Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Monday, October 31, 2022

Telephone Heck

Hell Phone

I hate talking to medical offices on the phone. They never answer the phone in person, it's always some robo-cop menu system and they always start with a whole bunch of bullshit that you neither want to know or hear. First they tell you to call 911 if you are dying. I should put that on my voice mail. Then it's lecture about COVID, a dissertation on minority rights, the punch-a-button directives, and just when you think you've run the gauntlet, they hit you with a notice that they are experiencing high call volumes. No shit, sherlock. You get through all that and then you get to leave message. Took all my self control not to leave a endless string of expletives. Effing a-holes.

How much time does America collectively spend on hold waiting to talk to an actual person who can deal with their inscrutable scheduling program? I understand why they do it. Making you wait costs them nothing except they might lose you as a customer, IF you could find a doctor that didn't have an underpaid phone drone fully equipped with the latest in automatic bullshit machinery. But hiring drones to answer the phone costs money, money that is coming out of their pocket, which they are loathe to give up given that they have sacrificed better than ten years of their life to get to the top of the heap. Pity the poor phone drones, unappreciated, underpaid and unloved. Very sad.

OHSU is the worst. I had to deal with them to get an X-ray and now I'm trying to schedule an appointment with physical therapy. This is second time I've tried to schedule a PT appointment. If this time isn't a charm, I'm goin' somewhere else. Montana maybe.

I tried to get the result from a blood test yesterday from Quest Diagnostics. What a load of horseshit. Who are you? Where do you live? Who do you pray to? Are you sure? Maybe I worship the devil you frigging morons. Criminently, never seen so much back and forth bullshit.

Just remember that computers are making our life better. Just like Joe Biden is the best president ever.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Chucky's Seven Levels of Hell

Dante's 7 Circles of Hell

I don't think our criminal justice system is working very well. By all accounts our prisons are pretty horrible places, expensive to build, expensive to maintain and overrun by gangs. I would also say they were ineffective in accomplishing their intended purpose if I knew what the intended purpose was. Are we trying to reform people? Punish them? Enslave and exploit them? Remove them from civilized society? Or are we just trying to keep the prison-industrial system going and keep all the contractors and prison guards employed?

I'm thinking farms and ranches would be better for maybe half of the people in prison. I think a lot of people would be happy just to have something to do. Of course there are those who are just going to rebel against anyone telling them what to do. Well, if they do, they can go down to the next level.

Homelessness seems to be a big problem. Maybe a big campground would help. This would be level one. Any vagrants, people caught loitering or jaywalking, having too many parking tickets, we'd put them on a bus and send them to the campground. They are free to go where they want, but if they show up in the city again doing the same bullshit, we put them on the bus and send them back to the campground. Probably have to be 50 or even miles outside of the city to where the land is cheap enough you can afford to establish a campground.

Let the campground govern itself. Anybody they decide is misbehaving goes to the next level - a campground encircled with a fence. Every month or so the people in this second level decide whether anyone of their number can be trusted enough to be elevated to the first level. Anyone they decide is misbehaving according to their rules to cast down into a lower level. That level only meets quarterly to decide on who gets parole. Each successive layer has a higher fence and a longer time between meetings of the parole board.

This is Sparta Scene (full) HD

The bottom level is a circular area surrounding a bottomless pit. You get on the wrong side of the people on the seventh level and into the pit you go.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Dirac's belt trick

This one popped up while I was watching YouTube shorts

Have you seen this trick?! 🤔🤚😅 | Triple Charm #shorts
Triple Charm

Dennis replied with this one:

Illustration of Dirac's belt trick

Here's a slightly longer demonstration using a real belt.

The Belt Trick
Daniel Ramras

Here we have a cutie making the same demonstration:

Dirac's Belt Trick demonstrated with long hair

All this twisting and untwisting reminded me of bandsaw blades:

The BEST way to fold/coil a band saw blade- Fast, easy and simple!
Stumpy Nubs

The belt trick purports to illustrate something about electron spin. Here's an hour long video that might explain it. I only watched the first few minutes.

Who was this guy Dirac? Well, seems like he was pretty popular back in the day.

1927 Solvay Conference: Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli (back row, third and fourth from right, resp.) and Paul Dirac (right dead center) Credit: iharsten/Flickr, CC BY 2.0
Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac OM FRS (1902 – 1984) was an English theoretical physicist who is regarded as one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century.

