Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Showgirl

Leda Petit by Jocelen Janon
The photo of this woman is exceptional. I am not sure if the cabaret setting contributes much, but it certainly doesn't hurt. I came across this photo while looking for one for an earlier post. I like to cite the source for photos I post, but this one I found on Pinterest, that members-only den of inequity. I wasn't going to get any source info there, so I asked Google, which delivered up a copy with a watermark, which was a pretty good indicator of being the original. Couldn't find any info about the pic. An inquiry produced a link to a very entertaining and enlightening story about photography in the age of the internet. You can read the whole thing here.

You can buy a print of the photo here. It's a couple of bucks, but then it's a heck of picture.

Intellectual Exercise

Partial Solution to Eternity 2 Puzzle
A while back I spent some time on the Eternity 2 puzzle. It soon became obvious that a computerized, brute force approach was unlikely to find a solution before our sun goes Nova. As I didn't have any other big ideas I let it slide. Occasionally I will get an email notifying me of some activity in the Yahoo group dedicated to this proposition. Usually they are cryptic files with the results of how another idea failed. This morning though I got several images of partial solutions. The above image is only ten tiles square, the original puzzle has sixteen tiles on a side. Also, all the tiles around the edge of the image are missing one edge (the gray triangles) and the half-tile in the upper left corner doesn't match. Still, it's impressive. And pretty.

Introduction To Solid State Physics by Charles Kittel
On another tangent I joined a local Meetup group to talk about physics. I went to a couple of meetings but I haven't been back. It takes an hour to go to Portland and back during which my monster big rig sucked down two or three gallons of gas, and this was back when gas was $4 a gallon, so my wallet noticed.
    Anyway I got an email a couple of days ago talking about elementary physics textbooks:

  • Solid State Physics by R J Singh
  • Introduction to Solid State Physics by Charles Kittel


  • Kittel's book got a rave review in the email, and it came with a link where I might be able to get a really cheap copy, so I followed the link to AddALL books, which led me to AbeBooks, where I did buy a copy for under $20, including shipping. The curious thing here is that AbeBooks is in India and evidently they have figured out how Hong Kong is shipping stuff to the USA cheaply because the shipping was under $5. I'm a little curious to see how long it will take, and I admit I am a little excited about getting something from half way around the world. I have great intentions of reading it. We shall see how that pans out.



    Advertising

    Kellee Maize
    Advertising and the Internet are like twin demons that just can't get enough of each other. I personally am divided on the subject. Mostly, I hate advertising, obnoxious ads constantly popping up telling me stuff I am not the least bit interested in. On the other hand, advertising pays for all this free stuff I use all the time, like email, this blog, on-line storage, the on-line office apps I use, etc. Occasionally someone will put together an ad that is very entertaining, at least the first time you see it. If it wasn't for all the free stuff, I would say ban all advertising everywhere.
         Then we would be like Communist Russia, back before the collapse, back in the U.S.S.R., back where there was no god. Reading a novel not too long ago where the story spends some time in Moscow, our hero comments on how drab and lifeless the downtown area is compared to Western cities, and he attributes it all to the lack of advertising. No advertising in Soviet Russia except for the state sponsored political kind, none of the flamboyant, flashy, near pornographic stuff we are constantly subjected to here in the West.
         One way to reduce ads would be to pay for content. The big movie houses like Netflix, HBO, etc. have managed to make that work for movies. Newspapers are trying to make it work for internet. The New York Times, The Atlantic and the L.A. Times all offer you some free visits, hoping that you will subscribe, and their subscription rates are very reasonable. Problem is that you subscribe to one because it's really cheap, and then another one, and then another one, and pretty soon you're forking out real money.
        I'm paying $50 a month for a high speed link to the web, at least I think it's $50. I haven't checked in a while. There are so many bills like that. They come in on a regular basis, they've been doing it for years, they are pretty stable but they do vary. Mostly they are creeping up but occasional one will take a dip, but unless one gets way out of line, I don't pay much attention, I just pay the blame things.
        I would pay $1 a month for internet content if all the ads would go away, maybe even a buck and a half. Get enough people and enough websites to sign up and you might even have a viable business proposition. Websites would get proportionally paid by the number of pages viewed. Viewers would have a fixed cost every month. People who spent more time on the web would get more for their money. It would take some persnickety software to count all the page visits and divide up the money, but we already do most of that anyway. It shouldn't be a big stretch. Getting people and websites to sign up would be the big hurdle. Porn sites would go from being a money making business to a taking-over-the-world kind of business.
        But you know what? An channel that was nothing but ads might make some interesting watching. I mean Home Shopping Network is basically just one long advertisement and they seem to be making a go of it. You could even have multiple channels, like one for guys, one for girls. One for cars, one for clothes, one for cheapskates, one for people with a few bucks to spend.
        I'm paying roughly $100 a month for entertainment on cable and given the number of Trailblazers basketball games movies, and TV series we watch (sans ads), that comes out to about $2 an hour. Heck of a lot cheaper than the $50+ it costs to take four people to the movies and buy one popcorn and one coke. Shoot, a popcorn and a coke now cost more than a ticket.

