Tues. Nov. 27, 2018 – an appeal…

Cold and wet this morning. Weather station hibernating due to weak batteries. It was 44F according to my wife’s phone yesterday, and I expect it will be the same or colder today, mainly based on the amount of time the furnace is running right now…

I have been reading thru a lot of the old posts Bob made wrt some of the new preppers here. There is a ton of good info tagged with the names of the couples and families he was helping. I would REALLY like to hear from you guys, now almost two years on, regarding your experiences, mindset, and current preparedness.

Jen, Jason and Jessica, Brittany, Cassie, Lisa… pseudonyms all, members of the community! You can contact me directly at flandrey at aol dot com if you like and I’ll pass along whatever you care to share.

For everyone else, I encourage you to read thru some of the older posts under whatever tag catches your eye. As usual, the tag and post are often just the jumping off point for a lot of good activity in the comments. If for some reason you are coming here, and still not reading comments, you are missing 95% of the content. I came for years without reading or writing comments, and missed some of the best comment section on the interwebs.

And now, time to get the kids and wife fed and out the door.

n

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69 Responses to Tues. Nov. 27, 2018 – an appeal…

  1. Nick Flandrey says:

    This quote, from the caption of one of the probe photos from Mars, sums up what’s wrong with NASA:

    “NASA, which is based in Washington, DC,”

    n

  2. DadCooks (Eric Comben) says:

    Our local paper, part of the McClatchy Group, said it took the Mars probe 6-years to get there. Truth from the MSM again.

    BTW, did you know Obuttwad teargassed 100 Mexican border crashers in 2013? Hurts don’t it libs.

  3. Greg Norton says:

    This quote, from the caption of one of the probe photos from Mars, sums up what’s wrong with NASA:

    “NASA, which is based in Washington, DC,”

    Take the Kennedy Space Center tour the next time you are in Florida. The facility has a lot of new productive activity which does not involve NASA.

    NASA is busy too, but note that I used the word “productive” in the sentence above. The agency’s visible projects include a new office buildings, the modified tower from Ares which will be used *once* to launch SLS before it is considered unstable, and another SLS tower funded by Congress in the last budget deal which may see a couple of launches before a completely new structure is necessary.

  4. JimL says:

    34º and light rain right now. Started with rain yesterday, which changed to snow overnight. About 2″ of wet, heavy stuff on the ground. I managed to clear most of it with the snowthrower, with the balance handled with a shovel. I’m glad it’s not a lot deeper, or I’d be in a lot of trouble.

    [redacted]. I don’t put things in writing & leave it. But thanks, all, for being there. Just typing it out & knowing you _would_ understand helps a lot.

  5. lynn says:

    From today’s Fort Bend Herald by BH:

    “Common Sense:

    If they break the law to enter the USA, what makes you think they will abide by the laws once they are here ?”

  6. SteveF says:

    In related news, I heard at least five brief news snippets regarding the “migrants” on the radio this morning, all focusing on the tear gassing of the poor, innocent chilluns. Only one used any variant or synonym of the word “illegal”, a mention that the migrants were attempting to illegally enter the US. Presumably that news reader was summarily fired, if not executed.

    (I was in the car longer than one would expect this morning, given my short drive to the gym and then to work, but there was wet, sloppy snow on the ground and morons behind many steering wheels. Total drive time was about half an hour, up from the normal ten minutes or so.)

  7. JimL says:

    While I know intellectually that SteveF’s proposal for solving my problems would be *ahem* problematic, there are days when I really want to follow his advice.

    In other news, the world has not yet ended.

  8. Nick Flandrey says:

    Daily Mail has been using “illegal immigrant” in headlines when describing crimes that have been committed (other than the original entry.) This is a big change…

    And the fact that they are REPORTING the crimes and the status of the criminals AT ALL is a big change.

    n

  9. CowboySlim says:

    Roger that. At the other end of the spectrum, recently: “Unauthorized Immigrant”

  10. lynn says:

    “Lion Air pilots fought to save airplane before fatal crash”
    https://nypost.com/2018/11/27/lion-air-pilots-fought-to-save-airplane-before-fatal-crash/

    “The nose was forced down more than a dozen times during the 11-minute flight, but the pilots managed to pull it up repeatedly until they finally lost control of the Boeing 737 Max 8, which slammed into the Java Sea on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people aboard, The New York Times reported.”

    Uh, Boeing has a serious problem here.

