Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest
If the type is too small, Ctrl+ is your friend

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - North Korean Edition
There I Ruined It

Just because I seldom see anything from North Korea. Things look pretty good for the party faithful over there.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Kleo - Netflix Series

Kleo | Official Trailer | Netflix

Two years before the Berlin wall came down, an agent of the Stasi (East German secret police) sneaks into West Berlin and assassinates a man in a nightclub. When she returns to East Germany she is arrested and after a Kafkaesque trial is sentenced to life in prison. Three years later, the Berlin wall comes down, East Germany collapses and our girl walks out of prison a free woman.

She is, as you might expect, harboring a grudge against all and sundry who sent her up the river and she proceeds to methodically eliminate them. 

It's a great story made better by having an average looking woman in the lead role instead of some sevelt beauty queen. You can believe she could do all the stuff they show her doing. Okay, there are instances that strain credibility, like I don't know how she managed to stick herself to a 12 foot ceiling, but I think they are in there just for entertainment value. In any case, these little bits don't distract from the story.

The whole bit about blind obedience and the secret machinations of the state sounds a whole lot like what's going on with all the political trials going on now in Washington, D. C.

Sunday, August 28, 2022


For a long time I couldn't understand why someone would buy a house that fronts on a busy road. Now I'm looking at  house on a semi-busy road and realize there's no school zone and no 25 MPH speed limits between the driveway and freeway. Not having little kids kind of changes your priorities.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

E-mail Subscriptions

IAman pointed out that the e-mail subscription service I had setup a zillion years ago wasn't working. Until then I didn't know anyone was using it. I got a notice a couple of weeks ago from a different e-mail service letting me know that feedburner had expired, expired as in died, not just that my subscription had run out. Evidently the email widget I stuck in the sidebar umpteen years ago (using Blogger's edior) was tied into feedburner

Well, now that he has mentioned it I suppose I ought to go fix it, I mean, how else are my pearls of wisdom going to be disseminated?

I also thought about adding the little toolbar that allows you to 'share' a post on any number of ways.

I'm starting to break out of my old haunts, looking around to see what's out there, like Twitter. I don't follow Twitter, but I notice that some of the news stories I come across quote from Twitter, and some of those quotes notable. So I got to thinking maybe I should cast some loaves upon the water and see if anything comes up from out of the deep and snatches one. Kind of like virtual catch and release of marlin.

Meanwhile we are in the throus of finishing the new house, my back is being a pain and I haven't made any progress on my space travel computations. I did get distracted by a 35 mm German anti-aircraft gun. Self-propelled, it might be called the Geperd. It shoots a zillion shells a minute, but it only carries enough ammo to shoot for a few seconds, so whenever it does fire it needs to be dead certain about where it's pointing. That certainty is composed of two parts - aiming and pointing. The first involves figuring out where you want the gun to be pointed, which means knowing where the target aircraft is, its speed and where it's headed, and the ballistics of the gun. The second part means moving the gun barrel around so it's pointing where the first part says we should be pointing.That doesn't sound so hard, just some gears and an electric motor, until you consider the high degree of accuracy you will need. A zillionth of a degree at 5,000 yards is the difference between a hit and a miss. I suppose that's what the high rate of fire is all about - make your best guess about where your target will be, and make your best guess as where your barrel is pointing, throw a dozen rounds downrange and pray.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Columbia and Cocaine

ZeroHedge has the story:

Colombia, the world's largest producer of cocaine, and the origin of more than 90% seized in the United States - is considering decriminalizing the drug in an experiment to end Washington DC's never-ending "war on drugs," according to the Washington Post.

After just two weeks in office, the country's first leftist government has proposed an end to "prohibition" - in what would become the first government-regulated market for cocaine. Officials would work with other leftist governments in the region via legislation and alliances in order to "turn their country into a laboratory for drug decriminalization."

"It is time for a new international convention that accepts that the war on drugs has failed," said President Gustavo Petro in his inaugural address this month.

The move would likely upend the country's long-standing (and profitable) counternarcotics relationship with the US - whose officials, both past and present, are sounding the alarm.

How dare Gustavo break ranks with the glorious American hegemony! If Gustavo makes any progress on this I expect we will see a CIA backed coup in short order. Remember that the people making the most money off of the drug trade are the American drug cartel leaders, those gray men who are never mentioned. They are not going to sit still while some South American upstart tries to the shake the foundation of their empire.

