September 20th, 2020

#7310: Delivery

Since when do delivery services operate on Sundays? FedEx was just here and dropped off the exhaust system parts I ordered for the Jeep.

New muffler and tailpipe, stainless steel, $150 delivered. So my next step with the Jeep is to take out the corresponding parts of the exhaust system and install these, which will go a very very long way towards reducing the drone I get inside the cabin.

Of course, it's not that simple. It's not an exact replacement, so I'll need to cut the flange off the old muffler and reuse it; and I also need to replace the rear hanger on the truck (which is a clamp-type) and cut the hanger off the tailpipe (which is the rubber bushing type). Hope beyond hope that the flange on the muffler isn't the leak, but I do have a welder so I might be able to bodge something together. (Except, wait, the original is stainless steel. *sigh*)

I haven't done the rear hangar because it means removing, at least partly, the trailer hitch. I've been thinking, though, about turning the mounting holes on the exhaust hanger into slots so I can just loosen the hitch, then slip it in. I don't know what to do, which is one reason I haven't done it yet despite having the parts since 2018.

Anyway, I unboxed the shiny new parts and gloated over them, then turned to today's actual project: the cupola roof. The panel I stuck on last night is on tight, so I rotated the piece 90 degrees and stuck on the next one. The glue is still usable and in fact came out of the tube easier. Or, perhaps my hands just aren't as tired since I did not spend the prior half-hour cutting aluminum sheetmetal with tin snips.

* * *

Trouble sleeping last night, of course. But not as bad as Friday night. So, in 2020, my medication regime went from two pills, to six, taken at bedtime:
* anxiety pill (brain)
* blood pressure pill (heart)
* acid blocker (stomach)
* antihistamine (nose)
* Vitamin D3 (skeleton)
* mulitvitamin
The latter two are not prescriptions but just taken on general principles.

Formerly, just anxiety pill and multivitamin. But my blood pressure has finally gone up out of "marginal". Prior to this year, there had been times when my blood pressure went into the yellow arc, where it was too low to be high, but too high to be normal, but it always dropped again later on. It's not likely to drop from here. And maybe if I keep working as I have this last week it'll drop again because I simply haven't been getting enough exercise, and exercise is what kept it low (or at least marginal) prior to all this.

And my stomach--I discussed that; the bronchial symptoms I've been having are due to GERD, so a proton pump inhibitor is needed. As late summer/early autumn has begun I've found myself sneezing a lot, which is allergies, hence the antihistamine. Vitamins are just good for you and I added the D3 partly for anti-COVID but also because I realized that I don't get enough sunlight to photosynthesize enough of my own, and I probably need it.

Anyway, looks like the anxiety pill will have to stay at a full tablet now. It's not supposed to be obvious that quickly--SSRIs take time to work--but the nights when I take a half tablet are inevitably a lot more disturbed than ones where I take a whole one. I keep waking up, I have more trouble falling asleep, etcetera. Got to love chronic anxiety. *sigh*

To be honest, it's easier to swallow a mouthful of six assorted pills than it is to swallow one or two tiny ones. "Straining at gnats" and so forth.

* * *

Mrs. Fungus and I watched Outland last night. Not art for the ages and I only put it on because it was the first thing under "free movies" that caught my eye, and I was sick of watching political news.

Not art for the ages but a good, solid, entertaining movie that is (mostly) hard SF. Okay, it's basically High Noon set in a mining colony on Io, but people are people regardless of the century. Peter Boyle's character--the general manager of the mining colony, Shepherd--is just about every supercilious, condescending, idiotic, shithead boss everyone's ever had, and Boyle played the role well, so it's really satisfying to see Sean Connery deck him at the end.

On Io, Shepherd is a big fish in a little pond, but it's made obvious during the movie that elsewhere he's a little fish in a big pond, and he's going to find out what that means the next time a shuttle arrives from the space station. And he's not likely to be as resourceful as O'Niell (Connery) is.

The explosive decompression scenes are, of course, pure Hollywood, but you can't really avoid that. Dropping abruptly from atmospheric pressure to zero atmosphere would not be good for you, but most of the injuries that kill you don't produce graphically gory results; for the most part it's just the bends--nitrogen bubbles in your blood that cause embolisms throughout your entire body, interrupting blood flow to heart and brain. Of course that doesn't make for an obvious fatal condition, and it looks like the guy just fainted (except for maybe some light bruising, red eyes, a bit of foaming or bleeding at the mouth and nostrils, perhaps, etc) so they hype it up.

People experience a rapid pressure drop of 4 psi all the time: they get into airplanes which then climb as rapidly as possible to cruise altitude, and the pressure inside the plane remains about 10 PSI or so. The only way you suffer any ill effects is if (as an episode of House, MD once pointed out) you went SCUBA diving within the past couple of days. Even then, you're not puffing up and exploding or anything.

Above about 14,000 feet most people need supplementary oxygen to remain conscious. At the peak of Mount Everest, air pressure is about 4.4 PSI, a scant third of air pressure at the surface. The Apollo spacecraft ran at 5 PSI.

