Thursday, April 28, 2016

Weekend Fun - Technology

The S.T.E.A.M. fest will be held in Boulder at the county fairgrounds,  9595 Nelson Road, Longmont, CO this weekend featuring Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Art, and Making. This is along the lines of the ever popular Maker Faire and is intended to be highly interactive. Bring your kids or just bring your inner kid.

I'll be in Barn "A" with Trains, Automobiles, Hackers, Occulus Rift... etc. Look for the large flying foam darts and talking robot head.

Repealing the PLCAA

The Protection of Legal Commerce in Arms Act protects the firearms industry from frivolous lawsuits by anti-rights do-gooders. Under this act, if someone shoots someone else for whatever reason, the maker of the firearm is exempt from any legal action. The exception to this being the case in which some party was injured due to a malfunction of the firearm. This principle is why when you get run over by a driver in a Chevy, that GM is not liable for having built the vehicle. The exception would be if the accident was caused by some manufacturing defect in the car that say caused the brakes to fail when the ignition key was yanked just so.

Hope springs eternal for the anti-gunners as explained in a newsletter I get,
For years, the gun industry has been immune from lawsuits for harm or deaths caused by their products, thanks to that bill, the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.”
No other industry enjoys immunity like this when their products hurt people.
You can sue for damage done by a toy water gun. If a faulty airbag breaks your arm in a car accident, you can sue the car company.
But when damage is done by a real gun, victims largely have no legal recourse. In some cases, victims’ families even end up paying the gun lobby’s legal fees for just filing suit.
But there’s a bill in Congress right NOW that would remove this immunity – the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act (H.R.4399).
The entire hysterical thing is a lie from start to finish.
Line 1: If a gun maker makes a defective product that injures someone through faulty operation, they can most certainly be sued.
Line 2: Every industry in the country is subject to this.
Line 3: If you are damaged by a defective water gun then yes you can sue. Astoundingly the second line here is true.
Line 4: Keeping the meaning of damage here as nebulous as possible. If you are injured by a real gun which worked as advertised, causing you to break off your assault, robbery, rape, whatever, then no, you can't sue the gun maker.

HR4399 I'm guessing has no chance of passing in a Republican house. Something to keep in mind as you stand in the voting booth this fall with a clothespin on your nose and contemplate your choices. You elect the individual but you get the party.

Now if your representative is a D, you might consider writing them to ask for an amendment to the Law of Gravity to reduce the gravitational constant from 32.2ft/sec^2 to say 16 ft/sec^2 as this would drastically reduce the number of senseless deaths due to falling, a far greater number than deaths due to firearms. Try it. I bet you get some very politely worded letters back assuring you that Senators Phogbound and Belfry are looking into this and will get back to you.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

QOTD - Rights

This from the Hildabeast recently:
"Any right that requires you to take extraordinary measures to access it is no right at all," Clinton recently lamented as she spoke about the prevalence of the anti-abortion movement's activism.
Or to put it another way, if any right can be bounded by enough such measures it essentially ceases to be a problem. Requiring people to be licensed to be considered a journalist, including employment at a recognized media outlet for example would limit investigative journalism to miscreants from the "wrong" party. If you put up a high enough poll tax, only call it something else, like a registration fee, then you reduce the amount of gerrymandering you have to do.

Oh yes, and about gun rights...

Boulder Channels Bloomberg

Boulder county may well have a ballot issue for the voters this fall to tax sugary soft drinks, presumably to save Boulderites from themselves.Guess what? Consumers will not be expected to pay the tax!

The proposed mechanism to enhance health and fitness funding is an excise tax of 2 cents per ounce on drinks that contain at least 5 grams of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or other added sweeteners per 12 fluid ounces.
It would be paid by distributors of such drinks, and not by Boulder residents.
Let's see, 2 cents per ounce times 12 oz./can is $.24/can or $2.88/case. For the average Boulderite that would make it economically worthwhile to drive to an adjacent county to do ones shopping even if only one case of pop were on the list. For 2 cases, the same argument would work even if you drove the Lexus instead of the Prius.

