Intel's Ronler Acres Plant


Silicon Forest
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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Who's in charge?

Blowing up the Nord Stream pipeline was an act of war. As long as we can plausibly deny having blown it up, we may forestall a reprisal. Besides not knowing who did it, I also wonder who this blast was aimed at. You might say it was aimed at the Russians and was designed to cut off the supply of money that Germany was paying for the natural gas being pumped through this pipeline. But the Russia shut off the supply of gas to these pipelines some time ago, so there's no gas flowing west and likewise no money going east. Now it will make a difference in the future if Russia and Germany ever normalize relations again, but without the pipeline Germany has less reason to do this. Right now it's a hammer blow against Germany and the European Union.

We may not have any proof of who blew it up, but the most belligerent and capable actor is the USA. The standard method of criminal investigation is to identify who had the means, the motive and the opportunity, and all three of those point to the USA. 

All of which makes me wonder who is in charge here. There's been a lot of blather in the blog-o-sphere that President Joe Biden mental faculties are in serious decline. Some of the stories are rather persuasive. If those stories are true, then someone else must be running the show. Who would that be? The White House chief of staff, Ron Klain? He's leaving after the elections next month. The Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin? He denies that we blew up the Nord Stream pipeline. Or do we have a rogue faction operating under cover? The same rogue faction that panicked Pelosi into calling out the National Guard back in early 2021 (and I don't mean Trump and the 'insurrectionists')?

Or maybe Biden hasn't lost his marbles, he just doesn't care what the press or the public thinks anymore. After all he's the Imperial President of the Empire of America, nobody can touch him.

RC Mower

RC Mower

Spotted this machine on the way back from lunch yesterday. It isn't a robot, it's simply radio controlled, like a toy car or airplane. Their big claim to fame is the ability to climb and mow steep slopes which makes it perfect for all those freeway embankments.

RC Mowers TK-52XP Tracked Rotary Mower (52")

RC Mowers TK-52XP Tracked Slope Mower on Steep Highway Overpass
RC Mowers USA

Tuesday, October 4, 2022


I'm reading Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary and he's messing about with light and spectroscopy and I was just reading about that for my post about the Keanu Reeves movie Siberia and all this got me to thinking about electrons.

I think the problem I have is that there are two forms of heat and I don't understand how they are connected. There is the gross form of heat where atoms vibrate. As I recall, all atoms are vibrating all the time. The higher the temperature, the stronger the vibration. The only time they stop vibrating is when they are cooled all the way down to absolute zero. No vibration, no motion, no temperature. 

Atoms at peace don't vibrate much, they are content with their lot, locked into fixed relationships with their neighbors. Everybody minds their own business, but they all talk to each other, neighborly like. No hot-rodders tearing through our town, least not since that Packer kid's girl dumped him.

Heat things up and the vibrations get stronger and all those friendly, neighborly bonds aren't quite so strong, or maybe they've just move out of reach. It's like our fence has been doubled and our lots are drifting apart.

But then there's the other kind of heat where the electrons get excited. A photon comes blasting in from out of town, hits one of our happy little atoms and one of the electrons gets boosted to a higher orbit. Okay, it's not an orbit, it's a higher state, you know, closer to nirvana. But then, after a while, the electron returns to its previous, normal state and in the process emits a photon. 

Now we come to the crux of the matter - what is 'after a while'? What determines when that electron decides to return to its previous, lower state? Does it take a while to figure our that nirvana isn't all it's cracked up to be? Yeah, somethin's goin' on that I do not understand.

P.S. Andy Weir also wrote The Martian, which got made into a movie, and Artemis, about a moon base. The movie was pretty great. Artemis was entertaining.

Joe Declares War

President Joe Biden called me this afternoon like he always does, to chat, you understand. It let's us catch up on what's going on in the world and in each other's lives. Anyway, this afternoon he tells me that he has struck a huge blow for America, he has struck Germany! Farm out Joe!

Angry Birds

B-25J Mitchell

The Shekel visits the Kalamazoo Air Zoo and discovers the original Angry Birds.

Eight machine guns mounted in the nose of a B-25J

The J version of the B-25 was the gunship version with (14) 50 caliber machine guns pointed forward.

Monday, October 3, 2022

State Terror

I still don't understand why we blew up the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. Tom Luongo took a stab at it now Adam Piagott is giving us his take.

The attack on the Nord Stream pipelines is comparable to blowing up Bonneville dam or destroying an electrical power plant. So far no terrorist organization has stepped forward to claim responsibility, but then this isn't a typical terrorist attack. There were no immediate casualties, no bloody bodies being shown on the nightly news, nothing visceral that would project fear into the general population. 

But it was a terrorist act none-the-less. We aren't going to see the impact of this immediately, but fossil fuel and electrical power prices in Europe are already skyrocketing. Politicians are making mealy mouthed proclamations about how they are going to get more fuel from other places, but all that blather is just so much noise. It's like somebody blew up the only gas station in the town where you live and friendly Joe Biden has offered to send you a gallon of gas by bicycle courier from the next county over. Thanks a lot Joe, that's really going to help.

I expect Europe is going to suffer mightily and I fully expect more war. Can't say where, but there's going to be more of it.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

The Curse of Stuff

Broke down old office chair

One of the problems faced by our materialistic culture is how to get of what we don't want. I have an old office chair that is broken in couple of places. I could have throw it away and gotten a new chair, but getting rid of the old one would be a problem. I could cut it up and stuff it into my trash can, but it's going to consume most of the space in my trash can, which means it could take several weeks to dispose of it, depending on how much other trash there was. Thank god I don't live in Portland where they only collect trash once every two weeks.

The pneumatic cylinder supporting the chair has collapsed so I propped it up with a 2 x 4 block. The foam in one of the arms collapsed and edge of the underlying plastic arm was digging into my arm so I wrapped with an old terry cloth towel. 

I could get a bigger trash can, but then garbage hauler is going to want a hundred bucks a month instead of fifty, and I don't need to throw away an office chair every week. I needed to rid of a couch a while back so I loaded it into the truck and took it to the dump. Cost me like $60 to leave it there.

We spent a couple, maybe three grand getting debris hauled away from the new house remodeling project over the last couple of years. I really hated to throw some of that stuff away, it could have been really useful! But I know I am not going to do actually do anything with it. I did post a couple of ads on Craig's List to see if I could give some of it away. I did manage to get rid of the entire set of kitchen cabinets along with the granite countertops. We also sold a fancy electric range and I gave away a couple of solid core doors, but they didn't really amount to a hill of beans compared to the stuff we sent to the landfill, which was at least 3 big dumpsters worth.

We were scrambling last week to get the new house cleared out to make it ready for sale which means our recycling bin is stuffed to the gills with cardboard. Even without outside input it is still over half way full each time. All those Amazon boxes, I expect.

We got that all under control but we still have a bunch of styrofoam which is like a monster from your under your bed. It has no weight, it can't hurt you, but it won't go away and you can't get rid of it. Nobody wants it. Until now.

Now we have Agilyx, a 24 hour facility in Tigard that takes styrofoam. It's a 30 minute drive but we got rid of a big pile of styrofoam with no fuss and no bother.

Agilyx reactor where post-use plastic is broken down through the pyrolysis process

I hope they can collect enough styrofoam to make it pay off. Gah, styrofoam. It can be really useful, but it's so cheap that people just use it willy-nilly and discard it and you're stuck with a bunch of styrofoam eating into your life.

P.S. The folding arms on the chair are a big plus. I only use the left one. I leave the right one folded out of the way. That allows me to roll us closer to my desk since the arm is blocking me. Makes life easier all around.