‘Banana Republic’ Upgrade Quest

Now just one hour into the second electrical power failure in two weeks (the last one lasted 22 hours and it was 19 degrees F. when it began as 23:30), I and about 2500 other customers in the Pittsburgh suburbs are preparing to prevent frozen pipes in our homes. Actually, being a born-again survivalist, I am in pretty good shape – better than most – in that I have a standby electrical generator which runs everything except the main HVAC system.

My survivalism has translated into several ways to heat my house. I have two Mitsubishi mini-split heat pumps. One supplies heat when needed to the kitchen/family room; the other, the master bedroom. They work down to outside air temperature of about 11 degrees F. Last time, I did not use those, however, as I have a wood-burning freestanding stove (requires no electricity anyway) and a ventless gas stove in the kitchen.... [Read More]

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TOTD 2018-02-07: Experts

Ever since the 19th century, the largest industry in Zambia has been copper mining, which today accounts for 85% of the country’s exports.  The economy of the nation and the prosperity of its people rise and fall with the price of copper on the world market, so nothing is so important to industry and government planners as the expectation for the price of this commodity in the future.  Since the 1970s, the World Bank has issued regular forecasts for the price of copper and other important commodities, and the government of Zambia and other resource-based economies often base their economic policy upon these pronouncements by high-powered experts with masses of data at their fingertips.  Let’s see how they’ve done.
World Bank forecasts of copper price vs. actual price, 1970–1995

The above chart, from a paper [PDF] by Angus Deaton in the Summer 1999 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives shows, for the years 1970 through 1995, the actual price of copper (solid heavy line) and successive forecasts (light dashed lines) by the august seers of the World Bank.  Each forecast departs from the actual price line on the date at which it was issued.... [Read More]

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Mother Something Ukrainians

I find reality is still the best when it comes to comedy. Apparently, the Russians have a Howard Stern like set of pranksters who decided to call Rep Schiff and offer him nude photos of Trump with a Russian hooker. The pranksters were posing as Ukrainians, btw.

... [Read More]

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Inspiring Falcon Heavy Launch

During these times, when uplifting inspiration is in very short supply (my current motto is “No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up”), the launch of Falcon Heavy literally brought tears to my eyes. Through the things I have learned from other ‘Burgers, I have a sense of the magnitude of the engineering work which has sent the business end of this creation into an elliptical solar orbit which will intersect with that of Mars. It is the human ingenuity and collaboration behind the launch which I find so inspiring. The event was followed by three exclamation points, in the form of the upright landings of the three booster cores.

The payload, a red (purportedly Elon Musk’s) Tesla roadster with a glorified crash dummy in a spacesuit, is whimsical to the max. It is accompanied by  the latest and greatest data storage disc, one designed to endure, to tell of human achievements and to be sent wherever we eventually go in space. Lest we be badly misunderstood by an errant E.T., I hope it explains that the red car is not really a human space conveyance.... [Read More]

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Judo Moves – Schiffing in Public

It looks like the Schiff Dems on the House Intel Committee think they have a trap with their “counter memo”. It is said they have included the much vaunted ‘sources and methods’ to force Trump to redact their memo.

The counter play should be interesting. ... [Read More]

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TOTD:2018/2/6: Sines of the Times

I often wonder if there are gremlins that magically put mistakes in things when you hit print/publish. What is really bad is when a sign is made. Hundreds of dollars are spent to communicate how great your business is but someone forgot to proofread the foot high letters. I feel really bad for my non-English speaking neighbors because they don’t know how bad it looks.

There is a Beauty Salon near my house. But the signs says in big silver letters “Beaty Salon”.  It has been there for years.... [Read More]

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National Review and David French Continue to Embarrass Themselves

Once again National Review has decided to give space to a man who would not know the truth if it kissed his wife right before his eyes while slapping his momma. In the latest episode of how Clintonesque can I be with words, French writes this:

One of the first and most vital assertions in the entire memo is the claim that “the ‘dossier’ compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application.” This statement is initially offered without proof. One has to read down to the next page to see any reference to evidence:... [Read More]

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Today’s Kipling – The Mare’s Nest

(Sometimes the course of true love fails to run smoothly. . .)

The Mare’s Nest

Rudyard Kipling

Jane Austen Beecher Stowe de Rouse
Was good beyond all earthly need;
But, on the other hand, her spouse
Was very, very bad indeed.
He smoked cigars, called churches slow,
And raced — but this she did not know.... [Read More]

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Falcon Heavy

SpaceX Falcon Heavy

The first launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is currently scheduled for Tuesday, 2018-02-06, with a two and a half hour launch window which opens at 18:30 UTC and closes at 21:00 UTC (since this is a test flight which need not enter a precise orbit, the launch time is not critical).  If the launch is postponed, the same launch window will be used on successive days, subject to availability of the range.  The Sunday weather forecast predicts 80% probability of favourable conditions for launch during the Tuesday window.... [Read More]

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Curmudgeon Musings- The Long War for America- Meme Battlespace

The sources I have been following indicate that there is a significant more to come on the FBI-DOJ-DNC-Russia Imposter Nexus.

I think I can see an information and messaging war plan here, at least I hope the Good Guys have one.... [Read More]

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Super Bowl Ads: One Brilliant; One Lucky

The Tide series was brilliant. Zero chance you forget it was Tide who did the first ad. As long as you saw the first, you got massive reinforcement from the later ads. Also, it leveraged well because even when watching an ad for another product you initially wondered whether it would be a fake Tide ad.

Persil got lucky. Their ad would have been a waste if not for Tide. Because Tide did its thing, it made Persil’s ad stand out. If not for the Tide ad, I doubt I would remember anything about the Persil ad, even it’s existence.

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