    And it reminds me of the old joke about if PCs were cars, they would crash every hour.

    Hat tip to:
    https://drudgereport.com/

  11. Greg Norton says:

    Uh, Boeing has a serious problem here.

    And it reminds me of the old joke about if PCs were cars, they would crash every hour.

    Pity, that. The 737 used to be the safest plane flying when the number of incidents were divided by cumulative hours in the air. Fly by wire. It is in cars now too.

    When your wife gets the new Toyota, Lane Departure Assist will be the first thing she will want to turn off. The car will occasionally ask to turn it back on, but it learns not to ask eventually … for now. Make sure to read the manual about deactivating LDA — the setup menu option does *not* work like you think.

    I also turned off PCS, but you may want that feature.

  12. CowboySlim says:

    ….The New York Times reported.”

    Why should we trust them on this issue?

    Do we remember that Lion Air was banned from the EU and USA due to their incompetence?

    If it is a Boeing problem, similar to the VW Diesel software cheating and incompetence, when will the rest fail. Or was this a unique one time deal?

    How about that other SE Asia thing of several years ago that was never found, another aircraft manufacturer problem?

  13. CowboySlim says:

    Oh yeah, now I see it. Like Takata airbags, when thousands fail it is a manufacturer issue.

  14. lynn says:

    Well, I found out more about the vehicle accident that happened on the office property on T-Day. One of the tenants called me and said “Happy t-day. One of my guys drove through the 8 ft fence enclosure next to the warehouse this morning. We will fix it Monday.”.

    So Sunday, the wife and I go look at the damage. The guy drove off the gravel road, through a 4 ft deep ditch, over a 7 ft tall hill, through a muddy area that the feral pigs tore up, and into the fence enclosure at the corner, taking out two metal fence posts. I could not believe that he did not roll the truck.

    Monday, the tenant shows me the vehicle record on his phone. The truck was going 87 mph when the guy hit the fence. He says that he dropped his lunch on the floor, reached down to grab it, and drove into the ditch. He panicked, tried to hit the brake then but hit the accelerator instead. You know the rest of the story.

    They have rebuilt the fence now.

  15. Rick Hellewell says:

    Chuck Jones has posted the first picture taken from the new Mars lander… lookee here.

  16. lynn says:

    We closed on the refinancing of our commercial property with Wells Fargo today. We did a cash back with a 15 year term and a fixed interest rate of 5.48%. No balloon. I am so glad to get this off my back as the balloon date is only three weeks away.

  17. paul says:

    I bought this on Friday of Color. It was $17.99, “on sale from $44” today it is $22.99 with no mention of the $44 price. shrug Amazon pricing is nutty. I added the Square Trade 2 year plan only because it was 38 cents. Today they want $1.93.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0758RP5V8/?tag=ttgnet-20

    Sabrent USB 3.0 to SSD/SATA / IDE 2.5/3.5/5.25-INCH Hard Drive Converter with UL Power Supply & LED Activity Lights [10TB Support] (USB-DS12)

    There are less expensive and more focused options.

    I have a few IDE drives stashed around and other than the old whatever CPU tower that runs DOS 6 / WfW 3.11 is, I don’t have way to see what is on the old drives before the platters become part of a wind chime. Assuming the box will still boot, there’s the small question of “can a DOS 6 box read NTFS?” I know the answer to that. Plus I don’t want to mess with installing NT5 Beta on a 486 just to see what is on an old drive.

    The hard part of using this is finding the USB3 port on the back of my PC. I used a small mirror. Connect it to the drive and turn it on. Win7 sees a new drive in Explorer. Transfer speed seems good. It has a short cable ending with a Molex connector to power your IDE drive.

    Some of the reviews are sketchy. I’m not sure they are reviewing what I bought.

    So far, I like it. It seems to be well made.

  18. Nick Flandrey says:

    Saw the doc today for some more work on my elbow. Removed some 30cc of fluid. I’ll be wearing a compression sleeve for a month or two. Good news was that there was no real damage inside or to the previous work, just the swelling. Kept all my parts this visit 🙂 Hurts though.

    Since I was at the sports store to get the sleeve, I did some Christmas shopping. Why would 380 be more expensive than 9?? Plenty of 22 on the shelf. Some went home with me.

    n

  19. lynn says:

    I’ll be wearing a compression sleeve for a month or two. Good news was that there was no real damage inside or to the previous work, just the swelling.

    Excellent ! You’ll feel that on weather changes when you hit 50. Oh, wait.

