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How long would it take for an average sailboat to reach California from Florida, assuming it sails fairly close to the coast?

This would be the trip of a lifetime! I did something similar between 2010–2014. Harbor hopping is more fun, but takes much longer than heading out to sea and taking the trade winds. If you want to stop at night at anchor when possible and avoid periods of bad weather, I would want 3 months or more to get to San Francisco from Miami. Traversing the Panama Canal can take over a week alone. You will probably average 100nm a day on a 40ft sailboat if you stop to sleep on occasion at Bays and Harbors. If your sailing near shore, you will not have any trade winds, only thermal, so on many occasions you will need to motorsail. Typically afternoons thro evenings are best. Also be aware, that when you go thro the Panama Canal and start heading north, you will be sailing directly into the prevailing weather and current, meaning you have to motor sail. If you only have sail power, it will require you to sail the pacific high via Hawaii then NE up to latitude 50 before heading SE for San Francisco. This will take another few weeks at least. So ensure you have a strong engine and can maintain 5–6 knots in all conditions. You will need to carry around 50 gallons of extra fuel for unpopulated areas like Baja. Consider shipping the boat if you have trouble with long sea passages and rough weather. Choosing the right time of year is critical to avoid hurricanes below latitude 24 and strong Pacific NW winds. Planning your route and getting permits/visas will take time. Here is my 42ft boat anchored of a small village in southern Mexico, fitted out for the 2000nm passage north to San Francisco. It took me a year to prepare for the trip. Here are some of the items I added to the stock boat to prepare it for the long offshore passages. Icom M802 SSB and pactor USB modem so I can receive weather faxes on my Dell netbook PC. Insulated antenna on backstay. Iridium 9555 Satellite phone with data kit. I like that I can receive text messages from a regular cell phone for free EPIRB with GPS for emergencies. Spectra 200T water-maker Webasto 16000 BTU reverse cycle A/C heating/cooling system for use in Marinas New North 125% Norlam laminate head-sail. AirBreeze 160W wind-vane to complement my 3 solar panels. Viking RescYou 4 man life-raft canister on deck. FlexoFold 18x13 folding prop. This improves speed and steering dramatically. Wichard JibEasy boom-brake. It works well for such a simple device. 2nd smaller symmetrical spinnaker. Spinnaker pole for use with my new 125% headsail for extended downwind legs. Emergency tiller and emergency rudder. ATN storm jib. This slips over my roller furling jib. New Zincs and touch up bottom paint. Mount a 1.25" track on the mast to mount the spinnaker pole. ACR AIS class B system integrated into a new Raymarine C120W (at Nav Station) and existing Raymarine 80 head (at Binnacle) with radar. Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Netbook for downloading NOAA weather GRIB files and controlling Iridium modem. Storm sea anchor chute and blocks/lines. Find insurance for Mexico that covered me single-handing. Replace all 4D batteries with 6v cart batteries. An increase to 720a/h from 400 a/h! Spare batteries for all on-board equipment. GPS / EPIRB / computers / radios etc. Wash-down pump for on deck use. Replace main water pump. Install 12v Caframo Bora fans in all cabins. Yamaha 15hp and 2hp outboards for dinghy. 10ft Avon dinghy. Get my PADI open water diving certification. Full set of diving gear / tanks. Charts for the Pacific ocean. Spare dock lines and extra fenders. Manson Supreme 45lb primary anchor. 4 Deckmounted 5gl fuel cans. Honda EU2000i generator. Replace all incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. Install hatch covers for shade. Install a 2nd 110v inverter with pure sine wave output to run sensitive devices like smartphones/computers. Unless your a hardcore sailor and an adventurer, don't try this on any boat under 30ft. Very few people have the skills to make this journey, even with a big boat and a crew. If you can do it, it will be one of the highlights of your life. Going under the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay at the end is awe inspiring. Good luck and fair winds.

What was the biggest overreaction by a customer that you’ve experienced?

