Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Friday, September 30, 2022

Raman Spectroscopy

In the Keanu Reeves movie Siberia, Keen-o uses a magic box to tell real diamonds from fake ones. The fake diamonds aren't really fake, they are just as real as the real diamonds. The difference is the fake ones were manufactured while the real ones were dug out of the ground. I think the difference the machine is looking for is the presence of nitrogen - real diamonds have it but artificial ones don't. After rooting around for a bit I found that Raman Scattering is what the magic box uses to detect the presence or absence of nitrogen.
Raman spectroscopy has been around for awhile:
The Raman effect was named after one of its discoverers, the Indian scientist C. V. Raman, who observed the effect in organic liquids in 1928 . . . Raman won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for this discovery. 
In the beginning it was very difficult to observe the phenomena. Lasers have made it much more practical. Let's let YouTube show us how.

Intro to DIY Raman Spectroscopy
Applied Science

Not the smoothest exposition, but he covers all the major points.

Homemade Raman Spectrometer: Diamond

This one is so short that you won't have time to read the text. Remember the space bar is your friend. It's here because he has some good graphs of the results.

Basics and principle of Raman Spectroscopy | Learn under 5 min | Stokes and Anti-Stokes | AI 09
Practical Ninjas

Mr. Ninja is not a native English speaker. In this case subtitles are your friend.

Lastly, if you want one of these magic boxes, you can buy one from Stellar Net though it will cost you a pretty penny.

StellarCASE-Raman - Portable Raman System for Material Identification | StellarNet, Inc.

Recurrence - Movie

Pipa | Tráiler oficial | Netflix
Netflix Latinoamérica

You can get English subtitles in the trailer with judicious pointing and clicking.

Pipa is the leading ladies nickname, on Netflix it is known as Recurrence. It fairly complex murder mystery, maybe a little too complex. I'm not even sure how many dead bodies we've got. We start with just one, but towards the end they start falling like ten-pins. It's got all the pieces required for a decent movie, but it feels just a little rough, like everyone's timing is just a tad off. It manages to get the story told, though there are some incidents that leave you wondering 'where did that come from?'

It's set in the boondocks of northwestern Argentina. I couldn't figure it out from watching it, I had to look it up. Everyone is speaking Spanish, but they're all driving big American cars, so it's not Spain. It's dry and mountainous so it could be Mexico or southern South America. But now that I know it's Argentina I realize that the mountains are the Andes, not those po-dunk little mountains they have in Mexico.

We have a single mom who left the big city police force ten years ago due to some violent event that is never explained. Her ten year old kid is hanging around with his buddies, playing with real guns. I fully expect one of them to screw up and shoot another, but that never happens. The kid is disobedient and that does cause problems. Stupid, ill-disciplined kids. They're part of the story, but annoying.

There is the wealthy landowner who owns at least some of the police. Her dissolute adult children are what start the murder ball rolling, though we don't find that out till near the end. 

There are the indians who want their land back that the anglos stole from them. One of them gets arrested and gets taken to jail. His wife Lula comes to visit him but they won't let her in. Later on we see him on TV, beaten to a pulp, complaining about police brutality. Then we find out the Lula did it. Somehow she got in to see, a soft hearted cop probably let her in, and she beat him up so they could get their charge of police brutality on TV. Never seen the like, at least not from sane people.

There is one big guy, the hunter, who has an amazingly deep voice. He appears in the trailer at the 1:09 mark, though his voice is not that deep there. When I first heard it I didn't think it was real. Could anyone really have a voice that deep?

There is one scene where the rich kids are playing a game like polo, on horseback, but they are using a ball with handles that has to be picked up by hand and thrown through the goal. It could be Pato or Horseball.

1972 Ford F-100 Doble Cabina

Pipa drives an odd looking Ford F-100 crew cab. It doesn't look like any crew cab I've ever seen. I suppose it could be a custom. I did find one other, for sale, in Buenos Aires.

Ford F-100 Doble Cabina Unibody

Unibody!?! Of course they might only mean that the truck bed and the cab are of unit construction. I suspect it is still body-on-frame construction. There was also a full size Ford F-150 in Siberia, which makes two Ford pickups in furrin countries this week.

Funiculi, Funicula

Rodney Dangerfield - Funiculi, Funicula
Justin Plowman

I haven't heard this tune in a long time. Liz Hinds posted a version of this tune, but it doesn't have any video, just a static image of the Italian flag. Come on, YouTube, you can do better than that, so I go looking. There's a bunch of similar videos, just a recording with a static image. There are also several concert performances with big orchestras, but this is only one I found that really gets into the spirit of the tune.

Where did this tune come from? My first suspect is a show tune from a post-WW2 movie, but no, it's much older than that.

