atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#7793: BLARGH

Training was 2 hours of actual content and 3.5 hours of questions. As soon as it was done I was back in bed and I slept for 2 hours. I probably would have slept more if I hadn't woken up hungry.

* * *

My monitor, I am told, is supposed to be here tomorrow. I'm looking forward to that.

The resolution of the new monitor puts it in the QHD area, which is basically twice the resolution of a standard HD (720p) screen. The GigantoTron is 2560x1600 while the new screen is 2560x1440--so, no real change in resolution or anything like that, but because the new screen features a higher refresh rate and a wider color gamut, I still expect it to look incredible even when sitting literally right next to the GigantoTron.

I mean, let's face it: Apple stopped production on the Apple Cinema Display 30 in July of 2010, a mere 11 years ago. Not exactly the latest display technology, if you know what I mean.

Other nice bit: price has gone up to $255 from the sale price of $200. Woot.

* * *

So the rumor mill is saying that China invades Taiwan on September 25. If that actually happens, the current chip shortage is going to look like days of plenty. Most of the world's really advanced semiconductors are made in Taiwan.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I see that. The United States is not the only country in the world, and even if we're frotting our own buttocks with Afghanistan and the other nonsense, I'm still thinking that the other major powers would not look kindly on China taking Taiwan by force. The real question then becomes, how many of them did China buy off? If China walks in and takes Taiwan, and there's a lot of Sturm und Drang but no real action, then we know that the answer to that question is, "Essentially everyone."

But how true is that? I mean, other than China, who really benefits from Taiwan being absorbed by communist China?

I don't think anyone does. All those countries that rely on the free flow of semiconductors from Taiwan, they then either have to fall in line with China's demands, or they get nothing. Unless they set up their own semiconductor fabs (and it takes half a decade to set one up!) their industry chokes. And China's not going to be evenhanded about it; once they have that leverage, they will use it.

Long-term, that's bad for China, though. Two reasons.

First: China can't innovate its way out of a paper bag. Right now Chinese semiconductor manufacturers lag state-of-the-art so badly that they can only make chips which our guys were producing twenty years ago. That's fine if you're making low-power stuff; FFS we still use the 555 timer and the 741 op amp, and those were invented at the dawn of the integrated circuit. But it's craptastic for building high-powered computers.

So what's going to happen with a Chinese Taiwan? Well, there'll be a hiccough in the world's progression along the Moore Curve, as fabs are built in other countries, but as soon as those fabs are reliably turning out high-zoot stuff and researching higher-zoot stuff, Chinese Taiwan will be left in the dust, the same way mainland China's semiconductor industry was. It takes a decade or two, but all else being equal, China eventually finds itself making 555s and 741s again, while other countries make the Ryzens and the Cores. But there won't be time for that to happen. Why?

Second: if China chokes the US economy, they're the ones who will have trouble breathing first. There don't seem to be very many people in high positions who understand that; they think that China can do its own thing regardless of what happens to America. That might work, to a point; I'm betting that the head commie's plans to eat the rich are meant to hide the fact that everyone in China is going to suffer a rather steep pay cut when they start trying to bring America to heel. But if the American economic engine falters? China starves. I don't think they can import enough food from everywhere else to make up for what America produces.

Having taken Taiwan, China then sits on top of an extremely valuable strategic asset--but you can't eat microchips, and the value of that asset degrades over time. They haven't bought themselves permanent hegemony so much as they've managed to seize control of a depreciating asset, one that will give them power for a while. And if they wield that power to force the United States to knuckle under to them, they kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, while simultaneously cutting off their own food supply.

Depending on how it's handled, I suppose it is just possible for China to keep getting its food from America while otherwise ruining our economy. I know that the shitheads currently running the federal government would not see any problem with feeding China even as they denied us the semiconductors needed by our industry. I could see China making the shipment of chips contingent on the continued movement of food into their country. But that's a very, very tricky line to walk, because if they make a mistake, the US economy flops and the movement of food ceases, and then the commisars have 1.4 billion starving peasants on their asses.

Communists are always confident that they're smart and able enough to manage anything, no matter how precarious; and they're always wrong.