American Land Use

American Land Use

Cows rule! I suspect a lot of the land being called 'range' is more like desert, which according to the gray area at bottom of Texas is a tiny portion of the USA. I would be inclined to call the entire southwest quadrant of the USA desert.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Death to the Supreme Leader of Iran

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

In case you need your blood pressure boosted, this link should do the trick:

Forget Free Speech: Rushdie's Fatwa Is Winning by Giulio Meotti

Islamist killers have murdered a bunch of people and continue to do so. These guys are like your worst nightmare, implacable, relentless and willing to die in the attempt to kill their target. They are like the assassins in a James Bond movie, except they aren't doing their killing for any reason we can accept. I suspect most of them are not too smart. If we catch one alive, we should tie him to a box of dynamite and drop him on Tehran. 

"Salman Rushdie is a champion of free speech, bravely standing up for Western ideals when so many shy away from the fight. If only more people could follow his example, instead of taking the path of appeasement in the name of cultural sensitivity, the long years of murder and mayhem wrought by the Islamists on the West might come to an end... I know all too well the threat Islamism poses. After I came out as an apostate, I was forced into a bubble of protection that still surrounds me to this day. I have 24-hour security. I still receive death threats. My friend, the sweet, vulgar, brilliant Theo Van Gogh was murdered simply for making a film with me. His attacker used a knife to stab a letter into Theo's chest: it said that I would be next". - Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Apparently there is an army of Islamist assassins running around loose in the world and they have a long list of people who are to be killed.

Sunday, August 21, 2022


Good explanation of the situation in Ukraine:

Glenn Diesen: How 'Russophrenia' from supposedly smart people in the West has slowly led us towards a major European war

Starts with:
The author and holocaust survivor, Victor Klemperer, identified two distinct styles of language that defined Hitler’s propaganda against the Jews: either “scornful derision” of the inferior race or “panic-stricken fear” of their threat to civilisation.

Anti-Russian propaganda over the past centuries has similarly produced two contradictory positions - disdain for Russians as an uncivilised and backward people, and simultaneously an immeasurable threat looming over Europe. A state of affairs described by one writer as "Russophrenia: the idea that Russia is simultaneously about to fall apart, and also take over the world."

The only problem I see with his explanation is that I don't think our leaders are really concerned about Russia, they are only interested in exploiting the situation for their own personal benefit.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Fishing Report

Coming into Sitka Alaska

Nephew Nick's boat came into port for fuel and water.  Picked up a half load of fuel for $68,000.
This season may be extended.  Nick's ship contracts with Alaskan General Seafood. The Alaskan DNR fisheries-manager will notify the companies fleet manager whether there are a plentiful amount of fish to catch.  That manager tells Nicks captain where to go.  If not enough fish, Nick's boat goes to Seattle for maintenance and Nick gets a extended break.

Niece Liza's company has asked employees to come back into office Sept 1.  Expecting pushback,  they are putting in coffee shop and snacks. Her boss is pushing for  a raise for her since Seattle rent is so high, the apartment she was eyeing went from 1750 to 2250 last week.

Sitka Alaska

Once you get into Canada, the world quickly starts getting more distorted.The borders between Alaska and the Yukon and between British Columbia and Alberta run straight north and south and you can see here that they are at quite an angle. It's roughly 900 miles from Seattle to Sitka and another 600 to Anchorage.

It's All About The Benjamins

Benjamin Franklin, the original commie


Title comes from a song by Puff Daddy who is a hip-hop star or something. I listened to it to see if was worth posting, but it's not. I'm not sure it even qualifies as a song. I don't understand the appeal. Sounds like garbage to me.

Cowboy Boots

Meet Cowboy Fashion Designer Nudie Cohn

Somebody mentioned cowboy boots the other day and that bestirred a memory of this old guy who made cowboy boots for Hollywood celebrities. He was famous for wearing mismatched boots, but I could not remember his name. So I asked reddit and two people responded immediately with Nudie!

Nudie wearing mismatched boots

Ok, this is the only photo I found of him wearing mismatched boots, so he might only be famous for that in my mind.

Distastefully Kooky Things Trump Has Said

A homeless man sits near the New York Stock Exchange, where many of the world's wealthiest companies are listed [Reuters]

I took the title from this piece. It's a great line.

Trump and I can agree: The US is a ‘third-world country’ by Belén Fernández

The imperial hubris on display in the use of such lingo towards poorer nations can’t hide America’s own failures.

When on August 8 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in search of classified documents, the ex-president of the United States decried the episode as “an assault [that] could only take place in broken, third-world countries”. He continued to lament that America had “now become one of those countries, corrupt at a level not seen before”.

Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr, chimed in on Twitter with the assessment: “This is what you see happen in 3rd World Banana Republics!!!” Never mind that the FBI’s seizure of secret documents does not fit the “corruption” bill quite as well as some other characteristics of American democracy: say, the fact that non-taxpaying billionaires can be president or that the country is run as a crooked, oligarchic corporatocracy.

This is not the first time Trump has likened the US to a “third-world country”, which was also his epithet of choice when he lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden. But Trump & Co are not the only members of the US ruling elite to exercise this vocabulary. The January 2021 attack on the US Capitol prompted a surge in pejorative “third world” and “banana republic” comparisons from everyone from Biden to George W Bush, former US leader and civilised ravager of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Indeed, it is impossible to understate the bipartisan imperial hubris that is on display in the casual deployment of such lingo. By implicitly and unironically mocking underdeveloped nations, the US political establishment appears to have conveniently forgotten the country’s own historical role in creating the “banana republic” phenomenon in the first place — and in ensuring that the “third world” remains, you know, “third”.

The term “banana republic” was coined in 1904 by American writer O Henry in reference to the Central American nation of Honduras, which, like neighbouring Guatemala, was an early victim of predatory US capitalism and corporate exploitation. The economic and physical wellbeing of the inhabitants of such lowly nations was naturally of no concern to the hemispheric behemoth, which ensured its unfettered access to regional resources by backing right-wing coups, bloody civil wars, corrupt dictatorships and death squads — in other words, stuff that was slightly more devastating than an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.

The Cold War, of course, provided a handy alibi for US-backed killing worldwide, from Nicaragua to Angola — while also spawning the “third-world” designation that would go on to accrue patronising connotations. Once the communist menace had been replaced with the terrorist menace as the primary US excuse for lethal international interference, the remaining global superpower continued to extend a charitable hand to the impoverished “third world” — often via a form of corporate neocolonialism cast as “development”.

And while Trump’s recent tantrum about the US as a “broken, third-world” country can certainly be filed under the expansive category of Distastefully Kooky Things Trump Has Said, there is also an unintended element of truth to it. Like it or not, the US fits the third-world stereotype in many respects — and not just in terms of its oligarchic style of governance.

The US advertises itself as being at the vanguard of global “development”, but the nation’s healthcare, poverty and other indicators suggest a policy of wilful counterdevelopment instead. Back in 2017, Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, visited the US for two weeks. At the end of his trip, he issued a statement on how he found the country “exceptional in … ways that are shockingly at odds with its immense wealth and its founding commitment to human rights”.

Despite managing to spend more money on “national defence” than China, Russia, the United Kingdom and a bunch of other big spenders combined, the US had some “40 million people” living in poverty amid glaring “contrasts between private wealth and public squalor”.

As Alston noted, the US was also “alone among developed countries” in insisting that human rights did “not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable healthcare, or growing up in a context of total deprivation”. So much for that line from the US Declaration of Independence about “inalienable” rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. It’s hard to pursue anything if you’re dead.

Speaking of death, infant mortality rates in the US are higher than in Cuba, an island that has spent more than 60 years under an asphyxiating US embargo. Trump himself imposed no fewer than 243 new sanctions against the Cubans — as punishment for their crime of pursuing national sovereignty over the “banana republic” model — and, for good measure, threw Cuba back on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Back in the land of the free, meanwhile, homelessness has reached ghastly levels unseen even in many “underdeveloped” countries, and the US has long maintained the highest incarceration rate in the world — although it may have recently been surpassed by El Salvador, another place where US support for “human rights” has involved backing right-wing state terror.

Such is the ironic nature of imperial power, it seems, that the global hegemon responsible for oppressing much of the third world must also keep a significant portion of its own populace in third-world conditions.

As per Trump’s twisted logic, any attempt to hold him accountable for anything is evidence that the US is a “corrupt” and “broken, third-world” country. And while there’s no sense in wasting time on Trumpian delusion, we might nonetheless take the opportunity to recall that old saying about the broken clock — and to acknowledge that the US is definitively broken.

Belén Fernández is a contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine. And just what is Jacobin Magazine you might ask? 

"Jacobin is a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture."

Normally I am opposed to the left wing and socialism, but Belén is pointing out problems with our government which seems to be under the control of the of the supposedly socialist left wing. If we want to fix the problems besetting our country we are going to need to replace those who are currently in power with a different set of people, people who actually want to try and solve some of these problems. Perhaps the Forward Party can help.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Samcrac, Corey Chase & a VW Touareg

I Bought a $75,000 Twin Turbo V10 Super SUV for $5,000

This video is pretty entertaining. It does include an ad for an ECOFLOW battery system (starts at 1:20 and runs to 3:30). He makes some minor repairs that require a ridiculous amount of work, and then he reviews the repair history on this car and all of a sudden it doesn't look like much of a bargain anymore.

