Wednesday, 27 February 2013

By on February 27th, 2013 in Barbara, science kits

07:37 – Unless we get a flurry of kit sales today and tomorrow, February 2013 will be our worst month in a long time. Not that that’s anything to worry about. For the last several months, kit sales have been four to seven times higher than month-on-month figures for a year earlier. For February 2013, our sales have been “only” three times those of February 2012. Unless March through May are catastrophically bad, we’ll remain on track to at least triple if not quadruple kit sales this year, assuming we can get them built.

We’re almost out of chemistry kits, so I took some time yesterday from working on the new batch of 60 biology kits to put together two dozen each of the regulated and non-regulated chemical bags for the CK01A chemistry kits. I’ll build a dozen chemistry kits for stock today.

Barbara is coming home after work to have dinner and then head over to her parents’ place to do dad-sitting duty tonight. Dutch is doing pretty well, but Barbara and Frances don’t want to leave him alone at night until his leg wound is completely healed. Sankie is doing marginally better. Her 85th birthday is tomorrow, so Barbara, Frances, and Dutch are going to drive down to visit her in Thomasville tomorrow evening.

25 Comments and discussion on "Wednesday, 27 February 2013"

  1. Jack Smith says:

    I see a fair bit of month-to-month variation in my ham radio related electronic kit sales, but February was the worst month I’ve seen in several years. February was only 20% of January sales. And, 80% of February sales were export, almost all of which are to non-Euro countries.

    There’s speculation in the press that the increase in FICA tax – back to the old rate of two years ago – has drained a significant portion of discretionary income and that was seen in February year-over-year retail sales declines.

    Whether that’s the cause, I have no idea, and I hope February is just a normal fluctuation in sales.

    My customer base likely differs from yours in one key demographic. Amateur radio operators have an average age that must be in the mid 50’s, if not older. That’s the demographic least subject to unemployment and also with more assets compared with those raising families and engaged in home schooling or supplementing public school classes.

  2. OFD says:

    Jack, could you post your outfit’s site here or shoot me an email link? Thanks! Just starting to learn amateur radio stuff toward a license, and longtime shortwave listener and antenna noob.

  3. OFD says:

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation. ”

    Eh? Something I say???

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’m not sure why you got the held for moderation message. On the moderation screen, it said you had zero messages approved. Did you change email address or something?

    As to getting your ham license, that’s great, but I still think for most people marine band units are the way to go. And you even live right next to a lake.

  5. OFD says:

    I got those messages before I changed my email address here. No idea why.

    Any recommendations for marine band units? Anyone? Yes, we live right next to a very large and deep lake with substantial marine traffic, at least during our warm month. Or week. Right now the only marine traffic is pickup trucks hauling their ice-fishing shelters back and forth and twice now in the last few weeks, a small private plane right by our pier.

    Oh my, temp just plummeted to 32. With continued overcast and drizzle for the week, looks like. Nice weather for ducks.

    And plesiosaurs.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    This is a pretty good summary:

    I’m assuming you’re interested in tactical comm, so VHF/FM would be acceptable. The handheld units are typically 1W or less output up to 5W or so, and are pretty decent for short-range comm. The fixed stations designed to be mounted in boats and run off DC generally have 25W or so output, and often have a low-power setting, usually 1W. With a decent fixed antenna and communicating with another base, they’re reliable out to 10 to 50 miles, depending on terrain and other factors.

    There are a lot of cheap Chinese units out there, but even the good brand names aren’t extremely expensive.

  7. Miles_Teg says:

    OFD, huh?

    Just click on his name.

  8. OFD says:

    Thanks, guys; I will look into it all tomorrow; now is the time for OFD to drift off into blessed slumber…

    …clicked on his name and got my new email addy. Strange….

  9. Jack Smith says:

    Using marine band VHF radios for non-marine purposes is not a great idea unless you are in the post-collapse world where there are no rules to be enforced. It will attract attention of the non-wanted kind.

    However, the FCC authorized a decade or so ago “MURS” with 5 frequencies in the 150 MHz band, no license required and may be used for business or non-business activity. Maximum power is 2 watts, and it should accordingly be significantly better performing than the low power 460 MHz band family radio service (FRS) equipment.

    But, if you are interested in experimenting with radio, ham radio is the way to go.

  10. Miles_Teg says:

    Do you still have to know Morse Code to become a ham?

  11. OFD says:

    No, don’t need code to get the license anymore; I am learning it anyway.

    So, FRS and MURS now, pending license, and marine units pending WTSHTF Collapse and revolution and civil war.

    Will also need the juice to run them, of course, and our correspondent in Texas sez they’ll be all set down there. Up here we may have to return to the steam-powered mills of my grandfathers’ and great-grandfathers’ day. Certainly still have the rushing rivers and streams and waterfalls.

  12. Lynn McGuire says:

    Will also need the juice to run them, of course, and our correspondent in Texas sez they’ll be all set down there. Up here we may have to return to the steam-powered mills of my grandfathers’ and great-grandfathers’ day. Certainly still have the rushing rivers and streams and waterfalls.

