Now if it could only vacuum itself

Research. Is there anything (else) it can’t do?

Functional coatings, for example with highly water-resistant or antibacterial properties, have at their surface nano-sized molecular groups that provide these specific properties. But up to now, these molecular groups are easily and irreversibly damaged by minor contact with their surface (such as by scratching), quickly causing their properties to be lost. This has been a big limitation to the possible applications of these coatings. Researcher Catarina Esteves of the department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at TU/e and her colleagues have now found a solution to this problem. They have done this by developing surfaces with special ‘stalks’ carrying the functional chemical groups at their ends, and mixing these through the coating. If the outer surface layer is removed by scratching, the ‘stalks’ in the underlying layer re-orient to the new surface, thereby restoring the function.

This development can be of great importance for many applications. For example it will be possible to make a self-cleaning car, with a highly water-resistant coating that keeps this self-cleaning property for long periods. The superficial scratches will be self-repaired and the water droplets simply roll off the car, taking dirt with them. An occasional rain shower is all that’s needed to keep the car clean.

Of course, it can’t work with really deep cuts through the coating, but you can’t have everything, can you? Dr Esteves says this process could be made production-ready in six to eight years.

(A Jack Baruth special at The Truth About Cars.)

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With August yet to come

Lileks wanders into the mall and encounters a time-displacement phenomenon. And he does not like it, no sirree, does not like it at all:

There were great sales on clothes, because July is when everyone starts thinking about wearing heavy brown stuff, right? Aren’t we all just itching to get into fall clothes? TO HELL WITH THAT. Target has school stuff up: TO HELL WITH THAT. There will come a day when something in the air, something in the angle of the sun, something in the quality of light through the leaves, makes me think: Oatmeal. Leaves. Nip in the air. Woodsmoke. Halloween delights. But on behalf of July, still standing, hand on the doorknob of the exit, TO HELL WITH THAT.

Although, you know, I won’t mind a whole lot if August moves along at high speed and gets out of the way. Apart from my daughter’s birthday, the only thing that happens in August is that I will be handed the worst electric bill of the year, which I don’t find particularly endearing.

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This is UTV

For you, the viewer!

No. Wait a minute. This isn’t UTV. This is Me-TV, and it’s coming to OKC. From the press release:

Weigel Broadcasting Co. and Hearst Television announced today an affiliation agreement in which five additional Hearst markets will carry Me-TV. Those local stations will be WCVB, Boston; KCRA, Sacramento; WBAL, Baltimore; KOCO, Oklahoma City and WXII, Greensboro. This brings the total of Hearst’s Me-TV affiliates to 13. In addition, Hearst has extended its commitment to the network with the renewal of its existing Me-TV affiliate agreements to 2015. The launch date of the stations is TBD.

The Me-TV Network now clears more than 82% of the country, serving more than 128 affiliates.

I assume KOCO will slot this into channel 5.3, which would put it right next to This TV, co-owned by Weigel and MGM.

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Ergeenomical

From 1968, three French girls dressed like British birds model Austrian hosiery:

Ergee hosiery advertisement from 1968

Ergee, the brand, was founded in Saxony in 1901; underlings of the Soviet Union — the German Democratic Republic had not yet been proclaimed — confiscated their facilities in 1948, and they relocated, first to the southern tip of Bavaria, then to Austria. In 2008 they went broke, as did everyone else in the world, and were acquired by KiK, a German retailer of discount clothing known for its low prices and its oddly-shaped retail racks.

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In the year 9595

Or maybe 12,012, depending on how things go and who’s counting:

Presuming humans are still around — or some kind of intelligent-life successor to humans — 10,000 years hence, what will they be able to learn from OUR culture? Even with writing, so much of it is lost, or its meaning is (Have they completely deciphered Linear B? I know that was a particularly tough one). What will we leave to future peoples? (Or, as I think in my more pessimistic moods, will we all just wind up destroying ourselves and intelligent life, at least on Earth, cease to exist?)

I persist in thinking that we’ll leave. Period. As in “off the planet entirely.” The logistics of such an operation being what they are, only a comparative handful will actually be making the trek toward the stars; the rest, I think in my more pessimistic moods, will destroy one another once they discover that they’re not going to get to go.

That said, I don’t expect this ball of rock to be totally devoid of sentient life at that point, though the top of the food chain may not be what we think of these days as humanoid. Then again, if the only artifact surviving from this era is Fifty Shades of Grey, perhaps we deserved to die off.

