Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Opie? Opie??

Put down the stick, Opie.  (Eric Allie at Townhall). 



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Techy Tuesday - Plastic Screws and Bolts As Strong as Steel

I'm always keep an eye out for the really cool or "how about that?" things in the stream which crosses my desk everyday.  I have gone through some periods where not much came across, but usually there's a few every week.  Tonight, thanks to Technical Editor in Materials Ann Thryft at Design News, we learn of new fasteners from Piper Plastics.  Plastics which approach - and can exceed - the strength of metal fasteners.
Kyron MAX is a new line of injection-moldable composites, with both glass and carbon fiber versions, from Piper Plastics. The material comes in three performance levels. Depending on the combination of polymer type and fillers, tensile strength can reach from up to 50,000 psi (345 MPa) to as high as 120,000 psi (827 MPa). That last figure puts it above steel, Dave Wilkinson, materials engineering manager for Piper Plastics, told Design News. Tensile modulus ranges from up to 5 million psi (35 GPa) to as high as 12 million psi (83 GPa).

The composites are almost 75% lighter than steel and about 60% lighter than titanium. Polymers include PEEK, PPS, PEI, PPA, and PA. "The strength of any fiber-filled polymer is the strength of that fiber combined with the strength of the fiber's adhesion to the polymer," Wilkinson told us. "So we've developed a stronger fiber and a new sizing technology to adhere the fiber to the polymer. Depending on the application's mechanical strength needs, we use either short or long fibers."
Pictured here, Piper Plastics used one of the highest-performing XS series Kyron MAX polymer grades to mold a standard #10-32 bolt for replacing titanium aerospace bolts. The part exceeds target minimum tensile load at 741 lb and double shear strength at 1,890 lb while reducing the weight of the titanium bolt by about 60%.   They also say it beat the cost targets but don't say if it's supposed to be cheaper than the titanium bolt; with that kind of weight reduction, it might well cost more.  (Source: Piper Plastics)

Piper presents this table of the capabilities of this plastic:
As Ann points out, Piper Plastics is a machining/injection molding company.  I think that means that these threads can't be cut by conventional means like taps or dies or single point threading on a lathe.  It would be interesting to try.  It's not uncommon to booger up the threads on a bolt while assembling things (who? me?) and the ability to clean the threads up with a tap or die would be nice.  On the other hand, if it's cheaper than metal, too, why not just pitch it and use a fresh piece of hardware?

There are still obvious questions here.  For example plastics are known for cold flow and creep, and a bolt stretching out under its intended load and getting looser isn't much of a bolt.  Still, that should have shown up by now in early development, and there's nothing else that won't be resolved by some standard tests.  An interesting, cool development.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Gosh, This Surprised Me

I went looking at my Stats page on Blogger and hadn't noticed that sometime in the last two weeks, I went over 1,000,000 page views in the life of this blog.
Thanks, folks.  I know I've made some friends who have commented, maybe made contact via email and have been reading here almost since the start - certainly since the first year.

I always find funny things in the search terms that lead people here.  This week included "JJ Cale" (three times), "cardio when can't run" (twice) and "civil air patrol dating memes" (twice).  I have no idea why that last one led a couple of disappointed people here.  My most viewed page ever, as it has been for some time, is my page on building my AR-15 from an 80% lower.  Blogger allows me to list my 10 most popular posts ever, which is down at the bottom of the right column.  


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Behold... The Salmon Cannon

If you're not in the Pacific Northwest salmon country, and I'm about as far from there as you can get and still be on the North American Continent, you might not realize that transporting salmon around hydroelectric dams is a big problem - and a small industry.  According to one source I read, the Fed.gov spent over $500 million transporting about 2 million salmon around dams on the Columbia river - or $250 per fish.  I would imagine you could buy them airfare and fly them inland for not much less.  (Imagine if you will an airport waiting area populated by ticket-holding salmon who are reading newspapers, fiddling with their smartphones and semi-patiently waiting for their plane to leave).  From The Verge, a story about a possible way to do it cheaper, better for the fish, and, well, funnier: 
Salmon are amazing fish. They’ll swim hundreds of miles against the current, hurl themselves up waterfalls, and risk being eaten by bears as they return to their birthplace to spawn. But some obstacles are too much, and that’s where Whooshh Innovations comes in. Behold, the salmon cannon. Seriously, watch this video of fish getting launched out of pneumatic tubes:


Whooshh Innovations ("Whoosh" was already taken) first designed its tubes to transport fruit, but as Washington state debated what do about hydroelectric dams and the salmon whose migrations they blocked, the company saw its technology might have another purpose. If Whooshh tubes could send apples flying over long distances without damaging them, maybe, an employee thought, they could suck fish up and over the dams blocking the Columbia river.
So they put a tilapia into the fruit tube and let it fly, proving both fish and fruit are subject to Bernoulli's laws.  Whooshh is aware of the giggle factor here.  To quote Todd Deligan, Whooshh's vice president:
"At a talk at the National Hydropower Association, I hit play on the video and the first fish goes flying out, and the audience is dying. I had to say, 'It's okay to laugh, this is utterly ridiculous.' Then people start talking and they say, 'Holy cow, why hadn't we thought of something like this before?'"
The salmon cannon isn't fully operational, but they have tested it by destroying Alderan, a small planet on the edges of the empire ... no, sorry ... they've tested it a couple of times in the Columbia River system.
The test in June showed that fish will voluntarily enter the tube. When they swim into the entrance, the vacuum sucks them in and gives them initial boost; after that, elevated pressure behind the fish keeps them moving at about 15 to 22 miles per hour till they go flying out the other end. The speed, Deligan says, can be adjusted. Mist is applied to keep the fish wet as they zoom along. Currently the tubes are being hand-loaded, but Deligan says the test at the Roza site showed that "the fish just swim right in."
More tests are planned, but unless something bad shows up, it looks like someday you might see salmon flying to get around dams.  Without chartering airplanes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Economatrix Chart Updates

Almost as long as I've been running this blog, I've posted the Calculated Risk Blog's chart of Percent Job Losses in Post WWII Recessions.  It occurred to me today that I haven't posted it in a while so I went looking for it today:
According to this chart, which is again only the news sound bite number that gets released every month, the 2008 recession is over.  The last time I posted this I wrote "... recovery will be complete in late 2014 to early 2015.  But I don't think I believe that".  I based not believing it on a couple of reasons, the biggest being it has no reflection of labor participation rate, which I continue to hear is at levels last seen in the late 1970s. Assuming those people try to start working again, that's going to affect the measured unemployment numbers.
For example, in the May unemployment report, the unemployment rate dropped from 6.7 to 6.3%, but the size of the workforce dropped by 800,000, yet I keep hearing about people having to postpone retirement and working longer.  It would seem to imply that people staying working who would rather be retired are occupying jobs that some of those people out of the work force would like to have. 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Privacy, Ambient Intelligence and ... Printers?

