Thursday, September 30, 2021

Just-in-Time and FOOD

Reader Aggie made the comment: "...The 'Just-in-time' concept is great - for assembly line manufacturing. What about systems that are subject to disproportionately-powerful outside influences?...If you truly believe in 'Just-in-time' - then why do you stock a pantry?..."

Aggie nailed two key points.

Just-in-Time can be a powerful driver of problem-solving IF the box is drawn around a system where the stakeholders have the wherewithal to solve the problems. It becomes significantly more problematic when processes "within the box" are subject to forces...noise if you prefer...that are not under the control of the stakeholders.

The second point is that food is different.


At the farm level, the yields varied even more wildly

Farm production can vary greatly from year-to-year. Some crops vary more than others. Corn and soybeans are fairly robust. Wheat varies more due to susceptibility to being blown-down in wind and hail storms and susceptibility to fungus. Due to its susceptibility to various fungi, much wheat is grown in dry regions and yield is tightly linked to the amount of moisture in the ground in the 75 days before the crop matures.

Fruits like apples and peaches yields vary even more with many parts of the country having a peach "crop" once every five years. In my own apple "orchard" the difference between a "bad" year and a "good" year is a factor of three or more.

Even if every harvest was a record, there is still the issue of most crops only being ready to harvest once a year. There are some exceptions like dairy cows and eggs, but the foodstuffs used to feed the cows and chickens generally fall into that once-a-year-bucket so you are not home-free.

And while there is flexibility within "food" as a category the bottom line is that things get very tense, very fast when the gross food-availability drops below 2500 Calories per-person-per-day. There are no substitutes for "Calories".

Supply Shocks

The effect of supply shocks is to pull ahead "demand".

People who were sure they could pick up a loaf of French Bread at Kroger's for the evening meal are now buying ahead.

The sad thing is that if you don't know how to store food then the food will spoil. The johnny-come-lately prepper not only denied others of food but find themselves without it as well.

The work around is to store an ample supply of non-perishable staples that are accepted by a wide range of eaters. Rice, potatoes, wheat (in grain form), beans, pasta, canned goods, sugar, raisins, edible oils/shortening and so on. If you have access to them then wild nuts (bumper crop of Black Walnuts here) and late apples are a nice addition. Fermented foods and beverages are often in demand.


I do use JIT or principles of lean manufacturing in making applesauce.

I cook enough apples in each batch to make a canner-load of mason jars. The first load must be a little bit bigger because I cannot get to the liquid beneath the false bottom of the double boiler setup. The last load is a little larger because I can harvest that liquid as I "break-down" the set-up for the day.

Is every load EXACTLY seven quarts worth of apples? Nope. Most are a little bit more and I end up with more than 28 at the end of the run.

Am I tempted to make them much more than seven quarts? No. The larger the batch of apples the more slowly the ones on top cook to mush. It doesn't pay.

Right now the bottleneck is the canner on the stove. The turkey-fryer puts out 55k BTU/hour and takes apples from 60F to 210F in a little more than 30 minutes. Note that I don't run it full blast once it comes-to-heat.

The canner on the 15k BTU/hr takes the same amount of apples (less skins, seeds and stems) plus the water in the canner from 160F to 210F in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

I could easily double my production rate by firing up a second 55k BTU turkey-fryer outside and using it for the canning kettle. I could quadruple it by adding a third 55k BTU for a second kettle of apples-to-mush to feed the canning kettle.

But then I would be the bottleneck and I don't want to run that fast all day long.

Industry in first-world countries recognize the human costs as the biggest barrier to profitabilility. Profitable systems are designed to make the human inputs "the anchor with the shortest chain" and be the bottleneck. Written a different way, the goal of designing modern, industrial equipment is to never have the operator waiting for the equipment. Rather, the equipment should be done and waiting for the operator.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The Great Replacement Theory

The "Great Replacement" is not a nefarious, externally directed effort to replace "traditional" Americans.

In the words of Pogo, "We looked in the mirror and the enemy was us"

Data source

Debt-to-income ratio

The women with the very lowest birthrate in America are women who started college but did not graduate with a degree. The number of (births in a lifetime)/2 (gotta replace those sperm donors, too) is 0.52

Quite basically, the population would halve every generation if we only had this cohort.

And this is not a small cohort. It is about 22% of the female population between ages 18-and-45.

This cohort is the anomaly in the data. It is lower than both lower and higher educational attainment. The most rational explanation is that this cohort took on a great deal of debt but did not get the credentials needed to command higher wages to pay-down that debt. Consequently, they delay having children.


The next lowest birthrate belongs to women who attained their four-year degree (and graduate degrees). Their BiaL/2 is 0.86 or a halving of population every 4 generations. Incidentally, peak fertility for this cohort is in the 30-to-34 years of age time span.

This cohort makes up approximately 20% of the female population in the 18-to-45 year age group.


The largest single cohort at 35% are the women who graduated from high school and have NO college. Their BiaL/2 is a robust 1.14 or a population doubling every five-and-a-half generations.

The cohort of women who entered high school but did not graduate represents 16% of the population of women between ages 18-to-45 and their fertility rates are almost identical to those of high school graduates (but no college).


The final cohort are women with less than 9 years of education and they represent 6.3% of the population of women between the ages of 18-and-45. They have a BiaL/2 of 1.73 which translates to a doubling every 1.3 generations.

Who is the villain?

Every person who does not confront "marginal" students with the consequences of entering college but not graduating is responsible for "The Great Replacement"

Nobody wants to make a girl cry.

Nobody wants to be accused of being a "dream killer".

Very few people are telling kids the hard facts-of-life.

It is only getting worse. It used to be you had ACT or SAT scores and could (hopefully) direct aspiring students to a Community College. Sadly, standardized test scores are now considered "racist" and are being phased out.

The other way we are complicit is with our tacit acceptance of out-of-wedlock births. The data shows that MARRIED women have a BiaL rate that is 80% higher than that of unmarried women. I assume it is due to the financial security of having a man who committed to staying with you in good times and bad, richer and poorer...

The rolling-over-and-accepting that times are different and marriage is optional has a negative impact on the fertility of "traditional" Americans.

Sorry Mr. Tucker Carlson. You are a GREAT reporter and commentator but you are wrong about this. This is where we end up when EVERYBODY wants to "feelz good" and candy-coats hard truths.

