Saturday, September 30, 2017

Future Of Transportation - Smart

Ashes to ashes, and recycled pop bottles to body panels:
Several lawyers are attempting to represent the squirrel.

Mad Science

The "Buzzed Brainstorming" program at the Denver Startup week was fun and generally well received, featuring Dr. Jim Gunderson, founder of Gamma 2 robotics, John Morse, owner of DuBach Tool, Gerald Bohmer, retired, and myself. Being on stage playing a Mad Scientist with someone who holds a doctorate in a scientific field is a great way to make you feel like the kid in grade school whose lunch consisted of paint chip sandwiches, but oh well.

Suggested solutions to various problems included using the cooling pads in an evaporative cooler as root matrix for either tomato plants or coffee trees, a modification of Elon Musk's Hyperlink as a transport system from every house in town to the town landfill, and a proposal for a completely self-contained office cube that recycled everything and produced unlimited coffee for the occupant.

As advertised: Half-baked answers to half-baked questions. My only complaint was that we were scheduled as the very last presentation of the week and most of the attendees had already begun heading out. The official farewell social event is on Thursday night so anything on Friday tends to be rather an afterthought.

Oh well, as we say: "Bwahaha! Fools! I'll destroy you all!"

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Denver Startup Week

The convention this week for entrepreneurial types is quite the shindig:
More than 17,500 people have registered to attend Denver Startup Week this year continuing to solidify our standing as the largest - and best - free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America!
I've been to a couple of the presentations so far and found them quite informative. Go here for the event schedule and select the day you want. Better yet, scroll down through the remaining days and see if there isn't something that interests you.

Headquarters is at the Champa Commons building, and the events are held in meeting rooms, cafes, and corporate cafeterias all over downtown. Large parts of downtown are under construction, and parking is pricey so the best approach is to use the public transport to get as close as you can to your event and walk from there. I'm observing large numbers of scooters chained to the bicycle racks and after hoofing it 6 or 8 blocks, this looks like the way to go. The drizzle we've been having is not normal, and even then, it's only light drizzle. Bringing a bicycle would also work although I recommend a super sized lock that encompasses BOTH wheels and the frame. Bring your seat with you when you go in if it's any better than average. The beggars there have very light fingers.

Also on Friday:

Buzzed Brainstorming with Tipsy Technologists from The Denver Mad Scientists
Friday 9/29
4:00pm — 5:30pm
174 attending
Propose your hair brained idea and witness the making of an original design sketch by a real, live, Mad Scientist. The Denver Mad Scientists are an underground club of Makers who have appeared on Mythbusters in addition to Maker Faires, Makezine, and Mile High Con while also involved in general shenanigans throughout the Denver area. Join us to see if you can 'Stump the Chump' with your idea, however whimsical or practical, and walk away with a head full of ideas and possibly a new way of thinking.
This is my event, with 2 or 3 other "Mad Scientists" we will be offering possibly humorous solutions to your problems. Be there or be square.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Gun Laws

The Hearing Protection Act has been included in the SHARE act and has been voted out of committee. Dems are attempting to block by demanding further committee hearings although this is rated as unlikely to happen.

HR 38, the CCW recip act has 212 co-sponsors which speaker Ryan doesn't think is enough so he's not bringing it to the floor for a vote. I didn't realize that Ryan was an anti-gunner.

Text of the bill is here.

Couple of notes on HR38:
You may carry your carry gun wherever you go as all states right now have statutes allowing for concealed carry. Some just don't issue the permits (may issue).

“(2) The term ‘handgun’ includes any magazine for use in a handgun and any ammunition loaded into the handgun or its magazine.

So this gets around New Yawks SAFE act and NJ's hollow point ban. Good. Don't expect many votes from the Dems from there.

UPDATE: Revised to reflect more careful reading of the bill text. Thanks to Richard for pointing this out.

Minor Project

Found this powered golf caddy on Craigslist at a very reasonable price and thought it might make the basis for a fighting robot. I also thought it might make several other things, say an electric tricycle.
Came with battery and charger. The handle and front wheel extension are easily removable. Adding a small bicycle to this isn't very hard and can be done on either end of the bike. Putting the caddy on the bike as a replacement for the rear wheel makes a conventional trike, the disadvantage is that it's a rigid frame and a bit top-heavy. One could also use the caddy as the front wheels if a steering head is mounted under the bottom bracket which would allow the bike frame to lean when steering the machine. The disadvantage here is the relative complexity of the thing. I went with the easy route

Added support plates and an axle to hang the small bike on and voila!
 The bar on the bottom is to keep the assembly from folding itself up.
 Big wide "racing " slicks.
Speed control moved to the handlebars and off we go. Only problem so far is the rather modest (abt 6 mph) top speed since the caddy was intended for use by a walking golfer. The gearbox is a proper marvel with 2 stages of quiet running helical-cut gears.
Changing the speed would entail finding 4 new gears (expensive) or replacing the gears with sprockets and chains, which seems a lot easier and less expensive. Additionally there's the possibility of replacing the heavy 12V lead-acid battery with some 18V lithium units from a cordless drill or something. This cart is an old one and the company has upgraded to Li batteries. The new battery pack is expen$ive.

