TOTD 2018/1/30: About Five Minutes of Time

(H/T Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.com)

I was surprised at first to hear Jordan Peterson’s voice being weepy. I understood why in less than a minute.

The radio personality said that the leading cause of death for young men is suicide. What a waste!

What did you think on the two ways Jordan Peterson defined Feminism?

 

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SOTU Breakdown- A Curmudgeon Reflects

My diagnosis on the SOTU address.

The messaging was tasked to emotionally convince both men and women in different ways that they belong to a group, Americans, who do heroic things, who have empathy, who help the needy, who nurture the babies, who lay down their lives for others as an act of love. We act together, we grieve together and we fix things together.

He showed people, not faceless government as the engine of virtue.

The use of visuals was masterful, his delivery was comforting, not bombastic. He shared his feelings with all of us.
It was pitch perfect and while not soaring prose, the emotions invoked were soaring and that is what counts. I recall Reagan made me feel good. This one made me feel more than that.

The visuals the Democrats offered were all dark, negative and painful to watch. He gave them a chance to be the loyal opposition, who share the goals and have different means. They declined that role. They are out to take back their power. It is as if he knew they would and created a prime time show for them to prove it to the American people.

First lady Melania Trump arrives before the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Peak Oil Postponed

The Left and other assorted busybodies have been warning about Peak Oil ever since I was in college. And believe me, that was decades ago. In the 1950s, the original peak-oil worrywart predicted peak US production c. 1970 at about 3,000 Mbbl/yr or about 8 Mbbl/day. Since then, the whinging worriers have moved the date later in response to repeatedly being wrong. Oil will run out some day if we continue on the current path. Of course, humanity never continues on the same path forever. As Sheikh Yamani noted, “The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.”

As of January 2018, US domestic crude oil and natural gas production made new all-time highs. Current oil production at 10 Mbbl/day exceeds the 8 Mbbl/day predicted peak by 25%, about 50 years after the peak was supposed to be reached. Note especially the decline in oil production during the waning days of the Obama administration and the uptick after Trump’s arrival. Of course, falling and later rising world prices also had something to do with that but do you think that the rise would have happened under the Clinton regime?

Two significant implications come to mind:

  1. Funding for terrorist is undermined by decreased dependence on Middle East oil.
  2. “Experts” are terrible at prediction in this area. We should never believe them in the future.

www.eia.gov

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TOTD 2018/02/01: Bias

We’re all aware how much it pervades the MSM but I was surprised by the extent it has affected the hundreds of American polling organizations as well. After all, these people are paid to win elections and their reputations used to depend upon accuracy.

I alluded in Dime’s post “TOTD 2018/1/27: Never Feed a Troll” to Trump’s intention to make polling a truly reputable tool. His campaign chose to change the nature of sample questions based upon the fact that many people are reluctant to express their true opinions for fear of repercussions. This was a brilliant strategy indeed as I was about to discover after reading the best of the Trump books out there so far, How Trump Won by Joel Pollak and Larry Schweikart.

What I was not prepared to discover was the disingenuous and manipulative nature of the majority of pollsters in this country who were determined to navigate a Clinton victory. Nearly 90% of them distorted their samples to enhance the Clinton campaign.

Here is a sample of Machiavellian tactics at work:

  1. Polling question #1: Can we speak to the youngest voter in the household?
  2. After determining the registered status of the individual, they chose to represent 26% of Republicans in the samples.
  3. They chose to over-represent women by 60%.

The list goes on but what has become apparent is that pollsters actively skewed questions and results in order to present a Clinton presidency as a fait accompli that would discourage Trump supporters from turning out to vote.

God Bless the Trumpsters because this only infuriated and energized them.

But the greatest irony of all:

They misled the Clinton campaign so thoroughly that they spent millions of dollars unwisely. Clinton didn’t step foot in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania in the last months of her campaign. As a former Michigan native, even I knew what would happen there and I was right. (Trump should have hired me to work that state!)

Trump won Michigan by only 10,000 votes but this is how it went down:

There are only 3 counties that matter.

