Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest
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Monday, December 31, 2012

Origin of Porpoise

SAN DIEGO (March 12, 2012) Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, receives a capabilities brief on the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program by Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU). U.S. Navy photo by Joshua Scott.

I came across this photo on Military Photos dot net the other day, and I got this idea in my head that this is exactly what dolphins were designed to do. That is, they are genetically engineered creatures. A long time ago (10,000 years? 100,000 years? A million years?) a previous civilization on this planet got involved in a conflict and decided they needed some underwater people (beings?) for some kind of work. Exploring maybe, or spying, or maybe even mine detection, and so they created dolphins. Yes, I know there is isn't any evidence of such a thing, but then we don't have much evidence of anything from a million years ago. There may not have been any people like us, but that's not to say there weren't people of some kind out wandering around, picking fights with their neighbors, and cooking up elaborate schemes to do them in.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Picture of the Day

CRH380 (China Railway High-speed) Harmony bullet trains are seen at a high-speed train maintenance base in Wuhan, Hubei province, early December 25, 2012.

That's a bunch of trains.

View Larger Map

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Crazy Brits

I've watched several videos this week by Jeremy Clarkson, the big buffoon from Top Gear. They have been quite enjoyable. Normally I have a hard time watching anything that lasts more than a couple of minutes. I think it's because I am easily bored. I don't know what it is about Jeremy's shows but I have no trouble watching them at all. I start watching one and before I know it an hour has gone by and it's over.
   I started with a series he made a few years ago called Inventions That Changed the World, and then I stumbled over the Greatest Raid of All Time, which reminded me of this and this.
    Today I started watching XM607 - Falklands' Most Daring Raid, and while the odds of success (low) and the chances of death (high) were pert near the same as the raid on St. Nazaire, it wasn't Jeremy telling the story and it dragged. I only got about half way through it. Still, it's a good story and one I hadn't heard before.

Preparations for the raid on the Falklands included some practice bombing runs on Garvie Island. Surprisingly, the only one Google turned up is in the Firth of Forth right up next to the Forth Bridge. This bridge is so overbuilt as to be near indestructible, but somehow I don't think even crazy Brits would think it was a good place for target practice. I did find one mention of a Garvie Island off the North coast of Scotland, and Wikimapia indicates there is a big military firing range there, so I think this is Garvie Island.

Update: I finished watching the film about the Falklands raid, Operation Black Buck. They burned 200,000 gallons of jet fuel getting one Vulcan bomber 4,000 miles from Ascension Island to the Falklands and back.

Update June 2022 replaced dead link to Greatest Raid

Friday, December 28, 2012


Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin listens to President of United Aircraft Building Corporation Mikhail Pogosian during a visit in Komsomolsk-on-Amur about 6200 kilometers (3,900 miles) east of Moscow on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012. Russia needs to modernize its military arsenals to deter others from grabbing its resources, Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in an article published Monday.
Why am I writing about this? So Putin visited a factory way out in the boonies. That was nice of him, traveling all the way to far, far Eastern Russia. Good PR, but why? The United Aircraft Building Corporation, AKA the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association is there, that's why. It just so happens they build the jet fighters designed by Sukhoi. I never imagined that Russia would have any outfits with that much technical sophistication so far from Moscow. 

The other reason is this satellite view of the area just to the South of town. I don't think I've ever seen an area that looked more like a modern abstract painting.

View Larger Map

Update October 2016 replaced missing picture with what I hope is something similar.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Advice From The Heartland

My inlaws flew in to visit for a couple of days last weekend. Audrey told us a story about the small town in Iowa where she grew up. There were six Lutheran churches, and they were all of the same Synod, which basically means they couldn't accuse each other of heresy. Now you have heard of Catholics and Protestants not getting along, and likewise Jews and Christians, and you might understand that a couple of mixed faith might find a certain amount of opposition to their union. But in this small town in Iowa, marrying someone from a different church would give rise to just as much opposition. Audrey married someone from another town. That probably created the scandal of the year.

Roberta X posted a link to a story about loneliness, isolation and crazy. I read it, it's a good story, it was so good I forwarded the link to my peoples. California Bob liked it as well and replied:
Very good.  In Soviet studies, you used to frequently see discussion of "alienation" in the literature -- alienation of the individual, and how it was destructive to social cohesion.  In fact that was the pat response from socialist societies to criticisms of lack of freedom -- they equated individual freedom with alienation.
    Of course, political indoctrination and  thought control were critical to those societies.  Although you could argue that all societies engage in thought control to a greater or lesser extent.
    I liked this comment from a Chinese political scientist, quoted very matter-of-factly in Businessweek:  
"No one believes in communism anymore.  But one man, one vote doesn't work either," says Bai Tongdong, citing massive budget deficits and global warming as problems that democracies aren't well-equipped to handle.  "the modern state is too big and too complicated for average people to understand.  And people don't have time anyway." 
That immediately made me think of the ridiculous proposition system in California, where all kinds of terrible propositions are voted in as terrible legislation.  And the amount of time I have to spend educating myself on these things.  It's a poor way to legislate, we hire lawmakers to be the experts, so I generally vote "NO" on all propositions.  You could say, by doing that, I'm voluntarily renouncing some freedom, but this is an example of how too much freedom is a bad thing.  
"And people don't have time anyway." That's a big one. Not everyone who votes is inclined to spend endless hours researching and discussing the issues of the day. That's why politics has devolved into big media sound bites. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Failed State Index

