Posts by Bill Walker

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1) Message boards : Cafe SETI : On the light side a novel use of a Star Trek technology (Message 1668548)
Posted 5 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
It would be a cure for cancer. Just beam out all the cancer cells.

I remember a Larry Niven novel using that technique many years ago. They could set a transporter for this mode. You stood in one transporter, they hit the button, and a cloud of dust appeared in another transporter next to you. Cured cancer, aging, and all sorts of other stuff as I recall.
2) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The train thread (Message 1668522)
Posted 5 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Just an example of how messed up Canadian freight tariffs used to be:

Back in 1976 I worked in a small vehicle manufacturing plant in Calgary (the prairies). Freight rates gave preference to manufactured goods from the east to the prairies, and raw material, like plate steel, paid an extra premium to be off loaded in the prairies. The cheapest way for us to get steel plate from Ontario steel mills was to ship it by train to Vancouver on the west coast, passing through Calgary, and then put it on a truck for the 600 mile run BACK to Calgary. It would have cost more to unload from the train in Calgary, because freight rates and taxes encouraged shipment of Ontario steel plate to BC ports for export, but not to prairie centres where it would compete with eastern manufacture of finished goods.
3) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The train thread (Message 1668515)
Posted 5 days ago by Profile Bill Walker

But looking at that Canadian 4 header, and even realising that USA/Canada is 3000 miles wide, why does so much freight have to be moved long distance from A to B?? Why aren't goods produced where they are needed? Ok mines cant be moved to the users, but how much %age of freight is mine output as against other goods?

It goes back to the original Confederation in 1867 Chris. Tariffs and taxes were set up to encourage manufacturing in the "old" provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and agriculture in the Maritimes and the "new" provinces on the prairies. This has gradually been reduced over the years, but the manufacturing base remains mostly in the east, and the prairies export a sh*t load of everything agricultural. That freight in the picture in my post is probably prairie grains heading for BC ports, where it will get shipped on all over the Pacific (mostly China and Japan). Alot of the grain traffic runs in government owned cars, over private rail lines.

The trains have shifted to bulk goods over the last few decades, but that is more than just mine output. Today it includes processed food (cans and frozen meat for example), wheat, corn and forestry products, and most recently crude oil. Crude oil shipments by rail in North America have grown by at least 20% per year for the last 5 years. CN and CP just love it when the Yanks can't agree on building new pipelines.

A large amount of imports from overseas arrives in containers on the coast nowadays, and then moves by train to the population centres. I live in one of the most densely populated parts of the country, and we are at least 1,500 miles from the nearest salt water port. Container trains are generally "fast freights" because of the high dollar value of the contents (TVs, cell phones, etc.). They are usually relatively short, but have lots of horsepower on front for fast acceleration. They get priority over just about everything, including passenger trains.
4) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The train thread (Message 1668440)
Posted 5 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Just to add to Bernie's comments, in the two smallish freight yards in my home town it is quite common to see even the yard shifters working in pairs. We used to have a lot of cow and calf combos 20 years ago,but they are disappearing.

Out west, through the mountains, you can regularly see long freights with upwards of 20,000 horsepower attached.
5) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Have you been to the library, recently? (Message 1663942)
Posted 17 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
two tips, on extras that many libraries offer:

1) Free passes to musical/museum events.

2) Undesired (i.e., low-volume check-out by patrons) CD's, and books.
Many are really good; it's amazing what others don't like that appeal
to yours truly. These items are yours, to keep.

I get both of those, through my wife's membership in a volunteer group that runs the Library book store. They sell the surplus collection, plus people's donations, to raise funds for the library. As a volunteer, my wife gets first dibs on new stock, and a 50% discount. This means LPs for 25 cents each, and hardcover books for 50 cents each!

One of the things they do with the funds is sponser several concerts a year in a great music facility attached to the downtown main branch. A wide range of music, I go to the classical and the jazz shows.
6) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Beet's give us a caption #60 (Message 1663910)
Posted 17 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
You can always lead a horse to water, but if you can get it to dress like this you have a real talent.
7) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Have you been to the library, recently? (Message 1663904)
Posted 17 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
I get many books from our library as e-books, but a lot of the obscure old non-fiction that interests me is only available on paper, so I'm a regular at the local branch. I do use their on-line catalog a lot before I go. I'm also signed up at the local university engineering library, again for obscure old stuff.

Even when the obscure stuff goes electronic, I will probably still be down there for CDs. A great way to try out new artists before investing in a hi-rez download.

