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>On Politics, Activism And Blog Content

2 Jun

>I’ve been mostly talkin’ about small, personal things of late and there’s a reason for it. No, I haven’t given up, quite the reverse.

I think there’s a tsunami coming. While Claire is talking hyperinflation in the linked post, I wouldn’t bet against a long, slow downhill slide instead of an abrupt change of slope. I don’t see much recognition of the problem from the fed.gov or the leading and lesser lights of either party (except, perhaps, R0n P4u1) and no grasp whatsoever of the magnitude of the current and likely future problem.

There’s not much I can do about it. Help keep Roseholme stocked with long-term storable foods and drygoods, assist in gardening as much as I can (we are woefully behind; though Tam claims to not have much of a green thumb, she’s a veritable Mother Nature compared to me: I’ve got more of a brass thumb).

I don’t think sign-waving or writing to Congresscritters will help. Nor is it the kind of issue that could be fixed by a few strategic “rooftop vetoes.” Can’t fix it at the ballot box, either; while I’d like to think a healthy outcome of Bad Times would be a greater diversity of choices for voters, that won’t happen until (unless) things have already gone bad — at which point any Huey Long promising a new car in every pot plus two chickens in the garage is liable to drown out opponents with notions for a long-term solution.

So I’m keeping the knives sharp, the pantry stocked and ammunition on hand; I’ve got my sewing machine and leatherworking kit, electronics workshop and vehicle repair tools (I’m stocking scooter parts as I can. With gas over $4.00 a gallon again, it’s a better choice than any car). I hope to get by. I stopped thinking about retirement a long time ago; the dirty, class-war commies of AARP have started sending me their nasty little invites (pathetically early: “Give me the middle-aged adult and I’ll own the senior citizen,” perhaps?) but for my generation there is unlikely to be any easy dozing on the porch; Social Security will be bankrupt or its dollars valueless, other retirement funds eaten away by inflation; marketable skills are the only thing I know to hold real value — and many of those become less relevant as technology shifts (when was the last time you saw a TV repair shop?) .

Thus I talk about things closer to home, down to earth. Simple joys like the antics of a cat. When the politicians are on something of interest, like firearm laws or other Constitutionally-protected activities, I comment. I’m not going to try to tell you how to get out of this mess, ‘cos I have no idea.

Water runs downhill and the two big parties sweat over diverting it a few degrees to the left or right, both hotly denying it’ll ever reach bottom. They’re dreaming but the nightmare will be ours. No Congressman will miss a meal, no bureaucrat, nobody in the Executive or Judicial branches is gonna have to choose between the gas bill and the electric bill. I strongly suspect for the rest of us, if that’s as bad as it ever gets, that’ll be a good outcome.

>Our Power Company: Exploding With Pride

1 Jun

>Once more, Indianapolis Power & Light had a wee little explosion in a Downtown transformer vault, this time chasing staffers out of the Statehouse.

This has happened again and again. Y’know, if it was my electric company an’ I had, oh, clients like Eli Lilly, the State.gov and bank headquarters as customers there in the Mile Square, I’d be thinkin’ about transformer replacement on some basis other than as-they-explode. As it is, it makes me worry about where to park downtown. They’ve never hurt anyone yet but it’s still no fun.

Gee, I wonder where the closest transformer vault to the Skunk Works main campus can be found? We don’t so much care; lose power and a big ol’ Caterpillar Megawatt genset lurches to life, carrying the entire building. The transfer switches occupy structures the size of storage sheds! Our lights blink and we dance the Reset Tango for those few things not on one UPS or another. The neighbors, though, they’re liable to have sweat in the dark as they fish people out of elevators and go home early.

Y’know, if it was you and/or me plus some M-80s or flashbangs creating sound and fury (let alone power outages) downtown, we’d face all manner of inquiry. The power company? Not so much.

Infrastructure: gotta have it.

>Buy A Wheelbarrow: Hyperinflation Forecast

26 May

>Unhappy thoughts:

“The […] crises of the last four years only have been precursors to the coming Great Collapse: a hyperinflationary great depression. Such will encompass a complete collapse in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar; a collapse in the normal stream of U.S. commercial and economic activity […].”

Read Claire Wolf’s quick take or the whole article from Shadow Statistics. The indicators do not look good; anyone who’s been buying groceries this Spring knows the prices are higher every week, while the Feds and The Fed keep claimin’ prosperity is right around the corner.

Yeah, it is, holding a rusty .32 revolver and gettin’ ready to ask for whatever’s in your pockets.

I’m pretty sure there’s no hidin’ in the basement until this one’s blown over.

>Seen

25 May

>At the Broad Ripple Art Fair On the Hidden Frontier.
How’d you like to have to peel one of these off the hull? Vacuum Mites!“Mites.” Yeah. Three feet long. Not common but usually found in (where else?) Linden/Lyndon’s planetary system. Supposedly an inert, “preserved” specimen. I don’t trust it.

Back on Earth, the propbike!Does it work? Is it dangerous? Two questions with but one answer: “Gee, I sure hope so!”

>An American Chernobyl?

13 Apr

>Read John Fuller (or Gil Scott-Heron) and you’d think We Almost Lost Detroit when the Fermi I fast breeder reactor went online.

It had serious problems; zirconium cladding came loose in the reactor vessel and clanged around in the liquid-sodium coolant flow, eventually leading to abnormal operation (and a partial melt-down) which caused the reactor to scram: it shut down.

The operators poked around, found the problem, spent nearly two years gimmicking up the tools and fixing it, and eventually got the thing more-or-less running again. It was never quite what the designers had hoped and in another couple of years, it was shut down.

You may have noticed that Detroit is still there.

So how come? It’s not like a liquid-metal cooled fast breeder reactor is an especially forgiving design. But the thing had working safety systems and the operators paid attention to them. In the face of a design or construction problem, they didn’t push the system past the point of no return, hoping to win brownie points or dodge a dressing-down, they shut ‘er down and began to figure out what went wrong.

And we didn’t lose Detroit. Or at least not to Fermi I.

>Triumph Of State Control

13 Apr

>It was a long natural-gas pipeline; when the techs running it noticed a pressure drop, they didn’t want to have to fill out forms or take any blame, so they just cranked the pressure back up and went back the normal routine. They didn’t want to make a fuss. It was probably some minor thing, right?

Too bad is wasn’t a defective pump or a problem at the source. It was a leak. It leaked out for three hours. The pipeline was in close proximity to a railroad and when two trains passed through the cloud, there was, unsurprsingly, a spark.

What resulted was possibly the most powerful non-nuclear explosion ever, estimated at 10 kilotons: the Ufa train disaster.

It happened in 1989, in what was then the Soviet Union.

Yes, another Chernobyl-esque triumph of communism! Not caused by earthquake, tidal wave or even gloom of night; brought about by guys who followed the written procedure, didn’t question orders and weren’t about to wake up the boss unless things were totally out of control — and who, by so doing, let things get far past that point.

Remember that, next time someone hectors you about eeeeevil capitalism.

>Disconcerting

9 Apr

>Shades of James Bond: Officer Killed In Shooting Aboard British Nuclear Submarine.

I don’t care how you slice it, that’s disturbing.