Failed States according to the "Failed States Index 2012" of Foreign Policy
  No Information / Dependent Territory

I was reading a story about Argentina and somebody mentioned the List of Failed States, so naturally I had to take a look. It lists 177 countries. Somalia is in the worst shape with a score of 114.9. This puts it first on the list. Finland is in the best shape with a score of 20. It is at the end of the list. The United States is ranked 159 with a score of 34.8. Argentina is ranked 145 with a score of 46.5.

Update November 2017. Picture doesn't show up normally, but it does in Blogger's editor. What's going on?

The World's Deadliest Arms Race

The World's Deadliest Arms Race

This video is just over a year old. There is some good reporting being done, I'm just not in touch. Searching itv dot com website turns up lots of results for Exposure (the name of the show), but nothing for the name of the video. Likewise, National Geographic only has the last segment. Thank god for YouTube.

The prime ingredient in the bombs is ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Some people say it is coming from Pakistan, Pakistan says there are other countries around Afghanistan that could be the source. Doesn't really matter. It would only take 1% of Pakistan's production to supply the bomb makers with all they need. From an ABC news story from January of this year:
"It's like narcotics crossing the U.S. border," said the senior U.S. military intelligence official. "We don't know if we're getting 1 percent or 10 percent that's crossing." 
Update April 2016 replaced missing video. While it has the same title, I suspect it is not the same as the one I posted originally. That one produces this message:

This video has been removed for violating YouTube's policy on spam, deceptive practices, and scams.

Seems the makers of that video made a couple of errors.

Update March 2019 replaced missing video.
Update March 2021 replaced missing video.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mental Health Institutionalization and Prison Incarceration rate over time

OK, this is all my fault. The rate of locking up crazy people started dropping when I moved to Ohio. Also coincidentally when JFK got shot. It really started dropping when I graduated from high school and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. It reached its low point when I graduated from college (1980, took me a while to get my act together) and really started climbing when I got married. Obviously the combination of my drinking, carousing and working had a very beneficial effect on society.

I was tempted to post the graph at "Original Size", but I am afraid of how it would look on smaller monitors. The text is too small for me to be able to read comfortably. Clicking on it will embiggen it. Chart stolen from Swing Right Rudie.

Quote of the Day

"I remember an article I read back in the 70's that noted that countries had a strong rise in violent crime 15 years after TV was introduced in that country. The shows weren't particularly violent, In the entire run of Dragnet, Joe Friday only fired his gun about 4 times, but the TV replaced a lot of family interaction. A little later, the air conditioner destroyed neighborhood community interaction, although the TV had already started the process. Now, people hole up behind closed doors, often in separate rooms with their own TV's, and communicate by texting others. Or by leaving notes on blogs. :)" - Steve C., 1:29 PM, December 24, 2012
One of the umpteen comments left on one of Tam's posts.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Picture of the Day

Commuters disembark from crowded suburban trains during the morning rush hour at Churchgate railway station on World Population Day in Mumbai on July 11. According to a 2011 census conducted by the government of India, Mumbai has a population of more than 12 million with an estimated population density of about 20,482 persons per square kilometer. (Vivek Prakash/Reuters)

20,482 persons per square kilometer gives each person about 525 square feet, or an area about 23 feet square. I think the blurring makes a pretty pattern.


These are not the ridiculously expensive speakers, but they make a better picture.
Scott sent me a link about some ridiculously expensive loudspeakers being made in Bezerkley. In my view, since they are acoustic suspension speakers they are junk. I don't even have to listen to them. I am perfectly happy with YouTube and the set of Creative speakers I have for my PC.
    Thirty years ago, more or less, back when I was living in Austin I was thinking about spending some money on stereo equipment. I bought a receiver and a tape deck and I went looking for speakers. There was a stereo shop at the end of the street on the corner of Burnett Road (Burn it, durn it, can't chya learn it?) and they had a good size speaker room where you could try out any number of speakers, so I tried a few. Most of the speakers were acoustic suspension speakers from brand name manufacturers. There was one big pair from a local outfit called V2 that were not acoustic suspension. They were ported, and they were distinctly clearer than any of the acoustic suspension designs. I really liked them. I liked them so much I almost bought them, but the $600 price tag dissuaded me. Just as well. The only place I spent any time at all listening to music was in my car, and they would not have fit.
    Funny thing is this Bezerkely outfit is using V2 in the name of their fancy new speakers. I wonder if there is  any connection? Actually, a whole bunch of companies are using V2 in their product names.

