Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Zee Volvo, She Drives!

The Old Volvo

Uniberp has got his latest Volvo project out and running around.

I got it on the road, including even a new modern passenger retractable shoulder belt in time to drive with Sheila to her extended family reunion, who are a bunch of independent farmers. Nobody noticed the car. Even so it was gratifying to get it running on the road. And it gave no problems over the 50 miles other that a few pops and pings from the reassembled bodywork and suspension as we bounced over the two track to and from the back 40 "glen" where the picnic shelter was.

But the car has me a bit confused. It has a strong rebuilt engine evidenced by the double valve springs and purple anodized valve retainers and the kinda obvious whine of steel timing gears. It runs very strong.
It also has a rear sway bar, which is something only racer boys put in their cars, and which a lot of street drivers on the Facebook group say makes the car handle worse. 
They cut out the normal cantilevered seat mounts from the body, evidently with the intention of of putting in more modern seats which I did (Volvo v50).   
I'm going to post this picture on that group and ask them if they think it has been lowered springs, which is another performance thing people do to make their cars corner better.

My question is: if they were building a race car, why did they put such money into the body work and paint which was obviously expensive. Granted, it's kinda cool, but it's no dragstrip hot rod, and it's got new tires, skinny original size 185-SR15 street tires, on color matching rims. 

I'll drive it a bit more (to get tacos and such) and I'll get it further put together. but so far it's not as relaxed as my 122 Wagon.
Previous posts here and here.

New Internet Connection

New guts for network box

Our connection to the Internet died a couple of days ago. The box hasn't been touched since Verizon ran fiber optic cable to all the houses in our neighborhood 15 years ago. Technicians came and replaced the guts in the connection box. We used to have a coax running from this box to the router in the basement, now it's just regular old twisted-pair phone line.

We have this photo because when I was putting out the trash last night I noticed the box was hanging open. Closing it up was a bit of a chore. The box is warped, so closing it up tight requires torquing it back into shape and then holding the lid in place while you put the retaining screw in. If you don't have it all the way closed, the screw will just snag on the plastic and as soon as you turn your back it will pop open. At least I think that is what happened.


Saturday, August 28, 2021

Rummikub

Rummikub Opening Hand

We play a couple hands most afternoons just before dinner. This one was my opening hand last night. I was moderately surprised.

Friday, August 27, 2021

SAS: Rise of the Black Swan


*new trailer* SAS: Rise of the Black Swan | Netflix - August 27
Next to Netflix

This is a fair to middling movie. Lots of action, villainous villains, heroic heroes, cute girls both good and bad, corrupt good guys, all fairly typical of an action movie. The whole plot of hijacking the Eurostream (new name for the TGV) train running through the chunnel is fairly ridiculous. The escape through the natural gas pipeline was preposterous, but hey, James Bond did a tunnel thing once. I can imagine the movie makers discussing this: 'Well, yes, you can do a pipeline thing, but you need to make it more spectacular. Hey, I know, instead of it being empty, we'll fill it with natural gas. And a bomb. That'll make it spectacular.'

The only redeeming feature was they showed that the government and big business are the ones behind the terrorist attacks that set this whole thing in motion. Not that it makes any difference. Government and big business are basically unaccountable for whatever they do. Some people complain, but the worst that happens is that some low level flunky gets blamed and sent off to prison, but the stupid incompetent mothball fakers who cause all these problems go along their merry way, richer and fatter than before. I don't know why we bother.

2 hours on Netflix

Moscow Rules

St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

Stumbled across this today and I thought I better steal them while I have the chance. Who knows if I could find them again if I need to. But now I have a copy here, so I should be able to find them.

  1. Assume nothing.
  2. Technology will always let you down.
  3. Murphy is right.
  4. Never go against your gut.
  5. Always listen to your gut; it is your operational antennae.
  6. Everyone is potentially under opposition control.
  7. Don’t look back; you are never completely alone. Use your gut.
  8. Go with the flow; use the terrain.
  9. Take the natural break of traffic.
  10. Maintain a natural pace.
  11. Establish a distinctive and dynamic profile and pattern.
  12. Stay consistent over time.
  13. Vary your pattern and stay within your profile.
  14. Be non threatening: keep them relaxed; mesmerize!
  15. Lull them into a sense of complacency.
  16. Know the opposition and their terrain intimately.
  17. Build in opportunity but use it sparingly.
  18. Don’t harass the opposition.
  19. Make sure they can anticipate your destination.
  20. Pick the time and place for action.
  21. Any operation can be aborted; if it feels wrong, then it is wrong.
  22. Keep your options open.
  23. If your gut says to act, overwhelm their senses.
  24. Use misdirection, illusion and deception.
  25. Hide small operative motions in larger non threatening motions.
  26. Float like a butterfly; sting like bee.
  27. When free, In Obscura, immediately change direction and leave the area.
  28. Break your trail and blend into the local scene.
  29. Execute a surveillance detection run designed to draw them out over time.
  30. Once is an accident; twice is a coincidence; three times is an enemy action.
  31. Avoid static lookouts; stay away from chokepoints where they can reacquire you.
  32. Select a meeting site so you can overlook the scene.
  33. Keep any asset separated from you by time and distance until it is time.
  34. If the asset has surveillance, then the operation has gone bad.
  35. Only approach the site when you are sure it is clean.
  36. After the meeting or act is done, “close the loop” at a logical cover destination.
  37. Be aware of surveillance’s time tolerance so they aren’t forced to raise an alert.
  38. If an alert is issued, they must pay a price and so must you.
  39. Let them believe they lost you; act innocent.
  40. There is no limit to a human being’s ability to rationalize the truth.
Number 30 is my favorite. Stolen from Imminent Threat Solutions.



