Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Baby Telescope

I thought that I would share baby pictures.

This is the mirror cell.  What it replaced was made of plywood.

From the side.

You may have noticed the black rings.  These came off a 5" refractor which suffered cross threading of the M6 thumbscrews, so I retapped the holes to 1/4"-20.  I used weather stripping to get the ID of the rings to fit this 4.5" OD PVC tube.

The rings are attached to this base.
I drilled 1/4" holes in each end.  These holes should be counterbored to make the hex head bolts flush, but my mill is at Sherline for some TLC.  Attempting to counterbore with a 3/4" end mill in my drill press, even at 500 rpm, just shook the drill press vise and produced no useful counterbore.  When the mill returns, I will do this.  The 1/4"-20 bolts screw into the bottom of each ring.  In the center of this plate is a 1/4"-20 hole for attachment to a camera tripod. 

Looking down the mouth:
Yes that screw and wingnut should be painted flat black now that the diagonal holder is properly positioned front to rear.  

I am going to paint a phosphorescent paint stripe down the tube for aiming.  A finder on a scope that has a magnification range of 10-50x makes no sense.

The 31mm diagonal is a bit too large for this 3" mirror.  In daylight, this gives a black dot in the middle of the field of view for the 35mm eyepiece.  The only solution would be a 25mm diagonal, but such a diagonal holder size would preclude collimation adjustment.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Mass Murder Apparently Averted by Armed Civilian

11/18/19 USA Today:
DUNCAN, Okla. – Three people were killed Monday in a shooting outside a Walmart that ended when a bystander pointed a gun at the shooter, police and a witness said.
Police responding to a call shortly before 10 a.m. local time found a man and a woman dead in the front seat of a car in the parking lot and another man deceased outside the car, Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said.
“It appears several rounds were fired into the car, and a handgun was found on scene,” Ford said.
It is not clear if the murderer was going into the Wal-Mart or not, but this armed bystander may well have averted a mass murder.   CBS of course makes no mention of the bystander's part.  Nor does CNN.  What a surprise!

USA Today has updated the article:
Duncan resident Aaron Helton, an Army veteran, said he was at the Walmart around 9:45 a.m. when he heard nine shots and saw the gunman, weapon in hand. According to Helton, another man walked up, put a pistol to the gunman’s head and told him to stop shooting. Helton said he saw the shooter was turning the gun on himself and looked away.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Another Strong Argument Against Gun Buy-Backs

11/16/19 Law Enforcement Today:
Chicago, Illinois- According to an AGG report, William Stewart Boyd traded his father’s old .38 caliber Smith & Wesson snub nose for less than $100 in a gun buyback in 2004. It was supposed to be destroyed, but somehow the same handgun with serial number J515268 was found next to a dead body involved in a police shooting eight years later.
Boyd, a judge in Cook County, had taken the handgun to a South Side church in Chicago, Illinois where he handed it over to a pair of plainclothes officers with badges on their belts.
Great question – somehow, this Smith & Wesson .38 ended up in the hands of 22-year-old felon and gang member Cesar Munive – a man previously convicted of sexual abuse of a minor, unlawful use of a weapon, and battery. 
During an interaction with the police in July 2012, Munive was shot and killed by Cicero (Illinois) Officer Donald Garrity. 
Judge Boyd, rightfully, wants to know how the gun got into the hands of Munive. 
There’s some grey area in that story.  Officer Garrity has a long history of disciplinary problems and is currently collecting a disability pension for PTSD.  Garrity was disciplined for using a “high powered rifle” during a traffic stop, threatening another officer, and was stopped once for going 90 mph in a 30-mph zone. 
Dead felon's family says gun was planted.  Right now, I would say there is reasonable doubt that he was armeed.

History With a Purpose

The Second Great Awakening & Moral Reform Movements

Discussion Forum for this chapter:
What is a revival meeting?
What distinguished the Methodists from more traditional Protestant churches?
What did people do for entertainment and excitement on the frontier?

The Second Great Awakening

This refers to the widespread evangelizing of Americans, especially on the frontier, in the period 1800-1840.  Unlike the First Great Awakening, this largely reached the unchurched.  Frontiersmen because of both a desire for isolation and lack of existing churches on the frontier were generally not church attenders.  Many had moved to the frontier to get away from rules and controls. But  many (especially as they aged and faced the inevitability of death) still felt need for a deeper meaning to life.

This is a very emotional appeal, even more than the 1st Great Awakening.  Circuit evangelists would address hundreds to thousands at large outdoor revival meetings.   In the backwoods, these meetings were a source of excitement, even if you were not a believer.  The frontier is pretty boring.  In some villages, people would up at 4:00 AM, because the stagecoach arrives!  Imagine a world without Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

These revival meetings were great social occasions; young ladies went because they were interested in the message; young men went because they were interested in the young ladies (and some in the message, also).  All sorts of things are going on in the bushes that the preacher would not have considered appropriate.  Yet the effect of these frontier revival meetings is significant.

Evangelist Peter Cartwright described what happened at one such revival: Two young men had been quarreling over the affections of a young lady; both were threatening to kill the other if he did not withdraw (what she saw in either of these characters escapes me); both showed up at this event, heavily armed.  Had they run into each other, the results would likely have been deadly — as many such incidents were in this period.

“On Sunday, when I was addressing a large congregation, and was trying to enforce the terrors of the violated law of God, there was a visible power more than human rested on the congregation.  Many fell under the preaching of the word....  Both these young men were in the congregation, and the Holy Spirit had convicted each of them; their murderous hearts quailed under the mighty power of God, and with dreadful feelings they made for the altar.... I went deliberately to each of them, and took their deadly weapons from their bosoms.” [Peter Cartwright, Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, the Backwoods Preacher (Cincinnati: Jennings & Graham, 1856), 238.] 

