Monday, 17 March 2014

By on March 17th, 2014 in personal, science kits

09:43 – There’s not much icing, but it’s a miserable day out nonetheless. The temperature is hovering right at freezing, it’s drizzling, and there’s a stiff breeze. The low tonight is to be below freezing with more rain. Tomorrow morning may be messier than this morning.

I’m building more chemistry kits today.

10:45 – There was an article in the paper this morning about recycling growing in Winston-Salem. We’re now well above average for the state. City residents recycled 13,000 tons (11,800+ metric tons) last year, or about 104 pounds (47 kilos) for every resident. That’s a significant increase over the prior year, and the authorities attribute it to the replacement of small bins that had to be carried out to the curb every week with rolling 96-gallon (365 liter) carts that we roll out to the curb every two weeks.

We’re probably about 20 times the average, call it a ton+ per year. We fill our recycle cart every time, packing it tightly, and we still usually have stuff left over that Barbara drops off at the recycling center or that we stuff in a neighbor’s cart (with her permission). In addition to the usual household stuff–newspapers, soft drink bottles, and so on–we have lots and lots of cardboard and packing material from incoming shipments.

51 Comments and discussion on "Monday, 17 March 2014"

  1. Chuck W says:

    New week of jetsream projections shows it continuing to ride like belt across the US mid-section, though undulating up and down a little more gently than prior weeks. I have no objection, as long as it stays there through the summer. West Coast continues to be south of a loop that is staying above Oregon and Southeast is only slightly farther south from the snake tail than I am here in virtually the center of Indiana.

    And spring arrives Wed 20 Mar at 12:57 EDT.

  2. brad says:

    What I find amusing is the claim by some environmentalists that burning wood is CO2 neutral, just because you can replant the trees. If that’s true, then I figure the same is true of oil and coal, only on a slightly longer time-scale.

  3. OFD says:

    We burn both wood and oil here for heat, but only half the year, really. April-September we pretty much shut them both down and wear sweaters and are by now used to the colder temps in this region anyway.

    Latest job nooz is that my old drone job at Big Blue’s northern plantation here is pending “approval of funding” there, and I am given to understand that more than one job may come back that was off-shored or otherwise eliminated. What I have found puzzling as hell since my layoff last May is this: I was on a team of four guys, one of them a working supervisor/manager/engineer, who were responsible for four large data centers in four buildings spread over a mile of the “campus”, and including hundreds of racked RHEL servers, plus the internal network infrastructure. And at least 75% of our job was hands-on with the hardware in those rooms. On top of that we were backup sys/net/security admin support for hundreds more racked RHEL servers down in north-country Vampire State. Who the hell was in there doing this work since last May? All four of us got dumped, so WTF? Plus several hundred more were let go; there is no way someone in India or Mexico could have done our gigs.

    Only thing I can think of is that they put manglers to work on it, who are notoriously clueless about IT unless they came up through the ranks, and maybe the remaining handful of elderly guys still there who didn’t take the offered retirement packages yet. I am further guessing that this has not been a resounding success.

    Meanwhile three other potential jobs are hanging out there, but they’re Windoze shops and one is 70 miles away.

    20 here today with sun and blue skies and no wind; dropping to minus-8 tonight and then starting tomorrow, temps in the 30s, which is sorta nommul for this time of year. Mrs. OFD’s return flight from lovely Houston is Friday around 9:30, so I’ll be scooting down to the airport to pick her up. She said last night it was in the 50s but headed into the 70s today.

  4. Miles_Teg says:

    “…we have lots and lots of cardboard and packing material from incoming shipments.”

    In Canberra we weren’t supposed to put thick cardboard in the recycling bin, they said it clogged the shredding machines, so you’re lucky. I just took it to a recycling centre when I knew I’d be close anyway or just put it in the garbage.

    I think we should bring back incinerators go counteract Global Cooling ™.

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    You must have those wimpy Aussie shredding machines. Ours’ll shred a Toyota.

  6. SteveF says:

    Not in the US, Miles_Teg. By the time our ruling class is done with the economy, we’ll need those cardboard boxes for housing.

  7. OFD says:

    Cardboard sucks as housing in the rain and snow. I’ll stick with our nearly 200-year-old brick here, if no one minds.

    Hey science fans! Get a load of this!

    “A professor with Rochester Institute of Technology has called for the incarceration of any American who actively disagrees that climate change is solely caused by human activity.”

