Posts by Bill Walker


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1) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Mysterious Miscellaneous Tool Time V5 (Message 1565689)
Posted 15 hours ago by Profile Bill Walker
Used to install o-rings or packings?
2) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Whiskey's Mini-City News V (Message 1565162)
Posted 2 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Have to love the NC4. Thanks Michael.
3) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The train thread (Message 1564014)
Posted 4 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Same in Canada, the SD40-2 is rarely seen outside of a yard now, and even there they are fading.

Never realized the "European" style locos I watched coming out of the Electromotive plant for so many years were just re-packaged SD40s. I guess the European right of way clearances didn't permit the big cab that North American crews loved?

4) Message boards : Politics : The reassertion of whiteness in Canada (Message 1562152)
Posted 7 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Sadly, Es is correct. Sometimes it takes a newcomer to see what the rest of us just accept as "normal".
5) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The train thread (Message 1561360)
Posted 9 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Err thank you TA, I think, but I knew all that.

What I wanted was an answers to the question as to why the 66 series locos built in Canada for the UK would have been tested with different gauge trucks, which were then changed before shipping. As I thought Canada and the USA had the same gauge as the UK.

However it seems the same style loco was sold to other countries where the gauge was different.


There are still a few oddball gauges in North America Bernie, both tourist lines and working lines.

As you said, I guess the ones I saw leave on flatbeds were bound for obscure corners of the globe. BTW, we had one leave by Antonov several years ago. Made the local news. Apparently it was going to Ireland.

6) Message boards : Politics : The reassertion of whiteness in Canada (Message 1561357)
Posted 9 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
While hardly from an unbiased source, the story does point out that our current Federal government is very, shall we say, retro. We will have a chance to tell them what we think of this in the next election, unlike most of the countries where al Jazeera broadcasts.

PS - I didn't vote for Harper or any of his minions.
7) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Extra care with technology (Message 1560901)
Posted 10 days ago by Profile Bill Walker

Actually, Bernie, for several years now; Gas station pay pumps require the customer to put in their Postal Zip Code for security to authorize the charge on the pump. Since your card is from outside the US; you may not have been subject to that security measure.


In fact, us Canucks are hit by this. You can't enter a Canadian postal code on the gas pump keyboard, so the credit card company will give you a special postal code to use. One more string of numbers to remember. Sigh. If you are near the border, the attendants understand this, and will activate the machine after seeing your Canadian credit card. Further south, they look at you like you have two heads, and tell you to pay cash.

However; I still wish the US would get chip and pin cards. They are much more secure.


Last May, in Colorado, my chip cards worked just fine. A few stores in smaller towns mentioned that we were the first to use a chip card since they got the new readers.

For the last 17 years the city we live in in Canada has been a target marketing area for new technologies like this. First to get debit cards into smaller stores, first to get wireless card readers to use at your table in the restaurant, first with chip cards, etc. It is sometimes a little surprising to go back in time visiting other towns, Canadian or US.

The Finns are way ahead of us on all this. I was quite surprised some 14 years ago to stick my bank card into an ATM in Tampere, and watch the screen change from Finnish to a French and English menu asking me which of the two official Canadian languages I wished to use.
8) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Doctor Will be Back ... (Message 1559211)
Posted 13 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
For all you Canucks: the new Doctor starts on Space on 23 August. My PVR is already set.
9) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Mysterious Miscellaneous Tool Time V4 (Message 1559210)
Posted 13 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Used to put an edge on something while it is hot. Glass or metal?
10) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Car transmissions - Standard or automatic? (Message 1557582)
Posted 17 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
On my Accord, with the radio at normal volume, the tach is the best way of telling when the auto transmission shifts. For the techno geeks, it also shows when the torque converter lockup kicks in and out. Like Vic said, that is all about gas mileage, if you know what the information means.

As a professional techno geek, I would like to see more instrumentation, like electrical, oil pressure, fuel pressure, etc. From time spent testing digital controls in other vehicles, I would love to be able to monitor bus traffic and see what the computers are doing at any time. However, 99% of the driving public today wouldn't get any real information from that sort of stuff. Those are the people the car companies design their product for.
11) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Car transmissions - Standard or automatic? (Message 1557507)
Posted 17 days ago by Profile Bill Walker

Way back in 1965 Esso had an ad campaign for "put a tiger in your tank", and gave out free tigers tails. All us young lads had one on our aerials. Of course they were just cloth, not real ones.


