Posts by Bill Walker


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21) Message boards : Cafe SETI : odd music covers (Message 1767402)
Posted 25 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
A Canadian act.
22) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Raccoon Update XXIII - All Are Welcome In The Critter Cafe (Message 1767058)
Posted 23 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
How soon until all the raccoons stupid enough to walk into traps get caught and eliminated from the gene pool, and there are nothing but smart raccoons left in NYC to have babies.

Trapping the dumb ones only makes the population, as a whole, smarter...


A few Canadian scientists are saying exactly that about Toronto urban raccoons. They predict they are evolving fast enough that they will become a distinct species within a century or two.
23) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Pancakes (Message 1767045)
Posted 23 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
I just saw something about making maple syrup on TV a couple
of days ago. They said it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make
one gallon of maple syrup.

That might explain why it's so expensive.


That sounds more like litres, not gallons. The watery stuff they make in Ontario takes about 10 gallons (30 litres), while the real stuff from Quebec takes a bit more. Of course, if you want maple sugar, you start with about 10 gallons of syrup to make two gallons of sugar.



In any case, it still takes a long time, and a lot of trees to even get 10 litres of sap. That's a big part of why it is so expensive.
24) Message boards : Cafe SETI : When you were just a young setibrat, what kind of music did your family listen to on your radio/stereo/music player? (Message 1764339)
Posted 12 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
I'm with you Bob. There are still some classical pieces that I can't listen to without thinking of Bugs and Elmer. "Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit...".
25) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1764223)
Posted 12 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
At the risk of going off topic: Canadian prairie greenness is very variable. Even acres of grain have a few weeks of green in the spring, and even at the height of July and August you can find pockets of green amongst the wheat fields, if you know the local water flow.





As for the roads, the better used gravel roads are truly all season, with good drainage. In that picture several posts up of the CP and BNSF locos, you can tell it was shot in the US because it shows a paved road without ditches. Just wouldn't happen in Canada.

26) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1764188)
Posted 12 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
A couple of tracks that were still working 35 years ago are just scars on the landscape now and the occasional "odd" road name like Railway Ave in Jenner.


Tracks are being pulled up and sold for scrap across Canada on a regular basis these days. As long as the roads are in place, the small towns will remain, although some get smaller. Even the Prairie Skyscrapers get pulled down.

27) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1764174)
Posted 11 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
In other words the whole freight shebang is run on a shoestring.



I spent some time in Canada - Alberta, out there they have or had single track lines that are only used for a very short period every year, just to collect grain after the harvest and maybe the odd train for cattle.

These lines were probably built before roads, most roads out in the sticks in this area are gravel not tarmac.

Just had a look on google maps satellite, looks like I am out of date the metals are missing.


Yeah, in the west especially the railroads pre-dated public roads. 100+ years ago everything in and out of these towns moved by train. A lot of these lines are now abandoned, or only used seasonally, as you said. For the low volumes in and out of a small agricultural town, trucks are fine. the trains that are left only move large amounts: ore out of mines, cars by the hundreds out of huge factories, etc.

There are a few modern ghost towns in western Canada, that resulted from the tracks being closed before the roads were developed in that local area. Some of them were abandoned only 60 or 70 years ago.

28) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1764142)
Posted 11 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker

In other words the whole freight shebang is run on a shoestring.


Maybe this is just playing with words, but if you define "on a shoestring" as not spending more money than you need to make money, then yes. Anything else would literally be criminal with a public traded company. The shareholders would probably give you the boot before the trade regulators caught up with you.

Most freight derailments, especially on side lines, don't result in more damage than a truck blowing a tire, and therefore get about the same news coverage. If it doesn't bleed, it doesn't lead.

I guess in a perfectly run country you wouldn't have derailments, like this one at Langworth in July 2015, or Wyndmonham in October 2015, or Dundee in September 2015, or...

I suspect these make the news in the UK because the are more likely to interrupt passenger services than a similar accident in North America. If you derail a train on the spur leading into The Acme Box factory in Gopher Gulch, it may be big news in Gopher Gultch, but nobody else really cares.
29) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1764100)
Posted 11 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker

In which case that could infer low freight charges due to very minimal track maintenance.


