I Wanted to Write an Article Today But…

…quite coincidentally Adam Conover has made a much better job at delivering the message that I wanted to say.

I have seen with my own eyes how high-up and extremely well-paid managers and CEOs think and work and I experienced first-hand three corporate takeovers (which successively stripped the venue of assets and know-how and slowly turned a profitable and respected business into a hollow shell). For about fifteen years now I had no illusions that rich people actually really work harder, are smarter, or both than your ordinary Otto Normal. Quite the opposite in fact, and the word “manager” gained an extremely derogative meaning in my private vocabulary as a result.

And the only good managers were not those who took a hands-on approach with the sole goal of making as much money as possible as quickly as possible, but those who just chose teams of experts in their field and let them do their jobs. Profitability usually followed if the market was there. Those who thought they know better than people who have been doing a particular job for years or even decades inevitably ended up screwing things over, as well as those who preferred short-term solutions over long-term ones. And because big companies have some inertia, it often took a long time for the negative effects of said bad management to be really visible – which is an answer to those silly people out there who insist that Musk is not doing a shitty job just because Twitter has not completely collapsed – yet. Oftentimes it happens that a bad manager is screwing people over at some other company by the time the fallout of his (mostly his) bad decisions really starts to show.

Musk’s biggest mistake is that he started to believe his own propaganda and he really thinks he is a genius who knows better than everyone else. Which is inevitable with sociopathic narcissistic assholes.

Look at the Grinding Noise!

I have been contacted by my previous employer, which has led me to remember the various works I used to do. One of which was measuring and evaluating noise. That has meant that I was making and interpreting pictures like this.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Of course, this was only done with my phone, whereas at the laboratory I had various kinds of fancy equipment and software available. But back then I did in fact check whether this phone app measures reasonably accurately, and it does.

At the very top, you can see that grinding handles is a very noisy work indeed. When the equipment runs idle, it emits over 78 dB, which is very near to a level when the noise becomes truly dangerous (80 dB). And during work, it exceeds 89 dB. So I am indeed diligent about wearing hearing protection since that noise level would damage my hearing pretty damn fast.

Whoever knows how to interpret the above picture, can tell that when the grinder runs idly (those parts with green at the top), most of the noise – and indeed the loudest noise – is below 500 Hz. And whenever the wood touches the belt, another very loud component is added, between 5 and 80 18kHz (those parts with red-magenta stripes at the top). There is nothing I can do about the noise that is emitted during the grinding, but I could if I were inclined to spend my time on it, try and identify the spots where the loudest frequencies are during idling and try to do something about that. For example, I suspect that a significant source of the low-frequency loud noise is the tensioning wheel.

However, as much fun as it might be, I do not think I will spend a lot of time over this anytime soon. It would be fun though. I liked my previous job, the work was not the reason why I quit.

Women Educators on YouTube – Architect – Belinda Carr

This Hempwood product sounds interesting. I actually think that with a bit of tinkering and upscaling of the production, it could become cheap enough to be a viable material for large-scale construction. Definitely, it could replace for example wooden OSB plates for walling. And since the fibers run lengthwise, it could also definitively be used for making load-bearing beams.

Completely independently of this – this spring I was actually really thinking about growing Hemp in my garden for fuel, but although it is legal to grow technical hemp on a patch of land up to 100 sqm, the costs of seeds are prohibitive and there is a risk of cross-pollination with someone’s illegally grown weed so producing my own seeds for future poses risks of accidentally creating hybrids whose THC levels are above the legal limit. It is not worth the potential hassle of discussions with the police. My only hope there is that hemp gets finally legalized for personal use. Until then, I will try and grow hazels, poplars, and willows on my unused land to try and reduce my personal carbon footprint.

Edit: my PC glitched out and the article was initially published with nonsensical title.

Disemboweling a Phone. And Emboweling it again.

For about two weeks I won’t post too much, since being healthy again means I am playing catch-up with my garden. More on that later, perhaps. Lets just say for now that after six weeks spent mostly in bed, two hours of manual work feel like ten and the results are underwhelming.  So this week is it work and next week I am on holiday in a hotel which has, from experience, crappy internet connection.

So today instead of a Slavic Saturday, which always takes a lot of time to write, just a short anecdote.

Whan I was sick, I dropped my phone on concrete floor. It hit it with one edge and a plastic corner component chipped off. I wanted to glue it back as soon as I get well – but I dropped the phone again and it fell on that very same edge second time. And due to the lacking plastic part to soften the blow, the display cracked. Phone dead, Charly sad.