They made a brief come back over here in the mid 1980s, and were sold as "Crushed Kitties". I remember the chief inspector where I worked took a very dim view of the one we added to the back door of a helicopter.
12) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Car transmissions - Standard or automatic? (Message 1557283)
Posted 17 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
It might have been something like that Chris. There was no label (or the label had fallen off), and the only visible result of pushing the button was the brake lights coming on. The machine was 4th or 5th hand, and the manual was long gone by the time I got my hands on it.
13) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Car transmissions - Standard or automatic? (Message 1556960)
Posted 18 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
I agree with David. What we call a fender on a car is, I believe, called a wing in the UK.

On boats, however, a fender is a bumper, something hung over the side of the boat to keep the dock from scratching your paintwork.
14) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Car transmissions - Standard or automatic? (Message 1556959)
Posted 18 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
I learned to drive on a 1967 Ford LTD with a foot switch for the high beams. The family also had an early 60s Vauxhall (sp?) with some very strange switches (by local standards anyway). I recall a momentary push button on the dash that turned on the brake lights without applying the brakes. Can any of you Brits tell me what that was all about?

Non-engineers can skip this part: It took until well into the 1970s for relays to become cheap enough and reliable enough to put things like dimmer switches on a "stalk", as we call them in North America. The foot switch on the LTD was a massive lump of iron that had the whole headlight current pass through it, using really big cables. If you tried to put all that anywhere on the steering column you might not have been able to see out the windshield.
15) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The train thread (Message 1556952)
Posted 18 days ago by Profile Bill Walker

I wonder why, as apparently USA, Canada UK and Europe share the same standard gauge 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in, and I can find no mention of the truck swap.

I know that the Flying Scotsman toured for several years in the USA and again I can find no mention of gauge problems and that would have been quite a job to convert that!!

I suspect the answer is out there somewhere.


EMD's customer base included South America and North Africa, not sure where these particular engines wound up. I only know this from some consulting work I did for one of their suppliers here in London, documenting equivalency of North American wiring standards with other countries.
16) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Car transmissions - Standard or automatic? (Message 1556722)
Posted 18 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Celt, parking brakes work fine in Alberta winters, but sometimes give problems in Ontario winters. We have a lot more wet snow here, and this can turn into ice overnight on the exposed portions of the brake mechanism. This prevents it from fully releasing the next morning, even though handles go to the "off" position and lights turn off. Most drivers just drive on, with a partially set brake. They don't realize this is happening, until the next time they take the car in for brake servicing.

Must say this has only happened to me on older frame style cars. The new unibodies seem to have all the moving brake bits inside, out of the snow.
17) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The train thread (Message 1556720)
Posted 18 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Very interesting Bernie. FYI, EMD London shut down a few years ago. Cat bought the plant, and then moved all the production to their existing US facilities. If you need a bit more room, there is a "for sale" on the plant now. I drove by there this morning, and the sign says there are 590,000 square feet under one roof, available immediately.

This general body style of loco was in production at the plant right up to the end. A lot of these locos left the plant on a flat car, having been built with a non-standard (in North America anyway) wheel gauge. They were test run on the plant track on temporary trucks, and then switched to the narrow trucks before shipping.
18) Message boards : Politics : Canada offers to bring water to 3rd world! (Message 1554473)
Posted 23 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Yes, even Amur'ca realizes this, and is implementing a logical rational mix of socialism and capitalism, in some areas. Get used to it.
So no water for the Yazidis only political posturing in Detroit?


The Canadian position is quite clear. The US is bombing Iraq again, are you suggesting that is a better solution?
19) Message boards : Politics : Canada offers to bring water to 3rd world! (Message 1554465)
Posted 23 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
The answer to all these questions in the 21st century is a balanced mix of classical free enterprise and (don't look Amur'cans) socialism. That is what Es and I are saying. Yes, pay what you can, through taxes and water bills based on usage (that handles your rich guy with a swimming pool quite nicely). If an individual can't pay, socialism says their neighbours will help them. If a corporation can't pay, capitalism says time for the aforementioned corporation to go. Corporations are like street cars, there will be another one along in a few minutes.

Yes, even Amur'ca realizes this, and is implementing a logical rational mix of socialism and capitalism, in some areas. Get used to it.
20) Message boards : Politics : Canada offers to bring water to 3rd world! (Message 1554359)
Posted 23 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Es and I are saying much the same thing. Again, I don't see your point.


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