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Friday, May 20, 2011

The Futility of Football

OK, after a short absence for finals week and moving, I am back.
I just watched an episode of Frontline, Football High. It examines high school football in the US, and how it's become more intense in recent years. With this increased intensity, has come more injuries. It also discusses how our understanding of brain injuries has increased in recent years also. Apparently, getting hit on the head repeatedly is not a good idea. But I digress. What strikes me about high school football, and football in general, is how much of an exercise in futility it is. What percentage of high school football players receive any significant benefit from playing? A few may get college scholarships, and even fewer of those end up playing professionally. They seem to get very big egos from being bigger and stronger than everyone else, but what good does that do them? Modern technology has relegated physical strength to, at best, secondary importance. Furthermore, they seem to be blind to the fact that their strength does not make them invincible. To paraphrase a textbook I used this last semester (I can't remember the name of the author offhand): Even the strongest human beings are but frail creatures when compared to the power of machinery, hazardous chemicals, radiation, and other forces of nature. So, do all the steroids you want, they still won't help you survive a nerve gas attack. And forget about jumping in front of trains. Or cluster bombs. There also seems to be an attitude of "I've only got a few years to play football. I've got the rest of my life to worry about the adverse effects. I think I'll have fun while I can." I would be willing to bet, that if you gave a group of such people a lecture on the effects of blister agents (such as mustard gas and lewisite), they would pick up on the fact that the stuff doesn't necessarily kill you, but just gives you nasty burns. If you then left them alone with a cylinder of blister agent, they would then likely start whiffing small amounts of the stuff in some kind of macho dare.

What the above rant leads to is the fact that it is brainpower, not physical strength that sets our species apart from others. Modern material handling equipment, weaponry, and so forth, are the products of brainy people. Not people who run around in the mud bashing into other people. Likewise in history, many things were decided by brainy people working out of view. A good example would be WWII. Many americans like to think that the allies won because their troops fought so valiantly, blah blah blah. Not really. They won partially because they were in a better position strategically, but largely because they saw the value of having brainy people working out of sight (Like in the OSS, or the Manhattan Project).

Moral of the story: Football Culture is a massive delusion.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Piledriving during finals week

So, It's finals week here at UWRF, and there's currently a pile driver being used for a dorm expansion project. It's wheezing and banging, and issuing forth clouds of black smoke. While people are trying to study. It really doesn't bother me, but knowing some people...
Interestingly, there's not much the university can do about it. Since it's a Wisconsin state facility, final control of the project rests with the Department of Administration (DOA), Division of State Facilities (DSF). Which are apparently run by the Hat Guy.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Drills, and other drill like things.

Since I seem to be lacking inspiration at the moment, I think I'll just talk about tools for a bit. Today's topic is just as the topic suggests.
I'll start with the cordless drill/driver, probably the most common variant of the drill these days.
Author: Luigi Zanasi
These are extremely versatile, as they can easily drill holes and drive screws. The most distinctive feature of this type of drill is the clutch. It is adjustable so that it will disengage when a certain torque is reached. This is helpful for preventing screws from being overdriven. The main disadvantages of these tools are that they are not well suited to continuous use in tough materials, and can slip easily when driving screws.

Next, the corded drill.
These are best suited to drilling large numbers of holes, in harder materials. They can be used for driving screws, but as these drills are considerably more powerful than cordless drills, they can quite easily overdrive screws. They are also harder to control, and are much heavier.

The two above types of drill are often available as hammer drills. This adds a specialized clutch that can be set to produce a hammering action, for masonry drilling. This adds weight to the drill, but can be very useful for infrequent light masonry drilling, . If you need to do a lot of masonry drilling, buy a rotary hammer instead. A hammer drill takes a ridiculous amount of time to drill any type of masonry other than mortar joints.

Moving on, we have the impact driver.

This tool, rather than a normal chuck, is designed to accept only screwdriver heads. It turns the head by means of a hammering action, which also prevents slippage. It's also much lighter. It's main disadvantage is that it does not provide precise torque control, so care must be taken not to overdrive screws.

In my opinion, these are the three most important drill like things to be aware of.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Weird Dreams, part II

Okay, this one's short, but I couldn't pass it up. In a nutshell, the girl of my dreams was ignoring me. She ignored me in the cafeteria, she ignored me in the park. She ignored me in a box, she ignored me with a fox. she ignored me in a house, she ignored me with a mouse. and so forth. Shit.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I am a musician... of sorts...

So, since I am a musician, I figured I should share some of my works at some point. So here goes:
It's my remix of "The Hand That Feeds" by Nine Inch Nails. It's only posted as a video because Blogger does not provide a means of posting audio files.

Weird dreams, Part I

From Time to time, I'll have a strange dream, and wake up wondering what prompted it. Most recent: I dreamt that I was retreating from a part of a building after it was taken by unknown militants. Me and a few others decided to make a stand at a 90 degree turn in a roughly 12 foot wide hallway. We set up a minefield in one leg of the turn, and set set up some sandbags a little farther down.

We decided to set up some floodlights and speakers facing down the other leg of the turn, from which the militants would approach. The idea was to turn on lights and play loud music when they approached, to confuse them before they stumbled into the minefield. I went to set up the floodlights, none of which had working bulbs. While I was dealing with that, somebody started playing obnoxious music from the speakers, and a dance party ensued on the minefield. I was not pleased. Somehow, nobody died.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Anchormen/women behaving strangely, part I

I remember that about ten years ago, on New Years Eve, I was watching ABC's coverage. Peter Jennings was discussing the New Year's plans of various American statesmen, and said something to the effect of the following: "Jimmy carter is on a cruise with his grandparents, and Bill Clinton is at his ranch in Scotland." Who's ever heard of a ranch in Scotland? And when did Bill Clinton get into ranching anyway?