Monday, April 30, 2007

This is a very cool metal finishing process

Check this shit out -- a nickel coating with Teflon particles embedded in it. Amazing stuff. The technology of metal finishing has come a long way in the last 30 years.

Attack at Iraqi girls school thwarted.

Harry Reid was unavailable for comment.

Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers foiled an insurgent attack comprised of numerous improvised explosive devices targeting an all-girls’ school north of Baghdad April 28.

Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, discovered a command wire leading from the school’s outer perimeter to one of the rooms at the Huda Girls’ School, in Tarmiyah, Iraqi. Inside the room, the cavalry troops discovered five artillery shell explosives[...]

[...]The unit believes Al Qaeda extremists, operating in the area, are responsible for the emplacement of the explosives in an effort to thwart the progress the local government has made to improve the lives of the people of Tarmiyah[...]

UK now allows morons to teach school

Right. The real question here is how stupid can someone be and still appear to function in everyday life outside an assisted care institution. The bar seems to be getting lower all the time....

Western Telegraph
A Syrian-born airline pilot allegedly tricked a schoolteacher from Haverfordwest into having sex with him by pretending he had to administer ointment on the end of his penis, a jury heard yesterday (Tuesday).

Fadi Sbano, 38, even pretended to know a gynecologist who advised him on how often to have intercourse with her and whether to thrust "slowly or quickly". And, on the "doctor's advice", he kept a clock on the bedside table to time the sessions.

The teacher put up with the treatment for nine months before telling her doctor[...]
H/T Code Monkey

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Supercomputer shows intelligence of retard mice

OK, so we can simulate the behavior of a retarded brain damaged mouse, and it only takes 4,000+ CPU's with 256M of memory each. I'm completely underwhelmed. OTOH, morons like Harry Reid might be able to get a brain transplant and upgrade their intelligence to that of a low level brain damaged rodent.

[...]The team, from the IBM Almaden Research Lab and the University of Nevada, ran the simulation on a BlueGene L supercomputer that had 4,096 processors, each one of which used 256MB of memory.

Using this machine the researchers created half a virtual mouse brain that had 8,000 neurons that had up to 6,300 synapses.

The vast complexity of the simulation meant that it was only run for ten seconds at a speed ten times slower than real life - the equivalent of one second in a real mouse brain[...]

Cordless tools approach lethal voltages

Today I saw this line of DeWalt 36V cordless tools in a store. They seemed too large, heavy, and expensive to cause me to give up my stable of lesser voltage tools that are performing just fine. However, the 36V thing got me wondering just how little voltage it takes to cause an electrocution under the right circumstances.

This Wiki article claims fatal electrocutions have occurred with as little as 32 volts -- a number I vaguely recall reading in other trade journal articles on electrocutions.

There was no antarctic ice sheet 3-4M years ago.

Prior global warming periods are attributed to obviously natural processes. Curious that current warming MUST BE OUR FAULT when past episodes (of thus far unexplained origin) were far more dramatic melting antarctic ice sheets completely.

NZ Herald
[...]Twelve million years ago, at the bottom of the core, it was cold, says Naish. The bottom looks pretty similar to the top, which represents a million or so years.

The middle of the core, however, is much more dynamic and variable. Scientists can see periods where the ice sheet and ice shelf disappeared, around three to four million years ago[...]

Saudi "beauty contest"

I think I'd rather hit one of those than Rosie O'Donnell. The camel's got a better disposition.

NZ Herald
The legs are long, the eyes are big, the bodies curvaceous.

Contestants in this Saudi-style beauty pageant have all the features you might expect anywhere else in the world, but with one crucial difference -- the competitors are camels[...]

"BOGUS": Have you ever wondered what the word's origins are?

Some explanation and history, which may of course all be bogus ;->

"Stunt rats" used in GMTV garbage story

Heh, we have THIS STORY over at Blue Crab Boulevard about some moronic Brit TV station that did a story about garbage in London. Seems the producers hired some non-union "scab" rats to frolic around a dumpster they were filming in front of because the unionized rats wanted no part of faking a news story.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The 1st amendment is dead.

Here we have a story about a high school student tasked with writing an essay on anything who chose to write it about a weird dream he had. He was subsequently arrested and charged with disorderly conduct based on the contents of the essay.

