Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Gilbert Garcin

you have to think about the consequences
Gilbert Garcin has been making odd pictures ever since he retired. Via Metafilter

The History of Video

The History of Video

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of how video evolved. I was wrong. I'm better now.

Previous post, a video from S. G. Collins, covers some of the same material.

Muskegon Project

Reroofing house at Lake Muskegon
Uniberp reports:
Somehow my addled brain considers roofing the most manly of tasks, but like I said, I'm addled. I am still hoping to have this place habitable by summer but be warned any visitors will be pressed into service without humor, because i am increasingly defensive about the worth of this project.

It took several weeks of daily stairmaster to work up to this 4 day task (1 prepare, 2 strip old roof three layers, 3 rest and take 1320 lbs to dump, 4 cover with ice dam waterproofing) and that's one half of the roof. Recovered ok, i think, so far, maybe.

Well it depends on the neighborhood. Up here it can be done cheap. My criteria was city water/sewer/sidewalks with some amenities and open water nearby.
Almost anything you would buy, though, would benefit from a gut rehab. In that sense, only houses up to about 1955 were built with lumber, not plywood or osb. [Zillow listings]
At these prices it's of marginal benefit. Timing is everything. Boots on the ground give you an even better advantage. I think wait until the next crash. I anticipate a significant dip next year. The yield curve has inverted, and I think the market response will be a lot quicker this time through. 
As I get further into it, my panics about structural integrity lessen. It is actually fairly sound, despite being chopped up and sorely neglected. I was able to comfortably stand on the roofing planks, although some are showing dry rot in spots, but largely solid. Hence, steel roof will be easiest to install. Mind you I am doing this as probably the last restoration for this place. In 50 years it will need to be demolished, if there is a civilization, that is. 
I have no idea what living there would be like, it could be harleys and breaking glass all night. I hope not, but ya never know.

The weather/climate is the big factor. It is just getting tolerable outside. WInter was hard from Dec1 until now, almost 4 months. I would like to think I could spend 4 months a year writing by the fire, but maybe not. I may have to camp south.
Roofing is high because nobody can do it themselves. It's brutal. Your friends and relatives would never speak to you again if you recruited them. 
Everyplace is going to suck in some way. If it's all nice, you have to pay excessively. If it's reasonably priced, you have to put up with morons occasionally.
Previous posts on this project.

Are We Stupid?

The cruise ship Viking Sky arrives at port off Molde, Norway, on Sunday after having problems and issuing a "mayday" call in heavy seas off Norway's western coast. (Svein Ove Ekornesvag/NTB scanpix via AP)
We are all on board the express train to hell, or maybe I should say cruise ship. Rough weather started the engine lubricating oil to sloshing about in the tank, which caused the oil level sensors to sound an alarm, which caused the artificially stupid engine controller to shut down the engines, which set off panic amongst just about everyone.

WTF? No engineer on board? Well, maybe not, after all, we have a sophisticated engine control system so we will not have the problem that we had. We're seeing the same situation with airliners falling out of the sky. We are putting people in command of these complex machines, people who don't have a complete understanding of the machines under their control. It's a dilemma. Our control systems have become very sophisticated and most of the time, everything works perfectly. It's only in those rare instances that something goes wrong, and in those cases the only person who can save you is the one who knows more than the control system does. Those people are few and far between and becoming fewer everyday. Someone who knows enough to save the ship in that rare instance when things go wrong is going to be very bored babysitting a system that will likely never fail. If you are running a business, are you going to pay the big bucks necessary to have a talented person sitting around when you can hire a novice for a fraction of the cost, a novice who will more than likely be able to competently handle the job?

One hundred people paying $100 a seat for a short flight comes to $10K. One million similar flights adds up to ten billion dollars. One plane crashes where everyone dies happens once out of 300 million flights (my guesstimate). How often could one of those been averted if a super competent person had been in charge? How many of those happened where there was a super competent person in charge, but that super competent person had gone off the rails for some reason?

Automobile accidents still make the local news, but if you want national headlines, you need a major disaster. There are any number of ways to die. Life is a gamble. Place your bets accordingly.


Shockwaves from two T-38 aircraft flying supersonic - NASA
This photo was taken from a Beechcraft King Air that was flying above the T-38's. Since the T-38's were traveling like three times as fast as the Beech, timing was critical.

NASA Beechcraft King Air flying over the giant compass rose at Edwards Air Force Base in California
They did this before using ground based cameras shooting at the sun, which provided a nice collimated light source.

