Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Saturday, June 30, 2018


These days it seems like everything produced by mass media is designed to inflame an emotion, facts be danged. People make decisions based on emotion, not on facts, so if you want to sway people's opinion on an issue, you need to make an emotional appeal, not a cold, calculating one, although that is exactly what the people behind the scenes are doing: coldly calculating what should go into their emotional appeal that will make it most effective.

Seems like everyone has an agenda these days, and every story that comes out is given a slanted emotional appeal designed to serve that agenda. Marc, one of our most vocal supporters of right wing politics (although I think a lot of it is just to irritate anyone who voices a liberal opinion), listens to NPR, who have some interesting stories. However, after you have listened to them for a bit it becomes pretty clear that the stories are designed to make you feel bad or guilty about whatever issue is under discussion. Never mind the facts.

CO2 and global warming popped up at Thursday lunch and things like CO2 from cow farts and rice paddies (and some other source that I have forgotten) are suspected of being bigger contributors to global warming than the burning of fossil fuels by the industrialized West. I discouraged any further exploration of the topic because it's an endless rathole. There is no bottom to it, mostly because every single story you will find has been painted with a big fat brush dripping with colored paint, red or blue.

We finished watching season one of Goliath last night and while I enjoyed the show, it was kind of low on logic. It was basically a sequence of emotional scenes tied together with some pretty thin thread. For instance, there is a bad guy running around loose, wreaking havoc on our heroes, but he gets taken out. By who? No clue is ever given. A death bed confession is not convincing. And then there is the case of police brutality, or at least it seemed like it could have been a case, and should have been pursued, but there wasn't even a failed attempt to collect the video from police car camera. And what's with the hooker? Nothing she does makes much sense, but then if I was making $10,000 for a weekend of snorting coke and screwing my brains out, maybe I wouldn't be making any sense either.

Friday, June 29, 2018


I sent a note to my kids yesterday:
So I figured out something I could use: headphones preloaded with an endless supply of music so I don't have to listen to the sports announcer's yammering while I am watching a game.
This morning I'm surfing the net, reading about the nuclear power industry in the Northwest, and ads for headphones start popping up. Google, you're reading my mail now? Dog-tards. Well, I guess I shouldn't really expect any privacy on a FREE service.

Pic of the Day

Airbus A380-800 'Year of Zayed' Taking off from Sydney Australia - Fletcher Moar
Seems to be absolutely dwarfing the QantasLink Dash 8-300 taxiing in the background, but of course it's somewhat further away, despite the A380's shadow effectively covering it a moment after this shot was taken. - Alan Hume

Thursday, June 28, 2018


GOLIATH Season 1 TRAILER (2016) New Amazon Series

Started watching this the other night and it's pretty good. It's got all your standard legal-drama elements including a the drunk lawyer (Billy Bob) who used to be pretty good, the combative ex-wife (Maria Bello), guys in suits who think they are above it all (William Hurt mostly), the really good-looking hooker / legal secretary (Tania Raymonde), but mostly it's the conversations that keep it entertaining. Sometimes we have people being nice to each, but mostly we have people being rude. It's very entertaining.

Tania Raymonde

Tania Raymonde is a real eye catcher. I know I have seen her in other shows, but looking over her credits on IMDB I don't see much that stands out. She was on Lost, but I wasn't a devote follower. I did watch Cold Case, but I don't really remember her there. Anyway, I suspect it's just her, her body, face and hair than captivated me. Plus the padded bras. That's always a way to get a guys attention.

What I don't quite understand is why Tania's character (Brittany) is so intent on being a hooker as opposed to working as a legal secretary. I suppose sex and money are more attractive than typing boring legal documents, and the way she looks I imagine she could make a decent living screwing for money.

There are some obvious clues, obvious to the audience anyway, that Billy Bob is going up against some ruthless, evil, corporate scumbags, but so far he seems oblivious. He will need to catch on pretty soon though or we're going to have a problem with credibility.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


I like baseball. In theory anyway. We, that is some townies and I, used to have coed softball games on Saturday night at Denison University. I don't know if anyone kept score, but we all had a good time. There weren't any lights which made it a little difficult to see the ball when it got late. Good thing we had beer.

We've been watching the college world series recently. I was a little surprised because my wife has never shown any interest in baseball. I suspect she is watching it because nothing is going on with the Ducks or Blazers, the OSU Beavers are playing and several people we know are OSU alumni, and it is kind of a big deal, at least as far as collegiate athletics go. I am watching because I am idle enough that I can enjoy a couple of drinks while watching a baseball game with my wife.

