Sharks Become Real When They Circle Your Lifeboat

Yesterday sharks became real for me. Before then COVID-19 was mostly something in news stories. Yesterday, I encountered sharks circling my lifeboat:

  • toilet tissue became scarce in the big box stores
  • bleach became scarce in the big box stores
  • a grand daughter was pulled out of school as a precaution
  • a relative planned a trip with quarantine built in to the itinerary. Now the trip seems likely cancelled.
  • ordinary folks I know are talking about contingencies and washing hands and keeping apart religiously
  • random folks all over North America are being diagnosed with COVID-19 infections

While I still have no understanding of how serious COVID-19 will become, it’s clearly going to have major negative consequences:

  • a global recession/depression is inevitable
  • it is likely that a billion or more infections could happen this year
  • it is likely that hundreds of thousands or, more likely, millions will die, apparently with my age-group in the lead…
  • healthcare systems will break
  • communities will break

It’s not the “apocalypse” but close enough. There will be some silver linings also likely:

  • even Trumpists will see the truth that Trump is a lying bastard
  • even the rich and powerful will see the necessity of MediCare for All
  • it’s almost certain that Trump will be voted out, possibly before he destroys USA
  • governmental debt will become reality and it won’t be left to our descendants to pay it off…
  • what doesn’t kill us will actually make us stronger
  • I may shower more and use less toilet tissue...

So, hunker down. Slow down the spread long enough to make immunization by natural or medical means effective. Reflect on what’s really important. Reconsider buying another gas-guzzler even if it’s just to avoid filling stations. Live long and prosper any way you can.

Posted in family, politics, technology | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Sharks Become Real When They Circle Your Lifeboat

High Noon For Democrats

Today will be a day that might live in infamy in Democratic politics. Rats leaving their sinking ships have clambered aboard the SS Biden, hoping to defeat Universal Medical Care… Sigh. Why has a country known for innovation refused to adopt single-payer health insurance long ago? Why are they willing to pay twice what other countries pay for healthcare with worse results? Why do they believe a broken leg or heart attack should lead to bankruptcy for the middle class? I just don’t get it.

We shall see the writing on the wall later today when the ballots are counted. I bet enough of the stranded voters won’t even know their rat has abandoned ship or they voted in advance so Bernie will retain a slim lead in delegates. The Convention will be bloody. Let’s hope Bernie wins and can rally the troops by November.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , | Comments Off on High Noon For Democrats

Great Day!

Beast has been having a hard time connecting hard drives and its soul for a year or so. Intermittent problems are so hard to diagnose. Finally, an in-law donated a used PC, we moved over the hard drives and fired up the “ghost of Beast” like it was as good as new. This is very cool.

The new machine is a few years old with multiple SATA ports, USB3, 4X 3.2gHz CPU, and even a 120gB SSD… Amazingly, it booted what worked for AMD64 even though it was an Intel system. The display driver in Debian’s xserver-xorg-video-intel was missing and the Ethernet did not work. There were mysterious messages in the logs about Ethernet drivers. Finally, I figured out that a USB-dongle had an Ethernet port. However, two other Ethernet ports did not work, not one of three… It turned out that a helpful person (ME!) had been annoyed by an alarm and I turned off an old UPS which just happened to power our network switch… As soon as I figured that out, I downloaded the video driver and here I am editing my first post from The Ghost of Beast.

Next, I will blow away That Other OS which resides on the SSD and free myself again from slavery to monopolists.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Great Day!

Wind & Solar Power Defeat Trump

“Trump does not like wind and solar power, but the market absolutely loves wind and solar power. The EIA predicts wind, solar, hydro, and energy storage will be 78% of new electrical generation capacity in 2020. We will see 5.57 GW of coal retired and no new coal plants!”
See Wind & Solar Power Will Dominate 2020 In US, Despite Trump

Chuckle! Trump “digs” coal but coal is dying anyway. Do you think the coal-miners who voted for Trump will reconsider in 2020? Enough will to matter. Even a coal-miner knows when a lie had been found out. The real question is whether they just won’t vote this time around or whether they will vote Democratic. Trump won by just a few thousand strategic votes last time. We shall see whether impeachment or encumbency matter more. It’s all good. Whatever happens, the world will be a better place with less coal burnt. The world will be a much better place with Trump locked up.
Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Wind & Solar Power Defeat Trump

Solo Gen III

“In early 2019, we took delivery of 50 pilot production vehicles from our strategic manufacturing partner in China, Zongshen Industrial Group, and deployed these for on road validation testing throughout the United States and Canada. The “real world” tests resulted in engineering changes to the vehicles including; switching to a liquid cooled electric drive, modifying the steering geometry and additional fine-tuning of the Electronic Power Steering calibration. As these changes took time, we also refined the SOLO in subtle, but important, ways as well – integrating notable performance and driver-comfort improvements. For instance, the production SOLO’s will offer a new seat design, enhanced stereo system with Bluetooth technology, and reduced interior cabin noise. All of these upgrades have taken time to integrate but will ultimately prove invaluable, helping to ensure the successful launch of the SOLO and positive consumer feedback.”

