Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest
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Monday, April 29, 2024

Trying to Explain Math Problems

The last question on the 2022 British GCSE maths exam

I saw this video about a geometry problem the other day and within a couple of seconds I had figured out how to solve it. Okay, good for me, but then I start watching this dude's explanation and I wonder what the devil is he doing? The solution is so simple, why is he making it so hard? So I sat down to do the calculations for my method and I had to do it two or three times before I got the right answer. You've got to be paying attention when you are working problems like this and being as I am retired (I.e. a professional slacker) it takes a bit to get the ol' brain running on all cylinders. 

So now that I have verified that my technique works, can I explain it to anybody else? The technique in the video is pretty good, just use dry-erase markers on a whiteboard and record your explanation with a video camera. I've got a white board and my smart phone has a video camera. Probably have to order some dry-erase markers and buy or make a tripod. But then you have to record your explanation, and since the first take is going to be garbage, you're going to have to do it again, possibly several times, and you are going to have to watch each of them to gauge whether they are any good or not. Bah, sounds like a giant time suck. I'm a keyboardist, probably should stick to what I know.

So now I'm looking for math symbols I can use in this blog and I found the code for Π (pi) and for √ (the radical for square roots). Funny thing is you put the html code in and Blogger turns it into a character.

Most math equations like to represent division with a horizontal line with one number above and one number below. That's great if you have an editor that supports it, but it takes extra special fiddling to do that using Blogger's editor. Computer code uses a / (slash) to represent division. It isn't as pretty and often requires parentheses, but since I'm getting tired of mucking around here, it's good enough. The radical symbol doesn't automatically carry over all the following digits, so I'm using parentheses here as well.

The last problem is what to call the slice of a circle that is cut off by a chord. There ought to be term for that. Wikipedia calls it a circular segment. That's still too long for me. I'm going to call it a sword cause it kind of reminds me of the scimitars from ancient Arabia.

Here's the original problem:

Find the area of the shaded portion

Here's the same three circles with a couple of equilateral triangles:

Geometry Problem

You can see that each of the two shaded areas are a pie shape with two swords cut out of the sides. The area of the sword is the difference between the area of a pie shape and the area of an equilateral triangle. So all we have to do is compute the area of a pie shape and the triangle and then do a little addition and subtraction. Here's the math. r, the radius of the circle, is 4.

Area of pie shape = Πr²/6

Height of equilateral triangle = √(r² - (r/2)²)
 = √(r² - r²/4)
 = √(4r²/4 - r²/4)
 = √((r²/4)4 - (r²/4)1)
 = √((r²/4)(4 - 1))
 = √(r²/4) (4 - 1)
 =    (r/2)  √(4 - 1)
 =    (r/2)  √3

Area of equilateral triangle = 1/2 x base x height
= r * (r/2) √3 / 2
= r² * √3 / 4

Area of sword (space between the triangle and the circle)
Area of pie shape - Area of equilateral triangle
Πr²/6 - r²√3 /4
r²(Π/6 - √3 /4)

Area of one shaded area
Area of pie shape - 2(Area of sword)
Π/6 - 2r²(Π/6 - √3 /4)
Π/6 - r²(Π/3 - √3 /2)
r²(Π/6 - Π/3 + √3 /2)
r²(√3 /2 - Π/6)

Area of total shaded area
= 2(Area of one shaded area)
= 2r²(√3 /2 - Π/6)
= r²(√3 - Π/3)

The Big Lie About Nuclear Waste

The Big Lie About Nuclear Waste
Cleo Abram

Seems that recycling nuclear fuel is possible, but expensive. It doesn't help that Jimmy Carter, the jerk, put a stop to it back when he was president. That kind of forced the nuclear power business to invest heavily in using plutonium, which means we will have to exert ourselves (spend money) to go back to the older technology that enables recycling of nuclear fuel.

Peak Behind the Curtain

Roll Levelling Machine
with detail of the sheet bending between the rolls

When I hear about 'infrastructure' in discussions about the economy, I think of roads and bridges and dams, huge things that you can't friggin' miss if you go outside. What isn't often mentioned, and what you seldom see is all of the machinery inside of all of the factories that are busy making all the widgets that make our cushy, civilized life possible.

