Thoughts On A Sunday

The weather has certainly been cooler over the past few days. We've managed to dodge the “Joaquin” bullet, with the hurricane passing us far to the south and east. The leaves have started changing in noticeable numbers and the leaf-peepers are arriving in larger numbers.

The change has also brought about our first load of firewood, with two cords being delivered Friday morning and a second two cords schedule for delivery in early January.

One of our family friends, Ev, helped me move and stack those two cords yesterday. We got a late start because there were a few repairs needed in the garage, mainly the back wall which was damaged by yours truly when my big LL Bean boots hit both the brake and accelerator pedals at the same time, causing the trusty F150 to fracture a couple of the 2 x 6 studs. But once the repairs were finished, we knocked of those two cords in a little over 3 hours. If memory serves, that's the fastest I've ever been able to complete that task in all the time we've resided at The Manse.

So we're almost set to weather the winter cold. All that's left to do is to remove and clean out the blowers on the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove and we'll good to go. I figure we're probably a couple or three weeks away from having to fire it up for the first time this heating season.


David Starr relates 'Halt and Catch Fire' incident with his DVD player.


If the economy is so great after The One has supposedly led us from the depths of the Great Recession, then how can Democrats reconcile the fact that over 94 million Americans aren't in the labor force, creating the lowest labor participation rate in almost 40 years?

As I've heard more than one Democrat state, “The unemployment rate is down.” That's true, but only if you look at the U3 rate which tells us how many of the unemployed are receiving unemployment benefits. But once those benefits run out, the unemployed are no longer counted. One has to look at the U6 unemployment rate which includes both those collecting benefits and those who are no longer collecting benefits, as well as those who are underemployed (taking part-time jobs or jobs that are far below the level of job they held before, like a welder now working for just above minimum wage at the local 7-11). That rate stands at around 12%. During seven of the eight Bush years that rate ran between 7 and 10%, averaging around 8.9%. The U3 over those same seven years rate ran between 4 and 7%. The difference between the U3 and U6 rates over all eight years of Bush's presidency was about 3 percentage points. The difference during the Obama years so far: around 7 percentage points. That is not the sign of a healthy economy.

Despite what the White House says, most Americans know the economy still hasn't recovered and we're still feeling the effects of the recession.


It appears the Europeans are kicking our ass when it comes to weather prediction models. (Notice, I wrote weather not climate prediction.)

In this case the European model predicted the correct track for Joaquin, just as it did for Sandy and a host of other tropical storms and hurricanes in the western North Atlantic and Caribbean.


OK, first George Zimmerman was described by the media as a “White Hispanic.” Now they're calling the mixed race shooter in Oregon a white supremacist. Does that mean he'll be called a “White Black” by the MSM?

I expect nothing less.


David Shribman opines that the three front-runners in the GOP presidential primary are proving that “It's amateur hour, again” for the Republican party. He certainly backs up his opinion with plenty of examples from the past, but he also wonders whether the days of political expertise as a requirement for higher office may be coming to an end.

The experts believe that Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson and Ms. Fiorina will fade as political forces. But the whole basis of the three candidates’ campaigns is that political expertise, like political experience, is a remnant of a time swiftly passing. If so, then one of these three may possess the face of the future, and the change they personify may represent a profound transformation of our politics. 

I happen to agree with him. At the beginning of our Republic, very few of those who held office in Congress or the Presidency had much in the way of political expertise, and they seemed to find a way to handle the nation's requirements. As time passed the need for such experience grew, but it didn't really solidify until the first 25 years or so of the 20th century. When mass communications became the norm, those in office had to be more than just a representative of the people, they had to become actors on a stage. Such acting took experience.

But these days with mass communications orders of magnitude beyond what they were through the balance of the 20th century and corporations that are larger than many countries and states, the experience needed to hold office no longer comes just from having run through the political gauntlet. Candidates can speak directly to the people without the traditional media. They can show that they do understand America's problems, understand the needs of the people, and all without ever having have served in political office prior to their decision to run.

Frankly, the people are sick and tired of the Same Old Same Old candidates mouthing the same political platitudes and making the same promises over and over again. Whether that leads to better candidates and, possibly, better performance of their duties in office remains to be seen.


Does moonlight make things colder? An experiment shown on a video seems to show that it does.

However, after watching the video of the experiment, a few things become apparent, to biggest being that the IR thermometer being used to measure the temperature isn't just measuring that of the object in the experiment, but that of the near background as well which will be colder than the object being measured, giving a colder than expected reading.

Nice try, guys.


Why does nuclear power still rule? It all comes down to this: E=mc2.

This is why a nuclear reactor sitting on one square mile can generate 1000 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply a large city. To generate that same output from a wind farm you would need 40 square miles of windmills – and that would only work the 1/3 of the time when the wind is blowing. The same numbers govern hydroelectricity. The two biggest dams in the country – the Hoover Dam and the Glen Canyon Dam – each back up a reservoir of 250 square miles to generate 2000 MW and 1296 MW respectively. No one has yet figured out a way to harness tidal energy but if they do it is easy to calculate to calculate the territory that would be involved. To generate the same 1000 MW will require some kind of energy-capturing device deployed over a stretch 25 miles of coastline.

This “energy density” is what differentiates nuclear from the so-called “renewable” sources. Solar has about the same density as wind and would require the same 40 square miles or more to generate the output of one nuclear reactor.

No matter how good solar becomes or how many windmills are built, they cannot actually compete against nuclear, especially on the total cost per kilowatt-hour basis. Nuclear power has the energy density to power our increasingly technological civilization. With the newer Generation III and IV plants being built or developed, nuclear can become even better and cheaper while generating little nuclear waste as compared to the present Generation I and II plants presently online.


What's ironic about the above is that so many people here in New England are vehemently against a new natural gas pipeline being built that will supply abundant and cheap natural gas. Instead, they'd rather pay many times the national price by importing it from Yemen on huge LNG tankers.

Every winter natural gas prices spike in New England because the tankers can't supply enough natural gas fast enough to meet the high demand in winter. It costs a lot to heat a home in New England and it's all because of the NIMBY's and BANANA's in the six New England states who don't want a cheaper and, in the end, safer means of bringing natural gas to New England.

I was listening to a group of anti-pipeline activists from some of the towns in southern New Hampshire where a portion of the pipeline would be built. One of the most ignorant comments I heard: “They want to build the pipeline just so they can make a profit!” Well, yeah. That's the point. Why would they build one to lose money? They want to be able to provide much needed energy to a region lacking it and they want to make money doing it. Otherwise, why bother?

Another thought: These same folks will be the first to complain when their heating bills and electric rates skyrocket, or worse, when they flick the switch and the lights don't come on.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the fall colors are starting to appear, the temps have cooled off, and where we don't have to worry about Hurricane Joaquin.