Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Top Dog

LA Speed Check

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

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

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

Des Moines, Washington

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


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

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

New World Order

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

The Amazon connects us all. Discover how with Google Earth

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


Alice Cooper - I'm Eighteen

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

Trump and the Afghan Girls

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

Banana Slugs

Jules and Vincent 'holster' their guns before leaving the diner in Pulp Fiction.
This morning Jack informs me that banana slugs have chewed through the hose carrying propane to his water heater. Tonight I catch the tail end of Pulp Fiction, just in time to see Travolta wearing a Santa Cruz Banana Slugs T-shirt. A coincidence like this cannot pass without notice.


Propane hose damaged by vermin.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura at Cliff House in San Francisco
Camera Obscura is Latin for 'dark room'. Let light from a pinhole or a lens into a dark room and it will project an image of the outside world on the opposite wall, so Camera Obscura is simply a fancy name for a very simple device. They have been around for millennia, Aristotle was familiar with the principle. Uniberp pointed out this one at Cliff House. Cliff House is a famous landmark in San Francisco. Those parking spaces out front are free, but there are only a few dozen, and being as this place is famous the odds of finding an open one there when you drive up are astronomical. Are you feeling lucky, punk?

Caption from image: The Camera Obscura, which is seen at many seaside places, is a striking example of how rays of light can be reflected in a different direction by a mirror placed at a slant. In the roof is a mirror at an angle of 45°, and this catches a reflection of the scene outside. The rays are directed upon a magnifying lens, placed in the right position to focus them, and the magnified view is cast upon a white table below. The top containing the mirror can be rotated by means of a handle turning a series of gear wheels, so that an image of the view all round can be reflected upon the table. The Camera Obscura was invented by a Neapolitan physician named Porta who found that by passing light through a double-convex lens he obtained a brighter image

ADDICTED TO LOVE (1997) - Official Movie Trailer

This reminded me of this movie (Addicted to Love) where Sam the jilted uses a Camera Obscura to spy on his ex-girlfriend. The images from the device make a few brief appearances in the trailer starting at the one minute mark. The movie is absurd. It was, however, entertaining. Comedy and stupidity are blood-brothers.

P.S. How to type a degree symbol on Linux: Ctrl + Shift + u (this will show an underlined u) and then the unicode value (in this case B0 ) and follow it by Enter.


Convicted Grape Plucker
Question on Quora:
Is it legal to eat a single grape in a supermarket?

Via Iaman.


People mentioned in the video:
Via Iaman, who asks if our father was a stoic.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Snow? Or Whiteout?

Portion of Letsang Diamond Mine Facilities in Lesotho, Africa
The elevation here is about 10,000 feet, so I suppose the white stuff in the center of the screen could be snow, but it looks more like somebody wrote over the image with a white marker. Or an eraser. Someone could be trying to conceal something, but what? It's a very public enterprise.

Pic of the Day

1967 ERICKSON S64E Rotorcraft dropping during the Beaver creek fire in Blaine County Idaho summer 2013 with a firenado in the background - Loren Wood
Previous appearances of Skycrane herehere and here.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

People Will Die

Remy: People Will Die!

Great stuff. Via Windy Pundit.


FedEx MD-11 and Cessna Caravan in Phoenix
Delivery trucks are a common occurrence on our street. Seems like you can't be outside for more than a few minutes before either a UPS or FedEx or DHL delivery van shows up. This got me to thinking that these guys might be able to save some money if they pooled their talents, but I suppose that would take some of the edge off of the competition that makes their service so popular. It would also add another layer of bureaucracy and that's never a good thing. So the current arrangement will continue as long as the deliveries don't get so frequent that they start getting in each other's way. I can just imagine things getting so congested that delivery men start pushing and shoving and then we get tempers flying and the next thing you know we've got a small scale riot in suburbia.

Posthip Scott sent me this pleasant little story from The New York Times about how everything got delivered back in the good old days. I remember milk, newspapers and oil were all delivered to our house when I was a kid. Many houses still use oil, and it's still delivered by truck.

