1/16/2022

Thoughts On A Sunday

It was another cold morning with the temperature here at The Gulch being -2ºF, but not quite as bad since the winds are nothing like they were yesterday. We are also preparing for snow starting early tomorrow morning and into tomorrow afternoon, along with high winds. In other words, it’s winter up here!

At least I won’t have to travel to work tomorrow since I can work from home and I won’t have any lab work to do until Tuesday.

I know Katy hasn’t been enjoying the winter conditions nearly as much as I have, telling me “I want NO part of that!” While it wasn’t nearly as cold at her home as it was here and keeping in mind her Scandinavian heritage, I’m surprised she hasn’t been enjoying the winter weather more.

If the Weather GuysTM are right we have more sub-zero temps on the way for the end of the week, though not quite as cold as those we’ve experienced the past two days.

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Now that Glenn Youngkin is actually the governor of Virginia he hasn’t been wasting any time getting things done. On his first day in office he:

Overturned statewide mask mandates for children.
Is ending CRT in public education.
Is investigating “wrongdoing” in Loudon County.
Opened the economy for all business.
Is withdrawing from previous “green energy” initiatives that have been harmful to Virginia’s economy and bureaucracy.
Is slashing “job-killing” regulations.
Rescinded vaccine mandates for all state employees.

It is going to be interesting to see how he’ll deal with the screaming from the “usual suspects”.

However, we know the Left is still going to blame him for the state’s inaction on I-95 during the last snowstorm even though he wasn’t yet governor.

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Is the media hype about the Omicron variant of Covid overblown?

Yes. Yes it is.

They keep trying to push it as being far deadlier than the Delta variant. It spreads much easier than previous variants, but its effects aren’t nearly as severe as previous variants despite what the media is trying to sell.

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If we needed any more proof that the Democrats are the party of the rich, there’s this:

Some House Democrats warn they will tank Biden’s big bill if a hefty tax cut for the rich is dropped.

They are showing their true colors. They say they want to tax the rich but then work hard to cut taxes for the very same rich they say they want to tax. In this case, they want to repeal the $10,000 limit on the SALT (State And Local Taxes) deduction put in place during the Trump Administration.

Taxpayers used to have unlimited deductions before the new cap was introduced in the 2017 Trump tax law.

A group of Democrats from high-tax states like New Jersey and California added the rollback of the cap into the Build Back Better bill that passed the House in November, and they’re vocally standing behind the measure in the face of possible opposition from Manchin.

It’s caused angst among many Democrats, given that it hands wealthier households a hefty tax cut.

None of this surprises me in the least.

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From the comments of this Instapundit post about why so many women are still single:

Why are so many women still single?

Part of it is that they decided they would run up their body count in their 20's, i.e. have fun and party, then in their 30's they create an impossible list of 'must haves' for any guy they would date or become serious with, 'friend-zone' guys who don't meet their impossible criteria and then wonder "Where have all the good men gone?" (Answer: In the friend-zone where they left them.)

Why are so many men still single? See the above.

A lot of men have given up on dating altogether because of some of the reasons why women are still single. Instead they focus on their careers, their finances, and enjoying other aspects of life. If they date, it's casually because they know it's likely it won't go past that. They also see the statistics on marriage and realize it is a losing proposition for them, both emotionally and financially, so they don't date or marry.

As I have said more than once, thank goodness I am not a young(er) man dating these days. It's a minefield.

The dating apps and social media also add to this disconnect. While the dating apps original purpose was to make it easier to meet someone to date, they have devolved more into hookup apps.

My son BeezleBub found that out the hard way, using one of the online dating apps and finding out it wasn’t what he’d thought it was (despite what the TV ads claimed). After a number of disappointing matches and realizing that dating app was being used for hookups rather than dating, he deleted his account and removed the app from his phone. He has put aside ideas of dating for now and is instead focusing on farming and building up his bank account. He does not lack for companionship as he does have his dog. A plus to this is that she won’t cheat on him or spend his money.

