Author: insecure_automaton

Little bit of this, little bit of that.

Alex Miller’s Garden: an interesting blog

Adding a link here for later review – an interesting intersection of art and algorithm:

Harold Gillam: A Tragic Final Flight

Harold Gillam was a pioneering bush pilot in the Alaska backcountry. Here’s a nice write-up about his final flight where we unfortunately crashed and perished:

Harold Gillam in the cockpit of his ski-equipped Waco

How to change oil in a Continental A-65

The 4-cylinder air-cooled Continental A-65 is about as simple an aircraft engine has you can get. However, the procedure for changing the oil in it is a *bit* – but only a tiny bit – more complex than that for your small-block Chevys and the like. Kevin Lacey, of Airplane Repo fame, does an excellent job of walking through the procedure in the video here that shows him performing the procedure on his Taylorcraft’s power plant.

As an aside, he also walks through the procedure of cleaning spark plugs and testing compression since the engine only had 23 hrs SMOH when the video was filmed. Those’re helpful to know as well.

Continental A-65 "Maintenance and Overhaul Manual" cover
Continental A-65 “Maintenance and Overhaul Manual”

1946 video tour of the Aeronca aircraft factory, Middletown, OH

I absolutely love this post-WWII video tour of the Aeronca aircraft factory. Luckily, it’s not just a short little snip but a full-length film (49:15 in length).

Screen cap of an Aeronca Champ taking off from the factory airfield, from 1946 Aeronca factory tour video
Aeronca Champ taking off from Aeronca factory airfield

Douglas DC-2 1/2

One of my favorite planes is the old Douglas DC-3 – can’t beat it for looks in my book. Was doing some reading on it and came across a story about the Douglas “DC-2 1/2.”
The Japanese had damaged the wing of a Chinese DC-3 with a 200-lb bomb. There were no DC-3 replacement wings available and the Chinese were worried that the whole plane would be destroyed in further bombing raids. A spare DC-2 wing – which was about 5’ shorter – was strapped to the bottom of a different DC-3 in Hong Kong, flown 900 miles to the airfield at about 110 mph, and bolted on the DC-3.
Get this – the damn thing flew! It needed 12 degrees of aileron trim and different power settings than its partner engine on the full size wing but it flew straight and level 800+ miles to escape the Japanese raids.
Neat write-up about it here.

In action:

Douglas DC-2 1/2
Douglas DC-2 1/2

Aeronca oleo strut maintenance

Courtesy of John Propst – quite a bit that goes into these old airplanes’ suspensions.

Atari TIA schematics

Atari Age hosts two sets of copies of the schematics for the Atari VCS TIA (Television Interface Adapter), the custom chip that was used in the VCS/2600 for graphics and sound. One set has sheets at 2048 x 1396 resolution, the other is in a whopping 14400 x 9820 format.

Might be neat to simulate the TIA and other VCS hardware in Minecraft and run a ROM entirely in that world. Why not? Something similar was done w/ the Commandore 32!

Another interesting link – a recent rundown of the TIA hardware.

Free sprite assets from

I will admit to leveraging several of these sprite assets from!

Broforce boss sprites, courtesy of Wikipedia
Broforce boss sprites, courtesy of Wikipedia

Brazilian stone tool-making monkeys

That title would be a great band or album name, huh?

My degrees are in anthropology, w/ a heavy, heavy focus on archaeology. For the last 10+ years though, my income has come from tech so I’m not as up-to-date on current archaeological research as I was back then. Came across a recent article that shows that some of the earliest South American archaeological sites as indicated by lithic — stone tool — detritus may actually be remnants from capuchin monkeys who make and use similar tools. Apparently this is a blow to researchers who are trying to disprove the “Clovis-first” hypothesis which essentially states that humans only showed up in the Americas in the last 10-15k years. Some of these sites had previously been cited as evidence of human habitation as long ago as 50k years.

The more we know, the weirder things seem to get.

Brazilian capuchin monkey
Earl D. Capuchin judges you silently
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