Saturday, July 21, 2007

Scout Camp

I went to scout camp this weekend. I only got Friday off of work, so I wasn't down the whole week. It was interesting. There are two camps we used to go to, this was the one where they do all the work (cooking and the like) for you. It seems that not much has changed. It was weird, but pretty cool seeing the place again. I don't have the patience for the staph's strangeness than I used to. They seemed more annoying, less funny, but I bet that was more due to me changing then them. The boys seemed to get a kick out of them just like I remember.

Oh, in case I didn't tell anyone, they made me Scoutmaster in the ward I'm in now. I don't just hang out with the scouts for the heck of it.

One of the other adult leaders has a pretty cool job, I found out. I had heard others say that he could hack into stuff, and I figured his job involved something nerdy, and he was better with computers than most, but it turns out his job is to hack into places, and then let them know how he got in. I've seen that job in a movie, but I never thought anyone really had it. If only they could incorporate ninjas into it, I'd have the perfect job for my little brother.

He also brought up some potassium. Seems that stuff blows up in water, as long as it's not in it's acid form. Pity I missed it. I don't suppose I could have brought up thermite, and not gotten in trouble for it. I'll have to let most of you know if I get that put together. Mom, I'll let you know after I'm done with it.

Anyway, good to be back home. Next year I might be going up for the whole week. Assuming I'm still in the same ward, and I can get the time off from wherever I'm working by then.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thermite Anyone?

So, cutting steel to make trailers is an interesting job. There are a lot of different parts we make in the fab shop, and a couple of good byproducts I want to see if I can get my hands on. The first, is the sawdust from the steel cut off saw. When it comes off of the saw, it looks like fireworks, but it cools to a black dust. It's magnetic, it stinks, and it covers my clothes when I'm done. I believe it's what's known as black or blue iron oxide. It differs from red iron oxide (rust) because it is oxidized at a high temperature.

I don't claim to understand this too well, but I believe that means it's burnt, not just rusty.

The other byproduct is saw dust from the aluminum saws. There's no real heat involved in these, and no oxidation. It's just ordinary aluminum dust.

This is where it gets interesting, and where Berserk may have to stop reading for liability purposes.

Seems that when you mix about a quarter of one with three quarters of the other you get a mixture called thermite. Thermite is used to weld railroad pieces together. When you burn it, you are left with a puddle of molten iron. You can cast this iron into a mold, or burn through things. It will burn a hole through the hood of a car, through the engine block, and out the bottom with only a flowerpot full. It will do more than that if you place the flowerpot over the gas tank.

Now, I don't plan on doing anything so destructive, but ever since I heard of the stuff, I kind of wanted to make it, who wouldn't, and now I find myself working daily with the raw ingredients I need. Also, it seems I can use a sparkler or a matchbook to ignite it as well, so I don't even need the usual magnesium fuse, which might be somewhat difficult to come by.

So, Mom's cautioning aside, anyone have any thoughts on this stuff?

Check out this Wikipedia article on thermite if want to know more about it, or see pictures and videos.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Small Town

Well, we've got hot water and cold air in our camper. Hot air too, if we choose, but now's not the time for it. We've got to get some sort of control device, not unlike a working thermostat, for it. Currently, we've got a bundle of loose wires sticking out of the wall. If you know which ones to hook up, you've got air. Also, I've got to do something about all this internet I don't have. We either need a wireless repeater, or a better NIC. Probably the former.

The fourth was fun. At least, the couple of days before the fourth were fun. The fourth involved us traveling home, and watching a chick flick which my chick didn't enjoy any more than I did.

Before the fourth, we were in the small town my mother grew up in. A town we're thinking of moving to, in order to get medical school paid for. There might be some extra difficulty in that though, I understand they've got some overdone anti-nepotism policies at the hospital. I have a cousin who had some difficulty getting a job there because she has an aunt who works there too. If I run into any problems though, there are a couple of other areas we're interested in too. Areas with a nicer climate, although fewer relatives. If all else fails, there's always the student loan method.

The stay in Smalltown was pretty good. I took my wife out on a quad, exploring some paths with streams running through them. My youngest sister fell off of hers, cracked her helmet right open, but left her head in one bruised piece. She got a few scrapes, and a slightly damaged ankle too, but nothing too bad.

It was good seeing almost everyone. We've got an aunt I haven't seen in probably a bit more than a decade, and about four corresponding cousins I've never seen. Then there's an uncle who I haven't seen too often, and who I haven't seen quite as little as I'd like. Druncle doesn't seem all too bad at first. A bit full of himself, a bit bossy. A bit like a permanent drunk. The bit that really impressed me was when he decided to share his beer with the baby sitting next to him. Wha?!

I understand most people drink. I'm fine at a family gathering, a party, whatever, where people are drinking. No one has ever tried to push it on me. Druncle here, decided that a kid, not quite a year old I think, should have a drink. This isn't like letting a child of yours, who is curious about your wine, have a sip. This is more like getting the cat drunk to laugh at it. Druncle wasn't doing this with his own children either. As far as I know he doesn't have any. No, the kid in question belonged to the aunt who doesn't regularly come around anyway. Nice way to push her right back out. My sister asked the kid if she wanted her juice, and took her away, to which Druncle said, "oh, here come the missionaries to save you." Leave it to the drunk to get too preachy, and to overestimate their own comedic talent. The guy's always hated Mormons, but my sister's not really trying to push her religion around here.

Druncle tried it again, this time the kid's dad stopped him, told him that was enough. They left. Pissed of course. Hopefully we'll see them again soon. Hopefully Druncle will find himself busy with whatever the hell he does the rest of the year, and won't make it down.

That aside, the trip was good. It was really good to see the rest of the family over there. Next year, we should be able to stay for the holiday as well. There's nothing like a big firework show done by a small town. Hope everyone else's holiday was good.