Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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

Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Tundra Repair

My gang gets together for lunch every Tuesday. Today we were going to Giovanni's but IAman makes an excuse for not coming:

I’m busy with Tundra coils-over-shocks.  Can’t do lunch today.
You all are welcome to come over and commiserate with me. 
Again it was easy, except for the one inaccessible nut, that finally gave into a nut splitter.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Tamara de Lempicka

Young Woman in Green (1927–30) - Tamara de Lempicka

Variety reviews a Broadway musical about Tamara de Lempicka, a Art-Deco painter from Poland. Never heard of her, so I look her up and this image is the first one that pops up. Kind of reminds of old heroic, communist paintings, but that may just be due to the prevailing style of the time.


From ZeroHedge:

Renato Moicano and Joe Rogan

"Read Ludwig von Mises, Motherf**kers!" - Brazilian UFC Fighter's Victory Speech Pumps Austrian Economics by Tyler Durden

While the Middle East wobbled on the precipice of World War III on Saturday, a Brazilian UFC fighter gave us hope by using his victory speech to deliver an emphatic endorsement of Austrian economics, Ludwig von Mises, the First Amendment and gun rights. 

Renato Moicano's televised speech came after he pulled off a comeback win over Jalin Turner at Las Vegas. Joe Rogan joined him in the ring to discuss the fight, but Moicano had other priorities, and proceeded to drop a profanity-peppered liberty bomb on the T-Mobile Arena crowd and a worldwide audience:  

“I’m a huge advocate of the First Amendment. Today, of course I want the $300k bonus but they not going to give [it to me] because somebody say, 'hey, this is fucking Disney, you cannot curse'…so I’m not going to do my speech, but...

First off all I love America. I love the Constitution. I love the First Amendment. I want to carry all the fucking guns. I love private property. And let me tell you something: If you care about your fucking country, read Ludwig von Mises and the six lessons of the Austrian economic school, motherfuckers!”

By "six lessons of the Austrian economic school," Moicano was referring to a concise, 106-page Ludwig von Mises book, "Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow." Among the best-selling Mises works, it's broken into six sections: Capitalism, Socialism, Interventionism, Inflation, Foreign Investment, and Policies and Ideas. (The Brazilian version's title translates to "The Six Lessons.") 

The lessons are transcribed from a series of lectures Mises delivered at the University of Buenos Aires in 1959. Per the book's description, "Mises had urged Argentina to turn from dictatorship and socialism toward full liberty, so there is a special urgency behind the cool logic employed here. The book's continued popularity is due to its clarity of exposition on the ways in which economic policy affects everyone."

I like his attitude, and I'm surprised hear a fighter talking about economics, but I'm not sure widespread knowledge of economics is going to help. What we need is Congress to quit spending money like drunken sailors. And maybe a few entrepreneurs who can put a million people to work doing something productive.

Thursday, April 11, 2024


Watch the Opening Number From Beetlejuice on Broadway - "The Whole Being Dead Thing"

To the ancient Egyptians, Betelgeuse was the mythical god of the underworld. So we've taken the name and given it a new spelling that people like me can pronounce. Then they took that name and made a movie with Michael Keaton. Then they made a musical and my wife and I went to see it at Keller Auditorium last night in downtown Portland.

The show was full of flashing lights and people singing songs that I had never heard, using words I couldn't understand. I think the next time we go I need to read the lyrics beforehand. There were some funny bits, the lead actor was energetic, and Lydia, the young girl, has quite a voice.

Driving home, we're in the center lane of highway 26 and the car in front of me stops. WTF!?! Going into Portland it's often creepy crawly from the top of Sylvan down to 405, but going the other way traffic is usually free flowing. So why is this guy stopping in the middle of the highway? Turns out that we were about five cars back from a car that was stopped. Engine failure? Heart attack? Freak out? I have no idea. Fortunately, traffic was light so I was able to pull out and go around without getting clobbered.

