What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

Plane on a Conveyer Belt

Filed under: Fun!,Just Stuff,The Deep — dave @ 9:10 am 2008/01/30


BoingBoing.net ran yet another post on the stupid “Plane on a Conveyer Belt” question:

Imagine a plane is sitting on a massive conveyor belt, as wide and as long as a runway. The conveyer belt is designed to exactly match the speed of the wheels, moving in the opposite direction. Can the plane take off?

Of course the plane is going to take off. The wheels are only there to hold the plane up and allow it to roll freely when it’s on the ground. So many people spouted off on that original post displaying nothing but ignorance. They figured the airplane accelerates down the runway the same way a car does, with the wheels doing the work. But with an aircraft, the propeller or jet engine provides rearward thrust, and will move the plane down the runway/conveyer belt with no problem. The only thing that would keep the plane from taking off is if you also tied the aircraft down so it could not gain forward momentum.

This question has been beat to death everywhere on the Internet. Just do a Technorati search on the topic. It’s so very sad to see so many otherwise intelligent people get sucked in by a stupid puzzle like this. But the reason behind BoingBoing’s latest post on the subject is that Mythbusters is going to tackle the puzzle tonight to see what happens. No idea how they’ll do it — a scale model plane and suitably-sized conveyor belt, or full-size everything. Either way, it would be fun to watch. Too bad I don’t subscribe to cable TV & get The Discovery Channel. But it’ll be a matter of hours after the broadcast before it hits YouTube, so no worries.

But, yup; that puppy’ll fly. Guaranteed. Also guaranteed is that this stupid discussion will go on because many people just won’t the conclusion, and won’t want to admit that they were wrong.

Update: Of course, Mythbusters proved me right on both accounts, that the plane would take off (it did) and that there would be no conclusion to this inane debate. Here’s the YouTube video of the experiment:

Turns out that rather than building a huge conveyor belt for the experiment, they used a huge sheet of material pulled by a truck going in the opposite direction of the plane. Not perfect, but it works. Surprisingly, the pilot of the plane thought he’d “sit there like a brick” and not take off. That guy should have his license pulled.

As predicted, the plane did move forward with it’s wheels spinning twice as fast as its ground speed, and it got off the ground. Duh.

And as predicted, the controversy rages on. Mental Floss picked up the subject, and the comments show that people still just don’t get it. They’re reading all kinds of stuff into the original question that shouldn’t be there and finding all kinds of nonexistent flaws in the way that Mythbusters executed the experiment. Some guy even bought the domain name AirplaneOnATreadmill.com to help settle the issue, but from the comments left behind by readers, it’s obvious many just don’t get it.

But the one that really takes the cake is Cecil over at The Straight Dope; he got it right on his first try and did an admirable job of explaining it, but later on he twisted the question and proves, in a way, that the conveyor belt can indeed keep the plane on the ground. Yes, Cecil, given the conditions and theoretical equipment you present, you could keep the plane on the ground. But your theoretical equipment and conditions don’t conform to the parameters of the original question! [exasperated sigh]

The smart set can even buy a t-shirt that expresses your thoughts on the subject, although I’m not sure how smart it is to spend $18 on a t-shirt. Don’t think I would anyway.


I don’t mean to come across as insulting or snobbish, but this puzzle is just not that difficult and all the arguing seems so silly to me. I guess this whole experiment proves that some people will not believe the truth regardless of the logic involved and the evidence presented. And that truth transcends to larger questions, even to faith in an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipowerful God.

Makela Auto Tuning

Filed under: Cars! — dave @ 12:14 am 2008/01/28

When I grow up, I want to work at MAT (Makela Auto Tuning). Yes, I’ll move to Finland. Yes, I’ll learn the language. Yes, I’ll put up with the long winter nights. Just for the chance to work on some of the great projects they showcase on their site.


Take for instance the 1929 Model A Ford (featured yesterday on Jalopnik). They took a beat up old Model A, tore it down to bare components and rebuilt it using a Cosworth racing engine and lots of other updated parts. The suspension retains the look and a lot of the parts from the original solid-axle design, but has been stiffened and tuned to make it handle like something a little more modern. The level of craftsmanship exemplified in cars like this Model A is just… breathtakingly beautiful.


Take for instance the wheels; while they look like the original wood-spoke wheels, they are actually milled from billet aluminum.


