Saturday, October 20, 2018

Bumper stickers

Just print out in landscape, fold to size, and tape to window. Post election you can pull it off.
If you wait for real stickers, the election will be over before they ship.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Maker Faire

The Maker Faire events are one of the most fun ways to spend a weekend I've found, the only problem being when the stuff I bring proves to be one of the most popular items there and supervising an endless flow of kids keeps me from visiting some of the exhibitors I personally wanted to see.

Last weekends Faire filled a large exhibition hall at the Denver stockyards with demonstrations of everything from Rube Goldberg robot making to high end 3-D modeling software. There were exhibitors with fancy clothing 

Laser cut doo-dads like this light switch cover

 which might inspire other things made the same way

An exhibit of the steps involved in custom motorcycle building 

Some very fancy steampunk lamp fixtures 

An exhibit of stuff produced by the STEM students at a local school including fighting robots and pumpkin tossers 
Metal working, casting, metal cutting and engraving
Another exhibit gave everyone a chance to raid a junkyard for parts and build their own robot

And of course a chance for the kids to take a shot at a stuffed camel

with a huge Nerf gun 
This year the nerf gun featured a rifled barrel which got the kids noticeably smaller groups. This called for better sights 

 which the folks at Epilog Laser were kind enough to knock out right there

I also brought my can crusher and the kids ran some 3 large bags of cans through it for me. We discovered that when mounted horizontally, the crusher can't reliably hit a rectangular trash can sitting directly under it. Turned vertically, it tosses the cans about 12-15 feet giving the kids a challenge to catch them in a bag.

A rudimentary Iron Man exoskeleton which may find application in assisted living facilities was right next to me but somehow I don't seem to have any good pictures. That's it behind the crusher.

There was one drawback to all this. When the nerf dart (2in dia x 12" long) hit the table holding the camel, the bang of the impact on the sounding board of the table immediately attracted every kid within 100 yards to get in line for a shot. As a result I was busy herding cats being range officer from 9 AM to 6 PM at which point I was barely able to remain standing. It also meant I missed seeing some of the exhibitors I really wanted to talk to. The Solid Works rep, for example.

Joe Biden Near Death?

This article on Breitbart News suggests he may not be much longer for this world. My guess would be an accident involving two blasts from his own shotgun in an attempt to foil a botched robbery.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

If You Don't Like The Weather...

Just hang in there a bit. Even better here in Colorado we can supply everything on the same day. Possibly at the same time. Remember the lyrics from Sweet Betsy From Pike, presumably Pike county Iowa and not Pikes Peak, Colorado.
Check the weather this morning before letting the dog abuse me through the 'hood. Note not only the "36 but feels like 58, and note also the freeze warning in the yellow band. At least it didn't include a hurricane, flood, and drought warning.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Punkin Chunkin 2018

Held once again in the thin air at the Arapahoe county fairgrounds.

My friend Mike brought his air cannon, Kamakazi  whose best launch was his second of the day on Sunday - 3,970 ft.

He was in the lead until the last two launches of the event. Sonic Gourd came out of the woodwork w/ a distance of 4,209 ft., but was immediately edged out by Big 10 Inch at 4,276 ft., leaving him w/ the 3rd Place trophy.

The JCOS school where I help out was using a rolling arm trebuchet which was pretty much completely new this year due to last years treb being pretty much self destructed on their last shot last year. The old familiar scene of the team assembling the machine for the first time on the firing line played out about like you'd expect with a couple of pieces missing and frantic efforts to fabricate them.

 They got the machine assembled midway through Saturday, and tested it with minimum (180 lb) weights. The arm was supposed to fit between the deck plates about 6 ft off the ground, but the spacing of the deck plates and the width of the verge turned out to be exactly the same at 4 inches which left no room for wobble. Since there is always some wobble, the arm stuck halfway down and slightly damaged the 2 rear deck plates. By Sunday the oversights had been corrected and a first test shot got them 273 feet. This group holds the division record at 498 ft so optimism ran high. By the time they were ready for their second shot, time was running out so it would be the last. They loaded ALL the available weights ( about 1100 lb) onto the machine and let fly for a shot of 407 ft. This might have been enough to win it but the plate attaching the weight bar to the verge tore out of the verge and the verge traveled about 20 ft down range with the pumpkin. Alas this disqualified the shot. The 273 ft shot got them 3rd place. This week I'll be giving a lecture on splice plates, bolt spacing, and fastener count which should hold everything together next year.

The plan for next year is to reassemble the machine about a month before the event and sort out all the weak spots before setting up at the event. EX: dropping 1200 lb requires more than 3 bolts out near the end of the verge to keep the parts together. The bracket was whipped together the day before the event and absolutely NOTHING was actually tested in advance.

Exception: I tested the Microlaminate verge before cutting the taper in it using the E value supplied by the manufacturer (2,000,000). Then I calculated the actual E value based on the deflections I got (1,000,000), then calculated the actual allowable taper we could use. Then added half an inch. That part worked.

 L to R: The SCA brought 4 trebs and assured us that the old ways were best, Acme Catapults used about 20 garage door springs and made some impressive throws, over 2000 ft as I recall, and Pluto, essentially 2 trebs on one arm and about 3000 lb of concrete, turned in its usual impressive performance. Alas I don't have numbers for them.
The centrifugal machine on the far end had some teething problems and was not run. Too bad, they had an aircraft turbine to power it up. So there's my days at the range. How was yours?

Monday, October 8, 2018


"Beer is proof that God loves us and want's us to have fun and put Brett Kavanaugh on the US Supreme Court."
                                   Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Thank You

A heartfelt thanks is due and goes out to the people who made Justice Kavanaugh possible.

