atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6096: Well, it's on its way now, isn't it?

The test payload launched atop Falcon Heavy yesterday--a red Tesla roadster belonging to the guy writing the checks for the launch--boosted out of Earth orbit and into its new solar orbit, which will take it close to Mars' orbit.

The only thing that marred the launch was, as previously stated, the failure to recover the core booster. Everything else went perfectly, and as failures go the recovery issue was minor--it didn't effect the final disposition of the payload and it didn't injure or kill anyone. Even with recoverable launch components, you expect to lose one once in a while.

That one thing kept the launch from being perfect, but by any reasonable metric, the Falcon Heavy test launch was a stunning success.

* * *

We will force you to go to college. You're no longer allowed to find your own way; government will decide for you.

If you don't know what you want to do with your life at age 18, you shouldn't go to college, but this scheme offers "...exemptions only for students who can demonstrate that they are preparing to enter the military or commit to an internship or apprenticeship."

So--graduating high school and getting a job at Target or McDonald's while you figure things out, that isn't an option. You must submit to college, or a trade union, because you're too stupid to figure things out on your own.

...but of course government always seeks to expand its power.

* * *

"Let me know when those who are fighting against the cis white supremacist patriarchal system of engineering can come up with something like this."

* * *

I remember writing about this last year. The article is the same one I referenced in March.

The solution is simply not to buy John Deere products until and unless they stop doing this horseshit.

It reminds me of a video I saw not long ago. Guy bought a Corvette of recent manufacture at a salvage auction; seems the car had been in a wreck and needed significant repair. Among other things the engine computer needed replacement, but once that was done the car wouldn't start. It wouldn't even crank. "Start" button, gauges cycle, nothing else happens. I really, really do not like the whole "start button" nonsense. I want a hard ignition switch you stick the key into and turn.

Anyway, the fix for this non-crank problem in the latest Corvette is "take car to dealership" or "pay $1500 for special tool", because the problem with the car was that the clutch pedal wasn't calibrated.

You heard me right: the clutch pedal was not calibrated.

You know, I know a lot about cars. I know a handful of people who know more than I do about them. I am not the do-all-be-all of automotive knowledge, and I do not present myself as any kind of expert, but certainly I'm in the top ten percent, knowledge-wise. And no matter how hard I try I cannot think of a single reason the clutch would require a position sensor that would have to be calibrated.

At least, not any reason which makes sense.

The automotive industry has moved into this mode where they're computerizing everything, adding needless, stupid complexity. I'd bet the Corvette has some stupid "drive by wire" clutch, where you step on the clutch in the cabin and some kind of actuator actually disengages it. This lets GM run a wire instead of a cable or a hydraulic pipe and it saves them $1.49 on the cost of each $70,000 penis extension it extrudes. But I can't find any information on-line which would confirm or deny this supposition. I did find a guide for changing the clutch fluid on the thing (here which suggests that the C7 Corvette has a hydraulic clutch.

That being the case, what the everlasting foo-faw is wrong with a simple switch to tell the ECU it's in and it's okay to crank? Why does it need a "clutch position sensor" which further needs calibration?

Because it's the auto industry, though, and people would go berserk if GM (or Ford et alii) tried the horseshit John Deere is trying, you can get a third-party tool for about $100 which is primarily a bit of software and an interface between the car's computer and a typical laptop. The guy used that tool to calibrate the clutch (whimper) and then further perform another calibration which--left undone--limited the engine to 4,000 RPM. That was for the throttle-by-wire accelerator, of course.

This is the reason I am about half-convinced I need to refurbish the Jeep. I know how to fix it, I know how it works, and there's none of this stupid crap festooning it. If I turn the key and nothing happens I don't need a $2,000 diagnostic tool to fix it; I know I need to charge and/or replace the battery. Period.

* * *

This is interesting.
The practical, real-life consequence of existentialism/nihilism isn't bohemian decadence, it's Communism. The old saw goes "if you believe in nothing, you;ll fall for anything," but that's not true. Look around: people who make a big production about believing in nothing always--always--end up going for the biggest, most all-consuming version of collectivism they can find. Have you ever met an atheist who didn't tell you he's an atheist within five minutes of meeting him? Atheists make being-an-atheist their sole purpose in life; their whole identities revolve around it. They're not heroic individualists; they're the most boring, conformist people on the planet.
Yeah, adding Rotten Chestnuts to the blogroll, based on that paragraph alone.

* * *

I think it's vital that representatives live in the districts they represent. Of course Maxine Waters doesn't want to live in the gang-ridden ghetto she represents in Congress, but instead lives in a $5 million home some distance from the murders and the drugs and the hooptys etc. But considering that it's her job to represent those people--that she got rich enough to afford a $5 million house in Los Angeles while doing it--I think she ought to have to live amongst her constituents.

Maybe then she'd be interested in helping them, instead of exploiting their poverty to retain her job.

* * *

It snowed again overnight. We got a bit more than an inch. Right now they're predicting snow all day Friday. Thrillsville! Nothing like a two-hour commute both ways, I always say!

I tried to explain to Mrs. Fungus the other night why the roads were not plowed and salted. The simple fact is, Illinois is broke, and the guys who drive the plows are road crew guys who work 40-hour weeks; the plow-driving thing is overtime for them, and those guys are union, so they get paid a lot of money.

Figure, oh, $30 an hour. That's what starting UAW guys get (used to get, anyway) so we'll use that as a convenient benchmark. It is probably a little more or less than that, but $30's a nice round figure.

Okay. So--first off, guy is working a 40-hour week, but there are all kinds of jobs scheduled to keep those expensive union guys busy. If it snows during the day, you can postpone things and have guys run plows, no problem; it doesn't cost you any more.


$5 says there's a bonus wage for driving a plow truck. It's an extra duty, something outside your job description, and the union demands that bonus. So let's be generous and say it's $10 an hour for that; now Joe Union is making $40 to run the plow truck.

So quitting time comes at 5 PM. Joe Union keeps on plowing, and that overtime is compensated at 1.5x the hourly rate of $40, so now he's getting paid $60 an hour. But wait! After 8 PM, "shift differential" kicks in, and that's another $10 an hour, so instead of getting $60 an hour now he's getting $75!

Add yet another $15 an hour ($10 differential, at time and a half) if it's a weekend; and it's double time and a half if it's a holiday.

Regular wages for this chump are $1,200 a week. If he gets just five hours of plow time in, on one day, he makes an additional $330, more than a day's wages at his regular rate; if that day happens to be Christmas, it's nearly seven hundred dollars.

For five hours of work.

This is why the plow trucks aren't running the way they ought to be. Illinois can't afford it.

To say nothing, of course, of the fact that road salt costs money, and Illinois is behind on its bills. I'd bet the salt they're spreading this week was bought last year, or even the year before. I sure wouldn't give more product to someone who's got past-due bills. Would you?

But of course, it's much more important to pay the union goons and the illegal aliens and so forth than it is to maintain the infrastructure.

* * *

That's pretty impressive. Pong made from discrete components. Wow.

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