Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun


You're Welcome

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 16, 2017 12:07 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Virtual Used Car Dealership: Low Start-Up Costs


My 3-Step Business Plan

1) Cheap online marketing via Craigslist coast-to-coast.

2) ....

3) Profit beyond the dreams of Avarice!

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Aug 30, 2016 3:51 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Those Daring Young "Aeronauts" in Their Flying Macines: 1889 Edition


My improved. flying-machine consists of a jacket, A, adapted to the body of the aeronaut, right and leftwings, Bf, and a tail, D, held to the jacket, and a balloon, E, from which the aeronaut is suspended by connections to the jacket and to straps or bands encircling his legs, all as shown in Fig. 1 of the drawings, and as will be hereinafter more particularly described in the order above mentioned. Patent US398984 - Flying-machine - Google Patents

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jul 11, 2016 9:48 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Labor Saving Tips: How to Get a Baby to Clean the House

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jul 2, 2016 12:01 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Misplaced Antarctic Snow Cruiser


As Rolled out of the Chicago construction yards in October, 1939

In 1939, scientists and engineers at Chicago’s Armour Institute of Technology designed and built a massive new vehicle intended for use in Antarctic exploration.

The Antarctic Snow Cruiser measured 55 feet long, weighed more than 37 tons fully loaded, and rolled on four smooth 10-foot-tall tires designed to retract and allow part of the vehicle to scoot across crevasses. The Institute loaned the $150,000 machine to the U.S. government for its upcoming Antarctic expedition headed by Rear Admiral Richard Byrd, and had the Snow Cruiser driven from Chicago to Boston (at a top speed of 30 mph) to be loaded on the ship the North Star.


The crew managed to deliver the Snow Cruiser to the Antarctic ice, but the design proved faulty, and the vehicle was soon converted to a stationary crew quarters, never to leave Antarctica again. The diesel-electric hybrid powertrain was severely underpowered, and the smooth tires, designed for swampy terrain, offered very little traction, sinking into the snow. More than 75 years later, the world is still unsure where it is—the Antarctic Snow Cruiser could remain buried somewhere under sheets of ice, or it could have broken off with an ice floe, eventually sinking to the bottom of the ocean. —Updated - The Atlantic

On duty in Antarctica with its crew in September, 1940

The Snow Cruiser arrived at Little America in the Bay of Whales, Antarctica with United States Antarctic Service Expedition in early January 1940 and experienced many problems.

It was necessary to construct a ramp from timber to unload the vehicle. As the vehicle was unloaded from the ship, one of the wheels broke though the ramp.

The crew cheered when Poulter powered the vehicle free from the ramp but the cheers fell silent when the vehicle failed to move through the snow and ice. The large, smooth, tread-less tires were originally designed for a large swamp vehicle; they spun freely and provided very little forward movement, sinking as much a 3 feet (0.91 m) into the snow. The crew attached the two spare tires to the front wheels of the vehicle and installed chains on the rear wheels, but were unable to overcome the lack of traction. The crew later found that the tires produced more traction when driven backwards. The longest trek was 92 miles (148 km) – driven completely in reverse.
During Operation Highjump in late 1946, an expedition team found the vehicle and discovered it needed only air in the tires and some servicing to make it operational. In 1958, an international expedition uncovered the snow cruiser using a bulldozer. It was covered by several feet of snow but a long bamboo pole marked its position. They were able to dig down to the location of the bottom of the wheels and accurately measure the amount of snowfall since it was abandoned. Inside, the vehicle was exactly as the crew had left it, with papers, magazines, and cigarettes scattered all around.
Later expeditions reported no trace of the vehicle. Although there was some unsubstantiated speculation that the (traction-less) Snow Cruiser was taken by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the vehicle most likely is either at the bottom of the Southern Ocean or buried deep under snow and ice. Antarctic ice is in constant motion and the ice shelf is constantly moving out to sea. In the mid-1960s, a large chunk of the Ross Ice Shelf broke off and drifted away; the break occurred right through Little America. It is not known on which side of the ice shelf the Snow Cruiser was located. The Antarctic Snow Cruiser

As it was abandoned in December, 1940

Just because a big idea turned sour is no reason to forget about it....


