Monday, January 31, 2022

Quote of the day

 "Overkill is underrated" -Fishdog52 (link)

A math problem

 Ian Ion, spaceman, discovered a large gold nugget on the moon where gravity is 1/6 that of earth. The nugget has a mass, on the moon, of 1/6th of a kg. A kg of gold has a value of $60,000 on Earth.

What is the gold nugget worth?

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Putin's stance on Biden's Ukrainian ambitions is identical to Kennedy's during the Cuban Missile Crisis

I ran into an old acquaintance at one of the local grocery stores this morning.

The grocery stores do a land-office business on Sunday mornings. Families come to "town" for church and swing by the grocery store to pick up vittles for the week (or month if they are infrequent attenders).

I wasn't sure it was my acquaintance. "Marv?" I asked tentatively. He took two more steps and then turned around. 

It WAS Marv.

Marv had been a liaison. He was a sacrificial hourly employee who had been selected to be the go-between for two, bone-headed salary (management) types. I was one of the two bone-heads.

The passing of twenty years had dimmed his recollection. He introduced me to his wife and said I was a "good-guy".

As often happens in circumstances like this, we tossed out names of people we might have known in common.

"Did you know a guy named Roger Miller? He grew apple trees."

Yes, Marv remembered him with great fondness. Roger used to bring bags of apples and Carpathian walnuts and passed them out to everybody who worked on his metal-press line...including Marv.

Roger was a great big brute. He did not need fork-trucks to move baskets filled with stamped, sheet-metal parts. He was paid piece-work. He could leave the plant (but not punch out) once he made his count. He was not going to wait for any stinking fork-truck.

Roger had been offered a full-ride at Michigan State to play football but he chose to enlist in the Navy instead.

He was stationed out of Jacksonville, Florida when the Cuban Missile Crisis went down. They were steaming around in circles, waiting to get into a knife-fight with Soviet convoys while Kennedy and Khrushchev engaged in brinkmanship.

Everybody was on pins-and-needles. It would take only three-seconds of ADHD to leave a safety interlock disengaged and trigger WWIII. Roger told me that he had to extract about a yard of sheets from his nethermost regions every morning, such was the pucker-factor.

Some things never change.

Biden's posture toward the Ukraine is a virtual mirror image of Khrushchev and Cuba.

Tell me I am wrong.

Pictures of the wildlife travel corridors


This wildlife corridor stretches for about a 1/4 mile and is 65' wide for most of its length.

Quercus robur is an exotic here. It grows fast and it dies fast.
Same tree, lower on the trunk.

This is one of the few places where it is wider than 65 feet. This turned out nice. Red maple on the north, Swamp White Oak, Black Walnut in the middle. Northern Red Oak on the ridge. Chestnut on the slope behind me. A few apple trees, Norway Spruce and Black Locust thrown into the mix. Average tree diameter is about 8" at breast height.

Northern Red Oak planted in 1994.

None of these trees were here when we moved here in the early 1990s.

Harry and his Mentor



Maxine Waters for Supreme Court

She has always identified as Black and she has always identified as a Woman.

Second choice is Steve Martin who grew up poor and Black. Being the wrong gender is a temporary problem of the nature "If you are rich I can be single"

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Magical thinking


If you found yourself functioning as a parent any time during the last thirty years, you probably ran into "magical thinking".

I am going to surprise most of you by NOT being snarky. "Magical thinking" is a valid way of modeling the universe for most "kids" today. It has the virtues of being simple and being sufficiently accurate for navigational purposes. It is analogous to plotting a state in the United States as being a flat plane rather than a small patch on the surface of a sphere.

Magical Thinking

Magical thinking is defined in this essay as "The belief that I can change reality if I want something sufficiently. If I want something with enough intensity then processes that are beyond understanding activate and the object of my desires magically appears in my hand."

Suppose I desired an exotic honey from flowers that bloomed only in Jairampur during the month after the monsoons stopped. If enough other people desired that same honey and were willing to pay for it, then it would be possible to buy it on

That is the magic of Capitalism.

If the economy is rich enough in resources, then the government intervenes and makes that honey available to every citizen regardless of their personal economic resources.

In this case the government stands in for the parent who bought his kid a pony because they they were rotten POS and begged and pleaded and held their breath.

