Coping: Monday at the (near) WuJo

A couple of interesting case reports to ponder as we look at how the oddities in Life roll past us.  Although, whether these are mere statistical improbabilities or outright WuJo events is something I’ll leave to your discernment:

George – longtime lurker – thx for the continuing insights and thought-provoking conversations.  I must comment on the found toys mentioned in your Friday column.

A couple of decades ago, Life dumped me out in the middle of the Mohave Desert.  I was in fact entering a time of my life I semi-jokingly refer to as my “convent years” but the Universe was setting me up for quantum spiritual expansion.  Some of my only friends out there were a pair of Ravens, and we began one of the most fascinating relationships I’d ever experienced.  I have stories about them that could fill volumes, but the reason I am writing is to tell you what happened when my precious 33 year old horse finally had to be put down.  I had him buried on my property and errected a simple monument to the great old soul that he was.  In working through my grief, I talked to my two Ravens about “Big Red the Wonder Horse”. 

The next time I walked out to the grave of Big Red, two objects were sitting on the fresh earth.  Two little well-worn toys.  One was a carousel horse with a little teddy-bear astride his back.  The other was a small matchbox-type semi-tractor….bright red. This was a remote area, no chance of children or anyone else coming to my property.   I have always believed these items were placed on Big Red’s grave by my Raven friends.  It gave me great comfort, and still does.

God Bless,


To my way of thinking is the a likely Wujo event…. next? 

This isn’t Wujo, but it’s near and nice to read about pleasant experiences now and then…

Hi, George,
I had a good experience today.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that I had lost my silver ring.  It meant something to me as I had purchased it at a gift shop at the Grand Canyon last October while I was on a 3100 mile round trip motorcycle trip with my husband.  Yes, I rode my own motorcycle all that way, so the ring was a reminder of that incredible experience, so I noticed the angst from losing it, but didn’t really know where to start looking as it had fallen off my finger and that was that.  I did not expect to ever find it again.
My husband and I have honored our Father, we have taken care of my dear Dad now for over 8 years and with working and commuting, some of our own chores get behind.  Today, I had a chance to get some housework done.  I had let laundry pile up on my guest room bed so today I was folding it all to put it all away.
As I was folding and organizing, there at the bottom of the pile was my ring!  Wow!  That was a big NICE surprise.  I was kinda shocked.  I thanked God and kept folding.
Then, as I was sorting some papers from my car that had also landed on the bed, a white bank envelope revealed itself….and there was $41.00 in it!
Wow!  A second grateful thank God came out of my mouth and I was so excited to share these 2 finds with my husband.
I don’t know if it is wujo, but I think it is an excellent sign of a reminder to me, that as small as my concerns are, I have not been forgotten!
Giselle (Austin)

Computer!  Send a note to Giselle and Hubby that they should consider their next ride was the Iron Butt Association ride.  The Big Tex Rally comes up on the 18th and 19th but registration for that is already closed…but maybe next time…I assume you know about the national motorcycle events calendar over here?

I’ll Stick with Data

Madison Avenue Mike has passed along a real gem here – an online test by the NY Times that let’s you see how well you can sense people’s emotions by “reading their eyes…”

Naturally, I took the test, imagining as I did, what the rest of the person’s face would look like to go with the eyes and then guessing from there…

I scored a (lousy) 18 out of 38 which means I ought to have a hard time understanding a person’s mental state via facing clues.  But that’s OK, since I tend to make up for it by having fairly acute hearing/auditory skills and understand externalities that drive people.

Given a glance into someone’s eyes, I’ll take their bank balance, age, and other data, rather than just let the “eyes have it” thanks.

Around the Ranch: 

Dealing With “Design” Matters

Elaine and I had a most interesting discussion on Sunday and it’s symptomatic of something which has been bothering me for a long time – namely the role of design versus the role of function when it comes to building things.

The conversation started when I remarked about the wood order that I’d be picking up, this week or next, to frame in, finish roofing, then wire, insulate, sheetrock, and finish the deck at the north end of our old mobile home (modular, if you insist) out here in the woods of East Texas.

I figured I’d need about 47 eight food two-by-fours and 10-sheets of roofing metal to make it weather-tight and some windows (which I’ve been scanning Craigslist for, but we may have to resort to Lowes on).

Somewhere along the way – about the discussion of the metal roofing – Elaine postulated that there may be some reason for modern roofing to be flat with ridges every 6-10 inches, instead of the old corrugated roofing which was simply a bend or roll every 3 inches, or so.

Carrying the thought further, she began wondering if the design change had something to do with how water is controlled coming off the roof and she mused a bit about how there must be some design aspect to the roofing metal that was non-apparent.

Marketing, is what it is all about, dear…” I explained.   I then extolled my viewpoint for a few minutes about how by having a particular design with ribs in the metal x inches and flat valleys, a big retailer like Lowes  would have a reason to stick with one brand of roofing metal over time…so that people like me who buy part of a project, and then come along later to finish it off, will still have access to the same material.

