Tuesday, 29 May 2012

By on May 29th, 2012 in Barbara, science kits

08:25 – Barbara is off to take her dad to the doctor and then head in to work. Her mom and dad both seem to be doing fine.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll focus on building inventory of the biology, chemistry, and forensic science kits. We currently have about two dozen each of the biology and chemistry kits in stock, with components to build about 30 more of each. By the first of August, I want to have enough components in stock to assemble at least 200 of each, plus 100 forensic science kits. Over that three month period starting 1 August, I want to be prepared to ship a total of at least 500 kits.

44 Comments and discussion on "Tuesday, 29 May 2012"

  1. ech says:

    Went to the Amazon page for your Forensics book and the description is for the Physics book…..

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, someone else mentioned that. I need to see what O’Reilly can do to fix that. Unfortunately, things get on Amazon and can be hard to change. And if you do get them changed, they often change back. From time to time, Barbara has been listed as sole author on several of our books, and the author bios are often screwed up as well.

  3. Lynn McGuire says:

    The Zombie apocalypse is starting:

    Better stock up on ammo and guns with big clips that do not misfire.

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I suspect a 12-gauge rifled slug in the forehead will stop most of them.

  5. Lynn McGuire says:

    I am thinking 30-06 with 30 round clips for distance. And the Springfield XDM 40 cal with 18 round clips for close in action – two to carry with many extra clips. Many.

    The problem comes when you get in a herd of zombies, 100 to 200 of them. Watch the second season finale of “The Walking Dead” to see what I mean.

    My son recommends a M249 (SAW) with the 200 round drums for distance or close in action. Something about liquid metal. And a 7 ton truck with spares.

  6. BGrigg says:

    The only place that can survive a Zombie Apocalypse is Washington, DC. After all, all zombies crave brains, so they will avoid that area.

  7. OFD says:

    As a longtime gun nut and ex-mil-spec, ex-cop, etc., I must confess that I just do not get all this zombie shit. WTF? It’s all over the place now, with even manufacturers producing firearms with a zombie theme, not to mention all the targets, ammo, etc. Along with all the TV shows we do not watch, I gather. Isn’t enough that we have our own gangstas, plus hordes of hadjis, and vast armies of shyster lawyers, financiers, banksters, and politicians?

    What a country!

  8. ech says:

    Well, if you believe Her Majesty’s Occult Secret Service, a cattle prod with a white
    noise generator wired into the shock circuit will effectively banish the walking dead.

    (See http://www.amazon.com/Fuller-Memorandum-Laundry-Files-Novel/dp/044102050X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338320110&sr=8-1) and the first two in the series for details.)

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    As a longtime gun nut and ex-mil-spec, ex-cop, etc., I must confess that I just do not get all this zombie shit. WTF?

    It’s a code-name for people one doesn’t like. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as real zombies.

  10. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Why was the VICTIM naked, in addition to the attacker? This hardly makes sense.

  11. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Whoa, it may be darkest before the dawn, but it is also the most humid before relief arrives. Temps are not so bad in Tiny Town today–77°F/25°C at 16:00,–but humidity is around 90%, even though it has not rained since overnight. Cooler temps mean the central air is not working so hard, so my humidity gauge shows 58% inside. Very uncomfortable, since I keep it at 76 during the day, then cool it down to 74 until bedtime. That has kept my electric bill under $99/mo—even during the super-hot, record-breaking summer we had last year. Friday’s high will only be 64, so I have to be careful about over-cooling going into that 30°F temperature drop.

    You can see from this animation of the jet stream


    how it is like a curtain blowing in the wind, bringing us super hot, humid air when it is north of Indiana, and shoving us cold Canadian air when it is south of us. We are being whipped between the 2 extremes at present.

    Not enough rain. Farmers tell me this past week has been very difficult to disc the fields that have not yet been planted.

    On to computers—as with everything involving them, the switch to Libre Office, has not been easy. First, in that unformatted view, I cannot scroll the bottom of the page up to the top of the screen, which Word allows. I think I can live with that by just inserting extra carriage returns,–at least I am going to try to,–but it is unpleasant, nevertheless. I like to keep the place where it is actually typing, high in the window.