So the child who is chronologically an adult is repeatedly validated in their belief in "Magic".


What is frustrating to the adults in the room is that government interventions are nearly always toxic to the "...processes that are beyond understanding..." that create the market for the exotic honey.

The central planners (parent of the parent/child) assume that the honey will always show up like the tides or the rising-and-setting of the sun. (Visualize Sandy Cortez, bartender)

While others might argue, it is my gut-feel that magical thinking can only exist in the box outlined in red. If the economy slides too far to the left then it sinks into low-resource mode (Cuba or Venezuela for instance). Magical thinking evaporates when dreams of a ham sandwich prove insufficient to create a stale, moldy donut.

Magical thinking also struggles to survive in places like South Korea and Singapore, bastions of frenzied economic activity.

Fearless prediction

In 2022, slightly more baby boys will be named "Joe" than will be named "Millard".

I am curious to see where "Brandon" shows up on the list.

Living off the land


A significant number of people entertain the idea that if things go Mad-Max they will head to the country and live off the land. They envision themselves roasting haunches of venison over an open fire like a modern-day Hawkeye.

Let's see how that would pan out in my corner of heaven.

Michigan is home to about 2.0 million deer. I live in Eaton County which has between 30-and-40 deer per-square-mile. In order to give Hawkeye a break, let's go with the higher number.

Unlike the picture in our city-dweller's head, Eaton County is not untrammeled wilderness. People already live here.

As a mental exercise, let us assume everybody in Eaton County (+ Hawkeye) has the same idea and see how long the deer will last.


  • Every deer is harvested
  • Every deer is recovered
  • Every deer is optimally butchered to recover all of the edible meat and organs
  • No meat spoils
  • Half of the deer are fawns or less than one-year-old

From experience, the typical "adult" deer will yield 75 pounds of meat and perhaps another 25 pounds of organ meat if you take the trouble to boil the meat off the deer's head while a 6 month old fawn will yield half that. These numbers are a little bit generous but I want to give Hawkeye every break and keep the math easy.

On a per-square-mile basis

Twenty adult deer at 100 pounds of meat per animal will yield a total of 2000 pounds of meat and twenty yearlings will yield another 1000 pounds for a total of 3000 pounds of meat per-square-mile. Sounds promising.

Venison yields about 700 calories per pound when harvested in the autumn. It is a low-fat meat and for much of the year it is a VERY low fat meat.

An adult or growing child needs between 2000 and 3000 Calories a day. Again, we are going to help Hawkeye out. We will go with 2100 calories a day or three pounds of venison per day for every person.

My township has a population density of about 100 people per-square-mile. That means we would need to eat 300 pounds of venison a day per-square-mile. To meet that need, the entire deer population would be wiped out in ten days.

Doing the math with the deer and human population of the Lansing Metro Area drops the projected time to extinction for the deer herd to about three days.


The numbers do not pan-out for Hawkeye's plan even when every assumption is bent to help him.

From a human/deer population ratio, Eaton County is better than many other Michigan counties and worse than others.

At best, meat harvested in the wild will be a welcome addition of protein and flavor but it is not a viable source of Calories in most places, even in a state with a deer herd of 2.0 million animals.

Presented without comment

Source published January 24, 2021

Source published January 28, 2022

Friday, January 28, 2022

That Yodeling Song


My career as a singer came to an abrupt end the night a biker-dude caught me looking at his 17 year-old daughter.

I tried to sing my way out of the tense situation. It almost worked. Things were looking good until I got to the yodeling and he thought I sang "...and I diddled the ol' lady too..."

Too many deer


2009 data. Numbers in the Lower Peninsula are higher now.
The Upper Peninsula has wolves and severe winters.

The antlerless harvest dropped significantly between 2009 and 2021. It is not that there are fewer deer but that hunters are not inclined to shoot them. It is a "man card" thing.

A mature doe can pop out two fawns a year. Half of those will be does and ALL of them will be legally "antlerless". A large majority of the deer running around during hunting season are antlerless. A deer density of 40 per-square-mile could easily sustain a harvest of 10-to-15 antlerless deer a year. The ten-year-trailing-average has been 4 antlerless deer per square mile. That number is not healthy from a population or range-health standpoint.