One of them marries the young lady; the other becomes an evangelist; they become good friends.
 Consequences of This Evangelical Thrust
There is not only improvement of individual morality: There is a decline of dueling and violence, as young (and sometimes not so young) men recognize the evil of murder and the insults and improprieties that led to the duels; but an improvement of the society by both social pressure and law.  General social disapproval makes public drunkenness increasingly  held in contempt (similar changes are going on Victorian England).  There are a lot of legal changes reflecting new sensibilities.  Most of the goals were traditional Christian ideas: temperance; ending prostitution and extramarital sex; preaching the Gospel, here and abroad; abolition of slavery; the idea of “separate spheres”: that women and men had separate areas of duties and influence.

Because men increasingly worked outside the home, and at least middle class women worked in the home: a woman's sphere included child rearing and home making.  (This was a big job when you cooked on a wood stove, not in a microwave, and laundry involved a washboard at the nearest creek).  Lower class women were still doing piecework at home.  This separate spheres increased the society's perceived need for sexual morality.  This was not just a women's issue; many men recognized the both spiritual and physical damage done by prostitution; the STDs had no cures and in the long run would maim and kill you.

Other reform efforts brought on the Second Great Awakening: Improving the conditions of poorhouses; Separating the mentally ill from criminals in workhouses and poorhouses; building mental hospitals for the purpose of helping the mentally ill —as opposed to asylums, where they were not a threat to others.  Treatment — not simply isolation or protection of the ill.

Originally, this meant avoiding drunkenness.  The Bible teaches against drunkenness, not against alcohol.  Beer and wine were still among the safer ways to get water in some parts of America.  Why the concern about drunkenness?  For the same reasons that substance abuse is a problem today: domestic violence; rape; crime (violent and theft); poverty (drink heavily long enough and like today, your job options become limited).

So how did "temperance" come to mean complete abstention from alcohol?  I hope the following sentence will not be a surprise. For some people it is not possible to drink in moderation?  Over time, temperance started to mean “no drinking at all” for this reason.  Water fountains like this

Alcohol consumption starts to drop, dramatically, because of social pressure (and not just in America).  Restrictive liquor licensing laws become more common locally and at the state level.  Maine bans manufacture & sale of alcohol in 1851.  Employers start to require temperance pledges of employees as a way of reducing demand, rather like the way many employers started drug testing of employees some years back.
 Sexual Morality
 What drives this?  There are already many laws on the subject from the colonial period prohibiting adultery, fornication (any sex outside marriage), prostitution, and what most state laws delicately call the "abominable crime against nature" or the "unspeakable crime against nature."  Aside from the moral concerns...  Syphilis caused insanity, blindness, and death; Men who ran off left women and children dependent on the rest of the community for support; Big cities especially start developing a “sporting life” culture: brothels; bars with lesbian sex acts.

There is also concern that prostitution might lure some young women into it because of the money.  Many prostitutes in the South were slave women — often slave girls as young as 13.  By the 1830s, New York City has about 10,000 prostitutes, out of 300,000 people.

Some modern ideologues have reimagined prostitution as a feminist liberation movement: they are self-employed and not subject to the narrow-minded morality of others.  It is hard to read accounts of this period and see any liberation in this.  Prostitutes die young, horribly diseased and often victims of violent crimes.
 Christianity & Slavery
 An interesting tension develops; evangelical Christianity becomes increasingly important in the culture of the South because of the Second Great Awakening.  It seems to have reduced the most brutal abuses (branding, castration), and improved material treatment of slaves (food, clothing).  Not surprisingly, slave owners start to cherry-pick the Bible for verses that defend holding slaves. 
When scientists start to justify white racial superiority as a result of evolution, evangelical beliefs become the basis for the slave owning class to reject this claim.

Slaves are overwhelmingly Christians; many had been Christians in Africa (Congo was Catholic dominated by the 17th century), or Muslims.  Both groups converted readily to Protestant Christianity.  This provided consolation and hope in the darkest times of slavery.

And the modern relevance?  These sort of revival meetings are not ancient history.  Greg Laurie's Harvest Crusade is coming to Boise next year.  My hope is that people worshiping the flesh and the various leftist religions (climate change, "anti-racism," socialism) will find the True God and recognize that changed hearts matter more than the worship if institutions.

If you are a Christian in the Treasure Valley and your church is not already involved in this outreach, it should be.  If you are one of the unchurched, there is an alternative to whatever misery currently has you captive.  Been there, done that.

Bayonet Mass Murder

The gun control crowd, as you know, are utterly intent on banning rifles with bayonet lugs.  To which we respond: when are gangs or mass murderers using bayonets?  I just found my first bayonet mass murder.

Oakland, R.I. (1897)
4/14/1897: An employee of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Reynolds beat to death with the butt end of a musket and bayonetted the couple and their 4-year-old adopted daughter, then burned down the house.  The newspaper account described the murderer as “undoubtedly a raving maniac... he was found in the barn, chattering unintelligibly.”
Category: family
Suicide: no
Cause: mental illness
Weapon: blunt object, bayonet[1]

[1] “The Work of a Maniac,” [New Haven, Conn.] DailyMorning Journal and Courier, Apr. 15, 1897, 1.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Always Read the Fine Print

LittleMachineShop.com offered this 3" screwless vise marked down to $74.95 on closeout:
This high precision toolmakers screwless vise has a one-piece body. The body and jaws are hardened to Rc 58-62. All sides are flat, square and parallel to 0.0002". There are horizontal and vertical vees on the inside face of the movable jaw to hold round objects.This screwless vise has slots along the sides so you can clamp it to the mill table with a clamping kit.
The jaws are 1.357" deep and open to 3.94" capacity.
The vise is 7.72" long, 2.76" tall and 2.875" wide.
These vises have blemishes, cosmetic defects, and/or light rust, but function normally 
What I received:

They appear flawless to me.  There is some light protecting oil of course.

Frankenvise is fine for the largest projects where the extra fractions of an inch in jaw opening matters, but this will be what I use most of the time.  It is like a bigger, easier to use version of Sherline's 2" vise.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Nuclear Stress Test

I am likely still emitting gamma rays, but my heart is fine.  This is likely cold-induced asthma.  Back to my GP for a solution.  This indicates breathing through my nose, not mouth, will help; the opposite of what I have been doing.

