Category Archives: Weird

House Renovation Blues (Part 2)

Here’s a weird one. After the fridge thing, I decided to put in a shut-off valve for the fridge line only, so if it ever happened again, to either me (I hope not) or the new owner, I could shut just that off and still have cold faucet and filtered water in the kitchen sink. Shortly thereafter, the garbage disposal (which I’d installed about a decade ago, when we remodeled the kitchen, along with all the appliances) quit working. There is no action when the switch is flipped. I checked the breaker, and it’s not tripped. I can turn it freely with an allen wrench from below, so it’s not jammed, and there’s no hum. However, the armored cable to it from the switch is broken at the interface to the machine, and I can see a black wire-nutted wire sticking out the side, though it seems to be connected, at least from visual inspection.

OK, here’s the weird part. I went to Home Depot to pick up a non-contact voltage detector and a multi-meter to trouble shoot. When I bring the detector near the cable at the interface, I get a voltage signal. But only when the switch is off. When the switch is on, it disappears. When I kill the breaker, I get nothing either way. WTF?

Anyway, I was hoping to avoid pulling (and even worse purchasing a replacement). But it looks like I won’t figure it out without doing so. On the upside, if I do pull the device, it will make it easier to get at the new shutoff valve behind it, which is dripping…

[Tuesday-morning update]

On further inspection, the neutral wire is clearly broken going into the disposal, so off it comes to repair it. I must have done it when I was installing the shut-off valve. That’s why it was sensing voltage on the hot line.

A Penetrating Critique Of Reusable Launch Systems

…from people who currently make good money building expendable launch systems.

In other news, the Buggy Whip Manufacturers Association saw no future in these newfangled “horseless carriages.”

[Update a while later]

Bob Zimmerman has some thoughts on the lie that is Orion, while Eric Berger discusses the GAO concerns about its programmatics.

A New Suborbital Tourism Vehicle

This article is amusing:

CosmoCourse CEO Pavel Pushkin told Sputnik New Agency, he came up with the idea of suborbital tourism back in 2013 when he was working at Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center.

“We were reviewing various concepts of commercial space rockets and came up with the idea of launching people into space via suborbital trajectory.”

Wow, as far back as 2013! What a visionary.

Note that it’s short on details.