Monday, November 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

Here lies a reproduction of one of the e-mails brought to light in the East Anglia global warming kerfuffle. The author is offering a course of labor to a colleague, involving an attempt to reconcile the works of several competing, and very thin-skinned post-docs.

After going through six complex steps, which may or may not involve some or all of the others, step 7 is:

7) Publish, retire, and don't leave a forwarding address.
Probably good advice, as some of the people whose data you'd be massaging control your share of the government millions they get to come up with results, and if you suggest that any of what they have so far is anything but pure gospel, you'll soon discover how nice it is, comparitively, to be a mini-skirted hooker in Mecca.

Which brings us to the actual quote. The writer is already familiar with the available data and notes:

We know with certainty that we know f**k-all.
Edward Cook
Which is what many of us suspected all along.

Gives me an idea for a book: "Pontificating for Fun and Prophet"

Sunday, November 29, 2009

End of an Era

After all these years, the Bomberos, the second most powerful air cannon in Colorado* is leavinbg for a new home in Nebraska.
Good bye and good luck. You folks in Kansas be very afraid.

P.S. If any of you know who those folks in Arvada who have the new centrifugal machine are, let me know. We need to meet.

*#1 is Johnny Pumpkinseed, also a product of the Denver Mad Scientists Club.

The Future of Transportation

Say Anything, who posts out of South Dakota, has a piece noting an unintended consequence of government planning in the fuels / agriculture industry. It seems that the mandate for ethanol in motor fuel demanded a certain amount of ethanol to mix with the fuel, and production was based on predictions of fuel demand.

Guess what? Fuel demand has dropped, but nobody adjusted the ethanol quotas. Now we have a surplus of ethanol to go with the shortage of animal food that goes along with converting corn to likker.

In the face of a recession that drives up the cost of everything, including food and fuel, the obvious solution to this problem is another government stimulus program. This time, everyone will be entitled to a free quart of government moonshine to help get them through the hard times. That would be 1 quart per registered voter in the household.

OK, in some places in Chicago, that would amount to enough cheap booze to keep a low-rent bar open for the whole year. Everyone in the bar will be counted as a job created or saved, I guess, so win-win.

Friday, November 27, 2009


It's a whole lot more fun if you don't need it.

Etymology Of Names

A -gate scandal is one in which the media will relentlessly pursue the (conservative) guilty party until he or she is publicly ruined and driven out of town, as it were.

A -quiddick scandal is one which the media will pointedly ignore until the (leftist) central party dies in high public office, which he holds all his life. No mention of the scandal will be permitted in the eulogy either.

Hence "Climaquiddick".

In a way the scandal was predictable. A researcher frequently is an academic who gets his money from the government. If you're looking for government money, the surest way to get it is come up with a problem that will be best solved with more government intervention. The larger the disaster which can be expected to ensue if more government intervention is not applied, the more grant money you can ask for with a straight face, and expect to get.

I know that industry isn't real big on never-ending studies, as they generally want to get a product to market at some point, and get on with the business of making money. Still, you have to wonder if GM or Chrysler aren't missing an opportunity here:
"Buy a Chevrolet and save the earth!"
"Buick! Keeping the worlds oceans down!" (Picture Tiger Woods up to his ankles in a water hazard here.)
"Don't let Jeep drown!" (Picture of a Jeep on an ice floe, possibly with a polar bear behind the wheel.)

I should be in marketing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Turkey with the fixins, Newcastle beer, and a visit from a new puppy.

To top it off, the Science channel had on 2 hours of this years Punkin Chunkin, including coverage of a centrifugal machine from right up the road.

Maybe it will inspire someone to buy our pumpkin cannon.

Hope all of you had a nice Turkey Day too, and thanks for stopping by and reading my rants.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tilting At Windmills

The continuing saga.

A few years ago I observed that the real hardcore politicians were the people who never saw a constituent problem that couldn't be turned into a revenue enhancement, usually without fixing the problem. Last weeks shot was to the Littleton councilman who also reps Littleton to the DRCOG. James Taylor responded to my petition for assistance by suggesting that the HOV lane be turned into a HOT (High occupancy / Toll) lane.

