30 April 2013

Prediction

One of the reasons that statistics is listed after "damn lies" is that it's not very good a predicting specific outcomes.

The Monty Hall problem is famous.

Given three choices, you pick one.  One of the choices you did not select will be revealed to not contain the prize.  Should you change your selection to the remaining box or stick with your initial choice?

Statistics says change your selection.

Mythbusters even did an experiment that proved you win more often if you change.

The thing is, this doesn't predict if any given iteration of the game is a winner or not.

Example.  Prize is in box A.  Contestant choses box A.  Box C is shown to not have a prize in it.  Changing your selection in that case is a loss!

This is also why the plural of anecdote is not data.

Even though I have a better chance of winning by changing my choice that doesn't mean I am guaranteed to win by changing my choice.

Another example is from crime statistics.

A disproportionate number of crimes are committed by black people.  That statistic does not provide an accurate predictor that a specific black person is about to commit a crime.

Most murders in the USA are committed with a firearm.  That statistic is not an accurate predictor that any specific firearm will be used to murder someone.  The records that are kept  only generally predict what kind of firearm will be used.

This part of statistics is why I get the RCB when I pay my car insurance.  I am a man, I have a Corvette, I am under 65.  Statistically speaking I speed, drive recklessly and have accidents.

I've gotten speeding out of my system.  Track days do that.  I've gotten reckless out of my system.  Being DQ'd for being reckless on the track and losing the rather spendy entry fee really mellows you, besides, when you slow the heck down you have less NEED to be reckless.

I have not had an accident where I was at fault since REFORGER 1988.  In my defense, running over the parked car was preferable to running over the child who ran out in front of the tank.  Darwin was sleeping that day.

Yet my insurance rates are based on the behavior of the worst of others not on what I do.

I am so very sick of being judged by the behavior of others.

Straw Buy

There's some confusion down at the gun shops about what a straw buy is.

It's the ATF who's got them confused.

An actual straw purchase is where a person whom is legally allowed to own a firearm purchases one with the sole intent of giving or selling it to someone who is forbidden to own it.  This includes the prohibited person having the non-prohibited make a purchase for them.

ATF has got gun shops believing that any purchase made with the intent of giving or selling it to someone else is a straw purchase, and therefore illegal.  They're just plain wrong.  They're so wrong the notice on the 4473 contradicts them!


Question 12a is: "Are you the actual buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you. (See Important Notice 1 for actual buyer definition and examples.)"


Important Notice 1:


For purposes of this form, you are the actual buyer if you are purchasing the firearm for yourself or otherwise acquiring the firearm for yourself (for example, redeeming the firearm from pawn/retrieving it from consignment).You are also the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm as a legitimate gift for a third party. ACTUAL BUYER EXAMPLES: Mr. Smith asks Mr. Jones to purchase a firearm for Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith gives Mr. Jones the money for the firearm. Mr. Jones is NOT the actual buyer of the firearm and must answer “no “ to question 12a. The licensee may not transfer the firearm to Mr. Jones. However, if Mr. Brown goes to buy a firearm with his own money to give to Mr. Black as a present, Mr. Brown is the actual buyer of the firearm and should answer “yes” to question 12a.

Did you see that?  If you're buying it as a gift, it's A-OK.  Now, try buying a gun and telling the person behind the counter you're giving the gun to the person standing next to you.

There have been times where me or my friends have been well short on funds when a once-in-a-blue-moon deal surfaces.  None of us are prohibited people and all but two of use are CCW holders.  How does person A, who doesn't want the gun buy it for person B to pay them back?

The obvious method is for person A to loan person B the cash.  That cash then magically becomes person B's "own money" and the sale proceeds.

Try handing person B the money in a gun shop in front of the counter clerk.

It's semantics.  And because it is, it's bullshit.

The intent of and the wording of the law is that prohibited people aren't allowed to purchase or possess firearms.  That's simple.  ATF has made it complicated by trying to regulate how such a person my come into possession of a firearm.  Actually, they're regulating the precise method that non-prohibited people come into possession and by exclusion are preventing prohibited folks from acquiring guns.

Break Glass

I want to open a gun shop.

On the wall will be a glass case with the cheapest POS AR I can find.

It will be priced: $10,000.00.

It will be captioned: When it happens, you'll know.

28 April 2013

Why Did You Think They Were Called That?

Friend who will remain nameless: What are you doing?

Me: Cutting up potatoes.

FWWRN: Why?

Me: To make mashed potatoes.

FWWRN:  You can make mashed potatoes with POTATOES?

Me: Which part of mashed POTATOES is slipping past you?

Color Coded

Because 25-round 6.8x43mm magazines are externally identical to the 30-round 5.56x45mm ones; but not interchangeable, you have to come up with a fast, easy way to tell them apart.

