Tuesday, June 30, 2009

future shock

A really important post over at the oildrum that outlines what I think
will be happening over the next few years.

We now appear to be bumping our heads against an invisible ceiling, where the decline in real energy meets our pain tolerance for high prices. When gasoline hit $4 last year, it created real demand destruction because people simply couldn’t afford it with their evaporating dollars. Likewise, the spike in natural gas and coal prices ultimately translated into such high prices for basic building materials like cement and steel that demand was curtailed.
The economy is going to be squeezed steadily lower by decreasing availability
of energy. As energy prices increase, the economy spirals downward which crashes oil prices
leading to reduction in availability. I think this cycle will be repeated over and over in the coming months and years so that the business cycle will lurch from ´greenshoots´ to further
deepening of the depression.

We´re already seeing this at work where it is slower so that prices are coming down (the crises!),
but we´re still kind of busy because layoffs are cutting out the cushion of people that allow us to take advantage any extra business. None of the oil industry can ramp up in matter of weeks, it takes at least months to get tools and people, as soon as tools and people arrive things are slowing down again.

What the government should be doing should be a crash program to provide energy self sufficiency in the USA. Nuclear, Solar, fusion, oil and gas. Instead this cap and trade bill will probably finish the destruction of the domestic oil and gas industry if it passes the senate.
(I haven´t read it, but since neither has the house of reps I´m guessing it will be a giant boondoggle with lots of poorly thought out ideas chock full of unintended consequences).

What the bill needs to do is drive conversion of cars to natural gas and hybrid. Construct dozens of new nuclear power plants. Create dozens of plants to construct PV panels and wind turbines. support the drilling of natural gas in the USA. I´m guessing that it will drive some construction of wind turbines and pv panels that are made in china, but not much else.

We´re getting down to nut-cutting time as far as decisions go, the question will be what should individuals do to ride out the storm with some kind of style. I think the key will be personal sustainability, the ability to generate some amount of power and food as electricity rates skyrocket will be important. Anything imported will be prohibitively expensive and or the value
of dollar denominated accounts will go toward zero.

I´m personally stuck with one monkey´s paw wrapped around a job I´m too afraid to let go of and one paw grasping around looking for another. I think I´ll be forced by circumstances to take
my own advice when I get downsized in the near future.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Political quiz

My Political Views
I am a center-right moderate social libertarian
Right: 1.5, Libertarian: 2.04

Political Spectrum Quiz

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I added some new links to the blogroll for blogs that I've been
reading lately, the first being the Ancient and Noble order of the
Gormogons. I don't know much about poland-lithuania, but I definitely
agree that val kilmer rocked in Tombstone, possibly making him the
hidden imam spoken of in scripture. ("a huckleberry shall rise up in
the west, and do a good job with The doors, but he shall do a poor job
of the Saint")

This morning they are talking about Hubris. Specifically that AGW
scientists are talking about geoengineering to solve the global warming
problem Re: Hubris This is true hubris to think we've
spent hundreds of years creating a problem, so we'll just make some adjustments
to old planet earth and that will fix it. I don't think we understand the earth's
atmosphere and oceans well enough to go mucking around with anything.

I'm much more worried by global cooling then by global warming. I think
that if its very hot, then it must be sunny and we can use PV panels to run some
air conditioning. I can't picture a hot cloudy climate. (venus?)

If some scientists go mucking around with the earth when they don't really
know if it is cooling or warming and they do something that will make the planet
cooler we could all be screwed, huddling in the dark and cold.

I was googling around for the source of the quote "you shall be as gods" (doh! genesis)
and I found an article on a mural at MIT.

The left panel on the south wall conveys the thought that chemistry has given mankind almost unlimited power and raised the question: shall the power be used to build up or demolish civilization?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Sheep Look up

I'm re-reading "The Sheep Look Up" by John Brunner, a book that
I bought at the LSU bookstore around 1986. A science fiction novel
about the near future extrapolated from the vietnam era. It really influenced
the way I thought about the world, it made me think that everything
is polluted and the future will be worse. The modern world would sink
into a miasma of warfare, pollution, lack of clean air and water etc.

In some ways things look worse than the early '70's when the book was
written, the government is broke, a lot of private individuals and companies
are broke, we're still at war with the islamofacists, etc.

On the other hand much of the extrapolation was too pessimistic, the air
is less polluted even in places that were really polluted (california), clean
water is plentiful still and cheap, food is still fairly cheap and it seems like
there are much fewer people starving in the world now mostly due to improvements
in China and India.

Gee, maybe projections about global warming and the imminent demise of the
USA could be wrong as well.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-Day 65 years later

It's the D-Day anniversary and I thought to post something about
the 101st airborne and Easy company's assault on Brecourt manor.

