Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tesla has an Antecedent

Long time readers know I have good instincts for when something is wrong.  They also know I really want historical parallels to bolster my suspicions.  Tesla bothers me and I finally remembered why.  Chrysler and the convertible.  Convertibles had disappeared for a generation due to a great number of  reasons.  Chrysler took a chance and a mediocre car with a horrible cloth top became an instant success.  There was so much pent up demand that even a clunker sold.  That's what we have with the Model 3.  Sales projections are being based on preorders.  Pentagon up demand for feel good eco transportation. The automobile portion of Tesla is likely to suffer the same fate as Chrysler.

Don't Blame the Messenger

Maybe the Democrats can go online and order some new policy positions.  If they use Amazon Primary and the voice service Electa then delivery is free guaranteed in time for the next runoff.  Use a coupon from the WaPo and receive a bonus discount on negative advertising buys.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Vancouver Will Implode

Don't worry. It is contained to the Chinese economy, the Canadian Banking system and anyone within  11,000 miles of either.

“Price increases in Vancouver and Toronto have an element of speculation to them,” Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said last week, while issuing the bank’s biannual financial system review. The review showed “riskier characteristics are increasingly evident” in new mortgages.
A December 2016 Bank of Canada report estimates shadow lenders now account for $1.1 trillion in debt — about half as much as the traditional banking sector — and that over the past decade “these new players have become more important and have changed the face of the Canadian mortgage market … (as) tightening bank regulation can lead to migration of activity from the traditional banking sector to the shadow banking sector.”

Read more:

Apologies for the poor posting format.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Whole Amazon Synergies

Re Amazon Whole Foods.  My first reaction was wrong.  This is great for Amazon. $15b is cheap for the analytics they will be collecting.  The only minus is paying $30m per physical location. Amazon will be able to integrate lots of Whole Foods SKUs into the Amazon space very quickly and profitably. Tea. Spices. Baking goods including tools.  Pastas. And every Amazon customer is exposed meaning more volume and economies of scale.  Of course the supply chain will be squoze dry and get the treatment Walmart gives their suppliers but you know, eggs and omlets.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Lobstahs! And Climate uhhhh Change?

Sad but the Climate alarmists proceed unabated.  

From Smithsonian who should know better.:  

Here's what I did:
So.  what about Smithsonian?  Silly people.  Actually a silly reporter type person allowed to advocate instead of report.  I blame the editors for not reigning in the excesses.

Maine now produces 80 percent of American-caught lobster, writes Justin Fox for Bloomberg View, and more than seven times the average take in a pre-2000 year. 
The reason is anthropogenic change, although the exact factors are hard to assess. For one thing, we're eating more cod, one of the lobster's main predators. As cod stocks fall because of overfishing and other factors, more lobsters are reaching catchable age, and they wander around the seabed with impunity, making them easier for humans to catch. For another, the ocean is warming, which has moved the lobstering "sweet spot" away from the state's southern coast to the northeast, Fox writes.
Fishery practices, like not catching lobsters under or over a certain size and not catching egg-bearing females, are also part of the equation–though not, Guilford writes, to the degree lobstermen would like to think...

Full article here.

This climate stuff is all beyond rational speculation.  The lobster herd is absolutely almost entirely subject to human influence.  Pollution. Fishing techniques.  Overfishing.  Overfishing of predator species.  Management practices.  Compared to those climate shifts are lost in the noise. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meet Cyclops the Snout House

219 Paseo Loma 93010

I will come as no surprise that this sweet thing was constructed in 1999.  Description with translation follows:

Charming 3 bedroom 2.5 bath detached home located in the Kaufman Broad Tract in the Southern area of Central Camarillo.

 Tiny mass produced infill project in a less desirable part of town.

This light & bright home has an open floor plan and is tastefully & newly remodeled to include: New laminate flooring on entire 1st floor, new carpet upstairs, new bathroom flooring, new stainless appliances, new neutral interior paint, new light fixtures & more. Upstairs loft can be used as an office, media room, or can be turned into a 4th bedroom.

