Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Richard Mille Watch

Richard Mille Watch

Just came across a story about someone getting shot by a thief who wanted his half-million-dollar Richard Mille Watch and I'm thinking WTF? I've heard of other ridiculously expensive watches, but I've never heard of a Richard Mille Watch. Where did these guys come from, and more importantly, how many other ridiculously expensive watch companies are out there? I can see if you have a zillion dollars you might be inclined to go out occasionally and blow a million bucks on some play-pretty. But how many zillionaires are there? And how many of them are inclined to spend money on something like a watch? I just don't understand the economics of it. There are roughly 2800 billionaires in the world today. Let's say 1% of them have a hankering to blow a million bucks on fancy gee-gaw every year. That's 280 million dollars. If you figure 100 K per year for each watch maker and salesman, that's full time, first class employment for 2800 people. So, okay, I guess you could make an industry out of that.


Space Robot

I was thinking I ought to clean up the sidebar on this blog. It's long, how don't how many of the links still work. I do still use it occasionally, mostly to find a tag so I can pull up all the posts with that tag.  Typically I will use the browser's built in search function (Ctrl-F) to locate the tag I am looking for. Why do I use a search function to find a tag? I mean, you could just write it in the URL yourself (if you remember the correct format, which you would if did it this way). I'll tell you why. Because if you get it in wrong in the URL you have to wait a second or so to find out it was no good, but the on-page search function rewards you immediately if you type in something it recognizes. If you are as prone to mistyping as I am, you appreciate little speed improvements like that. 

So one of things I thought I should do would be to update the list of blogs I read. Some I still follow, like View From The Porch, shoot I want to give that gal a big hug. She has been the bright spot in my blog-o-sphere for as long as I've been playing this game. Others I don't. We may get to them later, or we might not. But Tam doesn't post that much these days, it might have something to do with her being busy with actual paid work. 

When I started thinking about this post, I thought I might start off with the blogs that just come to me right off, and that would be Knuckle Draggin My Life Away and The Feral Irishman. They aren't especially erudite, but I feel a certain kinship in a Homer Simpson kind of way. Knuckles (we call him Knuckles around here. Who am I kidding? There is no 'we' here, it's just me rambling on.) Like I was saying, Knuckles puts up a steady stream of posts about horrendously bad events. It's kind of hard to believe so many bad things are happening. It's kind of overwhelming. But if you think about the number of people in the country, even if there are a hundred of these horrible events every day, that's still only one event per year per ten thousand people. Hillsboro is not that big, it's only one hundred thousand, and we do hear about something bad happening occasionally.

But that's not why I read Knuckles, I skim the headlines on the horror posts looking the posts with a dozen funny memes. Those show up a couple of times a week (a day? I dunno). Skimming the headlines helps keep me grounded. There is a constant low level of bad shit going on all the time and you need to keep your wits about you. Don't let it rule your life though, hey look over here! A funny meme!

The Feral Irishman puts up a post every Friday with a zillion pics of nekkid chicks. I've spent some time there, but he keeps interspersing the girls with cars and steaks. I'm kind of over old American muscle cars. Oh, they still occupy a portion of my mind, but it's not as big as it was. They all just seem so crude in comparison to modern cars. Or maybe it's I just spent so much time working on old pieces of junk that I got a little jaded. As for the steaks, I'm on diet again and I don't get to eat nuttin. Bah, double bah and humbug. (He also does funny memes.)

I like the The Silicon Graybeard because he reports on the goings on at SpaceX, and he does it pretty reliably. I also like it because the guy messes around with radios and machine tools. He's a technical guy. The thing about space news is that you go long periods between something notable happening, so a lot of it is just filler, what kind of changes are happening, who's on first, that kind of thing. It takes that long because they are building something new. And big. I guess the reason I am taking more of an interest is that ever since SpaceX fired up, things have been happening, and happening often, not like the previous 40 years hardly anything happened.

Sending people into space gets people fired up like you never could with a mere probe. I was thinking that maybe we should give our deep space probes an A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) Module so we can talk to them. Give them a personality so we get verbal reports on what the probe is experiencing. You could probably pay for the probe with subscriptions to the daily probe report.

Of course, beaming that podcast back to Earth would require a radio, antennae and power pack big enough to get the job done. It would be best if it could be done in real time. You might be able to record 15 minutes of verbal reporting and then play it back over a period of 24 hours at a reduced bit rate, but that really wouldn't be the same, would it? It probably wouldn't make a difference to the power pack, transmitting X kilobits probably take the same amount of energy whether it is done in 15 minutes or 24 hours. 