First Sen. Harry Reid who made thenecessary reforms to the filibuster system.

Second to the Democratic Senators who were the face of the Democratic party during the hearings and made it crystal clear who Judge Ks enemies were. After all one can learn about as much about a man from his enemies as one can from his friends.

Thirdly, if any doubt remained, I'd like to add the boys and girls of Antifa for providing the anti-social behavior up to and including the death threats to the congressmen, their spouses, their friends, and their children. We now fully understand that behind the collegiality of the hearings there is an army of kneecappers ready and willing to commit violence against our elected representatives. 

Fourthly the various witnesses provided by the Dems who got up there and forthrightly showed us that there are an unlimited number of the party faithful who are willing to risk charges of perjury, witness tampering, and suborning of perjury and the associated time in the Federal Clink, to take one (or more) for the team. Suggestion: Next time don't use Hollywood horror movie writers to prepare your scripts. They come across as a bit over the top.

Lastly I'd like to thank the Republican Senators who have figured out that standing up to bullies will berewarded at the polls. 

NOTE 1: If you think the Donks have learned anything from this, just wait. If Notorious RBG should shuffle off the mortal coil on Trumps watch, the use of nuclear weapons will not be off the table. Kim Jong-Un could probably sell one to Antifa for delivery in Mexico with shipping up to the customer.

Note 2: If you think Roe v Wade has anything at all to do with this, be advised that the Donks don't really care if you live or die. After all you vote for them either way. Just watch the gun control laws that now come up for review. Armed, mad, taxpayers are the lefts worst nightmare.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Gun Sales

Overall gun sales thru October came in pretty flat with no mass shootings or big political setbacks in the news. I suppose a lot of people are waiting to see how the Kavanaugh nomination fares, and to a lesser extent, the mid-terms.

As of right now, Judge K seems like a pretty secure bet.

Speculation abounds as to what might happen if the GOP loses the House with the latest being Impeachment proceedings beginning Jan 22 next year against the Judge and with that presumed success, a move on the President.

Winning the House would make the attempt possible, but you need super majorities in both houses to make anything stick and it may already be dawning on even the party faithful that the reputation of the Dems is currently on a par with some of the more violent inmates of selected state institutions. OTOH as has been observed, no one ever went broke underestimating the tastes or intelligence of the American public.

For A Good Time

Quit watching the news and pop on over to the Punkin Chunkin event held in the thin air of Aurora CO at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds. If you happen to be in town, it's on the south side of Quincy Ave, just East of E470 and is well marked. They'll want a few bucks for parking, but that's about it. Look for the Dead Ent, which is my schools entry.

Tomorrow and Sunday, 9 to 4.

Next weekend is the Denver Maker Faire featuring everything from simple crafts to fighting robots, to a full scale B-25 built by trade school students. No, it doesn't fly, but it makes up for that with noise and your kids can climb up and sit in the pilot, bombardiers, or turret gunners seats. Denver stockyards coliseum on the North side of I-70, Saturday and Sunday. Bring kids, they'll love it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Next Election

OK there are a couple of things on the ballot this year which probably deserve to pass. Initiative 109 promises to do much needed road repair without hitting us with a big tax increase. One can hope.

Items X and Y promise new and improved gerrymandering. They're one of those things where the Stupid party and the Evil party get together to do something that's both evil and stupid which is called bipartisanship. Might help, might not but it seems like it shouldn't make it any worse.

Here's a sticker that should get you through most elections. You should never have to take it off from one election to the next. Click to get the full size, print it out on landscape and tape it to your back window.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bad Weather

Back in the day when the Russians were industriously attempting to nationalize the agricultural sector, farms were appropriated and tossed into collectives which were managed by bureaucrats favored by the party. To no ones surprise, agricultural production tanked. The blame was promptly placed on capitalist resisters who were summarily shot, but the food shortages continued.

Apparatchiks, anxious to avoid the fate of the Kulaks, began reporting that "bad weather" was responsible, and used this excuse so often that it became widely reported in the U.S. that the Russkies were working on weather modification devices so powerful that they got blamed for any untoward weather in the U.S.

Today it is reluctantly observed that the agricultural disasters were the fault of the bureaucrats put in charge of the farms but the meme is a powerful one, assigning blame to a bogeyman who conveniently cannot be called to testify, put in jail, or shot.

The latest politician to ride this hobby horse is Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York who doesn't want his states economic woes to be laid at his feet in a possible upcoming presidential run. With New York leading the nation* in economic exodus, he is blaming the outflow of refugees on ........ Bad Weather.

Right. Eventually someone is going to figure out that there is nothing happening on Wall St that can't happen just as fast and at half the cost at an address on Pearl St. in Dallas.

*Maybe not first but certainly in the top 5.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Pickups From Down Under

I have been looking over the offerings in the way of small pickups and have discovered that anything much smaller than a Kenworth just doesn't seem to be available in the U.S. Outside the country, however, there's a bunch. In Mexico GM sells the Tornado/Montana whose name varies depending on weather the Montana van in also offered, and Ford has the Bantam/Courier .
Chrysler has the Ram 700, a Fiat Stradabased pickup 
Shown here in long cab configuration, this is a 3-door.
GM has the Tornado, a Chevy Cobalt based unit 

Ford has been selling the Courier,based on the Focus 

for a while now  and the Bantam .

 The Courier may even make the US market eventually.

The Aussies have/had the Ford Falcon ute 

and the Holden which comes in a couple of styling and performance variants 

The long cab version is called the Crewman.
To the best of my knowledge, no cars are currently being produced in Oz right now. Seems the government originally subsidized auto manufacture to the tune of some $3200/unit in order to increase employment, but couldn't keep that big a subsidy going. The subsidies ended and the resultant economics produced no profit margin for anyone. Sucks to run out of other peoples money eh? Aussie cars are currently being built in Thailand.