So I went with putting colored electrical tape around the magazine base; blue electrical tape.  It gives both a visual and tactile clue about what magazine you are using.

Now that Tabitha is dressed in purple, I've got some violet electrical tape for my magazines.



I wish I knew how to set my camera to consistently capture the color of the furniture.  The violet of the tape, in this photo, is how the handguards look in person.  I don't know why the camera makes them blue!

Edit:

I might not know how to make the camera do what I want, but I can make Photoshop!  Here's the same picture as above with the hue adjusted to look right.


Moments

At present I really want a dish from a city I no longer live in from a restaurant which no longer exists.

House of Chen's kung-pao chicken sounds delightful.

27 April 2013

You're Not Fooling Anyone

"I'll ask my wife/girlfriend/significant other..." means no.

You know it means no.

I know it means no.

Let's just stop insulting each other's intelligence and say no.

Wattah!

I've made a big change to my next Traveller game.

The huge tanks of hydrogen will be replaced with water.

The main reason is that it's not 1977 any more.

In 1977 it likely seemed very reasonable to the writers at GDW to use hydrogen for the ship's fuel as it appeared to be the only readily accessible fusion fuel source.

This was before the Kuiper Belt was theorized, let alone discovered or widely known.

This was before the past 36 years of research into fusion.

Water is plentiful in the solar system, and mostly more accessible than raw hydrogen.  You have to thaw it though.

Besides electrolysis, applying ridiculous levels of heat will separate oxygen and hydrogen in water.  That's something a fusion reactor has to spare.  Then it's a few protium reactions, a couple of lithium 6 injections and whammo!  Tritium fusion breeding He3 fusion.  Consume the oxygen as a secondary burn or collect it to use as a coolant, your choice.

In GURPS terms the Traveller power plant consumes an insane amount of fuel, but I am OK with that since the reactionless drives are insanely violating physics; and that's pretty much the entire consumption from a power plant in the Traveller canon.  The extra mass from using the same volume of water is side stepped by the drives apparently moving a volume and not applying thrust to a mass.

For years I grappled with a good game reason to get the players to purchase fuel from the star port instead of harvesting it from the local gas giant and I think I've gotten it licked; and it took changing the fuel to water to get there.

The Kuiper Belt is out there a ways, so to harvest water from the ice puts you an inconvenient distance from the main system.  Yes, you can get free water, but you lose the travel time.  If you're a merchant ship you only make money on delivery, so anything that spreads the paydays out is costing you.  Time is literally money to any freight hauler.  This gives the players an incentive to purchase fuel from the port, as long as it's cheaper than losing a week to travel.

What could be cheaper than water?

Using water also allows me to retain the refining step from canon.  Industrial water is far more pure than tap water or "wild" water.  All sorts of impurities you don't want in your fusion bottle.

You lose the drama of the dive into a gas giant for fuel, but I've yet to have a player be happy about the idea of their character's lives depending on a single piloting roll.

26 April 2013

Stellar Cartography

Traveller's maps are two dimensional.

The universe is, by and large, three dimensional.

It only started bugging me when I bought GDW's 2300 AD.  That game had an excellent map describing a sphere some 50 light years in diameter around Sol.

So I embarked on a quest to fix the maps.

The problem is much of the existing material depends on the topography from the 2D maps.

I was on the S-Bahn in Stuttgart when a solution hit me.  The Traveller maps were just like the maps of the train line.  They didn't necessarily correspond to the real position of things, just how the train reached them.

That settled it with me for a while, but there's a canon device where the Imperium is using a dispersed array of telescopes to look very long distances.

Dammit, I still need a 3D explanation.

Then it hit me.

Take the existing "subway map" and print it all on one gigantic sheet of paper.

Crumple that sheet into a big wad.

Jumpspace has to follow the paper, three space doesn't.

Most places on the 2D map are still very close in this 3D representation, and if one were to actually map it out, you could figure out the real distances of things.

Even with the miraculous maneuver drives from Traveller, a slower than light trip around a fold in the map will still take far longer than the multiple jumps will by following the paper.

The only real wrinkle is that in some places beaming a message will take less time than sending it by X-Boat.

No solution is perfect, but at least this is playable.

Dammit!

I've become "THAT GUY".

I didn't and don't want to be HIM.

I'll be offline while I grapple with what to do about it.

25 April 2013

Marketplace Fairness Act

Time to dust off the moldy Supreme Court rulings...

In the days of yore, the Supreme Court held that interstate tariffs are unconstitutional because such is the bailiwick of the Feds not the states.

The Marketplace Fairness Act will impose the sales taxes of the customer's location upon the seller regardless of their location.  In effect a federal interstate tariff.

The Supreme Court has also ruled that the law must treat all equally.  This is why you can live like a prince on the dole in central Montana and can't buy a Happy Meal with it in NYFC.