Thursday, August 26, 2021

Black Lives Matter


Chris Rock - Black People vs. Niggers [クリス・ロックー黒人VS.ニガー]
Kanazawa Underground

This just popped up on YouTube and because I've been hearing this Black Lives Matter shit for so long I wanted something to shut them up, and I think this is just the thing. Be warned, mucho profanitio in this clip.

It's not the color of your skin, it's the substance of your character. Some people don't have any. If the black people you consistently run into are niggers, you might start to equate black skin with complete lack of character, but character is an individual thing. Of course, if all the black people you deal with are niggers, maybe you should stop associating with that crowd.

Just in case you are wondering what the funny characters in the caption say, I asked Google Translate and it came back as the same as the English title.


Let’s Pool our Ignorance


A Puzzlement
Greenbeard Gaming Videos

Excerpt from Pooling Ignorance - by Jonathan R. Lightfoot

“Let’s Pool our Ignorance” It is a Paradox. When I first used it It was a seeming self-deprecation that was also a form of arrogance.  No, I don’t know the answer, but yes I can get a good result, answer the question, find out what we need to know and do what we need to do — Without another set of credentials or series of classes.

It was also my way of giving the questioner buy-in to the situation. You are asking me a question, but you may already know more of the answer than you think you do. Let’s take what we both don’t know and come up with a working solution.

The deep dark secret within pooling of ignorance is that most of the time we know hardly anything about the subjects and issues we deal with on a daily basis, but this doesn’t prevent us from living successful and well-ordered lives where our ignorance always highly exceeds what we know.


Who is that masked man?

Gas Mask

I think the corona virus scare is overblown. I might be wrong. We might get a million deaths next year from some new strain, but I doubt it. I don't think we are even going to see a blip on the population graph. On the other hand, the side effects are going to fuck us over but good.

The lockdowns are having an adverse effect on the economy. That and the psychological effects of people being isolated, or even worse, locked up with their 'loved ones', is killing more people than the virus could ever hope to kill. But that doesn't matter, but because we are not operating in the real world, we are operating in a dream world where everyone is wonderful and we all have the same set of pristine values and nobody hates anybody. The parameters of this dream world are all that you can get a majority to agree on, and this agreement is going to have us marching straight off the cliff that is getting closer every day.

People are resilient, so we should be able to adjust to this 'new normal' of never going anywhere and never seeing anybody.  We should be able to find some way to hobble along, but I am afraid of what it's going to look like. 

Homeless camps have started showing up in Hillsboro. We're 30 minutes by car from downtown Portland.

Will the Biden Presidency implode? Given our history, he or his cohorts will blunder along till the next election. Will anything change with the next election? I doubt it, the President is, after all, simply the figurehead on our ship of state, a ship that has considerable momentum. Changing the President isn't going to change our course. No, I suspect things will deteriorate until we have 50% unemployment. Of course, those will be the official numbers. Most of those people will have joined up with criminal gangs who are going to be engaged in all the traditional forms of crime and probably some new ones that haven't been invented yet. At some point some demagogue will capture people's attention and we'll get an entirely new form governmental bullshit. Let's just hope it doesn't include death camps.

Now might be a good time to reread The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson.


Industrial Basket Weaving


Flexure joystick for Xbox (with 3D printed compliant mechanisms)
Akaki Kuumeri

At lunch yesterday, my nephew was wondering what to do and I somewhat facetiously suggested industrial basket weaving. This popped into my head because the other day I was telling my daughter about a story I read some time ago about baskets. It goes something like this:

An enterprising guy from California is down in Mexico on vacation and he happens across a man making and selling wicker baskets in the local market. He asks the price and the man tells him 'one dollar', which he thinks is a deal so he buys the basket. When he returns home he tells some friends about this fabulous basket he bought for a dollar. His friends all agree it's a heck of a deal, so he goes back to Mexico to strike a deal with the basket maker. He tells the basket maker he would like to buy a thousand baskets, and wants to know how much he would charge. Based on his experience with mass production in the United States, he is expecting a price reduction. He is very surprised when the basket man tells him the price for such a large quantity would be ten dollars for each basket. When he inquires as to why the price would be so high, the basket man tells him that the overhead for his personal basket making operation is minimal, but if he were to attempt a big order he certainly would not be able to do it all himself, he would have to hire people and buy materials and rent a building for the people to work in, all of which are going to drive the price up. I do have one basket I can sell you for one dollar. Would you like to buy it?

Figuring out what to do when you are young can be very difficult. There is all kinds of work you can do, some work pays more, some of it is easy, some of it is boring. So you want to find something where the reward will be enough to keep your head above water and hopefully will be enough that you will eventually be able to afford a boat so you don't have to keep dog paddling to survive.

But that is only one aspect of the work-a-day world. You want something that will engage your brain, boredom is a killer, and only you can decide that. What one person finds boring might suit someone else admirably, and what another person finds fascinating you may find ridiculous. Then there is the working environment. If you are an agreeable person you don't want to be working with a bunch of toxic people, you are better off working with people you can get along with. But some people thrive on conflict, throw them into a pot of toxic people and they might really enjoy themselves. 

So it pays to know something about yourself, and you probably won't really know that until you've been out about for a few years. Try a few things, see how it goes.

Back to yesterday's lunch, in response to my remark, Dennis suggested flexures which brings us the video at the top.

Previous post about flexures.



