Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Gimme that Old Time Power

1920. The 70,000 horsepower hydraulic turbine component for the Niagara hydroelectric power plant at the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
I don't know why, but I am always surprised when I see old photos of big stuff being built. I suppose it's because we have plenty of photos of the finished product, but I seldom see pictures of the construction. It looks like this was one of three turbines built to drive 25 Hz generators.

Via Just A Car Guy

John Wick

Don’t worry, he’s got this.
 The Adaptive Curmudgeon explains John Wick:
(Note: I’m not sure it matters which John Wick movie you see. They’re all the same John Wick movie. I say that even though I haven’t even seen the one in theaters right now. “John Wick Episode III: the Wickening”.) The plot of John Wick is all about pre-paid emergency contingency services. There’s a lot of splattery killing but that’s true of most Hollywood crap, it’s the contingency planning that makes Wick special.
To summarize: Neo from the Matrix gets righteously pissed when low end thuggish criminals act unforgivably low end. They go full thug on his pet. Never go full thug! Never mess with a man’s dog! That’s a key plot point in Wick. Thugs ignore the limits of acceptable behavior and that’s not OK. Once they’ve taken a shit on society, the rest of us cheer for a violent nutjob who kills them in box lots. We see ‘em get stabbed, bludgeoned, kneecapped, shot, burned, blown up, bent, folded, and spindled… and it’s fun to watch. Kids, here’s some helpful Curmudgeonly advice, don’t go into a career of thuggery! (Also, you might want to avoid politics, but that’s another story.)
He goes on for a bit, and it's very funny. Made my day. Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Weekend Projects

Dog gate for small dog
California Bob has been working on some less ambitious projects:
A couple things accomplished this weekend: got all the drawer pulls installed on the downstairs cupboards -- no more tugging on the edges of the drawers with fingertips to coax them open.  These are the tiny efficiencies that lead to greatness.
Also fashioned a dog gate -- zip-tied two pieces of dog fence together, and mounted them using pipe supports from the plumbing box.  A bungie keeps Tickles from opening it -- so far.  He's not too bright so I think it's sufficient.   

Uinberp's Progress

Uniberp at his Muskegon Cottage
So here is what I've been working on, 3rd year. Finished (nearly) the new steel roof this past weekend.
In reality it only took like 6-8 working days to strip  and replace the roof but i had long periods of recovery between so the roof took about 6 weeks.
The 5th and 6th pics show some the extent of the gutting inside, and all new sewer, plumbing, HVAC, 2 additional bedrooms upstairs,
It's still gonna take a lot to make it habitable. Siding done on 2 sides, the 4 sides showing are left to be done, about the same sq footage as already done.
18 foot cathedral ceiling. 1.5 bath. I demolished and removed ~30,000 pounds of debris (300 barrels, 10 at a time, to the county dump). Demolition is pretty much done, one section of ceramic floor to go.
Some floor joists had to be replaced, I may replace them all at some point. The upstairs is all new anyhow, so new joists and flooring.
It originally had 10 foot ceilings with a tall attic  kneewall as well.
Double lot. 30 x 30 garage on the alley. 2 blocks from Lake Muskegon.
I got a DIY Foam-It spray insulation kit  for the crawlspace foundation wall.
For the cost of a 2014 Chevy Suburban.
Plus $1500 property tax annually. Not really using any significant amount of utilities.
6 Attachments
He has a zillion times as much energy as I do. I might have had that much energy once, but it was a long time ago. Previous posts on this project.

Saginaw Michigan

USS Edson Saginaw, Michigan
The Shekel posted some photos from his flight this weekend. I thought I would see if I could find these places on Google Maps.

Saginaw River, left, flowing into Saginaw Bay
The industrial complex on the left is an electric power plant
That is all.

P.S. The ship is the USS Edson as opposed to the USS Edison

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Big Rock Falls Out of Sky

One of the boulders remains embedded in the highway, according to the Colorado DOT, which described it as the size of a building and said it will have to be blasted into smaller pieces before being moved off the highway.
Via Just a Car Guy


Atlantis - The Lost Continent movie poster
"Plato had a cyclic – or “spiraling” – view of history, in which the cycles bear the regular scars of catastrophe, the plural catastrophes being epochal in the root sense of articulating a dehiscence between one age and another.  . . . one effect of the regular cataclysmic events is periodically to interrupt the record of history and reset cultural development at its degree-zero.  When the earth shakes or fire falls from the sky or the oceans rise to inundate the land, civilization, painfully built up over the centuries, vanishes under the onslaught of nature; only a few mountain-dwellers or lucky, remote people survive.  Since the simple, unlettered survivors take no custody of the written lore, almost every verbal trace of the smashed civilization also vanishes.  The priest tells Solon that quirks of nature permit a few exceptions, and that the Nile Delta is one of them – a place unaffected by universal disasters, where continuous records chronicle humanity’s adventures going back tens of thousands of years into the past.  Atlantis and the Prehistoric Athens attained high civilization; their achievements, technical and political, indeed put to shame all the societies of Solon’s day, including Attic society.  A scourge of earthquakes and flooding obliterated both nations and the stunned survivors managed to live at a stone-age level of material culture only." - Thomas F. Beronneau
He goes on for a bit about legend of Atlantis. "dehiscence" is a new word to me. Merriam-Webster tells us it means: "a split along a natural line".

Monday, May 27, 2019

Russia Strong!

Soyuz Rocket Struck by Lightning During Launch

It just makes me wonder since I've seen so many videos of rockets blowing up for no reason at all and here we get one hit dead on with a lighting bolt and it isn't even fazed. It continued on and finished putting the satellite into orbit. Seems though, that I've heard of airplanes being hit by lightning with no ill effects. It's still just creepy as hell.

Via The Unwanted Blog

Dead Wake - The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Dead Wake - The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
by Erik Larson
Not a great book, but not bad. An easy, engaging read. About half of the book is devoted to serious stuff, like the ship, submarine operations, political machinations and military operations. The other half is fluff - little bits of information about some of the various passengers, who they were, what they were doing and what became of them.

S.S. Lusitania Leaves New York City on Last Voyage

S.S. Lusitania Sinking
The water that day was nearly mill-pond still. Launching the lifeboats was almost a complete disaster, partly due to an inexperienced crew and partly due to poor organization, or maybe I am repeating myself. There was also the problem of launching the boats while the ship was still moving. A behemoth like the Lusitania charging along at 18 knots doesn't suddenly stop just because there is a big fat hole in the side.

The sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-Boat may have been the trigger that launched America on the road to war. It took two years, but eventually we got involved. One of the first things we did was send a squadron of destroyers over. The event was significant enough that Bernard F. Grimble captured it in a painting.

Return of the Mayflower, by Bernard F. Gribble (British, 1873-1962)
SM U-20 grounded on the Danish coast in 1916. Torpedoes had been exploded in the bow to destroy the boat
The submarine that fired the fatal torpedo ended up grounded on the Danish coast. The Germans expended great effort to refloat it but failed.

P.S. Some places say SS for Steam Ship, some places say RMS which stands for Royal Mail Ship, not Royal Majesty's Ship, which would have been my first guess. British Royal Navy ships are denoted by HMS which stands for His (or Her) Majesty's Ship. RMS just means the ship carries the mail.

P.P.S. Some of the place names from Ireland sounded familiar. Seems I did a post about The Wreck of the Seahorse a couple of years ago. 200 years ago the Seahorse foundered on the Irish coast not far from where the Lusitania went down. I added it to the map.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Blood & Guts

Diriliş "Ertuğrul" - Atabey'in İdamdan Kurtarılış Sahnesi (8.Bölüm)
(Resurrection "Ertugrul" - Atabey's Restoration Stage (Section 8))

In every episode of Ertuğrul there is at least one big sword fight where a handful of brave Turkish warriors slaughter a couple of dozen bad guys. Both sides are using broadswords, so hacking and slashing are the order of the day. Occasionally someone will get stabbed, but it's pretty rare.

What gets shown on the screen is kind of interesting. Whenever a sword makes contact we see a splash of blood fly, but every time a wound appears on the screen, the area is blurred out. So flying blood is okay, but actual bloody injuries are not. About once a season some scumbag gets executed by decapitation, but once the head has been severed it gets the blurring treatment even when it gets impaled on a spike and paraded around.

Frequently someone ends up being held with a knife or sword to their throat. Given the close contact and how we never see any marks on the victim's throat, never mind that we have dozens of three foot long blades of steel flying through the air, we can surmise that the edges on these props are properly dull. There is also a good deal of sword blades crashing into each other when one combatant blocks another's blow.