Thinking about this, I realized the problem might be due the extreme reliability of automobiles. Back in the good old days, there was always a distinct possibility of your car breaking down. If that happened, you were supposed to pull off of the road onto the shoulder. But these days, cars hardly ever break down. Oh, stuff breaks all the time, but it usually doesn't stop from going on. I can't remember the last time I saw a car broke down on the side of the road. I mean I've seen them, but it's like once a year, not every blinking week. So because cars are so reliable, people have forgotten what you are supposed to do if it stops. Or maybe they quit teaching that. 

Anyway, I think the car was broken because it was just sitting there and there wasn't any of that jerking around that you get with a pissed off brake checker.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024


From Pill Hill:

Mt. St. Helens (left) and Mt. Adams (center)
Marquam Bridge front center

Mt. Hood
Ross Island Bridge (left) and South Waterfront

NPR Political Apparatchiks

The Free Press has a story:

I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust. by Uri Berliner

It's a fine story, Uri goes through a long list of stories that NPR (National Public Radio) screwed up in recent years. Okay, but why? Near as I can make out the place was infected with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome).

The fish rots from the head, so who was in charge of this place?

Wikipedia has a list of CEOs:

List of presidents/CEOs

Funny, Wikipedia has a page about all of them except the last one: John F. Lansing. Actually he's not last, Katherine Maher was appointed as new CEO in January.

Lansing was a big wheel at USAGM (U.S. Agency for Global Media). Apparently retired now. Mahler is a Biden appointee, so I expect she is just as worthless as Biden, well, except for pumping out more hard left bullshit.

Could you beat in an elephant in a fight?

Could you beat in an elephant in a fight? is the title of a post on Finding life hard? An excellent question, the best question, I love this question. 

I enjoy Liz's posts because they are so far all the other stuff I see.

Hatred is a Human Right

Great stuff, stolen entire from Essays in Idleness 

Hateful anti-hatists by David Warren

Granted, it is hard to get anything right; and when in addition to oneself, one has assumed responsibility for the behaviour of some hundreds of millions of others, or even a few thousand, the certainty of failure must be quite discouraging. Yet, I feel no compassion for these political leaders — very much including those “on my side” — and will not sponge them with soothing, sympathetic wetness.

When the State tells me that it is wrong to kill, or even to maim or torture, immigrants, I am willing to “grant the State a pass”; for there have been laws against such violence from the beginning of (human) time. But when the State tells me that I mustn’t hate immigrants, it has gone too far. Indeed, as a connoisseur of hatreds, I despise various immigrant groups particularly, and probably hate many white cis-Canadians even more. These are prejudices to which I am entitled.

The question whether I have a right to hurt animals is more complicated, and potentially very boring. But I remain within culinary conventions by eating only animals and vegetable matter. I hate some vegetables even more than I hate the immigrants, though seldom does it rise to the murderous level.

The nursing of selective, as well as general, hatreds, is an important human right. Hatreds have been, as those acquainted with art and literature may know, a fine creative goad. … “Some of the greatest poetry and paintings,” &c. … And it can never be prevented, because the more practised hatists go about their despications, subtly. One might easily miss what they are secretly gnashing about.

But those who would persecute hatists refuse to be subtle. They want legislation. They are so damned obvious. Categorically, let us persecute them!

Irrelevant addendum: Seems like most every day I come across a word I have never heard before. Today that word is 'despications'.  It is a variant of despicable. Oxford says it is obsolete.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Misfits Rule

My dream died, and now I'm here
Sabine Hossenfelder

I enjoyed this video. I feel we are somewhat kindred spirits. When I was working with computers, I was only interested in making them work which mostly involved debugging code and connecting wires. Since there was no end to the supply of problems, I thought I could keep on doing it indefinitely. Turns out wasn't the case. Looking back, I think I was like the guy who fixes up old cars because he can, but meanwhile the world is churning out new cars as fast as they can, so there are fewer and fewer old cars, and more importantly fewer and fewer people who are willing to pay to have them repaired. Everybody wants new cars that don't require the services of a mechanic.

Charlie Horse

The Song That Doesn't End It Goes On and On My Friend - Who remembers ?

