Friday, January 20, 2017

Repeat After Me

Former President Barack Obama 


The long national nightmare is over.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Amish High Tech Buggies

Amish high tech?  A contradiction in terms?

A friend sent me a link to this story on Popular Mechanics about the migration of technology into Amish buggies.
Despite what you heard, the Amish aren't against technology. Communities adopt new gadgets such as fax machines and business-use cell phones all the time—so long as the local church approves each one ahead of time, determining that it won't drastically change their way of life.

So it is with the Amish horse-drawn buggy. You might have thought the technology inside this 1800s method of transportation stopped progressing right around then. Instead, buggy tech keeps advancing, and buggy makers have become electricians and metalworkers to build in all the new tech you can't see under the traditional black paint.
Central Florida is a long way from Amish country, and I've never met any Amish people, so I'm sure I'm just full of stereotypes that are all wrong.  Consequently, I found the article interesting and think it's worth your time to read the whole thing.  As I always do, let me drop some teasers here to encourage you.
Even if you skip luxury options such as a propane-powered heater, cupholders, and speedometer, a buggy is an expensive thing.
Buggy brakes are automotive-style, non-powered drum or disc brakes mounted to two wheels. When a driver wants to stop, he or she halts the horse using the reins and halts the buggy by stepping on the brake pedal so that it doesn't run into the horse.
"Back in the '60s, a local Amish man started going through junkyards and getting the old seven-inch VW brakes," our builder says, "salvaging them, repairing them, and cleaning them up, and retrofitting them to buggies. After a while he started getting good castings made. Now all the buggy brakes are manufactured by buggy shops."
"Ninety-nine percent of buggies are built with a dash—a console on the front panel—and in that switch box is all the switches you need," says our builder. "We have headlights, taillights, interior lights, and a turn signal switch."
To power these lights, batteries are all over the place.
"Average cost of a buggy is, I'm gonna say, $8,000," says our builder. Families usually have several types at once, for different uses, and each one they buy outright with cash. "We actually looked into doing financing through the banks," he says, "but we don't have titles for buggies, so the banks are squeamish about it." If somebody needs it, though, builders will finance them a buggy without the banks.

"A lot of people will get 20 or 30 years out of a buggy before they do any major rebuilding of it. There's a strong demand for good used buggies because of youth. Most people will buy their 16-year-old son a horse, a harness, and a used buggy. And then we have people who trade in their buggy every five to eight years. It's like the mainstream world. A lot of these buggies will be running 40 or 50 years, rebuilt several times."
An Amish family buggy (Popular Mechanics/Getty Images).  You'll note that in addition to the large slow vehicle warning triangle, there are red and yellow LEDs on both sides of the buggy's rear, and on the driver's side a large rear view mirror with what might be a headlight just below it.  This is a low end buggy compared to others pictured in the article.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Hearing Protection Act

I think that of the stupid and illogical restrictions passed in the National Firearms Act of 1934, the most illogical is the restrictions on silencers, which obviously aren't even firearms.  It's a silly requirement that imposes a $200 tax that was crippling when it was enacted, but has dropped in impact as our currency is inflated away.  In 1934, $200 was many times the cost of a gun; today, $200 is close to the price of the lowest cost guns but a fraction of the cost of higher end handguns.  Today, the application process and delays seem to be the most significant hindrance to widespread use of silencers.  Hopefully, the Hearing Protection Act can remove those false hardships. 

Hat tip to No Layers - Only Guns and Money for the heads' up warning he posted about the campaign against the Act starting in earnest.  He reports receiving the following email:
Mark Kelly, of course, is Gabby Giffords' husband, "affectionately" known as Space Cowboy.

The problems with this, of course, only start with the fact that while it's technically correct to say "silencers do suppress sound and light", that's what they're designed to do, the rest of the email is just the usual fear mongering.  They don't back up the claim that silencers are attractive to criminals, and they don't describe the actual changes silencers cause, which while helpful are actually pretty minimal.  They're appealing to the ignorant whose only knowledge of silencers is from far too many movies that show a silencer reducing the roughly 160 dBa sound of a .45 handgun down to a soft, puffing "pfft" sound.  In reality, instead of the 80 dB noise reduction that movie sound implies the actual reduction is around 30 dB or what your typical hearing protection provides, which reduces the sound of a .45 cal handgun down to a loud blast on a trumpet or a loud passage in a stadium rock concert. Yeah, it's quieter but it's still pretty darned loud.

Put it this way: it reduces the sound out of a .45 handgun to the sound of a .22 rifle.  I think everyone still wears ear protection around .22 rifles today. 

John Richardson writing at No Lawyers puts it this way:
Having reported on hundreds of defensive gun uses on the Polite Society Podcast I have yet to come across mention of a criminal having a suppressor in his or her possession while committing an assault, robbery, home invasion, or murder. Indeed, more often than not, these miscreants use the loud sound of a firearm discharge to attempt to cow their victims.
The references to the ebil debil "gun lobby" and "corporations who manufacture and sell firearm silencers" tell you what they're really all about: just restricting the rights of gun owners for no valid reason, and thinking we're all just brain dead zombies who do whatever the "gun lobby" or double un-good NRA tell us to do. 

Disclaimer and technical tangent: after a career in RF engineering, decibels are second nature to me, and while guys are fussing and "dB chasing" in silencers, making a huge deal over differences of a single digit in noise reduction, like from 31 to 32 dB, and companies are selling different models by stating attenuation to tenths of a dB, It Doesn't Matter.  Audio has a lot of counterintuitive stuff to it, and one of them is that while the dB scales that audio guys use correlates with Sound Pressure Level and other lab-type measurements, how loud a sound is perceived to be follows different rules.  You're entering the field of pyschoacoustics, and it's filled with all sorts of unexpected things.  For one, the perceived loudness of a sound depends on its frequency.  Another, while the difference in measured sound pressure doubles for a 3 dB increase in sound level, if you give someone a volume control and tell them to increase the power until the sound is twice as loud, they don't increase it 3 dB, they increase it closer to 10 dB.  In other words, if you're shopping for a silencer and they tell you one is good for 131.3 dB and another is good for 130.8 dB, no one will ever tell them apart in use. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Before It Could Move

On Friday, I wrote about setting up to tear down the G0704.  And on it went. 
I cut out the marked square I showed, 1-1/4 on a side and cleaned it up.  I cut it out by drilling a lot of holes, using a 1/4" bit and an AC powered drill.  I started out with my battery powered drill but it was just obviously weak for the task and I thought I'd try the "big" one.  Night and day difference, but it has a label rating of 1-1/4 HP while the battery powered one never mentions power.  I cut the web out between the holes with both a battery powered reciprocating saw along the sides where the blade fit, then switched over to an AC powered jig saw which also made short work of the sawing.  There was some really irregular looking junk in the casting on the back of that channel you see (out of picture at top center) that I thought might limit the motion of the ballnut and table, so I cleaned that up with a grinding bit on my battery powered drill. 

The next step was to take the motor and headstock off.  This ends up weighing 50-ish pounds (rough guess).  I found a guy on YouTube (N1BPD) who had a video of taking the motor and Z column off and then another that showed him building it back up
Which leaves the base and column as the only pieces on the tool cabinet/stand.
On to taking off the column and here's where I hit a dead end.  There are four large socket head bolts in the base of the Z column holding that cast iron in place.  They take a 10mm Allen key, and as luck would have it, I had two options: a ratchet set from Sears with the novel feature that most of the sockets will pass any length bolt through them, and a nice, tool steel, Allen wrench set's 10mm key.  Two of the bolts were moveable and I got them loose, but the other too resisted everything I could do to them.  At one point, I actually tried to stand on that 10mm key.  Since it was Sunday, I said Uncle and went to think about it and figure out how much I was going to have to pay to break those two bolts loose, while watching the Packers/Cowboys playoff game.

