Tag: The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club (Baked French Toast with Blueberries)

A food coma inducing meal that will keep you satisfied all day.

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Today in History

Highlights of this day in history: Dr. Sam Sheppard acquitted of murder in new trial; U.S. and U.S.S.R. form diplomatic ties; Second anthrax letter found sent to Capitol Hill; Actor William Holden dies; ‘Sound of Music’ hits Broadway. (Nov. 16)

Breakfast Tune: Hendrix played on a banjo

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

The Breakfast Club (Poppies!)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgI must have space on my mind this week, as well as Remembrance Day.

The Planets (Op. 32) is a 7 movement suite for a large orchestra.  How large?  Two Piccolos, 4 Flutes, an Alto Flute, 3 Oboes, a Bass Oboe, an English Horn, 3 Clarinets, a Bass Clarinet, 3 Bassoons, and a Contrabassoon.  Six French Horns, 4 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, a Bass Trombone, a Euphonium, and a Tuba.  Six Timpani, a Bass Drum, a Snare Drum, Cymbals, a Triangle, a Tam-Tam, a Tamborine, a Xylophone, a Glockenspiel, and Tubular Bells.  A Celesta and an Organ.  Two Harps.  Your usual compliment of 1st and 2nd Violins, Violas, Cellos, and Double Basses.

Oh and two (count ’em) two Three Part Women’s Choruses (two Sopranos and an Alto), located in an adjoining room thank goodness because there’s hardly any place to put them on stage.

The 7 movements are supposed to be evocative of, what else, the planets.  Can you spot the ones that are missing?

  1. 00:00 Mars, the Bringer of War
  2. 07:21 Venus, the Bringer of Peace
  3. 15:58 Mercury, the Winged Messenger
  4. 20:14 Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
  5. 27:50 Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
  6. 37:12 Uranus, the Magician
  7. 43:15 Neptune, the Mystic

Why Earth silly, and also Pluto which wasn’t discovered until March 13, 1930.

Now Holst despite his German sounding name (Gustav) was actually 2nd generation British, his Grandfather Gustavus having emigrated from Latvia in 1802.  As an early 20th century composer he’s perhaps best described as post-Romantic of the Folk Music vein.  He actually admired Wagner (idiot) and would have done much better sticking to his earlier Idol, Arthur Sullivan.  As is typical of the 20th century school he could and did write in many of the established musical forms (Symphonies for instance), but didn’t feel bound by them.  He was a big fan of Henry Purcell and was frequently inspired by poetry rather than nature, a post-Romantic trend, and by Folk Music (a late Romantic trend), a sublimation of the jingoistic nationalism of much Romantic Music.  He was also impressed with Hindu mysticism and did several of his own translations from Sanskrit and wrote a few pieces based on the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, a more 20th century sort of thing.  Perhaps his best musical friend was Vaughan Williams who was arguably the most influential British composer of the 20th century.  Holst was “traditional” in that he was not nearly as interested as some of his contemporaries in flouting convention just for the sake of it.

The Planets, his most successful work, was written between 1914 and 1916, and received it’s first performance in 1918, just before he left for Salonica to work with British veterans waiting to be demobilized.  He had frequently volunteered for military service but was rejected because of his chronic asthma.  Several of his relatives, friends, and musical acquaintances did serve and a few of them died.

When I listen to this piece, especially the movements related to the Inner Planets (Mars, Venus, and Mercury), I often think of the Great War and speculate about whether the music was effected by contemporary events.  Traditional music history though suggests that the motivation was astrological and the movements reflective of the influence of the planets on the psyche.

This particular recording is the Berliner Philharmoniker under the direction of Karajan and has some nice pictures from NASA.

As for astrology?

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

The Breakfast Club (Don Quixote)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Nazi Germany bombs English town of Coventry during World War II; ‘Moby-Dick’ published; Nellie Bly begins globe-trotting trek; Leonard Bernstein makes conducting debut; Composer Aaron Copland born.

Breakfast Tunes

The late Leonard Bernstein made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall on November 14, 1943 when the scheduled conductor fell ill. Oddly, the day was also composer Aaron Copeland’s birthday whom Bernstein had met at Copeland’s birthday party in 1938 while Bernstein was a student at Harvard.