And the engine… I haven’t seen a lot of Model A engines, but at first glance this thing looks as vintage as the rest of the car. But when this thing is wound up, the thing screams like the banshee that is the Cosworth; load the video on YouTube and make sure the sound is turned up! Then they added one last trick for realism; a “secret misfire switch” on the shifter that makes it sound like the old pop-and-miss Model A engine.

Some of the other cars they’ve got showcased on the site are even more spectacular than the Model A; Ferrari’s, Maserati’s and others that they have rebuilt to better-than-new condition. These guys are better than good.

Ok, so moving to Finland isn’t really an option I’m considering — not that it’s likely they’d hire me anyway. But a guy can dream anyway!

Foolish Disbelief

Filed under: Faith & Worship,The Deep — dave @ 11:01 pm 2008/01/27


FFH has a song called “One of These Days“. The lyrics talk about how things will be different “one of these days” when we get to heaven…

One of these days I’m gonna fly
Over the mountain
One of these days I’m gonna ride
On the silver lining
One of these days I’m gonna witness
All I’ve been missing
One of these days

A line in the last stanza of the song really hit me this morning…

One of these days I’ll finally be
In a place where there’s no more need
No more pain and no more grief
No more foolish disbelief
And all the joy there will be
When at last we finally see
One of these days

When we reach heaven, so much will be made plain, so much that’s misunderstood will be explained.

A lot of people take reject Christianity — and God — because things don’t work the way they think things should work, or because of some bad experience they’ve had with a particular person or church, or worse; because of the bad experience someone else had and shared with them. They accept falsehood as truth without fully understanding, and dismiss Truth… foolishly. I did it for years, and probably still do to some degree.

While I don’t know exactly what the writer of that song meant for that line to mean, disbelief based on false assumptions is what I’d call “foolish disbelief”. We now see things imperfectly through eyes of flesh, but then, “then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” All things will be made clear, and all our questions will be answered. We will see things as God wants us to see them; not the colored by our experiences and narrow field of vision. We will see Truth, and foolish disbelief will be banished.

Only 9 Months To The 2008 Election…

Filed under: Politics — dave @ 11:12 pm 2008/01/23

It’s not even February, and it seems the media types have already appointed a candidate for the Republican ticket. We’re barely done with a handful of primaries, and if you listen to the pundits, John McCain is the man. And so far he’s only won in one state, and that by only 3 percent.

The South Dakota Primary won’t happen until June 3, and who knows who will even still be in the running by that time. To be honest, I’m not terribly excited about any of them, but any of them would be far preferable to Hillarious Clinton or Barack Obama.

My pick for the Republican ticket would be Fred Thompson, but that all changed just yesterday when he threw in the towel. Even the commentators on the political right didn’t see much chance for him to prevail in the primaries, and his “fire in the belly” speech did nothing to help him in anybody’s eyes. So he’ll likely be off to his next acting gig (although you can still buy Fred ’08 stuff on his website; I might just pick up a coffee mug!)

Mit Romney is my second pick (I guess he’s first now), but he has that Mormon thing going against him. I think he’d lead well and keep his goofy, um, cult… thing… at bay; but at the end of the day, the fact that he buys into the Mormon teachings makes one question his judgement. Some might argue that Mormonism isn’t much different than mainline Christianity, but that someone wouldn’t be me. Christianity takes faith to comprehend, but makes sense when viewed historically; Mormonism is just plain off-the-charts weird. What I like about Romney is that he’s squeaky clean and he’s closer to the Reagan Conservative model than the alternatives. He’s not a dead-on Reagan Conservative, but he’s darn close. If only he didn’t have that Mormon thing to drag him down.

Rudy Giuliani is RINO, even more so than McCain. Even though I think he’d be a good leader, I’d have trouble voting for him.

And that leaves us with Mike Huckabee, the former Baptist minister from Arkansas. Of the whole bunch, he’s probably got the most experience that would help him in the White House, but even considering that and the fact that he’s a Christian, I still don’t know if he’d be the best guy for the job. His record on economic issues is less than stellar; from what I understand, he governs more like a moderate or a liberal when it comes to money.

Why oh why can’t we get another true Reagan Conservative to run for the presidency? Someone who knows economics and is able to lead with that knowledge and educate the people to understand and accept the truths of conservative economics. Someone with the charisma and the financial backing to make a successful go of it. There is someone out there who fits that description; he just isn’t running for office this year. Maybe in 2012?

Can I nominate John Thune?