It ended up being fairly cheap, because Mrs. Graybeard convinced me to try an adapter to mount the hex key socket on my 1/2" drive breaker bar.  Thankfully, that worked and I was able to pull the Z column.  This was right after I had watched the video where N1BPD built up his Z-axis and got it running.  I decided I had all the parts and had been basically ready to do the modifications on this for quite a while, so why not do it and get the system running?
This pic was while putting the Z-axis ballnut mount in place.  I've written a lot about this part.  The motor mount and standoffs were the parts I made for the original approach I was taking, before I switched to the ballscrew approach last April (I think).  I think I made them about a year ago.
If you look carefully at this picture, you'll see something strange.  There's a 1/4-20 nut on each of the round, threaded standoffs.  When I first built this, the motor quickly jammed and during troubleshooting, I realized the motor wanted to be about an eighth inch farther away than the standoffs allow.  A quick check of the relevant drawing said they were supposed to be 2.000 inches long, +/- .005, and they were.  Rather than make new standoffs, this was a quick fix.  It passes a 10-32 screw to mount the motor and looks neater than a stack of washers.
Tonight, the base is remounted in my wooden "boat"; the chip tray I built last summer and that has been sitting along the wall while I got to this point.  I had always envisioned trying to hold the full mill, or parts of it, over the chip tray with a crane and struggling to get it in position.  Broken down this far, it's just a 50 pound-ish hunk of cast iron to set down in the tray, finagle into place and bolt down.  I could use to seal the base so that cooling fluid can't run under it.

It Moves!

I took a slight detour in my continuing CNC conversion project today.  I decided that since I had the Z-axis apart and on the bench, I'd put in the new motion control hardware: ballnut, mount, ballscrew, and motor mount.  All the stuff I've been working on for a long time.

You'll notice there's a handwheel on the motor.  That's a spare I keep around from the Sherline and use on occasion with it.  I used it here to help line up the motors and mounts while getting everything running.  It's already off the machine.  Everything is a temporary setup, including LinuxCNC, which is using my Sherline configuration file. 

I could have left this for later, after the X/Y table is done, but it's nice to see real progress like this.  Because motion!

Monday, January 16, 2017

That Whole "Boomers Screwed the Millennials " Myth

Rage is all the hotness these days; everyone has to rage against someone or something whether it's correct or logical or anything else.  It's like demanding safe spaces; everybody's doing it.  For the last 7 years of this blog, I've occasionally taken aim at those who rage against "income inequality" (there better be inequality!) and rage against the economy while empowering the very groups that cause the problems they're complaining about.  A few times, I've taken aim at those who blame all the troubles of the world on the boomers (who are their parents or grandparents) and show how those arguments are simply attempts to divide us against ourselves. 

The latest is one that's from CNBC and getting some traction around.  "Millennials are Falling Behind Their Boomer Parents".  The piece opens:
With a median household income of $40,581, millennials earn 20 percent less than boomers did at the same stage of life, despite being better educated, according to a new analysis of Federal Reserve data by the advocacy group Young Invincibles.

The analysis being released Friday gives concrete details about a troubling generational divide that helps to explain much of the anxiety that defined the 2016 election. Millennials have half the net worth of boomers. Their home ownership rate is lower, while their student debt is drastically higher.
The analysis of the Fed data shows the extent of the decline. It compared 25 to 34 year-olds in 2013, the most recent year available, to the same age group in 1989 after adjusting for inflation.
The glaring problem with this comparison is that it leaves out a very important comparison: how are those boomers who were 25 to 34 in 1989 doing today compared to how they were doing in 1989?  Despite years of rising prices, wages have been stagnant since the mid '70s, a few years after the gold standard was dropped.  The typical American man earns 29% less today than he did 40 years ago.  More to the point of the article the typical man working today is doing worse than he was in 1989.  The problem isn't that millennials are doing poorly compared to baby boomers in 1989, the problem is that the typical worker is doing poorly compared to 1989 no matter what generation they're from.

I was careful not to say everyone is doing poorly compared to 1989.  The high skill/high demand occupations, the top 10% of wager earners, are making more money.  These aren't all stock brokers and bankers; engineers, managers, doctors, and high-tech entrepreneurs are in this group.  Bonner and Partners provide this graphic
Note the very different time scales on the horizontal axes.  The top chart is only the right half of the bottom chart's time scale.

Despite all this, the biggest "sin of omission" in the CNBC article is in not explaining why this situation is happening; and the reason they won't go there is obvious.  The economic problems here, the so-called "income inequality" problems, are the result of the big government  and central bank manipulations of the economy.  The problems are the result of the debt-based economy we live in, and CNBC is behind Keynesian interventions.  No, it's easier for them to imply that the country is buckling under the weight of the baby boomers, and it's all those old peoples' fault.  It's easier for them to imply those old people are sucking up all the money in the economy and keeping it from being paid to those deserving millennials.  Those old boomers should just die and get out of the way.

The longer the debt bubble keeps growing, the more likely something bad is going to happen.  Nobody can tell you the date and time, but with the national debt virtually at $20 Trillion and another $200 Trillion in other commitments, it doesn't seem the confidence game can be kept up indefinitely.  When people "rage against the machine", they should rage against the right machine, the spending policies and the Federal Reserve Bank, not their parents. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

SpaceX Nails Return to Flight, Booster Return

SpaceX had a successful return to flight launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base yesterday, putting 10 Iridium satellites into orbit.  In addition, they had a successful recovery of the 1st stage on their drone barge "Just Read the Instructions", hitting the center of the target with the live video feed working completely through the landing, for the first time.  This is the first time they've successfully landed a booster launched from Vandy.

SpaceX is quick to point out the most important part of the mission is that they delivered for their customer, and from a business sense that's absolutely right. It's just us space geeks who follow the ability to recover the boosters as a way to cut costs, and cutting costs is the key to bringing spaceflight to full commercial use.  How common would air travel be if we had to throw away the planes after one use?

Readers will recall that SpaceX had a highly unusual accident during a "routine" test on the pad on September 1st and has been grounded since then.  It was a tough problem to troubleshoot, but armed with just 93 milliseconds worth of data before the explosion, engineers isolated the problem to the rupture of a high pressure helium tank by late September, and then spent another couple of months verifying that with some creative testing.
The Sept. 1, 2016 explosion, which occurred during a routine pre-launch test at Cape Canaveral, initially puzzled SpaceX; about a week later, Musk described the incident as the "most difficult and complex failure" in the company's history. But technicians and engineers eventually traced the cause to the failure of a high-pressure helium vessel inside the Falcon 9's second-stage liquid-oxygen tank.

