Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Effin' Awesome! Group B Lancias

I love watching the rallies when given the opportunity, but they just don't hold a candle to this stuff. Does anyone really care about the car in today's WRC? It's all about the driver, which is cool, I guess. the cars nothing special IMo. These Group B monsters were like steroid loaded thoroughbreds in a rage on coke with a bottle of whisky. The drivers had amazing skill to tame the hell-beasts.

The crowds? They were plumb crazy.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blackbird in a Box (or not...)

Moving the SR-71

The first trip wasn't as fast as future ones would be...

Apparently this picture isn't of a SR-71 Blackbird in a box as I tweeted earlier. It is the SR-71's predecessor, the A-12 secretly being transported to Groom Lake, otherwise known as Area 51 (See Area 51 Declassified at National Geographic They have some cool pics in the photo gallery). How many 'UFO sightings' do you think this airplane was responsible for?

After a bit of research, I have replaced the SR-71 at the top of my 'bad-ass' aircraft list with the A-12. The reasons are three-fold?

  1. The A-12 was faster.

    What??? But the SR-71 has the speed record to this day!

    That is an 'official' speed record... You can't have a speed record for an aircraft that nobody knows about. Which brings me to my second reason.
  2. The A-12 was classified until 1981. They last flew in '68 but were kept in top secret storage until de-classified. The A-12's were CIA planes... Spooks!
  3. The only remaining M-21 (a variant of the A-12 to launch a D-21 drone) is located at the Museum of Flight not far from where I live. I can go stand under its wing and see the massive Pratt & Whitney J58 engines first hand.

BTW, happy fathers day, fathers! I'm luckily to have a dad and a father-in-law that share my fascination of all that flies. It's always enjoyable to talk airplane with them!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Favorite 787..

...No, not the the Boeing 787 built just a few miles from where I live that first flew on my birthday... ...The Mazda 787B, which if memory serves me correctly is one of the loudest race cars ever.

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Dang, that thing screams!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

The End of Dewey Decimal?

The new Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago:

Does this mean the end of the Dewey Decimal system?

This is a very interesting setup, but I am surprised if this is the first library to do this. My only issue with it is that it takes my favorite part of the library (or bookstore) away. Sure it is great if you have a laser focus on the book that you are looking for but not so good for browsing. Me, I like to browse. I go in with a certain book on my mind, but after thumbing through the others around it I may leave with something different. A good website setup can alleviate much of this, but you are lacking the tactile feedback that I love (son of a librarian).

Will/are books dying off like magazines and newspapers? While I am one hundred percent in for the web replacing the periodicals, I am not sure I feel the same with books. I did recently read Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris* on the Kindle app on my phone and enjoyed the experience, I would have enjoyed it more in book form. I picked up the Kindle version as I was going on vacation and my phone is one hundred times more portable than the hardback, which I also own. Hell, it wouldn't even fit in my cargo pocket let alone the front pocket where I keep my phone. Only two other negatives that I can come up with for digital versions. When your battery dies, no more reading for you, and when traveling, you cant read between leaving the gate and ten thousand feet. The latter is no big deal for me if I get a window seat, my nose is flattened against the window looking outside that whole time.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Summer Beer

Once again I have chosen New Belgiums Mothership Wit as my beer of choice for this summer. At least when I require the beer to be gedrunken out of a bottle. It is fun and it makes me happy.

Tried one out of my tulip glass yesterday, and Mikey no likey. Bottle today, yay!

Note: Mike has only consumed one at the time of writing. He is not high on teh beerz, he is high on life!

Now.... Music!

You're welcome.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

One of These Days, I'm Gonna Take Apart a Lens...

I have an old 24-200 auto-focus zoom lens that isn't worth twenty-fie bucks anymore. Some rainy day I'm going to respectfully tear it apart. A ton of coolness in there (motors, gears, lenses, etc).

Aperture Revealed - 240 fps - HD from Camera Technica on Vimeo.

[h/t Gizmodo]


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Slammed Duallys

I don't know what it is, but I have always had a thing for slammed duallys...

Adding diesel to the equation and I like them even more!

Remember, recycle!

[h/t Jalopnik]



Get Mike's Fat Ass In Shape

Got some new tires for the Franken-Bike and took her for a spin today. First ride of the year. After spending almost two weeks in Kauai, I got the jones for being active outside again. Luckily we live really close to a good bike trail so I can ride right from the house without dealing with too many cars (I am a mountain biker first, no cars out there). I did around 5 miles out, came to a good hill and rode up it. After sitting for a bit and trying not to hurl, I rode back, taking a longer route. All in all, I ended up doing 12 miles at a decent pace. Felt good, except for the wanting to hurl part at the top of the hill. Had to do a bit of trail-side maintenance (shifters out of tune, brake started rubbing, but the bike performed great. The tires, Schwalbe Marathon Crosses worked great. They rolled great on both the paved road, and a couple of gravel and double track sections.