Dating as many of us older folks remember it doesn’t exist any more. That is certainly working against our younger men and women. More’s the shame.

==+==


This is how it starts.

First, push for the quarantine of the unvaccinated, using the excuse of public health, i.e. “for the public good”.

Second, come up with another group you don’t like and push for quarantining them too, except rather than it being a “public health” issue, it will be a political issue and the quarantine will take place in prison camps and “re-education” camps. The other difference will be that most of those detainees won’t leave those camps, ever.

The horror of the gulags will have come to the New Soviet Union and the US will be nothing but a memory.

==+==


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where sub-zero temps are leaving for now, the snow is on its way, and where Monday is a holiday this week.

1/15/2022

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It was -6ºF here at The Gulch this morning, with a wind chill of -35ºF. I decided to postpone some planned morning errands until this afternoon since there was nothing that I needed done before then. I also didn’t feel the need to start the trusty RAM 1500 quite so early. I usually don’t start it up and let it run in order to let it warm up before heading out, with an exception to that being if it is iced over and I’ll run the engine while scraping ice to help defrost the windshield. Sub-zero temps is the only other exception and that usually requires running the engine a lot longer than when defrosting the windshield. (I keep thinking I should have both a block and oil dipstick heater installed in the trusty RAM, but haven’t done so yet. I did have both in the old trusty F150 and they made a difference on those sub-zero mornings.)

+++


The local news outlets have been warning folks about the sub-zero temps and what to do to prevent problems, with one of the most oft mentioned tips dealing with keeping pipes from freezing. It still surprises me that any builder would purposely place pipes against exterior walls where they can be vulnerable to freezing temps. The design for The New Manse has all pipes well away from exterior walls. The Gulch was built in the 1980’s and there isn’t a single interior pipe along an exterior wall. (Some of the other homes in the neighborhood built at the same time didn’t take that step and frozen pipes are a regular occurrence during winter.) The exterior water faucets have had the water shut off inside and the exterior faucets cracked open to make sure all water was drained from the pipes between the interior valve and the faucet.

+++


Between the sub-zero temps forecast for today and tomorrow morning and a snowstorm forecast to start Sunday evening I figured it would be a good idea to run The Gulch’s generator yesterday to make sure it would start if needed. I never assume it will run when I need it, so I test it now and then. In this case it started on the first pull, a good sign.

+++


One thing we do during the winter months, particularly when we get very cold temps, is to run some form of humidifier. Most folks forget that dry air feels colder than moist air. It’s something anyone who heats with a woodstove knows. Those who have forced hot air heating also experience this. (When I was renting a mobile home in a small town north of here, I had problems with nosebleeds and didn’t realize it was because it was so dry inside - less than 5% relative humidity – and once I got a humidifier the nosebleeds stopped and I was able set the thermostat back a few degrees because it felt warmer with more humid air.) Even though The Gulch has forced hot water heating, it still gets quite dry inside. To combat this our humidifier – a $16 Vicks vaporizer – is pulled out of the closet, filled with water, and plugged in. After a couple of hours it feels a lot warmer inside even though the temperature hasn’t changed.

+++


One thing I noticed is that Lake Winnipesaukee finally appears to be frozen over. Whether the entire lake is frozen from shore to shore is unknown only because I can’t see an area known as The Broads which is usually the last part of the lake to freeze over.

+++


Stay warm, folks!

1/09/2022

Thoughts On A Sunday

We had our share of snow from Friday’s storm, with around 5 or 6 inches of light fluffy snow. As storms go, it was a minor one, at least for us up here in New Hampshire. Some schools closed, some went remote, and others remained open. It seemed hit or miss which schools were open or closed. The road crews did their usual good job and the highways and roads were clear even as the snow ended early in the afternoon. However, we will be paying the price since really cold temps moved in yesterday morning. It was 7ºF Saturday morning with a windchill of -10ºF. The high only reached about 18ºF.