SpaceX announced earlier this month that it had wrapped up its investigation of the Sept. 1 accident. The Federal Aviation Administration accepted the results of the inquiry and granted SpaceX a license that covers all seven launches required to orbit the 70 Iridium-NEXT satellites.
The Falcon 9 launch system has been changing over to a colder liquid oxygen than other boosters use, called densified liquid oxygen (pdf warning - Master's Thesis).  Liquid oxygen boils at 90.2 degrees Kelvin (-297.3 F).  SpaceX is switching to a colder, denser liquid oxygen at about 65 K to improve engine efficiency.  Like other launch vehicles in the industry, SpaceX uses Composite-Overwrapped Pressure Vessels to contain the helium, and submerges them in the liquid oxygen.  The difference is that SpaceX is the first to use the COPV helium tanks in a liquid oxygen that's substantially colder than the 90 degree Kelvin boiling point.
The previous iteration of the Falcon 9 used Liquid Oxygen at boiling point temperature and began loading its tanks over three hours ahead of launch – permitting the COPVs to be fully chilled prior to applying high pressures. Falcon 9 FT enters LOX load on the second stage with just 19.5 minutes on the countdown clock followed by Helium load just over 13 minutes prior to launch – an aggressive tanking sequence unprecedented in the space launch business.
In a way, this sort of process/handling issue is the best thing that could have happened to SpaceX - ignoring the loss of vehicle, customer's payload, and all the costs.  It's easy to change the rates and times at which propellants are loaded.  It's even relatively easy to redesign a helium tank.  I believe the "aggressive tanking sequence" is to minimize the amount of time the densified liquid oxygen is sitting in the launch vehicle warming up.  That tells me they probably have alternatives to tweak that sequence so that the thermal stresses on the tanks are not as high. 

While there's much to read about, it's also appropriate to acknowledge the team for a successful return to flight and overcoming the recent failure. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Obama's Fairwell Tour

Features a speech in which he mentions himself 75 times, changes the policy for accepting Cuban refugees if they make it to shore (the so-called "wet foot, dry foot" policy), reduces sanctions against the Sudan, and "fundamentally transformed" the US' 68 year old relationship with Israel.  It continues his eight year record of aiding our enemies and hurting our friends.
(Michael P. Ramirez, of course)

Oh, someone's going to pay for it alright.  Everybody in the US is paying for Obama already.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Setting Up To Tear Down the G0704

I've been holding back on you guys for a few days, but since the misadventure of the ballnut removal tool (BRT) and the ball bearing spill, I haven't said that I solved that mess.  I worked on plumbing and posted about that, but getting the balls packed into the bearing and getting the ballnut and screw in place on the Y axis was a major stumbling block.

I succeeded on Wednesday morning.  I had studied a YouTube video a few times and tried repacking the balls on Monday.  It didn't work out.  This guy stresses that there are races in the ballscrew that shouldn't get balls put in them, saying if we did, the ballscrew would jam at some point.  I couldn't see what he was talking about from the video.  About the 10th time I watched trying to see what he was referring to, I seized on a different approach to the job.  Feed the balls into the returns and let them push their way around the races themselves, then I don't need to worry about avoiding a spot.  Wednesday morning, after suitable amounts of coffee, I put on my Optivisors, turned on a back light flashlight, and mixed the spilled 100 ball bearings in grease.  When you watch this video, or many others, you'll see the demo using Vaseline to hold the balls in the race, and it really does work (well, I used Teflon loaded grease - this guy says grease is better but uses Vaseline).  Next thing I knew, within an hour's work, I had all the races full of balls.

Now comes the hard part.  On Monday, I had tried my previous two attempts at a BRT.  Balls got pushed out of place.  After that, I decided to go the route of the cardboard tube BRT, but turned one out of wood.  I had a "pen blank" (pen blank is eBay talk for scrap wood cutoff) I had bought 15 years ago, 3/4" square and about 6" long.  I turned it to slightly over 0.5"; it measures .510 in most places.  I drilled a 5/16" hole down its long axis, then worked up the nerve to enlarge that to 13/32 (.406), in case I needed to try to use it on the ballscrew, not just to retain the balls while I screw the ballscrew into the nut.  Everything held together. 
Attempt 27 at the BRT.  Technically, it's the fourth; it just feels like 27.

Success.  This BRT (and perhaps a bit more care) didn't displace any of the balls, and I was able to screw the ballnut and mount onto the Y-axis in the mill, gradually (and gently) pushing the BRT out the far end.
With this in place, I put the cross slide on and checked for ease of motion.
This is both the X and Y axes in place.  I had to hog out that cutout around the white plastic oil fitting on the X-axis ballnut, in the lower front right, this week too.  Time to check out how far the Y axis moves.  It moves 6-1/2"... wait ... Grizzly specifies the original mill at 6-7/8".  I lost motion?  Back to the DVD videos and finally a quick check with Hoss.  The base of the mill needs to be modified to cut away some metal in the front.  To modify that middle picture a bit:
I need to cut out that square.  It's about 1-1/4" on a side.  This is dead space in the mill, and to be fair Hoss does describe this in the modifications, only he describes it as part of the phase two mods and I'm building phase three.  (Hoss modified his mill sequentially and kept improving it.  It means he did things in phase one or two that anyone doing three needs to know.)  Hoss says I should end up with about 9" of travel.  So I get 6-1/2 now, when I add 1-1/4 cutout, that's only 7-3/4.  Not sure where the rest comes from.  I can only get about another 3/4" at the back, at the most.  The cross slide doesn't hit the Z-axis column; and I think it's from crap in the casting hitting something on the back wall. 
All those bumps on the back wall of the slot are potentially limiting.  If I can pick up 3/4" here, that puts the range over 8" and it's conceivable that there might be some more room in the front.  Hoss gave me this picture to go by.  
My only real trepidation about this is that it means taking the mill completely apart.  As it is now, the Z-axis is attached to this base, and while I know I need to take it apart, I've been intimidated by the weight.  I have the shop crane but haven't figured out how to do this and where to put it when it's off.  The cutting doesn't bother me; it'll probably be done by drilling a series of holes and cutting between them with a big saw rather than with my micro mill.  My guess is that the base weighs around 30 pounds, and the Z-axis column, motor and all have to go well over 100 pounds.  I don't think my little Sherline can handle the 30 pound piece, and a drill press makes a terrible milling machine. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Cool Idea - Implementation? Meh

I'd guess that as long as cheap digital calipers have been available around that most people who play around in the shop (wood, metal, or more kinds) have a pair.  A while ago, I saw the calipers on the top in this picture on sale at Rockler's and bought one. 
As you can see, they're labeled General, a long established tool importer and seller.  You can also see the main feature for these: they read out in fractions of an inch, down to 1/64.  1/64 is a bit critical for most woodworking, but they work just fine in the metal shop.  Except for the fact that they're made of a plastic or glass-filled plastic and are therefore not as hard (in the scratch or dent resistant sense) as steel calipers would be.  They also read out in decimal inches or decimal millimeters at the touch of a button. 

Yeah, I have fraction-to-decimal charts around, and yeah, I have memorized lots of fractions in decimal format, but it's really convenient for things that aren't close to a multiple of 1/8, or a few others that are lodged in my brain.  Plus, it's nice to measure something and know that if I measure .143, which isn't in my memory stack, it's "close enough" to 9/64.  They're handy. 

Unfortunately, they also act weird sometimes.  They reset too often and that includes resetting zero or mode. 

Enter the calipers on the bottom.  A few weeks ago, Little Machine Shop listed them as a weekly special, and since they're made of hardened steel, that overcomes one of my objections to the plastic ones. Plus, I hoped the weird resetting was EMI and that more metal on the back of the electronics might help. 

