Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Friday, May 31, 2024

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Eww, Eels

Why We Haven’t Learned More In 101 Years Of Trying

I don't like eels, they're slimy and creepy. Mostly I suspect I don't like them because we never ate them when I was a kid and I don't think I've ever seen them for sale. But this story is as weird as the one about wasps pollinating figs.


Who displays the American Flag?

If I see someone displaying an American flag I will assume they are voting for Trump. Does everyone have the same reaction? Something is wrong with this country when displaying the flag is a partisan act.

Via Bustednuckles

Wednesday, May 29, 2024


Cute girl with Bitcoin Token

I don't like cryptocurrency, I don't like the way it consumes half of the electricity on the planet, I don't like the way whole cryptocurrency eco-system seems to be riddled with fraud and snake oil salesman. It's a stupid idea, but by-and-large, it seems to work. There is one aspect of it that kind of outweighs its shortcomings - it is not under the control of any government. From Bitcoin Magazine:

In the past, when there was neither the internet nor smartphones available, the average individual living in such hostile environments simply accepted the harsh reality of being destined to serve dictators and their family members. Today, however, Bitcoin is emerging as more than just a technology; it serves as a gateway to financial empowerment without compromising moral values. It offers a powerful tool for breaking through many of the concrete barriers erected by oppressive governments.

Meanwhile the $100 I invested in the Icelandic cryptocurrency mining operation back in 2017 has grown to $700 and change. Not fantastic, but at hasn't vanished which was what I was expecting.


In The Jailhouse Now

The Soggy Bottom Boys - In The Jailhouse Now ft. Tim Blake Nelson

This tune was just on. I remember hearing it when I was a kid, maybe my Dad singing it. It also showed up O Brother, Where Art Thou? Original by Jimmie Rodgers in 1928.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Roof Truss System

Roof Truss System

From California Bob:

I took this pic a long time ago. All I remember is that it was a large arched roof, built apparently from 8' planks, fastened together in a clever way to form a supporting arch. 

This was some big quonset hut type structure down in Watsonville area if I remember right. Maybe this is common but I'd never seen anything like it. asdasdasd

Port of Lewiston Idaho

Why There’s a Pacific Ocean Port in Idaho
Half as Interesting

Marine traffic, trains and pipelines are relatively invisible and mostly ignored, yet our civilization is totally dependent on them. Lewiston is like in the center of the proposed expanded state of Idaho.

So we have a serious method for getting the grain down the river to the ocean from Lewiston, but how do we get all that grain to Lewiston? So I started thinking about combines and how many you would need and I figured we need some videos. There are bunch of modern ones. Many of them are very long. Here's a short modern one and a couple about the old days. I thought the 20 mule team was a big operation. That's nothing compared to these guys.

Wheat Harvest on the Palouse
BJ Swanson

24 million bushels are exported out of Lewiston each year. An acre of ground can produce about 50 bushels of wheat, so you would need 480 thousand acres, which translates into 750 square miles of land. If you are driving a combine with a cutter head width of 15 feet and you are traveling at 4 miles per hour, if will take 66,000 hours to harvest all that wheat. Figure you got a month to get it all cut, and you're working 24 hour days, you're going to need 100 combines to get it all cut. And you probably are not going to have a month, you might have two weeks, and 24 hours a day is wishful thinking, so more likely you are going to need 500 combines. Make allowances for problems as the necessity to get the wheat harvested come hell of high water, you are probably going to want double that number.

To Till a Field: Man and Machine in the Palouse
Washington State University Libraries' Films

Harvesting Wheat with a 33-Mule Team
Fort Walla Walla Museum

Palouse Prairie in the Pacific Northwest

The Palouse is a distinct geographic region of the northwestern United States, encompassing parts of north central Idaho, southeastern Washington, and, by some definitions, parts of northeast Oregon. It is a major agricultural area, primarily producing wheat and legumes. Situated about 160 miles (260 km) north of the Oregon Trail, the region experienced rapid growth in the late 19th century.

The Palouse is home to two land-grant universities: the University of Idaho in Moscow and Washington State University in Pullman. Just eight miles (13 km) apart, both schools opened in the early 1890s.


Monday, May 27, 2024

California Proposition 47

The impact of Prop 47 on crime in San Francisco

California Bob has a few words to say on the subject.


Passed in 2014, goal was to "lower incarceration." It raised the threshold for felony theft from $400 to $950, and lowered simple possession of illegal drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor. 

Cheekily marketed as the "Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act," b/c the money saved on incarceration would be reinvested in county-level "prevention."