At this point I haven't much into it and could probably sell it as a kid's toy. Alternatively I could just sell the bike and continue with the original plan for a fighting robot. We'll see.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Gun Laws

From the Colorado RKBA newsletter I get:
Meanwhile: ...In New Jersey, we have worked to pass some of the toughest gun-control legislation in the country, and we cannot afford to have those efforts rolled back by an overreaching federal law that would put the safety of our citizens and law enforcement officers in jeopardy. In a nation where many of our elected officials are in the pocket of the National Rifle Association, buying a gun has become as easy as walking down the street and buying a gallon of milk. Because many of our lawmakers refuse to stand up to the NRA, we have experienced a slow and dangerous creep of access to tools that are being used to compromise our community and law enforcement. This federal [“reciprocity”] bill would be another vehicle that would allow special interests to sell more guns in a nation where 300 million firearms are already in circulation. This makes me [Louis Cappelli Jr.] sick... (It's unclear whether Cappelli is in Bloomberg's pocket or is an unpaid disciple but his figures certainly reek of Bloomberg sourcing. In the Garbage State, a freeholder – Cappelli's title – is a county legislator.)

This is unconscionable. Just the other day I drove 1/2 mile to a store and bought  1/2 quart of milk, checked it in the self-serve lane where even a 6-pack of weak beer will bring a clerk to check my ID and paid for it with no questions asked at all. No photo ID and no background check at all. I demand that my state legislators immediately write a strongly worded letter to both my municipal  and county police demanding that the store manager and the clerk on the self-serve line be arrested. If we don't act now to close the milk store loophole, the next thing you know people will be buying full gallons or even the deadly frozen varieties including the notoriously armor-piercing Rocky Road and giving it to children. Right now you can drive to Kansas or Nebraska where there are no shopping cart limits, buy all the milk you want, and legally transport it back into Colorado. You can even get the notoriously smooth and quiet Buttermilk without having to pay the $200 federal tax or submitting your fingerprints to the ATF.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hurricane Season

Hurricane Jose seems to be circling aimlessly out in the Atlantic.

Someone must have told him we were checking papers now.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Can The National Guard Take Your Guns?

Maybe. In the US Virgin Islands that's what the governor has authorized the guard to do in order to make sure the guard has an adequate supply of guns and ammo to keep order through the upcoming hurricane.

I'm having a hard time seeing this as any sort of necessity at all. The guard is equipped with the usual armament in 9mm, .223, and 12ga and shouldn't lack for any of this. The guard is also limited to some fixed and modest number of people, all of whom live in the soon-to-be-affected areas.

Somehow I'm seeing this as creating a safe working environment for the looters.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Greasy Easter Egg Hunt

What D'wife calls a trip to the junkyard looking for parts. In today's case it was a front axle for a 2000 jeep belonging to a friend and a couple of small marker lights for me. Took us 1-1/2 hours from walking in to pushing the wheelbarrow out in 90 degree weather. Definitely greasy too.

He'll need to replace a couple of parts before installing it into his Jeep, but at this point that's a bench job. I removed the old "black out" markers from my car, which certainly lived up to the description, and slipped the "new" ones in. It seems the new ones don't light up either so more troubleshooting is in the works.

This morning the sun was a dim red ball rising in the East. This afternoon it was a dim orange ball shining through the smoke from the fires in Wyoming. This evening my neighborhood looks like the fires must be in the next block or something.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Having It Both Ways

A microwave that can warm your pizza AND chill your beer. There's hope for the 21st century after all.

New Frontiers In Marketing Fake News

I was subscribed to an offshoot of the Washington Post, referred to in some circles as the National Laughingstock. This also gets me a news (?) letter called the Post Most, presumably hot topics from the paper. If I want to persue one of the articles, a click transfers me to their sign in page which offers me 2 social media subscription models and a login button in case I'm already registered, which I am.

Click the login button and I'm transferred to yet another page trying to sell me something I don't want, and still not a sign of the article I wanted to read or a path to it.

Today I gave up. If they don't actually want me to read their rag, then fine, I unsubscribed it. Seems counter productive to getting their messages out though.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Past Of Transportation - Zebra 3

'76 Gran Torino, parked in front of my friendly local mechanics place. Complete with the dash light.