Tubes were an unnecessary and destructive sidetrack
Random afterthought to real coherers.
Thinking again about those submini tubes while using the breadboard for experimentation led to a historical oddity.
Tubes were probably an unnecessary sidetrack in the overall development of electronics, making experimentation unnecessarily hard for a few decades.
If the path of coherers and catwhiskers had been extended, it would have led quickly to transistors. The Lodge liquid coherer was a solid-state diode. Some early experimenters with catwhisker-style detectors developed the triode transistor but didn't pursue it.
Tubes made experimentation hard because they needed high plate voltage, which in turn required special precautions. When you're fiddling with 1.5 to 18 Volts, you can plug and unplug stuff and screw around to your heart's content, without stopping your heart or starting a fire. When you're working with 250 Volts, extreme caution is needed.
The HV could have been avoided if the original Audion had led directly to those submini tubes. Subminis easily live in the same breadboard world as transistors and ICs, with 1.5 V filament and 18 V plate. DeForest's original Audion operated in this range.
The Brits had subminis in the '30s, but America stuck with the big HV tubes until '48. By that time the transistor was already underway and the tube era was fading.
¶ 12:08 AM
Thursday, September 24, 2020
After doing an emotional salute to the coherer, I got curious to see if any original coherers were available, or a newly made version. No originals, but amazingly Navone Engineering is making new ones following the original recipe.
We'll do the unboxing routine. In the box:
The packed innards:
And here's the coherer, along with a penny for scale and a submini tube for comparison.
The actual coherer looks better up close than Navone's promo pic on Ebay. It's made the same way as the submini tubes that I was playing with a few years ago.
The enclosed instruction brochure is well written, professionally printed and folded. It runs through the same history I covered, including the Japanese 'second life' of coherers.
Navone included a little piezo sparker to make a proper electric spark. This was actually the hardest part of the experiment for me. I understand coherers but I'd never used a sparker, and various online videos didn't clarify how to use them. The button was too firm for my elderly fingers. I used Channellocks to squeeze it until it SNAPPED, and got a spark.
I set up a simple series circuit on my homemade lab breadboard. After trying various combos of voltage and LEDs and meters and resistors, I ended up using 3V with no inline resistor and a little incandescent bulb.
The coherer is highly sensitive to tapping, as it should be; and it's also highly sensitive to the applied potential difference. When powered by 9 or 18 Volts, it wants to conduct all the time. On 1.5 V it doesn't want to conduct at all. 3V is the Mama Bear.
Very low light before the spark, light increases after the spark, and stays on until tapped.
Here's a GIF showing one sequence of spark on / tap off.
= = = = =
Happy second life, Coherers!
Techy footnote: Coherers weren't originally meant to sense nearby sparks and RF in the ether; they were meant to sense RF in the circuit from an antenna input. They work both ways.
More in the same mode
I'm in "That's part of the story but not the whole story" mode this morning.
Let's do another one.
In the current fake emergency, as well as previous fake emergencies, many skeptics focused on misperception of risk. Innumeracy. Bayesian denominators. Inadequate evolution. Inadequate education. That's not even part of the story.
Most people perceive real risks accurately. We don't need numbers. What happens in these fake emergencies is a barrage of FALSE INFORMATION about the EVENT ITSELF. We end up perceiving the risk of the MYTH accurately, and forget about plain old REALITY.
Example 1: Three Mile Island. Most people perceived the risk of nuclear power accurately, and the ACTUAL EVENT corresponded EXACTLY to our perception of risk. Some employees at TMI were injured or killed, but NOBODY outside the plant was even bothered. ZERO radiation escaped. The media pounded us with FALSE INFORMATION about the event itself. Even though I knew what happened, I still have to slap down the impression that thousands of people died.
Example 2: AIDS. Most people perceived their risk accurately. Active homosexuals saw their friends and "husbands" dying, and knew they were in immediate and lethal risk. People outside of that culture saw nobody dying, and knew they were at zero risk. Then the media POUNDED US over and over with the FALSE INFORMATION that AIDS was spreading to everyone. It was, as fucking always, an Equal Opportunity Disease.
