Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Omphaloskepsis

We have:
1. An ongoing problem with global terrorism that we refuse to even name.
2. Russia resurgent in eastern Europe.
3. A crumbling infrastructure.
4. An insurmountable national debt.
5. A national security structure dedicated to surveillance at the cost of the our freedoms.
6. A unending flood of people crossing the southern border.
7. Almost half the population unwilling or unable to work.
8. An ever shrinking manufacturing base.
9. ...whatever other important crisis you would like to add here.

This Sunday, if the NFL decided to play the game with a red rubber kickball, would it matter? If they decided to play by flag football rules to protect the brains of the players, wouldn't that be a good thing?

If they played Calvinball, what would be different next Monday?




Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Deflategate - the Patriots did not cheat

Interesting science experiment:
An experiment performed by a team at Carnegie Mellon provides empirical support for the Patriots’ claim to have done nothing unusual. The Carnegie experimentalists inflated a batch of footballs to 12.5 psi at a room temperature of 75°F, then let the balls equalize to a new ambient temperature of 50°F, resulting in an average pressure drop of 1.8 psi. (They also wet the leather balls to simulate the rainy conditions of the game, surmising that this might allow stretching that would reduce air pressure in the ball, but this seems likely to be a minor factor.)
It seems that the cooler temperature on the field caused some of the water vapor in the ball to condense, reducing the pressure.  This implies that what happened at the Patriots-Colts game happens all the time - any maybe even more for very cold stadiums like Green Bay.  I'd guess that in sub freezing temperatures players fingers start to lose some feeling and so the situation isn't as noticeable.

"Hottest year ever" record relied on data adjustments

The recent announcement by NASA that 2014 was (maybe, kinda sorta) the hottest year on record relied on a big heat wave in South America for the record high global temperature reported.  But if you look at South America, you see a very large part of it is Amazon rain forest where there are precisely zero surface stations reporting temperatures to NASA and the other databases.

As a matter of fact, it boils down to three stations that are used to "infill" data to the bulk of the continent.  There's quite some interesting adjustments being made to the data from those stations:


As we so often see, older temperatures are adjusted downwards and recent temperatures are adjusted upwards:
So we find that a large chunk of [NASA's] hottest year is centred around a large chunk of South America, where there is little actual data, and where the data that does exist has been adjusted out of all relation to reality.
Other than that, it's awesome.

Pwn the drone

Who would have seen this coming?
Hacker Rahul Sasi has found and exploited a backdoor in Parrot AR Drones that allows the flying machines to be remotely hijacked.

The Citrix engineer developed what he said was the first malware dubbed Maldrone which exploited a new backdoor in the drones.

Sasi (@fb1h2s) said the backdoor could be exploited for Parrot drones within wireless range.
It seems that the developers didn't think about security when they wrote the software.  This is my shocked face.

U. S. Weapons Systems vulnerable

Oh good grief:
An annual report released by the Pentagon's chief weapons tester indicates that a majority of the government's weapons programs contain “significant vulnerabilities.”
Many of the bugs stem from outdated and unpatched software, said Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation for the Department of Defense, in his 366-page report released on Jan. 20.
Due to the evolving threat landscape and upgraded cybercriminal techniques it is “likely that the determined cyber adversaries can acquire a foothold in most (Department of Defense) networks” and could even “degrade important DoD missions when and if they chose to,” Gilomore said. While program managers resolved previous issues discovered in recent years, this year's report has uncovered a slew of new vulnerabilities.
Stalin would have had them shot.  This is basic blocking and tackling, and the Department of freakin' Defense seemingly isn't up to it.

Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Sobibor, Treblinka, and 15,000 Other Camps

It's Holocaust Memorial Day. The Telegraph has a good article with an interview. Arek Hersh was 14 when he arrived at Auschwitz. with a group of three hundred children. He was one of two that survived.

The Nazis intended to kill every Jew in the world. They would not have stopped. They had set up an industrial process, used resources they could not spare to keep on killing right up to the end of the war. Arek Hersh wasn't liberated because Germany decided to stop killing Jews. He wasn't liberated because a merciful god looked down and took pity.