I got a charley horse in my right calf in the middle of night last night, and something weird happened with my right hand around the same. I'm not quite sure what it was, my leg had woken me up from a sound sleep, so I was pretty groggy, so 12 hours later 'something weird' is the best I can do. I mentioned it at lunch today which led to talk about the difference, if any, between a muscle spasm, a charley horse and a cramp. I don't think there is any, really, but to me a muscle spasm is a momentary kind of thing, a charley horse lasts longer and is annoying, and a cramp is painful and disabling.

Anyway all that led to Charlie Horse, the character on The Sheri Lewis Show. That's him being the ring leader in the above video.


From Dennis, who flew home to Dallas for this.

Monday, April 8, 2024


No Moon

Missouri Cheese Cave

Cheese stored underground in a former limestone mine, Missouri

Rumor has it that the government has 1.4 billion pounds of cheese stored in these caves under Springfield, Missouri. The Farm link Project has a page about this as does Wikipedia.

One pound of cheese can provide enough calories to sustain one person for one day, so 1.4 billion pounds is enough to sustain the entire country for like four days.

The natural temperature of the cave is 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but refrigeration brings the temperature down to 36 degrees. I wonder what the electric bill is.

It would be a good thing to have all that cheese in case of famine, but 70% of the world's population is lactose intolerant. 

It sounds like a government project run amuck, but this is small potatoes compared to some.

Via a meme on Bustednuckles

Saturday, April 6, 2024


Sikorsky Sea King (OY-HAG)

Big helicopter in a far away place: Kangilinnguit, Greenland.

Southern Greenland Airports

Kangilinnguit is the second placemark from the left.

Death To Google

Up until about six months ago everything was fine in Google land, but then things started getting squirrely. Keyboard and mouse responses got slower, page loads got slower. Not a lot, just enough to be annoying. Today the edit icon disappeared from this blog. The edit icon is a little picture of a pencil that appears at the bottom of each post. It only appears for your own blog.

I was messing around with the layout this morning. It didn't work, so I undid all my edits and that's when I noticed the missing icon. Frightened and confused I asked Blogger Help and found this little turd:

Since browsers can block third-party cookies by default, edit elements may no longer be visible on your blog. This is also related to the new widget management options.

I suspect that the 'new widget management options' are what's behind all my current annoyances. I will be replacing my Chromebox with a Linux box very soon. I suspect I may have to replace my browser as well. Does Netscape still exist?


Boeing 747-200 (4K-BCI)

747 air freighter landing in Dhaka. I've heard of Dhaka, but I forgot where it was. Bangladesh, that's where. Just a reminder that even though stories from the third world are almost uniformly bad, like the movie Extraction, there are bits of civilization.


Extraction | Official Trailer | Screenplay by JOE RUSSO Directed by SAM HARGRAVE | Netflix

Big, tough white man (Chris Helmsworth) goes to war against an army of drug war minions and goes all John Wick on them. Great stuff.

It starts with an Indian drug lord's son being kidnapped by the minions of a rival drug lord from Bangladesh. Drug Lord #1 is in jail, so he directs his lieutenant to get his son back. The lieutenant hires our hero, a mercenary from Australia for the job. There's just one problem, the lieutenant doesn't have any money on account of the drug lord's bank accounts have been frozen.

Drug lord #2 is holding the kid in Dhaka, which is evidently an island, because the only way out of the city is on one of the bridges, and his minions have set up roadblocks on the all the bridges looking for our hero.

P. S. I wrote this back in 2020, but I didn't finish it or post it. But now I need it for another post, so here we are.

The Iron Law of Prohibition

From Windypundit's post about Backpage:

The Iron Law of Prohibition says that making something illegal will make it stronger and more dangerous. Nobody drank bathtub gin in America until the Prohibition laws of 1920 criminalized alcoholic beverages. Almost nobody smoked crack until law enforcement started a war on cocaine, and we didn’t have much of a fentanyl problem until the government started cracking down on opioids. Legal alcohol and tobacco distributors didn’t shoot each other in the streets the way drug-smuggling gangsters do.

