Before I begin the post proper, an argh and an explanation on why I call this a catastrophic wave of change (As opposed to say the changes mid nineteenth to mid twentieth century.
The ARGH: Amazon on the last day of the year has invented a new and heretofore unheard of brand of stupid. Last night I uploaded all of Through Fire, ebook and paper. Normally they gag on paper. When it’s a rights thing, they gag on all of them. Today? Today they published the paper without a burp, but are holding fast on demanding I prove I’ve the right to publish myself to publish the ebook. Of ALL the stupid possible. Head>desk.
An explanation on why this wave of change is completely catastrophic. And I wouldn’t, btw, say it’s smaller than say beginning of twentieth century of 1950. It’s just less spectacular. It’s a wave of change hitting details of every day life.
Because the wave of the late nineteenth to first half of twentieth was spectacular. It was also the completion of a wave started somewhere circa the 1500s: a wave towards mass/specialized production; centralization; expertise; urbanization.
Yes, the cresting of the wave took us to what we consider “normal 20th century” but the push had been going that way for a long time. And while the end of it bore spectacular fruits in science and engineering, it had already gone sour in politics. The centralization had already reached the level where it wasn’t meeting market demand and was breaking more things than it helped, even as it completed.
The wave we’re going through really only started sometime in the eighties/nineties, and might have started first with politics because it had already gone sour. But it was reinforced by computing; e-commerce; an internet bursting with knowledge of all kinds.
And…. And it’s going the other way from the mass-industrialization wave: to personalization; to individuation; to non-site specific, and therefore — for the first time in history — anti-urbanization.
And before you say “But it’s just little stuff.” Yeah, it really is. It’s little stuff that affects every day life. What we know. What we think. What we do and how we do it.
If you think it’s not astonishing that I can talk to my friend and co-worker (well, same profession) across the world free of charge and not metered — also instantly — you aren’t my age. If you think it’s not astonishing that I can look up how to repair my specific brand of vacuum and do it in minutes, you weren’t born in the twentieth century.
But it’s more than that. For someone like me who always wanted to KNOW? There is graduate level education on history, on writing, on…. everything on line, and most of it is free.
This is untethering the “rule of experts” and frankly untying our institutions. It’s part of the reason we’ve gone Full Tilt Boogie clown world with the shoes on. The institutions can’t add anything sane, so they’re specializing in full-frontal crazy.
But…… But the wave goes on. People put things online teaching other people to do things. Right now I could take a month and become the world’s foremost expert in something in a few days. I could learn animation and start making short movies in two or three years (which I don’t have. Ah, to be twenty again!)
And parents are teaching their own kids. One of a couple (usually the woman) is going home to do that. And young people, starting with millenials (well, really with my generation, but we had fewer resources) really want to know “the right way to cook steak” or “the right way to iron a shirt.” They’re trying to re discover every day skills lost to the great wave of industrialization and specialization.
And people are moving out of the cities (granted, leaving them to be occupied by ferals, but that’s a political thing.) People are writing and doing art and writing music and making crafts, and teh Amazon stupid notwithstanding selling directly to a starving public. I also hear of doctors who let you pay in cash (we haven’t found one yet) and it’s cheaper. And there are probably a hundred other people doing workarounds for the non-functional systems.
Now, I know I’m not seeing all the “Green shots.” But if you look around in your own area, you’ll find them. The centralization and specialization movement was great for humanity and for the technology of its own time. Some things will always be cheaper and easier done on a grand scale. But not all. And it’s time to start walking a lot of it back. Which is happening.
Tomorrow — yes, I know I inverted the order of promised posts. Deal — and appropriately for New Years, we’ll be talking about to do to prepare yourself for the future.
Because it’s coming at us fast, and while a lot of it is unknowable, and some will feel like pulling the rug from under your feet (all of 2020) there are things you can do to prepare and ways to remain flexible.
Be not afraid. The future is deep and long and the wave is going our way for once!
185 thoughts on “Green Shoots — Riding the Catastrophic Wave of Change, part VI”
The advantage of the city was always “that’s where things are”. For businessmen, commodities. For workers, jobs. For both, consumer goods.
White collar jobs frequently don’t require that anymore due to telecommuting. Andany of the white collar jobs that required direct interaction with the public (where living in a city might be useful) can/have been replaced by “full in the blank” forms. Many consumer goods are available from long-distance. This isn’t new, as the Sears Catalogue will attest. But the breadth of items available is bigger than it ever was before, and delivery is faster.
Not everything can be done away with, though. Some people still need to stay behind. Blue collar jobs require being on-site. The white collar employees might be halfway across the country. But if a router breaks, someone’s going to have to physically travel to where that router is located. Factories can’t occupy the heart of downtown (real estate is too expensive), but being on the outskirts can make it easier to find workers. Similarly, people trading commodities might be on the other side of the country. But to bring them in or out of the warehouse requires people on-site. Certain perishable goods might require consumers to live close to a city unless they want to pay exorbitant shipping rates.
And finally, if you like having the ability to pick between authentic Chinese, Thai, Afghani, or Indian food when choosing what to eat for dinner, you’re looking at a city.
My job has a number of people who are on-site and a number of people who are telecommuting. Since the job is school photography, you can guess who HAS to be on-site and who doesn’t.
My city is mostly a bedroom community for another larger city nearby, but that may finally be changing, since they’re trying to move the zoo here (and have gotten further than any other plans did, so that sounds good. My husband’s work is here—that’s why we’re here and not somewhere in the Pacific NW—but they are allowing a lot of work-from-home.
There’s a new hybrid type of life that doesn’t seem to be on the radar of most of the larger institutions. Folk who want to live where they want, with jobs that may not be anywhere nearby. Folk for whom telecommuting SHOULD be standard (glaring on behalf of someone I know with cerebral palsy who should be fully employed but often isn’t due to employers thinking that phone workers have to be on site.) Folk who can do awesome things in a place they can afford to live IF people would just realize they can work from where they are.
But this isn’t new either. All data centers are operated remotely. And if your datacenter can’t be operated 100% remotely then you need to fire every single person involved in that decision and replace them with people who have the barest shred of competence.
Yes, data centers can be operated remotely. And they have enough back-ups and redundant routes that losing a single router shouldn’t bring down the data center. But that doesn’t change the fact that you have a broken router, and someone needs to physically travel to the site and swap it out. Just because it’s not an emergency doesn’t change the fact that it needs to be done.
Especially since there is no redundancy that will survive never replacing the broken parts.
Hmm. Maybe robots? It’s going to be fixed locations and fixed parts, which limits the programming problem.
GF’s grandparents” farm is now covered by 5 datacenters totaling over a million square feet… place has maybe 75 parking spaces.
