Sunday, December 31, 2017

Next Steps on Baby Reflector Rebuild

I ordered a new, not chipped diagonal.  I had originally intended to get a 28mm minor axis elliptical mirror, but I was a little concerned that my current 25mm minor axis diagonal was not catching enough of the light cone.  There are three downsides of going bigger on a diagonal:

1. Reduced light gathering power because you are obscuring the mirror.  But failing to capture the entire light cone from the primary also reduces image brightness.  Too big is bad; too small is bad.

2. At low power, with strong ambient light you get a more noticeable black spot in the field of view.   This problem is substantial with any low power eyepiece.  I have an 85mm eyepiece that is unuseful on my big reflector until it is at least dusk for this reason.

3. Reduced resolution.

However, the 25mm diagonal is 10.8% of the primary mirror diameter (a good measure of the problems 1-3, above); 28mm is 13.6%; 31.75mm (which is what I ordered) is 17.2%.

Next step after that, as I mentioned, is how to mount it.  The 1/4"-20 threaded hole in the bottom of the tube does not inspire confidence, especially in PVC.  I looked at the various 144mm ID rings and they were expensive enough to make me look at making my own.  The skills I will develop are ones  that I want to have; what if you need to rebuild industrial civilization by yourself?

Two strategies:

1. Start with a 5" OD 1/4" wall tube 2" long, cut in half, then machine a flat spot on both sides of each hemicylinder to drill and tap holes.  Use 8-32 thumbscrews through those holes  to lock them on the tube.  Machine a flat spot down one side for the 1/4"-20 threaded hole.  This is a very solid material to hold to a camera tripod.

2.  Start with a 5" OD 3/16" wall tube 2" long.  This will allow the telescope to slide inside.  Use 3/8"-16 bolts to secure the telescope tube inside.  Machine a flat spot down one side for the 1/4"-20 threaded hole.  This is a very solid material to hold to a camera tripod.  Less work, not quite as elegant looking. 

Which choice?  Depends what tube size my local metal store, Gem State Metals has in stock.

At some point, this madness is going to draw me into making my own equatorial mount.  Did this last time, largely of oak.  This time, aluminum and steel.

Super Blue Blood Moon

Better than a Bad Moon Rising, I suppose.  How many more adjectives can we add?  12/30/17 Huffington Post:
No matter what the rest of the New Year brings, earthlings are in for a double treat in January with the appearance of two supermoons. The first one rises the night of New Year’s Day. The second — a bound-to-be-memorable “super blue blood moon” — comes the last night of the month, topped off by a lunar eclipse. 
A supermoon is a full moon that appears at the perigee, the closest point in the moon’s orbit to Earth. Supermoons appear to be about 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than full moons that appear at the apogee, the farthest point in the orbit, according to NASA.

You Mean the Nigerian Princes Aren't Real?

A person claiming to be a Nigerian prince tells you that you’re the beneficiary in someone’s will. All you need to do is provide your financial information to prove your identity, and you will receive your sizable inheritance. Or there’s this version: A purported surviving spouse of a Nigerian official tells you their funds are tied up somewhere, and with your bank account information they can pay fees and taxes to get their money — which they will be more than happy to share with you in exchange.
In Louisiana, a man is accused of engaging in such a scam.
Police say 67-year-old Michael Neu, who lives outside New Orleans, served as a middle man in hundreds of fraudulent financial transactions and wired money to co-conspirators in Nigeria. Neu has been charged with 269 counts of wire fraud and money laundering after an 18-month investigation, the Slidell Police Department said Thursday.
Next, you'll tell me that a Kenyan prince promising, "You can keep your doctor," was a scam too.

I Thought Everywhere Was Supposed to be a Women's Safe Zone

12/31/17 CNN:
Berlin (CNN)New Year's Eve celebrations in Berlin will feature a special safe area for women who feel harassed.
The Red Cross has set up a tent where women can get help if they feel unsafe on the Eberstrasse, just south of the Brandenberg Gate, the focal point of New Year's festivities in the German capital.
Now, it may not be driven by Islamic immigrants, but in a civilized predominantly Christian society, such a thing would not be necessary.  Decent people recognize the magic words, "No," and "Leave me alone."  That both have become incomprehensible is no positive statement about cultural decline. 

Where's My Global Warming?

12/30/17 Sacramento Bee shows Niagra Falls:

Stop Tempting Me!

M3A1 transferrable.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Laser Pointers Are Not Just For Cats

It is a green laser pointer, not terribly visible on snow.

Telescope Rebuild Complete

Crummy pictures, but it works, produces adequate images (even with the chipped diagonal).  Collimate is much quicker  and more precise than the Paleolithic cell and Diagonal Holder I had before.  The next step is figuring out how to mount it for photography.   There is a 1/4-20 threaded hole in the bottom of the tube,  but I am reluctant to trust a hole threaded in PVC that much.   There are 4.5" mounting rings available (I think)  that will screw to a tripod more securely.

Democrat Self-Parody

12/28/17 Philadelphia Inquirer:
He resigned from local office amid a sexual harassment scandal and went to prison for lying to the FBI. His office was seen as so corrupt that voters abolished it. Now he wants a fresh start — in Congress.

“Even though I made some mistakes, I’m not a mistake,” Willie Singletary, a former Philadelphia Traffic Court judge, says in a video announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the First Congressional District in 2018. “And just like many in our community, we all could use a fresh start.”
I am guessing that he is a shoe-in for that seat.