Example 3: The current holocaust. People who are already dying know they're dying, and know that their risk from any virus or stress is 100%. People who are not already dying know that we're not sick, and NOBODY is sick. THIS IS NOT AN EPIDEMIC, and probably isn't even a "virus". Both groups perceived their own risk accurately. Then the media BARRAGED US AND MACHINEGUNNED US with holocaustally false disinfomation that the "virus" is an Equal Opportunity Killer, as fucking always.
Interesting mapAn item in Quora about introvert-friendly countries talks mostly about weather.
The author picks Estonia, Finland and Russia as most introvert-friendly.
In cold places people spend more time huddling inside, so culture is less touchy and more lonely. Makes sense, but I don't think it's the real variable. Estonia and Finland are a unique ethnic group, more closely related to the stoic old American tribes than to Teutons or Slavs. Warrior tribes don't talk. In parts of America where those tribes formed the culture, talking is peculiar and silence is expected. Much easier for innate introverts.
The item includes a map of population density that sort of halfway makes the point. The map really shows something unexpected, not tied to weather at all.
Where are most of the people in Europe? On the Rhine.
An unmistakable crescent in the middle of the continent. A few big cities like Paris and London are isolated islands of population, but most of the people are on the Rhine.
More auto random
The latest issue of Collectible Auto mag has some good articles as usual, and some unusually good letters from readers.
One letter offers a hidden explanation for a sales pattern that already had an open explanation. Why was '55 a great year for car sales and '58 an awful year? The open explanation, which is undoubtedly part of the story, is that the '55s were distinctly better than before, and the '58s were uniformly horrible. Chevy finally got a V8 in '55, and Chrysler products finally got styling.
The hidden explanation: In '55, just in time for the model year, the Federal Reserve loosened regulations on car loans. Previously car loans were restricted to 2 years with 20% down. After the loosening, most loans were 3 or 4 years, so short-term thinkers felt that they were able to buy new cars. They weren't really more able, of course, since a longer loan costs more.
'58 was certainly a bust because of horrible cars, but it was even bustier because those short-term thinkers were still paying on their 3-year and 4-year loans. Previously they would have been able to start a new loan. This effect probably extended into '59 as well for the 4-year loans.
Another letter offered a new factoid about those mysterious Nash trucks made from '47 to '54. Previously it was thought that they all went down to Mexico in response to fleet orders. In '51 about 200 went to Scandinavia for retail sale, and at least one of them is still in active use, pictured in the letter.
Also, the trucks were rated 4 tons, not 1.5 tons as usually written. The question remains. Why did Nash go to the trouble of designing and tooling and building 5000 heavy trucks, developing plenty of new skills, then sell them only in foreign countries? It runs contrary to Nash's preservationist character. There was plenty of unsatisfied demand for trucks, and farmers would have loved those trucks. Especially in northern states where Nash's superior heater would beat the crude aftermarket heaters in other trucks.
Sidenote from another angle: Erskine was undervaluing some of the education available in plain commercial programs, especially the low-budget syndicated serials. Ann of the Airlanes was packed with serious information about geography and technology, presented in digestible form. Dick Tracy organized the young listeners in Detective Clubs. For 5 boxtops of Quaker cereals you got a Secret Decoder Ring, and every episode gave you a "coded" message to solve, so you could stay ahead of the villain. Kids who spent time on that task were learning more about language than the idiotic fictional "grammar" they were hearing from Miss Marley.
Well, I got curious, so I found a Decoder Book (not Decoder Ring) on Ebay and bought it.
The book is pocket-size:
The book and other items like badges and rings were 'premiums' acquired by sending in boxtops from Quaker cereals.
Most of the book is organizational advice and OpSec training for the Secret Detective Clubs. The radio program had a virtual 'meeting' at the end of each episode, with a message to decode. Each message started with a keyword followed by a series of numbers. I wrote down one of the messages:
10 11 7 17 11 26
17 9 12 25
5 17 6 15
11 25 13 3 26
The keyword made me wonder if the cipher was a Vigenere style, but it's not that complicated.
