September 6th, 2021

#7803: "still matters of some conjecture"

That means they are guessing.

I don't really want to re-hash all my arguments against dark matter, but I don't think physics and astronomy have really dealt with the questions raised regarding the use of general relativity, rather than classical mechanics, for such issues as galactic formation and rotation.
Dark matter is remarkable for its invisibility--it neither absorbs nor emits light of any wavelength. We know about it through its gravitational action, the way it shaped galaxies, organized the largest objects in the Universe, and affected the spectrum of light from the early days of the cosmos. Based on the structure of galaxies, astronomers suspect it is made of particles. But how massive those particles are, how many types might exist, and how they interact are still matters of some conjecture.
They don't know a damned thing about it, in other words. There are no candidates for it in the Standard Model and no place where it can possibly fit.

I've said it before: if you calculate the motion of a galaxy using relativity, everything lines up rather neatly and you don't need any exotic matter to explain it. The amazing thing about all this is that we've understood the mass-energy equivalence for over a hundred years, and people are still ignoring it because it makes the sums harder.

Look: a million tons of matter moving at a thousand kilometers a second, you don't really need relativity for that, because the relativistic mass of the thing is negligible compared to its classical mass. You're going way down into the decimals. But our galaxy is one and a half trillion solar masses. A solar mass is 2.2x10e27 tons, so our galaxy is about 3.3x10e39 tons of rest mass. What is the relativistic mass of 3.3x10e39 tons of mass moving at an average speed of 250 km/s around the center? How does that premium over the rest mass figure into the motion of stars around the galactic center?

I get that it's difficult to do the math. You have to track the orbits of over a hundred billion stars, plus an uncounted amount of dust and gas, and then do the sums for each star seperately. But if you do that, the result is unmistakable: the relativistic mass of the rest of the galaxy is enough to keep that particular star in the orbit it's in, around the galactic center, without handwavium.

The other issue here is that having dark matter then makes the universe too heavy. The expansion of the universe appears to be accelerating, so, they need dark energy to explain that. You can get dark energy from the standard model, but when you run those numbers the force comes out something like a hundred and thirty orders of magnitude too strong.

An error of that magnitude is like intending to put one molecule of salt on your dinner, and instead dropping Saturn on it. I'm not exaggerating; a difference of some hundred and thirty orders of magnitude is so large that when my starting point was "one grain of salt" I couldn't find an object large enough. Our sun only masses something like 10e27 tons. Multiply a 0.3 mg grain of salt by 10e130 and you end up with 10e121 tons of salt, which is much more than enough mass to form a black hole. About 10e90 times as much!

(And I may be misremembering. It might be 180 orders of magnitude. This does not help.)

Given that, it ought to be understood why I am slightly skeptical about dark anything.

* * *

So, today is labor day.

I spent a lot of yesterday laying down. Not quite sleeping, just laying in bed and dozing. No big surprise, then, that I found myself unable to sleep at bedtime. I didn't end up going to bed until 4.

Today I need to--at a bare minimum--change the oil in Mrs. Fungus' car. I had planned to use the holiday weekend to do a lot more, but our trip to the mother-in-law's house on Saturday--combined with generalized fatigue and laziness--put paid to those plans.

Well, that's how it is, sometimes, and to be honest I'm not really all that upset with myself.

The thing that does annoy me, though, is that I've been intending to head over to a nearby used car lot to look over what they've got for pickups. When I drive past there I see some likely-looking vehicles which--if they are in as good a shape as they look from the road--might do just fine.

I keep thinking that if I were to replace the Jeep, there are three basic things I want: four-wheel drive, the ability to tow trailers, and some reasonable cargo capacity. I've got all that with the Jeep, and those are the things I do not care to be without. I've also got a strong preference for a vehicle which is not front wheel drive when in 2WD mode, though to be honest that's not really as important; it's a matter of taste. I'd give that up for the right vehicle at the right price.

One reason that pickup trucks cost so much stems from the fact that they're durable. They just go, much longer than cars do, because of how they're built. I got my Jeep with 81k on the clock and it's now at 220k, and the only reason I'm considering replacement stems from all the damned rust that's cropped up. A rust-free Chevy or Ford pickup, even with 100k on the clock, would not be a bad investment; the small block V8s endemic to those trucks don't fail, unless they're sorely abused.

