Intel's Ronler Acres Plant


Silicon Forest

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fly, me pretties, fly!

Joan Crawford in Strait Jacket from 1964
The solution to today's Jumble (which only appears in the dead-tree edition of newspapers) is:


It's a very common phrase, but where did it come from? Google provides an answer:
This is an American phrase and it alludes to the uncontrolled way a loose axe-head flies off from its handle.
Seems like I should have known that, and maybe I did, once upon a time.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Top Dog

LA Speed Check

A little story about the SR-71. Via Popular Mechanics.

LA from Tucson at 25 miles elevation
I got to wondering if you really could see LA from Tucson, so I pulled up the new Google Earth, and it seems plausible. 80,000 feet is only 15 miles, not 25, but in order to get Tucson in the picture we have to be sitting some distance east of it. Los Angeles is right on the horizon. Shift the view a little bit and LA goes over the horizon and disappears from view.

How new is the new Google Earth? I have no idea. Seems to be the same as the 3D view you get with Google Maps except the pan and tilt is now done with a tiny little circle instead of being able to just grab a point on the screen and drag it around.

Des Moines, Washington

Anthony's HomePort in Des Moines
Went up to Seattle to visit an old friend who had come from Dallas to visit family. Saves us having to fly to Texas, so good. Went to lunch at Anthony's in Des Moines. Who knew there was a Des Moines in Washington? Not me, the only one I had ever heard of is the big one in Iowa.

Salty's in Redondo Beach
After lunch we stopped for happy hour at Salty's in Redondo Beach. Redondo Beach? That name sounds familiar.  Well, yes it should be familiar, it's also the name of a place in southern California.

Afterward we are trying to find our way back, but the smart phones are giving the girls fits. We end up on Marine View Drive where I spied this imposing edifice.
Completed in 1926 as a retirement community for members of Washington’s Masonic Society, the Masonic Home of Washington in Des Moines serves as a showcase for Masonry in Washington State. Designed by the architectural firm of Heath, Gove, and Bell, the building features box beam ceilings, hand carved woodwork, stained glass, and terrazzo floors throughout. The same architectural firm designed Stadium High School in Tacoma and Paradise Inn at Mt. Rainier, both of which are listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places. - Historic Seattle
The drive to Seattle and back was quick and easy, three hours each way, even with a stop for coffee. Traffic was very smooth, no big traffic jams due to construction like our previous trips to Seattle. There is still a bunch of construction going on around Tacoma which means the roads are a little rough, but traffic was flowing. There was a little hiccup when somebody's smart phone tried to direct us to a previously agreed upon rendezvous, not the new one. We ended up in downtown Tacoma and with traffic and construction we ended up spending about five minutes getting turned around. Stupid smart phone.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Tow hook protruding through airdam.
I helped Jack reinstall his winch underneath the front bumper of his Suburban this afternoon. It was a bit of a pain. We set the winch on a cart with a light duty hydraulic lift table, wheeled it under the front bumper and raised it up. Now we have to insert two mounting bolts on each side. Each bolt has to go through the winch support, a couple of solid steel spacers, the tow hook and then screw into a hole in the frame. Except. The hole in the frame is not threaded. There is bar of steel sitting loose in the frame that has two threaded holes. It has been rattling around in the frame every since Jack took the winch off for repair which was like a month ago. This bar needs to be positioned so that the threaded holes are directly above the holes in the frame. It took some poking and prodding with a pencil to get it into position. Now the trick is to get a bolt in the hole without dislodging the captive bar. Put the rear bolt in but leave out the spacers and the tow hook, that way there are only three pieces that need to lined up to get the bolt started. Once we had those started it was easy to run the front bolts through the pile of requisite pieces and get it started. Then we pulled out the rear bolt, pivoted the spacers and tow hook into position and reinserted the rear bolt.

Got the winch all bolted up, but we need to get the end of the cable out through the feed hole in the front. The winch repair man said no problem, just cut the retaining strap and pop the end through the hole. We wrestle with it for a bit, but it's not happening. Off comes the winch, but even now we can't get the end through the feed hole. We have to take the winch loose from the mounting bracket. Then we get to go through the whole mounting procedure again. Thanks, Mr. winch repair man.

New World Order

This line showed up on The Google's home page this morning:

The Amazon connects us all. Discover how with Google Earth

My first thought was that the two giants of the internet have decided to team up to further their quest for global domination. Since I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords, I clicked on the link, but instead of getting a map of all the great Amazon hot spots, I got some page about the Amazon river. Oh, they're talking about THE Amazon, not Amazon. Never mind.


Alice Cooper - I'm Eighteen

There is a story in The WSJ thing morning about this song (paywall). It came out in 1970. I was 19 and Alice was 22. That was a long time ago.

Trump and the Afghan Girls

Afghan teenagers from the Afghanistan Robotic House take pictures at Herat International Airport before embarking for the United States. (Hoshang Hashim/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
This group of girls wanted to attend a robotics competition in the USA, but were denied visas until the Donald intervened. One side of the aisle praises Trump for intervening with the State Department on the girls' behalf, the other side blames him for promoting an anti-muslim attitude. I suspect the State Department of being a rigid, rule-following bureaucracy, but I suppose that is what you want in a Federal Agency. You don't want people making arbitrary and capricious decisions that may later come back to bite us.
The State Department dismissed the girls’ visa requests at least twice, according to media reports, though, citing privacy laws, it did not spell out its reasons. One common reason Afghans are rejected for U.S. entry is the concern that they will overstay their visas and refuse to go back home.
The president became aware of the case and asked officials at the National Security Council to see what they could do. After those officials talked to counterparts at various agencies, the Department of Homeland Security agreed to allow the girls in on a system known as “parole,” which will allow them to stay in the United States for 10 days, though technically not on visas. - Politico