Why did things change? Because more people got cars? Towns got bigger? Everyone wants cheaper prices? Or maybe people just like their new cars so much they would use any old excuse to go for a drive. Crazy.

You can still get the newspaper delivered if you are willing to shell out the money. The local paper would cost something like $40 a month to get it delivered everyday and I'm too cheap to pay that much. At the last rate increase I changed to Sunday only, or at least I tried. Seems you can't get Sunday only service, the best you can do is Sunday and Wednesday, which costs something like $20 a month.

I still like to have a morning paper to read with my breakfast. That will continue until we remodel our kitchen so that every seat at the kitchen table has it's own HD display screen. I haven't come up with an arrangement that would allow you to have an unobstructed table for food (unobstructed so it is easy to clean), and a bunch of HD displays that you don't have to carry around with you. Yes, I know, everyone has a smart phone these days, well, everyone but me. I refuse to use a tiny screen. I spent my entire life wanting a bigger display and I am not about to start using a tiny screen. That's just bullshit.

Newspapers are fairly low resolution, like 100 pixels per inch, but when the paper is better than two feet square, that adds up to some serious display power. Holding up a full sheet lets you scan the whole thing quickly. Folding it up lets you concentrate on what you want to read without obscuring your breakfast, and when you are done you can throw it away. I'm sorry, smart phones are just fancy gee-gaws, more trouble and expense than they are worth.

Yesterday while I am working on my truck a woman drives up, gets out of her car and carries a package up to the house. She's delivering for Amazon using her own car. The package? Instant coffee. I'll be durned.

The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden - Official Trailer

Free on Amazon Prime, not to be confused with The Handmaid's Tale, for which Amazon wants $10.

The movie appears to be set in Korea in the 1930's. The Handmaiden is an 'erotic psychological thriller film directed by Park Chan-wook' who also gave us Oldboy. It's pretty great. The New Yorker has a good review.

The story is complicated and a little bizarre (a little bizarre? More like totally psycho.), but the best part is that when the story is first told it is completely believable (given that it is a movie), but with each subsequent retelling, everything you thought was true is revealed to have been lie. Very cleverly done.

Friday, July 14, 2017


It looks like I am going to be driving my pickup truck to San Francisco in a couple of weeks to pick up younger son and his stuff. In that case there are a couple of minor problems I should take care of before I go. They are minor annoyances around town, but on a long trip they could very easily become aggravations. I can put up with the occasional annoyance, but aggravations need to be dealt with.

So today I decided I would tackle the collapsed drivers seat cushion. First step is to pull the seat out of the cab so I can see what I am dealing with. Shouldn't be too difficult, I pull the two 18 mm bolts in back and two 13 mm bolts in the front, grab hold of the seat and heave . . . and nothing. Oh, look, the center jump seat is attached, and if it's attached on this side, you can bet it's attached on the other. This means I will have to remove both front seats and the jump seat as one assembly. Fortunately Osmany is next door, so I pull the other four bolts and we haul the seat out. I pick up on the driver's side and crouch-walk across the cab, but when I get to the far side I am kind of stuck. Somehow we get the seat out without anyone getting killed. I think this was mostly due to Osmany being the man on the spot.

Turn the seats upside down and the first thing I notice is that this is a very unstable arrangement. Bungy cords from the mounting holes and around the seat backs calms things down. Now I can see that the springs on the driver's seat are all loose, so perhaps we need new springs. I take the one that I found rolling around loose on the floor several months ago and head over to NAPA. Counter man roots around in the back and comes up with a box of springs, but none that match, so I head over to Lowes to see what they've got. The only springs I find there are screen door springs. I might be able to cut one of those up into several shorter springs, but they are going to be much weaker, so I would need many more. I pass and head back to the house.

Broken joint between cross tube and side rail
I take a closer look at the seat and realize there is nothing wrong with the springs, the cross brace that the springs hook onto has broken free of the seat frame and is simply rattling around loose. Shit. The cross brace is like 3/4 of a tube about one inch in diameter. The ends sit in holes in the side rails, or very close to it. The cross brace was welded to the side rails, but the welds have broken.

