Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest
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Friday, November 30, 2012


Natural arch in Ala Arhca National Park in Kyrgyzstan

A couple of young women from OSPIRG came by this evening soliciting donations. One of them had a slight accent and when I asked her about it, she tells me she is from Kyrgyzstan. I was shocked six ways from Sunday. From her appearance and manner I would have guessed somewhere in Europe or Scandinavia. For another I don't think I've ever met anyone from any of the 'stans. I am aquainted with a couple of young men who have spent time in Afghanistan, but that's about it. I know a little bit about Kazakhstan, that's where our astronauts go to catch a ride to the space station, but I know virtually nothing of Kyrgystan, so I do a little looking and I find some interesting bits.

Brief geographical summary of Kyrgyzstan extracted from Wikipedia:
  • Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country in Central Asia. 
  • It is farther from an ocean than any other country in the world. 
  • Issyk-Kul Lake is the largest lake and the second largest mountain lake in the world after Titicaca. 
  • The highest peaks are in the Kakshaal-Too range, forming the Chinese border. 
  • Jengish Chokusu, at 7,439 m (24,406 ft), is the highest peak .
  • Due to the country's predominantly mountainous terrain, less than 8% of the land is cultivated.
From the US State Department:
  • Kyrgyzstan's 2011 presidential election marked the first peaceful transfer of presidential power in post-Soviet Central Asia. 
  • Kyrgyzstan hosts the Transit Center at Manas International Airport, an important logistical hub for the coalition effort in Afghanistan
  • Kyrgyzstan benefits from a robust civil society and a relatively free media sector.
  •  U.S. direct investment in Kyrgyzstan is concentrated in the hotel and telecommunications sectors, with increasing interest in construction and mining. 
  • Kyrgyzstan has signed a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. 
  • The treaty on double taxation (what the heck is that?) that was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union remains in effect between the United States and Kyrgyzstan. 
It has some oil and gas and a developing gold mining sector, but relies on imports for most of its energy needs. Resentment at widespread poverty and ethnic divisions between north and south occasionally spill over into violence, and the country's first two post-Soviet presidents were swept from power by popular discontent.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in September 2012 to write off Kyrgyzstan's debt to his country, President Atambayev agreed to a 15-year extension to Moscow's lease on the Kant air base, but said that the lease on the US military base at Manas would not be renewed when it expires in 2014.
And yes, I made a donation.

Government Photos

A selection of exceptional photos I scavenged off of various government military sites this week.

New Mazda Turbo Diesel Engine

The first of the sequential turbos is a tiny hairdryer that you could spool with a sneeze. -  on The Truth About Cars
When did spool become a verb? Possibly when turbochargers first became popular. What makes a turbocharger so great is that is has no mechanical connection to the engine. Oh, there are hoses and pipes and whatnot, but there are no shafts or gears or belts or pulleys of the sort you get with a conventional supercharger. Turbocharger installations can be big and complex, but the bulk of it just sits there, there are no moving parts other than the "spool", which really isn't a spool at all (and air, which really isn't a part). All I can figure is that it bears a very vague resemblance to a spool in that it is a round device that is wide on the ends and narrow in the middle. It is basically two fans, or impellers, mounted back to back on a short shaft with a bearing in the center. It works by using one impeller, driven by exhaust gas, to turn the other, which blows air into the engine. In order to boost the power output of the engine, the impeller needs to be big enough to overstuff the engine when it is running at full speed.

To do this it needs to be of some size, like a couple-three inches in diameter, and because it is made of metal (in order not to melt from the hot exhaust gases) it weighs a couple of pounds.  Start blowing on a fan and it starts turning. Keep blowing and it starts turning faster. Getting the entire mass of impeller spinning fast enough to do its job can take a while, seconds even. This is what is called "spooling up", or if you are impatient, turbo lag. Same difference. Once everybody gets up to speed it works like a champ. So a turbocharger "that you could spool with a sneeze" must be very small and very light weight.

This a sequential turbo setup that is going in Mazda's LeMans race car. You aren't going to spool these with a sneeze, but you can see the impeller blades inside the inlet of the lower turbo.