I do all my blog reading on Feedly. It works pretty well, especially for ZeroHedge. The ZeroHedge website is loaded with ads, it's not as bad as big broadcaster sites, but it's still annoying. ZeroHedge has a bunch of posts about really obscure / technical / I-don't-even-want-to-know financial stuff. I mostly skip over them, but pretty regularly they'll have a post about what's going on in the world, and they're written by some pretty smart guys. Or at least they sound like smart guys. Or they agree with me. Yeah, it's probably the last one.

I like daily timewaster. He puts up, I dunno, dozens of very cool pics every freaking day. It's just a little overwhelming.

There's a few other blogs I read pretty regularly, but the names escape me at the moment, or maybe I'm getting tired and I want to finish this post and be done with it before dinner time.

Gulf of Tonkin Incident

Gulf of Tonkin Incident - August 2, 1964 - E. J. Fitzgerald

Who in tarnation is running this show? Did you know that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the one on August 4th, the one that was used as an excuse to get us into war with Vietnam, was bullshit? There had always been rumors that there was something funny about it, but there are always those kinds of rumors about anything. I mean, no matter what happens, like the sun coming up this morning, there are going to be people who are going cast doubt on that event. 

The United States joined the Vietnam War based on a Gulf of Tonkin skirmish with the North Vietnamese which never actually occurred. But the Johnson administration and intelligence sources said it happened, so the media reported it as fact.

Well, no doubt in his mind, which kind of surprised me. So I go check and according to Wikipedia and History, Simon is correct, the incident was totally made up. There was an incident on August 2 (subject of the painting at top), but it wasn't a war starting event. The incident used as an excuse to start the war supposedly happened on August 4th, except it didn't happen at all.

All of which makes me wonder who is actually calling the shots? Could it be the heads of the big media corporations, people like Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates and George Soros? That makes as much sense as anything.

Via ZeroHedge

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Tektronix Museum

Cable Operations flexible coax shield winding machine. These were repurposed shoelace weavers from the turn of the century. - Picture of the Month from June 2019

IAman was out wandering around and stumbled across the Tektronix Museum. Tek helped us win WW2 and they put Beaverton on the map. They kind of lost their way a while back but seem to have found their footing. The still have a big campus but it pales in comparison to Nike which has a glorious campus, but it pales in comparison to Intel's behemoth wafer fabrication facility. Map here.

Lying Liars and Their Lying Horses

Dark Triad Personalities: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy

I am pretty sure that the leadership of this country is pretty much lying to us continuously, so it's nice to encounter someone who agrees with me: 

“The lethal combination of incompetency, obliviousness, hubris, psychopathy, narcissism, megalomania, and every other dark triad trait is on full display in those purporting to be our leaders.” - Margaret Anna Alice

So I agree with everything she says up until we get to dark triad. I've never heard of that. Not to worry, Wikipedia knows all:

In psychology, the dark triad comprises the personality traits of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. They are called dark because of their malevolent qualities.

Research on the dark triad is used in applied psychology, especially within the fields of law enforcement, clinical psychology, and business management. People scoring high on these traits are more likely to commit crimes, cause social distress, and create severe problems for organizations, especially if they are in leadership positions. They also tend to be less compassionate, agreeable, empathetic, satisfied with their lives, and less likely to believe they and others are good.

Via The Burning Platform

Independence Monument Kiev

Independence Monument Kiev

Came across this cool photo and wondered what it was called and where it was. Somewhere in Kiev, but nobody is saying what it is. It took a little digging to discover just what it was called. According to Wikipedia it was erected in 2001, the tenth anniversary of Ukraine's independence. Here's another pic from a different angle.

Independence Monument Kiev

Independence Monument Kiev

Google Maps does not have a 3d image of Kiev, but you can see the monument pretty well using Street View on Google Maps, which is where the last image comes from.

Genaille Rods

Genaille Rods Review / HowTo
Chris Staecker

Never mind that I had never heard of this before, the Internet has. Google Genaille Rods and you even find Genaille Rods for sale. And of course Wikipedia has a page with this little bit:
The popularity of Genaille's rods was widespread but short-lived, as mechanical calculators soon began to displace manual arithmetic methods.

