Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Head Bangers 101

Quiet Riot - Bang Your Head (Metal Health) [Official Video]

Visited the re-siding project yesterday to pull the electric meter box free from the wall so we could get behind it to put new siding on. It wasn't difficult but those big fat wires are scary. Need to have your going-to-war mental shields fully in place when doing this. Anyway, we're doing this in 100 degree heat because the morning flew by because somebody couldn't get their act together. So today I'm feeling a little beat up, surfing the net, playing games, listening to tunes and this one comes up. I posted it recently, didn't I? No? Okay, fine, here it is.

Who wants to be President?

US politics is sometimes referred to as a clown show. Ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up and you will get answers like: fireman, policeman, clown, President. Who knew that the last two are synonymous? I certainly didn't, at least not before I became a grumpy old man. This explains the quality of the presidential candidates we've been seeing. H. L. Mencken had a few words to say on the subject:

H. L. Mencken on the President, July 1920

Things are getting worse for a substantial portion of the population. Things are getting better for some people. Nobody seems to have any idea of how to reverse our slide. The government certainly doesn't. I doubt big business is going to save us. All the people who are complaining about how the 'system' is unfair are just trying to carve off a piece of the cake for themselves, they aren't making any more cake and in fact have no idea how to make much of anything, much less more cake.

On my way home from lunch on Tuesday I decided to swing by the house re-siding project in St. John's which, I quickly realized, meant I needed to reverse course. I'm on Highway 99 in front of Buster's Barbeque. I pull into a side street to turn around. There's a no outlet sign, I've never been down this road, I wonder where it goes? So I follow it around a couple of corners, past a couple warehouses, and down a hill through what I can only describe as a shanty town. There are small houses along one side, the other is an embankment that supports an on-ramp onto I-5 South. Dead cars, piles of trash, dilapidated houses. A very sad looking place.

SW 64th Avenue Streetview

When I got home I took a look at this same street using Google Streetview and got a completely different view: nice, well kept houses. Not a prosperous neighborhood, but not a friggin' disaster either. How long ago was that Streetview recorded? August 2019, not quite two years ago.

Electrical Substation

It's a short street, I pass a half dozen houses before I get to the bottom of the hill where the road goes around the corner and dumps into a giant electrical substation.

Friday, July 30, 2021

No Left Turn

Then I took them to see the storied “NO LEFT TURN 7 AM - 9 AM  4PM - 7 PM” sign at Beverly and Normandie. That’s a classic I never get tired of seeing and love to take out-of-towners to gaze at it.  It’s such a sweet thought back to memory lane. Those wonderous days when the morning rush ended at 9 a.m. and the afternoon rush didn’t start until 4 p.m..  Imagine that. Back then, from 9 am to 4 pm - seven hours! – drivers hummed along in Los Angeles streets like they were Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton zooming around the Nürburgring racetrack in Germany. 

My uncle and aunt stared at the sign it wistfully. “Wow, what a, well, I guess, in a way, a melancholy sign,” said aunt Sheila, who was born in Manchester, England and grew up fairytales about Los Angeles allowing left turns from non-“left turn only” designated lanes. “So back in the day, the evening rush hour didn’t start until four? And only lasted three hours? That’s crazy. What a delight that must have been to drive in those days.” - Krikorian Writes

Driving into downtown Portland these days I often get stuck in creepy-crawly traffic for several minutes while we descend from the top of Sylvan to the Vista Ridge tunnel. Once through the tunnel, things open up, but of course, now I am downtown where parking lot driving rules apply (10 MPH max, watch out for homeless people in the middle of the road, hipster pedestrians crossing against the light, bicycles, electric scooters, people opening car doors into travel lanes, etc.). But it usually only takes another five minutes to get where I am going. Not like those poor bastards who are taking I-5 North to Washington. They are going to be stuck in that crap for another week or two.

I am pretty sure neither more freeways or mass transit are going to help. More cities might help. That way cities wouldn't need to be so big. But we used to have more towns, but small towns are shriveling up and dying. Everyone moved to the big city. Maybe we need more tariffs on stuff coming from China, and maybe a tax on automation, and maybe some public works projects. I really don't know, but I expect things are going to just continue to get worse. On the other hand, maybe most people don't mind putting up with traffic congestion.

Hamilton and Verstappen on Copse Corner at Silverstone

Verstappen and Hamilton 3D Crash Animation - Formula 1 British Grand Prix 2021

Since my feed readers are in disarray, and since I am getting a burned out on the frequently discussed topics of the blogosphere, I am back to my old standbys. I came across the title phrase in Krikorian Writes and I wondered what it was. It could have meant a broggdillo over a hot dog stand in some upscale area of Los Angeles or a set-to in the kitchen over the proper method of cooking peas, but Google delivered this clip, which is mildly entertaining / enlightening. Enjoy.