We're talking about a new, little diesel engine from Mazda. They have gone to a great deal of trouble to make this engine behave in a civilized manner, i.e. more like a gasoline engine. One of the key points is that they have lowered the compression ratio, and, well, I'll let Mazda tell you:

There are two main problems that have been preventing the spread of low-compression-ratio diesels regardless of these merits. The first is the fact that when the compression pressure is reduced, the compression temperature during cold operation is too low to cause combustion, preventing engine-start. The second is the occurrence of misfiring during warm-up operation due to lack of compression temperature and pressure. 

The newly adopted multi-hole piezo injectors allow for a wide variety of injection patterns. Precision in injection amount and timing increases the accuracy of mixture concentration control, ensuring cold-start capability. Hardware-wise, the injector is a high-spec type capable of a maximum of 9 injections per combustion. Along with the three basic injections: pre-injection, main injection, and post-injection, different injection patterns will be set according to driving conditions. Definite engine-start even with a low compression ratio is attributable to this precise injection control and also the adoption of ceramic glow plugs.

9 injections per combustion!?! We're getting into the range where you would actually need those Megahertz clock speeds on the CPU in the engine controller.

Inspired by Dustbury.

Update February 2017 replaced missing text images.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Night Manager by John LeCarre

Once I got about 3/4 of the way through, I started having a lot of trouble with this book. I could only read a page or two, or sometimes less, before I would have to put it down for a bit. I am not sure why. Perhaps because the situation was getting tense. It was really kind of odd.
The story had some similarities to the Bond movie Never Say Never Again: big wheeler dealer, big yacht, beautiful girl. I suppose the yacht was the key point. Most of the book revolves around internal political struggles between the various British spy agencies, in particular one run by the nefarious Darker and the other run by the straight arrow Goodhew. Goodhew's agency is concerned with enforcement, Darker's interest is "pure" intelligence. The villain is trying to broker a deal to swap modern weapons to Columbia in exchange for a boatload of cocaine. Darker's agency sees no problem with letting the deal go down, after all they're getting a cut, which is going straight to their offshore accounts. They throw up a smoke screen of reasons for not interfering, not our jurisdiction, can't expect any real cooperation from Columbia ("it's propping up the governments of Columbia and Peru"), it's bringing money into the country - they're buying weapons from our manufacturers.
One of weapons they are selling is the Stinger anti-aircraft missile. Raytheon charges the US Government $40,000 for each one. These are the weapons that convinced the Soviets to leave Afghanistan (Charlie Wilson's War). After the Soviets left, the Americans tried to buy back any left over Stingers. They were offering a hundred thousand dollar premium. No telling how many they got back, or more importantly, how many they didn't get back. All this makes me wonder what they are worth on the black market. I mean, if you were under attack by modern military aircraft, how much would it be worth to you to be able to knock one of out the sky? I suppose it would depend on how much damage they could do to you. If they are shooting at you in particular it might be worth all you have to stop them. In a battle like this though, one is unlikely to be sufficient.

USNS John Ericsson

USNS John Ericsson

I thought this photo looked an awful lot like an oil painting. The picture was taken in stormy conditions in the South China Sea, part of the same exercise as yesterday's photo. John Ericsson designed the ironclad USS Monitor. Why is one ship designated USS and another USNS? USS ships are commisioned and crewed by the Navy. USNS are typically supply ships are crewed by civilians.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reuben James

