Thursday, July 31, 2014

Friday Open Road

Or, the art of the escape.

German experimental aircraft Do.335 Pfeil

Very insect like.

LBJ orders pants

On August 9, 1964, at the height of a re-election campagin, President Lyndon Baines Johnson decided that he needed some new pants, so he got on the horn and called the Haggar Clothing Co. based in Dallas, Texas, and ordered himself up a new set. After a short interruption of another call, LBJ continues in his colorful, home-spun style and in vivid language to explain his need for special consideration of certain "anatomical" areas.

Of all the 45 million pages of documents and hundreds of hours of historic conversations recorded during the years of the Presidency of LBJ archived in his Presidential Library in Austin Texas, one audio clip has become a classic among presidential archive fans and one of the most listened to in the library.

Via Diogenes Middle Finger

Animation by Tawd Dorenfeld

Judge Orders DOJ to Release Fast and Furious Documents Withheld From Congress Under Obama Executive Privilege Claim

This should make for some interesting reading.  

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit pursued against the Department of Justice by government watchdog Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled documents being withheld from Congress under President Obama's claim of executive privilege must be turned over.

“Once again, Judicial Watch has beat Congress to the punch in getting key information about another Obama scandal – this time, the Fast and Furious outrage,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “A federal court has ordered the Obama administration to produce information that could, for the first time, provide specific details who in the administration is responsible for Fast and Furious lies to Congress and the American people. This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in face of all this lawlessness. Finally, we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the countless others murdered as a result of the insanely reckless Obama administration program.”

Well now, it looks like the administration is now importing Ebola!

From CBS46 we learn this:
Emory University Hospital has been told that a patient with the Ebola virus will be transferred to its hospital in Atlanta.
According to the Associated Press, the patient is an American aid worker, although the individual's identity was not released due to privacy laws.
Emory says it has a special isolation unit to treat patients that are exposed to serious infectious diseases that is physically separate from other patient areas at the hospital.
Emory's isolation unit is one of only four such units in the country, according to the hospital, which also said that its staff are highly trained in the procedures necessary to care for the patient.
A spokesperson from the hospital said the exact arrival date of the patient is unknown.
So, who made this decision, and why bring someone here if they can be treated in Africa or in some other way offshore?  Is Atlanta the only place whatever they are looking to do can be done?  How is this person to be transported half way around the world, and into the hospital?   
Given the risk, this seems very foolish.  
If Obama brings the plague here, it will be the final nail.  You know on something like this very high level folk needed to approve.

Meanwhile, a chicken pox outbreak locks down New Mexico illegal alien holding facility.   Looks like another disease to let out into the general population.  I note that they are calling this a "hiccup."  Top Men.

In related news: 

Eduardo Rosas Cruz, 26, first came on health officials’ radar in March, after he was diagnosed with a severe and contagious strain of TB. According to the court complaint, he didn’t comply with treatment.
“He’s been found and then lost, found and lost, found and lost, so at some point we have to say we can’t find him anymore,” said Dr. Alvaro Garzo of the San Joaquin County Public Health Services.
The infection is also contagious and Cruz is a transient. His last known address was at the Capri Motel on Wilson Way. None of the tenants and office manager remember when they last saw him.
Nice. Ebola, infectious drug resistant Tuberculosis, and Chicken Pox!  Next it will be an outbreak of Small Pox, given the quality of the people who are charged with protecting the public from serious disease.

The Russians beat the administration like a drum on the social media front.

View image on Twitter
We have different values and allies 

It's Thursday - let's party like we're Russians!

I notice there are actually girls hanging with these guys. Pickings must be slim behind the iron curtain.

An awesome skill - but can he get a date with it?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Central City, Colorado 1952


Samuel Higley, American individualist

What could be more the mark of the rugged individual than to mine and then mint your own money?

Samuel Higley of Connecticut was one such man back in the rough and ready 1700's in New England.  Owning his own copper mine located on his property, he mined his own copper, and used it to mint his own version of money.

First, his production of coin in 1737 were self valued at three pence, even though there was no where near that much value in the copper in his coin.  Apparently, it was the price of an ale at the local roadhouses, and thus a convenient value for a thirsty Mr. Higley.

