July 2nd, 2021

#7717: Electricity

This is only what I've been saying since the very beginning. Car companies claim they're switching to building electric cars only, promising to have all-electric lineups in 15 or 20 years.

But no one--no one--is talking about where the electricity will come from. Nor how it will get to those electric cars.

They're all engaging in "field of dreams" planning--"build it, and they will come"--but when you're talking about the transportation infrastructure of an economy that's built on a "just in time" supply chain, it's suicidal.

I've looked at the problem before, here, in the context of England going all-electric, and the math simply does not work. The United States has something like five times the population of England but nearly two hundred times the area; that only exacerbates the problem.

California already did not have enough electrical generating capacity to fulfill its own needs in the summer months; rolling blackouts have been a feature of life there going back at least a decade, if not longer, because of their stubborn refusal to allow the construction of generating capacity, whatever the type. This situation has not improved, with people even opposing the construction of windmills (because they are noisy and disruptive) and as the supply of electricity remains constant, the demand for it increases every time a California resident buys an electric car.

California's problem is that they need more power plants, but they will not build them. Right now they can buy power from outside the state, to make up for the shortfall; but what will they do when suppliers in other states say, "Look, we feel for you, but we don't have enough power for our customers, let alone for you guys"?

And California is just the leading edge of this. New York City is having the same problem: not enough electricity to meet demands, threatening blackouts if people don't conserve. Of course, all the TV news broadcasts are coming from Times Square or its equivalent, where the reporters are framed by several megawatts' worth of neon signs and flashing lights and jumbotron monitors and the like, all using enough electricity to run a few thousand air conditioners. Message: "Hey, you proles can sweat in the dark because we need to run our advertising."

There is going to come a day when historians look back on the 20th and 21st centuries, and they're going to laugh at how foolish we were. "They had the ability to build nuclear reactors, but didn't, because they were afraid of them."

* * *

Ten pounds of explosive wreck an explosive containment vessel built to withstand half again as much. 10 lbs, containment was meant to handle 15, but when the 10 lbs was detonated, the truck went up like a...well, a bomb, I guess.

Having seen the video, it kind of begs the question: was it really rated for 15 lbs? Or did the supplier figure that they'd never actually need that kind of capacity? ("Built by lowest bidder", remember.) Or did the bomb squad actually put more than ten pounds into the thing, and only said "ten pounds" after the fact, because none of them wants to lose his job?

"Yeah, this is homemade, there's no way it can be that powerful."

Someone in the comments makes the point that if it was black powder? Ten pounds of black powder blow up differently than ten pounds of TNT. Black powder makes gas and only really explodes if confined. Above a certain amount it becomes "self-confining", meaning that you get a "boom" regardless of whether it's a loose pile or packed in drums. "Five pounds" is the figure I remember, but this was an offhand comment heard at a rocketry meet, so who knows?

I can see how a containment system rated for fifteen pounds of TNT might fail when trying to contain the gas generated by ten pounds of black powder.

Regardless: why was this detonation done in that neighborhood? Whatever the explosive was, it was obviously stable enough to be transported somewhere else. Why wasn't it?

Someone else, in a different article, wondered why the bomb squad didn't just use the guy's garden hose and soak the stuff. Black powder--package fireworks in general--are rendered inert when soaked with water. I do not know of a common explosive that reacts badly when wet, and if this guy was selling fireworks I doubt he was dealing with anything so exotic, anyway. I'd bet that the stuff that blew up their truck was either black powder or TNT, packaged as "M-80" firecrackers or larger.

M-80 is about an eighth stick of dynamite, as I recall. If you know who to talk to, you can get quarter- and half-sticks, though it's illegal to do so without the right licenses. I don't mind this; M-80s are too powerful for package fireworks.

* * *

"Does anyone else get the feeling that we're being played for suckers?"

There are a few simple and incontrovertible facts about the whole Wuhan Flu thing.

1) The seasonal flu disappeared completely during the flap.

2) Its fatality rate is only slightly worse than the seasonal flu.

3) For most people, it's so mild that they need a test to know they have it. (Most => 80% of the cases.)

