Sarah Palin's image already appears on the newer nickels.

calendar   Thursday - February 25, 2010


I LOVE the look of her ... gosh I’d like to get my hands on one of these. 

I’m no mechanic or any kind of expert on cars.  I only know I have always been car mad though.  I am familiar with bankrupt and cars however. It was my habit (more then 40 yrs ago) to keep buying cars sometimes more then one at a time. No money of course but Calif. a car friendly state and credit was soooooooooooooooooo easssssyyyyy!  And I was sooooooooo stupid!  But I really couldn’t help it.  Wasn’t till I met my wife and got housebroken, er trained, no. Whatever, she got me out of that kind of insanity.  Cept once.  Coming out of a Mrs. Winners breakfast place one morning I saw a beautiful blue Caddy. This was in Nashville.  What I took at first to be a parking lot was in fact a section owned by the dealer who parked cars there when extra space needed. No matter.  I saw this car and bought it at once. I didn’t even drive it. I was in LOVE.
But looking at this today, well.  It doesn’t look the same way to me that it did all those years ago.  And frankly, given a choice I’d always rather have the antique car below.  Much sexier don’t ya think? 

Sexier than a Bentley, and so well made that it bankrupted the company.

By Andrew English
Daily Telegraph


This rakishly low-slung sports car came about as a result of Oliver Lyle (of sugar giant Tate and Lyle) looking for a car for his wife, who couldn’t change gear.
He gave his considerable financial backing to Captain (later Sir) Noel Macklin, who set up Invicta at his home in Cobham, Surrey, where the house and plant were powered by a single gas engine – this was a very different sort of car company.

Using nickel/chrome, high-strength steels in the ladder chassis and a cast aluminium bulkhead gave great resistance to twisting on bumpy roads, as well as decent roadholding.

The Meadows engine was powerful, reliable and delivered so much torque the car’s brochure boasted that the gearbox was “only for emergency use”.
S-types were also known as “low chassis” models because the chassis curves under the rear axle for better weight distribution, at the cost of ground clearance.
The quality of an Invicta is astounding, with a dashboard so full of instruments it would look more at home in an aeroplane.

Great performance is assured – on a good one, the driving experience is unsurpassed, even by a contemporary Bentley. The Invicta also looks sexier. Of the 77 built, 68 survive.

Why you want one

One of the best looking pre-Second World War sports cars. Build quality so good it bankrupted the company. Modern supercar owners will park around the back if you turn up in one of these.

Why you don’t
It’s the price of a Home Counties semi-detached and has an undeserved reputation for being tricky at the limit after “Sammy” Davis crashed one at Brooklands in 1931.

You might not know The Invicta is named after the White Knight in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. In the hands of Donald Healey, the S-Type won the Monte Carlo rally in 1931.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 02/25/2010 at 02:31 PM   
Filed Under: • Personalplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (4) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Thursday - February 18, 2010

kind of idle

Not much posting from me the past few days. Nothing much is striking my interest. I’m once again both fed up and bored silly with politics: same old same old, and it’s never going to change.

The Mouse Count is now at 2. And it took me making exactly two trips down there in the morning for them to realize it was in their best interest ($$) to toss the dead mice themselves. Or at least check the traps and call me for a disposal if necessary. Both mice caught in the same trap in the same spot, half way up the steel shelving unit that the employees keep their snack food and coffee supplies on. Beats me how the mice get there to get caught in that one trap, as I’ve got traps on the floor all around and on each lower shelf as well. It could be that they come down from the suspended ceiling. Which means the trap that catches them is the first one in line. Whatever.


I’ve been learning a bit about locomotives and “tractive effort”. Tractive effort is the metric used to express the starting and pulling power of a locomotive. While steam engines from days gone by produced their power from high pressure steam acting on a big piston that moved large and intricate levers, modern diesel locomotives use motors. The engine is only there to run a generator, and electricity runs a motor that turns the wheels that pull the train. It’s quite amazing just how much more powerful a solution this is than the old way. For example, the brand new steam locomotive (did you know there was such a thing?) called the Tornado, built in the UK to modern specifications for £3million, has a tractive effort of 2700 metric horsepower, or 2000 KW, which is about 38,000 lb/ft of torque.


The Tornado, UK’s brand new steam engine

This steam locomotive is just a slightly improved version of a standard choo-choo from back in the day. It is not a giant engine, or even a very large one, but it is representative of a size of engine that was very common at the time. It is classified as a “4-6-2” because it has 4 wheels under the boiler, 6 driving wheels nearly 7 feet in diameter, and 2 wheels under the firebox in the back. The very largest, and rarest, articulated steam engines (double sized boilers, 2 sets of driving wheels, and a hinge in the middle), such as the 2-8-8-2 could manage 152,000 lb/ft; these monsters were essentially 2 very large locomotives welded together. They could haul a lot of freight, but not always very fast. The very largest articulated engine ever built, a 2-8-8-8-4 Triplex could produce perhaps 199,000 lb/ft of tractive effort, but it could barely go 5 mph. A typical large American steam engine could produce 70,000-90,000 lb/ft.


The Virginian, the largest steam engine ever built. Top speed: 5mph

These are big numbers. A whole lot of power. Enough to pull a train. Enough to pull a string of passenger cars when the electric trains freeze up in England due to Global Warming. And while the steam engines had a certain charm, a powerful magnificence you could understand just by looking at, they pale in comparison to a modern diesel “electro-motive” engine. The latest General Electric Evolution turbo-diesel locomotive uses a 12 cylinder engine to produce 4400 horsepower which turns the generators that run the AC motors to both sets of 6 drive wheels, and provides 166,000 lb/ft of continuous tractive effort and up to 198,000 lb/ft of starting tractive effort. Which makes today’s standard diesel locomotive just as powerful as the most potent steam behemoths of ages past, with far less maintenance, much higher speed, and orders of magnitude less pollution. It’s simply a better way. Night and day better. Oh, and that Evolution 12 cylinder engine not only makes as much power as the older 16 cylinder engine, it does it on less fuel and makes fewer emissions as well. And it’s quieter too. So it’s a better, better way.


The latest engine from GE, The Evolution

For more on train physics, see this link.

So what can you do with engines like these? How about pull a line of freight cars 3 1/2 miles long? One super train, 9 engines I think, but it hauls the same load as 600 tractor-trailer trucks. One engineer at the controls. Possibly a fireman on board. One or two guys. In charge of 300 freight cars and 9 engines. 8 of those engines are run by remote control. Economical in the extreme!

Yes, containerized shipping has come to the railroads too. Those odd looking freight cars in the video are called intermodal double stack wells. “Intermodal” because they carry trucks on the train. Two shipping modes together. But they could just as easily be called “internodal”, because each “car” is actually several cars in one. Thus “nodes”. Each sub-car, or node, is a hollow steel frame that can carry two standard shipping containers stacked one on top of the other. The containers sit low in the car, down between the wheels, which keeps the center of gravity low, so they can go around corners faster. Unlike regular boxcars, which have a set of 4 wheels under each end, the intermodal’s wheel sets are shared between the cars or nodes; this cuts the rolling resistance down 40% and provides a smoother ride for the cargo. They are also called “multiple unit articulated double stack cars” since the shared wheel set has a hinge point for each car on it, thus the articulation. But I think “intermodal double stack wells” is just as long-winded a name, and even more train-tech-speak. Any railroad insider would know that those things are both articulated and double stackable. Not trying to confuse anyone even more, but the set of wheels under any train car are called “trucks”. So a tractor on trucks pulls a trail of cars with tractor truck trailers on them, over the tracks. That’s a train today. And the tracks themselves, made of rails and ties, are called a roadbed.  The ties, those great baulks of timber that the rails are nailed to,"sleep" in the stony bed of the road, the rocky road, so they are also called “sleepers”. Got it? LOL Trains have their own vocabulary. Look up “switch frog” and “outside slip”.


