Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Artificial Stupidity


Earlier this week I went out and ran some errands. All of these errands could have been taken care of over the phone if I had been willing to spend the day on hold talking to some robo-cop, but I wasn't, so got in my truck and drove around to the various outfits and dealt with them in person. I probably didn't save any time, and it likely cost me a small fortune in gasoline, but I didn't have listen to hours of public service announcements, static filled music and robo-cop voices telling me to press one for more crap or two for more shit. So it was much more pleasant.

I've been running into mentions of AI (Artificial Intelligence) here and there. There are people pontificating about how great or awful it's going to be, and some people are experimenting with having these entities create images or stories. That's all fine and well but it doesn't interest me in the least. I have sort of been wondering what AI could be used for that would actually be useful. Right now it's kind of limited to using data that has already been loaded into a computer. There is certainly a great deal of that, and it may prove useful in some cases, for some people, but I don't see any real world applications that would benefit me.

Or at least I didn't, but after my experience the other day I see huge application - an AI agent that can make phone calls on your behalf and patiently wade through all the robo-cop menus and sign / countersign identification procedures in order to take care of some of these simple issues.

Of course, this means businesses are going to start employing AI to answer customer service calls so we are going to have AI agents talking to each other to sort out what should be trivial problems. Never use a hammer to drive a nail when you can employ a super sophisticated robot intelligence to do the job.

Lost In Space

Lost In Space | 1920 Universe

Pretty spacey.

Rotary Cellphone

A Rotary Cellphone Story
Justine Haupt

This is just nuts. It's great, but it's nuts.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Cadillac Eldorodo

I bought a forgotten Y2K Cadillac Concept Car, with a mysterious history. Meet the EldoRODo!
Hoovie's Garage

I really like the way this car looks. It's a one-off custom and half the stuff doesn't work, so totally impractical, but good golly, that's a nice looking car. And no, the name is not misspelled, or rather it is deliberately misspelled.

Confederate Flag

Confederate Battle Flag

JMSmith is just the best. Today he tackles Professor Elwood Watson of Johnson City, Tennessee:

. . .

And yet there remain diehard yahoos and backwards badthinkers who have the audacity (or temerity) to wave the Confederate flag,

“Despite such efforts . . . the flag has been brazenly touted and displayed at Trump rallies and other conservative right-wing events.”

Well, yes, naturally, since the Confederate flag is for many Americans a symbol that expresses their lack of love for Big Brother.  That this lack of love for Big Brother often extends to a lack of love for Big Brother’s little brothers, such as Professor Watson, is just as natural.   To hate a regime is to hate its toadies, its propagandists, its pimps, and its collaborators.

Professor Watson tells us,

“There is nothing redemptive about the Confederate flag.  It is a searing symbol of hate, violence, pain, and oppression.”

Which is why Professor Watson hates it and would rejoice to see it outlawed.

“There is nothing admirable about its sinister and rapacious history and nothing ambiguous about its scurrilous message.”

I would say that defiance in the face of the fearful odds is always somewhat admirable, even when it is mistaken or wrongly directed.   The intrinsic value of courage and self-sacrifice is obvious to everyone who is not a natural toady, boot-licker, or tool.

I also find it very hard to see rapacity in the long retreat over which the Confederate flag has flown.   The rapacity of the advancing host is, however, striking; it has been pressing ahead for more than one hundred and fifty years, and yet its hunger is, if anything, keener then at its first charge.

I never much cared for the Confederate Flag, I mean it was carried by the bad guys during our Civil War, but now with all the bullshit being spewed by the media, I might have to go get me one. I probably won't though, that would mean spending money on something frivolous and besides, Amazon probably won't sell you one, and if they do they'll collect your name and send it to the FBI. Or professor Watson.

My hankering for a Confederate Flag is much like my affection for Trump. It's not that I like them but that they are in opposition to the Biden regime. Guess I'm just a rebel at heart

David Bowie - Rebel Rebel

Any time the Confederate Flag comes up, someone always notes that the 'stars and bars' is the battle flag, which kind of implies that there is a non-battle Confederate Flag, but I still have no idea what it looks like. I could look it up, but I don't care. Everyone recognizes the 'stars and bars'.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Fly from England to Australia

Vickers Vimy flies again after 75 years

Just a little bit of aviation history from the 20th century.

Original Rolls-Royce Eagle Aero Engine

The Rolls-Royce Eagle weighed 900 pounds which might be twice as much as the Chevrolet V8 used in the replica.

