Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Tennis Racket Theorem

Tennis Racket Theorem
Unveiled Myths

Under the Weather

Under the Weather

I was feeling pretty rotten yesterday evening. I drank a couple of cans of ginger ale and I was able to get some sleep. I am feeling a little better today, not 100%, but better. The only reason I mention this is that it seems to happen every couple of months and I thought I ought to start keeping track. Yes, I could put it in my calendar, or in a separate log somewhere, but the next time it happens I would need to remember where I put that note. If everything is in this blog, then there's only one place to look for anything and that's right here, so here it is.

Coincidentally I saw the doctor yesterday for a Medicare 'wellness checkup', which mostly asks a bunch of questions like 'are you dying?' I suspect they feed this into their great computer which will chew on this data and spit out some recommendations, which the yahoos in charge will turn into some kind of political propaganda. 

They drew some blood and they will test it, but I expect that all they will find is that my potassium is low, as usual .

From The Wager by David Grann, we get this bit about the origin of the phrase 'under the weather':

(When ailing seamen were shielded belowdecks from the adverse elements outside, they were said to be "under the weather.")


Monday, January 29, 2024

Euphemism of the Day

INS Sumitra

From India’s navy rescues pirated Iranian ship in Arabian Sea:

The Indian Navy’s warship INS Sumitra, which has been deployed in the Gulf of Aden on an anti-piracy operation, rescued a hijacked Iranian vessel on Monday and ensured the release of crew members and the boat itself, amid ongoing tensions in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

The patrol vessel responded to a distress call from the Iranian fishing boat Iman, which had been boarded by pirates along the east coast of Somalia, a navy spokesperson said, adding that the crew were being held as hostages. Sumitra intercepted the fishing boat and “ensured the successful release of all 17 crew members along with the boat,” the Indian Navy said in a statement. The vessel was then sanitized and released for onward transit.

The vessel was sanitized? I'm afraid to ask what that means.

Hijacked Fishing Boat

Sunday, January 28, 2024

The Lion King

The Lion King Broadway musical trailer

Took the family to see the show at Keller Auditorium this afternoon. Singing and dancing and outrageous costumes. The singing and dancing didn't do much for me, I didn't recognize any of the songs and the lyrics were pretty much unintelligible, to me anyway. The show opened with the Rafiki (the baboon) rambling on in some sort of gibberish, might have been a foreign language, might have been gibberish. Anyway it didn't make any sense, but at least I could hear her clearly. To top it off, when she is done with her spiel she asks the audience if we understood, which got her a big laugh. There were several other funny bits which I appreciated. I couldn't understand what they were saying, but I got the funny. The costumes were pretty great and the way they were manipulated was very cool. Turns out the costumes were made in Scappoose, Oregon, which is just a village not too far from here on Route 30 along the Columbia River.

The Lion King on Broadway is coming to Portland; all the puppets were made in Oregon
Here is Oregon

Went to Bullards afterwards for dinner. Great food, great service and a great bill to go along with it.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Growler Jams

Tense Seconds - Could Have Broken The Ship
Growler Jams

Watching a pilot land his aircraft on a carrier in the middle of the ocean. No fancy edits, no music, just a guy showing us how it's done. Can't see all the indicators that he can see, just have to trust him on that, but you can see the ship, intermittently. Curious thing is that he isn't following the same course as the ship, he's coming in at an angle. He's doing that because the landing area is at an angle. Can't line up with the landing area either because it's moving. Have to adjust your lead so you'll be in the right spot when you touch down.


Deee-Lite - Groove Is In The Heart (Official Video)

Just stumbled over this. I remember playing it a bunch once upon a time, so I was sure I had posted it before, but apparently not, so here it is now.

Ice Ice

Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby (Official Music Video)
Vanilla Ice

I'm watching a YouTube short and dang, that tune sounds familiar, but what is it? Took me a while to sort it out. Google used to be able to 'name that tune', but I got no cooperation this time.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Save Byron's Bar, Part 2

Podcast from IPR (Iowa Public Radio). The first ten or fifteen minutes we have a woman interviewing Byron so we get to hear from the man his own self. After that it kind of turns into a drone of people talking, or maybe my brain just tuned out. I listened to Byron and that was enough to convince me that it was worth posting, i.e. I enjoyed listening to it so I'm sticking it up here.

Rumor has it that a fund raiser is being set up.

Save Byron's Bar Part 1 Here

LNG Explosion

Tank truck with 60 TONS of gas explodes in Ulaanbaatar

RT reports:
The accident in Mongolia’s capital has killed six and left 14 injured. A truck carrying 60 tons of liquified natural gas (LNG) collided with a car and exploded in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar.
Truck & cryogenic trailer

LNG is about half as dense as water. Cooling natural gas to −260 °F will turn it into a liquid, reducing its volume by a factor of 600. Tanks are lightly pressurized at around 4 or 5 PSI (pounds per square inch). A single trailer can carry about 30 tons of LNG, so either there were two trailers involved in this accident or somebody got the number wrong. At least they were only off by a factor of 2, not 2 zillion. Not bad for an innumerate journalist.  Where is Ulaanbaatar anyway? Middle of nowhere, that's where:

Ulaanbaatar Mongolia

Note that just past the west end of Mongolia there is a short stretch of border between Russia and China. Mongolia is surrounded by Russia and China.

SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy Booster

SpaceX Starship Heavy Booster holds 750 tons of liquid methane (LNG is basically methane), so it's going to take 25 trailer loads to fill the booster.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Taylor Lorenz, Stooge for Biden Administration

Because I am feeling lazy today, I stole this post from ZeroHedge. The original has several Tweets embedded if you are into that kind of thing. I find they are mostly redundant.

'The Entire Journalism Industry Is In Freefall': Taylor Lorenz Vlogs The Death Of MSM As BuzzFeed, Insider And Vice Jettison Assets By Tyler Durden

JAN 25, 2024

Corporate media is on life support. Driven to cut costs by sagging ad revenues and waning appetite for propaganda, layoffs and 'restructurings' are happening all over.

