It’s Called “Winter”

imageThe people of the Northeast, that part of America that seems to believe the sun rises and sets because of their exceptionalism are back at it this morning.

Out here in Texas we call it “snow.”

Ya’ll are calling it “Juno” which I assure you is nothing more than a marketing twist to it.

I assure you, it snows in most of the rest of the country from time to time.  Not so much in Miami, more in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seattle, and the Dakotas.

But you don’t hear us issuing parking bans or handing-wringing about it.  It is winter, after all.

Nevertheless, officials are using phrases like “crippling and potential historic” to describe an event which hasn’t happened yet.

Last week, Amarillo had nearly a foot of snow…yet there was no hand-wringing.   Life went on…and even the cattle in the feedlots west of town got fed.

Help me a bit with my cynicism, here:  Why is it that the lib media of the NE can hand-wring about potential snowfall and not at least mention in passing that climate change may not really be such a big deal after all.

I mean other than a way to stampede the low-information voters into supporting yet another tax which will create yet another industry to solve yet another non-problem?

Oh, my, 3,500 flights have been canceled.

Worry, fear-monger, scare ‘em all to death. It’s the end of the World!

Oh, wait.  It’s winter.

Beginning of the End of the EU

Not just now, of course.  But when you look at the Greek vote this weekend, people seem disinclined to accept “austerity” particularly when it comes with a bunch of strings attached.

That’s what happens when the left and right start to hear the people all at the same time.

It’d sure be nice to see that kind of aural acuity in Washington, but that’s a kind of Libertarian wet dream, at least for now.

Coming distractions

We can’t help but notice that the foreplay between east and west is ongoing in Ukraine with rebels making some advances while the west is trying to sort out how to slap Russia without provoking nuke war.

This is why you don’t want to live in a  big city, at least without goggles and a fallout shelter.  Give it time.  Wars evolve slowly.  This one is still in the “testing supply lines” and command and control  phase.

Environmentalism as Politics of Money

I trust you saw where president “Veto the Keystone Pipeline so his railroad buddy will make money” is now about to lock up huge portions of Alaska in order to make it off limits to energy development?

No wonder the golfer-in-chief dropped by Saudi lands to get his “attataboy” for wrecking the move toward American energy independence.  Shut down QEs, turn off oil investment flows, lay down rigs, shut-in Alaska.  And put it under an environmental banner.

Because, in the end, the realist says it’s all about what?

Buying High Office

It will also be instructive to see how effective the Obama ads in Chicago’s mayoral race will be.  He’s of course backing Rahm Emanuel, but we wonder how long before endorsements from NFL and NASCAR figures can be anticipated.

Come to think of it, I haven’t heard former president George Bush endorse which chainsaw he uses as his spread out west of us…wonder if it’s American made?

Deflation

I’d like to thank the New England Patriots organization, on behalf of bearish speculators (like Ures truly) who have made it suddenly respectable to say the world “deflation” and remain credible. 

Thank you.

Now it’s popping up all over the place.

Should the Eurozone really fear demon deflation?” asks one article.  Of course the answer is “Hell yes…the place with collapse and there goes the Euroblock for One World Government.  So hell yes, be scared.”

Brenda Wenning is headlined in the Milford Daily News as warning “Deflation ‘eats societies alive.”  And here, all this time, I thought that’s what Godzilla was for.

Europe has now started its dangerous slide down the slippery slope of deflation – which the price of gold is saying is quite real.  I look for gold to drop a hundred bucks or more over the next month.  Maybe even slip under $1,100.

Leave it to the practical Irish to suggest that the EU has screwed the pooch giving money to phat cats.  Give it instead to the people, says the Irish Times.  They miss the point that there’s no point to being rich unless you can abuse folks, but it wouldn’t be the first time the right-thinking Irish have run afoul of the crooks in charge, now, would it?

Still, the point this morning is simply to thank professional football (of the oblong sort) and the Patriots in particular, for allowing the word “deflation” some of the dignity it rightfully deserves.

And if you watch closely in coming months (starting with tomorrow’s housing data) you may see deflation making some long yardage on its own.

Something to Ponder

What Monday is worth waking for if there’s not a profound puzzle to go with it?

So take a two year chart of GLD against SLV and tell me is GLD overprices, or is SLV underpriced?

Then look at a five year chart.

Which is under or over valued?

Off to see if our www.nostracodeus.com scans find any more references to Gog and Magog (Russia and Iran) in the overnight runs…I’m torn between wearing Polaroids or #10 welder’s goggles when flying, lately.  Silly me.

Coping: With Going “Off-World”

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The number of ways of “going off-world” to explore and adventure is quickly multiplying, in a general sense.

In times past, off-worlding was something done largely through reading:  A great author would come up with a concept (like around the world in 80-days) and people would pick up the book in huge numbers and try it on for size.

Then along came radio and television in the last century, advances in rocketry, solid fuel advances, gyroscopic guidance systems, and from there it was just a hop, skip, and a jump to the International Space Station.

But another kind of “off-worlding” evolved, as well:  The kind where people like me said “Too many people” and went to seek solitude in out-of-the-way places.  For me (and two years for Elaine) that meant living over a decade on a moderately-sized sailboat.  Adventure was the game and the “off-world” was more like “off-the-grid.”  Our cruising grounds ranged from the Haida Gawaii islands to the Mexican border and every port in-between.

Yet while we were doing that, both professionally and personally we became aware of another kind of “off-worlding” that was evolving.

This was on the backs of other breakthroughs:  The transistor which begat the chip, that begat the IC, which necessitated the computer operating system and from this fertile soil grew something even greater:  Artificial realities.

