Friday, December 06, 2019
  The sun rose this morning

And Elon gets away with every crime in the books.

Equally predictable.

Blackmail is everything. Mossad never loses.

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  Fractal banana

ZH correctly mocks the latest idiocy in the world of "art" where name and provenance are EXACTLY EVERYTHING. An "artist" who apparently has a "name" has sold a plain old banana ductaped to a wall for $120,000.

ZH missed a parallel, which may not be a national phenomenon. In the local grocery stores buying one banana is the standard way for food-stamp customers to get cash for drugs. They slap down the banana, insert the EBT card in the scanner, and ask for $50 extra. Apparently it's illegal to just treat the EBT card as an ATM card; you have to buy something that counts as food. Real food is unnecessary for a methie, so the transaction is shaped for minimum nutrition and maximum cashback.

So the banana as physical icon for totally wasted money is fractally valid at all scales.

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  Still grumpy

Speaking of monsters who get paid and recognized:

"Expert" Krugman is paid millions and gets Nobel Prizes....

OK, this is extremely weird. I received an email saying that a payment has been received into my blockchain wallet. But I don't have a blockchain wallet. Presumably there's some kind of fraud going on, but what?

... and he can't recognize an ECONOMIC fraud.

Some of the commenters are blaming Krugman's age (OK Boomer and all that) but they're wrong.

This is the oldest setup in the world. And this instance actually reverts BY NAME to the oldest version of the oldest setup, the wallet drop.

TV and radio used to warn us about scams and frauds. Even among the scattered remnants of old TV and radio shows, I can immediately cite two examples: This is your FBI, 1945 and Racket Squad, 1951.

Modern versions are better known as the Nigerian Prince. The rig is always the same. You stumble onto a potential "windfall", then you pay to get access to the "windfall", then the "windfall" disappears after you pay.

Krugman doesn't recognize any of this. Why the fuck should we recognize him?

What's the fucking purpose of an economics expert if he KNOWS LESS THAN WE DO ABOUT ECONOMICS?

= = = = =

As long as I'm citing old radio, It Pays to be Ignorant was an explicit parody of "experts" who know less than we do. It was modeled on Info Please, which had a panel of arrogant condescending NYC "experts" like Krugman. Ignorant had three intentional idiots who found an infinite number of ways to miss the point.

Example questions:

How many lakes are in the five Great Lakes?

Which wild animal is on the buffalo nickel?

What liquid is contained in a fountain pen?

When is a June Bride married?

And the best of all:

Can you name the people who star in the radio program It Pays to be Ignorant?

The "experts" were expert comedians. Their obtuse struggles with self-evident facts were genuinely funny. It's not so funny when an obtuse idiot advises governments and corporations.

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Thursday, December 05, 2019

Reviewing yesterday's thought that labor unions were banks for human capital. They improved skills through training and experience (interest); they protected skills from low-priced competition and theft (vaults); and they made sure the skills were employed to create real value (investment).

The Soviet system continued this respect for human capital long after it was lost in the Soros world. Free training that emphasized skills; no offshoring of industries; and patents that recognized innovation instead of killing it.

= = = = =

I got into a grumpy mood today, comparing things that I shouldn't try to compare. I can't really complain; my creative work is recognized in a small way and paid in a small way. Not entirely futile. The work itself is tremendously satisfying.

Still, it's annoying to see what gets MASSIVELY recognized and paid. Pure destruction. Raw sin and crime. Killing and torturing millions of people. Obliterating the universe by making black holes. Using science to serve bankers and intel agencies.

And specifically on this topic, the Github Syndrome. Constant changes in technology, always expanding the required universe of compatibility. Each increase in global compatibility knocks out huge pieces of skill. It's not just a question of changing a presentation to fit the new tech; some forms of presentation that were possible in the Windows universe are IMPOSSIBLE in the HTML/SVG/CSS universe. Even if you can make it work for one combination of browsers and iPhones, it won't work for some other.

Just as globalized language grinds off all fine points of metaphor and idiom, globalized tech grinds off the fine points of interactive presentation.