Many claim Prop 47 eliminates penalties -- but the fact is misdemeanors are still punishable by 1 year in county jail or $1,000 fine. Jail time, theoretically, is still there.

However, fewer arrests happening, b/c (1) retailers don't want the danger or liability of having employees intervene, and (2) theft is a low priority for cops and DA's and (3) if arrests are made and convictions happen, judge aren't handing down sentences, b/c "reduce incarceration." So everybody's just kind of given up.

Interestingly, Texas has a $2,500 threshold for felony, much more lenient than California. And 8 other states have thresholds more lenient than CA.

Many blame Prop 47 for the "flash mob" shoplifters, but gangs of people robbing the Gucci store are still very much a felony -- not protected by Prop 47. Flash mobs are more a result of social media coordination, not reduced penalties.

One big impact is drug arrests: many drug arrests used to get settled in "drug court" with diversion to rehab, and there were some success stories with that. Now, with drugs no longer being arrested/charged, the addicts just languish on the streets, stealing and trashing things up.

There is a move to overturn Prop 47 and it should be on the ballot in November. It will probably be overturned.

My views:

Solution to shoplifting is with the retailers. Cops can't be everywhere. There are strategies to reduce theft for retailers: controlled entry like Costco, or keep stuff behind the plexiglass. More costly but doable. Putting a $10,000 Prada purse on a shelf next to an exit is inviting theft, and really, why should taxpayers pay for Prada's security?

Currently jails are only used to confine dangerous people. Jail as a deterrent is underrated. The only way to have a secure society like Singapore or Switzerland is to aggressively arrest crooks and lock them up. That would take a lot of investment, but omelet/eggs.

Putting addicts into some sort of rehab is preferable to letting them languish on the streets. Doesn't have to be rehab, a simple cage would be fine.

Lengthy but good discussion here:

Proposition 47's Impact on California's Criminal Justice System

The Gentlemen | A Guy Ritchie Series Official Trailer | Netflix

The Gentlemen | A Guy Ritchie Series Official Trailer | Netflix

Looking for something to watch last night we come across The Gentlemen and it has Guy Ritchie's name attached to it. Guy Ritchie? Yeah, I think I've heard of him before. It might be okay, so we give it a shot and it looks like it is going to be very entertaining.

Edward Horniman has unexpectedly inherited an estate of 15,000 acres (6000 hectares) and the title of Duke of Halstead at the reading of the last will and testament of his deceased father. He learns that the land has become part of a weed-growing empire run by Susie Glass. He must navigate a world of eclectic and dangerous characters with nefarious agendas, while also trying to protect his home and stay alive.

It starts with the British soldier Edward serving with a UN peacekeeping force in some far off country. He gets home in time to hear a few random lines from his father, but no information about the state of the estate. That becomes apparent in short order. Right off his biggest problem is his older brother Freddy who was expecting to inherit everything. Matter of fact he was counting on it because he has a four million pound gambling debt due and interest is piling up to the tune of a million pounds a week. But just so you know how much of a flake he is, he takes two million pounds in cash from papa's safe and bets on an illegal fight hoping cover his debt. He places the bet with an another obvious flake, who has just put the money in his pocket.

As you might expect, hijinks ensue.

15,000 acres is like 24 square miles, a fair size chuck of land. However, it doesn't make the list of The UK's 25 biggest landowners. Many of those seem to in Scotland. Someday I may page through that list and compile it into a spreadsheet, but not today.

Chartres House

Chartres House by Erwin Spinner, 2018

I'm reading Djibouti by Elmore Leonard. I'm not too sure about it, the writing is a little awkward, but the story and the characters keep me going. Dara Barr, an Oscar award winning documentary filmmaker, has a studio on Chartres St. in New Orleans. She and Xavier LeBo are in New Orleans to make a film about Hurricane Katrina. On page 31, a few days before the storm, they have a meal of oysters and beer at Felix's. Somehow I got that all crossed up in my mind and went looking for Chartres House and came across this cool image.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

James Gang Funk #49

Funk #49
James Gang - Topic

Heard this on KGON today. Talk about a blast from the past! I haven't heard this song since, I dunno, I lived in Ohio fifty years ago. It came out in 1970, the James Gang is from Cleveland, so they were sort of a local band. Now I'm wondering who are these guys? I mean they were there and then they weren't, what happened? Well, Joe Walsh happened, that's what. There were three guys in the band and Joe Walsh was one of them, the same Joe Walsh who went on to join the Eagles in 1975.

James Gang got their name from Jimmy Fox, the drummer. Jimmy collects license plates. That makes the third rock and roller with a hobby this month.