Someday I'm going to say something about people who understand machinery and people who make ungodly amounts of money, but that's going to have to wait because I am tired and I'm heading to bed.

Samcrac has appeared here before.

Mass formation of worldwide scale totalitarianism

Mass formation of worldwide scale totalitarianism

Michael Yon posted this illustration on his post Belgium: Death in the Corn. I think it's a pretty good explanation of what's going with the woke wars.

I didn't like the fuzzy looking text, so I asked Google Lens to extract it for me. I presume that it did not balk because it wasn't just black and white text. Anyway, it pulled the text out, I reformatted it and here it is:
Mass formation of worldwide scale totalitarianism

40% of the population are awake followers
30% of the population constitute the center mass
30% of the population are awake individuals

Awake followers follow the center mass.
The center mass of people are unable to reason or see reality.
The awake individuals oppose the center mass.

Prerequisites to mass-formation
1) Social isolation, lack of social bonds
2) Lack of meaning making. No life purpose.
3) Free-Floating Anxiety (FFA). No identifiable cause, no way to deal with it.
4) Free-Floating Psychological-Discontent. Frustration and aggression.

Effect of mass-formation
The realization of the totalitarian societal state powered by the allegiance of the mass to a narrative that provides an enemy for their anxiety. Once the narrative becomes a single voice without dissent, the severe atrocities begin as has been seen historically.

The awake individuals must continue to voice opposition to the narrative to prevent the domination of the single voice of the narrative. If this ground can be held long enough, the totalitarian state will destroy itself without consuming everyone.

Mattias Desmet
Professor of Clinical Psychology

That the professor offers a solution is hopeful. I hope it's not just a pipe dream.



ICEYE Satellite Image of Crimea Bridge

The Crimea Bridge is a relatively new bridge that connects the Russia mainland with Crimea.
Finnish satellite-imagery venture ICEYE announced on Thursday that it has signed a contract with the Serhiy Prytula Charity Foundation which will provide the Government of Ukraine with ICEYE’s Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite imaging capabilities. - Defence Blog
ICEYE is a Finnish company that builds and operates microsatellites. I am surprised that microsatellites can deliver high resolution images. I thought you needed big cameras with big lenses being carried by big satellites. But ICEYE isn't using cameras, they are using radar.

Looks like we have another charity supporting Ukraine's war against the big, bad, Russian bear. But just who is this Serhiy Prytula Charity Foundation? It's a foundation founded by Serhiy Prytula, a Ukrainian comedian. Is this whole war effort just a big comedy show? I mean, the President of the Ukraine is also a former comedian. And the war doesn't make a lot of sense unless funnelling a few million more dollars into Joe Biden's pocket is more important than all the worthless peasants in Ukraine.

Google Satellite Image of Crimea Bridge

Or you are afraid that Russia will take over the world. I, for one, am not too concerned about that happening.

Academic Camouflage

Short: Language Is Used as a Group Protection Strategy
Jordan B Peterson


Melania Trump

Sounds like a bad Bond girl. In case you didn't know, Melania is Donald Trump's wife, and in case you hadn't heard, the FBI raided ex-president Trump's residence in Florida the other day and, rumor has it, they rummaged through Melania's dresser. And we got a meme.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

3D Printed Sundial

3D Printed Sundial

Peasant or Not

JMSmith compares himself to a peasant:

He knew very little, but what he knew was important and he knew well. I know a great many things, but most things that I know are frivolous, superficial, and already half-forgotten.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Why Russia wants Ukraine

Why Russia wants Ukraine
Casual Scholar

Another short video with some substance.

Berlin to Singapore

Two Eurofighter jets perform at the German air force base in Noervenich, western Germany in 2016 [File: Martin Meissner/AP]

This story piqued my interest:

German fighter jets on marathon 24-hour flight to Singapore - Al Jazeera

A group of German air force fighter jets were due to arrive in Singapore after a marathon bid to fly them some 12,800 kms (8,000 miles) from their home base to Southeast Asia in just 24 hours.

I asked Google to plot a flight from Berlin to Singapore:

Berlin to Singapore

No problem, $1200 and 13 hours and presto, you're in Singapore. Never mind that you are going to be flying over any number of war zones, they probably won't shoot you down.

But here we have jet fighters that can travel 3 or 4 times as fast as an airliner taking twice as long to make the trip. One thing that will slow them down is they will probably want to avoid the war zones, so their trip will be a longer distance.