Wednesday, August 25, 2021

John Wick: Chapter 2


John Wick: Chapter 2 Official Trailer #1 (2017) Keanu Reeves Action Movie HD
Zero Media

We saw the original John Wick several years ago and it was pretty great. I was reading a post about the John Wick movies yesterday and learned that there are four (four!) of them. Well, if the first one was so great, and we've got the same star, it ought to be pretty good, right? Wrong. There were some good scenes, scenes that kind of told a story, but in between these scenes were these endless gun battles. Keeno must have kilt a zillion bad guys. What I want to know is where do the criminal kingpins get this seemingly inexhaustible supply of henchmen, killers who are willing get in a gunfight where your opponent might be (rumors fly, things happen so fast, you may not know who you are going confront) the most proficient killer the world has ever seen. Anyway, it was a lot like Shoot 'Em Up with Clive Owen. That one was at least funny.

P. S. This one was available on Peacock streaming service. Give them your email address, clickety clickety click through a dozen or so screens of nonsense, watch maybe five minutes of ads, and poof, Bob's your uncle.


Thousand Islands power house Canada

Thousand Islands power house Canada
99 piece jigsaw puzzle

The title on this puzzle intrigued me. Did Canada build a big power plant styled to look like a castle? I mean, that's the kind of thing Canada might do. Alas, that is not the case as I realized once I had finished it. It's not really big enough to be a utility kind of power plant, but it is plenty big enough to be a power plant for a house, even a really big house. This house:

Boldt Castle in the center of Heart Island
The power plant is at the lower right
In 1900, George Boldt, general manager of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City and manager of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, . . . launched an ambitious construction campaign to build a huge masonry structure, one of the largest private homes in the United States. . . . The construction of Boldt Castle ceased abruptly in early 1904 after the death of Boldt's wife, Louise Kehrer Boldt. . . . The Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired Heart Island and the nearby yacht house in 1977, . . . As of 2020, over $50 million has been spent on restoration and rehabilitation work on the Castle and surrounding structures. - Wikipedia
The Thousand Islands area is part of the St. Lawrence River. The Castle is about half way between Ottawa and Syracuse, New York.


Mitsubishi Rainstick


Rainsticks - Sound of the RAIN in one instrument
Workshop Medieval

A couple of weeks ago we started hearing this rainstick noise coming from under right hand side of the dashboard whenever we made a left hand turn. There is a known problem with one of the flaps inside the heater duct, and I figured it had broken loose and whenever we turned a corner, it would flop over and rub against the fan. But it sure sounded like running water. There was no leak inside the car, so it was baffling.

Blower with motor cooling duct popped open

Finally decided to take the glove box out yesterday to see if I could locate the problem. Along the way I found that the blower is easily accessible from the passenger footwell. Seemed to be a little wetness there, and when I popped open the hatch on the blower's cooling ducts I found signs of rust. So there's been water in here.

A little Googling turns up a likely culprit: the drain hole for the air conditioning evaporator. (That's the small radiator that sits inside the ductwork inside the passenger compartment. It doesn't really radiate anything, it's more of an anti-radiator.) Okay, that's enough for today, I'll finish this tomorrow.

This morning I've got an appointment first thing and at the first corner I turn, a pint of water comes out of the hole where the blower was and dumps in the passenger footwell. More water comes out every time I turn left. The water had stopped coming out by the time I got home.

I tried locating the drain hole yesterday, but I'm too thick to slide under the car, and the driver's side was too close to the wall to allow easy access, so today I moved the car to the center of the garage and drove up on a couple of wood blocks.

Looking straight up from the ground. Firewall at the top, engine bay at the bottom. A/C drain hole is small, rusty slot in the upper left, just below the black smudge marks.

Now I can slide underneath and I am able to locate the drain hole. It's not very big, maybe a sixteenth of an inch by about half an inch. I stick a thin metal stick up there and root around. The stick can go in an inch or two before it runs into a solid barrier. Nothing comes out, but it seems like it might be little clearer.

Now I can put the blower back in. It was no problem getting it out, a Torx T-25 screwdriver worked just fine, but now I'm trying to put it back and things aren't going well. One of the things I've heard about Torx is that they aren't too particular about size. A driver for one size should work with screws that are a little bigger or a little smaller. Didn't work in this case. The T-25 had a hard time staying engaged. The T-15 worked until I started to apply some torque and then it slipped. Fine. The screws are also slotted, so with a straight bladed screwdriver I was able to get them tight.

I probably have a T-20 bit somewhere, but looking for it is an iffy proposition. It might be here, in which case I should be able to find it, but it might be on the moon in which case looking for it will be a waste of time. And looking for it means climbing up and down the stairs to the basement and I'm already feeling the strain of this operation. I pressed on with what I had.

The insulation on the underdash sound barrier and the passenger floor mat were pretty well soaked, so they are drying in the sun. It's kind of cool today, so it may be a while before we find out if I actually fixed the problem.

This wasn't a big project. There are six screws holding the underdash panel and just three holding the blower, but they were under the dash, so I'm down on my knees with my head and arms stuck in the footwell trying to turn screws, screws that I can just barely see. It's awkward in the extreme. An electric screwdriver might have come in handy, if it was small enough to get in there. Plus I would have needed the correct Torx bit (see above). Anyway, it was exhausting. On the plus side I got a good nap and now I feel like I've put in a hard days work.


Silver Skates


Silver Skates (Trailer)
SPM MUSIC GROUP

It's pretty much a fairy tale woven together from elements of several stories, including fast and fancy ice skating (Hans Brinker), a gang of pickpockets (Oliver Twist) who are living on an abandoned sailing ship (Peter Pan). A poor boy and a rich girl happen to meet and in a tale as old as Hollywood, proceed to disregard all the sage advice of their elders, believe love will triumph all, and the script writers make it happen. There was a moment when we thought this might be an actual Russian story when the boy dies, but then he wakes up, 'returns from the dead' the doctor says, so we can have our Hollywood ending.