Jeremy’s Razors

Jeremy’s Razors: The Greatest Commercial Ever

Great stuff.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Medical Knowledge

It just occurred to me that if you are going to prepare for a disaster, one of the things you should probably include would be a book of general medicine. If you have a disaster that is bad enough to knock out electronic communications, there are liable to be people who are injured. If the Internet is down, there's no Google. A real, honest to gawd, printed on paper, book of medical knowledge might be a good thing to have. I need to take a look and see if I can find one.


Troops from the IDF’s Golani Brigade inside Gaza’s parliament building in Gaza City,  November 13, 2023

From The Times of Israel comes this story about hostage negotiations:

Hostage deal, even if it fails, shows Hamas’s desperation by Haviv Rettig Gur

This line caught my eye:

As any aspiring gangster knows, there’s a tipping point to extortion when the cost of avoiding violence rises past the cost of the violence itself, when the victim’s incentives flip from payment to vengeful defiance.

I hope Israel follows through with their plan to eliminate Hamas.

Reflector Gunsights

Reflector Gunsights: the Fighter Pilot's Friend
Our Own Devices

This guy does a good job of tying all the bits on a complicated subject together. Only problem is I can't figure out how to pronounce his name. Near as I can make out he pronounces it 'Guy Messy' which makes me want to call him the messy guy.

Bart explains Asian languages.

Bart explains Asian languages.

Kind of explains how I can sometimes tell what language is being spoken even though I know none of them.


Why The F-15 Terrified The Soviets

Good video about the F-15, it's so good you want to see the next one, but you have to subscribe to something to see it. The last minute or so of the video is an ad.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Burning Body

BURNING BODY | Official trailer | Netflix

Based on a true story* about a love triangle in the Barcelona police force that evolves into murder. We've got one good looking, promiscuous woman cop and a line of tough guys who are perfectly willing to satisfy her urges. We are half way through and the best part is watching the investigation trying to figure out who killed poor, burned Pedro. I mean, it's almost a perfect crime. There is no evidence, but by talking to people and piecing together what little bits of information they have managed to collect, there really aren't any other suspects. The other mystery is why she killed this guy, but maybe that will be revealed. We haven't got there yet.

The show jumps around in time, but it's pretty obvious when most scenes occur relative to the whole story.

DSOC - Deep Space Optical Communication

Testing Space Lasers for Deep Space Optical Communications (Mission Overview)
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The Silicon Graybeard reports on the Psyche mission. Laser communications are a staple of Science Fiction stories (sometimes referred to as tight beam communications). Radios broadcast, which means those signals can be picked up by anyone with a receiver. Microwaves are a little better, but the beam tends to spread out a bit as it goes. Laser beams spread out more slowly meaning the enemy has less chance of intercepting your communications. Lasers also give you higher data rates, as evidenced by a zillion people all connected to the same fiber optic cable, all watching different Netflix movies.

Sex Work

Backpage Hoe was a classified advertising website founded in 2004. When Craigslist closed its "Adult Services" section in 2010 much of Craigslist's share of the adult ad market migrated to other sites, with Backpage being the main beneficiary. - paraphrased from Wikipedia.

Backpage has been facing legal troubles. Windypundit explains:

Backpage and The Iron Law of Prohibition by Mark Draughn

The term 'sex work' doesn't make much sense to me, I mean it doesn't seem like work. But different people have differing libidos, and differing attachments to their pocket book. Never had any girls offering to pay me for sex, so I suppose I haven't really been tested.

There is the moral angle, but given the prevalence of real evil going on in the world, prostitution seems like small potatoes. Most people. like 98%, don't engage in paid sex. The biggest effect is the titillation of movie audiences.

Bad Man

Alexander Bain, prolific inventor
I never heard of him, but JMSmith quotes him

If you are wondering why the world is full of troublemakers, this post by JMSmith does a good job of explaining it.

The Pleasure of Malevolence (It’s Who We Are) by JMSmith

Getting on the freeway this afternoon a small white BMW attempted to pass me on the right. Happily (for me) the lane ended and he was forced in behind me where he rode my bumper until we got on the freeway proper and he was able to pass me and then proceeded to weave in and out of traffic until he was lost from sight. Oh, I wanted to kill him. If I just had a couple of RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades) I would have been overjoyed to put one up his tailpipe. Fortunately I had no RPGs and I was able to stifle my anger, so no collisions and no citations. Never mind how irrational the feeling, it was very strong.