Black Butterflies - Netflix Series

Black Butterflies SEASON 1 Trailer 2022 (ENGLISH VERSION)

This was almost as confusing as Momento. Wikipedia has a few choice words on that movie:
The film's nonlinear narrative is presented as two different sequences of scenes interspersed during the film: a series in black-and-white that is shown chronologically, and a series of color sequences shown in reverse order (simulating for the audience the mental state of the protagonist). The two sequences meet at the end of the film, producing one complete and cohesive narrative.

Two sequences? I must have missed it. I eventually figured that Momento was told in reverse order, but that was all.

This one doesn't run backwards, but it does jump around in time a bunch which makes it hard to keep track of just what's going on. There are also several threads that run through the show that keep forking and then merging, except no that wasn't a merge, that was the other girl, you're just confused. Decider sums it up pretty well:

Time jumps, at least the back-and-forth kind, are all the rage for prestige dramas these days. Sometimes the gambit works, sometimes it doesn’t. From what we’ve seen, the more care that’s taken with how each time period is presented goes a long way to helping make such a story cohesive and coherent. A new French thriller actively goes back and forth in time, using a device that definitely sets the two time periods apart.

I think the 'device' they are using is a color shift. Stuff from earlier times has a different tint, more yellow. Current time scenes are more blue.

It's a pretty horrific tale told by a old guy who appears to be a harmless. He's not. And none of the people in the story are who you think they are, but all we have to go on is what people tell us and most of them are lying. All is eventually revealed and it's pretty nuts.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Satellite Communications

Hughes Satellite Antennae Meter

Found this in the shrubbery outside my daughter's house. Those are coax connectors sticking out of the sides at the top, so it appears to be some kind of meter for use with satellite TV of some sort. Turns out it used to align satellite dishes when they are being installed. This kind of scheme works with geosynchronous satellites, you know, the ones that are way out there, like 20,000 odd miles.

You can probably use some more conventional test equipment to do the same job, but this was designed for use by people installing satellite dishes when that was all the fad. Just Google Hughes Satellite Antennae Meter. Apparently HughesNet still offers internet via satellite. 

Talking to Marc yesterday and he tells us he was in Alvord desert last week, on vacation, but working, which isn't really a vacation, but what do I know about working anyway? Anyway he's got a Starlink satellite communicator. Starlink satellites are in Low Earth Orbit, about 350 miles up, about three times the altitude of the International Space Station. As such, they are moving across the sky, they are not stationary like the broadcast satellites.

When you are camping power is always an issue. You can always start your car to get juice to charge your batteries, but you really don't want to be doing that. The whole point of camping is to get away from running engines. OK, maybe not the whole point, but a major attraction.

Starlink Satellite Constellation
Currently 3,000 satellites

A Starlink antennae doesn't use a whole lot of power, but Michael tells us that when you first fire up Starlink it sucks about 80 watts of power for like 20 or 30 minutes and then it drops down to about half that. During that first 30 minutes it is downloading the ephemeris, which is a bunch of data that tells it where the satellites can be found. It needs this because it has to constantly adjust the antennae's aim. I think they use to actually move the antennae, but the current version uses a phased array antenna where aiming is controlled by adjusting the phase of the signal sent to each of the component elements.

Phased Array Antenna

Quora has a bunch of information about aiming satellite antennaes. I mean, how do you aim to hit something 20,000 miles away? Forget about doing anything like adjusting the sights on your rifle. At that distance you aren't even going to be able to see it. You would need something like a 5,000 power telescope to see them.

Interceptor - Netflix Movie

INTERCEPTOR | Official Trailer | Netflix

Total comic book action movie. The heroine is a tough girl who takes on a succession of bad guys in the close confines of the command center of the SBX, a giant floating radar station. It's kind of like a James Bond movie, lots of high tech gadgets, a plethora of bad guys, really nasty villains and a smart, savvy hero who wins against impossible odds. The fight scenes are very well done. They are almost believable, not like some of these science fiction fantasies where a hundred pound cutey takes on a dozen bruisers and knocks them down with one blow. Our girl takes a beating, but she also responds in kind and manages to defeat them using skill and whatever material is within her reach. She does have a problem with running out of bullets at the wrong time. A little ammunition management would have helped, but I imagine that might be a little difficult to enforce in the middle of a fire fight.

The entire show (well, 90% of it) takes place in the command center. A rather small room filled with computers and radar displays and manned by 3 or 4 people. Entrance to the room is through two super-fancy security doors. Bad guys don't care, they have a cutting torch. Zero hour is approaching and they haven't finished cutting through the second door, so it looks like their fancy scheme will come to naught, but then a ninja jumps up from a hatch in the floor. Criminently, that looks like a weak point in the control room's security. Then we look down through the hatch and it's a straight drop to the water a hundred feet down. Evidently this ninja is Spider Man because he was able to crawl along the underside of the platform.