Locally, the buck population bounced up when one of the local poachers went to his eternal reward a few years ago. Of course he only shot bucks. We also have encroaching urbanization. New neighbors see deer as mobile lawn ornaments and hate when anybody shoots "their" deer.

One subtlety in deer population is that in areas with significant agriculture the deer will congregate in areas with cover and the browsing pressure is far higher than the 2.5 deer per 40 acres that 40 deer per square mile implies.

That can make it very difficult to establish plants. Even if you plant species that are not attractive to deer, every deer that walks past that plant will take one nibble.

Habitat management

These issues popped up when I did a winter woods walk on my property.

I planted much of the area I wanted to be woods in fast-growing pioneer species like hybrid poplar and Black Locust. I also planted some exotics that proved to not be long-lived.

Those short-lived species are dying off and there are patches where there is a dearth of desirable trees that will replace them.

Leaving a legacy

I am of an age where I want to leave a legacy. I want to plant trees that will be here 100, 200 or even 300 years from now. I know I cannot control the future from the grave but I can at least stack the deck in favor of that kind of legacy.

My list of requirements are:

  • Potential for most specimens to live 100 or more years
  • Produces mast in the fall or winter
  • Has the potential to produce high-value timber
  • Is not browsed by deer
  • Is tolerant to shade
  • Is tolerant to fire
The bad news is that I have not found a species that meets ALL of the requirements.

Candidates that crush the first three requirements are
"Red Oaks" have pointed or bristly tips on their leaves

"White Oaks" rounded tips, almost like the end of your finger.

  • Red Oak species with +100 year "legs". Red Oaks have pointed 
  • Black Walnut and Hickory 200 year legs
  • White Oak species at 300 year legs
The deer browse requirement has two facets. One is whether deer find it tasty the other is how quickly the sapling will grow up, out of reach of the deer. It may be totally unrealistic to expect saplings growing in partial shade to grow fast enough to escape the deer. That forces me into temporary fencing.

Shade tolerance is a funny thing. Seedlings that are less than two feet tall are more shade tolerant than taller seedlings/saplings. It may be due to the higher CO2 concentration near the forest floor where organic material is decaying. These seedlings can smolder for decades, waiting for an opening in the canopy. Then they explode in their growth. Of course, I can create holes in the canopy. I have a chainsaw.

Image credit Daniel Dey, Richard Guyette, and Michael Stambaugh

The Native-Americans regularly burned the forest floor to keep it free of brush, thorn-bush, ticks and to keep it open and breezy.

Most urban people who learned about nature by watching Bambi are clueless. Eaton County was burned on a ten-to-fifteen year frequency. We have a "Plains Highway" so named because passed through tall-grass prairie when the settlers were naming things. Other evidence is are that some areas are very rich in tree species that are intimately tied to frequent burns: Bur Oak, Black Oak, Sassafras, Hazelnut and so on.

Not surprisingly, the most frequently burned areas stretched in the direction of the prevailing winds and seemed to originate on water-ways where prime village sites were located.

The winners
Bur Oak (White Oak type): 300 year legs, fire resistant bark, moderate shade tolerance and can produce heavy acorn crops

Persimmon: 100 year legs, suckers after a fire, high shade tolerance, heavy fruit production most years. Fruit that hangs on into the winter. Poor timber potential.

Shellbark Hickory: 200 year legs, modest resistance to fire, medium-high shade tolerance as a sapling, can produce heavy crops of easy-to-crack hickory nuts. Bark used by bats for roosting. Grows faster when grafted on pecan rootstock.

Honorable Mention
Northern Pecans
Northern Red Oak, Cherrybark Oak, Shumard Oak, Nuttall Oak, Northern Pin Oak
Chinese X American chestnut hybrids
Beech (very vulnerable to fire)
Yellow Buckeye

The plan
The plan is to create fenced areas 3' in diameter and heavily sow persimmons seeds/seedlings and/or pecan seednuts. Then I will thin to the most vigorous survivors and attempt to graft the pecan seedings to Shellbark Hickories. If the grafts all fail, well, I will just have to settle for pecan trees.

I will thin out the canopy to get some sunlight hitting the forest floor.

I would plant more Bur Oak but I am already "heavy" on that species and do not want to be vulnerable to pests and diseases. I am also heavy on Black Walnut and BW can raise hob with apple trees and spruce trees that are in the vicinity.