A few things I've come across worth sharing. 

We've spoken a lot in this space about 3D printing.  It has been speculated that the future is in printing agencies that take your design file and ship you the printed object.  I hadn't heard that Amazon opened a 3D printing service.  I'm a Prime member and while they contact me regularly to remind me I can look stream videos or listen to music, they have never said a word about this.  I thought their marketing was better than that.  The chances I'd be interested in a 3D print are many times more than the chance I'd be interested in a video. 

Back in my series on Privacy in Radio Communications, I did a unit that introduced the concepts of spread spectrum, information theory, and a lot of other important ideas.  If you're really interested in learning more hands on spread spectrum stuff, the complete text of an amateur radio introduction has been posted in pdf format.  Link courtesy of Sparks31 and an emailer whom I will leave anonymous.  (BTW, I re-read that series recently and still thought it was pretty decent).

I did a post on the Internet of Things recently.  In a recent email from a computer geek group called MakeUseOf, they posted a good article on "Ambient Intelligence".  AmI, as it's called, is either the end state of the IoT or just past that.  Picture the scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise's character is walking into a store and sees ads personalized for, and aimed at, only him, and multiply the privacy violation. 
This new paradigm is obviously powerful, but it also comes with its own risks and challenges.  As the devices in your world come to know your life in more detail, they also  come to know your life in more detail.  You might appreciate it if your technology automatically responds to an intimate moment by lowering the lights and changing the music, but you may be uncomfortable with the idea of a large corporation like Google knowing the when and where of your love life.
Do people really want privacy?  Or are they willing to sell it for "cool" and convenience.  As the author of that article commented:
If people really want privacy, market pressures will force someone to offer it, but my suspicion is that people won’t actually care as much about privacy as much as they say they do.

Guess we'll find out.  It's a brave, new world out there.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Techy Tuesday - Steam from Sunlight

Power Electronics reports on a development at MIT of a way to capture sunlight and create steam at high levels of efficiency.
A new material structure developed at MIT generates steam by soaking up the sun. The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water. When sunlight hits the structure’s surface, it creates a hotspot in the graphite, drawing water up through the material’s pores, where it evaporates as steam. The brighter the light, the more steam is generated.

The new material is able to convert 85 percent of incoming solar energy into steam — a significant improvement over recent approaches to solar-powered steam generation. What’s more, the setup loses very little heat in the process, and can produce steam at relatively low solar intensity.
Steam, of course, is useful for sterilization, desalinization, and cleaning.  Most current systems for solar steam generation are huge, with lots of mirrors or lenses collecting the energy concentrating the solar input up to 1000 times.  This system requires much less of that. 
By contrast, the MIT approach generates steam at a solar intensity about 10 times that of a sunny day — the lowest optical concentration reported thus far. The implication, the researchers say, is that steam-generating applications can function with lower sunlight concentration and less-expensive tracking systems. 
This is preliminary and hasn't been scaled up to full production, but it's something to keep an eye out for.  The obvious advantages for sterilizing water in places with too much wildlife in their water supply are just one use.  Don't neglect sterilizing surgical instruments for field or bush hospitals.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Oh, No

Oh, dear Lord, no.  Robin Williams dead of an apparent suicide.

One of the funniest men who ever lived; his frantic, "full-tilt Bozo" antics of the 70s and early 80s made me laugh until I hurt.  His acting had less impact, but I saw most of his movies.  I still regularly remember bits from his HBO live comedy show in about 1980 and they always make me smile. 

His last post on Instagram, a Happy Birthday message of love to his daughter:
I can't adequately describe the feeling of loss. 

I hope you found your peace, Robin.  In a world in desperate need of humor, the rest of us will miss you.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's All That Noise? Chickens Coming Home to Roost?

I think that if I can say one positive thing about this blog is that I've been all over the story that the administration has apparently changed sides in the "War on Terror", supporting Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda rebels in Syria,  and covering the story that Russians couldn't believe we were being so stupid in the Mideast, so it must be we're destroying the world on purpose.  And more;  I've been covering what I can find about the Muslim Brotherhood influence at the highest levels of government.

The attacks of ISIS (as they're commonly called) are turning into full out genocide of Christians and anyone else they think isn't the right strain of Islamic.  According to this story on CNSNews.com:
"Christianity in Mosul is dead, and a Christian holocaust is in our midst," said Mark Arabo, a Californian businessman and Chaldean-American leader. In an interview with CNN's Jonathan Mann, he called what's happening in Iraq a "Christian genocide" and said "children are being beheaded, mothers are being raped and killed, and fathers are being hung."

"Right now, three thousand Christians are in Iraq fleeing to neighboring cities," he told Mann. Arabo is calling on the international community to follow France's lead and offer the Christians of Iraq asylum.
...
"They are systematically beheading children," Arabo repeated slowly. "And mothers and fathers. The world hasn't seen an evil like this for generations."

"There's actually a park in Mosul where they actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick... this is crimes against humanity. They are doing the most horrendous, the most heart-breaking crimes that you can think of."
 The article concludes with:
A quick scan of Youtube shows the truth of what Arabo is saying - there are gruesome videos of heads on spikes, and many of live beheadings (one poor Christian is forced to say the Shahada 'there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet' and then beheaded anyway.)

Warning: don't google these things unless you have a strong stomach.
It's melodramatic to blame this on Obama: no one is responsible for these crimes against humanity except for the Islamists, but this outcome is completely predictable given the things Obama has done already.  Completely predictable in light of all the stories I've covered before.  You might recall that the leader of ISIS said he's coming to America, and the media was full of stories this weekend reporting how they are threatening to do so immediately, and "raise the flag of Allah in the white house".
“I say to America that the Islamic Caliphate has been established,” spokesman Abu Mosa told VICE Media in a video interview. “Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq.”