If you think the distributors will be paying this tax instead of the end users, I have some ocean front property in Boulder county I can sell you. Cash only at my low, low price. Retail for pop is between $3 and $6 so the tax is running between 48 and 96%. Seems kinda steep.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Gun Fun - IDPA Qualifier

I shoot six shots in time of peace,
I shoot six shots in time of war.
I shoot six shots till I'm at slide lock,
Then I swap my mag and then I shoot six more.

To the "tune" of Colorado's unofficial state song.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fun With Headlines - Widows

...a new study suggests that widows actually suffer less stress and frailty than wives whose husbands are still alive.

Sure, Especially when the coroners rule the death as due to "natural causes."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Conductive Contact Lube

I use a card holder to read the card from my camera into the computer. This has worked fairly well until recently when the computer seems to refuse to acknowledge the presence of the card. I got some Bachmanns E-Z Lube conductive contact lube for a different problem and decided to give it a try. Rubbing a thin film onto the contacts on the card didn't help so I put a tiny drop onto the USP connector of the adapter. Voila! instant recognition.

For the real test, I have a connector on the Jag that has never been better than usually connected. Thorough cleaning helped for a while, but the problem is back. Next we try this stuff.

Anybody want to buy a Jag?


The birds are singing and all that. This fellow

And a friend were busily excavating a limb on my Linden tree this morning, tag teaming the tree, flitting up, excavating the limb, flitting back and spitting out the sawdust, back and forth for quite some time. Terrible picture, but it's what I got. The other bird was slightly smaller and lacked the black band. I thought they were English sparrows, but I'd never seen sparrows do this before.

That limb is easily 2 inches in diameter and the hole extends an inch up the limb in both directions. Impressive job for only one morning.

If I'm lucky, they'll develop a voracious appetite for Japanese beetles

Tubman On The Twenty

It has been announced that Harriet Tubman is the administrations pick to go on the $20 bill. For once I think this is a good idea, as Jackson in my mind is remembered as the founder of the Democratic party, and the man behind the Trail of Tears Indian relocation.

The only thing left to decide now is the actual portrait to use. I favor this one:
A gun-toting Republican woman. What's not to like.

Write Jack Lew at the Treasury department and demand this version.

Rumor has it that other currency is up for remodeling. Unconfirmed is the rumor that Obama plans to put himself on the $100. It is popular for heads of banana republics to put themselves on the largest note the general population is likely to be carrying and to decorate the lesser bills with their cronies.
With Hamilton fairly well secure on the $10 and Washington on the $1, expect to see Valerie Jarret on the $50 and Al Sharpton on the $5.

Update: Someone tipped them off. On a still night you can hear heads exploding.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Gay Crusades

Here's a nice piece on the suitability, or lack of same of knuckling under to the LGBT bomb squad, specifically in North Carolina.

Comments on that one are Facebook only which unfairly excludes me since my principles forbid my giving away my ranch to Facebook. At least up to this point.

According to my quick reference The state may not establish an official religion nor may it prohibit the free exercise of whatever yours is. A Christian can deplore your practices, but may not interfere with them and vice versa. Therefore compelling a Christian to endorse a practice that his religion describes as abhorrent is in violation of the free exercise part of the first amendment. Georgetown, a commenter* there, may carry on with traditional Scottish culture and the rest of us will politely look the other way.

Now run along to the Halal meat market and threaten to sue if they don't provide pulled pork for your next barbecue.

*You must be wrong because as a right winger you must be ever so mean. And I demand you write a column praising my decision to marry a sheep because I am entitled to affirmation.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bangin' The Switch

Spring is when mother nature grabs the switch between Summer and Winter and bangs it up and down a few times just to keep us on our toes. Last few days = t-shirt weather, bicycle weather, all that and more including getting the broken branches from the last storm cleared away. Trees putting out new leaves and the fruit trees beginning to bloom.

