Sunday, January 30, 2011
In the United States, before the Copyright Act of 1976 (which became effective January 1, 1978) was passed, those who published their writings and drawings and photographs were still acting under the rules of the previous Act, the Copyright Act of 1909. Since 1978, copyright is assumed to exist from the moment of creation - the moment the thoughts in your mind become materialized in the physical word. On paper. Whatever. This without the requirement of registration or publication, though you might be wise to still do one or the other.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Gasoline is not really a single substance that suddenly appears, ready-to-use in your car, as one of the things obtained from the fractional distillation of crude oil. It is, rather, a mixture of some of those things. Moreover, the components found in “gasoline” have been processed further, following that distillation.
To understand this, you should know that the term “gasoline” is really an old trade name for a mixture of fuels that car engines would run on. Back in the old days, it was all the rage to name products with made-up words that ended in “line” like Vasoline and Gas-o-line. Chuck Berry had a hit with “May-bo-lene” but that isn’t the same thing. Anyway, the “trademark” wasn’t really enforced, and the word gasoline became a generic term. The word gasoline isn’t really used much outside North America, anyway.
So, what are those things that are mixed to make this substance called gasoline? The short answer, chemically-speaking, is that it is made up of various hydrocarbons, specifically those distillates which have carbon chains between 4 and 12 carbons. I didn’t want to digress into such a technical discussion of the subject (even though I do understand it a little) because... well, because you are not likely to read it. But some sort of overview is necessary, so here goes:
The stuff contained in crude oil are hydrocarbons. That is, they are made up of combinations of the chemical elements called hydrogen and carbon. In the types of hyrocarbons we are speaking of, the carbon atoms are arranged all in a line (called a chain) with the hydrogen atoms bonded (by electrons) to the carbon atoms. The name of the chemical substance depends upon the number of carbon atoms in the “carbon chain” of that substance. The carbon chains can be quite long but here are the first 10:
1 carbon = methane
2 carbons = ethane
3 carbons = propane
4 carbons = butane
5 carbons = pentane
6 carbons = hexane
7 carbons = heptane
8 carbons = octane
9 carbons = nonane
10 carbons = decane
A drawing of methane, showing the electron bonds simply as lines would look like this:
A drawing of octane would look like the picture at the top of this post.
The lightest fraction that you get when you distill crude oil, is methane. Methane, with only one carbon atom, has the lowest boiling temperature and so it rises clear to the top of the tower before it is cooled enough to become a liquid again. The boiling temperature of methane and the other petroleum gases (up to 4 carbons) is so low it is hard to keep it liquid on a very hot day. That’s why the propane for your barbecue is sold under pressure to keep it liquified (Liquified Petroleum Gas, or LPG) and that’s why the tank has a safety valve so the gas can escape if the tank gets too hot or too bounced around. Otherwise, the tank would explode.
At the other end of the spectrum are the solids at the bottom of the tower, such as paraffin and tar. Things like these have the highest boiling temperatures - over a thousand degrees F. - and have really long chains of 70 or more carbons. I’m not going to get into “aromatics” here in this post. Just leave your mental image of this set on long straight chains.
In addition to mixing up some of the components that are distilled from crude oil and making gasoline from them, it is also possible to break up the chains of some of the longer chained hydrocarbons and use the resulting parts - shorter chains - to make more gasoline rather than just be satisfied with the amount of gasoline you normally get out of a barrel of crude oil (about 40% of crude oil is gasoline.)
A “catalyst” is some substance which acts to facilitate a chemical reaction. Facilitate usually means “to speed up” the process. Catalysts themselves don’t undergo any permanent chemical change. They only help the chemical change along or make it occur in the first place. Your body, for example, makes specialized enzymes which act as catalysts to speed up the digestion (breakdown of long/complex chemical chains) of some foods.
When long hydrocarbon chains are broken into smaller chains, this is known as “cracking” the chains. When a catalyst is applied for the purpose of speeding up the breakdown process, the procedure is called “cat cracking." Much of the work that goes on at an oil refinery, post-distillation, is concerned with squeezing more gasoline out of a barrel of oil - cat cracking longer-chained components down so they can be combined to make more gasoline. (Or diesel, or jet fuel, or whatever the market is currently demanding more of.)
