January 5th, 2008

#809: Drill press

For Christmas I got myself a drill press.

It was basically an impulse buy. I saw it at Ace for $50, and thought, "Where can I get a drill press for $50 that has a chance of being better than something from Harbor Freight?"

The last power tool I bought from Ace was a 6" bench grinder. It was $40 as I recall, and I've used it a lot since then. I bolted it to the bench with lag bolts. Originally I bought it to clean up valves for the '86 Fiero engine, but I knew there would be approximately 540,000 other things it would end up getting used for.

Since then I've used it to do a ton of other things. Clean spark plugs, sharpen things, clean things, modify things, etc, etc. The wire wheel is getting a bit elderly but otherwise it's a fair dinkum tool to have around the shop.

The drill press--I didn't really buy it for a reason; that is to say, I don't have a specific idea in mind of what I need it for. But the nice thing about having a tool is that if you have it, you'll find uses for it. And, c'mon, it was fifty bucks. It's not like I bought a freaking lathe/drill/mill machine.

I did have the inchoate thought in mind that I've got to drill out some broken exhaust bolts from the '86 Fiero cylinder heads--but it's likely that when I find a machine shop to do the valve job they need, I can just have them extract the bolts too.

Anyway, it's been sitting in the living room since the 20th or so. Thursday night I was feeling kind of low, so I opened the box and put the thing together...and that cheered me right up.

I'm simpleminded.

#810: Code E and other anime

Code E (CE) is one of those series that I saw the title of, decided to check it out on ANN to see a synopsis, tried it, and ended up really liking, a lot. (Actually the same is true of Kaze no Stigma.)

I look for two things on ANN. I look at the synopsis and I look at the "poster" they have. That usually tells me if it's a story I'll like. If the artwork doesn't appeal to me but the synopsis does, or vice-versa, usually I'll still give it a try. If both are good, it's a definite.

I sometimes look at the rating graph to see what others thought, too, but that's not as important in my evaluation.

The opening credits of CE are a bit misleading. The opening theme is "spy music", but of the first eight episodes, seven include almost no "spy" stuff. Ep eight is where the story begins to show signs of having anything whatsoever to do with the OP...which is interesting, considering it's a 12-ep series.

I really like it, though. The main character, Chinami Ebihara, is really likable and cute. The other characters are interesting and well-constructed, too, and so far there is one person who may or may not be a bad guy, but we haven't seen much of him yet.

Eight eps into Myself; Yourself I've come to the conclusion that the story is developing just a little too slowly for my taste. It's not egregious, though. I'm wondering how they manage to resolve anything by ep 12--but I'll find out.

I've now seen two episodes of Goshuusou-sama Ninomiya-kun and it's entertaining. This is primarily a fan service vehicle, as others have noted; while it's a bit predictable at least it's not annoying.

Finally, I saw ep 1 of Minami-ke. (I am taking a bit of a break from Pretty Cure, you see.) Everything was okay except for the fact that all the girls seem to have harelips because their mouths are all shaped like teardrops. It's kind of annoying. If you downloaded the Ayako fansubs' version, don't read the manga they scanlated first, because it'll give away all the jokes in the series.

Of the series on my current playlist, Code E is my favorite. This one's an excellent series.

#811: Self-control, climate change

Here is a blog entry about a professor who is a watermelon (green on the outside, red on the inside) who nonetheless likes Hummer trucks and bought a two-cycle lawn appliance. "He's a global warming bleeding heart, but he admits he continues, and will continue, to purchase high-energy-demand stuff."

(This professor is wrong, by the way. A two-cycle engine doesn't use its fuel/oil/air mixture for cooling. It uses it for lubrication. I hope he doesn't teach mechanical engineering.)

Quoth the professor: "I am not alone in loving Hummers. An effective tax will have to take into account all variety of Hummer lovers, the strength of their preferences and the size of their wallets."

He is, to borrow a term my Mom coined today, a "Hummer-oid".

He doesn't like the H1, which is the real deal; he likes the insipid H2, which is just a Chevy Suburban with a different body on it.

The H1 is a real off-road vehicle with a nearly insane amount of suspension articulation. You could drive the thing off the dealership lot and go rock crawling, without making any modifications whatsoever, and all you'd have to worry about is damaging the bodywork on your brand-new $100k+ truck.

A H2? Here:

The guy is driving up a rocky wash and at 0:29, the thing breaks a freaking tie-rod end. Oh yeah, that's a serious 4x4 you got there, pal. :rolleyes: But he's got a winch on it!

What happened? The front tires were unloaded; the guy gunned it, the right front tire got traction, and KA-SPUKK, the tie rod end snapped. (That winch will really help you with your steering, anus.) Thank God he was not moving and off-road when that happened; what if he'd been on the highway?

Here's an idea: if you're going to take your street truck off-road, make sure you've got good suspension components on it first, okay?

Here and here are articles discussing the impending cold spell.

The sun is entering a part of its natural cyclical variation in which it emits less energy. Less energy means cooler planets, including the Earth, despite all the H1s and H2s out there. (And the Hummeroids driving them.)
If industrial pollution with carbon dioxide keeps at its present-day 5-7 billion metric tons a year, it will not change global temperatures up to the year 2100. The change will be too small for humans to feel even if the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions doubles.
The former link, from which I just quoted, has some interesting data in it, including--if I understand correctly--the fact that we're looking at cooling to "Little Ice Age" levels. And in about 100,000 years we're looking at an ice age that'll be worse than the last one.

The latter link says that we're looking at decreased sunspot activity, which is an indicator of decreased solar activity, which means--you guessed it--it's going to get cold outside. Recall that the Maunder Minimum coincided with the Little Ice Age. This link seems to indicate that we're looking at another, similar minimum. Maybe not as bad--maybe "only" as bad as the bitter winter that Washington's troops had to endure at Valley Forge.

In other words, this time in 2040, it'll probably be below zero outside. And we'll have, what, eight billion people to feed in the world?

Keep burning oil and coal, folks. We're going to need as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as possible. Why?

Carbon dioxide cannot be bad for the climate. On the contrary, it is food for plants, and so is beneficial to life on Earth. Bearing out this point was the Green Revolution—the phenomenal global increase in farm yields in the mid-20th century. Numerous experiments also prove a direct proportion between harvest and carbon dioxide concentration in the air.
That's why. 8,000,000,000 people are going to need food in 33 years. I don't want to starve to death in the freezing cold at age 73 because Al Gore needs his ego stroked in 2008, damn it.