Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dandridge MacFarlan Cole and the Educational Complex State

Federal student loan principal relief is granted through a complex process which considers the interests of all stakeholders.
While I try not to overload this blog with my personal life, I do not think that it is entirely irrelevant to the idea of an "Educational Complex State" that I am working closing manager shifts from Sunday to Friday continuously this week. It is for that reason that I propose to spend next Saturday watching Netflix and gently drooling on myself, and if guilt does drive me to the library, it will certainly not drive me to finish "Postblogging Technology, August 1945, II." In fact, popping into the library for a few hours might be a nice compromise. 

Edit: Forgot to link to myself!

So. Statscan yesterday:

On July 1, 2015, Canada's estimated population was 35,851,800, up 308,100 or 0.9% over the last year (2014/2015). Although this was the lowest population increase since 1998/1999, it was the largest increase among the G7 countries over the most recent comparable annual period.
For the first time, the number of persons aged 65 years and older exceeded the number of children aged 0 to 14 years.
Population growth slows
Preliminary estimates show that the annual population growth rate slowed to 0.9% in 2014/2015, down from 1.1% in 2013/2014. This was mainly driven by a slowdown in international migration growth, from 0.7% in 2013/2014 to 0.5% in 2014/2015.
Chart 1
Population growth rate in Canada
Between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, Canada received 239,800 immigrants, down from 267,900 in 2013/2014. In addition, the number of non-permanent residents decreased (-10,300) for the first time since 1997/1998.
Although international migration growth slowed, it remained the main lever of population growth, accounting for 60.8% of the population growth in 2014/2015. In comparison, natural increase accounted for 39.2% of the population growth.
Canada's population growth is the highest among the G7 countries
For the most recent comparable annual period (see the note to readers), Canada's population growth rate (+0.9%) was the highest among the G7 countries, exceeding that of the United States (+0.7%), the United Kingdom (+0.2%), France (+0.2%), Germany (+0.1%), as well as Italy and Japan, whose populations were stable.
The big takeaway here in the news is that the number of old people keeps growing. Hey, that's me! The one that I want to look at is the datum that the rate of population growth in Canada declined again.  This isn't unprecedented, but it is the lowest figure since 1998, and the 1998 figures are adequately explained by the whole "Boom, Bust and Echo" thing. 2015 has no such excuse. 

We're also clearly bad at predicting stuff. When will Canada reach a population of 40 million (low count)?  2036, Statscan said in 2009. Wait, no, 2060! I'd give the number from the 2000 projections, but apparently the Statscan server has eaten it. 

I point these things out because, if you're living in Vancouver, and unless you're looking for work as an LPN (good news!) or RN (not so good news!), the issue is real estate. Is there a housing bubble in Vancouver?

No, said the Real Estate Board in 2014: a net 30,000 people will move to Vancouver each year through 2041, leading to an increase in population from 2.2 million to 3.4 million, and a requirement for 574,000 additional housing units. The chart accompanying their optimistic projection, which shows interprovincial migration to the province going positive for the first time since 2011, is entertainingly described as indicating the beginning of the trend that will continue for the next generation. Metro's data from the summer of 2015, when we were having an argument about new taxes to fund transit expansion (it's totally meany-pants to keep funding the busses with property taxes, you see) shows a net increase of 1,068,000, 2011--41. The major difference between Metro's numbers and the Board's appears to be that the population changes that have already happened have been adjusted down to what has actually been observed. Going forward, we'll be back to the +30,000 number in jig time!

It takes some digging to discover that these numbers are all "medium growth" projections. Until the day that Statscan buys a new TRS-80, it will be impossible to say for sure whehter its numbers have continuously disappointed on the low side of the "low projection," but all signs point to "yes."

In conclusion,

Well, not actually a conclusion, as such. You've never heard of Dandridge MacFarlan Cole, and neither, frankly, have I. I just followed a "notable Martin Marietta individuals" at the bottom of the Wiki page, only to find that he's not actually a famous aerospace person. That is the entire sum of this week's profound thought. That and pictures.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Louche and Technical Appendix About Colour Fixatives

Dragon trees,by Ludwig. Source.

On 22 March, 1951, Ian Douglas Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll (1903--1973), married Margaret --Sweeney, I think?-- anyway, the woman born Margaret Wigham (39), a Celanese heiress, of all things.  This post is apparently not going to get very far past chemical engineering! A "few years later," per Wikipedia, the jealous Duke arranged to have a locksmith break into a secured cabinet in their Mayfair pied-a-terre.