I’ve visited my employer’s colo site in the Iron Mountain Data Center (previously IO Data Center LLC) near Phoenix several times and I do not think I have ever seen more than two dozen cars in the parking lot. I sometimes wondered what the guards did to stay awake.
I am really surprised my last employer never eventually went to data center. Even the programming could have been done remotely, the way it worked. I know the company lost clients because the client wanted remote hosting. Company didn’t have either the people nor the hardware to do it ourselves. With a relationship with a server farm it could have been 100% done. I know why the prior owner didn’t. Software went from AS400 to windows servers in house. Prior owner didn’t want to lose control. Would not surprise me if the new owners eventually do this. (Along with India programming center. Already mumbling. Which opens a whole lot of other issues. Tracking down problems was often using actual data, snapshot, but still live data, and all that entails. It was interesting that suddenly all the employees had to under go stringent background checks along with finger printing. Was surprised not a requirement when I originally was hired given 100% clients were governmental contracts. In fact, although I brought my proof of citizenship my first day, it was never required. Background check requirement was after I retired. Not that I wouldn’t have trouble passing. But getting a good set of fingerprints from me, the one time it was done, federal job, was a challenge.)
You should see the fingerprint issues when it’s time to do/redo a CCL in the winter. FWIW, I normally set up the dehumidifier come October. It’s in the house, but hasn’t been used for more than an hour or so, and that’s largely to make sure it’s working. We’ve had some interesting dryness problems this winter.
It doesn’t help that my right hand had lots of issues with chemical exposure, starting in the late ’60s. Left hand is far better, but a couple of fingers on the right would impress an alligator. (Protip: Methylene Chloride might not be banned as a paint stripper, but it thinks rubber gloves are yummy. I don’t use it any more.)
We’re looking into getting CCL sometime. It will be interesting. I presume the local sheriff’s office is better at getting quality fingerprints than the remote site USFS clerk was. Even from small hands such as mine.
$SPOUSE got hers a couple of months after I did. The dry climate raises hob with skin issues, so finger prints are a sometimes difficult task.
I recently found a good solution for problems with dry skin. Just rub the finger you’re trying to get a print from on your forehead. That will put some skin oils onto your finger’s raised surfaces, making them connect with the glass on the scanner better. Your prints will show up a lot better. This worked really well for me recently.
LOL They use glass scanners? Last time I had my fingerprints done they were still using paper and ink … (mid-70’s, not when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth despite what my son says).
DE-humidifier in colder months?
arehave been warm and wettish (curse you, Algore and the cold effect!), with lots of fall rain and snow best described as Cascade Concrete. RH in the house could be 40-60%, with moisture absorbed by the wallboard and acting as a buffer. When the house gets damp, it stays damp.
This time, Oct-Nov was dry, early-mid December was dry and freaking cold, and the wet snowfalls haven’t kicked the indoor humidity much above 35% and occasionally 20%.
Our summers are supposed to be dry (arid, not quite desert, but that’s within howitzer range), but winter and the months around it can get wet. Not now, thanks to the multi year drought.
So yeah, Dehumidifier in colder months. I’m not going to add a humidifier, since a) can’t tie one into the forced air without some creative/expensive HVAC work, and b) point sources can cause mold, my second-least favorite allergy.
“Dehumidifier” We kept dehumidifiers in the RV, but with our forced air system haven’t got a need to keep them in the house. But the furnace fans have to run regularly or damp builds up. Which means in the summer (since the forced air does not mean air conditioning is included), or when we were using wood heat, the furnace fans run 24/7 (we have floor standing, window venting A/C units). We are in Western Oregon and we have wet, everything … Except humidity. At least not like the plains, deep south, and eastern side of the country (pretty much east of the Rockies). We occasionally have humidity besides our lovely wet winter weather (called rain). In the summer when Oregon humidity hits, it is 60-ish degrees with a heat index of 70-ish. Or “hmmmm, not as cold as the temperature says … Feels good.” VS “I can’t breath! OMG the weather people says the heat index is WHAT?!?!?!?”
And finally, if you like having the ability to pick between authentic Chinese, Thai, Afghani, or Indian food when choosing what to eat for dinner, you’re looking at a city.
Depends how far apart your towns are, especially if you’re figuring by travel time rather than miles.
If I live on the north edge of Des Moines, it’s faster to hit the nice little Asian place that’s two towns over (yes I’m thinking of a specific one) than to drive through the city to the Japanese place on the far side– and that is when there is already a lot of assumption that “you must go into the city for really good fill in the blank.”
Those dining choices are suburban, around here.
And increasingly, rural.
Our rural city (population 20K or so) has some choices, but a good amount of ‘Merican cooking. OTOH, we have enough other cultures around to get a variety in alternatives. A Mexican family has done wonders with there taqueria, expanding to 3 taco shops and catering, and at least one of the Chinese places is really good. Haven’t eaten in the Thai place, nor the food truck.
The trucks & food trailers are also expanding the food choices. At least a couple dozen in the main shopping streets, and several have been around for a few years now.
There’s very little Japanese presence here. The old WW II internment camp in the region might explain that. A sushi place tried and failed; IMHO it misread the market. Top dollar for a light lunch meant that my first visit was the last*, and I think that was the reason. Portions at the local successful restaurants go toward the “I’m really hungry” and “I’ll eat the leftovers for a lunch or two”. OTOH, there’s a Bento food truck…
(*) And I really like sushi, but it was too expensive. I miss the Japantown restaurants in San Jose.
When we moved from San Diego to Riverside, a much smaller community, we discovered the best Chinese restaurant we have ever eaten at, a few blocks from the University of California (which has a very large Asian student population): mainly Szechuanese, with a lot of dishes you would never see at an Americanized Chinese restaurant. (As often as not we were the only non-Chinese customers.) And we’d never eaten Brazilian food before, but not long before we left a really superb Brazilian restaurant opened up in a shopping area a few minutes away. On the other hand, even though Riverside is majority Hispanic (and predominantly Mexican), we never found a Mexican restaurant that was better than tolerable. We found ourselves nostalgic for the local fast food chain Roberto’s and its many imitators . . .
But these jobs that can be done remotely can be done as easily in Mumbai as in Memphis. And the fill in the blanks just leads to bureaucratic morass where you can’t talk face to face, or get a full story as to what to do. Look at getting a resume in or getting thru to customer service. Honestly I’m dealing with it right now. Moving cross country for work and it’s one call center run around after another and inflexible rules made to make it easier for the faceless Corp and further take your money.
Demographics, we are in the middle of the biggest demographic catastrophe since the Black Death. It’s at the point where people are starting to notice. First slowly, then all at once.