Aurora Forecast

Aurora Forecast
Click the above link to get the current forecast

Via Chuck E.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Follow You into the Dark (Official Music Video)
Death Cab for Cutie

This tune came on the radio this afternoon and I remembered thinking that Death Cab for Cutie was a weird name for a band when my kids first told me about it a zillion years ago, which got me wondering where did they get the name? Fear not, the Internet knows all. It comes from a song by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, which is also a weird name, but it's at least more understandable to my aging brain. The tune was never a big hit, but it did get used on a TV show and in a Beatles movie.

Death Cab For Cutie MMT Stage Only Version Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
Beatles rarest stuffs I

M. Stanton Evans

M. Stanton Evans - New York Times

“We have two parties… One is the Evil Party and the other is the Stupid Party… Occasionally the two parties get together to do something that’s both evil and stupid. That’s called bipartisanship.” -  M. Stanton Evans

M. Stanton Evans (1934-2015) was, among other things, a college professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Natchitoches? Wait a minute, isn't there a city called Nagadoches? That's weird, why would we have two cities with weirdly similar names? Did somebody get one of the names wrong? Well, I did. It's not Nagadoches, it's Nacodoches, but other than that, no. Natchitoches is in Lousiana and Nacodoches is in east Texas. They are about 100 miles apart.

Nacodoches, Texas and Natchitoches, Lousiana

Via Brian Robertson in The Tennessee Star where he has a long diatribe against the members of the stupid Republican (or is it the evil Republican?) party.

New Russia

1897 New Russia

More from David Stockman's Contra Corner:

The fact is, Ukraine is the Poland and Czechoslovakia of the present time – an artificial state loaded with Russians and with no reason for existence in its present form and girth. Well, still again, other than Washington’s fanatical insistence that the happenstance map of administrative units which fell out of the Soviet Union’s collapse constitute sacred borders that must be preserved at all hazards.

To the contrary, what Putin wants, ironically, is the pre-communist status quo ante. That is, he wants Crimea, where Ukrainians constitute but a tiny minority and which had been Russian since 1783. And, more crucially, which hosts the greatest strategic military asset possessed by Russia thereafter – -the great Naval base at the headwaters of the Black Sea in Sevastopol.

Likewise, the Donbas and territories east of the Dnieper River and along the northern edge of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov have been Russian for upwards of 300 years. By all facts of pre-1922 history, these territories amounted to Novorossiya (“New Russia”) as shown in this map from 1897.

As it happened, they became “Ukrainian” only by writ of two of history’s greatest evil monsters – Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin – who placed them in the administrative unit of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic for reasons that have no historic validity whatsoever.

Yet a devastating war goes on there today – a war which is careening to the precipice of WWIII – because Washington encourages Kiev to insist on retention of “every inch” of a map put together by Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev.

In fact, the latter did for the map of Ukraine what Wilson & Co. did to Germany after the Great War. That is to say, these long gone commie dictators extracted from Russian and Polish territories a combustible mongrel that begs to be partitioned and returned to the status quo ante, not defended to the last drop of Ukrainian blood and US/NATO treasure.

Being a contrarian is frustrating. So much seems so obvious but the powers that be either can't or won't comprehend it. Or even worse, they do, but choose to ignore it due to some kind of pressure from their wolf pack of supporters.

Acela Corridor

Acela Corridor

I came across this term, Acela Corridor, in David Stockman's Contra Corner. Never heard of it, so I looked it up.
The Acela is Amtrak's flagship high-speed service along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) in the Northeastern United States between Washington, D.C. and Boston via 16 intermediate stops, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Providence. Acela trains are the fastest in the Americas, attaining 150 mph, but only on 33.9 miles of the 457-mile route. - Wikipedia

Via ZeroHedge



1937 Lagonda LG45
60 piece jigsaw puzzle

Lagonda, where have I heard that name before? Wikipedia knows:

Lagonda is a British luxury car brand established in 1906, which has been owned by Aston Martin since 1947. . . . The Lagonda company was founded in 1906 in the UK in Staines, Middlesex, by American-born Wilbur Gunn (1859–1920), a former opera singer. He became a British national in 1891 and worked as a speedboat and motorcycle engineer in Staines. He named the company after the Shawnee settlement "Lagonda" in modern-day Springfield, Ohio, the town of his birth. This is a glacially eroded limestone gorge of much beauty.

Wait, what? The Lagonda car company was founded by an opera singer? From Springfield, Ohio? Are you kidding me? The world is full of strange stuff, so I suppose that could be the way it happened.