Driveshafts connecting the gearbox (foreground) to the 'large leveler' (background)

Bustednuckles has a post up that gives us a peak behind the curtain. He  had a very long day at work yesterday installing a gear box for a 'large leveler'. This machine is for relieving internal stresses in sheet metal as it is taken off of big rolls. The way it works is nuts. Why would bending sheet metal back and forth multiple times relieve stress? Sounds like it would just add more stress, but what do I know? Evidently it's a proven technique, so every place that is taking in big rolls of sheet metal direct from the rolling mill is going to have at least one of these.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

BIC Ball Point Pen

How This Pen Changed The World
Primal Space

The narration is a little too, I dunno, polished? Sounds like a salesman trying to sell me something. Call it slightly annoying, but the story is pretty good, especially the bit about literacy rates. Did BIC cause their dramatic rise? No, but they certainly helped.

BIC Pens Commercial 1969

Never liked BIC pens that much. They never wanted to write first time, every time, like they showed in the commercials. Or maybe it was the annoying cap that didn't really clip onto anything and was forever falling off and getting lost. Can't argue with success though.

Saturday, April 27, 2024


Dollar-and-a-quarter Tree Glue

After lunch at Maridon's, we stopped at the Dollar Tree, because it's Saturday and we aren't in a hurry to head home and defrost the basement fridge. Walking up and down the aisles with my wife and we spy these miniature packs of glue. I like glue, I've fixed many a broken thing-a-ma-bob with various kinds of glue. Problem is that most places want to charge you five or six bucks for a tube of glue, which would be all right if it lasted. But that ain't the way it works. You need a little dab of glue to fix some broken do-dad and you put the cap back on the tube thinking that it will still be good the next time you need it. But the next time turns out to be a year later and the glue has turned into putty and is now useless.

I've been thinking it would be nice if glue came in small, sealed blobs that were small and cheap enough that you wouldn't mind throwing away the left overs. And here at Dollar Tree I found the answer to my prayers. Praise the Lord and Hallelujah!

Camera Obsession

Testing the Camera from Rear Window (1954)
Bayliss Projects

I don't understand why, but I really enjoyed watching this video. The calm, soothing narration is almost hypnotic. Curious little bits of the Cold War show up now and again which is cool.

I really like Hitchcock's movies. I was kind of expecting our camera guy to look into what Jimmy Stewart saw through his camera and see if it was possible using the camera he's using. He doesn't do that, he covers the camera thoroughly, but doesn't look at its use in the film.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard

Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard

I picked this up at Powell's City of Books a couple of weeks ago. I was looking for something I could read. I browsed the Science Fiction section for a while, but nothing grabbed me, so I figured I'd pick up a couple of Murder Mysteries from authors I knew. Elmore Leonard usually writes pretty good, hard-boiled murder mysteries. A bunch of shows were based on his books. These four I remember clearly:
  • 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
  • Jackie Brown (1997)
  • Get Shorty (1995)
  • TV series Justified (2010—2015)
Morro Castle Havana

Cuba Libre isn't one of them. It's more of a historical adventure story. It opens in 1898 right after the USS Maine got blown up, which triggers the Spanish-American War. It's pretty great. We have heroes, villains, a pretty girl, guns and a sprinkling of factoids that make it seem very real.

  • Ben Tyler - our hero
  • Charlie Burke - Ben's partner
  • Roland 'Rollie' Boudreaux - sugar plantation owner, polo player
  • Amelia Brown - our girl and Rollie's mistress
  • Victor Fuentes - Rollie's factotum
  • Novis Crowe - Rollie's bodyguard
  • Palenzuela - Havana Chief of Police
  • Rudy Calvo - investigator for Palenzuela
  • Lorraine - Amelia's friend and the Chief's mistress
  • Neely Tucker - reporter page 12
  • Paulina Gonzales
  • Gomez
  • Osma - former slave and slave hunter
  • Dr. Henriques - San Lazaro hospital for lepers page 330
  • Mary Lou Jones - San Lazaro hospital for lepers page 330
  • Tavalera - evil Guardia leader
  • Isabela Catolica page 236
  • Islero - insurgent general
A number of historical figures are mentioned:
Here's some pics of stuff that got mentioned:

