Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Friday, June 30, 2023

Hospital Visit

Meet Adventist Health Portland's Dr. Elizabeth Lieberman

Tuesday I had my right hip joint replaced by Dr. Elizabeth Lieberman and the crew at St. Vincents Hospital in Beaverton, Oregon. This is typically an out-patient procedure and I would have been sent home that afternoon. However, something went wrong in between closing the incision and when they took an X-ray in surgical post-op - the joint came apart (dislocated), so they took me back to the operating room and put me under once again. No cutting this time, just Doctor Lieberman getting rowdy and twisting me into a pretzel or some kind of wrestling take-down, and the joint reassembled itself. Because I had proven to be troublesome patient, she decided to keep me confined overnight. She's done over a thousand hip joint replacements and this is the first time she has encountered this problem.

Doctor's initials on my right thigh
Right thigh, not the left

I had no objection, I was fully doped up and having plenty of pleasant dreams. In the middle of the night when it's pretty quiet, I heard this noise. It sounded like the tune Mosquito by Gustavo Bravetti, it wasn't very loud, but it was definitely there. Every now and again I would hear giant dump trucks rumbling by, but that was probably just the service carts the crew was pushing down the hall.

I probably saw upwards of two dozen people in my private room and only three of them were men. One of the men was a vampire who came to suck my blood around 3 AM in the morning, He tells me that he had his hip joints replaced, which I thought was a little odd because he looked like a kid, maybe 35 years old. Turns out he is 45 and had his hip joints replaced when he fell out of a helicopter in Iraq. He was 22, the helicopter was 20 feet off the ground and there was an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) involved.

The ambiance of the of the operating room was noticeably different than any other place I have been. It wasn't any one thing, it was a combination of whole laundry list of small differences. Bunches of machines I had never seen before, the tone of the people speaking and the direct action and lack of waiting. I suppose that's what this is all about. Getting all the ducks in a row may take hours, but once you are there, it's 'once more into the breach' my friends. Kind of like going to war or staging a theater production or making a movie.

Discover the CARESTREAM DRX-Revolution Mobile X-Ray System
Carestream Health

I noticed several new machines. Usually X-ray machines are like permanent installations with their own room. Here they had a portable one that they rolled up to my bedside, slid some kind of imaging tablet underneath me and boom, picture. It took just a couple of seconds. They showed me the image after they got my hip joint back in its socket. There is a small display screen on the back of the machine head. They just swung the it over to where I could see it. I don't recall seeing the one they took immediately after surgery. They may have, but I kind of doubt it, you never want to show the patient ominous images.

Exergen TAT-5000 Temporal Artery Professional Thermometer
This is only one I found that looks like it fits the bill.

The nurses had a thermometer that they used to check my temperature. I never did get to see it. They ran it across my forehead and the down the side of my head behind my ear. It felt like a ball point pen with a a tip the size of a child's marble.

Scanning Technique: Bladder
Clarius Mobile Health

They also had a little ultrasonic machine whose sole purpose was to measure the amount of urine in my bladder. My bladder apparently has a capacity of about 250 cc (1 cup), which kind of explains my frequent trips to the bathroom.

I've been home for a couple of days now and things seem to going okay. My hip is still plenty stiff. I'm taking 5 mg of Oxycodone every five hours and the pain is negligible.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Ghosted Bounty Hunters in Pakistan Scene

Grim little clip until it overflows into funny.

Update July 2023 replaced missing video.

Wedding Tale from 'The Long Ships'

The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson

I'm reading The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson. On page 132 I encounter this tale of a viking wedding:
The next day, since they had finished the Yule pork, cabbage soup and mutton appeared on the tables, which they all agreed to be an excellent change. In the evening a man from Halland told them about a great wedding that he had been present at in Finnveden, among the wild people of Smaland. During the celebrations a dispute had broken out concerning a horse deal, and knives had quickly appeared; where upon the bride and her attendant maidens had laughed delightedly and applauded and had encouraged the disputants to settle the matter there and then. However, when the bride, who belonged to a well-known local family, saw her uncles got eye gouged out by one of the bridegrooms kinsmen, she had seized a torch from the wall and hit her bridegroom over the head with it, so that his hair caught fire. One of the bridesmaids, with great presence of mind, had forced her petticoat over his head and twisted it tight, thereby saving his life, though he screamed fearfully and his head, when it appeared again, was burned black and raw. Meanwhile the fire had caught the straw on the floor and eleven drunken or wounded men lying in it had been burned to death; so that this wedding was generally agreed to have been one of the best they had had for years in Finnveden and one that would be long remembered. The bride and bridegroom were now living together in blissful happiness, though he had not been able to grow new hair to replace that which he had lost in the fire.

Oho! Here's what people are really like, not like the facade of civilization we try to maintain. Sounds a whole lot like those neighborhood gun fights they have in Chicago.

I'm about a quarter of the way through this book and so far it's all been like this, short, direct descriptions of what is happening. The story just marches along and the whole thing rings true. It's great.

