Month: November 2008

Rolls Plans ‘Puller’ Open Rotor Work While GE Readies for Noise Tests

It looks like Rolls Plans ‘is looking hard at a “puller configuration” for it’s advanced propfan. (paid subscription required)

They believe that the issues involved in mounting the fan in the immediate vicinity of hot exhaust from the core are challenging, so they are looking at a more conventional “turboprop like” layout.

Of course, it’s all tradeoffs, as the “puller” configuration has issues of the interaction between the prop wash and the pylons and inlets too, which need to be carefully managed to handle noise, which is generally considered to be the Achilles heel of propfans.


I understand that the political appointees in the State Department may wish it otherwise, but the rest of the world understands that Bush and His Evil Minions are lame ducks, and they want no part of any of initiatives.

Case in point, the latest IAEA runing on the Syrian nuclear program:

The U.N. atomic agency approved a contested Syrian bid for nuclear aid on Wednesday, overcoming U.S.-led resistance to the project while Damascus is under investigation for covert activity that could lead to atom bombs.

The United States, Canada and Australia mounted last minute objections to a compromise deal on the project but finally joined a consensus in favor since they could not have won if they forced a rare vote by International Atomic Energy Agency governors, diplomats in the closed meeting said.

(emphasis mine)

They matter very little now. On January 20, they do not matter at all.

Atlas Shrugged Updated for the Current Financial Crisis.

Full disclosure: I have not read Atlas Shrugged. I do not intend to do so, The Virtue of Selfishness in high school was enough unpleasantness for me.

All I have read is the Wiki, and a few excerpts.

That being said, this made me laugh to hard that I think that I broke something.

Atlas Shrugged Updated for the Current Financial Crisis.

– – – –


“Damn it, Dagny! I need the government to get out of the way and let me do my job!”

She sat across the desk from him. She appeared casual but confident, a slim body with rounded shoulders like an exquisitely engineered truss. How he hated his debased need for her, he who loathed self-sacrifice but would give up everything he valued to get in her pants … Did she know?

“I heard the thugs in Washington were trying to take your Rearden metal at the point of a gun,” she said. “Don’t let them, Hank. With your advanced alloy and my high-tech railroad, we’ll revitalize our country’s failing infrastructure and make big, virtuous profits.”

“Oh, no, I got out of that suckers’ game. I now run my own hedge-fund firm, Rearden Capital Management.”


He stood and adjusted his suit jacket so that his body didn’t betray his shameful weakness. He walked toward her and sat informally on the edge of her desk. “Why make a product when you can make dollars? Right this second, I’m earning millions in interest off money I don’t even have.”

He gestured to his floor-to-ceiling windows, a symbol of his productive ability and goodness.

“There’s a whole world out there of byzantine financial products just waiting to be invented, Dagny. Let the leeches run my factories into the ground! I hope they do! I’ve taken out more insurance on a single Rearden Steel bond than the entire company is even worth! When my old company finally tanks, I’ll make a cool $877 million.”

Their eyes locked with an intensity she was only beginning to understand. Yes, Hank … claim me … If we’re to win the battle against the leeches, we must get it on … right now … Don’t let them torture us for our happiness … or our billions.

He tore his eyes away.


There is more, go read.

New “Piston” Engine Enters the “Mogas” Sweepstakes

The Mistral Engines G-300 (paid subscription required) is a multi fuel Wankel rotary engine.

Though the term “multi-fuel” means that it can run on both aviation (100LL) and automotive (87 Octane) gasoline, it’s spark ignited, though their web site states that they are working on Jet fuel capable engines.

Obviously there are fewer parts than a conventional piston engine, there are no conventional valves in a Wankel, but it still has a reduction gear, which was the major maintenance headache in the Thielert engine.

I’m Nearly Mute

So, I’m driving, actually riding shotgun right now, to my mother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving, with my finger in a splint.

About 6 weeks ago, I got my finger twisted opening my door, and it has continued to bug me, so I decided to immobilize it for a few days, and load up on asperine.

Look at the picture. It’s a mother-in-law joke…..Well, it cracked up the receptionist at the chiroptactor.

Not Enough Bullets: AIG, Again

They claim to have dropped bonuses, but they made “retention payments” to top level executives, including, “$3 million to retirement services chief Jay Wintrob.”

Who is Jay Wintrob?

Wintrob is CEO of AIG Retirement Services Inc., the division that sells annuities. He was chief operating officer of SunAmerica when AIG bought the firm for $19.7 billion in 1998. The business he now heads may sell for about $12 billion, according to Gary Ransom, analyst at Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller. Wintrob didn’t return a call seeking comment.

So, he lost about 7.7 billion for AIG, and they feel the need to pay him money to keep him.

We need to start sending these guys to jail.

Elections Updates

A setback for Franken:

The State Canvassing Board, a panel of five arbiters charged with determining the winner in the overtime election tussle between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic rival Al Franken, unanimously voted this morning to deny the Franken campaign’s request that rejected absentee ballots be included in the recount.