He was liberated by young American men with rifles backed up by the industrial might of an aroused nation that sent bombers, fighters, tanks, ships, machine guns, flamethrowers, artillery, and every other possible weapon to Europe to kill Germans and destroy their ability to wage war.

If you're going to remember the liberation of the Nazi death camps, remember who liberated them and how, and what it cost.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Scratching To Escape

Some writing, some song links, some politics. He's one of us, I think. If we're not handing out enough free ice cream, here's another place to go visit. He joins the blogroll, too.

Stop, Just Stop

If you're at the range and something goes wrong, stop. This video isn't new, but it captures something important. About halfway through, the shooter has a squib. I would guess that the projectile is just partway into the barrel and is still partially in the chamber. The shooter does not recognize what has happened. He manually ejects the spent case and inserts a live round. This is his opportunity to prevent what is coming. If he had paused to ask himself why the empty case had not ejected, even if he didn't notice the light response, he could have checked the barrel.

Instead he loads another live round and attempts to fire. The rifle does not fire because it is not fully in battery. He hits the forward assist, then ejects that round, checks his magazine, and loads another round. This was his second opportunity to fully assess the problem.

This round doesn't fully go into battery either. He strikes the forward assist again, this time managing to get the rifle into battery, likely by pressing the bullet back into the case, and pulls the trigger.


If you ever have a round that doesn't cycle the action, that is a clue.

Just how powerful is government health care?

It is so powerful, it can force even Canada to stop being nice:
An elderly couple that has called Canada home for years is now under orders to leave the country, so they won't be a burden to the health-care system.

Michael and Janet Hollingsworth decided to move to Canada from Britain, after visiting their daughter in Saskatchewan in 2006 and 2007.

In 2012, they settled in Havelock, N.B., where they quickly grew to love their new community.

...

But now they may have to leave.

About a year-and-a-half ago, Michael's kidneys failed, and when they re-applied for a new visitor's visa, they were denied.
"(On) Christmas Eve, we received it in the mail stating that because of his health and everything else they wouldn't grant us a visitor's visa and we were to leave Canada immediately," Janet said.
If the government pays, this sort of thing is probably inevitable.  Way to go, "compassionate" Canada!

Bootnote: I only snark at Canada because so many people up there like to tell us how backwards and uncompassionate we are because we don't (yet) have national health care.  Sure, our system has problems (as they so often point out).  But if "Government is the things we choose to do together" then all y'all are choosing to throw an old, sick man out of your country because he's old and sick.  Not nice.  There's quite a difference between a sin of omission and a sin of commission.

(via)

Al Gore: this Soviet plan for high-density cities is awesome

And it will only cost $90 Trillion!
To stop climate change, Al Gore wants to spend a mere $90 trillion rebuilding all of the world’s cities so that everyone is living in such high-density neighborhoods that they don’t need cars. While a few curmudgeonly types might think that $90 trillion sounds like a lot of money, it really isn’t, say Gore and former Mexico president Filipe Calderon. After all, the world is probably going to spend the $90 trillion on something in the next few years anyway, so what’s wrong with spending it on this?

Gore made the proposal at an economics conference in Davos, Switzerland attended by billionaires who fly in on private jets so they can tell other people they need to get used to consuming less. Of course, neither Gore nor the other millionaires and billionaires at the conference expect to be stuck living in a high-density apartment any time soon.

This reminds the Antiplanner of The Ideal Communist City, the 1965 book that is now available for free download thanks to a group called Agenda 21 Today. In order to avoid the sprawl and traffic congestion found in those inefficient western cities, the book proposed that the Soviet Union build cities of high-density apartments allocating “not more than 225 square feet per person” to each apartment.


Click on the image to read a review of this book.

