Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest
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Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Ether Dome


The Ether Dome at Massachussets General Hospital in 360 degrees
STAT

Because we know a person studying in Boston, we occasionally hear bits of historical trivia about the place, like The Ether Dome. It doesn't matter if the video above is playing or paused, you can grab a point (left click your mouse and hold) on the screen and drag it around to look all around the room.

Dr. John Collins Warren performs the first surgery without pain as William Morton administers ether - 1846

Hudson Hawk - Curare Scene


Hudson Hawk (1991)
PrEzIdEnTe90

IAman and I are out running around, picking up pizza and coffee for the crew working on daring daughter's project today. With his bum leg and my gimpy hobble, we reminded me of this scene from Hudson Hawk where Bruce and Danny are paralyzed with curare but are still cracking wise.

The scene runs from 55:17 to 58:55. This video has looks like it has had about an inch clipped from all four sides on the screen. I expect that's how they got around YouTube's copyright enforcement.


Beluga

AIRBUS A-330-700 Beluga XL

European satellite makers no longer have Antonov An-124 heavy lift aircraft available to carry their giant, school-bus sized satellites from the factory to the launch site. There is this Airbus whale, but there are only five of them, so I suspect they are going to be scrambling to accommodate everyone. There are roughly 25 of the Antonovs, but they are Russian, so all in thrawl to the western empire are forbidden from using them. Note that the An-124 is the little brother to the single An-225 that was destroyed recently in Ukraine.


Storm In A Teacup


Storm In A Teacup - Fortunes (1971)
The Dancing Troll

Liz Hinds mentions this tune, but when I look for it the first thing that pops up is a Red Hot Chili Peppers tune. I generally like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, some of their songs are wonderful, but this isn't one of those, so I looked a little farther and found this one. It's from 1971 and since Liz and I are both about the same vintage, and since the lyrics match the line she quoted, this must be it.

The tune is pleasant enough, but the dancing girl is what gets it posted here.

Does anyone even use teacups anymore? We have coffee mugs and I use them for tea sometimes, but I often only drink about half of a mug, which is like a teacup's worth. Tea is kind of subtle, kind of like a cat slinking about the room. Coffee is more like a herd of wildebeests stampeding through the house.


Friday, April 29, 2022

The Nightingale


The Nightingale - Official Trailer I HD I IFC Films
IFC Films

Another movie about a right bastard of an English soldier. It wouldn't take very many like him to have the whole country up in arms against the English. From IMDB:
Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.

Our girl, the Nightingale, is hell bent on vengeance until she kills her first attacker. After that she loses  steam. She is never a super competent killer, she is running on pure emotion, so that was realistic. Not like an action thriller where the hero is successfully dispatching a string of villains one after another. The finale where the English soldier gets his is kind of a let down. Bang, the door opens, boom, Billy spears him right through the heart, poof, he's dead. Rather disappointing, really wanted to see him ground between two stones.

Billy is a little confusing. On one hand his English is perfect, which isn't surprising since he was brought up by the English. On the other hand, he is in an aborigine and I really don't know how they act. Every time I see them in a movie their behavior just seems weird.


Crash

Vintage Automobile Crash Scene
20 piece jigsaw puzzle

Let's hear it for those brave souls who were willing to put their lives on the line to drive to the store for a loaf of bread and a jug of milk.


Pump Jet

United States Navy's submarine New Jersey (SSN 796) was recently launched into the James River

It's been in a dry dock for the last month or so, so presumably 'launching it' means flooding the dry dock and letting it float out into the river. Might be kind of cool to watch that happening, but that's not why we're here.

We're here because of this line I found at the end of the Defense Blog's story:

These submarines are capable of supporting multiple mission areas and can operate at speeds of more than 25 knots for months at a time.

"25 knots for months at a time"!?! I know nuclear submarines can go very fast, for a submarine, and I know they can stay submerged for months on end, but can they really run at full speed for that long? I mean, they are nuclear powered, so they should be able to produce lots of power continuously, but it just seems like you're asking for trouble to do that. Stress, vibration and heat can all lead to important metal bits cracking, which can lead to all kinds of trouble. So this got me intrigued.

Over at Wikipedia, I find that the submarine gang has been busy cooking up all kinds fancy stuff. 