    Note how certain voices on the hard political Left over the years routinely call for imprisonment and death for their opponents, often with publicly expressed fantasies of grisly and painful ends for them. Some of them may well end up in Hell along with Freddy Phelps & Co., though it is more than unseemly for a Christian to imagine or wish for such a thing.

  8. SteveF says:

    Yah, I posted on that over at Daily Pundit. I’m not Christian, so I don’t have to shy away from saying bad things about stupid, evil people.

  9. OFD says:

    Gee whiz, not only say bad things about people, but threaten them, too!

    “…I will beat with a hammer anyone who attempts to control me or steal from me “for the greater good” or “for my own good”.”

    And laugh while they scream!

    Yeah, j’evuh notice how it’s always the fucktards with the doctorates in English and Comp Lit and Philosophy who spray the landscape with their demented spittle and drool about subjects fah, fah away from their fields of alleged expertise?

    I will just go on record here as saying that if I’d ever got my PhD in English (Medieval Studies) you would never have heard of me saying anything about anything for public consumption outside of my very narrow and useless little specialty.

    But since I didn’t, and have no specialty, I feel free to agree totally with Mr. SteveF’s prescription.

  10. Miles_Teg says:

    I’m thinking of getting a NAS, with four 3 TB drives in RAID 5. Is that such a good idea nowadays with such large drives? I seem to remember that this increases the risk of unrecoverable failure when two drives in the array fail.

    The NAS I’m thinking of is a Synology 413J.

  11. SteveF says:

    I believe your ISTR is correct. I certainly wouldn’t do it unless I had enough other storage for live or very frequent backup.

    On the other hand, I think that even commodity drives these days have better reliability and longevity than the server-grade drives back when RAID-x was being invented.

    On the other other hand, what are you trying to accomplish? Is this for serving up lots n lots of movies for your own use? Designing a storage system for a friend’s small business? Setting up your own darknet host that’ll run behind TOR? Have you tested whether ordinary, non-RAIDed systems can handle the expected load? Unless you demonstrably need the performance, I’d stay away from RAID as an unnecessary “moving part” that might break.

    On the overriding hand, what do I know? You should ask someone who did this sort of thing for a living. Someone like… OFD.

  12. Miles_Teg says:

    It’s just for my own backup. I save files on my PCs and back them up to the NAS.

  13. OFD says:

    Dunno wot kinda files ya got there, mate, but seems like overkill to me…

  14. Miles_Teg says:

    I’ve got 10-12 desktops – I’ve lost count. Seriously. Plus a couple of laptops.

  15. OFD says:

    Holy crap, R U running a biz or a cube farm for cubeproles? Still heavy into the SETI project or wot, mate?

    Can all that data be worth saving?

    Made me take count here, though; three desktops; one running Windows 8, another with RHEL 6.5, and still another with Fedora 20. Two laptops (Mrs. OFD’s) running Windows 7; a netbook running Santoku; an ancient laptop with CrunchBang, and a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 that I am side-loading various apps onto today.

    Soon, more vm’s on the RHEL box and a Cisco lab in the attic, next to the ham/shortwave radio config and the firearms workbench, and later, seedling trays under grow lights.

  16. Miles_Teg says:

    I find it really, really hard to throw stuff away if it might possibly be useful at some point in the far distant future.

    I gave away my Amiga 1000 (bought in 1986) in about 2002, binned my Pentium MMX 200, a Windows 95 box (bought in 1997) but have kept the rest. Seriously, I don’t know how many PCs I have. Around 12 desktops (going back to 1999) + 2 laptops (2005, 2007) + 2 iPads.

    I finally chucked a portable TV last year, bought in 1980.

  17. Ray Thompson says:

    Ours’ll shred a Toyota.

    But they would choke an on ’64 Buick, made with real steel, the thick kind. Real cast iron blocks.

    Am in Florida for the week with a couple of exchange students. Usual stuff. Epcot, Universal Studio and the beach. No Magic Kingdom as you really need to be with someone under the age of 16 to enjoy it fully. Plus they have dumbed down some of attractions so as to not offend anyone. When I was a kid they used to shoot at the rhinos on the jungle ride using blanks. Now they just shake a finger and tell the Rhino to take a time out.

  18. Ray Thompson says:

    I finally chucked a portable TV last year, bought in 1980.

    B&W no doubt.