Next: Why octane? - don’t knock it!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
WHO IS BILL AYERS? (For those of you whose memories started after the 1970s)
4. The FBI infiltrated the organization and the ringleaders were captured and brought to trial. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were standing trial when...
Today, Bernadine Dohrn is an associate professor of law at Northwestern University. She and her husband Bill Ayers live in Chicago.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Analyzing the facts to solve the problem methodically and dispassionately like Sherlock Holmes would do.
1. There was a shooting incident in the USA recently.
2. There have been many shooting incidents in the USA over the years.
3. Almost always in these cases the shooter is deranged, or is a social misfit in some aspect or other.
4. The recent shooting took place in Arizona.
5. The recent shooting took place in Tucson.
6. The recent shooting took place in an urban shopping area.
7. The recent shooting involved a minor political meeting where a congresswoman was intending to interact with her constituents and receive their comments and input.
8. There was a large grocery store near where the shooting occured.
9. There was a large pharmacy near where the shooting occured.
10. The shooter arrived in an automobile.
11. The shooter had a handgun.
12. The shooter had ammunition for his handgun.
13. The shooter knew how to fire his handgun.
14. The handgun was capable of firing a large number of bullets before having to be reloaded.
15. Old people were shot and killed.
16. Young adults were shot and killed.
17. A child was shot and killed.
18. Sometimes these types of shootings take place on college campuses.
19. Sometimes these types of shootings take place in high schools.
20. Sometimes these types of shootings take place on the grounds of elementary schools.
21. Sometimes these types of shootings take place where the shooter used to be employed.
22. Sometimes the shooter is young.
23. The shooter in the most recent case had parents and lived in their home.
What other facts and potential clues can you think of?
What things can we deduce from the clues? What action needs to be taken in order to prevent public shootings from happening again in the future?
I know the followers of this blog pretty well, so certainly the most obvious remedy they would most likely suggest would be to make it illegal for private citizens to have guns in the U.S.
But what other things should we do, based on the other facts we’ve uncovered?
1. All people should, at the very least, be given psychological testing at least every three years. (Crazy people do more than just fire guns in crowds.) One would be issued a “not crazy” stamp on his driver’s license. Definition of "not crazy" would be set by a committee consisting of Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, and James Carville.
2. All schoolchildren would be moniored to make sure they weren’t loners or being bullied. Or at least not allowed to wear black to school.
3. Arizona obviously needs to just be ceded to Mexico and be done with it. They’ve simply offended liberal sensibilities one time too many. Their professional sports teams could be moved to Alabama.
4. Tucson is not as bad as Arizona as a whole. Pehaps everyone could be moved on campus and just build a wall around it.
5. It is obvious that shopping centers draw crowds of people, therefore we need to take another look at the “freedom of assembly” thing to see if that portion of the constitution is outdated. In the meantime, no more permits for large stores within 2 miles of each other.
6. Private automobiles have a terrible history of causing and facilitating crime in the U.S. For one thing, drunks couldn’t kill nearly as many innocent people if they were made to walk or ride buses. Cars use oil and mainly only create more and more Arab wealth. Americans have no constitutional right to own cars. Cars need to go.
7. If guns can’t be banned, at least require them all to be single shot .22s.
8. Obviously, the elderly should not be allowed to attend public events.
9. The time has come to find an alternative to education where large amount of students congregate in a confined area. Home schooling for elementary students is the answer, if coupled with computer degrees for older students.
10. Employees who are fired instead of retired should be assumed to be disgruntled, and each must be followed to insure they don’t return to their previous workplace.
What else can we do? Much. but the above would be a start.
The very thought makes me feel safer already.
Tomorrow: quotes on this subject by politicians and talk show hosts.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Here are Relax Max's answers to Angelika's odd questions. I'm only answering because the prize she offered was so big.
Random Questions because
Iam still wide awake but not quite ready to watch my DVRed crap.
Answer them in the comments or on your own blog & link back to me.
- Do you think Don Rickles is Funny? No. He used to be when his act was new and shocking. Tedious now.
- Have you seen "A Piece of Work" starring Joan Rivers? No. It's entirely possible that Joan Rivers should be put to death. Some say.