A counter-intuitive solution

Superficially, Japan and China are much alike. For instance, they both put a huge premium on saving "face".

This is not solely an oriental trait. Mrs ERJ will occasionally remind me of some event where I was not at my best and I will have no recollection of it.

In industry, log-books SHOULD be hard-bound with numbered pages. Without permanent tracks in the snow, problem-solvers inevitably circle back around and try "fixes" that didn't work the first time (nor the second, third or fourth time).

Every success has a thousand fathers and every failure is a bastard.

Just In Time Inventory

W. Edward Demming was famous for demanding that organizations "Drive out fear."

Fear poisons the flow of information.

Toyota recognized that you cannot change human nature and it is very hard to change culture so they developed a system that makes problems (waste) obvious.

They start reducing inventory levels a bit at a time.

Inventory is the universal bandage.

Don't have enough people to run the shop? Add inventory between stations so workers can build from the piles of inventory between stations.

Have processes that go off-line frequently? Add inventory between stations so downline stations can continue to build.

Process has a high scrap rate? Add inventory.

Incoming material varies wildly in key characteristics? Add inventory.

People call in sick every Friday and Monday? Add inventory.

Throughput sucks? Add inventory.

Toyota realized that no engineer was going to admit that the process that he installed was a piece of crap. Nor was a maintenance supervisor going to admit that he could not manage his people. Yada, yada, yada.

By lowering the inventory levels incrementally, the biggest problems announced themselves.

If the biggest problem was a wing-of-bat-eye-of-newt process then stock piled up on the in-basket side of the process and was empty on the out-basket side. At that point, the only way for the engineer to save-face was to clean up the process or to propose a process up-grade.

Toyota relentlessly kept lowering inventory levels. Poor suppliers were weeded out. Unreliable trucking companies were fired (and went out of business). Supervisors who were drunks committed suicide.

The west looked at J-I-T and saw reduced carrying costs but that was the smallest part of it. The biggest part was that Toyota (and others) had created a self-correcting system. J-I-T settled the mud out of the water and everybody could see the rocks. If you had a brain, you fixed your problem BEFORE it was the rock that broke the surface of the water.

A myriad of unexpected benefits resulted. One of the biggest sources of quality problems is when a "quarantine" is breached. Picture a worker inspecting output of a machine. He puts the good ones into one bin and bad ones into another bin. When the bin of bad material is full, it is moved to another site*. Days later, a stockhandler sees the bin of (bad) parts and moves it back to the line to feed the next station. 

Shrinking the inventory addressed that because you no longer needed to have huge numbers of bins of in-process material scattered wherever the material handlers could find room to put them. Shrinking inventory forced engineers to fix their processes so they produced 99.999% good parts and scrap baskets disappeared.


After a burst of enthusiasm for the Toyota Production System, corporations reverted back to business-as-usual. Too much middle-management was invested in doing things the old way. Too many of them had their egos gored.

Failures are hidden or subsidized or enabled or "celebrated". The liars collude. The thieves, embezzlers and officials-on-the-take get fat.

The current energy crisis sweeping the globe is a harbinger of things to come. Get used to it.

*Scrap parts are often "reworked" to make them not-scrap. Holes or rips in the metal are welded shut or discolorations are painted over or rough edges hit with a grinder to smooth them. Cards identifying the condition of the material are easily knocked off or not read resulting in scrap parts being put back on-line.

Whitey-Tighties, Boxers and Depends

Names and minor details have been changed to protect the innocent

K was the complete opposite of his father.

While K's father was a ferocious game-cock of a man with a chip on his shoulder, K was a big, goofy, happy, easy-going guy.

Perhaps it would be more precise to say that K had a different way of thinking than most people.

K went into the Peace Corps after graduating from college. And then he volunteered for an assignment on the fringes of Bosnia-Herzegovina while it was still a hot-zone.

Balls. Or stupid.

One Thanksgiving, K wandered into the garage in time to see Uncle Vernon's turkey fryer do its best imitation of Mount Vesuvius. Eight feet of liquid flame raining down in an 8' diameter circle.

K looked at the fireworks for a second and then calmly walked over and turned off the gas. Stepping back, he waited for the flames to die down before kicking  pile of burning rags away from the LP cylinder and out of the garage into the November rain.

He looked at the garage door and there were no scorch marks in it.

Satisfied, he walked back into the house to look for a cold beer.

Uncle Vernon never did figure out who turned off his turkey fryer.

Balls? Or stupid?

K's dad told him to take whatever job paid the most when he came back from the Balkans. K brought back a wife and she had a bun in the oven.

The Detroit School District's offer was head-and-shoulders over every other job offer. On paper, he had 41 kids in his elementary classroom. In reality, it was a rare day when more than 2/3rds showed up.

K dutifully entered the attendance figures into the computer system and the next morning all the absences had magically been changed to "Present". After two weeks he stopped taking attendance.

Just before Halloween he asked his class if any of them had a family member or personally knew somebody who had been shot. Only two kids did not raise their hands.

It was a Kindergarten class.

In time, K got worn down by the system and sought a job outside of Detroit. A posh suburb north of Detroit offered a job too good to turn down.

He only had five students.

They were middle-school kids.

They were labeled "Emotionally Impaired" and every one of them weighed over 300 pounds.

EI is the label they give a child when he reacts inappropriately to stimuli. His emotions are top-fuel drag-racers and their rational brain is a tricycle with flat tires.

"And what" you might ask "qualifies as reacting inappropriately to stimuli?"

Glad you asked. One of the kids had tossed the band teacher through the window, followed by several desks as exclamation points. Or maybe he threw the desks first and the band teacher jumped out the window. EI kids have their own gravitational field which warps the time-space continuum. Exact sequences of events become impossible to ascertain.

K was exquisitely suited to the job, or so he thought until Covid hit.

His new boss railed on him constantly about the mask mandates. She was relentless.

K tried to explain that these kids were...well...different.

No dice. His supervisor was out to make a name for herself.

Finally, she issued an ultimatum. "I am coming down to your class and every student better have a mask on or I will start procedings to have you fired."

K thought she was bluffing. Special Ed teachers can be hard to find. But he was on "probation" and there were different rules for safety items. And, for all he knew she had been documenting every time she caught one of "his" kids not wearing a mask.