Friday, December 29, 2017

I Hate Indoor Shooting Ranges

Not just for the lead exposure,  but the noise.  But in this sort of weather,  it makes sense.  Impact Guns in Boise is a very nice range and gun store.  (When I first started shooting, this combination was unusual; I have no idea why.)  I have not fired my Firestar in a very long time,  so it was a darn good idea to get some practice with it.  Several times this year,  I have had several 9mm pistols that apparently do not speak Russian well; Brown Bear 115gr FMJs do not feed reliably.   It did not cost me anything;  it was a gift from Lucky Gunner.  I will use it only for practice.

Cleaning the Firestar afterwards reminded me how frustrating it is with every gun just slightly different in disassembly.   

Still, the gun is plenty accurate enough at conversational range.  At 7 yards, every shot is hitting bad guy, many in incapacitating locations.  At 50 feet there are a few decent hits and a lot of terror from the whiz as the bullet spins past.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Try Not to Go Into Shock: Huffington Post Runs a Pro-Gun article

12/26/17 Huffington Post:
Why Black People Own Guns
HuffPost spoke with 11 black gun owners to figure out what gun ownership means in a country determined to keep its black populace unarmed.

Overall, a very positive set of interviews.


Just did this,  so doctor can exclude,, another stroke for my swallowing issue.  Took a sedative.   Utterly zonked. Dip not drink or under illegal drugs, so the sedative took me utterly down.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Where's the Popcorn?

Three large U.S. cities filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Department of Defense, arguing that many service members who are disqualified from gun ownership weren't reported to the national background check system.
New York City, San Francisco and Philadelphia said in court papers that the military's broken system for relaying such information helped spur the massacre of 26 people inside a Texas church last month.
"This failure on behalf of the Department of Defense has led to the loss of innocent lives by putting guns in the hands of criminals and those who wish to cause immeasurable harm," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "New York City is joining Philadelphia and San Francisco to stand up to the Department of Defense and demand they comply with the law and repair their drastically flawed system."
Blaming the government under Obama, not NRA or gun makers.   Where's the popcorn?

Why the Democrats Should Not Get the "Regain control of Congress" Party Started Too Soon

Appearing with her attorney Friday, accused congressional candidate Shaun Brown vehemently denied any wrongdoing in response to federal fraud charges against her, vowed to fight the charges and said she expects to be fully exonerated.
The Hampton native held a press conference in Newport News to declare her innocence and a commitment to her nonprofit JOBS Community Development Corp. and its mission to feed needy children throughout Virginia.
Brown, 58, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Congressional District seat next year, was indicted Thursday on three counts of fraud, embezzlement and theft allegedly occurring in 2012.
The federal complaint alleges that Brown, via her nonprofit as a sponsor for the U.S.Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service Program, filed false reimbursement claims with the Virginia Department of Health and received approximately $803,000 in funds to the nonprofit’s bank account.
One of the ,longstanding problems with Democratic politicians is their inability to not feed at the public trough.  Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) had to resign; his wife went to prison.  03/10/17 Associated Press:
A former Detroit city councilwoman was sentenced to more than three years in prison Wednesday for bribery after a federal judge refused to set aside her guilty plea during a stormy court hearing dominated by a dispute over evidence of other payoffs.
As guards cleared the packed courtroom, Monica Conyers yelled that she planned to appeal. The wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., wanted to withdraw her guilty plea, suggesting she was the victim of "badgering" last year when she admitted taking cash to support a Houston company's sludge contract with the city.
But U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn, reviewing a transcript of the June hearing, said Conyers had denied any coercion and voluntarily pleaded guilty to conspiracy.Conyers is the biggest catch so far in the FBI's wide-ranging investigation of corruption in Detroit city government. Nine people have pleaded guilty, including two former directors of the downtown convention center, and prosecutors have promised that more charges are coming. 
Vincent and McCain's Donkey Cons points out that is not a recent development.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Any of You Ever Used the Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda Trick for Removing Tarnish From Silver?

Some people show it workingThis silversmith says it is a bad idea and that silver polish is a better strategy.

Brown Bess

3 bullets and flints on the way $13

Just Arrived by Email

It sounds correct:
Still, some people caught some monkeys and gave it to this merchant and he gave $100 for each monkey. 
This news spread like wildfire and people caught monkeys and sold it to the merchant.
After a few days, the merchant announced that he will buy monkeys @ 200 each. 
The lazy villagers also ran around to catch the remaining monkeys!
They sold the remaining monkeys @ 200 each.
Then the merchant announced that he will buy monkeys @ 500 each!
The villagers start to lose sleep! ... They caught six or seven monkeys, which was all that was left and got 500 each.
The villagers were waiting anxiously for the next announcement.
Then the merchant announced that he is going home for a week.  And when he returns, he will buy monkeys @ 1000 each!
He asked his employee to take care of the monkeys he bought.  He was alone taking care of all the monkeys in a cage.
The merchant went home.
The villagers were very sad as there were no more monkeys left for them to sell it at $1000 each.☹
Then the employee told them that he will sell some monkeys @ 700 each secretly. 
This news spread like fire.  Since the merchant buys monkey @ 1000 each, there is a 300 profit for each monkey.
The next day, villagers made a queue near the monkey cage.
The employee sold all the monkeys at 700 each.  The rich bought monkeys in big lots.  The poor borrowed money from money lenders and also bought monkeys!
The villagers took care of their monkeys & waited for the merchant to return. 
But nobody came! ... Then they ran to the employee...
But he has already left too !
The villagers then realised that they have bought the useless stray monkeys @ 700 each and unable to sell them! 
The Bitcoin will be the next monkey business .