  1. Wayne- urban Detroit but turnout was half what it was for Obama. Quelle surprise!
  2. Oakland- (where I grew up) is primarily composed of affluent car execs and soccer moms. Trump only won 35% here as to be expected. People who live there have the luxury to worry more about PETA than real issues.
  3. MACOMB- the land of the highly skilled working class automakers (tool and die makers for example) who have been out of work for a decade. This county was the deciding factor in the state win and even in the national election. Kudos to them because this has been a socio-economic demographic so discouraged by government, many hadn’t voted for 20 years.

Trump seemed to find an entirely new network of voters that Democrats apparently didn’t realize existed- eligible, but disinterested!

I don’t do the book How Trump Won true justice but please try to read it; it is a significant educational tool to use when making future political decisions.

 

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A Question for the Tribe

I watched a solid performance by POTUS -VSG at the State of the Union tonight.

He hit the right notes and set the tone for moving forward.

He allowed his opposition to meet him partway, an offer they refused with ill grace and petulance on display for all to see.

He knows there is seriously disturbing news coming in bushel basket loads for the America people about their FBI, their DOJ and their government in general.

I do believe he put a marker out there before the storm hits that “there is a better way”

As the week unfolds, it shall be interesting to watch.

So, fellow Ratburger Afficionados , beloved Deplorables and other apt descriptions, what was your reaction to the SOTU ?

US President Donald Trump listens to applause before giving the State of the Union address at the Capitol in Washington.
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Gizmos: Nixie Tube Clock

Nixie tube clock

Is there any retro-technologist who doesn’t love nixie tubes?  Originally developed in the 1950s, a nixie tube consists of an envelope filled with a rarefied gas (usually neon, sometimes with a bit of argon), a wire mesh anode, and ten separate cathodes in the shapes of the decimal digits (or whatever the designer wishes).  A constant positive voltage is applied to the anode, and the cathodes can be made to light up by connecting them to ground, which causes a current to flow, making the gas near the grounded cathode glow in the shape of the digit.  Nixie tubes are particularly easy to drive from decimal-oriented circuits such as ring counters, and were widely used in early computers, calculators, and test equipment.  A rapidly-changing nixie tube has a particularly intriguing appearance since each digit appears in its own plane and the digits consequently appear to jump toward and away from the viewer.

By the 1970s, nixie tubes had largely been replaced in the west by LED and vacuum fluorescent displays, but they remained in use in the Soviet bloc for many more years, and new old stock (NOS) tubes from Soviet and Eastern European manufacturers are readily available today at affordable prices.  Nixie tubes are cold cathode devices and have no filament to burn out, so they have long lifetimes: a well-made nixie tube can last more than twenty years in continuous operation.

I have had an inordinate fondness for nixie tubes ever since I first glimpsed one in the 1960s, and when I heard of a source for a nixie tube clock, jumped on the opportunity to obtain one.  The clock pictured above, running next to the computer on which I’m writing this document, is made by Millclock of  Zaporizhzhska, Ukraine.  They sell a variety of nixie-based clocks and thermometers: this is one of their less fancy offerings.  This model is available both in kit and assembled form.  I opted for the assembled version since it uses surface mount components and, although I’ve been building electronic gear since I was nine years old, I lack the equipment and experience for that demanding technology.

Nixie clock: circuit boards

Inside the clock are two circuit boards.  The top circuit board mounts the nixie tubes and blue LEDs for the optional back light.  The nixie tubes are soldered directly to the top board: they are not socketed.  The rest of the circuitry is on the bottom board.  A button battery provides back-up power so the clock need not be reset in the event of a power outage (the nixie tube display is, of course, extinguished while external power is absent).

Nixie tube clock: back view

Here is a view of the back of the clock.  It is powered by a “wall wart” power adapter which delivers 12 volts DC through the power connector at the left (barrel negative, pin positive).   The wall wart has a Europlug mains plug; if your wiring uses a different standard you’ll need an adapter; it runs on either 50 or 60 Hz and any voltage from 100 to 240 V, so that’s all you’ll need.  The two intermittent switches at right are used to set the clock and specify modes.  If the “S” switch is pressed while the clock is running, it will switch from displaying the time to showing the date, then switch back automatically to the time.  Pressing the “M” switch toggles among mode settings as described below.