Mosa, however, wasn't finished: "We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House,” he added.
The soldiers they humiliated in Iraq?  What definition of humiliation would that be?  Regardless, these horrific savages (and there are no other descriptors for people who would behead children in front of their parents) are on the march.  The flag of ISIS was flying in London and elsewhere in Europe this weekend, and only a 77 year old nun had the guts to tear it down.
There is a phrase used of, and by, jihadists: ‘First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.’ Well there’s a fine example of this on display at the moment in East London. Even the Guardian has picked up on it.

At the entrance to a council estate near Canary Wharf, amid the banners of the hilariously misnamed ‘Stop the War coalition’ (‘End the Siege on Gaza’) the Black flag of Jihad is flying. Yes, that’s right, at a major council estate in the East End of London the black flag of ISIS is flying.
I don't know what the right thing to do about ISIS is, but I suspect the answer comes awfully close to what they'd say: "kill them all and let God sort them out".  I do know that if you don't think you have a dog in this fight, you'd better get your head out of your butt.  They may come for the Jews first (the Saturday people) and then come for the Christians, but they're coming for everyone, unless someone stops them.  If the neighborhood lunatic came up to you and vowed he was going to kill you would you take it seriously?  I personally always say that when someone swears they are going to kill you, you'd best take them at their word.  It doesn't matter if you don't want to get into a "religious war" if they do.  If you're completely atheistic and think it doesn't matter when they tell you convert or die, good luck with that.  You might want to look up the terms "dhimmitude", "jizya", and how the Muslims think if you're not one of them, you're essentially not human, and they can kill you any time they feel like it.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Amazing Photo Spread

A friend emailed me this link last night.  It's a slide show of comparisons of a group of shots from both D-Day and recent photographs.  The thing is, the photos were carefully lined up to be the same perspective and scale for the two scenes some 70 years apart. 

Click on the link and at the top you'll get a picture of a port used to stage landing craft for the invasion.
Click your mouse on the picture and slide it side to side and it turns into the modern view.
If you look at the buildings on the far shore, you'll see many appear to be the same.  Throughout the photo set, that's the pattern; some are repaired, some are painted and some are upgraded, but they're all recognizable.  Remarkably consistent over the 70 years. 

There's ten of them, full of amazing similarities and differences.  Go check it out.


Friday, August 8, 2014

A Little More About .308 vs 7.62x51

Thanks to comments from McThag and a post by American Mercenary for reminding me of the differences in how the pressures are measured between the two cartridges: .308 in PSI and 7.62x51 in CUP (Copper Units of Pressure, an older way of specifying chamber pressures).  I've looked into this subject before and came to the conclusion the BulkAmmo poster mentioned

My story is probably newer than most everyone's since I'm still a relatively new shooter, getting more involved in the sport in '09 than earlier in my life.  The story starts when I bought a DPMS LR-308 in 2010.  To shorten the story, the first box of .308 ammo I got from a gun show seller was marked both .308 Win and 7.62x51.  Even then I knew they weren't exactly the same so I bought some commercial .308 ammo and spent some time trying to figure out if I could use the NATO spec ammo in my gun.  DPMS marks the gun as .308 Win, and warns against using anything else.  Quoth DPMS:
While you can physically fire either 308 or 7.62 NATO from a 308, you will see reduced accuracy from increased wear in the throat of the rifling and a higher chance of erratic cycling, including a higher chance of failures to extract. It is for this reason we recommend using only commercial 308 in a 308 barrel.

DPMS does not recommend or warranty the use of 7.62x51 ammo in a .308 chamber.
Pretty serious, huh?  If you use Mil ammo in your DPMS .308 rifle, you void the warranty.  After cruising forums and various experts, I saved this bit of wisdom.
OK, lets clear up this .308/7.62 business once and for all.  Both rounds can be used in either chamber, however there are a few things you need to be aware of if using .308 in a 7.62 chamber.

First, realize that .308 and 7.62 have identical external dimensions. Because of this they can both be used interchangeably.

That said, it's important to note that a .308 case has a larger internal dimension than a 7.62 case. The walls on a 7.62 case are thicker than that on the .308. The result is that the 7.62 case is stronger, but the .308 case can have a higher potential load.

This is important to note because for the .308 the combination of a thinner wall, with a higher charge, means the case can be more easily deformed when fired. This is why the .308 chamber is a tighter spec, in order to restrict expansion of the case.

The 7.62 chamber is a slightly higher tolerance (which can aid in reliability, as it is not incredibly picky about round dimensions) which is fine for the thicker walled 7.62 case (thicker case = less likely to deform), but may present an issue when using .308 with a high charge (easier to deform).

Also of note is that while .308 is CAPABLE of a higher charge, it is often not loaded to max spec by manufacturers. 7.62 on the other hand often is loaded closer to it's max spec, and as such they tend to be "hotter" than commercial .308 rounds.

Lets break it down:

7.62 = Thicker case, lower possible max load, but is often loaded to near it's max.
.308= Thinner case, higher possible max load, but is almost always loaded lower than it's max.

7.62 chamber = higher dimensional tolerance (loose)
.308 chamber = lower dimensional tolerance (tight)

You can use 7.62 rounds in a .308 chamber with no problem (cheap surp might be a little tight though), and you can use .308 rounds in a 7.62 chamber as long as you don't reload using too high a charge. If you DO use an overly high charge for a .308 round in a 7.62 chamber, you are likely to deform the case, or tear the head off the case.

If you don't reload at all, you don't need to worry about it (unless you bought handloads).

So sure, ideally it would be good to use the round your chamber was made for, but by no means do you have too. For most, they can use either chamber, either round, and will never have any issue.

And remember people, this is the internet. Do not simply believe everything you read just because it may sound good... even from me (and even though the above is accurate). Please go out and research for yourself in order to confirm what I'm telling you.
Although I've had that in text file on my computer for a few years, I didn't keep track of where it came from.  If it's yours, I'd be happy to credit it to you.  For everyone else, heed the last paragraph. 


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

This is Handy

Don't know about you guys, but I've personally asked "is it OK to shoot 7.61 NATO in my .308 Win rifle".  I've read on it before, but this graphic from BulkAmmo.com is a handy reference.  And while this is supposed to be a gun blog (I've even got the Tee-shirt), I sure haven't been very good at keeping up the gunny content lately. 

.308 vs. 7.62x51
380 vs. 7.62x51

I printed this out for the reloading area.