When Even CBS Throws the Democrat Talking Points Under the Bus

Sunday, December 24, 2017

NBC Stands For Not Bright Corporation

NBC runs an opinion piece arguing free speech should not apply to neo-Nazis or "hate speech."  I completely agree: MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post should be prohibited from promoting hatred of our glorious President. 😁  How stupid can these people be?  If Democrats controlled Congress and the White House, this would make sense in a fascist way, but with GOP in charge?  Who do they expect to be shut up first?

One of You Must Be an Antique Stereo Guy

I have a Kenwood KR-2600 stereo receiver (still has pterodactyl claw marks on it).  I have my TV hooked up to it both for the speakers and to feed the wireless headphones.  I can remember feeling so stinking rich (or at least middle class) when I bought this set up in the mid-1970s.  Anyway, the radio dial part is illuminated (or at least, it used to be).  I am sure there is one bulb that is burned out.  The question is how do I replace it, and do I need a time machine to go buy the replacement?

Inventions That Shook the World

Found this on YouTube.  Apparently a British series.   This first episode is about 20th century inventions,  many of which are unsurprisingly American: air conditioning,  vacuum cleaner, AM radio, airplane.

The End of Brick and Mortar

Amazon now has 2 hour delivery in some cities.

Those Wireless Headphones That Went All Staticy on Me?

I found the manual, made a warranty claim, and the replacement RCA headphones that I owned for many years before are cheaper than the refund.

Buried Deep in the Story

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I.’s embattled deputy director, Andrew G. McCabe, an unlikely lightning rod who has been attacked repeatedly by President Trump and congressional Republicans, is expected to retire after he becomes eligible for his pension early next year, according to people familiar with his decision....
He dealt with the F.B.I. investigation into whether Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information when she used a private email server. Republicans, including Mr. Trump, have relentlessly criticized the F.B.I. for the way it handled that investigation. Mrs. Clinton was not charged, nor were any of her aides. Mr. McCabe has also been deeply involved in the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the potential involvement of the Trump campaign.
So why would anyone mistrust McCabe?
Mr. McCabe became a political piñata after his wife decided to run as a Democrat for a Virginia State Senate seat. As part of her campaign, she accepted nearly $500,000 in contributions from the political organization of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend of Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Pressure on Mr. McCabe and Mr. Wray intensified this month after The New York Times reported that a top F.B.I. lawyer and counterintelligence agent traded disparaging text messages about the president. Both the agency and the lawyer had worked closely on the Clinton and Russia investigations. However, Mr. Mueller decided to pull the agent off the Russia investigation. The lawyer, who was close to Mr. McCabe, had already left Mr. Mueller’s team by the time the texts were discovered.
Republicans seized on the texts to claim that the F.B.I.’s leadership was politically slanted. Agents have rejected that assertion, calling it insulting and untrue.

Making the Obscenely Rich Pay More Taxes": Democrats Furious

Along with the loss of interest deduction on mortgages larger than $750,000 (because that's atypical middle class mortgage), another part of the tax bill (not a tax cut bill because it raises taxes on the rich).  12/22/17 Politico:
The Republican tax bill directly targets the nation’s elite private universities — including Harvard, Yale and Princeton — with a new levy aimed at multibillion-dollar endowments that have never before been taxed.
Under the bill headed to President Donald Trump’s desk the most well-to-do private universities would have to pay a 1.4 percent tax on earnings from their endowments, which are largely built on donations from prosperous alumni and enhanced by investments. Although scrutiny of wealthy college endowments has grown in Congress in recent years, the reality of the new tax has left higher-education leaders reeling.

This is News?


In his ongoing campaign against the commercialization of the Christian feast of the Nativity, Pope Francis is calling on Christians to liberate Christmas, saying it has been taken “hostage” by worldliness.
“Let us free Christmas from the worldliness that has taken it hostage!” the pope said in a tweet Friday. “The true spirit of Christmas is the beauty of being loved by God”:
I admit that I am shocked to agree with the Red Pope. 

What Next? A Warning That Support for Colonialism is Bad for Your Virtue Signalling?

12/23/17 Daily Mail:
t's impossible to think of Winston Churchill without a cigar.
Yet the makers of a new biopic of the wartime leader have still deemed it necessary to warn film-goers that ‘the depictions of tobacco smoking are based solely on artistic consideration’.
The ludicrous health alert comes in the final credits of Darkest Hour, in which Gary Oldman has been acclaimed by critics for his performance as the former Prime Minister.The movie is already out in the US and will be released in Britain next month.
Churchill is rarely seen without a cigar in the film, set in 1940 when Britain stood alone against Hitler. In the opening scenes his face is lit in a darkened room by a cigar. He continues to puff away when he greets a five- month-old baby on the London Underground.

Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Based on "artistic consideration"?  Not history?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Lock, Stock, and Barrel Now Available for Pre-order

on Amazon.

Flat Black Paint on the Cell and Diagonal Holder

I am still waiting for everything to get a bit more solidly dry before I attempt assembly.

The Snow That Fell Last Night is So Light and Fluffy

That wind is picking it up and blowing light little gusts of snow, rather like video that I have seen of Antarctica.

Brown Bess Bullet Needed

Would like to buy a Brown Bess bullet (.75 caliber) for American History class.  Holding something like that impresses students the risks the militiamen were taking.