- Do you think this is appropriate? No. Jesus. That's disgusting.
- At what age do you think it's appropriate to discuss sex with your child? 25 or so. If then.
- Did your parents have "the talk" with you? Are you kidding?
- Do you cuss/curse? If so, how much. If not, why? Fuck no. That shit's vile and classless.
- Have you seen Knowing with Nicholas Cage? No. At least not knowingly.
- Do you use Netflix? No. Because of their rude popunder advertising. I guess that's why I never saw Nicolas Cage's movie, huh.
- What's your favorite fruit? Bananas. Then Strawberries. No, wait. Bananas and strawberries.
- Do you prefer morning or evening? Morning. But I don't get up until evening.
- Do you have a racist/bigoted family member? How do you deal with that? I guess you are saying that would be wrong, right? heh. I dunno. I don't think so. I think if they were telling racist jokes I would just stand there and stare at them instead of laughing. Is that too non-violent?
- I just realized the other day that my son's sperm donor is 52. That makes him the same age as Hugh Laurie. Are you surprised by that? I'm surprised Hugh Laurie is 52. I thought he was the one, though. Or that 7-11 clerk you had a crush on. But I guess Evan was already 12 when you discovered the 7-11 guy. Did you ever see The World According to Garp? Do you remember how Glenn Close got pregnant with the comatose soldier? Trivia: what was his rank?
- Do you feel as old as your chronological age? Sometimes. Not when I am sleeping or blogging. When I am watching Auburn kicking last second field goals against Oregon in the national championship game I feel old. Or pissed. I guess feeling pissed is not the same thing as feeling old. Can I have a do-over on this question? No, I feel young. Like Captain Kirk in Genesis.
- Do you like kids? Sure. Very tasty.
- Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Yes. I don't keep them, but I make them.
- 16. Do you buy organic whenever you can? No. I prefer to toughen my immune system by ingesting chemicals with long names. Does McDonalds count as organic?
- 17. How often do you eat out at restaurants? I don't know. Who would count something like that? Not very often. Wait. You mean fast food too, or regular restaurants?
- 18. Do you think you're kinky? No.
- 19. Do you believe in love at first site? At the first site I come across? You mean sight right? Sure, I guess.
- 20. Do you have to go to the bathroom right now too? What do you mean "too"?
- 21. The average person picks his/her nose 5 times per hour. Do you believe this? Are you above or below the norm? It would be really difficult to keep that down to 5 times per hour.
- 22. Are you married? Yes.
- 23. Are you younger than 30? Almost. Heh. No. :(
- 24. Will you send me some Oriental flavored ramen to feed The Boy? No. Postage would cost more than a case of that stuff. I secretly like it though. Not oriental flavor. BEEF. YO!
- 25. How do you like your eggs? Unfertilized.
- 26. Are you a good cook? Naw.
- 27. Do you prefer sweet or savory food? I like hot food. Like Mexican food.
- 28. Do you watch any of the Real Housewives shows? Get real. Damn girly blog of yours.
- 29. Do you think you need to lose weight? It is one of my new years resolutions.
- 30. Do you talk to strangers in real life? Sometimes. If they stop me in traffic and are wearing a badge. Not in grocery store lines though. If they try to talk to me, I just stare at them like a cold fish as if they had tried to tell me a racist joke.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I was a highwayman. Along the coach roads I did ride
With sword and pistol by my side
Many a young maid lost her baubles to my trade
Many a soldier shed his lifeblood on my blade
The bastards hung me in the spring of twenty-five
But I am still alive.
I was a sailor. I was born upon the tide
And with the sea I did abide.
I sailed a schooner round the Horn to Mexico
I went aloft and furled the mainsail in a blow
And when the yards broke off they said that I got killed
But I am living still.
I was a dam builder. Across the river deep and wide.
Where steel and water did collide
A place called Boulder on the wild Colorado
I slipped and fell into the wet concrete below
They buried me in that great tomb that knows no sound
But I am still around..I'll always be around..and around and around and
around and around
I fly a starship across the Universe divide
And when I reach the other side
I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can
Perhaps I may become a highwayman again
Or I may simply be a single drop of rain
But I will remain
And I'll be back again, and again and again and again and again..