Tuesday, May 26, 2015
  Oh, that explains it

Hadn't paid any attention to the obits for "mathematician" Nash, except to notice the accidental similarity to the name of my favorite car maker.

Paid a moment of attention to a brief obit given by Bloomberg, and now I see why "mathematician" Nash is important. According to the obit, he won a Nobel for "creating game theory" and then "descended into schizophrenia."

Aha! That explains two things at once.

"Game theory" is loony and delusional and murderous. It was obviously the product of an actively schizy mind, emphatically NOT a beautiful mind. A grotesquely ugly mind.

So: Nash was always delusional. His "descent" means that he stopped producing useful tools for starving the poor and enriching the Chosen. Instead he produced useless delusions.

Nobel Prize = delusions that enrich the Chosen

Schizophrenia = delusions that serve no purpose
 
  Beak peaks

Via RCS:
Many animals feed on seeds, acorns or nuts. The common feature of these are that they have shells and there is no direct way to know what's inside. How do the animals know how much and what quality of food is hidden inside? A simple solution would be to break the shells, which often takes time and effort -- it would be a big disappointment to know that it's rotten or bad after the hard effort of opening the nuts!

Can animals evaluate the food hidden inside the nuts? This is especially important for some animals who cache the food items for later use without opening and checking each item. We can detect which one is heavier by moving the items up and down several times and focusing on the "feeling of heaviness" we perceive.
Well yeah, birds judge the weight of a nut and take the heavier one when given a choice. That's hardly worth the trouble of an experiment. But the birds are clearly doing something more interesting to judge the hardness or softness of the contents, and the experimenters didn't bother to test this with variables/constants.
When they shake the nuts in their beaks, the birds produce sounds by opening and closing their beaks around the peanut shell for brief moments. The researchers think that the jays also take this sound into account. "Our next goal is to disentangle the role of sound relative to the perception of "heaviness"...
I'd guess the birds are not producing sounds by opening and closing their beaks. More likely the birds are analyzing sounds. They're changing the size and shape of the resonator while creating transients by rattling.

Running a spectral analysis on the nut, finding peaks and troughs. A peak that happens at this jaw position indicates a good solid nut, or a peak at these two positions means a worm inside.
 
Monday, May 25, 2015
  Out of reverse

Got a proper thunderstorm from 3 to 4 AM. Moderate rain with a couple of heavy periods, a nice dose of cathartic thunder, no wind. More importantly, the storm moved in the correct W->E direction after several weeks of wrong-way storms.
 
  Asked and answered 2



Nuff said. Well, actually I could have circled the entire right column. In any aggregation of "science" articles, 99.9% will be criminally fraudulent.

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  Sorry, Ralph.

Unusual dream this morning.

Dream-scripter tried to answer the questions: What would life be like when you're attractive or impressive? What does respect feel like? How would it feel to have clusters of girls around your feet competing for your attention? Would it be nice to have people obeying your commands or at least listening when you speak? Would it be fun to be the rejector instead of the rejectee?

Dream-scripter tried to pull an Emerson, tried to show me that it would be morally difficult to reject most of the girls, that instant obedience would be uncomfortable.

Sorry, Ralph. All the evidence runs counter to those nice assumptions. Alphas live longer and happier. Alphas enjoy their power.

There are some apparent exceptions. Non-alphas who end up in positions of power don't enjoy it and don't know how to use it properly. They make bad assumptions.

Look at Nixon and Morsi. Both were unwilling to slaughter their enemies, and both ended up with a disaster. Now Morsi will be slaughtered for the crime of assuming that laws and logic and morals exist.

Laws and logic and morals do not exist. Natural status exists. Bullets exist. Bombs exist. Raw bloody savage force works every time.

= = = = =

Next day: Dream-scripter provided a much simpler dream that seems to be a counterforce or correction to the previous. I was waiting to see an undefined doctor or lawyer or something like that. The snippy receptionist called my name, having trouble with the pronunciation as receptionists normally do. I asked "Does this mean the doctor will see me now?" and she said "Yeah, that's what I was afraid of." The doctor or lawyer or whatever simply handed me a pile of old documents in big manila envelopes. Diplomas and certificates from colleges and schools, indicating things I was qualified to do. Certificates I had never bothered to pick up or keep. Most were familiar, but one was from Cal State Northridge. I've never been in Calif, so that's an oddly specific reference.

