The Experts Are Falling

Before I start this, because I have a lot of friends who are experts in their fields, and might perhaps be somewhat startled, let me explain.

I respect experts in their given fields. At my age, I’d like to say I’m an expert in mine. Well, in the spinning of tales, at least. The fiction publishing field has changed so dramatically since I first started pounding on its doors back in the eighties, that it seems like every five years there’s a new way to get in and to make it big. And it even works, one time in ten.

It reminds me of what someone said on the comic panel back at Liberty Con “There really isn’t a way to get in” [understood as breaking in and getting substantial following] with the agreed and implied supplement “But people do anyway.” Because people are people.

As for blogging, it seems to be something I do upside down and sideways, as I do most things.

But in more knowledge-based and stable fields, a lot of people my age have valuable and important experience. Perhaps not on how to get grants from government (that apparently changes too) but on how to do the thing. I’m not disparaging them. There are a lot of professionals who know “the right way to do x”.

A lot of this was already lost between my parents’ generation and mine, so mine was thrown into the world knowing a lot of high fallutin’ blather, and none of the basics of whatever field. This is because in the sixties and seventies blather trumped the nitpicky stuff of any field.

Most of us have made up that deficiency and worked like mad to “do the best we can”. Now things like increased longevity and the fact my generationette (Kate Paulk calls us generation pooper scooper, that awkward bit between oh 58 and 75 or so.) worked far too much trying to make up what we didn’t know and build anew, we also failed to pass that on, and the millenials are struggling as we were.

So, real expertise is… real, and valuable and important.

That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is the fatal intersection of expertise and bureaucracy, where the “experts” are mostly experts not in the field but in getting grants for nothing much, and making high sounding pronouncements that amount to balderdash. A side order of irreproducible studies is pretty much de-rigueur these days.

The fields notorious for this are also the most powerful: From “social science” (the first word is the most operative, and it’s in the order of a social disease) to trying to cobble together a field from other sciences, in a subject matter we don’t know enough about: “Earth Science” being the prime culprit.

Part of the problem is that, contrary to the dreams of… well, most science fiction writers, but most people since the renaissance, to be honest, there is no such thing as an all purpose genius.

This was more or less possible in the renaissance, because the fields of knowledge were so much smaller, and even then we tend to know each of them for the field they most influenced, not the other ten they played around with. These days, that kind of pan-knowledge is almost impossible. You can get enough knowledge your eyes don’t cross when the experts explain, is about it.

And so we get to “Climate experts” who have the reins of bureaucracy but who really know nothing of … well, how people live.

From how food grows to how human beings actually live and function, these people are functionally mentally damaged.

So, things like trying to reduce nitrogen (well, carbon was not playing as they hoped) seems like a great idea to them, and if people have to starve to achieve it so be it.

And we get pronouncements like that Joe Biden is just like the founding fathers a visionaire, because he’s trying to force us to use sources of energy that don’t exist under any possible science. Because that’s how much of a visionaire he is. (Sighs.)

Or how high gas prices is super important to the new “liberal” world order, by which they mean the demented nightmares of DAVOS, which intend to crowd us all into big cities, feed us bugs and make us own nothing.

They have no idea how economies work, where food comes from (Bugs pound per pound consume more material than cows) or the fact that most of us would rather ride wood-powered cars than submit to their nonsense.

The “experts” are in fact no such thing. They are, rather, obsessives, who hit one single note on the mental piano, and think that is the entire range of sound. This when they’re not Stalin wanna bes, surveying the panorama of eggs to break without achieving a single omelet. Or hysterics, who chicken-little-like think that the sky is falling and only the falling sky matters, as they run around telling us to think of the children they never had and never will have, and trying to destroy the children alive today.

Fortunately, in most of the world — not even just here — people are starting to realize that “expert” is a shorter way to say “Delusional dumbass” and the regulations these delusional nematodes issue are being fought back or laughed at.

It’s going to get rough because they’re holding buckle and tongue to their power to prevent us from getting say nuclear energy, or drilling the oil we do have in abundance.

But the crash we all can see coming (Probably starting this fall) is the bucket of cold water our civilization needs before the unholy marriage of “expertise” and bureaucracy is dissolved.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. You have to stay alive to fight this.

And be not afraid. In the end we win, they lose. And the world will maybe make a little more sense.

194 thoughts on “The Experts Are Falling

  1. It is going to get bumpy.

    Everyone of them are going to have their hands up saying “Not my fault!” Not one is going to take responsibility for their stance.

  2. To be an expert there has to be something to be expert about. Too many “experts” claim to be expert in the future and you can’t be an expert in something that doesn’t exit, What they tend to be is haruspices without the maturity and experience that the Roman haruspices had, charlatans in other words.

    1. Essentially, they are experts in being experts, without actually knowing anything useful.

      1. It’s the ‘Intellectuals’ version of being famous for being famous. If you will; the thinking person’s version of being Paris Hilton…with apologies to Ms Hilton, who is nowhere near as annoying.

          1. Well, I remember that for years I’d see a reference to one of them maybe a couple of times a month, or maybe only once. Is that what you meant? 😉

    2. Look up Irwin Corey, “The world’s foremost authority”. Spoiler: he was a comedian with that being his act. (He was also a communist…)

  3. The sheer difficulty of genuine cross-field work is why polymaths are so incalculably valuable. Any dime a dozen genius can master a single field. The ones that can master multiple fields are effectively unique, because each one will have a different combination of fields and is doing something only they can do.

    As a result they frequently end up being the ones that invent new fields for others to work.

    1. Innovation happens when ideas collide. Someone with only ONE field might never see anything, really. Someone with TWO fields at least has a chance. And if that someone ALSO is curious enough to explore WHY the ‘wrong’ result happened…. well now, Johnny, you jes might get yerself some o’ that that progress!

      1. At one time exploring why the wrong result happened was the Holy Grail of research. Asimov (yeah, I didn’t like his politics, either, but he was as close to a polymath as anyone I’ve seen) possibly said it best: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny…’ “. No scientist then ever won a Nobel for parroting “Yup, yup; I see it too!”. Now, i’m not so sure… 😦

        1. Nobody ever learned anything new by being right.
          When reality fails to conform to your theories, it’s not the universe that’s wrong.

  4. My mom is a paleontology nut and my dad was an engineer. I spend a lot of time thinking about sample sizes and statistical methodology when it comes to “expertise.”

      1. And include Bayes Theorem!

        Took college statistics in the mid 80s… Bayes was kinda important in discussions of who to test for the dread disease of the day.

  5. I’ve started getting migraines. Not like my Mom did; mine are mostly dizziness and mental incapacity.

    Which is to say this: No matter what He throws at you, keep going. Get up in the morning. Take the cold showers. Love your families. Keep TRYING to find good work and don’t shame yourself when opportunities haven’t yet arrived.

    No matter what, keep going.

    1. Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium and such. You’ve been working on your feet, IIRC, and in the summer that will suck nutrients and minerals right out of you. And that can cause migraines.

      There’s a lot of new anti-migraine stuff now. And there’s a lot of cross-symptom stuff with sinus headaches vs. migraines, so some of the stuff that helps sinusitis will also help migraines.

