Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Educated by Tara Westover

Judith Beheading Holofernes  by Caravaggio ca. 1600
I'm reading Educated by Tara Westover. It is phenomenal.

This painting (Judith Beheading Holofernes, above) gets mentioned twice. The first time is in Chapter 18 on page 162 during an exam in Western Civ at BYU:


The second time is in chapter 31, bottom of page 268, when she is in Rome:
"At the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, I stood before Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holofernes  and did not once think about chickens."
 Caravaggio has appeared here before.

twenty one pilots: Heathens


twenty one pilots: Heathens (from Suicide Squad: The Album) [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

Feels like a movie which shouldn't surprise me since apparently it is from a movie.

Pic of the Day


I hope you know that like 30 people get shot every weekend in Chicago. It may not be most violent city in America, but it certainly gets noticed. People do all kinds of weird shit, but somehow I suspect this was put together in Photoshop. Still very funny.

The gun looks like an FN-20 4-gun tail turret from a WW2 Avro-Lancaster.

Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Pic of the Day

Milky Way Magnetic Field
I don't often read Ethan Siegel's posts Starts With A Bang! They are kind of long and complicated, but I will glance at them, and this image showed up today. I think it's kind of cool.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Links

I've been a little preoccupied lately, but I have been watching YouTube. Here's some videos I enjoyed:

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Turkish Castles

Christian Castle
In season 5 Ertuğrul's tribe is encamped near Söğüt. One set of villains are operating out of a nearby castle (shown above). I haven't quite figured out just what castle it is.

Overhead view of Kizil Kule
In a dream sequence (somewhere around episode 65 maybe), he pays a visit to Kizil Kule, a fortified tower that is near Alanya Castle.

Kizil Kule with Alanya Castle on the hill in the background
Kizil Kule was designed by a guy from Aleppo.

There seems to be a large number of castle ruins in Turkey. Castles.NL has information on some of them.

Prairie Dogs

Stolen entire from Nobody Asked Me…
Out in the wilds of Colorado…
And in the me vs. Prairie dogs, the score is me zero… Couldn’t figure out the wind yesterday afternoon… 30 rounds zero hits, one scare. .22s at 225 yards is not easy in a gusting wind… Dammit…
A long stinking time ago I was flying somewhere and I got to talking to the guy sitting next to me. He had been out west somewhere and he and a friend of his had spent some time shooting prairie dogs. By the hundreds, if I remember correctly. I was shocked. Didn't know there were that many prairie dogs, didn't know you could shoot them with impunity. Different world. I suspect coyotes used to keep the prairie dog population in check, but ever since we ran off the wolves and coyotes, prairie dog populations have exploded.

I remember from watching Westerns on TV that prairie dog towns could be a problem for running horses. (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs has an example.) Would walking horses be able to navigate a prairie dog town, or would they just walk around it?

And the gun. A 22 is perfectly adequate for dispatching small animals like prairie dogs, but trying to hit them at 225 yards . . . I can't even imagine. A prairie dog head at 225 yards is like a 64th of an inch at arm's length.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Suicide Burn


How To Do A Hoverslam - Things Kerbal Space Program Doesn't Teach.

Scott Manley talking about how SpaceX lands their boosters. He does a good job, plus lots of clips of landings, good and bad.

Denise Ho

Denise Ho at the Adam Smith Institute in London, UK
Denise, aka HOCC, is a Hong Kong pop music start turned political activist. Brian has a few words to say about her and the situation in Hong Kong.
Very impressive.
Short summary. The protests continue, and the way for her side to win is to universalise the struggle, turning it from a merely local battle, which China is bound to win, into a global argument, which China is a lot less likely to win. Hence her presence in London (and many other spots around the world) to tell people about what’s happening in Hong Kong.
I heard another talk about Hong Kong on Monday that covered a lot of the same ground. My question then (which I thought rather than actually asked) was: What can we do to help? Answer, from Denise Ho this evening: a lot. Because “we” means everyone else in the world who wants to help.
Okay, if Brian and Denise agree, then I guess I need to step up, so here's my contribution.

Via Brian Micklethwaite's New Blog

Girls with Guns

IDF practicing hostage rescue?
Couldn't find any real information about this photo, but it looks pretty real.

Via daily timewaster

PE-2 Soviet dive bomber

PE-2 Soviet dive bomber
Wikipedia has a few things to say about this aircraft and how it came to be:
The Petlyakov Pe-2 was a Soviet twin-engined dive bomber used during World War II. It was one of the best front-line medium bombers of the war. In many respects it resembled the wooden British de Havilland Mosquito. The Soviets built 11,430 Pe-2s during the war. The Pe-2 was designed in a prison design bureau (sharashka); Vladimir Petlyakov had been arrested and imprisoned in 1937 for allegedly delaying design work on the Tupolev ANT-42 bomber. 
Sharashka was an informal name for secret research and development laboratories operating from 1930 to the 1950s within the Soviet Gulag labor-camp system. Etymologically, the word sharashka derives from a Russian slang expression sharashkina kontora ("Sharashka's office", which in its turn comes from the criminal argot term sharaga for a band of thieves, hoodlums, etc.), an ironic, derogatory term to denote a poorly-organized, impromptu, or bluffing organization.
Some people are good with things, some are good with people. The former create some amazing stuff, the later organize society so the former have the freedom to create things, even if they are locked up. (Wait, what?)