USS Terror, page 190

Spanish cruiser Vizcaya

The Sims-Dudley Dynamite Gun
Uses compressed air to fire explosive rounds

Chapter 17, page 260, the cowboy and the marine set off to collect a debt from the owner of a sugar cane plantation. Naturally there are guns involved:

Minute of Mae: Spanish Mauser 1893

Minute of Mae: U.S. Krag–Jørgensen 1898

Minute of Mae: S&W No.3 Russian 3rd Model

Page 301. In 1898, trains and horses were the primary means of transportation. Sometimes you carried your horses on a train, which meant you had to raise the horse four feet off of the ground to get into the stock car.  For that you need a ramp:

Soviet Union, South.- Horses being loaded into a train." August 1942

Havana Cuba 1898


I was able to find most of the places mentioned in the book. I marked them on a Google Map. The Cluster of blue markers are around Havana, the green ones are around Matanzas and yellow ones have to do with the war.

I wrote a couple of pages of notes about Cuba Straits, a murder mystery set in Cuba. Page 1 here. Page 2 here. And then there's all my other posts about Cuba.


When you Accidentally Compromise every CPU on Earth
Daniel Boctor

What he's talking about here is virtual lockpicking. There is something about locks that attracts a certain kind of person, a person who says 'Hah! You think you can keep me out? I will show you. Nothing can keep me out. Your security is worthless!' The Lock Picking Lawyer comes to mind. They are people who like solving puzzles. I like solving puzzles, but I only enjoy working on puzzles that I can solve in short order, like five minutes. Oh, I might spend a couple of hours on a jigsaw puzzle, but that's about my limit.

I sometimes think about wading into computer security, but that is going to take a lot more time, and where's the payoff? Even if you manage to break into a computer system, are you even going to find anything valuable? And valuable to who? And would you trust anyone who sanctions breaking into someone else's computer system? Psychopaths could find ways to entice computer security experts into breaking into other's computers with enticements and challenges, but do you really want to be doing business with psychopaths? Get paid in cash and never tell them where you are. They'll sell you down the river in a heartbeat.

The crux of Spectre is that it can 'trick' the CPU into accessing memory belonging to another process because it is only a 'speculative' access. Another interesting bit is that apparently you can time how long it takes to access a single memory location. A simple way would be by setting a timer before reading memory and reading the timer afterwards, but that would mean locking out interrupts for the duration, and I'm pretty sure nobody but the operating system gets to lockout interrupts. Given that CPUs have gotten a zillion times more complex since I last fiddled with interrupts, there's probably several other ways to do it.

Thermoelectric Generators

Candle-Powered LED Lantern: an Exercise in Conversion Efficiency
Our Own Devices

The Candle-Powered LED Lantern is available from Amazon:

Candle-Powered LED Lantern

I made a Russian type kerosene radio
Syam Nath

You want electric power in the Arctic? No problem for the Soviets:

The Soviet Union's Deadly Abandoned Nuclear Generators
Andy Mcloone

Update a couple hours later fixed first video.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Blast from the Past

Hyperion: The Fully Reusable SSTO!

Hyperion was an idea from 1966. The video is a recent creation.

Golly gee, that looks familiar. A comment clued me in:

When Worlds Collide (1951)- Leaving earth
Razor Shark

I saw this movie when I was a kid and it made a huge impression on me. Didn't see it when it came out, that was the year I was born. Must have been a later release, maybe when the Apollo project was ramping up.

Friday, April 19, 2024


McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle at Luke AFB

Luke Air Force Base is on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona.

Life and Death

Vikings Season 1 Trailer
Rewatch Again

We've been watching Vikings and while it is a gory bloodfest, it's given me a few things to think about.

Early on Ragnar's 'tribe' makes a pilgrimage to Uppsala where they have a drug and alcohol fueled orgy. Then there is a religious ceremony where they sacrifice (slaughter) a bunch (several dozen) animals and also a group of humans. Now my immediate reaction is that this is barbaric, which is understandable, after all they are heathen / pagan savages, not god-fearing Christians and it is barbaric. Then I think about it a bit and now I wonder if maybe the sacrifice victims were just feeling suicidal and this gave them a socially acceptable means of ending their lives. Now, by our standards they were living pretty miserable lives up there in cold, rocky Norway where farming was a pretty precarious business. You can see how someone whose life has been pretty miserable might get discouraged and take the opportunity to exit this life and join their gods. Shoot, we've got it a heck of a lot better than they did and we have people committing suicide.