As always, comments are open and I would love to have readers point out species that I overlooked.

Hat-tip to True Blue Sam for providing suggestions and technical advice for this post.


Does anybody else think Justice Breyer timed his retirement so his replacement could get through the Democratically controlled Senate before the 2022 elections? That suggests that the Democrats believe that they might lose their majority in the Senate.

If so, it is comforting that the Democrats are not comfortable falsifying the counting in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. If they were sure they could get away with cheating they would not have pulled Breyer's transition ahead.

If I were on Biden's team, I would ask Senators Manchin and Sinema for a long list of Justices that they found acceptable BEFORE I flopped the mackerel on the table.

Jobs, benefits and mobility

The job environment I came of age in is vastly different than today's environment.

In the 1980s "benefits" were still a legacy from WWII where wages were frozen and firms sweetened the pot to retain workers.

Employee retention was a given and firms were generally OK with financing skill up-grades.

Things changed through the '80s and '90s.  Benefits were seen as non-value added, fixed costs by firms and they were cut. Variable pay was used to retain key employees and to encourage less-valued ones to leave.

The worm turned

Even as the firms started to view employees as fungible, that is, fully interchangeable cogs, employees started returning the favor.

Listening to various young people, nobody recruits internally. Employees are chained-to-the-oar in whatever position they hired in as. Employers are loath to create an opening by promoting.

Furthermore, there is very little differentiation between companies with regard to benefits. The ACA mandates what is in healthcare packages so there is little differentiation there. Nearly all firms abandoned fixed-benefit retirement plans so the only difference is the percentage matching.

It seemed weird to me when one young, recently pregnant woman informed me that she was thinking about changing jobs because her current place-of-employment hosted healthcare plan-enrollment only once a year and she had not been pregnant then. They will not allow her to switch plans mid-year to a higher premium plan with more maternity coverage. HOWEVER, she can change jobs and enroll into the level of plan with that coverage.

Ferdinand Fourier once estimated that the cost of replacing an employee was approximately one year's wages. That includes both the obvious and the hidden costs. It makes me speculate that the fad of "employees as fungible units of production" might have overshot the mark.

Enough humans are rational beings to seek positions where their needs are met that firms that are wedded to "no benefits, no training, no promotions" will become Human Resources firms that manufactures widgets as an unprofitable, sideline hobby.

We live in interesting times.

Thursday, January 27, 2022



One of the first things you will hear when you recommend a shotgun as the first or potentially "only" firearm for a family is "Too much recoil".

There are several things a mentor can do to help mitigate the issue of recoil.

But first I want to give a quick review of the physics of recoil.


Let's look at a simple two degree of freedom system.

125 ounces is about 7 pounds

Conservation of momentum. If the red jart moves to the left at 1200 feet per second then the 125 ounce cart will move to the right at 12 fps.

The heavier the cart relative to the jart, the less energy will be transmitted to the cart.

In this case the mass of the cart is rigidly connected to another 1440 ounces and the amount of energy transferred to the cart-assembly is miniscule

A slightly more sophisticated model is to have three degrees of freedom connected by a spring.

So the key to mitigating "felt recoil" is to firmly pull the butt-stock into your shoulder with your hand on the pistol-grip. The other key is to push the gun away from you with your hand on the fore-arm. That is, it is like you are trying to stretch out your weapon like a big rubber band.

That push-pull does some other things. For one thing, it puts tension in your neck muscles and takes the slack out of your joints. It changes your body from a floppy spring that must deal with a great deal of potential energy into a semi-rigid brick that results in less energy being will convert the significantly smaller amount of energy into kinetic energy as it comes in.

There is a wide range of recoil potential based on ammo.

Some kinds of ammo, the commodity, target type shotgun ammo for instance is gentle on the shoulder. And before you dis target ammo, an ounce of #8 shot will kill rabbits and squirrels quite handily. The downside is that it will not exit the animal and you will  have to deal with it when you eat the meat.

Other kinds like magnum slugs and buck-shot kick much harder.

Practice firmly planting the butt of the weapon into the pocket of your shoulder or slightly outboard so it is on "meat"

Push the weapon away from your body with the hand on the fore-stock to take the slack out of your joints and put tension into your neck and core muscles.