Berlin to Cairo to Singapore

Stopping off at Cairo and then flying over Saudi Arabia might work, although it's hard to tell with the way alliances are constantly shifting. I think Egypt and Saudi Arabia are both allied with the USA, but I could be wrong. I suspect most of the extra 12 hours was consumed with obtaining clearance to fly over intermediate countries. 



He's right in the center, facing right with wings swept forward. They are regular visitors to the patio. I think they like the Bird of Paradise flowers.


Here he is all blowed up.

Walter Crane's children's illustrations

Illustration from Beauty and the Beast - Walter Crane

Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Boss & Stupidity

Stupid Hillary
I haven't verified whether Hillary actually said this. For my purposes it doesn't matter.

I don't like being the boss. Being the boss means dealing with people. Unfortunately, you don't get to choose just what kind of people you have to deal with. If you can put together a good team of pleasant, energetic, cooperative people, it can be great. But inevitably there is going to be someone who is causing problems. It might be an employee, an important customer, or a supplier who isn't holding up his end of the deal. And when you investigate the problem you find it's some kind of bullshit that wouldn't have happened if the dumb clucks who were supposed to take care it of simply did their job.

Fortunately I found a nice little technical niche where I didn't have to deal with very many people. It was a job so there were people, but the technical work pretty much consumed me. I only popped my head up out of my hole when I had an answer to the problem du jour.

Lately I've been thinking about the electorate, the citizens of the USA who vote. And then I was thinking about intelligence and how half of the population has an IQ that is under 100. I don't know very many stupid people, if I know any at all. I think the reason for that is that I tend to avoid stupid people. It's not something I do consciously. I'm not sure, but I think it depends on whether they exhibit any intelligence in our conversation. Or maybe that conversation has to tick several of my subconscious requirement boxes and intelligence is only one of those.

And then today I tripped over the meme shown at the top. You might be offended or you might be overjoyed by the appearance of that meme, but it doesn't mean she's wrong. It's just a plain fact, the country if full of stupid people and if you want to get elected you need to tailor your message to appeal to those folks who are only playing with half a deck.

We can have all kinds of highfalutin conversations about any number of esoteric topics, but that doesn't mean shit unless you are able to turn it into something you can sell to Joe Sixpack, and then sell it to him.

Now it might be that the intelligence of the average voter might be slightly higher than 100. It might be that people with low intelligence just don't vote. I'm sure someone has done a study on it.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Ethiopia has built a giant freaking dam on the Blue Nile River just a few miles from their northern border where the Blue Nile River crosses into Sudan. Al Jazeera has a story.

With a planned installed capacity of 5.15 gigawatts, the dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed, as well as among the 20 largest in the world. - Wikipedia

They started building it in 2011 and it started generating electricity this year.

I was thinking about putting up a post about this, just because I had never heard of this project before. Seems like I should have heard something about a big deal like this, but no. A couple of days ago I started reading Maelstrom by Peter Watts and somewhere in the first few dozen pages he mentions this dam. Well, I can't ignore a coincidence like this, so this post. I've read a couple other books by Peter Watts and he's pretty great.

Looking for information, I dug up some maps.

River Nile Map

Note that the Blue Nile branches off of the main river at Khartoum. It heads southeast toward Ethiopia and just after it crosses the border is where the dam is.

Google Maps doesn't do a good job of portraying waterways. Can't say as I blame them, only a small fraction of the population gets out on the water, and the government has a whole army of people devoted to mapping water. So if you want to look at maps of rivers, search for images of maps using your regular browser.

Still, Google Maps is terrific. Here we have two views of the area being inundated by the water being held back by the dam. Both maps are about 14 miles across. First is the map view:

Map View of Blue Nile Dam area

No sign of any lake. The black line along the left hand side is the border with Sudan. Now look at the satellite view:

Satellite View of Blue Nile Dam area

Not a lot of contrast between the land and the water, but if you look carefully you might be able to pick out the shore line and see that the lake is extensive.

Update two days later.

Main Dam and Saddle Dam of GERD (Source: Hydro World, 2016)

Looking at the satellite view of the lake I noticed a large, curved line in the lower left quadrant. A little digging reveals this is a three mile long saddle dam. The water hasn't reached it yet, but it means the lake is going to get a whole lot bigger in the coming years. The saddle dam is 160 feet tall. Not giant, but still substantial.

42 Days of Darkness - Netflix Mini-Series


42 Days of Darkness is a six-part series from Chile. It is partially based on the  disappearance in 2010 of Viviana Haeger from her home in Puerto Varas.