The Breakfast Club (Comets)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgWhat we don’t know about them would fill a book and most of the books we’ve already filled are wrong.  

These periodic (short and long) or non periodic visitors to the inner Solar System have been observed since the dim mists of history at least, unsurprisingly so since some of them are bright enough to be easily visible even during daytime.  They were superstitiously thought to to be that harbingers of great, catastrophic, events.

Since the time of Tycho Brahe we’ve known that comets are exo-atmoshperic objects made more curious by the fact their commas, or tails, always point away from the sun regardless of their actual direction of travel.  This observation led to the discovery of Solar Wind.

You see the sun doesn’t just emit radiation (energy, which is matter), it likewise emits particles (which are also matter) and this stream hits the surface of the comet and erodes it, blowing away dust and gasses while ionizing them like a lightbulb and producing the characteristic ‘tail’.  Since the ‘wind’ is so much faster than the comet itself the tail points away from the sun even when the comet is moving outward in the Solar System.

The prominence of these tails led scientists to speculate that the composition of a comet was different from an asteroid, those rocky chunks of leftover planet making stuff most of which has been swept out of the Inner System and flung into the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud (if not into Interstellar space), or swallowed up by the Sun or Jupiter all because of their massive (heh, only like 99% of the entire mass of the Inner System) gravitational influence, or parked in a more or less safe orbit between Mars and Jupiter.

The scientific myth was that comets were made of more insubstantial things, like ice, and accreted of their own accord far from the warmer, more attractive (because more massive) climes closer to that sustained fusion bomb we call Sol.  Indeed some went so far as to assert that the bulk of Earth’s water comes from comet impacts.

Not so much.

As it turns out, comets are not that different from asteroids after all.  

Mystery of Earth’s Water Origin Solved

Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic

Published October 30, 2014

To pin down the exact time of the arrival of Earth’s water, the study team turned to analyzing meteorites thought to have formed at different times in the history of the solar system.

First, they looked at carbonaceous chondrite meteorites that have been dated as the oldest ones known. They formed around the same time as the sun, before the first planets.

Next they examined meteorites that are thought to have originated from the large asteroid Vesta, which formed in the same region as Earth, some 14 million years after the solar system’s birth.

“These primitive meteorites resemble the bulk solar system composition,” said Sune Nielsen of the WHOI, a study co-author. “They have quite a lot of water in them, and have been thought of before as candidates for the origin of Earth’s water.”

The team’s measurements show that meteorites from Vesta have the same chemistry as the carbonaceous chondrites and rocks found on Earth. This means that carbonaceous chondrites are the most likely common source of water.

“The study shows that Earth’s water most likely accreted at the same time as the rock,” said Marschall.

But comets have tails!

Comet-Like Asteroid Boasts Dusty Tail

By Jenna Iacurci, Nature World News

Nov 12, 2014 02:37 PM EST

In a case of mistaken identity, a newly active asteroid in our solar system’s famous Main Belt is boasting a dusty tail, thinking it’s more a comet than an asteroid, according to recent research.

Usually it’s easy to tell the difference between a comet and an asteroid. A comet is a body composed of rock and ice that, when it passes close to the Sun, heats up and begins to sublimate, displaying a visible tail or coma. Asteroids, on the other hand, are composed mostly of rock and typically have few comet-like qualities.

But in recent years several asteroids have broken the boundaries of their definition and begun to sport dusty tails. A dozen of such unusual asteroids in the main asteroid belt have been identified thus far, and now a long-known asteroid is joining the club.

Called 62412, it’s the first comet-like object seen in the Hygiea family of asteroids, and only the 13th known active asteroid in the main asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter. Active asteroids, unlike others of their kind, sometimes sport a tail when dust and gas is ejected from their surface, giving them a comet-like appearance.

Not only that, but it should come as no surprise.  Quite a large percentage of Meteors are from comet trails rather than Asteroids and you know what?  They look exactly the same.  To the extent that Asteroids are slightly less volatile you should remember they’ve been sun blasted for about 4.5 Billion years.