Japan hit that wall 30 years ago and is still below where they were then. The prime working age population in China is collapsing, South Korea seems to want to disappear. Brazil, if there’s any meaning in their numbers, is collapsing and Europe … well, we all know about Europe. Let’s not even think about Russia. Even Mexico’s demographics are changing, which poses a challenge for the US, we’ve never had a Mexico without a surplus population to provide us with cheap labor.
Interesting times indeed.
Which is why the majority of those flooding across the southern border are not Mexico citizens.
Just so. For the last 40 Ish years Mexico has provided the surplus work force, now not so much. It’ll be a big change.
Definitely this. But maybe we can pull up.
US is OK …. Ish …. We’re the one eyed man in the land of the blind. Rest of world, not so much. There’s nothing to be done about it now, we’ll have to go through the whole dreary business.
BGE not sure about this. I’ve seen Births/woman figures all over the map from 1.2 to 2.2 for the U.S. 2.2 is barely maintenance level. None of the reporting groups can be trusted as far as you can throw them. At least here in the Northeast experience tends to argue for a sub 2.0 number especially in the 20 somethings. Families seem to be being delayed and outside of folks of a moderately religious bent 1-2 kids is standard. Even in the religious families of >4 are almost unheard of, whereas when I was a kid Blue Collar families were 3-5 and White collar 2-3. Lots of onlies/singletons these days in my daughters cohort, and many intelligent lovely young women without potential spouses. I sometimes wonder at the male populace in the area and if it has been fed a diet of salt peter, but I think the gun shyness is high and to some degree they just don’t see the value of the proposition vs the potential failure cost.
The hardest to screw up are the live births by year– they don’t involve anything like population estimates.
In 2009, there were about 4,131,019
In 1999, there were about 3,959,417
In 1989, there were about 4,021,000
In 1979, there were about 3,494,398
In 1969, there were about 3,600,206 Based on 50% sample of births.
In 1959, there were about 4,295,000 Based on 50% sample of births.
In 1950 because they didn’t have 49, there were about 3,632,000
In 1940 because they didn’t have 39, there were about 2,559,000
In 1930 because they didn’t have 29, there were about 2,618,000
In 1920 because they didn’t have 1919, there were about 2,950,000
In 1910 because that’s where the chart started, there were about 2,777,000.
I use the reports on live births supplemented by the census counts. I have hard copies of most of the reports and a couple of old Statistical Abstracts of the United States. All the other counts you find are either sourced from these reports or are just made up BS. I’ve been on top of this for a long time since it’s the core long term driver in my investments. GDP growth is population growth * productivity growth and productivity growth is almost entirely age cohort distributions with a slow, steady growth in actual productivity. Small changes in productivity add up over time.
The other thing with the US is immigration. We get lots of it and the vast majority is very productive — really it is. I’m no fan of illegal immigration, but I am a huge immigration fan and our immigration laws are just stupid because n politician is willing to deal with it honestly. Being an immigrant’s kid probably has something to do with it, but this is one area of the right narrative I just don’t agree with. then again, I’m not really a conservative.
Most of the folks I know on the right think that the frankly racist and try-to-hurt-the-US goals of the current immigration system is bad.
Epoch Times (Yes, not an unbiased source) is claiming covid is now ripping a wide swath through China due to Xi’s taking the lid off the pressure cooker. Any truth at all to this? They’re also expecting the Chinese to once more export lots of sick people for the lunar new year.
Me, I’m just gonna pop my Vitamin D and cruise.
So now we just need decent numbers of reproductive aged women in the years and we have an instantaneous replacement rate calculation. Looking the peak total births was the 1959 sample. There’s another peak in 1989, approximately 30 years after the 59 one, maybe an “echo” and another in 2009, 1999 is close. Of course these are absolute numbers so hard to tell much. One thing it does tell us is that DOESN’T look like the Malthusian Crisis the Brahmandarins would imply, it truthfully looks flat or maybe slightly declining.
:nods: They don’t look great, but what struck me was exactly that– it isn’t “the population is death-spiraling.”
The numbers I’ve seen– still being processed– for 2020 and 2021 are both closer to ’69 and ’79 than ’19 or ’59, but that is with massive stress, and closed borders. Before any other screwballery.
The overall populations are larger (we think HMMM) so the fecundity rate would be lower in 1989, 2009. Birth only growth rate is still running at like 1.1% so like 70 year doubling rate just on births. Looking at a life expectancy of 75+ that sounds sort of like flat or slight growth or reduction.
Ehrlich was apparently back on, “60 Minutes,” tonight, talking about how we use “175%” of available resources and our lifestyle is “unsustainable.”
Why is anyone still listening to him?
gah. EVERY prediction he ever made was wrong.
I know. As I said, why is he still getting air time?
Doomsayers always get the air time; when their predictions don’t pan out no one remembers, and the next predictions of doom (sometimes even the same ones) take center stage. IIRC we’ve run out of food, water, living space and everything else you can imagine at least every decade since 1960. Oh, and lets’s not forget breathable air (although that one was closest to accurate; closest, not close).
Burning rivers. Burning coal mines. ….
😉 Oh. Wait. Those happened. While the latter is still happening (how does one put out an underground burning tunnels of coal?) Rivers are not combusting into flame. The same rivers that were devoid of fish, or the fish couldn’t be eaten, are no longer devoid of fish. There is a thriving aquatic population. It is safe to eat whatever is caught from them. This applies from Oregon rivers to New York city. From the northern Canadian border to the southern most tip of the southern border. Are there temporary closures due to accidents? Yes. No longer are they long term.
A Good point. He was a certifiable idiot back in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Now he’s just a senile certifiable idiot screaming “Get off my lawn” at shadows from clouds. Basically suitable Presidential candidate material for the Democrat Party.
Although yes, the 20-somethigns are very unlikely to have more than two or three.
Of course, we had our first when I was 26, and we’re at seven, so it’s not that crazy….
Maybe for some 20 somethings. At least one couple (strong evangelicals) that are friends of my younger daughter are only 27/26 and number 2 is due late spring. We’ll see, its a pair of engineers and things may get dicey work wise for the mom. Also anywhere in the US 3+ kids under 5 pretty much implies the need for a Minvan or SUV to have enough seats for the darn infant restraint and toddler booster seats. That particular form of birth control starts to look vaguely intentional when you look at the number of lives saved/year for the 3-8 year old boosters, the Brahmandarins really want 2 kids/couple max.
:sings along with the chorus for vehicles:
Add in the regulate-out-of-existence for the old vans and it looks even worse.
