Science Friday

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Editorial Thank You to Ed B. – It appears that with deft maneuvering with Chrome that I am able to comment on my own blog again.

Friday is a slow blogging day usually. And I’m hurting all over after having chopped/sawed and split/mauled two cords of wood. I need to get a twenty ton ram (gas powered) log splitter next year. That changes the whole dynamic. I’m also trying to decide whether to get more exotic with wood racks or to just pound in a couple steel fence posts and set the wood on lengths of 3″ PVC (a favored style here in the Arizona highlands). I constructed a fancy and esthetically pleasing wood rack for half a cord on the covered deck/outdoor living area, but there’s no need to store it all there.

I’m hoping to have a mild winter after last year’s record breaking snow and cold. But my hopes rarely translate into anything beyond mere ‘hope’. Today I’m assembling steel storage racks down the hill in the mine area.
So I thought that I’d link some articles that I’ve read recently and have found interesting. Submitted for your approval. 

Big Squid

(link) A team of divers filmed a rare glimpse of a huge transparent egg sac containing hundreds of thousands of baby squid.
The stunning underwater video was filmed by Ronald Raasch, 48, as he was diving with two other team-members from the research vessel REV Ocean in the cold waters outside Ørsta, Norway.
On October 5, the team of divers was swimming back to shore after visiting a WWII shipwreck about 200 metres from the coast, when they had a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with a mysterious object.
Floating 17 metres below the surface and 15 metres above the ocean floor, was a giant transparent orb which the divers quickly identified as a 10-armed squid’s egg sac.


(link) Physicists from MIT have now provided the first known example of a fractal arrangement in a quantum material. 
The patterns were seen in an unexpected distribution of magnetic units called ‘domains’, which develop in a compound called neodymium nickel oxide – a rare earth metal with extraordinary properties.


(link) I never knew how Irish linen was made. This video explains the process. Flax and linen farming was one of County Donegal’s biggest home industries for centuries. Think of the trial and error that must have been involved in taking flax and turning it into linen.
Should I buy a Pet Wolf?

There is a wolf sales outlet (People breed them) near Tucson, AZ. I’m not ready for a wolf yet, primarily because I still travel, but in my dotage it might be nice to have a wolf. Wolves are — wolves, and bring their own wolf problems, but if a dog isn’t as big and tough as a wolf here, I don’t know that they’d survive unless you locked them down day and night.
Cars and trucks hit elk along SR 87 all of the time. Often they result in fatalities. The road crews never haul off the roadkill and I didn’t understand but now I know why. The predators strip a dead elk to the bones within three days. Between cats, lions, coyotes, wolves and the buzzards doing the final clean up it’s like piraña live in the forest. You don’t see people with those little yappy dogs around here and there is a good reason for it. They are simply too low on the food chain. So if I am to have K-9 companionship, I’ve narrowed it down to a wolf. It’s too cold up here in the winter for short hair dogs like pit bulls to be comfortable and it never gets THAT warm.
So I’m mulling it over. Yes, Juliette, I know that you have a pet wolf in bucolic, tame, England. But here, I don’t know it there’s an option.


WSF – Romney does have his moments. He stepped in and salvaged the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. I held my nose and voted against the Lightbringer and would do so again. Maybe. 
Who I will gleefully vote for again is President Trump. I hope his health holds up for another great four years.
Sate Department? They, along with all civil servants, should recognize they are employees, not “stakeholders”. Stakeholders! What a crock!

Many of the State Department people are graduates of Satan’s Vatican. They feel that it confers an elite status on them and calling them ’employees’ when they are in that self-aggrandizing position insults them and their alma mater.

Fredd said – I, too, voted for Willard Romney. He’s taken a turn in his career, and not for the better, IMO. I think we can count on Willard to vote to impeach Uncle Donald, if it comes to that. But I can’t imagine another 19 senators will vote for impeachment as well. 
Gay state department diplomats? For certain, Richard Grenell (Amb. to Germany) is openly gay and he seems truly committed to the president and the Trump agenda. What attracts gays to serve in this capacity, just curious. 

I don’t know. The work that they do is neither dangerous or arduous and there are a lot of social perks to being an FSO. They pay is not spectacular, so they’re not getting the really outstanding Harvard types. If you’re gay and an underachiever, and graduated from the right school, you can join the nest. MOST of them hate President Trump.

As far as Deep State deniers, there is another name for them: leftists, who hate our country as founded. These Deep Staters and the deniers need to be outed, every nasty one of them, fired and left to fend for themselves rather than suck on the federal teat and then bite the hand that feeds them.
Scum, all of’em (I would wish a pox on them and theirs, but that goes without saying).