Sunday, June 25, 2023


Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni by Andrea del Verrocchio

I'm reading Welcome to Fahrenheit 2023 by Jacob Howland and I stumbled over this word, sounds like something out of The Godfather, so I look it up and Wikipedia gives me an explanation.
Condottieri were Italian captains in command of mercenary companies during the Middle Ages and of multinational armies during the early modern period. They notably served popes and other European monarchs during the Italian Wars of the Renaissance and the European Wars of Religion. Notable condottieri include Prospero Colonna, Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, Cesare Borgia, the Marquis of Pescara, Andrea Doria, and the Duke of Parma.

Of the six names listed there I recognized four of them. Huh. 

Santana - Oye Como Va - Tanglewood - 1970/08/18

One thing leads to another. This one is frigging ancient. Wikipedia has a page about it.

Santana - Smooth (Stereo) ft. Rob Thomas

Skimming the news I come across a story on Variety about a new movie about Carlos Santana and I say 'whoa!', I haven't heard him mentioned in a coon's age and this tune immediately pops into my mind. I'm thinking I must have posted it before, but if I have I couldn't find it so here we are.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

More Girls in the News

From left, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Oct. 21, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Michaels Reynolds/Pool via AP

It seems two Republican women representatives have both filed bills of impeachment against President Biden. Lauren Boebert from Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia are the two instigators.

PJ Media has a story by Lincoln Brown and it is very entertaining. The introduction:

You would think that, with information on the Biden family and the complicity of the DOJ and IRS spilling over like an RV toilet tank at a cheap roadside campground, Republicans would somehow find a way to stay on the same page long enough to make some headway. I mean, the recent news alone should be enough for the elephants in D.C. to link hands and sing “Kumbaya” and even hoist some frosty mugs of whatever beverages they favor for a few choruses of The Beatles’ “All Together Now.” Didn’t anybody else watch Rep. Jason Smith’s presser yesterday? Didn’t they read Hunter’s WhatsApp message to Zhang? I know that the efficacy of Kevin McCarthy’s leadership is up for debate and that there are herds of RINOs grazing on the Republican plains inside the Beltway. But can’t everyone just stay on target?

Via Sondrak's Gulch

Miss Universe National Costumes that made me "👁👄👁"

Nuts? Amazing? Spectacular? I think I'll go with spectacular.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Benifits of being a Dictatorship |THE DICTATOR|

Sounds just like the America we have now.

Death in the Depths

Titan Submersible

The loss of the Titan submersible along with the five people aboard has been in the news this week. They were going down to look at the Titanic. There hasn't been much in the way of detail, so I thought I'd chime in.

A pint's a pound, the world around. A cubic foot of water holds eight gallons and a gallon holds eight pints, so a cubic foot of water weighs 64 pounds. A square foot is 144 square inches, so a column of water one foot high with a square cross section of one inch will weigh about half a pound. The Titanic is lying at a depth of 12,500 feet (roughly two and a half miles straight down from the surface). To determine how much pressure there is at that depth, you multiply 12,500 (the depth in feet) by one half (the weight of one foot of water) and you get 6,250 pounds or about three tons of pressure per square inch. Since the surface of Titan is thousands of square inches, the total pressure pushing in this little bubble of air is like zillions of tons.

Some people have pointed out that carbon fiber was used in the construction of the submersible, and noted that carbon fiber is very strong in tension and is almost useless in compression. So while carbon fiber may have been used in construction of the submersible, there must have been some other material included in the mix that does have good strength in compression. Concrete, steel or aluminum would all be valid choices. James Cameron used steel in his submersible.

Forging the steel pilot sphere for Deepsea Challenger
James Cameron took it to the bottom of the Mariana Trench,
which is three times deeper than the Titanic

47 Ronin Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Keanu Reeves, Rinko Kikuchi Movie HD

If you want a short description, you might call it John Wick goes to Japan. It's a retelling of an old story with some Hollywood embellishments. Keano plays the half-breed child of white man and a Japanese peasant woman, as such he is an outcast. He is discovered at around age 15 lying in a creek by a local warlord who takes him in. So now he lives in a hut on the outskirts of the village. The warlord's daughter is attracted to him, possibly because he is a curiosity, but also because there aren't a lot of other people their age here. Anyway, they are the love story, but because of the strict rules of their society, their relationship is entirely chaste. I think she kisses him once towards the end.

When the bad man takes over the local warlord fiefdom, he sells Keano into slavery on the Dutch Island. The Dutch Island is a collection of dozens of big, fat sailing vessels, all moored cheek by jowl. We only see them at night when they are all lit up, probably using lamps that burned grease, and they burned it by the hogshead.

A year goes by, the daughter's period of mourning for her father is over and the bad guy intends to wed her. The 47 Ronin decide now is the time to get their revenge on the bad guy, so their head man heads to Dutch Island to get Keano. Keano has become a gladiator of sorts and is is the middle of dealing with a giant, ugly dude. He does and then he and the head Ronin fight their way free of a mess of Europeans.