10,000 seems to be a common number for WW2 aircraft, at least the ones that were successful. The world built a total of 780,000 aircraft for this conflict.

Via daily timewaster

Quote of the Day

King Louis XVI of France is led to the guillotine, Jan. 21, 1793
 “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” - Voltaire
Adaptive Curmudgeon changed his tagline and explains why. It's worth reading. I do wonder if we have a real problem though. There is lots of noise on the internet, but how many people subscribe to that noise? I like to think that most people have real lives and don't have time for the nonsense that is flowing over the optic fibers. On the other hand, people who listen to the noise are more likely to vote, so we they might be driving us to hell.

Glenn Arbery has a related post about the relations between politics, education and culture.

P.S. Voltaire died in 1778, a few years before the French Revolution got started in 1789.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Hunger & Anger

Angry Cat
John was house sitting last month for a couple. They have a cat, and the cat had a bad attitude. He was willing to pick a fight with anybody, anytime, for any reason, or even no reason at all. His people had him on a restricted diet to 'keep him from getting fat'. Faced with this hostile animal, John decided to try feeding him more food. Surprise, surprise, the hostility evaporated. Which got me to thinking. Scenes from war torn areas in Africa and Asia often seem to feature skinny people. Could there be a correlation between hunger and anger? Would feeding all these people be enough to quell the violence that seems to blanket these areas?

Would they end up obese and suffering from diabetes like Americans? Me, I am mostly calm, but it doesn't take much for me to start wishing wholesale death and destruction on every driver I encounter on the road. It's really pretty amazing that we don't have more psycho killers running around loose. I guess it's hard to concentrate on killing when you are stuffed full of pizza and french fries.

Quote of the Day

Costco in Seoul South Korea
 "There’s a reason that the Costco in Seoul, South Korea sells more American beef every day than anywhere else on earth." - Kacy Atkinson
Okay, it's not a profound bit of wisdom or a clever insight into the human psych, but it is a bolt out of the blue. There are Costco stores in South Korea? They sell American beef? Who knew?

Pic of the Day

Long Exposure of an Airliner Lifting Off
It looks like the airliner took off almost straight up. However, the width of the path (airplane) at the top of the climb is roughly twice what it is at the bottom, which means it's twice as far away from the camera. If the camera is a thousand feet away, then that means the climb covered a thousand feet of ground. If the camera is a mile away, then that means the airplane covered a mile of ground.

Assuming the wingspan of the aircraft is 150 feet, and using a ruler to scale the image, I'm guesstimating the airliner leveled off around a thousand feet of altitude.

This got me to wondering just how steep an airliner could climb. I saw an F-4 Phantom do a vertical climb right after take off at an airshow in Phoenix umpteen years ago (sometime in the late 1980's). That was impressive, lots of smoke and thunder. Also a lot jet fuel dripping out of the aircraft sitting on the ground. Did not seem to concern anyone, got the feeling that that was just the nature of the beast.

These days it seems that even some airliners can take off straight up.


Boeing Vietnam Airlines 787-9 Dreamliner Vertical Takeoff & Steep Turns 2015 Paris Air Show Prep

How in the heck did they make that video? Some of those shots are downright scary. Here's how:


Making of - Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flying display

Your average airliner takes off at an angle of 15 to 20 degrees.

Via daily timewaster

Monday, September 30, 2019

Bipolar Self Evaluation

Stages of a photographer
This is a pretty great graph. These curves can probably be applied to any skill.

Via View From The Porch wherein Tam mentions the Dunning-Kruger effect.

One of these days, Alice . . .


Showcasing SpaceX's Shiny Stainless Starship

Elon Musk did a presentation last night about the new spaceship SpaceX is building. I tried watching it, but it's long (an hour and a half) and, as Scott Manley notes, Elon is not the best speaker. Scott sums up the presentation pretty well here.

The part that I find interesting is that 50 years ago the science fiction artists who drew shiny spaceships with fins that landed using their rocket engines were exactly right.

All this is going on in Boca Chica which is on the gulf coast of southern Texas a couple of miles from the Mexican border.

. . . pow! Right to the moon.

P.S. Somewhere in all this Elon mentioned that they are super cooling (or maybe hyper cooling?) the methane.