  20. lynn says:

    Pity, that. The 737 used to be the safest plane flying when the number of incidents were divided by cumulative hours in the air. Fly by wire. It is in cars now too.

    Are all new 737s fly by wire now ? Weren’t the early 737s fly by cable ?

  21. SteveF says:

    You youngsters and your fancy “fly by wire”! Why, back in my day we had “fly by tin can and string”! And it was uphill both ways! And we were grateful!

  22. Nick Flandrey says:

    In the old days it was literal wires and levers and cams….

    Now it’s the “Glass cockpit” and charts on Ipads.

    SiliconGreybeard looked at the crash last week:

    http://thesilicongraybeard.blogspot.com/2018/11/it-looks-like-that-indonesian-boeing.html

    He has some history with the company involved.

  23. Greg Norton says:

    Do we remember that Lion Air was banned from the EU and USA due to their incompetence?

    Friends who have flown in SE Asia say that it is not uncommon to see a sign above the door, “THIS AIRCRAFT NOT CERTIFIED FOR USE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”

    In theory, the problem is more about inadequate documentation of maintenance than inadequate maintenance, but the third world is still the third world.

  24. Nick Flandrey says:

    In this case, the problem seems to be the aircraft doing something on its own, that no one (including pilots in western nations) had been properly trained on.

    n

  25. Nick Flandrey says:

    So a failing company (GM) is kept alive by .gov mandate and a crapton of public money, only to continue pursuing the same business that got it in trouble in the first place, until it just can’t anymore. Then it does what should have been done long ago, if not for .gov interference. It sheds staff and shuts down unprofitable lines of business.

    Why is anyone surprised?

    n

  26. Greg Norton says:

    Why is anyone surprised?

    I’m not. 84 month car loans are really the limit, and GM is not turning out a product which will even last that long without a very expensive visit to the service department.

    Just wait until the new 2.7L turbo-charged four cylinder Silverado pickups get a few years on them.

  27. Nick Flandrey says:

    Outside of fleet sales, GM struggles to make anything people want. The suburban and pickups being exceptions.

    n

    (suburbans are the new 15 passenger van for the big hispanic family out here)

  28. Greg Norton says:

    Outside of fleet sales, GM struggles to make anything people want. The suburban and pickups being exceptions.

    We had a Cruze at our test range in Taylor. I remember bad 70s cars, the kind that inspired Brock Yates to invent the term “sh*tbox”, and while the Cruze wasn’t on that level, my 18 year-old Solara is a better ride even with leaky power steering and front bearing problems.

    Dunno about the pickups. As I noted earlier this week, the rental car companies at Austin-Bergstrom have been offering free upgrades to big GMC trucks from mid-size expense account specials. My guess is that things must be pretty backed up in Arlington (GM pickup plant).

    One of the project managers who showed up in Taylor from New York two weeks ago had the GMC truck rental upgrade. The truck was better than the Cruze, but the feel of the vehicle was not in the same league as a new Ford or Toyota truck.

    Texas Edition. I guess that means we’re gonna see a ton of ’em at Car Max in Austin next year.

  29. lynn says:

    Looks like we are going to have another Republican Senator:
    https://www.politico.com/election-results/2018/mississippi/runoff/
    and
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/27/mississippi-senate-runoff-espy-hyde-smith-1021285

    So that will make 53 Republicans to 47 wild haired freaky types. I wonder if that will be enough.

    Hat tip to:
    https://drudgereport.com/

  30. lynn says:

    Just wait until the new 2.7L turbo-charged four cylinder Silverado pickups get a few years on them.

    Blown head gaskets for everyone !

    Hey, wait a minute. I want one of Ford’s new F-150 plug in hybrids with the 2.7L V6 biturbo backup motor coming out in August 2019. I’m gonna drive it to the office and plug it in one of the outlets out front.
    https://www.wardsauto.com/engines/2018-winner-ford-f-150-27l-ecoboost-twin-turbo-v-6

  31. Nick Flandrey says:

    So our old friend ebola continues to infect and kill people in africa. But now the Drs there are going to be doing what looks an awful lot like a double blind study on the anti-ebola vaccines…

    “Four experimental drugs are being used to try and combat the disease – mAb 114, ZMapp, Remdesivir and Regeneron. Patients will get one of the four, but researchers won’t know which they were given until after the study.”

    “By comparing how well these work, scientists will be moving towards curing the disease and slashing the death tolls in future outbreaks.