The thought police have arrived...and they're arresting people.

McDonald's Happy Meals - not just for kids anymore

Happy Meals...indeed ;->

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A grandmother was alarmed to find a condom in a happy meal gift pack bought for her 7-year-old granddaughter at a McDonald's (MCD) restaurant in New Zealand, local media reported Thursday[...]

Washington Post bash Harry Reid

Not good when Pravda on the Potomac stops carrying water for, and excusing the bungling of a big name democrat. Broder's columns are usually real snoozers...better sleeping aids than a bottle of Jack and a handful of sleeping pills, so you know "Give'em Defeat" Harry is in trouble now. Maybe they'll start really investigating some of his shady land dealings if they really want to see him gone.

[...]a continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance[...]

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Morons provoke crocodiles, kid gets eaten

Natural selection. Seriously, does anyone who would beat and provoke crocodiles deserve to be procreating? I submit to you the answer is NO.

A crocodile shot to death in south China during a search for a missing 9-year-old student was found to contain the child's remains[...]

[...]"The children shot the animals with catapults and beat them with wooden sticks," the agency said. "One of the irritated crocodiles bit Liu's clothes and dragged him into water, where he was eaten by a swarm of crocodiles."[...]

Saturday, April 21, 2007

(kinda) Hometown attraction is getting a facelift

About 40 miles from where I grew up. Quite a place and worth a visit if you're ever in the Albany NY area. As a little kid, the place was just fascinating.

Troy Record
The new owners of the mammoth Howe Caverns, which changed hands this week for $3.7 million, are planning an extravagant facelift to shore up its reputation as one of New York's most-popular natural attractions.
Wright-Galasso Inc. expects to invest $2 million in the next two years to improve cave lighting and renovate a gift shop, entrance road and the historic Cave House Hotel. Over the next decade, it aims to expand the cave tour by 1,800 feet and open a historic entrance not used by tourists for more than a century[...]

Anbar sheiks forming anti-insurgent party

They all supposedly hate us and all is lost (according to Harry Reid), someone needs to smack these guys with the cluebat and get'em back on the defeat train. The democrats can't tolerate this kind of local sentiment with an election coming up.

LA Times
[...]One purpose of the party, Sattar said, is to promote a better image of American-led forces "to the Iraqis here."[...]

Friday, April 20, 2007

My monster staghorn fern

I can't belive I'm plant blogging now...but I just noticed this staghorn fern that sits in one of my mahogany trees has gotten huge. I don't normally pay much attention to what's out in the yard, but this fellow is extrordinary. It started out as a little tyke about the size of an orange, and now its taken over the whole base of the tree. That pick is clickable for a larger image.

Another kinda cool plant in the yard is the century plant. Deadly buggers. Those black tips on the end of the leaves are sharp as a needle. Put one of these suckers in front of a window and no burglar is coming through it. A few years ago I had one of these decide to flower (a rare event). It shot up a stalk that was higher than the roof that had the flower on it, then eventually dropped hundreds of little babies on the ground.


Some of my "helpers" that were crawling all over out in the swamp ;-> There's only 4 of them in that pic. Some places had 20+ within a few hundred feet of where I was.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Global warming wakes long dormant volcano

What the hell, they want to blame everything on global warming, so I've decided to start blaming volcanoes on global warming. Forget about limiting CO2, what we need to stem this plague of volcano "awakenings" menacing mankind are some virgin sacrifices.

Thousands of people were evacuated after a long-dormant volcano erupted late Tuesday and again early Wednesday, provoking avalanches and floods that swept away houses and bridges.

The Nevado del Huila volcano's eruptions were its first on record since Colombia was colonized by the Spanish 500 years ago[...]

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Do the Florida Marlins really "need" a domed stadium?

It adds $100M+ to the cost of a stadium. In reality the northern teams suffer rainouts much more often than the Marlins ever did. We get rain here, but in the summer its more often late afternoon showers that pass. There are rain delays occasionally, but a total wipeout here in south FL is a very rare event.

Had the team not insisted on this dome nonsense and its outlandish cost, they could have been in a new stadium by now. Morons.

