Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cannon Mountain Ski Weather

We have had some warm, and some melting, but no rain yet.  There is plenty of snow left on the trails.  Should be good this weekend. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Train Wrecks

Fox did a short piece on the recent rash of oil tanker train wrecks, the ones that burst into flames and burn for days.  Fox was selling the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) story that all we need is tougher tank cars.  Not a word about condition of the track.  The FRA story is all we need to do is replace every tank car in the country with new ones featuring thicker, tougher tanks that will resist bursting in a wreck and spilling oil.    Trouble is, a train of all new cars derailed last month, and the new tougher cars burst open just like the old standard cars.  Lotta money spent at the behest of Federal bureaucrats, to no avail. 
   With the exception of the Quebec wreck last year, all the other wrecks have started off with a derailment.  And, derailments mean the track is old, the ties are rotten, the spikes loose, and the rail falls over on its side under the weight of the train.  We need to fix the track, not replace the tank cars.   Fox  doesn't understand this yet.

Nothing like doing my taxes

To make me wish for a straight flat tax.  No special treatment for anything.  Income is income, be it salary, interest, dividends, capital gains.   Nothing is deductible.  Rate is lower. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Upgrading Adobe Flash Player

And it installed McAfee something or other.  I never got a chance to nix the McAfee installation.  It just happened.  I have not zapped McAfee yet, but I probably will shortly.  In my experience McAfee slows the computer by an annoying amount.  McAfee must be having trouble selling its product to download it free on users who don't want it. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Neutering the Power of the Purse

   To keep the executive in check, the founders decreed that money to pay the executive's army (and every thing else) had to be appropriated by Congress.  If Congress didn't like what the executive was doing, it could simple refuse to fund it.  Worked in England, back in Cromwell's time. 
Doesn't work so well in the modern USA.  When Congress cuts off funding, the Democrats wail that they are shutting down the government, the msm takes up the story, and all the takers whoop it up.  Today, the Congress doesn't dare cut off funding for anything, lest they be accused of "shutting down the government":. 
And the purse looses its power.   One more check and balance bites the dust.

Boeing keeps the 777 competitive

The 777 is Boeing's big twin jet wide body airliner.  It's been flying for 20 years.  Boeing plans to keep it flying for quite a bit longer.  They have announced a series of upgrades, each one minor in itself, that will cut fuel burn by 2%.  And they plan to pack in another 14 seats, so the fuel burn per seat might go down by 5%.  Which doesn't seem earth shaking, but  every little bit adds up.  The 777 can hold 40,000 gallons of fuel, about four 18 wheeler tank truck loads.  Saving 2% on a long flight might be 800 gallons.  At $2.50 a gallon, that's $2000.  Per flight.   
   One improvement is to remove the tail skid, and take out some beef in the aft fuselage designed to carry the loads from the tail skid, should the tail drag on the runway during landing or takeoff.  They souped up the autopilot to absolutely prevent tail dragging.  Boeing of course claims the improved autopilot will be infallible. 
   There are a bunch of other things, to numerous to list, and not all that interesting, unless you are out shopping for wide bodied airliners. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jerry Brown goes on Meet the Press

And manages to say nothing of substance in 10 minutes of airtime.  They started him off on the California drought.  He talked about "progress" and " programs" and "Urgency".  Nothing about dams, canals, wells, and allocation.  The biggest water users in CA are farms, and you could turn off their water, let 'em go broke, and have enough water to supply everyone's homes.  Not a word about any of this.  We did learn that Jerry believes global warming is causing the CA drought.  And he doesn't like Ted Cruz, they played a clip of Cruz saying that the globe hasn't warmed at all in the last 17 years (which is true, according to GISS data).  Jerry doesn't believe that, and called Cruz "totally unfit to run for president". 
   Well, we know where Jerry's heart is.  And where is head is too.