Funiculì, Funiculà is a Neapolitan song composed in 1880. It was written to commemorate the opening of the first funicular railway on Mount Vesuvius. The sheet music sold over a million copies within a year. Since its publication, it has been widely adapted and recorded. - paraphrased from Wikipedia

Italy & Politics

Brothers of Italy's leader Giorgia Meloni shows a placard thanking Italian voters after winning last Sunday's election [Gregorio Borgia/AP Photo]

There was an election in Italy recently and a woman won. I just read two articles about her and I still can't remember her name. Forgive me, I haven't had my coffee yet. But the two articles aren't really about her. The one from Al-Jazeera is just a smear. I read about half of it waiting for any kind of evidence but none appeared, so I left it. The other is from Professor Ornery Dragon and it talks about the totalitarian tactics used to demonize anyone who deviates from the party line. He could have use the story from Al Jazeera as prime example. The Professor's story is pretty great.

The Professor's story comes here via Foxifier

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Who are these guys?

"Who Are Those Guys?" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Aaron B

These / those, whatever. I came up with the title which reminded me of this scene. The outlaws have the advantage of being able to see their enemy, so 'those' is appropriate. You can point to 'those' guys. These guys are a little more nebulous. I doubt you ever see them on the news. All we've got is some speculation that kind of narrows it down to some very large number.

In case you haven't heard somebody blew up the Nord Stream pipelines that transport Natural Gas from Russia to Germany thereby ensuring that Europe is not going to be getting any Natural Gas from Russia even if Russia turned on the taps. I think Europe can still get Russian gas from the pipeline across the Ukraine, but with the war going on I wouldn't count on it.

What I can't figure out is why anyone would do that. I suppose a couple of deranged fanatics in a fishing boat and a couple of boxes of dynamite could have done it, but it looks more like a state actor to me. CIA, I'm lookin' at you. Why do you want to destroy Europe? Was a Parisian waiter rude to you the last time you were there? Are you afraid the European Union is going to start throwing their weight around? Or maybe you despise everything about EU Socialism. Well, whatever your reason this is probably going to do it.

I suspect an American cartel is behind this. They look at the world and try to figure out ways they can gain more control of it. Why? Probably because they think they can run it better than anyone else. I mean, they already have more money than god. I think we have to move beyond that. Destroying Europe is going to destroy a great deal of wealth. Are our cartel members jealous of their position of power and anyone who threatens it must be destroyed?

Biden is probably part of it. He may have even originated the plan back before his brain turned to mush. The plan was probably begun around ten years ago when they started subverting Ukraine. Was destroying Europe part of that plan? Who knows, but they certainly took advantage of it when the opportunity presented itself.

Or maybe I'm all wet and it's all Russians all the time. The advantage of blaming the Russians is everyone knows the Russians are inscrutable, so they probably had double secret Russian reasons for blowing up the pipeline, reasons we could not comprehend even if we knew what they were.

Citadel de Dinant. Belgien

Citadel de Dinant. Belgien
Jigsaw puzzle

Built in 1815.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022


Read some good stuff on the web this morning.

The last days of Jeremy Corbyn is about left wing of politics in the UK. The link goes to Unherd which places a limit on free articles.

‘Amsterdam’ Review: Three Amigos Try to Save America in David O. Russell’s Ungainly Period Dramedy. The movie is about social unrest in America in the 1930's and the Business Plot.

14 Things We Know About The Mysterious “Explosions” That Severely Damaged The Nord Stream 1 And Nord Stream 2 Pipelines - I suspect the we (the USA) did it, though I can't comprehend why. I mean we have a knucklehead running the country, but surely there are people with brains in the White House. They can't all be incompetent psychopaths, can they?

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Lou - Movie

Lou | Official Trailer | Netflix

Single mother living on Orcas Island with a taciturn older woman for a landlord and neighbor. The landlord goes by the name of Lou. Why is mom single? Her husband done got blowed up somewhere in the Middle East, or did he? Silly audience member, or course he didn't, and now this psycho is back to collect his daughter and reunite his family, which happens to include his mother. Of course, he wants to put his own special twist on it - they are all going to reunited in a glorious fireball. And in case you haven't figured it out yet, Lou, the landlord and neighbor is also the psycho's mother.

The two women leads, Hannah, the mother, and Lou are a couple of tough cookies. Lou does an excellent job of taking out a couple of psycho's henchmen with nothing more that the kinds of things you find lying around in an old fishing shack. It's especially impressive given that Lou is over 60 years old. The fight scenes were just on the edge of believable. I suppose it depends on whether you believe that old age and and treachery can beat youth and skill.

This movie is set in the 80's - Ronald Reagan appears on TV briefly, which makes it plausible that Lou was in Iran when the Shah was overthrown. My Aunt Milly was there around that time. Could this movie be about my Aunt? Somehow I doubt it. She never struck me as the knife wielding assassin type. Then again, it's always the quiet ones you need to look out for.


 I dunno, maybe I missed the part of my education where I was supposed to learn how plants grow. Leaves do all the work, or 99% of the work, of using sunshine to build new molecules, so all the growing should be at the ends of the branches where the leaves are, right?  But the big impressive part of the tree is the trunk, not the little branches and leaves. Now the tree gets water from its roots. The water gets piped up to the leaves because of capillary action and magic plant action (oxymoron, eh?), but how do our new molecules of plant get back down the branches to the trunk? Answer me that, Elmo.