    ‘While our focus remains on bringing this outbreak to an end, the launch of the randomised control trial is an important step toward finally finding an Ebola treatment that will save lives,’ said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.”

    Presumably the patients won’t know either, being savages for the most part…

    While I’m all for finding an effective treatment, isn’t this sort of thing generally “unethical” by western standards? Or is the fact that no one knows if ANY of the four are effective, so it doesn’t matter which one you get, what makes it ethical?

    For that matter, why not give all four?

    BTW, the numbers seem way too precise to me, given all their complaints about not being able to enter the afflicted zone, the patient’s mistrust of doctors, and their comments about the militias and gangs… I’d bet the numbers are MUCH higher. Doesn’t look like many are recovering either. The ‘sick’ vs ‘dead’ numbers only lag because it takes a while to die.

    n

  32. Nick Flandrey says:

    ” You’ll feel that on weather changes when you hit 50″

    OMG my knees have started to ache again. It’s been 10 years since the arthroscopic surgery to “clean up” the cartilage. No sir, I don’t like it.

    n

  33. Nick Flandrey says:

    Hmm. Harris Cty Sheriffs working a “fresh stolen truck”.

    Black male snatched the keys from a woman and jumped in and drove away. 2017 full size truck with 22″ chrome rims.

    “Onstar did a ping and it came back to this [block of apts]”

    The deputies are descending on the complex. They just checked if the air unit was available, and it is monitoring and standing by. Drama!

    n

    added- “I’m on the phone with Onstar, they said they put an engine lock on it, it ain’t gonna start now anyway.”

  34. lynn says:

    “Did Tesla Cause Mary Barra to Blink? The future of Tesla stock has never looked better”
    https://investorplace.com/2018/11/did-tesla-cause-mary-barra-to-blink/

    “If you’re a Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) shareholder, Monday’s announcement from General Motors (NYSE:GM) that it was cutting 15% of its salaried workforce and shuttering five North American plants, is excellent news for Tesla stock. Not so good if you live in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland or Ontario. Your employment base has just been gutted.”

    ““It’s getting harder to deny that the Tesla Model 3 is become a disruptive force in the auto industry. While Tesla does not report sales on a monthly basis, the company sold 55,840 Model 3 cars in the third quarter, which covered July, August and September,” USA Today stated Nov. 1. “With only three models for sale, Tesla outsold luxury rival Mercedes-Benz in the third quarter in the U.S.””

    So Tesla is killing GM ? I find that hard to believe.

  35. mediumwave says:

    While I’m all for finding an effective treatment, isn’t this sort of thing generally “unethical” by western standards?

    Unethical only if some of the patients received only a placebo, I would imagine.

    However, ISTM that the doctors’ belief that at least ONE of the drugs would have a positive effect might somehow skew the results.

    IANAD.

  36. Nick Flandrey says:

    Well, like most scanner listening, you never get the ending. The deputy said they wouldn’t get the thief, but they would treat it as a vehicle recovery. So some lady got her truck back, after only an hour. Win for law and order.

    n

  37. brad says:

    @JimL: “I don’t put things in writing & leave it. But thanks, all, for being there. Just typing it out & knowing you _would_ understand helps a lot.”

    I’ve done that, and more than once. Need to get something off my chest, bit it’s not actually that interesting to anyone other than myself, or I don’t want it to become part of internet history. Write up a rant…then delete it.

    – – – – –

    On y’alls immigrant caravans, there is remarkably little in the news over here. Even looking at the US media, I don’t find to many of the expected tear-jerking reports. I just now called up reuters.com, and there’s not a single mention of the caravans on the front page.

    So what’s actually happened? Have they been successfully turned back, or have some gotten through? Apparently the border agents have managed to avoid inflicting casualties?

    – – – – –

    “I’m on the phone with Onstar, they said they put an engine lock on it, it ain’t gonna start now anyway.”

    Do we want some faceless call center to have this power, at the behest of any random cop (or random person pretending to be a cop)? Scary stuff…

  38. Ray Thompson says:

    put an engine lock on it, it ain’t gonna start now anyway

    Probably stole the vehicle for the parts. Any longer than about 3 hours and the vehicle would be a mere skeleton of it’s former self.

    Do we want some faceless call center to have this power, at the behest of any random cop (or random person pretending to be a cop)

    Or some disgruntled employee that sends commands to a couple hundred vehicles before walking out the door. From what I have been told nothing can be disabled while the vehicle is running. Doors can be unlocked while not running and of course the engine start blocked while not running. I don’t know what else On-Star can accomplish remotely. Considering how fast they got the vehicle back On-Star may be worth the risk.

