Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest
If the type is too small, Ctrl+ is your friend

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Random Stuff

Pictures from my camera

Failed electronic ballast for circular fluorescent light fixture.

Prepainted fenders at NAPA. Might work for newer cars where the paint hasn't had time to fade.

NAPA again. I'm not sure I want to know why you would need a kit to spill pigs or why would you want to spill pigs in the first place. For that matter how do you spill pigs? Pick up the pig truck and shake them out?

Panasonic dedicated word processor at Free Geek. $40. 
I almost bought it because, because... but then I didn't.

Complete with keyboard. 
Did you notice the storage slots in the front panel for the extra floppies that aren't in the drive at the moment?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Car of the Day

1955 Bisiluro (Twin Torpedo) created by Carlo Mollino and Enrico Nardi, their goal was to create an ultra-light, aerodynamic car to compete at Le Mans. Sadly, during the race, the Bisiluro was blown off the track by a passing D-Type Jaguar, damaged and retired. More photos here.


The world is a strange and wondrous place. Some Africans are fighting a war over land using bows and arrows. It doesn't look like any war I've ever seen, but it seems to be pretty serious: 20 people have died in the fighting.

Automobilismo: Taruffi batte cinque primati mondiali.

    Then I'm watching a video about an old record setting Italian race car and the narrator is talking a mile a minute (in Italian. I don't understand just what does he say).
    I'm looking at this old car with absolutely no safety features and I'm reminded of ToddG's rant about gun safety and I realize that the gun community's attitude about safety is very similar to the attitude about automobile safety that was prevalent back in the 1950's. Yes, these machines can be dangerous if you are careless, so you should be careful, but even if you are careful, sometimes bad things happen and you have an accident and people get hurt. That's too bad, but that's just the way it is.
   Then it hits me: why don't mass murderers use automobiles to wreak their vengeance on the world? A car is at least as dangerous as a gun, maybe even more so, but you don't hear about nut cases deliberately driving into crowds of people with the intention of killing as many people as possible. I mean you occasionally hear about it happening by accident, and some of those accidents might have been deliberate, but those seem to be very rare.
    Getting back to our Africans. I suspect there is some kind of tradition or unspoken social contract that prevents them from using guns, and now I'm thinking that there is something similar going on that prevents people from using cars for mass murder.

P.S. Talking to Jack about the Africans the other day and he mentioned how Benjamin Franklin proposed arming the Continental Army with bows and arrows. They had almost the same range and were as least as accurate as the muskets the British were using, and they were a heck of a lot cheaper. Jack was of the opinion that they used guns because they didn't want to be laughed at. I think it was because little balls of lead were cheaper than an accurate hand made arrow. Plus balls of lead would be so deformed on impact as to render them useless for return fire, whereas arrows were more likely to be undamaged and sent back.

Update May 2020 replaced missing video. Using the wayback machine I found the term 'il bisiluro di Taruffi' which turned up a couple of similar videos. The other one can be found here. A later model Bisiluro has appeared here also.

Mud with Matthew McConaughey

Ever heard the expression "your name is mud"? I'm sure this film will remind you of it, over and over again. A fine film, sort of reminiscent of another recent movie that was set on the big muddy (the Mississippi River) Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Update (Spoiler Warning): In the shootout at the end, Mr. Blankenship (Sam Shepard) must have had a silencer on his high powered rifle otherwise I don't see how the bad guys could fail to realize they were under attack. I didn't notice a silencer, and it would have been kind of hard to miss, unless the muzzle never made it to the screen. Maybe I'll go check it out after I wake up a bit.

Pic of the Day

An AV-8B Harrier somewhere over Africa

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Art Nouveau Thanksgiving

Instrument Panel from a 1929 Hudson Super Six. From Matt and Sharon.