This is not the USS Reuben James
I came across this picture on the Defense Imagery web site. I thought it was a nice picture of a small ship at sea. Blue skies, fluffy white clouds, deep blue ocean. Very nice. The caption tells me that the small ship is the Darulehsan from the Brunei Navy and that this picture was taken from the USS Reuben James. That's her fantail in the bottom of the picture. Reuben James, now that name rings a bell. Wasn't there a song about Reuben James? Well, yes there was, two songs actually. Two completely different songs about two completely different men. One was about an old Southern sharecropper that was a big hit for Kenny Rogers. The other was about a US Navy destroyer and was a hit for the Kingston Trio. On Deaf Ears tells us:
The USS Reuben James was the first American ship sunk in World War II, on October 31, 1941. Although the United States was officially neutral at the time, President Roosevelt had ordered the Navy to provide support to the United Kingdom in her fight against Nazi Germany. The Reuben James was escorting military material when she was torpedoed by a German submarine.
Woody Guthrie, at the time singing with Pete Seeger in the Almanac Singers, wrote "The Sinking of the Reuben James" (also known as simply "Reuben James") immediately thereafter. While the song sounds like a rousing patriotic anthem, it's worth noting that both Seeger and Guthrie were pro-Soviet Communists and were opposed to U.S. involvement in World War II, until Hitler's betrayal of Stalin caused them to shift their views 180 degrees and support U.S. intervention. Had the sinking happened prior to the dissolution of the Hitler-Stalin pact, it is quite likely that no song at all would have been written, or, if one had, the sentiments expressed would have been quite different.
That's a little weird, but okay. So who was this Reuben James, the one the ship was named for? That goes back to the shores of TripoliReuben James (c. 1776 – 3 December 1838) was a boatswain's mate of the United States Navy, famous for his heroism in the First Barbary War.

To carry this a little further, James Island, named for Reuben, is in the San Juans up in Washington State. Well, I'll be. I've been to the San Juans but I've never heard of no James Island. Course, there's a zillion little rocks up there, I doubt I know the names of more than two or three. This island was christened by one Charles Wilkes, another US Navy man famous for his South Seas Expedition where he "discovered" Antarctica, and the Trent Affair in the British Colony of Bermuda during the Civil War. Wikipedia leaves us with this little clue:
Some historians speculate that Wilkes' obsessive behavior and harsh code of shipboard discipline shaped Herman Melville's characterization of Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick.
Have I connected enough dots for one day?

Update November 2015. Added some links.


Here's a couple of observations I extracted from an old column by Steve Sailor.
There's no such thing in a market economy as a "shortage": there is just a price that somebody with political influence would rather not pay.
A basic rule of agricultural economics: a good year for a crop tends to be a bad year for the crop's farmers. When the harvest is abundant, prices go down and the cost of hiring enough labor to pick all the extra produce goes up. Sometimes it doesn't even pay to harvest the full crop.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Picture of the Day!

Queen Elizabeth II meets a camouflaged sniper from the Household Cavalry at Combermere Barracks on November 26, 2012 in Windsor, England. From Military Photos dot net.
Update September 2017 replaced missing picture.

American Meat

There was a story in the local paper today about this movie. Naturally I couldn't find anything about it on their website, but that's neither here nor there. Not everyone wants to be a computer jockey or a soldier or a french fry cook. The story of industrialization has been the story of people moving from the farm to the city. But now we are so productive we don't have enough for people to do, so maybe some people can start moving back to the farm. I imagine there quite a few folks that would be very happy to do so.

In related news, Peru has instituted a ten year ban on genetically engineered food. The chemists and engineers have been striving to make farmers more productive for the last 100 years. I think they have done enough. Yes, there are still people dying of hunger all over the world, but that is due to politics and war, not because we can't grow enough food.

Summit? Drum It!

The president-elect (and also, technically, president) of the United States meets for the first time today with the president-elect of Mexico, America's second-largest trading partner, third-largest oil supplier, and largest source of immigration, with whom we share a 2,000-mile border.  So of course the meeting is scheduled to last just 15 minutes.  We've chatted up bartenders for longer than that.  Just yesterday, in fact.

The meeting between the elected leaders of 430 million people will last two seconds longer than this John Bonham drum solo:

Led Zeppelin - Moby Dick (Live at The Royal Albert Hall 1970) [Official Video]
Led Zeppelin

Stolen entire from Burro Hall. I remember when drum solos were all the rage. Shoot, for all I know they may still be the rage, though I haven't heard one in like forever. I never got that much out of them. Drums seem to be compelling for some people. I recall they had to put the kibosh on weekly drumming event at one of the parks here. Too many drummers, drumming till all hours, the neighbors couldn't sleep.

