Monday, February 28, 2022

Nuclear Saber Rattling

The 1960s called; they want our terror back.

Only If You Pick Up Your Wine With a Forklift

What spelling error did Ridley's make on a big sign that cost a pile of money?

1960s Technology for What I Had Hoped Would Remain a 1960s Problem

 How will you know if Civil Defense has called all clear from fallout.  In 1960s America, you would turn on your transistor radio and tune to the Conelrad channel.  And what will do now?  Go on the web?  I do not own a single AM or FM radio.  I found this AM/FM/SW radio for $21.99, and it is pocket sized--useful if you are crouching in an improvised fallout shelter.

No, I am not interested in a ham rig.  One more item that I will never use except if all heck breaks loose.

Also, put inside a metal ammo can and wire the can to a pipe or other ground.  I doubt this radio is EMP-hardened.

Received next day.  It is a neat little radio, very compact.  Unfortunately, within ten minutes of use all buttons (including power, stopped working).  I also did not realize that short wave broadcasting has dropped almost to nil.  An ordinary, Sony AM/FM radio seems a better choice.

Worth Watching Just for the Twilight Zone-Like Opening


Not Free Speech, Protection From Arbitrary Arrest and Execution?

 From the head of MI6:

With the tragedy and destruction unfolding so distressingly in Ukraine, we should remember the values and hard won freedoms that distinguish us from Putin, none more than LGBT+ rights.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Odd Size

I need some steel angle 1" x 1/2".  This is an odd size.  Angle steel is almost always symmetrical on leg lengths.  Someone must make it for some application.

Steel angle with unequal leg lengths seem not to come with 1/2" legs.  I am fighting so hard to mill steel that I have decided to use 1/2" x 1" aluminum angle.  The material is so cheap that it is hard to justify the time and broken drive belts.  Aluminum should be stiff enough for these hold down clamps.  The time for delivery is okay; the power switch broke and I am waiting for a replacement switch.

Trump's Badgering Did Not Do It

2/27/22 Joplin Globe:

BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says Germany is committing 100 billion euros ($112.7 billion) to a special fund for its armed forces, raising its defense spending above 2% of its GDP.

Scholz told a special session of the Bundestag in Berlin on Sunday that it was clear “we need to invest significantly more in the security of our country, in order to protect our freedom and our democracy.”

Germany had come under criticism for not investing adequately in its defense budget and not doing enough to respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

On Saturday evening, the German government announced it would be sending weapons and other supplies directly to Ukraine to help troops against invading Russia forces.

If there is a European country more capable of preparing for war than Germany, I have no idea which it is.

Greece is Helping

 2/27/22 Joplin [Mo.] Globe:

ATHENS — Authorities say Greece is sending ammunition, assault rifles and missile launchers to Ukraine in response to a request by Ukraine's government.

The military aid was decided at a meeting Sunday morning between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and senior defense officials.

A C-130 plane with the equipment has arrived in Poland, and a second one will arrive later, a Defense Ministry official said.

Two more planes carrying humanitarian aid such as blankets and food have also left Athens International Airport for Poland, the spokesman said.

Canada's Contribution to the Ukrainian Government

Vast shipments of pronouns, many barely used.

Saturday, February 26, 2022


IEEE Spectrum has an article about the increasing problem of all the COBOL programmers retiring.  I used to room with a guy whose personalized license plate was I COBOL.

I have actually written a trivial COBOL program once long ago, as trivial as any COBOL program can be.  Have you ever looked at all the crap that starts a COBOL program?

Yet Another Argument Against Conscription

 2/26/22 Fox News:

Ukraine-Russia War: Russian troops underfunded, equipment sub-par, according to reports

Russian troops seem to be largely untrained conscripts fulfilling mandatory service

A linked video  shows a Ukrainian soldier with a captured tank:

"This Russian **** is more dilapidated than our own equipment", Ukrainian soldiers make fun of captured Russian trophy.

Face Milling Steel is Harder Than Expected

 Even edge milling .009" is not easy, so I rewrote my program to take off .001" at a time at .1 ipm.

Russia Might Win But At Enormous Cost

 2/25/22 Daily Mail:

Ukraine says it has inflicted one of Russia's heaviest ever day of losses with more than 1,000 casualties: Putin's losses now stand at 2,800 troops, 80 tanks and 516 armoured vehicles as fightback continues

  • Ukrainian forces claimed on Friday to have destroyed part of an airfield in south Russia in missile strike Friday
  • Kyiv's forces have shot out seven Russian helicopters, destroyed at least 80 tanks, blitzed up to 10 fighter jets
  • Ukraine military far inferior to its Russian counterpart with an air defence system dating back to the Soviet era
  • NATO and US have made it clear that no troops will be sent and left Ukraine military to hold off assault alone 

Sending NATO forces in would certainly provoke a larger conventional war.  I could see Putin pulling a Samson and starting nuclear war if he thought he was going to be humilated.  I suspect the Russian military would refuse such an insane order and might even take Putin into custody for "observation," but that is a very high risk.  

2/25/22 First News:

A convoy with ammunition from Poland has arrived in Ukraine, the Polish minister of defense has announced.

Mariusz Błaszczak wrote on Twitter on Friday that "Poland supports and is in solidarity with the Ukrainian people," as he announced that a convoy with ammunition had reached that country.

"Poland firmly opposes the Russian aggression," he added. 

