To Infinity and Beyond

Having a monthly open thread was not effective at generating activity, so this is just a place to share things I see and want to pass along.   Comment sort order will be the most recent first.

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23 Responses to To Infinity and Beyond

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    First post!

  2. Fred Stiening says:

    Second post

  3. Fred Stiening says:

    Jack Ryan Season Two is out for Amazon Prime customers

    I doubt Tom Clancy would be happy, but he is dead, so that is that.

    I remember reading that the filming was going to occur in Venezuela on location, with the plot involving the fictional political corruption in the country. The story of how that happened is probably more interesting than the plot.

    After the final plot twist is revealed, I went back to the beginning and it makes almost to sense. It gets in a few shots at American interference in South America, but it is fairly soft peddled. I would not be shocked if there is a different version for anti-American audiences, like the original King Kong vs Godzilla. It is hard to imagine Venezuelans rooting for Jack Ryan

  4. Fred Stiening says:

    How can my Walmart afford to sell regular milk at $0.58 a half gallon? Even at Aldi's, the price is $1.69

    This week, Dean Foods declared bankruptcy.

    In Indiana, Walmart built its own milk processing facility to cover most of the Midwest. They ended their contract with Dean foods, who then had to end its contracts to buy milk. The presumed buyer will be the Kansas City based farm co-op that provides most of the milk for Dean Foods, which also had been the Great Value private label brand.

    There was nothing wrong with the cheap milk – it was not watered down and did not spoil prematurely.

    The closest Dean come to blaming Walmart is saying that the industry was already overbuilt when Walmart added its new milk processing plant. They point instead to millennials not drinking milk and the collapse of the export market. Unsaid is that the demographics of America are shifting from Europeans to people who can't digest milk.

    You probably will recognize many of their brands

    • TheChairman says:

      Perhaps the low price is a Walmart 'loss leader' to get people in the store. As with most (US) grocery chains, it is purposely located at the rear of the store.

      My wife drinks a lot of milk, while I use very little (none) except on cereal. Both of us consume our fair share of other dairy products: cheese, butter, etc. We particularly like Dean's Ice Cream, carried by our local MI grocery chain.

      I recall the "Got Milk?" ad campaign from years ago, but more recently there seems to be negative health articles regarding milk and dairy (i.e. hormones) products, similar to the "anti-wheat" and "gluten free" frenzy of recent years.

      • Fred Stiening says:

        With grocery pickup and delivery, the arrangement of the store no longer matters. In fact, 5 years from now, there may no longer be a need for a building. Wide aisles, lighted vertical display cases, parking lots, checkout lanes are energy inefficient and labor intensive, and subject to shoplifting and slip and fall lawsuits.

        Kroger is busy building robotic warehouses to do picking of grocery orders. I have found most of my grocery deliveries to be adequate. Maybe I don't care about thumping melons and clipping coupons because of my gender.

        • TheChairman says:

          Yes, that's true for a few, but most of us still shop in a local store. On that note, I think customers should get a discount for self-checkout & bagging (no cashier). Neither myself nor my wife would want someone else or a robot choosing our produce, meats, etc… at least not while we are able to do it ourselves.

          I have several concerns regarding the future of grocery delivery or widespread dependency on it: e.g. receiving marginal produce, food near/at expiry, or worse. If the democrat socialists gain total control, your 'social-credit' may affect your food options, increase your pricing, or delivery might be halted altogether. "Food for thought."

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            I've read that there is already a discount for self-checkout. The old "five finger discount" where items are bagged without being scanned or a code for a lower priced produce item is manually entered rather than the correct one. Some have actually installed cameras to record your face and record a video of your scanning.

            • Fred Stiening says:

              The first line of protection is the bagging area is a scale – so each item scanned has a known weight that should match what is being scanned.

              Some clever people figured out Amazon does not immediately check returns, so if you filled the Amazon return box with something that matched the weight of the product (sand?) It will not be caught right away.

              Another big trick is people stealing merchandise from stores, then listing it on eBay or Amazon. I am liking my fellow humans less and less.

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            > " If the democrat socialists gain total control, your 'social-credit' may affect your food options, increase your pricing, or delivery might be halted altogether. "

            These democrat socialists are not what they seem. In NoVa (Northern Virginia) they have taken a lane of existing Interstate freeway already paid for by the common man, and converted it into an expensive toll lane so that millionaires and billionaires can zoom past the deplorables still in the freeway lanes. More pollution by making the deplorables idle longer in stopped traffic and more stress for the deplorables? No worries, the Green New Deal and the Free Healtcare for All have both bases covered on the Mainstream Media.