Update November 2016 replaced missing picture.

Here Come's The Sun

Not my picture, but a similar sight.

Returning home from an early morning trip to the airport we saw the sun on the horizon. It was heavily overcast so we were only able to see the sun through a small break in the clouds, and for some reason I really got a feeling of how absurd it should be that a big ball of matter eight zillion miles away should be glowing so red hot that we can feel it all the way out here on our little pebble of rock, eight zillion miles away. As long as I can remember the sun has always been a fixture, much like the ceiling light in my office. It has a location, a size, a power rating. It was defined by a set of numbers, and while some of those numbers were absurdly large, they were just numbers and could be treated as such. This was different, possibly due to being a little short on sleep.

P.S. The repeated use of 'eight zillion' as the distance between the Earth and the Sun is in no way meant to endorse a specific value for zillion. Zillion has always meant a very large number and we will continue to use it as such.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Kelpie

The Kelpie by Herbert James Draper

Syaffolee doesn't provide any pictures with her stories, and I got to wondering just what kind of supernatural creature the census taker's assisstant, a Kelpie, was. Wikipedia provided the picture and this explanation: "In mythology, the kelpie is described as a strong and powerful horse. Its hide was supposedly black (though in some stories it was white), and appeared as a lost pony, but could be identified by its constantly dripping mane. Its skin was said to be like that of a seal, smooth but as cold as death when touched. Kelpies were said to transform into beautiful women to lure men into their traps. They created illusions to keep themselves hidden, keeping only their eyes above water to scout the surface."

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Tam mentions ABP in one of her posts. I've never heard of ABP, so I Google it and end up with ABP Induction Systems, which I think makes air intakes for industrial uses, but no, it's not air induction, it's electrical induction and it is used for heating things, like steel. So I go looking for pictures and I find this video. This is some kind of black magic. Voodoo, even.


I saw a video clip the other day of Tutuola (aka Ice-T) talking with someone on the subject of guns. The someone asks Tutuola if guns don't make it easier to kill people, and Tutola denies this, giving suicide bombers as a counter-example. This is the old 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' argument. I've used it myself. Suicide bombers are a poor example of an alternate method of committing mass murder. It requires explosives and detonators and assembling a bomb and then blowing yourself up, something not all mass murderers intend. A hammer or a kitchen knife is certainly easier to obtain and can be just as lethal, though possibly more easily stopped.
    The thing is, making it easier to kill a person is the whole point of a gun. You can do it at a distance, you don't have to come within hammer swinging or knife slashing range in order to eliminate a person from your sphere of existence.

I've been reading some of Elizabeth Moon's books from the series Vatta's War. In these stories our heroine comes up against some very bad characters and occasionally finds herself in a serious fight wherein she kills the bad guy. The first time it happens she is surprised to find herself absolutely gleeful.
    This is the first time I can recall encountering such a description. I am used to finding all kinds of regretful introspections, or more likely, no mention of feelings at all. We see the same kind of dicotomy in news and entertainment. The news always focuses on how bad people feel when somebody gets killed or hurt. Nobody ever celebrates a death on the news. For some reason it isn't proper. Gunfights in entertainment more often focus on eliminating the bad guy and the joy and relief when he is finally done in.

Most people would agree that there are some people who should be killed. Yes, there are some died-in-the-wool pacifists who believe killing is wrong, but they are a distinct minority. Oh, there are a lot of people who will pay lip service to peaceful co-existence, but it you were to look into their hearts you would find their secret black list of people who should die. Most people would agree that killing someone who is trying to kill you is a perfectly reasonable course of action. Some people think child molesters should be killed. Some crazy Arabs think all the Jews should be killed. Some people think smokers should be shot. You poke around in people's hearts enough and you will find a black place.

A Tale of Two Kristians

Younger son arrived home last night from Norway after 20 hours of air travel. In the course of his interrogation at the hands of his family I discovered I was mistaken about the location of his weekend employment last month. He kept saying he had gone North from Bergen for this job, when we all knew very well that Kristiansand was South. No, no, he tells us, not Kristiansand, Kristiansund, with a U. Who'd a thunk it?

View Norway in a larger map

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sneaker Pimps//Six Underground

It sounds like she's singing in English, but I couldn't understand a tenth of what she said. I liked it though. According to Mr. Hill: "This is trip-hop. How it sounds is way more important than what's being said." The camera work, or maybe the video editing, is, what? Interesting? Odd? A little unusual? Via Roberta X.