If that seems like not much, consider how fast an AK runs out of ammunition when untrained civilians are using them on full-auto. 

2/26/22 Military Leak:

A convoy with ammunition and man-portable air-defense system from Poland has arrived in Ukraine, the Polish minister of defense Mariusz Blaszczak has announced. In early February, the Polish Minister of Defense has adopted a resolution to provide local-made Piorun GROM-M MANPADS man-portable air defense missile systems to Ukraine following the tensions with Russia.

Even if they are only effective against helicopters, that certainly impairs Russian mobility, and increases the number of "We regret to inform you" letters the Russian Ministry of Defense has to send.  At some point, Putin's popularity will wane. 

Weird Battery I Just Found in my Big Camera Case

 Battery Pack for NP-400/D-150  Li-ion 7.4V 2300mAh 17.0Wh

It fits no camera that I own including my SONY 8mm VHS camcorder.  I hate to throw something away that someone might need or at least use.

It was for my Pentax K10D.  I am selling it and the charger on eBay.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Ukraine on the Offense

2/25/22 Telegraph:

Ukrainian military delivers strike on Russian airfield

Reports that the Ukrainian military has delivered a strike on a Russian airfield in Millerovo, Rostov Oblast have now been confirmed. A number of Russian aircrafts have been destroyed.

Keep this up, Ukraine, and you will be welcomed into NATO.

Stock Market Recovering Today

I wonder how much is Putin is willing to talk now that he is seeing that this is costly in equipment and secondarily in Russian lives.

In any case, after a couple of weeks of watching the market fall, it is nice to be reminded that courage in investments long-term is wise.

Much of the last couple days have come back.

I Have Been Wondering if the Javelins We Provided to the Ukraine Have Received Use

The Ukrainian military says:

Near the town of Hlukhiv, Sumy region, Ukrainian troops used Javelin anti-tank missile systems and neutralized a convoy of Russian tanks.

“Near the town of Hlukhiv, Sumy region, the military used Javelin anti-tank missile systems and neutralized a column of Russian equipment. Fifteen T-72 tanks,” the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted on Facebook.

I suspect accurate; the page is now down.  That's the archive.

These things are not cheap.  Please, take out as many Russian tanks as you can.  Make Russia look at the replacement costs.

This is necessarily Ukrainian point of view and so it should be regarded with suspicion but enough details sound right that I cannot immediately call it propaganda.  Anonymous has declared cyberwar on Russia:

The Anonymous team is officially waging a cyber war against the Russian government ... Anonymous is currently involved in operations against Russia. Our operations are directed against the Russian government. Inevitably, the private sector is likely to be disrupted as well," the statement said.

Russia is apparently suffering lots of casualties, both people and tanks.  Give 'em he'll, Ukranians.  I suspect a successful defense will get you into NATO.  (Sorry that is not the order you would have preferred.)

Some Russians grabbed a Ukrainian vehicle, put on Ukrainian battle dress and were "neutralized."  Wearing another country's uniform makes you a spy.

Putin is apparently willing to talk about the situation.   That tells me this has not been the walk in the park he expected. 

Why Trudeau Backed Down on the Emergencies Act Order

 Armstrong Economics:

Based upon reliable sources, Trudeau has been forced to abandon his Emergency Act as a staggering amount of money has fled Canadian banks. Canadians have moved accounts to the United States by the tens of thousands following Trudeau’s freezing bank accounts without a court order which has even included credit cards. Canadians began withdrawing all of their money from their bank accounts with most turning to cash, others to gold, and some to BitCoin. The demand for US dollars more than tripled in the past week.
The sheer amount of money withdrawals from Canadian banks was massive. There appears to have been a 500% increase just in the previous 24 hours. This is the problem with politicians. They are simply UNQUALIFIED to make such decisions. They have no idea that freezing accounts will undermine the confidence in the banking system,

Trudeau has created a very serious crisis and just rescinding his Emergency Act is not going to make it all better. Trudeau has driven a stake through the heart of the Canadian economy and that means that international capital will be skeptical about trusting Canada as long a Trudeau is in power.

In the Battle Between Free Speech and Feelingz, Guess Who Loses?

2/25/22 Front Page:

Päivi Räsänen is a member of the Finnish Parliament, a former minister of the interior, a public speaker and the mother of five grown children.

She faces a heavy fine and two years in prison for quoting the Bible.  In response to the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s affiliation with the Helsinki LGBT Pride event, she posted the Bible passage from Romans 1: 24-27 which condemns homosexual behavior.

Finnish prosecutors stated that the use of the word “sin” could be harmful, and alleged that Ms. Räsänen’s comments were made to cause intolerance, contempt, and hatred toward homosexuals.

But couldn’t the prosecutor’s remarks cause intolerance, contempt and hatred toward Ms. Räsänen?  If criticizing another person’s beliefs or behavior is a hate crime, then isn’t she the victim of a hate crime?

The court prosecutors worried that the word “sin” could be harmful.  One supposes they mean harmful to one’s self-esteem.  And, indeed, the list of sins in Romans 1: 24-32 is meant to make you feel bad about yourself.  From a Biblical perspective, acknowledgment of sin, followed by repentance, leads on to salvation.  In other words, feeling bad about your behavior is, in some cases, a good thing.  It’s not only homosexual behavior that is condemned in Romans I.  The extended passage condemns all manner of sins including idolatry, deceitfulness, envy, gossip, slander, and disobedience to parents.