This is where the implementation issue shows up.  I had to go through 3 sets to find one that works.  The first one was fine when I turned it on for a first look, but then I put it aside because lots of other things were going on (it was a week before Christmas).  When I tried to use them, they were dead.  I opened the battery compartment and found corrosion fuzz inside.  I cleaned that out and replaced the battery and found they were random number generators.  They reset constantly, resetting mode and zero constantly.  I wrote LMS to ask for an exchange, and while I was sitting here at the computer not even touching them, they would turn on by themselves, and choose random modes. It doesn't get much flakier than that.

The second pair arrived the Friday before Christmas and wouldn't turn on.  The battery compartment in these was even worse; so full of fuzz it was almost pressing the plastic open.  I wrote LMS and politely said if they would go through their stock and find me a set that worked, I'm interested, if not, send me a refund.  LMS is known for good customer service and they quickly sent me a third set.  These work much better than the other two.  I've had them reset on me a few times, but it seems to come from sliding them open too fast.  They will turn on just by moving the slide, which is different from all my other calipers, and I can't tell you if that's by design or not.

So do I recommend?  When they work, they're pretty convenient, and I tend to keep mine with me, but that 33% success rate bothers me.  I'd be more inclined to recommend them if you could visit someplace selling them and check them out, maybe pick out a pair yourself.  I see a similar caliper at Horrible Freight and I'd bet that one or two companies in China Incorporated make them all.  If you must order by mail, I don't like the odds of going through three to get one good set.  I'll leave that up to you. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Remember the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Fires?

It's looking like it was Samsung's fault and not the battery suppliers.  Samsung mishandled the battery. In retrospect, it has looked like Samsung's fault since fairly early on, when the first units that got battery replacements started to catch fire, too.  The data since then clarifies the picture. 

In the January edition of Electronic Design magazine (which is not at that website, yet), Technical Editor Maria Guerra links to this interesting take down by an independent Quality Engineering consultancy called Instrumental.  They place the blame squarely on Samsung's aggressive design and failure to allow sufficient room around the battery.  One of the key pieces of information is in a footnote to the first paragraph concerning lack of room around the battery.
When batteries are charged and discharged, chemical processes cause the lithium to migrate and the battery will mechanically swell. Any battery engineer will tell you that it’s necessary to leave some percentage of ceiling above the battery, 10% is a rough rule-of-thumb, and over time the battery will expand into that space. Our two-month old unit had no ceiling: the battery and adhesive was 5.2 mm thick, resting in a 5.2 mm deep pocket. There should have been a 0.5 mm ceiling. This is what mechanical engineers call line-to-line -- and since it breaks such a basic rule, it must have been intentional. It is even possible that our unit was under pressure when we opened it.

When you add in that the Lithium ion battery is the common, layered ("jelly roll") design, a failure mechanism starts to emerge.  The battery consists of a positive layer made of lithium cobalt oxide, a negative layer made of graphite, and two electrolyte-soaked spacer layers made of polymer.  The spacers allow ions (and energy) to flow between the positive and negative layers, without allowing those layers to touch.  If the positive and negative layers ever touch, the energy flowing goes directly into the electrolyte, heating it, which causes more energy to flow and more heat -- it typically results in an explosion.  Given that the battery is already on the border of being compressed by design, add in any pressure on the case, perhaps being held in a back pocket while sitting, and the possibility increases that the pressure allows the electrodes to touch. 
What’s interesting is that there is evidence in the design of an intellectual tension between safety and pushing the boundaries. Samsung engineers designed out all of the margin in the thickness of the battery, which is the direction where you get the most capacity gain for each unit of volume.  But, the battery also sits within a CNC-machined pocket -- a costly choice likely made to protect it from being poked by other internal components.  Looking at the design, Samsung engineers were clearly trying to balance the risk of a super-aggressive manufacturing process to maximize capacity, while attempting to protect it internally.
Instrumental's Anna Shedletsky continues:
While we were doing the teardown, Sam wondered, “Samsung engineers are smart. Why would they design it like this?” The answer isn’t a mystery: innovation means pushing the boundaries. For something that is innovative and new, you design the best tests that you can think of, and validate that the design is okay through that testing. Battery testing takes a notoriously long time (as long as a year for certain tests), and thousands of batteries need to be tested to get significant results. It’s possible that Samsung’s innovative battery manufacturing process was changing throughout development, and that the newest versions of the batteries weren’t tested with the same rigor as the first samples.

If the Galaxy Note 7 wasn’t recalled for exploding batteries, Sam and I believe that a few years down the road these phones would be slowly pushed apart by mechanical battery swell. A smaller battery using standard manufacturing parameters would have solved the explosion issue and the swell issue. But, a smaller battery would have reduced the system’s battery life below the level of its predecessor, the Note 5, as well as its biggest competitor, the iPhone 7 Plus. Either way, it’s now clear to us that there was no competitive salvageable design.

The design and validation process for a new product is challenging for everyone. In this case, Samsung took a deliberate step towards danger, and their existing test infrastructure and design validation process failed them. They shipped a dangerous product. That this is possible at one of the top consumer electronic companies in the world is humbling -- and demonstrates the need for better tools. Instrumental is building them.
In the magazine column linking to the Instrumental piece, Tech Editor Guerra ponders if more laws are required.  Once Samsung faced up to the reality that they had pushed the envelope too hard and pulled the product off the market, they estimated the losses from the product would total $5 Billion by this March and $5B is a much larger fine than they'd get from any new laws.  It's true that the corporate profits did alright and Samsung didn't lose money for the year, but that's because other products did well enough to cover the $3 to $4B of the Note 7 problems.  Not many companies can lose $4B and be just fine; obviously their financial picture would be very different without the Note 7 debacle. 

Now stop and think of the root cause here.  Instrumental says the battery should have had 0.5mm, or about .020", more clearance.  The phone was pushed into unsafe territory because someone wouldn't allow the phone to get .020" thicker.  That's a bit thicker than most business cards, but does it really matter that much to put a phone on the market that's 20 thousandths thicker, at the risk of $5 billion, lawsuits, and injuries - not to mention the loss of brand prestige?  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tales From the Over Regulated State # 23 - Watch What You Eat

No, that doesn't mean, "You should watch what you eat" it's "They watch what you eat".

Perhaps we can get a break this time with the Trumpening, but new regulations from the FDA on restaurant food labeling take effect this May, and restaurants are struggling to comply.  Any restaurant with 20 or more locations as well as supermarket and convenience stores must post the calorie counts of their prepared food.   In case you were wondering, the evidence is that the requirement to post calorie counts affects restaurants and raises prices but consumers don't care.

To begin with, what they're asking isn't easy.  Yes, the restaurants can add up the calorie content of every food in a recipe and divide by the number of portions, but even that is tricky.  What about different suppliers?  Consider a pizza shop that buys their "special, secret sauce" from a few suppliers and they might use different ingredients with different calorie counts.  The FDA's answer?  Just use the largest number you can find.  In other words, just lie to make it sound worse.
Some restaurants get their ingredients from multiple suppliers. How would the calorie discrepancies figure into the total calorie count? The FDA has an answer for that: count the fattiest version. “You would not be penalized for over-declaring calories versus under-declaring,” the agency responded.
This could get out of hand fast and shows how out of touch the FDA is with the industry.  This might work for industrial producers with everything being made by machines, but most restaurants still use a lot of hand work and a lot of places for differences to creep in between the stated counts and the real counts.  