There was more precipitation this morning in the form of freezing rain which made getting to church problematic, though the temps during the morning were warmer but still below freezing.

We’re in for some even colder temps on Monday and Tuesday and into Wednesday morning so we’ll need to bundle up a little more than usual.

==++==


The “January 6th Insurrection” meme has been pushed by the Democrats and their media propagandists for all it’s worth. It is interesting considering no one has been charged with insurrection. However, cracks in the insurrection narrative have been cracking and I saw it first here in New Hampshire on the local ABC outlet.

It was during one of WMUR’s newscasts yesterday that one of their weekend anchors, Amy Coveno, talked about the January 6th riot at the Capitol building. She did not say ‘insurrection’. She did not imply a terrorist action. She said ‘riot’, for at worst that’s what the protest action that took place on that day was.

Whether it is indicative of a change in the narrative or some members of the media are realizing the narrative was seriously faulty and are backing away from it is still unknown. Only time will tell.

Update: I also heard the term ‘riot’ used during this morning’s Good Morning America broadcast. No mention of insurrection was made.

Is it a turning point?

==++==


Some of the less informed folks have been trying to place the blame for this past Monday’s I-95 debacle in Virginia on not-yet-Governor Glenn Youngkin even though he had absolutely no power to do anything since he won’t be sworn in until January 15th. Others are blaming outgoing Governor Ralph Northam for his inaction. However, one meteorologist is placing the blame for the incident where it belongs: Virginia transportation officials.

The chief meteorologist for Accuweather criticized transportation officials for effectively ignoring forecasts of a winter storm that hit the mid-Atlantic on Monday morning, saying engineers had adequate warning and could have prevented the I-95 gridlock.

Accuweather’s Jonathan Porter provided screenshots showing that his team predicted six to 10 inches of snowfall in the Washington, D.C., area. Up to 10 inches of snow ultimately fell across the D.C. metropolitan area...marking the highest total the region has seen since Jan. 2019 and one of the biggest snowfalls on record in the city.

Porter said the Virginia Department of Transportation (DOT) could have done more to prevent hundreds of motorists from being stranded overnight on a roughly 50-mile stretch of I-95 running from Richmond to D.C. Accuweather had issued its first snowstorm forecast on Sunday night and another one warning of “rapidly worsening travel conditions” on Monday morning.

Maybe the weather forecast didn’t fit the climate change narrative and therefore was devoutly ignored? It wouldn’t surprise me if that was the case.

==++==


Here is yet another story about the uselessness of masks, specifically cloth masks, when it comes to their ability to prevent the transmission of Covid.

For most of this pandemic, you’ve been told to mask up because masking will protect you and others from getting COVID.

But suddenly the ball game has changed. New studies show that the commonly worn cloth masks aren’t very effective, and experts are saying you need to ditch them.

“We want to make sure that it is not a cloth mask. A cloth mask does not offer protection,” says Asha Shajahan of the Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic recently conducted a study that found that cloth masks had a negligible impact on COVID transmission in villages in India—about 5%.

The ubiquitous disposable masks have also been shown to be ineffective as well, with one virologist showing us with a practical demonstration. The YouTube video linked in the post has been removed because according to YouTube it violates their rules by questioning anything put forth by Dr. Fauci. Heaven forbid you can show with empirical evidence and a demonstration that masks of that type are nothing more than a psychological sop and do little to prevent transmission. However, there is this separate demonstration showing the problems with the cloth masks that has not yet been spiked.

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There has been an explosion of short term rental properties, many listed via AirBnB, VRBO, and other online listing services here in New Hampshire. I have no doubt that has also been experience elsewhere, but my only experience is with New Hampshire. Some communities have had major problems with these short term rentals and have created rules and regulations to deal with the problems. Some of those rules and regulations have been draconian. Some have outright banned them.

