Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Thursday, December 31, 2020


The Illusion You Need To See

You have probably seen this rotating window illusion before, but Derek dives into it (heh heh). He looks at anamorphosis, which is creating distorted images that only look 'right' when they are viewed from a particular vantage points. 

Towards the end he comments on how when people are presented with information, different people can come to wildly different conclusions, which kind of explains the eternal state of human society.

In recent years I have noticed a spate of chalk artists drawing illusions on sidewalks, often of holes in the ground. But the technique has been in use for a long time, as this painting from the 16th century shows.

The Ambassadors (1533) by Hans Holbein the Younger

The blob in lower foreground is a distorted human skull. Derek uses this painting in his video. I can just barely make it recognizable by looking at the screen from a very low angle, so low, the items on the screen almost disappear.

Pic of the Day

210 foot long wind blade being transported by road

Probably in Poland or Germany. That blue and yellow blob at the bottom is a giant truck. The blue and yellow dot just to the right of the truck is a person. This whole operation is knucking futz.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Bidens' Brave New World

Before 2020, the world was a bleak dystopia overrun by Nazis. It never ceased to amaze me how many Nazis I would encounter on a daily basis once I had decided that everyone but me was a Nazi. - Titania McGrath

Do You Love Me?


Do You Love Me?

Boston Dynamics it making great strides with their robots. Still not as fast as a human, but just wait until next week. I do wonder how sophisticated their motion control software is. I imagine they have the walking and balance routines pretty well worked out, but I wonder how much of we see here was tedious hand coded.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Helicopter of the Day

PGE employee dangling from chopper

I think the helicopter is a Hughes 500. PGE (the California outfit, not the Oregon one) sometimes uses copters to transport linesmen to the top of high tension towers.

Via Posthip Scott

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Happy New Year

You met me at a very strange time in my life, A Clip from the Ending of Fight Club

I really liked Fight Club, it like resonated with me, man. Today I'm reading a post on Econimica, okay I started reading it, but it got to be too complicated and long-winded. One thing I got out of it is that while the population in the third world continues to grow, in the first world nations the birth rate is going down. The net result is number of overlords is decreasing while the number of the lorded over is increasing. Anyway, he ends his post with this clip. This is where we are headed. We might not have buildings being physically destroyed, but all those organizations that occupied those buildings are going to going to collapse, just as if the buildings they occupied were destroyed.

Via Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge. Yes, it's the same Tyler Durden as in the clip.

P.S. Looking around for a good story about Fight Club, I found The First Rule of Making ‘Fight Club’: Talk About ‘Fight Club’. It's a little long, but very good. Only problem is that I never thought of the movie as a comedy. Oh there might have been a few funny moments in it, but I remember as as being darkly serious. I should probably watch it again.


Battersea in the Morning

Brian Micklethwait photos photos of London and sometimes he leaves clues that I can follow, so I do. This is one he took of the rails coming out of Victoria Station. The four chimneys sticking up are the Battersea Power Station on the other side of the Thames. Well, it used to Battersea Power Station, but I think it's condos now. The chimneys are still standing, which is good. Seems I remember hearing they were going to take them down on account of some nitwits crying about safety. Probably the same idiots running around toppling statues.
My first attempt was using Google Streetview, but as you can see, there is a barrier along the edge of the bridge that blocks the view of the rails. If you follow the link and spin the view around 180 degrees, you can see the Victoria Station clock tower, just like in Brian's blog.

Same view using Google Maps 3D

Google's 3d view gets us a view of the tracks, but our viewpoint is higher, so the angle isn't the quite same, and it is nowhere near as clear.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Joke of the Day

I have been very idle today, nothing I came across caught my interest until I came across this joke of reddit. It's not even a very good joke. Maybe it's because I poured myself a glass of the sherry I got for Christmas. I'm not a big sherry drinker, mostly I stick to bourbon and beer, but I was curious about it, probably because of the Patrick O'Brian stories I've been reading. Anyway, here goes.

