Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Wednesday playing hooky

 Just a couple of quick notes.

I got in a 1.5 mile run today. Time to get back to the old grind. Allergies knock me on my kiester in early June. Then catching up on garden and yard work. I hope to ramp up quickly.

1100 b50 GDD

I saw a few Japanese Beetles today. They seem to be attracted to yellow. I found them in the water in one of my repurposed kitty litter buckets. I saw one a few days ago. 1100 b50 Growing Degree Days.

Lightning bugs are getting thick.

I also noticed the distinct odor of chestnut tree pollen. Same GDD.

Cattails are almost done pollinating. The survival books say you can collect cattail pollen and use it like flour. 

Fishing report

Shotgun slayed the fish tonight. Everybody else left. Then, at the stroke of 10 no sooner would he toss out his bobber and he would have another bite.

He started tying into them after he whittled away the fish-head he was using for bait. Then the hook started finding the bullheads. I think scent was leaching out of that big, old bluegill head and was calling them from all over.

My new smartphone went swimming. A boater had beached his boat between our lines and he fouled my line when he came in. I bent over to unsnarl the line that was tangled around his lower unit and "Bloop!", into the drink it went. I would like to blame the boater but it was my lack of attention that was at fault.

Tomorrow will be dedicated to clean fish, mowing, spraying weeds, spraying potatoes and baking rolls. I also have an assignment to go through our assets and double-check the beneficiaries. Time marches on.

Roto-tilling will be Saturday. Historically, I need three dry days before the soil is dry enough to work.

Why I never post pictures of myself

I have been receiving emails from readers who are calling BS on my claims regarding pest control.

Specifically, they accused me of lying. They claim that I must not have lost ALL of my firearms to boating accidents and an unnamed, overzealous salesperson at that yard-sale last summer.

After all, how can I be "convincing" rabbits and woodchucks and red squirrels to not visit my garden and mulberry trees?

I ugly them to death

"Uglying game-animals to death" is a method-of-take widely used in Ohio but much less-so in Michigan.

The concept is simple. The eyes of most animals are exceptionally rich in rods and they can see motion. If a hunter stays very, very still and the wind is from the right direction, many animals will come so close that they almost step on the hunter's foot. If you can make a sudden face that is sufficiently ugly, it stops their heart and kills them instantly. It is actually a very humane way to take game.

Well, my friends in Ohio told me about this method and I had to give it a try.

I put my lawn chair six feet from a woodchuck burrow and waited for him to pop out. As soon as he looked my way I gave him my "Ugly face".

It worked!

The corpse slid back down the hole. I left him in the hole since I would have had to bury him anyway.

The next time I talked to the Buckeyes, I asked them why more people in Michigan didn't use the method. It has tremendous advantages in terms of silence and portability.

They claimed that folks in Michigan couldn't do it.

I disputed the point. In fact, a great many of my neighbors seem to be exceptionally well endowed by nature for this method of hunting.

They agreed that the actual killing wasn't the issue. Rather, it was that us Sparties and Wolverines tore up the meat too bad.

Thinking back on my experience with the woodchuck, I must confess that the hole did resemble a crater after I uglied him to death. And since then, the red squirrels make a distinctive "Pop!" sound when I ugly them in mid-air and they cartwheel after being hit.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Mulberries, pastures and pears

 It is difficult to over-state how attractive Illinois Everbearing Mulberries are to wildlife.

I know what you are thinking: "I have mulberry trees and I don't see what the big deal is."

I also have other mulberry trees. They ripen a ton of berries in the space of a week or so. Then the bland, insipid berries fall on the ground.

Because so much fruit is ripening over such a short time, the tree lacks the ability (leaf area and time) to photosynthesize enough sugar to make them very sweet.

Illinois Everbearing, on the other hand, ripens fruit over six-to-eight weeks. There is no single, big fruit dump. There are always some ripe or almost-ripe berries in the IEM and they are sweet! Not "seem sweet because there is no tartness to balance it" but they truly are sweet.

That comes at a time when there is not a lot of competition. We have both red and black raspberries ripening but nothing like the sheer poundage carried by a single IEM tree.

And I have a bunch of them grafted around the homestead. One over the dog run, two in an opening in the White Pines, an even half-dozen on the west side of the pasture and several more scattered about the place where a mulberry seedling sprang up.

IEM calls in squirrels, raccoons, possum, orioles, starlings, robins...... and they will undoubtedly call in wild hogs when they show up here.

Speaking of pastures...

Did you hear about the dummy who left the back gate open when he let the calves into the fresh paddock.

It was raining the other day and rather than try to squeeze between the gate and the hot-wire, I cut the baling twine holding the gate shut. We are high-class around here. Nothing but top-end hardware.

I promptly forgot that I had left the gates open. Both the one to the back paddocks and the one that opens off-property.

The calves were in the shade in the back pasture. I closed the gate that led off-property and will collect the calves later on.

Thinning apples

I had a few apple trees that had too heavy of a fruit load for the leaf area. Mrs ERJ and I thinned them out by hand.

I figured the first tree could ripen 20 or 30 pounds of fruit so we thinned it to about 40 apples.

The second tree we pruned all of the thin, whippy branches that had been dragged into the shade by the weight of the apples they were carrying. That went much faster.

The third one Mrs ERJ wanted to do as an experiment. I always gripe about the Liberty trees dropping a quarter of their crop. The fruit has short stems and where there are doubles and triples, fruit is going to get pushed off before it ripens. We selected a Liberty tree and thinned all doubles and triples we could find.

The last tree we thinned was a Winecrisp that is runting-out. We took off at least 3/4 of the fruit.


I have a friend in southwestern Missouri and she loses her pear crop to frost on a frequent basis. 

With the magic of the internet, I found at least one high-quality, dessert pear that blooms a full week after Bartlett. Like many older varieties, it has several names.

Belle Lucrative a.k.a Fondante D'Automne

This good old pear has been a standard autumn sort for nearly a century. The internal characters of both flesh and flavor are nearly perfect, but externally much more might be desired as to shape and size. In flesh and flavor, the fruits are of the Bergamot type -- fine-grained, buttery, juicy, and sugary, with a musky taste and perfume. The fruits are not as large as is desirable, and are variable in shape and color, external defects which a rather handsome color offsets in part. The trees are more satisfactory than the fruits. They bear enormously and almost annually on either standard or dwarfing stocks; they are very vigorous, with a somewhat distinct upright-spreading habit of growth; are hardier than the average variety of this fruit and are rather more resistant to blight than the average variety. The fruits are too small for a good commercial product, but their delectable flavor and luscious flesh make them as desirable as any other pear for home use; besides which the trees grow so well, and are so easliy managed that the variety becomes one of the very best for the home planter.  -U.P. Hedrick Pears of New York, 1921

Underlining is mine. 