Yeah, with 7 and you and your husband thats 9 places. I can’t think of a vehicle short the 15 place vans and their smaller 9 place cousins that would hold you all. I used to commute with a bunch of folks in a 15 place van. it fricking ATE gasoline. It had 2 40 gallon tanks and doing its 80 mile round trip 5x week emptied them. And we did MOSTLY highway miles. Get stuck in a traffic jam and you could just about watch the needle drop in real time.
We have a 15 passenger van– it can tow the camper, too. Old work van. Last year they made one on a steel frame. 😀
We get about 13/15.
The late 80s/90s ones I drove when I was in the Navy were closer to 7/10, so sounds about right….
The running joke in our house is that my van actually has the same miles per gallon per person as my husband’s commuter roller skate, depending on the wind. 😀
Expedition or Suburban, 3 bench seats … Which would be rare. And couldn’t use any booster or baby seats. Guarantied you’ll see the fuel gauge dropping anytime it was driven. Filling up? Even at today’s “lower” prices, looking at $100 cut off and restart at most fuel pumps.
For some people, it’s physical limitations, too. I have a friend who stopped after three due to a ligament issue I’d never heard of (basically, her pelvis kept popping out of place), and each pregnancy was making it worse. She’d wanted at least five.
Me, I wanted three and I got three, and physically, that’s the right decision. If we’d had Bujold’s uterine replicator, I don’t know if I’d have been so specific as to wants. (My pregnancies were fairly low complications, too, but the repercussions on my body weren’t fun.)
This is in most nations (possibly all) a situation where the people in (large) cities are not reproducing. The people outside them are doing just fine. Japan is a good example. My little cul-de-sac in small town/rural Japan has more children (though some now are technically adults) than adults, and that includes the 2 childless couples (us + 1 other). I regularly see 3 children families doing things in the area too. Yes Japan has rural depopulation too, but most of the places that are depopulating are the more marginal ones that, even with modern roads, are half an hour to any shop and more to a decent supermarket/gas station etc. much of it down roads that are windy and have room for one vehicle so when you meet a neighbor coming the other way one of you has to reverse a fair way.
If our hostess is right (and I think she is) then as more people decide to leave urban life we will see more larger families. So the demographic decline is likely to be less bad than the alarmists fear
I hope you are right.
I’m no alarmist, but the next 25 years or so, at least, are already in the can. Even if everyone would start breeding back to replacement right now, it’ll take that long for the first cohorts to start to be economically productive. It’s happened many times before.
Still, Happy New Year and may this one be better than last.
A lot of the change of the last century has been in transaction costs. A niche field of economics, which even the few who have heard of it mostly don’t think about much.
Because none of it is flashy. It isn’t jetpacks. But it is wiping out century old state enforced monopolies in the blink of an eye.
And it underlies absolutely everything.
“And it underlies absolutely everything.”
A TED or EMF could hence disrupt absolutely everything..
I think he meant ‘EMP’, Electromagnetic Pulse. Not sure what a ‘TED’ is, though.
OOPs, sorry, EMP not EMF. EMP ;Electromagnetic Pulse, TED; Transient Electromagnetic Disturbance
Both have been grossly overhyped, using the far ends of “boom” and “consequences”, to sell books.
For EMP, the short version is that for a “wreck the USA” EMP, only a handful of nations can both build the very very large/heavy warhead and get it up very high enough, to zorch us with one shot.
And it would be obvious when on the way up, and all our weapons are hardened, so it’s suicidal. Even if somehow a sneak attack, the probable culprits are known, and we can volley-wreck them. All.
And enough USA survives to rebuild and revenge, so doubly stupid.
As for a solar flare, yes, and Sol could also burp hard enough to glass the sunward side of the planet, but also unlikely.
We have “breakers” on multiple levels, so blackouts, yes, but recovery faster than “start over”.
Planning for EMP attack hardening also covers flare events.
Basically, the books assume all the breaks go against, which is … unlikely.
Some damfool playing around with a virus in a lab is more likely, but even more stupid … oh, wait. Hmm
But wait. What if alien space bats decide to muck things up and take away our toys?
Are you thinking of Childhood’s End, or Lifeforce? 😀
Stirling’s Change series. Though by the end he seems to have decided it was God/the gods work. And possibly cyclic, to boot.
Yes. Gods. Cyclic. Multiverse.
Picked up the series because … well Willamette Valley … Continued with Rudy and company to see the trek across the country how everyone else fared. Then had to finish out the series.
Not where I thought the series was going. Regardless whether gods or super alien, given the premise, nothing those on the ground could do about it. At least with supernatural forces each had a choice to reject what were essentially puppet masters.
It would Very Unwise Indeed to give us a problem we can just SHOOT.
But when you can knock out a substation with some tools and maybe a few shots from an appropriately-powerful firearm, who needs an EMP? And there are, what, nine places that would basically knock the US out of the power business for at least a year to eighteen months.
Do you expect the current population and the current culture to pick up and rebuild it? I don’t.
As for military response: Do you really think we’re going to go ‘well, we can’t figure out who did it so we’ll just go to war with all the likely suspects’? Again, I don’t. Even if we did, our military can’t fight that kind of war. Heck, I’m not even sure we can fight a single near-peer military any more, much less multiple-everything. Our current military is too intent on neutering itself to be able to do that. Even if they weren’t, is the political will going to be sufficient to start that kind of engagement, to include the nuclear-armed suspects? I don’t think so.
And does it matter if a data center has hardening and backup power if the people that maintain it are too busy trying to stay alive after all their stuff goes away to go to work?
One Ohio-class ballistic missle sub can gut any nation on earth. With certainty. We have a bunch. And then there is the whole Air Force arsenal.
Tens of thousands to millions would be dead in the first week after a successful EMP, depending on season and weather.
Absolutely yes would we nuke the culprit that hit us with a massive EMP. No administration that hesitated would survive the week.
Those missile keys would be turned. Those planes would fly. No doubt. None.
I think you grossly underestimate folks in uniform.
Considering I saw something recently that said a lot of AF personnel (and I’m pretty sure O3+) were cheating on the tests for readiness and actual ability to do their GD job (ICBM) and the squids have forgotten how to drive a ship, I’m less optimistic.
And then there’s Milley.
Considering that the military brass is and always has been shit, and the bureaucracy side of things is always a mess, but this never seems to effect actual warfighting ability outside of large operations in the first few months I’m going to call bunk.
and the squids have forgotten how to drive a ship
Less “forgot” and more “there’s two guys in a ten man shop, and one of them is the supervisor.”
We can drive ships just fine, thanks. That wasn’t the issue. No, it really wasn’t. The issue was, and continues to be, manning and being expected to do more with less and less for years at a time. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. And a lot of people who don’t understand what they’re asking people to do but insisting they do it anyway.
