Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest
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Thursday, April 30, 2020

La Trêve

La Trêve saison 2 - générique / The Break season 2 - opening titles

We're watching the detectives again. We watched season 1 of La Trêve (The Break) a while back. I like the tune they play at the opening of the season 2 episodes. The tune is True Love by Balthazar. You can listen to the whole thing on YouTube.

Watching it this time, I'm thinking they must be in France, it sounds like they are speaking French, but looking back at my previous post, I think they must be in Belgium. I mean, that's where they were last time, right? Surely they would stay in the same area. I should check. Well, someone should check.

A seemingly constant feature of the crime series we've been watching lately is that everyone lies, and sometimes it gets a little old. Can't anyone tell the truth anymore? (You'd think the hero could, but he talks to dead people, and that doesn't really help his case*.) Then again, maybe that's the way murder investigations really go. Having someone killed in your immediate vicinity can have a disturbing effect on people. We shouldn't be surprised if people flake out and start lying just to hear words come out of their mouths.

Homosexuals seem to be getting more screen time these days. Most every show we've seen lately has a gay character in a leading role. It doesn't seem to bother me as much as it used to. Might be because I am getting older and care more about what goes on inside a person's head than their physical presence. Last couple of shows we saw had male homosexuals. This one has a couple of women.

* Which case are you talking about? The murder he's not supposed to be investigating? Or the case before the court of public opinion as to whether he is sane enough that we might give some credence to his story? Well, talking with the dead might help him solve the murder, but are you really going to listen to a guy who talks to dead people?


Some links from Ross. I haven't read them, but they promise to be better than your average muck.
Violence of the Lambs
What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage
Thaddeus Stevens, Revolutionary
At the Door of the Loony Gas Building
Three Cheers for Socialism
Smoke from Underground
I’d Like to Force the World to Sing
America’s Diseased Politics
The Secret History of Lead
Power Causes Brain Damage
Cary Grant: how 100 acid trips in Tinseltown 'changed my life'
Exiting the Vampire Castle
These two go together:
The Greatest April Fools' Joke in Sports: The Saga of Sidd Finch
The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch
These should keep you busy for a few hours.

I'm posting this here mostly so it doesn't get lost in my e-mail.

Updated a few hours later because Blogger screwed up the formatting.

The Last Kingdom - Season 4

The Last Kingdom | Season 4 Trailer

We finished watching Season 4 of The Last Kingdom last night. It's a great show. We started watching back in 2016 and we enjoyed all four seasons. From my previous post on the subject:
It's based on The Saxon Stories, a series of historical novels written by Bernard Cornwell, who also wrote the Sharpe's Rifles series, which I really liked.
In an interview, Cornwell said: "For some reason the history of the Anglo-Saxons isn’t much taught in Britain (where I grew up) and it struck me as weird that the English really had no idea where their country came from." - Wikipedia
Brief summary, with spoilers:
King Alfred has died and his son Edward has become King of Wessex. Our hero, Uhtred, attempts to retake his ancestral home of Bebbanburg, he fails, but the villain gets his comeuppance. Somewhere after the halfway point in the series (episode 7 or 8), we have the battle of Tettenhall where, with the help of the Welsh, the Danes are stopped. But Sygtrigg (a Dane) returns from a disastrous campaign in Irland (Ireland) and upsets King Edward and his sister's plans for the total domination of England.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020


Steenking computers. They used to be expensive, so people took some trouble with developing software for them. Now computers are cheaper than dirt, numerous outfits are promoting new fangled programming languages that make it 'easy to program' these dirt cheap computers, so now many people are turning out all kinds of programs and hardly anybody is spending any effort on it.

The problem is that there are no standards anymore. We are constantly exhorted to install the latest updates because it fixes some kind of problem. Maybe it does, but mostly it doesn't, it just changes the way some things work and now when you try to use it, it doesn't work and you have to learn the new way of using it. Phooey. It worked fine before, and now you've changed it for no good reason. I am never installing another update as long as I live.