Yes, I know 'broggdillo' isn't a real word, but there is a similar word out there in the wild, I just can't think of it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Morning Rant

Trader Joe's Vitamin D Homogenized Milk

Went to pour some milk into my coffee, had to open a new carton. Didn't go well, so I told Trader Joe's what I thought:

Paper carton was too well sealed. You are supposed to pull apart the flaps and then fold down the spout. The flaps came apart well enough, but the spout was sealed as well and so I almost destroyed it while prying it open. I don't think this was user error, I grew up with these milk cartons and never had any problem with them until the bean counters started squeezing everyone and everything. Could it be that proper maintenance of the sealing machine costs more than it costs to install those stupid plastic spouts and install them? Those plastic spouts with the pull rings are stupid. Whenever you open one, when the seal finally breaks free of the spout, it flings drops of milk onto the counter, drops that have to be wiped up. 

Yesterday at lunch Jack was complaining about some kind of electronic gizmo. He gave up trying to get it sorted and went and bought a new one. We berated him for not dunning the manufacturer. This is why the world is going to hell. Companies are building and selling all these new gizmos that fail in short order and no one complains, it's easier to go buy a new one.

Meanwhile the nozzle on dutiful Dennis' garden sprayer had broken, so he checked into buying a new one. Ask the internet and the internet delivers. New nozzles are available for the low, low price of only $12. Meanwhile, you can buy a complete new sprayer at Home Depot for $10. Of course, if he buys a new sprayer, he is now stuck with getting rid of the old one. Since it's been used for weed killer, it is hazardous waste and Waste Management probably wants $50 fee to dispose of it, which would be a bargain if it allowed you to bypass the long lines at the public collection events, events staffed by the worst sort of annoying busybodies.

Bah, bah, bah and humbug.

Trump is a Witch!

Darth Vader proclaiming the death Obi-Wan Kenobi

This is old stuff. I have been dismayed by the growth of the Imperial Presidency. The President can't go anywhere without an entourage of thousands along with a fleet of aircraft and motor vehicles. Obama came to town once upon a time and entire freeways were shut down so his eminence could see that there were no traffic problems here. Color me irritated.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Feedly doesn't work on my computer anymore. I might be able to fix it if I read the directions and followed them, but fuck that shit. I have no interest in delving into obscure computer crap (unless it's something that tickles my fancy).  Google / Chrome has a RSS Feed Reader extension and I have been playing with it and I stumbled across this little gem which I found illuminating. 

As I was rebuilding a pond wall today, I thought of another element behind why many people hate Trump so much—so much more than we should expect in reaction to his actual governing. We know that many folks find him distasteful and lacking in class. Sure, but why would that trigger such hatred—why not simply some eye rolling and dismissive remarks? It then struck me that these people find Trump guilty of sacrilege; he has committed abomination in his presidential duties. Leftists in general and some patriotic Americans on the right understand democratic politics in a religious, sacrosanct way. So, when Trump scandalizes them by boorish behavior mixed with politics, he commits acts that merit a good burning at the stake. Many (most?) American right-wingers (correctly) see democratic politics as a circus, and we delight when the clowns drop the pretense and act the part. For the people who see the Popular Will as the closest thing to a divine instrument that they can imagine, however, Trump is a blasphemer and a heretic. Let him be anathema! - Arimathea, August 2019

P. S. Should it be "a RSS Feed Reader" or "an RSS Feed Reader"? I can usually tell, but this time I can't decide.


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Lake Oroville Drought

Lake Oroville Drought
1st photo - 2018
2nd - april 27, 2021
3rd -last week

Lake Oroville is the one that had problems with the spillway not too long ago. Looks like the California drought is pretty serious.

Via Posthip Scott

Monday, July 26, 2021

Uwe Gemballa

Why Was the 90s' Biggest Porsche Tuner Killed By Gangsters?
Donut Media

Here's an entertaining little tale about cars, financial skulduggery and murder. I had never heard of Uwe Gemballa or his cars before, but that's not surprising. Back in the 80's and 90's I pretty much had my nose to the grindstone and didn't have the time or inclination to follow automobile fashion. Still, fancy, high performance cars were a thing back then, and if you look back at the 20th Century, it has always been a thing, well, for as long as there have been cars.

If you look at the entire history of the automobile, there must have been somewhere north of a zillion fancy, high performance cars produced, so what happened to them? Well, some of them ended up in the scrap heap, and some of them are occupying obscure corners of  dilapidated barns, but a bunch of them were stored away in private garages, museums and warehouses, which makes me wonder how much warehouse space is devoted to these cars. If you figure there are a million cars squirreled away and you figure 200 square feet per car, that's like eight square miles of storage space. If the fancy car habit keeps growing exponentially like it has been, how long before the entire planet is covered with automobile storage? Reminds me of Cemetery World by Clifford D. Simak, a science fiction story that posits that in the far future Earth is just one big graveyard.

