Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Hits Just Keep Coming

People v. Webb. (Ill. 2019):
HOLDINGS: [1]-In a case involving two defendants who
were charged with violating 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(4)
(2016) after they were discovered carrying stun guns in
public, the Supreme Court concluded that the portion of
§ 24-1(a)(4) that prohibits the carriage or possession of
stun guns and tasers is facially unconstitutional under
the Second Amendment; [2]-Because § 24-1(a)(4)
constitutes a categorical ban on stun guns and tasers,
the provision necessarily cannot stand; [3]-The
Supreme Court rejected the State's argument that § 24-
1(a)(4) is merely a regulation of stun guns and tasers.
Rather, that provision sets forth a comprehensive ban
that categorically prohibits possession and carriage of
stun guns and tasers in public.
Yes in Illinois!  Unanimous decision of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Affirmative Action for the Rich and Powerful

3/25/19 Guardian prints an anonymous article:
What happens after rich kids bribe their way into college? I teach them
A professor at an elite US school says an influx of unskilled and entitled students is monopolizing faculty time: ‘They will eat you alive’
If you think corruption in elite US college admissions is bad, what happens once those students are in the classroom is even worse.
I know, because I teach at an elite American university – one of the oldest and best-known, which rejects about 90% of applicants each year for the small number of places it can offer to undergraduates.
In this setting, where teaching quality is at a premium and students expect faculty to give them extensive personal attention, the presence of unqualified students admitted through corrupt practices is an unmitigated disaster for education and research. While such students have long been present in the form of legacy admits, top sports recruits and the kids of multimillion-dollar donors, the latest scandal represents a new tier of Americans elbowing their way into elite universities: unqualified students from families too poor to fund new buildings, but rich enough to pay six-figure bribes to coaches and admissions advisers. This increase in the proportion of students who can’t do the work that elite universities expect of them has – at least to me and my colleagues – begun to create a palpable strain on the system, threatening the quality of education and research we are expected to deliver.
What is interesting is to discover that I attended an "elite" university, University of Southern California:
Exhibit A from the recent admissions corruption scandal is “social media celebrity” Olivia Jade Gianulli, whose parents bought her a place at the University of Southern California, and who announced last August to her huge YouTube following that “I don’t know how much of school I’m going to attend. But I do want the experience of, like, game days, partying … I don’t really care about school.” 
A longstanding criticism of affirmative action is that by admitting students who are not up to the university's standards, they are increasing the risk that those students will drop out, where they might have graduated from a school with a less demanding set of peers.  The example often used is UC Berkeley vs. San Jose State University.  Of course, that assumes a student who is trying but is simply less intelligent or a victim of the low-grade public schools in many poor neighborhoods.  But Olivia Jade Gianulli (who I have never heard of before) is admitting that she is not even going to try, wasting space for a poor kid with a fine high school education (like mine, Santa Monica High School). 

Monday, March 25, 2019

What A Great Day!

Full MSM meltdown and Michael Avenatti?  Who went after Kavanaugh and Trump?  3/25/19 Reuters:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, was charged on Monday with what prosecutors said was an attempt to “shake down” Nike Inc for over $20 million.
Avenatti, who was also hit with separate embezzlement and fraud charges in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, was arrested in New York.
He threatened to release information that would knock billions off their market valuation unless they paid him $20 million.  He was arrested in the office of Nike's lawyers shortly after Tweeting a threat.  His co-conspirator?  Smollet's attorney.  The left in full meltdown.  And Stormy Daniels?  From the 3/25/19 New York Post:
Porn star Stormy Daniels said Monday that she’s “saddened but not shocked” by the charges filed today against lawyer Michael Avenatti, who helped make her a household name over claims she had an affair with President Trump.
“I made the decision more than a month ago to terminate Michael’s services after discovering that he had dealt with me dishonestly and there will be more announcements to come,” she tweeted. 

Boston Herald Editorial

3/25/19 Boston Herald:
The Democrats have been saying that the truth must come to light for two years, now. Let us oblige them. The president has been dogged by this entire situation..
Was the “Russia Dossier” used to get the ball rolling? There is evidence to suggest it.
Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr and Peter Strzok should be at the center of a new probe to determine whether members of the United States intelligence services took part in an effort to compromise the duly elected president of the United States.
If the intelligence services of the outgoing Bush Administration had started spreading seemingly credible documents showing that Obama was born in Kenya or was secretly a Muslim, Democrats would have insisted on a complete investigation,

Sunday, March 24, 2019

A Major Victory in Illinois

People v. Brown, circuit court decision ruled that requiring a Firearms Owner ID card (FOID) is unconstitutional because you have to pay a fee to enjoy a constitutional right.  More here.  There seems to be no accessible link that I can copy and paste, but there is a link to it here.

A Profoundly Depressing Account of the French Revolution's Excesses

At Quillette, an account that might have caused the National Socialist to respond to with horror.
Crusaders for Liberty were relatively sparing in their use of the bayonet. Men, women and children were more often shot, or burned alive in their houses. Some of the Crusading soldiers had the idea of lighting ovens, stoking them and baking Vendéen families in them. Babies were not spared; nor were toddlers or small children. The usual practice was to kill babies in front of their mothers, then kill the mothers. Young girls were often drowned, after first being raped. Widows were usually beaten, insulted and drowned. Though there was no established standard procedure.

