May 302012

Olympic Wenlock plod cops condemnation from Amazon wags

The whole article is full of something I suspect to be a mutant form of English. Has something to do with a toy or figurine released either to celebrate the London Olympics, or it’s a reminder to the Brits that they live in a  police state, or it’s some mass psychological experiment. Or something.

 Posted by at 9:25 am
May 292012

The construction of wind turbines throughout the midwest, from Wyoming to at least Illinois – you know, “flyover country” – continues at a rapid pace.  They seem to enter I-80 somewhere in middle or western Iowa. Too lazy to dig and see if they are manufactured somewhere in Iowa, or somewhere to the north or south of Iowa.

Of course, it would be better still to see truck after truck transporting brand-new thorium reactor containment vessels and powerplant components, but I’ll take what I can get.

 Posted by at 11:55 pm
May 292012

As mentioned previously, I bought a pack of 8X10 “sun print” sheets. These are really just old-school cyanotype blueprint sheets, ready for exposure. I’ve done some preliminary experimenting with them, and here are the results.

The first step was to get a transparent diagram. This was stymied by the PC going down, but after some effort I was able to get my laptop to communicate with the printer. I printed onto both transparencies (which are surprisingly hard to find these days) and simple tracing paper. As it turns out, the tracing paper prints worked out substantially better than the transparencies. Bonus: the tracing paper prints are themselves rather nifty bits of art, while the transparencies… aren’t.

A major part of the process is washing the print in water. This has obvious consequences as far as the texture of the paper. But with a minimum of “pressing” between the pages of a book, this has been substantially mitigated. The end result is something that looks rather a lot like an actual vintage blueprint.

Of course, these are just 8X10, which is pretty small as blueprints go. However, I sent a message to “Tedco Toys,” the seller of these sheets, asking if larger sheets (such as 24X36) are available. A reply has come in wanting to know if I want just those sheets.. or a whole roll. I haven’t found the pricing yet for larger sheets or whole rolls, but I’d expect there’d be some serious expense here. So, before I spend more on this… would there be interest in larger-scale blueprints of things such as the B-29 or Dyna Soar?

UPDATE: I got word back that they can sell a 36″ X 25′ roll for $180. That would make the cost of the paper for a 36″X24″ blueprint $14.40. So… maybe $30 for a 36X24 blueprint? $15 for an 18X24? Assuming there was market enough to buy the roll…

 Posted by at 9:29 am
May 282012

In my opinion, an employer has the right to hire and fire anyone they like, subject only to a contract drawn up between the two (and not a “social contract” imposed from outside). That means if a hospital wants to fire employees who smoke or do drugs… shrug. It’s their business. Americans have the right to freely associate with whoever they like… and to *not* associate with who they don’t like.

That said, the right to fire people on a whim doesn’t mean that it’s a right that *should* be exercised all the time. Take this case, for instance:

I am two big to fail: fired gal

In short: Lauren Odes claims she was fired from her job at a Manhattan lingerie store (in data entry, so it’s unclear how public she was)  just two days after being hired. The reason, she claims, is that she was “too hot” and that her breasts were too big. This would seem an odd reason to fire a woman from a lingerie store. Of course, this being Manhattan, her notion of “too hot” seems to include a whole lot of tan-in-a-can, makeup, chemical castration of her hair color, a good chance of advanced polymer technology and Odin only knows what all else. Her former employers point to a dress code that she violated. And if so…

A) Why did they hire her in the first place

B) Why didn’t she dress in the fashion she signed up for?

The story is odd enough, but the claim is that her “hotness” offended her conservative religious Jewish employers. Who, I guess, own a lingerie store. Her credibility, however, takes a nosedive when she retained the services of Gloria Allred to sue her employers of only a few days. She’s also an “aspiring reality show performer,” which is not exactly the gold-standard in dignified behavior.

Some stories are just jam-packed full of confusing FAIL, and this is one of ’em.

 Posted by at 9:10 pm
May 282012

On the way through Wyoming I saw a number of these billboards. Interestingly, my trip straddled the one year anniversary of the promised apocalypse.

A few thoughts occurred:

1) Wow, they’re in pretty good shape for being well over a year old

2) Shouldn’t someone have taken them down by now? I seriously doubt Camping & Co. paid to keep them up much past the end of the world. But then again… maybe the crews who were to replace these billboards with ads for McDonalds or Little America got velociraptured and haven’t been replaced.

 Posted by at 7:33 pm
May 282012

An interesting article from USA Today about Andy Rooney hearing rumors and reports that a German U-Boat fired a V-1 “Buzz Bomb” at New York City. Nothing here is remotely definable as hard evidence of such a launch, but rumors of such efforts on the Germans part have been floating about since late 1944. The concept is reasonable enough… basically an early version of the “Regulus” system. But so far as I’m aware, no verifiable hardware, drawings or even artists concepts from the war years have come to light to support the idea that the Germans were seriously developing a sub-launched V-1.

Did Andy Rooney miss big WWII scoop?

The reported reactions of the military officials Rooney talked to certainly seem like the reactions of military types trying to stamp out a story. There are two obvious reasons for this:

1) The Germans really did launch a V-1 (that either crashed or was shot down), and the military wanted to keep it secret to prevent a panic

2) The Germans didn’t launch a V-1, and the military wanted to prevent false rumors from leading to a panic.

 Posted by at 11:14 am