Update March 2018 replaced missing video.
Update August 2022 replaced missing video.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lightning at Sea

Aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, somewhere in the Arabian Sea.

Pharoahs in America

Pyramid Discovered in Wyoming!

View Larger Map

What we have here, ladies and germs, is proof positive that the Egyptians were here in America long before Columbus or even the Vikings. I like this story almost as much as my earlier one.

Inspired by Roberta X

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fire Fighting

I'm not sure where this photo is from. The folder says "China", the caption on the photo says "Croatia". Doesn't matter. What's important is that the pilot is crazy. That's a big airplane heading downhill quickly. Is he going to have room to pull up? When I first saw this photo I thought maybe it was taken at an angle and the plane was actually in level flight, but after looking at it for a bit I'm pretty sure that the photo is on the level. From Military Photos dot net.

Machine Gun Preacher

I hate Africa. I hear that some people really like it, but mostly it just seems to generate an unending stream of horror stories. Bad-to-the-bone biker dude finds Jesus, straightens up, flies right, goes to Africa and gets involved. Starts a church and an orphanage in Southern Sudan/Northern Uganda. When the LRA (Joseph Kony's Lords Resistance Army) starts making trouble he gives them trouble back. What's the deal with the LRA? Wikipedia gives us a clue:
The area now known as Uganda has been divided along racial and language lines since at least the 4th century BC.
Kind of makes those jerks in the Balkans with their Johnny-come-lately 600-year-old feuds look like rank amateurs. From all accounts Kony and the LRA are just plain bad news. If you were to ask Kony he might give you a very rational explanation for what he is doing, or maybe irrational, but you can be sure he believes in what he is doing. Hitler was like that. People have differences of opinion and you get to choose which side of the argument you want to be on.

Problem is freedom fighters often look just like terrorists. The name they get depends on who's operating the printing press/radio & TV broadcasts.

We just had a discussion about some kind of treaty that was going to restrict arms sales and the NRA came out against it on the basis that 1) governments have been the biggest perpetrators of mass murder, and 2) freedom fighters need guns too.

I'm reading The Night Manager by John LeCarre, and the target of this undercover operation is a gun-runner who is supplying the South American drug cartels with all kinds of weapons.

The world is a complicated place. Sometimes I think people just like to fight/argue/squabble. After all, that's when we feel most alive.

Machine Gun Preacher

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hovercraft To Go

What we have here is two (2) hovercraft loaded up with an assortment of military vehicles, sitting in the well deck inside the USS Bataan. From Military Photos dot net.

Friday, November 23, 2012

High-Voltage, Direct Current (HVDC) Electric Power Transmission

Mercury Arc Valve
    Report from younger son that he has a job this weekend in Kristiansand, Norway, got me started on a Wiki wander. Kristiansand is at the Southern tip of Norway, closer to Denmark than Oslo or Bergen. So what kind of job has he got? Well, Wikipedia has this to say about the town:
Kristiansand has major shipbuilding and repair facilities that support Norway's North Sea oil industry. Near Kristiansand there is the static inverter plant of the HVDC Cross-Skagerak.
    The North Sea oil industry, eh? Well, that explains the job. But what's a static inverter plant and all the rest of it? An inverter converts DC electric power into AC. HVDC means High-Voltage, Direct Current. Cross-Skagerak is a high voltage electrical transmission line that connects Norway and Denmark.
    Being an American, I was brought up to believe that AC was the most efficient way to transmit electrical power over long distances, so I was a little non-plussed when I found out that there was a big HVDC line connecting Oregon to California. Now I find this in Wikipedia article #2:
The modern form of HVDC transmission uses technology developed extensively in the 1930s in Sweden (ASEA) and in Germany. Early commercial installations included one in the Soviet Union in 1951 between Moscow and Kashira, and a 100 kV, 20 MW system between Gotland and mainland Sweden in 1954. The longest HVDC link in the world is currently the Xiangjiaba–Shanghai 2,071 km (1,287 mi), ±800 kV, 6400 MW link connecting the Xiangjiaba Dam to Shanghai, in the People's Republic of China. In 2012, the longest HVDC link will be the Rio Madeira link in Brazil, which consists of two bipoles of ±600 kV, 3150 MW each, connecting Porto Velho in the state of Rondônia to the São Paulo area, where the length of the DC line is over 2,500 km (1,600 mi). (I've changed the links from useless to useful.) 
    The lines in China and Brazil were built by the Swedish company ABB
    I seem to be stumbling over a lot of Soviet and Chinese technology lately. Makes me wonder if America is really as great as we claim to be. I mean, why were we so intent on collecting all the Nazi rocket scientists after World War II? You'd think that if we were so great we could grow our own experts. We shouldn't need to import a bunch of Nazi's to do our thinking for us. I dunno, maybe it's expensive to grow experts. Maybe we saved a couple of bucks by stealing VonBraun and his gang. Still, something about that whole thing stinks. 

