Intel's Ronler Acres Plant


Silicon Forest

Friday, May 27, 2016

Truck of the Day

Fageol heavy truck assembly -- Oakland, California, factory, 1918.
Looks like we have a three cylinder gasoline engine driving an electrical generator.
I like the locomotive style cab.
Tesla isn't the first American company to build cars in California. The Fageol brothers started building cars in Oakland in 1916, but their supply of engines was diverted to the war effort. The depression killed the company, but Peterbilt emerged from the ashes. Wikipedia has the story.

Via Posthip Scott.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Asian Sewing Factory
International Business Times has an story about immigrants working in Britain. No, it's not Mexicans working in the USA, but it's a similar situation. I thought this paragraph was illuminating:
1) Most of the lowly work was done by Eastern Europeans
Around 80% of the really wretched jobs were done by Romanians.

From the perspective of the employer, the typical refrain when presented with this sort of data is 'We can't get English people to do the work'/'the locals don't want them'. The implication is that the British working class are coddled and lazy.

In practice it's likely that most British workers have minimum standards relating to the work they are willing to do – standards which many of the precarious and poorly-paid jobs our economy now relies upon do not meet. That was certainly true of the local people I talked to in Rugeley. As Alex, a former miner from the town told me with respect to the work I was doing: "I wouldn't do that work. I'll make no bones about it: I wouldn't do it because I'd fall out with them [the managers] over how they treat people."

The fact that a growing number of British people are unwilling to be treated like animals by unscrupulous employers is commonly viewed as in some sense shameful, when really it is a sign of progress.
Imagine that, 'unwilling to be treated like animals'. Who do they think they are? Somebody special? Move along you cattle, into the chute you go.

Mostly when we think about a job, we think about how much money we'll get paid, and that's is certainly important. But there are a lot of other factors that come into play, especially if the money isn't more than you've ever made in your life. Things like how you are treated, whether your coworkers are assholes (your boss is always an asshole, it's like part of the job description), whether you are permanently on call, whether you get to decide when you can use the restroom. The work itself is kind of beside the point, unless it's dangerous, but that isn't usually the problem. It might be back-breaking or tedious. It might even be engaging, complex enough that it requires at least some of your attention.

Looking for pictures I came across an essay about modern day slavery in the USA. Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here.

Stop Stealing My Food!

Not ready to start thinking this morning, I clicked on some click bait that took me to a photo essay of inventions over on definition dot org. Some of the inventions were clever, some were weird, but three of them are designed to keep people from stealing your food.

Plastic bag printed with splotches to make it look like the food has spoiled.

Combination lock for your pint of ice cream.
'I'm terribly sorry, but there is no "u" in "my pint".'

Coffee cup with a keyed plug.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Paul Newman
Road & Track has short piece about Paul Newman, the race car driver. Yes, same guy who starred in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. He was also in Winning, which one critic loved. Almost nobody else did. IMDB gave it one star. There is also a new documentary about his racing career, also called Winning. IMDB gives it one star as well, but mostly because they don't have any data. Amazon's customers give it five stars. I'm a little leery here. Documentaries can be great, but they are often gawd-awful tedious. All in the eye of the beholder I supposed.

Polar Clock

Looking for information on Sun Stones and the Solar Compass, I came across a reference to Charles Wheatstone's Polar Clock. Wikipedia has a fine article about Wheatstone. Wheatstone is best known as the inventor of the Wheatstone Bridge, which is some kind of electrical apparatus.

Wheatstone's Polar Clock, by William H. Darker, Lambeth, c. 1848
The Polar Clock gets a paragraph of its own:
One of Wheatstone's most ingenious devices was the 'Polar clock,' exhibited at the meeting of the British Association in 1848. It is based on the fact discovered by Sir David Brewster, that the light of the sky is polarised in a plane at an angle of ninety degrees from the position of the sun. It follows that by discovering that plane of polarisation, and measuring its azimuth with respect to the north, the position of the sun, although beneath the horizon, could be determined, and the apparent solar time obtained. The clock consisted of a spyglass, having a nicol (double-image) prism for an eyepiece, and a thin plate of selenite for an object-glass. When the tube was directed to the North Pole—that is, parallel to the Earth's axis—and the prism of the eyepiece turned until no colour was seen, the angle of turning, as shown by an index moving with the prism over a graduated limb, gave the hour of day. The device is of little service in a country where watches are reliable; but it formed part of the equipment of the 1875–1876 North Polar expedition commanded by Captain Nares.
Selenite, a Gypsum crystal

Monday, May 23, 2016

Roadkill Special

Roadkill 50th Episode Special! 10-Car Showdown! - Roadkill Ep. 50

American car culture at it's finest. Or worstest. Shot in the parking lot of the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Quote of the Day

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?”
― Ernest Hemingway

Via Ross