It's set in 1900 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The scenes are great. We have scenes on the ice in the canals through town, which serve as roadways during the winter, and scenes of the city and the palaces.

Dmitri Mendeleev (1834-1907), father of the modern Periodic Table, makes a couple of appearances. Seems our girl is a budding chemist and wants to study at the university instead of marrying the handsome, brave, strong nobleman her parents have picked out for her.

Our hero has some very fancy ice skates that his father picked up in Amsterdam. I looked for a picture but I didn't have any luck. If I watched the entire film over again, I might be able to find a shot or two, but it's two hours long, and I'm busy. Busy, very busy.



The Defeated


The Defeated Season 01 | Official English Trailer | Netflix
Latest Updates

I'm ambivalent about this show. On one hand it's showing us what life was like in Berlin right after the end of WW2. Lots of ruins, people scrabbling to survive. Don't see many shows about the aftermath of war and the chaos that ensues. On the other hand the story is like something out of a comic book, fairly heavy handed.

We've got Max MacLoughlin, the cop from New York City, specially imported to help get the Berlin Police up and running again. Okay so far, but then we also have his brother Moritz, a psychotic killer who has taken it upon himself to kidnap, torture and execute former Nazis. On one hand, his victims are getting their just desserts, on the other, the war is over and we aren't supposed to be executing people without a trial. Just for a little historical aside, we also have a Jewish group known as Nakam who are also in the business of executing former Nazis.

Max and Moritz

Max and Moritz was a humorous book from the 19th Century that is (reputedly) still a fixture of German culture much like the Peanuts comic strip is in America. Our Max and Moritz's mother had a copy of this book and read it to her boys regularly, up until their father shot and killed her in a drunken rage, a drunken rage that also got him shot and killed and left our two boys orphans.

Moritz became a little unhinged, whether it was due to that traumatic incident or some other cause, we don't know. Max swore an oath of loyalty to his brother when he was a kid, but he has known for a while that his brother is a nutcase. So Max is conflicted. He wants him to give up his crusade of revenge killing and come home to New York, but Moritz doesn't care about New York or his family anymore. He just wants to kill Nazis. So what's Max gonna do? If he arrests his brother he's breaking his oath, not to mention that they are going to lock him up for good. If he lets him go, he's not doing his job as a cop.

Elsie is the female head of the precinct where Max has been assigned. Her squad of 'scarecrows' are all women, presumably due to the shortage of men. Her squad are called scarecrows because of their uncoordinated outfits, they don't have uniforms. Or guns. They do have a collection of wooden clubs hanging on a rack inside the front door of the bank they have commandeered for use as their precinct headquarters. The old one got blowed up.

According to Wikipedia, three million German soldiers have been captured by the Soviets. In this story someone says eleven million. In any case, Elsie's husband is one of them. 

The Soviets have their own sector of the city and, like everyone else, are prying into everyone else's affairs. Their chief finds out that Elsie's husband is a prisoner and has him transferred to Berlin. His plan is to reward Elsie with visits to her husband for providing him with useful information. On their second or third very brief meeting her husband tells her he is planning to escape. Elsie immediately informs the Soviet commandant of this in the belief that her husband will surely be killed if he attempts to escape. Her hope is that the commandant will spare him, otherwise his hold over her will be lost. Not your typical heroic story line. 

We also have the Angel Maker, the kingpin of a brothel and information empire. Entirely ruthless, he has no qualms about killing anyone why jeopardizes his fiefdom. Of course, he never actually gets his hands dirty, he has an army of women who are quite willing to do the job for him.

We also have the high society swells living the high life, driving fancy cars to cocktail parties in big, fancy houses and dancing with good lookin' dames in slinky evening gowns. That's what the victors do, that's what the victors have always done. But when you've got that much success, there are going to be abuses, so who knows what kind of skullduggery is going to be uncovered? They're telling us a cover story, but we still have a couple of episodes to go and I think we are going to find something much worse.

The worst part of it is that everybody speaks English. They slip in a few words in German or Russian here and there, but everyone quickly reverts to English. I hear English is becoming more common in Europe, but somehow I doubt that was the case in 1946.


Fancy Paint

 

Pilatus PC-12

If you're gonna spend a million bucks on a hot rod, you might as well spring for the fancy paint. Previous PC-12 post.


Mizzery One Boeing 737-700



Delta Thank You

Okay, a big thank you, but how does that qualify as fancy? This is how:

90,000 Employee Names Painted on the Aircraft


Southwest Boeing 737-200 Bare Metal Engine

Not so fancy, but a little old and unusual, this is one of Southwest Airlines first three 737s.

Morning Quote

Gray Wolfmlorenzphotography

Markets really are about the madness and behaviour of crowds. It’s very different to what I was taught back in the early 1980s when economics whittered on about “rational expectations”. I’ve learnt there is nothing particularly rational about the way market participants tend to think.

During the Second World War a study of soldiers figured only about 3% of frontline troops actually fought to kill. The rest were followers. So it is in finance. The bulk of market participants go with the flow. They don’t ask the difficult questions and they don’t call out obvious inconsistencies. These sheep inevitably get rounded up and fleeced by the tiny number of wolves. It works because market participants are attracted to well marketed big ideas, but run with them without really appreciating the consequences of the hype they’ve bought into. - Blaine's Morning Porridge

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Good Job, Joe Biden

Taliban Raising their flag in Afghanistan

Truth be told, the Taliban might have done this even if our pull-out from Afghanistan had been properly organized. Since it was so FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition), it is likely that this is how we will remember it.

I am sure that most of working people in the USA, whether they are working for the government or industry, are honest, industrious individuals. But when you get into the higher ranks of big organizations, and especially in the government, you get more people who are more concerned with making themselves look good and making other people look bad, and are not concerned about whether they are doing the right thing, much less whether they are doing a good job. These are the boot lickers, ass kissers, slimy back stabbers, swamp scum that populate Washington D. C.