    Secondly, apparently, the hyphen/dash/minus character is not the same in Word as it is in Libre Office. In Word, if I put two dashes in a row, WordPress would convert it to an en dash, and three hypens in a row and it would convert to an em dash. Now, it just displays the dashes/hyphens–however many I put in. I suppose that the Libre Office way is actually how it SHOULD work; I will take the time to figure that one out eventually.

    From Libre Office: 1 – 2 — 3 —
    From Word:  1 –  2 —  3 —

    Libre Office does not give the fine control in preferences that Word does. Want it to mind capitalization for you? Then it minds ALL capitalization,–including beginning of the sentence. In Word, I had it mind capitalization for all EXCEPT first letter of sentences, which gets tedious in killing the caps when constructing charts, tables, lists, and such.

    Also, when using the cursor to scroll down the page, Libre Office jumps by paragraphs, instead of just revealing one new line at a time. And if you leave the cursor near the top of the document, then use the scroll-wheel to go down to the end of the document, if you move the cursor, the screen jumps the page back to where the cursor was. Word very conveniently jumped the cursor to the bottom of the displayed page.

    IMO this is not trivial stuff when part of one’s life is writing for a living. XyWrite continues to be the best word processor ever devised, but it did not survive the transition to Windows. XyWrite was the word processor subset of the old Atex composing system for newspapers and magazines. Atex was headquartered out in Boston, and used by every nearly newspaper and magazine in the nation at one time. It was a Unix system whose abilities allowed it to capture electronically all the news wires coming into the company. Not sure what ever happened to Atex, but I stumbled across a guy who was personal best friends with the fellow who broke off from Atex and started XyWrite. He said that was a harrowing experience, and even though I pleaded with him to convince his friend to bring back XyWrite, that developer said, “Nothing doing. I can sleep at nights and tool around in my little sports car without a care in the world, now.”

    I REALLY miss XyWrite, but computing has moved on in the interim. Too bad. Writers who never used XyWrite have no idea what they are missing. Last I checked, old version of XyWrite were available somewhere at the Indiana University website, where it was still in heavy use by the University’s massive publishing efforts. My son says the University has moved to TeX, but basically still composes words first, then sends things through a formatting/layout process before printing.

  12. Miles_Teg says:

    “I suspect a 12-gauge rifled slug in the forehead will stop most of them.”

    It’s well known that zombies have very poor taste in music, and are repelled by many of the great artists/songs of the Sixties through Eighties. So just put your Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits CD on loop, turn up the volume, and you’ll be perfectly safe.

  13. SteveF says:

    Uh huh. And next you’ll be telling us that zombies have poor taste in women, so all we have to do is put up a billboard of Hillary Clinton’s thighs and they’ll run away. Well, you have the right result but the wrong reason.

  14. Miles_Teg says:

    Well, you’re from NY so I assume you’re more familiar with Hillary’s thighs than I am… 🙂

    Have you seen her replacement as junior senator from NY? I despise her politics but I’m sure even you and OFD would agree that she’s drop dead gorgeous.

  15. OFD says:


    Uh-huh, oh yeaaaaaahhhhh…..send her round to SteveF for his tutorials on whatever and then on up here for my capstone course, LOL.

  16. SteveF says:

    Gillibrand drop-dead gorgeous? Only by politician standards, and remember, “Politics is Hollywood for ugly people.” She’s not bad looking, don’t mean to suggest that, but gorgeous? Not even with flattering makeup and lighting. Besides, what’s between her ears is repulsive. Besides that, she’s waaaay older than 14, which is my usual age cutoff for girlfriends. (Yes, that’s a joke. Sheesh, I’m surrounded by grumpy old men with no sense of humor.)

