Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The 1911 Obsession

SayUncle is linking to an almost completely uninformed criticism of the 1911. I'm not going to direct link because it's honestly so poorly thought out it might be a gunblogosphere troll. I will quote his two major theses though:
It’s a 100-year old design. It needs tools to disassemble. It has unreliable magazines. It is finicky about ammo. And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.
100 years old? Ok as if age really meant anything. In general a gun being in use 100 years after it was designed is proof of value not proof it is rubbish. I am reminded of one of my first blog posts back in 2004.

Tools to disassemble? No it doesn't. Field stripping most 1911s requires no tools. Detail stripping the 1911 can be done with tools the gun itself provides during the process. It is possible to screw this up with some manufacturers full length guide rods, etc.

Unreliable magazines? There are 100 years of mags out there for the 1911. Some of them are bound to suck. Any gun can have unreliable mags and any automatic will be unreliable with a bag magazine including Glocks and Sigs.

Finicky about ammo? Maybe. The original wasn't designed to feed hollowpoints. You need a 1911 with a modern feed ramp geometry that fixes this. The original had a steel frame and so making the feedramp integral to the frame isn't a problem. If you buy one with a softer aluminum frame, get a ramped barrel so the feedramp is still steel. But I've met a lot of modern guns that still prefer one brand of hollowpoint to another.

The last bit about safety is crap. I would gladly take the 1911 with it's many redundant external safeties to the Glock with it's single non-redundant trigger safety. Yes you have to train with the 1911. But you have to train with everything so that 1911 is not special. The 1911 also has a great consistent trigger almost entirely because it is single-action.
Why does a reliable 1911 cost so much, and need so much gunsmithing?
Because it was designed before CNC machining became the dominant firearms technology. You can still get good cheap 1911s (~$400), they just have to come from cheaper labor countries like the Philippines or China. And they largely won't be target guns, they'll be ordnance grade guns.

The very expensive 1911s are because of people wanting everything. With cars you can have only have two items from this list: acceleration, handling, low cost. With guns the list is different but the concept is the same: accuracy, reliability, low cost. If you tighten up the tolerances to get accuracy, you lose most of the clearances required for reliability. Which means you need someone who knows what they're doing to keep both so you're paying for their expertise. For ordnance grade guns, you're typical getting reliability and service level accuracy for not much money.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Not Mine

The Anchoress notes that federal buildings must be warm for Michelle Obama to go in a sleeveless vintage Norman Norelli number without a hint of goosebumps. Unlike you know, every one else who has turned down their heat to fight rising energy prices and higher seasonal heating bills.

I've been working for the government for over eight years now. At no time in my service has the HVAC ever worked right. My building was built as temporary lab space for World War II and the Army has been using it in one way or another ever since. The HVAC has been fixed 3 times since I started working there, but it is still broken. This week highs outside were in the 30s and the AC was on inside. For over a week. To be fair, if they managed to get the heat working it would probably be far too warm to be comfortable.

This is the story on most of the legacy buildings on most US military bases. Heat is central steam heat. The central plant has two settings, on and off. The setting is changed twice a year whether you need it or not. All the steam lines leak so the heat is never dispersed properly. Your building is either far too hot or way too cold. Because of this everyone has both an electric space heater and a fan at their desk. Every few years a contractor comes in and promises to work miracles for a reasonable fee, but then it breaks again in a year or two.

The right side of the blogosphere has this narrative going on that the Government functionaries are living in the lap of luxury while Rome burns. It's BS. Aging infrastructure is not just an issue with the interstate highway system.

Monday, December 13, 2010

RNC Politics

Rumor has it that Michael Steel is finally stepping down as RNC chair. Huzzah! Now Norm Coleman says he wants the job.