Many episodes later there is a scene where they are getting ready for a battle and Bjorn says 'life is on the edge between life and death' or words to that effect. I'm reminded of stories from soldiers about how they never feel more alive than when they are engaged in real combat - where their lives are at serious risk. There was a scene in a movie (Proof of Life) where a couple of guys who know what they are doing break in on meeting between the principal and a group who is angling to be the negotiator in a hostage situation. The two guys come into the meeting armed with assault rifles and run the erstwhile negotiators off. No shots are fired, but now we know that these two guys know what they are going. The face-off is all over and one says to the other 'that was some fun, eh?'

So now I'm thinking that Vikings went on these raids sheerly for the thrill of combat. Sure, they might capture some slaves, and haul off some loot, but I think the slaves were just to pay for the expedition, and the loot, well, they just buried it so they would have plenty of loot in Valhalla. Were they just adrenaline junkies?

Earlier today I was reading Bayou Renaissance Man and he's talking about people who cannot perform the simplest jobs. Whether it is stupidity, or being unwilling or unable to pay attention, the job doesn't get done and sometimes they just make a mess. 

Capitalism depends on people being able to work together towards one goal. Typically, you need one person leading the charge, directing the people. You don't want more than one, too many chefs spoil the soup and all that. If you have a bunch of people who will apply themselves to the leader's goal and can follow directions, you have a chance of reaching your goal.

Now I'm thinking you get a leader who wants to make war on the neighbors, he could make use of the same kind of people to wage an effective war. If there is business going on, the competent people might not be interested in going to war. However, there are always going to be people who are not going to be good employees but who might be thrilled by the prospect of going to war.

Different kinds of people, with different temperaments and different motivations.

Heard a rumor today that someone in Colombia is offering tourist packages to suicidal Japanese. The idea is that life in Japan is too safe and boring, whereas life in Colombia can be fraught with danger.

Lots of people commit suicide. Most I suspect are due to depression. Some may be due to chronic pain. Some drug overdoses are accidental by people suffering chronic pain.

When I was suffering from depression Stu recommended getting a motorcycle and going for a ride. In retrospect I think it was fine advice. I should have taken it. I managed to escape my depression but it took a long time. A couple of years anyway. Maybe ten. I dunno.


World's First SCREW-BIKE
James Burton

This is kind of amazing. Amazing that it works, amazing that someone would expend the effort to build this thing. All that 3-D printing must have taken thousands of hours. And all that effort went into building a machine whose sole purpose is to demonstrate that it could be done. Got to give him credit that he was able to make it all work.

Thursday, April 18, 2024


Raw video: Tornado forms near Rockwell City, Iowa

P. S. No injuries.

Neom - The Line

Neom - The Line - The Rise and Fall of Saudi Arabia's Linear City.
Patrick Boyle

Patrick takes down Saudi Arabia's fanciful city in the desert in the most complimentary way possible. No, he isn't being sarcastic. Don't laugh, that could get you kilt.

Map of The Line - Neom

Via Iowa Man (previously known as IAman)

P. S. There is an ad somewhere in the middle for an outfit called Delete Me. It sounds like a scam to me, but they have a website which means they must be legit, right?

Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Tundra Repair

My gang gets together for lunch every Tuesday. Today we were going to Giovanni's but IAman makes an excuse for not coming:

I’m busy with Tundra coils-over-shocks.  Can’t do lunch today.
You all are welcome to come over and commiserate with me. 
Again it was easy, except for the one inaccessible nut, that finally gave into a nut splitter.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Tamara de Lempicka

Young Woman in Green (1927–30) - Tamara de Lempicka

Variety reviews a Broadway musical about Tamara de Lempicka, a Art-Deco painter from Poland. Never heard of her, so I look her up and this image is the first one that pops up. Kind of reminds of old heroic, communist paintings, but that may just be due to the prevailing style of the time.