Indeed it’s highly likely that most of the far Solar objects originated much closer to the sun than is commonly believed

(I)t is suggested that this planetary system evolved in the following manner. Planetesimals at the disk’s inner edge occasionally pass through gravitational encounters with the outermost giant planet, which change the planetesimals’ orbits. The planets scatter inwards the majority of the small icy bodies that they encounter, exchanging angular momentum with the scattered objects so that the planets move outwards in response, preserving the angular momentum of the system. These planetesimals then similarly scatter off the next planet they encounter, successively moving the orbits of Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn outwards. Despite the minute movement each exchange of momentum can produce, cumulatively these planetesimal encounters shift (migrate) the orbits of the planets by significant amounts. This process continues until the planetesimals interact with the innermost and most massive giant planet, Jupiter, whose immense gravity sends them into highly elliptical orbits or even ejects them outright from the Solar System. This, in contrast, causes Jupiter to move slightly inward.

The low rate of orbital encounters governs the rate at which planetesimals are lost from the disk, and the corresponding rate of migration. After several hundreds of millions of years of slow, gradual migration, Jupiter and Saturn, the two inmost giant planets, cross their mutual 1:2 mean-motion resonance. This resonance increases their orbital eccentricities, destabilizing the entire planetary system. The arrangement of the giant planets alters quickly and dramatically. Jupiter shifts Saturn out towards its present position, and this relocation causes mutual gravitational encounters between Saturn and the two ice giants, which propel Neptune and Uranus onto much more eccentric orbits. These ice giants then plough into the planetesimal disk, scattering tens of thousands of planetesimals from their formerly stable orbits in the outer Solar System. This disruption almost entirely scatters the primordial disk, removing 99% of its mass, a scenario which explains the modern-day absence of a dense trans-Neptunian population. Some of the planetesimals are thrown into the inner Solar System, producing a sudden influx of impacts on the terrestrial planets: the Late Heavy Bombardment.

Eventually, the giant planets reach their current orbital semi-major axes, and dynamical friction with the remaining planetesimal disc damps their eccentricities and makes the orbits of Uranus and Neptune circular again.

Why is this relevant today?

Well, we just landed a probe on a comet, first time ever.

Philae lander makes historic touchdown on comet

Ian Sample and Stuart Clark, The Guardian

Wednesday 12 November 2014 19.30 EST

The feat marks a profound success for the European Space Agency (ESA), which launched the Rosetta spacecraft more than 10 years ago from its Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. Since blasting off in March 2004, Rosetta and its lander Philae have travelled more than 6bn kilometres to catch up with the comet, which orbits the sun at speeds up to 135,000km/h.

Landing Philae on the comet’s surface was never going to be easy. When ESA managers got their first closeup of the comet in July, its unusual rubber duck shape left some fearing that a safe touchdown was impossible. The shape was not the only problem. The comet’s surface was hostile: hills and spectacular jutting cliffs gave way to cratered plains strewn with boulders. If Philae landed on anything other than even ground it could topple over, leaving it stranded and defunct.

On Tuesday night, hours before Philae had left its mothership, the chances of a safe landing took another dip. Overnight, a thruster on the lander failed to respond to commands sent from Earth. Engineers tried for hours to correct the fault but to no avail. The malfunction threatened to abort the mission, but at 0235 GMT on Wednesday mission controllers decided to go ahead with the landing regardless.

The nitrogen thruster, facing upwards from the top of the lander, was designed to fire for 60 seconds as Philae touched down to prevent it from bouncing off the comet’s surface where the gravitational pull is several hundred thousand times weaker than on Earth.

Can Philae hold on? Fears for comet mission as controllers reveal harpoons that should have tethered lander failed to work – causing it to BOUNCE as it landed

By Jonathan O’Callaghan and Ellie Zolfagharifard and Mark Prigg, Daily Mail

Published: 02:45 EST, 13 November 2014

Philae’s cold thruster is nitrogen-powered and is designed to fire on landing in order to prevent the probe from flying off into space due to the comet’s weak gravity.