    Saturday, January 30, 2016

    Lessons from the Po-Po

    Michigan State Police, 1950 Ford
    Roberta goes to class and learns important stuff, and the closing footnotes might be good lessons for us all:
         To close, here's a hot tip from the Indiana State Police: "Do not tiptoe up behind an officer at a roadblock and tap him or her on the shoulder!"     (Entire class laughs.)     "No, this really happens, and more than you'd think.  You don't know what that officer was just doing, helping pull a mangled body out of a car wreck, looking for an armed suspect -- they are making split-second decisions."       The other officer added, "And please, for your sake -- can I borrow this smartphone? -- do not be doing this." He'd palmed the phone and put his hand behind his right hip; as he said "this," he brought his hand back into sight just above his holster and smoothly upward, and many of us flinched: it looked for all the world as if he was drawing his sidearm.  An effective lesson.

    How to Inflate an Exercise Ball

    Thera-Band Professional Exercise Ball
    We've been rearranging things in the basement, which resulted in one of the computer tables being moved onto the carpet. It's kind of thick carpet, so desk chairs don't work very well. They work fine if you are just sitting, of course, but trying to move one is a nuisance. It's not like in the kitchen where, when you stand up, the chair just slides backward on the linoleum. Here, the best you can hope for is that it falls over backward when you stand up. Don't trip over the legs when you turn to leave. We aren't even going to talk about trying to scootch it up to the table when you sit down. It's a big fat annoyance, coming or going.

        But look! There's a big green exercise ball! I could use it for a chair. They are a little precarious but you can adapt. Not may favorite perch, but they move easily on the carpet, this is not a going to be a heavily used system, so good enough.
        This ball has been rolling around in the basement for years, mostly ignored and now it is low on air. Depositing my enormous bulk on it sends me halfway to the floor. I should pump it up, and if I am going to pump up this one, I should probably pump up the red one as well.
        Time for a little sidebar. Why do we have unused exercise balls rolling around in our house? Because when you stay in one place for a while, things accumulate. And because occasionally people develop enthusiasms for various activities and then they buy stuff in support of those activities. Eventually that enthusiasm wanes and you are left with the stuff. Valuable stuff, stuff you paid good money for, worthwhile, useful stuff. Shoot, stuff you might actually use again someday. We have a lot of crap like that.

    20 oz carpenter's framing hammer
       Back to the project at hand. First I have to locate the red ball (bottom corner of front hall closet), the pump (back door closet), and the tool for prying out the plug. Didn't even look for the tool. I remember what it looks like: about two inches long, white plastic, round on one end and a two tined fork on the other, but I have no idea where it is or even where to start looking. Surely I can find something else that will do the job, and I do. It's a 20 oz carpenter's framing hammer.

    Seamstress's tape measure
        We're making progress, now I need a seamstress's tape measure to measure the circumference of the ball. That's how you tell when you have enough air in them. I suppose the air pressure is too low to be able to measure it accurately AND cheaply, plus gauges are technical and weird. Tape measure is simple. Now all I need to know is the number. That's easy, it's written right on the ball. Well, no, it's not. What we have is the diameter in centimeters. My tape measure in inches, so I need to convert a 55 cm diameter to a circumference in inches. Google does that for me:

    Google calculates circumference
    Bah! Double bah and humbug. My seamstress's tape measure (SWMBO's, actually) only goes to 60 inches. But hey! I picked up a short paper tape at IKEA the other day, I can just tape the two of them together. Now where's the tape dispenser? A short expedition to the far corners of the basement turns it up, hiding in plain sight.

    Small Foot Pump
        All accoutrements acquired, now to begin pumping. Squeezing the pump between my hands works for a bit, but I can see this is going to wear me out, so I move to foot operation. Sitting on a kitchen stool seems to work best, but the pump wants to fall over on the carpet, so I move to the hard floor. Works better, though the pump wants to squirt out from under my foot if my attention wanders.
        Each squeeze of the pump boosts the circumference by one-sixteenth of an inch. We are down about ten inches, so 160 pumps should bring us close to the mark. One pump per second would be two minutes and forty seconds, but maybe I'm not pumping that fast, and I might not be giving it a full squeeze every time, so we go for five minutes and after five minutes I'm right at the mark. I give it a few extra pumps to allow for air escaping when I disconnect the pump and insert the plug.

