Saturday, December 10, 2011


Finals week. So do not have time for this. But I have to return books to the library, so I guess I'd better mention I read:

"500 Handmade Books": My only complaint about this book is that it itself was not handmade.

"SanterĂ­a": I would like to say that I respect all religions. But animal sacrifices and worshipping gods with venereal disease? Umm... okay.

"The Alloy of Law": The "this is a stand-alone" statements had all better be BOLD-FACED LIES. C'mon.

"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance": Enough has been written about this book over the years. Two comments: 1) Paranoid schizophrenia is not kind to its sufferers (Or... their families). 2) As I shut this book, I looked out the window and I saw a sign for Quality Inn.


Yeah, I don't know either.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Pig War by Betty Baker

I actually detest most children's books. They commonly fall into the trap where the author believes that since the audience is a young child, they aren't looking for literary value, but rather "fun" and simple words. "Fun" words include but are not limited to forced rhymes (including a word "rhyming" with itself), words that end in "-ie" or "-ey", excessive alliteration, repeating repeating repeating repeating words, or other verbal obnoxities.

What the author isn't taking into account is that at most ages, the kid isn't reading the book alone. And kids don't read a book once. They latch onto their favorite(s) and make the parent/older sibling/babysitter read it ad nauseam. Except kids are IMMUNE to nauseam. Little punks.

I should've accidentally destroyed this one book maliciously after little little brother got bored with it (after a period of about three years) before little sister became obsessed with it (for a period of about three years).

Sometimes, in the dead of night, the words still haunt me: "Chick with the bow and the bunny are looking as hard as can be/ for chick with the bow's baby sister!/ Oh where oh where could that chick be?"

I don't know. I. Just. Don't. Know.  (Okay, actually she's in the hayloft with the rooster.)

In the words of Gru from "Despicable Me": "You call this LITERATURE?"

But THIS. This book is something I wouldn't mind reading a few dozen times to the ferocious little beasts, I mean, lovely children.

"The Pig War" is a true historical account (though some liberties may have been taken with the characters; I'm not sure) of a territory dispute between Britain and America over some islands off the coast of Washington state. Yes, there really WAS a Pig War. The only casualty was a single pig. It's a great story, and it's told in simple enough (though not gag-inducing) language so that kids could follow along and/or read it for themselves.

Instead of exchanging gunfire, the combatants threw potatoes at each other. Then they realized they were fighting over trivialities and worked together to stay fed through the winter.

Scratch that. This book isn't for kids. This is for the WORLD. Someone put potatoes in the Defense budget. Everyone, make nice with your neighbors.

And that, folks, is all.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How to Weld 29 Metals

The extensive mechanical engineering section has limited options, because most of the books are either longer than "War and Peace" or are so technical it would be the equivalent of me picking a book from the Japanese section and attempting to understand the characters.

Luckily, this handy little volume caught my eye. "How to Weld 29 Metals" is, well, just that. I learned that low-carbon steel is pretty much a welder's dream, whereas high carbon steel makes arc welders cry. Well, not really, but it does require a little more cajoling (heat treatment, etc.)

Here's me experimenting with techniques I learned in the manual. (Just kidding, it's some other guy.)

So I know the burning question in all of your minds is: what are the twenty-nine metals? (And for Sanderson fans, what are their Allomantic properties?)

1. Low Carbon Steels
2. Medium Carbon Steels
3. High Carbon Steels
4. 3 1/2% Nickel Steels
5. 4 to 6% Chromium Steels
6. Cromansil Steels
7. Man-ten Steel
8. Cor-ten Steel
9. Yoloy Steel
10. Yoloy Steel
11. R.D.S. Steel
12. Chrome-Vanadium Steels
13. Chrome-Molybdenum Steels
14. Manganese-Vanadium Steels
15. 12-14% Chromium Stainless Steels, 16-18% Chromium Stainless Steels
16. 18% Chrome–8% Nickel Stainless Steel, 25% Chrome–12% Nickel Stainless Steel
17. Stainless Clad Steel

Okay, right now the word "steel" looks like gibberish to me.

18. Austenitic Manganese Steels
19. Cast Steel
20. Cast Irons
21. Malleable Iron
22. Aluminum
23. Copper
24. Everdur
25. Herculoy
26. Monel Metal
27. Nickel
28. Bronze
29. Brass

No, Everdur and Herculoy were not just stuck in there to see if you were paying attention; they are actual industry name for metals, copper-silicon-manganese and copper-silicon-tin alloys, respectively. 

To weld, you deposit molten metal (usually of the same variety) on the melted surface of the joint. 

This is from; the book didn't actually contain any visuals of this.

Some metals are actually pretty wacky to deal with. Aluminum, for example, does not show any visible change as it melts (you know, like iron turns red, then white hot). Instead, it suddenly collapses when it reaches its melting point. 

You should definitely consult this book if you want to arc weld metal. Also if you want to see diagrams entitled "Double Vee Butt Joints– Hands Down Position Coated or Shielded–Arc Electrodes".