6/16/2024

Thoughts On A Sunday - Part 1

Yes, there was no post yesterday. It wasn’t that I forgot or didn’t want to. Instead, it was a combination of two things, one that could not be ignored and the other being a family gathering for a celebration.

The first, and unavoidable thing – Motorcycle Week.

This weekend was the closing weekend of Motorcycle Week which meant up to 350,000 bikers were in New Hampshire, with most of them focused on the Lakes Region, particularly Weirs Beach in Laconia. That has meant very heavy traffic all around Lake Winnipesaukee. It had a personal effect as on more than one occasion it took quite a bit of time to leave my neighborhood, with the longest delay having me sitting at the end of my road for 15 minutes waiting for a break in the traffic. The only time I didn’t have to wait was early yesterday morning when I headed out to do my weekend Walmart run – this was at 7am – though there was a considerable wait when the WP Mom were heading out to attend the second thing.

The second thing, the aforementioned family gathering, was to celebrate BeezleBub’s birthday, his 30th! He was hosting a cookout for friends and family which started mid-afternoon and lasted until evening. Frankly, it was a long day between Saturday chores and the birthday celebration. By the time we got back to The Gulch we were tired, hence calling it a night earlier than usual. While I did think I should stay up to quickly write my usual Saturday post, I realized it would likely be lame and not well thought out, so I headed off to bed instead.

And so it goes.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, there will be a Part 2 to TOAS later today as about the only other thing I will be attending to today is laundry and little housekeeping.

6/09/2024

Thoughts On A Sunday

It is the first weekend of Motorcycle Week, the 101st gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts, with many of the activities centered in Laconia. Bikers started arriving on Friday and the numbers being seen on the roads and highways is increasing by the hour. It looks like the weather will be cooperating for the most part, though we did experience occasional showers interrupting the otherwise plentiful sunshine yesterday, and heavy rain this morning. It then started clearing up in the early afternoon.

There might be some thundershowers this coming Friday, but they certainly won’t affect the festivities for the most part...I think.

==++++==


Yesterday was the first day of ‘full’ use of my new Linux miniPC which replaced my ancient HP Pavilion which ran Windows. The HP Pavilion has been decommissioned and is undergoing a thorough cleaning and adding the upgrades I mentioned in a previous post – more RAM and a new 2TB hard drive – and once done I will load Ubuntu Linux 24.04. Then the only computer I will be using at home that uses Windows will be my work laptop.

So far I am really liking a Windows-free existence at home, at least when I am not working.

I haven’t had any issues installing or using some of the Windows programs like LViewPro, an image editor that I’ve used for years that is easy to use for light picture editing jobs and has a number of neat features some others don’t have. (No, this is not a plug for program. In fact, it is now available for free from their website.) I have also installed PowerChute from APC, used to monitor and control the APC UPS I have for the miniPC, monitor, router, and a few other small peripherals and closes programs and shuts down the computer when the UPS has only a few minutes of power left before it shuts down. The other computers and the cable modem in the Official Weekend Pundit Office all have their own UPS’s running the same program. I’ve also loaded a couple of SPICE programs, used to simulate electronic circuit designs, and found they work better and faster on the new miniPC despite running Linux. There are a few more I’ll be trying out to see how well they work, but so far I have not been disappointed.

==++++==


It seems SloJoe can screw up things in other countries, too. In this case his speech in Normandy on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, some of which was plagiarized from Ronald Reagan’s speech 40 years ago and some of which he managed to politicize.

Other than being increasingly demented, he’s just as much of a scumbag as he’s always been.

==++++==


I don’t know about you, but I know even the thought of buying a new vehicle, be it a car, SUV, or truck fills me with dread rather than excitement. I know I’m not the only one that feels that way. Even ignoring the costs of new vehicles, a lot of people just don’t like the changes that have taken place, particularly when it comes to how they work...or don’t work.

Many buyers are now surfing on waves of vehicle depreciation, picking up used and off-lease cars and trucks still under warranty for thousands less than new. That’s smart. Your Dutch uncle approves. But lately another, stranger element is showing up in the numbers: a motivated belief among consumers that automakers’ latest and greatest offerings—whether powered by gasoline, batteries or a hybrid system—are inferior to the products they are replacing.

--snip--

In fact, new-car deniers form a broad coalition of the unpersuaded. Some fear that new, digitally connected vehicles could expose their personal information to the Chinese—or worse, to their insurance agencies. Other modern marvels people seem eager to avoid include stop/start cycling systems, which shut off engines to save fuel when vehicles are stationary, now all but mandatory in new vehicles; continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), commonly found in compact vehicles with small-displacement engines; and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), a post-combustion exhaust treatment that modern turbo diesel engines can’t live without.

Others are just trying to hang on to the good things they’ve got, like three-pedal stick-shifted manual transmissions, virtually extinct in new cars. Or built-in CD players. What unites them is the conviction that older cars are not just cheaper, but better—and that touch screens suck.

Touch screens do suck, particularly if you have to use them to control functions that used to be handled by switches, knobs, dials, and levers. If memory serves, a couple of GM pickups required use of the touch screen to turn on the headlights. That’s stupid...and dangerous. The same is true of a number of other functions that used to be controlled by the aforementioned switches, knobs, dials, and levers. It is something that requires a driver to take their attention from the road for something that in the past could be handled by muscle memory. Nobody I’ve talked to about this likes the shift to the touch screens for basic functions.

For full disclosure, my 2014 RAM 1500 has a 7” LCD touch screen, but it has limited control functions with most of them aimed at the radio/entertainment system. It controls the tuning of preset radio stations on AM, FM, and SiriusXM. It can link to and interface with my phone via Bluetooth so I can use my phone hands-free, something required in my state. It also allows use of a USB thumb drive to play music files. Oh, and you can set the clock! However, that’s as far as it goes. There’s no navigation function. No engine monitoring/diagnostics. And, if need be, I can actually shut off the screen.

==++++==


Watts Up With That delves into an L.A. Times editorial about how to deal with California’s high energy prices.

I suppose I could delve into the various means suggested by the L.A. Times, but I can solve the problem with ‘one weird trick’: Leave California. So many others already have and found their energy costs have dropped considerably.

==++++==


I have to admit that I am already getting tired of all the political rhetoric and it’s only June. I usually have more tolerance of the political B.S. that goes along with political campaigns, particularly of they are presidential political campaigns. That we’re also seeing show trials at the behest of the Democrat Powers That Be is making me even less tolerant than usual.

On the other hand, it pleases me to no end that those same Democrat Powers That Be are panicked because their puppet – SloJoe – is unraveling faster than the campaign calendar and they have no real replacement for him. Cacklin’ Kamala isn’t a viable candidate because even the Democrats can’t stand her. (SloJoe is a demented idiot while Kamala is just an idiot...and makes about just the same amount of sense as SloJoe.)

For the moment that level of insanity hasn’t infected our state politics, but I figure it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing that, particularly in the race for governor. But I’ll wait to become intolerant of that race until later.

==++++==


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the roar of motorcycle engines increases every day, the vendor and beer tents are in place at Weirs Beach, and where it looks like the weather is going to cooperate this week...for a change.

6/08/2024

Government Sanctioned Racism

I admit I’ve spent a couple of weeks thinking on the post linked below, pondering the Constitutional implications and kept coming up with the same conclusion: If it came to be it would be headed to the Supreme Court immediately. What is “it”?

A race-based tax plan.

Do you like scary stories? How about this recent report from the United States Treasury, “Advancing Equity through Tax Reform: Effects of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2025 Revenue Proposals on Racial Wealth Inequality.”

That sleep-inducing mouthful of grade-A bureaucratese may seem anodyne, the sort of thing that requires a surgeon general’s warning. But even a cursory trip through this twelve pages of reader-proof gobbledegook will be enough to give any sentient being nightmares. For what this malodorous blueprint aims at is nothing less than the confiscation of your wealth and property.

Beginning with its title, this report bristles with loaded buzzwords —“equity,” “racial wealth inequality.” Behind those abstractions, however, is a malevolent plan to destroy middle-class prosperity by brandishing the chief shibboleth of the age: race.

