Monday, October 30, 2023

So Glad I Do Not Live in a Blue Zone

The apologists for rape, murder, and beheading are clearly an important faction there.

"7,000 pro-Palestinian protesters take over Brooklyn Bridge, call for elimination of Jewish state: ‘By any means’"

"SAN FRANCISCO -- A group of protestors demanding an end to the Israel-Hamas war shut down traffic on the Central Freeway in downtown San Francisco for about 90 minutes Saturday afternoon, the California Highway Patrol said."

And I did not even get to the Minneapolis blockade that resulted in a driver being pulled from his car.  I hope Democrats like their allies.  Soon they will be Dhimmicrats.

A couple Hamas terrorist attacks and Trump's concerns may make him a winner next year. The race riots and antiwar riots  in 1968 helped Nixon squeak to victory.

How Dare An FFL Do His Job!

10/29/23 New York Times:
"Nearly three months before Robert R. Card II fatally shot 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, a gun shop declined to let him complete his purchase of a firearm sound suppressor after he disclosed on a form that he had mental health issues, the shop’s owner said in an interview Sunday."

He answered yes on the involuntary commitment question (yes, that is a lifetime disabler) and apparently took the refusal to transfer well.  I suppose the attempt should have led to his arrest, but his involuntary commitment was never reported to NICS so no attempt to arrest him.

First, Insurrection at the Capitol...

Okay, it was not really an insurrection (no Trump supporters were there) but this sort of attempt to prevent movement of commuters should be a sign that we let the lunatics (elite universities) have too much power.

"NEW YORK (AP) — A sea of hundreds of protesters filled the main concourse of New York City’s famed Grand Central Terminal during the evening rush hour Friday, chanting slogans and unfurling banners demanding a cease-fire as Israel intensified its bombardment of the Gaza Strip."

At least NYPD arrested them.

Another Victory

I do not have a link, but my friend Don Kilmer just had a nice victory in Crossroads of the West gun show v. Newsom and much of the rest of California officialdumb.  California's clown show has been trying to stop gun shows at county fairgrounds since I still lived in California.  Judge Holcomb (C.D.Cal.) issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the various laws as violations of political free speech, commercial free speech, and the Second Amendment.

Students at Elite Universities Do Not Change


This is from NEW YORK TIMES COMPLETE WORLD WAR II: The Coverage of the Entire Conflict

Yes, The Idea Might Spread

 10/29/23 Telegraph:

The US has threatened to stop supplying rifles to Israel after their national security minister was seen handing them out to civilians.

The diplomatic spat was prompted by images on social media of Itamar Ben-Gvir giving rifles to community security squads across the country, according to Israel’s daily Haaretz.

The images appeared to show Mr Ben-Gvir distributing the arms at political events in Bnei Brak and El’ad, two towns near Tel Aviv.

After several days of diplomatic exchanges, Israel committed to distributing the weapons only through its police or army, although politicians can be present when they are handed out.

A state department spokesperson said: “President [Joe] Biden directed his team to ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself, consistent with international law, and we are actively providing additional security assistance to the Israeli Defence Forces.

“Our assistance will flow quickly to meet Israel’s urgent needs.”

A spokesman for Mr Ben-Gvir did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Since the start of the war with Hamas, Israel has set up hundreds of volunteer security squads and has been arming them in view of possible unrest in Palestinian communities.

I can see why Biden is concerned.  Americans might find out that civilians can be trusted to defend themselves. 

This also explains the freeze on exports of guns and ammo.  Israeli civilians might buy guns and defend themselves.

Apparently, this does not afffect exports to Israel.

Solar Power

I got an estimate of $25K for a photovoltaic system that would get me to $0 from Idaho Power.  There is about $8K of federal and state tax credits.  Even if I had a month or two where there was insufficient daytime sunlight to fully charge the batteries, a few months where I had Idaho Power bills of a few dollars is worth having a system largely independent of the grid.  

In short? Probably not so well if they’re plugged in and working at the time of the pulse. Sorry to be a downer.

The good news is solar panels in and of themselves contain very little electronics that could be affected by an EMP. The bad news is they’re usually connected to wires with current flowing through them, which makes them susceptible to damage.

That’s because wires act like antennas that gather the pulses’ signals, as in the case of the E3 component of the EMP. Any panels attached to the grid will almost certainly be affected by a nuclear EMP. The Pulse might not completely zap them, but it’s likely their functionality will be greatly reduced. Even if the panels are hooked up in an off-grid solar configuration; if they’re connected at the time of the explosion, they’ll likely suffer serious damage.

On top of that, the sensitive electronics inside a solar inverter and charge controller would likely be fried by E1 before the panels go, too. There’s a chance that means the panels themselves could survive the blast, but then you’d have to replace the rest of your components.

