Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Monday, April 22, 2019

Outrage Industrial Complex

Bogus Time Magazine Cover
It just occurred to me that much of the outrage we see and hear in our digital information world is fueled by advertising. I suspect outrageous headlines get more clicks than clear ones, which means the ads on those pages are going to get more clicks, which means more ad revenue and maybe even more sales. Advertisers want clicks, so they are going to pay more for sites that post outrageous shit. Of course, the more outrageous the claims, the more people are going to be outraged and respond in a similarly outrageous manner, so it becomes a cyclone of outrageousness.

So most of what is being talked about is not what's important, but whatever will generate the most outrage, and that is totally determined by advertising dollars.

Pic of the Day

Locomotive by Bill Peet
Bill Peet was a Disney artist that worked on everything between Snow White and Dumbo. He also made some kid's books. I don't know where this picture fits in all that, but it's pretty great.

Via Just A Car Guy

Sunday, April 21, 2019


ApologetiX "Paranoid - Black Sabbath" PARODY

The world is full of strange and wonderful things.

Via MetaFilter

Quote of the Day

Rashomon Movie Poster
They opened the box on Schrodinger's Probe to reveal the Rashomon Report: It says exactly what everybody thought it was going to say. - View From The Porch

Friday, April 19, 2019

737 Max

IEEE Spectrum has an article that looks at how the design of the Boeing 737 Max may have contributed to the recent crashes. One of the key elements of the story is the size and position of the engines. I thought their drawing, while adequate, was weak, so I went looking for some pictures. Take a look at the size and position of the engines in these pictures and I think you will see what Gregory is talking about.

Original Boeing 737

Later Boeing 737

Boeing 737 Max
Via Wild Man

Mapping Gothic France

Durham Cathedral, UK
(Rendering of a digital model)
Notre Dame isn't the only cathedral in Europe. Here we have a map of Gothic cathedrals in France, except some are in England, like Durham (above), which is almost in Scotland.

Mapping Gothic France
Building a cathedral was a massive project, similar in scale to our program to put a man on the moon. But it took 200 years to build a cathedral, now our time lines are much shorter. Might that be because we are traveling so much faster and we cannot see that far ahead?

Via Detroit Steve

Thursday, April 18, 2019


50 Million People Live Here
Via American Digest

Musical Fight

Bach, Ricercar a 6 (from The Musical Offering)

I'm reading Gnomon by Nick Harkaway and somewhere past the halfway mark he starts talking about a musical 'fight' between Johann S. Bach & Frederick the Great. A quick search turns up this story on The Guardian that gives us a good synopsis of the situation. The Musical Offering (excerpt above) was Johann's response to Frederick's challenge.

I am not a big fan of classical music, Rock & Roll is more my style. Lately though I have been listening to classical music when I am driving, mostly because the classical station doesn't have as much blather (people talking) as other stations. Also, occasionally, depending on the tune playing, I get the feeling of being in a scene from a movie. Scenes where we have someone driving down the road and the soundtrack is playing some classical music are fairly common.

The video embedded above gives a nice illustration of the notes being played.

Frederick has appeared here once before.


I can't believe this is real, but if it's not, it's a wonderful fake.

Via Knuckle Draggin My Life Away

The Good Old Days

Bertha Benz: The Journey That Changed Everything

Take a peak into everyday life 130 years ago: every farmer had a team of a dozen women to pull his plow.

Drinking & Singing

Jordan B Peterson's DRINKING SONG 🍺 ( JBPWAVE )

Entertaining and enlightening. Sometimes you have to venture out into the fringes to get a clear picture of a situation.

Via The Shekel

Russian Lux-mobile

2019 Rolls Royce Phantom vs 2019 Aurus Senat

The video is pleasant enough, fancy cars showing off. I don't anticipate buying one, ever. Just keeping it clean and polished would take more effort and/or expense than I am willing to expend. But that's not the point.

The point is that the Aurus is a Russian car. The Russians have always had cars, well as long as anyone else has had them. In the beginning they were imported from the West, but eventually they got around to building their own, sort of. But now it looks like they may have gained enough expertise to actually build a decent automobile all on their own.

I am glad to see that Russia continues to make what looks like capitalist progress. Yes, Putin apparently murders journalists, and he's building his own totalitarian network of like minded despots (Venezuela, Cuba, Syria to name a few), but that may be the only form of government that works in Asia. American democracy is an anomaly. I am not quite sure what is needed for it to continue to succeed. Thick skinned politicians, maybe, who don't care about the derogatory comments that people make about them. A foundation of widespread support and belief in Christianity. And replacing our fearless leaders on a regular basis.