Big question: If labor unions had survived into the era of software, would they have improved things? Would a union manage to slow down the Githubbers?

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Wednesday, December 04, 2019
  Speaking arcs in action

Old pre-1900 tech books made vague references to 'speaking arcs'. Before loudspeakers, experimenters were able to use arc lights as sound emitters. In the same way that lightning produces thunder, changing the strength of ionization created a compression wave around the arc. Supposedly a German train station used a 'speaking arc' for a PA system to announce arrivals and departures.

Here's a specific non-vague example, from a modern history of radio in the Seattle area.

A "musical trolley car" on the Seattle-Tacoma interurban line, about 1915. Experimenter Paul Hackett, working in Kent Valley with an arc transmitter and powerful microphone, discovered his signals were modulating the nearby trolley line's power system. Arc lamps on the cars acted like receivers and reproduced Hackett's music and voice transmissions, to the delight of riders.

One of the tests was also picked up by an electric heater in the home of a woman who happened to know Hackett. Recognizing his voice, the startled lady was sure the inventor was hiding under her bed.
Bear in mind that Morse was common in 1915, but voice transmissions were unfamiliar until about 1922.

Electric heaters would have been effective speakers for wired radio, with a resistive coil focused in a parabolic reflector. Magnetostriction.

Note also the Seattle to Tacoma interurban line. Interurbans connected everything, and often ran at 70 MPH. There is a modern light rail system from Seattle to the SeaTac airport, but it's not going to reach Tacoma again until 2030.

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  One area where skill DOESN'T matter.

The TSLAQ folks who are actually present at the Elon vs Unsworth trial are pretty sure that Elon will win. They believe Unsworth's lawyer is incompetent.

This seems to be a long-lasting and general observation. I've had two direct contacts with lawyers and three 'observations' during jury calls. I was strongly UNimpressed with the performance of every lawyer. None of them had any skills, and some weren't even literate.

The first lawyer, hired by parents in 1969 for my marijuana charge, was supposedly topnotch and well-connected. He was a direct descendant of the Shad Hanna dynasty that ruled Ohio for decades. He didn't know what he was doing. In the most recent jury call, the Saudi defendant was rich and could hire the best lawyer. His lawyer didn't know what he was doing, and the prosecutor wasn't any better. The case was full of ambiguities. I might have acquitted if the defense lawyer hadn't insulted our intelligence at every turn.

I suspect the real variable has nothing to do with the courtroom skills of lawyers, because "law" doesn't exist. Blackmail exists. Elon is going to win because he is Satan. He has no moral code or limitations at all, and he has strong connections to Mossad and USA Deepstate. He used nasty fixers and "investigators" to ruin Unsworth, and probably subverted Unsworth's lawyer as well. Elon operates outside of all "laws" and regulations. All bureaucrats and officials know that he has the goods on them.

In short, lawyers don't matter because "law" doesn't matter.

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  The imperceptible Insatiable

I've described a classic Insatiable response to Deplorables...

Other people enjoy discussing my faults in my presence, knowing that the bottom-status item will not fight. One of them realized I was listening. He gave me the standard imperceptible headshake with hooded eyes and pursed lips, meaning "You are shit".

... but I've never tried to catch a video example of the gesture. Now somebody has caught it in an interaction of Kamala and Tulsi. Kamala is unquestionably Insatiable. Tulsi isn't Deplorable in the broad picture, but she's clearly Deplorable as seen by Kamala.

One of the commenters uses almost the same words:

Next time someone embarrasses me with a valid, fact-filled argument for which I have zero retort, I’ll smirk, disapprovingly shake my head, and pretend to scribble on a notepad


Tuesday, December 03, 2019
  The most important thing about unions

Soros-sponsored TAC has a pretty good article on the importance of unions as a counterforce to robber barons.

The author makes the same point I made a few months ago about the three ages:

= = = = = START REPRINT:

Between the two Gilded Ages we had the Union Age, 1933 to 1979. Predatory corporations existed, but they were CONSTRAINED by hardass Fed regulators AND by hardass unions. They knew exactly how far they could grow, and they didn't try to go beyond the limits. They were forced to operate on PROFIT and DIVIDENDS instead of share value, which means they were forced to have EMPLOYEES and PRODUCTS.