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jun 23, 2016 10:18 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Instamatic to Digimatic: The Kool Kamera Kodak Will Never Make [UPDATED]

It's been a nasty decade or so for Kodak. In the last two years alone the company's "highlights" have been "lowlights:"

In December 2010, Standard & Poor's removed Kodak from its S&P 500 index. In January 2009, Kodak posted a $137 million fourth-quarter loss and announced plans to cut up to 4,500 jobs. On June 22, 2009, Eastman Kodak Co announced that it will retire Kodachrome color film by the end of 2009, ending its 74-year run after a dramatic decline in sales. On December 4, 2009, Eastman Kodak Co sold its Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) business unit to LG Electronics which resulted in the laying off of 60 people, which includes research engineers, technicians and interns. - Eastman Kodak
Back in September of 2011 :Bottom Line - Kodak struggles to reinvent itself for digital age
Eastman Kodak appears to be staying clear of bankruptcy proceedings for now, but time is clearly running out for the 130-year old industrial icon to reinvent itself for a digital century.
But that was just blowing smoke because in January of 2012, Eastman Kodak Company and Its U.S. Subsidiaries Commence Voluntary Chapter 11 Business Reorganization And now, a year later, it seems as if it is getting a pulse, or at least a pacemaker: The Daily Docket: Judge Approves $843.7M Kodak Financing Deal - Bankruptcy Beat - WSJ

So it would seem that Kodak is getting a new lease on life, if not a renewed interest in creativity and innovation. For that it would have to go back to the future past.

If the company that calls itself Kodak today had a brain, it would copy the "Instamatic 100" from Kodak's greatest hits, drop a first rate lens in it, add some great chips, a view screen as big as the back of the camera, and rebrand it as the “Kodak Digimatic 100.” Instant win.

An Apple design from before Apple was Apple

They’ll never be cool enough to do it....

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 23, 2016 12:21 PM |  Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Clean Desk

Via Best Reviews

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 1, 2014 9:11 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How Hot Is It? This Hot.


File Under: "Hands on weather reporting." Some newspapers will do anything to get your attention back.

It's from the USA Today weather page, of course. It ran last Friday, July 1. Click for a larger look. If you need a larger look. -- From You need a dirty mind to be an editor in this business by Charles Apple @

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 8, 2011 11:18 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Instant Tacofication: the great advances of human civilization, in everything from animal husbandry to mathematics to architecture to manufacturing to information technology, have all crescendoed with the Crunchwrap Supreme, delivered at pickup window

Taco Bell and the Golden Age of Drive-Thru:

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 1, 2011 4:41 AM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: New Looks for Old Garage Doors


Garage doors have until now mostly been mouse grey and ugly – and often spoil the appearance of well-maintained homes. But now, the days of those hideous garage doors are numbered! Online and availble from


Here's a few of the choices:



Smaller garage door? No problem.



And finally, last but by no means least:


Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 23, 2010 11:42 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Little Mars Rover That Could

Spirit rover landed on Mars in January of 2004 to take a look around and show us what it saw. Its 90 day mission is still extending itself, even if Spirit is currently stuck, over six years later.


From the consistently brilliant xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 29, 2010 4:31 PM |  Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
All About the Pho

Oh Broth, Where are Thou? @ The Bold Italic is one of those rare web articles that merges design, type, copy, and subject matter that leaves you hungry for more writing and much more pho:

For many, “Bay Area cuisine” conjures up images of avocados, tacos, small plates, Alice Waters and disappointingly, for David Chang, the vision of a few balsamic vinegar-drizzled figs on a plate. But for me, San Francisco is all about the pho.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 26, 2010 12:23 PM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Blowing Smoke Up...." In case you've ever wondered where the phrase originated...


Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 2, 2009 6:32 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Extreme Sheep Herding: "What we do, because we can."

See and you will believe.