Fifteen minutes later she breezed through the door to his classroom.

Every student, all 1800 pounds of them, were wearing their masks.

"See!" she beamed. "That wasn't so hard was it?"

"So you will be fine if my students are like this for the rest of the year?" K asked.

"Absolutely!" she said.

"You might want to look at them again" K suggested.

The supervisor looked at the students and did not see anything amiss. They were all wearing their masks over their mouth AND nose.

"Nope. Looks great to me" the supervisor said.

"They aren't wearing pants" K said, softly.

Horrified, she looked back at the students. She saw whitey-tighties, boxers and in one case, Depends.

"Since you couldn't see that they weren't wearing pants, maybe with a little effort you won't notice when they aren't wearing a mask" K said.

The supervisor fled.

K has not had any trouble with her since. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Today's output

The last four stragglers are in the canner.

I believe I need to pick some more apples.

Energy woes


And just like that, Europe and China are hammered with skyrocketing energy costs and power outages. It was a bolt out-of-the-blue.

I don't have any inside information, but I want to remind readers that this kind of thing has happened before.

The Soviet city of Leningrad was under siege by the NAZI army for approximately two years. Many people starved to death.

The death count was exacerbated because the city manager refused to tell Stalin that his stores of food were less than reported earlier.

You see, one advanced in the Soviet system by always surpassing the goals set by the Five Year Plan, especially when you did not actually achieve those goals. The entire system was built on lies. Lies upon lies, upon lies.

Soviet collective farms reported shipping more grain than they had actually produced...a miracle of Soviet planning dontchya know.

Soviet warehouses reported receiving more grain than they received and reported far more shipped than they had actually shipped from the shipping dock. It was the only way to hide the millions of kilos shipped to the Black Market and that went out the employee door to feed chickens at the dacha.

In a similar fashion, cities could not report "shrinkage" or it would look like THEY were skimming (which of course they were).

Given that China's government had its origins in Soviet style communism and nothing is more important in China than maintaining "face", and given that much of Europe is ruled by neo-Communists with a "Green" veneer, is anybody surprised when piles of coal disappear overnight and billions of cubic feet of natural gas and barrels of gasoline seemingly tunnel to a parallel universe?

Maybe there is something nefarious afoot. I am not competent to judge. But I believe that old-fashioned, fear-based, Soviet-style management techniques are entirely sufficient to explain this (and the next ten) surprise shortages.

Books you might find in the Green Knights' library

A Study Bible of your preferred translation

Concordance (references Bible verses/words/phrases)

Catechism or compilation of sermons of your choice. If Jewish, a copy of the Talmud.

If Christian, copies of Nicene and Apostle's Creed

Declaration of Independence

U.S. Constitution with Amendments

Shakespeare's Hamlet, Macbeth, Henry IV, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing

George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara and Pygmalion

Two arithmetic books focusing on story problems and using "units" to guide problem solving

One textbook each focusing on grammar and sentence construction

College level dictionary

Spanish/English translation guide


Peter's or Bartlett's Quotations

Handwriting guide (D'Nealian or Palmer)

Machinist's guide

National Electric Code. Does not need to be most recent issue

Principles of Chemistry textbook

Climate-appropriate book(s) on gardening

Basic book on human nutrition with emphasis on foods that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals

Bubel's guide to Root Cellaring (low tech, low energy)

Ball's Blue Book to Preserving (canning), any issue

Books on plumbing, "farm" carpentry, heat-treatment of carbon steels, trapping, tanning hides, etc. The list is almost endless.

Merck's Handbook of Veterinary Medicine

A book on general animal husbandry and animal breeding (including issues with inbreeding depression).

Combat Skills of the Soldier (FM-75)

Field Manual of Preventative Medicine: Preventive Medicine for Ground Forces

Advanced First Aid Manual (emphasis on exposure, burns, bleeding and poisoning)

Basic book on physical fitness with "bogeys" for sit-ups, pushups, pullups and three-mile run by age-group and gender.

Biographies of notable people: Thomas Jefferson, Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch, Joseph Lister, Daniel Boone and others

Fiction by Mark Twain

Blackstone's Commentary on Law

Various Boy Scout merit badge books

Set of Encyclopedias in the 1935-to-1965 vintage.

Please feel free to add to the list. I am sure I missed wide swaths of literature. I tried to stick with categories rather than list specific books.

I am moving comments to the main body since not everybody reads the comments

Nominated by Markshere2: Firefox collection Backwoods home collection

Nominated by Lucky_P: Books on identifying, using, and eating wild, native plants and mushrooms. Any of Sam Thayer's books, like 'Forager's Harvest', etc. would be worth having on hand if you're in the eastern or midwestern US. I've not yet hit on the best mushroom ID guide with emphasis on edible species.

LJW wrote: If you have a Kindle - get the Complete Harvard Collection! It is $1.99 and has a lifetime of reading.

I want to add: The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

A book on basic midwifing and birthing

A college freshman level primer on Macro Economics and another on Micro Economics. Incidentally, older editions of college textbooks are often screaming bargains and they are usually exceptionally well bound.

Nominated by tweell: Where There is no Doctor, Where There is no Dentist. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbons. Democracy in America, Tocqueville.

Nominated by Old NFO: The Iliad and the Odyssey

Nominated by Roger: Plutarch Essays and Lives I & II and Marcus Aurelius - Meditations

Nominated by The Freeholder: I'll have to go through the appropriate shelves, but I'm going to toss Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, a recent copy of the Nurses' Drug Guide and Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living into the mix....

Now that I've (Freeholder) had some time to think and look:

A set of the "Dick and Jane" reading books and a set of McGuffy's Readers.

Improvised Medicine by Kenneth Iserson. Armageddon Medicine by Cynthia Koelker. Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A Balch. A relatively current copy of the Physician's Desk Reference.

Volumes 1-4 of The Bowyer's Bible

Pocket Ref and Desk Ref by Thomas L Glover

Stocking up, and old Rodale Press book. Get the latest you can find.

A 1910 copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Mine's on CD, but I'd love a real copy.

Gardening When It Counts by Steve Soloman.

A copy of the Chemical Rubber Handbook.

A complete set of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

A complete set of the works of Robert A Heinlein.

The Makeshift Workshop Skills series by James Ballou.

The Leatherworking Handbook by Valarie Michael.