A Soviet archaeology team is in Egypt on an expedition. After some digging, they found a pyramid and a mummy inside it. Unfortunately, they can't determine who the mummy is. They get in touch with the NKVD who arrive a few hours later in the form of three hulking men carrying briefcases. The NKVD goons go inside the pyramid. After a few hours they come out.

"The mummy is Amenhotep XIII" says one of the NKVD goons.

"How did you find out?" asks one of the archaeologists.

"He admitted it", replies the NKVD goon.

My glass is empty. I guess sherry is okay. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Airplane of the Day - Santa & UFO

Christmas Eve. Roswell, New Mexico. 1949

Okay, technically not airplanes, but they could be considered aircraft. Anyway, Merry Christmas.

When The Bullet Hits The Card

Golden earring - Twilight zone
Thijs Pietersen

I rockin' out to an old YouTube playlist, playing four kinds of solitaire and this tune comes on. This thing is old: 1982. That's almost as old as my new house. That's a couple of years after I got out of school. That's when I met my wife.

The video is pretty good, it's got all the elements of a James Bond movie. "The music video was one of the first to feature a cinematic storyline and dance choreography and was a hit on the fledgling MTV network, helping the song to become the second international hit for the band." - Wikipedia

In 1958 Photo-Sonics designs 35mm-4B high speed rotary prism camera for atomic tests in the South Pacific. This camera remains today the world’s fastest 35mm rotary prism camera (3200 pictures per second). 

Just after the four minute mark, they show a playing card being cut in half by a bullet. The scene only lasts for a second. If a card is 3 inches wide, then the frame is about 10 inches wide, call it a foot. If the bullet is traveling at 1,000 feet per second, we can guesstimate that the bullet took one millisecond to cross the frame. If the video is running at 24 frames per second, then the camera that recorded this scene was running at 24,000 frames per second. Pretty good for 1982. Wikipedia's article about High Speed Photography is a little week on the history of these cameras, but the a rotary prism camera recording on 16mm film could have done the job. Photo-Sonics history page is better.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Unbranded Cattle

What an unbranded cow has cost - Frederic Remington, 1895

I came across this image while watching a video about the Erie Canal. I don't recall ever seeing anything like it. I suspected it was by Frederic Remington, and Google's Image Search confirmed it.
Loosely inspired by the "cattle wars" of the 1880s and 1890s, in which wealthy cattle barons gradually displaced independent homesteaders and small-scale ranchers, Frederic Remington's painting depicts the deadly aftermath of a shootout over the ownership of an unbranded cow. - Yale Art Museum
I recently read a post that talked about a man who didn't brand his cattle, but I can't find it now.

P.S. A comment reminded me that Samuel Maverick was the man with the unbranded cattle. I still can't find the post but here is a longish history of the man.

Circuit Breakers

15 Amp Single Pole Type QT Tandem NCL-Circuit Breaker $27.96
15 Amp Tandem Single Pole Type QT Circuit Breaker $10.72

I needed to squeeze one more circuit into the electrical panel at the new house. Two half size breakers would do the trick, so I stopped by Home Depot yesterday and picked up a couple. Of course there is more than one kind and I picked up the wrong ones. Some panels have clips that will accommodate half-size breakers, but others don't, which is the kind I have. In this case, you can still use half size breakers, but as this panel only has a single vertical blade to connect to the breaker, the two half size breakers need to be combined in one package. One breaker contacts one side of the blade and the other breaker contacts the other. Further, the blades in some panels are shaped to prevent some of these tandem breakers from being plugged in. Tandem breakers designed to work with (or against) this feature cost $10. Breakers that ignore this special feature are $28. Looking at them at the store I couldn't find any difference. Bought one of each because they only had one of the cheap ones. Took them back to house and found that they both plugged into the breaker panel fine, but then I found that one of the breakers in the expensive one was broken, so I had to go back to the store and exchange it. Geez, what a lot of hassle. Could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I hadn't just run off half cocked, but where's the fun in that?

After I found out about the difference between these two, I examined them again and I did find that the clip looks slightly different, but the difference doesn't really give you any clue as to what's going on.

