Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Blue Marble

The Blue Marble

Yet another Rube Goldberg type marble race track. This one uses some tricks I haven't seen before. As time goes by it seems that people are devising ever more complex arrangements. I wonder what we will see in ten years.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Automation & Big Government

The Hunger Games Society
I had a revelation: automation lead to big government. Automation has lead to a few people making large amounts of money while putting large numbers of other people out of work. Naturally, people wondered what to about this largess, and simultaneously they wondered what are we going to do with all these unemployed people? I know! We'll form a committee to study the issue. And that's how the government grew so big that it took over our lives.

P.S. I dunno nothing about David Icke (the pic and link), but I needed a pic and this one sufficed, so here it is.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Left: The Malaysian lawyer and activist Grace Subathirai Nathan, whose mother was on board MH370. Right: Blaine Gibson, an American who has mounted a search for debris from the airplane. (William Langewiesche)
William Langewiesche has a story in The Atlantic that summarizes what we know about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which isn't much. He also relates some theories about what happened, all of which he dismisses, except for one, which is pretty grizzly.

The most interesting part is about Blaine Gibson, who had no connection with the flight or the investigation, but took it upon himself to go searching for bits of wreckage washing up on Indian Ocean beaches. Surprisingly he found a bunch. Well, several pieces anyway.

William has nothing good to say about the government of Malaysia, unless you consider, corrupt, incompetent, morons as 'good'.

Via Posthip Scott


California Bob reports:
So now I'm apparently one of those feeble guys who can barely navigate the DMV to get a driver's license.
My license expired in February. Now they have these "Real ID" licenses that are supposed to be de rigeur for air travel, so I figured I'd get one of those. But they require a trip to DMV. But when I got online to make a DMV appt, the nearest appts were 3 months out.
Long story short my license expired, and I forestalled, but finally got an appt and went to DMV today.  I filled out the app online, collected all my paperwork (passport, SS card, 2 proofs of address, etc), put it in a folder and went to DMV.
When I got there, found I had to read a vision chart.  I should have anticipated this, but didn't, and only had my crappy glasses with me.  Fortunately I passed the eye test.
Then there was a mysterious problem with the computer. Lady called her associate over, and it was determined that the problem was my license was expired for so many months. That means I have to take the written exams -- car + motorcycle.  Ah jeez.
I go to the terminal and take the exams.  Pass the car exam but the MC exam has inscrutable questions about towing trailers and "slow, tight turns" and I fail.  Lady at desk tells me I can take it again (or come back).  I sit down and read the DMV MC primer on my phone.  Back to the terminal, more weirdo questions about "if your throttle sticks..."  Anyway I pass this time.
Something at the end of the test indicates to me that I could have skipped a few questions with no penalty, which I wish I had figured out the first time.
At the end, a victory, my license is being processed and should be here soon.  However I am now depressed, b/c I thought I had prepared pretty well, but only defeated the DMV by the skin of my teeth. Could easily have gone the other way.

some useless information supposed to fire my imagination

The Rolling Stones Satisfaction (I Cant Get No)

Organized retail crime costs retailers nearly $778,000 per $1 billion in sales . . . (don't follow the link, it's crap).

That is less than one-tenth of one percent. The stores could save more by renegotiating the rate that the credit card companies suck off the top.

Note they are talking about organized retail crime, which I suspect means traveling gangs who swoop in and grab a bunch of high dollar items before heading off to the next town. They aren't talking about shoplifting.

Typical mass media, babbling about a small problem that it going to get people stirred up, but isn't going to have a big effect, other than fuck up the lives of people who get stirred up and decide to do something about it and end up getting arrested for assault or worse.

There have always been thieves, and if they are stealing from big box stores, then at least they are not breaking into people's houses. Mostly it's a matter of belief / religion. On one side you have the good citizens who believe theft is bad and who have enough money that they can buy what they need. On the other, we have those don't feel like they are part of society and are going to ignore social conventions in order to get what they feel they deserve. If might be that they have been expelled from society, and it wouldn't have to be for bad behavior, it could be something as common as getting laid off. Or it could be that they have rejected the position that society has offered them. Could be a good reason, or it could be a personality defect.

Via Iaman

P.S. I always thought the line from the song was 'fry my imagination', but I suppose that's what you would get from firing it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

By ? Large

Reading a post about the possible coming attack on Taiwan by Communist China, I notice the phrase 'by in large' which gets my attention because I have always thought of it as 'by and large' but when I say it, it comes out sounding like 'by en large' which could easily be interpreted as 'by in large' even though that's not what I meant. Anyway, it's an old sailing term and means 'generally'.

Monday, November 18, 2019

US Aircraft Carriers

USS Shangri-La
Aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Shangri-La, circa 1962, somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea. From the film - Flying Clipper, (1962). With narration by Burl Ives.

The USA has been flying supersonic aircraft from carriers consistently for over 60 years. No one else's record comes anywhere close.

The Grumman F-11 Tiger was the first supersonic jet fighter to operate from an aircraft carrier. They started in 1956. Of the aircraft in the video, the Skyhawk is notable (in my mind) because Argentina had a bunch of them. The other jet fighter in the video is the F-8 Crusader. I seem to recall having a model of one when I was a kid. It wasn't a particularly good-looking aircraft, but it was certainly capable. John Glenn made the first super-sonic cross country flight in a Crusader in 1957. Along the way he refueled from propeller driven AJ Savage tankers. He would have had to slow down to hook up with the tankers since they weren't able to go that fast. I suspect no one has tried to perform in-flight refueling at super-sonic speeds.

The photo reconnaissance version of the Crusader was sent to take some pictures of the Russians during the Cuban missile crisis. The F-101 Voodoo was also sent. The Voodoo was a land based airplane and was not designed to work with aircraft carriers.

The Crusader had 'variable-incidence' wings, which means the wing was mounted on a pivot so that the angle of attack could be changed to make it possible for the pilot to see where he was going and allow the aircraft to fly slow enough to land on a carrier.

Watching the video, I noticed that right at the beginning of the catapult launch, a flap across the big air inlet under the nose opens up. Didn't find any explanation for it.

US Aircraft Carriers

At the start of WW2, we had eight aircraft carriers. During the course of the war, we built another 26. After the war, construction slowed down for a few years, but then in 1955 it picked up again and we've been building them pretty consistently ever since. We currently have eleven aircraft carriers. At a million dollars a day each, it's costing the average American family of four about a dollar a week to keep them all running.

I haven't figured out how to get the date to display across the bottom of the above chart, so I made up a little table to show the corresponding dates.

Correspondence of Days & Dates

Via daily timewaster

More aircraft carrier posts here.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Green Frontier

Green Frontier | Official Trailer | Netflix

Murder and mayhem in the Amazon jungle. Our girl has come from the big city to investigate the murder of 4 women missionaries and she encounters a whole smorgasbord of characters. The best part is the atmosphere. A little spooky, a little mystic, a little psycho, and occasionally a little bit of common sense shows up. It's pretty great. Plus we've got Amazon jungle scenery.

Leticia, Amazonas Department, Colombia
The show was filmed is Leticia Colombia, which is the southermost point in Colombia and right on the border with Peru and Brasil.

Leticia, Amazonas Department, Colombia
Leticia is also right on the Amazon river, so you could float all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Japanese US2 Flying Boat

【4K】US 2 父島での訓練 Part5
([4K] US 2 Training in Chichijima Part5)

The video is a little slow moving, but it is a big, expensive aircraft, so you want to be careful. Engine startup begins before the one minute mark. after that:
2:10 aircraft starts moving, but the motion is barely perceptible for about 15 seconds
2:50 nose wheel touches the water, using reverse thrust to slow their descent into the water.
3:25 aircraft is afloat
3:45 landing gear retracts
5:45 the aircraft has turned sideways and one of crew is waving, or maybe he's just wiping the window
7:05 break in recording, airplane has completed its turn into open water
7:35 break, aircraft continues taxiing across the harbor
8:24 break, spectators standing on the breakwater
8:32 break, wide shot of breakwater with aircraft in the distance
8:42 break, aircraft maneuvering, rock in foreground
9:42 break, aircraft begins takeoff run

Flying boats are the epitome of cool. They were the first aircraft to cross the oceans, reducing days of travel time to hours. Plus all the people who flew on them were cool. Of course they were cool, they were rich and could afford to buy fancy clothes that made them look cool. Plus Jimmy Buffett had one, and what could be more cool that island hopping in the Caribbean in your own private flying boat? I mean this is the stuff of a million fantasies.

Recorded on October 23 at Ogasawara Village, Chichijima Futami Port

The ramp is clearly visible on a satellite image:
Chichijima Aircraft Ramp
Okinawa (center left), Chichijima (center), Iwo Jima (just below Chichijima)
Chichijima is really out in the middle of nowhere. It is about 600 miles from Tokyo, 900 miles from Okinawa and just over 100 miles from Iwo Jima.

I think the US-2 was the largest operational flying boat for a while. It has recently been eclipsed by one from China, which might be operational.

The Rifleman

Chuck Connors with rifles
Saw this over at daily timewaster. I recognized him immediately, of course, because I'm old, but I couldn't think of the actor's name. So I go to Wikipedia where I found this bit:

Large loop cocking lever
The Rifleman's gimmick was a modified Winchester Model 1892 rifle, with a large ring lever drilled and tapped for a set screw. The lever design allowed him to cock the rifle by spinning it around his hand. In addition, the screw could be positioned to depress the trigger every time he worked the lever, allowing for rapid fire, emptying the magazine in under five seconds during the opening credits on North Fork's main street.
Empty the magazine in five seconds? See for yourself:

The Rifleman - "Sharpshooter" Season 1 Episode 1

Billy Jack had a similar rifle. He was able to work the action one-handed. I tried it once with an unmodified lever action rifle. It about took my hand off.

Via daily timewaster

Friday, November 15, 2019

Non Sequitur

Rod Stewart's model train layout
I like model trains and I like pop music, but I would never in a million years have suspected that Rod Stewart was building a King Kong sized model train layout in his attic.

Via Brian Micklethwait's New Blog

John Day Oregon

Kam Wah Chung General Store
John Day Oregon
John drove out to John Day on Monday to get a client up to speed on a new computer system. John Day isn't much of a town, the population is less than 2,000, which isn't too surprising since it is smack dab in the middle of eastern Oregon, some of the most desolate terrain in the world. Okay, that's not exactly fair. The town is on the John Day river, in a valley surrounded by tree covered mountains. But Malheur county is right next door.

The Oregon Encyclopedia has a good article about the Kam Wah Chung General Store.

Wikipedia's article about the town notes that "federal policies . . . shut down all gold mining in the United States in 1942". Really? That sounds kind of weird. Google turns up a case on FindLaw that explains the situation:
Early in 1941, it became apparent to those in charge of the Nation's defense mobilization that we faced a critical shortage of nonferrous metals, notably copper, and a comparable shortage of machinery and supplies to produce them. Responsive to this situation, the Office of Production Management (OPM) and its successor, the War Production Board (WPB), issued a series of Preference Orders. These gave the producers of mining machinery and supplies relatively high priorities for the acquisition of needed materials. They also gave to those mines, which were deemed important from the standpoint of defense or essential civilian needs, a high priority in the acquisition of such machinery. Gold mines were classified as nonessential and eventually were relegated to the lowest priority rating.
Gold was non-essential? Who'd a thunk that gold, the most sought after metal in the world, would be deemed non-essential? Since gold has become the preferred material for plating electronic connectors I doubt that such an order would fly today.

Thursday, November 14, 2019


Dan Croll - From Nowhere (Official Video)

The tune is fine, the video is kind of clever. What's up with everyone staring into the camera? All is revealed at the end. Bonus points if you figure it out before the big reveal. I didn't, even though in hindsight it is perfectly obvious. Obvious, that is, if you remember the games you played when you were a kid.

I signed up for YouTube premium just after they bumped the price from $10 a month to $12. Figures. I could tolerate a few random ads, but when they start hammering me with the same ad over and over again it got to be annoying. My kids recommend Spotify and while it might work fine with smartphones, the desktop browser version seems to be broken. Besides, I seem to like older music more than newer music. This tune is from 2014. I had never heard it before a couple of days ago. I suspect that most of the new stuff is popular just because it's new and different, not because it's any good. Let a few years go by and the dross will fade and the good stuff will float to the top.

I don't like paying money for something I've always gotten for free, but maybe it's time, and it's not like $12 a month is going to bust me. I'm paying $16 a month for HBO and I don't even use it anymore since Game of Thrones is over. Netflix has an apparently endless supply of shows. Even if I watch a movie every night I'm not going to make a dent in their supply. They are probably adding shows faster than anyone could watch them. Of course, a lot of them are dross, but sometimes it isn't apparent that a show is a stinker until you get half way through and by then you've invested so much mental energy in it that you may as well finish watching it.

I signed up for YouTube TV recently in the mistaken belief that I could do away with cable TV completely. You can't, not if you want to watch your local NBA team. So I canceled it. It was easy. Just go to the web page and click on cancel. Boom, you're done.

Dealing with the cable TV company is like wading through the circles of hell. I tried to cancel HBO, which I get through Frontier. I spent half an hour chatting with chat bot, only to learn that I had to make an actual phone call to their "retention team". Useless scum sucking pigs. I am trying to figure out how to cancel it without having to talk to anyone. If it would only take five minutes I wouldn't mind, but they've already wasted a half hour of my time, and I suspect they are going to waste an unknown quantity. Maybe if someone dumped a bucket of shit on Frontier's head honcho they would change their ways.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Aircraft tail codes used to spell out 'Epstein didn't kill himself'
The 'Epstein didn't kill himself' just keeps getting stronger and sillier. This one made me chuckle. Did he? Yes, no, maybe so. I doubt we will ever have any proof one way or the other. Either way it's an article of faith for true believers.

Brain Fart

AI in Brainfuck

First of all I don't approve of the name. People you the word 'fuck' entirely too often. It is often used as an expletive by people who are frustrated by something they are working on, people like mechanics and programmers. I have been both and I have used the word extensively, but speaking it is different than writing it. Speak it and the sound vibrations dissipate into the atmosphere and no damage is done, unless someone with sensitive ears is nearby and hears it. I don't approve of using it to name things because that leads to the word being used as noun, which is dumb. Couldn't they have come up with a better name? Apparently the originator had a brain fart that prevented better word smithing. Whatever.

Mitxela has posted the source code for his tic tac toe program along with a debugger. Copy the source code and paste it into the debugger and you can watch it run while it tries to beat you at tic tac toe. I had to turn the speed down to zero in order to see anything happen, otherwise it goes to fast for anything to show up.

I have to admire that Urban was able to develop a 'complete' language using only 8 characters. Wikipedia has an article about it. I really enjoyed the video. The guy's voice has a soporific quality, so much so that was I content to let his explanations pass by without examining whether they made sense or not. The program works, so there's a good chance that his explanations are correct. It could be that the video is all a sham to disguise what he is really doing, but why would he do that? Of course the same question could be asked of the originator. Why would you do something like this? For fun, obviously.

Via Dennis, which prompted Jack to reply with INTERCAL, which was designed to be really stupid, which is how all programming languages look when you are starting down the road towards digital nirvana / oblivion.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


Hache | Tráiler oficial | Netflix

A fun little series about crazy people running around Barcelona back in the 1960's. Hache is Spanish for the letter H. H is for Helena, the lead trouble maker. It also stands for heroin, which is what is fueling all this mayhem. Down-on-her-luck Helena gets in a fight in a fancy nightclub and catches the eye of the proprietor who takes possession of her, except Helena isn't going to be possessed. Yeah, so we've got a bit of a conflict between two people who are attracted to each other for different reasons. Malpica, the proprietor comes from money, he has some property around town, but he is heavy in the heroin business, facilitating the transshipment of hundreds of kilos on it's way from Iran to the USA. Marseilles used to be the center of this, but things have gotten a little difficult there, so Barcelona is picking up the slack. Lucky Luciano makes an appearance at a conference of his cohorts at a hotel in Marseilles where they have taken over the whole hotel. That's one way to keep hoi polloi out of the way.

Several of the main characters are addicted to heroin and Malpica uses morphine on regular basis to control the pain in his bullet damaged leg. I was going to say 'war damaged leg' but this was the sixties, was there any kind of war going on?
After World War II Spain was politically and economically isolated, and was kept out of the United Nations. This changed in 1955, during the Cold War period, when it became strategically important for the US to establish a military presence on the Iberian Peninsula as a counter to any possible move by the Soviet Union into the Mediterranean basin. In the 1960s, Spain registered an unprecedented rate of economic growth which was propelled by industrialisation, a mass internal migration from rural areas to Madrid, Barcelona and the Basque Country and the creation of a mass tourism industry. - Wikipedia
The Spanish civil war was over before WW2 started, and WW2 finished long before this story got started, so Malpica's injury might not have come from a military battle, except he got hit by an 'exploding shell', which sounds military. Of course he is in the heroin business, so he could have had a run-in with the coasties (or whatever the Spanish equivalent of the Coast Guard is), or it could have been trouble with a rival gang who managed to get hold of biggish gun. Franco was running things and being the defacto king, he wasn't going to put up with any guff, especially from an entitled heroin smuggler. So I could see Malpica feeling his oats in his younger days and getting smacked down. Lucky he survived. Franco was in charge until his death in 1975.

Most of Malpica's gang don't use heroin. His lawyer asks one of the people who does use it what it is like. That was a bright spot in the dialog. He doesn't know because he's never used it. Huh. Malpica considers addicts unreliable. Anna, the wife of the US consul, plays a key role in getting the drugs through Barcelona, possibly by giving her doting husband documents to sign, assuring him that is 'nothing important, it just needs your signature darling'. I just made that up, I'm not sure they give us that much of an explanation. Anyway, she's an addict and a complete flake.

It's nice when the lead character in a story has a clear line that they follow, perhaps because then you can predict how they are going to react to any given situation, and when something happens and they react as you think they should, you are rewarded with a little bubble of happiness. That doesn't happen in this show. Hache is always going off at a tangent, most of which seem like a bad idea, but they mostly seem to turn out, well, if not good, at least not too bad, and some of them turn out great, which might be part of the reason Malpica is so attracted to her. Beauty, brains and chutzpah.

In Spanish with subtitles. The preview doesn't have subtitles, but it still gives you a pretty good feel for the show.

P.S. Variety has a story about the show.

Anger and Apathy

Most of the news and most political discourse consists of lunatics raving about things that don't matter. Important issues are ignored, or if they are talked about, they are discussed in dry academic  terms by people who are not in a position to do anything about it. What am I going to do about it? I'm going to write this post, that'll show 'em.

The United States of America is like a giant ocean liner. Up top we have a large wheel house where the captains of industry attempt to keep the ship on course (plowing straight ahead). Just below the wheelhouse, but above the main deck are the politicians. They are on two stages, one red and one blue. Just below them, on the main deck is everyone who has come up from below decks for a bit of fresh air, although how fresh it is with all the hooting and hollering going on is debatable. A good portion of these folks are engage in a game of rugby, trying to get the ball to one end of the ship or the other, and when the competition gets particularly vigorous, pushing the opponents over the side.
Below this main deck are all the compartments of modern life where people live and work.

So what are the important issues that we are doing an adequate job of dealing with?
  • mental health, especially the number of crazies locked up in prisons
  • the large number of people in prison and the consequent overcrowding
  • the growing number of homeless people
  • inflation
  • Mexico
I don't particularly care about the Mideast. They have their own brand of crazy. They are going to have to sort it out for themselves. It ought to burn itself out sometime within the next century. Any attempts to bring it into the modern age should be looking at a timeline measured in decades, which means that very few people will pay any attention to it. We should support Israel because they are the one beacon of rational thought in an otherwise insane and hostile environment.

Mexico is right next door. If we want to help anyone, we should be helping our neighbors. Whether they want any help is another matter, as is what kind of help would be beneficial. I think they need a new constitution, one that protects property rights and restricts the influence of the Catholic Church. They might have to go through a civil war before they can enact any real changes. They seem to be well down that road. We shall see.

Inflation means that diligently putting a few bucks into a savings account every week and hoping that in 30 or 40 years it will have grown to a sizable amount is foolish. The number will be big, but the value will be less than zero. The cause of inflation is deficit spending by the Federal government. I don't know how we're going to stop that. My old style, analog brain tells me that this house of cards is eventually going to collapse. But that won't happen as long as people keep buying government bonds. The biggest customers might be foreigners who are looking for a safe haven to stash their loot. Any normal capitalist would invest in their own country, but when your country is a disaster, that would be pointless. The money might provide a spark for a moment, but it would quickly be consumed. Anyway, when the Saudis stop buying bonds, watch out because the end is near.

The problem with our prisons is similar to the problems with our health care system. We have this idea of how these systems should be run, an idea that has been formed by countless lawsuits, but there isn't enough money in the world to run these systems as we would like to see them run. What we need is a lower level but pervasive level of care.

Prisons don't need to be made of concrete. Tents and chain link fence is enough. A little fresh air and sunshine could help improve mental health. And prisoners don't need to be protected from each other. They gave up that protection when they committed their crime. Let them sort themselves out. Let them decide who among them is suitable for parole, and who should be sent to the next inner circle.

Of course, there is also the problem of who ends up in prison. But right now I need a cup of coffee.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Fun with Streetview

HIDE front entrance
I'm reading a story on Forbes and they mention a secret elevator for automobiles at a fancy restaurant (called HIDE) in London. Cool! Just the thing for a James Bond villain or maybe Bruce Wayne. So off to Google's Streetview to see what there is to see. Well, to start with, not much. Typical city street scene with traffic, pedestrians and boring store fronts. But then I go down the street towards the corner (because there are no car entrances on the main street, the entrance to the secret elevator is probably around the side) and boom! I'm in the middle of a Brexit protest.

One side of the Brexit protest

Other side of the Brexit protest
Move ten feet further and the Brexit protest disappears. Go around the corner and there is a garage entrance, fully occupied with stuff and people working. Clever, those evil villains, disguising their secret entrance as storage locker.

HIDE garage elevator entrance
Go a little further down this side street to see if there is anything else (there isn't), but when I try to head back the way I came, I can't. The street is blocked off by construction.

Dead end
So, not much substance to this post. I just thought it was curious the way that Brexit protest popped up in the middle of nothing, and then disappears like it was never there.

Sunday, November 10, 2019


Scene from Gears 5 video game
War is bad. War is terrible. War is awful. Peace is good. Everyone wants peace. No one wants war. That is what I have always heard and it is all surely true. But war continues, not right here, and not right now, but there is always a war going on somewhere.

It occurs to me that war, if not genetic, may be ingrained in our psyche due to zillions of years of social conditioning. We have been fighting wars as long as there have been people (see Ertuğrul). Shoot, that might be what differentiates us from animals. We developed language, language that allows us to communicate abstract ideas to each other, which allows us to organize ourselves to work towards a common goal, like killing all those people on the other side of this hill. War is part of who we are and denying that isn't going to stop it.

After a war, people enjoy the peace for a while, but eventually some little thing irritates us and that starts to grow into a dissatisfaction that grows into anger and eventually you have critical mass of angry people and you go to war.

We watched The King the other night and near the end William admits that he deliberately deceived Henry V so as to set England on a course for war with France - because peace requires a victory.

I started reading Barbara Elliot's story about the reasons behind the fall of the Berlin Wall.  There are a dozen reasons, but they don't really explain it. Barbara's explanation, near as I can make out, is that a critical mass of people finally came to realize that what the state was selling was bullshit and they weren't buying it anymore. Sure there were a bunch of reasons for the state to collapse, but what it came down to was belief, and a great majority of the people no longer believed the communist propaganda that they had been fed all their lives.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, some people are worried about a civil war. I don't think it's going to happen. The number of people who are that angry is very small, most of us have enough to keep us occupied. Yes, the angry people make a lot of noise, but the only people who listen to them are other angry people. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the really angry people (on the left and the right) are locked in echo chambers of their own making.

Maybe this is why we (the USA) are engaged in all these little wars all over the world. The human psyche requires a certain amount of war and by engaging in all these 'police actions' we keep that demon satisfied and keep him from getting loose here in the states.

Converting berdan cases to use boxer primers

Converting berdan cases to use boxer primers.

Jack has several old rifles in obscure calibers. For some of them, he has had to resort to machining cases from solid brass in order to make cartridges so he can shoot them. I have been following his efforts in this regard for a while now, so this video, if it didn't hit close to home, it certainly landed nearby. Besides, we're reusing stuff that is normally thrown away, so hey, free money.

Ammunition for rifles and pistols is composed of four elements:

  1. bullet - the lead projectile
  2. case - a metal tube that holds all the other elements together
  3. gun powder - provides the explosive force
  4. primer - sets everything in motion when properly struck
Primers work by smashing a tiny amount of lead styphnate* between two pieces of metal: the back of the primer and the anvil. With Berdan primed ammunition, the anvil is incorporated into the case (see splash photo for the video above. A shell designed for use with a Berdan primer is on the left.) With boxer ammo, the anvil is part of the primer, and instead of an anvil and two small holes, there is one hole. That hole makes it easy to push the expended primer out of the case. As such, boxer ammo is preferred by people who like to reload ammunition.

Ammunition varies widely in price, from a couple of cents per cartridge for 22 caliber ammo to 50 cents for a 30 caliber rifle cartridge. It's probably more now, I haven't checked lately. If you shoot a lot, and you are shooting larger calibers, your ammunition bills can quickly become exorbitant, hence the desire to reload. The primer, bullet and powder are all expended when you shoot, but the case remains, and the case is the expensive part as it is generally made of brass.

Berdan primers are commonly found in military ammo. We have been making modern metallic cartridge firearms for over a hundred years and there seems to be no end to the variety of guns that have been made. Likewise, the variety of the required ammunition is nearly as varied, and some of them are not very popular. If you go poking around in the esoteric world of old firearms, you may find yourself with a gun that uses an oddball caliber, and when you go looking for ammo you may find that only a handful of Berdan primed cartridges are available. Being able to reload those cartridges becomes a worthwhile quest.

*we used to use mercury fulminate but not so much anymore.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Bob Reeve famous Alaskan Bush Pilot

Autographed copy Glacier Pilot
Iaman reports:
Just finished the book Glacier Pilot by Beth Day 1957.  Biography of  Bob Reeve famous Alaskan Bush Pilot.   I bought a biographical signed  copy for a $1 at a Unitarian church book sale.
Great stories; learned about reindeer hair affect on aviation oil relief valves,  flying on/off mud flats, beaches, river sandbars,  crevased glaciers, antiaircraft guarded military fields....  the US Aleutian military buildup prior to Pearl Harbor.
Bob had just a couple crashes and lived to be 78 by being a stickler for safety,  adherence to checklists,  performing maintenance and rebuilds much earlier than called for  by factory specs.

Speed of Light

What we have here are a set of animations that show the speed of light relative to our nearest neighbors in space.

Around the Earth

Between Earth and Moon

Between Earth and Mars

Via The Silicon Graybeard and Business Insider. They paint a dismal picture of the future of space exploration, but they don't consider time dilation, which makes all things possible. Traveling anywhere in space will still mean being trapped in a metal box for months or years on end, which is sort of similar to the sea voyages made when people first set out to explore our planet.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

What Kind of Sorcery Is This?

Stolen entire, title and all, from The Feral Irishman. It's a little unsettling seeing it move when it is just a static image.

CV Joints

Lego models of constant velocity universal joints

Dennis came across some new designs for constant velocity (CV) universal joints. He was intrigued so he made some models out of Legos. CV joints are commonly used with the driveshafts in front wheel drive cars. They have a complicated geometry, are machined to precise standards and used to be fairly expensive. With the advent of computer numeric control machining, and the increased production volume the price has come down. Still, they are a bit tricky, tricky enough that people have been working on alternate designs. These two models are a little simpler, after all they were built using Legos, but the number of links and pivot points mean they are unlikely to become competitors to the fancy ones that are currently used.

Embedding Audio Files

Iaman sent me an audio recording and I thought to embed it in my previous post. Being as I use Google pretty much exclusively, I tried to use it for this, but after a couple of hours of futzing around I gave up. I could host the file on Google Drive, but I needed to add an app to play it, which I did, but Google never recognized that it was added. I tried to upload it to YouTube, but I needed a file format convertor, and none of the ones I found would produce a suitable format. Finally I looked for an audio file hosting service and SoundCloud popped up. They even provided embed code that worked. Yeah SoundCloud.

I'm not going to mention all those sites that gave long tedious explanations by way of introducing three lines of html that didn't work. Criminently, there are a lot of blabbermouths out there.

Iron Chink

Iaman reports from Vancouver B.C.:
This surprised me. My land lady, a Canadian born Chinese woman whose father was a Canadian WW2 hero has introduced me to a rich multi-ethnic community. She lent me a book of poems by Jim Wong Chu - Chinatown Ghosts. [Here's one Iaman recorded:]

Equal Opportunity - Jim Wong Chu 

In this book of poems I saw a picture of an "Iron Chink", a old heavy iron mechanical contraption.
Iron Chink
I thought "wow,  that's bold, someone's not worried about being called a racist". Deciding to check myself I googled "definition Chink"  google returned
"a narrow opening or crack, typically one that admits light."
And then another definition, "A slight, metallic sound, as of coins rattling in a pocket."
Then saving my sanity Wikipedia returned details of what I thought of as a ethnic slur,  which led to an article about Salmon canneries:
"Afterwards, many workers were replaced or reallocated with the invention of the iron chink, a butchering machine said to replace up to 30 Chinese workers" 
Iron Chink
1000s of pictures of  Iron Chink's 
I've been around enough to know it is best to judge a person on their own merits.   But being raised in white communities,  then as a 16 year old entering the nascent world of integrated military  I have seen my share of overt racism, and see how easy it is for the unthinking to rely on racism for a quick ego boost..
Now having inserted myself into the Chinese dominated culture of Burnaby  I wonder about living in a society that is overwhelmed by another culture.
Canada and China are of equal size yet China has 36 times the people, 1,300 Million vs  Canadas 36 Million.*
I experience a bit of this influx at the pools here, many times a lap lane will have 5 swimmers,  often all Chinese.  I do get a ego boost when swimming with the typically smaller chinese doing a breast stroke with their short arms,  No matter how quick and fit they are , I often lap them with my 10% longer reach doing a crawl.  Of course I am not swimming with >6'5" Olympic caliber Chinese swimmers.
*I thought two instances of 36 might be an error, so I checked. Turns out 36 squared is 1296, which is almost 1300.

Update September 2022 added caption


Dmitry Enteo pelts representatives of Moscow's LGBT community with eggs
Came across this picture without a useful caption and I wondered who these people are. I imagine that throwing eggs counts as assault or maybe even battery, at least in the USA. It's rude, but no where near as bad as hitting someone with a baton.

A little digging turned up this page where I found this bit:
When a commenter asks on his VKontakte page if he means to say that Putin will sit next to Christ's throne in Heaven, Enteo says, ‘Maybe.’ So why would something so obviously idolatrous, be put forward by a self-professed Orthodox Christian? Part of the answer lies in a tradition of Church-State relations that goes back to 4th century Constantinople. In the Byzantine Empire, the Emperor, and not the Pope, was regarded as God's steward on Earth. ‘In the nature of his body the king is on a level with all other men, but in the authority attached to his dignity he is like God,’ wrote the 6th century deacon, Agapetus, in what appears to be part political doctrine, part flattery directed at Emperor Justinian. Over a millennium later, in Russia, with its Byzantine heritage, Tsar Alexei's clerk, Ivan Timofeyev, would pen the following: ‘Although the Tsar is as a human in his essence, he is by his power equal to God, for he is above all, and none on this earth is above him.’ Popularising this idea was government policy – a 17th century Russian etiquette handbook instructs the pious to respect and fear their Tsar just as they would God.
Enteo, in other words, was putting a post-modern spin on thousand-year-old propaganda.
Which is just one more brick in the wall that keeps democracy out of Asia.

Via Knuckledraggin My Life Away

The King

The King - Timothée Chalamet | Official Teaser Trailer | Netflix Film

Great movie about Henry the 5th, based on stuff written by Shakespeare. Well, that's what the dialog sounds like. There is a great depiction of the battle of Agincourt. What makes the movie great is the way it handles the conflicting motivations of the characters, which I suspect is also what makes Shakespeare so great.

I just realized I used the word 'great' four times in the preceding paragraph. Maybe I need to use other words, but none come to mind that I find suitable. Any one of the women whose blogs I link to could probably write a better summary, but they aren't here, so this is what you get.

Cosmic Clock

Incoming: The Chicxulub Impactor By Stephanie Osborn
By way of promoting Incoming: The Chicxulub Impactor By Stephanie Osborn, Sarah A. Hoyt has posted a timeline of how the disaster unfolded.

I recently connected the rotation of our galaxy to the ages of long ago events. If you look at the galaxy as a clock face, each hour of galactic time consumes about 19 million Earth years, so this event, that happened 66 million year ago happened about 5:30 this morning, galactic time, assuming the current galactic time is the same as my local time.

Gravity anomaly map of the Chicxulub impact structure. The coastline is shown as a white line. A striking series of concentric features reveals the location of the crater. White dots represent water-filled sinkholes (solution-collapse features common in the limestone rocks of the region) called cenotes after the Maya word dzonot. A dramatic ring of cenotes is associated with the largest peripheral gravity-gradient feature. The origin of the cenote ring remains uncertain, although the link to the underlying buried crater seems clear. - Wikipedia

Northwest portion of the Yucatan Penninsula, site of Chicxulub impactor

Not much evidence of the event on the satellite map, though you there seem to be some semi-circular swaths of clear areas surrounding Merida, which is pert near the center of the impact.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


I am reading Fall by Neal Stephenson. I'm about half way through. It's kind of interesting but not exactly gripping. The story is about a rich guy who dies and has his brain digitized and uploaded into a giant computer system. My first problem with the story is that they start up a simulation process without connecting any input or output devices, so this 'brain' is just running around loose in this virtual space. It eventually starts creating a world from its memories. Now everything in this world needs to be simulated. I suppose this is reasonable, after all your brain creates a complete environment when you are dreaming, and it holds a model of the real world when you are awake. It's reasonable in that if you could create a digital model of a human brain, that digital model should be able to create a digital simulation of the world. But without any communication with the outside world, you would have no idea what is going on in there. In the book, they are relying on traffic analysis to try and paint a picture of what is going on, but it's kind of like trying to follow politics by looking a satellite image of the Earth using Google Maps. (Yes, the Democrats have set fire to California and cut off the power to the Northern half of the state, which must be populated by Republicans.)

Communicating with digitized brain is going to problematic. Shoot, digitizing a brain is going to problematic. I got the impression that the scan in the story makes a map of all the inter-neuron connections (a 'connectome'). This might be a good way to model a brain, IF you had a good model for a neuron. But neurons are complicated. The standard model says that neurons communicate with electrical signals, but recently someone discovered that they also send bits of RNA to other neurons which can then incorporate that into their structure, kind of like adding an app to your smartphone. It can add a new capability, modify an current one or completely change that neuron's personality. So if you really wanted to digitize a brain, you could not get by just by making a connectome, you would have to scan every stinking atom. And that wouldn't be enough either, because the brain you are scanning is dead, so you would need to clean it up, reverse all the decomposition and any damage done by freezing that was done to delay the decomposition, which is going to be very tricky because once complicated molecules break apart, they don't carry any markers that tell you where the pieces came from. Like if you take a giant Lego castle and smash it. Can you tell what the structure was by looking at the pile of pieces?

Communicating with a digitized brain, assuming you can do that, is not going to be easy either. You would have to model the signals that the various sense organs generate, construct analogous devices and wire them into the connectome. Likewise for output, you would need to model the signals coming out of brain and translate those into something could perform an action. Making a manikin walk around might be easier than making it talk.

In the book, the overall approach to this business is to just keep adding more processors and more memory. Since the people who are getting their brains digitized are all billionaires, they can afford lots of processors. There are like 3 million data centers in the US. Whether that would be enough to simulate a digitzed brain is open to debate. Billionaires could be building every larger data centers, kind of like the Pharoahs built pyramids. Not because they are good or useful, but because they can.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Blast from the Past

Vietcong woman with M72 LAW
We presume the woman is with the Vietcong because she is dressed in black, but she's wearing a dress. What's up with that? And the M72 is an American weapon. What's she doing with it? Who knows? It was a long time ago and far away. The LAW is a single use Light Anti-tank Weapon, fire it once and throw the launch tube away. So she might be just be holding a discarded launch tube without the rocket. Via Liberalguy

All your base are belong to us

Base under a salt
For Stu. Title explained here. Via a Home on the Range post about the invention of smokeless powder and the development of the first semi-automatic handguns.

Monday, November 4, 2019


Milky Way Rotation
Never thought of it that way before. Kind of puts the invention of lignin (360 million years ago) and the development of lignin eating bacteria (300 million years ago) in perspective.

If the Milky was actually rotating, you might think that all the stars in the Milky Way would just head off into the great beyond. Pictures of spiral arm galaxies sure look like they are rotating, though I can never decide whether they are winding up the spiral arms (clockwise in the above picture) or flying apart (counter-clockwise). But then there is gravity. Hard to believe that it could exert any noticeable force over a distance of 25,000 light years.

All of which got me to wondering how fast the Sun is traveling, so off to the spreadsheet.

Satellites in low earth orbit, like the International Space Station, travel around 5 miles per second. The earth is traveling around the sun at 19 miles per second, so the sun traveling at 130 miles per second has got the hammer down. Except all our neighbors are going the same way at the same rate. Except for Barnard's Star, which is hustling along at 57 miles per second relative to the sun, going who knows where.

Via dad's deadpool blog

Texas Freeways

Texas State Highway 130

40 years ago I was going to school in Austin and the place was booming. There was a highway northwest of town that was getting more and more traffic every year. It was so bad that a bumper sticker showed up saying 'Pray for me, I drive 183'.

I didn't go to San Antonio very often, but I remember one trip that was just ghastly. Traffic was creepy-crawly all the way home. That might have something to do with why I didn't go to San Antonio very often.

Now they've done something about it: they built a toll road with the 'highest posted speed limit in the country'. Not sure about that, speed limit in Wyoming is 80 MPH.

They also did something about traffic down in Houston, but it didn't help.

How to Fix Traffic Forever

The video is interesting, however, the title is a lie. There is no solution. I posted a link to this video earlier.

Via this funny found on dad's deadpool blog.

Dirty Commies

Capitalists kowtow to China
Seems like every week I hear about another outfit modifying their behavior to accommodate China. Each time it happens, I think, well, they are in business, and there is money to be made in China, so I can't really fault them. But when you seem them all put together in one place like this, it is a little disturbing. On the other hand, democracy is a mostly foreign concept in Asia. The place has always been run by dictators, so I don't know what else we could expect.

Near as I can make out, having a functioning democracy requires a population that not only believes in it, but is willing to take responsibility for their choices. This becomes problematic when people are so wrapped up in their own lives that they can't see beyond the weekend.

Via dad's deadpool blog

Change Your Clocks

Daylight Savings Time
Mine are just fine.

Via dad's deadpool blog

How Adding Iodine to Salt Boosted Americans’ IQ

Aluminum reacts with iodine. The reaction produces a lot of heat so that the iodine sublimates and produces the characteristic violet vapor.
I vaguely remember hearing about how iodine was good for you when I was a kid. It impressed me enough that I still buy iodized salt. I didn't know that it had any effect on intelligence until Iaman sent me a link.
How Adding Iodine to Salt Boosted Americans’ IQ
I've seen several maps recently that show that people from temperate zones are more intelligent than people from the tropics. I wonder if iodine is a factor.


Ben Simmons leads the 76ers to a thrilling finish vs. the Trail Blazers | 2019-20 NBA Highlights

Watched a couple of games on Saturday: the University of Oregon Ducks college football team against the University of Southern California Trojans, and the Portland Trailblazers professional basketball team versus the Philidelphia Seventy-Sixers. Both games held a couple of surprises.
Both games were playing at the same time, so we switched back and forth between them. The Ducks trounced USC. At one point we switched over just in time to see USC kick-off, an Oregon receiver caught the ball on the goal line and proceeded to run straight for the other goal and score a touchdown. I don't think any of the USC players managed to lay a hand on him.
The final seconds of the Blazers game was also surprising. The Blazers started the fourth quarter with a good size lead (10 points maybe?), but the 76-ers managed to whittle that down. In the last minute of the game the lead changed four times. The 76-ers pulled ahead and with something like 10 seconds left, the Blazers got the ball and managed to sink a shot and get the lead back. That left something like 4 seconds left. Surely the 76-ers aren't going to be able to score in that short amount of time, but they did, which left something like half a second on the clock. The Blazers managed to inbound the ball and get off a hail mary shot, but it missed. Actually not sure if Damian Lillard got it off in time.

I don't like my cable bill, but it gets us what we want, so I pay it, but YouTube has been advertising YouTube TV and it sounds like you can get all the sports stations you want, but you can't. The NBA has their market sewn up tight. The only way you can get your local team is through your local station, unless it is being broadcast nationally, or it's the 3rd Sunday after a full moon. I got cross-eyed trying to sort out all whose-its and where-fores, but eventually the line about local stations sank in, and then I realized that the only way to get what we want is by paying the cable company a bunch of money.

Except there is something called nbastream. It used to hosted on reddit, but reddit isn't doing it anymore. Not to worry, the torch has been picked up by the nbastream website. They blather on about how they have all the games and they are free, and so on, but there is no mention of where they are getting their feeds. Are we really depending on some big hearted guy uploading his cable feed to this website? Actually, a dozen guys would have to be doing it every day to keep the demands for nbastream satisfied. The world is full of sports enthusiasts and computer aficionados, so I could see that there could be enough people that were both that they could be the source.

So, I could drop cable and get the Blazers off of nbastream, but what about the college football games? There is a probably a similar site that provides the same service, but I'd have to go dig them out. And what happens if the NBA gets excited and decides to bring the smack down on these pirate sites? And what happens if that happens right before the game starts? I don't think the cable company can reconnect me in a matter of minutes, I would expect them to take days, which kind of screws our game watching. Actually, they could proably connect me in a matter of seconds, but being as it's a giant, soulless corporation, I doubt whether anyone there cares whether I get connected now or in a week.

Now it might be that the NBA knows about the piracy but lets it go for the same reason that musical groups (mostly) stopped trying to take their stuff down from YouTube - the exposure leads to more sales. Having more people watch the game increases the ciritical mass of people ensuring that everyone will hear about it.