Sunday, February 17, 2019

Brilliant comment from 2011

I posted eight years ago about restoration projects in my house.  Basically about how I was good at tearing out old stuff, not so great at putting in new stuff.   Since then I have, in fact, made progress. 

Out of the four rooms and two hallways that needed old growth fir restored, I have done three rooms and one hallway, and am making progress with the second hallway.  The fourth room is the living room and it now has a large Persian carpet covering most of the wood.

On the front porch, which needed to have all the weirdly patched and dry rotted wood replaced (since it used to be an outside porch before it was enclosed) I have done nothing but put a couple Persian carpets to cover much of the ugly wood.

I have, however, rebuilt the old garage (search this blog for This Old Garage) for a review of that project, and I am in the process of doing more of the front porch woodwork (see my last post, earlier today).

I had forgotten about the brilliant comment by Anonymous, (that guy gets around), on that thread.  I don't know why I never moved forward with this proposal:

hey! I have an idea for a new reality show. The Bachelor, Home Makeover Edition. So, all these luscious babes compete for your affections by doing various renovation projects on your house! You reluctantly eliminate one (or more) each week based on how impressed you are with each woman's quality of work. In the end you present a silver table saw to the lady of your dreams and you sail away in to the sunset. Your house is restored and gorgeous and you have a wife on your arm who will be happy for the rest of her life knowing she beat out all those other carpenter wannabes.
All I need now is someone with the money to invest in production and experience in reality TV shows and I'm set.  As far as royalties, perhaps we'll hire an IT expert to backtrack the IP address from which the comment was posted.

This old house - stripping woodwork

I've probably mentioned this before but stripping painted woodwork may be one of my least favorite jobs.  I do not have the patience for jobs that require doing what seems to be the same thing over and over.  However, given that we just had an unexpected week off due to snow, I decided, once I got really bored, to try to get some more woodwork done.

Back story.  This house was a rental for about thirty years before I bought it.  The standard "in-between-rentals" process was followed, including spray painting everything white.  All the beautiful woodwork was coated in many coats of paint.  I started working on the front hall when we first moved in (yes it was twenty years ago, no you don't get to judge me).  Trial and error as to what works best.  I tried watching old house restoration shows but they would always say things like "and we're going to strip the paint off all this beautiful old woodwork" and then in the next scene show the fully restored old woodwork.  Not helpful!

What I have discovered is that applying a chemical stripper of some kind (I  have settled on Soy Gel), I usually let it sit about half an hour and then apply a second coat.  After another half hour or so I  scrape the loose paint and stripper off then scrub everything with a damp stripper pad.  Wiping it all down with paper towels (damp then dry) gets a lot of the dissolved paint off the wood, but there is usually still paint residue in the grain of the wood.  I have to do it one more time, starting completely over with stripper, scraper (for the heavier bits), and stripper pad for the general residue. The stripper/scraping/stripper pads sort of work together and it takes three or four go arounds to finally get pretty close to most of the paint off.

Take a look at the following picture.  On the right you can see four pretty clean posts  Moving leftwards the dark post with a bit of paint is on it's third stage and should be done; the next has been worked over once and now has a second coat of stripper; and the next post is untouched but has a coat of stripper applied.

The Soy Gel is my default primarily because it seems to work at least as well as any of the others that I've tried and it doesn't seem quite as toxic.  It does, however, melt plastic scrapers if you don't wash them off in between uses.  As I discovered.

This really is a tedious, elbow grease type of job.  I am hoping to ramp up a little since I've restarted as I haven't been consistent.  Did a lot for a while, then didn't do anything for years, then did a little, and now it is now.  Years ago my uncle suggested that if I wanted a brown front hall that I paint it brown.  Not sure why he thought that the words brown and wood were synonymous, but I absolutely would have hated it.  It sure would have been easier, but eventually I will have a nice front hall. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

National emergencies

Don't know what they are about but this tweet was interesting.

Dungeon Master advice

Never underestimate the "5.. 4.. 3.. make a move.. 2... 1.. Roll for initiative"

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Naval nuclear power, why not for small ships?

