Category Archives: Department of DIY

No post today, I got hypothermia on the way back from court

I really wish that was a joke. After I got the papers to get Blue out of the evidence locker this Friday I got caught in a frog-strangler of a thunderstorm, that was rolling in on the leading edge of a massive cold front. It was 51 when I left the house and 31°F when I got home soaking wet as I got caught in ankle-deep streams that covered half of some of the streets I had to cross. Between that and the horizontal rain blowing under my umbrella I was completely soaked from the waist down. But before I did that I got Blue out of jail! I can have my bike back as soon as Friday, the first day I could get a ride together. Looking at the recovery pictures Blue was in pretty good shape, not too many added scrapes and scratches, and all the electronics seemed to be intact except for the dead batteries. I am dreading opening up the lights to see what is in the battery boxes. When Blue was stolen there was about $20 in high-end NiMH rechargeable cells between the two lights. I’m expecting leaking alkaline cells or empty space in there instead of those pricey rechargeables. And I’m still freezing here, so I’m done now.

PSA, Opus

What LOTR and The Hobbit tells us about economic theory.

In a nutshell, it’s all about churn.

Tax breaks for the rich have much the same economic benefit as giving gold to Smaug. Smaug gets richer, but never spends any gold as he already has far more gold than he can possibly spend for his needs or even for his future needs, so it just sits there doing nothing except being dragon bedding. Likewise giving people who already have too much money than they can possibly spend on their needs more money just results in the money sitting there doing nothing. Taxing that money and using it on infrastructure and social programs results in that money being churned through the economy and growing the economy so that the rich still get the same amount of money, it just has to pass through a few more poor people’s hands before the rich get it, making everyone a little richer.

In order to stimulate the economy you have to develop churn, putting the money in as many hands as possible so that it then passes through as many hands as possible and creates growth. Savings that just sit in a bank or under a mattress don’t create any churn, and “investments” barely ruffle the surface of the water in creating churn. What has been shown to make churn on the federal level has been Food Stamps and infrastructure projects. Food Stamps go from the recipient to the grocery store and pay for the employees at the store as well as the people who transport the food (and other things) and the people that create the food. There are at least 4 stages of economic churn created by Food Stamps that can be easily identified and tracked.

Tax breaks for people who already have more money than they can spend on their needs or even on non-need items like TVs and computers (although I would put computers in the “need to work” category because I use one for work every day) is not the way to grow the economy. I mean how many new cars can one person buy in a year? How many boats? Unless you are out there spending money, you are an economic dead weight no matter how big your checking account is. Rich people don’t create jobs, poor people with jobs create jobs because they are the ones out there spending most of their money. Aldous Huxley had the right idea when he coined the term “conscripted consumption” in the book Brave New World . If you have a consumer economy, you have to get people consuming things to grow the economy.

And because I am not an economist by trade (I am a technical writer who translated jargon into plain English so that people in other fields can understand it) I will let real economists pick it up from here. Go for it guys.

PSA, Opus the Poet

Seriously having trouble keeping my head on straight here, and the Feed

As announced earlier I no longer post links to bike wrecks here at WoaB. I started this because It was causing me “problems” in the rest of my life. I mean seriously, if there was something that was killing as many people as motor vehicles do every day, but say in larger numbers at a time instead of in singles and rarely doubles, then people would be screaming to “do something” about the deaths. Look at Ebola. There were exactly 3 people who died from Ebola in the United States, none of whom contracted the disease here. All of the people who contracted Ebola in the US have recovered. But for weeks all you heard or saw on the idiot box was Ebola and ISIS terrorists were going to kill us all in our beds. While all this was going on about 6000 people died from what is quaintly acronymed MVA and many tens of thousands more were injured to some degree from minor temporary inconvenience to long term hospital stay but full recovery to lifelong disability to “spend the rest of my life in bed unable to move and still be in constant pain”. Those last two add up to about twice as many people as died, so about 20000 people left dead or permanently crippled to some degree while 3 people died and a few more got sick and spent a few weeks in hospital or isolation. And all of the attention was on the 3 people dying and the few sickened instead of the twenty thousand killed or otherwise destroyed by something that we could actually do something about and stop the deaths and life-changing injuries. And people are still asking if I’m wasting my life on bicycles. So now you know why I’m having trouble keeping my head on straight in spite of no longer doing the bike wreck thing.

Up first is a response to the comments left on an article linked here a while back. Blame in the wrong place The letter is in response to comments that blame the cyclist for the wreck that was previously judged to be the criminal act of the driver in the video.

Our Daily Ted. Morning Links: CM Cedillo turns a deaf ear to pleas of bike riders, portraying cyclists as bullies from the 1%

Cycling in the city where my last full-tine job went. ‘Nobody cycles across Mumbai.’ But why?