However, complaint naturally and quickly arose about the clear difference between the face value and the actual copper value, so Higley obligingly changed the coins to read "Value me as you please," as in the example above. Someone figured that three pence was about ten times the value of the copper in the coin, which would give Higley a profit per coin of 465%!  No wonder folk grumbled!

These are rare today supposedly because they were highly valued by goldsmiths for use in alloying with gold, due to the quality of Mr. Higley's copper.  Most were melted down and reused.

Can't help but admire a man who mined his own copper, melted and minted it into coin, and then used it to purchase his ale!

Cabin Porn

River Structures Paul Hirzel

River House I ‘The Bridge’ with 2,310sqf conditioned space is the living-guest quarters and it sets approx. 12 feet above grade. A 15-foot deep steel Howe truss system spans 80 feet at the center span with 32/16 foot balancing cantilevers at each end. The steel bridge truss supports a wood lattice that shades conditioned space below.

Old school

Monday, July 28, 2014

The kind of nutty idea I like - the Fire Hedgehog!

Via This place:

Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov's History Emporium


 The iconic Soviet PPSh-41 submachine gun was quite useful.     But In 1944 Soviet engineers came up with a new use for the PPSh which was perhaps the craziest invention in military aviation history. Called the “Fire Hedgehog”, the weapons consisted of a banks of 88 PPSh-41 submachine guns mounted on a rack within the bomb bay of a Tupolev Tu-2 bomber.  The point of the weapon was to strafe the enemy with a massive volley of 7.62 projectiles.  
While impressive and deadly looking, the Fire Hedgehog may have had much in the way of firepower, but was severely lacking in practicality.  Each PPSh-41 was fed by a 71 round drum magazine, altogether a total capacity of 6,248 rounds, all of which would have needed to be loaded by hand.  As a result, around 100 man hours were needed to load and prep the Fire Hedgehog.  While one would think that the masses of submachineguns would spray lead over a large area, in reality the stream of bullets tended to land over a very narrow area.  It was often very difficult for pilots to line up their bomber properly, and when engaged the Fire Hedgehog only provided a few seconds worth of fire.  Most importantly the range of the PPSh was very limited, especially compared to aircraft mounted machine guns.  Thus the bombers had to fly extremely low for the weapon to be effective, dangerously exposing itself to enemy anti-aircraft fire.
As a result of its shortcomings, the Fire Hedgehog never made it beyond the testing stages, and was never used in combat.

Very satisfying - on time and on target

Nez Perce, 1900

Frozen smoke

Translucent, ethereal blue and over 96% air, aerogels are the lightest solids in the world. They’re not 
actually frozen smoke—they’re an artificial material—but the nickname fits. They owe their creation to 
a bet between two chemists, Charles Learned and Samuel Stephens Kistler, in 1931: they wanted to see
 if they could take a gel and replace its constituent liquid with gas, without causing shrinkage. Kistler 
Though aerogels have been improved upon in the years since, his original premise is the same: a 
polymer is combined with a solvent to form a gel, then the liquid is extracted from it and replaced with
 air, hence creating aerogel. The crucial part is that the aerogel must maintain the gel’s structure, so
 they’re solid to the touch and don’t disintegrate.
Aerogels are actually pretty remarkable—they’re the world’s best insulators, being extremely porous 
but low in density; they can withstand explosive damager; and they can support several thousand times 
their weight. Silica-based aerogels are quite fragile, but newer polymer-based ones are extremely strong
 and flexible.

Kinda creepy, but fascinating just the same

 inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with

 digital information in a tangible way. inFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for

 example moving objects on the table’s surface. Remote participants in a video conference can be

 displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a


Russia’s Mir Space Station seen over New Zealand from the Space Shuttle Atlantis, 22 March 1996.

Best of Craigslist

 Found! Cat Snake?

Found (assuming) pet. Some sort of cat snake? Long and nimble but with dryish fur and cat teeth. Seems to like cat food, but isn't a cat. Please come take this off my hands it smells weird.

Fire and rain

Here's a view of the fire west of Yosemite that is filling the park with smoke. Looks like Cal Fire is getting that burn under control, apparently having learned their lessons from the disastrous Rim Fire last year.