In our town we hadn’t really had much of an issue with them until this past year. They existed, but not in large numbers. That changed over the past 18 months or so with an explosion in the number short term rentals, and with it, an increase in complaints by neighbors, and reports to police and town officials. We saw a considerable number of homes being sold to LLCs, usually for cash and for well above the asking price, some ridiculously so. (One such home, an 1800 square foot three-bedroom, two bathroom chalet with no view, no garage or paved driveway, and no real yard, went for more than twice the asking price due to a bidding war between different LLCs.)

This demand caused two problems, the first being that homes that would normally house families were being converted to short term rentals which added to the already severe housing shortage in our area. The second has been the disruption caused by some of the less-than-courteous transient renters, many who came to “party” and the neighbors be damned. This has driven our town to propose its own ordinances, regulations, and rules to deal with these short term rentals.

Banning them outright was seen as violating property owners’ rights. No regulation whatsoever was seen as violating neighboring property owners’ rights. The town has had to try to balance the two competing sets of rights, enabling the various AirBnBs and VRBOs while at the same time reining in the excesses we’ve been experiencing and giving neighbors some recourse when things go awry.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this will play out.

==++==


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the freezing rain has moved on, the crews are making sure the roads are passable, and where we’re keeping an eye on the upcoming sub-zero temps arriving overnight.

1/08/2022

An Effective Low Key Campaign

I think we have have all seen variations of the sticker seen in the picture below, either on the web or on gas pumps.


It has been called a brilliant guerrilla campaign, putting the responsibility for our high energy prices squarely in the hands of President *. They have been showing up on gas pumps all across the nation.

One of his first Executive Orders killed a much needed oil pipeline. Others banned further oil and gas leases on federal lands and put restrictions on fracking. He also threatened to cancel existing oil and gas leases. What did he and WRBA think would happen to gas and oil prices with these actions?

Or worse, is this exactly what they wanted to happen?

This guerrilla campaign is a constant reminder to motorists who is responsible for the huge rise in gasoline, oil, propane, and natural gas prices. While President * has tried to blame Covid and market forces for the rise in prices, it is his actions that caused this. Market forces reacted to his ill-advised actions. Thus it is always so.

1/07/2022

This Isn't Exactly News - The Left Is Insane

The Left is insane. There is no doubt. How is it I can say this?

There’s proof...like this:

It seems the Left lit up twitter, blaming Virginia’s Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin for his failure to act regarding the debacle on I-95 during the recent snowstorm. They either didn’t know or didn’t care that Youngkin had no power to do anything because he won’t become governor until January 15th. Their ire should have been aimed at soon-to-be-ex Governor Ralph Northam.

To add to the insanity, here’s what that self-same Governor Northam had to say about the I-95 ordeal experienced by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and others stuck on the high for more than a day: It’s your own fault.

Then, there’s this:

When the Right protests against the Left’s corruption of the electoral process and there is violence, the protesters are considered ‘terrorists’. However, when the positions are reversed and the violence includes arson, looting, and murder, the perpetrators – BLM and antifa – aren’t called terrorists? Considering these deadly and damaging riots took place again and again and the damage done and the people killed in the various cities where these riots took place far outnumbered what took place in Washington DC last January 6th.

Related to this, but a bit off topic, is how crazy it is that the so-called January 6th insurrection is lacking one important ingredient: insurrectionists. There are a number of people imprisoned for their part in the ‘insurrection’, but not one of them has been charged with insurrection. As best as I have been able to determine they haven’t been charged with anything, yet they languish in solitary confinement. They have very limited access to legal counsel, little contact with the outside world, and no visitors. To me (and many others), this makes them political prisoners, period.