    Some years ago I used to tease or annoy or whatever my wife by saying I was going to get a girlfriend, a young one. Like, 12 years old. But as time went on I had to keep bumping up the suggested age because the daughters of neighbors and acquaintances were getting near 12, then near 13, then … Aside from the likelihood of worrying the neighbors and acquaintances, as I spent time around girls that age I was reminded how goddamn annoying they are. Even when I was 13 I didn’t like 13-year-old girls. I think, no, I am utterly certain, that the middle-aged men who fantasize about having a teenage girlfriend are completely batshit insane and need to be smacked upside the head until they regain their senses.

  17. Miles_Teg says:

    I liked the pic that Wikipedia used a few years ago better than that one. She reminds me very much of a girl I knew in the late Seventies at uni. Sigh…..

  18. Miles_Teg says:

    I’ve noticed that many women start getting really selfish and thoughtless at about 19 or 20, and take several years to return to normal. My sister disagrees, she says it’s something that happens at puberty, so you may well be right.

  19. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Fourteen in a bikini was hard to beat. I never had problems with fourteen year-olds, until I got to be 18 and at uni. They were hard to come by there.

  20. SteveF says:

    It’s the non-stop talking, giggling, and squealing that drives me up a wall. Maybe it’s just because my ears are so good, but I think they’re annoying to everyone.

    Not that pre-teen and teenage boys are any less annoying, it’s just in a different way. And I can, and do, smack them upside the head as needed. People, especially their parents, tend to get upset if you smack a girl upside the head, even if she needs it.

    When my kids were a bit younger their male friends would be feeling their oats. This was especially true of my elder son’s friends, as they were mostly a few years older than he, mid or late teens when he was 14. They knew that I practice a fighting style of martial arts so they kept challenging me, both direct challenges to sparring (“I’m a black belt in Tai Kwon Do and I can beat anyone!”) and the less obvious shoves when walking by and such. Pull your horns in, Little Bull! I’m the big bull in this room. One day at a picnic I handed out my collection of bo staves and bokken and such to a crowd of teenage boys and told them to attack me. About two minutes later I had all the sticks and they were all on the ground holding their legs. That kept the challenges to a minimum for a couple months.

  21. OFD says:

    Great. I thought this SteveF character was a squared-away dude and now I find he’s hot for adolescent chicks and beats the shit out of their boyfriends. Man, I sure can pick ’em!

    We are just finishing up the teenage years with our daughter; she turns 20 in about two weeks (I better fuckin remember or else). Some of those years were absolutely horrifying and bizarre, I kid you not, even allowing for me being a mean old right-wing nut-job and ex-drunk. I would not re-live them again for any amount of money. Jeezum Crow, as we say here. And at 20, much has improved, but much is also still the same. By the time we get along real well I guess I will be in my coffin.

    (my apologies to any of you youngsters out there who are still enthralled with your gorgeous and brilliant little grrls….you are in for some shit, homes…)

  22. Miles_Teg says:

    Hmmm, I take the bus to work and there can be anywhere from 2-20 kids waiting at the stop for their buses. Some of them take a special school bus, others get on the regular bus. They’re not too bad, but the chatter can be irritating. I mainly switch off and don’t notice it.

    Fortunately I leave work at about 5.30-6.00 PM when the kids are already at home.

  23. Miles_Teg says:

    I think nowadays it’s just too dangerous to say anything, good or bad, about teenagers.

  24. Miles_Teg says:

    Chuck wrote: “Fourteen in a bikini was hard to beat.”

    I find it hard to imagine you in a bikini at 14.

  25. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Great XyWrite resource. It’s all free, but I paid a couple hundred for each of version of mine. I think I had a version 2 (don’t see that on there) and 3, maybe a 4, and the beginnings of their Windows version, which was abandoned mid-stream. XyWrite was supposed to be THE IBM word processor, to be called Signature. After the manuals were published and all the floppies had been duplicated, IBM— at the last possible second—cancelled the contract. At that point, XyWrite could not go on. They priced Signature as a give-away, and closed the project. It was bought out for peanuts by a guy who apparently knew nothing about programming or writing on a professional scale, and development of the Windows version never continued—which was a crying shame. Although it is free, as a DOS program, it is pretty useless these days. It was super-fast code (and I do mean super-duper fast), had its own macro language, and every phase of it could be customized, including the entire keyboard.

