April 4th, 2008

#993: Watch as Dems Go Nuts.

Air America suspends liberal host over anti-Hillary rant. That's right: Randi Rhodes went on an invective-filled diatribe as part of an apparent "stand-up comedy" routine...against Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro.

The silly woman. If she had confined her nasty remarks to John McCain, she wouldn't be in trouble at all....

Librarian gets canned; her boss adds negative details to her personnel file afterwards. She committed the cardinal sin of reporting that someone was viewing ciddy-prn on a library computer; for this, her boss fired her...and then added some minor negative BS to her last job review to "justify" it.

What the fuck is it with libraries in the US? Since when do public libraries exist to give safe haven to child molestors? I'm pretty sure that's a place we don't want to go, particularly since kids should be encouraged to visit the library regularly.

Yet any time we have a case where a library is going to filter access to pr0n, the freaking American Library Association is right there to sue. Look: kid-oprn is not covered under the First Amendment or "freedom of expression"; the law's pretty clear on that--so why do we, the citizens of the US, continue to allow shit like this?

In some arenas of the Left, child-poen is celebrated, particularly in the context of homosexuality, and there is a movement to legalize the stuff--at least the homo variety--and if you doubt me, read Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, which treats favorably a situation in which a fourteen year-old girl is date-raped by an adult lesbian. This play is celebrated and performed every year around Valentine's Day. And just remember: the ACLU has no problem defending NAMBLA.

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World needs more carbon dioxide, says a solar scientist. This is awesome. "How can you be right and 2,000 scientists wrong?" Asked one moron in attendance. (Proof that you need not be smart to be in charge of a company, I guess.)

...I'm not going to go into a long explanation of how one scientist can be right and 2,000 can be wrong. Particularly when the 2,000 are climate "scientists".

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Ah, the beauty of nationalized health care. A 76-year-old woman couldn't get dental work done, so she had to extract her teeth herself. Isn't that lovely? And all three of the frontrunners for President this fall are in favor of nationalizing our health care system. *sigh*

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SECURE THE BORDERS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! We could keep assholes like these out of the US if we were allowed just to enforce the freaking immigration laws!

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Can we bring back the Saturn V now?

Problems with Constellation:

1) Violent shaking due to solid rocket boosters causes damage to vehicle during ascent
2) Orion capsule is too heavy for the Ares rocket to boost
3) No one can make a heat shield large enough for the capsule
4) No test facilities capable of handling the Constellation system components

Are these problems solvable? Probably. Once they are, will we get a system with the capabilities of a Saturn V? I seriously doubt it.

Fuel cell-powered airplane flies. Yes, put hydrogen and oxygen into a fuel cell, and you get electricity. Yes, electricity can turn a motor with enough force to enable a propellor to move an airplane fast enough for it to fly. Another great day in the annals of engineering, yay.

Where do you get the hydrogen?

Uh...well, the electrolysis of water--

Where do you get the electricity to electrolyze the water?

Uh...power outlet--

Where does the power come from?

Well, most electricity in the US is generated by burning coal or oil--

Thank you for playing.

Hydrogen is a storage medium; it is not a source. Until you can find a way of making hydrogen which does not involve burning a lot of coal or oil--or until the great day when someone discovers you can drill for pure hydrogen the way you can drill for oil, and actually sets up hydrogen wells--a hydrogen economy will not solve squat.

This "fuel cell" nonsense drives me buggy. It's worse than the ethanol bullshit. Not only do you have to have an entirely new infrastructure for manufacturing and delivering the hydrogen; you need an entirely new way of storing it...and then cars and airplanes must be capable of using the stuff. At least ethanol can be blended with gasoline!

Well, on Mythbusters I saw them run a car on hydrogen by pointing a hose from a cylinder of hydrogen at the car's carbeurator, and apparently it ran just fine without any other fuel. (But that wastes a lot of hydrogen....) As an aside, on that same episode, the geniuses looked for the car's fuel hose by cutting tubing approximately at random until they found the fuel line. Jesus. (Adam? Jamie? I know cars and work pretty cheap. But I'd probably just spend all my time following Carrie around and drooling, so never mind.)

I don't know; how long can you run a car on a 6-foot cylinder of hydrogen? I mean, in real-world driving, assuming a method which lets you meter the hydrogen to the air flowing through the throttle body, how many miles could you go? I doubt you'd get even as far as a tankful of gasoline would take you. The density of gaseous hydrogen, even under 6,000 PSI of pressure, is not that great...and I wouldn't want to be anywhere near an accident involving a 6-foot gas bottle. (Knock the bung off that and you have a rocket.)

I once saw some state of Indiana vehicle which had stickers on it proudly proclaiming that it was fueled with natural gas or propane or some such BS. The funny part was the sticker on the rear bumper: "WARNING: THIS VEHICLE MAKES FREQUENT STOPS". Heh. You don't say?

#994: I know just how he feels.

The last episode of Doctor Who with Lalla Ward and K-9, "Warriors' Gate", features the captain of a slaver ship named Rorvik who is cursed with an incredibly apathetic crew. He has to yell and bluster to get them to do anything, and frequently they do it incorrectly or just ignore his orders.

Rorvik, his ship and crew, and the Doctor, Romana, Adric (boo! hiss!), K-9, and the Tardis, all end up in a strange space between normal space and "exo-space". If you consider normal space--our space--to be in the "+X +Y +Z +T" domain of a four-dimensional space, "exo-space" is in the "-X -Y -Z -T" domain. (Nothing is said about the other 14 possibilities.) They're in a space which is essentially the "0 0 0 0" coordinate.