I bought a new phone immediately, but I loathe throwing things just away so I looked into if the old one can be repaired – either to keep it asa  spare, or to use it as camera in workshop so as not to damage my actual camera with dust and humidity. I requested an offer from company specializing in repairing smartphones, but their answer was “sorry, we do not support this type”. Not wanting to waste too much time asking around,  I googled just a bit more and coincidentally and I found that for  60,-€ I can buy a new display and special glue. I also found some videos about how to replace the display. So I decided to try my hand at repairing it myself. 60,-€ is not exactly little money – for perspective, it is about 6-8% of median net income in CZ – but it is little enough for me to be willing to risk it.

Removed back – the bowels of the machine are exposed.

First thing was to remove the glued-up back cover, which was achieved with the use of brute force and an old screwdriver. I have managed it without damaging any of the innards. Which is lucky, because I have done this actually before I decided to try to repair the phone, at a time when I was resigned to toss it – I just wanted to look inside for curiosity’s sake and thus I was not very careful.

Removed battery and untangled cables.

Second step was to carefully unclip the battery connector (which is surprisingly tiny) and carefully remove the battery. This proved difficult, because it was held in place with double-sided adhesive tape. I have scratched the black paint over the printed circuit behind it a bit, but luckily not too much and without damaging the conductors. After the battery was removed, I had to carefully untangle the intricately folded cables at the bottom near the charing connector, where the display cable connector is clipped onto them. Very, very intricate work, and there were some very tiny screws that did not want to budge – especially since I do not in fact own the right screw driver for those. But I managed it in the end.

Cracked display removed.

After losing about half an hour searching for our hair dryer, which nobody in the family uses much, I managed to find it and I have used it to heat up the edges of the display to soften the glue a bit. More brute force was used to pry it off, damaging it even more in the process. Once it was removed, I have taken one of my sharp tiny flat screw drivers and I cleaned away thoroughly any residual glue on the phone itself.

Glueing up the new display.

I inserted the new display in, connected it and the battery and tried whether it works or not. It did, so I unplugged it again and applied glue on all the places where it previously was applied. The glue had to harden for three hours under slight pressure, so I have put some plastic clamps on it and went bout other business. After three hours, I folded back all the intricate cables, clipped back all the clips, screwed all the screws, connected the battery and glued back the cover. And left it again for a few hours with clamps.

Its alive! Now kill it with fire…. Or not.

And success! It works. There are some funny coloured spots on the display, whether because it is a cheap non original spare or because I applied too much pressure during the repair I do not know, but apart from that it seems to work perfectly well and all funcionalities are there – the camera is cameraing, the speaker is speaking, the telephone is telephoning and the display is displaying.

I actually really felt like I did something worth doing.

YouTube Video: A Super-Material You Can Make In Your Kitchen (Starlite?)

Today a bit of chemistry and engineering that took my fancy. I have read about Starlite before, and I always wondered what it was made of. It would be swell if it could be made to actually work on big scale.

There are other materials that have similarly amazing insulating properties – aerogels – but they are brittle and a pain in the arse to make at home (i tried, and failed).

I am already thinking about how to use this in knifemaking.

Oh and sorry for being so quiet, but I was away for almost a week without internet and I am still catching my breath after getting back to work after.

10 out of 10 for First Impression.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My new drill press arrived yesterday evening and I just installed it instead of the old cheapo one in my workshop. I must say that my first impression is absolutely great. I cannot definitively say whether it was a good investment or  not – ask me again in a few years, because new devices tend to have some crucial mechanical parts (like gears etc.) out of plastic that wears out rather quickly and subsequently the whole machine has to be tossed – but on the surface the machine looks really great. Someone has actually thought about the design and, a rare occurrence in today’s world, the design is very functional and sensible. Use is very intuitive and all levers and settings are easily accessible. I worry a bit that the wheel might be too small to provide adequate leverage for drilling steel, but we will see. That is the only worry I have on first sight though.

The drill has a digital display that actually shows the rpm, which is very nifty – I will not have to guess by the sound. It has two main gearing settings and a continuous rpm regulator, so it covers very wide range of rpm on a nearly continuous scale without me having to flip v-belts. That is probably at the cost of some efficiency, but the max power (710 W) is higher than on other drill presses that I could choose from, so that might not be a problem for actual use, although it might be a problem regarding power consumption. But it is not a device that will  run more than a few minutes at a time, so slight inefficiency is not as big of a deal as it woudl be for, say, bench belt sander.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

As a knife maker I fell instantly in love with the quick-span/release chuck that is standard attachment. The chuck is simply ideal for holding down flat stock, something very obviously crucial for a knife maker.