This is Depressing

12/22/17 KGO-TV:
Officials have stopped a man who they say was plotting a terror attack in San Francisco over the holidays. The 26-year-old reportedly stated that "Christmas was the perfect day" for a terror attackin San Francisco and "did not need an escape plan because he was ready to die."

The 26-year-old is charged with attempting to supply support to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically the Islamic State. According to FBI documents, he posted and liked pro-ISIS and pro-terrorism content on Facebook.

The suspect reportedly picked the Pier 39 location because he "had been there before and knew it was a heavily crowded area." He added that it would be easy to "funnel" people into an area where he could inflict casualties....

And according to the documents, the suspect was discharged from the Marine Corps. He had prior military experience with a "sharpshooter" rifle qualification and expertise with rifle marksmanship.
The FBI arrested Everitt Aaron Jameson, who is a tow truck driver and lives in Modesto. According to a handwritten letter obtained by the FBI, Jameson also referred to himself as Abdallah adu Everitt ibn Gordon.

I can somewhat understand why someone who had grown up Muslim might be attracted to the lunatic fringe.  But what explains this guy?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Amazon Needs to Rein in Their Suppliers

I mentioned a few months ago someone was advertising "U.S. Army" binoculars and telescopes.  I am sure the Chinese company making what appear to be poor quality telescopes is really named U.S. Army, but that is at least misleading,  likely fraudulent to advertise a product that way.   Now,  when I look up Airsoft guns trying to find an apparently well made Colt 1903 Airsoft gun (Smart K-28),  I see a "U.S. Marines" Airsoft rifle.   Does no human at Amazon even look at the items offered for sale?   On top of the circumcision practice set, something at Amazon is seeing them up for serious trouble.

Knife Registration

In a Muslim province,  China is now requiring every knife's owner ID to be laser engraved on the blade when bought.   I can somewhat understand China's fear,  but they seem to have missed the memo that explains how you make knives with a piece of metal and a grinder.

The Logic Escapes Me

As required, I informed Social Security about my part-time teaching job.  They did a rather detailed interview by phone.  I received some paperwork today that explained that during what they call the "Return to Work phase of nine months, I can make $850 per month without jeopardizing my disability payment.  After that phase I can make $1170 per month without jeopardizing my disability payment.  Why the different amounts?  Is it lower when you are presumably reacquiring some job skill (even if it is Wal-Mart greeter), and after nine months you presumably get a raise to the lordly amount of $6.75/hour?

Not that there is any danger of this teaching one class a semester.  As I tell my students, "Anyone teaching college for the money is weak on arithmetic."  Of course, if all of you buy 10 copies of Lock, Stock, and Barrel (one for yourself and nine copies to make charitable gifts to your local libraries) this might be a problem for a month or two.

Went Christmas Shopping Yesterday

The poverty is pretty severe;  traffic jams near every shopping center in West Boise.   My wife came up with a scheme for reducing the problem: You only get to shop one day a week based on the first letter of your last name.  This reduces the size of the traffic jams and crowds in stores. Are you old enough to remember odd/even gasoline station days in the 1970s?

I have a simpler solution: Christmas every month!

And Such An Authoritative Source

12/21/17 Washington Examiner reports that a Kansas State University professor of apparel and textiles marketing (there is such a thing?) is teaching "gender is not determined by chromosomes."  I wonder if there is a functioning biology department there.  Imagine if someone there was teaching "God made them male and female."

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Indonesian police have appealed for tolerance and respect for other people's religious celebrations after an Islamist groupthreatened to raid businesses to check for Muslims being forced to wear Santa Claus hats or other Christmas garb.
The hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) said this week it would conduct "sweeping operations" in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, and that forcing Muslims to wear Christmas attire was a violation of their human rights.
Indonesia is home to several religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and people who follow traditional beliefs.
Santa hats are evidence of Western commercialism, not Christianity.

Good Thing California Has Such Strict Gun Control Laws

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police in California's Central Valley have launched a manhunt for at least one suspect after a series of 10 random shootings on vehicles left one woman wounded this holiday season, officials said on Thursday.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims has warned the shooting attacks, which have occurred in her jurisdiction and neighboring Madera County, could turn deadly.
"If this keeps going, it's going to be a matter of time before we have a murder investigation," Mims said at a news conference. "That's what we're trying to avoid."

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Am I the Only Person Who Finds This Weird?

My wife had noticed this before,  and I just saw it.   Walmart in Garden City had an employee who is obviously a man wearing a dress.  No other employees ate wearing dresses.  All other employees wear pants and Polo shirts.   There is no state or local law requiring them to accept this.  Is he looking for a basis to sue for discrimination? Or did Walmart quietly adopt a transgendered employee policy?

I'm Just Heartbroken

Eminem has repeatedly tried to get Trump to react to the rapper’s five-minute freestyle rap at the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards in October. In a Dec. 7 interview with Elton John, for instance, Eminem continued his criticism of the president
Eminem also said during a radio interview in November that he was disappointed Trump hadn’t responded to his video. “I feel like he’s not paying attention to me … I was kind of waiting for him to say something, and for some reason, he didn’t say anything,” he claimed.
I would be disappointed if Trump paid attention to a white rapper.  I keep thinking of Malibu's Most Wanted.

Radioactive Collusion With Russia?