ARRL handbooks, especially the ones on wire antennas. The RSGB also has good books on the same subjects.

Early 1900s copies of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts handbooks.

Noveske's Rock contributed: Excellent selections above. I'd add "The Knowledge" by Lewis Dartnell - how to rebuild technology from a standing start. The Gunsmith Kinks series by Brownell offers many field expedient firearms repairs. For those with acreage I'd recommend Homemade Contrivances and How to Make Them, Handy Farm Equipment and How to Use It and Farm Conveniences and How to Make Them (from the late 1800's). And for those who don't want to reinvent the wheel there is 507 Mechanical Movements.

Brvtvs suggested: Pretty much any of Ruth Stout's gardening books. Fiction by Joseph Conrad, Nathaniel Hawthorn, and Rudyard Kipling (The Mother Hive is a short must read.) Bealer's Art of Blacksmithing A.I. Root's ABC of Bee Culture

Lucas Machias recommended: The Peloponnesian Wars and Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah

Me again: The Quoran, poetry by Kipling and a book discussing logic and common, logical fallacies. Throw in Aesop's Fables and a book on Greek mythology.

STXAR contributed: Trig tables, older math books, Audels type books for the 30's and 40's. You can fix it books, and the Reader's Digest books on carpentry from the 70's. Military handbooks (Combat Engineer, Armorer, Medic, Field Fortifications). Foxfire Series of books. 500 mechanical movements. Machinery Handbook, Mark's Mechanical Engineer's Handbook (it's a complete math to Engineer text book) ARRL Handbook 40's - 80's, Audel's sets for subjects of interest. To name a few I have and some I want.

Ed Gruberman offered: Pocket Ref. Boy Scout Fieldbook, 1970-1984. Pre-1985 Official Boy Scout Handbook. These were the last ones before they got shredded. Fieldbook is supplement to Handbook, containing stuff cut from the handbook.US army officer's manuals for cold weather ops.

Fine Art Tuesday

Empire of Light
Rene Magritte born 1898 in Belgium, died 1967. Magritte was considered a Surrealist.

Frankly, most of his paintings do not appeal to me but Empire of Light resonates with me.

The sky shouts "4:00 in the afternoon" and the house, tree and pond whisper "Half hour after sunset"

These two paintings are more typical of his output. It just goes to show that just because an artist is famous for belonging to a particular "school", they might surprise you every once in a whiile.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Don't bring me down...

Skellig Michael

Reader Rural Counsel wrote "The trick will be to not let them (the Left) drag us down with them".

Looking at the fall of Rome and the Dark Ages, the knowledge and glory of the classics were kept alive in a few places.

One place was the Eastern Church now often called the Orthodox Church.

Another place were the centers of learning in the middle-East.

A third place where a remnant clung was with the warrior-monks in ancient Ireland and their "Green Martyrdom".

  • "Red" Martyrs died for God
  • "White" Martyrs abandoned everything they loved for God's sake and became hermits or monks in austere orders
  • "Green" Martyrs used prayer, self-discipline, manual labor and industry to purge themselves of evil desires and to advance the Kingdom of God.

Two paths are opening before us. One may appear to be the easy way. The other way promises nothing but hard work and many disappointments.

May I suggest that a library of good literature, printed on high quality, durable paper is an absolute must if you choose the path of the Green Martyr (or Green Knight or Green Hornet. The word "martyr" does not appeal to everybody).

High quality tools that you can maintain with the tiniest amount of outside inputs.

Places to store those tools where they are protected from rust, rot, theft and taxes.

A low profile, digital and otherwise, is desirable. (I am so totally screwed!!!)

Not bikini charts. John Wilder has those Trademarked

Don't let the bastards drag you down.

Heuristic: Cognitive Dissonance


The idea of "Cognitive Dissonance" was first defined in the peer-reviewed literature by Leon Festinger in the mid-1950s.

Like many significant ideas, the impetus for this idea was a "failed" experiment. In this case the experiment involved the amount of effort paid arguers invested in defending a position. The hypothesis was that the more you paid the debater, the more vigorously they would defend it.

The data showed that many test subjects who received a dollar defended the views they were told to defend with much greater vigor than many of the test subjects who were given $20.

Festinger then postulated that our minds HATE puzzles and will backfill with answers that resolved those puzzles.

The subjects who received $20 were able to solve the puzzle "Why am I doing this?" by rationalizing that they were being paid to do it.

The subjects who were paid the very nominal sum could not solve the puzzle that way. Rather than suffer the pain of cognitive unsolvable puzzle...their minds shifted to actually believing the proposition they had been paid to argue.

The highly paid debaters argued as hired help. The poorly paid debaters argued out of genuine, even if newly formed, sense of conviction.

Our minds  and values are far more plastic than most of us realize. How could we possibly know? Our yardstick is also constantly mutating.


The implications are enormous.

Not only can you "not buy loyalty" but to crassly attempting to pay for it will poison its development.

Undisciplined human minds will ALWAYS embrace the tidy, self-contained answer when offered. So will most disciplined ones.

People will simply not hear information that causes a mental puzzle because that causes mental anguish. People who trust the Media cannot hear information that throws their trust into doubt. People who do not trust the Media and Government cannot hear data that might support some of the agendas they are promoting.

The art of persuasion is not the drip-drip-drip of information. That can be tuned out. The art of persuasion is to submerge the listener in an irrefutable tsunami of information that cause more cognitive dissonance than the listener can endure. They will abandon their prior beliefs to stop the pain.


Festinger postulated that loyalty or oaths can be short-circuited by payment, threats or promises. Those are external forces that bypass the internal value map and allow the subject to rationalize their behaviors.

It is notable that the language for a "Guilty Plea" in many courts contain questions similar to:

  • Have you been paid by anybody to plead guilty?
  • Have you been promised anything to plead guilty?
  • Are you making this of your own, free will or have you been threatened or coerced to make this plea?
That is a glimmer of hope.

How many of the Leftist shock-troops are paid to protest?

How many have been promised positions or advancement?

How many have been pressured to fall in line with the outrage du jour?

They will be rats leaving a sinking ship when the tide turns.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

.177 Pellet guns


Projected trajectory of a Gamo Red Fire launched at 1000 fps courtesy of
Ballistic coefficients from HERE
Does anybody mess around with pellet guns?

