Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sebring Repair Continues

3/8" square drive adjustable automatic torque wrench, 
similar to but not the same as the one I used to have.

Didn't subscribe to the online manual this time since it was so frigging useless last time, but I still needed the torque settings for the head bolts and the cam bearings, so I decided to just post them here (and here), after all that's where everything else goes.

8. Tighten cam bearing cap bolts gradually in sequence shown in (Fig. 25) to 12 Nm (105 inch lbs.).
9. Install secondary chain tensioner bolts and tighten to 12 Nm (105 inch lbs.).




    Couldn't find my smaller torque wrench, the one with the 3/8" square drive, so we just tightened them up tight. Haven't seen the little torque wrench in a long time. I am afraid I may have gotten rid of it during one of my of "I ain't workin' on cars no more" fits.
    Stripped the threads for one bolt hole in the head. This was for one tensioners, not for one of bearings. It looked like about a 6mm screw, just a little smaller than a 1/4 inch, so I ran a 1/4-20 tap in the hole and put in an American bolt and it held. Messy, and not exactly kosher, but good enough. 
    Found a lot of aluminum particles on the inside of the bearing caps. These bolts are really tough to loosen, I had to buy a new socket for this job last time. I think we may be approaching the limits of what the aluminum can take, so everytime you tighten the bolts you generate flakes of aluminum. These flakes are trapped in the hole and cause no trouble until you take the bolts out and then you get a virtual snowfall. I dumped them in a box when we pulled them off, so any debris that came out with the bolts was free to spread onto all oily surfaces, which included the bearings. That's my theory anyway.

It's Art, Okay?

Order your copy from Tyrone Stoddart

Via Roberta X. I wondered what she was on about, but when I saw the picture I understood. OK, maybe I don't understand, but I laughed anyway.

OSPIRG

A volunteer from OSPIRG stopped by yesterday evening just as I was getting ready to eat dinner so I sent him away. Last year it was a couple of young women and I enjoyed talking to them so much that I gave them some money. This year I was a little annoyed. Reminds me of a conversation I had with Tena about this maybe ten years ago. She liked what they were doing, but she didn't like them coming by the house to ask for money. Maybe I'm sexist, or maybe I'm getting old, but I am tired of men coming to the door and asking for money. I used to put up with it in good cheer. Times are tough, at least these guys are getting out and trying to accomplish something, whether they are selling something or collecting for charity. But I've had enough.
       The biggest problem with charities is that once you give them some money they seem to use that small show of generosity on your part as an excuse to dun you ever more for more money. No, I gave you money to stop talking and go away. Foolish me. From now on if you come to the door and ask for money, you aren't getting any.
    As for OSPIRG, I don't know if they do any good or not. They certainly seem earnest enough, and their heart is in the right place, but if they are doing so much good, how come they have to go begging? Yes, corporations can put large sums of money behind their focused attacks on the common good, but if you have to go begging for money it's apparent people do not appreciate what you are doing, so maybe you shouldn't bother. Things might get a lot worse, but maybe that's what it takes to get people to wake up and pay attention. Of course we could all end up in hell, but I like to think that at some point some revolutionary firebrand would pick up a torch and start inciting people to topple our corporate overlords.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jobar, Damascus


There's no explanation of how this video came to be. I can't believe anyone would just stand there and continue filming with a tank's gun barrel pointed right at them, but nothing in the mideast makes much sense to me, so maybe that's what happened.

2001 Chrysler Sebring Cylinder head bolts 2.7 Liter V-6 engine


Found on Just Answer dot com

To install:

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Cylinder head bolt torque sequence-2.7L engine
  1. Clean all mating surfaces of any residual gasket material.
  2. Lubricate the threads of the cylinder head bolts with clean engine oil.
  3. Install or connect the following:

    Cylinder head with a new gasket

  4. Torque the bolts, in sequence, using the following procedure:
    1. Step 1: Bolts 1-8: 35 ft. lbs. (48 Nm).
    2. Step 2: Bolts 1-8: 55 ft. lbs. (75 Nm).
    3. Step 3: Bolts 1-8: 55 ft. lbs. (75 Nm).
    4. Step 4: Bolts 1-8: An additional 90°. Do not use a torque wrench for this step.
    5. Step 5: Bolts 9-11: 21 ft. lbs. (28 Nm).

Obamacare

Jack  Says: If memory serves employers offering healthcare came out as a response to FDR’s wartime price controls. As it was a way to attract people / incentivize them. In the abstract having your employer be your agent on finding a 3rd party medical payment plan is very strange. We don’t get our car insurance or our home loans through our employers…
From a comment found on Say Uncle, via View From The Porch.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt

Looking for information about the new anti-missile radar we are installing in Romania (!?!), I stumbled across this place, which is much, much, weirder.


    Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt is located on the northwest coast of Australia, 4 miles North of the town of Exmouth, Western Australia. The town was built at the same time as the communications station to provide support to the base and to house dependent families of U.S. Navy personnel.
    The station provides Very Low Frequency (VLF) radio transmission to United States Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships and submarines in the western Pacific Ocean and eastern Indian Ocean. With a transmission power of 1 megawatt, it is the most powerful transmission station in the Southern Hemisphere.
    The antenna for this transmitter is a large spider web of wire supported in a top hat arrangement by 13 steel towers. Tower Zero (in the center) is 1,270 feet tall, and was for many years the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere. 
    The other towers are spread out in two concentric hexagons around Tower Zero; the towers of the inner ring are 1,200 feet high. Those of the outer ring are 1,000 feet high. Buried in the ground beneath the antenna array is 240 miles of bare copper ground mat. There are 357 guy wires holding the towers in place. - Condensed from Wikipedia.

Google map of the area.

Helicopter Crash


Russian Ka-52 "Alligator" helicopter crashed near Moscow today, the two pilots were seriously injured, but no fatalities. Unfortunate for the two guys involved, but not really noteworthy. I mean helicopters are always falling out of the sky and killing or injuring people.
    The odd bit is that this helicopter is equipped with ejection seats, which sounds like a really dumb idea for a helicopter. Wouldn't you get chopped in half by the rotor blades before you got clear? I suppose you could make like a machine gun on a WWI fighter plane and synchronize your firing with the rotation of the blades, but you would really want to trust the synchro mechanism on a helicopter that is so broken that it is falling out of the sky? Anyway, they came up with another solution: jettison the rotor blades before you fire the ejection seats. I mean, if the jettison part successfully disconnected the blades they would be gone in a fraction of a second, leaving clear sailing for the guys to boost clear.
    So what happened here? First of all you need to know that this is one of those crazy Russian helicopters with the contra-rotating blades.


Looking at the crash picture, it appears that the upper set of blades is still attached, but the lower set of blades is missing. There is some speculation that the jettison-blade portion of the ejection sequence failed. Either the portion for the lower blades was activated inadvertantly, or the portion for the upper blades failed. In either case, the chopper would have lost half of it's lift and would have started to rotate in an uncontrollable fashion, neither of which are good things to have happen in a helicopter.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Grants Pass Oregon Goes To Sea

SOUTH CHINA SEA (Oct. 25, 2013) An Airman loads ammunition onto an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of the USS George Washington. Photo by  Ricardo R. Guzman.

Looking through today's photos and I see GRANTS PASS, OR stenciled on the landing gear door of this F-18. Shoot, that's just down the road a piece.

Economy Size Oxygen Bottle

Saw this super size cutting rig at Clackamas Steel last week when Jack & I stopped by to pick up material for one of his projects. Regular welders will usually have two similar size tanks, a tall, thin, green one for oxygen and shorter, fatter, red one for acetylene. Never seen anybody using an oxygen tank this size for, well, for anything. Looks like they are using propane for fuel. Propane probably doesn't work as well as acetylene, but evidently it works well enough, and it's a lot easier to get. You can pick up a bottle of propane at your local drugstore, for Pete's sake.

Old House

ABBOTT L. MILLS HOUSE. DESIGNED & BUILT 1908. 
SHEPLEY, RUTAN & COOLIDGE, ARCHITECTS BOSTON. 
DESIGNATED AS A HISTORICAL LANDMARK MARCH 25, 1970.

Had to stop by a realtor's office in downtown Portland today. You know how most realtor's offices are plastered with ten foot high red and blue signs telling you who they are? Not this one. This one was discrete to the point of being invisible. Drove right past it the first time. Had to get out and walk around to figure out where it was.

Russia Flies White Swans to Venezuela

I'm not sure what all the other aircraft are doing in this video, but we see a Tu-160 landing at the end, supposedly in Venezuela. 

Repurposed from the Google translation of the Russian blurb that came with this video:
Ten thousand miles in thirteen hours. The crews of two RussianTu-160 strategic bombers took off from Engels air base and landed at the airport in Maiquetia Venezuela. The route passed over Norway, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. While over Norway the Russian's were accompanied by two F-16 fighters. The Ministry of Defense in particular pointed out that all the flights were carried out in strict accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace.
Engels air base is across the Volga River from Saratov in Southwest Russia. A direct line between the two places on Google maps is only 6,800 miles. If Norway was the only European country they flew over, they would have had to go 1,500 miles North to avoid the rest of Europe. That's a lot of jet fuel. Dividing distance by time I get 770 MPH, which is supersonic. I kind of doubt whether they ever went supersonic on this flight. I don't think the fuel budget would accommodate those kind of shenanigans.

Happy Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov


Inspired by View From The Porch

Sunday, October 27, 2013

THIS IS THE WAR ON TERROR. WISH YOU WERE HERE!

Filipino marines roll through Jolo City on a mission to deliver textbooks, summer 2006.
Photo: Antonin Kratochvil

TUESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2007

Welcome to the tropical Philippine island of Jolo, where life is like a Corona ad—coconut trees, white-sand beaches, bathtub-warm seas. Except those guys in the water are U.S. Green Berets, and those kids on dirt bikes are jihadists known for kidnapping Western tourists. Even stranger? On this front, at least, America seems to be winning.

By: 

This is a excellent story from Outside in 2007.