Two immediately come to mind. 1) I worked at Wal-Mart for a time in the hardware and housewares department. As a result, I mixed paint for customers. They would come in with color swatches or, more often than not, paint chips that they wanted us to match. That’s usually fairly easy - press the paint chip up against reader, load it into the computer, and let the equipment do the rest. There was a woman that came in with a paint chip and it was nearly 10 PM, so almost time for me to get off. I took the paint chip from her, said I was able to match it, and mixed her paint for her. After I mixed it, I put some of the paint chip, dried it, and showed her that it was the same colour. “That’s NOT the same colour. That’s NOT what I asked for,” she states. I look at the paint chip, then at her. “I dried it on there, you can see it’s the same bit. See?” I touched it, to smear it a little. “Look! It’s lighter.” “Because this part is wet underneath it.” “Remake it. Add more brown to it.” “Okay…” I do as she asked, then do the same thing. Now the colour is definitely off. “That looks NOTHING like the paint chip. It looks way too dark!” “It does,” I agree.” “You need to make it match.” I apologized, but explained that adding colours wasn’t going to help and suggested she bring in a larger paint chip tomorrow - I didn’t want to deal with her anymore today. She immediately gets incensed, stares at me, and then says, “Whatever, I’ll just take that.” “Okay…” So, I close the paint can up, she snatches it from me and storms off. I shrug it off, go back to where the sheets are and am cleaning things up. I see her coming down the aisle and move away, but she rams her cart into me! I got knocked into the shelving, she didn’t even say a word, just looked at me and stormed off. The woman assaulted someone because of PAINT! 2) I used to work at a local gym and when I dropped from full-time to part-time on the weekends only when I got a better paying full time job for the week, I lost a lot of connection with other employees and, unfortunately, a lot of information. As a result, it was just me running the gym on the weekends and I was the only employee by myself. Everyone else working during the week had at least another employee, manager, or maintenance working with them. I was working one weekend recently and a member came up to me to tell me that a button was off on one of the machines in the Women’s Center. I had been talking to another member, she had interrupted, and I acknowledged her, told her, “Oh, I’m so sorry! Thanks for letting me know!” She didn’t say anything back, continued to the bathroom, and I continued my conversation with the other member, who was a younger guy that was one of the fit, body building guys that worked out there and would stop by the desk occasionally to tell me about competitions. When she walked out again, I was still talking to him and she eyed us and gave us a disgusted look. I didn’t think anything of it, assuming she was still mad about the button. After I had finished my conversation, I checked out the machine, but it wasn’t a “button,” the whole knob was off. I fiddled with it for a bit, but it looked like something maintenance needed to fix, so I put an “Out of Order” sign on it and returned to work. During the week, I stopped by the gym to work out and my manager gets my attention, telling me that someone had sent in a complaint to the work email while I was on shift. Confused, I thought about all of the interactions I’d had with the members and couldn’t think of any bad interaction - I usually remember the angry ones, just in case. My manager showed me the email, which read something akin to, “I was at the gym this weekend around 3 PM and I told the girl at the front desk that one of the machines buttons were off and I couldn’t even lift weights because it was broken and I needed to use that machine. She didn’t even fix it for me and seemed more interested in chatting to guys than working. I would think that if you want to retain a customer, you would fix your equipment!” All I could do was laugh at it. It was one of a hundred machines we had in the gym and she could have switched to dumbbells, but apparently she had interpreted me as just a dumb girl wanting to talk to boys at the counter. The fact that she went out of her way to email the manager showed how bitter she really was for whatever reason.

How do auto manufacturers handle vehicles that do not pass inspection after being fully assembled?

In any auto assembly plant, there are three processes for dealing with finished vehicles which do not pass inspection as being fit to ship: Short conveyor sections for dealing with minor fit issues like doors, trunk lids and hoods. Special tools are used to slightly pry hinges and rubber mallets to slightly reposition the panel in question. The adjustments in question are usually less than 3 mm., but visually stand out if the gap is not consistent side to side, or along the body opening in question. Short conveyor sections equipped with infrared lamps at the end to do paint touch-ups. Repair stalls, just like those in a typical auto repair garage, to deal with mechanical and electrical rejections. One of the most common repairs being to swap a part which was not the correct part for the vehicle model and option selection in question. Secondly to deal with a temporary shortage of a part. Very time consuming to do after the vehicle is complete, as it so often entails disassembly of other non-related parts to access the problem part. To put this in perspective, my experience, though dated, being from the 1980’s, was that we had a workforce of about 40 each shift, excluding drivers and inspectors, who performed “final conditioning” as it was optimistically named. Seems like a big number, but they were able to take care of the assembly errors of just over 1,000 assemblers on each shift in the system before them and vendor errors too, so that is pretty decent in my mind. And support an output of 360 vehicles per shift. There were also inspections performed and reworks caught at various stages of the assembly process. We had a force of 55 inspectors on each shift upstream and about 70 rework operators.

How do moving lights (the ones in nightclubs, concerts, etc.) work?