Criminalizing a good or service necessarily drives it underground. The need to hide makes it harder to build a good reputation, which makes it less rewarding to have good business practices. Customer service and attention to product quality fall by the wayside. Without transparency, public regulation, or access to the courts to redress grievances, there is little penalty for being a bad actor. Thus bad actors enter and thrive in the market, engaging in fraud, theft, and violence, which can often only be countered with more violence. Prohibition drives good people out of the business, resulting in entire markets being controlled by gangs of criminals, and the harder the prohibition laws are enforced, the more power gets transferred to people willing to endanger themselves and others to make a buck.


Friday, April 5, 2024

Iron Reign

Iron Reign | Official Trailer | Netflix

Big time drug smuggling operation in Barcelona. The guy running the container operation at the port lost a hand in an 'accident' many years ago. He has been fitted with one of those old style metal claw hands, hence the Spanish title of Mano de Hierro which Google translates as Iron Hand. In the English subtitles he is referred to as 'armless'. Funny how people mangle language.

Besides the big guy and his family, we also have a couple of Mexicans who are there to collect the payment for their drugs and a Frenchman who is a big European distributor. In this mix we have a full boat of crazies. The big guy's son has a serious gambling problem, his daughter is married to a guy who is having sex with another guy, whose 'sister' is working as a maid for the the daughter. His brother is infatuated with a whore who won't run off with him. The Mexican guy practices Santeria, the Mexican girl is a cool headed dyke. Is there any normal sex in this show? If there was, I missed it. Plenty of violence, people fighting with fists, knives and guns. So a bit of perverted sex and plenty of ultraviolence.

But what makes it interesting is watching the people and trying to figure out who stole the container that has the drugs, and how did they steal it? The things are marked and tracked. It's a puzzle. Everyone is shady and 40 million Euros could tempt most anybody.

I would think that shipping containers would be just perfect for smuggling drugs. Zillions of them cross the border everyday. None of the people who are transporting them have any idea what's in them. But in this show we have people on the ship and people on the dock who know just which container is the target which leads to all kinds of problems.

However, if using shipping containers to smuggle drugs is such a good idea, why are the narcos building submarines to transport drugs? That's what they were doing a few years ago. I dunno, maybe it's just easier.

The show opens with pirates attacking a cargo ship out in the ocean. The ship is relatively small for container ship, and the containers are stacked rather haphazardly on the deck, but it's possible there are ships like that out there. The ship sailed from Mexico with stops in China and India which would have it heading through the pirate infested waters off the horn of Africa, so it's plausible. The ship is carrying the two Mexican principles along with a squad of heavily armed thugs, so the pirates are quickly dealt with. Presumably the ship continues up the Red Sea to the Suez Canal and then across the Mediterranean to Barcelona.


Microphone in your Earbud is Amazing Technology
Breaking Taps

I'm impressed by the technology, but I'm doubly impressed by the video.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Groove Armada - My Friend

Groove Armada - My Friend (Official Video)
Groove Armada

Just a tune I like.

Guyana Update

Guyana and disputed the Essequibo region (red hash marks)

I posted about Guyana once four years ago. Today we have a report from RT (aka Russia Today). Looks like we might have another minor war coming.

The border between Venezuela and Guyana is under dispute. Nobody much cared about this patch of jungle until a giant oil company discovered oil there. Now Madura, the commie dictator of Venezuela, wants it, and we, the USA, are naturally opposed to this because we hate commies. And we want the oil for ourselves.

Looking at this I am wondering whether it might be cheaper and easier to get oil from miles below the surface of the ocean rather than trying to get drilling equipment and pipelines into the middle of a jungle. I just don't know. Drill ships are expensive. But so is any kind of construction in a jungle.

Even if Madura could somehow take over the disputed region, I doubt whether he would be able to get any oil out of there. I mean he has pretty much destroyed Venezuela's oil industry.

Venezuela production of crude oil in oil barrels, 1965-2019

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

V-Twin Motorcycle Engines

How Indian Makes 43% More Power than Harley-Davidson

For Stu on account of him calling Harley Davidson Hardly Able. 