It sounds like daytime use might survive if you replace the inverter.  Or it might survive just fine as long as you are not directly conected to the electrical grid.  (That would be my guess.)  My experience with backup generators is that they disconnect automatically at power loss, suggesting that if you are drawing power from the grid, you are not electrically part of the grid.  I am sure at least one EE is among my audience.

Someone makes EMP shielding devices.  Buying one is act of faith, unless you can bring your EMP generator to my house.

Darwin Award

Idiot tries to rob a gun store with a hammer.  Predictable results.

More Reminders That This Tragedy Could Have Been Prevented

 10/29/23 AP:

Police across Maine were alerted just last month to “veiled threats” by the U.S. Army reservist who would go on to carry out the worst mass shooting in the state’s history, one of a string of missed red flags that preceded the massacre.

Two local law enforcement chiefs told The Associated Press that a statewide awareness alert was sent in mid-September to be on the lookout for Robert Card after the firearms instructor made threats against his base and fellow soldiers. But after stepped-up patrols of the base and a visit to Card’s home – neither of which turned up any sign of him – they moved on.

“We added extra patrols, we did that for about two weeks. ... The guy never showed up,” said Jack Clements, the police chief in Saco, home to the U.S. Army Reserve base where Card trained....

Despite the earlier threats, the FBI said Saturday Card had not been on its radar, telling AP it “did not have nor did it receive any tips or information concerning Robert Card.” The bureau added that its instant background check system “was not provided with or in possession of any information that would have prohibited Card from a lawful firearm purchase.”

Card’s case stands as a glaring example of missed red flags, with many unanswered questions about what the military, police, mental health professionals and relatives could have done to prevent the massacre. 

An involuntary commitment must be reported to NICS.  If the government cannot handle tasks this simple, why trust they can handle broader gun bans?

Sunday, October 29, 2023

They Are So Effective

Crime Prevention Research Center reports that the bowling alley where some of the Lewiston mass murder took place is a gun-free zones.

If mass murder is your goal signs do not help 

Solar Well Pump Backup

Have any of you had a solar panel backup installed for a well pump and pressurization pump.  It would seem a pretty straightforward install.  Even without a battery to carry through the night, having water available for drinking and flushing during a prolonged power failure would be good.  

The old house had the well pump and pressurization pump on the backup generator.  In addition we had a 1000 gallon gravity-fed cistern.  

While gravity did not supply enough pressure for appliances without the pressurization pump, it would supply enough to get water from faucets and refill toilet tanks (slowly).

I am not confident that the idiots in charge will not manage to get us into a nuclear war.  Even if they do their job well, Xi seems like he is in trouble domestically and might try to distract with invasion of Taiwan.

I have a month or two of canned chili and likely two months of instant rice.  Water storage is not a problem for weeks but if you want operating toilets and cooking rice, this is harder.

The well pump draws 1.8KW.  That is a peak draw.  I suspect it does not run all the time.  The old house I specified a variable speed well pump because they last longer. Starting is what kills well pumps.  I am going to find out what it would cost to get just the water system solar powered with battery for those rare occasions when it gets dark.  Also what whole house would cost.  I am skeptical that it makes economic sense but all this development around here is going to start causing power outages.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Weird. What Does It Mean?

10/27/23 Reuters:
"WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) -The U.S. has stopped issuing export licenses for most civilian firearms and ammunition for 90 days for all non-governmental users, the Commerce Department said on Friday, citing national security and foreign policy interests.

"The Commerce Department did not provide further details for the pause, which also includes shotguns and optical sights, but said an urgent review will assess the "risk of firearms being diverted to entities or activities that promote regional instability, violate human rights, or fuel criminal activities."

This is curious. I do not see how it furthers disarming Americans. It might even reduce prices for guns and ammo because we will not be competing with the rest of the world.

Repairing Annoying Broken Parts

 The Losmandy Polar Scope is used to align the mount pretty precisely on the North Celestial Pole, which is not quite Polaris.  (Close enough if you are lost and navigating at night.)  There is an illuminstor that screws into the scope; why this is optional eludes me; you could not make any practical use of the reticle for doing the alignment without it.

So a week ago, I removed the illuminator because I feared the battery might have gone bad.  This is unlikely, because it shuts off after two minutes of blinking the LED.  It came time to reinstall it, and I cross-threaded in its hole.

At first, I thought it was in too tight.  There is no good gripping surface so I used a vise grip.  Results predictable :

The illuminator screw shaft broke and was stuck in the hole.  When I tried removing the short piece still in the hole, I realized it was not tight, but cross-threaded.  Aluminum turning into aluminum makes this too easy.  Use of the vise grip also meant removing the anodized finish (which I will make presentable with flat black paint).

The 1-24 threaded part had a .130" hole for the light to reach the reticle.  I bought a screw extractor that was intended for .140" extraction, and slowly ran the power screwdriver, until it backed it out.  I was concerned the threads in the scope were damaged but a 10-24 tap went in smoothly for the first few threads.  (Too far and I wouild have hit the edge of the reticle.)

