Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Something just froze over

Jerusalem Post: Evangelicals to present Knesset with 'letter of repentance'

I'm under no illusions here - I don't think anything will change in the grand scheme of things. Christian missionaries worldwide are not about to give up their careers because of this one group of evangelical leaders.

Nevertheless, this is still big news. If the leadership of prominent ministries can come this far, then maybe in time, they'll walk the next few steps and decide that Jews (gasp) have the right to want to remain Jewish.

Naw. I'm just fooling myself now. No Christian missionary will ever come to this conclusion. They'd have to abandon or ignore large chunks of their bible in order to come to that decision.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The end of an era

Today, I must say goodbye to my good ol' Macintosh Quadra 840av. I bought this computer used in 1998, as a part of Visix Software's going-out-of-business fire sale. It was a few years old at that time. I upgraded it several times since then, adding more memory, replacing the hard drive when it died, upgrading the CD-ROM drive, putting it on the internet, and setting up a tape-backup system for it.

This computer was my main machine at home for several years, until I got my Power Macintosh G4 system, which I'm using today. Running Microsoft Office and Filemaker Pro, this computer held together my personal finances, and kept track of most of the important things in my life.

Today, the G4 fulfills these purposes, but I made a point of powering on the Quadra every few months, just to see if it still works, and to play a few games that don't play well under Mac OS X (like those that demand the old 1-bit color display modes.)

Until two weeks ago, that is. This most recent time, it wouldn't start. The monitor turned on, the hard drive started spinning, but the familiar "bong" sound didn't play. I checked the PRAM battery, and found that it still had plenty of voltage. I went on-line to do some research, and apparently, this is a common fate for Quadra 840av systems. The capacitors get old and start leaking, and the motherboard dies. Some people suggested washing the motherboard (in the dishwasher, no less!) to clean off the leaked electrolyte, and some suggested replacing all the capacitors on the motherboard, but I think there's really little point to attempting either of these procedures for a computer that, admittedly, hasn't served any useful purpose in the last five years. But it's still sad to see formerly-good equipment decide to finally fail.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Gizmag: Car runs on compressed air

The Tata MiniC.A.T is a small car, apparently aimed at the European commuter vehicle market. This isn't unusual (although, you may not have heard of Tata, it is, apparently, a very popular brand in India.) What is unusual is that this car runs on air.

That's right, it runs on air. Specifically, compressed air. It's tank holds 90 cubic meters (3178 cubic feet) of compressed air. This allows the car to drive at speeds up to 68MPH, for up to 10 hours or 200-300km (125-186mi). An electric air compressor can refill the tank in about 3-4 hours.

The manufacturer expects filling stations to eventually start offering air-refill services. These stations would have high-pressure compressors capable of filling a tank in a few minutes. They estimate that a refill will cost about €1.5 (about $2). (Of course, that doesn't count the inevitable taxes that governments will impose to offset losses from gas-tax revenues if people stop burning gasoline in their cars.)

In terms of scheduled maintenance, it needs an oil change (1l of vegetable oil) every 50,000km (or one quart every 31,000mi).

It's exhaust is just air. Interestingly enough, this exhaust is very cold air (below freezing temperatures), so the car can recirculate it as a part of the air conditioning system.

The manufacturer expect a selling price of £5,500 (about $9,000).

Shouts & Murmurs: The Wisdom of Children: Humor: The New Yorker

No comments:
The New Yorker runs an amusing commentary comparing futile student protests with the nonsense children think when hearing adults talk in the room next door.

An excerpt:

—Did you hear the news, Mr. President? The students at the University of Pittsfield are walking out of their classes, in protest over the war.

—(spits out coffee) Wha— What did you say?

—Apparently, students are standing up in the middle of lectures and walking right out of the building.

—But students love lectures. If they’re willing to give those up, they must really be serious about this peace thing! ...

Read the rest of the article while the link remains valid.