One thing I dislike intensely is how the word “equity” is being misused to make people think it has something to do with equality. Here’s a hint – It doesn’t. As a reminder, equality has to do with equal opportunities while equity has to do with equal outcomes, something no one (except our woke ‘betters) really wants for us. Keep this in mind: Equity = Lowest Common Denominator. That’s something we shouldn’t wish on anyone as it would create a hell world like the one described in Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Why the Biden administration thinks this would pass both Congressional and Judicial muster escapes me as it is blatantly racist. You know that if this tax plan were aimed at People Of Color we’d be hearing screams of outrage from Left, and particularly the delusional ‘woke’ drones infesting our nation.

If those pushing the idea of it think it’s aimed at just the wealthy whites and Asians, they’re right...but that will only be at the beginning. Eventually it will make its way down into every tax bracket. It always does.

The first sentence gives the show away. “For generations, entrenched disparities in our society and economy, at times facilitated by the federal government, have made it harder for Americans of color to have access to opportunity.”

“Americans of color,” forsooth. I am an American of color — a pleasing pink, if you must know — and so, even if you are an albino, are you. To distinguish among citizens on the basis of skin color — preferring some hues to others — is not only invidious, it is un-American. It should also be illegal.

But here we have the Department of the Treasury telling us about how the Biden administration has plans to tax Americans differently depending on their race. It is disgusting.

If they pull this off, what will be next? Race-based pricing for food, clothing, housing, vehicles, and other goods and services? How many other ways will they shred the Constitution, all in the name of equity? I shudder to think what the ever ubiquitous “They” have in store for us.

6/02/2024

Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s been busy around Lake Winnipesaukee this weekend with an increasing number of boats being launched, seasonal summer businesses now open, as are town and state beaches. The school year will be ending shortly which means summer activities that are at present limited to weekends will be taking place all week. Ice cream stands are open. Lakeside restaurants are open. The food trucks are making their rounds to the various public beaches. The summer concerts have started at our local outdoor venue. It also means there’s a lot more traffic on our roads, the supermarkets are busy as are the nearby factory outlets.

I spent some time yesterday getting the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout squared away. Some of that was just stowing gear on the boat – PFDs, a new fire extinguisher (to replace the old one), a couple of additional mooring lines and fenders – something neither I or BeezleBub had done before launching the boat. It wasn’t because we forgot to do so, but because we realized we had too much stuff we usually put in there. We didn’t need a dozen life jackets. We didn’t need six extra sets of mooring lines. We didn’t need four tow ropes. We didn’t need two electric air pumps to inflate towables. We didn’t need eight seat cushions/throwable PFDs. Instead we launched with just the bare minimum of gear and without all that extra stuff and figured out what we really needed to have onboard. Too much stuff is just as bad as not enough stuff. It’s easy to get into the “We’ll put this one the boat, too, just in case we need it” mindset and the next thing you know every bit of storage is full of stuff we’re not going to use.

We aren’t the only ones guilty of this having this mindset as a friend whose boat is docked on the other side of the pier where mine docks has had the same problem. He bought a new boat over the winter, one bigger than his old boat. When I told him what I was doing he laughed and said “Yeah, that’s why I had to buy a new boat – I ran out of space for stuff!”

And so it goes.

==++++==


If only this could also happen here in New Hampshire, too. We have to deal with New York folks like that...and from Connecticut and Massachusetts, too.

==++++==


I have to wonder when New York City is going to institute a “Blade-Free Zone” after this.

Brutal Machete Attack in Times Square ‘Gun-Free’ Disarmament Zone.

Is NYC going to learn the same lesson as the British when they had to start instituting knife control when criminals couldn’t easily obtain guns and had to resort to using knives to commit violent crimes, that lesson being that it doesn’t work.

If civilians hadn’t been disarmed in Times Square when the attack took place it is likely the offender would have been stopped.

The brutal stabbing of a man in New York City’s Times Square on Thursday underscores the futility of public disarmament, which affects only law-abiding citizens, and proves the proponents of so-called “sensitive zones” are clueless, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said.

Several news agencies reported the incident, indicating three men were involved and they apparently used a machete to wound the victim in both legs. Police have detained three suspects, but CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb said the attack never should have happened in a place where honest citizens cannot legally carry firearms for personal protection.

“New York officials have declared Times Square and other public venues to be ‘sensitive places,’ leaving people vulnerable to attack by criminals who don’t follow the rules,” Gottlieb observed. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that disarming good citizens creates risk-free environments for dangerous thugs and crazy people to engage in savagery. The people responsible for disarming law-abiding citizens in Times Square are clueless when it comes to dealing with violent crime.

“Somewhere in city hall, or maybe up in Albany, somebody in government is probably working up a way to spin this tragedy so the mayor or governor can argue that at least a gun wasn’t involved,” he added. “Armed private citizens defend themselves or others upwards of a million times each year, often without firing a shot, but apparently in New York, government is on the side of the criminal element.”

So-called “Gun Free Zones” give the clueless a false sense of security. To criminal miscreants “Gun Free Zones” equate to “Free Fire Zones” because they know no one will be armed and it gives them free rein to commit violent crimes with impunity. Yet that doesn’t stop The Powers That be in New York City from declaring such zones...and then act surprised when violent and property crime goes up.

==++++==


I find it interesting to see the paradox of ABC News/Ipsos poll showing half of respondents think Trump should drop out of the presidential race because of his conviction after the kangaroo court trial, yet he also raised over $53 million in campaign contributions after the verdict.

The one thing I have learned is to take any ABC News/Ipsos poll with a huge grain of salt as I have seen polls from other polling organizations covering the same topic have entirely different results. Make of it what you will.

Seeing the huge boost in fundraising indicates to me that the ABC News poll isn’t to be trusted.

==++++==


To anyone paying attention over the past few decades, this isn’t exactly news:

Oops…Cleaner Fuels Mean Less Clouds, More Warming!

I seem to recall a similar ‘discovery’ was made a decade or so ago when sulphur-based atmospheric particulates were reduced when low-sulphur coal and smokestack scrubbers were employed on coal-fueled power plants – clearer skies made for temporarily warmer temperatures and fewer clouds, which also made for lower precipitation in some areas. So the ‘new’ revelation is nothing new, except this time it’s the cleaner fuel for ships that’s causing this problem. But is it a problem or is it an inconvenient fact that sometimes ‘clean’ isn’t always as much of a good thing as the Climate Change cultists keep try to convince us?

I have to wonder what they’ll want next. Maybe ‘scrubbers’ on active volcanoes?

==++++==


I have to admit that I am looking forward to seeing how the appeal process will go for Trump in both the alleged fraud civil case and the ‘bookkeeping’ criminal case.

That the alleged ‘victim’ in the fraud case has stated again and again that no fraud took place, that overstating the value of property to be used as collateral on the ‘first’ round is common practice and the borrower and lender go back and forth until they agree on a value of the collateral. Only then is a loan issued. That is not fraud, no matter what the prosecution or the presiding judge say.

One of the side effects of this trial is investors shying away from investing money in New York City property because they don’t want to be tried under the same conditions as Trump even though New York Governor Hochul ‘promised’ they wouldn’t go after them for the same fraud, that they were only interested in Trump. But investors like Kevin Leary don’t believe they won’t be targeted if they are seen as “enemies of the state” and will be railroaded like Trump.

In the Hush Money case no one seemed to know what crime Trump was being charged with until after the defense rested its case. It didn’t help that the presiding judge’s jury instructions basically told them they had to convict Trump even if they believed he wasn’t guilty. Talk about jury tampering! It’s no wonder that even the usual liberal media legal analysts have been saying this case never should have seen the light of day. Even those who wanted Trump convicted admitted that if the defendant had been anyone but Trump no trial would have taken place.

Do we need any more proof that these prosecutions have been purely political?

==++++==


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer camps and cottages are open, the boat slips and marinas are full, and the restaurants are busy.