Compromising pictures were found, and some other evidence leading to a long list of suspected lovers, including Sigismund v. Braun, the diplomat older brother of rocket scientist Wernher v. Braun, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Duncan Sandys, former son-in-law of Sir Winston Churchill, upon whom suspicion immediately fell --but, on that, I'll let the point of this post hang for a moment. The divorce trial ended with the Judge observing that Lady Argylle's insatiable sexual appetite was such that, well, the divorce could proceed, and a private investigation came to the conclusion that "the headless man" could not be Sandys, as the pubic hair shown curled wrong, or something.
One of these is Argyll, the other isn't. Photographer not named, from Pinterest: Shelley Gibbon via Shinjanee

This, it turns out, was a mistake. There were actually "two headless men," and one of them was Sandys. Margaret, apart from almost certainly suffering from some kind of bipolar disorder --like virtually all the principals except perhaps Ritter v. Braun, albeit his brother being very much involved in things going up and down-- went about as far as she could to hint that the headless man was Sandys. They were Polaroid pictures, she pointed out, and in those days, the only Polaroid ---"polaroid" camera in England was held at the Air Ministry, where Sandys was. . . 

Well, here we are again, circling the story back. Sandys was a Churchill man in the late 1930s, attacking the Ministry for being wet on defence. In 1937, he was made a Royal Artillery officer in Anti-Aircraft Command, and on 1 June 1938, Sandys asked a question in the House which cited the actual number of the new 3.7" AA guns in Army service. The information was secret, and although Sandys was eventually not prosecuted on grounds of the immunity of the House, the question of just where he had received the information from remained a problem until his father-in-law became Prime Minister.

God only knows what would have happened had his father-in-law been aware that Sandys was cheating on his wife, that he was sharing his lover with a German diplomat, or that he had borrowed a polaroid camera from the Air Ministry to take salacious pictures. And why was the only polaroid camera in Britain kept under security at the Air Ministry, anyway? 

Also, ick. Like I said, I have some sympathy for Margaret, but, contra the Australian patent troll, the medical uses of lithium were known in 1937, lithium bromide having been isolated in the 1850s as an active ingredient in some of the chalybeate springs traditionally resorted to by maniacs or their families. So she could have sought treatment; but as for maniacs who don't, people, and that most definitely includes Duncan Sandys, shouldn't take advantage of them.

Off the soapbox, and on the problem here.. Polaroid camera? Didn't Edwin Land premiere the first instant camera to a breathless New York audience on 21 February 1947, and wasn't the first "4lb Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 was on sale at the Jordan Marsh department store in Boston for $89.75?"

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Postblogging Technology, August 1945, I:Polarising Moments

Group Captain R_. C_.,
OC Special Intelligence Interpretation Unit,
RAAF Richmond,
NSW, Australia. 

Venerated Fatherly Elder Brother:Greetings to you and the Brethren of Australia:

With apologies for my presumption, I have taken up the brush for Mrs. C. You will be pleased to hear that Doctor Rivers has had her transferred from Oakland to more suitable care in San Francisco. The good doctor is still on furlough, although there is now no chance of his being called back to the Corps, and he is able to give mother and daughter his full attention. He hopes that Mrs. C. will be discharged within the next two weeks, and says that our little Vickie will suffer no long term effects, although Mrs. C. will require minor surgery when she is well. and of course she is under strict instructions to rest for at least another week whle she recovers from her ordeal. The twins, luckily, are too young to understand what has happened, and seem content enough in Fanny's care. 

And that is the private business! Of course you will have heard of Hiroshima and of Nagasaki, only a few days later. My heart was, understandably, in my throat, until I heard from Admiral Stump through private channels that Fat Chow was hale and hearty and in Tokyo. I gather that your youngest had something to do with this, and that it will be an interesting story if it ever comes out, which the Admiral has promised it never, ever will. It seems a little reckless for an American plane to land in Japan hours after an atomic attack, but I gather it was decided that Mr. H. had to be in Tokyo that night. Admiral Stump did suggest that Eldest Brother might want to look into the decision to attack Nagasaki. I hadn't the heart (or perhaps the recklessness, since his reputation protects us) to tell him that Eldest Brother is fading quickly. I have, however, mentioned it to "Miss V.C." And who knows? Perhaps someone will mosy up to me while I am in Virginia next month and volunteer the information. 

I hope that my lack of technical education will not leave these letters entirely barren of interest, but if I have not cared much for technological news in the past, technology, it turns out, has cares for me. I also apologise for not having more details about the "atomic bomb," but none of the papers we have been following have recovered their wits enough to give an account, and the ones I have read in the papers make no sense to me at all. One has left me with the distinct impression that the Air Force must have dropped a swimming pool (full of "heavy" water, no less) on Hiroshima, 

 I have had Tommy Wong at my side, fortunately, and he has explained the confusion well enough, but then he screwed up his face and stressed very heavily that some of these details really were secret, all slips and revelations in the press aside, and now I am petrified of sharing them with you, even in the old code --not least because I would need a whole slew of words that do not appear in the Classic of Documents! Or the Romance of the Nine Kingdoms, which I actually have read now. 