Fouga Magister

10 - MIG 15: Hydraulic failure above Mojave desert (with EN subtitles) - LOW FUEL HELICOPTER LIFE

I came across this video on a couple of other blogs. It's pretty cool, it's rolling along, and wait! What's that?

Fouga Magister at the 1:24 mark
That's a Fouga Magister, an airplane I had never heard of before I saw it on an episode of Bosch a couple of weeks ago. A little digging turns up this video, shot at the same airport.

Fouga Magister - California City Airport - Mojave Desert 2017

California City was somebody's post war dream that failed to materialize. Now it's a bedroom community for Edwards Air Force Base which is just down the road.

The Fouga Magister is a twin engine, two place, French military jet trainer from the 1950's. It was occasionally armed and used for ground attack in places like Africa. Rumor has it that it was used to shoot down the DC-6 carrying Dag Hammarskjöld to a peace conference in Africa:
In April 2014, The Guardian published evidence implicating Jan van Risseghem, a military pilot who served with the RAF during World War II, later with the Belgian Air Force, and who became known as the pilot of Moise Tshombe in Katanga. The article claims that an American NSA employee, former naval pilot Commander Charles Southall, working at the NSA listening station in Cyprus in 1961 shortly after midnight on the night of the crash, heard an intercept of a pilot's commentary in the air over Ndola – 3,000 miles away. Southall recalled the pilot saying: "I see a transport plane coming low. All the lights are on. I'm going down to make a run on it. Yes, it is the Transair DC-6. It's the plane," adding that his voice was "cool and professional". Then he heard the sound of gunfire and the pilot exclaiming: "I've hit it. There are flames! It's going down. It's crashing!" Based on aircraft registration and availability with the Katangese Air Force, registration KAT-93, a Fouga CM.170 Magister would be the most likely aircraft used and the website Belgian Wings claims that van Risseghem piloted the Magisters for the KAF in 1961. A further article was published by The Guardian in January 2019, repeating the allegations against van Risseghem and citing further evidence uncovered by the makers of the documentary Cold Case Hammarskjöld, including refutations of his alibi that he was not flying at the time of the crash.
Dag Hammarskjöld! Now that's a name I haven't heard it a very long time. I guess that's not surprising since he died in 1961. Since I was a youngster at the time, I suspect he was another name that popped up in discussions my parents had, like Sun Yat-sen or Chiang Kai-shek.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Pic of the Day

The Great Fire of London, 1797- Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg
Via The Imaginative Conservative


Yesterday morning around 10AM I got a phone call from my neighbor at the new house telling me that water is running out of my water meter. Called the water bureau. By the time I got there, the man from the water bureaus was already there and he had determined that it wasn't the city's problem, it was mine. I have to say, it was pretty obvious what the problem was. The line about a foot downstream from the meter was gushing water and excavating a cavity in the ground.

Buried Valve and Broken SharkBite Tee Fitting
Osmany and I spent about an hour excavating and removing the broken pieces and then we went in search of repair parts. First stop was Home Depot, but once again there was a long line of people waiting to get in. Phooey on that, so we headed over to ACE Hardware where there were only three or four people in line, so we didn't have to wait long, but it didn't help. They didn't have any fittings for one inch PEX line. So I consult my magic elf box and I locate a plumbing supply store across the river in Vancouver. I also found one in downtown Portland, but their phone was disconnected. So off to the wilds of Washington State we go.

Grover Electric and Plumbing Supply
There was a short line at Grover Electric and Plumbing Supply and the guy at the counter fixed us up right quick and it only cost me $95. The old me would cry 'gadzooks' at such a price, but I had my plumbing battle armor on and I wasn't going to let a piddly hundred dollars stand between me and victory over a broken pipe.

Repair Complete
Osmany got all the pieces fitted and connected with the old lines, but we didn't have any pipe wrenches with us, so we called it a day. We went over there again this morning, this time with pipe wrenches and tightened everything up and it looks like we have defeated the gremlins once again.

I suspect that the fitting broke because the hole in the ground wasn't backfilled properly when it was installed, that and someone really big and heavy, like King Kong, stomped on it. Something put a serious strain on that pipe. I can't imagine what it was.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Top Men

top... men

I have this niggling suspicion that this whole COVID-19 pandemic was ginned up deliberately by a group of people who are going to take advantage of the chaos they created to make a killing, financially speaking. I am not sure it is even a cohesive group, it might just be that several people saw the same opportunity and simultaneously acted on it, and once the panic started they realized their plan was working better than they could have hoped, and they started shoveling more manure onto the fire on the theory that while a small disaster would give them a small advantage, a big disaster would give them a big advantage. Manure burns, and in this case it is the perfect fuel for this conflagration.

Some of it I can understand. Shutting down the economy is going to cause numerous businesses to fail. The creditors will gain possession of the remains and once things get back to 'normal', they will own outright a whole swath of the business world. Since everyone who was working at those businesses will be desperate to go back to work, they will be able to hire them back at reduced wages. We will have to wait and see whether they will be able to get all those businesses up and running again. I suspect they will because desperate people can easily be persuaded to become slave drivers.

The two trillion dollar stimulus package, though, I don't quite understand the rational for that. Yes, a large number of people will no doubt be grateful for the check with the Donald's signature on it, and it might help Trump get reelected, but I don't see how anyone is going to make any money off it. What it will do it is bump up the rate of inflation, probably by 5 or 10 points. It should make investors leery of buying treasury notes. The US has dutifully been paying interest on the trillions of dollars we've borrowed, but our total debt just took a big hike. And all those oil rich nations who used to be the biggest purchasers of US debt aren't going to be buying much of anything since the price of oil collapsed.

People are going to put a political spin on it, some people will blame Trump and some will blame the democrats, but I don't think they had anything to do with it. They might have thrown more fuel on the fire, but they didn't organize this disaster, they are just along for the ride along with everyone else. I just wonder what things are going to look like this summer.

Thursday, April 23, 2020


Ethernet Socket
I grew up in the age of wire. If you wanted to use anything electrical, you needed wires. Now a days we've got sixteen flavors of wireless and some of them, like cell phones, are pretty reliable. Others like WiFi can be a little iffy. We need an Ethernet link in the laundry room. Wifi sort of worked there, but not reliably, so my solution, being as I am a wire guy, was to run a wire from the central hub.

Actually, the wire was already in place. When we built the house 25 years ago I had phone lines run from all the rooms in the house to one spot in the basement. Phone lines have six wires. Telephones only require two, and Ethernet only requires four, so we have enough wires installed to have computers and telephones in every room. Didn't use them all, but they were there if we ever needed them and today I needed one.

So I attached connectors to both ends of the wire. I did have to figure out which wire ran to the laundry room, but that wasn't too tough. There was already a phone there, so I just had to disconnect phone lines until it stopped working. It would have been better if someone had labeled all those wires. Maybe next time. Anyway, figured out which cable, attached Ethernet connectors, plugged one end of a patch cord into the cable and the other end into the hub, and plugged the computer into the other end up in the laundry room and . . . bupkis. #$%^^. Fine. There is an outlet in the family room, just string a 50 foot cable across the house and plug in the computer and we are up and running.

Continuity Tester
But what's wrong with the cable that runs directly to the laundry room? I dig out my handy dandy, 3 volt test light, sacrifice a patch cord to make a test plug (just short pairs of wires together), plug it into the socket in the laundry room, run downstairs for the umpteenth time, and use the test light to see if we have continuity. No, we don't. We have bupkis. Am I not holding my mouth right? I disconnect the phone wires and repeat the test on those wires with the same result. But the phone works, so maybe three volts is not enough. If we were dealing with hundreds of feet of cable, I could see how three volts might not be enough, but we're talking maybe 25 feet. Something stinks.

P.S. Yes, I know the socket has eight contacts, but Ethernet works fine with just four wires. Near as I can tell, the only reason we have eight contacts is so you can't plug in a telephone, or plug an Ethernet cable into a phone socket.


Wondermark Idiots
Civilization is great, it gives so many people time to marvel at the idiocy of their neighbors. Makes me think the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt knew what they were doing when they put everyone to work building the pyramids. Makes me wonder how much more time we will have for marveling once the full effects of the economic crash become felt. I predict the number of heads exploding due to TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) will start exploding.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Luther, Season 5

Luther - Opening Title Sequence - BBC One
The tune is Paradise Circus by Massive Attack

Idris Elba starts as John Luther in Luther, a BBC TV series about a detective in present day London, England. The first three seasons ran from 2010 to 2013, a fourth season came out in 2015 and season 5 came out last year. We watched all of them and thought they were great. After the first season we were hooked, and after the the third season we waited and hoped that there would be another one and eventually we were rewarded. We were just looking around on Amazon Prime last night and stumbled on season 5. Yahoo! There were only 4 episodes and we finished them up right quick.

luther || best of alice morgan

Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson, is the frosting on this psychological thriller. It isn't enough that our hero is running around London trying to catch a deranged serial killer, he's also in love with a deranged serial killer. Of course, the guy he's trying to catch is killing innocent people while his girl is (mostly) killing people who are sorely in need of killing. These two make a real power couple.

Beer and Pizza

Stolen entire from The Unwanted Blog:

Ruh-roh… now it’s gonna get serious.


Monday, April 20, 2020

Waffle House Index

The remains of a Waffle House in Biloxi, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina
Wikipedia explains:
The index is based on the reputation of Waffle House for having good disaster preparedness and staying open during extreme weather, or reopening quickly afterwards.
If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That's really bad...
— Craig Fugate, Former Head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency
Waffle House seems to be an Eastern US thing. I think I stopped at a Waffle House once. I wasn't impressed. This tune sums it up pretty well.

Via Borepatch

Inspired Coyote

Aim Higher. ACME Aerospace

Vulcan Shuttle
Came across these two images of solid fuel rockets in action this morning and how can I not post such a coincidence? The top image is Wile E. Coyote on his way up. The lower image is an exhibition drag race car, also known as an exploding clown.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Patriot of the Day

Samuel Whittmore monument
The American Revolution got started today 245 years ago. Samuel's story as recorded on this monument is amazing.

Via The Silicon Greybeard

Welcome to the Darkside

Are Motorcycle Tires a Ripoff? The Darkside Car Tire Experiment

I've watched several of this guy's videos and I enjoy them. Some technical info, some humor, some good video, not too much talking, and his voice doesn't grate on my ears. So, thumbs up.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Spenser Confidential

Spenser Confidential - Mark Wahlberg | Official Trailer | Netflix Film

A light hearted romp through the mean streets of Boston with Mark Wahlberg and his sidekick Hawk, played by Winston Duke. Gotta give Winston credit, undertaking to play a character previously played by Avery Brooks. We watched Spenser: For Hire when it was broadcast a few years ago. Oops just checked, it was over 30 years ago. We watched the heck out of that series, and the best part of it was Avery Brooks playing Hawk. He might only say five or six words in each episode, but they had more impact that the whole rest of the show. Course you need the whole rest of the show to set up the situation where Avery uttering a couple of words will have a big impact.

Anyway, this is a pretty standard crime / action movie. Lots of fisticuffs, sometimes it's a good person going down, but it's usually the good guy beating the stuffing out of some scumbag. Hit 'em again Mark! I've seen Wahlberg in a bunch of movies (a bunch? let's say six plus or minus a dozen), some pretty good, some just so-so, but they were all entertaining. I've watched him so much I almost feel like I know him. You know how you can identify someone just by the way they walk even when they are too far away for you to be able to see their face? It's kind of like that. Kind of spooky even.

There were a couple of really funny bits, and the girlfriend is spectacular. It took a talented girl and a gifted writer to create her.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Kalabaka Greece

Kalabaka, Greece
Came across this image on daily timewaster and wondered how well Google's 3D Map would render it. Pretty well, as you can see.

Google's vision of Kalabaka, Greece
Google's 3D Maps are pretty cool. Follow the link, hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard and the left mouse key on your mouse, drag the mouse around, and the whole town comes alive in 3D. It's pretty amazing. Doesn't work everywhere, notably most of China, but more and more of the world is being mapped by LIDAR, which, near as I can tell, is how we get these 3D renderings.

Update a week later replaced image that Blogger somehow managed to lose.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Molly's Game

Molly's Game | Official Trailer | Own it Now on Digital HD, Blu-ray™ & DVD

A very great story. Molly Bloom was an Olympic class skier until she had an accident and through an odd chain of circumstances, she ends up hosting poker games. I don't really understand the attraction of gambling myself. I played poker at a friend's house a few times when I lived in Houston, but for me the cards were just excuse to hang out with my friends and drink beer.

The best part of the show was just the idea of people playing poker for those kind of stakes (think of some big number, it doesn't matter if it's accurate, there's probably someone who bet it). If I think about it, there must be a few people who do it, and maybe I just don't hang with those people. I wonder if there is some fundamental difference and what that difference might be. Or maybe it's just that some people like to gamble, and some people don't.

Still, I'm thinking there might be a hundred thousand people in the country who could afford to play in those games, people for whom losing $10K would be no more than a minor annoyance. Of course not every one who has ten million dollars is a dedicated poker player, and a dedicated poker player might very well buy his way into a $10K game with his last $10K.

Molly is a dynamo. No nonsense, straight shooter, straight to the point. She is so direct it's almost painful.

The Irishman

The Irishman | Final Trailer | Netflix

We watched the movie over the weekend, three hours at one stretch was a bit much on account we'd had a rough day. It was great.

In case you haven't seen it, here's a couple sentences from the intro to Wikipedia's article. I'm thinking this should be enough to get you up to speed:
The film follows Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a truck driver who becomes a hitman involved with mobster Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and his crime family, including his time working for the powerful Teamster Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
Should I put in a spoiler warning? How do you know if something is a spoiler or not? Near as I can tell, what spoils it for one person is an enticement for another. Now maybe someone has done some research (or just thought about it a lot) and figured out how to tell which is which. Just I've never heard of him, or her, and even if they had, I'm not gonna read their lessons, I'm just going to charge on blindly.

Many of the characters in the film were real life people. I'll have to take the word of the story teller's about the mob guys (they're all in Wikipedia), but I remember the name Hoffa and George Meany of the AFL-CIO. I remember that, I didn't have to look it up. Sure, I did look it up, but that was only to check, but that's just the kind of thing I do, I'm trying to be accurate.

Anyway, must of been what was in the news. I was like 12 years old when JFK was shot. I remember the neighbor girl was crying about it. Didn't make me feel like crying. I didn't know the guy and Dallas was a heck of a long way away. Never mind that six years later when I turned 18 we landed on the moon. That's the thing about this movie, we keep revisiting times I remember. Pretty cool, actually.

The first thing I noticed was Frank's experience as a soldier. He was in combat in WW2, he was in it up to his neck, carrying a rifle around in Italy and shooting Germans. So right off we know he knows how to follow orders and kill people.

After the war, and after he's been home for awhile, he gets to meet a neighborhood bigshot. Frank comes in with his hat in his hand, all humble like, showing proper respect. And it's appreciated.

According to the movie, the Chicago Mob got JFK elected and they expected a favor in return, that favor being kicking the Commies out of Cuba. When JFK muffed the Bay-Of-Pigs invasion, the mob got pissed and had JFK whacked.

On the other hand (also according to the movie), Jimmy Hoffa might have arranged it because Robert Kennedy was persecuting Hoffa and the Teamsters Union for corruption. Kill Robert and JFK would send the Army. Kill JFK and Robert would get shuffled off when the new President came in. This is very similar to my favorite theory about JFK's assassination, except in that version it's the New Orleans mob escaping persecution for drug dealing.

When the mob boss (Russell Bufalino, played by Joe Pesci) tells Frank that Hoffa needs to be killed (not that he ever says it so many words), he implies that the order has come down from on high, someone higher than the mob boss. We are never given a name, just someone higher up. So maybe there is an Illuminati who all the mob bosses report to, or maybe this mob boss spoke to God, or maybe he just made it up.

I think there was another point I wanted to make, but I can't conjure it right now. Maybe I'll think of it in a bit.

Now I remember (I went back and added links to the text), it was the lifestyle, the clothes, the cars, the nights out at the fancy clubs. Whatever happened to that? Did we run out of money, or would we rather just sit at home and consume packaged entertainment? Or was that something that came out of winning the war and we were all strutting peacocks, but then the feathers lost their allure and people wandered off in search of new campaigns to fight? Or maybe we belong to tribes we no longer believe in.

Ventilators, Schmentilators

Borepatch has a great post about how the COVID-19 virus works. He links to a longish article that does a good job of explaining what is going on. Ventilators might not help.

Here is where things get a little funny. The article is found on The Wayback Machine, the universal internet archive. They provide a link to the original article, but that link gets you a 410 error: "This account is under investigation or was found in violation of the Medium Rules." Hokay then. That's a little weird. Is Medium trying to suppress the truth? Did some of the comments in the article rub them wrong way? Or maybe there is a prohibition against offering medical advice? Whatever. The article makes a lot of sense.

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab | Mid-Air Recovery Demo

Rocket Lab is in the business of launching small satellites into orbit. Now they are trying to recover their booster using a helicopter. An empty booster doesn't weigh much, and with the right parachute it should fall slowly enough that a helicopter could catch it. You would have to be in the right area to even have a chance of catching it, and that might be a little difficult. This demo is still a good trick.

SpaceX had a boat that they were going to try and catch fairings with. I haven't heard anything about it lately. We shall see how Rocket Lab's experiment plays out.

Via The Silicon Greybeard

Monday, April 13, 2020


Left to right: A Convair F-106 Delta Dart, a Convair F-102 Delta Dagger, 
a Nike anti-aircraft missile and a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
We have large aircraft and a small aircraft. They look like jet fighters, but one is so much larger than the other. Are they really all jet fighters? The smaller airplane looks like it might be some kind of toy, like a Bede Jet. After closer examination I am pretty sure it is an F-104. The larger ones are a Convair Delta Dart and a Convair Delta Dagger.

All three of these jets were developed during the 1950's. The F-104 started a couple of years before the F-106, but they were basically contemporaries. The Delta Dart is roughly 50% larger in all dimensions than the Starfighter. They both had the same top speed of 1500 mph and they both carried 20mm gatling guns. The Dagger was considerable less capable than the other two and retired around 1980. The other two were in use up till the year 2000.

Via daily timewaster

Update the next day via information from a comment.

Pic of the Day

D/S Guvernøren (sunken wreck) and the Bark Europa (afloat) in Antarctica
In 1915, at the end of a successfully whaling season and holding 16,000 gallons of whale oil, the Guvernøren caught fire and burned. It is a popular scuba diving spot.

There seems to have been more than one ship with the name Guvernøren. Another one was involved in a collision which led to the Halifax explosion. It survived but was later wrecked in the Falkland Islands.

Another shipwreck in Antarctica with a map.

Via daily timewaster

Quote of the Day

Danger Man
"We humans are very bad at assessing risk. We’ll freak out over a spider, then drive 75 mph in the rain while texting. It’s just part of the charming package of being human. Me, you, everybody. That’s why we shouldn’t feel too bad if we fell for this whole Wuhan virus panic-a-thon. Hey, few of us are equipped to really understand even a fraction of what was being told to us, and all of us are naturally sympathetic to the very real personal tragedies of death. It takes not just intellectual but emotional energy to step back and put things in context, and, in an environment where fear is being fanned every minute, that energy can be hard to find." - Yard Sale of the Mind

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Unauthorized Living

Unauthorized Living
We finished Season 1 a couple of nights ago and started on Season 2. We won't be going on. Towards the end of season 1 they killed off several characters and brought in the wife's sister and her step-son from Mexico, and they are just repulsive. Some of the characters, like Mario, do some pretty despicable things, and by this time you should have a pretty low opinion of him, but you've had all season to get there. But these two from Mexico? You know they are just vile from the first thing that comes out of their mouths.

I'm trying to figure out just why that would put me off. I mean, I've watched plenty of shows with plenty of despicable characters. What is it about this one? Maybe because they are crossing social boundaries, doing things you shouldn't do in polite society.

Season 1 post here.

Money Heist

Money Heist - Part 1 | Official Trailer | Netflix

We watched the first four episodes last night. We were lured in by the '4 Parts' claim when we were perusing the selection. Turns out that each part consists of several episodes. The first part has 13 episodes, which by most reckoning is a season, so calling them 'parts' is kind of a misnomer.

Anyway, it's grand caper along the lines of The Italian Job. We've got a bookish leader called 'the professor' and a motley assortment of fools to help him out. It seems to be a well planning heist, and they are well equipped, but couldn't you have found a slightly more qualified crew? The old guys seem to do okay, but the kids are just fools. Adding a couple of cute girls to the mix doesn't help matters either.

We wade through the first four episodes and we're waiting for the big reveal when we find out how they are going to pull off this heist, and then the show's over and they've told us nothing. That's when we realized there were a bunch more episodes, episodes that we will not be watching. One little screw-up I can deal with, but continued sloppiness and irresponsible behavior is just irritating.


Abandoned Apartment Building
I am not seeing any effects from the pandemic, other than less traffic on the highway, lower gas prices and more pedestrians out wandering around. Okay, there's a queue to get into Home Depot, there's sneeze shields in front of the cashier at ACE Hardware, and you can only get carry-out at Skyline Restaurant. But if the rumors are true and many businesses have shut down, then those businesses are unlikely to be able to pay their rent. Likewise all those people who have been laid off and who don't have six months pay saved, which is most everyone (if rumors are to be believed), then they aren't going to be able to pay their rent either. Which means something bad is going to happen to the real estate market. Landlords / mortgage companies are within their rights to evict people who aren't paying the rent, but it they do that, where are they going to find new tenants? Downtown Portland was having trouble renting store fronts before this happened.

If large numbers of people default on their mortgage / rent because of this pandemic, it is going to crash the commercial and low end residential real-estate markets. We are liable to see some weird stuff happening, like nationalizing apartment buildings, or mandating rent forgiveness or something. I expect landlords, if they aren't freaking out yet, will be soon. I know a negative income tax sounds a lot like socialism, but it might be a way to keep cities of homes from turning into cities of homeless.

Dream of Dying

SHAED - Trampoline (Official Video)

I've been hearing this song on the radio and I kind of like it. The video doesn't do anything for me, but it carries the audio, so video. The 'dream of dying' reminds me of another song, but which song? This one:

Tears For Fears - Mad World

From 1983.

Carbine Williams

M1 Carbine: A Whole New Class of Weapon

Ian McCollum, the Forgotten Weapons guy, has a video about the M1 Carbine, a rifle used by the U.S. Army for over 20 years. Do not confuse the M1 Carbine with M1 Rifle, better known as the Garand. They are two different animals. The carbine weighs about half what the rifle does. They were both used extensively during WW2. We produced approximately six million of each.

