Posts by Mike Hewson

11) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : Cafe Einstein : LPTP #9...onward and upward (Message 133754)
Posted 7 days ago by Profile Mike Hewson
Come now Phil, that is soooo unlikely to be the criterion. Legal perhaps. It is far more likely to be the second post. I win, so there ! :-)

Cheers, Mike.
12) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : LPTP #8... destination reached, more or less (Message 133748)
Posted 7 days ago by Profile Mike Hewson
Congrats Mikey ! I'll do a lock & sticky cycle for a new thread whenever you're ready.

Congrats David ! Clearly you have mastered basic viva-voce technique ie. Rule #1* : do it when the examiners are distracted with public media occasions.

Cheers, Mike.

* Other rules relate to arranging events so that Rule #1 to applies.
13) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : LPTP #8... destination reached, more or less (Message 133736)
Posted 8 days ago by Profile Mike Hewson
Other notable cases on file are :

The Fairy Floss Derailment Incident of '96

The "Where'd Who Go ?" Shunting Mixup of '03

The "Tickets Please" Massacre of '83

The "No More Playing Chicken" Head-On Episode of '06

The Turntable Vomiting Mess of '99

The "I Said Whoa Not Go !" Crisis of '77

The "It Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time" Tunnel Collapse of '94

The "No I Insist, You First" Level Crossing Debacle of '81

The "Who Ordered NitroCellulose ?" Bunker Orbital Insertion of '09

Cheers, Mike.

( edit ) This one goes down as The Perfect Dog Mystery Fire of '14

( edit ) Just added a new toy to my consulting room collection : the JCB Loader/Backhoe ( IMHO an engineering classic )


... fully articulated in all the relevant parts, even the rear stabiliser pads. There's been some harsh pressure from the under 8 male demographic in my practice.
14) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : LPTP #8... destination reached, more or less (Message 133731)
Posted 8 days ago by Profile Mike Hewson
Scene of Crime Unit #4 is sifting over residues on the branch line. Some heavy haulage cranes are lifting mangled webs of metal onto flatbeds. Maniacal laughter emits from the divisional van, within which a cuffed man in railway uniform also cries out 'the perfect dog!' intermittently. This greatly puzzles the detective sergeant as he surveys the debris, and notes that no other vehicles were involved. No dog is evident either. A picnic has clearly been had trackside. He really does hate Mondays now and resigns himself to storing this one with all the others in The Railway Cases filing cabinet down at the local precinct.

Cheers, Mike.

( edit ) How did the qualifying go David ?
15) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : word link discussion (Message 133703)
Posted 10 days ago by Profile Mike Hewson
A wee bit of research. Word Link was started by Erik. His RAC is 0.10 and his last forum post was 459 days ago.

If no one objects or does it sooner, I'm going to start a new one on Monday and ask that the old one be locked.

Whenever your ready I'll lock the old and sticky the new. :-)

Cheers, Mike.

Well then, let's do it now. (Are you awake at whatever time of day it is there?)

Night, the wee small hours, but luckily there's a euphemism to attend to .... :-) ;-0

Cheers, Mike.
16) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : LPTP #8... destination reached, more or less (Message 133693)
Posted 11 days ago by Profile Mike Hewson
I'm just cynical enough about large corporations to believe this was only done out of someone perceiving the chance for a public relations coup.

I also believe that in this case it may not matter. Regardless of the motivation, the winners in this case might just end up being the victims of a horrible disease. I'm sure any victim of Ebola would appreciate the effort, regardless of why it was done.

Agreed, I'm quite happy to grant them the kudos for the result.

Those doctors at the WHO or whatever organization failed on this, whatever happened to "do no harm"? Turning your back on those victims is just as bad as injecting the virus yourself.

This is pretty well the flavor of the queries. No doubt there will be opportunistic politicking all round, including those with pre-existing axes to grind against the U.N. I personally don't hold out much for material change within WHO though, as anyone in WHO that breaks rank would be crucified quick slick. Whistleblowing is never rewarding in such groupthink entities. In the presence of such vested interests the likelihood of effective change borders on the fantastic.

[ The reason why I am so harsh here is simple : in the milieu that I have worked for 30 years there is precisely no latitude for displacing responsibility. Which is a good thing. But the sort of behaviours exhibited as discussed are totally foreign to me, and I have no tolerance.]

End of Rant. :-)

Cheers, Mike.

( edit ) To be exact : the Reston subtype in primates ( eg. see here ) was known for several years to be some 50% lethal with a three week incubation, compared with 90% lethal with a three day incubation for prior outbreaks. That game changer was totally missed by the WHO, they thought it would fizzle quickly as per prior experience ie. say 1996 and before. But everyone else picked up on the crucial points, which is why we now have this week's options.

( edit ) The UN spin & dry image washing machine is already up and whirring, the WHO has said that 'the Ebola outbreak has been underestimated', neatly leaving out the 'by us' bit thus hoping to imply they are merely one of many who have blown the call. The trouble here for them is the metric ton of stuff on public record for this year to date indicating precisely that they were the ones out of step. Perversely this 'news' has been forwarded with a request to give them more money .... that's what I call cute.
17) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : LPTP #8... destination reached, more or less (Message 133690)
Posted 11 days ago by Profile Mike Hewson
Ebola : As the Africans are dying, the audit begins. It turns out that Glaxo Smith Kline ( GSK ) contacted the WHO six months ago to liase with vaccine production but was told : no thanks, we'll get back to you ....

Fortunately GSK proceeded with development anyway, notably in the absence of any outside funding or even promise thereof, and so much so that clinical trials began about 2 weeks ago. GSK have an animal model which shows good prospects, as it turns out that even a modest antibody response from their vaccine is quite protective for the worst mechanisms the virus uses ie. the hemorrhaging. If they can prove/deduce the 'master seed' from this then arrangements are already in place to rapidly rev-up for distributed volume production also involving about half a dozen other suitable manufacturers ( some of them normally commercial competitors of GSK ). I say this quite earnestly : technically this is an amazing piece of work. Normally I'm pretty suspect on Big Pharma but I'll admit their brilliance on this one.

The WHO is now eager to assist GSK. No doubt. They are facing some sharp questioning upon the relevance of their alleged in-house expertise, and they are very keen to dampen any implication that may flow toward UN committees on other topics too .... I think the spin is bound to go relativistic ! They haven't yet found scapegoats that seem to be requisite for this type of stuff up, but it's good to see them working so diligently on something.

Cheers, Mike.
18) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : word link discussion (Message 133684)
Posted 11 days ago by Profile Mike Hewson
A wee bit of research. Word Link was started by Erik. His RAC is 0.10 and his last forum post was 459 days ago.

If no one objects or does it sooner, I'm going to start a new one on Monday and ask that the old one be locked.

Whenever your ready I'll lock the old and sticky the new. :-)

Cheers, Mike.
19) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : LPTP #8... destination reached, more or less (Message 133654)
Posted 12 days ago by Profile Mike Hewson
Back to the railcar sorting. After some thought I reckon there is a good analogy with computation here. :-)

Effectively the marshaling yard with hump is a type of intelligent de-multiplexer. A single ordered stream of cars come to the crest and is then cut into fragments that are directed to one of the many forwarding ports, thus assembling further ordered streams. There is a separate stream of information incoming, that being the payload prescriptions which enters the control circuitry ( I include manual human activity in that label ). What is of special note is that the incoming train is gifted with energy - here gravitational potential proportional to the hump's height over the subsequent landscape - which is then spent by various means to achieve the disbursement. Indeed there is an entropy cost/increase in doing so. Also there is further status flagging, as it were, eg. when is a given train consist deemed to be valid and thus triggering a given stream to be gated out of the yard ? So I believe there is significant similarity with transistor logic gate arrangements and even more so if you zoom out and think of the rail network across larger scales. At that level entire trains could be seen as packets.

Also if you have absolutely nothing better to do for eight minutes, then you can watch that 7+ km long iron ore train go past. Every now & then you'll see a diesel-electric (AC) unit embedded. Here's what the driver had to say.

Cheers, Mike.
20) Message boards : Cafe Einstein : LPTP #8... destination reached, more or less (Message 133646)
Posted 12 days ago by Profile Mike Hewson
No, we don't have a roundhouse. I think there are long range plans for one, but they are very long range plans. Lots of other projects have higher priority. I think it would have to be on the other side of the creek, so one of those projects would be a bridge.

Equipment is stored in barns numbered 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, the steam shop, 10, and 11. 13 and 14 were supposed to be built this year, but the late spring and general apathy delayed the necessary track work and it's just happening now, so the latest I've heard is the barns will be built next spring. Equipment is also stored outdoors in the steam leads, yards 5, 13, and 14, in front of the barns, and anywhere else it will fit. Last winter, the main line in front of the station was full of rusty objects that had been moved out of the steam leads to shoot a TV show and not put back because they needed to do some track work.

Our local effort has a short turntable, a long pit to drop the firebox contents into and several long sheds where all the renovation work is done. The lights and ding-dong have been re-instated after several decades at the road crossing going to the tunnel. The station itself has been renovated but keeping it's 1940's vintage appearance. There is also fencing and gates to keep some areas safe for and/or from wandering drunks et al. The other end of the line at Yarra Glen is a smaller affair, the station is looking wonderful again, and most of the bridging construction equipment and material is kept there. What was a big surprise was the installation of full booms and lights either side of a roundabout that sits right on the line crossing to the south of town, this was paid for by the local road works authority and not the rail trust.

What is quite definite is the ignition of interest by city folks to come up on the weekends ( a mere half hour drive from Melbourne's edge ) to ride the trains and spend money in the town. That came back to the rail restoration trust via local business contributions to do some more works ! Having said that, we don't need any more coffee shops in the main street .... about one third of outlets selling anything at all also offer a cappuccino etc. :-)

I'm releasing the thread's air, but keeping the dynamics on. I expect the air to recharge before I need it again, so I'm not worried about "pissing it away."

Ah. I'll put my money on a Sunday arrival. :-)

Cheers, Mike.


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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grants PHY-1104902, PHY-1104617 and PHY-1105572 and by the Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the investigators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or the MPG.

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