Thanks to commenter Thurberite.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 29, 2009 4:50 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Blackboard Blogger: "A man with a chalkboard in Liberia is smarter than Pinch Sulzberger."


Oh no, I've said too much
I haven't said enough

-- REM, Losing My Religion

Sippican Cottage can see clearly now:The Future Of The Internet Is A Blackboard. The New York Times doesn't see anything.

The New York Times sells their building and their jet and lay off thousands who are just doing their job, but they pay hundreds of thousands -- millions -- to keep the Op-Ed page going, and the bigshot managers in caviar at their Long Island Gold Coast getaways.

All I can get on the Internet is opinion. It's an enormous sea of opinion. Everyone is doing for free what Maureen Dowd wants to earn a phone number for. That can't last. But they'll sacrifice the entire news operation on the altar of opinion to keep it going to the bitter end

The democratization of opinion would tell a normal person in a position of authority at a newspaper to abandon opinion and put factual information first, last, and always in the paper. And maybe not print it, just offer it in pixels.


The man at the end of the information spear, is one Alfred Sirleaf of Liberia.

Alfred Sirleaf is an analog blogger.

He take runs the "€œDaily News", a news hut by the side of a major road in the middle of Monrovia. He started it a number of years ago, stating that he wanted to get news into the hands of those who couldn’t afford newspapers, in the language that they could understand.

Alfred serves as a reminder to the rest of us, that simple is often better, just because it works. The lack of electricity never throws him off. The lack of funding means he’s creative in ways that he recruits people from around the city and country to report news to him. He uses his cell phone as the major point of connection between him and the 10,000 (he says) that read his blackboard daily.

Liberia's Blackboard Blogger from WhiteAfrican on Vimeo.

An inspiring and cautionary story. Read All About It: HERE and HERE.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 24, 2009 10:43 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Recalculating "Re-CAL-cu-lating"

... because somebody had to do something.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 22, 2009 10:06 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sheer All-American Genius!


Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories' Five Minute Project: Hot Dog Bun Grilling Jig solves one of my most persistent grilling issues.

Cooking hot dogs (and similarly shaped things) on the backyard grill is one of those classic American summer traditions. One of the weaker parts of this scheme is preparing the hot dog buns. I happen to like mine toasty and warm and crunchy, and without the hinges broken!

Detailed instructions at the link. I'm making four this weekend.

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 5, 2008 11:08 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bookmark "Where's My &*%&! Cellphone?" Now!


This may be the single most humane page on the Internet. It will relieve billions of humans of millions of hours of stress and fret. It answers one of the most critical and often uttered questions of the day, the week, the month. To wit:

Where's My Cell Phone - Find Your Misplaced Cell Phone Fast!

Does it work? I can only say, "In the bedroom, in the closet, in the clothes hamper, halfway down, in the left front pocket of my jeans."

Bookmark this now and don't say I never do anything for you. I just did.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 4, 2008 9:45 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's a Big Machine

Wired editor-at-large Kevin Kelly, a sane and insightful man, looks at technology through the eyes of technology.

Well worth the 20 minutes it takes to listen to.

Key points:

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 7, 2007 10:43 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sheetrock the Cockpit

Making Aircraft Security Screening A Thing of the Past
by Tom Parker *

THERE'S SOME GALLOWS humor often quoted by airline pilots as cockpits become more sophisticated and navigation procedures become increasing automated. It goes something like this: The newest airliners won't need copilots or navigators at all. Instead, the cockpit will have room for just one pilot and a dog. The pilot will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to bite the pilot if he touches anything.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 13, 2006 12:19 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
UltiPod:The 15 Exabyte iPod


I've decided to load my new 15 exabyte iPOD with the sum total of human knowledge but this dang USB 2 interface is giving me fits. According to a UC Berkeley study I read about, the total of all human knowledge, music, images and words amounted to about 12 exabytes as of 1999. I figure the extra 3 exabytes will future-proof me what with all the crap that has been circulating since then. I still have a few questions about using the thing, but I figure I can just look that stuff up once I get it mostly loaded. Think I should have gone with the chrome model? I heard they finger print like crazy.
Any suggestions?

