Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Pergelator

Silicon Forest

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ride 'em Cowboy!

Criolla Week 2015: Gauchos attempt to stay on bucking broncos at a rodeo in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Andres Stapff/Reuters)
When I was younger, much younger, knee high to a bucking bronco, I was enthralled with all things cowboy. I still have an affection for the whole cowboy thing: six guns, horses, blue jeans, beaucoup de leather, especially cowboy boots. Frederic Remington's paintings and sculptures are simply glorious.
     I was severely disappointed when I discovered that the bucking broncos in modern rodeos were encumbered with a strap around their waist to encourage them to buck. I understand, real wild horses are hard to handle, and the last thing you want at a rodeo at your local county fair is a thousand pound wild animal running out of control.
    Down in South America it looks like they still have some real wild horses and some real cowboys trying to ride them. Restores my faith in the cowboy dream, it does.

Old Faithful Inn


Posthip Scott turned up this image of a giant lodge. After some head scratching we have identified it as the Old Faithful Inn. Wikipedia has an article about it. It's quite an amazing structure, especially compared to our modern, energy efficient, buildings constructed out of manufactured materials. This place was made of sticks and stones that were found lying around. Pretty impressive. Wikipedia excerpt:
Initial construction was carried out over the winter of 1903-1904, largely using locally-obtained materials including lodgepole pine and rhyolite stone. When the Old Faithful Inn first opened in the spring of 1904, it boasted electric lights and steam heat.

Girls with Guns

'Victory': A Palestinian girl holds a Kalashinkov as Islamist fighters celebrate what they call a 'victory' over Israel following Tuesday's ceasefire
We really don't need to go to another planet to meet alien beings. We've got plenty of alien minds wandering around on our own planet. Klingons, the bloodthirsty warriors from Star Trek, are not as alien as these folks. Via Jodi.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Car Arbitrage

Maserati LaMaserati Concept
California Bob reports:
There's a business on the floor where I work that buys new luxury cars here and ships them to China.  Land Rover, Maserati etc. have dealerships in China but the prices are very high. These guys can buy a car new here, pay shipping, import duties and all that, take a fat markup and still deliver a bargain for Chinese customers.

The manufacturers hate this, and have to school their dealerships to weed out export buyers.  Whereas most Honda and Toyota dealers are begging you to buy cars, apparently when you go into a Land Rover dealership, they pepper you with questions: what are you going to do with the car?  Is the car for your own use?  Where is the money coming from?  Can we see 6 months of financial statements?  And other unbelievable bullshit.

And they make you sign non-resale or non-export agreements if you buy.  All the guys at the firm are on exporter lists, so they front the money to straw buyers to make the purchases for them.

I asked why don't they just buy used cars; the guy claims the Chinese won't let you import used cars.  But if a straw buyer buys the car from the dealer, and sells it to an exporter, that's a used car -- so I need to understand the distinction.

I'm fascinated by this but am reluctant to sign a non-export agreement and then breach that agreement -- there are too many lawyers out there.

Anyway, if any of you know any lawyers out there, ask about these dealer-stipulated non-export agreements.  Can manufacturers/dealers bring nuisance lawsuits if you break a non-resale agreement?
The New York Times has a story:

Autonews: 

22WWLP (a Massachusetts TV station):

Aluminum Overcast

K-13 gunsight on a B-17 waist machine gun. Speed and altitude settings can be seen
I always imagined that the machine guns on WW2 bombers like the B-17 and the B-24 had iron sights, but no. Here we've got a complicated black box that figures out the amount of lead you need depending on your altitude and speed. This from an aircraft that was built in 1944 and never actually saw any combat, so it's possible this was a mid-war development. Bernard Zee took this and a bunch of other photos, including inflight and interior shots on the ground, when the Aluminum Overcast visited Hayward California back in 2011. Via Posthip Scott.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Takes you to visit people and places that you don't want to visit. People mostly, unpleasant, negative people who don't do anything for you except give you grief. The lead character, Libby, survivor and loner. Incompetent, but understandable and likable enough. The rest of the main characters were pretty pitiful.
      Reading about present day events enacted by adults was pretty smooth, but the parts dealing with teenagers back in the day were painful in the extreme. Can people really be that insecure, foolish and stupid all at once?

Hawker Hunter

KEY WEST, Fla. (March 25, 2015) A MK-58 Hawker Hunter takes off from Boca Chica Field. The aircraft is part of a civilian adversary squadron at the Naval Air Station. U.S. Navy photo by Brian Morales.
This aircraft was developed in the 1950's, which means the design is as old as I am. One crashed here after the 2006 airshow. Killed the pilot. That was disturbing. Lucky that no one else was killed or injured.