Monday, September 26, 2022


 It's really weird how much money we laud on some musicians. There are probably a zillion musicians who are just as musically talented as the guy who scores the hit, but their song, for some unfathomable reason, did not resonate with the upper class  kids, the ones who are crazy enough and and have enough play dough that they can just buy a copy of a tune whenever it suits them.

But the rest of us seem to accept these hits as valid. I mean, I bought maybe a dozen records (back when records were a thing). When I got old I did break down and bought a few CD's. Now I get my music off of YouTube for which I pay something like $16 a month. I suppose YouTube watches what I play, keeps track and doles out some of that subscription proportionally. Well, I hope they do that, but who knows what the great god Google has decided.

Anyway, it's weird how much money we laud on musicians when they don't produce any material goods like food, shelter or clothing. Or maybe it's weird that we aren't starving, dressed in rags and living in cardboard shantys so we can spend more money on music.

P.S. Back when I lived in Ohio, Matt and I went to visit a friend of his, a black kid I think, who had a room full of records. As I recall he had two shelves of records, 12" LP's, that ran the length of his room, eight feet long at least, maybe more. They shelves had vertical dividers every foot or so they weren't all leaning on each other. Figure 6 LP's to the inch times 12 inches to the foot times 8 feet and times two times $5 per LP we're talking  (6*12*8*2*5) almost $6,000 dollars, and this is back in 1970 when gasoline was a quarter. Multiply that by 20 to get where we are now and that's over $100,000. Heck of a lot of money for a high school kid. But at the time the value never occured to me. As best I can recall my initial reaction (unspoken of course) was 'why do you have so many records'? I mean I had been getting by on half a dozen records of my parents at home and the FM radio in the car. Why would anyone want all those records? Just weird, man.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Return of the Bardahl Special

Bardahl Special

I recognize the name from my time as a kid in Seattle. Miss Bardahl was the boat to beat in the unlimited hydroplane races held on Lake Washington each summer.  Seems the Bardahl company has been supporting racing since the early days. They sponsored this airplane back in 1965, but let it go. Now they have picked it up again. It's the very same airplane, built in 1944.

Steve Coutches flew it to first place in one of the qualifying heats at Reno a week ago. It didn't show up in the listing for the finals.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Yahoo, he says dispiritedly

JMSmith continues to tear along. Today he gives us this quote from H. L. Mencken, critic of just about everything:

“Out of the muck of their swinishness the typical American law-maker emerges.  He is a man who has lied and dissembled, and a man who has crawled.  He knows the taste of boot polish.  He has suffered kicks in the tonneau of his pantaloons.  He has taken orders from his superiors in knavery and has wooed and flattered his inferiors in sense.  His public life is an endless series of evasions and false pretenses.  He is willing to embrace any issue, however idiotic, that will get him votes, and he is willing to sacrifice any principle, however sound, that will lose them for him.  I do not describe the democratic politician at his inordinate worst; I describe him as he is encountered in the full sunshine of normalcy . . . . It is almost an axion that no man may make a career in politics in the Republic without stooping to such ignobility: it is as necessary as a loud voice . . . . They are men who, at some time or other, have compromised with their honor, either by swallowing their convictions or by whooping for what they believe to be untrue.  They are in the position of the chorus girl who, in order to get her humble job, has had to admit the manager to her person.” - H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy

Then YouTube pops up this live music performance, which may be good or bad, it didn't capture my ear right off so I went back to listening to classic rock, but the blurb that accompanied it is just ghastly:

Tune in to see Metallica, Charlie Puth, Jonas Brothers, MÅNESKIN, Mariah Carey, Mickey Guyton, and Rosalía perform live from NYC's Central Park and Usher, SZA, Stormzy, Gyakie, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Uncle Waffles, and TEMS, perform live from Accra's Black Star Square as part of this year's Global Citizen Festival. With Priyanka Chopra Jonas hosting in NYC + Danai Gurira hosting in Accra, this show combines the power for activism with music to make a huge impact.

(I've only heard of a couple of the performers and they have no attraction for me.) 

This year, with a new mission that’s more urgent than ever, Global Citizen is embarking on an ambitious campaign that spans the world. With a focus on empowering adolescent girls and women so that we can End Extreme Poverty NOW, Global Citizen is calling on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to do more than they’ve ever done before.

With stages in two iconic locations, we will unite leaders, artists, activists, and Global Citizen to achieve an ambitious policy agenda focused on empowering girls and women, taking climate action, breaking systemic barriers, and lifting up activists and advocates.

Along with celebrating 10 years of Global Citizen Festivals, this year marks the 65th anniversary of Ghana’s independence, together with the 20th anniversary of the African Union, a powerful group of nations who will help set the trajectory of the continent for the coming decades.