Every threaded hole is supposed to be countersunk to make it easier to get the screw started and avoid cross-threading.  The hole in the polar scope seemed to have a countersink a bit less than it needed, so I added a bit more countersink.

The illuminator costs $85; the scope $300.

Friday, October 27, 2023

And How Many Did They Miss?

9/15/23 New York Post:
"Federal law enforcement stopped 160 people listed on the terror watch list from entering the US illegally at America’s borders this fiscal year — the highest number ever — government statistics reveal."

Not every match on terrorist watch list is a terrorist.  How many people are named some combination of Mohammed Barack and Hussein?  Still a good argument for having a border.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Today I Testified in Rocky Mountain Gun Owners v. Polis

Prof. Spitzer's declaration started out by admitting there were no waiting periods in the Framing Era but argued that laws prohibiting possess of guns while drinking are the equivalent in that both restrict gun possession by people who are not in a rational and responsible state of mind.  Great analogy there.

Worse, none of the laws he cited actually prohibited possession of a gun while drinking.  One Rhode Island was quoted three words... three more words .. three more words.". So I looked up the law.  It prohibited hunting, sports, shooting, or going to a bar on the Sabbath. His other laws were similar misrepresented.  In at least one case, he copied the very carefully edited text and the citation from the Duke University Repository of Gun Laws and likely never read the actual statute.

He claimed that guns are far more readily available today because there are about 60,000 licensed gun dealers now.  Yes, and we have 85x more people.  So the equivalent would be 705 retailers selling guns.  Ads are available in profusion for the period.  Because few Americans lived in cities, you would likely not need an ad to find the dealer in guns in your town of 500.

Our attorney says that I "knocked it out of the park."  That makes my day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

22 Dead in Maine Mass Murder

Lots of coverage.  Police apparently know who the guy is.  Apparently not a surprise.

Recent mental hospital stay after hallucinations.  No surprise.

  • Card is believed to be an Army Reservist stationed out of the city of Saco
  • He recently reported 'hearing voices' and threatened to shoot up the military training base
More tragedy.  10/26/23 NBC Bay Area:

The family of the Army reservist accused of fatally shooting more than a dozen people in Lewiston, Maine, alerted police and military officials that he was experiencing an “acute” mental health episode before the Wednesday night massacre, the suspect’s sister-in-law said.

Robert Card, 40, a firearms instructor and longtime member of the Army Reserve, began to hear voices that were saying “horrible” things about him a couple of months ago when he was fitted for high-powered hearing aids, according to Katie Card, who is married to his brother.

Katie Card said the family did their best to reassure Robert Card that the comments were not real, including by verifying with some of the people he claimed had made the remarks. But, she said, “it turned into a manic belief.”

“He was just very set in his belief that everyone was against him all of a sudden,” she said. [emphasis added]

Most of these tragedies come seemingly out of nowhere.  They warned police and they apparently did nothing. 

Found dead by suicide.

That Workstop Device That I Mentioned

 I built it.

It uses T-nuts to hold in the T-slots of the table.  Two 1/4"-20 thumbscrews control X and Y of the 3/8" steel rod that allows me to get every workpiece in the same position.  This lets me avoid using the edge finder each time.  Also, if I am trying to cut two pieces to the same length, I can cut one to length and be sure the next one ends up the same length.

On the first try, I for reason that I can remember decided to use 2" long 10-32 thumbscrews.  (The Sherline's standard T-nuts are 10-32.)  That was way too long.

I ordered some 1" long SHCS screws and they were a little short for a 1" thick block, so I couinterbored the top of the block 0.3" deep and that was just enough.

If you look carefully, you will notice the two steel rods are flat on one side.

This was partly to have a flat surface for the thumbscrews to grab.  This reduces rotation and also allows me to keep the various parts at right angles.

The bottom block has a 3/8" hole milled .75" deep into a 1" thick block and a tiny setscrew locking the rod in place.

Why does the hole seem to be countersunk?  I tried to mill at too high a rate and the acetal melted into a blob that excavated a molten hole.

What's left.  The top block should be wider so the horizontal bar is more centered in the mill vise; the top rod should be longer to handle workpieces farther right in the mill vise.

Milling the flat on those steel rods was slow, especially compared to acetal.  But I wrote some gCode to remove .01" per pass and just let it run unatended for several hours.  It ran to completion just fine.

Gunrunning to Mexico

An ATF whistleblower informed Sen. Grassley's office that ATF knew that an employee was buying guns and gun parts in the U.S., smuggling then across the border in a car with diplomatic plates, then selling them. A gun dealer reported the suspicious purchases.  ATF investigated, prepared a memo to the Mexican government because the ATF employee was a Mexican citizen and never sent it.