I've covered that territory too often.

New thought:

During a Gilded Age, robber barons have names. Everyone can list several robber barons. During the Union Age, there weren't any named or famed robber barons. In fact the most famous leaders were union leaders.

Gilded Age 1 = Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Mellon, Stanford.

Union Age = Jimmy Hoffa, James Petrillo, Walter Reuther.

Gilded Age 2 = Gates, Bezos, Zuckerberg, Jobs, Musk.

= = = = = END REPRINT.

I wrote a comment on the article appreciating the main focus and adding the most important aspect of unions: SKILL aka HUMAN CAPITAL.

Humans are meant to be useful. Specifically, men are meant to MAKE THINGS. Unions were organizations of makers, and they did everything necessary to preserve the GOD-ASSIGNED DUTY of their members.

In writing the comment I also caught something that I hadn't thought of before. I've said before that unions amassed and protected human capital by training and improving the skills of their members.

I hadn't noticed before that unions protected their human capital from cheap knockoffs and foreign competition. When unions were in charge of a workplace, they had strict rules forbidding non-union workers from doing jobs that were part of the union's skill capital. These rules often seemed silly, but they were the most important part of the union's task.

The analogy between money capital and human capital was complete. Unions treated human capital the same way banks treated money capital. Savings earned interest (experience and training); savings were guarded against theft; savings were employed to create more value.

In the '70s unions lost the human capital aspect and focused solely on wages, which really meant the wealth of the union leaders. They were perfectly willing to destroy entire categories of skills to maintain the wealth of the leaders.

Unions lost their DUTY and deserved to fail.

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  CYBRTRK's origin

As I peruse old car mags while eating, I've been halfway watching for previous examples of Elon's idiot CYBRTRK. Nobody could have done something so stupid, even as a concept car.

But there is a predecessor. It wasn't a car or even an actual concept car. It was a concept of a concept car.

The '49 Ford had this emblem on the decorative chrome strip above the doorhandles. The strip was unnecessary and the emblem was even more unnecessary. It added another rattle to an already rattly car. It's not clear what the designers were trying to do. If they were stirring up anticipation for Ford's next product, it couldn't have worked. Nobody wanted to ride in this grotesque thing.

Ford made a few concept cars in the mid-50s, but none remotely resembled this thing. Why would anyone want a car with a gable roof? Houses have gable roofs.

In fact the CYBRTRK drawing was actually LESS modern and LESS trend-setting than the Ford itself. Most writers agree that the '49 was the main influence for the straight-through design of the next two decades. A few cars got there slightly earlier; Packard and Hudson and Kaiser had the flow in '48. But Ford did it right, with fenders above the hood and trunk, and taillights at the same height as the headlights. Ford's actual next product in '52 was even cleaner and sharper. Chrysler followed the trend in '53, then GM in '54.

I was thinking about citing earlier examples, but one of the excellent writers at CurbsideClassic did the whole job just now, starting in the '20s.

[The '50 Rambler seemed to follow the '49 Ford directly, almost a copy... but in fact the Ford was copied from Nash. George Walker had designed the Rambler, then moved to Ford and brought the idea with him. Ford was able to tool up and switch faster. Unethical but not illegal.]
Monday, December 02, 2019

Meanwhile, in the sane part of the world, Russia and China just turned on the first natural gas pipeline from Siberia to China.

We're tangled up in endless meaningless "court" proceedings and "environmental" proceedings that delay the start of every project by 30 years, effectively canceling every project before it starts.

Russia and China are GETTING SHIT DONE, linking the Eastern Hemisphere with pipes and roads and railroads, factoring out the Western Hemisphere and Ctrl-Zing Columbus.

Irrelevant: The ceremony in the video strikes me as historically confused and anticlimactic, with old-fashioned voice commands and permissions driving a mouse click. Since the commands were obviously staged, they should have staged real hands opening a real valve.

