May 27th, 2008

#1080: Yet again, "solar minimum".

I have just five words: "The Growing Evidence Solar Based Global Cooling". The post quotes John Ringo:
Due to some new understandings and tracking ability, we know that Cycle 25 is going to be low. The driver is the lower-level ‘racetrack’ which is trackable now. It wasn’t in time to figure out 24. Slow racetrack means low cycle. The norm is 6 meters per second. Current rate is .25mps. Low cycle for 25. (Cold)

We should have seen the first sunspot for [cycle] 24 around September.

There wasn’t one until last January. Several months late.

As of this writing (late May) there have been only six or seven ‘microspots’.

We had unusually cold weather in 2007. Guess why?

...and we're having cycle 23 spots still. The spot in January wasn't even all that much of a spot; it faded before it got very far. I think it's debatable that cycle 24 has even started.

And cycle 25 is going to be worse.

Even if I don't drive the Jeep much during the summers, I think it's good that I have it.

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I'll help them beat up hippies. Jesus Christ.

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Ooh, here he sums up the evil of Che Guevara.
Che Guevara, the chief executioner of Fidel Castro’s brutal revolution, was a bank robber, a cold-blooded murderer, an enthusiastic torturer and generally an evil, sociopathic bastard. He’s quite literally the poster boy for everything wrong with socialism.

Tell it!

I just added this guy as a "friend" in LJ. I had to. He was for Fred Thompson before he dropped out.

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Well, I've finished watching Chocotto Sister and Oh! My Goddess! season two. I'm going to miss them.

O!MG! ought to have a third season, and more, but it's probably not the way to bet.

I've got a couple eps left of the first season of Da Capo, and I've got another 28 episodes of Hayate no Gotoku to watch.

Guess I'll get all the Mokke in one place and start watching that, and maybe El Cazador de la Bruja for good measure.

And I worked out how to watch DVDs through the computer. Getting decent sound is the biggest problem; for some reason the sound playback is extra-soft and I have to twiddle some settings in the Audio Options menu of Media Player Classic.

Still, I've seen--at work--a rather nice combo VCR/DVD player which could replace my current VCR (which is something like 6 years old now) and let me eliminate the crazy patchwork of cables which lets me watch DVDs with copy protection.

Currently, if a DVD is copy protected, I have to switch the line-in on the VCR and use the Apex DVD player, because the Apex has been hacked to eliminate the Macrovision encoding (when I bought it, I didn't have a TV with component inputs). But it's kind of clumsy to do things that way.

But anyway, I threw in the first DVD of Azumanga Daioh and watched the "Osaka gets the hiccoughs" story, and some other bits and pieces, before I started watching the fansubs. And even though I know the stories by heart, I still laugh at them because they're just so damned funny.

The computer doesn't enable Macrovision, either, strangely enough. The video signal goes from the video card to the DVD recorder to the VCR to the TV; if there was Macrovision in the signal, it'd look like an explosion in a fireworks factory by the time it hit the screen. But it didn't even mottle Yomi's hair when there were subtitles on-screen the way the Apex does.

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As predicted, it suddenly got cooler this evening. I hit the shower around midnight, and when I got out of the shower, it had suddenly gotten colder. Colder, that is, than my moistened state alone could account for; when I'd gotten into the shower it was still in the high 70s in here. When I got out, it was at least ten degrees cooler.

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Thinking about it, I realized that "Do not want" was actually better writing than Darth Vader's "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" near the end of Revenge of the Sith.

But what I really don't get is why the hell the Chinese bootleg is subtitled in English. That doesn't make any sense to me at all. I mean, is it a pirate edition of the movie that was dubbed in Chinese, and the Chinese pirates are translating it for sale to an English-speaking audience? I don't get it.

It connects to a whole slew of pirate editions of things, though, with translations that are so God-awful they don't even make sense.

Go to Rinkworks and go down near the bottom of the page. It's a list of bad translations from Hong Kong movies. I think my favorite is "Beware! Your bones are going to be disconnected."

But "Beat him out of recognizable shape!" is a close second.

#1081: Sunspot watch

#997 has appeared, is tiny, and is already fading out.

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Today it's 46° outside, which is thirty-seven degrees cooler than it was 24 hours ago.

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Today Jalopnik has a piece on a small car called the "Axon", which is an ultralight car with a small engine, and it reportedly gets 100 MPG.

It's a British car, so that's 100 miles per Imperial gallon, which is 1.2 US gallons. So figure that it'd be about 83 miles per US gallon. Still, it's nothing to sneeze at, particularly considering that the car uses no "hybrid" technology whatsoever: it uses the tried-and-true method of "light car, small engine" to attain those figures.

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One of the advantages of driving the Escort is that if I don't have to wait for traffic before making the turn onto my street, I can make the turn, coast to the house, and into the driveway without having to put the car back into gear.

I have several little tricks like that I use, all of which end up helping raise the fuel economy of the car. Most involve energy management so that I don't waste fuel doing futile things, like accelerating up a hill only to stop at a stop sign, for example. If the light ahead is red, I start coasting, because there's a chance it'll change if I give it enough time.

This drives some people nuts--mostly idiots who think you must go 95 at all times even when you're a block away from a red light that already has other cars waiting at it, and even if it changed green now you would still have to slow down because the other cars don't accelerate instantaneously, so there's no point to go roaring up to the light at 10 over the limit because you'll just have to stop anyway. Whereas if you slow down, take it easy, and coast, you might not have to stop, and then only accelerate from 30 instead of a dead stop.

What I don't do is the stupid "hypermiler" things like shutting the engine off, because it's unsafe to operate a car with power steering and brakes without the engine running. Also, in many cases, it's bad for the transmission, too.

If you've got a car with an automatic transmission, don't shut the engine off while you're moving; you might save gasoline but whatever savings you manage that way will be utterly obliterated by the increased wear-and-tear on the transmission due to lack of lubrication. It costs $1,500 (and more) to rebuild a modern automatic transmission; keep that in mind.

Most auto transmissions can handle short distances at low speed without lubrication, but Lord, I wouldn't make a habit of it.

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I work Wednesday this week, and then--if the schedule remains unchanged--I don't work again until Friday, June 6th. But the 4th and 5th will be "colon blowdown days". *sigh*

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My blog is a combination of the "this is my life" type and the "this is what I think" type, with the occasional foray into "O GAWD IT SUX 2 B ME" schtick (but I try to avoid that as much as I can). And since this is LiveJournal, I think that's probably appropriate.

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And that's it; that's all I've got today. It's the first workday after an uneventful weekend, and there's very little I feel the need to comment on. I think I'll go back to bed.