Let's go back to the hypothetical pizza (I saw them in concert with Ultimate Spinach in 1968).  How many calories in a slice of pizza?  That depends, doesn't it?  The best guess anyone can come up with is to find the caloric content of everything in the pizza, add it up, and divide by the number of slices, even though every slice will be different.  What about what's called a "party pie", where a rectangular pizza is cut into rectangular pieces?  Same concept, right?  Silly person!  You're trying to be logical, and this is the Federal Government we're talking about!
Initially, the FDA told a Chicago-based pizza chain it would need to declare calories for the entire pizza, if the pieces weren’t uniform. But Marla Topliff, president of Rosati’s Pizza, said the agency subsequently agreed to allow the chain to post calories for an average piece in a party-cut pie. Topliff said having to list calories for an entire pie would be unfair to party-cut pies, if traditionally cut pies were listed per slice. 
I don't know if you caught that, but the FDA originally said to count the calories for the entire pizza for every slice.  That's insane!  But let's go back to that question again.  How many calories in a slice of pizza?  Who cares?  Let's be honest here;  nobody going out for a pizza really cares about that.  Let me rephrase that: anybody going out for pizza who cares about it already has a pretty good idea of how many calories to expect.  Maybe they believe in having a treat meal once a week/month/year/whatever and this is it.  Why does the FDA insist on thinking that whatever restaurant meal someone has is their regular, everyday diet?

Side note.  Although I don't talk about it anywhere near as much as Denninger, I follow a similar low carb lifestyle as he does.  I've also read virtually everything I can find on the topic and listened to hundreds of hours of conference talks, presentations for the Obesity Medicine Association (formerly the American Society of Bariatric Physicians) and other MD practitioners.  The idea that weight control is as simple as calories in vs. calories out was almost discarded in the 1930s, and only survived because the preeminent obesity researchers were gone in the postwar years. Today's successful physicians find (1) no one approach is universal but (2) for the patients who are getting fatter on the currently recommended food pyramid, their problem is hormonal and not caloric.  In other words: they don't get fat because they overeat; they overeat because they're getting fat.  Not enough space to get into this here, but the best overall book is this

These regulations are a flaming waste of time and resources for the restaurants and will present costs that inevitably will get passed on to their customers who don't care about the information.  The only group that is made happy in any way is the idiots at the FDA.  The FDA is not only wasting time and consumer's money, they're doing the wrong things.  What they're requiring will have not have an effect on "the obesity problem".  It's probably too much to hope for, but I'm hoping some sanity in the coming Trumpening will stop these regulations before they waste too much more money.
Stock hypothetical pizza photo from PJMedia

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Handy Guide to CNC Machining, Mold Making, and Resin Casting

I had one of those unexpected repair/upkeep jobs pop up today that kept me from thinking too much about blogging, but as luck would have it, I also ran across a website called "Guerrilla guide to CNC machining, mold making, and resin casting", subtitled "Home manufacturing tutorial for robot builders, model makers, and other hobbyists".  Since "making all kinds of stuff" is in my masthead, I consider this my beat (as the news guys say) and that my readers will probably be interested in it.

Regular readers will know that I'm rather familiar with this material, but there's a lot here I have never needed to study and therefore don't know.  Because the main goal is here is building robots and other models, there's a good section on creating gears.  I haven't done any gears yet, although I've read some about it. 

So if you're interested in how you get to something like this, go poke around and read as you'd like. 
A linked image of the kind of stuff the author of that page does.  Note the tiny gears in the planetary gear systems, cast from plastic resins.  Cool stuff!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Precisely Speaking

For much of my career, I lived by the saying that if you ask the wrong question you'll get the wrong answer.  By that I mean that it won't be the answer you're really looking for.  More often than not, the difference between the right and the wrong questions was describing precisely what you wanted to know and defining the terms.  Systems engineers (which I wasn't) are famous for looking at long paragraphs of technical specifications and asking, "just what does that mean?"

Where am I going with this?  In the building noise pile surrounding "repeal and replace Obamacare", I keep hearing terms thrown around that are being used incorrectly.  If they keep asking the wrong questions, they'll never get it right.

Shall we begin?

Medical insurance is not medical care.  This is the simplest one.  How many times have you heard these terms used interchangeably?  I heard Chuckie Schumer doing it this week.  Getting someone insurance is not the same thing as getting them health care.  As a thought experiment, imagine having insurance and there are no doctors at all.  Insurance doesn't get you much care, does it?  In much of America, if you have Medicare (insurance) and need a new doctor, you might well be in that situation right now.  If the diminishing returns of Obamacare push doctors into alternative careers or specialty practices, that situation will worsen.   

Medical insurance for routine care.  Shall we think about how insurance works?  The original purpose of insurance was risk mitigation.  An easy example is fire insurance.  If your home or business were to burn down, it would be a tremendous financial (as well as personal!) catastrophe.  Insurance companies realized that they could sell a policy to a population based on the statistical chances of fires and the statistical average amounts they would have to pay out.  Pulling some numbers from the air, let's assume that there's one fire per year per thousand households, and that would require paying out $500,000.  That means they could charge each of the 1000 households $500 per year, and have enough money in reserve to pay $500,000 once per year.  Add some margin onto the $500,000 required to cover statistical uncertainty and a few percent of profit and that $500/year goes up.  It's important to note that if you had the money saved up to pay for your damages, you would save what you contribute to their profit and to paying for their uncertainty.  It might take you a lifetime or two to save up enough to recover from a fire, though, and if you have the fire next year you're completely wiped out, so you buy insurance against the risk of that fire. 

This is where routine care comes in.  People want their annual exams to be paid for.  They could put that money in savings (HSA) and pay out of that, but seem to prefer to pay the insurance company's overhead so they can say "they paid for my visit", or "my checkup was free".  No, you payed for your visit, and you paid 20 or 30% overhead to the insurance company.  A significant issue here is obvious to anyone who has ever read an Explanation of Benefits statement.  The medical sector is so screwed up about prices that everything has a billed price and a price the health insurance company and doctor agreed to.  The insurance company pays some percentage of that agreed upon price (often 80%).  If we had a functioning free market, it could be better.

Insurance for a preexisting condition.  The same argument holds for an existing condition (sorry, preexisting is horrific English).  If you know you have to pay for something, that's not insurance.  That's not risk management.  If you have an existing condition that requires 5 to $10,000 a year to treat and you're not paying that 5 or $10,000 plus your regular risk reduction insurance, you're "diluting" your expense in the general population.  Now, if you have a group insurance plan at work and they allow you to spread that risk over everyone they cover; fine.  If your employer is a private company that elects to subsidize that care as a benefit to you, no problems.  But it wouldn't surprise me if the expenses of covering these conditions is at least partially what's driving the tremendous rate increases and insurance companies getting out of Obamacare

What Obamacare and the social engineers behind it are doing is redefining medical insurance to be a general fund that everyone puts money into for generalized redistribution.  This is because, since they've never thought about it, most people want "someone else" to pay for everything.  As with all income redistribution systems, it's doomed to fail.  Just this week, the British NHS, long held up as model for us, was declared to be in "humanitarian crisis" requiring help from the International Red Cross.

Rand Paul said this week that he was going to oppose the Republican budget that repeals Obamacare because it's a bad budget.  That got him onto Tucker Carlson's show Tonight for a great interview. 

Just about 5 minutes, and the smartest line belongs to Tucker, at about the 1:45 mark.  Worth watching, though.