Hat tip to Ammoland.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Monday, October 23, 2023

Elitists Admit Immigration Can Be Bad for the Poor

10/23/23 Atlantic:
"The post-1965 immigration wave has had both benefits and costs. On the plus side, it has probably accelerated economic growth, mostly by expanding the labor force. With a larger population, the United States has been able to produce more goods and services. Immigration also appears to have benefited many high-earning, native-born professionals. The costs of immigration for these workers have been fairly low because they face relatively little competition from immigrant workers. Few of the highly educated immigrants who come to the U.S. are lawyers or doctors, partly because some professions have created barriers that restrict entry. In medicine, foreign doctors are required to complete a multiyear residency program in the United States, regardless of their prior experience. Professionals who have enough political influence to shape labor-market rules, like doctors, understand that a larger labor pool can reduce incomes.

"For many lower-earning workers, there are no such protections. In retail, construction, and child care, more immigrants have been able to compete for jobs. Their entry has had two separate effects that have increased inequality. For the lower end of the income distribution, the expansion of the labor pool has held down wages. For the higher end of the income distribution, these lower wages have held down the prices of frequently used services such as restaurant meals and landscaping. Still, several other forces, including the decline of labor unions and the rise of trade with China, have almost certainly had a larger impact on depressing wages."

A long and thoughtful article that probably has its liberal readers squirming; are Trump's angry deplorable right?


10/23/23 Daily Mail:
"America's pharmacy deserts: Rite Aid, CVS and Walgreens will shut more than 1,500 stores due to crime and competition - leaving MILLIONS without access to healthcare"
Oh well, defunding police makes pharmacy deserts is obviously racism.  The weird item:
"The pharmacy chain has been unable to settle hundreds of lawsuits that accused them of overprescribing opioids and has struggled to keep up with competitors."

When did pharmacies prescribe medications?

"The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations"

10/22/23 Portland Oregonian:
"But leaders at the Oregon Department of Education and members of the state school board said requiring all students to pass one of several standardized tests or create an in-depth assignment their teacher judged as meeting state standards was a harmful hurdle for historically marginalized students, a misuse of state tests and did not translate to meaningful improvements in students’ post high school success."

The left has decided high school is too hard for black people, so they do not have to meet the standards for white and Asian students to graduate.  Not being able to read or do math competently is certain to impair their employment and higher education potential but it makes white liberals feel good.  In a few years, being stuck in low paying jobs or dependent on government assistance will be just another sign of "systemic racism."

Well, I guess it is.  The "systemic racism" of saying equity means BIPOCs are not capable of graduating high school like the children of affluent liberals.

Maybe No Need to Panic

South China Morning Post:
"The arrival of a replacement escort group in the Gulf region meant two advanced 052D destroyers have been stationed there at a time of heightened tensions
"The PLA’s 44th task force arrived in Kuwait for a five-day visit on Wednesday after spending several days in Oman’s capital Muscat"
This is in the Persian Gulf likely protecting its oil source in Iran and as part of the UN anti-piracy patrol off Somalia.

This is not as worrisome as being in the Mediterranean.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Glad I Stocked Up On Chili and Rice. I Need Water Now

Israel is threatening to nuke Iran if Hezbollah attacks 

If Iran has done what Obama helped them to do, they have some U-235 "gun type" bombs by now.  I think this design, while so simple it needs no testing, is limited to 200kt.

Israel I am sure had thermonuclear warheads on their SLBMs.  Incinerating Tehran and Qom (an important Shia religious center) would likely end the war with Iran.  The death toll from nuclear detonations will be horrifying as will be the fallout.

I doubt this would engage the U.S. directly.  A lot of Sunni nations will send strongly worded notes to Israel (or what is left of it) and thank them discretely.

Still, I could sleep both Iranian sleeper cells and lone wolf Muslim attacks domestically 

Stockpile food, ammo, and water.
It could get ugly for a month or two while Biden's team decides who to punish in the U.S.

Remember when we were told Biden was going to make America respected again?  No more mean tweets!

Are Your Downloads Slow?

10/21/23 Fox Weather:
"Engineers devoted to NASA’s Voyager missions have successfully installed software upgrades that they believe could keep the two spacecraft operating for decades to come.

"Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were both launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1977 on a mission to study Jupiter, Saturn and faraway moons."

Yes.  They use FTP.  The upload rate is probably tragically slow.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

I Feel Stupid

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Apparently third-party cookies must be enabled.  How do I do that in Brave?

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Fall and Spring Are Awesome Here

Summer can be miserable.  Winter is rough if you have no idea what snow is like.

Today is wonderful.  It is in the 60s.  I am on the back patio watching the dogs run around like they had amphetamines in their breakfast kibble.

I just returned from having some affadivits notarized for a public defender in eàstern Tennessee.

I spent part of the morning machining an adjustable workpiece stop.