Lean slightly forward with one foot slightly ahead of the other and put some lead on the target.

Bonus videos

Hat-tip for the incomparable Old NFO for the videos.

Get mange much, Wile E?


The jury is still out to lunch with regard to whether this animal is a domestic dog or a wild coyote.

Looking at the size and the tuft of hair on his forehead, my money is on "Coyote".

He has a tuft of hair between his shoulder blades where he cannot reach and active mange lesions on his left ear.

Contrary to appearance, mange is not a fungus or bacteria. The causal agent is a tiny, parasitic mite that tunnels into the skin and triggers an allergic reaction.

The tiny mites are a normal part of the livestock in an animals pelt. Some individual animals are more genetically predisposed to mange than others. Denning up with multiple animals to stay warm may have triggered this little guy's case.

Underneath that thick pelt, coyotes are pretty slender.

Locally coyotes range from 20-to-45 pounds although I don't know of anybody who harvested one over the weight of 35 pounds.

Eastern seaboard coyotes are significantly bigger. It is hypothesized that they picked up some Timber Wolf genetics as they migrated in from Ontario and Quebec. The only documented adult fatality from a coyote attack was a 19 year-old woman who was attacked in Nova Scotia. Wolf genes, maybe not a good thing.

Western coyotes are significantly smaller. A study in Utah found that the average male coyote weighed 23 pounds and the average female weighed 18 pounds.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Let's start a food-fightI


If I could only have ONE firearm, it would be something like this one
One sure way to start a heated debate is to propose a list of firearms for a newbie to purchase.

Well, why not? It is cold outside.


Shotguns are the working-man's gun. There are undoubtedly parts of the country where a shotgun is not the best "first gun" to put in your collection but the vast majority of the population does not live in those wide-open spaces.

If I could only have ONE GUN, it would be a shotgun.

Shotguns can put meat in the pot, slay varmints in the chicken coop and knock big holes in home intruders.

One of the local chain-stores in Michigan is Dunham's Sports. And while break-open and semi-auto shotguns have their place, it is hard to argue with a pump shotgun for the price, the fire-power and the ability to cycle a large range of ammo.

Good wing-shots will blanch but I think the ghost-ring sights are better for newbies who are more concerned about filling the stewpot than getting style points. The 18" barrel cylinder choke should be able to shoot Foster slugs accurately enough to hit deer at 75 yards to humanely kill them. And the newbie is more likely to be ground-sluicing woodchucks in the garden at 20 yards than pass-shooting geese at 40.

Contrary to popular thought, a short shotgun is harder for an assailant to take away from the shooter than a handgun. You have two hands on the gun's stock while the goblin has a grip on the barrel. Who do you THINK is going to win that tug-of-war.

Finally, there are scads of tacti-cool, gee-whiz, assault-shotgun stocks available from the factory. For the most part, they are eye-candy designed to separate fools from their money. In my mind it is better to have a boring stock that nobody gives a second glance, a stock with enough pistol-grip to keep your hand close to the trigger and give you a good grip if you get in that tug-of-war with a goblin.

Of the models available from Dunhams TODAY, this is the one I would steer a newbies to as a first weapon. I would be even happier if it was available in 20 gauge but it isn't.


The second weapon I suggest for a newbie is a rifle that shoots .22 Long Rifle.

My first choice is the Ruger 10/22 with a synthetic stock. The Ruger 10/22 has an exceptionally robust magazine geometry for a .22 rimfire and can be had with a stainless steel barrel...sometimes.

My second choice, of what is available at Dunham's Sports today, is the Savage Mark II with Accutrigger.

I would purchase several extra magazines regardless of which firearm you choose. I would also top them with Simmons 4X .22 Magnum scopes. 

If you are not comfortable sighting in a scope, you can get almost anybody at a shooting range to help you. Many people will dial in the scope to hit the point-of-aim at 75 yards (on a .22 LR) but some of that depends on the size of the game you are seeking and the typical ranges you will encounter that game at. If the local gray-beards recommend sighting in at 60 yards then listen to them.

The .22 Long Rifle has a lot of shortcomings from the ballistics standpoint but it is inexpensive, accurate and plenty if you can hit your quarry where it needs to be hit. Farmers regularly used to slaughter 1200 pound steers with .22 LR with one round right between the eyes.