My first thought is to get a couple of Stanley right angle brackets, drill holes in the side rails and cross piece and bolt it all together, but that is going to be tough. The old welds will have to be ground off and space is tight.

Cross tube held in place by broom sticks. Security screw in center, two springs hooked on.
Then inspiration hits. An old broom stick cut to length would fit inside the tube and through the holes in the side rails. I cut two pieces about seven inches long, slide them into the tube, put the tube back in place and then slide the pieces so they are just projecting through the holes in the side rails. There is bolt hole in the center of the tube, I put a quarter inch screw in there and secure it with a nut. That will keep the broom sticks from sliding back out of the side rails.

Repair Complete
I use a quarter inch drill bit to gouge out a recess in the broom sticks to allow room for the hooks on the springs. Hook up the wire supports and springs and we're good to go. It might not be the best or most durable repair, but it was really cheap. I did have to sacrifice my favorite whacking stick, but all in all, a good trade.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Good Eats

Alton Brown on Good Eats
I've caught this guy a couple of times while channel flipping. I don't care for food shows generally, but this guy is whacko, he brings in extraneous info, and he's pretty entertaining.

I was watching an episode about pickles this evening and this blurb comes up on the screen about how back in the 1300's the Europeans wiped out half of southeast Asia in their quest for nutmeg. That seem's a little extreme and a heck of long time ago, is there any truth here? Well, the Dutch did pretty much wipe out the population on one small island in the 1600's. So I maybe I got it wrong.

Banda Islands
Google Maps
These islands were the sole source of nutmeg until the Brits got ahold of them when Napolean overran Holland. Then they took and transplanted complete trees all over their empire, which is why you can buy nutmeg at the corner store now. So if it hadn't been for Napoleon, you would have to mortgage your house (probably to a Dutchman) in order to buy a 2 ounce tin.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


More stuff about Global Warming showed up on my desktop today. Are mankind's activities disrupting the balance of nature? Maybe. It's a little hard to tell since almost all the information I have seen is politically slanted one way or another. I've looked at half a dozen websites that all claim to be providing the facts and none of them could tell me much CO2 is produced each year. We have a pretty good idea how much CO2 is in the atmosphere (720 billion tons), and how much is being produced by human activities (6 billion tons annually), but nobody seems to know how much is being produced by natural sources, or if they are, they aren't telling.

A computer-generated view of Venus' western Eistla Regio. The volcano on the right, Gula Mons, rises 3 km high.
Detroit Steve dropped this line into the discussion: "Venus the planet is a good example, it should only be 60 degrees warmer than earth, based on distance to the sun. It is 600 degree warmer due to all its CO2 never being pulled out of the atmosphere."

The idea of the temperature of the Earth shooting up to 600 degrees (whatever scale you want to use) is a very scary prospect. Is that going to happen? Well, that's $64  question isn't it? Maybe we should take a closer look at the info that is prompting people to imagine such catastrophic scenarios.

Then we have this concise summation of the problem from a paper written in 1981:
Political and economic forces affecting energy use and fuel choice make it unlikely that the CO2 issue will have a major impact on energy policies until convincing observations of the global warming are in hand. In light of historical evidence that it takes several decades to complete a major change in fuel use, this makes large climate change almost inevitable. However, the degree of warming will depend strongly on the energy growth rate and choice of fuels for the next century. Thus, CO2 effects on climate may make full exploitation of coal resources undesirable. An appropriate strategy may be to encourage energy conservation and develop alternative energy sources, while using fossil fuels as necessary during the next few decades.
The climate change induced by anthropogenic release of CO2 is likely to be the most fascinating global geophysical experiment that man will ever conduct. The scientific task is to help determine the nature of future climatic effects as early as possible. The required efforts in global observations and climate analysis are challenging, but the benefits from improved understanding of climate will surely warrant the work invested. - Hansen et al
Some parts of the world, mostly the industrialized West, are promoting technological solutions that will replace electrical power generated from burning fossil fuels by things like wind mills and solar panels. Nuclear power has the potential to make a much greater impact more quickly, except that big bureaucracies seem to be unable to successfully manage such complex systems.