Another link to a bike that depends on the model of phone you own to be fully functional. Dutch introduce first-ever ‘intelligent bicycle’ that warns of danger I’m not so sure I want a bike that would not give me everything I paid for unless it “liked” the phone I was using.

If the city won’t do it, DIY. Guerrilla traffic diverters installed – then removed – on SE Clinton Interesting that they didn’t have the money to install diverters, but less than 8 hours after the DIY diverters were set up they had been removed without even a meeting of the City Council?

And where does your state rank? 2014 BICYCLE FRIENDLY STATE℠ RANKING All I have to say in favor of TX is “Thank [DEITY] we are not living in Alabama!” Seriously 33rd out of 50 is appalling for a state that is constantly bragging about how “Great” they are. But considering that the city I live next to was “The Worst City for Bicycling In the US” just 4 years ago, being 33rd out of 50 is improvement. EDIT: How the Hell did we end up BEHIND Florida?

And I have run out of links again, yay!

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

Sammy the Sharing Squirrel scripts on Wreck-Free Sunday

I was going to live-blog the final race of the Sprint Cup season from Miami, but I figured that if you are interested in that kind of thing (Sprint Cup Racing) you are watching it too, so a summary at the end, but no live-blog. So instead I’m going to script out a few PSA to animate and show on the Cartoon Network late night block that used to be called Adult Swim, then was Toonami for a while. I haven’t watched it in a long time (as you can probably tell), because they went with a lot of inane live action programs, and I don’t watch the Cartoon Network for programs that are not animated. Anywho, I’m told that PSA campaigns in this programming block that utilize humor work well at getting the message across.

Script 1.

CUTE MUSIC

SAMMY: Sammy the sharing squirrel here to remind drivers that sharing the road with bicycles means giving bicycles a full lane and moving left to pass in the next lane over. Sharing the lane is like sharing a pair of pants without letting the first guy take them off…

Animated sequence of large bear pulling out Sammy’s waistband and sticking legs inside the pants legs with Sammy.

SAMMY: (strained voice) You have to leave room for the guy that was there first.

CUTE MUSIC and FADE OUT

SCRIPT 2

SAMMY: Sammy the sharing squirrel here to remind drivers that sharing the road with bicycles means giving bicycles a full lane and moving left to pass in the next lane over. Sharing the lane is like being forced to swim with sharks and no shark cage.

Animated sequence of Sammy swimming with a smiling shark wearing a short skirt styled like a pair of board shorts. Shark is not being aggressive, just swimming way too close.

SAMMY: Just because you aren’t trying to be scary does not mean that you aren’t scaring people.

CUTE MUSIC and FADE OUT

SCRIPT 3

SAMMY: Sammy the sharing squirrel here to remind drivers that sharing the road with bicycles means giving bicycles a full lane and moving left to pass in the next lane over. Remember roads are first-come, first-served, not fast-come, fast served.

Animated sequence of Sammy driving a convertible with the speedometer pointed to “Speed Limit” with a bear driving a house-sized SUV roaring up on him and driving right over him.

SAMMY: Just because you drive faster does not give you more right to the road than someone slower.

CUTE MUSIC and FADE OUT

SCRIPT 4

SAMMY: Sammy the sharing squirrel here to remind drivers that sharing the road with bicycles means giving bicycles a full lane and moving left to pass in the next lane over. Remember there is is no such law as “The rule of gross tonnage” on the roads.

Animated sequence of Sammy driving a convertible with the speedometer pointed to “Speed Limit” with a bear driving a house-sized SUV with the grill logo “Split Level” roaring up on him and driving right over him.

SAMMY: Remember a bigger vehicle does not have a greater right to the roads, bicycles have equal right with cars, trucks, or motor homes.

CUTE MUSIC and FADE OUT

SCRIPT 5

SAMMY: Sammy the sharing squirrel here to remind drivers that sharing the road with bicycles means giving bicycles a full lane and moving left to pass in the next lane over. Remember that cars are not the only thing allowed to use the roads.

Animated sequence of bicycle leading a group of road users that stretches out to an unseeable horizon, none of which are cars or trucks.

SAMMY: (voiceover the animated sequence) Remember that there are lots of other people using the roads perfectly legally with just as great a right as a person driving a motor vehicle, including bicycles, farm vehicles, mopeds, (herds of sheep, a platoon of soldiers, a cattle drive) fade out through the line in parentheses

CUTE MUSIC and FADE OUT

There you go, Hollywood. Five 15 second PSAs to show to adults late at night and (hopefully) ooze through thick skulls. You’re welcome.