The bad guy is aided by a witchy woman who transforms herself into a giant flowing scarf to get inside of places.

Reunited, our crew attempts to ambush the bad guy but the witchy woman foils their plans. They escape but they lose most of their weapons. So now Keano has to go visit the people he grew up with in the Tengo forest. Keano's mother abandoned him in the Tengo forest when he was a baby. These weird monk-like people raised him and taught him their secrets. Something about their teachings cut across his grain, which is what caused him to run away. But these guys have skills, and weapons. So Keano goes crawling back. Naturally, there are some tests that he must pass in order to receive their help, so we have a big fight scene where all Keano's buddies get killed. Turns out it was all an illusion and since they passed the test, they get the swords they need.

Now they sneak into the bad guy's castle. It doesn't take long before they are discovered and all hell breaks loose. Keano unleashes patented John Wick persona and mows the bad guys down in box lots. Eventually we get to the final showdown between the witchy woman and Keano. The witchy woman transforms herself  into a giant snake like dragon of the Asian style when she gets into a fight with Keano. Keano has his hands full fighting the dragon while also protecting his girlfriend who cowers helplessly in the corner, as good damsel-in-distress ought to. Eventually Keano prevails.

So they rescued the girl and got their revenge on the bad guy and now they get their reward, which is to die an honorably death as opposed to being executed as common criminals. And so they all commit suicide. The end.

P. S. The Shogun, who was the top dog, above the bad guy, looked completely wrong for the part. He just wasn't convincing. Too ugly, maybe?

P. P. S. The Dutch Island seems to have been a real place:
The Portuguese had first arrived in Japan in 1543, so contacts between Japan and the Netherlands were not the oldest and longest Japan had enjoyed with a western country. Contacts with Asian countries such as Korea, China and Taiwan naturally went back to much earlier times. However, during the `sakoku-jidai`, the so-called seclusion period, Holland and China were the only countries permitted to trade and have limited contacts with Japan. It was a status which actually lasted over two centuries, from 1641 to 1853, and as the only western country with such privileges, Holland held a very special position. It was the door through which knowledge on science and medicine, and products and armaments from the Netherlands and Europe were imported into Japan through the Dutch settlement on Deshima, the man-made fan-shaped island in the Bay of Nagasaki. Simultaneously the Dutch generated great wealth exporting Japanese products and knowledge to the west. For both sides, Deshima was more than just a window on a new world.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Despotism is a beast of capitalism

Despotism is a beast of capitalism by Terry Eagleton is a curious piece. He's talking about values and how some people hold onto them and some people don't. But mostly he's talking about how those values affect society, and I haven't heard anyone else approach the issue quite like he does. Anyway it sounds pretty great to very tired me. A couple early paragraphs that kind of set the tone:

As history speeds ahead in the Age of AI, it is also being thrown abruptly into reverse. Authoritarian rule is our current Zeitgeist, spreading across the globe from El Salvador to Myanmar.

This isn’t, in fact, all that surprising. The more capitalism shatters traditional pieties, disregards frontiers and uproots whole communities, the more strident become the defenders of family, religion and fatherland. The more narratives of God, People and Nation are spurned as outdated, the more potently they return.

Kind of sounds like the gods of the copybook headings.

Electric Bicycle

IAman added an electric motor to his bicycle a while back (a year ago? Two?) and now he reports.

Latest finding on ebikes, my being near many ebike stores (& 60 years of riding bikes)

    • Disk brakes are much smoother than rim brakes,  I will retro fit my bike with a front disk, 70% of stopping force.  The rear frame would be more difficult to retrofit.
    • My midmotor aluminum ebike is more than comparable to the $3500+ midmotor bike on the market.
    • I like my ebikes 48 volt, 11 amp power, not too little, not too heavy.
    • My thumb paddle  throttle gives me the boost and control I need to overcome the inertia starting off.
    • twist grips look clean,  but are not as tactile as levers.
    • A step through frame like the Pedego Boomerang would be nice, but will have to wait for one to popup in used sales.
    •  I am used to my big soft seat,  anything harder and normal is not comfortable.
    • 20 mile range is more than enough,  any longer ride rewards me with a sore butt.
    • 24 mph is fast enough,  the wind noise becomes unbearable and I would not want a accident at that speed.
    • A cheap lightweight open top pannier is better than heavier buckled zipped expedition pannier, for <20 mile rides.
    • Riding without a bell is childish, foolish, selfish and anti social.
    • Biggest advantage to ebike is conquering hills.
    • Cafe locks look like a good idea for quick stops.
    • Lights of any sort are an improvement over possibly being missed in a shadow or darkness and ending up in the emergency room. Plus they are nice for differentiating fellow bicyclists on trails from the foliage and background distractions..
    • HiViz clothing works.
    • As much as Seattle and Portland are touted as "Bicycle cities"  Too bad, but I differ.  
    • Inclimate weather much of the year
    • Too Hilly
    • Seattle streets and bikeways too lumpy
    • Traffic calming needed
    • Seattle seems like street department cannot keep up
    • Too many cars, going too fast
    • Good news: seems drivers are more aware and courteous to bicyclists than in years past.