Now to find a source of scionwood. Trees of Antiquity sells this variety as a completed tree but scionwood is much cheaper.

She will also need a pollinator. Hoskins looks like a decent bet. It came from Tennessee so it should handle Missouri's climate well.

Introduced in 1954. Seckel x Late Faulkner; crossed in 1938; tested as Tennessee 38S10. Fruit: size medium; roundish obovate, pyriform, sides unequal; skin medium thick and medium tough, dull, light yellow blushed and mottled with russet; dots many, large, russetted and conspicuous; core size medium; flesh white often tinged with pink, fine-grained, melting, juicy; flavor subacid to sour, sprightly, good; ripens 25 September - 7 October in Clarksville, Tennessee. Tree: large; vigorous; spreading; fire blight resistant.

---Added later---

This gentleman, Anton Callaway, grew both of these pears in the Southeast and wasn't impressed with either one. His notes are HERE. Well worth the read if you want to grow pears where they have good college football teams. 

It is about the money, isn't it?

It is about the money. It is always about the money.

The preening, "look-it me" behaviors of celebrities and wannabe celebs.

Athletes, bottom-drawer athletes, shirt-tail royalty and the like.

Remember the dot-com bust? Wall Street got sucked into that one. They bought into the belief that "eyeballs" equaled increased revenue and profit.

A feeding frenzy resulted, abetted by the loose monetary practices that were unleashed to lubricate the economy over the rocks of y2k.

The clowns eventually learn that doing stupid stuff might get "eyeballs" but nobody wants to tie themselves to the idiot who burns down his house to get more views on social media.

The ho's of Babylon smear feces on their reputations for the thrill of fame. They know in their grinchy hearts that fame => fortune.

The best thing we can do is to not throw a single penny to what used to be known as the Olympics, professional sports or even NCAA sports.

They can posture and grandstand on their own dime. Let's see how long that lasts.

Fine Art Tuesday


Sogdian village in the Yagnob valley. Notable for how the forage is stored on top of the roofs of the buildings and weighted down with rocks.

Leonid Plotkin is a photographer who posts his work on Flickr. He traveled through Central Asia in 2012 and took photographs of ordinary people.

I was attracted to this artist because where else are you going to find pictures of Sogdians and villages in the Yagnob valley?

The Sogdians dominated the Silk Road for a period of time that spans from the fall of the Roman Empire to the eight century. Over the centuries they were diluted and beaten back to the Yagnob valley.

Then the Soviet economy demanded near-slaves in the cotton fields east of the Caspian Sea. The Soviets forced them out of their villages to work in the deserts. They kept running away from the forced labor camps. Source

Seventeen villages, 500 Sogdians total. Life is spread thinly upon the ground.

Steep sheep

A party of groomsmen going to collect the bride.

This image and the the remainder of the images were taken in neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

Potatoes! Kashka Suu. Garden plots are between 10,000 square feet to 22,000 square feet and appear to be planted to a single crop. The typical dwelling has about 2000 square feet of adobe outbuildings "shotgun shacked" to the back end of them and serve as a divider between plots.*

Potatoes on the extreme left. Notable for the barbed wire fence, the bread oven behind subject's right shoulder and the source of irrigation water running between the two men.

Summer pasture. Give till it yurts.

Detailed view of the inside of the yurt. Notable for the framework and the interesting stove. The relatively tall, narrow firebox would be conducive to many kinds of fuel while the long, horizontal plenum would be good for heat transfer and cooking.

An image older than time. In austere environments there is no such thing as retirement. This granny will be productive until she dies. Much of Kyrgyzstan looks like central Montana.

While some might argue that these photos don't qualify as "Fine Art", I find them a thousand times more engaging than portraits of rich, vain people wearing uncomfortable costumes.

* A random neighborhood in Kashka Suu:
The street orientation is not random. They follow irrigation ditches. The town is on an alluvial fan where a mountain stream flows into a larger river. 7000 feet elevation. The headwaters of the mountain stream are approx 14,000 feet some 7 miles to the north.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Bastions of civic responsibility, I tell you

Video  2:00 run-time. 

Watch the civic-minded residents help the driver and trainee of the disabled truck deliver their packages.

Awww. What a feel good moment.

No wonder these areas have voting participation rates that approach and exceed 100%.

I bet Wendy remembers to lock the back doors next time...if she still has a job.

For the record

 Kubota had an interaction with the local police this past weekend.

He was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction.

Kubota was not in a great space. He and his girl were going through a rocky patch and the boss had shorted him in his last paycheck. His truck needs fixin' and his rent is over-due. The last thing Kubota needed was an expensive traffic ticket.

The stop did not go that great. Kubota's paperwork was not in order.

At no point did the Glock jump out of the holster and start punching holes in him.

Nor did the TASER leave its holster.

Nor did a flotilla of squad cars show up.

Kubota remained civil and made his best attempt to comply with what the law officer requested...a fact made more difficult by the paperwork SNAFU.

For the record, Kubota is African-American, or Black if that is the term you prefer.

He is not happy about the ticket he received but he did NOT acquire any bruises, cuts, extra holes in his skin or any other physical damage.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Fertilizer, tying down branches and pollinators

The end of June is a good time to walk around the orchard and vineyard and assess how things are going.

Due to an early start to the season in terms of Growing Degree Days and a frost, the fruit set on the various trees in the orchard is not uniform. The Asian pears that carried the show last year were in the most vulnerable stage when the frosts came. No Asian pears this year.

European pears look good. Liberty apple is doing the heavy lifting, as usual. The oldest Gold Rush tree (on MM106) is loaded.

I have pollinator varieties grafted into most of my apple trees. Most of them have much M. baccata in their pedigree and the flowers are bright-white to greenish-white while domestic apples have white flowers with a hint of pink. That matters because honeybees key into color and potentially won't move between greenish-white to pinkish white flowers.

Maybe I had bumblebees doing most of the pollinating or maybe having the pollinator branch IN the canopy of the tree made it so the honeybees ignored their color matching rule.

