Just eliminate lies

January 31, 2017

1-102

As the sun sets on the east coast of Iowa signaling the end
of January we look upon the golden sky and wonder what some
people are smoking. It took us back to a time before common
sense died from acute apathy.

Recent events cause us to lapse into such a state and
we’ll mention one. We have been following the Dakota
Pipeline fiasco and noticed the drive-by media claiming that
said pipelines don’t leak so the protest is futile.
The Magellan pipeline runs through Illinois, Iowa, North
Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin must be unlucky.

The Magellan pipeline moves diesel, gasoline, jet fuel,
natural gasoline, naptha, propane, natural gas, and butane.

Just recently 138,000 gallons of diesel leak out of a
ruptured pipeline and came up in a farmers’ field. Rest a
assured though as vacuum trucks are sucking up the leak
and the contaminated soil will be taken away.

Another pipeline operated by Magellan near Decatur, Nebraska,
last October leaked anhydrous ammonia and that leak killed one
unlucky soul while 23 households had to be evacuated.

In 2010 5,000 gallons of diesel leaked into a creek near
Milford, Iowa. The same year there was a 45,000 gallon
gasoline spill in Oklahoma. Worry not, the company paid hefty
fines. The entire report is here.

According to Inside Energy, there have been 4,269 pipeline
incidents since 2010 and 64 of those involved fatalities. To
learn more, or see the map of spills, go here.

Yet we don’t remember hearing much from the media about this.
The next time we hear how safe pipelines are for transporting
oil products, or protesters called whiners, we will pull up the map
in the last link to get a dose of reality.

Enjoy the rest of today for tomorrow is another month. A
little later I shall enjoy a pizza while watching Perry Mason.
Comments are always welcome.


What if?

January 30, 2017

eyes

A friend shared an interesting report and the future that at
first sounded crazy until given some thought. Then it paints
a grim picture of what life may be like for our kids. We won’t
share it here as it is too long but will touch on some of the
highlights.

In 1998 Kodak sold 85% of all photo paper in the world while
we were having “Kodak moments” on a regular basis. Due to the
onslaught of digital cameras Kodak filed for bankruptcy in
2012, turned the company around, and joined the digital age.

Digital cameras for the masses have been around since 1975.
They didn’t become a threat to film cameras until the price
came down and the resolution soared. The next such trend could
well be software.

Think about it. Uber is just software, they don’t own any
taxis yet are the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is
the largest hotel company in the world and the software giant
owns no property.

Watson gives legal advice with 90% accuracy and it is IBM
software. Watson also helps nurses diagnose cancer and is four
times more accurate than humans. Even Facebook has pattern
recognition software that can remember faces better than we
can.

Our cars aren’t even safe. As early as 2020 we could see the
beginning of the end for automakers as autonomous cars take
over. Driver’s licenses won’t be needed nor car ownership. The
up side would be with less cars there would fewer traffic
fatalities. Of course, if the accident rate drops drastically,
car insurance would be an endangered species.

Claim is 20 years 70-80% of current jobs would be gone. New
jobs would spring up but no one is sure there would be enough
of these to help some of us.

Agricultural robots could be the farmers of the future, tech
trades would take off, aeroponics will replace meat with petri
dish produced veal, and insect protein known as alternative
protein source will be available.

There is no proof any of this will actually happen and some
things mentioned are available now. This is meant to be food
for thought. So enjoy our Monday but don’t think about the
future, live in the present.
Comments are always welcome.


Innovations

September 14, 2016

Today’s post is sponsored by Dr. Batty’s For Your Health
Asthma Cigarettes.

battu

Innovations are a funny thing, much like fads. What is
considered latest and greatest in one era isn’t even talked
about decades later. Much like Dr. Batty’s cigarettes. I’m
sure the FDA would not approve his cigarettes today as a
“cure”.

Other innovations that made life more enjoyable are now
combined into one gadget. Growing up we didn’t have a
computer but we did have transistor AM radios, calculators,
and black and white TVs. Now one doesn’t even need said
computer as the new smart phones have all the functions of
the above in one small device.

Bicycles have been around since the 1800s and have had many
stages of development. The industry has advanced through the
use of ball bearings, chain driven sprockets, tension spoke
wheels, and pneumatic tires. Enthusiasts have added gasoline
engines, electric motors, jet engines, and even sails.

By now you are probably wondering where I’m going with this,
so here it is. As I was cruising the information highway I
came across a website that extolled the virtues of a hemp
based pedal electric vehicle with three wheels and removable
doors.

It is called the PEBL, seats two, has a top speed of 20
mph, and prices start at around $6,000. The Better Bike has
a hemp and soy composite body, reverse and cruise control,
full lighting, is fully enclosed, and as mentioned can seat
two adults.

At first I thought it was a Smart Car on a diet! I found
this an interesting concept and if you’d like to see the
web page, or are interesting in learning more, go here.

Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday.
Comments are always welcome.


Local treasures

September 4, 2016

Every day people pass things things without a thought
that others believe are treasures. To prove my point I’ll
mention a local bridge that has always fascinated the wife
and myself.

The Arsenal Bridge, which locals call the Government
Bridge, connects Davenport, Iowa to Arsenal Island and is
one way to get to Illinois. The current bridge is the 4th
at the location it is currently located. The original
bridge was finished in 1856 and was the first railroad
bridge across the Mississippi river.