Ukraine & the U. S. Government

Tanks and Flags

I never could understand why we instigated the war between Russia and Ukraine. Maybe there were some dinosaurs who just wanted to pick a fight with Russia because they grew up during the cold war and Russia was bad then, so it must still be bad. But I suspect they saw the war as an excuse to fund our own arms industry, which would mean they would be collecting big time in the form of kickbacks, bribes and insider stock trading. They don't care that the war is killing thousands of Ukrainians and Russians, they're all just peasants anyway.

I don't hear much about the war these days, at least nothing worth mentioning, but I came across Ukraine’s Starting to Get Dangerous by James Rickards today. It's pretty good. Here's a couple of excerpts.

But the entire notion that Russia poses some existential threat to NATO or Europe is absurd.

First off, the theory that Putin will invade other countries if he wins in Ukraine is nonsense. The Russian army lacks the men and materiel to occupy Ukraine while simultaneously invading other countries.

This isn’t the Soviet Union with its massive tank armies poised to roll over Western Europe. And Soviet communism is long dead, so there’s no ideological basis for Russia to invade Europe. These days Russia is a conservative, Orthodox Christian nation.


But more importantly, Putin has absolutely no incentive to invade any of these nations, which are NATO members. What do they have that he wants?Fearmongers like to point to what Putin once said in a speech: “Whoever doesn’t miss the Soviet Union doesn’t have a heart.”

They take that as proof that he wants to recreate the Soviet Union. But they conveniently omit what he said next: “Whoever wants it back doesn’t have a brain.”

 James Rickards has been mentioned here before.

Death and Destruction

I've had some thoughts rattling around in my brain for a while so I'm gonna try and write them down.

Israrel should not not let up until they have eradicated Hamas. Hamas is guilty of bad think, much like the Nazi's and the Nips in WW2. We didn't just punish them with retaliatory raids, we pummeled them into oblivion. Hamas needs the same treatment.

Iran probably deserves the same treatment, but there are a bunch of Muslim countries in Asia. Are we going to lay waste to all of them? We were able to rebuild the moderately sized countries of Germany and Japan but would we be able to rebuild all of central Asia?

I'm reading Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard and he paints the Spaniards as a very vicious group. Massacres, summary executions, torture and starvation are the order of the day. But then I got to wondering how did they get this way? And I remember some old stories of white explorers encountering natives in the new world. At first they got along, but there was more than one incident where the natives came back and massacred the explorers who had let their guard down because the natives seemed to be peaceful people.

The natives were guilty of bad think and the Spanish pummeled them into near oblivion. Western Civilization has standards of behavior that uncivilized people don't. That's what makes them uncivilized and guilty of bad think.

Darwin's theory of evolution applies to civilizations as well. Those civilizations that can organize themselves to produce more and better weapons are going to crush those who can't.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Property Taxes - Plutocratic SF Inbox

Remember the California Property Tax Revolt?

On June 6, 1978, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 13, a property tax limitation initiative. This amendment to California's Constitution was the taxpayers' collective response to dramatic increases in property taxes and a growing state revenue surplus. - Assessor's Office County of San Luis Obispo

That's just to get you warmed up to hear what California Bob has to say about property taxes:

SF property tax increases are capped using some formula like "lesser of CPI or 1.5% per year." It's like rent control for property owners. I was paying my property taxes and started digging around on the tax website.

Picking a random block near me, with all pretty similar, typical Sunset crap shacks, I found that taxes on the street ranged from $962 per year to $19,600 -- a 20x difference. My own block ranges from $2800 (for a large duplex, interestingly) to over $18K. Happily I'm nearer the lower end.

Scanning Nancy Pelosi's neighborhood, taxes on this $8 million place are about $4500/year -- considerably less than we pay, and equivalent to about 5 basis points on value. Surprisingly inequitable for a city committed to progressivism (TBF this is state law, not local)

This comes from properties remaining in the family for generations. So Cal voters recently passed a proposition which will limit heirs' ability to inherit their parents tax base. Unless the heirs make it their primary residence, the tax base will reset. So if you keep the property as a second home, or a rental -- no tax protection.