The two Crimson Crisp that did not have a pollinator in it has poor fruit set. The apples with a branch (and some of the branches quite small) had nice fruit loads.

One Enterprise apple has far too many apples on it. I was hoping for a solid "June drop" but it still has too many. I need to thin it down to about five per branch. It is still a young tree and I don't want it to runt-out.

I had some trees that needed to have branches spread. It is hard to beat a gallon milk jug (filled with water for ballast) and baling twine for the task. I tie the bottom of the twine to the jug. Then I bend the branches on the young trees to about 45 degrees from horizontal and use a taut line hitch to tie it to the branch. The taut line hitch gives me flexibility in tightening or loosening the line. I can also move the jug around to ensure each branch has its proper place in the sun.

At this time of year I only need to keep the branches tied down for two or three days. That is about how long it takes them to take a set. Then I can move the twine-and-jugs to other branches that need it. I get a little bit of spring-back but I still consider it to be well worth the effort.

Sunday being a day of rest, I tied a few branches. I threw some fertilizer around, including around the tree I was concerned might runt-out. I mowed a little bit of grass.

The only caution about fertilizing is that excessive fertilizer can delay a tree hardening off for winter and reduce its cold hardiness. The flip side is that bearing too much of a fruit load with too small of a leaf  canopy to ripen it will also reduce winter hardiness. It should be obvious that a grower in southern Michigan has a much friendlier window to work with than somebody growing fruit in North Dakota. Friendlier, but not infinite. I have lost apple trees in the winter and I attribute it to late apples, excessive fruit load and a tender rootstock.

The Deep-State and TLAs are a cult

As I was showering this morning, getting ready to go to Mass, the thought flashed through my mind that if I wanted power-crazy, authoritarian leaders to paw through every detail of my life and mandate every decision I made, that I would have joined a cult.

Then it occurred to me: The Deep State and the three-letter agencies ARE a cult. (I would make a joke worthy of John Wilder about this but the punch line would be too long.)

  • Authoritarian?  Check!
  • Intrusive?  Check!
  • Turns followers into helpless children? Check!
  • Punishes any who dare question even the smallest detail?  Check!

I don't know if this Ah-ha! will be useful in flipping any of the fence sitters. Never-the-less, it is good to have a working model.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Ronan Point

At approximately 5:45 am on 16 May 1968, resident Ivy Hodge went into her kitchen in flat 90, a corner flat on the 18th floor of the building, and lit a match to light the gas stove for a cup of tea. The match sparked a gas explosion that blew out the load-bearing flank walls, which had been supporting the four flats above. It is believed that the weaknesses were in the joints connecting the vertical walls to the floor slabs. The flank walls fell away, leaving the floors above unsupported and causing the progressive collapse of the south-east corner of the building.  Source


Pre-cast concrete slab construction.

One issue with pre-cast concrete slab construction involves the joining of one slab to its neighbors. Robust construction requires that surrounding structure be integrated enough that the load carried by one element can be carried by its neighbors in the event one of them fail. Poor integration means that load cannot be diverted to the neighboring structural elements.

Incidentally, John D. McDonald wrote a superb book titled Condominium. Yep, the condo building collapsed in the story with a little bit of help from a hurricane. One of the contributing factors was that the pilings were not a continuous pour as required by code and best practice. Frequent downpours resulted in silt washing into the borehole covering the exposed surface from the interrupted pour which then prevented the next pour from adhering to it

I suspect good old John D (famous for his Travis McGee series) did research and asked construction guys "What are the most glaring examples of bad practice you see in the construction of Florida condos?"

When everybody is building it is difficult for suppliers to meet the demand and interrupted pours happen.

Of weather and generators

We had a bit of weather come through.

My bride and I were walking Zeus when a neighbor stopped. Normally he would have driven by us. He informed us that we were under a tornado warning.

A tornado was spotted in Bellevue some twenty miles to the west. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning and we had already heard the sirens from town.

While chatting, he asked us if our power was on. It was. His was not.

I got the dogs into the house and gave Herc his two diphenylhydramide. Mrs ERJ suggested we move to the basement. I will spare you the picture. Herc decided to take a heroic dump once he got down to the basement.

After popping out of the basement I remembered that I have a generator my neighbor could be using. At 2000W he cannot run his entire house but he can certainly run his fridge and freezer.

Being a gentleman, I loaded it into the truck along with some extension cords.

I caught him outside. One of his buddies had stopped by and my neighbor was "loaning" him a container of gasoline.

My neighbor declined the use of my generator. He has FIVE generators. Consumers Power predicted that the power would come back on at nine PM and he couldn't be bothered to hook up his generator(s) and run them. A few hours without electricity does not even count as an inconvenience.

He showed me his generators. Only one of them is working. One was BRAND NEW and the proud owner fired it up without putting oil in it. It ran just a little while before tossing a rod through the side of the engine. Another has carb issues and the third melted when The Mrs-of-the-House (not his wife) flipped the main breaker to see if there was power while the generator was hooked up.

My neighbor is handy around small engines and figures he can get two of them back in business. One needs a new motor and another probably needs little more than fresh gas, a new spark-plug and a can of carb-cleaner.

He keeps the melted one around to show folks what happens when you flip the main breaker ON when you don't know what you are doing. Not only can you fry linemen, you can catch things on fire in your house.

I accomplished what I set out for. I impressed my neighbor with the importance of offering me be COLD beer when I visited. It was so important that I was willing to loan him my generator.

Rain totals

We are somewhere in the neighborhood of +6" of precipitation since June 17. This data comes from a nearby weather station and the weather bucket sitting in the middle of my yard. More rain to come.

My Wednesday fishing date might be from my front porch if the rain keeps coming.

That is an exaggeration. I am approximately 40' in elevation above the nearest open water. However, it will be a while before I can get into the garden with a tiller. Moist soil is easy to compact and it is the devil to get fluffed back up.


A big shout-out to RVTwireless on eBay. The Samsung Galaxy S5 I ordered from them arrived THREE days sooner than promised.


A boo-and-hiss to Territorial Seeds. I placed an order June 13. All seeds were listed as "In Stock". I got a notice on June 24 that it was "in the mail".

Gardening is time sensitive. Two weeks turn-around on a seed order, especially when everything is in-stock, is a problem.

What did I order?