Sure, if the taxpayers are inconvenienced by congestion and pollution while 1/3 of a roadway they paid for goes essentially unused, just charge them for the privilege of using it.

In Chicago it works like this:
A businessman is selling fruit from a pushcart when a stranger bumps the cart, spilling the merchandise. The businessman protests this, but the stranger has an easy solution. Simply pay him $20/day, and he guarantees that the inconvenience will never happen again. The merchant, of course, happily pays the tariff, secure in the knowledge that his problem is solved.


When most of us take a job, there is an underlying assumption of loyalty the whomever has his name on the bottom of our paychecks. We provide our services in the hope that the enterprise will succeed and our contribution will be recognized downstream. In the case of government workers, the loyalty too often goes to the agency whose name appears on the check rather than the people the agency is supposed to serve, and whose money is behind the check.

Perhaps government checks should be written from the people of (insert city, state, of country here) rather than just City of Springfield, to remind the recipients of who exactly they are working for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Musical Interlude

I like good music, well blended harmonies, full, rich chording, and the image of Al Gore spending time in the joint with a couple of roommates who look like they may have been born there.

M4GW have several bits like this. Go here for a top lever look / listen.

Monday, November 23, 2009

When Things Go Wrong

Now I admit I've had things go wrong, once or twice. Usually it has to do with something completely unforeseen. I mean like I've never ever heard anyone suggest that "you could see that coming". At least not that I can remember.

Now this:

Was there ever any doubt? Whatsoever?

Found at Jawa Report.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Global Warming

Who knew that nuclear weapons were measured in Megabytes?

Science and Technology Marching Forward

Computer World is announcing that Intel is predicting that chips implanted into the human brain will soon be used to replace the keyboard and mouse as an interface at your computer. To me this sounds promising. Just think, a small implant, and I never misplace a tool again, or forget that last item on the grocery list.

With the addition of a small hole in the top center of the head, one of those camera memory cards can be dropped in to provide the recipient with spell check, XL and a dictionary, rendering high school grads employable for the first time in ages.

Some people worry that these chips might eventually extend to include processors, operating under government control, but given the slow reaction of government to the introduction of new technology, what would more likely happen is that enhanced cognitive abilities will render the Democratic party obsolete before they can mandate specific software.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Star Wars

Not that funkey movie, but the real thing. Boeing, who seems to have picked up a lot of the old laser-based programs, is working on the refinement of the concepts to forms that can be profitably used on todays battlefield.
Boeing leads the way in developing laser weapon systems for a variety of U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy applications. These systems include the Airborne Laser, Advanced Tactical Laser, Free Electron Laser, High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator and Tactical Relay Mirror System.
Having worked on some of the Star Wars stuff back in the day, I can tell you that making it actually work as advertised was more of a timing challenge than a technological one.

The congress, dominated by Democrats, didn't want the Soviet Union to think we were acting too aggressively toward it. The President (Reagan) was industriously banging away at their foundations with any sledgehammer he could lay his hands on. The ground-based laser system decsribed at the link traces its ancestry back to the R2D2-like air defense systems now mounted on most Navy boats. The Armys version was a 40mm gun on a tracked vehicle with a radar to direct it, and a computer to prioritize targets called DAVID. The review of the DAVID systim I saw showed a very aggressive system that would find anything that moved in the air, point the gun at it, and demand that the operator either pull the trigger or designate the target as friendly. Operators were warned to fasten their seat belts securely, because the machine didn't waste time moving from one potential target to the next. When they said "neck-snapping speed" they weren't kidding.

Recent versions of this have been able to pick off targets down to small mortar shells and RPG rounds, as moving mirrors and prisms is easier than swinging a 40mm gun barrel. It would seem that the target acquisition system is about ready for showtime, and the laser is quickly catching up. It's not that big lasers are difficult to build, as such, but that the support systems for them are prohibitively bulky. Progress is being made here, too.