Later on, we open a hatch in the ceiling that gives us access to the upper deck. For all the planning the bad guys have supposedly done, you'd think they would have thought of this. Stupid bad guys.

The highlight of show is when our girl climbs up a ladder attached to the side of one of the supporting pylons. That's no small feat, it is at least a hundred feet straight up, and she does it with a broken arm that is just hanging by her side. Then she has to follow the ninja's path across the underside of the deck. Seems that someone thoughtfully provided a set of monkey bars and she manages to traverse them, once again one handed. In case your hands aren't sweaty enough she gets to a place were a couple of bars are missing, so she has to really swing to throw herself across the gap. Criminently, who is this chick? And was that a real stunt? Her name is Elsa Pataky and Netflix Tudum has the story.

The SBX is a real thing, though I don't think there are any missiles on board. The movie version has a bunch of anti-ICBM missiles, kind of like you might have on a G.I. Joe toy. Our real anti-ICBM missiles are carried on ships. We might have some on land bases but I'm not too sure about that.

The whole anti-missile missile thing is kind of iffy at best. They whiz kids in the military industrial complex have been working on the problem for years and they have some missiles that they have demonstrated successfully, but we don't know how reliable they are. A demonstration is one thing, but how well would they work against a real attack? Here's hoping we never find out. Then there's the problem of quantity. Russia has a zillion ICBM's. How many anti-missile missiles do we have? Assuming the missiles worked reliably, do we have enough to stop an attack? And how many do you need if the missiles are not reliable? And how do you demonstrate that your missiles are reliable enough to justify spending a zillion dollars to build up your inventory? I don't think Biden cares, he seems bent on armageddon.


I've been feeling increasingly hostile recently and I think I may have figured out why that is. I'm frustrated that I don't understand what's going on with the world's economy these days. I can sort of understand individual pieces but I don't understand what the otherall plan is or how it's supposed to work. It's kind of like having a basic understanding of atomic energy, but you don't know whether the guys who are messing with it are building an atom bomb or a nuclear reactor. I suspect the world's leaders think they are building a nuclear reactor, but what they are doing might very well blow up in their face.

Managing the world economy has got to be a tricky business, all these powerful interests pushing and jockeying for position, trying to maintain a certain amount of stability, trying to forestall anything that might threaten established interests because those interests are the bedrock of stability.

So it kind of seems that to the guys who run the world, the new Russia, the one that has emerged from the ashes of the old Soviet empire, now looks like some kind of threat to the established world order. You wouldn't know it from the way the media portrays Russia as being weak, broke, corrupt and near collapse. If they are so weak, why are we willing to sacrifice Ukraine and umpteen billion dollars to wage this war of attrition against them?

The rest of the world does not share the West's view of how things should be run and so they have started their own club - BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). China and India are big, and while they have some technically sophisticated people, they don't have the wherewithal to deploy vast numbers of cutting edge weapons. They're building their own aircraft carriers now, or at least China is, but they both got their start by buying used aircraft carriers from Russia. The USA has the biggest and most developed armaments industry. It takes talent, organization and money to keep it going. China and India are learning how to do this, but they have a lot of catching up to do. The Soviet Union was right up there with the USA until they collapsed, but Russia still has most of what they had, except money. The important part is the have a deep pool of talent, including the widespread knowledge on how to organize a giant armaments industry.

Anyway, the West has decided that Russia is the leader of the pack (BRICS) and needs to be taken out. If they can do that, the pack will be much weaker and the West can continue to run the world as they see fit.

My problems are two fold. The first is that I am not sure that taking out Russia is going to be a net benefit to the world. The second is that if Russia and BRICS become powerful enough to stand against the West, am I personally going to suffer? Because the US dollar is the world's reserve currency, it means we conjure up money out of thin air and use it to buy real goods and services from the rest of the world. I think everyone benefits from that. America, because we get all kinds of stuff dirt cheap, and the rest of the world benefits because they are earning money. Weird. We make money from nothin' but as soon as we spend it, it becomes real. I suspect this all part of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

I suspect that the people in the southern hemisphere have a hard time building and maintaining large organizations that are capable of getting things done. Don't know why that is. It might be because people are naturally crazy and it's only when you can get a core group of non-crazy people together that you can actually get things done. So anywhere outside of the northern temperate zone, a non-crazy person is liable to get frustrated dealing with all the crazy people and says 'I'm going north to the land of the not quite as crazy people'. So gatherings of non-crazy people continue to grow slowly while the hordes of crazy folks grows exponentially.