Luanda, Angola

Seems Angola and Nigeria are big oil producers these days. With big oil comes big money, and with big money comes big corruption, but what cha gonna do?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Good design is as little design as possible." - some German motherfucker
Found on  Motherfucking Website via Dustbury

The Safety Sin

26-Feb-09 – 11:40 by ToddG
fingerAt a recent major pistol competition, an accident happened. One of the participants, while holstering his gun between strings of fire, got his trigger finger in the wrong place and shot himself in the leg.
Before you read any further, think about that. Think about what your reaction would be if you saw that happen, or if it happened at your club. What would you do? What would you think of the event, the shooter, and the sport? How should the club respond? How should the sport as a whole react?
Once you have an idea in your mind about your personal reaction, read on …
What assumptions did you make about the shooter and the incident?
By all accounts, the shooter will make a full recovery. He took full responsibility for his mistake. He is an experienced and respected competitor with a military background. No one ever considered him unsafe, unskilled, or irresponsible.
The range staff and match officials responded immediately and professionally to the incident. There was a plan in place and it was followed. The match was delayed but not canceled.
It wasn’t until after the match that it became a major problem. The online forum dedicated to the sport officially stated it would censor discussion of the accident. On another forum, it was suggested that perhaps the match official should have been able to prevent the accident by reacting in the split second between seeing the gun going into the holster and hearing the crack of a shot going off. Why? Because in the shooting world we treat an accident like a mortal sin. 
But this wasn’t a sin. It was a mistake. It was a mistake made by an intelligent, experienced gun handler. That makes us uncomfortable. It tears away at our often self-righteous attitude that only idiots make mistakes. It threatens to overwhelm our religious fervor when we talk about how we would never make a mistake like that because we know the Cardinal Rules and always follow them!
The reality is that none of us is perfect. We have safety rules to minimize the chance of someone getting hurt, but if you are around guns often enough and long enough you are going to see mistakes happen. Eventually, you are going to make one yourself. The most dangerous gun handlers are the ones who think they’re too safe to worry about making a mistake.
As a community, we need to stop treating all accidental discharges as foolish and criminal acts. By placing every accident under the umbrella of sin, we do ourselves a disservice. We lose the chance to examine the details and learn from them. We lump the competitor who made a momentary transgression in with the idiot who’s never learned anything about safe gun handling. Worst of all, we create a mindset that tells us mistakes won’t happen to smart people (meaning, “us”) … which breeds complacency, which breeds more mistakes.
We have redundant safety rules specifically so that when a mistake does happen, it’s less likely to result in an injury. But “less likely” is not a guarantee. Remember that the next time you’re pointing your gun at the wall to your kid’s bedroom because you know you’ll keep your finger off the trigger … Or the next time a buddy hands you a gun without clearing it first because you both know you’re too safe to make a mistake.
And if you’ve read all this and still believe, “It’ll never happen to me,” good luck with that. I hope I don’t see you at the range. Or in the Emergency Room.
Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

Stolen entire from Pistol-Training dot com, via a link from View From The Porch

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Operation Serval - France Goes to War in Mali

How France Fought a Lightning War in Mali (Op Serval)
Battle Order

This is a pretty good film and a nice story. Trouble shows up in Mali (Western Africa) and the French go in to put a stop to it. They send a small force (4,500 troops), they are there for a few months, and they dealt with the problem. Who knows how long things will remain calm.
     Mali is where you find Timbuktu, which should tell you something about the place. I was surprised to find that anyone thought there was anything there worth fighting over. 

I found a few things worth noting in the original film. I don't know if any of them show up in the new one:
  • the temperature: at times it reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit (8 minute mark).
  • the amount of gear the French troops were carrying (in excess of 100 pounds).
  • Wild camels (18 minute mark).
  • the amount of water you need to support a military force in the Sahara desert. 20 tons of water every day. (20 x 2000 / 4500 = 2 gallons per man).
  • the amount of munitions they recovered from secret caches in the middle of nowhere. Literally tons of arms and ammunition. It was like the Jihadists were planning a war. (20 & 43 minute marks.)
Update July 2016 replaced missing video.
Update July 2023 replaced missing video with a different video on the same subject.

Sana'a, Capital of Yemen

Yemen seems to pop up in the news a lot more often than any two-bit third world hell hole in the back of beyond should have any right to. This time a couple of Belarusian military instructors got shot in the capital city of Sana'a. Hadn't heard of this place before, so I look it up on ye olde Wiki and find this:
Sana'a is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. At an altitude of 7,500 feet, it is also one of the highest capital cities in the world. Sana'a has a population of approximately two million, making it Yemen's largest city.
Denver is a mile high, which is only 5,000 feet, so Sana'a is getting up there. And here I thought the Arabian peninsula was a big, flat stretch of sand. At that altitude is doesn't get all that hot even though it's in the hottest part of the world.