If Boeing wants to do a real-life test, they could park their system just north of the Gaza border with Israel, and take pot-shots at the Iranian rockets Hamas is launching. If this works, they will quickly be able to expand to shooting at the mortar shells Hamas will certainly be aiming at their test rig, too.

H/T to Bijou Renaissance Man, who has some further details and pictures.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Or lack of same. Go here to see a county-by-county map of the whole country as it changes from yellow to red to purple to black with the rising unemployment rate. Whoever put this together had plenty of time on his hands. Possibly he was unemployed.

The animation shows the country being overwhelmed as if by some fast-spreading plague.

In spite of the assurances of the powers that be wafting about my nether regions, I'll find it easier to believe that the recession is ending when the black tide shows signs of receding.

Postal Match

Last chance this year to "go postal" and win undying fame and glory. To find out what that's worth, go to the CBOT and search either one of those commodities.

Anyway this months match is for the James Bond fans. Here's the target:
The complete rules are here. The fun part is that there's an advantage if you can name all six Bond movies for which an image is pictured. All five vehicles, and the girl. I have three ID'd, but I haven't been to a Bond flick since he wrecked the Aston Martin, so think of this as a bit of an online trivia contest.

First person to correctly name all six flicks, will get credit for having named them when I send in the targets. This is recognition second only to not finishing last in the match, so give it your best guess. I'm going out this weekend to prove that I can hit an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper at 11 yards without using a scope, and at 25 yards with one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Term Limits

Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is floating a bill to amend the constitution to limit members of congress to 12 years in either house. This legislation is sorely needed, as has been painfully obvious since forever.

Take a minute and drop your Senator a note asking for support on this. Two thirds of both the House and Senate and three quarters of the states would need to approve the amendment for it to take effect, which is mighty steep odds. Still, a vote would serve to smoke out the members most in need of retirement.

Appeal to the Pols self-interest. When writing to your Reps, point out that this would free up that Senate seat they've been eying, possibly before they themselves die of old age, their childhood dream unrealized.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Future of Transportation

The Aptera is at the point at which it will either shortly enter production, or the dustbin.
It seems that the financial powers that be have come to the point that the founders of the company have been let go.

At this point in a company's life, someone has decided that the beta test unit has developed about all the buzz its going to and it's time to either produce a production device and sell it, or call it quits. The idea people get annoyed when this happens as there is always something else that can be refined and added. The money people like to point out that R&D does not bring anything in until some of it goes out to the customer.

When it gets cold around here, I get to appreciate an enclosed vehicle with a heater. I'm sure the Aptera gets some astronomical number of miles to the gallon, and even reaches freeway speeds eventually.

I'm looking foreword to seeing the first one with a Hyabusa or V-max engine. 200 hp in that? Yowza!

Cafe Scientifique

This is an organization that presents lecturers on varied topics, open to the public, and frequently held at drinking establishments. Tonight's lecture was

Gravity's Fatal Attraction: How Black Holes Rule the Universe
As the Universe evolves, could it be the ultimate fate of all matter to be "swallowed" by black holes?Mitch Begelman, Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, JILA Fellow, University of Colorado, Boulder.

The problem with lecturing on the topic of black holes, is that there is really very little that can actually be known about them as such. Mass and spin are about it. The interesting stuff comes when you consider what goes on just outside one of them.

Having taken college physics myself, a lot of the lecture was a bit old hat, still there was some new stuff discussed. The packed house seemed to be quite enthralled however, so don't mind me. I was just a bit disappointed that the Dr. didn't bring one along to demonstrate with.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Over at Volokh, there's a discussion of it, mostly as relates to applying it to overly exuberant miscreants of the type who believe in making up in quantity, for example, what their deeds lack in quality. Also brought up is the subject of physician-assisted suicide.

This is a touchy area, and peoples opinions vary greatly depending on how the question is phrased.

