Friday, January 28, 2011

25 years ago today...

the space shuttle Challenger exploded on launch.  I was just shy of 4 at the time, and as such, have no firsthand recollection of the incident.  However, being from northern Utah, home of Thiokol, I've seen the video of the tragedy countless times.  To this day, it stands as a reminder that life is short, living is dangerous, and we are fragile.  We are also inventive and determined, because even knowing all the dangers of space flight, mankind still looks to the stars and dreams.

And that is what makes us ultimately strong.  Godspeed to the Challenger crew, who lived that dream.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wherein Loki saves the Big 3

My buddy Dr Evil (the Mad Mechanic) and I are unabashed car dudes.  Combine that with the fact that we're rather opinionated and mildly intelligent, and it should be no surprise that we have kicked around for quite a while a number of ideas to save the Big 3 American automakers.

That said, we think we have a plan that works.  We used GM for our example, because while we both come from full-on Ford families (my VW is the only non-Ford that either of us or our immediate families own anymore) we're both Chevy kids at heart.  Without further ado, here we go.

1.  Kiss GMC goodbye.  There is zero need for GM to have two truck manufacturers, and Chevrolet has more to offer than keeping GMC.

2.  Do the same to Hummer.  If you feel the need to keep any of their models, put a bowtie on the grille and call them a Chevy.

3.  Bring back Pontiac.  Run it as the "Excitement Division" as it properly should be.  Automatic transmissions are available, but only as a factory special order.  These are cars for drivers, not for people who drive.

4.  On that note, bring back special orders, for a la carte pricing.  We'll make you anything, but it'll cost you.

5.  Cut back both the number of models in each brand.

6. And the trim levels for each model.  If you haven't noticed by now, our whole plan hinges on simplifying and streamlining operations.  Keep each model to roughly 3 trim levels:  Base, either a Deluxe or Sport level (depending on model), and a Luxury level.

That basically leaves you with Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, and Cadillac.

You treat Chevy as your entry-level line.  It's your workingman's car.  They also handle all truck manufacturing.  Sorry, rappers, but your Escalade has to go.  Make an econobox, a midsize, and a fullsize car.  Have a crossover and a midsize and fullsize SUV, and a small and fullsize pickup, and you're set.  The one exception is the Corvette.  As the Chevrolet flagship, we can let it stay put, just for nostalgia's sake.  (Never let it be said that we're unreasonable or forget the past.)

Buick becomes your slightly more white-collar car.  It's what your middle-management types would be driving.  Midsize and fullsize sedans, mostly.  Maybe an AWD midsize SUV.

Cadillac once again becomes the cream of the crop.  Cadillac isn't an adjective for nothing.  The bank president should want to drive a Caddy.  CEOs of major corporations should consider Cadillac the ideal.  Yes, that means that Cadillacs will be far more expensive than they are now.  So be it, our target demographic can afford it, we just need to be building sedans that are taking market share from BMW and Mercedes.  Build a quality luxury car, and American businessmen will buy them.

Pontiac operates slightly outside of this continuum.  The "excitement division" would span all comers, because people who love performance cars come from all backgrounds.  Build something like a Fiero (but build it right, instead of the ball of fail that the Fiero was) as your entry-level car, a roadster akin to the Saturn Sky, move your Camaro to Pontiac as the return of the Firebird, and pull the Cadillac XLR over as your top of the line sports/muscle car.  All with manual transmissions as standard equipment, and as little traction and stability control as we can get away with.  Pontiacs are designed and built for drivers, people who want the car to push back, and tell them how it feels.

We have something for everybody, without excessive duplication.  Our plan doesn't address the UAW issue (face it, UAW costs are strangling domestic automakers) or .gov regulations that kill super-efficient small diesels (50+ mpg on a super-clean burning diesel?  With actual performance?  Beats a Prius in every way but the smug factor.) but it's a far sight better than how things are right now.

Of course, I'm always open to suggestions/additions/modifications.


It's the most wonderful time of the year!

That's right, there's only one handegg game left before they clear the airwaves for the racecars to go fast and turn left.  (As a Broncos fan, I don't have to pay much attention to January football. ;-P)

In preparation for the upcoming season, NASCAR announced rules changes for 2011.