    We are going to have plenty of natural gas for 200+ years. STUDY: Gas boom projected to grow for decades in US:

    The first plant that I worked at in 1982 in west Texas was finishing a conversion from natural gas to fuel oil due to federal law (Jimmy Carter idiocy). Ronald Reagan put an end to that idiocy by getting rid of “old natural gas and old oil” and just letting the price of natural gas and oil swing with the market. We were soon flooded in new natural gas and new oil. Now we are having another oil and natural gas boom due to horizontal drilling and fracking. We are truly blessed with a lot of natural resources here in the USA.

    In short, the USA is natural gas rich. We need to move all of our transportation to it as quickly as possible. GE is showing a new natural gas locomotive with a LNG tender car. Many of the 18 wheeler trucks that use 20,000 gallons of diesel per year have a LNG conversion kit with tanks for $65,000. The LNG is $1.50/gallon and the trucks get 5 mpg with it as opposed to $4.00/gallon and 6 mpg with diesel.

  13. OFD says:

    Well then, if the Invisible Hand of the Market works as advertised, we will indeed see a rational move to natural gas and other forms of energy provided it puts enough money in the pockets of our elites, a little dribbles down to the middle class and worker drones, and the poor can be shot with JHP rounds instead of wadcutters. Meanwhile the State will find a way to skim the cream and then raise more taxes and fees and further punish the middle class, worker drones and the poor.

  14. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I agree that the US is incredibly rich in resources, but don’t forget about coal. I see there’s now a pilot project going that may make coal the first choice in “clean energy” and may lead in the near future to coal-powered cars and trucks. Not that I think we’re going to run out of oil or gas anytime soon. I’ve never bought into this peak oil stuff. I suspect that to-date we’ve probably pumped only something like 0.000001% of the available petroleum. We may not be able to get to the vast bulk of it economically now, but who’s to say when the next invention like fracking will solve that problem decisively? We’re also rich in thorium, and we should be working seriously on getting thorium plants up and running.

  15. OFD says:

    I am fairly certain that most of us in this generation on this board will pass on (to either oblivion or Something Else) as the days of Happy Motoring come to an end and other forms of energy become widely available and in use.

    Or older forms come back into use.

  16. Lynn McGuire says:

    I agree that the US is incredibly rich in resources, but don’t forget about coal.

    The EPA is getting ready to release a new CO2 gas production standard that will kill all new coal power plants. Basically, any coal powered device will need to capture about 50% of it’s CO2 production and store it someplace. Physically impossible at this time so all new coal plants will be effectively canceled. But, we have plenty of natural gas…

  17. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    No, there’s a new clean-burning coal technology that a professor at Ohio State has patented. There’s already a pretty large-scale pilot plant in operation, and they plan to license the technology to utilities. I haven’t read about this technology in any detail, but apparently there’s no need for CO2 capture at the stack with it because the reaction doesn’t vent CO2 to the atmosphere.

    Here’s an MSM article about it:

  18. brad says:

    If you do have a chance to look into the clean coal burning, I’d be vary curious. To my engineer’s intuition, something stinks. If I understand it correctly, they exchange oxidized iron for oxidized carbon – quite a cut in energy compared to true combustion. Then you still have the CO2, and what are you supposed to do with it?

  19. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yes, agreed.

    I think having lots of atmospheric carbon dioxide is a Very Good Thing Indeed, but that kind of makes this new process worthless.

  20. Lynn McGuire says:

    Fan last week disclosed that he had discovered a way to get the energy out of coal without burning it, using iron-oxide pellets as an oxygen source, and contain the reaction in a small chamber from which pollutants cannot escape. The only waste product would be water and solid coal ash — no greenhouse gases. As an added benefit, the metal from the iron-oxide is recyclable.

    First, I am not buying this. These are high energy chemical bonds and difficult to be selective for non-optimal solutions like CO2. And oxygen really wants to bond with something badly. Second, the recycle process noted there is where the CO2 (or CO, hard to tell) will get released. So, the debt is just transferred to someone else.

    The current war on CO2 is stupid. The real greenhouse gas is water vapor. I really, really, really want to see some global warming XXXXXXXX climate change marching moron try to regulate water vapor.

    I just attended a seminar on the NSPS (new source performance standards) released late in 2012 and activated 60 days later. Use to be they gave 3 years to activate new standards. 60 days is a joke. Anything being built in the pipeline needs to be redesigned to meet these new standards. For instance, most remote natural gas plants used methane gas for their control valve actuator gas. They use gas pressure to hold valves open and vent the gas to close the valve (fail closed). No longer, now you have to have an air compressor for your valve control system. Also, no more 24 hours emissions exclusions for startup and shutdown. Any emissions release outside your permit must be explained by a company officer and fixed so that cannot happen in the future. Scary stuff, people can go to jail for this.

  21. SteveF says:

    The important word in Climate Change Control is control. Control over the lives and pocketbooks of the masses.

  22. Lynn McGuire says:

    The important word in Climate Change Control is control. Control over the lives and pocketbooks of the masses.

    Yes. And we will get Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy hard here. Very hard.

    I think that Law has already been applied to the climate changers in the UN and USA governments. They would round up us deniers if they could. The day may come yet.

  23. SteveF says:

    As OFD often points out, the US has more guns than people.

  24. Chuck W says:

    And more TV’s than bathrooms. Very dangerous to city water pressure.

  25. OFD says:

    Two to three times as many firearms as people, and yeah, way more tee-vees than bathrooms. Including tee-vees in the bathrooms.

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