Archive for May 2007

Google Maps Streetview

Charlotte asked me a silly question just a minute ago. “Can I leave my car here or will I get a ticket?” It was a silly question because she called me on the phone to ask. I am at home while she is downtown. google-maps-streetview.jpgTurns out, it wasn’t so silly. I answered her question first by asking where she was, performing a little clairvoyance and then saying, “Hmm, look behind you a few cars, in front of the Bebe store. I think there is a sign on a lamp post saying ‘commercial vehicles only’.

How did I know this? The new Google Maps Street View. Wow.


Thism9.jpg weekend Charlotte and I went to the Chabot Gun Club. We shot a total of about 60 rounds through my new Beretta M9 pistol. We both had quite a lot of fun. And it was a beautiful drive. Now it sits, safely locked in a Gun Vault next to the bed.

I’m disappointed that I never got to fire the Keltec SU-16CA or the Bushmaster AR-15 I had previously owned. A few things conspired to make that happen.

  • When moving to CA, I got the Keltec though I really wanted something smaller. Just as I was moving here, San Francisco was voting on, passing and then having struck down a handgun prohibition. I was interested in getting a handgun but decided on the Keltec in the interim. I almost got the Ruger Mini 14 but… didn’t.
  • ar-15.jpgNJ has a ban on “assault weapons” so I couldn’t very well bring the AR-15 to the range when I lived there. It sat in storage for several years.
  • In Boston I never felt a need to practice with the AR-15. Having it was enough insurance for me. I went to a range once and fired (one of) Trav’s AR-15s and confirmed that it is a very easy gun to navigate. I recall vividly at the indoor range that I kept hitting timinisafedeluxe.jpgght groups 1 1/2 inches below the bullseye. Eventually I figured it out. It’s an indoor range only about 50 yards long. The sight is 1 1/2 inches above the barrel. I was hitting exactly what I was aiming at. Had my target been at 200 or 300 yards, I would have put holes right in the center of the paper, but at 20 and 50 yards, the bullet is still rising. Of course I could eventually do better but 1 1/2 inches is plenty close enough for a start.

(PS. I photoshopped the serial # off my Beretta in the photo)

Things from Maker Faire

I maker-faire-2007-poster.jpgdidn’t get NEARLY enough time to play at Maker Faire. That said, here were my top picks from the event:

Computerized Etch-A-Sketch by Alan Nishioka

Interactive LED Coffee Table
They’re in Oakland. I should swing by and say hello to them some time. Evil Mad Scientist(also local) made the analog electronics to power the table.esketch-string.jpg

Hey, FLG made the Maker Faire 2007 Poster :-)

Hiller Pulse jet

At Maker Faire, Mark Pauline mentioned that he likes Hiller Pulse Jets.

From wikipedia, “Pulsejet engines are characterized by extreme simplicity, low cost of construction, poor fuel economy and very high noise levels”

I gotta build me one of those…

CSI Miami is Stupid

A year ago a friend told me that he liked and enjoyed the science of CSI Miami. I then watched a random episode (CSI Miami 425) and took notes…

CSI Miami 425

The scene opens. Several Hispanic men are relaxing outdoors. A man walks up with a machine gun with a 40 round magazine. He kills everyone with 80 rounds without reloading

While investigating the murders a few minutes later, “Jessop” a Miami police officer working with CSI sees a note sticking out of a partially open door. Without gloves, dusting for prints, photographing the scene or looking carefully at it, he takes the note out of the door, inadvertently setting off a grenade. Some time later, a CSI lady (wearing gloves and being far more careful) investigates the now-dead officer’s body….

Two CSI people talking a minute later, “I see guns [in the victims’ hands]. Why didn’t they fight back?”
“It was probably a surprise attack. Besides, [picking up a spent 7.62 mm cartridge] I don’t think a 9 mil would have worked against these.”
Huh? 9mm bullets do a perfectly fine job of killing people, thank you very much.

They found a guy with TNT on his hands at an airport with a fictitious scanner. It sniffed the amient air around the person. Actual machines use a swab from a person or object. (update: such machines are made. I learned something from CSI: Miami)

Horatio interviewed a suspect. Horatio is CSI but only a police officer would interrogate him.

“The marks on the casing were made by a Russian-made Grinkov”
A Grinkov is a Russian Olympic skater, not a rifle.
Though in my search for Russian dancers, I found a very interesting site on rifle forensics ( (Update 10-18-09 John points out that a Krinkov is a real gun, see below!)

They tracked the bad guy “Diego” by the GPS in his phone. Horatio needed to call Diego to get a trace and then loses the trace when Diego hangs up. In fact, they didn’t need to keep Diego on the line; they could track him as long as his cell phone is turned on. Here is such a service in England ( A free service like this doesn’t exist in the US but the tech does.

They found shrink wrap that was previously wrapped around a box approximately 2′ x 2′ x 6′. Knowing that it was from a bad guy’s house that was an arms dealer, they made the (obvious(???)) conclusion that it had previously held a hand-held surface-to-air missile. Horatio must be a super-duper genius.

Realizing this, Horatio instantly realized that the only thing the bad guy might do with such a weapon is shoot down the next plane the bad guy spotted taking off from Miami airport. So Horatio jumps in his truck and drives directly to the only obvious spot where a person might shoot down a plane from (???). They confront one another and Horatio saves the day.

Maker Faire completed

Phew. That was a lot of work.