The MFA should get nuked just as soon as someone figures out how to get standing.

The problem is the bloody costs while that case slowly works its way up the chain, assuming they can get the Justices to grant certori.

There are already notices on places like Gunbroker, "No Sales to California".  Do we want to see that start happening for places like Ebay or Amazon?  There are already, "add 4% for payment using Credit Card or PayPal."  Do you think a notice saying, "add 25% for sales to California," will increase sales?

It's not intended to increase sales.  It's intended as a barrier to entry to new businesses and to prevent businesses smaller than a particular size from getting large enough to be competitive with the established players.  Players who are large enough that they have a staff that deals with figuring out sales taxes.  Large enough that the staff who's going to be figuring this out have just acquired a new duty rather than hiring someone new to do it.  In other words, it's not going to cost Amazon anything consequential to comply with the MFA, but it would have a large impact on, say, an auto salvage yard.

Call your congress critter.  Tell them that this is most definitely unfair and even worse will have a deleterious effect on an already weak economy.  Tell them that if they are having trouble with finding enough money to pay for programs then perhaps they can try something new, like reducing spending.  Ask them how they know that won't work, because they damn sure have never tried it.

An Überpost Well Worth Your Time

Kevin has fired another suborbital out of the park.

Read the entire thing and notice all the links.

This is your one stop shop for rebutting just about any proponent of gun-control.

Yes, it's a giant wall of text, but it's not really all that long.

Pay Attention

When you spend your money on entertainment be sure you know where your dollar is going.

Like checking to see if the author of the story is a card carrying socialist?  Do you really want to pay for that?  Participate in creating a RICH socialist hypocrite?

I don't either.

Yes, that means passing on some very entertaining material.

It also means that you're not funding the kind of folks who are happily trying to make it impossible to live your life.

Hollywood, in fact, has gotten so bad that stealing their content might very well be the moral choice.

Update:

Sean via a hater... some other places to avoid spending your money because they don't like that you have guns.


Mixed Metaphor

Just saw the new Total Recall.

It's like MC Esher meets Blade Runner in the Matrix, with a guest appearance of I Robot.

24 April 2013

Eleven

5.11 that is.

THEY'RE BACK!

Scotland uber Alles!

Experiment

I have a take-home project for y'all.

For a week, when someone is rude to you, be rude right back at them.

When someone is clueless and slams into you, don't say "excuse me", say "watch where you're going."

Wait for the other party to cross the politeness Rubicon, but once crossed give 'em Hell.

I think you're going to be shocked.

I've been doing this experiment for several months.  Most people actually seem to recognize they're being something of an ass and apologize when confronted.  There's a small fraction whose lives seem to depend on being jerks and taking advantage of our ingrained politeness.

I started this because of a bit of game theory I stumbled upon.  What have I to gain from being unfailingly polite to people who are being rude either through accident or design?

Turns out the only gain from being nice to people who are being rude is there's no confrontation about it.  There's apparently lots to gain from being rude though and by not confronting the transgressor you are allowing them that gain at your expense.

23 April 2013

Manhood

You know: a heterosexual man who owns a kilt, watches My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and owns these guns:


Is someone who is secure enough in their manhood that they just aren't going to be bothered when you attempt insults along those lines.

I Needed A Good Laugh

I Am A Bad Person

When you almost ram into me charging out of the check out lane and don't say excuse me...

When you stand in doorway of the store, blocking the exit...

When you careen around the parking lot going just fast enough to stay in front of my limping...

When you smash into my cart when I'm trying to get around you...

You are going to be called a bitch.

You were being rude on purpose, I saw your face, you don't get to be indignant that someone called you on it.

You might want to find a new repertoire of insults.  I have to have a modicum of respect for the person slinging them to be insulted by them.

Especially insults to my manliness.

That particular bit of esteem is unassailable.  I know the exact dimensions of my manhood, both physical and emotional and discovered that I am comfortable with them.

My penis is small?  Why would that matter to you?  After being such a bitch you're not going to get any use from it.

No woman would want me?  Want my wife's number?  She hates rude harridans too.

Harridan?  Look it up.

Lady, the world smells better if you take your head out of your ass.

All this is transpiring while I am loading my groceries in my trunk.  I finished while she was still screaming at me and drove away giving her a very wide berth.

She followed me part of the way home flipping me off.

She irritated me for a few minutes, I appear to have ruined her entire day.

Civility is reserved for when both parties are participating.

22 April 2013

Earth Day

I celebrated Earth Day by driving The Boy to his Special Olympics training session in the Biscayne.

The Biscayne gets about 14 mpg in town.

I let it sit and idle for the hour or so The Boy was in the pool while I read a book.

Back at home the AC was set to 70, both tube TV's were running and I had the big computer crunching on rendering a complex 3D model.

Every light was on as well.