I can't help but feel this will increase property turnover. For single family homes, some heir will have to make it their primary residence, or face tax resets. The greater impact will be on rental properties, which have their own rent protection. I see owners dying, taxes resetting ten-fold higher, and the kids realizing that rent control makes it uneconomic to operate, and they have to sell. Haven't seen much movement yet but that's my theory.

BTW rental properties with existing tenants are dirt cheap here. Running a rental in SF is an investment death sentence.

Random residence in Pelosi's neighborhood 1

Random residence in Pelosi's neighborhood 2

BTW - By The Way
CPI - Consumer Price Index
SF - San Francisco
TBF - To Be Fair
basis points - A basis point is primarily used to denote changes in interest rates. Common abbreviations of the term include “bps,” “bp” and “bips.” One basis point is equivalent to one one-hundredth of one percent. In other words, 50 basis points equals 0.50 percent, and 100 basis points equals 1 percent.

Monday, April 1, 2024


Skagway, Alaska

Picked up a copy of Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard yesterday afternoon at Powell's City of Books in downtown Portland. I was expecting a hard-boiled murder mystery, but it turns out to be about the Spanish-American War.

It starts with a couple of Americans looking for a way to make some money. They've got some horses so maybe they can sell them to someone who wants them. Skagway comes up as a possibility, there's a gold rush going on up there, and boy does that ring a bell. I haven't heard anyone mention Skagway in a long time.

I can't remember why, but it seems like there was a time when everyone was talking about Skagway. Could it have been a TV show? There was a TV show called Klondike which aired back 1960-61, which would have been the right time frame. I looked at a couple of clips on YouTube, but none of it seemed familiar.

Anyway, I looked up Skagway in Wikipedia and thought this picture was very cool. Now you might be wondering, like I was, just where it is.

Skagway, Alaska

Google Maps has slipped a cog. I expected Google Maps to stick one of their place markers on Skagway once I had zoomed out far enough, but not this time. Anyway, Skagway is about two thirds of the way up the Alaskan panhandle, about halfway between Juneau and Whitehorse. 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself

Just finished this book, an entertaining tale of swords and sorcery with some well done action sequences. Joe Abercrombie has written maybe a dozen books about his fictional world. I might have to read another one. I've been trying to read books for several months but haven't been making much progress. Didn't quite understand what the problem was. A couple of weeks ago, after four months of fiddle-fartin' around,  I finally got the heater fixed on the SUV. The next day I was reading again. Weird.


Friday, March 29, 2024


Old Gloves

I threw my old gloves away today. I was proud of those gloves. I've been using them for years whenever I had some work to do. Admitted there wasn't a lot of work, not like I was putting in 40 hours a week. I'd pick up a little project, or my wife would decide something needed to be done and I'd put my gloves on and go tackle it. I dunno, it was probably 20 years ago when I realized cuts were taking longer to heal and maybe I should start wearing gloves whenever I am working with tools, and so I did.

If you, or least I, don't take particular care of your gloves they will wonder off into the weeds and the next time you need them you will spend so much time looking for them that you will decide to just buy another pair. What do leather gloves cost these days? $20? Shoot that's lunch money. So I started taking care of where I kept them. Right now my newer gloves are in one of the pockets of my jacket. My knit hat is in the other.

I like leather gloves. I've tried plastic and rubber gloves a couple of times and I can't stand them. Can't explain it. I would rather get my hands dirty and risk getting a cut than wear rubber gloves. I can tolerate dishwashing gloves because they aren't skin tight. I still don't use them.

Most of the finger tips on my old gloves are missing. Still, they comforted me. I am sad to see them go, but I have newer gloves and they are only missing one fingertip and I wear them. I probably haven't warn my old gloves in a couple of years. Time to let them go.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Turn and Burn

Kirian Mirabet Vidiella

Cute trick. Via IAman.

Sea Shanty

I wrote a sea shanty
Elle & Toni

The video starts with a minute long introduction. The song starts at 1:25.