From one point of view this is highly offensive and insulting to those disposed to deceitfulness and slander.  From another point of view, it can be looked upon as highly therapeutic—a moment of self-recognition that leads on to change. 

Let me join in offending:
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from[c] faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[d] that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[e] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[f]
God’s Wrath Against Sinful Hu


18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Never Wait Until the Last Minute

2/23/22 Daily Mail:

At a gun shop in Kiev, a manager buying cartridges said he will use his Soviet-era weapon which he bought in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea to protect ‘my family, my house, my country’ from ‘Putin’s guys’. 

A young woman whose husband was buying a revolver told presenter Nick Robinson that she would use the gun if confronted by Russian troops, added: ‘It’s not the only weapon we’ve got, we’re just buying a new one to add to the stocks.’

The shop owner, who sells Kalashnikovs, told the broadcaster: ‘In the gun shop, we are now very busy. There are very many people who want to buy guns and there are many people who want to buy cartridges. We have cartridges, but not many, not enough. Every day, many many cartridges have been bought. We have (been really full)’. 

The Speed of Russian Movement Tells Me the Ukraine Will Cease to Exist in a Couple of Days

 Those who wanted Trump out to have less drama are probably congratulating themselves something silly.

Why I Live in Idaho

 2/22/22 Associated Press:

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A panel of lawmakers introduced legislation that would strengthen Idaho’s “stand your ground” law by requiring counties to reimburse anyone charged in a slaying if a judge or jury concludes they acted in self-defense.

Sen. Christy Zito, a Republican from Hammett, said the proposal is needed to protect people like Kyle Rittenhouse, who used an assault-style rifle to shoot three people during a street protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020. Rittenhouse killed Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, but he said he acted in self-defense. A jury last year acquitted him of multiple charges including homicide.

“The way our political world is looking more and more every day, we need to make sure that our citizens are protected beyond any shadow of a doubt so if they do indeed take human life, they’re protected from that,” Zito said told the House State Affairs Committee.

Zito, who is sponsoring the proposal along with Rep. Priscilla Giddings, a Republican from White Bird, said the bill includes “immunity and reimbursement for justifiable homicide.”

Improvised Radioactive Fallout Shielding

I have blogged about this before but who knows what the idiots in the White House might provoke trying to finally look as tough as Trump.

First of all the center of single story wood frame house gives you a 50% reduction in exposure.  (I believe this assumes your windows and doors are closed and radioactive particles are not blowing inside.)  This report makes an observation that I never seen before.  There is more exposure from the ground outside the house than from the roof. (p. 17)  Those of us with a significant slope behind the house should probably bias Shelter Cramer towards the slope side of the house.  My suggestion awhile back about building a box of ammunition in which to take refuge may need some modification.  (I am sure most of my readers have 10,000 rounds of lead shielding combined with brass in little boxes.)  

It would appear that building a wall around you might be a more effective shield than a ceiling of lead.  Two inches of lead gives a reduction of about 1/8th.  Let's see: two boxes of .223 stacked with ammo facing outward should give us something approaching 2" (and the brass helps also, as does the metal of the ammo cans.).   Put all this under your kitchen table near the center of the house.   Combined with the 50% reduction of your house this means about 1/16th reduction.  Now stack all your bottles of water and canned food inside the lead wall, or on top of the table where you can reach it with minimal exposure.  Water is not a great shield (low density) but at least irradiated water produces very little secondary radiation, unlike heavy metals.  Maybe all combined you get a 1/20th reduction.  You also want food and water where you can easily access it.  You are probably going to make hopefully short visits to whatever bathroom is most interior to the house.  Water may not continue pumping unless you have 1000 gallon gravity fed water tank like my last house, but even failing to flush will be less stinky and unpleasant than using a 5 gallon drum as a toilet. A proper fallout shelter is a reduction to 1/40th, so for a improvised shelter, this is not too bad.  This is not ideal, but if you are over 50, the postwar chaos, starvation, and cannibalism (aren't I cheery today) are more likely to kill you than cancer.

UPDATE: As I was thinking about this, it struck me that having your ammunition wall bunker near the kitchen or laundry room can be advantageous: a refrigerator, stove, or oven all have a fair amount of steel which will certainly contribute to attenuation.   If you have marble countertops or the artificial kind (Silestone) these are not much inferior if at all inferior to concrete for shielding.  Put your under table shelter in the shadow of these so that fallout on neighboring roofs and trees  had to go through these as well.

Of course the best improvised shelter if you have enough warning is dig a six foot deep (that deep so you have room to move around, and if it does not work, you simplify the work of whoever buries you) and long trench, put doors on it and pile dirt three feet deep.  (Earth arching effect will distribute the load to the surrounding ground, preventing collapse.)  Next park your cars on top to add another layer of metal shielding.  Remember you need an entrance after the cars are parked.  The simple solution is to drive them across the trench to get shielding from the ends of the car, but I would worry the weight of the car might be too much load for earth-arching.  Drive them on top longitudinally and stay near the engine block ends of the trench.

You still want those mountains of ammunition between you and the entrance.  

Not enough ammo? AmmoToGo has an ad on the right side.