  • Methane turns to liquid around −160 °C,. 
  • SpaceX is going to be cooling it down very close to the freezing point, which is −182.5 °C, which is only 20 degrees cooler. 
  • Oxygen, the bigger part of the fuel package boils at −182.962 °C. 

So the freezing point of methane is one half a degree higher than the boiling point of oxygen. Managing these two substances in close proximity to each other while keeping them both liquid is going to be a bit of a trick. Maybe that's why they call it rocket science.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Groove Armada - Superstylin'



Groove Armada - Superstylin'


I generally don't care for hip-hop, which is what I think this is. The lyrics are often boring, stupid and / or offensive, but this tune seems to have a pretty positive attitude. I don't know what the two guys talking at the beginning is, but it seems to fit with the general attitude. The two roadies are kind of fun as well. I've listened to several other songs by Groove Armada and I like what I hear.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Republic and Democracy

The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino 1511
The original image is quite large and shows a great deal of detail. Click it to embiggen it.
Sometimes it pays to review the basic principles of a subject. I think this is a good description.
"Thus, the idea of a Republic, which considered from this perspective is the required universal acknowledgement of a common wealth of morals, traditions, and aspirations (which often boils down to religion), plus some of the following: territory, language, stories, heroes – culture. This commonwealth, shared and enforced by all, shapes the laws and reigns in the sociopaths leaders who inevitably arise. Within a Republic, you can have democracy – a democracy in which all the truly important stuff is off the table, and the voter and candidates and issues all fall within the bounds, in both senses of the word, of the Commonwealth." - Joseph Moore
A couple other items I gleaned from Joseph's essay:

  • a Stagirite is a native or resident of Stagira, Greece, which is just a few miles down the coast from the ancient ship railroadAristotle was a Stagirite. The railroad was in operation during Aristotle's lifetime.
  • The movie The Last Temptation of Christ was adapted from a book of the same name written by Nikos Kazantzakis, who is a pretty famous writer. I say 'pretty famous' because I had never heard of him, but he also wrote Zorba the Greek. I saw the movie version of Zorba a zillion years ago and it was pretty great. The stoning of the woman was a shock to my system. I had heard of such a thing, but that isn't really the same as seeing it. God forbid I ever encounter that in real life. The collapse of the log transport system was also a shock. The failure of a well constructed system was something my very young self had never before considered. I might have to read one of Nikos' books.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Geico

Geico Gecko
Reading a Forbes story about Patrick Byrne, I come across this line:
[Patrick] Byrne is the son of the late John “Jack” Byrne, a University of Michigan-trained mathematician and renowned insurance executive credited with turning around Geico in the mid-1970s and persuading Warren Buffett to invest in the auto insurer. Geico would eventually become one of the biggest contributors to Berkshire Hathaway’s bottom line, and Buffett once described Byrne’s father as “the Babe Ruth of insurance.” 
I think my folk's had Geico insurance, many years ago, long before the talking gecko became their spokes-animal. I had no idea about Warren Buffett's investment, but then, why would I? I mean Berkshire Hathaway must be invested in about a zillion different companies, any number of those could be classified as the 'biggest contributors', and some fraction of a zillion is still too large a number for my feeble brain to deal with.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Usury

Ertugrul expels the money lenders (Season 5, Episode 2, Mark 8:15) Netflix
Season 5 of Ertuğrul is up on Netflix. In episode 2 Ertuğrul brings the smack down on the money lenders operating in the town square. Okay, so the show is painting Ertuğrul as a devote Muslim. That's fine. But it got me to wondering about this whole usury thing.

A common theme running through many of these historical dramas we have been watching is the triumph of logical thought over people just throwing their weight around because they want to and no one is stopping them. This leads me to thinking that logical thinking is not all that prevalent. Planning ahead requires a certain amount of logical thinking, so the problem with usury is that the money lenders were able to plan ahead, but they were lending money to people who didn't, either because they couldn't, or had never been introduced to the concept. So they borrow money without considering the future impact the terms will have on them and they end up being impoverished.

So the problem wasn't that the money lenders were charging interest, the problem was they were lending money to people who were mentally unprepared to consider the consequences of their actions. Hard to imagine that people don't understand how loans operate, given that our modern world seems to be entirely financed by loans. But new people are coming into the world every day, and understanding how loans and interest work requires a certain amount of study. Once you have mastered it, it seems ridiculously simple, but getting to that point requires a certain amount of work. And even people who ought to know better sometimes get themselves into hot water by borrowing money to finance a purchase they can't really afford.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Glorious Days of Yesteryear

Woodstock was 50 years ago, I was 18, the Vietnam war was in full swing, we had landed on the moon. I had just graduated from high school and was working my first job away from home. I thought the Vietnam war was really stupid, I mean, everyone said so. If the chief-jerks-whats-in-charge had a good reason for it, I didn't hear it. Whether that was because they weren't talking or I wasn't listening, I can't tell you. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I became aware of an endorsement for the war.