Earlier this week the LA Times laid off 120 employees, around 20% of its newsroom.

Meanwhile, BuzzFeed and Vice Media - two former darlings of digital media, are looking to siphon off assets. BuzzFeed, which has lost over 97% of its value since going public in 2021, is looking to sell its food sites, Tasty and WeFeast. While Fortress Investment Group, which took over Vice in bankruptcy last year, is looking to sell its Refinery29 women's lifestyle site, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Fortress is in talks to sell Refinery29 after a failed attempt to find a buyer for Vice in its entirety, which includes its namesake news brand, production studio and creative agency, among other assets. Fortress is in discussions with prospective bidders for Refinery29, which saw a decrease in revenue to $30 million last year from around $50 million in 2022, according to people familiar with the matter.

Vice notably bought Refinery29 for $400 million in 2019, while Tasty was an attempt by BuzzFeed to generate revenue streams beyond advertising with direct sales of kitchenware.

The outlets join Jezebel ("Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth"), which was shuttered in November by G/O Media amid corporate layoffs, and Business Insider, which is now cutting 8% of its staff, per Semafor.

Time Magazine also laid off 30 people this week.

In 2023, there were over 30,000 workers laid off by media companies.

This is the largest number of cuts in employment since 2020 when Covid-19 was raging and over 30,000 workers were laid off.

The figure is also six times higher than the number of job losses in 2022 when several large media companies including Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney and others had undergone a series of layoffs impacting thousands of media workers. -Forbes

Taylor, Taylor, Taylor

Opining on the sad state of journalism is Jeff Bezos's vocal-fry champion,Taylor Lorenz, who said this week that "The entire journalism industry is basically in a free-fall," and that the LA Times' woes follow "months and months of layoffs in the media industry."

"And it's not just digital media sites," she continues. "Local news has been obliterated, the newspaper industry is cratering, radio is essentially dead - aside from NPR which has been gutted. Meanwhile, hundreds of workers at Conde Nast, the parent company of pretty much every major magazine from GQ to Vogue to the New Yorker to Vanity Fair are on strike."

Despite her claims that she is a grassroots reporter that worked her way up from independent media into the halls of establishment journalism, Taylor Lorenz represents the quintessential media spin doctor.  She is notorious for her consistent and often ludicrous defense of the Biden Administration, as well as her constant attacks on the alternative media; specifically on conservative YouTubers and social media accounts like Libs of TikTok. 

She became somewhat famous after her exposé on Libs of TikTok founder Chaya Raichik in what many argued was an attempt to dox and intimidate a person critical of woke activists (the initial story published by Lorenz contained a link to the woman’s work address and other work details.  A later version of the story had the link removed). 

She was also accused of lying in an article about coverage of the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial when she claimed she had contacted certain YouTuber's for comment before publishing her attack on them (they say she did not and she had no evidence to support her assertions).  The Washington Post was forced to quietly stealth-edit her article in embarrassment.

The point is, Lorenz has made it clear by her actions that she views citizen journalists negatively if they aren't on the political left.  She has tried to sabotage them using dubious methods, and ironically it is this kind of behavior from corporate journalists like her that has led directly to the death of her industry.  It is this kind of biased behavior that has compelled the public to seek out the alternative media and abandon legacy platforms.   

No matter how much you hate journalists, it's not enough

In a 2022 Pew Research poll of US mainstream journalists of all ages, over 55% said that they don't believe all sides of any given story deserve equal coverage.  The youngest journalists (ages 18-29) were the worst, with 63% saying they did not agree with equal coverage.  Lorenz reflects this very sentiment as she rolls her eyes at the notion of objectivity in news writing.   

In a similar poll, over 76% of the general public said they want equal coverage of all sides by the media.  The disconnect between establishment news sources and what their audience wants is immense.  Given that progressive ideology is greatly over-represented in most corporate media, the public has simply sought out the other side of the story.       

Lorenz argues that she wouldn't want to live in a world where people get their news from sixty second TikToks (while posting her appeal to TikTok), but she knows full well that it's not TikTok journalism that's taking the legs out from under organizations like The Washington Post – It's the growing prevalence of the alternative media which she has lambasted for a large portion of her career.

That said, ultimately the picture Lorenz paints is actually a positive one (though she doesn't realize it).  The implosion of legacy media is an expression of the free market.  The public has spoken and finally these people are suffering the consequences of their dishonest activities.  And to be clear, no, legacy companies do not matter.  

They are not special or integral to the economy or to society.  They are not “too big to fail” and their collapse should be applauded after the years of disinformation and propaganda they have excreted on the doorsteps of the American populace.  They deserve this and the world is better off without them.  They are already being replaced with better companies and better journalists; may the free market run its course.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering - while corporate media has been imploding, ZeroHedge has been growing. We thank you for your readership.


Of course, now I am wondering just who ABC MEDIA, LTD are. Google gives me results that point to the USA, British Columbia, Canada and the UK. One search result points to a Wikipedia article about Krassimir Ivandjiiski, who is also the father of Daniel Ivandjiiski, founder of the U.S.-based alt-right website, Zero Hedge.'

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

More Wednesday

I Bought The Most Indestructible Bulldozer In The World

Very funny. This dozer is the same make and model as the Kill Dozer.


Jeff Beck and ZZ Top - Ernie Ford's SIXTEEN TONS

I started writing about the LNG explosion in Mongolia, but I tried to convert 60 tons to LNG to cubic feet and it just took too long and I got hungry. Then I got to thinking about the Mideast and I wrote something, but I'm not sure it's fit for publication, so I'm gonna sleep on it. Meanwhile, we got Jeff Beck and ZZ Top.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Romanian Steam Punk

#VEVOR Manual Die Cutter - Tool Review

I dunno if he is Romanian, but his channel name has the suffix 'Ro' and he sounds vaguely east European, so I'm gonna call him Romanian. I really like this video, the whole presentation, the costuming, the audio and visual explanations. I mean, you gotta give the guy credit for how well this video is put together. His English is a little rough, but his choice of music is out of this world. (Starts just after the four minute mark.) This is like a real-life Age of Aquarius world. Kind of like Blackwing Pencils.