One could write books about what's wrong with our healthcare system, but the vast majority of it is from destroying the free market and government intervention that was (allegedly) supposed to help.  Steps to make the medical markets more free only have to help.  After all, the free market works everywhere it's ever allowed to.  There's no reason to think that consumers who choose everything else in their lives aren't smart enough to choose health insurance policies.  

EDIT 01/08 1304 EST - video had gone missing. Replaced with another copy

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Odds and Ends

Is it too soon to talk about Rogue One?  We went to see that last week, and really enjoyed it.  I notice nobody is talking about a couple of big spoilers in it, so I won't.  At least not yet.  Before we caught it, it had been out for a couple of weeks, and a common reaction was that they got a good fit into the the Star Wars universe without the screwup that Disney critics seem to have lived in fear of since Lucas sold the rights to Disney.  A good story, the cast is good, and a solid, fun movie. 

Yesterday, we caught Passengers.   Fran Porretto over at Liberty's Torch had talked about seeing it and enjoying it. I had seen the trailer a few weeks ago and thought it looked interesting, but wasn't sure I'd go catch it.  I'm glad we did.  As Fran points out, it's essentially a love story in a science fiction setting.  It's unique in that the cast is essentially three people, although a fourth has about a five minute cameo.  Those three are the two stars, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt,  and someone I had never noticed before, Michael Sheen, who plays an android bartender named Arthur.   

Passengers is sort of a generational travel space story.  Pratt, Lawrence and over 5000 others are in "suspended animation" for the 120 year journey to another planet for colonization.  The part "over 5000" is the crew - nobody is awake and tending the ship; it's all driven by computers.  After an accident in space, Pratt's sleep chamber malfunctions and wakes him up.  Is it accidental that a mechanical engineer who can fix things is the one awakened?  That's never addressed.  It takes him a few days to realize he's alone and find he's 30 years into a 120 year trip.  He must come to grips with the facts that there's no hope of a rescue, no chance to go back into the long sleep, and that awakening early is a form of death sentence in solitary confinement.  Over a year later, after Jennifer Lawrence is awakened, the two fall in love and to put a coarse summary on it, it does kind of follow the Hollywood template of Boy Meets Girl, Boy Wins Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Wins Girl Back.  Along the way, he has to fix lots of things on the ship and eventually save all 5260 lives.  All that said, the sets are beautiful, the CGI ship and other effects are magnificent.  It's hard to tell which parts of some sets are real and which are CGI, which is as it should be.  Oh, and there's a really big plot element I'm not telling you.

All that aside, and shifting subjects bad enough to give us both whiplash, I've spent my shop time trying to re-pack my ballnut with ball bearings (last story).  It's harder than it looks online.  This video gives me hope of being able to re-pack the balls without needing a BRT.  My problem is that I need the BRT for about 5 minutes.  If I rebuild the nut on the screw, like most videos show, I need a fancy BRT to remove it from the ballscrew.  But it's already off the screw.  If I could rebuild the ballnut on something simpler like a piece of doweling or something to hold the balls in place, then put the ballnut onto the screw, I'd be better off. 
Avalon, the ship in Passengers.  That bright "flame" at the right (forward end) drives shields that protect the ship going at half the speed of light. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Obama Leaving Traps for Trump

In the roundabout way of getting there, Irish linked to Instapundit who linked to the Washington Examiner.  The unnamed author writes:
Before moving into the White House, President-elect Trump needs to double check the Oval Office for trip wires. His predecessor has spent the last month setting traps to ensnare the new administration.
Obama has prepared what looks like a classic episode from Mad Magazine: Executive vs. Executive. Instead of delivering on his own agenda, Trump will be forced to deal with the aftermath of his predecessor's final binge. They could consume a notable portion of Trump's first 100 days, but if left unaddressed it would stain his administration long term.
Surprised?  Why?  For his inspiration, Obama has to look no further than the final days of the Clinton administration laying traps for the unwary Bush 43 administration.
Just days before President George W. Bush's inauguration, Clinton weaponized EPA regulations to set a trap for the new administration. Despite complaints from rural communities about crippling compliance costs and a lack of a scientific consensus, Clinton adopted aggressive arsenic standards for drinking water. When Bush eased the mandate, it unleashed a torrent of criticism that had been long planned, most notably from Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. 

Despite calling for studies based on "sound science," Bush couldn't shake accusations that he wanted to poison children. The attacks found their mark, and Bush later remembered the experience as one of the worst mistakes of his young administration.
Remember this?  It's the simplest thing in the world to do: tell the EPA to lower the standard for arsenic in drinking water, no matter what it costs.  It inevitably will be seen as good by environmental groups and any action to consider the cost/benefit curve for not using the most aggressive levels will be seen as "killing the children!" and that will be screamed by the press.  This year's equivalent?  How about keeping people from accessing protecting some Utah wilderness?
With a stroke of his pen Wednesday, Obama declared 1.65 million acres of Utah's vast wilderness a national monument. The area, called Bears Ear, is certainly beautiful, but that is no reason for the feds to remove it from local control. Indian tribes, Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah's entire congressional delegation want the state to handle preservation.

Most of Utah opposes the land grab and have already called on Trump to reverse the move. He should do so, but should also tread carefully. The pitfall is deep and the barbs at the bottom are sharp. Trump will certainly be branded an enemy of the environment if he overturns Obama's high-handed expropriation.
Add to this the example of closing areas off shore the US to oil exploration forever.  Go watch the news video referenced in the previous paragraph: at the Salt Lake Tribune.  As is the case with essentially everything, the country divides itself along essentially partisan lines, with one group in favor of anything Obama does and another group opposed to it.  Trump would be wise to condemn Obama's weaponization of the government agencies and the weaponization of executive action (by any name) itself.  There's a line between saying he should do this and him ending up sounding too much like Obama blaming everything on Bush until, oh, a few minutes ago.  Unfortunately, I don't know how where to place that balance.    

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Obama's Fundamental Transformation of Israel and the Mideast

Much has been said and much ink has been spilled about the US not preventing UN resolution 2334 condemning Israel from passing 10 days ago.  There has been much less talk about the way the resolution fundamentally transforms the region by overturning almost 50 years of established law. 

Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, has a different perspective that makes for an interesting read.  It was a featured column at Townhall last Saturday, New Year's Eve.  While it's a bit long, I would recommend anyone with interest in the area read and understand it.  Essentially, 2234 is the fundamental transformation of Israel.  Resolution 2334 doesn't stop with an attack on Israel, it undoes much of the legal basis for Israel's internal decisions since the Six Day War in 1967.  It undoes UN Resolutions 242, 338, and the Oslo Accords at a minimum.  A little background according to Glick:
Resolution 242 anchored the ceasefire between Israel and its neighbors at the end of the Six Day War. It stipulated that in exchange for Arab recognition of Israel’s right to exist in secure and defensible borders, Israel would cede some of the territories it took control over during the war. 242 assumed that Israel has a right to hold these areas and that an Israeli decision to cede some of them to its neighbors in exchange for peace would constitute a major concession.

242 is deliberately phrased to ensure that Israel would not be expected to cede all of the lands it took control over in the Six Day War. The resolution speaks of “territories,” rather than “the territories” or “all the territories” that Israel took control over during the war.

Resolution 2334 rejects 242’s founding assumptions. 2334 asserts that Israel has no right to any of the lands it took control over during the war. From the Western Wall to Shiloh from Hebron to Ariel, 2334 says all Israeli presence in the areas beyond the 1949 armistice lines is crime.