This pops up on YouTube, probably because I've been listening to Sweet Lorraine, and I listened to what he says.


1960s Rebels: Country Joe McDonald - Musician, Country Joe and the Fish

I remember the Fixin To Die Rag, and here we have the scene Country Joe is talking about.


Country Joe & The Fish Live @ Woodstock 1969 Fish Cheer_I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixing-To-Die-Rag.mpg

Monday, September 23, 2019

Buy Me A Boat


Chris Janson - "Buy Me A Boat" (Official Video)

I am not a big fan of country music, but every once in a while I will come across a tune resonates with me, and this is one. Some (most?) country music isn't very elegant, musically, but some of these guys are really good.

What a Good Idea

Requiescat in Peonies
I tend to come up with big ideas that require such a large commitment of resources that I have no hope of ever implementing them, which saves me a lot of work. I come up with the idea, and if I am feeling energetic, I will write it down and dump it on the world and then I am done with it. If somebody out there happens across it, and they like it, and then also happen to have the requisite resources to implement it, well, cowabunga, go for it dude, or dudette. As Clint Eastwood said, a man has to know his limitations, and I think I have pretty good understanding of mine.

P.S. Requiescat is "a wish or prayer for the repose of a dead person". I mention this because a) I didn't know, and b) last night I used the word retinue which is "a group of advisers, assistants, or others accompanying an important person". Posse in modern parlance. This caused some consternation because it evidently is not as well known as I thought.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Rookie Historian


Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung | Official Trailer | Netflix

This series is a historical drama set in Korea around 1820. The series isn't complete, or at least not all episodes are available just yet. Naturally, it's mostly a love story, but we also have palace intrigue, bits of comedy from some of the supporting cast, acres of fancy cloaks, spectacular buildings, and some real insight into how people think. We're enjoying it.

Our girl, Hae Ryung, family name Goo, lands a job as one of the first female court reporters. They call them historians here, but court reporting is what they do. They take their notebook and pen-and-ink case to official meetings in the palace and transcribe what is said, holding their writing brushes vertically and drawing pictographic characters lickety-split.

One of the subplots involves a 20 year old secret connected to the Catholic church. Digging around, I turn up a massacre of Catholics in 1801, which fits our time frame. The secret hasn't come out in the series yet, so we will have to wait and see how well the show correlates with the very scant history I found.

Another plot excursion involves smallpox inoculations. Seems the standard method of treating outbreaks of smallpox at this time was to quarantine the villages where the outbreaks occurred, but there is one woman (associated with the Catholics somehow) who knows how to perform inoculations. The king has sent his number two son to the area to reassure the people by performing some ritual. The prince gets wind of this inoculation business and decides to be the guinea pig in a public demonstration. It's easy to think now that it would be a simple matter, but back then, when it wasn't well understood, it would take some real intestinal fortitude to do such a thing.

So mostly we have a very attractive couple making goo-goo eyes at each other, but every once in a while they display some real courage in situations that would have any normal person shaking in their boots. I mean, situations where if the king is in a bad mood you could lose your head.

Tennessee State Prison


Cage The Elephant - Cold Cold Cold (Official Music Video)

I'm not quite sure about this tune. It might be okay, but I've only listened to it a couple of times. What brings us here is the building in the opening sequence.

From the video
Reddit/r/whereisthis tells me this the Tennessee State Prison

From Google
I'm still amazed at the amount of detail Google Maps can deliver.

I don't understand buildings very well. A hundred years ago, we built zillions of these elaborate masonry castles. I mean every county in the country has a big, stone courthouse, not to mention all the big government buildings in big cities. Now they are mostly obsolete. Very few are still in use, a few have been preserved for historical purposes, but many of them are just waiting to be torn down.

How many of our current buildings will still be in use in a hundred years? What will new buildings look like in a hundred years?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Do It All The Time


I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME - Do It All The Time

This video is six kinds of off kilter. The set looks like what they imagined the future would look like from the 1950's. The lyrics are one part spoiled rich kid and and another part Nietzsche. Anyway, I've been listening to it. The tune is catchy.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Pearls Before Swine

Styrofoam Clamshell Hiding Exquisite Pearl Of Pulled Pork Sandwich
Via Ross

Wood Carving

Model for Under Eaves Trim
We are putting up the siding on our remodel project in St. Johns. When you get to the top of the wall you need some trim so it looks like it was built by civilized people and not some hacker-bashers. We're working on an inside corner under the valley that joins the old roof, built with 2 x 6 rafters, and the new roof, built with trusses made from 2 x 4's. This is our attempt to carve a piece of wood to fit in this corner. Once we get it so that it fits to our satisfaction, we will have to reproduce it on a longer piece that will run to the outside corner. Kind of a pain, but sometimes the more complicated way gets you to your goal quicker than trying to do it all in one fell swoop.