Queenie, if you were wondering, had a most undramatic delivery, and will be home tomorrow, ending my precious week's freedom as a glamorous San Francisco single gal with her own flat and inaugurating my new career as associate volunteer aunt. 

I Remain Your Most Humble and Obedient Little Sister,

v. Q.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Technical Appendix That is a Bleg for a Water-Cooled Slide Rule And Better Cashiers

Edit: Material completely not relevant to post, as opposed to comments, way down at the bottom.

I had not intended to do a technical appendix this week; but looking at my work schedule, I'm not sure I want to rush into August I

Besides, losing a day's work in a second failed autsave fiasco in two weeks leaves me with a backlog of images to inflict on you.

You've seen this one:

Horace, the Tame Stressman, is my hero. Look, a nerd before their time! Shackleton is also burying the lede here, because Horace is blowing smoke rings (although he describes them as "stationary vortices," which is hilarious if you've read too many first-half-of-the-last-century aerodynamics papers than any sane man should), and you know who else blows smoke rings?

Sure, the joke has been revised for our times. (Heh, heh, he said "revised.") But I like to think  that we're actually tapping into the mind of 1945 here. Horace is a wizard, but he does it with a slide rule, and not magic. Not that Gandalf does much magic, either, fabulous smoke rings apart.

Also, I'm posting enough multimedia to push this down far enough that it won't jigger up the front page. 

Speaking of culture, there's a lot to be learned about a British "engineering industry" work culture from the old Desoutter ads. First, forget the mustache. It's just a running gag. (Ordinarily, thirteen year-old boys don't normally have handlebar mustaches. Come on, it's funny!) 

"Our oldest employee" neither likes, nor is afraid of his boss. He's immovable, though, because he knows what he's doing, "not good enoughs" notwithstanding. He's been training thirteen year-olds for years, gruffly, but probably not badly. Those thirteen year-olds go on to make patterns and jogs. amongst other things. There's no implications that they do designs on drafting boards --I might be old enough to have to explain with tongue out of cheek that the academic-looking fellow in the bow tie is holding a drafting tool for producing right angles called a T-square under his arm, so that, in spite of his other-worldly, English-professor mien, we can take if for granted that he's a good technical drawer. This is harder than it looks, especially if you've a less-than-average endowment of manual dexterity, and your instructor will probably prefer to work on the basis of a course in Euclidean geometry, but it is not really necessary. 

Just stop here for a second and wrap your mind around a time when good illustration skills are complementary and substitutable for math. Horace, and our grumpy, mustachioed old toolmaker are interchangeable on the Hawker Hart. 

Yet the times are a-changin'. The toolmakers aren't going away, but Horace is coming up. Desoutter needs a "water cooled slide rule" now. That much is conventional history. What we too rarely ask is to what extent it needs it because it's too much work to do all the drawings. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

There's a Western Union Boy Waiting in the Lobby

OC Special Intelligence Interpretation Unit,
RAAF Richmond,
Sydney, NSW.

Cancel emergency leave Stop mother and baby out of danger Stop Victoria Claire Stop Dr. Rivers attending Stop Please wire Captain C and Ensign C Stop Cannot reach them Stop All lines  overloaded Stop Hiroshima Stop More to follow Stop Fraulein v. Q

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Master of Horses: Gallic Invasions and State Mobilisations in the Third Century, BC.

Well. Someone didn't get to the library until 1PM Tuesday; and it so happens that it closes at 5 on Tuesdays, and that there turns out to be a lot more to say about technology in the second half of July than I expected. Did you know that a 24lb "disintegrating uranium" bomb is as effective as a 1-ton V2? Just as well the Germans didn't finish theirs before the end of the war, don't you think? 

(Also, I lost a good three hours work mishandling OneDrive. Stupid cloud.)

So, something else, today.

The Stickpin Fire has now burnt out a thousand square kilometers of Washington state, approaching within 4 km of the Canadian border at Grand Forks, where evacuation alerts have been issued to districts southeast of the rivers. My Dad's retirement home is, fortunately,not in the alerted areas. 

But who knows what will happen if "extreme events" force the firefighters to "cease suppression efforts" and abandon the wall of firebreaks they have  built to contain this historic fire. It will be a sad ending to a summer of heroic mobilisation if the wildfires enter the Town of Grand Forks.

Fortunately, relief may be on the way, as the first of what is hoped will be a long series of equinoctal storms makes landfall in the Lower Mainland early tomorrow before extending inland. The seasons are turning. The day is not far off when the firefighters come down from the ranges to rejoin civil society. 

For this year, anyway. Meanwhile, from Calgary, where air quality is now officially worse than Beijing's due to a fire 700km away, Deborah Yedlin denounced yesterday any attempt to discuss global warming in hearings over a new pipeline proposal on the grounds that "economists" say that it would be a "compositional fallacy." "You can't talk about that. It's illogical!"