I feel a song coming on.


The O'Jays - Back Stabbers (Official Soul Train Video)
Philadelphia International Records

From 1972. The Vietnam war was going strong.


Puzzle Pic of the Day

Cleaning Big Ben
110 Pieces

Don't think I've seen a picture of Big Ben with such detail before. The Roman Numerals are almost unreadable. They are arranged with the bottom of the letters pointing to the center and the top facing the outer rim, so while the letters at the 6 o'clock position might look like i n, it is actually VI upside down. The X doesn't look much like any X I've ever seen.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Time flies like an arrow,


Fly Brain Imaged at Nanoscale Resolution
HHMI Howard Hughes Medical Institute

fruit flies like bananas. Talking to a neurobiology student last night. They're studying fruit fly brains. These brains have 100,000 neurons and it's pretty well understood how they work. That's for some value of 'pretty well'. This video is an easy introduction.




Flight

Michigan shoreline seen from the nose of the B-25

Uniberp took a flight on a B-25 with Air Adventure. He reports:

You can't see it in this picture, in fact that's not the Muskegon channel at all, but as we were flying over the flight officer painted down out the window and said "submarine" pointing to the USS Silversides at dock. Sitting duck.


USS Silversides in the Muskegon Channel

Since he didn't get a shot of the sub, I thought I'd take a look using Google Maps.

B-25 Rosie's Reply

In case you didn't know:
The B-25B first gained fame as the bomber used in the 18 April 1942 Doolittle Raid, in which 16 B-25Bs led by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle attacked mainland Japan, four months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. - Wikipedia

 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Yak-15 - the first Soviet jet fighter


Yak-15 - the first Soviet jet fighter
Skyships Eng

We've got lots of history about the development of jet aircraft in the West, but not so much from Russia, so this was kind of nice to hear. I am ambivalent about the advances made in Soviet science and technology. On one hand they were very impressive, they beat us into outer space after all. But Stalin was a murderous thug. Could they have done better, or at least without killing as many people, if they had a better leader? And why didn't they have a better leader? Why don't we have a better leader? 

P.S. Photo from the 1946 Air Parade:

Soviet pilots participating in the air parade on August 18, 1946 in honor of the Day of the Air Fleet of the USSR near Po-2 (U-2) biplane at the Kubinka airfield. In the center – P. Zubarev.

The Po-2 biplane has appeared here before.

Hypersonic Missiles


Why the Hype Around Hypersonics?
Sabbine Hossenfelder

Sabbine is my new favorite YouTuber. I watched one about the 5th Element, er, the 5th Force earlier, and it was fine. She has a blog (BackReAction) where she posts her videos along with transcripts. Most of the videos are her talking, but she does include some graphics that help illustrate the topic. This video includes a clip of a double sonic boom from a Concorde. I had to play it a couple of times in order to hear it. It's really quick, the two booms are like a tenth of second apart. Bang bang.

This is the first explanation of hypersonic missiles that actually explains anything. All of the rest have been nothing burgers. 

The bit about how long it takes a ballistic missile to reach its target versus a hypersonic missile is not complete. If the two devices are traveling the same distance across the Earth, then what she says is true, hypersonic missiles would take just as long as a ballistic missile. However, ballistic missiles are big and difficult to transport, so mostly they don't leave their home country unless they are on a submarine. Hypersonic missiles are smaller (they don't have to carry an oxidizer, which is roughly half of their fuel load, which is what makes up the bulk of the missile), so they could be carried by an aircraft and launched from a relatively short distance away.

Assuming, or course, that they actually make these things work. And then there's the whole hypersonic glider thing. Traveling at Mach 5 you are covering one mile per second. Turn off the engine / run out of fuel and you will glide for a bit, but I would be surprised if you could glide ten miles before you fell to the ground. I haven't heard anything about this.



Thursday, August 19, 2021

Apaches


Apache Knuckleduster Revolver
Forgotten Weapons

This thing is like something out of some steampunk fantasy. What a complicated gizmo. It's something my 12 year old self would simply adore. Shoot, my 70 year old self would like to have one to play with. I could be the star of my own steampunk fantasy. I just need someone to hold the camera. 

The "Apache" was a combination knife, brass knuckle, and revolver made by several companies in Belgium and France, which became associated with a group of street thugs in Paris around the turn of the century. - Ian
Les Apaches was a Parisian Belle Époque violent criminal underworld subculture of early 20th-century hooligans, night muggers, street gangs and other criminals.
. . .
There are a number of stories about the origin of the term "Apaches", with a common denominator that this was a comparison of their savagery with that attributed by Europeans to the Native American tribes of Apaches.
. . .
Certain elements of the Apache "style" became influential in French and then international popular culture, including the Apache dance and Apache shirt. - Wikipedia

La Danse Apache (1935)
atqui

Nothing much has changed. Savages are still running around loose terrorizing their women and random citizens. Women still cling to their protectors / abusers, and stylized portrayals of violence entertains everyone.