  19. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Funny you should mention a ’64 Buick engine block. Back around ’71 or ’72, when the Dirty Harry movies were popular, the urban legend was that a .44 Magnum bullet would punch all the way through an engine block. So I was out at a dump/junkyard with a couple of my buddies and decided to find out. It may even have been a ’64 Buick. If not, it was something similar. I cocked my Ruger .44 Magnum and fired a round into the engine block from pretty close range. I wasn’t expecting it to go all the way through the block, but I did think it might punch through a cylinder wall. Which it did, kind of, denting and splitting the metal. Of course, the thing was already a rust bucket.

  20. Mike G. says:


    Consider rolling your own,

    Building a Homemade SAN on the Cheap: 32TB for $1,500


  21. Lynn McGuire says:

    What is a mangler?

  22. Lynn McGuire says:

    lovely Houston

    I dare you to say that in August. However, it is 67 F without a cloud in the sky. It is forecast to be 76 F today and 56 F tonight. Too bad we cannot save this for August and September.

  23. Lynn McGuire says:

    Why limit yourself to 32 TB? You can build a 180 TB pod for just $2,000. Plus drives.

    Note, stay away from Seagate drives:

    I buy WD spinning drives exclusively and lately have been buying Intel SSD drives for primary drives. 240 GB for $150, amazing.

  24. Lynn McGuire says:

    Note how certain voices on the hard political Left over the years routinely call for imprisonment and death for their opponents, often with publicly expressed fantasies of grisly and painful ends for them.

    I have it on authority that back in the late 1500s, a majority of scientists believed that the Sun rotated around the Earth. Especially after Galileo was tried and imprisoned for advocating that Earth rotated around the Sun. Heresy!

  25. OFD says:

    Yeah, the Galileo story keeps being retailed by the usual suspects as the horrific repression of a poor old scientist by the cruel and merciless Church of the Inquisition and it set Science back a thousand years, etc., etc. In reality he forced the issue with the Church hierarchy, who would have preferred to just let things slide and not have a fuss, while most educated people of the time knew the truth anyway. In the end he basically got a form of house arrest and even that wasn’t enforced. The usual suspects make it sound like he was hung in chains and tortured and then thrown in a dungeon somewhere.

    Newton, on the other hand, was a fearsome supporter of the State and went after counterfeiters with a vengeance and saw them imprisoned and hanged with complete alacrity. He also studied and wrote on demons, as did King James.

  26. Lynn McGuire says:

    Hi OFD, please note that I am not attacking the Church. I am attacking the so-called group of “scientists” who believe in man-made global warming. The vastly vaunted “consensus of scientists who advocate anthropomorphic global warming”. These people:

  27. OFD says:

    Oh, I know, Lynn, no worries. I just get tired of the same old myths getting repeated for hundreds of years, i.e., Galileo was repressed and tortured by the Inquistion; the Inquisition tortured and killed millions; or, the Crusades were a horrific and racist mass European atrocity committed against peaceful Muslims, etc., etc. Another good one is how the Vikings were these heroic warrior types, beloved of some on the far right and supremacist circles on the net, and a return to their manly virtues and pagan culture is in order now; when, in fact, they were murderous thieves and pirates who attacked and preyed upon defenseless farmers, monks, women and children, etc. But when they ran into the Vinland skraelings they turned tail and skeddadled back to Greenland and Iceland.

    And one of the biggest; how the First Nations peoples, i.e., North American Indians, were the first folks here and traveled over that land bridge on the Bering Strait. Filthy Euro conquerors and conquistadores who came later murdered most of them, etc., etc.

    In modern times we have the historical myths of the Pearl Harbor attack, that Senator Joe McCarthy was an outta-control drunken fascist who wrongly accused innocent people and ruined lives and careers forever when really there were no Reds in the U.S. government or media industry, and the more recent 9/11 and Boston Marathon incidents, where we’re supposed to believe increasingly shaky stories fabricated by the government and “law enforcement” authorities.

    But don’t get me stahted…

  28. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Another good one is how the Vikings were these heroic warrior types, beloved of some on the far right and supremacist circles on the net, and a return to their manly virtues and pagan culture is in order now; when, in fact, they were murderous thieves and pirates who attacked and preyed upon defenseless farmers, monks, women and children, etc. But when they ran into the Vinland skraelings they turned tail and skeddadled back to Greenland and Iceland.