Moving Lights (or just "movers" in the industry) sure are fun. No concert, dance, tradeshow, musical, or Event is complete without a bunch of them moving around, and some are even used ,well ,(though, less and less, I notice - I get more grumpy about this as I get older!). They came into mainstream being in the early 80's, were popularised from the early 90's, and came down in price over the next 10 years, so now, they are so cheap your local pub probably has a few over the dance-floor, and you can buy a basic one for US$400 or so (though, those are not the ones used for a touring show). One enormous, reputable vendor of moving lights in the 90's (and still now... kinda) was vari*lite, the band Genesis funded moving lights development through vari*lite for their Abacab tour in '81. Moving lights fall into two main categories: moving ,head,, and moving ,mirror ,[1]. A moving ,head ,light looks like this: The egg-shaped thing moves around (up and down, left and right) with a very fine resoloution, so the beam from the front of the light can be placed pretty much anywhere, except behind the chassis (in this image, directly up). The egg-shaped thing contains the lamp, and many motors that control how the beam looks - more details below. Moving ,mirror ,lights looks like this: The moving mirror lights work from being mostly static, where the light beam is focussed, has colour and patterns applied, and shoots out the front lens, onto a mirror, which moves on two axis (up-down and left-right), but only around 135 degrees on each axis. The mirror moves incredibly fast, but it cannot shine in many places, as you can guess form the image above. For many purposes, this is not a problem, and the apparatus can be hung in any position, and the mirror head assembly can be rotated to suit the show (then locked off for the duration of the show). Why so different? Well a few reasons, and biggest one is cost: moving mirror lights are cheaper to manufacture (smaller motors, and less moving parts, as we shall see). Also, it seems, vari*lite had some patents on some big areas of moving lights, that stopped others from developing them, but that's no longer the case (I am not sure of the details). Moving lights are used extensively in the entertainment industry, which by its nature is transient: many shows are set up in a venue for a few days (or just one night), then packed down and moved out to the next venue, sometimes every three days for years on end (eg, U2, etc). Some moving lights stay in a venue permanently, ready to be programmed for whatever show is in that venue. Others stay in a venue for months (or even years), for the duration of that show (for example, a musical theatre show on Broadway). Others are hire stock, and the hire company wants to get those expensive things out on shows as much as possible. All this means, moving lights need to be ,tough ,to withstand touring, and ,modular,, so they can be repaired in the field, without being totally replaced. As is true in any business, the more robust and modular a Thing is, the more it costs... but the longer it lasts. Moving head lights hugely dominate the scene now, compared to moving mirror fixtures, probably by a ratio of 9:1, so I'll spend my time on moving head lights, with which I have the most experience. I was a lighting technician on events for 10 years or so, in my 20's (1993 to 2003). I did some touring around Australia and some based in various cities working from lighting hire shops, preparing equipment and working on shows. I have not worked in lighting for 10 years now, but I keep up with the developments, and there have not been many significant changes in the last 15 years or so, apart from LED technology (more in a moment). Moving head lights can be split into two further categories: ,profiles ,and ,wash, lights. The image above is of a profile style. These are used to project ,patterns,, that can be sharply in focus (or not, as the lighting designer chooses). ,Wash ,lights have a broader beam, to provide a "wash" of colour across the stage, with soft edges. A Wash light looks like this: Below, here's a pic from a show with a mixture of wash and profile lights (most shows will have a mixture of both). The white beams are from profiles, and the blue from wash lights: The white beams have been split into around a dozen smaller beams using a "gobo", making it look like there's a lot more moving lights than there really is - we'll talk about gobos shortly. Moving lights are controlled by specialised computer software (usually built into specific hardware devices), and are organised in a building block fashion, so key to answering this question is to understand how any one fixture works internally, then scaling this idea up over many fixtures, via a control system. Moving head Profiles and Wash fixtures have a lot in common (called the beam path, from the light source, to the front lens), so I'll go through both together, and note what elements are profile-only. The specific order of elements in the beam path changes depending on many variables, so I'll list these in one possible order. Moving lights weigh between 30 and 50Kg (66 to 110 lbs), and are roughly 400x500x700 mm (16x20x30 inches), throw around 1500 to 2000 BTU/hr, and draw around 16 amps at 120v... but there is a huge variety. The cost from US$400 to US$20,000, with an average being around US$8000 for a typical high performance touring fixture. The following elements are located in the "egg": ,Light source, The light source in a moving light may be a HMI (Hydrargyrum medium-arc iodide - "Hydrargyrum" is Latin for Mercury), where, as Wikipedia says, the lamp operates by creating an electrical arc between two electrodes within the bulb that excites the pressurized mercury vapour and metal halides, and provides very high light output with greater efficacy than incandescent lighting units. If not a HMI, lamps are HID (high intensity discharge) of some sort, an arc lamp (as opposed to a lamp with a filament, "incandescent", as you may have at home). Arc lamps are very efficient (lots of light output, for their energy consumption), expensive (US$500 to US$900 per, for ~2000 hours of use), and fragile. Way - and I mean WAY - more efficient, are LED's, and the entire lighting industry is being taken over by LED fixtures, which are shockingly good, and getting better. Their application for profile-based moving lights is limited currently, as the beam path means the light must go through many filters and lenses which each reduce the intensity of the light, so we need to start with a very bright source to begin with. However, LED's and associated electronics are getting more sophisticated, and we'll see more and more of them coming on the market. LED wash lights on the market are quite effective in smaller environments (eg, venues up to 1000 people). Here's a LED wash light. Each hole has one really bright LED in it (actually, probably a tri-colour LED): Some specialised moving lights (VL5's, one of my faves) use incandescent lamps, but that is very out of fashion now. Behind the lamp is a reflector, that sends as much light as possible in one direction, and an aperture of around 50 to 75mm (2 to 3 in.) diameter, which is the start of our beam path. ,Intensity, HID and HMI lamps generally cannot be dimmed (that is, made less bright), they only have two states, on and off, so a mechanical dimmer is necessary. There are a variety of mechanical operations, but all work on a similar principle. Because the beam is not focussed (because it has not passed through any lenses yet), any obstruction between the beam and the end of the beam path will cast a shadow that has very fuzzy edges - so fuzzy that effectively, all that happens is that less light comes out, from 100% (nothing in the beam path) to 0% (the beam path is fully blocked). A small thin metal sheet, perhaps with some sort of regular pattern of holes in it is used to dim the beam. More holes lets through more light, less holes lets less light through. The precise position of this mechanical "shutter" is controlled by a micro-stepping motor - the thin sheet of metal is mounted on the shaft, and can be adjusted in very small increments - a quarter of a degree, for example - giving extremely precise control of the intensity (usually measured in %, from 0 to 100). Below, here's an exploded diagram of one type of mechanical shutter assembly. The two "lawn mower" blades marked (4) are the thin sheets of metal that rotate in and out of the beam path (represented by the large circle). The stepper motors that control the blades are marked (7) (the x2 means there are two stepper motors, one for each blade). Moving light light sources get incredibly hot (LED's are the exception, which always run much cooler), and blocking the beam path so close