## Archive for the ‘True Stories’ Category

### Tension and Compression

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A demonstration of the mathematical principles of the original Forth Bridge in Scotland performed at Imperial College in 1887. The central ‘weight’ is Kaichi Watanabe, one of the first Japanese engineers to study in the UK, while Sir John Fowler and Benjamin Baker provide the supports.

Long-span structural engineering illustrated. Note that weight is not the problem with this truss, but uplift is, hence the weights at the extreme ends of the truss. Tension is transferred from the exterior weights through the arms of the two men near the ends of the span, while compression struts keep this structure from collapsing under the dead weight of Mr. Watanabe.  Note also that without the weight provided by Mr. Watanabe, this structure collapses (unless Messrs. Fowler and Baker scooch over and hold hands).

[Found here.]

### This Is Sand

Monday, 8 September 2014

Sand magnified 250x. Any small sample of sand may be traced to it’s global location by its mix. For example, the more purple the sand is the more likely that the sample was taken from the Purple Islands.
TRUE.

[Found here.]

### The Myths Of The Minimum Wage

Sunday, 7 September 2014

My eyes glazed over when I saw that graphic, because there are no numbers or statistics to back up that arbitrary wiggly line and its specious claim. It’s pure socialist propaganda. Ready for some unadulterated reality?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 1979-2012 minimum wage jobs comprise an average of about 60% of all hourly jobs for any given year, but guess what percentage of workers over the age of 16 make minimum wage or less?

In 2012 a whopping 4.7 per cent of the working population above the age of 16 earned at or below minimum wage nation-wide. In California, only 1.4 per cent.

Why such a small percentage? Because the majority of those workers are in transition to better jobs, better pay, and the minimum wage jobs have an unsurprisingly high turnover rate. Who wants to scrub pots at Denny’s for the rest of their life, let alone for more than a year?

Which industries employ the majority of minimum wage earners?

Agriculture is relatively insignificant, especially once you combine the Service/Retail percentages, and note that the Federal Government employs very few minimum wage earners.

Now let’s look at the make up of the minimum wage workforce, the nebulous 4.7 percent.

Now let’s examine the age makeup of the 4.7 percent who make minimum wage or less.

Note that many workers in restaurants and hotels (waiters, waitresses, busboys, bellhops, etc.) often receive less than minimum wage, as they’re expected to make up the rest in tips. Tips account for a large percentage of income and workers typically earn more than minimum wage, sometimes a lot more in upscale venues. Since tips are un-monitored cash transactions, much of that income goes unreported. Let’s break it down a tad further.

The prevailing federal minimum wage in 1979 was \$2.90, \$3.10 in 1980, and \$3.35 in 1981-89. The minimum wage rose to \$3.80 on April 1, 1990, to \$4.25 on April 1, 1991, to \$4.75 on October 1, 1996, to \$5.15 on September 1, 1997, to \$5.85 on July 24, 2007, to \$6.55 on July 24, 2008, and to \$7.25 on July 24, 2009. When I checked Minimum Wage Job Numbers and correlated them with Minimum Wage Increases I found none, which suggests that employers covered the increased overhead with higher prices for goods and services in order to stay in business, and the costs were passed down to the consumer.  The low income population takes another hit.

Blue is for boys, pink is for girls. Statistics are not sexist.

I’m not an economist, and I’m also not a CPA, but I suspect the IRS gets something out of this scenario because the basic illogic of raising the minimum wage, especially in a sluggish economy, escapes me.

Who else benefits? Union leaders, long-march socialists and politicians whoring for votes.

Aside from the fact that the majority of the poor do not remain poor indefinitely (any more than the majority of the wealthy stay wealthy) raising the minimum wage gives people an incentive not to advance. If a worker finds that minimum wage meets or surpasses his/her current expenses, why not ride with it a few more years? The problem with that scenario is that the worker is not improving his/her resumé for those valuable “few years,” and by the time they realize it, they are years behind those who abandon minimum wage jobs, pick up new valuable skills, and naturally earn more. Those who choose to remain in low-skilled positions deny recent graduates the opportunity to find work, and the ladder to prosperity becomes stagnant.

