Posts by Bill Walker

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21) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1790548)
Posted 26 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
I have noticed over the last few years that both CN and CP are taking better care of their older equipment. You see old equipment like this, but you don't see old rusty, dirty equipment with the paint flaking off very much any more.

The smaller Canadian lines are another matter, however. This is Ontario Northland from last fall, at Thunder Bay.
22) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1790538)
Posted 26 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
For all you Californians who wonder where your margarine comes from. A train load of canola seed out of Saskatchewan, bound for the BNSF at Vancouver and then on to California. Canada feeds the world.

23) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Happy Birthday to Angela! (Message 1790430)
Posted 26 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Happy day after your birthday Ms. Korpela.
24) Message boards : Cafe SETI : 78's (Message 1786878)
Posted 12 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Just junked about 20 or so of my parents 78s, with some sadness. They had a much larger collection, but several moves wore it down. I looked into selling them, but there are very few collectable 78s these days, and my parents tastes didn't measure up. The few American pop recordings they had (like a teenage Doris Day) have so flooded the market that several web sites that buy and sell 78s have them on their list of "don't bother" artists.

My father had a lot of bag pipe music, and a few, from one particular label, were slightly collectable. If I paid $4 each to ship them to the UK, a dealer there would pay me $3 for each of them.

I looked into adding a 78 player to the sound system, but we are trying to downsize now (empty nesters) and I just couldn't justify the money or the space to play 20 albums. And I collect enough junk already, didn't want to start buying more 78s. I had trimmed my LP collection down to about 400, and then discovered some local places that sell old jazz LPs, and that number is creeping up.;)
25) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1786818)
Posted 11 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Thanks for that Bernie.
26) Message boards : Cafe SETI : What If... (Message 1786817)
Posted 11 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
James, I was about to tell Sarge sorry, I don't remember, so thanks from both of us.

Crunchy, my theory is that eventually, the universe will stop expanding and start shrinking again, which will finally result in all the matter slamming back together into one microscopic dot again, the force of which action will cause it to explode out all over again in another Big Bang. It then follows that there is no reason to assume that we are currently in the first iteration of this phenomenon.

Or as Douglas Adams put it, there is a theory that if anyone ever finds out what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced with something even more bizarrely inexplicable. There is another theory that this has already happened.

That was the belief a few years ago, but according to people who know much more about these things than I do it appears that dark matter and dark energy have screwed up that calculation, and the rate of expansion may actually be increasing. That means we end with a cold dark whimper, not another bang.

Relying on these same bright people, the current thinking is that the big bang could have happened from nothing, based on current interpretations of quantum theory. It also follows that big bangs can be occurring over and over, in other dimensions. So, we are probably not the first or the last, but are not part of any continuing cycle.
27) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Canada Fire (Message 1786772)
Posted 11 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
I have a Calgary friend who has told me some politics are involved and I can't quote him here because it would be moderated. Seriously.

No doubt, it gots to be politics.
From 1971 till 2015, 44 years, the Progressive Conservative Party ruled in Alberta, till the NDP (Canadian socialists) won to form a majority government.
There will be no end to the political machinations, and grumbling, for years to come.
For a lot of people Whining is their default setting.
Maybe your friend shouldn't listen to them?

Do people really believe the trees and bushes paid attention to who was in power? Until somebody shows me an untouched photo of an elected Member of Parliament lighting the fire, these articles are unworthy of discussion.

BTW, some of these articles are from the same blogs and e-magazines that blame the current Alberta government for causing the world collapse of oil prices that occurred several months before the party was elected. Logic and serious thinking is clearly lacking.

If you want to find a human link, blame global climate change. Rising temperatures and changing moisture patterns are changing how the fire behave, but the fires have been there since the end of the last ice age, maybe even earlier. Another human change is the spread of cities and towns into what used to wilderness. There have been fires this large in northern Alberta in the past, they just never ran into significant human presence before they burned themselves out.

