Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Detachment

I just finished the audiobook for "The Detachment" by Barry Eisler. I bought it on a whim and have not read any of his other books. Luckily, I liked the book a lot. Enough that I then listened to one of the previous books from this series. I won't try to describe it much here, since I could not do it justice. If you're into not-so-rogue government assassin stories, then you'll probably enjoy it. It draws a lot from current political and economic turmoil and so makes the plot seem almost plausible.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ultimate Factories

A friend suggested I might enjoy the TV show "Ultimate Factories." I don't have cable, so I checked youtube and found many episodes posted there.

It's actually interesting. Even a bit addictive. But then it hit me. They weren't telling me about the factories. The shows are all about the things being made in the factories. I want to learn about the factories. I want to know about the robots they use. How many? Who makes them? How much do they cost? How many people does it take to maintain them? How much training do they have to have? How complicated is the factory floor? What are the working conditions like? What is the throughput? What considerations were made when designing that factory? What choices did the factory designers have? ... I could go on and on.

As it is, the show is just a long mesmerizing ad for the merchandise being assembled in that factory.

And now ... I have a strange desire to go buy a Bentley Mulsane.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Eagle Pass

Recently I drove the Eagle Pass 4wd trail west of Needles, CA.

It was an overcast windy morning, with a high of about 65F. The sun came out around noon. Got lost twice trying to find the start of the trail. I had to consult the google maps satellite images I'd brought with me in order to figure out which tiny dirt road I should turn onto from the pavement.

The trail isn't very difficult. It's mostly a 2. I can see where a few sections might be a 3 after a rain storm. The trail is also well signed with BLM route designation markers.

I did make one wrong turn along the way. There are some areas where drivers have ventured off the main trail and that's resulted in some side trails that have enough wear to be comparable to the main trail. After one such fork in the road, I noticed that all the tire tracks in the trail I was following had ended. The tracks indicated that previous drivers had turned around. My GPS confirmed that I was no longer on the correct trail. I also turned around.

Later, while driving some powerline roads, I found several that are on my maps and look good in the satellite images, but were way too disused to venture over them.