This week the Oregon State Beavers are playing the Arkansas Razorbacks in the college world series. We watched the second game this evening. The Beavers won so they are tied at one each. Tomorrow's game will decide the championship.

I noticed a few things during the game, some of which I hadn't seen before. For any kind of real fan, they are probably old hat, but they were new to me.

Catchers Signaling Language

Catchers signal the pitcher using hand signals. That has been part of baseball since the beginning of time. I never really understood why it was done. I mean does the catcher have some mystic way of knowing what pitch would be best? Is he better able to read the mind of the batter because he right there next to him? I think it's silly, I think the pitcher is quite capable of making up his own mind. But maybe there is more to it, and that's okay. It's part of baseball and if that's the way they want to play it, it's fine by me.

However, the way I originally heard it was that catcher would make hand signs to tell the pitcher what kind of pitch to throw. For example a closed fist might mean a fastball and two fingers might mean a slider, whatever a slider is. Anyway, it was one sign per pitch and that was it. But tonight we are lined up with second base sitting 300 feet away from home plate, behind the outfield fence with god's own telephoto lens and we can see the catcher tweeting away. He's not just giving one sign, he's spelling out entire flipping paragraphs. The Beaver's catcher was just holding his free hand between his legs and making a sequence of hand signals. The Arkansas catcher was waving all over, slapping his knees, shoulders, chest, etc. What the flip are they talking about?

Baseball Royalty

Notice the blond woman wearing an evening gown in the upper left corner

Bunt Technique

When I was a kid playing baseball the bunt was a valid technique but we never used it because first you had to know how to hit the ball and until you've got that mastered, learning to bunt is pointless. But! If you were to use it, is was supposed to be a surprise, you didn't give any indication that you were going to bunt until the pitcher had thrown the ball. These days, in college ball at least, it appears that you declare your intention to bunt before the pitcher has even thought about throwing the ball. Not sure what the rationale is here, but I imagine they've got a good reason for it, or at least an argument.

Fly balls

If you are attending a game, it behooves you to pay attention because sometimes a fly ball will land in the stands and if it smacks into you it's going to hurt. So whenever the pitcher releases that ball every pair of eyes in the stadium is going to watching to see where that balls goes. Can you imagine the amount of computerized processing power you would need in order to replicate that action by all those people? Watson would have his hands full, metaphorically speaking.

Broken finger

There was one guy playing with a broken finger. It was splinted and sticking straight out from his hand. It kind of looked like he was giving the pitcher the finger, except it was his index finger. You would have to be darn good at your job to be able to play like that.

The game

Arkansas made an error in the 8th (9th?) inning when three fielders converged on a fly ball and none of them made the catch. If they had caught it, Arkansas would have won and series would be over. Oregon managed to score a double play in the 9th to end the game.

Crate & Barrel

GREGORY SCOTT CUMMINS: "BOSCH" (Demo Clip 1) 2017 Edited

Thinking about LA detective shows, I remembered a couple of detectives who were pretty entertaining in a Click & Clack kind of way. At first I thought they were from Cold Case, but that was wrong, so I consulted with my wife and moved on to The Closer, but that was wrong too, and then I finally realized they were Crate & Barrel from Bosch. They were pretty funny. Maybe they will be back in the next season.


Breaking Cat News
I thought this was funny enough to share with my wife, so I started reading it to her. I got as far as 'chicken' and then I dissolved in a fit of giggles.

Update 13 hours later: if this doesn't make any sense, you might want to read the nursery rhyme.


Just because someone is famous, talented in any discipline, like an artist or a sports celebrity, does not mean any of their pronouncements (should they make any) are worth a hill of beans. On the other hand, any character defects they have should not influence our opinion as their performance. Or maybe they should.

A rapper got shot down and killed recently, in Florida I believe. It might have been a tragedy, except the guy was pretty much worthless as a human being. One might consider his death a boon to civilization. Or maybe I just feel that way because I don't care a fig for rap music.

I tried to figure out if I had any object reasons for disliking rap, and while I can come up with a few (words are spoken instead of sung, spoken so fast in an obscure dialect as to make them incomprehensible, lyrics that are rude, crude, insulting and defamatory), you could probably make the same argument about at least some songs in my favorite genre: classic rock. Our parents (i.e. the old folks) probably felt the same way. So maybe rap isn't objectively worse, maybe I don't like it just because it's different. (No, that's not it. Most rap is shit.)