[...]The Marlins were rained out three times in 2006, all on the road. Florida's last postponement at Dolphin Stadium was on Sept. 5, 2004, when Hurricane Frances forced the rescheduling of a series with the Cubs.

40mpg Mitsubishi Outlander SUV warrants a yawn?

I'm sure this is Imperial gallons, but still, any SUV that does well over 30mpg US gallons would be hot news if offered here in the US. This one has a VW diesel engine. I could go on and on about the virtues of VW's diesel engines. Suffice to say, my 99' Jetta diesel gets better mileage than Honda's hybrid if its not being flogged, and you can pack a lot more crap into that Jetta's trunk.

It is with a weary heart indeed that, this week, I have been driving the new Mitsubishi Outlander. I know, I know, one more wretched SUV. Does the world really need another?[...]

[...]I am not necessarily opposed to SUVs on environmental grounds - the Outlander manages a respectable 40.9mpg[...]

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sheetrock: your walls are actually full of water

I never knew that!

Made How
[...]Gypsum contains large amounts of water bound in crystalline form; 10 square feet (1.0 sq m) of gypsum board contains over 2 quarts (2 1) of water. When exposed to fire, the water in the gypsum board vaporizes; the temperature of the panel remains at 212°F (100°C) until all of the water is released, protecting the underlying wood framework[...]

[...]Each molecule of gypsum (or dihydrous calcium sulfate) is composed of two molecules of water (H20) and one of calcium sulfate (CaSO4). By weight the compound is 21% water, but by volume it is nearly 50% water[...]

Der Spiegel: "good Taliban" visit Karzai to negotiate

Apparently Der Spiegel has declared Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, a "good Taliban". Kinda like the "good Gestapo" and "good Totenkampf SS".

[...]Zaeef, Muttawakil and other "good Taliban" recently visited Karzai for negotiations. Afterwards, the Afghan president let it be known he didn't trust this man in the black turban[...]

Commie mass graves found in Afghanistan

Hard leftists and mass graves. They just always seem to come in pairs no matter what part of the world you're in. Pure coincidence of course...

KABUL - The bodies of nearly 400 Afghan civilians killed during the communist regime that ended in 1992 have been found in a mass grave in northeastern Afghanistan, officials said on Thursday.

The grave was found by local farmers in a desert just outside Faizabad, the capital town of the remote Badakhshan province, deputy governor Shams-ul Rahman Shams said.

"We've so far recovered the bodies of some 380 people. They were killed during the communist time," Shams said.

He said that most of the victims appeared to be civilians who had been killed for opposing the Moscow-backed communist regime[...]

When your number is up, its up

Poor SOB lived in the Acreage, not too far from where I've been working lately. I saw a tire fly off a car years ago on I15, but that one came off axle and all and ended without incident. Everyone managed to steer clear of the gyrating thing.

Miami Herald
At the moment he was struck down, William Corum had his back to the highway.

Which is why he didn't see the tire coming as he worked 1,000 feet away.

But it flew toward him at about 60 mph, according to Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Roger Reyes.

''It was a total freak accident,'' said Corum's sister, Donna Cheatham. ``It's like a massive area and to have bee-lined right to him is just incredible. He could've been five inches one way or the other and it would've missed him.''

The tire struck his right side, rim and all, rolled up Corum's back to his head and knocked him unconscious. That was a week ago today. He died four days later, on Easter Sunday[...]

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Daily Kos is soft on death threats to bloggers

I'm sure Alan Berg thought the same thing before he was murdered.

Daily Kos
Look, if you blog, and blog about controversial shit, you'll get idiotic emails. Most of the time, said "death threats" don't even exist -- evidenced by the fact that the crying bloggers and journalists always fail to produce said "death threats". I suspect many are like[...]

[...]It's not as if those cowards will actually act on their threats. For better or for worse, this isn't a country in which media figures -- even hugely controversial ones -- are routinely attacked by anything more dangerous than a cream pie[...]

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Gore Effect™ strikes again

Sea otter victims this time. Too much ice in Alaska for them to handle.

Seattle Times
ANCHORAGE — An unbudging sheath of sea ice has blocked off the waters where the Alaska Peninsula's sea otters forage, forcing the starving animals inland on a search for food and making them easy prey for wolves and humans.