Another factor is likely building codes,” I proffered.   “By having the ridges in the metal every x inches, the metal would tell any idiot-level installer (I noticed the kitchen mirror) how to space out fasteners to meet building codes.”

Another idea I tossed out was that in the old days, corrugated was made one way, and flat & valley was rolled another…as machinery and dies to roll metal have advanced from the invention of “corrugated galvanized iron” which goes back nearly 200 years according to Wikipedia:

Corrugated galvanised iron (colloquially corrugated iron or pailing (in Caribbean English), occasionally abbreviated CGI) is a building material composed of sheets of hot-dip galvanised mild steel, cold-rolled to produce a linear corrugated pattern in them. The corrugations increase the bending strength of the sheet in the direction perpendicular to the corrugations, but not parallel to them. Normally each sheet is manufactured longer in its strong direction.

CGI is lightweight and easily transported. It was and still is widely used especially in rural and military buildings such as sheds and water tanks. Its unique properties were used in the development of countries like Australia from the 1840s, and it is still helping developing countries today.

File:Corrugated iron manual roller.JPGCGI was invented in the 1820s in Britain by Henry Palmer, architect and engineer to the London Dock Company. It was originally made (as the name suggests) from wrought iron. It proved to be light, strong, corrosion-resistant, and easily transported, and particularly lent itself to prefabricated structures and improvisation by semi-skilled workers. It soon became a common construction material in rural areas in the United States, Chile, New Zealand and Australia and later India, and in Australia and Chile also became (and remains) a common roofing material even in urban areas. In Australia and New Zealand particularly it has become part of the cultural identity,[1][2][3] and fashionable architectural use has become common.[4]

For roofing purposes, the sheets are laid somewhat like tiles, with a lateral overlap of one and half corrugations, and a vertical overlap of about 150 millimetres (5.9 in), to provide for waterproofing. CGI is also a common construction material for industrial buildings throughout the world.

Wrought iron CGI was gradually replaced by mild steel from around the 1890s, and iron CGI is no longer obtainable – however, the common name has not been changed. Galvanized sheets with simple corrugations are also being gradually displaced by 55% Al-Zn coated steel[5] or coil-painted sheets with complex profiles. However CGI remains common.”

Wikipedia spells galvanized the British way, something that is a bit laboured to my way of thinking, but then again, the British have always had a misunderstanding of their own language.

So that’s how we left it:  Elaine’s got in her head that there’s some design element at work with new roofing patterns while I’ve hold to the design is simply an extension of Marketing any more.

I’m a real fan of metal roofs here, lately, and no, they are not noisy when it rains, at least on the inside.  That’s because when I build. there’s 8” of insulation on the topside and R-17 or better in the sidewalls, and I may be the only home-builder who beds all windows in silicone caulking, so that there’s virtually no air leakage.

Remembering back a few million years when I had an opportunity to build studios (broadcast and recording) and working with a leading acoustic consulting group. the first lesson in studio design is to make sound booths (and houses) as close to air tight as possible.  This means lots of caulking (even bedding the headers and footers on walls, and for good measure, you’ll want air-tight caulking around any wall penetrations (power, phone, data, yada, yada) and super weather-stripping.

Anyway, you do all that (so the room could be filled up with water, at least as a mental exercise and not leak, and now you’ve got a really good low-noise room,  To make it even better, you could also double-channel it, so there would be two separate walls, each with two different thickness coverings (1/2” sheetrock on one face, 5./8th’s on the other) and, if you’re building an high-security conference room, let’s go ahead and fill up one of those walls with sand, while we’re at it.

A further study of sound transmission class (STC) details suggests that I could have custom-made windows built, too, which would further reduce outside noise (such as from a metal roof) and one way to do this is have double-glazed windows made with “double strength glass” on one side and 3/16ths (or even 1/4”) plate on the other.

Putting in baffling black up the air conditioning ductwork for 12-feet, or so, slowing the airflow down so it doesn’t tumble (going from an 8” round duck down to 12X14 helps, provided the transition begins 8-feet back and is baffled…) and now you’ve got something approaching a decent sound-conditioned room.

Well, except that the walls should really be non-parallel (offset 15-degrees, or so) in order to keep the room from being to “live” and then finishing up with wall coverings and moveable “moving matts” which are about the finest finishing acoustical touches you can find….

OK, total over-kill for an exercise room hung on the north end of a trailer, but you get the idea…

Still, I don’t think we’ve come to a conclusion about whether design of roofing metal is driven by design functionality, or by marketing, and that’s in addition to the obvious architects driving color.  But we’re not worried about that…just plain metal for now and then a few years out, maybe a coat of  Snow Roof/KST Coatings which further “deaden” the roof and reflect back more sun in the summertime…for big roofs, like our shop / office building, the 5-gallon buckets make sense…it took three of them.

Grand Unified Theory

A special treat for Peoplenomics readers Wednesday:  A grand unified theory of what might happen with the economy which would make sense in terms of the economic long wave and which also presents all kinds of interesting investment opportunities…  That’s coming up Wednesday.

More tomorrow, same time, same website…

Write when you break even,