Some of us like to pretend we are civilized, but scratch most anyone and underneath the shiny plastic exterior you will find a brutal savage.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Puzzle Pic of the Day

1967 Shelby 427SC Cobra Roadster
108 pieces

Japanese battleship Ise

Ise was Hyuga's Sister by Standish Backus, 1946
Wreck of the Japanese battleship-carrier Ise, Kure, Japan

Ise was launched in 1917 and survived until the very end of WW2. She always seemed to play a background role, never the lead. She did have some luck:

The division sailed from Singapore on 10 February [1945] and was spotted by the British submarine HMS Tantalus the following day. It was forced to submerge by a maritime patrol aircraft and was unable to attack. On 13 February the submarine USS Bergall unsuccessfully attacked the ships as did the submarine USS Blower. One of Ise's AA guns caused one of Blower's torpedoes to detonate prematurely. Later that afternoon, Oyodo launched one of her floatplanes which spotted the submarine USS Bashaw on the surface about 22 km (13.7 miles) ahead of the convoy. Hyūga opened fire with her main guns and forced Bashaw to submerge when one of her shells landed within 1.6 km (1 mile) of the submarine. The convoy reached the Matsu Islands, off the Chinese coast, on the 15th and was unsuccessfully attacked by the submarine USS Rasher before they reached Zhoushan Island, near Shanghai that night. The convoy reached Kure on 20 February, having evaded or escaped pursuit by 23 Allied submarines along the way. - Wikipedia

 Via The Scratching Post


Record Lathe


Vinyl Drop: Quantic & Nidia Góngora - Muévelo Negro / Ñanguita
Tru Thoughts Records

From the blurb on YouTube:
Video recorded by Will 'Quantic' Holland in his studio in Bogotá, Colombia, on his 1940s Neumann AM-131 record lathe, which he has personally restored back to working condition.

Very cool.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Puzzle of the Day

Amber Heard 13, 168 pieces

I've been playing these online jigsaw puzzles for a little over a month now and I've accumulated over a hundred screenshots of puzzles I have completed. Looking back through those pictures I realized that they were all pretty great images, so I thought I would share. This one doesn't have much to recommend it other than a pretty face and an unusual setting, but sometimes it's a little tough to tell just what you are getting into from the thumbnail they provide. There might be a way around that, but where's the fun in that?



Afghanistan Bananistan


Afghanistan Bananistan
Jeffrey Wells

This is a scene from the movie The Hot Rock:
With the help of a hypnotist by the name of Miasmo, Dortmunder sets up his own safe deposit box to get access to the vault and then plans to invoke the predetermined hypnotic trigger phrase "Afghanistan banana stand" to the vault guard. He then would be able to gain access to Abe's safe deposit box and retrieve the gem just after the bank opens in the morning.

Everytime I hear something about the mess in Afghanistan I am reminded of this phrase. It somehow seems appropriate. Perhaps someone should have mentioned it to President Bush back we first got involved here.

Daniel Greenfield has a good post about what happened: The Afghan Army Didn't Surrender: It Rejoined Its Tribes

Via Bayou Renaissance Man


Ray Guns

Laser-Equipped Stryker (Photo by Jim Kendall)

Turkey's NAZAR , a ground-based laser system

Evidently making ray-guns is hard. The USA has been working on them for years and now they have one small enough to mount on a vehicle. The Stryker laser is rated at 50 kilowatts which is enough to do some actual damage. The Turkish system is supposed to deliver 'soft-kill' capability against guided missiles. If you can confuse the missile, it won't be able to hit its target, which is what you are trying to prevent. So, if it works, that is good enough.

And since we are talking about power, here's a thousand watts for you.


1000 Watts (feat. Christopher Ellis)
quanticmusic


Out, damned Spot!

Bridge Collapses and Truck Falls into River

I found this video over at daily timewater. It's not much, just another day in the life of Ivan Denisovich.

The problem, and yes, there is a problem, albeit a first world problem and nothing compared to the world of shit the truck driver has driven himself into. The problem is that about halfway through the video YouTube puts up a couple of popups that cover about half the screen and there is nothing you can do about it. This is really only a problem with short videos. The solution for video makers is to include 30 seconds of trailer at the end so these popups aren't covering your content. Problem there is that most videos don't have that trailer stuck on the end because fucking YouTube didn't used to do this shit.

One guy has found a way to block these popups by using ABP (AdBlock Plus), but there is a whole bunch of pointing and clicking involved. I decided to try downloading the video. Apparently it worked, though I don't know if I got the original quality. Video downloaders are in short supply these days. Some have hung up their spurs, others only download the audio. Y2Mate Guru seems to still work.

I blame this on the advances made in automation and manufacturing. Fewer people are needed to actually make stuff, so we have a bunch of people with time on their hands, looking for ways to make money. While some people are doing great things like designing new stuff, a lot of people are looking for ways to scrape another thousandth of a cent off a zillion transactions. And you can bet they are giving power point presentations and speaking earnestly about how this is going to enhance revenue by some imaginary percentage, but what they don't tell you is that it is just one more step on the road to perdition. 

Title from Macbeth.


Big Guns

Tiger Tank vs Battleship Yamato turret

Short Faced Bear

Ice Age Short Faced Bear

The Terror by Dan Simmons tells the story of Sir John Franklin's expedition to the Canadian Arctic to find the Northwest Passage.  These guys sailed away and were never heard from again. It's only recently that the wrecks of the ships have been uncovered. Since there were no survivors, we can conclude that the expedition was a disaster. Just how things fell apart is open to speculation, and that's what Dan does in his book. He makes up a horrifying tale of what happened. Horrifying to my sensitive, coddled, modern self, but pretty much run-of-mill stuff for explorers on sailing ships in the 19th Century. 

Anyway, one of the horrors bedeviling this expedition is a giant bear-like creature, a monster. Was there such a creature? Imagine my surprise when this fellow (the short faced bear above) appears. Wikipedia says they died out 11,000 years ago, but did they? The far north was largely unexplored until a couple hundred years ago. There could have been a zillion of them up there, hiding behind ice bergs.