Some otters have waddled or slid on their bellies for several miles onto the tundra near Port Heiden, where they have been attacked by dogs, killed for their pelts or have died of malnourishment[...]
H/T Tim Blair

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Things that make the modern world work: stamping lube

There's all sorts of "stuff" that goes on behind the scenes to make the modern world possible. Most people have no idea what any of it is or appreciation for any of this because they just see the finished products.

The infrastructure of industry is something that has fascinated me since I was a small child though. My dad owned an electroplating shop. Electroplating is one of the critical adjuncts to almost all modern industrial production in one way or another. We got to see and process interim products/parts ranging from ordinary nuts and bolts to parts of the Apollo launch pad cooling system come through the business.

One of the major customers we had was Bendix. Bendix makes brake parts for everything from cars to airliners and fighter planes. Specifically, we copper plated some of the stamped brake pad backers for airliners and fighter planes. Apparently the actual brake pad friction gook didn't stick well to steel, but it would stick well to copper.

Those Bendix parts always came into the shop coated with a stamping oil which we had to remove to get them clean. You can't electroplate oily/dirty/rusty stuff. Its gotta be clean, clean, clean.

Apparently, the process of modern metal stamping is very sensitive to the quality of the lubes used on the metal and in the stamping dies.(PDF document) You can't just dump old crankcase drain oil in there and expect to get good results with the newer high strength steel alloys. The metal can tear/gall/curl in unsatisfactory ways if the stuff isn't right and there's been a move towards synthetics to resolve some of these issues.

That article didn't talk much about it, but there's also the issue of die wear. If you're constantly having to change the dies because they're wearing out, that's very costly. One of the things we did in the plating shop was rechrome stamping dies and mandrels used for pipe forming. Its always cheaper to rebuild the surface of a worn die back to spec by building it back up with chrome than it is to have a new die built.

Next time you fly on an airplane, consider all the thousands of little things that had to work right for it to be able to land and stop and not kill your ass in the process ;-> Lowly stamping oil was undoubtedly one of them.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Drunken Zamboni driver beats DWI charges

This is a big shot of hope for lawn tractor driving drunks all over the country.

Boston Globe
It's not drunken driving in New Jersey if it involves a Zamboni.

A judge ruled the four-ton ice rink-grooming machines aren't motor vehicles because they aren't useable on highways and can't carry passengers.

Zamboni operator John Peragallo had been charged with drunken driving in 2005 after a fellow employee at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown told police the machine was speeding and nearly crashed into the boards[...]

IRS loses hundreds of computers with taxpayer data

Both laptop and desktop machines have gone missing.

[...]Internal inspectors found that "at least" 490 computers--including 13 desktop machines--were lost or pilfered in 387 separate incidents between January 2003 and June 2006[...]

[...]about 126 of the incidents "contained sufficient details to show that personal information for at least 2,359 individuals was involved[...]

Friday, April 06, 2007

Syrians caught red handed in bombings

BlackSmith's of Lebanon has the whole rundown. Fine folks those Syrians that the Pelosi has chosen to negotiate with.

What's wrong with this story?

Are they having an outbreak of stupid up in Alaska these days?

A wolf, that would be a large carnivorous wild canine type wolf not a cuddly cartoon Mr. Rogers neighborhood wolf, snatches your poofy little rat dog for a snack and you decide to go wandering around the same woods where the abduction occurred?

This is like one of those cheap slasher flicks where the victim(s) say "I'll go outside and check it out", and you're sitting there in your seat thinking "dead man".

A black wolf snatched a small dog near a Juneau lake and ran into the woods with it, U.S. Forest Service rangers said. A woman was walking three dogs Tuesday at Mendenhall Lake when the wolf grabbed the unleashed Pomeranian then dashed off with the dog in its jaws. The woman unsuccessfully searched for the dog, which has not been seen since.[...]

Thursday, April 05, 2007

US Marine awarded Brit DFC by queen

Go read the whole press release. Dude earned it and the Brits don't had these out like they were M&M's either.

A U.S. Marine appeared before Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace March 21 to receive the United Kingdom's Distinguished Flying Cross for saving lives and in recognition for his bravery during combat operations in Iraq.