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 6, 2006 5:43 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sustainable, Renewable Energy from Bugs

The fuel in your foundation

WHY DRILL IN THE ARCTIC when you can drill into the DNA of termites for future fuels?

Tapping Bushes and Bugs to Fuel Our Energy Future

Another target of JGI's bioenergy efforts is the termite, which is capable of cranking out two liters of hydrogen from fermenting just one sheet of paper, making it one of the planet's most efficient bioreactors. Termites accomplish this by exploiting the metabolic capabilities of about 200 different species of microbes that inhabit their hindguts.

"Termites have spread throughout the world and play a critical role in recycling wooden biomass," Rubin said. "They are so successful in eating our houses from underneath us that they cause more than $1 billion in damage in the United States annually."

"It's not as if we are going to put termites in our tank, but if we can harness the termite microbe enzymes that break down lignocellulose and make hydrogen, we may end up with a commercially viable process," Hugenholtz said.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 24, 2006 6:56 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Land... Land.... Land.... Land.... FLEE!

FedEx Swarming Behavior

This "Time lapse radar track of FedEx aircraft arriving into the Memphis hub during area thunderstorms" reminds you once again that whatever air-traffic controllers are getting paid, it isn't enough.

Via: Parker Tool and Fly

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 9, 2006 12:31 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
NEWSERS:News by Users

THE DEPENDABLY BRILLIANT KEVIN KELLY has written a guide to Consensus Web Filters @ Cool Tools .

"Like a lot of people, I find that the web is becoming my main source of news. Some of the sites I read are published by individuals, but I find the most informative sites are those published by groups of writers/editors/correspondents, including those put out by Main Street Media (MSM). However for the past three months my main source of "what's new" has been a new breed of website that collaboratively votes on the best links.

"This genre does not have an official name yet, but each of these sites supplies readers with pointers to news items that are ranked by other readers. None of these sites generates news; they only point to it by filtering the links to newsy items."

He supplies a sheaf of links to these sites.

No name for "this genre" of sites that supply News by Users? We like "Newsers." At the least it's a better name than, well, "Blog."'

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 10, 2005 6:47 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
What Is To Be Done

DONALD SENSING states the obvious but unexecuted strategy for moving forward in

Bush failing to keep the public in the loop: "The Bush administration has allowed the information status quo of the war to be maintained too long in the public eye. The information agenda has been set by the mainstream media (MSM), attenuated to a significant but not large degree by bloggers. I think the administration should begin immediately a vigorous domestic-information program to do these things:

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 24, 2005 11:54 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Stealth Warship

The difference in detection range between an ordinary vessel and Visby creates a considerable zone where the Visby can see but not be seen.

Just the thing for those boating runs from Jamaica to the Florida Keys:The barely visible Visby

The Visby Class corvette is the first vessel in the world to have fully developed stealth technology, combined with high operational versatility. The outstanding stealth properties fundamentally change the ship's survivability and improve its mission effectiveness.

Visby is a flexible surface combatant, designed for a wide range of roles: anti-surface warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine countermeasures (MCM), patrol and much more.

Much more might be signaled if the Columbian Navy orders up one or two dozen.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 22, 2005 4:44 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Dummies Guide to Crash Dummies, Chapter 2

FROM THE COUNTRY THAT BROUGHT THE WORLD HARD-CORE PORN comes the natural extension of that social policy --
Sweden develops first female crash test dummy : "STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The first uniquely female dummy for use in car safety tests is being developed in Sweden, researchers said on Wednesday.

All current crash test dummies are based on how men's bodies react in collisions and other accidents.

Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and the National Road and Transport Research Institute are researching how a female body moves as a first step in building the dummy.

