Monday, September 26, 2022

Okay, I Should Have Put This In the Spider Post

If you look at pictures of bright stars photographed through reflecting telescopes so big that they have operators because the astronomer could never do both direction and observation, you will often see either four or six spikes off the star.  Four spikes means a four leg spider; six spikes means a three leg spider.  The spikes from a three spider are supposedly less bright than from a four leg spider but I confess the difference is usually too subtle for me to see.

How Gaea-Friendly Are Devices That Use Copper?

A powerful analysis of the Fossil Fuel use in copper production.   Imagine wind turbines, electric cars, photovoltaic systems without copper.

Why History Matters

 I explained this last week in American History that every provision of the Bill of Rights is based on some abuse of government power, either in the colonies or England.  To enforce customs duties and suppress smuggling, judges issued general search warrants that did not specify what customs agents were seeking, what crime was involved, or sometimes even to where the search applied.

This why the Fourth Amendment requires "no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. "

The FBI did not get the memo.  From 9/23/22 Los Angeles Times:

The privacy invasion was vast when FBI agents drilled and pried their way into 1,400 safe-deposit boxes at the U.S. Private Vaults store in Beverly Hills.

They rummaged through personal belongings of a jazz saxophone player, an interior designer, a retired doctor, a flooring contractor, two Century City lawyers and hundreds of others.

Agents took photos and videos of pay stubs, password lists, credit cards, a prenuptial agreement, immigration and vaccination records, bank statements, heirlooms and a will, court records show. In one box, agents found cremated human remains.

Eighteen months later, newly unsealed court documents show that the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles got their warrant for that raid by misleading the judge who approved it.

They omitted from their warrant request a central part of the FBI's plan: Permanent confiscation of everything inside every box containing at least $5,000 in cash or goods, a senior FBI agent recently testified.

The FBI’s justification for the dragnet forfeiture was its presumption that hundreds of unknown box holders were all storing assets somehow tied to unknown crimes, court records show.

It took five days for scores of agents to fill their evidence bags with the bounty: More than $86 million in cash and a bonanza of gold, silver, rare coins, gem-studded jewelry and enough Rolex and Cartier watches to stock a boutique.

The U.S. attorney’s office has tried to block public disclosure of court papers that laid bare the government's deception, but a judge rejected its request to keep them under seal.

Some people do not trust the FBI.  They must be paranoid.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

I Would Not Read Too Much Into This

9/24/22 Atlantic article about a prominent Belgian immunologist who developed lymphoma and therefore accelerated his COVID booster because lymphoma treatment would make him immunocompromised and therefore higher risk for COVID. Amazingly(?) his lymphoma spread far faster than normal after the booster.  He is careful to note that this might be coincidence but also there some theoretical models that might explain this unobvious connection.  I am still not prepared to join the COVID-19 vaccine puts you at higher risk crowd but that the Atlantic published this story is bloody amazing.   It does suggest that maintaining the narrative may not suppress all news media examination of these questions. 

Why I Have Been Fairly Silent

I am rebuilding an 8" f/7 Newtonian reflector test was originally built by my father and I in 1969.  

First of all:  a Newtonian reflector uses an elliptical mirror (which at a 45 degree angle is a circle) to reflect the image from the primary mirror to the eyepiece focuser.  The elliptical mirror is held on a diagonal holder by the spider, so named because it has either three or four legs holding the diagonal holder.  The legs attach to the tube.

The diagonal holder should have adjustment screws to collimate the image from the primary mirror to the rest of the optical components. 
The closer it is to collimation, the finer the detail and the higher the contrast of the image.  When Coulter first started making mirrors at an absurdly low price (one of the first to do large scale automated production: the factory in North Hollywood looked like no other telescope maker of the time), they advertised them as +-1/25th wave.  The surface was within 1/25th of a wavelength of a perfect parabolic.  There are times the telescope has given me reason to believe it.  During one spectacular Rohnert Park heat wave I used about 700x on the Moon with a very sharp image, far above what is considered possible with this size of reflector. 

When my father and I built this we used an Edmund Scientific spider/diagonal holder that had no adjustment screws.   The best that I could do adjustment collocation was brute force bending the assembly until the laser collimator was very approximately correct.  Let me emphasize how approximate that was.

I finally broke down and bought an AstroSystems spider with the adjustment screws.  I have mentioned my efforts to make 5" long 10-32 thumbscrews to replace the SHCS with which it comes.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong with their design but the diagonal is pretty far from the end of the tube; holding an Allen wrench to make adjustments above a irreplaceable mirror makes me shudder.

I am finally working on the installation.   First of all the elliptical mirror was glued to a piece of paper glued to the diagonal holder.  The AstroSystems unit lets you slide the mirror into the holder where a metal lip keeps it from falling out.

Removing the elliptical mirror from the old diagonal holder involved gently slicing through the glue with an Exacto knife.  The AstroSystems assembly is 1.5" longer than the Edmunds so the old holes will not do.

I measured the proper distance from the end of the tube, then used a cloth sewing tape measure to put ink dots at the appropriate locations for four equally spaced legs.  Then I used a center drill in the power screwdriver to make precise pilot holes, then a twist drill to go through the fiberglass tube trying to minimize dust production.

The next step was to patch the old holes.  I tried mixing flay black paint with 5 minute epoxy to full those holes.  Too much paint; the epoxy flowed too much, leaving black drips on the outside of the tube.  Then I realized that I needed something on the inside of the tube to hold epoxy while it hardened.  But what? Black construction paper is close to flat black.  I epoxied small pieces to the interior of the old holes and filled each hole from the top, rotating the tube 90 degrees after the epoxy started to harden.  Then I put painters tape on top of the new holes and around exposed parts and sprayed a small amount of flat black paint on the interior and glossy white on the exterior to cover over the globs of epoxy in the old holes.  

Now it is drying.  Tomorrow I put the new spider and make sure that I measured correctly. 

In case you are having trouble visualizing this assembly (and feel the need)
I finished installing the new assembly this morning.   If I have the energy this evening, I will collimate and may be even make another attempt to get to Go To working.

Bending over repeatedly to get installed is showing up in my lower back so tomorrow night.

"The Obsolete Man"

If you want the quintessential Twilight Zone showing mid-20th century liberalism it is this episode with Burgess Meredith playing a librarian in a future totalitarian society which has no need for books and thus librarians. 

As he patiently awaits his execution while tormenting and educating the chancellor (played to perfection by Eric Brawden, the Aryan's Aryan in too many TV episodes to count) he reads the 23rd Psalm among others.  How far we have come since 1961.  (That is a positive statement.)

Saturday, September 24, 2022

I Think It Is Time for Starlink

 Rise Broadband went from 80-100MB/sec. download to at bbest 5-6MB/sec.  For two weeks they have been saying it is their local tower, affecting about 500 customers.  But they cannot seem to fix it.  So existing Starlink customers, how hard was it?

Blog loudly.  Problem seems to be fixing itself. 

No.  Back below 5MB/s.