Folks, if you're looking for help in shuffling off the mortal coil, you probably shouldn't be consulting with a physician in the first place. Doctors, after all, get paid to keep you alive. Talk to an Engineer. One who has had to sit through weekly production planning meetings will probably sympathize with you.

Engineers actually get paid good money to come up with devices specifically designed to hasten the demise of humanity, sometimes in wholesale quantities. They are also the ones who understand some of the "undocumented features" of otherwise innocuous devices you can find almost anywhere.

Just remember to ask discretely, as this sort of service is not always looked on favorably by the local authorities, and expect to have to pay in advance.


It's beginning already! in Las Vegas!
LAS VEGAS (AP) - For the second time in three days a home invasion suspect has been shot and killed by a Las Vegas homeowner.
Third time's the charm fellah, just make sure you don't run low on ammo.

Remember, zombie defense is a valid reason to own a gun.

And lots of ammo.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Middle East Diplomacy

Mark:"Is this a game of chance?"
W.C.Fields:"Not the way I play it, no."

It's how they play it in that part of the world, as Omar reports.
Thirty Mahdi Army commanders assasinated in Damascus
Unknown gunmen assassinated 30 Mahdi Army commanders in the Syrian capital Damascus. The killings, made in the past few weeks, were all made "quietly, inside the victims apartments",
All the usual suspects (everybody) are being blamed. The survivors are beating feet to Iran, and probably to whatever other places look less dangerous at the moment. Mookie Al-Sadr may miss them. Nobody else will.

Speaking of danger in the middle east, it also seems that Egypt and Algeria are on the verge of an impromptu war in the streets of Cairo. Fatalities are widely expected. Of course since it's only over a soccer game, the governments seem relatively unconcerned. Soccer hooligans, hah! There's plenty more where those came from.

Gun Sales

Looking at the graphs of U.S. gun manufacturing from the VPCs lamentation, I notice that manufacturing, and presumably sales, trend upwards when the Democrats hold the legislature, and peak when they also hold the presidency.

Additionally, sales decline when Republicans hold the legislature, and reach a minimum when they hold the presidency as well.

Noting only a small blip following 9/11, I have to conclude that the American people fear the Democrats far more than the armies of Allah.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

2 Bore In The Workshop

This is an ongoing project at this point. The gun is 1-1/4" diameter bore which technically makes it a 2-1/2 bore, however I've noticed that when you have a gun this big, they get called "2-bore" over a range of sizes.
The barrel O.D. is 2 inches. The stock is still a slab of wood, but the lock mechanism is coming along nicely. The CAD model above has been transparentized to help me visualize how all the parts are going to play together when it's finished. Hopefully I will have 2 of these ready to try out this Spring.

Sights haven't been worked out yet, but will probably be clamped to the barrel in front, and fastened securely to the barrel plug in the back, and yes, there will be some wood under the barrel.

As this is a smooth bore, 1-1/4" lead balls would be the expected projectiles, but in the interest of preserving my shoulder, I'm thinking of making some plastic sabots to carry 1" or 1-1/8" steel balls.

Projects like this fall into the category of "Why engineers should never be unemployed" and currently, my part-time gig has come back on line. The good news is that I'm bringing in some income. The bad news is that the delivery date for these cannons will move out a bit. Not to worry, progress reports will be posted when progress happens.

"Big Boomers" Threat or Menace?

The VPC has its latest whine up:

1. Big boomers are rifle power designed into handguns. During the 1990 to 1999
period, 20 law enforcement officers were killed by gunshot wounds as a result of
rounds penetrating their body armor. All of these rounds were fired from rifles.
So they admit right up front that the vests worn by LEOs work as advertised.However, the big boomer handguns that are now being designed and marketed by the firearms industry have elevated the power of handguns to the level of rifles. Big boomers have thus become “vest busters” and present a deadly challenge to law enforcement body armor’s life-saving record.
The vests were never intended to protect against rounds like the .44 magnum and other cartridges of that class.
2. Big boomers—a serious new threat to America’s public safety officers—are the gun industry’s latest attempt to stop its steady market decline. The American firearms industry has been sagging for decades.

