political bias, I selected top U.S. news and opinions sites by their ranking in Alexa, then added some lower ranking conservative sites based on my personal knowledge and/or Alexa suggestions.  There was an element of subjectivity in selection and classification, and I omitted some domains that I could not classify.  Nevertheless, the most popular domains in both left/liberal (including Left, Mainstream Liberal, and Mainstream Center) and conservative (including Conservative and Mainstream Conservative) categories have been selected and classified rigorously, and use of weighted statistics minimized the element of subjectivity in the results.

The results show that Google Search is heavily biased against conservative domains, and some respectable conservative domains seem to be blacklisted:

Those are some pretty serious political sites, and the part of this I didn’t highlight is that these (NEO too) are climate realist sites, I’m inclined to think it’s natural for those of a conservative outlook to be skeptical of such things. But I have yet to see anything that even came close to convincing me. And that is likely why this was published on Watts Up With That. They are much more involved with the climate debate and the Google bias looks even worse there as well.

Now mind Google is a private company entitled to treat its products as it wishes. But it pays to understand if one’s provider of information is providing slanted data, and just how it is slanted.


Leaving on a Jet Plane

Well, I have to get on a jet plane in a few hours. It was unplanned, which is always unpleasant, perhaps we’ll talk about it when I get back, we’ll see. In the meantime, I’ve selected several articles for you from the top twenty all time read articles here (from the several thousand we have written. I’ll only have my phone but will try to check in periodically. Uffda! In the meantime, from my friend, Oyia Brown…

An 85-year-old man was requested by his doctor for a sperm count as part of his physical exam. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, “Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow.”The next day the 85-year-old man reappeared at the doctor’s office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day. The doctor asked, what happened and the man explained.

“Well, doc, it’s like this–first I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing. Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, then with her left, still nothing. She tried with her mouth, first with the teeth in, then with her teeth out, still nothing.

We even called up Arleen, the lady next door, and she tried too. First with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeezin’ it between her knees, but still nothing.”

Continued at: If You Don’t At First Succeed…

See you soon.

Googling Diversity

So should we look a bit at Google’s self-inflicted hangnail? Google is so huge that is about what it amounts to. Still, it is interesting in several ways.

Now mind, I believe that one may run a company one owns as one pleases, and if you choose to promote less competent social justice warriors into posts of responsibility instead of competent software engineers – well on your head be it. The counter argument is that Google is nearly a public utility, but that is not so. The Internet is not necessary (yet, anyway), however desirable it is. And Google does have, in all areas, competitors, some very good.

Ben Domenech lays it out well at The Federalist.

Yesterday, the internet lit up with a flame-war of epic proportions over an internal memo written by James Damore, a Google engineer with a Harvard PhD, who wrote at length about workplace diversity. The memo was the type of statistical analysis one could expect from a dispassionate engineer irritated by a lack of clarity in why fewer women choose to participate in his field, attempting to quantify it beyond the vague assumptions favored by corporate PR. He offered various reasons and explanations for why this could be the case, and offered to discuss the memo further with anyone interested in doing so. For writing this thoughtcrime, he was fired. Google’s CEO claims the memo violated its Code of Conduct. You can read the CEO’s statement here, which stresses that his views were “Not OK”.

These views are consistent with those of Google’s Eric Schmidt, who recently rejected the idea advanced in a Q&A that any right of center views need to be considered part of the bucket of “diversity” favored within Google. As I noted at the time: 

Note the response from Eric Schmidt, who rejects the idea that anyone disagreeing with him politically could be operating from a position of ‘science-based thinking’. The level of diversity and inclusiveness welcomed by Google is precisely as much as is needed to achieve their corporate aims. ‘You’ll also find that all of the other companies in our field agree with us’ – yes, we know.

You see the same tone advanced by Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, who insists the memo’s gender assumptions were “incorrect”.

As always “not consistent” does not mean right or wrong. It means “he doesn’t agree with me, and it’s my company”. As it happens, I believe Damore makes a hell of a lot of sense. But my name isn’t Schmidt, and I’m not CEO of Google, and I do think he can run the company however the shareholders will let him, no matter how stupid. And I note that Google does appear to make money! 🙂

Domenech quotes several of his contributors in his article. As usual David Harsanyi makes a good logical case.