Nevertheless, you can get a Falcon or a Holden in the U.S. if you don't mind paying a premium for the shipping and the required mods. Left Hand Utes will build you a Ford or a Holden in the $45K and up price range which will be equipped with either a Corvette or Mustang V8. Nice looking cars, real head-turners, and fast as well.

The process starts with getting a nice clean ute in Oz and having the engine and tranny removed. This makes the remainder classified as “parts” rather than a automobile, which the feds would confiscate at the port of entry. The parts arrive in Denver and the remaining odd bits are removed, the headlights, parts of the electrical system, the dashboard and the firewall panel. These are replaced with matching parts from a donor car, either a Mustang or a Pontiac GTO. The finished vehicle is given a US title, using the original VIN number and is ready to go.
Next to a mustang for length comparison.

Standard equipment includes a fiberglass bed cover and everything you'd expect in a performance vehicle.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Amendment 74 To Shut Down All Municipal Governments In Colorado

At least that's the way the opponents are portraying this one. Here's the text:
 “Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution requiring the government to award just compensation to owners of private property when a government law or regulation reduces the fair market value of the property?”  
Sounds like someone cribbed this from the U.S. constitutions 5th amendment. That's fine, but the potential for required compensation from the municipalities to bankrupt the municipal governments is what sells me on this. I suppose their past actions would be grandfathered but a lot of what they do would be brought to a sudden halt.

Pretty much any regulation regulating anything would impact the value of all properties within the reach of the regulation so whatever the City Council does would invite a class action suit from the city residents.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Colorado Dem Platform

The complete platform can be found here. It's pretty predictable, higher taxes, more regulation, opposition to charter schools and gun control.

The gun control stuff is on page 5 and starts right off with a call for a ban on "assault weapons". Note the phraseology here. Almost anything can be a weapon, and adding the word "assault" simply means that the weapon in question is specifically called out either by make and model or by physical description. I other words, anything we don't like, which would be all of them.

And of course, opposition to Citizens United. Seems that when a group of people get together to do something they couldn't otherwise do individually, it's OK if they're paid by Michael Bloomberg, but not OK if they're being paid by the Acme Corporation.

It goes on and on.

Drug Testing Congressmen

And women too of course. In some districts a positive result would probably increase their vote count. In any case one could count on a Republican to withdraw/step down, and a Dem to flaunt the results.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Definition Of "Common Use"

In an attempt to get Judge Kavanaugh to somehow side with the gun-grabbers, Sen Feinstein went back to one of his dissents that noted that semi automatic rifles are in common use all over the country. Sen Feinstein wanted to know what surveys or studies he used to come to this conclusion and argued that if you're not regularly firing your gun, it's not "in use" and therefore subject to restrictions.

Well, Senator, I might point out that your own constituents use theirs regularly in Pasadena at group dinners, and in Washington at baseball games, and in Florida at night clubs. How much more common can usage get? If she really wanted to reduce crime, she would support legislation to forbid firearms ownership to Democrats and Muslims.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Getting Out The Vote

The city of Golden, CO would seem to be the ideal spot for a one-party government with a large college campus full of 18-21 year old minds, amenable to promises of low cost beer and other free goodies, but it seems the city council has some as yet unannounced plans for which even college students won't go for.

In their defense, the students there at Colorado School of Mines are probably in the top couple of percentage points for brains and even allowing for a lack of experience there are some things they can't be persuaded to vote for. Hence the latest attempt to preempt the adults in town: lowering the voting age to 16. Think what the average 16 year old wants, and at much reduced cost, then think what the city council might suggest they would consider if they will see to it that they survive the voter indignation at having to pay for the white elephants the council really wants.

Of course the real advantage to this is that the average 16 year old is assuredly NOT School of Mines material which would make them even easier to persuade. Imagine a municipal government elected by children on a promise to install a skateboard only lane on Highway 6 up Clear Creek Canyon.

Of course one must take into consideration my own personal position, that being that the voting age should probably be raised to 25 and the franchise withheld from anyone drawing a government paycheck. Yes, I know, I'm on Social Security, but how long do you think it would take to see the SS system revised to individual mandatory IRAs and the geezers allowed to vote until SS is completely phased out? If you're working for the government or on welfare and want to vote, then get a job in the private sector. For the geezers, this is much more difficult, hence the temporary forbearance.

The Importance Of Planning To A Space Program

Some folks at the University of Glasgow are proposing nudging some modest sized (90-100 ft diameter) asteroids into Earth orbit where that would be more conveniently studied and/or mined. This sounds to me like a swell idea and may well be a way to get past any future proposals to declare space to be like the oceans, "a common heritage of mankind". That common heritage crap is why no one is mining the oceans for the nearly unlimited supplies of various minerals to be found there as everyone from the UN to the Bumfarkistan Liberation Front would demand a piece of the action.

Of course there are the usual Luddites tut-tuting that if anything went wrong with this project, the asteroid might well wind up being mineable right here on earth. The solution is easy enough, as the proponents of the project are double-dome boffins who could plot the asteroids path to within a yard or so and thus guarantee that if something did go wrong, the resultant crater would be located somewhere where no real damage would be done. Of course what would likely happen is that the maths would be left to math majors who would assume that the project being Scottish, the weights would be in stone, and the distances in leagues.

Them being Scottish, they'd probably put London at the top of their list.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Who Is Running The Country

It is said that the country is run by a small, rich cadre of people, to which none of us belong. Scott Adams suggests that the big decisions are made by the congress, the small ones are made by the bureaucracy, and everything in between is the realm of Mark Zuckerberg and 3 or 4 of his peers.

