No music today. A short story from 1909. It’s not a perfect prediction by any means, but there are parts that… rhyme, a bit.
I recently read a post about preparedness that suggested candles for ease of storage and specifically tea lights for long burn times, and being to get them in bulk for not that much money. That much I agree with. That one should avoid paraffin wax I do not agree with. If you seek heat, certainly beeswax will burn hotter, but be careful of the hot wax. Where paraffin or soy waxes will be annoying, beeswax will cause burns.
In my experience, candles that seem to look alike do vary. I’ve tried some discount tapers that seemed to burn very fast indeed, and others not much more expensive that last much longer. The Walmart tapers, made in Vietnam, seem to be of the latter sort. Chinese manufacture? Hit and miss. Which wax burns fastest? Maybe see for yourself. I suspect given the same dimensions and the same wick size, that beeswax, soy wax, and paraffin wax all last about the same. The biggest factor is likely the wick size: bigger wick is bigger flame is more light – at the price of a faster burn.
In all cases, if you can put the candle into a lantern, and ideally hang the lantern up out the way, it will be safer. Note: safeR. Not the same as safe. It’s still fire, just less prone to falling over, or having Fluffy, Fido, or Junior knock it over. Or having something fall onto it. This is true of any flaming light source: If you can get the lamp or lantern hung up, away from critters and people, you have a bit less to worry about. That doesn’t mean you can ignore things. If nothing else, burning wick smells bad when the fuel runs too low.
A lantern hung up also means the flame can be above eye level and less apt to be a bit blinding, even by accident. A well made lantern will also reflect some upward light down and also outward and thus use the limited light more efficiently.
And while candles are nice in some ways – solid fuel, simple storage, ease of use (just remember to trim the wick lest they soot), they are but one light source and a rather dim one as things go. It’s good to have a few different ways to get light. Or heat. Or cook. Or… you get the idea.
The recent trip included a trip a larger liquor store, with a larger selection, than can be be found in $HOOTERVILLE. One item picked up was a bottle of Western Son gin. Western Son does vodka very well. They don’t settle 3 not even 5 distillations, but go to 10. The plain vodka is excellent – and not overpriced. The flavored vodkas seem true to the flavors claimed. We prefer the lime, but the others seem to be on-target. Though the prickly pear flavor can best and only be described as “It tastes PINK!”
Given the generally very good result with vodka, and gin being a particular flavor variation of vodka (the production is not as simple as adding flavor to the liquid vodka – it’s added during the distillation) it seemed that Western Son gin should be pretty good. Maybe not on the level of the really fancy high-end stuff, but more than serviceable and quite honest.
The list of botanicals is a reasonable one for gin, but the stand-out is the inclusion of cucumber. When tasted (I made a gin & tonic) it was the cucumber that was dominant. It seemed to swamp the other flavors, but maybe the tonic played a part as well in that. Cucumber is not that strange a thing for gin, after all Hendrick’s gin is cucumber-forward and has endured. I’ve not compared Hendricks and Western Son side by side (yet…) but even if Hendricks was a clear winner, Western Son is no loser. The quality is there, and the price point is excellent, at about half the price of Hendrick’s.
So, if you like Hendrick’s gin but the cost is a bit much, give Western Son gin a try. Your wallet will thank you – and so might your taste buds.
This weekend was spent out of town, and motel breakfasts are generally quite lacking. Thus breakfast was at Cracker Barrel, which has an “old time” theme, but it is just that, a theme. There is a bit of an industry to supply “old time” looking props to such places. Here is an example:
That chimney is about 9 inches tall, so one would expect a flat wick of 5/8 or maybe 7/8 inch width. Just possibly something as small as 3/8 inch, but certainly not a 1/8 inch round wick. Also, look at the ‘burner’ – air intake, what air intake? And while the picture can’t show it, the wick adjuster knob does nothing.
This is obviously a prop, though someone did pay enough attention to at least char or make appear charred, the top the wick. It would be no surprise at all if what liquid is in the font is actually water – cheap, and not a combustible substance. I do wonder how many realize the lamps cannot work, or least if properly fueled, would not work very well.