There were three active keywords, each leading to a different 'static' transposition, not a 'mobile' transposition as in Vigenere or the Hagelin machines. The transpositions are nicely randomized, indicating that the program must have paid a real cryptographer for advice.
Unfortunately the episodes available online are from a different year with a different set of keywords, so I couldn't actually decipher the message. But I did satisfy my curiosity about the type of cipher. (The book cost $35, so I'm not going to buy a different edition to find the right keywords!)
The writers gave especially good advice about when and how to use ciphers without making the use obvious. They advised club members to send at least one message to each of the other local members every day, to stay in practice. Learning with a purpose!
Members were also supposed to learn Morse and use it in a variety of ways for private signaling. Club members were learning the essentials of communication and meaning, and developing their own private modes of communication.
Before WW1 the Army Signal Corps was training its members in a similar way, mastering creative communication so they could circumvent enemy interception without central guidance.
Needless to say, no school or media or corporation is going to sponsor this category of learning now. No codes, no private OpSec. Only NSA-created and NSA-backdoored digital encryption is allowed, and creative modes are never discussed.
Non-news about non-orders from a non-skeptic
In the distant past, Radio Moscow offered a genuine opposition view. It was naturally self-serving, but it was often correct. Now RT simply runs the same nonsense as any other US media.
Three major federal agencies have forged ahead with plans to host critical race theory training for their employees, teaching them to "co-resist" and check their white privilege, slides posted by researcher Christopher Rufo show.
The events, scheduled at the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Veterans’ Administration (VA) in open defiance of a White House memo banning them, are going to deal with “racial equity,” “white fragility” and “microaggressions,” Rufo tweeted on Monday, publishing photos of the training slides he somehow obtained.
Well of course. This is how Trump works. He issues "orders" that are carefully crafted to be non-orders, allowing the agencies to do what they want. Because the agencies are "opposing" Trump, their actions encourage the murderers and enrage the Deplorables. An enraged Deplorable is easier to identify and slaughter.
For a few weeks after the 2017 inauguration, the bureaucrats walked carefully, more or less obeying Trump's "orders" in case he was serious. By March 2017 they figured out the trick or received reassurance from Trump. They simply resumed doing what they always do. Enriching Soros and Bezos and killing everyone else.
RT, following the Fox "side" of the puppet script, helps to enrage the Deplorables about the "disloyal" agencies, which are really serving the same master as Trump.
Calibrating: Looking back through March 2017 to re-locate the item about the "climate" bureaucrats, it's clear that I was slower and stupider than the bureaucrats. Even while I marked the end of bureaucratic obedience, I hadn't really figured out the whole trick. I was still holding out hope for some of Trump's cabinet appointments who seemed to be saying the right things. Trump fired them quickly and replaced them with reliable Deepstaters.
As long as I'm doing Quora, here's a more typical Quora question:
Do you favor a teleological or Roarshack approach in educational philosophy?
Like the bots that seek meaningless blog items, these trolls are mechanical assemblages of random words, some of which are misspelled or misdefined. The technique is consistent and easy to spot, but I can't begin to guess the underlying purpose.
Rohrschach has nothing at all to do with teleology or education.
But a Roarshack does have a purpose!
A hail cannon is a Roarshack.
New way of writing
Got bored enough to peruse Quora today. The stories about cultural differences are usually good, and the accounts of mysterious places and hidden rooms are always worth my time. Even discussions of criminals and punishment mostly stick to reality, not the standard myths of "both" "sides".
Along with the readable stuff, it's interesting to watch the new unanswered questions as a measure of troll trends. Right now the recent cessation of a Supreme Demon is the only topic for the trolls. All of them are working for the "left" side, as usual. Along with the predictable crap, these trolls are doing something that I haven't seen before. They're writing new Articles of the REAL constitution.