Bad Landing in Hawaii

U.S Navy P-8A Poseidon

This P-8 Poseidon overshot the runway at the Kaneohe Bay airbase and ended up in the water. How did that happen? I dunno, the runway is a mile and half long, so not that short. Both ends do end up at the water.

Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station, Hawaii

Honolulu and the big airport are 12 miles away on the other side of the mountains.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Grid Fins

Grid Fins on SpaceX Super Heavy Booster

I'm watching a video about the recent SpaceX rocket launch and this scene flashes on the screen for a couple of seconds. I'm posting it because it shows just how big the grid fins are. In pictures of the whole rocket the grid fins look pretty small and inconsequential. They are not.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Merlin Engine

SpaceX Merlin 1D engine

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See | Official Trailer | Netflix

Started watching this mini-series (4 episodes) last night and it's pretty great. We have a blind young woman who is holed up in her family home in St. Malo, France, while the Allies are bombing the bejesus out of the place. There's no food and the Nazis, who are nominally in charge, have locked the city gates - no one gets in or out. This is like two months after D-day, the Nazis are on the back foot and determined to hold out to the last man. Well, some of them are.

There is a radio transmitter in the girl's house and every evening she goes on the air and reads Shakespeare into the ether. One German soldier has been listening to a station broadcasting on that same frequency ever since he was in high school. He is supposed to be tracking her down because Nazis good, radio bad, but he's been listening to this same station since forever, he can see how the war is going, and he's the only one on the job, so if he says he can't find her, she can't be found.

There's also a mean Nazi who is also looking for the girl because he is convinced she has a precious jewel with magical powers that will cure him of whatever disease he is suffering from. He doesn't care about the war or any of the people in the town either. He just wants the jewel and he will kill anyone who won't tell him where the girl is.

Locking the gates of the town sounds medieval. Well the town is:

St. Malo, France, after the battle

St. Malo today

Starship - Successful Test Flight

Watch: SpaceX Starship Test Flight Ends in Explosion on Second Try | WSJ
The Wall Street Journal

Launched this morning at oh dark thirty West Coast time. I was awake so I watched it. Pretty great. Everything seemed to work fine going up, but things kind of fell apart on the way down. Near as I can tell the booster blew up all by itself and Starship was destroyed by command when they lost communication.

Still, the test did better than expected. (Not hard when you expect nothing. Tamp down your boundless enthusiasm with a healthy dose of 'I just know it's going to blow up on the launch pad', and then if it gets off the ground you can say 'wow, just look at that'!)

Apache and Mustang

A-36 Apache and P-51 Mustang

Comment from a mentor identifies the airplanes:

#13 is the North American A-36 Apache. The North American A-36 was the ground-attack/dive bomber version of the North American P-51 Mustang, from which it could be distinguished by the presence of rectangular, slatted dive brakes above and below the wings. A total of 500 A-36 dive bombers served in the Mediterranean

Since I see no evidence of 'slatted dive brakes' in the above photo, I am assuming he has another source of information, like, I dunno, maybe the internet? 

Wikipedia has a page about the Apache. It seems the A-36 was created out of a need to keep building Mustangs even though the budget for fighter aircraft for that year had run out. Here, here! for the bureaucracy. Tangled up in red tape, they still managed to get a zillion aircraft built and shipped out the door.

The 3 Languages of Politics

3 Axes

The 3 Languages Of Politics by Arnold Kling explains why nobody can agree on nuttin'.

An excerpt:

The Three Axes

– Progressives will communicate along the oppressor-oppressed axis. “My heroes are people who have stood up for the underpriviliged. The people I cannot stand are the people who are indifferent to the oppression of women, minorities and the poor”

– A conservative will communicate along the civilization-barbarism axis. “My heroes are people who have stood up for Western values. The people I cannot stand are the people who are indifferent to the assault on moral virtues and traditions that are the foundation for our civilization”

– A libertarian will communicate along the liberty coercion axis. “My heroes are the people who have stood up for individual rights. The people I cannot stand are the people who are indifferent to the government taking away people’s ability to make their own decision”

Conservatives who complain about their treatment on college campuses, including having conservative speakers “disinvited” from college events or shouted down when they do appear. Conservatives might label this treatment as “oppression”. But progressives would never agree to categorizing conservatives as belonging to an oppressed class

Whenever we communicate about issues, we tend to fall back in one of the 3 axis. By doing so, we engage in tribalism.

