Tuesday, October 11, 2011
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.I feel wronged that our second amendment rights are restricted...but I doubt that counts here.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.Was the mortgage paid as in the terms of the contract? This might be a technical legal issue, but morally, you still owe. A lot of the mess was because the government pressured mortgage originators to be 'fair' rather than fiscally responsible.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.Just about everyone would take a bailout if offered, and in a couple cases banks were pressured by regulators into taking TARP funds, along with TARP regulation. The issue of bonuses is complicated--Should a struggling company lose the manager of a profitable division because other managers screwed up?
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.We will never reach 100% equality. At some point the cure becomes worse than the disease, with employers unable to risk firing non-productive employees.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.Family-run businesses in modern times are mostly limited to service industries--we don't have much family manufacturing businesses either. Farming is either labor-intensive or capitol-intensive, and big business can afford the capitol. Big business can also afford to navigate government subsidies more efficiently. If we were limited to family farms, food prices would be significantly higher.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.Stop eating meat. (To be fair, Daisy Deadhead says she's a vegetarian, so she's not being a hypocrite in this point)
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.Union organizers are against non-anonymous elections, so they can pressure people into voting "properly". There is no good excuse for this, there is a reason most fair elections have secret ballots. My union experience has been working beside auto workers, and I'm not sympathetic--many were proud of working the system--an example is that tradesman work was divided into break/fix and project work. Some would refuse to do project work unless they were on overtime--and they could get away with it.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.How much education is there a right to--bachelor's, Master's, PhD? We also have vastly different definitions of rights-requiring the effort of others can't be a right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.It's only racism if the foreigners are lucky enough to live in America?
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.Somewhat valid--but some of the owner's rights should pass through to the corporation.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.But the same sort of shenanigans to get out of paying a mortgage is somehow OK.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.Valid point.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.Not so much, otherwise I'd never have heard of you.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.Sometimes. But products are safer now than ever, and there's no such thing as risk-free.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.Huh? Unless 'they' are the ones setting up 'subsidies for this, tax breaks for that' plans.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them....often donating to both sides, perpetuating the corrupt 2 party system. The real problem is the politicians who take these contributions.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.Like Nuclear. Oh wait....
How are they blocking alternative energy, other than the laws of science? Alternative energy is like alternative medicine--the alternatives that work well become mainstream.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.So why should they invest billions in research to find new drugs, (most of which will be unsuccessful) if they can't profit on the few that work? Without patent protection, nobody will go through the time and trouble of testing. There are abuses and problems here-it is surprising how often we 'suddenly' find a safety problem with a drug just as it goes generic, with a new alternative waiting.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.Again, less than at any time in our history.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.Quit listening. This is as much incompetence, laziness and that most of the public is more interested in entertainment than news. Every news story I've known about through non-news sources has significant errors in the reporting. Everyone I've asked says the same thing.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.What is this referring to?
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.Colonialism is declining, although I won't defend much of our overseas meddling. .
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.The fault here is the government's, not the corporations. We need a strong military-but I'll agree not as large as we have.
To the people of the world,I'm not seeing much in the way of solutions, other than 'more government except with US in charge".
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Their demand list from here:
Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending "Freetrade" by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American marketIn general, cheap goods increases our standard of living more than the accompanying job loss harms it, but the lost jobs are easier to point to. Free trade benefits both sides of the deal. Remember the lack of quality in American cars when they were only competing with each other?
To level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages.The argument that it is not fair to compete with goods manufactured without enviornmental controls is somewhat valid, but competing with low wages is self-correcting over time. Competing environmentally may be--developed countries are almost always better environmentally than developing. And don't people in poor countries deserve jobs as much as we do?
Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr....which will cause immediate inflation, increase unemployment, and drastically increase entry-level unemployment. Few people who haven't had a job are worth $20 per hour.
Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.A better argument would be to disconnect health care and health insurance from employment--End the policies and tax benefits that artificially make self-purchased health insurance uncompetitively expensive compared to employer-paid. We need some sort of cost controls, some method to prevent consumers spending on health care as if it is someone else's money.
Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.Not sure what this means--if you don't feel like working, you still get a living wage? If you aren't willing to do more than show up at work, an employer still has to pay you 'a living wage"? If you are just unqualified or unable?
Demand four: Free college education.Not everyone needs or can benefit from a college degree, and almost anyone willing to work at it can get one now. If college is free, then it becomes the equivalent of a high school diploma, required for a job at Target.
Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.Unless you count nuclear as 'alternative to fossil', this requires either a repeal of the laws of physics, or a drastic reduction in our standard of living. We can do better at conservation, and we will--Chances are we are at or near 'peak energy', as measured by consumption.
Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.Where does this trillion dollars come from? Immediately? These sorts of things need years or decades of planning to do even remotely efficiently.
Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America's nuclear power plants.OK, nuclear is NOT considered alternative.
Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.What would this cover, and how would it be enforced--If women aren't as interested in sports as men, would colleges still have to restrict men's sports?
Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.Almost anyone who is willing to work for a living and isn't a criminal, sure.
Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.Probably the most realistic and important demand. I'm not sure of the exact mechanism, but that would be better than what we have now.
Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the "Books." World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the "Books." And I don't mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.Wow. This would wipe out our economy faster than just about anything else, and may be the most ridiculous demand in this manifesto. People should really be forced to rent until they can afford to save up for a house? Even if this were a 'one time' forgiveness, no rational business or bank would be willing to loan substantial money ever again.
Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.If loans are illegal, what's the point?
Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.There are many good reasons for secret ballots, and very few good reasons to require open ballots--whether we are talking about government or union elections, we should go to great lengths to avoid coercion or retaliation for voting 'wrong'.
These demands will create so many jobs it will be completely impossible to fill them without an open borders policy.More wishful thinking.
Sunday, October 02, 2011
On my way home from work, I apparently did not properly latch one of the lids, and without a safety chain it fell off. I didn't notice immediately, and by the time I found the lid, it had been hit and the last 3 or so inches was broken off.
The two lids are identical, so I've been trying to use the intact lid as a pattern to repair the broken lid with fiberglass. The first attempts at the form were with expanding insulation foam and plastic wrap so I can remove it. I think the method could work, but the expansion makes it difficult to get an accurate form with a thin enough layer to cure in a reasonable time. Worse, the outer layer appears to be fully cured, but removing the foam from the lid revealed that the center was almost completely soft and liquid. A layer thin enough to cure would not duplicate the shape properly.
I gave up on the foam and made a form out of fiberglass. I greased the inside of the good lid, lined it with foil and added a layer of fiberglass and resin. I used popsicle sticks and binder clips to hold the fiberglass in the sharp corners of the lip. This form turned out well, so I riveted it to the broken lid. I was going to use the same combination of grease and foil to separate the new fiberglass from the form, but saw honey and figured it would be sticky enough but easier to clean. That part worked fairly well.
I need a couple more layers of fiberglass for strengh, then I'll bondo over the repair so I can smooth it out a lot easier, but I think it is going to work.
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Among college-aged people (ages 18-30, to include most grad students), 81.5% of homicides and 46.5% of suicides are by firearms. Homicide and suicide are the number 2 and number 3 causes of death in that age range (behind unintentional deaths, where firearms are about 1%) (based on CDC WISQARS data for 2008). Percentages increase if you drop the age to undergrad ages (18-22), and the difference in ranking between accidental and homicide drop dramatically.This definition of 'college age' includes the peak criminal and gang years. Criminals account for most of the non-suicide gun violence, it is misleading to lump them in with college students.
Yes, those are schools that have had shootings. It's true that no one was allowed to carry a gun and "play Wyatt Earp" (to quote myself from this post) and shoot the bad guys. However, I would counter that in mass shootings that have happened outside of university settings, including on military bases, no one intervened in any of them, either, despite the ability for citizens to carry guns. In other words, allowing guns on campus isn't likely to stop the shooters, but it definitely will increase the likelihood of homicides and accidents by students. In colleges all over the nation, the rate of gun-related crimes is far lower on-campus (in those gun-free zones) than in the surrounding city.
But accidents happen every day, and there are plenty of violent and reactive people out there. Where there are guns, there are gun crimes and accidents.In general, proponents of expansion of licensed concealed carry keep predicting minimal issues and a slight drop in crime, while anti-gun activists keep predicting severe problems, even when similar measures have not been a problem in other states. Once enough time has passed to judge these predictions, one side is consistently more accurate than the other.
Monday, September 19, 2011
I read the first book and partway through the second before I gave up. That's unusual for me, I rarely drop a book midway through, and I've read some pretty crappy books before giving up on a series--I even managed to finish Tom Clancy's Red Rabbit.
The book is set during WWII, but reads like a much older book. In it the main character, a professor taking a walking tour of England is kidnapped by other humans and taken to Mars due to the kidnappers misunderstanding what the Martians wanted. It turns out that three species of Martians live together in harmony under a supreme being. We also discover that the reason Earthlings are uncivilized and violent is that our Supreme Being is bent--basically mentally ill, shunned by the other supreme beings. Although the story has the hero learning the universal Martian language and is translated into English, many of the words are left untranslated for no good reason. Book two has the hero volunteering to go to Venus, where he meets a pseudo-Eve searching for her lost Adam in a floating Garden of Eden. One of the kidnappers from the first book shows up and details his evil plans. I'm not sure what happens next, that's where I decided that it was no longer pleasure reading, and there wasn't likely to be a sufficient reward for finishing.