      1. B2, melatonin, COQ10, and sometimes quercetin are supposed to help keep away migraines. (Besides magnesium.)

        Also, there’s apparently some kind of bad synergy with gut problems, so a happy gut can mean a happy head.

        1. Plus one on the CoQ10, without it I quite literally have a headache 24×7, and an average of two migraines a week. 400 mg a day works better for me than the prescription stuff I was taking.

      2. Thanks for the wisdom.
        I’m really focused on keeping physically healthy during this transition. Got supplements going pretty well, water, and good sleep.

        I remember my sister when she bought her condo then lost her job the next day. She didn’t unpack for a year. That’s what this feels like right now: like I can’t unpack because everything might go to shite.

        1. B2 and magnesium definitely worth trying, seems to help both of my daughters (who have severe migraines). Definitely consider finding a neurologist that specializes in Migraines/Headaches. What we call migraines is an overarching description for MANY different actual issues (like lots of things in medicine). Some of them are just annoying and uncomfortable, some of them mimic other issues (e.g. Stroke), and a few of them are downright dangerous and really need proper treatment. Your primary care provider may or may not be able to sort them out, and using the wrong medication can make things worse here a specialist is the right thing, it’s finding a good neurologist that is tricky. Unfortunately the only one I know practices in North Shore Massachusetts which does you no good.

          1. Sigh. I haven’t been to the doctor’s in ages. I have to figure out if I have enough trust in the system to even explore the idea.
            There is a new hospital complex around here somewhere that specializes in old school medicine— no forced shots, no bacteria rags, real medicine. They may be worth a shot.
            Cause your advice is good.

            1. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But some of the variants are scary. Elder daughter has very severe migraines and had one that looked like the start of a stroke ( lack of feeling in right side of body). When you walk into an emergency room as a 20 something young woman presenting an awful headache and signs of a stroke the medicos get busy REAL fast. Luckily it was just an atypical migraine, but without the info from her neurologist the emergency room docs might have headed down some dangerous roads.

              1. 🙏bless you for telling the truth!
                I’m 62. Death is within shouting distance. I can carry whatever is true that needs it.
                I sure wouldn’t trade places with the you who got the fright of a 20 year old child going into the ER. That is tough.

                1. We had been married just over a year. I was 23. Got up from the couch. Sudden onset headache. I knew no one was near me, including hubby, dog, and cats. It felt like a 2×4 or bat, slammed into my head (perceived anyway, not like I actually have been hit by one). Do not remember any other symptoms other than the pain. Hubby rushed me to the hospital. Do not remember what tests they performed if any. Gave me some pain pills, and a prescription. I was out for the next 3 days. Never did fill the prescription. Have I ever mentioned that pain pills have a lasting effect on me? Between the pills and the pain relief, I was out of it. Haven’t ever had one that bad again. I’ve had headaches since then ranging from migraines to tension.

                  1. The scariest one I ever dealt with was one where I had a freaky aura that partially messed up my ability to see the color black for a while before the pain hit. Didn’t realize the problem until I sat down to chill with a book and couldn’t read it. Legit thought I was having a stroke or something. Luckily Exedrin and time has always been enough to deal with mine.

                    1. “freaky aura”

                      I have those now. Started when I was in my late 40’s. Scared the H3LL out of me (… given all the heredity visual possibilities, it was another decade before I was diagnosed with the glaucoma). Doctor calls them visual migraines. It may or may not go into a full blown migraine before the OTC meds take effect. I couldn’t work when they hit. I can’t read or watch TV, now. I also couldn’t (shouldn’t) drive (home from work). At least now when they hit, I am home, or with someone else who can drive. I don’t lose any colors. More of an aural multi color smoky rainbow glow, that makes everything fuzzy.

  6. The institutional knowledge is often there, if you dig to find it. The experience ages out of the workplace and dies.

    Using my father as an example, he was a chemical engineer by training, and a rocket scientist by virtue of pretty much working the field all through the space race. Inventing and learning . . . and laid off after the Apollo Program was shut down. Did other stuff for years, then his old company contacted him with a job offer.

    He said he was quite apprehensive, walking in that first day. All these bright young men with “real” Aerospace Engineering credentials . . . and great ideas! That had been looked into, and sometimes built and tested decades ago. He points at the company library “Have you read the report, I believe it was titled . . .” He was the expert the minute he walked in those doors.

    Without that sort of expert available, in every field out there, there’s going to be a period of rediscovery and re-experimenting. Even if they do read the right things. Assuming they were ever written down.

    1. Absolutely true Pam! Most of us who are actual experts at something, don’t claim that or think of ourselves that way. What we do have is experience. We’ve been there, and done that as the saying goes. Real experts are that because they know enough to not be confident in predicting things except in a very narrow window, always leaving open the dim possibility that someone (like Tesla) may come up with something authentically new that actually works.

      1. Yup. “Been there, done that, cleaned up the mess afterward.”
        Some folks can be taught. Others can learn by example. The rest have to piss on the electric fence for themselves.

    2. The last 10 years or so he was working the Reader occasionally thought of himself as the sector engineering elephant. He remembered all the things that didn’t work from the previous 30 years.

    3. In every field of engineering I’ve been in, people have an allergy to the history of their own field. I don’t understand it. Why not make new mistakes? But people tend to assume that older ways of doing things are irrelevant or obsolete to today’s problems — even though conditions change.

      Case in point. I got a reputation as a whiz at analog design at Intel (which I was not) — because as transistors got to submicron channels, their current-voltage characteristics changes from nice and flat to having a more linear shape. I noticed that that was rather like the characteristics of old tubes and I could solve most analog design problems by asking “how did they do that with tubes”. Different application, but still plenty to learn from the old ways of doing things.

      When studying a new field, I always go back to the roots of the field, and it’s always been helpful.

      1. Good on ya, JG. I’m big on the roots of my specialty (statistics), and pepper all my courses with relevant history and readings from the stats classics to round out my students’ appreciation of the subject.

      2. The Reader always told young engineers under his tutelage that a new mistake was a rare gem to be cherished. On a related note, late in his career, the Reader found himself running Root Cause Corrective Action teams on major failures. The debriefs he gave customers always started with one of two phrases. The first was rare; ‘Let me tell you what we learned that we didn’t know before’. The second, and far more frequent was; ‘Let me get this out of the way at the beginning. We were stupid’.

      3. My late Father got into the field of History of Science just when it began to be a recognized specialty. It had become apparent that Historians didn’t know enough Science to get the details right, and Scientists didn’t understand enough History to know why the experiments were all wrong.

        Case in point; early British experiments in Chemistry are all skewed by carbon contamination; Britain in those days was heated with soft coal, and the scientists of the day had not yet learned to isolate their experiments.

      4. I’ve noticed pretty much every single problem an engineer can run into in his or her day job, has likely already been solved about a hundred rates ago by some crazy researcher.

        The trick is knowing about it and where their papers got stashed.