If it was not for my aortic valve underperforming, it would be a near perfect day.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Chemical Heating

Found on Amazon 

Heats Food Warming Pads | Full Pan Water Activated Disposable Food Warmers for Parties | Used w/ Chafing Dish, Aluminum Pans, Foil Trays, Buffet Kit, Kitchen Accessories (Pans NOT Included) | 6 Pack See less

Some People Are Too Ignorant To Hold Political Office

New York State legislator wants to require background checks of purchasers of any 3D printer capable of printing firearms.  Someone needs to inform her that this means all of them.  Many public libraries now have 3D printers.

Wait until she finds out what a Bridgeport mill can carve out of steel and aluminum.  Also, how many are already present in New York State.  That train left the station decades ago.

Why Does Islam Have Such a Bad Image?

I mean besides murdering babies, raping women, beheading teenaged volleyball players?  

"Two people have been shot dead in the Belgian capital Brussels on Monday evening, police have said.

Belgium's prime minister later confirmed the victims were Swedish. Prosecutors say they are treating the shooting as terrorism...

"showed an Arabic-speaking man claiming he carried out the attack in the name of God.

The man in the clip said he had killed three people. The federal prosecutor's office confirmed it has seen the footage but cannot say whether he is the gunman."

Many Muslims are perfectly fine people.  Islam spread through Southeast Asian because of Muslim merchants.  But there is a reason that Islam has a bad image in much of the world and it is not imaginary.

In a Technical Sense She is Right....

But free speech doctrine is about to get bent badly out of shape.  10/16/23 CNN:
CNN — A federal judge on Monday issued a gag order on former President Donald Trump, limiting what he can say about special counsel Jack Smith’s federal prosecution into his alleged attempt to subvert in the 2020 presidential election.

The order restricts Trump’s ability to publicly target court personnel, potential witnesses, or the special counsel and his staff. The order did not impose restrictions on disparaging comments about Washington, DC, – where the jury will take place – or certain comments about the Justice Department at large, both of which the government requested.

There is certainly a case that speech that incites violence against prosecutors, witnesses, or judge is not protected speech.

But what qualifies as such?  Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) severely limited the definition of incitement.  It is hard to fit anything Trump says on social media into the narrow definition imposed by Brandenburg.

The goal seems to be to intimidate Trump from doing what he does best: campaigning by appealing to the "forgotten man." That DOJ attempted to prohibit him from disparaging D.C. or the DOJ just shows how fascist this government has become.  D.C. disparages itself by existing.

3/4 Recipe Still Suffered Some Muffintop Syndrome

I wish my cellphone supported Smellovision.  

And the Other Pumpkins Yelled, "Unclean!"

I saw these at Albertsons.
When I see these I think cancer.  Rhonda thinks Molokai Leper Colony.  Why would you buy these?

A Nice Touch

Rhonda and I are watching a 1990s series, Northern Exposure.  The premise is a New York City Jewish doctor is obligated to practice in Alaska to pay for his education.  (Many Midwestern cities have done this historically.  After five years, the hope is that he will get attached to the place, hopefully by matrimony and stay )

New York City Jew out of his element is the ongoing gag.  He is of course fiercely anti-hunting, but to understand it, he tags along and gets into it.  The dialogue is very much something that any hunter would find positive.  The gag of course is that he only wings one of the grouse and takes it back to his office for surgery.  The grouse becomes dinner.

Do Any of You Have Contacts With Either Publishers or Agents Specializing in Young Adult Fiction?

 My wife has written a short novel that combines a Romeo & Juliet story in a National Socialist labor camp.  If she has to start from scratch on finding a literary agent, oh well.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

This Means More Than More Expensive 5.56mm

10/14/23 Staple Defense:
"According to multiple news sources, the Lake City ammo plant has cancelled all of its commercial contracts.

This means that stores will no longer be able to purchase ammo from Lake City, which currently supplies 30% of the civilian market."

In case you did not know, Lake City plant is government owned and run by Winchester.  They get to use excess capacity to make commercial ammunition.  The government has effectively put Lake City on a war footing.  This is not for Ukraine; they use a a Russian 5.45mm cartridge.  

Israel uses 5.56mm.  I suspect cleaning out Gaza will burn a lot of Lake City's production.  This is also the standard NATO rifle caliber.  Even if NATO is not increasing stockpiles for the possibility of World War III if Putin starts to obviously losing Ukraine, I would hope that both standing armies and reserves across NATO are increasing practice. If burning a few hundred rounds makes every shot in combat one shot, one kill, it is a good investment.

I have plenty of 5.56mm.  If you are not already well stocked, it is likely too late to stock up before prices rise.  I expect Winchester competitors will expand production capacity to take advantage of higher prices.  We can hope they do too much and produce price drops once Lake City falls out of war production.

Let us hope that this will be a short war production run.  I really do not want Israel to expens ten million rounds fighting Iranian proxies.  That would be a huge number of dead Arabs who could be doing something better than an irrational and losing fight with Israel.  I especially hope stockpiles for NATO are built up and this does not become ammo used in combat.  I am confident that a conventional war against Russia would end quickly but a lot of young men on both sides would die with no reason better than Putin's who.

