May 29th, 2008

#1083: What an irritating day it's been.

Yesterday I got a notice from the State of Illinois telling me that I've got to get the Jeep smogged before I can re-register it. That makes sense; usually when you bring a car into the state (this was originally an Indiana vehicle) Illinois wants you to have its emissions tested before they'll let you re-register it. Whatev.

Mom had a doc appointment this morning, and the doc is near the local testing station, so I figured I'd drop her off, then go get the machine tested.

Problem: Illinois closed that station permanently.

Argh.

So now the nearest testing station, for OBD vehicles made after 1996, is in Tinley Park, and doesn't open until June. Otherwise I've got to drive to the west side of freaking Joliet.

This, I mused, is Government In Action: there is no requirement that they make complying with their laws easy or convenient, nor do they even have to attempt to minimize the expense and inconvenience you will experience while making your good-faith attempts to comply with their bone-headed regulations.

The entire point of emissions testing is to lower the pollution generated by cars, so of course it makes perfect sense to make people drive a total of 100 miles or more to get their cars tested rather than, oh, ten or so.

When the time comes to smog the Escort and the Fiero (and the "Fordero", if I ever get it built) I'll have to drive to the one on Joliet.

...and people want to give our medical system to the government? Do these people even think about what that would be like?

* * *

Today Ann Coulter--who I love--discusses President Bush's speech before the Knesset in Israel and Barak Hussein Obama's insistent, "Hey, I resemble that remark! I'm offended!"

Liberal stupidity is nothing new; recall President Bush's remark about that moronic US Senator who said, "If only I could have talked to Hitler!" It's hubris to think that you can make bad men play nice because you are so earnest and good and right-thinking. What inevitably happens is that the evil guy plays on your hubris and earnestness, all the while laughing at you behind your back. There is a reason Lenin referred to his supporters in the US media as "useful idiots": he knew what he was about, and what he wanted, and knew that no one in his right mind would choose to live under a Communist dictatorship.

Ann makes wonderful points, as always.

* * *

Guess what? In certain states, criminal aliens get worker's comp!

...

Over on I have just five words: today there's a link to an op-ed piece by Glenn Beck which makes the excellent point that exploiting illegal immigrants (criminal aliens) is approximately equal to slavery. Beck's column says, in part,
Illegal aliens mean no workers’ comp claims, no age, race or sex discrimination lawsuits, no healthcare premiums, no unions, and no demands for raises, vacations or bigger offices. In fact, illegal immigrants are the perfect employees because they’re not employees at all; they’re corporate slaves.
Except that, in the right wrong states, they do get worker's comp. And in a prior edition of Atomic Fungus I mentioned a news story about a bunch of criminal aliens who were suing their (illegal) employer for overtime pay.

Glenn Beck's article really neatly sums up my own attitudes towards immigration. I'm all for LEGAL immigration. I want legal immigrants to come to the US! If people want to come here to work, I'm all for it, as long as they enter the country legally. I love the Great American Melting Pot. It has given this nation hybrid vigor which no other nation on Earth can even hope to have, and it's part of the reason the US has historically been so successful.

This country's immigration process is seriously broken, too, and just throwing money at the problem isn't going to be enough to fix it. It needs a serious overhaul, not another lame amnesty bill.

* * *

Engineers think that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is safe for about three centuries.

The story of the tower is a fascinating exploration of bad engineering, and the fixes they've employed are equally fascinating. It's good that they've stabilized it, not just because of the historical significance, but because of the object lesson it provides.

* * *

Will ethanol policy get updated to something more sensical? Will we stop burning food in a futile attempt to reduce our dependence on foriegn oil?

I haven't made a secret of my criticism of biofuel policies: they don't help and in fact make the problem worse. I think the government needs to admit that the ethanol policy is, in fact, a program for buying the votes of American farmers.

And, by the way, beef prices are going to rise. Can we stop burning food now?

* * *

One of the reasons that liberals hate Fox News so much: they finished first in day and prime-time ratings for the 77th month in a row.

77 months is six years and five months, and Fox's "right of center" coverage (or, according to liberals, "right-wing Bushitler apologist" coverage) is anathema to people who got used to hearing nothing but the commie-lib party line from news services. And I'm going to seem a bit insensitive and crude when I say this to our liberal friends, but I can't help myself:

Ha ha fucking ha. Suck it, bitches.

* * *

I find it hard to believe that supporters of Barak Hussein Obama who were organizing a rally made a "mistake" when they placed the port-a-potties on a memorial to fallen police officers.

I mean, to the kind of people who support Obama, police officers are "the pigs", and that's just the kind of juvenile, asinine "statement" that people of that ilk are fond of.

* * *

This teacher deserved to be fired. If I was that kid's father, I wouldn't have dared face the woman, because I would have fed her her own feet.

"Carol Mooney, a spokeswoman with the Indiana State Teachers Association," said "What do you say to a kid who's rolling around, punching, biting, kicking? What can a teacher do?"

Well, I can tell you what she does not do. You don't say, "See, your friend doesn't want to be with you. I don't know what else to tell you. So you're not going to have friends because of your actions."

You don't berate a child in front of his classmates until he cries. You don't tell the kid he's "bad and stupid".

The woman obviously made a habit of berating this kid. "The teachers' association is defending Woodward, saying that she 'lost her cool' that day," says the article--but if that's so, why the hell did the parents think to put a tape recorder in the kid's pants to find out what the teacher was saying about (and to) him on a regular basis?

It's inexcusable.