“insert shipping container A into slot B, then tighten retaining bolts C, D, E, and F”

The internodal double stack wells come in several sizes and configurations, but mostly they are built as 3 and 5 node units. The only downside to their use is the internodal part: the extended wheelbase of the shared wheel sets makes for a larger turning radius, which limits their use to single run tracks without tight curves, and to double run tracks where the second set of tracks isn’t too close. But they save so much money that my guess is that the old tracks will be moved and modified to allow their use. It’s a better way, and that’s what drives the free market.

All aboooooard!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/18/2010 at 09:54 AM   
Filed Under: • Daily Lifeplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (10) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Saturday - February 13, 2010

A digital diversion

Upon The Road of Anthracite

So Chris emails me a link. It’s to a neat geological web page that examines Global Warming and concludes, duh, that the temperatures have been going up and down forever. And that CO2 levels have nothing at all to do with it, that those levels often lag 800 years behind actual climate change, and that at one point in the way way way back, the climate was considerably cooler, yet atmospheric CO2 was 18 times higher than it is right now. Lots of graphs, and an interesting bit of actual science. Plus the author shows how the whole thing is a damnable scam, created to frighten people out of their tax dollars. With self-condemning quotes too. Nice.

So I read that stuff, and explored the rest of that page. It turns out to be a bit about West Virginia geology, and coal mining there. How it’s a good thing that puts people to work. How these days strip mining rebuilds the land when they’re finished, and how the EPA is a bit shortsighted in requiring the miners to put things back “as they were originally”. Because it’s just as easy to fill the holes and replace the overburden and build nice flat farmland that people could use, but no, the EPA demands they build steep hills. Except that “originally” if you go back far enough, West Virginia was flat. It was swampland. On the equator. When the coal beds were laid down, 300 million years ago or thereabouts.

But they kept talking about peat, and Lignite, and bituminous coal. Hey, I didn’t know bituminous came in several varieties. Ok, fine, but what about anthracite? Not a word. I guess WV doesn’t have any. It’s a Pennsylvania thing. So I looked it up. And it is.


Famous Reading Anthracite. Since 1871

Somehow I had thought it was all gone. Not true. Sure, once upon a time miners wrested 114 million tons of the stuff out of the ground per year, but their great grandsons are still pulling up 5 million tons of the stuff per year today. Born one mornin’ when the sun didn’t shine ...

Anthracite is hard coal, the kind that burns with very little flame and almost no smoke, but lots of heat. Kind of like nice dry birch logs in your fireplace. Is it the “Clean Coal” we’ve been looking for? I can’t say, but the good folks at Reading Anthracite seem to think so:

Mother Nature’s Clean Coal
The inherent, natural qualities of anthracite coal from the Reading Anthracite Company address the needs for energy, carbon and media solutions.

... even if the media solutions they are talking about are for filtering applications, not the MSM. Um, uh, wait ... aren’t they the same thing? LOL

So I’m reading all about this hard coal, realizing I’ve got a couple of chunks of it around here somewhere. And that somewhere back in my past, I’ve been in front of a coal fire. I can’t remember where, or when, but I remember it smelled nice. A much softer aroma than pine smoke. And I’m reading how the first commercially dug load of this coal went by barge down the Susquehanna River, the river that’s older than time (really, it almost is. It runs across the mountains not along them. Because the river was already there before the mountains woke up and started growing. And those mountains are the worn down stubs of what they used to be) and it’s starting to feel like Home News. Because I used to live by that river, since one end of it runs through Binghamton NY, where lives the old alma mata. Ok, Three Mile Island is on it too, but way downstream. And that this more expensive black rock was used as a premium fuel by a famous railroad of it’s day, the Lackawanna. Now it’s definitely data within my ken, as I’ve been aware of that line my entire life. In it’s latter days it was the Erie-Lackawanna, but I knew it as the Delaware Lackawanna & Western. The D.L. & W. The “delay, linger, and wait” line that ran across NY, NJ, and PA. And I’m a would-be train junkie anyway. Love them. But I never got the true addiction, never became a train-head. But Big Steam and Old Diesel float my boat, both as physical artifacts and their impact on social history. Like airplanes, only with lots and lots of added mass.

And then the Wiki post mentions Phoebe Snow, and I knew it was Kismet. The Phoebe Snow was the name of the train my mother used to ride to go to college. Back in the days when trains had names, it had the prettiest one. And that’s all I knew about it. And somewhere in this digital odyssey I saw mention of the Lackawanna Cut-off and it all hit home. That’s local history, a turn of last century engineering marvel that was so soon forgotten.

Peiper has the advantage of living in a 2300 year old town, a place that values history. I don’t. Nor do most Americans. Everything is new, everything is now. We kind of shake our heads at our children, or our grandchildren, who think that 1985 was so long ago that dinosaurs still walked the earth. We have no real sense of history here, aside from the rare battlefield park, or some well made colonial building that still stands. Everything else gets torn down, or built over. And then lost. But I had heard of the Cut-off. It’s not far from here. So I started looking. And found that the old rail line that it replaced ... is still here. I drive over the Oxford Tunnel at least once a week to get up to the bowling alley, and I never knew it was there. 103 years ago, the town where I bowl was a going concern, but the cut-off put them out of business, and they still haven’t fully recovered.


I drive under this RR bridge every week. The trolley is long gone. Today that dirt road is called Route 31. Pic is a link BTW.

A little bit up the same road from the bridge in the picture, outside of the tiny town of Hampton, is another giant pile of concrete. A huge thing. A modern Ozymandius. It has to be the base of another railroad bridge from days gone by. Just the barn size concrete base remains, right up against the road, the bridge missing, the rail bed gone and built over. I always wondered about it, but I couldn’t even envision which way the tracks may have went. I think I might know now; it fell victim to engulf and devour, circa 1900.

Until the mid 1960’s train tracks criss-crossed this state. They were everywhere. The lumber yard downtown here is a rail station. The tracks are gone though. History, buried and forgotten. So many towns have “depot” or “junction” or “station” in their names, but no trains roll by anymore. Want to talk about long gone? Before the trains there were canals. All over the place around here. There’s a little town a dozen miles north east of here called Port Morris. Right next to it is a place called Landing. There is no river anywhere near them you could float anything bigger than a canoe in. But they used to be canal towns. Hey, so did Binghamton. So did lots of places in the north east.

So, canals, cut-offs, railroads that have puffed their way onto the pages of the past. Mysterious lumps of concrete and my awareness that all that is now, was once not. Sadness? No, just something to ponder on a gray cold winter afternoon.

