Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

How the Prius works

Engineers like me always want to know how things work.  So, Planet Analog provided some info on Toyota Prius:

One year ago, Automotive DesignLine and EETimes took a Toyota Prius fresh from the dealer and tore it down to see what makes it tick. The resulting series of stories became some of our best read features ever.

Today, with fuel prices continuing to soar, the hybrid cars are selling faster than ever. If you missed them then, or would like a review, here are direct links to features in that series—along with a time lapse video (at the end of the first article) of our crack engineers taking the vehicle apart, and a subsequent take on the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, targeted to debut in 2010.

Enjoy, my fellow nerds.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Engineering | Leave a comment

Quick links

Here are some quick links without my comments.  Just read them.

My cousin Karlchen.

Melani Phillips: Happy 60th birthday, Israel — well done for surviving.


Getting to Know John McCain by Karl Rove. (via Bookworm).

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Irresponsible journalists

I got this in e-mail from Planet Analog, but unfortunately they did not have this editor’s note on the site, so I am posting it here in full.  Many of us know how irresponsible media is.  In addition to that, these journalists are also technically illiterate.  So, what else is new?


As some of you know, I have a pretty low opinion of most journalists, especially those who try to cover a topic which has even a tiny amount of technical content. I’ve met and worked alongside many of these journalists over the years, and I don’t know which group is worse: the ones who don’t know anything technical but figure they can skate by; or the ones who know just enough to be dangerous and wrong, and that they can handle the topic.

This week’s example is the coverage and hysteria about the MD-80 jet aircraft, mostly operated by American Airlines, and the emergency stand-down of these planes for inspection (and thousands of cancelled flights) due to a possible wiring problem. This was described by most of the media as "faulty wiring", "dangerous wiring", "miswired", and other very skewed, misleading terms. They made it sound as if the AC-supply lines were plugged into DC supplies, or that connectors and cables were mismatched or even crossed.

Only the Wall Street Journal, among the major media, actually had some specifics: "it [the FAA] determined that American Airlines’ repairs didn’t meet its painstaking standards, which dictate details such as which way retention clips holding the wires face, toward the back or front of the aircraft. This matters because the clips could chafe the coating on the wires, causing wear that would expose the wiring to leaks from fuel or hydraulic fluid. . . . some wiring was secured at intervals exceeding the one inch dictated by regulations." (I did find some pictures, after a little on-line searching, and the cable bundles were laced down pretty tightly, with lots of clips and ties closely spaced. But the caption didn’t say if the picture was of "good" or "bad" cabling!)

Now, I know that proper cable dress is very important to long-term reliability (I have been tripped up by cable sloppiness and poor strain relief too often) but does this aircraft-wiring problem constitute "dangerous wiring" or even "miswired"? I’ll let you be the judge!

On a more mundane topic, here’s a thought problem I came across: my laptop PC was doing some disk-intensive work, and fairly warm air was coming out the exhaust. So I thought I would raise it a little, off the flat surface of the desk, to allow airflow and better cooling.

But then I thought about it some more. Air, especially stagnant air, is a poor conductor of heat. Maybe it is better to have the bottom of the laptop directly on the desk, which could act as a heat sink? How good is the thermal contact between the laptop and the desk, and the heat-sinking properties of the wood top? Pretty soon, I was convinced that the intuitive ideas to lift the laptop might actually be counterproductive.

I know that you can buy thermal mats to go under a laptop, to improve surface heat-sinking, but I am not ready to do that. Before I do anything, I want to know if placing the laptop flat on the wooden desktop is better or worse, from a thermal perspective, than raising it a little. And what about a metal desktop, or a plastic laminate desktop? I’d be interested in hearing your views, especially if you can model the thermal situation (and hey, it would make a good article, too!).

OK, enough off-the-subject thoughts. Check out the solid array of diverse technical articles below. And while this week’s ebb-and-flow has fewer new products than last week (don’t read anything into this, it’s a normal weekly variation we see here), we have more news and short items than last week.

Until next week. . . .

Bill Schweber, Planet Analog Site Editor
(formerly; same "desk", new company name)

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Engineering | Leave a comment

An article by Judith Klinghoffer

I got this e-mail from Judith A. Klinghoffer:

…Obama must have trusted the media NOT to read Dreams from my Father p.99-100. In it he specifically contrasts his views from those of a bi-racial woman named Joyce  who refused to be categorized: (the italicization in the text is Obama’s)

 One day I asked her if she was going to the Black Students’ Association meeting. She looked at me funny, then started shaking her head like a baby who doesn’t want what it sees on the spoon.