In order to prepare cold-gas jets, scientists use one of two pins to puncture a wax seal on the thruster’s gas tank. Experts detect success by the change in pressure in the piping system.

However, this morning mission controllers did not see pressure increases after two attempts with each of the two pins. But according to the industry provider, there may still be a chance that retrying the puncture of the wax seal would succeed, even after four failed attempts.

Now this is an amazing feat of celestial navigation made more so by the irregular shape of the target, its speed and distance, activity of the landing area, and low gravity, but it was not perfect.  Since the engineers expected the surface to be icy they employed harpoons as anchors.  Well, it’s more rock than ice.  Moreover a top thruster was supposed to fire to ensure positive contact during a sub-surface drilling operation has so far been unresponsive and it’s unknown if that part of the mission can be completed.

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science and Tech News and Blogs

Science Oriented Google Doodle!

The Obligatories, News, and Blogs below.

The Breakfast Club (Restless Dreams)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

An armistice ends the fighting in World War I; Pilgrims sign Mayflower Compact; Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat dies; Author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and actor Leonardo DiCaprio born.

Breakfast Tunes

TBC: Morning Musing 11.10.14

I have 3 for you this Monday morning.

First, on the culprits of Climate Change:

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions

The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.


The Breakfast Club

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Today in History

Breakfast Tune

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

The Breakfast Club (Better Than Mozart?)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgJakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, the very name tells a story of the pervasive anti-Semitism in pre-World War II Europe.

Mendelssohn’s Grandfather was the noted Jewish philosopher Moses and his Father Abraham a banker who was instrumental in breaking Napoleon’s Continental System which may explain Felix’s positive reception by the British.  Abraham was not very happy being a Jew, especially a notorious one, and declined to have Felix and his brother Paul circumcised.

After moving the family to Berlin from Hamburg in 1811, Abraham had Felix baptized in the Reformed Church where he acquired his Christian name- Jakob Ludwig.  Abraham himself renounced the name Mendelssohn and adopted the name Bartholdy from his wife’s family which itself had taken it from the name of some property in Luisenstadt that they owned.

Talk about your Oedipal issues-

Abraham later explained this decision in a letter to Felix as a means of showing a decisive break with the traditions of his father Moses: “There can no more be a Christian Mendelssohn than there can be a Jewish Confucius

Dysfunctional?  Hmm…

Felix’s sister Fanny was much more talented that he was but she was a girl so, you know, couldn’t actually do anything being property and all.  She hated the name and wrote him in 1829, “Bartholdy […] this name that we all dislike”.  Felix himself compromised and styled himself Mendelssohn Bartholdy out of deference to his Father.

Felix was restrained from displaying his musical talents at an early age by his Father (Hmm…) but they were apparent by the time he was 6.  In 1819 he and Fanny were allowed to study with Carl Friedrich Zelter who ran the orchestra at the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin.  They had an extensive collection of original J.S. Bach manuscripts and Felix became a big fan.

Zelter introduced Felix to his friend Wolfgang von Goethe in 1821.

von Goethe: Musical prodigies … are probably no longer so rare; but what this little man can do in extemporizing and playing at sight borders the miraculous, and I could not have believed it possible at so early an age.

Zelter: And yet you heard Mozart in his seventh year at Frankfurt?

von Goethe: Yes … but what your pupil already accomplishes, bears the same relation to the Mozart of that time that the cultivated talk of a grown-up person bears to the prattle of a child.

I guess it was the incessant fart jokes.

Felix led a short and presumably deeply unhappy life (Father a control freak self hating Jew?  Do the math.) passing at a young 38 from a series of strokes which his family was predisposed to.  As for his religious views, it’s a  matter of some dispute.  He was a conforming member of the Church, yet commissioned a complete collection of the writings of his Grandfather Moses and once wrote his sister Rebecka regarding her complaints about an unpleasant relative-

What do you mean by saying you are not hostile to Jews? I hope this was a joke […] It is really sweet of you that you do not despise your family, isn’t it?

He may or may not have had an affair with Jenny Lind the Barnum Sideshow Freak and while he was acclaimed by his contemporaries for his virtuosity, he was also regarded as a completely conventional frump.  He admired and patterned himself after Bach and his connection with the Romantic movement is that his compositions were designed to evoke emotion rather than as clever and catchy technical exercises.