Submarine Secrets: Pump Jets And Propellers Explained
H I Sutton

The Virginia class submarines (the New Jersey is one) use a pump-jet propulsion system. Remember The Hunt for Red October and stealthy, super secret caterpillar drive it used? I had some vague idea about these new submarine drives, but I didn't realize how rapidly they have developed.

Submarine Masts

Virgina class submarines have see-by-wire periscopes called photonics masts. Basically it's digital camera on a stick. Optical periscopes (which all submarines used in the 20th century) were basically giant hydraulic rams that ran vertically through the center of the control room, from the top of the sail to the keel. The photonic mast does away with most of that. I imagine they still have a hydraulic ram to extend or retract the mast, but it's short one and lives entirely within the sail (the big fin sticking up out the top center of a submarine). They just need one little skinny hole for the wire to go inside the hull. From there you can run it anywhere you want. Google served up the above picture, but the site where it originated only has a video, and that video has been taken down, so all we have is this splash screen.
Those masts are a lot bigger than they look in the previous picture.

These submarines can travel at 25 knots and maybe even 40 knots, but no word on how long they can keep it up.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Ford GT40 1966

Ford GT40 1966
198 piece jigsaw puzzle

I did this puzzle on my Chromebox over at the new house. The jigsaw puzzle website won't let you save the image, but if you save the whole page you can find the image in the files that come with it. Unless you are using a Chromebox, in which case you can't. Chromebox downloads the page as one entire file with an mhtml suffix, it doesn't save the images as individual files. However, if you take that mhtml file to another computer, like a Linux box, and load the file with a browser, like Chrome, then you can right click on the image and save it separately. Just in case you were wondering.

1932 Hudson Martz Special

1932 Hudson Martz Special
150 piece jigsaw puzzle

Conceptcarz tells us that this car was built by a guy named Mertz. He sold it to a guy named Martz who campaigned it for a while, including a couple of times at Indianapolis. Mertz and Martz. Huh.


Population Boom

Do we really know what the world population is? And does having that number do us any good? Adaptive Curmudgeon read a post by Sarah Hoyt that got him all stirred up so he wrote his own post on the subject. World population estimates all seem to come from the UN. Ask Google and every reference seems to point back to the UN. The question Sarah and Adaptive are asking is how do we know the UN isn't lying to us? Even if they aren't lying, their numbers are no doubt taken from what the various countries report, and lord knows how accurate those numbers are.

So our two gadflys dive into the rathole of why the UN would lie about this. I'm not going to worry about it. To me the UN is a nice facade that the limousine Bolsheviks have pasted over their imaginary world. They may be lying, they might not, they might be accurately presenting the data they have received, but we have no idea how accurate that data might be. Most of us probably think the people who compile these numbers are doing the best they can. There are going to be some areas where the census takers are over zealous, or fearless leader demands better numbers, and there are going to be other areas where they are more lax, but overall it will average out.

To me, there isn't just one problem, there are a myriad of problems. Each country, region, shoot, neighborhood, has their own problems. Mass migration might relieve pressure on one area, but it's going to bring more pressure on other areas. And migration isn't the best solution. Some people like the idea of moving to a new place, but I suspect most people are content to stay where they are. Forcing those people to move is going to engender some discontent, discontent that will manifest itself in some subtle and some not so subtle ways.


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Girls with Guns

Two Girls with Two Six Guns Each

Don't remember where I found this one, daily timewaster maybe.

Melaka Straits Mosque

Melaka Straits Mosque on Malacca Island in Malacca City, Malacca, Malaysia
24 piece jigsaw puzzle

Sometimes you just want something easy to do and a 24 piece puzzle fits the bill. Wikipedia has page about this place.


Why Is Latin America still Poor


Why Is Latin America still Poor
Casual Scholar

Everybody, including me, complains about Maduro, the President of Venezuela, but I can kind of understand him now. Latin America has been ruled by a tiny minority who own all the land AND who see no reason to change the way their countries are run. It's not enough to just become president, you need to ruin everyone of those mother-fookers. If any on them manage to hang onto their lands, the whole elitist oligarchy will return and things will go back to the way they were. That is fine for the 'nobility' but wretched for everyone else.