Because Putin has been making sort of under his breath reminders that cutting them financially does not preclude them from a nuclear Gotterdamerung, I have thinking through bolt out of the blue scenarios (yes, I am having trouble sleeping).  There are only two nearby targets: Boise (state capital) and Mountain Home Air Force Base.  These are 28 and 68 miles away, respectively.   A detonation at either location would generate a flash that should wake even the heaviest of sleepers.  That is instantaneous for practical purposes.  At that distance prompt radiation is completely absorbed.  The blast wave is 2.8 or 6.8 minutes later.  With a little care you can open all the windows in your house so the shock wave does not break the windows.  (As near as I can compute even a one megaton bomb will not break windows that far way)  This not only reduces risk of glass cuts as you madly build your fallout shelter, but also lets you close the windows before fallout blows in from Portland, Seattle, Bremerton, and Hanford.  It is probably wise to calculate blast wave arrival time from your nearest targets.  Blast waves move at roughly the speed of sound (300 m/s).

Coarse Vs. Fine Mill

The theory is a two-flute mill is better for cutting steel.  Four-flute mills are for aluminum.  Attempts to use a two flute coarse mill have been disappointing, even at .001 depth (edge milling) and .1 IPM.  After replacing the very hard to replace drive belt, I switched to a four-flute finish mill and it is successfully edge milling .001" at 5 IPM.

It Appears the Jackbooted Remark From a Mountie is Confirmed by RCMP

 2/20/22 Post-Millennial:

In leaked screenshots of a WhatsApp group chat involving the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride team, the mounties appear to be excited at the idea of using force against the freedom protesters in Ottawa.

In an official statement published Sunday, RCMP have since confirmed the legitimacy of the leaked messages, which have been shared widely, both acknowledging that authorities are aware of the material circulating on social media and verifying that they're "looking into the matter."...

Nixon adds at another point: "Time for the protestors to hear our jackboots on the ground."

He later backtracks when someone says this is a "kinder gentler RCMP," and says, "Okay we can give out free hubs and unicorn stickers."

Hubs?  Hugs?

For you who were educated in the last few years, "jackbooted" was a common abbreviation for National Socialist Germany's troops.  That he would use such a loaded word suggests the Nazis that concerned Trudeau were his enforcers. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Useful But Sad

 Video explaining military camouflage for civilians.

I Am Glad to See the FBI Is On This!

  Instapundit pointed me to this FBI tweet:

Fair elections are the foundation of U.S. democracy. Foreign influence in our elections won’t be tolerated, and the #FBI will continue to work with local government and private sector partners to disrupt and expose any attempts to erode confidence in the U.S. electoral system.

Like the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

The act banned the use of literacy tests, provided for federal oversight of voter registration in areas where less than 50 percent of the non-white population had not registered to vote, and authorized the U.S. attorney general to investigate the use of poll taxes in state and local elections. 

People questioning the fairness and accuracy of southern elections were obviously conspiracy theorists. 

Wow! Who Would Have Thought!

2/21/22 Yahoo News:

Binghamton University recently forced a professor to remove a section of her syllabus that said priority would be given to “non-white folks” to speak during classroom discussions after finding the policy violated the university‘s faculty staff handbook.

Ana Maria Candela wrote in her “Social Change- Introduction to Sociology” syllabus that she planned to practice “progressive stacking” during class discussions at the New York state school, according to Campus Reform.

“This means that we try to give priority to non-white folks, to women, and to shy and quiet people who rarely raise their hands,” she wrote.

“It also means that if you are white, male, or someone privileged by the racial and gender structures of our society to have your voice easily voiced and heard, we will often ask you to hold off on your questions or comments to give others priority and will come back to you a bit later or at another time,” the syllabus added.

As anyone who has taught at the college level can tell you, getting students to ask questions or discuss a topic is not easy.  In my experience, this is usually a teeth-pulling exercise.  In any case, this type of discrimination in an either a governmental institution or one with significant government funding violates the 14th Amendment.  We all know that removing it from the syllabus does not change the instructor's behavior.  She needs monitoring to see how she actually runs the class. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Monday, February 21, 2022

H.G. Wells' The Time Machine

Wells was a socialist although one of a peculiar kind.  When the Sleeper Awakes is profoundly racist in its animalistic portrayals of Africans and a future socialism the result of one man's hereditary estate gradually taking over the world economy but in a profoundly totalitarian way.  It is a darker, perhaps more realistic vision than Bellamy's Looking Backward on which it and many other similar utopias and dystopias are thefts.

Anyway, what I found interesting is his dark view of the likely effects of a system that he theoretically embraced. The net result of the end of competition and strike is an intellectually inferior, feminized, and incapable human race.

I Try To Cover a Range of Topics Here

Am I succeeding?

How Educated 19th Century Popular Writers Were

I just finished reading Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in a collection of time travel classics on Kindle.  (It was $0.99.)

I at first thought that I must have read it before, but the deeper I read, the more certain I became that I was conflating the movie version with a play I watched last year in which my daughter's Danish exchange student performed.

Being an historian is often a nuisance when reading historical fiction, because all the anachronisms and historical errors stand out so severely.   But I tolerate it in Twain's story because the framing story makes it the ravings of an employee of the Hartford Colt plant.  (Remember that once very rich Twain built an extravagant house in Hartford that soon impoverished him.)