    4. Ditto here. Dad spent 45 years in Chemical Engineering in the petrochemical field, ending with a small refinery that supplied asphalt across the western states. What he knows and has forgotten has never been learned by the newest graduates and they will never have access to that knowledge because engineers keep it all in their heads and the old ones used slide rules…

    5. Are you familiar with the book Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John D. Clark? You can find it at
      “There are a few texts which describe the propellants currently in use , but nowhere can he learn why these and not something else”

      “For I have discovered that he is frequently abysmally ignorant of the history of his own profession, and, unless forcibly restrained, is almost certain to do something which, as we learned fifteen years ago, is not only stupid but is likely to result in catastrophe…. So I have described not only the brilliantly conceived programs of research and development, but have given equal time to those which, to put it mildly, were not so well advised. And I have told the stories of the triumphs of propellant research; and I have described the numerous blind alleys up which, from time to time, the propellant community unanimously charged, yapping as they went.”

      1. When I was around 12 I read a book that was essentially a collection of Robert H. Goddard’s lab notes over the course of about 10 years. He never denied the failures, but strove to find out the causes. His rockets steadily got bigger and better — which sometimes resulted in bigger and better failures. BOOM!
        Garibaldi: “No boom?”

        Sinclair: “No boom.”

        Ivanova: “No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There’s always a boom tomorrow.

    6. not that I’m an expert, but I do have now close to 18 years (wait, wut?!!) experience doing what I do, and just this past month, has it sunk in at work that: I am the only person who knows how to do my job. Well, as the chemical engineer who is responsible for monitoring the department says “Yeah, I could do it, but there ain’t no way I am gonna.” because the institutional stupidity of out company is just that bad, and well, he’d be the highest paid “Machine Operator 3” ever.
      So, of course, they might have me train a moron to try and do what I do. My boss wants a hire, but that would work too well, and well, gotta save money because we have Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in equipment being unused because it was put together by an an engineer who had no practical experience, on orders from someone who made a decision with even less knowledge and experience than he has based on the word of someone who literally said, “We gotta try this first to prove it won’t work.” when the aforementioned chemical engineer said “Why are you doing it that way? It’s not going to work well at all and you are ignoring the years of experience we have here doing exactly this.”
      This got fobbed off to me, and the only reason it works at all is I stole parts and have made things to make it less a waste of my time. I then work on it to the detriment of my own actual work until they get yelled at because suddenly I am $2.7 million past due, and oh yeah, on vacation.
      My boss (he’s been either a lead or Supe, now Building Manager over me for most of my tenure here… 2016-now) said “If you ever quit, give me a 5 minute head start! I am running away!”

    7. Someone should probably explain the concept of time binding, and why it’s so valuable. Without it we’re probably not much better off than H. habilis. And that is how a civilization dies.

    8. There’s something C. S. Lewis makes much of in certain places, picked up from Owen Barfield and J. R. R. Tolkien, called alternately Chronological Snobbery or the Tyrranny Of The New, iirc. It’s a premise assumed in Modernist thought and culture that, like successive species in Darwinian æons, ideas that are now ascendant are assumed to be Superior To those of older vintage which they displaced, now considered Justly Extinct by virtue of being outmoded.

      Nowhere in this mental evolution, it seems, are the relative values of each thought weighed meaningfully against each other; one is older and inconvenient, the other is new and it affirms some pet notion, so the old is disregarded and called “disproven.” Because our thought-experts told us it was so.

  7. I spent a lot of my reading time back in June reading work by Francis Pryor. He’s an English archaeologist who also raised/ raises sheep and farms. He works outside academia, which probably explains why he is able to pull so many non-academic observations and specialties together, blend them, and make them into a readable (and viewable) package for the public. You might almost call him an environmental archaeologist a la environmental history, because of what he pulls together, then tests (as best he and others can). He’s not an “expert” in the sense of a tenured professor of archaeology, but dang, can he make sense of the land and how people used/use it.

    When I was in grad school I was informed that I would stop reading outside my specialty because that’s what you had to do as an academic historian, in order to “keep up with the field.” I can’t. I’m not an expert. I’m an academic omnivore, meaning I nibble on all sorts of fields. Which is one of several reasons why I’m outside the ivory tower and likely to stay here. rumples tail in a shrug I’ve found a niche, for now.

    1. TXRed, creativity thrives in cross pollination and withers in closed environments that are designed to “prevent infection” as it were. Ben Franklin was a printer and popular writer, not a scientist in that new field of electricity. There’s a place for engineers who apply science and math to known problems with known solutions. Go your own way and thrive!

    2. Hmm. Reminds me of the physical anthropology prof that I took a class from (when briefly interested in a career as an archeologist) who mentioned studies by certain specialists who observed current hunter-gather types in the wild; campsites, shelters, hunting tactics, making and using weapons (the Arctic, I think – also South America) and used those insights to make sense of neolithic sites.

      1. My archaeology professor notoriously found Native American fish camp sites by walking along the river, looking for modern people congregating at their “secret” walleye fishing sites. (Obviously this only works if the river’s course hasn’t changed much in 200-500 years, but the rivers around there were mostly that kind of river for most of their courses.)

        Of course, this also meant that he had to explain himself very carefully at times, as people are protective of their secret fishing holes.

        It’s also pretty common for archaeologists today (or a few years back) to do a lot of “living history” manufacture of things like flint tools and points, atlatls and spears, typical crafts, and so on. Because if you know something about the challenges of what people were doing, you can understand what you’re looking at. Also stuff like deliberate destruction versus accidents, waste materials, etc.

        1. More people engage in “living history” than many people realize: anyone who knits, crochets, embroiders by hand, makes their own tools through either machining or blacksmithing…

          …or, like me, sews on a 124 year old machine, which I learned how to do by reading, and by watching youtube videos.

          The woman who taught me to knit was in her late eighties, and had been a knitter since she was a child. Learned from her mother, and didn’t teach her daughter because she wasn’t interested. I’ve passed the knowledge on to my daughter.

          The knowledge needed is…scattered, but there.

          Academic experts are, by and large, overeducated idiots who are academic experts because they lack the capacity to thrive in the real world–academia is, by and large, the sheltered workshop for the people with IQ scores for normal function, and a total lack of sense.

          Real experts are too busy doing to be able to loudly pontificate about theories that nobody is permitted to question.

          1. I, too, make use of old machines and historical materials to knit socks on a Circular Sock Knitting Machine from Quebec made in 1850. Still works perfectly, minus my mistakes!

            1. I just use double pointed needles for socks…when I make them. Turning the heel is a massive pain in the rear.

              My great-grandmother’s sewing machine is still in perfect working order (after I replaced the belt and oiled it good–a total expenditure of $17 to fix), and VERY capable…It chews through multiple layers of denim without a hiccup. Try that with a sub-$200 machine.

          2. Academic experts are, by and large, overeducated idiots who are academic experts because they lack the capacity to thrive in the real world–academia is, by and large, the sheltered workshop for the people with IQ scores for normal function, and a total lack of sense.

        2. Oooh, the Black Powder Clubs!

          (I think they had other nicknames, the guys in fringe-buckhide coats, coon-skin hats, who did black powder shooting and EVERYTHING ELSE.)

          …probably the single biggest insult to history is when the feds banned Heading, required everybody to report where they got their arrow heads…and then a bunch of the Very Obviously Grave places “happened to” get raided before the Feds got there to protect it.

          Pretty sure my grandfather died pissed off about that. After the third time one of the crew reported a grave-site with arrowheads on it, and it was horrifically cleaned out before the archeologists could show up, they shut up.

          Which means nobody knew anything about the ton of arrowhead collecting knowledge, because it was illegal, and they might charge you even on heads you found before it became illegal, because idiots and also obviously in bed with grave robbers.