Michelle Branch - Play With Fire


I came across this when I was looking for the Rolling Stones version. It must have struct a nerve (chord?) with me because I've listened to it several times since and I think I like it. Not sure about any of her other stuff, I listened to a couple and they didn't impress me, but I like her voice here.

Near Miss

Syaffolee had a close call when this high-speed buffalo pulled out to pass.

Who's Idea Was This Anyway?


Meiko Kaji - The Flower of Carnage

David Sarasohn has a column in today's paper about the rising student debt load this country is carrying, now over one trillion dollars. It's a succinct, sarcastic, essay as perfits someone with the name of Sarasohn. But I'm wondering how we got in this state, which leads me to who is benefiting from this? The schools are benefiting right now, but what are they going to do when this house of cards collapses? The small percentage of students who manage to graduate and find a job that pays well enough for them to pay off their loans in short order, let's say no longer than it took them to get their degree, these students are benefiting. Right now the bank's are benefiting but when the default rate hits 50%, which I am sure it will, they're going to be crying in their beer unless they will be able to get the US Federal Government [tm] to bail them out. So the only people who are benefiting from this catastrophe in the making, the only ones who haven't signed up for the long term, are the loan arrangers at the banks. Hard to believe that a bunch of salesmen would be able to put together enough clout to arrange something like this, but maybe it's that age old lure of easy money (it has a very strong appeal).
    I am beginning to think that this is the kind of thing that pushes a country toward civil war. It may not happen for 50 or 100 years, or we may find someway to compensate for our foibles, but I think these kind of systemic problems are what lead to deep schisms.
    The situation in the USA reminds me more and more of old Japanese Science Fiction movies where there are no good guys, there are only different flavors of bad guys. It's a kind of fatalism.

Update November 2015. Replaced missing video.

No Rest For The Wicked


Movie starts with a drunk Spanish detective. We're in Spain, so the Spanish part makes sense. The place where he's drinking finally convinces him to leave. He's out driving around and he spots another bar that might be open, so he stops in. It's five in the morning, they are closed but the front door is open because they are cleaning up. People talk, yes, no, yes, no, give the detective a drink, and then boom, boom, boom! The detective shoots the three employees dead. This guy is a loose cannon, in the very literal sense. Now he realizes what he has done and that there might be somebody upstairs who witnessed this and he better kill them too if he doesn't want to hang. Our hidden witness manages to clobber our drunk cannon with a frying pan and escape. Merde!
      At this point I'm wondering about this movie. This guy is obviously a shit, a dog who should be put down, but at this point he's the only one left alive besides our unknown witness. So, the detective starts trying to track down the one guy who can hang a murder rap on him.
      Meanwhile the cops are investigating a triple homicide at a strip club (yes, same bar, same dead people). All kinds of interesting little bits of information turn up. The owner was previously indicted from trafficking in narcotics. The bouncer is an arab hitman wanted by Interpol for murder in umpteen different countries. The bartender was from Colombia, and we all know what that means. I won't mention the 300,000 Euros in a fancy safe with the electronic combination lock that was opened for the police by a man with a stethoscope. Hey, it could happen. Some people can hear transistors changing state.
      Mr. loose cannon is breaking into people's businesses and apartments and making slow but steady progress on tracking down his next victim. But wait, there's something funny going on, with this guy. He's going around meeting strange people, carrying a backpack. This guy is beginning to look more like a drug smuggler than an accountant for a strip club, or maybe he's more like a terrorist. I mean, just what are these guys doing?
     Meanwhile, our beautiful, female judge (judges seem to run investigations in Spain and Argentina, or maybe it's just an artifact of translation) and mother is pursuing her investigation of the triple homicide. Seems the old narcotics investigation was handed over to the foreign service because of a possible terrorist connection. When that didn't pan out it fell in a hole. Boy, we've got some smarmy characters playing the well insulated bureaucrats. Big smiles to go with their tall tales.
    Naturally, since our judge is an intelligent, loyal and dedicated public servant (never mind a wife and mother), her investigation eventually runs across Santos, our loose cannon. He admits to do doing his job but otherwise lies through his teeth.
    Things finally come to a head and Santos takes a shotgun and goes calling at El Hacienda de Terroristos. Bloody mayhem ensues and Santos goes to his just (?) reward. Perhaps god will look favorably on him since all the people he killed were scumbags of the first order.
    Sometimes I wonder if it is a good idea to include technical details of devious schemes in movies. It does make the movie more believable, and they aren't giving anything away that an intelligent person could not figure out for themselves, but should we really be handing do-it-yourself plans for mass murder to every moron with a theater ticket? On the other hand, maybe the value of educating the well behaved majority about the possible hazards present in modern life outweighs the risks.
    IMDB has this to say about this film  (sort of): A thriller about police ineptitude prior to Madrid's 2004 terrorist bombing.