President Trump (starting with SECSTATE Tillerson) started downsizing the State Department. I participated in some of those early moves as a contractor/hatchetman.  The purge apparently continues. The question of “tell me what you do here?” caused some of them some consternation. A few cried. Slide a paper across the desk, “Write down your schedule for the next ten days” caused some to ask, “Are you kidding?” Some wise ass in Mexico City told me that it was classified. We got through that hurdle with blinding speed and found that he didn’t do anything that actually required a security clearance above “Confidential”. A pox would help clear out the dead weight. I have a history of working cooperatively with the State Dept. When Heinz needed somebody to behead people (figuratively), John Kerry hired my small firm to handle the discrete nature of the biz. They didn’t care about politics. They just wanted things handled right.

Jim – Now I’ll have to start referring to Romney as Pierre from here on out. I like that better than Mittens as some have been calling him. Noe Delecto-Danger seems like an inspired pairing for some office. Which one would be best remains to be seen.

I’m not so much into demeaning Mitt Romney as I am disappointed in him. He’ll remain a senator from Utah until he doesn’t want the job anymore. Just one more deep state type who will work as a closet liberal in much the same way as he operated when he was governor of Massachusetts. 

32 thoughts on “Science Friday

  1. Elk are large and I can see where fatalities may occur in a collision. Some years ago I was in Montana when a moose wandered onto the highway in front of me. Those can get even larger than elk and only 30 year old reflexes saved the pickup. All we have around here are white tails and those do enough damage when you hit them.

  2. Yes, a 20-ton hydraulic log splitter will cut down significantly on your ibuprofen budget. Back in the day, the settlers usually just picked two trees that were maybe 10-12 feet apart, and stacked the wood in between them, but nowadays that typically requires mother nature (Gaia) to cooperate, which she usually does not want any part of (Gaia hates your guts, it's true).

    Down side of getting that log splitter is that they are in actual use maybe an hour or two per year, and then sit in your garage taking up quite a few cubic feet of precious dry storage area. Maybe they are making fold down versions these days, but I kind of doubt it. You will certainly need that precious space for parking your Dodge Power wagon, with the snow blade attached.

  3. When I first moved up to the Mogollon Rim, locals warned me not to travel at night because of the threat posed by elk on the highway. I listened but thought that they were exaggerating. They weren't. Driving home from a birthday party for two granddaughters in Prescott, AZ earlier in the week I counted 15 elk on or adjacent to the road. It essentially reduces the speed of travel to about 40 mph even with off-road driving lights. Elk will still bolt out of the pines to stand on the road just before you arrive. Then they look at you.

  4. Might want to look into an Anatolian Shepherd, Kuvasz or Great Pyrenees. They're all great Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD), and do present challenges to an owner in terms of dominance and biddability (they've all been bred for many, many years to make decisions on their own about what to do about threats), but present far fewer potential problems than a wolf or wolf hybrid. A good LGD will protect and guard everything that it believes belong to it.

  5. Cutting trees on my property that need to come down isn't much of a problem. When you harvest in the national forest, you need a permit and you can only take trees that are dead. Which is better because the wood is seasoned. An axe and a maul can do the work of a hydraulic splitter but much more slowly, and painfully. The gas splitters are the way to go. You're limited to something on the order of a 9" diameter log with an electric splitter.

    Up here I use a utility (open) trailer, with modified clearance to get through rough country, pulled by the '48 Willys to bring out harvested wood, or even wood that I cut on my property. The alternative is to move it a log at a time by hand and that dog does not hunt.

  6. Well guess which part of this encyclopaedic blog post I’m going to comment on? … that’s right, squid. On second thoughts…
    You can’t have a White Wolf Mine and not have a wolf 🐺 dog. Trust me, it’s the best thing you’ll ever do. You can call it Reaper or Venom or something equally hilarious. You need a wolf to protect the mine and greet visitors on approach because that’s cool.

  7. Firewood Prep is a young man's sport. In the day I used to go out and cut down the trees, buck-em up into rounds, haul them home 3/4 of a cord per trip until I had 10 cords. My neighbors all did the same. Around the end of July we would haul a splitter around to all of out houses and getter down. Long hours and young backs.

    Your timing is all wrong if it's green wood. Gather in May, Split in July, and stack before Labor Day. I later built a woodshed and an outdoor – in door wood box right next to the stove. Then after insulating and adding on I could heat the house with four cords instead of 8. If I worked a Double Time Saturday (just one) I could buy it and have it delivered in front of the wood shed. Seemed like a great way to ease up on the tired back work.