You might think that he could at least manage the country's oil business a little better, but I suspect anyone who could compently run the oil business is a member of the 'ruling elite' and so, like in China's cultural revolution, they can't be trusted. But the people who can be trusted, people who are part of the revolution, don't know anything about the oil business because they never got a decent education. You'd think they would put a priority on sorting that out, but I suspect that there is a whole lot of in-fighting going on behind, beside and all around Maduro. Everybody is trying to get their piece of the pie. If the whole pie gets destroyed that's too bad. At least none of those other mother-fookers got any of it. And if you wonder why they are like that, it's because they learned it from the best, the people who were running the country before Maduro came to power.

All this assumes Maduro has good intentions and is sufficiently paranoid. It could be that he is an idiot, but somehow I doubt it. So we have two questions: can he destroy the oiligarchy? and two, will he be able to restart the economy from ground zero once they are well and truly obliterated? Castro pretty much destroyed the local oligarchy in Cuba, but once he had done that, he didn't build anything new.

Part of the problem is that most of Latin America is very Catholic, and the Catholic church has been very complicit helping the oligarchy maintain their position. They were in the past anyway, I don't know how much support they give them now.


Wind River


Wind River - Official Trailer - 2017 Crime Movie HD
Voltage Pictures

Pretty good. Our guy is a hunter from the Fish & Wildlife Service whose job is to track down and kill predators that are killing livestock in the area*. The local sheriff calls in the hunter when he finds a young woman dead in the snow. The FBI gets called in because it happened on an Indian reservation, so now we've got a cute little girl FBI agent added to the mix.

The 'story' bandied about in the movie is that the woman died because she was running so hard and so far in the sub-zero weather that the moisture in the air froze inside her lungs and the ice crystals punctured the alveoli in her lungs. The alveoli started bleeding and she basically drowned in her own blood. It's a nice theory, and it's sounds nastier than just freezing to death. Rumor has it that the later is just like falling asleep. I don't know about that, but I do know I absolutely hate being cold. I don't mind cold weather, I used to go skiing up on Mt. Hood. If you're dressed for it, it's fine, but if you aren't it totally sucks. Anyway, I did a little checking to see if it was a real thing, and according to this guy and this guy, it isn't. Regardless, it made a good story.

The show was full of trucks, snowmobiles and guns, every Yankee redneck's dream world. None of them little, pukey toy cars that people use to drive to the coffee shop. Even our cute little FBI agent is driving a full size SUV. Her explanation for why she shows up in bumfuck Wyoming in the middle of winter with nothing but a light jacket (and a gun) is simultaneously totally unbelievable and totally believable at the same time. No right thinking person would do that on their own, but bureaucracies don't give a shit, go to bumfuck NOW and sort out whatever it is. You've got a charge card, use it.

There were a couple of gun fights: a small one early on with the cute little FBI agent where she proves she's got the chops to get the job done, and big one at the end that involves everybody and most everyone dies. The best part is we didn't have any of that mealy mouthed blather about not killing the bad guys. Fuck that shit, these guys are no damn good, shoot them dead and be done with it. My kind of movie. Too many Portland drivers are escaping justice. Thank god for movies where I can see them get their just desserts in living color.


* Couldn't find any evidence that there is such a job, but Alaska and Idaho are paying a bounty on wolves.

I'm So Excited


Its a Very Exciting Time
Irus07

For some reason, or for no reason, this scene popped into my head yesterday. This first ten seconds of this video replicates my memory of the feeling of this scene. My memory of the video was pretty vague, just that there was one guy talking to another, and they weren't wearing business suits. The audio is what nails down the feeling and my memory of it wasn't exact, but there is a certain similarity. Well, they both contained the word 'exciting'.

It just struck me that a business suit is very similar to Samurai armor. Men put them on when they mean business.

Thanks to Ross for being able to remember this scene from my vague description.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Big Cocaine Bust on the Ivory Coast

The cocaine was seized from traffickers this month in a police operation that took place in the commercial capital Abidjan [File: Luc Gnago/Reuters]

Those burlap bags look like they are full of animal feed, not cocaine, but perhaps that was the cover story and the blocks of toot are buried in these bags. Ivory Coast coppers need to learn how to show off their bust. Do it like we do, with a big display of confiscated guns, drugs and money.