    3. The thing I’ve found disconcerting is how most history- and historical literary fields are being taught by people who don’t know the languages used, or if they do, who don’t know the literature that their subjects would have read. I’m constantly getting suspicious of phrases and searching them out through Google Books, and finding references that would have been obvious to the people who originally wrote and read these things. But they’re not obvious to me, because I’m “unlettered” by their standards. And I have no idea what I’m missing in the way of indirect references.

      Just the other day, Fr. Hunwicke (who was a classics major back in the day, when they made people work like dogs and learn things) was talking about how Ovid’s Metamorphoses is uproariously funny.

      I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone talking about Ovid as if it were Pratchett, probably because David Drake is about the only person I know who is deeply interested in Ovid. But it explains a lot about why even Church Fathers don’t seem to have thought Ovid was dangerously pagan, if you were supposed to be getting a laugh out of it.

      It’s just frustrating, though, because who is carrying on the learning tradition of over two thousand years? Not many.

      1. C.S. Lewis, in his academic persona, suggested the ideals of chivalry came from reading Ovid’s Ars Armorica as a serious guide to courtship rather than the sarcastic satire it actually was. Because later scholars took everything written by “the ancients,” very seriously.

    4. I think this is why Victor Davis Hanson is so on target. He apparently lives outside academia, and has a family ranch. Hard to believe BS when you are trying to run a family farm.

      1. The PhDs(and above) I know/knew who aren’t a pain, are either farmboys, or come from a family where they worked most of their life before happening to get a degree. Mom’s step-uncle was a physicist, but worked to feed the family as a kid and then to pay for college. Used to help the local hardware store at inventory because he could do math in his head faster than someone with an adding machine (my dad used to lend a hand before graduating and going off to the Navy). In Texas, “The Doc” who held the patents on a lot of my current work related stuff, was an old farm boy (hunted everything from Rabbit to Moose with a .30-06 because he could only afford one rifle “You just gotta know what loads to use”), as was the chemical engineer who worked with him (his parent’s farm, and the road named after the family is just a few miles up the road from me now . . . while not quite a PhD, because he stopped schooling to go to work after getting married) . The second “Doc” we had in Texas grew up on a ranch.
        Now, the little rich girl from Ecuador, was a right pain, but I made her cry when the boss took my experience over her Excel Spreadsheet.

    5. I loved him on Time Team. He always described himself as a fenman, or a hippy standing in a field. He hated the Romans and loved the Bronze Age, what’s not to like.

  8. My father was a research biologist, and as my daughter says “scarily brilliant.” Daddy was a scientist through and through – and had no truck with trendy idiocies like “climate change” and “organic” this and that. He loved the study of ecology – real ecology, how things in the natural world are interconnected and act on each other in unexpected days. He passed away in 2010, but I can only imagine how he would erupt over some of the bogus science the so-called “experts” try to pass off on us now.
    And agreed – the fecal matter will impact the rotating air-foil by autumn. Stock up and prepare to hunker down.

  9. I spent much of my time trying to be a Renaissance man in my younger days, but I look absolutely awful in those skin tight hose and poofie shorts they wore. I did almost buy a baldric once… The other guys you always saw wearing those huge robes obviously did not live in a climate equivalent to the mid-south.

      1. Depends on the huge robe. I found that a lot of medieval clothing in layers was actually pretty good insulation from outside heat, keeping me cool and shady in the middle of a Pennsic summer. There are a lot of tent tricks with dark and light cloth colors, too, and of course it helps to have a substantial summer hat.

        That said, Pennsic also taught me the value of a siesta in the shade, even in Pennsylvania in the hills, and all those vinegar-based sports drinks that our pioneer forefathers and foremothers used to drink in the summers.

        1. A nice, wet cloth one can take off and swing around for natural AC is helpful, too.

    1. You can get some interesting clues from coatume history. English costume went from relatively light, drapy tunics to fur-lined overdresses and velvets with multiple petticoats in a couple of centuries.

        1. Roll it back a little. The first temp drop was the early 1300s, then the Big Dip hit in the late 1500s-mid 1600s. (The first one is what set things up for the Black Death, to an extent. Western Europe went on short rations for 20 years or so because they lost crops, then farmland, and then a new disease appeared. Bad combo!)

          1. If you note the date that the global warming alarmists use, their start point for “catastrophic man-made warming just happens to coincide with the end of the Little Ice Age and the very natural warming that was part of the rebound from that. We are still quite cooler than the Holocene Optimum and other warm periods during this geologic era, all of which occurred well before the invention of the internal combustion engine.

            Of course the alarmism has nothing to do with climate or the environment and everything to do with obtaining and keeping power over others. The same totalitarian socialist “solutions” were their proposed “remedy” in the 1970s for the soon to come ice age.

            More proof that the high gas prices and strangulation of production are a deliberate policy:


            Team HarrisBiden is trying to shut down 40% of US domestic oil production at the exact same time they are demanding that gas companies magically lower the price of gas. They intend to impose their Green Leap Forward by “any means necessary” and they seek to wreck things so badly that even if they are able to be removed from power things will be so broken that it will be very difficult to put things back together.

            1. And in the meantime, they are shipping part of the SPR to China.

              “It turns out the oil being released isn’t for us. It’s going to India and China. According to Reuters, and we’re quoting, “more than 5 million barrels of oil that were part of a historic U.S. emergency reserve released to lower domestic fuel prices were exported to Europe and Asia last month.” The piece continues “cargo of SPR, crude (oil from our reserves) we’re also headed to the Netherlands into a Reliance refinery in India, an industry source said. A third cargo (buckle your seatbelt) headed to China.” To China!

              So, as gas prices set records in this country, as American citizens who were born here and vote and pay taxes cannot afford to fuel their own cars, the Biden administration is selling off our emergency oil reserves to China. ”


                1. Exactly.


                  “Turner also said the decision highlights the Biden family’s “relationship with China.” Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, is tied to Sinopec. In 2015, a private equity firm he cofounded bought a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec Marketing. Sinopec went on to enter negotiations to purchase Gazprom in March, one month after the Biden administration sanctioned the Russian gas giant.”

  10. Oh, yeah, the ‘Experts’. Like Joe Biden, the ‘Foreign Policy Expert’? Fauxi, the ‘Public Health Expert’? They’ve all done SUCH a great job!

    So now what have we got from all these ‘Experts’?

    The President is a mumbling, bumbling, stumbling buffoon, the Vice President believes her inane blather is profound wisdom, the Department Of Justice delivers nothing but injustice, the Secretary Of State is clueless about international diplomacy, the Secretary Of Defense orchestrated the worst military debacle in our history, the Transportation Secretary knows nothing about transportation, the Energy Secretary knows nothing about energy and the Treasury Secretary knows nothing about economics.

    I think we’ve had about all the ‘Experts’ we can stand.
    They’re the Experts! They only sound stupid to you because you’re not as Educated as they are.

    1. I recall a fellow who described expert thus:

      “Ex-pert… ex.. spurt… an ex is a has-been and a spurt is a drip under pressure.”