Scott came across this on Craig's List. I thought it was old enough and unusual enough to post, I mean I've never seen one.

262 ci. 1953 SUPER WASP ENGINE

Don Muses on Science Fiction

We're talking about Science Fiction stories, and somebody mentions Philip K Dick which prompts Don to speak up:

I'll hazard a guess Byron's dad likes less pedestrian writing--of which sci-fi has too much--and not so much Dick's Galaxy straddling grand space operas.

Alfred Bester The Stars my Destination
Fritz Leiber The Big Time
Clifford D. Simak Way Station

All old, all on my shelf of favorites, next to the Dick books, all Hugo winners

Edgar Pangborn Davy

Should have won a Hugo, but didn't


But if one likes space opera, and reasonably good writing I've been enjoying Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga--start with Cordelia's Honor.

__,_._,___, I meant to say sci-fi has too much unimaginative, pedestrian writing. Odd, I guess, when you think about it, given the subject matter.

One could do worse than simply go down the list of Hugo winners, Simmons, Vinge, and Card off that list have been recommended to me by friends, but I can't seem to get into them. Maybe it's just old-fartism, but I like the sort of gentle friendly rambling of stories done closer to 19th century novel forms & more about friendship and problem-solving, than dwelling on the details of grand conflicts.

If that's an attractive notion, than I especially recommend Davy, Way Station, and the first two books of McCaffery's Dragon series: Dragonflight and Dragonquest

Going deeper into my mental archives, I remembered some other less well-known, kinda' poetic works that might be of interest:

Cats, cruelty and children
The Taj: Berserker Ruminations
For a Breath I Tarry
    the poem from which the title is taken:
        From Far, from Eve

These works aren't novels, but they seemed like good sci-fi to me, because they were creative, unusual ways to examine what it could mean to be human, at the core questions about love, courage, curiosity & imagination, loyalty, honor, duty, ambition, and the conflicts that can arise from the clash of these concerns with themselves and with the darker side of human capacities.

Kinda like "real" novels, ya know?

--> don

Home for Christmas

USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN-69) arrives at Naval Station Norfolk with USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), USS Enterprise (CVN-65), USS Bataan (LHD-5), USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) moored at the dock.
"Half of the US Navy’s Aircraft Carriers and half of their big deck Amphibs, in a single photo, all tied up in Norfolk." - Chuck Hill's CG Blog
This photo doesn't show the half of it, but it has more water in it. The other picture is just full of ships.

Update March 2019 replaced missing photo and changed link.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Come Back to Erin

Grandma and darling daughter are working on a crossword puzzle and Kathryn wants to know where Grandma got "ERIN" for Ireland, and I'm like what? You don't know that Erin is another name for Ireland? My children's education is lacking, I have failed as a father! Then I try and remember how I know, and I am sure I have come across the reference a thousand times, but then I remember a song about Erin, well, I sort of remember it, I remember that it contained the name "Erin" and I can kind of feel the melody, but not well enough to hum it, so I go noodling about and I finally come across it here. I remember my dad used to sing it, or at least bits and pieces of it, and I can't really remember hearing it anywhere else. YouTube only found 58 videos, and most of them are copies of hundred year old records.

F-16 dodging 6 Iraqi SAM launches

F-16, call sign Stroke 3, dodging 6 SAM launches during Desert Storm.

Update March 2019 replaced missing video.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dry Bath

I could have used this while our hot water heater was out of commission. It will be interesting to see how much impact it has. Head Boy website