Hey I have an idea. How about we pick an RNC chair who actually has a history of winning elections. Steele was a joke in his native Maryland, mostly because Black Republicans are blatantly Uncle Tommed in the state. Coleman lost to Al Franken in a close race. Isn't there a decent Republican governor facing term limits somewhere?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Regular Maintenance

I was practicing my draw in the basement with the airsoft 1911 when I noticed that the thumbsnap on my holster was tending to disengage the airsoft's manual safety. Not so good, but I've never noticed it happening with the real thing. A quick walk to the safe and... huh the darn electronic lock is dead.

Pry off the access plate, find the key, open her up and well there's your problem. One of the AAs powering the lock leaked. Pull them out, clean it up, and it works fine with fresh batteries. Glad that didn't happen when it mattered. Need to start storing the emergency safe keys closer to the safes in case this ever occurs when it does.

Oh and my real 1911 has a much more positive safety detent than the airsoft so accidental disengages don't seem to be a problem. I may have to adjust the holster thumbsnap anyway to be double plus sure.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Obama on Mythbusters

The President is appearing on tomorrow's Mythbusters to commission Adam and Jamie to look into the myth of Archimedes mirror. For those not in the know, it's a device which was supposedly used to focus the power of the sun to set attacking Roman ships afire during the Siege of Syracuse.

The Mythbusters have addressed this one at least twice in the past. So it's been done multiple times before, they've had minor success, but never found it really workable, and now that Obama shows up the results are supposed to be different? A fine metaphor for modern liberalism indeed.

UPDATE: Great minds think alike, but IMAO has clips.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Tamara and Sebastian have already posted this, but I wanted to wait until the Christmas season was actually here.

Plus it's Handel's Messiah so it creates all sorts of wonderful tension between high artistes and the faithful. I'm surprised you didn't see a bunch of liberals sit down during that clip just to show the Christians what for.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

And in honor of the holiday, I give you Breda's wonderful idea of brining a turkey in an empty refrigerator vegetable bin. Like most things of the internet it is a wonderful idea that is several days too late to be of use to you. But file it away for Christmas.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not So Peak Oil

As I mentioned several years ago, the theory that underpins peak oil analysis is not especially sound. The output from a given deposit is bell-shaped. This is a sound empirical rule. You can aggregate all known deposits into a large bell shape. True enough. But this theory is only valid for known existing deposits. It doesn't take into account technology growth that allows for the exploitation of new fields or new sources of petroleum. You know, as is happening now.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Kid Needs a Haircut

Amy and I share Jalopnik's disdain for the annoying kid in skinny jeans and a Christopher Atkins haircut that Toyota is using as their spokesman in at least one current advertisement.

What is really sad is that while Toyota pisses all over the old Buicks in the commercial, they've basically become Buick.

It's a Casserole

This revelation about deep-dish pizza and others at Snowflakes in Hell and Clayton Cramer.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wisdom for the Ages

Clayton Cramer's post of excerpts from Andrew Jackson's fairwell address contain some amazing stuff. Among the topics he discusses are taxes, duties, the expanding role of federal government, and corrupt politicians or businessmen profit from these.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Math for Everyone

Joanne Jacobs has a discussion about how much math is enough for students. She suggests that frankly, most people don't need everything they're taught even through high school. I think she mostly correct.

When it comes to practical skills for the general populace, the skills list is something like addition/subtraction, division/multiplication, ratios/percentages, and exponents. Any sort of budgeting will require these skills. Any sort of financial planning will require percentages, ratios, and exponents to calculate interest. Anything geometrical will likely require trigonometry sooner or later. Understanding simple concepts like basic computer modeling requires basic algebra, probability, and statistics is very useful for figuring out what people are talking about on the evening news.

I have a Bachelors and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. I know a fair amount of higher math. About the only thing I use on a regular basis are prob/stat, trig, and linear algebra. I haven't done calculus or differential equations in years. Why? Because in most fields the problem has either been solved and turned into a formula or it is unsolvable in closed form and will require some form of discrete simulation. For that matter a lot of "analysis" is simply reading tables for the proper part sizes.