From ZeroHedge:

Renato Moicano and Joe Rogan

"Read Ludwig von Mises, Motherf**kers!" - Brazilian UFC Fighter's Victory Speech Pumps Austrian Economics by Tyler Durden

While the Middle East wobbled on the precipice of World War III on Saturday, a Brazilian UFC fighter gave us hope by using his victory speech to deliver an emphatic endorsement of Austrian economics, Ludwig von Mises, the First Amendment and gun rights. 

Renato Moicano's televised speech came after he pulled off a comeback win over Jalin Turner at Las Vegas. Joe Rogan joined him in the ring to discuss the fight, but Moicano had other priorities, and proceeded to drop a profanity-peppered liberty bomb on the T-Mobile Arena crowd and a worldwide audience:  

“I’m a huge advocate of the First Amendment. Today, of course I want the $300k bonus but they not going to give [it to me] because somebody say, 'hey, this is fucking Disney, you cannot curse'…so I’m not going to do my speech, but...

First off all I love America. I love the Constitution. I love the First Amendment. I want to carry all the fucking guns. I love private property. And let me tell you something: If you care about your fucking country, read Ludwig von Mises and the six lessons of the Austrian economic school, motherfuckers!”

By "six lessons of the Austrian economic school," Moicano was referring to a concise, 106-page Ludwig von Mises book, "Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow." Among the best-selling Mises works, it's broken into six sections: Capitalism, Socialism, Interventionism, Inflation, Foreign Investment, and Policies and Ideas. (The Brazilian version's title translates to "The Six Lessons.") 

The lessons are transcribed from a series of lectures Mises delivered at the University of Buenos Aires in 1959. Per the book's description, "Mises had urged Argentina to turn from dictatorship and socialism toward full liberty, so there is a special urgency behind the cool logic employed here. The book's continued popularity is due to its clarity of exposition on the ways in which economic policy affects everyone."

I like his attitude, and I'm surprised hear a fighter talking about economics, but I'm not sure widespread knowledge of economics is going to help. What we need is Congress to quit spending money like drunken sailors. And maybe a few entrepreneurs who can put a million people to work doing something productive.

Thursday, April 11, 2024


Watch the Opening Number From Beetlejuice on Broadway - "The Whole Being Dead Thing"

To the ancient Egyptians, Betelgeuse was the mythical god of the underworld. So we've taken the name and given it a new spelling that people like me can pronounce. Then they took that name and made a movie with Michael Keaton. Then they made a musical and my wife and I went to see it at Keller Auditorium last night in downtown Portland.

The show was full of flashing lights and people singing songs that I had never heard, using words I couldn't understand. I think the next time we go I need to read the lyrics beforehand. There were some funny bits, the lead actor was energetic, and Lydia, the young girl, has quite a voice.

Driving home, we're in the center lane of highway 26 and the car in front of me stops. WTF!?! Going into Portland it's often creepy crawly from the top of Sylvan down to 405, but going the other way traffic is usually free flowing. So why is this guy stopping in the middle of the highway? Turns out that we were about five cars back from a car that was stopped. Engine failure? Heart attack? Freak out? I have no idea. Fortunately, traffic was light so I was able to pull out and go around without getting clobbered.

Thinking about this, I realized the problem might be due the extreme reliability of automobiles. Back in the good old days, there was always a distinct possibility of your car breaking down. If that happened, you were supposed to pull off of the road onto the shoulder. But these days, cars hardly ever break down. Oh, stuff breaks all the time, but it usually doesn't stop from going on. I can't remember the last time I saw a car broke down on the side of the road. I mean I've seen them, but it's like once a year, not every blinking week. So because cars are so reliable, people have forgotten what you are supposed to do if it stops. Or maybe they quit teaching that. 

Anyway, I think the car was broken because it was just sitting there and there wasn't any of that jerking around that you get with a pissed off brake checker.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024


From Pill Hill:

Mt. St. Helens (left) and Mt. Adams (center)
Marquam Bridge front center

Mt. Hood
Ross Island Bridge (left) and South Waterfront

NPR Political Apparatchiks

The Free Press has a story:

I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust. by Uri Berliner

It's a fine story, Uri goes through a long list of stories that NPR (National Public Radio) screwed up in recent years. Okay, but why? Near as I can make out the place was infected with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome).

The fish rots from the head, so who was in charge of this place?