Greg Hunter got me started with a summary of an interview with Catherine Austin Fitts. This bit is ominous:

In short, the Fed will defend the dollar and the world reserve currency status no matter how hard the stock market crashes, no matter how much the economy crashes, no matter how much the bond market crashes and no matter how much the housing market crashes.

Hour long video of Greg Hunter interviewing Catherine Austin Fitts.

Tam Doesn't Stop

The hits just keep on coming:

I'm a huge fan of William Gibson. Probably my favorite SF writer, all in all. He's a real rarity in that he not only spins a good yarn, and writes good dialog and action scenes, but he's a really talented prose stylist, too. Neuromancer's opening line, "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" is pretty much the "Call me Ishmael" of sci fi. 

Call me Ishmael is the opening line of Herman Melville's Moby Dick

Calling Dr. Demento

Highlighted text: Ludwig Boltzmann, who spent much of his life studying statistical mechanics, died in 1906, by his own hand. Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics.

Well, that's a grim opener, but who were these guys and what's their story? Depression seems to be the answer.

Ludwig Boltzmann (1844 – 1906)
Ludwig Boltzmann and his Entropy Formula
In 1906, Boltzmann's deteriorating mental condition forced him to resign his position, and his symptoms indicate he experienced what would today be diagnosed as bipolar disorder. Four months later he died by suicide on 5 September 1906, by hanging himself while on vacation with his wife and daughter in Duino, near Trieste (then Austria). He is buried in the Viennese Zentralfriedhof. His tombstone bears the inscription of Boltzmann's entropy formula. - Wikipedia

Note that while he was on vacation with his wife and daughter, he only hanged himself, not his whole family.

Paul Ehrenfest (1880 – 1933)
Paul Ehrenfest
Ehrenfest, a gifted extrovert from Vienna, was highly respected by his colleagues. Some thought him the conscience and driving force of international theoretical physics. He had contacts everywhere. But all the while he suffered from increasing depression, his private life was in turmoil, and he told Goudsmit and others that he was planning to kill himself. Six months after writing the letter, he did just that, after first taking the life of his youngest son, who was afflicted with Down syndrome. - Physics Today

Saturday, October 22, 2022

In a political crisis, everyone is a potential enemy

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts (Merv Griffin) (1950)

Lovely bunch of coconuts from The Tories were destined for civil war by John Oxley

Even in the most tense, fractious relationship there can be enormous capacity for calm: for letting things go, for tolerating each infraction for the greater good, for simply getting on with things. Eventually, though, the dam breaks into a cathartic spasm of anger and it all unravels. Buried resentments unearth themselves and heighten every complaint. Suddenly, everything is a battle, from the thing they did that one time to why they must stir their tea so BLOODY LOUDLY.

I've added Unherd to Feedly so I get several articles a day and many of them are about politics in the UK. I don't understand most of it. Prime Minister Liz Truss is no longer Prime Minister but I can't tell you why. UK politics seems to be snarled like a Gordian knot. You can only understand it if you have been well immersed in it for a good long while.

One of the big problems in the UK, or so I am led to believe is huge increase in the energy prices, notably gasoline and electricity. I don't understand this. I know energy prices have rising rapidly all over Europe, but the UK has their whole North Sea oil field which, as far as I know, is still delivering boatloads of oil. You would think with all that oil coming in the price of gasoline would not be skyrocketing. Obviously I'm missing something.

The problem with energy prices is being caused the USA's hybrid / proxy war against Russia. Apparently all of Western Europe are our vassals, so when Joe Biden says 'freeze and starve' they all huddle down and tell everyone they're only going to die a little bit. I'm sorry, even a little bit dead is dead. I hope I'm wrong.

Prime Numbers

x/log(x) (red) Approximates the Number of Primes under x
x/9 (blue)
The green line shows the difference

Playing with a little bit of algebra and trying to write a program to solve a particular problem. I need to factor a number, which means I need a list of prime numbers, so how much space do I need given a number of certain size? x/9 (blue) approximates x/log(x) well enough for my purposes for values of x under a billion.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Lady of the Gobi: trucking coal across the desert to China

Lady of the Gobi: trucking coal across the desert to China
The Guardian

Gives a different picture of life on this planet.


