OPEN THREAD 20200403

Basically, all legal free speech is allowed. We will assist the authorities in dealing with illegal speech. You are each other’s moderators. Have fun. And don’t forget to MAGA at nuclear levels.

After going through the elements, we now enjoy a sequence of RANDOM somewhat pseudo-random topics that will be thrown out for investigation and commentary on each open thread. At some point, in a way something like composite numbers, I will accidentally hit a second occurrence of one of them – that’s just normal.

Have fun!

Citizen U

(a.k.a. W on the OTHER site)

Day 149 – Electrical outlets around the world

11 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20200403

  1. One of the joys of international travel in the modern age is figuring out how to plug all your gear into the mains. This wasn’t such an issue when your gear were slacks, a coat, some shirts, and changes of undies — but, nowadays, we’re expected to sherpa along thirty pounds of electronic gizmos that are all supposed to work wherever we are.

    Fortunately, capitalism has been allowed to function properly in this area and there are a variety of inexpensive devices to make your life easier. One of the ones that had me chuckling the most, even though I’d never seen it before tonight, was this little gem — . About the only way it could be made better is if you just rested it on the plug and it chose which power-feeding tentacles to extend into the mains using AI. And, of course, check out the pattern on the top where you can plug in something — er, anything — else.

    Or, you could go retro and use this — . Supposedly there is a plug used in some parts of South Africa where this kit won’t work.

    And note how both solutions are quite inexpensive — it wasn’t always so.

    Once you can actually connect to the power mains, there are two other considerations — voltage and frequency. All long-distance transmission of electricity is alternating current (AC), because direct current (DC) incurs massive power losses with distance. Your 14VDC landscape lighting system is probably reading barely 12V at the fixture because of power losses in the twenty feet from your garage. The US is nominally 120VAC. Much of the rest of the world uses a nominal 230V. For historical reasons, US AC frequencies tend to be 60 Hz, while the rest of the world gets by on 50Hz. Thanks to modern switching power supplies, you may never have to deal with this.

    One of those fun little bits of trivia is that the huge majority of US electrical outlets are installed upside-down. If you have a standard three-prong outlet, you have the “fat slat” on the left, which is “neutral” — you have the “thin slat” on the right, which is “hot”, and you have the round hole in-between on the bottom, which is “ground”. That’s not how they were designed. If you plug an extension cord into the socket (DON’T DO THIS), and pull it out about 1/8″ (DON’T DO THIS), then allow a dime to slide in from the top (DON’T DO THIS), the dime can bridge your hot and neutral slats and short……at which point the dime will likely vaporize and your circuit breaker will trip, and you will be exposed to hazardous vapors and the ridicule of everyone who knows you were repeatedly counseled against this behavior. The ground prong is supposed to be at the top, so as to bounce the dime off to the side. This was actually done about half the time during a certain year in the 60s when building inspectors were doing a safety push, but has been widely ignored previously and since.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Incidentally, there are a number of other things that should be standards that vary from country to country. Wi-fi frequencies, for instance, change at certain borders.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As you might know, I’m actually doing the text/research stuff on one computer, but verifying the musical interludes on the Fiancee’s iPad while my audio is dorked. So the last few days of interludes haven’t been as eclectic as I’d like. And that means you’re getting a repeat tonight.

    Musical Interlude #1 —

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, one fun peculiarity of UK power sockets — they frequently have switches right at the plug. That’s so you might actually be able to cut off the power while you’re convulsing at 230V — if you happen to flop the right way.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yesterday I was at my local Costco buying a large bag of Kirkland Nutra Nuggets dog chow
    for my loyal pet, Brista, and was in the checkout line when woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

    What did she think I had, an elephant? So since I’m retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn’t have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn’t, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I’d lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

    I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry.

    The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

    Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter’s a$$ and a car hit us both.

    I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.. Costco won’t let me shop there anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Musical Interlude #2 —

    Incidentally, the guy in the baseball cap on keys is the CEO of Patreon. The lead female vocalist is his wife. They are Pomplamoose (which means “grapefruit” in French). They’ve been doing this since before they were married and before there was Patreon, and it’s a very infectious fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A man is on his dying bed, and wishes to confess something to his wife…

    He says “my love, I must tell you something I’ve been holding in a long time…”

    “Shhhh, it’s okay, my love, you need to rest.”

    “But I have to tell you, I cannot hold it in any longer”

    “It’s okay, my love”, she said, “you will soon be at peace and it does not matter.”

    “But I have to tell you….I slept with your Mom, your sister, your best friend…”

    “It’s okay, my love, I know….that’s why I poisoned you.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Musical Interlude #3 —

    A couple of notes — first, Dodie’s own video of this piece is linked in the comments…..I like this version better. Second, the bassist’s yellow and orange pickup? Yeah, you can’t buy it…..yet…..and maybe never — but it’s Made in the USA!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A Captain takes over a command during WW2 in the middle of the Pacific. As he is looking through the reports, he finds morale in the basement, a few desertions, and the base is rampant with STD’s. He calls his top Sergeant in for an explanation. The sergeant looks embarrassed and says. “Spotted snakes, sir,”

    “Spotted snakes?”.

    “Yes, sir. Spotted snakes.” The Sergeant said, “You see, they are about 4 feet long, kinda fuzzy with black and white spots, but they have a very powerful and deadly poison and the men are afraid of them.”

    “I see,” said the Captain, “Call a formation in 2 hours and I will show you how to handle this minor problem.” Two hours later, the Captain walks out in front of the formation and everyone is shocked and amazed that the Captain has one of these snakes in his hands. “Gentlemen,” the Captain began “It seems that these things are a major concern in this camp. However, I will show you how to handle this in a proper military manner.”

    “You grab the snake with your left hand, like so.” He demonstrates by holding up his left hand. “You grab the snake with your right hand,” again demonstrating with his right hand. You then, forcefully, slide your left hand up like so,” and the Captain popped the head off of the snake — killing it instantly.

    The men all mutter amongst themselves and agree that this is a simple and effective way of dealing with the problem. The next reports come out and morale is at a record high, there have been no desertions and the STD’s are almost nonexistent.

    However, he does see one of his men is in the hospital. Being the good company commander that he is, he goes to sickbay to look in on his soldier. He is shocked to see the man is covered from head to toe in bandages.

    “Son,” the Captain said, “What happened?”

    The soldier replied, “Spotted snakes, sir.”

    “Spotted snakes did THIS?”

    “Well, you see, sir,” the soldier stated, “I had the night watch a few nights ago and I felt one of these snakes crawl into my foxhole. I did just as you said, sir. I grabbed that snake with my left hand. I grabbed that snake with my right hand. I slid my left hand up, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t stick my thumb right up that tiger’s ass.”

    Liked by 1 person

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