Trigger Pull

Marv bought a trigger pull scale.

I borrowed it.

The results are interesting.

The Ruger Mk I breaks at 2 lb. 4 oz.

The Finnish Kiv/28-30 snaps at 2 lb. 6 oz.  That's amazingly light for an old bolt action battle rifle, but the 28-30's are known to be match grade guns.

Standard AR triggers break at very nearly 7 lb. give or take three or four ounces.

Purple!

The stock set from Cavalry Manufacturing arrived just a minute ago!


This color is insanely hard to get to show up the color that it actually is.  See how it looks blue below?




The Cav pistol grip is full sized, unlike the 80% that's getting more and more common.

Cav's sling swivel is not near as nice as the one that was on the black furniture, so I swapped them.

It's got a texture that just grabs your hands, I rather like it.

More pics later when we show the boy!

Thanks to everyone who contributed and included me in their tent.

UPDATE


21 April 2013

Conditional

I've noticed something!

That behavior that's unacceptable when it's done by Person A is suddenly A-OK when performed by Person B.

Just list all of the things that were anathema under Bush, but are hunky dory under Obama.

Liberals are not the only ones guilty of this.

Quite a few Clinton era policies continued under Bush, and objections to them evaporated once the (D) became an (R).

Only rarely do I find pro gun pundits noticing that some pretty serious limits to gun ownership were passed and promulgated under Reagan and the Bushes.

If you stop objecting when the person wearing the jack boot changes, you don't really care about the freedoms being crushed.

19 April 2013

Ninety Percenter

It's so obvious that it really shouldn't need to be said.

If 90% of the nation really wanted gun control not a single congressman would be afraid to vote for it.

Open

The Dunkin Donuts in Watertown, Massachusetts is open for business (according to Fox News).

The talking head is chastising them for going out during the lock-down.

However...

Think about it.

You own a Dunkin Donuts, you know the place will be crawling with cops...

I couldn't pass on that opportunity either.

Islam Again

The terrorists who blew up the Boston Marathon were Muslims?

This is my shocked face.

I don't know what to do about it and still have freedom of religion.

A decent first step might be admitting that Islam is at war with us.  That admission leads to other assumptions in regards to our next step and that alone might make some of the deep pockets rethink their support of the war.

It has to weigh heavily in the minds of Kings that our army took out the largest, most experienced, army in the region TWICE in less than a month each time.  The only complication was our desire to not hurt the innocent.  The idea that we could rebuild a better place is what went wrong in the aftermath.

America is teetering on the edge of, "fuck 'em" and the next war there will not involve rebuilding anything but petroleum infrastructure and shooting any native who comes within mortar range of it.

Big Day

I still have trouble with it being 20 years ago it was Waco.  18 since OKC, which we wouldn't have had except for Waco.

Every April 19th I brace for some new tit for tat atrocity.

There's other symbolism that makes me brace.

Today is the 238th anniversary of the Battle of Concord.

18 April 2013

Customer Service

You judge a company not by how they do when everything goes right, but by how they handle things when they all go wrong.

Cavalry Manufacturing, when I called last week, said the purple stock set you guys so generously paid for was all boxed up and ready to go out the door.

I expected it today and no package, so I called back.

The person I spoke to today was the same person I spoke with earlier.

Now he's as confused as I am.  They have no record of a shipping label being generated, and there's no box with my name and order number where it would be if no label had been generated.

They're just gone.

So he said he'd send another set out this afternoon.

It's a delay, but they're handling it.

Why Are You So Fucking Happy

What was defeated yesterday were amendments to the bill that will be voted on today.

Several of those amendments made that bill BETTER for us (in the sense that the shit sammich would have 20% less shit on it).

This bill is still alive and it's not time to rest on our laurels.

To the phones!

17 April 2013

Someone Lacks...


grace
 [ grayss ]   
  1. elegance: elegance, beauty, and smoothness of form or movement
  2. politeness: dignified, polite, and decent behavior
  3. generosity of spirit: a capacity to tolerate, accommodate, or forgive people
Synonyms: elegancerefinement, loveliness, polishbeautystylepoisecharm

Can you guess whom?

Guns To Grok

There are several guns that I am not particularly interested in owning long term, but I definitely want to have long enough to chew on.

A Mauser C.96 and a Luger top the list.

They are interesting in how they are built and the Luger is interesting in how it works.

After I shot them a few times and took them apart obsessively for a week or two I'd be done with them forever.

That's true of a lot of the guns I used to own, actually.

Once I've fingered it and figured out how it works I don't want it any more.

It's heresy, but I could easily be rid of the 1903A3 and Garand.  I know them now and grok their essences.

Of course, I am lazy and not actively selling them.  Listing them on Gunbroker creates an obligation.  I don't feel like being obliging.

Boston

The bombs in Boston were made from pressure cookers.