Connected to previous dream, the meaning is clear. The doctor-like figure is an Identity Restorer. Dream-scripter is saying "Oh all right. I tried fakery. Didn't work. That's what I was afraid of. Now let's try reality. See? Even though you've never been an Alpha, you have a field to plow. Concentrate on these skills and experiences."

Unnecessary reminder. In fact that's exactly what I've been doing since age 35 when I realized painfully that Alphaness was innate, not an acquirable skill.

Maybe this is a specific Emerson-centered correction from the dream-scripter. A way of saying "No, no, I didn't mean that part of Emerson. I meant this part of Emerson."
 
Sunday, May 24, 2015
  Good, by god.

As seen by Satan dba CNN:
Non-governmental organizations working in Russia awoke Sunday to a new reality -- that they operate now under a law that allows the government to prosecute them on the grounds they are 'undesirable.' And those who work for such organizations could be sentenced to as much as six years in prison. The new measure, signed into law Saturday by President Vladimir Putin, has provoked an international outcry. The U.S. State Department said it was "deeply troubled." Amnesty International said the law threatened "fundamental freedoms." Human Rights Watch called it a "piece of repressive legislation."




Putin is simply defending Russia's national interests against USA STRONG subversion and destruction. We did the same from the '50s to the '80s when Russia was trying to subvert us. Our approach was a little softer: Soviet-run organizations were infiltrated and AP'd and watched by "former" CIA agents and by "students" working for the State Dept.



Putin feels the need to use harder countermeasures against the modern subvertors run by USA STRONG. This is appropriate. Modern USA STRONG is a more aggressive and dangerous force than either side in the 50s-80s. Back then the bipolar balance kept both sides restrained. Now USA STRONG feels completely unrestrained. Time to bring back the balance.

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  Wrong honor

If you really want to give tribute to Americans who are "Protecting Our Freedom" on Memorial Day, you shouldn't be honoring the military; or at least not very much of the military.

WW2 was the ONLY war in living history that Protected Our Territory (not necessarily our Freedom) from Actual Enemies Who Actually Attacked Us. There are only a few WW2 vets still around. They unquestionably deserve honor.

All later wars were completely unnecessary and served EXACTLY AND PRECISELY AND INTENTIONALLY to destroy our freedom. The only point of post-1945 wars is to create new enemies foreign and domestic, who can be used as "justification" for more unnecessary wars and more domestic tyranny. The wars after 1990 are fought by volunteers, not draftees. Volunteers could have stopped volunteering to aid tyrants, but they keep joining. I don't feel like honoring them.

Right now we should be honoring a different set of rapidly dying heroes. All policemen are trying, against massive odds, to protect Real Freedom. Real Freedom means the expectation that normal law-abiding people can carry on a normal life without being killed or robbed or raped by professional criminals.

Real Freedom is protected by cops, NOT by soldiers.

And we should honor a much smaller group who were drafted but still continue to act with remarkable bravery. We should honor the jurors in Sharpton-infested cities who continue to defend the policemen. Cops are trying to defend their own lives AND our lives. These jurors understand.

Thanks, cops! Thanks, jurors!
 
  Casually weird 3



Weather Bureau is still running the same defective software. The error seems to happen in the first three segments of the forecast.

Makes me wonder if this is happening nationally. Seems unlikely that Spokane would have its own custom software, and I can't see how a hardware problem or a data entry problem could be involved. The max and min timepoints are not on manually-read gauges, they're produced by software models. If you read those points from the screen and typed them into the language-generator by hand, you'd notice this problem instantly.

A quick check of 10 other cities finds no examples of the error, but that doesn't mean much. The error is clearly intermittent, doesn't happen every day.
 
Saturday, May 23, 2015
  Weird bugs on dandelion



Two different shots of the same dandelion. These bugs are intensely working on this ONE dandelion, ignoring all the other flowers. Though my crappy pic doesn't show it, the bugs do have wings. Each one pops up, flies around for a moment, then settles back on the same dandelion. The other flowers in the yard are getting worked by bees as usual, but none have these bugs.

What's so interesting about this one flower?

20 minutes later: Bugs are still there. Looking closely, it appears that they're interested in each other, not the flower. Fighting, competing, mating, something like that. The flower is just a hotel for their convention.

5 hours later: The dandelion has popped its seeds, so there's no place for the bugs to congregate. That's a problem you don't have to worry about in a human hotel. "All guests must evacuate the premises immediately. We are about to transform our building from a hotel to a globular collection of wind-blown hotel blueprints."
 
  Fake safety worse than real danger

A dangerously dumb idea!

