The road to serfdom

When Hugo Chavez took over the oil business in Venezuela in 1998, government looters took the computers containing the geological data and production plans to sell the PCs. Since then, the oild fields have rapidly depleted due to mismanagement of the oil fields.

Following in his footsteps, Nicholäs Maduro’s government has seized GM’s car factory in Venezuela

The plant made three Chevrolet models – and is being looted. GM has given up. It took a $400 million loss last year due to the worthless currency.

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O’Reilly out at Fox?

That would be pretty foolish. O’Reilly could do enormous damage to the News Corp empire with his knowledge from the inside.

Bill O’Reilly has a face for radio, if he ever decides to return.

Posted in Talk Radio | 6 Comments

Fake News 101

The Countess and I were reviewing today’s news events when I spotted this story from the Los Angeles Times

Carrier strike group wasn’t headed to Korean peninsula despite Trump administration claims

The premise of their opinion is that President Trump is lying about sending an aircraft carrier task group to North Korea, or the US Navy is unclear on what it is doing.

They never actually cite anyone who says the carrier task group was headed to Korea. The closest they came to evidence was this statement attributed to President Trump:

“We are sending an armada, very powerful,” to the waters off the Korean peninsula, President Trump told Fox Business News on April 12.

We both reacted to this line – there is a quote from Trump followed by a paraphrase or an assumption, with the entire sentence attributed to Trump.

What did President Trump actually say?

“We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier,” Trump told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. “We have the best military people on Earth. And I will say this: he is doing the wrong thing.”

So the President was saying the opposite of the implication put forth by the LA Times. Aircraft carriers have little to offer in this scenario since we have B52 bombers on station in South Korea. B2 bombers would be the weapon of choice.

In 2009, China let it be known they have a ballistic missile designed to sink an aircraft carrier by flying at Mach 10 up to 2000 km (1,200 miles) and attack vertically, going straight down. It is a weapon for which the US Navy may have no effective defense. An improved model called the DF 26 has a longer range and the ability to detonate a nuclear warhead on the carrier, guided by satellite targeting. It is very hard to hide an aircraft carrier from an adversary who has satellites.

With advances in pilotless planes and cruise missiles, an aircraft carrier is of limited use when friendly airbases nearby (primarily Japan) are available.

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Amazon randomness

Amazon had an aha! moment somewhere during the evolution to what it is today, which this video explains quite well. It runs contrary to conventional thinking about warehouse organization, because Amazon uses computers and barcodes extensively.

When Amazon receives a product from a supplier, they break the case apart and store each item randomly all throughout the warehouse, which means when a person orders more than one item, the walking time to gather the items goes down. Even if it is a newer warehouse where robots are doing the moving, it still saves time. Not having fixed locations for certain merchandise means the space adapts to what people are currently ordering.

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How I saved $200 using YouTube

So when Countess was here, much to my dismay I learned the power window on the passenger door(s) of my 2001 model car would not operate. I, as the master of my domain, could lower and raise the windows, but the mere passengers could not.

Since passenger comfort is my #1 priority, this needed to be fixed by the time the countess returns to the castle.

The car has a lockout switch for some inane reason that allows the driver to prevent the kids from playing with the windows. The switch is highly susceptible to corrosion and then it behaves as if the lock is ON all the time.

So with a basic understanding, I called a local repair shop and here was their advice

On a good day, the car is probably worth $1,500, but has less than 55,000 miles (17 year old car), so spending that much was at least worth considering options, so YouTube to the rescue

In no time, I have this video showing what a simple repair it is. Another amateur video shows the guy doing the same repair without even the screwdriver and using a part from a junk yard.

So the company who made the video will ship the part for $55 including shipping. Another company had the part for $45, and the brick and mortar companies that advertise on radio offer the part from $90 to $140

So I took the risk. The part arrived in 2 days via USPS. The window is fixed.

Here is what the old part looks like

The packaging says it was made in Taiwan, so I may well have voided my pre-Obama GM warranty.

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The Origin of Common Core Math

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Panic in Penn Station

People are jumpy.

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Norfolk Southern on Positive Train Control

This is what happens when Congress decides it knows more than the industry who do the work. Amtrak trains on the NorthEast Corridor have nothing in common with Lumber trains from the Pacific Northwest traveling 3000 miles through the middle of nowhere.

NS is trying to put a happy face on the mandate, but the resentment is palpable.

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Informed Delivery

Back in 2001, a 94 year old woman died after being exposed to weaponized anthrax.

At the time, the government let out a little secret if you carefully read the accounts. Investigators discovered that the letter to the woman in Connecticut passed through the same sorting machine a few pieces after the letter sent to Congress. If that wasn’t already known to you, the USPS has long tracked every single piece of mail, not just persons suspected of criminal activity. The outside of an envelope has no expectation of privacy.

The USPS now proudly declares that they take and retain a photograph of every envelope they deliver (unless the postal workers deliberately discard the mail)

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King of Hearts ❤️

Yesterday was a watershed day – for those who have been here a while (back to 2009 or earlier), I’ve struggled with the perception of doctors and the public (in general) that a man who weighs 260 pounds is a de facto “walking heart attack” and an irresponsible burden on society. This hit its pinnacle when Michael “Savage” Wiener expressed his opinion that if it were up to him, emergency rooms should kick out fat people and let them die – regardless of their insurance, ability to pay, or why they are there. Savage made himself my permanent enemy that evening.

So now with a competent internist, testing, and my totally boring lifestyle, we have ruled out pretty much everything that would result in a short life or an expensive death.

Yesterday was cardiologist day. Dr Williams looked at my blood work, did an EKG, listened to my heart and lungs – and basically was curious why I was there – compared to his typical patients with a constellation of interrelated health problems. He totally “got” the answer – that I was denied elective surgery and getting a colonoscopy because of the dispute with my General Practitioner in Derby CT, who vetoed the surgery after having an EKG AND signing off on doing the surgery.

The issue in dispute was the GP demanded that I take blood pressure medication, which I refused – because I believed my fainting episode was due to low blood pressure. My new cardiologist confirmed my belief and stated that putting me on high blood pressure meds would have been exactly the wrong thing to do. I now have an ally if another anesthesiologist gets scared of putting me under.

So now that I will have Countess Nightingale by my side fending off hospital errors and stupidity, it looks like you’re going to have me to kick around for a long time.

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