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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 35,274

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If your geek flag flies high, this is the ebook for you


John D. Clark's Ignition! is his personal history of liquid rocket propellant research, and it is a joy to read if you have even a little knowledge of chemistry. It includes such delights as his reminiscences about chlorine trifluoride (yes, you should be quaking in your boots right now):

Chlorine trifluoride, ClF3 or "CTF" as the engineers insist on calling it, is a colorless gas, a greenish liquid, or a white solid. It boils at 12 (so that a trivial pressure will keep it liquid at room temperature) and freezes at a convenient -76. It also has a nice fat density, about 1.81 at room temperature.

It is also quite probably the most vigorous fluorinating agent in existence - much more vigorous than fluorine itself. Gaseous fluorine, of course, is much more dilute than the liquid ClF3, and liquid fluorine is so cold that its activity is very much reduced.

All this sounds fairly academic and innocuous, but when it is translated into the problem of handling the stuff, the results are horrendous. It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that's the least of the problem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water - with which it reacts explosively. It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals - steel, copper, aluminum, etc. - because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride which protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminum keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere. If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes.

How Indian babies are named

"Grandfather, how are Indian babies named?"

'My precious grandson, it is a tradition that has been handed down for generations. After the baby is born, the father walks outside with his eyes closed. He tilts his head to the sky and gives thanks to the gods. Then he looks straight ahead and opens his eyes. The first thing he sees is the baby's name.'

"Thank you, Grandfather."

'You are most welcome. By the way, why do you ask, Trump-stealing-our-land?'

I did the numbers: even if electoral votes were apportioned strictly by population, we still lose

We've been talking about electoral votes here, and how a vote in Wyoming or Idaho counts for more at the electoral college than one from Pennsylvania. Which brought to mind the obvious: if the country was apportioned using the population of Wyoming as the basis for issuing a state electors, how would we have done?

Turns out we'd still lose.

My first move was to go to www.electoral-vote.com and get the current elector counts. There are 538 of them, and Hillary got 232. She needed 270 to win. I lovingly wrote down (well, put into a computer file; if you PM me I will send you a copy) all the states and how many electoral votes each gets.

Then I went to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_population and got each state's population at the 2010 Census. Wyoming, the smallest state, has 563,000 people living there. Divide 563,000 by the 3 electoral votes Wyoming currently has, and you get a constant of 188,000 - or a "W" (for Wyoming, not wacked-out president) of 188. I then rounded to the whole thousand each state's population - California had 37,254,503 population but I used 37,254. Then I divided each state's population by W and awarded the whole number of electors to each state. (If a state has population/W of 44.725, they get 44 electors. I did this shit at 1 am. I'm not getting into higher math when most of y'all are getting into bed.) Then I added up the number of electors Hillary would have taken if all states were winner-take-all.

We end up with 1617 electors. You need 809 to win, and Hillary got 708.

Democrats made the same fucking mistake we make every fucking election: We blow off the ENTIRE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING COUNTRY because the Pacific Coast, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Michigan are going to save us...until they don't, like happened this year. We can no longer ignore the under-five-EV states because shit like Trump happens when we do.

Don't kid yourself: Bathrooms cost us this election

Just before the election I ran an ad from the Shoshone County Republican Party in one of my papers. It was one of those "if you believe x y and z then you should be one of us" ads. It listed all the normal stuff - lower taxes, less regulation, no gun control...and at the bottom of the list was "people should use the restroom of the gender they were born with."

THOSE kinds of issues killed us this year. People who voted Trump did not care if a guy who can't stay out of bankruptcy court, who buys imported steel and sells imported shirts, and who runs a business in an industry thick with illegal immigrants even cares about fixing the economy, restarting the US manufacturing sector or fixing the immigration problem. They cared about exactly one thing: is a person who was born male peeing in the ladies' room?

Well...backtrack a little. They cared about a few more things than that...like if women are getting abortions even though they know no one who's ever gotten one nor could they get one themselves, how terrible the "sanctuary city" of San Francisco (in which they wouldn't set foot if hundred-dollar bills floated down from the sky like leaves in autumn) is, or how we'd all be prosperous and happy if the government would just stop regulating everyone to death.*

Ask someone who voted for that sociopath why they did and the answer will probably be, "he will Make America Great Again." Ask them exactly what that means and you're sure to hear "you know, he'll make America great again." The reality is, either no one KNOWS what making America "great again" will entail - or they don't want to tell you America will be great when "all the people who aren't like me" are gone.

* Google "Bunker Hill Superfund site" or "B.J. Carney" to see where unregulated industry will get you. You'll love this one: in St. Maries, Idaho, there is a piece of land next to the St. Joe River that was once used for treating utility poles. When the place opened there was no such thing as a pressure treatment chamber, so they did the next best thing: dug a ditch 50 feet long, 20 feet wide and 20 feet deep, stacked poles in the ditch with wooden stickers in between, put some sort of a lid on top of the poles to keep them from floating up, and filled the ditch with creosote. A week later they'd pump the creosote out and retrieve the poles. And now you know why a city of 2200 residents has a three-story hospital with a full-time oncologist on staff.

An attack ad, updated for a new age

Those of us who are old enough to remember the Nixon administration, might remember this fun ad:

This ad, and a little thinking about Trumpolini's finances, leads directly to...

Trump appearing with Nugent: Who called it?

Title Katy Tur's campaign memoir

Katy Tur is the embedded reporter in Donald Trump's campaign entourage. You KNOW she's going to write a book...then disappear into an undisclosed location to protect herself from a Trumpler fatwa. What's the title going to be?

My best guess: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 2016. Yes, it's a ripoff of a great author's work, but any proper book on the Trump campaign will have to be written in the style of Hunter S. Thompson.

I heard Trump plans to start a vacuum cleaner company after he loses

He wants to sell at least one thing that doesn't suck.

Early voters, fess up: How many Republicans did you have to vote for?

I voted for only one: Ben Wolfinger, our county's sheriff. He earned my vote for two reasons:

One, he's been a decent sheriff.


Two, this is the Democratic candidate:

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Democratic candidate for sheriff in my county is a sovereign citizen who built her own working Gatling gun, has never worn a badge in her life, is squatting in her foreclosed home, and promises to not allow her deputies to enforce any law she doesn't like if we're stupid enough to elect her. She's more of a catastrophe than Donald Trump, and that takes work.

May 20, 2017 - Trump's first night

While it is usually true the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slowly, that didn't happen in the case of America's Greatest Near Miss, the 2017 Republican candidate for president. On May 20, a scant four months after Hillary Clinton was inaugurated, one Donald Trump Jagoff reported to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin his three-thousand-year sentence for breaking every federal law there is. Yes, my friends, they even caught him tearing the tag off a mattress before he sold it.

That night, as he laid in his bed thinking about how "Crooked Hillary" subverted the will of the electorate by the evil method of getting seven million more votes than he did, men started to scream out numbers. "Thirty-six!" yelled a man, followed by laughs all around. "Seventy-three!" More laughs.

"What the hell's going on?" Trump asked the guy in the next cell.
'We're telling jokes.'
"But those are just numbers!"
'Yeah, that's true. We realized we were telling the same jokes over and over, so about twenty years ago someone gave each joke a number. Now we just yell out the number of the joke instead of telling it, and we get a lot more laughs in.'

Trump thought about it for a second, then decided to join the fun.

"Forty-eight!" yelled Trump. Dead silence.
"Forty-eight!" yelled louder this time. Crickets.

"What's the damn problem? Isn't 48 a good joke?"
'Forty-eight is really the best one, but you always sucked at telling jokes.'
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