Marine Maj. William D. Chesarek Jr., is the first U.S. servicemember to be so honored since World War II [...]
H/T Black 5

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Food blogging - hot sauce recommendation

I just picked up a little bottle of hot sauce at Big Lots. Normally I don't have much in the way of expectations when something claims to be "hot". Usually that means mild by my standards.

However, Desert Creatures Scorpion's Sting hot sauce has exceeded all expectations and then some. This stuff is the real deal and clearly made with a generous percentage of Habanero peppers. Just opening the bottle one could smell that very distinctive Habanero aroma and I just knew this would be a special experience.

If you like HOT stuff, pick up a bottle. Roughly equivalent habanero hot sauces from specialty stores have cost me in the $5/bottle range. This stuff is dirt cheap and outstanding.

Warning: Habanero peppers are seriously hot and make jalapeƱos look wimpy. Habanero products are to be treated with respect ;->

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pakistanis tire of AQ presense

The Pak's are finding out that terrorists "guests" are like fish. About time. All they had to do is look at Lebanon when the PLO were their guests in the 70's.

Thousands of Pakistani tribesmen vowed to expel foreign al Qaeda-linked militants from their lands on the Afghan border on Monday and to punish any tribesmen helping the foreigners.

Fighting broke out between the foreign militants, most of them believed to be Uzbeks, and Pashtun tribal fighters last month in the South Waziristan region after the militants tried to kill a pro-government tribal leader.

Government officials say more than 170 people have been killed, most of them Uzbek militants, although residents in the area say the toll has been lower.

Members of all nine clans of the Wazir tribe, many of whom support the predominantly Pashtun Taliban in Afghanistan, met in the region's main town, Wana, and pledged to fight the foreigners. The Waziris are the main tribe in the region.

"They were our guests but later they turned into our enemies as they started killing our people," a witness cited tribal leader Mohammad Sharif as telling the 4,000 tribesmen.[...]

Korean moonbat torches self protesting trade talks

I'm betting he thought it was a good idea at the time, but regrets doing it now. Extensive burns are a real bitch.

The cabbies are apparently unionized in Korea. I'm thinking that they need to study US union tactics a little more. The way its supposed to work is that you set SOMEONE ELSE on fire, not yourself. When is the last time you heard of a Teamster torching themself? Never. Doesn't happen. They're smarter than that.

Digital Chosunilbo
A taxi driver in his 50s set himself ablaze in protest against the planned a Korea-U.,S. free trade agreement on Sunday. The man set himself on fire near the Grand Hyatt Seoul Hotel, where last-minute negotiations were underway, but survived with serious injuries.[...]

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pelosi tacitly backs Iran's hostage play

A statement solidarity with the Brits wouldn't "pressure Tehran" any more than they're already being pressured (which is to say not at all), but would let the crazy mullahs know its not just the Brits they'll have to deal with should push come to shove.

[...] Pelosi's spokesman Brendan Daly said the speaker was reluctant to weigh in on the incident without knowing that such a message would do more good than harm. Daly said the British government had not asked Congress to try to pressure Tehran[...]

Purple Avenger: Banned in the PRC

Hrrumph... I've been thrown out of better places than the PRC...

You can test your site to see if you've been banned in the PRC HERE

H/T Miriam's Ideas

A most incredible car crash

I've seen a lot of car crashes over the years, with lots of white sheets pulled over victims, but there's only a very small handful that really stick in my mind as being remarkable, or as in the case of one that happed yesterday...comical.

A guy driving a roach coach (a truck that goes to work sites with food and drinks) is slowing down to make a turn and a moron in a pickup truck tailgating him smacks him from behind at maybe 15mph. That part was unremarkable, typical rear ender crash caused by an idiot with minimal damage to both vehicles right?

What happened next was hilarious. Apparently the roach coach driver's foot slipped off the brake and onto the gas pedal HARD - that truck lurched forward accelerating like it had a rocket assist. It zoomed across the side road he was trying to turn onto, clipped a phone pole and wound up in a small canal.

That dude poured out of the cab of his truck like a swarm of angry hornets and the guy who hit him had a "oh boy, I really fucked up this time" look on his face that was priceless as I continued by. Both drivers seemed unharmed, so I did just continue by not wanting to get mixed up in the middle of an aggravated assault. The guy in the lunch truck was really hot.