I can’t, in good conscience, tell people they should join the military nowadays, though, and that fact irritates me mightily. I won’t discourage folks who want to go, but I won’t encourage those who are more on the fence.
“…a lot of people who don’t understand what they’re asking people to do but insisting they do it anyway”
Sounds to me as if you just described 95+% of all politicians and better than 75% of all program managers. And near 100% of “journalists”.
As for your last, I have to agree, but I’d add “It’s still a noble calling. Join if you want, but watch your back; the enemies aren’t all across the field”.
11b-Mailclerk we are talking about EMP shots not lower altitude airbursts. Current limitations mean the Ohio class SSBN are limited to 20 Trident D5 with an average of 4 warheads a piece (again treaty limits) Those are either W-88 (485 Kt) or W-76-1 (95 kt) or w-76-2 (5-7kt). EMP is know primarily from test shots in particular Starfish Prime. It was 1.4 Mt deliver by a Thor IRBM set off at 250 miles above a point ~900 miles from Hawaii. It’s yield is ~3x that of a W-88. EMP is (as far as any unclassified sources say) directly proportional to the gamma flux. Best guess 1/3 yield yields 1/3 radius of EMP, so say 300 miles(radius, 600 miles diameter) for a W-88. damage at Hawaii was mild to moderate, streetlights put out some electrical issues. Of course 1962 vintage electronics are tube and transistor, no delicate IC’s not ubiquitous like modern electronics and Hawaii was at the fringe of the effect. full effect was somewhere out in the Pacific. Certainly the 80 well placed EMP shots a trident would wreak havoc, each covering ~283,000 square miles for a total of over 22 million sq miles covered which is ~7x the area of the continental US (~3.1 million square miles). But would it be as bad as 80 1/2 megaton airbursts over major cities or transit points? Guesses I’ve seen say that 20-50 strikes on the US would cause major issues pretty much crippling delivery of food and fuel ignoring the death toll and destruction of the initial strike. EMP has some uses, but in general if things have degraded enough to use Nuclear Weapons you’re not going to use them for a possibly crippling attack but for out and out kill shots, Just as for self defense where one is taught to aim for center mass not for disarming shots to the limbs.
And he is talking about the retaliatory strike, not EMP shots.
Fair enough, one wing of missiles or a single Trident is a very bad day for almost any country on the face of the earth.
Considering we turned a couple trash dumps completely upsidedown for an attack that killed all of 3000 people, what, exactly, do you think we would do for an attempt to kill 300 million?
Depends on who we were told was behind it.
The current substation stuff is being blamed on “white supremacists” or “Domestic extremists”. Wonder why.
Almost certainly it is ELF or a similar group, just like the forest fires that were set. But they don’t want to admit it is leftist terrorism by “good kids” or “good professors.”
100% Elf / Eco-Terrorists, funded by communists.
With the current PTB and media sure fire way to bet it wasn’t “white supremacists” or “Domestic extremists” is to have PTB announce it without any proof. Proof? How fast does the incident drop off the “news”?
Or declared “natural”, and there isn’t a logical natural explanation (ex: 2020 fall fires that just happened to hit multiple main east-west routes, and not wilderness or anywhere else); forevermore to be blamed on “client
Either scenario screams not wanting to admit that it was the paroles of the right-thinking-progressives doing the work of natural good, but they don’t want to make comparisons to the “mostly peaceful riots”.
Forgetting that a large enough EMP to take out everything is going to take out communication with TPTB and that leaves standing orders at the discretion of those on the ground. Which presumably do not include domestic terrorism options given what it takes to get an artificial EMP that massive. Which means by the time TPTB are back online, they can lie about who was behind it, but they would be too late to the party.
Trash dumps that we were far superior to militarily, for all that in the long term it didn’t work out well for us. And consider the change in nature between the administration that did that and the administration that will be putting their own bodies behind the possible response of a near-peer power with nuclear weapons and the systems to deliver them. Capability? Sure, we’ve got it. I question the will to do it at the time given any understanding at all of what that will mean. Both political will and personal (emotional, maybe call it) will. I question that.
Easy to burn a trash dump. Harder to reflexively attack a town full of armed citizens that will absolutely shoot back.
And consider the change in nature between the administration that did that and the administration that will be putting their own bodies behind the possible response of a near-peer power with nuclear weapons and the systems to deliver them.
….do you mean the one that’s failing to invade third-world California?
uuuuhhhhhhhhh….. no such thing exists.
Correct. There are question marks about the quality of some of the latest Russian and Chinese stuff. But even if it’s as good as our equivalent equipment (and I’m skeptical), they can’t afford to build all that much of it.
I’ll note that the Russian SAM systems are supposed to be pretty good, and that’s based on their track record. But that’s it. And last I’d heard, those systems inexplicably weren’t tracking HIMARS-launched missiles in Ukraine.
And even if the equipment is perfect you need people to run them. Leaving out the demographic issues, the idea that the CCP is going to learn how to run carriers without burning several hulls to the waterline is ridiculous.
And then there is that thing where Russian air defense seems to be currently focused on shooting down their own aircraft and missiles.
The ship part MAYBE China can do. The Air wing is going to be expensive in aircraft and pilots. Operating modern aircraft efficiently from land takes a toll in men and machines even in peace time, and requires a large investment in flight hours and simulation hours to train and keep the pilots and crews trained. Doing it on a ship is 10x worse at a minimum.
Elucidate, please? I don’t think we’ll steamroll either Russia or China as easily as most people think. We’re being led to overconfidence by overconfident leaders.
You’re missing that they have no military to speak of.
So, you’re overconfident and if you were running the Pacific theater in a war you’d get a lot of people killed unnecessarily. Got it.
Oh yes, very persuasive way to support your assertions, make more assertions.
That totally makes you sound like you have anything but table pounding.
Sigh. The chances of my running anything are zero. BUT being afraid of paper tigers got a lot of people killed in the cold war.
“as most people think”?
Just how out of touch are you that you have missed that the dominant narrative for the last 10-20 years has been that China is the great rising threat and is going to replace America any day now?
China doesn’t have any military power, they just have a lot of parade-worthy hardware and troops so green you wouldn’t even dare send them to a low intensity battlefield. Taiwan is perfectly capable of bleeding them white. Japan is capable of stomping them into the ground by themselves. If anything goes wrong anywhere in the first island chain and America isn’t actively protecting Chinese interests then China dies in a matter of months.
Nah, I’ve heard the narrative. I give it about as much credence, barring new information, as the idea that ‘we can take ’em, no problem’.