Refugees by Country of Origin 2005-2022

Aljazeera has some good graphics showing the source and destination of refugees. The above graphic is just a portion on one of their diagrams. The number was fairly constant from 2000 up to 2011 and then the Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine increased the numbers substantially.

Monday, June 19, 2023


I used to get an email notifying me if someone commented, but at some point I quit getting them. I didn't notice because I didn't get comments very often. I will try and pay more attention now. Looking at Blogger Help, it seems other people have run into this problem, but those inquiries have received no response and the questions have been locked. Maybe it's time to abandon Blogger and move to one of those new-fangled platforms like Quora or Twitter. I don't like Twitter because it is targeted at Smartphones and Smartphones have tiny screens. Yes, I know they have more pixels than god, but they are still tiny. I like big screens, the more bigger, the more better. Maybe Substack would work, though it seems to be for people who write pages of stuff.

The Russian 2nd Pacific Squadron - Voyage of the Damned

This is a longish video and the narrator has a pleasantly drony voice, so I was able to wander off and
 play solitaire for the duration. I have heard this story before and it is amazing to me that a country that could build a fleet of warships was unable to operate them effectively. Shoot, they were barely able to operate them. Of all the men on board it seems that nearly everyone was completely incompetent. Now I wonder why. Was it the lack of education? Experience? Training? Perhaps, but why was there such a lack? I suspect it's a common problem across Asia and I blame it on Genghis Khan. He was the original autocrat and he killed everyone who showed any tendency to deviate from his command. On the other hand, supposedly he sired 10,000 sons and daughters, at least some of who should have inherited his tendency to be merciless. Or maybe that's the problem. Do as I say or die, those are your choices, and so we got a population that is mostly obedient with a few commanding types. Frigging barbarians, and they are trying to go to war against countries that have reached a higher level of civilization. No wonder this expedition was a disaster.

That is why Russians ¦ Kazachka ¦ Russian beauty performed dance of sabers

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Federal Juggernaut

Mortal Engines | The City of London Devours Bavaria for Fuel

by Charles Hughes Smith

offers a good explanation of how we got here and why all roads lead to Rome. I think the video fits perfectly.

US Federal Cashflow 2022


Fianchetto - Black Bishop has moved up one row

Fianchetto is this week's most annoying word. I came across it in The Queen's Gambit but I failed to take note of the page number and Google Books won't tell me, so if you care you'll have to dig it out yourself. 

Fianchetto is an Italian word, it is the diminutive of fianco (“flank”). It just means that a bishop has advanced to the second row, which implies it now has a much wider range of attack. In the board position shown above, the fianchettoed black bishop now has the white knight in range. Taking the knight would also put the white king (the piece with the cross on top) in check. However, if black takes the knight it would subject to being taken by the pawn on B2.

Pic of the Day

Beechcraft Super King Air

Navegantes, on the coast of Brazil, 250 miles from Sao Paulo

Summit Carbon Snake Oil

Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline Project

Alan Stein has a story up on The Epoch Times about how Summit Carbon Solutions is strong-arming farmers to sign on to their pipeline project. Okay, that sounds about right. Farmers are a prickly bunch and big companies are not known for their sweet disposition, so they're squabbling.

But what is going on here? What's this pipeline for? Something useful like natural gas or crude oil? No, nothing like that, they say they are planning to use to pump CO2 to North Dakota. They are going to collect CO2 from industrial processes, like burning fuel to make concrete or generate electricity, and pump it into this pipeline. 

Given the amount of work and material necessary to implement such a scheme, I don't see how it could possibly work, and even if it did I think there are liable to be unforeseen events that will topple the whole house of cards.

Sounds to me like they are selling snake oil. They are drawing up all these grandiose plans and talking a big game hoping to collect a zillion dollars in grants and tax write-offs. Then someone will realize the decimal point in their pile of calculations is in the wrong place and their project is not going to work. At which point they will throw up their hands and say 'it doesn't quite pencil out', they will crawl back under their rock with as much money as they can grab and the whole project will vanish without a shovelful of dirt having been moved.

Via Zerohedge

Why do US sanctions fail?


The USA seems to have sanctions against half the world, but they don't seem to have much effect. I've kind of wondered about this for a while, but I never got anywhere with it. Today I came across this article on Aljazeera which sheds a little light on the subject.

Why do US sanctions fail? Because a platypus isn’t a bird
by Aaron Schneider

Basically, all countries can be categorized as evolving on the left or right evolutionary branch. Sanctions can be effective against the countries on the right branch, but will be ineffective against countries on the left branch.