I am a nosey person. I like to know what other people are growing. I am sure than nearly everybody else is a much better person than I am. But...there is one person out there who might want to know:

Much of this will be planted in Mrs ERJ's salad garden. We also have a couple of kinds of Kale self-seeding that we might include in the horse race.

Intellectuals applaud Que mala? speech at the border


It didn't do much for the rest of us. We found it improper and lacked limits.

Diffusion phenomena

I spent about an hour in the garden yesterday evening. It was my desire to see some of the critters who were eating my cabbage plants.

While sitting there, it got me to thinking about a class of physical phenomena described by "diffusion equations".

Heat transfer is one of those problems*. Suppose you have a sheet of steel sitting in the sun and then you place an ice-cube on it. For the sake of simplicity let's say you placed the ice-cube somewhere near the middle.

Heat would migrate through the conductive, steel sheet toward the cold spot and proceed to melt the ice-cube.

The profile of the temperature would be very similar to the surface of an ice cream shake as you suck material out with a straw.

The reason sitting in the garden waiting for Peter Cottontail triggered those thoughts is that conventional wisdom is that population density of wildlife is analogous to heat transfer. I can keep disciplining varmints and they will keep flowing in.

I am my own worst enemy

I freely admit that many of my "management" decisions exacerbated my problems.

Going back to our steel sheet analogy. The ice-cube would melt more slowly if it was sitting on a sheet of plywood because wood is far less conductive than steel.

My gardens and orchards are "conductive" to varmints. The asparagus patch is weedy. I tolerate some "weeds" beneath the trees in my orchard. I have a motley planting of hazelnuts, raspberry bushes, rugosa rose and pawpaws. 

I also have "reservoirs". I have brush piles and woodchuck holes, foundations and standing buildings.

If harvesting a head of cabbage for every seed I plant were a necessity, I would burn the brush piles. I would gas**-and-plug the woodchuck holes, perhaps netting a woodchuck or bunny to roast for dinner in the process. I would obsessively mow the grass to 2" and herbicide or mulch beneath the orchard trees to eliminate cover.

But since I have neighbors who would not commit to the same level of control, it would not be enough. The pressure on the garden would be far lower but there would still be pressure.

The bunnies can be kept out with a short fence. The woodchucks, not so much. Stitching back to our analogy, the fence is like a slab of expanded polystyrene foam between the ice-cube and the steel sheet.

The upside, for me, is that I have a succulent pasture adjacent to the garden. If the garden is more work to get into than the pasture, they will (mostly) bypass the garden and content themselves with clover and ryegrass.

So I have ample opportunities to sit under the hazelnuts at the edge of my garden waiting for the critters. I keep a twenty-two page lecture in hand to persuade them to not come back.

*Diffusion is also seen in water (and crude oil) flow through soil and rocks, fertilizer distributing through soil, spread of species in new environments and so on.

**A common garden sprayer filled with cloudy ammonia is an effective way to clear burrows of critters. Stick the wand as far down the hole as you can reach and spray a goodly blast. If you are handy you can fabricate an extended wand.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Baxter Black, Large Animal Veterinarian

 Baxter Black and the Traveling Vacuum Salesman

Humor. Video. I clipped the first minute for your convenience. The story is 2:33 long.

I would say this story was squeaky clean but that would not be precisely true. It is, however, safe for work.



If my math skills are up to snuff, this looks like 4" of rain in the next ten days. That is on top of the inch-and-a-half we had earlier.

Tough bananas for the folks who cut hay in the past half week. It will also stress the less disease resistant plants I am growing. Being wet for more than ten days is paradise for mildew and fungus diseases.

I believe that we will be able to soak up nearly every drop of it.

I am trying to figure out how to send some of it to New Hampshire.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Science Fiction, sort of

Posted with the title "Science Fiction" because I am going to invent things that don't exist and because I am going to suggest that people do stupid-dangerous least by today's understanding.

A proposal to increase the electrical distribution capacity at the retail level


The headlong rush into green energy has many concerned about the capacity of our electrical system. Very roughly speaking, the issues can be lumped into Generation, Transmission (say 50kV and higher) and Distribution (45kV and lower).

This work of science fiction deals with the Distribution.

One overwhelming factor regarding the Distribution system is that there are millions of miles of line and tens-of-millions of transformers and hundreds of millions of poles and billions of 120V/240V devices. The raw materials required to upgrade to support universal battery powered vehicles and electrical heat-pumps (in lieu of furnaces) is potentially staggering.

Minimizing impact:

Electrical power is measured in Watts. Watts are the in-phase product of the current and the voltage. It is possible to have the current and voltage out-of-phase. The out-of-phase parts are wasted as the current still generates heat even when it is not generating useful power. This propensity for certain kinds of load to shift the current and voltage comes into play a bit later.

There are three options for increasing energy delivered. Deliver the same Wattage over a longer period of time. This is a non-starter in a solar powered universe because the sun does not shine at night.

Increase the current. Current creates heat and necessitates more wire/higher gage wire.

Or we can increase voltage of the distribution lines. At this point, increasing the voltage appears to be the single best option.

Painting with a broad brush, the major changes that would be required to increase the voltage would be modifying the transformer(s) to step the higher distribution voltage down to the 120V/240V. 

Even a half-cycle (8-thousands of a second) of over-voltage is enough to fry semiconductor chips. While 0.008 seconds is a long time for computational semiconductors, it is a very short time for mechanical switching equipment. So one of the very critical dilemmas is: Do you shut down all customers on a leg or do you double wire and double transformer the poles and switch them over one-at-a-time?

Another issue that pops up is that 40kV is far more likely to start fires than 13kV. That is one reason why electric fence chargers are restricted to a maximum of 10kV. Before anything else would be done to up-voltage the leg, the poles must be inspected and any marginal poles must be replaced before more weight is hung on them and they are subjected to the forces of crews working near them and bumping them.

Regardless of whether you double-wire/double-transformer or choose some other option the utilities will need to refresh any poles that are the slightest bit dotty.

Size comparison between an 11kV insulator (left) and a 45kV insulator. Because of the length, 45kV insulators are often "hangers".

Then the insulators must be up-graded. 

Then the capacitors must be inspected to ensure they are 40kV capable. "What is a capacitor?" you ask.

Capacitors are a very short-duration energy storage device that are installed on distribution lines to counter-act the tendency of some kinds of loads (motors, for instance) to shift the current and the voltage.

None of what is written above qualifies as science fiction. It is background.