6/01/2024

New Computers And Moving Away From Microsoft

We’re now into the third full week of post-Dell/HP computers and Windows 7 & 10 here at The Gulch. In an earlier post I mentioned how it came time to replace our ancient computers – one 10 years old and the other 12 – and after pricing their 2024 equivalents – expensive - decided to take a different approach, that being miniPCs.

The WP Mom’s computer has been up and running for a couple of weeks and it does everything she needs it to do. While I originally had plans load Linux Mint on her computer, a locked BIOS made that impossible as I could not change the boot sequence after I gained access to the BIOS. So it is using Windows 11, an operating system that many see as quite intrusive and has little if any regard for privacy, despite Microsoft’s claims to the contrary. That the WP Mom doesn’t use her computer for much more than e-mail, Facebook, and a few computer games like Solitaire and Mahjong, I am not as concerned as I might otherwise be.

I, on the other hand, was able to access the BIOS on the miniPC I acquired for myself and load the aforementioned Linux Mint and have spent time configuring the OS (basic settings and so on) and transferring all of the data on the old Official Weekend Pundit HP Pavilion tower to the new machine. It takes time to copy 400+GB of data from one machine to another as well as about 4GB of e-mail related data and settings. There was also additional software to load and configure. There are still tweaks I need to make and a couple of new peripherals to obtain, one of the most important being a powered USB 3.0 hub to expand the number of USB ports as well as making sure there is sufficient power to run whichever USB peripherals I connect to the new machine, such as an external CD-R/DVD-R drive, a microSD card reader, and so on. (USB ports on PCs can provide power, but only a limited amount, but the powered hubs can provide a lot more.)

My old HP Pavilion is going to be cleaned up, some more RAM installed (which I already have), a new 2 TB hard drive installed, and then have Ubuntu Linux installed. It will become a media server to store all of the music and videos I have which will then be accessible by our Smart TVs, tablets, PCs, laptops, and smart phones. Most of my music CDs and DVDs have already been ripped and copied onto an external drive. Between the new miniPCs, the new 2TB hard drive, and powered USB 3.0 hub, I spent about $600, a fraction of what the 2024 versions of our old Dell and HP would cost.

So far everything seems to be working well. The shift from Windows to Linux hasn’t been difficult, but then I have been using a Lenovo ThinkPad running Ubuntu Linux for a couple of years now, so other than a different look to the desktop and a few other quirks, it works very much like Windows. What’s neat is that if the proper software – called WINE – is installed, Linux can run Windows programs. (I have one I like for light photo editing that is easier to use than some of the ‘heavier’ programs like GIMP, Photoshop, and a few of others out there.)

Now we’ll get a chance to see just how well the new hardware and software work!

5/26/2024

Thoughts On A Sunday

It was quite evident Memorial Day weekend had arrived, signified by one specific thing – heavy traffic. There was a lot of heavy traffic starting yesterday morning around 8am. It kept getting heavier all day, shopping center parking lots were full as people stocked up with weekend victuals, and there was a line of vehicles at our town docks waiting to launch their boats. The local farm stand was busy as was a recently rebuilt gas station/convenience store/deli/Dunkin’ Donuts which just reopened on Thursday.

We’ve already seen a little drama in our town when it was found that one of the piers at our town docks needed repairs, its condition requiring closing off one end of the affected pier before folks started showing up to launch their boats yesterday morning. Not a good way to start the boating season!

And then there’s this:

The concert at our local outdoor venue this evening is being headlined by the Beach Boys.

==++++==


I never liked tattoos, and particularly on women. These days it seems so many women are getting tattooed, and not with just ankle tats or so-called ‘tramp stamps’. Some have even gone so far as to get their faces adorned with ink, usually the last place they have room for ink.

Now, other than for aesthetic reasons, they and tattooed men may have another reason to regret getting inked:

A possible link between tattoos and lymphoma.

Our knowledge regarding the long-term health effects of tattoos is currently poor, and there is not a lot of research within this area. Now a research group at Lund University has investigated the association between tattoos and lymphoma.

The new study, published in eClinicalMedicine, suggests that tattoos could be a risk factor for cancer in the lymphatic system, or lymphoma. However, the researchers underline the need for more research on the topic.

"We have identified people diagnosed with lymphoma via population registers. These individuals were then matched with a control group of the same sex and age, but without lymphoma. The study participants answered a questionnaire about lifestyle factors to determine whether they were tattooed or not," says Christel Nielsen, the researcher at Lund University who led the study.

In total, the entire study included 11,905 people. Of these, 2,938 people had lymphoma when they were between 20 and 60 years old. Among them, 1,398 people answered the questionnaire, while the number of participants in the control group was 4,193. In the group with lymphoma, 21% were tattooed (289 individuals), while 18% were tattooed in the control group without a lymphoma diagnosis (735 individuals).

"After taking into account other relevant factors, such as smoking and age, we found that the risk of developing lymphoma was 21% higher among those who were tattooed. It is important to remember that lymphoma is a rare disease and that our results apply at the group level. The results now need to be verified and investigated further in other studies and such research is ongoing," says Nielsen.

Yet another reason to avoid getting tattooed. But then there are a lot of substances that people expose themselves to that are detrimental to their health. That they might get sick and die sometime down the road due to such exposure doesn’t stop them.

==++++==


As bad as the electrical grid is becoming, it appears California is well ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to its shrinking capacity and stability.

While PG&E certainly bears culpability for its deferred maintenance and negligence in improving transmission lines, the lion’s share of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the state itself, which has crafted a regulatory framework that prioritizes renewables at the expense of reliability. By neglecting nuclear, hydroelectric, and gas-powered plants, California has effectively sacrificed its energy stability on the altar of green energy ideology.

It is time for California’s leaders to wake up from their green energy fantasy and refocus their efforts on restoring reliable sources like dams, nuclear facilities, and gas plants. This reckless green energy experiment has only served to drive prices skyward, squander taxpayer dollars, and leave consumers in the dark —literally and figuratively. It is time to put pragmatism ahead of ideology and prioritize affordability and reliability in our energy policy for the betterment of all Californians.

That so many of the Climate Change Cultists would like to see this applied across the country is disturbing on many levels. Of course the faithful think they won’t be expected to suffer the inconveniences of an unreliable electrical grid show us just how delusional they are.

Better that we start deploying nuclear and rebuild the electrical distribution system to increase its capacity and to make it more robust and less vulnerable to coronal mass ejections, EMP, and particularly hackers. (One thing I don’t understand is why any part of our electrical grid is connected to the Internet in any way, shape or form. It should be an isolated standalone system.)

==++++==


Uh oh, this doesn’t sound good.

==++++==


From the “Just When I Thought They Couldn’t Get Stupider” Department comes this latest bit of nonsense.

It appears that biscuits and gravy are now “rayciss” and offensive.

It appears that in the days of ‘woke’ and DEI everything is racist and offensive. These idiots need to grow the eff up and realize that the people claiming all this crap are delusional, hate you, and are the actual racists in the room.

It is time to devoutly ignore them, or better yet, ridicule them as they so richly deserve. Sometimes it’s the only way to get their attention.

==++++==


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summerfolk have arrived in droves, there are a lot of boats on the lake, and the day to remember our honored dead arrives tomorrow.

5/25/2024

Not Enough Power

Even the Brits, who have been dismantling their reliable electrical grid for some time now, understand that AI is going to require a lot more electricity than is presently available. Now add in the government mandated change over to EVs which will add even more electrical demand...but that assumes that EV mandates won’t be removed once it becomes apparent that no one wants EVs with the exception of the Climate Change Cult faithful.

While the linked article doesn’t focus on just British energy supplies, it does bring up one thing that too many people who think AI will be “The Next Big Thing” ignore: AI requires a lot of power.

It’s not your personal computer that uses all this energy, though. Or your smartphone. The computations we increasingly rely on happen in giant data [centers] that are, for most people, out of sight and out of mind.

“The cloud,” says Dr Luccioni. “You don’t think about these huge boxes of metal that heat up and use so much energy.”