Given that Israel has no right to hold territory under 2334, it naturally follows that the Palestinians have no incentive to give Israel peace. So they won’t. The peace process, like the two-state solution ended last Friday night to the raucous applause of all Security Council members.

As for the boycott campaign against Israel, contrary to what has been widely argued, 2334 does not strengthen the boycott of “settlements.” 2334 gives a strategic boost to the boycott of Israel as a whole.

2334 calls on states “to distinguish in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” Since no Israeli firms make that distinction, all Israeli economic activity is now threatened with boycott. [Bold added - SiG]
A rather interesting interpretation, and one I'm especially interested in (compared to all the others) because it seems to ask the question you never hear politicians talk about: "and then what?"  Politicians and political hack writers almost never talk about unintended consequences of laws (or in this case, resolutions) that are passed.   Caroline Glick's column is about the unintended consequences.  You'll recall Secretary of State Horse Face talking about the two state solution and "land for peace" last week; the unintended consequence that he's unaware of is that by passing 2334, the UN effectively killed the entire "peace process" - if Caroline Glick is right.

I should point out that Glick believes there's more afoot here.  She maintains that before he leaves office Obama will put forward (or not prevent the passage of) another resolution in the UN.
Finally, sometime between January 17 and 19, Obama intends for the Security Council to reconvene and follow the gang at the Paris conference by adopting Kerry’s positions as a new Security Council resolution. That follow-on resolution may also recognize “Palestine” and grant it full membership in the UN.
Then what?  With no recognition of the right to hold territory it took in the six-day war, Israel's entire relationship with the PLO and her other neighbors changes.
As for the Palestinians, resolution 2334 obligates Israel to reconsider its recognition of the PLO. Since 1993, Israel has recognized the PLO despite its deep and continuous engagement in terrorism. Israel legitimized the PLO because the terror group was ostensibly its partner in peace.

Now, after the PLO successfully killed the peace process by getting the Security Council to abrogate 242, Israel’s continued recognition of the PLO makes little sense. Neither PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas nor his deputies in Fatah – convicted, imprisoned mass murderer and terror master Marwan Barghouti and Jibril Rajoub who said he wishes he had a nuclear bomb so he could drop it on Israel and tried to get Israel expelled from FIFA — have any interest in recognizing Israel, let alone making peace with it. The same of course can be said for the PLO’s coalition partner Hamas.
This second paragraph is an important point.  Hamas' charter calls for the destruction of Israel as do the symbols (flags, etc.) of both groups.  Now that they've succeeded in killing the peace process by convincing the Security Council to destroy it's basis in international law (UNSC Res. 242), is there any reason to believe the PLO and Hamas will do anything other than try to destroy Israel?  It could be argued that in taking away the "buffer" that Israel surrounded itself with in 1967, the UN is encouraging another war to re-establish safety zones; perhaps bigger, perhaps different safety zones.  At the least, Israel should decide how to handle matters in its own borders with its own best interest in mind. 
Finally, there are the territories themselves. For 50 years, Israel has used the land for peace paradigm as a way not to decide what to do with Judea and Samaria. Now that 242 has been effectively abrogated, Israel has to decide what it wants. The no brainer is to allow Jews to build wherever they have the legal right to build. If the UN says Israel has no rights to Jerusalem, then Israel has no reason to distinguish between Jerusalem and Elon Moreh. [Bold added - SiG; Elon Moreh is a settlement on the West Bank (Samaria) apparently used as a way of saying this settlement is just like old city in Jerusalem to the UN]
The western or Wailing Wall, a Jewish holy site in the old city of Jerusalem.  My photo.  UNSC 2334 doesn't recognize this site or the Jewish quarter of the old city as belonging to Israel.  It has been continuously occupied by a Jewish population for centuries, except for the brief interval between the formation of Israel in 1948 and the 1967 war that recaptured it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Off To A Busy Start for Florida Gun Legislation

Courtesy of our friends at Florida Carry, we learn that the first bills of the new legislative session have already been filed.  The one that is possibly the most important bill, Senate Bill 140, is coming to committee on January 10th, next Tuesday.  SB 140 is being talked about as the Open Carry law, but it also includes Campus Carry, and enlarges areas where carry is permitted. The Panty Wetters are predictably getting all concerned about it. 
The first, and arguably the most important pro Second Amendment rights bill of the 2017 legislative session is about to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 10th at 2pm. 

Florida Carry urges you to contact committee members to tell them you want their support for this crucial bill.

Senator Steube's bill regains some of the ground lost since shall-issue became lawful in 1987.

Open Carry - The legislature took this away in 1987, after the fear-mongering of Janet Reno and a complicit media whined loud enough. In a special session called for budgetary issues, without debate or public discussion, the legislature replaced the Right to bear arms with a license to conceal handguns and other non-firearm defensive weapons.  The right to choose the appropriate method of carry was taken from you. This has resulted in the arrest of scores of law-abiding licensees, whose only crime was their handgun became visible. Law enforcement presumes any visible firearm is unlawful, and regardless of those exceptions in FS 790.25(3), can and has arrested licensees, sometimes so forcefully that permanent injury has been sustained by the carrier. An exception for "brief exposure" added in 2011 has been ineffective at stopping the harassment, arrest, and prosecution of gun owners. Even hiking in the predator-filled Everglades with a visible firearm has been used as grounds for arrest and prosecution. Open carry is lawful in 45 states, 30 of which respect the Right to Bear Arms by not requiring a license. NONE of the suggested carnage of the anti-Second Amendment lobby has occurred on those states.  [Bold added - SiG]
Campus Carry - The bill removes the prohibition against licensee carry at schools, including K-12, Career Center, and College education facilities. (a "Career Center" is commonly know as a Technical College or Trade School) Even mere seconds awaiting armed response potentially means lives lost. In the overwhelming number of cases, school attackers have immediately surrendered or committed suicide upon the arrival of armed opposition. To date, no school shooting attack has been committed by a licensed student or parent in any state.
The bill includes two other extensions.  First, it enlarges the areas where concealed carry is lawful in airports.  I'm familiar with Orlando International Airport, a place where Florida Carry tells us 633 violent crimes were committed last year, and the way the airport is laid out, one can drive up to the baggage pickup area to wait for someone they're meeting, and be in compliance, but if they were to get out of their temporarily parked car and go a few feet toward the baggage area, they're in violation of the airport's passenger terminal.  44 states allow carry in the passenger terminal.  The passenger terminal area does not include anywhere past the TSA screening area, or the TSA area itself.

The second extension is to include meetings of state and local government.  Even at the state capitol, licensees are allowed to carry in the halls and offices of the Legislature, but are forbidden from walking through a door into a Legislative meeting. Once again, law enforcement officers, who are statistically six times more likely to commit a crime than a Florida CWFL holder, are welcome.

While Florida is more red than blue, there are sections that are as deeply blue as New York City, New Jersey or San Francisco.  The anti-gun forces in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Tampa, Orlando or elsewhere are not going to let a session go by without trying to restrict our rights farther.  Florida Carry refers to Senate Bill 142 on Storage of Firearms, introduced by a senator from deepest blue Broward County (which had the highest Hillary vote percentage in the state).  The bill has apparently had language stricken from it already (pdf warning) and appears to simply echo existing law.  I don't expect it will get out of committee.  Next, Sen. Oscar Braynon II of Miami Gardens (where I grew up), never one to see patterns of mass shootings, wants to expand gun free zones.  Sen. Braynon's SB 170 bill would add performing arts centers and "legitimate theaters" to the prohibited places list.  Because we know nothing bad ever happens in a theater.   