What is does mean is a different definition of "minimum maintenance" depending on what travels on the track. Some of the freight spurs around here look pretty rough, but a boxcar full of stuff doesn't mind moving slowly and the occasional bump. Here is a picture from New Brunswick in 2003. Spending more money on track maintenance here wouldn't earn the rail road an extra penny.



The dedicated Go Train tracks around Toronto, on the other hand, are very well maintained. The customer wants a fast, smooth ride, or they will go elsewhere. You can regularly see lots of expensive work being done on the commuter rails. Here is a November 2015 shot, showing the main east-west line going past the Go maintenance yard in east Toronto. The construction on the left is an expansion of the yard, to include more storage track and engine workshops.

30) Message boards : Cafe SETI : When you were just a young setibrat, what kind of music did your family listen to on your radio/stereo/music player? (Message 1764071)
Posted 11 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
I was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of music. My mother's family were almost all musical, and I have great memories of family sing alongs featuring several guitars, a fiddle and sometimes an accordion. My parents had a large 78 collection, a lot of western swing, 50s pop, and of course bag pipes (my father started his military career in a highland regiment). We listened to a lot of CBC radio, and that is where I discovered classical and jazz.

I started collecting 45s and LPs at about age 12. Beatles, Dave Clark 5, Donovan. When the 60s got into full swing I discovered "folk" as they then called it. Byrds, Dylan, Joni Mitchell. Plus a few obscure ones, like the Holy Modal Rounders and Spider John. I still have a few albums I bought in the 1960s.

All this led to my current obsession with music. I'm getting into high rez on my computer, played back through a Dragonfly DAC into the full stereo rig. These are great times for a music lover.
31) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1764057)
Posted 11 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Just beats me why they don't spend more money on manufacturing goods locally.


Part of the answer is economy of scale in the manufacturing plants. Unit costs of an item made in one large factory will be less than the unit costs from multiple small factories. The difference can be more than enough to pay for freight. The really big companies do have multiple manufacturing facilities, but each has to be of a size that makes economic sense. So, you still have goods and raw materials being shipped around.

Why does CN & CP own track in someone elses country? Does the US own Canadian track? If so why?


CN and CP are historically Canadian, but have really become multi-national. Under North American Free Trade this is happening more and more with most large companies. Again, it is economies of scale. After you merge Canadian, US, and Mexican companies to be competitive, it is more coincidence than nationalism that determines what the name is, and where the head office ends up.
32) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1763971)
Posted 11 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
You know Chris, if somebody asked me for typical colours of North American rail, I would have picked red and orange, not grey.

33) Message boards : Cafe SETI : What are you listening to? (Message 1762932)
Posted 6 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Hayden's baryton trios.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP613tBAa6Q
34) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Pancakes (Message 1762740)
Posted 6 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
How can you possibly eat a pancake with anything other than maple syrup on it? It boggles the mind.

35) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Raccoon Update XXIII - All Are Welcome In The Critter Cafe (Message 1761731)
Posted 3 Feb 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Early Spring?


Maybe in the States, but things are not so clear Up North.
36) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Ad slogans and jingles (Message 1761020)
Posted 31 Jan 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Its amazing how the tunes and the words stick in your mind after many decades. No idea what ESSO makes that would make my mouth water, but here is one for the Canucks. What product was it that you needed "one at noon, one at night, and one along the way"?
37) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Mysterious Miscellaneous Tool Time V7 (Message 1759363)
Posted 26 Jan 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
For bending metal tubes?
38) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Raccoon Update XXIII - All Are Welcome In The Critter Cafe (Message 1758173)
Posted 22 Jan 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Once again, confusion caused by different uses of the English language. I used to believe that "Brits drink their beer at room temperature" line, until I spent a few nights in UK hotels. I now know that what a Brit calls "room temperature" is the same as what a Canuck calls "fresh out of the fridge".
39) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Raccoon Update XXIII - All Are Welcome In The Critter Cafe (Message 1757532)
Posted 20 Jan 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Our back yard blue jays prefer peanuts in the shell over shelled. They will struggle to get the peanuts in the shell out of a wire ring holder we use, and not go for the shelled peanuts in the nearby tray until the ring is empty. (Not my photo, but that is the kind of ring holder we have.)

40) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Mysterious Miscellaneous Tool Time V7 (Message 1757459)
Posted 19 Jan 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Very interesting Carlos. Probably wouldn't fit in most small planes. Here is what I'm used to.



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