I've never liked Porsches. I am not sure why. It could be envy, except I like Italian exotics just fine and they are even more expensive than Porsches. The only reason I can come up with is that their engines are buried in the back. American muscle cars have the engine up front and when you open the hood all the glory of the engine is on display. You open the rear deck on a Porsche and all you see is a grimy mess of wires and widgets. No, no Porsches for me.

I'm not quite sure what qualities I am looking for in a video to make it a worth posting here. I suspect it's about 50% the quality of the video and 50% what kind of mood I am in. In other word's, it's a crap shoot.

Thursday, July 22, 2021


St. Mary Catholic Church, High Hill, Texas

I have a very tenuous connection to the Catholic church. My father was raised a Catholic and I was baptised in a Catholic church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My dad abandoned the church, I don't know why. His experience in WW2, his education in physics after the war and my mother's influence probably all played a part. My parents were scientists, so I was raised as an atheist. I became a Lutheran when I married my wife. It was painless, I may have had to recite some formal phrases but I do not remember what they were. We attended a Lutheran church for years while the kids were growing up, but we haven't been for a long a time.

There are a few bloggers I follow who are Catholics. I read them because I like what they say and how they say it. They write clearly and logically. Joseph Moore (Yard Sale of the Mind) and JMSmith (The Orthosphere) are a couple of my favorites.

Anyway, Joseph put up a post that is nominally a rant about something the pope has done, but he gives a brief historical summary of Catholic churches and the Catholic mass. I always wondered about Catholic churches, why they were so big and fancy. He gives us some background. It's pretty great.

I always found church services tedious in the extreme. I suspect it might be because I am a little too tightly wound. I am not good at sitting and relaxing unless I am stoned. Not everything I do is productive, solitaire games consume hours of my time. One thing I noticed about church was that after attending a service I was a bit calmer during the week. The calmness was nice, but it didn't quite outweigh the tediousness of the service. Maybe if I got stoned before I went to church it would be tolerable.

Joseph's explanation of the mass goes a long way to explaining why the Catholic church continues to be a large part of our civilization. 

P.S. Word of the day: ineffable - too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Innocent (2021)

The Innocent | Official Trailer | Netflix

Another foreign police / crime / murder mystery series. This one is based on a book by Harlan Coben, the king of trashy murder mysteries. I tried reading one of his books, it was awful. But that's neither here nor there. Horrible movies have been made from great books and great movies have been made from horrible books.

Let's see, what do we have here?
  • the big, tough guy who has been to prison. He has a special hatred for the guy who got him sent to prison. Any 'normal' person would give that prick a wide berth, but not our hero, he nurses his grudge, quietly.
  • the female head detective. She is unusual in that she has been given some complicated back story, not that I remember what it is.
  • a bad guy operating a strip club that fronts for a brothel. Bonus: for special customers willing to pay, he has underage girls imported illegally from eastern Europe.
  • then we've got the hookers. Boy oh boy, do we have hookers. This show is basically all about hookers.
  • the crooked cop. He's not just crooked, he's vicious and he's got a high level position in the Special Crimes unit.
It's not a great show, the plot is ridiculously complicated, but it holds together fairly well. We've got good looking women doing all kinds of things: normal, hooker type activities and sometimes exhibiting a bit of initiative. Sometimes they screw up and sometimes they get it right. 

There are a few technical screw ups, but hey, it's a TV show, they aren't going to get everything right. Things like a couple of women can barely push a body off the back of the boat. How the devil did they get the body onto the boat? And there is no way to open the doors of a freight truck from inside after the doors have been latched. I don't know how many times I have seen that in show, I wish they would stop doing it. 

Netflix, Spanish with English subtitles, 8 episodes approx. one hour each.

Shelby Ford F-150

2020 Shelby F-150 Super Snake Sport

Quote of the Day

1966 Carroll Shelby presented the keys to a Ford GT 40 Mark I Factory Road Coupe to David Heerensperger of Spokane, WA. It was one of only 31 cars built to road specifications.

The picture has nothing to do with the following quote, I just needed a picture and this one was handy. And cool.