Rev. Gallegos of Chucándaro

I'm ambivalent about Catholics. One one hand they are Christians and so better than most of the world in so far as they are one of the foundations of Western Civilization, which I am a great believer in. I read several Catholic bloggers and they seem to be intelligent, well reasoned people. On the other hand, we have a land holding structure in Latin America which is pretty screwed up but is supported by the Church.

Now we get this report from Bayou Renaissance Man about a priest in Mexico getting in trouble with the Church over advising his parishioners to get a gun.

The common image of the church (at least in my mind) is encouraging people to hold to a moral code, don't do bad things, at least try to behave. But the church's actual business is offering forgiveness for whatever bad things you have done. That was the girl Percy's problem in season 4 of The Sinner, she couldn't forgive herself and she couldn't confess her crime to anyone else. It probably wouldn't have bothered a psychopath, but it bothered Percy enough to drive her to suicide.

When you are raised in a family with strong religious beliefs, those beliefs are going to be inculcated in you from a very young age, so when you get to be big enough to commit mayhem, then when you confess your misdeeds to the priest and the priest tells you that God forgives you, you believe him and whatever burden of guilt you were carrying around goes away, because that it what you believe and you believe that because you were brought up to believe it.

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised to find that Catholics are mentally healthier than the average bear or beast of a man.

That's my amateur psychological theory for today.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Sinner - Netflix Series - Season 4

The Sinner Season 4 Trailer | Rotten Tomatoes TV
Rotten Tomatoes TV

Small fishing community on Hanover Island off the coast of Maine within a ferry ride of Portland, Maine. Not enough fish or lobsters to go around, commercial fishing permits cost an arm and a leg. Fishermen squabble, tensions flare, fists start flying and one guy gets on top of the another and is beating him mercilessly. The girl pulls out a gun telling him to stop, he doesn't, so she shoots and kills him. Was it an accident or deliberate? Kind of hard to tell, though she was pointing the gun at him and she did pull the  trigger. Her brothers want to cover it up because if it got out 'it would ruin her life'. The girl can't handle it, falls into deep, dark depression and two years later jumps off of a cliff into the water and drowns.

It starts out kind of weird because the girl comes out of an alleyway in the middle of the night and our guy happens to see her and starts following her because he is curious and or worried. To the casual observer he looks like a pervert. Why didn't he call out to her? Could be that she was too far away, but it sure didn't look like it. Anyway, he's the good guy, so we aren't going to entertain any ideas about him being a bad guy.

Portland Maine and Ferry Routes to Nearby Islands

Hanover Island isn't real, but there are a bunch of islands northeast of Portland. Not that it makes any difference, the show was shot in Nova Scotia.

P.S. I forgot to mention the alien smuggling business. Making fake ID's and carrying people to Canada. Quite the business.

We've seen all four seasons. Post about Season 2 here.

The Northman - Amazon Movie

The Northman Trailer #1 (2022) | Movieclips Trailers
Rotten Tomatoes Trailers

895 AD if I recall the opening scene correctly. Bloodthirsty tale of savages bent on murder and revenge. Norway, Russia, Iceland. Nicole Kidman, Bjork, slavery, foxes, ravens and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Vikings rowing and sailing longboats. It all looked pretty realistic. Not too much Hollywood, just some fancy metal working on the hero's sword. Fancy tapestry, though it looked like the designs were painted on. Maybe they were. People wearing cloth clothes, though no sign of a loom. Maybe they were knitted?

From the Wikipedia page: "nihilistic tone". Hit the nail on the head.

Resolute Desk

Caroline Kennedy & Kerry Kennedy under the Resolute Desk

Tam mentions the 'Resolute desk' which means nothing to me. Is she referring to some vessel from Star Trek or some other science fiction story? I mean, she does dabble in those waters. No, it's in the White House.

The White House Historical Association has the story:

H.M.S. 'Resolute', forming part of the expedition sent in search of Sir John Franklin in 1852, was abandoned in Latitude 74º 41' N. Longitude 101º 22' W. on 15th May 1854. She was discovered and extricated in September 1855, in Latitude 67º N. by Captain Buddington of the United States Whaler 'George Henry'. The ship was purchased, fitted out and sent to England, as a gift to Her Majesty Queen Victoria by the President and People of the United States, as a token of goodwill & friendship. This table was made from her timbers when she was broken up, and is presented by the Queen of Great Britain & Ireland, to the President of the United States, as a memorial of the courtesy and loving kindness which dictated the offer of the gift of the "Resolute'.

