Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

How to Build a Computer 29: Electron Microscopy

 

For the next couple of posts, we’ll be sauntering through the science of measurement. To put it simply, computer bits are really, really small. So as you wander through the world of building them how do you know you’ve made the thing right? Well, let’s start simple. You can just look at ’em. I could go on a great big tear about optical microscopy which is still an important subject, and relevant. The problem with it is that I just don’t find the subject very interesting. Still, you get some neat images.

This is my fingerprint, photographed on the background of one of them hard drive platters I ripped out of that drive in the video. FBI please ignore.

To understand why you need the electron microscope it helps to spend some time with an optical microscope. The majority of the time I spent looking at parts I spent looking through an optical microscope, not on the SEM. Largely because Chem Lab owned the SEM, and they get all fidgety when someone else touches their stuff. Briefly though, I think I can demonstrate the usefulness of an electron microscope with two images.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

St. Patrick and the Decline of Christendom for Drink and Money

 
More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Gaming the System

 

This past week, we were treated to a phenomenal story about lawnmower parents illegally gaming the various mechanisms necessary to achieve entrance to the college of their dreams. This isn’t a story about that. This is a story about those who successfully (and legally) gamed the system.

In the middle of the 1990s (about 1996), the USAF held a promotion board to decide which Captains should be promoted to Major. These promotion boards are generally held annually and include Captains who have been previously passed over for Major. In an amazing development, hundreds of Air Force pilots wrote the promotion board to ask to not be promoted.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

My Conservatism Ruined My Career as an Entrepreneur

 

When I moved from Compton, California, to Eugene, Oregon, in 1961 to attend the University of Oregon, I thought I had found the city of my dreams.

My hometown of Compton (”Straight Outta”) was an ugly piece of work even back then. It was a city of used car lots, a slum area or two, some tough muthers roaming the streets, and bars on the windows of the downtown stores.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Unexpected Gifts – Sons

 

Today is my middle son’s 33rd birthday, the one I call Pipeliner because he is a pipeline engineer. I have three sons, born four and a half years apart. All of them are unexpected gifts. They were not unexpected in the sense of their arrival, we wanted all three. Rather, the unexpected gifts are the delightful surprises all three have provided.

My oldest is a genius, literally, he tested as such (it runs in the family, my two brothers are geniuses. I am not. That makes me the dumb one in the family.) He is even smart enough to understand the limitations of genius. (Too many smart people treat genius the way a bandit treats a firearm. They act as if all you have to do is wave it around and you get what you want, even when you do not use it.) It was an unexpected gift to have someone with whom I could engage intellectually over the dinner table.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

How Many Polar Bears Can Dance on the Tip of an Iceberg?

 
Photo Credit: Alan D. Wilson, October 2007, Polar Bears (Cubs), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is acting as the face for the Justice Democrats’ Green New Deal, Dianne Feinstein is confronted by terror-stricken children and their indoctrination handlers, women in first world countries declaring that they will forgo child-bearing in the face of impending environmental collapse, Mayor DeBlasio is mandating “Meatless Monday” menus in NYC public schools in order to combat Climate Change… Wherever you turn, the Left have whipped up their Eco-Marxist rhetoric to an absolute froth. And I, for one, have had enough.

Admittedly, the Global Warming / Climate Change sham has been stuck in my craw since 2008 when I read the 2006 Monnet and Gleason paper “Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming by polar bears in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea.” This is the paper that Al Gore was most likely citing in his 2006 traveling eco-apocalypse road show “An Inconvenient Truth” when he claimed that, “a new scientific study shows that, for the first time, they’re finding polar bears that have actually drowned…” On reading the Monnett and Gleason paper, even as a layperson, I found the study’s methodology, and therefore Gore’s conclusions on the study, to be highly suspect:

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Unexpected Gifts: Sometimes There Is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

 

The summer Papa Toad and I traveled out to Oregon from New York, before we had kids, we lived out of our car. The back seat held most of our worldly possessions, including three plants that we brought successfully from New York to Oregon. I had the trunk packed perfectly so that our camping gear and climbing gear were easily accessible. With little savings and no jobs for three months, we lived frugally, camping or staying with friends along the way. After more than two months on the road, we were in beautiful Pinedale, WY. For a radical and fun change of pace, we decided to splurge in an uncharacteristic and shamelessly self-indulgent way and go out for lunch, spending money we didn’t have and putting it on our credit card. We knew that in a couple of weeks we would be gainfully employed again, and we were tired of cookstove camp fare.

We ordered appetizers. We ordered beers. We got dessert. We had cappuccinos. We ate and drank and had a great time. Papa Toad and I were enjoying ourselves mightily. The waitress was charming and made us laugh, the afternoon was filled with golden light and we were filled up to the brim with the pleasure of living.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Purchasing Privilege

 

When the college admission scandal broke a couple of days ago, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. (I’m known for my brilliant predictions.) I thought, “We’re supposed to be offended because kids are getting into colleges that they would not normally qualify for? Call me when we dump affirmative action. Then, maybe I’ll get offended by this.” But this has been a huge story. It’s all my patients want to talk about on our office visits. So people clearly got more upset about this than I anticipated. I just couldn’t figure out why. So after giving it some thought, I have a theory. I’m still not sure I understand this, but hear me out…

Again, my confusion arises from the fact that we admit unqualified applicants all the time. Depending on the college, it can be 30-50% of the incoming class. The classic example is a black male college applicant. The qualifications he needs to get into, say, Stanford, are a lot different than the qualifications that would be needed for an Asian applicant. You might say, then, that black race is a qualification for college, just like a high SAT score or a high class ranking. That is objectively true, but I look at it slightly differently.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Let Me Say This About That

 

I support the websites and podcasts that I like by, to the extent possible, buying stuff from their sponsors. Harry’s Shave, Casper mattresses (pillows), Quip. But I would have never bought a “weighted calming blanket.” Sounds like a gimmick. Doesn’t sound comfortable. Wouldn’t it be too hot to sleep in?