Another scenario is of a family who needs a secondary income to give them a financial cushion during the expensive child-rearing years; or perhaps an elderly couple may not have saved enough for their retirement because their investments tanked; or simply because they choose not to retire.

Wage and price control is a socialist/fascist concept that has never worked because it creates more problems than it solves, and the problems it attempts to solve are non-existent in the free market. Pay a worker for the value of his/her work, and if there aren’t enough workers for the job, then you’re paying too little. Nobody wants to be a buck an hour pot scrubber for the rest of their life, but we’re still talking about only 4.7 percent of the working population, and most of those workers are moving up the ladder uninhibited.

There is also a macro-scenario that has to do with illegal immigrants and the Cloward-Piven Strategy that aims to overwhelm a stable government with free services provided and paid for by successful corporations, entrepreneurs and the common man, fomenting economic collapse and allowing Socialism/Communism/Fascism to prevail.

This road has always led to mass murder, without exception.

May God help our children and grandchildren if the progressives succeed.

Bunk

### Happy Labor Day

Monday, 1 September 2014

November 1903. “Assembling room, Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Co., Detroit. Men working in foundry and machine shop that produced automobile engines and merged with Cadillac Motor Co. in 1905.”

[Image and caption found here. Brief history of the origins of Labor Day here.]

### Hot links of the Hoi Polloi

Sunday, 31 August 2014

From the “Movin’ On Up” Department: Bicycle seat innovation eliminates saddle sores by relocating them.

And if you’re a Travis County Texas District Attorney convicted of DWI named Rosemary Lemberg, don’t don’t attempt to indict the Governor in retaliation for a legal veto of funding for your department due to inherent and egregious corruption.

Related: Kinky Friedman endorses Texas Governor Rick Perry. Friedman’s a hoot.

Here’s Houston Harris (better known as Bobo Brazil) vs. Rikidōdzan in 1957, complete match.
(Kim Sin-rak, aka Rikidōzan, here.)

In 1654, Otto von Guericke invented a machine that really sucked. In 1888, John Dunlop invented a machine that really blew.

Disneyland? Nah. THIS is the Happiest Place On Earth.

[Top image found in here.]

### Saturday Matinee – Wingsuit Fail, Honey Cakes, Karen Marie (with Postmodern Jukebox) & Buddy Guy

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Wingsuit fail vid from Corcovado, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
[SFK. Yeah, as horrible and disturbing as it is,  it's SFK.]

Bees in China [via].

Karen Marie‘s take on Little Willie John‘s “Fever” (done in 12 styles with Postmodern Jukebox). It kept my attention, even though the video erroneously credits Peggy Lee for the song. LWJ recorded it in 1956;  two years later Peggy Lee covered it.

Here’s the great Buddy Guy and his take on the song. And with that we’re out. Have a great weekend, folks. See you soon.

### Stephen Gray’s Contribution To The World

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Stephen Gray was pursuing a long series of experiments with electricity. In producing charge on a long glass tube, he discovered in 1729 that he could communicate the electrical effect to other objects by direct connection. Using string, he could charge an object over 50 feet from the rubbed tube, but oddly enough some other substances, such as silk thread, would not carry charge. Brass wire would transmit charge even better. These experiments with charged strings and glass tubes revealed the properties of conduction, insulation, and transmission.

The depiction above shows one of Gray’s most famous experiments, in which he showed that a boy suspended by (insulating) silk cords could be charged (with the glass tube) and then as a (conducting) body could (electrostatically) attract small objects. Dramatic experiments such as these became quite well-known. Finally, after Newton’s death in 1732, Gray was admitted as a member of the Royal Society in recognition of his efforts, but he died destitute a few years later in 1736. [via]

[Image found here.]

### Full Moon Heros

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Mike Collins, Jim Lovell & I [Buzz Aldrin] got a behind the scenes look at the Orion capsule being built at Kennedy Space Center. Like our bunny suits?

I shouldn’t have to tell you who these guys are or what they did, but all three have titanium cojones.

Lovell’s book “Lost Moon” is a can’t-put-down white-knuckle read, and was the basis for the excellent movie “Apollo 13.”

[Image and Aldrin's caption found here.]

