Molecular dispersion beyond the integrity point

Friday, October 23, 2015

How To Be The Ugly American - A Guide to Ridiculing Foreign Countries & Their Inhabitants for Fun and Self-Satisfaction

You should always be respectful of other people’s culture, even if they're primitive backwards cultures that includes things illegal in America since before our founding; even if the culture includes  socialism, a pathetic work ethic, earth-worshiping heathen religions, oppression of gays & women, atrocious fashion trends, insufficient indoor plumbing, absurd civil engineering, a complete lack of regard for any traffic laws, and an abysmally low regard for human life.  All cultures might not be equal, but we’re supposed to pretend that they're equal.

However, don’t let being respectful of these medieval cultures keep you from mocking them unmercifully.  Do you think Romans in ancient times didn’t respect the foreign cultures they conquered? Of course they did. That's why they conquered them.  Also there was the tribute, the slaves & the expanded territory, but always there was respect.  And mocking. Don't imagine that these two things are mutually exclusive.

Since American culture has already conquered pretty much every other culture on the planet, and they’re already paying us tribute by buying our technology, our weapons, our food, clothes, movies and pretty much everything else, we can afford to treat them with respect while simultaneously mocking them.

But HOW should we mock them, you ask?  For the benefit of all US travelers to foreign lands, I have written this guide.  These are just suggestions, and I welcome comments and additional ideas.  Also, I am not responsible if you get beat up.  However, with the proper application of sarcasm and snark, you can get away with most of these with only a few glances of disgust and ill will.
Try some. They're fun.
  • Ask for the price of everything in dollars. “I don’t care how much monopoly money it cost, what’s the price in REAL dollars?”
  • Wear shorts everywhere.  And tube socks.
  • Lean close and ask, slowly and slightly louder than normal, “Do   You   Speak   American?” 
  • Complain about the tiny sinks, the itty-bity toilets, the narrow stalls and the generally primitive plumbing. “Doesn’t anyone around here know about the wide stance? Or is that just an American thing?”
  • Ridicule soccer.  Refuse to call it 'football'.  Instead, refer to it as 'that pansy kickball game'.  Ridicule Cricket even worse. 
  • When viewing some ancient building or structure, say "They should really clean this place up.  If they picked up all these broken columns and stacked up all that stuff that's been knocked over it would look a lot better."  Also, "This place sure could use a coat of paint."
  • Ask where you can get a real American meal.
  • In your suitcases, pack more clothes than they even own in their backwards, mudpit country.  This works best if they have to carry your luggage for you.
  • Ask if they still have a king, or an emperor, or whatever strange form of government they have.  No matter what the answer, act surprised.  “You still have a queen here? That’s weird.”
  • Ask, “Is it safe to drink the water in this country?”
  • Scrunch up your nose in disapproval and ask, “Are you Italian?”  Always pick a country other than the one you’re in.
  • When viewing priceless ancient artifacts, say, "That would look so great hanging on the wall of my rec room."  If it's ancient pottery or golden pitchers, goblets or bowls, say, "Man, that would make an excellent salsa dish." 
  • Ask, “What language do you’all speak in this country?”
  • Remember: ONLY America is America. Just b/c a country is on a continent named North America, or Central America, or South America doesn't mean it's America. 
  • Don’t adapt to their cultures. After all, they all want to come to America, so make them adapt to you.
  • Order hamburgers whenever you want, and in any sort of restaurant you happen to be in. It’s not like they don’t know what a hamburger is, and they can make one for you. When it comes, eat it with your hands like it was meant to be eaten, & not with a fork and knife.
  • Ask for a hot dog whenever and wherever you happen to be.
  • If you’re in Mexico and have a street taco, loudly compare it to tacos at Taco Bell & say “Taco Bell does it better.”  Same thing for Chinese food in China, “Panda Express food is way better than this.”  Same thing in Italy with pizza; “Heck, we have better pizza than this at Costco!”  By the way, it's true.
  • When ordering a beer in Germany, ask for Bud Light.  If they say they don’t have it, ask what American beers they DO have?
  • When in England eating French fries (they call them chips, but you don't have to), & they try to give you vinegar, demand ketchup. When in France, ask for Ranch dressing.  When in Belgium, ask for Hershey's chocolate.
  • If you meet a Canadians, say, “Oh, well you're practically the same as real Americans” because they love that.
  • Whine about all the people smoking.
  • Mock their drinking sodas without ice.  “What? They don’t have ice machines in this primitive country?”
  • Wear a baseball hat all the time.  Who cares if the rest of the world doesn’t have baseball.  They should.
  • Eat only at McDonalds, Starbucks or any good solid American chain.
  • Complain about the foreign languages. “It’s like they have a different word for EVERYTHING. If they want to be understood, why don’t they just speak American?”
  • Ask for translation for words that don’t translate.  “How do you say ‘Coca-Cola’ in French?”
  • If they ask you where you’re from, stick your chest out and say, “I’m from the United States.”  Of course they already know that. You're an American, so you stick out like a sore thumb. But say it anyway, just to rub it in.
  • Frequently remind all Europeans that the US bailed them out in two world wars.