Science fiction parts

This proposal was inspired by the events that were described in the post about the project that went into the ditch.

The proposal is to rehang the 12.8kV lines (for instance) from 45kV capable insulators. Then to install a small second transformer capable of stepping the 40kV (or whatever the utility chooses) to the current voltage near every existing transformer. The auxiliary transformer will have its input and output wired to the line feeding from the distribution wire spaced about 12" apart.

Additionally, if the leg is long and difficult to access quickly, the line could be converted in segments if portable transformers of adequate capacity were tied into the line the same was as shown above.

They will do NOTHING until the link between the step-down transformers are severed.

The inventing/sci-fi part

This would be installed in the region circled in red in the previous illustration. It is laid out horizontally for my convenience.

Imagine that every place the linemen installed a step down transformer also had a device similar to the concept illustrated above. A couple of perf-charges set up just inside the lines to the 3:1ish step-down transformers. The charges are wired together to fire simultaneously.

Presumably they would be fired via a wireless arm-fire sequence and the length of wire and the hardware that held the device clipped to the wire would be propelled/drop into the catching basket where a sensor would verify that the feed wire had not just been severed but that a length of it had been removed.

This sequence would also include the closest large, portable transformer that segmented the distribution line.

At that point, the devices being fed by the 3:1 step-down transformer --> original transformer and the line downstream from the closest large portable transformer would be receiving approximately 40V.

If all the sensors registered that all segments had been appropriately severed, the feed could be stepped up from 12.8kV to 40kV. At that point, the overhead wires would be 40kV up to the first large-portable used to segment the task. The line downstream of the large-portable would still be 12.8kV.

The crew would inch-worm their way down the leg. If the sensors indicated a malfunction, they would boogie to the problem and fix it. It may simple be a case of the wire segment missing the basket. Once the crews had verified all issues were fixed the isolated segment could be flipped to the higher voltage. 

One would hope that the reliability of the perf-charge device would be high enough that manual intervention would be rare. In those cases, flipping from the 40V in-process voltage at the house back to the 120V/240V should be less than a second.

My understanding is that the 3:1 transformer can be relatively small because it is handling relatively low amperages. 

No, we do not need F-15s

Speaking from the East Room of the White House Wednesday afternoon, (Former Senator) Joe Biden re-introduced his extreme gun control agenda, advocating for a ban on modern sporting rifles and reminding lawful gun owners that the federal government has nuclear weapons.
"Those who say the blood of Patriots, you know, and all the stuff about how we’re gonna have to move against the government," Biden said. "If you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons."


1:59 run time

Allow me to respectfully point out that "...the government..." is made up of people, millions of them.

It is not necessary to drop a nuke on them to get their attention. To quote the movie The Godfather it is only necessary to "make them a deal they cannot refuse".

Citizens amplify the message when it is clear they are not being heard. At some point that is going to hurt.

A project that went into the ditch


Product travels down the line from left-to-right.
Imagine you are in a factory and you have a new product scheduled to come into your plant.

The new product requires a different kind of robot mounted weld gun on the equipment in the robotic cells. The wizards at Headquarters find a kind of weld gun that can manufacture both products but the guns have a different geometry than the ones that are currently installed. The relationship between the plate that is bolted to the robot and the position of the weld tips are different.

That requires that the stations be reprogrammed for all models.

Furthermore, let's say the market for your product is white-hot and the bean-counters demand that the transition take place with no loss of scheduled product. The muckity-mucks in the factory don't see any problem with that and they schedule the replacement and reprogramming of the first three stations for Thanksgiving weekend.

Their thinking was that the area had, arguably, the single best robot programmer in the plant. They had nine electrician/programmers and 12 shifts to mechanically change out the guns and reprogram them. If they got in trouble, there were many other tradesmen they could strip out of other areas to assist.

It was a train-wreck

Production on Monday morning was delayed because they were not able to get even the first three models (current production) programmed.

The Plant Manager had to call Corporate and tell them that production had not started on Monday, that he did not know when it would start, and he could not tell them why there was a failure.

The Plant Manager was not in a good mood on Monday morning.

Nobody who worked for the Plant Manager was in a good mood.

What happened?

It was the result of multiple, sub-optimal decisions. If it had been just one decision it would have been recognized and fixed on-the-fly and I would not be writing this post.

In the order that the sub-optimal decisions impacted the process

Image repeated for convenience. There are a total of 18 work-elements. Six models to be programmed in 3 stations. Broken down farther, there are six robots in each station so there are 108 "sub-elements"

Not enough product was staged. Being skimpy on future product is understandable as each copy was worth roughly a half-million dollars but current product has a scrap-value (at this stage of the process) of roughly $600.

The mechanical installation of the guns and the electrical hook-up proceeded with no issues. They were validated (weld coupons shot and torn apart) by the end of third shift.

The state-of-the-project at the End of Dayshift, Thursday

The problem arose when they transferred Job A into Station 1 and began programming. They had one programmer working and two programmers with their fingers up their rear-ends.

Safety had deemed it "too dangerous" to program more than one robot at a time in a robotic cell.

It didn't seem like it would be a problem as there were ten shifts left when second shift took over.

State-of-the-Project when Dayshift walked out Friday. A is programed in stations 1 and 2. B is not programmed.

The next major issue arose when first shift walked back into the shop on Friday morning.

The lead programmer on day-shift reviewed second and third shifts work and decided it was garbage. He deleted it.

Note: This was not his job. He was an "Hourly" employee just like the programmers on second and third shift.

The weenie from HQ applauded the lead programmers decision. He wanted this to be done RIGHT. The weenie proudly announced to Plant and HQ management that he thought the programmers on second and third shift had been drunk.

That did not endear the HQ weenie to second or third shift. The plant management hammered the supervisors of the programmers for not disciplining the programmers for being "impaired".

By the end of first shift of the second day, management knew they were in deep shit. They had Job A programmed in Stations 1 and 2. They still had seven more combinations of the (current product X stations) to program before they could turn a wheel on Monday. 

The additional nine work-elements related to the future product were aborted.

Top management were First Shift animals and by their reckoning they had completed 2-of-18 tasks and burned up half of the clock. Furthermore, they needed to be able to run current production in order to pay the bills and they were 2-of-9 with half the clock to go.

As noted earlier, production was delayed on Monday morning.


The root cause of the problem is that the Plant had 9 programmers assigned and many more available but due to a confluence of factors was only using one, the prima-donna on First shift.

