Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Saturday, December 31, 2022


Fireplace room in airplane of Led Zeppelin "The Starship", 1977

The Starship was a Boeing 720 airliner. Never heard of the 720? Me neither. It was a shortened version of the Boeing 707.

Boeing 720 Starship

The Starship was created by singer Bobby Sherman and his manager Ward Sylvester. Never heard of either of them before, either, which is kind of weird. I mean Sherman must have had some hit songs back in the day and I was definitely listening to the radio back then, so what gives? Well, his big hit, Little Woman, is like dullsville, man.

Bobby Sherman singing little woman 1969

The masses are always hungry for something new. Offer them something to consume and if nothing else better is available, they will gobble it up. Of course, 'better' is in the eye of the beholder, and most beholders have no taste at all, they'll just gobble up what everyone else is gobbling.

Thursday, December 29, 2022


Venice - 1500 piece Puzzle

Diligent daughter got this puzzle for Christmas. We used the kitchen table. The whole family gathered around to work on it. It was tough. My contribution was taking random pieces and figuring out where they went. Sometimes it was adjacent to a completed area and sometimes it wasn't. I picked out maybe a couple of dozen pieces. We started on Sunday and it was finished by Tuesday.

The lights in the kitchen were not optimal, but bringing in other lamps was deemed too much trouble, so we bobbed and weaved our way into positions where we could see what was happening.

Christmas must be puzzle season. Liz Hinds has a similar post.

A Short Review of the Soviet Union

Bolshoi Theater

What if the USSR hadn’t collapsed? by Dominic Sandbrook gives a brief overview of the history of the Soviet Union. It's wonderful.

No 3D view of the Bolshoi Theater like we got with the Paris Pantheon, but Google Maps and Street View still work in spite of our ongoing proxy war.

Flower Style

Jaques Germain Soufflot (1714 1781) - Charles-André van Loo

Those are some fancy threads there, Jaques baby. I don't think I've ever seen the like, at least not being worn by men. Jaques was an architect, most famous for the Panthéon in Paris. The building is impressive, likewise is the Google Maps 3D view.

The Panthéon

P.S. Never seen the like except for Hawaiian shirts worn by tough guys.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Interstellar Flight

Borg Cube

I've been kicking around this idea for starship propulsion for a while. Basically, the idea is to shoot a stream of iron atoms out the back at very high velocities, like half the speed of light. I did some math and figured out that it ought to work, force being equal to mass times acceleration and all. But then I thought maybe I ought to figure out how much energy that would take. That turns out to be quite a bit, like a billion times as much energy as our biggest nuclear power plant. Assuming I've done my math right, that kind of squashes my idea. But let's see where this leads us.

If we could compress a billion watt power plant into a hundred foot cube, then a billion such power plants would make a cube 100,000 feet on a side, which would be roughly 20 miles. Oh, a Borg Cube!

I have no doubt we could build such a thing if we put our minds to it. I mean, people have building enormous structures since forever. Problem is that the mass of such a power plant would be enormous, so you would need to carry an even larger amount of reaction mass, like a thousand times bigger than the power plant. Something like an iron asteroid would work. This much mass is going to accelerate very slowly, but it will get you there. By the time you arrive all your reaction mass will be consumed so all you will have left is the cube, which is why Borg Cubes are only seen in their bare state. They have arrived, so they have consumed all their reaction mass.

Military-Industrial Mafia

Goodfellas "Funny Guy" Scene

There was a short story embedded in movie about gangsters, Goodfellas maybe. Several of the guys liked to hang out at this Tiki bar but they would never pay their bar tab. The owner was at his wits end. These guys were his best customers, but they were driving his business into the ground. In desperation he offers to make them partners in his bar. I suppose he was thinking that if they had a stake in the bar, they would want to ensure that it remained a viable business. Problem was, they didn't pay for that stake. They took him up on his offer and then proceeded to really run the place into the ground. They were taking deliveries of cases of booze and then selling it out the back door at discounted prices. They weren't paying the bills, but they were pocketing the cash from these sales. I don't think the business lasted more than a couple of months.