Anyway, if Russia continues to make progress, and we continue our horribly convoluted (and confusing) political infighting, we might end up being more alike than different. Doesn't mean we can't still hate them.

Via RT (formerly Russia Today)

P.S. Just realized that the video is another iteration of Red vs. Blue.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Pic of the Day

Saturn F1 Rocket Engines on the Factory Floor
Heroic Relics is all about the Saturn moon rocket, the Apollo mission and the 1960's space race. The above image is from a page that shows just what went into building the F1 engine.

Some of the photos come from the Marshall Space Flight Center, which was named for George Marshall, who also came up with the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe after WW2.

Via Detroit Steve

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral burning
Warning: obnoxious autoplay video
I heard about the fire, and I got to wondering if I had posted anything about this cathedral before. I did:
The Wolves of Paris were a man-eating wolf pack that killed forty people in Paris in 1450. The animals entered the city during the winter through breaches in its walls. A wolf named Courtaud, or "Bobtail", was the leader of the pack. Reports of the animal suggested it was reddish in color. Eventually, the wolves were killed when Parisians, furious at the deaths, lured Courtaud and his pack into the heart of the city. There the Parisians stoned and speared the wolves to death in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral
This was 200 years after the cathedral was finished. Those were different times.

P.S. I originally got the quote from Wikipedia, but that article has vanished. The new link is not quite so sure that this is a true tale.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Puckle Gun: Repeating Firepower in 1718

The Puckle Gun: Repeating Firepower in 1718

The Puckle gun was not a big success. It's mostly a curiosity for being an early machine gun, of a sort.

I'm looking at this thing and I'm thinking there was a great deal of machining involved in making this thing, which leads me to wonder when the first metal working lathes appeared. Lathes have been around since the 13th Century BC, but they didn't perform precision cutting of metal. Mostly they turned wood into spindles or columns.

But then we have this:
The first fully documented, all-metal slide rest lathe was invented by Jacques de Vaucanson around 1751. - Wikipedia
That's 33 years after the Puckle Gun was introduced. So maybe the most interesting thing about this gun was the advanced machining techniques that were used to make it.


How Israel's Lander Crashed Into The Moon, And How Falcon Heavy Flew 
Except I've skipped over the Lunar Lander story to get to the LOX.

Just the coolest thing I've seen in a while. Bonus: starting around 17:30 we have an animation of a large space telescope being loaded on the BFR, now known as Starship.

The Eyes Have It

Pretty Woman
There's more here than meets the eye.

redclay7 comments:
Fashion photographers for some decades now have used the ring light flash that medical folks developed for the detailed closeup recording of their medical specimens – The ring light surrounds the camera lens itself at its front end giving a soft even, light, very flattering to skin and clothing. That is what I believe are the circular catchlights in her pupils.
Okay, her pupils are a little odd.

Ring Light
But wait a minute, what are catchlights? Wikipedia knows:
Catch light or catchlight is a light source that causes a specular highlight in a subject's eye in an image. They are also referred to as eye lights or Obies, the latter a reference to Merle Oberon, for whom the light was invented by then husband and cinematographer, Lucien Ballard.
 And then we have this:

Trump Eye
Where we have an entire phalanx of reporters caught in Donald Trump's eye.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Crossed Up

Part of a cross-written letter from Samuel Randell written in 1854
Reading The Ramada Inn at Shiloh by Allan Gurganus and I come across this:
"I have their letters, cross-written to save paper."
Cross-written? Never heard of it, but I'll bet Google knows, and sure enough it was a real thing. I find it curious that I can actually read it. Well, sort of. I can pick out some words, it's a little difficult, this image is a low rez copy of a 150 year old hand written letter. But just looking at the page the lines of writing going across the page stand out, and the vertical lines almost disappear.

I like cursive. Can't say why. Perhaps because I spent so much time learning it, or because it was so difficult to master. That was the fourth grade I think. Or maybe it's just because it's a nice change of pace from all the printed text I run into every freaking day, most of which is just garbage (the message, not the printed characters). I mean if someone takes the time to write anything out long hand, I am going to take the time to read it because it sure as hell isn't going to be some Search Engine Optimized piece of spamula.

"Cursive" has shown up in this blog a couple of times.