Mad River Gorge & Nature Preserve

There is a gorge in Springfield, though it's not a giant geological feature that can be seen from space, it's deep enough to amuse the local rock climbers.

Lagonda Club Building, Springfield Ohio

Some good ol' boys founded the Lagonda Club and built themselves a clubhouse way back in 1895. It's still there.

Back in the 1930's the Lagonda car company was a force to be reckoned with. They won the 24 hours of LeMans in 1935.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Archbishop Viganeò versus The Empire of Lies

Archbishop Viganeò

I'm not a big fan of the Catholic Church, but Archbishop Viganeò hits it out of the park with this long, explicit, detailed take down of the morons in charge:

 Abp. Viganò: Globalists have fomented war in Ukraine to establish the tyranny of the New World Order

Via JMSmith


Iowa Corn Fields - Bonfire Photography

An excerpt from To Avoid Wartime Famine, Suspend Corn Ethanol Production by Brad Patty:

The war in Ukraine means that fields are not getting planted, and Ukraine supplies much of the world’s grains. According to Eric Hansotia, the CEO of Agco, approximately 13% of the world’s total calories —  not just grains — are offline this year because of the war. That raises the specter of famine.

We are able to take steps to buffer global food supplies against this risk, most notably suspending corn-based ethanol production. These steps need to be taken now, so that the crops being planted are secured to global food supplies instead of energy production. The amount of corn that we devote to ethanol production is huge: up to 25% of American corn cropland produces crops for ethanol use. By shifting that corn to food production instead, we could reduce the amount of starvation that is likely to occur from the war. In addition to saving many lives, this policy would also reduce Russia’s capacity to use the stoppage of food production in Ukraine as a lever for obtaining its will.

I have no faith that the kakistocracy that is supposed to be running this country will do anything about this.

From Security Studies Group

Via My Daily Kona


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Black Sabbath


Something brought this tune to mind and I tried to convey the tune to Osmany - do do, do do do, do do do doo do do do - didn't cut it, but hey, I bet there is a service that can tell me, so I dial up Google on my smartphone (because it has a microphone) and I say name this song and it takes me to a screen with an animated graphic of sound and the message is Play, sing or hum a song so I repeat what I told Osmany and boom, up pops Black Sabbath Iron Man.

I take a look on YouTube and I find this mashup of Iron Man and Iron Man. It's almost as if they were made for each other, except the tune is from 1970 and the movie is from 2008.

Is California’s biofuel program good for the planet?

Is California’s biofuel program good for the planet?
Los Angeles Times

It seems to be a fairly well balanced the report. The main issue seems to be with how much money the government is spending to encourage the development of biofuels. I mean if seems like a good idea to use waste products to make fuel, but when you get the government involved there if often a good deal of waste and corruption. On a related note, Jason has a video on Engineering Explained about how ethanol from corn is actually worse for the environment than straight gasoline.

Notice the four-gas-detectors hanging off the back of the hard hats (4:45 mark) when they visit the refinery.

Phillips San Francisco Refinery is a big place:

Phillips 66 Rodeo refinery on San Pablo Bay -  Google Maps image

Funny thing about this picture - it's taken from Google Maps 3D View of the place, so it's not an actual photograph, as if there even is such a thing as an actual photograph any more.

Via Post Hip Scott

3D Metal Printing

Radical Defense M249FVS: Laser Sintering Meets Lewis Gun
Forgotten Weapons

Ian McCollum gives us a real world example of 3D Metal Printing as opposed to people making toys and geegaws just to show off what their 3D printer can do:
One of the problems with using suppressors on machine guns is that suppressors or generally much more susceptible to heat buildup than the guns themselves. In 2019, US SOCOM put out a request for a suppressor that could handle a 600 round belt dump on an M240 machine gun. Radical Defense responded by developing a suppressor specifically designed for use with automatic fir, both in its materials and its mechanical design.

Mechanically, they took the concept of the Lewis Gun’s forced-air cooling and integrated it into their suppressor. The outside of the baffle stack is surrounded by a series of hollow channels running the length of the can. Muzzle blast from firing pulls cool outside air through these channels from back to front, cooling the unit. Interestingly, once the can hits about 450 degrees F, the temperature differential between inside and outside will actually generate this forced-air effect without any firing – dramatically increasing the can’s rate of cool-down. In testing, they found that a 600-round burst will heat the can (a 7.62mm version on an M240, specifically) up to 1565F, but 10 minutes later it will have dropped to 484F. After an additional 20 minutes, the can was down to ambient temperature.