Coming up: 1 in of rain Friday night, changing to 6-12" of snow over the weekend. Heavy wet snow too as the temps will be just above freezing up to the end.

Oh well, we need the water as usual.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Hillary On Probation?

U.S. News is suggesting that the President might let Hill cop to a misdemeanor and see to it that she got probation for the offense.

I suppose the formal pantsuit would cover the ankle bracelet while she takes the oath of office, following which she could pardon herself and have the thing removed.

Doggie Blogging

Took the dog out for a stroll up the trail today, thinking about what I could write about, and it occurred to me that her walk is all too close to what I'm doing. Along the internet trail she surfs walks, carefully reading sniffing every new post blade of grass and high standing weed. Sometimes I can see what has her interest as there's a big story pile of poop off to the side that has some interesting aspects. Sometimes she "comments" in passing, sometimes not. Sometimes she finds an otherwise unremarkable patch to be interesting enough to spend quite a while at, perusing the area in great detail, but then loses interest and resumes the walk.

She "comments" about every 200 yards and "posts" once or twice on a 2-3 mile walk.

Sounds about right, especially in an election year.

Cultural Appropriation

Gotta love this one from the Master, Bill Whittle. I mean who knew that rap was originally invented by a white man in the 1400's:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

You Would Think...

That when someone has become nationally famous for complete cluelessness
"More Inmates, Despite Drop In Crime" by Butterfield in the New York Times on November 8, 2004
that people would be at least somewhat adverse to repeating the feat. James Taranto of the WSJ*1, however, has made finding things like this a regular feature in his daily column sometimes citing multiple efforts. Here's one that comes probably closer to the original than any I've seen to date:
“It’s puzzling that so many Americans are choosing to arm themselves at a time when the FBI tells us violent crime and property crime have been falling dramatically for two decades.”—John Burnett, NPR, April 12
I suppose that the obligatory subscription to the NYT*2
that has to come with a posting to NPR*3
doesn't help when you sometimes have to read the WSJ to get the jokes.

Acronym guide
1. WSJ Wall St Journal
2. NYT New York Times
3. NPR  National Public Radio

Monday, April 11, 2016

Auto Hacking

This is a low-level hack but nevertheless, aftermarket kits are available. The Mass Air Sensor in your car actually has 2 sensors in it, one for air flow (3 wires) and one for temparature (2 wires). The temp sensor is a thermistor whose resistance varies with temperature, in my case and probably most others, as the temperature goes up, the resistance goes down. The ECU takes this information and uses it to adjust the fuel/air mix as you drive.

Colder air is denser, and would require more fuel, which in turn will deliver more horsepower. If the temparature sensor is replaced with a $.30 resistor from Radio Schack in the right value, the engine will think the outside temp is about 0 deg F and adjust the mix accordingly.

Remove the sensor assembly from your car, determine which pins are connected to the temparature sensor, and measure the resistance. On mine, 65F corresponded with 2800 ohms. Put the unit with a thermometer in your fridge for a while, then check the resistance again and note the temp. These things react quickly so if you keep it under the burger, you'll get better numbers. Now calculate the ohms/degree curve. (T1-T2)/(R1-R2). This will probably work best if you convert the temperature to degrees Kelvin first to avoid divide by zero errors. Now calculate the resistance corresponding to say 0F and replace the thermistor in your sensor with such a resistor. Probably best to snip the wires to the sensor a couple inches back from the plug in case you need to go back to stock to pass local emissions requirements.

In my car, if the thermistor fails, the ECU reverts to an assumed temp of 37 deg C and puts an annoying message on the dash explaining that it's pining for the dealership again.


It came and went and I did not get a complete list of all who attended. There were 8 of us altogether. The pint Room in Littleton has 175different beers, some 110 of which are locally produced so there's probably something there for everyone.