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The last round up

Not that it’s unusual to miss the point after an atrocity mislabeled as a tragedy, which the Aurora moviehouse massacre certainly was, but as Jennifer points out, those scary 100-round magazines do actually serve a valuable purpose.

To wit, apparently they malfunction a hell of a lot:

They are heavy and cumbersome. Difficult to maneuver and unreliable. We should be hoping that every psychopath buys them by the pallet load. Funny that Sen Lautenberg should choose the shooter in Arizona as part of his argument. It was when his gun jammed also due to the high-capacity magazine that he was tackled and his attack brought to an end.

This is one reliable characteristic of psychopaths generally: they have an awfully high regard for their own competence, whether or not it’s the least bit justified.

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But hey, at least it’s expensive

Aaron Renn’s article “Why I Don’t Live in Indianapolis” is drawing rather a lot of heat — about 100 comments so far — for observations like this:

I cannot name another major city in the United States where the city’s own developer community (including Flaherty and Collins, the developer of this property), own architectural firms (including CSO Architects, who designed this) and own city government so consistently produce subpar development.

Including this block of tenements for the proletariat, which not only “sucks out loud” but earned an actual condemnation from the state Fire Marshal.

But this is the crux of the biscuit:

Indianapolis is the place where, as a rule, not good enough is more than good enough for most people, even community leadership.

Much as I hate to say so, it’s not the only such place.

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It hurts when I do this

The proper response — not just the funny one — is “Don’t do that”:

Pain is not a sign of gain, it’s a sign of damage.

I tried jumping rope the other day. The next morning the tendons in my ankles were playing an unhappy tune. I felt an unaccountable urge to “work through the pain.” Then I slapped myself (not hard enough to hurt) and said, “Okay, that’s it, no more jumping rope.” That pain has gone away.

Francis W. Porretto has issued a pain scale from 0 to 10; anything much above a 3, I’d say, should be taken as a warning. If you absolutely must “feel the burn,” you might try snuggling up to an arc welder.

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The man from Peaceable Mountain

Remembering the late Gene Stipe, who lived 85 years, spending 53 of them in the Oklahoma Legislature.

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First, the view

Sgt. Mom gives me some advice as I toil away on this goofy manuscript:

[T]the only response an author should make for a favorable, or even mildly critical review — and even if any response should be made is debatable among the cognoscenti — is, “Thank you for your consideration.” For a critical or scathing review — no response at all is best. There is no crying in baseball, and there should be no whining from authors; especially not to the extent of setting up a website to complain about being bullied. You put your stuff out there for everyone with the interest or the wherewithal to read it. Accept that there will be a number among them who will not like it, miss the point entirely, fail to grasp the whole point … well, grownups and professionals bleed about that silently and move on. Comfort yourself with those reviews and the appreciation of people who did get the point, and who loooooove it.

I’ve had something like fifty years to hone this particular skill, and if I’m not sharp enough by now, whose fault is that? Right.

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But Syriasly, folks

Rammer’s perspective, at a safe distance from Damascus:

This is a good time, prior to the unfolding of the upcoming horror there, to think about how this came to be. At the end of the Great War, the victorious allies partitioned the former Ottoman territories, and one of them was Syria, to be administered by the French. Yes, the same French who administered Vietnam, Algeria and Casablanca. Yet at that time all those disasters were in the future. Syria today is just a century late blooming flower of the sowing of those same seeds.

Is anyone truly surprised at what is being reaped?

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Avon calls on Ponyville

The Avon Glimmersticks Diamonds line of eyeliner sticks comes in ten colors: Brown Glow, Flashy Copper, Golden Diamond, Sparkling Silver, Black Ice, Emerald Glow, Sugar Plum, Twilight Sparkle, Smoky Diamond, and Brown Sugar.

Twilight Sparkle O.OWait a minute. Twilight Sparkle?

That’s what it says on the product page, and here’s the official pitch: “Your favorite retractable, self-sharpening liner — now with a touch of twinkle. Glimmer on!”

And once again, just about all those names would serve for background ponies, although I suspect Flashy Copper is the stallion who washed out of Royal Guard school and is now spending his evenings trying to pick up mares over at the North Canterlot T. G. I. Pinkie’s, with, I think we can presume, varying degrees of success.

If you wonder how it looks, here’s an actual review, with not a single pony reference, at Everything That Matters.

(Vector by BR-David at deviantART.)