    P.S. The plug on the newer, green ball didn't require a tool. It is a slightly different shape and I was able to pull it out using my fingernails and wiggling it a bit.

    Update April 2016 replaced missing picture (top).

    Friday, January 29, 2016

    Not A Droid


    Over on Ebay I'm looking at a real deal on a skyhook, but the picture only shows part of the machine. Where's the rest of it? Maybe that's all you get and that's why it's such a deal. I know! I'll ask, but then I have to prove that I am not the droid they are avoiding, which means passing their test. This one looks easy: 4, 1, 4, 8, wait, what? Squiggle me timbers? What the eff is that last symbol? Stop the music, listen to the numbers. The Voice distinctly says one, one. If you say so, but only because it's your test, or maybe that's the way they would write one one on Alderaan, if it hadn't gotten blowed up.

    P.S. Got a reply from Travers Tool: "This listing is only for the Choker Collar that would attach to any point of the boom of the sky hook" which kind of explains the low ball price.

    Thursday, January 28, 2016

    Canadian Pushball

    Canadian National Exhibition, auto pushball, August 29, 1925
    Just in case you haven't gotten your quota of crazy for today. Via Posthip Scott.

    Nigerian Scams

    Nigerian 419 Scam
    California Bob has something to say:
    I learned something.  It's always surprised me how phishing scams often contain mispelled words, capitals in the wrong places, grammatical errors etc.  "How," I asked myself, "could someone go to the effort to construct this fake email, website, and/or story, and not know how to spell?  Or not be bothered to get the spelling right?"  And I would go on my way with a sneering sense of superiority for having identified a weak scam perpetrated by idiots.

    Turns out, according to one theory, that the mistakes are deliberately put there to filter out people who are too smart to fall for a scam.  Educated people turn out to be difficult marks, so their letter from the chairman of Citibank contains a few "aint's" and weirdly capitalized random words.  This filters out all but the most gullible.

    This makes sense, but now I feel foolish for mis-diagnosing what I was seeing.  The scammers aren't stupid -- indeed I was too stupid to see what they were doing.  It's been bothering me.

    And now this guy make a case that this is what Donald Trump is pulling -- he's deliberately being obnoxious and saying ignorant things to attract the bottom of the barrel.

    http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2015/07/is-donald-trump-pulling-a-nigerian-419-scam/

    Seems like a valid and very effective business strategy.  Possibly even a life strategy.

    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

    Kerr Mason Jar

    Kerr Wide Mouth Mason Jar
    I've been saving my dead alkaline batteries in an old Mason jar in the hope of eventually recycling them. Dead batteries shouldn't be sent to the landfill, right? Like everybody saves their dead batteries in hope of their eventual resurrection. Whatever. I save mine. Someday I may even take them to someone who recycles them, or at least claims to. 
        Anyway, I'm looking at this Mason jar and I got to wondering about the whole Mason jar culture. I mean, everybody and their mother (especially their mothers) used to can stuff (fruits and vegetables, mostly) in Mason jars. I suppose some people still do. But I got to wondering just how big was the Mason jar empire. It must have been huge. So I do a little checking and I found some history with some characters, and some evidence of great wealth, but no actual numbers.
        I wrote to Ball, who used to be a big player in the Mason jar business but have since moved on to more profitable things like bullet proof glass for the DoD. All I got back from them was mindless corporate drivel.     The entire Mason jar business, such as it is, seems to have been absorbed by Jarden Corporation in Florida, who don't actually make anything, they just control a small empire of companies that do make stuff. I suppose that's about as close to actually making stuff as corporate America gets these days.
        So now I'm looking around and I found this little bit, which puts Kerr, another big player in the Mason jar empire, in Portland, Oregon.