I have not trusted the government on COVID-19 since at least May of 2020. The "delta variant" nonsense is just another attempt to scare people into compliance. You may have noticed that there is a lot of panic in the upper echelons about people not getting vaccinated? That's because people in general are no longer afraid of the thing, and a lot of people are skeptical that the vaccine is actually worth it.

I mean, our government's stated guidance for the vaccine is that it won't keep you from getting the thing, nor will it keep you from transmitting it. That's why they're trying to keep the mask mandates in place, after all, "even if you're vaccinated". "It will lessen the severity of symptoms if you catch it," they tell us. Well, when 95% of the people who get infected with the thing do not need medical intervention to survive it--mainly they just need aspirin, plenty of fluids, rest, and maybe chicken soup--why vaccinate, particularly with a vaccine that the government itself does not think is wholly effective protection against it?

(I will leave, for another time, wondering why people who have been vaccinated against the thing don't trust the vaccine to protect them.)

"Delta variant" seems perfectly suited to whip people into a panic...except they're not, because "pandemic fatigue" has set in. Nothing that was claimed about this disease has happened, at least not where people can see it, and with the news stories showing the opposite of what the reporters themselves are saying, it's hard to believe this was anything other than a slightly worse-than-usual flu season.

We're told--and told, and told!--about the mass casualties, but while there are numerous videos of refrigerated semi trailers parked near hospitals and morgues, there's no video or even still images of body bags in those trailers. We hear and see story after story after story about how bad the death toll is in Italy or India or wherever, but these are from the same people who reported breathlessly about how Donald Trump's salt shaker was bigger than the one used by his guests. Americans' trust in their news media is at an all-time low; why should be listen to anything they tell us, when we know they can't be believed when they talk politics?

So the short answer to Bayou Renaissance Man's question is "Yes."

The slightly longer answer is, "They're trying to play us for suckers, but a lot of us aren't playing."

* * *

No, a pride parade is not the place for children, you fucking sicko.

This is the bit that spoke to me the most:
I really don't give a damn what ANYBODY does in private, or where you choose to put your dick, excepting children and small animals. I consider that sort of thing to be none of my business, and have no desire to intrude or interfere. Not my circus, not my monkey. So why can't you be content with that? Do civility, forebearance, and decorum matter at all to you? Why am I expected to stand up and cheer for your every personal sexual inclination?
Pride parades are all about "freaking out the squares" (or "straights") which is why they have turned into crass displays of various paraphilias. The whole point is to make people watch homosexuals doing their thing in public. They want people to be repelled; it's not enough just to do their thing and be satisfied with it, but it must be shoved in the face of every person who values decorum, or any sort of standard for public behavior.

Our civilization has determined that exposing children to adult sexuality is bad for their development. That's why we have the laws we have, against child pornography and molestation and so forth. The left is all-in on teaching children as much about sex as early as possible, at least partly because the left systematically destroys such long-standing wisdom as part of its program to wreck society. After all, it's much easier to command (and recruit) emotional wrecks than it is to do so to confident and strong people.

Besides, what children do is to copy the things they see adults doing. A guy in his late teens isn't likely to decide to try sucking his best friend's dong after seeing it happen at a pride parade, but a seven-year-old boy might--and if you can get him to try that stuff before he starts liking girls, you might just have a brand-new homosexual.

I honestly don't care what consenting adults do in private. But that's as far as it goes. In public, there are certain levels of decency and decorum which damned well ought to be followed, and that goes for everyone.

* * *

SpaceX has rolled a Super Heavy booster out to their Pad A for testing. Woo hoo!

* * *

It's nice and quiet in here without all the dang fans running. The problem is, if I don't want the fans running, I need to keep the house at something like 70 or 72, which is prohibitively expensive. 76 seems to be a good daytime temp, but it's too warm, so I make up for that with moving the air around. Fans use a hell of a lot less power than the air conditioner does. Of course, fans make noise.

Today we're having September weather--cool and dry--and so the fans are off and the house is quiet. I'll take it, because every day I can get by without using AC helps to keep my power bill low. The next one is going to suck, that's for sure, since we needed AC a lot in June.

* * *

Fireworks:

I've told (and told and told) the stories about past Independence Days. Still, when I go to the fireworks store, I always remember the things from the past, and I can't help but marvel at the array.