I need a recovery day from my vacation

Short post to bring everyone up to date and then early bed for this witch. I went to a pagan gathering in SE TX southeast of Bastrop last week and weekend. One of the things we celebrated was paying off the mortgage, so that we own the land outright now. The ritual for that was both moving and exhausting. I had to leave early from the post ritual revels because of nerve pain from my leg caused by the massive damage from 2001. If the driver hadn’t died in 2003 or ‘4 I would cheerfully strangle him with his own intestines over this single issue. I was hit over 13 years ago and it still flipping hurts when I try to do fun things.

Speaking of that some good news from the gathering, the guy that took care of me after I got out of the hospital (including wiping my butt until I got flexible enough to do it myself) got handfasted during the gathering. That was something I could not miss out on… Dan Grim, may you have a long and happy marriage.

The main reason why I came home from my vacation in worse shape than when I left was the rules changed for the campgrounds we lease from the organization that runs the gathering, and we had to construct a fenced area to hold our stuff between campouts. We used to just pile everything into the covered kitchen area and lash tarps over it, but we have to get things out of sight and our cook insists that our kitchen area be open sided. This meant we had to put in a fenced in storage area with a locked gate to put the stuff that used to go under the canopy over the kitchen. This resulted in our working until 1800 when we normally get packed up and off land by 1500 at the latest. Combine that with carrying several people’s stuff back from the site in the communal trailer and I didn’t get to bed until 0200. I didn’t sleep well and as a result I’m still in pain from my vacation.

“But aside from that, how did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln.” Yep, one of those vacations.

PSA, Opus

I need some technical information for GT4

This post has nothing to do with bicycles in any way shape or form, I’m asking about hacking a video game that I have purchased a legal copy for and may modify for my own uses per fair use.

Here’s what I think I know:

I own a PS2. I’m pretty sure the box with the PlayStation logo on it that I got from my son a few years ago is a PS2.

I own a legal copy of GT4. The box has the “Classic” GT4 cover and a PS2 Greatest Hits logo across the top and I purchased the game through Amazon, so I’m pretty sure it is a legal copy.

GT4 allows installing cars via the lan function. I have read that you can “buy” cars online for GT4.

Put those together and it seems I can fool the game into believing I won or bought my Sprint T online.

What I need to know is where I need to put the file for the car, and what I need to do to make the car. Obviously I can hack the performance part of an existing car and just use the cosmetic file for that car and get something that will drive like the Sprint T cheap and dirty. Then I need to find out how to make a 3D model of the car to get something on the screen that looks like the car and drives like the car. All the while tweaking the performance files to get as close as possible to the real car as it would drive in real life. The in-game car that is closest to the Sprint T in terms of performance is the 2000 ‘Vette but the Sprint T is about 1900-2000 pounds lighter and has a slightly higher rear weight percentage than the ‘Vette. The next closest is the Caterham in terms of weight and HP but the Sprint T has more power in the lower part of the RPM range and on the track has much bigger tires and brakes. The street version of the Sprint T actually has less tire footprint than the Caterham while keeping the same brakes as the race version (since all I planned for going from street to race was swapping tires and wheels and maybe springs and shocks).

And I came up with a really devious anti-theft hack for the real car: Make the steering wheel removable, and put a lot of the electrical controls on the wheel. Then require one line from the wheel be hot all the time or the car won’t start or keep running if it does start, and shorting the wrong wires from the 12V input to try to figure out which wire needs to be hot will blow the fuses to the other wires. What I see is using a 5V voltage regulator and a big resistor off that to the control switches with tiny (amperage) fuses between the controls and the inputs on the control box, except the one that needs to be 12V. That one goes to a latching AND gate that requires that input and the start function off the key switch to trigger and send current to the real ignition switch disguised as a control of an AM “radio” on the dash. The headlight switch would be the other control… with the various annunciator lights edge lighting the “dial”.

PSA, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

My neck and butt hurt on a Wreck-Free (almost) Sunday

I finally finished making the modifications to my safety gear to bring it up to my needs and hopped on one of the BSO in the garage to go to the first Sunday morning service at my church in a very long time. Suffice it to say I have new imperative to create the crank-forward bike I was supposed to be creating. First time I stopped I fell over because I couldn’t reach the ground until I had leaned so far over I couldn’t catch myself. My reactions were all wrong after spending 6 years riding crank-forward bikes and 7 years riding recumbents before that. As I’m sure most of you know when a “normal” bicycle stops the rider has to get out of the seat to remain upright. Well for the past 13 years I haven’t been doing that to stop, all I had to do was take a foot off the pedal and place it on the ground. And as my right leg has been dominant I tended to lean to the left so I could start on my dominant leg. My first stop I did what I have been doing for 13 years, leaning to the left and putting out my left foot. First problem I wasn’t close enough to the ground for that to even touch, second problem is the left hip was the one that got broken and a whole bunch of muscles got damaged in the fixing and then removing the hardware after the broken bits healed up so it would not go as far out as the right leg would. So I was kinda waving the foot in mid-air trying to find something solid as I slowly keeled over and impacted the pavement when I stopped halfway through an intersection to let traffic going the other direction clear so I could continue.