Spinning


The Bizarre Behavior of Rotating Bodies, Explained

Veritasium makes my day, again. When I started working as a carpenter (a half century ago) I remember one of the crew demonstrating that tossing a hammer so that the handle flipped around the head resulted in the face of the hammer head facing the opposite direction. At the time I thought it was a little odd, but it did this every time. As I had no explanation for it, I just filed it away as just one more property of this weird world we live in.

A Couple of Links

Came across a couple of thought provoking posts this morning:
  1. The Ahmari-French Debate That Should Have Been, a discussion of morality versus the constitution.
  2. SEX, an acronym for the Society for the Encouragement of Xenophobia.
I am not a particularly religious guy, but I tend to think that the Christian religion has a lot to do with the success of Western Civilization. Much of the criticism of the Christian religion comes from the excessive zeal of some of the leaders. The criticisms no doubt have merit, but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

I've been watching foreign historical dramas with my wife for a while now (at least a year), and one thing that comes through is that people who are unconstrained are often very bad actors (bad actors in that they engage in bad actions, not because they are bad actors in the theatrical sense).

If people are going to live in the company of others (and enjoy the benefits that accrue from such company), they are going to have restrain their worse impulses. Teaching people to control themselves has been the role of societies leaders for as long as people have been hanging around together.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Beware the Crafty Advocate

Stolen entire from The Orthosphere

“He joys not to be retained in such a suit, where all the right in question is but a drop blown up with malice to be a bubble.”
Thomas Fuller, “The Good Advocate,” in The Holy State and the Profane State (1642).
For many people, morality is a motivator. Observing the wide discrepancies between the world as it is and the world as they believe it ought to be, such people are filled with righteous anger, and righteous anger is for them a delicious tonic that gives life zest and sparkle.
For other people, morality is a depressant. Observing the wide discrepancies between the person they are and the person they believe they ought to be, such people are mortified by a galling guilt that weighs them down and makes life sad and grey.
If you normally use the word ought in conjunction with the word I, morality depresses you. I know that I have often been filled with a hopeless lassitude when I think of the many things I ought to do, but do not do, and likely never will do.
If you normally use the word ought in conjunction with the words you, or they (or even we), morality motivates you. Thinking about the imperfections of others can be more invigorating than a cup of strong coffee.
This occurred to me as I listened to an invigorated colleague warming to the subject of an alleged injustice recently. It was like watching a pile of dry sticks catch fire.
A man is hesitant to confess his own sins. The longer he speaks, the more softly he speaksHe ends with a groan, silence, or tears. But a man is eager to to deplore the sins of others. He seizes the first opportunity and then swiftly warms to his subject. The longer he talks, the louder he talks. And when he has finished, he glows like a man who has just come in from a brisk walk in crisp autumn air.
The tonic quality of righteous anger is most evident to one who is unmoved by the object of that anger. When you see a woman getting “all worked up over nothing,” you begin to suspect that she rather enjoys getting “all worked up.” It is getting “all worked up” that puts zest and sparkle into her day.  It leaves her feeling fit to tackle a tiger.
Righteous anger is also an excellent stalking horse for wily self-interest, and those who enjoy it are therefore able to, as it were, get drunk and conduct business at the same time. This is because the louder their roars of righteous anger, the less apparent will be the self-interested scheming and stratagems in the moral remedies they demand.  Indeed, passionate words on behalf of some species of poor people have often served as a royal road to riches and power.
This is why you should look with extreme prejudice on anyone who claims to be an advocate for the poor and powerless. Most of them are anger junkies, and many are pickpockets to boot.
“How soft is Silia! fearful to offend;
The frail one’s advocate, the weak one’s friend
. . . .
Sudden she storms! she raves! You tip the wink;
But spare your censure Silia does not drink.
All eyes may see from what the change arose;
All eyes may see a pimple on her nose.”
Alexander Pope, Essay on Man (1733-1734)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Parov Stelar - Chambermaid Swing


Parov Stelar - Chambermaid Swing (Doc-Terry's Video Club Mix) HD

I might actually like to go see Parov Stelar. I like them enough that this is third tune of theirs I've posted.

Speedy Part 2

Tractor on German Town Road this morning
I finally broke down and got a smart phone. I got mine from Tracfone for $40 a couple of months ago and I'm paying something like $50 for 3 months of service. I still don't use it very much, but it has come in handy on occasion. What finally convinced me to get it was that smart phones have cameras. After running 3 digital cameras into the ground I needed a replacement so a smart phone seemed to be an expeditious choice. The above photo I snapped this morning through my windshield while we are bowling along at pert near 20 MPH. It's a little grainy, but I cropped this out of a much large image.