Friday, June 16, 2023

The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis

A Soviet Chess Championship

The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis was a lightweight, entertaining read. I saw the movie a while back and it was great. I played chess a few times when I was younger, but I never developed much enthusiasm for it. After all, it's just a game and one plays games for fun. Chess takes a lot of mental energy and it just seemed to me that that energy could be put to use doing something more productive. Yes, Beth Harmon makes a bundle of money playing chess, but she's the only one. Everyone else goes home broke. Some people develop obsessions and sometimes those obsessions produce amazing results, but I suspect most obsessions only serve to keep people's mind's occupied and produce nothing exceptional.

Soviet Kirovets K-700 Tractor

Page 214 "she saw three enormous tractors, far bigger than anything she had seen in America". They might have been Kirovets tractors. They were certainly big, and the time frame is right. Tractors this size are common now in the USA, but I don't think there were any like this here sixty years ago.

Words I was familiar with, but didn't know the exact meaning of.

  • Page 198 "Hani soit qui mal y pense" - French for "shame on anyone who thinks wrong"
  • Page 212 antimacassar - a piece of cloth put over the back of a chair to protect it from grease and dirt or as an ornament.
  • Page 240 eidetic - relating to or denoting mental images having unusual vividness and detail, as if actually visible.

Plan to Save America

I keep hearing about the evils of the American government, but I haven't heard of a plan to fix it, so I thought I would make a stab at writing my own. Here is my first pass:

We need to replace all of our Congressmen and Senators, or at least all of those who are members of the Uniparty, with people who are committed to a set of principles and will not be tempted by those who seek to influence them with promises of gold.

The first thing we would need would be a set of principles to guide us. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights would make a good start, but we are going to need something more, something about not starting a new zillion dollar war every year, and a prohibition against getting rich by catering to lobbyists. Crafting such a document is going to take a fair bit of work. However, I am sure there are numerous people who would love to write such a document. Shoot, there are probably numerous proposals already in existence.

The next step would be to locate candidates and districts where we want to replace the existing representatives and have a chance of winning. Then we would need a campaign to get them elected. Now this is going to be the tricky part. We do not want to appear to threaten the Uniparty in any way. Our campaign should be just as mealy mouthed as the slimiest Democrat. Our candidate should appear to be identical with the existing representative, they should just be slightly more cheerful, a little more outgoing, with a brighter smile and nicer clothes. What we promise on the campaign trail is of no consequence, everybody knows politicians lie and after the election it doesn't matter.

But the course of stealthy maneuvering doesn't end with the election. If our candidate is recognized as a gadfly, the uniparty will see to it that they do not get reelected. So we need to keep a low profile until we have enough members in Congress that we can actually challenge the Mafia Dons who are running the show.

All this will take time, money and dedication. It might take 20 years, it might take 50, and it will take an enormous amount of money.

Then there is the problem of being stealthy. People generally, and people in politics particularly, like to talk. It probably would not be feasible to keep this campaign secret. It would be much like a resistance operation being operated under a dictatorship. Resistance operations generally have a poor track record in overthrowing the existing regime. For this campaign to succeed it is going to need a huge amount of money, probably billions of dollars and a tight leadership cadre that can keep their mouths shut.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Steely Dan - My Old School (HQ Audio)

Somehow this song got into my 2023 playlist even though I hadn't posted it here before. Must be Google watching out over me. In any case, I'm listening to this song and I start wondering if there is some kind backstory here. Turns out there is. From Stuart Resnick on Quora we have this story:
Fagan's high school girlfriend, Dorothy White, gives Fagan (ahem, half of "69") or "35 sweet goodbyes" before she sends him off on a bus called the "Wolverine" to Annandale-on-the-Hudson, NY where Fagan would attend Bard College, sometimes referred to as "The William & Mary of the North". Bard's dean of students, (the girl who "could be so cruel") worked with the district attorney, G Gordon Liddy (Daddy G) and the local police to snitch and to drug-bust Fagan's dorm and arrest about 50 kids. The bust happens on a weekend that Dorothy is visiting and so Dorothy also gets arrested, as does Fagan who is "smoking with the boys upstairs" at 5AM.

Bard bails out the students, but not Dorothy since she's not a student, so her daddy has to bail her of jail (full of "working girls"). Fagan offers to take his increasingly bohemian girlfriend, Dorothy, to Guadalajara to avoid prosecution but she doesn't want to go.

Fagan was angry at Bard for its complicity in the bust and so he didn't attend graduation (when the whistle blows) and Fagan swears that he'd never going back to his old school. He also thinks that Bard doesn't deserve to be called "The William & Mary of the North". (So "William & Mary won't do".) Oleanders can't grow in New York's climate and apparently refer to cannabis (perhaps growing under UV lights).

Fagan did go back to Bard 16 years later, in 1985, to accept an honorary doctorate.