I mean, there is nothing wrong with it. Some producers staged a concert, some musicians performed and a bunch of people went to listen them. That's all fine and well, but End Extreme Poverty NOW? Yeah, that aint' gonna happen. The concert will gather a bunch of money into a pile and then it will be doled out. Some money may trickle down to a soup kitchen, but most of it is going to end up in someone's pocket where it will either be invested in real estate or blown on hookers and blow.


Biden goes to England

Air Force 1 carrying President Biden to England to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

Friday, September 23, 2022

News and Rumors

A good story about the neighbors after a nearby shooting.

Time and Place by Cynthia Bagley


Van's RV-14 (N214RV)

Van's RV-14 (N214RV)

Van's Aircraft seems to be going great guns. This two place sport plane is interesting because of the way they combined sheet metal and plastic. They used sheet metal for parts that only have a simple curve, but for parts that need compound curves like the wing tips and the root of the vertical stabilizer, they used plastic.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Henrietta Maria

National Institute for Coordinated Experiments
Fictional institute from That Hideous Strength

JMSmith is on a tear. I'm reading along and I come across the “Henrietta Marie Window”. I have no idea what he is talking about, so a-Googling I go.

C. S. Lewis's novel That Hideous Strength contains the following passage:
“Look out! Look out!” said a dozen voices at once as a splintering of glass became audible and a shower of stones fell onto the Common Room floor. A moment later several of the Fellows had made a rush for the windows and put up the shutters: and then they were all standing staring at one another, and silent but for the noise of their heavy breathing. Glossop had a cut on the forehead, and on the floor lay the fragments of that famous east window on which Henrietta Maria had once cut her name with a diamond.

Is there is any historical basis for this? The short answer:

The reference to "that famous east window on which Henrietta Maria had once cut her name with a diamond" seems most likely to be a conflation of two or more of various events and artefacts connected to Henrietta Maria and / or her husband, Charles I. These events / artefacts involve Henrietta Maria breaking a window, Charles I purportedly inscribing messages to her on glass with a diamond, a window with an anti-Henrietta Maria inscription made with a diamond, and a marble tablet with her name inscribed on it above a window.

So who is this Henrietta? Well, if you screw up and ask for Henrietta Marie instead of Henrietta Maria you get a 17th Century slave ship.

English merchant slave ship Henrietta Marie - Peter Copeland

Wikipedia lets you know that there is also a queen with a similar name. That article finishes with this line:

During his 1631 Northwest Passage expedition in the ship Henrietta Maria, Captain Thomas James named the northwest headland of James Bay where it opens into Hudson Bay for her.

So is the Henritta Maria the same ship as the Henrietta Marie, or are they completely different ships? We're not getting any concrete answers here. The ship and the Queen are both from the 17th Century, so feel free to suppose that ship was named after the queen either as an honor or as an insult.

Henrietta Maria of France 1609 - 1699

Henrietta Maria was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland from her marriage to King Charles I. Her Roman Catholicism made her unpopular in England, and also prohibited her from being crowned. King Charles fought Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army in the English Civil War. Charles eventually lost and was beheaded in 1649.
The North American Province of Maryland, a major haven for Roman Catholic settlers, was named in honour of Queen Henrietta Maria. The name was carried over into the current U.S. state of Maryland.

And that business about etching messages in the glass with a diamond? Well, there seems to be some truth to that.

The central panel reads, 'I am yours and only yours till death separates'.
Inscribed Glass quarries with diamond-engraved inscriptions possibly 1646
Reputed to have been inscribed by Charles I (1600-1649)
while imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight, in 1646

So maybe all those scratched up bathroom mirrors are just the genetic royal prerogative asserting itself.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Europe - vassal or sovereign?

Military strength ranking for European countries in 2021

Excellent post about the political situation in Europe. It's a real breath of fresh air compared to the usual mealy-mouthed crap we hear.

Can Europe survive the age of strongmen? by Aris Roussinos

Whether anyone in power takes heed, well, we shall see.

The above link goes to Unherd, which has a limit on how many free pages you can read. I read it on Feedly and you might be able to use this link to read it there also.

Panic - Or Not

The Endless Ocean - Shepard Tone (⚠️Video and audio can have psychological effects⚠️)
BEWARE: This is the song that doesn't end.

I've been skimming the news for a while now (days, months, decades?) and it seems there is an unending stream of gloom and doom from everyday reports and people predicting the end of civilization. But it occurred to me that maybe this endless collapse goes hand in hand with our endless war. That's just the way things are now and the way they are going to be for the foreseeable future. Some people are going to run into the ground, but many are going to be clawing their way forward. It's kind of like these guys rolling logs:

Log Rollers

Once that log gets to spinning it takes everything you've got just to keep up. Miss a step and kersploosh! into the drink you go.