This is exactly what the US Congress is doing to our country.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Stupid Appliances, Stupid Old Man

I don't like our new appliances. The dishwasher has a large, stainless steel, flat front which is very stylish, I suppose. A normal wash cycle takes hours. I suspect it is supposed to be more energy efficient. It might be, but I can't tell. The door is larger, because the interior is taller. This doesn't do us any good, probably because we have been conditioned by our old dishwashers size. It might be large enough to accommodate baking trays, but I haven't tried it. The wire used to construct the racks seems flimsier than the old rack. It's probably just as strong, improved steel and all, but it's not as good as the old one. If you push it in the center, it slides / rolls right in, but if your push is off-center, it will jam. Didn't happen with the old one. The worst part about the bigger doors is it comes closer to the island when it is open.  Used to be you could walk by the open door of the old one without any problem. Now it's difficult. This is kind of weird because the door can't be more than a couple of inches bigger.

It has a couple of cute features, like rubber catches that will snap around the stems of your stemware and hold them in place. Might be useful if we used stemware more than once a year. The silverware basket has little doors that close over the top, I suppose to keep small stuff from jumping out. However, there are large holes in the sides of the basket and if you are not careful when putting the silverware in, it can slip right through the hole and then you've got to fiddle around recovering it.

One of the big problems is that it doesn't dry plastic anything. Open it up when it completes and the ceramic dishes and glassware are dry, but the plastic and the silverware are still all wet. I've taken to dumping out the silverware onto a towel spread on the counter. The towel soaks up the water and I don't have to fish the silverware out of the baskets.

The biggest problem is that it is darn near silent. It doesn't help that we are running the furnace fan continuously and it sounds like a jet engine, but without super senses you cannot tell if it is running. When it is finished, it shines a spot of green light on the floor right under the door, but that's the only indicator. Today I got in trouble because I stuck a dirty dish in the dishwasher when it had just finished washing a load of dishes. The old dishwasher had a manual latch that need to be closed in order to run it. Now it just has a snap latch. Stupid dishwasher.

The refrigerator isn't much better. It's one of these French door things with the freezer on the bottom. We liked the ice dispenser we had on our old side-by-side fridge, but putting the ice maker in the freezer would make it very awkward to access, so it's in the fridge. It works, but sometimes food sitting near it freezes. Plus it just seems like a very bad idea. The freezer is kind of fucked up as well. The freezer door is attached to a big drawer. The drawer opens when you pull the door open. There is also another tray above the drawer that you can slide out after you open the door-drawer. The stuff in the tray is relatively easy to reach, the stuff in the drawer is down near the floor so you have to bend over farther to reach it. But getting stuff out of the tray means you have to open the drawer and then perform the second step of opening the tray. Bah, double bah and humbug.

Some of our old appliances are getting a little cranky. Our microwave will sometimes flake out, turn off and display jumbled messages. The toaster will sometimes popup prematurely. The microwave came with the house, so it's like 25 years old, which is pretty good. It would probably run for another 25 years if the control panel hadn't flaked out. The toaster is ancient as well. We've definitely gotten our money's worth out of these two. Seems a shame that the electronics flaked out while the bulk of the machine is still working.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Season 3 - Prime Video

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Season 3 - Official Trailer | Prime Video
Prime Video

It's a pretty good action thriller. Not as smooth as I would like, but it definitely sucked us in - we watched the first three episodes tonight. We start with group of special forces guys accompanying Jack on a raid on a commercial freighter in the Black Sea. Rumor has it's carrying a nuclear weapon and their job is to verify this rumor. They drive up in a Zodiac while the ship is underway and using lines and grappling hooks climb up the side of the ship. They must have motorized line haulers because they just walk up the side of the ship. They manage to evade the ship's crew while they search the ship. They don't find anything nuclear, but they find a 'scientist' hiding in a container. They take him with them as they exit the ship and just before the last of them are over the side, crewmen show up with guns and start shooting at them. Why are there armed men on board this ship? Jack's crew is leaving, why is the crew shooting at them? Something doesn't add up. Could this 'scientist' be a plant? I dunno, maybe the crew on Russian ships are armed. It was still a good bit of action, and the questions it raises, well that's just a foretaste of how the whole show goes.

Like all good espionage flicks, we get to visit a bunch of places. In the first three episodes we've been to Rome, Budapest, Vienna, Moscow, Prague, Athens and Santorini, Greece. Some of the buildings are just fabulous.