 After 16 years the place was entirely worn out.  Typical of the construction era. 

 Laundry room conveniently located on 2nd floor.  Master en suite includes a large luxury tub, private toilet closet & large walk-in closet. Backyard includes a lovely patio area and generous side yard. 

The garage is tiny and there is no room for even a bicycle in the "driveway." 

Security System & HVAC. Amenities include a community pool & spa, park & RV parking. 

Zero lot line, no yard, HOA $135/mo

Walking distance to Old Town.  

Wrong side of the freeway.  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Worst House of the Day

Hard to believe it has only been 11 years.  Look at this POS and tell me we aren't in another bubble.

1038 Robin Ln Wrightwood, CA 92397

  • 2 beds
  • 1 bath
  • 588 sqft
  • 2,400 sqft lot size
That's right.  A lot the size of modern houses.  588 home square feet for a mere $289 per square foot.   There isn't even a tub. 

Oh.  And TWO Bedrooms?  Here is the "2nd" bedroom:
For more horror:

OMG WASS. And by that I mean if people are bidding up the low end like this it will get ugly fast. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Why VenCo Isn't Like Where You live

In addition to people shocked that the Dawghaus is a mere 45 crow miles from Downtown LA there are other ways this community is different from most anyplace else. 

Check out this arrest:

Damn quite the score.  Why the excitement over a chicken?  It was what was under the coop:

 Oh... that is why the chickens were important.  That's more cash than a monthly rental in that area.

And what's growing below the dawghaus garden shed of spousal exile?  Insane tomatoes.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Living Well Not Really

All these houses cost more than half a million dollars.  Worrisome. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

E-Commerce, the Asymmetries Need Redress

Here is a screen shot from Amazon:
Ignore the product for now.  Look at the three pricing structures.  One charges tax and shipping and has the highest price.  One just tax, but a mere 7.25%versus the actual 8.25% or as much as 10.75% in nearby municipalities.  Then there is the middle product price with no tax and free shipping.  Head and shoulders the best deal.  I don't mind consumption taxes like sales tax but i do mind them being unequally applied.  Besides, who's to konw if that lowest listed price but taxed if the tax actually makes its way to California?  Any bets? 

Okay.  This post is a twofer.  Now look at the product. 

I may have to get one of these.  Just... just because. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017


FAAMG — Facebook ,, Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet (Google)

I suggest F-GAMA.  Pronounced "Eff gamma."

 I don't understand investing "gamma."  I understand the math.  I just don't understand why or how it yields investable data.  Even data at all for that matter.

Same here with these stocks.  Facebook, social media monetizing eyeballs.  Amazon, virtual Walmart and universal intermediary.  Apple, digital eco-space creator charging admission.  Microsoft, hardware and software and tenuous legacy.  Alphabet, big data exploiter and spaghetti angel investor.  Why in the world would anyone put these companies in the same box? 

Full disclosure.  I own APPL and it had a bad day.  Down.  A lot.  On no real news.  Like I said, there are things I do not understand about how others invest.  I do understand that as a minnow in a big ocean that there are huge predaturds who invest solely to harvest minnows. 

Insane Tomatoes
Yesterday's photo is out of date.  Had to add trellises to accommodate growth.

Friday, June 09, 2017

The Quality Spiral of Nate's 538

Screen shot of a recent fivethirtyeight home page:
Like so many leftists Nate Silver has taken the historic top to bottom ticket losses of 2016 hard.  We saw Hoocoodanode destroyed by people who couldn't even deal with it.  Nate decided to double down with NPR style coverage.  He isn't lying on the things he reports, he just carefully chooses what to cover. Note the last story.  Democrats overperforming in special elections almost everywhere.  Careful wording for still losing but losing by less. 

At least he is still credible in sports forecasting. 