The world’s data [centers] are using ever more electricity. In 2022, they gobbled up 460 terawatt hours of electricity, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects this to double in just four years. Data [centers] could be using a total of 1,000 terawatts hours annually by 2026. “This demand is roughly equivalent to the electricity consumption of Japan,” says the IEA. Japan has a population of 125 million people.

The problem is that electrical grids – both generation and distribution systems – are not being upgraded to the level needed to support AI.

The push for ‘green’ energy has had the opposite effect as reliable generating systems – coal, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear – are being replaced with solar and wind, variable and unreliable systems that are too easily affected by weather and are not dispatchable as needed. Another thing no one mentions is that these system do require backup generation systems - fueled by coal or natural gas – when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. If demand is going to grow as fast as some have been predicting due to the increasing number of data centers, our electrical grids will not be able to provide the power they need.

Quite a few of the comments on this related post at Instapundit bring up a number of the problems regarding this issue. One comment brings up something no one has thought about:

So we need more electricity for the AI datacenters. But we also need more electricity for EVs.

Hmm. I have to wonder if the AI's will shut off power to the EV chargers in order to make sure that they have enough electricity to continue to operate? Has anyone, including SloJoe, WRBA, the Climate Change Cultists, or the Greens even thought about this?

Oh, silly question. Of course they haven't.

And so it goes.

5/19/2024

Thoughts On A Sunday

After a few false starts BeezleBub and I got the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout launched and to its slip, starting our boating season. I still have some gear to load into the boat before it’s ready to venture out onto the lake – life jackets, anchors, a new fire extinguisher, a couple of fenders, the tool kit, and some extra seat cushions – and then I plan to get out during the week after work.

With temperatures expected to be in the mid-70’s to the upper 80’s over the week, it will be perfect weather for a shakedown cruise or two...or three...or four before the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Knowing just how crazy the ‘first’ weekend of summer can be, I will be staying as far away from our town docks and the lake as I can over that weekend. Summerfolk will be launching their boats and spending time out on the lake meaning we can expect long lines at the town docks and lots of boats to be plying the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding lakes.

I will limit my boating to weekdays after work, nothing new for me. I do venture out on a couple of weekends, usually when family or friends are visiting, but it isn’t enjoyable to me as I have to work a lot harder to navigate and keep us safe from the various Cap’n Boneheads out on the lake. It’s too much like work for me, just the opposite of what I want to do out there.

And so starts Boating Season 2024.

==++++==


And people wonder why I no longer fly commercial.

==++++==


What I find interesting is that we seem to see the biggest solar flares during relatively weak solar cycles. That certainly appears to be the case during the present one – Cycle 25 – which is far weaker than Cycles 20, 21, 22, and 23. (Cycle 24 was particularly weak and seemed to be the harbinger of a Grand Minimum.)

According to Space.com a new sunspot regions have formed and a solar flare was recorded.

All eyes have now shifted to the eastern limb of the sun, as a strong X2.9-class flare fired off from newly numbered sunspot region AR3685 on Wednesday (May 15).

Solar flares are intense bursts of electromagnetic radiation that originate from sunspots on our sun's surface. They are classified into lettered groups according to their size, with X-class flares being the most powerful. Within each of these classes, numbers from 1 to10 (and beyond for X-class flares) denote a flare's relative strength.

A shortwave radio blackout in conjunction with the latest event was reported over mostly the Atlantic Ocean and also noted across western Africa, Europe, and the central and eastern United States. A coronal mass ejection (CME) was fired off as well, but with the position of this sunspot region, it's not directed at Earth, minimizing impacts compared to what we saw with this past weekend's historic geomagnetic storms. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center shared in a morning forecast that they've noted a few other sunspot regions visible at this time — but it's a waiting and watching game to see what happens next.

One of the biggest problems we must prepare for such solar flares is the amount of disruption they can cause to communications and electrical grids. If one with the strength of the Carrington Event back in 1859 hit Earth today, it is likely there would be global chaos as electrical grids were damaged and communications of all types were affected. Even short range radio communications could be affected which mean that Public Safety comm systems used to dispatch Fire, Police, and Emergency Medical Services could be knocked out. The truth is that we are woefully unprepared for flares of that magnitude.

==++++==


Just when we think the Feddle Gummint couldn’t get any stupider after the debacle of the EPA’s “Navigable Waters of the US” declaration some years ago which was expanded to include farm ponds, seasonal water bogs, and puddles, it proves us wrong.

What’s the latest bit of federal stupidity we’re being exposed to this time?

A property grab in Florida that will have them seizing homeowners private property.

Why? Because the US Forestry Service has informed a number of towns which have natural springs, such as Salt Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Blue Springs, and Three Sister Springs, that leases which allow the springs to be used as a recreational area or public parks are not being renewed. That means one of the main reasons for people to visit and/or live there will no longer be available as the towns are in effect being evicted.

[A Forest Service] official said that the Forest Service plans to make the springs only accessible to light paddle craft so they can turn the entire park into a manatee refuge.

If true, this means that all residents living on the resort grounds have only months to sell their homes and move or face evictions at a financial loss.

The attempted destruction of a local tourist area and the community that supports it without any explanation is a major red flag, say locals who are upset at this act of government overreach.

--snip--

After [a] FOIA request was filed, Marion County Commissioner Carl Zalak soon repeated the government's claim on the Friends of Salt Springs Facebook page in April that the Forest Department had no plans to close the recreation area but were only banning swimming, boating, camping, and RVs, rendering it practically unusable.

There are kinds of shenanigans going on with contradictory information, misleading information, and outright obfuscation by the government which all boils down to “We don’t need to tell you anything, so shut up and get out, peasant!”

Yeah, that’s going to endear the electorate to the ongoing machinations of the Federal Government. Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if SloJoe or WRBA are behind this. It isn’t like either one particularly likes Florida.

==++++==


Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see this!

It appears Donald Trump is going to be holding a campaign rally in the Bronx…the heart of AOC’s congressional district.

I can’t wait to find out what her reaction to that is going to be like. I figure it will be something typically clueless, stupid, or both.

==++++==


Are tacos sandwiches?

I really don’t care. They taste the same whether or not a judge declares them sandwiches.

==++++==


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee where we’ve started our boating season in earnest, the weather is likely to cooperate through most of the week, and where it’s hard to believe Memorial Day weekend is almost here.

5/18/2024

Used EV Market Dies Aborning?

Those of you reading this humble blog from time to time know of my dislike for EVs, both from an engineering viewpoint and due to the White House trying to force an inadequate and environmentally unfriendly replacement for the tried and true (and wildly popular) and ubiquitous ICE vehicles. I won’t delve into my reasons (yet again), but I am going to expand a bit one one aspect of EVs that I’ve mentioned in passing – the used EV market – and how it’s dead even as it has been coming into being.

One of the biggest reasons for the lack enthusiasm for used EVs is the ticking financial time bomb that comes with having to replace the battery packs at some point which could mean layout out an additional $10,000, $20,000, or more to replace something an ICE vehicle doesn’t have. Could it be a reason Hertz is having a tough time getting rid of its EV fleet now that they realize no one really wants to rent an EV?

When Hertz first announced it was selling off most of its EVs, it blamed lower demand among the traveling public than it had expected. “They have an oversupply” of Teslas, said John Plimpton Babcock, an analyst at Bank of America who covers the car-rental company. That lower turnover meant less profit, he added.

It makes sense Hertz would try to sell off its fleet now. Purchases of brand-new EVs are stalling out after a decade or so of stratospheric growth. Auto loans have interest rates starting at about 5 percent and go skyward from there. A shortage of reliable charging stations, and worries about batteries losing power in cold weather, have all hurt public interest in owning — and perhaps even renting — an EV.

One thing I hadn’t realized until recently is that many EVs drive differently than ICE vehicles, that difference being that some only have on pedal...and it isn’t the brake pedal. It takes a while to get used to that difference and a lot of people renting EVs have problems getting used to the difference. There have even been some customers who returned their rental EVs in favor of an ICE car.