The three axes are orthogonal. You can be at any one point on one axis and still be able to slide along the other two to any value you choose.

Via IAman


Wells Fargo, a long story about not much.

Wells Fargo Forest Grove

IAman reports:

There is a nice branch of Wells Fargo bank 2 miles from me. Looks like it was built in 1990s, maybe 3,000 sq feet. 3 tellers, about 10 empty cubicles. A drive through and a good functioning ATM. So far, sort of good.

A couple weeks ago I went in to secure a safety deposit box for some treasures and documents, box 31.  ‘Mel’(Melissa) slight disheveled frizzy haired 20 something waited on me. The process took quite a while, 30 minutes.  I asked about having my kids have access to the box, Mel didn’t know but would forward a request for info to the main office. I forget about this promise.

The next day, I get a call from the branch manager, I asked about my request through Mel about my kids access to the box. She replied Mel left WF the day after, but she would contact the main office to find out about box access for kids. She then quizzed me about the level of service Mel provided, I said all was  fine. Strange.

A week later I go to deposit health directives into the box. I ask for the manager who is on lunch break, relay my inquiry about kids access, then go to deposit papers. My antennae now being up, I verify the contents of the box as I place papers within.

I leave as the manager is still lunching. “She will get right back with you”.  Still crickets.

But what really grinds-my-goat is the entire bank staff was wearing beyond-casual clothes, hoodies and sweats and hair in bungees. I was raised in a era of bankers in pinstripes.

Googling all this, the advise is don’t use bank safety deposit boxes, they are a relic of a bygone era. Not only boxes but me too. Who knew?


Friday, November 17, 2023

Muzzle Loader?

Federal Firestick: Pushing the Regulatory Envelope
Our Own Devices

New to me. I've shot muzzle loaders a few times so I am familiar with them. Something like the Firestick might even be a good idea for ordinary muzzle loaders.

Cyber-Crime Story of the Day

From a post on Schneier on Security:

A ransomware gang, annoyed at not being paid, filed an SEC complaint against its victim for not disclosing its security breach within the required four days.

 I got a chuckle out of this.

Thursday, November 16, 2023


Jerusalem Old City Market

Ancient Machine Work

The Ancient Invisible Fastening Pins of The Antikythera Mechanism
Clickspring Clips

I'm not sure, but it kind of looks like this guy is trying to reproduce the Antikythera Mechanism using just hand tools. Going by the amount of work he's doing to accomplish this one little step, it's probably going to take him a couple of years to complete it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Guns and Police

My wife told me about an incident she read about. Seems someone fired at a gun at the big Portland airport. Naturally everybody gets excited. It got me to thinking and I realized that the decrease in the level of support for the police may have led to an increase in crime, but it almost certainly led to people being more afraid. Not much on average, maybe a fraction of a percent (assuming you could even put a number on the amount fear you are carrying around), but that's on average. There are going to be people who are affected more strongly and some of those may feel the need to go out and buy a firearm.

Firearms are inherently dangerous. Any time you have firearms, there are going to be 'incidents'. Hopefully there won't be many and no one gets seriously injured. Of course, it isn't the firearms that makes things dangerous, it's the people handing them. Even without any firearms there are going to be 'incidents' involving dangerous objects like knives, clubs and rocks. Like I said, it's the people handling them that makes the objects dangerous.

I don't know, but I suspect that most accidental gun 'incidents' happen to new gun owners (I'm not even going to consider non-accidental incidents). All experienced gun owners probably had an incident in their past. If they were lucky nobody got hurt. Also if they were lucky it scared them enough to get their attention and taught them to be more careful in the future.

So we get a relatively quick change in support for the police, the level of crime goes up, people become more afraid and a bunch of people go out and buy guns. So now you have bunch of new gun owners so it should be no surprise that the number of gun incidents goes up.


Making Sauerkraut
IAman reports:

I would like to try to make sauerkraut at home. Hence I need a crock.  I've been reading Captain Cooks biography and it impressed me on the importance of Kraut on a extended sea voyage (over 30 days the human body loses the anti-scorbutic levels of vitamin C) .  Through fermentation, it seems more vitamin C is produced than naturally occurs in green cabbage. (correct me if I am wrong)  Though land-locked  I still like kraut with sausage and apples,  also on sandwiches.   Yes I can buy kraut at Walmart for 9 cents a ounce, $1.44 lb, which is what cabbage costs, but why do that when I can chop, ferment and watch it bubble for a week?  I have a plastic container,  but would rather use a non-reactive stoneware,  but buying one from Ace hardware at $65 for an experiment goes against my frugal instincts.