I bought a "springer" many years ago and after finding it impossible to sight it, promptly forgot it. It was the one gun I did not take boating on that event-filled, three hour tour.

Consequently, I still have it.

I read an article that suggested that some pellet guns were sensitive to the pellets. I decided I needed a quiet way to spank Red Squirrels, chipmunks and other small varmints.

Yes. Different pellets made a difference. The gun loves 7.8 grain, Gamo Red Fire pellets. They are clearly a larger diameter than the ones I used before. I have to PUSH the pellets into the chamber.

Do any of you use them for pest control? If so, what range do you zero your gun for. It looks like a 35 yard zero will give me a respectable +/- half-inch mid-range but I would like to hear what others are doing.

Also, can you make any recommendations for cleaning and maintenance gear?

As a side note: The weapon is very sensitive to how it is held. The pellet leaves the barrel so slowly that the stock recoil changes the attitude of the barrel before the pellet leaves. The stock recoil varies by how tightly I grip the stock and how firmly I have it in the pocket of my shoulder etc.

The trigger pull is extremely long (but smooth) and I have to work at getting my hold consistent and my follow-through. This just might make me a better shooter.

Presented without comment


Old Socialists

The tilting-dummy or "quintain" is used in jousting practice. It spins around and if you do not duck it will knock you off your horse. It is a great example of "secondary effects".

Our regular priest was away today and we had a visiting "Senior Priest".

A Senior Priest is a retired priest that the Bishop presses into duty as the need arises.

The Catholic Church no longer has a deep bench. The Bishop has the same challenge that coaches in recreation league sports have. He has to play them all. The gifted. The average. The flawed.

Today's priest is clearly a dyed-in-the-wool Socialist. "Rich people bad. Government should provide money, housing, medical care."

I did not argue with him. He is an old, sick man and I doubt I could move him.

It was illuminating to realize that he visualizes Daddy Warbucks and Harry and Megan Markle when he rails about "rich people" when the people he would kick are actually the plumber who still works every day and and who owns his own business and employs other five guys, including a guy who can't do much more than sweep.

Where is the justice for him if you destroy his business? How about the people who work for him? Who is going to unclog the shitter when you destroy your business? The same people who issue you license plates?*

The irony is that one of today's readings included the passage 

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea."

It seems disingenuous to preach what he wanted the Bible to say rather than what it said and the context in which it was said.

The intellectual rigor of old Socialists is on-par with that of doctors who would still bleed patients to reduce fevers. It is the obvious solution...and it is dead-wrong.

*Yes, I know the old joke: Socialists don't need toilet paper or plumbers because there is no food to eat.

The Downside of Subversion

It has been pointed out in many places, including this blog, some of the glaring fragilities of the infrastructure that undergirds modern society.

It may be tempting to consider the option of "not going down alone".

I for one, ask you to not act on that option. God willing, we may never get to that point.

Cities were invented by country folk as a place to warehouse people we don't care for. Where do you think those people will go if the cities become uninhabitable?

Agents provocateur may goad gullible yokels (like the folks who planned to kidnap Big Retch in Michigan) into making an attempt on infrastructure or government. Don't be that yokel.

Sadly, the coalition of Leftist is destroying the infrastructure without any help:

  • Green Energy 
  • "we need diversity, not competence" 
  • "Delta smelt over food"
  • Burning the core areas of our cities 
  • Getting in bed with the enemy

They would love to have a scapegoat for their failures. Don't give it to them.

(You will know when to disregard this post)

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Making applesauce

Mrs ERJ gave me the "go ahead" to have this be a BIG year for applesauce.

She is busy clearing the pantry of canned foods that were not big hits to recover the quart jars. Who would have every guessed that peach-habanero sweet pickles would not be a hit?

I am chasing the apples through the system. I got rolling about noon and expect to have 28 quarts of applesauce cooling on the counter by 8:00 PM.

I would be losing money if I paid myself any kind of minimum wage but this is not about money. My time is free, to me. Skills are perishable. I consider the time I put into making applesauce to be tuition or an investment.

I use an LP fired turkey-fryer to do heavy-lifting of cooking the apples to mush. I do it in the garage to minimize the heat in the house. The turkey fryer is a great convenience but it doesn't do anything a wood fire cannot do if I have the dried, split firewood ready-to-go.

I take that back. A wood fire has to be tended so it requires more labor per unit of output.

Blogging will be light. I am earning my keep, for a change.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Mom, apples and aliens

The industry-standard apple box holds a nominal 40 pounds of apples. Not all of the apples are as the big as the ones you see. The conundrum is that the biggest,  sweetest, reddest apples are in the sunniest, tallest part of the tree and are damaged during their fall. 

We visited mom for the first time in two weeks. It went much better after Mrs ERJ figured out that the batteries in Mom's hearing aid died.

I scored 120 pounds of apples from a neighbor who gave me permission to pick up windfalls. He has a nearly perfect lawn and the fruit is a nuisance to him. It was the first time I got a close look at the fruit from his trees. The two trees that are closest to the road are Red Delicious. Then an Empire. The tree closest to his garage is a McIntosh. 

Empire is a cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh and it has most of the best characteristics of both parents. It has the disease resistance of RD and the aromatics of McIntosh especially when very ripe. It is not as firm as a RD but it is fully as hardy as a McIntosh.

I cannot speak to Empire's ability to produce quality fruit in hot climates, a weakness of McIntosh.

Taste is a very subjective thing but I consider Empire to be a very good apple for applesauce. A grower could do far worse than to plant a tree or two of Empire.

I want to go back and see if I can score another 80 pounds of Empire in the morning. We are expecting wind gusts to 25 mph tonight and there should be many more on the ground.

Tomorrow will also involve counting mason jars and inventorying sugar and other necessaries.

God willing, we will launch a couple loads (14 quarts) of applesauce to shake-out the system. At two-pounds to the quart, a 40 pound box of apples is good for about 20 quarts of applesauce. There is very little waste.

ERJ Exclusive Footage from Del Rio, Texas

I stumbled across a movie so cheesy and bad that it is enjoyable: Mars Attacks. Mrs ERJ and I watched it this evening.

Population pyramids



Germany (and industrialized Europe)

Communist China

United States

The US is unusual for a developed country because its population pyramid has nearly-vertical sides.

At one time suburbs were called "bedroom communities". The commute just got longer. Now Central America is the United States' "bedroom community".