The Good News

The Christchurch mass murderer had a firearms license
Based on the information available to us at this time, we have found that correct process was followed by staff involved in the firearms licence application.
The accused filed an application for a firearms licence in September 2017 in Dunedin.The vetting process was undertaken by a Police Firearms Vetting Officer in Dunedin, where the accused resided.
The accused initially listed a family member as one of his referees but that person did not reside in New Zealand.
Policy states that a referee must be a resident of New Zealand, therefore new referees were requested.
The accused provided two further referees who met the requirements of the process and were interviewed face to face by a Police Firearms Vetting Officer.
One of the steps to gaining a firearms licence is a home visit to meet the applicant in person and inspect the security of their property.
In October 2017 the accused was interviewed at his home address in Dunedin.A security inspection took place at the same time.
 I am reminded of the Dunblane mass murder, where the killer had a pistol license even though he was not in compliance with British law and the police had received complaints that he had an unhealthy interest in little boys.

Why I Try Not to Fly United Airlines Anymore

They have announced that from now on, Mr. and Ms. now have a third choice, Mx.  I cannot imagine how LGBTABCDEFGs have acquired so much power in corporate America.

This Comes Perilously Close to a Religious Exercise Viiolation

Maybe not even close.   3/22/19 Fortune:
Don’t plan on getting a Chick-Fil-A sandwich next time you fly through San Antonio Airport.
The city’s district council approved a new concession agreement for the airport on Thursday that will bring in more local establishments and specifically bans the popular chicken sandwich chain. At issue, apparently, is the donation of money by the Chick-Fil-A to groups that have been accused of discriminating against the LGBTQ community.
“With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion,” said City Councilman Roberto Treviño. “San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.”
Imagine a city airport that refused to rent space to a Muslim-owned business and said so.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

And the Good News Keeps Coming!

3/22/19 Chicago Tribune:
A Lake County Circuit Court judge ruled Friday that the village of Deerfield overstepped its authority last year when it enacted a ban on assault weapons five years after the Illinois legislature declared such regulations the exclusive power of the state.
Judge Luis Berrones issued a permanent injunction blocking the village from enforcing its ordinance.

Good News on the Second Amendment Front

And from New York!  Avitable v. Beach (N.D.N.Y., 2019).

Important points:

Second Amendment protects possession of stun guns and Tasers.

New York State argued that Tasers are not in "common use," by comparing the number in private hands "to the relatively small number of civilian-owned machine guns that were sold prior to the 1986 federal ban on those weapons."

Avitable argued that he preferred one of these electric weapons over using his rifles or shotguns because he would prefer not to kill in self-defense,  (A good argument--it shows he is humane.) 
In particular, the State argues Avitabile can use the shotgun and rifles he already
owns or, if he finds those inadequate, he is welcome to purchase a handgun. Defendant
further argues that if plaintiff has some legitimate objection to using lethal weapons, he can also purchase less-lethal ammunition or other non-lethal weapons, such as pepper spray.
Oh yeah, New York State is arguing for handgun ownership.  Furthermore, New York's restrictions on private ownership of pepper spray and having different limits on how strong it can be for police and civilians destroys the "pepper spray is an adequate alternative to electric weapons:
As Avitabile points out, though, law enforcement enjoys access to a much stronger
formulation of pepper spray than civilians do. Thus, the State's argument that pepper spray is an "adequate alternative" for self-defense purposes might make some sense if plaintiff in this case were seeking to possess and use law enforcement-strength pepper spray.


Friday, March 22, 2019

Your Nothingburger is Ready

3/22/19 CBS News reports Mueller is done and there are no more indictments.  I am pretty sure that means they found no evidence of wrongdoing by Trump.  Watch for the Democrats hollering for Mueller's head.  And here is the Attorney-General's summary to Congress. Classes at many elite universities will likely be canceled Monday because of faculty head explosions.

Something That I Keep Forgetting

The Sherline mill does not have enough power to do any serious milling of mild steel.  I am making some clamps to hold down this new sine vise to the table.  The clamps are L-shaped with the horizontal leg over the edge of the base and the vertical leg supporting the clamp while a screw in the horizontal leg screws into a T-nut.  I am patterning them after the clamps used with the Sherline mill vise, but taller to handle the taller base.

My first plan was to cut the L-shape out of a solid block of aluminum.  Then I looked at some 1" square aluminum tubing, thinking this would be less work.  Not really; hard to hold the workpiece high enough in the vise to get a clean shot in both x and z in one operation..  So I bought some 1" x 1" mild steel angle bracket stock.  First step, find my wraparound shooting glasses; chop saw on steel is pretty impressive and a bit scary.  Now you know what being downrange of tracers is like.

Trying to mill the rounded edge to flat was essentially impossible; not enough power.  I also found myself battling drilling holes in this 3/16" thick mild steel with the drill press; the results were nothing to be proud of.  I think I will go buy 3/16" thick aluminum angle bracket this coming week.  The Sherline can mill this fine.

Alternatively, I can solve the problem of not being able to adequately clamp the square tubing by starting with a 1" x 3" flat, and edge milling the edge sticking out the edge, reverse, and then split the two pieces with a small mill.

I may have found an adequate solution.  The back of the sine vise's base lacks enough clearance for the clamps that I made.  One of the clamps does not want to clamp down at all, apparently because of the screw that I am using.  It is at first glance the same as the other screw, 8-32, 1.25" long but with a smaller socket head.  (I thought these were a standard size for each screw thread, but I guess not.)  Guess what?  I only have one of this length of 8-32 screw.  So I guess that I will take this "special" screw to Industrial Hardware on Tuesday.  Of course, even milling acetal cause some rotation on the table.  But, if I slide the way too short clamps for the Sherline vise up to the end where there is not enough clearance, and tighten them down, they seem to provide enough resistance for the current cut.  I may build some rather different clamps for this side--effectively upside down, so a wall of steel prevents pivoting.  Actually, the two leftover ones that I made should work upside with shorter screws.