To get back to the downside to used EVs, this one example from the same linked article illustrates it quite well:

At the start of the year, after Hertz announced it was selling off its fleet of Teslas — backtracking on a plan to buy up 100,000 of the electric vehicles — the news sounded good for Bijay Pandey, a 34-year-old self-employed data worker in Irving, Texas. “I have another vehicle, and I was trying to add one for my wife because gas prices were too high,” he said. When he found out that it came with a $4,000 tax credit — even better. “That’s what attracted me,” he added. So, the day after Valentine’s Day, he bought a red 2022 Long Range Model 3 with 70,000 miles on it. It ended up costing just about $25,000, not a bad deal for a car that can sell for about $47,000 new.

But almost immediately, there were problems. After getting a temporary title, he found the car wasn’t reading voltage correctly. Soon, a body shop found a quarter-size hole in the undercarriage he hadn’t seen before, which led to revelations of deeper issues inside. “The high-voltage battery pack is damaged and could cause extreme safety concerns,” a Tesla technician texted him. Because the hole was “exterior damage,” it wasn’t covered by the warranty, which meant a $13,078.58 repair bill. Hertz said that it would swap the car for Pandey, but for about two months he waited — making $500 payments on his auto loan — before getting a replacement. “I realized why they were trying to get rid of those Teslas,” he said. “If anything happens to a Tesla, then the bill is too high.”

I don’t know about you, but I know I wouldn’t want to be driving a rolling incendiary bomb that no fire department would be able to extinguish, or worse, burns down the house when it ignites while it’s in the garage.

5/12/2024

Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s been a busy weekend, between getting the boat ready to go back into the water, dealing with new computer stuff, seemingly never-ending spring cleaning, and having family up to help celebrate Mother’s Day today. At least the weather has been cooperative, with only a few light showers popping up here and there which didn’t affect anything we were doing.

Hopefully the boating season will be much better than last year’s, meaning there will actually be one. Last year’s was almost non-existent, and what there was mostly took place after Labor Day weekend. With a small bit of work left over to complete before we launch, I’m hoping to get the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout into the water by Wednesday afternoon.

There’s also been last minute computer tweaking to make sure the two new Official Weekend Pundit miniPCs will work without any hiccups. There’s still data that needs to be moved from the old computers to the new ones, and then re-staging the old computers for new use. (The old computers are a little slow, but still serviceable.)

Winter stuff – linens (flannel sheets and quilts), clothing, hats, coats, and boots – have been packed away and put in the attic as the summer stuff has been pulled out to replace it.

==++++==


Hmm. It seems the Fulton County, GA case against Trump may have suffered yet another blow. In this case it looks like allegations of fraud might be true as it was found that 3000 ballots were counted twice during the election recount in 2020.

And to top it off it has also been found that “380,761 ballot images from machine count were ‘not available’.”

Yeah, nothing suspicious there. Nothing at all.

==++++==


While some will say that Kristi Noem’s chances for the VP slot in the upcoming election are close to zero because of her hunting dog kerfuffle, others say she did nothing wrong. (Frankly, I would have shot that dog, too.) It doesn’t mean she’s out of the running, but I think it makes her less likeable as a VP candidate.

Another possible VP contender, Doug Burgum, governor of North Dakota, has been making the rounds, with his latest appearance at the Trump rally in New Jersey yesterday.

While he ran for the GOP nomination, dropping out before the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary, he did make an impression on a number of people, me included. While I thought he would be a good candidate taking into account his record, both as governor and a businessman, he wasn’t really all that well known, something that worked against him. However, others have a different view of his aborted Presidential run.

It's almost as if Burgum entered the presidential race to make a play for vice president. It's not unheard of, of course. He may have believed that even a failed run for the White House would raise his profile enough to be considered.

What Trump is looking for is someone who won't upstage him. And it helps Burgum immensely that he's a very rich man with a lot of rich friends to help with badly needed fundraising.

--snip--

Burgum told the 100,000 Trump supporters in attendance that working with Trump was "like having a beautiful breeze at your back."

"President Trump respects state’s rights. He cut regulation. He lowered taxes," Burgum said. "Working under the Biden regulatory regime is like having a gale-force wind in your face."

Burgum, a self-made multimillionaire, also understands how the economy works, how to run a business, and understands the burdens of heavy taxation and government overregulation.

I think he would make a good running mate for Trump. It would also help him if he decides to run for President in 2028 after Trump terms out.

==++++==


The Climate Change Cultists keep telling us we’re seeing the “hottest temperatures evah”! But it seems they’ve chosen to ignore what the climate was like 9,000 years ago.

Ice cores and sediment layers have told us that temperatures were higher 9,000 years ago than they are now, something that doesn’t fit the narrative, so must be ignored. If not possible, then it must be discredited.

But then how do they explain this?

Bones in a cave inside the Arctic circle show that the world was hotter, the climate is always changing, and life adapts very well.

A special cave in far northern Norway has a a trove of thousands of old bones. They are deposited in layers that stretch back from 5,800 years ago to 13,000 years ago. And it’s been a radical change: at the start, the cave was submerged under the ocean, so the bones are mostly marine species. But a few thousand years later the weather was warm, and birds and mammals had moved in. By 6,000 years ago the researchers estimate it was the hottest part of the Holocene and 1.5°–2.4°C warmer than the modern era of 1961–1990.

After that, the cave was blocked by scree, and the bone fragments sat there seemingly undisturbed for nearly 6,000 years while the ice sheets moved and the Vikings came and went and the world cooled. Then in 1993 someone happened to build a road nearby and found the cave. Now a team have analyzed the DNA in the layers and discovered that far from being an ecological disaster, when the Earth was hotter the Arctic must have been full of life. They found lemmings, shrews, voles, hares, geese, frogs, seals, and pheasants. They were also surprised to find dogs and cats there, even though there were no humans at the time (that we know of). The DNA test couldn’t distinguish whether these were our domesticated furry friends or their wild cousins. In any case, there were species that lived there then, that don’t live there now because it’s too cold.

I expect cultists’ heads will be exploding.

==++++==


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee where the weather has been cooperating, where we survived another Mother’s Day, and where Monday is returning yet again to ruin yet another weekend.

Oops!

It wasn't until just a few moments ago I realized I had never crafted or posted my usual Saturday post. I can claim all kinds of reasons why, with only three of them being true, all due to it being such a busy day:

1. Part of the day was set aside getting the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout ready to start the boating season, between paying the boatyard for winterizing, storing, and making a few repairs after removing it from storage, making sure the friend from whom I rent a boat slip was paid, and getting the boat to BeezleBub's so it could be detailed before loading all of the gear prior to outting it back into the water.

2. I spent quite a bit of time finalizing the configuration of the new Official Weekend Pundit miniPCs. There were problems loading the Linux OS because I couldn't access the BIOS to allow booting from a USB drive. It took a lot of questions, searching online forums, and asking more knowledgable people how to deal with he problem and finally got it figured out. The WP Mom's new computer is all squared away in time for Mother's Day.The only thing left to do for her machine is transfer browser bookmarks and set up her e-mail.

3. I got too involved with watching the NBA Playoff game between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers...which didn't end until just before 11PM. By then all I was interested in was going to bed and any thoughts of crafting a brilliant post were nowhere to be found.

My bad.

5/05/2024

Thoughts On A Sunday

I was hoping we’d have decent weather over the weekend. At least we did for half of it as most of Sunday it has been raining. Ironically, Monday’s weather (and temperatures) will be much better than this weekend’s weather.

The weather hasn’t lessened the Spring cleaning, at least inside The Gulch, as the WP Mom and I have been slowly going through all of the stuff in one of our attics and trying to dispose of stuff we don’t want or need. Most of it has been ‘junk’ that should have been disposed of years ago, stuff the WP Parents brought with them from their move up from the WP Clan beach house in Connecticut 20 years ago, but once ensconced in the attic was promptly forgotten about. Of course I have had an ulterior motive for cleaning out the attic, that being making room for my stuff which is still being stored in a rental storage unit. (Not all that stuff is mine as my ex has stuff stored there as well. I am trying very hard to have it emptied before Labor Day weekend so I can stop paying to rent it, saving me $170 each month.)

