February 16th, 2015

#4583: The more that I think about it....

You know, that truck should work even if it has been on a shelf for years and years. There should not be any issue with the electronics, considering that it was stored well out of direct sunlight in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.

The fact that it does not is, of course, mere bloody-mindedness. I haven't tested it yet today, with fully-charged batteries, but based on past experience the fact that the batteries are full of electrons is not going to make a lick of difference.

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"Most inhumane capital punishment ever"? Ever?

Did the writer of this nonsense--about the possibility of Utah reinstating the use of the firing squad for executions--not see the stories about ISIS setting fire to a Jordanian pilot, burning him alive?

"Most inhumane capital punishment ever?" Being shot by a firing squad is worse than being drawn and quartered? It's worse than being burned at the stake? It's worse than being gassed in Auschwitz or worked to death in a gulag or being starved to death by a government pogrom? It's worse than being boiled in oil? It's worse than--as JayG points out--crucifixion? It's worse than being flensed or flayed alive?

This idiot should read Name of the Rose, damn it. Umberto Eco describes some horriffic executions in there, things like tearing people apart with red-hot tongs.

If someone was going to execute me and I were given a choice--and "allow a gradual decline into senility" were not on the menu--I'd pick being shot by firing squad over ninety percent of the methods of execution employed by humans since the dawn of time.

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225-year-old flintlock still counts as a "handgun". Because of course that's the kind of weapon the 2nd Amendment refers to, right?

Here's the problem: let's say that you wish to commit mayhem with a muzzle-loading firearm like a flintlock pistol. You're all set to go with it, got it loaded and primed and ready, and you go to your target and open fire. Bang, you've shot someone.

...and now, you must reload, which--if you have practiced and practiced and practiced the operation--cannot take you less than about twenty seconds, during which you do not have a hand free to do anything else.

There is a reason that pirates who carried pistols also carried a sword: when they were fighting, they would shoot twice, drop the pistols, and then go on fighting with the sword. It takes an eternity to reload a muzzleloader in combat.

So while you're reloading your pistol, the rest of your erstwhile victims can kick the shit out of you. Total casualties: one person, which assumes that you managed to hit a target in the first place, something that I would not be prepared to bet on considering all the variables at play here.

Can you kill someone with a flintlock? Absolutely. Can you kill more than one person with a flintlock in a given location at a certain time? Not really.

The gun laws in New Jersey are stupid for a variety of reasons, but the idea that someone should be put in jail for five years because he owns an antique pistol that no one in his right mind would try firing is especially stupid. Because of course criminal gangs are doing drive-bys with muzzleloaders, right? And of course a flintlock is the weapon of choice when you're going to stick up a gas station!


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I've hardly touched WoW for the past several days. I've had too many other things going on. On Friday I was on long enough for my toons with garrisons to assign followers to missions, but otherwise I think I did one dungeon on one toon and a few quests--since Thursday.

Well, now I have some time off, and it looks like the RC truck ain't happening. I suppose I could fix it, if I had an oscilloscope (in order to see what's going on signal-wise) but I don't, so in all probability it's finished.

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Yesterday I had a gander at ebay, search term "go kart", and discovered that centrifugal clutches cost about as much as they have since 1983: $20. How is that for deflation?

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As fatalistic as I was, I tried the truck just now, and it works, and THANK GOD. Now I can have some fun!

#4584: What this thing needs is BRAKES.

I discovered that I can't do donuts (as I had hoped) nor can I get it to spin. The tires get just enough bite that it will either climb a slope, or sit there and strip gears (gonna have to make sure the drivetrain is cinched down). The tires won't spin, which--on a decent slope--would let me crab it sideways.

I can do none of the maneuvers I had hoped I could. Of course, the snow is different than it was lo these many years ago when I first had the idea; back then the snow had a hard layer of ice on it, enough that it had a semi-glossy sheen; this is just snow that partly melted and refroze.

No, getting the hose out is beyond the scope of this project.

Even so, I spent about fifteen minutes outside--until my fingers went numb--running the thing around on the snow, and then on the driveway. On the driveway I was able to get a little air when I ran it over a clump of ice. There's a place where snow makes a quite natural ramp to the middle of one of the bushes, and I was able to get the thing to climb about halfway up before it started stripping gears again. (Something's gotta be loose in there; it never did that before. It would either go, or not go; it would not go GRKKKKKK.)

I'm really glad that the issues I was having were due to low batteries. I should have known better--the batteries had charged for perhaps an hour or so, when they typically need about twelve hours at the first charge, and although the 9V battery provides power for the transmitter it is not the sole power source, and if the C cells are out of juice of course the operation will become unpredictable.

It's just that I'm used to things being problematic: I decide to get my RC truck out, so I buy new batteries, and then the truck doesn't work. That scenario is all too typical.

Anyway, truck works; I may or may not take a video of it in action, but it's hard to do that when both your hands are occupied with hooning the truck around. Whatever video I take is not going to be very exciting, but if I take it, I'll YouTube it.

...maybe what I ought to do is take it over to Og's place sometime soon and hoon it in his back yard. That might make for some interesting video; they've got quite a slope over there. Of course in high gear the truck would not be able to climb back up, so I'd have to go retrieve it after each trip to the bottom of the hill.

High gear, low gear: the thing's got a dual-range transmission in it, selectable via a switch on the bottom that changes gears in the gearbox. It's zippy in high range but has no real torque available; in low range it can climb hills but it's not fast at all.

In either mode it scares the socks off the cat. Heh.