I can't imagine this making a top 10,000 list, let alone top 100.
Monday, August 08, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
The bikes are completely different, both in mechanics and in riding. The CX engine is a water-cooled 500cc v-twin with 4 valves per cylinder, operated by pushrods, originally rated at 52 horsepower and with the crankshaft running fore/aft The Seca is an air-cooled 750cc inline 4, with 2 valves per cylinder operated by dual overhead cams, originally at 82 horsepower and the crankshaft running left/right. Both bikes have shaft drive, both 5 speeds with front disks (dual disks on the Yamaha) and drum rear.
The Yamaha has more features, some very nice, some very silly 80's. Nice features are the self-canceling turn signals that are based on time and distance--they stay on indefinitely when stopped, turn off after either a certain distance or time after moving, whichever comes first. They also can be manually turned off by pushing in on the switch. I'm not familiar with modern bikes, but apparently this is still uncommonly good--other signals are either full manual or strictly time based.
Another nice feature is the kickstand interlock--Unless the bike is in neutral, the engine won't run with the side stand down. I'm sure experienced bikers never pull away with their side stands down. I'm not an experienced biker yet. It is embarrassing and potentially dangerous to turn left with the stand down.
The instruments are 'very silly 80's'. A big bulky rectangular dashboard, known by Seca fans as the Atari. In addition to the standard lights and gauges found on most bikes, it has an LCD monitoring system that tells if the side stand is down, oil pressure, brake fluid or battery electrolyte is low, headlight or taillight is burned out or fuel is low. There is also a 4 segment fuel gauge, the one addition that is useful.
The LCD's are visible, but not attention getting--the attention part is handled by a big red light in the top center of the dash. If any of the warning LCD's are on, the red light starts blinking . Particularly annoying is the battery warning light--the sensors on these don't typically last 30 years, and won't work on all batteries, so every time I start the bike, I have to cancel the battery warning. It is possible to bypass the unused sensor with a resistor--but my first attempt made things worse, as it would shut the monitor off only intermittently, and every time it came back, the warning light would blink again. Apparently this is similar to how fuel works--but on my bike, reserve is at about 1/4 tank, and I haven't filled it up enough to get a feel for actual range.
The brake fluid monitor is required only because of the silly master cylinder location. Rather than the usual practice of mounting the master cylinder at the brake lever and using a clear reservoir, the Seca has a cable-operated cylinder hidden between the fork legs. Looks neat--but part of the reason for using hydraulics is to eliminate cables. Feel is not as good as bikes I've tried with conventional brake setups. The Yamaha also has anti-dive forks that are supposed to firm up the fork under braking, I haven't really noticed a difference here, and it is very likely that the system needs to be rebuilt. The Yamaha also has silly rubber covers over the handlebars.
The riding position on the Seca is not terribly different than the CX, but more comfortable--This might just be a better seat. Power is much smoother, and of course there is more of it. The Honda is rated at 52hp, the Yamaha 82. The Seca sounds like it is revving faster at a given speed in top gear, although the tach says it is a bit less--I'm guessing that what we gauge RPM by is the sound of the individual exhaust pulses, and more cylinders equals more pulses at a given RPM. The Seca has a wider useful powerband than the CX. The CX chugs if it is cruising below about 3000 rpm, or accelerating moderately below about 4000, and doesn't really make a lot of power below 5000. The Seca doesn't seem to complain as long as it is above about 1500, and still has some acceleration this slow without having to downshift. Both bikes have similar redlines--despite being a pushrod engine the Honda goes to 9650, where the Yamaha redline is at 9500. The Seca engine feels kind of buzzy at interstate speeds. The Seca seems to be a bit more stable, with less wander over pavement grooves and such. This may be either tires or worn parts on the Honda--I rode the Yamaha about 20 miles on the original tires and it wasn't nearly as good. The Seca still has stock mufflers, and they are very quiet at the rider's ears, especially at city speeds--Loafing along at around 30, it feels and sounds like a scooter with the majority of noise being gear or chain whine rather than exhaust.
I am not quite happy with the rear suspension on the Yamaha, large bumps like frost heaves are uncomfortable. It does have both preload and damping adjustment, I haven't played much with either. Preload was set to minimum, it is quite possible that with my weight I need a higher setting to prevent bottoming on large bumps. My Honda is the other way around--the initial hit is less jarring, but the bike keeps bouncing a bit after.