Spring cleaning also means pulling up all of the rugs on the ground floor, getting them ‘cleaned’ (hanging them up and beating them to get rid of as much dust and dirt as possible), and vacuuming and washing the floors, something long overdue.

Oh, and next weekend I plan to launch the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout to start the boating season.

==++++==


It is “Computer Weekend” here at The Gulch as I have been spending time setting up and staging the two MicroPCs I bought last week.

One of the things I found out before I started on them was that the two units - an Ace Magician and Kamrui microPC - had factory-loaded malware installed, at least in the past. The units come with Windows 11 and for a stretch of time, one of the contractors employed to load the Solid State Drives slipped malware into the images used to install the Windows OS. Fortunately a number of YouTube channels, including the one linked above, warned about this and showed how to scan the drives to find and remove the malware. The malware would steal user names and passwords from browsers as well as cryptocurrency wallet information and forward it to a server overseas. Supposedly newer models from the manufacturer of these two brands have made sure no such malware is on their computers, something I confirmed when I scanned the drives on the two machines and they came up clean. (Two scanning programs were used – Sophos’ HitmanPro and Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool, both of which can be run from a USB key.)

Not that I am going to be using Windows 11 on either machine, something I mentioned in last week’s TOAS. Instead I will be loading Linux Mint as I have little faith on Windows 11, particularly after finding out just how intrusive it can be, and as more than a few people have mentioned, the embedded ads that keep popping when using various programs, something I find to be quite annoying. (I see this on the Windows 10 laptop I use for work, though I think the ads I see on that computer are due to the browser being used, selected by my company’s IT department, and not Windows itself. But it has given me a preview of what we can expect with Win 11.)

Hopefully I can get both machines up and running before next weekend. There is a lot of data to be copied from the old machines, e-mail accounts to set up, and needed programs installed including Thunderbird for e-mail, Brave for web browsing, and LibreOffice for an office suite. (I have been using OpenOffice and its derivative, LibreOffice, for some time and have found them to be a great alternative to Microsoft’s Office suite. So far I haven’t found anything that I can do on Office 365 than I can’t do on LibreOffice. But then again I am not using everything on Office 365, so I can only speak to those apps I am actually using.)

It will be interesting to see how all of this works out. At the moment I have high hopes, but only time will tell.

==++++==


As Glenn Reynolds put it, “Screaming campus garbage babies living up to their name.”

Unsurprisingly, the various protest groups on campuses around the nation left tons of trash behind, with over 8000 pounds of trash left behind at Humboldt University alone. It seems leftists expect others, meaning anyone who is not one of them, to pick up after them.

As the Instaprof wrote:

I remember when Tea Party protesters left sites cleaner than they found them, and the press and our national deep thinkers called them barbarians.

What do you expect from spoiled children whose parents never told them “No”?

==++++==


How far has Biden fallen in the eyes of the voting public (at least the live voting public)?

This far.

It’s getting bad for the *Resident when both sides at a protest are chanting “F*ck Joe Biden”.

It’s getting bad for the *Resident when a reporter asks a union worker “What’s your message to Joe Biden?” and the union worker responds “Fuck You.”

It only gets worse from there.

==++++==


Any of you who have been reading this blog for any length of time know, I am not enamored of EVs or the Biden Administration’s push to force us out of our ICE cars and trucks and into EVs despite those same EVs not being the answer to climate change nor being what the motoring public either wants or needs. EVs aren’t green. They are more expensive to buy, repair, and insure. To show you just bad it can get, there’s this: Door Ding Causes EV SUV to be Totaled by Insurance Company:

Door dings and minor auto body damage occur frequently in daily driving. Typically, insurance companies manage the repairs without much fuss. However, when the vehicle in question is a Fisker Ocean, things can go very bad, very quickly, and that’s exactly what happened in this instance.

After someone hit Joy Wanner’s Ocean while the door was open, the damage appeared to be minor. But lo and behold, less than a month later, the insurance company deemed the electric SUV from the struggling startup teetering on the brink of bankruptcy a total loss.

It seems many EVs are totaled by insurance companies for damage that, had they occurred to an ICE vehicle, would have been repaired. Some of that has to do with how some EVs are built which increases the complexity and cost of repairs, and some to do with the possible damage to the battery pack which can turn an EV into a rolling incendiary device. Is it any wonder why insurance companies don’t want to risk something like this? It certainly explains why they’ll total an EV and charge much higher premiums for EVs.

==++++==


Gee, I wonder how much of an effect high gas prices will have on the election, particularly if those high gas prices are here at election time?

I had to get gasoline in my 2010 Ford F-150 yesterday evening, which worked out to $106.03 for 32.141 gallons; that was $3.299 per gallon, and that included 10¢ off per gallon with my Kroger points. Naturally, I took a picture of the numbers on the pump, and tweeted it out, saying that it was yet another reason to retire Joe Biden.

When I opened my Facebook account this morning, I saw that I had posted, on May 1, 2020, that 87 Octane regular unleaded gasoline was $1.479 per gallon in Estill County, Kentucky that day.

From a post I made a couple of weeks ago comes this suggestion: All voting should be held at gas stations.

==++++==


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where more boats are appearing at docks every day, mine will be one of them next weekend, and where Monday is returning...yet again.

5/04/2024

It's The 60's All Over Again...But Only Worse

Watching the pro-Hamas protests/rallies taking place on many college campuses across the use has been triggering flashbacks to the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and anti-Vietnam war protests taking place on many of these same college campuses. But the difference between then and now is that back then they were protesting against our involvement in Vietnam and today they’re protesting on behalf of an Islamic terrorist organization who wants to finish the job Nazi Germany started during World War II by destroying Israel and killing every Jew they can find.

Of course today’s protesters are woefully and willfully ignorant of what’s been going on in that area since 1948, ignorant of the genocidal efforts of some of it’s neighboring Arab nations and numerous Islamic terrorist organizations. Today’s protesters have no idea of their ideology of death, their willingness to kill men, women, and children, even their own, in order to get their way. They will sacrifice anyone and everyone to get their way, even if they have to destroy what it is they say they’re trying to save – their own people – to ‘win’.

Some of those same protesters, seen below, don’t understand that the very people on whose behalf they are protesting would, if given the chance, have no problem exterminating them because Hamas sees them as an abomination worthy only of death.


So I have to ask just what do all the pro-Hamas protesters think will happen if they get their way? Or even worse, do they really care?

Knowing how easily they are distracted by the cause du jour, I’d have to hazard a guess they really don’t care. They certainly don’t care that it wasn’t Israel that started this war or that Hamas has no intention of ending it...unless Israel is wiped off the map.

5/03/2024

Friday Funny - Communicating

I know I might get some pushback on this one, but that doesn't mean it's not true.

4/28/2024

Thoughts On A Sunday

The warmer temperatures have arrived with us seeing the low to mid 70’s today, tomorrow, and later in the week. That means it will make it a little easier to attend to the continuing spring cleanup chores, something that is taking a lot more time this spring as there have been some cleanups I haven’t performed over the past couple of years. (Not that it has been blatantly evident I didn’t get to them as they were internal to The Gulch, in this case in one of the two attics.)

I have two weeks left before the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee is due to be launched which means I will have about two days before launch to clean it up, yet another part of the annual spring cleanup. Fortunately I have some of the boating gear here at the Gulch which will make it easier to clean before being returned to the boat.

==++++==


I recently came to the conclusion that it was time to update some of the computers here at The Gulch, seeing as the youngest machine here is the laptop upon which I am writing this, and it’s 10 years old. The WP Mom’s computer is at least 12 years old and my HP Pavilion tower is even older. The laptop works well (though it needs a new battery, already on order from CDW), and has been using Linux since I acquired it a few years ago from my place of work when it was ‘surplussed’. It does what I need it to do though it isn’t all that fast.