If you are going to worry that adding this one 15 amp circuit is going to overload this panel, don't. The total capacity of all the installed breakers is over 800 amps and the panel's capacity is only 200 amps. Some of the circuits are for very heavy loads that only get used intermittently, like the hot tub, sauna, clothes dryer and oven. You just need to be aware of the panel's limitations. Turning everything on at once will surely trip the big 200 amp breaker.

Airplane of the Day - Jetpack Man

Wait a minute, that's not an airplane! It's Jetpack man flying around off the coast of LAX.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Think Ink

Collin's Lab: Eink, Think Ink - the full series!
Adafruit Industries

I wondered how ebook readers worked and now I know. If you run 'Think Ink' together in the modern make-a-web-address-out-of-anything way you get an ambiguous string of letters that could also be interpreted as 'thin kink', though I am not sure it has any meaning. Actually I am sure it does, I just don't want to know what it is.

Via Make:

Airplane of the Day - Tupolev Tu-160

Tu-160 with wings swept back

I don't think I've ever seen the Tu-160 with the wings folded back.



Tuesday, December 22, 2020


Ava | Official Trailer (HD) | Vertical Entertainment
Vertical Entertainment US

Jessica Chastain is a super-deadly, highly skilled martial artist and assassin. In other words, a fantasy, and not a particularly well written one at that. There are three pretty good knock down, drag out fights between our lead actors along with the usual murderous mayhem unleashed on legions of thugs. John Malkovich performs well in his fight scene, amazingly well since he's almost my age, and I have trouble just putting on my trousers in the morning. They try to explore some of the Jessica's past, she visits her family, but the conversations they have make no sense. The whole thing looks like someone threw a script together in an afternoon. Why would anyone think this was worth funding? Possibly because four big name actors agreed to be in it, but why would they agree to be associated with it? Maybe because there is nothing else going on, or maybe they like doing fight scenes. Vulture has an explanation. Roger Ebert is lost in the weeds.

Meta Video

The Greatest Title Sequence I've Ever Seen

The content of the video is about how much effort went into making a title sequence for an obscure British TV show. Tom expounds at length about this while walking up the same hill that was featured in the subject title sequence.

It is pointless for Americans. However, it is pretty spectacular in its own right. The video is divided into two parts of roughly equal length. Tom Scott talks nonstop with no cuts or splices (as near as I can tell) through both parts while walking up a big hill. Equally impressive, or perhaps more so, the cameraman records the whole thing walking backwards, uphill. How the heck do you do that? At the end there is an outtake where the cameraman stumbles. Checking the monologue, it appears it happened near the end of the second part, which means they must have tried to record this at least twice. That makes me wonder how many attempts they had to make before they got it done to their satisfaction.

Title sequences are an art form all to themselves. Every TV show or movie has their own. Depending on my frame of mind, they can be boring and tedious or they might be quite spectacular. Producing title sequences is an industry in itself. I imagine there are probably several thousand people around the world who are employed producing these things.

On a somewhat related note, I think I figured out why people applaud at live performances. It's not so much whether it was fabulous performance, it's more along the lines of appreciation for the work the performers put in preparing for the show and the bravery they demonstrate by getting up on stage.



Airplane of the Day - Sukhoi Su 30


Extreme low pass by Anatoly Kvochur – in a Sukhoi Su 30

Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas Zombies


A VERY ZOMBIE HOLIDAY (Instructional video)

Came across this video this morning. I thought I posted it once before and I did, ten years ago

Airplane of the Day - Ilyushin Il-80

Rossiya Special Flight Squadron IL-80

P.S. I belatedly realized I didn't say anything about the escort aircraft, but now, even though I did some searching I still cannot identify them. They might be MiG-35's or Sukhoi Su-30's.



A clip is a bit of disposable metal that holds several cartridges together to facilitate loading them into a weapon. A magazine is container that holds ammunition the supplies the weapon. Only gun nerds care about the difference.

The first picture shows Ricardo Montalbán in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The last picture shows him as the host on Fantasy Island.


Sailing in La Paz

IAman wants to go sailing and La Paz might be the perfect spot.