Baby Telescope

I moved the primary mirror .5" closer to the diagonal and it is now a decently functioning telescope.  Most of the work on this rebuild was making sure that I could collimate it.  (The previous diagonal holder was a stalk that was held in the eyepiece focuser by a screw.  There was no practical way to adjust the diagonal's position relative to the primary mirror.)  I was able to collimate it to a level that it has never seen before!  I will need the primary and diagonal recoated.  From using it this evening on Bogus Basin, I have some confidence that it will make a fine scope for the Moon, the Orion Nebula, and other low magnification objects.  (I never had any delusions that my first mirror was great.)

How to mount it is the next issue.  I had originally put a 1/4"-20 hole in the bottom of the tube, but this is unsatisfactory.  The first time I mounted it on a camera tripod, it barely attached at first.  I did this 25 years ago.  Now I know that you should chamfer threaded holes.  So I did so, and perhaps too aggressively; this is not a very thick PVC tube.  It seemed to thread on, then rolled off into my fortunately present hands.  I have some 4 5/8" ID rings which I will turn into 4.5" rings with a layer of foam rubber.  These rings have 1/4"-20 holes in the bases.  I just need to make an assembly on which to mount these rings.

This will have to wait.  My mill is at Sherline getting fitted with limit switches, and trying to figure out why Axis X on the controller keeps blowing its fuse.

I turned on the TV and put the baby telescope (telescopette?) on the table.  Even at 50x (a 7mm eyepiece) it was nicely sharp.  Maybe I did a better job on this mirror than I realized.

Fortunately, This Was in California

Background checks on all firearms transfers; gun storage law to keep guns from kids; limits on magazine capacity; a "roster" of legal handguns that can be sold; assault weapon ban.  11/14/19 ABC News:
Two 14-year-old boys and a 16-year-old girl are dead and two other students are injured after a classmate opened fire at a high school in Southern California Thursday morning, sheriff's officials said.
The 16-year-old male suspect was taken into custody and is in the hospital in "grave condition" from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
Detectives reviewed video from the scene which showed the gunman in the quad of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita when he took a gun from his backpack, shot five people and then shot himself in the head, authorities said. The early morning school shooting was on the suspect's birthday, authorities said.
Helluva a birthday present. 

First Jaguar Repair

The "Check Engine" light came on.  One of the six oxygen sensors had failed. I am glad that I bought the 7 year, 100,000 mile extended warranty.  Although because these are emissions related, I suspect that they would have been covered anyway.

I saw the new Jaguar EV400 in the service driveway awaiting delivery to the owner.  All electric, pretty four door sedan.  0-60 in 4.5 seconds, and priced as you might expect.  Range about 240 miles between charges.  I think I am going to stay a gasoline man for another generation or two.  $70,000

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Forgot I Did This

Why the Dickey Amendment Was Passed

It appears from this article that this article in NEJM provoked it. While there is no direct statement: "guns should be banned," this quote conveys some of the language that is pretty clearly intended for that purpose: "Despite the widely held belief that guns are effective for protection, our results suggest that they actually pose a substantial threat to members of the household. People who keep guns in their homes appear to be at greater risk of homicide in the home than people who do not. Most of this risk is due to a substantially greater risk of homicide at the hands of a family member or intimate acquaintance. We did not find evidence of a protective effect of keeping a gun in the home, even in the small subgroup of cases that involved forced entry."

That they excluded lawful uses is pretty indicative of cherry-picking the data: "Although our case definition excluded the rare instances in which a nonresident intruder was killed by a homeowner, our methodology was capable of demonstrating significant protective effects of gun ownership as readily as any evidence of increased risk." They assume that "a nonresident intruder was killed by a homeowner" is rare, and exclude defensive uses that do not lead to death of an intruder. Here are 1155 gun defensive uses involving home invasions. And 492 residential burglary cases. And 326 residence robbery incidents. Many did not leave a bad guy dead. Excluding such cases is misleading.

If you have any connections with other bloggers, encourage them to link to this.

Trekz Titanium Bluetooth Headphones One of You Sent Me

Very cool.  You should get a check for postage in a few days.  Nice to leave the phone on the nightstand while shaving.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Gun Control as Suicide Prevention

They are banging that drum again. Fatality % by suicide method:
I suppose we could ban belts, cars, water, and bridges, but I am skeptical that these are anymore practical.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Changing Frankenvise's Neck Bolts

One of you nice readers sent me some self-adhesive magnetic strips so the constantly falling down aluminum parallels could be used.  The Sherline vise, which I find clumsy to use, is aluminum, so these helped not at all.  Frankenvise, a squared up 4" drill press vise, had a valley at the bottom of the fixed jaw that made them useless for another reason: they would fall down into the valley.  So I milled the vise until the valley was largely gone (milling away the mesas and cutting the cliff's overhang on the fixed jaw).
Yes, I used a roughing mill so there are a series of lines in the fixed jaw, but that provides more grip (that's my story and I'm stickin' to it). How flat is this?  Left to right is +-.01"; front to back is +-.005".  This is not a precision vise, but for most of what I do that is good enough.  Those ridges on the bottom face are cosmetic; they do not show up as the dial test indicator goes across them.  If appearances mattered, I would take my fly cutter to them, but that hole on the right side makes cosmetics irrelevant.  The casting was clearly irregular and that section was thinner than the left side.  But anything there is supported by the rest of the fairly flat surface so it's ugly but functional as you would expect from something named Frankenvise.  And yes I have already used parallels with it.

Those Evil People at Hobby Lobby

You could actually support yourself at $15.70/hour (that's $2638/month gross) with health insurance.  A working couple could perhaps buy a house on $5200 a month gross pay.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

I Hate Using Firefox, But Opera No Longer Recognizes Mouse Clicks

It will not open a link unless you right click and ask to open a new tab.  How could you screw that up?

Not Quite There

The focal point is a little too far in to get a decent focus.  I can either move the mirror assembly an inch closer to the eyepiece focuser or find a lower profile focuser.  The rack and pinion unit that is there now is so stiff as to be unusable.  It is also a force fit eyepiece tube.  These are out of fashion now, and for good reason.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Why Orange Man Bad

11/7/19 Reuters:

Billionaires' wealth falls for first time since 2015

Hence the obsession with impeachment by the billionaires' party.