Both the WP Mom’s and my office HP Pavilion are reaching end of life, at least as far as Windows is concerned as next year Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 10. Neither of our computers are likely to be able to use Windows 11, nor do I like the intrusiveness, bloatware, or the ‘millions’ of tweaks that comes along with Win 11, those tweaks needed to make it work nearly as well as Windows 10 has right out of the box.

Since I wasn’t going to use Windows 11 and the machines we have are getting long in the tooth, I felt it was time to look at new computers. I checked the pricing of computers that were similar to what we already had and I was surprised to see just how costly they are. Even taking into account inflation, they are a lot more expensive than I thought they would be. However, if it was necessary I would spend what was needed. But then I thought about Micro PCs, something we have been using at our lab for some time for some of the more routine activities rather than workstations or other desktops/laptops.

Two things that surprised me: the cost, a fraction that of a tower/desktop or laptops, and just how powerful they are. Between the CPUs and heavy duty graphics processors (GPUs) they employ, as well as the RAM and hard drives they contain I am amazed at just how good they are. Checking listings at various sellers, reviews (many of them on YouTube by content providers I trust), and checking the specifications and benchmarks, I found I could replace both of our computers for less than $500 total with machines that were many times faster and more capable than what we have been using. They are also a fraction of the size of our present computers – about the size of a paperback Tom Clancy novel.

It is true that they generally don’t come with built-in DVD/Blu-Ray drives, but external drives are cheap if you need them. The thing is I know more data/music/video and so on is handled via USB thumb drives if for no other reason than they have much higher capacity than any DVD or BluRay disk.

The new Micro PCs that will be replacing our old hardware will do what we need them to do. Since the WP Mom uses hers primarily for e-mail, web surfing, playing a few games like Solitaire and Mah-Jong, and the occasional video call. Not much computer horsepower is required for her needs. I do a lot of writing, some photo and video editing, and web surfing, of course. So I needed more horsepower and ordered one that is better suited to that use.

And which OS will be used on these new computers if not Windows 11?

Linux Mint.

And the old computers? They will be restaged for other uses, with my old HP Pavilion becoming an experimental machine using Arch Linux (after replacing the hard drive) and the WP Mom’s old Dell being upgraded with some more memory and a new hard drive, then loaded with Linux Mint as it is very Windows-like in appearance and usability as well as being having wide adjustability and configurability.

==++++==


This isn’t a surprise to anyone paying attention, particularly up this way.

Annual Massachusetts Outmigration Hits 39,000, Up 1,100% Over The Last Decade.

That people are leaving Massachusetts isn’t surprising. That it’s a very small percentage of the total population isn’t either, but the article is making it seem it’s a large part of the population when in fact it’s about one-half of one percent, and that’s over a period of 10 years. If that was happening every year, then we’d be talking about heavy outmigration.

Part of the problem is that some of them end up here in New Hampshire, and of that group, some are bringing their voting patterns and Progressive viewpoints with them. This is much the same problem many red states have been dealing with. Others within the group are moderates or conservatives who had enough of dealing with the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts and decided to leave.

==++++==


Some of the weapons systems we and our allies sent to Ukraine to help in their war against Russia have performed quite well, some might say almost miraculously.

Javelin and NLAW anti-tank missiles from the UK decimated Russian armor until Ukraine was able to bring its FPV drone into play as an additional anti-armor force. HIMARS gave Ukraine extended artillery range that could reach targets well within Russian occupied territory and do so with precision. ATACMS has since joined HIMARS which gives Ukraine even more range – up to 190 miles – to hit targets in occupied areas as well as Russia. Storm Shadow cruise missiles from the UK and France extended strike capability into Russian held territory as well as into Russia itself. The M2 Bradley IFV has made a big difference on the battlefield, performing far better than the Russian-built BMPs and showing it is more than capable of taking out Russian BMPs, BTRs, and tanks with it’s 25mm auto-cannon even while taking enemy fire and protecting the crew and troops inside.

But not all of the weapons we’ve provided to Ukraine have performed as well as the ones listed above, one of those under-performing weapons being the M1A1 Abrams tank.

Last year, the United States sent 31 of our nearly top-of-the-line Abrams M1A1 tanks to Ukraine. (I say "nearly" because we are already producing the upgraded M1A2 model.) Zelensky had been begging for them, insisting that they were the key to breaking through the Russian lines when Ukraine launched its summer counteroffensive. Well, we all saw how that worked out. The counteroffensive stalled and now the Russians are advancing and driving back Ukraine's forces on the eastern front. But what of our tanks? This week, Ukraine pulled the remaining tanks from the front lines. The tanks had reportedly become sitting ducks for Russian drone and missile strikes. More than a quarter billion dollars worth of military hardware has now apparently been sidelined or destroyed.

I’m not all that surprised even though the Abrams has much better survivability than the Russian T-64, T-72, T-80, and T-90 tanks. The Abrams is tougher, but it isn’t invulnerable. The newer M1A2, and specifically M1A2 Sep v3, has had upgraded systems and armor, including better reactive armor and powerplants. But the upgraded Abrams aren’t available to anyone except the US Army and US allies and aren’t likely to make their way to Ukraine unless the Russians escalate and go after NATO.

==++++==


The L.A. Times declares a climate emergency in California because “the last few months have been more than 2 degrees hotter than average”. The problem?

NOAA’s temperature data doesn’t back up the claim. It doesn’t even come close.

NOAA’s data shows the mean February maximum temperature over its base period interval of 1901 – 2000 is 55.6 degrees F compared to California’s February 2024 maximum value of 56.0 degrees F (0.4 degrees F above the mean) as indicated in NOAA’s data table below versus the Times distorted and false claim of “2 degrees hotter than average”.


More importantly, the February 2024 maximum temperature of 56 degrees F in California is only the 62nd highest out of 130 total February recorded highest values with the 2024 temperature clearly not representing “a horrifying streak of record-breaking heat” as falsely hyped by the L A Times editorial.

Why let actual data affect the narrative? If the data doesn’t fit the narrative then it must be ignored, or better yet, discredited if not ‘disappeared’ entirely. That’s how the climate change cultists work.

==++++==


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather is getting better, more boats are appearing at docks and being seen on trailers on the road, and where even Monday isn’t going to bother me...I hope.

4/27/2024

Quotes For Conservatives

I came across this over at Instapundit and realized I wanted to share the whole thing as it was somewhat truncated. ‘This’ happens to be a sampler of the late Roger Scruton’s quotes.

1. Scruton on the fundamental right-wing impulse: “Conservatism starts from the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created.”

Indeed. It seems too many on the left, particularly our deluded young adults, are nihilists, wishing for the destruction of something that works, even if imperfectly, wanting to replace it with something that only sounds good...but that history shows us again and again doesn’t work. Destruction is easy, something barbarians have done all throughout history. Creation is hard and always has been.

2. The hypocrisy of liberals: “Liberty is not the same thing as equality, and that those who call themselves liberals are far more interested in equalizing than in liberating their fellows.”

The big problem is that they aren’t really interested in equality. They are interested in equity, which isn’t the same thing at all. The one thing equity does more than anything else is bring misery because it ends up pulling everyone down to the lowest common denominator, not a place anyone wants to be.

3. Scruton on when to ignore a writer: “A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t. Deconstruction deconstructs itself, and disappears up its own behind, leaving only a disembodied smile and a faint smell of sulphur.”

Yup, yet another manifestation of nihilism.

4. It’s impossible to even have a personal identity without social relations: “We are not born free, nor do we come into this world with a self-identity and autonomy of our own. We achieve those things, through the conflict and cooperation that weave us into the social fabric. We become freely choosing individuals only by acquiring obligations to parents, siblings, institutions and groups: obligations that we did not choose.”

It seems to me the old ‘Nature versus Nurture’ argument. I have always thought that even though Nature does have some sway in this, it is primarily Nurture that shapes us, civilizing us by turning us away from our savage nature.

5. In 1998, Salon asked Roger Scruton about censorship. He said: “Yes, I am in favor of censorship, but it has to be conducted by people like me. And that’s the difficulty.” Then he laughed. (He was talking about censoring porn.)