How about this one:

It appears a professor couldn’t see the facts for her devotion to the narrative that Kyle Rittenhouse was a white supremacist, going so far as to put a wholly false claim that he killed two black men in Kenosha, Wisconsin “while waging a glorious race war on behalf of his inherited White power” in her new book about Egypt. I have to ask this: What the hell was anything dealing with Kyle Rittenhouse doing in a book about Egypt? How does one have anything to do with the other? Then again, the professor teaches at UCLA, so that might explain a lot.

These are but a few examples of the Left’s insanity. Thousands of examples abound...and it’s only getting worse.

1/02/2022

Thoughts On A Sunday

Here it is, the first Sunday of the new year, the last day of my two-week vacation, and I’m trying to make the mental transition from vacation mode to work mode. I did some of that earlier today, logging into work and catching up on my e-mail and pre-configuring some calibration paperwork so I can get started first thing Monday morning calibrating some lab equipment.

The End-of-Christmas-Vacation traffic started mid-Saturday, a not unexpected event. The traffic outbound from this area was pretty heavy yesterday and quite heavy today. I really hadn’t thought it would be like this at all. Yes, we usually have a lot of people returning home for Christmas as well as the folks who want to have the whole ‘Christmas in New England’ experience. We did have a white Christmas this year which added to the ‘Christmas in New England’ mystique and the feeling that it really was Christmas.

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Though mentioned over at Instapundit, I also wanted to mention SloJo’s Ten Worst Things He Did In 2021.

Here are just a few:

9. He weaponized the FBI to intimidate parents who show up at school board meetings.

7. His war on fossil fuels helped drive domestic production down and gasoline prices through the roof.

4. He unleashed the worst border crisis in US history.

3. His $1.9 trillion in social spending disguised as “Covid-19 relief” helped unleash inflation and extreme labor shortages.

Read The Whole Thing.

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Just (yet) another reminder: We’ve left 2020 Won behind are now in 2020 Too.

You may now continue screaming in terror.

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This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention.

New State Business Tax Climate Index: Blue States Are Worst, Red States Are Best.

Some of the blue states like California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have punishing business taxes (and regulations), yet they can’t seem to understand why an increasing number of businesses are relocating out of those states. They can’t make the connection between punishing businesses and those businesses desire to go elsewhere.

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The push for renewables like wind is something we should rethink. One has to remember that renewables are unreliable due to the vagaries of weather.

It is quite shocking to see that wind generation has fallen by 38% for onshore and 24% for offshore year on year. This is despite new capacity being added.

We are familiar with short term drops in output, maybe for a few days or even weeks. But to lose effectively a third of generation for a whole quarter shows just how dangerous over reliance on wind power is.

Solar has problems of its own due to the nature of the technology, bring wholly dependent on the sun. It too is unreliable due to weather, particularly in northern climes like here in New Hampshire and in Minnesota.

You sometimes see newspaper headlines to the effect that, say, a “50 megawatt solar power plant” is being constructed. But you shouldn’t count on getting anything remotely approaching 50 megawatts of power from such an installation.

--snip--

Isaac’s analysis applies specifically to Minnesota, but bear in mind that while northern states get fewer hours of sunlight than southern states in the winter, they get more hours of sunlight in the summer. And note that in the best of times, solar panels don’t produce electricity anywhere near half the time.

Minnesota solar panels are most productive in June and July, when they produce almost 30 percent of their potential output. Unsurprisingly, solar panels produce far less energy in November, December, and January, where production capacity factors are seldom above 10 percent.

That is pathetic. We spend billions of dollars on solar panels and transmission lines, and in winter, when we need energy the most, they work only around ten percent of the time.

Compared to generation sources like nuclear which can have a capacity factor of 100% day after day, month after month regardless of the time of day or season of the year, renewables like wind and solar are pathetic. Why anyone thinks this is a step forward is baffling to me.

==++==


Is Germany on the verge of becoming an energy wasteland?

It is shutting down 3 of its last 6 nuclear power plants, replacing them with wind turbines, use of dirty coal plants, natural gas plants (assuming the Russians will sell them natural gas when they need it most), and nuclear generated power from France (assuming they have any available).