Knight's Tour

Can you cover an entire chess board using only a knight, and do it without visiting any square more than once? Somebody figured it out and Iowa Andy sent me the GIF file. I looked around for other versions and I found this interactive one. They claim a good score is 65. Well, duh. A perfect score would be 63. I gave it a whack but it took me 75 moves. Then I tried copying this diagram. It took me a couple or three tries before I realized that following the GIF wouldn't work. Since the GIF starts in the middle of the top row and the puzzle starts in the corner, you will run into one of the endpoints when you are only halfway done, and when you get there you are not within reach of the other endpoint. I haven't had my coffee yet. Yes, I know it's mid-afternoon, but I didn't sleep well last night, and after daughter-of-dubious-value drug me out to look at used cars this morning I needed a nap when we got back.

Rocket to the Moon

Russian 3D design animation of next generation moon capsule.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nazis Persecuted Jews for Torturing Animals?

Caricature from Kladderadatsch, a satirical journal, September 1933. Lab animals giving the Roman salute to Hermann Göring for his order to ban vivisection.

As with most things regarding Nazi Germany, none of this makes any sense. Maybe they had too much lead in their diet. Came across this picture and then I did a little reading in ye olde Wikipedia. From the article on Animal welfare in Nazi Germany:
At the end of the nineteenth century, kosher butchering and vivisection were the main concerns regarding animal protection in Germany. These concerns continued among the Nazis. According to Boria Sax, the Nazis rejected anthropocentric reasons for animal protection—animals were not to be protected for human interests—but for themselves. In 1927, a Nazi representative to the Reichstag called for actions against cruelty to animals and kosher butchering.
I had never heard any complaints about kosher butchering before. All I had heard is it had to be done by someone with some standing in the church, like a priest or a rabbi or something. So I go look that up and find a article titled Shechita which is a Jewish word for Kosher slaughter, though I don't know why they can't just call it slaughter instead of this funny, made up name. In any case, they give an explanation of the requirements (slightly condensed by me):
The animal must be killed "with respect and compassion" by a Jew who is duly licensed and trained. The act is performed by severing the trachea, esophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins and vagus nerve in a swift action using an extremely sharp blade. This results in a rapid drop in blood pressure in the brain and loss of consciousness. According to Jewish religious sources, the animal is now insensible to pain and exsanguinates in a prompt and precise action.
This sounds like a pretty good way, i.e. humane, way of killing an animal. I can't imagine why people were opposed to it, unless they didn't like all the blood. Or maybe they just didn't like the idea of Jews having knives.

Collier Flintlock Revolver

Inspired by Roberta X. More pictures here and here. I didn't think much of this when I first read about it. People have always been making really weird stuff, but then I hear that Elisha made 10,000 of them for the British Army for use in India back in the early 1800's. Now that's impressive.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Indian Mars Probe Takes Photo of Earth

November 21, 2013. India's Mars probe Mangalyan took a picture of Earth from a height of about 40,000 miles. Resolution of this image is about 7 miles per pixel. The slightly larger one available by clicking has a resolution of about 6 miles per pixel. The claimed resolution of the original image is 2 miles per pixel. I am not sure of the provenance of this image.

Iran Facts?

Iran is the big blue blob in the middle. The dark read circles with the white stars are military bases.

Just ran into an ad on YouTube that uses a bunch of the Iranian 'Death To America' rhetoric to argue that we should keep the sanctions against Iran in place. I'm not too concerned one way or the other about this. As far as I am concerned the guys running the Iranian government are a bunch of whack jobs, but I do wonder just who is putting these ads up. A little pointy and clicky and I turn up their YouTube page which has an About section, which is totally blank. You don't suppose Saudi Arabia is behind this, do you?
    One side effect of our imposing sanctions on Iran is that it could make the Russians look like their friends. Russia may not be particularly fond of Iran, but anytime they can gain some advantage they will certainly take it, and if they manage to poke us in the eye while they are at it, so much the better. We had a chance to do something with Cuba when the Soviet Union collapsed, but we stuck to our guns, and now Russia is back on their feet, and setting up operations in Cuba again.
    This is beginning to look like a warmed over version of the cold war. We support the Saudis and Russia supports Iran. The Saudis support the President of Syria and the Iranians support the rebels, or did I get that last part backwards?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pic of the Day

A CH-54 Flying Crane helicopter transports an F-100 Super Sabre aircraft at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Hill AFB is in Ogden, about 10 miles North of Salt Lake City. Ogden is on a flat piece of land trapped between The Great Salt Lake on the West and some big rocks to the East, as seen above.