On the orders of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Justice Department prosecutors have begun asking FBI agents to explain the evidence they found in a now dormant criminal investigation into a controversial uranium deal that critics have linked to Bill and Hillary Clinton, multiple law enforcement officials told NBC News.
The interviews with FBI agents are part of the Justice Department's effort to fulfill a promise an assistant attorney general made to Congress last month to examine whether a special counsel was warranted to look into what has become known as the Uranium One deal, a senior Justice Department official said.
At issue is a 2010 transaction in which the Obama Administration allowed the sale of U.S. uranium mining facilities to Russia's state atomic energy company. Hillary Clinton was secretary of state at the time, and the State Department was one of nine agencies that agreed to approve the deal after finding no threat to U.S. national security.
Let me emphasize some of those critics include the New York Times, hardly an alt-right source.

Wait Until Someone Blames Trump

Life expectancy in the United States fell for the second year in a row in 2016 — and it’s clear the epidemic of drug overdoses is at least in part to blame, government researchers said Thursday.
Overall life expectancy for a baby born in 2016 fell to 78.6 years, a small decline of 0.1 percent, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) team found. At the same time, mortality from drug overdoses rose by 21 percent.
Of course for two years with Obama in the White House.  Watch the Democrats claim that these deaths are because Americans were in despair at the coming Republican victory.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Still on the Hunt for a Useless Gun: Colt 1903 .32

Or the Colt 1908 .380, not hideously expensive (not collector priced).  I must be getting old; I want a gun that I will likely never fire.  It does not even need to be a fireable gun; a working metal replica with operating slide would be fine.

This describes a 6mm Airsoft replica that sounds pretty nice,  but cannot find it anywhere.

There is also the Colt-licensed new production Colt 1903 for $1273.   A pile of money for a gun that is going to be primarily artwork.

There are some reasonably priced used ones like this one at GunsAmerica.  I would likely have it reblued.  Christmas and property taxes have hurt a bit, but nice to know that there are okay priced ones out there.

The Amazon Droppings Are Getting Nicer

A tablet case.   Addressed to a Radelle Lee ar my address.

The Irrational Rebuild of my Little Reflector

I have been busy putting together final grades for the semester, so my hobby projects have fallen by the wayside.  But today I was able to resume the effort on the diagonal mirror holder.  The spider is the 3 or 4 legged assembly inside the tube that holds the device that holds the diagonal mirror.  Here's an example:
Astrosystems makes very nice ones but a bit too big for this application.

The holder goes into the spider.  This holder is partly mine, partly cannibalized from a crummy one that I originally used in the 1990s because it was cheap and the right tube size.
The mirror holder just holds the diagonal mirror in place by adhesive.  Not pretty, but I am not prepared to put the effort into making something more sophisticated.  There is a very long 1/4"-20 screw that runs from the 45 degree part up through the spider.  The original had no easy way adjust the mirror position up and down--or at least in a manner that would let me stuff my big hand down a 3.92" ID tube and do so.  So I put a compression spring around that screw.  By tightening the wingnut, I can position the mirror precisely under the eyepiece focuser.

The original holder had three flat head screws that you turned to position the mirror for collimation.  But there was no spring tension on them, so it was largely luck that it ever worked.  I cut a .5" thick piece of aluminum, drilled and tapped three 8-32 holes precisely 120 degrees apart (more precise than needed), then drilled a .25" hole through the middle for that 1/4"-20 screw..  The three socket head screws are against compression springs.  Because the inside 1/4" hole is very slightly larger than the screw, there is room for adjusting the mirror holder.  Getting into them with an Allen head wrench may be a struggle, but hand turning will be enough. 

The hole visible in the side of the aluminum cylinder: That has a 1/4"-20 setscrew that will be used to prevent rotation around the screw once the mirror is pointing the right direction.  I have a damaged 25mm diagonal mirror that I will use for a test run to verify optical path, then I will order a 28mm diagonal mirror (not expensive on eBay), flat black paint this holder and the mirror cell.  I may paint the holder, the spider, and the inside of the tube in one operation.  Adhesive tape over the eyepiece focuser opening inside the tube, then spray madly.

Why Did the Bundys Win?

This memo by one of the BLM agents reports multiple ethical and legal violations by his boss.  Hat tip: Arms and the Law and Shall Not Be Questioned.

So Maybe There Was Russian Collusion

The Senate is reportedly probing former presidential candidate Jill Stein for possible collusion with Russia.
The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Monday that the Stein probe was one of two investigations about Russian collusion that his panel is pursuing, according to The Washington Post.
Stein dined with Russian president Vladimir Putin during a 2015 Moscow event that was also attended by President Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn.
Politico reported in September that Stein — the Green Party candidate for president — was the beneficiary of Russian-bought political ads on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It's a Weird Day When the New York Times Explains That the Tax Cut Bill is Bad for the Very Rich