Check his reasoning here.

I think that as long as Facebook/Google/Twitter can control the flow of ideas without making it overly obvious, they can probably get away with it. This approach worked for the MSM for years. Once it got to the point where they couldn't get away with it, the deal collapsed.

Give it a listen.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Health Issues - 2c

Cuban sandwiches and beer are back on the menu, and I did 25 miles on the bike today. Slower than usual, and my legs were telling me that I'd been off the bike too long, but not a bad start. My guts are still not working normally, but by now they work well enough.

That club match I talked about in the previous update went reasonably smoothly, I finished 5 of 8 which was lower than I usually do, but better than I expected. Part of that also is attributable to my lack of a decent light for the low light stage that seems to almost always get tossed in. I may have that fixed. 588 lumens makes things mighty bright.

Pedals and Pints is a social group in the Meetup list that sets up bike rides from brew pub to brew pub. Most of the attendees are 30 somethings and most of them can ride much faster than me. It's still fun, and for me a 4 oz beer is plenty with 3 or 4 of them on a ride. There's a ride coming up on the 15th. 4 pubs, and only 5 total miles of riding. At this rate I could probably keep up walking.

Jargon - Controlling The Language

Again with the caterpillar for whom words had whatever meaning he wished them to have. I noticed that the text of Washington initiative 1639 referred throughout to "semiautomatic assault rifles." The upshot of this being that any semi-auto rifle was to be considered an assault weapon, all the way down to your 10-22.

Last I looked, a rifle, might be equipped with a muzzle thingie, handlebars, headlights, tail fins, bottle opener or anything else, but unless it has full auto capabilities, it is decidedly NOT and assault weapon.

Thinking about this for a bit, the next obvious step will be to define new classes of weapons to include the "bolt action assault rifle", the "lever action assault rifle", the "pump action assault weapon", and the "revolving cylinder assault weapon". In fact, it might be advantageous for the pro-gun folks to adopt this nomenclature first to make it as obvious as possible to all that the opposition is making things up as they go along, hoping that no one will notice.

Is not ridicule the best weapon, at least up to the point where the shooting starts?

Friday, August 31, 2018

Scrubbing The Clinton Legacy

Way, way back when, the California legislature decided that if coal MUST be burned in their state, it would have to be as free as possible of any impurities like sulfur. When the law was passed, there was only one source for coal that met California's standards, and that was in Indonesia. The mine was owned by one James Riady who quickly became rich as monopoly coal supplier to California.

A few years later, around 1990, another deposit of the stuff was located, this time conveniently in southern Utah. Before any mining action could begin, an election year reared its ugly head, and Mr. Riady found it expeditious to donate generously to the Clinton campaign. Indirectly of course. President Clinton then decided that a large patch of Southern Utah needed to be designated a national monument, so we got the Grand Staircase National Monument. Within its boundaries, mining activities were forbidden. One presumes the Riadys were grateful.

Forward to today when the Trump administration announces it thinks we have probably more national monument land under the Federal thumb then is really necessary, and cuts a chunk of Grand Staircase loose. Almost immediately a coal company announces it will be opening mining operations in the newly freed up area. No one has specifically said that the mine would be in the Clinton-Riady enclave, but at this point it's the way to bet. No more Indonesian donations to the Clinton Foundation, eh?

Gun Law In The Courts

Massachusetts has a fairly draconian gun law that bans pretty much all center fire semi-auto rifles. A Colorado think tank has weighed in with a judge who recently upheld the law saying:
In his April ruling, however, U.S. District Judge William Young in Boston said popularity doesn’t matter.
[T]he AR-15’s present-day popularity is not constitutionally material,” he wrote in his ruling. “This is because the words of our Constitution are not mutable. They mean the same today as they did 227 years ago when the Second Amendment was adopted.”
 One of the recent SCOTUS decisions held that the 2A covered the keeping and bearing of any weapon "in common use" and was not limited to flintlocks. The AR pattern rifle being currently the most popular rifle in the country at the moment, it would seem to be covered.

OTOH, if as the judge says, "the words of our constitution are not mutable" then let's go back to the original document where it says "shall not be infringed." It seems like a good starting point.

Tariffs On Compact Trucks

The Europeans have announced that they're willing to negotiate on vehicle tariffs with Trump, proposing a zero-for-zero tariff rate an motor vehicles. This sounds great and makes perfect sense, but how did we get there?

The 25% tariff on light trucks was imposed in retaliation for a European tariff on U.S. frozen chickens. Euros don't buy pickups like we do but Ford builds the Ranger in Germany, hence no Rangers in the U.S. Because we can sell Hans or Pierre a frozen chicken for less than Fritz can, shipping included. The American consumers and the European auto makers lost, but the European chicken farmers won, which should tell you where the votes and money are although I have a hard time seeing this.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Best Gun?

It's the one you've got in your hand when you find you really need it. There are differences of course, and the study below goes into several of them. It also makes some questionable assumptions about the circumstances under which you anticipate using your gun, but just keep your own likely situation in mind as you watch this:

Found at hellinahandbasket.

Local Politics

Jarid Polis continues to try to buy the Colorado Governorship with tepid endorsements all around. Here's my contribution:
It appeals to his base, and pretty much sums up the candidate in one sticker.
Fiddly difference, same message. As usual, print out on landscape paper, tape into back window, remove post election.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Privatizing Tyranny

Of late the left has come up with new and improved ways of getting their agenda enacted, this time without having to bother with a troublesome legislature. The very latest is anti-gun Gov. Cuomo's effort to cripple the NRA by threatening any bank or insurance company that does business with them with delisting or at least crippling in the large New York market. Here he gets around any prohibitions against interfering with interstate commerce by simply threatening a long and expensive deluge of red tape. In the end I suspect he would lose, but getting from here to there would take six to 10 years and cost a fortune.