It's kind of an odd situation. The woman lives in a well-to-do suburb. Nobody saw anything, nothing is missing and there is no demand for ransom. The husband seems to be a bit of an odd duck which makes him look very suspicious, but not everyone reacts to stress the same way. Is he really guilty, or are they just trying to make him look that way? Local attorney Víctor Pizarro (played by Pablo Macaya) is trying to claw his way back to respectability. He and his cohorts conduct their own investigation and are the most entertaining part of the show. The family members are pretty miserable as you would expect them to be, but misery is not very entertaining.

Puerto Varas, Chile

Puerto Varas is in southern Chile, about 600 miles south of Santiago. In the show it seems to be raining all the time. That's not too surprising since Puerto Varas is at 41 degrees south latitude, which is almost a mirror image of the 45 degrees north latitude of Portland Oregon where it does rain for at least six months of the year.

Puerto Varas, Lago Llanquihue & Osorno Volcano

It is on the shore of Lago Llanquihue and a short distance from the Osorno Volcano. Mount Shasta in California is another big, fat volcano that happens to be located right around 41 degrees north latitude.

It’s not Hypocrisy, You’re Just Powerless

Feudal Japan

A good explanation of what's going on in the USA these days:

It’s not Hypocrisy, You’re Just Powerless - N.S. Lyons

A quick Public Service Announcement for Class B

If you are wondering who the "controversial Arab thought-leader" is, it's Osama bin Laden.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Hearing Test

You *HAVE* to try this! 😨👂

Quick and dirty hearing test. I came across this a few days ago but when I went to look for it I couldn't find it. I thought, no problem, I'll just run a search on YouTube, I'm sure it will turn up. I mean, how many hearing test videos are there on YouTube? It turns out there are a whole boatload of them. I looked at a few, but they were either too long or they started at the high end of the frequency spectrum which means that when they start, if your hearing is as bad as mine, you won't hear anything for a long while. And it you're an old timer like me, you will suspect that there is something wrong with the computer or your speakers or the audio track on the video. I mean, back in the day equipment was flakey and whenever you needed to do something different there was inevitably a glitch that had to be straightened out. Nowadays things just work. Weird, man, but I still don't trust it. Anyway, finally did a search on my YouTube history and this video popped right up.

The first time I listened to it I wondered if there wasn't some kind of problem because the way the sound cut off all of a sudden. Could that be right? But I tried another another video on another computer with my wife and got the same results. My hearing cuts off right around 8,000 Hz, hers goes away around 12,000 Hz. People who say they can hear higher frequencies are lying. There are no higher frequencies - they don't exist.

The Orangutan Story

Murders in the Rue Morgue: Dupin Solves a Gruesome Murder

The Orangutan Story by winchysteria

my american lit professor went to this poe conference. like to be clear this is a man who has a doctorate in being a book nerd. he reads moby dick to his four-year-old son. and poe is one of the cornerstones of american literature, right, so this should be right up his alley?

wrong. apparently poe scholars are like, advanced. there is a branch of edgar allen poe scholarship that specifically looks for coded messages based on the number of words per line and letters per word poe uses. my professor, who has a phd in american literature, realizes he is totally out of his depth. but he already committed his day to this so he thinks fuck it! and goes to a panel on racism in poe’s works, because that’s relevant to his interests.

background info: edgar allen poe was a broke white alcoholic from virginia who wrote horror in the first half of the 19th century. rule 1 of Horror Academia is that horror reflects the cultural anxieties of its time (see: my other professor’s sermon abt how zombie stories are popular when people are scared of immigrants, or that purge movie that was literally abt the election). since poe’s shit is a product of 1800s white southern culture, you can safely assume it’s at least a little about race. but the racial subtext is very open to interpretation, and scholars believe all kinds of different things about what poe says about race (if he says anything), and the poe stans get extremely tense about it.

so my professor sits down to watch this panel and within like five minutes a bunch of crusty academics get super heated about poe’s theoretical racism. because it’s academia, though, this is limited to poorly concealed passive aggression and forceful tones of inside voice. one professor is like “this isn’t even about race!” and another professor is like “this proves he’s a racist!” people are interrupting each other. tensions are rising. a panelist starts saying that poe is like writing a critique of how racist society was, and the racist stuff is there to prove that racism is stupid, and that on a metaphorical level the racist philosophy always loses—

then my professor, perhaps in a bid to prove that he too is a smart literature person, loudly calls: “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ORANGUTAN?”