* * *

Yesterday I was on my way back to the plant after a grueling day spent at the far offsite, and I saw a car with "FREEDOM FOR CUBA" painted in its back window. I very seldom see any political slogan on a car that I agree with as completely as I agreed with that one.

* * *

I think I finally figured out what I want to do with the big "SUZUKI" sticker I bought in 2011 to make an order for something-or-other reach the "free shipping" threshold.

I've got some plexiglass in the garage, and I've got some LED strips; and I thought, "Why don't I put the sticker on the plexiglass, and then run a bunch of LEDs around it? Mount it in a wood frame and it'd look pretty cool." I need to figure out how to cut a slot in the wood without buying a router, but then I could make a nice little accent light for my man cave. If I ever manage to finish the basement.

* * *

Putzing around on YutzTubs today I saw that someone makes a kit to let you mount double DIN stereos in the Cherokee. The factory bezel only allows 1.5 DIN at most, but this kit changes that.

I'd wanted to put a double DIN stereo in so I'd have a screen on which to display the output of the backup camera (still not installed), and besides, I wanted the ability to play from Bluetooth and USB and-and-and. Depending on what it costs--and on what I do vis-a-vis the Jeep--that might not be a bad investment.

The used car market seems to be easing, but I'm still not sure what I'm going to do; what I do know is that I don't have the sheetmetal to fix the Cherokee and it's looking like Labor Day weekend is going to be used up on other things. I need to do something about the passenger-side floor but I don't have time.

Part of me just wants to hang it all up and buy something newer, maybe even new, or at least "certified pre-owned". Another part recognizes that I will never, never, ever have another Jeep Cherokee like this one, with mechanicals which far outlast the bodies that contain them. I mean, no shit, sometimes I think about finding a Cherokee with a good body and bad engine and swapping this drivetrain into it!

The thing is, Jeep used this engine in their trucks through 2004. The transmission they connected it to was less durable than the one in the XJ, but not bad. The right 2004 Grand Cherokee would be worth buying, I think.

The other option is to get a pickup truck. Chevrolet and Ford trucks just go approximately forever. I can't remember the mileage on Dad's 1988 Silverado when he traded it on the van in 1995, but it had gone well past the (incredible, for its day) 170,000 mile mark that Mom's 1979 Malibu wagon had hit. There was some discussion about me buying that truck from him, in fact, to replace the cursed 1993 Thunderbird I had at the time, but ultimately he traded it and I bought the green 1995 Escort, in early 1996.

I don't know what I want to do; only that I have to do something, because the longer I let that Jeep's passenger floor fester, the bigger the job becomes. The XJ platform is an amazing piece of engineering, and I know that I can drive the thing until it disintegrates entirely if I really want to. (And then put the drivetrain into another body!) But "half the passenger-side floor is missing" is a really big problem and I need to do something about it if I want to keep driving it.

My plan for Labor Day weekend was to dip my toes in bodywork: identify a couple of spots, fab up patch panels, weld them in, and see how I do. I may still be able to do that, but the calendar is starting to fill up; Saturday is already spoken for, leaving me only Sunday and Monday to work on the truck. And if I'm to have any holiday vacation at all, I cannot take any extra time off between now and December.

WTF: if I can learn how to do rust repair, the sky is the freaking limit. But I need time to do it, and it has to be time when I don't have to worry about this or that or the other thing; and so far this summer I have sped from one desperately needed repair to another, stopping only to do vital chores, such that I had to "call a lid" and do nothing (or at least as little as possible) for a while. And summer is almost over.

* * *

Sometimes I think that's where powerful wizards go wrong: they have this extra-long "to do" list, and they start thinking that the only way they can get everything done is to turn themselves into liches, so they can keep working after death. Only the process of turning themselves into liches is what wrecks them and makes them hideously evil, because the undead are animated by negative planar energy, which is basically "pure evil".

In the Spelljammer campaign setting for AD&D, though, there is a wizard who ended up dying and not noticing, becoming a lich, because he was too busy with his research. That is focus!

* * *

Well, I'm still hungry. I suppose I should do something about that.

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