It’s amazing to watch the financial markets these days. There’s Trump and the damned virus and Russia all causing trouble and optimism reigns. It’s as if investors were convinced the markets could never decline. It’s as if investors had no concern about the national debt. It’s as if investors had no concern that it looks like 5% of the world’s population could die this year from the virus and there would be no compounding effects on the markets.

Those investors are in denial. Only a few years ago the Government of Pigs were whining that the deficit could reach a $trillion in Obama’s term. Now USA is running multiple $trillions indebtedness annually. Just who is going to repay that debt and when? How much of that debt is owed to China? What could possibly go wrong, go wrong, go wrong…? Trump doesn’t care about USAian national debt because he’s moving to Russia before the DOJ returns to rule of law and locks him up. Trump doesn’t care about how many million USAians will die from the virus because he can get the best medical care in the world while others fight over ventilators and medicines. Trump doesn’t care if he starts an uncivil war because he’s leaving office and USA one way or another.

I dropped my shares of USAian companies when I saw Trump on the horizon and I’m glad I did. Gold was USD$1200/ounce then. It’s USD$1800/ounce now and I’m leveraged to the hilt. Canada also has a very low incidence of the virus thanks to sanity in high places. Good luck USA. Good luck world. You are in for a world of hurt this year.

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To The Future

I’m hoping for a better future:“Over the past decade, battery costs have seen a dramatic drop — from over $1,000 per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to around $156 per kWh in 2019, according to BloombergNEF. That’s getting very close to the “magic number” of $100/kWh that many believe will bring EVs to price parity with legacy vehicles, and end the Oil Age.”

See There’s A Global Battery Revolution Underway, & Tesla’s Leading It

  • one without Trump
  • one without Global Warming
  • one with more EVs
I know. I’m dreaming, but it’s OK to dream isn’t it? Getting rid of Trump is not a sure thing but better EVs is given that more companies are making them and investing a lot in designing what people need, especially bigger and better batteries. I think EVs already are on price parity with gas-guzzlers if one considers the cost of fuel and maintenance over the life of the vehicle. Lowering the price of batteries just shortens the break-even year. For the typical EV today, it’s about year eight. Soon it will be year five. It’s all good. Can’t wait for the future.

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Suing Oil

“For decades, these oil and gas companies spent millions to mislead consumers and discredit climate science in pursuit of profits. The defendants violated the District’s consumer protection law by concealing the fact that using fossil fuels threatens the health of District residents and the environment. OAG filed this suit to end these disinformation campaigns and to hold these companies accountable for their deceptive practices.”
See D.C. Attorney General Is Suing Oil & Gas Companies For Their Misinformation Campaigns

I’ve noticed a few lawsuits filed against Big Oil in the last year. The latest is Washington DC. They claim Big Oil falsely claimed their products would save the planet while they knew the converse was true. Good for them.

How long before they add automakers pushing internal combustion engines? EVs here we come! This suit will likely gain traction after the Dems take over the Whitehouse, the Senate and the House in DC. It’s all good…

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Catch COVID-19 at your stupid rally in Tulsa!
Go Straight To Hell!

Well, I can dream, can’t I? By the numbers, it is quite likely that one of these two Bozos will catch COVID-19 but it is unlikely that both will. Chances of one of them dying is finite but small. Both? Pie in the sky. It would be nice, though, with Nancy Pelosi next in line to the presidency… What a house-cleaning she could do at the White House.

UPDATE Uh-oh! Couldn’t fill that arena in Tulsa? In one of the reddest states in USA? In primetime on a Saturday? Uh-oh? Can you say, “Lame Duck President”, boys and girls? What’s an infected lame duck president? What’s a campaign that can’t fill a venue for a sitting president? November’s going to be really great!

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Despair Is The New World Order

Effectively, USA has been the “leader” of the free world for decades. That’s all turning to dust in the reign of Trump. Yesterday, he threatened to issue illegal orders to the US military to invade states who did not stifle free speech sufficiently. That would spawn another uncivil war within the USAian armed forces and the national guards of several states. Still Congress will not impeach this saboteur in the White House.