Via Posthip Scott.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Local Sunrise


A freight train derailed in Utah recently.
state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, decided to blow up a dozen Union Pacific propane tankers that had derailed, as the safest way to deal with them, and clear the railroad, so it can get repaired and back in business
That is a heck of a lot of propane going up in smoke. Talk about a blaze of glory.

Yes, I know, everyone is talking about the Black Hole [tm]. That they were able to make an image out of all the random radio noise in the universe is pretty cool, but until we get get established in the space faring business, I don't care about no stinking black holes.

The Best

#1471; The Hidden, Oil-Slick Gem
Pile it up, higher and deeper until you collapse in a fit of laughter. That's what happened to me anyway.

Operation Gladio

Excerpt from Antony C. Black's review of Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance by Paul L. Williams:
The primal author of the ‘stay-behind-armies’, Williams informs us, was General Reinhard Gehlen, the head of German military intelligence during the Second World War. Having foreseen early on that the Reich was doomed to defeat, Gehlen had “concocted the idea of forming clandestine guerilla squads composed of Hitler youth and die-hard fascist fanatics” ostensibly to fend off the inevitable Soviet invasion. These guerilla units he referred to as ‘werewolves’.
Not ones to miss a fascist opportunity when they saw it, the US Office of Strategic Services (the OSS, and the forerunner of the CIA), under the leadership of William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, quickly enlisted both Gehlen and SS General Karl Wolff (in 1945) in forming the Gehlen Organization (later to transform into the present-day German BND) and which received its initial funding from US Army G-2 intelligence resources.
The American point-man on this was Allen Dulles, the first president (in 1927) of the Council on Foreign Relations, and later the first head of the CIA. Duly incorporated into the American fold, the ‘werewolves’ were, given that their initial meddling took place in Italy, rebranded as ‘gladiators’. Operation Gladio was born.
In 1947 the CIA (having, that year, superseded the OSS) was faced with its first daunting task, i.e. how to prevent the Italian Communist Party (PCI) from forming the next government. Elections were scheduled for 1948 and the PCI was a virtual shoe-in not just in Italy proper, but in Sicily as well. Fortunately, ‘Gladio’ was ready and waiting. The gladiators had been training in a special camp set up in Sardinia under the local command of the former WW2 Italian fascist leader, Prince Junio Valerio Borghese.
In addition, hundreds of American mafioso began to arrive on the shores of Italy to lend a hand with the communist ‘problem’. The arrival of the ‘made men’ was the result of Donovan’s efforts from 1943 onward in working with American mobsters Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano and Vito Genovese to conger new (drug) funding for the OSS’s off-books’ operations, and to reinstall the Sicilian mafia on the island in the leadup to Operation Husky (the Allied invasion of Sicily). These forces were now unleashed on the Italian electorate, and through 1948 an average of five people a week were murdered by the CIA-backed terrorist units. The results were grimly predictable. Hallelujah, the PCI were defeated and the Christian Democrats returned to power.
This sounds fantastical enough that it could either be a complete fabrication or the unvarnished truth, so I looked up the names to see if they really existed. I found links for them all and added them to the above text.

From this you could conjure a theory that the War On Drugs exists only to keep drug prices high so the CIA can make enough money to keep funding their counter-communist efforts. Since the so-called communists are not really communists, they are freedom hating, tyrannical dictatorships, you might think that the prosecution and imprisonment of drug dealers and smugglers is all being done in the name of freedom (!?!). Golly, this sounds like Ollie North and the Contras.

The news media makes a lot of noise about addiction, but I wonder how much of a problem it really is. If you look at the estimates of how much heroin and cocaine are being imported, it looks like either everyone is getting stoned every day -or- some people are using a heck of a lot, like a gram a day. I don't think everyone is getting stoned, so there must be large population of heavy drug users.

As for busts (arrests), I wouldn't be surprised if it was just the newcomers who are getting busted. The old established outfits don't want any competition, so they are happy to tip off the cops whenever they get wind of an upstart trying to horn in on their racket.

P.S. I remember seeing a movie or a series that was set during the end of WW2 in Germany, and werewolves, as in "die-hard fascist fanatics", were a bit of a problem. I think there was a train involved, but I cannot remember much more than that.

Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away

Quote of the Day

In 1970, President Nixon was told by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs: “You don’t have a drug problem in Vietnam; you have a condition. Problems are things we can get right on and solve.” - My Daily Kona

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


Building with external staircase in London, UK
Brian Micklethwait posted a picture of this building along with its location, so for an early morning exercise I thought I would see if I could find it using Google Maps, and I did. His picture is more interesting. It's also not cluttered up with a bunch of construction barriers.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Venezuela, Oil & Politics

Despina Andrianna
Blacklisted oil tanker
Reading Google's translation of Crimenes sin Castigo (Crimes without Punishment), I come across this little bit:
On Friday, March 5, the US Treasury Department added to the list of OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) two companies related to the maritime business, registered respectively in Greece and Liberia. and 35 oil tankers.
Okay, so we are trying to put the squeeze on Maduro. That's consistent with what I've heard. But when I Google OFAC, the first news story that mentions Venezuela is from Tass, the official news agency of the evil Russian empire. I guess Venezuela has fallen so far in importance that Americans can't be bothered with it. Or maybe Google has decided I like Russian news better.

The Tass story seems pretty even handed. There's none of the bombast that I normally expect to see from a despotic regime's state run media. Could they be attempting to lull us into a false sense of complacency so that sometime in the future they will be able to lead us to the dark side?

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Old Dan Tucker

Old Dan Tucker

Mama was trying to explain what 'supper' meant to El Cubano, and this tune popped into my head. I mean, "supper's over and dinner's cooking" just about says it all, don't it? No it don't. In my wife's family, supper was the evening meal. To me, the terms 'supper' and 'dinner' are interchangeable, except when you are talking about formal events, like Sunday dinner, or Thanksgiving dinner. You might have supper on Thanksgiving, but that wouldn't be the big meal with turkey, dressing and all the fixin's. What's weirder is my wife claims to have never heard of this American folk song, but everybody in Verona, Italy seems to know it.

Saturday, April 6, 2019


The Highwaymen | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

In 1934, Bonnie & Clyde were depression era heroes, except for the bit about killing a dozen folks, mostly lawmen. They have been robbing and shooting their way around the central USA for a couple of years when the governor of Texas, Ma Ferguson (Kathy Bates), finally gets fed up and agrees to let Lee Simmons (John Carroll Lynch) call in a couple of old, retired Texas Rangers, Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) & Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson) to track down these killers.

The movie follows these two grizzled law enforcement veterans driving all over Texas and Oklahoma and eventually Louisiana, hunting Bonnie & Clyde. We see lots of depression era poverty. Some of the scenes look like the homeless campgrounds we have now, but back then they were outside of town, not camped out right downtown. Of course, back then there was a lot less town and a lot more open country. Ma Ferguson gets a bad rap for disbanding the Texas Rangers. They were reconstituted after she left office.

The thing that gets me is that we have these bright young men with their modern equipment, methods and bureaucracy and they haven't been able to catch these two outlaws. It takes these two old timers, using old time methods to put a stop to their rampage.

I enjoyed the heck out of it. It felt totally real. The visit to the gun shop was a bonus.

The Highwaymen 2019- Buying All Guns!- Scene

I hadn't heard of the Colt Monitor before.

Colt monitor

It's basically a B.A.R. (Browning Automatic Rifle). I remember hearing about the B.A.R. when I was a kid, probably on shows like Combat, where it was spoken of reverently. It's a serious weapon.


The most effective weapon of World War Two

Just read about those idiot Hindus exercising their anti-satellite weapon. Pissed me off so much I had to go look for something else to capture my attention until I calmed down. This Lindybeige video took  45 minutes and I am a little calmer now, plus I learned a bunch of stuff, not all of it about the Crocodile.

A Churchill Crocodile at Fort Montbarey
Flame throwers are terrifying, much more so than guns or bombs, at least to my mind. I suppose it has to do with the amount of pain any kind of burn generates. Everyone gets burned sooner or later, and that pretty much ensures that you will have a very strong aversion to getting burned again. I suppose it's because of the large number of nerve endings in your skin, and that's where burns happen. A burn may not incapacitate you in any physical way, but even a little burn will sure as heck get your attention.

Churchill Crocodile tank, flamethrower fuel pipe
If you are going to push 400 gallons of napalm out the nozzle in a minute and a half,
you will need a pretty big pipe.
I suspect this also makes people reluctant to use fire as a weapon, but when you have an implacable enemy who is causing damage to your people, I can see where you could lose any feelings of fair play and just not care anymore about being 'civilized'. Plus getting shot by a gun will either kill you outright, in which case your suffering will be minimal, or you will fully recover. At least that's what happens in the movies. We won't talk about those people who survived getting shot but are still suffering.

ProBuilt Tamiya 1/35 Churchill Crocodile Flamethrowing Tank +Fuel Trailer
Lot's of pictures out there of Churchill Crocodiles, but now many that show the fuel trailer.