Perhaps our technical efforts will bear fruit and we will be able to curtail our CO2 emissions and global warming will abate. They might not. Then we might be looking at some really scary options. Remember when they used to warn us that all-out nuclear war would bring a nuclear winter? If the temperature at the Arctic Circle ever reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit, someone might put that option on the table.

WiFi Repeaters

300M Wireless-N Wifi Repeaters 2.4G AP Router Signal Booster Extender Amplifier
My family was complaining about not being able to reliably connect using WiFi, so last year I bought one these repeaters. It helped, but I was still getting complaints, so a couple of weeks ago I ordered another one for $16. A couple of weeks go by and we're wondering where it is. When I check I realize that not only is it not Prime (free two-day shipping), it's coming from China and won't be here for another two weeks. So I look around for one that is Prime, and I found this one.

NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender, Essentials Edition (EX2700)
This one is Amazon's best seller. It costs almost double ($30) but it is Prime. I ordered it and two days later it is here, installed and working, and the complaints have abated.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Pic of the Day

Antonov AN70, Paris Le Bourget, Jean-Pierre Martinroche
The Antonov An-70 is a four-engine medium-range transport aircraft, and the first large aircraft to be powered by propfanengines. It was developed in the late 1980s by the Antonov design bureau to replace the obsolete An-12 military transport aircraft. However, the dissolution of the Soviet Union prevented the mass production of the type. The maiden flight of the first prototype took place on 16 December 1994 in Kiev, now independent Ukraine. Within a year the prototype plane had suffered a mid-air collision. A second airframe was produced and tests continued but numerous further attempts to start production have been unsuccessful. - Wikipedia
The Russians, and their former comrades, the Ukrainians, seem to have a thing for contra-rotating propellers. The Russians use them in the Bear Bomber, and some of their helicopters.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Pic of the Day

Boeing 777-200LR/F, Paris Le Bourget, Ediney Ribeiro
What we have here is 90% of the machinery necessary to turn a giant beer can into an airplane.


On June 17 a pilot filmed another aircraft coming straight at him just a 1000 feet below him leaving a huge contrail behind. by divertissonsnous

Airliners are pretty amazing devices. They are more closely related to rocket ships than to any other means of transportation. They fly at altitudes where a person without an airplane would need a space suit to survive. They can carry you across the country in a matter of hours and do it for a relative pittance.

Airlines, that is, the companies that operate these fantastic machines, are another story. They seem to be hell bent on driving each other out of business and making everyone hate them while they are at it. United just got another public relations black eye, and Boeing seems to be in league with the maniacs who think they can make money in this business.

I am beginning to think we need the Federal Government to step in and set up a Customer Bill of Rights (link goes to existing rules, which don't do much more than prohibit the intentional killing of passengers). I don't like more pointless government regulations, but I am starting to think that airlines can't be relied on to maintain any kind of standards. They will keep compressing coach seats until passengers start suffocating, and then they will blame the passengers for buying tickets.

Giving people a little more leg room and making aisles wide enough that a normal size person can walk down without having to turn sideways and inch along like a crab, might cost a little more money. But if all airlines are required to meet the same standards, then no one is going to gain a competitive advantage.

Ticket prices might go up by 10, 20 or even 100 dollars, but it's not going to matter. I suspect that at least half of the people flying coach are traveling because they want to, not because they have some urgent business to attend to. If the higher price deters them from flying, well, that's a benefit for everyone else: the airports won't be as crowded.

There might be some additional impact on businesses like resorts and vacation rentals, but eliminating a trip through hell to get there should make your vacation that much better.