Yes, I know it's not really a video. There are some out there, but this is the only one that sounds true to the original. At least to my ears. My ears are kinda picky that way, or maybe it's my brain. Whatever.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Energetic Radio Waves

AM Radio Tower

Pretty spectacular.  I've never heard of such a thing, much less seen one. I suspect the two big steel balls are there to provide a path to ground in case of a lightning strike. Makes me think all radio towers should be so equipped, and if they don't, why not?


A self support scheme from HM Government
Scarfolk Council Citizens Advice

hopeless &
like you're
going mad?

Don't worry.

Let us reassure you that everything your're
feeling is completely justified and proves you
have fully comprehended the true severity of
your situation. Be proud of your keen
insights, but be aware that we cannot offer 
support to people of inferior value*.

Keep if to yourself. Discontent is contagious.

* To find out your current value in pounds & pence write
to your MP and include a self-addressed stamped envelope,
unless your previous evaluation was less than a stamp.

For more information please reread.

Update a couple hours later I decided to transcribe the poster. I wanted to remember it.

According to Hoyt has a premium selection of memes today.

Camaro at Le Mans

How NASCAR was FASTER than Ferrari at Le Mans

This video is a year old. This year's race will be next month. I used to think Le Mans was the coolest race in the world and then Ford won it in a spectacular manner with the GT-40. No way you could top that, so I stopped paying attention. Now NASCAR is giving it a shot. I hope they have some success.

So the Camaro was run by Garage56. Huh, that sounds a whole lot like Garage 54, the YouTube channel from the crazed mechanics in Siberia.

Greater Idaho

Greater Idaho

Crook county is the 13th Oregon county to vote to secede from Oregon and become part of Idaho. Well, they voted to talk to Idaho about it. I've been hearing some noise about this for awhile, but I wrote it off as just noise. But now it's beginning to look like a fair number of people are getting serious about it and I don't blame them. Portland politics is full of morons, and Washington County / Silicon Forest is living in a plastic fantastic bubble brought about by the financial success of Nike, Tektronix, Intel and Nvidia.

Umatilla county (the big gray blob on the northern border surrounded by red) is home to the military base where we had a zillion bombs filled with nerve gas. They eventually dismantled / crushed / destroyed all those bombs and the nerve gas they contained. I believe Ronald Reagan ordered those bombs to be filled with nerve gas.


If the group's [Greater Idaho] goal comes to full fruition, Oregon would end up 62% smaller by size, but only 9% smaller by population. That math that underscores the contrast between the sparsely populated, rural eastern region and the more densely-populated coastal areas. It also highlights the eastern counties' lack of political strength in influencing statewide decisions.


Lost in the Woods

Adaptive Curmudgeon has a post that is sort of about life in the woods. Very entertaining.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Jane Fonda versus LBJ

Mr Garibaldi posts about Los Angeles County declaring Jane Fonda Day to be April 30th, the same day Saigon fell back in 1975. Seems 'members of the Vietnamese community' there are not happy about it.

I was opposed to the war, mostly because I didn't want to get drafted. There wasn't a whole lot patriotic blather around my house. Mostly what I heard was that the South Vietnamese government was corrupt and the bureaucrats in Washington were micromanaging the war effort which was hamstringing our efforts to get the job done. LBJ was the president at the time and I haven't heard anything good about him since, so mostly I blame him for the disaster. Jane Fonda is an actress, so her actions should be regarded as a publicity stunt. Her visit to Vietnam earned her a boatload of vitriol. Well, live by celebrity, die by celebrity. But I got to wondering who is worse, so I asked ChapGPT: 

Is Jane Fonda worse than LBJ?

ChatGPT responds:

It's not particularly productive or fair to compare individuals in terms of being "worse" or "better" without specifying a context or criteria for comparison. Jane Fonda and Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) are two very different figures, each with their own complexities and contributions.

LBJ was the 36th President of the United States, serving during a tumultuous time in American history, particularly with regard to the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. His presidency is often evaluated based on his domestic policies, including the passage of significant civil rights legislation, as well as his handling of the Vietnam War, which remains a subject of intense debate and criticism.

Jane Fonda, on the other hand, is an actress and activist who became known for her opposition to the Vietnam War. She famously visited North Vietnam during the war, leading to controversy and criticism, especially among those who viewed her actions as unpatriotic or disrespectful to American soldiers.

Comparing the actions or impact of these two individuals requires careful consideration of the specific contexts in which they operated and the consequences of their actions. It's also worth noting that perspectives on historical figures can vary widely depending on individual beliefs, values, and interpretations of history.