Burl Ives was an icon when I was a kid, but somewhere along the way I got the idea he was a pervert (a pedophile?), and so I would turn him off if he ever came on the radio. I ain't listening to no preverts. But now I go looking for evidence of his crimes against humanity and I'm finding nothing. Maybe it was some other musical icon. Or maybe my memory is being rewritten by aliens. In any case, it happened so long ago, and no one has reminded me of it that I've let my opposition slide and I no longer change the station when he comes on.

Tom Cruise is another celebrity that people like to hate, and I can understand that. If you look at some of his activities outside of acting, he does appear to be a lunatic. But he is good actor and I generally enjoy his films. Also, being crazy, all by itself, is generally not considered a crime. Now if his brand of crazy sent him on a mass-murder spree, that would be a different kettle of fish, and it would make admiring him as a good actor a little more difficult.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Saturday Night

Just finished The Reivers by William Faulker. It's quite the entertaining story, set in the 1900's in Mississippi & Tennessee. This passage shows up in the middle of Ned's recounting of the events of the last week.
The Reivers, Page 291
Okay then.


I am filling out an insurance claim form and I notice that the printed text is not very clear. This line in particular is sets a new standard for incomprehensible legalese:

Just another example of our glorious civilization going to hell in a hand-basket.

F/V Silver Spray Engine Room Tour

F/V Silver Spray Engine Room Tour

My niece is working as the cook on this fishing boat and knowing her father's interest in things mechanical, she took this video.

Sunday, June 24, 2018


Dunkirk - Trailer 1 [HD]

I wasn't impressed, though maybe it's hard to make a compelling story out of a disaster. The story follows a small group of soldiers as they get on board one doomed boat after another. The only indications we have that the evacuation was a massive effort was Wallander spouting some numbers and the occasional panoramic view of endless queues of soldiers standing on the beach waiting for boats to come take them back to England.

Some of the stuff struck me as contrived, like the Spitfire pilot who can't get his canopy open after he has ditched his fighter in the English Channel and it is rapidly filling with water. And then there was the scene where a destroyer loaded with troops gets bombed and starts sinking and nobody inside the common room can open the door to the outside, once again while the water level is rising. A guy on the outside has to open it. Yes, these things could have happened, but they really don't do anything for the story. They just serve to keep you on the edge of your seat, and they don't do that very well because you get that feeling that you've been set up and someone will come along and rescue them.


MJ Hegar - Doors

I like this video. I don't know MJ Hegar, and I don't live in Texas anymore, but I really like her can-do attitude, so unlike all the whiny bullshit you get from the mass media. Plus she has the door from her chopper on her dining room wall. That is too cool.

Round Rock is just to the North of Austin.

Via Dustbury

Pic of the Day

Wall of smoke in central Oregon
Wildfire season in Oregon is underway.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

World Airports Voronoi

World Airports Voronoi
Follow the link to a rotatable version. By Jason Davies.
Each region is closer to a particular airport than any other. This partitioning of the sphere is called a spherical Voronoi diagram.
Via Detroit Steve

Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde Red Band Trailer #1 (2017) Charlize Theron Action Movie HD

Charlize Theron does James Bond, or maybe John Wick. It's not a very good movie, it's stylish (I mean we do have Charlize) and it's action packed, but it's a little confused, or maybe that's just me.

The best part was the soundtrack. The film is set in November 1989 in Berlin while the wall is coming down. They pull all these lines out of these hit songs that make you wonder whether the songwriters knew what they were talking about, or maybe they were just channeling society's turmoil.

I found one playlist on YouTube that has most of the tunes from the soundtrack except for this one, which I have been listening to lately.

After The Fire - Der Kommissar

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dogs & Cats

The Nominal Cat
Which reminded me of this:

Norma Tanega "Walkin' My Cat Named Dog"

Stealing the stage

Stealing the stage by Jessica Hagy
Via Indy Tom

Broken Wrist

Acu-Loc Wrist Repair Plate
My wife tripped over a kindergärtner and fell down a couple of weeks ago and broke her wrist. It looked like she might be able to get away with just having a cast until we went to see the bone doctor. Now surgery to install a small plate to hold the bones in alignment becomes a viable option. The two advantages to having surgery were that she could get by with a smaller cast because the plate would be doing most of the alignment work, and there was a possibility that without the plate she would encounter some pain when she turned her wrist. If she was 20 years older, they wouldn't recommend the surgery. So we went ahead and got it done. Picked her up from work at 2PM and were home by 9PM. Work was done at the clinic, not the hospital. The worst part was they used a nerve block on her arm which meant is was virtually dead for 24 hours. There was no pain, but she was also unable to control her arm. Left alone it would just hang by her side.