I happened to see--at the place from which I bought the Jeep--a nice possibility. It's one I was really interested in, at least until I saw the price. Excellent condition, an older Ranger pickup, 4WD, extended cab, about 70k on it...and it's eleven thousand dollars. Looks like it's in pristine shape but it's older than the Jeep is. And, the 4-liter V6 that Ford put into just about everything, but which was problematic, at least in its front wheel drive configuration.

But a full-size pickup with a crew cab wouldn't be too much, I don't think. Again, it's a question of finding the right one. I don't think I can score anything like the Cherokee a second time (where I pay a relative pittance for the thing and then drive it for more than a decade) not the least because no one makes anything with that bulletproof straight six any longer.

Nonetheless, I am confident that at the right time, the right vehicle will come along, so I'm not very worried about it.

* * *

Anyway, late to bed, and I'm still sleepy, and Mrs. Fungus is still in bed. Guess what that means for me?

#7804: The ninth one is free

So, Mrs. Fungus' car needs about 4.3 quarts of oil at each change. Japanese car, metric sump, 4 liters of oil, yada yada. So I buy the 5-quart jugs of oil when I do an oil change for her car, and I just collect the remainder in a spare jug. Every once in a while, I have collected enough oil that I can just change the oil (not the filter) and pay nothing. Today was just such a day.

The car has a 5,000-mile oil change interval, enforced by a little light on the dashboard; when it goes on, she asks me to change the oil, and at the next convenient weekend I do so. She drives enough with her daily commute that going an extra week (or two or three) won't make a damned bit of difference. That 5,000 mile interval was set with Japanese commutes in mind, not American, and highway miles are much easier on a vehicle than urban driving is. We could probably double that distance--on fossil oil--without any trouble.

Anyway, the trip odometer had 5,700 miles on it; I dumped the "free" oil into the crankcase after draining the used stuff, reset the light, and now she should be good for another five thousand miles, at which point I'll do a complete oil and filter change, and start collecting half-quarts of oil again.

It was very nice not to have to go to the parts store for anything.

* * *

The other thing about her car, though, is that--for some insane reason--Toyota thought it'd be nice to revisit the 1950s and put a freaking element oil filter in the thing. Instead of a self-contained spin-on filter, you take a filter housing off, then change out the element. Messy and annoying--and because of how the housing is designed, you either have to epoxy a socket to it, to give you something to wrench on, or you have to wreck your fingertips trying to unscrew it by hand. Of course the housing is plastic (phenolic, actually) and so I don't like the idea of using tools on it, so every time I change it I have to work it off half a rotation at a time. It's just far enough under the car that I have to lay a certain way on the driveway and reach for it. You really need either ramps or a jack to get at it, but I'm fortunate that I'm able to reach it (just) without all that.

The first time I changed oil in her car, I couldn't get it off. I ended up having to buy a new housing, then wreck the old one to get it off, because some asshat thought it needed to be tightened to eight thousand foot-pounds. The filter housing uses an actual O-ring for sealing; if the housing is tightened all the way down, you don't need to add much more torque than a "sharp nip" to make sure it stays put, and even that might be overkill. That's the good part of how the thing's designed.

Basic maintenance should always be easy. Especially oil changes: you should never need anything other than basic hand tools to change oil.

* * *

The motorized bicycle is probably about as complete as it's going to get. I've got a few tweaks and adjustments to make but for the most part, having put the thing together and ridden it a bit, I've lost interest. It's kind of fun, but a 300 pound man riding a mountain bike with a 50cc moped engine on it is not exactly dignified or even sensical.

In the "tweaks and adjustments" department, I need to fix the control cable issue (shorten them) and get the clutch working correctly. Probably tuning the carb wouldn't hurt, either.

But I keep thinking that I should find a cheap-ass beach cruiser-style bike, instead of using a mountain bike. Most of the motorized bikes you see use beach cruiser frames. You know, a cheap one-speed bike with a coaster brake. October there's a town-wide garage sale; maybe that'd be a good time for that.

The funny thing is that, way back when, I had a bike that would have been perfect for this. I don't remember the brand or the model or anything; it was an old red bicycle with a kind of "fuel tank" pod on the upper bar, which contained a (nonfunctional) headlight. It was made to take D-cells, and if you filled it up with them there was a switch on it which would turn the lights on, and you'd probably get about half an hour from a set of batteries because back then they didn't have LEDs. I bought it from a garage sale for $5 and rode it all over the place. Friends of mine who were into BMX bicycles really wanted the pedal crank from it, because it was longer than modern ones. (Longer crank=more torque.)