Read an interesting book the other day (series actually) which was a zombie apocalypse story.  Appears to have ripped off various other stories but it was entertaining and well read, and since I hadn't read the other stories, I didn't know so didn't care.  On the other hand, there are probably a limited number of zombie apocalypse scenarios, so maybe a review of the literature would indicate that the genre is pretty tradition bound.

(Reminds me of the joke about the fellow reading Shakespeare for the first time and commenting that he was a horrible author, all he ever did was write in cliches.)

Anyway, none of that is the point.  The point is that in the books there is a new class of Navy destroyer that is nuclear powered and run on molten salt reactors.   As a former "nuke" (please don't ever write it as "nuc" if you are writing a book, no one does that except authors who don't know any better from what I've seen) this interested me.

A few years ago I looked into working for a company that was using transportable salt reactors to power operations in remote oil fields.   Didn't work out (I had a phone interview, they sounded interested in me but weren't ready to start operations, and that was the last I heard.  I suspect that they weren't nearly as together as they implied when they offered to interview me) but I did a little research into the concept to prep for the interview.

When I saw the concept in the books it started me wondering why the Navy wasn't doing this now.  The technology is available, it is proven (near as I can tell) and if anyone has the experience to create this kind of program it would be the Navy.  So the research started again.

Power Mag - Molten Salt Reactors and Military Application

Forbes - Nuscale and reactor development

City Journal Future of Atomic Energy

Well, one thing I learned is that the fellow I interviewed with was definitely full of it.  From the reading above sounds like they are close to being able to maybe build some of these but they were NOT operational a dozen years ago when he claimed that they were getting ready to run some in Alberta.

Interesting stuff though.  I'm a big proponent of continued development and use.  I have an article in my stuff about recycling nuclear "waste" and the various uses for the bits, including medical and power generation uses.  Haven't seen much since then (article dates back about thirty years) but I suspect that the lack of development relates to the hostility towards nuclear power that has been fairly evident in public policy and in the environmental movement.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

It's not just a good idea, it's the law

Periodically, browsing the interwebz, I stumble across an interesting "law".  Usually relating to some effect or another, but always (if I find them interesting) synopsizing something that makes sense to me.  The problem I run into, with my defective memory, is that I think "that's interesting" and then it goes away until I run into another reference, at which point I think "oh, I was going to remember that".  I need a blog post where I can keep them all, but that's not really how blog posts work.  Well, maybe I'll cut and paste into a new post every time I discover a new law.

Doing a little digging I also discovered that these used to be known as "usenet adages" from the time prior to the internet as we know it.  I remember usenets.  They weren't as fun as they sound.  Maybe I'll devote a post to that some day.

Latest entries:

Poe's Law:
without a clear indicator of the author's intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the parodied views.
This one relates well to my on-going frustration with discussion on the internet.  Someone makes a joke, doesn't clearly mark it as a joke, and panties twist.

Godwin's Law:
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
 Funny but increasingly true.  Godwin's Law also includes the observation that once this happens, the discussion is effectively over, therefore all discussion have a finite lifespan.  You don't see it so much on discussion as to whether a bypass oil filter is really necessary on a diesel pickup truck, of course.

Goodhart's Law:
When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
In education, also known as "teaching to the test".  Students need to know certain things, therefore we will test them in order to ensure they learned those things, we will rate the teachers and schools based on their test results to ensure that poor schools have an incentive to improve,  therefore teachers will review those things right before test day so that students will do better and the teachers will be seen as doing a good job.

I'm sure I'll remember or stumble across others but if you have one that is interesting, drop me a comment and I may add it if I also consider it interesting.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

No more playing, and I mean it

Daycare center removing swing-sets to "boost" test scores.


Apparently my state penalizes day cares financially if children spend more than 15 minutes per day on the swings.



Here's the state website for the program:

I can't find any specifics on what the requirements are to be an Early Achiever Day Care facility although there are all sorts of links with generic information.  I assume that if you want to open a certified facility and get the cash from the state they will provide you with more information. 

Never mind all the studies that say kids learn better after engaging in physical activity.  Never mind the fact that physical activity in a group setting is learning including finding your limits, negotiation, cooperation, etc.

Gah!  Every time I think that society might be salvageable another article like this comes along and I lose all hope again.