to the light source generates intense heat, so Special materials are used here. All that being said, in many environments, moving lights tend to be operated at full intensity most of the time (that is, nothing in the beam path deliberately dimming the light), but some exceptions would be in "fine arts" applications - drama, dance, opera, etc, where more subtle lighting is appropriate. ,Strobe, This same mechanical dimmer can move (rotate) extremely fast, from fully closed to fully open, many times per second, giving moving lights a built in strobe effect that's remarkable; when a few hundred movers are strobing in synch, it's an amazing look. This effect does not work well on TV for some technical reasons, so the effect alone is seldom seen in that medium, but often used in live performances. ,Colour, Colour is subtractively taken out, via possible several methods, but a common method is graduated colour flags of cyan, yellow and magenta, giving an effectively infinite range of colours (and who's to say where one colour ends and another begins?). Colours can be smoothly cross-faded over any time-frame (say over 10 minutes from a dark blue, through red, orange, yellow, to white, to simulate a sunrise), or pretty much instant if preferred - or anywhere in between. In the below image, a series of flags (two each for C, Y, M, and "dim", for "dimmer", as discussed above in Intensity). The flags rotate in and out, again on the shafts of stepper motors, very accurately. In the below images, an isometric rendering of the same assembly from front and back, you can see each of the eight flags have their own stepper motor. Each flag's curved end starts as clear, and gradually gets more saturated in its colour of cyan, yellow or magenta, as it moves in over the beam path. Because subtractive colour mixing is not perfect, the result is often poorly saturated reds and purples, so many moving lights also have a colour wheel, with special dedicated colours that can be selected (as well as "open white" - no colour). These wheels work the same as the pattern wheels, below, and are either "in" the beam path, or "out" of it (eg, "Have you got the red in that?"). ,Patterns (profile only), In lighting parlance, a patterned beam is created from a gobo ("go between"), a thin piece of metal with a shape cut in it, placed in the beam path, producing a silhouette of the shape. Another common gobo technique is for it to be etched or painted on a disc of glass, which can be a range of colours. Basic gobos (for a static, not moving) light looks like this: There are literally thousands of designs available. These are 3 to 5 inches in diameter. Moving light gobos are smaller, at 1 to 2 inches, and fit onto a wheel of 8 or so, like this (these are glass gobos): Notice how each gobo has gear teeth around it - that's so when selected, they can be set to rotate at a range of speeds. Most moving lights will have two gobo wheels, one for rotating gobos, and one for static (or, non-rotating) gobos. One gobo wheel might be set to "open" - no gobo in the beam path - while the other is set to one of the 8 on the wheel. But this two-gobo-wheel mechanism means gobos can be overlaid (that is, both placed in the beam path), to create interesting effects (because they are in different places in the beam path, an adjustment of the focal lenses can result in a cross-fade in patterns, a neat trick... but because both gobos are in the beam path, intensity is noticeably reduced however). ,Effects wheel (profile only), The effects wheel is another wheel that some profile movers have, much like the gobo wheels, where other things can be placed - more gobos, special colours, or "effects". One example effect is "frost", which fuzzes the edges of the beam in a specific and predictable way. Another is a prism, that splits the beam into many versions of the same thing (mostly out of favour these days). ,Zoom and focus, Moving lights will have a bunch of lenses (up to six) to zoom (control the size) and focus (control the edge definition) of the light beam. More advanced fixtures will have broader zoom ranges. The "frost" in the effects wheel can make the beam in and out of focus (fuzzy edges) very quickly (especially, if the "frost" slot is right beside the "open" slot), the zoom and focus mechanisms are slow (a worm drive, usually), which is very precise and has lots of torque, but sacrifices speed. ,Pan and tilt, Two sets of stepper motors actuate the yoke (technically, one set may be mounted in the "egg"), usually via a gearing system and toothed drive belts. As all stepper motors, these are incredibly accurate (for example, a fixture throwing a beam on to an area 20 metres (60 feet) away can be moved an inch either way to precisely line up with a performer or set piece. Moving head lights can rotate around 500 degrees, and tilt around 290 degrees, giving plenty of coverage of the stage. Moving lights can be mounted hanging above the stage nominally pointing down, side-of-stage mounted on a vertical truss, or floor mounted, nominally pointing up. In the control system, the axis' can be inverted so this makes sense when controlling the devices. Movers are sometimes placed on diagonal trusses, or moving trusses as well - they can be placed in any position, so long as they get their two inputs... ,Inputs, Moving lights require two inputs: power (regular power, usually auto-sensing 100 to 230v), and data. Data is usually the industry standard DMX-512 (actually RS-485, serial via two twisted pairs), using 5-pin XLR connectors (kind of like a mic plug, but with five pins), like this: ,Addressing, Each fixture needs to be "addressed", so it knows what to "listen" to in the data stream that DMX512 carries. DMX-512 controls 512 channels of information that may be from 0 to 100 (nominally represented in some control systems as %, but actually 0 to 255). Moving lights "take up" n channels - the more basic fixtures will take up 5 to 15 channels. More advanced fixtures might be 40 to 60 channels. For a 60-channel fixture, fixture 1 would be addressed as 001, fixture 2 addressed as 061, and so on. DMX-512 was originally designed for controlling static lights, such as you might see in a theatre or old concert, and 512 is more than any but the most enormous shows could need of "conventional" fixtures. But, it's only 10 51-channel fixtures, and larger shows will have dozens or even hundreds of moving lights on them (the musical theatre shows I worked on had 30 to 60), plus 350 conventional fixtures - that's pretty average for musical theatre. So, it's common to have several - or even dozens - of "universes" of DMX-512 running for any one show. Most lighting desks (discussed below) will have several 2 to 8) universes of DMX-512 outputs, and system techs might set one universe for the conventional lights, another universe for one brand of fixtures, or all the floor fixtures, or all the fixtures towards the front of the stage, or some other division that helps with testing, troubleshooting and maintenance. Addressing is done via a small control screen on the fixture itself (the same screen also allows techs to access diagnostics, and test functions), and some are touch screen these days (in the old days, it used to be a block of 8 DIP switches, for 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, and you'd switch them on and off to make any address from 1 to 512. Plenty of room for error!). Here's part of an addressing chart (for a 30-channel Cyberlight, actually an old-school moving mirror device) - this is for ONE of the 30 channels, channel 7, which controls the colour/gobo wheel (a lighting designer might specify some additional special colours to be placed in the gobo wheel for some reason, and the device does not really care what's in there): So, if on the control system, you adjusted channel 7 to be at a value of 88, the gobo wheel would be rotating (that is, from one gobo to the next) at a medium speed. If you set the control system at 47 (for channel 7 of this moving light), gobo position 6 would be in the beam path, and projected on stage. It might be out of focus, so an additional focus adjustment in channel 32 might also be necessary. ,Control, So we have a few dozen fixtures mounted over, beside and on the stage itself, they're plugged in to power, addressed, and have data daisy-chaining from one to the next. The techs have done basic tests (and when powered up, each fixture does its' own POST (power on self test)), each fixture is in it's neutral position (lamp on, dimmer closed so no light comes out, no colour, no gobo, pointing nominally straight down) and verified that everything is working. While that's always a big job (a medium sized concert for 15,000 people might have 60 moving lights, and 100 conventional lights, would use a touring crew