From a materials standpoint, a very heat-resistant alloy was chosen. It is more than 50% nickel, with a significant portion of cobalt. This allows the can to withstand those extremely high temperatures generated by sustained fire. Manufacturing is done via laser sintering, allowing all the complex geometry of the suppressor baffles and cooling channels to be formed without the insanely complex machining fixtures and/or welding that would be required by traditional manufacturing processes. This is a very cool example of 3D printing technology being used to produce geometries that would be unfeasible just a few years ago.

The original design was in 7.62mm, for the M240. What I have in this video is the 5.56mm version, just the same thing scaled down for the M249. A version for the 12.7mm M2 is also in the works. The downsides to its capabilities are significant cost and weight (this 5.56mm version weighs 2lb 7oz). However, Radical is already developing a significantly lightened second generation of both sizes.

Thanks to Radical Defense for the loan of this example for filming! I saw them at SHOT Show and was really taken by the combination of century-old design concepts and totally cutting-edge manufacturing processes.

Here's a primer on how this 3D Metal Printing works:

How it Works: Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
Stratasys Direct Manufacturing

3D Printing is slow, it will take hours and perhaps even days to print large part. On the other hand, all you need is the big 3D printer. No machine tools, no welding, cutting or forging required. The alloy they are using can withstand very high temperatures. 1500 degrees Fahrenheit is seriously hot. And it's expensive. On the other hand, I'm not sure you could even build this device using any other technique.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Anxiety, Bewilderment and Suggestion

Mass Hypnosis -

You and I might have thought we had some idea of the psychological forces at play in our world. JMSmith is here to tell us we do not have a clue:

Mind control operates by the power of suggestion rather than persuasion, and the power of suggestion is greatest when a mind is anxious and bewildered.  Anxiety is a painful mental state from which every man naturally seeks immediate relief by doing something to remove it.  Bewilderment is a desperate mental state in which a man has no idea how to remove his anxiety.  When a man is caught in this vice of anxiety and bewilderment, the principle that “beggars can’t be choosers” kicks in and he is—and he may indeed very well say that he is—“open to suggestions.”

Read the whole thing, but only if you want to know just how rotten the stinking scoundrels are.


Team Rocket F1 Kit Airplane

Team Rocket F1 Kit Airplane

The Team Rocket F1 Rocket design is from the Czech Republic, it's marketed in the USA by Team Rocket in Texas, and the actual kits are produced by Frazier Aviation in Indiana. It is all metal sport plane, mostly aluminum with fixed titanium landing gear. 

It's fast (230 MPH cruise) but it is not aerobatic. Too many people have ripped the wings off of their RV sportplane by pulling too many G's, so these guys are discouraging such behavior

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Kwiggle Bike

The Kwiggle Folding Bike, The World's Most Compact Folding Bike
Kwiggle Bike

A fine tool to help you survive big city commuting, commuting that has become more like trench warfare than civilized transportation. Herded like cattle into cramped, disease ridden quarters, with the added occasional bonus of a psychopath running amok. Then you add a small, complicated, expensive gizmo that provides no protection from the weather and a miserable ride over anything but perfect, smooth surfaces.

A folding bike should fold and unfold at the touch of a button. It should fold up into a box with a handle and wheels so you can drag it around behind you, like a suitcase. This one does have a handle and wheels, but criminently it's a bicycle, it already has two wheels, you shouldn't need to add two more wheels.

I also don't understand why the front fork is backwards. Seems like a bad idea, but maybe with those little bittle wheels it doesn't make any difference.

I must have woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Normally folding bikes strike me as great devices, but today I am kind of down on them. Might be because of someone in the Federal government telling people to ride the bus instead of driving their car, and someone ranting in response about how useless buses are.

Via Detroit Steve

Charles Graham Boyd R.I.P.

General Charles G. Boyd

Charles Boyd passed away yesterday at the age of 83. I posting this because he was from my wife's home town of Rockwell City, Iowa. She never met the man, but her brother did. Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training has a 104 page biography. I've read the first dozen pages so far and it's pretty great. He was an F-105 pilot during the Vietnam war, got shot down and was imprisoned for seven years. He survived, returned and eventually became a four star general.