And I'm still not totally in tune with the controls. You have to hold the thing by the edges and make sure none of your unintentional fingers are on the glass. Then you have to touch the right spot on the glass, and you have to touch it just the right amount. Too soft or too short or too long and either nothing happens or it wants to sell you an app, of course they don't say 'sell', they want you to 'sign up' for something because it's going to be free. Yeah, free for them to bother me with a bunch of crap I don't want to hear about.

In other news Mr. Dustbury passed away. From his descriptions of his health, it wasn't too much of a surprise. But then I was surprised when I found that he hadn't died of 'natural causes' but violently in an automobile accident.

I feel a little weird about posting the note about Dustbury as a follow on to an unrelated post, but in mind it was a natural segue. Or maybe I'm just a little more baked than usual.

Vindaloo

Iaman cooked a curry for dinner last night here. He used prepackaged curry from Trader Joe's. It was pretty good. I've probably had it before, but it didn't make much of an impression. Curry, to my mind, implies spicy, and I've never been much for spicy-hot foods. But this wasn't that spicy at all, just flavorful. In any case, it reminded me of the song Vindaloo by Fat Les because evidently Vindaloo is a curry.

Oklahoma City

USS Oklahoma City SSN-723
WW1 submarines had torpedoes. WW2 submarines had torpedoes. Then we got the atomic bomb, the cold war, ICBM's and somebody got the idea of stuffing ICBM's into submarines, which is how we got the ginormous missile subs. Missile subs carried their missiles in two long rows aft of the sail, control room and crew quarters. And that's where my knowledge stopped until today when this picture pops up on daily timewaster. The USS Oklahoma is a Los Angeles class attack submarine and it carries a dozen Tomahawk missiles in its nose. The Oklahoma was launched in 1985 which just goes to show how outdated my knowledge was.

Seems that paper charts are on the way out:
In early 2007, Oklahoma City became the first submarine certified to exclusively use Digital Nautical Charts (DNCs), using the Voyage Management System (VMS). VMS is part of the Electronic Chart Display and Information System-Navy (ECDIS-N) system, which has been under development since 1990. The shift from traditional paper navigation to an all-electronic navigation suite marked the first significant shift in U.S. Navy navigation practices since the introduction of the Global Positioning System (GPS) in the 1990s.




Monday, September 9, 2019

Walking Disaster


The Unlikely Candidates - Novocaine

Lively tune, depressing subject matter. People try, with varying degrees of success, to take care of business, do their chores, fulfill their obligations. Some people are highly motivated and have a high degree of self control and mostly succeed at that. Other people, not so much.

My motivation varies from high to zero, and I really don't know why. Being around other people helps, sometimes. And then there's stuff that catches my eye (or ear) and I will dive into a rabbit hole and not come out for hours. But that only works sometimes. Other times I am a complete slug and can't even be bothered to eat breakfast.

Car Cravings

2019 Hot Wheels Seattle
Iaman sent me this picture and my immediate reaction was that this is a very cool car. I would love to have it. But then I thought about it for a few seconds and I realized that just because a car looks good doesn't mean that the rest of it is any good. For a car to perform its basic function of carrying people from one place to another, the drive train, chassis and operator controls all have to be working. If you are a super-hero, or just an everyday commuter, you want all the little convenience do-dads to be working properly, things like switches, lights, latches, doors and windows. That's why people buy new cars, because they want all that stuff to work. They may not use all of them, but the ones they do use need to work and work reliably.

There is another thing about custom cars that has been bothering me because I don't understand it. Custom cars are almost invariably lowered so they have less ground clearance. I understand it makes them look cool, and I agree. But why? From a practical aspect, it's dumb. You can't go anywhere where there is the least little bump in the pavement. Even modern front-wheel-drive cars that carry the engine cantilevered out in front of the front axle have problems with curbs in parking lots. Used to be you could pull forward until your wheels hit the curb. Now you have to stop a couple of feet short or risk that embarrassing bang when the subframe hits the curb.

Could it be that a lowered car provides the illusion that it is sliding along on a glass smooth surface where there aren't going to be any bumps to disturb your peace of mind?

Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Riddler

An old Riddler Express problem:
Submit a whole number between 1 and 1,000,000,000. I’ll then take all those numbers and find the average submission. Whoever submits the number closest to ⅔ of the mean of all of the submitted numbers wins.
So if we get a bunch of random submissions, then the mean of those guesses would be 500,000,000. 2/3 of that would be 333,333,333. But if enough people use that logic, then that would be the mean and 2/3 of that would be 222,222,222.


Repeatedly taking 2/3 of 500 million looks like this graph, or this equation:

scaled down to make it legible. Anyway, it heads toward zero, so my guess is one.