of three and a local crew of 6 to get set up in 5 hours), in which you get very dirty, get numerous cuts and bruises, fix the 20-30 broken things that's typical of each setup, and run a few miles of cable, it's actually kind of the "easy" bit. The pointy end of the whole dealio is the control system, that "tells" which light to be what colour, intensity, point in what direction, and move how fast, to what position, when (amongst many other things). Here's a picture of a dedicated lighting control desk, called a Whole Hog 3 (my personal fave, but a getting a bit old school these days): The two screens are touch-screens, for selecting things. Most of the buttons and wheels are "soft" - they can be programmed to do whatever you like, but there are some conventions, for example, the four smaller grey dimpled wheels are often used to control colour wheels for mixing up a colour required. The blue trackball is usually used for positioning a beam's location on stage, kind of like a mouse pointer, but in real-life - the light beam moves around on stage as you move the trackball. Like a mouse pointer, you can move it fast or slow, and be quite precise. Almost all lighting control desks ("lighting desk", or just "desk") work in a similar way: in the set-up phase of a show, a lighting technician ("programmer") and a lighting designer work together [2] to create "palettes" of different things - groups of moving lights, colours, gobos, focus's, positions, etc - commonly used building blocks for the show. As programming goes on, the palettes will be added to and edited. I worked on touring musical theatre shows, so my examples will be based around that, but it's very similar for any event or show. For a large show, this may take several weeks of programming set-up. For smaller shows, if unlucky, it might be two hours before doors open! Then, the show "cues" (instructions to the system, that's triggered at a certain time in the show) can be programmed, from these building blocks. For example, the designer might say, "give me the front wash lights, at full, dark purple, in the downstage line position" - the programmer would simply: Push the "front wash" button to select the fixtures in this group (say, 8 wash lights) Type "@ full" on the keypad for full intensity (the 8 wash lights in this group would suddenly come on, very bright, pointing straight down in their neutral position, in the colour of white) Push the "dark purple" colour preset - the colour would instantly change to dark purple Push the "downstage line" position button - all the fixtures would instantly pan and tilt to the pre-set position, a line on the downstage (front) edge of the stage (These commands could be given to the system in any order, but it'd be normal for the programmer to follow the designer's speech pattern. It'd take less time to make the moving lights do this than it would to say it - the above is five button pushes, and a good moving light programmer touch-types). Then, the designer would go on to describe other lights' (usually, groups of lights) position, colour, pattern, etc. Once the designer was happy with the "look" on stage, the cue would be saved, and named (or saved in another palette, if that "look" was often used, reducing five button pushes to one button push in the future). Then, work on the next cue begins - maybe from the previous state (so, only the CHANGES will be recorded), or from scratch, so all the data will be recorded. The "moving" part of moving lights happens in two ways - a repeating movement could just be one cue - instead of the "downstage line" position, we might use a "position" called "audience circle", which happens to have a movement sequence recorded in the cue - say, every moving light pointing into the audience, and describing a circle at a certain size and speed. The size of the circle, the speed, and of course the colour and gobo can be set as the designer wishes. The other main way to do a "move" is to transition from one cue to the next, say, from the "downstage line" position, to the "downstage cross position", where, instead of pointing straight down, the fixture on the far left points to the far right, and so on. The move between these two cues can be set to occur at any speed (though, the maximum speed, is the speed the lights can move at, which depends on their weight, motor settings, make, and model, and so different fixtures may be specified by the designer for these reasons, as the speed of motion of moving lights is obviously an important factor to how the show looks). A musical theatre show might have 1,000 cues, each one painstakingly created from the building blocks, over the space of several weeks. A rock concert would tend to have "cue lists", one for each song (allowing the band to choose a set list at their whim, and drop or add songs for a specific show), and a song may have 10 to 300 cues in it, depending on the style of the show. There might be 20 colours in the colour palette, and 30 positions. At a trade show exhibition stand for cars, 20 moving lights might just rotate through the same three cues all day long (some of them would have a gobo of the car manufacturer's logo, that roves across the floor of the stand, of course, and maybe out into the aisle a little bit). When a touring show "loads in" (sets up) in a new venue, the fixtures will be in similar but different positions (and if the cues were executed, they'd look all messed up, because the positions were programmed for a different venue). But, by editing each position "building block" that every cue is based on, selecting each moving light, adjusting its pan and tilt, and overwriting the old settings, executing the cues will become correct immediately (because the colour, gobo, focus, etc does not change when the venue does). Thus, "touching up" the "position presets" is the bulk of the work on a venue change. The same applies when a fixture breaks and has to be replaced - a new fixture of the same type is hung in the same position, but because a tiny change in the hanging position can be amplified by the throw of the beam, some positions may need to be adjusted. All this is well and good, lights in the correct position illuminate the subject nicely, but especially for concert stuff (tho for almost all shows of any type these days), a big part of the look is the light beam in the air. Light can only be seen in the air when there's something in the air for the light to bounce off, into your eyes. We've all seen "god's fingers", shafts of sunlight before or after a distant storm, where the sun is hitting droplets of water or fog - a similar thing happens in performance spaces, but it's artificially generated. The most common method is "haze", where a light grade oil is "cracked" by forcing tiny bubbles of air through it, it's "atomised", and floats through the air. It's safe, tasteless and odourless, and seldom leaves much of a residue beyond the immediate area of the machine. Other methods of particle suspension is "fog" (by applying warm water to dry ice, producing a low (one to two feet) thick miasma on stage, or "smoke", where oils and glycol are mixed and heated, to produce billowing smoke (that often has a noticeable smell/taste, and may come in different flavours like bubblegum does). Smoke may interfere with the voices of performers, but is cheap to make, and effective if it's appropriately distributed. Smoke tends not to have the "hang time" of haze, so hazers, while expensive, are most often used for most shows. [1] Only two types of moving lights, moving head and moving mirror... ok, there are some others, but they barely rate a mention. One is a Comear DeSisti NAT, which is a truly weird device, where the head moves, but kinda like a mirror, but the beam can be in more places... but not as much as a moving head light. There some older disco effects which have very basic movement built in (usually, the lamp moves, and the other elements in the fixture are static), and there are oil projectors, where a disc of coloured oil is projected thru. The beam of light heats the oils at different rates, and the effect is projected onto a surface. Very 70's, and a great mesmerising effect - ideal for a 70's party, if you can still find a hire shop that has them. [2] The number of people on a lighting crew depends on the size of the show and the budget. Smaller shows, it's one person does it all (unload the truck, hang all the lights, run the cables, trouble-shoot broken things, design, program and operate the show, and pack it all up at the end - and probably drive the truck to the next venue as well!). On larger shows, there may be dedicated programmers for different types of moving lights, or different parts of the stage, teams of technicians (rigging, repair, etc), and so on. or, anywhere in between.