Evidently west Africa is a waypoint for shipping contraband from South America to Europe. That's one way for range-limited airplanes to cross the Atlantic. Of course, it could have come by ship, but then I would wonder why they didn't head for someplace farther up the coast. Maybe they got a deal on a warehouse in the Ivory Coast, a warehouse that they thought was safe. Guess not.

There are roughly 750 million people in Europe. "About 40 tonnes[of cocaine] pass through the region annually, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development." - Aljazeera

40 tonnes is 40,000 kilograms which amounts to 40 million grams. If a user uses a gram a week, then 40 million grams is going to be enough to supply 750,000 people, or about one person in a thousand.

If a gram sells for 100 (dollars / Euros / pounds), that 40 million grams amounts to 4 billion in retail sales. While that is nothing like the 100 billion bills we are seeing for armaments, it's nothing to sniff at. 

We aren't going to worry about whether the drug is being cut (mixed with inert material) or not. We're just going to have put that down as noise, along with how much gets stopped by the coppers, how much gets lost on the way, and how much gets stolen.


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Super Mushshak Nigerian Air Force

Super Mushshak

A Super Mushshak airplane crashed in Nigeria recently killing both people on board. Never heard of this airplane before, so I do a little digging.

The Super Mushshak is a French design that is currently being built in Pakistan under license. It was originally developed for military pilot training, but has since been adapted for use as light duty ground attack aircraft. Seems to be a sturdy little airplane, it's aerobatic, a label eschewed by companies building airplanes for the civilian market.

The article that got me started also mentioned that there have been 4 military airplane crashes in the last couple of years, so I do a little more digging.

Beechcraft King Air NAF203
Crashed May 2021

Two of the crashes were Beechcraft King Air twin engine airplanes. Both happened in early 2021, one in February and the other in May. Found an incident report for the one that happened in May that gives the registration number. Then I found a story from War Is Boring about Nigeria's air war campaign against Boko Haram that has a photo of that same airplane (above).

Beechcraft King Air NAF201
Crashed February 2021

NAF Alpha Fighter Jet

Then I found a story about the Nigerian Alpha-Jet crash on a BBC webpage that's written in Pidgin. That was a surprise. The pilot survived that crash. That story also mentions the King Air crashes. Like the Super Mushshak, the Alpha Jet also started life as a trainer and was then adapted for ground attack operations. War is Boring has good story about Alpha Jets in Africa.


Russian Sail Training Ship Nadezhda

Russian Sail Training Ship Nadezhda
108 piece jigsaw puzzle

I should know by now any large square rigged ship is likely a sail training vessel for somebody's navy. The Nadezhda is based in Valdivostok, Russia, on the Pacific Coast, just north of Japan.

This is third post about a sailing ship this month.


Heirs to the Land (Los Herederos de la Tierra)


Los Herederos de la Tierra (EN ESPAÑOL) | Anuncio del estreno | Netflix España
Netflix España

Boy oh boy, what a mess. The show follows the life of Hugo Llor in 14th century Barcelona. Power politics is brutal. Whoever gets to be in charge pretty much uses their power to eliminate their enemies and if they don't, they are fools, because their enemies will plot and scheme to bring them down. It's the old story of the nobles believing they are god's gift to the world and anyone who isn't a noble, but has two shekels to rub together, believes the nobles are puffed up jackasses who need to be given the boot.

Hugo is nominally a Christian, but is smitten by a pretty young jewess. She dies in a purge when she refuses to convert to Christianity. She has an attractive friend, Regina, who has her eye on Hugo, but Hugo ignores her. Then he pledges to marry another young woman. The pledge entails his vineyard. If he fails to marry this girl, he forfeits the vineyard. The wedding is set for the following year. Meanwhile, Regina who has married some old fart, has been fooling around with Hugo. She gets baptized, which means her jewish marriage is annulled, so she can marry Hugo. Don't these idiots ever talk to each other? I guess not, it was the 14th century after all, maybe thinking hadn't been invented. Anyway, Regina knows some treasonous secrets about Hugo. She knows this because she was party to it. She blackmails him into marrying her by threatening to reveal these secrets knowing that she would be condemning herself as well, but she doesn't care. For her it's a case of 'give me Hugo or give me death'. Hugo marries her, but can't, or won't, warm up to her and instead takes up with a pretty, young, Russian slave. Hugo is a nice guy, he gets all the pretty girls, but he is pretty much an idiot.