  5. Fred Stiening says:

    This might be the final nail in Music Radio

    It used to be that radio labels would provide prostitutes and drugs to program directors and DJs to get their music played on the radio, but that era is long over (except apparently on black music stations)

    Both houses of Congress that introduced a law requiring radio stations to get consent from the performers before they broadcast copyrighted music. Currently a small amount is paid to the composers, but nothing to the actual artists.

    The original business model was the radio played the record because the record company paid them, then music labels sold the records and paid the artists. since you are very unlikely to become a star unless you had a contract with a music label, musicians basically had to accept contracts giving them little or nothing. Talent in music is highly overrated.

    Free streaming on the internet has forced radio stations and others that stream music (SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify) to have to pay the artists billions of dollars. My sense is this law is going to pass. The NAB framed opposition of prior bills on the basis that the music was controlled by foreigners (Sony, Vivendi…) But this bill is based on the Soundexchange model of paying the artists directly, bypassing the recording companies.

    Slightly related, how is that narrative of "Taylor Swift is the smartest woman in the history of music" working out?

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      It's always surprising to me when Republicans unite to take money from the people and give it to the entertainment industry that gives almost exclusively to their opposition and comes out publicly endorsing their opposition. They do that by extending the time periods of copyrights beyond any reasonable amount of time.

      It seems that lobbyists and short campaign contributions trump long term reasoning… and in this case, the sponsoring Republican Senator represents Nashville.

    • TheChairman says:

      Along those lines, here is my informal AM radio survey along some of the Interstates & US highways, during our seasonal migration from MI to AZ:

      Michigan: AM is nearly extinct, perhaps a faith or 'soul' station or two.
      Indiana: several stations on air; blend of sports, agriculture, and talk
      Illinois: see Michigan
      Missouri: better than Illinois, but not much. Switched to FM for talk, etc.
      Oklahoma: numerous stations; you -will- get a good dose of religion. Sports is also a religion here.
      Texas (panhandle): Country is a religion, but station reception is only a prayer
      New Mexico: Nope. Even UFOs get lost here…
      Arizona: similar to Indiana; good mix of station formats, glad to be back.

      • Fred Stiening says:

        Thank you for the report.

        Out in Oklahoma, some entity went around taking over several dozen unviable small town stations and organized them under the banner of the Gospel Station Network, simulcasting (I think) their programming. The list of stations has always been confusing.

        • TheChairman says:

          Yes, from Tulsa to west of OKC we noticed 4 or 5 stations were simultaneously broadcasting the same content.

          • Fred Stiening says:

            The FCC is considering changes to an existing ru!e (or more likely ending it) that limits the number of hours per day of a simulcast broadcast by two or more stations in the same market owned by the same owner

            • TheChairman says:

              Apparently, the FCC refers to it as their 'Duplicative Programming' rule: no more than 25% duplicate content for stations with more than 50% contour overlap. To me, this is different (more restrictive) than simulcasting, as it means identical content cannot be broadcast at a different time… so an owner might as well do a simulcast.

            • Fred Stiening says:

              Then you get into the nuances of putting a percentage on overlap – is it population or square miles or ad revenue?

              Government handouts always have strings. Contrary to the Chamber of Commerce narratives, big businesses like government regulation. The Food Safety Modernization Act is a nice example. ConAgra, Cargill, Kraft Heinz and Tyson foods can afford to jump through the hoops. Your local farmer raising 50 cattle a year or 200 bushels of apples cannot. Are massive feed lots more healthy?

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Here is the Libertarian free market 5ake from Reason

      FYI, Dean's is not in the cheese business. It has a confusing relationship with Land O Lakes – they bought the Minnesota milk cooperative's milk collection business about 20 years ago and handles distribution in the butter products in the Midwest, but do not make the butter or own the brand. Take this food lawyer and scholar's opinions with a grain of salt

  6. RebelSansClue says:

    Don Imus has died at the age of 79. He entertained 2 generations of my family. Sad that he's passed less than 2 years into retirement, but he lived a full life. I'm sure Howard Stern will have some joke about it.

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