The primary advantage of a handgun is that it can be worn as an article of clothing like a baseball cap. It can always be with you.

Like a baseball cap, the logo on it is up to you but most folks are going to be happy with a compact 9mm, polymer handgun with a 4" barrel and a double-stack magazine.

Second choice is a revolver in .38 Special. If the balloon goes up, then open-carry is the default and you cannot beat a 3.5"-to-4" barrel.

"High Power" rifle

This breaks into two categories.

One is the "battle rifle". The main choices are AR or AK pattern rifles. The default is AR in 5.56mm NATO with 55-to-64 grain bullets. My preference is soft-points because I care enough to send the best...and plenty of it. Why send a flower when you can send a bouquet?

The second tier involves Mil-surplus rifles. Most of these rifles are bolt actions. Your buddies will mock you, but a Mauser (120 year-old design) with stripper clips can send a boatload of hot-lead downrange at 2600 fps. Body armor wilts at the prospect.

Good-to-go from coyotes to moose to 700 pound space-aliens. Of the firearms Dunham's has in stock today, this is a very defensible choice.

The second category of "High Power" rifles are "hunting rifles". If things get squirrelly these rifles will be legal longer than "battle rifles'.

Unlike 12 gauge shotgun shells, .22 LR, 9mm and 5.56mm ammo, bolt action hunting rifles are available in many obscure, difficult-to-obtain ammo. That is a problem. A firearm you cannot find ammo for is useful as a club or to stake up the tomatoes.

The most universally available hunting ammo at the time of this writing is:

  • 30-06
  • 308 Winchester
  • 270 Winchester
  • 30-30 Winchester
  • .243 Winchester
  • 7mm Remington Magnum
  • .300 Winchester Magnum
  • 7mm-08 Remington
  • 6.5mm Creedmore
  • 223 Rem
  • 22-250 Rem

At the risk of pissing off the shooting enthusiasts, I would avoid anything with "Magnum" in the name and I would avoid the "22" centerfires.

Ammo in chamberings that are used by the military are currently available in great abundance. But it is worth remembering that many Latin American countries made "military" chamberings illegal to reduce the logistical ease of supporting a military coup. The NON-military chamberings on this list are 270 Win, 30-30 Win, .243 Win, 7mm-08 Rem and 6.5mm Creedmore.

Some brands of rifles readily accept barrels that are chambered for other cartridges.

Plan on spending $150-to-$250 for a scope. The current default is 3X9 magnification. The rings are as important as the scope. Get good ones.

Any precision rifle you  pick should have an "Accu-trigger" or similar. Ruger American and Howa rifles have the advantage of short bolt throws which keep your knuckles from smacking into the scope.

The reason hunting or precision rifles are the LAST type of firearm on my list is that virtually all big-game will be functionally extinct shortly after the balloon goes up. During the Great Depression, nearly every animal larger than a possum were expatriated from large swaths of the country.

You are more likely to get "your fair share" with 6' length of 5/32" braided wire than by hunting according to the rules. Furthermore, within 75 yards your shotgun will be just as effective as your precision rifle.

The reason hunting or precision rifles are included is because they might squeak through when other types of firearms are made illegal. It is a great comfort to have anything that will go BANG! when hooded thugs are parading outside your home with torches. And nothing goes BANG! like a firearm that can slay a moose at 200 yards.


I cheerfully admit that at least a third of my readers know vastly more about this topic than I do.

Consider this a point-of-departure. If you are in that third, tell my readers where I screwed up and share your thoughts and recommendations.

No joy yet regarding the refrigerator (Note: It just kicked on!)

 One part showed up yesterday. The other part showed up at 4:00 PM today.

The first part was the 15 u-Farad starter capacitor. Swapped out the assembly and it did not start. Both capacitors had a resistance of 3M-ohms, not that I trust my $80 Sperry to measure that high.

The second part was the snap-disc thermostat that clips to the coil on top of the freezer's evaporator. I measured the resistance of the new one and it was clearly "open" at room temperature. I suspect it closes at 15F because it had "15F" printed on the side. The thermostat I removed was also open at room temperature so I had little hope that the refrigerator would start up.

The refrigerator did not start up.