12/18/17 New York Times:
If you read the headlines, the spoils of the Republican tax plan will disproportionately benefit the wealthy. It’s been called a “tax cut for the rich,” “a Christmas gift for the wealthy” and more. And that’s true: Any back-of-the-envelope math shows that in both dollar terms and in percentage terms, the largest tax cuts clearly benefit the rich.
And yet virtually every private conversation taking place on Wall Street and in corporate America among the wealthy these days seemingly comes to a different conclusion. Many complain bitterly that the new tax code will have them paying more, not less, in taxes. Accountants’ phones are ringing off the hook from their wealthy clients scrambling to understand how much bigger their bill will be and what steps can be taken to minimize their ballooning payment.
And here is what has the Democrats really upset.  12/19/17 CBS News:
Eliminates penalty under the Affordable Care Act for failing to have health insurance 
Largely paid by middle class and below Americans who recognize that a $5000 deductible health insurance policy makes no sense.
  • Allows filers to write off the cost of state and local taxes, but only up to $10,000. Filers must choose from among sales, income and property taxes for the deduction, instead of being able to deduct all local taxes.
If you are a typical Democrat in the Blue States, you have huge state income taxes and property taxes.  Your incentive to keep voting Democrat to fund transgender education in kindergarten is less attractive.
  • Preserves the mortgage interest deduction for all homeowners with existing mortgages, and for homeowners with new mortgages, the home mortgage interest deduction will be available up to $750,000.
So if you are a typical big Democrat funder you can't deduct the interest on your $20 million home.  You think I exaggerate.  Someone I used to work for was a poor immigrant to America and funded Clinton's campaign.  The directions to a fundraiser at his home said, "Turn left at the gate and drive 3.1 miles to the house."  That's in Sonoma County.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Why I Do Not Take the News Media Seriously Anymore

12/17/17 Philadelphia Inquirer:
How the GOP produced the worst bill since the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 | Will Bunch

Too Much X-Files, Sen. Reid

1/17/17 Victory Girls Blog reports on Sen. Reid's getting the Pentagon to look for E.T.s:
Former Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) wants to protect the United States from . . . wait for it. . . aliens from outer space.
Both the New York Times and Politico just revealed on Saturday that Reid launched a program in 2007 to investigate Unidentified Flying Objects. You know, UFOs. Or Little Green Men, or ‘Greys,’ or whatever.
And they include Sen. Reid tweeting "The truth is out there. 🛸 "

12/16/17 Politico gives a frighteningly down-to-Earth explanation:
Reid initiated the program, which ultimately spent more than $20 million, through an earmark after he was persuaded in part by aerospace titan and hotel chain founder Bob Bigelow, a friend and fellow Nevadan who owns Bigelow Aerospace, a space technology company and government contractor. Bigelow, whose company received some of the research contracts, was also a regular contributor to Reid’s reelection campaigns, campaign finance records show, at least $10,000 from 1998 to 2008. Bigelow has spoken openly in recent years about his views that extraterrestrial visitors frequently travel to Earth. He also purchased the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah, the subject of intense interest among believers in UFOs. Reid and Bigelow did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Why People Are Anti-Gun

Some people assume that antigunners are driven by police state desires or emotional reactions to the latest tragedy.  Often, it goes much further back.  You probably know that astronaut Mark Kelly is married to Gabby Giffords who was a member of Congress until a psychotic named Loughner shot her among many others.  You probably also know both are active gun banners now.  I am reading his twin brother Scott Kelley's Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery which I am much enjoying.

Scott describes growing up in New Jersey, the son of a police officer:
Sometimes my father's cop friends would come over to our house for parties, and when they got drunk they would pull their guns out.  Once, my father wanted to show off his new gun to his partner, so they decided to use a wooden sculpture I had just made in school as a target.  I had brought it home and showed it proudly to my parents, and I was heartbroken that my dad would blast holes in my artwork. [pp.35-36]
Any guesses how far back his brother's feelings about guns go?

When I first started working at HP in Boise, I put up a Wall Street Journal article outside my cubicle  about the then-developing Bellesiles scandal and my part in exposing it.  A secretary became immediately freaked out, and showed it to my boss, who calmed her down by pointing out that I was an historian.  I talked to her about it later.  Her experience with gun owners was her father who never hunted sober and had a long history of accidental discharges in the house.  And this was an Idaho native!

From reading your comments: Even if Mark Kelley intellectually knows that his father is not a typical gun owner there will be an emotional response that is hard to overcome.  Many years ago, I worked with a guy who had suffered a very Los Angeles experience.  He and wife had just come home, the screen door was closed but not the front door (warm Los Angeles night), and three black guys smashed through the door, tied him up, gangraped his wife and forced him to watch, then stole everything of value and much that was not: their wedding pictures: why?  LAPD took huge numbers of fingerprints but never ran them.  It wasn't a serious enough crime.  Their marriage almost collapsed.

Now intellectually, he knew this was just those three black guys, but when we hired three black guys some months later and they walked into the office, he started to shake.  Irrational?  Yes.  Surprising?  No.  Some traumas preclude reason.

Voice dialing

My S4 Galaxy has a voice recognition feature that lets me press the button twice, say Hello Galaxy then Call contact.  I do not think it is an app;  I believe it was builtin.   My wife had a new Samsung that does not have this feature that I can find.  I have tried many voice control apps in the Play Store, most of which do not work even slightly.   Suggestions?

It is there.  Tap button OK Google call contact.  Just not immediately obvious.

Bluetooth for My Wife's Jeep

I bought this a few days ago; it plugs into the AUX port on the stereo, and allows your Bluetooth-equipped phone to talk through the stereo.  It has a microphone in the unit that at least in the garage seems to do a fine job of picking up my voice.  Still experimenting to see how to make it automatically answer an incoming call, see if it will respond to voice commands.  Downside is that it precludes use of the USB drive for my wife's many CDs.  I suppose I can copy them on to her phone, and figure out how to control playing them by voice command.

Only downside of this unit is that it was supposed to be new, but is clearly a return and thus lacked instructions.  I found them on the maker's website and it was as painless a pairing as I have ever seen.

That Snow Plow

It has been amazingly effective for several winters, but it needs to mount on a front trailer hitch receiver, which we had installed on the TrailBlazer.  There is none available for the Jeep Renegade, which we did not even think about at time.  So I guess it's time to sell the plow.  The downside of living in near-wilderness.