So the rule is you can shoot 7.61 NATO in a .308Win gun, but not the other way around.  If you have an AR-15 like everyone else, it's the opposite of 5.56 NATO and .223 Rem where you can shoot both in the 5.56x45 NATO gun and not the .223 gun.  


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Techy Tuesday - The Intersection of Art and Engineering

Before the invention of the camera, artists were concerned with capturing images out of reality.  They could make a living doing portraits of the well-off, and could sell well done pictures of other things, but "art" as it's commonly spoken about today: impressionistic, abstract, cubist, and things like elephant dung on paintings of The Madonna, just weren't done.  Artists were too busy capturing reality to paint how they felt about reality; too busy capturing the sublime to submerge crucifixes in urine.  There was, of course, the constant development of technique from perspective in the 14th Century to Rembrandt's famous developments in shading and shadows, and more; but by the 17th century, capturing reality in a painting was pretty well developed.  Consider, for example, this well known painting by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer, "Girl With a Pearl Earring":
This is a painting of an almost striking reality, very much like a photograph.  In fact, that might not be a coincidence. 

In a recent short blog entry, Design Engineering blogger Elisabeth Eitel goes over the evidence that Vermeer obtained his hauntingly lifelike results through technology, in particular by use of a camera obscura.  The story is contained in a movie called Tim's Vermeer that can occasionally be found in small theaters and probably through the streaming services (that link will open the movie trailer). 
The movie is by inventor Tim Jenison and his friend Penn Jillette (the Vegas magician) who directs. It shows how Jenison works more than eight years to accurately recreate the art of 17th-Century Dutch Johannes Vermeer, the painter of such highly realistic Masters as Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Concert.

Not only that, but Jenison uses all the tech-based techniques Vermeer used — with heavy reliance on a camera obscura.
Cameras obscura are totally enclosed thin-walled boxes with holes on opposing walls. Light travels in straight lines from the scene being painted through a small hole, cross, and project through the opposing hole as an upside-down image on any surface put in front of it.

 With this device, Vermeer captured scenes with the shimmer and accuracy of a snapshot ... 150 years before photography.



What I find fascinating about this is that Vermeer presaged the use of photography for capturing reality by substituting his meticulous work for film.  He essentially became the film.  In an age when artists meticulously painted individuals, Vermeer was (to be crass) tracing pictures in the camera obscura.  It's not as easy as that; people do move and an optical system based on a pinhole doesn't present a great image.  Still, it wasn't painting everything freehand.

I've often thought that if the majority of the great painters had a modern camera to speed their work, they'd use it.  This lends to support to that idea. 


Monday, August 4, 2014

The Golden Age of Narcissism

Our selfie president may not do anything else well, but he absolutely embodies the narcissism that permeates our society. 

From the notion of taking selfies everywhere comes the ubiquitous GoPro video cameras that have allowed thousands of people to take HD videos of how cool they are.  Not enough of you in your videos, because you have the camera mounted facing forward?  Fear not; a whole line of products like this allow you to hold the camera remotely so it can capture your glorious self. 

The notion of taking videos of yourself may have just hit its ultimate point:  AirDog (auto-start of video warning).  AirDog is quadcopter drone with a twist: it has a wrist worn radio transmitter called AirLeash that the drone follows - from a respectful distance.  Mounted to the front of AirDog is your video camera, gyro stabilized and always pointed at you. 

Afraid you'd do something really awesome without producing a video to send to friends or put on the Tube?  Afraid your awesomeness will lost to posterity?  Fear no more!  For a mere $1300 you can purchase a drone dedicated to recording your awesomeness.  Check out their video describing the project. 
I have to admit, from a pure technical standpoint, it's really cool and my initial reaction was to be filled with want.  On a few minutes thought, though, I dropped that desire.  I'm just not that awesome.  This blog is all the selfie-ness that I need.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Zombies Must Starve to Death At the UN - There Are No Brains

Is being legally brain dead a requirement to work for the UN?  Are all employees required to not provide a single gram of Zombie Chow?  For sure it's a requirement to work in the administration, from everything I can see. 

I ask because the UN Human Rights Council is publicly saying that Israel's use of their Iron Dome missile defense system may be a war crime because they're not giving it to the very group that they're defending themselves against!  Only in a brain dead moron's mind (or a socialist's - but I repeat myself) would spending billions to develop a system to protect yourself and your citizens require you to give that advantage to a group sworn to destroy you and every other person of your kind (Hamas Charter). 
Among the UN’s long bill of particulars against the beleaguered Jewish state comes the almost unbelievable accusation that Israel’s refusal to share its Iron Dome ballistic missile defense shield with the "governing authority" of Gaza – i.e. Hamas, the terror group created to pursue the extermination of the Jewish state and now waging a terrorist war against it – constitutes a war crime against the civilians of Gaza.

The UN chairwoman criticized the U.S. for helping fund Israel's Iron Dome system which has saved countless Israeli and Palestinian lives. "No such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling," she said.
But, Madam Brain Dead, isn't it the fault of the attackers when the people they're attacking eventually strike back? 
Just because Hamas fires rockets indiscriminately aimed at Israeli civilian population centers without provocation and fires them from within its own population centers does not “absolve” Israel from its own legal violations, Pillay told reporters Thursday.
Tell me that there are higher mental functions going on in that so-called "brain".  I think anyone with half a functioning brain - I've even heard it from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon - knows that Hamas is surrounding all of their military hardware with civilians.  With their own babies.  It's the ultimate hostage situation; they're holding their own people hostage, hoping the Israelis kill them.  It's like strapping each Hamas soldier with a dozen babies.  Hamas is doing their absolute level best to guarantee civilian casualties.  They want them.  They count on them.  They know that civilian casualties are the only way they can "win" this war.  In the press.  With the "low information voters", the useful idiots, and the rest of the media. 
Marking the end of her contentious, six-year term as chairman of the notoriously anti-Israel UNHRC, Pillay saved her harshest condemnations for what she termed Israeli "targeting" of UN-run schools and hospitals in Gaza. She did not mention, nor was she reminded by any of the reporters present, that as of this writing, at least three UN-run schools in Gaza have been used as rocket warehouses, a gross violation of international law that clearly falls within the category of war crimes. Neither did she mention, nor was she reminded, that in at least two of the three cases cited above, the terror rockets found on UN property in Gaza were returned to Hamas by the UN.
Regrettably, she's not alone in not supplying a gram of Zombie Chow.  The Blaze reports today that a reporter for the Finnish "Helsingin Sanomat" filed a report on a missile being fired at Israel from a hospital, the same hospital hit by a Hamas missile earlier this week, a missile that Israel's IDF recorded the launch and impact of.  But instead of thanking Israeli news reports for using her story and byline, the brain dead reporter was offended that her report was being used by Israel.  Gosh, we sure wouldn't want any truth getting out now, would we?