Monday, August 16, 2021

Failing Conventionally


Chaos outside Kabul Airport as crowds of people try to leave Afghanistan
POLITICO

I'm skimming the news this morning and all I am seeing is the cluster-fuck in Afghanistan and the usual hash about COVID. The mess in Afghanistan makes me wonder if anyone had considered what would happen when the US pulled out, or whether whoever was in charge thought it was obvious what would happen and that anyone with a brain would have packed their bags and gotten out a long time ago. I mean WTF? Anyway, stupidity as usual, nothing of much interest.

Major Russian Gas Pipelines to Europe
Novy Urengoy is the dot in the upper right hand corner.

There was a story about how the flow of natural gas from Russia to Germany has dropped by half. This is through the existing pipeline that goes through the Ukraine, not the new Nord Stream pipeline that goes under the Baltic. I'm not sure that one is operational yet. The story was some kind of attempt to cast it as a political move. 

Firefighters spead water on a fire at a Gazprom gas condensate plant near the city of Novy Urengoy in Western Siberia, Russia, Aug. 6, 2021. (Photo by Russian Emergency Ministry via AFP)

However, there was a big fire at a processing plant in Russia recently. You don't suppose that could have anything to do with it, do you? Freaking morons dragging politics into the real world. Leave politics in the imaginary world where it belongs.

Anyway, I did find this bit. It reiterates things we already know, but it's nice to hear a voice of reason amidst all the flak.

Failing Conventionally by Michael Every of Rabobank

85 years ago, the economist Keynes noted cynically in The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money that:

“It is the long-term investor, he who most promotes the public interest, who will in practice come in for most criticism, wherever investment funds are managed by committees or boards or banks. For it is in the essence of his behaviour that he should be eccentric, unconventional and rash in the eyes of average opinion. If he is successful, that will only confirm the general belief in his rashness; and if in the short run he is unsuccessful, which is very likely, he will not receive much mercy. Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.”

In other words, it’s better not to deviate from the market consensus or benchmark, even if that consensus or benchmark is wrong, because even if everything then goes wrong, at least you can say that *you* were not to blame individually - “the market” was.

85 years later, with advances in technology, society, and political geography few would have believed possible, what has changed in that investment mentality? In an age that champions diversity, do we have any greater freedom to take strong off-benchmark/consensus views, or do we still herd towards them regardless of knowing that a series of exculpatory individual “Whocouldanooed?”s after a crash does not compensate for the damage done by everyone being collectively wrong?

He goes on at some length after this, but it's all about current events affecting the markets, and I just don't want to know.


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Car of the Day

1967 Plymouth GTX

I've always had a certain affection for Chrysler muscle cars. Back in the day I wasn't too keen on them, even though I liked the way they looked, they were full size cars, which meant they were carrying around a few hundred pounds more mass than the pony cars. Back then I was all wrapped up in racer-think about lighter and faster. That extra weight was going to slow those big cars down. Nowadays I appreciate a full size car, which can carry a crew and a full size trunk which can hold everything they will need for our next operation. Like carrying the gang to the grocery store with a trunk full of bottles for the recycling center. Yeah, a big 'operation'.

Curiously, the image on View From The Porch suffers from the jaggies and the same image posted here, doesn't, even though we are using the same platform (Blogspot).


Deja Vu All Over Again

American Chinook Helicopter landing at U. S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan

Nothing has changed. Ever since the end of WW2, American foreign policy has been like a rampaging bull in a China shop. Now that I think about it, that was our policy during WW2 as well. It worked so well that we won the war. It worked so well, we just kept on doing the same thing. Have we learned anything? Nah, I expect we'll be up to our ears in another quagmire in short order.



Cosmic Thought of the Day


Batman - Those Wonderful Toys
Damian Oswald

What if all the powers that be are wannbe scriptwriters and the decisions they are making on what-to-do is based on some coolness factor, not on what would be good or beneficial or useful but, yeah man, I saw this scene in a comic book once and it was so badass, you know, and if we did this thing with whatever we could have that in real life that would be so cool.

I think it could explain at least some of the dumb-shit stuff we see happening.


Saturday, August 14, 2021

U.S. Oil Production by State

U.S. Oil Production by State
Click image to embiggenate

Via an article on ZeroHedge

Mexican Demand For California Cannabis "Explodes"

Stolen entire from ZeroHedge News 
by Tyler Durden 

The demand for U.S.-grown marijuana has exploded across Mexico. Wealthy Mexicans want to be smoking the best stuff so they can post it on their Instagram. 

Traditionally, weed has been illegally smuggled into the U.S. through speedboats, planes, drones, tunnels, and even slingshot devices. But the days of drug "mules" crossing the U.S.-Mexico border could be over and soon reversing. 

Cannabis grown in California is some of the best in the world. Mexicans are demanding California grown weed that drug dealers have been forced to source from the States, according to WaPo. They're labeling the weed "IMPORTADO" and charging a hefty markup. 

Marijuana

Just like Cuban cigars in the U.S., people are willing to pay a markup to purchase one because they can brag to their friends or post images on social media. 

Traffickers from California are packing suitcases and stuffing cars with flower and other cannabis products, heading southbound as their contraband instantly doubles or triples in value as it enters Mexico.
"The demand here for American weed has exploded," said a drug dealer in Mexico city, who estimates 60% of the weed he sells comes from California. The dealer spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of arrest because cannabis is illegal in Mexico. "It's aspirational for many of my clients. They want to be seen smoking the best stuff, the stuff rappers brag about smoking."
U.S.-grown marijuana with high amounts of THC can cost upwards of $500 per ounce in Mexico, dealers said. The same ounce may only cost $150 in San Diego.
"Mexicans want to try what they see in music video, in movies, in media, and that's usually American," said another dealer in Mexico City. "We still have this idea that the best products come from the U.S."
At Urban Leaf, a marijuana dispensary in San Ysidro, California., near the Tijuana border, owner Josh Bubeck estimates about half his customers are Mexican nationals. 

