Tues. Mar. 30, 2021- not a completely lost day…

Cool and sunny, chance of rain. Yesterday started cold and wet but ended up very nice. Some threatening skies to the south, but nice at my house! Huge full moon glowing low in the sky at 7am when I took child one to the bus.

I didn’t enjoy the day much though. Felt “off” and went back to sleep after getting the kids out the door. Woke up a couple hours later, so dizzy I could barely walk or stand. Thankfully that passed and I just felt tired, slightly dizzy, and a little nauseous. More ‘achy’ than the day of the shot too. We’ll see how today shapes up. By all accounts, I should be over most of my symptoms soon.

Spent what was left of the day ripping DVDs to disk, poking at my linux box, and getting paperwork in order for tax preparation. I actually got things done in all three areas. The NVR is finally back. It looks like someone put the required packages back where they were, and everything installed and started running. It took a bit of google and poking at it to get my settings to look right, and get the stupid thing saving video in the right place. It looks like it’s working, and without the previous issues.

I got some of the huge pile of paper I need to go through organized too. Today I’ll do more with that. Maybe I’ll do my mileage too. That will help get us ready to file our taxes. I’ll have to actually pay my TX business taxes before we can file the Federal income taxes. No state income tax in Texas though. and some years we get a deduction for the sales tax we paid. Still a huge pain in the backside to do all the required filing and recordkeeping.

There is stuff going on in the world of finance that could be the beginning of the great unwinding, or could be just one more signpost on the way. Better minds than mine will have to decide, but it’s time to look around and pay attention to it. Decide for yourself it it’s a stumble or a fall. I’m no financial genius, and this isn’t advice, but consider taking profits if you have them. I was chatting with a young woman in the checkout lane at the Goodwill Outlet and she showed my how she uses an app called Cash App for her finances. She bought $10 of Tesla while we were standing there, with cash she got from reselling thrift store items. She gets ‘loyalty’ money from the app in bitcoin… which is also available inside the app. I didn’t have a chance to ask her if she ever sells, and what kind of reporting the app gives her for tax purposes, but consider that there are likely 10s of thousands of people just like her poking away at the market, and crypto, and that they likely have very little understanding of what’s really going on. It felt VERY much like talking to a virgin house flipper in 2008…. Be warned.

My stacking lately has been limited to items that are expensive and difficult to find locally. I feel like I’ve got a good base of the basics, and if opportunity knocks with specialty items I should answer the door. That said, waiting just 3 weeks to rotate my gasoline before hurricane season is going to hurt my wallet. My delay in replacing my truck will cost me more than if I’d bought two weeks ago. Inflation? or simple supply and demand? Who can be sure, but prices are going up around here.

If it is inflation, turning money into goods is generally a good strategy. If it goes hyper, you can’t do it fast enough. Can’t happen here? I’m sure the others who have experienced it thought the same thing.

No matter the current reason, I think it’s almost always a good idea to keep stacking (durable things, long lasting things, things you absolutely need, or things that are very easy to convert to other things). You know the drill…

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

78 thoughts on “Tues. Mar. 30, 2021- not a completely lost day…”


  1. Still not feeling great. Kinda achy and blah. And tired.

     

    What other illnesses are making the rounds in Houston area?  Up here in north central Texas, my stepbrother has been sick – in-bed-all-day-and-night-sick – for several days, but not  with COVID. He has been to the Dr twice, one said “just a virus” that is “going around” and wouldn’t prescribe anything, the second said “possibly strep” and gave him antibiotics. He says it is the sickest he has been in many years.

  2. I was chatting with a young woman in the checkout lane at the Goodwill Outlet and she showed my how she uses an app called Cash App for her finances. She bought $10 of Tesla while we were standing there, with cash she got from reselling thrift store items.

    An “innovation” from Square. Cash App can also buy Bitcoin.

    A friend works for DTCC, the clearinghouse which enables a lot of this mischief, and his eyes got wide when I described my current work assignment involving high speed transaction posting to the popular server used for data mining. When the monetary price is free, the product is *you*.

  3. What other illnesses are making the rounds in Houston area? Up here in north central Texas, my stepbrother has been sick – in-bed-all-day-and-night-sick – for several days, but not with COVID. He has been to the Dr twice, one said “just a virus” that is “going around” and wouldn’t prescribe anything, the second said “possibly strep” and gave him antibiotics. He says it is the sickest he has been in many years.

    The standard flu is still around.

    And Cedar season ran really late this year.

    Our big oak shed all of its leaves after the storm but came back with what looks like a bumper crop of pollen pods. A glorious Spring of allergies is ahead.

  4. One of my current time-sinks is setting up OpenHAB. It’s an open-source project that can connect to pretty much everything related to home automation. They’ve spent a lot of time and effort actually making it pretty easy to install and understand, but any complex system still takes time to figure out.

    It’s silly, but one of the biggest hindrances is finding help online. They re-worked the user interface, making massive improvements. Examples online are usually for the old version – and thus no help at all.

    —–

    Recent case in Germany: 21-year-old woman raped by <i>a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old</i>. Ethnicity of the attackers has not been released, but likely they are Islamic refugees or illegal immigrants. The only question is: did they come from the Middle East or from Africa?

    FWIW, the woman was an idiot: She provided the alcohol and got drunk with them. Doesn’t excuse the rape, of course, but it’s still stupid. Sort of like walking through a bad neighborhood waving a bundle of cash – no one should rob you, but…

    On the positive side, the EU foreign minister was on television, talking about the need for better agreements to return illegals to their home countries. The only thing I don’t understand is: why does one need an agreement? Surely countries should obligated to accept their citizens. This is just an opportunity for corrupt politicians to extract bribes…

  5. “She provided the alcohol and got drunk with them.”

    –there has to be more to the story than that. Like they beat her, or she realized she was on the hook for child rape when they started bragging. Something more when that little fact rears its head.

    n

  6. https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/03/teachers-will-sent-san-diego-convention-center-provide-person-learning-migrants-schools-county-remain-closed/

    Houston schools have been open all year. In my district we are at 79% in person learning. At my kids’ schools it is higher than that. We have a couple of cases a week, per school, and on average. There have been weeks with more than one case per and weeks with no cases. Other than the high school for the entitled rich kids, we haven’t had any clusters or “super spreader” events and that was probably off campus stupidity. We’re also about 80% hispanic, and they are a really high risk group, but either their kids aren’t getting it, or they’re lying and the kids are coming to school but not spreading it.

    n

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  7. Re: turning cash into hard goods.