    Company History from Lehman Brothers
    Then I found this about Kerr innovations:


    From an obituary in the Los Angeles Times I extracted this:
    Alexander H. Kerr founded the Kerr Glass Manufacturing Corp., the company famous for its mason jars for home canning, in Portland, Ore., in 1903 and moved it to Los Angeles in 1920. He died in 1925, and his wife, Ruth Kerr, ran the business until her death in 1967.
    More info about Kerr from Glass Bottle Marks :

    Kerr Glass Manufacturing Company
    (“Corporation” after 1927)

    Portland, Oregon (1904-1912, offices only)
    Los Angeles, CA (1919-1992, offices only)


    Kerr did not actually manufacture glass during the earliest period from 1904 to 1909, but had glass made for them (with the Kerr name embossing) by other companies. In 1909 their first glass manufacturing plant opened at Altoona, KS. Kerr had glass manufacturing plants located at:
    • Altoona, Kansas (from 1909-1912); 
    • Sand Springs, Oklahoma (beginning in 1912); 
    • Huntington, West Virginia (from 1933; this plant closed December 7, 1982); 
    • Santa Ana, California (from 1943); 
    • Plainfield, Illinois (from 1964); 
    • Dunkirk, Indiana (from 1968); 
    • Millville, New Jersey (1968) and 
    • Waxahachie, Texas (from 1968).
    I also found a story about the Kerr glass bottle factory that survived the big  San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
    Take that, Ball.

    The French Chef


    The French Chef by y10566

    This skit popped into my head this morning so I thought I'd post it, but that requires finding a copy of it, and that was a bit of a chore. There's lots of SNL (Saturday Night Live) stuff on YouTube, lot's of Dan Aykroyd, and even a bunch of parodies of Julia Child, but not this one. Poking around I turned up the SNL Archives where I found a listing for this skit, but no video. This skit is from 1978, by the way. Yahoo now has an archive of SNL episodes, though it isn't entirely clear just how much they have, but their search function found this clip on Daily Motion.

    I haven't watch Saturday Night Live in years. Guess I'm a little out of touch with what's happenin'. But I howled at the Julia Child parodies I watched this morning.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

    The Manhattan Project

    The K-25 gaseous diffusion plant: the single largest and most expensive Manhattan Project site.
    Roberta's been watching Manhattan on the tube, which got me to wondering if anyone had done a timeline on the project and of course, this being the internet and all, several people have. I like the one on Atomic Archive.
        When WW2 started, there were only a few crackpots (like Albert E.) who thought it might be possible to build an atomic bomb. Basically, they knew almost nothing about the subatomic world. Oh, they knew about neutrons and protons and electrons, but they only had vaguest ideas about how all these things played together. That little bit of knowledge and the idea that a bomb might be possible along with the impetus of war was enough for the powers to be to jump in with both feet. Okay, they started with one toe, but it quickly ramped up.
    Expenditures for the Manhattan Project sites, through the end of 1945
        The biggest investment, money wise, as you can see from the graph above, was for the construction of the uranium isotope separators in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Y-12 wasn't started until February 1943 and K-25, the big one, wasn't started until September. They didn't know if they would work, and they still didn't know if they could make a workable bomb from the stuff these plants produced, but they charged on anyway.
        They dropped the bombs in the August of 1945, two and one-half years after they started construction of the biggest factories in the world.

    I am having a hard time getting my head around the idea that these guys went ahead with this project to the tune of billions of dollars when they didn't even know if it would work. I guess we can chalk one up for science, and the religion thereof.

    P.S. Why are some people writing Manhattan with the 2nd A in parentheses, like this: Manh(A)ttan? Is that supposed to look like a bomb? Several sites have done this, but no one has offered an explanation. I think it's dumb. YMMV.

    Amazing Amazon

    Ceramika Bona H0676H Polish Pottery Ceramic Colander Hand Painted, 9-Inch
    We have a small ceramic colander in our kitchen. My mother, peace be upon her, made it in 1985. She was a big believer in arts and crafts and dabbled in it her whole life, but she was also practical, and much of what she made had a practical use. We use the colander frequently. Even I, the uncook, use it to rinse berries to put on my Cheerios (will I ever get to eat Cheerios again? Check back next year). I don't recall ever seeing one this small in a store, but then again colanders are not generally stocked in auto parts stores. Anyway, I thought I'd check with  Amazon and sure enough they have a boatload of colander and they even have a selection of small, ceramic ones, including some really fancy ones from Poland in the $200 range (photo above).

    The colander is pretty enough to rate a post all by itself, but I have been using Amazon so much lately I am wondering if they are taking over the world, and if they are, is this a good thing? Should I welcome my new retail overlords, or run screaming to the nearest mall?

    I'm not always using Amazon to buy things. Sometimes (like just now), I use it to see what's going on in the world. Daring daughter has signed up for a class in biology and one of the first things on the agenda is microscope basics, which makes me wonder how much microscopes cost these days. 50 years ago they were a fortune, probably as much as a small car. Now Amazon has 40,000 of the things ranging in price from a buck to 50 large. And yes, digital has made big inroads, but optical is still a force in the market.