I am sure that the people who are running this country have an agenda. I don't know what it is, but it doesn't include putting a speed limit on the log. I doubt they could even if they wanted to. I kind of suspect that everything is changing so fast that everyone is struggling to keep up. The internet has tossed the world on it's ear. Kids are making zillions from idiotic entertainment videos for other kids. Some adults are making fortunes from making videos, many more are making a decent living, and I think we can safely presume that zillions of folks are making a little extra cash from social media. Shoot, I got $12 from Amazon the other day. Not sure why, could it be from one of the links on this blog? I suppose it's possible.

I keep thinking we should establish campgrounds for the homeless, but going any farther than suggesting the idea means I would have to talk to people who are involved. I mean it seems like kind of an obvious solution to the problem. Since it hasn't been done I suspect there is some kind of political bullshit going on, and that usually means money. More suspicion: somebody comes up with practical solution to the problem, but some aggressive, abrasive 'advocates' see an opportunity to extract some moola from the government, which will give them the opportunity to siphon off a healthy portion into their own pockets. Nobody wants to get into a screaming match with these assholes, so they relent and give them what they want.

We need a new sheriff to clean up this town, but who would want the job?

Monday, September 19, 2022

Mars or Bust

Red Dead No Redemption

He does a good job of laying out all the problems you are going to encounter trying to live on Mars. Mars does not look like a good candidate for colonization, but just going through the motions of setting up any kind of base there would be a good learning experience, because as we all should know, there is a good deal of difference between theory and practice. Assuming we can develop a spaceship capable of traversing interstellar differences, setting up a base on a planet in another star system is going to encounter all of the same problems we would have in setting up a base on Mars, we'd just have longer transit times.

Bon Mots

Chevron Hillsboro

1) It's 5PM and my better half decides she needs fuel in her get-around-town machine, so I takes it to Chevron. They may charge a little more, like a dime per gallon, but they don't have the horrendous lines you find a Fred Meyers or Costco, so it's worth it to me, just to avoid the annoyance of playing monkey-move-up*. I always hated that game (baseball for elementary school kids). I think I may have been a little hyper-active. Anyway, the Chevron station is usually pretty empty, maybe just one or two other cars there, but today it's busy, not full, but busy. Soze I pull in and remark to the pump dude that it's 'happy hour at the feed pump'. When he's done he offers me a receipt and accept, telling him, 'I want the boss to know how much I love her'.  17 gallons at $5 a gallon comes to $85. Who loves ya baby?

2) The answer to one of today's word puzzles was trice, as in 'in a trice', which diligent daughter had never heard. I haven't heard it in a long time, but I instantly recalled the meaning, which is like immediately or in a moment or something. In any case, it isn't the same as thrice which means three times.

DOSS SoundBox $30

3) Bought a new Bluetooth speaker so we could listen to tunes out on the patio. It works fine, sounds better than the laptop. It doesn't have a volume knob, but it has this touch ring on top for adjusting the volume which is almost as good. Can't really tell how much I have changed it, you have to rely on what you hear from the speakers. It also issues very annoying beeps sometimes. I haven't quite figured out what that's all about. Maybe I've reached the maximum setting? Has a mini-stereo jack so I can connect to my desktop when I go inside. It's Bluetooth so out on the patio I can use my smart phone to supply the tunes. 

Okay, that's all fine and well, but I disconnect it from the desktop computer, switch to Bluetooth mode and stick in my pocket. It's not very big and my pockets are big enough. I mix up a boiler maker** and head out to the patio and I hear music coming from the speaker in my pocket. Well, that's cool, but where's it coming from? I don't have any apps running on my phone. Well, it's Bluetooth, maybe it's picking somebody else's Bluetooth broadcast. Now, all the tunes sound like my kind of tunes, which kind of points back to me as being the source. So what's going on here? Who knows, but that first tune, Hypnotize, that's so familiar I feel like I should know it, but I can't name it, so I ask Google and I use the voice recognition thing (the microphone icon) to ask, and as soon I tap the icon the music stops? Waaah? Well, evidently the tunes are coming from my phone. Effing computers, sneaking around behind my back doing all kinds of things I never authorized. Who knows what else they are doing? Plotting world domination, no doubt.

Fleetwood Mac hypnotized
vickie burns

Since I have been mostly playing Youtube playlists compiled from my blog, I thought maybe I had posted this tune once before, but if I did, I neglected to include the title. Blogger's search function couldn't find it.

Google has apparently never heard of monkey-move-up. Basically, it lets you play with fewer players. After a player has his time at the plate, everybody playing on the field moves up one position. I think the pitcher, or maybe the catcher, becomes the next batter, and whoever is out moves to the outfield.

** boiler maker - one shot of bourbon in a glass of beer

Friday, September 16, 2022

Pera Palace

Midnight at Pera Palace ❖ Netflix ❖ Hazal Kaya ❖ ENGLISH 2022
North America TEN - Closed Captions

We started watching this mini-series the other night. I'm not too sure about the show, it's got all the right elements, but it's a little goofy. It hasn't gone completely stupid yet, so it might be okay. We shall see.