Shopify has announced that it will no longer support sales of anything gun related, and defines this using the boilerplate Bloomberg definitions pushed by the most restrictive states.

Twitter and Facebook are busily suppressing all the conservative messages they can find conveniently just before the elections so that any legal efforts to make them honor the first amendment probably won't get a hearing before the 2020 elections. Their argument is that as private businesses they can do as they please, which reminds me of the signs I used to see in businesses in the '50s stating "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." which was weasel-speak for "We don't serve blacks here."

My bullet and reloading stuff supplier, Rocky Mountain Reloading, was recently hit with a notice that their brass and lead component business was outside the realm of what their financial services supplier wanted to serve and that they had zero time to go somewhere else. This involved ginning up a new website as well.
You may be asking yourself why we would be switching to a new website when we just barely launched the one we had back in December. Well, we are free to finally make this announcement. We were one of the gun related companies that was targeted for destruction through elimination of our credit card processor. Luckily we had the foresight, knowing that it could become an issue, to put it in writing that they would not ever drop us because of our involvement in the firearm industry. Even so, we were issued a termination letter with threats to hold our deposits for up to six months. At the time we had over $40k in deposits for them to hold. We wouldn't have been able to pay our bills and we have been in a very bad position. Anyway, we contacted a lawyer and informed them that we were doing so and we were able to get them to allow us a window for finding a new credit card processor. That in-and-of-itself would be no big deal but the current website provider only had Paypal and our processor as payment options. Neither of which would allow bullet or casing sales.
Again all this because the financial wonks have caved to the leftists and can use the "we're a private business and can refuse service to anyone." argument. If you reload, check them out. Good product, good prices.

My own bank, Bank of the West has been overtaken by the PC movement as well. When I first started there it was a local operation and very friendly. They're still friendly enough but they've changed hands several times and the current parent company doesn't want to have anything to do with the tobacco, energy, or firearms businesses. The energy industry supplies a lot of jobs here in Colorado and I like it when people have jobs. They tend to vote Republican in order to help them keep more of their hard earned money. I'll be reluctantly be looking for a new bank then.

So we see, more and more, the infringements on our rights are coming less directly from the government, which wouldn't be allowed to do that anyway, and more from private industry which depends on licenses and approvals from governments to exist. Tyranny by proxy, neatly privatized and all legal. Expect a lot more of this if no one figures out how to stop it.

By way of stopping it, I'm told that if Twitter and Facebook were to be declared to be "common carriers" they would have to accept anyone and anything at all. Shades of the good old days. This would require legislation however, and requiring those two to allow free speech would open any politician supporting such an idea to charges of supporting Nazis and pedos from people who like having their opposition silenced.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Fun With Headlines - Mad Maxine

From Drudge
PELOSI: Maxine Waters 'Strikes Fear in the Heart' of Trump...
Mad Maxine strikes fear into the hearts of all rationally sane folks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Health Issues 2b - Recovery

It seems that most of the digestive problems were caused by the pro-biotic I got. I quit taking it and 95% of the problems disappeared. What I would really like now is a Cuban sandwich and a beer but the system, while functional, probably wouldn't like that sort of stress. Next IDPA match is a week and a half out so I'm probably going to be good for that although I suspect I'll set some club records for speed. At the low end.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Health Issues 2 – Prostate Cancer

A column in todays WSJ is suggesting that discussing ones setbacks in life may well be good for you as you frequently enough find others in similar situations with whom you can discuss your problems and possibly discover solutions.

I have been diagnosed with Prostate cancer. This is not as bad as it sounds at the topmost level as it was caught at an early stage and treatment is simple and quick. That is for certain definitions of the word “simple”. Preparation includes inserting 4 short pieces of gold wire into the prostate so the targeting x-ray can actually see where the prostate is. The staff is provided with directions from the urologist as to where the cancer is located with reference to the wire locations. X-radiation therapy is applied using the very latest Allaudium Q-39 planetary nebulizer, an example of which in action can be seen here. All that was missing was the earth-shattering ka-boom.

The example shown has the machine working on the patients neck (Thyroid?) and emitting a red beam. In my case the patient was reversed and the machine was working on my crotch. In operation it's like having a 1-ton Labrador retriever carefully sniffing you so as to carefully commit to its memory all your pertinent statistics. No there is no red beam although there is a red laser cross hair roughly centered on the area of interest. The big head on the machine is the X-ray generator.

The many and varied angles it shoots from enables a session to hit the targeted spot from lots of different angles at one sitting and reduces the treatment time from 45 days to 5. I have now completed 5 treatments of 30 minutes each so by now all the bad stuff has presumably been shuffled off the mortal coil. That part was easy and painless although the side effects began to show up after treatment 3.

Most of my readers should be familiar with the 4 rules of gun safety, of which #4 is “Be sure of your target and what's beyond.” In this case, what's beyond is my intestines. Seems the cancer requires a fairly forceful push but my intestines don't take as much persuading. As a result I'm now on probiotics to try and restore my digestive functions. It also seems my lower intestine was weakened to the point that whereas in the past I'd get a polite warning about visiting the loo followed by a somewhat stronger one. Not any more. I get one warning and that's NOT advisory. It says I'd better be within 10 yards of the facilities OR ELSE! Even worse, no one has been willing to hazard a guess as to exactly how long this should be expected to drag on. Best guess so far is about 2 weeks.

