Friday, October 31, 2014

Flying Car

They are really gonna build one.  The Terrafugia Transition, a two seat light plane with folding wings that can be driven on the highway.  The company is in Woburn Massachusetts, just down the road from me. Mostly carbon fiber,  410 mile range with 30 minutes reserve fuel, 100 mph cruise speed.  Price is $279,000.  Which is a lot, you used to be able to buy a used two place Piper or Cessna for $10,0000.  They have 100 firm orders.  Tooling is going to cost $20-30 million, of which half has already been raised. 
   Regulations seem to be as big a hassle to this product than any real technical issues.  Only an easier route to FAA certification open to low power two place sports aircraft made the product possible.  Conventional FAA certification is so expensive, and would add so much heavy "safety" equipment as to kill the design.  After tangling with FAA regulations, they had to deal with highway regulations, which hassled them over the windshield among other things.  Bureaucrats wanted to make the windshield from safety glass rather than polycarbonate plastic. 
   I wish them luck. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Walt Havenstein vs Maggie Hassan

They were on TV last night "debating".  Both of 'em looked good, sounded good and talked past each other.  Neither of them made a newsworthy gaffe.  Half the reason for watching candidate debates is to enjoy the blood spilled on stage when one of 'em says the wrong thing.
  Walt missed an important point on right to work.  We need right to work to get investment, factories, assembly plants, in short jobs.  Fact of life.  Corporations won't invest in a state that is not right to work.  They do invest in right to work states.  Which is why Sturm Ruger is expanding in North Carolina, and Boeing is now building 787s in the same state.  If NH were to vote in right to work, we would be the ONLY right to work state in the whole northeast.  That would draw investment dollars from the moon.
   I know that right to work is tough on unions.  It's much harder to collect dues when you have to ask each man to write you a check.  It's easy street when the employer deducts dues from the paychecks and passes the money on to you.  But only 7 percent of NH workers are unionized, we ought to be able to vote in right to work in the legislature.  And, unlike last time, when democratic governor Lynch vetoed right to work, Walt would sign it.
   The other big miss.  Both candidates admitted that NH is suffering a loss of young people.  Maggie said this was due to a lack of educational opportunities and segued into more money for UNH.  Walt didn't contradict her.  Neither came out and said that young people leave NH 'cause there are no jobs for them here.  My own son had to travel to North Dakota to find work.   Right to work would bring us some jobs. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Yearly Rotation of the phone books

Fairpoint Communications delivered my new phone book today.  So, the new book goes on shelf by the office phone.  Last year's phone book in the office goes to the kitchen phone.  Year before last phone book in the kitchen goes to the workshop in the basement.  Old work shop phone book goes to the trash.
   Why, with just me living in a small house , I have three wired phones is a good question.  But I do.

Japan Woodworker

A catalog, delivered in the mail, in time for Christmas.  Full of tools.  I like tools, most guys do.  But the prices in this catalog are completely outta sight, even viewed as fancy Christmas gifts.  $200 for a straight razor, set of wood chisels for $1600, those clever Japanese pull saws for $300. 
   Nice stuff, much of it in the black iron, hand forged by blacksmiths look, which isn't as pretty as the stuff from Lee Valley which is all machined, polished, chromed, and generally sharp looking.  And not quite as expensive.  


That's what they are doing on TV this election.  Countless smear ads, accusing candidates of doing unlikely things, voting for awful things, voting against good things.  Mostly Democratic, although not all. 
   Strangely enough, the smears are kinda wishy washy.  Never a specific, never a real name or date, not even a bill number that one could look up.  I can see how they might speak to true believers, but anyone of ordinary sense will be suspicious of such vague and outrageous accusations. 
   Not sure if I understand the strategy behind such ads.  It is a truism that 40% of the voters are yellow dog Democrats, and 40% are rock ribbed Republicans.  These voters will vote their party, no matter what.  The 20% independents control the election and they are the voters your advertising needs to reach.   These smear ads may delight the yellow dog Democrats, but I don't think they will speak to independents. 
   And, there is a heluva lot of money flowing into this here mid term election.  Yesterday the mail brought me 5 by 7 four color postcard for Rebecca Brown (Democrat running for NH state rep from my district).  That kind of mailing is pricey, few rep candidates have the money.  She didn't have that kinda money two years ago.  Wonder where the cash came from. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lying to the Prosecutors

A Massachusetts court just convicted a buddy of the Boston Bomber of "lying to prosecutors".  Pretty wimpy.  This buddy was accused of cleaning up evidence left in Tsarnov's dorm room, including a computer.  Since Tsarnov himself ought to be standing trial for first degree murder, the buddy ought to be charged with accessory to murder, or conspiracy to commit murder. 
  Far as I am concerned, lying to prosecutors should not be a crime.  Prosecutors ought to prosecute on evidence, and testimony, not confessions squeezed out of defendants upon threat of long prison terms. A perp has a right to try and get off by telling the prosecutor/cops  anything he can think of.  If the perp is guilty, the prosecution needs to present real evidence to that effect. 
  Plus, "lying to prosecutors" is something that you can pin on anyone.  Just grill 'em long and hard enough.  Sooner or later the suspect will contradict himself.  Nobody can keep their story straight for ever.  As soon as the suspect makes a slip, charge him with lying.  That's real judicial fairness that is.  Just like they have in Russia.
  And, it's been a long time since we bagged Tsarnov.  When do we bring him to court?  Why are we frying the little fish instead of the big one?   Especially as the little fish were just trying to cover for a buddy.  Which ain't right, but it is understandable. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014


That's what the TV newsies are talking about.  They are saying those three school girls who ran away from home to join ISIS, and were arrested in Germany, had been watching ISIS video's on the 'net and thought the ISIS fighters were way cool, and would marry them.  And those two Canadian shooters were "self radicalized" by watching ISIS recruitment videos on the 'net.  And the ax murderer who whacked a pair of NY cops got that way by too much websurfing. 
   Is this really true?  What I see of ISIS is a bunch of repulsive terrorists.  The TV newsies are telling us that ISIS is as cool as Rudolf Valentino in Son of the Sheik.  Used to be that America defined what was cool for the entire world.  Blue jeans, hot rods, rock 'n roll, Elvis, Humphrey Bogart, CB radio, Jimmy Dean, Hollywood westerns, Marilyn Monroe, America defined cool. 
   Let's make that work for us again.  Some Hollywood output showing America as hard working, virtuous, and successful and Islamic terrorists as dirtbags would help.  Some good pop music, even country and western, about young lovers, separated by deployment to Iraq.  Some consistency from the political leadership, even just calling terrorism terrorism, rather than workplace violence.  America is the land of Madison Avenue, lets put some flacks to work.