  39. JimL says:

    I feel pretty good about this…

    There’s a national company that works with local folks (like me) all over the country. When one of their customers needs local help, they hook the two entities together. I’ve picked up a few races this way.

    Last summer I picked up an event in a nearby large city, with more than a few timers in the market. When I asked, “Why me?” I was told that all the others were booked. I should have been suspicious.

    In the course of time, he stiffed me for a good chunk of change. He won’t return my calls or respond to my emails. I’ve heard from others that he’s stiffed them as well. So I pulled the results from his event (2 months later), and complaints from participants are redirected to him, with a simple message: Pay the bill (or talk to me) and I’ll gladly put them back up. Nothing.

    I told the national company what was going on. They should be aware. Nothing public, however.

    Yesterday I got a call from the national company. Seems they don’t want to deal with customers that stiff their vendors. The customer is a little steamed.

    I’m okay with that.

  40. JimL says:

    And no, SteveF, I’m not interested in your solution to this. Schadenfreude is good enough for me.

  41. Nick Flandrey says:

    It’s been my experience that karma, or what goes around comes around, works. You can get away with it for a while, but especially in a small world, you will get caught.

    n

  42. SteveF says:

    Schadenfreude is good enough for me.

    Schadenfreude isn’t very nice. You should hit him with LOVE.

    (Low-Orbit Variable Energy. It’s a particle beam. Cuts through armored vehicles in seconds.)

  43. Greg Norton says:

    ““It’s getting harder to deny that the Tesla Model 3 is become a disruptive force in the auto industry. While Tesla does not report sales on a monthly basis, the company sold 55,840 Model 3 cars in the third quarter, which covered July, August and September,” USA Today stated Nov. 1. “With only three models for sale, Tesla outsold luxury rival Mercedes-Benz in the third quarter in the U.S.””

    So Tesla is killing GM ? I find that hard to believe.

    Pensions and piss poor management are killing GM and, to a lesser extent Ford.

    Tesla doesn’t have the union problem … yet. That will change now that GM is in trouble.

    If GM would fix the Camaro’s visibility problem, they could easily outsell the Model 3 *at a profit*. Ford doesn’t have a problem moving Mustangs.

  44. Nick Flandrey says:

    No ‘car culture’ among the young. Cars are so ‘value engineered’ that there isn’t much untapped capacity for the young hot rodder to get to, except with the rice burners and ‘tuner’ cars. (and us old farts laugh at them and their ‘fart can’ exhausts, esp if we were running 5oohp on massive tires when we were kids.)

    New cars are too expensive for anyone other than old white men, and you can’t market to them, esp if you’re a 20 something communications major with a ‘mangina’.

    Also for 20yrs you really can’t even work on cars. Where is the equivalent of dropping in a Holley carb, Hurst shifter and racing clutch?

    Cars meant FREEDOM to my generation. We could get away, get to work (and earn our own money), get ‘busy’ in our own little space, etc. We’ve got a whole couple of generations that are never alone, never wanted to ‘get away’, can’t disconnect, and absolutely don’t have privacy.

    And so you end up with the car market we have. Uninspired econoboxes, expensive rolling regulatory rule books, and a completely different cultural milieu from 30 years ago.

    It’s not by accident either. Some people don’t WANT kids to grow up independent and free.

    n

  45. Nick Flandrey says:

    add in crushing debt, and you get ride share services instead of ownership.

    n

    added- and crap like this–

    ” The Porsche with a conscience: New 911 tells owners how many trees they must plant to offset the environmental impact of their 190mph sports car

    Porsche’s new 911 has the perfect antidote to a guilt trip car that will cost buyers from $120,000, with its new green impact measure,”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6436175/New-190-000-Porsche-911-tells-owners-neutralise-carbon-footprint.html

  46. ITguy1998 says:

    If GM would fix the Camaro’s visibility problem, they could easily outsell the Model 3 *at a profit*. Ford doesn’t have a problem moving Mustangs.

    I’m a car guy. It takes me a long time to decide on my vehicle. I don’t care what other people think, I get what suits my own taste. The Camaro styling has grown on me. I really liked the way the car drove. But the visibility….it’s laughable. Deal breaker for me.