Of course we know that the REAL constitution is whatever the Supremes and other federal "judges" say at the current microsecond. The 1787 document was removed in 1803 and burned to a crisp, along with the whole country, in 1861. It never really existed.
Most of the recent Articles in the REAL constitution have been written by District Demons, not Supreme Demons. Now the troll army is getting into the act, slipping in ideas that have never been thought of before. One new Article says that the dying wish of an existing Demon must be respected.
Pretty neat trick. Start a rumor, get people talking about it, and pretty soon the crowd believes it. The old Assertion/Insertion routine. When you're involved in discussing ever finer details of an ENTITY, you stop asking whether the ENTITY is real. After the crowd believes it, the Supremes can enforce it.
Exactly a thousand years ago, old Bill Ockham was trying to fight this insertion of ENTITIES through discussion of fine details. He failed, and Deepstates since then have continued to perfect the technique.
From Belarus, a clip of a student SKILLS exhibit.
Lots of youngsters and adults are milling around and talking normally. There are exactly TWO MASKS in the clip, and the TWO MASKS are exactly where they belong in the NORMAL WORLD. One guy is grinding metal, and the other is spray-painting. NORMAL safety precautions against REAL pollution. The people who are not generating REAL pollution are breathing REAL air. Belarus is NORMAL WORLD.
THE PEOPLE OF BELARUS ARE LIVING A NORMAL LIFE WHILE WE ARE STUCK IN THE WORST CONCEIVABLE HELL. I AM FUCKING TIRED OF THIS SHIT. IT WILL NEVER END. NOTHING HELPS. INFORMATION, LEGISLATION, LITIGATION, REGULATION, ALL FAILED OR NEVER EVEN FUCKING STARTED. NOTHING WORKS, NOTHING HELPS, NOTHING CHANGES.
Random auto history thought
Alt-history is fun, but needs to use realistic analogies.
Among the many active auto companies that failed, it's pretty easy to figure out a realistic Shoulda/Coulda for most of them.
Auto writers always assume that a company ceased to exist when it stopped making sedans.
Realism tells us that many of those "failures" simply switched from making sedans to making something else. Reo switched to trucks and lasted into the '70s. Hupp switched to HVAC equipment and lasted to the '90s. Peerless switched to beer and is still active now. Studebaker ran a holding company for a variety of products into the '70s, and its defense-contract plant is still running as AM General. Willys gave up on sedans and stuck with its own niche, and is now bigger than ever.
Packard should have switched to aircraft in '51, specializing in luxury corporate jets. In terms of unique skills and factory usage, Packard was already more of an aircraft maker than a car maker.
Nash and Studebaker should have merged. Their strengths and weaknesses were exactly complementary. In the end, Nash didn't need the Hudson merger and survived on a mix of sedans and Willys products until 1987.
But what about Hudson, which would have been left out in the cold by the Nash-Studie merger? It's hard to imagine an alternate future. Hudson never diversified, never branched out from sedans. The other independents at that time were already making a variety of products before the sedan "failure". Hudson's defense contracts were profitable but much smaller than the other independents. No aircraft or trucks or cars, just an assortment of parts and pieces. The contracts didn't add new skills or create new types of manufacturing.
Hudson had a couple chances to specialize in sporty cars, but blew both. In '33 the Terraplane was light, fast, economical and attractive. Hudson quickly eliminated the nice fast car and reapplied the name to the base trim level of big Hudsons. Around the same time, Hudson partly owned Railton, a British sports car firm that used Hudson engines. They never imported Railtons.
Keeping track of CulpI've been afraid that Culp would follow the Repooflicans into mindless obedience, but SO FAR he's sticking FIRMLY to the two REAL issues. He hasn't converged to the idiotic license fee issue, which is still the only thing the Repoofs are discussing in their spam emails.
Two real issues:
Stop the lockdowns and distancing and murder masks.
Stop the riots.
It's a good strategic pair. Seattle loves the murder masks but doesn't like being burned out by rioters. The rest of the state isn't directly affected by the riots, but HATES the murder masks and lockdowns, and knows the whole thing is utter ratshit.