This is a follow on to Cathedral of the Sea.

8 episodes on Netflix. We watched it Spanish with English subtitles. 


F/V Mekanik Sizov

The Mekanik Sizov, a super trawler belonging to a company partly owned by sanctioned businessman Gleb Frank [The Kremlin via AP]

Since my niece and nephew started working on fishing boats I've been paying more attention to the fishing business. This Russian ship is a monster compared to the Alaskan fishing boats.



Saturday, April 23, 2022

War Machine

Marib has faced several Houthi offensives, as the group seeks to take the Yemeni government's last major stronghold in northern Yemen [File: Ali Owidha/Reuters]

It looks like the gun was mounted on wheels so that it could be towed by a motorized vehicle. Evidently this guy thought it would be easier to maneuver if the gun was in the bed of his truck. I don't disagree, I hate trailers. They're a big pain in the neck. I am sort of surprised though. That gun probably weighs a ton, a lot more than that truck is designed to carry. That seems to be the standard operating procedure in the third world - load the trucks with two or three or ten times as much as they were designed to carry.

I'm not sure just what kind of gun it is. It looks like it might be a 20 mm antiaircraft gun.



Boston Marathon Runs Again

Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir celebrates winning the women's race in the Boston Marathon, in Boston, the United States on April 18, 2022 [Faith Ninivaggi/Reuters]

Not everything has gone to hell, some things are returning to normal - the Kenyans won.


Thursday, April 21, 2022

THAAD

Pentagon’s No.1 weapons supplier Lockheed Martin announced Tuesday that it has received a contract totaling $74 million to produce the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). 


"Pentagon’s No.1 weapons supplier Lockheed Martin". Seems to me I've heard that expression before. Checking my old posts, there are a bunch about Lockheed, but that particular expression only showed up recently.

Sacred Games, Part 2

Babri Masjid mosque - 19th century photo by Samuel Bourne

The Babri Masjid mosque was mentioned in the TV show Sacred Games. It was built in the early 16th Century. It was torn down by rioting Hindus in 1992.

So I'm looking for a picture of this place and there aren't too many, it disappeared before the explosion of digital photography. I come across one with a blurb that mentions the Muslim-Hindu riots  of 1936, so I go looking for information about that and I find this:

List of riots in India

It lists well over 100 riots going back to 1832. There are 8 or 9 with death tolls over 1,000. India (mostly Hindu) and Pakistan (mostly Muslim) were partitioned in 1947 and they have been fighting a war over Kashmir ever since.

Not too long ago I posted a video - The Perils and Pitfalls of Multiculturalism - that made a certain amount of sense. Now I understand why everyone went to the Anglican church in England, and why the Spanish set the Inquisition to rooting out heresy. If you want to bind a group of people together into a cohesive whole, having a single religion can help.

However, in any established human society, you are going to have those who benefit from being on the inside of the power structure and those who suffer by being on the outside. That suffering is going to lead to grievances and eventually those grievances will boil over into riots or even civil war. So having a cohesive whole can keep things together for a while, but people being the way they are, eventually things are going to break down and then you are going to have a whole peck of trouble.

Which brings us to America and our Freedom of Religion. That worked pretty well for a couple hundred years, but now it seems a large fraction of our population has forsaken organized religion and has found new prophets on Twitter who espouse a new religion every 15 minutes. So our society is becoming very fractured.

Now we've got a fight brewing between the lords of Twitter and Elon the Great. It seems the lords of Twitter like controlling the narrative. I mean, let's not kid ourselves. That was (and still is) the primary purpose of organized religion - it's to get everyone thinking the same way. Oh, they dress it up with sound psychological advice, but when you've got a captive audience every week, you can bet that the powers that be, which included the preachers, made sure they were all selling the same story. We don't need no gadflys pointing out discrepancies in our holy stories. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Edelman Trust Barometer

Illustration by Nicolás Ortega. Source: Belshazzar’s Feast, John Martin, 1820.

Who loves you, baby?

The most recent Edelman Trust Barometer (an international measure of citizens’ trust in government, business, media, and nongovernmental organizations) showed stable and competent autocracies (China and the United Arab Emirates) at the top of the list, while contentious democracies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, and South Korea scored near the bottom (albeit above Russia). - Jonathan Haidt

The Edelman Trust Barometer is a survey conducted by the Edelman company, a communications consulting firm.