'For neck injuries from rear-end collisions, whiplash, the risk for women is twice as high as for men,' the road institute said in a statement."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 11, 2005 11:50 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Whovel vs. The Widowmaker

After the first two "magical" winters of my time in New England, snow got old. Once it sent my sled into a tree and me to the emergency room on New Year's Eve. Another time it sent my car into a ditch where it remained "parked" for a week. And every year, without fail, it sent me either to the poorhouse by paying the outrageous "plow-out " charges or to the chiropractor for a "seasonal adjustment." And I was one of the "lucky" men.

In New England, the first large snowfall of the winter is also known as "The Widowmaker" since the first determined mass suburban snow-shoveling of the season never fails to reveal which husbands have been hiding heart disease from themselves. Those are the "unlucky" men.

Now, however, American innovation has come forward and invented a gadget which, it seems, will go a long way towards enabling husbands to survive that otherwise fatal aftermath of the first snow -- The Whovel. Here's a picture of this modern marvel, this slap up the side of the head that says "Why didn't I think of that?"


But to really understand the brilliance of this invention, the sheer humanity of it, you have to know two things.

1) You have to have shoveled enough snow to know what an immense pain in the butt it really is.
2) You have to see it in action. Which you can: The Whovel Demo.

If you live in the snow-shoveling region, and you want to go on living, you have to get a Whovel. If not, you have to do what I did. Move.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 6, 2005 6:34 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How to Build a Global Internet Tsunami Warning System in a Month

Connecting the data: Robert Cringely @ KCET's Pulpit looks at the real possibilities.


Here's the problem with big multi-government warning systems. First, we have a disaster. Then, we have a conference on the disaster, then plans are proposed, money is appropriated, and three to five years later, a test system is ready. It isn't the final system, of course, but it still involves vast sensor arrays both above and below the surface of the ocean, satellite communication, and a big honking computer down in the bowels of the Department of Commerce or maybe at NASA. That's just the detection part. The warning part involves multilateral discussions with a dozen nations, a treaty, more satellite communication, several computer networks, several television and radio networks, and possibly a system of emergency transmitters...[snip]....

You don't need an international consortium to build such a local tsunami warning system. You don't even need broadband. The data is available, processing power is abundant and cheap. With local effort, there is no reason why every populated beach on earth can't have a practical tsunami warning system up and running a month from now. That's Internet time for you, but in this case, its application can protect friends everywhere from senseless and easily avoidable death.

As we lean from Lawrence of Arabia, "We are here. Akaba is there. It is only a matter of going."

Pointer via WorldChanging

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 5, 2005 2:18 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dysfunctional Gift Suggestions

Do you know someone who has trouble with tailgaters and lane changers? Just get them these balloons.
1) Inflate.
2) Attach to vehicle with tethers of varying lengths.
3) Drive like the wind and watch others just back away from the vehicle.

[Points of origin: Steel-mail to Ramblings' Journal to Charlite]

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 15, 2004 8:23 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Blogger's Head to Be Rebuilt at JPL

Van der Leun head assembly schematic.

From AMERICAN DIGEST NEWS, October 27, 2004

LAGUNA BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- The reassembly and reanimation of blogger Gerard Van der Leun's head went forward quickly over the last 24 hours. Mr. Van der Leun, the latest victim of Hyper-Cerebral Blogosis or HCB, has had the remnants of his head taken to JPL by a crack team of actors from CSI:Las Vegas. "We used Shop-Vacs to make sure we got every smidgen," said the lead investigator on the case. "There's no proof of crime except a general crime against humanity brought on by over exposure to punditry."

Van der Leun, whose head injuries were reported yesterday in Blogger's Head Explodes, is expected to make a full and complete reassembly and reanimation on the lab benches of JPL. "If we can put a man on Mars," said Professor Blunt, "we can certainly put this blogger back into his blather in no time. What? We haven't put a man on Mars? Give it time. I'm part of the Kerry transition team and we've got great plans for George Bush."


In other news, Donna @ Pajama Pundits has found other upsetting examples of Exploding Head Syndrome sweeping the Blogsphere this week.

Dumb Pencil


-- Pencil Inventions

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 10, 2004 12:01 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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