Tuesday, February 27, 2007

If You Haven't Already Seen This Example of Al Gore's Concern for Global Warming

He wins an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, so Instapundit calls this, "An Inconvenient Electric Bill":
Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.
The hypocrisy of Al Gore never ceases to amaze me. I rather doubt that Gore believes much of any of what he says on this. As this article points out, there are some embarrassing pictures of Al Gore with the Rev. Fred Phelps (the "God Hates Fags" crazy) from 1988, when Gore wanted to be President--and would curry favor anywhere and everywhere to get there. Gore probably figures that global warming is a good way to get himself elected; clearly, he doesn't live as though he thinks this is the case.

Oh yeah, my electric bill last month was $40--about 800 kWh.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cool Animation Showing How A Semiauto Pistol Works

This is specifically a Glock 17, but the basic principles are the same for most of the Browning-inspired pistol designs, showing how the slide retracts, unlocks and cants the barrel, ejects a shell, resets the hammer, and so on. Make sure you click the transparency controls for various sections of the gun.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is Anyone Really So Stupid?

This report from the NBC affiliate in Los Angeles shows what happened when they put hidden cameras in cars, then paid Jiffy Lube shops around Los Angeles to change fuel filters, flush transmission fluid--and they didn't do it in 5 out of 9 stores.

Now, Jiffy Lube isn't the cheapest place to get this stuff done. You pay a premium for the convenience of not waiting around for your car. And still this isn't enough money?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"Minimum Wage is Good" is to Economics as "Evolution is Unproven" is to Biology

This is an intentionally provocative statement to provoke thought--but there are some very interesting similarities. Economists overwhelmingly believe that raising the minimum wage is destructive to low-wage jobs: 77%, according to a survey of economists cited in this news release. Among biologists and chemists, the percentage who agree that evolution is more than a theory, but a fact, is probably higher. Still, just like the small minority of economists (650, according to this leftist think tank) who think raising the minimum wage is a good idea, there are scientists who think that evolution has some room to go to be proved. This list of over 600 PhDs subscribes to the statement:
We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.
Now, some of these scientists may be operating out of their area of specialization. I see some astrophysics professors in there, and a fair number of computer science professors--although there is an argument based on information theory that argues against the random selection mechanism, so perhaps this isn't as far off as it appears. Still, there are a lot of PhDs in Genetics, Biology, Bacteriology, Entomology, and related fields on that list--people that are clearly knowledgeable about the subject.

Now, professional opinion in the field of economics is clearly on the side that minimum wage laws are destructive nonsense--something that you tell ignorant and foolish people (i.e., the majority of the population) to make yourself popular. Doesn't that sound awfully similar to how the High Priests of Darwinism portray those who are skeptical of evolution as proven fact?

Anyway, to my point: imagine if a school district or a state legislature passed a measure requiring that economics teachers discuss the minority idea that minimum wage laws are a good thing. Do you suppose that the ACLU would file suit to have such a law declared unconstitutional?

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Installed the Moonlite CF2 On Big Bertha

It was only a minor chore: drill new screw holes in the tube; enlarge the hole for the drawtube; cross-thread a nut on one of the stainless steel screws, and then break the screw trying to remove it; discover that Lowe's doesn't have 10-32 stainless steel screws, but they do have 10-24.

The "coarse" focus is quite a bit finer than the old focuser, and the "fine" focus barely feels like it is moving: 0.0725" per revolution of the knob. High clouds came in after I finished recollimating it, so this will have to wait for better weather.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Books Trickling In; My Relative Absence From Blogging

Yesterday, one of the three expected boxes of my new book arrived. Today, another box arrived. Since all three were mailed the same day, I'm utterly mystified why they are arriving day by day. But they are arriving!

I have not been blogging much because I am busily trying to make ScopeRoller products. There has been an unexpected rush of orders the last few days. In the interests of efficiency, instead of making one at a time, I'm trying to make several sets alike in one operation, both to save time moving tooling around, and because it produces a more consistent set of results. But the net result is that I get very little free time in the evenings to blog.

Also, the Moonlite Telescope dual rate focuser arrived--and considering that it ended up costing $330, I would say that I more than got my money's worth. The finish, the smoothness of the focuser, and the general appearance--wow! It makes the rest of Big Bertha look like it was assembled by cavemen--and gives me reason to replace Big Bertha's tube with something a bit less savage. The good news is that 20" inside diameter Sonotube (an excellent lightweight choice for this) will cost me about $35! Once I get done using some epoxy to make it into pseudo-fiberglass, it will look dramatically sharper, and weigh perhaps 60 pounds less than the current Sonotube and wooden construction.