Future Contestants for the Newlydead Game?

Turns out Bruce Campbell is an ordained minister and will be performing a wedding along with a large renewal ceremony at ZombCon. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at the minister part. If you were Bruce Campbell, wouldn't you want to be able to manufacture holy water on demand?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Are Those Things Loaded?

Alright, I do understand the interest in the bra holster. I am a guy. I like guns. I like boobs. I understand the attraction of combining the two for male gunnies. Even the female gunnies can use it to give purpose to all those worthless empire-waisted tops that make them look pregnant.

But why I can understand why it received a lot of blogger buzz, I don't understand everything. How do you get gun into the thing without sweeping something important? One of the reasons the universal nylon belt holster is anathema is because you have to sweep a hand to reholster. Breasts might just be flesh wounds, but a bullet in a vital organ in your chest or abdomen would really suck.

Ages of English

When I was in middle school, we did a unit on Chaucer. We were given the original Middle English text and had to translate it into some semblance of the modern tongue. At one point my teacher read the Prologue to Canterbury Tales. It sounded cool but is barely intelligible.

What surprises me about this clip of Shakespeare in the appropriate Elizabethan dialect was how intelligible it is. It's definitely not Olivier's English though.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Petting the Kitty

Matthew Inman's instructions on petting the kitty is great. The part about belly rubs is especially true:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bashing Meghan McCain

While I don't doubt that her book is completely daft, some of Leon Wolf's scathing review is also startlingly ill-researched. For instance:
I defy Meghan McCain to identify a conservative candidate who acted or behaved in this way towards the party after a primary loss.
Peg Luksik in the PA governor's race in 1994. Both Ridge and Single were total centrists and after losing to Ridge in the primary, she ran as a Constitution Party candidate. For that matter current Tea Party darling Christine O'Donnell ran a write-in campaign in 2006 after coming third in the Senate primary to both Jan Ting and Mike Protack. And these were just two I could think of off the top of my head, they can't be the only ones.
Insofar as I can even tell what that sentence means, I am pretty sure it indicates that Meghan McCain does not know what white noise is, or that it has nothing to do with oversaturation.
McCain's statement is that "these days, the name Ronald Reagan – as well as his legacy – has become oversaturated, just white noise." Yes her metaphor is a bit mixed here. But her point is that devotion to Reagan is pure political rhetoric and formality. It's is everywhere and in everything, therefore it is devoid of meaning. Even liberal Democrats do it. Meghan even does it in an example Wolf cites a few paragraphs later.

But if Wolfs excerpts are accurate, I can't dispute that Meghan McCain isn't especially smart, has a weak understanding of politics, and an even weaker understanding of proper sentence construction.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Nine years ago I retired to my hotel room to practice my presentation for the conference I was attending at Virginia Tech. It was on some variant of Resin Transfer Molding I think. I turned on the TV to take a break and found out the world had changed. I went downstairs and everyone was just standing in the lobby watching the news.

Suffice it to say I didn't practice after that and my presentation sucked. No one particularly cared though. I think the biggest collective tragedy in my lifetime probably takes the cake for worst intro act ever. Public speaking got a lot easier after that.

Oh and I'm with most of the gunblogosphere, why the hell is there still a huge hole in Lower Manhattan? The best tribute we could give those people is putting up something on that site.

Delaware Primaries

I've been receiving multiple robocalls per day from the O'Donnell and Castle campaigns for the last week. We're really sick of them and they are not convincing anyone in my family to vote for a particular candidate. I'm already voting for Castle. O'Donnell doesn't have anything to recommend her other than conservatism. Conservatism won't win her the general election. On the other hand my politically neutral wife is pissed off enough that she probably won't vote in the primary. If the Republicans keep it up, she might vote Democrat to spite them.