Air-Plane

RAF  F-15E 

Sometimes it takes a good long while for the obvious to make its way to the front of my brain where I can recognize it. Take, for instance, the brand name Frigidaire. We had a refrigerator of that make when I was a kid. We always called it "the fridge". It wasn't until many years later that I realized the name came from combining the two words "frigid" and "air", and then tacking an e on the end to make it French or something, Frigid Air. What a concept.
    Looking at airplane specifications, mostly just to see how different warbirds compare in terms of size and weight, I noticed that the wing loading seemed awfully high, like 50 pounds per square foot (metric). Put 50 pounds in a box and drop it and it will fall through the air like a lead balloon.
    Pictures of airplanes flying always look like the wings are totally level, so it must be that Bernoulli principle, the difference in air pressure between the high velocity air on the upper side, and the slower air on the lower side, right? Except for the B-52. B-52's always look like they are headed downhill.
     And what's the deal with "rotation" at lift off? Airplanes charge down the runway with their wings all nice and level until they get to their flying speed and then the pilot hauls back on the stick, the plane takes on a nose up attitude and it leaps into the air. Magic!
    The key word here is "plane". Much like power boats get up on a "plane" on the water, that's what airplanes are doing, they are "planing" on air.  At high speeds it doesn't take much of an angle of produce all the air pressure you need to support your multi-ton aircraft. At lower speeds it takes more of an angle. The appearance of the airplane flying right along the same line as its wings at liftoff is an illusion. It is still going 99% of it's horizontal velocity, it's just going up because the wings are pushing air down. It's travel vector is still much more in line with the ground than with with the angle of the wings.
    The Bernoulli effect? All that does is add a bit of efficiency.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Weird Movie Finances


Our local paper gave the The Counselor an F. That's on a scale where A is really good and C is okay. I don't think I've ever seen them give a movie a grade of less than a C. I have seen one movie that I would give an F and that was David Lynch's Inland Empire. That was a bad, bad movie.
    How can The Counselor be so bad? It's got all these great names associated with it, so I went looking for reviews and I found that the plot is confusing, the tone is vicious, and it might be either a little too deep, or a little too shallow, I'm not sure. In any case, I found this bit about movie finances in Forbes, and since I was just wondering about this I thought I'd post it.
Anything in the $60-70 million range would allow The Counselor to avoid being an outright disaster, then, and claim at least a small profit (compared to production and marketing costs, that is — the truth is that studios get only about half of the domestic box office totals, and only around 30+% of the foreign receipts, so a $70 million total box office might translate hypothetically into a studio take of perhaps about $28 million, give or take). At this point, though, I think it’s going to be about the long haul, where coming close to breaking even lets those involved look toward the home entertainment market’s large profit margins as the eventual payoff, not to mention the possibility McCarthy will write a novelized version for merchandising purposes as well.
I watched Revolver (Jason Statham with hair, Guy Richie directs, Luc Besson writes) last night on broadcast television. It was certainly an odd film, but I kind of liked it, so I'd like to see The Counselor, but I ain't gonna spend $30 to see it. I'll wait till it hits Netflix.


      I got done writing this and I go looking for a picture to go with it. I found a good one, but then I watched this trailer and what is that tune they're playing? That's Sail by AwolNation. For some reason it seems to give the trailer a creepy feeling.
   P.S. The Forbes reviewer also says "The short version is, this is basically a David Lynch film that forgot to get Lynch involved." I don't know if that is good or bad. I mean Inland Empire was awful, but Blue Velvet was awesome.

Quote-Quote of the Day


The NSA's report to Obama claims to have intercepted an anti-global-warming call wherein Angie [Merkel] was negotiating with China about continuing the use of CO2-saving traditional transport animals in Mongolia. Verbatim, she is reported by the NSA to have said "Yak, yak, yak, yak..." ;-) - Stu on Eunoia.

Our most disastrous war...

It's a war that, in retrospect, we never should have started. Oh, sure, we had the best of intentions going in; there was a perceived threat to our society, plus the do-gooder angle of people who needed saving to make us feel better about ourselves. Sure, we might have to curtail a few civil liberties for the duration, but that's the price of security in time of war, right? 
Forty years later, we are still an occupying army, people's rights are still getting trampled, and you have a harder time buying good cold medicine than you would the meth they're afraid you'll make with it. They would rather an innocent person writhe in pain than risk somebody getting high. 
Seriously, the War on (Some) Drugs has done more damage to the fabric of American liberty and the Bill of Rights than any other single factor, shows no sign of letting up, and yet bring this fact up to any Law 'n' Order Republican and they just snort and dismiss the issue with "Libertarians just want to smoke pot." 
Thank you, John Locke, for that penetrating insight; you've figured me right out. Yes, the reason I want to roll back the ridiculous regulations that have built up around cold medicine is because I want to smoke pot... youknob. No, Eliot Ness, I don't particularly want to smoke pot, but I do want to stop the ongoing judicial death-by-torture of the Fourth Amendment. 
America, land of the piss test and the no-knock; the militarized southern border; a Drug Enforcement Agency that is not only twice the size of the Estonian army, but which probably outguns it, too; where moderately bright dogs are treated as constitutional scholars on Fourth Amendment issues, eager to please their handlers by giving them an excuse to tear your car apart on the roadside; where state and local police agencies are the recipient of DoD hand-me-down armored cars and machine guns and attack helicopters as though they were banana republics, although with less oversight as to how the gear will be used. 
And you bring this stuff up and it gets hand-waved away with "you just want to smoke pot." 
"Oh, Tam, the scourge of drugs is..." No scourge is worth this, okay? This whole "burn the village to save it" thing has got to stop. 
People complain about the loss of freedoms in the War on Terror? It was all built on a scaffold of dope laws. How did they legally justify the .mil assistance at Waco? They claimed there was a dope lab on the premises. How do they go after your scary-looking AKs and ARs? By claiming that they're the preferred weapon of dope dealers. (That's right: 922r is a direct result of the War on Drugs, via paleoconservative Republican Bill Bennett. You can look it up.) Next time somebody complains about the "parts count" provisions on their SKS, I'm going to snark right back at 'em with "You just want to smoke pot."

