atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6765: Who cares what a bunch of pagans think?

Idiots protest to prevent construction of new telescope. There's already an observatory at the peak of Mauna Kea, and a new telescope is being built, but apparently there are some people who don't like that.

I could see this protest taking place if there weren't already all kinds of scientific instruments festooning the top of the volcano. If there had never been anything built there, and now someone wanted to put up an observatory, the protest would make sense.

I like this: "Environmentalists were concerned about rare native bird populations...." The Mauna Kea observatory sits at an elevation that's a bit shy of 14,000 feet. Birds usually don't fly that high, because the air is thin: sea level air pressure is about 14.7 PSI. At Mauna Kea observatory, it's closer to 8.62. The higher you go, the less well your wings work, so it takes a lot more effort and energy to stay in the air--and at some point you end up not being able to fly at all. Not sure what the ceiling is for a finch billed honeycreeper, but I'd wager they stay below 8,000 feet elevation. I don't really know anything about how birds adapt to Earth's adiabatic lapse rate, but their physiology demands certain compromises in order for them to fly near sea level. I can't imagine that calculus working well for birds living at higher altitudes, particularly so near the limit of breathable atmosphere (at least for humans).


* * *

Interestingly enough, that marks the second time in as many days I've had occasion to use the phrase "adiabatic lapse rate". I forget what question Mrs. Fungus asked me, but the answer had to do with the decline in air pressure as your altitude increased.

* * *

I'm not so sure about this. To be perfectly honest I'm not sure what automakers typically use for brake lines; I think they've always used mild steel. They typically last a good long time, anyway; I've had one car blow a brake line and that was because it had sat for rather a long time, unused.

More than anything, I think disuse is what blows brake lines. Brake fluid likes water and absorbs it, then the lines rust from the inside out. You're always going to have surface rust on the outside of the brake lines (unless they are stainless or nickel-copper) but letting OE brake fluid sit in the brake lines, unchanged, for a long period seems to do more damage than external factors do. At the very least, the external places already damaged by rust will rust through faster if the vehicle is not regularly driven.

Karl Denninger lives in Florida; he doesn't discuss how often he changes his brake fluid but parts of Florida are warm and humid all year, and the master cylinder is vented to a certain small extent because the fluid level drops as brake pads wear. Additionally, his plaint about the brake system not being "diagonal" is similar.

"How GM gets away with this sort of crap and hasn't been sued to beyond the orbit of Mars is beyond me," he says. It's the way pickups and their SUV variants have been made for quite a while. Pickup trucks in particular don't need fancy rear brake systems because the rear wheels don't provide much of the stopping force; there's not enough weight over them. Besides, if you have a solid rear axle, chances are your rear end is served by one brake line because there's simply no point to doing it any other way. There's no benefit to having the rear wheels on separate braking circuits--even with ABS--because they're providing maybe 30% of the total braking effort. In an unloaded pickup truck, a hard stop unloads the rear wheels, further reducing the braking effectiveness of the rear wheels.

No, I can't see the beef here. He's got a 16-year-old vehicle which needs brake lines--it happens, and it's annoying, but it's not a manufacturing defect nor is it an engineering problem. I'd bet that he just doesn't drive it that much.

Heck, my Dad's van--it sat, largely unused, for months, and then blew a brake line the first time we tried to use it after that long hiatus. It was perfectly fine before that.

* * *

The people who want a voting age of 16 are opposed to allowing 16-year-olds to join the military. Of course.

* * *

The frigging butler.
Soon after I walked into the entrance of Epstein's mansion on E 71st Street, said to be the city's largest private home, a butler asked me, "Would you like an intimate massage, sir, by a pretty young girl?" This offer seemed so out of place and weird to me that I swiftly declined.

I mean, WTF. "An intimate massage"? No, I don't want to know. I really don't. I have some idea, and I don't want it confirmed because I value keeping my cynicism to a moderate level. The reality is probably worse.

* * *

Gang-related, right? I like how he asks the questions, like, "Wait a minute - park district property? Isn't that one of those 'No Gun' zones?" That's the second of five such questions in a row.

The solution is fairly simple to state: get rid of the gangs and you will have gone a long way towards eliminating violence in Chicago.