F-105 Thunderchief

Nigeria Oil

Black Snow: Nigeria’s Oil Catastrophe
Bloomberg Quicktake

Is anyone surprised that Nigeria is having problems dealing with their oil? In the last half of the video they spend some time taking about cleaning up the mess. Seems to me if you are in a deep hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging, i.e. stop making a mess. Any attempts to clean up the mess are going to be pointless until you can find something better to do for all those who are currently engaged in stealing oil and illegal refining. 

I wonder if you could build a small scale refinery. It might not be efficient as a big one, and it might not be as environmentally 'friendly', but almost anything would be better than the chaotic methods being used now. Are there small scale refineries? Of course there are. There are several companies that make complete, self contained systems for processing small amounts of oil. Seems like you ought to be able to make something like that work in Nigeria. Notice I said you, not me. I don't know who that mythical 'you' might be. 

Meanwhile, the theft of crude oil in Nigeria has skyrocketed:
Business Insider Africa understands that only 5% of all the crude oil that were pumped through the pipeline between October 2021 and February 2022 were received by producers. The rest were lost to illegal oil bunkering, a problem that seems to have taken a turn for the worse since global oil prices skyrocketed.

Orwell is my Prophet

Big Brother is Watching You

Kafka was my prophet, but it may be time to change my religion to Orwellianism. Jeffery A. Tucker at the Brownstone Institute clues us in:

It’s getting creepy how government policies are increasingly copying each other. It’s not unlike the final global equilibrium in Orwell’s 1984: three large states that are indistinguishable in despotic ambitions, constantly trading places to demonize the other and urge their citizens to do the same. There’s always a scapegoat. 

. . .

As we now look at the large world alliances — dominated by Russia, China, and the US and their respective allies — it is increasingly difficult to distinguish their policies in principle. There is a push in the US/NATO for a China-style social credit system. Russia uses brutal tactics for suppressing dissent that it copied from China. China copies the US system of industrial subsidies and fiscal and monetary stimulus. The US copies China in its lockdown strategy for virus mitigation. 

Low Key

February 28 Jumble

I solved the puzzle and then I got to wondering if there really was such a place. I mean there are bunch of keys in the Florida Keys, could one of them actually be named Low? Sure enough:

Low Key, Florida

It's tiny, not even a quarter mile across. It's so small it doesn't even rate a mention in Wikipedia.

Audio Visual

Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen (Official Music Video)
Stevie Nicks

I bought a used Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck a few months ago. I walked around it at the dealer's and noticed a few little dings and scratches, but nothing serious. But when I got it home I noticed this giant frigging dent in the tailgate and I wondered how in tarnation I had missed it. I agonized it about whether I should get it fixed for a while, but then a couple of weeks later I got rear ended at a stop sign and that kind of settled the matter. That was two or three months ago and yesterday I dropped it off at Scotties body shop to get the bumper and tailgate fixed. It took that long before they had an opening.

Dent in the top of the tailgate ($1000) and bent bumper ($2000)

I dropped the truck off and walked across the street to pick up a rental car from Enterprise. It's some kind of KIA. Today I'm driving over to the new house and I turn on the radio and this song comes on. At first I was confused because it didn't sound like the version that I have known for the last umpteen zillion years. There was stuff in there I had never heard before. It was the most bizarre experience. I can only conclude that the speaker system in that KIA must be some kind of exceptional.

Funny how dents that look tiny in pictures can look enormous in person.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Venom and Anti-Venom

How Horses Save Humans From Snake Bites

Some people are terrified by snakes, some people enjoy killing them, others are enthralled by them. I think they are kind of cool, but not cool enough that I would have one in my house. There are a couple other posts about snakes and venom here.

Ballroom Dancing

Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in the drama Hannibal - Brooke Palmer, NBC
209 piece jigsaw puzzle

I haven't seen the show but I like the image.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Big City

Hidden City 2 - Navid Baraty
252 piece jigsaw puzzle

From Navid's website:
Over the years I’ve photographed various reflections of NYC seen in the windows of skyscrapers from high atop buildings in Manhattan. I couldn't believe my eyes the first time I saw how much of the city can be seen reflected along the sides of glass skyscrapers from on high. It felt as if I'd discovered a sort of hidden dimension that had always been there, waiting to be noticed.

The left half of the image is a reflection of the right half seen in the windows of a skyscraper. You might notice several thin vertical lines just to the left of center. Those are seams between adjacent sheets of glass. Likewise, the diagonal line that sort of looks like it could be a highway is also a seam, albeit more prominent.