Googling around it's clear that there were many more similar attacks
made by groups of men pieced together from various units that joined up
in the dark. At one chronicle of the 82nd and 101st airborne they tell a small
part of the tale:

The 1st Battalion, 502d Parachute Infantry (Lt. Col. Patrick J. Cassidy), had a much stiffer fight for its D-Day objectives. Colonel Cassidy landed near St. Germain-de-Varreville in the center of the battalion's drop one and a mile from the first objective-the artillery garrison buildings designated as "WXYZ" in the plan. He gradually collected a small force, mostly from his own battalion, and after discovery of a road sign began moving toward the objective. Objective W, the house at the crossroads west of St. Martin-de-Varreville, was unoccupied. Colonel Cassidy set up his command post in the house and then checked the enemy gun position across the road. There he found a dozen men under Lt. Col. Steve A. Chappuis (commander of the 2d Battalion); Colonel Chappuis, though injured in the jump, had been able to reach his objective. He had decided to wait at the gun position for more of his men. Colonel Cassidy proceeded with his own mission. His plan was, first, to establish defenses at the St. Martin-de-Varreville intersection to prevent the enemy from moving east into the beach area, and then to clean out the XYZ buildings and set up a defensive line to the north.

A patrol sent to check Exit 4 found both it and the causeway clear. The 3d Battalion, in the meantime, reported Exit 3 covered, and Colonel Cassidy, after relaying this information to the 4th Division, turned his attention to consolidating the battalion position. Several groups from Company A assembled north of St. Martin-de-Varreville during the morning. Forty-five men were collected by Lt. W. A. Swanson and ordered to move to Foucarville to establish the right anchor of the battalion line with a series of road blocks. Lieutenant Swanson set up four blocks shortly after noon and within half an hour he trapped and largely destroyed a 4-vehicle enemy troop convoy moving east from Beuzeville-au-Plain. Despite this success, Company A's positions were not secure as they were dominated by the enemy on the hill to the northwest. The Germans, however, made no determined effort to break through, although a fire fight continued most of the day as the enemy probed at the road blocks without discovering their essential weakness.

Meanwhile the fight at XYZ was carried on most of the day by a mixed group of men under Sergeant Summers, while Company C was held in reserve. It was not an easy task. Not until 1530 were the Germans driven out of the last building, after its roof was fired with bazooka rounds. More than one hundred were killed or taken prisoner as they tried to escape. Another fifty had been killed or captured earlier in the fight.

A similar story is repeated for various groups of men as they gathered themselves
together and moved out toward objectives.


Here's a silver star citation for Bravery for PFC Gerald Lorraine
at Brecourt Manor:

Private First Class Gerald J. Loraine 39104951, Parachute Infantry, United States Army, for gallantry in action. On 6 June, 1944, at le Grand Chemin, France, an enemy battery of four 88mm guns, protected by machine-guns, was firing at short range on the beach, greatly impeding the landing of Allied troops. Private Loraine's battalion attacked the battery position, but was stopped by direct fire. Private Loraine, with a small group of soldiers made an assault directly into the battery positions. Without regard for his personal safety, Private Loraine attacked the enemy with hand grenades and sub machinegun fire. Several times he picked up grenades which had been thrown by the enemy and threw them back into the positions. Private Loraine led his small group in the assault on successive positions until the guns were destroyed and silenced. His outstanding bravery in this action enabled his battalion to advance and gain its objective. His conduct was in accordance with the highest standards of military service.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Chinese tea party

One thing the tea parties have missed is the analogy with the
original tea party, the throwing off of boats of imported stuff that
provides funding for the government.

The quickest way to cut spending may be to stop importing chinese crap. They'll stop buying treasuries and we'll stop spending. At that point there will have to be an adult conversation
in the usa about how much we have to spend and how much we
we'll have to cut from budgets.

Sort of the Dave Ramsey cut up the credit cards and go on rice & beans,
beans & rice type of moment.

Even if I don't know if I want to bankrupt the government to make spending
stop, it seems like a good idea to stop buying chinese crap just based on this
review of a book "Poorly made in china".

Midler identifies the features of China’s production environment that make a joke of all the free-trade slogans. There is, for example, “quality fade.” You cut a deal with a Chinese manufacturer to import beauty lotions in plastic bottles. You give precise specifications for the product and container. The first shipments are fine. Then customers begin to complain that the plastic of the bottles is too thin. You squeeze a bottle, it collapses. It turns out that your manufacturer has quietly adjusted the molds so that less plastic goes into making each bottle. Neither the importer nor his customers has been told of the change.

Not to mention exporting jobs and manufacturing ability of the country.
There are lots of reasons to board the ships and throw the containers of chinese
crap into the harbor. The chinese government won't let obama say "buy american",
so one of the things the tea party protests should do is buy american.