Mid Air Collision

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) preliminary report on the accident:
On January 16, 2004, about 1415 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 180K, N61691, and a Beech 95-B55, N555RD, collided about 6.5 nautical miles west of Tehachapi, California. The Cessna was destroyed, and its airline transport certificated pilot was fatally injured. The Beech was substantially damaged, and its private pilot received minor injuries.

The Beech pilot reported to the Safety Board investigator that, at the time of the collision, he was in a cruise climb. His altitude was over 5,500 feet mean sea level (msl) but less than 6,500 feet msl. Less than a second prior to the collision he observed the right landing gear of an approaching airplane in his 1 o'clock position. He then ducked in a reflex-like manner and the collision occurred. The Beech pilot observed a dirt airstrip near his location, and he made a precautionary landing.
Text borrowed from Snopes

Photos arrived in an e-mail from Posthip Scott this morning attached to a story with the tag line:
"Meeting a goose at 11,000 ft. doing 185 knots can ruin your whole day."

Testament to this assertion is provided in the movie The Edge:

The edge 1997 Plane crash scene
Robert Bowersock
The Edge was a pretty terrible movie with a lot of really neat scenes in it. I thought I wrote something about it once before but I can't find it now. Anthony Hopkin's character is the only one that displays any sense. Fortunately the dumbkoffs get killed off, though we have to put up with Alec Baldwin's dummy until the very end.
    Also found this video about how they filmed the plane crash for the movie. The narrator is really annoying. Does anyone really enjoy this kind of breathless enthusiasm? Shooting the plane crash was quite a production.

Movie Magic - "The Edge" Plane Crash
Thomas FX Group Inc.

Update February 2023 replaced missing video.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Saab 9000 Turbo Advert

A blast from 1987. From Sharon and Matt.

Philippines Relief Aircraft

Super Stallion Helicopter

You may have heard that there was a severe storm in the Philippines last week. Came across a story today about the US Military's relief efforts there. Also saw another one that mostly talks about the advantages of various aircraft. I thought it was kind of long winded, so I summarized the essential elements in a table.

Hercules and Osprey

The Osprey's weakness is its high cost and low carrying capacity. Its advantage over helicopters is its speed and range. I was surprised that the Super Stallion outperforms the Chinook in all measures. Hercules is in a class by itself. All can refuel in mid-air. I think you'd have to be nuts, but it can be done.

Chinooks in Afghanistan

Update: Silly me, I mistook the picture of the Pave Hawk in the Philippines for a Super Stallion. No pics of the Super or the Chinook in the Philippines. Also figured out how to embed a spreadsheet.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Is It Hot Enough For Ya?

I don't know what the duck has to do with anything, but the message is spot on. Tow truck might run you a couple of hundred dollars. A new engine will run you a couple of thousand, minimum. Oh the overheating might not kill it dead right off, but it will lead to things like warped heads, failing head gaskets and leaking oil seals. You might be able to limp along for another six months or a year, but eventually you will have to pay the piper. Or start walking.

    The evolution of the temperature gauge in the US has several stages. First, there were gauges that worked. Some even had numbers on them. But US drivers, who a) can’t be bothered learning that a 50/50 ethylene glycol/water mix boils at 224F at atmospheric pressure, and b) that the boiling point goes up 3F for each PSI, would get all sorts of panicky if the temperature gauge read over 200F and bring it back to the dealer for warranty work.
    So the automakers scrapped the numbers and just put cold/hot markings. Well, then customers wanted to know what part of the gauge’s range was trouble, and brought anything “too low” or “too high” by their subjective judgement back to the dealer for warranty work.
    So the “NORMAL” band was added, typically with letters. Now we get into the same problem as with numbers: customers expected it to be in the middle of the NORMAL range, right between the R and the M. And never move.
    So the automakers started putting huge flat spots in the gauge’s response curve. And under most conditions, that helped. Except with some heat-challenged engines in cold climates, where the coolant temp would dither around the point where the flat spot started, and the needle would move slightly in normal operation, causing customers to bring the car back for warranty work.
    So the automakers did two things: one, they removed the “NORMAL” lettering again, and two, they increased the flat spot on the response curve.
And thus was gestation of the idiot light disguised as a gauge. - TTAC commenter “autojim”

Stolen from Dustbury. Does the repetition of "back to the dealer for warranty work" make this some kind of formal form?