A little info about wrist fractures:
A Colles' fracture -- or distal radius fracture -- is often called a ''broken wrist.'' Technically, it's a break in the larger of the two bones in your forearm. The bone breaks on the lower end, close to where it connects to the bones of the hand on the thumb side of the wrist.
Colles' fractures are very common; they're the most frequently broken bone in the arm. In the United States, one out of every 10 broken bones is a broken wrist. - WebMD

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

CO2 & U

Disney '43 - The Winged Scourge

Talking to a guy I know, he tells me he was plagued by mosquitoes last January, here, in Oregon. Seemed a little far fetched, but winters are pretty mild here, and he insisted, sokay, fine, mosquitoes in January. He showed the county bug man a sample and bug man, said, yup, that's a mosquito. He actually went into some scientific detail about it. Seems there are 40 or 50 different species of mosquitoes living in Oregon. They set up some mosquito traps around the house. Mosquitoes travel in straight lines out from their breeding grounds. They checked on the traps a few days later and the traps showed a definite direction for the source of the mosquitoes. They did some searching and quickly located a covered swimming pool that hadn't been adequate poisoned (chlorinated). Cleaning that up eliminated the mosquito problem.

I'm watching another video about how they control mosquitoes at Disney World and I notice that they are using a whole bunch of animated clips. A search on YouTube turned up the above video. The mosquito traps they use at Disney World give off CO2, which seems to be a mosquito attractor. Don't want to be bothered by mosquitos? Quit breathing.

Nitrogren Atmosphere Warning Sign

Or not. When you are holding your breath, it is the increasing level of CO2 that makes you desperate to breath, not the loss of oxygen. As such you can suffocate a person with nitrogen. They aren't getting any oxygen, but their CO2 concentration is not increasing, so they have no sense of being desperate. If you don't get any oxygen you will just pass out and die. It works so well that some states may start using it for executions instead of lethal injection. Some produce warehouses employ a nitrogen atmosphere to help keep produce fresh. Don't be walking in there to get you some veggies, well, not unless you are looking to become fertilizer.

Paris Green, mentioned in the Disney video at top, is a poison. It is made from copper(II) acetate and arsenic trioxide. Didn't I just run into arsenic trioxide? Yes, I did:

Freezing 200,000 Tons of Lethal Arsenic Dust

This is the Giant Mine at the Great Slave Lake in Northwest Territories in Canada. Makes me wonder how many people died of arsenic poisoning at this mine when it was in operation, or, if nobody died, how did they manage to keep people from being poisoned?

Update November 2012 replaced missing video.

Pic of the Day

Fireplace in The Tower of Peretti
Via Reddit

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Saturday, June 16, 2018

"Teardrop" - Massive Attack

"Teardrop" - Massive Attack

I used to listen to this tune all-the-time but after nine zillion plays it became firmly embedded in my brain and I started listening to other stuff. Just stumbled over a thread on Reddit full of comments from other people who also like it. Might have to spend more time on Reddit.

Reddit has redesigned their website and I don't like the new format so I use the old style.

Ogallala Aquifer

Ogallala Aquifer
The Ogalla Aquifier provides most of the water used for crop irrigation in the High Plains of the Central United States. There is some question as to how long it will be able to continue doing so as farmers are sucking it up at a rate of two feet a year. I suppose it depends on how deep this pool of water is. If it's 1,000 feet deep, then that should be enough water for 500 years. If it's only ten feet deep we'll have giant dustbowl later next week.

Via Reddit

Friday, June 15, 2018

American Made

American Made - Official Trailer [HD]

The story of Barry Seal has been kicking around in the fringes of polite society for a long time. It's good that it's finally seeing the light of day. As a movie, it's great, lots of action, lots of crazy. The only problem is there is just so much crazy crammed into it. Was the CIA really doing all that shit? It kind of looks like they were. When you live in Disneyland it's easy to forget that just outside the park, crazy is the norm and chaos is the order of the day.



When I get tired I get cranky, and I must have been tired today because I sure was cranky. Doing the laundry, the washing machine seems like it's done, there's no water flowing and it's not spinning, let's open it up and get the laundry out, but we can't, the door is still locked. The fancy little digital display says it still has two minutes to run. WTF is it doing? It's turning the drum slowly. Why? Stupid machine. If I hadn't happened to walk in there at just that moment it wouldn't have been a problem, but I did, and I'm tired, so WTF are you doing you stupid machine? It finally finishes and beeps, so I open the door. Then the accursed POS beeps at me again. What kind of ignorant savages programmed this thing? Someone should cram one of these beepers in their ear.

I go to McDonald's to pick up a couple of sandwiches for dinner. It's dinner time and the drive up queue is full. This McDonald's is fancy, they have two (2!) speaker boxes for taking orders. I have been here before when they were operating smoothly and they will take orders at both boxes and never seem to get confused. Today is not one of those days. I pull up to the speaker box and it tells me to order at the next speaker box. Okay fine, not a problem. But then it tells me again. FU, you annoying POS, I heard you the first time.

Eventually I get to the goody window, but instead of handing me my bag of goodies, the large woman asks me to pull around front and park and they'll bring my order out to me. Well, sheet, but okay, that's what I get for ordering something with 'artisan' in the name. It's okay for five minutes, but when we get to ten I've had enough and stomp inside to find out what's going on. The small woman in charge tells me they are waiting for the chicken to come up. whatever the $%^ that means. Screw that, gimme my money back, which she does. I go to Wendy's and buy hamburgers. If they had warned me that it was going to take an hour when I ordered, that would have been one thing, but they didn't.

Some emotions are easy to identify. Cranky, cheerful, content, happy are pretty obvious. But stress can distort your emotional state without making itself known. My wife broke her wrist last week when she tripped over a stationary kindergärtner and fell. It didn't seem too bad. She went to the ER where they took some X-rays and and wrapped her arm up with a temporary cast. But then we go see the bone doctor and now it looks like surgery might be in order. It's not a big deal, they make two inch long incision, line up the broken bit of bone, slip in a little metal splint, screw it down and sew up the incision. Surgery was Thursday afternoon. I didn't sleep well Wednesday night, I got maybe a couple of hours. Surgery went well and last night I slept pretty well. Today I am still very tired and as a result I find even the littlest things immensely irritating, as you may have noticed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Pic of the Day

1847 Daguerreotype of President James K. Polk and posse
1847 is pretty old for a photograph.

People in the picture, left to right:
Front row
                   Secretary of State James Buchanan
                    Buchanan’s niece Harriet Lane
                     Mrs. Polk’s niece Sarah Polk Rucker
                                First Lady Sarah Childress Polk
                                 President James K. Polk
       widow of James Madison, Dolley Madison
                                         Mrs. Cave Johnson
Back row
                 Postmaster General Cave Johnson
              Secretary of the Navy John Y. Mason

  • Harriet Lane was Buchanan’s niece and the acting first lady during his presidency (Buchanan never married).
  • Johnson was the postmaster when the U.S. Postal Service introduced the postage stamp in 1847.
  • Many of the traditions associated with the First Lady of the United States are derived from Dolley Madison.

Via Posthip Scott

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Pic of the Day

Easter Island head at night
Via Reddit


Uniberp got me started with his post about replacing the valve cover gaskets on his Subaru. This video gives you pretty good idea of the pain involved. It's a little long but he doesn't waste any of your time.

How To Subaru Valve Cover Gasket Replacement part 1

Uniberp needed a wrench to get the job done:
1/4" sliding t-handle
I need one of these to get a valve cover bolt off, in a very tight position. Seems I should have one somewhere but no.

Sears has one, $8.48 plus shipping

Grainger has one, $134.50

Nope at Ace or NAPA or Advance Auto

I will check Harbor Freight on the way home

Grainger probably has to order it anyhow.

Success. I found a 1/4 breaker bar $9, by Crescent, at Menards. Drilled a relief hole sideways into the aluminum threaded boss to relieve the stuck pig bolt before it twisted off and I would have had to remove the engine which would have been necessary because it would have leaked oil like a sieve.

Yes this preventative maintenance needed to be done. There are seals around the spark plug holes that harden and leak and fill the spark plug tube with oil.
I'm impressed with Grainger's price. I suppose having a supply chain that can deliver whatever you need has its benefits, but I am still surprised by the premium they charge.

1969 Subaru FF-1 station wagon

A long time ago I had a Subaru. I think it was a '69 model, give or take a year or two. It had 80 HP and got 30 MPG. Gas only cost a quarter, but minimum wage was only $2.25. If memory serves, the car cost $1400 used. I got my parents to buy it for me on the premise that I wasn't never going to college. I suffered through high school and I was thoroughly sick of school. I drove the shit out of that car, from Ohio to Florida, California, up and down the West Coast, back to Ohio and eventually to Texas where, after being crunched twice and two major engine repairs, I sold it for parts. It was a little tin box, but it went fast enough to keep up on the freeway.

Subaru's are very popular here in Oregon. They are especially handy if you go to, or over, the mountains in the winter time. I don't like them because I suspect the viscous coupling they use to connect the front and rear drive axles is some kind of Japanese bullshit, i.e. a very expensive component that you can't repair yourself. If it fails the least you can expect is you'll have to buy a new one from the dealer for half the price of a new car. Of course if it never fails, it's not a problem. I have no evidence to support any of this, just my feelings on the subject. I suspect that the only cars that use this technology are Subaru and  some overpriced German snobmobiles, and being as Chuck rhymes with Cheap, I ain't spending any money on these kind of gimcracks.

If anyone who spends considerable time driving on snow covered roads asked me what kind of car to buy I would recommend Subaru without hesitation. The odds of having to make an expensive repair are so low that it doesn't merit consideration. But emotions are not logical. The pain of having to fight for traction on snow covered roads is something you will carry with you long after you have forgotten how much you paid for anything as mundane as a car repair.

A friend of a friend makes a little extra money during the summer by buying Subarus in Florida and driving them to Oregon, which strikes me as pretty weird, but then we did score a deal on my daughter's Mazda in Florida. That was the one bright spot in our ill-fated adventure to Miami.


TAANSO was one of the scrambled words in this morning's Jumble (the printed version of the Sunday puzzle is different than the on-line version). Took me a while to sort it out. I was chagrined when I realized that is the model name of my car, a Hyundai Sonata.

Friday, June 8, 2018


Emily Barker - Nostalgia (Wallander version)

Just finished watching the last episode of Wallander on Netflix. We watched the whole series over the last month. The first three seasons were pretty much standard murder mysteries, but the last season took a left turn off into the boonies. The last episode (S4:E3) with the CIA and the cold war was just nuts. There were a couple of lines in there that just sent me over the edge.

Synopsis: Hakan, an aged, retired, Swedish submarine commander, has disappeared and his wife has died, an apparent suicide.
1:11:00 Kurt Wallander and Steven Wilson, an American, probably CIA. Kurt walks in the front door of Hakan's house carrying something wrapped in a tarp.
CIA: Hello, Kurt.CIA sits down, Kurt pours and brings him a drink.
Kurt: There you are.
CIA: Ah, that's mighty kind of you.
CIA: To your health.
Kurt: So what are you doing here?
CIA: (SIGHS) I guess I didn't make my flight. . . . I've been trying to think of some piece of information that might help figure out what's happened.
Kurt: And did you think of something?
CIA: A friend of mine and I, we were colleagues . . . And I had this deal with him that he would help me. And if ever he became troubled by any consequences, then he would let me know and I would help him, in return. And the way that he would let know would be that he would disappear.
Kurt: And how would you help him?
CIA: I'd find him, take him elsewhere.
Kurt: (opens tarp) It's an American device. Those submarines weren't Russian, they were American, and Hakan was working for you.
CIA: (nods) At that time, it was considered a priority to destabilise the government here. It was perceived as being Communist. It worked. After the fake Russian subs, support for the East dwindled away to almost nothing. Which was another border made safe, another front closed down.
Kurt: And Louise? Louise? So, was it always part of the rescue plan that she would die? That he would arrange a suicide, leave evidence to blame her?CIA: I liked Louise.
Kurt: Where is he?
CIA: Waiting for me. But I won't go fetch him. It would be inadvisable for us to become involved. Far better for someone else. Someone with an interest to make him face up to his responsibilities. To what he's done.
Kurt: What about your responsibilities? You wouldn't be here if you weren't afraid to face them. If I confront Hakan with what he's done, I'll make sure I do the same for you.
CIA: You're not in the best of health. You have a family. Are you sure you want to make that threat?
Kurt: Where is he?
There was an incident involving a Soviet sub in Swedish waters back in 1981, but it was definitely Soviet. There have been a number of other incidents that were blamed on the Soviets, and given the one big red flag, they probably were triggered by Soviet subs, not American ones. Some people disagree. But you know, conspiracy theories don't need any facts, and blaming the CIA is a popular sport, so let's blame them. Google has more.