NASA Supersonic Flights Validate Flightworthiness for Future Schlieren Imaging

How they got the most recent image while looking at the ground is a mystery.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Shopping Center Liquor

Burnside Bourbon
Eastside Distilling Tasting Room at Washington Square
Stopped by Washington Square the other day. My wife had business at Nordstrom so I'm wandering around killing time and I notice this liquor store. Never seen a liquor store in a shopping mall before so I pay a visit. It's not a regular liquor store, they only carry liquor from Eastside Distilling. They had a dozen different flavors, mostly rum and bourbon. I like bourbon, and I'm all in favor of small, craft distilleries, so I bought a bottle ($37). I don't know if it's great, but it's pretty good, it doesn't have any of that bite that you get with cheap liquor. I don't know if they are really distilling their own stuff. It looks more like a marketing outfit that is buying whiskey from one place and having it bottled someplace else, but it's good enough.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Wages of Fear

Truck explosion kills 1 in south Arkansas

A truck carrying ammonium nitrate caught fire and exploded in Arkansas yesterday. I'm looking at the crater that was left behind and it reminds me of the movie The Wages of Fear that I saw in a French film class in college. This connection may have been prompted by this post on The Grønmark Blog about the director Henri-Georges Clouzot. DailyMotion has the entire movie.

The thing that gets me about this is that the truck is gone.

Public discourse is distorted by constant outrage over anecdotes

Best thing I've read recently. Stolen entire from David McElroy:

Adolf Hitler with Rosa
If you want a nation to follow you, don’t convince them of your principles or policies. Just tell the public carefully chosen stories. Sell images.
Adolph Hitler did this well. His marketing consultants flooded Germany with pictures of a smiling Hitler and happy children. (In the picture above, Hitler is with a young Jewish girl named Rosa.) People saw these images of a benevolent leader with adoring children — and they found it easier to believe he was a good man they should follow.
Joseph Stalin did the same thing in the Soviet Union. Chinese communist dictator Mao Zedong did it, too. How could these men be cold-blooded murderers if they loved children and children loved them?
Unfortunately, the rest of us have learned the same techniques in this age of video storytelling. Our politicians sell themselves this way. Companies sell products this way. In the era of social media, we have adopted the same techniques to convince others that we’re right about whatever we believe.
But it’s something I don’t want to do anymore.
When I first started writing political content online, I did the same thing that almost everybody does today. I wrote about (and shared links to) stories which were outrageous — incidents that reflected the negative consequences of the people whose policies I oppose.
I quickly found out that it works. People who agreed with me were eager to share those stories with their friends. My links were all over Facebook and Twitter. This approach attracted many new readers for me, all of whom already agreed with me about some particular issue.
But over time, I realized that’s all it did. Nobody who disagreed paid any attention. There was no reasoned dialogue. It simply promoted people beating their friends over the head with these links, essentially saying, “See? I’m already smart enough to believe this.”
I’m far less likely today to share outrageous political or social anecdotes, because it’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that “argument by anecdote” is all the popular culture seems to understand — and it’s worse than useless.
The problem is that doing this is intellectually shallow and is frequently misleading.

The Fire Maker by Peter May

The Fire Maker by Peter May
A tolerable book. I was able to finish it, though the last chapter was a bit of a struggle. There were just too many stupid things in that last chapter, things that didn't make sense. Overall though it's well put together, and it's pretty smooth, not as smooth as say, sailing down a stretch of new asphalt pavement in a new car, more like driving down a gravel road in a pickup truck, there's this constant low grade rumble.

The biggest problem is that it reads like a script for a standard run-of-the-mill cop show. It's got all the expected elements, but there isn't really much of a story. We learn a little bit about the characters, but the story is mostly a sequence of events. I guess this should be expected, the author has written like a zillion screen plays for cop shows.

Bow = Front

Shinya Ocean at anchor off Fujairah
A Shipping Corporation of India LNG carrier collided with a very large crude carrier at a Fujairah anchorage in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday evening, resulting a major damage to the oil tanker. - Mike Schuler for gCaptain
Here is plot of what happened.

LNG Carrier Aseem Collides with VLCC Shinyo Ocean off Fujairah

Failure to communicate? Refusal to communicate? Drinking too much Kool-Aid? Whatever. Gadflys gladly fly:

Clarke and Dawe - The Front Fell Off
. . . comedy sketch from the early 1990s, the parts of the politician and interviewer being played by Australian television comedy duo John Clarke and Brian Dawe as they discuss an oil spill that occurred in 1991 when the Greek tanker Kirki lost its bow off the coast of Western Australia. - Snopes
Previous broken ship posts here and here. LNG carrier here. Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Club Des Belugas - Straight to Memphis

Club Des Belugas - Straight to Memphis

The tune and the video are out of this world. I'm not quite sure what us white folks are doing there, except doing exactimontly what we are doing right now, which is watching someone else having a heck of a lot of fun. Dang.