See NewsletterElectra Meccanica keeps grinding on apparently getting closer to actual production and sales but the excitement has gone for me. I’m just grimly clinging to hope that I will ever drive a Solo EV. I don’t know anyone who did not like the seat, or the air-cooled motor or the steering. Why change what works? OK, maybe more people will like something more complex but to me more complexity is just more ways to fail. I hate failure. I just want to drive alone electrically. Why won’t EMV let me do that? Why won’t they let me buy one of those 50 Solos?

Posted in technology | Tagged , | Comments Off on Solo Gen III


Iran has been around for millennia and isn’t going to go away or change any time soon. What should we do about Iran? How about leaving it alone?  How about not trying to get Iran to copy our mistakes? How about getting rid of Trump?

In my lifetime, the West has been meddling in Iran setting up the Pahlavi regime to keep oil online, supporting Israel in a misguided attempt to soothe consciences over treatment of Jews before and during WW II, and generally treating Iran as a pariah. All that history can’t be undone and we can’t “fix” Iran. Leave that to Iranians. It’s their country.

Now we have Trump assassinating the second in command in Iran in the hope it will make Iranians love him. Another lie. This lie is more serious than others pushing us to war. I can think of a hundred responses by Iran and a thousand counter-responses by Trump and they all lead downhill into the pit of war.

The problem here is not Iran but Trump. His short-sighted transactional view of the world is making war inevitable. Better to impeach him for making war without approval of Congress as soon as possible, perhaps tomorrow, then bring back the nuclear treaty and get rid of some sanctions and …

Posted in politics | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Iran

Fallout From Trump’s Tariff War OR GNU/Linux Beats TOOS

“In a major blow to Microsoft, the Chinese government will be replacing all PCs that run Windows by 2022, and could instead use a Chinese-created Linux distro, such as Kylin Linux.”
See China to ditch all Windows PCs by 2022 – could this be Linux’s time to shine?
Well. I don’t expect Trump’s reign to turn out well at all but this could be a silver lining in that cloud. Anytime millions switch to GNU/Linux is a good few years by me. China will outlast Trumpism. So will GNU/Linux one way or another.

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fallout From Trump’s Tariff War OR GNU/Linux Beats TOOS

The OS Wars Continue

“Beijing has ordered all government offices and public institutions to remove foreign computer equipment and software within three years, in a potential blow to the likes of HP, Dell and Microsoft.”
See Beijing orders state offices to replace foreign PCs and software
Chuckle. While attempting to protect “intellectual property” and enhance security, the Trumpists ban Huawei and slap on tariffs. China is now banning some of that intellectual property including TOOS and hardware from several USAian manufacturers. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
I have mixed feelings. On the one hand this will reduce the GOP’s hold on USAian politics as manufacturing and the GDP suffer under this crap but on the other Free Software may actually get a boost in China. Go GNU/Linux!

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The OS Wars Continue

Here Comes Buster!

It’s been a while since I upgraded to a new version of Debian GNU/Linux but the opportunity arrived last month. I waited until today, being bored out of my mind by endless Trumpisms, news-cycles and the weather. I’d been putting the upgrade off thinking I did not want to deal with any breakage. Finally, I did the deed. It was boring until I rebooted. GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader) could not find anything. I poked around for hours not finding any way to tweak it. Finally, in desperation, I told the ancient, clunky, BIOS to reorder the hard drives from largest to smallest… Damn! It worked! Somehow the new version of GRUB could not deal with the mess my Beast’s storage is. There was one other glitch. MySQL would not run. There were no sensible messages in the logs or from “systemd”. The status was active (exited), whatever that means. I did coax out one error message about an obsolete setting in a configuration file and deleted it. Still it would not start. In desperation, I stopped the “exited” mysql and started it. That worked. Damn! I hate systemd.

Oh well. After updating thousands of packages I have a brand new OS and applications all humming along wonderfully. It’s beautiful music.

UPDATE: After trying to use some other applications, I discovered apparmor has been added to the mix. Now the system is like TOOS (That Other OS) in wanting to restrict permissions on many applications. Sigh. Now I have to dance a jig to get files downloaded from the web deposited in the folder of my choice. I can’t by default download to /var/myfolder/x, for instance. I can’t even browse much of the file-system. Have to look into this. It’s not very helpful. Many desktop applications can’t browse to /home/pogson/whatever, for instance, because / is protected, despite my owning the files/directories in which I want to write or even read. I tried using apparmor-utilities supplied with Debian but I could not get them to just warn instead of deny access. However, /tmp is allowed so I have a work-around and a bit of editing of /etc/apparmor/apparmor.d fixed the access to my /home/directory. Sigh…

Posted in technology | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Here Comes Buster!