Ask Google about Bard Colled and G Gordon Liddy and we get this story from the Poughkeepsie Journal:

Poughkeepsie Journal Apr 6, 1968
Click to embiggenate

Miniature spider crawling across the tabletop

Saw this guy crawling around on the patio table, so I thought I'd see if my smartphone camera could capture him. He's just a speck in the video, he's hard to see and sometimes he disappears. The video is a little herky-jerky because when I looked at the camera I kept losing track of him, so then I would look at the table and find him and now I have to check the camera position to see if I have him in the frame. He's really tiny, maybe a sixteenth of inch across the span of his legs. Given his red coloring I think he's a mite of some sort, probably fell out of the tree hanging over the patio. Of course, given his small size he could have blown in on a wind from half way across the world.

Smartphone let me upload the video direct to YouTube, so plus one for Western Civilization.

American Rome

The Romans in their Decadence - Thomas Couture, 1847

Washington D. C. is to the American empire as Rome was to the Roman Empire. All over these empires ordinary people are working, going about their business and getting on with their lives. In the American Rome, the politicians and their toadies are busy feathering their nests with as much golden goose down as they can get their hands on. They are doing this by siphoning off a portion of the government money they spend on every single one of their government projects. It might be in the form of sweetheart deals, bribes, kickbacks or valuable prizes like jet planes or a country estate.

Most of the money the government spends is conjured out of thin air. Oh, there is some income from taxes, but does that even cover the interest that is owed on the national debt? It doesn't matter, all that magic money is causing inflation. Inflation doesn't really bother the rich because their holdings are invested in the real world, like real estate or profit making businesses, like the oil and armaments industry. Inflation causes the value of the dollar to go down, but that just means the price tag on the rich folk's holdings goes up. But anyone who understands basic economics realizes that increase in 'value' is just an illusion. The real value has not changed, it's just that the value of the money used to assess the value of the real thing has gone down.

It's the poor who suffer, and by the poor, I mean everyone with less than a million bucks worth of real stuff. The longer inflation goes on, the more people are squeezed out of the bottom and onto the streets. But the fat cats in the American Rome don't care because the poor have been beat down so far they don't have the energy to fight back or even to vote. All their energy is spent on survival.

So what we have is the same strategy pursued by the Mafia and Latin American dictatorships - squeeze the poor and then squeeze them some more. Be careful though, squeeze them too much and you get a revolution like you got in Venezuela and Nicaragua. 

The vast majority of the population has no real understanding, nor any real curiosity about what the government is doing. The pigs in Washington D. C. have built a media empire that tells the people something like a fairytale that keeps the majority of them complacent. They tell the people that Biden, the most corrupt son-of-a-bitch of them all, is bringing down inflation and building back better and fighting that evil Russian, and the people just lap it up.

If you want change, something needs to be done about the lock the pigs have on the media. I don't know how you are going to do that. A supreme court ruling might help, or if some of the billionaires in charge of these media empires have a change of heart, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Inspired by Tucker Carlson


Shallotte River Swamp Park

The Shekel notes that there are now big alligators in Michigan. Michigan? Isn't it a little cold for gators? As The Dodo explains, evidently not:
North Carolina’s Shallotte River Swamp Park is home to 12 alligators rescued from captivity. As the recent extreme weather system moved through the area, the water they inhabit froze over.

So, rather than allow themselves to get trapped under the ice, or risk freezing in the colder air above, the alligators did this instead.

They protruded just the tips of their noses through the surface as it iced over, allowing themselves to breathe while remaining mostly submerged.

Magnus, Robot Fighter

Magnus, Robot Fighter

Roko-on-Twitter's pessimistic view of the future got me started. I don't know that he's wrong, he's pronosticating after all, but I don't like the picture he paints. We may end up going to war against the machines, and in that case a man like Magnus would be good guy to have around. But just who is this Magnus guy anyway? TVtropes explains:

A Silver Age comic book hero created by writer and artist Russ Manning, originally published by Gold Key Comics in the 1960s. He was revived by Jim Shooter for Valiant Comics in the 1990s, and has appeared sporadically under other publishers' banners since then.

The original full title was Magnus Robot Fighter: 4000 A.D. In the far future, man has grown lazy and decadent, and is dependent on a huge labor force of robots for his wants and needs. The robots are programmed never to harm humans, but an increasing number of rogues are showing signs of rebellion. One robot, named 1A, still loyal to humanity but sufficiently "rogue" to be able to think outside the box, sees that a Robot War is coming and wants to prevent it. He adopts an orphaned child named Magnus and raises him in a secret undersea base, where he educates him and trains him to be the greatest martial artist the world has ever seen—good enough to defeat a standard metal robot with his bare hands, without resorting to any technology at all. 1A then sends Magnus out into the world—specifically, to the continent-spanning city of NorthAm—to both prevent a robot overthrow of humanity, and to encourage humans to stand on their own two feet again without depending on machines for everything.

A third side in the conflict is the "gophs" (contracted from "gopher") the humans who live in the squalid slums beneath the "milespires" where the upper classes of humanity live. The human/robot conflict is literally over their heads for the most part, but they will obviously suffer along with everyone else if a robot war comes.