    I read a headline last week about the Biden Harris administration targeting 401K and IRAs. Turned my 401K into an IRA when I retired in 2019. Got it out of the market last year before the covid crash.  Never jumped back in because the “crash” didn’t seem deep enough to me. So I’m sitting on a pile of dollars that must look awfully attractive to politicians happy to relieve me of my already taxed wealth.

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  8. So I’m sitting on a pile of dollars that must look awfully attractive to politicians happy to relieve me of my already taxed wealth.

    So I’m sitting on a pile of dollars that must look awfully attractive to politicians happy to relieve me of my already taxed wealth.

    Fixed it for you. All money is attractive to them regardless of the size. Imagine if you will, getting a bill from the IRS for $1.83. Cost more to process than was due. (Not mine, but a friend). They also charged him interest until the amount was paid. He never saw that transaction because it was less than a dollar.

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  9. Once again MS is making choices that I don’t like with my machine.   Keeping in mind there isn’t any way to shut off updates.

     

    All  my web stuff came to a halt and then proceeded in fits and starts.  Pages taking minutes to reload.  Window switching taking 30-40 seconds.  In other words, computer is grinding to a slow halt.

    What’s going on?  Disk is hammered at 100%  utilization.  Can’t flip the pagefile because it’s too busy downloading the next unwanted update.  At the same time, it’s running an antimalware scan.   And then firefox joins in and starts writing to its cache, while dell backup (which I don’t use) starts doing something in the background too.   All this at 8am while I’m trying to do other things,ie NOT IDLE.

     

    Right this second, and for more than a minute, pagefile is reading the drive at 100% utilization.and windows defender is getting in on it too hammering the drive with writes…

     

    n

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  10. I read a headline last week about the Biden Harris administration targeting 401K and IRAs. Turned my 401K into an IRA when I retired in 2019. Got it out of the market last year before the covid crash. Never jumped back in because the “crash” didn’t seem deep enough to me. So I’m sitting on a pile of dollars that must look awfully attractive to politicians happy to relieve me of my already taxed wealth.

    Confiscation of all private retirement plans, replacing equities with Treasuries, has been on the Prog wish list going back to the 90s.

    I assumed that they lost interest once they discovered that they could print $1 Trillion a year or so and get away with it for more than a decade. Why upset people with outright confiscation when the backdoor method was just as effective.

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  11. I note that gold has fallen to lows not seen in the last year and silver has dropped a bit too but not nearly as much relatively.  Housing prices are still ridiculously high. .  Holding my rentals as long term value.  Current estimated values are double what I would pay. Tempting to turn it into cash but I fear the government would find a way to grab cash aside from inflation.

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  12. Rick, not sure I like all this new editor stuff. I composed a long-ish thing on my phone a few minutes ago, and accidently touched one of the icons that made the text BIG. In trying to get beck, I managed to delete everything. Ach! This hasn’t happened in at least two years. I will need some practice to get familiar. The old simple editor seemed good enough. My vote, but you can’t satisfy everybody.

    I do compose off line most of the time on my computer, and have noticed that some things I have used in the past no longer seem to work, such as HTML tags, which I have to fix manually. I will adjust.

    You are doing a fine job, but some of old codgers are resistant to change.

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  13. “some things I have used in the past no longer seem to work, such as HTML tags,”

    if you are in the “visual” comment box, manually adding tags won’t work. They will work in the “Text” box.

    I haven’t tried the new comment on my phone.

    n

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  14. I note that gold has fallen to lows not seen in the last year and silver has dropped a bit too but not nearly as much relatively. Housing prices are still ridiculously high. . Holding my rentals as long term value. Current estimated values are double what I would pay. Tempting to turn it into cash but I fear the government would find a way to grab cash aside from inflation.

    GLD and SLV share prices are lousy indicators since the numbers are easily manipulated. For US gold, price what an uncirculated one ounce Eagle from a reliable dealer would cost to be delivered to your hand in a couple of days. Silver has a wider range of value measurements.

    Hopefully your tenants are current. The eviction moratorium day of reckoning was just pushed back another few months into June. With the numbers estimated at 20 million households, I don’t see how it will ever happen.

    If you think the local TV news stories about the virus’ disproportional impact on “black and brown people” are bad, wait until the eviction moratorium lifts and landlords/banks actually start trying to enforce their property rights.

  15. Nick, here is the post I accidentally deleted.

    If I had your Windows problems, I would nuke from orbit and install a clean ISO from MS. Full disclosure, I have not needed to do that on my two current W10 systems. For the first time, this hasn’t been necessary. I have done this or similar on all previous Windows systems after living with an in-place upgrade for a week or so, and it has always made a big difference. Maybe some others here can give better suggestions.

    Of the two systems, one is a notebook bought from a MS store with W10 preinstalled, so no clutter. Hardly much of a test, although it sat for five years, so required a lot of updates. I figured out how to jump to current in only a small number (three?) of updates. The other is a desktop bought refurb, with an OEM W7 install, which I upgraded in place to W10. The notebook runs Home, and the desktop runs Pro, both 64 bit with only 8 GB RAM. Both are well behaved.

    I have them set up to wait until I ask for all updates except Defender, which seems to download and install something almost daily. This doesn’t cause a restart. I see from logs that Defender runs quick scans (default) occasionally, but my wife doesn’t seem to notice it.

    One difference is that Home and Pro seem to have different update schedules, so watching my computer doesn’t indicate what is happening on hers. As a result, I look at hers once a week and do whatever is necessary to get it updated fully. I also dedicate an hour total for both machines the day after patch Tuesday. Sometimes the downloads are lengthy over my speedy 3Mb Internet service. I just leave hers. I keep working on mine, as the DL doesn’t seem to bother anything else. I do have both machines set to share downloads over our LAN, which sometimes makes the second machine do updates quicker.