(Back story: I had written all of this piece except for a conclusion, and then saw Mrs. Graybeard's computer with this cartoon on Sense of Events)

In the classic mindset of the left all of human interaction comes down to one principle: there are oppressors and there are victims.  Israel is a civilized, advanced culture, which places a social premium on knowledge and accomplishment.  The Palestinians are not - it's no small coincidence that the Nigerian Muslim terrorist group with similar beliefs as Hamas calls themselves Boko Haram: Western Education is a sin.  Therefore, in leftist view, Israel must be the oppressor and the Palestinians the oppressed victims.  It's the only way the doctrinaire leftists and most media (again, I repeat myself) are going to structure this story.    

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Anybody Else Ripped Off By Iain Sinclair Design?

Back in February, somebody sent me an offer for a new Iain Sinclair design of a credit card knife (this one, I think).  I was taken by it as a nifty toy and eventually ordered two - one for each of us.  At $16 each, not a terrible expense.  Allow 4 to 8 weeks for delivery.  As we've now hit almost five months, 24 weeks, and nothing but repeated "so sorry, but we're delayed" responses, I think it's time to admit it's probably a ripoff and I'm out my $32.

In June I inquired again and was told they were on track to complete all the back orders by the end of July.  I asked about cancelling the order, and was then introduced to the grim reality of this particular situation.  See, my card was charged back in February.  The Sinclair Design rep says they've changed credit card systems and can't do a refund.  The card company says the deadline for that was a couple of months after purchase.  But the knives are available, they're just apparently not shipping to individuals.  You can buy packs of them on eBay.

In the intervening months, I've seen credit card knives at gun shows for $10 and they're not exactly hard to come by.  I didn't get one at the shows because of the long standing order. 

So I thought I'd ask you, dear readers.  Anyone else been ripped off by these guys?  Anyone else know anything else about the company?  It's hard to fathom why an honest seller with products to sell would take over five months to ship.  Could they have expected a few hundred sales and got a million?  Way more than they could handle?


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ex-Athlete's Syndrome

As hard as it may be to call myself an athlete in any sense, I recognize that for an old dude I am.  Or rather, was and that's the essence of ex-athlete's syndrome.  Because I'm a lazy typist, I'll call that EAS.

In a nutshell, EAS is the result of too good memory.  You did some activity for so long at some level, even if moderate, that you think you can always do it.  My thing was cycling.  For almost 20 years, from around 1990 until a few years ago, Mrs. Graybeard and I rode a lot.  Our typical week was 12 miles every night after work, typically four nights a week, and long rides on the weekend.  Our shortest weekend rides were 20 miles.  Many weekends, we'd take off for the day (usually on Saturday) and ride most of the day.  Favorite rides were 50 miles up to 80 miles.  We've ridden centuries (100 miles) many times, and my personal longest ride was most of the 170 mile cross-Florida.  We never rode terribly fast and stopped often for drinks or food or just to get out of the blazing Florida sun, but I didn't know a single 50-something couple that was doing what we were doing. 

A few years ago, slightly before I started this blog in February of '10, we essentially just stopped.  There's a handful of reasons, but in my mind we were always just taking off for a little while.   The longest we had been off the bikes before then was about four months, after being hit by a truck.  I was extremely lucky; I was let out of the ER about 4 hours later with admonition to see an orthopedic guy about a broken vertebra in my back.  It wasn't a picnic; I was out of work for weeks and had a broken tailbone that hurt for about 9 months, but I walked out of the ER mere hours after being hit by a pickup truck.  Mrs. Graybeard didn't get off even that easily and underwent extensive (incredible) surgery to repair her back.  They installed rods to support the area, and rebuilt the crushed body of a vertebra with a cadaver thigh bone.  She was in a hospital a week and rehab facility for another three weeks.  

Still, after four months, we were ready to ride again, and it didn't take terribly long to get back to long rides at the same sort of pace.  In my mind, all of this added up to somehow thinking the fitness and muscle tone I had was so ... permanent ... that it would never go away.  I can always do it. 

That's EAS. "I can always do this.  I don't need to practice.  I've got this." 

Needless to say, I don't "got this".  I can't do it.  I need to practice. 

I've been been pressed for time lately and not writing as much.  This is one of the reasons.  Because I miss the fitness to be able to do things like build the shop furniture, or lie down to work under the console on the boat, or a dozen other things, without suffering for days afterward, I've started to try to get that back.  Unfortunately, I need to do physical therapy-style exercises for some old injuries and the weight work is slow, but the stretching and bending is fairly effortless and I've even been riding.  I have an indoor trainer I can put my bike on and ride against resistance indoors.  (Current version - much newer and a bit slicker than mine.  Not to mention about twice what I recall paying.)  Yeah, I'm riding indoors instead of on the road.  Why?  Actually to play head games with myself.  If I'm outside, I'm always going to want to press it a bit more and go farther.  Riding on the trainer is much less enjoyable and I tend to just watch the timer and when it's done, I'm off that bike.  I'm making myself stick to a program.
If you're not a cyclist, you've never seen O'Grady's cartoons and the "Old Guys Who Get FAT in Winter" theme...  Maybe you have to be a sick cyclist to appreciate these.





Wednesday, July 30, 2014

And Furthermore

Related to last night's post on the IoT:
The artwork looks like Dave Farley - Dr. Fun.  Found it out there somewhere...


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Techy Tuesday - the Internet of Things (IoT)

I know you've heard the term because both Borepatch and Denninger have posted on it; it's also one of the big buzzwords in the electronics industry now.  It even has conferences of its own.

So when an industry writer takes on the Next Big Thing, I find that encouraging.  Especially, this thing.  Author Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent for EE Times writes in "Convince Me Why Washer Must Talk to Grill":
MADISON, Wis. — At the risk of sounding a bit curmudgeonly, I have to confess one thing. While there’s certainly something positive to be said about the Internet of Things (IoT), I can’t help feeling suspicious, weary, and a bit turned off by the whole idea.

