November 11th, 2009

#1807: "The mere presence of money, even a lot of it, is not evidence of a crime."

In the 1990s I followed a local story about a pizzeria which was raided by narcotics cops. The police were following a tip given by an informant, and they found something like half a million dollars in a barrel at the bottom of a dumbwaiter shaft. The money was confiscated as "drug money" but no charges were filed nor were any actual drugs found at the restaurant. The owner of the restaurant sued to get the money back, and the judge agreed; his opinion contained the quote which I borrowed to title this post.

TSA apparently has learned the same lesson, somehow. Score one for personal liberty.

* * *

Mere coincidence that we're in an extended solar minimum and just concluded the third coldest October on record?

Somehow, I doubt it.

It was also the wettest October on record out of 115 years.
According to the NOAA Midwest Regional Climate Center in Champaign, Illinois, more than half of the long-term stations in the Midwest had one of their five wettest Octobers on record, with one out of five observing its wettest. Combined with the cold, this delayed crop planting and stunted crop maturity. Corn development was as much as four weeks behind in places, and the soybean harvest was well behind schedule throughout the region.
Hmm, what was it that guy said? Oh yes: when sunspot counts go down, the price of grain goes up because crop yields go down. I remember.

* * *

Socialized medicine for thee, but not for me. Business as usual in the halls of government: the last damn thing the politicians want is for them and theirs to actually be subject to the shitty health care they're planning for the rest of us.

* * *

I'm beginning to think that carbon nanotubes are the 21st century version of the laser. Is there anything they can't do?

I read an article in Trains magazine last month about researchers using lasers to check rail for defects: the lasers are used to transmit ultrasonic impulses to the rail and to detect the results. I mean, WTF, using light to transmit sound mechanically? Is there anything you can't do with a laser? I doubt the guys who invented the laser realized what they'd come up with. It's turned out to be an extremely versatile technology.

...and the more we fiddle with carbon nanotubes, the more useful and versatile they appear.

* * * "All socialist roads lead to the same destination."

* * *

It looks like I can get away with replacing just the failed lifter; which means a little later today I'm going to go order one.

Then we'll see if I'm right, or if I need help.

#1808: Seriously: watch this video.

Make sure you have your speakers on. This is good.

I digitized the song after my second viewing of the video; I've listened to it about 15 times since last night.


It all ties into a concept I've been calling "the majesty of creation" and it revolves around how the universe could have been created by God and still look as if it just happened--an element of what I sometimes call "the doctrine of faith"--and the realization that none of the facts presented in that song are incompatible with creation. In fact, none of the extant science and knowledge we have right now is incompatible with Creationism. None of it.

Where these scientists see a grand dance of atoms, I see a precision machine built for an ineffable purpose by God. And their own evidence leads me to this conclusion.

* * *

Shifting the transmission on a semi tractor requires not just knowledge of how to operate a manual transmission; it includes two switches on the shift knob that you've got to master before you can drive the thing smoothly.

All this with an unsynchronized transmission. Yeah, double-clutching is your friend. It makes my brain hurt.

* * *

Well, today I ordered the new lifter for the Escort and did a whole schmeer of maintenance on the Jeep: oil change, grease job, rotate tires. I figure I saved myself at least $50 by doing it myself.

Regardless of whether or not the new lifter fixes the Escort, I am taking a break from automotive work for a while, dang it, once the Escort is back together. My arms hurt; I couldn't even hold the damn tires off the ground to put them on the Jeep--I had to sit on the ground and hold the tires up with my shins while I got them onto the lugs.

In the space of 10 days I have:

1) removed a drivetrain from a car
2) installed a drivetrain into a car
3) troubleshot the drivetrain's imperfect performance (twice)
4) done maintenance on my daily driver
5) raked leaves
6) cut grass
7) cleaned the garage
8) reassembled the Escort after finding the bad lifter (pending)

...all of it physical, with at most a day or two between for recuperation. Damn it, it's no wonder everything hurts. On the plus side, it's going to do wonders for my muscle tone.