EDIT: Heh. I must've subconsciously been picking up the vibes of an ongoing discussion elsewhere on the internets. I heard that news story about the proposed prescription drug regulation changes this morning and the above rant just happened.
Stolen entire from View From The Porch

Friday, October 25, 2013

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within - Theatrical Trailer - 2001


This is my favorite Science Fiction movie. Well, one of my favorites anyway. I especially like (hate) the mechanical warriors from the other planet, they remind me so much of our own headlong rush into ever more sophisticated means of delivering death and destruction. I have not been able to find a good image of them, they only show up on the screen for a few seconds at a time. Prompted by my musings about war, I went looking for some images of them. Not finding anything I went to IMDB where I find that while it cost $137 million to make, it grossed only about one percent of that in Italy. WTF? Why do we care what it grossed in Italy? Whatever. Wikipedia tells us it grossed $85 million worldwide and this relatively poor showing led to the demise of Square Pictures, the producer. Movie money is pretty funny stuff. I mean how much of the box office gross actually gets back to the producers? And then there's that story about an actor who signed a deal for a percentage of the net profits. He ended up getting nothing because, as the old hand said, "there is no net". Everything that comes in gets siphoned off into one rathole, er, legitimate business expense, or another.

Rumors of War


I don't like the term "War Fighter", and not just because it was George Bush's favorite phrase. We had perfectly cromunlent words like soldier, sailor, marine and airman, and they got us through umpteen previous, real wars, but now that we're engaged in glorified police actions worldwide we need a new term? Bah and humbug.
    I read something the other day that said the reason we were friends with Saudi Arabia was to ensure the free flow of oil, not just to ourselves (the USA), but world wide.
    Then I heard the news that Iraq is now the second largest oil producer in the world. That's pretty impressive considering they were down to practically zero due to the last Gulf War. It occurs to me that this might be the real reason we picked a fight with them, not because they were threatening to use the weapons of mass destruction that they had possibly built, not because they were threatening to stop using the dollar as the medium for oil pricing, not because Saddam was a vicious asshole. We picked on Saddam because he was not keeping up his share of oil production. His production was slipping, badly, and that was unforgivable.
    The War on Terror is a big production, but it is basically a show, a Showtime Production if you will. Big budget, cast of thousands, lots of press, lots of photo ops, headlines everyday, but we aren't really serious about it. If we were serious we wouldn't be playing patty-cake with Saudi Arabia.
     Terrorists commit atrocities everyday, but in the grand scheme of things they are like airplane crashes, or even automobile crashes. Yes, horrible things happen, innocent people get killed, maimed or injured in all kinds of horrible ways, but all-in-all, it is a small percentage of the world population that suffers. For 99.999% of the people in the world it doesn't exist. You are probably more likely to die in a car wreck, a helicopter crash or gang warfare.
    So the powers that be are not going to take terrorism seriously, not until it starts having a significant effect on their bottom line. Part of the problem is that people are only human. It is very difficult to accomplish anything in this world, even when you are concentrating. If you allow yourself to get distracted by concerns other than your main one, your main concern is going to suffer. People who have built large corporations have done so by concentrating on that building, not by worrying about every baby that lands on their doorstep.
    We have all benefited from these giant financial conglomerations. Mass production, high technology, lower costs, and plentiful food have all contributed to where we are now. Okay, not everyone is living "the good life", but not too many people are hitting rats over the head with rocks in order to get their next meal. Well, at least I don't think so. And now that I mention it, I'm not sure that is any worse than the kind of crap we get to deal with in the first world.

Playing With Fire 1965 - The Rolling Stones


We're talking about what kinds of investments a person could make and the two perennials, fast food franchises and rental property, pop up. I'm not too keen on either one. Restaurants (of any kind) are a lot of work, long hours, lots of cleaning and scrubbing, subject to the whims of the market, and they aren't cheap to start with either.
     Rental property is the traditional way to wealth. The Catholic Church owns half of Europe (The Godfather Part 3) and  there is that line in a Rolling Stones song about how somebody owns a block in St. John's Wood. A block of London? That would be real money. This reminds me that I haven't heard that song in a while, so I go looking for it, which gets me nowhere, because I don't remember any song called Playing With Fire, but it eventually seeps through my thick skull and here we are.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Gotta Get Drunk - Willie Nelson

I thought everyone knew this song, but a straw poll of my gang revealed that is not the case, so for your edification, and without further ado, I bring you Willie:


Machine Gun Porn

Denmark is looking to replace their current light machine gun. They have boiled it down to a choice between these two.

