Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Found a cool and inexpensive pocket knife today.

 Imperial brand, 3 Blade Senator Pen Knife, 3 1/16" long closed. good snap. Understated  grey celluloid handles in decent shape.  I think they call that a hot dog shield.  I'll have fun messing with this, and I'll have it shaving sharp in no time.

Cabin Porn - inside edition

WTF? Did someone throw some water on Nancy, she looks like she's melting.

I think the botox is wearing off.

Trump invited the widow of a slain officer

But the Democrats invited illegal aliens.

See the difference?

Focused, Determined, and Clever

Who cares more about the African Americans?

The Lion disapproves of your behavior.


Freckles, they are good

CW's good reads

Now that I know someone whose family was actually nearly victimized by the Bald Knobbers,  I'm going learn myself some more about them.

Cactus and Crackle

Italy's Mount Etna is erupting right now.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Willys woody

Retro Speed

Jim Clark, Lotus-BRM 43, 1966 United States GP, Watkins Glen

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg breaks the mold and does an album.

Commercial appetite for "Notorious RBG" is stunning, with record sales expected to surpass Adele's "25" within days. Ginsburg lends her vocals, along with her jazz flute and famous slide trombone skills to 32 tracks.
In legal circles, Ginsburg's former colleagues are supportive and unsurprised by her outsized success. "As soon as I heard the demo for the song, "I Speak the 'Ruth," I knew this was going gold," said Merrick Garland. 
Justin Timberlake produced the album. Although there have been rumors of a romantic involvement swirling around the two after they were seen getting cozy in a Miami nightclub, RBG biographers Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik say thus far, "they're baseless."

So today at lunch...

I was telling about the post the other day on the Bald Knobbers.  One of my co workers turned and said that his family, when they lived in Missouri, had a personal experience with them!

Apparently, during the time of this incident, the co workers relative was riding home one night, and had stopped to open a fence across the road.  He heard horsemen galloping up, and given the time of day and the knowledge that vigilantes were active, he rode off the road and hid in the trees.

In fact, it was a group of Bald Knobbers on their way to burn a neighbor's house down.  This neighbor had somehow earned their hostility, and they were out to drive this man out of the territory.  As the Knobbers were stopped and in the process of opening the gate, they were speaking of their plan to burn the neighbor out, when one of them actually mentioned the name of the co workers relative, and wondered if he should have his home burned as well.

Fortunately, the consensus was that "he was OK," and so he was left unmolested, but heavens to betsy, that's a close call!  He heard them with his own ears!

That, my friends, is your unique historical anecdote for the day.

Good dog!

A dog like that should be named "Franz" or "Vilhelm."

I say, good fellow, pip pip cheerio!

Is that really Col. Roscoe Turner, or is it Terry Thomas?

The Art of Speed


South Korea has developed a bad ass tank specifically designed to fight in rugged, mountainous terrain.