It's early in the session, yet, so expect more to be introduced.  If you're in Florida and want to keep up with what's going on, you can subscribe to the newsletters from Florida Carry, or better yet, join for  $25/year.  They're good folks doing a big job. 

If you're inclined to pester write your legislators, they include the complete list of committee members along with a sample, polite letter to email them.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Oil Fittings Are Fitting

As a followup to my post from Thursday about plumbing the oiling system for my G0704, there was a discussion about getting a good tap locally.  Reader and frequent contributor Mark Matis pointed out in a comment that Ace Hardware had a 1/8-27 NPT tap listed online.  The "check your store" feature said to call the stores to check status and my closest/most convenient Ace Hardware had one in stock.  It just doesn't get better than that.  I tested it on one hole, found it made a tremendous improvement over my Horrible Freight tap and then the holiday weekend happened with the other things I wrote about. 

Today, I finished getting all the holes in the slide tapped and the fittings mounted.  Here's three out of four:
There's another right angle fitting on the far side of the slide, which is probably not worth posting a separate picture of.  The main oil distribution is on this side, and I'm using three-way "Tee" fittings to split the oil lines in different directions.  There are two different-style fittings on the ball nuts that will stick up from the two openings in the cross slide, so six different hoses will end up on this side.  There will be a hose that sends oil up the Z-axis to the mill's headstock, which will have a two way split to dribble oil on both of the Z-axis dovetail ways. 

Eventually, the tubing and oil distribution will look something like this:
This portion of the modification is on Hoss's open web site, not on the copyrighted DVD that I bought, so I assume I can link to it.  You can see this picture is a screen capture from a YouTube video here.  I anticipate people searching for information on the Grizzly G0704 CNC conversion, the G0704 oiling system and so on might (will?) find this page.  I should bundle up links to everything I ever wrote on this project and make it a separate page, like my AR from an 80% lower page. 

Now I really have to figure out how to get the ball bearings back into the ball nut and get back on track with completing the base.  Before I take off the Z-axis and headstock and modify all that.  Aw, gee... guess who has a video on doing it?

Monday, January 2, 2017

I Was Thinking About Substitute Teaching

Thinking about it.  I mean, before retirement I looked at spending the day doing math modeling as "they pay me for this?"  But public school?  I'd want to do algebra or above, and with the typical kids you get in the 14-18 age group, it would end up like this.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Sorry for light content.  Long day doing odd things.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Changes

Happy New Year, everyone.  I hope your New Year's Eve went as well as you wanted, and you've had a good day.
Things obviously look different here than they did last night.  If you were here reading during the day, it might have looked even weirder from time to time. 

It's really not quite how I want it to look.  That background is a sunrise scene I grabbed from a Sebastian Inlet State Park Webcam in October of '14, and if I use the blogger "Preview" feature, it fills the background.  My desktop is 1920x1080, and if I look at it on my screen, it completely fills the background of the browser.  When I make it permanent, saving it for the blog, it turns that into four tiles of smaller versions of the image. 

I'm working through "support" (online help forums), to see if I can make Preview be a Preview.  I have found out that if the PC's display (in Win 7) is set to "medium size icons - 125% normal", the display works as I want it to.  I just thought that Blogger was cross-platform and they would make it look the same on any machine.  So there might be some changes yet to come.

You'll also note my reading list has expanded with folks I read regularly via links off other blogs: The Feral Irishman (Irish), The Lonely Libertarian (Angel), and The Vulgar Curmudgeon (Phil).  I should have done this long ago, so welcome but sorry it took so long, y'all.  (I know Irish and Phil have left comments here, but I don't recall Angel ever commenting here).  I dropped Black Rifle Builders who hadn't updated since July.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve 2017

It was a busy day here as we had a house repair that had to be done, and something we wanted to get done.  Since it's a holiday, I'll emphasize the "want to do". 

Regulars here know I'm a barbecue guy.  I currently own three smokers: two electric and one wood-fired.  For the last year, I've been using this one exclusively.  The wood-fired version, called a Char-Griller with a side box, is also capable of grilling, and can handle lots of food at once.  Something I've never done is the specialty called cold smoking.  This is the kind of smoking that used to be done with a separate smokehouse that sausages, whole hams, and other meats or fish would hang in while smoke from a separate building would be piped into the smoke house. 

Cold smoking, as the you'd think, is done with foods kept cold.  Two common examples are smoked cheeses and lox (different from regular, hot-smoked salmon), but people also add smoke flavoring to salt, crackers and other things this way.  All of the electric and wood fired smokers are hot smokers and the electric smokers typically produce smoke best when their chamber temperature is 200 or over.  A block of cheese would melt into a puddle at that temperature. 

So for Christmas, Mrs. Graybeard and I got ourselves an attachment for our electric smoker to allow us to experiment with cold smoking.  It's not apparent from the main picture at that Amazon ad that it's sized to fit right next to the digitally controlled smoker and plug right into its wood chip tray as you can see here.  Today was my day to try it out. 
That's the 30" digital smoker with the side cold smoking attachment.  (Yes, that's a Weber grill behind it.  What can I say?)  When you cold smoke cheese, my project for the first half of the day, the big electric is turned off, and the side box generates the smoke.  Since the smoke itself is going to be warm, it's common practice to put ice in the smoker under the cheese to keep it cold. 
Folks up north talk about cold smoking when the smoker is covered in snow, so I'm sure their chamber temperatures are lower than what I could get here.  With the smoke going, the temperature probe (hanging from top right) registered 65 to 70 degrees (70 F, not C).  The rule of thumb on this recipe is to smoke it for 2 hours and then let it rest for a few weeks in the refrigerator.  Many people vacuum pack the cheese or wax coat it (just kidding) and won't touch it for a year.  Since it's our first batch, we'll probably try some in a month. 
My other thing to try with the side smoker is some smoked salmon; hot-smoked, not cold-smoked lox.  This is done by brining the fish overnight before smoking it.  As you might imagine, that means soaking them in a saltwater solution.  While the cheese was in the smoker, I prepared the salmon, rinsing off the brine and then letting it dry in the room temperature air.  It went into the smoker and the electric smoker was set to a chamber temp of 100 for an hour and then 150 for another couple of hours until it finished (internal temperature of the salmon at 145).  So why not use the digital smoker itself?  While it can generate temperatures as low as 100, it won't generate smoke when the heating element is that low.  The only way to get enough smoke to flavor the salmon is to run the side smoker box to generate the smoke and just use the digital smoker as a low temperature oven. 
The three slabs of salmon fillets weighed a pound all together, and turned out great. 

I learned a bit about using the side smoker box today.  Another feature I'm hoping it can bring us is the ability to smoke long periods without as much baby sitting as the digital smoker requires.  One drawback to the digital smoker is that the chip load it can handle is small, and chips need to be replenished every 45 minutes to an hour.  The side box is supposed to be able to smoke for up six hours, which would be much more handy for a long duration smoke, like 16 hours for a Texas brisket.  To have brisket for dinner at 6PM means starting it at about midnight the night before and running the smoke until around 4 the next afternoon.  I hope to get this to work well enough to do that soon.