Oh yes, and several ciders including pear which was tasty in a different way.

Since we started at 3, the place wasn't inordinately noisy and we all got home before dark.

You should have been there. Rich turns out to be cougar bait. Who knew?

Poll Of The Week

Since they publish polls about twice a day in an election year, here's one from the NYT that at least ignores the candidates and looks at the Hatfield-McCoy relationship the American public has gotten to.

Third, we also don’t like one another very much. Thirty-eight percent of Democrats have a “very unfavorable” view of Republicans, and 43 percent of Republicans hold that view of Democrats. About half of “consistently liberal” Americans say most of their friends share their views, and about a third say it’s important to live in a place where that is so. For those who are “consistently conservative,” these preferences are even more pronounced.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Gun Law Musings

Several things came together today, so here they are in one handy post:
The Libertarians had a debate and the topic of restricting gun rights for the mentally "differently abled" came up. The former governor suggested that this issue might need to be looked into, which got him booed by the crowd. Here's my observation:

As a private shrink, you wouldn't declare ANYONE to be unstable as there are lots of legal implications beyond gun ownership that come into play here. Remember that above a certain income level one is NOT crazy any more, just eccentric, and people in that tax bracket have lawyers.

The shrink's alternative course would be to declare everybody to be ineligible since you can count on being sued if even one of your positive recommendations turns out to be wrong.

By the time you're far enough gone to be properly declared ineligible to own firearms, you're probably already in some sort of "closely supervised" environment. Adam Lanza was at the point where his mother was looking in to an institution for him when he flipped out and killed all those people.

Do we want crazy people arming themselves against imaginary enemies? No! But who decides? The "safe" way would be to assign the judgement to a civil servant with qualified immunity so when your vengeful ex sends him a note saying that you're nuts, he can issue the paper secure in the knowledge that he's immune from complaint. Besides, if you feel this judgement has been issued in error, feel free to retain a lawyer and file a request for annulment of the adjudication just as soon as we let you out of the state booby hatch where you've been sent for observation.

Keeping guns out of the hands of crazy people is a swell idea, but let's work it backwards. What is the most common feature of people who commit violent acts with a gun? Take both routine criminal and psychotic mass shootings as well. Lookey here! 99% of the perps are registered Democrats or voted that way in the last election. Bingo! A nearly completely foolproof method for determining insanity, or at least a disqualifier from owning or possessing a firearm. Now all you have to do is get them to surrender their arms and promise not to acquire any new ones.

Let it not be said that I'm just picking on the Donks here. Some offsetting prohibition should also be applied to the Republicans, say denying them the right to an abortion.

As to limiting the types of arms one might posses:
Now get out there and get some range time in so you can
Shoot Like A Girl, if you can.

Pics found at Powerlineblog where there are a whole bunch more worthy of a gander.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Space-X Nails It!

Puts the first stage down on a floating barge.
Picture from Wired along with more coverage.

Congratulations Space-X!

Auto Repairs - Black Belt

The Pretentious British Car has developed a transmission problem. The PBC forum insists this is repairable in ones driveway with parts costing under $100. The PBC repair place says it requires a transmission specialist and the price starts at $1500 and likely would go up. Way up. From the sound of what I'm hearing, they're probably both right but if the problem can be at least suppressed for $100, then I'm for it. At this point I want the car to be salable, period.

My feeling for the thing is that it is without doubt the most beautiful car Yugo ever built. Yes, I know Ford owned the company when it was built, but all this does is make me wonder about everything else Ford builds. This also reinforces my view that while the car may have more quirks than your crazy ex, if you can live with the quirks, then good for you. Otherwise...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mickey-D Automates Coffee

And gets it wrong. Read here for the article about a McD's in Chicago with a high tech coffee machine that serves you a cuppa for $3 with no humans involved.

