Monday, February 24, 2014

The Eagles - Compare and Contrast

The Eagles brought their "History of the Eagles" tour to New Orleans last night. Our son provided tickets (7th row, floor) for my wife and I as birthday presents. The Eagles is one of our favorite groups. We had seen the "Hell Freezes Over" tour in 1995. When they returned in 2003, I had to be in London so my sister in law got my ticket. They put on a great show. This one was all Eagles hits - no Don Henley or Glenn Frey solo album songs. No fancy props or pyrotechnics. Just music.

They came to fame as my career was getting started and they were part of the soundtrack of my life. For your entertainment, here are two versions of  "Take it to the Limit. The one below was done in 1977 and was sung by Don Felder before the breakup.

 This one was done in 2013 as part of the "History" tour.


Friday, February 7, 2014


If you are a fan of Michael Connelly's writing then I have some news for you. Amazon Instant Video has undertaken the production of a crime series based on Harry Bosch and it's available only from Amazon's video streaming site. The first installment was released yesterday and it is getting rave reviews.....I mean 5 out of 5 stars! The first segment has Harry investigating the discovery of some human bones that turn out to be a childs skeleton. Titus Welliver plays Harry Bosch. While you may not recognize the name, you will recognize the face as he has played secondary characters for years. He is the personification of Harry and captures his dark, introspective moods and independent FTW attitude. I think Amazon has hit one out of the park with this series. Do not miss it.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Geological Events and Hubris

Old NFO has a post about the amount of ash being spewed into the atmosphere by Mount Sinabung in Indonesia. The volcano has put out the equivalent of 7 years of human made pollution into the atmosphere in just 2 days. It's a good reminder of how puny man's efforts are when compare to nature.

For example, the Hiroshima bomb was equivalent to about 15,000 tons of TNT. The largest nuclear weapon ever exploded was done by the Russians. It was called the Tsar Bomb and it was equivalent to 50,000,000 tons of TNT, or over 3,000 times the yield of the Hiroshima weapon.

I've blogged about volcanoes and the Volcanic Explosive Index before. The highest VEI is 8. That is equivalent to 150,000,000 tons of TNT or 3 times the Tsar Bomb. Why should we care? Well, just a little ways from Mount Sinabung is Lake Toba. The lake was formed over 70,000 years ago by the eruption of a super volcano. That eruption had an VEI of 8 and the theory is that it almost made mankind extinct. Another large eruption in recent history was Mount Tambora, also in Indonesia, that caused the year without a summer in 1816. That one had a VEI of 7, which is 1/10 of Lake Toba.

I hope that Mount Sinabung is acting like a relief valve and venting excess pressure from the nearby super volcano. If not, the anthropomorphic climate change folks may have to rethink their theory.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Clever Fools

Cajun's story about troubleshooting an overloaded breaker reminded me of something that happened on an offshore platform several years ago. It demonstrated the adage that "It is not possible to make anything foolproof because fools are so damn clever."

It was shortly after breakfast and the galley hand had just started some laundry. He left the laundry room and shortly after that there was a "BOOM" and a flash fire. Luckily, nobody was seriously injured although all the ceiling tiles in the mess hall were blown out and several things were singed. The washing machine was a total loss.

An investigation revealed that one of those clever fools had done a bit of Southern Engineering.

Offshore platforms are required to test their safety devices every month. Some of these are level switches that operate like your toilet tank valve. When the level gets too high, it trips a switch and sounds an alarm. In order to test them, the operator has to add water to the float tube until the switch activates. Looking for a way to make his job easier, this clever fool ran some tubing from a water connection on the quarters building over to the float tube. Now he only had to open a valve and he could adjust the level in the float tube at his whim.

What he didn't think about was that the top of the float tube was normally filled with natural gas. This gas worked its way back up the tubing and into the potable water piping of the quarters. It happened to accumulate in the piping to the laundry room. When the galley hand started the washing machine, the water valve on the washer opened and filled the washer with gas. Then it only took a small arc from the washer controls to cause an explosion.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Head Count

Saudi Arabia got off to a slow start in 2014 by executing 3 criminals - a couple of druggies and one murderer. By way of contrast, Iran executed 58 (one of these was a woman) and Iraq executed 37. And the tiny Emirate of Sharjah (of the United Arab Emirates) got on the score board by executing one murderer by gunfire.