Bluetooth Headphones

I have some wired headphones for my cellphone, but they are sufficiently annoying because of wires that the bluetooth earwigs are getting attractive.  I am sure all of you are ahead of the curve on this.  Experiences?

Nuclear Stress Test

No, not a North Korea problem.  The symptoms that I have been having of shortness of breath when under cardiovascular stress (like climbing my absurd driveway) caused the cardiologist to schedule the ominously named "nuclear stress test."  (The symptoms are much like the period before the horrendous aortic valve replacement surgery.)  Fasting, then a 4 hour test where they inject radioisotopes, look at blood flow, then inject a dilating medicine and check the blood flow again.  The good news is that if the aortic valve is failing, they no longer cut you open.  They do a transarterial valve replacement.  They run a cathether to the valve and put another valve on top of the old one.  Not without risk, but no worse than cutting a hole in your chest, and far less painful.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Diagonal Holder Complete

I bought the spider from Astrosystems.  A nice piece of work far better than the rest of the hardware goijng into this rebuild of Tiny.  But he does not make diagonal holders small enough so I built my own:
The 1/4"-20 screw goes through the center (thorax?) of the spider.  The wing nut holds it in position.  The four 8-32 socket head screws move the aluminum 45 degree piece back and forth against the acorn nut (which has a 1/4"-20 hole through it).  The mirror holder is 1/25" diameter aluminum rod turned and bored to accept the head of that 4" fully threaded 1/4"-20 screw, then milled at a 45 degree angle on the mill.  The spider is in the tube, and when this is in place, the mirror holder is under the focuser.

Tomorrow, I will have Signs by Smith powder coat it flat black.  I thought of black anodizing the aluminum, but the minimum shop charge plus the fact that some of the steel pieces are shiny and can't be anodized, made powder coating seem the best choice.

I thought they did powder coating.  I guess not.  I believe you can electroplate steel black.  Any of you ever done that?

Everyone Knows This

Psychiatrists Cannot Distinguish Insane People From Sane Ones.  11/2/19 New York Post article about the Stanford professor who falsified data to persuade others of this:
In 1973, Rosenhan published the paper “On Being Sane in Insane Places” in the prestigious journal Science, and it was a sensation. The study, in which eight healthy volunteers went undercover as “pseudopatients” in 12 psychiatric hospitals across the country, discovered harrowing conditions that led to national outrage. His findings helped expedite the widespread closure of psychiatric institutions across the country, changing mental-health care in the US forever.
Fifty years later, I tried to find out how Rosenhan had convinced his subjects to go undercover as psychiatric patients and discovered a whole lot more. Yes, Rosenhan had charm. He had charisma. He had chutzpah to spare. And, as I eventually uncovered, he was also not what he appeared to be....
Rosenhan’s eight healthy pseudopatients allegedly each followed the same script to gain admittance to psychiatric hospitals around the country. They each told doctors that they heard voices that said, “Thud, empty, hollow.” Based on this one symptom alone, the study claimed, all of the pseudopatients were diagnosed with a mental illness — mostly schizophrenia.
And once they were labeled with a mental illness, it became impossible to prove otherwise. All eight were kept hospitalized for an average of 19 days — with the longest staying an unimaginable 52. They each left “against medical advice,” meaning the doctors believed that they were too sick to leave. A total of 2,100 pills — serious psychiatric drugs — were reportedly prescribed to these otherwise healthy individuals....
I also started to uncover serious inconsistencies between the documents I had found and the paper Rosenhan published in Science. For example, Rosenhan’s medical record during his undercover stay at Haverford found that he had not, as he had written in his published paper, only exhibited one symptom of “thud, empty, hollow.” Instead, he had told doctors that he put a “copper pot” up to his ears to drown out the noises and that he had been suicidal. This was a far more severe — and legitimately concerning — description of his illness than he had portrayed in his paper.

Gun Control Advocacy As Projection

I have long thought it odd that gun control advocates assume that nearly everyone is one stormy argument away from murder or suicide.  Over the years, I have seen other stories like this.  11/2/19 Washington Examiner:
A mother in Texas was found dead alongside her three children on Friday in an apparent triple murder-suicide.
Ashley Auzenne, 39, was known to have been battling depression and anxiety in addition to physical ailments such as arthritis and lupus at the time of her death, which was ruled as a suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Her three children, Parrish, 11, Eleanor, 9, and Lincoln, 7, were also killed by gunshots and their mother is the only suspect. She had just finalized a contentious divorce from their father, Murvin Auzenne Jr.
Auzenne was a vocal advocate for stricter gun control in the United States with multiple social media postings calling for an end to gun violence and Facebook profile pictures that bore the hashtags #Enough and #EndGunViolence.

AR-15s Are Not Useful for Self-Defense

11/4/19 New York Post:
A pregnant woman is credited with saving the lives of her husband and daughter after she used an AR-15 to fatally gun down a home intruder, a report said.
The hero mom sprung into action when two intruders entered the family’s Lithia, Fla. home last week and pistol whipped her husband while violently grabbing their daughter, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
“They came in heavily hooded and masked,” the husband, Jeremy King, told Bay News 9.
“As soon as they had got the back door opened, they had a pistol on me and was grabbing my 11-year-old daughter.”
The robbers then pistol-whipped King and kicked him while the man’s wife, who is eight months pregnant, retreated into the bedroom.
“When he came toward the back door in her line of sight, she clipped him,” King told the outlet. “He made it from my back door to roughly 200 feet out in the front ditch before the AR did its thing.”

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Stump the Academics!

What is the fundamental idea of Mussolini's Fascism?
Even though later liberal economists were less extreme, for they admitted State intervention in economic life, yet there is nothing in common between the Fascist and liberal theories of State, however modified and tempered the latter may be.
It must be remembered that Liberalism spells individualism; Fascism spells collectivism.[Giuseppe Tassarini, trans. Eduardo Cope, Fascist Economy 10 (Rome, 1937).]