Me I just want a large coffee, half decaf, 1 sugar, 2 cream. This costs $1.08 around here.
Concocted by a former oil company chemical engineer who's no longer making $500,000/yr = Priceless.

Made from drip coffee by the McBarista, I was at least confident it wasn't made from concentrate, bulk shipped here in a re-purposed oil tanker from some place that has non-performing employees on the menu in the company cafeteria.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Death and Taxes - Taxes

BHO whining that the worlds governments don't get enough of the worlds wealth:
“There is no doubt that the problem of global tax avoidance generally is a huge problem,” he told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “The problem is that a lot of this stuff is legal, not illegal.”
SCOTUS in Gregory v Halvering
The legal right of a taxpayer to decrease the amount of what otherwise would be his [or her] taxes, or altogether avoid them, by means which the law permits, cannot be doubted.
Whose money is it then?

Representation For Non-Citizens

We've been doing this for a long time but the issue finally made it to the SCOTUS where 8-0 it was determined that allocating representatives to the U.S. House based on a districts population of warm bodies regardless of their actual eligibility to vote or citizenship status was in fact constitutional.

The ruling implied that counting only citizens would pass muster as well, but it looks like no one actually does this. Illegals don't need to vote. They get representation by default.

Blogfest - Short Notice

Come on down, have a drink, and hang out with local celebrity* bloggers this Saturday, April 9 from 3pm till we go home, at the Pint Room,, 2620 West Belleview  Avenue, Littleton, CO 80123.

Plenty of free parking, and just off the Platte River bike trail. Craft beers galore and tasty food to go with.

*We think we are.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Comic Strip Heros

When we were kids, before the invention of the cellphone and the internet*, we used to entertain ourselves with comic books. That and Saturday morning cartoons on TV.

For myself, I favored Gyro Gearloose and Dr. Strange who could in the first case invent anything, and in the second case, deal with anything. On TV I liked Mr. Peabody who was obviously smarter than everybody. All in all, some good role models.

Who inspired you, and why?

*And fire according to my daughter.

Bumper Stickers

I wouldn't put these on a bumper, but one could print one out in color and tape it in the back window where it would be easily removable should the candidate drop out or go to jail.

Bernie's rock solid belief in socialism in spite of 3000 years of evidence to the contrary leaves me wondering about his connection to reality. Would that he were the only candidate with problems along this line.


This looks like fun, found in the Sunday edition of Pravda On The Platte:
The sun rose brightly orange
over the peaks of the Gore range...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Snow Mold

I've never seen this before and of course when I first saw it, I didn't have a camera with me. Seems when you get a heavy wet snow followed by very slow melting, this stuff forms underneath.

This patch was in a school yard and from a distance it looked like a solid layer of frost about 5 ft by 15 ft. The picture above was taken a week later and not much remained. Earlier there were very thin fibers with pepper grain sized bulbs on top, presumably spore packets. I'm told it kills the grass. In my yard it seems to be attacking the crabgrass primarily so I'll say it's not all bad.
The white part started off slimy but dried out and became cobwebby later. Odd stuff.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

QOTD - Freudian?

San Francisco never ceases to amaze. First this:
Mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, explained: "We have our limits. It applies to people who think they are animals and engage in bestiality.
Which comes as a complete surprise to me, but then this follow-up:
Upon hearing about the troubles of the furry people, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee welcomed the Furries to march in his state. Forgetting that his mic was still on, the Governor added, "I'm one of them and consider myself a Husky. At Theta Xi Fraternity, we had great times with our sheep. We cannot allow the reactionary Zoophobia to control our lives. Is this mic on?"
So Gov Inslee identifies as a Scotsman I guess although I have no idea what his actual ethnicity might be.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Why We Go Armed

"A gentleman seldom if ever needs a gun, but when he does, he needs it very badly"
                                       Winston Churchill
 Buck up Bunkey, spiders are notoriously near sighted. Take a step back, and he'll lower his weapon allowing you a clear shot.