And yes, we use self check out at the city library. Haven't noticed a drop in staff numbers, but have noticed staff have more time to help me find books.

And Chris, the "thrill of the hunt" is still there with e-books. And some of the e-books offer stuff just not available in paper. I'm currently reading the 1913 Jane's All The World's Aircraft at home, thanks to Gutenberg Press. I don't think many of you can check that one out of your local branch.
8) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The train thread (Message 1662101)
Posted 21 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Some of those PVs belong to the railroad, and are used for VIP travel, and sometimes are rented out.

My son goes to a big software users group convention in Montreal every spring, and his local chapter rents a private car that picks up people starting in Windsor and making several stops on the way east. It is hung on the end of a regular Via Rail train.
9) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Plane Thread (Message 1660052)
Posted 27 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
FAA regulations still don't trump the laws of physics. I'll believe a small low cost VTOL airplane when I see one.
10) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Plane Thread (Message 1660003)
Posted 27 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
Aviation has a 100% completion rate. We haven't left one up there yet.

Another old saying from the industry: Take offs are optional, landings are mandatory.
11) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Plane Thread (Message 1658821)
Posted 29 days ago by Profile Bill Walker
You are still far more likely to die in an automobile crash every time you get in to a car than to die in an airliner crash every time you get on an airliner. The papers makes a big deal about airline crashes because they are rare. Here in Canada automobile deaths, if they get mentioned in the press at all, get a weekly summary buried back in Section B of the paper.

My first flight was in an RCAF Dakota, at the age of about 3 months. Don't remember many details ;). Started flying lessons with my father in 1966 at age 14, but didn't bother to get a licence until 1976. Flying regularly on military scheduled flights and commercial airlines since I was born, and as flight test crew since 1976. Have to say commercial flying has really gone down hill in the last few decades, and I dread most comercial flights these days. Not because of fear of crashing, but because of cramped seats, delays, and long line ups.

Janne, I think your girl friend was talking about clear air turbulence. It does happen, but is rarely a safety issue, more of a comfort issue. I strongly recommend keeping your seat belt fastened whenever you are sitting down in an airliner, and always being ready for unexpected movement when you are walking around in an airliner. That should keep you safe.
12) Message boards : Politics : Close the Politics Forum? (Message 1658360)
Posted 28 Mar 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Sure, things get heated, but whats wrong with a little passion?

Nothing wrong, if it relates to S@H. Otherwise it duplicates other venues that provide this service for those who need it. Why should the overworked and underfunded staff at S@H have to put up with this?
13) Message boards : Politics : Close the Politics Forum? (Message 1658359)
Posted 28 Mar 2015 by Profile Bill Walker

... and if we do close it, all those conversations that make you despair will end up happening in number crunching and the Cafe.

Just think of this forum like a quarantine zone.

Not if the moderators keep the other Forums on topic and within scope. Lots of other specialty Forums do this quite nicely.

I repeat - there are existing venues for political axe grinding. Those that enjoy that sort of stuff can probably find them very easily. This set of Forums should remain true to S@H.
14) Message boards : Politics : Close the Politics Forum? (Message 1658349)
Posted 28 Mar 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
I agree with Chris. There are lots of other Internet forums for the lunatic fringe.

Number Crunching and the Cafe do promote a sense of community. This forum only serves to make me despair for humanity.
15) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Transportation safety 2 (Message 1657669)
Posted 27 Mar 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
I still think that a captain should have a "root" password able to open any door in any circumstance. Imagine a hostess fighting a madman.

Many of the door locks are simple deadbolts, maybe with a locking solenoid. You are talking about a major expense to enable passwords.
16) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Numismatics R Us (Message 1657009)
Posted 26 Mar 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
And, like the old Canadian bills, they have inspired the folk artists.

17) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Numismatics R Us (Message 1657008)
Posted 26 Mar 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Canadian plastic bills are great. Cheap to make, hard to counterfit, and (in theory) a long life that should lower average costs.

18) Message boards : Politics : Iran and it's mock destruction of a US nuclear carrier (Message 1656694)
Posted 25 Mar 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
There was some discussion on other Forums that the whole exercise was for a movie.
19) Message boards : Cafe SETI : It's now the time to be extra careful in Aussieland. (Message 1656164)
Posted 23 Mar 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Ha. The doubled fanged snow snake is for sissies. It is the triple fanged you have to look out for.
20) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Mysterious Miscellaneous Tool Time V6 (Message 1655509)
Posted 21 Mar 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
For die cutting shapes out of paper?

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