Persistance of Legends

Darling daughter sent me copy of this story. It's an oldie but a goodie, so I'm posting it. Besides, it saves me having to think up my own story to tell.

Murder or Suicide?
    At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, AAFS, President Dr. Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal complications of a bizarre death. Here is the story:
    On March 23,1994 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head. Mr. Opus had jumped from the top of a ten story building intending to commit suicide. He left a note to that effect, indicating his despondency. As he fell past the ninth floor his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing through a window which killed him instantly.
    Neither the shooter nor the descender was aware that a safety net had been installed just below at the eighth floor level to protect some building workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide the way he had planned.
    "Ordinarily," Dr. Mills continued, "a person who sets out to commit suicide and ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended, is still defined as committing suicide."
    That Mr. Opus was shot on the way to certain death, but probably would not have been successful because of the safety net, caused the medical examiner to feel that he had a homicide on his hands. The room on the ninth floor, whence the shotgun blast emanated, was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and he was threatening her with a shotgun. The man was so upset that when he pulled the trigger he completely missed his wife and the pellets went through the window, striking Mr. Opus.
    When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject B. When confronted with the murder charge the old man and his wife were both adamant. They both said they thought the shotgun was unloaded. The old man said it was his long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the killing of Mr. Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, the gun had been accidentally loaded.
    The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident. It transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother.
    Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of murder even though he didn't actually pull the trigger. The case now becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.
    Now comes the exquisite twist.
    Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten story building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing through the ninth story window. The son had actually murdered himself so the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.
The copy daring daughter sent me was a low contrast Jpeg image, so I decided to look for a text version, and surprise, surprise, there are a zillion copies out there and half of them are tagged "urban legend", so I have to dig a little more and when I do I find this on
As you might imagine, Don Harper Mills has been queried thoroughly and frequently regarding the Opus case since the story broke on the Internet in 1994. In a March 1997 statement to the press he came clean about it: 
"I made up the story in 1987 to present at the meeting," he told Sunday Telegraph reporter James Gallivan, "for entertainment and to illustrate how if you alter a few small facts you greatly alter the legal consequences. In 1994 someone copied it onto the Internet."
Evidently the story was also repeated in the opening to Magnolia, but that was made in 1999, which makes it a repeater, not an originator.

French Cayman Helicopter

Photo by Philip Plisson

The Good Wife

    There was a line on Waiting for the Knock, an episode of The Good Wife that aired about a month ago. It has stuck with me. I'm gonna let David Sims on the A.V. Club describe it:
Will hopes to use this as an opportunity to poach that $20 million-a-year chunk, although he expresses reservations to Clarke about the risk factor. But Clarke tells him to go for it, even though it’d put further stink on the firm. “Money respects money,” he muses, perfectly wisely. They already are corrupted by representing Bishop, why worry what side of his affairs they cover?
    People are basically animals. People with money are perhaps a little more cold blooded than people without money. People without money have nothing to lose and so can be stampeded into all kinds of foolishness, like war, or cult religions, or building pyramids.
    Rumor has it that there has been a marked decline in violent crime in the United States over the last umpteen years. One theory promoted by supporters of Law & Order is that more effective enforcement techniques and harsher prison sentences are the cause. Another theory, from Freakanomics, is that unwanted children grow up to become criminals, and therefor legalising abortion reduced the number of unwanted children and so the number of criminals.
    I have another theory: it's the proliferation of video games. People need something to do, and if nobody gives them something to do, they will find something on their own, and on their own it is just as likely to be criminal as not. Give the people video games and suddenly they have something to do. If they have something to do, they aren't out making trouble.
    Therefor, by logical extension (insert Latin phrase that means the same thing), all the trouble in the Middle East could be solved by giving them video games.
    This is how Pharaohs ancient civilization in Egypt survived for so long, they gave the people something to do: building pyramids.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pic of the Day