Harper Lee's Pulitzer prize-winning book was first published in 1960. Now, the historical novel is banned in many high schools because it has been deemed Racist, because it "creates a white savior narrative" - an arbitrary verdict I don't agree with. I read it when the paperback edition came out in '61 or '62 and enjoyed the book very much. The first film version of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' was very good, too, but I thought 'TKAM III: Revenge of the Sith' really sucked. - Car Blog - The View Through The Windshield

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Drill Bits


60 Piece Small Drill Bit Set

Went to drill a small hole the other day, but when I opened my drill index I found that all the little bits, i.e. those one-eighth of inch in diameter and smaller were either broken or missing. If I had ALL my drill bits I probably could have found the one I need, but my tools are scattered across three houses and this was the only index I had on hand. I've been thinking for some time that your standard drill index should have multiple copies of the smaller drill bits. The smaller they are, the more you should have. Sixteen drill bits one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter would not be too many. Anyway, I decided to rectify this situation and went to Amazon where I found this. I think it was delivered the same day I ordered it. I don't really need this many tiny bits, so I'm thinking I will break the package up into two or three sets and give the extras to my friends. As soon as I find a way to adequately package them.

99 Pieces Titanium Twist Drill Bit Set

Then I came across this set. Not quite sure why I ordered it other than 'ooo, more drill bits!'
I thought I should also order a basic set. I just wanted a standard set with round shanks, but all those sets cost more than these hex shank bits. The hex shank means you don't have to adjust the size of the opening in the chuck when you are switching between different bits or screwdriver bits, which is a bonus. Of course, now I have two different styles of drill bits. In any case I should have enough bits for a while.

Walldriller Anchors

Tried out some new wall anchors and I really like them. Supposedly you don't even need to drill a pilot hole but when I tried that it just melted the tip. Drill an eighth inch diameter pilot hole and they screw in like butter and stop with a thunk when the flange reaches the wall. They are kind of expensive, like a buck each, but they seem infinitely more solid than the typical freebees that come with the widget you just bought.

P.S. The bit about titanium means that the fancy gold coating is somehow related to titanium. The drill bits themselves are plain high-speed steel.


Genesis - Land of Confusion (Official Music Video)
I think that sometimes we get confused. We confuse all the blather that comes to us via the electronic media with what is really going on in the world. According to my sophisticated guesstimating, about half of the people in America are in the work force and the vast majority of them are engaged in doing productive work, growing food, making things, delivering things. The stuff that the chattering classes talk about (and yes, bloggers are part of the chattering class, including me) is the weird shit that happens, the freak occurrences, the statistical outliers, the 'did you hear what so-and-so said about dog butts' crap. 

The world of business grinds on relentlessly, regardless of what the twitter-sphere is outraged about.

I should embellish this thought, but I'm old and tired and my wife has been running me ragged for the last couple of days, so that's all you get. You're going to have to embellish it yourself.

'Confusion' seemed an apt title for this post, which triggered my memory of this tune by Genesis. I totally remember the song, but I just vaguely remembered the video. That's not too surprising since it seems to be a confused jumble without much of a story line. Land of Confusion came out in 1986. Ronald Reagan (and Nancy, the old people puppets in the video) was President from 1981 to 1989.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sporting Event Attendence

Not quite sure what got me started on this, but the numbers kind of surprised me. Baseball draws more spectators than anything else. College games draw more than professional sports. Motor sports draw a fraction of those.

What I was wondering were how many people are attend these games religiously. I'm guesstimating it's about half. Knowing how many season ticket holders there are would help, except that if the vibe isn't there, the entire high dollar section will be empty. 

If you look at the total, it seems like everyone in country must have attended a game. However, divide that by 100 (to adjust for multiple games in one season and fans who follow more than one sport) and you get 3 million which is roughly one percent of the people in this country. Funny, one percent is also the number of people who die in this country every year.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Red Joan

Red Joan - Official Trailer - In Cinemas Apr 19

Not a bad little movie. Judi Dench is getting old, you may remember her from her role as M in several of the James Bond films. The film flashes back and forth between WW2 when Joan was a hot shot assistant to the guys working on the atomic bomb in the UK and the present day when Joan is being arrested and charged with treason. It's very well put together. The interrogator asks present day Joan a question, which sends Joan down memory lane and now here we are, back during WW2, back when everything in question happened. Reminds me of me when someone asks me a question about the good old days. Well, except for that bit about treason.

The story is based on the real life person Melita Norwood, who really did send classified stuff to the Russians.  ". . . to protect other investigations it was then decided not to prosecute her."

The reason's given in the film for Joan's actions are different than the one's given in the Wikipedia article. Joan's rationale for helping the Russians was that if they had the bomb as well, there would be a standoff as neither side would be willing to start a nuclear war. Looks like she was right. So far anyway. I doubt the Russians will start a nuclear war, but I wouldn't be surprised is some Asian muslim-theocrat dominated government doesn't set one off. On the other hand, a government like that might not be able to get all their scientific ducks in row. It takes a big, well coordinated organization to develop a nuclear weapon and a delivery system, and it doesn't take but one disgusted or incompetent fool to foul up the whole operation.



Y Axis Charlatans

Stole this graph from Joseph Moore over on Yard Sale of the Mind. A distorted Y-Axis is one thing that is guaran-damn-teed to set me off, so I am very pleased to find someone who agrees with me. 