    I don't buy much these days, after all I've got a house full of stuff, stuff that I have been accumulating for 30 plus years, and I don't have a whole lot of room. But mostly I don't need much, coupled with funds being a little tight and large expenses looming on the horizon. Still, I'm buying stuff, and I'm buying it from Amazon because I don't want to have to contend with the traffic or the endless hiking through soul deadening warehouses full of crap I don't want or need.

    The occasional journey to Home Depot or Lowes can be an uplifting experience (look at all this cool stuff), but by the second or third trip in a week to pick up a five cent part it kind of wears.

    I don't go to WalMart if I can help it. Their prices might be lower, but the whole experience is unpleasant. They may be doing great things for the underclass, but they are exploiting that same underclass to deliver these benefits. They aren't any worse in that respect than any number of other companies. That's the way capitalism in America works. Amazon might pay a little better, but they are replacing their warehouse personnel with robots as fast as they can.

    Update April 2016 replaced link.

    Conspiracy 101


    Rotten Chestnuts has a good explanation of how revolutions get started.

    Monday, January 25, 2016

    Belief

    Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones
    We've started watching Jessica Jones, a TV series on Netflix. It comes to us from the Marvel comic book universe, so some characters have some supernatural abilities. It's an entertaining story about a young woman working as a private investigator in Manhattan, who just happens to be as strong as ten men, never mind that she has the physique and pallor of a genuine New York junkie. The story has some interesting characters, but the key one right now is a guy who can control people's minds. He does this by planting ideas in their heads. Sometimes they are fairly innocuous suggestions which will appear to be the most natural thing in the world. Other times they are compulsions that will cause them to commit horrific crimes even while they are aware that they are doing things against their will.

        The magic practiced in the novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is often of a similar bent. It involves people seeing absolutely bizarre apparitions and accepting them as completely normal. Occasionally it involves people seeing things that aren't really there, and as we often say, seeing is believing.

        I have some friends who sometimes send me articles from the fringe: tales of UFO's, alien encounters, government conspiracies, chemtrails, stuff that I am apt to dismiss out of hand (except for the government conspiracies, those are all absolutely true). Now you might think that my friends are ignorant, uneducated yokels who might be a couple of bottles short of six pack, but they aren't. The people who are sending me this stuff are all intelligent, educated people who are living normal lives. How can this be?
        For a long time I just dismissed their beliefs. I couldn't understand how they could be reading this trash, much less believing it. But now I think I have a clue.

        Recently I came across a story by a guy who was wondering the same thing about people who weren't toeing the mark on issues like Global Warming and Genetically Modified Organisms. It's almost impossible to get to the truth of the matter on subjects like this without spending years of your life researching it, so we listen to what the experts have to say and make our decisions based on what they tell us.
        They could be telling us the truth, or it could all be bullshit, and how would we know? So basically we are basing out opinion on whether we believe them or not. If you are old enough, you know that big organizations, government or otherwise, have no compunction about lying and if you've been bitten by their bullshit once you are going to be very leery of believing anything they say now, which might make you inclined to listen to people who don't have a track record of lying to you, or at least they haven't been lying to you about important stuff.

    Uncivil Society

    Gangs of New York 
    takes place in New York City during the Civil War. Its plot concerns the war between Irish and nativist gangs for control of lower Manhattan. Both lose, leading to the rise of Tammany Hall, whose innovative manner of conflict resolution laid the foundation for modern New York. The ward heelers replace the warlords and the rigid identities of immigrant and nativist are dissolved. That’s how New York was tamed.
    Bayou Renaissance Man writes about the latest crop of wild animals appearing on the streets of your city. I left a comment:

    Depressing. I blame the War-On-Drugs for many of our problems. Were things better when the Mafia was distributing the drugs instead of just fronting the money to the blacks? Or maybe the drug business has just gotten so big and the murderous culture of big-money drug-dealing has expanded so much that large sections of many large cities have gone to hell? If you want to have a civil society, you need to have civil rights, which means not fucking with people over chickenshit things like drugs.

    Sunday, January 24, 2016

    The Banana Man


    Captain Kangaroo - The Banana Man!

    Looking through the fridge I discover a couple of doggy bags the fashionistas brought home from their breakfast out this morning. In anticipation of finding something delicious, like a danish or a cinnamon roll, I let out the Banana Man's patented wooooo. It didn't help. The boxes contained rice and beans.
         But then I realized that Osmany, like most people in this country had probably never heard of the Banana Man, so I looked on YouTube and here he is.
         I used to watch Captain Kangaroo religiously, probably when I was about five, and the Banana Man was my favorite visitor. I don't know why, but then who knows how five year old minds work?