I don’t know what will happen but I see nothing good coming out of this. Tyrants love a good war to distract from their incompetence. It remains to be seen whether USA will take Trump’s bait. I despair that enough will to ignite the fire of war. I don’t know anyone who sincerely believes Trump is the right man for the job yet there is no sign of any deviation to nominate another candidate for the election and there’s no doubt in my mind that Trump and his supporters will reject the result in any case.

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The Second Wave

Idiots everywhere are getting ahead of their skis. This is the situation:

  • The virus is still out there. There are thousands of new cases daily and thousands of deaths daily.
  • These rates are similar to the times when COVID-19 was making headlines and restrictions on exposures were attempted to stem the tide. The horrible spike soon followed.
  • There is little to no herd immunity yet because only a few million have antibodies to the virus.
  • Testing is still woefully inadequate.
  • Summer will not save us. It’s always summer in our homes and businesses.
  • Trump will not save us. He’s trying to wash his hands of the catastrophe blaming it on previous administrations and governments with “no deficit” lines in their constitutions.
  • There is no vaccine on the horizon.
  • There is no good treatment.

No. Do the maths. This thing won’t “go away”. That’s childish wishful thinking. This thing will come back for a second wave and a third wave if we let it. 7% of infections result in death globally. 6% of infections result in death in USA. Do you feel lucky? Well, do you punk? (Dirty Harry as COVID-19)…

UPDATE On reflection, things are worse than I thought. Rather than just starting a new wave, USA is starting a bigger and badder wave. My reasoning is thus: this thing spreads exponentially. The difference between the first wave and the second wave is that for the second wave we are starting with thousands rather than tens of spreaders. That means whatever the magnitude of the current number of infections/impending deaths growth will be hundreds of times faster resulting in certain overloading of the rickety for-profit health-system. I’m not so concerned with WA, CA and NY as much as the many smaller states which have just begun to see their first wave. The human wave assault on their position is overwhelming and multiple grenades have landed in the trench. Social distancing will look like a pleasant picnic compared to calling in friendly fire to stop things this time. There will have to be roadblocks and martial law this time or millions of lives could be snuffed out. Blame Trump. I’m just the messenger.

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New EV

I was excited to receive information in my in-box about the KIA Soul EV.  It looked like a fine alternative to waiting for my Solo EV. I “built” my model. The only real colour was “Space Green”. A pukey light and metallic green. The other “colours” were some form of grey. Then I saw the price, $45K CDN… twice the price of Solo for less car. OK, the Soul can ferry two or more twice the distance but it uses 64kWh, four times the energy to do that. That’s not efficient nor green.

Sigh. Still waiting for my new EV. The Solo, even as vapour-ware, makes other EVs pale into insignificance in my estimation. Solo meets my needs for range and efficiency and capacity.

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Summer Arrives This Week

We’ve had a really strange spring. April had very little rain and not much heat. May, so far, has been cold and windy. Finally, summer heat is expected next week. I can finally spray the weeds.

This is all part of global warming despite the local chill. No kidding. We had -10C temperatures just the other night. This cold air has come from the Arctic displaced by warm air from elsewhere. The polar air which normally sits there keeping ice going just can’t sit still with Earth and the oceans this warm. At least the weather won’t be boring. This summer, expect many storms as warm and cold air mix over us. I hope we don’t get another killing frost after the buds on my trees open. I should plant the garden about the middle of next week, at least the hardy stuff like onions. All the pots cluttering my dining room will visit the great outdoors to get used to the climate. This will be a great relief to TLW who resents the loss of the dining room’s table.

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More Thoughts On Eastern Cottonwood

“As exasperating as cottonwood trees can be to some forestland owners, they are an invaluable wildlife habitat resource throughout their range. Where they can be protected do it! And if they don’t occur within suitable habitat on your property, they are easily planted. In fact they are one of the easiest species to propagate, and one of the fastest to deliver results.”

