Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday: Ukraine in hell and I'm doing the plumbing.

Nobody in their right mind believes Putin's excuses, but one of the things I've learned from my favorite old Soviet, gri, is that Putin's ilk has a very perverted sense of what capitalism is and it's whereby Putin's got Europe by the balls.  Europe might be hesitant, sure, but Putin would be as delusional as ISIS if he thinks it's gonna buy him an empire.

Efforts to resurrect the long-gone Roman Empire gave us both the Great War and World War II, so what we see in the Ukraine and in Iraq are just two more attempts to litter the annals of history with both corpses and massive FAILs that can be also seen in the Americas with the Incas and the Mayas. Both Putin and ISIS are trying the same formula and expect different results, so if ever you wanted proof that they're all nuts, here it is.

And so I turn to catching up on domestic chores like I do every Saturday, but this Saturday was a bit different as the tank of the toilet developed a steady drip of a leak.  Closer examination revealed that the leak was springing as a result of a failure of the tank seal where the fill valve passed through to the connection to the water supply.  It was just a rubber type thingie and so I went to the hardware store to find a replacement seal. Shouldn't be a big deal.

In days of yore, it wouldn't have been...but each different design of fill valves means different and incompatible forms of gaskets, and so instead of purchasing what should have been a standardized seal turned out to be a purchase of an entire valve even though the old valve was still operational.

Gri, NOW you can laugh at capitalism.  Go ahead.  It sucks when it comes to snit like this. I did manage to beat the system, though--doing the plumbing myself because I know how to.  I saved my ole man upwards of $50 per hour plus parts, so nobody laugh when I claim to know how a time machine works.  I can even wire up and change the oil, set the spark gap, points and vacuum advance on that sucker too, so deal with it.

I should add that what's laughable, but not all that funny, about capitalism is that it's how ISIS gets its money to do battle with western capitalist interests.  It sells oil on the open market and it's mindless entrepreneurs with an eye toward buying-low-selling-high opportunities such as what ISIS offers.  Western capitalists are basically being handed the rope they'll get hung with, according to ISIS goals. 

Another postscript, to address the skepticism regarding my qualifications for TARDIS maintenance and the terms I used that, the claim makes, is more applicable to antique technology, never mind basic plumbing.  I'm pretty sure I showed my mechanic's creds when I posted a how-to on lawn mower maintenance, in my mentioning of the function of a venturi, which is no longer used in today's automobiles for fuel carburetion. Guys, I even know how to change a head gasket, which means that I am aware of the NECESSITY of a torque wrench (which I also know how to use).  On that note. permit me to recount to you something that happened at Motorola's EPI (EMO) department when an Applied Materials epitaxial reactor failed to open its lid.

Part of the lid's function in sealing is to not only keep the introduced dopant gases from leaving the chamber, but it's also expected to keep a tight seal against the atmosphere because the chamber needs to be pumped down to a very hard vacuum, typically measured in units of Torr rather than the usual inches of mercury column.  That's how hard a vacuum it has to be.  The lid is rather large and has a bolt pattern similar to what you find on your auto's wheels (you HAVE changed your own flats before, haven't you?) but the bolts were Allen wrench (hex) type and a guy who had been assigned to dismantle the lid and remove it from the machine had stripped his wrench and purt-near stripped the heads of a few of the bolts.

Guys who know about head gaskets will already see where I'm going with this.

A different guy was assigned to the job and I was assigned to work with him (yeah, the boss was a guy who'll be damned if he'd give credit to a woman for being an apt mechanic).  The guy I was assigned with started out just fine--he was smart enough to make sure that all the bolts were tightened back down first, but he used feel to gauge the torque on each bolt head.  Then he loosened each one to the point where he thought he could remove each by hand.  So far, so good.  But when he got to the first bolt he loosened, he found that it couldn't be hand-turned anymore, and he was scratching his head over that.

You see, just before he got to the bolt he started with, he completely removed the last bolt, and that was a big mistake.  I recognized it right away, but, going along to get along, I kept my mouth shut until he just gave up and went on break to give it a rest.  Well, that's when I put the removed bolt back in, tightened it up (yeah--had no choice but to gauge the torque by feel, alas), and loosened each bolt about 3 turns at a time, going around each bolt again and again until the lid was loose.  Oh--we were not working against a vacuum, by the way--there's a relief valve that pumps in air to equalize the pressure even if the lid is still in place.  That's done every time an epi run is done and the reactor is ready to unload.

I had the lid off before the guy was finished with his break. So--what does all this have to do with navigating a time machine? Basic physics. You can't get away from it no matter what you do, so you might as well obtain at least a basic grasp of its principles.  At the VERY least.

Speaking of navigating those relative dimensions in time and space, The Atlantic produced an interesting flash video that gives a look at a "multiverse" (not a universe) which is timeley (ahem) in respect to navigation into the future, but they get the concept a bit wrong when they show infinite reflections. The rest of the video does accurately convey the different branch-offs that is available to the traveler into the future and brings us back to the mathematical sense of the necessity of the theta sigma component in fractal time, which isn't a "time line".

The Atlantic: the multiverse 

Okay--my response to the observation that it's one thing to properly take apart the reactor lid, but what about properly putting it back together? Aye, there's the rub, and lacking a proper torque wrench with proper torque specs, putting the lid back together properly is a major issue and putting it back together via reversing the method by which it was disassembled can, indeed, cause permanent damage to the machine.  In fact, it's highly likely that the lid will be permanently warped enough to prevent a proper pump-down of the reactor chamber, ever...but only after it may appear to operate properly the first time it's used after re-assembly.

The way this type of reactor works is not just under high vacuum but also with high heat, and when the lid isn't re-assembled properly, the heat will ensure permanent warpage of the lid.  Quite so.  However, big manufacturers such as Motorola was, once upon a time, look to cut costs by demanding that their mechanics do some electrical work and some electronics specialists do mechanical work, and the mechanical physics I'm talking about here is more advanced than is the purview of the typical "grease monkey" an definitely beyond the purview of the electronics specialist.  Interestingly enough, the engineers in the QC (Quality Control) department recognized my electromechanical talents better than my immediate supervisor did and recruited me as a QC automated equipment specialist, much to the surprise of most of my co-workers and immediate supervisor.  And from that position, I was also appointed by QC to be the person who would train equipment operators on the proper use of QC equipment.  They also insist that I train any of my co-workers for proper maintenance and calibration procedures on QC equipment that might get assigned to such equipment, before they commenced working on any of it.

Sunday mini-UPDATE: Producing the Enid Summer Chautauqua performances is still a work in progress, and a rough draft of the intro is now available, just recently posted on Facebook.  It's not the final product, but, just for your amusement, here's the rough draft (in HD for a change):

The last piece of music is done by Billy Murray, already mentioned in this blog elsewhere. And I'm still a big fan of his, as well as his occasional duet partner, Ada Jones.

Tuesday UPDATE: via Facebook.
Just became an ex-fan of somebody I used to enjoy watching on the TV series, Andromeda. "Fickle fan" my ass.

Totally kicking that clown to the curb.

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