But! The setting is beyond cool. The Pera Palace is a real hotel in Istanbul, it's been there over a hundred years and needless to say there's a little history there. Agatha Christie wrote Murder On The Orient Express while she was there. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, soldier, revolutionary and founder of the modern Turkish state shows up in the dining room.

From Wikipedia:
Pera Palace Electric Elevator
Establishment work began in 1892 and the grand opening ball was held in 1895.
. . . 
The hotel was the first building in the Ottoman Empire to be powered by electricity, other than the imperial palaces. It was also the only address in the city to provide hot running water for its guests and was home to the first electric elevator in Constantinople. It was also the second electric elevator in Europe.


Rat Shot

50 BMG Ratshot

I'm scrolling through a bunch of nonsense this morning when this pops up and I have to laugh. It's just so absurd. 50 BMG is a 50 caliber bullet for a Browning Machine Gun. They are typically used for stopping unarmored vehicles. There are ratshot cartiridges, but they are typically made for smaller calibers like the 22. I looked around to see if this is a real thing, but all I found was one other photo on reddit but no evidence that it is an actual product.

Thursday, September 15, 2022


A McDonald's restaurant in Chicago, on July 7, 2015. (Kiichiro Sato/AP Photo)

The Scratching Post got me started.

I am beginning to suspect that the problem is that competent people don't want to go into politics, there are too many other opportunities out there. Going into politics means dealing with a whole raft of unpleasant people and not that many people are willing to subject themselves to the abuse they will be receiving in the political arena. This means that the only people in politics are either incompetent or deranged.

If you want to succeed in politics and change things, you need to be two faced. With one face you tell the masses what they want to hear so that you can get elected. With the other face you talk to your supporters and work out what you actually want to do. This isn't too different from the way things are now, it's just that there are an awful lot of politicians whose hidden face is only working to improve their personal position. They are not working to improve the lot of the people.

Shade Tree Mechanic-ing

WWII Half-Track Stripped to the Bare Frame!
Low-Buck Garage

A half-track! Coolio, man. I don't know why these things are so cool, but they are. Possibly because they are military and they have treads like a tank, but they aren't any bigger than a truck so you could drive it on the road. Also, you hardly ever see them. I'm not sure if I have ever even see one in the flesh. This guy is going to take the body off so we can see how the drive train is put together, so I gotta press play.

But then I'm watching this guy screw around with a bunch of junk and it takes me back to when I was working on farm machinery in Ohio and aging high lift equipment in Houston. Criminently, talk about doing things the hard way. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Milo McIver State Park

Spooky Fire Truck - KOIN 6 News

The Portland Tribune has a story:

Milo McIver State Park fire out, but evacuation orders remain

Milo McIver State Park?  Where's that? I've never heard of it, so I check. It's out by Estacada which is like on the road to Mr. Hood. I've been out that way before, but I never bothered with the parks. I only went to Mt. Hood to go skiing.

I'm a little ambivalent about parks. I mean, I like the idea, they seem like a good thing, but I never go to them. Maybe I'm busy or maybe I'm anti-social. Or maybe there was one incident out of a zillion that just soured me on the whole deal. Can't recall any particular incident, but maybe being an introvert means that big social gatherings are exhausting. Could it be that I am always looking out for potential trouble? Not sure about this, it's kind of weird.

Portland Metro area - Milo McIver State Park

Russian Propaganda? Or an accurate prediction?

 The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, September 06, 2022. © Sputnik / RIA Novosti

Story on RT: Moscow outlines ‘diabolical’ plan by Washington

Maybe I'm just listening to all the wrong people, but it sure sounds like Europe is headed for some very hard times. Maybe the European leaders will realize what their policies are going to do their countries and they will break with Washington D. C. and start buying natural gas from Russia again. Or maybe they will let their people freeze in the dark. I dunno, maybe if your hatred for Russia is strong enough it will keep you warm this winter and you won't mind having an empty wallet and belly. Or maybe the people will revolt and defenestration will become popular again.

P.S. That's some necklace she's wearing.

P.P.S. Looked for some info about the necklace, I didn't find anything, but I found this on BuzzFeed from 2018, which is pretty entertaining.

Meet The Woman Who Is Proudly Russia’s Troll-In-Chief

Bergen, Norway

Bergen, Norway

Looking west by southwest. Original image was 6,000 pixels across, I cut it down to 4,000 pixels.

Via younger son.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Organ Grinder

Google translates caption as:
the barrel organ
or earlier from germany

One of a series of 23 etchings of 18th Century vendors and workers by Anne Claude de Tubières-Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, comte de Caylus, marquis d'Esternay, baron de Bransac. Via Flares into Darkness.

I do wonder what the camera looking device on top of the box strapped to his back is. No body cams back in the 1700's that I know of.

I have to give credit to those bloggers who have figured out how to post a slide show. Might be because they are using WordPress instead of Blogger.