From Wikipedia:

It is a high source of vitamins C and K; the fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients rendering sauerkraut even more nutritious than the original cabbage.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

JFD's submersible SEAL carrier

U.S. Navy SEALS Insane Powerboat Submarine

You spend enough time watching YouTube Shorts and eventually something totally unexpected pops up. I see reports of new drones (land, sea and air), armored troop carriers, artillery and tanks everyday. I've seen reports of submarines carrying James Bond like mini-subs, but this is the first time I've seen this thing. It also has a baby brother:

JFD Shadow Seal & Carrier Seal 

That business of 'taking too long to pressurize' in the first video doesn't make much sense. Making a hull that would be able to withstand even a little pressure would be about ten times as difficult and would at least double the weight making it much more expensive and difficult to transport.

JFD is based in the UK, their headquarters are just outside of Glasgow, Scotland.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Packard Torsion-Level Ride Suspension

Coolest factory car option ever!!!
Schaefer Rod and Custom

This video got me started. The video is not very good, but at the end you can see that the rear end of the car is rising back up. Anyway, he got me curious so I did a little digging and found this video:

1956 Packard Clipper Torsion Suspension
King Rose Archives

1956 Packard

Notice that while the driveway is sloped, the car is level. Self-leveling in action!

My maternal grandfather was a carpenter and something of a bon vivant - wore a diamond ring and always had a nice car, like a Packard.

Mac's Motor City Garage has a page about the Packard Torsion-Level Ride Suspension.

Botox and Depression

From What If Botox Could Ease Both Wrinkles *and* Depression? by Tess Bonn

How does Botox help treat depression?

Specifically, the idea of utilizing botulinum toxin A to treat mental health disorders is primarily based on what’s known as the “facial feedback hypothesis,” which suggests that our emotional experiences are influenced by our facial expressions. For example, smiling typically makes us feel happier while frowning can make us feel more sad. 

The theory was first developed by evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin and the “father” of American psychology William James in the 19th century. While we typically use facial expressions to signal how we’re feeling to others, they can influence how we feel ourselves. In many cases, this self-reflection can reinforce negative thoughts and feelings. 

The article talks about some studies that show some positive results, but it's not a cure all.


Sunday, November 12, 2023

Maximal Violence

The Rape of Dinah by Sebastiano Ricci, 1700, via Bremen Museum

JMSmith retells a tale from the bible.

The Rape of Dinah and Annihilation of Shalem

I'm not big on reading the bible myself, but I used to go to bible study after church. We had a very sharp pastor leading the class and he did a lot of back filling on some stories. Stories in the Bible can be very spare and if you don't know the situation they may not make much sense or seem very significant. But add a little back story and now you can understand just what's happening. Anyway, JM does the same thing here. The fact that we have any kind of civilization at all is pretty amazing. We should do what we can to preserve it.

Starship Directional Control

Why did SpaceX keep Starship’s Grid Fins out on ascent?
Everyday Astronaut

The launch he's talking about happened last April. This video showed up while I was whiling away the afternoon watching YouTube Shorts, the greatest time sucker since the invention of tiddly winks. I like this video because it shows the grid fins in action, it shows how ginormous they are and there is also a clip of the central group of rocket motors swiveling on their gimbals. They used to use hydraulics to move them but they have since changed to electric actuators. No, not more Tesla motors.

Titans of the Gilded Age

Titans of the Gilded Age
World Historian

Nothing really new here, but don't think I seen them all lumped into one box before.


Found in today's Sunday comic section.


Half of Americans would be about 165 million, 824 divided by 165 is 4.99 . . . which is close enough to five to make me happy.

You might want to read The Secret History of Lead.

Annoying Google

Feedback I sent to the great and powerful Google:

I dunno what happened, but everything is slower now. There seem to be two competing right-click menus on just about everything. Chrome was working fine up until a couple of months ago and now we've got a bunch of crap clogging up the system. Maybe you need two versions of Chrome, one where everything works (like it did) and another where your fibber-di-gibits can play around with making it slow and stupid like Apple products, which is where you seem to be headed.


Saturday, November 11, 2023

More Power!

Shades of Jeremy Clarkson.