I forget if it was a Cracker Barrel or another restaurant with an old time theme that we visited some years ago now. They also had “oil” lamps – but while they kept the flame low, they were actually burning, and they were not electric look-alikes.
The HR (I know, I know, H… for me…) person can’t quite grasp the crossing-midnight thing, so my schedule is shown as 12:00-08:00 or such. Midnight to 8 AM. Though it’s never that. It’s 11 PM to 7 AM, or 10 PM to 6 AM. Very rarely it’s shifted even earlier still. No big deal. I can deal with it, and $BigBoss(es) only care that I show up and Do Stuff. And as long the Stuff gets Done, the timing I use is no great concern.
But timekeeping is a concern. Since the HR person can’t deal with the midnight crossing and does the schedule naively for simplicity, when I start “off schedule” (all the time) I cannot simply clock in. The automation doesn’t allow for deviation from the scheduled start time, or not by much. A minute or two, fine. An hour or more? Forget it. For that that there is a timesheet. Also for swapped shifts, those called in to cover a no-show or such, or when someone forgets to clock in properly. No big deal. I can do this.
Ah, but I cross midnight and this can cause confusion. So, for example, if I worked last night (I did not, I was enjoying not having to) I’d start at, say 10:00 PM June 03 and stop at 06:00 AM June 04. Simply wring 10:00-06:00 isn’t enough, and 10:00 PM – 06:00 AM should be, but isn’t quite. Adding the date as “June 03-04” is the cue that “Hey, this is a special case.” That this is helpful has been relayed to me a few times. Again, no big deal. I started do that some time ago, figuring it would be helpful for that very reason. Except once, late last month… when someone tried to be helpful.
It was the night of the 20th to 21st or maybe 21st to 22nd. And someone signing in on the next shift figured the second day/date was really the year and helpfully corrected it to ’23’. As this meant a shift from 10 PM on the 21st to 6 AM on the 23rd which would be 2+24+6=32 hours Or 40 hours had the start been on the 20th), it was caught right away. I was told that the reason for my ‘strange’ entry was explained, so hopefully there will not a similar “correction” in the future.
Not everyone who can get a driver’s license can legally vote – even if illegal aliens were properly excluded from getting such licenses. Even legal aliens, who specifically said they should not be registered to vote, have ended up on the voter rolls. And that’s the honest, responsible ones.
Foreign Interference? How Non-Citizens Are Voting in American Elections
Yeah, the official name is National Voter Registration Act. It might as well be called the Enshrine Election Fraud Act. But that would be honest, and it’s all about dishonesty.
Well, there’s a sentence not heard in the average household, I suspect.
Here’s the radiation counter, slowly ticking the general background:
And with the included test card. It’s a source, but NOT for calibration. It’s for “Is this thing working?”
And, yep, it’s working. The source is emitting and the counter is clicking away much faster.
The label of the test card:
It doesn’t say what the source actually is. Looking around, the manufacturer replied to that question with the answer that it was indeed a uranium (ore) compound. Someone suggested it might be carnotite. Though it might well be urania (aka yellowcake) of which the manufacturer also carries samples. Uranium emits alpha particles (helium nuclei – which are likely blocked by the epoxy holding the powder, and certainly by the plastic ‘case’), some beta particles (electrons) and a very few gamma rays.
The counter doesn’t just click. At 0.65 uSv/h (micro Sieverts per hour) or about 100 counts per minute, it beeps once a second as a warning. At least that’s the default, I haven’t dug into the documentation yet.
After the recent stuff about illumination by fire, it’s time for a bit of Spike Jones and his… unique… take on the “torch song” of My Old Flame:
Note that last line. He uses something flammable, rather than merely combustible.
Yesterday morning I got a surprise notice that this site had suddenly had 440 hourly views… when the usual number was… 0. A bit later, another notice appeared telling me of 762 hourly views… when the normal number was… 0. Well, 0 might be a bit depressed, but not far wrong. I figure I am doing well if I get into the double digits per day – and that includes my own looking around at things.