It seems the Germans haven’t learned the lessons from their power shortage last year, having to ask industrial users to shut down operations in order to ensure enough power for non-industrial users. I expect they will experience even more such shortages going forward, and every bit of it self-inflicted. I expect the negative effects on their economy will be huge, between the energy shortages and skyrocketing energy prices.

It’s not just Germany having to deal with this issue. Europe in general is also dealing with an power crunch. It is already affecting the economy as on more than one occasion industrial users were directed to decrease energy use, if not shut down entirely.

Like Germany, much of this problem is self-inflicted as the push to green energy sources like renewables has driven abandonment of more traditional electrical sources, seeing them being shut down.

This is a big example that renewables can’t meet the electrical needs of a 21st Century civilization.

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And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee where we’re winding down from the holiday season, winter weather is skirting the area, and where an actual Monday will be here all too soon.

1/01/2022

Another Look Back

Yesterday I took a look back on the year that was, that view being rather broad and pertaining to everyone. Today this is a look back on the year that affected me personally.

No, I am not going to delve into private things or things that would make a reader go “Ewwww!” It will be a look into more general things that have had an effect on me in 2021. It also won’t be a long list since I am somewhat of a boring person.

Here goes:

- One of the most pleasant things that occurred was reconnecting with an old flame, Katy. We’d known each other for almost 40 years and kept in touch on an irregular basis. She called me out of the blue at the beginning of the year, asking me for some advice for her older brother who was going to be going through the whole security clearance process for a new job. After that there were regular phone calls and texts, and then in July she came up to New Hampshire for the long Fourth of July weekend. “And the rest is history...”

- With the exception of July, I spent a lot of time out on Lake Winnipesaukee during this past boating season. July was quite cool and rainy, so neither BeezleBub or I made it out on the boat. However, we more than made up for it in September and October with regular trips, with our last trip taking place in the first weekend in November when we finally pulled the boat out of the water for the season.

- I worked a lot of overtime this year, putting in an average of 55 hours a week. (Considering I worked from home about 50% of the time, working the overtime wasn’t nearly as onerous as it might have been.) Even though nominally salaried, my employer still compensated me and my fellow engineering types with overtime pay, so my bank accounts were healthier than they otherwise might have been. I also spent a lot less money this year, not having the time to spend much and that which I did spend being more targeted and not impulse buys. It’s amazing how much you can save when you spend a lot less than you make!

- I finally got the generator transfer switch installed. It only took four months of waiting before an electrician, a family friend, was finally able to make the time after his regular work hours to do the install. (Tradesmen of all types are in very short supply because the demand is so high.) Now we have the means to power The Gulch in the event of a power outage, something known to happen around here over the winter months. I have to admit that I felt ‘naked’ without the ability to connect emergency power to The Gulch.

- I have become embroiled with the whole AirBnB kerfuffle here along Lake Winnipesaukee. Our town and others along the lake have seen a lot of homes being bought by out-of-state LLCs and converted to short term rentals. This has caused a number of problems, between homes no longer housing families and noise complaints coming from neighbors of those AirBnBs along with other inconveniences being caused by them. There is little in the way of regulations covering AirBnBs and its causing a lot of problems. Since I deal with zoning issues here in my home town I am now working with others in our town to resolve some of the problems with some kind of regulations on these short term rentals and making sure the owners of those properties will have skin in the game if their property becomes a chronic problem. It’s only fair to the neighbors of those short term rental properties.

There are a lot of other things I could list ad nauseum, but I have a feeling you really wouldn’t be interested. So we’ll let it finish here.

12/31/2021

Taking A Brief Look Back On 2021

Here it is, the 365th day of 2021, meaning it is time to look back upon the previous 364 days. I can sum them up with a single sentence: Thank God 2021 is over!