The Yamaha has been poorly repainted--it looks nice from a distance, but not nearly as nice up close.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
What really surprises me is that wearing all this gear isn't hot while riding, up to at least 100 degrees-in fact, even at around town speeds, riding with long pants, jacket, helmet and gloves is less warm than being outside in shorts, short sleeves and flip-flops. Stopping for lights can be a bit warm, and I've got in the habit of pre-staging the bike--push it out of the garage and load the saddlebags before I go in and gear up in the AC--that way I can just hop on and go.
I had someone argue that leather bike gear was better--that may be true, but I'll wear the textile jacket even in this weather. Everyone has their own level of acceptable risk--I don't feel the need for leathers, but I'm more than happy with the gear I've got.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
The Candidate Vow:
Therefore, in any elected or appointed capacity by which I may have the honor of serving our fellow citizens in these United States, I the undersigned do hereby solemnly vow* to honor and to cherish, to defend and to uphold, the Institution of Marriage as only between one man and one woman. I vow* to do so through my:
Personal fidelity to my spouse.
Should be between me and my spouse--Different people may have different agreements--fidelity is following your personal agreement as amended by mutual consent.
Respect for the marital bonds of others.
...except those we don't think should be allowed to marry.
Official fidelity to the U.S. Constitution, supporting the elevation of none but faithful constitutionalists as judges or justices.
This one I can agree with, except that the definition of 'faithful constitutionalist' is uselessly vague.
Vigorous opposition to any redefinition of the Institution of Marriage – faithful monogamy between one man and one woman – through statutory-, bureaucratic-, or court-imposed recognition of intimate unions which are bigamous, polygamous, polyandrous, same-sex, etc.
Should not be the government's business to define marriage. Marriage should be spiritual, between the parties involved and not to get government benefits. Was Loving vs. Virginia a redefinition of marriage, previously only available to people of the right racial combinations?
Recognition of the overwhelming statistical evidence that married people enjoy better health, better sex, longer lives, greater financial stability, and that children raised by a mother and a father together experience better learning, less addiction, less legal trouble, and less extramarital pregnancy.
...but we don't want gays and lesbians to have these benefits. There is certainly a benefit to having two parents who cooperate and care, especially when compared to having a single indifferent parent. I have not seen any evidence that certain gender combinations are unsuccessful at raising children.
Support for prompt reform of uneconomic, anti-marriage aspects of welfare policy, ...
Not awful, I guess.
...tax policy, and marital/divorce law, and extended “second chance” or “cooling-off” periods for those seeking a “quickie divorce.”
What does this accomplish?
Earnest, bona fide legal advocacy for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the federal and state levels.
How does restricting who can marry 'defend' marriage?
Steadfast embrace of a federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in all of the United States.
It is already too late for this amendment, you couldn't even get a simple majority to agree, and that support is diminishing every year.
Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy – our next generation of American children –...
But apparently illegitimate bastards don't deserve humane protection. And why the tortured language here?
...from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.
So long as all involved are consenting adults, porn, prostitution, and promiscuity don't belong in the same bucket as human trafficking, slavery of any kind, or infanticide.
Support for the enactment of safeguards for all married and unmarried
why not just say 'all' here?--is there a third classification of people besides 'married' and 'unmarried' that I'm unaware of?
U.S. Military and National Guard personnel, especially our combat troops, from inappropriate same-gender or opposite-gender
Again, is there a third classification?
From what little I know, we need to make a much stronger commitment to ending male on female sexual harassment in the military--a much bigger problem than gay on straight harassment.
How are politicians going to protect military personnel from adultery?
or intrusively intimate commingling among attracteds (restrooms, showers, barracks, tents, etc.);
Gay Cooties! The gaze of a homosexual might....um....well...
(In the 80's, once I was out of tech school my barracks were co-ed, although we had separate showers)
plus prompt termination of military policymakers who would expose American wives and daughters to rape or sexual harassment, torture, enslavement or sexual leveraging by the enemy in forward combat roles.
...even if the woman involved is aware of the danger and has volunteered to serve--since awful things never happen to men in war.
Rejection of Sharia Islam and all other anti-woman, anti-human rights forms of totalitarian control.
More grandstanding, and overly simplistic. If a couple with a family were married under Sharia law, are they no longer married in the US?
Recognition that robust childbearing and reproduction is beneficial to U.S. demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security.
Huh? This sounds like "have more children so the Social Security Ponzi lasts longer!"
Commitment to downsizing government and the enormous burden upon American families of the USA‟s $14.3 trillion public debt, its $77 trillion in unfunded liabilities, its $1.5 trillion federal deficit, and its $3.5 trillion federal budget.
Finally, another pledge I can agree with.