Stump the Academics!

I am going to post a series of questions that not only will most ordinary people get wrong or just stare at you with incredulity when they hear the answer, but nearly all university faculty will do about as well.

1. Of what political party was Benito Mussolini a member five years before he founded the Fascist Party?

Mussolini rapidly made his mark in the Socialist party. In 1908, at the age of twentyfive, he was manager of the Avvenire in Trento, and editor of the Popolo of Cesare Battisti. At Forli he founded the Lotta di Classe, and took part in the management of the famous Avanti. He gained a great personal triumph at the Socialist Congress held at Ancona, when he imposed his strong anti-masonic convictions on the party, and became editor of the Avanti. Then came the acid test of the war. The Italian Socialists were pacifist to a man. Mussolini realized the true meaning of German militarism. He strenuously dissented from the Socialist support of neutrality, divining that "the very reasons for civilization" were involved in the cause of the Allies. He stood up against the fanatical anger of his party, deliberately sacrificing, at twenty-nine, his hardly won political position with its assured parliamentary career, and poured out his passionate conviction of the necessity of Italian intervention for the sake of justice, of humanity, of Italy. "You hate me, but you love me still!" he cried out at the mass meeting of November 25, 1914, at which was read the decree of his expulsion from the Socialist party. Calm and serene he faced the angry ranks of his former comrades, convulsed with cries of " Kill him !" and flung at them the triumphant words, "I tell you that from now I will have no pardon or pity whatsoever for those who in this tragic hour are afraid to speak their thoughts for fear of being hissed at, or of the cry of 'Down with him !'" Speaking for the last time as one of themselves, he forced his Socialist hearers to listen to the truth that, at this moment of her history, the hearts and minds of Italians could be filled with but one thought—Italy.
Mussolini, expelled from his party, had now to begin life again. He resigned his editorship of the Avanti, and immediately started a daily newspaper of his own, the Popolo d'ltalia. "Into this extraordinary journal he threw all his originality and vitality." He and his staff, full of the fire of youth, insisted on the intervention of Italy in the war, in face of the derision, scorn, and hatred of the Socialists, and while enduring poverty and hardship. The demand for intervention drew together men of the extreme Right, or Constitutional, party and those of the "advanced" groups; and it is significant that the son of the Socialist blacksmith at once felt himself at ease among the Constitutionalists. A profound harmony existed between the spirit of the Right and the fundamental inspiration of Mussolini's own political faith. Gradually the new paper won a great circulation; and ultimately it became the chief instrument of bringing Italy to the active assistance of the Allies. Indeed, Mussolini, as editor of the Popolo d'Italia, may be said to have been one of the great artificers of the final victory.[Gertrude M. Godden, Mussolini: The Birth of the New Democracy 34-35 (1923).]

Weren't These in an Episode of Start Trek: TOS?

I was using a mask to try and improve focus.  This is one of those masks where you go out of focus on a star and you get three out of focus images.  At exact focal point, you get one image.  In this case, Arcturus out of focus.

I wish that it did what I wanted.  But I still am not there.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds Right to Say No

A group wanted to force someone to do something they considered immoral using an organ of speech (in a figurative sense).  Fortunately, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of not forcing unconsenting adults to do something they did not want to do.

Another Amazing Coincidence

Regular readers know that I have observed that LGBTs report childhood sexual abuse at statistically significantly higher rates than the average.
LGBTs report childhood sexual abuse at 3x-8x the rate of heterosexuals. LGBTs have similar order of magnitude higher rates of substance abuse, suicide, mental illness and obesity (among lesbians). The failure to consider this possible causal relationship has lead to a widespread assumption that homosexuality is an inborn and immutable characteristic. Failure to consider this possible origin has also led critics of homosexuality to assume that homosexuality as a preference is a conscious choice.
So imagine my surprise 9/21/19 People:
Jonathan Van Ness is ready to open up about being HIV positive.
Ahead of the release of his memoir Over the Top, which hits shelves Sept. 24, the Queer Eye star, 32, opened up to The New York Times about his health and history of addiction....
Van Ness also opens up in his memoir about having been abused by an older boy at a young age, which “planted the seed for other self-destructive behaviors,” according to the Times.
“For a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age, we have a lot of compounded trauma,” he told the newspaper.
As a young teenager, Van Ness said he would meet up with older men and that after using up his money on drugs in college, he “advertised sex for money on Gay.com,” according to the Times.  
By the time he was in his early 20s, Van Ness was using methamphetamine and then went to rehab twice, the newspaper reports.
But his sexual orientation could not possibly be associated with premature sexualization by another male. Right...

Friday, November 1, 2019

I Am Not Sure Why I Did Not Think of This Before

I needed a 3.5" long fully threaded 1/4"-20 screw, socket head.  The best that I could find was 3" long, or not fully threaded.  I still need about 1/4" or 1/2" more length for the diagonal holder for the tinyscope rebuild.  But I can buy screw couplers that are 7/8" long.  I can thus switch to the more available 1.5" fully threaded screws with a 1" screw at the far end of the coupler,

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Today's Electrical Engineering Question

For a sheet of 12 gauge steel one foot wide and 10 feet long, how much heat will be produced by passing 100 W at 12 V through it?  This page says "The resistivity of steel is on the order of 10−7 Ωm."  That seems to imply that the total length of the sheet of steel, not area or mass is what matters.  That is counter-intuitive.

Question answered and a better solution offered.  My objective is melt enough snow at the edge of the driveway to expose a little asphalt to sunlight.  Exposed asphalt absorbs heat and rapidly clears the rest of the snow.  Instead of building my own heater, deicing cable was suggested.  This puts out 5W per foot and nestled up to the edge of the driveway will likely do the job.  Two 100W PV panels and an inverter should be enough for a 30 foot section.  The 200 foot cable will require six cables to do all 1200 feet of driveway, but even doing some of it should get the rest largely clear on the sunny days that follow most serious snowfalls.  A 200 foot cable will gobble at least 1000 watts (with losses from the inverter), so that might be a big investment in PV panels.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

When Did Parents Decide Being Cool Meant Exposing Their Children to Drag Queen Story Hour?