In the military, are you allowed to take home gear?

Yes, as previously stated, you take home your equipment except for sensitive items. Those items are inventory accountable items like weapons (rifle, pistol, bayonet), night vision goggles, binoculars, compass, any electronic or communication devices. Your gear gets dusty, dirty and sweaty. Some items you can put into a washing machine to clean. Other items need to be scrubbed in your bathtub with a stiff brush and laundry detergent. Really muddy gear will be hosed off in your backyard or driveway and scrubbed with a stiff brush as well. Items like your helmet’s chin strap and head band need to be replaced every so often because they come in contact with your sweaty skin oils. Soldiers will get replacements from supply or buy them from Military Clothing Sales. Black metal fittings on your gear gets chipped and soldiers will touch up the spots with a black permanent marker or a brand of paint that resembles flat black fingernail polish. Once it’s cleaned and reassembled, you’ll be able to determine whether it is worn out and needs to be turned in for a new or serviceable one. You’ll also do an inventory of your items to see if something was lost or missing so you can request a replacement due to field loss. Once your gear is cleaned, inventoried and complete, you stick them into a duffle bag. Soldiers maintain their gear in two duffle bags called an “A” bag and “B” bag. Each carries a certain inventory of items. If a soldier is notified to deploy, they stuff certain day-to-day items into the A bag (contains uniforms, underwear, toiletries, etc.), grab the B bag (field gear) and heads to their unit.