French Assignat from the 1792 issue: 400 livres

Everyone thinks of inflation as being purely a financial phenomenon. However, it is much more than that. It is also a social phenomenon. As the inflation accelerates, an opportunist class rises to the top of society, and the productive class is impoverished. Inflation re-orients all economic activities, encouraging speculation at the expense of work, and forever changing the people who experience it. This societal aspect is rarely discussed.

Via ZeroHedge

Successful businesses, real estate and precious metals are the only things with real value. Money is defined by what it can buy. The stock market keeps going up and up and up, but it's not because all those companies are being more productive, it's because the dollar is worth less and less. Nobody with any money is hanging on to it because its value continues to go down, down, down. They are buying things that have real value.

30 years ago going out for lunch at a sit down restaurant cost about $5. Now it's more like $25. That's like a 5% increase every year, except since Mr. Mumbles rolled into town. Now it's like 25% every year.


Assignats were paper money (fiat currency) authorized by the Constituent Assembly in France from 1789 to 1796, during the French Revolution, to address imminent bankruptcy.

By 1796 they were pretty much worthless. We aren't there yet, but we're edging ever closer to the edge.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Battle of Trafalgar

HMS Victory Copper Bottom

Liz goes for a cruise on the River Tawe and picks up some tidbits:

Three facts from my trip: Swansea has the second biggest tide in the world; the battle of Trafalgar was won thanks to the copper-bottomed boats of the British Navy, the copper having been produced in Swansea; and the only known occasion when yellow fever was transmitted in the UK was when a number of infected mosquitoes travelled to Swansea from Cuba with a cargo of copper ore.

Liz, Swansea and the River Tawe are all in Wales. Have I posted anything about Yellow Fever before? More than I realized. 

Dial Up Modem

Dial Up Modem Handshake Sound - Spectrogram
Scotty H is a public service for dial-up users. It's purpose is to allow users of old, vintage, and outdated hardware to dial in with real modems to real systems.

Via Detroit Steve



Starlink Satellites

Go Elon, go:

SpaceX Starlink

Starlink is the world’s most advanced satellite internet constellation, beaming terabytes per second to the most remote parts of Earth. Made possible by the advent of reusable rocketry, Starlink marks the beginning of a new age of orbital technology.

In the Starlink constellation, there are 5,601 orbiting satellites.

The links go to a page that shows the satellites in motion. With so many satellites in orbit, it's hard to believe that they are not colliding with each other all the time. Of course, space is a big place. Even if all of the starlink satellites were all following the same orbital path, they would still be four miles apart.

Norfolk Southern Proxy Fight

East Palestine Train Derailment Explained
Practical Engineering

Seems that every year publicly owned companies select people to serve on the board that governs the company. Normally, if the company is making money, these proxy votes, as they are called, are of no interest  to anyone and the election of the board is uncontested.

Every once in a while something comes along to upset the apple cart and then we get a proxy fight. I got a notice of one at Norfolk Southern this morning. I doubt whether my few shares will make any difference, the fight will be between big factions. It might be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Ancora Holdings Group is challenging the board. They wrote a letter to the current chairman that included this line:

We made clear that your current CEO has presided over industry-worst operating results, sustained share price underperformance and an ineffective and tone-deaf response to the preventable derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

You remember the train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio, right? 

A train derailment occurred on February 3, 2023, when 38 cars of a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, United States. Several railcars burned for more than two days, with emergency crews then conducting a controlled burn of several railcars, which released hydrogen chloride and phosgene into the air. As a result, residents within a 1-mile radius were evacuated, and an emergency response was initiated from agencies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Phosgene is some nasty shit. 

Longevity Vs. Retirement Age

California Bob sent me a paper from the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals that contained this table:

Table 1 – Actuarial Study of life span vs. age at retirement.


Age at


Average Age

At Death































Numbers are based on retirees from Boeing Aerospace. Curious, the longer you work the sooner you die. I suppose these numbers could be peculiar to the working environment at Boeing, but I find it hard it to imagine such a situation.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

War On Drugs

Stupid groupthink is what has got us into this mess, and make no mistake we are in a mess. A certain amount of groupthink can be beneficial. If you are trying to organize people to all work together on some massive project, it helps if most everyone agrees with what you are trying to do. But when your group gets locked into one way of thinking, and everyone in that group is making money, it's almost impossible for any divergent opinions to be heard.

