atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4226: There's a strange light in the sky!

Everybody knows that when there's a strange light in the sky, you're supposed to put a bag over your head and wait for the end of the world, and--eh?

I have just been informed that the strange light is called the sun.

It's been so long I forgot. Never mind.

* * *

Here is a sobering photoessay on a pileup of surplus automobile production.

In normal economic times, when an automaker is faced with decreased demand they slow production. Since recessions are usually short, this gets them through the slump and they can ramp back up afterwards. But when the malaise just goes on and on?

In that article is a link here, where he talks about "channel stuffing", where the manufacturer sends a crapton of cars to dealers to make it look as if it's selling cars. GM dealers have an average of 83 days' worth of stock, meaning they could stop taking deliveries for almost three months before having to worry about running out of cars to sell.

Anecdote: near work there is a new car dealership. Not only is their lot full, but their stock is slowly metastasizing into other parking lots around the place. Their employees have to park across the street in our parking lot, and I can no longer see the street from the entrance for all the unsold vehicles between our lot and the street. I have been thinking, Man, why do they have so many f-ing cars? but now I know the answer.

I am reminded of Heinlein's Door Into Summer where Dan Davis is a safety monitor on a robotic car crushing line--where they are feeding brand-new cars to a crusher--and notices that some of the cars are missing major assemblies. "Do you expect them to do their best work on cars that had price-support loans against them before they were built?" (Or something like that.) The scene is meant to showcase the seeming nonsensical aspects of the 21st century economy, where robot labor is cheap and plentiful but the economic machinery hasn't quite caught up to this fact and everyone is trying to avoid massive deflation.

The problem we have now is that too much wealth has been consumed by government, and too much of the new wealth being created is being consumed by government. In the 1960s it was possible for middle class families to buy a new car every year, or perhaps every other year. It is now impossible to do that, the same way it's impossible to work your way though college on a minimum-wage job or to pay cash for a new house. (Unless you're a drug dealer or a Democrat politician.) Cars simply cost too much.

Recall that a minimum wage earner in 1969 earned more in gold than an experienced engineer does today? Also recall that a minimum wage earner in 1969 could buy a Mustang Mach I at MSRP with his annual earnings (barely, if he saved every penny). Today a minimum wage earner's annual salary cannot buy any new car without steep discounts.

This has a limiting effect on purchasing power.

...but without the factories churning out cars, a lot of the economy simply shuts down. This is worrisome because the manufacturers cannot afford to build cars and stockpile them ad infinitum even if they do recycle the unsold ones. Sooner or later the manufacturers must stop building cars they can't sell, if only because they run out of money--money they need to pay workers and buy parts.

The "just hang on" strategy only works if you expect improvement soon. Problem is, all the ivy-league types in power are doing Stupid Keynesian Tricks, then looking at the economic figures with dumbfounded expressions on their faces when they don't work: "At (Yale/Harvard/Whatev) they said this would work. Why isn't it working?" The economy isn't improving and it's becoming increasingly difficult to bull through the mire.

Well, this is yet another entry in the "it will continue until it can't" category, I guess. And when it can't, that will be a bad day.

* * *

Climatology is all sciencey-like. Borepatch is commenting on that Times of London piece about climatologists trying to suppress a paper which was "less than helpful" to their cause (namely getting fat government research grants to study how bad the global warmenatin' is going to be).

Borepatch concludes:
...this is a very big climate story. It's big because of the suppression of "unhelpful" science. It's big because of the suppression of scientists who deviate from received orthodoxy - just as in the Climategate emails saying that they would redefine how peer-review works.

As with Watergate, it's not the crime, it's the cover up. Something is rotten in the state of Climate Science, and the stench is making its way to the very front page. They won't be able to hide the decline in the public's respect for Climate Science.
Any time you suppress or hide results that disprove your thesis you are not doing science.

In science, you must explain or account for observations that do not match your hypothesis or theory. The scientific method does not allow you to hide them, or to work with others to suppress them; when you do that you've moved beyond science and into politics. Climatology has long since been a political movement rather than a branch of meteorology; only now is the mask starting to slip.

"The truth will out." Indeed it will, though the mainstream media is going to fight it tooth and nail.

* * *

Yesterday, the driver's seat in the Jeep broke for good and all. The outboard front part was broken; now the inboard rear is also broken, and it moves like a rocking chair. I need to fix this.

I realized that if I do break that one stupid bolt off, I can drill the whole nonsense out and put a bolt in its place: a bolt, a couple of washers, and a nut will work to mount the seat. Hell, if I left it out, it still would be better than what I have now.

So I guess I need to go to a boneyard or two and see if they have a seat mechanism for a Jeep Cherokee....
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