Friday, August 29, 2014

“Everyone's instant impression of the smell was that of spent gunpowder.”

“Everyone's instant impression of the smell was that of spent gunpowder.”  Astronauts describing the smell of the moon's dirt...

Technological archaeology...

Technological archaeology...  Recovering “lost” recordings from a homemade steel wire recorder.  Awesome!


Oopsie!  A software bug put two of the (very expensive and vastly over-budget) Galileo satellites into the wrong orbit.  They are completely useless in this orbit, so they are a complete loss.  This is yet another blow to the European alternative geolocation service, which does basically the same thing as the American GPS.

Some poor programmer is in a world of hurt today, I'm sure...

“What is happening to my country?”, part 9,394 in a long series...

“What is happening to my country?”, part 9,394 in a long series...  Peaceful demonstrators are threatened by rock-throwing thugs.  What happens?  Why, the police told the peaceful demonstrators are told to shut up and leave, of course!

Barn: ready for the foam and heating pipes...

Barn: ready for the foam and heating pipes...  Lots of progress on the barn yesterday, as you can see in the photos below.  The last photo shows the completed barn floor “underpinnings”: a layer of fine gravel that's been carefully leveled and compacted.  The under-slab plumbing is in (drains for the toilet, sink, and floor).  Next up, perhaps today: installation of the insulating foam that will end up under the concrete floor, and then clipping the heating tubing to the foam.  There will be three serpentine loops of heating tubing, one under each of the three main areas in the barn (garage, workshop, dog agility arena).  Each of these will have a separate thermostat when we're all done – a “three zone” heating system.

The “thumper” used to compact the gravel moves forward of its own accord, thanks to an asymmetric vibration pattern.  This allows fully autonomous operation with a very simple trick: tie one end of a rope to the thumper, then tie the other end to a stake.  The thumper will travel round and round the stake, slowly winding up the rope and spiraling in toward the stake, just a couple inches closer on each revolution.  This results in thoroughly thumped circular areas with almost no effort.  Nice trick!

The plumber very carefully pressure-tested the parts of the septic line that will end up under the slab.  You don't want those to fail, because fixing them would require jack-hammering the slab...

Morning: 8 pier pads and some gravel
Tube forms for pier foundations
Spreading the fine gravel
Pressure-testing the drains
Tedious work: compacting gravel
The last load of fine gravel arrives
Automatic compacting!
End of the day: ready for foam
Final drain installation

“The most important story on earth.”

“The most important story on earth.”  Excellent Taranto piece on the evil press coverage of Israel vs. the Palestinians...