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January 16, 2020

Brickmuppet's Last Tour

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November 10, 2019

Banality and weaboo: a couple set

Not sure of this is something known in America, but I learned from the couple set from Tendai Senshi Sanred (Astro Fighter Sunred). When Vamp suddenly comes to visit, Sunred hides his half of the set, because he feels embarrassed to show such a proof of close relationship.

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September 20, 2019

Banality: Pecan 2

The pecan is growing and about ready to be planted.

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September 13, 2019

Banality: Plumcot

The above is called a "plumcot", and it is a hybird of plum and apricot. I think it makes way more sense than a cronut.

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September 12, 2019

Banality: Milk Cheese

It's not going to be an exaggeration to say that the "B.Yu.Aleksandrov" brand milk cheese stick is one of the most amazing industrial foods I have ever eaten. It may beat the white Ferrero Raffaello. Unfortunately, the milk cheese requires refrigeration, so those wanting to taste one must find a Euro food store like Austin's BEM. It's not something I recommend ordering online.

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September 11, 2019

Banality: Polymer80

This gun was made using a hand drill and pen knife, and it works perfectly.

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September 10, 2019

Banality: Breakfast 1

These rolls have bacon strips between layers.

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September 08, 2019

You are a weaboo, right? Read this.

This is what my wife told me today. She wanted to cook some udon and wanted to know how. I saw "約1l", "湯の中へバラバラと", and "約10分", so I said with confidence: "Take 1 liter of water to boil per 1 bunch of udon, separate strands and throw it in there, then boil for 10 minutes. Then pour cold water on it."

But it wasn't all. A few minutes later, she asks, "Do I need to drain on a sieve or do I drown them in cold water in a pan?" Suddenly, it's an emergency. That stuff is already boiling, and all I see is: "ゆで上がりをザルに取り冷水で水洗いをして blah blah blah ください". There is no katakana "zaru" in a dictionary. There's no "torireisui" either! Well, reisui is cold water, so that makes sense. But I already know that cold water is used to anti-scald pasta, so it's not helping! The only thing that saved me is that IMI has a very broad search, and apparently "zaru" can also be "笊", which means a strainer. What a relief! Quickly I report that we throw udon on sieve first and all is good.

UPDATE: Brickmuppet comments: "Important life lessons we didn't know we needed!" See, I can do the lifestyle banality with the best of them!

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June 29, 2019

Banality: Kymco

This one is not as upscale as Burgman, but still looks nice, especially if its rider is not too tall.

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June 24, 2019

Banality: Burgman

Although I know that it's a dumb idea, I find these high-end scooters irresistibly cute.

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June 22, 2019

The deadly crash of SU 1492 and pilot errors

I am not a native English speaker and perhaps I'm quite wrong about this, but in my mind, a "pilot error" is an error that a pilot commits. He needs to press the top rudder, but he presses a bottom rudder — a deadly error. In case of Atlas 3591, the error is hitting the TOGA button. So, when my friend Kirill said that the crash of SU 1492 was caused by "pilot error", I was very tempted to deliver a lecture. Well, Kirill is more correct than journalist Mike Eckel when he blames lightning. Still, it's not an error that killed 40 passengers, it's a series of strange actions by the captain that followed his error. In a way, I want to draw a distinction between a pilot error and pilot incompetence.

Errors are abundant in pilot's life, but what matters is what happens after tthem. Just a week ago, I made an error following a takeoff from Big Spring, Texas: forgot to raise the gear. So, I detected an anomaly (the aerodynamic noise), identified a root cause (my error), and took a corrective action (lifted the nose sufficiently for the airspeed to decrease below Vlo and raised the gear).

Of course, incompetence prompts errors, sometimes dangerous ones. Worse, it results in errors in response to errors, thus contributing to an accident chain. So, I guess we can consider SU 1492 as a sequence of errors: let the airplane settle below the glideslope, keep the power on for too long, thus causing an overspeed at touchdown and a bounce, command a nose-down input that turns a bounce into a porpoise, forget that spoilers do not deploy automatically, fixate on sticking the landing instead of going around. But I think it is more productive to look at the episode as a whole, rather than decompose it into pilot errors. Maybe we can talk about deficient training and lax standards at Aeroflot instead.

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June 21, 2019

Banality: Pecan

I found a pecan growing naturally. I guess birds scatter those.

Update: pecan 2.

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June 20, 2019

Banality: Meal

My better half added an exotic fruit in there. Feels like a mix between kiwi and asian pear.

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May 21, 2019

The lesson of Google Fi

Here's the best part from the (very) long post about dealing with Google Fi, which made rounds recently:

About a year ago I tried to get my parents to switch from AT&T to Google Fi. I even made a spreadsheet for my dad (who likes those sorts of things) about how much money he could save. He wasn’t interested. His one point was that at anytime he can go in and get help from an AT&T rep. I kept asking "Who cares? Why would you ever need that?”. Now I know. He was paying almost $60 a month premium for the opportunity to able to talk to a real person, face-to-face! I would gladly pay that now.

Now he knows. Respect your elders!