With the way machines are being built now and the way technology is constantly changing, I no longer doubt that Magnus would be able to defeat robots with his bare hands. It won't be because he is stronger than steel, it will be because the machines will be optimized for low cost of production, i.e. the weakest and cheapest means of building them. This is going to result in weak points where a correctly placed blow of just moderate force will turn them into junkyard scrap. I mean, we already see this with cars and electronics. Apple's response to your smartphone charging cable breaking is to sell you a new phone. Denting the front bumper on a new car often results in the insurance company writing it off as a complete loss.


I posted this tune once before, being played on a marimba. I liked it, but it sounds like it was cut off, so I go looking for another version. This might be the original. The singing is okay, I think I like the marimba version better, but this nested soap opera is great. It's chock full of characters, the bearded lady is just a bonus.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

News Media

Time Magazine Headline

The Shekel explains the irony of this headline, in case you don't get it.

Portable Death Ray

Raytheon Portable Laser

Raytheon has made a couple of these 10 kilowatt lasers. They have been testing them against drones and seem to work. Lasers are not 100% efficient, the efficiency varies depending on the technology used and the power output. If we figure 10%, just because ten is a nice round number, they're going to need a hundred horsepower generator to drive this thing, which might explain the big box on the bottom.

P. S.
Trim Trees with a Laser

P. P. S. If we figure we need a one hundred horsepower engine to drive this thing, and only 10% of the power finds its way into the actual laser beam, then we can figure the other 90% is being turned into heat, which means we are going to need a radiator dang near as big as the one on the engine to get rid of that heat.

Going on in this vein, if we are generating that much heat, this thing is going to be a big, fat infra-red target. It's also big and heavy, you need a truck to carry it around. A single small drone can be carried by a man, and a swarm of drones can be carried by a swarm of men. Yeah, I don't want to be there when it happens.

South Africa

I haven't heard much about South Africa lately and what I have heard makes it sound like a frigging disaster. Oh, there are occasional bright spots, but they are really just specs in a sea of mud. Now Brian Pottinger paints a dismal picture with South Africa’s infinite humiliation. Here is an excerpt:

The white middle classes, confined to their urban or coastal bubble communities, have largely given up — those who can leave often do. The black middle class are hardly different: revolutionaries have become businessmen and sometimes not very honest ones. “I did not join the struggle to die poor,” proclaimed one senior ruling African National Congress (ANC) politician endlessly mired in sleaze allegations. The unions, meanwhile, are corrupted by greed and the “democratic movements” — a few courageous exceptions allowed — are knee-deep in self-enrichment.

It is now clear that whatever force drives public policy within the opaque and factional halls of the ruling party — which is certainly not the impressionable President Cyril Ramaphosa, who drifts like kelp in the coastal currents of the Western Cape seas — has come to three dreadful conclusions. Firstly, the ANC will stick to its catastrophic redistributive economic policies rather than pursuing growth. Secondly, knowing that its economic plan will cause chaos, the government will batten the hatches against capital flight and pre-emptively seek to chill free speech. And thirdly, it has accepted that what is left of developed world investment interest will dry up and a flailing South African state will have to find succor elsewhere. Enter the Russians and the Chinese.

Then we have this comment from Tow Lewis:

I think, what is becoming abundantly clear, is that European ‘civilisation’ is not random chance, and that it didn’t come without sacrifice, hard work, and a fair bit of luck. It didn’t ‘just’ happen, by accidental and, given a bit of lipstick (You can give a pig lipstick, but it’s still a pig), or the facets of Western European institutions doesn’t necessarily, and the odds are probably not good, turn a country into that European success story. European success is not a veneer, it is more than a bunch of institutions, or laws, it is a journey that has been traveled (somewhat erratically) over a couple of thousand years. It can’t just be ‘smeared’ ‘liberally’ hoping that it will hide the ‘sometimes’ savage teeth and claws of the places it imposes itself upon, whatever the intentions.

I’m not saying that European culture and civilisation is perfect, or that it can’t take lessons from elsewhere, far from it, but, possibly, in much the same way we look back on the Roman or Ancient Greek worlds, our descendants might also muse, in centuries to come, at our hubris, and complacency at what we had.

I came across a similar idea in James Bradley's The Imperial Cruise except he tries to tie European civilisation to a couple thousand years of white supremacy. It did take a couple thousand years for Western civilization to develop, but it was the principles and arguments over those principles that caused it to change and grow. The color of their skin was just incidental.

By the way, The Imperial Cruise is a terrible book. I read Flyboys by Bradley and it was pretty great, so I had high hopes for this one. Turns out this one is just dreck. The story is nominally about the Congressional junket that Teddy Roosevelt sent to eastern Asia in 1905.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023


MiG 29UB taxi at Bozeman, Idaho

Soviet era Fulcrum. Scramble has a good story about ownership of this aircraft

Pair of Fulcrums

Raptor Aviation has an ad posted offering the same aircraft for sale. Maybe it's the same aircraft. Maybe it's a different one. Maybe the post is obsolete.