There is just something magical about holding a brick of firecrackers. I mean, there were no fireworks allowed when I was growing up; Dad simply did not allow them. You couldn't get them; they were almost entirely illegal in Illinois (but for sparklers and smoke bombs) and Indiana was scarcely better. Now, if you could go to Missouri or Kentucky....

During family trips my male sibling would implore Dad to stop at fireworks stands, and Dad never did, because he knew that the next step would be the cajolery: "Can we buy this? Can we buy that??" Give him an inch and he'll soon have a mile--so, no, head it off at the pass.

Things eased off a bit--this is probably a generational paradigm--when my sister had her husband bring up a big wad of fireworks from Missouri. Again it's a tale plainly told, but she was here (for reasons) and he was down there, so when he came up to see his wife one time, along came the mother load...including a brick of firecrackers.

I can't begin to explain what bounty that represented to 10-year-old me. I mean, a whole brick, not just a pack or two--that was incredible, that was amazing! Just holding it, feeling the weight of all that explody goodness, it was like nothing I'd ever seen. The ominous black cat on the label (which I kept, intact, and stuck to my bedroom wall with thumbtacks) and the promise "Black Cat is the Best you can get", and the product description! "SUPER CHARGED FLASHLIGHT CRACKERS", it said, and my brother and I got to split two thousand of them!

These days, decades later, I walk through the aisle of firecrackers and I still get a thrill from seeing them, and I am sorely tempted to buy some, if only to experience that feeling of having the brick in my hands, and then cracking it open--

...and then I think, "FFS, I still have half a brick left from three years ago! I don't need more."

That usually stops me in my tracks and keeps me from spending precious fireworks budget on redundant fuses. The simple fact is, firecrackers do one thing: *bang* And the regulations governing their construction and power do not leave them suited to, shall we say, experiments:
Dad gave me and my brother some firecrackers he'd found in his closet. Wow! Firecrackers! I vividly remember my brother putting four firecrackers, with wicks twisted together, under an aluminum cup, and lighting the fuses, and boom the cup went about 15, 20 feet in the air. The bottom of the cup was bulged outward. That was awesome.
It was probably closer to 5 or 10, but it seemed higher. Anyway, if you do that with a firecracker from today's fireworks stores, that cup wouldn't move. They make the noise but don't have the force. It's safer. This post has a better description of the event.)

Not as much fun. For example, you can no longer stick firecrackers into a model car and blow it up.

Part of the fun of fireworks was that you could do things with them besides "light fuse and get away", but since the real design spec for firecrackers is "light and noise" I guess it really doesn't matter. And it's good that you have to be spectacularly stupid to get hurt lighting package fireworks, anyway:



Even poor Terry there doesn't have anything to worry about.

* * *

Well: the battery-operated LED candles I put in the windows on Christmas Eve finally got put away. Several of them were still turning on at 5 PM, emitting weak glows for eight hours, and shutting off around 1 AM. Six months--not too shabby. Of course you had to be in a dark room to see that they were lit, but....

* * *

Errands to run today, but nothing too terrible. Mainly shopping. Holiday ahead!

#7718: STUPID

Olympic athlete fails a drug test. Dumbest thing you can do is to use any kind of narcotic when you know you're subject to taking a drug test and your entire future as an athlete hinges on whether or not you pass that drug test.

Plus side, she's not blaming anyone but herself for this.

* * *

I love how news stories always use Bequerels when talking about radioactivity. "30,000 Bq per kg" it says, but what it does not say is what the natural radioactivity is.

In the human body, Potassium 40 is the biggest radionuclide and it accounts for about 72 Bq per kg, though, so if we use that as a benchmark we can see that the boars are about 5,000 times more radioactive than uncontaminated animals are.

...and it doesn't seem to bother them very much.

* * *

Sarah Hoyt discusses those who would seize total power over us:
...their terror has nothing to do with a group of people they knew were inoffensive and set up for a fall. It has to do with the reason they felt the need to set up a fake "attack" at all. Because they are scared. They are terrified. Despite their philosophy that tells them they can't lose, they know their loss is inevitable, and are insanely, haphazardly, in a panic, trying to delay it. When each attempt backfires, the panic and the double vision increases.
It ain't gonna be pretty and they're going to make it hurt the entire time they're losing, but they can't win.

* * *

I keep hearing fireworks. Now, why would that be?