In season 4 the evil Templars have started wearing chain mail which you might think would provide some protection against a blow from a sword, especially a blow from the edge. However, because our Turkish heroes are faithful Muslims, chain mail provides no protection. The Templars suffer the same kind of injuries as they did in the previous three seasons when they weren't wearing chain mail. The Turk's blades must be magical.

These guys also have bows and arrows. They get used occasionally, but rarely effectively. I suspect the reason is that people enjoy watching other people in action, and there isn't much action with bows and arrows. They create a more intellectual effect. Swinging broadswords are more visceral.

Troy - Beach Battle #Clip - Achilles [1080p HD Blu-Ray]

Four men armed with broadswords killing two dozen similarly armed men with suffering any injuries seems a bit far fetched. However, people arrive at the fight with varying levels of skill and training. It might be a bit like a squad of professional basketball players taking on an entire high school team.

La Ballade de Buster Scruggs 2018. (Extrait - Attaque des Indiens) VF
[Indians 1st Attack Scene "Dog Hole" | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Netflix]

Then there is training and tactics. I'd never heard anything about Indian tactics in the American wild west until I saw this scene from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. So if you get a bunch of teenage boys, give 'em swords, fill them with religious fervor and send them out to kill a bunch of heathens, who just happen to be experienced professional killers, you might very well end up with a bunch of dead kids and the heathens will be untouched.

P.S. The video at the top is from season 1 and I totally recognized the younger of the two guys watching the fight from upstairs window. He's the Emir Al Aziz of Aleppo.

P.P.S. Yes, I realize I am indiscriminate in my use of the word 'heathen'. None of these guys have acknowledged me as the one true lord of the universe, so they are all heathens in my book.

Update March 2020 replaced the disappeared Buster Scruggs video clip with one that's been dubbed in French. Without understandable dialog, you are only getting about half the story. Sorry about that.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Off with his Head!

Ertuğrul Postoğlu as Bahadir Bey
We're deep into Season 4 of Ertuğrul and last night Bahadir Bey finally got his comeuppance. He swaggers in from nowhere and wants to be declared leader of the tribe and when that is denied, he starts scheming to take out Ertuğrul. Well, all's fair in love, war and politics, but he crosses the line when he conspires with the enemy. Never mind that there is a war going on, this guy would sell his own mother for some personal aggrandizement. Where is his mother anyway? Did he sell her for a gold plated trinket?

Anyway, after weeks of torturing us with his lying, double dealing and generally being a low down dirty dog, he gets found out and Ertuğrul chops off his head. My wife and I both let out a cheer! It's like the Trail Blazers won a playoff game!

None of this would be worth mentioning except for this story about a modern day head chopper-offer getting his head chopped off kind of brought it into focus. (Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away)

Funny how people feel about violence. If it's our people getting whacked, then our blood boils and revenge is the order of the day. If our soldiers manage to whack a bad guy, then it's cause for celebration.

Red Hot

Cisitalia 1947 202 Spider Nuvolari
Spotted this over on daily timewaster and my immediate thought was that it looked kind of cool. My second thought was that it was maybe a little weird, and that was enough to get me wondering just what the heck it was. Google found the same picture on a couple of other sites, some of which were dead, and some were Pinterest, which seldom has any useful information. But then I realized there is a license plate and when I tried that, bingo!, several sites popped up that identified the car. RM Sotheby's has concise story about this diminutive, postwar Italian hot rod. They also have a bunch of pictures. I like this one:

Cisitalia 1947 202 Spider Nuvolari
Wikipedia has a story about Cistalia cars.

Mercedes Benz

Ewy Rosqvist: An Unexpected Champion

I have mixed feelings about Mercedes. On one hand they have done some wonderful things with automobiles. On the other, they are ungodly expensive and relatively unreliable compared to Asian anything. The worst part, or maybe the best, depending on your point of view, is that they think they are better than everyone else. In many cases they are right. They are innovators, but sometimes being first just means you end up being different. Friend of mine bought a used Mercedes sedan of some sort and eventually it needed a wheel alignment. Turns out your average tire shop can't handle this common service requirement. Only place you get an alignment done is at the Mercedes dealer. Likewise another friend of mine got a luxo Benz on a trade and it has some kind of quirky transmission problem and the only place that has the diagnostic tools to tackle is . . . you guessed it, the dealer. Of course, if you are one of the faithful, this isn't going to be a problem. All other cars, dealers and shops are heathen barbarians and you wouldn't want to deal with any of them anyway. Besides, that's why god made you rich.

Checking my blog for previous Mercedes posts and I realized they ran another ad featuring a woman last month. It could be an interesting year if they can keep it up.

Via BANGshift

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Foil Bearings

Turbomax Air Bearing Animation

Foil Bearings are curious devices. Most bearings that are employed in ordinary devices like cars, appliances and power tools use some combination of oil and rollers to keep things running smoothly. Not so Foil bearings. The rely on nothing but ordinary air. There are some air bearings that require a supply of pressurized air, but they are another animal entirely.

Foil bearings are used in jet engines and possibly in some turbochargers. Why they work is a mystery. The rotating parts of a large jet engine might weigh as much as a ton, yet the few square inches of bearing surface are enough to support them. In the animation above, the foil ring expands as the shaft speed increases, which should indicate that the air pressure has risen above the ambient. How does that happen? Is air somehow attracted to fast moving surfaces, kind of like girls are attracted to guys with fast cars?

WPC Surface Treatment Demo - Air Bearing Effect

Then we have this video about WPC Surface Treatment. They have a metal rod and a bushing that have been subjected to the WPC treatment and while they are not touching air can still not escape through the gap. Very weird. Dan Gelbart got me started on this.

The WPC treatment is somewhat like sandblasting, but the particles are much smaller than sand. Near as I can tell it bashes all the high points down so the surface is much smoother, not that you would be able to tell by touching it. At a submicron level, I imagine the difference is something like this:

Precision ground surface versus standard
On the other hand, a highly polished surface that has been subjected to the WPC treatment is no longer mirror-like. Probably has something to do with the wavelength of light the size of the 'dimples'.

WPC Metal Surface Treatment Demo #2 of 2

Get Bent

2003 Cassini Radio Experiment
On the way to Saturn, NASA ran an experiment to further verify Einstein's theory that gravity bends space. The experiment was a success. I think this image gives very good view of what they were doing.

Via Starts With A Bang!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

China Rim

China Rim Chinese Restaurant
Our Tuesday lunch bunch has been bouncing around ever since O'Connor's closed. We went to Walter Mitty's for a while. They have a deck which is great when the weather is nice, and a fancy grilled cheese sandwich that I really liked. We were going to Seasons & Regions for a while, but the parking there is abysmal. We've also tried a McMenamins, The Old Market Pub, Lupe's Escape, The Black Bear Inn and Block & Board.

I like China Rim because it's cheap, it's closer to my house than most of the others, they serve Chinese food which I am partial to, but mostly because it is quiet enough you can have a conversation without shouting.

The Monster That Ate Cleveland

Why Amazon Is Gobbling Up Failed Malls

I have been a little disturbed the way shopping malls seem to be dying. I personally don't have much use for them. My wife can spend hours shopping there. Busy, well kept malls are a pretty good indicator of a healthy economy, which means people are working which should mean they are earning enough money to take care of themselves. When I see vacant store fronts and trash blowing around in the parking lot I take it as a sign that things aren't going so well. Washington Square Mall is a big local mall and it seems to be doing well, except there was a big Sears store there and now it is closed.

So I have been wondering what was going to happen with these dinosaurs and now we know. I don't buy much these days, I pretty much have everything I need, but occasionally I will buy something from Amazon, usually a book, and I won't have to pay for it because I have enough points on my credit card to cover a $10 purchase. I used to be a big fan of cash, but now I use a credit card for almost everything. I can't really explain why I made the change, except perhaps because I carry my cash in my wallet which I carry in my hip pocket and getting it out when I am sitting in the car (buying gasoline or going through a fast food drive through) requires contorting my body enough to get my behind off of the seat so I can get my wallet out. I carry my credit card in a sleeve I keep in my front pocket and getting the card out of there isn't such an ordeal. Or maybe all the credit card advertisements convinced my subconscious that my world would be filled with light and happiness if I used a credit card for everything.

There is a big Amazon warehouse near here and while these big warehouses seem like overkill, they are relatively cheap for the amount of space you get. It's better to have more space than you need than not enough. Trying to cram more stuff into an already full building is an exercise in frustration. With an oversize building you don't need to worry about fitting everything in just so. You can make your layout clear and simple which makes work easier for everyone involved.

Bonus: The Monster That Devoured Cleveland, an unmusical piece of music as I have ever heard, but I guess monster's aren't that musical.

Pic of the Day

Tangalooma Wrecks, Queensland, Australia
These wrecks were placed here as a breakwater. They are just off the west coast of Moreton Island, which is just to the northeast of Brisbane.

Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away

Monday, May 20, 2019

Beauchamp Tower Part 2

1899 Apparatus for steadying guns on shipboard. US Patent 640051A
Beauchamp Tower, besides his research into lubrication, also came up with a gyroscope stabilized gun platform for Naval vessels. His machine incorporated a heavy flywheel, shown in cross section in the lower part of the above drawing, and four hydraulic pistons. Tilting the ship, and hence the base of this platform caused the gyro to open a valve that allowed hydraulic fluid to flow into a piston and so level the gun platform. Other than these patents, I didn't find any other mention of it.

A self leveling gun platform sounds like a really good idea. Back in the late 19th Century, gun people had gotten very good at building big guns and along with building the guns they had also developed the math needed to calculate the trajectory of the fired shot. However, those predictions depend on the gun having a solid fixed base. A ship is just the opposite of a fixed base. Even on a calm day, with a ship at anchor, there is going to be some movement, and any little movement is going to destroy the accuracy of the gun. So you can see how having a platform that sits level regardless of what kind of monkey motions the ship is making could make hitting your target a possibility instead of a lucky strike.

WW2 battleships had ginormous electro-mechanical computers for aiming their guns. I've looked into those before, but what I didn't realize is that these systems incorporated gyroscopes. I mean, why would you need a gyroscope? A battleship is so big and heavy, it's not going to move, it's like a floating rock. Except it's not. Everything that floats is subject to the motion of the water. Never mind all those scenes of battleships cruising sedately across an ocean that looks flat as a mill pond.

Eventually I stumbled on this article by Gene Slover and I realized that all of guns on a battleship were mounted on self leveling platforms. The platforms didn't contain gyroscopes, but relied on electrical signals sent via wires from the master gun control computer. The signals caused motors to run or hydraulic valves to open to do the actual work necessary to keep the platform level. So on a ship that is engaged in a battle, all of the gun platforms are all tilting in unison to compensate for the motion of the ship.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Tasty & Daughters

Tasty & Daughters

Took the family to Tasty & Daughters for a belated Mother's Day celebration. It's on the Eastside on the corner of 46th & Division. Trendy enough for the kids, I guess. Noisy. I suspect some restaurants cultivate this high level of buzziness. Makes people feel they are in the thick of it, whatever 'it' is. Makes it impossible for me to carry on any kind of conversation without a whole lot of "WHAT?"

They bring the dishes out in a haphazard manner so you can 'share". That worked okay for the girls, who were sitting on one side of the table eating some kind of foo foo food, but it's not going to work for the guys sitting on the other side of the table eating big chunks of meat. (Mine!).

I don't like the way menus are going, full of fancy names are long descriptions. I ordered something called a Burmese Pork Stew, if I recall correctly, mostly because I didn't want yet another hamburger. I was a little worried that it would be extremely hot (spicy) because Burma is right next to Thailand, and Thai food has a reputation for being so hot that it is inedible except by freaks. That wasn't the case. The stew was alright, big chunks of barbeque pork in a bowl of white rice along smattering of vegetables. No sign of any stew, unless you call the splash of juice soaked up by the rice.

We had to wait almost an hour for a table, but that was okay, because it took that long for our entire gang to show up. $125 for five, out the door, no alcohol.

They included this little note with the french fries. It's spattered with grease stains, but the scanner didn't pick them. I could scan it again with a different setting, but do we really need that level of authenticity?

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Old Town Road

Lil Nas X - Old Town Road (Official Movie) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus

Boogety boogety boogety. We've been watching Ertugrul on Netflix and in every episode we have men riding horses, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes in slow motion, but I don't think we've seen horses running flat out like they are in the beginning of this video. A couple of weeks ago we had horses running flat out in the Kentucky Derby. And you can still see horses running in races most every day, at least in places where they still have horse races. Don't think they run them in Portland anymore. And let's not forget the Compton Cowboys.

This video is about six kinds of goofball, but it's got horses, so it's cool.

Via The Unwanted Blog

Friday, May 17, 2019

Midwest Flood

We start with two satellite images of Omaha Nebraska. They are roughly the same scale.

Google Satellite Image View of Omaha Nebraska
This is what Omaha normally looks like. You can sort of make out that there are some rivers there.

2019 Spring Flood Omaha Nebraska
This is what it looked like a couple of months ago.

NOAA 2019 Spring Flood
It doesn't look like it is getting any better.

Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away

Thursday, May 16, 2019


I ordered a cell phone from Tracfone and they dutifully shipped it:

Today I got to wondering where it was, so I checked.

I must say I am impressed. I have ordered a few things like used books that might take a month to get here, but those are usually old paperbacks being shipped from England, for free, and they don't promise 2 day delivery. I wonder if there was some monumental screwup, or whether there was just a sequence of errors that got it shuffled off to Buffalo and back half a dozen times. Or maybe it just got stuck on a conveyor.

Box rolling down covayor forever

Quote of the Day

Zazdin Han
We've started watching Season 4 of Resurrection: Ertugrul. In Episode 7 we have the evil (boo, hiss) Emir Sadettin Kopek reading from a book:
"The sultan's crown depends upon the vizier's pen.
If the ink runs dry, his rule will come to an end." - Seljuks' grand emir Nizamulmulk
The real-life Kopek may have been just as sleazy as the villain in this Netflix maxi-series, but he also managed to get some things built, like this caravanserai shown above.

Beauchamp Tower

Beauchamp Tower - Alison Avery
Part of the Tower of London castle
I am trying to figure out just how air bearings work and I come across an engineer by the name of Beauchamp Tower, but when I Google him, I get the Tower of London. Huh, don't suppose there is any connection do you?

Kingsbury Tilting Pad Thrust Bearing
Beauchamp (the engineer) is chiefly known for his discovery of hydrodynamic lubrication. Kingsbury used this knowledge to develop the Tilting Pad Thrust Bearing.  The pads are mounted on pivots and due to magic, the trailing edge tilts toward the bearing surface, but because of oil magic, they never make contact.

Near as I can tell, these bearings were originally developed for propeller shafts for big ships and are still in use today. They can support loads of 100 tons, which is kind of what you need when you want to push a gazillion ton ship through the water at 20 knots. I mean the propellers are generating the necessary thrust, but you really need to to transfer that thrust to the hull of the ship. Hence, you need a big-ass thrust bearing.

This whole air bearing thing is a bit opaque. There is a lot of mumbo jumbo about how they work, but I haven't found any kind of clear explanation of the principles involved, which leads me to suspect that either a) they don't really know, or b) it's some kind of quantum effect, which means it may as well be magic.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Honest officer, the gun went off all by itself!

Cover illustration from Le Petit Journal (29 March 1914) depicting the assassination of Calmette by Madame Caillaux.
I started reading Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson and almost immediately ran into this passage:
Henriette Caillaux, pistolet
Henriette was one of the richest women in France at the time. Wikipedia has an account of this incident.

Gorka Position System

08-04-18 Kat Timpf on The Greg Gutfeld Show - Kat’s Gorka Positioning System Commercial

If you watch TV News, you might know who these characters are. I don't, so they are new to me, and very funny. Via The View Through The Windshield.

More War in the Middle East

The snow-capped Alborz mountain range overlook the Iranian capital of Tehran - istock
Seems to be never ending. Joseph A. Mussomeli has an essay about John Bolton beating the war drum. It inspired me to comment:
I liked your story about the Sri Lanka bombings. It seemed clear headed and reasonable. This one seems to have more feeling.
I am unsure about the Iranians. Most of the Arab states seem to enjoy spouting warlike rhetoric, but they seem to be remarkably ineffective when it comes to actually fighting, unless they are fighting their neighbors.
Blaming the Saudi's for 9-11 is a little misplaced. Near as I can tell, Osama was frustrated in his attempts to effect change in Saudi Arabia, and so attacked the country he viewed as Saudi Arabia's biggest supporter / customer, i.e. the USA.
It might not be possible to bring democracy to Asia. They have always been run by autocrats, it might be genetic, or "in their blood", if you prefer.
If you want to effect change in these benighted lands, you need an massive, long term propaganda campaign aimed at the largest segment of the population, the sheepherders. That's how the commies prepare for their conquests.
Previous post about the Sri Lanka bombings.

P.S. The picture is from a story from last fall about BOAC* suspending flights to Tehran. Funny, I posted British Airways Flies to Tehran two years ago.

* Yes, I know, BOAC isn't called that anymore, but this Beatles tune permanently engraved it in my brain.

Are you talking to me?

You Talking To Me? - Taxi Driver 1976 in HD

We speak for two reasons. One is to convey information, but what we say is often phatic, meaning that what we say is said to affirm that we are on some sort of “speaking terms” with the one we say it to. If I were to meet you on a sultry street, both of us bearing the sheen and stains of ample sweat, and if I (mopping my brow with a sodden handkerchief) were to observe that the day was a mite warm, the remark would be phatic. Insofar as information goes, this would be “needless to say.”
But I would not be talking about the weather. I would be talking about us.
My remark would serve to acknowledge that I knew you, and that our connection was of the sort were meteorological pleasantries are not out of order. They are neither offensively forward, as they might be if offered to a perfect stranger, nor offensively reserved, as they might be if offered, without embellishment, to a dear friend.
Now there is a portion of our race, predominantly male, who do not understand, and are often intensely irritated by, phatic speech. And there is another portion, predominantly female, who seem not know there is any other kind.
He goes on a little more. The whole thing is pretty great.

Phatic is new to me.

Taxi Driver blew me away when I saw it way back then.

P.S. I eventually realized that emphatic is just phatic with an 'em' tacked on the front. Does this mean they are related?

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Friday, May 10, 2019


Completing the Transcontinental Railroad
The Orthosphere tells us that today marks the 150th Anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Vunderbar! But then he mentions that "While railroads in the sense of wheeled carts rolling on tracks have existed since antiquity . . .", which sends me on a Wiki-wander, which turns up an ancient railroad, or sorts, in ancient Greece.

Diolkos - Ancient road for transporting ships across the Isthmus of Corinth in Greece
Map showing location of the Diolkos railway in Greece
The 5 mile long roadway was a rudimentary form of railway, and operated from c. 600 BC until the middle of the 1st century AD. - Wikipedia

Going from one side of the Isthmus by sea would entail a 500 mile voyage which you might be able to complete in a day but could very easily take a week.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Yuri Dolgoruky

Russian Nuclear Submarine “Yuri Dolgoruky” (K-535) Sub-Sea Launch Four “Bulava” Missile.

Russian submarine cruising around in the ice covered northern sea, firing missiles. The CIA would have given their left nut for video like this 50 years ago. Of course, this submarine didn't exist back then. They started the project just before the Soviet Union collapsed and it stalled. They resumed building it in 1996 and finally launched it in 2008.

Statue of Yuri Dolgoruky in Moscow erected in 1954
The sub is named for Yuri Dolgoruky, literally "Yuri the Long-Armed" (c. 1099 – 15 May 1157), founder of the city of Moscow.

Pic of the Day

Career Day in Russia
The girls look happier about this than the boys.

Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away

Report from Portugal

"One of the things I’ve been noticing here is that all the crazy sh*t Californians dream up is taken like gospel truth is. I had to fight for table salt, EVEN THOUGH I ALWAYS HAVE LOW BLOOD PRESSURE and actually lose salt (which is how I ended up in the hospital some years ago) and Mom — damn it — knows this, because “Salt will kill you.”
It’s like cargo cult modernity and there’s nothing as “modern” as fracking Cali, so they believe everything that comes out of there as the “new great way to be.”
. . .
Guys, we’re going to have to put a silencer on California. They’re screwing up the rest of the world." - Sarah A. Hoyt

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

More Ertuğrul

The History of Anatolia : Every Year
Anatolia has always been an interesting region in a historic point of view. Indeed, that is where the biggest empires ever were created and where they spread from.From the Achaemenids to Byzantium, from the seleucids to the Ottomans, see the history of this complex region from 1550 BC to today. - Khey Pard
The video covers 3500 years and runs about 12 minutes, which means we get about 5 years per second. Some empires last for minutes, like Rome, which translates into hundreds of years. Some only appear as a brief flash, like 'something-Turkey' around the end of WW1. Many only last for a few seconds, but even ten seconds translates into 50 years.

The Ottomans, which is why we are looking at this, don't appear on this map until the year 1300 (the 9:30 mark in the video). Ertuğrul was the father of Osman who founded the Ottoman Empire.

Ertuğrul is nominally a subject of Sultan Alâeddin, supreme leader of the Seljuk Empire, which lasted from 1037 to 1194. It doesn't appear on the map until until about 1050 and disappears around 1160.

If you are concerned about details, you really need to watch a bigger version of this video. This embedded version is just too small.


Diriliş “Ertuğrul” - INTRO

We started Season 3 (90 episodes) of Ertuğrul (on Netflix). Yes, we also watched Seasons 1 & 2 (with similar numbers of episodes). It's not the greatest show, I put it on about the same level as The Lone Ranger, but it's fun. We have a hero, Ertuğrul, and his band of sword wielding tribesmen riding around and wreaking vengeance on the local bad guys.

They are members of a tribe of nomadic Turks who are being pushed out of Persia by Genghis Khan and his horde. Now they are in Turkey and are running up against the Byzantine Empire. So, kind of between a rock and a hard place. And if that wasn't bad enough we also have the Templars and their accursed crusades plotting and scheming to take down Ertuğrul on their way to conquering the holy land.

It looks a lot like Muslim propoganda in much the same way that The Long Ranger was: tell the truth, stand up for what is right, loyalty is the most important virtue. Of course, everything that is and that happens is due to Allah.

The situation is much like the American wild west was in the 1800's. There are no fences, the land is wide open. There is a trading center not too far away from their present camp with a largish stone building surrounded by a bunch of booths, much like you would see in a modern flea market. This trading center cannot be too far away from their camp because they have set up their 'rug house' there and the women go there every morning and return to camp every night. They have wagons with solid wheels, so they could ride there, but it's still slow going, which means it probably is only two or three miles away. That is probably all the distance they need in order to have enough room for their sheep to graze.

The tribe has 400 tents. If we figure ten people per tent, then we have a population of about 4,000 people. Half of those will be children, half will be women, so we have a thousand adult men to herd the sheep, stand guard and fight the bad guys. If they need 10 sheep for every person, that's 40,000 sheep. 100 sheep need about 30 acres of grassland, which means they would need about 1,200 acres or about two square miles of land. A circular area two miles in diameter should be plenty.

Since there are no fences, and not much in the way of law enforcement, you are pretty much on your own to protect your camp and your herds from predation by wolves or bandits.

The men have their duties and the women have theirs. Besides their normal housekeeping chores, the women are also the primary bread winners. They weave rugs that are sold to merchants who transport them far afield. Of course, producing these rugs is a community project starting with raising the sheep, shearing, spinning and dying before in gets to the weaving part, which is where the 'rug house' comes into play.

Update April replaced missing video.

Monday, May 6, 2019


Netwalk is a new game I've been playing. Simple minded, only takes a few minutes to solve. Just point at a cell and click to rotate it. Puzzle is solved when all the terminals are connected to the network and all of the lines lead to the central computer. One thing I discovered is you can lock down a cell (click both buttons or press the space bar). I've done that to one cell here. You know that piece of cable needs to be vertical because if it was horizontal, the two adjacent cells would be only be connected to each other, which means they couldn't be connected to the rest of the net. Sometimes this leads to numerous other cells that can be locked, and sometimes not. The only way I have found to determine the position of the remaining cells is through trial and error.

Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby 2019 (FULL RACE) ends in historic controversial finish | NBC Sports

Maximum Security won the race, but then somebody cried "foul", and then Country House was declared the winner. I watched this video a couple of times and I fail to see what the big stink is about. It's a horse race, fer cryin out loud. But then I'm not an expert, and I don't have a gazillion dollars riding on the outcome. I fully expect lawyers to get involved, which means we're going to be hearing about this for months.

I like horses, not enough to spend any time or money on them, but I like them. They are kind of like big, dumb dogs. I've ridden a couple of times and I've been to a rodeo or two, but I don't think I've ever been to a horse race.

A post by Borepatch got me onto this.