At the beginning of the programming, the programmers were limited by not having material to program with in Stations 2 and 3. It should be noted the problem also occurred at the end of the curtailed project as the line drained. There were programmers sitting on their hands because there was no product in Station 1 and then none in Station 1 and 2.

The "fix" was to have the staged material look like A-B-C-a-b-c-A-B and shuttle A-B-C into Stations 1, 2 and 3 so you have three stations with material in them. Then, at the back end, you repeat A and B so they can be programmed in the stations they dead-headed over.

The prima-donna problem

Solving the prima-donna problem was more convoluted than solving the shortage of material issue.

The solution is glaringly obvious. If there are 18 work-elements (six Models X three Stations) and three shifts then give each shift six work-elements and forbid the other shifts from touching work-elements that are not assigned to them.

The resistance to that solution came from plant mid-level management. They had worked very, very hard to drive the culture to where any tradesman could be assigned work anyplace in the plant. They had a home that was their default (and where they generally wanted to stay) but management exercised the right to move them around.

The other factor was that it is generally accepted as fact that decoupling systems improves throughput. If Task B cannot happen unless A is True, then B is coupled to A and nothing can happen on B if A is Not True. Assigning specific jobs to just one shift is an additional constraint. What happens if somebody does not show up on a given shift?

In theory, it should be faster to have every shift do programming on every job and the programming pendant handed off to the next shift so the programming continues seamlessly.

In practice, "...continues seamlessly" bit them in the azz.

It actual practice having all shifts responsible for all of the work-elements introduced coupling when the prima-donna took it upon himself to review (and delete) other shifts' work.

Not surprisingly, the Union came down VERY solidly on the side of assigning specific jobs to specific shifts. They when to bat and pushed it HARD with management.

Their motivation was two-fold. Their primary reason was the that the prima-donna was functioning in the role of Management by passing judgement on another Journeyman's work. That was intolerable to the Union because it blurred the line between Hourly and Management and could not be allowed to continue.

The other heartburn originated with the "...must have been drunk..." comments and the turmoil that caused. Quite likely, those words originally came from the hourly prima-donna on first shift. The contract is very, very clear about how suspected impairment is to be handled and it does not include announcing that entire shifts of hourly people were drunk to Mount Olympus before evidence is gathered, interviews are held and so on.

The third counter-measure

The third counter-measure was almost a moot point because it was possible to get more material staged for future work.

Safety was petitioned to come out and observe how it was possible to safely program both left-and-right sides of the product at the same time. The robots were not physically long enough to reach across the line and whack a programmer on the other side of it.

The reason this was a player is that time constraints eventually forced the plant to install weld guns and program them on two-day weekends. Having the ability to have two programmers work on each station at a time halved the programming time. 

When doing a single station, each shift was given two of the six robots in the cell. If there were only four robots in the cell then third shift was usually given the task of installing the guns and first and second doing the programming. That was a shame because third shift had some gifted programmers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

I am not ignoring you. I had technical difficulties

I had to turn off two-step verification for my Google accounts. 

It was sending texts to the phone that no longer works. The new phone is expected June 29.

Almost time to go fishing.

I will be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Pro-abortion Catholics receiving Communion


An automotive engineer of my acquaintance once commented that if we REALLY wanted to eliminate deaths due to traffic accidents, that we should place a very large, very sharp spike in the center of the steering wheel of every automobile manufactured.

Anti-skid braking

You can look at the introduction any number of automotive safety features and not find a commensurate reduction in deaths.

ABS was hailed as a HUGE improvement. The number of accidents didn't change.

The current, best-thinking is that drivers (in aggregate) have an innate tolerance for risk and adjust their driving habits to maximize other benefits (like spending less time on the road) and still stay within their risk-tolerance. In other words, they took more operator risks because they were confident that ABS would pull their bacon out of the fire.

Four Wheel Drive

Tow-truck operators joke that 4WD vehicles get stuck just as often as 2WD vehicles. The difference is that 2WD vehicles get stuck in the driveway or, at worst, beside the road and it is only an $85 bill to get unstuck.

4WD vehicles get stuck on mountain tops and in the middle of swamps and the bill runs north of $500.

Progressive, Pro-abortion Catholics and Communion

Catholics have an intimate relationship with the sacrament of Communion that seems weird to most non-Catholics.

It is a crude analogy, but let's say it is the Salvation equivalent of ABS, Air bags and 4WD combined.

My personal take on Progressive Catholic's coughing up a hairball upon being denied Communion if they are publicly "pro-abortion" is the same as the next-of-kin of a Lambo or Maserati owner having a hissy-fit because the safety features didn't save them when they went off an icy road while driving 125 MPH.

Communion is not a "Get out of Jail" free card. Among other things, it is a tangible sign that the person receiving it chooses to be a member of the Catholic-Christian family and accepts the duties, responsibilities and privileges therein.

As the member of a family, you cannot cherry-pick. You are in or you are out.

Some days are just low-energy days

Today was a low-energy kind of day.

The screen of my phone went black. It is a Samsung Galaxy 5, one of the last phones you can change the battery on. Maybe it is a Juneteenth thing. To be continued.

Something ate a third of the cabbage plants I put out. I sat out in the garden this evening so I could issue a stern lecture to the miscreant.

Sitting in a chair and only moving my eyes matched my energy level perfectly.

I can vouch that I have a great plentitude of song sparrows and wrens in my orchard. At least one set of song sparrows appear to be nesting in the asparagus. Robins forage longer into the evening than most other birds. Bumblebees were working the Motherswort behind me. Orioles are fond of Illinois Everbearing Mulberries. 

There are some swallows in the neighborhood that enjoy slumming on my property near sunset. The swallows fly about 24 inches above the tops of the grass in the pasture. I suppose they are trying to flush insects. I don't know why they don't buzz the calves. They always have flies on them.

It was interesting to see the moths wake up. It is easy to underestimate the number and size of the moths because I never see them during the day.

It was less interesting to see and hear the mosquitoes.

According to the bucket I left in the middle of the yard, we picked up about 1.5" of rain over the weekend. More is on the way with Friday-Saturday predicted to yield significant amounts. That means I need to till late Wednesday or on Thursday because the weeds are  taking off.

Various grafts that were sitting in a state of suspended animation "pushed". Lehman's Delight persimmon and Barbra's Blush that were grafted last year set persimmons so I will get to taste them.