    My story. YMMV. Over the years, I have found that getting a good start with any Windows installation is the key. Also, paying attention to setup is important. That took me some long hours starting with W2k, because I had to learn a lot of new stuff. Still, it wasn’t as tedious as Linux, and I have the advantage of knowing some helpful Linux friends.

  16. if you are in the “visual” comment box, manually adding tags won’t work. They will work in the “Text” box.

    I haven’t tried the new comment on my phone.

    Just noticed that, now on my desktop. I tried to use the italics tag button, and it didn’t work in the Visual editor. Neither does ctrl-i, which I prefer. It only works if I change to Text, insert the tags with the button, and then change back to the Visual editor. I will have to do some learning, and I don’t have time now. We will be away for a few days, and I will do some learning on my phone. Still think the simpler editor is better.

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  17. Nice weather at Cumberland Mountain State Park. Sunny, about 66f rising to 72f today. Windy. Friday will be a challenge. It will be 28f in the morning meaning the water hose to the RV will freeze. May have to put some water in the holding tank so I can use internal water. Leaving on Friday so may just pack and go, drain the water hose the night before.

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  18. So far, the disk usage issues are an annoyance but not a deal breaker. I’ve complained about them before but they take less time in total than updating the os would.

    This machine is win8.2 running classic start menu, and has a crapton of software installed that I use only infrequently. It would be a huge effort to get those old versions reinstalled and up to whatever level they are at currently. Some I’d have to update to current versions at additional cost or lots of learning curve. I can jump into an old version and get the task done, without relearning a whole gui and toolkit.

    I HATE win10 and the tiles GUI, even after classic start menu is installed. There are things that yank you back to the GUI and some “app” that I don’t want to use, and that drives me nuts. The spyware and inability to control updates also make it a non-starter for my main machine.

    I’m running win10 with the new gui carp minimized on my dad’s old machine, sitting next to me on my desk. I only use it for solitaire and occasional browsing or media playback when I don’t want it on my main machine, so I am at least passingly familiar with it. I did briefly run win10 on the machine I’m using as an NVR but the software wasn’t stable on it. That drove the switch to linux for that machine. It’s my intent that once it’s stable, I don’t change it.

    Setting up the NVR was a bit of an experiment to see if I could recommend it to clients in lieu of buying a dedicated hardware solution, those being very expensive for what they are. My answer is NO. Get an appliance unless you have special needs or a lot of time.

    MS has moved farther and farther away from customer centric and towards milking the cow. They’ve always done that, but they milked the cow directly. Now they are secretly milking the cow in the middle of the night, and covertly letting others milk the cow too. Not cool with me.

    n

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  19. there has to be more to the story than that.

    Perhaps, but the young geniuses raped her in the elevator of a parking garage, so: well-lit, and in full view of a security camera. Apparently at least the rape part is pretty cut-and-dried. What happened before, not so much.

    politicians happy to relieve me of my already taxed wealth

    That’s it, in a nutshell. You pay taxes when you earn it, you pay taxes when you spend it, and they would sure like to tax it in between as well.

    In Germany, the income taxes (plus Social Security, etc., etc.) is over 50%, then they have VAT of around 20%. So, on a good day, you get to keep 0.5 * 0.8 = about 40% of your earnings. Switzerland is less than that, but still: they keep raising the VAT rates “temporarily”. Funny how those temporary increases always become permanent. We’re up for another increase this year…

    MS has moved farther and farther away from customer centric and towards milking the cow.

    @Nick: Keep plugging on the Linux front. I’ve used it for so long that I find Windows really strange, and difficult to use. I’m no real expert, but there is always a solution to a Linux problem. With Windows, not so much. On my wife’s computer, for example, every update re-installs some stupid game, or resets telemetry, or something. It’s not her computer, apparently, Microsoft just allows her to use it…

    – – – – –

    On a positive note: it’s glorious Spring weather here. I’ve gotten a decent start on digging out the foundation for the stone wall around our future grill area. Ordered the stone yesterday, and it should be here in a week or so.

    When I was younger, I would get impatient, wanting projects finished right now. I suppose it’s something I’ve learned with age: a couple of hours a day, every day, and in a month you have some real progress. And meanwhile, you’ve also had fun for a month.

    I’ll be happy if the wall is done by mid-May, and the gravel and tiling by the end of June.

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  20. Right this second, and for more than a minute, pagefile is reading the drive at 100% utilization.and windows defender is getting in on it too hammering the drive with writes…

    @nick; you just need a bigger hammer…


  21. Holding my rentals as long term value. Current estimated values are double what I would pay. Tempting to turn it into cash but I fear the government would find a way to grab cash aside from inflation.

    Don’t disregard eminent domain. The Gov will take whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want.

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  22. Funny how those temporary increases always become permanent.

    Same applies for production changes in the IT world, especially for those rushed into a release. “Just add it to the backlog, it will get fixed in a future sprint.” Not.

  23. That drove the switch to linux for that machine. It’s my intent that once it’s stable, I don’t change it.

    Good luck. All modern OSes change things frequently, in fact that is probably part of the definition of modern. I’m with Jerry: I long for something that I can just leave alone and not update. Being connected to the Internet changed that. I have toyed with the idea of keeping an old configuration isolated from the outside world and just using it. Nope, unless going waaay back, just about everything about doing this is fraught with gotchas.

    I have had mixed results with every OS I have used; nothing is perfect. I have worked very hard to configure something just the way I wanted it, only to have some newer version make me start over. Mint cajoled me to update the kernel. Like you, I had a lot of software installed, and the thought of starting over made me delay for a while (too embarrassed to admit how long. :)) Eventually, I caved and set aside a whole day for the adventure, knowing it wouldn’t be enough if things went wrong. Of course, it was a non-event. Over in just a few minutes. No bad things happened. No improvements I could tell, either. C’est la vie.

    Adapting to change is humanity. I have seen so many examples of this that I don’t even reminisce any more. This morning, I decided to open Google Maps and make sure it had no surprises since the last time I had used for navigation. Sure enough, there were plenty, and some of my usual things didn’t seem to work, replaced by newer, shinier things. Please. I got it to a usable state. Better than trying to do that while driving! Actually, I wouldn’t do that: my trip is familiar, and I only keep Maps open to look for problems. If it doesn’t work, no problem. When we stop for lunch before descending into the abyss, I usually make sure it is working. Also put on my helmet, lined with tinfoil, of course.