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Stand Up and Salute

It was some seven decades ago, on June 6th, 1944, that D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history occurred.
An armada of 7,000 ships supported the landing of more than 150,000 Allied soldiers on the beaches of Normandy, to begin retaking the European continent from Nazi Germany.
For most of us, D-Day is something out of a history book. But, it’s a memory for Art Peterson. The now 93 year old Santa Barbara man was a paratrooper in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division during World War II.
It was his first time in combat, and says the plane flight from England into Nazi-controlled for the invasion was pretty scary. He says they could see tracer bullets flying around the transport plane he was in, and as he watched out a window, he saw another plane carrying his best friend get hit, and explode.
But, he says once they parachuted out of the plane, their role in the Normany invasion was a piece of cake.
Peterson fought in some of the biggest battles in the European war, even though he had a hard time getting into the military. He was just 17 years old, and finishing up high school when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the U.S. into World War II. He wanted to be a Marine, but was turned down. The Navy and Army also said no, for the same reason. While Peterson grew up in the United States, he was born in Mexico, and wasn’t a U.S. citizen at the time. Finally, he got his chance to serve after being drafted.
Peterson was sent to basic training at Camp Roberts, which is on the San Luis Obispo/Monterey County Line. While there, he heard they were recruiting for paratroopers, so he volunteered, and was set to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. His unit, Fox Company, arrived in England in late 1943 for final training before the invasion.
Peterson says it was while he was in England, he had some of the toughest duty of the war, helping to recover the bodies of British civilians killed in the Germans incessant bombing of London. He still gets choked up, saying because it was civilians, it was worse than anything he ever experienced in combat.
He came through D-Day without a scratch, but wasn’t so lucky three months later as the 101st Airborne pushed into German occupied Holland. He was preparing to jump out of a plane with his unit when a bullet came through the floor of the plane, and hit him in the leg, severely wounding him. His sergeant ordered him not to jump, and to take the plane back to England.
But, five minutes later, the plane was hit again by fire from the ground, and he and the crew had to bail out to safety. He spent three months in the hospital recovering from his injury.
Then, three months later, he found himself in the middle of a third major battle. Peterson’s unit was one of those sent to help U.S. forces in the Belgian town of Bastogne, who had been surrounded by German troops during there last great military offensive, a surprise attack known as “The Battle of the Bulge” He was wounded during the “Battle of the Bulge,” again hit in the leg. But, he has good memories of his role in the battle, making lifelong friends in the community. He has a lasting reminder in Bastogne in his name, a tree in his name.
As Peterson took part in a D-Day remembrance luncheon in Santa Barbara sponsored by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, he noted that age has caught up with the survivors club, and there aren’t many left. He says he’s the only still living member of his squad.
Peterson says despite being wounded twice, he feels lucky to have survived, and is proud he served. He returned to Santa Barbara after the war, where he opened a successful janitorial and housecleaning business. He married, and had two boys and two girls.
He says life has been good, and he says thanks every morning as he wakes to start a new day.

Reproduced from the KCLU article. Be sure to click through to listen to more interesting content. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Natty Can Mean Many Things

†The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power [DWP] has put a hold on a $2.2-billion plan to rebuild old natural gas power plants while it studies clean energy alternatives to meet electricity demands.
The decision announced Tuesday follows a Los Angeles Times investigation that showed the state is operating with an oversupply of electricity, driven largely by the construction of gas-fueled generating plants. The report found that the state’s power plants are on track to be able to produce at least 21% more electricity than needed by 2020.
Californians, meanwhile, are footing a $40-billion annual bill while using less electricity, paying $6.8 billion more than they did in 2008 when power use in the state was at its all-time high. Electricity consumption has since fallen and remained largely flat.

Here is a graph:



Monday, June 05, 2017

Keep Calm and Carry... Your Beer

Fleeing the London attack.  The four guys in the second row are Americans from Folsom, CA.  The bloke in front with his beer is a Brit.  We need to "get used to it." 