Death to Whirlpool, Part 2

Water Heater Controller
For the second time in two days my older son has fixed broken appliances just by looking at them. Glory Be His Name! The new controller for the water heater was supposed to arrive yesterday. I spent all day waiting for it so naturally it didn't show. I finally gave up and decided to tackle the screaming fireplace fan. It shouldn't be too difficult, just a matter of pulling it out, cleaning it up, oiling the bearings, and stuffing it back in its hole. Get it out and spin the fan and there's no squeak. Okay, maybe it only happens when it's hot and when it's running full speed. Pull the motor loose and give it a spin by turning the nylon coupler on the end of the shaft. Squeak! Aha! Found the culprit. Pull the little nylon do-jobbie off the end of the shaft and examine it. The shaft has a half flat on the end that matches a half-flat hole in the nylon coupler. There is no way that thing could slip. We fool with it and fool with it and we aren't getting anywhere until older son finally notices that when he spins the shaft directly, that is, without the nylon coupler on the end, the motor still squeaks.What the deuce? The armature in the motor is not turning! Double aha! Take the motor apart and the shaft slides right out the armature.
    Wait a minute, haven't I been hear before? Yes I have. I have epoxy on hand, so I mix up a little dab, slather it on the shaft, slide the shaft back into the armature, and drive the tip of a toothpick into the little hole I made last time I was here. I thought about about cutting a piece of paper clip, but my fuse was a little short. The epoxy alone worked for six years. Maybe the toothpick will extend that a bit. I fired up the fan this morning and so far it is spinning happily, i.e. quietly.
    This morning the new controller for the water heater arrived and I set about installing it. I have a little trouble locating the necessary tools, but other than that everything went fine. (I still haven't found the big wrench I was using yesterday on the fireplace. Where could it have gone? Gremlins, I tell you!) Anyway, got the old one out, got the new one in and got it all hooked up, and now all we have to do it press the GO buttom. I press the go button and nothing happens. I take a break and come back a little later and try again. Still no go. Stomp off. When I got this heater two or three years ago, I had a little trouble lighting it. I called Whirlpool and the very nice lady told me the secret which was that you had to hold down one of the buttons for a longish time in order to get the gizmo to fire up, but that was years ago. Which button was it? Maybe Whirlpool can tell me. Call Whirlpool. They want my serial number, which is okay I guess, but then they want to verify my name and address. What? Why? I hang up, I've had enough of this phone call protocol. A little while later older son stops by to see how I'm doing. We go out to the garage and I am about to give him a rundown on the action so far when I notice the little blinky light on the controller is blinking! Hallelujah! It is working! I turn the knob to ON and we hear the wonderful roar of the main burner lighting off. So older son fixed it just by showing up. Weird thing is that I could not see the pilot light through the little window. I could turn the main burner off and check again, but after five days without hot water I am loath to touch that dial.

This 50 gallon water heater heater is rated at 40,000 BTU's (British Thermal Units). One BTU can heat one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. "A pint's a pound the world around", so 50 gallons weighs 400 pounds. We want to raise temperature 100 degrees, from 50 to 150. 100 degrees times 400 pounds is 40,000 BTU's. Okay, this all kind of fits together, but how long is it going to take to heat that 50 gallons? Hmmm. BTU doesn't tell you that, but eHow does:


  • A water heater is ranked by BTU input, but really means BTUs/hr; thus a 33,000 BTU heater can heat 33,000 pounds of water by one degree in an hour; or, 330 pounds by 100 degrees.
Update: Two hot showers in two days! Paradise, I tell you. I went back to look at the pilot light after it finished heating its first tank of hot water (took an hour and a half). Being as it is a new fangled, electronically controlled gizmo, you can't see into the burner area directly. There's a little window you can peer through. When the burner was on I could see the flame easily, but now the main burner is off. Only the pilot light should be on. I look in the window and I see nothing. What the devil? I look a little closer, I look to the right, and then I look to the left, and aha! There's the little devil. Confounded designers, they need to have their hands slapped.

Update July 2019 replaced image that disappeared when Blogger 'fixed' some bad html.

Quote of the Day

"--Firearms were virtually uncontrolled before 1934, then more so in 1968, and more so in 1986. Yet school shootings have increased almost exponentially since just the late 1990s. Why? Yes, there are more guns. Yes, more people live in urban environments. But those aren't the answer. The problem of mass shootings has grown far faster than the rate of gun ownership." - Matt G on Better And Better
I wasn't aware that they were becoming more frequent. Wikipedia concurs. It's a little hard to keep track when the loudspeakers keep repeating themselves and the volume keeps going up. After a while it tends to become background noise. If I let all that crap in I would soon be overcome with despondency, so I tend to block it out. Yes, I know we are going to hell in a hand-basket  but what can I do? I don't think joining the argument about guns is going to have any effect. Some people just thrive on conflict and an argument like the one over guns draws a big, enthusiastic crowd. I have heard numerous suggestions on how society might be changed to make us less violent, but I am wondering if we don't just have a certain inherent level of violence and if we don't let it out one way, like through a war, it comes out through another. Yes, I know, we've been fighting a couple of "wars" in the Middle East, but they aren't real wars, not like WW2 or Korea, or shoot, even Vietnam.

Via View From The Porch

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Goodbye 'Birth Control Glasses'

In the wake of the DoD's announcement of new standard-issue military glasses, a new study found that one out of five Marines is distraught over the loss of Birth Control Glasses. Correction: One Marine in the entire Marine Corps is upset about it. (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Sgt. Mark Fayloga)
Found on Military Photos dot net

Monday, December 17, 2012

Iranian Tomcats

First squadron of Iranian Pilots of F14 tomcats of Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (Iranian Revolution) at Shiraz Air Base. 12 September 1979

The Internet is a strange and wonderful place. Who knew that Iran had American F-14 Jet Fighter Aircraft? Not me, and how did they get them anyway? Isn't Iran our arch-enemy? Are arms orders that important that we are selling our supposed enemies military aircraft? It seems that the F-14 is kind of an old airplane. Back in the 1970's, when the Shah was still in charge, and Nixon (!?!) was President, we cooked up a deal to sell them 80 Tomcats along with everything they needed to operate them, including an airbase with dual three mile long runways. The whole shebang was worth $2 billion dollars. Two minutes after we delivered the 79th airplane the Shah was overthrown and we quit talking to Iran.