And the Phoebe Snow? Not just the name of a train. A sexy pin-up from the days before emancipation. Before the ideas of sexy or pin-up existed. An icon from the birth of marketing so successful that it drove crowds wild. One of the original hotties. O.H. bay-bay. And a source of memorable jingles far older than the Burma-Shave limericks. Because it all comes together you see. Phoebe Snow was the It Girl of her day, but she was made up. To sell tickets on the railroad. The Lackawanna railroad. And they used her, a confident and lovely woman off on her own [!!! shudders!!!] all dressed in white ... because they powered the train with anthracite, and you could ride that train without looking like Bert the chimney sweep (chim chim cheroo) at ride’s end. And they did it with poetry. Ok, with doggerel, but that’s close enough:

Phoebe says
And Phoebe knows
That smoke and cinders
Spoil good clothes
‘Tis thus a pleasure
And delight
To take the Road
Of Anthracite

Her laundry bill
For fluff and frill
Miss Phoebe finds
Is nearly nil.
It’s always light
Though gowns of white
Are worn on Road
Of Anthracite

And she made them millions. Her face and elegantly dressed figure were on billboards, postcards, trading cards. She sold the idea of a clean train, a luxury ride from New York City to Buffalo NY, the northern gateway city to the interior of the whole country in those days. And not just the ride. She sold the notion of lux, whether in it’s modern posh form, or in it’s more original photonic meaning

Now Phoebe may
by night or day
enjoy her book upon the way
Electric light
dispels the night
Upon the Road of Anthracite


The land in the central and eastern portions of Pennsylvania is very folded. Folded like the serpentine bit in the middle of a piece of cardboard. It’s called the Endless Mountain area, and with good reason. And the eastern edge of that Endlessness starts right here in NJ, pretty much under my feet. So when they built the Cut-off, the idea was to level out and to straighten out the train tracks, which up until then had to double back and forth all over the place to get over the hills and valleys they couldn’t tunnel through. Which is why the Cut-Off was an engineering marvel on the order of building the Panama Canal. When it was all done it had several of the largest fill areas under the roadbed in the nation. A fill is what you build when you have to get your choo-choo across a declivity in the land too shallow and perhaps too long to build a bridge over. It’s a bloody great pile of rock, with trains on top. And when they hit rivers that couldn’t be filled, they built the 3 largest viaducts in history, 2 of them right here in NJ, and pioneered the used of reinforced concrete. And they did it on time, and under budget, for both the Paulinskill and the Delaware River viaducts. And they’re still standing, 103 years later. In 1907, taking a high speed train (70mph!) across those bridges, 120 feet up in the air, must have felt like that other new-fangled activity, flying. So of course they had Phoebe sell that experience too

Like aeroplanes
My favorite trains
O’ertop the lofty mountain chains
There’s cool delight
At such a height
Upon the Road of Anthracite

And you could take the train from Hoboken (just across the tunnel from NYC) to Buffalo in a mere 8 hours.  And be well fed and not get dirty. They made more millions.

But they could not escape the Law of Unintended Consequences. Phoebe Snow planted the seed of the idea of the Independent Woman in people’s minds. Sure, she was classy, and proper, and not at all naughty. And perfectly safe and well cared for on her special train. But she was doing it all without a man leading her around. Amazing. Radical. And still the subject of both Advertising and Womyn’s Studies today.

As an icon, she sold a clean ride and a new cultural image for the American Girl on the go—an image that lasted nearly 70 years.

How about that?


The final version of the Phoebe Snow crosses the Delaware River Viaduct, early 1950’s

The highway will one day be Route 80


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/13/2010 at 07:56 PM   
Filed Under: • Fun-StuffHistoryplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (23) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Thursday - February 11, 2010

It’s in the code

Is Toyota Gas Pedal Problem Computer Based?

According to this article in The Wall Street Journal, the “sticking gas pedal” problem with Toyotas is not due to improperly placed floor mats. It’s a computer problem. And it’s been going on for years. And Toyota has known all about it. For years. So has the NHTSA. For more than half a decade.

On Jan. 19, in a closed-door meeting in Washington, D.C., two top executives from Toyota Motor Corp. gave American regulators surprising news.

Evidence had been mounting for years that Toyota cars could speed up suddenly, a factor suspected in crashes causing more than a dozen deaths. Toyota had blamed the problem on floor mats pinning the gas pedal. Now, the two Toyota men revealed they knew of a problem in its gas pedals.

Toyota’s woes have roots in 2002’s redesigned Camry sedan, which featured a new type of gas pedal. Instead of physically connecting to the engine with a mechanical cable, the new pedal used electronic sensors to send signals to a computer controlling the engine. The same technology migrated to cars including Toyota’s luxury Lexus ES sedan. The main advantage is fuel efficiency.

But by early 2004, NHTSA was getting complaints that the Camry and ES sometimes sped up without the driver hitting the gas.

But by early 2004, NHTSA was getting complaints that the Camry and ES sometimes sped up without the driver hitting the gas. It launched its first acceleration probe, focusing on 37 complaints, 30 of which involved accidents
NHTSA had decided to limit the probe to incidents involving brief bursts of acceleration, and would exclude so-called “long duration” incidents in which cars allegedly continued racing down the road after a driver hit the brakes.
Of the 37 incidents, 27 were categorized as long-duration and not investigated. On July 22, 2004, the probe was closed because NHTSA had found no pattern of safety problems.

By August 2007, NHTSA wanted Toyota to issue a Lexus and Camry recall to remove the floor mats Toyota blamed for the acceleration problems. “Toyota assured us that this would solve the problem,” said Nicole Nason, then NHTSA’s administrator.

In their probe, NHTSA investigators asked Toyota, “Are you sure it’s not the gas pedal?” Ms. Nason said. “They assured us it’s just the floor mat.”

Toyota says that, at that time, it had no indication of problems with the pedal design.

Vehicle engines are all controlled by computers these days. Toyota’s gas pedal doesn’t have an actual throttle wire. It’s a “fly by wire” system and similar systems are used by many other companies. The technology is a spin-off from the aerospace industry, where control systems need to work in as little “real time” as possible. A predictive algorithm that gathers sensor data and user input can react faster than a physical connection, and make the engine changes smoother with less wasted fuel.

That’s when the sensors are working properly and sending in correct information. And when the algorithm is written correctly (especially the parts that deal with sensor output outside the normal bounds (either from a dead sensor or from one sending in an unnaturally high signal) ... and then thoroughly tested. Exhaustively tested. I used to do software testing. Boundary testing was one of the most basic parts of it, right down at the same level as Garbage testing. And we found bugs in commercial software like crazy, although many of those were set aside. “We don’t care that the program crashes when the database query fails because the field is empty. This software is run on an existing database, so the fields are never empty!” We got that a lot. And it did make a bit of sense in a way. It was what we called “a chicken-egg thing”. But this kind of attitude is inexcusable when you are dealing with electro-mechanical systems, because parts can ALWAYS fail. Wires can short, interfaces can get dirty, etc. You HAVE to test the boundaries and ensure that the system has a “worst case” safe path to follow. Granted that the permutations are very large in number. eg: take an engine that has 20 sensors feeding it’s computer. Each sensor can go dead, or provide a reading in it’s proper range, or go hot and provide an excessive signal. Dead and excessive are the boundary test cases. Two conditions. And 20 sensors. Since each sensor impacts how the whole engine runs, there are 220 unique permutations. Just for the “bad sensor” scenarios. That’s more than a million: 1,048,576 to be exact. (an actual “meg") If you physically tested each one on a running engine, and gave each test just 5 seconds to see how the engine reacted, it would take almost 61 days to run that test working 24-7.  It’s far more likely that the Toyota gas pedal issue is not boundary condition related, which means there are nearly an infinite number of sensor permutations, because sensors are analog devices even if they are only sampled digitally. So no doubt this testing was done on a computer model. But models are just that: models. Not the real thing. And “mission critical systems” like cars, heart monitors, air-to-air missiles, etc., need to be tested on the real thing as much as possible.

Toyota has a fix and they’re making big efforts to put it in place. But such systems are in lots of other cars too. Should you find yourself in an “unforeseen sudden acceleration” situation, remember what you learned in Driver’s Ed and just put the damn transmission in neutral. Then step on the brakes. And if the brakes fail, use the hand brake. And aim for something soft.