Rafał "Stunter13" Pasierbek - Plus Stunt Grand Prix 2013

These kids these days. I wonder how long a motorcycle lasts with him riding it. Oh be quiet, you old grump. You enjoyed the show, didn't you?

How (Not) To Replace a Burned Out Light Bulb

The light over the basement stairs burned out. It's a small, circular, fluorescent fixture. Fluorescent is better, don't cha know? That's what my scientist mother always preached to me. Uses less electricity to produce the same amount of light, and electricity costs money, money that could be used to buy shoes, or not, as California Bob tells it.
    This happened once before and that time I found a replacement bulb at Freddies (our local mega-mart), so I drove over there and picked up a nine inch circular replacement fluorescent bulb for $9. A bit steep I thought, but even cheeseburgers are $9 these days, so what can you expect? Take it home and plug it in and it doesn't work. Bah and humbug.
    Fortunately I have a second identical fixture that is working, so I try both bulbs in it and they both work. The old one is noticeably dimmer, but it's good enough. Okay, so the electronical gizmo is probably kaput. It comes off with a twist, but it's still connected by the wires. I make sure the light switch is off and then I unfasten the wire nuts and the wires come apart. I put the wire nuts back on the black and white wires so we won't electrocute any gerfinger poken tourists while I am gone.
    According to gospel I should have turned off the circuit breaker, but if I am careful I don't consider this any more dangerous than plugging in a lamp cord. I managed to get my finger between the prongs of my toy electric train transformer when I was a kid when I plugged it into an extension cord once. Let me tell you, that was a thrill.
    Off to Lowe's I go. There are a Lowe's and a Home Depot right next to each other here. I used to go to Home Depot, but somewhere along the way I got tired of the cheapest of everything all the time. In many cases, the cheapest is just fine, but sometimes it is worthwhile to pay a little more and get something a little better. Might last longer, might be easier to use or install. Might just be a change from squabbling over every dang blasted nickel. I don't squabble over pennies any more.
    Find the light bulb aisle. They have nine zillion different light bulbs, but none of the gizmos I am looking for. Turn the corner and there is a red vested employee asking if I need some help. Well, yes, I do. Well, no sir, we don't have any of those, but we do have this fixture over in the closeout bin. It's also $9, but it's a different style and uses two bulbs, and yes, I could probably cut it apart and use some of the bits to repair my old fixture, but that is the road to perdition. I pass.
Circular fluorescent light fixture

    Let's look at the fixtures. We take two steps around the corner and there they are, all the fluorescent fixtures in the world. That one looks like a good one, similar style, and look, it's only $15. Cool. It isn't until I have it home and I open the package that I discover that it uses not just one circular fluorescent bulb, but two, of different sizes, mounted concentrically. Well, poop. Will it work with just the one I have? Oh, wait a minute, what's this? It comes complete with both bulbs! Well, happy day.
    Now all we have to do is mount it. First thing is to connect the wires with the wire nuts. If I stand on the correct step I am just tall enough to reach without straining, but we have two ground wires on the fixture and getting three wires to line up so you can jam a wire nut over their ends is at least twice as hard as when there are just two wires. (Two ground wires on the fixture plus one bare ground wire from the box makes three wires.) The fixture itself weighs next to nothing, so I am not worried about any strain on the wires. Also, I'm not a professional and I'm not getting paid. Befitting my amateur status I manage to drop the wire nut at least a couple of times, which means walking down the stairs to the bottom so I can search for the near invisible critter in the dark. Because the light is burned out.
Full size box

Half deep box
    Get all the wires connected, now all we have to do is screw the fixture to the ceiling. The electrical box in the ceiling is one of these half deep things, and the fixture is basically a flat plate, so the three feet of wire is going to have to become very friendly in order to fit in the two cubic inches of space allowed. I twist the mess up, press the fixture to the ceiling, manage to spy one of the screw holes and get one screw started. But fiddle as I might, I cannot get the second screw started. Oh yes, even though the fixture has keyhole slots that should allow you to put the screws in first and then put the fixture on over them, the heads of the screws are too big to fit through the large end of the keyholes.
Keyhole slot
    Pull the fixture off, measure the distance between the holes and everybody agrees that it is 2 & 3/4 inches, center to center, except for the second set of holes in the old fixture which are 3 & 1/2 inches apart. So the holes should line up and the screws should go in, and they probably would except for the stupid wires that are trying to escape their captivity. I pull out my change-a-blade screwdriver, and go to swap the phillips blade for a straight one and ---- !!!! the straight blade is missing! Arrrgggh! Cretins! Criminals! Bah and humbug. Go get another straight bladed screwdriver. The only one handy is tiny, but it works well enough to push the wayward wire out of the way, and I finally get the screw in.