Up until the acendancy of Hitler he was a respected, if minor, member of the German “Art” Music (I’m telling yah, boffo in Britain) Pantheon.  And then-

Ironically today is the 91st anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch.

Contemporary critics are back to the “well, he wasn’t revolutionary enough” stage which is an improvement I guess.  I’d agree with Friedrich Nietzsche

At any rate, the whole music of romanticism [e.g. Schumann and Wagner] … was second-rate music from the very start, and real musicians took little notice of it. Things were different with Felix Mendelssohn, that halcyon master who, thanks to his easier, purer, happier soul, was quickly honored and just as quickly forgotten, as a lovely incident in German music.

The reason “incident” is highlighted is some people think it’s condescending coming from Nietzsche.  I don’t mean to imply anything by it at all even though I endorse the gestalt of the comment as a whole (did I mention I’m part German on my Mother’s side?)- Schumann is totally forgetable, Wagner an insane raving egomaniac.

While Mendelssohn is best known for the Wedding March I choose to present instead Symphony #2 in B-flat major, entitled Lobgesang (Hymn of Praise) which is notable for it’s inclusion of a chorus and was written to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the printing press.

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The Breakfast Club (Still I Wonder)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Bolshevik Revolution takes place; America’s 2000 presidential vote faces limbo; Nixon loses Calif. governor’s race; Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses; Evangelist Billy Graham and singer Joni Mitchell born.

Breakfast Tunes

The Breakfast Club (Bang! You’re Dead)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgMy late Uncle called the History Channel The War Channel because of it’s steady drumbeat of World War II documentaries and other celebrations of armed conflict which, along with the “Great Man” theory of history, Marx shows us is a mere outgrowth of underlying economic dynamics.

Not that he was a Marxist, nor am I.  I’m a proud Anarcho-Syndicalist and we kick Marxist butt from here to Barcelona.

Anyway among the objects of their fascination are guns of every shape, size, and description because big explosions are good Television.

Just what about bigger do you not understand?

So I’m a factoid factory about firearms even though I do not now and never have owned one (though I do have a dusty old NRA Pro Marksman certificate which attests I can hit a sheet of paper if it gets close enough to threaten me).

For the purposes of today’s story we’ll start off with the mechanics of basically every gun until 1808.

Now we all have this vision of a frontiersman in his coonskin cap carefully pouring powder from his Powder Horn into the Pan of his Kentucky Long Rifle, lowering the Frizzen and putting the Hammer on Half Cock, putting the Stock on the ground and pouring more powder from his Horn into the Muzzle, grabbing a Patch of cloth and a lead Ball from his pouch and carefully seating them in the Barrel, and finally pulling out his Ramrod and tamping it all down, returning Ramrod to its sleeve, then raising the Rifle, pulling the Hammer to Full Cock, aiming, and firing.

That’s completely wrong.

It actually matters a great deal just how much powder you use and if you want consistent results (and incidentally a gun that doesn’t blow up in your face) you’ll monitor that quantity quite carefully.

In fact since the 1500s most militaries haven’t used loose powder at all.

Well, except for priming the Pan and at that they’d have carefully crafted quills which they would dip like a cooking measure into flour to procure the desired amount.

Instead they have used a paper cartridge which has powder and ball enclosed in a waxed or oiled paper wrapper.  You tear off the seal (usually just a twist like a candy) of the powder end and pour that down the Barrel.  Then you seat the Ball end of the cartridge (with paper replacing the Patch) and ram that down.  The waxing not only contributes to waterproofing the powder (let’s keep it dry Democrats) but also makes it easier to slide down the Ball.  Rumours that the British were using Lard and Tallow to grease their cartridges was one of the proximate causes of the Sepoy Rebellion.

Still, it’s a pain in the ass.

Starting in 1808 we see the emergence of cartridges designed for Breech loading using Percussion Caps for ignition.  While many designs used paper and other self consuming material to contain the charge it was eventually found that Brass would expand to prevent leakage of the propellant into the Breech while maintaining enough integrity to be easily extracted to accept the next round, and they were waterproof to a large extent.