The Lovely And Talented Mrs. Mongo bought me one for Christmas. She did it because there are few people with as many and as big sleep dysfunctions as I have. Just trying to help. I kind of rolled my eyes–internally, after about 137 years of marriage, I’ve learned that ensuring the eye roll is solely internal is key to maintaining domestic tranquility–and kind of thought “yeah, whatever.”

More

Can Justice Be Done?

 

This past Wednesday, Gavin Newsom, governor of California, announced a moratorium on the death penalty in the Golden State, effectively ending the death penalty here. The same day, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles issued a statement praising Newsom’s action. “For many years now,” the Archbishop stated, “my brother Catholic bishops and I have been calling for an end to the death penalty….The death penalty violates the condemned person’s dignity and deprives that person of the chance to change his or her heart and be rehabilitated through the mercy of God.”

Two days later, a man in New Zealand, which long ago abolished the death penalty, entered a mosque, opened fire, and then entered a second mosque, opening fire once again. The death count: 49.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

The KITTEN Act

 

I am often astounded at the lack of self-awareness that seems to engulf leftists, but this instance ranks as one of the best examples. Apparently, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has sponsored the KITTEN Act (Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now) that aims to end the euthanasia of kittens used in USDA research and testing.

“The KITTEN Act will protect these innocent animals from being needlessly euthanized in government testing,” Merkley told reporters, “and make sure that they can be adopted by loving families instead.” Does he even hear himself? They should be treated and adopted? That’s exactly what Americans have requested for living, breathing babies. Democrats said no. Killing a child is a “personal decision,” they said, and Congress shouldn’t get in the way.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Walmart Eliminates Greeters – Who Cares?

 

Did you ever see the movie with Jim Carrey called “Fun with Dick and Jane”, where he loses his high profile job and is forced to become a greeter at a local store? It’s so funny, but what was on the news this evening was not so funny.

Our local news reported that Walmart is eliminating the greeters at the front entrance. The person in the segment that is losing the job in April is an elderly veteran. He said this job keeps him going. They showed him saluting the patrons as they entered the store, and they smile and salute back. The local news person interviewed many of the Walmart customers who said they would no longer shop there if he wasn’t present. Wow! They were adamant that they look forward to seeing him, talking to him and that it adds to their overall store satisfaction.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

The Dreaded Space Station Vacation

 

(March 14, 2059) 

Jemma Thalos was twelve years old three days ago. The last few months had been rough for her. Her occasional live-in boyfriend, Dustin, had just announced that he was a girl but wanted to carry on his relationship with Jemma as a lesbian couple. Jemma made it clear that she wasn’t like bigoted or homophobic, but she really didn’t want to be considered a lesbian even though Dustin’s parents were adamant that the sex the two twelve-year-old, self-identified young women would continue to have would be even safer than before.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Unexpected Gift on the Ides of March?

 

What unexpected gifts could we celebrate on the Ides of March? The day is best known for the assassination of Julius Caesar in the Roman Senate by other Roman leaders. One of the leaders, Brutus, commemorated the assassination two years later with a coin remembering the Ides of March with two daggers and a common cap, a pileus.

The cap had become associated with the emancipation of slaves. It is still featured in some images of Lady Liberty. So, we could celebrate the unexpected gift of liberty, liberty won by literally striking down the tyrant. However, none of the conspirators covered themselves in glory as republican heroes, let along Heroes of the Roman Republic.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Wake up the President? Terrorist Mass Murder at New Zealand Mosques [Updated midday Friday]

 

On Friday afternoon, 15 March 2019, New Zealand time, there was a horrific terrorist attack at least two mosques in New Zealand. They are 20 hours ahead of the U.S. West Coast time. According to the initial reports, an attacker livestreamed the event. The image, at right, was captured by media before the video was taken down. There apparently was a lengthy manifesto. There have been multiple people arrested. It appears this was an attack by white New Zealand and Australian citizens on Muslims.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “This can only be described as a terrorist attack.” The linked BBC page has a series of videos. The PM is not inclined to tweet. Indeed, you can see her last communication was in October.

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Sanctuary Counties in New Mexico

 

I am visiting relatives in New Mexico and noticed that the leftist government passed a law requiring background checks on gun sales between individuals.

The governor signed it, of course. A quote shows that she apparently has never read the US Constitution:

More
Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Ex-Jehovah’s Witness criticize the policy of shunning

 

I just finished reading “The Reluctant Apostate: Leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses Comes at a Price” by Lloyd Evans. It provides a detailed look at the history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and how Evans’ mother ended up joining the faith after a series of failed relationships. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) are born into the faith and find it very difficult to leave the faith even if they want to.

Why? Lloyd Evans explains his reluctance to leave the JWs in his book and much of it is due to the JW policy of “shunning.” Once a member of JWs are disfellowshipped or disassociated, no one within JW is allowed to speak to the former member, not even immediate family members. In the case of Lloyd Evans, once Lloyd left the JWs and was disassociated, his father disowned him immediately and, thus, never met Lloyd’s newborn daughter.

More

The Microsoft Myth: We Shouldn’t Assume More Antitrust Will Give Us More Tech Innovation

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that if Washington breaks up Big Tech — and more aggressively reviews acquisitions going forward — the result will be more competition and thus more innovation than would occur otherwise. Just look at history. As the Democratic presidential candidate explains in a blog post:

The government’s antitrust case against Microsoft helped clear a path for Internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge. The story demonstrates why promoting competition is so important: it allows new, groundbreaking companies to grow and thrive — which pushes everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services.

More