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Strange search-engine queries (338)

Yet another collection of peculiar search strings from the logs of this very site. Lest there be any question: I built this.

rainbow dash hoof in mouth:  That’s not like Dash. For one thing, she talks too fast.

“if you’re not in business for profit or fun”:  Then you may qualify for a waiver of Obamacare.

lexus RX 360 n harrier cars arouse women sexually:  Do not use this as an excuse for buying a car. She’ll dump you and take your car with her.

girls in gummi aprons:  “I told you, no snacking until dinnertime.”

“fbi director usa”:  He’s the guy who didn’t actually send you that spam.

naboo hoox:  Possible name for Zooey Deschanel’s first child.

cameltoe nothing on:  This is a contradiction in terms, since the whole idea of the toe is that it’s visible through one’s garments.

asian female unaware she is wearing invisible clothing:  The exception to the above rule about cameltoe.

longest a slipping transmission lasted:  If it’s slipping, “lasted” is no longer valid; it’s already good as dead.

rivendell okc gang activity:  It’s those damned half-elves. Count on it.

“people who disagree with me are:”  Everywhere.

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Renda bails

Renda Broadcasting, a small group owner out of Pittsburgh, is becoming smaller, having unloaded their four-station Oklahoma City cluster to the local Tyler group.

Tony Renda’s first station here was KMGL (Magic 104.1); he later added the Diamond group, KOMA-AM-FM/KRXO. Mostly, Tony left things alone; the only serious miscue was trying to turn that AM blowtorch (now KOKC) into a news/talk juggernaut without spending any actual money on news and/or talk. I’d bet Tyler goes back to the simulcast with KOMA-FM.

Tyler, over the ownership limits for a single metro area, is spinning off AM talker KTLR (and its FM translator on 94.1) and KKNG, the little 1000-watt FM in Blanchard that used to be Jack FM. I know from nothing about WPA Radio, the buyer, except that it’s controlled by Stanton Young, CEO of Graymark Healthcare, who used to be in the radio business as Monroe-Stephens Broadcasting, last seen moving Anadarko’s one and only AM station into the Dallas-Fort Worth market. Young’s sidekick at Monroe-Stephens, incidentally, was Ty Tyler.

I’m not sure what’s harder to believe: that Tyler would pay $40 million for Renda’s stations, or that Tyler could get $1.6 million for those two little nonentities.

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Made for walkin’

The idea of Tam not wearing boots is about as plausible as the idea of Geraldo Rivera not saying something stupid: it’s theoretically possible, but who would believe it?

Enter the Merrell Pace Glove:

Merrell Pace Glove in Lavender Lustre

Tam’s own report on this apparently amazing shoe:

Oh. Emm. Gee. I’ve been wearing them since Friday morning (well, except when I’m asleep,) and it’s the next best thing to going barefoot; you could stand on a quarter and tell if it’s heads or tails. I walked to Zest for breakfast and hiked all over the Indiana World War Memorial yesterday with no ill effects. Being able to move my ankles and flex my feet as I walk has un-knotted my calf muscles and fixed the constant incipient cramping in the arch of my feet with the speed of a miracle cure.

I can see myself wearing this particular Merrell. As for Geraldo, well, we’ll just leave him on his side in a darkened basement.

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I can so be a chooser

Yours truly, in Vent #642:

What’s happening here is that people who do need help, and I presume there are a few such on the streets, are going to be spurned because we can’t distinguish between who’s really begging and who’s really bogus. And locking up everyone who asks for spare change runs into serious First Amendment issues, which is not something to be encouraged.

For an example of who’s really bogus:

According to the police report, an officer spotted Shane Warren Speegle, 45, panhandling near Interstate 40 and MacArthur Boulevard earlier this month.

When the officer approached Speegle and told him it was illegal to panhandle without a permit, Speegle asked if he could get a permit that day and implied the $200 fee was not a bad price.

According to the report, the officer asked Speegle why he didn’t just get a job and Speegle replied, “I’m lazy, and I made $60,000 doing this last year. Why would I go get a job?”

I still believe my solution is the most reasonable yet proposed:

[I]nvoke the specter of the Internal Revenue Service. Instead of giving someone a buck, we hand over 60 cents and a 1099-MISC. “By law, we’re withholding forty cents for taxes. Be sure you report this on your return next year.” Odds are, the guy won’t even hang around to get his change, let alone give out his Social Security number.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

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