The Prozac Seems to Be Helping the Cat

He still wants a pistol with a non-opposable thumb adapter for Christmas, but the puppy seems a bit less aggressive, and Tater isn't marking to show his displeasure.

I take Rosie out in the morning to eat breakfast and do her after breakfast constitutional.  I give her a bowl of kibble, and a fried egg on top, which she just loves.  If you know the slightly vulgar joke where the tapeworm says, "Where's my quiche Lorraine?" it is that look and demand of expectation as stares in the rear door window while I cook it.

Friday, December 15, 2017

You Don't Say

A well-known women’s rights lawyer sought to arrange compensation from donors and tabloid media outlets for women who made or considered making sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump during the final months of the 2016 presidential race, according to documents and interviews.
California lawyer Lisa Bloom’s efforts included offering to sell alleged victims’ stories to TV outlets in return for a commission for herself, arranging a donor to pay off one Trump accuser’s mortgage and attempting to secure a six-figure payment for another woman who ultimately declined to come forward after being offered as much as $750,000, the clients told The Hill.
And yes, she also represented Moore's "victims."


When I saw it,  I was impressed how good the science was.   I am watching a documentary about Interstellar's science,  and I was surprised to find out Prof. Kip Thorne was the executive producer.   He teaches at CalTech.  When I was in high school,  I attended a lecture by him about black holes.

Not Sure What Happened to the Rest of the World. ..

I hope it did not hurt too much.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

I Would Never Write This As Fiction; too Unbelievable

12/13/17 The College Fix:
About one percent of campus is available for student expression, but they must get permission from Martha Spack, director of student development and leadership. The speech zones are available for use between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Anywhere else on campus, students must get permission 72 hours in advance from Spack, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs William Stripling or his designee, according to the suit. The policy “outlines different areas for speech and literature” – in some places, students can hand out literature but not verbally engage passers-by.
The suit says Hoggard and “another individual” set up a table at the edge of a student union building hallway Oct. 11. They told passing students about “their First Amendment rights” and asked them to support the club’s pursuit of official university recognition.
An administrator and campus police officer told them they were violating the “Freedom of Expression Policy” and couldn’t talk to students outside the designated speech zones. They would told they would be punished and potentially arrested if they didn’t stop immediately, according to the suit.
I am reminded of when the Sandinista government of Nicaragua started censoring newspapers for reporting that they were being censored.  But public institutions today are increasingly Sandinista in temperament.  I keep hoping Republican legislatures will notice and take action.

How to Tell the Left is in a Bubble

12/13/17 Lifezette:
MSNBC political analyst Elise Jordan complained Wednesday about how “unfortunate” it is that the Republican Party’s ability to craft its tax reform bill with a congressional majority resulted from “how you voted in an election.”
When did those evil Republicans sneak this majority will dangerous idea into our system of government?

Democrat Civil War at the Dinner Table

12/14/17 Chicago Tribune reports on ways to ruin your suburban self-congratulating liberal Christmas gathering:
There’s probably plenty of heated political discourse to keep you and yours warm this holiday season.
If you need a strategy for dealing with these dinner table disputes, Make Yourself Useful’s second Anti-Racist Holiday Preparedness Party might be your ticket. Spearheaded by a handful of members from the activist collective, the party-cum-workshop will offer “tips for interrupting racism” and role-playing exercises to help folks hold productive discussions with their families.
“The holidays are already charged with a lot of things, but, until recently, straight, white, liberal circles have practiced avoidance. The holidays have been about finding something you can enjoy with your family,” says co-organizer Lynnea Domienik.
This might be one way to get the "Be the Resistance" bumper stickers off the Mercedes, BMWs, and Porsches.

One of You Must Have Experience With the Sorna Image Viewer

My neurologist wanted me to get my previous MRIs from St. Alphonsus.  Faster and more certain than asking for them to be sent, I guess.  So I have them, and there is a diff function for comparing two different scans.  Unfortunately I have more than one: the big one in 2014 that disabled me, and two little ones in 2015 that hurt like hell.  There is a cheat that came with the CD, but I cannot figure out what magic incantation takes me to that layer.  Nor is their website very useful.  I really want to look inside my brain, and this is less messy than using the chopsaw.

Their support group answered.  Here is one slice showing the minor 2015 strokes.  Fortunately in the frontal lobe which can afford some losses on me:

First one is 2014; second is 2015.  That's AX Diffusion.

There are not many slices.  If you want to see the rest of my brain, tell me.

My Swallowing Problem

I have been battling for several months a problem with difficulty swallowing after talking for any length of time.   I can swallow,  but it requires a very conscious effort and makes public speaking a struggle (which for obvious reasons is a big concern).  I have already been through an  ENT, speech therapy, the very curious and unpleasant swallow study (barium milk shakes will never replace chocolate at McDonald's).

Today I went to a neurologist who is sending me in for another MRI, to make sure that there had not been another stroke.   He did mention that it might be tardive dyskinesia expressing itself in dysphagia.   TD is a rare side effect of Seroquel, an anti psychotic with several offlabel uses.  Curiously,  this problem started a few months after I started Seroquel (a medicine which I am absolutely sure will never develop an illicit recreational market).  Fortunately, there are some drugs that fix TD.  I am hoping to get this fixed before the spring semester starts.  It appears that it takes a while off Seroquel to alleviate the TD.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Nonsense from Purdue

Purdue Clown College professor:

Rigor accomplishes dirty deeds, however, serving three primary ends across engineering, engineering education, and engineering education research: disciplining, demarcating boundaries, and demonstrating white male heterosexual privilege.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Why Am I Not Surprised?