Flying Crowbars

We tested the US Military’s secret space weapon

I first came across the idea of using heavy metal rods dropped from space as a weapon in Footfall, a science fiction novel by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It sounded like a great idea, simple, inexpensive and devastatingly effective. Derek tries to demonstrate it but fails. He might have done better with some kind of guidance system and some steerable fins. However, while there might be cases where it could be useful, he goes on to explain that for any of the proposed uses, it's not going to be all that effective. I think the biggest objection is that pound for pound, nuclear weapons are much more devastating. An ICBM might carry a ten ton payload. That would be enough to launch one big tungsten rod or half a dozen nuclear weapons. And while you aren't going to get any radioactive fallout from a ten ton kinetic weapon, I'm not sure that argument will carry any weight when you are bent on destroying your enemy.

Skulls of My Enemies

Skull of My Enemy

The Silicon Greybeard give us a glimpse of his life as a keyboard warrior:

My coffee mug these days, a gift from a Christmas party exchange at some time in the past. I refer to this as drinking out of the skulls of my enemies. Except that snowmen aren't my enemies.  I've never even seen one in real life.  No snowmen have ever plotted attacks on me or my family.  That I know of. 


Prices Blown About By Economic Winds

Wholesale Lumber Prices 1985 to Present

Lumber Prices Collapse As Homebuilder Sentiment Falters

Lumber peaked at $1,336 per thousand board feet in late February but has settled at around $380 this week, representing a dramatic 72% decline in prices, primarily due to elevated mortgage rates, slowing housing activity, waning builder confidence, and overall mounting macroeconomic headwinds. 

The plunge in lumber prices is no surprise as builder confidence for newly-built single-family homes posted its 12th consecutive month of declines in December, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Confidence is at its lowest reading since mid-2012.

The drop in lumber prices is pretty dramatic.


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

King Tut

Nickel, sulfur, and chlorine elemental distribution maps of one side of King Tut's dagger, analyzed with portable XRF spectroscopy.

Got onto this from a YouTube video short. Another example of a special kind of spectrometry. This one is X-ray fluorescence. Previous posts about spectroscopy. Spectroscopy and spectrometry are two different words. ATA Scientific Instruments explains them both. The difference might matter to some people, but to me it's more like the difference between either and either.

Previous post about King Tut.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Luna Nera - Netflix Series

Luna Nera season 1 trailer
Season & series

Luna Nera is Italian for Black Moon. This is a odd kind of show. We're back in the bad old days in Italy, back when people were superstitious and believed in all kinds of nonsense like witches and curses and black magic. Some bad things happen and the local lord gathers his thugs and they set out to destroy all witches. Meanwhile his son, Pietro, has returned home from university to see his ailing mother. Pietro being all scientifically educated doesn't believe in witches or curses or black magic and thinks the local people are stupid, ignorant fools. Except. There are witches and black magic and curses, and naturally Pietro falls for a young woman who has more magical powers in her pinky than the rest of her coven. So this odd little story has three sides. Who's right? Pietro and his science? The witches with their magic? Or the ignorant locals?

Production values are pretty good, but the portrayal of the witches is a little weak. It's like the producers couldn't quite agree on a theme for the witches, so we've got a mishmash of styles that don't quite fit.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Qatar, Qatar, Qatar

The World Cup (soccer) was held in Qatar this year.  Argentina won. Cool,  I guess.

My nephew Nick has returned from a two month sojourn in India. He visited Delhi and points north up to the Himalayas. I imagine he had some good times, but his trip to the mountains was an adventure, as in an ordeal. Anyway, his flight from Seattle took him over the North Pole and Russia to Doha, Qatar. That struck me as a little weird, I mean Qatar seems to be a bit out of the way. And they flew over Russia. I guess that's okay since we aren't technically at war with Russia, are we? Whatever, let's try and plot that flight.

Google Maps makes a hash of it
That is not a polar route

Google Earth gets it right,
but at the expense of detail.
It was also a pain in the neck to use.

Well, that sucks. Surely someone out there can do this.

Great Circle Map might be technically accurate,
but the drawing is horribly distorted

GC Map did it better,
but it was awkward to use and not much detail

I swear last year plotting these kind of routes was much easier.