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  24. Setting up the NVR was a bit of an experiment to see if I could recommend it to clients in lieu of buying a dedicated hardware solution, those being very expensive for what they are. My answer is NO. Get an appliance unless you have special needs or a lot of time.

    The company providing the NVR software has done a really poor job of packaging their product on Linux, even if the intent was to have qualified admins install end users’ systems on site.

  25. My stacking lately has been limited to items that are expensive and difficult to find locally. I feel like I’ve got a good base of the basics, and if opportunity knocks with specialty items I should answer the door. That said, waiting just 3 weeks to rotate my gasoline before hurricane season is going to hurt my wallet. My delay in replacing my truck will cost me more than if I’d bought two weeks ago. Inflation? or simple supply and demand? Who can be sure, but prices are going up around here.

    Ford is producing new cars and trucks at plants and just dragging them out and parking them. The engine management system, 30 million lines of C code, runs on a IBM PowerPC cpu that they normally purchase for way less than a $100. Those cpus are not available now. “US Auto Plants Face Shutdowns over Chip Shortage”, “Chip shortages are expected to disrupt auto production for many months, just as vehicle sales start to ramp up.”
    https://www.autoweek.com/news/industry-news/a35960830/us-auto-plants-shutdown-chip-shortage/
    and
    https://www.businessinsider.com/why-is-there-chip-shortage-car-companies-electronics-supply-chain-2021-2

    The used vehicle prices are ramping up accordingly. Not good.

  26. I was going to write about the chip shortage in today’s post, but some of my info was incorrect so I thought I’d better do some research first.

    What I still don’t get is WHY the fabs can’t make enough chips. It’s only about 3% stronger demand according to one article.

    They can’t get raw materials? The workforce was decimated by covid? Industrial China is 1/10th depopulated?

    Previous shortages drove up prices but demand was still met.

    n

  27. I read a headline last week about the Biden Harris administration targeting 401K and IRAs. Turned my 401K into an IRA when I retired in 2019. Got it out of the market last year before the covid crash. Never jumped back in because the “crash” didn’t seem deep enough to me. So I’m sitting on a pile of dollars that must look awfully attractive to politicians happy to relieve me of my already taxed wealth.

    Confiscation of all private retirement plans, replacing equities with Treasuries, has been on the Prog wish list going back to the 90s.

    I assumed that they lost interest once they discovered that they could print $1 Trillion a year or so and get away with it for more than a decade. Why upset people with outright confiscation when the backdoor method was just as effective.

    Don’t worry, the day is coming that they will seize all 401Ks, defined benefit plans, and IRAs to “invest” in USA Treasury Bills. I have no idea now when this is going to happen. I was thinking between 2030 and 2040 but it could be tomorrow. It will be preceeded by a replacement of the Dollar as the world reserve currency. After that, all is on the table.

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  28. I was going to write about the chip shortage in today’s post, but some of my info was incorrect so I thought I’d better do some research first.

    What I still don’t get is WHY the fabs can’t make enough chips. It’s only about 3% stronger demand according to one article.

    They can’t get raw materials? The workforce was decimated by covid? Industrial China is 1/10th depopulated?

    Previous shortages drove up prices but demand was still met.

    n

    It is Greg’s favorite word, Arbitrage. Somebody is arbitraging the world’s 12 inch silicon bases for all of the chips. There is an actual shortage since the workers in Indonesia and South Korea actually did not go to work for three months apparently. All of the silicon that was being grown went to the trash and the new wafers may not have had seeds. Bad, very bad, for our highly industrialized planet where EVERYTHING now has a chip in it.


  29. and I only keep Maps open to look for problems.

    I always keep it open on the highway, sometimes the user-reported speed traps are accurate.

  30. Hopefully your tenants are current. The eviction moratorium day of reckoning was just pushed back another few months into June. With the numbers estimated at 20 million households, I don’t see how it will ever happen.

    If you think the local TV news stories about the virus’ disproportional impact on “black and brown people” are bad, wait until the eviction moratorium lifts and landlords/banks actually start trying to enforce their property rights.

    We are at the India stage. I was told by an Indian friend several years ago that when the tenants do not pay their rent, the landlord hires four large guys with baseball bats. The tenants usually pay up and leave quickly.

    He also acquainted me with the concept of “key money”. The tenant agrees to a lease of a property. The landlord shows up at the front door with the front door key. The tenant then gives him several months of rent in cash to get the key. The transaction is in cash so it never happened. This concept is all over Asia, especially in Japan. And the tenant still has to pay the rent each month as the key money never happened. Don’t forget the four large guys with baseball bats !

  31. It will be preceeded by a replacement of the Dollar as the world reserve currency. After that, all is on the table.

    –it will happen in the middle of the night, after the crash, when all the banks and fed regulators are panicking. It might precipitate the end of the dollar, but it won’t wait for it.

    –it will be part of a big rescue package for the ‘too big to fail’, again.

    n

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  32. Don’t worry, the day is coming that they will seize all 401Ks, defined benefit plans, and IRAs to “invest” in USA Treasury Bills. I have no idea now when this is going to happen. I was thinking between 2030 and 2040 but it could be tomorrow. It will be preceeded by a replacement of the Dollar as the world reserve currency. After that, all is on the table.

    BTW, the wealth tax, aka the federal property tax, is coming in the USA. At first, it will be for millionaires, then the hundred thousandaires, then the thousandaires. Any tax is almost worthless until they get it into the middle class where the real money is. Yes, there will be federal property tax on your house and your vehicles. It will be a paperwork nightmare.

    Don’t forget the new carbon tax and the new VAT ! Those should be up and running by the end of this year.

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  33. It is Greg’s favorite word, Arbitrage. Somebody is arbitraging the world’s 12 inch silicon bases for all of the chips. There is an actual shortage since the workers in Indonesia and South Korea actually did not go to work for three months apparently. All of the silicon that was being grown went to the trash and the new wafers may not have had seeds. Bad, very bad, for our highly industrialized planet where EVERYTHING now has a chip in it.

    Margins for silicon are still high enough that US plants exist. Shin Etsu has the old Monsanto facility in Vantucky which supplies the TSMC fab nearby among others.

    Intel would be the only player with deep enough pockets who could possibly benefit from a shortage of silicon at other fabs, but they’re so big and embittered so many employees that someone would have blown the secret by now.

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  34. I always keep it open on the highway, sometimes the user-reported speed traps are accurate.

    Yup, although I drive through some pretty remote areas, and there is seldom reporting of speed traps. Come to think of it, there haven’t been any speed traps in years. Truck traffic serves the purpose because it is mostly two lane. A lot of trucks have central monitoring. They are easy to spot: they go about 2 mph over the speed limit. Never a problem on multilane roads, but no fun on two lane roads, because the terrain is hilly and visibility hinders passing. New pass-no pass markings prevent passing in huge areas; actually not too bad, because most people have forgotten how to safely pass or never learned. Worse, some roads in CA have 55 mph limits on trucks and everyone with a trailer, even though the rest of us get to drive a generous 65 mph. It doesn’t really matter to me; our trip is short enough, and there are some stops, that going even 100 mph wouldn’t make any significant difference. Favorite quote from “High Road to China”: “The oxen… are slow, [looong pause] but the earth… is patient.”

    I also have some other Android apps people might be interested in. They can be handy for those long boring trips. One is called DigiHUD. This simply displays speed derived from GPS, and has a very night friendly large display that can reflect off the windshield. Two others are said to be compass apps, but at least one of them also uses GPS for really accurate headings while in motion. I use a compass occasionally, and needed one when I used a rental car. One of all of three apps has a recording mode that can record lots of interesting stuff, such as a graph of speed over time. Even though this is very accurate, I doubt it would be accepted in a speeding challenge. Better to just give in and obey like a good slave.

  35. CDC Director Wlensky

    “Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.”

     

    NYC: Two brutal attacks on Asian-Americans in one day while onlookers do nothing (Update)
    John SextonPosted at 1:21 pm on March 30, 2021

    “The first happened on the sidewalk in broad daylight. The victim was a 65-year-old woman and the attacker outweighed her by 100 pounds. There’s no audio with this clip but police say the attacker made anti-Asian statements during the assault:”

    First photo shows a black man about 40 and 275 pounds, wearing a Pink sportcoat in size 54.

     

    “there was a second attack on a subway train in Brooklyn involving an Asian man. This one appears to have started as a fight between the two but after the first couple seconds it’s entirely one sided. I lost track of the number of times the Asian man gets punched in the head before the other man grabs him and chokes him unconscious. ”

    57 seconds of video. Black attacker outweighed the victim by about 40 pounds.

    https://hotair.com/archives/john-s-2/2021/03/30/two-brutal-attacks-asian-americans-one-day-onlookers-nothing/

     

    Bullies whose assault led to death of 13-year-old boy will serve no time
    John SextonPosted at 9:45 pm on March 29, 2021

    John Sexton Posted at 9:45 pm on March 29, 2021

    Cellphone video that circulated on social media showed the boy being hit in the face by one boy, then sucker-punched on the side of his head by another. The second punch caused him to fall and hit his head against a pillar.

    The boy who hit Diego first then hurries over to punch him again while he’s on the ground, the video shows. That boy then runs off and the video ends…

    The 13-year-old bullies who did this didn’t intend to kill anyone, but their violent assault led directly to Diego’s death. Last November both attackers admitted to involuntary manslaughter in Riverside Juvenile Court. Last Friday a judge ruled that neither boy will spend even a single day in jail.”

    https://hotair.com/archives/john-s-2/2021/03/29/bullies-whose-assault-led-death-13-year-old-boy-will-serve-no-time/

     

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  36. CDC Director Wlensky

    “Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.”

    So why does Fauci insist on wearing the mask?

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  37. “So why does Fauci insist on wearing the mask? ”

    Because he’s a dishonest virtue-signaling pos?

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  38. I see WHO’s Tedros is backtracking on the animal transmission route for Wuhan coronavirus flu.

    I ain’t laughing.

    The Wuhan bioweapons lab was doing research to weaponize coronavirus vaccines. A release from the lab, intentional or otherwise, involves an infection route that is purely human-to-human. That is exactly how most viruses are transmitted.

    The animal transmission route requires two zoonotic jumps: bat to intermediate (pangolins are the popular choice) and intermediate to human. No clinical evidence supporting this theory has been uncovered, although I suspect that there are hundreds of pangolins in a Chinese government lab being forcefed virus.

    We do know that Wuhan coronavirus is easily transmitted, so the probability of an infected person giving it to another is “very high”

    Absent any confirming research, I’d like to see any professional virologist defend the two-step theory as “very high”.

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  39. So why does Fauci insist on wearing the mask?

    Because I believe that Fauci has money in the game. He has a financial gain involved almost with a certainly. Fauci is making this entire event much more involved than what I believe is reasonable. Whenever there is money involved people cannot be trusted. When people cannot be trusted there is money involved. Fauci fits both scenarios.

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  40. “So why does Fauci insist on wearing the mask? ”

    –because he HASN”T had the vaccine.

    n

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  41. “What is wrong with Cuomo ?”

     

    –deep state, twisted by power

     

    Did you see all the other stuff that is coming out?  About all the preferential treatment he gave family and friends?   It’s a big mob, and you ain’t in it.

     

    n

  42. Whenever there is money involved people cannot be trusted. When people cannot be trusted there is money involved.

    That reminds me — my Berkshire Hathaway annual report and proxy materials arrived today.

    I kept a small amount of stock so I would receive the annual meeting invitation every year.

  43. Did you see all the other stuff that is coming out? About all the preferential treatment he gave family and friends? It’s a big mob, and you ain’t in it.

    The quote from the Ginnifer Flowers tapes that got Bubba Clinton in the most trouble back in the day went something like this:

    “That Mario Cuomo scares me … he’s a mafioso.”

    Cuomo the Elder didn’t run in 1992 because he wanted a coronation, not an inauguration.

    Cuomo the Younger has repeated nearly all of the old man’s mistakes except he may not get to run for a fourth term and lose.


  44. CDC Director Wlensky

    “Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick, and that it’s not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.”

    So why does Fauci insist on wearing the mask?

    Even if he did get vaccinated, initial real-world efficacy for Pfizer and Moderna are around 90%. So then 10% of those vaccinated could still get Covid and spread it either asymptomatically or presymptomatically. A properly fitted N95 mask (which is what he probably wears) will help protect him from getting infected.

    Separately, today Germany temporarily stopped administering the AstraZenica vaccine because of the blood clot concerns.

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  45. If you are driving a Tesla, stay away from white trucks ! “Roof sheared off Tesla in Route 1 crash with tractor-trailer”

    Cruise control. Yeah. Sure.

    He had the autopilot engaged.

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  46. If you are driving a Tesla, stay away from white trucks ! “Roof sheared off Tesla in Route 1 crash with tractor-trailer”
    https://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/crime/jersey-mayhem/2021/03/29/teslas-roof-sheared-off-in-route-1-south-brunswick-nj-crash-with-tractor-trailer/7054371002/

    Cruise control. Yeah. Sure.

    He had the autopilot engaged.

    My frontal Pre-Collision assist in my 2019 F-150 4×4 is quite odd. It activates on people pulling up to a stop sign perpendicular to me occasionally when I am in the left lane on a one way road. Yet if someone brakes suddenly in front of me, it does not alert until they are about 30 feet away when I am already panic braking.

    I see that the 2020 F-150 added automatic braking to the Pre-Collision assist. That must be fun.
    https://www.ford.com/technology/driver-assist-technology/pre-collision-assist/

  47. If you are driving a Tesla, stay away from white trucks ! “Roof sheared off Tesla in Route 1 crash with tractor-trailer”

    Cruise control. Yeah. Sure.

    He had the autopilot engaged.

    Is there a difference ? The automatic lane control in my wife’s Highlander activates automatically when the cruise control is on. I have had it unexpectedly jerk the steering wheel out of my hand on a high speed curve.

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  48. I HATE win10 and the tiles GUI, even after classic start menu is installed. There are things that yank you back to the GUI and some “app” that I don’t want to use, and that drives me nuts. The spyware and inability to control updates also make it a non-starter for my main machine.

    I have my 22 most used apps\programs pinned to the taskbar that is vertical on the left of the screen and still have room for more. I spend sometimes weeks without pressing Start, and when I do, I click a few letters to get the app I need. I have no idea what is in my tiles.

    I have mentioned many times that you can set up the vast majority of updates from MS to be done at will and not when the system wants. Only emergency updates with patches to thwart ransomware issues or with high security problems bypass that.

    Nothing is perfect but the idea of having to rely on friends to control my printing system, I have no use for; to me , is ludicrous. Disable service is a one button solution…

    I hate having to know very weird cli commands to control my system when click-click-click or rigth-click click can do the trick.

    To each his own. 🙂

  49. Is there a difference ? The automatic lane control in my wife’s Highlander activates automatically when the cruise control is on. I have had it unexpectedly jerk the steering wheel out of my hand on high speed curve.

    The autopilot does a lot more than cruise control, steering the vehicle as well as maintaining speed.

    Lane Departure Assist (LDA) was the first thing I turned off on my Camry after the assist nearly killed me on the way home from the dealership, jerking the wheel and almost steering me into a car to my right when it was unhappy with the way I entered a left turn lane.

    In Florida we had an even more obnoxious LDA in a Mazda CX5. Even with the assist off, it would vibrate the steering wheel subtly. Visibility was garbage in the car so maybe there is a reason.

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  50. Oof:

    USSOCOM’s new chief of diversity and inclusion reassigned pending investigation of his posts comparing Trump and Hitler

    I can’t imagine the Commanding General of SOCOM would sanction a *Chief of Diversity*. Maybe he’s an Obola *Perfumed Prince*. Me, I’d marginalize the guy by giving him a child’s desk in a broom closet.

    Woke politics is weakening our military. If SOCOM is worrying we don’t have enough binary, gender queer Pacific Islanders we are dead. This began when I was at the Pin-Head-A-Gon. Quotas became a dirty word. Goals replaced it, but meant the same thing. Today, goals aren’t enough. We need a gender spread of 95% LBGTQWERTY, 5% hetero stat. I’m sure plugs has told the Chiefs to reduce the the number of WHITEYS! in the military. We are toxic and all that.

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  51. COVID-19 Obligated
    as of 03/29/21
    ▪ Total Public Assistance Obligated: $17,542,434,889.00

    From my FEMA daily… that’s a really big number.

    n

  52. Talking about Win Updates there are also really, really, optional Updates like the current:

    https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-releases-windows-10-builds-19042906-19041906—heres-whats-new/

    That has quite a few bugs with printing sorted out. (Sorry, could not control myself…).

    As mentioned earlier, this is an optional update. That means that you can find it if you check for updates in Windows Update, but you’ll have to opt into it for it to install. If you don’t want it, these changes will be rolled into next month’s Patch Tuesday update, which is mandatory.

  53. Went to my Sam’s Club today to get some more of the Clementines that I love. They had plenty of TP (including Charmin Blue), paper towels including Bounty, etc, etc. In fact, the store was remarkably well stocked for the first time in over a year. The only down item was that you still cannot sit on their furniture samples. I ain’t gonna buy a chair or sofa without sitting on it.

  54. Marcelo, your W10 setup is pretty similar to mine.

    For historical reference only, I used to use an alternative Windows GUI back around version 3. I can’t remember which one it was, but it wasn’t the Norton Desktop for Windows. I did try that, but not for long. Some parts of GUIs are OK, but I spend most of my time inside applications. The OS interface is largely irrelevant to me. It DOES need to be stable and trouble-free, though.

    That’s why I mentioned OS/2 a while back as a trouble-free OS. I always wanted to try it, but not enough apps. Also why I like the concept of desktop Linux, with a distro package of “everything” necessary to get going. Problem to me is the mediocre quality and outright lack of some whole app categories. Also, I find myself still installing a dozen or more things. If that, I might as well stay in Windows.

    Not wanting to start arguments. Really, it all boils down to: some people like Chevys, some Fords. Still others like Holdens. 😉

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  55. Still others like Holdens.

    Yep, I had several of those although I was always a Ford guy. The wagons were very good and spacy without being unwieldy and the last one with a V6 was big for Oz standards.

    Unfortunately, you can’t get any new one of those anymore. Holden is gone, gone, gone and I will not buy a Chevrolet. Switched to a CRV with a measly aspirated 2.0l engine and am happy with that.

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  56. Still others like Holdens.

    Yep, I had several of those although I was always a Ford guy. The wagons were very good and spacy without being unwieldy and the last one with a V6 was big for Oz standards.

    Unfortunately, you can’t get any new one of those anymore. Holden is gone, gone, gone and I will not buy a Chevrolet. Switched to a CRV with a measly aspirated 2.0l engine and am happy with that.

    I bought the wife a 2019 Toyota LE Highlander on Dec 30, 2019 with the bright metallic white paint and the 3.5L V6 motor / 8 speed automatic to replace her 2005 Honda Civic EX SE 5 speed bright red coupe with spoilers and mag wheels. The purchase was not voluntary and some not so nice words were said. Now she loves the Highlander and carts around an inordinate amount of stuff for her and the daughter (who likes it also). The Highlander is almost as fast as her old Civic (less than 6 seconds to 60 mph) which has become a garage queen with a dead battery. She has even ventured that we might should sell the Civic.

  57. “Biden Forced to Rethink Strategy After Failure of Mass-Vaccination Sites”
    https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/rick-moran/2021/03/30/biden-forced-to-rethink-strategy-after-failure-of-mass-vaccination-sites-n1436097

    “The vaccination hubs, which are run by FEMA and staffed in part by National Guard troops and other Pentagon personnel, have administered just 1.7 million doses since the beginning of February. Over the last two weeks, the sites gave about 67,000 shots a day,according to a series of internal FEMA briefing documents and data sets obtained by POLITICO. That’s roughly 2.5 percent of all doses administered nationwide during the same period, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

    “By comparison, the federal retail pharmacy program reported March 11 it had administered nearly 1 million doses over a single day. Over the course of the next four days, the program’s pharmacies administered more than 5 million more doses, according to the federal vaccination data obtained by POLITICO”

  58. Went to my Sam’s Club today to get some more of the Clementines that I love. They had plenty of TP (including Charmin Blue), paper towels including Bounty, etc, etc. In fact, the store was remarkably well stocked for the first time in over a year. The only down item was that you still cannot sit on their furniture samples. I ain’t gonna buy a chair or sofa without sitting on it.

    Our Sam’s had Charmin Blue the other day at $22 for a pack of 16. Most people bypassed the palette for the Member’s Choice.

    I have to go back tomorrow to replenish the caffeine supply and check for 1 gal. water bottles which have been unobtainium there since the February ice storm.

  59. Our Sam’s had Charmin Blue the other day at $22 for a pack of 16. Most people bypassed the palette for the Member’s Choice.

    The Sam’s Club Member’s Choice TP is equivalent to Charmin Red. I’ve got some here at the office that we are working through.

    BTW, my Sam’s Club had a new Charmin Maroon, the strongest TP ever ! I guess that it is made for TPing peoples homes without that inconvenient breakage when you throw it through a tree. Not that I would have ever TP’d anyone’s home.
    https://www.samsclub.com/p/charmin-ultra-strong-24-rolls-308-sheets/prod24964338?xid=plp_product_2

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  60. I have a 2019 Highlander XLE, V6 gas. In the middle of a long trip down I-5. Got it late spring last year.

    Automatic Lane Control hasn’t been a problem on country roads or the interstate. Gentle nudges and beeps if I stray. Cruise control on the highways works well; if you come up on a slower car, cruise slows down to maintain a proper distance. If a semi pulls in front of me going 55 and I am doing 70-ish, braking will occur, but nothing ‘panic-y’.

    I have seen the cruise control follow a bit close when someone passes me then turns into my lane after passing. But I am paying attention, and adjust for it.

    I get 25-26mpg on the highway, even with the Pride electric chair on the hitch-mounted trailer (no wheels, just a platform). This is about 5mpg better than the 2008 Highlander XLE with the same engine. I believe that to be because of the 8 speed transmission on the 2019, instead of the 5-speed on the 2008.

    Happy enough with the 2019.

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  61. Ford is producing new cars and trucks at plants and just dragging them out and parking them. The engine management system, 30 million lines of C code, runs on a IBM PowerPC cpu that they normally purchase for way less than a $100.

    Almost as much code as in WinSim.
    Must be fun (ha!) to work on that code base.
    I guess you’d have to go back to around 1970-71-72, before the first emissions controls, for a car with no computers at all.

  62. I guess you’d have to go back to around 1970-71-72, before the first emissions controls, for a car with no computers at all.

    Earlier for emission controls, later for computers.

    Take a look at some of the last piston aircraft engines to see the highest development. If cars had had that kind of development, fuel economy AND power output might have been ~50% higher in some years, but emissions would have been higher also. However, cost would have more than offset this. Engine performance, specific output and gas mileage, probably reached their peak about ten or so years ago. Efforts since have been mostly directed at increasing fuel mileage. Engine complexity and longevity have suffered some.

    The following is from memory, so some might be off a year or so. A form of PCV, “closed crankcase ventilation”, debuted in the late 1950s in California, and about 1961 federal. Modified fuel-air ratios started mid-sixties. Open combustion chambers to reduce unburned hydrocarbons were around 1968. Lower compression ratio to reduce oxides of nitrogen were in the early 1970s. Catalytic converters, with required unleaded gasoline started on most passenger cars in 1975. The first computer, an analog system, was in 1980 or so.

    Note that some of these improved engine operation, but most didn’t. In particular, lean fuel-air ratios caused poorer gas mileage (I know, counter intuitive.) The catalytic converter, while expensive and requiring more expensive fuel, led to improved gas mileage (richer mixtures,) but lower power output. Cats were expensive, and all but the highest performance cars were “strangled” with too-small converters. When the California Highway Patrol finally allowed cats on some of their cars, they were equipped with FOUR cats. even so, the 440 Chrysler engine was only rated at about 175 net hp. The same engine in 1967 was rated at 375 gross hp. The difference in gross and net ratings varies, but is probably less than 20%. The rest of the difference is due to all the changes to reduce emissions.

    Net hp is a consumerism-derived artificial rating that is a bit complicated. Gross is more accurate, although  is never achieved installed for a list of reasons. Also, back then no automobile was rated greater than 425 hp for insurance reasons. There were some stock engines i the 1960s that put out over 500 hp installed.

    Fun “facts.” I use quotes because this is true to the best of my recollection. Most of it could be verified, but it would take a while.

  63. The following is from memory, so some might be off a year or so. A form of PCV, “closed crankcase ventilation”, debuted in the late 1950s in California, and about 1961 federal. Modified fuel-air ratios started mid-sixties. Open combustion chambers to reduce unburned hydrocarbons were around 1968. Lower compression ratio to reduce oxides of nitrogen were in the early 1970s. Catalytic converters, with required unleaded gasoline started on most passenger cars in 1975. The first computer, an analog system, was in 1980 or so.

    Mom had a 1973 Volvo station wagon with Bosch analog fuel injection. Was a piece of junk, you would smell gasoline, stop, and replace the leaking section of fuel line. The 35 psig fuel pump kept the line over pressurized and it continuously split. Dad sold my truck in 1978 since I did not need a truck at TAMU according to him and gave me the Volvo. I had to rebuild the motor in 1980 and converted from automatic to a 4 speed manual. And put a carb kit in it in 1982 since the analog computer had a short in it and gave it to my youngest brother. Who, promptly wrecked it.

    I don’t remember when digital computers showed up in cars. Somewhere between 1980 and 1990. One of my partners had a 1987 ??? Cadillac with the V8 – 6 – 4 engine that had to have been digitally controlled.

    Some of the cars had thermal reactors in their tailpipes starting in 1969 or so. The rotaries, etc.

  64. Ford is producing new cars and trucks at plants and just dragging them out and parking them. The engine management system, 30 million lines of C code, runs on a IBM PowerPC cpu that they normally purchase for way less than a $100.

    Almost as much code as in WinSim.
    Must be fun (ha!) to work on that code base.
    I guess you’d have to go back to around 1970-71-72, before the first emissions controls, for a car with no computers at all.

    Way more code than us, we have 1.3 million lines of F77 and C++. Plus the EMS code probably has 8 or 9 threads. Shoot, maybe a dozen threads, those guys are sharp. That is a realtime system, no memory allocation or deallocation. All variables are allocated at startup.

    I think that Bosch analog fuel injection computers showed up in Volvo cars starting in 1971. My buddy had a 1972 ??? Porsche 914 (mid-engine) with it. He was driving to or from Needville, TX to College Station, TX in 1980 and smelled smoke. Pulled over and the mid-engine was on fire. He watched it burn to the ground. Was a neat little car but that leaky fuel injection was bad news.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jetronic
    and
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_914

  65. Not sure about when the first digital EFI was; too late to look it up.

    A friend had a 1969 VW Squareback with the analog EFI. Ran OK. Another friend had a 1970 that I maintained. It also ran well, but the many hoses could and did leak. I replaced all of them about every three years. Took a few hours. Should have been steel lines. The EFI unit and sensors on both cars worked fine for us. It was even possible to make some adjustments.

    Oh, and Honda had a thermal reactor-like scheme that got them two (?) more years until they need a cat. I kept a 1975 Honda Civic for friends who RVed it to and from Oregon each year. He wanted me to drive it monthly, so I did. What a piece of junk. Torque steer out the wazoo. Gutless. Had a manual choke; I am used to those, but this one was evil. Reminded me of my Honda CB77 305cc Superhawk motorcycle: hard to break, but no fun to drive. Ah, those were the bad old days. Now, everything is perfect. Not.

    P.S. Your (?) Honda 350 was a vastly better bike, as were many later Honda motorcycles.

  66. Oh, and Honda had a thermal reactor-like scheme that got them two (?) more years until they need a cat. I kept a 1975 Honda Civic for friends who RVed it to and from Oregon each year. He wanted me to drive it monthly, so I did. What a piece of junk. Torque steer out the wazoo. Gutless. Had a manual choke; I am used to those, but this one was evil. Reminded me of my Honda CB77 305cc Superhawk motorcycle: hard to break, but no fun to drive. Ah, those were the bad old days. Now, everything is perfect. Not.

    We had a 197? Honda Civic test mule at the TAMU engineering lab. It had a CB750 inline four cylinder engine in it with a 4 or 5 speed manual (been a while). 10,000 rpm engines in a car body were stupid crazy.

    I had a 1973 Honda CB350 twin that I rode all over campus and to my off campus girlfriends apartment. My parents were furious. It was a horrible bear to get started when it was snowy.

    I bought a used 1995 Honda Nighthawk CB750 in 2000. Was a great bike, I wish I still owned it. I stupidly sold it and bought a new 2003 Honda Valkyrie in 2003. Great bike but the 1,500 cc flat six with six carbs, solid lifters, and straight pipes was too much for me. And those six carbs with manual chokes were a real bear to get started below 90 F. I was running across the Brazos River one day on the old two lane bridge, looked down and was running 95 mph. Hit the bridge expansion joint and went flying in the air, landed on both wheels. Sold it fairly soon after that. Made my mother very happy.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Valkyrie

  67. P.S. Your (?) Honda 350 was a vastly better bike, as were many later Honda motorcycles.

    It was if you put oil in it occasionally. And did not rev it to 11,000 rpm and drop the clutch, breaking a piston ring. It was really hard to start then. Still got around campus and could still go 45 mph.

    My son has a 2008 Honda Shadow 750 in his garage. He rode it all over California while he was here in the states in the Marine Corps. The keys disappeared when he moved into his house in Houston in 2010. I have a suspicion that my mother stole the keys to keep him out of the Houston traffic. Nice bike, I am going to steal it from him some day and get it fixed up.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Shadow

  68. Well, the first production car with computer was a VW in 1968, the car afore mentioned in 1969.

    lines of Code (yes I know I know those units are for measure) KPMG estimates a modern car on 100-150 millions, remember there are various ECUs on a car nowadays, 10 bucks per line, do your math.

    last but not least, an ECU to replace is 1000 to 3000 USD, today the cost of software to build a car is around 15 to 25% of gross cost. (remember Microsoft sells to PC manufacturers at USD 50 each copy of windows as far I read on a wall i didnt remember where)

    cheers

    PS: VW made a nice show with tampered software for tests, I think they killed diesel and gas cars due that

     

     

     

     

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