Rep. Hastings (D-FL) was accused of sexual harassing am employee which resulted in a $220,000 settlement.  You may recall Hastings was impeached and removed from the federal bench because he solicited a bribe from a defendant.   His response was,  "is it because I'm black?"  This worked so well that Florida voters sent him to Congress.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Breitbart is Not High on My Trust List Anymore

But this seems pretty important.  One of Roy Moore's accusers has another reason to pursue him.  11/15/17 Breitbart:
“As it turns out, in 1999 Ms. Nelson filed a divorce action against her then-husband, Mr. Harris,” Jauregui said. “Guess who that case was before? It was filed in Etowah County and the judge assigned was Roy S. Moore, circuit judge of Etowah County. There was contact.”
I see why Alabamians are likely to elect Moore.  They can smell the stink from this sewer because they are closer to the septic tank.

12/8/17 U.K. Guardian:
Moore faces – and denies – multiple accusations of sexual misconduct towards teenage girls decades ago, including one involving a 14-year-old.
Beverly Young Nelson was 16 when, she alleges, Moore groped her and tried to force her into a sex act in his car. Nelson has offered as evidence a 1977 high school yearbook that she says was signed by Moore. The inscription reads: “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, DA. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory House.”
Olde Hickory House was the restaurant in Gadsden, Alabama, where Nelson worked when Moore, in his 30s at the time, allegedly assaulted her. The entire note was initially implied to have been written by Moore, which he denied. Nelson acknowledged on Friday that the date and location annotations were hers.

Need Some Cross Ballpoint Pen Refills?

I am trying to find replacement cartridges for a pen from the Cato Institute that has irrational sentimental value.  I thought I needed Cross pen cartridges, so I ordered a pack of 6 from Amazon.  No, not the right cartridges.  Need them for a Cross pen?  Returning them was more than shipping.  Happy to mail them to you, no charge.

Hard to Top This as Revisionism Gone Wild

12/8/17 Daily Wire:
Ever the innovator, Pope Francis suggested during a television interview on Wednesday an update the Lord’s Prayer, the "Our Father" given by Christ to his Apostles. The pontiff rejects the common translation of the final verse, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” as a poor translation because it implies that God rather than Satan leads people into temptation.

Odd Static Problem

I have some wireless headphones that I use with my TV.  They plug into the 1/4" jack on the antique stereo receiver to which the TV output goes.  The stereo puts out the right signal to the similarly antique speakers.  As soon as I remove the headphones from the charging cradle: static.  I suspect either headphones or charging cradle/wireless transmitter has gone bad.  All the connectors are tight.  Any other guesses?

How Do You Know Christmas is Coming?

ScopeRoller is getting orders.  Maybe closing it is premature.

Darn Useful for Finding Your Missing Android

Isn't "Little Lost Android" the name of a famous short story?  Lost my phone.  The Life360 app on my wife's phone told me it was in my house.  But where?  Ringtone off for church means you can't find it by calling it, but this page lets you force it to ring for 5 minutes even if ringtone is off.  It has to be on, and connected to your Google account, but it helped me find it in my bathrobe pocket.  Just listen for the Darth Vader theme.  This page lets you see where you have been, going back many  months.  Google as the new CIA:
Unlike the Android Device Manager, the Timeline feature of Google Maps doesn’t focus on tracking down a lost phone. You can use your location data for many different things such as looking up past travel routes or last night’s pub crawl tour. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

The New BiPAP

The target for AHI (some measure of hourly obstructive apnea events) is <5.  The old machine was usually giving me 14-20.  The new one,  .6 and .8 the first two nights.   I have high hopes as nights of high quality sleep accumulates.

The Emoji Movie

Went to my 9 year old granddaughter's birthday party.  The entertainment included she and her classmates playing flute and trumpet. We also watched the Emoji Movie which like all children's films was predictable,  but with a lot of inside tech jokes.  Think Tron with a cellphone as the environment.  There are two senior citizens: emoticons.

Things You Find at Wal-Mart

My wife went shopping,  and found a large stinking deposit in the aisle. She warned a another customer who thought it was a gag.  An employee claimed that it was a problem of every animal is considered a service animal.

The Revolution Better Not Be in Winter

The left occasionally alludes to the fact that caring out disarmament dreams might actually provoke armed resistance,  and seem fine with that.   The last two nights have been so cold that I was reluctant to roll the telescope out to try out the equatorial platform.   My lungs hurt when I go outside in 15-20 degree weather.  I may wait for spring to try this out.  Please,  if possible ,  do not start the revolution in sputtering.

Why Body Cams Do Not Help

Reason has the most disturbing piece of body cam video of a police officer shooting a young man for no obvious reason.  12/8/17 NBC News reports the officer was acquitted.  And no, he wasn't black.
The detective investigating the shooting agreed Shaver's movement was similar to reaching for a pistol, but has said it also looked as though Shaver was pulling up his loose-fitting basketball shorts that had fallen down as he was ordered to crawl.
The investigator noted he did not see anything that would have prevented officers from simply handcuffing Shaver as he was on the floor.
There are days that police departments seem more risk than benefit.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Not My Fault

12/7/17 Reuters:
Franken, 66, a former comedian who had been seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, said he would be leaving in a few weeks. Even as he did so, he denied some of the allegations against him and questioned others.