The Koreans looked all over the world for inspiration, technology and know-how — and combined it all into a formidable machine that is distinctively Korean.
From Germany, South Korea developed its own version of the Rheinmetall 120-millimeter L55 gun, which is a full 1.3 meters longer than the 120-millimeter L44 caliber gun used on all Abrams tanks and older Leopard 2s. With a longer gun comes greater internal pressure, so the L55 gun has superior muzzle velocity.
From France, South Korea adopted its own version of the Leclerc’s autoloader. Shells are loaded from the back of the turret, via a machine gun-like belt, allowing it to fire 15 rounds a minute — if rounds are continuously fired and not accounting for target acquisition, reacquisition and lazing.
The tank’s fire control system is a technology transfer from France’s Thales, so it is likely again using some Leclerc technology. As an advanced fire control system it is highly automated so even Korea’s conscript crews can learn it quickly. Once a target is acquired, the gun and turret can automatically track it without further human intervention.
The K2 can also ford rivers up to 4.2 meters deep via a snorkel kit that doubles as a “conning” tower, something the Korean army learned from the 35 T-80Us it acquired from Russia back in the late ’90s.
Although the heart of a tank is its gun, the next most important component is its engine and transmission, collectively known as the “powerpack.” For this, South Korea again looked to Germany and its excellent MTU-890 V12 diesel 1,500 horsepower engine.
The most noticeable is the tank’s hydropneumatic suspension. Originally developed on the K1, an improved version allows the K2 to lower or raise its profile. Like a “low riding” street car it can kneel, sit or “lean” in any direction.
With lots of hills there are lots of little valleys for enemy tanks to hide in. When the K2 uses its suspension to “sit,” it can elevate its gun to a near mortar-like angle to indirectly fire a millimeter band radar-guided “top attack” round.
Once fired, the round deploys a parachute, selects a target and shoots a molten projectile into the thin top of an enemy vehicle. Germany and Israel have similar rounds, but only for artillery because their tank guns cannot reach the necessary elevation angle. Called the Korean Smart Top-Attack Munition, or “KSTAM,” it can reach out and touch someone eight kilometers away.

Pretty darn cool.  We ought to buy enough of these to make ourselves a battalion of them, and test them vigorously to see how they do versus our own tanks.  Might learn something, plus give our adversaries something new to worry about.

Climate change in action, and for the better.

Taken by the EarthKAM camera on the International Space Station, this photograph shows Australia’s largest inland lake. Lake Eyre is easily recognizable from space, being a large, white-floored lake bed that is usually dry. However, a remarkable, periodic change was visible in February 2017.
Tan, green, and blue splotches stretching across the lake bed are the result of flood waters channeled down Warburton Groove. The Warburton Creek enters Lake Eyre at its northern end, and is seen here flooding into the dry lake. The event gave rise to a variety of colors indicating new vegetation, algae-tinted water, and muds transported by the flood water. A smaller discolored zone appears where the southern arm of the Warburton delta has also spilled water onto the lake floor (image center).
In this desert region, flood waters rarely reach the lake, instead evaporating along the way or getting absorbed by dune sand. But after heavy rains fell in late 2016, floods in rivers like the Warburton and Cooper have managed to reach Lake Eyre after a delay of months as the water slowly rolled across the vast watershed. As of February 20, 2017, water was reported to be flowing down the entire length of the lake (130 kilometers, or 80 miles), and reaching one of the lowest points (15 meters or 50 feet below sea level) at Belt Bay, where the water depth was measured at 1.3 meters (4 feet).
Here in California and Nevada, the heavy snows should be excellent for the water levels in desert lakes such as Mono, Pyramid, Walker, and perhaps even rarely seen Lake Winnemucca, which only fills in very wet years.  I'd like to see that view from EarthKAM in, say, mid May.

Looks like a cold, snowy morning in Yosemite Valley. Here where I am, it's bright and sunny.

CW's good reads

Mondays, they're like that

Sunday, February 26, 2017

An amazing space fact.

quasar named 3C 273 is four trillion times brighter than the sun. it would have about the same brightness in the sky as our sun at a distance of ~33 light years. this one quasar emits approximately as much light as the entire milky way galaxy combined x100.

Here it is below photographed by the Hubble Telescope.

Quasars are formed when enormous amounts of gas orbit a supermassive black hole. The intense gravity of the black hole makes the gas orbit at insane speeds. And the gas becomes incredibly hot as a result. And because of the size of supermassive black holes, the superheated gascloud is larger than our whole solar system.
The orbiting gas also creates incredibly powerful jets of radiation that shoot out from the poles of the black hole's event horizon. The exact mechanism that causes this is still not known, but if the jets are pointed in our direction the quasars will appear even brighter.
Gravity is so huge around a black hole that it creates different orbiting speeds in the disk of gas orbiting it (because of the fact that the importance of distance is magnified in gravity's formula). The result of this is an incredible amount of particle collisions and therefore very high temperatures.
Any planets within ~33 light years of this quasar would be eternally as bright as daytime on Earth. They would also be bathed in powerful X-rays given off by the Quasar. It would not be possible to live there.