This rules out most left wingers as suspects, none of them have settled enough lifestyles to own something so domestic as cookware.

Clearly we're looking for a housewife of some Tea Party radical.

Martha Stewart is a housewife, conservative AND a convicted felon.

Test the fragments for white truffle oil!

We're on the other side of the looking glass now!

16 April 2013

Fluffy

This is Fluffy, the gator who lives in the pond behind where The Lovely Harvey works.


Post BAG Day

The main problem for me and BAG day, other than funds, is that I've really got all the guns I really wanted.

There are a couple that I kinda-sorta want, and a couple of unobtanium holy grails, but no more must haves.

The closest thing we have to a must do is getting a tax stamp for The Lovely Harvey's platoon carbine so we can put a proper 14.5" barrel on it.

I kinda want a Browning HP, the grand daddy of the wonder nines.

A clone of a CAR-15 R607 would be really cool.

I've a strong hankering for that FG.42/II clone, but it's godawful expensive for the gun, magazines and ammo.

And that's really it.

I want optics for Dottie more than any new firearm.

I blame Tam.  She went and skewered my self-identification.  At one point I thought of myself as a collector, she pointed out and showed that I was merely an accumulator.  Because of that epiphany I have to have a reason to buy a new gun.  Is there something technical about the design I want to grok?  Does it mate with the genuine collections I have going (.25 ACP, Browning or Finnish Mosin)?

That's why the HP is on the buy list, I've got quite the accumulation of Browning designs here.  I've scored all the easily obtained .25's already, I am well into esoteric territory there.  Just the one Finn left to find and it's the most expensive version.  Actually, I've two Finns to find, but I'll never own one of them because there'll be an example of every single Ma Deuce model in my gun room before I find a Kiv/27 carbine.

15 April 2013

No Problem!

In just a few minutes the BATFE will be holding a press conference to tell us the name of the person, persons or entity that the destructive devices that detonated in Boston were registered to.

Or murderous criminals didn't fucking bother with a background check and a $200 tax stamp (each) when they made their bombs.

One or the other...

We'd better make bombs more illegal now!

HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK HEADDESK

Public Declaration

I have transferred ownership of my firearms to my family's trust.

The Lovely Harvey has done the same with hers.

Since we are co-trustees of the trust, there's no change of ownership even if I leave her alone with any of the guns for any length of time.  Same goes for me.

Even better, there's no requirement beyond putting an amended schedule A into my trust's file.  There could be a hundred guns, there could be one.

The funny thing is we established the trust to avoid any confusion about illegal transfers for our NFA items.  Seems strange we're doing the same thing for Title 1 guns.

Waste of Time

I called Senator Nelson's office with the idea of stating my opposition to the Manchin-Toomey steaming pile.

I realized at about the second ring that it would do no good.

I also realized that as long as I had his staffer on the phone she couldn't take calls from anyone else.

Very nice lady.  Chatted with her about energy policy for about half an hour.  A complete waste of everyone's time, but it was my form of mini-filibuster on his help.

BAG Day

While today is officially Buy A Gun Day, I don't have any new additions to point to.

I never manage to schedule my acquisitions around today because what few guns I buy anymore are more along the stumbled across it one time only deals than anything carefully considered and planned.

Perhaps if I hadn't had to buy a refrigerator, I would have bought my buddy's Browning High Power.

He's not actively selling it, so it will probably be there when I finally save up the money again.

I am strongly considering selling my M1903A3 to gather said funds since the Springfield just hangs on the wall looking sorry for itself.

Euology

When I die I want everyone I know to expound to anyone who will listen about what a miserable excuse for a human being I was.

Argue that the world is a better place now that I've left it.

Speculate at why it took so long for me to die and if there'd been any justice I'd have died sooner.

You get bonus points if the believe what you are saying!

PS:  If I die doing something selfless or heroic, express shock and disbelief that such a horrid person would ever make such a sacrifice for others.

14 April 2013

Fascinating

I am fascinated with two time periods.

First is the golden age of piracy.  Where despite being murderous cut throats, pirates managed to establish trade and rules about how they would deal with each other.

Truly it was a libertarian culture.

And it demonstrated the main weakness of the libertarian utopia.  War is the killer app of The State.  On an individual basis a pirate ship could out fight any navy ship, ton for ton.  But navies bring more than combat skill to the fight, larger ships that could absorb more damage, more ships and coordination.

The second is places of the Old West like Deadwood.  Places where there was no government, yet there was law of sorts.  A claim was sacrosanct.  Trade was regularized.  Oh there was crime, but there was also punishment.

I am taken by how humanity will create a society without need of official guidelines to do so.

Confession

Typically I cruise at about 10 over the speed limit.

This normally puts me about the middle of the pack for speed.  I'm going faster than some, and slower than some and pretty close to everyone else.