A couple of items regarding belief showed up in my email this morning. First was this item from Wondermark:

#1522; In which a Backstory is established

Then there was this post by Syafolee:

Hello Darkness, How Can I Turn You into a Story?

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Rocket Attack

The bad guys are shooting rockets and mortars at the US Embassy and the C-RAM automatic defense system shot back. I couldn't detect any incoming shells in the video, but then I don't have magic RADAR vision. 

What you are seeing in the video is a dense string of M-940 20mm Multipurpose Tracer-Self Destruct (MPT-SD) rounds. The ammunition is specially engineered to self-destruct at a certain distance so that the string of shells doesn't take out a city block miles away. - Tyler Rogoway at The Drive

Airplane of the Day - Tupolev Tu-204 & Ilyushin Il-96

Two aircraft from the Rossiya Special Flight Squadron
Closer one is a TU-214, farther one is an IL-96

Rossiya Special Flight Squadron is a fleet of aircraft for government officials. The blister along the top centerline of the fuselage is presumably for communications antennae. The TU-214 is comparable to the Boeing 757. The IL-96 is more the size of a Boeing 777.

Security / password problems

I've been running into password problems over the last few months. First, the Chrome browser forgot all my passwords. Then I got an email attempting to squeeze me for some money. I ignored it except it bothered me that he had my favorite password, the one I had been using for all those media sites that require a login. Lastly, Google required a new password.

I'm using the Linux Mint Operating System and I haven't had any trouble with viruses or security for years, so this was a little disturbing. Turns out the Vimeo downloader extension may have been the cause. Google automagically reached out and disabled it in my browser a couple of days ago.

The Professor And The Madman

The Professor And The Madman Official Trailer
Transmission Films

I vaguely remember hearing about Daniel Webster, no that's wrong, it was Noah Webster and his dictionary back in, what, elementary school? Webster first published his dictionary in 1828. Over in England, Samuel Johnson published the first modern dictionary in 1755, first modern English dictionary anyway. Don't know about them furrin' devils.

This movie is about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary in 1874 and while it's a true story, or as true as any true story ever is, it is pert near unbelievable.

Sean Penn plays W. C. Minor, a captain / surgeon from the United States Army, suffering from paranoia and hallucinations who shoots down an innocent man in London and kills him. He is judged insane and therefor not guilty and so is locked up in the Broadmoor insane asylum. Nicest insane asylum I've ever seen. Was it that nice because Britain was devoting a substantial portion of it's wealth to caring for the insane, or was it that only a small fraction of the lunatics got locked up? I suspect the later.

Anyway, he gets involved in James Murray's (Mel Gibson) crowdsourcing project to track down the origins of every stinking word in the English language using their 'inter-netted' means of transmitting messages: the postal service.

I was surprised to see Mel back on the big screen, er, in a full scale Hollywood production. I thought he had alienated Hollywood a few years ago. But maybe this wasn't a Hollywood production. He's come a long way from Mad Max.

On Netflix, just over two hours long.

P.S. The best part of this movie was showing the enormous amount of work that went into producing the dictionary. The next best part is its testament to the mental abilities of the two title characters. It is pretty darn amazing what people can do when they put their minds to it. The story about the lives of the people involved just emphasizes how great an accomplishment this was.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies

Soulful Strings - Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies

I heard this on KMHD on the way into town yesterday morning. Normally I like my Christmas music without any embellishments, but this one tickled my ear.

Airplane of the Day - De Havilland Canada Dash 8

De Havilland Canada Dash 8 Surveillance Aircraft

The sign on the side of this airplane bothers me. Is it illogical to dislike it? Isn't better that the authorities tell you when they are watching you? Or maybe I have become so suspicious of the government that when they do something like this, I am even more suspicious. What do you mean by telling me you are watching me? Are you trying to goad me into doing something I shouldn't? It's weird, man.

This plane is not actually watching me, it used for keeping an eye on the Canadian coastal waters, looking for oil spills and whales and who knows what. Letting everyone know what you are doing is probably a good thing.