It has not been a good year.

Here are some of the events, happenings, and observations from this past year, in no particular order:

- There is an incompetent dementia patient sitting in the Oval Office. Not that he was competent before the dementia kicked in.

- We have a vice president who is even less competent, likes the trappings and the perks of the job but doesn’t actually want to do her job, or more likely, is incapable of doing her job.

- The DNC is in the hands of the Communist Party...er...Progressive wing of the Democrat Party, pushing every Left Wing cause there is and working very hard to dismantle the US and create a new Soviet Union.

- WRBA (Whoever is Running the Biden Administration) has seriously mishandled Covid and is still trying to blame former President Trump for their inability to get a handle on it. That the definition of ‘Covid death’ being used is so broad has seriously inflated the death toll and been used as a club to take increasing control of the country, the economy, and eroding the Constitutional rights of the people and eroding federalism.

- The price of energy has skyrocketed, not due to actual market forces but as a response to direct interference by WRBA by banning new oil and gas leases on federal lands, threatening to cancel existing leases, and severely restricting fracking. The US went from being energy independent on January 19th to dependent upon hostile foreign sources (OPEC) on January 20th. It wasn’t a mistake. It was deliberate.

- Thousands of Americans working in Afghanistan and Afghans who were allied with US forces in Afghanistan were abandoned, cast aside like trash because WRBA didn’t want to be bothered with keeping promises made by previous administrations. To this day WRBA has done nothing to get the abandoned American citizens home or the get our Afghan allies out of Afghanistan. Many of those allies have already been imprisoned or executed by the Taliban.

- The media is still carrying a lot of water for WRBA, choosing to ignore the failures, the prevarications, morally and ethically bankrupt actions, and questionably legal/constitutional actions. However, we are starting to see cracks in that support as the media is finding it increasingly difficult to cover up the blatant actions by said WRBA.

- On a more relatable topic, the housing market went insane, some of it attributable to people leaving the ‘big city’ to get away from the aforementioned Covid pandemic and some attributable to others fleeing the increasingly oppressive blue states. Demand didn’t ramp up so much as skyrocket over a relatively short period, with demand far outstripping supply in some areas and supply far outstripping demand in others. (Some of the latter is taking place in blue states as people want to sell and relocate to red states but there aren’t enough buyers in those blue states.)

- Inflation is rampant, a lot of it caused by the government spending more money than it is taking and and paying for it by cranking up the proverbial printing presses to ‘11’. What’s worse is that WRBA is trying to portray the inflation as something good, even though everyone know that inflation hurts the middle class and really hurts the poor. They’ve taken a page out of Orwell’s 1984 to change the meaning of words so that even horrible things will be described as something good or beneficial.

- I found it interesting, but not surprising, that a large number of parents across the nation decided they weren’t going to return their children to public schools when those closed due to Covid reopened this past fall. Some decided to home-school their children and others to send them to private schools. Covid seems to have been the nudge some parents needed to pull their kids from the local indoctrination center masquerading as a public school. More than a few parents saw first-hand what their children were being taught when schooling was remote and didn’t want them anywhere near their school after that.

- One thing I’ve been watching online this year has been compilations of dash cam videos on YouTube showing all kinds of dumb driver actions and accidents. Some dumb actions and accidents were due to driver inattention. Some where due to driver inexperience. Some to weather. And some were deliberate. Road rage incidents and possible insurance scams abound in the dash cam videos. Probably the most common were so-called “brake checks” where a motorist will pass a vehicle, pulling in just in front of the car or truck with the dash cam and then slamming on their brakes. In a lot of cases the brake check vehicle is hit by the vehicle it passed. The ‘victim’ claims injuries and sues. However, the dash cam video shows what actually happened and the suit (and insurance claim) goes nowhere. Dash cam video has also exonerated or condemned other motorists even if the dash cam was in a vehicle not involved in an incident. Seeing these videos is one reason why I invested in a dash cam: self-protection. Even the best ones run less than $130 and are cheap insurance. Considering I have seen so many more people driving ‘dumb’ this year, at least up here, I figured it was a good idea to get one.