Interesting Hypothesis

Decline in Independent Activity as a Cause of Decline in Children's Mental Well-Being: Summary of the Evidence

From the Journal of Pediatrics

The article argues that rising rates of depression and anxiety among minors might be caused by the declining opportunities for kids to play without adult supervision.  I cannot see the whole article but there is an correlation for which there is apparently some theoretical basis.  

I know that growing up in the 1960s and 1970s my peers and I enjoyed enormous freedom of motion and decision-making.  (Stranger danger had not yet taken over our society.)  That we lived to adulthood often surprises me especially after the incident where we inflated an 8' surplus balloon with hydrogen; attached a strip of magnesium ribbon to it; and failed to light it.  And the Bicentennial celebration where we last saw the beer can headed up and out to sea.  The mortar tube had expanded quite impressively in the wet sand. Oh yes, the pound of sodium metal in the Pacific Ocean.  Breaking into ARPAnet.  Application of contact explosive (nitrogen tri-iodide) to doorknobs at our school.

Who could get depressed?  We were having fun.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Small Heating Units for Heating s Can of Food

Ideally sized to warm a can of food at a time without fumes. Or s can of water, to heat up food in a container by heating that water around the container.

To my surprise, Sterno seems safe to use in unventilated spaces.  It is basically an alcohol flame which with enough oxygen should produce CO2 and H2O.

There is a company called Barocook that sells packets that rely on chemical heat production (probably quicklime with water) that apparently does the job.  This is likely how MREs work.  Does anyone have experience with this product or similar?

Fuselage City!

It looks like a boneyard for small planes and other transportation items.
We found this on the way home from church.  There is an airstrip and some buildings that make me think of the Life After People series 

The Left' s Only Response to Words is Violence

10/13/23 New York Post:
"An enraged crowd near Harvard University hurled expletives – and a brick – at a “doxxing truck” circling the campus Friday morning to expose students who allegedly signed a letter blaming Israel for last weekend’s Hamas attack, The Post has learned."

If you do not want to be identified as an anti-Semite, do not sign anti-Semitic petitions.

Annular Eclipse

In just a few minutes, it dropped at least 10 degrees.  I took lots of pictures with the Pentax and a solar filter.  Those will need to be moved to my PC before I blog them.

Whew!  The Sun is coming back.  No need to sacrifice a chicken.  I can see why primitive people saw this as a problem.

The dragon finally disgorged the Sun.  I was worried about next year's crops!

Some of the best images came when partially obscured by clouds. Yes, I used an adjustable neutral filter but internal reflections produced garbage like this:

Friday, October 13, 2023

Saddest Story of All From the Barbarian Incursion

From X via Instapundit:

"Eyal Waldman, the Israeli high-tech magnate, astounded the tech industry and the entire Arab world by creating research and development centers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, all while employing hundreds of Palestinian developers. On Saturday, Hamas murdered his daughter Daniel"

Mark Twain's infamous: "The difference between a man and a dog is that if you find a starving dog and feed it won't come back and bite." Waldman tried to make things better for Palestinians and they paid back kindness with evil.  I try to distinguish lunatic cults of Islam from Islam itself, but Wahhabism, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah all seem to be fruit from the same poisoned root.  I suspect all of these "cults" would write off Muslims who just want to live their lives as corrupt and not really Muslims at all.

Which Do You Want More? Water or Death

10/10/23 National Pulse:
"The European Union (EU) spent $100 million of taxpayer funds on building over 30 miles of water pipelines for Palestinians in Gaza, despite Hamas having bragged about their ability to turn the piping materials into makeshift rockets online.

"The EU participated in a number of initiatives between 2015 and 2022 to ensure Palestinians have fresh water, including working alongside UNICEF to install an 11-mile pipeline to Khan Yunus and Raha in southern Gaza."

Thursday, October 12, 2023


 We heard about ten minutes of jet aircraft, but we could not see any.  We drove up Lansing to try and drive west and a sheriff's car was blocking Purple Sage to the west.  More police cars showed.  Is this a training exercise for World Jihadi Day tomorrow?

Gas main leak.  Emergency declared.  Shelter in place within four miles which includes us.

Now evacuation order extreme.  We hear rumors of explosion.

10/22/23 ABC News.

Interstate natural gas pipeline.

Annular Eclipse Likely Visible Saturday Morning

The Astrospherics app is predicting 23% cloud cover Saturday at 10:00.  It is probably worth putting on your eclipse glasses or welding helmet about 9:10 to see if you are getting any occultation yet.  About 10:25 should be maximum.  I have a solar filter for my Pentax and I will see what I can get.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Supporting Terrorism Has Consequences

10/11/23 Boston Globe:
"Fallout from a controversial statement published and initially signed by about 30 student groups at Harvard University continued Wednesday as two trucks circled Harvard Square for much of the day, featuring the names and photos of students linked to the statement."