    Space Suit

    1952 Demonstrating the dexterity of a remote manipulator.
    Space suits are a pain. There are only a couple of reasons to have them. One is if you need to go outside when you are in space. These days this is typically only done to make repairs. Another is to send images of a man in a spacesuit back home so the public can see that we actually have men in space. The last is in case of emergency and something goes wrong with your spaceship. Space suits are difficult to make, to put on, to work in. If there was any way to avoid using them we would.

    Anathem Spacesuit
        Maybe there is. In Neal Stephenson's Anathem, our hero, along with his cohort, don some spacesuits that were designed 6,000 years ago. One of the features of these suits was they didn't have any gloves. The arms of the suits ended in a small sphere that room for your hand to flex. On the outside of this ball was mounted a mechanical hand and on the inside was a control for this hand. You manipulate the control on the inside and the mechanical hand on the outside echos your movements. No glove required.
        If you are going to use a remote manipulator, there is no reason to have it mounted adjacent to the control. Given the speed of electronic communication, anywhere within a thousand miles would be just fine. You get farther away than that and the delay due to lightspeed is going to be noticeable.

    DARPA's BEBIONIC3 Prosthetic Hand
        The remote manipulator is key. I don't know if hands are really the best devices for manipulating other objects, but they are most versatile ones we have and we are certainly accustomed to them. Modeling remote manipulators on hands is probably our best bet. Arms are much easier and much simpler to build and control. From an amazed perspective, hands are wonderfully complex. From an engineering perspective, hands are horribly complex. The work being done with prosthetics is making the most progress. (There's even Lego versions out there.)

    Weyland Yutani's shuttle failed to escape from LV-426 by Benoit Godde

    Once you have a decent remote manipulator there is no reason to go outside your spaceship anymore, which got me to thinking that instead of individual space suits, maybe what we need is individual space ships. Space is a dangerous place. You are in constant danger of being struck by a deranged bit of matter that will poke a hole through you and your ship as if you were cheesecake. If you have a group of people, everyone having their own ship could increase the group's odds of surviving such a collision. An individual might be lost, but the group would survive.
        You would want an airlock on your personal ship so you could visit other people in your party, but you wouldn't want too many people to all be in one place at one time to the avoid the possibility of catastrophe. For a large group of people you would need an airlock hall so several people could dock their ships at the same time.

    Spaceship art by Francis Tsai

        Originally I was envisioning these personal space ships to be like escape pods, maybe the size of a mini-van, just big enough for you to carry out daily chores without tying yourself in knots. Then I got to thinking that these are going to be for long term habitation, so they should be self sufficient, with power, lights, hydroponic gardens, recycling, reaction mass and engines. So now I'm thinking something along the size of a destroyer.

    Saturday, January 23, 2016

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Page 302

    There seem to be a great many historical figures in this book, but I wasn't sure, so tonight I decided to check on the names I found on two pages.


    High Wycombe, often referred to as Wycombe, is a large town in Buckinghamshire, England. It is 29 miles west northwest of Charing Cross in London; this information is also engraved on the Corn Market building in the centre of the town. - Wikipedia


    Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool KG PC (7 June 1770 – 4 December 1828) was an English politician and both the youngest and longest-serving Prime Minister (1812–27) since 1806. - Wikipedia
    The Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany KG GMB GCH (Frederick Augustus; 16 August 1763 – 5 January 1827), was the second son and child of King George III of the United Kingdom and a member of the House of Hanover. From the death of his father in 1820 until his own death in 1827, he was the heir presumptive to his elder brother, King George IV, both to the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Hanover. - Wikipedia




    William Caxton (c. 1422 – c. 1491) was an English merchant, diplomat, writer, and printer. He is thought to be the first English person to work as a printer and the first to introduce a printing press into England, which he did in 1476. He was also the first English retailer of printed books; his London contemporaries in the trade were all Flemish, German, or French. - Wikipedia

    Floors Castle, in Roxburghshire, south-east Scotland, is the seat of the Duke of Roxburghe. - Wikipedia