Throwing Money On The Fire

"It's not about money, it's about sending a message; everything burns!" - The Joker

Sometimes I wonder if we aren't all just sitting around a big fire throwing dollar bills into the fire just to see them writhe as they burn. We have a got a zillion channels of communication open, and some people have figured out how to use those channels to their advantage. There are scads of people (for some value of scads) who are making a comfortable living off of social media. There are even a few (for some value of 'a few') who have become wealthy. Some of them impart words of wisdom, some of them are just cute. Some of them are delivering overtly political messages, but all of them have some kind of social context they are coming from, and that social context contains their political affiliation. With some it's more obvious than others, with some it takes the infra-red eyesight of a political Karen to detect it. You can always count on political Karens to sniff out the unreliable ones.

Advertising is pretty gol-dang, horn swaggling weird. Trying to avoid using profanity, though those might be fightin' words in some parts. I detest advertisements. I think it might be because I tend to be focused on whatever I've doing. If I'm working, I'm working, I don't have time this nonsense. If I'm goofing off, I'm goofing off, and I still don't have time for this nonsense.

How so some ever, I have noticed lately when I am very tired, I will look at ads, even read them. And I have to admit I've gone to some click-bait sites just to see. But I only do that when I am really tired. You'd think that when you got tired, you'd go to sleep, but it doesn't always seem to work like that. So sometimes you're awake but you're tired and you can't sleep, so you click on stupid stuff because your brain is stupid, and maybe you buy something. I've never done that, but I have bought a few carefully considered items that are just sitting on the shelf, waiting the eternal wait of the unwanted. They were cheap, like $10 each, but goomba probably sold a zillion of them, enough to finance another round of buy-a-lot-of-do-dads wholesale and sell them retail via Amazon.

Advertising is paying for all this social media, advertising and few zillion subscribers like me who pay not see advertisements. So if we are using the internet, we are contributing to this firestorm, even if we are not looking at the ads, they are still there in your peripheral vision and your brain remembers shit, sorry, stuff, even if you don't consciously remember it.

This artist's impression depicts Pluto's surface. The sun appears roughly 1,000 times fainter than it does on to us on Earth. Pluto's moon Charon hangs in the sky. Image released June 8, 2015. (Image credit: NASA/Southwest Research Institute/Alex Parker)

Some people are fire spirits, they love to jump in the fire and cavort with their brethren. Most people find it exhausting, though given the size of the fire these days you might not think that. There are more people in the fire these days and the fire is bigger, but the crowd around the fire extends out quite a ways. Out on the outer edge of crowd you can barely tell there is a giant fire in the center. Kind of like looking at the sun from Pluto.

The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long | BLADE RUNNER
Best Quotes

From 2007: The Witches Hat Shape of Politics. I think I spelled witch's wrong.

Monday, September 12, 2022

New Roku

TV Central

It's fall which means football quickly followed by basketball. Time to get everything lined out so it all plays smoothly come game time. We canceled our TV service with Ziply a couple of months ago, which saved us about $150 per month, but now we've signed up for some Fubo sports package that is costing us about $100 a month. 

Anyway, we're trying to sort out just what packages we need, which is a giant pain, and we come across one channel that will be showing some important games, but the game is only going to be broadcast in 4K, so if your Roku box can't handle 4K, you won't be able to watch the game. Sounds like marketing bullshit to me, but it's not worth the time and effort to investigate. First it will be almost impossible to figure out whether you will really need a new Roku box to properly receive these new 4K signals, and 2nd who knows what will actually be coming down the wire, what with all the high skilled meth-heads putting their own sick twist on the encryption scheme.

Short version is I went ahead and ordered a new Roku unit from Amazon for $90 and it showed up that afternoon. That was yesterday maybe, or maybe it was Saturday. I forget. In any case I sat down today to plug it in, but when I opened the cabinet door I saw an inch deep layer of dust. Okay, maybe not an inch, but it covered everything. Shit, can't have that, so everything comes out and all the wires get disconnected. You might be able to clean the cabinet without disconnecting the wires, but for me it's just easier. Get all the gizmos and wires out of the way and it's very easy to clean out the dust from the cabinet.

Curiously, the shelves in the cabinet that hold the gizmos were bowed. Not much, mind you, maybe a millimeter over 40 centimeters. (That's me experimenting with the metric system.)  The shelves weigh more than the gizmos. I think they just sagged because of their weight and their weak construction. I only noticed this because I carried them into the kitchen to clean them and when I set them on the counter they wouldn't stay still, they wanted to slide all over. Turn them over and they would stay still. That's when I sighted down the edge of the shelf. I could see the slight bow.

After we got everything hooked back up, we sat down to see if it was all working. Going through all the menus and sign up services to get everything working took us at least half an hour, maybe a full hour. We had to resort to the laptop and my password file a couple of times, but we got everything lined out and apparently working.

As a bonus I got the HDMI switch moved into the cabinet. It had been sitting on top, but it really belonged with its brethren behind the glass door.