What alterations have been made to keep T-34-85s still in service today operational and up to modern standards?

There have been fairly little actually. The T-34–85 didn’t receive nearly as much upgrade as, say, the American M4 and M24. The Soviet Union did maintain the T-34–85 within its arsenal for a long while, under the idea that, in a WW3 scenario, the losses would be so tremendously high that keeping your older tanks to replace the losses would be a lot better than having nothing to replace your shinier toys - the same idea also explained why they kept massive numbers of T-54/T-55 around even when they introduced T-72 and T-80s. Those Soviet T-34–85 received limited upgrades in 1960 and 1969. The 1960 upgrade consisted in fitting the T-34 with a newer, upgrade version of its engine, the V-2–3411; the vehicle received a newer radio, the 10-RT, as well as new smoke canisters, a cooling and lubrification system, an improved air cleaner, sights for the driver and an infrared headlight. In 1969, the T-34 received the new R-123 radio, night driving equipment, an additional 200-litres external fuel tank that forced the smoke canisters to be eitheir moved or removed, and “starfish” roadwheels similar to newer Soviet MBTs. In short, all upgraded conducted by the Soviets on their T-34–85s were fairly minor: they concentrated on somewhat modernizing the tank’s equipment to operate more efficiently in modern warfare, but never really touched the firepower or armor aspect of thing - even the changes to the tank’s mobility were fairly limited. A monument featuring a T-34–85 Obr 1969 in Berlin. It is quite hard to tell an Obr 1969 to an unmodified 1943–1946 model T-34–85, with the only clear give-away being the starfish roadwheel; if you start looking at those on various monuments featuring T-34–85, you’d be surprised to see that many, if not most are actually tanks that received the 1969 upgrade, but were given a WW2 paint job and became monuments after the Red Army phased out the T-34–85 in the 1970s. During the cold war, China also upgraded its T-34–85 in ways similar, though perhaps more extensive in some ways that what the Soviets did. Chinese upgrades are much less documented, with much of what we know about them being photographic evidence, and with many myth floating around Chinese cold war tanks in the Internet, everything is to be taken with a grain of salt (for example the idea that China licence-produced the T-34–85 as the “Type 58”: that appears extremely unlikely, with the single Chinese factory dedicated to T-34–85 solely manufacturing parts to keep the fleet of tanks running, and licence-production of Soviet tanks instead starting with the T-54/Type 59). From photos mostly, we can see that the People’s Liberation Army upgraded its T-34–85s to mount an hard point to stow a Type 54 12.7mm machine-gun on the right cheek on the turret; a new cupola, fitted with an hard point for another Type 54 machine-gun and sometimes crude vision slots, replacing the loader’s hatch - potentially a new rear transmission-rear hull plate hinge system, and according to some unconfirmed Chinese sources a new diesel engine. A Chinese T-34–85 with a Type 54 machine-gun fitted on the new cupola that replaced the loader’s hatch. As for other, similar small upgrades to the T-34–85, the Polish Army did upgrade its T-34–85 following the Soviet model, but adding “skeleton” roadwheels to the 1960 model (designated T-34–85M1) as well as exterior stowage, a deep-wading kit and a snorkel to the model 1969 (designated T-34–85M2). Syria refitted some of its T-34–85 with an anti-aircraft machine-gun on the commander cupola. Czechoslovakian-manufactured T-34–85 also included, from the get go, a number of upgrades in comparison to the Soviet model, such as a slightly improved vz.44 85mm gun, improved transmission and clutched, different fuel feed system, larger fuel tanks, air purifiers, a commander cupola placed slightly to the left, and, on the first vehicles, German Notek night lamps. As for more “Super Sherman”-like replacing of the gun while otherwise keeping the tank similar to what it originally was, that did not happen. The Soviet Union actually experimented with the “T-34–100”, not even during the cold war, but WW2 it self; the tank was first fitted with the same D-10 as the SU-100, which proved to have way too much of a recoil for the turret, but a gun with a lower recoil, the 100mm LB-1, was later tried and gave satisfying results; however, by that point, the Soviet Union already started to produce the new T-44, which seemed a better platform for a 100mm gun, and the idea of up-gunning the T-34 was ditched, never to be brought up again in the USSR. The T-34–100 prototype in 1945; it included a turret that was heavily modified, though still based on the original T-34–85, but was never adopted. A project with the similar intent of replacing the 85mm gun with a 100mm was also studied by the Czechoslovakian design bureau CKD in the early years of the cold war, but never reached prototype stage. There have been some large-scale modifications of T-34–85s in the world, replacing the 85mm gun with larger armament, but those have never kept the turret without heavily modifying it. The Egyptian T-100, vastly modifying the T-34–85’s turret to make it larger, particularly in the front, and fitting it with a 100mm BS-3 anti-tank gun - as I like to call it, “a poor man’s T-54” The Egyptian T-122, with the same thought process as the T-100 but a larger, 122mm D-30 artillery piece, turning the venerable Soviet tank into a self-propelled artillery piece. Both of those upgrades were upgraded early enough so that Israel could capture at least a T-100 in the Arab-Israeli wars. A T-34–85 that was captured in Vietnam, with an anti-aircraft turret armed with two Type 63 37mm autocannons, Chinese-produced Soviet model 1939 61-K guns. This vehicle as been dubbed the “Type 63” and is often supposed to be of Chinese origin, but only a single example was only observed and it has also been theoricized to be a “one-off” Vietnamese conversion. A Cuban conversion mouting the same 122mm D-30 as the Egyptian T-122, but with an open turret, and keeping the original bayone… towing rod. If you’re interested in rather crude T-34 conversions though, the various countries that purchased the T-34–85 from the USSR in the cold war weren’t the first to do it. The Germans - The Third Reich ones, not the DDR ones - were already doing it before it was cool with captured vehicles during WW2. T-34–76 model 1941 with Panzer III/Panzer IV cupolas and German camouflage T-34–76 model 1941 with a more subtle, Panzer II cupola T-34–76 model 1941 of the 2nd SS Panzer-Division Das Reich with an additional storage box on the rear of the turret. T-34–76 model 1942/1943 of the Das Reich at Kursk, fitted with sideskirts and a mount for a Notek night lamp. The very interesting “Flakpanzer T-34”, operated in July of 1944 providing air cover to the 653th Heavy Panzerjäger Battalion’s Elefants (formerly Ferdinands). It featured a turret armed with a quad 20mm Flakvierling 38 autocannon, as the more standardized Flakpanzer IV “Wirbelwind”. Now that I’ve mentionned German T-34 modifications, there’s just a little precision I need to make. About the various 88mm conversions that have popped up on the internet, with T-34–85 that had their guns replaced by a Tiger I’s, or the vehicles that supposedly received a Flak 36 that replaced the turret. They’re all fake. Thanks, I’ll be heading out.