Drinking Gasoline

Big rig hauling bacon catches fire, vehicle overturns to snarl Bay Area commute

And 417 vegans downwind were hospitalized

combined to give me a considerable chuckle this evening. I've had a rough day. Don't laugh, I'm old. Anyway, this  is the only possible response:

The Baboons - Drinkin' Gasoline

P.S. Five minutes later. Just realized why the tune resonated with me: "big wheel started shakin' and I lost a tire' kinda sorta rhymes with 'Big rig hauling bacon catches fire', I mean it does, donit?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Earl Scruggs

Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Earl Scruggs

Fine tune, played by a whole battalion of banjo pickers.


Super Skinny Skyscrapers, Manhattan
The Guardian has the story. You get a nice view, but I imagine there's going to be a wait for the elevator. But maybe you don't go out. We have electronic communications and delivery services are ubiquitous, so you could just stay home and gaze out the window all day long. I remember hearing (some years ago) that some tall buildings had a problem with swaying in high winds. They dealt with the problem by adding a computer controlled, multi-ton counterweight near the top. I wonder how they are dealing with it now. Maybe swaying in high winds is now a feature.

Via Brian Micklethwait

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Battleship Richelieu

Battleship Richelieu arriving in New York City, February 1943
Note missing gun barrel on second turret.
Battleships are kind of weird-cool. Big, impressive, zillions of tons of steel and armor, giant steam turbine engines driving them through the seas at break-neck speeds, they were the apex of the development of gun based warships. Now they are museum pieces, if they haven't been broken up for scrap.

This one caught my eye because, hey! Battleship! But then I see the name and I realize I know almost nothing about French battleships. I know about American (Missouri, Iowa, Arizona, etc.), British (Hood, um, mumble, mumble) and German (Bismarck, Graf Spee), but nothing about the French version, so I go a Googling.

The Richelieu's history is a little checkered. She left France in 1940 to avoid being captured by the Germans and sailed to Dakar on the West Coast of Africa. But then France fell, the Vichy government came to be and Dakar and the Richelieu came under Vichy / German control.

Dakar, looking West
The Allies mounted Operation Menace in an attempt to liberate Dakar. The Allied attack failed, but the Richelieu suffered considerable damage, some of it from strikes by Allied weapons, but one big injury was self inflicted:
On 24 September [1940], when Richelieu opened fire against British battleships with her 380 mm (15.0 in) guns, she suffered severe damage to three barrels of her No. 2 turret, due to premature explosion of the shells. This was first traced to the use of the propellant (SD19 powder) from Strasbourg powder charges reconditioned at Dakar. However, during 1941, an inquiry commission, whose chairman was Admiral de Penfentenyo de Kervéréguen, concluded that a premature explosion of the shells was the result of a flaw in the design of the shell base. - Wikipedia
Reminds me of a story from Stephenson's Baroque Cycle Trilogy. Some miscreants working in a lab grind up a bunch of gunpowder very fine and then contrive to insert it into the powder magazine of one of the Royal Navy's warships. The warship goes to war and starts firing its guns. Eventually one of the guns is charged with the finely ground gunpower, and since this powder explodes with more force (or more rapidly) than the regular powder, it bursts the gun killing and injuring several people. I think the whole point was to cast doubt on the quality of the guns. I am pretty sure of this story, but I can't find anything about it.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Civilian Combat Tactics

At this point, most everyone in this culture would say, “That’s crazy! I’m not doing that! I’d just get shot!” - Ann Barnhardt
Most thought provoking post I've seen about dealing with miscreants.

Fascism by Ayelet Shaked

Ayelet Shaked - Fascism (click CC for subtitles)

When I first saw this (without the translation), I thought it might really be an ad for perfume, which made me wonder just how tone deaf the manufacturer must be. Then I read a bit. Seem Ayelet (eyelet?), a member of the Israeli parliament, has gotten tired of being branded as a fascist by the left, so she is striking back. Naturally, it has caused a firestorm in Israel (or a tempest in a teapot from my vantage point), but I have to give her credit for sticking her neck out. Here's hoping she doesn't get the ax.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


Congress really should be able to pass a broad bill that fixes this problem, the childhood arrivals problem, border security, and employer verification. The divisions of opinion on these issues are not insurmountable. Compromise is possible if people are reasonable. Will it happen in the current Congress? Very doubtful. Too many people in influential positions are more interested in having an issue for the next election than they are in solving problems. - Kent Scheidegger

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Another Old Radio

Old Radio
We're watching Disappearance (known as Ekhtefa in Egypt, on Netflix) and this old radio pops up on the screen (Episode 11, 33 minute mark). It reminds me of this old radio. Knobs left and right, multiband, and a set of push buttons. The scene is set around 1970, so it's old-ish.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Imperial

The Imperial Restaurant (bottom Left) & The Imperial Hotel (right)
The family got together for lunch on Saturday at The Imperial restaurant in downtown Portland. With a name like that, and the fact that they take reservations, I was a afraid it might be expensive, but it wasn't too awful. $150 for six, with coffee, no alcohol. Because there were six of us, the bill included the tip. It also contained a 3% wellness charge. I have no idea where that came from. I had the Eggs Benedict because it seemed to have everything I wanted, plus I don't think I've ever ordered it before. It comes covered with what I think is Hollandaise sauce. It looked good, but taste-wise it didn't seem to be anything special. A little salty, maybe. Okay, I went out on a limb and tried something new. Now that I've had it, I can go back to ordering stuff I like.

We got there an hour early and found a metered parking spot right across the street, but the meter is only good for two hours. By the time we finished lunch we had overstayed our time by half an hour. Since we escaped without a ticket I will only say that parking in downtown Portland sucks, otherwise this screed would go on for pages.

Pic of the Day

Kristy Berington waits on the Innoko River for her sister, Anna Berington, after they both left Shageluk during the Iditarod on March 9. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Previous post.

Twitter Rules

Can I Play That? - SNL
Actors (Idris Elba, Cecily Strong, Beck Bennett) play a game where they choose if they can or cannot play a certain role.

Twitter rules the Twitter sphere where the only rules that matter are Twitter's rules.



Dick Dale & The Del Tones "Misirlou" 1963

I got on to Dick Dale when I heard this tune in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Dick passed away last week. Misirlou has been around for awhile.

The Indian Tomb - Debra Paget - Snake Dance Scene - HD

The Indian Tomb is from 1959. The snake is bogus but the girl is definitely real. What is it with girls and snakes anyway? Don't answer that.

The original Misirlou - Μισιρλού (Τέτος Δημητριάδης -1927)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Secret City

Secret City: Under the Eagle (TRAILER) Netflix

Season 2 of a story about a conspiracy in the very highest levels of the Australian government. We watched the first season last summer. There are a few gaping plot holes, and the premise this story is built on is pretty weak, but all the machinations of the security services and all political squabbling feels totally real. You would not want to get caught up in it.

It sounds a whole lot like what we have here in the USA, except a bit more connected to real life. Here in the USA all we hear about is which way the tweet storm is blowing, and that is all just bullshit. You never hear about what is actually happening unless someone manages to let a fact escape, and then who is going to catch that one little bit of info in the Tsunami of nonsense that is coming down the pike?

Of course, things are probably not any better in real life Australia. This show just makes it seem better because they are showing us what is going on behind the totally fictional scenes. It feels real though. Someone has done a good job of distilling our paranoia into a believable story.

Pi Piper

The pi Piper
Yes, I know, I'm two days late. Two days and 427 years. For Stu.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Mass Plywood Panel- Strength Test

Mass Plywood Panel- Strength Test

The International Mass Timber Conference is coming to Portland next week. A bunch of people are going to be talking about using big pieces made out of wood to build other things, like buildings. 'Mass Plywood' was an unfamiliar term to me, so I looked it up and this is what I found. Those are big pieces of plywood.

Glen Urquhart Check Suit

Frank Sinatra
I'm reading along in Berlin Game and Giles Trent walks into the Kar Club wearing a Glen Urquhart check suit. 'Oh really',  I sneer with my little finger held in the air. Not really, I know beans about suits, had one once, wore it twice, but if you are going to be dropping names like that I'm going to look it up. My first impression was that it was from a particular tailor and was identifiable by the way it was cut, or fit, or something only someone who was in tune with that kind of crap would be able to identify. Turns out it's a name for particular style of fabric. I found a couple of web sites that go into stupefying detail about what it is and how it came to be, but it wasn't until I saw the photo of Frank (above) I snapped to what they were talking about. My dad wore suits that looked like that. Huh.

Thursday, March 14, 2019


An ornithopter is a machine that flies by flapping its wings. The concept has been around for a long time, but no one has had much success, as witnessed by these two samples. We start small, bird size, since that is what we are imitating.

Ornithopter - Rubber Band Wing Flapping Flying Machine

Here is a much bigger one, about a hundred times bigger.

World's First Human-Powered Ornithopter

Here's someone's Sci-Fi fantasy. Don't quite see how this could work being as all the weight is at one end and all the flapping is at the other, but we are talking fantasy here, so for a movie, sure, go on ahead.

DUNE "Spotter" Ornithopter - Animation Test

In the Science Fiction Novel Dune, Ornithopters are the primary technical means for getting around on the planet Arrakis. Descriptions are brief. I found some drawings that give a good portrayal of what one might look like. There seem to be several different schools of thought. There are the ones that are unbalanced or have tiny wings, too tiny to do any good. I call these Type B. Then there are the rigid looking ones, they look like they are made of Legos. Some of them are. Lastly we have the birds and the bugs, the only ones that look to me like they could work. Here's a couple of samples.

Ornithopter for “Jodorowsky’s Dune”

Ornithopter Concept

Dune ornithopter concept, Rainer Nowak
I can see how having wings that can be manipulated could be very useful, especially when taking off or landing. If a couple of good beats of your wings could get you a few feet off the ground like a bird, that might be enough that your jet engines could launch you into forward flight without needing any kind of runway.  And if you could swivel your wings so they could act as airbrakes, like a bird coming in for a landing, you could likewise land without needing a runway. In short, you could operate like a helicopter but without having to power your wings all the time. In order to build such a craft that could carry any kind of real world weight, those wings would need to be very strong, and I don't think we have any materials that are up to the task. We're not even going to talk about what kind of very powerful but very light weight machine you could use to drive them.

The Debt

The Debt Official Trailer #1 - (2010) HD
"In 1965, three Mossad agents cross into East Berlin to apprehend a notorious Nazi war criminal. Thirty years later, the secrets the agents share come back to haunt them." - IMDB
Pretty good thriller. Our three agents can get into East Berlin, and they manage to kidnap the evil Nazi, but how they plan on getting him out is kind of clever.

Map of Cold War Berlin Ghost Stations
Stations marked with a white bar are closed
Berlin was a civilized city, they had trams running on tracks all through the town, but the Berlin wall crossed some of these tracks. They dealt with this conflict by allowing the West German trams to continue to run through East Berlin, but all the East Berlin stations on that line were closed. They became known as 'Ghost Stations'.

Our agents arrange for a West German tram to fake some kind of problem so that it has to stop in East Berlin and while it is stopped, they are going to sneak their package onto the tram. Naturally enough, things do not go smoothly.

Watch out for Helen Mirren, she's deadly with a hypodermic needle.


East Berlin
"Ever wondered how the Communist countries first became Communist? It's not the secret police who do the deed, it's the tax collectors. That's how the Communists wiped out private companies: they increased the tax rate steeply according to the number of employees. Only firms with less than a dozen employees had a chance of surviving."  - Len Deighton in Berlin Game, midway through Chapter 4.
Berlin Game is a spy novel set in the early 1980s, long before the Berlin Wall came down. I ordered it from Amazon because of a character mentioned by Roberta X. The book was shipped to me from the UK.

The Girl with the Red Hair

Het Meisje met het rode haar (Trailer)

Perusing Feedly, I come across a story about a woman who was in the resistance during WW2. That sounds a whole lot like a movie I saw a while back (above). Turns out they are different women:
I remember the film as being a grim little story, full of the basics of how an underground hit squad operates.

Funny thing is I remember seeing this movie with my wife, but I didn't meet my wife until a couple of years after the film was released. It's not available on Netflix, so I suppose this means we watched it on VHS we got from the local Blockbuster.

Update September 2023 replaced missing movie with trailer.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Ctrl-Alt-Del-Right

The Right, period full stop, is not in fact Right. It is rather the “Right.” So have we seen in the last few years the rise of several other sorts of Right, that distinguish themselves from the “Right” with the same urgent animosity that true Communists display in distinguishing themselves from mere liberals and panty-waist Socialists and Social Democrats.
These sorts fall into four categories: the Alt-Right, the Ctrl-Right, the Del-Right, and the Ctrl-Alt-Del-Right. These sorts are all truly of the Right. But only one of them is right, or therefore Right; so that it integrates, and indeed consolidates, all other sorts of Rightness. - The Orthosphere
I didn't know there were so many kinds of "right". All I know is that they aren't left (left out? left behind?).

Tuesday, March 12, 2019



Helicopter De-icing Wind Turbine Blades

I like this picture because it shows just how big a wind turbine is. It's hard to show how big they are because there is never anything around them that you can use for comparison. A picture with a person doesn't work because by the time you zoom out far enough to get the whole turbine in the picture, the person is reduced to a single pixel, which doesn't really help.

Some people think this picture indicates that wind turbines are stupid. Time will tell. The rapid proliferation of wind turbines is due to government policy in the form of tax benefits. It's kind of like ethanol (from corn) that way. It might not be the most economical way to produce electricity, but it's a worthwhile experiment. Even with the vast numbers of them being installed, they still don't produce a noticeable percentage of the electricity we use.

The problem with icing might be due to the get-er-done mindset which ignored the possibility of ice being a problem. Or maybe they considered it, and de-icing by helicopter is the most economical solution. Or maybe it's a freak occurrence that wasn't worth worrying about, until it was.


F2A World Record - Control-line model aircraft speed.