Myths About EVs

Chuckle. While those in the know have long since overcome their fears of EVs, many still cling to these:

“Hyundai UK commissioned a study about people’s attitudes toward electric car. The biggest reason people don’t buy electric cars is still range anxiety.”
See Hyundai UK Explodes 10 Common Myths About Driving An Electric Car

  • Range anxiety
  • Where to charge
  • Electric cars are too expensive
  • Electric cars are too sluggish
  • You can’t drive an electric car in thunderstorm or through a car wash
  • There aren’t enough electric car models on the market
  • EV batteries wind up in landfills
  • Electric cars aren’t safe
  • Roadside assistance can’t help with electric cars
  • Electric cars don’t have enough performance

Nope. None of those are true today. The last one to die was the one about not enough models. That may have been true a couple of years ago but now just about every maker of ICEd vehicles also makes EVs. There are several makers who only make EVs. The sticker price may still be a little high but when you consider total cost of ownership, it’s no contest. EVs cost less to power and less to maintain and they last longer. ICEd engines last about 1000h of operation for gasoline and 2000h for diesel but electric motors can run continuously for decades. Well, maybe they need new bearings once in a while but that’s a very quick operation, not “rebuilding”. Performance? Chuckle… I can still remember the thrill of the old electric trolley buses with people having to lean into the acceleration. That was always a myth.

So, go ahead. Buy and drive an EV. You won’t regret it.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Myths About EVs

The Hunt, 2019

Once more deer season came and went. We didn’t hunt with muzzle-loader this year. My buddy’s not into that… So, we went out into the cold and laid in wait with those new-fangled brass cartridges. The first day was bitterly cold and windy so I stayed home. My buddy got a young buck around middle of the day.

A few days later, it was Friday but we saw nothing. It was bitterly cold. The next good weather was a weekend so the area would be crawling with weekend warriors, and we passed. Finally, on Monday, we had warm enough temperature and light winds so off we went. The morning was uneventful except that my gloved hand grew cold enough to need a chemical hand-warmer, the rusting iron type, date-expired in 2014. That made me comfortable and the fingers flexible. My buddy saw a doe come right up to us but I saw nothing as it was on an edge hidden by the trunk of a thick poplar. A flock of chickadees also buzzed across the opening we were guarding.

The afternoon had settled in a bit when I saw a distant form glide across the opening. It was about 200 yards away and I saw through the scope of my 308 what looked like a mature doe. I was cold enough that I didn’t want to wait longer for a larger buck… Unfortunately, I had in the chamber a 180 RN bullet so I paused to eject that and chamber a 165 BTSP, more effective at that range. Unfortunately the deer had moved all the way across the opening and I could not see it in my scope. My buddy spotted it and picked it off with a 7mm Remington Magnum with 150 SP. The deer ran back across the opening and disappeared. We waited a decent interval then found a fire-hose-like trail of blood with the deer about 20 yards from where it was hit, quite bled out.

Again it was a young buck with antlers very tiny and weighing perhaps 200 pounds. It was likely a fawn last year. The bullet made a classic hit through the boiler room, nicking the heart. The guts were empty so it likely was out having brunch. It’s hanging in the garage now waiting to be butchered. The first deer sent about 20 pounds of meat through a new electric grinder. I’ve eaten some burgers of that and it’s delicious.

So, again I did not shoot a deer although I came very close. The deer season ends this week and we’re having a spot of very mild weather. That changed the movements of the deer the opposite of what we’re used to at that spot, moving left to right heading out to the fields instead of coming into the forest right to left. Also, “stop, look and listen” was replaced by walking on. It’s all good. The deer are still a bit of a challenge and food in the freezer. Clearly, numbers have increased greatly after three years of bucks-only licensing.

Posted in firearms, weather | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Hunt, 2019

You Can Cut Through Anything…

“the Post reported that smugglers have been using reciprocating saws to cut through the steel and concrete portions of the wall, creating openings wide enough for people and drugs to be smuggled through.
The agents told the Post the saws can cut through the bollards in a matter of minutes. Engineers told the newspaper that because of the height of the bollards, which are between 18 to 30 feet tall, it’s easier to push the steel out of the way to pass through the other side.
Trump said he hadn’t heard reports about cutting through the border wall, but, he added, “you can cut through anything.””
See Washington Post: Border agents say smugglers in Mexico are sawing through parts of Trump’s border wall
One of the objections to The Great Wall Of Trump was that it would not work. Well, now that a few miles of it have been built, replacing old wall, smugglers routinely saw through it. We told the folks who voted for Trump that would happen. Does USA really want to spend $billions more on a wall as an exercise?
I don’t think so. Instead of letting smugglers raise their prices they should fire Trump. It would be worth it.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , | Comments Off on You Can Cut Through Anything…