And the laser cross! A LED light illuminating the worked area was just a final bonus on top of that. It was always a bugger to find and hit the tiny black dot on black piece of steel – now those troubles are, hopefully, over.

And of course it does not wobble in all directions so I hope I need not fear anymore drilling tiny holes and breaking two drill bits per each.

All in all right now I have no regrets for spending the non-trivial amount of money for it. I think it is money sensibly spent and I look forward to trying it out as soon as possible. I might indeed regret a bit not spending that money sooner.

They Make Their Own Music.

The spheres, that is – the planets. It’s nothing new, but I recently came across: Spooky Space ‘Sounds’.

Juno Captures the ‘Roar’ of Jupiter: NASA’s Juno spacecraft has crossed the boundary of Jupiter’s immense magnetic field. Juno’s Waves instrument recorded the encounter with the bow shock over the course of about two hours on June 24, 2016.

Plasma Waves: Plasma waves, like the roaring ocean surf, create a rhythmic cacophony that — with the EMFISIS instrument aboard NASA’s Van Allen Probes — we can hear across space.

Saturn’s Radio Emissions: Saturn is a source of intense radio emissions, which were monitored by the Cassini spacecraft. The radio waves are closely related to the auroras near the poles of the planet. These auroras are similar to Earth’s northern and southern lights. More of Saturn’s eerie-sounding radio emissions.

Check it out. Creepy and amazing all at once.

The Smithsonian Presents Interactive Androids.

Pepper saying hello to staff at the Smithsonian Castle. (all photos courtesy Smithsonian).

Pepper saying hello to staff at the Smithsonian Castle. (all photos courtesy Smithsonian).

The next time you visit a Smithsonian museum, the first greeting you get may come from a gleaming, four-foot-tall android extending their hand. This would be Pepper, one of 25 humanoid robots that were introduced two days ago to six Smithsonian spaces, from the Hirshhorn Museum to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Donated by their engineers at Softbank Robotics, the platoon of Peppers is intended to enhance the visitor experience and ensure that daily operations run smoothly.

Pepper, which was designed to interact with humans, is the first bot capable of recognizing our emotions. These models already work in an array of industries around the world, serving as receptionists in Belgian hospitals and even as priests in Japan that lead funerary rituals. While the robot has been on display in museums, the Smithsonian now represents the first museum complex to actually use these wide-eyed automata for their services.

“We see them as a new tool for the docents to use, especially since they are always paired with a person,” a spokesperson for Smithsonian told Hyperallergic, noting that the Peppers are “absolutely not replacing docents.”

Softbank Robotics donated the Peppers for an experimental, pilot program intended to help the Smithsonian solve problems, from boosting visitorship to “under-attended galleries” and encouraging greater engagement with artworks. While the robots can provide helpful information by answering commonly asked questions, they can also indulge in more lighthearted activities for which human docents do not always have the time (or patience); visitors can ask Pepper to dance, play games, and even pose for a selfie. While the robots currently do not have captioned speech, the Smithsonian said that it is working to caption images that appear on their screens and “will continue with our software partners to make Pepper as accessible as possible.”

Very cool! I’d like to meet Pepper. You can read and see much more at Hyperallergic.

Books.

Marcus was thoughtful enough to send me The Emperor of All Maladies, which I had meant to get months ago, but with everything going on, it slipped the brain. I was barely into the book, tears in my eyes, thinking “yep, yep, yep” and identifying with so much. It’s a truly riveting narrative, and it’s what the very best books always are – an opportunity to learn.

One thing which really struck deeply home was when the author talked about how it’s difficult to think of cancer as a thing, it’s more on the person side, and that’s so true. I don’t think of my cancer as random cells happily cloning and evolving at the expense of the rest of me; I don’t think of it as a nebulous disease; I don’t think of it as a thing. It’s more like you separate, and there’s a shadowy self staring you down, a dark charcoal swipe of a doppelgänger, challenging you to wage war for your life, and cancer cells are much better at the whole evolution business than we are, which is why you get poisoned and radiated to what feels like an inch from death. All that said, and given the recent nightmare of treatment, I found myself profoundly grateful for the current stage of medical and technological advance when I read this:

The sixteenth-century surgeon Ambroise Paré described charring tumors with a soldering iron heated on coals, or chemically searing them with a paste of sulfuric acid. Even a small nick in the skin, treated thus, could quickly suppurate into a lethal infection. The tumors would often profusely bleed at the slightest provocation.