People began to move into them: Second Life was the most expansive, but even now we have seen the first digital version of Tulip Mania in the virtual world as Bitcoin soared to the $1,200 range, only to collapse to the $300 range.

Yet that was only edge.  The virtual world’s frontier opened even more with messaging, phone numbers for life, and video conferencing.

And then came Google’s Glass and if you click that symbol upper right, you’ll be able to view Microsoft’s coming effort to blend digital world with real world in its Hololens project.

- – – – –

We may also see the beginnings of the first-ever virtual customer wars over who will own the “on-ramp” to this new frontier.

Google has been preparing the way with ventures in robotics and operating systems that sprang from its expertise in Search.  Microsoft, on the other hand, was a late-comer to Search (with Bing) but had a much tighter integration at the OS levels and key product strength at the Basic Six level (word processor, spreadsheet, database, graphics, games, and personal information managers).

And then there was Apple which, pardon the pun, has tried to cherry-pick the most useful applications and (building from the Motorola 68000 series platform) has evolved a different look and feel to the MMI – the man-machine interface.

The real problem ahead is a curious one for humans.

Last week, Elaine and I had lunch with a reader who’s perhaps the world expert is analog music synthesizers.   (Hint: http://www.synthesizers.com/).  What we are looking for (and got) was some insight into how that other “off-world” approach (robotic) will work out.  Our Synthesizer whiz has also done robotics…

I think I mentioned that Elaine’s been an early adopter of the Roomba, with one of the forerunners to the iRobot Roomba 770 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies.

But the curious part of robotics, as a part of the “off-world press” is that for a couple of years, Elaine’s robot simply sat (unused) in a closet.   Reason?  Robotics wasn’t yet at the point where we could say “stay on carpet” and have the machine obey.  It had a way of getting stuck in places, too.  The upshot of it was that Elaine could easily “out vacuum” the robot.

Over time, the gap will fall, reverse, and at some point, Elaine will go the way of John Henry (who fought valiantly against the steam drill used by railroads). 

It’s a curious thing: Keeping the genetics of technical evolution in mind, and diagraming the evolution of the future.  Notable today because Microsoft is on the verge of launch of what could be the “better mousetrap.”

Or not.

One thing becomes evident, regardless of of price points and feature sets:  More and more it appears that “software eco-systems” are the new business model for on-planet, off-worlding.

Apple, Google/Android, and Microsoft are the three main choices you’ll see evolving.  And at least initially, each will have the following attributes:

  • A core competency
  • An operating system
  • A consumer-marketing systems of revenue generation
  • And a vision of how computing integrates into people’s lives.

Each has its shortcomings, not the least of which is price.

While Microsoft’s vision is (almost refreshingly light on robotics, Google’s is heavily-weighted on the other side.  Apple hasn’t gotten there yet and whether their slick marketing will be able to keep their eco-system happy with a smarter watch should be a classic for the marketing textbooks.

The concern Elaine and I had going into lunch with our reader last week remains relatively unanswered:  After you automate the home appliance with a microprocessor what’s the next most useful thing a person would actually pay for?

Microsoft is betting on their blend of software environment overpaid on the physical environment.  But Google’s already got a head-start with Glass development.

As human population pressure continues to build, the fly in the ointment that was  our “First Things” section of Peoplenomics this weekend, was the ugly demography working its way in background:  All three of the major software ecosystems are predicated on there continuing to be available markets of consumers.

The problem is that when you look at the global statistics, the n umber of people available to go “off-world” into some of these virtualized realms may be limited:  And an increasing number, due to religious fundamentalism, don’t look at off-worlding of the sort we’re speaking of here, as being a worthwhile goal.

No, I don’t agree with them on much, but they may be asking the right question.

What is the point of life?

And more to the point for further contemplations:  What’s the point of life on a planet where the highest birthrates continue to be shown in places like Niger, Uganda, Burkina Faso, which most Americans have never even heard of?

Welcome to another Monday:  Same planet – 7-billion deep.  Same problems as we left with on Friday, and same upper classes and first world push to get off planet as quickly as we can.

Three choices:  Actual (space), virtual (pick an ecosystem), or internal (pick a path to enlightenment, but be careful which drugs or tools are selected, since the first world taboos those to fund governments and religions which don’t want too many people off-worlding that way.  It’s bad for compliance and it’s bad for revenue.

Cheery, huh?  We’ve screwed up the real planet pretty damn well, I’d say.  So what do we do today to start fixing that?

Have you noticed how the mainstream media doesn’t talk about the inherent ecological  conflict between life extension and global population density?

Trust me:  When you hit your 60’s, you will notice this and a whole lot more.

How Did They Know?

Now I feel like our electronic scale in the bathroom is bugged.  Just this morning the Gallup organization reports that Obesity in the US is up to 27.7% and the largest gains were among seniors.

I want to know how they knew!  I’m doing my part, the way I look at it.  Never was much of a joiner, but pass the cream cheese…

Around the Ranch:  Working, Working

Once again I ran some more diesel through the old Kubota – which continues to stand up to serious tractor abuse much better than I would have expected.  Got another few acres whacked down and the place is starting to look pretty good, again.

The problem is that we’re only 2-months out from the local pollen festival.  There’s so many pine trees around that when they pollenate it looks like snow on people’s cars.

By then, the  acreage will be ready for another whacking.

I wish there was a simpler way to do it (like a memo to Ma Nature:  “Please install grass here.”)

Disfortunately, t’ain’t no such-wise memos to be found.  But I figure if I keep cutting down trees and brush long enough, she’ll take the clue.

Or I’ll simply give up or run out of diesel.

Ya’ll come back tomorrow and write when you get rich…

George   george@ure.net