This shows that Scruton understood the inherent paradox of censorship: Who is capable of doing so without being prejudiced by their biases? No one, that’s who. But that doesn’t stop people from trying.

6. Tribes need Gods: “Tribes survive and flourish because they have gods, who fuse many wills into a single will, and demand and reward the sacrifices on which social life depends.”

Indeed. Those who believe in nothing...will fall for anything.

7. Love is the source of the conservative worldview: “The real reason people are conservatives is that they are attached to the things that they love, and want to preserve them from abuse and decay. They are attached to their family, their friends, their religion, and their immediate environment.”

I wish I could disagree with this as I would like to believe it isn’t just a conservative worldview, but as experience has shown me by belief would be wrong. That’s a darned shame.

8. Tradition is never arbitrary: “In discussing tradition, we are not discussing arbitrary rules and conventions. We are discussing answers that have been discovered to enduring questions.”

Traditions developed over time, usually for a good reason like ensuring the survival of the people. Those traditions that no longer serve a purpose, or worse, work to hold block new traditions, ones that may be desperately needed as the conditions in our society, our world, change.

9. Real art is always meaningful: “Art moves us because it is beautiful, and it is beautiful in part because it means something. It can be meaningful without being beautiful; but to be beautiful it must be meaningful.”

There’s not much I can add to that...though I have seen ‘art’ that I have to question. I’m sorry, but Piss Christ is not something I consider art. Maybe someone else sees it as art, but I am guessing the number of people believing that is small.

10. Liberty inevitably leads to inequality and people obsessed with equity have no answer to this conundrum. Scruton: “If liberation involves the liberation of individual potential, how do we stop the ambitious, the energetic, the intelligent, the good-looking and the strong from getting ahead?”

Harrison Bergeron, anyone?

11. The entrepreneur who builds matters more than the bureaucrat who manages. Scruton: “The important person in a free economy is not the manager but the entrepreneur – the one who takes risks and meets the cost of them.”

Managers and their counterparts, bureaucrats, have done more to hold back business and progress than anything else. An illustration of this is something my late father, a consultant, told me about his job:

“I have gone into companies with the power to hire and fire everyone from floor sweepers to CEOs. I have fired a lot of CEOs (and managers). I have never had to fire a floor sweeper.”

4/26/2024

Friday Funny - Half Glass Of Water


I have also seen the third option state "Engineer: The glass is twice the size it needs to be."

4/21/2024

Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s a much better weekend this weekend in light of the fact that the boatyard where the Official Weekend Pundit Lake Winnipesaukee Runabout is stored has been informed by yours truly to have it ready to launch by the second weekend of May. It does need a little work, specifically the ring anode on the stern drive as I noticed it was broken before the boat was stored for the winter. Fortunately it is an easy repair, one I would have done myself if I still lived in The Manse, but because there is no room to work on the boat here at The Gulch it has to be done at the boatyard.

So if all goes well I can get all of the gear stored here at The Gulch cleaned up, removing the over-the-winter storage dust and grime before putting it back into the boat prior to launching it.

The only thing I can hope for is that this year’s boating season weather will be much better than last year’s, meaning we will actually have one.

==++++==


A great question I saw posted on the ‘Net that certainly had me thinking:

In the word “scent” which is the silent letter, the “s” or the “c”?

==++++==


As much as Biden, WRBA, and the Climate Change faithful keep pushing EVs as the “only way to save the planet”, motorists aren’t buying into it. Yes, some people are wholeheartedly in favor of EVs and have bought one, but most of the rest of us want nothing to do with them. There are a whole host of reasons why running the gamut of the expense, the need to install a charger in/near one’s home, the higher repair and insurance costs, concerns about the propensity for EVs to ignite themselves, just to name a few.

One of the biggest concerns, even from people who like and own EVs, is range anxiety. Range is a big issue when it comes to EVs. What causing this anxiety?

...for many EV owners or intenders, charging at home or work just isn’t that easy.

I am a perfect example of the urbanite with limited access to charging. I live in a multi-unit, high-rise condo building, sharing a garage with many other residents. It’s an older building, built long before electric vehicles were on the market. So unlike with many new-construction residences, there are no fast chargers in the garage. I can charge using the 240V outlets, sure, but it’s slow.

There are some fast-charger options nearby, at least. I can walk/drive about 5-10 minutes to a new mixed-use development that has two ChargePoint chargers in the parking garages, or go a bit farther to a Whole Foods that has a couple of chargers. It’s not the biggest inconvenience in the world, but it is still a pain.

It also means that I have to plan my charging a bit, to bake in time to drive to the charger, hook up to the charger (assuming there’s one open), pay, lock the car, and walk home. And reverse those steps when I need the car again.

How often do any of us think about having to set aside time and effort in order to refill the tank of our ICE car or truck? Even if anyone does, how much time? It takes a few minutes to fill a gas or diesel tank and then we’re on our way again. How long does it take to recharge an EV? A lot longer than it takes to fill a gas tank.

I know I can’t speak for you, but I know I don’t want to have to allow time to charge an EV, to make plans in order to charge an EV. I just want to fuel up and go, something that is impossible to do with a EV...or at least a battery EV. If we’re talking a fuel cell EV, then refueling won’t take long at all, probably no longer than it takes to fill a gas tank. FCEVs are also greener than BEVs.

==++++==


Then there’s this, the other side of the EV debate, that being the lack of capacity of our electrical grid to supply the electricity needed to meet the demand. The problem is such that even the Washington Post is noticing the grid is being pushed to the brink.

Vast swaths of the United States are at risk of running short of power as electricity-hungry data centers and clean-technology factories proliferate around the country, leaving utilities and regulators grasping for credible plans to expand the nation’s creaking power grid.

In Georgia, demand for industrial power is surging to record highs, with the projection of new electricity use for the next decade now 17 times what it was only recently. Arizona Public Service, the largest utility in that state, is also struggling to keep up, projecting it will be out of transmission capacity before the end of the decade absent major upgrades.

Northern Virginia needs the equivalent of several large nuclear power plants to serve all the new data centers planned and under construction. Texas, where electricity shortages are already routine on hot summer days, faces the same dilemma.

--snip--

The situation is sparking battles across the nation over who will pay for new power supplies, with regulators worrying that residential ratepayers could be stuck with the bill for costly upgrades. It also threatens to stifle the transition to cleaner energy, as utility executives lobby to delay the retirement of fossil fuel plants and bring more online. The power crunch imperils their ability to supply the energy that will be needed to charge the millions of electric cars and household appliances required to meet state and federal climate goals.

I love it when I hear so many ‘greens’ say we can meet all of our energy needs with renewables when the numbers don’t even come close to adding up. The amount of land needed for renewables that can meet the demand is far more than the greens say it will take. (I’m not even going to get into the instability and variability of renewables or the need to have lots of storage to make it even close to viable.) What we really need is nuclear and a lot of I...but that’s a post for a different time.

==++++==


I have to agree with the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler that some people just need to be killed.

Seattle police unveiled fresh bodycam footage on Friday evening, revealing the moments preceding the fatal shooting of a suspected child molester at a Tukwila hotel earlier this week.

Chief Adrian Diaz of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) disclosed that the 67-year-old shitstain, believed to be a child predator, arrived at the DoubleTree Suites hotel around 3:13 p.m. on Wednesday, under the false impression that he was meeting two young girls, aged 7 and 11.

Unbeknownst to the suspect, multiple SPD officers from the Washington State Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce were undercover and poised to apprehend him.

The task force, operating under the SPD, specializes in investigating cases of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), which encompass activities such as the production, distribution, or possession of materials used to exploit children sexually, as well as the utilization of service provider systems in perpetrating such crimes.

The newly released video footage depicts the officers opening the door for the suspect, who promptly brandished a firearm. A struggle ensued, culminating in the fatal shooting of the suspect by the police. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, according to authorities.

It’s like they say in Texas, “Some folks jus’ plain need killin’”, a legal justification for putting a miscreant down for good.

==++++==


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it’s beginning to feel more like spring, the sun is setting later and rising earlier, and where once again Monday is returning.