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April 15, 2019

Wires crossed in one's head

Seen something interesting on Beechtalk, in the Atlas Air thread:

My story: During my fed ride as a new 737 Captain (check airman in the right seat, fed on the jumpseat), I was on a visual approach to Rochester when I clicked off the autothrottle, only my brain misfired and I pushed the TOGA button instead. It was instantly obvious what I’d done as the throttles immediately started forward and the FD bars started up. I did what I assume anyone would do - hold the throttles back (they’re easily overridden) until I disconnected them. The FD was now in GA mode, so I reached up and turned it off, continued the approach and landed. It was a 5 second debrief with the check airman, and the fed missed it completely. Total non-event.

The point Chris C. was trying to convey was that if Ricky Blakely, Captain on Atlas Air 3591, hit TOGA by accident, it did not need to cause the crash. Other people chimed in with a view that, if the leaked narrative was anywhere near the truth, it indicated an absurd lack of basic airmanship.

But what I found interesting, wires crossed in the brain can happen even to an airline captain.

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April 10, 2019

Insurance in space

Things you can never learn unless you read Russian social media. So, the meat:

Ariane 5 - 2%, Falcon 9 - 2.5%, Soyuz - 5%. Electron - 5% (but, only if you pay now; if it suffers a mishap, rates will shoot up). However, one panelist said that the premiums tend to divorce from the carrier rocket and follow the cost of the payload, with a steep climb above $50,000,000. A separate case is Angara, which basically cannot be insured at this time. Some people quote rates of 25%, but they will not come through when it's time to underwrite. Insurers need a breefing, which neither Khrunichev nor ILS got around doing.

The cost of insurance of GSO comsats is only 0.2% per year. Absurdly low rates, thanks to large lifetimes of modern satellites.

UPDATE 2019/10/10: Angara - 30-40%, Proton - 16%, Ariane - 5..6% (unclear if he meant Ariane 5 or 6).

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February 28, 2019

Mu accounts

Okay, here's the breakdown:

@pro: Programming, computers, networking, maybe some technical fields. It's basically migrated from SeaLion and whittled down.

@stuff: Pictures of butterflies, gardening, and general banality (to borrow from Brickmuppet).

@gat: Boomsticks.

@avia: Flying.

@union: Politics.

@anime: Anime, manga, and weaboo. Note that Ani-nouto is still officially at Smug.

Thinking about adding @cars and @space, if needed.

You can subscribe from any Fediverse instance, just hit the "Remote follow" button.

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February 01, 2019

SCCY CPX-3 is released

In the least noticed release of the 2019 SHOT Show, SCCY started deliveries to dealers of their .380 offering, CPX-3. The guns are hitting Gunbroker right now. What a long road this was. They started talking about more than 3 years ago. Two times, in 2015 and 2017, they sent the guns to the media, so the glossy magazines published the usual articles. But the launch was canceled in both instances. That must be embarrassing.

The gun itself reuses the grip of CPX-2, because .380 and 9mm cartridges have the same diameter. But the slide is smaller. This gives CPX-3 a weird, hammer-like appearance. It would probably scare people off in the world where Glock 45 is not a thing, but fortunately for SCCY, this cherry has popped without them.

Not sure if it's going to help or hinder CPX-3, but while SCCY were working bugs out, S&W released a broadly similar gun: the "Shield" 380 EZ. I call it similar because it's another large .380, although it uses a single stack magazine. It was a success in the market where .380 was largely synonymous with a small, pocketable gun (notwithstanding Beretta 84, Walther PK 380, Browning 1911-380). So the market has changed since the CPX-3 was initially conceived. The category found acceptance, but the competition also increased.

UPDATE: Dan T.F.G. pointed out that the grip is not entirely reused. They made its circumference smaller. However, the length is the same, I'm pretty sure.

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December 21, 2018


Yeterday night, Russia's Proton orbited a military communications satellite "Blagovest 13L", pushing the world's 2018 launch record to astonishing 103 successes, or a 27% jump over the CY 2017. The name is often translated as "good news", which appears to be an attempt to dismantle the portmanteau word into stems. But actually, "blagovest" means the ringing of bells before a church service. But wait! "Blagovestie" means "the gospel", "blagovestvovat'" means to preach the gospel.

Are Russians just doing this to trigger the Muslims? I don't think so. They appear to pick words at random to identify military programs, ostensibly for reasons of secrecy. In another widely publicized case, a self-propelled flamethrower was caled "Buratino" or Pinoccio. Ironically, Pinoccio is made from wood and presumably burns very easily.

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November 19, 2018

And the winner is...

In the past year, we considered a number of small-ish crossovers, but nothing quite worked out. The failure of Volvo XC40 stung the most — I had big hopes for that car. But it wasn't particularly premium for the money; seats were surprisingly uncomfortable; the no-knob HVAC controls on the touchpad drove the last nail into that coffin. The Subaru Crosstrek (XV) came very close, and I think I would've gotten one if the 6th gear was reasonably tall. Eventually, I had no choice, but shop a size up: above 4000 lbs cut-off, and more than 180" long. Once there, the 2019 Acura RDX and BMW X3 quickly came on top, and I went with the latter because Acura's infotainment is just too weird.

My 2010 Wrangler was the best car I ever owned and almost completely reliable for the 9 years (2 days in the shop total; no break-downs aside from a flat battery once). I test-drove the JL and it is basically the same thing, only improved over JK everywhere they changed. However, the headroom is just as lacking as before. In the JK, I modified the seat rails to lower the seat, but this time around I just don't have the energy. And frankly, I wanted to try something different.

The 2019 X3 is oppressively large, but at least it has the headroom.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at 03:33 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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