How'd we get here?  Glad you asked. I'll be a-tellin' you how, jess you listen now. IAman asked me about some Winslow Homer prints our parents had hanging in our house when we were growing up. I think I've been down this rathole before, so I go rooting around in my blog archives, starting with 'prints'. Nothing jumps out at me, but I notice that a video in one of my older posts had gone missing. 

Pretty typical, With the number of old posts on this blog I wouldn't be surprised if I was losing a video a week. Why does it disappear? Because of your typical YouTube reasons: somebody made a copyright claim, the guy got crossed up with the 'authorities' and lost his license, or maybe the guy just bailed on the whole YouTube thing. Who knows? Usually the trail of bread crumbs is pretty scant, and rewards of tracking down what happened is going to be pretty much nil, so we're not going to do that, especially if we have enough clues to find another version of the same video, or something similar.

So, I notice that a video in one of my older posts had gone missing. I decide to see if I can fix this quickly so I don't have to put it on my list of stuff to be fixed, so I take a look on YouTube and down the rathole I go. Different rathole than the first rathole. This is a fork in the world of ratholes. We have entered the Die Cutter rathole. These guys are the foundation of our civilization. (Wait, didn't you say that about somebody else recently? Okay, there are many stones in the foundation and this is one of those stones.)

I find a video from six* years ago about a fancy Digital Die Cutter and I stick it in the six-year-old post that is missing its video. Are they similar? Yes. Very similar? I have no idea. The new one looks pretty dang fancy. Just check out the two (two!) lasers cutting the stuffing out of those labels.

Then I find this guy. Very straight forward, pretty bare bones, but short. Everything you need to know about this machine.

Jasdi Table Top Die Cutter
Milton Chiu

Then I found the guy at the top and decided to tell y'all all about it.

*six - I originally wrote 'size'. How does my brain translate six in brain to size in my fingers?

Blackwing Pencil

Why This Cult ‘$40 Pencil’ Almost Went Extinct | WSJ Coveted
WSJ. Style

I'm not going to buy a box of Blackwing Pencils, I have a box of Ticonderoga Pencils that work perfectly well. Well, I used to have a box full, but I just checked and there's only four pencils left in a box that held twelve. Somebody has been eating my pencils! I keep one in the pencil cup on my desk. I mostly use it for working on the Connections puzzle. I also use it when working on math problems. This one pencil will last for months if not years.

We got a batch of cheap pencils a while back and they worked pretty well, but every now and again you would run into some kind of grit in the lead and it would quit writing. Resharpening it usually removed the grit. It was very annoying when it happened, so I can see how someone who used pencils a lot might be particular about the look and feel.

In any case it's very cool that these guys were able to resurrect these pencils.


Path to the Gravely

Uniberp got inundated a week ago:

I suppose it's usually only once a year, but I got caught being casual again.

I suppose it's because I only commit to a limited loss in each step that I do things so incrementally, that if I prepared properly and had a more confident view toward the future that I would prepare better, but it worked out anyhow, at least for this once more time.

I left the Gravely out by the tree after digging a yard of dirt out where I'm going to move the shed, and was faced with retrieving it through 18 inches of snow. Fortunately the little Honda snowblower was able to cut this path. The Gravely also needed a new power switch so I got to put that in using gloved hands in 15 degree weather. Then I got it started (after a battery charge), decoupled it from the dirt wagon and backed it out through this trench. 

Found some bolts and attached the snow cannon. After that  it was pretty much the old same thing. 52 year old tractor cutting through the Devil's Ice Cream Cake 300 feet down to the road. Made 4 passes (3 is sufficient but I had to come back up anyhow.) and did the neighbors sidewallk. Pretty much done for now. Forecast is only a couple inches more this week as the lake cools down.

It's too cold to go get pics now, the next morning but maybe later. It's zero this next morning.


Font Size

Finally got tired of the small type on this blog and went looking for a solution. Found nothing in the Blogger setup page, so I asked for help and the answer is to edit the html. So I did. I changed the value of the first instance of "font" from 

value="normal normal 109% . . .


value="normal normal 125% . . . 

Just in case you were wondering.


The Psychedelic Drug That Conquered Europe

I had never heard of any of this, but a quick check of Wikipedia shows it was probably a real thing.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Bonhoeffer‘s Theory of Stupidity

Bonhoeffer‘s Theory of Stupidity

I don't think liberation can solve the stupidity problem. We are all relatively free, yet most of us appear to be stupid. Mostly, people want something to believe in, propaganda tells us what to believe, so the leader with the most effective propaganda will garner the most followers. We are going to just keep lurching from one disaster to another until we finally run our country off of a cliff or into a tree,

Saturday Night Silliness

Pablo Picasso's bread hands - Robert Doisneau 1952

Saturday, January 20, 2024

1919 Levant Mine Disaster

The Mine Disaster UNDER The Ocean
Scary Interesting

Most interesting for the description of the working conditions. It's just crazy. Presumably, guys were working in the mine because it was easier than farming, or was it because they didn't have any land they could farm? Pretty grim in any case. And then there's the crazy 'man engine' they used to raise men out of the mine.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Aging VW Bug overloaded with luggage

Apparently this is an AI generated image. The cartoon quality appealed to me. Never much cared for VW Bugs. Several of my high school friends had them, and I've ridden in them on occasion, but I've never had much use for them. Why spend $400 on a bug when I can buy a perfectly cromulant piece of Detroit Iron for $200? And back then highway cruising was essential, and doing that was a struggle for a bug.

