Archive for April, 2010

Atheism is a religion too – Universe may be a much more complex system than we can comprehend

In my opinion atheism is a religion for sure. But I can see also that it can be a less harmful religion than the others. I am agnostic myself because lack of proof is not a proof of inexistence. If religious books are just astrology and religions are just way to use power and control, it doesn’t still prove anything to any direction. It can be true only in a singular narrow case when viewed from specific perspective.

Because universe may be a much more complicated than you or me can see or understand or comprehend. Even 100 years of advanced technology might be indistinguishable from magic. Think of a civilization that would be 1000 000 years ahead of humans. Then when you think that (don’t think captain Kirk, that is not 1000 000 years ahead of us I hope), how could you tell the difference between a god and this kind of being? I am sure you couldn’t.

You could compare yourself to ant. Ants would believe that everything they know and see is the universe that exists. However, they can not comprehend beings like humans for sure. But still we humans exist.

And what it comes to the topic, death:
– each cell dies because it has programmed to die
– different animals have different lifespans, because they have different genetic code, not because they would be worse designs that are worn out faster – think what if you could change the genetic code? Dying becomes obsolete.
– I can already also predict one another thing: humans will have life span of at least 1000 years before humans are capable of any kind of interstellar travel. Forget captain Kirk that dies under age of 100 years. The real captain Kirk could be 900 years old or more. And in fact, it would not be out of the question even that the real captain Kirk would live in a computer and the biologic bodies would have been long time abandoned already as obsolete, or it could be that the beings are combinations of technology and biology (cyborgs).

There can be many levels of existence and everything is relative and biased by the eye of the beholder and with the very limited knowledge, it is impossible to draw sure conclusions, and with more information, already done conclusions are usually refined and corrected. You never can play only one horse, because there are many horses, and the likelihood that you play the wrong horse is higher than when you would not be conclusive about which horse to play. I find being agnostic the only way to be without religious belief. Because just a belief that something simply does not exist is a belief already, and it is not scientific.

European, Stuck in San Francisco due to volcanic ash clouds?

Here is what useful you can do while waiting:
1st task: if you are located in downtown San Francisco in a boring hotel without a car, move yourself away from there at once. You need a car and more central place to for seeing interesting things. We prefer usually Palo Alto as the central location. Car you can get from Hertz if you don’t have already one. Prices are great e.g. in Palo Alto city center, much better than on airport.
Other places to see in San Francisco Bay Area:
– Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos
– The hills between Silicon Valley and Half Moon Bay. Find a way first to Skylonda, then follow Skyline boulevard to south. There is for example nice place to see called Russian Ridge. Go to the parking lot and then walk maybe a kilometer or two on trail and the view is magnificent. You can see Silicon Valley and San Francisco at the same time. Take camera with you.
– Half Moon Bay: Pacific Ocean seashore. There is a nice beach there. Take swimming gear with you. At this time of the year the water is pretty cool, but by Finnish standards, it is humanly possible to go swimming.
– Mountain View – Palo Alto sector: the best Sushi and Indian restaurants I have ever visited.
– Fry’s Electronics in Stanford: If you are missing any gadget, cable, card or anything that you would look from in Finland, you can find it from Fry’s electronics.
– Apple Store (one is in Stanford shopping center): If you want a good deal for a Macbook or Macbook Pro or perhaps iPad (that you will be able to carry back), that is a place. Also software for Mac. And bonus: You will get Nokia discount there too, not only in Humac store and Mac People Store in Finland. Take Nokia card with you, otherwise you don’t get the discount.
– Palo Alto airport: one of the most active general aviation airports in the world. If you want to see bay area from the air, you can go to West Valley Flying Club and ask for demo flight and specify that you want it to be the Bay Tour. Recommended aircraft: try one of these: Cirrus SR20, SR22, Diamond DA40. You can safely be in controls as a prospective student pilot with a flight instructor. You don’t need TSA approval or anything for the demo flight. You can also walk around there if you want to see all kinds of small airplanes, the airport is full of them.
– The woods/forest between Palo Alto and Half Moon Bay is pretty cool. There are roads through it and you can see very tall and very thick trees, there is nothing comparable in Finland, go there to see it by yourself.
– Of course you have to drive all the bridges.
– There are more hills on the other side of the bay too, these you can also explore if you have time, these are between Oakland and Livermore.

Using Teknodur polyurethane paint like topcoat, two layers of paint to finished surface without any pinhole problems

I have noticed (well, might be that it is a usual way to use it but I just haven’t heard of it) that Teknodur polyurethane paint that can be used to paint composite structures like those on experimental aircraft, can be applied with brush and then perfected with sanding like on applying topcoat (/gelcoat) on a sailplane.

This just works for me, please do not follow if you are not willing to take the responsibility of potentially ruining your paint:
0. Do not use base paint or raw epoxy method, you don’t need to fill pinholes, just forget about pinholes with this method! In other words, you can directly apply like this on top of smooth sanded dry micro or automotive polyester filler!
1. Apply thick layer of Teknodur 2 component polyurethane paint (e.g. white) on top of the composite structure. Any other similar polyurethane paint works too (I have also tested with Hempel 2-component boat polyurethane paint). Base paint is not necessary, the Teknodur takes on a bare epoxy surface which is sanded to dull (be sure it is sanded to dull, if it is not, then it will not take, but peels off). Do not use solvent to make the paint thinner, the thick property is desirable. The thick paint blocks the pinholes on the surface below.
2. Let it cure and then inspect. Look, 1 layer of paint and no pinholes! There may be runs, but you can get rid of the runs easily!
3. Wet sand the surface smooth. Use quite coarse grit at this point.
4. Add second layer of Teknodur paint. You can use a bit solvent now, and you will get no pinholes. Try to avoid runs more carefully at this time.
5. Wet sand to completely smooth finish.
Use all available wet sand paper grits up to 2000 if you can find 2000 grit. 1200 grit is fine though.
6. Use polishing compounds to finish the surface to high gloss.
7. Add vax and polish.

A little bit tedious with all the wet sanding, but on the other hand: full control over pinholes, no base needed, and most sanding goes to the paint without harming the critical glass/carbon fabric under it.

I am just in middle of painting a little composite part this way and I have noticed that it works. Before you ruin any large parts by using a method where the paint is misused and done differently than all painters will teach you, please try it to some scrap part first. I have finished two scrap parts like this and they have been in the snow and ice the whole winter without any harm done to the paint surface, so I would guess that this sanding method does not ruin the paint.

I am not sure, but it could be that:
– You would be even better off if you first apply a very thin layer of paint that enters the pinholes. Sand dull. Then don’t care about the pinholes, just add the thick layer of paint on top of the thin layer.

On the base and on the first layer, the sanding result does not need to be smoother than 240 grit. Anything more than that is waste of time because the thick paint rounds the minor irregularities.

– Polyurethane paint is easy to sand, very very very very easy compared to sanding epoxy
– Runs on polyurethane paint is no big deal, just sand them off in a minute and you are done!
– Quick to finish
– The thick paint is very weather resistant and is as smooth as you sand it

– The layer of paint becomes pretty thick and it is heavy, and in some cases might be undesirable.