"Nobody is going to grow cannabis better than California probably ever," Bubeck said. 

He said the appeal is clear: "You're showing 'This is what I'm about. I'm a bad ass. I got this from America.'"

Who'd a thunk it? Certainly not me. But this is an anomaly. I mean, how many potheads are there in Mexico who can afford to pay exorbitant prices? 

Let's run some numbers. 12% of the US population smokes pot. If that number is the same for Mexico, and there are 130 million people in Mexico, then there are likely 16 million pop smokers in Mexico. If 1% of them are in the bucks and willing to shell out the money for California weed, and they are consuming one ounce a month, then the amount of California weed being sent to Mexico would be about five tons per month. You could make a business out of that, and it looks like some people have.

 

The Problem

I suspect there is something wrong with society, but I am not quite sure what it is, much less what caused it. Say you identify the problem, you know what the problem is. Say it's taxes, or immigration, or too many people with hair. If that's the problem, why hasn't society already fixed it? Why is that? If this thing you have identified is the source of the problem, surely everyone else would realize it too and we would put someone on to fixing it and it would get fixed. Surprise, surprise, it doesn't seem to actually work that way.

So we back up a step. The problem isn't whatever is wrong, it's that not enough people (or not enough of the right people) know about the problem. So what we have here is failure to communicate. (Previous posts on that subject here). 

But we have many means of communicating (all the old methods, like talking, letters, telephones, newspapers and television, and all the new methods, like computers, internet, smartphones). Here the problem is not the mere transmission of information, but reception, processing and analysis. You can jabber all you want, but if nobody is taking it in, it doesn't mean a thing. This is how people get followings, they say stuff that connects with some people.

Now if you want to change things, if you think you have a solution to the problem of what's wrong with our society, you need to get those people who have followers on your side. And when you are talking to a bunch of people with diverse world views, you need a message that has very broad appeal. And that's where we get political parties.

We are getting a lot of noise about all kinds of problems with our society, loss of freedom, the homeless, rising levels of crime and drug addiction. I suspect the noise we're hearing wouldn't be quite so strident or offensive if the economy was doing better. I mean, even if the economy was going great guns, we would still be hearing noise about 'problems with society'. That's like a feature, not a bug. Anyway, the 'noise' wouldn't be so shrill.

There is an opportunity here for someone to step up and offer a solution that will band the disaffected together. It could be another Hitler or FDR. Or maybe that's how we got Biden. Problem is that I don't think Biden or the democrats have a solution. They are all part of the 'I'm gonna get mine, I don't care about anybody else' clan. As long as there is something in it for them, they'll vote for it.

None of the entrenched powers are going to give up anything. They are all banking on having a zillion dollars socked away in some investment, like real estate or the stock market. If you want to sell them on something, it can't cost them anything. It would be better it if paid them something, then you might actually get some votes. So that's what Biden is doing. He's sending out a zillion dollars into America. Some of it might actually get to working people, some of it might go to 'the poor', but you can bet the bulk of it will end up in some fat cats pocket where he will invest it in something solid. This, of course, will drive up the price of the those investments. The increase in price looks good on paper, but it is essentially meaningless. The investment still has the same real value, it's just that the value of the dollar has gone down. Some investments do increase in real value, but do not confuse the price with the real value.

So when the dollar goes down in value, all those people with a solid chunk socked away (a million dollars might be enough today) are going to be okay because they have a solid base to stand on. All those people who haven't acquired a base are going to be in worse shape. Wage increases have not kept up with inflation, so every time the government prints another trillion dollars that it doesn't have, inflation goes up, the value of the dollar goes down, wages don't keep up, and the cost of a solid base to stand on gets even farther out of reach.

But while more people are getting crushed, more people are also finding a place to stand:

The most interesting part of the 2015 Pew report, though, was its finding that the middle class is shrinking not only because more people are poor but also because more people are rich. The percentage of lowest-income earners—those earning less than two-thirds of the median income—had grown four percentage points, from 16% to 20% of the population. Over that same period, though, the percentage of Americans in the very highest-income households also rose by five points since 1971, taking that group from 4% to 9% of the population. - Investopedia

Will things ever get so bad that a majority of the people will realize things have got to change? Maybe, maybe not. As long as the majority of voters think things are okay, nothing is going to change, and being as people who are invested in the system are doing okay, they are not going to vote for change. Those who are being crushed are not going to find a lot of sympathy. Oh, there will be people making sympathetic noises, but no one is going to risk upsetting their personal applecart for those without applecarts.

There is a slim chance that someone will come up with an idea that would somehow improve the lot of the poor while not having a negative impact on the rich. Ideally, that idea would make the rich even richer, because who doesn't want to have a fatter cushion to sit on? I don't know, but Amazon might be one such idea. Amazon put a lot of people to work. Of course, they also destroyed a lot of retail jobs, but they definitely increased the demand for delivery drivers. These jobs don't pay much, but for some people it's better than nothing. Or maybe it's not. Maybe it's just another step on the road to oblivion.


I don't know about retail work. From what I hear it's just as rough as the restaurant business. Long hours, low pay, but every now and then you latch onto something that's going great guns and that makes you think it's actually worth it. The part that bugs me though is the waiting. You've got waiters waiting in restaurants, and you've got clerks waiting behind counters, waiting for a customer to show up, a customer who typically doesn't want to spend any money and will eat up your time just because they don't have anything better to do. I might be able to that now, now that I have more patience, but I certainly couldn't do it when I was younger, like as recently as last year. I have to be doing something, my mind has to be engaged, even if it is doing something like playing solitaire. I hate waiting. Anyone who has a job that involves spending long hours waiting has my sympathy and admiration.