Aside from big-number projections (e.g., Cisco predicts 50 billion IoT devices by 2020), which would tempt anyone into becoming an IoT cheerleader, I haven’t seen a single credible-use scenario that might lure the average consumer onto the IoT bandwagon.

Honestly, it creeps me out to think about my devices at home talking to one another, doing stuff without my involvement, and talking about my habits -- good and bad -- to total strangers (advertisers, service providers, or just more machines), behind my back. There’s nothing warm and fuzzy about this. At all. [Bold added - SiG]
That emphasized text raises an important point.  Those of us in the technical fields have a tendency to think of something that would be cool and then do it simply because it can be done.  On the other hand, the vast majority of people are not technophiles like us who do things because we can.  They want to know just what they're getting for what they spend on the interconnectedness and thanks (in my opinion) to Edward Snowden, they increasingly want to know what privacy they're giving up to get that interconnection.  Yoshida continues:
With this in mind, I’ve started asking industry sources for credible scenarios under which IoT devices improve my life by talking to each other. Readers are welcome to chime in below. Give me your best shot. Convince me why my washing machine needs to strike up a conversation with my gas grill.
The answers leave her flat.  They're the same old home automation stuff that's been sold and resold for years.  Oooh: a house that knows you're in the living room and can turn off lights for you, or change the temperature while you're coming home from work.   The thing is, when you leave the trite and unoriginal, you end up at creepy pretty fast.  Richard Doherty, research director at something called the Envisioneering Group says:
  • IoT will mean “peace of mind” allowances. For example, IoT could let us know if Grandma opened the fridge this morning or used her Bluetooth toothbrush.
  • IoT will also create insurance access. Did Rick walk his requisite one mile a day to earn his present insurance discount?
  • IoT offers public services. Are enabled air conditioners being throttled back 10% for brownout prevention?
In my mind, all of those get darned close to (or jump over) the "none of your damned business" line.  I admit I would have felt better about my elderly mom living by herself with the first one (assuming she agreed to have it), but I'll have no part of the other two.  But they go on from there into asking who controls what information is being handled and how it gets around.  Predictably, the industry giants are starting Sumo matches; throwing salt and trying to force each other out of the ring.  Intel, Qualcomm, AT&T, Time Warner and Google (among others) all want to be the one to see you crank your thermostat warmer some winter and promptly send you an ad for sweaters.  
(source) Creep you out, yet?


Monday, July 28, 2014

Hamas Blusters and Threatens - Israel Laughs

From The Tower
Hackers identifying with Hamas have sent threatening text messages to Israeli mobile phone numbers, via Twitter and on Facebook feeds.

The problem: The Hebrew grammar and spelling are riddled with errors.

Instead of causing fear – as intended – Israelis have reposted the messages with corrections and tips on how to better construct a threatening message.
That's the spirit!
Earlier this week, Hamas hackers overtook the Domino’s Pizza Israel Facebook page, posting threatening messages against Israelis. They didn’t know Israelis have been punching out jokes at a quick pace. Hamas hackers wrote: “Today will strike deep in Israel, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Ashdod more than 2000 rockets. We’ll start at 7. Counting back towards the end of Israel … Be warned!”

An Israeli response read: “Hey, please reserve a missile for me with jalapenos, green olives, extra cheese, and mushrooms. You have my address. Tell the delivery boy to activate the alarm when it is arriving, so I know to put my pants on.”
For their part, Hamas appears to be a bit demoralized.  From an Israeli soldier and reported in  the Jerusalem Post, and posted by The Right Curmudgeon (H/T, Joe the Plumber):
... a recognizable wave of demoralization has washed over Hamas’s combat battalions. “They simply escape, leaving behind weapons and suicide bomb vests that were laid out for battle. This morning we stormed a position, and they just weren’t there. I don’t see a determined enemy. We have encountered stronger pockets of fighting in the past. But now, I would not give them a high grade for fighting spirit.”
In the age of social media, it's inevitable that the conflict should spread to Facebook.  It seems, though, that faces aren't the only images that Israelis are posting there as encouragement to the IDF.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

NFW

No. Effing. Way.

(story) Some dood with a new book doing the radio TV tour said, "Obama could kill someone, personally, on live TV, and would survive without getting impeached".  Someone like me - or you, probably - would be painted in seconds as some sort of terrorist by the leftist media.  Not enough senators would vote to bring to president to trial.  That's more like the truth.

Besides, his replacement (and walking life insurance policy) is Joe Biden.  How much better do you think that's going to work out? 


Friday, July 25, 2014

Staleness, Part II

I haz a stale.  "Not so much writer's block, more like tired of writing about the same damned problems all the time."  Including my stale.  Besides, it has been a busy week and I haven't had much time to ponder what to write about.
Steve Breen at Townhall.  (Background)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Techy Tuesday - Metal Finishing in the Small Shop

A post over at Theredneckengineer got me thinking about this topic again.  When you're done cutting metal, now what?  Steel, except for stainless, will rust quickly in all but the driest climates.  Aluminum won't rust, but it oxidizes and will develop a kind of cruddy, blotched look.

This has been a hot topic in the gun industry since before Sam Colt was a little boy.  A lot of finishes exist; from Parkerizing, and bluing, to Cerakote and the dozens of other finishes.  I'm going to focus on two simple processes: powder coating (because it's the one Redneck Engineer wrote about) and anodizing.

Powder coating is a painting process, and can be done to almost any material, like most painting.  You can powder coat any metal: steel pieces or aluminum; titanium or brass.  What's neat about the process is that you attach a ground wire to the piece to be coated and spray a powder that gets electrically charged in the gun.  Instead of the overspray of paint that plagues spraying liquids, the powder is electrically attracted to the grounded piece.  There's less over spray, and any overspray that happens is a powder that can be brushed off.  Powder that goes beyond that part will actually turn around and come back to coat the other side.  That's not to say you may not get better results turning the part, just emphasizing that attraction of the powder to the charged surface.  Once the part is coated, it's then baked in an oven, where the powder turns into a liquid and flows over the surface.  The temperature depends on the type of powder, but is around 300-400F.  The result is a hard, chip resistant finish that holds up better than the spray paints I've been able to use. 

Powder coating is new technology, but hardly exotic.  Powder coating sets can be bought at Sears, Harbor Freight and many others.  Two excellent sources are Caswell Plating and Eastwood; both of them are also excellent suppliers for anodizing. 