Remember, they may hate us, but they love our money, and most of them would move to our country, legally or illegally, if they could. Heck, it seems like half of them are already here, either collecting welfare, or standing out front of Home Depot waiting for a day job. Or both.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Cheapskate Astronomer Builds A Sky-Tracker from a 24 Hour Timer

A couple years ago I saw the IOptron Skytracker.  Choked on the price.  $400? Really?

OK, it's DC. It will work anywhere. That's cool.  It's got a lot of torque, and an angle-adjuster built right on to it.  Nice.

But $400?  Dang.

Being the Cheapskate Astronomer, it occurred to me that a 24 hour timer went around once each day. That should work, as long as it rotates in the right direction.

I got mine at Home Depot during Christmas time when they had it in the Christmas decoration section.  It was just under $5.

Now you have to plug these things in, so it won't work out away from electrical power.  That is the big downside of this plan.

Also at Home Depot, I find that a 1 1/4 inch PVC union fits right on the part that turns.  It is important to note that the quarter-size part in the center does not rotate.  Only the outer ring with all those gray thingys you pull up or push down turns.

So here's what I buy.

That's a 1 1/4 inch union, a same size cap, a 3/4 inch 1/4-20 hex head bolt, zinc coated, a couple of nuts and fender washers.  I ended up using only one of the fender washers and one of the nuts.

Drilled a hole in the center of the cap.

Installed the bolt, washer and nut.
Now, tricky part. Glue the PVC union on to the dial of the timer. Work slowly and carefully, getting it centered, but don't let ANY GLUE get on the part between the dial and the part that doesn't turn.  I used superglue.
And here's how it looks glued up.
To mount the thing to a tripod, I simply glued a piece of wood to the back, then used a clamp to clamp that to the head of a cheap $20 tripod.  The tripod head has pan and tilt on it, so I lined the pipe union up with the North Star.

Then get your camera all ready, and mounted on the cap on the 1/4-20 bolt. Looks like this:
Without a multi-angle mount (ball-joint) I can't aim the camera anywhere but at the celestial equator.

Also, the piece of wood I glued on to the back of the thing interfered with the extension cord, so I had to trim it with a Dremel tool to allow the extension cord plug to plug all the way into the back of the timer.

But it worked.  It bore the weight of this small camera, and rotated, keeping aimed at one part of the sky the whole time.

With a ball-joint mount, I'll be able to point the camera anywhere in the sky.

And with that Canon Powershot camera and CHDK, I can take up to 15 second exposures and a script for intervelometer features, and take long exposure images of one part of the sky all night long, or at least until the batteries in the camera are drained.  Use rechargeable Li-ion batteries and you get a couple hundred images at least.

Total cost is less than $10 for the sky-tracker.
I'm not the first to try this. Here's one

and here's another:

Monday, April 7, 2014

DIY Telescope Pier, Failures & Success

How NOT to build a telescope pier using concrete

How TO mount your telescope pier to the earth

How to build a telescope pier using a welding gas bottle and two brake rotors

Friday, April 4, 2014

Unboxing and Assembling the Grizzly Soprano Ukulele kit

I ordered Grizzly Ukulele kit model H3125 from Amazon for $36.
It came in just a few days.

Box was smaller than I thought it would be.

Right off the bat I was impressed by the depth of the lines in the wood of the body.

All the parts were there. I didn’t like the tuners, so I bought machine tuners on Amazon for $5, black with gold plating.
Also, I bought a set of Aguila strings. Don’t recall the costs of those, but they’re available on Amazon all the time.
You don’t really have to do this, but I put the neck and body in the sun for about 2 weeks to deepen the grain and the contrast in the wood. The UV in the sunlight gives the wood a suntan look, and makes the darks darker.

I decided right away I wasn’t going to use the rosette sticker around the sound hole.
Fit of the neck joint wasn’t anywhere near as good as I would have liked, so I did some sanding and fitting.

Looking inside the body, there is some excess glue.  It looks like hot glue, or perhaps urethane glue.

Nice blocking.
Gap in this lining.

Neck joint before sanding:

The manual is really very good. Follow it and you can’t go too far wrong.

Once the neck joint was flush and the surfaces mated up, I glued up the neck joint. Rubber bands for clamping.

Next step is to glue on the fingerboard.  Again, rubber bands, & add pencils.

This is the glue I used.

Here it is, glued up and ready to start sanding.

Now I skip a few steps in the photos. I sanded the body, and beveled the fingerboard sides, smooth sanded the neck, then finish sanded everything except the fingerboard surface.
Then I masked the fingerboard and the spot where the bridge would be glued onto the top of the body, and started laying on coats of shellac.
I applied a few thick coats, then sanded most of it off to try to fill the pores. Then I layed on a few coats thinned with acetone. Finally I rubbed on about a dozen coats with a cotton wad, getting the solution thinner and thinner each time with acetone thinner.
Then I carefully measured, as the instructions said, and glued on the bridge.  The tuners went in pretty easy, but I had to clear out the holes, as some shellac got in there.
Here it is mostly strung up.

I had some trouble with one string. The bridge was too skinny, and that string popped out on me.  I filed the slot a bit to make it wider, and now don’t have any problems with it.
The place where the bridge glues on you don’t put any coating or shellac on. You don’t have to use shellac. I choose to, but urethane would have been fine, or just about any finish.
I did not feel any need to adjust bridge height. It plays easily with the bridge and saddle as it came.

You can hear the results in a four ukulele side-by-side play-off my daughter Pearl made and put on Youtube at

Mine is the homemade uke. It has a pleasant but quiet and soft sound, not bright or sharp.
Keep in mind it’s also a $36 instrument. Honestly, I had $100 worth of fun putting it together, and got a wonderful little instrument to play at the end.
I heartily recommend the Grizzly kit, and am building another with my son.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Things Leftists Believe Conservatives Are Against

Here's a list of things that leftists believe about conservatives:

We're against entitlements.
We're against the minimum wage.
We're against the teaching of evolution as a fact in schools.
We're against the Headstart program.
We're against cutting carbon to stop global warming.
We're against education.
We're against science.
We're against children eating.
We're against gays.
We're against equal pay for women.
We're against veteran's care.
We're against the United Nations.
We're against the separation of church and state.
We're against everyone having medical care.
We're against voter's rights.
We're against people marrying who they love.
We're against food that's free from genetic modification.
We're against a woman's right to choose whether to keep or abort her baby.
We're against civil rights.

Some of these things we actually are against, some not.  Mostly we just don't want to pay for your oft'failed socialist ideas.  

They're your stupid, bleeding-heart programs.  If you can get them into law, then it's up to you to make them work.  Without our money or our consent.

Friday, September 27, 2013

How I Turned My Tablet Into An IP Camera

I was going on a three week trip and wanted to keep an eye on the house.  Knowing an IP camera would allow me to monitor the house remotely, I shopped them.  There are some great deals on IP cameras with pan-tilt-zoom, and I’ve played with a FOSCAM in the past.  But I didn’t want to be tied to their software, or mess with ip addressing or router ports.

I realized that a tablet computer with a built in camera has all the same gear as an IP camera, and more.  I have a Motorola XOOM tablet that I wasn’t planning to bring on the trip.  So I started playing with apps.

I tried several, finally ending up on SECuRET SpyCam.  It costs $4.49 in the Google Play store.  I settled on this software because it did not lock up the laptop, the menu options were easy to navigate through and the demo actually worked.

Another important thing that drew me to this app is that it uploads to Dropbox, which I could check with my laptop and no special software.  I set it up using the back camera, set the XOOM on the OEM Motorola charging stand and got it plugged in, arranged it on top of my desk facing the kitchen and family room, and pressed ‘Start’.
The angle of this stand pointed the camera down, so I needed it up high.  However any stand would work, or just prop the tablet up against something.  I hid it with a piece of paper, making sure to leave the camera lens uncovered.  If a burglar broke in he would be unlikely to see it.

We have a dog, two cats, three kids and a busy house.  It started triggering immediately and uploading 30 second videos to a folder on my dropbox account.

After we delivered the menagerie to friends & relatives to care for while we were gone, and just before we left the house, I sat down at my desktop computer and deleted all the junk videos.  It caught 3 videos of us leaving the house.  That's daughter #2 playing piano in the background, waiting for us to get ready to leave.  Then the camera recorded nothing for several days.

On vacation, after we’d checked into the hotel and relaxed a bit, I would point my laptop browser to my dropbox account and check the folder.  For days there was nothing but those three files of us leaving the house.  Then there was a windy day and the moving light through the windows triggered the motion capture.  I was able to see a 30 second video taken only a few hours ago, and know that the camera was working, uploading and that no one was in my house.

For the three weeks, there were about a dozen such videos, where the light from the windows changed enough to trigger the capture.  In each, I could tell no one was in my house.

The quality of the video was very good, and each 30 second video was about 23 MB.  This means that in a free Dropbox account (2 GB) you’ll only be able to store less than 90 videos.  That’s 45 minutes worth of video.  Files are date and time stamped, so it is clear when things happened.

If someone was in your house, you would easily be able to identify his face.  The video was that good.  And those tablet  cameras are amazingly good at seeing in the dark.  Also, you could forward a copy of the video file to the police, and upload it directly to Youtube.

Features I’d like to see would be some sort of heartbeat, or timer in the software to allow me to trigger the system, say once each day or once each 12 hours.  This would assure me it was working.  Also there is no feature in the software to erase files off Dropbox; no first-in-first-out feature.  I’d like that.  Also the file format of the videos is .3gp.  My laptop had no problem with this, but an Apple device I tried to use didn't like that flavor.
A very important point is that I turned off app-upgrades in the google play store.  This way no apps would upgrade, causing the tablet to restart.  I also shut down all the apps I could, so the camera app was the only one running.
For $4.49 and a little experimenting, I bought a lot of peace of mind.