Belshazzar's Feast has appeared here before. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Windshield Wipers


10 Hours of Driving in Rain for Sleeping
RelaxingASMR

It's been raining sporadically. It pours for a minute and then it stops. A few minutes, or miles, later and it starts drizzling and then it stops, or pours, or dribbles so I'm constantly turning the wipers on or off or speeding them up or slowing them down and I'm thinking there's got to be a better way. Maybe if I siliconized my windshield and got some of them RainX wipers with the silicon edge I could just leave them on all the time and because if they've got all the silicon, they wouldn't squeak even when it was dry. That would be an improvement, if it worked, but it wouldn't be a big improvement, and it would require siliconizing the windshield which would require a bunch of elbow grease to get it properly rubbed in.
Vaisala WXT531 Acoustic Rain Gauge

No, what we need is a robot that can tell when the wipers need to be activated and does it automatically. I was thinking you'd need a camera and some kind of image processing software to tell when the view is obscured, but then I remembered a solid state rain gauge. It was basically a small, light weight metal dome connected to a microphone. Whenever a raindrop hit the dome, the microphone would hear it, and the computer that was listening to its signal would add one to the number of raindrops. We might be able to use a similar technique to control the wipers. Stick a microphone (technically a sound transducer) to the windshield and listen for raindrops and squeaky windshield wipers. Shouldn't be that hard, right?


Passports R Us

The Passport Office

Woman I know has a job with a large corporation. Among her responsibilities are facilitating travel arrangements. Some of the company bigwigs are scheduled to fly to Europe to meet with some finance guys about some kind of big deal. Our girl notices that the head lawyer's passport is due to expire in a few months. Their destination country won't accept any passports that are not valid for at least six months, so the lawyer, possibly the most important person in this entourage, needs a new passport, or months of planning is going to get blown up and they'll have to restart the whole scheduling brouhaha.

Our girl makes some calls and learns a couple of things. The Federal Government only has a limited number of expedited passports available. There's one in El Paso and a couple in Hawaii. By the time she talks to the lawyer and gets the okay to arrange a trip to pickup one of these passports, the one in El Paso is gone, so she books him a flight to Honolulu with a return flight later that day and he manages to get a new passport.

I've had my own share of fun and games with passports. Part 1 here, Part 2 here.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Oregon Aviation Troublemakers

Oregon air pioneer Silas Christofferson. Oregon Aviation Historical Society

The Smithsonian has a story about some Oregon aviation pioneers operating out of Beaverton, Oregon.

Silas died in 1916

Via Posthip Scott


Sacred Games


Sacred Games (2018) | OFFICIAL TRAILER
IMDb

Sacred Games is a Netflix series about political corruption in modern day Bombay, India. (Heh, I called it Bombay, not the new, mumbly, made up name.)  The story oscillates between the cops and the gangsters. On the copper side we have an honest cop, his bumbling lackey and his corrupt boss. There is also slender young woman working for RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), the India government's foreign intelligence agency. It's comparable to America's CIA. On the gangster side we have two guys who are both smitten with a sweet transvestite and are competing for her attentions. Inexplicable, but people are sometimes that way, aren't they?

The story links to reality by mentioning the Bofors Scandal. In 1986 the Indian government contracted to buy 400 cannons from the Bofors company in Sweden. The contract was a big deal, and Bofors pulled out all stops to see that the contract was secured, including bribing a whole bunch of people in India. Some smart aleck Swedish reporter got wind of it and, by happenstance, an Indian reporter who happened to be in Europe at the time heard about it and then things got exciting. At the time, the scandal caused the collapse of the Indian government. However, court proceedings are still ongoing. The Indian Express has a story from 2018, the same year this TV show was released. Is this a coincidence? Enquiring minds want to know

The show is slightly above average. There are plenty of scenes of ordinary life in India interspersed amongst all the scenes that are advancing the plot, but somehow it fails to grab me. Perhaps because none of the characters have connected with me. The gangster Gaitonde is the best of the lot, but he's gone a little too far round the bend. He starts out with smuggling gold, dealing drugs and other standard gangster activities, but eventually finds his way into politics, which is where the real money is. Boy, does that ever sound familiar.