Monday, March 21, 2022

The Bombardment

The Bombardment / The Shadow In My Eye - Netflix Movie Trailer
What's on Netflix

We're looking over the selection on Netflix this evening and I notice the blurb on this one and I say, hey! I know that story! I mentioned it in a post about the De Havilland Mosquito. All I noticed at the time was that the Brits had made a successful attack on Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen in the last year of WW2. I didn't pay any attention to the 125 civilians killed when some of the attacking aircraft mistook a school for their target.

This movie is mostly about the people on the ground in Copenhagen and mostly about the people at the school. We got a lot of ordinary life, but there is also a handful of crazy and solid helping of horror. The story is told almost entirely with pictures. There are some bits of dialog, but I think it's just there to let you know that these are ordinary people who can speak. It's really quite an amazing film.

Update September 2022 replaced missing video.

Fancy Clock

Prague Astronomical Clock
117 piece jigsaw puzzle

This clock has appeared here before. Wikipedia has a page about it.

Canon PIXMA Printer

Canon MG Series PIXMA MG2525 Inkjet Photo Printer with Scanner/Copier

Finally broke down and bought a new printer. Darling daughter hasn't replaced the toner cartridge in her laser printer that is sitting in the dining room so the printing was getting a little light. Then the Ziply Fiber guy was here and replaced the router so the wifi address has changed and who knows if that will ever get fixed in the laser printer, so new printer for me. $70, which is probably about the same that a new toner cartridge would cost for the laser printer, and it sits on my desk which means I don't have to run up the stairs to collect my printouts. Ha, like I run anywhere anymore. Probably have to buy new ink cartridges for this one in a few months, and they'll probably cost a zillion dollars because that's how the Inkjet printer business works. Unpacked it, plugged it in, turned it on and it worked.

Back when gas was $2.50 a gallon I was thinking that inflation had cut the value of a dollar by 10 since I started driving 50 years ago, but now gas is $5 a gallon, so the value of a dollar has gone down by a factor of 2 in the last few years, and it's liable to go down by another factor 2 in the next couple of years, which means this printer cost less than $2 in terms of 1970 dollars. (70 / (10 x 2 x 2)). Fifty years ago, you could buy a six pack of Golden Goebels Beer for a buck, which means this printer costs as much as two six-packs of beer. Except mass market beer, like Coors or Bud, costs about $1 a can. Hmmm. What's that old Roman dictum? Bread and circuses? Well, we've got cheap beer and political circuses.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Russia, Airlines & Metallurgy

Is Russia about to NATIONALIZE Foreign Aircraft?! | Mentour NOW!
Mentour Now!

This guy covers a wide scope, all the factors that he can think of that are going to affect the airline industry, from where is the ore being mined to how things are financed. It's pretty great.

Dudinka - Norilsk

Norilsk, Russia

A big Chinese nickel producer got caught in a short squeeze that severely disrupted the London Metals Exchange (otherwise known as LME) which, for some reason, is based in Hong Kong. They were trying to make some money by gambling, a time honored tradition amongst gamblers and financial whiz kids. They were betting that the price of nickel was going to drop, but then Russia invaded Ukraine, the US threw up a bunch of sanctions and the price of nickel skyrocketed because, don't you know, Russia is one of the biggest producers of nickel in the world.

Nornickel's Bystrinsky Mine and Concentrator

Rising prices are very bad for someone who is betting that the price is going down, especially when the time for settling the bet is coming due, so they tried to buy up a bunch of nickel to cover their bets, which drove the price up even higher and eventually the London Metals Exchange said this is crazy and shut down all nickel trading. It looks like the Chinese producer is going to be out $8 billion which is no small amount, even for a Chinese oligarch.

Norilsk - Dudinka Railway

Norilsk is the site of Russia's biggest nickel mining and smelting operation. It is pretty well landlocked, so their product is shipped to 50 miles to Dudinka where it is loaded onto ships on the Yenisei River.

Arctic Express loading at Dudinka, Russia

Dudinka is 1.5 degrees north of the Arctic Circle, so the Yenisei River is a river of ice, which makes shipping a challenge, to put it mildly.

Liebherr crane unloads the massive heat exchanger from the ship in Dudinka Seaport

Marine Traffic near Norilsk, Russia

All those colored dots on this map are big ships. Norilsk is near the right hand edge of the map and the green dot about a half of an inch to the left is at Dudinka. Left of center in the image is another river of ice but it has quite a bit more traffic. I wonder what they are doing over there. I imagine more resource extraction, but that's going to have to wait for another time.