Either someone “popular” (at least by comparison, which could be almost anyone) linked something, or there was some sort of weird attack going on. Eventually someone faster than ox explained that Sarah Hoyt had linked a post about the Ellipse lamps on Instapundit. (Hello Insta-folks, if you’re still about!). Start with this:
Q: What did socialists use before candles?
But upgrade the candlepower to kerosene lamps. Amusing, yes. Right, well, only sort of.
Kerosene was one of the precursor light sources to electricity – and existed (exists!) alongside for some time in many places. Kerosene is, however, one of those ‘terrible’ petrochemicals (rather an assortment of such, really) and in the current nonsense, apt to be curtailed, or at least made even more expensive, if fruitcakes get their way.
So what to do? Candles? Paraffin is a also a petroleum product – and the bees can only make so much wax, for the “sustainable” alternative. Olive/cooking oil lamps go back a long way, and those are also “sustainable.” As mentioned and shown here, even corn oil can be lit and give light. The lamp has to be different for that, and we’re back down to single candlepower as well.
Costs? Well, the absolute cheapest light is… sunlight. Roll up the shades, open the blinds, or step outside and enjoy real solar – and fusion! The next best is, believe it or not, pretty much ANY grid-connected source. LED, fluorescent, even the old non-halogen incandescent lamps beat almost everything else if grid-powered. We know this, as history went that way. Inexpensive. Convenient. SAFE.
After that? Still electric. Maybe rechargeable cells, maybe dry cells. And how to recharge is open.
Light by flame is quaint, maybe even charming in cases, but hardly efficient in fuel or cost. It does have one thing going for it, however: it works. And that’s why it was used. It took a long time to get something better. Not because light-by-flame is that great, but because working out electricity and electric lighting took that dang long!
Will something better come along? It seems likely. Science fiction no doubt has many wonderful ideas that have not (or even cannot) come to fruition. One is the idea of “slow glass” – light enters it and slows WAY down… to emerge some time later. We don’t have “slow glass” but it would be a great night-time light source to simply delay a bit of the day’s light for a few hours.
In the meantime? It’s good have all sorts of ways to do things. No need to be an expert at any of them. Just know enough to do things safely, and you’re pretty much set, whatever it might be.
Will things come to needing alternate means all the time? It seems doubtful. But there have already been warnings to be ready for a Summer of blackouts as reliable generating capacity will be straining in a heat wave.
Way back in the days of “hollow state” where electronics involved metal in a vacuum wrapped in glass (aka ‘tubes” or “valves”) there was a delay between switching something on and getting useful results. The filaments had to warm up, and if they were not the cathodes themselves, they were heaters and it took a bit longer for them to heat up the actual cathode (stove-like..) so it could and would start “boiling off” electrons. There were some devices that had an “Instant On” feature – but these were rather power hungry. They worked by keeping the filaments (& cathodes) hot. Some systems were set up to keep things merely warm and just under glowing (displays that used incandescent lamps would be kept just under the border of visibly glowing – until the glow was desired). Give me amps, lots of amps…
And then came the Solid State revolution. Transistors. No filament. Tiny, cool, low voltage… and almost no time (in human scale…) from ‘on’ to ‘working’. Turn the radio on, hear the station. Turn the TV on, hear (not see, the picture tube was still a tube..) the station, and so on. And then LCD’s and other fast-to-start displays. Even the TV picture was instant – or close enough.
Ah, but enter the computer and make it all digital. Now again is there the wait as the system boots up, perform checks (Some good: “Is this data valid to use?” Some not so good: “Have we inflicted enough ads yet?”) and only after that delay, get around to doing the actual job of the device.
Digital can be great, and computers are overall useful. But while computers might get ever faster, they seem to be used to make some things ever slower. And too often the reason is not for your benefit.
Ah, those few glorious years of (non power-hungry) genuine Instant On!