Friday 21 June 2024


 Welcome to the boring world of Positive Crankcase Ventillation systems. Little did I know that on modern (post 1960's) cars, they connect the crankcase to the inlet manifold so that blowby doesn't pressurise the crankcase, and so that the blowby and the oil mist get burned in the engine. Damn Los Angeles and their smog problem!

I took my sports car to Snetterton last week and had a miserable time. I got black flagged twice for making excessive smoke. So much in fact that people came out on to the pit wall to gawp and speculate. While we did get to do some high speed driving (after the oil level had dropped), and engine ran pretty well it used A LOT of fuel.

I have since done a compression test and the engine looks a bit worn, but not catastrophically so. This is my best guess about what went wrong: The engine is just a bit more worn out than it was the last time I used it. The oil was topped up right to the top. There's a long right hand corner which pushed the oil up towards the PCV system. This combination of factors overwhelmed the PCV system and pulled a load of oil into the inlet tract and we burned it whenever we opened the throttle wide. The soot has messed up the lambda sensor in the exhaust, and it's now overfuelling wildly. The engine is already out of the sports car and in the back of the Fiat Panda waiting to go down to the engine builders.

I record this here just for the next time I have to do it: It takes more than a day, but less than two days to take the engine out of my Caterham. You have to have three people present when you crane it out. I know we've all seen Ed China do it with one assistant, but I simply cannot replicate that.

Richard "Catch Tank" B

Zip File

 The Mandela effect is nothing but data compression, but it's going on in the human brain. One of the main techniques in data compression is to look for commonalities and to encode repeated data in a shorthand form. Just as an example, imagine we're trying to compress some text. You could replace the word "the" with the letter "t" and it would save you a couple of characters each time it came up. You'd then lose a few characters if somebody used "t" as a word on its own and you had to disambiguate it. He was wearing a white do-not-expand-t shirt.

The Mandela effect is where a large number of people all have the same false memory: Nelson Mandela died in the 80s. Darth Vader said "Luke, I am your father" Pikachu has a black tip on his tail. It's fun to think that they're connections to alternate histories, or artifacts of programming changes in the simulation that we're living in. Sadly, after a long chat with my boss I now believe something much more prosaic.

The only Mandela memory that really bothers me is the Fruit of the Loom logo. It's a company that makes cotton goods, their logo is a pile of fruit. I remember the fruit being in front of a horn shaped basket, but it isn't. What we think is actually going on is that every time you see a pile of fruit in that style, it's in front of a horn of plenty. You've seen it on pub sigs, menus, invitations, and countless other places. When my memory filed away the Fruit of the Loom logo from when I bought a packet of sewing needles, it coded it as just another example of fruit in front of a horn of plenty. Every time I retrieve the memory it comes out with the basket included. It's quite disconcerting.

Richard "cornucopia" B