331 Cadillac motor with 5 carburetors

Briggs Cunningham used it in the 1950 24 hrs of Le Mans.

The Feral Irishman (NSFW) got me started with this pic:

Manifold with 5 two-barrel carburetors

Mac's Motor City Garage has a story with more photos. 

Some people think these were made by welding adapters onto a standard manifold. I doubt that, to me they look like somebody went to the trouble to make a mold and get them cast. Besides, I suspect that welding cast iron back in the fifties would have been a bit of a trick.

Ayaan Returns

Why I am now a Christian by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She makes a fine argument for being a Christian. I suspect part of the problem is we did not understand how much of a unifying force our religion can be, nor did we understand how different our religion is from others. Nor did we understand how much our culture is entwined with our religion. Those differences started to become apparent when air travel became commonplace but it's the tremendous growth of electronic communications in this century that is making those differences ever more apparent. 

We need a religion we can all believe in. Christianity is the best one available. The problem with the Democrats is they don't have a religion other than the off-stated belief that Trump is a demon. That might unify a mob but it's not going to unify the country, it's just going to divide us.

A brief summary of Ayaan's history: Ayaan started as a nominal Muslim, became a more devout, perhaps even radical, Muslim under the tutelage of the Muslim Brotherhood. She had her eyes opened by an old essay by Bertrand Russell (an atheist). After observation and reflection she decided to become a Christian. Her essay gives a much more eloquent description.

North American TB-25 Mitchell

North American TB-25 Mitchell (N25JZ)

Built at the tail end of WW2 it doesn't appear to have been overseas, much less in combat, which might be why it's still around. It's here because it's a cool picture, almost looks like a painting.


Street scene in Osaka, Japan by Masahiro Miyagi
Click to embiggenate

Friday, November 10, 2023

Lockheed C-121 Constellation

Lockheed EC-121 Constellation (N422NA)

Aerial Visuals Airplane Dossier has a history of this aircraft. It flew in the Berlin Airlift back in 1949. It was converted to a military VIP transport (VC-121) and served for sixteen years before it was handed over to NASA where it served in support of the Apollo missions.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Point Defence in Space Combat

Point Defence in Space Combat

I usually post stuff I when I have something to say on the subject. I don't know if I've got anything to say about the subject here. We'll see, maybe something later. But right now I'm just kind of blown away. This guy is mixing Science Fiction space battles and real life, cutting-edge military weapons. If I heard him right, there is a chat group somewhere devoted to figuring out just what the next generation of weapons might be capable of. Such a discussion might be pointless, but then talking politics is equally pointless, but we still do it. And every once in a while a thought from one of these discussions might weasel its way out of the chat group, slither along the streets and avenues of society and into the ear of someone who can do something about it. I mean it has happened, hasn't it? Unfortunately, the one incident that pops into my head is one where the warning was not heeded. It was the idea of using an airliner to attack New York City. I read a story about that probably thirty years before it actually happened. 

Now that I think about it, I realize the guys in charge of airline security were probably thinking about it, but we never heard from them. All I heard about the airliners crashing into the Twin Towers was the idiotic "who'd-a-thunk-it?" Anybody who had a brain would-a-thunk it. But realizing you have a potential problem is only the first step. Next you need a solution. That's easy, you just dream up your perfect security apparatus. But now you have to sell it, and all the players have to agree on your solution. I'll bet that's what happened, nobody liked the idea of a perfect security apparatus so we did nothing. We worked on the honor system, and it worked for, what? 50 years?

I do wonder just what kind of airline security we should be using. Seems there ought to be a better way. Our current method of having a legion of TSA agents inspecting individual passengers is cumbersome and of dubious efficacy. One one hand it's annoying and time consuming, and number of actual terrorists they've stopped is near zero*. On the other hand, no airliners have been commandeered by terrorists lately.

* I have no idea how many terrorists the TSA has arrested. Of course, you can always fudge the numbers. If you were asking how many terrorists, to the nearest thousand, then anything less than 500 would round to zero. And that was the question you were asking, right? So I feel pretty safe about saying zero.

Back on the video. I really enjoy watching those test flights of maneuvering rockets. I'm gonna have to watch this again.


Defiant Doorbell

Went to Longbottoms for lunch today and then to Home Depot to pick up some small parts and a new doorbell. The old one worked fine, but the white was getting more yellow and since we got the living room repainted white, we thought a matching doorbell was in order. Well, it's white, but you know how many shades of white there are? It's close, but it's not exact. Maybe we'll try painting the cover of the old one.