So the steel plate armor in 6th century England, a High Middle Ages feudal structure of knights, and men impressed into a Royal Navy not formed until King Alfred the Great grates on what is otherwise a pretty entertaining story of late 19th century science and republicanism encountering medieval ignorance and peasants utterly trapped in respect of a system well satirized in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

What struck me, as the title suggests, is how astonishing Twain's vocabulary was, and that expected his readers to not find it off-putting.  I often found myself using the dictionary feature of Kindle and not just for words specific to the imagined medieval world and words now archaic but not so when Twain wrote.  I had a similar experience reading Winston Churchill's The Second World War (in which he could claim some expertise) and T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

We seem to have lost a lot as a culture.

Things Are Bad When the Left is Going After Biden

2/10/22 New York Times attacking Biden's incomprehensible Afghanistan aid policies.

I am horrified that Afghani civilians by the millions will starve to death, but they chose not to die fighting the Taliban.   I wish that there was a reasonable solution.  Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan on a date intended as political theater-- 20 years after 9/11 was a disaster.

Mask Hypocrisy and Fascism in the Interest of "Public Health"

Awesome video of a mother asking a school board why last year's mask executive order had ro be followed but this year's did not.  Then showing pictures of a board member in public places and crowds unmasked.   Then the exposed board member asks a police officer to remove her.  The opposition to mandates is not anti-science, but antifascism. 

Hypervelocity Weapons: Why They Are of Such Concern

Why can't a Phalanx stop them? Are they coming too fast to hit?

The problem is a bit more complex.   KE=1/2 MV^2, where M is kilograms V is meters/second and KE is joules.  A 1 kg mass at Mach 5 (5000 m/sec.) is 12.5 million joules or just under 10 million foot pounds.  

Even if a Phalanx explodes the warhead, even a one kilogram fragment in motion is going to impart 10 million foot pounds from a piece of metal an inch or two in diameter.   What will 10 million footpounds do to the deck of an aircraft carrier or the presumably armored side or most vulnerable, the tower?  I suspect it is the analogy between a bowling ball tossed at you, and 230 grains "tossed" at 860 feet per second.  If multiple one kilogram fragments hit in a shotgun pattern, it will be devastating.   Is the hypersonic missile threat a bit more clear now?

Defund the Police! As a First Step Towards Anarchy: I Call Your Bluff

The critical race theorists demanded "Defund the police."  The result has been increased murder rates and group looting in California.  If you really want an end to the basic government service of protecting life and property (which often protects the accused from lynching by angry mobs, for which we have widespread historical precedent), then let's go whole hog.  No laws regulating manufacture and sale of machine guns and silencers.  When Antifa/BLM shows up to loot, shopkeepers open up.  Any survivors will be sold into slavery.  Why not?  There is no government to prevent it.

No taxes collected, so no welfare state, except what private charities supply.

No enforcement of antidiscrimination laws.  Kendi, the high prophet of critical race theory has already stated that racial discrimination against white people is okay.  So no laws protecting blacks from the indignities of the past when black people either stayed in inferior hotels or slept in their cars.  (I have gone to church with people who experienced this in Santa Rosa, California, in the 1950s.)

You sure you want this?  Or do you only want selective anarchy.  A big powerful government to do your bidding: trampling peaceful protesters; punishing people with moral qualms about gay marriage; forcing racial discrimination against Asians and whites in the name of "equity."  Think long and hard of where you are going in a nation where blacks are a small minority and privileged whites may not be so privileged without police; where both Asians and Hispanics are beginning to see where the promotion of black supremacy leaves them.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Daughter Recognized

From College of Western Idaho:

Congratulations to Hilary Cobb, College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Faculty of Distinction for January 2022. Cobb is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in practice since completing a master’s degree at Boise State University in 2008. Four semesters ago, she was hired as Adjunct Faculty at CWI to teach Social Work courses.

“I have worked in many different systems such as corrections, child welfare, schools, and outpatient therapy,” said Cobb. “I found I enjoy teaching and mentoring new workers and shifted into teaching and training four years ago. I love integrating my 11+ years of direct practice with research and best practices to make the art of social work come alive for students.”

Students are at the heart of everything Cobb does.

“It can be difficult to put into words what a joy teaching is and why I do it every semester. I love being a social worker and having the opportunity to share and educate students about topics that impact everyone – domestic violence, substance use disorder, homelessness, etc. It is so rewarding. Each semester, my students use what they learn and create amazing tools and presentations designed to increase knowledge and understanding of these complex topics. Regardless of their major, they often say how helpful it was to understand social work-related issues. I have yet to have a semester where I'm not moved to tears by the discussions, reflections and passion for helping others that my students display. That excitement and growth from students who maybe had no idea of what social work and welfare was at the beginning of the semester is why I teach.”

Saturday, February 19, 2022

So Much Racism!

2/17/22 CBS Sacramento:
"The person responsible for the racist graffiti found at C.K. McClatchy High School last week has been identified, the Sacramento City Unified School District announced Thursday.

"Last Friday, someone wrote the words “White” and “Colored” over water fountains at McClatchy High, a reference to the Jim Crow era. The district’s race and equity monitor, Mark T. Harris, told CBS13 a Black female student confessed to the vandalism and cameras caught her in action."

Earrings Down An Air Vent

They fell far enough down as to not be visible.  I have a fiber optics bundle inspection device but it does no good to see something that you cannot retrieve?  Suggestions.

Shop vac pulled up one.  The 2.75" OD hose does not really want to go far enough down (twist in vent duct).  Next step is a step down adapter to a smaller hose.

