Machining thespians: effort vs reward....

Awl --
Lemme tell you.... I've never met a happy retired machinist. Unless mebbe he owned the company, and even then he's pretty grouchy.
Sorta reminds me of the adage about old homosexuals being obligatorily miserable -- which isn't entirely fair, as most single old people are, well, obligatorily miserable -- but who's nitpicking logic.....
Retired machinists seem to exude a kind of resentment, which I can quite relate to: Muthafucka, I made thousands of different parts, to +/- .001, some requiring dozens of fixturings, and my kids think I"M an asshole? I bustid my fukn ass, so I can get kicked to the curb, and watch my kids have screaming fits over fuknBrittny or the no-talent Jonas Bros?
They sell their tools, upon retirement, and don't have one g-d good thing to say about their careers, only to rue that they lost their sight, working in shitty light all day long.
There seems to be a deep and justifiable resentment, that true productivity is essentially dismissed.
So ahm watchin Ancients Behaving Badly, on History, cuz, well, I'm avoiding machining (a cnc macro, to be specific), the episode on Nero, who fancied hisself God's gift to art, acting, music, poetry.
The narrator (obligatorily Bri'ish, of course, just like in infomercials -- iirc) pointed out that in those days, thespians were viewed as little more than prostitutes, proly, well, cuz most of them *were* prostitutes on the side, to make, uh, ends meet. The Brit likened Nero's determined theatrical dabblings to our President soliciting on Sunset Blvd.... swear to god..... fuknHilarious.....
What was indeed good about this episode is that the narrator made a few specific analogies to modern-day behavior. Indeed, I could quite see George Bush soliciting on Sunset Blvd..... and if not, only because his drunken staggering would preclude any effective or coherent solicitations. Which of course did not stop him from getting elected President of the USA..... twice..... holy shit.....
Inyway.......
This threw a bit of nut in my historical gears, as I fashioned my own zeitgeist on the premise that nothing has really changed historically -- that we are the same assholes we always were, except now we can communicate that fact instantaneously, over thousands of miles, in 64,000,000 color video, to millions of people, simultaneously. Chips, donchaknow....
It seems, back then, in contrast to actors, tradesmen were highly prized. Actors were despised as the character-disordered buffoons they really are (no offense to anyone with kids in drama school... mebbe just a hint, tho), and tradesmen were the upstanding citizens/leaders -- them, and corrupt ass-kissing politicians, of course -- some things indeed never change.
So what happened, with the role reversal of tradesmen and actors? What happened, that machine shops have closed in droves, skilled artisans are taking mind-numbing municipal civil service jobs (so's their paycheck won't bounce)? Oh, yeah, I forgot -- ASIA!!! OK, well, still......
That utterly useless talentless assholes, such as Will Smith, Tom Cruise et al command $20,000,000 per useless flick? What happened, that "working" is the hallmark of a loser? Unless sed "working" = "daytrading" or "house-flipping".....
What happened, that we so fiercely worship throwing a fukn ball that we will fist-fight over who throws it better? Never mind *throwing* a ball.............. How bout *putting* an ittybitty ball into a fukn hole in the grass, with.... a putter? And following this putting putz over the better part of a mile, over several days?? Goodgawd.....
I read sumpn sumpn where golf is THE most played """"sport"""" in the world?? 'course, if yer gonna call golf a "sport", you might as well call ketchup a "vegetable"..... And did you know that there are more golf-related patents than in all other sports combined??? That Charlie Rose, just the other day, interviewed two golf pro's, who have achieved some fame/notoriety by advocating a different kind of swing?????? Michael Bennet's "Tilt'n'Stack", fer you golfers -- and ketchup-eaters.....
Holy shit.... but I degreased.....
How did the glorious poetry come to be, that the vile-est of ignerint-azzed wannabee-cop-shooting rappers send their kids to the best private (white) schools with manicured mini-golf courses, while *your* kids struggle in public school, hoping not to get their asses kicked -- or shot?
Well, I don't really know, but I can hazard a good guess.
I think I was basically right, that nothing really has changed, human nature-wise -- we just needed the right stuff to raise us to our full Assaholic Glory. Those who would benefit from raising us to our full Assaholic Glory just needed the right tools to exact that Glory.
The first tool was the printing press. Abe Lincoln was sposedly the first pol to exploit the "power of the press" -- proly the only time "the press" did any good..... Oh, and don't forget The Bibble..... goodgawd..... Could say a lot about this...... Next came radio, film. These were anemic, ito of The Great Mindfuck, compared to TV. Then, the Internet, gaming..... Then, Portable Internet, via the smart phone, and Virtual Goods -- you know, better rims'n'shit fer yer virtual car, so you can win more games -- geez, you just cain't put a finite price on *that*!.
The only thing left is a smart phone with brain probes, inserted into properly-drilled holes in our skulls, for direct brain stimolation.
In the past......
Before mass communication came of age, the communication amongst ourselves, as individuals and small communities, was enough to counteract the non-technology-assisted mindfucking efforts of the powers-dat-were.
Once TV entered the picture, not only was the MindFuck just too too overwhelming, it mostly felt pretty good too -- AND, it subtlely pitted citizen against citizen, in a never-ending competitive one-upsmanship, undermining what local communication there might have been.... effing brilliant, yo, brilliant......
So, while you bust yer effing ass, and hope you have the privilege to keep busting yer effing ass, making parts etc to +/- .001, all effing day long, praying you get some modicum of bennies, or that you don't lose the middling bennies you got, while you do all of this, the utterly useless and talentless Will Smith, Tom Cruise and friends will make about $20,000,000 (each) in about 3 months, if the shoot goes well. Or Kobe will, if there is a god, have another 60 point game.... didn't he have an 83 point game?? Yaaaaay, KOBE!!!!!
And Snoop Dog will make quite a few mill, having hoes SHD on video, with your daughters possibly praying for the opportunity -- just like the 'Boomer gerlz had hoped, with Jim "Light My Fire" Morrison.....
I'll take Nero -- well, assuming I could kiss enough ass to curry enough favor, so's I don't get flayed to the bone by that twisted cocksucker. Also, there was no novacaine in those days.... hmmmmmmmmm..... AND, no AstroGlide..... hmmmmmmm.......
Mebbe technology/The MindFuck are worth it after all??!!??!! Now I'm all confused.....
--
EA, philosophically PV'd