Friday, June 02, 2017

Trump Kicking In

Latest forecast: 3.4 percent — June 2, 2017

The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2017 is 3.4 percent on June 2, down from 4.0 percent on June 1. The forecast for second-quarter real consumer spending growth fell from 3.6 percent to 3.1 percent after this morning's employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The model's estimate of the dynamic factor for May—normalized to have mean 0 and standard deviation 1 and used to forecast the yet-to-be released monthly GDP source data—fell from 0.72 to 0.17 after the report.
Finally the economy is responding to the horrible trump Presidency.  ;)

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Obama Legacy Persists

Latest forecast: 4.0 percent — June 1, 2017

The GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2017 is 4.0 percent on June 1, up from 3.8 percent on May 30. The forecasts for second-quarter real nonresidential structures investment growth and real government spending growth fell from 6.2 percent and -0.3 percent to 3.4 percent and -0.7 percent, respectively, after this morning's construction spending release from the U.S. Census Bureau. The forecasts for second-quarter real consumer spending growth and real nonresidential equipment investment growth increased from 3.3 percent and 5.1 percent to 3.6 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively, after this morning's Manufacturing ISM Report On Business from the Institute for Supply Management. The model's estimate of the dynamic factor for May—normalized to have mean 0 and standard deviation 1 and used to forecast the yet-to-be released monthly GDP source data—increased from 0.30 to 0.72 after the report.

 Or as Sebastian would say, the expansion of indefinite length proceeds apace. 

Cute? No. Cool? Yes!

Condor Cam:

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish

Elon Musk may be just about done with President Trump.
Musk, who heads Tesla and SpaceX, is ready to quit the White House advisory councils he sits on if Trump pulls out of the Paris agreement on climate change.
Musk tweeted Wednesday that "I've done all I can" — as a member of the advisory councils, through White House personnel and directly with the president — to push Trump to stick with the Obama-era agreement.
Asked on Twitter what he plans to do if Trump pulls out, Musk replied he "will have no choice but to depart councils."


I hope the feeling is mutual and Trump ends his subsidies.  Got TSLA?  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Not Enough American Engineers?

Mexican engineers flood Tesla hiring event in Monterrey

Reuters - The Silicon Valley automaker is recruiting in the United States' neighbor for work on robotics and other automated equipment at its Fremont, California factory, where it aims to build 500,000 cars a year by 2018, a six-fold increase from 2016. The factory will build Tesla's upcoming Model 3.

Mexico boasts a substantial pool of experienced manufacturing engineers, with 19 automotive plants owned by global automakers including General Motors Co (GM.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCHA.MI) and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE).

A steady tide of hopefuls showed up at the event unannounced and without an appointment, some having traveled hundreds of kilometers, mistakenly thinking it was an open recruiting fair. Several dozen were turned away.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Bad Science

Estimated % of adults who think global warming is mostly caused by human activities, 2016

Looks sciency convincing right?  Well then.  The following near identical map should be familiar.  This is the HRC/DJT election result. 

Almost as if some people want politics to drive science and not the other way around. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Live Like a Deca Millionaire

Screams "curb appeal!"

And get this.  Here are the "estimated" monthly expenses:

Property taxes would be in excess of $2500 and insurance?  Please. 

The NOAA Hurricane Guess is In!

NOAA - For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.
"As a Florida resident, I am particularly proud of the important work NOAA does in weather forecasting and hurricane prediction," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. "These forecasts are important for both public safety and business planning, and are a crucial function of the federal government."
Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.


 Ask them what their record has been for the last decade.  Miserable.  This isn't a prediction, this is hand waving CYA. 

Never Waste a Drrought Crisis

Here is the Drought monitor map unchanged since early March 2017.

March, April, half of May all with rainfall in the Santa Barbra to Ventura County area with no effect on status.  Why?  Should be obvious by now.  Never give up power once taken. 

The May 25, 2017 map remains unchanged.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

$275.4 million Baseline. Bets on the Final Price Tag?

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, officials said the state’s designers have taken into account criticisms leveled by an outside team of forensics investigators and others. They said the February emergency resulted from design and construction flaws dating from the dam’s construction in the 1960s...

Kiewit Corp. of Omaha, Neb., which was awarded a $275.4 million contract to fix the dam’s two spillways, has more than 200 employees on the site, a workforce that will balloon to 500 by August. The company and its subcontractors will work 20 hours a day, six days a week, in an effort to get as much work done as possible this year, Kuttel said.