Gizmodo calls a Google engineer’s leaked internal memo about the company’s diversity initiatives an ‘anti-diversity screed.’ Recode calls it ‘sexist.’ Most major news organizations frame it in similar terms. The memo has gone viral. (Update: Google has fired the author for ‘perpetuating gender stereotypes.’) In reality, the problem is that a senior software engineer, perhaps unwittingly, admitted to pondering three of the most scandalous thought-crimes of contemporary American society. The first was to propose that a meritocracy might be heathier for a company than bean-counting race, ethnicity, and sex. The second is pointing that ideological diversity matters. The third, and most grievous of all the wrongthinks, is suggesting that men and women are, in general, physiologically and psychologically different from each other, and thus they tend to excel at different things.

And that my friends is the real ‘thoughtcrime’ here. Wouldn’t it be terrible if we promoted people based on their skills instead of their politics?

History and How It Moves Us

Headquarters parlor VF right

Well, guys, the blog is having the best week it has had in months, so I’m grateful to you all. The last year has been a trial, some say that Google changed the algorithms to hurt conservative blogs. I have no idea if that is so, which is why I haven’t written about it, but I can tell you our readership suddenly halved last July, and just in the last week are we approaching where we were. Hope I’m not jinxing it by telling you. 🙂

There have been quite a few times in the last year when I came very close to hanging it up, just seemed like I wasn’t accomplishing anything, but habit is strong, and I haven’t run out of things to say. So on we go. Things look a bit better here in the Great Republic but much remains to be done, and one hopes it will be. So we’ll see.

As I write this, I’m feeling very down. It is an anniversary in my life, something started some years ago on this date, that I thought would be part of my life as long as I was in this world. Sadly it seems it was not to be, and I’m much the poorer for it. Nothing any of us can do, but last night was a quite hard one for me. Well, such is life, it seems.

Winge over, thanks for listening!

This, however, is very interesting. Did you ever wonder how they would see us say a hundred years from now? Two Nerdy History Girls published on that very topic a few days ago.

Susan reporting,

The perception of the historical past is always changing. Each new generation looks at history with fresh eyes, and fresh ideas, too.

Nowhere is this more evident than in how we Americans have treated our historically important buildings. In the years following the American Revolution, many of the place we now venerate most were simply old buildings, allowed to grow more shabby by the year.

Portions of Independence Hall in Philadelphia – the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence – had already fallen into such disrepair that they were torn down in 1812. Federal Hall in New York City – home of the first Congress as well as where George Washington was inaugurated as the first president – was also demolished barely a generation later in 1812. Built in 1713, the Old State House in Boston witnessed the Boston Massacre, but was later cut up into shops and businesses, and finally suffered the ultimate indignity of having a subway station built into its basement.

But the Centennial celebrations of 1876 brought a new interest in preserving the past. Older buildings were finally beginning to be recognized and preserved for their historical importance. Sometimes, however, these early preservationists often relied on a romanticized version of the 18thc, with some interesting results.

The present-day Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania first became recognized as a state park focused on history in 1893. Then, as now, the centerpiece of the park was the stone farm house used by General George Washington as his headquarters during the Continental Army’s winter encampment of 1777-78. Also known as the Isaac Potts House for the original owner, the Headquarters was occupied not only General Washington, but by his wife Martha Washington, seven aides-de-camp, servants, and occasional visitors. The house is not large, especially not considering how many people were squeezed inside it, and from contemporary reports, quarters were cramped, and tempers often ran short.

Follow the link above and keep reading, I, at least, think it is fascinating, how our perceptions have changed. And like them, I wonder what they will think in 2117.`I just have to tell you, a few years ago I was visiting Valley Forge (again) and I happened to find the Chapel. Well, I can’t remember when I have been so moved. A small Gothic chapel, with the battle flags of the Continental Army as the only decoration other than the altar furniture. It moved me deep in my soul, to the point that now, some thirty years later, I remember it as if it was yesterday.

And that is what a historical site, well presented, will do. Suddenly, we will be able to perceive the struggles that our forebears went through to make our today’s possible. It is simply amazing.

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