    John Ker, 3rd Duke of Roxburghe KGKTPC (23 April 1740 – 1804) was a Scottish nobleman and bibliophile.
    Born in Hanover SquareLondon, on 23 April 1740, Ker succeeded his father to become the 3rd Duke of Roxburghe in 1755. During his Grand Tour in 1761 he fell in love with Christina Sophia Albertina, oldest daughter of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.[1] This would have been a perfect match of social equals. Shortly afterwards a younger sister, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, became engaged to King George III. It was considered bad etiquette for an elder sister to marry someone of lower rank than a younger sister. For whatever reason, both John Ker and Christina separated and remained single for the rest of their lives. If George III recognised the sacrifice that Ker had made, it was rewarded with a high position at court. He was Lord of the Bedchamber from 1767, was appointed a Knight of the Thistle in 1768. In 1796 he was appointed Groom of the Stole and made a Privy Counsellor. He was appointed a Knight of the Garter in 1801.
    While in Italy, Ker saw a first edition of Boccaccio's Decameron, often called the Valdarfers edition. This was a fabled book, which many said did not exist. He paid 100 guineas for it and showed it to his friends in London to huge acclaim. For the next 40 years he collected ancient and curious books, particularly editions of Shakespeare's works and other works which merely mentioned Shakespeare. At his death in 1804 there were 10,000 items. Most were books, but there were also pamphlets and broadside ballad sheets. His library was auctioned in 1812, leading to the formation of the Roxburghe Club. His collection of ballads were later published as the Roxburghe Ballads.
    He died unmarried and childless, and the titles Earl Ker and Baron Ker, which had been created for his father in 1722 in the Peerage of Great Britain, became extinct. His cousin William Bellenden, 7th Lord Bellenden succeeded to the dukedom and all of its other subsidiary titles. - Wikipedia

    Giovanni Boccaccio
    Giovanni Boccaccio 1313 – 21 December 1375)[1] was an Italian writer, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and an important Renaissance humanist. Boccaccio wrote a number of notable works, including The Decameron and On Famous Women.

    Christophorus Valdarfer was an early printer, active in Venice and Milan in the second half of the fifteenth century. - Wikipedia

    The Decameron . . . is a collection of novellas by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio. The book is structured as a frame story containing 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death, which was afflicting the city. - Wikipedia


    Ezekiel Bread

    Ezekiel 4:9 Bread
    The food Nazis have taken over my house and bread is now verboten, except one slice of Ezekial bread, once a week. It is not instantly appetizing, but I found that after I had eaten a few slices, when I went back to the kitchen to get a slice of bread (with butter and jam or pickles and ham or whatever), I tended to gravitate to Ezekiel. I suspect it is more substantial nutrition-wise than your regular tasty bread.
        Unfortunately, the only places around here that sell it are Whole Foods and New Seasons and I abhor those places. Too much foo foo, too much paint and glitter, more like a fashion palace than a serious supply house, like Freddie's. Since I have been going to Amazon so much lately, I got to wondering if they carried Ezekiel 4:9. They do. The price is exorbitant, but if you are stuck in lower slobsylvania and you are craving a slice of this particular loaf, and it's your birthday, why not?
        Since fancy bread bakers have started using double wrapping I suppose freshly baked bread could survive a two or three day UPS trip. Still, it's weird to have UPS delivering groceries.

    Volume


    Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly with the Giant Amplifier
    in the opening scene from Back to the Future

    I use YouTube for tunes. The ads are annoying and someday I am going to do something about it, but right now I am managing to cope. There is a volume control on YouTube and another one on my Chromebook's control panel. I set both of these sliders to about the halfway point and that seems to work pretty well, especially since YouTube has so far reliably remembered my last volume setting.
        Go over to Facebook and the default volume settings on all the videos posted there is all-the-way-up. If I watch more than one video there (and who watches only one?), and I don't want to have to adjust the volume on every stinking video (and who does?), I have to reduce the volume on the Chromebook control panel (I drop it about one-quarter).
        Why don't I leave the Chromebook setting at one quarter and turn up the YouTube volume control? Because then I have no boost left for videos with low volume, unless I open the control panel again. I suspect this is just one more skirmish in the ongoing Facebook versus Google megawar. Screw Facebook, Google is my friend. No, they didn't pay me to say that, but it never hurts to butter up people who are doing you favors.

    Toshiba Chromebook 13.3-inch
        The oddest thing about this is that I am playing all this sound through the Toshiba laptop's speakers, and it doesn't sound half bad. Better than any of the computer speakers I have lying around anyway. I picked this laptop because somebody said the sound was better. At the time I wasn't expecting much, but 'better' is better than 'worse', so I said sure, gimme the one with the 'better' sound. The speakers are on the underside of the machine covered by grills about one inch in diameter. I don't know what kind of voodoo they used to design these speakers, but the resulting sound is pretty good.
        I bought the Chromebook in 2014 for $200. Amazon has one left for $275. Why would the price on something like this go up? Has the dollar depreciated that much? Or did Toshiba not realize how good the sound was on their laptop? Weird.