The current bridge was opened in 1896 and uses the same
piers as the 1872 bridge it replaced, As you drive over
this bridge you may notice you are a mere 15 feet above
the normal water level. It has two levels with cars and
light trucks on the bottom level and two trail tracks on
the upper level.

But what we really love about this old bridge is the 365
foot long swing span over the locks. This span rotates a
full 360 degrees to allow river traffic to go through the
locks.

360 degree swing spans are unusual, but necessary, as it
helps close the span quicker to re-open it to vehicles and
trains. It also is just east of the dam and the south end
spans the locks.

Here is a video showing the bridge and the lock part of
Lock and Dam 15. To the right is Arsenal Island and to the
far left is Davenport, Iowa. The video shows the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers vessel Mississippi at the locks.

Our city leaders here on the east coast of Iowa are
always saying we need things to bring people to our area.
We think this old swinging bridge is as good as any we’ve
heard lately. Enjoy your Sunday, and since it is Sunday
we’ll end with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson-

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
————————————-
Comments are always welcome.


The merits of fishing

August 22, 2016

It is said necessity is the mother of invention, and that
may be true, but this tale will take a different path. If
you have heard of William Albee you may already know this
story but for the rest of you, here goes.

Mr. Albee went to Alaska in 1950 to do some fishing when
he noticed some villagers pushing a heavy wood boat up a
muddy bank atop what he thought were balloons. He found
out said balloons were actually inflated seal skins. It
seemed like this practice made a tough job easier.

When the fishing was done Mr. Albee went home to
Monterey, California and founded the Albee Rolligon Co.,
which produced the very first low pressure off-road tire
and later a vehicle to use them with.

His tires had to be manufactured specially for his use
using fabric and rubber that absorbed bumps and other
obstacles. He was so sure this would work he allowed
himself to run over by one of his vehicles using his tires
to prove a point.

1r

The formula to make his tires changed over time but that
formula is about as secret as the recipe for Coca-Cola. So
his Roligon vehicles, equipped with his tires, saw some
success. In the 1970s three of his vehicles took a test
run to the oil fields of northern Alaska and went all the
way to Prudoe Bay in the harsh winter months.

His vehicles and tires are being used to this day in the
oilfields of Prudoe Bay. I guess the moral of this story
would be don’t put off your fishing trip, because you
never know what game changing idea you may come
up with.
Comments are always welcome.


Of forms and hand trucks

February 16, 2016

1s

The desk portion of our computer hutch has been
littered with important documents, bank information,
military records, empty candy wrappers, and coffee
stains for about a week. But, I am now enrolled in
both Social Security and Medicare while keeping some
semblance of sanity.

So tomorrow I will try to remember where all this
information was stored and return it to the folder in
which it belongs. This has been a crazy week and it’s
only Tuesday.

Until today I don’t believe I had ever heard of a
business called Makinex. But now that I have I will
remember the name. They came up with something called
a powered hand truck.

It can lift a little over 300 pounds high enough to
load on a truck while only putting 15 pounds of
pressure on the handles. One person can operate it and
a battery charge should last for about 50 lift cycles.
The cost isn’t listed, but if you’re really interested
they can give you a quote on their website.

Personally, I can see some tinkering time out in the
garage with some left over scrap metal and a hydraulic
ram. If that doesn’t work I still have the scrap metal
and the ram and I can hire a kid to do the lifting.
But we’ll try making one first because I have to
finish my sheet metal brake anyway.

We have all our ducks in a row now and are hoping
that none of them get as distracted as we do. Tomorrow
looks to be another beautiful day and we hope you get
a chance to enjoy it.
Comments are always welcome.


Racing to conclusions

February 9, 2016

Yesterday we mentioned the EPA wants to severely limit
production cars that can be made into race cars and
eliminate some parts used. We feel this move proves
that those in leadership roles have risen above
their competency.

drag1

Every form of racing has influenced the major
manufacturers in ways that would surprise some and
we’ll mention a few here. Things on our daily drivers
that have been taken from race cars include the basic
design of the engine and where the ignition switch
is placed.

The Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG) is common in today’s cars
yet came from Formula 1 racing. The push button
ignition got its start in many forms of racing.

The suspension of our cars have a racing heritage
with either multi-link or MacPherson struts.

Racing has even influenced how the tires on our cars
are made. The grooves in the tread push water away to
give us better traction and sportier versions may have
less grooves to give more contact on dry roads.

Disc brakes were refined on race cars before becoming
standard on production cars.

Engine air intakes (scoops) had their start in racing.

Aerodynamic styling and the use of wind tunnel
testing is another race technology that made the
mainstream.

Weight reduction. Race cars are light which allows
them to go faster and the car manufacturers utilized
light weight materials to help with fuel efficiency.
Carbon fiber and aluminum come to mind.

The rearview mirror that lets us miss the car in our
blindspot got its start in racing.

Magnesium (mag) wheels are now standard equipment on
some models in the showrooms.

Superchargers and Turbochargers got tweeked in racing
and the technology is still used on some cars today.

Alternative fuels were used in race cars long before
greenhouse gases became a political hotbed.

Even the seatbelts most of use on a daily basis got
their start in race cars. Some say Barney Oilfield had
the first set in his Indycar in 1922.

And if there was no racing these innovations may not
be around today. The EPA should butt out.
Comments are always welcome.