Joseph has a few things to say about the statistics of death. Coincidentally, I had something to say about it yesterday. Realized later that perhaps I should have included gun deaths in my comparison. They are in the same range. Oh well, maybe later.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have got my puzzle solving program completed. I mention it here because I am using the X & Y coordinates to locate the puzzle pieces in the playing field. Well, the program is 'complete', but there is a bug in there somewhere, so it is not actually able to solve the puzzle. All the little bits and pieces seem to work just fine, but there is still something very wrong, I just can't see it.

Meanwhile, also at the ranch, our internet connection died yesterday morning. It's back now, but it still seems to be a bit crippled. Earlier this morning I couldn't reach most websites including gmail and this one. When feedly came back, I found a post on Schneier on Security that claimed the big ransomware evil doers were down and out. Heck of a coincidence that they go down and MY internet goes down at the same time. What if the ransomware dudes decided to skip the small fry and just fuck the entire internet? I suspect it wasn't malicious, it was just typical sloppy, commercial business operations. The one guy who was keeping the stack of server farms from turning into a cluster fuck took the day off and all the other nitwits were in meeting about some kind of panty-waist chickshit. i.e. nobody was watching the fucking store. Or it might have been a guy with a backhoe.

Thursday, July 15, 2021



Annual Number of Automobile Accident Deaths

Annual Number of Drug Overdose Deaths

I was surprised to find that that number of deaths from drug overdoses was so high. In the last few years it has exceeded the number of deaths from automobile accidents.

Every year about three million people die in the United States, about one percent of the population. Most of those deaths are old people.

The combined total of the automobile accident deaths and drug overdose deaths is less than 150,000, which is about five percent of the annual total for all causes.

"During 2020, COVID-19 was listed as the underlying or contributing cause of 377,883 deaths (91.5 per 100,000 population)." - Provisional Mortality Data — United States, 2020

That means COVID related deaths were about 10% of the total.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Linda Morena

Linda Morena

If you keep listening to different stuff, YouTube keeps serving up different stuff, and sometimes a winner like this one shows up.

Zombies are the worst

Infection 2019 movie poster

"The zombie apocalypse is obviously pure fiction, but it has an allure to a few tongue-in-cheek preppers because of its functional completeness. If you are prepared for zombies, you are literally prepared for anything." - BJ Campbell in his story The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper

It contains a clear explanation of how to calculate the odds of a disaster. Well worth reading.

Via Handwaving Freakoutery


Leggo My Leggo

Legoized Glock Handgun by Block19

It was inevitable. Toy manufactures have been making toy guns that look like real guns for years, so we shouldn't be surprised that a gun maker would make a gun that looks like a toy. I mean, people have been decorating guns since forever [here, here, here, here & here] and some of those decorations are just out of this world. 

I could see this style becoming very popular. Well, amongst cartoon characters anyway. If this design appeals to your fashion sense you are out of luck as Block19 has stopped selling them, which means any that are out there in the wild are going to become much more valuable. 'Oooo - he's got a Legoized Glock.'

Given the prevalence of irresponsible morons in the world, it's probably good that they aren't making any more.

Via my better half.

Real Money

Silver Quarters

I checked out the numbers and they seem legit. Would we still be headed for hell in a handbasket if we hadn't gone off of the gold and silver standards? Probably, but at least we would be able to pay for our ride. My first job paid $2.25 an hour. If was barely enough to keep my head above water. It certainly wasn't enough to fund a car. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021


Top view of Ural Motorcycle and Sidecar
Link goes to Ural company website

Wallace & Gromit Sidecar Model
Link goes vintage model website

Do-It-Yourself Bicycle Sidecar
Link goes to article

Fancy Pants Bicycle Sidecar
Link goes to article

1955 Peugeot 175 fitted with a Simard sidecar
Link goes to brief history of sidecars.
Wikicommons has more pictures of this machine

Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar
Link goes to Ural company website

Via Detroit Steve, Indy Tom and LMF

Hackley & Hume

Hackley & Hume Historic Site

Uniberp reports:
We took a guided tour through the Hackley and Hume Houses the other day, big old woodworked like crazy, painted Victorians. Hackley really liked ornate wood and stained glass, Hume had a bunch of kids, so had more running room.

Turns out those houses were built at the same time mine was. Mine has a new furnace.
He's been working on his house for awhile. We get reports occasionally.

Hippie Power

Gijs Schalkx on his slootmotor

Gijs runs his motor scooter on methane that he gets from plants rotting in roadside ditches. He floats a tub upside down on the water and hacks away at the goop lying in the bottom of the ditch under the tub. His hacking releases methane gas that bubble up into the tub. He uses a bicycle pump to transfer the methane to the tank hanging on the back of his scooter. Goes to show you that roadside ditches are the biggest cause of global warming. I mean look at the thousands of miles of roads, and there are ditches on both sides, so there are twice as many miles of ditches as there are roads! And don't forget that methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2. The mind boggles. So, free fuel for everyone!