Raddaddy watanen comments:
Some facts for you fellas: Only one-inboard wing, as the drag of the 2 lines are the biggest drag factor. One line is forbidden by the rules (monoline) also longer than 1 m wings outruled. Engine turns at about 40.000 rpm so the two blade prop is ineffective ( other blade falls in the slipstream of the other). The one blade prop tip travels in excess of sound of speed (Tip speed is +1MACH!) and the counterweight is inside the spinner. The 2,5cc glo engine delivers more than 2,5 horsepower. so if it would be a 2,5 litre car engine, the power would be 2500 horsepower. Now you MAY understand these "toys" are actually VERY HIGH TECH scale racers...
Could the engine really be turning 40,000 RPM? That's pretty fast. It is very small. I ran the numbers just to see, and it seems reasonable. 800 MPH is a little more than Mach 1.

I had a couple of control-line model aircraft when I was a kid. Only flew them once or twice. Not sure why. Perhaps it was too big a production for such a small person.

Via True Blue Sam the Travelin' Man
Update July 2021 replaced missing image.

Tundra Water Pump

Iaman reports:
My Tundra water pump replacement lasted 8,000 miles then mysteriously supernaturally started dripping coolant. Where from, I could not tell....till this weekend I spent Saturday going through the 75 steps to replace the pump again.
I was relieved to find it wasn't my fault, but an excessive flow through the weep hole of fluid meant to cool the water pump shaft bearing.
I have two dark bruises on my chest from leaning over the hood catch all day Saturday...
The weep "hole" is funny, there is a channel but the "hole" is the gasket thickness between pump housing and engine block.
Outside. Arrow points to weep hole. Note rib leading from weep hole to bearing.

Inside of water pump. Weep hole is at lower left.
The arrows in these pics show the weep hole in the defective pump.
Otherwise the pump and gasket look/feel fine.
This shows the leakage crud as was deposited behind the Timing belt idler pullley (removed). That is why I could not see where it was leaking fully assembled.
Water Pump Cross Section
Water pump bearings are sealed. There should be no coolant going through them. None. Any cooling should be done by the circulating coolant. Weep holes are a hold over from the good old days when the seal was a separate item. I am not sure, but I think they were there to indicate the seal had failed and to prevent coolant from getting into the bearing and washing away the grease and so causing the bearing to fail. So if you were alert enough to notice coolant leaking from the weep hole, you could pull the water pump and replace the seal and save the bearing which might prolong the life of the pump for a while.

Aftermarket auto parts are a bit of a crap shoot. New car dealers charge exorbitant amounts for replacement parts, so shade tree mechanics will go for the cheaper versions available from the corner auto parts store. Rebuilding common components like water pumps and alternators can be done in a small shop and usually means replacing some relatively inexpensive parts like bearings, so there is a huge margin available. But some of these rebuilding shops turn out shoddy products, products that might last as long as the warranty, which doesn't bother these guys much, because the car will likely be sold before it fails, and the new owner will replace the failed part again, which means more business for rebuilding shop. But then China got into the act and they started building new replacement parts and selling them for the cost of ones rebuilt in America, which I suspect caused the quality of replacement parts to go up in most places. Except maybe in Texas.


Iaman reports:
Reading a book Killing Commendatore which is an allusion to an operatic scene in Don Giovanni. The story thus far has been a straight-up tale of a divorced, capable, but uninspired, not-working portrait artist, aimless, renting rooms, driving around, then house-sitting in a bucolic cottage in the country. [most of these attributes can be applied to Iaman] One evening he is awakened by silence, the bugs have stopped buzzing. he hears tinkling bells, investigates finding the sound coming from under small boulders behind a garden shrine in back of the house, its 2:30 AM. I put the book down, it is quiet here too, too cool for bugs, then a sound, an screech owl? Then silence again envelopes the house. I look at the clock its 2:30AM. I shiver from a sudden chill.
[T]he center of my bedroom is developing a sinkhole, is it to the underworld? It started as a wobbly tile when I moved in. Now the center of the room depresses a inch or two when walked on. I assumed the underfloor to be concrete slab. The wobbly area has increased to 6 foot diameter. I maneuver around it by walking the perimeter. Visions of snake filled limestone caverns beneath trouble me. I move to a neighboring building at the end of the month.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Brimful of Asha

Cornershop - Brimful of Asha - Official Music Video (Original) (Tjinder Singh)

Another tune specifically curated for me by the AI running YouTube. Got to wondering what the heck they are talking about. Just what is a Brimful of Asha anyway?

Asha Bhosle
The song is a tribute to Indian playback singer Asha Bhosle. Since their beginnings, Indian films have relied heavily on song and dance numbers. The singing is almost always performed by background singers (playback singers) while the actors and actresses lip sync. Asha Bhosle has sung over 12,000 of these songs. - paraphrased from Wikipedia

Update July 2022 replaced missing video.
Update January 2024 replaced missing video.

Pic of the Day

Apollo 9 Command/Service Module and Lunar Module docked together with command module pilot David Scott in the open hatch. Photo by Lunar Module pilot Rusty Schweickart. March 6, 1969. (NASA)
Apollo 9 was the third crewed mission in the United States Apollo space program, the second to be sent into orbit by a Saturn V rocket, and the first flight of the command and service module (CSM) with the Apollo Lunar Module. The crew spent ten days in low Earth orbit testing several aspects critical to landing on the Moon. - Wikipedia


REDBAD - TRAILER #1 (2018)

Modern Dutch movie about an old time Dutch dude.
Redbad was the king (or duke) of Frisia from c. 680 until his death in 719. He is often considered the last independent ruler of Frisia before Frankish domination. He defeated Charles Martel at Cologne. Eventually, however, Charles prevailed and compelled the Frisians to submit. Redbad died in 719, but for some years his successors struggled against the Frankish power. - Redbad, King of the Frisians
Mostly it's a movie of guys fighting with swords and people being violently horrible to each other, as is traditional. So, lot's of action. Plus we have definite good guys (the pagans) and definite bad guys (Charles Martel and his Christian soldiers). The movie marries off Redbad's sister to the evil Martel. They lay it on a bit thick. In real life, it was Redbad's daughter who gets married off to Martel's brother.

The marriage was political. I suppose such a marriage could be a hostile relationship, but I would think you would try to make the best of it, being as you are kind of stuck. But people don't always do what they should, sometimes inbred animosity overwhelms any rational control and you get shit like you see here, or on Jerry Springer.

There is one pointless and inexplicable little adventure. Redbad takes his wife and their baby to reconnoiter the castle where his sister is being held. He sees his sister being baptized, but he is surprised by some guards, whom he kills with his mighty sword. He, his wife and child barely escape with their lives. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

This scene was in the movie, and the logic is pretty wonderful:
It is said that Redbad was nearly baptised, but refused when he was told that he would not be able to find any of his ancestors in Heaven after his death, since he preferred spending eternity in Hell with his pagan ancestors than in Heaven with his enemies, especially the Franks. - Redbad, King of the Frisians
The movie was supposed to be a great film about a great Dutch hero, like Admiral, but it fails to deliver any more than generic sword fighting entertainment. Okay, it did prompt me to do a little reading.

All the places mentioned are in relatively small portion of Europe.

Redbad Locations
From top to bottom the locations on the map are:
  • Heligoland, Redbad retreated here in 697
  • Frisia, Redbad's home territory
  • Utrecht, area containing Dorestad
  • Dorestad, Redbad was defeated by Pepin in 689
  • Cologne, Redbad defeated Martel in 714
  • Reims, mentioned in the movie.
Redbad lived about a century before King Alfred ruled in Wessex, England (The Last Kingdom).

The Football War

A Vought F4U-5NL Corsair – at the Museo del Aire, Tegucigalpa (Honduras). This aircaft was sold to Honduras in 1956. In the so-called “Football War”, Cap. Fernando Soto in FAH-609 shot down a Salvadoran air force Cavalier F-51D Mustang and two Goodyear FG-1D Corsairs on 17 July 1969 during the last known air combat between piston-engined aircraft.
While we were in Vietnam, Central American banana republics were having their own troubles. My Daily Kona has the story.

Cap. Fernando Soto has a page in the Spanish language Wikipedia.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Yah Shur

Lester's Ammunition
There's a lesson here somewhere, if I can just find it.

Via Home On The Range

Camp Fire

These guns were in a safe rated at 1400 degrees for 45 minutes.
This is part of the destruction wrought by the Camp Fire in Northern California in November of 2018.

Via Posthip Scott

Lightning Strike

Lightning Strike

Video repeats once.

Via Posthip Scott

Saturday, March 9, 2019


I've been reading Dune for last couple of weeks and it's pretty great. It must be, I am nearly finished with it, unlike the stack of books on my table that I haven't finished.

Anyway, I am nearing the end of this 500 page Science Fiction thriller when I encounter this bit of dialog between Paul, the hero, Jessica, his mother, and Chani, his wife.
In that instant, she [Jessica] knew.
"You drank the sacred water!" she blurted.
"One drop of it," Paul said. "So small . . . one drop."
"How could you do such a foolish thing?" she demanded.
"He is your son," Chani said.
Jessica glared at her.
I howled. I dunno, maybe you had to be there.