Later: Oddly, RT got this story wrong in a way that underrates Russian capability and skill. Rick Sanchez and two correspondents all stated clearly that the public event marked the start of construction, not the end. They were discussing the potential benefits when the project is eventually done. This made me doubt the Russia Insight video, but many other sources including US media agree that the pipeline is now finished and running.


  Another stage prop

More misuse of tariffs by Trump, supposedly to punish other countries but actually to punish America.

Now he's threatening to impose tariffs on steel from Argentina and Brazil, who are supposedly using currency rates to undercut American farmers. Nonsense.

We constantly export twice as much as we import with Argentina.

Ditto for Brazil.

Our ag imports from Argentina are almost entirely tropical fruits that we can't produce here. This is already the CORRECT form of trade by good populist standards.

Our ag imports from Brazil are mainly coffee. Again a crop we can't produce here.

Argentina and Brazil are NOT competing in any way with American farmers. They may be competing with American steel producers, but the reason we lost our steel producers was EPA rules, not foreign competition. If we hadn't closed down metals and mining in the '70s, there wouldn't have been an opening for sane countries with sane regulations to expand their industries.

So what's the purpose? Trump isn't hurting China, which will continue trading with both countries. He may slightly bother the steel industry in Brazil and Argentina, but they are already moving their focus eastward. This threat will strengthen their connections to the Silk Road, which will hurt our EXPORTS more than our imports.

Mainly Trump is just building another stage prop that he can move around to manipulate the Dow and the Fed. His tweet explicitly aims the action at the Fed.

And who loses from infinite Dow and zero interest? Americans. The same Americans (including me) who foolishly and stupidly voted for this vile faker.


  +Gold = -Soros

Via ZH, Serbia and Slovakia are joining the movement to bring back their own gold from British storage, and to buy more gold.

ZH attributes the rush to a remembered fear from WW2, when Krauts were grabbing everyone's gold. There's a much more recent example: Venezuela. When it asked the Bank of England for permission to take its own gold back, BOE said no.

Admittedly Venezuela is a mixed-up case. (1) The gold may have been pawned instead of stored. The stories aren't clear. (2) Venezuela has plenty of gold in the ground, which it could be mining for great profit if Maduro wasn't so fucking stupid.

I don't know why any sane country would let BOE store its gold in the first place. There must have been a reason, but it was a bad reason. If you want to talk about historical betrayal, England is the champion.

The map of gold-buying countries is pretty damn close to the map of non-Soros countries, ie sane countries.

India and China are special cases. Both have always been fans of gold, regardless of political changes. China is running up huge debts like a Sorosian country, and simultaneously buying gold like a non-Sorosian.

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Sunday, December 01, 2019
  Hard to find analogies

Catch and release is a peculiar tactic when you think about it.

The courts and the cops are two parts of the same system. They derive their funding from the same tax revenue, and nominally respond to the same legislature.

The courts INTENTIONALLY release criminals who LEGALLY should be kept in jail, and the cops then have to RISK THEIR LIVES 80% of the time to repeatedly arrest the same few professional criminals who will then be released in an hour to create more havoc.

I can't think of any other system that dysfunctions this way.

Try some examples:

1. Chevy repairmen have to spend 80% of their time sending the same few engines back to the GM factory, which then returns the engines immediately, untouched, with a "fully rebuilt" tag.

2. Hairstylists have to spend 80% of their time on the same three women, who report to the Hairstylists Union immediately to have their hair misstyled by the Hairstylists Union so the regular stylists can redo the same cut.

3. Programmers have to spend 80% of their time debugging the same program over and over, because the beta testers working for the same company undo each bugfix immediately after they receive it for testing.

These examples are bizarre nonsense.

In each job there are real repeat offenders: Unfixable engines, stubbornly unbeautifiable women, bugs that pop up over and over. But the real repeats are NOT created by saboteurs within the same company. In these normal situations the parts of one company cooperate to solve or eliminate the problem. Melt down the unfixable engines, politely dissuade the unstylable women, discard the bad programs and start over with fresh code.

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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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