    P.S. I think my Chromebook needs more memory. One of these days I am going to remedy that situation. Meanwhile I haven't had to open the case. Just in case you were thinking of buying one.

    Inspired by Dustbury.

    Friday, January 22, 2016

    Guns, Police, Excitement!

    Coming home from the grocery store this evening there were six police cars parked in front of Jackson Elementary School with their lights on. It looked like they had stopped three cars. There were several long guns and guns cases lying on the trunk on one of the police cars. All three of the civilian cars were SUV type vehicles. What's going on? Have they stopped a mass murderer on his way to wipe out the congregation at local church? Maybe they arrested a suspected Jihadist on his way to blow up the elementary school.
        I don't know but I suspect what happened is someone was carrying their guns from one house to another all innocent like and they got stopped for some minor traffic infraction, like forgetting to use their turn signal, or speeding or some such. The cop checks out the car as is his duty and notices the guns lying in the back and that was all it took for it to become the policemen's ball of the night.
        I'm pretty sure the law requires that guns carried in your car must be locked in the trunk. Didn't find anything that specifies that for Oregon, but I did find this on American Firearms Training:
    Federal Law on Transportation of Firearms
    A provision of federal law serves as a defense to state or local laws which would prohibit the passage of persons with firearms in interstate travel.
    Notwithstanding any state or local law, a person shall be entitled to transport a firearm from any place where he may lawfully possess and transport such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and transport such firearms if the firearm is unloaded and in the trunk. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm shall be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console. Necessary stops, e.g., gasoline and rest, seem permissible.
    Since SUV's don't have a trunk, the guns were probably lying in the back in plain view of anyone peeking in the windows.

    Tokyo Vice

    I've been reading Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein. Jake is a Jewish-American working as a reporter for a Japanese newspaper in Tokyo, Japan. He's covering crime, which means he's talking to the Yakuza, which means he's visiting hostess bars. And then I come across this in New York Mag. I think it's kind of insightful.

    Illustration by Zohar Lazar
    Margaret Atwood on Japanese Hostess Clubs By Jennifer Vineyard May 22, 2014 
    I was in Japan, and a Japanese friend was showing me around the nightclub area. There was one nightclub with very pretty girls, most of them blonde, and they looked very Barbie indeed. So I said, “Are these prostitutes? Are these call girls?” “No, no, no, nothing like that.” “What is it?” “Well, you go in, and they’re very nice to you. They’re polite to you, they listen to you, they laugh at your jokes. And it’s very expensive.” “Oh.” There was another nightclub with extremely good-­looking young men. And I said, “Is this a gay place?” “No, no, no, nothing like that.” “What is it?” “It’s for women. You go in, and they’re very nice to you. They pour your Champagne and they light your cigarette and they give you a rose, and they listen to you talk and they respect your opinions. And it’s very expensive.” So this is acting out your fantasy of being well-treated in a romantic situation. It’s not about sex. It’s not prostitution. Just plain bare-naked sex is not the only motivator. Unless you’re completely delusional, you know perfectly well that you’re dressing up. It’s playing a part. Having a crush is like that. It’s an escape from reality. Take Twilight. They do settle down and have a little vampire sex, but at that moment, it gets boring.

    New Games

    Bart Bonte
    Bart Bonte has made some curious games. Now he has a blog where he posts new games that have come his way. A couple of recent ones that I like are


    For future reference I've added them to the list of games in the sidebar. I like his picture since it reminds me of mine.

    Britten V1000 Model

    Britten V1000 Model Kit, prepped for painting.
    The picture of the Britten V1000 motorcycle I posted the other day is a picture of a scale model, not of the actual bike. I chose that picture because of the clean background. All the other pictures I saw had cluttered backgrounds which made it difficult to see some parts of the bike. When I first saw the image I thought it was a real bike. Only when I got to the source page did I realize it was a model, but I figured if it was good enough to fool me at first glance it's good enough for my post.
         But now my curiousity is aroused, so I do a little checking. The model was developed by Jim Wylie, another New Zealander. He made the masters and then he and his crew cast some number of kits in pewter using a 'spin-casting' process, whatever that is. Some kits were sold, but then THE EARTHQUAKE hit and their stock of kits was destroyed. The molds still exist, so it is possible that someday, someone may cast another batch of kits. The kits, when they were available, weren't cheap, $330 was the list price.