Some sort of competition for 'third world designs':
At 57 pounds, the desk in question is light enough for two students to carry and move around the classroom. At $35 per student, it's affordable enough for many school districts to buy in bulk. And oh yes, tests have shown it can survive a crushing weight of 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) or more
The picture shows a completely atypical situation. A single flat well-distributed weight has apparently fallen on the desk, and it holds up. I can't imagine any situation where a weight like that would come down neat and flat, hitting the right parts of the desk at the proper angles. It's usually smaller beams breaking at an angle and poking through everything below. This thing would instantly buckle and collapse under those conditions.

Or look at pictures of Haiti's last earthquake. Many buildings were stupidly built with big solid slabs for floors and roofs, and fragile brick or block walls. The entire slab came down all at once, probably 10 or 20 tons.

And what happens if the floor can't take the force exerted by the desk? The kid is still squashed, in an even more horrible way.

Wasting money on this false solution is worse than doing nothing. If you offer no "protection", the kids will be motivated to GET THE FUCK OUT of a building. But if you're going to spend money, you should pick a MEANINGFUL solution. Where earthquakes are the main threat, you want one-story wooden buildings. They may be unusable after the quake, but they will stay vertical long enough to get out. Or if you want cheap protection against EVERY threat except floods, use Quonset huts. Protecting against floods costs nothing. Don't build in flood plains.
 
Friday, May 22, 2015
  i can haz matz?

A fine start to a hot Memorial Day Weekend in Spokane. Two semis were We Haz Convoy, Good Buddyz, carrying cat food. The rear driver fell asleep and bumped the front one, jackknifing and spilling his load. Drivers are OK but I-90 is going to provide a nice fragrant surprise to out-of-town drivers passing through on the way to Seattle.

Luckily, the local animal shelter was able to haul away the unbroken packages without any red tape. Somebody haz smartz! Unusual these days.
 
  More oddness

The more news we get about the Hatton Garden jewel theft, the ODDER it gets.

Biggest oddness: These dudes are OLD.

Nine men have been arrested so far. Ages 42, 48, 50, 58, 58, 59, 67, 74, 76. Old for any physical occupation except maybe orchestra conductor, and FANTASTICALLY old for thieves.

Pro criminals are finished by 35. Shot dead, shot and disabled, permanently jailed, or just all out of adolescent idiocy.

The YOUNGEST of these fellows is 42, which is already way beyond the pull date of pro criminals.

As far as I can tell from the articles, none of them have previous records. All are middle-class with good jobs or pensions. None are broke or desperate.

The operation was highly skilled but the most basic question of SCALE was completely missed. When you steal a hundred bucks and a carton of smokes from the corner store, you can safely spend the money on drugs and enjoy the cigs. You won't automatically attract the cops by using your loot. Jewelry is entirely different. Jewelry that's valuable enough to store in a place like Hatton Garden is ALSO valuable enough to be carefully recorded, registered and photographed. You can't sell it casually. This was already well-known 50 years ago, long before the age of universal CCTV and iPhones. It should have been part of the General Knowledge of all these fellows.

That's a mistake you'd expect from your default 17-year-old robber, because he doesn't know much about how the world works. It's not a point you'd expect ALL NINE of these mature established men to miss.

Bucket list? Last fling? Might make sense for the oldest dudes. I've had a fleeting impulse in that direction, but I've had enough experience with real criminals to realize that it wouldn't work. Thief is an innate vocation, and Big Spender is also innate. If you've been a plumber or an accountant for 40 years, you won't know how to fence a million or waste a million.

The whole mess is so improbable that I wonder if it's simply a distraction, a Look Over Here! Or maybe these guys were disposable pawns for a major syndicate that DOES know how to fence and spend such items.
 
  Wild roses 2



Continuing from previous post. (This pic includes the power line mentioned before.)

What are these roses DOING?

Creating. Working. Making a wide variety of infinitely complex products, which will be 99.9% wasted from the plant's viewpoint. But Nature knows that some of these products, these pollen grains and seeds, will help to reproduce more roses. Some of those new roses will be in far-distant places. And all of these products will end up nourishing other plants and animals, either by direct consumption or by decaying into new soil.

Is this something like debt? No. The exact opposite.