With proper preparation it might be possible for a human being to get by in vacuum with just a respirator. Prebreathe pure oxygen to get the nitrogen out of the blood, have a breathing apparatus that supplies oxygen at some low pressure--just enough to force it into the blood, "2 PSI" is the figure I recall--and gradually reduce the ambient air pressure. I'm sure there would be disconcerting effects but I can't think of anything that would be actively fatal. Well--except 2 PSI in the lungs might be too much differential. It's not a lot of pressure, but what's the surface area of the inside of the lung? Multiply that by 2 and it's probably a lot. 7265 square feet is a median figure for the area, so that'd be a mere seven tons of air pressure inside the lungs trying to get out.

Pop!

Oh, well.

#7311: I don't care what Democrats think of Trump's actions

Look, I said it last week and I'm saying it now: the President has every right to nominate a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Obama had every right to nominate a replacement for Antonin Scalia in 2016. Neither case was unprecedented in American history and the prior occurrences had pretty much spelled out what we do in those circumstances: if President and Senate majority are of the same party, the nominee is installed. If President and Senate majority party differ--as was the case in 2016--the nominee is rejected. There's no hypocrisy there and it really is that simple.

It may have been the only right and proper thing he ever said, but Obama really did say it best: elections have consequences. The Constitution does not make exceptions based on the closeness of an impending election; Biden is just a candidate for the office and the election isn't going to be held for six more weeks. Regardless of the outcome, Trump is President of the United States until January 20, 2021.

The Democrats are trying to think of ways to stop it.

But it frames the debate nicely especially since Biden won't name his picks. He can't--his picks would give Trump more rope with which to hang him.

Funny thing is, Ginsburg herself opined on the matter.
When a similar scenario occurred four years ago, following the death of Antonin Scalia, the Republican-controlled Senate blocked Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. It was a controversial move, and Ginsburg had something to say about it: Ginsburg publicly called on the Senate to go through with the nomination.

"That's their job," she said in July 2016. "There's nothing in the Constitution that says the President stops being President in his last year."

"Eight is not a good number for a collegial body that sometimes disagrees," Ginsburg said on the issue a few months later during an event at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington.
Predictably, the Democrats are harping about "honoring her last wishes", but if Antonin Scalia had had the temerity to say something like Ginsburg's last words, Obama would have wasted no time on discounting them let alone even paying heed. Except that someone like Scalia wouldn't be so arrogant even to consider trying to bind the actions of a sitting President like that.

He had more class than that.

* * *

The media can cry me a fucking river. The media complains about how Trump's rhetoric endangers them, how it encourages violence against media people.

I went to the link in the post, and found it chock-full of left-wing horseshit about "protests". The word "riot" is used twice: Once in a quote from a Trump campaign spokesman, and here:
During his presidency, Trump has repeatedly attacked the press and encouraged violent tactics used by police against anti-racism demonstrators and rioters.
Trump hasn't encouraged the use of "violent tactics" against mere demostrators, only rioters; and notice that this statement conflates the two.

This is America in the year 2020. Police do not fire tear gas and rubber bullets at "peaceful protestors" because they do not want to get sued. I can guarantee you that the most racist police officer in the United States won't fire anything at black protestors who are simply standing there chanting something, because unless he's a complete lunatic he knows that doing anything against a peaceful protest is a violation of civil rights and he'd be lucky to just get sued down to his skivvies.

But if those protestors are lighting fires and breaking windows and looting and throwing rocks at police and--in general--causing mayhem, that is not protest.

I think as long as the media takes sides like this, they're not press, not journalists, but advocates...and as such deserve no more protection than the people they support.

* * *

By the way? Trump mocking the journalist that got hit with the riot-control measure, I think that's cast iridium AWESOME. A lot of people on my side of the aisle are giggling over that. Because we've had to listen to the press demean and disparage us for decades.

* * *

BLM attacks a gay mexican and his boyfriend. You do realize that although Democrats lump them together as "people of color" there is no love lost between hispanics and blacks? In the lefty spoils system, the two blocs are competitors, not friends.

Any time the left seizes power, there is infighting until one group comes out on top. The losers get executed in the camps. Assuming they make it that far.

* * *

At certain altitudes the atmosphere of Venus is slightly more benign than at the surface, and a balloon could hold a probe at 60 km altitude for months. 60 km is about 37 miles. Venus' atmosphere is so dense that nitrogen ought to be the gas of choice for the envelope; after all nitrogen does not easily migrate through typical balloon materials and it's lighter than CO2 is.

Very neat idea, though.

* * *

Another ridiculously nice day today. It's already 3 and I'm not feeling too hot; the headache I had upon waking has receded but is still present. Original plan had been to hit the roof and work on the cupola base but I'm just not feeling it, so I'll probably go out in another couple of hours and check the status of the sheathing panel I stuck on around noonish. If it's stuck on pretty firmly then I'll rotate the piece again and stick another piece on. If not, leave it alone.

I've been trying to avoid snacking, and having sweets in general, but I indulged myself and ate a pair of Reese's peanut butter cups. Even that didn't help my headache.

And today is the first day of autumn. Whee!