    2. Hmm as far as I can tell the only thing the Turnip in Chief is good at is stealing from and really screwing up his assorted children. Ashley and Hunter are both crazier than a bag of cats (no offense to cats mind you). Unclear what Beau was like, Amy only got to ~1 so had not had time to be screwed up. Given Ashley and Hunter ar from 2 different Mothers, I’m thinking nurture not nature is the issue. Of course if you get your information from the MSM you’d think it the Biden family was Father Knows Best, not the unending charlie foxtrot it appears to be.

    3. “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to f#@k things up” and [paraphrased] “If you ever want to know what the best foreign policy stance is, take the exact opposite of the one Joe is for and you can’t go wrong” are from Joe’s own party.

  11. Their evil will be defeated. Even if it kills most of us, we will win. Those who dare to reign over us have no depth of mind, knowledge, or morality. When the SHTF, they will starve and no one will listen to them any longer. However, the remnants of mankind will plod along and may even thrive when the yoke is removed. The remaining few elderly who still have “renaissance-man” multi-field knowledge will become teachers and mentors to the remaining world of ignorant youth.

  12. “… Bugs pound per pound consume more material than cows” Wow! Thanks for that. I did not know that and I consider myself an expert on four things (and I’ll soon add another three to that)… AND… I can tell my children and grandchildren (when my children get around to having some), that “No. Hell no! I will not eat these bugs. Get me a nice cow steak… And… did you know that bugs..”

    Seriously, a good post. What I thought of when I read that line is the fact that God created this world for us to live in. He (sorry ladies, force of habit and stubbornness) told us what to eat and how to prepare it and how to live together. And now, these liars, scoundrels, megalomaniacs, and BLM/antifa thugz and dweebs, are trying to one-up God. I can’t wait for the smack down. It’s gonna be awesome. Best!

    1. He (sorry ladies, force of habit and stubbornness)

      I used to complain about that terminology when I was in my teens and twenties. I’m in my sixties now. I got over it.

    2. The supposed “advantage” to the bugs is that they can eat garbage or “recycled organics.”

      So can a pig or a chicken.

      1. Chickens eat bugs, too. They’re extremely good at it. Grandma used to let the chickens run in the garden until the vegetables got big enough for them to notice.

        What we got here is a bunch of Marie Antoinettes for the 21st century: “Let them eat bugs!”
        “A committee is a life-form with a dozen mouths, a dozen stomachs, and no brain.”

        1. Hah. We had some backyard chickens years ago, I remember once we were doing renos and pulled out the bench & sink in the laundry and found a nest of cockroaches. Like, a whole wall corner covered in them.

          Herded in the chickens, they had a blast chasing down roaches and chomping them down. Also were always happy to eat spiders too…

      2. Oh. heck – especially chickens. The peelings of fruit and veggies that they scarf down – amazing.
        Now that I have the back fence fixed, I have to to back to keeping a backyard flock again. Trouble is, they demolish everything green, also.

      3. “…they can eat garbage or “recycled organics…”

        So, since the FICUS, The Cameltoe and a few other wastes of oxygen qualify in both categories… 😉

    3. :raises hand in Beef Rancher kid:

      Bugs are good for something, though– they’re really good at taking organic (garbage) matter that may be questionable, and turning it into really good chicken feed, and you can probably use it for de-prion-ing the stuff that caused issues with Mad Cow in Europe.
      Obviously, cows would take a little more processing than chickens, as far as turning it into feed… not MUCH, but some.

    4. :puts on prim expression:

      The Great I Am has expressed desire to be addressed with the pronouns He/Him.

      Thus, we MUST, politely, go along.

      1. But who listens to the sort of people who put personal pronouns in their profiles? 😛

          1. Popeye: “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am!”
            God: “Stop cribbing off of Me.”

    5. Bugs are not food. Bugs are, at best, things food eats and, at worst, contaminants in food.

      1. I’ll grant possible exceptions for sea-bugs and novelty foods. (such as crickets in honey, I’ve seen those offered at Bible camps. 😀 )

  13. I’m not feeling too confident in the immediate future, or the ability of people to recognize the signs, or to know what to do when it’s upon them. If 2020 taught me anything, it was the ability of people to be selectively blind knows no limits, and the elites have taken that lesson as well.

    They’re not worried. They’re not panicking. They’ve got this and they know it.

        1. Peter comes from a completely other culture, and it’s shaped his analysis. What he predicts has befallen OTHER PLACES. Kind of. The place he came from for sure.
          BUT our conditions are completely different. I love him dearly, but there it is.

        2. Oh, I wasn’t talking about his post.

          They’re not worried. They’re not panicking. They’ve got this and they know it.

          1. I was just paraphrasing what BRM/Peter Grant said, based on his government contacts.

              1. > “Um…. WHAT government contacts? He doesn’t have any more than I do”

                Now, now, Sarah, don’t sell yourself short. I’m sure you’ve got a Fed or two here watching you. 😛

                  1. …and possibly advise capitulation because “They’ve got this and they know it.”

            1. Again, take in account Peter filters this through his experience in a totally different country.
              They don’t have this. They have no clue what they’re doing. And if all their dreams came true, they’d just fail harder and faster, because their system is unsustainable in the country that feeds other countries.
              Communism would not have survived if the US hadn’t misguidedly fed it.

          2. “ I still have contacts in the Department of Justice, dating back to my days as a prison chaplain. Some of those with whom I had contact in those days, in more than one federal agency, have now reached relatively senior rank. I spoke with a few of them last week, and every one confirmed that there seems to be an air of blithe confidence in the upper reaches of federal government bureaucracy that the Biden administration will be able to continue with its programs, no matter what happens in November. It’s being blatantly referred to as “business as usual, before and after November”.”

            1. Sure. Nice. I also have “contacts” of the same level.
              BULLSHIT. Yeah, the top is projecting confidence. They also think they maybe can steal again.
              But around the fridges there is a crispy air of “What the hell is frying?”
              No, they don’t have this. No, they don’t know what they’re doing. The confidence is the confidence of the delusional.
              They have NO clue what will hit them. And note I don’t mean electorally. They MIGHT manage to steal that. I DOUBT it, but they might.
              BUT even if they do, they won’t know what to do when famine hits. And most people don’t either. And it’s going to get sportive.

            2. EVERYTHING they’ve done has blown up in their faces. At this point, they’re whistling past the graveyard. If everything were going according to plan, we’d all be in masks, and locked up again.

            3. I’m sorry; was that supposed to suggest to me competent people in control of everything?

              Because what it actually suggests is airheads disconnected from reality. Which, what’d’you’know, just happens to match every other possible indicator of The Enemy’s current status.

              1. It could also reflect the fact that FICUS will still be in the White House after November. So if you assume that the Republicans aren’t willing to shut the government down again there isn’t going to be a lot of change in the agendas of the established agencies. I’m not sure that’s a safe assumption, but it isn’t an idiotic one.

                One of the things Republicans need to do if they take the House after November is make it clear to everyone that they aren’t in a position to fix things. They’ve just managed to get us out of the death spiral so we can put the “landing” in crash landing.