See What Good Is A Cottonwood Tree?

The more I read about Populus deltoides, the more I love it. It’s a really fast-growing tree and apparently it can deal with the muck in my yard I call soil. If one wants to sequester carbon from the air, why not plant a bunch? I can envisage an acreage just filled with these giants. One could easily be self-sufficient in firewood, lumber for beehives and fencing, mulch for the garden, have abundant shade, food and shelter for many birds, swings for the grand kids, etc. Just plant cuttings or seedlings, add water, and wait five years. Amazing.

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New Tree In The Yard

I’ve long known the existence of the “cottonwood” trees, Populus deltoides, but I had no idea until yesterday that I had one in my yard. You see, my yard is full of young trees. I had assumed this tree was just one of several kinds of poplars growing in the neighbourhood. A seed must have landed and germinated in my yard and I moved the young seedling into a row along the periphery, out of the way of other things I do…

The problem is that Populus deltoides, the Eastern Cottonwood, is not like the other local poplars. They remain skinny and not too tall. The Eastern Cottonwood grows quickly like other poplars but it lives to be a century old and huge. It’s not a tree to put on the property line. It doesn’t make good neighbours. On the one hand its huge branches are likely to break off and fall on the neighbour’s property in the wind and on the other, some Eastern Cottonwoods are male and some are female. The females produce an abundance of cotton strands to carry their seeds in the wind. It can be too much of a good thing. Nick a root and it will send up a “sucker”. Just mowing the lawn or raking it can encourage suckering…

What to do? I could leave the tree as is. That’s the procrastinator’s option which I often favour. I could destroy the tree. That’s not very “green” of me.  I could let it grow to a good size and convert it to lumber or mulch. It’s not the best of lumber having a rather soft wood but I could make pallets or beehives out of it. I could move it away from the property line but TLW would not approve. She hates trees that she does not buy in stores…

Most likely I will do nothing. I might make cuttings and plant them in better locations. That’s the easiest solution.

How do I know this young tree is a cottonwood? After all, we know babies all look alike… It’s in the twig. It’s in the leaves. I had noticed the leaves were rather more broad than most local poplars but these were gigantic. It just did not dawn on me that it was a cottonwood until yesterday. The trigger was my noticing the branches have prominent ridges descending from nodes on the twigs. Most poplars don’t have those ridges. The Eastern Cottonwood sometimes has them. A search of images on Google found this link. It’s pretty good confirmation that this tree is a variety of Eastern Cottonwood.

It’s rather rare in these parts, mostly growing to the south, east and west of us but it’s here. The City of Winnipeg lists only 52 of them on their property compared to 12500 poplars of all kinds.

| 7738 | Poplar species                   | Populus spp.                       |
| 4317 | trembling aspen                  | Populus tremuloides                |
|  206 | silver poplar / European white p | Populus alba                       |
|   78 | largetooth aspen                 | Populus grandidentata              |
|   74 | balsam poplar                    | Populus balamifera                 |
|   52 | Cottonwood                       | Populus deltoides                  |
|   36 | Prairie Sky poplar               | Populus x canadensis               |

UPDATE I did a walkaround today after venturing out into the cold of the morning to plant my last arborvitae. The only difference I see in this monster from descriptions of Eastern Cottonwood is that the buds are about the same size as our local poplars. Most descriptions describe 3/4 inch buds. These are about 1/4 inch and still quite tight. OTH, ISTR that this thing was just a seedling when I moved it to the side of yard. The subsequent year’s growth seems to have been two feet. Last year’s growth was six feet! It is indeed a monster. It may have crossbred with the local poplars to have smaller buds but there’s no denying the colossal growth rate. I think it is too large to dig up easily. We’ll see what happens. I’m tempted to take some cuttings to see if I can plant two close together to give the grand kids a swing in the shade.

We have to live with it.  We have to love such a vigorous tree. Anything that will grow in my yard must be respected and valued.

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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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