Anodizing is an electrolytic surface treatment process that is most often done to aluminum.  Compared to painting, it allows a more precise control of the finish thickness and typically looks better in a thin finish than powder coat tends to look.  It's rather more involved than powder coating, but a good finish in almost any color imaginable is within the reach of determined folks.  The word comes from using the material you're finishing as the anode (more positive piece) in an electrical circuit you make.  Anodizing is often referred to by its "type" (these come from MilSpecs) , and you may have seen references to Type III anodizing as a selling feature for gun parts.  Home anodizing is most often Type II, Low Current Density.  There are good, detailed explanations on the web, but I find my favorite is gone tonight (haven't checked it for a while).  This guy seems to have a couple of pages of his results and looks good to follow; but let me summarize here.

You may not have noticed the first important thing that was up there in the descriptions.  Powder coating applies a layer of paint over the surface, hiding it to at least some degree.  Anodizing is a surface treatment; that means it doesn't really cover the surface.  However pretty your surface is before you start, that's how pretty it's going to be when you're done.  The first step is to finish the surface until it is free of defects. Finishing metal surfaces is simple in concept, just tedious and time consuming.  You sand with progressively finer abrasives and either leave a matte surface (600 grit on metal looks like a matte finish) or proceed to polish.  Books have been written in place of that sentence, and industry has invested tons of money in getting pretty finishes faster.

The piece is then thoroughly cleaned and degreased.   After completely cleaning it, so that water doesn't bead up on the aluminum at all, it's time to actually anodize.  The work is submerged in a mix of sulfuric acid and distilled water.  Yes, there's a specific ratio; no, I'm not going to tell you what it is.  This piece is an overview, not instructions.  Two electrodes go into the acid: the cathode goes to the negative side of your power supply while the piece you're finishing is the anode.  The process depends on current, not voltage, so low voltage, high current supplies are usually used; the 12V, 20 to 30A supplies that hams use aren't adjustable enough although they're in the ballpark for capacity.  You want a constant current supply with adjustable current.  The actual anodizing part of the process takes a couple of hours, depending on how big the part is and how thick the layer you're striving for.

At this point, the parts have barely changed color, and they're coated with a thin, new coating of aluminum oxide (you can call it corrosion, white sapphire, or anodizing).  The guys who do this refer to the finish having pores that are open.  The parts are washed in distilled water, before going into the dying process - if you want to add color. The process is simple: heat a water solution of the dye (RIT clothes dyes are often used) up to about 140F, and suspend the part in it for a few minutes, checking to see if it has the color you want.  The dying process is self limiting and the parts just can't keep getting darker after some time.  If you don't dye the part, you go straight to the next step. 

The final step sets the color permanently.  You take the dyed parts and submerge them in boiling water for a half hour.  This doesn't need to be distilled water.  That sets the finish and results in the hard, colorful finish anodized parts are known for.  That is, parts not intended to be tactical black. 
The paintball guys are big on wild anodizing colors.  Hard to imagine someone making an AR lower in this color scheme.

Anodizing can also be done on titanium, and the colors are obtained by allowing different thicknesses of the oxide layer to build up.  Check out these titanium chopsticks, although the technique is commonly used in titanium jewelry.

This is admittedly a brief overview.  Not enough detail to begin either technique but hopefully enough to tickle your interest and get you looking.


Monday, July 21, 2014

If Your Grammar Needs Attention

Weird Al Yankovic, the 80s parody king, has released his (probably) final album, and has been featuring a song per day for 8 days.  I couldn't resist this one: Word Crimes.

Know when it's less or it's fewer
like people who were
never raised in a sewer
...
Hire some cunning linguist to
help you distinguish
what is proper English
As for "final album", I saw an interview with Al this morning, and he said it was his last album on a contract he's been under since the '80s, and while he intends to keep writing songs, albums are probably not the direction the world is going.  IMO, look for Al to start selling singles rather than albums, probably through iTunes or something setup more for direct sale to consumers.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Stolen Mercilessly

From Sense of Events
For the "my boss can't tell me what to do with my uterus" crowd.

Busier day than I thought it would be here.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Border Mess, Federal Corruption and Son of ACORN

While sipping coffee and trying to get my heart beating this morning, I heard something in passing that made my ears stand up like a Doberman's. 

You might recall that earlier in the week, there was story that the Fed.gov was going to open a $50 Million resort for these children that are invading over the southern border, the Palm Aire Hotel and Suites in Weslaco, Texas.  Complete with swimming pools, tennis courts, saunas - you name it - the hotel was to be renovated and house them for a couple of weeks,  providing “health, mental health services, education, case management services” while they were being placed with family or foster families.
Think about that for just a moment.  These illegals, who have no right to be in the country, are going to be housed by the Department of Homeland Security for two weeks and they’d receive health, mental health services, education and case management services provided by taxpayer dollars over that two week period.

Let’s contrast that with the VA hospital in Phoenix where men who fought for America, who were injured, who bled for freedom were – and probably still are being – put on waiting lists for medical care that was promised them for their honorable military service.  We’ve got military veterans who are being put on phantom waiting lists for care, who stay on those waiting lists for months or years, while illegal aliens can receive care immediately.
You might also recall that there was somewhat of a public stink raised over this and the deal was dropped.

Today, the news droid dropped the name of who was getting the $50 million contract: the Baptist Child and Family Services.  The Baptist Child and Family... a Christian charity??  Wait a minute.   Our government - 99 and 44/100 % Muslim Brotherhood infiltrated, working with a Christian group?  Sumthin jest don't seem right.  

Not alone in my skepticism, The Right Curmudgeon started peeling back the layers of this onion and concludes BCFS is a new identity for ACORN.  I'm sure all of my readers will recall that ACORN, the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, was brought down by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles in a 2009 hidden camera video series, in which O'Keefe played a pimp and Giles one of his girls.  As Right Curmudgeon points out, we all know ACORN:
They’re the “community service” organization, 100% funded by Democrats with tax dollars, who were raking in hundreds of millions of shadow money for a variety of housing and mortgage scams.  They’re the people that James O’Keefe brought down with a series of videos.  Probably his most famous was one of him and an attractive young lady dressed as a pimp and a prostitute going to an ACORN office, telling them they were in the sex trade and wanted a house but didn’t have any declared income.  ACORN was ready to help them falsify the paperwork to qualify for a loan.