    I used to have a kind of mini manuscript project where I had to conform the end product to certain standards for printing. I could take the raw text, run a series of macros on it, and in just a few minutes, find all double words, period and punctuation problems, find misspellings according to the superb Microlytics spelling checker, and make sure paragraphs were set off properly from each other. There were 12 of those that came in every 3 months, and each was about 12 pages long. Fortunately, that project does not exist anymore; I would simply hate facing having to do that in Word—or anything but vi.

  26. Miles_Teg says:

    OFD wrote:

    “(my apologies to any of you youngsters out there who are still enthralled with your gorgeous and brilliant little grrls….you are in for some shit, homes…)”

    My elder niece (33 now and just become a mother for the first time) was a royal PITA as a pre-teen, very argumentative and selfish. I remember telling her father that she’d be a real handful as a teenager. But she turned into quite a well organised, thoughtful and sensitive teenager, although her parents may not agree.

    Her younger sister was very thoughtful and sensitive as a pre-teen but by about 17-18 had become a bit of a loon. She’s the smartest of my sister’s four kids but became a creationist. I argued with her for a while about that but she was impervious to facts and logic so I gave up. She could be a real bitch at times – my nickname for her then was “Miss Bitch”, although I never called her that to her face. She had the craziest diet, wouldn’t eat tasty, nutritious food, just the junkiest of junk. We get on okay but I’m careful not to set her off. She’s almost 26 now, no boyfriend and no prospect of one. All the guys she knows have got her sussed out, methinks.

    When I stayed with friends in DC in 2003 they had a 4.5 year old daughter who was as assertive and argumentative as hell. If her parents crossed her she’d say “I don’t like you any more” to them. In letters home to my sister and the older niece mentioned above I’d describe the 4.5 year old as “Katherine on steroids.” She was worse than my elder niece at that age, which I could hardly believe.

  27. Chuck Waggoner says:

    I found out as a teenage boy, that girls without other girls are not chatterers or squealers. They act pretty normally when 1 on 1. That’s why I almost never double-dated.

    It is also why I sent my teen daughter over to her girlfriends’ houses, instead of having them over at mine.

  28. Miles_Teg says:

    Wow Chuck, you’re smarter than I thought… 🙂

    Did you make an offer to the girlfriends’ parents to make the arrangement permanent?

  29. SteveF says:

    (my apologies to any of you youngsters out there who are still enthralled with your gorgeous and brilliant little grrls….you are in for some shit, homes…)

    Heh. My daughter is almost 5. I’m 49. I plan to be long dead by the time she hits her teens. Fortunately, my wife is on-board with this plan. Oh, she hasn’t come right out and said it, but it sure seems she’s set on nagging me to death, probably before my next birthday.

    now I find [SteveF is] hot for adolescent chicks

    No no no — I just say that to annoy my wife. It’s only fair, since she’s trying to annoy me into an early grave.

  30. SteveF says:

    You may be right, Chuck, but this is the connected age. Girls (boys, too, but especially girls) are never “alone”. They have their cell phones and they never shut up.

  31. OFD says:

    Some years ago I had a scanner which could still pick up cordless phones and baby monitor freqs and I had the misfortune one afternoon and evening in a small town in north-central NJ to listen to a conversation between four teenage grrls. Holy shit. I wanted to kill myself immediately. Are these creatures even in the same species or what???!!!

    Little did I know how close and personal that insanity would come twelve or so years later. If I had known, I would have drowned myself immediately in the nearest body of water.

    Of course I had nearly zero support on this stuff from any of the other female primates on the premises throughout this period. And speaking of periods, now picture this same teenage girl having her’s. Now double down on that and picture BOTH her and her mom having it at THE SAME TIME.

    Let me tell you: there is not enough booze or drugs or a combination thereof that will enable you to withstand THAT shit!

    I used to take long walks deep into the woods and just stay there, outside of my actual work hours, and sleep out in the car. For over a year I actually had to move back (also due to no job situation) to Maffachufetts and live with siblings. And two years ago I had to repeat that exact experience for three months because the shit here was so outta control, and by then I had long since stopped boozing altogether. So my experiment with trying to deal with this via stone-cold sobriety was also a failure!