10/30/19 Post-Millenial reports:
On Oct. 17, non-binary drag queen Sasha Sota performed at a Library in front of a group of children. In one of the photos from the event, Sota’s spread legs can be seen briefly flashing the group of toddlers.
The unedited photo shows a clear crotch shot, with Sota wearing some type of pantyhose or leggings to cover his genitals.
Are universities really this effective at brainwashing?

Why Successful Astrophotographers Have Winter Homes in Florida

The teeth of my winter boots are chattering.  Worse, when I got out there I discovered that I had neglected to turn off the clock drive the last time I used it.  Fresh AA batteries tomorrow.  It needs to be above freezing to do astrophotography.

I also just realized why in all the years that I operated Scoperoller, I made two sales in Idaho.

Now if could just win the Powerball, I might buy that winter home in Florida, the land of giant bugs and criminals too stupid to not become Florida Man stories.

Colt Mustang Upgrades

I mentioned a while back buying an ambidextrous safety from Cylinder & Slide for my Colt Mustang and discovering it was not dead simple, like a 1911.  So I took it to QPR Gunsmithing who seems to not only know his trade, but is a very nice person as well.  (My experience on this with other gunsmiths has been mixed.)  Here it is:
The safety is stainless like the rest of the gun.  And extended as well, making it hard to miss.

Milt tested it at a range, and I verified the safety worked before I left the shop.  I was surprised to see that if yoiu have the trigger depressed and you take off the safety, it fires.  My other Colt .380 works identically, so this is just part of the design unlike the 1911 which I believe requires you to release the trigger first.  Still, under what conditions would you pull the trigger, keep it depressed, and take off the safety.  When you realize that the bad guy was not impressed with a trigger pull because the safety is still on.

I also bought a stainless steel recoil spring guide to replace the plastic one that is factory.

The only claims made for stainless steel is more durable than plastic.  I do wonder if it might stay straighter under recoil and reduce barrel flex.  Time to go shooting!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Robocop Watched Star Wars Too Many Times

Why Democrats Are Anti-Gun

They have armed police not only protecting them, but their kids too.  10/28/19 New York Daily News:
Mayor de Blasio ordered his NYPD security detail to repeatedly take his son back and forth from Yale University during his first years at school, the Daily News has learned.
Executive Protection Unit detectives drove Dante de Blasio to or from New Haven, Conn., at least seven or eight times, the sources with direct knowledge said. Members of the detail also took Dante to visit his uncle, who lives nearby, sources said. Dante faced no security risks at the time, the sources said.
And they moved his daughter as well.  Must be nice being powerful, right?  Why they want to disarm the rest of us.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Snap Caps

I would love to buy a tiny number of snap caps fror dry firing and function verification: two .380 ACP; two 9mm; two .45 ACP; two .22LR; two .223; two .308.  But these are only sold in packs 5, 10, etc.  Have any of you bought one of these packs and are willing to sell one or two?  If not, would you be interesting in parting out a pack?

Yup.  Just buy a pack.  I grew up poor and it still affects my brain.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

North Korea is Running Out of Patience

10/26/19 AP:
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Sunday said it’s running out of patience with the United States over what it described as hostile policies and unilateral disarmament demands, and warned that a close personal relationship between the leaders alone wouldn’t be enough to prevent nuclear diplomacy from derailing.
In a statement published by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency, senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol said there has been no substantial progress in relations despite warm ties between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump. He said the persisting hostility means “there can be the exchange of fire at any moment.”
At which point about 500 megatons will detonate over North Korea and they will cease to be the protection racket that they are.  Trump is driving them mad, and any steps they take will likely leave Short Fat directing a nation of ashes from his underground bunker.  Attacking South Korea or Japan are not safe; the U.S. would incinerate North Korea.  Any attack on the U.S. could be damaging since at least one ICBM might arrive and destroy an American city, but North Korea would cease to exist with 20 minutes.

Cold-Induced Asthma

I have battled this for several years.  I bought a hunter's mask intended to solve this; a copper mesh over the mouth causes exhaled air to warm so your next inhale is warmed air.  My wife and I took the Springer Spaniels for a walk this evening at Eagle Island State Park, and pain in my lungs and rapid exhaustion held mne back on a flat and not terribly brisk pace.  The mask did little good.

It isn't cold air alone, I think, because without the mask, I was no worse off.  I worried that my aortic valve is giving up the ghost and this is oxygen deprivation, but 30 minutes at 2.1 mph on my treadmill in a nice warm house is not a problem.  I suspect that while cold air is a problem, the mask is adding a different problem.  It traps exhaled air so you are inhaling air that is now 4% carbon dioxide. The oxygen content is this reduced to 15%.  This is not enough to provoke the asphyxiation response from CO2 buildup in the blood, but I suspect the reduced oxygen is straining my system's cardiovascular capability.  The mask is no longer going to be used; if there was a mask that warmed incoming air (likely battery powered) but did not cause use of exhaled air, it might be worth trying.  Otherwise, I will not walk in cold weather.

Proof That Guns Deter Mass Murder

The Sutherland Springs murderer was wearing body armor.  Why wear it unless you were expecting or thought it likely your victims might return fire?  (This was Texas.)  Police are going to show up with rifles, so it was not to protect him from police.

Anyone Recognize This Language?

Cari Situs Judi Online Terpercaya? Teraman? Banyak Bonusnya? Di Sini Tempatnya. ZumaQQ, Agen BandarQ, Domino99, Poker Online Terpercaya Hanya 4 Tahapan Kemenangan yang MUDAH di ZumaQQ Daftar > Depo > Main > Menang! Deposit minimal Rp. 20.000,- Anda Bisa Menjadi JUTAWAN? 

Readers say Indonesian.  Spam is a random approach, but spamming people in the wrong language?

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Has It Really Been More Than A Year Since I Inflicted Memoirs on You?