Wikipedia has a page about this aircraft.

Truck Dreams

This one happened last week. There was a car dealer across the street. There was a white sign board across the front of the building but there are no signs on it, just some square lights between one and two foot square, spaced 10 to 20 feet apart. If you touch one it turns off, touch it again and it turns on. Not quite sure how this was done as they were a good 10 or 15 feet in the air.

Truck with Utility Bed

I'm looking for a new car so I cross the street and go inside the showroom. The first vehicle I see is a pickup truck with one of those utility toolbox bodies on the back. There is a table-like extension hanging off of the back and on it is the largest vise I have every seen. The jaws are like three feet wide and it stands three or four feet tall. It was several times the size of my last dream vise.

Aluminum Underbed Toolbox

This morning I had another truck shopping dream. This time I am out looking at a 1972 Ford truck, maybe a little bigger than a pickup because it has a polished aluminum tool box hanging underneath the right side of the bed just behind the cab (exactly where you would expect to see one on a real truck). The exterior of the truck is in excellent shape except for one scuff mark on the toolbox. Somebody has gone to a lot of trouble to cherry it out. Then we look at the interior and the vinyl seats have big rips in them and the foam rubber stuffing is working it's way out. The seller wants $22,000 for it. No, that's not happening.

Someone else's much nicer 1989 Ford F-150

Back in the real world, I took my son's old Ford pickup into Madison Automotive in St Johns last week to fix some minor problems and also to take a look at the chassis and see if they can figure out why it's such a rattle trap. It should have been obvious, but the truck has a two inch body lift and (illogically) I was hoping for some kind of specialized, but easy, fix. The answer that came back was the entire suspension is worn out and all the bearings and bushings need to be replaced. It can be fixed, of course, but it would cost $2500. Not sure whether my son's affection for this beast could stand that kind of pain.

Road to Pill Hill

Meanwhile, I should probably get a different car. The Hyundai is wonderful, but since my back flaked out, getting in and out is a little difficult.  An SUV with a higher seat height might be the thing. Diligent daughter thinks we should get something with four wheel drive so she can borrow it to get to work when it snows. She works on Pill Hill and the road going up is probably one of the worst in Portland. Dump a little snow on the ground and it could very well become impassable. Since I have had good luck buying rebuilt wrecks, I am probably going to look around for one of those.

Friday, December 18, 2020


Sarah A. Hoyt writes. And writes and writes. She writes a bunch. I read some of her stuff. Some of it's pretty good, but most of it goes on too long for me. But today she has a fine story. It sounds like it might be at least partly true, but then again it might be entirely fiction. It's pretty great. You can find it here.


Cleaning out my files this morning and I came across this bit of wonderfulness. I got a chuckle out of it, maybe you will too.

That to me was just enough information that you know so I can research it so I can make a blog post out of it it's kind of amazing though I mean it's like it's a brand new 7-Eleven at open this year within the last to know six months or whatever that's crazy or maybe maybe 900 number exactly anyway very new God bless that guy for open and it's at 11 there or is this on Morrison right there so you go to the end of my street 9 for the Max's to take a left it's on the end of the street or end of the block Play Store on my block it's just you have to go around the corner just around the corner so I carry corner from Nordstrom's I think there's another Block in between but yeah minute and 50 seconds so like before you can finish counting the pocket letting your pocket it done very bizarre and you would think like I'll just taste like my Griffith doesn't paid Facebook maybe next year how many many Islamic or maybe maybe it's a nuclear reactor

I use my smart phone's speech-to-text converter to make notes sometimes and I think the radio might have been on while I was recording this and the smart phone recorded everything it heard.

Airplane of the Day - Polikarpov Po-2

Night Witches

I don't know quite what to make of this video. It brought tears to my eyes. Was that because it was glorious or awful? In any case it's a little unusual. Bringing in heavy metal band Sabaton to sing the Night Witche's praises definitely put it over the top. The airplane is the Russian Polikarpov Po-2 Biplane which has appeared here before a couple of times.

Via My Daily Kona

Thursday, December 17, 2020