Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

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Like my brownhouse:
   another Jesusquake
Tuesday, August 23 2011

The rooftop hydronic panel sometimes develops a bit of a cold (or, depending on your biological analogy, indigestion). A bubble will develop in the top of the loop and it will gradually grow, eventually slowing circulation to a crawl. There's a vent at this location designed to release fluid, but for some reason it doesn't always work correctly, and when this happens it ends up releasing a lot of water vapor from the boiling hydronic fluid.
The only cure for this problem is adding new fluid at the top to backfill the bubbles up there. Sometimes I have to add a gallon or more of fluid. Today I was up there doing this task, wondering how I might develop a system to keep this from being the sort of problem that requires human intervention (which, to the world of machines, is like divine intervention is to us).
I didn't know it at the time, but while I was up on the roof screwing with the hydronic fluid, there was an unusally large earthquake down in central Virginia not far to the east of Charlottesville. It measured 5.8 on the Richter scale, which wouldn't be considered big in California, but one never hears of such large quakes east of New Madrid, Missouri. It was so big that it was felt as far away as Vermont and Toronto. I first learned of the quake on Facebook, and then, wanting to post a comment with to an absurd page claiming it to be divine intervention (there's that term again), I found myself having to make my own absurd page. I started out with pictures of Jesus, Dave Matthews, and serious earthquake damage from around the world and strung it all together with captions claiming the pictures were of various Charlottesville landmarks and that people need to pay more attention to Jesus and less to Dave Matthews and then wondering how much worse it all would have been if there had been legal gay marriage in Virginia. Later I added text in paragraph form from the viewpoint of a middle-aged Apostolic preacher doing outreach in the youth wigger (wafrican wamerican) community. See for yourself: "Terrible Earthquake Rocks Charlottesville; Jesus poised to return." I tried posting links to it in various places in addition to Facebook. I found that I could drive the most viewers from DailyKos. Though their messageboard system used to be great for driving traffic to goofy pages about newsy topics, doesn't seem to allow the posting of links these days.

This evening I was watching another of my newly-favorite schlocky reality shows, this one called Take the Money and Run. It's a game of cops and robbers, with a pair contestants given a suitcase containing $100,000 (which, for some reason, they keep handcuffed to a wrist) and given an hour to conceal it. Then they are taken into custody, fingerprinted, given prison jumpsuits, locked away in solitary confinement, and interrogated for 48 hours while receiving an unchanging diet of beans and milk. Meanwhile another pair of contestants (usually off-duty cops or former cops) try to find the suitcase. If the suitcase stays hidden, the hiders get to keep it, but what usually happens is that the suitcase is found and the show provides yet another subsidy for the men and women of law enforcement. Though entertaining, Take the Money and Run is inherently unfair because the pair looking for the suitcase are given the assistance of a pair of hard-ass interrogators skilled at getting criminals to crack. These interrogators also have cellphone call logs and GPS coordinates of vehicular movements (though, based on their behavior in one exceptional episode where the hiders managed to keep the loot, they do not to have time-logging of those GPS coordinates).
The show has really opened my eyes to the psychological trauma of solitary confinement. Down at the prison where Gretchen works, inmates (students whom she knows well) are routinely sentenced to 30, 60, or even 90 days in solitary confinement for relatively small infractions, such as using a computer allotted to one program to do work from another program. But on Take the Money and Run, contestants who stand to win $100,000 if they can just last 48 hours in solitary confinement often cannot manage to do so. I've seen two episodes where contestants were transformed to psychological mush and confessed the location. This would seem to cast suspicion on any confession extracted from any suspect held in custody. It also demonstrates that solitary confinement is most definitely a form of torture. If I were a lawyer trying to invalidate a confession, you can bet I'd be trying to get certain episodes of Take the Money and Run admitted as evidence.

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