Nixie clock: set hourThe first press on the “M” button allows you to set the hour.  Each press on the “S” button increments the hour, or you can hold down the button to rapidly advance the hour.  The hour is always set in 24 hour mode, from 0 to 23, even if you’ve selected 12 hour display (see below).  If you don’t want to set something, just press the “M” button to advance to the next setting without pressing the “S” button.

The next press on “M” advances to set the minute, which is set just like the hour.  When you change the hour or minute, the seconds are automatically reset to zero.  You can use this, while watching another clock, to set the clock to the second.  If you skip past the hour and second without changing them, the seconds will not be reset and the clock will continue to run while you modify other settings.

Nixie clock: set day of monthThe day of the month is set next, using the same procedure.


Nixie clock: set monthThe month, from 1 for January to 12 for December is set next.


Nixie clock: set yearNext, you set the year, modulo 100 (for example, 18 for 2018).


Nixie clock: adjust clock rateThe next setting is used to “trim” the rate at which the clock runs to correct it if it gains or loses time.  The default setting of 50 (note that in the Soviet bloc IN-14 tubes used in this clock, the “5” is an upside-down “2”) is the default rate of the clock’s oscillator.  You can adjust it up and down between 0 and 99 to correct the oscillator’s speed.  My clock runs just fine with the default setting.


Nixie clock: automatic date settingNext, we encounter a sequence of mode settings which are specified by single digits.  The first setting controls whether the clock displays the time continuously until the “S” button is pressed to show the date (0), or cycles back and forth from time to date (1).  Use the “S” button to choose the desired mode.


Nixie clock: set 12/24 hour displayYou can choose to show the time in 24 hour mode (0) or 12 hour mode (1).  Note that if you set 12 hour mode, you must still enter hours in 24 hour mode when setting the clock time or alarm.


Nixie clock: set backlightThe clock includes blue LEDs beneath each of the nixie tubes to provide a backlight effect.  You can choose among four modes.  If you choose 0, the backlight is always off; if 1, always on.  Mode 2 turns the backlight on between 6 and 23 hours, while in mode 3, it is on from 22 to 6 hours.  Here is the clock with the backlight activated.
Nixie clock: backlight on
I have remarked that the blue LED is the technological design cliché of the present day, and further I find that it detracts from the mellow retro vibe of the orange nixie glow.  Other than for this picture, I’ll leave it off.

Nixie clock: set anti cathode poisoningIn the clock application, the most significant digits of the hour and minute displays use a subset of the ten digits in the tube.  This renders them vulnerable to reduced lifetime due to “cathode poisoning”.  Setting this mode to 1 causes the clock to periodically cycle among all digits to reduce the impact of this and extend the tubes’ lives.


Nixie clock: activate alarmThis activates (1) or deactivates (0) the alarm clock function.


Nixie clock: beep on hourIf you’d like the clock to beep at the top of the hour (why?) set this to 1, otherwise leave it 0.


Nixie clock: set alarm hourSet to 1 to set the hours of the alarm.


Nixie clock: set alarm minuteSet to 1 to set the minutes of the alarm.


Nixie clock: alarm hourSet the alarm hour (24 hour clock).


Nixie clock: alarm minuteSet the alarm minute (0–59).


After you have set all the modes, the clock will cycle through all the digits to confirm the settings and return to the time display.

To be sure, this clock does not use remote radio, NTP, or GPS to set itself automatically.  You’ll have to reset it if it drifts, and twice a year if you live in one of those benighted jurisdictions where a coercive government makes its subjects change their clocks twice a year.  (Look at us!  We have so much power over you we can change the time!)  But this is retro-technology—none of those things (well, maybe the coercive government) existed in the heyday of nixie tubes.  What I like about this clock is not just the look, but that, sitting on the nightstand, it serves as a night vision friendly night light and its big digits are (more or less) legible to my myopic vision without fumbling for glasses.