Notice that I’m not railing on Toyota for being a heartless evil giant corporation. That’s just the way it is. Same goes for Boeing, Chevrolet, Dell, Remington. People have problems with their machines, the corporations investigate when they see enough complaints of a similar nature. Then they get around to making a fix and issuing a recall when government and media pressure force them to. So let the buyer beware, and don’t forget how to handle emergency situations. Because it’s your life.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/11/2010 at 11:02 AM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobilesProduct Safety •  
Comments (11) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Friday - February 05, 2010



Pious Prius may be in trouble! Toyota can’t catch a break, since their holier-than-thou mobile doesn’t seem to have any.

DETROIT — No sooner had Toyota dealerships begun to repair accelerator pedals on millions of recalled vehicles than the carmaker said it was considering yet another major recall, this time for problems with the brakes on its Prius hybrid.

Safety regulators in Washington said Thursday that they would open an investigation into the brakes on the 2010 Prius, which had been spared from the recall lists.

Other branding experts feel that even if safety fears about the Prius prove to be unfounded, the car will not escape the bad publicity which has dogged Toyota as a whole following the safety recall on other cars in its portfolio.

“If the corporate halo becomes stained , it is inevitable that it will pollute the Prius,” said Milorad Ajder is managing director of IpsosMORI Reputation Centre.

“In fact this will be accentuated on the Prius because it is positioned as being benevolent and ethical.”

Of course the Prius is exempt from the gas pedal recall. Like the human appendix, that device serves no purpose on a Prius. As Jeremy Clarkson put it, ”What about speed? ... ... Nope, it hasn’t got any.”

Other fun news about greenie bashing ...

Business Week cuts the mustard and asks “Is Global Warming a Crock of S*%t?” and concludes ... that you should come back for Part 2 and Part 3 next week. But in the meantime,

But after two centuries in which technology and science were key to creating our modern world, we’ve put the quest for honest, open, and rigorous science on the back burner, because widely publicized and aired “pundits” blame the advancement of science and technology for putting the planet in danger.

Things on the planet are warmer than they used to be, just as in the 1970s things were colder than they once were. The industrial revolution and greenhouse gases were rising in both of these periods, so the spirit of impartial scientific inquiry demands that one look for other factors that may have changed in the equation.

That is not denying things are different from the way they once were. No. The people being labeled deniers are simply asking why the nearly 15% of respected scientists who don’t agree with this climate hypothesis can’t be heard or are quickly dismissed as quacks.

UK’s CRU chief data faker Phil Jones could get 10 years in the pokey for fraud. Can we extradite Hansen while they’re at it?

everything in this post was stolen from Theo’s. He’s like the new Instapundit, only with hot chix instead of blended puppies. But mostly his place is a link dump. I try to write at least a few meaningful words about stuff and drop in a quote or two.

UPDATE: Not from Theo’s!
India Pulls Out Of IPCC: Says They Can’t Trust UN

India forms new climate change body

The Indian government has established its own body to monitor the effects of global warming because it “cannot rely” on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the group headed by its own leading scientist Dr R.K Pachauri.

The move is a significant snub to both the IPCC and Dr Pachauri as he battles to defend his reputation following the revelation that his most recent climate change report included false claims that most of the Himalayan glaciers would melt away by 2035. Scientists believe it could take more than 300 years for the glaciers to disappear.

The body and its chairman have faced growing criticism ever since as questions have been raised on the credibility of their work and the rigour with which climate change claims are assessed.

Guess they looked at the data and said Sari, sarong numbers? [oops, that was so easy and bad it was cliche] I bet Pachauri is just Mr. So Popular over there right now, and is finding his name becoming the new Hindi verb for telling a lie.

[Indian Environmental Minister Mr. Jairam Ramesh] announced the Indian government will establish a separate National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology to monitor the effects of climate change on the world’s ‘third ice cap’, and an ‘Indian IPCC’ to use ‘climate science’ to assess the impact of global warming throughout the country.

“There is a fine line between climate science and climate evangelism. I am for climate science. I think people misused [the] IPCC report” [he said].

Good for you India. Way to go.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/05/2010 at 11:46 AM   
Filed Under: • Climate-Weatherplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (7) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Saturday - January 09, 2010

Plane Crazy

Are the airlines over reacting to situations now, because the Undie-bomber made a mockery of global security efforts? Or are they just putting in their own Zero Tolerance rules a bit late, rather like closing the barn door after the horse has left, and then burning down the barn just to make sure. You be the judge!


3 drunken Brits arrested at Heathrow for making bomb threats on Emirates Air flight

Three men have been arrested on a passenger jet after an alleged bomb threat sparked a security scare at Heathrow Airport. Armed officers boarded the Dubai-bound Emirates EK004 flight - which had 331 people inside - on Friday night. Police said the alarm was raised when “a verbal threat was made to staff” as the plane was taxiing for take-off at 9.15pm. Three men, aged 58, 48 and 36, were arrested on suspicion of making a bomb threat.

The trio, thought to be British men who were sitting in economy class, are being held in police custody. Officers carried out a full search of the aircraft and found nothing suspicious.

Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said the men were described as “people who had too much to drink”.

The Metropolitan Police said three people have been arrested. Passenger Cameron McLean said one man was taken off the plane in handcuffs before sniffer dogs were brought in.

“Police just swarmed the guy and rushed him out. I think he was a white male. There was another one but I didn’t see him.”


Flight aborted after strange note from passenger

Federal authorities filed a criminal complaint Friday against a 56-year-old man whose scrawled note invoking “Gilligan’s Island” led a Hawaiian Airlines pilot to turn around a Maui-bound flight and return Wednesday to Portland, Oregon.

According to the complaint and a 13-page supporting affidavit, Johnson and his girlfriend, Caroll Ann Miller, boarded Hawaiian Airlines Flight 39 on Wednesday morning bound for Kahului, Hawaii, on the island of Maui.

Once aboard, Johnson became upset because he was not allowed to store his bag under his exit-row seat, according to the affidavit, which was written by an FBI agent after interviewing Johnson, Miller and the flight crew.

About 45 minutes into the flight, Johnson gave a comment card in a sealed envelope to a flight attendant, who opened it, read it and gave it to the lead flight attendant, who then gave it to the captain, it said:

“I thought I was going to die, we were so high up,” the card said. “I thought to myself: I hope we don’t crash and burn or worse yet landing in the ocean, living through it, only to be eaten by sharks, or worse yet, end up on some place like Gilligan’s Island, stranded, or worse yet, be eaten by a tribe of headhunters, speaking of headhunters, why do they just eat outsiders, and not the family members? Strange ... and what if the plane ripped apart in mid-flight and we plumited (sic) to earth, landed on Gilligan’s Island and then lived through it, and the only woman there was Mrs. Thurston Howell III? No Mary Anne (my favorite) no Ginger, just Lovey! If it were just her, I think I’d opt for the sharks, maybe the headhunters.”


The pilot told investigators that, considering Johnson’s earlier behavior regarding his bag, he felt threatened by the card and decided—now about 90 minutes into the flight—to turn the jet around.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) scrambled two fighter jets to escort the plane back to Portland.

I think it’s time to apply a DrewSolution to the whole situation:

There ya go, problem solved. Now can we knock of the BS already?


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/09/2010 at 02:12 PM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobilesTerrorists •  
Comments (6) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Monday - January 04, 2010

more ceiling, better string

Big Boys Need a Big Bedroom Ceiling


Borrowed from Theo’s, here is a link to a huge pile of pictures from the Udvar-Hazy Center. Outstanding.

For those not in the know, the Udvar-Hazy Center is the gigantic airship hanger next to the National Mall in Washington DC. Part of the National Air & Space Museum, it’s chock full of historic aircraft and spacecraft, displayed on 3 levels. It’s huge. I gather that these craft are actually extras that couldn’t fit in the display area at the Mall.

Guaranteed to turn any adult male back into a 5 year old boy in a matter of seconds.
Plan on spending at least one day here, probably two.

Admission is free but parking is $15.

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. It is also a vital center for research into the history, science, and technology of aviation and space flight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics.

The Museum has two display facilities. The National Mall building in Washington, D.C. has hundreds of artifacts on display including the original Wright 1903 Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 command module, and a lunar rock sample that visitors can touch. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center displays many more artifacts including the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay and Space Shuttle Enterprise.

The Museum currently conducts restoration of its collection at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland, MD. For years, this facility also displayed many of the Museum’s artifacts kept in storage. Only guided tours allowed access to this portion of the collection. The new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center displays most of the aircraft and spacecraft previously stored at Garber, many never seen before in a museum setting. The Center will also eventually become the Museum’s primary artifact restoration facility.


You can get close enough to smell them, but all the aircraft are behind railings or up in the air. Strictly a hands off experience. Understandable, but sad.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/04/2010 at 10:35 AM   
Filed Under: • Historyplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (8) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Thursday - November 26, 2009

Something to be thankful for

Freedom and capitalism. Most awesome combination ever.

They allow you to do pretty much whatever you want, like this guy. He wanted a P-38. But there aren’t any. So he built his own. Ok, it’s a 2/3 scale replica, and he stuck in a backseat for his wife ... but ... WOW.


Jim O’Hara is a member of EAA chapter 493 in San Angelo .. He is a retired college professor (I believe in Aeronautical Engineering) who learned to fly when he was about 60 years old. He’s now 81 years old. 15 years ago, he began construction of a 2/3 scale P-38. Using information he obtained from various sources about the P-38, he drew up a set of plans using a computer aided design program. Jim and his wife Mitzi built the entire aircraft by themselves. He first flew his plane in July of last year, and has just completed flying off the time (I believe it was 50 hours). He designed the plane to have a small jump seat behind the pilot for his wife. She’s tiny, and it’s a good thing; the jump seat doesn’t have much room. He made his first cross-country with Mitzi from San Angelo to Fredericksburg Saturday, accompanied by many of his friends from Chapter 493.

Lotsa links for this ...

Close up photos:

h/t to Theo’s

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/26/2009 at 11:02 AM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (6) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Monday - November 16, 2009

It says “solutions oriented” on my resume

And that isn’t a lie. It means finding a middle ground to please both sides. It took me about 20 minutes of research to find two steps that can make everybody happy.

On the other hand, fuck the crybaby liberals in Boston. Cry in your lattes, bitches. They ought to be outnumbered about 100,000 to 1, so “democracy” says ... screw you.

(posted at Vilmar’s, Weasel Zippers, etc)

Charlestown MA locals want to silence the Constitution

Old Ironsides’ upscale Charlestown neighbors are trying to pull off what British, French and Barbary pirate guns failed to accomplish in more than two centuries - silencing the cannons of the nation’s oldest commissioned naval vessel.

Miffed residents of a posh condo complex have invited the commanding officer of the USS Constitution over for a glass of wine so he can hear for himself that the frigate’s twice-daily cannon blasts - a tradition dating to 1798 - are “more disruptive to the neighborhood than you might have imagined.”

Commanding Officer Timothy Cooper received the most recent complaint two weeks ago from neighbors suggesting naval officers assigned to the historic vessel eliminate the morning and evening blasts on weekends, reduce the size of the gunpowder charge and turn down the volume of the national anthem recording played during the daily flag raising and lowering ceremonies.

“The residential population and congestion of this area has (sic) grown significantly and, it seems to us, that the cannon charge/noise is excessive,” the unidentified resident first wrote in an Aug. 26, 2009, letter obtained by the Herald.

High-end condominium developments have sprung up across from the Charlestown Navy Yard over the past decade, transforming the once hardscrabble waterfront into a toney enclave.


“Over the summer, we have entertained several times, and we have had guests sit up in shock when the cannon goes off,” the resident wrote. “It has also awakened them at 8 a.m. while they are vacationing and then blasted them again at sunset.”

Cooper, a 39-year-old Marshfield native, said he was surprised by the complaint, but he wants to work with the residents. “We’re hoping to find a way where we can be good neighbors and maintain the tradition,” he said.

The legendary, 204-foot-long battleship is equipped to hold 44 cannons, but only two take turns shooting a four-foot blast of gunpowder twice a day, Cooper said.

Hey, the Navy was here first, so bite me.

OTOH, if you read the original article and watch the little video, Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Suzanne Dangler does a walk through of the firing procedure. Inside the old cannon is a cleverly hidden 40mm Saluting Gun. It’s pretty much the breech and barrel stub from an old one barrel Bofors gun welded in under a false cover plate.

When the Constitution fires off it’s twice daily salutes, it fires from the port side out over the wharf. Old Ironsides is berthed pointed out to sea, so shooting over the wharf is firing in the direction of town. Where the whiny condo dwellers live. Firing from the starboard side out over her own small private bay would be quieter, but it wouldn’t be at all photogenic, and the saluting exercise is both a tradition and a photo op for the tourists.

The 40mm Saluting Round is a standard issue munition. It’s a cut down Bofors case filled with 200gm propellant. Looks like black powder to me from the flash. The same DODIC B650 round is used on all ships:

40mm Salute fired on the USS Tarawa

The 40mm Saluting munition DODIC B650

The DODIC B650 Munition has a physical twin called the DODIC B550. The B550 is made with only 50gm of propellant. Right now, the B550 munition is only authorized for use at the Marine Barracks in Washington DC and at the Marine Headquarters (FMPAC) at Camp Smith in Hawaii. Both are densely populated areas, yes? Hmmm.

The USS Constitution was also built with bow chasers. This means is has cannon ports that face forward. The bow chasers are the same kind of cannon used in other parts of the ship. These cannon are on wheels. So move a couple around. Using the bow ports would still give the tourists the photo op, but it would point the guns away from land.

Expand the munition authorization, move the cannon. Then everybody is happy. Except me. And Vilmar and Weasel. And any Americans who respect the Navy and it’s traditions. Which ought to be hundreds of millions of us.

I say use a proper full on charge of real black powder in one of the 32 pounders. That’s probably about 10lbs of gun powder. I’m certain that’s much louder than any dinky old salute round, either 200gm or 50gm. Add salutes at dawn and noon. Hell, use the ship as a cuckoo clock, and fire the guns off once an hour, every hour.

Others say replace the blanks with iron cannon balls and have at it. Nice idea, but you’d have to fire over Navy buildings, and those old smoothbores never were that accurate. Not worth the risk to your own stuff, although the odds of hitting a Conservative in Boston are pretty slim.

Oh, and for those who noticed that the old ship is looking kind of stubby: right now the Constitution is undergoing another renovation, which will replace the upper decking and the top part of the masts. Every board cut by hand, every treenail hand hammered, every bit of strapping hand forged. The mid-part of the ship is also being opened up, taking out a length of rail that was put in many years ago and replacing it with original style netting. When the $6 million job is finished late next year, the ship will be as close to original as it’s been in over 100 years. Pity that all the renovations mean that only about 15% of the ship is original, but that’s what you get with wood, iron, and salt water.


Old Ironsides was built, and the US Navy formed, specifically to fight the islamofascists


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/16/2009 at 09:31 PM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (4) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Saturday - October 10, 2009

Dirty Saturday

No, not that way. I wish!

Nope, it was car repair day.

Last month the old Saturn wouldn’t start. So I got a jump start and went on my way. Smart boy put the jumper cables in the trunk. When I was on my way back, the car wouldn’t start again. I figured it was time for a new battery. The last one was a 3 year model that I got just over 8 years out of I think. Fair enough. So off to Walmart, and in with a potent new battery. Problem solved. Car starts just fine. 5 weeks go by. Somewhere in that period the power door lock switch on the driver’s door gave out. No more power doors. I’ll have to do something about that someday ... but not this day. Thursday the car wouldn’t start. Aww crap. Well, the battery is new, right, so it must be the alternator. Right? Right. Take the wife’s little hot rod down to the auto parts store, get a new alternator. No core charge! Brand new, not remanufactured. Costs more than the OEM Delco part online, but it’s right here, right now. I’ll take it. Then it started to rain.

The rain let us early this afternoon, and it wasn’t too crisp outside, so off to toolville I go. Looked up how to do it on the forums, found a video at YouTube. They helped somewhat. “It’s a 15 minute job” says one source. Yeah right. Ok, so I got it done in just over 2 1/2 hours, but that included jacking the car up and down and taking the tire on and off so I could get at the underside of the engine. On a Saturn, the alternator is mounted on the back of the engine, down behind the power steering pump. And the engine sits sideways - transverse mounted for front wheel drive - so the alternator is actually just over the driveshaft. Halfshaft? Whatever they call the rods that actually spin the wheels to make the car go. The key to the whole job is to take the front right wheel off, and then pull off the plastic bits that form the wheel well. After that you can actually get at most parts of the engine. From the top all you can get to is the spark plugs and the battery.

Got things out, put the new things back in, not too greasy grimy, and I didn’t even get scraped knuckles. A miracle. It was a bit tricky, since the top mounting bolt was properly hidden from view, and I had to pretty much unscrew the alternator to get it out from between various bits, tubes, and wires. Not a whole lot of spare room under the hood these days. Reconnect the battery, give her a jump, vrooom. Outstanding. Drive around town for half an hour, figuring that would charge the battery. Wrong. Turned off the ignition, tried to restart .... click. Not even click-click-click-click. Just click. Crap.

So I borrow her zippymobile again (it’s a SPEC-V, a little yellow Sentra with entirely too much horsepower. FUN!!) and go get a battery charger. I remember battery chargers as being about $12, and they took most of an afternoon, usually overnight, to charge up your battery. Oh hella no. These days a battery charger can actually start your car, even if you car doesn’t have a battery in it! Amazing. And pricey. So I threw 75 watts worth of starting charge at the battery, then switched it to Smart Charge. Whereupon it took about 2 hours to get the battery up to 98% charge. Good enough. Turn the key. Silence. Merde.

Well, not quite silence. Ding ding, ding ding, ding ding. The “you left your lights on” bell is going off, and the dashboard lights are flashing. WTH? This makes no sense to me. Try it again. Same thing. Let’s charge the battery a bit more, maybe the gauge wasn’t right. So I get out of the car and notice that the flashers are flashing too. Huh? Then it dawns on me - this car has an alarm in it. No, seriously, I’d forgotten. Like most car alarms, this one was always a pain in the ass, so I’d ripped out the wire to the siren years ago, and put the Secret Switch into Valet Mode, and forgotten all about it. In theory, opening my car locks with the factory remote control should disarm the alarm. But the two remotes wore out ages ago. And GM wants about $100 each for a new one, and all it is, is one shitty little chip inside a plastic lozenge the size of a half dollar. Every GM uses the same remote control key fob. The thing gets tuned to your vehicle’s VIN at the dealership. Anyway, the first one wore out after 4 years, and I smashed the spare. On purpose. Mostly. Well, I threw my keyring down in the middle of the street in the midst of an argument with my wife, because we were at my eldest cousin’s wedding and had become hopelessly lost in the middle of Marblehead Massachusetts, always coming back to the same spot no matter which way I turned. Seriously, this is not hard to do, as the town is ancient, and it seems like every other house is on it’s own street, plus you can drive between the houses because the alleys are the driveways and also used as streets. The place is a rabbit warren built on a lump of weathered granite. The “old town” part at least, and that’s where we were staying. In some ultra-twee, utterly charming B&B that turned out to have one damp and lumpy B, and the other B was a small paper bag of rolls left by the door. Plus the walls had no interior surfaces - they were just sheathing. No insulation, no drywall. And the bathroom was exactly 22 inches wide. I measured it, and I have photographic proof. It was not a good weekend for the two of us. But that was ages ago. That cousin’s eldest kid is in 3rd grade now I think, and this was his wedding day. So I haven’t had a remote in a damn long time. And the alarm has been disabled even longer.

But while doing the repair, I got to thinking. Why was it that the battery had drained down even more? See, I’d tried to start the car twice on Friday, and each time it seemed weaker. And today when I turned the key, nada. Not even a click. So I thought that maybe something was draining the battery. So I disconnected the trunk and glovebox lights, made sure the dome light was in the OFF position, and ... maybe the bad door lock switch is shorting things out? So I pulled the fuses and solenoids for the power door locks.

Hours later, the battery is all charged up ... and nothing happens. And the alarm keeps going off. I knew a work around, once upon a time. But I’d forgotten. So I dig out the manuals, read through all the paperwork ... nothing. No clue. I try a bunch of stupid shit, remember where the Secret Switch is located, recall that it was a dumb location and broke ages ago, remember that I put in a replacement switch at some point ... did it work? Who knows. So I flicked it this way and that, and kept trying to start the car. Nothing. New battery, fully charged, brand new alternator. Nada. The alarm is interrupting the ignition circuit. Shit.

So back to the owner’s manual and all those old papers that have been filling up my glovebox for 12 years now. Horry clap, 13 years actually! I got that car just before Thanksgiving in 1996. Still no clue. Then I spied one little paragraph in the alarm brochure. “Locking the door with the ignition turned on will cause the alarm to fail to arm.” And then I remembered my work around: If the Secret Switch is in the proper position, then the alarm can be shut off by turning the key, pushing the power door Lock button, turning the key off, then turning it back on. After that the car will start. Because “fail to arm” actually means “disarm”. And they probably didn’t want to advertise the fact that their alarm was so easy to bypass. Heck, that’s how I used to start the car every day until I got around to fixing that broken little secret pushbutton thingy. So I tried that ... and nothing. Duh, you can’t use the power door locks if their fuse and solenoids are pulled. So I put them back in. And ... nothing. Um, duh, the switch is broken, remember? Crap. So I reached over to the passenger side and pushed that one, and pushed it really hard, and heard a little solenoid “clunk” from under the dash. And the alarm turned off, and the car started right the hell up. VROOOM! Woo freakin hoo!

I ran it for a couple minutes, then turned it off. Then started it again. Vroom! So I went and found a parking space and put it away for the night. We’ll see if it starts in the morning, but I think it ought to. Problem solved? For now. I have the new power door lock switches on order. $12 each, plus shipping.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/10/2009 at 09:29 PM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (5) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Tuesday - September 22, 2009

Help A Lady Out

Time for a little payback folks ...

Reader Carol doesn’t comment here much, but she sends me emails all the time. I couldn’t begin to count all the posts those mails have given birth to.

Now for all you guys who can appreciate a woman who isn’t afraid of a bit of hard physical work, or getting her hands dirty, or messing about with cars ... Carol is amazing. Forget “we took this old car and fixed it up some.” Forget “we had a nice smallblock bored, decked, and built up, then dropped it in when the old straight six died.”

No, Carol is more than a Do It Yourselfer. She’s an Improver, which is even better. She and her husband found an old clapped out 1962 Corvette in pieces, and they put it back together, in better than new condition, and they modernized it at the same time. So that means they did all the retro work, plus put in all the good stuff - brakes, suspension, comfortable seats, good headlights, a reliable engine - that didn’t exist in 1962.

Now Carol has her car in some kind of contest run by Texaco. And she needs some votes. So go over here, register under any alias you want, and vote. Her car is in the 1960s bracket. This is the link to it.


As she puts it:

My husband I owned a 1962 Corvette which I hated to drive because of the hard steering and non-power brakes. The car was also a numbers matching, NCRS top flight winner, so we really hated to drive it very much because of fear that something would break or that someone would damage or steal it. In 2000 we decided to build a car that would retain the classic lines of the old Corvettes, but would have modern amenities such as air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, and a modern engine and drivetrain. We found a 1962 Corvette in Findley, OH in January 2000. The car did not have the original engine or transmission so we did not feel bad about modifying it. When we purchased the car it was in a body shop being prepared for painting and all the chrome pieces, stainless trim, doors, hood, trunk lid, lights, windshield, and convertible top had been removed from the car and stored in boxes. We trailered the car home, removed the body, and modified the frame to accept the front and rear suspension from a 1984 Corvette. During the reconstruction of the car we added power steering, power disc brakes, air conditioning, and leather bucket seats, all creature comforts that the original ’62 Corvette did not possess. We also added a GM Ram Jet 350 electronic fuel injected engine and a T-56 six speed manual transmission. The car now drives like a modern sports car but still maintains the classic lines of the older Corvettes. Probably the most unique aspect of this car is that my husband and I did all of the work ourselves, including all the welding, fiberglass work, upholstery work, custom metal fabrication, and painting. The car was completed in August of 2002 and since then we have put almost 35,000 miles on it. From our home in North Carolina we have driven this car to upstate New York, Corpus Christi, TX, several trips to Orlando, FL and eight trips to Carlisle, PA. A complete pictorial account of the construction of this car is available at:

As for how to register at the Texaco page, et cetera:

Go to
On the left you will see

Let the voting begin.

The submission period for Texaco’s “Car of the Decades”
Virtual Car Show Contest has officially ended, but you can still
register to select your favorite rides, post comments, and vote.

Click on the word “register” on their page, m’kay?

Fill in the info, you may use any screen name you want and any password you want.  Agree to the contest rules and submit. They will send you back a message that you are cleared to vote.
My car is listed under the 60’s as it is a ‘62 fawn beige Corvette with a white hardtop.  Entered by cbernhardt.  Presently I am in 8th place You pick the number 1-10 you think my
car rates and you can leave a comment if you care to do so. You have til Oct 10th to vote.  Please pass this around to your friends also.
Thank you for your vote.

So this means you need to give them a real email address. Which might mean that Texaco is going to send you some ads. Big deal. They all have that Unsubscribe thingy at the bottom. It’s a small price to pay. And this looks like a helluva ride. Early 60s style with modern comforts, power, and reliability. Best of both worlds.

Texaco sends you back a little email - note my sneaky alias! Cool, huh?

Hello Drew459

You are almost there. Click here to activate your account and your registration will be complete.

Please also check your junk mail folders to make sure you receive this and future communications regarding this contest.

Your E-mail is: drew458 at barking-moonbat dot com
Your Password is: XXXXXXXXX

If you are still having problems signing up please contact a member of the Texaco Team at info at carofthedecades dot com.

Good luck and remember, your participation determines the winners!

Have friends who are car enthusiasts? Tell them to vote.


The Texaco Team

She’s got my vote. I gave it a “10”.

PS - what’s in it for her? Looks like a few free tanks of gas and a case of oil, and some guy who will draw a picture of the car. Big huge prize? No, not really. But it’s an easy way to say thanks for all the great content she’s given you for several years now.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/22/2009 at 08:46 PM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (7) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Sunday - August 09, 2009

Cash 4 Clunkers: FAIL

Real Cash For Clunkers Sales Figures Show:

2 Full Size Trucks and 2 Medium SUVs make Top Ten sales list

Gosh, it seems the government can’t even add up car sales the way the entire car industry does. Say I buy the base trim of car X. You buy the mid level version. She buys the fancy trim package. The car guys will tell you they sold 3 cars, all model X. The government can’t figure this out, so they count that as 3 different vehicles. Surprised? You shouldn
‘t be. They can’t do honest accounting or reporting of their own budgets or spending. Whatever made you think they could tally up auto sales, even though the entire industry has been doing it this way for nearly 100 years. DUH.

Because of distorted sales figures, Ford’s Escape cross-over SUV, not the Focus small car, tops the list for most popular ‘clunker’ buy.

NEW YORK (—What are people trading their clunkers in for? It depends on who you ask.

The government’s results showed small cars as the top choice for shoppers looking for Cash for Clunker deals. But an independent analysis by disputed those results, and showed that two full-size trucks and a small crossover SUV were actually among the top-ten buys.

The discrepancy is a result of the methods used. uses traditional sales measurements, tallying sales by make and model. The government uses a more arcane measurement method that subdivides models according to engine and transmission types, counting them as separate models.

For example, the Ford Escape is available in six different versions including two- and four-wheel drive and hybrid versions. The government counts each version as a different vehicle using guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency. Only the front wheel drive, non-hybrid version made the government’s top ten list.

The Ford Escape crossover SUV, instead of being the seventh-most popular vehicle under the program, as the government ranked it, was actually the best seller, according to The government pegged the Ford Focus as the top seller.

Trucks tend to be available in more variations than cars. That’s because truck buyers have a wider variety of needs than car buyers, General Motors spokesman Brian Goebel said.

“There’s just so many different uses for the truck, both retail and commercial, than with car purchasers,” he said.

Sales of truck models would tend to be heavily diluted using the government’s method because practically each version counts as a different vehicle. The difference in tallying methods would not affect the overall totals of trucks, as opposed to cars purchased under the program, only the sales rankings of individual models.

Sales of GM’s Silverado truck, under the government’s counting method, were divided among five different versions. So were the Ford F-150s. If the different versions of these trucks were considered the same vehicle, as auto sales are normally reported, sales of these trucks would look much heftier.

In the Cash for Clunkers program, trucks are actually subject to lower fuel economy requirements than cars, so it surprised many analysts that trucks weren’t more popular.

The actual sales leaders, in order, are:

1 - Ford Escape
2 - Ford Focus
3 - Jeep Patriot
4 - Dodge Caliber
5 - Ford F-150
6 - Honda Civic
7 - Chevrolet Silverado
8 - Chevrolet Cobalt
9 - Toyota Corolla
10 - Ford Fusion

Now I wouldn’t go calling a Patriot, a Silverado, or an F-150 high mpg vehicles. Looks like the government screwed up again, and is playing loose with the truth to make it look like we all “went greenish” and switched over to little 2 liter runabouts. Such is not the case at all.

Notice that FORD, the non-government owned car company, garnered not just the 2 top slots, but placed 4 vehicles in the top 10. Nice work.

Now, I haven’t even bothered to look at this C4C deal. I have no money to go buying a car right now. My 12 year old Saturn is still running just fine. Actually, since I replaced those sensors, I’m getting nearly 33mpg on the tankful. And it’s emissions levels are just about zero, same as it’s ever been since the little thing was new.

But the way I understood it, folks were supposed to trade in some old wreck of a vehicle for something new and small that got great gas mileage. So why the heck are full sized trucks even part of this deal? Or 4x4s of any size? Those things don’t get high mpg. But “lower fuel economy requirements than cars”? Oh, tell me this whole fug-schnizzle deal was all about emissions? Oh Please.

Sounds to me like “C4C” was another stupid government idea, passed into law way too fast without much thought. And now it’s just been recharged, to the tune of another $2 Billion we don’t have.

Link to article is here.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/09/2009 at 10:11 PM   
Filed Under: • Governmentplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (7) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Friday - July 24, 2009


Over the last few weeks and only a little bit at a time, the wife has been uncovering millions of bits of things left by her late mother.
The old lady was a major pack rat.  Over two years ago, when the BIL was here for a visit, the three of us, he, the wife and myself, dug out the garage and discovered much junk.  Things I couldn’t believe anyone would find trouble parting with. Things she didn’t even know she had anymore.  But as my wife would remind me, once her mom got her hands on something, it never left.  She even had her report card from the age of 12.  No harm in that I guess. But so many things were stored so haphazardly and exposed to not just the elements in a leaky garage, but rodent piss and crap up in the attic among all her saved letters and cards.
Any card or letter for any occasion that she ever got, was saved. Well, not saved properly but stuffed away in bags and left. Any card or letter from anyone and not just her own kids. 

Tucked away in a corner of this desk drawer is a small packet containing impossibly small brown photos and letters from her late first fiancée, whose plane was lost on a mission during WW2. The tiny packet contains the letter from his commanding officer, who knew him and wrote comforting words altho I’m not sure there are words in that kind of situation. But anyway, they’re still here in a desk that dates from the same period.

An aside.  Doesn’t mean a thing really but.  His name was Roy.

Recently, a new house was built next door and the new owners name is Roy. 

So, about these photos.  While clearing out yet more savings, and fortunately saved in a dry room and sealed for years, the wife came across these photos that date from the war.  All but two are post cards.  There are two plane cards that are identified as, RECOGNITION CARDS.  On the back of them are also the words, “The Proficiency Test Series.”

Unfortunately, they were all apparently glued at one time, into a photo album. Whoever did it sure used a lot of glue because there are large splotches of black paper stuck to the back.  Right exactly where all the technical data is.  Size, speed, engines etc.  Unless I can figure a SAFE way to remove the black paper to read the info under it, most of the info is lost to me.  Altho actually it could easily be looked up in Google I suppose.

While this tiny collection isn’t very dramatic, no ME109s or Spitfires, I find them a treasure anyway.  And so I thought you might like to see them too.
When I did the scan, the file was so large that I reduced them to what you see here.  Hope I didn’t spoil anything and they show up ok on your computers.

ID Info for aircraft below.
TOP LEFT:  THE IMPERIAL AIRWAYS FLYING BOAT “CALEDONIA” used on the two-way Atlantic Mail Service


...  LEFT: SHORT “SINGAPORE” ...............................  RIGHT:  SHORT “SCION SENIOR”


The following info provided on the front of the cards.

TOP LEFT:  (no name or id given)

TOP RIGHT: “OXFORD” AIRCRAFT (no other info or id)

Part of the back that’s readable has following info.
“Proficiency Test Series”

Three 880 hp BMW 132 (? covered) radial motors. Crew of 6. Gun turrets in nose. Bomb load, 12 bombs of 110 lbs can be carried under wings.
MAX SPEED 195 at 13,000 ft.

“Proficiency Test Series”
Two 930 hp Bristol .......?  all the rest is covered up.

Ships in the extended part below.

See More Below The Fold


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 07/24/2009 at 09:16 AM   
Filed Under: • Blog StuffHistoryplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobilesUK •  
Comments (6) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Thursday - July 16, 2009

PLANES, PLANES AND MORE PLANES … If only I were born smart enough to fly em.

H/T to our friend Chris Edwards who actually gave us this VERY good link ... , which I would recommend highly.
I think it might be of more interests to Brits possibly, but it’s an eye opener and well written.

But what happened while I was there is the usual thing that happens to all of us.  An interesting link caught my eye and so naturally I just had to go there too.
Glad I did and so I guess I have to thank Chris doubly. 
It’s called Day of Glory and there must be over 100 planes at that site. I didn’t count but planes to me are something not to be resisted.

I took flying lessons some 50 or more yrs ago.  Never got the hang of landings.  Shamed to say I just didn’t cut it.

Needless to say, I’ve always regarded pilots as something beyond mere mortals. And navigators as well may I add.
Of course at the top of the heap are the fighter pilots, and not just ours.  And how ‘bout those bomber pilots when hit and nursing back to ground a wrecked and or burning plane.  I just admire those guys. Period.

So then, wandering over to > I found this.


Oh gosh aren’t they beautiful?  Yes. They Are!  And then I saw this.


CORSAIRS WITH BRIT MARKINGS. Love this plane. And the Mustang. Good grief, I doubt there’s a single plane I’m not in love with.

And then this.



And finally this.  GLADIATOR

If you go to the site there must be another hundred.  I didn’t count em but there sure were a lot.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 07/16/2009 at 09:39 AM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
Comments (3) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  
Page 12 of 13 pages « First  <  10 11 12 13 >

Five Most Recent Trackbacks:

Once Again, The One And Only Post
(3 total trackbacks)
Tracked at diamond painting uk
The Glee alum's dark cheap diamond cheap diamond painting painting locks were styled stick straight and tucke diamond painting kits d behind her diamond painting kits ears diamond painting uk…
On: 03/20/21 10:12

Vietnam Homecoming
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at 广告专题配音 专业从事中文配音跟外文配音制造,北京名传天下配音公司
  专业从事中文配音和外文配音制作,北京名传天下配音公司   北京名传天下专业配音公司成破于2006年12月,是专业从事中 中文配音 文配音跟外文配音的音频制造公司,幻想飞腾配音网领 配音制作 有海内外优良专业配音职员已达500多位,可供给一流的外语配音,长年服务于国内中心级各大媒体、各省市电台电视台,能满意不同客户的各种需要。电话:010-83265555   北京名传天下专业配音公司…
On: 03/20/21 07:00

The Brownshirts: Partie Deux; These aare the Muscle We've Been Waiting For
(2 total trackbacks)
Tracked at 香港特首曾荫权和部分高管分别用步行或搭乘公共交通工具的方式上班
西安电加热油温机 香港盛吹“环保风” 专家指市民已从被动变主动 中新网9月29日 淮安导热油电加热炉 电 据香港中通社报道,9月29日晚由香港某环保团体举行的“无冷气夜”,吸引了5万名市民及超过60间企业承诺参加。这是香港最近环保活动不断升温过程中的大型活动之一。 进入九月,香港各界环保活动渐入高潮,层出不穷。特首高官与各界市民齐齐参与,是其中一个最大特色。…
On: 03/21/18 12:12

meaningless marching orders for a thousand travellers ... strife ahead ..
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at Casual Blog
On: 07/17/17 04:28

a small explanation
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at yerba mate gourd
Find here top quality how to prepare yerba mate without a gourd that's available in addition at the best price. Get it now!
On: 07/09/17 03:07



Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


Copyright © 2004-2015 Domain Owner

GNU Terry Pratchett

Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
free counters