'intense debate and criticism'. Hmm, imagine that. 

Starship Reentry

Wow! Watch SpaceX Starship re-enter Earth's atmosphere in these incredible views

This is from the last test flight of the SpaceX Starship which happened two months ago. Visible signs of heating don't show up until after the three minute mark. Up till then we just see the upper surfaces of clouds flying by a hundred miles below us. Once the heating starts we get another two minutes of it getting more intense until the signal is lost. After that we just get noise and filler.

I was blown away when I saw this the first time - it's like the first time this has every been recorded by a camera. Before this it was all just theoretical. Oh, there were the rocket scientists mathematical explanations and evidence of extreme heating after the fact, but for all we know it could have been dragons roasting what they thought were dragon sized marshmallows. I know, not likely, but you know, photos or it didn't happen. So now we have photos and I don't see any dragons.

Besides getting video of reentry heating we were getting it live because of the Starlink Satellites. Because they launch them is box lot quantities I was thinking they were itty bitty little things, but they aren't. Each one weighs like 600 pounds and carries a solar panel array that expands to 100 feet. I'm going to take a closer look at these things one of these days.

The Silicon Graybeard tells us SpaceX is getting ready to make another test flight real soon now. So far they seem to be making progress, no catastrophic failures that have made them think they need to go back and rethink their plan.

I find jibber jabber annoying, but YouTube has a mute button. The last couple of minutes of the video they display a couple heat shield tiles. These are the same kind of things that fell off of the Space Shuttle Columbia and caused it to disintegrate on reentry back in 2003. Hopefully the glue guys have got a better glue now.

Lifan 250cc Dirt Bike

Giant Box

Two months ago IAman bought a Lifan 250 cc dirt bike and had it delivered to my house. I go down to the garage to make sure we have space to work on it and when I open the garage door I find this giant box sitting just outside the door.

Box removed

Up on blocks

Putting it together was pretty straight forward. It was a bit of a struggle for these two old guys to lift the front end up, but we managed. My wife assisted by sliding the wood blocks under the frame to support it.

The handlebar mounted controls are kind of complicated: buttons and switches and levers and cables, but we managed to sort it out.

Filling new motorcycle battery with acid
Chuck Pergiel

The battery came dry. The acid came in a separate container. I expected filling the battery to be terror inducing. Not so. Easy as pie. See above video.

It wasn't until we were cleaning up afterward that we discovered the guards for the front forks.  No biggy, except that one of the mounting screws goes in from the wheel side, which is almost impossible to get in with the wheel on. Also discovered that the speedometer cable is supposed to go around the front of the fork, so we took the front wheel back off.

Motorcycle Rack

IAman bought a rack for carrying the bike on the back of his pickup truck. It comes with a ramp, the idea being that you can roll the bike up on the ramp and onto the rack. The ramp is a U-shaped channel. As the bike weighs 350 pounds this is easier said than done. He starts rolling it down the driveway to build some momentum but when he hits the ramp he is not on center, the tire hits one of the edges and the ramp flips over. This kicks the wheel three or four inches towards him, which throws it off balance and down it goes. I didn't notice any damage. Kind of good to get that out of the way because you know it is going to get dropped eventually, so now you don't need to live in constant terror of dropping it for the first time.

Yes, We Have No Bananas

A little banana history lesson, stolen entire from Joe Pastry.

The Banana as Post Colonial Neo-Imperialistic Metaphor

The primary port of entry for bananas coming into the US from Central and South America in New Orleans. Why? Because New Orleans is at the mouth of the Mississippi River, which is a terrific distribution point if you’re selling bananas to consumers in the American interior. No wonder then that the fabled (and infamous) United Fruit Company was headquartered in New Orleans from 1933 to 1985.

Now, mention the United Fruit Company to anyone with much knowledge of Central American history, and they’ll either a.) engage you in a lively discussion on the socioeconomics of fruit growing in Latin America, or b.) launch into a tirade about American economic imperialism. The United Fruit Company was that sort of outfit. One of the first major economic powers — and it was a power, not just a company — to exploit the agricultural resources of Central America, it polarizes people in the same way Cecil Rhodes polarizes scholars of African history. Either Rhodes was a visionary modernizer who brought infrastructure, jobs and growth to underdeveloped territories, or he was a vainglorious, racist exploiter of virgin lands and peoples. It all depends on how you feel about the relative blessings of modernity, and/or which side of the great Western cultural/political divide you happen to stand on.