German HK 121

American M60

Inspired by Tam.

St. Patrick's Bad Analogies


Via Marcel. Funniest thing I've seen in ... days, maybe?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Aker Arctic’s ARC100HD – A Powerful, and Unusual Icebreaker

BY  ON 

Aker Arctic ARC100HD Icebreaker
Aker Arctic’s ARC100HD Icebreaker
At first glance, very little about this new icebreaker looks right.  The port side shares almost nothing in common with the starboard side and even the bridge doesn’t appear to be facing the right direction.
aker arctic ahc100hd
Image: Rob Almeida/gCaptain
This was a very deliberate design consideration by the naval architects at Aker Arctic however, one that gives the ARC100 some very unique abilities while operating in first-year arctic ice.
Every other icebreaker in the world accomplishes its job while moving forward or astern, except for the ARC100.  This new icebreaker is able to operate as an icebreaker in any direction, and as the diagram below shows, use this to its advantage by increasing its virtual beam to create channels in the ice for ships with wider beams.
aker arctic arc100
The ARC100HD has also been through a plethora of model tests at Aker Arctic’s facility in Helsinki, Finland which have demonstrated the vessel’s ability to break through 1.5m thick ice when moving ahead and astern at 5 knots (2 knots through 2m thick ice). In the oblique mode, the vessel will be able to cut a 50m wide channel through 1.5m thick ice.
In addition this vessel will also be outfitted with features that provide advanced oil response capabilities in an arctic environment. As the image below shows, the vessel deploys a boom arm and uses the full length of the hull to funnel oil to the on board collector tanks for oil separation.  This system allows oil recovery in heavy seas.
oil spill response aker arctic

aker arctic arc100hd icebreaker
Vessel Particulars:
  • Length over all: 98.0 m
  • Breadth over all: 26.0 m
  • Draught maximum: 8.5 m
  • Bollard pull: 190 tons
  • Main engine power: 2 x 8000 kW
 + 2 x 4000 kW = 24000 kW
  • Accommodation: 40
  • Deadweight max: 3200 tons
  • Fuel oil: 2500 m3
  • Recovered oil: 1500 m3
  • Fresh water: 250 m3
  • Urea: 250 m3
  • Operation range: 10000 NM
Excerpted from gCaptain. It is certainly an unusual boat. I like the way they list the fuel capacity in useful units. This boat could probably do something useful with a cubic meter of fuel oil, like travel 4 miles. A gallon probably wouldn't even get it up to operating temperature. But why do we have a tank for urea, unless this a euphemism for sewage.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Undermine Journal


This is just the weirdest thing, or maybe it's just a natural progression, but there is now a Wall Street Journal for people who play World of Warcraft (which is like one out of every ten people on the planet). Via View From The Porch.

Pic of the Day

Ted Cruz For President!

Best idea I've heard in a long time.

Jackhammer Dream

I wonder what these guys were smoking.

Dreamed a woman wanted to apply a jackhammer to my foot and I was okay with that except I wasn't sure the jackhammer would work, so we decided to test it on a mattress. The jackhammer wasn't very big, more like a pneumatic nailer that carpenters use. We folded the mattress over and applied the jackhammer but it wouldn't hammer. It would make one puff and then stop. I think it was because the mattress wasn't hard enough to provide any "bounce-back". No matter how hard we compressed the mattress and how hard we pushed down on the jackhammer we couldn't get more than one puff out of it, which kind put the kibosh on our plans for my foot, whatever they were. I have no idea what that plan was. I took a Zyrtec yesterday morning, you don't think that could have anything to do with this, do you?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Afghanistan Bananistan

View of the man-made lake at Band-e Sardeh behind the husk of an abandoned Soviet armored personnel carrier.

Came across this interesting comment by James on Military Photos dot net:
Outside Kabul and Kandahar I recall pre-fab Soviet roads, basically slabs of concrete laid over the desert, maybe a meter thick. I guess it worked for them in Siberia and they did the same in the desert. No shoulders, just the occasional dirt mound of you needed to get off the road.
Couldn't find anything to confirm his story, but I did come across a story from 2011 by C.J. Chivers in The New York Times about the Soviet "Try" in Afghanistan:
Many accounts of the Soviet-Afghan war use military lenses. They emphasize Soviet military tactics and behaviors, including the doctrinal use of heavy weapons, indiscriminate aerial bombing and artillery bombardment, and a reliance on large-scale operations that Afghan guerrillas often easily eluded. But the Soviet Union’s long try in Afghanistan had many other elements. Moscow built schools, roads, airports and dams, and sponsored ministries, too. Soviet officials recruited students and bureaucrats for all manner of training, and invited the country’s elite and its officer-, civil-service and intellectual classes to long periods of study in the Soviet Union. Education, development and modernization — like this dam, which still influences both flood control and irrigation downstream — played no small part in the Kremlin’s Afghan policy, which ultimately failed.