A larger number of my seedling filberts set nuts. I will get to assess them for kernel percentage and productivity.

Just another day in paradise.

Fine Art Tuesday


Christ with Martha and Mary
Henryk Hektor Siemiradzki born 1843 in what is now the Ukraine to Polish parents. Died in 1902.

Sword Dance. This is a massive painting, 47" tall by 87" wide.

Siemiradzki's works often leave the viewer thinking "I wish I lived in a world like that". His blues tend to be highly saturated and the light suffused yet luminescent.

By the Fountain

Following the Gods

Rope Dancer

Comment from post on Unaccompanied Minors

But we would do better to send them...home. They are unwanted here. I will tell YOU the same thing that I told my family members who think that everyone who shows up at our border should be let in...Heartless ? How about their parents who abandoned them? ...we already have millions too many illegals and freeloaders here.  Change my mind.  From the comments of Unaccompanied Minors

The first point is they are no longer at the border. They are 1300 miles from it. I do not have a cannon that will propel them back home. What next?

I agree they should stay home. That did not happen. I am very unhappy about that. 

Heartless? No doubt many of those parents would be guilty of child abuse, child abandonment or as accessories to other crimes if they were in jurisdictions covered by US laws.

We have millions too many freeloaders here. Illegals and freeloaders are NOT identically the same. What we lack are millions of younger people who are willing to work. There is even a term for it, Impending Japanification.

There are two paths going forward that seem most likely to happen.

One path involves the 15-to-18 year-olds turning into standard-issue, progressive degenerates; from MS-13 to welfare queens. The minors are being held in under-utilized summer camps with minimal security. Given the shear numbers involved, it seems likely that sexual assaults and even murders will occur, few of which are likely to be reported by the mainstream media.

The other path is that they are fast-tracked to get jobs, get girlfriends and start their lives. If they pay taxes they learn to dislike the smothering effects of the nanny-state.

The situation is very suboptimal but it was predictable. Bureaucratic drones make legal processes so expensive and complicated that regular people say F-U and get it done outside the (mother-may-I, "copy the square-root of the number on line 243 on line 97 unless it was a negative number in which case copy that number on line 666 in Addendum Q", forms with folds and/or coffee stains will not be processed) system.

The switch to Brave

I have been running Brave as my browser for the last week or so.

The biggest complaint is it botches the comments in my blog. I try to reply and it crashes. Something about not clearing the form after submitting. I can run CCleaner and submit ONE comment before it locks up again.

It really sucks to write a long, detailed reply to a comment only to have the comment fly off into the ether.

A minor complaint is I that I don't know how to do add-ins. I had a search engine box on my Firefox header and I used it a lot. I have not figured out how to add that to my header(s) in Brave.

Brave is a usable browser but it isn't what I am used to.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Unaccompanied Minors

Many of the scenarios presented in the book (The Ugly American) seem outlandish and implausible, so the authors included a factual epilogue at the end, showing the reader that, in fact, most of the book derives its inspiration from real-life events. For instance, one of the most seemingly unrealistic parts of the book comes in chapter two, when a Russian agent has bags of rice, which have been donated by the U.S. government, stenciled with the words “This rice is a gift from Russia.” Because it was written in Sarkhanese (Vietnamese), and none of the Americans present could read Sarkhanese, the Russian deception worked. This scenario, which seems made up, was actually inspired by a U.S. shipment of tractors whose doors were painted with a hammer and sickle by the Communists, leading the recipients of the tractors to believe that they came from the U.S.S.R.

Unaccompanied Minors

Unaccompanied minors from Central America are a moral dilemma for me, a conservative Christian.

I object to the laws on the basis that they are perverse and encourage unChristian behaviors like the break-up of families and dependence on institutions rather than God.

From the conservative side, the entire show seems designed to mint Progressive voters.

On the flip side, the minors are humans, they have souls and they are in-need.

What if...

What if a few conservatives worked at these relocation camps? What if we wore our MAGA hats and were quiet examples of 1950s vintage manliness in those lunatic asylums, at least until they fired us.

A typical "Advocacy Group" photo. 21 women, 2 men. Average age of about 27.
What? Only two genders? Kidding aside, there are about three males for every female. Source of data.

Two-thirds of the unaccompanied minors are fifteen-and-over. Yeah, boys in that age group are exceptionally responsive to direction from young women who speak in a foreign language and have a penchant for multi-syllabic jargon.

So what would be analogous to stenciling rice bags "With love from Russia"? 

Maybe getting a part-time job at one of those facilities and just being who we are. I think we would resonate with most of the young men in these camps.

Cooling transformers

My head is in an odd place. I have been thinking about transformers.

Not Transformers the movie, silly. Transformers in the electrical sense, devices that change current from one Amperage-and-Voltage to another Amperage-and-Voltage. Key point: Transformers cannot create energy (A in)*(V in)>(A out)*(V out). In a good transformer the two values will be close to the same but there will always be loses in the transformer and those loses become heat.

One major difference between "industrial" equipment and what is available to the the general public involves duty-cycle. A welder in industry is likely to be water-cooled while the electrical gadgetry in a Harbor Freight welder might have a fan. An industrial piece of equipment might have a duty-cycle of 60%-to-80% power-on and the Harbor Freight equipment a duty-cycle as low as 5%.

One factor that makes transformers difficult to cool is that they are massive blocks of metal and much of the heat comes from eddy currents internal to the steel core. (Fun fact: Transformer cores are laminated because the interfaces between the sheets create resistance that reduces eddy currents.) Because the heat is generated internally it must travel a distance before air or other fluid can carry off the heat and it builds up.

It is not possible to open up the transformer to allow air to flow between the coils and the core because the conductors must be close to that steel core or the volumetric efficiency falls off a cliff. One significant failure mode of a transformer is when the conductors are separated by insulators and the heat accelerates the degradation of the insulating material.

Another factor that makes cooling transformers difficult is that pumps add cost. Furthermore, transformers in applications like the ones on top of power poles are expected to last for fifty or more years without maintenance. That is why those transformers are cooled by sitting in an oil bath. Passive cooling has no moving parts that can break. Can you imagine the expense of installing a hundred-million pumps with a service life of 50 years and very, very high reliability?


Cross-drill holes into the core so holes intersect where they bottom out.

It will probably be necessary to impregnate the holes to seal any leak paths.

Choose any of several different methods to insert-and-seal plumbing into the drilled holes. 