Nacht und Nebel

German for night and fog, used to describe arrests of political enemies.  So called because arresting someone late at night makes it more likely the arrestee will be either asleep or tired, and thus more likely to make mistakes when resisting arrest and less likely any neighbors will witness it.

This is not a new story, but it should be a warning that red flag laws are both ineffective and dangerous.  11/5/18 CBS Baltimore:
FERNADALE, Md. (WJZ) — A 61-year-old man is dead after he was shot by an officer trying to enforce Maryland’s new ‘red flag’ law in Ferndale Monday morning.
Anne Arundel County Police confirmed the police-involved shooting happened in the 100 block of Linwood Avenue around 5:17 a.m.
According to police, two officers serving a new Extreme Risk Protective Order (Red Flag Law), a Maryland protective order to remove guns from a household, shot and killed the man listed on that order.
“Under the law, family, police, mental health professionals can all ask for the protective orders to remove weapons,” said Sgt. Jacklyn David, with Anne Arundel County Police.
These laws are supposed to prevent death and injury by persons who might harm others.  Well, this one caused at least one death of a person not actively engaged in a crime.

They are also ineffective because there are so many other ways to commit murder, and mass murder.  Motor vehicles are very effective for mass murder; all the ingredients for making poison gas are available at your local Wal-Mart.  If a person is really so potentially dangerous that they need to be disarmed, they should be involuntarily committed.  Of course, that requires due process: a hearing, a chance to cross-examine witnesses, and defend yourself.  These laws are very popular because they avoid asking questions about why the state mental hospital systems were systematically destroyed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

This Just Gets Better and Better

As the Left prepares itself for the disappointment of the Mueller report, the Hill reports:
Ukraine’s top prosecutor divulged in an interview aired Wednesday on Hill.TV that he has opened an investigation into whether his country’s law enforcement apparatus intentionally leaked financial records during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in an effort to sway the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Ammo Can Giveaway

Bulk Munitions has an ammo can giveway.  The only virtue of ammo cans, in my opinion is that they provide EMP shielding for your ammo.  (You may need a lead to ground from the can to make this work.  I would love to test this, but the neighbors would likely get testy if I set off even a subkiloton device to test it.)

Thunderbird Has Become Untrustworthy

In the last several days, Thunderbird on my wife's PC suddenly stopped retrieving messages or sending them with a variety of utterly useless error messages.  Hostrocket technical support has been very helpful.  As much as I dislike Microsoft, Outlook works!

Trump's Free Speech on Campus Executive Order

3/21/19 Chronicle of Higher Education: It includes something even more dangerous to the Left.  Study of making universities risk-sharers with their students on loans.  Watch the risk-sharing idea get turned into "Trump is against the liberal arts" and "why is he trying to bankrupt America's best universities?" If abolishing tuition is cool, order private universities receiving federal funding to stop charging tuition. They can take it out of their endowments or reduce faculty and staff salaries. Then watch the screaming.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Microsoft Closing Down!

Or so the spam call I just received tells me.  "The Technical Support you paid for several months will be refunded to you.  Just call" followed by an 888 number that I am sure will ask for your bank account number and routing number.

"Closing down by court  order."  Lowest IQ spammer trying to find lowest IQ victims.

I Mentioned That I Was Making Dividers for the Drawers in My Machinists Cabinet

This is a factory drawer with dividers.  There were only two drawers that had them.
This is what I made

The dimensions of the side rails are identical.  I made fewer slots because I had some larger items to put in there.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Remember: A Mill Is Not Just For Metal

I have a very nice machinist's chest that I bought from Harbor Freight (yes, it happens).  Two of the drawers have dividers in them that consist of two side pieces of some oak-like wood with notches into which the dividers slide.  A very simple way to add dividers to a standard drawer.  I have used these divided drawers for my enormous collection of taps, but I want dividers in the other drawers.

My first plan was to use aluminum for the side pieces and dividers, but the more I visualized the appearance, the better it sounded to use wood.  I needed side pieces 7.25" long, by 1/2" wide by 1" tall.  I bought a sheet of 1/2" x 8" poplar at Home Depot.  (No oak that wide in stock.)  Then I cut this into 7.25" x 1/2" x 1" sides.  They were just slightly too long to fit.  But the mill cut .050" off the end like a knife through butter.  Perfect fit.  Then I cut .252" wide x .2" deep slots to fit .25" thick pressboard dividers.  Not only does this look better than aluminum, but wood cuts so fast.

Bad Thing about wood and other natural materials: they are inconsistent.  25 ipm worked fine on some, broke others.  Now doing .5 ipm with more success.

Last Night Was Glorious

Clear sky, not much turbulence.  I rolled out the big reflector and went to 500x on the Moon.  No burbling image although not as sharp as it should have been, probably because I did not collimate after rolling it out.  I really need to have the asphalt redone; in the meantime sweep the gravel off.  The vibration affects the collimation, and never for the better.  At 400x, the image was better. To give you some idea: 500x is equivalent to being 476 miles from the surface plus some mild atmospheric distortion; 400x is 595 miles.

The last time I tried to use the refractor on the Pleaides, the results were disappointing.  My 50mm eyepiece (18x) just does not have the field view to get anything but a few stars at a time.  When I tried to use the 85mm eyepiece (10x), the focuser wuld not go far enough out because of the safety strap on the diagonal.  I have since lengthened the strap.  At 10x, you are inside the cluster and it is awesome how bright they are.  (In Big Bertha the 85mm eyepiece would give 24x, again, too small a field.)