Friday, September 6, 2019

Spotless Spotify

I started writing this on the Spotify community forum, but I started expounding, so I thought I probably ought to record it here first.

I'm having so much fun here. Sorry, that was a lie. Or was it? Normally a website that gives me as much trouble as Spotify does would be regarded as a royal pain-in-the-neck.

I'm checking the fringes of my digital domain (riding the fences, so to speak), deleting spam from my email and I come across a note from Spotify promoting a tune. Well, sure I'll give it a shot, so I click. The click takes me to the Spotify website, but not to the tune they are promoting. Find the tune, login, click play and I get a big fat error - "The version of Chrome is not supported", so I update my OS, which hopefully updates Chrome because I don't want any more instructions.

The frustration from following all the relatively simple instructions to correct a fundamental problem is very annoying. On the other hand it has given me something to focus on. The original problem of not being able to play tunes using Spotify on the Chrome web browser I can kind of understand. Chrome is a Google product, and we now know Google is pretty much just like any other person / corporate entity - they are going to look out for their own best interests, and it that means making some obscure little tweak to Chrome that makes everybody else's streaming engine choke, well I wouldn't be surprised.

On the other hand it might be that Google is simply following an evolving specification and Spotify's programmers are slacking.

Whatever, we'll probably never know. I Google the problem and find myself on Spotify community forum, where I go through more contortions to get logged in. I eventually find this topic and follow more instructions, but Spotify still no worky.

I was thinking about posting technical info like OS and brower versions, but since they aren't asking, maybe they don't care.

Nugatory


Top Gun I feel the need... the need for speed!

"I feel the need, the need for speed" chorus Top Guns Maverick and Goose. Me, I feel the need to post something on this here blog before I head over the hill to St. John's and the endless refurbishing project.

I don't read the New York Times or The Washington Post, they both want money. I get a daily newsletter from Forbes and sometimes I look at it and every once in a while I find something of interest. They have their own skewed view of the world and much of it is really off in the weeds, excuse me, somebody's profitable field. Their field, not mine. I don't visit any of the TV websites like ABC or CNN. They take forever to load, they start playing some obnoxious video automatically and they never impart any useful information. I will scan the posts from a couple of dozen blogs using Feedly. Many are repetitive rants, some are entertaining, a few might interest me. And some days, like today, nothing catches my eye, so I wonder over to RT, formerly known as Russia Today. It might be Putin's mouthpiece, but it often makes more sense than any of the bombastic crap originating in the USA.

Today I'm reading a story by John Wight about John Bolton, crazed warmongers and a brief overview of America's history of bloodlust wherein I find this line:
Cleary the objective of undertaking a significant withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan after an 18-year long US military presence that has achieved nugatory results, either strategically or militarily, does not sit comfortably with Trump’s national security advisor.
Ooo! A new word: nugatory. Is that even a real word? Sounds like something a 6th grader would conjure.

Then there was this line:
Trump, it should be recalled, was elected in 2016 on a platform of ending America’s propensity for regime change wars, conducted under previous Democratic and Republican administrations, and drawing down the expansive US military footprint across the globe.
Really? Could be, I didn't pay much attention to the election, I didn't want to hear all the bullshit. If it's true then Americans have more sense than I would have given them credit for.

I would love to see all the autocratic dictators taken down, but destroying them would be the easy part. The hard part would be building a new government that wasn't a complete disaster. Many of the people living in these rotten countries don't have the education, training or refinement necessary to construct a functioning government. Bringing them up to snuff would take a generation at least, and in some of the worst places it would take several generations.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Sweet LORAN


Country Joe & The Fish "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine"

The story about Eddie Rickenbacker ditching in the Pacific Ocean during WW2 got me to thinking: just how did those guys navigate back then? My dad was a gunner on a B-24 bomber during WW2 in the Pacific. Raids in the Pacific were very different than the ones in Europe. The ranges were much farther and navigation was much more critical. In Europe you head vaguely southeast from England for a hundred miles and you were over enemy territory. Drop your bombs and turn around, head northwest and in short order you will be over England which was littered with airfields. In the Pacific, if you screw up one number 3 places to the right of decimal point when plotting your return flight and you could easily miss your destination completely and end up like Eddie, floating around in the Pacific hoping someone comes looking for you.


History of the LORAN System
Excerpted from a 1947 Coast Guard film

They started with the same tools mariners had used for the last couple hundred years: a sextant, a compass and a chronometer. In Europe they soon got LORAN which was another one of those super-top secret projects, like the Norden bombsight, the proximity fuse, the atomic bomb and the code breakers at Bletchley Park. The original LORAN was only good for about 750 miles. It was superseded by LORAN-C and now by eLORAN. From the map shown at the end of the video, I surmise that they didn't get LORAN in the Pacific until very late in the war, and even then it didn't cover much of the area.


Lines plotted from difference in distance to points A and B.