    Hey, I resemble that remark! You’re talking about my ancestors. The Vikings were Good Guys. They farmed, pretty much minded their own business, and periodically they’d go out and have a little fun by sailing somewhere far away and methodically loot, pillage, and rape. Without them, modern Britain would have developed very differently and we probably wouldn’t have had representative government, human freedoms, common law, the Magna Carta, and other inestimably Good Things that ultimately devolved from English culture.

  29. Lynn McGuire says:

    Hey, I watched the first episode of the second season of the Vikings. Good josh, that was bloody. Almost as bloody as “The Walking Dead”:

  30. Chuck W says:

    Great place to get accurate history, that — television. And movies.

  31. Chuck W says:

    I am wrong above. 20 March is Thursday, not Wednesday. That is what you get when you make your own calendar of events, and do the proofreading yourself.

  32. Lynn McGuire says:

    Who knows if “The Vikings” is accurate? It is even shot in Canada instead of Europe. But the show is ultra violent.

  33. OFD says:

    I watched the first season of “The Vikings” on the recommendation of our son; it was OK, but not world-shaking.

    “…Good Things that ultimately devolved from English culture.”

    The items Bob listed can be subsumed under the heading of representative government on a small scale; their “Thing” which became the evolution of various types of assemblies in England, particularly East Anglia, and which exist today especially in our New England town meeting, which is an annual event here, mostly in small towns like this one; we just had ours, and some major stuff was voted on, too. A decent visual depiction of it is found in one of the Norman Rockwell “Four Freedoms” series:

    Rockwell was no Michelangelo or Vermeer but he was a dynamite illustrator. Always liked most of his stuff.

    For fun with the guy who had to cave in and give his barons the Magna Carta, and for even more bloodshed and violence:

  34. bgrigg says:

    “Who knows if “The Vikings” is accurate? It is even shot in Canada instead of Europe. But the show is ultra violent.”

    Who cares if it’s accurate. Damned good battle scenes. And Ragnar is charming as hell, when he’s not butchering people. It’s shot in both Ireland and Canada, all the scenes of the frozen fiords are actually Labrador, OFD’s next home when Global Warming® finally melts the permafrost.

    Just watched the season 3 cliffhanger for “Sherlock” last night and it may well be the best TV I’ve ever seen. Better than many movies, in fact.

  35. OFD says:

    “…OFD’s next home when Global Warming® finally melts the permafrost.”

    A real bummuh, though, is the lack of trees in this northern zone; I love my Ents.

  36. Mike G. says:


    Read that Backblaze link and it looks like cost is ~$2K WITHOUT drives as opposed to Don’s 32TB WITH drives. Good read though. Don likes Hitachi Ultrastar 2TB 7200RPM drives; 2TB because of software limitations.


  37. Miles_Teg says:

    Thanks all for the NAS and drive info. Seagate has really fallen.

  38. Chuck W says:

    Started when they bought out Maxtor. Seagate screwed me. On one of my trips to the US to deal with my parents’ passings, I bought the biggest Seagate laptop drive available. I was in a rush to get back to Berlin and did not test it out. It travelled in my backpack, safe and secure from rough treatment to home in Strausberg, and was DOA out of the box. In fact, it would not spin at all and got way too hot to touch in less than a minute.

    Contacted Seagate in Germany. No warranty because I bought it in the US and took it to Germany (they know from serial numbers). But same drive is sold in Germany, so WTF? Warranty ran out before I got back to the US. I will never buy Seagate again.

  39. OFD says:

    Interesting coincidence; I have a 3TB Seagate external drive which worked fine a couple of years ago with our Windows 7 Ultimate box; now Windows 8 and two Windows 7 machines see the drive, give it a letter, tell me it’s working fine and ready to use, but when I try to open it to look at and use files, it just hangs. It also, for some weird reason, screws the internet up (shuts it down, actually).

    I had a bunch of movies and tee-vee shows on it that are probably gone now; I even tried to format it and Windows would not do it for me. Will try to do that with one of the Linux machines but I fear it’s toast now.

    Who makes the best external drives now, and what about the 2TB and 3TB limitations on various Windows and Linux distros? I also understand there are 4TB drives out now…

  40. Lynn McGuire says:

    I have bought about 15 WD external drives in the last five or six years in the size range of 1 TB to 4 TB. I have had one failure out of that bunch so far, a 1 TB drive. I heartily recommend WD:

    The 3 TB and 4 TB external drives work fine with my Windows 7 x64 PCs using a Gigabyte Z68XP-UD5 motherboard. The drives came formatted NTFS. Don’t know about x86 operating systems though.