MV Federal Yamaska Bulk Carrier
198 piece jigsaw puzzle

I did this puzzle a couple of days ago and I wondered where the photo was taken. Didn't find anything, I suspect it's in Alaska, but who knows. I'm tacking it on here just because it seems to fit.

Soup Kitchen

Judge Kimberly A. Knill of the Orange County Superior Court
Nose stud and visible tattoos? Yah, sure, Bill.

A semi-amusing story about a billionaire and his troubles with his local community.

You Only Hang Twice by Bill Gross, billionaire and petty irritant

Just last week I was approached by a Hollywood producer to be the consultant on a new James Bond sequel to be titled "You Only Hang twice". Having received a restraining order nine months ago in the famous Gilligan's Island trial, I and my wife Amy had just been sentenced to five days in jail (with time off for community service) for playing 15 minutes of music at 9 pm in our backyard pool. The music was below city decibel limits but was somehow disturbing the peace of our noise-sensitive neighbor. NO police citation was issued but what the heck, a crime must have been committed if the neighbor simply called police and complained he couldn't sleep at such a late hour.

Enter the hanging judge of the Laguna Beach shore, a 57-year-old lady with pierced nose stud and visible tattoos, to retry and rehang the highly visible target of Bill Gross – ex-Bond King and obviously still "full of himself" senior citizen. She would try me twice, she would hang me twice – thus opening a potential career in Hollywood for me and her at a point in my life when climbing the stairs was taking up an increasing amount of my daily routine. The judge I have since learned only does "restraining order" cases in Orange County, but these two trials encompassing four weeks of court time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees (a mere $1,200 fine for me though) could presumably be a stepping stone for the judge for greater court assignments. Even the appellate court. But perhaps my fury runneth over a little too much here. Time will tell but in any case, she'll have a prominent place in the script and may even get to act in her own role. I'm too old for my part it seems. They're thinking of Jake Gyllenhaal! But I would have preferred Tom Hanks.

Anyway, the interesting part of all this to me was our immediate assignment to the Santa Ana soup kitchen for two days of community service. No orange suit duty on the highway thank goodness, just two days at nearby Santa Ana where coincidentally I had volunteered several times in the past to serve Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Like one of my friends remarked at a lunch last week, "Community service? Gross has performed and provided more community service in the past 20 years than anyone in Orange County history!" But no matter – truth, justice, the American way, and judicial ambition would prevail.

But here's the interesting part. Having volunteered at this same soup kitchen before, I was expecting a similar cast of "down and out" people in need of a hot lunch. Indeed, as Amy and I cut chicken for the soup and fruit for the fruit cups, we were then assigned to pass out what was actually a gorgeous enchilada lunch replete with cheesecake and chips when the doors opened at noon. Due to COVID, however, there was no indoor dining – in fact the new routine featured a drive-through lane where a large percentage of cars were nice SUVs and pickup trucks. "Say what?" I whispered to Amy. Each "customer" was handed a meal with more calories than the ones at a McDonald's drive-through and in addition, many special requests were fulfilled. No downtrodden homeless people at this soup kitchen! There were vegan meals, gluten-free meals, five kinds of bread, and orders from the cars to skip the meal but to give them mini-sacks of avocados and artichokes for special diets later in the day. There was one request for a feminine hygiene package and several for prophylactics. But not to be outdone, requests for "doggie bites" and cat food kept Amy and I scrambling from noon to 3 pm. "Hundreds were served" to use the McDonald's phrase, and well served I might add. We worked beside a volunteer who told us he came two days a week to feel good about helping other people. He was a little bedraggled looking and had to take the bus from Long Beach to get there. I told him that was a wonderful gesture but silently thought to myself, "Buddy, you've been screwed. They're living better than you".

And so perhaps we have all been screwed if the Santa Ana soup kitchen is any example. A trophy for every kid has moved up the maturity ladder to an artichoke for every adult. Many of those requesting vegan were well dressed and apparently not lacking in the finer accoutrements of daily life. "We can't discriminate against those who have already been discriminated against," remarked one of the permanent staff. "We can't deny them twice". Ah yes I said to myself – I know what you mean.

 The story then rambles off into a bunch of financial mumbo-jumbo which I found pert near useless.

Via ZeroHedge