What are the most important lessons you have learned in your life and when did you learn them?

Lesson 1, No good deed goes unpunished,. I don’t remember when I first learned this one but it has been reinforced for me time and time again. Most recently was just a couple of months ago. A man who had done some house painting and lots of other work for me and my wife came to us because he did not have any work at that moment and had some medical expenses for his wife. Although our house did not really need to be repainted, there were a few areas that needed to be touched up. But, since we could not be sure of matching the existing paint color, we agreed to have him paint the entire house and did not quibble with him regarding his proposed price. A few weeks later we just happened to be talking to another painter who was repainting a similar sized house. He was doing it for about 1/3 what we paid our “friend” for repainting ours. And he had more of his own equipment. So, because we wanted to do a good deed to help someone we thought was our friend, we paid three times what it should have cost us. Lesson 2, there is nothing to fear but fear itself,. I do remember almost exactly when I learned this one. It was about three games in to my first year of high school football. I was on the kickoff team and my job was to run down the field as fast as I could and try to tackle the guy with the football. But there were 10 other guys on the other team that would try to keep me from doing that. So, the first 2 or three games, instead of running as fast as I could, I took a more cautious approach, looking more for opposing blockers than the guy with the ball. And almost every time, I got knocked on my butt. Finally, I decided that, if I am going to get knocked on my butt anyway, I might as well try my best to make the tackle. I started running full speed, ignoring the blockers and focusing only on the ball carrier. I made like three tackles in a row on the kickoff team and never again got knocked on my butt. All because I decided not to be afraid and just do my job. Lesson 3, in this life, we make our own luck,. This one I learned fairly recently. When I was 55, I was simultaneously going through bankruptcy and divorce. I basically left the house I had lived in for the past 20 years with nothing but a 12 year old car and the clothes and other personal belongings I could fit into it. I assumed that I would never retire, just work until I die because I would never own a house. Today my new wife and I own the house we live in outright with no mortgage or other debt of any kind. It was not really bad luck that caused me to be divorced and bankrupt at 55 and neither was it purely good luck that got things turned around. It was, rather, bad decisions that caused my first marriage and my finances to collapse. And good decisions, including marrying the right person, the helped me resolve those bad situations.

Is NIT Durgapur good for ECE?

Having spent 3 years here, I think I am fit to answer this question. Let us first open the discussion by describing what are the three pillars of a good department. These are Infrastructure: ,In the name of infrastructure you have a shabby building that has not been painted for quite a time. It might be the hottest building in the entire campus. All the labs have one thing in common, they lack the equipment. Trust me when I say this our 6 semester microprocessor lab was finished in three days and was followed by a lab exam and viva. 70% of the students got a 9/10. New buildings are made but they are never occupied and have been gathering rust. All the rooms in the department are very old and have space for around 40 students but somehow 100 students sit there for classes. And labs have the capacity of 10–20 people and one equipment for a group of 5–6 people. I am sitting here in my final year having no idea how to operate an oscilloscope or anything else for that matter. Professors : ,Well this part is going to be interesting. This is how we had our first microprocessor class : “ Hello everyone, from this semester I will be taking your microprocessor class. So I had not been in touch with this subject from around 7–8 years. So I may make mistakes while I am teaching this. So correct me when I am wrong.” If you guys say that's okay then I will tell you how he taught the entire semester just to give you an idea. If classes started at 8.15 he will come by 8.45 saying he overslept and then he would turn on the powerpoint presentation. The presentation will be simply snapshots of book and the quality of those images scream they have been taken from a ₹10000 phone. And he will read out these slides for half an hour and classes are suspended. Now if that's teaching you can better stay at home and give time to your family. An important topic like VLSI was finished in 5–6 classes. And some of its questions were known beforehand. So no problem during exams. Every professor is dull ( exceptions exist ), encourages rote learning, gives zero f#ck about practicals and has huge ego problems. Placements : ,The ECE department of NIT Durgapur has highest placement and it generally stays on top of the chart every year. But I will quote Mark Twain here ,“There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” ,If you can only download this from the official NIT Durgapur website you will find that out of the 85% placed students more than 50% have gotten a job in service based companies like TCS, Infosys, IBM etc. There are hardly 9–10 students who have got a job in core sector companies. With the quality of education provided here I doubt this number will increase in the coming years. Having passed 3 years here I have realized what a terrible mistake I had made opting for this department. Most of the students are having the same feelings as me. Many of them have opted towards coding. Before I came into this college used to get a perfect score in almost every subject. I was enthusiastic, ready to learn and always inquisitive. And now I have turned into a robot. Normal routine: ,Wake up at 8.00 clock, get ready by 8.10, reach the college by 8.15, listen to the never ending jargon by professors, come back to hostel, enjoy your time with friends and go to sleep. Before exams:, Go to some studios classmates ( and a huge respect to these people who somehow study the vast syllabus on their own and also help you out ) and camscan their notes. Go through previous years paper and find out weightage of each chapter. Then begin mugging up. You will finish this in a day. Go the exams and vomit how much ever you remember. Easily get a 9 pointer. No offence to my classmates but after exams they even start boasting about how they got a 9.2 and you got an 8.4. ,“Ek kaam karo apne 9 pointer ka batti banao aur daal lo” I know this was a long answer but once I started I just couldn't stop. At last I would just like to say I came here to understand machines and make them but little did I know that I would become the machine. Cheers!


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