Wikipedia has a list of CEOs:

List of presidents/CEOs

Funny, Wikipedia has a page about all of them except the last one: John F. Lansing. Actually he's not last, Katherine Maher was appointed as new CEO in January.

Lansing was a big wheel at USAGM (U.S. Agency for Global Media). Apparently retired now. Mahler is a Biden appointee, so I expect she is just as worthless as Biden, well, except for pumping out more hard left bullshit.

Could you beat in an elephant in a fight?

Could you beat in an elephant in a fight? is the title of a post on Finding life hard? An excellent question, the best question, I love this question. 

I enjoy Liz's posts because they are so far all the other stuff I see.

Hatred is a Human Right

Great stuff, stolen entire from Essays in Idleness 

Hateful anti-hatists by David Warren

Granted, it is hard to get anything right; and when in addition to oneself, one has assumed responsibility for the behaviour of some hundreds of millions of others, or even a few thousand, the certainty of failure must be quite discouraging. Yet, I feel no compassion for these political leaders — very much including those “on my side” — and will not sponge them with soothing, sympathetic wetness.

When the State tells me that it is wrong to kill, or even to maim or torture, immigrants, I am willing to “grant the State a pass”; for there have been laws against such violence from the beginning of (human) time. But when the State tells me that I mustn’t hate immigrants, it has gone too far. Indeed, as a connoisseur of hatreds, I despise various immigrant groups particularly, and probably hate many white cis-Canadians even more. These are prejudices to which I am entitled.

The question whether I have a right to hurt animals is more complicated, and potentially very boring. But I remain within culinary conventions by eating only animals and vegetable matter. I hate some vegetables even more than I hate the immigrants, though seldom does it rise to the murderous level.

The nursing of selective, as well as general, hatreds, is an important human right. Hatreds have been, as those acquainted with art and literature may know, a fine creative goad. … “Some of the greatest poetry and paintings,” &c. … And it can never be prevented, because the more practised hatists go about their despications, subtly. One might easily miss what they are secretly gnashing about.

But those who would persecute hatists refuse to be subtle. They want legislation. They are so damned obvious. Categorically, let us persecute them!

Irrelevant addendum: Seems like most every day I come across a word I have never heard before. Today that word is 'despications'.  It is a variant of despicable. Oxford says it is obsolete.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Misfits Rule

My dream died, and now I'm here
Sabine Hossenfelder

I enjoyed this video. I feel we are somewhat kindred spirits. When I was working with computers, I was only interested in making them work which mostly involved debugging code and connecting wires. Since there was no end to the supply of problems, I thought I could keep on doing it indefinitely. Turns out wasn't the case. Looking back, I think I was like the guy who fixes up old cars because he can, but meanwhile the world is churning out new cars as fast as they can, so there are fewer and fewer old cars, and more importantly fewer and fewer people who are willing to pay to have them repaired. Everybody wants new cars that don't require the services of a mechanic.

Charlie Horse

The Song That Doesn't End It Goes On and On My Friend - Who remembers ?

I got a charley horse in my right calf in the middle of night last night, and something weird happened with my right hand around the same. I'm not quite sure what it was, my leg had woken me up from a sound sleep, so I was pretty groggy, so 12 hours later 'something weird' is the best I can do. I mentioned it at lunch today which led to talk about the difference, if any, between a muscle spasm, a charley horse and a cramp. I don't think there is any, really, but to me a muscle spasm is a momentary kind of thing, a charley horse lasts longer and is annoying, and a cramp is painful and disabling.

Anyway all that led to Charlie Horse, the character on The Sheri Lewis Show. That's him being the ring leader in the above video.


From Dennis, who flew home to Dallas for this.

Monday, April 8, 2024


No Moon

Missouri Cheese Cave

Cheese stored underground in a former limestone mine, Missouri

Rumor has it that the government has 1.4 billion pounds of cheese stored in these caves under Springfield, Missouri. The Farm link Project has a page about this as does Wikipedia.

One pound of cheese can provide enough calories to sustain one person for one day, so 1.4 billion pounds is enough to sustain the entire country for like four days.

The natural temperature of the cave is 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but refrigeration brings the temperature down to 36 degrees. I wonder what the electric bill is.

It would be a good thing to have all that cheese in case of famine, but 70% of the world's population is lactose intolerant. 