Change-a-blade screwdriver with 2 Phillips tips and 2 straight tips.

    I use my newly repowered cordless drill to spin the screws in the rest of the way, and then I use my regular phillips to check their tightness. Install the bulbs. The bulbs connect to short little pigtails hanging out of the fixture. They look like they should be long enough that you could just mount the bulbs anywhere, but in fact the wires are only long enough to allow the the bulbs to mount in one position.
    Last step is to mount the cover (diffuser). The old one screwed into the fixture much like a jam jar screws into it's lid. This one has three little levers with attached hooks that grab the cover from the inside. They work fine, but operating them reveals that the fixture is loose on the ceiling. Take the cover off and tighten the screws again. They are tight, I think they have bottomed out against the top (bottom?) of the box. The fixture is not locked down, but it is snug, and it's not like it's going to fall off, I mean the screwheads won't fit through the holes, remember? So I turn it on, and low and behold, light! And even though there are now two bulbs instead of one, it is not insufferably bright, so I declare victory and retire to my cave to recover from my exertions and write this fascinating account.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quote of the Day

Yee haw! You tell 'em Joe! What? He wasn't supporting this idea? Oh. Too bad.

How To Open A Can Without a Can Opener

Sometimes I wonder about all the Russian stuff I post, but in spite of all their problems (revolution, war, communism, Stalin, corruption, not to mention the collapse of the government) they are still one of the super powers on the world stage, and when they can get their act together they are quite capable,
    I had not heard of this technique for opening cans. It's kind of typical of what you find from someone whose mind grew up in a very different environment: just totally off the wall.

Via Marcel, who has quite a story about an attempt to open a can.

Money Talks, or Not. Part 1.

UNSPEAK IS AN INTERACTIVE DOCUMENTARY INVESTIGATING THE MANIPULATIVE POWER OF LANGUAGE. From Too Big to Fail to the Fiscal Cliff, Unspeak is rampant in economic crisis rhetoric. From the Submarine Channel

I'm looking for images to go with my subject and I came across this video. Very clever. It's kind of entertaining in a sarcastic kind of way.

Pic of the Day

A U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle flies over Yosemite National Park and the granite rock formation named Half Dome. The aircraft is assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing, California Air National Guard, Fresno, California. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Roy Santana

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quote of the Day

Also, Google seems to have abandoned its old "Don't be evil" slogan, at least for some values of evil. - fillyjonk commenting on a post by Dustbury.

Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks

The tune is ok, but the video is spectacular.

Russians Carry Olympic Torch to the North Pole

They got there on October 19, a month ago today. The ship is one of their nuclear powered icebreakers. They made quite a party of it. 
Update: I am adding 'icebreaker' so Blogger's search function can find this.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Runaway Diesel: Jerk it out

This video is one in a playlist of 20. It will continue on to the next one automatically if you let it.

Explanation from the original video:
This video illustrates what happens when these two stroke semidiesels run out due to too much oil in the crankcase. With my left hand, I block the injection pump, so from that time the engine run on lube oil only, no diesel at all. I have heard lots of stories about this from decades ago but this is the first time, to my knowledge, that it is captured on video. Luckily we had blocked most of the air intake prior to starting and ended at somewhat over 1000 rpm. Max operating rpm is 425-450. With full air supply, I would guess this engine would reach thousands of rpm and I could only guess what would have happened then... 
The electric glowplug short circuited so we had to rely on the propane burner which had slightly low temperature. In this startattempt, we used an acetylene burner and got the glowplug bright red. The crankcase was, unfortunately, filled with too much oil so the engine was running on its lube oil from the crankcase instead of diesel. Still some trouble with the fuel injection, doesn't feel right when injecting diesel manually. 
Only because it put a smile on my face.

Big Fat Lie

I've been kicking around this theory for a few years now, and since I seem to be losing weight and I'm feeling kind of crappy today, I thought I would share it with you. My theory is that Americans are all getting so fat because of all the toxic substances found in our environment. Our bodies react to these toxins by wrapping those toxic bits in little balls of fat and storing them away in fat cells. This is also why it's so hard to lose weight. When you are losing weight, your body is unpacking those fat cells to recover the stored energy and when it does that, those little bits of toxic shit that had been safely stored away are let loose to attack you and make you miserable.