Blame the people long gone.  That's the ticket.  

Read more here:

Realtors Blame Trump (Take a Number)

Realtors say middle class will face higher taxes, lower house prices under Trump plan 

From MarketWatch:

Right now, the report noted, 35.4 million households claim itemized deductions for mortgage interest – one of only two deductions to survive the tax overhaul – and about three-quarters of those who use the mortgage interest deduction have incomes between $50,000 and $200,000.
The mortgage interest deduction is one of two components of the tax code that support homeownership. The other is the ability to deduct state and local property taxes from income taxes. An estimated 40.7 million taxpayers take the property tax deduction right now, and 70% of them have adjusted gross incomes between $50,000 and $200,000, according to the report.
Homeowners with mortgage balances between $100,000 and $500,000 would see their income taxes rise, while households with mortgages greater than $500,000 would, on average, see a net tax decrease.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

No Really. Stay Away!

Any questions?  Need directions to get away? 

But soberly.  864 events in the last week?  It has been quiet for a long time.  And for the record I drew those arcs.  they don't really exist. I hope. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Four hundred Billion Dollars

SacBee - It would cost $400 billion per year to remake California’s health insurance marketplace and create a publicly funded universal heath care system, according to a state financial analysis released Monday.
California would have to find an additional $200 billion per year, likely in new tax revenues, to create a so-called “single-payer” system, the analysis by the Senate Appropriations committee found. The estimate assumes the state would retain the existing $200 billion in local, state and federal funding it currently receives to offset the total $400 billion price tag.
The cost analysis is seen as the biggest hurdle to create a universal system, proposed by Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.
Steep projected costs have derailed efforts over the past two decades to establish a publicly funded, universal health care system in California. The cost is higher than what is proposed for the state’s General Fund budget is about $180 billion.
Employers currently spend between $100 billion to $150 billion per year, which could be available to help offset total costs, according to the analysis. Under that scenario, total new state spending to implement would be between $50 billion and $100 billion per year.
Do the math.   36 million.  Per person $11,000 each.  $45,000 family of four.  But wait.  You know damn well half will pay nothing so $90,000 per paying family.  Will we finally rise up with pitchforks? 

Read more here:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Greek Tragedy. Death Deal Near.

Remember that can we kicked down the road a few years ago?  It's back.


Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund will seek a deal on Monday on Greek debt relief that balances the IMF's demand for a clear "when and how" with Germany's preference for "only if necessary" and "details later".
Without the deal, no new loans can be disbursed to Athens, even though the bailout is now handled only by euro zone governments, and Greece needs new credit to repay some 7.3 billion euros worth of maturing loans in July.
Without the loans, Athens is likely to default - a bad start for a country that wants to return to market financing next year when its latest bailout, the third since 2010, ends in mid-2018.
- Reuters

I'm sure there is always a bigger can.  

Hula.  Is there a problem? 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

What Not to Sell on Craigslist

Quarter million dollar early motorcycle restorations on Craigslist?  What does this imply for the entirety of the resale market for anything of value? 

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Tiny Corner of Democracy Resists

Bloomberg 19 May 2017:

The government’s authority to oversee burgeoning recreational drone use was dealt a setback when a federal appeals court barred the Federal Aviation Administration from forcing hobbyists to register some of the millions of unmanned aircraft taking flight.
While Friday’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington left intact FAA guidance on restrictions over where recreational drones may fly, the ruling undercuts one of the agency’s primary means of ensuring that unmanned aircraft are operated safely. About 745,000 hobbyists have signed up since the FAA regulation was enacted in 2015. The agency estimates that 2.3 million drones will be sold this year for recreational use, plus 2.5 million for commercial operations.
Acting as his own lawyer, drone hobbyist John Taylor sued, contending the FAA didn’t have that power.
“Taylor does not think that the FAA had the statutory authority to issue the registration rule and require him to register,” U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel. “Taylor is right.”
 Most liberties are lost without a shot.  Kudos John Taylor.

It isn't individuals who are intruding. 

The future of Downtowns

Over 100 people turned out for the Mayor of Santa Barbara's roundtable Wednesday morning.
At issue were concerns about downtown Santa Barbara's homeless population and the number of vacant retail properties, roughly 40 spots.
Mayor Helene Schneider brought out police, healthcare workers and city staff to talk to the group.
Business owners were very outspoken about the perceived impact of panhandlers on their customers, along with the overuse of benches.
Police say certain rights are protected, but they are trying to find services or help for those on the streets that want it.
 See the problem?  They think it is the "bums" and not the structural economic tidal wave approaching. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Not Even Trying to Conceal Bias LA Times

LA Times OpEd for the upcoming vacancy election:
Gomez has virtually the entire Democratic establishment behind him, with support from big names such as Gov. Jerry Brown and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.
But his resume shows that Gomez doesn’t just have establishment backing; he also has substance. A state legislator since 2012, he has a solid resume and progressive track record. .... Ultimately, however, we endorsed Maria Cabil- do
, a longtime community activist, affordable housing developer and former city planning commissioner. But Cabildo came in third, after attorney Robert Lee Ahn.

Between Gomez and Ahn it’s no contest, though Ahn certainly has his virtues. One of them is his experience on the city redistricting commission and later on the city Planning Commission. He’s thoughtful and intelligent, and people who have worked with him say he’s good at bringing opposing factions together. And having a Korean American in Congress at a moment when tensions are so high with North Korea could be a good thing.
That may have something to do with the fact that, up until 2012, Ahn was a Republican. Ahn explains that his views have always been “progressive,” but his parents were Republicans so he became one too.
See now?  The second best Liberal Democrat is still far superior to the top Republican... ummm Moderate Democrat. 

And another thing.  Optics.  The LATimes is no stranger.  Here is the single side by side picture they use:

Notice all the subtle visual cues enhanced.  Pathetic. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tradin' House Not Livin' House

Here is a house in the High Desert that is poster child for the ugly back side of the recovery.
14352 Jeremiah St, Adelanto, CA 92301
3 beds 2 baths 1,479 sqft

Very nice family home in Adelanto. This is a newer home, built in 2004, priced to sell fast, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage, with wood laminate flooring, carpet in bedrooms, water efficient landscaping in the front yard. Large backyard with wood fence all around. Centrally located with lots of new restaurants and stores for easy shopping. Next to Elementary School and walking distance to new Adelanto High School.

Why a poster child?  Look at the history:

Price History

05/09/17Listed for sale$199,000+13.7%

08/07/16Listing removed$175,000

07/20/16Listed for sale$175,000

06/06/16Listing removed$175,000

05/27/16Listed for sale$175,000+20.7%


02/07/15Pending sale$155,500

10/10/14Price change$155,500-0.3%

10/06/14Pending sale$156,000

09/11/14Listed for sale$156,000+64.2%


09/01/12Listing removed$98,900

08/13/12Listed for sale$98,900+16.4%


11/13/11Listing removed$84,900

07/12/11Price change$84,900-5.0%

06/10/11Listed for sale$89,400-59.2%


Science Wednesday Prince Rupert’s Drops

I found the "mystery" of Prince Rupert’s drops fascinating for several reasons.  First the story:
Since the 17th century, Prince Rupert’s drops have puzzled scientists. The drops are made by dipping a bead of molten soda-lime or flint glass in cold water, which forms a tadpole-shaped piece of glass. While the head of the drop is incredibly strong and resist everything from a hammer blow to speeding bullets, just flicking the tail of the crystal can cause the whole thing to burst into powder. Now, as David Szondy at New Atlas reports, researchers have finally figured out the secrets behind these drops.
In 1994, researchers used high-speed photography to record and analyze the way the drops shatter, Lisa Zyga reports for They concluded that the surface of the drop has high compressive stress while the interior of the drops is under high tension. While that combo makes the head very strong, it’s not in equilibrium, which means even a slight disruption at the tail causes the whole thing to destabilizing and fall apart. In fact, the cracks move at 4,000 miles per hour, which pulverizes the glass.
But it wasn’t until recent technological advances, however, that could researchers examine the stress distribution in detail. They used a transmission polariscope, a type of microscope to study the tensions within the glass. By sending red LED light through the drop while it was submerged in a clear liquid, they could measure how stresses in the drop slowed down the light, giving them a rainbow-colored optical map of the forces within the drop. Using mathematical models they then calculated the various interior and exterior forces. The researchers published their results last year in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

Check out the video at Smithsonian.

Now as to why this caught my eye.  If you had asked me in my fifth or sixth year of college about this I could have rattled off the answer and it would have taken a few hours to work up the rough math to support my answer.  It never occurred to me that such a phenomena would be considered a mystery.

Second is the use of polarized light to reveal stress.  I did this in my first real job designing aerospace fasteners.  We even made up hundreds of samples to prove the design was not stress inducing and handed them out to disbelieving colleagues.

Regardless, really cool stuff. 

Why mention this today?   Google is celebrating the 115th anniversary of the Antikythera Mechanism's discovery with a new Doodle.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You Tall? No Man I'm Small

Oprah Winfrey is dispensing great advice these days.
I’ve always hated clutter, found owning things stressful and parted with material items easily. It might have started as frustration with my parents always asking me to clean my room. A room with nothing, after all, is much easier to keep tidy. At the age of about 12, when I figured out that owning nothing was easier than keeping track of stuff, I began getting rid of everything I could, making piles of clothes to donate and tossing out soccer trophies before even bringing them across my room’s threshold.

I was worried that my lack of interest in decorating might be a sign of laziness. But much to my delight, my philosophy of “less is more” — when executed properly — has actually become trendy.
The previous from Winfrey's commencement address at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga.

This is her $100m Montecito estate:

Any questions peons? 

Monday, May 15, 2017

One Toke Over the Line

 SacBee on the Sacramento budget:

The City has been looking to pot as a major new source of revenue, and it’s starting to pay off. Taxes from medical marijuana dispensaries are expected to be $4.5 million next fiscal year, said the city’s new weed boss Joe Devlin.

Sacramento also plans on licensing cannabis manufacturing, growing and delivery businesses in the next few years, with each of those areas expected to bring in their own millions. Though the city is struggling to come up with solid projections because the marijuana industry in nascent and full of unknowns, Devlin said it could bring in upward of $15 million annually in tax revenue once all its branches are up and budding.

That’s good news for the city because it owes that and more to the pension system.
Over the next five years, the city expects its pension costs to nearly double from about $67 million to $129 million.
They are "head"ed for bankruptcy.   Those kinds of pension costs are not sustainable. 

Read more here:

Same Pig Different Lipstick

Bella Vista means "Good View."  I guess if your idea of a good view is of your neighbor brushing their teeth.  This is the gated community of Sterling Hills.  For a million dollars I expect more than 7500 sf lots. 

Here are two of those for sale a couple doors apart.

And yes, they are identical houses with different exterior treatments.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Rare Praise for Jerry Brown

There isn't a lot to like but when there is give it a thumbs up.


California Gov. Jerry Brown released a revised, $180 billion budget proposal Thursday that closely mirrors his January plan, maintaining a cautious approach amid uncertainty about the direction of the economy and possible federal actions that could hurt the state’s bottom line.
Thursday’s revised plan follows disappointing revenue numbers for April, the state’s biggest tax filing month, but reflects a $2.5 billion uptick in estimated revenue through June 2018 compared to Brown’s January package. It puts $400 million into easing the burden on counties to pay for home-care services while pulling back on an earlier proposal to freeze child-care provider rates. It also links more money for the University of California to the system’s acting on recommendations in a scathing state audit.
 Brown is resisting the usual CA Democrat call to spend on a permanent basis twice as much as shows up as a temporary windfall.  He is also taking a small step towards adequately funding the university system.

And perhaps even more surprising I like his official state portrait.

Late edit for the foodies.  Breakfast Burritos:

Read more here: