Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Things I did not know…..


….that 48 people were killed in 1980 when a space-launch rocket exploded whilst being fuelled at Plesetsk in the then Soviet Union.
The rocket used hydrogen peroxide as fuel, and the method of fuel filter assembly had changed from using lead solder to tin-based solder.

Fuck you, RoHS directive!

Hydrogen peroxide can decompose in the presence of some catalysts. This reaction can be violent. Lead doesn’t do it. Tin does.

So not only does it cause your Xbox to die and need the tea-towel treatment, it may blow you up also.

knew there was a reason why, in my computer-fixing workshop days, we used to use leaded solder as a kind of illicit prison-cigarettes currency.

Lead-free is the devil.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Nothing

*Sent by phone so no apologies for looking like a cobbler's thumb*

It has been interesting watching the decline in productivity among the libertarian/rightwing-ish blogging community, and indeed there has been much gazing of navels subsequent to May of last year, and this post is no different.

My contributions were ebbing anyway as it was hard to maintain the repetitive commentary on the same old irritations or form an opinion which had enough momentum to carry itself to the keyboard.

There was also the simultaneous issue of me quitting the public sector job to join the rest of you serfs as well, mind. Found I had less time or unused intellectual stamina after making that particular transition. Odd, that.

There is also the issue that its particularly tricky to resuscitate the blogging gland once its atrophied from disuse; you end up fabricating some sort of egocentric expectation on behalf of the imaginary masses waiting for your proclamation (and those Chinese ad-spammers can be such a tough audience), and that just gets worse the longer you leave it.

The likes of Twitter really aren’t the friend of the blog, either. Any original thought/idea/insult you manage to muster among the shrieking hoards gets smashed into 140 characters and proliferated in real-time to the 3 people on your timeline who are up at 4am. This has the habit of attenuating any enthusiasm you would've had toward documenting for posterity because by the time you fire-up the blog its already old-hat.

Oh and there's always some bastard whose plagiarised the idea right out of your head before you've had a chance to voice it. Snowolf has been a right pain on this front over the past 18 months. If you’re unfamiliar with his blog, start reading from round about the election and read ‘till now and you’ve probably got a fairly representative idea of my stance on things. He is a perpetual cockblocker between me and my muse.

And politically...Jesus. I think I’m a just bit stunned by the frankly impressive way in which this government has managed to be so vilified while achieving so very little. It generally falls to the Tories to come to the rescue (after a Labour government has finished outraging an economy in every orifice), solve some issues by way of doing unpopular things, and then be kicked out in time for the next phalanx of red rosettes to roll back in, loins girded for more.

What we have instead is the EU-harmonised, ISO-standard, QA-tested, stamped and approved gangfuck of social-democractic uselessness that we we’ve grown so fond of over the past decade. At least when we used to be run by chinless braying inbreds, they were at least vaguely competent.

I’m guessing you’ll be hearing more from me on this, but my lunchbreak is over.

There’s taxes to pay, doncha know.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Atomkraft? Ja Bitte!


This would be the disaster where –to the best of my knowledge- no one has been killed, hurt, maimed or otherwise offended. An event in stark contrast to the shitload of water and tectonic activity down the road. If I was one of the tens of thousands of victims of the real disaster, I’d be well hacked off by now.

Anyway, I see that HMG’s Chief Inspector of Nuclear Shit has said what everyone knows: that the UK nuclear industry's quest for safety long ago reached the point where we'd fed ourselves up our own arse that we now look at the world through our own eyes through our own eyes.
And thus safety is assured.

I am vaguely amused that all of the operators of nuclear sites had already evaluated tsunami hazard in the '70s.

Oh, and Sellafield has also considered meteorite impact.

And considered if an earthquake could move the river.


No, by the way.


Just build the fucking things already. Jesus.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Monbiot in being-sane shocker

My perception of reality was somewhat shaken today by an article by George Monbiot which I would struggle to disagree with:


Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer view, look at the graphic published by xkcd.com. It shows that the average total dose from the Three Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted for US radiation workers. This, in turn, is half of the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to an increased cancer risk, which, in its turn, is one 80th of an invariably fatal exposure. I'm not proposing complacency here. I am proposing perspective.

If other forms of energy production caused no damage, these impacts would weigh more heavily. But energy is like medicine: if there are no side-effects, the chances are that it doesn't work.

Indeed, not only is it a rather rational analysis of the Fukushima situation
(although the email consensus here at Slug towers would disagree on the 'poor design' bit; some parts are sub-optimal but unless you’re psychic you only find out from trying it. We’d say the plants were just old. And the Japanese are not noted for cutting corners to save a few Yen; you only have to look at the place and interact with their nuclear industry to see that. But I digress)
but also a rather robust sandbagging of the oft-suggested green candidates for alternative energy production. The article is really rather brilliant.

He better get back to normal soon, or my world may well come off it’s axis.

Because I have to link to such genius


image(Click for biggerer)

I don’t know how he does it.  XKCD

Dave comments…

“4.4%? And that's CPI? Christ.

I reckon you're actually living in Buenos Aries or Weimar Germany. If you hear either people banging pots and pans or see boiled crow on a restaurant menu, you'll know which it is.”

Yes, thanks for that.  I’m sure he’ll be first to tell me how fucked I am when I’m fighting stray dogs for first dibs on roadkill. 

Monday, 21 March 2011

It can be done

This the Joban line in the Hitachi-Naka city area of Japan:

JR Joban rail 20110320

JR Joban rail 20110320b

By anyone’s conservative assessment of the situation: that is buggered.  Estimated time to repair?

6 weeks.

Far be it to from me to speculate how many months that’d take over here…