December 11, 2013
My grandfather and even my dad used to talk about the importance of the right seat cushion for horse-drawn implements. The favourite for hot weather use (pressed tin or cast iron seats) was a loon skin. Apparently loon plumage prevented scalding. I don’t remember what the prescribed insulation for winter piles-prevention was, though it was strictly forbidden to sit on anything hard and cold. For example you’ll never see a Leeds County rural resident sit down on the ground until at least June.
Now that I think of it, the wealthy had buffalo robes and raccoon coats, and the embroidered wool seat upholstery on buggies and cutters had more wool underneath as padding.
As a student I used my grandfather’s raccoon coat for winter attire. I remember a couple of bike rides across Kingston shielded by the full-length coat. Wonderful wind protection. On one occasion I got out onto Lake Ontario on glare ice and rode to Wolfe Island, then turned right and fetched up in Amherstview, where I asked my uncle for a ride back to Morris Hall. Tailwind. It was kinda hairy riding across Collins Bay, but I was young and immortal.
Other ramblings about cold weather seat cushions (perhaps our most basic technology) are welcome.
December 9, 2013
This The Tyee article is too important to miss.
December 8, 2013
Long Gun Registry poster girl Candice Bergen spoke to supporters in Cornwall recently. The willful stupidity of her comments got my goat.
Conservative MP Candice Bergen:
“Would you want him (Justin Trudeau) to be the principal of your children or grandchildren’s school, much less leading this country?”
(She belittles the teaching profession. It’s one of the highest rated in public esteem, but she pushes the job of school administrator down lower on the scale than that of a politician, one of the lowest rated occupations.)
“I’m deeply concerned with this movement that somehow marijuana isn’t harmful and it doesn’t hurt our kids,” said Bergen.
(Bergen doesn’t quite commit libel here, but in the context of her earlier comment, she’s clearly attempting to tar Trudeau with this made-up brush.)
This juxtaposition of images is deceitful in that it drags the reader into accepting that JT wants to give marijuana to school children — a favourite Tory meme. Bergen willfully ignores Trudeau’s frequent references to the research on marijuana’s psychotic effect upon growing brains.
JT firmly believes that marijuana is bad for kids, particularly for adolescent boys with ADD and ADDHD, because that’s what the research says. Trudeau wants to take the underworld out of the cannabis market so that there can be reasonable controls on access to the product. He wants to get the drugs out of the schools as much as any grandparent.
Bergen and the Conservatives know this, but they willfully dumb their arguments down to black and white because they believe their supporters are too stupid to understand Trudeau’s reasoned argument and they can benefit from that stupidity.
What’s more, Bergen may be right:
November 28, 2013
If you look to the right you’ll find a page entitled “A New Ice Report…” I’ll try to keep it updated throughout the season.
November 27, 2013
About 8″ of soft, slippery stuff. My 2WD tractor was at a loss without tire chains attached, and I had little inclination to muck around in the slush to put them on.
So I hitched the 5′ snowblower to the small Kubota I bought to mow lawns and fields of tree seedlings. Its 4WD HST and short wheelbase made short work of the snow.
Mind you, I did get very wet. The TAFE has a good loader and a cab with lights on it. On cold winter nights it may well still appeal, though for a moment this morning when the Kubota B7510 was chewing its way uphill on the slush while pushing a snowblower, I allowed myself to think about how the farm might run without any tractors larger than the 21 hp ‘Bota.
November 18, 2013
The morning chuckle today: accused mastermind of the Robocalls Scandal Michael Sona was apparently vacationing in Aruba at the time his co-workers accuse him of confessing his plot to them.
It’s hard to argue with travel records, but who cares if he wasn’t there at the time the offense was committed? This is Toryland, where if the facts don’t fit, change them until they do.
If Justin Trudeau’s speaking to students about marijuana legalization last week wasn’t nefarious enough, change them to elementary school kids. Right, Peter MacKay, Minister of Truth?
November 14, 2013
In 1980 I spent an entertaining evening at a bed and breakfast in Stratford listening to my host describe pumps. He was an engineer for a company which manufactures pipeline equipment and the things he told me stuck in my mind.
The most interesting one had to be their use of regular jet engines to drive natural gas pipelines: as an experiment they put one into a shed beside the pipeline, burned natural gas from the stream in it, vented the exhaust through grates to the air above, and sat back to see how long the thing would last. The trick with a jet is that the flow of air through the turbine actually cools it, so a jet runs very well in a shed without a fancy cooling system. When the prototype didn’t wear out they put more and more turbine engines in place. They found over time that the service life for a gas turbine in a pumping station is much, much longer than for the same engine in a 737. My host told me that they hadn’t had one fail yet.
So this made sense: it’s easy to pump a gas/fluid which readily provides fuel to the engines which drive it. The gas logically would move easily through the pipe without high pressures or frequent pumping stations. So that’s the design for the west-to-east natural gas pipeline.
A pipeline is a magical metaphor for politicians: things go in one end and come out the other and nobody needs to understand how or why. But the image I see is a jet engine choking on tar and the 1/4″ pipe wall gradually sanded away to nothing by the flowing bitumen.
Bitumen starts out as a substance hard enough that it takes huge shovels to chisel it out of the ground. It’s abrasive. It certainly is going to be harder to pump than natural gas.
So, you say, they dilute the bitumen with natural gas in liquified form? So they mix the bitumen and the LNG together and pump like crazy and when it gets to the other end they refine the whole mess into petroleum products.
Trouble is, everything I could read on Wikipedia about liquifying natural gas products emphasizes how critical temperature and pressure are. What happens if something upsets this delicate suspension? Do we get the pipeline plugged with tar from Windsor to Cornwall?
I don’t have a dog in this particular fight, but I’d be very interested to know how Enbridge proposes to pull off this feat with a 1/4″ thick pipe stretched across the country.
I’d really like to know some answers here.