“I’m not black,” Joyce said, “I’m multiracial.” Then she started telling me about her father, who happened to be Italian and was the sweetest man in the world; and her mother, who happened to be part African and part Native American and part something else. “Why should I have to choose between them?” she asked me. Her voice cracked, and I thought she was going to cry. “It’s not white people who are making me choose. Maybe it used to be that way, but now they’re willing to treat me like a person. No- it’s black people who always have to make everything racial. They’re the ones making me choose. They’re the ones who are telling me that I can’t be who I am . . . . “

In other words Joyce is the person Obama tries to convince us that he is. But she is the person he rejected as a “sellout” in favor of an all out Blackness, the kind which will naturally lead him to Rev. Wright and to Michelle. For this is how he goes on –

 The truth was that I understood her, her and all the other black kids who felt the way she did. In their mannerism, their speech, their mixed-up hearts, I kept recognizing pieces of myself. And that’s exactly what scared me. . . . I needed to put distance between them and myself, to convince myself that I wasn’t compromised – that I was indeed still awake.

To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets. . . . At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy.”

He goes on to explain that changing his name from Barry to Barack was part of the choice.

Read it all.  Obama is no different than his crazy pastor.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Interesting technology article

Here is an interesting technology article:

‘Missing link’ memristor created: Rewrite the text books?

By R. Colin Johnson

EE Times

(04/30/08, 01:00:00 PM EDT)<!–


PORTLAND, Ore. — The long-sought after memristor–the "missing link" in electronic circuit theory–has been invented by Hewlett Packard Senior Fellow R. Stanley Williams at HP Labs (Palo Alto, Calif.) Memristors–the fourth passive component type after resistors, capacitors and inductors–were postulated in a seminal 1971 paper in the IEEE Transactions on Circuit Theory by professor Leon Chua at the University of California (Berkeley), but their first realization was just announced today by HP. According to Williams and Chua, now virtually every electronics textbook will have to be revised to include the memristor and the new paradigm it represents for electronic circuit theory.

Admittedly, this kind of stuff is interesting for the nerdy guys like me.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Engineering | Leave a comment

Russian troops in Iran?

Little Green Footballs linked to this article by Amir Taheri:

by Amir Taheri
Asharq Alawsat
April 25, 2008

Why is the leadership in Tehran anxious to give Russia the right to land troops in Iran?

The question is not fanciful. The Islamic Republic is conducting a devious campaign to prepare public opinion for that eventuality.

The message is relayed through deliberately vague terms that diplomats understand immediately while the general public does not.

The device is to revive two treaties that most students of Iranian history thought were dead and buried long ago.


Why is an administration that pretends it has a mission from the "Hidden Imam" to liberate the whole world keen to give Russia a licence to land troops in Iran?

Obviously, only Ahmadinejad and his associates know the full answer. However, one could speculate that the Khomeinist president has decided that a war with the United States is inevitable. In such a war, the Americans may well seize Iran’s oilfields, an easy target for a surprise attack and a difficult asset for defenders to protect. Once that happens Russia could land troops in northern Iran and then go to the United Nations to ask for a generalized ceasefire and the fixing of a timetable for the withdrawal of "all foreign troops from all Iranian territory." The US would come under global pressure to cooperate with Russia in ending the conflict and paving the way for the departure of foreign troops and the restoration of Iranian sovereignty.

Do read it all.  Amir Taheri always provides good analysis.  I can add that it looks like the Iranians are trying to pit the Russian troops against Americans.  Once again the jihadis are attempting to use the super-power rivalry for their own purposes.  And once again they might succeed.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where is ACLU when you need it?

Well, ACLU is a leftist organization and does not care about real civil liberties.  They only get involved in the leftist causes.  The same is true for ADL.  This is from Jewish Russian Telegraph:

Mark Nystedt, Christian, indefatigable pro-Israel, pro-Jewish activist, was arrested last Wenesday the 30th. He is circulating his story, here in full:

As many of you know, I am an avid advocate for Israel. I have targeted liberal Christian denominations and individual churches that blame Israel and Jews for the hostilities in the Middle East (the so-called Arab-Israeli conflict) and who make excuses for those who wish exterminate Israel and kill Jews (Yesha Arabs, aka Palestinians, Arabs, and Persian/Iranians). This blaming of Israel and making excuses for Israel’s enemies fits the classic definition of anti-Semitism. It is often expressed with phases such as "Israel occupied Palestinian territory" and "Israel Apartheid." The West Bank is Israeli territory occupied by Palestinians, the consequence of Jordan attempting to exterminate Israel in 1967; and Israel is the most respectful nation in the Middle East of human/civil rights of its minority citizens while the misery that Yesha Arabs find themselves is the consequence of their ongoing 60-year struggle to kill Jews and exterminate Israel. Targeted anti-Semitic denominations include the Unitarian Universalists Association, the United Church of Christ, and the Episcopal Church.