Fierce defense of the First Amendment‟s rights of Religious Liberty and Freedom of Speech, especially against the intolerance of any who would undermine law-abiding American citizens and institutions of faith and conscience for their adherence to, and defense of, faithful heterosexual monogamy
Only OUR intolerance should be tolerated.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Monday, July 04, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Both the victim and the attacker's friend have posted about the incident, the victim posting on the Ohioans for Concealed Carry forums, the accomplice on Facebook. The accomplice's version doesn't quite match up with either the victim or the surveillance video--and his speed in running away doesn't match up with his tough-guy front, either.
An example of the accomplice's facebook:
'It was just crazy though, cus Brandon was beatin dude's ass & his pussy ass pulled a gun a shot em.. It was nuts I swear, I don't 4 get a face though, he knows what it is"
(H/T and link to gunguynextdoor, who has a friend saving screenshots even after the Facebook went private)
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
(Note--removed the video because it had switched to autoplay)
Some gun rights supporters believe that the goal was to create a problem that could be 'solved' with more ATF funding and power. I'm not sure I believe that, but I'm not sure I don't, either.
Monday, June 06, 2011
Last night near the end of the festival I was working in my garage, and heard the neighbor across the alley talking to police. I went to
I'm really curious what was going on here--A very odd place to park even considering the circumstances, odd that hours after the end of the festival the driver still had not claimed his car. Odd that a decent cellphone and ipod were left in plain sight, with an open window. Apparently the owner didn't have a license.
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Thursday, June 02, 2011
The seat my Honda CX500 came with looked like this when I got it, except with black tape wrapped around the back. Not only damaged, but uncomfortable for someone my size--I needed to slide back a few inches, but the hump between the driver's and passenger section prevented me. I re-shaped the seat with a bread knife, and added a bit more padding to the front section.
The first attempt at a cover looked awful, barely better than what was there before--but it was a good bit more comfortable to ride.
The final version turned out quite a bit better. For the top I used 2 layers of marine vinyl with quilt batting between. I was originally going to sew ribs, but the back of the vinyl had this diamond pattern in it, so I sewed along that pattern. It needs to be touched up in a few spots--I've got a pucker that I need to tear out and re-sew, and 2 spots where a second line of stitching will close a gap. However, it is no longer the worst part of the bike, so I'll probably leave it for now.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Neil Gaiman is a successful SF/Fantasy author who gets asked to do appearances frequently. As he puts it,
I'm really busy, and I ought to be writing, so pricing appearances somewhere between ridiculously high and obscenely high helps to discourage most of the people who want me to come and talk to them. Which I could make a full time profession, if I didn't say 'no' a lot."He makes exceptions depending on who is hiring him, and apparently he donates much or all of this money to charity.
About a year ago, he was asked to speak at a Minnesota Library event, paid with funds from a special tax rather than out of the library's operating budget. The money was 'use or lose', with a significant delay between the original schedule and when the money was actually released, resulting in a very short time to find a way to spend it. The people who hired him did not attempt to negotiate a lower fee--after all, it isn't their money, and there really wasn't time to spend any savings anyhow.
There was a good bit of anger at this spending. Some of the anger was justified--Although the venue was at capacity, the 'obscenely high' fee worked out to $90 per person. I would agree that it wasn't a good use of taxes, but where to lay the blame is somewhat difficult here. I don't think there is very much blame attached to the library--in theory they could have returned the funds, but it is likely that would have been considered poor job performance for the people involved. Blame whoever wrote the law? The voters?
However, some of the anger (from at least one politician, among others) was misdirected at Mr Gaiman. From what I've read, Mr Gaiman made an agreement to perform for a fee and more than fulfilled his end, staying quite a bit longer than agreed on. It shouldn't be up to him to determine if his temporary employers are wasting their money.
The problem here is getting government involved where it doesn't belong, on diluting accountability so far that nobody can be held accountable.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Monday, May 09, 2011
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Monday, May 02, 2011
More important is that on the same system that was perfectly stable I've had several crashes and other glitches in just a few hours. Had to uninstall a plugin to Rhythmbox, othewise launching it would crash the system. Trying to access a CD logged me out. In my first attempt to write this post the backspace key got stuck, and unplugging the keyboard did not help.
I'm backing up my home folder now, and I'm likely to do a reinstall of the previous version. I'm getting more irritated with Ubuntu with each release--Instead of being the distribution that just works, they keep making fairly drastic interface changes with little apparent justification.
If you see distribution update in update manager, it's probably best to skip it for now.
Friday, April 29, 2011
I also got the front brake on the Yamaha working, and after changing plugs, got it to start and kind of run with gasoline instead of starter fluid. It wouldn't idle, but I could keep it running with throttle, and it ran enough that I'm more confident that it isn't going to need major work to get going. "Not major" is a matter of perspective--it needs all four carburetors cleaned, rebuilt and synchronized, and probably needs the valves adjusted which involves replacing shims plus lots of little things. It isn't likely to need a complete engine rebuild, however.