It has me wondering if the Delaware Republicans even know how to campaign properly. Two years ago, my long-incumbent state representative Vince Lofink lost the election to Democrat Earl Jaques. This is largely because Jaques and his wife did their legwork. They went door to door. He hit every HOA meeting in the district. People knew who he was and voted for him. Two years later and Earl has already knocked on my door and will almost certainly be at my HOA meeting. The Republican candidate? Still haven't met him. I expect Jaques to win re-election quite handily unless things change after the primaries.

Campaigning requires real legwork. Robocalls are fake legwork. This is why people are annoyed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quick Changes

I thought this video of people swapping engines on a HMMWV was pretty cool the first time I saw it:

Then I saw this video of 6 Canadian guys field stripping a '52 Jeep:

Via Jalopnik.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Miss Universe

The wife and I caught the end of the Miss Universe Pageant this year. Unfortunately we missed the swimsuit competition. Somehow I also missed the retiring Miss Universe, who hails from Venezuela, subtly snub Dictator Hugo Chavez as she gave up her crown. Good for her. And if you don't understand why, read more.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No Capes!

Wonder Woman has new clothes. This is nothing new. Artists are always fooling around with her costume in little ways. Much like Batman, the devil is in the details. Her divided skirts turned into star-spangled spanks. Shoes became sandals which became boots. Then those lost their heels. Her bracelets enlarge and contract. The shape of various pieces of gold trim shifts. But the basic look of the classic costume is still easily identifiable.

John C. Wright(one image NSFW) correctly points out that this new major makeover makes her look like a high school mallrat. I'm wondering when the bracelets and tiara will show up at Claire's. But hey at least it's not as bad as the black biker shorts from her gritty 90s period. And she kept her powers so Gloria Steinem should stay happy.

Making a Graceful Exit

Though we live in Newark, Amy and I go to church in Wilmington. For a while we've been thinking about joining a small group, but our problem was that my church's couples groups are all in Wilmington. After my commute to Aberdeen, we had no desire to trek up to Wilmington once a week. When a small group finally started up closer to home in January, we decided to give it a try. After seven months, we've given it a heck of a try and we're sick of trying.

I wish I could say that the other couples in the group were horrible people. But they aren't, they're very nice folks. But we've come to realize that they weren't our friends when the group started and aren't going to become our friends anytime soon. We have things in common, but not enough. Very nice just isn't enough and we find it a chore.

So how do we break up with them? I don't want to lie to them, but I also don't want to tell them that we find them tiresome.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Saiga 12

My brother bought one quite a while back and I've shot it a few times at the range. It's reliable, but I don't love it especially as a sporting arm. Oleg Volk did a photoshoot with one a while back. I can understand the folding stock and pistol grip. The 20 round drum must weight a ton, but ok. The dark earth refinish kind of looks nice, I guess.

Honestly I can take or leave all of these improvements. What is a must for a Saigo? Better sights. The stock sight radius is pitiful and the sights are really small. Even the bead on the end of my 590 puts them to shame. Oleg's gun doesn't seem to have these.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Ghastly Truths

From a really old on of IMAO's random thoughts:
Why do liberals need federal money for abortion? Can’t they just start a “Stop the Babies!” charity? “Right now there are babies waiting to be born and ruin people’s lives. We can stop that. With your help.” See, you can voluntarily spend you money on others. It’s called charity. I’m not sure who came up with it.
That would be a really funny idea if I hadn't heard of someone who actually did it. They didn't start a charity of course, they held a "Get Maggie an Abortion" party instead. People brought their kids.

Easy Mark

I also seem to be the type or person that con-artists pick as a likely mark. But because Delaware is pretty small state, people tend to work the same areas over and over. Back when Amy was taking the train in a lot, I used to get hit up by the same well-dressed twentysomething at the Wilmington Train Station. He didn't remember me, but I sure remembered him. He doesn't take it too well when you inform him that he gave you the same sob story last month. Especially if you say it loud enough that the whole train station can hear. Other people have tried to work me in the Newcastle Walmart parking lot as well. They tend to hoof it towards their cars when you tell them you've heard it before from them.