Which would explain why I can't find the gun I want at the gun show, and all the dealers on line all list it as "out of stock". Ditto ammo. The manufacturers all seem to have a significant backlog in production, too. Say, does this "serious new threat" include the 45-70 revolver? I seem to remember that one as having gone into production in the 1800s.

The article drones on and on, shoveling it high and deep.
The gun industry’s cumulative loss of market ground is reflected in a 2006 study, “Public Attitudes Towards the Regulation of Firearms,” released by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago analyzing the prevalence of household firearms. The NORC survey data shows that during the period 1972 to 2006, the percentage of American households that reported having any guns in the home dropped nearly 20 percentage points: from a high of 54 percent in 1977 to 34.5 percent in 2006.
"Hi, Mr or Mrs homeowner, I'm from NORC, not to be confused with NARK, and would like to know how many guns you have in your house."

Yeah, right.

Their graph showing handgun production, shows a huge spike coincident with passage of the AWB, which took a big drop, as Republicans took over the House and Senate in 94. Production showed a steady decline for the next 12 years, with hardly a noticeable blip following 9/11, but began another uptick in 2006 when the Dems took over the congress. They stopped collecting data in 06 for some reason, but I saw frenzied buying at the gun shows peaking only a couple months ago.

One other thing is that if domestic firearm production is declining, then what about imports? Domestic production of everything has been in decline for some years now, but NICS checks are running about 12 million/year or more.
Does this look like an industry in decline to you?
Thanks to Ammoland for the graphic.

Opportunities For The Differently Abled

It seems that the effort to stop the Ft.Hood shooter resulted in his now being unable to walk. I had been hoping that he would be, by now, unable to breathe, but you take what you can get.

Mind-boggling possibilities present themselves. In addition to car bombs, vest bombs, bicycle bombs, and motorcycle bombs, we now get to look foreword to wheelchair bombs.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mind Control

No, not that kind of mind control. This one works the other way. Seems a mechanic in Germany lost both arms in an accident, but has been fitted with advanced prostheses that allow him to control his arms with his mind.
Using the nerves that previously controlled the healthy limbs, the 22-year-old Austrian merely has to think what he wants his arms to do and the command is obeyed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quoting Mao

Anita Dunn was forced out of her post as communications director after quoting Mao Tse-dung who said, among other things, that
"Every Communist must grasp the truth; "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." ."

A famous quote, the preamble usually left off, for obvious reasons. He also said:

Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.

"Problems of War and Strategy" (November 6, 1938), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 224.

Once you have shot your way into the presidential palace, the first thing to do is to sandbag the windows, and disarm the peasants.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Missing The Point

In all the commentary going on about the Ft. Hood attack, no one seems to be picking up on the obvious point of the thing. That Maj. Hasan was executing a terrorist attack on the U.S. is not really debatable. As they note at the military academies, strategy and tactics are for amateurs, professionals talk logistics.

So let's consider the logistics of the attack. To put a soldier in the field requires ten or more supporters off the field. Someone has to inspire the fellow, someone has to train him, to turn an otherwise ordinary Joe into a weapon in his own right, and supply him with anything he needs over and above what he brings to the game himself. Peripherally, we hear he attended the same Mosque as two of the 9/11 people, and was preached to by the same Imam. When the same institution spits out 3 terrorists in a row, it's time to give the place a really close look. Who's in there, what are they saying, and who is paying them to say it.

To stop the attacks, it is necessary to do more than kill the man in the field. You have to wipe out the base that trained him, and the political leadership who inspired him, otherwise you're just playing whack-a-mole. Monitoring the sermons of suspected radicals is quite within reason. Reviewing their immigration status wouldn't hurt either. Freedom of religion is a limited right, just like all the others, and human sacrifice is over the line.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Health Care

The health care bill, all 1900 pages of it, passed the house today in what was undoubtedly a carefully choreographed vote. Job one in politics is getting yourself re-elected, so the opposing dems undoubtedly all came from otherwise Red districts (cough) Markey (cough).

