Power Adventures In Iraq

Friday, December 12, 2014 

Plugging things in here is always an adventure. Most of the outlets are the horrible giant British style so they have interlocked grounds, but most appliances are European style, so plugging things in means either using something to jam open the ground interlock, breaking the interlock tabs with force, or dispensing with the plug entirely and just stuffing bare wires in the holes.

When using the latter method, it turns out the British plugs are actually kind of useful because toggling the ground tab with a screwdriver uses the interlocks to bind the wires in place.  You just hope the ground pin is wired to ground, not hot.  Usually it just isn’t wired to anything.

Most appliances and power strips here come from China and are the sort of manufacture China was famous in the US for about 30 years ago: taking something out of the package usually breaks it.  The wires inside are so thin it is amazing they survive and grounds are never, ever actually connected.  I have cables that on the inside have a ground insulator but no ground conductor inside the insulator.  Awesome!

But we just rewired the new villa and even though the ground isn’t wired (of course), the outlets are new and seem like they’re decent quality.  And we even got British style plugs to dispense with the highly problematic and very melt-prone plug adapters.  All seemed good until….

Uh oh.  Maybe it just needed to create a little vent….



Nope.  Melt down.  Good thing these have a built-in fuse…  (which is still fine, though encrusted in melted plastic).


Posted at 15:27:24 UTC

Category: phototechnologytravel

What the Beep?

Thursday, November 20, 2008 

The movie What the bleep do we know is a pseudo-scientific exploration of using quantum mechanics to justify a human potential-like pseudo-religious concept. I have an undergraduate degree in physics from MIT, and so I recognized a lot of the arguments as absurd immediately, but I reached the limits of my depth, particularly on the history of QM in this argument. Most, but not all of the concepts could be easily refuted from an undergraduate understanding such as mine, some seem to require more depth. But the practicing physicists I reviewed my answers with seemed to think they had nothing useful to add to the discussion, in part I suspect out of the still-somewhat-in-vogue idea that the best way to confront anti-scientific ideas is to ignore them, viz the debate over intelligent design (which I think, personally, the flying spaghetti monster settled.)

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Posted at 16:20:28 UTC

Category: filmsNegativereviewstechnology

Some thoughts on energy

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 

I recently rediscovered an email discussion I was having about global warming and solar power. I kind of enjoyed it…

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Posted at 03:35:10 UTC

Category: politics