LNG Tanker Loading in Qatar


Smoke Detector, X-Sense 10-Year Battery Smoke Fire Alarm

I replaced the battery in the smoke alarm in the basement yesterday. I had a 'fresh' nine volt battery because I bought a package of ten when I was going to replace all the batteries in the smoke alarms in the new house (the giant, three year long, remodeling project). But then the electricians came in and replaced all the smoke alarms with new ones that come with ten year batteries. To me they are a big improvement. So now I've got a pack of nine volt batteries that is slowly being consumed. (See Gizmos and Puttering).

Today I come across a post from Bayou Renaissance Man about beeping, or should I say bleeping, gizmos where I found this comment by Douglas2:

I've replaced the battery-backup sump-pump system that had an incessant siren sounding whenever the pump needed to run during power-failures. That was an interesting chat with their tech department. "So the point of the 3AM siren is to alert me that the pump is doing what it should be doing, and I have nothing to worry about?"

"YES!!" the engineer shouted excitedly "You seem to be one of the few customers that understands this, to express it so clearly!"

Joy To The World, the sump pump runs.


Days of Future Past

Future Phone

Funny how sometimes the you can see the future very clearly while other times it is obscured by clouds.

This post's title popped into my head, but I couldn't remember where it came from. Looking around I find it's the title of a comic book and a Marvel X-Men movie, which can't be my source because I haven't been following Marvel or the X-Men. Where did it come from then? The Moody Blues, that's who, though they spelled it differently: Days of Future Passed. There might be a slight difference in meaning, but I find them both equally enigmatic, so I'm not going to worry about it. Anyway to jog your memory, or introduce you to recent musical history we have the big hit from that album:

Nights in White Satin - The Moody Blues - in Paris. Restored video!



I use the YouTube music app on my smart phone to supply me with tunes both at home or when I am out driving around in my truck. The truck might have BlueTooth and I know my phone does, but I'm still not sure about this BlueTooth business. I use it connect to my portable speaker when I am outside on the patio, so I'm not a complete Luddite. But the truck also has a mini-stereo jack in the console, the phone has one as well, and I have a cable with the correct plugs on both ends. When I was growing up, everything was connected with cables. Wireless remote controls were something only the Jetsons had. I like cables, so I use the cable to connect my phone to the truck.

Volume control is iffy using the sliding volume controls on my computer. They don't give me fine enough control. I don't know whether it is the control or my fingers, but it doesn't really matter, the result is the same. The upshot is that I will use the two volume controls in tandem. I am tempted to say that I preferentially use one for coarse volume adjustment and the other for fine control, but I can't say which one is which.

With the truck I turn the volume control on my phone all the way up. Evidently that gives the truck a big enough signal that I can get decent volume control using the truck's volume control knob (not a slider).

AIWA NSX-V21 Stereo System
Looks just like my stereo

I connected my phone to our home stereo the other day when we had some people over and I used the same technique of turning the volume on the phone up all the way. The stereo was just providing background music and we were having a lively discussion, so I didn't really notice the music. Eventually the person was sitting nearest the stereo alerted me to the fact that sound from the stereo sounded like garbage. I think I switched to CD's or something.

Today I tried the phone with the stereo again, and now when I don't have big crowd of people around it is obvious how bad the sound is. Turn down the volume on the phone to half way or so, and turn up the sound on the stereo and it sounds much better.

I don't exactly how old the stereo is, it might be older than this house, which means it is like 25 years old. It came with a remote control, but I don't think we ever used it. I tried it out today and unsurprisingly it didn't work. Pop open the battery cover and we have dead corroded AA batteries. Take them out, shake out the debris, scrape the contacts with my pocket knife, load new batteries, and Oh wonderous miracle! It works!


It just occurred to me that sometimes the earlier versions of a device are better in the long term than more recent devices. Older devices are generally simpler, because no one wants to spend loads of money on engineering until they know whether the device is going to be a commercial success or not. Older devices are generally tougher because you can't afford a bunch of premature failures because your device wasn't tough enough. As time goes on, successful products get re-engineered to provide fancy new features, to cut weight and to cut manufacturing cost. Sometimes that means replacing screws with glue or welding. The goal is to cut the cost of product so much so that it becomes disposable. Then people will be expecting them to fail and buy a new one to replace it. If it's only a dollar, who cares? Toss out the old one and buy a new one.

Problem comes up when the device falls out of favor and they quit making them, but you really like yours and want to keep using it. It it's the latest whiz-bang gizmo, you're going to be out of luck. There will be no way to fix it. But if you have one of originals, constructed out of tougher materials and put together with screws, you at least stand a chance of being able to fix it.

Friday, December 16, 2022


Kids these days, I swear. We ordered some burritos delivered for dinner last night. We tried delivery services a couple of times when they first started up a couple of years ago but the results were spotty. We tried it again last night and we only discovered that the food had been delivered when my wife went to check, opened the front door and found the bag sitting on the doorstop. No knock on the door, no ringing the door bell, just stealthily sneaking up to the front door, dropping the bag and running away. WTF?

My habit is to put my phone on the charger before I go to bed. Pull my phone out of my pocket and notice there are have a dozen text messages. Who's sending me text messages? Who else but the delivery driver?

It's like the email messages I get from mail order shops: we've received your order, we're thinking about it shipping it, we might ship it someday soon, we've handed it off to the delivery service, it's stuck in a routing facility in bumfuck Egypt for a week, we might deliver it today, we might deliver it today, we might deliver it today, and finally 'we delivered it'. Totally unnecessary and totally useless. If I ever wonder where the package is, there is usually a tracking number on the original order. Those work fine. I don't need or want any of this other garbage, though ringing the doorbell would be nice when an order of hot food finally gets here.

Is this how the oppressed are making themselves heard now? Our society really is going to hell.

Thursday, December 15, 2022


In the first dream I am sitting on the couch and I spill a full glass of water in my lap. I ask my daughter to bring me the roll of paper towels from the kitchen because there is so much water, if I get up it's going to spill on the floor. She can't, or won't, remove the roll from where it is hanging, and just tears off a couple of sheets. Now we're trying to do something with the toaster which was supported by some kind of lightweight framework. The latch on the framework came undone and now it has collapsed. Osmany holds it up and it all hangs down in one plane. Now we have to make a circular motion to get it back into it's stand up configuration.

The next dream I am headed to a strip mall loan office to get a short term loan. I pull into the parking lot and park in a spot close to the end of the building. There is a sign painted on the end of the building with the names of all the businesses there and the loan company is one of them. I walk across the parking lot until I am far enough out that I can see all of the store fronts in this strip of businesses, but I don't see the loan company. It's a spacious parking lot. A hundred feet away, opposite the strip of businesses is another small group of businesses that includes a gas station and a convenience store. I don't see the loan company over there either. I accost a man walking across this expanse of asphalt and ask him about the loan company. He has heard of them and it seems he takes care of the actual transactions. I walk with him towards the gas station and we go into another business where he continues with his work (picking up receipts or something) while talking to me. I want to talk to someone about a loan, I've got the guy who can make it happen, but he's not the one who would authorize it and there doesn't seem to be any one else. Well, how useless is that?

Wednesday, December 14, 2022


How To Measure The Tiniest Forces In The Universe

How low can you go? Lower than I even imagined.


NASA's next-generation Moon rocket, the Space Launch System [SLS] rocket with the Orion crew capsule, lifted off from launch complex 39B as part of the unmanned Artemis 1 mission to the Moon on November 16, 2022. [File: Joe Rimkus Jr/Reuters]

The SLS finally flew. I was beginning to wonder. Seems they have been working on this thing forever. Finally took off and sent the Orion capsule around the moon. Aljazeera has some pictures.

The Silicon Greybeard has been following the Artemis project.

I've also been wondering why the SLS project cost so much money. Finally turned up an answer. It wasn't that it cost so much, it's because Congress wanted to shovel money out the door and Boeing said 'we'll take it'.

Wednesday Addams - Netflix Series

Wednesday Addams | Official Teaser | Netflix

Great stuff! They never quite explain how someone can find joy and fulfillment in being miserable, but the original series never did that either. Regardless, Jenna is the properly grim, down-on-the-world and everybody-in-it teenager. Her roommate, Enid, is very over-the-top bubbly. The two of them make for a very entertaining show.

Update November 2023 replaced trailer video with teaser video

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

AN-2 Flies to Glorious Death for Motherland!

Russia's New Secret Weapon Against Ukraine? 75 Year Old Biplanes!
Mark Felton Productions

War seems to be becoming a battle of machine versus machine. Russia is turning the venerable An2 into an attack drone. The An2 has shown up here a few times.

Seshcha Airbase
Moscow, Kiev, Azerbaijan and Armenia

The Seshcha airbase (at the 2 minute mark) was a little hard to track down. Google Maps can't find it. Supposedly it is near Dubrovka, but Dubrovka is near St. Petersburg which is a long way from Ukraine. Wikipedia has the coordinates of the airbase. There is another, smaller Dubrovka near the airbase. The airbase has an unusual layout.

Seshcha Airbase

I couldn't find any features that agree with what's shown in the video, but maybe I've got the wrong Seshcha.

Dust in a Baggie - Billy Strings

Dust in a Baggie - Billy Strings
Lower Standards

Rumor has it that there are 32,000 registered sex offenders in Oregon. That's almost one percent of the population. Being as the 32,000 were charged, tried and convicted, I think we can safely assume there are two or three times as many perverts running around loose. Or maybe everyone is a pervert, we just haven't been found out. Now some number of those are statutory rape cases involving adult males and willing females who are biologically of age, but legally underage. Problem is I have no idea how many of those cases there are. On one hand I am willing to let the convictions stand because they wouldn't have gotten caught if they had any damn sense, so like many convicts they are going to jail because they are stupid. On the other hand, why are you tying up the courts with this kind of nonsense? But not all cases are nonsense, some are serious, but how many serious cases are there? I dunno, and I'm not sure I want to.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Bullet Train - Netflix Movie

BULLET TRAIN - Official Trailer (HD)
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Very silly, very violent, and pretty funny. The head (the White Death) of the biggest criminal organization in Japan hires a couple of well dressed thugs (Lemon and Tangerine) to bring his wayward son and a briefcase filled with $20 million dollars to Kyoto via the bullet train. To start with (in Tokyo I presume), there are several other passengers on the train, but as time goes by they disappear until there is no one left but our handful of troublemakers.

One guy is there to steal the briefcase (Brad Pitt), one girl (the Hornet) has been hired to kill someone, I'm not sure who, one girl is there to exact revenge on her father (the White Death), one guy is there to exact revenge on the girl, and another guy is there to exact revenge on the person responsible for his wife's death. He thinks it's Brad, but it's actually the Hornet.

Through it all Brad it talking (via cell phone) about his new philosophy of life with his handler (Sandra Bullock). It must be very frustrating for a man who is looking for inner peace to be compelled to violent action to defend himself.

As you might expect, there is a spectacular train crash at the end.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Imagine Dragons - Bones

Imagine Dragons - Bones (Official Music Video)

This tune has shown up as background music on a number of YouTube Shorts, so I looked it up. Zombies in what looks like a stock brokerage in a downtown highrise. Seems vaguely appropriate.


Ukraine air defense
Preston Stewart

He's talking about the Gepard air defense system. It's quite the beast.

Gepard air defense system

Update December 2022. Apparently you cannot embed YouTube short videos. so we just have a link.
Update June 2023 figured out how to embed the video.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Pinnochio - Netflix Movie

GUILLERMO DEL TORO'S PINOCCHIO | Official Trailer | Netflix

I'm not quite sure about this one. It's stop motion animation and that part is very good. The story is kind of helter-skelter, much like Pinnochio himself - a rambunctious child. I dunno, maybe kids would enjoy it.

Lupin - Netflix Series

Lupin | Official Trailer | Netflix

Another video series we watched a while back but I never got around to posting.
The show stars Omar Sy in the role of Assane Diop, a man who is inspired by the adventures of master thief Arsène Lupin, a character created by Maurice Leblanc in the early 1900s. - Wikipedia

Lightweight and entertaining.

Update November 2023 replaced missing video. Apparently I never put the video id in and never bothered to check. Very sloppy.

Il Processo - Netflix Series

Il processo - Il trailer ufficiale
Mediaset Infinity

Il Processo - The Trial - an Italian murder mystery. We watched this last year, but I never got around to publishing this post.

The above trailer is in Italian. We watched it on Netflix with English subtitles enabled. You can turn on subtitles in the above clip, but they are in Italian. YouTube has an auto-translate feature, it works on some videos but not on this one. The video clip will give you the look and feel of the show.

Locations used in the show

The show is set in Mantua in northern Italy. Several old, fancy buildings are shown and used.

Palazzo Te

Fall of the Giants - Giulio Romano ~1530
Palazzo Te Ceiling Fresco

Wikipedia has a history of Mantua. It's quite the place.