The Honda is just a touch small for me. I think I can make some adjustments to make it fit better--adjust the handlebars forward, and do something with the shifter position. Sitting on the Yamaha feels nicer.
Monday, April 25, 2011
I almost bypassed the ad--There was no picture, I didn't remember what a Seca was and envisioned a crotch rocket. Styling is a bit distinctively 80's especially in the handlebars, dash and headlights. Still better than a pseudo-Harley.
I'm still looking for a running starter bike while I get this running.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
I'm glad that they aren't second amendment supporters, I don't particularly want them on my side.
The facility I went to is sponsored by Honda, at a Honda warehouse, using Honda motorcycles. Most people got small dual sport bikes (motocross-style, but street legal with street tires) while smaller people got Rebels. The class starts from the very basics, assuming only that you can balance a bicycle. The first exercise is merely rocking the bike forward and back using the clutch. Later it advances to weaves, swerves and quick stops. The class is absolutely worth the time and money, and especially when most of the cost is subsidized.
I'm now motorcycle shopping, trying to figure out what I can get within budget. I would prefer a Standard or Universal Japanese Motorcycle, would settle for a cruiser (as long as it isn't a fake Harley) and don't want a crotch rocket or dirt bike. Based on looks alone, the Kawasaki W650 comes really close to perfection, but few were imported to the US, so not much chance of finding one within budget.
I don't want a fixer-upper yet, although I'll consider that later. The first 2 bikes I looked at had bad front brakes--probably a simple problem to fix, but one of them was bad enough that I was not willing to ride it--especially since the seller had talked about the work he'd done, including that brake.
The third was a 440 LTD--ample power, but way too small physically. The fourth is a possibility, a 1978 Kawasaki KZ 750 twin. Big enough, simple, and mechanically decent from what I could tell, and well within budget. I don't want to buy the first adequate bike I find without trying something else.
Monday, April 04, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
The shrink tubing turned out to be unnecessary. The little metal bit in the lower right corner is the entire drive, the rest is just a handle.
The first replacement hard drive I ever bought was a massive 1.6 Gigabytes. at least 10 times more expensive, and 100 times bigger. Doesn't seem that long ago...
Trader Joe's Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup is the first tomato soup I've had that is better than what I grew up with. The texture is right and the flavor is excellent--the peppers and spices make it a good bit more interesting without being excessive. I don't get to Trader Joe's that often, so after trying this soup on our last trip, I decided to stock up this time.
(Despite the periodic reviews of Trader Joe products, I'm not sponsored by them in any way)
Sunday, March 20, 2011
...except when the authors decide to only do a partial feed, only showing the first paragraph or so in RSS, requiring you to click to their site to read the rest. I can kind of understand this for commercial blogs--although a better alternative is to include ads in the RSS feed. I can't understand why noncommercial blogs do this.
This was a minor annoyance when I was reading exclusively on a computer--but with the limitations of a phone, makes most partial-feed blogs not worth the effort. I've decided that the vast majority of partial feed blogs that I used to read are going to the end of the line, into a different folder. I'll only read them in the very rare cases when I'm caught up with everyone else.
(If you are using Blogger.com or Blogspot, fix this by going to Settings, site feed, and pick "Allow Blog Feeds Full")
Friday, March 18, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Later I bought a used, fairly old Minolta SRT-101 with an f/1.2 lens because I was more than willing to trade the minor inconvenience of match-needle exposure and manual focus for better pictures and less reliance on flash. Over the next few years, I bought a few more lenses, so when the camera died it made sense to find another used Minolta body rather than replace all those lenses. This illustrates a point with interchangeable lens cameras--you aren't just buying a camera, you are buying into a system. There is a good chance that your investment in lenses will eventually dwarf the cost of a body.
Although I did switch to a digital point and shoot around 2000, I still missed my SLR, just not enough to deal with film. A point and shoot digital does an OK job in most situations, and since film is free, you are likely to get as many or more acceptable pictures as you could with a 35mm SLR--I used to hand a digital camera to my 5 year old niece and get great candid pictures at family events, mixed in with pictures of refrigerator, shoes and aquarium. Nobody got camera shy when a 5 year old took their picture.
But even a good point and shoot has limitations compared to a DSLR. A DSLR is faster responding in almost every way--time from 'off' to the first shot, time between shots, focus time, shutter lag, zoom and how fast you can find a subject in the viewfinder. Higher end point and shoots can have the same number of pixels as a DSLR, but each pixel is much smaller--this affects image clarity, noise/static, low light sensitivity and the ability to control depth of field.