I still say that it will come down to the challenges.

Economics Update

Well, it looks like today was the day for all the stuff you wanted to dump before a 4 day weekend.

First, consumer spending fell 1%, well beyond the prediction of 0.7%.

Remember that these days, the Christmas season starts in October for a lot of people.

This is a crushing figure, and it’s not just due to falling energy prices, because people are paying down debt too.

The consumer confidence numbers reinforce this. The index is at 55.3, the lowest number since 1980, though still above the record of 51.7 in May, 1980.

Confidence not any better on the business side of things, with
durable goods orders falling 6.2% in October, and no, that’s not an annual rate, that is the shrinkage for the month.

The unemployment stats say that weekly jobless claims fell last week, but I’m taking that with a grain of salt for the following reasons:

  • Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits were a seasonally adjusted 529,000 in the week ended November 22 from an upwardly revised 543,000 the previous week…..Meaning that you compare lower initial numbers versus the later ones from the previous week, and it’s a “drop”….yeah right.
  • The 4 week moving average, which smooths out the noise, hit a 25 year high. (click for full size pic)

Just in case you are wondering how bad this will get, note that Fitch just cut its ratings on Toyota’s bonds to AA from AAA.

Seriously this is a Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man news.

The credit markets are freezing up, though applications for mortgages are up, largely on insanely low interest….I wonder how many applications are rejected though.

I would also note that new home sales declined to the lowest level since 1982, so its not like there are a sh^%load of buyers out there.

As a result of all this, we are seeing a number of rescue packages world wide, with the European Commission announcing a €200 stimulus plan, ]China’s central bank cutting rates.

These are probably what drove the dollar up today, and it also drove oil up

That being said, I think that the most troubling indicator is the fact that the 10-year Treasury yield fell below 3%, a new record, and this indicates that the flight to the relative safety of US Treasuries is continuing unabated.

I Hope That This Is False, but I Fear That It Is True

Well, the word is out on the street, or at least the WSJ has heard, that Bush and His Evil Minions don’t need to pardon themselves, because the Democrats will sweep this all under the rug for him.

Read the article carefully. It doesn’t say it straight out, but with lines like:

While Vice President-elect Joseph Biden suggested interest during the campaign in pursuing a criminal probe, Brooke Anderson, spokeswoman for the Obama transition office issued a statement Monday saying, “No decisions about interrogation issues will be made before the full national security and legal teams are in place.”

It leaves very little to the imagination. They are soft pedaling this.

No Secretaries, no Under-Secretaries, no Generals, probably not even any Colonels. Maybe a Major or 2 prosecuted, but mostly enlisted men and NCOs being prosecuted for things that they were told to do by superiors.

A continuation of the Bush policy.

It’s just too icky that the previous administration are, you know, a bunch of f$ck&ng war criminals who launched the most brazen assault on the Constitution since Jefferson Davis became a bitch for slavery.

Shoot Me, I Agree with a WSJ OP/Ed

Like me, they ask the question, “Why are Robert Rubin and other directors still employed?

It’s a good question.

Truth be told, my guess is that the Wall Street Journal hates Bob Rubin because he worked for Clinton, and they have CDS.*

It may be further exacerbated by the fact that his policies were so completely slanted toward the financial services industry, so the cognitive dissonance makes their heads hurt.

For me, it’s because he has been consistently anti-worker, pro-Wall Street, and now we know that he’s just an incompetent with a good line of crap to feed people.

*Clinton Derangement Syndrome

Good Point

David Lee, writer and producer, nails the issue:

Whenever anyone justifies their bigotry with what I call DHRB (deeply held religious beliefs) we roll over as if that were the end of the discussion.

We have confused respecting a persons right to hold whatever religious beliefs they chose with respecting those beliefs. The truth is there are plenty of DHRB that are simply not worthy of our respect. Can we start with the ones that have no respect for us? Can you imagine an African American respecting someone’s DHRB that the Bible justifies slavery? The right to believe it, yes. The belief itself? No way.

The fact is that there are many people out there who are not so much pro-religion as they are pro-hate, and they use religion as nothing more than a way to provide cover for that hate, and their ideas should not be granted any respect.

Hamdan to Be Repatriated to Yemen

We capture him, we torture him for 7 years, we put him in front of what was intended to be a Kangaroo court, which promptly rules that Salim Ahmed Hamdan was not a terrorist mastermind, he was just a driver, and he should be sentenced to time served plus enough extra time to make sure that Bush and His Evil Minions&trade are out of office.

Well, it looks like Bush has given up on having his trophy, because Hamdan is to be shipped back to Yemen in the next few days.

Good for him, but this exercise that could best be described as Kafkaesque has harmed the United States and its interest at every step in the process, all because authorizing torture is the only way that Dick Cheney can get a hard on.