Iron Dome

***Rampant Speculation Alert***

**Remember, I Write Fiction**

Congress passed a $1B funding package to Israel to restock the Iron Dome defense system. The legislation passed by an astonishing 420-to-9 vote.

Let's look at Iron Dome from a few different perspectives:

Minimum response

Iron Dome allows Israel to swat incoming rockets out of the sky.

It seems like poor economics to use expensive, guided missiles to shoot down dirt-cheap unguided rockets but there is more in-play than just the munitions.

Without Iron Dome, Israel would have to mobilize the military and make bombing runs with $20 million aircraft. Iron Dome allows Israel to move this response further back in the escalation hierarchy.

One would think that pro-Palestinians would WANT Iron Dome replenished unless their goal is to provoke an all-out, final war.

Cheap testing

Israel offers the US real-world testing of the missiles. Most of the "incoming" are trash 107mm Chinese and Iranian rockets but every once in a while they slip in something faster and more exotic.

Not to bad-mouth 107mm rockets. They can kill people just as dead as other weapons. What I am trying to communicate is that the 107mm rocket is something that a competent machinist and a chemist with unlimited access to chicken-shit and powdered aluminum can probably produce them on an industrial scale.

Secure software

An underappreciated fact is that progress in material sciences and wing-design flat-lined. That is why the service life of aircraft, for instance, increased by over an order of magnitude. 

The path to having better weapons than the enemy is to have better electronics and better software.

The problem with developing software in the US is that our institutions are riddled with spies. That problem may exist in Israel but to a much, much lower degree.

It seems highly unlikely that we just sell them the hardware without a quid pro quo arrangement regarding software enhancements the Israelis implement.

From the standpoint of integrating software with the hardware, when security really matters, Israel is one of the few viable options.

Dystopian future

Iron Dome serves the same function as a moat. It is a barrier that prevents the riff-raff from scaling the walls of the castle.

Yes, I know "everybody" is talking about right-wing, white supremacists but everybody with three-digit IQs knows the real risks are from unvetted immigrants and from the angry, un-skilled young men whose strong-backs no longer command a living wage in the modern economy.

But if The-Powers-that-Be were to acknowledge the risk of immigrants then they would have to stop illegal immigration and they cannot do that because of a multitude of interlocking reasons.

Israel is the beta-test for Iron Dome over D.C. and other elite enclaves.

THAT is why it passed 420-9

Thursday, September 23, 2021



Five-and-a-half-inches of rain in the last 48 hours.

The weather radar has been goofy. I will hear the rain pounding on the roof and I will look at the radar to see when we have a lull coming. The radar will not show any rain for twenty miles. The radar presumably updates every ten minutes.


Kubota is moping around. His truck needs parts and he is not getting very many hours at work.

His truck has a radical lift-kit in it and it has not been driven gently.

The CV (Constant velocity) boots are cracked and spraying lube. More important, the cracked boots allowed grit into the joint and they are wearing quickly.

He needs new ball joints. Installing new ball joints requires an alignment.

One of Kubota's rocket-scientist buddies pointed out that longer control arms would mitigate the angle of the intermediate shafts. In stock configuration the intermediate shafts are nearly in alignment with the output shaft and the boots only flex when going over bumps rather than with every rotation.

So now Kubota is convinced he needs longer control arms which would totally mess up the geometry of the front suspension. The good news is that I don't think you can get longer, after-market front control arms for late '90s Chevys.

The other thing is that his tires are rapidly approaching "slicks" status. Oversized tires are more expensive than stock tires. The tires on his truck retail for $340 each while less radical "stock" All Terrain tires might run $125-to-$150 per donut.

I suggested he could save money in the long run if he removed the lift-kit and reverted back to stock. That idea went over like a fart in church. Much of Kubota's identity is wrapped around his driving a "manly" truck.

Some people just have to learn the hard way. Unfortunately, I don't think Kubota will live long enough to recreate 4000 years of wisdom.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Never trust a man who has not been punched in the face

You don't have to beat a bully to win. You just have to lay a little lumber on him

I remember this quote being attributed to Theodore Roosevelt but it could have been from any number of hard men.

More to the point, you do not have enough information to know if you can trust a man if he has never plowed onward in spite of pain and adversity.


Can we agree that many elements on the Left are "bullies"?

Bullies are predators as long as they can get their jollies for free. Antifa and other Leftist shock-troops are given a free-pass by judges, mayors, governors and DAs in the cities where they are strong.

Bullies look for other games when they start getting punched in the face, their kneecaps crushed or their homes "Havana Syndromed".

Yellow Jackets

I made a minor tactical mistake in eradicating the nest in the vineyard.

I flooded it for six hours in the day. I did not remember that many of the workers would be out foraging. Had I flooded it at night I would have wiped out queen, larvae and workers.

All is well that ends well. By drowning the larvae I shut-off the recruitment of new workers. The internet suggests that average lifespan of a yellow jacket worker is about 21 days.

By drowning the queen I shut off the supply of pheromones and new larvae. The pheromones are chemical communicators. Pheromones are the insect worlds command-and-control structure.

The orphaned yellow jacket workers were not very aggressive and quickly dissipated, mostly because the queen was neutralized.

Cooking pumpkins (and squash)

My luck with cooking pumpkins is not that great.

I get impatient. It seems to take FOREVER in the oven. Pumpkins like Winter Luxury (selected for pies, not ornaments) have a very thick edible rind.

While settling in to sleep last night, a picture popped into my head.

By cutting the pumpkin into wedges similar to how we eat cantaloup and then scoring the slices, I could lay them flat and the "deepest section" would be significantly smaller.

One thing led to another.

Speeding things along by running pumpkin halves in the microwave is not efficient because the heating in a microwave is not very uniform through the volume. Being able to flatten out the scored wedges makes a microwave pre-heat viable.

The advantage of the microwave pre-heat is that it deposits heat deeper into the chunks. That is advantageous because the last thing to be fully cooked are the centers of the thickest sections and radiant and convective heat deposit their energy on the food's surface.

Furthermore, if the cooking of the pumpkin is limited by the incident radiant and convective heat, cutting them into wedges and then scoring means you can spread them out.

Between the two pans, approximately four pounds of uncooked pumpkin

And here they are in the oven

Why not just cook them in the microwave or boil them?