The picture above (click to embiggen) would not have been nearly as good with a typical depth of field--the background was cluttered, ugly and not relevant to the subject. By choosing the right settings on a DSLR, the background can be left out of focus, concentrating attention on the primary subject.
A couple weeks ago Woot.com had a couple of different packages of Pentax K-x camera outfits, differing in lenses and colors. I bought one with 18-55 and a 55-300 zoom lenses, only available in black. I'm very impressed. Automatic mode generally does a good job of figuring out what you are trying to do. If that's not quite right, there the most common exceptions are available as presets on the main dial--portrait, sports, macro, lanscape and night portrait. There are another handful of presets in the menu, and there is full manual control of almost everything. Low light ability without flash is fantastic even with the limitations of the kit lens. It can do about 4.5 pictures per second (depending on focus) for about 5 seconds, then it slows to about 2 per second depending on the speed of your memory card.
Pentax has kept a fairly surprising amount backwards compatibility with their older lenses, to the point where a 70's lens will do everything it did on the cameras it came with. With an adapter lenses from the 50's will work with some effort--although significantly less than on a 50's camera. You can set it to automatically take the picture as the image comes into focus, and if you tell the camera what the focal length is, image stabilization will work. I'm going to be looking for a couple of old K mount non-zoom lenses from the 70's or 80's--if I'm happy with low light performance and depth of field control with the current lens that only goes down to f3.5, an f/1.7 or f1.4 should be awesome.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
You are using the wrong email address when applying to jobs. [example]@gmail.com is mine--you can get your own gmail account for freeHis response (cut and pasted):
Well I can do that but do you no about any jobs tryin to contact me ?
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Over the last few days, I've built this desk and shelf setup for my wife. Originally we had another desk I'd built, that had been built for a specific spot in a different room. This gives better access to the window, lets in more light and has a better traffic path to the attic laundry room. The wood is oak plywood with the edges exposed (and voids filled) in the same style as our bookshelves.
One of my dogs gets very nervous when I'm doing a project like this--she's usually a bouncy happy dog. When I build stuff, she slinks around nervously.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Work has a trouble ticket system where problems are recorded and assigned to the appropriate tech. Sometimes the information leaves something to be desired-for example "damaged by fort cliff"
As far as I knos we have neiter forts nor cliffs here. We do have these:
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Until about 6 months ago, I carried a plain dumb cellphone, usually some sort of budget phone since I rarely exceed 100 minutes a month, even without a home phone. I have gone with Virgin Mobile--they had the best deal when I started with them, and their service was cheap enough that I wasn't compelled to look elsewhere. Not long ago they started offering featurephones (internet and email, but not very smart)--more minutes than I'd use, plus unlimited text and internet for $25 per month, with no commitment beyond $80 for the phone. It worked as advertised, but not particularly well--adequate for phone, light email and an occasional emergency Google search, but between the tiny screen and a bad user interface, web access wasn't particularly useful.
I finally decided to combine both functions and get a true smartphone. I did not spend extensive time researching the absolute best possible phone, but Android was obvious, and it appeared that T-Mobile did the least crippling of its Androids, has coverage where I spend my time, and I'm a heavy user of Google products already. Their G2 Google phone seemed like a good fit. They also had a promotion where unlimited internet and text (and 10 times more phone minutes than I'm likely to use) were at the upper end of my monthly budget.
Comparing hardware, the iPod 4g has a slightly better screen, both in visual and touch sensitivity. The G2 has a hardware keyboard, a much better camera--5 megapixel with autofocus and a somewhat useful flash, but no front mounted camera. The keyboard is considerably better than the one on my featurephone, and miles better than a software keyboard. Of course the iPod is much less bulky, but that's a bit apples to oranges, I'm not familiar enough with the iPhone to compare.
Apple usually wins on polish of the user interface, but Android is extremely good--I think they are equal here.
For openness, letting me do what I want, the Android wins, hands down. No iTunes necessary, no waiting for someone to break the latest iPod scheme before I can manage it in Linux. The G2 shows up as a removable drive on Linux. If I want an mp3 as music, I drop it in the music folder. If I want to use an MP3 as a ringtone, alarm or alert, I drop it in the ringtone, alarm or alert folder. If I want more storage than it comes with I can replace the Sd card, up to 32 gig. I can delete songs right from the G2.
The web browser is based on Chrome, and works as well as the iPod's excellent browser, except with Flash support available.
No built-in spellcheck on the G2, a glaring omission.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
You can see a drastic difference in how these songs show up visually--one of them is dense and smooth, the other has lots of variation.
...except 'Ain't Nothing Wrong with That" is the one on top that looks smooth and dense. The difference isn't in the songs themselves, it is in how and when they were recorded, and illustrates a huge problem with music today, the Loudness War.