Better Citizenship Test


Last week some students at the Oregon Episcopal School created a new test for citizenship. "Knowing names and dates, the students thought, were the least important things about being a citizen." Here are their questions:
  1. What are the essential American values reflected in the Constitution?
  2. Why was the absence of religion in the original constitution important?
  3. “The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution,” John Adams wrote in 1818. Explain the meaning and value of this statement in two or three paragraphs.
  4. If you had been at the Constitutional Convention, what one thing would you change about the Constitution?
  5. Why is it important to have a checks and balances system in the original form of the government, and why is it important for the constitution to put this system into place?
  6. Was the way Native Americans were treated by the 13 colonies and then the United States representative of American ideals? Explain.
  7. Thomas Jefferson said in his Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal”, yet slavery was not officially abolished until 1863 when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, confirmed by the 13th Amendment in 1865. Using your knowledge of history, explain why the Americans were not able to live up to Jefferson's statement until much later.
  8. Are factions inevitable, as stated by James Madison in Federalist Paper 10, and if so, how should the citizens of the United States navigate the factions that develop? Are they the best vehicle through which citizens to express their personal opinions?
  9. Over time, the Supreme Court has become more and more powerful, based on the Marshall Court's original assertion of "judicial review." Is this consistent with the American ideal of democracy?
  10. Is it better for the federal government to have more power, or the states? Why?
  11. Why do Americans reject the idea of monarchy? Why are Americans committed to democracy?
  12. Which is preferable in a democracy, a multiple party system or single party system? Use examples from American history in your answer.

Unfinished Sky



This review in Variety by Richard Kuipers sums it up pretty well.

A widowed Aussie farmer who’s opted out of the human race and a traumatized Afghani refugee meet in the finely crafted meller “Unfinished Sky.” Writer-director Peter Duncan’s loose remake of the 1998 Dutch hit “The Polish Bride” remains faithful to basics — and even features thesp Monic Hendrickx reworking her earlier role — while wringing satisfying changes to the tale’s romantic and thriller intricacies. An affecting character study for mature viewers, pic won the audience vote at the Brisbane fest and has claims for arthouse exposure. Netherlands release is set for January 2008, with Oz rollout to follow.

Well, I guess it does. I haven't heard of The Polish Bride, and I had to look up meller - it means melodrama, which is I guess is critic-speak for drama.

Saudi Arabia Rejects U.N. Security Council Seat in Protest Move


I know the powers-that-be are effing jackasses, but I was still stunned by the news that Saudi Arabia was offered a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Never mind that they rejected the offer. Whose idea was it to propose them for membership in the first place? This news irritated me so much I sent a note to both of my Senators and my Congresswoman:
Whose idea was it to propose Saudi Arabia for membership on the United Nations Security Council? Which half wit thought selling them $7 billion worth of missiles was a good idea? Saudi Arabia is NOT our friend. Saudi Arabia is the source of all jihadist violence. Why are we even talking to them anymore? You want the CIA to do something useful for once? Have them pull down the house of Saud.
From Wikipedia's article on state sponsored terrorism:
Saudi Arabia is said to be the world's largest source of funds for Salafi jihadist terrorist militant groups, such as al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Taiba in South Asia, and donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide, according to Hillary Clinton.[110] According to a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state, "Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the TalibanLeT and other terrorist groups."[111]
For your amusement, here's a story from 2009 by Glenn Greenwald that sheds a little light on the whole war on terror thing. Saudis want Jihad? I say we give them some right upside their collective heads.

P.S. Unfortunately the Wikipedia article quotes Hillary, who might be one of the most hated people in the world. I do not understand why that is, other than that she is a Democrat and therefor probably supports gun control. Or I dunno, maybe she is secretly an African Muslim Communist. Well, haters gonna hate.

Hayseed Dixie Walk This Way


Thanks to Roberta X.

What, me racist? Part 2.

After breaking the bartender's nose on the bar Gus takes out his pistol and says:
Now if you'd care to turn around you can see how we looked when we were younger and the people around here wanted to make us senators. Now the thing we didn't put up then was dawdling service and as you can see we still don't put up with it.

Driving home past the local elementary school yesterday just when parents are collecting their chilluns. There are some people standing near the corner talking. About half the group is white and are standing on the sidewalk. The other half is black and they are standing in the crosswalk in the middle of the street. They were not blocking my path, that crosswalk crosses a side street that does not get much traffic, but still! Why are you holding a conversation in the middle of the street? To me this just smacks of stupidity, or rudeness. There is no reason to be standing in the street like that. You could just as easily have your conversation while standing on the sidewalk. Standing in the crosswalk means any traffic that does come along is going to have to look out for you, and anytime you depend on other people to do what they are supposed to do you run the risk of being disappointed. In this case fatally.
     A few years ago I was at the local community college and I come up behind some black kids sauntering down the road. They are crossing the road, but at such an extreme angle that they would be 200 feet farther down the road from where they started when they got to the other side. I wasn't in any hurry so I just sat and waited for them to complete their moseying, because it was moseying. Normal walking pace is about three miles an hour. This kids were barely making one. What I don't know is whether that was their normal pace or whether they were deliberately dawdling to piss off the old redneck in the pickup truck who was breathing down their neck. I don't understand slow walking. The reason you are walking is to get someplace. Do some people enjoy walking that slow? Or is it a form of rebellion? Or just lack of impetus?
      It might not be a race thing at all, it might just be city slicker versus country mouse. 25 years ago this was a sleepy farming community. If you saw someone you knew while you were driving, you could stop in the middle of the street and have a nice long conversation and be reasonably confident that no one would disturb you. I come from the suburbs where people have to be on the go constantly in order to feed the giant money machine, so no, you don't have time to stop and talk to people, and you sure don't stop in the middle of the street because some madman racing down the street will be running you down.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Why I Will Never, Ever, Go Back to the United States


Darling daughter is studying up on immigration and visa requirements and she comes across this story from a Dutchman trying to travel to New Orleans, which is where we get the title for this post. He's been all around the world, and unfortunately for him, most of the places he's been are hotbeds of crazy mussulmen, places like Yemen, Singapore and Malaysia. He was in Yemen to visit the island of Socotra, which is right in the middle of pirate territory off the horn of Africa. Niels, our Dutchman, says it is one of the strangest places on Earth, so I have to go check it out. I am not sure whether the scenes in this video are beautiful or terrifying.

Hard Case

Brain scan of white matter fibers, brainstem and above. The fibers are color coded by direction: red = left-right, green = anterior-posterior, blue = ascending-descending (RGB=XYZ). The Human Connectome Project, a $40-million endeavor funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to plot connections within the brain that enables the complex behaviors our brains perform so seamlessly. Courtesy of the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA and Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH. This image is not really connected to this story, but hey, cool brain picture.

Grouchy, angry, irritable and depressed: the hard cases

October 08, 2013 By Melissa Healy in the Los Angeles Times

    After languishing for years in the shadows of psychiatry's definition of adult depression, irritability is finally getting some respect again. It's about damned time, you might say.
    A new study has found that people suffering a major depressive episode who report they have become grouchy, hostile, grumpy, argumentative, foul-tempered or angry will likely have a "more complex, chronic and severe form" of major depressive disorder than those who do not acknowledge irritable feelings and behavior.
    We're not talking about a small minority of the depressed either: In this 30-year study of 536 subjects who first presented with depression, 54% acknowledged irritability in feelings and behavior. And while cussedness is increasingly recognized as a hallmark of depression in men,  the current study found that a majority of women fell into its "irritable" group as well.
    Compared with the merely sad, guilt-ridden and lethargic, the irritable depressed had more severe depressive symptoms. They stayed depressed for longer. They relapsed more readily. And they were more likely to experience other psychiatric conditions as well, including anxiety and substance abuse disorders, impulse-control problems and antisocial behavior, the study showed.
    The difference between the two groups was so stark as to suggest that major depression with "overt irritability/anger" might be diagnosed and treated as a distinct form of the disorder, requiring more intensive treatment, the authors wrote.
    Indeed, the researchers suggested, such depression may spring from different biological origins than depression in which manifestations of anger or irritability are absent. That is also suggested by the study's finding that subjects expressing irritability were more likely than those who did not to have a family history of bipolar disorder.
    The latest research, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, began in 1978 to track 536 adult Americans in five U.S. cities who were seeking help for an episode of major depressive disorder. Researchers interviewed subjects about their symptoms twice a year for the first five years and at least once a year thereafter for an average of more than 16 years. More than 45% of the subjects were followed for 20 or more years, giving researchers an unusually detailed perspective on the long-term course of depression.
    The study's authors did not count those who said they experienced "occasional snappiness" among the depressed and irritable. To be counted in that group, a subject was required to acknowledge he or she was "somewhat argumentative and quick to express annoyance," that he or she "often shouts or loses temper" or that he or she "throws things, breaks windows, or is occasionally assaultive." In the most extreme manifestation of irritability, a subject would be "repeatedly violent against things or people."
    Irritability is formally seen as a hallmark of major depressive disorder in children and adolescents. But in 1987, the American Psychiatric Assn. dropped it as a diagnostic criterion of major depressive disorder in adults.

I'm depressed, and often grouchy, hostile, grumpy, argumentative, foul-tempered or angry. Been that way for a long time. I take Prozac. Been taking it for a long time. It is only supposed to be effective for six months or so. It still seems to help. I am better behaved if I get enough sleep, but that is like a full time job. It goes better now that I quit trying to get a solid eight hours. Now I sleep for two or three hours, then I'll get up for an hour or two, then go back to sleep for three or four hours. And I'll take a nap in the afternoon. By the time I get up at 5PM I have finally gotten my eight hours and I am good to go, well, until one or two in the morning when I start the whole thing over again. My wife pointed out this story to me. I wonder why.

P.S. Just went for a walk and Yosemite Sam popped into my mind. Think he might be the archetype for a depressed grump?