A Man Who I Hope Wins His Campaign for North Carolina Legislature


Scroll to 1:47.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Why Facebook Intervened to Help the Democrats

Interrogation of Facebook, "Manager of Community Development, Jeren A. Miles, was allegedly caught in an amateur child sex sting."  You will have to go there to watch Miles give all the wrong answers about his conversation with a 13-year-old boy.  It is too disgusting.

Miles is an LGBTQ activist & serves on the board of directors for Equality California.

Remember homosexuals as child molesters is just a vicious and false stereotype.

As many have pointed out, that job title tested better than Manager of Community Grooming.  You wonder why Pizzagate provoked so much media anger; not necessarily because it was true but close enough to how things really work for the rich and powerful? 

Hint: If you are being interrogated about a felony that many think should still be capital, plead the Fifth.  You are not at an Equality California Board meeting.


Fascinating discovery today.  Some distant cousins popped up: 3rd to 6th cousins.  We shared a couple very courageous ancestors.  Mixed race marriages were socially stigmatized to an extraordinary level that many generations ago.

I am hoping that my contact attempt leads fruit.


 Some of you have asked about astrophotography.  Telescope, DSLR, an adapter that replaces your DSLR's lens and goes into the eyepiece focuser tube.  This adapter may be prime focus (the focal point of the telescope lands on the DSLR's CCD), or eyepiece projection (eyepiece tube -> adapter and then the focal point of the telescope and an eyepiece between focal point and CCD).  

The eyepiece projection tube screws into the adapter that goes into the DSLR's bayonet mount. There should be a thumbscrew that prevents the eyepiece from sliding back into the DSLR.  The distance from the eyepiece to the camera sensor is typically adjustable, giving increased magnification.

Now, put the DSLR and adapter into the eyepiece tube.  Focus on your target.  If you have problems getting to focus, you may have an infocus problem: the focal point of the telescope is too far in to reach the sensor.  This is not typical, although I am running into it with my new Televue-85.  For refractors, the diagonal adds an inch or two, and removing the diagonal may solve the problem.

Get as sharp a focus as you can; use LiveView mode if your camera supports it.  Use the delayed exposure setting; 12 seconds for the telescope to stop shaking from you hitting the trigger seems to work well for me.

Single Photo

The tradeoff of ISO and exposure time is an art.  At prime focus and even with lower powered eyepiece projection on the Moon, ISO 100 works well.  Use whatever exposure your camera suggests.  Be prepared to adjust.  Take shots several times shorter and longer.  LiveView mode will also give you an idea where to set exposure time and ISO.


This may be unobvious. Video takes lots of frames, each of which will be defective in its own unique way.  On my camera, it seems to default to ISO 3200.  The video will be quivering (atmospheric turbulence):

Many programs exist for processing that video, aligning the frames and looking for the common pixels.  I use RegiStax 6, which is free.  It takes a while to get used to its quirks, but that is a separate posting.  RegiStax produced this image from the video above:


This is not what it could be.  For both single photo and video output images, you will do post-processing.  Some people post-process with Adobe PhotoShop.  I am a cheapskate and use GIMP, which is free.  By using the Unsharp Mask and Brightness-Contrast features:

Need a Concealed Weapon License?

 An Idaho license lets you carry in several dozen other states.

