Loop-de-Loop

Hyperloop

With all the hubbub over Twitter, this last week, the virtual dissolution of another Elon Musk property has gone relatively unnoticed. That would be Hyperloop, another transportation venture that has proposed shooting people underground, through an evacuated tunnel at speeds of 500 MPH. We viewed a touring model of one of these proposed vehicles last week at the National Museum of Transportation. This two-passenger vehicle is designed to ride magnetically elevated above two-rails, in a near vacuum, proposing super-fast, low-energy transportation.

Notice the red logo of the Richard Branson formed Virgin Group on its side. As of last week, Virgin pulled out of Hyperloop and withdrew its name from the project. Also, as of last week Hyperloop paved over its test tunnel in LA and put up a parking lot there instead. Reminds me of a lyric. While not dead, Hyperloop does not seem to be doing all that well. Certainly not as well as the other Musk owned, more prestige projects, like Tesla and SpaceX.

Also last week, Mr. Musk acquired Twitter. It remains to be seen where Twitter will fall on his spectrum of holdings. In one week, he made an ill-advised foray into the Pelosi tragedy, fired a quarter of the company’s workforce, floated the idea of selling its fabled blue checkmark, the platform’s badge of authenticity and has apparently lost a sizeable portion of Twitter’s advertisers, the platforms main source of revenue. What a busy week! With all these goings on it is not surprising that he has not yet had time to end world hunger. I just wish that he would find a little time in his busy schedule to pay a bigger share of taxes.

Rubens Tube

Rubens Tube

A Rubens tube, also known as a standing wave flame tube, is a physics apparatus for demonstrating acoustic standing waves in a tube. Invented by the German physicist Heinrich Rubens in 1905, it graphically shows the relationship between sound waves and sound pressure, and acts as a primitive oscilloscope. Today, it is typically used for demonstrations in physics education. Here a music speaker was attached to one end of the tube. Ideally, when used neat little jets of flame are formed, along the length of the tube’s top, with the varying height of each flame corresponding to its position along the standing wave that has formed in the tube. That didn’t happen here. The wind was so strong that day that the flames were all blown about and then very soon out. Demonstrations frequently fail, and this one produced by the Science Center was no different.

Squealing Like a Stuck Pig

RAV4 Hybrid Limited

Car problems: About a week ago, the steering wheel on our newish Toyota RAV4 began to squeal when turned. The squealing sound seemed to get louder and more insistent over time. Doing some internet research, I discovered that the number one cause of squealing steering wheels is low power steering fluid. I went out to the car, popped the hood and began looking for the power steering fluid reservoir. No joy. I found the brake fluid and coolant reservoirs, but no power steering. Returning to the internet I discovered that the power steering on my car is all electric and does not use any hydraulic fluid. Further researching the problem, I discovered that a typical solution to this problem is some silicon spray in just the right place. It also warned that spraying such lubricant in the wrong place can damage the steering.

So, I took the car into the dealer. After a couple of hours of sitting in the waiting room, the service tech came by to give me the good news and the bad news. The good news is that the car is still under warranty. The bad news was that simply spraying the steering column didn’t fix the problem. We ended up scheduling another appointment next week, where I’ll leave the car there. Driving home though, I could no longer hear the squeal anymore. I dealt with this tech once before. Our car had been attacked by a squirrel earlier this year that cut open the fuel line. Gas was spraying everywhere. He did a good job fixing the car and dealing with my insurance company too. This problem is somewhat similar in that it sounds expensive, but not to me. Toyota will be on the hook for all of the cost. I shouldn’t be looking this gift horse in the mouth, especially since we are planning a three-week road trip next month. Anyway, the silicon spray always seemed no better than a band aid. So, I’ll be there to leave the car at 7 AM. It beats having to turn up the radio.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Your Wife Is Hot!

97 °F temperature today! This advert can be seen in the men’s restrooms, of Busch stadium, above a urinal. Enough said, except that it is a hot one.

I’ll file this story under adventures with technology. Our computer monitor, which was originally gifted to us by my brother Chris, after having served him for many years and then subsequently serving us for many more, had developed a problem. A green vertical line had developed that ran from the top to the bottom of the screen. At first, I could make the green line go away, by cycling power on the monitor, but eventually that ploy ceased to work. I could have lived with this new defect, but instead I checked out Amazon and found a similar size monitor for $150. I ordered it yesterday and Amazon said that they could deliver it that evening (5 to 10 PM). Great! Except that around nine, that delivery window changed to before 8 AM, which didn’t make much sense to me. I’ve never heard of Amazon delivering packages through the night. This morning, I got up just before six to use the bathroom and then checked the front porch and sure enough there was the package. I pulled it inside and went back to bed. Later, checking the package’s tracking, I learned that it had been dropped off an hour before I found it. I then unboxed the monitor and setup it up, without any problems. This new monitor comes with a speaker that sounds tinny. So, new speakers too?