Near the end of the episode, the space is collapsing because the ship is made out of "dwarf star alloy". The ship carries slaves, members of a "time-senstive" race called Tharils; the degenerate matter covering the ship keeps the Tharils from escaping. Unfortunately it makes for an extremely heavy ship, and the mass of the ship, coupled with the mass of the Tardis, is causing the space to contract.

Desperate to get out of this strange space before the "big crunch", Captain Rorvik is planning to back his ship up to the only obvious portal out of the space and activate the engines, thus--he thinks--blowing the portal open.

Problem is, The Doctor is convinced that this will only accelerate the speed at which the space is collapsing. The portal is designed not to be passable, except by certain people (Tharils, for one) and it's otherwise completely impenetrable.

Trying to stop Rorvik, the Doctor acts to sabotage his ship--but Rorvik catches him in the act and knocks him unconscious.

In a fit of glee, Rorvick laughs, "I'm finally getting something DONE!"

And I know just how he feels.

Today I got the batteries out of the van and the '85 Fiero, and they are both charging even as I write this. I got the Escort started and moved up to the top of the driveway, within range of the MIG welder (if it ever stops drizzling) so I can fix the right rear strut tower. And I called a local machine shop.

The '86 Fiero has sat in my garage, needing all sorts of stuff, since October of 2004. And now, today, I called a local machine shop to find out what they'd charge for a valve job and some minor engine services.

End total would be $450 plus parts to get the heads rebuilt, the engine block cleaned and honed, and to have the old cam bearings removed and new ones installed. (Parts extra, of course. No biggie.)

I'm finally getting something DONE!

All I need to do now is to FIND the cylinder heads and shlep them over there. But since first I have to get vehicles movable in order to have enough room in the garage to walk, I'm going to back-burner the valve job...for now.

I really want to have that engine in one piece by the end of the summer. It's going to take in the neighborhood of $400 worth of parts. I also plan to find out what they'll do to the engine block--he mentioned "jet wash" and I'm not sure what that means--but I'd be all over having a nice clean engine block and that's the best way to handle it. I really want to do it right and have a "known good" engine when I'm done, not a half-assed "maybe it'll last and maybe it won't" engine.

I gave away my shift on Wednesday night to a coworker who really needed the hours with this kind of stuff in mind: getting stuff done. It's hard to do when you work from 10 PM until 6 AM, and you come home feeling ready for embalming, even if you do get weekends off. For some reason, working 3rd shift just takes more out of you than working 1st or even second shift does--and the fact that my job is highly physical does not help matters any.

The last time I did something like this was November, and that week got consumed with fixing the brakes on the van. (And getting my class "C" license for work.) So this week I'm actually getting to do some of my own little projects.

Besides getting the Escort movable, I cleaned a bit of the garage; and now I'm letting the Fiero and van batteries charge. I want to get the van over to a Ford dealership to have its cruise control issue fixed (there's a recall) and make the MGB movable, too.

I still want to wash the Fiero, turn it around, and put a car cover on it.

I want to finish painting the '86 Fiero cradle and reassemble the rear end.

I want to time the MGB's engine properly and see if that fixes it's complete lack of power.

There's all sorts of stuff that needs doing, but much of it I can't do until I can move the van and the '85 Fiero. And it's a cold and drizzly morning, and it's supposed to be that way until afternoon--so I'm going to watch some anime now. See you!

#995: Poor memory

So I braved the cold and wind to pull the interior off the right rear strut tower of the Escort, so I could fab up a patch panel and zap it in.

...then I saw the strut tower.

I think I've said several times here that the "top plate" of the strut tower was "about halfway gone".

Problem is, it's not.

And so I have to wonder, where in the hell did I get that idea? 'Cause looking at it, I saw an area about 70% the size of an Eisenhower dollar coin which was rusted through. And that was it.

I knocked on the rusty area with various implements and found that the metal is solid around it. So instead of fabbing up a patch panel, I just hit it with some primer and put everything back together--there's no point to doing any welding back there when so little of the structure is damaged.

So "Escort repair" has been taken off my "to-do" list, anyway.

I putzed around in the garage a lot today, though, doing a bunch of little things that added up. I'm hoping to make a bigger dent tomorrow, though. Tomorrow I'll have fully-charged batteries in both the van and the Fiero, enabling me to start them and move them. (I put a new battery terminal on the positive battery cable in the van. It's good to go, as soon as I have a charged battery.) When I can move those vehicles, I can move the MGB, and then I'll have room to work in the garage....

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When I replaced the "Ace in the Hole" in our basement--when I put in a new battery-operated backup sump pump to replace the old one which had died--I kept most of the components, including the battery charger. That battery charger knocked around the garage since then; and when I spied it this morning, I realized I could charge more than one battery at a time simply by hooking it up.

It's a trickle charger, and it has post clamps rather than spring-loaded clips, but it's a battery charger and it works. At some point I'll replace the post clamps with alligator clips, but it's not an immediate necessity since I have only one functioning car that uses a side-terminal battery--the Fiero--and I have a charger that'll deal with that one.

The only thing about this charger is that it's got an alarm in it; if triggered, it has to be reset with a push of a switch on the front panel. Otherwise, WTF.

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The day started out cold and wet, but by the time I was ready to call it a day, the sun had come out and it had warmed up enough that I could take off my hat and hoodie. Tomorrow is supposed to be equally nice, so hopefully I can get more accomplished without working too hard.

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And tonight at 9 PM central time, Battlestar Galactica finally continues. Whee!