Only one problem... My rear hurts.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Nuclear Power in Perspective

How many people died because of Three Mile Island? None.

There is no question that the events in Japan are ongoing and serious. That said, I believe a lot of people are being misled by much of the news coverage.

Read the rest here...[Meteorological Musings]

I think people fear nuclear power so much because they don't understand it. Events such as this don't help, especially with sensationalized media. Saying stuff like "there is cause for concern, not for alarm" [NPR] doesn't get viewers, listeners, or readers like cries of Chernobyl II!* Politicians saying that we should temporarily halt the development of nuclear plants... ....The Fukushima reactors in question are almost 40 years old. I'm pretty sure that development has progressed since then to make them better and safer.

I'll take a nuclear power plant next door to me over a coal fired plant any day. And I'll wager that coal shortens more live than them too.

* Note - Chernobyl has around 60 confirmed casulties though they figure that eventually around 4,000 will pass from cancers caused by it. Automobiles BTW kill around 40,000 a year in the US.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tsunami, Before and After

Unbelievable before and after shots... Post-earthquake imagery of Japan - The Official Google Blog

Be sure to click through to view the hi-res versions. Sobering.

The top before and after photos of Yuriage looked familiar to me so I looked it up. Sure enough, it is the town in the following footage that you have probably seen quite a few times now. (click for video)

The following is a shot I took of my Google Earth of the same area.

This is the 'after' picture from Google Earth...

Holy crap. I un-precisely timed the wave in the above video and measured a known distance on GE and found that that tsunami was travelling at 15 mph. Doesn't sound like much until you see what it does. A picture is worth a million words.

The only good new I can give regarding this is that as far as I can tell, the poeple residing in this area had about an hour between the quake and the tsunami hitting. Hopefully they were well drilled and knew what to do.

Here is an even more devastating before and after set from the other side of the river...



BTW, if you have Google Earth, the links to the KML files for the imagery that I used was located in the above Google blog. If you don't have Google Earth, get it.



I'm back!

We'll see how long I can keep this up....


More Quake Thoughts +Vid!

Did he really mention Global Warming™ with this disaster? (~1:00)

Honestly pal, I'm fairly confident that even if the ocean was two feet lower*, it won't make that much difference to a tsunami like this...

*The ocean has risen by a little more than a quarter of that in the last century. Fascinatingly, the oceans have risen by ~150ft in the last ten-thousand years.


Thoughts on the Sendai Earthquake in Japan

First of all, my heart goes out to all impacted. As I saw someone said on twitter, I hope for every tragedy there are ten narrow escapes and twenty miracles.

Out of all the natural disasters, I find earthquakes the most horrific. Hurricanes do a huge amount of damage over a wide area, but you have a good warning to hunker down. It may not save your house, but it can save your life. Tornados horrify with their randomness and surprise. Like a scalpel across the landscape they can obliterate your house but leave the guys place two doors down untouched (relatively).

Earthquakes take the worst of those two, scale and surprise, and possibly throw in a tsunami on top of it. At least with tornados, you can look to the sky and know if there is a chance for one. An earthquake the best info you have is, we haven't had the 'Big One' in awhile (hundreds of years) and we think we are due...

The other reason that I find them the most horrific is that I live in an area that has earthquakes. I can recall feeling the ground move four times in my life. Luckily none anywhere close to the power of the Sendai quake. Having a building that you take for granted the fact that it built on solid ground churn back and forth is a surreal experience. I think the noise is what sticks with me the most is the noise. Like a freight train on bad tracks with things not tied down.

Something I noticed in some of the videos that I watched of the Sendai quake was how there wasn't much panic in the people. People not running for their lives, people not screaming. During the Nisqually quake, a paltry 6.8 compared to the Sendai 8.8, I was in a big box hardware store. I was proud of myself for being calm and in control. I remember looking up and stepping away from a shelf that I was by and saying to the stranger next to me, "Hey, I think this is an earthquake". Then I just watched stuff move in awe. Afterwards I had the same feeling that I would get doing a drop on the snowboard or mountain bike.

Hopefully when the 'Big One' hits Seattle (we're due...) I will be able to repeat that performance.


Saturday, January 08, 2011


Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say they gonna beat dem Hawks?

What a freaking awesome game! The team that everybody loves to hate, the 7-9 Seahawks beat beat the defending Super Bowl champion Saints 41-36. Did I mention that it was an awesome game?

Talking about haters.... Did you see the game that Hasselbeck put up? That, by the way, is why you play him if he is healthy.

My ears are ringing, my throat is sore and I'm pretty sure that I won't have much of a voice tomorrow, but it was worth it. Seriously, that was just about as great as the 2006 NFC Championship game. We hung out in the stadium for ten minutes or so just soaking up the buzz. A few players circled the stadium high-fiving fans. I loved it!



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