To Be Or Not To Be…

The train-wreck continues. Trump continues to abuse anyone critical of his perverse policies. Gifted civil servants have to choose whether to risk unemployment or passively tolerate Trump’s outrageous statements and deeds.

It’s election year folks. It’s not the end of your career if Trump fires you. If you have faith in democracy you will know that Trump will be kicked aside by the electorate and even the Electoral College. You can safely speak truth to power and maintain your integrity and continue good works for society. The next government will reinstate you for your expertise most likely. You are valuable to society and can find another position one way or another. Speak the truth. It will set you free.

Let’s hope Trump fades away like the virus he is.

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Update on Everything

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. A lot has happened. Here’s my take on it.

Trump has turned daily briefings into political ads for himself. It won’t work. Even Rasmussen has him far down in the polls. They’ve supported him through thick and thin. This is thinner. Trump can’t blame Obama for what Trump has done to gut USAian response to COVID-19. Trump can’t blame Obama for deaths on Trump’s watch. The %$#@@@! is hitting the fan. Things like this just smell bad as the bodies pile up. Even SD, out in the sticks just south of where I live, has had a meat-packing plant close because there weren’t enough healthy workers to do the jobs. How is USA to reopen on May 1? Only with a wave of dead USAians in his strongest supporters. Of course a lot of Ds are dying but the turnout on election day will be overwhelming. Trumpism is toast. The day of retribution draws nearer. I can see subpoenas and arrest warrants going out all over the land on 2021 January 20. I think transition teams will be making lists. I would not be surprised if SCOTUS justices are asked to sign warrants on the dais at the inauguration of Biden. Trump will either have to fly to Russia on Trump Air earlier or lead a coup. Neither will succeed. There are enough good USAians to prevent those outcomes from succeeding.

The winter was mild but I’m impatient for spring to spring. We’re just ending a cold snap but above normal temperatures are expected. My living room is full of seedlings soaking up the rays nevertheless. It looks like a good year for sour cherries. They seem to love the muck I call soil and one gave fruit last year. I’m going to propagate by seed and cuttings to fill up the rest of the yard before TLW (The Little Woman) notices. Except for Christmas ornaments and fixing her berms she barely walks around the yard. She won’t notice new seedlings and cutting popping up everywhere. The plums are slowly but surely taking hold. I expect some flowers this year. Amen. It’s all good.

Damned COVID-19 marches on. My part of the world has largely been spared but we’re taking no chances. Grocery shopping is down to monthly and we even had Easter over the Internet. I missed the chocolate… I expect it will be more than a year before COVID-19 is handled and Trump will be in the news but in a good way for a change, in the rearview mirror.

The new Beast which I call Ghost of Beast is singing and dancing before me. The hardware is rock-solid and a bit quicker than my old computer. Databases, web-applications and desktop applications all work well. I’ve even grown comfortable talking to Beast over SSH from the comfort of my Lazy Boy chair via stupid phone. So far, the only problem seems to be that I have 99% occupancy on one partition. I may actually have to start deleting stuff I’ve accumulated over the years. I’ve taken to deleting images I stored in the 20th Century that aren’t of much particular interest. Stuff like people I don’t remember doing stuff I don’t remember. I keep a few that do connect with my failing memory. I have about 20 databases I haven’t used in years. They could go. The root directory of my web-server is cluttered with applications connected to such databases. They can go. I do have a grand daughter who might like to inherit my dabases of recipes and texts from the web. I expect she will have her own computer soon, so we could have a database-transferring party…

Thanks to Trumpism and COVID-19 the price of gold is approaching another all time high. It could be a very good year for my investments which I bought for pennies a share and are now sitting on $billions worth of gold. Unfortunately, my Solo EV seems to be still over the horizon. I’m definitely over the hill. Maybe we will meet on the other side.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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?

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Iran

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 …

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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.

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