Iran put the Tomcats to good use in their war with Iraq: "Overall, Tom Cooper claims that Iranian F-14s shot down at least 160 Iraqi aircraft during the Iran-Iraq War, which include 58 MiG-23s, 23 MiG-21s, nine MiG-25s, 33 Dassault Mirage F1s, 23 Su-17s, one Mil Mi-24, five Tu-22s, two MiG-27s, one Dassault Mirage 5, one B-6D, one Aérospatiale Super Frelon, and two unknown aircraft."

On the other hand Tom Cooper (whoever he is) also says: "It is impossible to tabulate, for example, how many air-to-air victories were scored by Iranian F-14s because air force records were repeatedly tampered with during and after the war for political, religious, or even personal reasons.

One of the F-14's big jobs during the Iran-Iraq war was protecting Kharg Island, their main oil export terminal. Iran still has a couple of dozen F-14's that are operational.

Iran Airbases

Tehran is the violet marker near the top, Baghdad is the green marker near the left side, the orange markers are giant air bases in the middle of nowhere, Kharg island is indicated by the red ship icon, and Kish island, marked with a yekkiw sun, is near the bottom. The satellite view does not make the place look at all appealing, does it?

These are US planes over Iraq, but they are F-14's and it is a pretty good show.

Update July 2016 replaced missing photo.
Update June 2017 replaced missing map.

Gun Deaths

Found this chart on Burro Hall. He was interested in the death rate in Mexico versus the United States. You'll note that the rate in Mexico has jumped up recently. Ya think that might be due to Senor Calderone's war on drugs? Yeah, probably so. Kind of makes the US look like a bunch of pacifists. But then I started looking at some of the other places like Guatemala, Honduras and Jamaica. Jamaica!?! Peaceful tropical paradise Jamaica? What's up with that? Don't know where this chart came from, and it's a little odd. It has all of North America, but only some of Central and South America. It has bunch of places from the Caribbean, but I can't tell how inclusive it is. I mean, it seems like there's always one more little island that you forgot about.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

$5 Billion on the Hoof

B1 Bomber taking off at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas. Wikipedia puts the unit cost around $250 million. 20 of these would then cost $5 billion.

View Larger Map
Yes, I know there are only seven visible in this view, but zoom out a bit and you can see all 20 of the gold plated darlings.

Ornery, Scandalous And Evil. Most Definitely!

I am so very tired of self-righteous people assuring me that my support of second amendment rights means I personally favor the mass murder of children. It's similar to how my support for the fourth amendment and hatred of TSA molestation policies means I personally favor terrorist attacks (the more casualties, the better!). And, of course, my firm belief in freedom of speech and religion means I heart Fred Phelps and the Dingleberries, and I'm glad Prohibition was repealed because I want alcoholism to tear families apart. Know what else is awesome? Life insurance: an entire industry dedicated to providing economic incentives for evil people to murder their parents or spouses and get rich as a result!

It must be very comforting to enter political debates under the assumption "MY side has a monopoly on virtue." Almost as comforting as the belief "The world can be a place of perfect safety if only we pass the right laws, which is why we need to abolish any rights and freedoms which a suicidal criminal with a wide murderous streak could use to do harm."

Stolen entire from Feral Genius.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fiction Inspired Wiki-Wander

Syaffolee writes: "The stoneware container the size of a milk jug and the color of rust was shaped like a fat man with a beard and bulging eyes. Floral patterns had been carved into his belly. The census taker had only seen such a thing before at a rummage sale. They were known as Greybeards because of the frequent bearded man motifs seen on such containers. Or Bellarmine jugs, after a much feared inquisitor of the seventeenth century."

An inquistor named Bellarmine? Was that a real person? Yes, he was: "Immediately after his appointment as Cardinal, Pope Clement made him a Cardinal Inquisitor, in which capacity he served as one of the judges at the trial of Giordano Bruno, and concurred in the decision which condemned Bruno to be burned at the stake as a heretic."

So what did Bruno do to get his own self incinerated? He got too big for his britches, obviously: "His cosmological theories went beyond the Copernican model in proposing that the Sun was essentially a star, and moreover, that the universe contained an infinite number of inhabited worlds populated by other intelligent beings."

Sagan was a Johnny come lately.

United States Courts

I often hear about court cases in some District Court or some Court of Appeals. Seems there are eleven (11) districts. Found this map on Wikipedia.