That’s exactly what the soviets did, with the result that Moscow today is the perfect smart-growth city: high densities throughout surrounded by a rural countryside.
So how'd that work out for the Soviets?  And how will today's young urban hipsters react?
As it turns out, a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders finds that even most millennials don’t want to be stuck in cities for their entire lives, the way most Soviet comrades were. While some may say the home builders are biased, they have a strong economic interest in finding out what kind of housing people are willing to pay for, so they are no more biased to the suburbs than the market as a whole.
I can't imagine what a disaster that man would have been as President.  He lives in Cloud Cuckooland.

Walmart must have started blue light specials or something


Monday, January 26, 2015

Boy, I'm glad I moved to Georgia

It looks like New England is going to get pasted:
Serious impacts from Winter Storm Juno are expected in Boston and the surrounding area early this week. A blizzard warning has been issued for the city of Boston and eastern Massachusetts, with much as 2 feet of snow being forecast.

...
"We're anticipating a really serious event here," said Peter Judge, spokesperson for Massachusetts Emergency Management, in an interview with The Weather Channel. "We're going to work hard to reach out to folks and make sure they understand the severity of this event."

...
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is on standby to co-ordinate support for coastal evacuations if necessary. The agency says that it is also ready to assist stranded drivers, provide shelters, and coordinate debris removal and utility restoration.
"This is [a] dangerous and life-threatening storm and mariners should return to port by Monday afternoon," the release said.
Airlines cancelled nearly 2,000 flights for Monday by 5 a.m. as the storm takes aim at the North East Travelers to check with their airlines before heading to Boston Logan International Airport by Massachusetts Port Authority officials because airlines are cancelling flights ahead of the storm and delays are likely.
I did my time up there.  Happy not to need this anymore.


Good luck to everyone still up there.

Keep your eye on Greece

Daniel Hannan says that the danger is not that Greece leaves the Euro and its economy collapses, but rather that it leaves the Euro and its economy thrives - setting an example for Spain and Italy.  The question then is what will the EU do to buy off and/or intimidate Greece's new government?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What do you call a four wheel motorcycle?

A "car"



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I'm (not) Batman

Extra nerd points if you heard Sheldon's voice say that.




From Atlanta Custom Baggers. Seen at the motorcycle show. I liked this one better:



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Off to the motorcycle show

Going to look at more stuff I can't afford.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I think I'm in love

Yeah, baby!



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Tailgate

Outdoor kitchen for the win.



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Going to the RV show today

That will be a new experience, but looks like it will be fun.  Pictures later.

Shotgunning in Chicago

This post started with the March 1956 edition of Guns Magazine. On page 16 is an article about a talented skeet shooter named Carola Mandel. It's a mildly sexist piece, about how this little wisp of a 100 pounds can beat the men at competitive shooting. All the men. She was the National Champion in 1954, two days after breaking her foot, she went out and took the 20 gauge championship with a perfect 100. It was just one day in a long career.

In 1956 she was the National All Gauge High Score champ. 12, 20, 28, and .410, again, not the ladies champion, the overall. She was inducted into National Skeet Shooting Hall of Fame in 1970, the first year there was a Hall of Fame. She continued to shoot until 1985 when a wrist injury ended her time on the range. She passed away in 2002 at the age of 82. Here's her obituary in the Chicago Tribune.

But that is not really the topic of this post. This is. In the closing paragraphs of the Guns Magazine article was this quote:
"Sometimes I would shoot over at the Lincoln Park Gun Club. It is only a short distance from my home. Sometimes I would shoot three or four days in a week. Then I would shoot in some local, friendly match on weekends with people I know."
 What?!? Lincoln Park is in Chicago. In the middle of Chicago. And whaddya know? There was a gun club in Lincoln Park. It opened in 1912. They shot skeet and trap at 2901 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago until 1991.



Someone noticed and looked for a way to put a stop to it. It was made into an environmental issue, lawsuits were threatened, then the city park district came in during the shutdown and bulldozed everything.

It was never about anything but the guns. We lose by inches, one club at a time.


Friday, January 23, 2015

OK, surgery it is then

Collar bone not healing, so surgery will be February 12.  Should have done it 2 months ago.  Bah.