    I think that 3 TB and bigger external drives require a Windows x64 operating system. 3 TB and bigger internal drives require Windows 7 x64 and support for GPT.

  41. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    As of now I’d buy Hitachi or maybe WD. Seagate quality has gone down the drain.

  42. OFD says:

    OK, thanks, guys; Hitachi or WD it is from now on. This Windows 8_64 machine would not let me see those files nor would the two Windows 7_64 machines, although the older Thinkpad laptop came closest with positive messages.

    I have one remaining 1TB Seagate drive and will just use that for casual temporary backups; and will next pick up a different and larger drive for the serious backups.

    I see this is posting on what was Saint Patrick’s Day, so hope y’all had a great one!

  43. Chuck W says:

    I never had a Maxtor drive fail, nor any Hitachi or Toshiba. Have had failures of WD, IBM, and Seagate.

    I had a WD fail in the way OFD describes. It spun, Disk Management said it was fine, but I could not access any files. Pretty sure the allocation table was damaged. Supposedly NTFS backs that up, but at a certain point, I never could access anything. It finally claimed the drive was not formatted, but it refused to be formatted with any tool. It was a backup drive, but the only thing on it that I did not have backed up elsewhere was my entire WAVE file music collection. That was okay, actually, because there was a defect in the software I was using, and I have ended up re-ripping everything (almost finished with my collection) so no great loss. I thought about getting Gibson’s Spin-Rite, but this was all during the time Jeri was sick and dying, so that never happened. I scrapped the drive when I left Berlin. Nowadays, almost everything is backed up in 2 different places (in addition to the original) and some in 3 places. Nothing I have found in Windows is able to do what rsync does in Linux, and that is one reason why I really prefer Linux, except for certain video and audio software that is just not available on Linux. And Windows’ faultless handling of audio, which is an area in which Linux truly sucks.

  44. OFD says:

    Well, I have a 3TB WD drive enroute here now; formatted already as NTFS. Later I’ll be getting an unformatted drive for the Fedora desktop and using rsync.

    We shall see what we shall see; may still try salvaging this Seagate drive but not much hope for it at this point.

  45. Lynn McGuire says:

    Well, I have a 3TB WD drive enroute here now; formatted already as NTFS.

    I made that mistake also. I have decided to always buy the biggest drive that I can get, even if I do think that we will never need it.

    I use seven external rotating WD drives for our LAN backup which is approaching 2 TB now. I have two external 2 TB drives that I am getting ready to prematurely replace plus I just replaced two of my internal backup 2 TB drives with 4 TB drives. We were having to reformat them on about every other usage.

    WD is getting ready to release a new 6 TB drive using a helium medium instead of air. I think that needs to prove itself first for a few years before I use those.

  46. SteveF says:

    now Windows 8 and two Windows 7 machines see the drive, give it a letter, tell me it’s working fine and ready to use, but when I try to open it to look at and use files, it just hangs

    Have you tried accessing it with Linux or BSD? They’re more tolerant of some types of errors. (And less tolerant of others, but there’s nothing to lose by trying.)

  47. OFD says:

    I’ll be trying it with both Fedora and Mint pretty soon and will post here the undoubtedly fab results. You’re right, nuttin’ to lose at this point. I’d at least like to format it for further use, but Winblows ain’t lettin’ me do that.

  48. Chuck W says:

    I agree with Lynn’s method of buying the biggest possible drive available at purchase time. I did that with laptop drives while abroad, and people thought I was crazy, but the bigger drives were filled in just a couple years. Wifey took far more pics than me, and all digis ever shot are archived, so I don’t fill space as fast as when she was around, but now with over 50,000 songs, I am at 2.5T of audio alone, and approaching that with video. I only have a total of 6T available, and that includes backup. I had an HP NAS, but donated it to a worthy cause over a year ago. I really need to replace that with a couple systems to back each other up. Drives cannot get too big. I can always fill them up eventually.

  49. bgrigg says:

    I used to sell computers back in 1985. I had clients tell me that a 5MB (yes, megabyte!) drives would take them “forever” to fill up.

    An early SD card I have is only 16MB, completely useless with today’s massive megapixel cameras.

  50. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Heh. I remember how happy computer resellers were when IBM started shipping PC/XT systems without hard drives. One could pop in one of those high-margin 20 MB ST225’s and make a killing.

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