Evidence That Armed Robbery Does Not Attract Mensa Members

3/17/19 ABC News:
An attempted robbery at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas ended in a gunfight between police and the suspect late Friday.

An armed man walked into the casino and approached a popular poker cage, where he demanded money, before quickly fleeing out the north entrance, Las Vegas police said in an overnight press conference.
He won a Darwin Award.  His genes are not going to be passed on,

Saturday, March 16, 2019

It Used to be Great Fun to Look at The Previous Year's Psychic Predictions

6/29/1989 AP:
UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.
Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ″eco- refugees,′ ′ threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP.
He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.
As the warming melts polar icecaps, ocean levels will rise by up to three feet, enough to cover the Maldives and other flat island nations, Brown told The Associated Press in an interview on Wednesday.
Coastal regions will be inundated; one-sixth of Bangladesh could be flooded, displacing a fourth of its 90 million people. A fifth of Egypt’s arable land in the Nile Delta would be flooded, cutting off its food supply, according to a joint UNEP and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study.
″Ecological refugees will become a major concern, and what’s worse is you may find that people can move to drier ground, but the soils and the natural resources may not support life. Africa doesn’t have to worry about land, but would you want to live in the Sahara?″ he said.
UNEP estimates it would cost the United States at least $100 billion to protect its east coast alone.
Shifting climate patterns would bring back 1930s Dust Bowl conditions to Canadian and U.S. wheatlands, while the Soviet Union could reap bumper crops if it adapts its agriculture in time, according to a study by UNEP and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
If your past predictions suck, why believe that your predictions today are going to be any better?

Parallels

I know you are supposed to use parallels to put a workpiece above the jaws of the vise.  I have never had any luck using the Sherline parallels.  They just keep falling over before I can get the has clamped on to the workpiece.  Why?  I found a very good YouTube video (actually several) about using parallels, and the problem is now obvious.  All the parallels were thick enough to stand on edge long enough to get the workpiece on top.  Like everything else about the Sherline mill, the vise is tiny and so are the parallels.  They are so thin that they will not stand up on end.  

One video showed a very clever alternative to parallels: put a twist drill or two under the workpiece.  The shank part is very consistently round and diameter.  If you have several identical worn out drill bits, you have a new use for what would otherwise go in the recycling bin.

I started thinking: why not magnetic parallels that will stick to the jaws?  Sure enough, they are made, but they are big, for manly mills, not ones still waiting for puberty like the Sherline.  But they are steel, and if you stock a piece of steel to a strong magnet for a while, it in turns becomes magnetic.  Tomorrow's  experiment!

Sherline's parallels will stick to a magnet but not hold the field.  Stainless steel?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Why Only the Government Should Be Trusted With Guns

And why a complete gun ban will not work.  11/30/18 ABC Bay Area:
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Firearms stolen or lost by officers has been a problem in the Bay Area for years. It happened again on Tuesday outside the Federal Building in downtown Oakland. 
A San Francisco Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives vehicle was at the center of a smash and grab. The thieves took off with law enforcement equipment. 
The report goes on to list an M4 among the stolen equipment.  How hard is to secure a firearm in a police car?

Why Only the Government Should Own Guns

3/12/19 CBS News:
Washington — The Justice Department launched a multistate search Tuesday for firearms and firearms parts stolen from a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) facility, sources familiar with the situation told CBS News.
The chief concern, the sources added, is that the weapons may fall into the wrong hands. Along with staging a criminal and internal affairs investigations, ATF officials have also notified the Justice Department's inspector general — who, in the past, has been critical of some ATF weapons disposal procedures.
Authorities have one suspect in custody, who they've identified as Christopher Lee Yates. According to court documents, officials found "a firearm concealed in a book bag on the front passenger seat floorboard" when they searched his vehicle March 1.
Agents later determined the pistol had a serial number on it. The ATF computer system confirmed the firearm had been listed as "disposed" by the ATF's National Disposal Branch on August 2017.
It was disposed of but not the way they expected.

Transgender Admits the Real Cause

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/i-was-americas-first-nonbinary-person.-it-was-all-a-sham

He admits that childhood sexual abuse was the real cause of his confusion and takes the medical profession to task for being bullied into acceptance of nonsense.

Fortunately, he never took the medical mutilation step he was considering.

Fortunately, New Zealand Does Not Have the NRA

3/15/19 USA Today:
On what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labeled as "one of New Zealand's darkest days," 49 people were killed in shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, the worst act of violence in the country in nearly three decades.
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ardern said.
Police arrested three men and a woman. One of the suspects has been charged with murder.
Of course, Occasional-Cortex is blaming NRA. 

This summary of the killer's ideas makes him sound like Occasional-Cortex blended with David Duke.  He describes himself as an eco-fascist:
Western culture is trivialized, pulped and blended into a smear of meaningless nothing, with the only tenets and beliefs seemingly held to are the myth of the individual, the value of work (productivity for the benefit of your capitalist owners) and the sovereignty of property (to ensure none of us get grand ideas of taking the unearned wealth of our owners.)
Worse:
A secondary goal was to goad individuals on the Left into pushing for gun control. He says he chose to use guns in order to push precisely that agenda in order to “create conflict between the two ideologies within the United States.” He believes if the Left can be pushed into trying to weaken Second Amendment rights this will splinter the country, resulting in “a civil war that will eventually balkanize the US along political, cultural and, most importantly, racial lines.”
 If this seems odd, he is a fan of the People's Republic of China and recently visited North Korea.  A U.S .in civil war would cease to be a limit on the ambitions of the aforesaid nations.  If balkanization seems unlikely, consider this map of the mess that was collapsing  Yugoslavia:
Imagine the U.S. with widespread rebellion against the national government, and the mainstream media selling it as a race and religious war.  You know they would, completely unconcerned about hundreds of thousands dead.