I guess so.  So I went off to USC after my first summer job, writing inventory software in assembly language for a Mafia-owned car parts maker.  That one year at USC was actually wonderful, and I wish that I had been well-enough off to fit into the social milleu.  But I knew I was from a poor family, and it felt like I had a tattoo of dishonor on my forehead.  I was surviving on a $1000 student loan (back when $1000 was a lot of money), a Social Security check that I received because my father had become disabled (dependents received a small payment at the time), and the savings from my summer of working for the world's smallest and flakiest company.

As the fall semester closed (4 As and a B; how I ever earned a B in Calculus remains a mystery), a job opened up at the Santa Monica Unified School District where friends worked.  They needed someone to specify and develop a system for accounting how Maintenance Department workers hours should be allocated by school.  This was a full-time job while going to school full-time.  (Yes, that worked about as well as you might expect: second semester Calculus was a D, and even Chemistry was a B.)  But I was making good progress on writing specs when I decided that as nice as $800 a month was, I was doing a bad job at school.  So, two months in, I quit.  If only there were part-time burger-flipping jobs back then.

I had forgotten that I needed to inform Social Security that I was working.  About July, they noticed and stopped my check.  Of course, I was no longer working by then, but the machinery that ground so slowly at turning off the checks was no faster the other direction.  By the end of August, I had $30 in the bank, and my 1964 Chevy Malibu station wagon, decrepit but reliable.  (It never stranded me, which in the USC neighborhood might have been fatal, for a white kid.)

So I looked for full-time employment.  Projectionist an adult movie theater?  No experience with projectors.  A company called Telos Computing needed a software engineer.  My five months of experience made me completely unqualified for the job, and I was a not terribly mature 18-year-old, but I was able to talk, and talked myself into a $1200/month job.  I mailed my resume Monday; a week later I was working.  Where?  Telos had a contract with Jet Propulsion Labs, supplying workers for the Mariner 12 & 13 (later renamed Voyager) Telemetry Software System (TSS).

I worked for a very sweet lady named Judy Cohen who was a Lab employee.  My administrative boss was a very nice Telosian named Phil Schaefer.

Let me explain the work environment.  JPL had a lot of reasonably nice permanent buildings and a lot of trailers outfitted as really crummy offices.  I was assigned to a trailer up the hill from the building where most of our people worked.  I shared the west half of this trailer with a young man named Evan [something obviously Jewish].  Evan was a graduate of Fairfax High (a school for many years about 99% Jewish in popular and self-perception).  He kept me amused with stories of Fairfax High, and his time at UCLA getting a computer science degree.  He told me that when he started in 1963, freshmen would stand on the steps to the Student Union singing "The Hills of Westwood."  When he graduated in 1968, students were marching down those steps shouting, "On strike!  Shut it down!"

Anyway, Evan had serious self-esteem issues and only lasted a couple weeks before termination.  His mother naturally called our boss, Judy Cohen, to accuse her of firing him because she was an anti-Semite (much to Evan's chagrin).  "My name is Judy Cohen."  Short conversation after that.

I was moved to a trailer that I shared with Pete Winter, a nice German guy.  What was I doing when I arrived?  They gave me a task that was inflicted on all new hires without an assigned task: adding comments to code disassembled from the binaries.  A disassembler is a program that converts binary executable code to the equivalent assembler language mnemonics and addresses.  Yes, they had lost the source code.  So those addresses were just octal addresses (yes, octal, wait for it).  Previous victims had put in really useful comments like add 1 to register 6.  (I tried to do a better job of analyzing the general scheme and produce more useful comments.)  Fortunately, this mindnumbing task only lasted a few days until they found something for me to do.

The TTS consisted of four Modcomp minicomputers, a Univac 1616 and Univac 1530, linked together by who knows what?  These were originally military spec computers.  One was designated AN-UYK-20, the other AN-UYK-7.  I no long remember which was which.  They were antiques when the military adopted them, and I was told JPL had paid $250,000 to get Univac to build new antiques.  Why do that?  Remember that code that lacked source?  It ran on one of these beasts, and there were no surviving specs explaining what the data flow was.

The 1530 had 30-bit words grouped as 10 octal bytes.  The 1219 was 18-bit words of 6 octal bytes.   Wait, the weird gets weirder.  The 1219 had no subroutine call instruction.  It had a B7IJ command.  You said B7IJ subr, and it stuffed the caller's address at subr and started executing at subr+1.  At the bottom of the subroutine it did a indirect jump through that caller's address at subr.  Imagine trying to write recursive code.  Stack?  What's that?

Programs were all given names imaginative named with five letters;  the first identified on which processor it ran and the three its function.  I was assigned NPEGS.  Data from the spacecraft arrived in frames of (I think) 512 bits (480 of which were data).  The rest was header information identifying source and time.  This 480 bits was mostly a general science data block.  There were also 24 bits of Engineering data contained therein.  NPEGS was supposed to take these 24 bit chunks from each General Science frame, as it was called, and accumulate these until I had a 480 bit frame of Engineering data and then pass that frame to the Modcomps.

This programming was all done on punch cards.  Yes, these things:

There was a keypunch service if you filled in coding forms, but it took a few days, and they were seldom flawlessly punched.  Also, keypunch was almost at the east end of the Lab, and I worked at nearly the west end.  It was a long walk.  I usually did my own keypunching.

One trick you learned early was to draw a diagonal line across the top of the deck.  If you dropped a program (as I once did when NPEGS had grown to 2500 cards), that line greatly speeded up getting them back in sequence.  You carried your absurd box of cards to Space Flight Operations Facility (SFOF) to assemble them to binary.  I think the binary was punched to paper tape.  

Then you loaded it into the antique to debug.  I remember nothing of this phase of my work.  After the dropping of the card deck (on outdoors, often windy stairs), I switched over to managing my source on mag tape drives.  

A series of commands that RCS users would recognize, let you insert, delete, or replace cards in your tape, which could then be read for assembly.  So instead of carrying 2500 cards and watching the cards get swallowed in, you just carried a few dozen cards at most to change your source tape.

It was a miserable year.  I had no friends in La Crescenta, where I moved after too many months carpooling from Santa Monica (although I did eventually make a few friends among my single workmates, some of whom remained friends for 20 years).  Young ladies?  Sorry, but I was so nerdy that I could bring myself to ask out a young lady who worked in an adjacent trailer.  (Nerdettes were still quite rare, and were rapidly allocated by nerds with more charm, and better looks.)  Most Friday nights, I bought a Straw Hat pizza, drove up Angeles Crest Highway to an overlook of Los Angeles and cried.

The job lasted about 11 months, by which time it was apparent that whatever technical knowledge I had, I was not getting NPEGS or its close relative NPGSI (General Science extracted from Imaging) to completion, and I was laid off.

Working there, in spite of the loneliness, was one of the best jobs that I ever had.  I worked on something of importance to mankind.  I got to stand in the gallery of the Mission Control room to watch several missions in progress, hang with the cool kids on the Viking Imaging team, ask impertinent questions like what star will our mission intercept after it leaves Sol for good, learn about Golay Encoding which still seems like magic (but then again so does Discrete Wavelet Transform coding), use the Lab library to prove to a friend that there were no pyramids on the Moon (there is a rebound peak that can be cropped to look like one), misuse the phone system to call my parents toll-free in Barstow by dialing Goldstone Tracking Station extension, then 9 for an outside line; loads of fun.

Swallowing Issue

I have been plagued the last two years by a swallowing problem known as globus syndrome, because it feels like there is a ball in your throat.  This apparently a common problem if you have had strokes on both sides.  The longer that I talk, the more annoying it becomes.  After an hour or so, I am exhausted, although I am told that I sound fine.

I mentioned this problem to someone at church who has been having this same problem.  "More water and chew gum."  And amazingly, it works.  I used to suck hard candy, which had a similarly beneficial effect (promoting saliva production), but it was hard to talk with candy in my mouth.  Gum, not so much.

Pistol Condition 3

You may be aware of Jeff Cooper's conditions:
  • Condition 4: Chamber empty, empty magazine, hammer down.
  • Condition 3: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.
  • Condition 2: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down.
  • Condition 1: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on.
  • Condition 0: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.
On a modern pistol, there is usually a firing pin block that prevents a dropped pistol from firing, so Conditions 1 and 2 are very safe, but Condition 3 is attractive nonetheless, at least if you live somewhere like Idaho where robbery or random assault is rare.  My only reasons to carry a pistol are wildlife attacking my dogs, or mass murderers.  Both usually give you lots of warning, enough time to draw and rack the slide.

I understand that Israeli Defense Forces for many years carried Condition 3, and practiced drawing and racking the slide in one motion. Unless your other hand is busy with a steering wheel or cellphone, this does not sound like much of an obstacle.  And a fire could easily discharge that chambered cartridge.  The next round won't chamber; this is the ultimate weak hand shooting.  But a pistol stored in your car or house might be a hazard to a firefighter.

Racking the slide might well cause an attacker to run off to his suddenly remembered dentist's appointment.  Even a justifiable shoot will be a paperwork hassle as Johnny's next of kin sue because you just misunderstood Johnny; that knife and demand for your wallet was really was a form of aggravated begging.


Victory in Montana

City of Missoula v. Fox (Mont. 2019) struck down a Missoula ordinance mandating background checks on private transfer under a preemption statute.  Very interesting as to motive:
As the Attorney General notes, the District Court’s interpretation of the exception in subsection (2) is overbroad. As the Ordinance offers, its background check requirements for firearm transactions is intended to be a “prevention mechanism to serve as a deterrent” to the possession of firearms. City of Missoula, Mont., Municipal Code § 9.60.010 (2016)
Missoula is a college town, so such an attempt is unsurprising.

Can We Stop Throwing Around the Word "Treason" So Lightly?

The left kept saying Trump's non-existent collusion with Russia was treason, and people on our side keep saying that this attempt to overthrow Trump is treason.    "Treason" is defined in the Constitution (Article III, sec. 3) quite narrowly:
1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
2: The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Now, if the Russians had tried to help Trump get elected, it would be bad, but even if Trump had sought their aid, this would not be treason.  We are not at war with Russia.  Trump would have to have given aid to the Russians for his actions to qualify as treason, and this is assuming that Russia is an enemy.  We are not at war with Russia; not even close.

The attempts to overthrow Trump likely involve some crimes, which the Department of Justice is now investigating, but treason it is not.  Why is treason so narrowly defined?  Because having sex with the king's mistress ("violating the royal blood line") was one of the many acts define as "treason" under English law.  The Framers wanted to avoid that gaming of the system.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Forgot How Good Some of These 2011 Pictures Came Out

Sunset at Eagle Island State Park Today

It Is Official: I Cannot Install a Cartridge Fuse

Package of fuses arrived.  I installed the new fuses for X, Y, and A (which I do not use).  By accident, I removed and reinstalled the Z fuse.  Y and Z work fine.  X does not.  I tried swapping cables; Y cable talking to X motor works; X cable talking to X motor does not work; X has no output it appears.  I have inserted both leads carefully with tweezers to make sure there is mechanical resistance.  I also discovered (I think) that if not plugged in at both ends the fuse shows open circuit.  The fuse now in X is showing about 30-50 ohms, similar to the fuses in  Y and Z, which work.

Is there anyone in the Boise area that knows how to install a fuse competently?  I could bring the controller box to you, but it would be nice to verify functionality afterwards.  Besides, you get to meet me face to face.

No, the fuse that was in there was open circuit when removed from the socket.  New fuse accomplished nothing (as was the case with the previous fuse).  Some other part of the X circuitry has obviously failed.  I guess Sherline is the next step.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Ways to Go on Astrophotography

1/3 sec., ISO 100, 2000mm f/4.5, 25mm projection eyepiece

1/2 sec., ISO 100, 2000mm f/4.5, 25mm projection eyepiece

Saturn is hard; not much light and tiny scale.
Jupiter again focus remains elusive.  Live mode helps, but I really need more power so that the image is largev enough in Live mode to see if I have a sharp focus.