The park is still smoky, but better, and there is some rain in the high country to help get the smoke out of the air.

Actually a surprising amount of rain, as of 4:30 in the afternoon.

Freckles, they are good.

Swing - and a miss!

Clean, cool air.

Mondays, they're like that

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer bounty

The garden is starting to fire up during these hot summer days.  The boy went out and picked these tomatoes today, and there are still some left for tomorrow.

There are two egg plant fruits on the egg plant we got at a yard sale for a dollar.  I figure that if just those two reach maturity, we will have paid for the plant.

The peppers are doing well.  Nibbling on a "Ring of Fire" variety today darned near burned off my tongue.

The wife used Doug the Wild Yeast to make this bread.  With the temperature right around a hundred degrees, putting the dough out on the deck under the sun makes for a quick rise.  Feels right to eat bread made with a yeast you caught yourself.

Have regular guys discovered the long lost anchor from the Vancouver expedition of 1792?

The anchor was discovered in 2008 by sea-cucumber diver Doug Monk when his airhose got caught on it off Whidbey Island. He and a group of amateur historians including medical device salesman Scott Grimm spent years researching the artifact, reading ship logbooks, explorers’ journals, nautical charts, 19th British patent office records as well as numerous books. They concluded that the anchor was the Chatham‘s that got stuck in a large rock grouping and broke free when its hemp cable snapped.

 Historians have long held that it was lost 30 miles away from Whidbey Island in Bellingham Channel, but the channel has been searched repeatedly and no anchor has ever been found. The Bellingham theory also assumes that Vancouver’s ship, the HMS Discovery, and its smaller companion the Chatham were together when the anchor was lost. Several journals said they were, but Grimm noticed the wording in those entries was identical, as if they’d been copied from each other at a later date. When he stuck to the witness accounts from the Chatham‘s crew, the terrain they described and the logged compass bearings fit Whidbey more than Bellingham. He also contacted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration whose maritime history experts calculated that on the day of the accident, the currents around Whidbey were 5.5 knots, much faster than they were in Bellingham Channel.

Surprisingly, it looks like the anchor has the ring and some chain left on it as well.  That ought to help in identification as well.

The anchor is now in the hands of a team headed by Jim Jobling, a research associate at the Texas A&M center’s Conservation Research Laboratory, a veteran in tackling such tasks.

The university team will use a variety of methods — chemicals, electricity — to remove the thick concretions that may be obscuring any marks identifying the anchor. The design of the anchor does fit the admiralty pattern, but makers didn’t always put a mark on their work in the 18th century, so we may never get a firm yea or nay on whether the anchor belonged to the royal navy.  But, we just know it has to be the lost Vancouverian anchor, and that's what we'll believe until evidence proves conclusively otherwise!  Great find, guys!

Those kooky south americans and their practical jokes!

Good thing it was young guys, an old dude would probably die of heart failure.

More classic American iron.

Ah - refreshing!

Gear to survive the apocalyse

Dodge Power Wagon. 

Bring on the EMP blast - that won't stop this green monster.

Plus, you can maintain it and repair it with hand tools.  Runs on regular. I want it.

Hey buddy, got a light?

It's fire season here.

On my way home from work last week, I noticed this fire up in the foothills east of town. I pulled off the road and took a picture with the cell phone.  Up in that country, there are many homes nestled among the hills and oak trees, which is a beautiful way to live, but they are quite vulnerable to this kind of fire.
Sure enough, the fire was big enough to get a name, the Sand Fire, and caused a significant number of folk to have to abandon their homes and flee.
   "A wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 500 homes and about 1,200 residents in a rural area east of the California state capital Sacramento on Saturday, a day after the blaze broke out, fire officials said."
"The wind-swept fire burned more than 3,000 acres, destroying five residences and two outbuildings and causing one minor injury."

This guy as least has most of the house away from trees, but still, that's a lot of grass right up to the house.  Many homes in this area are deep in the oaks and bull pines, which makes their survival in a fire such as this uncertain.

Here is the Cal Fire page on the Sand Fire.   Looks like ten homes burnt for now.

Meanwhile, up in Yosemite, yet another foothill fire is filling the park with smoke.  Talk about sauce for global warming!