Openscad vs. Solidworks

I’m familiar with two 3d modeling programs; openscad (pronounced open-skad by the truely enlightened, and open-ess-cad by the technically correct) and solidworks. In openscad, one constructs 3d models programmatically, by typing in structured text functions to define shapes and extrusions and using loops for repeated features. This makes for fast and easy 3d modeling of simple structures. The same can be accomplished in solidworks, but the shapes are defined by cuts and extrusions of sketches which are graphically drawn on defined planes. This can also be quite fast.

Overall, If all one needs is a 3d model or stl file, I would recommend openscad in cases where all of the model is easily referenced to the origin, and I would recommend Solidworks for all cases in which the features are more easily defined based upon each other’s surfaces, especially when those may need to be adjusted later and the changes need to be carried through to all connected bodies.

If one needs to create drawings from the models, Solidworks is the clear choice, with easy dimensioning, automatic section cutting, and external views, it is a huge help for mechanical drawing generation.

Dream Distro: Xen Debian Wrapped Windows (DubDubOS?)

There are a lot of linux distributions and I’ve used and tried out many of them over the years. I started with ubunto, then I got into elementaryOS, then centOS, debian, qubes, and then back to debian. I’ve tried parrotOS, openSUSE, and tails, but never used any of those as a main system. My current favorite is debian with gnome due to speed and compatibility with a huge pool of precompiled software packages.

What I want to talk about here is what my dream linux distribution would be like. What I want is a system which grants access to all of the software of windows and debian. Qubes can do this, of course, but is more secure and less fast than what I’m after. What I’m looking for is a distribution that loads a xen hyperviser with a debian dom0 system and a single windows hvm. The distro installs xen and the debian dom0 with desktop flavor of the users choice, then sets up an HVM and prompts the user to load the windows install disk, and installs that.

The key to the distro is to control software packages to keep the virtual system from breaking, and to optimize memory and cpu use balancing to insure the best performance (though this is primarily a goal of the xen developers). The distro must provide fast and simple screen switching from dom0 debian to hvm windows, and permit maximal hardware usability in the hvm and dom0. Finally, the dom0 home directory should be shared to the hvm as a mountable drive. Does the HVM have to be Windows? No, but that should be the main goal of the project, as it is the greatest need of the user.

Watt Ave Might As Well Be The Wild West

A huge road, three lanes on both sides from I80 to 50, passing right through densely populated residential and commercial areas, Watt Ave sees heavy traffic every day with the high speed limits only controlled by traffic congestion.

In addition to all this, large sections of Watt have no lighting (where it passes through residential areas) and the road largely lacks surveillance.

Given the recent eggy attack on my person from a moving vehicle, it’s obvious that having the high speed limit road running next to pedestrian walkway poses a potentially lethal risk to pedestrians. I’m in favor, therefore, of reducing the maximum speed limit to 30 mph on Watt from 50 to I80 and installing roadway surveillance with license plate capture around the intersections, or, alternatively, installing protective barricades between the road and walkways.

Sulfur hexaflouride is the news.

SF6 is known in the utility industry as a dielectric material, but what is meant by that is that it is a material that can withstand high electric fields. Air can withstand electric fields around 30kV/cm, with some variance due to humidity and pollution, and SF6 can withstand 3 times that. Another common dielectric media in the high voltage industry is mineral oil which has a dielectric strength of up to 5 times that of air.

SF6 is mainly used in circuit breakers and gas insulated substations. SF6 permits these devices to be much smaller and lighter. Air insulated high voltage circuit breakers are theoretically possible, but would be massive and would perform differently depending upon weather conditions. Mineral oil circuit breakers were commonly installed before the invention of SF6 breakers, but these devices had to be large and heavy (10-20 times heavier than their SF6 counterparts), and had to contain a lot of heavy flammable oil. These characteristics that I’m describing are for dead tank circuit breakers, which have an outer shell that is grounded. Circuit breakers can also be “live tank” which permits a much lighter design. These are more difficult to maintain and require separate current transformer instruments which add more cost, but are not nearly as much as the difference between a live tank oil breaker and a dead tank oil breaker.

Gas insulated substations have all of the equipment of an air insulated substation but can be built much smaller in areas like cities that don’t have the necessary clearances for an open air station. Something similar to GIS can be done with mineral oil, but the weight, and therefore the necessary structural strength and cost increase by large factors.

In theory, it is possible to start to move away from SF6 technologies and return to mineral oil, but replacement of all of the currently in service SF6 devices would take decades and cost hundreds of millions to billions of dollars. The most cost effective method would be to use live tank oil circuit breakers, which would require less improvements to civil works like foundations and would require the least additional oil containment and fire wall additions. The problem is that this technology is not really being built anymore, as the industry has moved to the more efficient SF6 devices.

If one wanted to go with something new, nitrogen gas insulation is a reasonable alternative, Nitrogen is only a little stronger than air as a dielectric, but if it is in an enclosed tank with high purity, then none of the variances that would occur in open air would need to be accounted for and a reasonably sized design, but still much larger and more expensive than SF6, could be developed.

Dear my kind of people:

We have been attacked by strangers in ways which have no reasonable explanation from our own actions, as many people have. Naturally, we interpret these attacks to be acts of psychosis or intentional evil, and we treat the perpetrators according to their actions.

We may consider that these attacks could be a result of twisted versions of our history, some kind of slander, but we cannot, in a stranger, tell if they are attacking because they have been manipulated by slander or because they are insane, or are otherwise motivated for evil.