P.S. Tonight’s full moon is a “supermoon.”

### Tacky Raccoons’ 7th Year: The Top 11 Posts

Sunday, 3 August 2014

We’ve featured the Top Posts every year since this blog was whelped on 2 August 2007 and this year is no different. The numbers indicate ranking for the previous 12 months, followed by the previous year’s ranking, and the third numeral is for all-time popularity (August 2007 – August 2014).  NR indicates Not Ranked.

Click on any image and it’ll take you to the original post.

No. 11/nr/74 – Cute Baby Giraffe

No. 10/2/10 – 10/10/10 10:10:10

No. 9/11/21 – Death Row Barbie and Other Science Fair Projects

No. 8/nr/28 – How To Really Piss Off A Golden Retriever

No. 7/3/5 – Giant Woolly Bear Caterpillar Discovered Near Las Cruces, NM, Predicts Global Warming for Decades to Come

No. 6/1/3 – Capybara Lapwarmer

No. 5/nr/48 – The .Gif Friday Post No. 297 – Page Turner, Giraffe Gymnastics & “Did You Catch That?”

No. 4/5/15 – Babe Cannon

No. 3/7/24 – “Wow, Giant Isopod, Did You See That?”

No. 2/nr/2 –  LOL FERRET: Episode 1

And the Number One Post for the past 12 months is:

## The .Gif Friday Post No.133 – Needlepoint Dog is Awesome!

“Needlepoint Dog” is a new entry in the Tacky Raccoons Blogoversary Hit Parade, with a score of 1/nr/19. We posted it on 25 June 2010 just days after it appeared at the source. Within 5 days of posting, it spiked, then went relatively dormant traffic-wise until February of this year and it’s been in the No. 1 slot for 6 months straight.

Not only is the concept great, the animation of the reverse side is even better. Congrats!

Although Tacky Raccoons doesn’t attract a lot of comments, we appreciate the “likes” and those who “follow” us. Now let’s talk Twitter. We’ve had an account for several years as an experiment to see how many followers we could get with the stated intent of providing absolutely no content and about 30 people played along. This is going to change.

Starting today, anyone who follows @BunkStrutts will get automatic notifications of new posts, perhaps some occasional inane snark from me, and all in fun. We’ll see where it goes, and if it clogs up my email inbox with too many Tweet notifications, I’ll deal with it. (There’s a button on the upper right sidebar to beam you over to Twitterville, too. You don’t need to sign up to Twitter to read it. We’ve done the same with FaceBook, even though I don’t use it much).

Wish you all the best,

Bunk

P.S. If you haven’t done so already, visit

The Official Cutting Edge Tacky Raccoons Store

for trendy and stylish acoutrements. If you don’t see what you like, or you want something a bit different, leave a comment or use the “Write Bunk” link in the sidebar.

### Saturday Matinee – Bubbles, Splashes & Waters

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Amazing bubble show by Ana Yang, wife of Canadian bubble master Fan Yang [via].

Summer fun in the UK getting drenched with street water. [Related post here.]

I just spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find a music video that meshes with bubbles and water. Muddy Waters works, but then I found this gem:

One of the most successful groups in popular music, they began playing R&B in the early to mid-1960s. The name of the band (and members) changed several times, but eventually settled on “The Pink Floyd Sound,”  taken from the names of two blues musicians,  Pinkney “Pink” Anderson and Floyd “Dipper Boy” Council (click each name for links to recordings on the Utoobage). Dick Clark introduced “The Pink Floyd” on American Bandstand in 1967, their first appearance in the U.S. Here’s the lineup (with ages) at the time of the filming:

Roger Waters – bass, vocals, songwriter (24)
Syd Barrett – guitar, vocals, songwriter (21)
Richard Wright – keyboards, vocals (24)
Nick Mason – percussion (23)

Pink Floyd had my attention from “Ummagumma” through “Wish You Were Here,” but they began to lose me when their style began drifting too far into the mainstream pop radio culture of the late 70s: the overbearing and over-produced arena-art-rock years.

Have a great weekend, folks, and remember that “Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict” was performed live on stage,with “lyrics” in English.

P.S. The Dub Side Of The Moon is awesome.