The weird thing about all of this is that regular people didn't tend to bother me on the street. Even as a scrawny college student people ignored me or got out of my way. Perhaps I just don't look angry or purposeful enough anymore?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This Just In

Derange Gunman Opens Fire On Shooting Range. Or in other news someone involved in an open-carry shooting is revealed to have "additional artillery" of 6 guns and 1300 rounds of ammo in his home. Sadly the second story is not from the Onion.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

For Use with a Detroit Tigers Cap

Jalopnik noticed a 1981 Ferrari GTSi for about $12k on eBay. Why so cheap? Well the body and interior are in good shape, but under the rear bonnet is... the 2.8 liter V6 and it's manual transmission from a Pontiac Fiero. It's like every kit car in reverse.

Now the commenters over at Jalopnik are split. I'm in the little bit of awesome camp. The bodywork and interior are in great shape. The stock Ferrari tires are oddly sized and therefore ridiculously expensive, so the owner changed hubs to something widely available. The original US spec Ferrari engine is both ridiculously maintenance intensive and woefully underpowered because of it's 80s era smog controls. Was the Fiero transplant the best way to address this? No. But a change to something more powerful and more reliable would be very interesting. Something high-revving would be appropriate. Several people have suggested the Yamaha V6 from the SHO. I would think a number of 3ish liter Honda V6s might work as well.

And I love the 308 GTSi. Maybe it's the years of watching Magnum P.I. as a kid. Just looking at the pictures makes me want to buy a Tigers cap and a Hawaiian shirt. When I think about Ferraris, I think of the US Spec 308 GTS. Unlike the rest of the world, I actually enjoy what the US spec bumpers do to the cars lines. If I had a garage, I'd think about bidding. Since I don't (and this car has '80s era rust proofing) I guess I'll have to pass. And keep my eye out.

Fun with Acetylene

Even though a coworker recently bought a FourTwo, I think I'd still rather have this chopped and welded, superdeformed VW Golf.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

No-Fly 2nd Amendment Abridgement

Fifteen months ago I addressed a Rahm Emanuel clip from before the 2008 election that suggested using the no-fly terrorist watch list as a basis for denying gun ownership to a large number of individuals.  The issues with this proposal are:
  • Gun ownership is a constitutionally enumerated and protected right which ought not be abridged without due process.  The no-fly list ain't due process.
  • The no-fly list is a joke.  It is a list of names and lacks truly unique identifiers.  This means that the false positive rate is ridiculous (just ask my wife's uncle).  It can also be easily foiled by such simple linguistic tricks as alternate name spellings.
  • Buying a gun from a dealer requires a background check.  Anyone on the no-fly list ought to be flagged for further review anyway.
Spearheaded by NYC Mayor Bloomberg, the left has picked up on this concept again after the Times Square non-bombing and is running with it. If you'd like to read more, here are some links in order of occurrence:

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Death of Blogger

It seems that Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, passed away a couple of days ago. I knew he had cancer, but I didn't realize his case was this severe. From diagnosis to his passing was only 4 months.

Michael wasn't the only God Blogger fighting cancer. David Wayne, the Jollyblogger, has been fighting colon cancer for almost 18 months. He reflects on Michael from the point of view of someone else fighting the disease.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Completing the Census

I must say that the advertising for this year's Census has been either inept (snapshot of America) or offensive (get your piece of the pie). But we still filled ours out and sent it in this week. Unless you're a reality show family, this decade's form is thankfully quite brief. It sticks to the standard name, sex, race statistics that have been present on the form since 1790.

One question I was surprised wasn't on the form was whether each inhabitant was a US citizen or not. It would seem to me that you would want representation to be based on the number of citizens in an area, not merely the number of inhabitants. But I don't think this has ever been the case, going back to the 3/5ths compromise the founders themselves created.