My friends, we treat people with kindness and respect by default. That applies to everyone we meet. Any conflicts which arise between us and other people are entirely a result of unprovoked attacks from them against us or others, but aggressors will never know that if they approach the problem of finding the truth by attacking us. What’s more, it is our preference to avoid conflict, so we do not seek out these sorts of conflicts nor try to exacerbate or prolong them.

We just can’t help people that demonstrate themselves to be evil to us, and it doesn’t make sense for us to have to explain that part of it. There is no logical reason for us to have to say this, or for people to not treat other people as if they all also believe this same thing. It’s basic humaning, and it’s also the golden rule if you’re into that sort of thing.

Free MRI’s for everyone? How could that work?

A former coworker once told me that he used to work for a medical machine manufacturer and that he believed that everyone should have access to MRI’s.

So I asked him, how is that supposed to work? Do you know how to make MRI machines?

He replied that he didn’t.

So I said that if only some people know how to make MRI machines, and everyone has to have access to MRI machines then those people who know how to make MRI machines would either have to make more MRI machines, even if they don’t want to, or would have to teach others to make MRI machines, even if they don’t want to.

Therefore, no matter how it is implemented, giving everyone gauranteed access to MRI’s results in the use of government force to require that certain people (very smart and talented people, mind you) are doing something regardless of what they want.

How could that not be evil?

So I told him that if he or anyone else wanted to give people access to MRI’s, then the non-evil way to do it is to design your own MRI or buy someone else’s design with your own or charitably raised money, and then give people access to your MRI’s machines. That way, no one has to be forced to do anything that they don’t want to do.

In order to effectively create something.

In order to effectively create something new and with a significant level of complexity, one must have time in which one is entirely free from distraction. This time is necessary to allow one to properly focus on the task of creation. Thus, if one works in any sort of technical support or on call capacity, then there may be no possibility of effective creation at work, because the two tasks are exclusive.

Therefore, if working in such a capacity, then effective creation must be done when one is not “on call.” Which, in such a situation, is necessarily one’s free time. Of course, what one creates in their free time with their own resources should belong to that one, provided it does not utilize proprietary information or intellectual property belonging to others. Agreements may stilulate otherwise, but if the situation is I have described, than those agreements are parasitic and an evil to the creator.

I’d offered to create several things for my most recent employer, which would involve them giving me the necessary distraction free time and resources to do the work and would have entitled them to ownership, but my offers were refused. I decided that this was a mistake on behalf of my late employers, and I have taken all necessary steps to correct it, which has involved my leaving the company to insure my ownership of my work.

Digital Tool Charities

People make free software and host free services that can range from mildly interesting to incredibly useful. Many of the offerings in the incredibly useful category require a corresponding amount of effort or investment, and it is right and good to support those efforts and investments with charitable donations should one find those offerings to be of incredible utility.

I for one, have found the following to be conspicuously excellent:





Ultracap Supported UPS in Substations

In the design of battery back up systems for the protection and communication systems of bulk transmission substations, a large contributor to the capacity of the battery required and thus the cost is the requirement that the battery has to be able to not only keep the equipment powered up for the full duration of a loss of AC service, but also has to be able to supply a large momentary load near the end of its designed service time representing a major protection event such as a bus fault followed by a breaker failure during which time the battery must supply high currents to breaker trip coils. This big current draw near when the battery is discharged is really tough on all types of battery systems, and designing for it leads to larger, more expensive battery systems.

There is an alternative, however. This alternative is a combined battery and ultracapacitor UPS. Ultracapacitors can deliver large short term load currents at any time without damage to their longevity and without requiring any additional maintenance, and if working in parallel with a battery, they will reduce the peak current drawn from the battery (because the source impedance of the ultracaps is considerably less), and then will draw current from the battery to recharge over a longer period of time. But the Ultracaps need not be simply connected in parallel for substation protection systems. Rather, they can be charged when the system is at nominal voltage and switched in by protection relays at the time when protection events actually occur which provides the perfect power at the perfect moment. Such a system would therefore separate the continuous load required to keep IEDs and SCADA systems online from the momentary load of protection events, which means smaller, cheaper batteries.

Income disparity and Laissez Faire Capitalism

First of all, income disparity is not in itself a problem for society to deal with unless it involves some other forms of crime and violations of rights. Individuals can and typically should try to make as much money as they can without doing things that will reasonably result in loss of their enjoyment of life (like crimes and violating the rights of others.).

But it is reasonable to wonder as a share holder or owner of a company how one person’s time could possibly be worth 1,000 dollars per hour while most other capable people’s time is worth 20 dollars per hour. How can that one person, for instance, outperform a chief executive team of 25 engineers making 40 dollars per hour, or 50 skilled laborers making 20 dollars per hour? Maybe that one person can, but it won’t be by some extraordinary labor, skill, or reasoning ability. Instead, the reason for that outperformance will lie in some possession of that individual such as some key knowledge, or relationship, or some piece of property. As such, it would be reasonable for a group of shareholders or a private owner that no longer wishes to run the company to explore the replacement of CEO’s with CET’s in cases where a single CEO cannot outperform a CET, and it would be reasonable for a company to seek to purchase whatever asset the perspective single CEO has that would permit them to outperform a CET, rather than try to obtain its use indirectly by hiring the CEO at extreme price. One might think that this approach will inevitably result in unreasonably high salaries for members of a CET, but CET’s, unlike CEO’s, have time to train new members in house and under contract, which allows for continuity of talent for the company while preventing exploding costs to the owner/shareholders.