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UKIP? Seriously?

Today is the day that many Britons will be heading to the polls, no doubt to vote for this twunk:

[source: The Guardian]

Yeah.

Would that be this French National Front?

Of course, journos descended upon Farage like flies to a turd leaving Nige to have to about-face and distance himself from the Front National. But what can we say about the man that hates Europe yet is an MEP (what, is the pay better?), has strong thoughts about immigrant workers (hey, isn't his wife...), has a party that is managing to gain support even though it is surely a party parody of Monty Pythonesque proportions, that has policies that would make even Lord Sutch say "huh?". His crowning moment of ill-culture (or funny, if you're a supporter) is to stand in the European Parliament and address the EU President, in his own country, thusly: "You have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk. You come from Belgium, which of course is pretty much a non-country.".
Are people so disillusioned with life that they actually vote for this? This is like the Al Murray of politics...

Oh, and Le Pen himself is saying that his statement has been grossly taken out of context, which probably shouldn't be a surprise given that it was received about as well as a pyromaniac at a fireworks factory...

 

Vide grenier

Last Sunday, a good one. I bought a helicopter and a TV.

Helicopter first. Coming in at €10, this monster is about twice the size of mine. Apologies for the rubbish picture, I'd like to take one now in the sunlight but it is blowing a gale outside.

When I unpacked it, the blades were damaged. Not a huge problem, spare blades were provided. I fitted them and spun up. The helicopter ran a little rough but looked as if it had enough power to lift off. It would be good to get this airbourne as it was chunky enough that surely it would carry a phone to record stuff.

Sadly, this was not to be. It raised into the air a short way, spinning wildly (hey, doesn't this thing have a gyro?) and I'm not entirely sure what happened next. My memory might be faulty. It looked as if the upper rotors jammed, causing them to fall into the lower rotors and, well, the result was not pretty.

Nothing obviously fouled the mechanism. No wires or anything like that. Upon a careful inspection, I did notice that the motor is fitted with a tiny metal cog that turns a large plastic cog. Obviously the motor is quite powerful, and thanks to the weakness of the design, it seems to me that any jamming of the rotors (any hard landing at all) risks stalling the big cog. The motor, however, will keep on going. The result? As obvious as the result of rotor-trash:

The helicopter is junk. With that gear (and possibly the other) destroyed (thus explaining the rough flight), there is no way it will spin smoothly. The blades do appear to spin when powered up, albeit noisily. But under stress (like actual flight), it fails.
If I can figure out what sort of helicopter this is (I'd guess some type of Symo), I'll need to wander eBay to see if I can pick up some parts. Another option could be to see if I can put the controller from this helicopter into my little one. That battery ought to last a while with smaller motors (assuming it can lift it!), but what is the voltage of the smaller? This stuff is ~7.4V.

 

The television. A Trinity CT-V710. Amusingly, Amazon.com describes it as having a USB input. It does have a USB socket on the side, but this is for A/V, not for plugging in devices.

The tuner is not so much use these days with digital TV. In its day it would have been quite something, what with VHF/L, VHF/H and UHF tuning plus support for PAL (B/G, H, D/K, I), NTSC (M), and SÉCAM (B/G, H, D/K, L). The only thing missing is PAL-M and that's not exactly commonplace.
With one tuner and two A/V inputs, plus OSD and a little remote controller, plus a clip-on battery pack that takes 10 AA cells, this would have made a nice travel TV back in its day.
Unfortunately compared to modern displays, it cannot hold its own. The brightness/contrast seems to be fairly hit and miss with a lot of fiddling required to obtain a reasonable picture (not too dark and not washed out). Additionally, the resolution of 960×234 shows. Basic analogue TV manages about 704 pixels visible horizontally so anything more than that isn't really necessary. NTSC has 480 visible pixels vertical, PAL/SÉCAM offer 576. This receiver has a mere 234, and it shows:

I wanted this little television, not so much for watching TV, but to allow me to schedule and set up stuff to record off of satellite without the hassles of getting the USB video grabber running. That said, I may have found another use for it...

Oh, I should add... I paid a fiver for a nice solid metal case. The TV and all of its bits? That was extra. Um.

 

Hi Kieran!

Received this MMS:
No idea who it is from or who Kieran is.

But...

Hi Kieran! Welcome to Planet Earth.
Don't blame us for the state that it is in, we're just a bit stupid.
I hope you'll take better care of it than we did.
You sort of have to, it's the only home you have.
But hey, no pressure or anything...

Oh, wait, you are French:

Salut Kieran! Bienvenue au Terre.
Ne nous blâmez pas pour le désordre de la Terre, nous sommes stupides.
J'espère que vous allez prendre mieux soin d'elle que nous avons fait.
Vous devez, c'est la seule planète que vous avez.
Mais, alors, aucune pression, hein?

 

 

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