One ergonomics note.  Between the hours and minutes tubes, there’s a small neon lamp which blinks every second.  The leads to this lamp are uninsulated, and protected only by the adjacent tubes.  If these leads should be shorted together, they’ll short the high voltage supply, which will take down the display.  If you somehow manage to touch them with your finger (which is very difficult), you’ll get a (harmless) shock.  Be careful not to disturb this bulb.

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Who Put The Twit in Twitter…Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp De Bomp Bomp

David Brooks NYT Nonsense

This one takes the cake for showing just how arrogant and cloistered the elites are. I meet lots of Americans every day that I will match up against any Dreamer you care to name, but none of them come from the circles Mr Brooks travels in.
I do believe “And the horse you rode in on (if you could ride a horse)” is a partial proper response to this unmitigated twit.

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TOTD 2018/1/29: Local Attractions

(Click on the picture to see it better)

This is the city of Kobe, Japan. The picture was taken from a platform while I was waiting for a train. It is not a poster but a big flat screen TV.

As we all know いくたび、新しい出会い means “How often you visit, there is always something new” A wooden translation is “Again and again, new encounters/meetings”.  There is no subject at all in the catchphrase. Everyone knows what is meant.

The picture shows seven tourist attractions. I will explain them from left to right.

  1. Gigantor (This is big like the name)
  2. Nunobiki Herb Garden (This is on a hill above the city. You can take a gondola up to it.)
  3. Chinatown
  4. The Weathercock House (Kobe was known for a foreign settlement and having Western houses. A big tourist attraction is paying to go into these old houses. This weather vane shows the international flavor of the city. If you showed this picture by itself, a Japanese would know it was Kobe. It is that famous.)
  5. Kobe Port Tower
  6. Meriken Park (This is a plaza of sorts down by the water. The name comes from “American”. Come to think of it some people drop the first “A”, don’t they?)
  7.  Sake Brewery
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Just In The Nick of Time…

Victor Davis Hanson publishes this essay as my subscription is about to expire:

The Many Wars of Donald Trump – National Review

My only complaint would be registered in the very first paragraph:

“As President Trump finished his first full year in office, he could look back at an impressive record of achievement of a kind rarely attained by an incoming president- much less by one who arrived in office as a private sector billionaire…”

What on Earth provokes such intelligent people to denigrate such an impressive economic achievement?

Read it anyway; it’s very insightful and respectful of everything Trump has accomplished in his first year.

 

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And So It Begins…

And So It Begins…

One of my favorite lines from a show called Babylon 5, spoken by a mysterious alien ambassador and is perhaps the most specific neon lighted piece of foreshadowing ever done in the media.

It ran for five seasons and despite the vagaries of syndicated television at the time, the show runner had the whole story laid out for a five year run and managed to keep it mostly on track, despite being a most obnoxious left leaning libertarian.

The other line that is attached “The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote…”

So today, the shoes start to drop, the resignations begin and we see if the side of light has a plan or is just fighting against the swamp vainly.

I do hope they have a plan.

Last quote for the times.. “Watch for shadows, for they move when you are not looking…”

I do so want to see a win here in my lifetime.

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Today’s Kipling – Norman and Saxon

Norman and Saxon

A.D. 1100

Rudyard Kipling

“My son,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for share
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

“The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow–with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.

“You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears;
But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

“But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs and songs.
Don’t trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale of their own wrongs.
Let them know that you know what they are saying; let them feel that you know what to say.
Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear ’em out if it takes you all day.

They’ll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour of the dark.
It’s the sport not the rabbits they’re after (we’ve plenty of game in the park).
Don’t hang them or cut off their fingers. That’s wasteful as well as unkind,
For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man- at-arms you can find.

“Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parishpriests.
Say ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘ours’ when you’re talking, instead of ‘you fellows’ and ‘I.’
Don’t ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell ’em a lie!”

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