LORAN is kind of weird. You need at least three base stations in order to get a good fix. The base stations all send out a periodic pulse, and they all do it simultaneously. You measure the difference in time between when you receive the pulse from two different stations, and that will place you on a line. Do that for a different pair of stations and you get a different line. Plot the two lines on a chart and their intersection is your location. Since radio waves travel at the speed of light, your timing needs to be critical. Light travels about one foot in one nanosecond (one billionth of second), so in a microsecond, it travels about one thousand feet. So if you can measure the arrival time of the pulses to the nearest microsecond, you can determine your location within a thousand feet, which for navigating across the ocean is fine.


MathLapse: Constructions by pin-and-string: conics | Construções de fio esticado: cónicas
Hyperbola starts at 1:45

LORAN is often called a "hyperbolic navigation system", but all that means is that the lines you plot on the charts are hyperbolas.

You can see about 200 miles from a B-24 flying at 25,000 feet.

P.S. Thinking about LORAN must have triggered my memory of Sweet Loraine. There is another version of the song sung by several people, but the one by Country Joe is the one I remember. I don't know where they got Martha from.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Bad to the Chicken Bone


The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - Clap Your Hands

The first couple of times I listened to this tune I couldn't figure out what he was saying. Even after I read the lyrics, it took me awhile to match what he was saying with the words. No matter, the tune it the thing.

The video is entertaining in a goofball sort of way. The band has a page on Wikipedia where I found this little gem:
"[Max Senteney] plays a small drum kit, augmented with a five-gallon plastic bucket fitted with drum hardware. The band claims they are the only rock band with a bucket endorsement deal."

Pic of the Day

Eastern Kentucky
I don't know what to say.

Speedy

Drove over to St. John's yesterday morning to work on younger son's house. I took Germantown Road and about halfway down the far side of the hill, traffic came to a stop. Anytime anywhere near rush hour, there is always a bit of a jam getting onto St. John's bridge, but this exceptional. I was in despair as a traffic jam this long would take an hour to clear and I didn't want to spend an hour of my life creeping along in a traffic jam. Fortunately for all us commuters, it only lasted about five minutes. Seems a big truck carring a load of heavy equipment had gotten stuck. He was going around one of the nine zillion corners on this road and the inside wheels of the trailer had fallen in the roadside ditch. I would like to know who the idiot was who sent this truck down this road. You might think in this day of GPS and sophisticated route planning software, not to mention experienced people, this could have been avoided.

No matter, once I got past that jam it was clear sailing for another couple of minutes until I got to the actual jam at the entrance to the bridge.

That afternoon I was taking a nap in my car (it was hot and I'm old) and I hear tires squealing. I open my eyes and what do I see? A black man in a purple convertible Mustang doing donuts in the intersection 25 yards away. He doesn't go just one, he must have done about six before be sped off. That was so weird I might have written it off as a dream except for the sound. I can't remember hearing much of anything in any dreams.

I also heard a couple of cars come flying by, in excess of 40 MPH certainly, maybe 60, I don't know. This is a narrow residential street. If there are cars parked on both sides, there is only room for one car in the center. If two cars want to pass, they need a place where at least one side of the road is clear of parked cars. At least half the road is clear like that, and there isn't a great deal of traffic, so it's not a problem.

A few months ago Portland reduced the speed limit for residential areas from 25 MPH to 20. I thought this was a really dumb idea, mostly because my cruise control doesn't work below 25 MPH. But now I'm starting to see (hear) the impetus for this change. They don't want maniacs charging through quiet neighborhoods at freeway speeds. I don't think this new speed limit is going to have much effect. It's kind of like any kind of prohibition. People who have good self control and think this is a good idea will follow the rules, and people who don't care will ignore them just like they have been.

I remember when I was kid I thought 25 MPH speed limits were stupid. There's nobody on the road, I can see a clear path for a couple of blocks. People are supposed to look before they go out into the road, parents are supposed to keep control of their kids until they have mastered that rule. Problem is we are dealing with people who at best can be described as pretending to be obedient. Kids especially tend to forget the rules as soon as they are clear of any adults. Combine that with speeding cars and you have the makings of a tragedy.

On the other hand, it just might be that people just don't like that kind of noise, especially when they are trying to nap.

I'm not quite sure how you tackle this problem. Big brother will probably deploy an army of cameras and will eventually capture these miscreants and hit them with big fat fines. That might have the effect of reducing speeding, but I suspect constraining these yahoos in this way is just going to cause their anti-social feelings to pop out in some other area. Maybe we need some outlaw race courses, places where people can drive like maniacs but without any of the safety precautions you find at legal racetracks. Make them extra dangerous and don't allow any ambulances into the area. You want to be an outlaw? Go ahead, be an outlaw. If they survive, maybe the experience will knock off some of those rough edges.