The United Fruit Company was founded in 1899. Yet what that “founding” actually represented was a great merging of various banana interests that had been thriving in Central America and the Caribbean since the 1870’s. At its height, the United Fruit Company’s land holdings sprawled over huge swathes of Cost Rica, Panama, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Jamaica (it was known to many as el pulpo, “the octopus”). Yet the country that UFC is most frequently associated with is Guatemala. Guatemala was responsible for producing at least 25% of UFC’s banana crop at the turn of the century. Conversely, UFC was responsible for a gigantic portion of Guatemala’s fledgling economy. It had a hand in virtually everything that happened in Guatemala, from the building of roads, schools and hospitals right up to foreign policy. UFC even delivered Guatemala’s mail. When, in 1944, “spiritual socialist” Juan Arevalo was elected president following the ouster of dictator (and UFC puppet) Jorge Ubico, UFC was displeased to say the least. They lobbied heavily in Washington for American intervention, especially when Arevalo’s successor, Colonel Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, threatened to nationalize UFC’s plantations and strategically align Guatemala with the Soviets. By that time Eisenhower and the CIA were only too happy to oblige, and in 1954 toppled the Guatemalan government via covert action.

Yet even then, the writing was on the wall for UFC as a power player in Central America. As the economies it helped to found grew and diversified, it held less and less sway over what went on within them. Today UFC is just another large multinational known as Chiquita Brands International. Where do you come down on an enterprise like the United Fruit Company? Kinda hard to say. On the one hand you have monopoly, political repression and economic exploitation. On the other commerce, transportation, education and healthcare. I dunno, you be da judge.

Oh, and what do you call a small, underdeveloped, politically unstable country whose masters are foreign agricultral and/or business interests? Why, a Banana Republic, of course.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Portland-Vancouver Bottleneck

Road Guy Rob

Interstate 5 between Washington and Interstate 84 slows to a crawl during morning and evening rush hour. There are periods outside of those times when it can be clear sailing. 

Part of the problem is that Oregon has income tax and Washington doesn't, so a fair number of people live in Washington and commute to Oregon over this bridge. Blame the Oregon reactionaries who are adamantly opposed to sales tax. The commies in Washington run on their 6.5% sales tax.

Another part of the problem is that a replacement bridge would need to be something similar to the Fremont Bridge, which is a massive structure.

Taking the Cure

1895 Headache Treatment

Except for the apparent age of the image, this looks like a TikTok challenge.

Via Bustednuckles

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Wealthy versus Ordinary

I come across a story on Zerohedge about the FIT21 Crypto Bill. I'm skimming the page and U.S. Representative Maxine Waters tweets her opinion:

Who benefits from the passage of the #NotFIT4PurposeAct:

✅Wealthy #crypto firms that have chosen not to register w/the @SECGov or otherwise comply w/the securities laws

Who stands to lose:

❌Ordinary investors trying to build wealth

Seems like most of the stuff I've heard about Maxine has been stuff I don't like, but I do remember the name. Doesn't matter, it's the Wealthy versus Ordinary comparison that got me to thinking, so I asked our Lord and Benevolent Savior Google a couple of questions.

Ask what separates the top 1% and Google's AI response is:

The top 1% of Americans are typically defined as the wealthiest group, based on their annual income or net worth. In 2023, the average household net worth of the top 1% was almost $13.7 million, and an individual needed to earn around $407,500 per year to be in the top 1%. However, the exact income and net worth required to be in the top 1% varies by location:

Ask what separates the top 10% in wealth in america and Google's AI response is:

As of January 2024, the top 10% of Americans have a net worth of around $854,900. The top 10% of households by wealth in the US have an average of $6.7 million, and own 66.9% of the country's total household wealth. In contrast, the bottom 50% of households have an average of $50,000, and only own 2.5% of the total household wealth.

So the top 1% own 30% of the country. Alrighty then.

As for the crypto bill, I don't care. You play with crypto, you're playing with fire. Like fire, it can be very useful, but you best be careful because you can easily get burned. And you best pay attention because Murply's Law says bad things wait to happen till you aren't paying attention. I don't have the energy or the inclination for any of that.

As for Maxine, I just have a negative opinion. What I really need is a scorecard so I can keep a tally of all the stupid shit that comes across the wire everyday. Or maybe I should just use a variation of the headline law - if their name is in the paper they are undoubtedly scum sucking weasels and should be shot. After a fair and impartial trial, of course.

Joey Long

ZZ Top - I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide

This song paints quite the scene. Songfacts gives us some background:

This song was inspired by Texas blues musician named Joey Long, who was good friends with the band. As Billy Gibbons tells it, Long didn't have a driver's license, but he always had a new Cadillac that his beautiful wife Barbarella used to drive him to gigs.

Here's one of Joey's tunes:

Joey Long 4 AM - Texas Blues

Texas State Historical Association has a page about Joey. Here's the first two paragraphs:

LONGORIA, JOSEPH EARL [JOEY LONG] (1932–1995).Joey Long, blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, was born Joseph Earl Longoria in Zwolle, Louisiana, on December 17, 1932, the son of Earlene Leone and Fred Longoria. His parents were of Italian-French and Mexican-French extraction. When Joey was very young the family moved to Merryville, Louisiana, and continued sharecropping during some of the bleakest years of the Great Depression. Along with his parents, six brothers, and one sister, Joey picked cotton, worked on the farm, and lived a hard rural life. When he was four years old he developed polio. The disease left his legs weak and slightly deformed. For a time, until his legs became stronger, Joey's mother had to carry him on her back into the cottonfields.

Although Earlene played mandolin, young Joey's interest in music came from his friendship with Charlie Wiser, an old Black sharecropper who lived down the road from the Longorias. Wiser taught Joey to play guitar, and, after working all one summer saving his money, Joey bought himself a guitar. He also learned to play the harmonica and sometimes sneaked out of the house at night to go out to the pasture and practice his music in the moonlight.

I could have sworn there was a music video of the ZZ Top song that had the car and the girls, but I didn't find it. Might be I just imagined it. Well shoot, just have to put up a picture of Cadzilla.


Wikipedia even has a page about it.

Houston Storm

Electricity transmission towers were damaged in Cypress, Texas, by a strong storm on Thursday, May 21, 2024 - Janett Avalos / Houston Public Media

I don't think I've ever heard of power transmission towers being taken down by a windstorm. Cypress is a suburb of Houston.

HMS Pickle

The Boats That Built Britain - HMS Pickle - Part 2
Boat Yard

A well told tale about sailing ships.

The Trafalgar Way has an account of Lieutenant Lapenotiere's journey from Falmouth to London. They confirm the business about changing horses 21 times, which means every 10 or 15 miles. Changed coaches several times as well.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Machine Dream

Karman Ghia

I am standing on the front stoop of a normal suburban house and a Karman Ghia pulls into the driveway. It's a dark color, maybe black, and dirty like it's a daily driver, not some showpiece. I know it's not my current house because the driveway slopes down from the street. The driver gets out and asks for one of my kids. I tell him they are not here. For some reason he reminds me of Phil Hathaway, a guy I knew back in high school in Ohio. He gets back in his car and drives away.

Electric Karman Ghia

A few minutes later another Karman Ghia pulls into the driveway. This one is a lighter color and little scruffier and it's electric. I walk over to talk to the driver and I notice there is a large block like the size of a dining room table attached to the right front corner. There is a big industrial looking chest sitting on top of this block and the whole thing, chest and block and covered with some kind of green fuzz. I look again and I realize the chest is actually the headstock of a giant industrial lathe.

Big Lathe

Yeah, time to wake up.

Singapore Airlines flight SQ321

Singapore Airlines flight SQ321

A Boeing airliner flying from London to Singapore encountered turbulence. One man died of an apparent heart attack.

After about 11 hours of flying time, the aircraft sharply dropped from an altitude of about 37,000 feet (11,278 metres) to 31,000 feet (9,449 metres) within five minutes as it crossed the Andaman Sea and neared Thailand, according to FlightRadar 24 data. - Aljazeera

Note that the flight path does not go over Iran or Afghanistan. I suspect the vertical line portion of the flight path is to skirt Kashmir, the site of another Forever War between India and Pakistan.

Power Hungry AI (Artificial Intelligence)

ChatCPT Search uses 10 times as much power as a Google Search

From Zerohedge:

Almost two months ago, we highlighted what we called at the time 'The Next AI Trade' - that in fact it is not the tech itself, but the electrical power required to run the tech that is the limiting factor on the growth of AI (and Data Center) expansion.

These pages have been warning for years about an electric-power shortage. And now grid regulators and utilities are ramping up warnings. Projections for U.S. electricity demand growth over the next five years have doubled from a year ago. The major culprits: New artificial-intelligence data centers, federally subsidized manufacturing plants, and the government-driven electric-vehicle transition.

There is a plethora of new power lines and substations being installed around the intersection of Cornelius Pass Road and Highway 26. I've been looking for a way to show it, but it's tough. Power lines and poles don't show up well in images unless you are right up close, and if you are up close you can't see the extent of these installations. Only the plans the power company is using to build and install these things would show the true extent of the project and I haven't seen them.