 Personal Protection Handgun Course

Idaho ENHANCED Concealed Weapon License
12 hour course 8am - 8pm
NRA Personal Protection in the Home Course exceeds Idaho 18-3302K ENHANCED Concealed Weapon License requirement, certificate recognized by all states as firearms training (Though NOT for certain states' CCW , see list below)
$199 Course Fee includes NRA handbook, fliers & NRA Course Completion & Idaho State Police Training Certificates. Classes are small (7 at most). PAID advance registration is required to reserve your seat. Class is open to Instructor-approved citizens who have no felonies or other legal gun-ownership disabilities. Liability Release form signature required.
Course consists of approximately 5 Hours Classroom, 3 Hours on the Shooting Range, 2+ Hours Legal Instruction, 1.5  hours written test and wrap-up. Includes Basic Handgun Safety, Familiarization, Hands-on Firearms Handling, Shooting Skills & Instruction. Personal security & avoiding violent confrontations will be covered in depth. Safety & Awareness are critical.
Several hours will be spent on the firing range bringing student skills up to standards. Idaho State Law and Federal Law regarding firearms, concealed weapons, self-defense and after-event issues will be taught by a licensed Idaho attorney (formerly served as a public defender, a prosecutor and as an Idaho State deputy attorney general, and often competes in IDPA and IPSC shooting events)
BRING: warm jacket & hat, Temps are expected to be into 40's, and it gets cold and windy at the desert shooting range, wear a button up collar shirt or turtleneck so no hot brass goes down your shirt to ‘brand’ you and make the event unsafe, eye and ear protection and handgun & at least 2 boxes of 50 rounds of factory ammunition ( Idaho law requires 98 rounds ), lunch ( some previous attendees have suggested you bring 2 lunches) snacks drinks notepad highlighter pencil post-its (Don't have a handgun or eye/ear protection? let me know I have a few loaners & can help you select the right one) NOTE -  class can go long due to questions to the lawyer, traffic, and other unforeseen circumstances so it is advised that you do not make plans for after class )
NRA Certified Instructor                 NRA Training Counselor
          (208) 631 3003                               PO Box 6232 Boise ID 83707
THE IDAHO ENHANCED CONCEALED WEAPONS LICENSE IS VALID IN: IDAHO ( & Idaho public colleges) ALASKA ARIZONA COLORADO DELAWARE NEVADA NEW MEXICO PENNSYLVANIA SOUTH CAROLINA VIRGINIA? LOUISIANA MINNESOTA WASHINGTON WISCONSIN as well as states that accept the Basic LicenseALABAMA ARKANSAS FLORIDA GEORGIA INDIANA IOWA KANSAS KENTUCKY MAINE MICHIGAN MISSISSIPPI MISSOURI MONTANA NEBRASKA NEW HAMPSHIRE NORTH CAROLINA NORTH DAKOTA OHIO OKLAHOMA SOUTH DAKOTA TENNESSEE TEXAS UTAH WEST VIRGINIA WYOMING. VERMONT (no lisc reqd) Oregon non-reisdent licenses easy to obtain with Idaho ECCW.   Total WAS 41 states allow CCW w/ID ECCW. note: List per Idaho State Police 9/2020 - states laws change constantly, this list may not reflect current status.  Current political events :  I believe we have lost VA & PA due to politics within those states, subject to change.
Yellowstone National Park accepts CCWs that are valid in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming (see website) Federal Park Service webpage indicates that which CCW holders may carry in Yellowstone park (but not into buildings of any kind) Shooting, even is self defense is prohibited, so don't unless you are being eaten, and then prepare for legal repercussions.
NRA Basic-Level Courses: Home Firearms Safety, Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Range Safety Officer, Personal Protection Outside the Home
Become an NRA Certified Instructor:
INSTRUCTOR-Level courses, CALL for information:
NRA BIT Basic Instructor Training course $150 (the first class required) Offered weekday evenings by arrangement.
NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course Instructor course $399 (includes both Basic & Instructor courses)
NRA Personal Protection (in the home) Instructor course $399(BIT&Pistol are prerequisites)
NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home Instructor course $399 (BIT&Pistol & PPith are prerequisites)
NRA RSO Range Safety Officer $150
NRA CRSO CHIEF Range Safety Officer $175 (BIT & RSO are prerequisites)
NRA Basic Rifle Shooting Course Instructor course $399
Group & Individual classes available upon request. Liability Release form signature required. A written test will be administered (it is possible to fail this course).
Instructor reserves the right to dismiss anyone, anytime, without refund. All rights reserved. No Warranties are Expressed or Implied. Copyright 2021 Hoover Police Supply

NOTE:   ( Re the special consideration below, I know this is a pain but we go along with it so the lawyer can tell his family member in all good faith that the class wore masks - it is at that persons request - and the lawyer won't lie )

Special considerations:  ALL attendees MUST bring a N95 mask, surgical mask or cloth mask, you will be temp checked at the door, if running a fever of 100 or more you will be denied entry.  When the lawyer arrives at 7pm we must don the masks when the lawyers enters ( and take them off after he leaves ).  He lives with a family member that is undergoing chemotherapy and as such has no immune system  and he must avoid getting sick.  He has agreed to do this required part of the class only if we follow these precautions, so if you cannot comply, please advise and I will delete your registration. Is ONLY for the legal lecture section.  Its not my request, its the Lawyers.

Student Loan Cancellation

 2/17/22 Daily Caller:

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it will cancel $415 million in student debt for nearly 16,000 borrowers who claim they were misled by for-profit colleges.  

The loans for almost 16,000 former students will be canceled under a legal provision called the borrower defense to repayment, which allows students to have their debts erased if they prove a for-profit school defrauded them, the Department of Education (DOE) said in a press release.

The DOE found that DeVry University, Westwood College, ITT Technical Institute nursing school and Minnesota School of Business/Globe University provided false information regarding their graduates’ job placement.

I taught briefly at ITT Tech.  I do not know if they provided false information, but I have a story to tell.  I taught State and Local Government two semesters.  One student both semesters failed to complete the class and failed.  I asked the dean about this.  She told me the student would like drop out and be stuck with a $500 a month student loan payment, and no degree.  There seemed to be no concern about the amount of debt these students were accumulating with little or no chance of a career. 

Of course, the same is largely true of non-profits and public institutions. 

This Will Cost the Students Nothing, Of Course

 2/17/22 College Fix:

An initiative by the University of Michigan to hire 20 new “anti-racism” faculty has moved into the third round of hiring, according to a recent statement from the school.

“The Anti-Racism Faculty Hiring Initiative, one of the Office of the Provost’s programs and activities to address systemic racism, will begin its third round of proposal submission and review in March,” the Feb. 11 announcement stated.

In 2021, the Michigan provost announced the school would be hiring 20 new tenured or tenure-track faculty members with scholarly expertise in racial inequality and structural racism to schools and colleges across campus.

Will this be a new department:  Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE)?  Could that money have spent tutoring BIPOC students who find a college campus a challenging environment?  (Of course, many white students find that as well, but white people do not matter to the privileged whites that cause these programs.)