  14. In Holland, they want to shut down much of food production to reduce Nitrogen levels, of all things,,,Nitrogen making up 3/4 of the atmosphere and being a useful gas, not warming..Insane…Obvious agenda, population reduction and making people eat bugs…

    1. Grood Gief. In my misspent youth I wanted to be a chemical engineer, and studied nitrogen chemistry among many other things. About all that came of it was an article on chemical planetology for SF world-building purposes, which is probably still on the web somewhere. I certainly don’t claim that makes me a politically influential credentialed expert…but when the hoary dihydrogen monoxide hoax can still get traction at an environmental conference as it did a few years ago, I don’t think I would want to be one of those anyway. For some of more zealous environmental activists, (not to name names, but the initials of Greta Thunberg come to mind, as well as anyone who takes her seriously) their arrogance is only matched by their ignorance.

        1. Thank you, between this and the Road to Serfdom condensed versions link, there’s been some particularly useful links in this round of comments.

  15. “unholy marriage of “expertise” and bureaucracy is dissolved” — it is (indeed) an unholy alliance!

    T S Eliot:
    Where is the Life we have lost in living?
    Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
    Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

    (Choruses from ” The Rock ” 1934)

  16. “But in more knowledge-based and stable fields, a lot of people my age have valuable and important experience. Perhaps not on how to get grants from government (that apparently changes too) but on how to do the thing. I’m not disparaging them. There are a lot of professionals who know “the right way to do x”.

    A lot of this was already lost between my parents’ generation and mine, so mine was thrown into the world knowing a lot of high fallutin’ blather, and none of the basics of whatever field. ”

    Oh, holy crap. You pushed my button again.

    I saw a t-shirt the other day that encapsulates my “Old Guy” experience these days. “That’s what I do. I fix stuff, and I know things.”

    Because 66 years of getting by with broken shit has taught me the myriad different ways to fix broken shit, or paper-over the breaks so it’ll last just long enough, or how to get the rest of the day out of it with duct tape. Or how to do the job anyway without the busted junk you were using.

    Young Relative often marvels that I spend so much money on random fittings and tools. “Holy crap Old Man Phantom, that thing costs a hundred bucks! Can’t we just use duct tape?” That’s where Knowing Things becomes a curse, because I -know- the duct tape is good enough. This time. But I also Know that it will crap out halfway through the second use, and it will be used more than twice. Just like I Know that I don’t want to be fixing that stupid thing again, because it involves bending down and kneeling, and I don’t bend or kneel real good anymore. So I spent the hundred bucks, fixed the damn thing properly, and that’s the end of it.

    Which Young Relative forgets the next time That Thing is in use. The thing didn’t break and get their attention is all they know, right?

    Young Relative also doesn’t appreciate the chain of tooling and experience it takes to do things sometimes. Because we “just have” all the complicated and expensive shit to do Job X lying around gathering dust, and the old man “just knows” how to do it.

    Case in point, my far-too-big mower. People thought I was crazy to buy 3 acres 20 years ago. “Whadda ya need all that for?” I heard it quite a bit. (Comes Covid, I suddenly stopped hearing it. Instead I hear offers from people who want to buy my too-big place.) Then I bought the immense lawn mower with the 8′ swath because its the country and you gotta cut the grass. “Whadda ya need that huge thing for?!” I hear. “So expensive! Just get a little riding mower, that’s good enough!” Yeah, but I Know the guy next door has one of those and it takes him 2 days to cut less than what I do in three hours. He likes to be outside away from the ‘Little Woman’, so for him that’s a feature. I like being done in three hours.

    I got 15 years out of that far-too-big machine before it broke in a very big way a few weeks ago. So I took it apart, welded it all together and now all I’m waiting for is a radiator hose. (Thereby hangs a tale as well, G.C. Duke Lawn Equipment in Burlington Ontario told me that hose costs $595.95 and takes two weeks to get. I found it elsewhere (tractor store) for $13.00, two to three day delivery. Same hose. This is not the first time they’ve done something like that. Mr. G.C. Duke or whomever it may concern will be getting a letter from me with twenty-seven 8-by-10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one is.)

    Young Relative wondered briefly how it happened that Chez Phantom has all the stuff it takes to cut steel plate, weld it, grind it, shape it, paint it, and hold it up while doing all the above. Then said Young Relative looked up All The Things on the interwebs to make sure the old man was Doing It Right. Grudgingly admitted that yes, the old man appeared to Know what was what, or was at least able to MacGyver the sketchy bits.

    Fact is, although I have two university degrees, I know and can do all this crap because of A) being poor for a long time and B) having worked every job there is in life. (Except accounting. I don’t number well.) That’s why my machine is going to be good for another X years before I have to finally retire it and get a new one. It’s retirement will most likely happen when I can’t bend down to fix things anymore but I can still drive the machine.

    What’s all this got to do with experts?

    Case in point, hospitals and the WuFlu. Once upon a time the head of Infection Control at most hospitals was an older lady in her 50s+ who had Been There and Done That. Head of Physical Therapy likewise would be a woman of sufficient years that she might have started working during the Polio epidemic. Those crusty old broads Knew Things. They knew every goddamn thing. They’d seen it countless times. I met one in New York during a school rotation. Meaner than hell, but that woman could make a chronic pain patient comfortable with nothing but pillows. I was privileged to learn that pillow trick from her. No degree, by the way. Just experience.

    They’re all gone now. Head of Infection Control is some 30 year old ex-cheerleader who is really good at office politics and has a Ph.D. in Nursing. (Just pause to savor that notion, Ph.D. in…. Nursing.) She’s an Expert! She knows EVERYTHING. Because Ph.D. right? So she knows enough to shut up and not question things when the official word descends from on-high that paper procedure masks will be worn to prevent the spread of an aerosol flu virus.

    The old lady would have had a conniption, because she Knows that a procedure mask against aerosol virus is like a picket fence against mosquitos and it won’t prevent jack. The young expert doesn’t ask questions or say anything. Because she knows they pay her to go along, not to control infections. She’s an expert in going-along.

    Now imagine airline mechanics and air-frame engineers. The old guys all left. Okay? Expand that to every realm of life. It’s going to be an interesting next few years.

    1. Who do you think made mcas stall protection

      The same generation that thinks airplanes are like cell phones and need features. Although the old guys can get that way too

      1. The Reader has some insight into Boeing from his working life. MCAS didn’t happen because the engineers ran amok with features. MCAS happened because Boeing’s marketing department knew that the MAX was competitively challenged against Airbus from it’s inception and so had the beancounters in corporate make ‘no training required for previous 737 pilots’ a requirement. Along with moving the center of gravity of the airplane in order to graft more fuel efficient engines on it, the ‘no training requirement’ guaranteed the need for MCAS. The implementation however…

        The Reader has noted here before that Boeing’s management is by far the worst of all of the Aerospace and Defense majors in the country. It has been true since the Boeing / McDonald Douglas merger in the 90s.

        1. The initial operating envelope was high speed, high aoa operation. That environment, where commercial aircraft are not intended to be regularly operated, was why the addition of mcas was initially required and why it was seen as low risk. That could have been caged easily so that it couldn’t fail in the manner it did. The system was well understood at those types of limits as its predecessor one if the few things not wrong with the kc-46. It was the allowance of the system to activate at low speed and to reactivate that caused the two crashes.

  17. The language fails us. Or, more likely, the people who turned “liberal” from a belief in liberty to a belief in its opposite have sabotaged it. Expertise is valuable within its field. Science is a great method for learning the truth of the world around us. But any expert worthy of the name is painfully aware of how much they don’t know. Any scientist I respect can show me the evidence and welcomes questions rather than hiding behind their Ph.D. and lab jacket.