This concept depends on intermittent steam cells developing much like a pot at a rolling boil. That pulsation is what drives the fluid through the Tesla valves.

If the designer choses to use a sealed system, the cooling system volume is to be 65% filled with coolant (distilled water or ethanol alcohol are proposed) and then the remaining 35% volume (air) is to be evacuated.

Heat in the drilled holes will cause localized boiling. The "bubbling" will challenge the Tesla valves which will only allow one-direction flow. As depicted in the image, hot coolant will travel up the red leg and gravity will carry it down, through the heat exchanger where the Tesla valve will allow it to enter the transformer core.

The heat exchanger here is shown as a finned, aluminum extrusion but it could be as simple as a coil of steel tubing. 

Happy Father's Week to y'all

Many consider fathers to be the inferior, replaceable parent.

If you look in communities (and I use the term loosely) where fatherhood is most spat upon you will see communities of despair and crime, communities where the young men have a cartoonish image of what it means to be a man.

So, even the most spindly-legged, mouth-breathing, under-paid. klutzy dad has his name engraved in the Hall-of-Heroes and deserves a week of celebration.

Provided, of course, that he discharges his duties to the best of his abilities.

I am one of the lucky ones. I am still married to my kid's "Mom". I cannot imagine the whip-sawing and pressures divorced dads and dads-of-blended-families endure.

MEN, I tip my hat to you.


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Billhooks and food security planning


I have two major weeds in my orchard/vineyard: Nettles and Virginia Creeper.

Nettles are a fast growing, perennial that spreads by the roots and by seeds. It grows tall and it stings.

Virginia Creeper is not related to the Delaware Creeper. It is a vine that produces fruit much loved by wildlife.

Both weeds grow quickly because they don't have to invest many resources in structural support. The nettles are "turgid" meaning they support themselves (at least partially) by internal water pressure. Virginia creeper, being a vine "borrows" support from trees, posts, nettles and other tall weeds.

Freed from the energy-sink of needing to support themselves they spread like wildfire.

Bucket included for scale

So far, no tool other than herbicides comes close to the two-handed billhook for controlling the nettles. The billhook stands head-and-shoulders above every other mechanical means.

It can be used many different ways; from broad melee swings cutting down broad swaths of nettles to holding the blade vertically to insert it between a grape vine and a clump of nettles, rotating 90 degrees so the hook is facing the nettles and pulling it out rapidly.

The long handle means I don't get brushed by the falling stems.

One thing I really like about this model is the extremely stout connection between the handle and the blade. I went on the internet to get pictures of billhooks because I am lazy and did not want to walk out to the barn for a photo-shoot but none of the images I found had this kind of handle-blade union.

Pantry and garden experiment

Mrs ERJ gave me permission to blog about our experiment.

As it happens, we had two different pictures of how this experiment would unfold.

Mrs ERJ's thought was that we run it as a surprise start, come-as-we-are experiment. Her thinking is that sooner is better and we will learn more if we don't give ourselves too many favors.

I heard it primarily as "eat what we grow with an assist from the pantry". Several years back I did a "survive on emergency rations" experiment and I only lasted two days before constipation kicked in. The low-fiber food in the buckets locked me right up.

Search for the Pink X

Popular culture being what it is, we no longer talk about "smoking guns" in industry but use terms like "Find the Red X" where the Red X is the parameter that dominates the performance of a process...generally for the worse.

You cannot fix the process until you find and control the Red X.

There will be times, especially when the process has been drunk-and-disorderly for an extended period of time, when other junky inputs snuck in. Many times those junky inputs are hairbrained ideas that predecessors thought would "fix" the process. We are talking wing-of-bat, eye-of-newt stuff here.

The likelihood of the process being in control with all of MacBeth's extras is remote. The wob and eon don't dominate the output but they are additional noise that can still produce unacceptable levels of unpredictability.

In industrial new-speak, those are called the Pink-X and sometimes the Pale Pink-X. Their contributions are virtually invisible until you nullify the Red-X but they are there, waiting to bite you in the nethermost.

The temptation is to look past the Red-X and look for the Pink-X because everybody knows about the Red X and it is boring. But there is little point in looking for the Pink-X if you are going to run headlong into the Red X.

The Red X

Me when I don't get enough calories


There is little value in chasing after the Pink-X in food security until after you have the Red-X nailed down.

I looked through our pantry and freezer and saw tons of food for making soup. What I didn't see much flour. There is a reason for that; flour has a shelf-life that measures in double-digit months and flower likes it drier than our pantry.

Rice is OK but I really want rolls or bread with my soup.

So our Design of Experiment has been modified. Instead of a come-as-you are experiment we are going to buy 20 pounds of bread flour.

Bonus chart (applies to adults and not growing children)

The official ERJ fat budget. It is based on height so it does not matter if you are a rake-handle-thin 18-year-old or a sixty-year-old with love-handles. Using weight as the basis for your calculations results in the thin (active) 18-year-old getting far fewer calories than the sedentary sixty-year-old and that is the opposite of what is needed.

Your first comment might be "That is a lot of vegetable oil."

And you would be right. A gallon of vegetable oil would last a typical man six weeks and a typical woman seven weeks.

The thing is that we are already eating more fats/oils than called for in the chart. In many cases much more.

The fats/oils are hidden in processed foods. McDonald's french fries (typically thought of as a carb) have 43% of their calories from fats. A fried chicken thigh (protein)  has 65% of its calories coming from fat. Frozen taquitos and pizza-rolls run between 45% and 50%.

The vast majority of what will come out of your garden or store in your pantry will low-to-very low in fats. In time you would be able to adapt but in the short-term you will be incapacitated by a sudden shift to a diet where only 10% of your calories come from fats and oils.

Second bonus

This brand of vegetable oil had a shelf-life that was twice as long as the runner-up

Plant breeders have been selecting for strains of sunflowers, canola and other oil-crops that have a high percentage of oleic acid (which takes an eternity to go rancid) and lower percentages of the components that do go rancid

My guess is that Crisco is using the latest canola releases and may have packaging that inhibits oxygen infiltration. These 48 oz bottles even slam-dunked the gallon jugs for shelf-life. Gallon jugs usually fare well because they have a lower surface-area-to-volume ratio and that slows the relative oxygen loading.

So if the SHTF, skip the flat-screen TVs and high-end cologne and load your shopping cart with bread flour, tubs of lard and jugs of vegetable oil.