Handley Page H.P. 42

With a cruising speed of 100 MPH this airliner was 'the Concorde of its era', although I don't think they ever served you breakfast in bed on the Concorde.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pharmaco What?

Pharmacovigilance Process Automation and Case Management
This is the worst video in the world, even stupid pet tricks are better than this. This ad popped up on YouTube and I'm listening to it and I'm wondering what they are talking about. It sort of sounds like they are talking about business practices and computer systems, but the more they say, the less it means. It sounds like blather, full of buzzwords and feel-good phrases, but I couldn't find any actual substance in it. I'm wondering if this kind of ad would attract any customers, and I wonder what kind of customers they would be. To me, this sounds like a scam, and not a very good one. A good scam would have some substance to it, even if it was imaginary substance. If there is any substance in this video, I didn't find it.
     The sad part is that it is probably an accurate portrayal of our current insurance processing system, if you could call it a "system", and these guys, or guys like them are probably going to have all the work they can stand, which will consist of going to meetings, giving presentations, drinking coffee and eating donuts. Mmmmm, my favorite, donuts. I'm jealous.

Joe Scarborough: How I Would Fix the Republican Party

Saw this piece in PARADE magazine this morning. Reminds me of this article that I came across a couple of weeks ago. You think PARADE is following me?

Saturn and Other Planets

CICLOPS released this picture a few days ago. It purports to show four (count 'em, 4!) planets: Saturn, Earth, Mars & Venus. Only Saturn is visible here, the other three have been reduced to non-existence by virtue of their sub-pixel dimensions. You can see them as blue dots in the full size image.
    What I don't understand is what is showing on the face of the planet? Why is it not just completely black? And why is there a black band outside the upper half of the bright ring around the planet? The bright ring I suspect is sunlight being refracted through the upper layers of Saturn's atmosphere.
    Half of the press on this seems to be playing up the business of all the people on Earth waving at Saturn to have their picture taken (last summer). That's the dumbest thing I ever heard, and that's why I'm not the president of anything, just in case you were wondering.

Update: Just discovered that I put up a post on this topic a couple of months ago.

Jerry Miculek Shoots the M-1 Garand

Comrad Misfit put up a video of Mr. Jerry making a very difficult shot, well, difficult for the likes of you and me. He makes it look easy. He is an impressive shooter, but even more impressive is that he is an old geezer who seems to have successfully adapted to our brave new net.
    I'm looking at some of his other stuff and I see this video. I like semi-automatic rifles because they deliver the most firepower you can get without a license, and I like the 30-06 because it is the most powerful cartridge you can get for under a buck. So I really like the M-1 Garand because it combines these two elements: the most bang for the buck. Never mind that I haven't shot more than a dozen rounds of this, and a Garand at $400 is too rich for my blood, if I was going to war it would still be my weapon of choice. (Yeah, in your dreams grandpa.)
    The clip business is interesting. Tam put up a post about clips versus magazines a while back, (this might be it, or maybe this) and until then I hadn't really thought about it. I had always been of the schoolboy opinion that magazines where the one true way. Shoot until empty, drop the empty magazine and slap a full one into the gun and resume shooting. Problem with magazines is you have to load them, one bullet at a time, by hand, which is slow and annoying. Plus you have to have magazines to load, they cost money to buy and they have some non-negligible weight you have to carry. Clips are better in almost every way. The ammo comes preloaded in clips (at least it does if you are the federal government and are buying ammo by the trainload), the clips have negligible cost and weight and are entirely disposable. I don't know, but I suspect that clips might be slightly harder and slower to get into the gun, and they disrupt your sight line, which could be a critical moment in combat. Plus if you are an arms manufacturer, you don't get to charge for the magazines.
     I call him Mr. Jerry because even though I heard him say his name on the video I still can't figure out how to pronounce it. Mukluk? Mis-a-lek? Mik-a-lux? Missile-ax?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quote of the Day

Take Away the TSA's Wire-Cutters Before They Hurt Themselves

Imagine taking a breadboard version of a stereoscopic camera rig on a trip and checking the rig through to your destination.

Two guys did just that in 2012. The TSA, naturally, has no idea what it was. So, on the fear that it could be something, the TSA opened the case the camera rig was in and cut all of the red wires.

Because, what, some goddamned movie had them cutting the red wires?

And then, because they thought they had defused whatever it was, they let it go through on the flight?

The bind moggles.

The last line puts the icing on the cake. Stolen entire from Comrade Misfit. And hey, TSA guys, it's the blue wire.


Thank god for Tam and the military. If it wasn't for them I might run out of really weird, extraordinary shit that no one would ever believe. Except you've got photos.

What we have here is a flying beer can, a blimp made out of aluminum, 100 rings or so of Alclad aluminum sheet 18 inches wide, riveted together by an automatic sewing machine, just a couple of months before the great stock market crash of 1929. It seems that this was the first use of this corrosion resistant alloy and since it was a success, it was used to build most of the aircraft in WW2. It also explains why they were able to restore a Spitfire they dug out of a Normandy beach a few years ago.

The ZMC-2 was constructed in two halves, the nose and the tail, hung from the ceiling and rings of aluminum succesively attached.

This photo gives you an idea of the relative sizes of the ZMC-2, a normal blimp and the very large airship. The USS Los Angeles is about 650 feet long. The cruiser USS Raleigh steaming along on the water was about 550 feet long.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Quantum Theif by Hannu Rajaniemi

I am beginning to wonder if maybe our purpose here is to create the next race of intelligent beings. So many of the stories I've been reading lately seem to involve uploading and downloading memories or entire minds. I don't think we are ever going to be able to do that with our organic brains, but you should be able to build that facility into a mechanical brain. Mechanical brains could be built with other features as well, like being able to sleep for a thousand years, or communicate via radio with other brains. We are still a long way from building a brain as compact and powerful as a human brain, but we are getting better all the time. The IBM machine that played Jeopardy and Google's self driving car are signs that computers are becoming more capable.
    Meanwhile the biological sciences haven't been sitting on their hands. People are messing about with genes and I just read that someone is trying to figure out how cells talk to each other. It's kind of like the more we know, the more we find out how little we know about biology. A few months ago I read about someone being able to sort of reconstruct an image of what a person was seeing by using data from some kind of brain scan, an MRI I believe. Who know's where that technology will be in five or ten decades?
    Isaac Asimov's robots used positronic brains, which were basically three dimensional computer chips. Right now chips are still two dimensional, but it won't be long until we reach the point where someone is going to try stacking up a hundred of them into one solid block. Connecting it to the outside world will be a bit of a trick, and until we start working with much lower voltages, cooling will be problematic.
    But we're getting there. Building an intelligent machine might not be our purpose, but it might be our function. I wonder whether they could ever be self sufficient. All people need is food, air and water and they can reproduce themselves endlessly. Machines need other machines and raw materials and machines to dig up raw materials and machines to make energy and machines to make machines. All people need is a planet covered with a complete eco-system filled with plants and animals. Could we construct a race of intelligent, self replicating, space faring (vacuum beathing) robots? How long would they survive?
    Given the energy cost of getting into orbit, I wonder if we might be better off establishing a race of mechanical moon men, and let them do our space exploration for us. With our proxies out conquering the galaxy for us, we wouldn't need to be worried about doing it ourselves and we could settle down to making the earth a nice place to live.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gunny Writes

He is the very model of a modern Major General ... oh, wait, no, that's somebody else. R. Lee Ermey (that's Er-may, not Emery like I thought it was for like forever) has got to be our archtype of the hard ass marine drill instructor. I got an email today from an Erin Haft asking me to do a post on this book and I thought cool, Gunny wrote a book. Well, that was my first thought. My second thought was, hey, wait a minute, Gunny knows how to write? Ha, ha, ha. Very funny dirt bag. Give me ten you squirmy little toad.
    I've seen a couple of episodes of his TV shows and they are always fun. This one in particular stuck with me:

M16 v AK47
BigBawz VR Racing

Posthip Scott sent me a Veteran's Day link about movie stars who were in the armed forces.

Don Adams of Get Smart fame was also a marine drill Sargent.

Update March 2021 replaced missing video.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Side Socket

Iowa Andy sent me the link. Good idea I think. Someday someone will redesign the entire residential power distribution system, or more likely it will go obsolete when everything runs on batteries. Meanwhile we are plugging things in willy-nilly. In my office I have 4 wall warts, 2 power strips, 9 out of 12 outlets are in use leaving only 3 available. We won't talk about all the data cables.