I like the way roasted foods taste. They are sweeter because some of the moisture is driven off. The surface is slightly caramelized.

I will give these guys the knife test in 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


We are in the process of cleaning out Mom's non-frostfree freezer in the basement of her house. One of the items we rescued are Klondike bars. Lots and lots of Klondike bars.

Since nobody in our family really needs the calories, and because wasting food is a sin; I decided these would make fine treats for the two German Shepherds.

I did eat one of them, for scientific research, and there were a few ice crystals in them so I am dubious about donating them to a food bank. Not that they are bad but that people have expectations even when things are "free".

Belladonna was not happy with me feeding Herc chocolate. She laboriously peeled the chocolate from the quarter-bar I was going to give him.

That started a conversation about "How much chocolate can most dogs tolerate?"

The internet came to the rescue.

Mild chocolate toxicity occurs at about 20mg/kg of theobromine. A gram of milk chocolate has about 2.4mg/gram or 67mg per ounce.

If you use a quarter of the "mild toxicity" level as a threshold, then an ounce of milk chocolate* per 30 pounds of dog should not a big deal.

Since the chocolate on the Klondike bars is a thin wash (primarily to make them easier to handle) and is very low in chocolate and because the German Shepherds are in the 75-to-100 pound range, the amount of milk chocolate (for them) is well below the three ounces that our (conserative) calculations indicate are unlikely to be an issue.

Belladonna forgave me.

Pewter casting

Long-time readers know that I sometimes cast knick-knacks from pewter. It helps me pass the time on rainy days and keeps me out of trouble.

I recently picked up a gently-used, six cavity mold on fleaBay for about $60 and I gave it a work-out today. I was able to cast about 600 knick-knacks in an hour-and-a-half.

One of my neighbors, upon hearing of my hobby, informed me that he had many, many pounds of suitable alloys. Later that day he sheepishly apologized that he didn't have nearly as many wheel-weights as he thought he did. Would I have a problem accepting about ten pounds of 50:50 lead:tin solder instead?

I graciously accepted his gift. What a great guy!

Programming radios

A couple of BaoFeng radios fell into my clutches. Because China exports to hundreds of countries with conflicting regulations, they sell the radios and they have a chip-set that allows them to be programmed to be in compliance with the jurisdiction's regulations.

My first swing at getting them programmed leads me to believe that I need a genuine, BaoFeng programming cable instead of the generic programming cable.

The FAQs suggest that the contacts in the microphone ports of the BaoFeng model I am working with are a little bit deeper than the de facto industry standard. You can push on the connecter body until you are blue-in-the-face but if the tolerances stacked in an unfavorable way, your laptop will not talk to the radio.

It seems as if much of this "radio" hobby involves waiting for a boxy, brown truck to park at the end of your driveway.

Apple picking

We picked the majority of our Liberty apples yesterday at about 2800 b50 Growing Degree Days. To give you a sense of how the years vary year-to-year, 2017 was a cool summer and we had about 2400 GDD by September 20 and 2016, 2018, and 2021 were warmer and we had about 2800 GDD on that date. 2019 and 2020 were in the middle with 2450 and 2600 GDD respectively.

Liberty is our heavy-lifter for applesauce.

I had a conversation with Steve Tennes who is the owner of The Country Mill which is a commercial orchard. I asked him when he intended to pick his Liberty.

He informed me that he watches the wind forecast. Liberty's aromatics increase hugely with ripeness but the variety is more vulnerable to getting knocked off the trees than many other apple varieties. Starting about September 10 (in southern Michigan) he starts looking at the weather forecasts so he can pull-the-trigger and pick them before high winds show up and they end up on the ground.

Looking at the apples we picked on our property, these apples would not store very long as they are at the cusp of ripeness. They should make superb applesauce.

Next year I hope to pick them a little bit sooner and ripen them in the garage.

Fall arrived right on schedule

Highs were in the eighties last week and will be in the sixties and seventies next week.

The weatherguessers think we will have 2" of rain over the next couple of days.

We can use it.

*Milk chocolate is relatively low in theobromine. Other types of chocolate have significantly higher amounts. The calculations in this post DO NOT apply to other types of chocolate.

Wisdom teeth

I went to the dentist today.

He looked at the X-rays and poked at my teeth.

"Your upper wisdom teeth are starting to deteriorate" he announced.

"It is probably time to have them pulled."

A date with the Oral Surgeon is booked for the middle of October.

Belladonna had hers pulled when she was 14. For bragging rights, she opted for laughing gas. She suggested that I opt for General Anesthesia.

It will be my first surgery. Ever.

Fine Art Tuesday


Clint Herring born 1962 in Alabama. Primary medium is watercolors.

Nominated by a reader.

Notable for having regional "projects" represented by portfolios of paintings. He has a Bahama project, a Texas project, a Charleston project and a Lower-Alabama project and perhaps others.

Paintings can be purchased via his Facebook page

Pulling out all the stops


Patriots: So scary Biden even sent the agent with the man-bun.

Monday, September 20, 2021



It is an easy mistake to make. We look at native architecture or other responses to environmental challenges and mistakenly think that the solutions that evolved over the millennia are "quaint" and not driven by functionality.

If you approached an aeronautical engineer and asked them to estimate the "lift" of a wing profile that resembled a classic, Japanese temple and they would laugh you out of the room. It has negative lift. That is, the wind pushes DOWN on the structure.

Concave roofs are not easy to build. There are reasons why they evolved other than the fact that they would be photogenic some thousand years in the future.

Since the timber-frame construction is light-weight but strong in compression, it is able to resist typhoon winds when topped with the classic concave-sharp ridge-concave profile while modern, flatter roofs are lifted and ripped off buildings in high winds.

Fluid flowing over the top of a convex surface creates lift. Great pains are taken to prevent the fluid from "separating" from the surface and creating back-eddies.

Fluid flowing over the top of a concave surface creates negative lift. The sharp feature at the ridge of the Japanese temple is guaranteed to create separation.

Japanese engineering is not a new phenomena.

Marxists at the University


Mrs ERJ was marveling at college professors and public school teachers unshakable commitment to the Left.

I had an insight I shared with her.

In their experience, totalitarianism works and works very well.

They have near-total power over their students.

They are the "smartest one in the room'.

Why would they NOT want to expand this model to the entire nation?