He has a new and well-made image on distancing.
Later thought: Actually BOTH types understand that the whole pile of shit has nothing to do with "viruses". BOTH types understand that the murder masks are designed to protect Holy Pure Aristocrats from Bad Deplorable Breath. The Holy Aristocrats need the masks to protect their Physical And Spiritual Purity from Orange Witch Powder. The Deplorables don't have any illusions.
¶ 2:43 PM
We won't allow
Still thinking about the hail cannons and cloud seeders and self-defense.
I made the weather connection in Polistra's 2008 time-travel story. After popping up in 1939 to escape the awfulness of 2008 (little did she know that things would continue getting unimaginably more awful!) she encounters Fran, her 1939 alter ego. Part of the discussion:
= = = = =
Fran: Well, what great advances has America made since '39? Cured cancer?
Pol: No. We have lots of fancy machines and drugs, but except for childhood leukemia, which we can definitely cure, we haven't improved the survival rate in general. You could even say that the fancy machines make things worse, because people know about the cancer earlier.
Fran: That's dismal. Well, cured infantile paralysis?
Pol: Yes, in 1954.
Fran: Cured the common cold?
Fran: Have you controlled weather? Built domed cities?
Pol: No. In fact we have decided to make no progress in that area. We haven't gone beyond cloud-seeding, and even though we know it works, we won't allow ourselves to do it.
= = = = =
As mentioned before, the common cold question would have halted the story if I'd tried to write this piece now. Instead of curing the common cold, which didn't need curing anyway, we decided to imprison and gag and kill everyone to halt the spread of the common cold. We decided to treat ordinary people VASTLY WORSE than we treat prisoners convicted of crimes. I've been there and I know.
= = = = =
Focusing on the weather point:
We won't allow ourselves to do it is the key. At that time I didn't know about hail cannons, which would have strengthened the point, especially in hail-prone Oklahoma.** Both technologies WORK to prevent damage. They're not complete or always reliable, so you don't want to use them loosely. When properly targeted and considered, both techs can save billions of dollars.
The same applies to ALL forms of self-defense.
The 2nd amendment dudes are always chanting nonsense about an armed population preventing tyranny. This was always nonsense. There's no correlation. Many unarmed countries have decent rulers, and many well-armed countries have dictators. As of this year, the chant ought to be perfectly unchantable. Half of America is armed, but the demonic governors and mayors went right ahead and killed everyone. No deterrence. Only the BLM rioters have tried to attack mayors, and they were doing it because the mayors were INSUFFICIENTLY DEMONIC for their tastes, not because the mayors are TOO DEMONIC for the survival of civilization. Pluponents, not opponents.
In all areas from weather to computers to health to government, we HAVE the weapons but we refuse to use them. The most egregious part of this refusal applies to the INTRINSIC weapons in our own bodies and minds. TV and social media have neutralized our mental immunity with Room 101, and the Public Death Officers have neutralized our physical immunity with panic and lockdowns and murder masks. As I noted yesterday, the same Public Death Officers are using lockdowns against pollution, instead of allowing us to make our own judgments and adapt our own bodies.
= = = = =
** In fact the hail cannons, if I had known about them, would be the only valid argument in Okla. I wrote about cloud seeding because it was relevant to the Dust Bowl, but seeding requires clouds. A region is afflicted by drought because the clouds are simply going elsewhere, not because the clouds are reluctant to release rain. Hail cannons were known to work in 1902, before Okla was a state; and Okla always has more hail than the rest of the country.
Metasalute to 1906
Courseware debugging is hung up this weekend by another of those yak-shaving waits for permission, so I got bored.
Reading splendid old French tech magazines.
1906, plus or minus two years, is a pivot point in tech history, for reasons that still aren't clear. Every real invention was done by 1906, at least in conceptual form. Some of the concepts had to wait for refinements in materials and manufacturing. All "new" inventions since then are reinventing a pre-1906 invention and falsely calling it new. Why 1906? It wasn't the start of a war or a major revolution, it wasn't a plague or religious frenzy. No obvious stopping points or inflection points outside the tech world.