Humans made one crucial mistake about 1000 years ago. We've always sent our seeds to distant places, always explored and migrated, and we've always had to accumulate enough supplies and fat to survive an expedition. Around 1100 AD we got greedy, wanted to hurry the process, wanted to make larger and more destructive expeditions than we could supply by saving. We created banks and credit to hurry the expeditions. Formal credit removed the feedback and restraint of accumulation, and opened the way for all sorts of destructive expeditions, "discovering" and smashing places and things. Now we're reaping the suicidal fruits of total non-feedback, total lack of restraint. Our governments create "money" with no hope or plan of replacing it by real value, and use "money" to invade and destroy everything everywhere. Abstraction creates abstraction. No material universe when we're done.

Well then, is the rose betting? You could call it that, but it's more like faith, hope, and charity.

Faith that some bees will reach other rose blossoms (which is fairly certain); hope that the bees will distribute my pollen into the stamen of a fertile rose blossom (somewhat less certain); and charity in granting nectar to the bees so the bees can feed their kids. The charity gives certainty to the faith.

Plants are the creative end of Nature. They pull in air and water and sun and electrons and a few metals, and they make infinitely complex life from simple energy and simple molecules.

Animals are the transformers and destroyers. We take the life offered up charitably by plants, and turn it into more mobile forms of life that do an infinite variety of tasks.



Some of our work helps the plants and some hurts. In the simplest sense, our production of CO2 helps the plants to breathe in a world that has been short of CO2 for a long time. (Yes, fucking Gaians, that is a simple and plain fucking fact. Look at the fucking data.) We carry their pollen and seeds accidentally or intentionally. We use their flowers and fruits as tokens in our own courtship rituals, honoring their sacrifices. We use fermented fruits as more sophisticated courtship tokens and also as fuel and money. And a few of us (at least ants and humans) intentionally cultivate plants to feed ourselves or to feed our aphids and cows.

Seeds are one form of resilience, capable of storing value for many years. Root systems can also be resilient, as I noticed this year with a maple root that remained for 18 years until it saw the sun again.

When you store seeds and leave roots in place, a chopped-down culture can regrow. Russia was able to pop back after we chopped it down because Russia had not been operating on monetary or cultural debt. The Russian version of collectivism ran with little use of money and debt, concentrated on maintainable technology, and made a point of leaving cultural roots alone. A hardy and thorny perennial, like roses.

The US/UK/EU version of Gramscian tyranny is a fragile annual. It won't be able to regrow after it collapses. In recent years we've been trying to operate SOLELY on abstract money and debt, without making or transforming any actual STUFF. We force people to stop accumulating money. And we're ferociously grinding up our cultural roots. We force people to stop accumulating wisdom, and we SMASH the enforcers of normal order. Anyone who shows even the tiniest indication of rootedness SHALL BE CHOPPED AND BURNED AND VAPORIZED.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015
  Wild roses




A couple pics of the wild roses on the west side of my tiny property. (This is the same hedge or miniforest that I showed cartoonly here.)

I've never seen such a profusion of buds. The topmost open flowers in these pics are about 20 feet off the ground.

By contrast, the regular red roses by the porch are unhappy this year. I think they got fooled by a winter that started and ended with serious cold, but did nothing in between. Discombobulated their dormancy expectations or something.

What makes this line of plants grow so enthusiastically? This area never gets any extra irrigation. It's always been an informal driveway for my lot, and on the neighbor's side it's a proper paved and graveled drive. I suspect the growth factor is something that doesn't quite show in these pictures. A power line directly above the strongly-growing line of plants. See Shepardson.

Continued and expanded in next item.

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  Bing beats Google!

I'd really like to use Bing instead of Google, but Bing doesn't make it easy. Google knows what I mean 90% of the time, Bing knows what I mean 40% of the time. Still, every now and then Bing beats Google by making the right connection. These rare events are worth mentioning.

I was looking up an actress who played a tough dame in several 'This is your FBI' episodes around 1952. The name sounded like Helen Cleave or Helen Cleaves. Others clearly had the same impression because the OTR blogs list Helen Cleave in many different shows.

Tried Google, found an entirely different and much younger Helen Cleaves (in some Brit TV shows around 1977) but not the radio actress from 1952. Tried Bing, and quickly found the correct answer. It's not Helen Cleave, it's Helen Kleeb.

She unfortunately didn't look as good as she sounded. Radio face. Oh well.

Still a victory for Bing.

 
  Prog note

Been on a bit of a roll with programming lately, in C++ and Py. Revising the old AUDIN courseware to run better on new Win systems, redoing some little Perception progs that I made at the same time, and adding a few new items. Decided to set up a proper HTML page on my website, instead of just putting the ZIPs there and linking them from blog posts.

Here's the proper page.

Screenshot of what's there so far:


I'm probably triggering one of Parkinson's Laws by doing this, but I'll risk it. (An enterprise that is creative and active in improvised jury-rigged quarters, will stop creating after it gets a shiny new building.)

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  Casually weird 2



The Weather Bureau is at it again. I can parse how it happens, though I obviously don't know any of their systems. Computer models generate curves with max temp and min temp at specific times, then a natural-language creator plugs the max/min into human-sounding template sentences. Somewhere between those two stages, the timepoints for the mins and maxes are displaced by about 14 hours. [Or maybe 10 hours the other way; can't tell which.] The low should be around 5 AM, not 3 PM; and the high should be around 5 PM, not 3 AM. The natural-language creator catches the fact that these timepoints are NOT usual and writes a special text to indicate this.

It's a bit like a defective chatbot. Language-generator is clever enough to sound like it understands the abnormality, but it's not clever enough to realize how WILDLY abnormal the abnormality is. Especially when these sudden changes happen without a windstorm.

Chatbot: How tall are you?

Human: I'm 5 foot 2. Shorter than most. It's not easy.

Chatbot: Yes, I understand. I'm -9999999.99 feet tall, so I'm a little shorter than you. It's certainly no fun.



Few hours later: Fixed again. Nice to know that actual humans are checking these things! Especially since today is World Metrology Day!

Next day: The defective chatbot was accidentally halfway right. An unpredicted little thunderstorm popped up Friday at 3 PM and lowered the temp from 83 to 70. Incidentally, this storm system was yet another reverse-driver, sliding from east to west. I'm pretty sure all the storms this spring have been moving in odd directions. N-->S, S-->N, E-->W but none of the normal W-->E.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015
  Zen-like again

Another of those annoying 'mid-century modern' things. Satan-Review has an article on The Ferris House, built in '55 by a real architect in the best part of the South Hill. It has 4 beds, two baths and a single carport. No basement. A couple of interesting features, a narrow kitchen (no bigger than mine!) and a flat roof. Asking price is around one million.

In my nice safe neighborhood there are plenty of solid houses with 4 beds and 2 baths, priced in the $120k to $190k range. Many of them have basements and pretty mid-century features. All of them have pitched roofs that will shed rain. For a million you could buy a whole block of these decent houses.

Or if you want to blow the million on one house, you can buy THIS, which looks like an entire neighborhood but is actually one house. It has the same design cues as the Ferris house. It has EIGHT THOUSAND square feet, and perches up on top of the rimrock with a view of the whole state of Washington.

Putting it visually....


Understandably, the seller is having trouble finding a sucker who wants to spend a million for a $180k house.
 
  Not old-fashioned 2

Branching from previous post on automotive history.

In the realm of nations and wars, the saying "History is written by the victors" is dangerously false because there is no such thing as One History. Each nation always writes its own history for the consumption of its residents and students. Winners make fatal errors when they ass-u-me that the loser has adopted the winner's history.

WW2 happened because Germany's history of WW1 was opposite to the Brit/US history. We ass-u-me-d that our delusional Wilsonian story about "democracy" was true. In fact the German version and the Middle Eastern version were closer to the truth, and today's conflicts continue to prove them correct. Since 1965 we've been creating a lot more history in the form of pointless wars, from Vietnam to Iraq to Yugoslavia to Afghanistan to Iraq again to Libya to Syria to Egypt to Ukraine and now back to Yugoslavia again. We're still running our infantile Wilsonian delusion about "democracy", and we're generating a whole lot more correct stories in the minds of the ethnic groups we destroy and starve and refugize. One million dead, ten million refugees. The dead don't know anything, but their relatives and friends do, and the refugees do. All of them have precisely accurate and highly detailed immediate memories about USA STRONG, and we still keep running our bizarre little Clutch Cargo animation about "democracy".

= = = = =

In the realm of industries and technology, "History is written by the victors" can be partly true because we do usually end up with One History of each subject. When the subject is strictly commercial, Victor simply means the sales winner.

GM has been able to write the story of auto technology and styling since 1935 because GM has been the winner in most years since 1935. So the '53 Plymouth was "old-fashioned" even though it was objectively more modern than any '53 GM product. Why? Because GM sales were waaaaay ahead of both Ford and Chrysler in '53, and because Harley Earl knew how to use publicity better than anyone else in the business. We also adopt GM's story of technology. We know that GM invented clashless shifting in 1929 even though free-wheeling gave other cars clashless shifting earlier. We know that GM invented the auto trans in 1940 even though Sturtevant actually produced a car with an automatic in 1905. We know that GM has always been the style leader, even though its actual styling was generally 3 or 4 years behind the style leader. We know these things for sure because GM won the sales race in most years and thus GM gets to tell us what we know.