some more background: in poe’s well-known short story “the murder in the rue morgue,” two single ladies—a lovely old woman and her lovely daughter who takes care of her, aka super vulnerable and respectable people—are violently killed. the murderer turns out to be not a person, but an orangutan brought back by a sailor who went to like burma or something. and it’s pretty goddamn racially coded, like they reeeeally focus on all this stuff about coarse hairs and big hands and superhuman strength and chattering that sounds like people talking but isn’t actually. if that’s intentional, then he’s literally written an analogy about how black people are a threat to vulnerable white women, which is classic white supremacist shit. BUT if he really only meant for it to be an orangutan, then it’s a whole other metaphor about how colonialism pillages other countries and brings their wealth back to europe and that’s REALLY gonna bite them in the ass one day. klansman or komrade? it all hangs on this.

much later, when my professor told this story to a poe nerd friend, the guy said the orangutan thing was a one of the biggest landmines in their field. he said it was a reliable discussion ruiner that had started so many shouting matches that some conferences had an actual ban on bringing it up.

so the place goes dead fucking silent as every giant ass poe stan in the room is immediately thrust into a series of war flashbacks: the orangutan argument, violently carried out over seminar tables, in literary journals, at graduate student house parties, the spittle flying, the wine and coffee spilled, the friendships torn—the red faces and bulging veins—curses thrown and teaching posts abandoned—panels just like this one fallen into chaos—distant sirens, skies falling, the dog-eared norton critical editions slicing through the air like sabres—the textual support! o, the quotes! they gaze at this madman in numb disbelief, but he could not have known. nay, he was a literary theorist, a 17th-century man, only a visitor to their haunted land. he had never heard the whistle of the mortars overhead. he had never felt the cold earth under his cheek as he prayed for god’s deliverance. and yet he would have broken their fragile peace and brought them all back into the trenches.

my professor sits there for a second, still totally clueless. the panel moderator suddenly stands up in his tweed jacket and yells, with the raw panic of a once-broken man:


People are crazy. Spend time working with anything and you are going to cultivate a set of beliefs about that thing and if you encounter someone who disagrees with your carefully cultivated set of beliefs, well, everybody else better stand back because things are going to get hot.

Via Bayou Renaissance Man who provided a link to a series of screenshots. I don't like this so I decide to run them through an OCR program to extract the text. I'm thinking maybe Google Lens will do this for me, but no luck, so I go dig up an online program that does a reasonable job. I take the extracted text and compile it into one text file . . . and then I realize I could have just searched for the story and probably found the original, or a close relative, and what do you know, I did and here it is.


Will Rogers - The Ropin' Fool

Will Rogers - The Ropin' Fool
Will Rogers Memorial Museum

Just because. 

Checking the date, I noticed the copyright date in the intro: MCDCCCCXXI which Thomas's Roman numeral converter tells us is 1821. Someone stuck an extra C just after the M. Take it out and you get 1921.

Words of War

China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning with other ships during a drill at sea. © AFP

We start with a few words about real estate and investing:

“Buy land. They ain't making any more of the stuff.” - Will Rogers

Moving on to politics we have:

Politics is and always has been a blood sport.  If you're not prepared to take it on at that level you have no business getting involved in it. - Karl Denninger

Combine those and you get:

The whole history of international relations is about one side establishing borders and another trying to cross them. Both literally and figuratively. There has been no century when borders have remained immutable, at least in the spaces where international politics were concentrated at the time. And it is clear that redrawing the dividing lines has never been without the use of force, sometimes on a very large scale. - Fyodor Lukyanov


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Rational Prepping

In the show Long Way Round, Scottish actor Ewan McGregor and relative nobody Charley Boorman (and a cameraman) rode motorcycles from London to New York.

Adaptive Curmudgeon is preparing for what's coming down the pike:

I haven’t written much about my Quixotic initiative to “get my mechanical shit together”. I’m still working at it.

I don’t like pro-actively fixing things that aren’t 100% fully dead! I prefer to use my equipment ruthlessly until it’s very worn out. When a machine finally gives up the ghost I don’t immediately replace it. I go without for as long as I can.

This year is different. Reluctantly, and with a tear in my eye, I’ve pried my wallet open and bled money to fix shit like there’s no tomorrow.

There’s a reason for this, in the Bidenverse there is no tomorrow. I mean that rationally. Don’t wait for tomorrow because nothing will be cheaper and more convenient tomorrow than it is today. Conditions like 2019 won’t recur for years or decades if at all; so don’t wait for them. You’re in “the good old days” right fucking now! For the next few years the time to do things is immediately and the time to build your savings has passed. (As always, show moderation.)

It’s a fact, or at least a reasoned projection, that shit will cost more in the future. That’s the exact definition of inflation.