I read the book once before, likely 50 years ago when it was new. I remember quite a bit of the story, but then I also saw the movie, so many of my memories are visual ones from the film. The only thing I am sure I remember from the book is the evil Baron unplugging the heartplug of one of his minions,  but like I said, I am almost done with the book and there has been no mention of any heartplugs, which means I must have got it from the movie. So much for eyewitness testimony.

The copy I am reading is the 50th Anniversary Edition (paperback). The closest thing available from Amazon is the 40th Anniversary Edition. Odd, don't you think?

The Widow

The Widow - Official Trailer | Prime Video

'Crazy people running around with blood in their eyes' pretty much sums it up. The story jumps back and forth in time and between Africa and England. Some of the jumps make sense, but most of them are just there to leave a little cliff hanger, which I must admit, I kind of enjoy. Oh, it irritates me, but it gets me stirred up which is a good thing. My emotions need their exercise, you know.

Africa seems to have no end of horror stories to tell, but from this movie, it appears that most of the people are just going about their everyday business. I mean we have big cities with skyscrapers and international airports. Yes, there are men with guns running around in the bush just outside of town, but it's a big country and there aren't all that many men with guns, so you can avoid them, and as long as the militia are not right there in your neighborhood, life goes on as normal as in any peaceful country.

The lead characters are all varying degrees of wacko. It's understandable as they have all been through some pretty horrendous events, most of which they instigated themselves. Most of them end up dead, which is kind of telling.

A miner shows a bag containing coltan in Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Aug. 2008. ALFREDO FALVO/CONTRASTO/REDUX
There is a thin line running through this whole story, and that is smuggling coltan out of the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). There are some scenes of a coltan mine scattered throughout the series, but it's a pretty feeble operation, a few dozen people working in muddy pools on the surface, much like the picture above. But in the beginning of the last episode they take you on a tour of how it it mined, bagged, transported, combined with the output from dozens of other mines (must be dozens or even hundreds if they are all as small as the one we were shown) and smelted. They skip the part about how the metal is made into capacitors, but then they take you to a modern smart phone assembly line and deliver that phone to one of the characters in the show who is ranting about something to do with coltan production. Clever.

Only about a thousand tons of tantalum are produced each year, so it's not like coal where a thousand tons are mined every second.

8 episodes on Amazon Prime Video

Friday, March 8, 2019

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Trailer

Watched this the other night. It's still pretty great, though it wasn't as overwhelming as when I saw it the first time in the theater, 19 (?!?!) years ago. This time I was able to follow the story a little better and now I realize the princess is psycho. She is very talented at martial arts and can defeat a whole tavern full of men with one hand tied behind her back, figuratively speaking. But she is like a loose cannon, spreading discord and mayhem wherever she goes, and as near as I can tell, for no purpose other than to satisfy her own impulses.

The fight scene between the two leading ladies was pretty spectacular. I figure that it's all choreographed and well rehearsed, but it's still pretty amazing that nobody got hurt with all that steel flying around at close quarters.

I remember my mother didn't like the flying bits (the rooftop chase scenes), too fantastical for her. I took it with a grain of salt. 'People flying over the rooftops' sounds exactly how some guy staggering home after a late night of whooping it up with his buds would describe seeing people running over the rooftops. So it's not an unrealistic fantasy, it's an alcohol induced fantasy, which is much more realistic.

On Amazon Prime Video

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Empire Relic

SS Empire Heritage
That's a military war machine, a tank. Going by the amount of crud covering it looks like it has been down there a while. Given that we can see color and the background isn't totally black, it might not be too deep. Plus we have a SCUBA diver, but that isn't a good indicator because SCUBA divers can go very deep with special equipment. This picture sparked my interest, so I did a little checking. The tank was cargo on the Empire Heritage, which had a string of bad luck.
Empire Heritage, a 15,702 GRT tanker, was launched in 1930, hit a mine in  January 1941 and beached. Refloated in March 1941 and beached, but broke in two and declared a total loss. To MoWT, repaired and renamed Empire Heritage. Torpedoed September 1944 and sunk by U-482. - paraphrased from Wikipedia
MoWT is the Ministry of War Transport. Empire Heritage was one of about a zillion Empire ships:
An Empire ship is a merchant ship that was given a name beginning with "Empire" in the service of the Government of the United Kingdom during and after World War II.
. . .
New Empire ship construction represented an enormous undertaking that included classes of freighters, tankers, aircraft carriers, fast cargo liners, tank landing ships, Deep Sea Salvage and Rescue Tugs and several other categories. Total production numbered in the hundreds.
Empire ships were supplements to Britain's normal peacetime merchant fleet, swelling its wartime numbers to 12,000, then the largest merchant ship fleet in the world. Approximately 4,000 ships on the British register were lost between 1939 and 1945, a considerable number being sunk during the Battle of the Atlantic. - Wikipedia

Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away