In the realm of personal computers, we've adopted Bill And Steve's Excellent Altair Adventure as the complete story, skipping the 100 years of Hollerith/IBM that came first, and more importantly skipping the 20 years of DEC's personal computers that came first.



Some technology stories are so simple that no rewriting is needed. Morse vs Wheatstone, Bell vs Gray, Edison vs Davy on lighting, Westinghouse vs Edison on power distribution, Marconi vs Fessenden, Armstrong vs DeForest. The winner had better resources and better connections, and was ready and able to turn the idea into a practical and salable product. Not really a conflict, no question of unfairness. You can sometimes say that the losing concept was technically superior, but that's only semi-relevant. If you can't make people want it, superiority doesn't exist.

Other tech histories are blatantly unfair. The transistor story has been hijacked by the Quantumites, who had no part in the actual development. The idea was 100 years old in 1947, solid-state diodes were 40 years old, and the patented solid-state triode was 20 years old. Bell Labs got there first because they had deep resources and no hurry. The transistor, and every solid-state development thereafter, resulted from improvements in metallurgy, materials and manufacturing. Materials science is unromantic and modest, not inclined to grab credit and write history. Quantumites are arrogant bullies who want to rewrite everything to fit their bizarre delusions.

QUANTUM STRONG = USA STRONG.

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  Not old-fashioned, just ugly

It's obvious, and often discussed in auto-discussing circles, that automobiles have returned to 1930 in basic form. The mechanics are wildly different now, but the essential configuration has come full circle.

Starting around 1940, and hitting its stride in 1949, the three-box form lasted until 1990. Now we still have three-box cars, but the typical family vehicle is two-box. Engine in front, passenger compartment occupies the rest. Just like 1930.

Most important force in this return is a renewed realization that height matters. If a car is tall enough, you can fit more people and stuff inside the same length and width. It's not just L x W x H = V. It's also a subjective need for upward room, which applies similarly in houses.

This was understood in the '30s. When carmakers started the longer-lower trend in 1940, most people were unhappy but went along because there wasn't any choice. Now that height is back, customers are happy again, perhaps without realizing why.

KT Keller, the hat man, was right all along. In the early '50s he maintained usable height AND COMFORT in Chrysler products while GM and Ford were going long and slinky. He lost sales, and eventually gave up the battle. By '57, Chrysler products were the longest and slinkiest and least comfortable in the world.

One theme that continually pops up in these discussions is the idea that KT's cars were "old-fashioned" or "conservative" while GM and Ford were "modern" or "progressive".

This simply doen't work.



Here are the '49s, first true postwar design. Ford is unquestionably the most "modern", with straight-thru beltline and no distinct fenders. But when you look at Chevy and Plymouth objectively, they're equally "old-fashioned". Both have separate fenders, continuing the '40s pattern. Chevy had a choice of three-box or fastback, retaining the old. Plymouth was mostly three-box except for the nice (and currently more valuable) compact Concord two-door.

The problem with KT's Plymouth is not oldness, it's ugliness. Every shape is a bit more square and 'chopped off' than it needs to be. Plymouth was actually the longest of the three, but you'd never guess it. Looks short and small. Chevy has the same overall pattern but the curves are harmonious.

Jump forward to 1953, and you'll see that Plymouth firmly joined the modern trend while Chevy was still objectively old-fashioned. Didn't help; Plymouth was still called "conservative".

= = = = =

While I'm on this, a couple of height-related oddities that haven't been discussed.

(1) From 1935 to 1990, the height of auto hoods steadily declined, especially at the front, while the height of engines, especially at the front, increased. If you look at a cross-section of a 1920s car, built to resemble a locomotive, you'll see that most of the engine compartment is air. Flathead inline engines mounted behind the front axle were LOW. The top of the engine was about even with the driver's feet. Only the carb and air cleaner jutted up into the blank space. After 1935, engines began moving forward and upward, climbing over the steering and suspension; engines switched from flathead to OHV and then OHC, also requiring more height; the suspension switched from leaf to coil springs to MacPherson struts, also requiring more underhood height. But after the locomotive theme went away, hoods had to drop lower and lower, especially in front.

(2) The lower-longer trend happened during the years when actual Americans were growing taller. Now that cars are getting taller again, Americans are getting shorter!
 

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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