A couple intersections further down I discovered another problem. Because the handlebars were so low I had a hard time craning my neck back hard enough to see past my helmet visor. Part of the problem is the handlebars are seriously too low for anyone but a X/C MTB racer, I think about an inch below the seat where I usually ride with handlebars anywhere from 4 to 5 inches above the seat. Basically my torso was nearly horizontal where I normally ride nearly vertical to slightly laid back (on in the case of the show bike from 2004 completely laid back). So I was moving my neck in the complete opposite way I have been riding for many, many years. Long story short I have a very sore neck that won’t stop complaining now that I’m bent over the keyboard (another position it doesn’t like to hold for more than a few minutes).

And another effect of the too-low handlebars is it rotated my pelvis forward on the seat. Instead of sitting on the broad soft cushions of the cruiser seat I bought just for this bike I’m sitting on the completely un-padded nose of the saddle, or even less cushioning than the seat I took off the bike. I got off the bike more than 2 hours ago and my backside is still complaining about the treatment I gave it this afternoon and morning. Add in the fact I rode in regular pants and underwear instead of bike shorts and not only were things compressed that don’t like getting compressed, but things got abraded that do not like being abraded.

Now you may ask why I don’t just adjust the handlebars up until all this nonsense stops? Well… Remember when I referred to this as a BSO back in the first paragraph? This BSO does not have standard hardware in many places, one in particular is the stem bolt. I tried 6mm and 5mm, one too big and the other too small, then tried the 7/32 SAE size that falls between the 2 and nothing fits where I can apply torque to the stem bolt to adjust the stem height. I might have to weld or epoxy a cheap SAE hex key into the bolt head so that I can apply torque to break the stem bolt loose from the rust and corrosion that is holding it in place. Or it could just be really tight, you know, and because I can’t find a hex key that fits the head I haven’t been able to move it. I’m thinking I have a torch and braze and solder, I might just flow some molten metal between the cheap SAE hex key I bought and the bolt head and apply torque that way, with the heat from the torch also loosening the bolt up a bit. I’ll have to pull the plastic light and reflector brackets off the bars and cover the brake and shifter cables with wet rags, but that would let me apply torque to the bolt.

Now about the (almost) in that headline. I was watching the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona yesterday after I got back from my trips to the nail spa and to Harbor Freight, and they had just thrown a red flag to clean up a serious wreck. And I mean SERIOUS WRECK. Well, watch for yourself Gidley & Malucelli Medical Update Yep, Gidley hit the back of that Ferrari at nearly 135 MPH closing speed, well over the 50 MPH barrier test the prototypes have to go through to get certified to run. The driver of the Ferrari (Malucelli) is shaken up but basically unhurt, Gidley has broken bones in his left side (either the arm or the leg, both are injured and they aren’t saying which one is broken as of the time I read the article), and broken vertebrae in his back, I’m assuming this was from the harness restraining his torso applying compressive forces as it tried to keep his face out of the instrument panel and steering wheel. This is not a design defect it is a geometric requirement of the way the harness has to go over the shoulders and meet at the lap belt. The restraining forces go from horizontal to stop the forward motion of the body to vertical after going over the shoulders to meet at the junction of the shoulder straps and lap belt. This is a requirement to apply the forces to a part of the body that has strong bones (shoulder girdle and pelvis) and still allow for the arms to move the steering wheel. They did cadaver tests back in the ’40s and ’50s but the rib cage just didn’t have the compression strength to resist the forces applied in a wreck. Sternum straps do move some of the forces off the shoulders and into the torso, but not very much, and certainly not enough to prevent back injury in a wreck like the one in the video. Because of the HANS device every driver in the series is required to wear before getting into the car on the race track neither driver had any kind of neck injury.

This is the first “big league” car race of the year in North America, of course I’m going to be watching it, but this year it ended while I was at church so I have no idea about who won, either overall or any of the classes.

So, that’s about all I have to say today.

Well, almost I just checked to see what was causing me pain “down there” and found blood-stained underwear. So, that’s another thing that having the handlebars down too low causes, abrasion injuries to the crotch when riding in regular clothing. If you want to ride in regular clothes the bike has to fit for that style of riding.

PSA, Opus