Offshore Drilling!

Obama seems ready to allow drilling off of new portions of the US coastline. This is a good thing. Of course the specifics of the proposal seem to indicate that it will be saddled with extensive environmental roadblocks and require local state approvals. Which means that at this point it is all talk.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Divider Not A Uniter

I spent most of today running around doing errands. I spent a fair bit of it waiting for various things and people. This allowed me to sit and observe or as we say in my household "people watch."

For instance while in Walmart I watched two African-American men arguing quite loudly about the relative merits of Obamacare. One was for it, citing the need for easier access to medical care for the poor. The other was against it because he knew that as responsible adults they were going to have to pay for it. And in his opinion he was already paying enough taxes for lazy good-for-nothings without picking up the tab for their medical care as well.

Once again I learned not to assume. And once again I am amazing with how divisive some policies can be even within demographic groups that are amazingly one-sided in their political support.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

An economist wrote my wife's cookie from tonight's dinner:
The value lies not within any particular thing, but in the desire placed on that thing.
Or in other words, something is only worth what someone will pay for it. This is one of the foundational principles of free market economics.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Worth of a One-Liner

Comics jokes from IMAO that really tickled my funnybone this week:

If Jim from the Office is going to play Captain America, then Dwight should be the Red Skull.

Wolverine’s self-healing ability was evolved in response to Canada’s government run health care.

An Engineer Does Good

Starting in 1947 and working into 1948, automotive engineer Norman Timbs built his dream car out of steel, aluminum, and spare parts. The result was the '48 Timbs special. It's a steel space frame with an aluminum body, independent front and rear suspensions, and no doors. The mid mounted Buick V8 pumps power to the rear wheels. It also has a full spare. I'd say that they don't make them like this anymore, but frankly they never really did.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Not Fitting the Narrative

Let it not be said that bloggers can't do this too. Mainstream Baptist is heavily invested in the principle Separation of Church and State and lead a post with the title "Supreme Court Affirms 10 Commandments Decision" this week. The problem? They didn't.

The Supreme Court denied cert. That's legalese for refusing to hear the case. The Supreme Court does this to the vast majority of cases that petition them for appeals because they just don't have the time to hear everything. Denying cert allows the lower court ruling to stand, but does not imply that the Supreme Court agrees or "affirms" it.

Funny how I posted as much in his comments, but that one never came through his review process...

Training for the Zombie Apocalypse

Cheaper Than Dirt's current e-postal match is zombie themed and emphasizes headshots. Looks like fun and I may print those targets out for my next trip to the range. Of course I have to question the idea of not shooting the humans. They're in the middle of zombie mob, they're almost certainly infected. HT: SayUncle

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Awesome Trivia

The four spikes at the end of the stegosaurus's tail are call a "thagomizer." This is not some sort of obscure technical term derived from latin or greek. It is a reference to a Far Side cartoon Gary Larson drew in 1982. Thanks to Irregular Webcomic for another cool piece of trivia.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

History Threatens to Repeat Itself

Why didn't we get HillaryCare in 1994? According to Robert Reich, it was because Fed Chairman Greenspan let the administration know that he wouldn't go along with it. Fast forward 16 years and Bush appointee Ben Bernanke is saying the same thing to the Obama administration.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

J&G Sales Offers Argentines

My standard sidearm is a 9mm hipower made by FN. When I bought it FN was blowing them out through CDNN for $400. Since then the price for a hipower has skyrocketed to around $800. In retrospect I should have bought two. Since then several of the manufacturers of hipower clones, like Hungarian firm FEG, have also gone out of business. You can't get a cheap clone anymore either. The good news is that J&G is now offering Argentine M90 hipowers for around $330.

These aren't as slick as FN made guns and they don't have the modern extended manual safeties or firing pin safety. I think that makes them around a MKII in FN nomenclature. But they are made under license to FN and parts should still interchange (unlike say the Inglis slide and frame kits from Numrich). That's good news if you want to drop in Cylinder and Slide parts kits.