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Gee, this one is simple.
By 1955, we'd made all of the shit we really need.
By 1970, we'd made all of the shit we really wanted.
After that, we've been busy trying to come up with other shit that we don't need and don't really want, but could be made to buy because there's nothing really worthwhile to do with solitary selfs, and buying shit keeps us from thinking about it. We find that we can get it pretty cheap, because people all over the world thought that we must have the right idea, because it looked like we were having one hell of a party, and they're doing the same thing we did, only 30 or 40 years later. And they need to sell *their* useless shit to somebody, too. So we buy it.
Along the way we realized that we were so busy making shit that we needed, then wanted, and then didn't really want that we never figured out why we were making all of that shit, and what we'd do with our solitary selfs once we'd made it. We had brushed off art, literature, architecture, philosophy, single-malt whiskey, and all those other things the Greeks used to do with their solitary selfs when they faced a similar problem. And they didn't even have Chevys and Fords!
But we're making up for lost time with the mass-produced, sugar-coated, violence- and sexually-perverted substitutes, like Brittany Spears, the NFL, 3D movies, and fruit-flavored alcopops.
That's the state of the union. What shall we do next? Maybe we can take up extreme skateboarding and hacking government computers.
--
Ed Huntress




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Eternal glory to the memory of the 700 Thespians who died with the Spartans at Thermopylae!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae
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From an R&D perspective I have to agree with you, but I felt that electronics didn't reach saturation until the late 90's with approximately the 1 GHz PC and Windows 2000. That was the Good Enough point, and for what I -need- to do it still is. I use my newer PC only to play flight sims and record HDTV, big whoop. Cell phone and GPS technology have benefitted me more by providing a pay check than by being tools I depend on.
Mechanical engineering reached that level in the 1950's; jet fighters and airliners today are almost indistinguishable from the ones of 50 years ago unless you know what to look for. They may be bigger, more efficient, easier to maintain, but they aren't any faster than 1960's models. The advances in cars have come from using cheap electronics to implement ideas from aircraft of the 40's, like fuel injection and ABS.
Biology is still rising. When I learned it the teacher made a point that it was still in the observation stage and was unable to model and predict. We now understand how DNA codes proteins but not enough of how the switches that activate it function. Maybe that is the next direction, or perhaps its potential for harm will restrict it as has happened to chemistry and nuclear power. The demand for chemists evaporated just before I got a degree in it.
I am too old to care much now, but I spent my life looking for the direction of the next advance and trying to get in on its development (engine controls & ABS, digital radio, the Segway). Many of the promising ideas either failed or barely made a profit, though I always was paid and never lost on speculative investments.
jsw
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wrote:

And we never even knew we wanted them! Sometimes I really don't! <g>

I wrote an article many years ago with the headline "Going Nowhere." The photo was a 707 next to a 757. Then I described the prettier and nicer stews on the 707s, and the better food and the fun of flying in those days. I scratched it before submitting it. The idea wasn't fully baked yet.

