Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Return of "What If?"

Randal Munroe's other quasi-comic, What If?,  returns with the question:
Good to see this one back.


'tis the season.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Philosophize This! Podcast – Still Going

It's been a couple of months, but then West has been busy and he's getting into more modern, heavier territory lately.  In any event, there's a new episode up, 118 A Basic Look  at Postmodernism.  No, I haven't listened yet either.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

IP3, Selectivity, Blocking, and All That

So you're out shopping for a new ham radio, or maybe you're just perusing reviews in the latest issue of QST or Sherwood Engineering's test summary page, and there's all these crazy numbers.  You may even remember some of them from studying for your ham exams, but but... several years on, who remembers trivia you've never had to use?

Well, you're in luck here, because in a recent edition of the Ham Radio Workbench Podcast, Eric Swartz from Elecraft walks us through these figures, discusses what they mean, which ones are important (and which ones can largely be ignored), how they affect receiver performance – the whole picture, squarely in a real-world context.  This portion starts about 1:25 into the podcast, so either be prepared to listen for a while or to skip ahead to the main part.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Getting Started With Tarps

Tarp, instead of a tent is discussed over at last week's installment of The First 40 Miles.

Living in the Southeast I've never given tarps so much as a moment's consideration, largely due to the plethora of bugs.  A full-floored, screened-in tent or hammock is the only way to sleep.  However... sometimes it's nice to have a tarp up in rainy weather.  Sometimes, it'd be nice to have a nearly instant rain fly up before pitching the main tent.  Sometimes a windbreak is called for.  Having listened to this episode I can now imagine all kinds of uses, and even learned a trivial way to get *something* up that doesn't require a half-hour's sorting out of lines and gear.  Interesting stuff.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Body Clocks & The BBC

Here are a couple of interesting articles:

Body Clock: What Makes You Tick?
Includes a quiz to determine if you're a night-owl or a morning-lark, or somewhere in between.

Body Clock Linked to Mood Disorders
Yes, sleep is important.  Be true to your nature, or nature will bite back.


Monday, May 14, 2018

OCMS, WSM, WPAQ, W4ZNG, and Related

While waiting for Old Crow Medicine Show's set on the Grand Ole Opry last Friday, I was listening to the other performers' sets via internet streaming while working various PSK-31 contacts on 30, 40, and 80 meters.  (Think of it as texting friends while listening to music on the radio, just in a roundabout way.)  I mentioned to one ham up in MN what I was listening to, and he suggested back that if I like string band music to try WPAQ, The Voice of the Blue Ridge.  Of course I'm out of range of their medium wave signal, but they stream just fine over the net.  Like WSM, it's an interesting station with lots of history behind it. You can read about it both at the station's "about us" page as well as over at Wikipedia.  The one sentence that sums it all up though is from that first link:
If people are doing the same thing in 25 places up and down the radio dial, why should I be number 26?
Oh man, if only other stations would take up that same brave stance.  Anyway, from a sampling over these past three days, the music on WPAQ seems to be the genuine article.

Back to the Friday Night Opry and Old Crow et al, they came on at the click of the hour and played Shout Mountain Music from their new album Volunteer, then introduced Dom Flemons who played several songs (very good stuff, will have to pick up an album or two of his to try), then OCMS came back for one of their slower tunes and brought the house down with (of course) Wagon Wheel.  Then they came back for the second show a couple of hours later, which was much the same (including Dom Flemons), but this time (1) Flemons broke out his quills to play, including accompanying OCMS on Wagon Wheel, and (2) Ketch Secor's voice blew out half way through the the evening.  He motored on anyway like the music pro that he is.  I mean, it was a packed house and OCMS wasn't going to send anybody home disappointed, and he had plenty of friends up on stage with him to help out.  Two good sets in all, with plenty of other interesting music rounding out the evening.