As a result of O’Keefe’s videos ACORN lost their government funding and disbanded. Of course, like zombies, they weren’t dead, they just morphed into several new “community service” organizations, again being fed with a combination of your tax dollars and money borrowed from the Chinese.
It's worth the time to RTWT.  Right Curmudgeon looks into BCFS and this deal, asking a lot of very reasonable questions and trying to track down just who this group is:
These questions, to which the most transparent administration in American history will never provide answers, heck, they may never be asked, bring us back to BCFS.  Given all their donation buttons, you’d think they got their money from private donations and Baptist Charities, probably supported by Baptist Missions organizations given the countries they supposedly work in.  Well, it appears you’d be wrong.

Their “Partners” page lists 22 governmental groups, both federal and state, so it looks like the $50 million contract they walked away from because of bad publicity is just a drop in the bucket.  The number of groups that appear to have religious affiliation?  Zero.  Groups connected with any Baptist denomination?  Zero.
Is BCFS really the reborn ACORN?  I don't know, but they certainly don't appear to be a Baptist or Christian group either.  They appear to have chosen the name to appear innocent.  "Don't look here!  We're just a bunch of boring, Baptist do-gooders". 



Friday, July 18, 2014

Old Memories

Michael Ramirez brings back a few here:
Pure cartoon mastery. 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

VDH Nails It

If you're old enough to be in college, the nation you were born in is falling apart.  If you're in my age group, the country you were born in is gone.  Victor Davis Hanson nails it in The Turbulent Summer of 2014.
What keeps the country afloat this terrible summer?

Some American companies produce more gas and oil than ever despite, not because of, the Obama administration. Most Americans still get up every day, work hard and pay more taxes than they receive in subsidies. American soldiers remain the most formidable in the world despite the confusion of their superiors. The law, regardless of the administration, is still followed by most. And most do not duck out on their daily responsibilities to golf, play pool or go on junkets.
Even that little bit of optimism is overstated.  The statement that "Most Americans still get up every day, work hard and pay more taxes than they receive in subsidies" is only barely true.  If the country is afloat, it's taking on water and foundering badly. 

Go read.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Little Airplane Pr0n

Cause I think it's beautiful.  Watch it full screen in HD.


Boeing posted a video of the actual flight at Farnborough, but it's a measly 360P resolution, and not as pretty as this practice film.  If you're watching any screen bigger than your phone, watch this one.

I said here before,
Put the better part of four years of your life into it, and never even get to see one, touch one, or sit inside one.  But be a reporter for a tech magazine and you get to take the yoke during a test flight...  Sounds like I made a wrong career choice somewhere along the line.
Come to think of it, I've spent a fair amount of the two years since I wrote that post working on that beauty.  I have to live vicariously through these videos. Yeah, I know... whine whine whine. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Techy Tuesday - How to Make Holes in Things

Most people right now have those Looney Tunes-style question marks over their head.  "How to make holes in things?  Uh... with a drill and bit?"

Before you can answer that question, you need to know what the hole has to be for, how perfect it needs to be and what material it will be in.  Sunday, for example, I needed a hole to clear a 3/8" bolt, through 1 3/4" thick hardwood.  A portable drill is the right answer here; I started a pilot hole with a small bit (between 1/8 and 1/4") and then finished it with a 7/16" bit.  Yes, deliberately oversized to allow some adjustment by jiggling the reloading presses while I set them in place.  Ask a carpenter and this is the answer you'll get.  It's the right approach for a very wide range of problems. 

Ask a machinist and you'll be told that holes drilled with a drill bit in a drill press are never circular and never straight.  Drill bits wander as they go through the work piece.  For a hole that needs to be more circular and straight with a precisely sized diameter, machinists will use a boring head and boring cutter on the milling machine and gently feed the cutter into the work.  Many use a pilot (undersized starting) hole to locate the feature and a boring head to enlarge to just about size, followed by a reamer to achieve the final size.  A high quality, "heavy metal" or "big iron" boring head.  A set of reamers sold like a set of drill bits.  Sherline's miniature version is here:

That idea of starting with smaller bits and working up to bigger ones is universal.  It will get your through lots of problems in the shop.  Another thing to do is "peck" with the drill, advance the drill no more than a couple of diameters and then pull it back to help clear chips.  Keeping the waste out of the hole helps the process.  (Peck drilling is so important, it has its own command in CNC instructions).  If you're drilling metal, a cutting/cooling fluid like a light oil can keep the bit from getting too hot and getting duller.   

Chances are you've seen (or even have) a set of standard sized drill bits like this.  But what you have to drill a deeper hole than those?  Longer drill bits are available, like this set.  Longer drill bits wander even more than short ones, but if it's the only way to cut a hole to pass a wire, you have to do it.  Easily found twist drill bits get you up to a half inch holes.  Spade bits for wood get you even bigger; over an inch.  For larger holes, most people transition to a hole saw.  Hole saws cut out a waste plug in the middle of the material and get you to even bigger holes, but usually not in very thick materials.   For large holes in thin sheet metal, I've seen many people recommend these step bits.  I've personally never used them as I don't do much sheet work.  In my early ham radio days, when more people homebrewed their radios, a set of Greenlee punches for punching holes in metal chassis was absolutely da bomb.  I've used a nibbler to cut out 1 1/2" holes for a pair of meters and almost lost the use of my hands from muscle fatigue!  I've seen a nifty video of a power nibbler driven by your electric drill; that would be the way to go. 

Need to cut a hole in a granite counter top?  You need a diamond drill bit or diamond hole saw set.

We could go on, but I'll cut it here.  People have been making holes in things for a long time and a lot of clever solutions have been developed.  We really haven't touched on making holes that aren't round.   And we haven't even gotten near the topic of drilling a long piece of steel into a barrel without the bit wandering through the sides!


Monday, July 14, 2014

"Obama's Katrina"

Only worse.
Katrina was a hurricane.  A storm.  Weather happens.  The mess on the border is the product of policies designed to do precisely what they've done.  Since Obama implemented the guts of the DREAM act by executive order, it has had the same effect as putting up signs like Michael Ramirez creates in this cartoon.  Just read that article - from December of 2013 - if you're surprised by the crisis going on.  Or this one from American Thinker.

Every one of those dead children floating ashore from the Rio Grande, every person in the US who gets tuberculosis, every person hurt or killed by the young gang members crossing into the US; the blame for every one of those tragedies falls on the President and his staff.