Friday, April 5, 2019


[Eugene Volokh] sent in some comments on a particular proposal, a day before the deadline, and got the message:
The Committee will consider all comments received after the comment period closes.
Um, okay, that's about as clear as mud. I think they mean that they will wait until the comment period closes before they look at the comments, or that they will accept comments as long as the comment period is open. But, you know, they could mean that will only look at the comments that they receive after the comment period closes. Any comments received while the comment period was open will simply be ignored. Could save them a lot of work.

Thursday, April 4, 2019


Blue Oyster Cult: Veteran of the Psychic Wars

Went to the lab this morning to get my blood drawn. The lab is part of the medical industrial complex, so you have to pay a visit to the registration desk first. 'Papers, please' or the equivalent, but not too many questions, no filling out of forms, and only two signatures required. Don't understand why they need my wife's birth date, nor why they need a signature acknowledging their privacy policy. I mean, it's their policy, not mine. They need proof that they have shown it to me? This is double no-good no-think. Whatever. But then she asks me if I am a veteran, and 'veteran of a thousand psychic wars' line pops into my head. I can remember the tune, sort of, but not where it came from, so I looked it up when I got home and here we are.

P.S. Great comment from the YouTube page: This is the kind of music that makes you wanna snort a big bag of plutonian nyborg. - karlbertiljohnsson


Near Occultation of Saturn - Pete Lawrence
Saturn crashed into the moon last Friday. Well, if you were looking, it would have looked like it, except no explosion, no dust cloud. Of course it could have happened somewhere on the dark side and we would never know about it, except of course, it didn't.

Saturn, I think, is visible to the naked eye, but just as a bright spot. This picture tells me you don't need a whole lot of magnification to see the planet well enough to make out the rings.

Moon Saturn Occultation

Via Starts With A Bang! My linking to this website should not be considered an endorsement of the totally ridiculous big bang theory of the origin of the universe. Everyone knows it's turtles all the way down.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Jackie Gleason's String Orchestra with Bobby Hackett trumpet - I'm Through with Love

I know Jackie Gleason as a comedian and actor, but evidently he was also a musical guy, popular enough that his tunes came to be known as 'Gleason make-out music'.

Reading a little more about Jackie, I came across the Eletronicam, which was used to record the The Honeymooners.

JACKIE GLEASONS'S "HONEYMOONERS" is filmed by Du Mont Electronicam System which incorporates an especially desined and adapted 35 mm Mitchell movie camera. Here are Jackie Gleason and Joyce Randolph, right, peering throught the camera lens at Audrey Meadows and Art Carney.
Some people went to a lot of work to put this machine together. I guess television advertising was really paying off. Here's a brief magazine story about this contraption. It's a scanned PDF, but you can enlarge it enough to make it legible. American_Cinematographer - March 1956 - Arthur_Miller Looks At Electronicam

Coincidentally, just a couple of days ago I posted Veritasium's History of Video.

Mitchell Movie Cameras have shown up here before.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Terence Cuneo

Steam Locomotive by Terence Cuneo
Terence was a prolific English painter.

Via Just A Car Guy


This Is What We Do

I buy lumber occasionally for small home repair projects. I have a chain saw that I use mostly for cutting the end off of the Christmas tree every year. There is a lumber mill near Hagg Lake, which is only about 15 miles away. I see log trucks hauling logs down the highway every now and then. But I can't recall ever seeing a logging operation in progress. Of course, you don't want to get too near this kind of thing. It's kind of like being in a gun battle in the Mideast: all kinds of dangerous shit flying through the air. You don't want to be there unless you know what you are doing and you're getting paid.

I suppose the reason you don't encounter actual in-progress logging operations is because they are very efficient. It doesn't take an army to harvest a hundred acres of trees.

Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
A murder mystery, but the mystery isn't who dun it (we know that almost immediately). The mystery is which genius will outfox the other in concealing / revealing the culprits. It's not a bad book, but the way the cops keep coming back and poking into people's personal lives (on the pretext of trying to 'clear' them) is getting downright aggravating. I really want our suspects to tell them to ef off. Geez don't these detectives have anything better to do? But this is Japan, so maybe the murder rate is so low that they don't have anything better to do than go rooting around in people's lives. I'm better than halfway through, so there's a chance I will finish it.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Olympic Mills Commerce Center

107 SE Washington Street
Stopped by the architectect's office this afternoon. They had quite a view of the Fremont Bridge (above) until a new building went up next door. Now their view in that direction is blocked.