There is a list of dietary restrictions that goes with this process that basically boils down to “Anything you eat will come back to haunt you in about 4 hours so remember the 10 yard rule. Attempting to follow this has lost me about 10 lbs in the last week. So the cancer is gone in 5 easy treatments and now all I have to do is nothing until my guts recover from the collateral damage. Other restrictions include No Bicycles which I'm finding out has to do with introducing vibratory stimulus to the lower intestine area. When you apply vibration to something thick and slow moving, it becomes thin and fast moving. Riding a motorcycle is less stressful, but has the same end result. Walking around also introduces vibration and the dog is missing her morning walks.

The probiotics are a pricey set of pills to be taken for about 2 weeks. One of my friends suggested that knowing what the effect on ones gut flora is about to be, perhaps the treatment center should work in a step involving refining a stool sample from the patient before the procedure and saving the refined flora in the fridge until after completion at which time it could be replaced in one or two passes to give the patient back 100% of his original biota. I ran this by the folks at the treatment facility who had mixed reactions to the idea although they all agreed that this might be a good application for the fecal transplant technology.
Renew Life brand Digest Smart eliminates gas way better than Beano and Garden Life brand Raw Probiotics (refrigerated) for men 51 and older is recommended for us older farts.

Mad Science department:

I also suggested a money saving method of doing this which was met with somewhat less enthusiasm. One visits the Salvation Army store and picks up a blender and a coffee maker. Rub them through your dish washer until your sterilization standards are met. Place stool sample and about 3 cups of distilled water in the blender, and reduce the mixture to brown liquid. Set up the coffee maker with the filter holder over the carafe, and pour the liquid through a coffee filter. This should yield a couple of cups of what the old Chinese physicians referred to as "yellow soup". Repeat the filtering process until all solid material has been removed. Use an eyedropper to load up some gelatin capsules with the soup and put them into secondary capsules, and refrigerate. Post treatment, take 2 in the evening before bed time for about 2 weeks. That should do it. DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. Do this at your own risk. Not responsible for anything. There are outfits that do this sort of thing and if you find one in your neighborhood, they might be able to help you out. It certainly adds a level of professionalism to the process though.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Behind The Headlines - Empathy Is Overrated

From today's BOTW:

What Would We Do Without Experts? “She’s the world’s top empathy researcher. But colleagues say she bullied and
intimidated them.”
Makes perfect sense. You'll get more out of the sheep by being the sheep dog than you will by trying to become one of the sheep.

Behind The Headlines - OH 12 Finds More Ballots

I'm going to guess they were in a grocery bag in the trunk of an abandoned Cadillac with Illinois plates in a seedy part of the district.

Rest of story here.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Health Issues

A whole host of testing, prep, treatment, and probably some post treatment testing. As a side effect, my gut flora has been trashed. Treatment ends Thursday. Recovery of the flora will likely take a bit longer, meantime I'm just not feeling very frisky.

Details later.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Near Record NICS Checks

But does it actually mean anything other than a chance to write a flashy headline?
Here's the month-to month with a projection for the year:
Except for summer of 2016 and December of 2015, the curves follow a fairly predictable path. Here's a chart of July numbers:
With the MSM predicting the inevitability of a Blue Wave, perhaps now would be a good time to buy up some gun stocks. If it doesn't pan out, you can always sell them before they return to normal.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Bathtub Drone

Some of us thought the bathtub drone project looked like fun so we're researching the idea. Testing indicates that nobody's lawnmower is going to fly with a passenger but it seems that treadmills use motors up to 3 hp, 6 of which look like they would do the trick. The big holdup right now is propellers. Seems you can get small ones at the hobby shop at pretty reasonable prices, probably because they get crashed and broken often enough that mass production drops the prices. When your payload gets to 220 lbs however, the required prop tends to be the sort that real aircraft use and those don't come cheap. The other problem is that if I were building an electric ultralight, one prop would suffice and one that size wouldn't be too bad. On a drone where you need 4 to 6 props, the size falls between large hobby and small aircraft and is much harder to come by.

Preliminary testing suggests that 1-1/4 hp/motor would lift a large drone if the pilot were limited to a lightweight dummy and the actual pilot were operating it from the ground. This opens up the path for building the structure and sorting out the control software first, then upgrading to more powerful motors later.

As has been noted before: Engineers should never be unemployed.

Fun With Headlines

From the Best  Of The Web column I get, this:
No Greater Progressive Love 
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants 5 more years on the Supreme Court, and people are offering their organs to keep her healthy,”, July 30

Far more likely is that Bernie Sanders has figured out that with the increased death rate that nationalized medicine routinely generates, there should be an adequate supply of other peoples organs along with other peoples money to pay for the procedures.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Musical Interlude

Let me say up front that I do not use weed. I even voted against the legalization of the stuff here. Let me also say that I like music, all sorts of it. My life has a continuous sound track running in my head which is kind of nice. I also like to build things weather the need is urgent or not. I mentor students at a local K-12 school helping them to build robots.

Building something for me can be kind of a manic experience, blazing along at full speed until whatever it is rolls out in all its glory. On that note, first listen to the tune "I Smoke 2 joints" by the Toyez

Next, consider these alternative lyrics:

I buy 2 Screws
I make 2 drafts in the morning
I make 2 drafts at night,
I make 2 drafts in the afternoon
And I think I got it drawn up right.

I make 2 drafts in time of peace
And two in time of war
I make 2 drafts before I make 2 drafts
And then I throw 'em on the floor.

(My contribution to paper recycling.)

Me neighbors they come tell me all that bangin noise it's bad
The Po-lice came an told me, this project's a little too rad.
They say it rolls too fast or it throws too far or the smoke don't smell so sweet,
So knock it down or get it outta here 'cause I can't do my testin in the street.

I buy 2 screws in the morning
I buy 2 screws at night,
I buy 2 screws in the afternoon
And I run them all down tight

I buy 2 screws in time of peace
And two in time of war
I buy 2 screws before I buy 2 screws
And then I buy two more.

(Ace Hardware loves me.)

I cut 2 bars in the morning
I cut 2 bars at night,
I cut 2 bars in the afternoon
I trim 'em till they fit just right

I cut 2 bars in time of peace
And two in time of war
I cut 2 bars before I cut 2 bars
They don't fit, I just leave 'em on the floor.

(I got a messy floor.)

Me neighbors they come tell me all that bangin noise it's bad
The Po-lice came an told me, this project's a little too rad.
They say it rolls too fast or it throws too far or the smoke don't smell so sweet,
So knock it down or get it outta here 'cause I can't do my testin in the street.

Sort of an anthem to all you makers out there.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Conestoga Project 5.0 - Final?

One can hope. My customer tried the bike and trailer out and pronounced it to be about 98% done. Seems the offset pedal cranks don't quite get her legs far enough off the motor. We found some extensions for the pedals at the local bike shop that moved them about 3/4" (20mm) further out but after trying them out we decided to get some just a bit over an inch (27mm) long.

One advantage to the extensions is that a 50mm extension on the right hand side would allow the use of the stock pedal crank and chain ring set which would be MUCH easier than trying to adapt something to the crank that came supplied with the kit.

Don't know where those sizes came from, but that's the sizes they come in. Of note is that the longer ones were out of stock while the short ones were available. This should be a clue as to which ones actually work.

Here's the assembled combo:

Cruizin' along. We're thinking that it might be easiest to simply throw a pup tent over the trailer when it's parked than to add the structure to support a fixed cover.

Test snooze. GSXR the dog is checking to see if there's room for her as well.

Friday, July 13, 2018

New Social Media

I feel like starting a new social media company. No censorship, and if you're offended, tough. Say anything you like and I don't care. I think I'll call it "Woodpecker" . Just sit down and bang one out.

I even saw a great inspiration for a company logo:
Whaddya think? Woodpecker. Say anything.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cali Backs Off Gun Registration

Cali's latest anti gun law required all owners of "assault weapons" to register them by electronically sending in 3 photos of each gun in question showing left side, right side, and a close-up of the serial number. There's more, but given that everyone had about 2 weeks to comply, the system failure was easily predictable.

My camera is a Sony Cyber Shot, a typical pocket camera. It has a default picture size of about 2Mbytes unless you set it to something reasonable. Or maybe you want close-ups of flowers in which you can count pollen grains, whatever. I bet most people leave the default settings on their cameras and collect very detailed snapshots.

Now multiply the 6Mb of snapshots by the number of people with "assault weapons" trying to get registered in 2 weeks. Yup, crashed the system. The program has been halted, probably only temporarily, but who knows. Governments are notorious for being the last to upgrade anything so there's probably some poor IT wonk trying to explain to a senior bureaucrat why it's going to take about 50 years to get all those pics downloaded over the states 1200 baud modems.

Just a thought, but any time the government demands photos, set your camera to the highest level and make any snapshot you send a 6Mb file.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Gun Debate - Pulling Out The Anti Gun Rug

The DOJ has thrown in the towel in a lawsuit brought by Defense Distributed which opens up a lot of doors and windows. See the story here.

But wait, there's more. In the settlement, the DOJ said:
Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber – including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms – are not inherently military.
Removing the antis "Military style firearms" and "weapons of war" argument from the table.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Does This Look Like Fun?

Here's some Germans with a drone apparently capable of carrying a human passenger over some distance. Noting that Google also has a one-man drone they're flying on Lake Mead in Nevada, I'd say that the flying cars we've been waiting for are being prototyped right now. They just don't look like cars with wings.

Seemed like so much fun that I started collecting old battery powered electric lawnmowers for the motors. Seems the ones I got all had lead-acid batteries which I already know are prohibitively heavy, but that's why they make Lithiums, right?

Some time back when I was toying with the idea of an ultralight aircraft, I noticed that the magic minimum horsepower requirement for reliable flight seemed to be about 12HP. What this suggests is that the mower motors are dismally underpowered with the 24V types putting out about 1/4HP at 3400 rpm with a 24x10 propeller. Almost enough to lift itself. The 36V motor I got was rated at 1 HP at 4000 rpm which is certainly enough to get itself off the ground but...

The 36V motor listed a part number and maker from Canton province, PRC so I checked them out. They also make motors for treadmills rated at 2-3HP 4000-4500 rpm. Now we're talking. 6X2 or 4X3 = flying. Best part is that people put treadmills up on Craigs List for free on a regular basis. All I have to do it go get them, remove the usable parts, and toss the rest.

The 24V motors will get donated to the school robotics club. The big problem now seems to be sourcing appropriate propellers at a reasonable cost. Suggestions anybody?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Extend Your Life?

Study suggests that 8+ cups of coffee a day can help you live longer. I think that all it actually does is keep your body fidgeting after you die, giving the illusion of extended life.

Of course the rattling coming from inside your coffin at the funeral might be disconcerting to the attendees, but just think of it as your last joke on them.

Unless of course it turns out you are in fact still alive in which case the joke is on you.

Zap Your Brain

I've seen this before with various claims attached ranging from a cure for depression to increasing your IQ. I suppose you could do it yourself by making a simple puleation circuit with 2 knobs, one for pulse width and one for intensity, 0-9VDC and embedding the rig in an innocuous sweatband.

Sure: Try different settings for a week each, and test yourself every Sunday by asking yourself if committing a heinous crime sounds like more fun than inventing anti-gravity.

I'm experimenting with motors, amp draws, and the like in the garage right now. All this without the benefit of an electronic headband. Just think how much fun this would be to pull the drain plug as you fly over the Antifa rallye.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Conestoga Project 4A

So it all bolts up and starts up and runs.

 The motor kit came with a cheesy clamp for the muffler which I now can't find, to keep it from vibrating and cracking.

 Gotta get that on. The rear sprocket bolts to the spokes and stays centered fairly well, but I'd feel better if the spacer I made to center it on the hub was metal and welded to the sprocket.
The motor started on the second or third pull of the rope and idles well. The machine accelerates just fine with no pedal assist at all with my 160 lbs on board. The motor manual is quite adamant about getting 10 hours of run time and an oil change before visiting Bonneville so I don't know how fast it will go but as a bike booster I'd say plenty fast enough.

Billlls rule of engine swaps says that any engine will fit any frame*.
*Note carefully that some fit MUCH better than others.

This motor kit is intended to fit a heavy weight cruiser bike and NOT a modern derailleur rig. OTOH if you really want to do this, it's not impossible. Keep in mind that I have a lathe, a small bench mill, and a MIG welder in my garage and access to the big stuff if (when) I need it.

Thanks as well to DuBach Tool and Machine, 3910 S. Mariposa St, Englewood, CO without whose assistance and supply of leftovers this project would have taken much longer. Got some small parts you need stamped out in quantity? Give him a ring.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Future Of Billll

Nothing really momentious, but I will be at Westercon  04 July 2018, Wednesday to 08 July 2018, Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the Denver Tech Center. I will be part time helping my friend Bob Pfeiffer, noted rock mavin, sell geodes for the purchasers to crack open, part time seeing the sights, and full time representing the Denver Mad Scientists as a mentor for budding young world dominators.

I believe that the 4th will be an initial opening and setup day with the festivities kicking off on the 5th. Look for the rock fragments in the vendors area.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Conestoga Project 4 - Motorizing The Mountain Bike

Got the chainring adapter done and by cutting the teeth off the chainring that was provided and making an aluminum ring to carry the 3 chain rings. Had to sink the crank into the ring on the back side to get the chainring locations right.
Next the motor mounts. 2 separate pieces with the front one slotted on the bottom to hold the motor as far forward as possible, this in an effort to provide clearance for the air filter.
It is planned to replace the hose clamps with real U-bolts at some point, but I haven't gotten there yet.
The 2 phillips screws replace 2 Allen head screws that caught on the toe straps that were fitted to the original pedals. Tolerances are that close.

Also noted was the idler pulley as provided with a tall bracket tended to let the drive chain swing in and out and try to jump the rear sprocket.
Moving it closer to the sprocket pretty much fixed that.

The muffler provided would have passed through the front frame tube. I need to find some tubing bits to route it around. a 45 down and a 90 on the bottom should do it.
Throttle and kill button are hooked up and I need to connect the crankase vent tube to the air filter.
Should be easy he said blithly... That and add oil and gas. Oh yes, and final tightening of all those nuts and bolts.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Privatizing Tyranny

From Greg Smiths newsletter:
On 6/25/2018 9:07 PM, Steven Wenger* wrote:

Still Smoldering on the Financial Front: ...In the wake of high-profile mass shootings, corporate America has been taking a stand against the firearms industry amid a lack of action by lawmakers on gun control. Payment processing firms are limiting transactions, Bank of America stopped providing financing to companies that make AR-style guns, and retailers like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods imposed age restrictions on gun purchases. The moves are lauded by gun-safety advocates but criticized by the gun industry that views them as a backhanded way of undermining the Second Amendment. Gun industry leaders see the backlash as a real threat to their industry and are coming to the conclusion that they need additional protections in Congress to prevent financial retaliation from banks. “If a few banks say ‘No, we’re not going to give loans to gun dealers or gun manufacturers’, all of a sudden the industry is threatened and the Second Amendment doesn’t mean much if there are no guns around,” said Michael Hammond, legal counsel for Gun Owners of America. “If you can’t make guns, if you can’t sell guns, the Second Amendment doesn’t mean much.” The issue has already gotten the attention of the Republican who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho sent letters criticizing Bank of America and Citigroup, which decided to restrict sales of firearms by its business customers, over their new gun rules in the wake of the Florida high school shooting in February. “We should all be concerned if banks like yours seek to replace legislators and policy makers and attempt to manage social policy by limiting access to credit,” Crapo wrote to Citigroup’s chief executive... The gun industry acknowledges that there’s nothing requiring companies from doing business with gun manufacturers or dealers. Monthly reports from the federal government show background checks to purchase a firearm are up over last year so far, so the early actions apparently have not put a dent in sales. Still, the industry believes it needs stronger laws against financial retaliation in the future. “We may have to seek legislation to make sure it can’t be done and that you can’t discriminate against individuals from lawful exercise of a constitutional right,” said Larry Keane, senior vice president and legal counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gunmakers. “Imagine if banks were to say you can’t purchase books or certain books aren’t acceptable. That would be problematic and I don’t think anyone would stand for that kind of activity by the banking industry.” (As I recall, total NICS checks have trended higher but not necessarily those for gun purchases. NICS is also used by many states to check applicants for carry permits.)

It's called privatizing tyranny. No legislature can legally forbid the ownership of firearms although some try very hard. The banking industry however can do as it pleases so if you can't make or sell guns, then the peasants won't have them. In practice this will only drive the prices up which will impact the poor the most. It's almost as though the banks have found a way to bring back the antebellum black codes which were designed to keep guns out of the hands of poor whites and blacks.

IANAL but an industry wide practice to deny basic civil rights to identifiable groups of people sounds to me like the basis for a whopping big RICO suit.

*Corrected the authors name.