CD's and most other digital recording formats have a maximum peak volume that is impossible to exceed. When a song is recorded or mixed, you can still increase the average volume by removing room for contrast, making every part of the song equally loud--however gone too far and the music will be muddy and indistinct.
Why would you do that? Because when comparing songs, people tend to prefer the slightly louder one. It is possible to increase the average volume slightly without significant damage to the overall sound. The problem here is that the competition has already done that, so you need to do it even more, then they do...until there's no dynamic range left, no contrast, no impact, and every part is as loud as every other part. Some people say they prefer old vinyl albums to CD, that the vinyl sounds more natural. It isn't that vinyl is better as a medium (it isn't) but that it doesn't allow this sort of abuse.
There is a good bit of new music that I sort of like...but the way it is recorded makes it unpleasant for me to listen to--the song has to stand out quite a bit before I'll put up with this hyper-compressed mushy-sounding recording.
Friday, February 04, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
This is a major reason we resist registration and licensing. He has been deemed 'unsuitable' due to political speech--I believe the speech in question to be tasteless, but constitutionally protected.
If the second amendment allows someone's guns to be rounded up due to some government official's opinion of suitability, what exactly does it protect?
There are other bill of rights issues involved as well--should the government be allowed to revoke other licenses based on someone speaking freely, if they are meeting the standards of the license? Should a driver's license be revoked if someone is accused of driving drunk or speeding, with no arrest, charges or conviction?
Monday, January 17, 2011
Joan wrote a post about Martin Luther King. I made this comment, preserved here:
One of the things that is routinely ignored in the civil rights struggle is the role of the Deacons for Defense and Justice, and other armed defenders.
Nonviolence works only under ideal conditions--primarily against a civilized, mostly nonviolent opponent. It worked against the governments of the US, and the colonial government of India, but would be useless against a more repressive regime or against violent enemies like the KKK.
The notion that defense will only escalate the violence is not supported by the facts. The KKK was fond of drive-by shootings--until they started taking return fire. At that point, the KKK decided that maybe drive-by shootings weren't a good idea.
It is immoral to use violence to achieve political goals. However, it is also immoral to stand by and allow innocents to be harmed when you have the means to effectively resist--I would much rather see the instigator of a drive by killed than their intended victim injured.
It is also immoral to take the means to resist away from decent people.Her response:
Whoa there, Sevesteen. Are you sure you want these comments committed to writing? They seem pretty anti-government and leading to what?? " The notion that defense will only escalate the violence is not supported by the facts. The KKK was fond of drive-by shootings--until they started taking return fire. At that point, the KKK decided that maybe drive-by shootings weren't a good idea. " I don't think that is why the KKK stopped shooting people. Where is your evidence for such a statement? I wouldn't bring the KKK into a discussion about Martin Luther King- totally inappropriate and possibly incendiary. Please do not reply. You simply cannot justify what you said to having guns for self defense. Be careful what you are saying....and my response to that
Maybe I was not as clear as I should have been, but even re-reading my comment I think you've had to try hard to come up with an anti-governemnt interpretation. I am not advocating violence against the government, or even instigating violence against a group as awful as the KKK. It would be immoral to go hunt down the KKK, to instigate violence against them.
However it is NOT immoral to shoot back at someone in a KKK costume who is shooting at you, your family or your neighbors. There is a vast difference between immoral terrorist violence as practiced by the KKK, and proper, moral defensive violence.
If I am unwelcome here, I will abide by that, but to misconstrue my comment and then to say I'm not welcome to clarify? Of course it is up to you whether you allow this post.
Unless you specifically say that you want me to continue, this will be the last comment I post on your blog. I am saying this to keep me honest, and I will be posting a copy of this on my blog, whether or not you approve this post.I don't mean for this to be 'she hurt my feelings, so I'm going home'. Rather, if I'm both unwelcome and she's unable to comprehend, there's little point in continuing to waste time posting there--and unless I publicly say 'I won't be posting', I'll be too tempted.
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Patients in chronic pain cannot get relief, because their doctors are afraid of being prosecuted as drug dealers. In this particular case, Siobhan Reynolds became an advocate for pain relief after her husband died of a painful, debilitating illness. At one point his doctor was convicted of over-prescribing pain medications to other patients.
Even worse, in a case where Reynolds is working to help a different doctor to avoid prosecution, the courts have issued gag orders and required her to provide a data dump at great expense of all her documents relating to remotely similar activities. It appears to me that the prosecution isn't content with enforcing unjust laws, they are using unfair methods to harass opposition.
Some people claiming pain are drug abusers--but some really hurt. There is nowhere near enough justification in leaving pain untreated because someone, somewhere may be getting high.
End the drug war.