I've been thinking about jigsaw puzzles. One item is how the size of the puzzle, as in the number of pieces, affects the odds of a match between two pieces, edge pieces specifically. Typically I pick out the edge pieces first. I place them on the line where I imagine the corresponding edges will lie. With a 300 piece puzzle I typically leave space on either side of the puzzle for four columns of pieces and a space for one or two rows above and below the puzzle. These side areas are not enough to contain all of the non-edge pieces so I'll end up with rows of extra pieces filling the interior of the puzzle. 

When I have completed the edges, the whole screen is occupied with pieces so it doesn't leave a lot of room to work, so we have to shuffle pieces until we have connected enough pieces that we have some room to work. It would be nice to have a bigger screen if the program didn't adjust the size of the pieces based on the screen size. Catch-22 there.

I start by going through the pile of pieces and picking out the edge pieces. I just place these edge pieces randomly on their corresponding line. When space gets tight on that line I will stop my sorting and see if any of the pieces on this edge will fit together. That's one nice thing about digital puzzles, it leaves no doubt as to whether the piece is correct or not. Get close enough to the position and it will snatch it right from your hand. It would probably snap/click too, but I have almost certainly turned the volume off. It will fool you though. Put it in a place where you think it goes and it won't complain. The sound would come in handy here. And then when you get to the end and the one piece in your hand won't go in the one spot left on the puzzle, you got fooled. Set the piece aside and pick up the whole puzzle and move it around. The incorrect placed piece will sit there and a new hole will appear in the puzzle.

Trying to keep on track here. Take a 300 piece puzzle, they come in two versions: 15 x 20 and 12 x 25. These have corresponding aspect ratios, i.e. the pieces are all roughly square in that if you measure the width of the puzzle and divide by the number of pieces in a row or column, the result will give the average width or height of a piece. Do that in both directions and you should get similar numbers. 

How to determine the width of a picture on a computer? Well, there is a digital width, but I get tired of poking around in obscure programs for niggling details. Do it the same way you would with a real cardboard puzzle - with a tape measure. Compare aspect ratios if you wish.

Take a 15 x 20 puzzle. You will be able to place at least ten pieces along the bottom edge without them crowding each other. At some point though the line will get crowded, maybe on the eleventh piece, maybe  not till the fifteenth, but it will eventually reach that point, so now I start looking for pieces that can combined and so eliminate one of the spaces and make some room. So, if you have ten pieces on a line that will hold 20, what are the odds that at least two pieces will match? How about the odds of all ten pieces finding a match, they might join up in pairs or triplets, but everyone finds at least one match. And what are the odds of all ten pieces joining into one long group?

The other issue is how the puzzle program works internally. Presumably they start with an image and then cut it up into pieces and send those pieces down the wire to the display controller with instructions on where to display them. Are they using a bit map to mark out individual pieces, or are they using vectors to draw the dividing lines? I imagine using a bitmap would be easier, but it would have to be scaled for the display. So you send the full size bitmap along with the image to the display controller, and the display controller is going to have to scale the image and the bitmap. Whether this is done in the CPU or the GPU would depend on their relative capabilities. Using vectors would just be computer nerds showing off.

Update the next morning. Corrected some typos, added a line or two.

Airliner at Night

Boeing Airliner at Osaka by Muroi

Muroi is has taken a number of similar photos. Very colorful, very space-agie.

Friday, January 19, 2024

The Wager by David Grann

Charles Brooking's 1744 painting of HMS Wager in extremis

The Wager by David Grann*. I just started reading it. The first few pages were kind of dull, but it has picked up the pace. He starts talking about how nautical expressions become common language and on page 50 we find this great line:

To "turn a blind eye" became a popular expression after Vice-Admiranl Nelson deliberately placed his telescope against his blind eye to ignore his superior's signal to retreat.

I pretty sure I have heard this story before, but this time it got a chuckle out of me. Perhaps it was the way it was said or maybe the context. Anyway, that's your bit of historical trivia for moment.

* when I searched for this book on goodreads I got like two dozen different study guides to this book. I dunno, maybe they were all the same, just with different . . . I dunno, numbers? hubcaps? I smell somethin' stinky.


Why The Crusades Were Awesome, Actually
Pax Tube

I remember that there was a time when I wondered why western Europe had engaged in the Crusades. It seemed like a bunch of religious nonsense. Why are we traveling thousands of miles to fight the Moslems? Just to take over Jerusalem? It never occurred to me that the Moslems were encroaching on Christian lands, even though I knew they had invaded Spain. El Cid:

El Cid 1961 Trailer
Screenbound Pictures

WW2 was basically a religious war against the Nazi and Japanese belief systems, and the Cold War was against communism. We have fought numerous small wars in Moslem countries, but they were always against terrorism, never against Islam in particular.* I suspect it is because Moslem countries have not shown themselves to be much of a threat, but rather have shown themselves to be less than competent. Perhaps because their belief system doesn't place much value on actual competence, but rather on obedience.

*  I said 'in particular' instead of saying 'per se' because I've developed an aversion to that phrase, not sure exactly why.

Moon Ball

The transformable lunar surface robot SORA-Q which is on the Moon Sniper spacecraft [Handout /AFP]

Japan has landed a probe on the moon. It carried this cool looking robot. There seems to be a problem with the solar panels. We shall see.

I just want to point out that this story comes from Aljazeera, the outfit that has been spewing 'Jews are evil' and 'pity the poor Palestinians' non-stop since the massacre last fall. There is no mention of Jews or Palestinians in this story. Just goes to show that people can appear to be civilized even when they are not.

Death to Hamas.

Thursday Lunch

Stuff we talked about at lunch yesterday.

Byron is making sourdough bread and he brought a cup of sour dough culture for Tracy. Then there was a long discussion about the different kinds of bread and various baking techniques. Tortillas, dutch ovens and special, custom, long narrow pans for making baguettes, were mentioned. No-bake bread and Irish soda bread were also mentioned.