Machrie Moor Stone Circles & Standing Stones, Arran, Scotland

Machrie Moor Stone Circles is the collective name for six stone circles visible on Machrie Moor near the settlement of Machrie on the Isle of Arran. Six stone circles are visible on the moor immediately east of the derelict Moss Farm. Some circles are formed of granite boulders, while others are built of tall red sandstone pillars. The moor is covered with other prehistoric remains, including standing stones, burial cairns and cists. The stone circles are positioned over previous timber circles. A radiocarbon date of 2030 ± 180 BC has been found for the timber circle at Machrie Moor 1. Several hut circles can also be seen as low rings of turf-covered stone. The six stone circles are situated below a prominent notch on the skyline to the northeast where Machrie Glen divides into two steep-sided valleys. At the summer solstice the notch is intersected by the sun at sunrise, and this may explain why the circles were sited in this location. 

                                         The first circle was built around 3500 BC.

“Rafting on the Missouri” – art by John Stobart

Is my rump too big?

Hickam AFB, Hawaii

Your good news of the day

8 animals that are no longer endangered.

Chuck Yeager is probably in there.

The Art of Speed

Ice going over the Chutes de la Chaudiere, Quebec, Canada.


Before the Klan, there were the Bald Knobbers.

In the Taney County section of the Ozarks, early settlers wanted to maintain their pre-war way of life, based on subsistence agriculture, hunting, and fishing. They were mostly Democrats who had sided with the Confederates. New homesteaders, largely Republicans who had sided with the Union and were drawn by the Homestead Act of 1862, had ambitious plans to develop the region so that it would thrive in the rising American industrial economy.
Outlaws tormented the new residents, but the Democrats in charge of local government, who were sometimes kin to the criminals, usually let them off the hook. Period newspapers claimed that 30 to 40 murders were committed in Taney County between 1865 and 1882, but none resulted in a conviction.
One gang, led by brothers Frank and Tubal Taylor, ran rampant in Taney County, flaunting the cash they’d stolen. After a local businessman criticized the brothers, he found three of his prized cattle starved to death because miscreants had cut out their tongues.
In response to this and two murders that went unpunished by judges who were related to the Taylors, 13 upstanding citizens including merchants, wealthy business owners, and lawmen met to form the Committee for Law and Order. They signed pledges to “respond to the call of the officers to enforce obedience to the law.”
On April 5, 1885, the Committee called an organizational meeting on a treeless ridge (a “bald knob”) known as Snapp’s Bald near Kirbyville, just north of the Arkansas border. Roughly a hundred men listened as Nathaniel “Nat” A. Kinney, a Union Army veteran, delivered a moving speech over the bloody shirt of one of the murdered men. A charismatic jack-of-all-trades, Kinney had settled on a livestock ranch with his family in 1883, started his own Sunday School, and joined fraternal orders. After his rousing oration on Snapp’s Bald, the group voted to elect him “chieftain” of the Committee, which became known as the Bald Knobbers.

Shortly thereafter, one of the Bald Knobbers, a storekeeper whose shop was frequented by Frank Taylor, refused to advance him any more credit. According to Faces Like Devils, Frank smashed up the store. The next day, the storekeeper filed an indictment against Frank, who quickly posted bond before returning to the store with Tubal and a friend, shooting and wounding the storekeeper and his wife.
The Taylor brothers surrendered to the local sheriff, confident they would be released after a brief jail stay. But that night, a Bald Knobber posse rode their horses into Forsyth, broke into the jail, and took the Taylors. The next day, the brothers were found dead, hanged from an oak tree outside of town, with a sign affixed to Tubal’s shirt that said, “Beware! These are the first victims of the wrath of outraged citizens. More will follow. The Bald Knobbers.”