Quote of the Day

The United States of Awesome continue their heroic defense of Argentina against the vulture funds’ Evil Empire of Evilness, and now the Obama administration has requested the New York Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to take Argentina’s appeal into consideration, a move that was to be expected considering they are being ruled by a Kenyan Socialist Nazi Communist Muslim that wants to destroy America by launching an attack on poor, poor capitalism. - Adrian Bono in The Argentina Independent
I think he sums up El Presidente very well.

Animals, People, Places

Friday, December 14, 2012

Monrovia, Liberia

Came across this photo of a helicopter flying over Liberia and I wonder if I can place it on the map. No problem, Monrovia is the only big city in Liberia, and zooming in reveals the two bridges converging on the same highway. It's amazing how much map you need in order to capture what is in the picture.

View Larger Map

Flogging Molly - Drunken Lullabies

I'm not sure what they're singing about, but they sure are putting a lot of energy into it. Mentioned by Syaffollee in her latest episode of Queen Mab's census taker. I'm starting to enjoy these tales. I've read enough of them that the characters are starting to develop some personality.

Death To Whirlpool

I just found out that our water heater has flamed out. Three years old, maybe, and the electronic box has flaked out. It is just after 7PM West Coast time and all the little Whirlpool people have gone home for the day. This would be the time to call my local plumber, but I expect an emergency call on Friday night would cost as much as new heater. My old mechanical, inefficient, el-cheapo water heater didn't give me any trouble for fifteen years, until it sprung a leak, and even then it was still delivering hot water. The car people seem to have figured out how to make electronics reliable. How much longer before the water people figure it out?

Rare Exports Inc

Via Claire Wolfe and Roberta X. Bonus quote from Claire: "Did I mention that it’s dour Finnish redneck black humor?"

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Picture of the Day

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the Kansas Air National Guard’s 190th Air Refueling Wing prepares to refuel Navy F/A-18 Hornets over Wake Island during an escort mission from Japan to the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Ben Fulton)

Memory Palace

Older son was playing some audio clips from Memory Palace today. There was one about William Walker that was particularly fascinating. I tried to play the clip on my computer when we got home, but my Chrome browser, she no want to cooperate. I was able to download the clip, and download and install the VLC media player, so if your browser is being uncooperative, there are other ways to skin this cat.
    This introductory paragraph from Wikipedia will give you some idea of what we are dealing with:

William Walker (May 8, 1824 – September 12, 1860) was a US lawyer, journalist and adventurer, who organized several private military expeditions into Latin America, with the intention of establishing English-speaking colonies under his personal control, an enterprise then known as " filibustering." Walker became president of the Republic of Nicaragua in 1856 and ruled until 1857, when he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies, principally Costa Rica's army. He was executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.

The key word here is filibustering. This guy started out as a doctor and graduated to being a journalist, which gives you some idea of the relative status of the two professions at this time. This was all long before he got into the adventuring business. The audio clip gives a very different flavor to this story.

North Korea Puts Satellite in Orbit

    The doomsday clock is still ticking. North Korea has launched a satellite into orbit. No mean feat considering it's the middle of winter in North Korea. Remember Frozen Chosin?
    The Washington Post has a story about this story. Some people are really excited about this rocket launch.

    The NBC has very negative view of this event. What a load of hooey. North Korea Tech dot org has some good information.
    Looking for the launch site on Google Maps was an interesting experience. Except for the capital city of Pyongyang, the entire country of North Korea is blank. No cities or roads or any other features are listed. Wikimapia dot org does not discriminate. By comparing the two, I was able to locate the North Korean launch site on Google, you know, just to see if I could.

Tongchang-ri ICBM Launching Facility

Inspired by Tam on View From The Porch.

Update June 2019 replaced missing map.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

There will always be an England

I mean I sure hope so. Where else would you find something like this? And where else would it get a goofy name like Cheesewring? From Syaffolee's A Doomsday Book for Queen Mab – Entry #10

Word of the Day


A combined device for modulation and demodulation, for example, between the digital data of a computer and the analog signal of a...
Send (data) by modem.

This was one of words in this morning's Jumble. It took me a while to figure it out, and when I had I realized I had not heard anyone use it for a very long time. Now I'm wondering how many people, if any, are still using dial-up connections. Ask and Yahoo Answers:

According to a Pew Internet and American Life Project study in July of 2008 the percentage of US adults still using dial-up Internet was 10%.,2933,3756…

I run a Internet comparison site, and would estimate from traffic statistics that that percentage is probably still close to 10% today.

The reason is not always the unavailability of broadband, some budget conscious consumers just don't like the higher monthly cost of high speed Internet service.

With the rising unemployment rate and sinking economy, there has been a resurgence in the use of dial-up Internet services.