BTW, if we blame climate change and the spread of urbanization, who carries the most blame: the current party (in for 9 months) or the previous party (in for 41 years before that)?
28) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1786769)
Posted 11 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Another of those long North American trains. This was a scheduled run in rural BC in 2014, not sure if the service still operates.

29) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Favorite trees (Message 1785335)
Posted 7 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Don't know where you are Gordon, but at my latitude the blue spruce grow very slowly. The big one in some recent pictures here would be about 50 years old here in southern Ontario.
30) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Transportation Safety 3 (Message 1784823)
Posted 4 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
I'd think dispatching some backhoes to lower the road might be a better response.

We have a low height underpass down town here, that gets hit several times a year. The city looked into the backhoe option, but it would include lowering a water main and a storm sewer, plus changing the drainage for several blocks around. Not a small job. The railroad, of course, is not too willing to pay for any of this, the charter they got in 1857 limits their liability. The railroad has installed sacrificial barriers on each side, and that is what gets hit.

Here is a recent picture of the fun and games.

31) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Favorite trees (Message 1784192)
Posted 2 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Has to be a maple, eh. Any kind, but I'm particularly fond of the red ones.

32) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Don't know where it should go? Stick it here! Part III (Message 1783863)
Posted 1 May 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Boom? Really? Please.

I love it!
33) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Raccoon Update XXIII - All Are Welcome In The Critter Cafe (Message 1783348)
Posted 29 Apr 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
Mister W!!!

I'll have you know that my beautiful, gentle, sweet and charming little woodland friends DO NOT have "filthy little paws"!!! They have frequently washed, perfect little pristine paws!!!

Based on what they leave on the ground next to my garbage cans, they had filthy little paws for at least part of the time.
34) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1782734)
Posted 27 Apr 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
My thought was that it would make an interesting jigsaw puzzle.
35) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Raccoon Update XXIII - All Are Welcome In The Critter Cafe (Message 1782731)
Posted 27 Apr 2016 by Profile Bill Walker

Strategically placed bungee cords = problem solved

Yes and no. The local raccoons figured out bungee cords several years ago. They can't undo them, but they can knock the can on its side (placing garbage up against the lid), and then stretch the cord enough to get their filthy little paws into the can. Took me a while to figure this out, as what you find in the morning is a can on its side, bungees and lid intact, with chewed garbage all around. It takes a combination of locking handles and bungees to defeat them now, and even then I need to get a new brand of locking handles every few years, as they figure these out eventually.
36) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1782727)
Posted 27 Apr 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
All this grey! It really is too much!

As a tonic, I offer a recent photo that shows North American colour, North American long trains, and North American spring weather this year. Picture taken today in eastern Ontario.

37) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Anyone┬┤s leaving the project ? (Message 1779287)
Posted 15 Apr 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
I agree. The points awarded for S@H are outrageous. Everybody should leave the project as a sign of their disgust.

Then I might finally get a Greenbank WU...
38) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1776652)
Posted 6 Apr 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
I think the issue in North America is the large number of uncontrolled crossings, mostly rural with very light vehicle traffic. This accident was on a Class 1 line, with 25+ trains a day, a lot of Class 2 lines see one or two trains a week.

According to Wikipedia (I know) Canada and the US total about 267,000 miles of track. Germany, France, Italy, UK and Spain total 130,000 miles.
39) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1776467)
Posted 6 Apr 2016 by Profile Bill Walker

This is about an hour from my house, and I've driven the crossing a few times. Flashing lights and buckboards, but no barrier. The land is dead flat, with good visibility of trains from both directions. Initial reports are that lights were working, train was doing about 60 mph. Kind of amazed this could happen at this location. The road was probably slippery, from snow the previous night, remains to be seen if this was a factor.
40) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1776027)
Posted 3 Apr 2016 by Profile Bill Walker
While looking for something else, stumbled on some video of a track cleaner in New Jersey.

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