damn you Mr Wizard

Not to speak ill of the dead or anything, but if it weren't for the recently deceased Don Herbert I might be a lawyer or something.  That said, my 1950s-era copy of Mr. Wizard's Science Secrets (it was "old" when I got it, a relic of a vanishing era.  It's older now.) is one of my cherished childhood posessions.

Also, the plastic gear on the "educational" (it seems deliberately designed to confuse people about what causes night and day) orerry Barbara found me at a school sale just broke and the power went out up on the hill for a while.  Not here though.  Coincidence?


Sweet teats of the sky pig, plone + zope is easy to install on Windows.   I was inspired to do so from a video that's been getting passed around of some dude from JPL doing stuff faster with it than he could with other web frameworks.
Dunno what I'll do with it, though.  Yet.

If you do need some kind of CMS right now, check it out.  Looks like it's configurationable up and down with in-system, web-accessible menus.  Really, really slick.

once you need something to hunt autonomous machines with...

Ed Huber is my new hero.  Witness the 12 Gauge FH (From Hell) wildcat round:

He and his associates have loaded it to yield over 23,000 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle, or over twice the typical muzzle energy of the vaunted .50 BMG anti-materiel "sniper" round, or about 2/3 the muzzle energy of a 20mm cannon.  In inexpensive slug guns like the NEF ($220 MSRP) and Savage ($380 MSRP) with their chambers lengthened to 3.87"  More typical loads yield muzzle energies somewhat higher than the BMG.  He also describes hot loads for unmodified slug guns and the very cool reproductions of the 1887 Winchester lever-action 12 gauge that are well into elephant-gun territory (4,000-5,000 ft-lbs) if you're willing to handload but don't want to modify the guns.  Some of these loads should work in stock 3.5" "magnum" pump guns, too.  Oh yes, and always hand-load to stay within SAAMI pressures for 12-gauge shells if you're not ready to take your life into your hands.

Links if you want to read more, well worth it if this kind of thing interests you:

No, you won't get the long-range ballistics of the BMG.  Yes, this is totally insane.  Yes, 12 gauge shotguns are legal practically everywhere in the US.  God bless America.

the machines are coming

oh yes, yes, the machines are coming.

From Jane's:

"Described by developers AAI, MRVI and Sea Robotics as a fourth-generation unmanned surface vessel (USV) that can be remotely operated and function in fully autonomous missions, the Interceptor was displayed in public for the first time at IDEX 2007 in Abu Dhabi."

I don't know whether to be amused by the banality of the video or creeped out by its resemblance to low budget 1980's action and science fiction movies.

More links, not on Jane's:

Apparently the interesting thing about the "Interceptor" is its speed and range.  There's little about its sensor package or autonomous navigation capability, which to me indicate there's not much to them.  I also note that the IDEX press release describes "
future platforms for quick disaster response and weapons platforms" which means no one has let them mount guns on it yet, but they hope someone will want to...

Seems a lot less practical than UAVs, which are already widely deployed, weapons systems and all.


true stories of America

This one is better told out loud, because there are several points where I love the responses I get, but I will include the beats as ellipses.

I remember when one of my friends got in trouble for bringing his dad's .44 Magnum to school...  they're really loud, you know...  yes, he was firing it...  you could hear it all the way up on the second floor... the firing range was in the basement... the principal called him to the office and asked him politely not to bring it to "Lifetime Sports" class again.

And I'm not that old.

Update: RIP Jeff Cooper