Stuff, out the wazoo

When Miss D. and I moved to Texas, two and a half years ago, we shed an immense amount of excess belongings before the trip.  I reduced my library by two-thirds, carting six (six!) pickup-truck-loads of books to the second-hand store, and we got rid of a lot of other stuff as well.  Even so, we’re finding it difficult to remain within our bounds now that we’re here.  The garage is filling up again, and Miss D. has made it clear I need to winnow it down to a manageable amount of stuff once more.  (That’s only fair – I’m

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More 3D printed houses, with some unique designs

A project in the Netherlands is pioneering a new design of 3D “printed” house, using concrete “frothed” to the consistency of whipped cream.  It’s called Project Milestone.  You can read more about it at the link;  and here’s a video report. Looks interesting from the outside, but I hope the interiors would have more in the way of straight lines and squared-off corners . . . otherwise getting furniture to fit against the walls will be interesting, to put it mildly! Peter

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40 years of “standard architecture” personal computers

I hadn’t remembered the anniversary, but Extreme Tech reminds us that 40 years ago, the Intel 8086 chip came on to the market – and things have never been the same since then.  (Image below is courtesy of Wikipedia.) Forty years ago today, Intel launched the original 8086 microprocessor — the grandfather of every x86 CPU ever built, including the ones we use now. This, it must be noted, is more or less the opposite outcome of what everyone expected at the time, including Intel. . . . Initially, the 8086 was intended to be a stopgap product while Intel

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A very worthy new Combat Magnum revolver

Smith & Wesson originally applied the name “Combat Magnum” to their short-barreled Model 19/66 K-frame revolver chambered in .357 Magnum.  It gained a stellar reputation among cops and civilian carriers alike during the 1960’s and beyond.  It’s still being made. However, Smith & Wesson have now introduced another “Combat Magnum”, this time chambered for .44 Magnum.  It’s a short-barreled variant of their Model 69, an L-frame, five-shot revolver. For those of us who remember the long-out-of-production Model 696, a 5-shot L-frame revolver chambered in .44 Special, the new revolver is a thing of beauty.  Its barrel is only ¼” shorter

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Where housing goes, so goes the economy?

We need to be paying closer attention to what’s happening beneath the surface of the housing market.  It’s beginning to look a lot like 2007. On the surface, things look great.  We see headlines such as: Millennials Help Sustain Twin Cities Housing Market Boom Real estate CEO: Record-low housing inventory is ‘freaking us out’ Houses selling fast: ‘If you wait, boom it’s gone’ Building to a boom: Subdivisions filling in quickly as real estate market rebounds However, below the surface, there are worrying signs – and they have to do with buyers, not sellers.  Two articles in recent weeks have

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Is stress passed on to our children through genetic inheritance?

A fascinating article in the Economist suggests that it might be. THE effects of child abuse can last a lifetime. Neglected or abused children have a higher risk of developing all sorts of ailments as adults, including mental illnesses such as depression but also physical ones like cancer and stroke. In fact, the effects may last even longer. Emerging evidence suggests that the consequences of mistreatment in childhood may persist down the generations, affecting a victim’s children or grand-children, even if they have experienced no abuse themselves. Exactly how this happens is not well understood. Rigorous experiments on human subjects

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Wealth is in the eye of the beholder

There are clearly very different standards of what constitutes “wealth” when it comes to owners and bankers.  In two recent articles, Bloomberg makes the distinction clear. In the first article, “How Much Money Do You Need to Be Wealthy in America?“, those who own the money (or whatever) reveal their standard of measurement. To be financially comfortable in America today requires an average of $1.4 million, up from $1.2 million a year ago, according to the survey. The net worth needed to be “wealthy”? That’s an average $2.4 million, the same as last year in the online survey of 1,000

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Lock your doors!

Greg Ellifritz issues this timely reminder. Four years ago, I wrote an article titled Lock Your Damn Doors.  In that article I looked at a month’s worth of burglary and theft reports from the city where I worked and tracked how many theft victims had left their houses or cars unlocked before the thefts occurred. The results?  83% of the theft victims had left their doors unlocked, making the criminals’ jobs extremely easy. Another spring, another increase in theft offenses.  I decided to repeat the study to see if the victims in my city had learned any lessons in the

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The war in Ukraine and its lessons

Courtesy of a link at Cdr. Salamander’s place, I came across this article by Col. Liam Collins. The situation in eastern Ukraine might best be described as “World War I with technology.” Venturing to the front line today, you would quickly learn the two greatest threats facing Ukrainian soldiers are snipers and Russian artillery. Unlike in 1915, however, soldiers on 2018’s “Eastern Front” receive text messages on their phones telling them their cause is hopeless and they must regularly attempt to avoid being spotted from an unmanned aerial vehicle. The fighting in Ukraine during the past 2½ years provides great

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