The tune in the clip is by Billy Eilish:

Billie Eilish - bury a friend
Billie Eilish

The video is a little odd, but you know, kids these days.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Santo - Netflix Series

Santo | Official Trailer | Netflix

Gruesome story of a drug dealing cult operating in Brazil and Spain. It's a bit confusing because it jumps back and forth in time, though enough sequences are repeated that it eventually starts to fit together. But then we throw hallucinogens in the mix and now nobody really knows what's going on. The jumbled time sequences work to illustrate how confused our players are. Six episodes, 45 minutes each.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

High Altitude Mosquito

De Havilland Mosquito: The wooden fighter-bomber that could do it all
Imperial War Museums

I'm reading Night Soldiers by Alan Furst, a WW2 espionage novel. In part 4, our hero, the Russian trained Bulgarian spy Khristo is now working for the allies. He has been parachuted into 'Czechoslovakia' and is skulking around Prague doing basic spy stuff, collecting information and radioing it up to a Mosquito flying in orbit around the city in the middle of the night at 35,000 feet. 35,000 feet? Really? Then the above video pops up on YouTube and yes, they did fly at 35,000 feet. But how did the pilots survive, not all of the Mosquitos were pressurized? Which brings us to the second video.

High Altitude Flight during WWII
390th Memorial Museum Foundation

Seems oxygen was one of the lessor problems of high altitude flight. The cold was the biggest problem.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Nothing Burger

My mind seems to have entered an empty space. Almost nothing on Feedly interests me. Likewise Quora seems to be overflowing with stupid and / or ignorant questions. There might be something of interest on reddit, but I can't seem to find a list of all the categories, though I suspect that might not help.

Meanwhile the new house remodeling project (going on three years now) continues. This morning's project is try and get some parts from Pella to repair a broken awning window. Then I need to draw up a plan for the master bathroom remodel. Fortunately I don't have to design it, the girls have already figured out what they want, we just need to nail it down so Osmany will have a plan to work from.

I have a couple of little computer programs I should finish and post on this blog. I think I have figured out the technical problems with making them run, I just need to polish them up a bit, but I don't seem to be able to focus.

Mean-meanwhile I am reading Night Soldiers by Alan Furst and his insights into how the Soviet Union operated under Stalin are a bit distressing. Sounds a lot like Genghis Khan, except Genghis was long enough ago that we have dressed up his actions as rational (submit or die was his modus operandi), but actually he was just like Stalin - kill anyone and everyone you want, and the more painful and gruesome their deaths, the better. They were savages. Western civilization frowns on that kind of behavior. Kill your enemies if need be, but do it without torturing them.

Putin might be a thug, but as Michael told us in The Godfather, all powerful men are thugs. 

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Bonhoeffer‘s Theory of Stupidity

Sounds a whole lot like our current situation. I wonder if this might be an effect of evolution. Groups of people who could suppress their ability to think in order to go along with the group were more successful in wars against groups of independent thinkers.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Notes on Night Soldiers by Alan Furst

I'm reading Night Soldiers by Alan Furst. It is the story of Khristo, a Bulgarian peasant recruited by the Russian NKVD and trained as a spy. He is sent to Madrid to help the Republicans in their war against Franco and his Nationalists. Today toward the end of the section titled Blue Lantern I came across a couple of interesting bits.

Django Reinhardt - In A Sentimental Mood - Paris, 26.04.1937
Heinz Becker

On page 157 Faye is listening to Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli on an Emerson radio.

1938 Opel Kapitän

One page 165, Khristo and his gang are working with SIM (Republican secret police) to round up nationalists who are hiding out in embassies that have been abandoned because of the ongoing civil war. The SIM thugs are driving an Open Kapitän.

Degtyaryov machine gun

Khristo and Ilya are sitting in the back of a Citroen with Degtyaryov machine guns on their laps.

Port Bou railway station

Khristo and Andres barely manage to avoid arrest in Madrid and are deciding which direction to take to make their escape (p.174). One of their options is head to Port Bou in northeastern Spain. Never heard of this place, but when I look on Google Maps I see a huge railyard. What the heck is this? You see big railyards like this in big cities, but Port Bou is like a little fishing village. Turns out this is a break-of-gauge station. Evidently French trains and Spanish trains use a different gauge for their railroads.
Portbou was a small but important point for the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, as it was one of the few places from where they could get supplies from abroad. - Wikipedia