Dennis gave us an update on the design for the new house he is planning on building. He spent six months last year working with one company, but eventually they came to an impasse. He has since engaged another company and while he likes working with them better, they have a different set of CAD (Computer Aided Design) tools. The old company was able to produce 3D views of both interior and exterior of the house at the push of a button, it takes more work for the new company to produce those kind of drawings. 

Marc recommended FreeCAD, a free open source program. Commercial CAD programs typically operate on a subscription model with annual fees in the range of hundreds of dollars.

Marc brought a piece of flexible copper for show and tell. It was about an inch and a half square and about three-sixteenths of an inch thick. From across the table it appeared to be solid copper, but it was flexible like rubber. Turns out it is not actually a new form of copper, it is just a long piece of very thin copper sheet that had been folded accordion style to make this little square. It was part of a cooling system for a microprocessor. Pressed against the processor with a backing plate, the gaps between the folds provided channels for cooling gas to pass through and carry away the heat.

3 Things I Like about the Bambu Lab X1 Carbon 3D Printer
Makers Muse

Marc told us about the new Carbon X1 3D Printer he ordered from Bambu Labs. He bought their fanciest model for like $1300. Their mantra is 'it just prints'. It's very fast, has four different spools of material, a camera that watches what it is doing. It will stop if it sees that it is just making a pile of spaghetti. It can also adjust the tilt of the print table to compensate for the printed object becoming uneven. He just sold his old 3D printer as we were sitting down to lunch.

Well, we were sitting down in Malone's, but the waitress never showed up. No real surprise, we had a pretty good snowstorm here over the last couple of days. It would be no big deal in the Midwest or any place that gets snow for weeks on end, but here it's like the end of the world. Everybody just throws up their arms, gives up and just stays home. We waited for like 30 minutes, not that it was any hardship. We were busy discussing the fate of the world. We finally gave up on waiting and walked across the parking lot to Burgerville.

Burgerville Credit Card Machine

Burgerville has the worst credit card machine. I suppose after you've used it a couple of times it would become familiar enough that it wouldn't be a problem, but it's been at least six months since I've been to Burgerville and I had forgotten all I knew about it. The cashier had to help me. Why can't they use the same machine as everybody else? Why do they have to be different? Annoying, that.

Then there was some talk about making RC (Radio Control) model aircraft. Marc described a wing that was built up lengthwise using a 3D printer. The wing was hollow except for a couple of spars running the length of the wing. There are no ribs. On a related note, there is now a kind of plastic for printing that expands like foam as it is printed, which might be very good for making things like RC aircraft. The only drawback is you cannot print as fast as you can with regular material, you have to wait for it to finish expanding before you can lay another bead on top.

Next we tackled modern medicine and its corollary, medical insurance. Why does it have to be so complicated? One answer is that it is a jobs program. We have people calling people to talk about what is covered and why it's not covered, etc. It's a new career path for young people and is required participation for old people, that is if you want to see a doctor for anything at all.

First Presbyterian Church, Corvallis, Oregon, circa 1910

Traci let out the theory that the Republican party is controlled by an evangelical Presbyterian group from somewhere out east. Supposedly there was a schism in the Presbyterian church (imagine that) and they split into two main branches and the evangelicals were one branch. They got started somewhere back around 1910 and have grown larger and ever more powerful ever since. They now have tentacles that reach into every government department. Sounds kind of like my theory about the Democrat cabal that currently seems to be in power. Well, you know both theories could be right, shoot, they both probably are. There are good ol' boy networks running all over this country and on both sides of the aisle. I suspect this is similar to professional wrestling, lots of sound and fury, lots of stomping around on stage, but in the behind-the-scenes, the stakes are much higher.

There was some discussion about whether Biden is competent or not. Some people think his mind is plenty sharp, and all the incidents of clumsiness are just typical for an old man. Pretty sure no one changed their mind on this. Others think he just too old. Shoot, Trump is really too old. Maybe that's how we choose Presidents now? Political campaigns just drive candidates into the ground and only the toughest ones survive.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Save Byron's Bar

Byron Stuart at his bar

Byron's Bar in Pomeroy, Iowa, is in danger of being closed down due to the condition of the building. The Storm Lake Times Pilot has a fine story:

We need an uprising of love for Byron By Art Cullen | Storm Lake Times Pilot

This might be Byron's theme song:

Friend of the Devil (2013 Remaster)
Grateful Dead

Pomeroy is not too far from Rockwell City, Iowa, my wife's home town.

Pomeroy, Iowa

I have not been there. I'm not sure I've even heard of Pomeroy before.

SBM Installer

SBM Installer

I did this puzzle because I wanted to find out what kind of ship this is. You can't tell much from the thumbnails. SBM is some kind of big outfit that supports offshore drilling in places like the North Sea. Just what does it install? Well, anchors in the sea floor down by the U.S. Virgin Islands, for one thing.

Barge Master and Large Diameter Drilling (LDD) floating deep water drill operation - extended
Barge Master

Here's a better picture of this ship:

SBM Installer

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Ashley Ottesen - The Great Patoo

This gal is funny.

News Links

Scanning the headlines on Feedly and these four all showed up on one page. Criminently, if this a tragedy or a comedy?

DOJ Confirms: Hunter Biden Laptop Was Real This Whole Time

Watch the rats scurry for the exits now that the head puppet is being abandoned.

Anthony Blinken Stranded In Davos After His Boeing 737 Breaks Down

Just the kind of news Boeing needs.

Biden Weighs Banning Natural Gas Exports To Save The Climate

Near as I can make out, Biden blew up the Nord Stream pipeline to punish Germany for being: (a) too successful, (b) not spending enough on defense, (c) because they weren't punished enough for WW2 or (d) because he wanted them to buy more LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) from the USA.

Firesale: Blackstone's Defaulted Manhattan Office Tower Loan Marketed At 50% Discount

I suspected COVID would have an impact on downtown real estate. Here's another post.



Another review stolen from Variety, this one because of the subject, not because of the review itself. Trying to read a review on Variety is just an exercise in frustration. It isn't difficult to copy and paste and the end result makes for smooth reading. We watched Narcos and it was pretty great. There's also a show called Queen of the South that keeps popping up on Netflix. It sounds similar but it's about a Mexican woman, not a Colombian.

Jan 17, 2024 9:00am PT

Sofía Vergara’s Turn as the Vicious Narca ‘Griselda’ Is a Fascinating Watch: TV Review By Aramide Tinubu

Sofia Vergara as Griselda in episode 101 of Griselda. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

“Griselda” is a revenge story. Yes, it’s an account of real-life drug queenpin Griselda Blanco’s (an engrossing Sofía Vergara) rise to The Godmother of the Medellín Cartel. But this tale isn’t an account of some distressed damsel who gets swept up in the underworld. Instead, what creator Eric Newman offers is a window into the mind of a highly meticulous and intelligent woman, intent on taking back everything that was ever stolen from her, even if she destroys herself in the process. Fast-paced and well-acted, the show is brutal, fascinating and full of high drama. It all begins with a bold escape.

Produced by the team behind “Narcos,” the limited series opens in the late 1970s in Medellín, Columbia. An obviously distressed, injured Griselda rushes in the front door of her well-curated home. She makes a frantic phone call to a friend, Carmen (Paulina Dávila), before packing a bag and rousing her sons, Ozzy (Martín Fajardo), Uber (Jose Velazquez) and Dixon (Orlando Pineda). As she ushers the boys out of the house, suitcases in hand, she informs them she is divorcing their stepfather and they are moving to Miami.

Griselda leaves things unsettled in Medellín, which plays out later on, but when she and her sons land in Miami in 1978, she eagerly embraces the city’s frenetic energy. Despite the predictable beats of the show, what’s fascinating about “Griselda” is that the audience meets her exactly in the middle of her life; this is hardly the beginning of her story. It’s immediately clear that reinvention is something Griselda has mastered.

Cramped in Carmen’s tiny house with her three sons, Griselda isn’t content to work the front desk at her friend’s travel agency. Undeterred by the promises she’s made to Carmen regarding getting out of the drug game, she begins working immediately to sell the kilo of coke she’s smuggled into the country. Determined to rebuild for herself and her children, the show depicts the crime boss painstakingly carving out a plan for complete power. She shifts and changes her tactics as she encounters misogyny, machoism, violence and intimidation. For Vergara, who serves as an executive producer on the show and has built her career in the comedy space, watching her transform into an increasingly agitated and vicious woman is something to behold — prosthetics and 1970s fashion included.

While “Griselda” compresses the three years of La Jefa’s time in South Florida into just six hour-long chapters, not a moment or line of dialogue is wasted. No character or choice is insignificant. The scenes are so sharply cut that the series is perfectly paced. As carefully as the show outlines Griselda’s rise as a savior to the oppressed, by Episode 5, “Paradise Lost,” which jumps ahead to 1981, it’s clear this life of bloodshed, police surveillance and intense paranoia has morphed Griselda into someone else entirely. Touting a shorter haircut, weathered skin and yellowing teeth, she has become a crack-cocaine-fueled Scarface-like monster in a lavish castle. A delirious episode that showcases tropes of telenovelas, it’s almost unsettling to watch, but the chaotic narrative reveals how quickly power and greed can warp the human spirit.

The entire cast, including Vergara, is stellar in this display of ambition and retaliation. However, Martín Rodríguez’s turn as Jorge “Rivi” Ayala-Rivera, a top-hitter in Miami, is one of the most mesmerizing performances of a criminal mastermind on TV recently. Slithery, erratic and sensual, he has a disturbing presence anchoring the audience in the era and super-specific world. The performances and the setting make up for a few elements that don’t quite meld in “Griselda,” including a hand-motion Griselda makes while holding a cigarette throughout the series. It’s supposed to demonstrate how her mind devises her plans, but it feels too on the nose. There is also a strange slow-motion scene from Episode 2, “Rich White People,” which doesn’t quite fit the show’s tone.

Still, even with its minor missteps, “Griselda” soars, showcasing a woman who transforms into a predator after being prey for so long. Though it certainly isn’t aspirational, there is much to be said about taking control of one’s narrative. After all, if we are honest with ourselves, some of the things that we do are to survive. But others are to feed our pride and egos.

“Griselda” premieres on Netflix Jan. 25.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Optimus Prime Would Be Proud

In which Linda optimizates
Click to embiggenate

Blowing Up a Truck Tire Just For Fun

Exploding GIANT Truck Tire with 4500 psi Compressor
Beyond the press

It's nice to see wives in videos with their husbands.

Nuclear Battery

This New Nuclear Battery Could Soon Go On the Market
Sabine Hossenfelder

I came across a story yesterday about how the US Department of Energy gave nuclear battery technology to China. Well, given how eff-ed up the Federal Government is, that's just par for the course. Today this video shows up. She talks about various technical aspects of nuclear battery, but she doesn't even touch the political swamp. Can't say as I blame her. So I go looking for the story I saw yesterday, it was probably on one of them that right-wing extremist websites where all us Biden haters hang out, but nada. So I asks the great and benevolent Google and I get this from NPR (National Public Radio), that bastion of left wing ideology. 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Flat Tracker

Speedway Motorcycle

The caption on this jigsaw puzzle is 'Speedway Bike With Weslake Engine'. When I ask Google I get a bunch of pictures of very similar bikes, but none of the engines match. Most of the ones I saw looked like they were overhead cam, single cylinder engines and the cam was driven by a shaft, ala Ducati (here and buried way down in a long post from six years ago). Shades of MV Agusta. The side of this one looks like a chain case, which kind of implies that the cam is driven by a chain. Which is the choice of any sane person. Shaft drive for camshafts is for rich kids. It's art, basically. Basically it's a bigger version of a fancy watch.