New Excuses Why Judges Do Not Follow Laws

3/14/19 Reuters:
(Reuters) - Families of schoolchildren gunned down in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre can sue Remington Outdoor Co Inc, a Connecticut court ruled on Thursday, in a setback for gun makers long shielded from liability in mass shootings.
In a 4-3 ruling widely expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Connecticut's highest court found the lawsuit could proceed based on a state law protecting consumers against fraudulent marketing.
"The Connecticut Supreme Court has blown a very large hole into the federal immunity for firearms manufacturers in lawsuits alleging criminal misuse of the products they sell," said Timothy Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State University and author of a book on gun litigation.
No hole blown.  What is fraudulent marketing about the AR-15?  That is a gun and potentially lethal?  The federal law prohibiting suit of makers of firearms that work as intended and were not intentionally sold unlawfully is clear and the antigunners complained bitterly when it was passed because it prevented this sort of suit.  The courts held the grieving family liable for Lucky Gunner's legal fees after the Aurora mass murder?  At what point will this bringing of clearly wrong suits expopsing the plaintiffs to liability become a disbarrable matter.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated

Someone at NRA inquired about metabolic condition,  There is a rumor that I was dead.  Hitmen only get paid on proof of death.

Want to Help Defund the Left

Go here, and order your own free "Earth Can't Wait" bumper sticker.  Just plan on putting their emails in your spam filter.  If a million of request one of these, I am sure we can cost them more than a million dollars.

LED minimum forward voltage about 2.75VDC

A while back I picked your excellent brains about LEDs.  I was assuming that as long as the drive motor had 1.7V, that was enough.  No.  It isn't keeping up with the sky at 2.62V, so I want an LED with a forward voltage of 2.75-2.9V.

Also, to simplify testing, what is the name of the connector that you solder wires into one end, and then the male end of it plugs into the female end of the connector on the other side.  I am sure there  is a specific name for it.

This amusingly named website indicates that the best that I can do is the InGaN green (3-3.5V) or the blue LED (2.8-3.5V).  The green one is too high; the blue one is pretty close.  Those are ranges; I suspect that the manufacturer data sheets will give me more specific ranges.  MSC Direct has one that is $6.95.  But no evidence of who the LED manufacturer is.

Looking for manufacturer datasheets, I find plenty whose typical forward voltage is 3.9V.  And there is the worrisomely named Chinese maker whose URL is sparkfun,com.

Mouser has a number of 2.8V forward voltage LEDs.  Price per unit is trivial; but I am sure ordering one would be very expensive.   Actually ordering five of the AEMD-CB3L-ST002 blue LEDs and five of the 150 ohm resistors would only be $14.69.  (Need five of each, in case I let the smoke out of one or two of them.)   Let me make sure that I have this right: 3V/20 mA=150 ohms.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Coming Battle Over Socialism

As you are already aware, many millenials have very positive ideas of what socialism is.  Items to use when trying to talk to junior in the basement.

1.  No European country is really socialist.  Socialism is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:
any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
Every European nation has a mixed economy, with most property owned by individuals or corporations.  Even countries like Sweden which has for most of its recent history been dominated by the Social Democrats, are not socialist.  Most socialist parties in Europe abandoned socialism for a mixed economy as socialism demonstrated its inability to provide the workers with a decent standard of living.  Only Britain's Labour Party has toyed with government ownership of the means of production: airlines; coal; steel and other heavy industries and even then, this tends to change as Labour and Conservative parties swap control.

The U.S. is also a mixed economy with significant government ownership of the means of production in some segments: Tennessee Valley Authority and Bonneville Power Administration being two large examples; Medicare in the case of health insurance and local government ownership of many hospitals.  But nearly every other industry in America is primarily or entirely privately owned: airlines; most public utilities; even the millennials' beloved Facebook, Apple, and Starbucks.

Like most European nations, our government engages in many forms of economic regulation.  Some of these were so obviously destructive to the interests of working Americans that Democrats pushed for deregulation, such as the airline shared monopoly destroyed in the late 1970s.  Many other regulatory processes are so clearly for the benefit of big corporations that neither Democrats nor Republicans are prepared to challenge them: minimum milk prices and farm price supports in general to keep food expensive for the benefit of the 2% of Americans who grow food (many of which are big corporations) and the detriment of the other 98%.  The poor are especially injured by this, because whether rich or poor, you need about the same number of calories.  Higher food prices hurt the welfare family a lot more than the Zuckerbergs.

2. Socialism does not have to lead to a totalitarian state.  But news media are a means of production, and even the most open-minded governments are unlikely to accept harsh (and especially if accurate) criticism without reining in government-owned media.  If the national government owned all the TV networks, local stations, newspapers, and magazines, would a supposed Nazi-like Trump not put his own people in charge?

3. Even aside from the confiscation of private property, socialism has one basic flaw: it lacks the signalling mechanism of pricing and demand to tell the managers of the economy what is wanted or needed,  The Soviet Union was famous for building consumer products that no one wanted because consumer demand and prices tell producers what is wanted.  Central planners seldom have a clue.  The Aral Sea environmental disaster is one of those examples of how socialism utterly failed: Soviet central planners decided diverting its water to grow cotton was more important than the fisheries and the health of the locals.