    The problem isn’t expertise per se. The problem isn’t science per se.

    The problem is hubris. Hubris leads to Nemesis.

    Temper knowledge with wisdom. Be always aware of what we don’t yet know. Resist the temptation to replace evolved systems in all their complexity with your own intelligent design — your design probably isn’t as intelligent as you think. Failure is not just an option; it is an inevitable part of the process. If your plan assumes you won’t have failures — you need a new plan.

  18. Here’s another expert for you– the “expertise” is TWO, yes TWO degrees from MIT….yet no experience other than working for an anti-Nuclear organization. Add to that his (I’m not going to call his non-binariness “they” or “them”) penchant for cross dressing and fetish play, and I’m sure that this bozo knows what he’s doing.
    And that, basically, is trolling the non-Left in the USA.

    1. Just discovered he/she/it (the urge to elide.those pronouns is strong) has old tweets defending an international man/boy sex ring.

      1. I also read about its defense of man/boy relations. What an embarrassment for the entire country.

    2. The “puppy play” guy? Yeah, he wore a real nice scarlet pantsuit and pumps his first day on the job. Super classy.

      Obviously the strongest candidate for “seat-polishing rubber stamp wielder”.

  19. The Planners have a long and largely disreputable history, dating back long before the current Progressive Establishment. Yes, sometimes, they manage a genuine success; the spread of public sanitation and potable water are a fine example. In most cases their successes were some sort of network – there’s a PhD. dissertation in that somewhere – and some fundamental societal need: Sanitation, water, transportation, power (to do work, not political), communication. The Planning of cities has fascinated to Elites probably forever, and has seldom come off well. Management of anything more complicated than getting goods from point A to point B – such as ‘The Environment’ – tends to produce debacles like the spread of kudzu or the “Ground Nuts Scheme”. ‘Public Housing’ is a field full of disasters, going back to the Roman Empire if not further. And in fields that have shown successes, the Planners (drat them) frequently continue to spend vast amounts of energy and treasure on ‘solutions’ whose time has past. Look at the history of canals in the United States, or the Progressives fondness for commuter light rail that nobody wants or will use.

    It’s important to remember that our current crop of Elitist idiots are not particularly special. They fail at things that all Elites fail at.

    1. As one with some minor association with the field of urban “planning”. I have come to realize that urban planners are the most dangerous of professions. In order to do it correctly, you would have to know what cannot be known. The future.
      When Heinlein missed world war II, a year before it started, it says “here be dragons” would be sage advise for “planners.” Dallas during one of the oil booms built a lot of office space that sat vacant for years, since by the time the next boom came, computers had arrived, meaning that your “office” building was useless. Most are now residential towers since they did not need higher ceilings.

      For 30 years I tried to help folk navigate the urban planning jungle. Translating from planner to English, explaining that a negative declaration was a good thing.,. Then it was what you know, now it is who you know. Lobbyists are the new “navigators”. They know nothing, but have contacts. That is why Boeing moved to DC.

      When people ask me if I am a professor, I tell them no. Professors know more and more about less and less, until they end up knowing nothing. I am always trying to learn what I don’t know, which is why I have collected 306 paradoxes. My “hobbies” are quantum mechanics, geology, astronomy, history, geography, theology and as needed. Very often reading a book on a seemingly unrelated field brings insight into another.

        1. If you have Prime, or mooch off a Prime-user’s account, the old “Julia and Jacques” tv show seems to include a lot of good, basic advice on taking chickens, fish and pork loins apart into their component pieces. As someone working on overcoming a distaste for working with raw, bone-in meat, I found it reassuring, anyway.

          1. I have been buying whole pork loins from Costco, slicing them into smaller roasts and chops, and freezing them in vacuum-sealed bags – two chops, or however many serve your family in an individual bag. No bones to deal with, and a nice chunk’o’meat for a good price. Also, when available, whole salmon sides, and slicing them up into good portion sizes in a vacuum-sealed bag.
            I really, really urge acquisition of a vacuum-sealer. The first one I purchased was at a yard sale for $5 and it lasted for about five years.

  20. I am a Quality Assurance professional, and I have worked quality in many different fields over the years. Biomedical, aerospace, software, hard manufacturing, etc. The sentence that causes me to want to rip what little hair I have left out by the roots? “But (insert name of field here) is different.”. I have learned that the principles of error distribution, design control, process control, and human fallibility are the same, regardless of the end product.

  21. As my family has said for many, many years, this is the definition of an ‘expert’.

    An ‘ex’ is a has-been.
    A ‘spurt’ is a drip, under pressure.

  22. I did not know that bugs consumed more than cows per pound. I’ll definitely keep that one to use on the green-tards.

    istr that termites produce more methane than cows, although I don’t know if that’s also per pound or “merely” overall production.

    1. It makes intuitive sense though: for all their size cows don’t do much of anything. Insects on the other hand are writhing chitin madhouses.

  23. It is fortunate that reality is not determined by popularity contest. If it were then loss would be guaranteed; because the single most widely — borderline universally — held political position is that everyone not on the left will be crushed and humiliated with no hope of success or even reprieve.

  24. I have had a bunch of jobs in my life. From social worker to convenience store manager to sales of all kinds to IT consultant. And now I have a bunch of goats. I know a lot about goats, and mohair, and spinning and felting and dyeing fibers. Only been doing this for 15 years. But gosh, I finally feel like I know something useful, at age 69. If I’m pretty knowledgeable about anything, it is angora goats and their mohair.

  25. Back when I was much younger and I noticed that people in their 30’s didn’t have a clue, I considered writing a book I would title “How to do Things.” Now I suppose such a book might be titled, “How to Do for Dummies.” I had a neighbor whose daughter was going away to college and had never been allowed to do cooking, cleaning or laundry. This because her loving mother didn’t want her to bother her in the kitchen. I later learned there were many like her. How were they supposed to cope at college? Or in life in general?
    Well, we know it only got worse after that, and now look where we are. We have people who have never had a job, never written a check or kept any king of accounts who vote! They also protest and need safe places to hide from the reality of life.
    As a depression baby from a poor family we learned early on how to do what it takes to keep a house running, helping a dear mother who had her hands full. I still can’t make Spanish Rice like Mother did. and I don’t iron anymore unless it is an absolute necessity, I don’t have to do my housework, but then I have earned the right and the age to have help. But I know how to do it all and sometimes I still do it.
    I still like the feeling of a job well done. I’m afraid many have never learned to, or have had that feeling.More’s the pity

    1. This because her loving mother didn’t want her to bother her in the kitchen. I later learned there were many like her. How were they supposed to cope at college? Or in life in general?


      Every time I have the kids “help” in the kitchen, and it takes three to six times as long as doing it on my own, I remind myself that they do need to learn how to do stuff.

      1. That time will more than pay for itself once they get good and can help for real, though.

        1. It is a whole lot more fun with the “help” even if it takes longer and is a lot messier.

          If they have been “hlp” with chores, even if it is with a fake mower, plastic rakes and shovels, popping head “vacuum”, etc., when it comes time when it is really chores, they are a lot less vocal about helping. Or maybe that is an only child syndrome. No one to whine about not doing their fair share or whose turn it is.

