Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Pergelator

Silicon Forest

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Pic of the Day

Wreck of the Mar Sem Fim
The Mar Sem Fim sank in Antarctica back in 2012. It has since been raised. Amusing Planet has the story.


Map showing location of wreck (Orange) and some research stations (Blue)

The wreck happened in the South Shetland Islands.

Via Traditional Vibe

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Spacey Car Thoughts

1962 Ford Thunderbird

I've been thinking about buying an old Ford Thunderbird again. From a mechanical standpoint it would be straight forward project, but even if you got it running like it was new, it would still be a 50 year old car, loaded with a bunch of 50 year old gee-gaws and without any of our modern safety features. And then I started thinking that you could rip out the entire interior and replace it with something new. At one fell swoop you could eliminate all the 50 year old gee-gaws and gain some safety belts. But interiors are trickier than mechanical work. Maybe not for interior people, but for a gear head like me it's like black magic. I mean how the heck do you sew a straight seam? Sewing machines sew, I get that, but driving one in a straight line? I'm not even going to try.

Ford Thunderbird Dashboard

Okay, so what do you want it to look like? I like the old instrument panels with all the glitz and chrome, but the seats just don't cut it.

Hyundai Nuvis concept
The Nuvis is a dumb looking econobox, but I like this interior.

It needs to look like something out of the Jetsons. There is probably someone in Portland who could create something like that, but to actually make it would take some financial commitment. I'm guessing it would take about $25 grand to make a good start in making a Space Car out of a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, and I'm not quite ready for that.

Big Toyota

Big Toyota
I took my car to Scottie's Body Shop on Monday to get some dents fixed. They needed it for a week so I walked across the street to pick up a rental at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. I was just going to get some econo-box, but the econo-box wasn't ready, so they gave me this monster with red, green, yellow and black New Mexico license plates. New Mexico must have changed their plates recently because I have never seen any that look like this.

The monster is a Toyota Highlander, at least that's what a couple of people have told me. I have seen any insignia to indicate anything other than it's a Toyota. It's very like my wife's Mitsubishi Endeavor, though it seems bulkier, but maybe that's just the swollen looking body shape.

It works fine like you would expect a late model rental to work, though there are a few little quirks that I have not yet learned to appreciate. The cruise control is one. On my old Dodge truck, you could not set the cruise control any lower than 35 MPH, which kind of sucks when half of the time I spend driving is on streets with a 25 MPH limit. Yes, I know, it only takes a minute to cover six blocks at 25 MPH but it feels like a friggin' eternity, especially when the road looks like it could handle 100 MPH traffic. Well it could if it wasn't for all the people toddling out into the road. You can set the cruise control in my car, a Hyundai Sonata, or the Endeavor to 25 MPH which is great. Keeps me from blasting my way to a suspended license. So I'm thinking plus one for Asian cars. But not this monster. This one the lowest you can set it is 28 MPH. Why 28 for Pete's sake? Don't tell me, I don't wanna know.

But 28 is okay, I am unlikely to get a speeding ticket for going 28 in a 25 zone. Out on the freeway it's fine. Or is it? Cruising down the Sunset and the car starts slowing down. What the heck? What are you doing you stupid machine? I set the cruise control for 60 MPH and I expect you to stay right on 60 MPH, not go wandering around the speedometer. I can do that all by myself, thank you, I don't need any help. It took me a while but I eventually realized that it only did that when there was a car ahead of me, and it wasn't that close, maybe ten car lengths. This car has RADAR. Too bad it isn't also equipped with Sidewinder missiles.

The windows in the front doors will go all the way open or closed with just a momentary touch of the button, which is great except when it's 90-odd degrees out. Then you want to leave the windows open a fraction of an inch so the inside of the car doesn't turn into a superheated oven when you have to leave it parked in the sun. Getting the windows to stop at the requisite position takes considerable fiddling. If it was my car I am sure I would eventually figure out how to get it to behave, but right now it's kind of a pain.


Ultrasound helps heal broken bones

This 3D-printed cast uses ultrasound to heal broken bones 40% faster.
NCBI has an article. EXOGEN is a US company that make the equipment.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Donald & Alex

Donald & Alex, sitting in a tree, K, I, S, S, I, N, G.
 "Your reputation is amazing."- Donald Trump speaking to Alex Jones
Wow, that statement is just amazing. I don't think I have ever heard a statement so amazing. It's so full, full I tell you, of nothing. No one has ever made a statement that was more full of nothing. I am impressed.

I know about Alex Jones the same way I know about Donald Trump, they are both in the news a lot because someone is complaining about something one of them said. I tried listening to Alex once, but I couldn't do it. He's not telling me anything, he's just making a bunch of mouth noises. This might be why I don't like talking on the phone, and generally don't care for sports announcers, and I never, ever listen to the fucking news. Sorry, I really hate news programs.

But back to the quote. We know Alex Jones has achieved some notoriety and with that he has acquired a certain reputation, or more likely several reputations, ranging from that of a prophet to that of the devil himself, and of course how we see those reputations depends on where you stand. Since Donald has not specified a particular reputation, we are going to just go for notoriety. But why is Alex's reputation amazing? Is it because he is more famous than Trump? (I'm sure he'll get his 15 minutes of fame if he hasn't already.) Is that what amazes Donald? Or is it because he can't believe anyone would listen to the drivel Alex spouts long enough for him to ever develop an audience and a reputation? I mean, Donald is right, Alex's reputation is amazing. It's amazing that he has one.

Via Monday Evening

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Economy

A guy I know is working for a start-up company in the Bay area. They've been going for a year or two now and have 50 or so clients. It doesn't really sound like a viable business, but then I don't know how much revenue they are getting from each client. From where I sit I can't see how they could be making more than about $100 per week per client, which would add up to $250,000 a year. That might be enough to pay for 2 or 3 employees, which is less that half of what they have. So they might need to add a bunch of new clients, which is a slow, labor intensive operation. But so far venture capital has been funding them. We shall see how it goes. It is unlikely to be another E-Bay, but if they keep on it could be a nice solid business that is actually providing a useful service. Or it may never reach profitability and the guys who are funding the operation will pull the plug and kiss their money goodbye. Of course, if you are investing in speculative operations kissing your money goodbye is the probably the first thing you should do. That way if you get to the point where a rational man would pull the plug, you aren't tempted to make any heroic rescue efforts that result in doubling your loss.

Talking to my stock broker the other day and it looks like stocks and bonds are making about 3% a year, which is pretty miserable. 50 years ago banks were paying 3% interest on savings accounts, but 50 years ago inflation was a dirty word. Now real inflation is somewhere between 5 and 10%, never mind what the government says, so all those stocks and bonds that make up the bulk of the business in America are losing real value at the rate of maybe 5% a year. That sucks big time.

Which is why venture capital and real estate are booming. Anyone who has any money is looking for somewhere to put their money besides in traditional investments. It might have something to do with why Trump got elected as well.

Meanwhile, on the recommendation of Bayou Renaissance Man, I am reading The Kek Wars by John Michael Greer. He's got some funny ideas, like the use of magic to change people's minds. Regardless, he has a very different perspective on the current situation and that can very useful in times like these.




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Quote Of The Day

By the time I learn enough about a news story to realize I don't care, it turns out to be bullshit anyway. - Jim Treacher 

Via Car Blog