I also look at things like distance to theater and the difference between offense and defense. Yes, Taiwan can bleed China bigtime, but by how much? And we’ll be moving to support from the end of a longer line of supply into their defensive region. The closer we get, the more they have to throw at us. Even a 100% intercept capability doesn’t mean anything once your magazines are dry. Yes, we can blow up a bunch of stuff and have a pretty good chance of keeping them from blowing our stuff up until the magazines run dry. Then what?
Defense, which is what either China or Russia would be playing against us, does offer additional strength to the side that’s playing it. Not enough to overcome our advantages if considered in isolation, methinks, but definitely enough to make it expensive to win.
They don’t have a lot of long-range ships. Do they need them? We’d be going to them. And they’ve got lots of ballistic and cruise missiles to throw at our nearest bases. And if I were them, I’d have North Korea tee off simultaneously. South Korea should be able to handle that, but it will still be a distraction and another drain on regional and our own resources.
China has been working on quality and they’ve still got quantity where it counts, which is regionally. They can and will pull resources from other military districts to bolster any effort they make against Taiwan that we come in to resist. The closer we get, the more they can throw at the task groups.
We don’t know how much the emphasis on DIE in the military has taken away from combat effectiveness yet, either. And you can rightly mention the lack of combat experience the Chinese have, but our recent combat experience has not been gained against a full-on field army, corps vs corps. Afghanistan and Iran does not translate out to Russia in Europe or China in the Pacific.
We’ll have NATO in Western Europe and Japan, most likely, maybe Australia and a few others in the Pacific. They’ve got, for the most part, better stuff than the Chinese, and will be closer to immediate resupply than we are. I think our odds are more in favor of winning than losing. But it won’t be like Saddam’s Republican Guard, either. We go in thinking we’ve got the goods, we’re going to suffer. I see too much underestimation and not enough of the ‘What if we’re wrong?’ questions about capability. That will get too many killed that didn’t have to be, if it stays that way.
As to the ‘failure’ of Russian air defense–I note that neither side is flying a lot at other than road-top level and CAS pretty much isn’t happ’nin’ there. And the West has lately preferred aircraft to artillery for it’s operations of that nature. I think that’s changing after seeing what AD has done. If nothing else, it appears to have taken away one of our former greatest strengths. And both sides are intercepting quite a few missiles, though neither side is doing as well as we thought they would before the shooting started. We’re seeing what gets through because what doesn’t get through doesn’t make the news. If we ever get histories of this/these conflicts, I’ll be very interested to see how everything really shook out for effectiveness.
Please note that that is not the claim I am making. I am making a far stronger one: that our allies in the region can take China without any help from us no problem. In fact that a single ally (Japan) can take China on their own.
In which case you should be aware of the distance between the Island of Formosa and the West Taiwanese landmass.
In a China-Taiwan war, China has to perform an amphibious invasion — a task in which it has zero experience — across several times the distance of the Normandy invasion, with required force numbers many times those of the Normandy invasion.
And remember that D-Day was nearly a disaster despite the US having just spent months on end learning those lessons the hard way in the Pacific meatgrinder.
China does not have even a fraction of the number of specialized transports and landing craft necessary to mount such an operation. If it tries to build more that is obvious to anyone who cares to look. And if they try to take multiple trips then attrition will murder the invasion at right about the point where they have troops on the beach who desperately need support that is physically incapable of coming.
Trying to argue logistics against the US is certainly an interesting path to try take the argument. And you are still ignoring all of the non-US combat power in the region.
Exactly how close do you think we need to get? It would be an entirely reasonable strategy to have nothing above the water go inside the first island chain.
And you are still ignoring non-US combat power in the region.
Not much. Since your idea of the strategy seems to be that the USN will sail up to Taipei and say hi, then sit there doing nothing while getting shot at until they are sunk.
All plausible situations in which the US is directly fighting either of those countries involves a response to them attacking someone else. Ergo, they will have significant forces forward deployed outside of whatever their ideal defensive posture is.
For China to successfully execute a war without US support they first have to break through and hold open a passage through the first island chain, past the Philippines, past India — oh look; another country with a history of brotherly love towards China — and into the Gulf. They then must maintain that entire thousands of miles long route and escort oil tankers back home with as close to zero losses as they can manage, despite innumerable countries within striking distance of the supply line wanting to take a bite out of them.
You continue to assert this while ignoring every aspect of the geopolitical situation.
Okay? I never asserted that China would do zero damage to anyone.
And the real world testing on those system’s accuracy and QC will be quite amusing. Shittier Chinese knockoffs of shitty Russian equipment is not a recipe for quality.
At least you finally acknowledged that there are allies in the area. Even if only to take one off the board while continuing to ignore the rest.
With sufficiently bad quality no amount of quantity can compensate.
But only China’s part of the region matters. No one else has anything.
You are still ignoring non-US combat power in the region.
The PLA is set up for internal control. That should be entertaining.
I’m sure throwing police-infantry against missiles will work though.
Again making a shitton of assumptions about how close we need to get.
And, you guessed it, ignoring all non-US combat power in the region.
Not all green troops are the same. The PLA only children of only children of only children have massive sobfests on their way to getting bitchslapped by Indian border guards. Having any combat experience whatsoever is a night and day difference.
By comparison with the PLA standard I am fucking Rambo, because I can actually imagine having to defend someone and not imploding.
FINALLY you acknowledge that China isn’t the singular power in the area.
You missed Taiwan. And Korea. And Vietnam.
Also better training. And better, no, correction, any institutional knowledge whatsoever of how to run a successful military or navy.
Saddam wasn’t utterly dependent on continuous imports of food and fuel to stay alive.
Actually I see nothing but people shrieking their fucking heads off about how China will be the foremost power on the planet in just a few more years. Nevermind that China will be lucky to exist as a country in a decade given the way Mao shot it in the head.
And then a few people here and there pointing out that there isn’t a single aspect of the Rise Of China position that holds any water.
Neither side of that conflict is the USAF. And neither side is the Israeli Air Force.
Outside of those two no one is good enough to do effective SEAD against an uncooperative enemy. The continued existence of Russian AD is no more an End Of The Airplane then their undermanned and incompetent armored units are the End Of The Tank.
Blah blah blah blah blah none of this matters because it is based on a false premise that SEAD is easy.
Russia in particular seems to have gotten quite good at shooting down their outgoing strike packages.
Actually, China would be fairly easy. Close the Straits of Hormuz and wait 3 weeks. Maybe lob a cruise missile at 3 gorges dam as icing on the cake.
We’re at the mercy of the sun for another Carrington Event. IIRC the sun spit one of those out a few years ago that was thankfully not pointed at Earth.
Most Data Centers are hardened against EMP to some degree. The biggest weakness in that regard is the power grid serving it. All will have backup generators and some of the largest centers have multiple sub-stations served by different parts of the grid.