All arrows seem to point to Wikipedia's article about Weslake & Co. The short opening is about the company, but after that it's all about Harry Weslake. His life story is intertwined with mechanical engineering and motor racing. There were a couple of instances that stood out, but when you look at these histories (they're both the same) those particular instances are buried in a story that contains a giant heap of similar incidents. I haven't read them, they are too long for me. Maybe tomorrow if I get some sleep tonight.

Biden and Hamas, two of a kind

LNG tanker © Getty Images / nikkytok

Qatar is sheltering Hamas leadership. In my book that means they are supporting Hamas. Israel is currently engaged in destroying Hamas. Meanwhile the Houthis in Yemen are attacking shipping in the Red Sea, ostensibly in support of Hamas. Qatar is a big exporter of LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) and now they are worried that the Houthis are going to attack their ships. RT has the story. These guys have too much money and not enough brains.

Meanwhile fucking Joe Biden blows up the Nord Stream pipeline so now Europe needs another source of natural gas. They can buy it from the USA, which gets Joe some support, or they can buy it from other places, like Qatar, who is supporting terrorism. You can argue that blowing up the Nord Stream pipeline was an act of terrorism, so fucking Joe Biden has made the USA another terrorist organization, just like Hamas. What a piece of shit.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

This and That


I'm working the Sunday Jumble and one of the words, after it's been unscrambled, is WICKED. Now WICKED is a perfectly cromulant word. You might notice that the first four letters of WICKED is WICK. WICKED looks like a past tense of the verb WICK, but I don't think WICK is a verb unless you are referring to someone's violent actions, like 'he went all John WICK on the bad guys'. But WICK, as far as I know, is a noun, not a verb, so you can't have a world like WICKED unless you are making it out of some other kind of WICK. Maybe we should look up WICKED and see what we find:

wicked - evil or morally wrong.

Origin Middle English: probably from Old English wicca ‘witch’ + -ed1.

But there's something funny about tacking ED onto the end of WICK. If you tack ED onto the end of some verb like CALL you get CALLED, but you do not pronounce the ED like you do in WICKED, It's more like CALL'D, whereas with WICKED you get a distinctive ED sound at the end. Or maybe that's just me.

I looked around for some code to embed some audio clips, but I got nowhere. Probably wasn't holding my mouth right.


We're watching the Portland Trail Blazers basketball game this evening and I notice that the subtitles have gotten turned on. They don't seem to bother my wife and she's the devoted fan, but they bug me. They cover the top, I dunno, 20% maybe, of the screen and they don't really interfere with watching the game, being as they are usually giving us long shots so we can see the whole of the action. The court occupies the middle half of the screen, so the top and bottom quarters of the screen are just noise, you can fill them with whatever you want and it won't interfere with the game. Vital information goes in the bottom quarter and the top quarter is just the audience, so the subtitles can go up there. But they bug me, so I turned them off.

After the game we switched to True Detective on HOMAX or whatever it's called, and now I gotta turn the subtitles back on again.

So what's the diff? When we're watching the game, the announcer fills the sound track and it's like a pleasant hum of background noise. Nothing he says is of any import, but we've been listening to him for years and whenever the Blazers play in some foreign city we sometimes get foreign announcers, and those guys just grate on me.

When we are watching shows off the internet, be it Netflix, Prime or HOBOAX, we like to listen to the dialog, but sometimes we can't quite hear what they're saying, either because they talk so quietly, or background noise, or an accent, or, what's probably the worst, is when they make a quick out-of-character quip and you have nothing to grasp onto that will help your mind make sense of what they said. So we turn on the subtitles,

Yesterday I said that I don't listen to people unless they are right in front of me. That's not exactly true, I listen to TV dramatic shows, and I watch YouTube videos. I think the difference might be that they are like basketball games, I'm watching the action and the audio track is just warm background noise. I suspect that I keep going back to the same ones because I like the sound of their voice, or at least not repelled, which some voices do.


Trump, Not Trump

Donald Trump on the campaign trail in Las Vegas, Nevada June 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker/Files

The Scratching Post has a great post about Trump. I especially like his opening statement:

Donald Trump as a candidate is primal scream therapy for the right. He is the embodiment of our rage against the corrupt news media, the incompetent expert class and the neo-Nazi education industry.

Righteous anger is all good fun until you're hitting serious troubles and then it actively prevents working on solutions.

Good advice if you want to get serious.

But let me wander off the straight and narrow and out into the weeds where we can smell the car tires burning. The best thing about Trump is the way he is able to turn half of the country into deranged lunatics just by opening his mouth. I don't have that problem, I never listen to him. Shoot, the only people I listen to are actual people who are right in front of me. My politics are pretty much driven by the price of gold and gasoline, and since both parties are spending money like drunken sailors, I don't expect any improvement within the, well, ever, actually.

I suppose things could get better if we purged all the corrupt officials, but I'm a little afraid that might look like gang warfare. Now I'm wondering if any countries had any success in rooting out corruption, so I asked ChatGPT:

Yes, several countries have undertaken successful campaigns to root out corruption. It's important to note that the success of such campaigns can vary, and eradicating corruption is an ongoing challenge. Here are a few examples:

Singapore: Singapore is often cited as a success story in combating corruption. The country implemented strict anti-corruption measures and established institutions like the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB). The government's commitment to transparency and accountability has contributed to Singapore's relatively low levels of corruption.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong has a strong anti-corruption framework, and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has been effective in investigating and prosecuting cases of corruption. The ICAC's success is often attributed to its independence and the support it receives from the public.

Rwanda: Rwanda has made significant progress in reducing corruption. The government implemented anti-corruption reforms, established an ombudsman office, and promoted a culture of accountability. Rwanda's efforts have been recognized internationally for their impact on reducing corruption levels.