Taking the side of a group committing murder of civilians, gang rapes, and beheading infants is a very progressive position.

Some of the students who self-identified as terrorism supporters are all butt-hurt that they may not be safe because they are being called out.  The same would be true if college students loudly proclaimed their support for the KKK and lynchings.  Take up the side of barbarism and there are consequences (mostly looking over your shoulder: our side is not Antifa or Hamas).

That these are the people that will be in charge of many of our institutions of government and higher education is really scary.  Harvard has become increasingly the enemy of America and decency.

The left seems intent on civil war by backing Hamas.  Friday has been declared Global Jihad Day by Hamas.  I doubt there is much to fear in Boise but I will be armed when I leave the house.  Those of you who live in the USA (not California and other Blue states intent on disarming victims) should plan to be armed in the event a Hamas affiliate comes to you.

At Least They Are Admitting the Government Did This, Not Capitalism

10/11/23 Los Angeles Times:
"During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the government-sponsored Home Owners’ Loan Corporation was established to stabilize the nation’s housing market. It helped struggling families prevent foreclosures by swapping mortgages that were in, or close to, default with new ones that homeowners could pay for.

"As part of the program, the corporation created security risk maps to evaluate mortgage lending risks. Greenlined areas were considered “best” for investment and tended to be white neighborhoods. Redlined zones were deemed “hazardous” and were disproportionately Black and other nonwhite communities."

And yes, the article is about how bird species are segregated.

Monday, October 9, 2023

April 8, 2024

A total solar eclipse is going to sweep across America from Texas through Newfoundland.  I should have been planning this early this year.  The cloud forecasts for the most favorable part of the path is Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas in declining order and it gets worse the farther northeast you follow the path.  Places like Waco are like 36% cloudy in April.  Making hotel and airline reservations for a strong possibility of seeing nothing are discouraging.  The room rates are already reaching silly enough that camping starts to make sense.  Of course that also means planning a 1600 mile drive to get around the already insane airfares.  

I cannot believe that I took my family to England for the 1999 eclipse.  I made careful use of NASA weather forecast data to pick a spot where the clouds parted Cecil B. deMille like for the eclipse.  Admittedly, we went to England to see other things too.

This Makes My Head Spin

I have been aware that some sort of judicial reform political struggle was underway in Israel but reading this article makes my head spin.  They have no binding constitution; their Supreme Court treats the Knesset's first statutes as having some special binding power but Netanyahu's government wants to amend those statutes in ways that suit their needs.  Even better the Israeli Supreme Court interprets laws against those basic statutes under something called the "Reasonableness Clause":

The Reasonableness Clause became a central mechanism for the judicial review of administrative acts by government officials. The Supreme Court gradually developed the Reasonableness Clause to serve as a “catch-all” when traditional clauses — such as conflict of interest, ex parte communication, or arbitrariness — were difficult to prove or insufficient to protect the public interest. According to the approach adopted in the 1980s, the Reasonableness Clause requires government officials to consider all relevant factors and adequately balance between them. If the decision reflects a significant imbalance, the Supreme Court can strike down the governmental decision for “extreme unreasonableness.” The clause was especially critical in the judicial review of nominations, governmental acts during the transition of power, and civil rights protections.

The elastic clause and substantive due process are downright originalist compared to this. 

Annular Eclipse Saturday Morning

This is only annular so you WILL need solar eclipse sunglasses.  I ordered a ten pack of German-made ones.  If you want to see the Sun 85% eclipsed Saturday morning and see anything else afterwards, email me and you can pickup a pair.  (Cyclops can have half a pair.)

I Do Not Need It

 I mentioned a couple days ago a Canadian made finderscope bracket.  I decided to fix the acetal one that did not stay fixed.  I fixed it, but no longer need it so I put it up on

It's free. I machined it from acetal, a very hard plastic similar to aluminum. As I mentioned a few days ago in a forum, I replaced it with a very nice Antares bracket because I made one design mistake that made it not stay in position. (It would rotate around the base; acetal is very slippery stuff.) I decided because I had put so much work into machining this that I could not bear to throw it away, so I machined a .5" wide x .07" deep slot into the base and a similar relief in the column (or perhaps plinth is a better word choice) so that it no longer moves even a little. It fits into a Vixen base perfectly. (I did not even know this was a Vixen-type base when I measured and machined it, or I would have just bought one.) As I said, I no longer need it, but it works. Just reimburse me for postage which cannot cost much; acetal is half the density of aluminum.

The ID of the rings is 56mm; obviously a 55mm finderscope will not leave much room for alignment adjustment.


Already taken. I suspect that had I been born in 1936 not 1956, I would have ended up a mechanical engineer.

