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Well, there’s one


As you guys may have gathered, I am absolutely fascinated with the idea of 3D printing technologies without having the faintest fucking idea what I could do with it.

I was chatting to someone in my electric bicycle forum (yeah, I get around, baby!) who makes his own bike motors, very substantially using parts he 3D prints. When I expressed some skepticism that PLA would be strong enough to do useful work, he said the material is strong under compression and weak under tension and he designs part thicknesses accordingly. Yes, I saw a picture of his motor in action (it’s a friction motor that works by directly driving the front tire).

Later that night, I sat straight up in bed (I did, too — I’m not kidding) when it occurred to me that I could print *・°☆.。banjo components:*・°☆.。. Like, bridges and armrests and ornamental headstocks and shit. I didn’t think PLA would be very impressive tonally, but then I discovered people are printing wild-ass electric guitars. In nylon, I think. How do they sound? I DON’T CARE!

And today this Kickstarter campaign hit my inbox: you download a free cellphone app and scan your feet and they 3D print custom insoles to match. I am unclear whether they offer the shoes, as well but I DON’T CARE!

We live in wondrous times, my friends.

February 29, 2016 — 10:28 pm
Comments: 17

The thirtieth anniversary of something I don’t remember


Sunday is the thirtieth anniversary of the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. He was walking home from the movies with his wife when he was approached by a gunman and shot dead.

Sometimes I like to play a game with True Crime books: I shuffle to the picture section and, without reading the captions, try to figure out from their faces who’s the victim, who’s the perp and who’s the policeman. In this case, though, it’s easy — dude on the right is a druggy who was picked up for the murder three years later after Mrs Palme picked him out of a lineup. That’s about all the evidence against him, though, so the case is classed as unsolved. A hundred and thirty people have confessed to the murder and been dismissed.

It’s officially the biggest murder investigation in history — bigger than JFK’s, bigger than Lockerbie. And it’s still active. Sweden even scrapped their 25-year statute of limitations on murder to keep it going (which is fine. There shouldn’t really be a statute of limitations on murder).

He was a hard left anti-Imperialist, pro-Revolutionary, the first Western head of state to visit Cuba and speak in favor of Cambodia’s revolutionaries. So you can imagine the prevailing theories.

The Turks say the Kurds did it, the Kurds say the Turks did it. There was a Yugoslavian, and a LaRouchie. Indian gunrunners. Chilean fascists. The Masons. The CIA. I’m not even kidding. If you like this sort of thing, this is just the sort of thing you’d like.

Not me. I hate the unsolved ones. Good weekend, all!

February 26, 2016 — 9:19 pm
Comments: 9

beautiful and tragic


Welp, it must be Spring — I’ve got the itch for more chickens. A chicken jones, as it were. Yes, I have been chicken shopping.

My flock is down to three, which is no kind of flock at all. But I have a bit of a dilemma — my henhouse will comfortably hold four, but you have to add them in pairs, at least (every hen needs a buddy — that whole ‘pecking order’ thing is deadly serious).

I was kind of hoping the henhouse would fall to bits this Winter. I emphatically am not hoping to lose my oldest bird, who is my favorite chikken EVAR, though that too would have solved the problem (they live six to eight years, and she’ll be seven next month; please send a happy thought Mapp’s way). I’m thinking maybe throw caution to the winds and buy a newer, bigger henhouse and add three new chikkens to the flock. If I can find the chikkens I’m looking for.

Him? That fine-looking specimen in the picture? I found him in the free ads. He’s what sucks the fun out of chikken shopping in the classifieds: people desperate to get rid of surplus roosters (“free to a good home, very friendly bird, pleeeeease!”).

I’m always tempted, but not really tempted. See, some sneaky bird from my flock would surely lay a few eggs in the hedge and, next thing you know, I’d be desperate to get rid of a surplus rooster. And it would be kind of startling to introduce my hens to sex at this time of life.

Also, bantam cockerels have a crow that could peel wallpaper.

February 25, 2016 — 11:36 pm
Comments: 23

You’re welcome


Yeah, it’s getting increasingly hard to find things to say that aren’t the election or the EU referendum. I’d’ve given you a cat picture instead, but I was too lazy to camera.

February 24, 2016 — 10:32 pm
Comments: 24



Recognize this face? Nay? It’s Chris Crocker, the leave Britney alone guy. Yeah, some people are caressed by the warm terrycloth bathrobe of puberty, and some people get smashed in the face with the puberty brickbat.

The Metro tells me he tried doing porn for a while. You needn’t ask what kind of porn, and you shouldn’t Google it if you don’t want to see free willy.