Update March 2020 reformatted dialog to look more like a script. Don't know how it got jumbled.


I've been working on my Farey addition program and I found a couple of bugs. The first one a simple mistake that took me four days to find, mostly because my mind was a bit fuzzy. The problem was that I was using abs (absolute value function for integers) instead of fabs, which is the same function, but for floating point numbers. One little letter and everything is wrong.

Got that corrected and now I'm running the program and when the denominator gets to 4142 it goes off the rails. What the heck could be causing that? It's been working fine for the first 4141 denominators, why should it choke on 4142? It blows up when it is checking the Farey addition. Doing this only involves integer operations, and they are all relatively small integers, we aren't going to overflow the accumulator. What could possibly be go wrong? This one had me stymied for a couple of days, I couldn't even think of what to look at. There is nothing wrong except it doesn't work.

This morning my brain served up a clue. When I generate the fractions, I compute their decimal value and use that to sort my list of fractions. The problem is that I also depend on this value being unique. If two fractions have the same decimal value, I presume they are duplicates and eliminate one. The problem might be (I haven't verified it yet) is that two fractions could have the same decimal value, but be different. For instance, Google delivers these values:
2048 / 4007 = 0.51110556526
2071 / 4052 = 0.51110562685
2117 / 4142 = 0.51110574601
The first 6 digits of these three fractions are all the same. After that they diverge. In my debug output, they all show the same value, but then I am only printing the first six digits. Standard floating point values hold much more than six digits, so maybe there is something else going on here. Anyway, I've got a place to start looking which is more than I had a couple of days ago.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Fly Me To The Moon

Amazing Efect Kopp-Etchells V-22
Inter X

The bright halo of light emanating from the tips of the helicopter's rotor blades is caused by sand particles impacting the leading edge of the rotor blades. This constant abrasion erodes the blades  making them unusable in short order. To combat this, the leading edges of the blades are now reinforced with a tough material like nickel or titanium.

The impact knocks loose a tiny chunk of metal as well as heating it. It might it heat it to incandescence and we are seeing the metal particles glowing, or it might heat it to the point of ignition and we are seeing the particles burning. Or it might be a little of both.

Around the 1:20 mark (in the above video), we see a couple Osprey fly over, and you can see a soft glow from the tips of the rotor blades. This is likely from the glow-sticks the Army has attached to the rotor blades, not the Kopp-Etchells effect.

Re the name:
The combat photographer and journalist Michael Yon observed the effect while accompanying U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. When he discovered that the effect had no name he coined the name "Kopp-Etchells Effect" after two soldiers who had died in the war, one American and one British. - Wikipedia
Michael Yon has some photographs.

Via Quora

Part 2

Thailand Girandola

Another rotor craft heading up. How high does that thing go? It looks like it's going to the moon! It is not actually a rotorcraft. It spins around, but the only thing giving it lift are the rockets.

A Girandola is an outgrowth of the Catherine Wheel, named after Saint Catherine who was to be executed on a breaking wheel, but said wheel shattered at her touch.

Flying Girandolas, like this one, have been around since the 19th Century. If anyone built one earlier, they're keeping mum.

Part 3

56,000 MPH Space Rock Hits Moon, Explosion Seen | Video

We've flown to the moon just in time to see a cosmic grain of sand smack into the moon. 56,000 MPH is roughly 16 miles per second, about three times faster than a satellite in LEO (low Earth orbit). Similar effect to what we saw with sand hitting the helicopter rotor blades, but no oxygen on the moon means we are only seeing incandescence, not combustion.

Part 4

ORIGNAL CCTV Footage of Asteroid 2018 LA (ZLAF9B2)

A small asteroid hit Earth on Saturday, June 2nd, exploding in the atmosphere over Botswana before it could reach the ground. The Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona had discovered the space rock only hours earlier as it hurtled toward our planet from inside the orbit of the Moon. Sensors used to monitor rogue nuclear explosions detected the asteroid and estimated its yield near ~500 tons of TNT. - Indy Tom
Plenty of oxygen in our atmosphere, so a little incandescence and a little combustion.

Update September 2020 replaced missing video.
Update February 2023 replaced first video which had gone missing.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Word of the Day

In mathematics, a bijection, bijective function, or one-to-one correspondence is a function between the elements of two sets, where each element of one set is paired with exactly one element of the other set, and each element of the other set is paired with exactly one element of the first set.