Do you want plain black coffee or one of your oversugared and overpriced Starbucks creations.  Imagine bureaucrats who drink black coffee trying to imagine what the masses want.  Do you think you will have a dozen Starbucks in your city--or even one?

Free Typing Practice Program

At https://www.typing.com/student/.  It brings back memories of 6th grade when I first learned to touch type.  It feels like I am getting some of the right hand skills back.  I am impressed how rapidly this program is bringing back my touch typing skills.  So many things we do are muscle memory.

Of course, it is not free, but ad supported.  Those ads provide some distraction just like the real world.

Two Stories That Explain Each Other

Inside Higher Ed on Trump's proposed cuts to federal government funding to universities; increasing number of states letting illegal aliens go to college tuition-free.

Monday, March 11, 2019

How Many Guns in the U.S.?

A splendid use of available data that suggests:
Absent a better idea, we can say that the US inventory of firearms is almost certainly between 412 and 660 million, not the lower numbers recently trumpeted in the media.

Projection

An unidentified woman was reportedly ejected from a Connecticut gun hearing Monday after she was spotted sending a text threatening to shoot a lawmaker and NRA members.
“If I had a gun, I’d blow away Sampson and a large group of NRA,” a photo of the text message-in-progress reads, according to a tweet.
The woman appeared to be directing her ire at Republican Connecticut state Sen. Rob Sampson, who describes himself as a Constitutional conservative and is an NRA “Defender of Freedom Award” recipient. (RELATED: Illinois Lawmakers Push Backdoor Gun Control 7 Times — In 16 Days)
Gun control activists assume everyone is as unstable and emotional as they are: hence the need for gun control.

What a Marvelous Sky. What a Bust.

There was a guy at church who had expressed interest in looking at the Moon through my telescope, and there is a newly moved in set of neighbors whose daughter is interested in astronomy so we invited both up.  (She looked pretty excited when we dropped by yesterday afternoon to invite them up.)  I spent quite a bit of time getting the big reflector and the refractor out, properly aligned on north for good tracking, reflector collimated, and nobody showed.  The Earthshine on the Moon was pretty awesome, and everything was sharp and crisp. I'm glad we didn't have caviar and canapes prepared.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Any Question if Drunkenness Is Bad For You?


Fake Hate Crime Bites Him in the Noose

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Cook County grand jury has returned a 16-count indictment against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett. 
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office confirmed the indictment, which they said was returned by a grand jury on Thursday. 
The day just gets better and better.

Heresy! Will They Burn Her at the Stake?

3/8/19 New York Post:
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar ripped former President Barack Obama in an interview published Friday, belittling his “pretty face” and saying his agenda of hope and change was an illusion.
She cited the “caging of kids” at the Mexican border and the “droning of countries around the world” on Obama’s watch — and argued that he wasn’t much different from President Trump.
“We can’t be only upset with Trump,” the freshman firebrand told Politico Magazine.
“His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was,” Omar said.
I think the Democratic Party is about to commit suicide.  Pass the popcorn.

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Wheels Just Came Off the Clown Car

3/8/19 Washington Times:
House Democrats voted Friday to defend localities that allow illegal immigrants to vote in their elections, turning back a GOP attempt to discourage the practice.
The vote marks a stunning reversal from just six months ago, when the chamber — then under GOP control — voted to decry illegal immigrant voting.
“We are prepared to open up the political process and let all of the people come in,” Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and hero of the civil rights movement, told colleagues as he led opposition to the GOP measure.
Even many Americans not supportive of the Wall are going to be upset about this.  This is shameless vote pandering--by people who aren't even legally present.  The 2020 election ads write themselves.

Great to Have Such Knowledgeable Readers

A few days ago, I mentioned my need for a 30 degree wedge to which to mount my Frankenvise.  I knew about sine bars, but not wide enough to mount Frankenvise.  (I have a Sherline tilting table, but it not capable of holding Frankenvise, and the Sherline milling vise cannot hold a 2.75" wide piece of stock.)  A reader pointed me to sine vises which combine the sine block with a vise.  I just ordered this from Amazon.  It has enough jaw capacity for my needs, and it is certainly more precise than Frankenvise.  It is also only slightly more expensive than the materials I was going to need to build that one degree only wedge.  The only real issue is that I will need to drill some holes in the base to lock it down to T-nuts on the mill table.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Forensic Science

I doubt that this is the first such application, but the first that I have seen in my wanderings in ghoul land.
The daily Cairo bulletin. (Cairo, Ill.), 06 Sept. 1884. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

Think of California Government as a Giant Con Game

3/4/19 Reuters.  Gov. Newsom announces that he is canceling the train to nowhere that is matching Defense Department cost overruns (and likely the result of higher levels of corruption).  The federal government which contributed three billion dollars to an entirely intrastate project wants its money back. California is calling foul.

Not Often I Link to HuffPost

Like most of President Donald Trump’s court picks, Rushing is also a member of the conservative Federalist Society, which has been driving Trump’s judicial selection process and funneling anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ nominees to the White House....
The Senate is voting on two more circuit court nominees this week, both of whom, like Rushing, are young, ideological and Federalist Society members.Eric Murphy, 40, is up for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. He has fought to make it easier to disenfranchise voters and argued against marriage equality in the landmark 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case before the Supreme Court.
Chad Readler, 46, is up for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. He filed a brief on behalf of the Trump administration in favor of striking down the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing coverage requirement. He has also defended efforts to weaken voting rights and defended Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.
Both are expected to be confirmed along party lines, though Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Tuesday that she’ll oppose Readler. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Tuesday that she’s undecided on her vote regarding Readler.Trump is dramatically reshaping the nation’s federal courts. With Rushing’s confirmation, he has now gotten 32 circuit judges, 53 district judges and two Supreme Court justices confirmed. That’s so many circuit judges ― more than any other president confirmed by this point in his first term ― that 1 in 6 seats on U.S. circuit courts is now filled by a judge nominated by Trump.
The progressives have been big fans of judges overturning majority will for decades and in some cases, I agree with this (you know, like when a right is explicitly listed, and not an inkblot hiding under the 9th Amendment).  Watch how fast they will be arguing for limits on judicial activism.