          I haven’t grilled anything for decades. That is dad and son’s job. I don’t make pancakes and rarely make french toast (I can’t eat them anyway so …). Son wants some, he makes them. I haven’t cooked bacon or eggs in a long time, that is father/son bonding time.

          Haven’t done anyone’s else’s laundry, now for 10 years. Hubby took over his when he retired and I didn’t (he also did the cleaning, at least until I retired). Son started doing his own laundry at 11, for the Family merit badge, I never took it back. Had to take back kitty litter duty when the brat left for college.

        2. :waggles hands:
          Eldest is 12, hasn’t happened yet.

          Has worked for house chores, kind of, part of the time, though.

    2. My great grandmother didn’t want that until the Spanish Influenza hit. My grandmother knew how to cook oatmeal but nothing else and was the only ambulatory member of the family.

      After, she taught her how to cook.

  26. Nobody is an expert in another man’s life.

    That should be enough, but I can go on. People at the top of a bureaucracy aren’t experts in whatever subject that bureaucracy is supposed to deal with, they’re experts in climbing the bureaucracy. To be a true expert in something you need to actually enjoy that subject, it needs to be something you do and learn about when you don’t have to. But as you climb the bureaucratic ladder you spend less time dealing with the actual subject and more time dealing with the people dealing with the actual subject, and eventually your days are consumed by dealing with the people dealing with the people dealing with the people who deal with the actual subject. Outside the occasional dog and pony show, Anthony Fauci hasn’t set foot in a research lab since people were wearing bell-bottoms unironically. He might, might, read some journals to keep abreast of the field, but those will be selected out of habit to conform to his own views. You’d be better off asking a rather bright college senior about the subject. At least he wouldn’t have his mind made up about the prestige of various journals.

    Finally, Appeal to Authority is a logical fallacy. Not just when you’re citing an authority out of context or the authority is speaking outside their area of expertise. Always. Because authorities are humans and humans are sometimes wrong, even in a field they know a lot about. Hence the scientific method. You don’t just take Newton or Pasteur or Einstein’s word for it, you go check for yourself.

    1. Yeah, idjit planners that don’t have a clue how shit works. None of their Perfect Plans take inflexible reality into account.
      When reality doesn’t conform to your theories, it’s not the universe that’s wrong.

  27. I don’t need to know everything. I’m not a God, nor do I need to be.

    I just need to know enough to handle my subjects, and enough around the subject matter so that I can tell when somebody is trying to feed me a line of Barbara Streisand. Beyond that, division-of-labor is very important, and I can divide with the best of them.

    1. I want to know everything, but the more I learn, the more I’m aware of that I don’t know.

  28. Jerry Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy provides many insights into what is happening. The core issue is that more people are working for government than private industry. Government unions are major contributors to political campaigns.This means that the main constituents of Congress is the employees of the government.

    I believe that we need a fourth branch of government, a Lean branch, to excise and eliminate government programs that have achieved their goals or failed. Lean will be staffed by the most avaricious bureaucrats that DC can muster. Lean will do it’s job because it will only get budget from those agencies and programs it shuts down.

    1. I’ve considered just having Congress authorize a program and open an account for donations, but not letting it have the power to fund it through taxation. Let the people who care about the issue decide for themselves how much to fund it with their own money, and if no one’s willing to pay for it then the government just isn’t allowed to do it.

      In other words, switch from taxpayers to voluntary funders and let the funders act as a fourth branch.

      1. I read a science fiction story in Analog long ago. Income taxes were simplified down to one page that took about 5 minutes to fill out (Hey, I said it was science fiction). Then there was another page where you allocated your tax money, deciding which government agencies got how much of it. Any bureau that got no money was shut down.
        Today, every child in America is born $91,000 in debt.

        1. I’ve heard that suggestion too. While I still think taxes should be abolished altogether if possible, I’d consider that to be the next best thing.

          I’m in.

  29. Jerry Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy provides many insights into what is happening. The core issue is that more people are working for government than private industry. Government unions are major contributors to political campaigns.This means that the main constituents of Congress is the employees of the government.

    I believe that we need a fourth branch of government, a Lean branch, to excise and eliminate government programs that have achieved their goals or failed. Lean will be staffed by the most avaricious bureaucrats that DC can muster. Lean will do it’s job because it will only get budget from those agencies and programs it shuts down.

  30. Experts exist, and are valuable, but the proper judges of who is an expert are the public, and their customers.

    One of the key tests for expertise is ‘am I better off ignoring this yahoo?’ If you are, they are not an expert.

    If you have problem that costs you money, and paying someone to fix it is less trouble than ignoring it, or doing it yourself, and that someone delivers without a huge hassle, for less than it costs you, and better than you would have done, they are an expert.

    We called in a plumber once. I was absolutely correct in noticing a certain matter, and concluding that it was a problem. I was hilariously wrong in diagnosing the cause, and guessing at the solution. That plumber was a real expert.

    The pseudo-intellectuals who so often self-proclaim expertise on the basis of ‘muh credentials’, are very often not expert. Because arrogance and over-confidence are a pain to deal with, and it is easy to take ‘But I have a PhD’ to the point where a) no ability can be worth it b) one actually does not* have any ability to speak of.

    *A PhD only really proves a narrow slice of knowledge. A dissertation is a single project, and it more or less shows that you did the project. Experience is specialized, and does /not/ prove that you can do every project within a broad specialty competently. The people who use a PhD as a hammer against ‘the rubes’ are screwing over their own ability to do anything. If you cannot learn anything from anyone, you cut yourself off from the learning you need on the next project where your experience leaves you basically ignorant of a bunch of relevant things. Which is all future projects, unless you do the same ones over and over.

  31. This is off-topic, but have a vocabulary question for you guys.

    Is there a term for protests that fall between “completely peaceful” and “riot?” For when you’re committing relatively minor acts of force like trespass or blocking traffic, but not the really bad stuff like looting, burning and attacking people?

    Yeah, I know, the obvious joke here is “mostly peaceful.” But I’m serious. We’ve seen so many protests/riots over the last few years that the lack of a good descriptor has become frustrating.

    1. Demonstration? Sit-in? Been a while since I heard that one.

      Occupy was popular for a while.
      It’s dark here. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  32. Speaking of expertise in nothing, Sarah, did you see the stupidity that Marianne Williamson said about the Bruen decision?

  33. I had a supervisor once whose dad had worked in one of the premier WWII production plants. His background was as a toolmaker. In those days the arc from apprentice to journeyman to master toolmaker was at least 15 years on the job. The college educated engineers would sit at their desks and design these really clever parts that would perform 3 or 4 functions at once and replace a handful of old parts. Management wisely required them to run them past my supervisor’s dad before OKing them for production, and as often as not he would tell them that it was a really clever idea, the only problem is that, given the machines and processes available to them, the part was impossible to manufacture, or it would take more materials and process time than the parts it replaced.

    It is also said that the reason that Kelly Johnson at the Lockheed Skunk Works was able to work miracles such as producing the U-2 spy plane in just 18 months and $3.5 million under budget, was that not only was he a brilliant aeronautical engineer, but that he had started out as a tool designer, and therefore had an intimate knowledge of how long and how hard it would be to make any particular part.

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