Last night on the way home the Ka band started chirping intermittently so I dropped down to the speed limit and kept my butt in the right lane.

I passed three speed traps this way, and got two laser hits.  The Precious is a target for the Troopers.

As I am nearing my exit (about two miles out) I'm pretty much all alone except for a car overtaking me at least 15 over.

The Veteran's Expressway splits into two toll roads about a mile before my exit and it's common to see traffic bunch up a little in the right lane.  So this guy gets right on my ass about a mile from the split.  I leave the cruise alone and let him hang because he's got plenty of room to pass.

Then we go right past the split.  He gets MORE on my ass.  Odd, I think, he's had lots of room to pass if he feels I'm going too slow.

Because he's riding me so hard, I pop the car out of gear and coast the last half mile to my exit; and he follows me down the ramp!  I can see in the rear view he's chewing on the steering wheel he's so pissed about me going so slow.

So I do what any hot rodder does when someone feels I am not going fast enough; I go into max mileage mode.  It took a full ten seconds to clear the intersection at the bottom of the ramp and I made nice, gentle shifts at 1,500 rpm or so to inch up to the posted 45mph limit.

As a bonus reward, his girlfriend appears to have figured out what's going on and had him back off.  The farther away from my bumper, the faster I accelerated.  DING!  He can be taught!

I've decided that I need a text banner for the back window.  Letters about 1/4" tall so you have to be REALLY close to read them: "You know, I CAN always drive slower."

Top Swapping Day!

This is the day when Corvette owners who have both the solid and clear tops in southern climes remove the clear top and begin using the solid one.

To fail to do so invites heat stroke as the AC cannot begin to handle the load from ambient air temps and the sun beating through the top.

To think, when I ordered the car, all those years ago; I considered just going with the clear top.  I am so thankful I got both now!

If you're going to go with just the one top on a targa-roofed Vette; get the solid one.

13 April 2013

What I Did Today

Corvettes for St Jude's Children's Hospital did their annual dyno day.




The Precious' first pull gave a 388.34 hp and 379.70 ft-lb torque.




Pull number two gave 392.16 hp and the same 379.70 ft-lb.

Those are obviously rear wheel numbers.  The rule of thumb is you lose about 15% to driveline loss from the flywheel.  Dividing by 0.85 gives 461.36 hp!  That's more than the rated 436 hp, and that's a good thing.  Plus it did it in 84˚ air with 42% humidity.

12 April 2013

How

Ever notice that when the DNC decides that something is important, all of the Democrats vote party line?

Even congress critters who seemed to be on our side even days ago?

Figure out why?

Because they will stop funding the reelections and send a well heeled primary challenger to replace them.

Ask Joe Lieberman.

What do the Republicans do?

Not a goddamn thing.

That's why they have RINO.  They don't decide that anything is important enough that their putative members vote party line or find themselves in the wilderness.

10 April 2013

Pity

That the inventor of the subwoofer died peacefully in bed is the surest sign there is neither divinity nor justice.

09 April 2013

Even A Bad Day At The Range Is Still A Pretty Damn Good Day

And I did not have a bad day at the range.

Took Kaylee and Sabrina to the range to zero.

Sabrina was zeroed for 55gr ammo and that's not a good plan for an 11.5" barrel if you want it to have its best terminal effect.  It's now zeroed for 69gr SMK.

Kaylee has all new rear sights from the last time I had her out and she's zeroed with the same 69gr SMK loading.

A neat coincidence happened with my Aimpoint M4s.  I had it set so that it cowitnessed with the irons on Dottie.  When I swapped it onto Kaylee, the dot is lined up with the newly zeroed sights!

That will never happen to me again in a million years.

Purple Stock Update

Called Cav Manufacturing today.

The set either shipped yesterday or it will ship today!

We're getting there!

Fusion

This is double-talk, but it's grounded in half decent science.

Fusion power plants for space vessels...

What to use for fuel?

The standard GURPS fusion plant comes with a self-contained fuel supply that lasts 200 years.

Traveller's plants use a LOT of hydrogen and appear to utilize bog standard {H + H -> He + energy} reactions.

Erin's plinking around with the Traveller plants got me to thinking.

Her ammonia for deuterium storage solution to a problem was unique.  Deuterium fusion gives more energy than the protium reaction.

But ammonia is nasty stuff.  What you may be thinking of as ammonia is the household cleaner, which is a solution in water, not the pure stuff you'd want to use for fuel.

The standard Traveller assumption of using plain old hydrogen means that we're going to need some serious pressure and/or cryogenics to store it.  This is in addition to its tendency to evaporate through anything that can hold it.  The fire risk isn't really worth mentioning since this is space and a rupture will most likely be to vacuum not air.  Gas detectors exist today that could be installed just in case of a leak into the life system.

My solution to the problem is water.

We make our fusion plant run a breeder cycle.

Step one is to separate the hydrogen and the oxygen.

Step two is to blast the hydrogen with neutrinos neutrons we've obtained by running a bit of H+Li reaction on the side.  This gives us deuterium or tritium depending on our needs.

Step three is the main fusion cycle.

Step four, tear a neutrino neutron off the resulting He and run it back through!  He3 fusion is one of the best energy outputs speculated.

Step five, keep recycling the resulting elements until output drops.  I don't have the math to figure that out.  In a star the reaction is energy positive until it starts to fuse iron.  It's likely that the most economical point is well before iron though.

Our theoretical plant should run better than a star since we're engineering the inputs and controlling the cycle.

I tend to favor the GURPS answer for a self contained unit because the people working on the idea there did it more than 20 years after GDW and we have a better understanding now.  In 1977 fusion was a theoretical science problem, today it's an engineering problem.  The work done on Transhuman Space reinforces the original work.

You should see the numbers bandied about with the GURPS plant and you start to wonder what all that hydrogen is being used for in Traveller.  One idea put forward is the fuel consumption on a Traveller power plant is mostly dumping it overboard to cool the system.  The authors have not addressed it, which means that they prolly didn't consider it, fuel consumption was for game balance and flavor; no doubt.

Just for fun:  Assuming the Traveller reaction is a Deuterium Deuterium reaction.  The Type S power plant is a 72.21 Megawatt unit.  Assuming I did the math right...  It'd be 72.21 Mw if it used 1kg of Hydrogen in 28 days.  It's 722.11 gigawatts for 20 tons of fuel.

SPROING!

One of the springs that assist the garage door snapped last night.

New springs and cables installed, but this is why I never seem to get ahead.  It's one little thing after another.

The stuff adds up!

I guess the good news is I won't have to worry about those springs for another 40 years.

08 April 2013

Cosplay










I've taken a bit of crap about the Brony thing.

I stumbled across these vids.

THESE are my people.  They are me, I am them.

I don't have a costume or the money to go to cons, but I would!

I've never seen a K'zin at a con...

I've always had an urge to dress up.  I loved theater!  I was very active in the SCA until the ugly group politics finally touched me.  Reinacting would almost seem to be a great fit for me, but it's entire too much like being back in the fucking Army.  Besides, my crippling injury is real enough to knock out of the real Army, enduring that much pain for fake Army seems idiotic even for me.

The issue with cosplay is not fear or desire but choosing an outfit that a fat bald late 40's gimp can pull off.  There's a lot more freedom in making a character of your own design.

Sim Madness



Featuring that song from the strip club you can't ask anyone about because you'd have to admit that you were in a strip club.  (Seltzer on the busboys.  Gatorade!)

You know... if you... um... were...

Yeah.  I covered that pretty good.  No one suspects anything.

Was that out loud?

FUCK!

07 April 2013

On Racism

Are you a person?  Or not?

If so, are you an American?  Or not?

If you are not a person, then you ARE property.  Like a hamster, cat or dog.

If you are an American as well; "The rights of the people..." applies to you the same as it does to me.

The 13th amendment took care of the only exception to people's rights that was in the Constitution.  The 15th and 19th assured that you'd have a voice to ensure you would always remain people.

Are you an American?

What you are, now, is far more important than what your parents were.  Or grand parents, or great grand parents.

What was done to them has no bearing on what is being done to you.

Time to choose.  I will stand by your decision.

If you choose to not be a person I will happily continue to feed and house you, I like the idea of zoos.  Just remember, you had a choice, and you only get one chance at this choice.

Be an American person or be an animal in a zoo.

Pick.

Partial Information

A lot is being written about how an amazing percentage of spree killers were on SSRI medicines.

Or were taking them erratically.

I would say that they were onto something, except there are thousands and thousands of people taking these meds who aren't shooting anyone everyday.  Day in, day out.

I think what it will boil down to is there are people who present as good candidates for SSRI therapy whom will respond by getting more psychotic, not less.

What we have going on politically will impede the study needed to identify those people and will likely infringe on the rights of people who need the therapy and are not dangerous.

Well Dammit!

The light in the tunnel.

That's a train.

The fridge died!

On the up side, it died BEFORE we bought groceries this week.

On the down side, its replacement pretty much devoured the money I was getting from emptying my parts bin.

The new (to us) one is black.  Like a 2001 Obelisk.

05 April 2013

Noticed This

How many companies with their own designs are making a 1911 and/or an AR?

Remington, Ruger, S&W and SIG-Sauer make both.

It's fascinating because I keep reading about how shitty both those designs are.

Perhaps not as shitty as perceived combined with PT Barnum's axiom makes for good business.

Virtual Swap Meet

The internet is a funny place.

I posted a picture of Kaylee on Arfcom.

Some random guy there asks who made my C7 upper.  I tell him and he laments that there aren't any in stock anywhere.

I reply that I'd swap for a flat-top.  He doesn't have one.

I'm chatting with a friend online and he's selling everything he owns to get a machine shop set up in his garage.  I mention the story and he happens to have a couple spare flat-top uppers.

I message the arfcom guy and he agrees to buy my C7 for what my friend is charging for a flat-top, including the shipping.  A few minutes on PayPal and the deeds are done.

Kaylee is modernized.  Some dude on Arfcom is retrofied.  My friend has some extra cash.

Everyone wins!

04 April 2013

03 April 2013

Sequester

Sequester: where the Bureau of Land Management will not issue permits for recreational use because they don't have the money to pay anyone to process the applications yet has plenty of money to pay people keep you from doing anything that requires that permit.

Bitches Please!

MMORPG.

Those last three letters are supposed to mean "role playing game".

Not any more than your chess pieces are people.

Sadly it's a case of if I need to explain, you will not understand.  If you understand, I don't need to explain.

Board games, computerized or not, are not role playing games.  Complexity of the playing piece is not a substitution for characterization.

Change

One of the dangers of taking a well established setting, such as Traveller, and making fixes is the cascade of repair.

Fix that one thing and it changes two others, likely breaking them.

So you fix those, those fixes break two more things...

Pretty soon you've changed the assumptions so much it's not the original setting anymore.

It makes you look back and wonder, why didn't I just do this from scratch in the first place?

I've fixed Traveller more than once.  I've also broken it more than once.

Sometimes the players really dug what I'd done.  Sometimes they did nothing but stare at the cracks and complain.

Gods, what all have I done?

Chucking the entire combat system.  This is one of the few times the players were happy.

Changing to GURPS from the OG rules was also popular.  Changing from my homebrew to the official GURPS: Traveller was less popular.

Changing the doubletalk of the drives changed the "Imperial Rome" paradigm of the 3rd Imperium on me more than once.

Changes in the real world of computers gutted several hunks of the rules, more than once!

Changes in the vision of what the future would look like snuck up on me a couple times too.  While cyberware and transhumanism might be plausible commonplace future tech, it's NOT Traveller.  It stands out like a light saber at a Star Trek convention.

Making the Aslan into Kzin is something I think we've all done.

And when all is said and done, I keep coming back to the OG setting and assumptions.  They were elegant.

Yes, the maneuver drive and jump drive chuck that whole physics thing out the window by violating all sorts of basic rules.  What we can say is Traveller is GOOD science fiction in that it makes those changes and sticks to them no matter where the assumption leads.  Even if it gets ugly.  It was at least internally consistent and that's all I've ever asked of a setting.

And yet...  The urge to make it my own is always there.  I always understand when I see someone else making it their own too.

02 April 2013

Wow Gun Stuff

There's some amazing numbers associated with firearms.

5.56x45mm M193 ball, fired from an M16A1 has a muzzle velocity of 3,200 feet per second.

It's rifling twist is 1 turn every 12 inches.  Conveniently that's 3,200 revolutions per second or 192,000 revolutions per minute.

The rate of fire of an M16A1 is about 780 rounds per minute or 13 per second.

In 1/13 of a second the bullet will travel 246.15 feet, meaning there's a bit more than 82 yards between bullets firing fully automatic.

That does seem a long ways until you remember that the second bullet is 1/13 of a second behind the first one, so run fast to dance among them downrange.

They Are All Perfect

Yet a life spent looking is not wasted.

01 April 2013

War Thunder - New Nation

The Great Vellum Shortage Of 1964

Not many people know this, but we went to war in Vietnam over a shortage of vellum.

Back before CAD replaced manual drafting, you needed to draw all your plans on paper.

The paper drafters use is a tough translucent sheet called vellum.

In the old days vellum was thinly tanned sheep skin.

That stopped when The Troubles in Northern Ireland caused prices of sheep to climb dramatically.

Luckily, in Vietnam, a plant was discovered whose leaves could be bleached into a similar material.  This is the reason the French fought to hang on to their colony, to corner the market on vellum.

Remember, it was essential for any industrial nation to have a steady supply of this material or they would not be able to produce any plans to build anything.

Domestic supplies of sheep were enough to supply the US with enough vellum to keep up manufacturing, but the space race created an almost instant shortage of this vital material.

With the French out of Vietnam, the vital vellum leaf supply would go entirely to the Soviet Union and we would never reach the moon...

Luckily the vellum plantations were in the south.

Equally lucky a substitute paper made from everyday wood pulp was discovered and eventually computers took over before the last plant was harvested and made extinct.

But that was another story.  Dr Seuss wrote "The Lorax" to bring attention to and illustrate the near eradication of the Vellum Tree.