107 SE Washington St
Their office is in is an old industrial building that has been cleaned up and turned into 'creative spaces'. I suspect most of that is taken up with marketing or software outfits.

Google Streetview of the Olymic Mills Center from the Westside
I had never paid much attention to buildings on the east side of the river, but on our way out I noticed that it is distinctly visible from the west side of downtown.

P.S. Google's Streetview doesn't show the new building. And in between when I took the screenshot shown above (the last photo) and now when I went to get the link so you can see it for yourself, so to speak, the geese disappeared.

P.P.S. I also ran across a 'virtual tour' of the first floor, but once again, now that I want it I can't find it. I'm not too concerned, I mean these things are fairly common now, aren't they?

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Gilbert Garcin

you have to think about the consequences
Gilbert Garcin has been making odd pictures ever since he retired. Via Metafilter

The History of Video

The History of Video

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of how video evolved. I was wrong. I'm better now.

Previous post, a video from S. G. Collins, covers some of the same material.

Muskegon Project

Reroofing house at Lake Muskegon
Uniberp reports:
Somehow my addled brain considers roofing the most manly of tasks, but like I said, I'm addled. I am still hoping to have this place habitable by summer but be warned any visitors will be pressed into service without humor, because i am increasingly defensive about the worth of this project.

It took several weeks of daily stairmaster to work up to this 4 day task (1 prepare, 2 strip old roof three layers, 3 rest and take 1320 lbs to dump, 4 cover with ice dam waterproofing) and that's one half of the roof. Recovered ok, i think, so far, maybe.

Well it depends on the neighborhood. Up here it can be done cheap. My criteria was city water/sewer/sidewalks with some amenities and open water nearby.
Almost anything you would buy, though, would benefit from a gut rehab. In that sense, only houses up to about 1955 were built with lumber, not plywood or osb. [Zillow listings]
At these prices it's of marginal benefit. Timing is everything. Boots on the ground give you an even better advantage. I think wait until the next crash. I anticipate a significant dip next year. The yield curve has inverted, and I think the market response will be a lot quicker this time through. 
As I get further into it, my panics about structural integrity lessen. It is actually fairly sound, despite being chopped up and sorely neglected. I was able to comfortably stand on the roofing planks, although some are showing dry rot in spots, but largely solid. Hence, steel roof will be easiest to install. Mind you I am doing this as probably the last restoration for this place. In 50 years it will need to be demolished, if there is a civilization, that is. 
I have no idea what living there would be like, it could be harleys and breaking glass all night. I hope not, but ya never know.

The weather/climate is the big factor. It is just getting tolerable outside. WInter was hard from Dec1 until now, almost 4 months. I would like to think I could spend 4 months a year writing by the fire, but maybe not. I may have to camp south.
Roofing is high because nobody can do it themselves. It's brutal. Your friends and relatives would never speak to you again if you recruited them. 
Everyplace is going to suck in some way. If it's all nice, you have to pay excessively. If it's reasonably priced, you have to put up with morons occasionally.
Previous posts on this project.

Are We Stupid?

The cruise ship Viking Sky arrives at port off Molde, Norway, on Sunday after having problems and issuing a "mayday" call in heavy seas off Norway's western coast. (Svein Ove Ekornesvag/NTB scanpix via AP)
We are all on board the express train to hell, or maybe I should say cruise ship. Rough weather started the engine lubricating oil to sloshing about in the tank, which caused the oil level sensors to sound an alarm, which caused the artificially stupid engine controller to shut down the engines, which set off panic amongst just about everyone.

WTF? No engineer on board? Well, maybe not, after all, we have a sophisticated engine control system so we will not have the problem that we had. We're seeing the same situation with airliners falling out of the sky. We are putting people in command of these complex machines, people who don't have a complete understanding of the machines under their control. It's a dilemma. Our control systems have become very sophisticated and most of the time, everything works perfectly. It's only in those rare instances that something goes wrong, and in those cases the only person who can save you is the one who knows more than the control system does. Those people are few and far between and becoming fewer everyday. Someone who knows enough to save the ship in that rare instance when things go wrong is going to be very bored babysitting a system that will likely never fail. If you are running a business, are you going to pay the big bucks necessary to have a talented person sitting around when you can hire a novice for a fraction of the cost, a novice who will more than likely be able to competently handle the job?