    To you youngsters still worshiping at your little goddess girl altar:

    Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here

    And in the words of my wonderful uber-Prod Puritan ancestors:

    Gaze into the Abyss, Child; it awaits Thee.

  32. Miles_Teg says:

    Don’t you wish you’d ignored the Holy Father’s views on contraceptives?

    Periods and PMT, yeah I know. A female family member said of my younger niece: “Most women have one bad week and three good weeks, but Emily has one good week and three bad weeks.”

    A young woman from my church once boarded at my house, and she could be really grumpy at times, and really took her problems out on me, no matter how careful I was. I mentioned this to a mutual woman friend, who said: “She hasn’t said anything to me about you making her mad. Don’t worry about it Greg, it might just be hormones.”

    Well, I still resented her taking her other problems out on me and she was soon invited to seek alternative accommodation.

  33. Miles_Teg says:

    OFD wrote:

    “Some years ago I had a scanner which could still pick up cordless phones and baby monitor freqs and I had the misfortune one afternoon and evening in a small town in north-central NJ to listen to a conversation between four teenage grrls. Holy shit. I wanted to kill myself immediately. Are these creatures even in the same species or what???!!! ”

    That’s what the OFF switch is for.

  34. Chuck Waggoner says:

    I didn’t even have a scanner. Picked the stuff up on our baby monitor when the transmitter was accidentally turned off. Never did find out which house it was, but some strange things going on in that house.

    After that, I made sure the transmitter was off when the kid wasn’t sleeping.

    No, not so I could hear the other house, but so nobody could hear ours. Of course, we were perfectly normal in every respect.

  35. Miles_Teg says:

    “Went to the Amazon page for your Forensics book and the description is for the Physics book…..”

    I went there today and last week, when the original comment was made about an error. Both times the correct book was displayed.

  36. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Speaking of 14. Here’s Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie at that age.


    Not lip-syncing, either.

  37. BGrigg says:

    Greg wrote: “Hey Bill, are all your appendages still connected?”

    Yes, I’ve counted them and I have all five limbs.

    And people think Canadian politics is boring. Sheesh!

  38. ech says:

    Both times the correct book was displayed.

    It’s the description text down the page that is incorrect.

  39. OFD says:

    Yeah, I know about the OFF switch, but had it on to listen to the local cops and other emergency freqs, and have also picked up Air Force One and Two and the Secret Service on it. The fem chatter was over hours and hours and I caught enough of it to want to die on the spot from sheer boredom and despair at that half of the human race.

    Lulu was 14 there? Wow. But hey, where’s the cords for the guitars and the amps? WTF????

  40. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Good eyes, and a good question. She is definitely not lip-syncing, but they may have pre-recorded the backing track. It is so poorly shot that it is hard to see anything. However, it was not unusual to hide the amps back in that day, in order to keep a clean look. This was well before the days of foldback monitoring for the performers and other massive paraphernalia that makes up modern live music. Moreover, sound was done on equipment that was basically a radio station board in those days. Even with modern mixing consoles (“desks” for Queen’s English), it is an incredibly hard job to manage turning up/down 8 or more mics in a way that does not make the room acoustics change dramatically. It is an art to make that transition sound smooth—even when you have motorized faders switching from one preset to another automatically for you (not possible back in that day). 8 mics for the instrumentalists might also have come close to maxing out the mic channels available—another reason why they may have recorded everything but Lulu’s voice. Then you only need one channel for the playback tape and one for Lulu.

    The visual is a contradiction. They spread the guys out so damned far that they could not get the camera back deep enough to include everybody in the shot. Then they shoot Lulu so tight, you can see the pores on her nose. In that era, it was black & white cameras, with fixed lenses—no zooms, as they were hideously expensive in that era, and did not track smoothly. GE had 4.5 inch image orthocon pickup tubes, instead of the smaller 3.5 inch that RCA used, and GE managed to put quality zooms on those cameras, but only networks could afford those; the rest were stuck with RCA 3.5 inch pickup tubes. ABC was a poor network back in those days, and probably did not have the more expensive GE’s at LA local KABC, where I believe most of the US Shindig shows were shot.