Those old French books had wonderful illustrations. This one caught my attention because the car is obviously a Renault. Can I reproduce this with available materials?
Yes. Fortunately I didn't have to make the Renault, or substitute my 1906 Great Smith car. Amazingly, Lucien Lilippe already made one. I already had the telescope and the terrain, and I'd just used the terrain in the hail cannon animation.
Does rain clear the air?
The last 12 hours. Focus on visibility.
= = = = =
Sidenote: I learned something from this "unusual" burst of bad air. On the first day, the OFFICIAL DASHBOARD was giving official alerts and official Mysterious Horrible Numbers!!!!!
MYSTERIOUS AQI = 500!
UNCHARTED TERRITORY!!! LOCKDOWN!!!!!!!!!
So I took the STRONGLY RECOMMENDED ACTIONS and turned on my HEPA air filter full-time.
I also made my usual hour-long store walk during that PURPLE ALERT, anxious about possible consequences but needing to eat. Consequences: Dry throat for an hour or two. Nothing else.
After that, I experimented, turned the HEPA on and off several times, and concluded that it was doing more harm by stirring up the air and bringing drafts toward my nose. It's better to let the crap settle.
Lesson learned. With bad air as with "viruses", TRUST YOUR BODY. With bad air as with "viruses", avoid sudden overloads and forcible inputs. Allow the body to adapt to smaller loads.
Interesting idea but ignores ManwellerVia Eurekalert, a project is already underway to create citizen "focus groups" to guarantee compliance with gene editing like CRISPR.
Dryzek and colleagues believe that citizens' assemblies - groups of lay-people tasked with diving deep into the ethical and moral issues thrown up by genome editing - will provide a valuable guide for scientists, doctors and politicians around the world.
"The fact that they are made up of citizens with no history of activism on an issue means they are good at reflecting upon the relative weight of different values and principles," Professor Dryzek said.
Think of how we trust juries in court cases to reach good judgements. Deliberation is a particularly good way to harness the wisdom of crowds, as it enables participants to piece together the different bits of information that they hold in constructive and considered fashion."
No history of activism is an important distinction. Real juries follow this rule, and do in fact make good decisions. A lot of our "political" idiocy should be replaced by more jury-like deciders.
BUT: None of this matters because Big Science won't listen to the wrong decision. Big Science will simply continue doing what gets the grants. Genocide gets the grants.
Manweller's Rule is universal. Elections don't count unless they agree with Deepstate. Protests are only effective when they agree with Deepstate. Jury decisions are only allowed to stand when they agree with Deepstate.
Fake "democracy" is the biggest obstacle to real reform. We shouldn't waste our precious lives and souls on fake processes that change nothing.
PEOPLE ARE INNATELY AND PERMANENTLY DIFFERENT, and PERSONALITY MATTERS more than anything else. A sane leader will lead sanely, and a psychopathic leader will kill everyone.
When we're stuck in a country or state led by demonic psychopaths, we need to adopt a medieval attitude. Live our lives as decently as we can, recognizing that the demon will STOMP and kill us at any moment, ESPECIALLY when we feel the most hope. Pray for change but avoid hope. Just live.
One down, but doesn't change the count
The grotesque horrifying alien demon which killed under the fake-human title of "Ruth Bader Ginsburg" has ceased killing.
No point in celebrating. It will be replaced by an identical demon. The replacement will be less grotesque and horrifying, but won't change anything.
The process of replacement will get all the idiot partisans on Side A and Side B excited, eagerly defending Demon A or Demon B, dredging up all sorts of irrelevant information and ideology to claim that A or B will do something "different". In the end the new demon will seamlessly continue killing everyone and obliterating the universe.
Incidentally, I offer my condolences to the heroic cancer cells that voluntarily went beyond the call of duty, sacrificing themselves to destroy the grotesque alien. RIP, cancer cells.