One hundred people paying $100 a seat for a short flight comes to $10K. One million similar flights adds up to ten billion dollars. One plane crashes where everyone dies happens once out of 300 million flights (my guesstimate). How often could one of those been averted if a super competent person had been in charge? How many of those happened where there was a super competent person in charge, but that super competent person had gone off the rails for some reason?

Automobile accidents still make the local news, but if you want national headlines, you need a major disaster. There are any number of ways to die. Life is a gamble. Place your bets accordingly.


Shockwaves from two T-38 aircraft flying supersonic - NASA
This photo was taken from a Beechcraft King Air that was flying above the T-38's. Since the T-38's were traveling like three times as fast as the Beech, timing was critical.

NASA Beechcraft King Air flying over the giant compass rose at Edwards Air Force Base in California
They did this before using ground based cameras shooting at the sun, which provided a nice collimated light source.

NASA Supersonic Flights Validate Flightworthiness for Future Schlieren Imaging

How they got the most recent image while looking at the ground is a mystery.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Shopping Center Liquor

Burnside Bourbon
Eastside Distilling Tasting Room at Washington Square
Stopped by Washington Square the other day. My wife had business at Nordstrom so I'm wandering around killing time and I notice this liquor store. Never seen a liquor store in a shopping mall before so I pay a visit. It's not a regular liquor store, they only carry liquor from Eastside Distilling. They had a dozen different flavors, mostly rum and bourbon. I like bourbon, and I'm all in favor of small, craft distilleries, so I bought a bottle ($37). I don't know if it's great, but it's pretty good, it doesn't have any of that bite that you get with cheap liquor. I don't know if they are really distilling their own stuff. It looks more like a marketing outfit that is buying whiskey from one place and having it bottled someplace else, but it's good enough.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Wages of Fear

Truck explosion kills 1 in south Arkansas

A truck carrying ammonium nitrate caught fire and exploded in Arkansas yesterday. I'm looking at the crater that was left behind and it reminds me of the movie The Wages of Fear that I saw in a French film class in college. This connection may have been prompted by this post on The Grønmark Blog about the director Henri-Georges Clouzot. DailyMotion has the entire movie.

The thing that gets me about this is that the truck is gone.

Public discourse is distorted by constant outrage over anecdotes

Best thing I've read recently. Stolen entire from David McElroy:

Adolf Hitler with Rosa
If you want a nation to follow you, don’t convince them of your principles or policies. Just tell the public carefully chosen stories. Sell images.
Adolph Hitler did this well. His marketing consultants flooded Germany with pictures of a smiling Hitler and happy children. (In the picture above, Hitler is with a young Jewish girl named Rosa.) People saw these images of a benevolent leader with adoring children — and they found it easier to believe he was a good man they should follow.
Joseph Stalin did the same thing in the Soviet Union. Chinese communist dictator Mao Zedong did it, too. How could these men be cold-blooded murderers if they loved children and children loved them?
Unfortunately, the rest of us have learned the same techniques in this age of video storytelling. Our politicians sell themselves this way. Companies sell products this way. In the era of social media, we have adopted the same techniques to convince others that we’re right about whatever we believe.
But it’s something I don’t want to do anymore.
When I first started writing political content online, I did the same thing that almost everybody does today. I wrote about (and shared links to) stories which were outrageous — incidents that reflected the negative consequences of the people whose policies I oppose.
I quickly found out that it works. People who agreed with me were eager to share those stories with their friends. My links were all over Facebook and Twitter. This approach attracted many new readers for me, all of whom already agreed with me about some particular issue.
But over time, I realized that’s all it did. Nobody who disagreed paid any attention. There was no reasoned dialogue. It simply promoted people beating their friends over the head with these links, essentially saying, “See? I’m already smart enough to believe this.”
I’m far less likely today to share outrageous political or social anecdotes, because it’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that “argument by anecdote” is all the popular culture seems to understand — and it’s worse than useless.
The problem is that doing this is intellectually shallow and is frequently misleading.

The Fire Maker by Peter May

The Fire Maker by Peter May
A tolerable book. I was able to finish it, though the last chapter was a bit of a struggle. There were just too many stupid things in that last chapter, things that didn't make sense. Overall though it's well put together, and it's pretty smooth, not as smooth as say, sailing down a stretch of new asphalt pavement in a new car, more like driving down a gravel road in a pickup truck, there's this constant low grade rumble.

The biggest problem is that it reads like a script for a standard run-of-the-mill cop show. It's got all the expected elements, but there isn't really much of a story. We learn a little bit about the characters, but the story is mostly a sequence of events. I guess this should be expected, the author has written like a zillion screen plays for cop shows.