An Alternative to Federal Income Tax

 Okay, I know that for many Americans, filing their federal income tax is simple and takes very little time.  It must almost be fun.  A side effect of being rich is that along with regular income reported on W-2, there is business income, interest income, dividend income, taxes due on capital gains and the joy of Schedule K-1.  (This is used for partnerships; one of the mutual funds that I bought some years ago is actually categorized as a limited partnership.  Decoding Schedule K-1 and filling in the equivalent information in the tax return is almost enough to forgo the very reliable 10% annual return.  It is some type of Permian Basin oil service company.) 

The federal individual income tax produces 1.609 trillion dollars a year.  Total U.S. retail sales for 2020 were 5.6 trillion dollars.  A 28% national sales tax would produce the same revenue.  Yes, you would notice that, but consider the advantages:

1. Just about every state charges sales tax.  Retailers already have a form for calculating this.  I have done it myself for ScopeRoller.  It is simple.  Once you computed your taxable sales, send the federal sales tax in with the same form.  (Retailers in the five states with no sales tax will find the form not so hard; they are already computing their total sales, I am sure.)

2. If you have low income but but buy stuff that is in the toy category, you can afford that sales tax.  (This is why most states do not tax groceries, but do tax restaurant meals: one is a necessity; one is a luxury.)

3. The incentive to work hard and make money would be encouraged.  This would also be a disincentive to buy stuff; savings would likely increase; mindless consumer spending would likely drop a bit.

4. Much of the IRS would no longer be needed.  Yes, they will still be auditing corporate income tax returns, estate taxes, and excise taxes, but I find it hard to believe that processing sales tax reports from America's retailers would require the armies of people that process individual tax returns now.  Think of the time spent unstapling W-2 from tax returns and feeding them into scanners.  (I think I would like to see this process; it must be positively gargantuan.)

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Hi-Torque Motors

 Sherline is now offering hi-torque motors for the Sherline mills.  Out of curiosity, I turned off the controller and operated X-axis by hand.  It seemed to do better than under motor control.  I may buy three of them.

.25 Revolver?

 Do any of you know if such a beast was ever made, or did the reporter get confused?

Racism is a Bad Thing and Often Directed at White People

 The original Instagram post with the hash tag WhiteLivesDoNotMatter has been removed but this Tweet includes the original video: black guy runs up behind white guy on the street and hits him with a brick while those filming applaud.

Racism is bad and pretending that it is white supremacy is just dishonesty.  We are not getting anywhere teaching kids that blacks are always the victims and whites are always the victimizers.  But stunts like this explain why some whites have an unthinking prejudice against black people.  You cannot engage in race hatred and not expect some blowback.

Science History

 Fascinating talk by science historian Owen Gingerich about how Copernicus' heliocentrism book was received and understood based on his reading of the notations in 600 first and second editions of the book that he found on an international detective story.  This includes the censored version the Church allowed to circulate after adding it to the Index of Forbidden Books.  They did not reprint it.  They applied green ink to the "naughty" passages.

I Do Not Believe It; If True, No Loss

 2/16/22 Daily Caller:

Indiana teachers are expecting a mass exodus from the education profession if the state passes a bill that will restrict Critical Race Theory-aligned curriculum, the Indy Star reported.

“I cannot imagine that we’re going to have anything other than a huge exodus of teachers if this legislation goes through,” said Jim Lang, a journalism teacher at Floyd Central High School, the Indy Star reported. “And I think the problem is going to be, you’re not going to have enough people to fill the positions, or some of the folks you’re going to bring in aren’t going to be qualified.”

“I will have to quit, or I will have to ignore it,” Lang said, the Indy Star reported. “I will not comply. I can’t. It’s that bad.”

So what is in this bill?

House Bill 1134 would prohibit educators from promoting “certain concepts as part of a course of instruction or in a curriculum” or requiring “an employee of the school corporation, qualified school, or state educational institution to engage in training, orientation, or therapy that presents any form of racial or sex stereotyping or blame on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation.”

The legislation would establish a complaint process so parents can raise concerns if a teacher or educator violates the restrictions laid out in the bill. Schools would also not be able to require students “to participate in a personal analysis, an evaluation, or a survey that reveals or attempts to affect the student’s attitudes, habits, traits, opinions, beliefs, or feelings without parental consent,” if the bill passes.

“It opens the door for parents to be able to come after you for anything,” another Indiana teacher, Suzanne Holcomb, told the Indy Star. “It’s the last nail in the coffin. I don’t know how we would move forward from this. It would just make teaching impossible.”

And how did teaching happen when I was young?  Was math impossible, or biology, or history?  For those who insist that past abuses are off the table:

The bill states that nothing should be “construed so as to exclude the teaching of historical injustices committed against any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation or ideals or values that conflict with the Constitution of the United States.”

So I can still teach about barbarism of slavery and the attempts to wipe out the Plains Indians and the anti-Chinese laws of the Western States.  

CRT is blaming white people (and Asian people) today for actions taken by other white people decades ago, some of whom have no relationship to whites who immigrated to the North after the 1880s.  

Those who pretend otherwise need to stop using race as the basis for telling people today that they are responsible for institutions and practices rapidly receding in the memory of anyone alive today.  The last slave died in 1948.  Jim Crow has been dead for decades.  De jure racial segregation of schools became unlawful and was actually ended after vigorous intervention by the national government when I was a child.  Any black child getting a bad education today needs to take it up with the local school board (the ones promoting CRT to avoid discussing their failings).

I doubt most Indiana teachers are committed to race shaming; if they are, they are worse than less qualified teachers who regard race shaming as just another form of black supremacy.