    So I bought a Camaro with a better interior and better overall ride – a Cadillac ATS coupe, which is built on the same Alpha platform as the Camaro.

    I’ve never been a Mustang fan, though I do like the 2015+ body style – in certain colors. I drove several – 4 cyl turbo and the V8 GT. The power of the GT is intoxicating. I don’t see how people put up with the ride every day, though. I won’t even talk about the interior.

    I liked the new Camry – drove an XSE V6. Quick enough and a nice interior. If they could only make the ride less Camry-like. Yeah, it works for millions of people, just not for me.

  47. ITguy1998 says:

    And speaking of GM, yes, they are killing themselves. Just continual stupid things happen with their cars. I’m taking the ATS in tomorrow to have the dealer look at the differential. It’s leaking fluid and making noise. This model has a known issue with this, and I knew about the potential before I bought the car. But really GM, you STILL can’t get the basics right. Luckily, the warranty is still in effect…

  48. SteveF says:

    Some people don’t WANT kids to grow up independent and free.

    Quoted for truth.

  49. Nick Flandrey says:

    OMG the mustang interior…. I had one as a rental car and it was like 1980 all over again. The radio was primitive. I had to put the top down to get my suitcase into the rear seat. Wind noise was horrible and ride was bad.

    Maybe they’ve improved since then but it didn’t look like it.

    n

  50. brad says:

    American car manufacturers have had a problem since the 1970s. I remember an article that did a cost analysis. This was a several years ago, so inflation has likely changed the numbers, but at that time US union labor cost about $5k more per car than non-US or US-but-non-union. That may well be $10k by now.

    Given equivalent manufacturing technology, and since they have to compete on costs, that in turn meant that US manufacturers had to cut $5k (or $10k?) worth of corners on the quality of the physical car and its components. Which explains a lot about why their products suck.

    It’s a shame, really. Unions were such a great idea when they first came into being. Really essential. Since then, they have completely succumbed to Pournelle’s Iron Law.

  51. JimB says:

    I’ve had a 1968 Mustang since 1979. Nice little car, easy to see why this sold so well as a sporty economy car. Needs a new engine, and can’t decide whether to keep it simple, carbureted, or go modern with FI. Pros and cons. Dropping in a fresh smallblock is easy, but the allure of more power and better manners is almost worth all the extra work of buying a donor car and swapping all the parts. Afrermarket FI still has a way to go to equal the refinement of some factory setups.

    I don’t need to commute, and our dry weather makes keeping old cars practical. I have a big garage-shop, so keeping them out of the sun is no problem.

  52. Roger Ritter says:

    Why would 380 be more expensive than 9?? Plenty of 22 on the shelf. Some went home with me.

    Production scale. They make a lot more 9mm than they make .380 ACP. It’s the same reason the price for a Ford Model T dropped by over 50% during its production run.

  53. Greg Norton says:

    I liked the new Camry – drove an XSE V6. Quick enough and a nice interior. If they could only make the ride less Camry-like. Yeah, it works for millions of people, just not for me.

    The eight speed transmission in the new Camry is rough in rush hour traffic, between 15-20 MPH. The upside is the fuel economy; even in stop-and-go situations I see well above 30 where my Solara barely managed 25.

  54. nick flandrey says:

    @roger, I guess that makes sense. It presumes there are still inefficiencies in the production process, and that’s probably true. The less time you spend setting up and the more time you spend running, the cheaper the unit cost vs. the cost for short runs as a percentage of total time. Presumably, the cost for any actual minute of production (once started) is the same whether you run for an hour or a day. If not, it means you are tweaking the run over time, and always for the better, and then forget what you’ve learned between runs. I’d think that unless your setup times and costs are HUGE, you could run for some length of time that made the setup a very small part of the overall cost, and not see any real difference in long runs and shorter runs.

    The extreme case would be to only manf one caliber, and have your setup costs never change. That should allow you to own the market if all your competitors need to price in setup costs for every run.

    I would be interested to know if ammo manf’s actually have single lines that they change over for different calibers, or if they have lines set up for each, but only staff and run them in series, or if they just run balls out all the time and let the market determine pricing independently of costs.

    Still seems weird that a smaller round with less of everything costs more. It’s not like it’s a small demand custom one off round….

    n

  55. JimL says:

    Have you considered the incidental costs associated with production? Dies (or molds) for parts. Shells – are the cast, extruded, or other? What is the cost of the tooling? Maintenance of the tooling? Do they use off-the-shelf parts or custom parts?