Bow = Front

Shinya Ocean at anchor off Fujairah
A Shipping Corporation of India LNG carrier collided with a very large crude carrier at a Fujairah anchorage in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday evening, resulting a major damage to the oil tanker. - Mike Schuler for gCaptain
Here is plot of what happened.

LNG Carrier Aseem Collides with VLCC Shinyo Ocean off Fujairah

Failure to communicate? Refusal to communicate? Drinking too much Kool-Aid? Whatever. Gadflys gladly fly:

Clarke and Dawe - The Front Fell Off
. . . comedy sketch from the early 1990s, the parts of the politician and interviewer being played by Australian television comedy duo John Clarke and Brian Dawe as they discuss an oil spill that occurred in 1991 when the Greek tanker Kirki lost its bow off the coast of Western Australia. - Snopes
Previous broken ship posts here and here. LNG carrier here. Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Club Des Belugas - Straight to Memphis

Club Des Belugas - Straight to Memphis

The tune and the video are out of this world. I'm not quite sure what us white folks are doing there, except doing exactimontly what we are doing right now, which is watching someone else having a heck of a lot of fun. Dang.

Drinking Gasoline

Big rig hauling bacon catches fire, vehicle overturns to snarl Bay Area commute

And 417 vegans downwind were hospitalized

combined to give me a considerable chuckle this evening. I've had a rough day. Don't laugh, I'm old. Anyway, this  is the only possible response:

The Baboons - Drinkin' Gasoline

P.S. Five minutes later. Just realized why the tune resonated with me: "big wheel started shakin' and I lost a tire' kinda sorta rhymes with 'Big rig hauling bacon catches fire', I mean it does, donit?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Earl Scruggs

Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Earl Scruggs

Fine tune, played by a whole battalion of banjo pickers.


Super Skinny Skyscrapers, Manhattan
The Guardian has the story. You get a nice view, but I imagine there's going to be a wait for the elevator. But maybe you don't go out. We have electronic communications and delivery services are ubiquitous, so you could just stay home and gaze out the window all day long. I remember hearing (some years ago) that some tall buildings had a problem with swaying in high winds. They dealt with the problem by adding a computer controlled, multi-ton counterweight near the top. I wonder how they are dealing with it now. Maybe swaying in high winds is now a feature.

Via Brian Micklethwait

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Battleship Richelieu

Battleship Richelieu arriving in New York City, February 1943
Note missing gun barrel on second turret.
Battleships are kind of weird-cool. Big, impressive, zillions of tons of steel and armor, giant steam turbine engines driving them through the seas at break-neck speeds, they were the apex of the development of gun based warships. Now they are museum pieces, if they haven't been broken up for scrap.

This one caught my eye because, hey! Battleship! But then I see the name and I realize I know almost nothing about French battleships. I know about American (Missouri, Iowa, Arizona, etc.), British (Hood, um, mumble, mumble) and German (Bismarck, Graf Spee), but nothing about the French version, so I go a Googling.

The Richelieu's history is a little checkered. She left France in 1940 to avoid being captured by the Germans and sailed to Dakar on the West Coast of Africa. But then France fell, the Vichy government came to be and Dakar and the Richelieu came under Vichy / German control.

Dakar, looking West
The Allies mounted Operation Menace in an attempt to liberate Dakar. The Allied attack failed, but the Richelieu suffered considerable damage, some of it from strikes by Allied weapons, but one big injury was self inflicted:
On 24 September [1940], when Richelieu opened fire against British battleships with her 380 mm (15.0 in) guns, she suffered severe damage to three barrels of her No. 2 turret, due to premature explosion of the shells. This was first traced to the use of the propellant (SD19 powder) from Strasbourg powder charges reconditioned at Dakar. However, during 1941, an inquiry commission, whose chairman was Admiral de Penfentenyo de Kervéréguen, concluded that a premature explosion of the shells was the result of a flaw in the design of the shell base. - Wikipedia
Reminds me of a story from Stephenson's Baroque Cycle Trilogy. Some miscreants working in a lab grind up a bunch of gunpowder very fine and then contrive to insert it into the powder magazine of one of the Royal Navy's warships. The warship goes to war and starts firing its guns. Eventually one of the guns is charged with the finely ground gunpower, and since this powder explodes with more force (or more rapidly) than the regular powder, it bursts the gun killing and injuring several people. I think the whole point was to cast doubt on the quality of the guns. I am pretty sure of this story, but I can't find anything about it.