Okay then, British ship, doomed Arctic expedition, sounds a whole lot like The Terror

HMS Resolute Abandoned

67 degrees North (where it was recovered) would be about 500 miles south of where it was abandoned.

HMS Resolute in search of Sir John Franklin 1850 - Francois Musin

I chose the picture of the desk (top) because it revealed the existence of the door.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Third World Industry

Most Incredible Manufacturing Process of Rebar Steel
Random Things

Probably very like what industry looked like in the west a hundred years ago -  a bunch of guys feeding some very large and very dangerous machines. Only difference is that the building and the machinery looks to be a hundred years old while in the west it would have been new. Shoot, they are probably the same machines, just uprooted from the midwest or Sheffield and shipped to southern Asia. One big difference is they might be using natural gas instead of coal for heating.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

St. Paul Alaska


The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is adding GPS guided flight paths in Alaska, whatever that means. I'm looking at the above map and I say 'wait a minute', what's with the paths that go out to the middle of the Bering Sea? Then I look at Google Maps and if you zoom in you will find the islands of St. Paul and St. George.

Southwest Alaska

Neither island is very big, but there are people living out there. They are both have airstrips. St. Paul also has fish processing plant.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Jojo (The Restaurant)

Jojo (The Restaurant) before it became Jojo (The Restaurant)

I drove into Portland the other day to have lunch with oldest. At the corner of his street there is a dumpster delivery truck waiting. It is not up against the curb so the one travel lane in the center is not as wide as normal. I managed to squeeze by and there is a big empty spot by the curb so I pull in. There is a meter maid writing tickets a couple cars ahead of me. My parking spot is not totally legal, I'm halfway in  a loading zone, but I'm only here to pick up my son, so I have low expectations of grief. A tow truck pulls up alongside me and then proceeds to back into the spot behind me. There is small car back there, parked in the loading zone and behind it is the dumpster truck waiting for the tow truck to remove the small car, which he does in short order. The meter maid has moved on up the block, oldest arrives and we depart.

Jojo (The Restaurant) Fancy Wood Bar

We drove the mile to the Jojo restaurant, find a parking place a block away and pay my fee. Portland doesn't have parking meters by every parking place anymore. Now they have robo-boxes on every block. Used to be they would print a ticket which you would need to place inside the glass of the passenger window, so you would have to walk to the robo-kiosk, pay for your parking, and then walk back to your car and place the ticket. Now they ask you for the number from your license plate, so now you walk to the kiosk, find you need your license number and have to walk back to your car to get the number and then walk back to the kiosk and hope you don't forget the number on your way. Big improvement.

Evidently there is also a JoJo food truck. They seem to be related. Fried chicken and burgers. $30 for lunch for two. Order at the counter and they bring the food to you. We sat at a picnic table out on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. There was a stunning young woman sitting at an adjacent table. It was difficult not to stare at her. Brown skin, long dark hair. bare shoulders and bright orange fingernails an inch long. I wanted to take her picture but my family has a phobia about doing anything in public that would attract attention so I refrained. She was out of this world.

Now we have another errand, so we drive a mile and find parking spot two blocks away. This time I remember to check my license number before I walk to the robo-kiosk only to find that it is out of order. The next nearest kiosk is almost as far as our destination. This stop will be a short one so we skip paying the fee and go on about our business. Besides, the city already got $4.20 out of me for the previous parking spot, and we didn't use all of our allotted time.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Who's Civilized?

Prologue by Robert McCall

Here's something to read and think about:


Since it's hosted on Baen's website, I suspect the author is the science fiction writer. Or should say 'was'. He died in 1971.

Via Song of Joy by Caroline Furlong

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Abram Gannibal

Abram Gannibal

I am really starting to enjoy Biden's war on Europe. Every day we have another outstanding example of insane stupidity. Today we have the destruction of Puskin's statue in Kiev. RT reports:
A monument in the center of Kiev to the iconic 19th-century Russian poet Alexander Pushkin was demolished on Tuesday, according to co-founder of the “Decommunization. Ukraine” project Vadim Pozdnyakov.

Alexander Puskin lived in the 19th Century. He died like 75 years before the Communist Revolution in Russia, but he was a Russian and evidently that was enough to get him canceled.

But how much of a Russian was he?

His maternal great-grandfather was Major-General Abram Petrovich Gannibal, a nobleman of Cameroonian origin who was kidnapped from his homeland and raised in the Emperor's court household as his godson. 