Previous post about data centers (or are they AI computing centers?).

John Cabot

Statue of John Cabot at Landfall Provincial Park
Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland, Canada

David Warren (Essays in Idleness) got me started. He's talking about John Cabot arriving in Bonaviasta, Rumor has it there is a statue of John Cabot, the English, er Italian, explorer in Newfoundland. But is there really? Google Maps thinks there is and gives me a placemark, but this is as close as Streetview will go.

Cabot sailed across the North Atlantic to Newfoundland in 1497, five years after Columbus 'discovered' the New World.

Monday, May 20, 2024


Mundo animal

Markette Markers

Markette Markers

Getting ready for a garage sale, my wife uncovered a box of Markette Markers. These markers must be thirty years old but they still worked just like they were brand new. Naturally I want to tell everyone about these wonderful markers, but before I do that maybe I should find out if they are still available.
Maybe, maybe not. I found several places that claim to carry them, but when you try to order them they tell you they are out-of-stock. Amazon will tell you they are Currently unavailable. There seems to be a bunch on Ebay. Who'd a thunk there'd be a market for used markers?
Dixon Markette Markers
"Their double sealed caps prevent dry-out."
Might be why ours have lasted so long.

I found some listings where they were listed as Dixon Markette Markers and some places they were marked as Eberhard Faber

Vintage Eberhard Faber Markette Marker
Green only

While Eberhard Faber might look like a combination of two names, it's actually one guy's name. There is also a Faber Castell, which I suspect absorbed our boy Eberhard, though I didn't find anyone saying so explicitly. There was an Eberhard Faber and then there wasn't. Faber Castell is another guy's name. He seems to be from the same area as ol' Eberhard, operated in the same business during the same time frame. I suppose it could have been parallel operations and one of them just died out. Weird though. Found this on Britannica:

The Eberhard Faber Pencil Company was incorporated in 1898. Although the German and American branches of the company split in 1903, the two were reunited in 1987 under the name Faber-Castell.


More stories about pencils. 

The Divine Economy

Money Changes Hands

Continuing with the religion theme, this morning Husband pointed me in the direction of an article in The Economist reviewing a new book called The Divine Economy. An interesting and fun read - the article not the book, the "scope of which is big as are many of the words."
Snippets from the article.

The book compares the Roman Catholic Church to McDonalds, in their uniformity of service, whether you're in the Vatican or Venezuela you get the same thing. Also the two most popular brands (Christianity and Islam) have replaced smaller religions in the same way Tesco and Morrisons have replaced the corner shops.

In the 1960s Tom Lehrer declared that if Catholics "really want to sell the product" they should improve their music. He suggested, "Two four six eight, time to transubstantiate."

But this is the scary bit: in 2016 a study of American faith-based organisations found that they had revenues of $378 bn, which is more than the revenues of Apple and Microsoft combined. And churches usually don't pay tax.

And the best bit is the reviews the bible gets on Amazon.
"A boring read."
"The plot is not cohesive."
"The main protagonist is a bit full of himself."
"The font is extremely small."


Business & Land

The Founder Real Estate Business Scene

A long time ago I heard something about small business - you really want to own the land where your business operates. Whether you have a mortgage or a lease, you are going to be shelling out roughly the same amount of money each month. The only problem could be is if you are in an area that is going down the tubes, like Detroit is (was?), but you probably don't want to establish a business in that area anyway. In any case, once you have been in business for 20 years, if you bought the land, you will now have something of substantial value even if the business goes bust. If you are leasing the land, you might have a business that will pay your salary and the rent, but will not have as large a value as it would if you bought the land.

View From the Porch got me started:

Meanwhile, here in Hillsboro, McDonalds closed one location which was in a very congested location and opened a new one a mile down the road near the Sunset Esplanade.

P. S. Something similar happened to Hostess - post 1 & post 2.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Blue Angel and Sea Dragon

CH-53K King Stallion and a Blue Angels F/A-18E Super Hornet - Ed Jones

Betteridge's law of headlines

From St. John:

 Something to keep in mind as election coverage becomes more frenzied!

Betteridge's law of headlines:

"Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."

Source from the Wiki article (note this is old news, look at the date):

February 23, 2009

TechCrunch: Irresponsible journalism by Ian Betteridge

The TechCrunch/ controversy has been all over the net over the weekend, and there’s not much that I can add to it factually. The one thing I will say, though, is that TechCrunch has behaved irresponsible: not so much for the original story - everyone gets it wrong sometimes. But when you get it wildly wrong like this, what you don’t do is use weasal words to try and cover up the fact that you’ve got it horribly wrong. For example:

“From the very beginning, I’ve presented this story for what it is: a rumor. Despite my attempts to corroborate it and the subsequent detail I’ve been able to gather, I still don’t have enough information to determine whether it is absolutely true. But I still don’t have enough information to determine that it is absolutely false either. What I do have are a lot of unanswered questions about how exactly shares user data with the record industry.”