Why the Left Does Not Always Win

They are sloiw leaners.  After the Supreme upheld Masterpiece Cake's right to refuse to make cakes that conflicted with his religious beliefs:
On the same day Phillips won a 7-2 decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, June 26, that he did not have to bake and design a cake for a same-sex wedding, a lawyer asked Masterpiece Cakeshop to bake a gender transition cake that was pink on the inside and blue on the outside. 
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which had previously targeted Phillips for fines regarding the same-sex wedding cake, again found probable cause that state law required him to bake and design the gender-transition cake. 
Of course, Masterpiece went to federal court, and now the Colorado Religious Oppression Commission has agreed to drop the suit.  Is there is any more clear sign of the essentially fascist nature of progressive thought than this Kafkaesque, "we lost, so we'll keep harassing with the same nonsense."  Apparently there was some personal risk to the Commissars, doubtless why they dropped the case on the second round.

No LGBTIIQABCDEF should have to worry about being a victim of the government, but this insistence on oppression by their self-appointed "leaders" may not end well for them, if the left gets the civil war they are trying to start.

Why Are Any Jews Left in Europe?

3/6/19 Times of Israel:
JTA — The mayor of the Belgian city whose annual parade featured puppets of Jews and a rat atop money bags has defended the display, telling local media that “In Aalst it should be allowed.”
Mayor Christoph D’Haese defended Sunday’s float at the Aalst carnival from passionate condemnations by Jewish groups and disapproval by international organizations, including the European Commission....
The float in question is titled “Shabbat Year” and was prepared by the Vismooil’n carnival group. It featured two giant puppets with sidelocks and streimels, hats worn by some Orthodox Jews on Shabbat and Jewish festivals, in pink suits. One is grinning while smoking a cigar. That puppet has a white rat on his right shoulder. Both puppets are standing on gold coins and have money bags at their feet.
On a wheeled platform directly behind the float were several dozen people dressed like the puppets, dancing to a song about full coffers that are “Jewishly beautiful” and about “getting extra fat.” 
I would think any Jew in Europe should pack his bags and move to Israel while they still can. Once upon a time, I would also have suggested America, but I'm not sure we are much behind this level.

Why Defense Attorneys Often Choose Not to Put Defendants on the Stand

3/6/19 Page Six, reporting on R. Kelly's CBS interview about sexual abuse charges. His defense seems to be:
But Kelly insisted he was in a relationship with the women, Jocelyn Savage and Azriel Clary.
“What kind of love is it that keeps these young women away from their families?” asked King.
“What kind of father, what kind of mother would sell their daughter to a man?” he [Kelly] countered.
 “So you’re saying the parents handed their daughters, Azriel and Jocelyn, to you?” King asked. “Is that what you’re saying?”
He replied, “Absolutely.”
Casting blame on the parents for "sell[ing]" their daughters implies that he bought them.  I thought the 13th Amendment was supposed to be the end of that sort of thing.  And he stupidly admitted his part in this transaction on TV.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Going Fully Nerd

One display for the spreadsheet of horror; one for the book of horror; one for the newspapers I am reading.  (The laptop display is too small to be useful.)  The good news: no more connectors for displays.

Adding Watermark to All Slides in a PowerPoint 2013 Presentation

I want to add a light gray background word SLOW to all screens in a PowerPoint presentation.  (I think you can guess why.)  Everywhere I look, it says change the master and it will apply that change to all slides.  No, it doesn't.  Is there some additional step required, on Princes and Princesses of PowerPoint?

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Note: Not for the Squeamish


Chester, IL (1880)
Before 12/7/1880: A man of 22 “became insane a few days ago from religious excitement.”  Adjudged insane and ordered by the court to the asylum, he escaped the police, stripping off all his clothes as he ran, and a quarter mile away, he murdered “Thos. Ryan, an old man of 68 years of age, with whom lived his widowed daughter, Mrs. Smith, and her little girl of 12 years…”  The madman murdered Mr. Ryan and Mrs. Smith with an ax, and beheaded the little girl.  The younger son escaped of Mrs. Smith escaped unharmed.  The madman ran from the scene “swinging the bleeding head of the innocent girl by its long flaxen hair, and swinging it at arms length over his own head…”  After capture, he was sent to the asylum as originally planned.
Category: family non-residential
Suicide: no
Cause: mental illness, no question[An Escaped Maniac Kills Three Members of One Family,” [Wheeling [W.Va.]Register,  Dec. 8, 1880, 1.]

Yes, I listen to classical music while going through the gorefest.

Abandoning Vivaldi

A bit to frequently, the screen goes black, and I have to right click close it.  Sometimes it remembers its tabs but just now it lost them 34 newspapers (I think) into 1883.  Suggestions on a reliable non-Google, non-Mozilla browser?