Selected Specifications:
It's got radar and rockets, but it's the gun that got my attention. Not something you think too much in this day of rockets. Bullets do have the advantage of being super cheap.

Su-35S fires it's 30 mm GSh-30-1 autocannon
Russian Armed Forces

Russia video on Facebook

The gun has a rate of fire of 1,800 rounds per minute, but the aircraft only carries 150 rounds which is only enough for five seconds. That's 30 rounds a second. I think the idea is that you get the target lined up in your sights and you let loose a burst just tenths of a second long. With the way the aircraft move and the way targets move, if you fire a single shot it's a crap shoot whether that bullet will hit the target. When you are moving, your point of aim is also moving. If you let loose a burst and your line of sight crosses the target, then there is a good chance that you will actually hit the target.

Monday, June 12, 2023

E/A-18G Growler

United States Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler

It looks like an F-18 and it smells like an F-18 and it has 90% of its parts in common with the F-18, but if you look under the skin you'll find a different kind of animal - an electronical beasty, so to speak.

I'm looking at this picture and I got to thinking that it has a bunch of stuff hanging underneath. It took some digging, but I think I figured out what they all are. We'll start at the center and work out to the end of left wing. We'll pretend the right wing is outfitted the same.

Under the centerline of the fuselage we have an AN/ALQ-99 jammer pod. Next, just outboard of the jet engine intake, the bomb shaped item is an external fuel tank. Next is another AN/ALQ-99. The knob sticking out of the front of the pod is actually a propeller, which implies that it is driving a generator, so it's generating its own power instead of drawing power from the aircraft. Next is an AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile). An anti-radiation missile (ARM) is a missile designed to detect and home in on an enemy radio emission source. Lastly, on the wingtip, is an AN/ALQ-218 wide band receiver.

Cave Tech

Eurocopter AS-350 AStar (PR-TNG)

The AStar is a popular helicopter, over 10,000 have been produced since 1975. They can carry five people and fly about 150 MPH. New they cost pert near two million, used ones can be picked up for about half that. All in, they cost about a thousand dollars an hour to operate. You must really want to get somewhere to pay that kind of money.

The airport code attached to this picture is SSPF. Mouse over the code and we get a popup that says Fly Village (Altos/PL). There is a Fly Village in northeast Brazil. However, SSPF is the code for an airport closer to Sao Paulo, way farther south.

Teresina, Fly Village & Natal, Brazil

Fly village is not far from Teresina, and we got another photo of a military plane in Teresina. Alexandro Dias took both photos, so we're probably in Teresina. Natal used to be the jumping off point for planes flying across the Atlantic to Africa.

Rock art at Serra da Capivara National Park in Piauí state, one of the largest and oldest concentrations of prehistoric sites in the Americas

Fly Village is located in the Brazil state Piaui. Looking at Piaui I find this cool photo of ancient rock art. The rock art might be 20,000 years old. They figured that out using optically stimulated luminescence. Wait, what? Optically stimulated luminescence? Never heard of it.

I looked. Optically Stimulated Luminescence is some real Star Trek shit. It sounds like complete bullshit, but evidently it works. Not only are they using to date cave paintings they use it with dosimeters. It sounds insane.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Canadair CT-114 Tutor

Canadair CT-114 Tutor

Click to embiggenate. The photo is amazingly detailed. The Tutor is a Canadian jet trainer aircraft. Canadair built 200 of them in the 1960s. Still used by the Snowbirds demonstration team. Malaysia bought 20 of them and used them as ground attack aircraft against enemies of the state.


Outer Sunset, San Francisco California

From an email conversation.

California Bob - Counter-narrative: New York Times say I should feel better about where I live.

Uniberp - Downtowns everywhere in America are awful. Built for horses and converted for cars they never had good pedestrian accomodations.

Me - The New York Times is not to be trusted. They are part of the Democrat-Biden mafia.

California Bob - Chuck, it's dangerous to send these kinds of messages over unencrypted email. I've trained the gophers in my bunker to be couriers, and when I want to exchange ethnic jokes with my fellow militia members, I tie encoded messages to their necks and send them on their way. They are supplied with cyanide tablets, so if they encounter a soccer mom, they may die with dignity rather than listen to lectures about recycling.

The byline -- "The Outer Sunset’s success reflects how some cities have evolved during the pandemic" -- didn't really hit the mark with me. No, our part of the city doesn't have the problems of the Tenderloin or the biz district -- but it's a residential area not subject to those problems. I admit there has been some general improvement since I arrived -- fancy thriving shops, streets/sidewalks/public areas being upgraded -- but there's also been an increase in hobo campers. 

But I see it as slow general improvement, I don't really see any connection to the pandemic. So I agree: mafia-related or not, the Times has a somewhat forced narrative here.