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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Another Fill-in over at BCP

Today is Lokidude's day in the barrel, so I covered for him with a handy little article about fixing crimps in hydration bladder tubes.

Monday, September 15, 2014

In which I do math

I am abominably pleased with myself right now.

I was reading an article about black holes, quantum tunneling, Hawking radiation, etc., and in one of the comments someone explained that the thing which made black holes special was density, not mass.

This got me to thinking: Well, what IS mass, and how is it substantially different from weight?  I mean, weight only exists in a gravity field, but mass doesn't have that limitation.* So I retired to the Porcelain Throne of Philosophy and had a good think over it.

I came to the conclusion, on my own, that mass had to be a function of both density and volume. I'm not entirely sure if I can explain how I came to that conclusion, but it had to do with feathers and lead and varying volumes of same.

After leaving the Chair of Contemplation, I googled my phrase and found a link to Wikipedia where it explains that density is defined, mathematically, as mass divided by volume.

Even my rudimentary math skills allows me to solve 
"If D=M/V, then M=DV."

I worked it out on my own and I was right! This is noteworthy because while I can do arithmetic and some very light algebra, usually in forms of balancing equations, after that I'm essentially innumerate.... which is odd because I get concepts just fine, but they need to be explained to me in English instead of with numbers. 

You can't explain things to me with math. You just can't. My eyes glaze over, everything turns beige, my brain makes a noise similar to a 250 Hz Sine wave, and I start to drool slightly at the corners of my mouth. 

This is why math was such a struggle for me in school:  I never fully understood why things were the way they were. It would often take 10-15 minutes to get me to understand a concept, and the class would get restless so the teacher would basically just go "It's this way because it's this way. Next!"

So when it came to math more advanced than arithmetic, I just black-boxed it all from rote, and then promptly forgot it once I graduated because I never fully grokked the reasoning behind it.

And yet here I am, having figured out a math problem using logic instead of numbers. I'm so pleased with myself. 

Meanwhile, all the engineers are looking at me as if I finally managed to tie my own shoes....

* This led to a perhaps amusing discussion on Facebook which can be summarized thusly:
  1. Pounds measure weight, not mass. 
  2. Kilograms measure mass, not weight. The proper SI unit for measuring weight would be Newtons. 
  3. However, the entire freaking world uses kg to measure weight because it's a nice round number. 
  4. If we used Newtons to measure weight, it would result in un-round numbers, (because the force of gravity is 9.81 meters per second squared) and a 1 kg mass would weigh 9.81 Newtons. Heresy! Blasphemy! Everything in SI must be measured in tens!
  5. Clearly, someone needs to invent Metric Time and calibrate it such that 1 G of acceleration is 10.0 meters per metric second squared. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #4

In which I talk about the multiple uses of paracord, and a great way to keep a small supply constantly on hand foot.

You can listen to the podcast here, and the show notes may be found here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

SHTFriday squared: G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm Underway

Not actually Erin.
Picture by KJ Photography
& is used with permission.
As of 7:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time, a coronal mass ejection, produced by an X1.6 flare 2 days ago, struck the earth.

The resulting geomagnetic storm is currently a G3 (strong intensity), which can cause power grid fluctuations, voltage alarms in high-latitude power systems, and possible transformer damage if the storm is of long duration. Electrical systems may require voltage correction, and false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.

However, there is a slight possibility it may rise as high as a G4, which can potentially cause "widespread voltage control problems" and "some protective systems will mistakenly trip out key assets from the grid", which could mean localized blackouts or rolling brownouts.

While I do not feel we are in any danger from this, now would be a good time to check your preps. Make sure you have plenty of water on standby and that your flashlights have fresh batteries. 

Check the Space Weather Prediction Center for more information as the situation progresses. 

STHFriday: Reviewing the Swiss Volcano Stove

If all you have is $20, it's not bad, but you can do so much better for not much more. 

If you want to know more, go read the review over at Blue Collar Prepping

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