Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

May 30th, 2008:

Odd Lots

  • Wired aggregated this item about a convertible bus/railcar that somehow suggests a modern take on the legendary Rio Grande Southern Galloping Goose lashups. I like the concept a great deal, especially for rapid transit in places where there are rails but not enough population density to create a dedicated passenger rail system. The technology is hardly original with Japan; I see Union Pacific maintenance pickup trucks riding the rails all up and down the old Northwestern corridor outside of Chicago every time I'm in town. The trucks straddle the tracks at a grade crossing, drop their flanged steel wheels, and then apply traction from the truck's rear rubber tires. I don't see why a passenger bus of some sort couldn't do the same thing.
  • I don't recall when someone asked me this (or, in truth, who it was) but the decorative font used on the cover of the Degunking books for the main titles is the Chicken King font from Font Diner. The similar decorative font used in the main chapter titles is Fontdinerdotcom Loungy. Font Diner is a type foundry that specializes in retro fonts, and they have a bunch of them, generally sold in 10-font packs for $28.
  • My uncle ran a dairy farm in Wisconsin until 1975 or so, and in addition to milk, his herd produced a mid-boggling (to me, at least) quantity of cow manure. Finally we have a small-scale mechanism for harvesting the methane produced by decaying manure. The consolidation of small dairy farms like my uncle's into monster corporate milk producers makes something like this not only economical but pretty compelling.
  • What the open source world needs is a sort of integrated bootloader system as good as or better than Apple's BootCamp. I've been hearing about GRUB2 for a long time, but it doesn't seem any farther along than it was a year ago. Coreboot/FILO is another interesting idea, but as I read it would require close cooperation of PC hardware manufacturers—which would be a good thing, fersure, if it would happen. (That may be the big trick.) I'm considering the commercial Bootit NG for my next machine, but in the open source world I don't see a lot happening. If I'm missing something, do let me know.