You might not remember when the Federal government started requiring seat belts in cars. I remember the automobile manufacturers bitching about the cost. And remember when the smog was so bad in LA that you took your life in your hands going outside? The Feds put a stop to that as well.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Forever War

Is it time to end the war on drugs?
There was a big article in The Wall Street Journal today, full of nonsense about the War On Drugs. This got me to wondering who are these people who support this war? I do a little digging and I find this quote on Quora, which links to an article on Harper's:
“You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” - John Ehrlichman, interviewed by Dan Baum
Now this thing, this War On Drugs, is so firmly entrenched in the global economy that I doubt anyone short of the messiah will be able to rescind it. Possibly if this country goes broke, the government might be persuaded to legalize drugs so they can tax them, but I wouldn't hold my breath. The government has been on the verge of going broke for years, but somehow it manages to keep schlepping along.

The War On Drugs brings us a whole raft of problems, but the biggest one by far is that a large segment of the population no longer trusts the government to do the right thing.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Floating Heads

1960s Norelco santa ad

"Floating heads, floating heads, . . .' I'm telling my son about the song in this old Norelco TV commercial. He doesn't believe me, so I go looking for it, and . . . bupkiss. Seems I am not the only one to remember it, but so far, no cigar. The ads I've seen look similar, Santa gliding over the snow on a sleigh made from the business end of a Norelco razor, and the tune sounds the same, but none of them use "floating heads" in the lyrics.

I tried to find someone at Norelco I could ask about this, but Norelco belongs to Philips these days and Philips, well, there is something wrong with Philips.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bees and Neonicotinoids

Neonicotinoids: What We Know - OklahomaGardening

Detroit Steve sends us a couple of links:
I thought Slate was on the up and up,  I now wonder.
Nature article points out that all but Germany had declines.
A giant study costing zillions of dollars, but what exactly did it measure? I have no idea. I wonder if anyone else does.

Let me just say this about that:
  • Bees are having problems. Of course, bees are wild animals and wild animals have all kinds of problems. Are their current problems worse than usual? Some people seem to think so.
  • Neonicotinoids are new. The did not used to exist, at least I don't think they did. I got it in my head that this chemical was invented in a lab somewhere, but that might not be the case. It might be an extract from a common plant, or from a Peruvian sea slug's gall bladder, I have no idea.
  • One thing I read said that 'if the chemical was applied according to directions, it would have no effect on bees'. Well, that's nice, but I somehow doubt whether everyone is following directions. I can easily imagine someone along the distribution chain getting it wrong by a factor of ten or even a hundred. Normally, I would consider this unlikely. Chemicals cost money, farming is a marginal business, so in order to minimize costs you don't want to use any more of that chemical than you need to. On the other hand, if you have a particular nasty problem, you might think it worthwhile to spend a little extra and increase the dose by maybe half or even double to be sure that it takes care of the problem. You don't want to have to come back and do it again, that costs more money, and any delay can mean more damage to the crop. Depending, of course, on just what you are spraying for.

Take those three together and my conclusion is that this new chemical is causing the problem with the bees and the new study is a smokescreen.

Lastly, the new stuff for controlling fleas on cats and dogs uses the same chemical and it's really expensive, like $20 a dose. It's also a little scary, but it seems to work and I ain't dead yet.

Lastly plus one, I looked for a picture and came up with the above video, which kind of slants it the other way. So it might be a case of the know-nothings hollering because that's all they can do. Previous posts herehere and, if you want more, here.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

When is a bathroom not a bathroom?

When it's a WiFi connection. Jon F. Wilkins has the story (from 2013). It's all about where to shop and how retail businesses operate.

200 MPH Biplane

I followed a click-bait link to a WW2 aircraft identification quiz. You know, something that I have a passing interest in, and since it's click-bait, it should be easy. If I am lucky there might be something new-to-me in there and I will learn something. The test starts out being very easy. You don't even need to recognize the aircraft. If you know the markings used by the belligerents, and you recognize the manufacturer's names, the answer is obvious. Occasionally they will slip in one like the Seafire, which looks just like a Spitfire, but it's a multiple choice quiz and only one of the answers contains a British manufacturer, so the answer is easy even if you have never heard of a Seafire before.