Lippo Center, Hong Kong. On the left and on the right. Bank of China Tower in the Center.

Kish Island

    Have you ever heard of Kish Island? Until today I had not. It is a small island in the Persian Gulf and belongs to our good friend Iran.

View Larger Map

    Remember when we went to "war" with Iraq? One of the theories being kicked around for that debacle was that Saddam was threatening to start selling oil using some other currency than the U.S. dollar. The phrase I recall was that "while Saddam was a son-of-a-bitch, he is our son-of-a-bitch", but when he threatened to go off the dollar standard, why, he was a mad dog who had slipped his leash and had to be put down.
    Meanwhile back at the ranch, daring daughter is bound and determined to return to Argentina, and the economy down there is a little shaky, though it doesn't seem to be deteriorating as quickly as I expected. So I am trying to explain a bit about economics (which should be right up my alley since it's all voodoo anyway) which leads me to a series of Wikipedia articles which ends up at the Iranian oil bourse, which is on Kish Island.
    Now I am wondering which came first, the oil bourse (commodity market) or our mutual enmity?

    Looking for more info on Kish, I found this bit by Carolyn McIntyre from 2007:

Kish is a duty-free port and was a pet project of the Shah. It has a completely different look to the rest of Iran and looks more like a low-rise Arab Gulf city minus the SUV’s, Mercedes, BMW’s, Audis, and with nary a Cartier, Bulgari, Bang & Olufsen, Versace, Louis Vuitton or Gucci logo or storefront in sight. There is not a brick building to be seen, and everything is glass and poured concrete, shiny, clean and full of advertisements. After the Revolution nothing much happened in Kish – Iranians still go to shop but not in the numbers they used to, and the cost of living is more expensive than the rest of the country.

A portion of the renovated qanat system. 

The next day we went to visit the over-renovated castle of Harireh with Koran-reciting loudspeakers in the trees, a visit which could easily be skipped. A large sign there proclaims how Ibn Battuta, “the Great Historian in his Travel Account” wrote about the “success and glory of Harireh and Kish Island” – not in the English version he didn’t…… We then went to the restored water cisterns, which in contrast was an excellent and worthwhile trip – 15 kilometers of tunnels with 275 wells built of layers of shell and clay to purify the water.

As we were touring the cisterns, the guide received a phone call – our flight, which was scheduled to depart at 1900, had been delayed to 2200. Just when I thought nothing else could possibly go wrong……I suggested to him that we go to the airport and try to find another flight since if anything happened we would be stuck in Kish for another night. Kish is one of the dreariest, most boring places on earth and Tehran had begun to take on the allure of a glittering, electrifying metropolis which under normal circumstances, it is not. There being at least 6 other flights before our delayed flight, I bought 2 tickets on the first available flight out - we were the last passengers to get on board the Taban Air Tupolev 154. I was never so happy to see Tehran in my life. Only Tabriz was left. Ibn Battuta had gone to Tabriz from Baghdad – as this was not possible for me I was going from Tehran, a city that did not even exist in his day but which now has a population of approximately 10 million.

Tourist Map of Kish.

Update: A story from 2006 in the Christian Science Monitor about the Iranian Oil Bourse.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pic of the Day

Anonymous Donkey and Unidentified Soldier

By Beowolf, from Military Photos dot net. God forbid somebody should recognize the donkey.

Update May 2021 replaced missing photo.

