Tuesday, 7 May 2013

08:11 – With Barbara’s mom and dad both in the hospital, she and Frances are even busier than usual. They expect Dutch to be discharged late this week, and are looking at assisted-living facilities to decide which are acceptable to have Dutch transferred to. Their mom is being treated for a lung infection, and they’re not sure at this point how long she’ll be in the hospital or whether she’ll be going home to the apartment or will need to go to an assisted-living facility for at least a while. We’re hoping that Sankie’s outlook will improve sufficiently that she’ll be able to return directly to their apartment.

I’m busy putting together subassemblies for a first batch of thirty LK01 Life Science Kits. At this point, it’s all a matter of assembly except that we’re out of stock on bottles of methyl cellulose. I have two liters of that made up, but none bottled. The second bottle-top dispenser I ordered arrived yesterday, so I just need to get some bottles filled. We announced that the LK01 kits would begin shipping the week of 26 May, but we may in fact have them ready to start shipping as early as next Monday.

11:00 – One thing I didn’t think about when we decided to start building and selling science kits is the amount of physical labor involved, particularly as our sales ramp up. I just hauled four cases of goggles downstairs and stacked them. On the return trips upstairs, I’m hauling up finished kits, five at a time. I have about four dozen kits to haul up and more stuff to haul down. And UPS should show up today with a couple cases of 144 glass beakers and several cases of 100 mL graduated cylinders. If I catch Don as he pulls up, I’ll ask him to roll those crates around back to save me having to carry them downstairs.

I tend to think of components as small, light items, which is true individually. How much can a stainless-steel spatula or a glass stirring rod weigh, after all? But put a case of 700 of each of them in a large box along with similar quantities of two or three other “small, light” items, and the mass adds up quickly. At 30, I wouldn’t have thought twice about any of this stuff; at nearly 60, it becomes an aerobic workout. Between hauling components and kits up and down the stairs and walking Colin, I probably get more exercise than most guys my age.

14:56 – Urk. Now that’s embarrassing. I’m starting to clean off my main desk to make room for the new system. I’m going to run it side-by-side with the current system until I’m sure everything I need is migrated over. So, as I was moving piles of stuff off my desk, what did I notice but a stack of five hard drives in those clear plastic form-fitted cases. I looked at the first one: “Oh, well, it’s only 160 GB, not big enough to worry about.” At the second: “Oh, well, it’s only 500 GB.” At the third: “Oh, well, it’s only 1.5 TB.” At the fourth: “Oh, well, it’s only, uh, 2 TB.” At the fifth: “Oh, shit. Another 2 TB drive.” Both 2 TB drives, as best I remember, have never been used other than briefly to test a RAID system. Oh, well. One can never have too many hard drives. I’d completely forgotten I had these. I’ll probably just stick them in an external eSATA drive carrier and use them for portable backup.

16:20 – With Europe already turning into a smoking pile of rubble, I sometimes wonder if Comrade Barroso has been inhaling too much of that smoke: Federal Europe will be ‘a reality in a few years’, says Jose Manuel Barroso

Federated, hell. They’ll be lucky if the EU still exists. The euro certainly won’t, unless it’s a Southern-tier euro, with the protestant Northern tier returning to their own currencies, or perhaps, if they haven’t learned their lesson from this catastrophe, a shared Deutsche Mark under whatever name. I’ve known for years that Barroso, that “former” Marxist, is delusional, but he keeps coming up with even more impressive castles in the sky. Barroso, who defines the term True Believer, no doubt actually believes that not just the eurozone but the EU 27 will fall in with his ridiculous plans. Even now, the UK is teetering on the edge of withdrawing from the EU, and with prominent defections among even his own Tories, Cameron may not be able to hold things together for another year, let alone until the proposed referendum on EU membership four years from now. And what are the chances that Germany, Finland, and Holland will agree to pay not just the Southern tier’s outstanding debts but to continue to subsidize them forever and without limit? I’d say the probability is slightly more than zero. Maybe 0.000001.