In a word, this is bullshit. It’s Daily Mail-style journalism, posing a statement as just “asking questions”. And even when Schonfeld got a detailed statement from on exactly what data it gives to record companies (answer: no more than they could get just by looking it up on the public site), he doesn’t retract the story.

TechCrunch got it wrong, and instead of retracting the story and apologising, it’s trying to wriggle out and say “it’s only a rumour”. Sorry, but that’s bullshit. And please, please, I hope no one brings up that old chestnut of “it’s only a blog, we don’t have to adopt proper standards for reporting”. The moment you can have a serious effect on a company or individual, you owe it to the world to be sure of what you say.

One thing though: This story is a great demonstration of my maxim that any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no”. The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it. Which, of course, is why it’s so common in the Daily Mail.

The only bit I would argue about is that you won't know if your post will have a serious effect until you post it. If you are running a no-bit blog like mine you might think you are having no effect on the world. Websites that are getting a zillion hits a day probably should be a little more careful, but that isn't what gets you the hits, is it? 

On the other hand I will post something and then days or weeks or months later I will notice other people saying the same thing, so maybe I am having some influence (dream on chuck-a-geddon). More likely clear thinking people eventually arrive at the same conclusion and I just hadn't noticed anyone else saying the same thing until after I said my piece.

Saturday, May 18, 2024


Villanelle is the villain in the Netflix series Killing Eve. She is a very talented, lovely young female  psychopath. She is employed as an assassin by the mysterious Twelve. They employ her to kill various high-profile people which she does with verve and style. They reward her with large sums of cash and a nice apartment in Paris. She socks some of the money away and spends what she wants on designer clothes.

Problem for Villanelle is that she doesn't feel anything. She enjoys the killing, and she enjoys having nice things, but her constant refrain is 'I'm bored' which she repeats at volume in the most inappropriate settings, kind of like a toddler. So perhaps she enjoys the killing because while she is on this mission she isn't bored.

She is in love with Eve Polastri because, near as I can tell, Eve is not boring. Eve is enamored of Villanelle, but she is conflicted because Villanelle is the killer Eve has been tasked with catching.

I'm starting to feel some sympathy for Villanelle. I mean, imagine what it would be like to not feel anything. You would have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, much less getting anything done. Then again, I wonder how many working stiffs only keep getting up and going to work because they have trained themselves to do so. You work at the same tedious job for decades and you might not feel anything anymore either. Maybe that's where workers going postal comes from.

While Villanelle is a prolific killer, she has only killed one person (that I recall) who wasn't an assigned target. Since we don't know the affiliations of her targets, we don't really know whose side she is on. She might even be working for the same people as Eve, and they are just letting Eve investigate to see how much she can find out so they can fix whatever chinks she finds in their security.

I mean, there's the case of Andrew Peel. He is the scion of a wealthy family who has murdered the rest of his family. He is now in control of some data mining software that can reveal anything about anybody. He is offering it to various unscrupulous characters. Eve and Villanelle (wait, what? Yes, secret spy missions make strange bedfellows) are sent to find out who his customers are along with the caveat to not kill him. Villanelle kills him anyway on account of he wanted her to kill Eve. Or maybe she disliked him. What, feelings? Well, she is in love with Eve, so a bit of loyalty there.

The best part is that nobody is upset about Peel's death. Killing him put a stop to the sale to the evil software package, which is like the best possible outcome. Now we begin to suspect that Carolyn sent these two to Rome because she suspected this is what would happen. You know, a win-win situation. Either they actually get the information she wanted, or they flake out and kill him. Either one works for her.

Carolyn and Villanelle are both angling to move up in their respective organizations. I wouldn't be surprised if we find Villanelle and Carolyn going to the same meetings.

Cat Burglar

Stolen Gloves

Today is the annual neighborhood garage sale. Someone has taken the opportunity to hang up these gloves that their cat has stolen over the last year (month? decade?). 


MIKOYAN MiG-17 - Carson Zabel

Shot over Camarillo, California, home of the Southern California Wing of the Confederate, er, Commemorative, Air Force. First flown in 1952, the Soviet Union built 10,000 of them. North Korea still uses them. Wikipedia article here.