Friday, June 1, 2018



O'Connor's closed for good yesterday. This puts a big hole in my life. My Tuesday gang has been eating lunch there for on Tuesdays (imagine that) since forever.

Salvador Molly's

We had dinner at Salvador Molly's yesterday. Trendy, noisy, but the food was good and prices were bearable. $80 for four including beers.


Breakfast this morning at Besaw's, the oldest restaurant in downtown Portland, or close to it. It's in a new building. I don't know if they have any connection to the original besides the name, but it was fine. A little spendy, $40 for two, including coffee.

March of Progress

Portland Parking Meter
Most of the city parking meters I have used recently print a ticket for you that needs to be displayed in your car. This one dispenses with the dispensing. You enter your license plate number and pray that you entered it correctly and the meter man interprets it correctly. It all works fine except that the screen is hard to read, especially the labels displayed above the yellow buttons because some punk jackass had to carve some kind of bullshit into the screen. I would say it looked like Asian gang characters, but that's probably racist, and it could have been Klingon for all I know.

Pic of the Day

Grumman F7F Tigercat
Korean War era, twin engine fighter for the Navy. Reminds me of the Twin Mustang, another twin prop, Korean War veteran.

Tangent Circles

Fun with Circles
I came across this bit of geometry on Quora the other day. I haven't quite sorted out just why it works, but if it does, it's pretty cool. I was so impressed with it that I printed a copy and took it lunch to show the gang.

Funny Fractions and Ford Circles - Numberphile

Dennis responds with this video, which also has a bunch of tangent circles along with some goofball math. I saw this and thought that it wouldn't be too much trouble to write a program to verify what's going on here, so I did. Turns out there were a couple of tricky bits that needed sorting, but I think I have it. The first tricky bit was figuring out how much memory I would need. I wrote about this a couple of days ago.

int gcf(int m, int n)    // greatest common factor
    if ((m==0) || (n==0))
        if ((m==0) && (n==0)) return 1;
        if (m==0) return n;
        return m;

        if(m > n)
            m -= n;
            n -= m;
    return m;

The next was figuring out how to find the greatest common factor (GCF) of two integers. I've run into this problem before, but where oh where has that bit of code gone? I dunno, but Google finds an example, but it doesn't work. I have to spend several minutes monkeying with it to get it to behave.

That was enough to verify that the Farey addition of fractions works. That is, you generate all of the fractions between zero and one using all denominators from 1 to whatever. Now take any three adjacent fractions on the number line. Add the numerators of the first and last and you will get the numerator of the middle one. Do the same for the denominator and you get the denominator of the middle fraction. You might have to reduce the fraction to make it identical, but the value will be the same regardless.

Verifying that you could use these fractions to generate tangent circles took a little more doing. One way to do it would be to check this out for every new denominator, since at that point the fractions on either side would be the ones you would be forming tangents with. I didn't want to do that, mostly because I was already generating all of the fractions prior to checking the Farey addition, so I need some way to keep track of a fractions "parents" even after multiple fractions had been interposed between them. What I finally settled on was, after generating all fractions for the next denominator, I recorded the values of the parent fractions. Then later I would use these values to locate the original fraction and verify that the generated circles would indeed be tangent.

Tangent Circles and Pythagoras

Verifying that the circles are actually tangent to each other is done by comparing the sum of their radii with the distance between their centers. If these two values are equal they are tangent. If the distance is larger, they are not touching. If the distance is smaller, they overlap.

The distance between centers can be calculated using the Pythagorean Theorem. All you need is the horizontal distance, which is simply the difference between the values of the two fractions, and the vertical difference, which is the difference in their radii. See the above illustration. The orange and purple lines form the sides of the right triangle and the black line forms the hypotenuse.

I fired up my program around 12 hours ago. I gave it some big number to work with, like a 100,000 or something. It has generated over 20 million fractions and it is still running. It seems to be marching on regardless of whether the desktop goes to sleep, or if I am using the computer. I am debating whether I should cancel it or let it keep running. If I remembered what the number was that I gave it, I could estimate how long it is going to run, but I just typed in a one and bunch of zeros. I suppose I should let it run just to make sure it doesn't crash before it finishes.

I've uploaded the source to github if you are interested. I intend to clean up the output so it gives a better picture of what it's doing. When I have done that I will update github.