I know it seems daft to some of you that I would invest anything in a 20 year-old refrigerator. Part of the reason is that Mrs ERJ recently attended a baby-shower and heard of one niece who bought a high-end refrigerator and it puked after four years. A different nephew purchased a brand-new refrigerator and it died after a year.

So one part of me is looking at the 20 year-old refrigerator and thinking that it clearly didn't  get manufactured with "infant mortality" defects. I am way ahead of the game if I get four more years out of it.

From an economic perspective, if a new refrigerator costs $1200 and I dumped $64 into parts (which included shipping) then I only need about a 1-in-20 chance of fixing the refrigerator to make it worth the effort.


The other reason to continue pursuing the issue is that good trouble-shooters need a solid streak of stubborn in their make-up. I am not naturally stubborn but I can fake it. It would be easy to give up and throw money at the problem but then I would have to hand in my trouble-shooter card.


The fridge just cycled on even as I was typing. Thank-you St Urho!

I think I will throw a couple of ice-cube trays into the fridge and see what happens.

The True Cost of Food expanding access to healthy food for all Americans, through infrastructure investment, ‘food is medicine’ interventions integrated into health care delivery, business incentives, greater consumer education, strengthened federal nutrition assistance programs, and more active regulatory and labeling policy, we could reduce diet-related disease relatively quickly, improve individual and population health, and eliminate many of the health-related costs.   Source

Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man posted an article and asked for opinions on a position paper titled "The True Cost of Food".

The basic premise of the paper is that people can be coerced or "educated" into eating "healthy" foods. The Bloomberg/de Blasio war on soft-drinks (and other Blue-Hive cities) failed because residents simply stopped giving their business to in-city vendors and bought their preferred drinks (and other groceries) outside the city. The True Cost of Food is an escalation of that war and they intend close that "loop-hole" by making the ban or tax nation-wide.

Another angle that they are working is to promote concentration in the marketplace. One reason the attacks on Big Tobacco were successful was because the litigation only involved a few, big, profitable companies. Using the war analogy, the best place to ambush your opponent is in a natural choke-point. US agriculture is not that concentrated, yet.

" incentives..." is Orwellian. They are really proposing taxes that can be partially avoided if the business dances to their tune. And the music will speed up until nobody can dance to it.

One wonders why the authors think there will be less political opposition to taxing high-fructose corn syrup and trans-fats than there would be to subsidizing health insurance discounts based on annual BMI or VO2Max measurements....oh, wait...that is a "pre-existing condition".

Stop screwing around and dancing around the issue. Putting more citrus fruits in inner-city convenience stores will not result in them eating significantly more fruit. Look at the bananas. If they are not eating the bananas then it is magical thinking to believe they will eat oranges, tangerines and apples.

High fix-costs
One issue that troubles me is the increase in "fixed-costs" associated with the Rockefeller Foundation's proposal. Inspections and certification costs money.

Significant warpages in prices occur when operations with high fixed costs encounter downturns. They tend to drop prices to slightly above the variable cost to churn revenue and attempt to service interest payments. That is devasting to mom-and-pop companies that are pricing on a continuing-operation basis rather than pricing to make the next quarterly report look rosy.

Another issue is that concentration attracts attention from venture capital firms like Cerberus. These "investment" firms pounce on profitable, successful businesses with pricing power. They use the business's cash reserves to finance their purchase. Then they use the business's reputation and market position to borrow astronomical amounts of money which is passed through a fire-wall to the mother company (the venture capital firm). Then the formerly viable company is cast adrift with fatal amounts of debt in their name.

The cynic in me sees the Rockefeller Foundation proposal as setting up the chessboard to enable the Vampires of Wallstreet to swoop in and make a killing.

Buzzword Bingo

  • Expanding access
  • Healthy food
  • All Americans
  • Infrastructure investment,
  • ‘food is medicine’
  • Interventions
  • care delivery,
  • Business incentives,
  • Greater consumer education,
  • Strengthened federal nutrition assistance programs
  • More active regulatory
  • Labeling policy
  • Reduce diet-related disease
  • Relatively quickly
  • Improve individual and population health
  • Eliminate many
  • Health-related cost

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Fine Art Tuesday


Édouard Drouot born 1859 in France. Died 1945 in France.

Best known for his marble and bronze sculptures of mythological and allegorical scenes. Drouout’s sculptures are characterized by a sense of movement and expressive touch.