Lots of people are dying from overdoses of strong drugs, even more than the number of people dying in automobile accidents. Near as I can tell there are two problems at play here. One is that you don't know exactly what you are getting when you are buying drugs on the street. Some shifty-eyed dude tells you the pill is Ecstacy, but he doesn't know, he's just telling you what somebody told him. Only the guy who made it knows what's in it, and he may have added Fentanyl to the mix.

A second problem is that the line between adequate pain relief and dying can be very thin, especially for heavy users. The more you use, the more it takes to get the same amount of relief and then one day you step over the line and that's the last step you take.

A third problem is that while many people use narcotics to relieve chronic pain, many others use it to get high, which some consider to be relief from mental pain. There are other ways to relieve mental pain, but they require working with other people, and working with other people can be painful in its own way.

American Gangster Official Trailer #1 - Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe Movie (2007) HD
Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers

What we need is a trusted agency that certifies the purity of drugs. It would be nice if it was a government agency, but that ain't gonna happen anytime in the near future. I remember in the film American Gangster, Denzel was marking his heroin packets with some kind of logo. Here's a guy providing a public service, but because he wasn't paying off the right people, he got busted.

Blue Magic Heroin Packets

I suspect that the economics of dealing drugs is forcing prices down and the general level of morality of drug dealers is going down. The economics are that since more people are out of work, more people are looking for a cheap way to kill time, and more people are getting into the business, and Fentanyl is cheaper than heroin. Thanks, Uncle Joe.

Wikipedia page about the movie.


Max Planck Society

Entrance of the administrative headquarters of the Max Planck Society in Munich

Saw this topping yet another article on Aljazeera whining about the poor, miserable, murderous thugs in Gaza. Frank Underwood, Aljazeera.

Anyway, saw this and now I wanna know what the story is. Found this on Instagram:

The six-metre-high Minerva sculpture made of dark green granite is located in front of the entrance to the Administrative Headquarters in Munich. Sculpted by the Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara, the goddess’ likeness symbolizes the world of the spirit, ideas, and thoughts. On the opposite side, to the right, is the negative profile, which embodies the world of matter.

 Six meters high? That's 20 feet. Those are a couple of big chunks of rock. Fernando makes some interesting stuff.

Sarah Lezito

I believe I can fly
Sarah Lezito

French woman has a bunch of videos up on YouTube. She is a treat to watch.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Random Thoughts

People and Things

There are four kinds of people, or maybe four personality traits:

  1. Makers - people who make things. People who work in the construction trades, craftsmen, artisans.
  2. Hoarders - people who store things. People who run stores and warehouses.
  3. Users - people who use things to get something done. People who use things that the makers made and the hoarders stored to get something else done.
  4. Breakers - people who destroy things. Garbage men, demolition crews, soldiers, children.

When people talk about capitalism they talk about money as if they were the same thing. But capitalism isn't really about money, it's about working with people. A good idea and a pile of dough won't get you anywhere unless you can convince other people that your idea is a good one. Matter of fact, you don't even need a pile of dough. There are plenty of people with loads of money who are just looking for some place to invest it. All you need to do is convince them that your idea is a good one.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Today's Chuckle

Found on RT:

US told Kiev to stop strikes on Russian oil sites – FT

The White House is reportedly concerned that a possible hike in gas prices could threaten Joe Biden’s re-election bid

US officials have repeatedly warned Ukrainian military commanders that their attacks on Russian oil infrastructure could trigger global energy price hikes, the Financial Times revealed on Friday. Washington is reportedly worried that this could threaten Joe Biden’s re-election bid.

 P. S. Financial Times is the Brit's version of The Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Mirror in the Bathroom

The English Beat - Mirror in the Bathroom (Official)
The English Beat Official

This tune comes on and I think, boy, that sounds familiar. It came out in 1980 and was something of a hit.


Tech Planet

Atomic scale motors propelling bacteria on their journey into the unknown.

Via Dennis