Axis Women

Concentration Camp Guards

German Anti-Aircraft Gun Auxiliary

Japanese Ammo Inspection

Luftwaffe Training

Filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl

German Aviatrix Captain Hanna Reitsch Awarded the Iron Cross

Collaborationist Hair Shearing

Elisabeth Lilo Gloeden
I found these photos on The Atlantic dot com - World War II: Women at War. Most of the pictures are of Allied women, but these eight are not. Three of these pictures are of rather famous German women whom I had never heard of:
 Opened a whole new section of history for me.

Update March 2016. Replaced pictures that vanished when Flickr account vanished.

Car of the Day

I think this is 1960, or maybe a '61, Chevrolet, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Found on West of The West.

Quote of the Day

I've come to appreciate San Francisco as the sacrificial anode of the West. -  Reno Sepulveda making a comment over at Tam's place

Sunday, November 18, 2012


One of things I like best about spy movies is the way they take you on a virtual tour of the world. This time one of the highlights was Shanghai. This picture gives you some idea of what it's like, but it doesn't hold a candle to the scenes from the movie.

We also paid a visit to Hashima Island. I knew I had seen this place somewhere before, and I was right. I found some old, tiny photos of it. Suprised that I kept them, they were so little. The villain claims he started a rumor that caused the place to be abandoned within a matter of days. It's true that it was abandoned quickly, but that is because Mitsubishi decided to shut down the coal mine there, which was the only reason for anyone being there.

Update: This place was a coal mine for years, which means they were digging tunnels underground, which means, given the location, they were digging tunnels below sea level. God forbid you ever sprang a leak.

Pic of the Day

LaGuardia airport in New York City two weeks ago, when the storm hit. From Military Photos dot net.
Click to embiggenate. Looking at the big version I just realized there are no planes in the picture. 
Imagine that.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


You may have seen the multi-rotor flying toy helicopters. These guys have scaled one up to be big enough to carry a person. I can't imagine that they will be able to get any useful range using electric (battery) power, but a few years ago nobody dreamed you'd be able to make an electric flying anything. I was dreaming of making something like this a while back, but I was thinking about using a bunch of lawn mower engines, maybe 8 or 10 arranged in a circle, much like they have done here. I was worried about stability though. Stability of the machine in the air, and of my checkbook on the ground, so I didn't pursue it.

Manhattan Blackout

Two weeks ago, when the storm hit. From Military Photos dot net.

Quote of the Day

Found on:

We just want to play games.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Life in Israel is a Little Different

If you want to go to war, you don't need to travel half way across the globe like the Americans do. I mean, it's just commuting distance. The tank'll be there in the morning, see you guys at 8 o'clock sharp, hey?

WWII American Home Front

American PineappleAmerican MothersYB-17 Machine GunnerWoman CowlerWind Tunnel ModelWelder
Virginia the RiveterTowing a B-25Tank ParadeTank DriverTank CrewTank Commander
Soldier with GarandSilk ProcessingSecuring a Barrage BalloonScrap Metal QueenRiveting TeamRiveter
Pipe BendingPearl Harbor WidowsParachutistP-51 MustangP-51 AssemblyOld Salt
WWII American Home Front (dead link), a set on Flickr.

So this is the way Flickr works. I uploaded these photos and put them in a "set" and then "shared" the set to my blog and I got this bunch of thumbnail images. Click on any image and it will take you to the larger version. From there you can step through the whole set using the Next and Previous buttons.

I found these photos on The Atlantic dot com thanks to a link on Military Photos dot net (dead link). I thought they were pretty cool so I uploaded them to Flickr. While I am going through them, checking the captions, making up titles and so on, I discover that they are from the Library of Congress's collection of photos which is also hosted on Flickr. There are 17,000 of them. This particular group is from their collection of color photos from the 30's and 40's, of which there are 1,600.

You will notice that there are 24 thumbnails here. There are 45 pictures in the set I got from The Atlantic. I am not sure who decides which photos get a thumbnail and which don't.

Update December 2016 labeled dead links. Flickr account is dead, so no photos until I come up with a replacement.