This is a challenging subject. PV happened to write his post just as I was thinking about some closely related things as I start work on a related project. The "next big thing" idea that you're talking about is, to a large extent, each of those classes of things that we never knew we wanted, and might not, in some cases, if we had thought about it. <g>
But it's a good thing we can create a demand for them because our economic system would collapse if we couldn't. All of which explains the genius behind the McMansion: All of those rooms and the big basements are the answer to the question, "Now, where do I *put* all this shit?" d8-)
--
Ed Huntress



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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/300_ (film)
--


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That was me. In the late 50's the Next Big Step was going to be supersonic and then hypersonic transports that could cross the Atlantic in two hours. Boeing, Aerospatiale+BAC and Tupolev created (or stole) the technology but the cost/benefit balance didn't support them. 500 Kts was fast enough at an acceptable price. Instead airliners evolved to fit the traffic volume that developed and stabilized.
The speed race for fighters peaked at ~Mach 3, then to improve all- around performance fell back to around Mach 2. The Navy's current fighter tops out at 1.8: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F/A-18E/F_Super_Hornet There are faster 50-year-old fighters in museums: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-4_Phantom_II The new ones fit modern requirements much better but the improvements are mostly in reliability, stealth and electronics.

In 1970 I rode the Eastern Shuttle between New York and Boston most weekends, for $18 a trip. For noise abatement it accelerated at max throttle within the boundaries of Newark airport and then climbed out very steeply, quite a ride when lightly loaded.

But who would listen? I barely passed the code requirement.
jsw
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wrote in message>

That's what the "appropriate software" is for. You'd need CW-to-text conversion. Easy enough.
--
Ed Huntress



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The machine tools helped me make a tall TV mast that doesn't require climbing. I set up a PT wooden supporting pole from the ground to about 5' above the edge of the roof and attached a simple track for the rotator to slide up on. The ~20' metal mast runs up from the rotator through a guide at the top of the pole and is braced just below the antenna with guy lines that go over pulleys and down the mast so I can look up to tension them equally and keep the mast straight, which is difficult to do from out at their ends.
When the rotator is at the bottom of the track the antenna is within reach from the roof, or I can disconnect the lower end of the mast from the rotator and swing the mast + antenna to the ground with a block and tackle.
The custom machining was mostly the pulleys. The guys are deep-water fishing line (ice doesn't stick) and the pulleys for them had to fit the housings closely so the lines couldn't slip off. The three pulleys are attached to a ring hanging about a foot below the antenna, so rotation doesn't pull them around.
I hung wheel weights on the vertical run of the guy lines to pull in the slack in the diagonal part while raising and lowering the mast. Otherwise they sag and catch on branches and the shingles at the edge of the roof.
The track is U shaped aluminum like for shower doors, two rails with the openings inward. The rotator bracket is bolted to a plate that fits loosely between them. A block and tackle raises it.
The UHF antenna was damaged by falling branches so I made a new dipole from two 6" aluminum hex standoffs stuck into the ends of plastic hose. The correct length from Martin Meserve's antenna calculator is within 1/2" and it picks up Boston just fine in NH through a 2-way splitter and about 75' of quad-shield.
I think I've described it adequately without photos. It's all pretty simple and the only tricky part was setting up the guy lines to allow rotation and vertical travel.
jsw
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

That is a *neat* approach!
Sounds like you use your head before starting a project. I shall have to try that sometime.
--Winston
--

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What I described was about the 10th revision, with many bad ideas removed. I shouldn't have located it directly under a tree branch that I had to saw off with a very awkward 40' pole saw, for instance.
The guy line arrangement probably isn't original but I hadn't seen it anywhere although I've done radio tower work. We just had one man at the base giving instructions and another at the anchor adjusting the tension.
jsw
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Jim Wilkins wrote:
(...)

That sounds familiar.

OK hardware hackers, Time to invent a two - axis radio - enabled inclinometer!
--Winston
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As I recall there was more to it, the cables were supposed to have a little slack so they didn't apply a downforce that might buckle the tower. The tower's owner was an elderly British radar wizard who had taught the ham radio class and was combining some instruction with the maintenance we 'volunteered' to do on his home station.
jsw
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

I suspect 'proper tensioning' would be easy to do if one could easily keep an eye on the tower orientation. Make it vertical and see how much side pressure is required to push it off normal. Tweak guy wires as necessary.
--Winston
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That's the point of my system, I am standing at the base looking up when I set the tension and tie off the lines. AFAIK the rule for real antenna towers is Follow the Manufacturer's Instructions.
jsw
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

Well OK, Jim. I trust your judgment.
--Winston
--

Congratulations Robert Piccinini and Steven A. Burd, WalMart Publicists of the
Year!

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