Intel's Ronler Acres Plant


Silicon Forest

Saturday, August 1, 2015

True Facts

Jack Webb and Johnny Carson
Only the vaguest connection to this story, but factual none-the-less.

Alexander J. Motyl has a story about De-Communization, Hannah Arendt, and Ukrainian Nationalism in World Affairs, where I found this pearl:
It may be wise to remember that approximations of the truth are the best we can attain. The number of facts comprising the truth about something is always infinite. Moreover, although facts, as by definition true statements about the world, may be “beyond dispute,” their interpretation never is. 

Friday, July 31, 2015


Illustration by Sam Weber for Folio Society’s 50th anniversary edition of Frank Herbert’s Dune.
Heavy Metal has several spectacular paintings on the net. The Folio Society is selling fancy copy of the book, complete with all the pics .

It's been a long time since I read Dune, so long that I don't remember the character's names, not even Stilgar, but I remember a great many bits and pieces of it. I also remember it was really long and parts of were kind of dull and boring. I think we have a copy lying around here somewhere. I may have to pick it up and give it a go.


When we rented a U-Haul truck last summer, I bought one of their heavy duty locks. I don't remember how much it cost, but it was a nit compared to the cost of the truck and gas. I still have it. Easier to hang onto it than to get rid of it. I could throw it away, but only theoretically. I would not be able to actually do it. Acquisition is too deeply ingrained. Could it be that I have some Ferengi blood?

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

2012 Chrysler 200 Battery Replacement
Tune from a Chrysler Super Bowl Ad featuring Bob Dylan (!?).

Iaman is having car troubles:
The Arizona heat is killing my Chrysler 200 car battery. It took a while to find the battery...."there it is in the wheel well"...I think like the Sebring. Of course autoparts stores will not replace that battery. Do you think the music is a sarcastic commentary on this battery placement design?
2001 Sebring left front wheel well with inner plastic fender removed.
Battery visible at left.

Clear as Mud

Got an email from Helen this morning. She wants to post some claptrap on my blog, advertising claptrap from the sound of it. Best wishes to you, too, Helen.
    So now I'm wondering just who this 'Helen' is. No last name, but not an obvious alias like 'bloodmoney4'. Her email address ( comes with an alias ( Being brave (or foolish) I check out the websites. How bizarre.
  • is a single page about the Arial font. Nicely laid out with a couple of pictures and an entertaining, though totally unrelated, video.
  • leads to,184,0872,934.html, which appears to be advertising the services of an advertising agency. It doesn't take long to suspect that something is not quite kosher. If the opening paragraph doesn't clue you in, this one should:
    The proof is in the scope of your multifarious results. With EMSVR advanced communications software, when it comes to IT and MT, the solution is total factored integration, multifarious entry & exit point parameters and total simplicity.
    It's early and I'm not fully awake, so I'm wondering if these guys might possibly be legit (as in peddling bullshit), so I page through till I get to their contact information, which leads to
  • The Tortoise Islands. The Lost World! I knew it was around here somewhere.    

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Charles Litton
Tex Thornton
Last week a couple of high powered radio telescopes managed to take some pictures of an asteroid passing near the Earth. I got to wondering just how they managed this, being as the asteroid (2011 UW 158) was millions of miles away. Seems they used a 20 terawatt radar signal which came from a pair of Litton Klystrons. A klystron is a device for generating high power microwaves. It's the big brother to the magnetron found in microwave ovens. But what's this 'Litton'? That name sounds vaguely familiar. Well, it should. It was a giant defense conglomerate. Started by Charles Litton, but driven to success by Tex Thornton. Tex was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan in October, 1981.

Actual information about the radar gear at Arecibo is sparse and hard to come by. The web site is sadly neglected. An inquiry to the Wikipedia Reference Desk finally produced a useful, if outdated, link. Makes me wonder if information on high powered radar is a matter of national security.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Air Car

Compressed Air Car Wins $5 Million Deal on Shark Tank - Via Chuck Egg
Normally I like to talk about good ideas, but this one has been kicking around for several years now and I don't understand why it hasn't been kicked to the curb. It doesn't sound like a good idea to me, matter of fact it looks an awful lot like a scam. They are putting a lot of effort into making it look real, but maybe it's just a really BIG scam.

I remember hearing about some guy in India trying to start a compressed-air-powered car company a few years ago. It didn't seem like a good idea then. Compressing air takes a lot of energy and a lot of that energy is converted into heat, which is lost (dissipated). This guy is going to heat the air as it is used to get more pressure? What is he heating if with? His aura? Air motors are notoriously inefficient. The only place I know where they are used is in power tools for auto mechanics (impact wrenches, ratchets, grinders), and the only reason they use them is they can get a great deal of power in a small package. The downside is you need a giant frigging compressor to supply the compressed air, and we're only talking 100 PSI or so, not 4,000 psi. Lastly, who have they got on stage? Pat Boone? Are you friggin' kidding me?

The two companies involved in this scheme are Tata Motors, in India and Luxembourg-based Motor Development International (MDI). Tata Motors is a real company, but MDI? The Wikipedia article is not reassuring. Wikipedia also has an article on the whole Compressed Air Car concept, and it doesn't make this project look any better.