    I know it does not seem so, but it takes a real artist to construct a setting that makes a small group like that look good. That song does not lend itself to leaving a picture of Lulu for a single of somebody else. They should have been arranged so everyone could be seen in the background behind Lulu. Vertical levels are fine, but they should only have been inches risers, not feet, and the guys should not have been more than arm’s length apart. They shot into the corner of a studio (not usually done, but creative, IMO), and the lighting is terrific.

    Now it gets even more interesting. That song was recorded in London by the Scots girl Lulu in late 1963 (and she would have been 14 when it was recorded) and released on London Record’s Parrot label in mid-1964 when she was still 14, with a young Jimmy Page playing one of the guitars on the released version. That YouTube clip says 1965. Personally, I think that is possible, but highly unlikely. Shindig first aired in September 1964, they shot only a few early episodes in LA, then production was transferred to the BBC, and most originated there. So that clip could well have been shot in London, where they were also still using radio mixing boards for TV. Not sure if Page is playing in that group; he might have been (much more talent money if you appeared on TV), but in that era from about ’64 to ’68, Page was primarily a studio musician and stayed away from performing and touring, as he was subject to getting mononucleosis repeatedly when performing on the road in other bands. I would not recognize Page at that young age, so I don’t know if any of those guys were him. The guy with glasses on the tall riser is one that I can tell you why the glasses. Many performers need glasses, but manage to get along without them while performing. However, if you put them up on a 3 or 4 foot riser, they will refuse to perform there without glasses, so they do not accidentally walk off the edge. I have seen that several times during my TV career. None of the photo shoots for The Luvvers show any of the guys in glasses.

    Originally, Lulu was just one of the vocalists in The Luvvers, who were supposed to be a Scottish R&B band. After a couple years, there was a shake-up and Lulu split off from the group. Most of The Luvvers joined her, and then, instead of her working for them, they worked for her—basically the same personnel. By 1966, they were not making much of a splash (that song was their biggest hit and it was hardly noticed in the US), so the group dissolved. Lulu left R&B for MOR music, “To Sir with Love” happened, and she began making it big in MOR music, winning her own TV show in Britain during the early days of color television. That was a wonderfully done series, but unfortunately, never made it to the tube over here in the US.

    Back to the clip in question. Probably shot in London shortly after Shindig premiered—staging and shooting aside, the lighting is BBC quality; out of reach for local stations, even in LA. The Beeb was not homogenous, and there were talented producers and directors, and others who were pretty awful; this was shot by somebody pretty awful, but then, so was some of Elton John’s early BBC stuff. The Shindig dancers were likely shot in LA and cut in (there is no sign of the dancers in the shots of Lulu). The show likely aired before November ’64 to capitalize on the current popularity of the song; thus with Lulu’s birthdate in late November, she would most likely have been 15.

    Jimmy Page was one of the first to use wah-wah pedals. Not used on that clip, but I have the original Parrot recording here, and there is the beginning of wah-wah on that recording. Late 1963—that is amazingly early.

  41. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Faulty math. She would have been 14 when the song was recorded in ’63, 15 when it was released in ’64, and most likely still 15 when that Shindig segment was shot and aired. 16 if it truly aired in ’65, which I seriously doubt.

  42. OFD says:

    Quite the musical history you have there, sir. Thanks. I saw Jimmy Page with his pals a few years later in Framingham, MA, at the old Carousel Tent Theater, maybe six or seven blocks from my house. They were all about ten feet away from me on a stage at the same level as the first row of seats. I almost got clocked in the head with Mr. Plant’s microphone when he was swinging it around. Mr. Page played his double guitar, the wah-way pedals and used his bow. Mr. Plant wore skintight faded jean bell-bottoms with holes in them and a purple tie-dye t-shirt. The air was filled with pot smoke. My dad came after the show to pick up me and my buddy and was clueless about how bad we reeked, probably partly because he himself smoked a pipe then.

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