Lorenz Heister, and eighteenth-century German physician, once described a mastectomy in his clinic as if it were a sacrificial ritual: “Many females can stand the operation with the greatest courage and without hardly moaning at all. Others, however, make such a clamor that they may dishearten even the most undaunted surgeon and hinder the operation. To perform the operation, the surgeon should be steadfast and not allow himself to become discomforted by the cries of the patient.”

I’d dearly like to be able to go back in time and smack the fuck out of Heister, and a host of others. Misogyny seriously sucks, and boy, is it ever present in cancer treatment. It’s certainly lessened a great deal, but it’s still more than present. Sigh.

Anyroad, highly recommended, for everyone.

ETA: Feeling better, got my anger and FUCK ITs back. Yeah.

Hanging by a thread, from the lunatic fringe.

© Brett Lamb.

We have CNS News editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, having a chat about this net neutrality business. Like most of the altwhatthefuckever, they are thrilled by the rollback. Their little discussion runs off onto quite the side road…

Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Jeffrey joined host and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins to discuss why he believed rolling back net neutrality rules was a good decision.  Like many of his right-wing counterparts, Jeffrey argued that net neutrality never really existed because tech giants like Facebook and Twitter have suppressed conservative voices. He went on to draw out an analogy to self-driving cars.

Okay, all of you fucking idiots out there – net neutrality is not about your personal sense of persecution. People will still be able to shun you. They’ll still be able to ban you. That would be because no one likes you. Go eat worms.

“This may seem an odd comparison, but I think it’s a real one, that we’re moving, Tony, toward automated cars, for example. And in the regulatory world, there’s the debate over how they’re going to regulate these automated vehicles. But you can imagine the control over our lives the government would have if they could remotely control our vehicles, which they may in fact someday be able to do and I think we have to think about that,” Jeffrey said.

“It doesn’t get discussed a lot but it’s going to happen,” Jeffrey said. “Down the road at some point automobiles are going to be automated and someone is going to be in control of the infrastructure that directs how those automobiles move.”

Jeffrey then painted a scenario where the government takes control of self-driving cars to prevent anti-choice activists from being able to transport themselves to protests.

“Imagine that the government is doing something outrageous like legalizing the killing of unborn babies and a lot of people want to go down to the Washington Mall one day a year and make it known they’re sticking up to the right for life, but the only way they can get through to that Mall is by getting on a transportation system that’s controlled by the government,” Jeffrey said.

Last time I looked, Roe v. Wade was still the law of the land, which means abortion is legal. Supposedly. As for the rest of your moronic scenario, Mr. Jeffrey, what is it we have now? There’s no governmental oversight of roads; there’s no licensing system for driving; there’s no speed limit; there are no regulations in place concerning automobiles; no one regulates trains, planes, subways, or traffic, and so on, right? Right? Oh, wait. Yes, there’s a fucktonne of regulation in regard to transport, that’s why transportation has its very own department in the government! Golly, guess you learn something new every day, don’t ya, fellas? So far, transportation systems don’t seem to have interfered with you nosy, judgmental assholes in the least.  Pity.

And then we have self-styled “prophet” Sundar Selvaraj, who is still on Jim Bakker’s show, who has come up with quite the tidbit:

Selvaraj recounted how, a few years ago, “the Lord Jesus appeared to me about the False Prophet who is mentioned in Revelation, chapter 13 and then very simply and very clearly he said, ‘The present Pope Francis is the prophesied False Prophet.’ And then he went on explaining to me the many things the false prophet will do, and then later on, I did some research and I found that whatever the Lord Jesus told me what what exactly Pope Francis has already begun to do.”

Selvaraj said that on the day that Pope Francis met with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli president Shimon Peres in 2014, “a meteor flew very close by earth and NASA nicknamed the meteor ‘The Beast.’ So that confirmed what the Lord revealed, that the False Prophet—the beast that is mentioned in Revelation 13—is the Pope.”

So, NASA has confirmed Selvaraj, who confirms Jehovah, who confirms that Pope Francis will lead the world into worship of the antichrist, if that lazy dude ever shows up. If Lance Wallnau hears about this, it just might wreck his little crush on Steve Bannon.

Via RWW: Oooh Scary Cars of the Future!  The Pope is Evil, a Meteor Said So!