I ate my wafer...


I did a couple of wildly irrational and stupid things last weekend. The milder of them involved the purchase and consumption of 10 gallons of ethanol, which, one has to admit, usually does lead to stupidity.

So, what happened? Wild drunken debauchery? No, I just filled up my car with straight e-85 ethanol. Believe it or not, I wanted to proove a point about the drop in fuel economy that non-high compression engines suffer on ethanol due to the lower energy content. DO NOT try this at home with a car not designed for ethanol. There are all sorts of potential problems, ranging from corrosion to excessive lean conditions that fry exhaust valves and melt pistons. As of today, I have 80 miles on the e-85, and at least from what my trusty WinALDL program is telling me, I'm not likely to fry any mechanical parts. However, driveability, when cold, is horrid. I'm extremely glad that I waited until spring to try this experiment, since my wet-intake TBI system seems to suffer from poor evaporation with ethanol.

Warmed up, driveability is OK, and the BLM/INT values show that the ECM is adjusting the fuel mixture to compensate for the alcohol. I'll compute mileage in about a week.

I love Jack T. Chick, to the point where I've subscribed to his tract o' the month newsletter. Anyway, there's a new and amusing parody of the (in)famous Anti-Dungeons and Dragons Chick tract here.

(Someone more clever than I write a chick parody involving the Flying Spaghetti Monster. )


Gay Penguins...

Everyone probably has already seen the Brokeback Mountain parodies over at Google Video, but they don't hold a candle to Brokeback Penguins. Why make a video parody about gay penguins? Because of the 6 gay german zoo penguins that keep refusing to procreate. (from the frink tank)


So, I have a half-finished post about vaccination floating around, but rather than post it, I've decided to focus on the following quotation:

“there is no scientific proof that immunization prevents disease; that vaccinations cause more disease than they prevent; and that contracting an infectious disease is safer than immunization..”

Apparently, 1/3 of surveyed chiropractors agreed with that statement! What sort of new idiocy is this! I mean, the statement doesn't say that you're not likely, via herd immunity to contract a disease if you don't get the vaccination; it says that it is safer to contract, say polio, than to get the shot.

I've never been a big fan of chiropractors, frankly, I've long believed that what little good there is in manipulative therapy is limited to what a decent massage therapist or D.O. does. Besides the outright quackery, chiropractors try to set up patterns of repeat business that resemble psychological addiction. I've never heard of a financially successful chiropractor that didn't try to get his victims to come back every week, whether they needed it or not. There's a whole litany of other concerns, ranging from increased insurance costs and malpractice to lethal spinal injuries.

So, recommend that everyone checks out the various links and information available at chirobase (which is part of the EXCELLENT quackwatch family of websites).


Nuclear handgrenades

So, what's the definition of a nuclear weapon? I suppose most people, dredging up memories from high school think it involves Plutonium or Uranium as part of a Fussion or Fission device? Maybe a few people would throw in dirty bombs designed to throw around radioactive particles? I would imagine that everyone has a *BIG* explosion in mind?

Currently, there is a ~10 year old Federal law prohibiting the U.S. from developing nuclear weapons that yeild less than 5 kilotons of power, but there have been a number of nuclear weapons tested much smaller than the 5 kiloton cutoff. I tend to like the development ban, being that if a nuclear weapon needs to be used, there's not a whole lot of point in using a small one. If there isn't moral and legal grounds to use a nuclear bomb, it doesn't pay to be tempted to argue that a small one is equivalent to just using a couple extremely large conventional bombs.

Anyway, at some point there's a cutoff at how small an efficient nuclear bomb can be and still reliably detonate. (That's the business about "critical mass" that most of us slept through in HS).

However, there's a possible endrun around the legal and scientific limitations in making small nuclear bombs: hafnium explosives. Greatly simplified, halfnium can *probably* be charged up with energy, on the order of 50 kilograms of TNT per gram, and can be used in any amount, large or small. Detonated, it does throw off gamma rays and some radioactive particles. Is it a nuclear weapon? I have no idea. If, and that's a big if, the whole charged isotope thing gets sucessfully developed, there's an interesting potential for the world's best batteries.


Peter's new blog. Ask him before linking.