Saturday, March 28, 2009

Recommended blog

A friend is touring India and blogging/photographing as he goes. Check this out:

Things are DIFFERENT in that country from Texas!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TED: Useful world improvements

This talk and its goals seems to me to fit in with the TV channel LINK-TV and its view of how the world can be made a better place without wars and destruction. Her work with students at MIT and field trips to Haiti have found ways to keep from killing 2 million children a year by mixing farm waste to create safer cooking fire materials. Seems funny that such simple solutions may have such far-reaching effects in parts of the world, but isn't it great that there are people like Amy Smith around to work on such things?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Puns: both intended and not

I had run across this cartoon before, but it really didn't strike me as something that might be worth reading until a fellow engineer buddy pointed me to the one on wind turbines. While I was looking that over, I happened to notice the one shown at the top of this posting. That one, of course, had even more connection to my mind. So, I'm sharing them with you (with attribution, of course, to Randall Munroe of

Enjoy and comment if needed to relieve the pressure on your mind.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Old radio troubleshooting tips

While doing some research, I just ran across this wonderful page of tips on troubleshooting and repair of old radio receivers. I hope it might do someone some good to have the information linked to the nice pages here. I coopted the image for effect.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring cleaning for the French attitude

I guess I had pushed this whole story from the dusty archives of French history, begun slightly before my birth but carried out almost my entire life, under a mental carpet. This BBC story does an admirable job of characterizing it, putting it into perspective, and allowing American thoughts to engulf what enormity it has in the form of a hold on the lives of almost all French citizens living today. Some may know and escape from the lie, but there must be many, many who haven't or don't want to do so. Their current president may make holding back almost impossible. Time will tell.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Views on the future of Afghanistan

This interview brings the political and strategic happenings in Afghanistan into focus. It is a video interview from last month, where former-CIA officer Milton Bearden discusses the future of Afghanistan. It is not overtly political, but instead deals with the strategies of the U.S. in dealing with Pakistan and Afghanistan. I find it to be refreshing and frank talk about recent history and proposed strategies leading to future history of the region.

A second interview text is here. I believe it to be from 1998-1999, though I didn't find any particularly clear dating of the occasion. It is part of a larger PBS series on Bin Laden in the interviews section. Although it is dated, Milton Bearden's expertise and facility with the history and customs of the area shines through. It does provide insights, I believe.

Thanks to a friend for alerting me to this information. Comments welcomed.

Full speed ahead, Cap'n: Charging Li batteries in seconds!

I was reading the Technology blog of the Houston Post. It pointed to an Ars Technica article that just about made my hair stand on end. The new processes it discusses are all physical chemistry success stories that (without the limiting that any practical implementation of the battery would entail) could result in an electric vehicle battery hooked into the power grid in a home charging fully in FIVE MINUTES. Convenient, you say? Well, the problem is that would suck 180 kilowatts from the grid for that time. The typical peak for a residential dwelling is on the order of 20-25 kilowatts, so you can see this would cause wiring, power grid and power utility problems. The practical aspects would have the charge take quite a bit longer, but the article mentions the limit just to astound the reader, I believe.

A recommended read.

Any comments?

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Musical Instruments: Right ON!

I entered this interesting musical instrument site through a reference to the Feedback Piano. The author, Chris Warren, notes that he is building musical instruments [real and imaginary].

There are 7 videos associated with the Feedback Piano entry. I watched them all and REALLY liked #4, the MoPhO or Mobile Phone Orchestra!

There are several additional musical instruments on the site (Flote, Slinky, Pond), videos of their actions and papers written about them and their uses.

Comments welcomed.