Friday, April 15, 2022

Unions & Nipples

Galvanized Steel Nipple

Glenn Greenwald's Outside Voices has a long post about unions, politics and nipples. Nipples are just mentioned in passing, but they point out a big problem with the liberal political machine.

Is the Woke Cultural Agenda of Union Leaders Undermining Support For Unions? by Batya Ungar-Sargon

As national support for unions approaches record levels, interviews reveal: a rarefied form of progressive leadership threatens to dampen their appeal among workers.

Via ZeroHedge

Glenn Greenwald, if you haven't heard of him, might be the biggest gadfly around.


Ulithi

Beechcraft Super King Air 200 (N875SP)
Flying over Falalop, Ulithi

Looking over the weekly photos from FlightAware, this one caught my eye and then the caption piqued my curiosity. Ulithi? Where the heck is Ulithi?

Ulithi is in the Pacific Ocean. I don't remember hearing about it before, but it's  on my map of Pacific island airports. It's not much of a place, a few tiny islands lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but during the last year of WW2 it was a very big deal.


1940s World War II: Ulithi, Anchorage
MyFootage.com

Did we win WW2 because we were strong and brave and true and free? Or did we win because we were able to marshall our forces to exploit a continent of resources that had barely been tapped? I suspect it was a lucky combination of both. I suspect Asia, namely China and Russia, suffer from some kind of ingrained, mental stumbling block caused by thousands of years of strife and terror at the hands of an endless succession of fire-breathing warlords bent on slaughter. We know there are some very smart people in Asia, but we also know some capitalist ventures there failed because - well, we're not quite sure why they failed - but it seems that the people employed to work there did not quite believe in themselves.

P.S. Samaritan's Purse donated two of these airplanes to Pacific Mission Aviation, a Christian organization spreading the gospel, doing good works and providing air transport services around Micronesia.


Fun with Nanoparticles


Silver nanoprisms grown into structural colors by high power LEDs
Applied Science

Some seriously weird chemisty going on here. The best part for me was seeing the tracks on the CD-ROM (just after the 17 minute mark).


Proxy War R Us

Russian Cruiser Moskva on Fire

I was expecting that the Russian invasion of Ukraine would have been wrapped up by now. I mean here we have the great big Russian bear picking on poor little Ukraine, it should have been no contest, right?  There has been no end of 'news reports' from the western media about how brave little Ukraine is standing up to the big mean bear, but we aren't getting any real news, or least none that I would trust.

Meanwhile we're closing in on two months now and no end of the war in sight. That might be what some people want. Here's a post on RT (formerly Russia Today, undoubtedly Putin's mouthpiece) by Timur Fomenko, a political analyst:

The West doesn’t want peace in Ukraine

Rather than pursuing peace, the US and allies are doing all they can to turn the Ukraine conflict into a proxy war against Russia

. . .

Apart from its own invasions, bombings, coups, and regime change attempts imposed on countries around the world, one of America’s preferred methods of confronting its adversaries is to ‘wage war by proxy’ against them, that is, to support the war of a group or country against them without militarily engaging themselves. The history of the Cold War is littered with such examples, such as America’s backing of the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan, its backing of Saddam Hussein against Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, or, on a more contemporary note, its failed attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad via the local rebels. Proxy wars allow the US to minimize its own losses by having someone else die for them while also procuring geopolitical gain for themselves by undermining rival states, at the same time maximizing profits for the military-industrial complex by keeping the arms flowing.

To me, this whole thing looks like class warfare. The vile, sleazy, scheming wolf pack that runs the US government and the military industrial complex is not interested in what is better for the country as a whole, they are only interested in lining their own pockets. All this government spending on defense is helping to drive up inflation which is impoverishing everyone who doesn't have a fat bankroll to sleep on. Of course, with inflation running the way it is, your fat bankroll needs to be invested in something substantial, like real estate, or an oil refinery, or, best of all, a munitions factory.

This real estate thing might be why we have such a problem with people being homeless. They're homeless because there is nowhere for them to go. All the land has been carved up. All the useful land has been claimed by someone and all that's left is the useless land. We might want to start carving up a few farms into campgrounds, give people a base to start with. Some of them will fail, but some of them might be able to build a life, and I think it would be worth the gamble. Surely a better bet than sending another billion dollars worth of guns and ammo to the gangsters running Ukraine.