- Seeing the results of a number of state and local elections around the nation this year indicates to me that the Democrats are in deep trouble. With a few exceptions, Democrats lost quite a few of those off-year contests, even in nominally Democrat majority districts. It could be a precursor to the 2022 midterm elections. Let’s hope that is indeed the case.

- I have to admit that I am puzzled by the labor shortage. There are all kinds of jobs open, gone wanting for people to fill them. Our labor participation rate is lower than it was two years ago. So what are all the folks who left the workforce getting their money? Or did they get a big bag of government money so they don’t feel the need to work? I know the ‘extra’ unemployment stipend for those affected by Covid expired back in September, yet even though their jobs have started up again they haven’t returned to work. This is something we’ve seen across the board, not limited to one specific portion of the workforce.

- Speaking of jobs, one thing that has come to the forefront this past year is Work From Home. It became a thing in 2020, but even after employees returned to their workplaces, many employers (including mine) continued many of their WFH policies because they found productivity and employee satisfaction was up. It has also been a recruiting tool which has certainly helped my employer fill some open positions in our engineering department. Not every job lends itself to WFH, even mine. (I have to spend time in the electronic hardware, optics, environmental, and calibration labs. The paperwork I take care of from home.)

There are tons more I could have included in the list above, but I wouldn’t have been able to post this for a few more days.

Just one more horrible thought to ponder: 2020 was followed by 2020 Won. 2020 Won is being followed by 2020 Too.

12/30/2021

Price Controls? Really?

From the Just When I Thought They Couldn’t Get Any Stupider Department comes this:

We have a powerful weapon to fight inflation: Price controls.

It’s obvious The Guardian hasn’t heard of Richard Nixon or any of the others who tried price controls to ‘fix’ inflation over the years. The results were always the same: a severe recession. The most recent example is Venezuela whose efforts paradoxically led to hyper-inflation and a dead economy.

I remember Nixon’s efforts to curb inflation with wage and price controls. It was an utter failure and sent the economy into a severe recession with high unemployment, astronomical interest rates, and a stagnant economy. It was a damn scary time and I have no wish to relive those times.

12/27/2021

One Of Our Biggest Problems

I saw this video the other day that does a pretty good job of explaining the Dunning-Kruger Effect and how it is one of the major causes of the disagreements and animosity in our country today. I do not disagree with the conclusions reached in this video, having seen more than a few examples of the Dunning-Kruger Effect personally and having come under its influence myself (but at least realizing that was the case and doing something to remedy the problem).



As I mentioned, I have dealt directly with people under the influence of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, specifically when it comes to areas of technology where I make my living, with them telling me I’m wrong and don’t know what I’m talking about even though I have published a number of papers and hold a number patents for the technologies in question. It wasn’t until further discussion that I found that they had read a couple of articles and visited a couple of forums on the ‘Net and realized they had no real understanding of the technologies in question or the businesses employing those technologies. It is no different when it comes to other technologies, science, economics, politics, history, and a whole host of other areas of knowledge. The had a little knowledge, felt overly confident that they ‘knew it all’, but actually knew very little. As they learned more their confidence about their knowledge dwindled as they came to know just how much they didn’t know.

However, there is a problem with some of these folks, that being that too many of them believe they don’t need to know more so they get stuck in that “overconfidence in their minimal (and probably wrong) knowledge” zone. When confronted with additional and easily verifiable information, they ignore it, will not believe it. At some point everyone falls into that trap, me included. Recognizing that trap means that we can move past it and get out of that zone. And that is the rub – too many don’t/won’t recognize it, so they get stuck believing something that just isn’t so.

I don’t know how to solve the problem of the “know-nothings”, but maybe someone does.