* * *

Speaking of gangsters, this article ponders what Illinois will be like after Madigan's eventual departure. Madigan is a man, and alle Menschen mussen sterben (forgive me for omitting the umlauts) and "all your money won't another minute buy." (Bach and Kerry Livgren, respectively). At some point or another, Madigan will either die, or be arrested and sent to prison; one way or another the man will not be running Illinois forever. It cannot be otherwise. (Note please that while the Fungus has a great deal of distaste for Michael Madigan, it does not wish him to die or even be injured. It does wish for him to be removed from power, but not at the cost of his life. He's bad, but he's not that bad. Cue the FBI, please.)

The editorial discusses the possibility of Madigan's forced retirement at the hands of law enforcement. If that happens, there is going to be a mad scramble for his vacant chair, because whoever sits in it will be the new big boss of Illinois...and he will be very powerful and get quite rich.

Believe it when I see it, but it will be kind of interesting to watch.

* * *

It's considerably cooler outside but the dewpoint stubbornly remains in the 70s. We had a line of strong thunderstorms come through about an hour or so ago, but it's still sticky out there.

That's what annoys me: if I've got to run the AC anyway, why can't it be hot so I can go swimming?

...bought a "solar cover" for the pool yesterday. It's essentially a big round piece of bubble wrap that you lay on top of the water. But it does four things for us.

1) It helps to keep leaves and debris out.

2) It keeps the water from cooling off as much at night. I've heard that in the desert you can make ice by pouring water into a shallow pan and leaving it exposed to the night sky; when the nighttime temperatures drop below about 40° the water radiates enough heat into space that it freezes. I don't quite get it but it makes sense thermodynamically, since dry air is a poor insulator.

3) When sun shines on the water, the bubble wrap traps the heat, and it presents a higher albedo so it absorbs more heat than the water itself would.

4) It keeps evaporation down.

I'm not kidding about #2; I've seen the pool go down to 75 degrees after being at eighty just because we had a clear night with moderate humidity. Over the past couple days, with the heat wave, the pool almost got up to 90 at one point (something like 87 and change) and pretty much stayed there until yesterday.

Anyway, given the hot weather and the stubborn stickiness of the air, God bless Willis Carrier.

* * *

Another post about the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. Full of interesting bits, that one.

* * *

This is a problem for the entire tech sector. Everyone (in management) goes on and on about how great it is that they can hire competent technical people for pennies from India; but to be strictly honest I can count on one hand the number of truly competent and hardworking indian tech workers that I've met, either in person or virtually.

The first comment at that post says:
I wonder if Intel has realized that one of those "different perspectives" that now permeate their organization is the Indian notion that "hard work" means mediocre work which must never exceed that of your peers, and must never be innovative. Short Intel and buy AMD.
That's what I mean.

I work with a young indian woman in my current job, and she works a lot of overtime, more than is healthy in the opinion of myself and my coworkers. We tell her, "Stop working so much! Take better care of yourself!" not because we don't like being shown up but because we genuinely care about her health. She does things like work 9 days in a row and/or working 12-hour shifts--this girl (she's in her early 20s, and as a middle-aged man I can use that term) falls asleep on our team chat channel.

But other indian workers that I've observed--usually outsource workers, working from India--typically will demonstrate a callous disregard for getting a job done correctly, as long as they can close the ticket and get paid for it. And much more than once or twice I've tried to explain to someone that what he's calling me for is something he can and should do himself--not the least because he would find it a lot faster and more efficient to do so--and the reply is a flat refusal to do it. Mostly because he thinks the task is beneath him; and besides, the time he spends waiting for tech support to fix his issue is time on the clock where he doesn't have to work.

...and so as American IT departments rely ever more heavily on outsourcing to India, the products of those departments become ever-more craptastic.

* * *

Democrats never solve problems because solving a problem takes away their power.
Socialism is not a representation of progress; rather it is creeping government takeover. Socialism is not about equal opportunity and lifting Americans out of poverty, it is about the liberal elites in Washington having the power to oversee everything from our methods of transportation and energy to our education and access to health care.
Democrats want people to remain poor and ignorant, because such people are easily controlled.

* * *

No real new information in this article on the arson attack on KyoAni but the article popped up about the time I was wondering if any new facts had emerged.

Senseless. WTF.

* * *

I had intended to cut the grass today. After the near-torrential rains we had early this afternoon, though, cutting the grass is out. Oh well.

I'm really glad I procrastinated and didn't cut it yesterday, because I really enjoyed sitting in the pool with my wife and watching the clouds drift past. WTF I'll get up early a couple days this week and handle it then. Screw it.

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