    When the Forest Service was allowed to "Manage" the forest we were the tree thinners. Worked great for everyone. Now we let nature and arsonists burn the trees in California.

  8. Livestock guardian dogs can easily handle coyotes and most likely wolves, especially if you have a pair.

  9. Wolves are such social animals that I think that leaving one for weeks at a time even if a neighbor looks in on him, it might not work out well for the wolf.

  10. I'm after dead cedar and a few dead ponderosa pines on my own land at the moment. I have a friend with a splitter who wants to work cooperatively to bring in cedar. Getting back to where the quality dead cedars are or junipers, is really the challenge because people do harvest dead cedars here.

  11. Our in-laws, who know far more about this stuff than I do, recommend "Dirty Hand Tools" for things like log splitters.

    The DIL's Dad has one up at the little country house we stayed at, and I helped him use it several times.

    They're made here in Colorado, seem to be built quite robustly, and "They Just Work", which is what you want your tools to do.

  12. I have enough wood cut and split for this winter. Fires are an alternate source of heat here at the house. I will check out that link though and see if any are sold in my area.

  13. Conversely, we pay a guy to bring a two face cords of seasoned oak every 6-7 weeks during the burning season (Oct – April), he stacks it in the 8×8 wood rack in our garage, we pay the guy $200 and he leaves.

    I've gone the chain saw/wood splitter route before, and yes its cheaper in the long run. But my Paul Bunyan days are behind me.

  14. I do not think you will increase your quality of life by purchasing a wolf, even if they are any kind of wolf hybrid you will not double your quality of life by having two. There are other dogs being more friendly and easy to deal with and some might even handle wolfs too if they happened to cross your turf. I learning more about the Mastiff. When the vorsthe we have will retire I am thinking of having a dog that will be a good care taker and have what it takes if needed. if you like to experiment you can try the Russian version of the ovtcharka a special breed for the Russian military forces. But I prefer to have a joyful life with the dog and not need to always have in mind what can go wrong. Especially if you have kids around and people occasionally visiting.

    Good to have you back.

  15. Hell yes on the log splitter! Re the dog/wolf issue, be aware of how they handle young children, since you're going to have a passel of them around when you're home. And agree with WSF, a pair of good cattle dogs 'should' work, and as a bonus they can herd the kids… LOL

  16. Cattle dogs are herders. Livestock Guardians Dogs are warriors. Different beasties with totally different mindsets.

  17. I have burned wood most of the last 40 years and our retirement home in Alaska uses about 9 full cords a year! I split with a maul until I had back surgery back in 2011. One advantage with the log splitter is that I take thesplit wood off the splitter into my tractor bucket. No bending. Also get a pickaroon. 36 inch handle on a picky thing which you can use to pick up the rounds (even big ones) and put them on the splitter.
    You might think about a Tibetan Mastif. They will handle the wolves but make sure they have plenty of time with the kids while they are puppies.

  18. Look how much I travel. You can train the separation anxiety out of them by leaving them for 5 mins a day and building it up. Of course it will miss you if you build a bond but if he gets used to other people in the pack too, he will be ok. You need a wolf.

  19. Jules, you live in a city. The nearest city (or store) to me is an hour's drive away – so much for the pack.

  20. I enjoy the exercise. Frankly, I find it fun. I'm not the genius mechanic that you are so I don't gravitate to those more refined pursuits. Anything more complex than a sap or an axe is not my forte.

  21. Thank you, Howard. Last night was my first fire of the year. It's the mountains but it's also Arizona. Two or three cords a year is about my consumption rate, so chopping and splitting isn't that much work if you spread it out over a couple of days.

  22. I like to split wood too, and don't mind cutting it.

    However, I don't want to cut and split enough to have around for all the various recreational fires we enjoy through the year.

    So we split the difference.
    We have a guy deal with the bulk of it, who trailers in a splitter if he's cutting on our land or brings it split from his yerd if not. But we keep some around unsplit for when I'm feeling axe-y. Almost never use the hammer and wedges anymore unless I'm helping out a friend, we just let the guy use a splitter on the stump-and-branch stuff and he leaves me some straight-grain pieces to make me look good.

    The bonus is, we don;t need a place to keep the machine.


  23. A wolf is a wolf, is a wolf!
    You've been given many recommendations as to what breed of pup to get, here is mine: The Belgian Malinois

    We cut & split on average 8-10 cord for the winter. I enjoyed splitting wood when it was a shared job. We mixed our cedar with oak and/or almond to give out more heat for a longer period of time.

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