atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4100: I'm a big fan of "read the manual" but COME ON.

PDF warning: The Rubber Manufacturers' Association's guide to properly repairing tires. It only requires about $10,000 worth of special tools and an hour's labor and adherence to certain special standards to make a "proper repair" to a car tire!

Horseshit.

The procedure there makes all kinds of bugaboo about moisture getting into the cording from "incorrect repairs" (like plug patches) and making it deteriorate--but if moisture can get in AIR CAN GET OUT and it is therefore obvious that your repair is not very fucking good, now is it? A proper plug patch is air-tight, and if it's air tight it for damned sure is going to be water-tight.

Look: corner garages have been doing plug patches on tires for thousands of years (hyperbole) and they work fine. The last time I got a flat tire while I was more than ten miles from home, I took the car to a shop and they put a plug patch into the tire and I never had a single problem with that tire ever again. That's where I learned about plug patches and how to do them; tuition for that lesson ended up being $10 and it's saved me a ton of money. I've plug patched all my own punctures since then and have had only one of them not work...and to be fair that was a larger puncture in the shoulder of a tire which was reaching the end of its service life, which is not exactly an optimum candidate for a plug patch.

The puncture repair procedure linked above serves two basic purposes: 1) it ensures that only tire shops do tire repairs, which benefits members of the RMA; and 2) it sells more tires, which benefits members of the RMA. Otherwise it's more expensive than a plug patch (much more) and confers no real additional benefit to the consumer. It is a better and more thorough repair than a plug patch (not surprising considering how much work goes into it) but that doesn't mean it's necessary or even desirable to perform such a procedure all the time.

Heck, the most recent one--the repair to the 3/8" gash in Mrs. Fungus' tire--held pressure just fine, and I was positive that wasn't going to work at all, much less hold pressure for four days. Mrs. Fungus drove to work and home again on Friday on that tire, and I drove to the tire place today, with nary an issue from the thing. It could have gone another couple of weeks, but we had the money in place and we got a good deal, so we went for it.

* * *

Reality intrudes in the European Unreality Zone. Specfically, reality about the utility of solar and wind power to feed the energy needs of industrialized nations.

Solar and wind power are too diffuse to make good energy sources for industry. A person can plan his energy use around the diurnal cycle and the weather, but if you run a steel mill you've got a few more constraints. (Not to mention, of course, the fact that if you want to run an electric furnace off of solar- and wind-charged batteries it's going to take a rather large warehouse full of 'em to do it.)

Other "renewable" resources, such as hydroelectric and thermal, are limited by geography. Take the Chicago area, for example: you can't set up a geothermal plant since there's no volcanic activity around here, and the relatively flat topology of the land means there's no good place to site a hydroelectric plant. And trust me, the winds that blow in the "Windy City" don't blow constantly or strongly enough to power it. Solar? Don't make me laugh; solar is at best 20% efficient and that's at noon on a cloudless day, and we have plenty of clouds around here.

There is, after all, a reason solar and wind power must be subsidized by governments in order to compete. Absent those subsidies they simply do not work economically. It's a shame the citizens of Germany are having to discover this the hard way.

* * *

Last week Mrs. Fungus and I watched World War Z, and...well.

My biggest issue with the movie is the zombie disease itself: someone who is infected with it becomes a zombie in ten seconds.

Ten seconds to change from a fully conscious human being to a sub-conscious, averbal zombie which can sense illness well enough that it can tell someone is sick before he becomes symptomatic.

...works fine as long as you don't lose sight of the fact that it's fantasy, but the instant you hit the fridge for a diet Pepsi you start to wonder. I mean, any disease that can propagate through a macrocellular organism like a human being in ten seconds would reduce the body to mush in a matter of a couple of hours. Wouldn't it? Ebola is the most virulent disease organism we know of--all the really nasty bugs are hemhorragic in nature--and it takes days for an infected person to become symptomatic, and more days for the victim to die of it. When he dies he's lost a lot of weight but the corpse still has structure. Something that kills you and turns you into a zombie in ten seconds wouldn't even leave that; at best you'd end up with a skeleton and a puddle of biohazardous goo.

But the stuff at the beginning of the show talked about "rabies", and if that's the case (some kind of super-rabies) then it's an anaerobic bug that only really attacks nerve tissue. The rest of it doesn't make sense, since the end stage for a rabies infection is a non-functional nervous system. These zombies move too fast for that.

So, "non-specific zombie plague", then, that apparently works more like a parasite than an infection, and which somehow has the sense not to kill its host once infection has taken place since the only way to stop a zombie is to bust it up until it can't move.

I'm not a big fan of zombie movies, and never have been; this one didn't change my mind. But it wasn't horrible, and I've sat througe worse movies. The ending was good, too.
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