As proof of concept, it's amusing. As a practical matter, not so much. It takes him all day to collect enough methane to run his scooter for 20 klicks. You could walk that far in half the time. However, his methods are very crude. It wouldn't take much to make his methane collection more efficient, though he would have a long way to go before it became economically viable. Still, you have to admire him for getting around the whole petroleum industry.

Via Detroit Steve

Branson's Space Flight

Seems to me Richard Branson's flight aboard SpaceShipTwo was a whole lot like an X-15 flight. Carrier plane carries rocket plane to high altitude, drops rocket plane, rocket plane shoots up to outer space, falls back down and glides to a landing. I wanted to do a more complete comparison, but I've run out of time, so I'm just dropping this little note here.

The X-15 only carried one person, the pilot, wearing a spacesuit, while Branson's spaceplane carried several people wearing street clothes.

Space Junk

Catching the most dangerous thing in space | Just Might Work by Freethink

The problem of debris in space has been getting worse for years. Nobody worried about it at the beginning because just getting something into orbit was tough enough, but we've been putting things into orbit and the problem just keeps getting bigger. What we mean by getting bigger is that one of these days a useful satellite is going to get destroyed by an impact with a piece of junk. It would be really nice if we could put a giant lint roller into space to collect all the little bits floating around, but unless your orbit it very, very close to that of your target, the difference in velocity can be enormous. Satellites in low earth orbit are traveling about five miles per second. Adhesive lint rollers are good for stopping crumbs traveling at a few feet per second. Still, it might be a good step, as long as our lint roller doesn't get hit by something beyond it's capacity to absorb. That would result in a whole new batch of debris being unleashed. So the approach outlined in the video of capturing big pieces and de-orbiting them is probably a good first step.

They talk about the collision between the defunct Russian Kosmos-2261 satellite and the Iridium-33  satellite, which I don't remember hearing about, but they don't mention the time the Red Chinese deliberately targeted a satellite with an anti-satellite missile. That was a really stupid move. The problem of space debris was already well known even back then, but they had to demonstrate their super-duper missile. Effing morons.

Chip Shortage

I sometimes forget about The View Through The Windshield, but when I remember to check in, I find some good stuff, like this:

The Truth About Microchips: It's a well-known fact that automakers treat suppliers like crap. They are very demanding, slow-pay and prone to cancel contracts when business slumps.

The semiconductor market is big and broad and many chipmakers have decided they don't need the hassle of dealing with car companies. "The car sector has been used to the fact that the whole supply chain is centered around cars," said McKinsey partner Ondrej Burkacky. "What has been overlooked is that semiconductor makers actually do have an alternative."

Smartphones, video games and other consumer electronics applications require more sophisticated chips than automotive semiconductor applications and that means higher prices and more profit for chipmakers. "The auto industry spends around $40 billion a year on chips - about a tenth of the global market. By comparison, Apple spends more on chips just to make its iPhones, Mirabaud tech analyst Neil Campling reckons."

In summary, the semiconductor crunch that has battered the auto sector in recent times leaves carmakers with stark choices: pay up (higher prices, faster payment of invoices), stock up (increase finished chip inventory at the automaker's facility) or risk getting stuck on the sidelines as chipmakers focus on more lucrative (higher-margin) business elsewhere. (posted 3/1/21) - The View Through The Windshield

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Stack Smashing

This is what passes for excitement a mi casa:

stack smashing detected

Dennis gave me a puzzle for my birthday. It consists of the ten digits laid out like old seven-segment computer display numbers. The problem comes with trying to fit them back into the frame they came in where they were all interlocked and fit nicely. I worked on it for a bit, but then I realized this is a whole lot like that cube puzzle he gave me a while back, it should be easy enough to write a program to figure this out. I've done it before, I should be able to do it again.

The first problem I ran into was figuring out how to encode the shapes. If they were all perfectly made of simple, identical segments, it would be easy, just use 7 bits to indicate they are present or not. Each bit corresponds to a position in the display. Turning that bit on means that segment is shown. 

But the pieces in this puzzle are not perfect. Some of the segments are missing the little point on one end of the segment, sometimes there's an extra little point stuck in. So I decided to make each segment three characters, one for the point on one end, one for the body, and one for the point on the other end.

I'm not sure this will work, but I'm confident enough to write some code to try it out. So I did. Wrote it, ran it through the compiler, fixed about a dozen minor errors, and ran it. This is just a test program to see if I know how to hold my keyboard. All it does it print the digit to the terminal window, rotate it, and print it again. First got the result you see above. You can see the upside down 9  along the left side of image. It looks like the rotation did not go as planned, which is why you have all that other nonsense on the screen. But it got all the way through 9, so not bad for a first run.

Upside down and backwards.

Ultra High Vacuum

Air-tight vs. Vacuum-tight

I suspect these guys are experimenting with techniques for making semiconductors. Wikipedia has an article about MBE - Molecular-beam epitaxy, a technique for making microscopic crystals. This business of finding a leak is the least technical part of what they are doing, but at least it gives us a bit of look inside the business of making semi-conductors, a business that is almost totally opaque. Or maybe I just don't know where to look.

Falsely Claim

I've noticed in some political stories that the writer will say that whoever they are denigrating has 'falsely claimed' so and so. I'm not a grammar Nazi, though I will pretend to be one when it suits me, but this phrase just strikes me as off. You can make a statement claiming most anything. What you are claiming may be true or false and so the claim may be true or false, but 'falsely' is an adverb modifying the verb 'claim', it is not modifying the contents of the claim. 'Falsely claiming' must mean you are not really claiming anything at all. It's like not saying anything. The phrase 'falsely claiming' is a wrong and stupid. Don't use it.

Internet traceroute

How Traceroute Works (Building a Movie Scene 'Trace' Map) - Computerphile

For months Bustednuckles website has been really slow to load images, especially gifs. Since I don't have any trouble with most websites and he seems to have some traffic, I figured there must be some kind of snafu/clog/bottleneck in between here and there, so I started digging and found a program called traceroute. Tried it on a couple of sites and everything seems hunky dory. Go back to Bustednuckles and everything is now working fine. Could it be that a few simple internet commands caused a confused router to straighten up and fly right? Who knows? And since it seems to be fixed, we might never know, unless it happens again. We shall see.

Lemonade Stand

Rhymes with Orange

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Joaquin's Sacred Rhythm Dance

Amadou Et Mariam - Bara (Joaquin's Sacred Rhythm Dance) (Side A1)

Just something that popped up on YouTubeAmadou Et Mariam are a blind couple from Mali.

Jigsaw Puzzle

Completed Jigsaw Puzzle

It took me a while to complete this 300 piece jigsaw puzzle. I was so pleased with the result I thought I'd share. It might have been easier with a bigger screen (it's a computerized jigsaw puzzle), but I got it done. The pieces were all in their correct orientation so it was not necessary to rotate them which made it relatively easy.

Funny thing is, when I went looking for the link to this puzzle, I couldn't find it. It even disappeared from my browser's history. Weird, man. I did find another version of it. It only has some 200 odd pieces, but those pieces might need to be rotated, which is going to make it much harder.


Brisbane to St. Lucia

All I know about the game of cricket can be summed up in the phrase 'sticky wicket'. That and cricket fans seem to be more fanatical about the game than other fans, but that might just be my perception. Anyway, this week the Australian men's national cricket team is playing a series of games on the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia. They flew non-stop 10,000 miles aboard a Quantas jet airliner.

Curiously, if we change from Map View to Satellite View in Google Maps, the route shifts. If you are flying halfway around the world, it doesn't much matter which direction you go, you are still traveling halfway around the world. 10,000 miles isn't quite halfway, but evidently it's close enough to confuse Google's route plotting algorithm.

Airliners travel about 500 miles per hour, which means a 10,000 mile flight would take about 20 hours. Traveling east in the jet stream means you pick up a tailwind which can cut your flight time to 16 hours. Does that mean the return flight should continue in the same direction? Possibly. 10,000 miles at 400 MPH would take 25 hours while 14,000 miles at 600 MPH would only take 23 hours. In addition, there would be more places you could stop and refuel. On the minus side, most of those places would be in central Africa.

Via FlightAware

Friday, July 9, 2021

Black Spot Season 2

Zone Blanche
olivier ogneux

We're halfway through season 2 of this French crime series and we are really enjoying it. It's got just a dash of creepy, stuff that is hard to explain, but most of it is pretty well grounded. Someone dies in every episode, sometimes several someones, but it's usually for commonplace reasons. There's also a continuing story about a battle between rich, belligerent businessman and a couple of other factions. I suspect the reason we like it so much is the atmospherics, the same reason we liked True Detective so much.

Netflix 2 seasons, 8 episodes each.


I'm a funny kind of guy. Sometimes I am mentally energized can delve into fascinating subjects, other times I am reduced to listening to classic rock and playing solitaire.

Skimming the blog postings that show up on Feedly, I came across a couple that on a more energized day I might pursue, but today we're lucky to have some links.

RobertaX writes about the growing political divide in science-fiction fandom and mentions that Heinlein (Robert A.) worked on EPIC (End Poverty in California), Upton Sinclair's plan to socialize California during the great depression. Some people think his program served as a template for FDR's New Deal programs.