Australia versus the Moon

Purnululu National Park

This morning's jigsaw puzzle. While technically Purnululu National Park is in Western Australia, it is closer to the northern edge. It is about 400 miles SSW of Darwin. (Google Map)

Coincidentally, I heard someone (Neil deGrasse Tyson maybe) comparing the diameter of the Moon to the size of Australia. Looking for a picture to illustrate this, I came across this 3D poster which gives a better picture of the situation than a simple 2D map.

Australia versus the Moon

Moon Versus Moon

Our Moon is the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System. Three of the larger moons (Ganymede, Callisto and Io) are in orbit around Jupiter, one orbits Saturn (Titan). Our Moon is larger than the fourth Galilean moon (Europa).

Moons of Mars

Mars has two known moons, Phobos and Deimos ("fear" and "dread", after attendants of Ares, the Greek god of war, equivalent to the Roman Mars). 

Fear and Dread? Excellent! I'm going to look for an opportunity to deploy that factoid. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023


Port House - Antwerpia Belgia

I don't like goofball buildings like this one. I think they're a stupid waste of money, but I am always curious about them which, I suppose, is the point. They get people's attention and it certainly got mine. Once they have made an impact on our collective consciousness they become landmarks so that whenever you happen across it you'll think of the city that built it, in this case Antwerp.

Zaha Hadid Architects has a page of photos. Wikipedia also has a page about this building.

Monday, November 6, 2023


Zerohedge is ranting about the Federal Government again. No surprise there, but this line in the linked article got my attention:

US To Borrow $1.5 Trillion In Debt This & Next Quarter, After Borrowing A Massive $1 Trillion Last Quarter. 

The linked article itself is full of . . . something . . . but this line pretty much sums it up. Remember when a billion used to be something? Now the government is borrowing a billion dollars every two hours. And then they send it to Ukraine and our own locally owned and operated defense industry.

Hamas Loves Dead Palestinians by Ben Shapiro on The Daily Wire. I don't particularly like Ben Shapiro, though I do agree with many of his views. I got my negative impression from several brief videos I've seen of him confronting someone opposed to him. He's kind of forceful and abrasive. I dunno, maybe that's what it takes to confront some of these idiots. Actually, he's probably a lot more civil than I would be. Of course, you'd be hard pressed to get me to confront an idiot. I mean, they're idiots, why waste your time? As to the article, I said something similar earlier.

Nasrallah & the Future of the War by As`ad AbuKhalil on Consortium News. Kind of a strange story, he's looking at the political forces at work in Lebanon. Evidently Nasrallah is the head of Hizbollah (Hezbollah?) so he gets to deal with Iran, Lebanon, Hamas and the Gulf States (by which I think the author means Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates).

Where are all these places? Here they are:

The Mideast
Area shown is approzimately 1,500 miles east to west and a thousand miles north to south

Every time I look at this area it's like a whole new experience - nothing is where I imagined it would be. Probably should try drawing it a few times.

Dragon Tails

Basque Coast Geopark in the Bay of Biscay near Bilbao, Spain

My first impression was that this is a very hostile landscape, for humans at least. I suppose all the nooks and crannies among these rocks make fine homes for all kinds of small creatures, some of which may be edible. So if you were careful you might be able to find enough to eat. Or you could if it wasn't some kind of park where almost anything fun is undoubtedly prohibited.

Title from PeapixWikipedia page.

Nick Goes Adventuring

Nick with today's bunch of rabbits

Nick has more fun than you and I and a dozen of our friends put together.

Portland General Math

Portland General Math

I get an electric bill every month. I looked at this one and noticed their math doesn't add up. Color me amused.

Hour of the Wolf

Songleikr | Ulvetime (Hour of the Wolf)
Christopher Juul

Friday, November 3, 2023

Healthcare in the Early 1900s

Healthcare in the Early 1900s
Doc Schmidt
I was just going to email this to my family and the lunch bunch on account of we're all up to our ears in the medical-industrial complex, but then I figured that's probably half the country, which means you might appreciate it.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings - Repost

Copybook Headings
Doug Moreland - Topic

Reposting this because I'm in that kind of mood today.

I came across this Bayou Renaissance Man. Color me impressed. Here's the written version:

Rudyard Kipling

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch.
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch.
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four—
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man—
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:—
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

 Actual copybook headings here.