    How about shipping? A pallet is probably the cheapest & easiest way to ship. Do they ship enough of the .380 to make shipping the most economical?

    What about packaging? How much does packaging contribute to the overall cost?

    If you run the 9mm line 3 shifts, and the .380 line one shift, you’ll have start-up/shut-down costs associated with the beginning & ending of the .380 shift that you don’t have with the 9mm.

    Is the .380 manufacturer a niche player, filling a hole in the line that none of the big boys want to fill?

    And there are probably a whole bunch of other factors I haven’t thought of.

  56. Greg Norton says:

    Hey, wait a minute. I want one of Ford’s new F-150 plug in hybrids with the 2.7L V6 biturbo backup motor coming out in August 2019. I’m gonna drive it to the office and plug it in one of the outlets out front.

    GM put the four into non-hybrid 2019 trucks. I don’t know what use those are really beyond commuter vehicles with occasional hauling capacity for Ikea runs.

    They would have been more successful selling a modern Ranchero IMHO. Lots of pinheads around here think they can drive and park trucks like Mustangs, and the handling/dimensions just aren’t the same.

    Pay attention to any and all stories about issues with the Ford/GM 10 speed if you go the non hybrid F150 route. I’ve had a few times in the new Camry where I’ve wondered if Toyota is sitting on somthing awful about the 8 speed they put in the model this year. As I noted above 15-20 can sometimes be an adventure in stop-n-go on I35.

  57. lyn says:

    GM put the four into non-hybrid 2019 trucks. I don’t know what use those are really beyond commuter vehicles with occasional hauling capacity for Ikea runs.

    One of my friends has a two year old F-150 with the 2.7L biturbo and the ten speed automatic. He travels 30 miles each way to downtown Houston each day to his job with an insurance company. He gets 20+ mpg and is extremely happy about.

    BTW, all Ford F-150s are mild hybrids nowdays. That ten speed automatic has a 36 ? 42 ? 48 ? volt motor generator set in it and shuts down the engine under very low loads so the accessories (air conditioning !) are still running. The F-150 hybrid is just going to replace the low voltage motor-generator set with a high (280 ? 360 ? 480 ?) volt system and a bigger battery.

  58. Greg Norton says:

    BTW, all Ford F-150s are mild hybrids nowdays. That ten speed automatic has a 36 ? 42 ? 48 ? volt motor generator set in it and shuts down the engine under very low loads so the accessories (air conditioning !) are still running. The F-150 hybrid is just going to replace the low voltage motor-generator set with a high (280 ? 360 ? 480 ?) volt system and a bigger battery.

    My co-worker has a new F150 and he mentioned the frequent start-stop. He’s worried about the starter long-term.

    We’re all driving science experiments now.

  59. JimL says:

    I seem to recall….

    It was an article about hyper-milers – guys (and gals) that get 100+ mpg in ordinary cars (usually sticks.)

    One of the tricks they use is stopping the engine when coasting or stopped, restarting as needed. When asked about the starter’s longevity, one of the greats said something to the effect that starters are cheap compared to the gasoline saved.

    It very well could be that the starters are cheap enough to be disposable when compared to the cost of the gasoline saved.

  60. lynn says:

    “My co-worker has a new F150 and he mentioned the frequent start-stop. He’s worried about the starter long-term.”

    Isn’t the starter on the F-150 now the low voltage motor generator set built into the ten speed automatic ?

  61. nick flandrey says:

    Just heard the chevy dealer’s ad….

    $16 000 OFF MSRP on silverado pickups, with GMAC financing. $16K!

    They can’t give the freaking things away…

    n

  62. lynn says:

    One of the tricks they use is stopping the engine when coasting or stopped, restarting as needed. When asked about the starter’s longevity, one of the greats said something to the effect that starters are cheap compared to the gasoline saved.

    If I ever turned off the engine while coasting in a manual transmission vehicle, I always restarted it with the clutch in a high gear. No sense in using the starter.

  63. lynn says:

    Just heard the chevy dealer’s ad….

    $16 000 OFF MSRP on silverado pickups, with GMAC financing. $16K!

    They can’t give the freaking things away…

    $60K MSRP though ???

  64. nick flandrey says:

    chevy site says “starting” around $30k

    n

  65. Mark says:

    Also for 20yrs you really can’t even work on cars. Where is the equivalent of dropping in a Holley carb, Hurst shifter and racing clutch?

    @Nick, I didn’t want to quote your whole post and then reply to that, so this kind of represents the whole thing. I wrote a long post, but it wasn’t well organized and I don’t think it presented my point as well as it could have.

    So first off, here are your equivalents.

    Holley carb = getting a tuner for the factory computer, or adding Holley fuel injection or installing a Megasquirt engine management system
    Dropping in a Hurst shifter = Dropping in a Hurst shifter (still available)
    Installing a racing clutch = Installing a racing clutch (still available)

    Second, I think you may have misidentified some of the causes of the current automotive hobby situation while still being correct in stating the end result. I think cars have become analogous to personal computers in some ways.

    Cars and computers have both matured considerably in the last 20+ years. Computers are good enough. Cars still have room for improvement, but stock capabilities are amazing compared to the 1970s and for many more people, they’re good enough. Change your oil regularly, and there’s a good chance your car will make it to 200,000 miles.

    If you do want to modify a newer vehicle, it can be done, but you need to be smarter about it and your starting point is way ahead of what you had as a teenager. The barrier to entry is more about knowledge than anything else. Suspensions are more sophisticated, engines are more sophisticated and better optimized from the factory. Brakes are much better, tires are much better. You’ve got to work harder and have a better understanding of what you’re doing if you want to achieve a positive result.

    Almost any idiot could manage to bolt on a four-barrel carb and intake in place of a two-barrel. Fuel delivery’s not really an issue these days, so you have to make more drastic changes in order to accomplish something noticeable, and to do that, you need more in-depth systemic knowledge. It’s available, but requires a greater investment of effort on the hobbyist’s part. Overall, I agree that the level of interest isn’t there in the general population. I’m guessing that it’s a combination of cars being good enough and the barriers to entry have been raised to where the casual enthusiast won’t bother scaling them. But they can be overcome if the motivation and some intelligence is there.

    There are a lot of different sub-topics we could explore related to what the motivated hobbyist can really do with his car these days, but I’d rather work with a specific starting point instead of just randomly shotgunning whatever I happen to think about.

  66. lynn says:

    chevy site says “starting” around $30k

    Good luck in finding one of those strippo models on a dealer lot.

    Wait, that deal is on the 2018 models.
    https://www.classicchevroletofhouston.com/
    and
    https://www.classicchevroletofhouston.com/new-inventory/index.htm?year=2018-2018&model=Silverado+1500&

    Wow, they have 68 of the 2018 Silverados in stock. They should have ZERO of the 2018 models by now. The 2019 trucks came out in Aug ? Sep ?

    Looks like a sales gimmick to me.

  67. nick flandrey says:

    @lynn, the ad said they have 700 ’18 trucks on the lot, “so you can get what you want in stock”…. out of 1500 vehicles on the lot.

    I expect discounts on year end models, but $16K???!??!

    @mark, thanks for the reply, more later!

    n

  68. Nick Flandrey says:

    @mark,

    I see I’m a bit guilty of what I often accused the old farts of when I was (peripherally) involved in Hot Rod Magazine and some other race and car events… because the scene was different, the old guys didn’t think of it as “hot rodding”. I pointed out to them that there wouldn’t be a car culture if they didn’t embrace and extend into the tuner cars and ridiculously underpowered imports that were where the “kids” were spending their money and effort.

    Since hot rodding got started with inexpensive cars, it shouldn’t have been a surprise when young players started messing around with cheap honda civics and similar. They looked so different from muscle cars that the old guys didn’t even see it for what it was. (Ham radio has the same problem.) another facet was that the kids seemed to focus on customizing (looks not speed) rather than mechanical stuff. That seemed opposite a traditional hot rod outlook too. The customizing was within reach, while the mechanical systems have gotten so complex that you really can’t just go poking around under the hood or frame anymore.

    I’m glad some of the traditional players are still around and relevant. I’m guessing though that you tune a CVT with a laptop, and not a drop in replacement… or aftermarket gear sets…

    I guess my biggest lament is what you’ve identified- for most people (focus on teens) a car is just a car, or worse, something they are afraid of, mystified by, or undesirable. For all the preceding generations, the car might have been other things, but it was also freedom and power. I might have hated the little chevy chevette econobox, but I drove the he!! out of it, and loved what it meant for me.

    n

  69. JLP says:

    If you really want to get your hands dirty you can build your own car:

    https://www.factoryfive.com

    Not a poor man’s hobby, though. Very expensive in $$ and time to go from kit to final drivable vehicle.

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