That bike would have ruled as a motorized bike, but it ended up being tossed in the Great Pre-Nuptual Clean-Up of 1982, when my (now late) sister had her wedding here at the bunker. So much for Dad's insistence that "old bikes are worth something!". We have a 20" girls' Schwinn that's missing half its pieces, but not my old tank. Argh etc. (Maybe I should put that together, and put the motor on that.)

* * *

On ebay there's a bike for $160 shipped that fits the bill perfectly. But I don't want to buy a new bike for this.

* * *

One of the other things I've been doing is contemplating getting a used laptop. The one I use at work is not the latest and greatest, but it can take 16 GB of RAM and WoW runs acceptably on it. I've seen them on eBay for not a lot of money, without memory or SSD; I can get that stuff and build a reasonable PC that way.

IDK, "all it takes is money" and the motivation to do something. I have a little of the former, but considerably less of the latter. You know how it is.

* * *

So, Labor Day--

We've got a 4-day week ahead of us, which appeals to me. I didn't get anything useful done this weekend other than my wife's car's oil change. I'd had such high hopes, too--and all I did was flop all freakin' weekend.

Once I've got the motorized bike set aside it'll be time to work on the dirt bike, and for that I had an idea.

Look, my notion of getting a bike lift is still in play, but I don't think it's happening this year. It occurred to me, though, that if I were to buy some cinder blocks, a front wheel chock, and a sheet of plywood, I could build a temporary platform that could hold up a motorcycle while I was working on it. The long dimension of a cinder block is about eighteen inches, which would not be the thirty inch height of a bike lift, but would still be easier on my back than is sitting on the floor and hunching over. Bolt the chock to the plywood, set up 9 cinder blocks, put the plywood on top of them--instant work platform. Getting the dirt bike up there wouldn't be too difficult, and once it was there it wouldn't go anywhere unless the cinder blocks were disturbed.

All it takes is space I don't have. *sigh* I don't have a 4x8 foot space in the garage unless the whole northeast corner gets cleared of junk, which means "storage locker" and "trailer" and so forth, and that sounds like so much work I just don't know what to say about it. Ever since I got that fucking Wuhan Flu shot, my energy and motivation have been sub-terranean. And I didn't even get the mRNA shot, but the regular old "virus bits" shot.

"0/10, contains live bobcat, would not buy again" as some folks say. *sigh*

* * *

Tomorrow is, of course, a workday, so there can't be any shenanigans about when I go to bed. It's nice to stay up late once in a while, though.

With Labor Day nearly behind us, the next actual "day off" holiday will be Thanksgiving. With any luck the country will somehow manage to scrape its way through 2021 without major incident, though from early September it sure as hell doesn't look like it.

* * *

Funny thing: over at Pizza Hut they advertise a large pepperoni for $20. But if you get the large 1-topping special, and get pepperoni on it, it's $11. We get the pan crust (+$2.50) and extra pepperoni (+$2.50) and so it comes to $16 and change with tax, but it's still less expensive than their "one-click" pepperoni pizza menu item is.

Of course, if it was just me, I could go to Little Caesar's and get their "extra most bestest" for $6 and be just as happy, because it's all fast food pizza and the only real difference is the sauce. It does not agree with Mrs. Fungus, though, so I gladly pay the $10 extra.

I do miss the days when Little Caesar's was the "two for one" place, though, and you got two square pizzas in a long box. In those days their sauce was delicious. It's not bad now, but it just seems not as good as it used to be. Well, when you talk about getting a large pizza for $6, something's got to give somewhere.

* * *

Can't fault the weather, yesterday and today, though. Saturday it was cloudy all day, and as afternoon turned to evening it got humid outside. I had the AC active until after 10 or 11; I went outside for something-or-other and discovered that the humidity had gone and taken the clouds with it, so I opened the place up and ventilated with outside air. We haven't gone anywhere and I've kept the windows open, despite Mrs. Fungus' complaints that it was hot in here. Indoor air temp never went above 76 that I could tell, though, and the air was still dry (dewpoint 55) so there wasn't any real point to using the AC. And by the time the sun set, the indoor temps were already dropping.

Let's face it: any summer day that you have a negative heat factor, unless the air is extremely hot, AC isn't really necessary. Today the high temp was 85, "feels like" 84. And like I say, 76 inside the house, which is where I'd keep the temperature anyway. Cheaper this way.

I laid in bed with a blanket over me and was comfortable. That's not "hot".

* * *

Anyway, I suppose I should start thinking about making something for dinner.