Cameroon? You don't mean that country  . . . wait, just where is Cameroon anyway? Next door to Nigeria:


You're kidding, right? Nope:

Abram Petrovich Gannibal (1696 – 1781), was a Russian military engineer, general-in-chief, and nobleman of African origin. Kidnapped and enslaved as a child by Ottomans, Gannibal was traded to Russia and presented as a gift to Peter the Great, where he was freed, adopted and raised in the Emperor's court household as his godson.


Flower of Evil - Netflix Series


Yet another Korean show about cops and serial killers. The story is complicated so it's a bit of a puzzle trying to figure out who the killer is, which is good. I think that's why we like these kinds of shows, we like solving puzzles. But I've got to mark them down for their editing. There is more than one story and more than one time period and the way the jump around is sometimes a bit confusing. It's also semi-long (16 episodes) so you can have a scene and if you don't remember everything that has happened, you may confuse our hero being in the hospital for being hit by a car with the time he was stabbed with a knife or the time he drowned. Or the time the other guy who sort of looks like him was in the hospital. The way things are going he is liable to get shot before the end (we're halfway through).

Recently it seems like they are going for these emotional scenes where one character or another is despondent and they just go on forever. They're putting me to sleep. But my wife thinks this show is great, and that's the important part.

Several of the characters in this show and in the book Starfish had traumatic upbringings. A murder may only directly affect a couple of people, but there is a ripple effect that spreads out and affects everyone in the emotional vicinity. The characters have learned to cope with the world, some better than others, but you never know when the crazy is going to appear.

Our leading lady seems to have escaped all that. She is apparently happy and well adjusted, but she falls for this emotional distant guy who has no interest in her. No explanation for this, though he is handsome enough and intelligent. But she persists, eventually wins him over and they get married. Kind of odd, but women have a biological clock and maybe he was the smartest guy around and she wanted a smart guy for a husband.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

M1 AbramsX

M1 AbramsX

This AbramsX tank is a 'technology demonstrator' from General Dynamics. It's here because I am a sucker for cool looking war machines.

The Revolutionists

The Revolutionists Trailer
Theatre Horizon
Uniberp takes in a little culture:
I saw a play last night "The Revolutionists", which to me was kind of an odd thing, a sort of high-spirited telling of a playwright Olympe de Gouges during the French Revolution along with Charlotte Cordray, the woman who killed Marat and who was herself put to death, coupled with a comic turn on Marie Antoinette. The audience ate it up, as they were supposed to, but I was not that strong on my history and I had to sit somewhat aghast at the whole thing, How is it that people can put horrors like that, however necessary they may be, at arms length?
Maybe mine was the intended reaction and all those chucklers went home and read the history after.
Okay, Robespierre and Marie Antoinette are the only people I recall from the French Revolution. There was a King, Louis, I think, but I can't tell you what number he was. 14th? 15th? 16th? Something like that. Marat sort of rings a bell, but Olympe de Gouges and Charlotte Cordray are new to me.

The Revolutionists is a new play about four very real women who lived boldly in France during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. 

Playwright Olympe De Gouge, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat, loose their heads and try to beat back the extremist insanity in the Paris of 1793. What was a hopeful revolution for the people is now sinking into hyper violent hypocritical male rhetoric. However will modern audiences relate. 

This grand and dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world.  

It’s a true story. 

Or total fiction. 

Or a play about a play. 

Or a raucous resurrection. . .

that ends in a song and a scaffold.  



I've been reading Starfish by Peter Watts. We've got people living deep underwater and the occasional run-in with monsters is a daily hazard. Last night I watching YouTube shorts (a time sucker of the highest order) and I come across this image. It's the only one I found that gives you an idea of the scale of this thing. Kind of explains the image on the last post.

Anglerfish are not only big and ugly, they're pretty weird too.

Monday, October 10, 2022


The cover for the latest Russian edition of Starfish. By Mikhail Yemelyanov.

I'm reading Starfish by Peter Watts. It's pretty great. On page 134 we have this little bit. Acton and Lenie Clarke are deep underwater in the Pacific Ocean and Acton picks up a starfish:

He holds the animal up for Clarke's inspection. Its upper surface is colored stone, encrusted with calcareous spicules. Action flips it over. The underside writhes with hundreds of thick squirming threads, jammed into dense rows along the length of each arm. Each thread has tiny sucker at its tip.

"A starfish," Acton tells her, "is the ultimate democracy."

Clarke stares, quietly repelled.