If you're a light Internet user, email and browsing, and don't care about downloading and watching online video, then you might be satisfied with dial-up Internet. Dial up Internet is very inexpensive with plans as cheap as $5.00 per month. Dial up has disadvantages though, it is slow compared to broadband and will tie up your telephone line while you are connected so you can't make or receive calls. Dial up requires a telephone line connection and is available practically anywhere in the US and Canada.

In some rural and remote areas dial-up Internet is the only option, with the exception of expensive satellite Internet access. Satellite and cellular mobile broadband services are available in many rural areas where cable and DSL don't reach. Both are slower and more expensive than their DSL and cable counterparts.

Good Luck...


Dial-up Internet -
Satellite Internet -
  • 2 years ago

Calling Eli Gold

Headline on Mercola dot com

General Mills Gets a Taste of the Backlash After it Spent Over $1.1 Million to Defeat GMO Labeling Initiative

Eli Gold is the Public Relations Wizard / Crisis Manager on The Good Wife. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

WW2 British Aircraft

Walrus Flying Boat
Click me to go to the album
I'm still mucking about with pictures, trying to find some way to organize them, trying to figure which is the best tool for the job, which web site I like the best. Picasa is a little trying, but it does seem to do most of what I want. Like I said earlier, Stu sent me a link to a page full of pictures. I really don't like these kind of things, you constantly have to fiddle with the controls to get the next picture on the screen. I like slide shows. Press the go button, and then click once every time you want to see the next picture. No fuss, no muss. Well, mostly. Still haven't it gotten it completely sorted out, but it's still better having to scroll through one long page of pictures.

I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out how to organize this bunch, and I finally came up with a sequential order that makes a sort of sense.

Biplanes on the water
Walrus Flying Boat
  Swordfish on floats
Biplanes on aircraft carriers
  Swordfish over the Ark Royal
Swordfish on carrier deck
  Swordfish on grass
Fairey Albacore landing on carrier
Mono-planes on aircraft carriers
  Fairey Fulmar
Royal Navy Corsairs on hanger deck
  Royal Navy Corsairs on flight deck
Seafire & Pilot
Land based monoplanes. We start with a couple of American planes.
  Mustang, or so the label says, hard to tell just what it is, but the angle of the shot is cool.
  P-40 Warhawk in North Africa with a crewman directing the pilot from the wing tip.
    Oh, the Glorius Spitfire!
    Crew tinkering with a Spitfire on the tarmac
  Pilots talking while crew tinkers
  Crew tinkering with a Spitfire on the grass
  Crew tinkering with a Spitfire up on stands
  Spitfire being painted in D-Day stripes
  Spitfires on the flight line ready to go. I don't think they ever looked this good during the war.
  Loading a camera into a Spit for photographic reconnaisance
  Ready to go
  Really ready to go
  Photo reconn taking off
  Battle of Britain
  Squadron formation
  Landing craft on the beach in Italy, dead Spitfire in the water
  Small formation in flight
  100 Gliders on the ground in Operation Market Garden
  Hamilcar Glider
Twin Engine Bombers
  Baltimore nose
  Baltimore dropping a bomb
  Beaufort front end
  Group of Blenheims and Hurricanes over North Africa
  Blenheim on the ground
  Pair of Hampdens in flight
  Crew going aboard a Douglas A-20 Havoc
  Hudson on the tarmac
  B-25 Mitchell being serviced
    My favorite, the Mosquito
  5 Mosquitos on the grass
  Mosquito gun test
  Crew going aboard a Mosquito
  Mosquito in flight
Four Engine Bombers
  Halifax in flight
  A whole bunch of Sterlings on the tarmac, pre-D-day
  3 Sterlings in flight
  At least 5 Wellingtons on the ground
  Servicing a Whitley
    Oh, the Glorious Lancaster
  Nose turret
  Tail turret
  Big wigs walking under the nose
  Big crowd standing around
    Lancaster / Armament
  Bombs en train to loading
  All loaded
  Bomb menu
  Mucking with fuses in North Africa
  Preparing rockets
  Ammo belt assembly
    Bomber crews
  Bomber crew
  Two stories
  Looking forward
  Brit pilot and mascot, North Africa
  Hurricane cockpit check in snow
  Earl Stanley Lock & Friend, Ace
  RAF Pilot
  Hurricane pilot Ginger Lacey, scored 18 kills in Battle of Britain
Hurricane pilots
  Hurricane pilots hanging out by their caravan
  RAF Trainees in Mesa Arizona
Home front
  Plotting room
  Making terrain models for RAF, UK 1943
  Assembling landing gear in the factory
  Short Sunderland flying boat factory
  RAF Brass
  Moral Boosting Poster
  Lancaster on display at War Rally, Trafalgar Square, London
  Wellington recovered from Loch Ness

Update March 2019. Picasa has died, but it appears that all of the my pictures have been moved to Google Drive, so the link under the picture at top should take you to the album.
Update May 2019. Fixed.