In summary:

First, they simplified the points system.  The old system was far too complicated to describe here.  The new system awards the winning driver 43 points, and reduces by one point for each position behind the winner.  There will be one bonus point awarded to any driver who leads a lap, one to the driver who leads the most laps, and 3 to the winner.  When the points are realigned for the Chase, each win will be worth 3 additional bonus points.

Speaking of the Chase...  The top 10 drivers will now make it on points, and there will be 2 "wild card" spots, to be awarded to the drivers with the most wins who are scored in positions 11-20.

Those are the two big changes.  There are other minor ones at the link.  Now you're up to speed, in plenty of time for the Shootout.

Boogity boogity boogity!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Get out the vote!

A while back, I mentioned that a good friend and all around nice guy Ambulance Driver was in need of nominations for best EMS blog of 2010-2011.  After all the nominations were tallied, he made the finals.  All of the finalists are very worthy bloggers and awesome reads, so whoever you vote for, vote early and vote often.

I know I will.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Constitutional Carry update

It passed the Senate!  Now, on to the House, then to the Governor's desk!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Borepatch has the whole story, but suffice it to say, I stand for individual liberty.  ALL individual liberty.

I am TJIC.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Going Constitutional!

Wyoming's Constitutional Carry bill, SF-47, will be read in committee on Tuesday, January 18.  I'll be contacting my state representatives, and any readers who live in Wyoming, I'd urge you very strongly to do the same.

This should pass handily, but why take chances?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

I for one welcome our ambulance-driving overlord.

It seems there is a competition for best Fire and EMS blog on the net.  I know who I'm supporting.  He has all the details.

Get out the vote!  Vote Early, Vote Often.


Monday, January 10, 2011

A new consideration in carry guns.

I managed to split my thumb open, as a glorious conclusion to my...  interesting... weekend.  With it bandaged like it is, I can't flex my thumb at the knuckle more than a few degrees.  I went to strap on my snubbie Taurus a little while ago, and when I went to check load (a habit I'm glad I'm in), I found that I can't readily manipulate the cylinder release with my bandaged thumb.  Well, crap, let's try the 1911.  The slick tape makes releasing the safety a less than certain proposition.  I tried my 1006, and I can flip the safety on that just fine, plus it always gets carried in Condition 2 (round chambered, hammer down, safety off).

Just something to check anytime something changes on your gun hand, no matter how temporary.


An incredible scientific discovery!

Via Robb:

Using recent advances in imaging technology, researchers have claimed that new data indicates measurements of time may exist below the Planck Time. The Planck Length (ℓP) is the scale at which classical ideas about gravity and space-time break down and the distance a photon can travel 1ℓP in a complete vacuum is considered the smallest unit of time that has any meaning.

Ain't science cool?


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Optic bleg

While looking at optics for the new AR, my eyes wandered to things in the red-dot category.  They seem to be handy and fast-acquiring, which would be nice.

The problem is, I've never handled a rifle with a red-dot (I hope to rectify that shortly), so I have to lean on the experience of the intarwebmotron.  My list of wants and desires are as follows:

Must be able to accept a magnifier, or have magnification up to at least 4x, as I'll be shooting out to ~300 yards.

I only need precision enough to hit a deer or silhouette target at range, I don't intend on hooting anything smaller than that with this rifle.

Can't require batteries made of unobtainium.  CR123 or 2032 cells are acceptable, but nothing more obscure than that.

The more tool-free the better.

A price of <$500 for the optic itself.  The magnifier, if needed, will be a later purchase with a separate budget.

With that in mind, I've been doing a bit of research, and have 2 preliminary options.

The first is an EOTech 517.A65.  The big appeal of the EOTech is that it's an easy-acquisition reflex sight, and the 517 in particular because it takes readily available AA batteries.  They're cheap, and they're EVERYWHERE.

The second one I've been eyeballing is an Aimpoint 9000SC.  Battery life is far better, and it mounts using standard 30mm rings.  The expanded battery life should more than offset the fact that it uses a coin-cell type battery, which is more expensive and harder to find in a pinch.

I'm fully open to suggestions on other sights, though.

Thanks in advance.