I have got to stop reading the Metro.

So…how ’bout that Twitter, huh? If you want a good roundup of the current state of play, yesterday’s overnight thread at Ace’s has some links (in the middle of the post). Short version: Twitter goes SJW, bans righty, many righties quit in protest.

I’m a Twitter nonentity. I went back last Sunday and spent a lazy day reminding myself why I never really cottoned to it: it’s like being shouted at simultaneously by dozens of deranged door-to-door salesmen.

February 23, 2016 — 10:06 pm
Comments: 14

Useless me.


For some reason, I’m tired and useless tonight. I’ve done nothing but dinner prep (just the prep; Uncle B does wok duty) and browse /r/badtattoos.

Nothing cheers me up quite like stupid people and the bad decisions they make.

Only, I beg to differ on the one in the picture (color here). This is an excellent piece bit of mechanical draftsmanship. I only wish I could read the flow chart.

Join me? Skip Reddit and go right to the Imgur album for /r/badtattos.

Bonus: today is Imgur’s seventh birthday, apparently. If you have an account (at least, I suspect you have to have an account), you get to click on a present icon and are served a Bazooka-bubblegum-worthy lousy stinking rotten joke.

February 22, 2016 — 9:33 pm
Comments: 12



Image: great gold buckle from the Sutton Hoo ship burial; one of millions of images available to us punters through the British Museum’s online catalogue.

I mentioned earlier this week I was hoping to go to a work-related seminar today, and so I did. It was about conservation of historical documents and it was, for the most part, very interesting.

The best nugget was learning that the British Museum’s whole object catalogue is online. You can browse the database of nearly four million objects (and growing), with good descriptions and high quality photos. (Try the advanced search. Nobody uses the advanced search and that makes the head of cataloguing very sad).

The lowlight was a presentation about trying to bring diversity to historical research. The speaker carefully never defined diversity, but told us the measures they’d taken (they who? The Arts Council, I think) to increase ‘diverse’ trainees in history. Like, eliminating the degree requirement for entrance and ultimately limiting the program to London. And even then, they had a three in ten dropout rate. This was after a day of being told the pool of jobs was shrinking.

It boils down to: taking scarce jobs away from qualified English people who want them to foist them upon unqualified, unspecified ‘diverse’ people who don’t.

And with that depressing thought, I bid you a good weekend!

February 19, 2016 — 10:24 pm
Comments: 7

This important news from Great Britain


Beginning tomorrow, supermarket giant Tesco will cease to sell curved croissants in favor of straight ones, on account of Britons are too retarded to put butter on non-rectilinear objects. Or something.

I think Trading Standards should make Tesco sell them as “straights”, since the crescent shape is integral. Legend has it, they were invented in 1683 to celebrate the defeat of the Turks in the Siege of Vienna, the crescent shape in imitation of the Turkish flag.

Hm. Perhaps this is a sop to our Muslim friends. Or maybe — just maybe — it’s more efficient to make straight pasteries than curved ones, on an industrial scale.

Why we butter them at all is a mystery. Have you ever seen croissants being made commercially? There’s more butter than flour!

February 18, 2016 — 8:59 pm
Comments: 17



Picture uncredited; couldn’t find source.

Happy World Cat Day (not to be confused International Cat Day) (or, for that matter, National Cat Day, National Feral Cat Day, National Black Cat Day or any of the other silly made up cat holidays). Yes, you have guessed — this sad excuse for a post means I still feel like shit, though I did go into work for an hour today.

Whoever warned me to be careful of whisky and ginger wine, you were right. I was wrong. I have paid for my foolishness.

I’m hoping to post a miraculous recovery from here; there’s a seminar I really, really want to go to on Friday. But it will involve getting up at the crack of dawn and walking to the train station, just for starters.

Gin and tonic never hurt anyone, right?

February 17, 2016 — 11:11 pm
Comments: 13

Watch out for falling…ones of these


Somebody stole a giant model triceratops out of a park on the Isle of Wight and left it in the middle of the road. As the Telegraph drily observed, drink was probably involved. If not before, it surely would have been afterwards, if I had run across this in the street.

I woke up this morning with an awful headcold and called in sick. I don’t usually skive off work for a mere cold, but my current gig is a little different: I’m the youngest person in the group, by a lot. I’d feel pretty shit if one of my cow orkers got carried off by my rhinovirus.

I’ll be fine; the British version of Nyquil is called Nite Nurse.

Also, whisky and ginger wine.

February 16, 2016 — 10:58 pm
Comments: 9