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.
Both of which stand today as paragons of careful financial management and long term planning.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We're From The Government

And we're here to help.

Saw an article somewhere, and now can't find the thing again, that notes that the federal lead law that effectively bans garage sales and home made crafts without a lead test, extends to metallic alloys that contain lead, pretty much without regard to the amount.

This will extend the ban to include certain alloys of brass and steel. Yes, steel, to which, in some cases, small quantities of lead are added to make it easier to machine. So if you have children in your home, and inspection reveals brass plumbing fixtures, doorknobs, or house keys, run for your life, you're all gonna die!

Hunting The Wiley Wild Bowling Pin

Shot a bowling pin match today. Finished about halfway down, which sounds unexciting until you remember that not that long ago I was finishing dead last. Folks, try not to injure your head, recovery takes forever.

Pin matches are a contrast between the auto loaders and the revolvers. With an auto, speed is king. 5 rounds to knock over 5 pins, then 10 rounds or more to get them off the table. With a revolver, you bring the biggest one you've got, preferably with the number 4 in the size, or the word "magnum" in the name. Both, if you can manage.

Take your time, remembering that there's only 5 pins, and you have a spare bullet if you need it. No matter how hard you try, you can't miss fast enough to win.

I had two 5-round tables today, that's 5 rounds, and 5 pins on the ground. Yay me!

Ft. Hood

People are criticizing Obama for his apparent lack of concern about the Ft. Hood shooting. Give the man some slack. People get killed at that rate back in Chicago all the time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Elections

The topic has been written to death, in most cases, but it's never too late to have some fun with it.

Chris Christie won in New Jersey because all the "spare" ballots that are usually "found" in the trunks of cars, were stored in cars that were inadvertently sold under the "Cash for Clunkers" program.

You can bet the party hack responsible for "finding" those extra ballots is in the trunk of his own car right now heading for the crusher.

Ft. Hood

Ross Kaminsky has a post on the topic over at Rossputin on the topic. What struck me is that the shootewr was a doctor of psychaietry, which suggest no more than a $0.50 taxi ride to the booby hatch anyway. He also is taking a survey which should bring in some interesting commentary.

1. Of course. I notice that when I hear about a mass murder or bomb plot, it's almost never a Methodist. I also understand that the Koran and the Hadith place a religious obligation on their followers to perform such acts.
1a. Thursdays acts merely confirm my observations.

2. Devout followers of any religion have a tendency to think of Gods law as being superior to any secular law. History is full of examples. When religious law comes into conflict with secular law regarding killing people or paying taxes, the outcome is generally not happy.

3. Legally surveilling Muslims would be extremely difficult at best, from a legal standpoint. Should we? Interesting question. Everyone has the right to practice the religion of their choice, however some restrictions apply. Satanists are prohibited from practicing human sacrifice, for example. Don't know if the prohibition extends to advocating it, but if so then such a prohibition should logically extend to the advocacy of murder against practitioners of other religions.
Can an ordinary citizen be sanctioned for advocating violence against other citizens, for whatever reason? (Big discussion of this, re: "Fighting words" at Volokh)
Can a "holy man" be sanctioned for advocating violence against practitioners of other religions? Can a religion be sanctioned for including the same in its basic dogma?
If Boulder passes a strong "hate speech" law, can I demand that Islam be banned in Boulder under it?

I've commented on Islam before here at casa Billll, and called it like I saw it, which will probably keep me from getting elected to high public office, at least as a Democrat, or in Boulder county, should that ever happen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Harrys Roamers Turkey Run

I'll promote this because I've always had fun on this. It's a chance to get on your motorcycle and enjoy the kind of weather we've come to expect in Colorado in mid-November.
Balmy weather. Note the chaps on the luggage rack.
I've ridden this event is everything from shirt-sleeve warmth to snow with ice on the pavement, which was, shall we say, challenging.
Note the bike-fu masters technique; Foot well to the rear, forks at full lock, bike leaning strongly to the near side. In his defense, we were pulling onto the roadway here at a twisty section that made seeing oncoming traffic from either direction difficult. The traffic tended to take the posted limit as only an advisory, too. We bikers, of course, were paragons of virtue at all times.

The event is November 15th, regardless of weather, starting at G.I. Jodys watering hole on the NE corner of Ken Caryl and Simms. Doors open at 9:30, registration starts at 10, first bike out at 11, everybody in by 3 PM.

Cost is $10/rider, $5/ passenger, or extra hand.

High-quality frozen turkeys are the prizes. This is a poker run format ride. If you don't know what a poker run is, come on out and find out. As W.C.Fields said, "This is not a game of chance. Not the way I play it, no."

09 Elections

All in all, not bad. Not as good as it could have been, Bloomberg joins Danny Ortega in getting term limits swept aside, and NY-23 didn't work out in spite of polls showing Hoffman leading easily right up to the end.

Considering that both the GOP and the Dems (but I repeat myself) were running against him up until 1 week before the election, I'd say Hoffman did quite well.

Of course we must remember that in politics, 2nd place is equivalent to a train ticket to Siberia.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Swine Flu Plot

I love a good conspiracy. Here at Right Wing News is a report in the comments that the Swine Flue vaccine, to be given to the detainees at Gitmo, is made from ..... Swine.

OK, it has now been reported in a usually* reliable source that the swine flu vaccine is made from pigs. If this post is referenced in another blog** then one could say that it has been widely reported that...

Rioting begins in 3,...2,...1,...

*I admit the original post is probably more reliable than the comments.

**This one, for example. Given the size of the internet, it doesn't take much to make a report "wide".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quote of the Week

From Megan Mcardle at the Atlantic, in the comments:

"If Obama’s skin was any thinner, he’d have a reservoir tip on the top of his head."
I always thought of him as a bit of a bubblehead.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


It's way early to be naming candidates, but never too early to demonstrate why conservatives are generally happier than liberals. BigFurHat, over at I Own The World suggests this pair:
No, not the lottery. The 2012 presidential election. It’s Michelle Bachmann and the conservative celebrity Janine Turner. I have the campaign all laid out. It will be called Bachmann/Turner Overdrive. And the campaign song is Takin’ Care Of Business. Boom. Instant win.
We could do worse, and if we're not careful, we probably will. Frankly this rather fanciful ticket sounds better than one headed up by either Huckabee or Romney.

Pumpkin Season

Since 2 people have tipped me to this, I guess I need to weigh in on it. Seems the Cal State U at Fullerton, which is down in Orange county, held a punkin chunkin contest for the engineering students, and one team built an air cannon.
Impressive machine for something built in a hurry with a grade at stake.
The contest was held on the football field at about the 30 yard line, with targets set up somewhere near the goal line.

When we built our first air cannon, the barrel was 40 ft long. You do the math on these things, and the preliminary results are so fantastic you tend not to believe them. The math said that at 100 psi, the pumpkin would travel about 3 miles. Since that requires supersonic muzzle velocities, and that wasn't possible with an air gun, we wrote that off completely. The compressor we had available initially was capable of only putting 18 psi into the tanks, so our first shot was (empirically) predicted to just fall lamely out of the barrel. Instead it went about a block, fortunately hitting nothing breakable.

For our second effort, we arranged for 800 feet to the fence, and another 200 or so visible beyond it. I'm pretty sure we made 2200 feet that day, again, hitting nothing breakable. After that all our testing was done out at the gun range where we had over a mile.

Looking downrange at Fullerton:
You can see the "castles" used as targets on the right. Note the scoreboard, way back there. Now visit the link, and click up picture #4, a close-up of the scoreboard.

Air cannons are a lot of fun. I'll sell you mine for $1500 and you can terrorize your neighborhood for a half-mile radius.

Thanks to Jed and AKA Angrywhiteman for the tips on this one.