Gizmo Brethren in the Cabinet
Top row: HDMI Switch and new Roku Ultra
2nd row: LG Blue Ray Player sitting on top of
Panasonic DVD Carousel / Home Theater sound system
Bottom shelf: Power strip festooned with wall warts

We got the home theater system around the same time we got the TV. We got the Blue Ray player because we needed to watch a movie someone had loaned us. It was cheap enough, cheaper than the Roku box even. I am not sure when we got the HDMI switch. We must have needed it for something, but I don't know what. The TV has two HDMI inputs and that was enough for a while, but something happened and we got a new widget so two HDMI ports just wasn't enough any more, so I got the switch. We don't use it anymore, but we have it just in case we need to watch a DVD or a Blue Ray disk, and who knows what will turn up?

Sorry about the out-of-focus pictures. I have no patience with my smartphone. They're not great, but it should give you an idea of what's happening.

Checking my archives I realized I had written a bunch about this stuff. If you want to know that hole gruesome story, click on this Home Theater link.

P.S. This simple little task was a major ordeal for me with my cranky body. Bunch of crawling around on the floor and changing from sitting to getting up on my knees and back again. Next time I'm gonna have a couple of tough guys lift the whole dang thing three feet in the air and set it on some sawhorses. It'll be tough for them but it will make my job easier.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The Victims' Game

The Victims' Game | Official Trailer | Netflix
Netflix Asia

Not the best show in the world. None of the characters are very sympathetic. The lead guy is a forensic investigator with the police. He is afflicted with Asberger's which, rumor has it, is a mild form of autism. He is very focused on his work and not too good in the social skills department. The other lead is an agressive, attractive, young woman reporter. So Superman and Lois Lane, sort of, dealing with a suicide death cult, a group of people who are all suffering in one way or another. Their facilitator arranges for each one to commit suicide but making it look like the suicide of another member of the group. So we get a who chain of suicides and each exposes some kind of bullshit corruption. Meanwhile our girl's editor keeps diverting her from the story she really wants to write because they would reflect poorly on one or another of their big advertisers.

This show was set in Taiwan. We watch a lot of shows out of South Korea and Western Europe, but I think this might be the first one I've seen from Taiwan. The Korean shows all kind of blur together, I think they use many of the same sets. This show looked different. I'm not quite sure just what was different. It still looked Asian, just different.

Curiously, at the end of the season, Superman and Lois Lane looked like they might have formed some kind of attachment. It's curious because we haven't seen any sign of affection between them before now. But they have been working together all season on some emotionally charged stuff. So maybe seeing some affection now is not out of line. And it's not obvious, no kissing or hugging or anything like that, just the way they behave around each other. It was either skillfully done or maybe I just imagined it.

Saturday, September 10, 2022


How Suzuki stole communist technology to make their motorcycles faster

Great stuff.

YouTube blurb:
This is the incredible story of Water Kaaden and his innovative 2 stroke racebikes with MZ. Its also the story of one Ernst Degner and how he stole Kaaden's tech for Suzuki's race team. 


Mister Mulligan

Mister Mulligan Replica

Cool airplane from the glorious 1930's. 

Airworthy replica of the sole 1934-built Howard DGA-6 racing cabin monoplane which won the 1935 Bendix trophy. [The original] was damaged beyond repair in a forced landing during the 1936 race. The replica, powered by a P&W R1340, was built in 1985 by R. Younkin and is painted to closely represent the original. - Air History

In the 1935 Bendix race the aircraft was loaded with 300 gallons of gasoline, 30 gallons of oil and oxygen equipment for two, giving it the ability to fly for seven hours at 22,000 feet (6,700 m). At that load the aircraft required 1,500 feet (460 m) of runway and had an initial climb rate of close to 2000 ft/min. - Wikipedia Howard DGA-6

The second-place plane in the 1935 race was actually a faster airplane but had to make refueling stops, which cost enough time to prevent Roscoe Turner from winning the race. The time difference was only 23.5 seconds between first and second place. The winning difference in speed, over the total distance was less than 0.2 mph (0.32 km/h). Mister Mulligan achieved 238.70 mph (384.15 km/h), compared to Roscoe Turner's 238.52 mph (383.86 km/h). - Wikipedia Bendix Trophy

The Bendix Trophy is quite the work of art: 

Bendix Trophy

The trophy is big, as this picture illustrates:

Louise Thaden with the Bendix Trophy. (Tom Sande, AP)

4 September 1936: Louise Thaden was the first woman to win the Bendix Trophy Race when she and her co-pilot, Blanche Noyes, flew a Beechcraft C17R “Staggerwing,” NR15835, from Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York, to Mines Field, Los Angeles, California, in 14 hours, 55 minutes, 1.0 seconds. With one fuel stop at Wichita, Kansas, Thaden and Noyes had averaged 165.35 miles per hour (266.11 kilometers per hour) - This Day In Aviation

The difference in speed between the 1935 and 1936 Bendix Trophy Races might be because of head winds. The 1935 race was from Los Angeles to Cleveland (West to East) and the 1936 race was from New York to Los Angeles (East to West).