By now you’ve heard all the panic about 3-D printed guns and frankly there’s a lot to be worried about.  They are 100% plastic and don’t show up on metal detectors.  They’re made of commonly available materials by reasonably ($400) priced machines according to specifications easily downloaded off the Internet.  All this technology is thoroughly dual purpose and essentially unregulatable.

Until now the only problem has been that they are single shot and have a tendency to blow up because the Barrel and Breech are not quite strong enough.

A machinist from Pennsylvania has solved that problem (well, the blow up part at least, but that’s the key).  Instead of using a Brass cartridge he uses a Steel one to contain the detonation at its highest pressure point.

Now his is machined and takes about an hour a round to make, but you can reload it and the design could just as easily be stamped (if you have an industrial stamping machine, Kalashnikovs are stamped for instance).

Now perhaps you think this a radical breakthrough, yes in some respects, not so much in others.  Behold the Colt Paterson 1836

The revolvers came with spare cylinders and the practice of the day was to carry spare cylinders loaded and capped for fast reloading.

Yup, and that was without smokeless powder in a basically Ball and Cap design.

Technologically this is essentially a dead end.  Plastics with the requisite characteristics and the machines to create them will continue to evolve but don’t be too worried, even today if you know what you’re doing you can construct a fully automatic AR-15 out of a $35 receiver you can buy unregistered over the Internet and some “spare” parts.

Are you ready for the Zombie Apocalypse yet?

The Bullet That Could Make 3-D Printed Guns Practical Deadly Weapons

By Andy Greenberg, Wired


As 3-D printed guns have evolved over the past 18 months from a science-fictional experiment into a subculture, they’ve faced a fundamental limitation: Cheap plastic isn’t the best material to contain an explosive blast. Now an amateur gunsmith has instead found a way to transfer that stress to a component that’s actually made of metal-the ammunition.

Michael Crumling, a 25-year-old machinist from York, Pennsylvania, has developed a round designed specifically to be fired from 3-D printed guns. His ammunition uses a thicker steel shell with a lead bullet inserted an inch inside, deep enough that the shell can contain the explosion of the round’s gunpowder instead of transferring that force to the plastic body or barrel of the gun. Crumling says that allows a home-printed firearm made from even the cheapest materials to be fired again and again without cracking or deformation. And while his design isn’t easily replicated because the rounds must be individually machined for now, it may represent another step towards durable, practical, printed guns-even semi-automatic ones.

“It’s a really simple concept: It’s kind of a barrel integrated into the shell, so to speak,” says Crumling. “Basically it removes all the stresses and pressures from the 3-D printed parts. You should be able to fire an unlimited number of shots through the gun without replacing any parts other than the shell.”

Last week, for instance, Crumling shot 19 rounds from a 3-D printed gun of his own design created on an ultra-cheap $400 Printrbot printer using PLA plastic. (He concedes his gun isn’t completely 3-D printed; it uses some metal screws and a AR-15 trigger and firing hammer that he bought online for a total of $30. But he argues none of those parts affected the gun’s firing durability.) Though the gun misfired a few times, it didn’t suffer from any noticeable internal damage after all of those explosions. Here’s a time lapse video that shows 18 of those shots.

Crumling’s steel-shelled rounds seem to control their explosions well enough to protect printed guns created with even the very cheapest printing techniques. “This guy has refined 3D printed firearms such that they can be reliably printed on very low end 3-D printers,” says Sullivan. “It’s so brilliantly simple. I love it.”

Science and Technology News and Blogs

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The Obligatories, News, and Blogs below.

TBC: Morning Musing 11.5.14

I am tardy with this cuz I was up late watching the returns. But in light of the outcome, I think this is a good essay.

The Balance of Power

No Jump today!

So how you doin’?  😀

The Breakfast Club (Calm Before the Storm)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Militants storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and seize its occupants; Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated; Soviet troops move in to crush the Hungarian Revolution; Baseball hall-of-famer Cy Young dies; Sean “Diddy” Combs is born.

Breakfast Tunes

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