My usual advocacy method is to sit on a folding chair in front of an offending church with signage, fliers, and booklets. I listen to the radio with earphones and have a pamphlet in hand offering it silently and seated to those who passby. Last year, 5000 people took fliers. [Occasionally, I will pro-actively hand fliers to pedestrians. Last year, in this mode, 4000 people took fliers.] Targeted offending anti-Semitic churches include: – the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul (138 Tremont Street, Boston, across Tremont Street from the Park Street subway station and where the Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts has his offices), – Old South Church (Copley Square, Boston, UCC, which hosted the Sabeel "Apartheid Paradigm in Israel-Palestine" conference in October 2007 and where Massachusetts Governor and Sen Barak Obama’s northeast campaign manager Deval Patrick attends, Sen Obama is a STILL member of Chicago’s infamous Trinity UCC) – the Unitarian First Parish in Cambridge (Harvard Square across from Harvard Yard), and – suburban Episcopal churches.

On April 30 2008, I was in front of the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul. Obviously, someone in Bishop Shaw’s office called the Boston Police with a complaint about me. An Episcopal Diocese NAG (National Association of Gals) employee was hovering to observe the anticipated events. A Boston Police paddy wagon arrived about 2:30. The officer warned me that protesters had to be mobile/walking and not seated and that if I remained seated that I would be arrested. There is no city ordinance that requires protesters to be mobile and this arbitrary requirement by the Boston Police Department denies me constitutional right to free speech.

On June 11 2007, I was in a similar situation. Then I chose to leave. See my on-line unpublished letter to the Jewish Advocate about the ACLU declining to help resolve this matter (google ‘ACLU anti-Semitism Nystedt‘). The ADL also declined to help as they have programming with the Episcopal Church.

So, when I returned to this location on April 30th, I was fully prepared to suffer the consequence of sitting. I sat and I was arrested for disturbing the peace.

Handcuffed, paddy wagon, booked, and overnight in Precinct 1 cell 7. 5×7 with a metal shelf for a bed. It reminded me of Christ’s tomb except that it had a combo toilet/sink an its walls were made of steal. Fortunately, I wore work boots, one of which doubled as a pillow. Didn’t some ancient Israel prophet sleep with a rock as a pillow? Being in this drum amplified my snoring which great annoyed the lockup’s other guests. I woke up at 2:30AM with the sound of the other lockup guests pounding on their walls. I told the arresting officer that I suffer from sleep apnea and need a CPAP machine. No allowance was made for that medical need. Obviously, I considered guilty upon arrest in violation of the the US Constitution. I was released at 3AM, now May 1st, with a summons to appear at the Boston Municipal Court (Edward Brooke Building, 24 New Chardon Street, West End) at 8:30AM, which I did.

The court got started about 9AM with 200+ cases to be heard. About one-third, with non-Anglo names, were no shows and issued warrants for arrest. A few were continued until lawyers could sort things out. The rest were either bailed or held without bail. My lockup buddies showed up wearing hand and ankle cuffs. About 1PM, my case was called. After 30 seconds of reading my file, the (Assistant?) District Attorney recommended that my case be dismissed. The Judge said "Case dismissed," I said "Thank you," and I left. The few dozen defendants still in court were taken aback.

Now, I am looking for a lawyer to sue the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Episcopal Diocese, and the individuals involved for denying me my constitutional right to free speech, harassment, etc, whatever. Any suggestions, except the ACLU and ADL, would be appreciated.

Thank you for listening/reading. Its been therapeutic writing this.

Mark Nystedt. Haverhill Massachusetts.

Please send ideas on how to help Mr. Nystedt.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

10-point plan to resist jihad

This is via LGF:

N.C. congresswoman releases 10-point list to tackle radical Islam threats

April 18, 2008 6:45 PM

McClatchy Newspapers


WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick wants America to ”wake up” and stop allowing terrorism to proliferate – and if that means revoking the passport of a former U.S. president or examining the preaching of prison chaplains, that’s what she’s prepared to do.


Here is Myrick’s 10-point plan to tackle threats posed by radical elements of Islam:

1. Investigate all military chaplains endorsed by Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was imprisoned for funding a terrorist organization.

2. Investigate all prison chaplains endorsed by Alamoudi.

3. Investigate the selection process of Arabic translators working for the Pentagon and the FBI.

4. Examine the non-profit status of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

5. Make it an act of sedition or solicitation of treason to preach or publish materials that call for the deaths of Americans.

6. Audit sovereign wealth funds in the United States.

7. Cancel scholarship student visa program with Saudi Arabia until they reform their text books, which she claims preach hatred and violence against non-Muslims.

8. Restrict religious visas for imams who come from countries that don’t allow reciprocal visits by non-Muslim clergy.

9. Cancel contracts to train Saudi police and security in U.S. counterterrorism tactics.

10. Block the sale of sensitive military munitions to Saudi Arabia.

Read it all.  And also be sure to read Robert Spencer’s article on the subject.

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May 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments