Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Pergelator

Silicon Forest

Friday, July 1, 2016

Side Trip to Omaha

Centurylink Arena Omaha Nebraska
Drove the hundred miles down to Omaha this morning to pick up the kids, because you can't fly from Portland to Sioux City. Their airplane had only two seats on either side of the single aisle. Could it have been a turbo prop? I'm thinking it must have been, I don't think they make jet powered airliners that small anymore.
    The Olympic swimming trials are going on there today, so traffic downtown was a little snarled, and you have to go through downtown to get to the airport from Iowa. But we got to the Super 8 and the kids were there and ready to go. Well done, gang.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sun Tzu comes to South Dakota

Sun Tzu psuedo-quote outside the Philip, South Dakota Minuteman Missile Visitor Center
Click the pic to embiggenate
Yesterday afternoon I spotted a Minuteman Missile visitor center near Philip, South Dakota. Iaman visited a similar site in Arizona not too long ago so I thought we'd stop and take a look. Cool quote and symbols outside the front door.

Soviet Nuclear Missile Launch Keys
Inside they had a series of walk through exhibits chronically the rise and fall of our, and the Soviet's, nuclear arsenals. We, that is, the collective powers-that-were we, were definitely insane. No missilles or silo though, which was disappointing.
    Picked up a copy of Stasiland by Anna Funder which is a collection of stories from behind the Berlin Wall. I just started it and so far it's pretty great. You know how Western culture wastes all kinds of money of all kinds of foolishness, like movies and parties and celebrities and entertainment, etc, etc, etc? East Germany sucked up all the excess income and spent it on their stupid security apparatus which made life miserable for zillions of people, but they made all their petty fascists happy. Be careful what you wish for, you night get it,

Holiday Inn Sioux City Iowa

Portable HD Video & Audio Recorder
About half way from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Sioux City, Iowa, a distance of about 80 miles, we stopped for gas. As we are leaving the gas station I decide to stop and make sure I got the gas cap back on. We left my wife's favorite pillow at the hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota, this morning, and I don't want to make another stupid mistake.
    The gas cap is in place, but as I walk back to the driver's door, I notice the rear passenger window is open. What's going on? Did I push the button by mistake? No, the mechanism is broken. Pushing the button has no effect. I can slide the window closed and it stays that way until we hit the first bump on the highway. Now it is open again, and at 80 MPH the wind noise is deafening. My wife crawls in the back seat and holds the window closed until we get to Sioux City. We go directly to the Walgreens across the street from the Holiday Inn and buy a roll of duct tape and tape the window closed.
     Later on that evening we go back to Walgreens to get some essential supplies and I notice this video recorder for sale for $40. When I bought my first video cam-corder 25 years ago it cost $1600 and it stored the video on a VHS tape, which has what? A quarter of the lines of resolution that an HD video has? It won't be too long before they are giving them away in Cracker Jack boxes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

On the road in Rapid City South Dakota


Gillette Wyoming 150 BNSF engines idle at Donkey Creek
Trains start at the two minute mark.

700 miles today, all on Interstate 90. Just past Gillette I happened to glance over and noticed more locomotives than I had ever seen in one place, but then in a flash it was gone.

Saw the smokestack in Anaconda Montana, a national cemetery in Sheridan or Gillette, I forget. Half a dozen truck stop /coffee dispenseries. Flashing lights in my rear view mirror. Got stopped by a Wyoming state trooper for going 84 MPH in an 80 zone. "We have the highest speed limits in the country, but they are strictly enforced." He let me off with a warning.

Monday, June 27, 2016

On the road in Missoula Montana

Saw two oil trains on our way east through the Columbia gorge this morning. Noticed the sign for Mosier where an oil train derailed last week. The two trains I saw were on the other side of the river, the Washington side. The gorge east of the Cascades is kind of weird. Here we have this huge river and the hills on either side are covered with brown grass.
     Just east of Boardman we turned north. That road takes us through Kennewick and Pasco. Lots of traffic there and the road is very confused. We've been following highway 397, but in Pasco sweety's magic elf box tells us to take highway 182. 182 goes to Walla Walla. 395 takes a right off of 182 and I drove right by it because which road are we supposed to be on? 395 or 182? Never mind, the magic elf box takes us on a five minute  tour of a Mexican neighborhood and then puts us back on the road to Spokane.
    Spokane is booming. Traffic is heavy all the way to Coeur d'Alene. Once we get past town though it lightens up considerably. Here we are getting into the mountains and while the speed limit is 75, the road is twisty enough that I seldom reach the limit. There is also a medium long stretch of construction, it's uphill, one lane and there are trucks, so we are creeping along at 20 MPH for a few minutes. Then it's downhill for the next hundred miles. There are still turns that are tight enough to warrant reducing my speed, but there are straights where I am comfortable doing 80. I get passed by a full size Chevy crew cab pickup truck doing at least 90. He isn't slowing down for the turns at all.
    We're staying at the La Quinta and it's pretty nice. There is a stream running between the back of the building and the Interstate highway. If you open the window you can even hear the stream over the highway noise.


I saw a bunch of swifts swooping over the stream. I presume they were eating bugs, but I didn't see any. No-see-ums, maybe. The first 25 seconds the camera didn't focus.


    Saw a couple of small, home-built looking welder's rigs on the road today, and I got to wondering if anybody ever built a fancy, custom welding rig. My question was answered when we pulled into the parking lot here.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The best advice on Twitter trolls was written by al-Ghazali in the 11th century

Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī c. 1058 – 1111

Stolen from Sarah Kendzior because it's really great and I forgot where I saw it and I just spent the last hour looking for it. 

As I posted on Twitter earlier today, the best advice I’ve seen on dealing with Twitter trolls comes from the 11th century Sufi philosopher al-Ghazali and his text “Ayyuha l’Walad”. Al-Ghazali anticipated our social media problems by 1000 years.
By al-Ghazali’s definition, there are four types of Twitter trolls. Below: a description of the trolls, and his advice on how to deal with them.
Type 1: Jealous haters. Advice: “Depart from him and leave him with his disease.”
Then know that the sickness of ignorance is of four sorts, one curable and the others incurable. Of these which cannot be cured, [the first] is one whose question or objection arises from envy and hate, [and envy cannot be cured for it is a chronic weakness] and every time you answer him with the best or clearest or plainest answer, that only increases his rage and envy. And the way is not to attempt an answer.
One hopes for the removal of every enmity
Except enmity arising from envy.
So you must depart from him and leave him with his disease. Allah the Exalted said, “Withdraw from whoever turns away from our warning and desires nothing except the present life.” And the envious, both in all he says and in all he does, kindles [a fire] in the sowing of his deed: as the Prophet said, Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Envy eats up excellences as fire eats up wood.”
Type 2: “Well, actually” Twitter. These folks come sliding in your mentions pretending to be experts on that which they are not. Ignore them too.
The second, whose weakness arises from stupidity, and he also is incurable. As ‘Isa said, upon him be peace, “Indeed I did not fail in bringing the dead to life, but I failed in curing the stupid.” And he is the man who has busied himself in seeking knowledge a short time and has learned something of the sciences of the intellect and of the sacred law, and so he asks questions and raises objections in his stupidity before the very learned one who has spent his life in the sciences of the intellect and the sacred law, and so this very stupid fellow does not know, And thinks that what is obscure to him is also obscure to the highly learned; and since he does not think this much, his question arises from stupidity, and you must not attempt to answer him.
Type 3:  People who ask you for information they can find on Google, then don’t believe the facts that they find. They’re hopeless. Ignore.
And the third is one who is seeking guidance and whatever he does not understand of the speech of the great ones, he lays to the defects of his own understanding and his question is in order to seek benefit; but he is dull and cannot arrive at the truth of things. You must not attempt to answer him also, as the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “We, the company of the prophets have been commanded that we speak to the people according to their understanding.”
Type 4: This troll is not really a troll at all. They are asking you questions which may be annoying, but are asked in good faith. It is worth engaging with this person.
But the sickness which is curable is that of the intelligent and understanding seeker of guidance, who is not overcome with envy and anger and the love of worldly vanities and wealth and honor, but is seeking the straight road; and his questions and objections do not arise from envy and a desire to cause trouble and to make trial. And he is curable, and it is permitted to attempt to answer him—nay, it is necessary.
That’s it! Follow al-Ghazali’s advice, and spare yourself a lot of online misery. Sometimes the best social media tips come from the 11th century.

Via Dustbury.

Riots in Pretoria

The protests began in anger at the governing African National Congress's choice of a mayoral candidate for Tshwane, the metropolitan area which includes Pretoria. - EYEWITNESS NEWS
Notice that the three buses in the center of the picture are what's left after they were burned. 20 buses in all got torched.
 
Marcel doesn't know what to say and neither do I, but I did find some entertaining quotes. Excerpts from a story on DW, whoever they are.

"It's a societal problem within the ANC itself. It is exacerbated by a ten-year long factionalism that has been taking root. We have this new political culture where violence has become a lingua franca of political communication." -  Samadoda Fikeni, a political analyst based at the University of South Africa in Pretoria
Fikeni however said that most of the protestors were supporters of ANC members who were hoping to secure a nomination for the candidacy of mayor but failed to get the ANC's endorsement. Critics say the candidate that did get the nomination did not know local affairs because she comes from another province.
. . .
The ANC said that the riots are the work of outsiders who have infiltrated the party for their own selfish interests.
"We have names and pictures of people who are ANC leaders who planned this disruption," - Gwede Mantahse, the secretary general of the ANC
. . . 
Political violence in South Africa has been on the increase since 2010, according to a recent study by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) at the University of Pretoria. The ISS blames the lack of accountability by the political leadership for this development.
"The fish rots from the head and what we have in South Africa is a lack of consequences . . .  If the leadership is unaccountable and you can get away with violence and breaking things, then why not do so at local government level?" - Dr Jakkie Cilliers, the director of ISS.