Thursday, April 14, 2022

Doom and Gloom


Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Bring Out Your Dead
Bitz-O-Funny

The news seems to be all bad, all the time. Count your blessings cupcake, things could be much worse. From page 200 of The Verge:


I knew the plague killed a bunch of people during the middle ages, and I sort of knew there was a period when the weather was considerably colder for a while, but I didn't realize they happened at the same time.

But around 1500 things started picking up, people got a handle on what you could do with money and the printing press appeared. Things started changing, and the changes became ever more rapid. Two hundred years later, a watchmaker in London is lamenting that he gave up the trade because he got tired of keeping up with all the technical advances being made in his trade.


Fun With Roman Numerals


How Roman numerals broke the official dog database.
Stand-up Maths

I enjoy this guy, Matt Parker. This is a pretty silly video, but fun. I mean, who knew Roman Numerals could be so amusing?

Vichy France

Napoleon III Celebration in Vichy France
300 piece jigsaw puzzle

This was one of the hardest puzzles I've worked recently. On top of having 300 pieces, the pieces were all randomly rotated, so it took me a while. I was feeling a little under the weather yesterday, not up for doing much of anything productive, so a jigsaw puzzle was just my speed.

These people must be having a real good time, you'll notice that they are all floating on air. The photo was taken at the annual Napoleon III celebration in Vichy, France. Napoleon I (Bonaparte) was the one who put an end to the French Revolution and then attempted to conquer Europe and got his butt kicked by the Brits at Waterloo. Napoleon III was his nephew and lived like 50 years later. He managed to get France moving in a positive direction, but then he got the war bug and ended up getting his butt kicked by the Prussians at Sedan.

Never knew there was an actual town named Vichy, I just knew it as the portion of France that the Nazis didn't bother to actual conquer, they just put it under control of a puppet government.


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Half Alive - Still Feel


half•alive - still feel. [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
half•alive

I dunno about the tune, it's okay I guess, but the choreography is amusing. It's not spectacular like you might get from professional dancers, but it's clever in a geometric kind of way, clever enough to rate posting here.

Kruzenshtern - Russian Sailing Ship

Kruzenshtern - Russian Sailing Ship
120 piece jigsaw puzzle

Never heard of Russian sailing vessels, at least not since I read about Peter the Great's exploits in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Trilogy, so I was a little curious. Turns out it's actually a German ship that was turned over to Russia at the end of WW2. The Russians use it as a training vessel. This is second post about sailing ships used as training vessels in less that a week.


FM Audio


Turning Sound Into a Laser
CodeParade

FM - Frequency Modulation - usually refers to radio's technique for encoding an audible signal within a radio signal, but here Mr. Parade is mixing an audible signal with an ultrasonic sound wave. The results are unexpected. You don't want to turn the volume of the ultrasonic signal up too high, it can give you a headache. Reminds me of the SAW - Surface Acoustic Wave - Filters which are also weird in a somewhat similar way.


There Be Dragons

A view of Mariupol as war in Ukraine rages, on April 9, 2022 [Leon Klein/ Anadolu Agency]

That's odd, an apparently untouched sculpture of a Chinese dragon in a scruffy looking street in Mariupol, Ukraine. I was going to say a bombed out street, but looking a little closer at the image the only damage seems to be the trash lying on the ground and the fallen tree branch.

But it's a Chinese dragon. The East and the West seem to have very different versions of what a dragon should look like. The Chinese seem to prefer a snake-like body with a couple of tiny arms, while the West seems to prefer one that is structured more like a horse or bear, but with scales and wings. Some people think stories of dragons come from far away encounters with crocodiles.

A statue of Zmey-Gorinich in Lipetsk region, Russia

There's a more Western model a couple of hundred miles northeast in a family theme park. MY MODERN MET has a page devoted to this concrete monster.

Kudykina Gora theme park is about 350 miles north of Mariupol

A-10 Warthog

I prefer to think the dragon legends come down to us from a previous civilization that had mechanized, flying war machines like the A-10 Warthog. After that civilization collapsed and the art of heavier-than-air aircraft was lost, how would you explain something like an A-10 to your kids? "There were fire breathing monsters that flew through the air and destroyed everything in their path". That's how.