It’s funny how much of a fuss is made by so many in the mainstream media over the failure of the GOP constituency to come together behind any of the Republican candidates. The problem is that I’m not the only one who has trouble getting excited over any of these guys. But one thing I do know is that no matter who wins, Republicans will be rooting for whoever is nominated, because regardless of how unexcited we might be about the candidates, we will most assuredly come together to defeat the Democrats, regardless of who is nominated on that ticket. Any of the guys on the Republican side would be preferable to Hillary or Obama.

And all that amid news of a looming recession and stock markets plunging worldwide… Could it be the markets are shuddering at even the thought of Obama or Clinton in the White House this time next year?

iMac Disassembly

Filed under: Computers — dave @ 12:39 am 2008/01/21


One night a while back, Yvonne was working on a jigsaw puzzle upstairs while I was working on an iMac downstairs — swapping out the power supply I think. At one point in the evening she walked by me and my project and said something like, “Who needs jigsaw puzzles when you’ve got 3-D puzzles to work on?” The G3 iMacs are definitely oddballs for computers, and real puzzles to take apart. And to put back together, which everyone knows is the real trick.

Recently, while checking my site stats, I noticed that for the umpteenth time (well, maybe the fifth time) someone made the jump here from a post on Applefritter. In that post, the guy was asking for help in taking apart a 1st generation bondi iMac. I steered him to a Google search that would’ve yielded him exactly what he was looking for (it did for me anyway.) He thought I was insulting him — if I had been, I would’ve made it more obvious — but anyway… It looks like most of the people clicking through to davintosh.com are coming here are looking for iMac disassembly instructions. So being the people-pleaser that I am, here are links to some of the instructions I’ve found to be useful.

Tray-load iMac (Rev. A – C)
MacOpz has a very thorough guide HERE. They go through the whole process of replacing the flyback transformer, but use what you need. Archive.

Slot-load iMac
Powerlogix has a great how-to HERE. Archive.
HERE is a strange animal; it looks like Apple’s Service Source repair manual pdf embedded in the page or converted to
some weird format.

Finally, THIS site has links to downloadable Apple hardware service manuals in pdf format for most every Apple product ever. Note that some of the links are dead and may not ever be fixed. Also unclear how kosher it is for them to even be available to the general public, as they are intended only for Apple-certified technicians… Proceed at your own risk.

Metropolitan Minnesota

Filed under: Cars!,Fun!,Old Things — dave @ 5:21 pm 2008/01/20


Here’s a funny photo I found on eBay… It was on an auction for a 1959 Nash Metropolitan, in Minnesota. Dairy country, no doubt!

I’ve been looking half-heartedly for a project car; kinda thinking ahead to Ian getting his license in a year or so. It’d be fun to pick up something that needs a little work, spiff it up during the summer before his 16th birthday to help him gain a greater appreciation for whatever he’s driving. I doubt I’m up to a project like this little Nash, and I also doubt he’d be up to driving something like that in any condition, but it’s fun to look!. (here’s the eBay link, as long as it lasts.)

The Million Dollar Chicken

Filed under: Fun! — dave @ 8:57 pm 2008/01/13


Once there were three sons — Milton, Marvin and Melvin. When the boys came of age, they each left home, went out on their own, and prospered.

Later in life they returned to reunite in the planning of their mom’s 75th birthday, and they each tried to outdo each other with an extravagant gift for Mom.

The first son, Milton, said, “For Mom’s birthday, I bought her a Mercedes Benz limousine and hired a chauffeur so that she can go wherever she wants and not have to worry about driving.”

The second son, Marvin, said, “I’m going to build Mom a huge house. No not a house, a mansion.”

The third son, Marvin, said with a smile, “I’ve got you both beat. You know how Mom enjoys the Bible, and how she can’t read very well anymore because of her eyesight? Well, I found this parrot that is able to recite the entire Bible. The parrot was trained by a team of monks over the course of twelve years; all I had to do was pledge $100,000 a year for ten years, and the parrot is Mom’s! With the parrot, all she has to do is tell it chapter & verse, and the parrot will recite it for her.”

Mom’s 75th birthday came and went, the gifts were received, and a thank you card was sent out to each son soon thereafter. The first thank you card went to her first son: “Milton: The house you built is much too big for me. I live in only one room but I have to clean the whole thing.”

The second card went to the second son, and read, “Marvin: I’m too old to travel much; I stay home all the time, so I never use the limousine. And the driver was so rude I fired him.”

And on the third card; “Dearest Melvin: You were the only son to have the good sense to know what your mother likes. That chicken you sent me was delicious.”