"This is how they move," Acton is saying. "They walk along on all these tube feet. But the weird thing is, they have no brains at all. Not surprising for a democracy,"

High Speed Communication

How the first ever telecoms scam worked
Tom Scott

I've heard about people paying to run their own private optical data line from their office to the New York Stock Exchange in order to get their financial information a few nanoseconds quicker than the next guy. I suppose that's okay if it makes you some money, but it sounds pretty risky. It's going to take a chunk of change to get the line installed, and then the trades you are going to be making are going to be based on miniscule changes in price which means you are going to need big blocks of cash to spend on these trades. That's all fine and well as long as the stocks (or bonds or whatever) are trading within a predictable range, but if a big wave sweeps through the market all those gains could be wiped out in a heartbeat. That's okay, some people thrive on taking extraordinary risks. Everybody accepts some risk, it's what makes life worth living, but most people aren't adrenalin junkies.

Crimea Bridge Bomb

Oil Train on Fire

The bomb on the Crimea Bridge set fire to several railroad tank cars and broke one of the two roadways.

Satellite image of damaged Crimean Bridge

Politicians are One Trick Ponies

Some ideas are so big and their rewards are so obvious that disparate groups of people will pretend to get along long enough to organize and pass a tax bill to pay for it. That's the one trick. After that, anytime anyone brings them a problem, their answer is to levy a tax to pay for a program. That might not be the best solution and in fact it might be the wrong solution, but if the government decides to help, that's what you are going to get. So think carefully about those social ills you want to correct. Is throwing money at the problem going to solve it?

Some people are good at working with reality. Some people are good at working with other people. Big programs require lots of people with people skills. All those people with people skills are looking to move up the ladder to get farther away from working with reality. Working with reality is for peons. Things go on long enough and everyone gets promoted and no one is a peon and no one has to work with reality anymore. And that's why government programs fail.

Right now I suspect that every person working with reality is supporting three or four other people. They may not be making as much money as any of the other four, but reality still has to be dealt with, and for the four that aren't, this one guy is doing all that reality stuff for them.

Could it be that we just don't need that many people working with reality? I mean we have been becoming ever more productive to the point that one person now does the work that would have taken a thousand people a hundred years ago. What is everyone else doing? I suspect most of them are playing at one thing or another, keeping other people entertained, or doing drugs. Drugs are basically cheap entertainment.

Not having to pay rent would have to be invigorating. How much money would you need to keep yourself fed is you were living on the street?

Trump the Fat Mailman

Trump the fat mailman
KT Cat

Seems I'm not the only one who doesn't understand why Joe Biden has a hard on for Putin.

Via The Scratching Post

Many Flavors of Chinese

Languages spoken in China

I only knew about Mandarin and Cantonese. Taking over other countries means you get another language (Tibet) and there is going to be some migration with other countries that will bring in other languages like Mongolia and Korea. But I have never heard of most of the other several dozen languages listed. I suspect the white spot on the map is the Taklamakan Desert.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

The Infrastructure War

Map of western portion of Nord Stream Pipeline

A week or so ago, somebody blew up the undersea pipeline that used to supply Germany with natural gas from Russia until Russia turned off the taps. So the pipeline wasn't actually piping anything at the time. Germany apparently thinks thinking positive thoughts are going to keep them warm this winter. Meanwhile, Germans are busy cutting down all the trees, digging up all the coal and burning all their trash to keep warm. And it's only October.

Satellite Image of Crimea Bridge

A couple of days some troglodyte set off a bomb on the Crimea Bridge causing some damage and some disruption to traffic. Also killed three people who were unlucky enough to be passing the truck when it blew up. No mention of the truck driver.

Ukraine War Hot Spots
Top to bottom: Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant, Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, Mariupol, Crimea Bridge, Sevastopol Naval Base

Yesterday, Russia attacked Zaporizhzhia with a bunch of missiles. Ukraine, naturally, complained that the missiles landed in a residential part of town and killed a dozen people. Thought that was a little odd. Why are they attacking this town which doesn't seem to be involved in the latest fighting? So I look and here's what I find.

Dnipro Hydroelectric Station

A giant freaking dam and power plant. The dam was built in the 1920's. Look what happened to it when the Nazi's tried to cross the Dniper river in 1942.

The dam at Zaporizhzhya after being blown up by Stalin's secret police in 1941. 

The Russian's blew it up. I suspect the Russian's were trying to repeat this event with their missiles. It might impact the water supply to Crimea which would be bad for Russia. Or maybe they were really trying to blow up apartment buildings and weren't trying to hit the dam.