Tuesday, 5 February 2013

09:30 – Barbara’s mom and dad are doing about the same. Instead of heading directly over to her parents’ apartment after work today, Barbara’s going to go to the gym and then come home for dinner before heading over to dad-sit.

I filled a few hundred bottles yesterday, using the bottle-top dispenser. That’s basically a pump that sits on top of a reservoir bottle. The body of the pump has a slider that’s calibrated from 2.5 mL to 30 mL in 0.5 mL increments. To fill a bottle, you just place the mouth of the bottle over the dispenser tip, slide the pump body all the way up and then press it all the way down. It takes about five seconds to fill a 15 mL bottle and a bit longer for a 30 mL. The reservoir bottle is one liter (the largest they had), which is enough for 60+ 15 mL bottles or 30+ 30 mL bottles.

I’m doing batches of 60 or 90 bottles at a time, so I sometimes need to refill the reservoir with the same solution during a run. That takes 30 seconds or so. Cleanup during a changeover to a new chemical is faster than I feared it might be. I just rinse the reservoir bottle and dispenser under running tap water, put the supply tube into a beaker of tap water and pump 10 or 12 passes of tap water through the dispenser, and then repeat with a couple passes of distilled water.

The batch of bottles we’re currently working on is sufficient for 60 more chemistry kits and 30 more biology kits. After we finish this pass, I think I’m going to bump that up to batches of 120 chemistry kits and 60 biology kits. I’m also going to bump up the size of the chemical solutions we make up. Right now, I’m doing one liter at a time of the solutions that go into 15 mL bottles and two liters of the solutions that go into 30 mL bottles. That’s sufficient for 60+ sets of each. Other than solutions with relatively limited shelf lives, after this batch I’m going to start making up four liters at a time of the solutions for 15 mL bottles and eight liters of the solutions for 30 mL bottles, which is sufficient for 250 sets of each.

10:49 – I see that the Catholic hospital in Colorado that had made the unusual argument that a fetus is not a person has now backtracked and is admitting that a fetus is a person under Catholic doctrine. They were being sued for the wrongful death of a pregnant woman and her twin fetuses and had claimed that the two fetuses were not people under Colorado law. Now they’re saying that they were “morally wrong” to claim the fetuses were not people, which presumably means they plan to continue arguing that in the eyes of the law there is only one wrongful death at issue.

And some articles are now claiming that that image of Obama shooting skeet is a fake. Fake or not, it really doesn’t matter. I don’t think anyone really believes that Obama is a shooter.

From the image, if he’s shooting skeet it would appear that he’s shooting a sitting clay. (The shotgun is in full recoil, which even with the ported barrel and light skeet loads means it must have been about level when he pulled the trigger.) I suspect it would be more accurate to say that this image is of Obama shooting at skeet, because I doubt he’s ever actually hit one. If indeed this isn’t the only round Obama has ever fired in his life.

So I have a challenge for Mr. Obama. As Barbara, Paul, and Mary can attest, I pretty much suck at shooting clays, at least with a shotgun, so if Obama is actually a skeet shooter my challenge should be trivially easy for him to win. The deal is, Obama gets his shotgun and 25 rounds of skeet shells. He shoots a round and we total how many he breaks. Then I get my Colt Combat Commander and 25 rounds of hardball. I shoot a round and we total how many I break. If Obama breaks more than I do, he gets to claim to be a shooter. What could be fairer than that?

I should say that I actually tried shooting clays with my .45 back 35 years ago or so. I used a box of 50 rounds and IIRC broke half a dozen clays, for a success rate of 12%. Some of the guys I was shooting with did better than that, but they were using higher-velocity rounds.

12:56 – I just got off the phone with PayPal support. I was starting to get concerned about a couple of things. First, the from: line of the payment-received emails that PayPay sends me had changed. Until the end of January or thereabouts, they were in the form:

“jdoe@johndoe.com” <jdoe@johndoe.com>

For the last several days, they’ve been in the form:

John Doe via PayPal <member@paypal.com>

My second concern was a change in withdrawals. I regularly sweep our PayPal balance into our corporate bank account, at least daily and sometimes two or three times a day. Until now, as soon as I did a transfer I’d get an email immediately from PayPal noting the details of the transfer. For the last few days, I haven’t been getting those confirmation emails, so I began to wonder if I’d been hacked.

As it turns out, there’s no problem. Mallory at PayPal support said they’d changed the way they format the from: line on payment-received emails to cut down on fraud attempts. And she said not to worry about the lack of confirmation emails for transfers from PayPal to our bank account. Apparently, they’ve been having some kind of issue getting those emails sent.