Thursday Thoughtful Open Comments

From a website I stumbled across while hanging ten on the ‘net:

Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing.

What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary. — Richard Harkness, The New York Times, 1960

With every passing hour our solar system comes forty-three thousand miles closer to globular cluster 13 in the constellation Hercules, and still there are some misfits who continue to insist that there is no such thing as progress. — Ransom K. Ferm

Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change.

The graduate with a Science degree asks, “Why does it work?” The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, “How does it work?” The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, “How much will it cost?” The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, “Do you want fries with that?”

I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants. — A. Whitney Brown

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. — William James

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it – and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore. — Mark Twain

When cryptography is outlawed, bayl bhgynjf jvyy unir cevinpl.

668: The Neighbor of the Beast

Some mornings, it’s just not worth chewing through the leather straps. — Emo Phillips

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. — F. P. Jones

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. — Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See

May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. — George Carlin

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. — John F. Kennedy

Life may have no meaning. Or even worse, it may have a meaning of which I disapprove. — Ashleigh Brilliant

My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I am right. — Ashleigh Brilliant

Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing.

Once at a social gathering, Gladstone said to Disraeli, “I predict, Sir, that you will die either by hanging or of some vile disease”. Disraeli replied, “That all depends, sir, upon whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”

A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what’s left of your unit. — In the August 1993 issue, page 9, of PS magazine, the Army’s magazine of preventive maintenance

G: “If we do happen to step on a mine, Sir, what do we do?” EB: “Normal procedure, Lieutenant, is to jump 200 feet in the air and scatter oneself over a wide area.” — Somewhere in No Man’s Land, BA4

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. — Plutarch

The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad. — Salvador Dali

Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, “Where have I gone wrong?” Then a voice says to me, “This is going to take more than one night.” — Charlie Brown, _Peanuts_ [Charles Schulz]

Calvin: People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don’t realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world. Hobbes: Isn’t the zipper on your pants supposed to be in the front?

Wednesday Controversial Sammich Open Comments

What is it with sammiches that makes them so controversial? The GCS camps are firmly – some say irrevocably – divided between those who believe that a GCS must be actually grilled and the philistines who think that a pale substitute made in a toaster and a microwave (what kind of evil sorcery is this?) is adequate.

We now turn to the Monte Cristo. A sammich consisting of ham and cheese grilled in butter, then dusted with powdered sugar. An optional side of grape jam is provided for dipping.

To aid in discussion, here is a debate on the merits of this uniquely American take on the French croque monsieur.

Monday “Power Up” Open Comments

I remember a conversation I had some time ago with Aggie Beau and Lovely Daughter. Aggie Beau uses his smart phone constantly. I asked how often he charges it up, and he said at least four times a day. what if he’s not conveniently around an outlet? His phone could run out of charge! OH, Say it isn’t so! (dramatic back of hand on forehead pose) Technology strikes again – with a solution.

Carroll, a physicist and head of Wake Forest University’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, was discussing this problem last year with his 10-year-old daughter, Lauren, when she came up with a suggestion: What if Carroll could design something that harnessed the heat from someone’s hand, or from the phone itself, to give a cell-phone battery more power? Carroll agreed that would be pretty cool.

Last month, Carroll’s lab unveiled a fabric that does just that. Called Power Felt, it generates electricity from heat. Wrap your cell phone in Power Felt, and it feeds off your body heat to recharge while it’s in your pocket.

The uses could be legion:

Carroll is a lifelong Southerner, and he’s acutely aware of how powerful summer heat can be. He says Power Felt installed just under the roof of a house could be used to power household appliances. Lay it on the floor of a car and it could use the heat generated from sitting in a midday parking lot to run air conditioning and the radio. In an electric or a hybrid car, the Power Felt might even boost mileage.

Of course, it’s nanotubes again.

The challenge for his team, says Carroll, was to create something that was electrically conductive – the way metal is – and thermally insulating – the way cloth can be. The solution was to imprint carbon nanotubes onto a woven mat of plastic fibers.

Since it takes relatively few carbon nanotubes to give the fabric thermoelectric properties, the cost is reasonable. Carroll estimates that, at a large scale, Power Felt could be fabricated for as little as a dollar for a swatch big enough to cover a cell phone.

Needless to say, the Pentagon, along with a slew of investors, are interested in his invention.

I hope he makes a buttload of money off of it. Good for him. But he needs to share it with his daughter, since she was his inspiration. And I’ll bet she brought him grilled cheese sammiches while he was working, too.

Obama Takes Credit For Friday Open Comments

President Obama decided to drag his teleprompters to a pipe yard near Cushing, Oklahoma yesterday to take credit for something he had nothing to do with and to blame everyone but himself for stalling a pipeline project where he was the sole decision-maker.

In short, he did what he always does: takes credit for the sun rising and blaming some other kid when he throws a rock through a little old lady’s window.

The above is a satellite view of oil storage tank farms in Cushing. While it looks like a truly huge amount of storage, it really only acts as a buffer between different pipelines and different loads within the same pipeline.

The southern portion of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline will run from Cushing to Port Arthur, relieving a crude bottleneck in the midwest caused by the recent increase in production primarily in North Dakota.

Obama claimed he is and will be removing roadblocks to the pipeline’s construction. TransCanada said “Meh.” in response.

But TransCanada Vice President Robert Jones told reporters after the President’s speech their timeline remains the same.

“What I think I heard today was the administration will continue with their cooperation and that schedule we have to start full construction by midyear remains the secure.”

A spokesman for John Boehner made a couple of cutting remarks about Obama’s jump to claim unearned credit.

“After rejecting and personally lobbying against Keystone XL and thousands of new jobs, the president plans to tout that he’s now interjecting himself on behalf of a routine permit that is normally handled by bureaucrats,” aides to the House speaker, John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, wrote in a blog post on Thursday. A Boehner spokesman, Brendan Buck, added, “This is like the governor holding a press conference to renew my driver’s license.”

The man makes an empty suit look like a genius,

Wednesday Arbroath Open Comments

Arbroath is a pretty nice little town. Lots of windy narrow streets (windey? – whatever, they have lots of curves & turns). Fishing here has declined somewhat over the years; it is no longer a significant part of the local economy. Not much industry either. It seems to be a bedroom community for Dundee (25km SW) and Aberdeen (70km N).

There have been a couple of significant happenings here in times past. A letter called the Arbroath Declaration was written here at Arbroath Abbey in 1320, exhorting Pope John XXII to recognize Scottish independence and the kingship of Robert the Bruce.

Quia quamdiu Centum ex nobis viui remanserint, nuncquam Anglorum dominio aliquatenus volumus subiugari.

“as long as a hundred of us remain alive, we shall not on any condition be be subjected to English rule.”