That doesn’t mean you cannot bring down a data center but it may not be as easy as you think.
It’s a big deal in investing, the rest of economics, not so much.
Transaction costs for the ordinary investor have never been so low. It’s to the point where one could make Shannon’s Demon work for you.
An unfortunate number of people see anything without immediately visible incremental costs as ‘free’ no matter how much cost is buried in the background. From there it’s a short jump to all sorts of other ‘free’ stuff, until they want ‘free’ education, ‘free’ health care, ‘free’ infrastructure…with never a thought about who’s going to provide all that ‘free’ stuff.
Their understanding of economics is frozen at a third grade level, and they don’t have a clue that they don’t have a clue.
Welfare is pay without work. In order to provide pay without work for some, others have to work without pay. We used to call that slavery. Now they call it socialism.
Everything must be paid for in some way. This is the central lesson of Henry Hazlitt’s 1946 book “Economics in One Lesson”. Every welfare check cancels a job somewhere in the economy. Government prints money and we are left with millions of fewer workers, and shortages of everything you can imagine. This is not a coincidence. Prosperity is a direct result of people producing things and (enabling) services. The more efficient the production the higher the prosperity.
And the tremendous improvements in our ability to communicate have rendered cities largely unnecessary, which combined the costs of living in cities, has triggered the exodus from them…Humans, particularly northern Europeans, have a good instinct for optimization of living costs, and a natural preference for more open places to live…The flight from the (often dangerous) cities is just picking up steam IMO…The trend of working from home is also increasing and contributing to that flight…
Little things can have big effects, too. One of my sisters discovered a thyroid issue super-early because her FitBit (or equivalent) notified her that her heart rate was doing weird things. Same thyroid issue my dad had, as it happens—but she caught hers early enough that instead of radiation pill and supplements for the rest of her life, she can use much less intrusive meds to regulate the hormones.
Look up concierge medical. It’s been around for a while. There are probably doctors practicing this way in your area, but they pretty much depend on word of mouth.
My doctor is outside the big Pharma grift. $100 a month for GP care of the highest quality. I call and get in either right away, that day, or the next morning. Focus is on the body’s immune system and fortifying that as much as possible.
It’s the best health care I’ve ever had. It’s real care.
I got a hug for looking so good after a bout with sinuses/vertigo in November. Who does that?
I got lucky, though. I don’t know of another facility in Idaho like this one, though I’d be surprised if there wasn’t one at least.
I go to a functional medicine specialist for my MS and weird blood cancer.
Insurance doesn’t pay for it, so I have to see a regular oncologist and a neurologist, which the insurance does pay for.
I have seen a variety of oncologists and numerologists all through the Mayo clinic system of care since 2017. But have had the same functional medicine specialist in that time. Once Mayo took over our regional healthcare, the level of care dropped dramatically.
I live in a rinky-dink town in the middle of nowhere. Functional medicine is the way to go IMHO.
Numerologists. Geeze autocucumber!
I’m not 100% the autocorrector was wrong in this case. I’m reminded of the quote someone attributed to Richard Feynman, where he said “Physics is applied math, chemistry is applied physics, biology is applied chemistry, and psychology is just voodoo.”
Surely it’s applied voodoo… 😀
Though I suspect the intended word was ‘neurologist’ which falls under biology. Mostly.
So says everyone who, like you, has an ongoing need for real quality care.
My GP recommends regular insurance in addition to his clinic, for all the specialty and emergency services.
I’m sorry your level of care has diminished. That’s heavy.
Thank you, Kathy.
If it wasn’t for the declining level of care at our regional medical oligarchy, I would never have looked into functional medicine. I’m so glad I did look into it because conventional medicine would have me on severely debilitating drugs that cost megabucks.
I am very much better off making diet and lifestyle changes under the supervision of my functional medicine specialist. So silver linings and all that.
I do feel very badly though for people who are only able to access conventional medicine. I hope COVID is an eyeopener for many people who would never look beyond their local clinics and regional hospitals for care.
Happy new year hugs.
Functional Medicine implies Dysfunctional Medicine… which is, sadly, not any stretch.
One thing I like about Costco pharmacy. Sign a paper that says you do not have pharmacy insurance and you get better rates (we kind of did, just it was really crappy and 100% just ignoring it). Works for people and pets. Lost that when we went on medicate/plus, as they have to bill medicare; except for the pets. Not that many of the prescriptions we are on are particularly expensive (except the face gel for the rosesa, and it was a reasonable $38 last time I filled it). Pet meds, currently limited to flea meds, Feline Resolution x 4 and Canine Simparica Trio x 1, is less than online veterinary sourced, which is less than the veterinarian office sourced (not by much, but less).
Here in Plano, concierge medical is the doctor charging you $xxx per month to be available when you need them. Otherwise, you can get in line with the rest of the proles and make do with long waits and short consults.
So change and the tech that often comes with it has been around ‘forever’ and continues to evolve. Ogg figured out a better flint knapping process and has cornered the market in his cave complex but… Uggo has just come up with a process called fire and is now the current cave man version of Edison. Toffler penned a book about it I read long ago called “Future Shock” and it was on target for the most part. So the human animal has to adapt and work with the changes that come along. And boy, to they come along.
Personal irony – I was working when that goofy stuff called ‘desk top computers’ invaded the workspace. At one job in 1990 I was actually throwing out paper files and records as they were now being managed on the magic box and with database spells. I didn’t like it a whole lot (change, ugh) but had to deal so started to really try and learn about computer crap. Fast forward to my last year of work, 2020 where I was the “old guy down the hall” that had all the younger staff coming to for help with computer programs, hardware and use of same. One of the new kids didn’t believe I was in my 60’s and I actually had to show him my ID to prove it (won a bet too). Point here is I got on my surf board and tried to ride the computerization wave in my profession and it was for employment survival. That is what the current wave Sarah is describing is for us – an opportunity to surf along and not get drowned. Sure, I’m gonna ‘wipe out’ here and there but until I can’t anymore, I’ll keep doing a little bit all along to stay on my board and at least ride the swells and try to coach the more daring and youthful on where the rocks and shoals are.
Beware the old man in a young man’s game. Applies to computers construction, anything really, as well as it does to war.
I’m in my early 60s, and I’ve been a “tech guy” all my life.
…and I’m not stopping, apparently. I’ve been getting into something called “spatial audio,” which is one of the Next Big Things. So (of course) I’m having to spend an inordinate amount of time learning a whole list of new software and hardware, as well as a whole field of audio production I’ve never been too involved with.
When I meet younger techs who are trying to get into the field, they’re universally shocked that a fossil like me knows more about it than they do.