Georgia: Georgia has been praised for its successful anti-corruption initiatives. The country implemented comprehensive reforms, including the digitization of public services to minimize opportunities for corruption. These efforts have contributed to improvements in Georgia's corruption perception rankings.

Denmark: Denmark consistently ranks high on global corruption perception indices. The country's success is attributed to a combination of factors, including a strong legal framework, transparent institutions, and a culture of integrity.

It's important to note that the effectiveness of anti-corruption campaigns often depends on a combination of legal reforms, institutional strength, public awareness, and international cooperation. Additionally, addressing corruption is an ongoing process, and countries may face new challenges over time.

Notice that all of these countries are small places. I'm wondering if there is a critical mass above which corruption is inevitable. 

If it's Trump vs. Biden in the next election, I'll be voting for Trump. I find it hard to imagine that the Democrats will put Biden up again, but nothing anybody in the top tier is doing makes any sense. The Democrats could put up a literal sock puppet and with their lock on the media, they could make it look like the answer to our prayers. God help us.

Monsieur Spade

Variety reviews movies and TV shows and some of those reviews are good reading, like this one. Unfortunately, Variety's website was evidently designed by some troglodyte because the page won't sit still long enough for me to read it. It keeps hopping about. Today I'm trying to read this review, which seems pretty good, but then the page jumps and it keeps jumping. I finally got irritated enough to copy the text and paste it here so I could read it in peace. Dang troglodytes.

Monsieur Spade Courtesy of AMC

‘Monsieur Spade’ Makes Clive Owen a Classic Noir Hero in the Best Kind of Fanfiction By Alison Herman

Clive OWEN in Monsieur Spade. Photo Credit: Jean-Claude Lother/AMC

All works of IP exploitation are, on some level, legitimized fanfiction. Once divorced from the original author, the line that separates a franchise’s sequel, prequel or reboot from the average post on Wattpad is a great deal of money and the blessing of an estate and/or corporation. But even with this baseline, the AMC limited series “Monsieur Spade” is an especially unabashed act of wish fulfillment through and for a beloved protagonist. The namesake of “Monsieur Spade” is none other than Sam Spade (Clive Owen), the private investigator who headlined the Dashiell Hammett novel turned John Huston film noir “The Maltese Falcon,” plus a handful of Hammett short stories published in the 1930s. For their spin on Spade, series creators Tom Fontana (“Oz”) and Scott Frank (“The Queen’s Gambit”) send the sleuth to the south of France, where he spends a few weeks of his not-so-peaceful retirement looking into a massacre at a local convent.

Most of “Monsieur Spade” is set in 1963, two years after the death of Spade’s real-life creator. In stepping out of Hammett’s shadow, Fontana, Frank and Owen — also an executive producer — allow themselves to embrace the fantasy of sending an acerbic American to an idyllic vacation spot. (“Monsieur Spade” filmed on location, so the trio were effectively sending themselves, too.) Sure enough, there are ample scenes of Owen luxuriating in a pool or enjoying an omelet al fresco. But while “Monsieur Spade” indulges in escapism, it’s also a compact crime yarn that does right by both its setting and its predecessors.

Spade arrives in the small commune of Bozouls in 1955, though he and his new neighbors still speak in the dry, quippy rat-a-tat of films from decades prior. (When a colleague tells Sam he’s watching his weight, Sam instantly volleys back: “Watching it do what?”) He’s been tasked with delivering a child named Teresa (Cara Bottom) to safety, leaving her with some local nuns when her grandmother refuses to help. What starts as a quick pit stop turns more permanent when Spade falls in love with a local woman named Gabrielle (Chiara Mastroianni), which means he’s still around — albeit widowed — eight years later when six of those nuns are brutally murdered for no apparent reason.

The immediate suspect is Teresa’s father, Philippe Saint-Andre (Jonathan Zaccai), a career thief who’s suddenly reappeared in Bozouls after a prolonged absence. From there, “Monsieur Spade” builds out a largely Francophone ensemble that makes Bozouls more than a scenic backdrop. Local police chief Patrice (Denis Ménochet) enlists Spade to help with the investigation, so the expat takes a break from his day job: co-owning a jazz club with the beautiful singer Marguerite (Louise Bourgoin). (What did I say about wish fulfillment?) Marguerite’s husband, Jean-Pierre (Stanley Weber), is a veteran of the Algerian War of Independence, a conflict and ensuing colonial hangover that starts to loom increasingly large over the mystery as Spade starts to unravel it.

Spade’s bumbling British neighbors, mother and son Cynthia (Rebecca Root) and George Fitzsimmons (Matthew Beard) provide some comic relief as “Monsieur Spade” drifts between lighthearted lark and life-or-death stakes. Anchoring it all is Owen, whose hangdog look and weathered handsomeness are both well-suited to playing an aging legend half a world from home. All of “Monsieur Spade” is a repurposing of the familiar with a slight twist; the sight of the once suit-and-fedora clad Spade in a turquoise polo is a sight gag in itself. So it’s unsurprising the show leans into tropes elsewhere, like the begrudging rapport between Sam and his quasi-ward Teresa. You can find the same dynamic on “The Last of Us,” and in countless stories before it.

Sometimes, you wish “Monsieur Spade” leaned a little harder into the subversion: as the mystery unfolds, the Arab community of Bozouls starts to play a larger role, but they’re still peripheral to a story that ultimately hinges on France’s ugly, still-unresolved past. But that’s not what the show is here to do. “Monsieur Spade” builds out Bozouls just enough to be as convincing a canvas for Sam’s skill set as a fog-swathed San Francisco. It exists to give Spade his own form of happily-ever-after — to reassure us that, even if Hammett never showed it, one of his leading men lived on, and still does.

The first episode of “Monsieur Spade” premieres on AMC, AMC+ and Acorn TV at 9pm on Jan. 14, with subsequent episodes airing weekly on Sundays.

I don't think we have access to AMC, so we probably won't watch it, but being long time fan of Sam Spade and his ilk, I still enjoyed the review.