Rogo┼żarski IK-3
So I'm clicking along through this test and I notice that Rogo┼żarski IK-3 is one of the answers. It's not the answer, but still the name is unusual enough that I go check it out. It was a Yugoslavian airplane developed during the 1930's. They build a dozen before the Nazi's showed up. That put an end to that. In the Wikipedia article there is a note that this aircraft's performance was similar to the Hawker Fury, but the picture shows a biplane and I'm thinking there must be some kind of mistake. No biplane was ever powerful enough to challenged a monoplane, was there?

Hawker Fury by Iain Wyllie
Well, yes, the Hawker Fury was able to hit 220 MPH. I would never have thought such a thing possible. When WW2 came along and things got serious all this piddling about with 200 MPH fighters came to an end.

Mercator Projection

Normal Mercator Projection
 I don't like the Mercator Projection. I much prefer my Pergielian projection, but I haven't written a program to display it. Meanwhile, Richard Morey has a web page where you can play with the Mercator Projection. The images here on this blog are just screen shots I took of Richard's page.

Mercator Projection Centered on the South Pole
Via Detroit Steve.

More about map projections here.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Crossing Lines

Crossing Lines cast
Yes, that's Donald Sutherland on the left.
We've been watching the Crossing Lines series on Netflix lately. It's entertaining though not particularly great, too much time spent on close ups, significant looks and emotional claptrap. It's kind of like a soap opera that way. But they do have some good looking women and plenty of action. And there is an undercurrent of fancy technology that gives my inner geek something to think about.

In the episode we watched last night, Hickman (William Fichtner) is interviewing a psychoanalyst who was taken hostage during a prison escape and he tells her he knows her book. She is surprised because, I mean, who reads books on psychoanalysis? Hickman replies that "Google makes us all look smarter" and that he only knows that she has written a book, he hasn't read it. Later she comments about his injured hand and echoes his phrase about Google. However, this trips her up because she thinks the criminal responsible for his injury is still on the loose, when he was actually apprehended a couple of months ago. This means that she was researching him before then, and the only reason she would do that was that she is was in on the planning of a series jewelry heists. You're going down, lady.

Hickman's injury occurred when he was shot in the hand. This kind of injury has all kinds of ramifications. It's the kind of thing that quickly gets forgotten by everyone else except the injured party and his friends and family. After all, all the news would report was the injury was not life threatening and that he is expected to recover. Well, he didn't die, and he didn't lose his hand, but his hand is still pretty messed up. It doesn't work very well, and since it's his dominate hand, it makes him clumsy at all kinds of ordinary things. It also makes using a semi-automatic pistol problematic because he can't rack the slide. There might be a way to do that one-handed, but this is TV, so I am going to let it slide (heh). It goes to show that even 'minor' injuries can really mess up your life.

Carrie-Anne Moss as Amanda Andrews and William Fichtner as Carlton Hickman
Hickman's injury also causes him continuing pain, bad enough that he is taking morphine. That sounded a little excessive to me, but nerves are funny things. They get messed up and they might decide to just keep screaming at you, even though whatever injury you had is long gone. I can relate being as I am still taking narcotics to deal with my toothache. The troublesome molar was removed yesterday so I should be on the mend, but my jaw still hurts.

Amanda, Hickman's New York girlfriend, tells him they are doing some amazing things with prosthetics these days, which is kind of odd, as his 'Justice League' teammate Arabela points out that he still has his hand. Cutting off your hand because it is painful seems like an extreme measure, but then I suppose it kind of depends on how much pain there is and how long it goes on, but surely there are other ways to control the pain. Besides, don't amputees sometimes experience phantom pain, pain in appendages that are no longer there?

Lara Rossi as Arabela Seeger
I was going to say that all this might be a setup for Hickman getting a prosthetic hand because in an earlier episode they were fighting crime at a cutting edge prosthetic manufacturing company, but then I realized that was The Accountant, not Crossing Lines.

One last thing, what's with William Fichtner's last name? I would expect it to be spelled Fitchner, that is with the T before the CH, not after. Google returns 3,100,000 results on Fichtner, but only 101,000 for Fichtner. Weird, man.