The Relative Size Of Particles
Click to Embiggenate

Bayou Renaissance Man Peter tells us about problems with African dust in BMW cars and M-16 rifles. Wikipedia has an article about dust. The stuff can get get really small. Sand particles are larger than dust. Watching Matt's Off Road Recovery videos, I learned that a little ground moisture can be the difference between getting your car's wheels buried and driving right over it. Also, it doesn't take much rain to turn some clay surfaces into skating rinks. Clay particles are smaller than sand particles. Clay particles may even be considered dust.

The Silicon Greybeard considers the unemployment conundrum. The signs are very clear that we are headed for some kind of economic catastrophe. Why can't I see what's going to happen? We have a growing homeless population, employers are having a hard time finding workers, the rent moratoriums might end. Some simple things are obvious. Prices are going up. Employers can solve their worker shortage by raising wages, but that means prices will go up even more. They will have to be careful though, raising prices will necessarily cut sales. Cut sales too much and you go out of business. Might be better to limp along with the workers you have and demand for your product exceeding your ability to produce. If the rent moratoriums end, lots of people are going to be out on the street, but that will mean lots of empty apartments and commercial buildings, which will mean lower rents. Not ending the rent moratoriums means those landlords who are carrying mortgages are going to lose their properties, but who will buy them if they can't collect any rent? You can bet that there is some serious pushing and shoving going on.

Language Log writes about people crying about certain words. Effing morons. At the end he quotes from a story in The Atlantic:

But these sanctions are based on no general agreement among even sensitive, sociologically concerned people. Couched as compassionate counsel, this list is mostly a series of prim concoctions by people who, one suspects, simply need more to do. In the end, working to change conditions is much more important than obsessively curating the words and expressions we use to describe them.

 Right on, dude!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Dodge Madness

Old Dodge Pickup Truck in downtown Portland

Title stolen from daily timewaster, one of his long running themes.

Portland Cranes

Crane lifting steel beams to 4th floor window of Target
SW 9th & Alder

They had what looked like half a dozen bundles of steel beams, maybe ten beams to a bundle. The crane had no difficulty lifting an entire bundle, but the guys on the ground were occupied with breaking the bundles up. Each beam looked to be on the order of 300 pounds, so something that could be man handled by a couple of guys. I presume their intention was to lift the individual beams up to the height of the window where upon the guys up there would drag them inside. I didn't get to see, I had places to go.

Tall crane working on high rise
Around the corner on SW ALder & 9th

This stuff has been going on for months.

New construction on NE Sandy Boulevard & 33rd Avenue
Next door to Jiffy Lube

IAman took Liza's Jeep to Jiffy Lube to get the oil changed. I've been to a couple of quick change oil operations in Hillsboro, but I was never impressed. It was either ridiculous oil change theater or a high pressure sales pitch for wipers and belts. Never been back. On the other hand IAman had positive things to say about this shop:
"Very impressive operation, running like clockwork, ready for any make model fluid or brake change....though they were having problems with a [bleeping] Jeep."
Possible because the west side is full fools with more money than sense and east side knows the value of hard work.

Grocery Robots

How many robots does it take to run a grocery store?
Tom Scott

On one hand, this is great. Tell the world (or Alexa) you want a box cheeze doodles, and presto, a few minutes later a box shows up at your door without anyone actually having to do anything, except the delivery driver, and that's just until they get the automated drone delivery system going.

On the other hand, all those people who were employed picking and packing groceries are out of a job. But all the people who are designing and building robots have got all the work they can handle. That would be okay if it took as many people to design and build the robots as the number of grocery pickers they were replacing, but probably not. I suspect it's more like one to ten.

Yes, all these fancy machines and automated processes are eliminating the drudgery from many people's lives, but we aren't giving them anything else to do. If you want to be a part of society, you need to have a stake in society, which means owning something of real value, and that means real estate. It doesn't have to be much, an eight foot square shop might be enough. But being on the dole, playing video games and protesting aren't going to get you there. Makes me think we might be due for some land reform

Via IAman

Monday, July 5, 2021

Black Spot

Zone Blanche (Black Spot) | in the pines

Creepy european murder mystery series. The creepy part makes you wonder if there are sinister supernatural forces at play, but maybe not. Could be just some creepy dude living in the woods. Very well done. The prosecutor who comes to smallville to investigate their extraordinary homicide rate is quite the character, the character who does not fit in.

Note that the French version of the title is Zone Blanche, whereas the English translation is Black Spot. Zone could be spot, but blanche is white, but it could also mean blank, so I think we are talking about a hole where things disappear.

Netflix 8 one hour episodes, 2 seasons, in French with English subtitles.