It sounds like a government project run amuck, but this is small potatoes compared to some.

Via a meme on Bustednuckles

Saturday, April 6, 2024


Sikorsky Sea King (OY-HAG)

Big helicopter in a far away place: Kangilinnguit, Greenland.

Southern Greenland Airports

Kangilinnguit is the second placemark from the left.

Death To Google

Up until about six months ago everything was fine in Google land, but then things started getting squirrely. Keyboard and mouse responses got slower, page loads got slower. Not a lot, just enough to be annoying. Today the edit icon disappeared from this blog. The edit icon is a little picture of a pencil that appears at the bottom of each post. It only appears for your own blog.

I was messing around with the layout this morning. It didn't work, so I undid all my edits and that's when I noticed the missing icon. Frightened and confused I asked Blogger Help and found this little turd:

Since browsers can block third-party cookies by default, edit elements may no longer be visible on your blog. This is also related to the new widget management options.

I suspect that the 'new widget management options' are what's behind all my current annoyances. I will be replacing my Chromebox with a Linux box very soon. I suspect I may have to replace my browser as well. Does Netscape still exist?


Boeing 747-200 (4K-BCI)

747 air freighter landing in Dhaka. I've heard of Dhaka, but I forgot where it was. Bangladesh, that's where. Just a reminder that even though stories from the third world are almost uniformly bad, like the movie Extraction, there are bits of civilization.


Extraction | Official Trailer | Screenplay by JOE RUSSO Directed by SAM HARGRAVE | Netflix

Big, tough white man (Chris Helmsworth) goes to war against an army of drug war minions and goes all John Wick on them. Great stuff.

It starts with an Indian drug lord's son being kidnapped by the minions of a rival drug lord from Bangladesh. Drug Lord #1 is in jail, so he directs his lieutenant to get his son back. The lieutenant hires our hero, a mercenary from Australia for the job. There's just one problem, the lieutenant doesn't have any money on account of the drug lord's bank accounts have been frozen.

Drug lord #2 is holding the kid in Dhaka, which is evidently an island, because the only way out of the city is on one of the bridges, and his minions have set up roadblocks on the all the bridges looking for our hero.

P. S. I wrote this back in 2020, but I didn't finish it or post it. But now I need it for another post, so here we are.

The Iron Law of Prohibition

From Windypundit's post about Backpage:

The Iron Law of Prohibition says that making something illegal will make it stronger and more dangerous. Nobody drank bathtub gin in America until the Prohibition laws of 1920 criminalized alcoholic beverages. Almost nobody smoked crack until law enforcement started a war on cocaine, and we didn’t have much of a fentanyl problem until the government started cracking down on opioids. Legal alcohol and tobacco distributors didn’t shoot each other in the streets the way drug-smuggling gangsters do.

Criminalizing a good or service necessarily drives it underground. The need to hide makes it harder to build a good reputation, which makes it less rewarding to have good business practices. Customer service and attention to product quality fall by the wayside. Without transparency, public regulation, or access to the courts to redress grievances, there is little penalty for being a bad actor. Thus bad actors enter and thrive in the market, engaging in fraud, theft, and violence, which can often only be countered with more violence. Prohibition drives good people out of the business, resulting in entire markets being controlled by gangs of criminals, and the harder the prohibition laws are enforced, the more power gets transferred to people willing to endanger themselves and others to make a buck.


Friday, April 5, 2024

Iron Reign

Iron Reign | Official Trailer | Netflix

Big time drug smuggling operation in Barcelona. The guy running the container operation at the port lost a hand in an 'accident' many years ago. He has been fitted with one of those old style metal claw hands, hence the Spanish title of Mano de Hierro which Google translates as Iron Hand. In the English subtitles he is referred to as 'armless'. Funny how people mangle language.

Besides the big guy and his family, we also have a couple of Mexicans who are there to collect the payment for their drugs and a Frenchman who is a big European distributor. In this mix we have a full boat of crazies. The big guy's son has a serious gambling problem, his daughter is married to a guy who is having sex with another guy, whose 'sister' is working as a maid for the the daughter. His brother is infatuated with a whore who won't run off with him. The Mexican guy practices Santeria, the Mexican girl is a cool headed dyke. Is there any normal sex in this show? If there was, I missed it. Plenty of violence, people fighting with fists, knives and guns. So a bit of perverted sex and plenty of ultraviolence.