The Insensitivity to Sample-Size Heuristic

This is a clear example of the the Insensitivity to Sample-Size Heuristic.

What looks like a marvelous system to the person swimming in it is a train-wreck to those who do not.

The two major issues can be quickly listed:

The system is an enormous resource sink. The true cost to put a kid in college for a year is approximately $40k and then you can add another $40k in opportunity costs.

The product is not just mediocre, it is tainted.

Resource sink

You scoffed at the numbers. "Nobody pays $40k a year to go to college."

Granted, very few students attend private universities. But going to a public university isn't less expensive. The difference is that the public coffers subsidize the tuition.

Throw in the capital expenses, pensions and benefits that are often hidden in other budgets and you are probably talking about $40k per student per year regardless of where they attend.

Many systems look like viable alternatives until you kick the subsidies out from under them: 

  • Wind-power
  • Aquaculture
  • Heated greenhouses
  • Poly film mulch
  • Factory trawlers (fishing vessels)

Wind-power is barely viable when there are no other alternatives. Furthermore, they use vast amounts of materials that cannot be produced using wind-power. You cannot run a cement kiln or a steel mill on intermittent power.

Commercial Aquaculture relies on cheap protein, including fishmeal from Peru.

Heated greenhouses use fossil fuels and poly films or panels. The gross energy in is vastly greater than the food energy delivered to the consumer. 

Factory trawlers are subsidized by various tax credits including credits to the firms that build the vessels. It is worth a financial loss to China, for instance, to provide employment and protein. It is less clear why Germany does it...but maybe it is a case of national pride.

Product quality

One reason it was so hard to pin Dr Larry Nassar (the pedophile doctor) down was because he was wily enough to commit his crimes at a University.

Most professors are mediocre instructors. They got their tenure because they played the political game. The present the same material that is available in the book. They tell a few self-aggrandizing stories and then let the students out of class ten minutes early.

Many of them do not write their own tests.

The tenure system exists to cover mediocrity, unprofessional and downright criminal activity. It is the opposite of transparency.

Transparency is what allows consumers to reward innovative, high-quality and less expensive producers with resources (i.e. purchase their products and services). 

If the University model was extended to the economy-as-a-whole, resources that are sucked up by resource-sinks are not available to reward innovators and efficient producers. The economy tanks by all measures. It tanks in absolute standards and it tanks relative to other, competing nations.


If one of the key metrics of "sustainability" is the absence of external inputs or externalized costs then one must look at the number of students who drop-out.

Nationally, fifteen-percent of students do not graduate from high school in four years and forty-percent do not graduate from college in six years.

What other industrial process would tolerate scrap-rates between 15%-and-40%?

Scrap is expensive because it consumes resources (manpower, facilities, raw materials) and does not produce a salable product.

If the entire economy were remade in the image of the college classroom, where would the rejects go? Failed students are an externalized cost no different than water from a nuclear reactor being dumped into a river.

From an industrial standpoint, it would be far better to not admit students into the University or high school if they are very likely to fail.

These realities are not visible to college professors and public school teachers. They think the system they work in has been perfected and believe, with every fiber of their being, that it should be scaled up to include the entire economy.

With them running the show, of course.

Mustique as a lifeboat


Mustique is about 200 miles from Venezuela, 900 from Haiti, 1000 from Cuba and 1800 from Jacksonville, Florida.

1800 miles is a long way to project power if the US military is tied up with other duties.

For what it is worth, having a half-dozen titans of the silicon and financial industries and their most loyal minions penned up on two square-miles and then have the poop-hit-the-propeller would make a dandy story. Lord of the Flies but with megalomaniacs and soulless henchmen instead of school kids.

Geopolitics is destiny.

Heuristic: Insensitivity to Sample-Size

This is actually a cluster of heuristics and rather than tease them out individually I will give a few examples.


I shared with my sister-in-law, a retired, Registered Nurse, that I thought that the nurse who prepped me for my Colonoscopy was drunk.

She assured me that was impossible. "She is an RN. She cannot be drunk."

Her reasoning was that because she was an RN and she would NEVER show up to work under-the-influence that all RNs were immune to the possibility.

Regression-to-the-mean tells us that as the sample size gets larger it will drift toward the mean for the population regardless of what my sister-in-law wants to believe.

I had a similar encounter with an attorney. He simply could not believe that data showed that some sub-populations are more likely to commit violent crimes or engage in mass murders of people who do not belong to their sub-population. His argument was "I personally know one fellow lawyer from each sub-population and I refuse to believe what you are telling me."


From a distance, the crowd is dark gray. The Jumbtron inset shows that smaller samples is bright blue. People constantly see examples like this.

People expect small samples to "look" like the over-all population. This expectation persists in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.

Map of racial distribution in Los Angeles, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: WhiteBlackAsian Hispanic.  Image by Erica Fischer

The City of Los Angeles, California is approximately 50% Hispanic, 30% non-Hispanic white, 10% Asian and 10% Black and yet there are many neighborhoods where nearly every household is Black, or Asian or Hispanic.

EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS. And yet, at a visceral level, we still expect small samples to look like the population was put through the Bass-o-matic and poured into a tumbler.

Homogenous/Heterogenous are concepts that are scale dependent.


People expect strings of random numbers/events to look "random" when, in fact, Heads-H-H-H-H-H-H-H is a perfectly random string of coin flips that comes up about once every thousand flips.

If the first eight flips are all Heads, then assuming the game is rigged is a reasonable assumption since there are 1023-of-1024 other equally-likely outcomes.

But if the string of eight Heads in a row occurs in the middle of a thousand flips, then that is not evidence of an unfair coin and at some point the absence of "strings" is evidence that the coin is rigged.

Mortality risk

Given very large samples, some people are going to die in strange ways.

The Detroit Metro area has a population of about four million people. The 90 people who die in bed every 24 hours is never newsworthy but the guy who got his head stuck in the storm-drain and drowned (he had dropped his keys) is newsworthy. 

Because the storm-drain death made the news soccer moms KNOW they are death-traps, just like plastic bags, five-gallon buckets and wildflowers.

In a similar way, a drug-dealer gets into a shoot-out with the cops and a stray round hits his girlfriend/business partner. It makes the news. Everybody now "knows" that cops are blood-thirsty brutes who shoot some people on-sight.

And cities burn.