Income Equality

3/1/19 Daily Caller:
Students and parents at a New Jersey high school plan to protest a new policy banning limos and party buses as acceptable transportation to and from the senior prom, CBS New York reported this week.
The wretched excess and excuse for parents to look the other way about premarital sex is one of the reminders that Christianity is a rapidly shrinking minority faith in America.  A year or so ago, one of the Catholic high schools back East abolished senior prom because of how outrageous it had become.  At my high school in 1974, one couple flew to San Francisco to spend the night, and alcohol flowed at the afterparties, I understand.  (I did not attend senior prom: where would a nerd like me have gotten a date?  And dancing wasn't my thing.)

Of course, when my son took his then girlfriend (now working on her Ph.D. in biology) to senior prom he took the Corvette, so maybe I should not talk.

Odd Historical Tidbit



Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Dumb is Getting Worse

I need to see which mp3 files are VBR.  (The Jaguar cannot process VBR MP3s.)  First I tried to do a foreach loop in Windows cmd:
foreach %i in *.mp3
echo %i
MediaInfo %i } grep "Bit rate mode"
endfor
No luck.  This matches what I can find on line.  So I ran bash in cygwin:
for i in (ls *.mp3)
do
echo $i
MediaInfo.exe $1 |grep "Bit rate mode"
done
"i was unexpected at this time."  I was at least expecting the file names, from the echo command.

MediaInfo works fine, file by file or with *.mp3.  At least in CLI mode.  I could not figure out how to display the needed data in GUI mode.

Found an easier way that does not require my apparently lost scripting skill:
MediaInfo.exe *.mp3 |grep "Bit rate mode\|Complete name"
This gives file name and bit rate mode on subsequent lines.

I then used Lame to do the VBR to CBR conversion, and it produces only static.  So now I am restoring from my backup and I will just use MediaInfo to find which are VBR and do the conversion with Audacity.  Very slow but it works.

The bash script for identifying VBR files:
for file in $(ls *.mp3 */*.mp3); do count=`C:/MediaInfo.exe $file | grep "Bit rate mode" | grep "Variable" | wc -l`; if [ $count -gt 0 ]; then echo $file VBR; fi done
There is probably a more elegant solution using find, but I have other things to do.  Problem : $ls produces a series of words separated by blanks because many of the directory names have blanks.  How do I force it not to do that?  IFS=$'\n'

Oklahoma Goes Constitutional Carry

2/27/19 Tulsa World:
OKLAHOMA CITY — Individuals will be able to carry firearms in Oklahoma without a permit or training starting Nov. 1, when a bill passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt goes into effect.
The bill is the first signed by Stitt since he took office.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Amazing What Spending Vast Amounts of Money Can Do

2/16/19 Salt Lake City Tribune:
Carson City, Nev. • Nevada’s governor on Friday signed into law a bill expanding background checks to private gun sales and transfers, taking advantage of a Democrat-controlled Legislature to approve the first gun-related bill to cross his desk.

Lawmakers say the bill is a fix to a 2016 gun background check measure that was narrowly approved by voters. Former Gov. Brian Sandoval and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, both Republicans, opposed the law and said it could not be implemented because it required the FBI to conduct the checks....

Lawmakers heard hours of public comment on the legislation earlier this week before the Senate passed the bill on a party-line vote. Among those speaking in favor of the law were survivors of the 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival. The attack killed 58 people and left hundreds injured, becoming the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Gun reform advocates acknowledge the background check bill would not have stopped shooter Stephen Paddock from getting hold of his weapons, but instead tout the bill as an important step in preventing gun violence.
The problem is that many states have had mandatory background checks for decades with at best mixed effects on murder rates.  But feelz matter more than evidence.

I think Nevada's legislature  was basically offered enough money by Bloomberg to stop questioning what their profession was.  ("We've already determined what you are.  Now we're just haggling over the price.")

Tilting Tables

For a mill, you either need a tilting head or a tilting table to cut angles.  I have a Sherline tilting table on which I can mount either the 2" Sherline milling vise or the three jaw chuck.  Fine, but it limits me to cutting odd angles in objects less than 2" across.

To hold bigger pieces, I use a montrosity that I call Frankenvise: it is a drill press vise.  I have squared the jaws and the bed as well as the outer edges where it aligns with the mill's table.  I doubt that anything produced on it will be .001" accurate, but for what I need, it works fine and can hold 4" wide pieces.  (And it is a bit easier to clamp workpieces in than the Sherline mill vise, which has a complicated clamping scheme intended to squeeze things both in and down at the same time.)

Here's the problem.  Frankenvise is 7" by 6.25" and will not fit into the tilting table.  (How it is held on the mill table is an esthetic crime, but it works using the same T-slot clamps as the Sherline vise.)  I really need the ability to put Frankenvise at a 30 degree angle for milling 30 degree angles in big pieces of acetal.  I really neither need nor want to invest the time into making a true tilting table.  I am contemplating building a 30 degree triangle which will use the T-slot clamps to hold the triangle to the mill table, and similarly to lock Frankenvise to the triangle.  Before I do this: Are there such triangles out there already made of aluminum or acetal?  I can mill a slot along the bottom of the triangle into which the T-slot retaining clips would go to hold it to the mill table, and then drill and tap holes for locking Frankenvise to the top.

Just to clarify: if I had a big bandsaw, I could put a 6.25" thick piece of aluminum in it, and cut a 30 degree angle.  But the chop saw that I have can't open that wide, nor would it be very happy cutting a piece that thick.  (Heat build up.)  I have been contemplating building something from sheets of aluminum bolted together into a triangle.

If one of you has a big bandsaw, and access to a piece of aluminum that could produce a base 6.25" x 6.062" with a 7" long hypotenuse, it would make sense to pay you to cut this rather than building this from parts.