But what makes it interesting is watching the people and trying to figure out who stole the container that has the drugs, and how did they steal it? The things are marked and tracked. It's a puzzle. Everyone is shady and 40 million Euros could tempt most anybody.

I would think that shipping containers would be just perfect for smuggling drugs. Zillions of them cross the border everyday. None of the people who are transporting them have any idea what's in them. But in this show we have people on the ship and people on the dock who know just which container is the target which leads to all kinds of problems.

However, if using shipping containers to smuggle drugs is such a good idea, why are the narcos building submarines to transport drugs? That's what they were doing a few years ago. I dunno, maybe it's just easier.

The show opens with pirates attacking a cargo ship out in the ocean. The ship is relatively small for container ship, and the containers are stacked rather haphazardly on the deck, but it's possible there are ships like that out there. The ship sailed from Mexico with stops in China and India which would have it heading through the pirate infested waters off the horn of Africa, so it's plausible. The ship is carrying the two Mexican principles along with a squad of heavily armed thugs, so the pirates are quickly dealt with. Presumably the ship continues up the Red Sea to the Suez Canal and then across the Mediterranean to Barcelona.


Microphone in your Earbud is Amazing Technology
Breaking Taps

I'm impressed by the technology, but I'm doubly impressed by the video.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Groove Armada - My Friend

Groove Armada - My Friend (Official Video)
Groove Armada

Just a tune I like.

Guyana Update

Guyana and disputed the Essequibo region (red hash marks)

I posted about Guyana once four years ago. Today we have a report from RT (aka Russia Today). Looks like we might have another minor war coming.

The border between Venezuela and Guyana is under dispute. Nobody much cared about this patch of jungle until a giant oil company discovered oil there. Now Madura, the commie dictator of Venezuela, wants it, and we, the USA, are naturally opposed to this because we hate commies. And we want the oil for ourselves.

Looking at this I am wondering whether it might be cheaper and easier to get oil from miles below the surface of the ocean rather than trying to get drilling equipment and pipelines into the middle of a jungle. I just don't know. Drill ships are expensive. But so is any kind of construction in a jungle.

Even if Madura could somehow take over the disputed region, I doubt whether he would be able to get any oil out of there. I mean he has pretty much destroyed Venezuela's oil industry.

Venezuela production of crude oil in oil barrels, 1965-2019

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

V-Twin Motorcycle Engines

How Indian Makes 43% More Power than Harley-Davidson

For Stu on account of him calling Harley Davidson Hardly Able. 

Ukraine & the U. S. Government

Tanks and Flags

I never could understand why we instigated the war between Russia and Ukraine. Maybe there were some dinosaurs who just wanted to pick a fight with Russia because they grew up during the cold war and Russia was bad then, so it must still be bad. But I suspect they saw the war as an excuse to fund our own arms industry, which would mean they would be collecting big time in the form of kickbacks, bribes and insider stock trading. They don't care that the war is killing thousands of Ukrainians and Russians, they're all just peasants anyway.

I don't hear much about the war these days, at least nothing worth mentioning, but I came across Ukraine’s Starting to Get Dangerous by James Rickards today. It's pretty good. Here's a couple of excerpts.

But the entire notion that Russia poses some existential threat to NATO or Europe is absurd.

First off, the theory that Putin will invade other countries if he wins in Ukraine is nonsense. The Russian army lacks the men and materiel to occupy Ukraine while simultaneously invading other countries.

This isn’t the Soviet Union with its massive tank armies poised to roll over Western Europe. And Soviet communism is long dead, so there’s no ideological basis for Russia to invade Europe. These days Russia is a conservative, Orthodox Christian nation.


But more importantly, Putin has absolutely no incentive to invade any of these nations, which are NATO members. What do they have that he wants?Fearmongers like to point to what Putin once said in a speech: “Whoever doesn’t miss the Soviet Union doesn’t have a heart.”

They take that as proof that he wants to recreate the Soviet Union. But they conveniently omit what he said next: “Whoever wants it back doesn’t have a brain.”

 James Rickards has been mentioned here before.