Adapative's story explains the connection between inflation and the picture.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

France Financed the American Revolution

Throwing Money Away

Today we have a little history lesson:

On September 3, 1783, after nearly a year of excruciating back-and-forth negotiations, all sides had finally gathered together in Paris to sign a historic peace agreement.

It was a pretty important peace deal. Because the Treaty of Paris, as it is now known, is what formally ended the American Revolution, and when Great Britain legally recognized the United States as an independent nation.

The treaty was signed in Paris because France had been a major supporter of the US war effort. And just as soon as the ink was dry, French King Louis XVI ordered his finance minister to prepare an accounting of exactly how much money France had spent on US independence.

The result was nothing short of astonishing—more than 1 billion livres.

To put that number in context, the French Treasury’s entire annual revenue only amounted to around 200 million livres.

So they had basically sunk FIVE YEARS worth of their tax revenue fighting someone else’s war.

Granted, Britain was still one of France’s main rivals. And the French did not care for British King George III.

But the American War was simply too costly, and France had already been on very shaky financial footing well before this point.

Louis XIV had nearly bankrupted the country a century before. His successor, Louis XV, had to drastically slash expenses and could barely hang on financially.

Then, in 1774, just prior to the American Revolution, Louis XVI became king at a time that France was rapidly deteriorating.

You’d think that with so much economic turmoil at home that he would have focused on his own national interests… and, in lieu of money, weapons, and ships, he would have instead sent the royal thoughts and prayers to America.

But no. Lucky for the United States, Louis XVI courageously fought the American Revolution down to the very last French taxpayer.

Only after the war did Louis finally take stock of the situation and realize the truth: America was in a much better position. Britain was bruised but still powerful. Yet his own France was nearly bankrupt and desperately in need of cash. Not exactly a win/win.

Louis XVI was King, but his powers were limited; he was beholden to the legislature, called the Estates-General, and he couldn’t simply decree new taxes without their consent.

The King did, however, control the tax collectors. And Louis made sure they had every authority to coerce, harass, and intimidate money out of French citizens.

French tax collectors had the authority to walk right into people’s homes unannounced, conduct surprise inspections to look for hidden wealth, and walk away with whatever money or property they felt would satisfy the peasant’s tax bill.

This is actually a pretty common theme throughout history: governments that are on the ropes routinely resort to plundering the savings of their citizens.

Several ancient Roman emperors, in fact, from Diocletian to Valentinian III, famously sent ruthless tax collectors to harass their citizens and steal their wealth. Several ancient Chinese dynasties did the same thing. So did the declining Ottoman Empire.

Significantly ramping up tax collection efforts is typically a hallmark of an economy and empire in decline. 

Please remember that the French Revolution started in 1789, just six years after the Treaty of Paris.

Simon goes on to talk about the Inflation Reduction Act and the effect it is likely to have on the US economy (not good). I like his conclusion:

Taxes ultimately represent the government’s ‘slice’ of an economic pie. So when a country is prosperous and an economy is strong, the government’s slice continues to grow because the overall economic pie is constantly getting bigger.

But nations in decline don’t see it this way. For them, the pie is shrinking. So they think the only way to increase their slice is to go after other people’s crumbs.

History shows this is absolutely the wrong move. Raising tax rates, inventing new taxes, and recruiting armies of tax collectors only makes the pie shrink even more.

Their efforts, instead, should be focused on making the pie bigger. But they don’t think that way.

Bear in mind this is all brought to you by the same people who are shoveling your tax dollars out the door to Ukraine $50 billion at a time. It’s very ‘Louis XVI’ of them.

All of these trends—the cannibalistic surge in tax authorities, the anti-productive regulations, the economic scarcity mentality—are all hallmarks of an empire in decline.

The situation is NOT terminal. It is NOT irreversible. But it is reason enough to have a Plan B.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

All Lies, All the Time

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Bucha, Ukraine, April 4, 2022 [Marko Djurica/Reuters]

Good piece about propaganda, freedom of the press and the war in Ukraine:

Western media and the war on truth in Ukraine by Marwan Bishara, Senior political analyst at Al Jazeera 

Therein I found this little nugget:

Even today, as US Special Operation Command covertly deploys special forces across Africa to fight “shadow wars”, it blatantly preaches “free and transparent press”. One does not know whether to laugh or cry.

I didn't want to include a picture of Zelenskyy, but that is the pic that heads the Al Jazeera post and I was too lazy to look for something else. Zelenskyy is either extremely stupid of extremely corrupt, and given the amount of money that is pouring into Ukraine these days, I suspect the later.

Optical illusion - Video Short

This will *CONFUSE* you! 😵‍💫