Archive for October, 2009

Southern Hockey

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Apparently college hockey isn’t any more popular in the South than the professional version.

University of Alabama-Huntsville is the only Division I men’s hockey team south of the Mason-Dixon line. They’re part of the College Hockey America conference, which is disbanding at the end of the season because all of the other teams have moved to other conferences. But nobody seems to want UAH. They’re a good team, but the travel time and expense is a killer.

I find this a little odd — Canisius, for example, is in Atlantic Hockey, and we’re playing against Air Force tomorrow. Is it really cheaper for them to fly in from Colorado Springs than it would be for someone to go to or from Huntsville?

Comparison

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Here’s a fun little chart I found on the intrawebs, sure to infuriate all the Apple fanbois out there:

Close To Home

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Because I’m a dirty, stinking liberal, I watch PBS.

There was an interesting episode of Frontline on earlier this week, entitled “Close To Home“. It was a documentary on how the current miserable economic climate has affected even the oases of affluence like the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Interesting stuff. The framing device was pretty neat, too — the producer just hung out in a hair salon and talked to the customers about their personal economies.

(To me, this means that she’s going to get a biased sampling of professionals claiming poverty who are either too proud or too stupid to get their hair cut somewhere cheap. But that’s probably my judgment because I’ve had to live poor before, while most of the people in this show clearly haven’t.)

My favorite moment is when one old hag is wailing plaintively in her chair that “This is the Upper East Side! This isn’t supposed to happen here!” Good stuff.

Anyway, it’s running in pretty heavy rotation on PBS and it’s also watchable via the link. Check it out if you’ve got an hour you’d like to fill with pathos.

Open Sourced Redwoods

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

In a truly stunning turn of events, Sequoia Voting Systems has agreed to open the source code for their latest generation of electronic voting machines. This means that independent auditors will be able to review the system for correctness and make sure that everything is on the level in the way that the vote counting is implemented.

To a novice, this may seem risky — after all, if the innards of the system are exposed, won’t that make it easier for someone malicious to find flaws and tamper with the system? But the fact is that having many reviewers makes it more secure. Look at the official government encryption standards for data — AES, the Advanced Encryption Standard, is thoroughly documented and can be downloaded in a dozen different implementations. But because it’s been thoroughly vetted by the best cryptanalysts in the world, it’s considered secure.

I’m very excited about this. Buffalo is going to be moving to the electronic voting machines next week, and if the other manufacturers follow suit, I might feel a little bit of faith that my vote is actually being counted properly the next time election season rolls around.

If You’re Going to San Francisco…Don’t.

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Looks like the infamous Bay Bridge may be closing a bit sooner than anticipated.

Articles like this reinforce my decision to move away from congested metropolitan areas, especially those near large bodies of water (NYC, Baltimore, DC) where a single bridge or tunnel problem can gridlock the entire town. Have fun with that commute, San Fran! 

Filthy hippies.

UB Master Plan

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The University at Buffalo announced its latest master plan yesterday, the first one in forty years. If everything works out as they hope, twenty years from now there will be three campuses instead of the current two-and-a-quarter, and massive upgrades to facilities across the board. The expected total cost is in the neighborhood of five billion dollars.

Finally, the horrible mistake of the 1970s might be rectified. That was when the school decided to build its new campus outside of Buffalo proper, taking thousands of students out of the city and into Amherst. With the proposed expansion of the downtown medical campus, this could be a real boost for the city’s economy.

Under Construction

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

In tribute to the final decommissioning of Geocities:

CoCollegeParkCenter3660webpageconstruction

Oh, the memories. The horrible, eyestrain-inducing memories.

Cooler Than The C6

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

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Sure, those Oakleys Kevin posted about yesterday were cool, but they’ve got nothing on Hugo’s television glasses. Perfect for the man who loves to bump into things while getting horrible eyestrain. No carbon fiber, though.

See these, and even more, at Life Magazine’s 30 Dumb Inventions.

4 Carburetors Carburating

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

One of the (few) Achilles heels of our race car, and Volvo Amazons in general, is the carburetor setup. The SU carburetors, sourced from drizzly old England, work well when properly tuned up, but can be somewhat of a bear to actually, you know, “tune up”. Especially now that they are 43 years old and have been lightly charred. Part availability is shrinking, and finding the proper jets and needles (especially for a somewhat hotted-up plant like the one I built for the last race) can be time-consuming and wallet-emptying.

Prior to the last race, my teamate Rob gave me an article about setting up motorcycle carbs to run on vintage European 4 bangers, to replace whatever antediluvian SU/ Zenith/ Guinness carburetors happen to be darkening one’s engine compartment. We went down to the motorcycle chop shop and picked up a set of Mikunis that looked promising- a 4 carb setup for a 1000 cc Yamaha crotch rocket. The bike these carbies came off of would have made somewhere in the 130 to 160 hp range, so they should flow plenty well for our tarted-up B20.

Last weekend, I welded up an intake manifold for them, and last night I hooked them up onto my B20-equipped Volvo (my daily driver) and cranked the engine. After a bit of fiddling, the engine actually idled, and throttle response was quick and strong. The fuel pump on the B20 seems to be providing too much pressure for the Mikunis- I finally got them to run pretty well simply gravity feeding them fuel out of a plastic jug- but a good pressure regulator should solve that problem. Since I was jug-running the engine, I couldn’t take it for a drive, but the engine seemed to crank and run smoother with the Mikunis than it ever had with the SUs. Throttle response was pretty astounding. I could zing the throttle wide open and the engine instantly responded. It even sounded a bit like a motorcycle.

Once I finish rigging up a throttle control and figure out the pressure problem, she should be ready for a test drive. And come race time, it will be a simple matter to transfer the setup over to the LeMons car.

I’ve enclosed some pictures. Try not to drool on your keyboards.

mikuni 001

mikuni 002

–VCH, Formerly SU, now _Mikuni_ master

Any press is good press.

Monday, October 26th, 2009

More expensive than any of Pitts cars.

Containing more carbon fiber that any of the bikes on this blog.

Sexier than Adam.

C Sixsunglasses-oakleyx-large

See what USA Today had to say about this.