The original Bald Knobbers disbanded in 1886; with surprising swiftness, their vigilantism had transmuted into the leadership of the Republican-run local government, enabling them to punish their enemies the “lawful” way, by jailing them for tax evasion, embezzlement, and minor hunting and fishing violations.

We just witnessed eight years of a presidential administration selling guns to Mexican drug gangs, weaponizing the IRS against their political enemies, and allowing those that committed such crimes to go unpunished, and the use of the administrative rule making power of the federal bureaucracies to harass and destroy those they disagreed with.  Couple that with the administration's support for the crazy edge of the culture wars, and their use of the power of the federal state to force that immorality down the throats of the people, and you have Trump. 

Very fortunately, we get Trump through the legitimate and lawful electoral process.   The great middle class of the country still insists on the rule of law and due process.

Absent that, we could rightly expect to say "hello" to the birth of modern day Bald Knobbers here and there all over the country.  As imperfect as Trump is, in the broader view we dodged a huge bullet in this election.

All U.S. vigilante groups are in some way a representation of the American value of self-government.  We are a society that was founded, at least in part, on the firm belief that the people have the right to create their own institutions of government, what is referred to as the ‘right of revolution,’ expressed right there in the Declaration of Independence. If the government is not doing what it’s supposed to, if it’s not protecting the people’s liberties, if it’s not serving the people’s interest, we have the right to rise up and replace that government. The problem is, you cannot do that on a continuous basis and have a stable society.”
Some scholars have traditionally defined vigilantes as groups of middle- and upper-class men who want to reinforce “law and order.” However, several vigilante groups were founded by members of poor, disenfranchised classes hoping to gain the economic or political power they didn’t have or to restore traditional morals. Inevitably, most groups fighting lawlessness by going outside the law become the corrupt criminal element they were trying to tamp down in the first place, which is why we should be eternally grateful that the last election had the result it did.  We must be eternally vigilant that those political forces that would have continued the destruction of our values and institutions had they been elected never get the chance to gain power again.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hailstone radish harvest today.

Plus one pinkish radish that we don't know what it is. 

Plus, planted seeds for cilantro, parsnips, multiple beet varieties and more radishes.  Amended and mulched the soil in one of the raised beds, disturbing all the earthworms.

Work for a sunny day.

Stag Saturday

A Saskatchewan farmer takes his classic Mercury to the local antique car show.

All of this just rings a bell with me.  Over the years I've been to a multitude of local shows just like that one, and it's always a true pleasure to see everyone's machines, both the immaculately restored, and the projects in process.  Real folk doing great work.

I also approve that Mr. Goff drives his classic to the show, and that there is a chip in the windshield.  A man with a machine that isn't afraid to get out and enjoy the open road, where a classic like that belongs.  Love it.

Plus, some great shots of the countryside in that part of Canada.

Here's Mr. Goff's blog, a fun read.

On the recommendation of Sarthurk, I looked up CRKT multitools, and found this interesting and clever little gadget. I like.

  • Pocket clip serves as money clip
  • Four hex bits and a carry carabineer
  • Closed length: 3.5 inch
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Four hex bits and a carry carabineer
  • All Black

Yet another better place to spend state money than the bullet train

The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge has multiple cracks in one of its support columns and and has been closed to traffic since Feb. 15. Caltrans announced after a bridge inspection on Tuesday that the structure is beyond repair, and it will take six months or more to build a new one.

The problem began when heavy rains in the region caused landslides below the bridge; an entire hillside is slumping and sheared off where the support column on the north end of the bridge is anchored. 

Yep, it's coming down at any time.  I wonder how many cars drove over that before someone noticed.  Time to get busy replacing that bridge.

Snowy in Yosemite


Kraków, Poland in 1970s, photographed by Henryk Hermanowicz