Monday, April 20, 2009

The Follower Phenom

Uh-oh. What's this?

In the military one of the targets used on the pistol range was a silhouette of the upper torso. To maintain our proficiency with handguns we would periodically go down to the Pistol Range and shoot holes in those Silhouette Targets. Now Google is putting silhouette targets on one of the pages supporting my Blog. Pistol target with 'Followers' underneath.

Little green Silhouette Targets on the Dashboard page, which I've not visited since... whatever. I dig around here & there... I haven't had much luck as a blogger. For example, I didn't know they paid you for blogging! I'm still not too clear on how it works. Sometimes Google sends me money. And sometimes they don't. After a while they apologize for not sending anything, promise to do better. And don't.

Then there are the things they simply whip outta thin air, full-grown, which they apparently expect me to be fully aware of, when in fact I'm barely aware of them, let alone the weird stuff they are continually creating, apparently having mistaken activity for progress. Like this 'Follower' business. I dig around trying to find out what this latest phenom entails but come up dry.

Surely 'Follower' doesn't actually mean Follower! Because if it did, it would mean I have been promoted to Fearless Leader... like that guy in N. Korea with the bad comb-over. Is that how people see me? As a Nutsy Cookoo? Trouble is, the Korean Cookoo is desperately eager to be a Fearless Leader and I am not. So which is it?

Click the icon and sure enough, a page pops up with a list of people. I recognize a couple of the names but others are complete strangers. Which worries me even more. I'm happy to meet these people; happy they've found something useful in the material I've posted. But to me follower implies leader and that's the part that worries me. Is there something I should be doing to fulfill my new role?

I've tried to find more information about Followers but the only meaningful thing I've heard is that it's people who want to maintain closer ties to me. If that's the case, my email address is

However, if the 'closer ties' means telephone numbers and that sort of thing, when someone calls I generally can't get to the telephone before the ringer times out and the pre-recorded voice tells them to leave a message. I've got a cell phone but I don't know my number. The cell phone was a gift from my wife when I became ill. But I don't use it very often.

When my sister was ill I was expecting her to return my call. When the phone rang I tried running, hoping to catch it before it timed out. Bad idea. I managed to trip myself up and took a bit of a fall. Scared the hell out of my wife and made me feel like an idiot.


So... welcome, all you Followers. As your Leader I'm not too sure what my duties are but I'll try to do my best.

Right now I've been studying the strength of various woods, trying to come up with a simple procedure. Turns out, it's not as simple as I thought. I began with the procedures described by the Forest Products Laboratory but if you use their sample sizes you will need some rather large weights, so that by the time I was able to make my samples fail, the patio looked like an annex of the FPL. Which caused me to try using smaller samples, such as 1 square inch rather than four. And most recently, 1/4 of a square inch.

Samples using a quarter of a square inch reduce the test to table-top dimensions but the tests also produce a lot of 'scatter' in their results. Which lead to my trying to use samples that were the actual size of the wood being used. That turned out to be a pretty good idea because in every test I've done, the part was STRONGER than it needed to be.

I've designed the 'Chugger' to have a maximum gross weight of 850 pounds (1870kg) and to withstand four g's. That is, the wing, tail, and engine mount are supposed to survive a momentary overload of 7580Kg or 3400 pounds. So far I've been able to verify this for everything except the landing gear, which I'm still working on.


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