I may still pick one up as a potential build gun.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tracers Work Both Ways

As two recent photo sets from Oleg Volk demonstrate, the same goes for green laser sights.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Frank Lautenberg

Pundits are speculating that he may be the next Democrat to announce their retirement because of his recent health issues. Lautenberg is 86 and recently injured himself in a fall after which physicians discovered a bleeding ulcer. I still doubt he'll retire, not because it would be a bad idea, but because he's already retired in 2000. When Lautenberg was tapped to take over for the disgraced Bob Torricelli in 2002, he publicly expressed deep regret for ever retiring and did so again in 2008.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The MiddleMan Episode 13

The ABC Family show The Middleman was cancelled after 12 episodes. The cast did a table read of the unfilmed 13th episode at San Diego ComicCon 2009. I finally got around to tracking down the YouTube footage of it. Quite excellent. There is also a comic book version of the episode as well, but I'm not sure if it is currently in print as Amazon isn't carrying it.

Zombie Dice

Howard Tayler is playing a very twisted dice game. I may have to go looking for this the next time I'm near by Days of Knights or Between Books.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Streetside Engineering

I have an idea I'd like to try out. I current have large piles of snow in front of my house from the recent winter unpleasantness. Because of the surface area to mass ratio, these six foot tall piles are going to take forever to melt. I'd like to speed that up using smarts.

My first thought was to sprinkle them liberally with rock salt. The problem is they're big enough that putting enough salt in place might be troublesome. My second thought is that the biggest piles are on my lawn and any salt will end up on or under my yard. I'd rather not salt my own fields as Rome did to Carthage.

My second thought is to stab some aluminum strips into the heart of the larger piles. Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor and is available in a number of forms at the local hardware store. If I can find some cheap strips (preferably black), I can essentially conduct heat into the heart of the pile. I could put them in in the morning and then pull them when I got home so they wouldn't cool the piles during the night. Not sure if they'd work, but it might be neat to try.

Thoughts from my fellow nerds?

Friday, February 05, 2010


So at what point do we fire the people in charge of predicting job loses and gains?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Massachusetts Senate Race

This just in... Teddy Kennedy has reportedly voted for Coakley to replace him in the Senate. Twice.

I don't know whether Brown will win this one. Polling says it's close. Several people have pointed out that the margin of victory will unlikely surpass the margin for potential fraud. I think it is great that he's making a race of it though. I also have a wonderful feeling of schadenfreude that this whole situation would be a non-issue if the Massachusetts legislature hadn't been so scared of a Republican Governor appointing a Republican Senator in 2004.

The really interesting thing to me is the Democratic reaction. They seem to be doubling down on the stupid. Hey these policies are so bad we're even having trouble in Massachusetts! Lets do them even harder! I kind of expect this from their party leadership, most of whom are sitting in secure seats. But the rank and file? Not so much, especially the Blue Dogs in the House who are quite likely going to be thrown out on their ear in 10 months.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


The Volokh Conspiracy points out that the Supreme Court likes it's big words. ( What perpendicular is to 2 dimensional space, orthogonal is to 3 or higher dimensional space.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Sarah Palin

Some new poll of Republican insiders has Sarah Palin running dead last in a proposed 2012 primary field. Which is fine because after shorting her term as Governor of Alaska, I don't think she should run. But Mitt Romney leads the field. You know, the guy who promised Michigan voters whatever he wanted to hear in the 2008 primaries. The guy who passed a horrible failure of a healthcare reform package in his state. He's no a conservative, he's another GOP stands-for-nothing.

If the GOP was smart they wouldn't be asking about whether Palin was going to run in 2012. They would be firing Michael Steele and making her the head of the party in 2010.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Elder Gods Take to the Slopes

This Cthulhu ski mask ( is an idea who's time has come. Be the first huge nerd to wear it on your local slopes.