I'm willing to accept the idea that the kid is a total brat. There are kids who are assholes. But if this woman has been teaching "for 13 years" she ought to have enough experience at dealing with kids to know how to handle a brat.

Unless, I don't know, this kid is a legendary dire brat. You know, with extra hit dice and some kind of special attack....

It reminds me of my own kindergarten years. My kindergarten teacher actually got angry with me for reading and writing on my own. What gall I had, to be five years old and reading and writing! What a little brat I was!

Argh.

Public school is utter shit.

* * *

So I said my day was irritating.

I got a call from the gastroenterologist's office today. They called to reschedule my appointment.

You know, it's not for something simple; it's for an invasive procedure that I've got to undergo "gut blowout" to prepare for. I had to ask for a day off so I could do that, and my boss bent the rules a bit to make it work...and now the doctor wants to reschedule because he suddenly has to go out of town.

WTF!

...so I'm going to tell them, "Look, it's got to be the 24th or 26th of June so I can get the time off from work."

If I get any BS about "we don't schedule that far in advance" I'll just have to politely explain the whole freaking thing to them. The unspoken subtext being, of course, "you fucking douchebags!"

On the plus side, it gives me about a week off from everything, so I can do whatever I want to do and show up for work a week from tomorrow as scheduled...fill out a time-off request for the 23rd or the 25th, and F it all.

* * *

I've got a few more things I need to add to the "Fordero" parts list.

I'm going to need a set of engine bay fuel lines. GM used generic FI fuel line (FI="fuel injection") which is capable of handling about 50 PSI, and connected it without using any special connectors. Ford, however, used a special fitting which requires a special tool to seperate the lines. The lines that connect to the fuel rail are what I'll need, even though I'm just going to splice them to the Fiero fuel hoses.

Thinking about the project a little more, I gave some thought to making the engine a unit: mount the ECM to the engine itself somewhere, so that if I want to remove it from the car I just have to disconnect power, fuel, control, and coolant lines, and not a maze of wiring.

When I removed the engine from the '86, I used V8 Archie's method: disconnect the wiring harness at the firewall and take the whole kit'n'kaboodle out as a unit. It does simplify things greatly.

My only worry about an engine-mounted ECM is environmental factors; the ECM is mounted in the passenger compartment for several good reasons, most having to do with dirt and heat. (Maybe I could mount the ECM in the trunk.)

The 2003 JC Whitney catalog I've got in the bathroom has a "performance" exhaust header for the 91-96 Escort 1.9 for $150. I'm thinking that might be a wise investment, particularly since the exhaust manifold I have has a broken stud in it. Of course I can remove the stud, but a better-breathing exhaust would help with performance, particularly since the Escort engine makes less power than any engine ever offered in a Fiero. Every little bit helps, etc. From the exhaust manifold on, though, the exhaust system is fit for a 2.8 liter V6, so the rest of the exhaust system ought to be fine.

After making the engine work in the car, then I could swap the throttle body for something larger--there's a junkyard upgrade for that--and work on eliminating as much restriction from the induction system as possible. It won't mean a large upgrade, but a few horsepower and pound-feet of torque would go a long way.

There should be plenty of room in front of the engine to install a turbo, though, if I ever decide I really need more power. A couple PSI of boost (say, four or so) would make a world of difference.

* * *

Interesting read on climate change. Long PDF, so be warned.

But he makes an interesting point:
The warm period in the 1930s and 1940s was seen in the shorter US rural data set and the rise to the El Nino in 1998. What is also interesting is the 2.2° temperature rise from 7.8° in 1696 to 10.0° in 1732. This is a 2.2° rise is 36 years. By comparison, the world has seen a 0.6° rise over the 100 years of the 20th century.
That temperature rise in the early 18th century was four times as large and three times as fast as the rise in the 20th century. The significance of this is that the world can experience very rapid temperature swings all due to natural causes.
Awesome.

The most damning quote: "The Earth went into an ice age 450 million years ago despite a level of atmospheric carbon dioxide that is ten times what it is today. 150 million years ago, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were five times what they are today, but that didn’t stop a Cretaceous-aged glaciation."

That concentration of carbon dioxide was 4,300 parts per million (PPM), which is just a bit more than the current 385 PPM.

A bit farther on he discusses solar cycles, and the graph projects that we're entering a pair of solar cycles which look like the Dalton minimum.

The article makes the point that solar cycle 24 should have started in January of 2007. It's now May of 2008, and we're still seeing cycle 23 sunspots. The spots which are thought to be cycle 24 spots were micro-spots and faded out very quickly. Has it started? If not, it's now sixteen months overdue...
By my calculations, every day’s delay in the onset of solar cycle 24 will lower the average temperature over that cycle by 1.4 thousandths of a degree centigrade. We are already delayed by a year so that will translate to a 0.5° decline.

Also by my calculations, a 1 ppm increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide increases temperature by one thousandth of a degree. So it only takes two days’ delay in the onset of Solar Cycle 24 to offset the increased temperature due to one year’s emissions of carbon dioxide.
Which means that if Cycle 24 is 16 months overdue--and assuming 30 days per month--we've offset 240 years' worth of carbon emissions already.

Farther down, there is a graph relating carbon dioxide concentration to how much additional warmth is retained. The first 20 PPM of carbon dioxide retains as much warmth as the next 400 PPM.

In other words, to double the warming due to 20 PPM of carbon dioxide, you must increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by a factor of 21.

Global warming over.
Al Gore=very stupid.