The buyer bought a finder without a bracket.  My question was, "What next? Buy a telescope?  A mount?  A planet to set it on?"

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Mostly So I Can Find It Later

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 31 March 1776 (

I want to hear much oftener from you than I do. March 8 was the last date of any that I have yet had.—You inquire of whether I am making Salt peter. I have not yet attempted it, but after Soap making believe I shall make the experiment. I find as much as I can do to manufacture cloathing for my family which would else be Naked. I know of but one person in this part of the Town who has made any, that is Mr. Tertias Bass as he is calld who has got very near an hundred weight which has been found to be very good. I have heard of some others in the other parishes. Mr. Reed of Weymouth has been applied to, to go to Andover to the mills which are now at work, and has gone. I have lately seen a small Manuscrip de[s]cribing the proportions for the various sorts of powder, fit for cannon, small arms and pistols. If it would be of any Service your way I will get it transcribed and send it to you.—Every one of your Friend[s] send their Regards, and all the little ones. Your Brothers youngest child lies bad with convulsion fitts.5 Adieu. I need not say how much I am Your ever faithfull Friend.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

7700 Steps Today

I guess being a little winded is no surprise.  My wife walks fast.  Or I walk slow because of limited capacity 

The Windedness is Still an Issue

The surgeons indicate wait at least three months and ideally six months after stents before open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve.  This article indicates that it is safe to do surgery at six months after the newer stents that carry antithrombotic drugs. 

That would be January.  I suspect that I may have to skip teaching spring semester.  Expert declarations would also likely stop for several months.  I know there will be a week of recovery in the hospital and three months of recovery afterwards.

Herostratic Plans

10/6/23 Sun-Sentinel report on a guy police caught with written plans to go do a mass murder at Parkland and then a church.


"Asked why he would attack Stoneman Douglas, the site of a school massacre that killed 17 and injured 17 in 2018, the affidavit says, (scum name redacted) replied, “for attention or fame.”

When Marshall McLuhan said in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, I hope this is not what he meant.

Not Made in PRC

 I am used to buying fasteners made in Taiwan; it makes me happy.  If only they made telescope mounts.  I needed some 10-24 knurled thumbscrews.  Why?  The antique Edmund's Scientific mirror cell on the scope my father and I made had a feature that I have seen nowhere else.

First of all, mirror cells have adjustment screws for collimating the mirror's optical axis to the diagonal and eyepiece focuser.  There are usually three such adjustment screws; some fancy mounts have nine, although I do not see why.  The Edmund's mirror cell also has three locking screws. Once collimated, if you don't movbe the scope around very much, it should stay collimated once those locking screws from the frame that attaches to the tube have been turned against the frame that holds the mirror.  Those screws were Philips head and ugly from too many years near salt water.  I wanted some thumbscrews, easier to tighten and loosen.

I found some 10-24x1 1/2" thumbscrews and not made in PRC or Taiwan.

A Disappointing Statement in a History Dissertation

 Cashwell, To Restore Peace and Tranquility to the Neighborhood: Violence, Legal Culture and Community in New York City, 1799-1827 (2009)"

White women, free blacks, and enslaved and indentured persons continually redefined notions of femininity and blackness through the violence they employed.

Another Progressive Victory

 10/2/23 Daily Mail:

Portland's public safety commissioner has told people to not call 911 unless they're at risk of death - as the Democrat-run city continues to struggle with rampant drug use and a slew of overdoses.  

Commissioner Rene Gonzalez told locals that its emergency service hotline was overwhelmed with people calling about members of the public suffering fentanyl overdosesOregon decriminalized hard drug use three years ago.   

As a result, he urged people to only call 911 in a life or death emergency, as it was revealed paramedics had been called to deal with eight suspected fentanyl overdoses in the city's once-tony Pearl District.  

Portland's neighborhoods have been overrun with crime, homelessness, and drugs since the pandemic - and despite pouring funds into relief initiatives, little change is occurring on the streets of the city.  

Commissioner Rene Gonzalez wrote on X today: 'Our 911 system is getting hammered this morning with a multiple person incident - multiple overdoses in northwest park blocks. 

For progressives, decriminalization was a path to treatment for drug addicts.  It does not sound like a great success. 

Troubling. Someone is Going to Get Hurt

 10/6/23 Breitbart:

A coordinated “swatting” effort may be behind hundreds of school shooting hoaxes that sent police rushing to quiet schools, where they smashed doors open and stalked the hallways armed with rifles, only to find terrified teachers and students.

Over the past year, more than 500 schools in the U.S. have been targeted in a coordinated campaign of fear, according to media reports and dozens of public records requests obtained by Washington Post.

The obvious reason is to promote fear about school mass murders in the hopes of more gun bans.  It might also be bored and malicious students trying to get things more interesting than calculus or English Literature.  The ability to spoof phone numbers is a very real nuisance even if they are just a Mumbai boiler room telemarketer.