Carbine Williams Movie Poster
Ian tells us that the design of the automatic loading mechanism came from David Marshall Williams, aka Carbine Williams, who came up with this design while he was in prison. Hey! Wait a minute, I saw that movie! Jimmy tells the warden than he made the barrel of the gun from an old axle, so none of your stupid rules are going to stop me from making my gun, or words to that effect. That's all I remember about it.

It takes Ian awhile to get around to showing you the automatic loading mechanism, but he does, just after the 19 minute mark.


Roberta X got me started with this footnote:
* Lilly, it should be noted, is to the patent protection of medicines what Disney is to copyright.  And that's something to ponder.
Eli Lilly and Company's Corporate Center in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2019.
Lilly would be Eli Lilly, the giant biochemical conglomerate headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Biopolis Complex, Singapore
Google Maps 3D View
Looking for more info about their domination of medicinal patents, I came across the Biopolis in Singapore (page 55-56).

Netherlands Biopolis Concept
Looking for a better picture of the complex, I came across a vision for a multi-level city in the Netherlands from the 1970's. It looks a whole lot like what I envisoned how a city should be built.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Caption of the Day

Pictured here is a 5G mobile phone mast in Cardiff, United Kingdom. It is not on fire. The same can't be said about all such towers as 5G phone masts have been vandalized following claims online that the masts are responsible for COVID-19. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images) 
Via Forbes


Flight Aware's weekly newsletter always includes a bunch of photos. Most of them are usually airliners which don't hold much interest for me, but occasionally there are other things in there as well and today we got a bunch.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
The B-17 has been mentioned here before, once or twice.

C-17 at St Maarten
These kind of photos are fairly common on Flight Aware, though
 the target is usually an airliner, not a military cargo aircraft.
The C-17 has been here before.

De Havilland Canada Twin Otter at Svetlaya
Svetlaya is on east coast of Russia, equidistant from Red China & Japan

North American F-100 Super Sabre at Oshkosh
This one is a real blast from the past. I had toy model of one when I was a kid,
and it will always be my ideal of what a jet fighter should look like.

COVID-19 strikes again
Alaska airliners parked at PDX

SHINMAYWA US-2 at Iwakuni, Japan,
possibly flying in from its normal operating base in the middle of the ocean.
Iwakuni is on Honshu, the main island.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Wrench Jokes

Defend Your Home

Springtime Feedings

Buzz Buzz

Dewalt Multi-Tool with assortment of spare blades.The dusty looking blade in the center is a Bosch blade that is supposed to fit any tool, but it didn't fit this one until we hacked it up with an angle grinder, and then we had to loosen the Allen screw in the clamp and clamp it down.
Some people call it an Oscillating Tool, some people call it a Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool, some call it an oscillating multi-tool, some call it an Orbiting Multi Tool. Multi-tool is a bad name. Ask amazon for a multi-tool and you get Leatherman-like combination pliers / knife / screwdriver things. Someone needs to come up with a better name.

I call it the buzz-buzz tool because of the very loud, high pitched buzzing noise it makes. I don't know when they first appeared on the market but it's probably been at least ten years. I wasn't aware of them before then. The noise is totally obnoxious, but they can get into places any normal kind of saw can't, which makes them kind of useful. Going by the variety of blades Amazon stocks, I would say their usefulness has made them very popular

We've been tearing out the subfloor in the new house. You can use a circular saw canted over at an angle to cut the old subflooring free along the walls, but there are a few inches in the corner that the circular saw (or skil-saw as we used to call them) can't reach. You could use a reciprocating saw in the corners, but the kids these days don't like that old time harsh vibration. They like this new, obnoxious buzz box. Go figure.

BSN Cast Saw
They use something very like this for cutting casts off of people's arms and legs. It looks like a circular saw, but it doesn't spin, it just vibrates and that's enough to cut through plaster and plastic. I seem to remember someone demonstrating that the saw wouldn't hurt you by applying it to their own bare arm.

And because I can't say Multi Tool without thinking Multi Pass, we have Corbin Dallas & Lelu:

The 5th Element - Multi Pass