Yup… And if you want to really have some fun with the youngsters, start telling them about DOS!
Otherwise known as hell on earth.
Between ’96 – ’02
Them: “What do you write?”
Me: “Windows program that allows non DOS and C programmers write C programs for DOS.”
Them: “DOS is dead!”
Me: “Not on Falcon, Intermec, or Symbol, handhelds.”
In fact I actually worked on C DOS program for Intermec until about 2010-ish (was stupid enough to point out I’d worked on that type of program for the prior 6 years. Was with the company less than a year …) Then program went to C++ Embedded for Windows Embedded. Eventually to C# on Win 8/10 version. The hard part wasn’t the programs themselves, the latter two interfaced via USB, a lot easier than dealing with the dang Serial link ups (and Serial to USB adapters did not work). Interestingly enough that program went to the company that supplied the hardware after I retired. Don’t know how they are handling the data from device to database transfers (not my problem). I streamlined that early on to stop the problems that were happening, repeatably. Not coding problem. A problem between the chair and the keyboard.
Tv search is so much like my memory of DOS it almost makes me laugh.
I took a basic C++ course when I got to be a software project manager. Mmmmm no. I knew then and there I’d die if I tried to do that for a living.
C++ for user interface, is a PIA. For other parts to interface with say Visual Basic, which user interface is really easy, then you’ve got a winning combination.
Must admit between 2002, when I was working in C++ regularly, to 2010-ish, when I had to go into to C++ embedded, there was a bit of “Oooooo. Dang. I can’t do that!!!!” Well could just had to ensure it was declared, built, and/or passed correctly. C++ sounds really scary. But I had to learn how to use it. So I did.
The flip side was the technical jargon. I could use it. But dang if I can spout which is which. A huge trip hazard in interviews. Yet if I was allowed cheat sheets I could list how the concepts had been used and why in prior software I’d written and not in the traditional circle and square are both shapes. Would have been different if I had to learn the terms in school. But I just had to learn how to use them. I’m worse now. Because Retired … I don’t care anymore.
When I started my co-op job, everyone in the area was rounded up for a course in the latest and greatest!!! Object-Oriented Programming!
I tell that to junior programmers who have never seen a fad that wasn’t a fad.
I took a programming course in college. That was enough to tell me that yeah, I could absolutely do that if I had to, and that if I had to, I would hate it.
Here’s the thing. I took a programming class in ’75-ish. Hated it. Despised it. Computers could go die. (Required naturally.) Fast forward 8-ish years. Had to take an intro to computers (again) and first two accounting classes. Advisor assured me based on my prior career I’d be good at computers. That I would love programming. I assured her I would hate it, been there, done that, if I couldn’t be a forester then would go into accounting, which was easy. She said “wait and see, let me know in the fall” (summer classes) …. She was right. Not only did I find it relatively easy (at that level) it was Fun!. While my last job dealt with accounting functions, I was not an accountant. Spent 35-ish years programming. I loved programming. Found it fun and challenging. Eight Years …
But. You are not the first one I’ve heard “I could do it. But I’d hate it.” from. Not the first, and not the 10th. Very common POV.
C++ and I didn’t quite get along, but I’m happy with C, and Perl. One of these days, I’ll sit down and start mucking with Python. There’s a program I have that needs to be fixed, and I have serious doubts it has been maintained.
(Not sure I’d want to try to get into the USB weeds with Perl, so a new language where that problem is solves sounds a lot better.)
The problem with Python is, whitespace is significant. Change the indenting of one line and the program’s operation changes, sometimes radically. That’s not a smart way to specify a computer language. C source can be obfuscated, sometimes to a ludicrous extent — there’s a contest for that — but the syntax is always unambiguous and the compiler always generates the same code.
Oh dear! Maybe I should figure out the Perl/USB modules. I’ve seen the winning entries in some of the Obfuscated C contests, and wow. I try for human readable. 🙂
I prefer human readable code too. For some reason I want to understand what I wrote months or years before. Stupid concept I know. I’ve written pages of documentation in code detailing what code does and why so the next time I dig in I don’t have to work through it again.
Extensive notes occurred when not code I’d written. Someone else had found it on internet, slapped it in, and tweaked so the program could use it (exactly what I was told the first time I called to get some idea on how it was put together). Had some very bad bugs that didn’t show unless dealing with thousands and thousands of records and/or the record access keys (one problem wasn’t really a bug, but still had to be changed). Never did figure out one last problem. (It has been 20 years, so exact problem detail now? Heck if I know.) Did put in a note detailing what was happening, the reported conditions that caused it, and a guess on what I thought was broken (last thing I added before heading off to BSA summer camp/vacation. Riff technically happened when I was gone, but they had to wait until I got back, first thing … Oops for them.) Got a call on it when the two remaining embedded engineers (whose product got picked up by DataLogic as part of the bankruptcy sale piece out) got tasked with fixing it. Caller was not happy. Oh well, they did have the written notes on how each of the file processing pieces worked.
I recall once suggesting a DE-obfuscated INTERCAL contest. ESR was of the opinion that such a thing was not possible. I did not pursue it.
Go lang is the current happy medium between C and Python if you aren’t doing embedded programming. Or you can do Java or possibly C# if you love dealing with Microsoft.
Yeah to some degree some of Pythons choices e.g. whitespace significant, WTF? I thought that died with FotranIV/66 and putting continuation characters in column 6 ? However it is nice for lots of prototyping and network related things (done 2 over the Air update systems for embedded linux systems in Python. If you find yourself forced to use python I suggest 3 things
1) use an IDE like Idle or VSC to develop, it will warn you about lots of stupid syntax errors and help make sure all the pieces you need are present
2) Use the pylint and flake8 tools as coding guidelines to help keep your code more readable to python types and self consistent in layout
3) do NOT skimp on unit test. Use pytest or similar and be sure to test ALL cases. Because python is interpreted you can get a nasty surprise if you wander into error case with some syntactical error that causes your process to terminate with extreme prejudice.
I’ll be honest I’ve used C++ lots, but the language is just so ludicrously complicated as of C++ 14 that it is hard to use and encourages LOTS of really nasty habits. Golang or Rust seem more suited to most embedded work. Java limits things somewhat but with its Garbage Collection model it takes memory control out of your hands and leaves it to the vagaries of the JVM and that can mean issues in a memory constrained enviroment.
The Reader thinks DOS was only the 1st Circle of Hell. Beyond that was CP/M and beyond that was the HP 2116 minicomputer that ran a piece of microwave test equipment the Reader had to make work when he first got out of college. It didn’t have an operating system – every executable ran directly on the hardware with absolute addressing.
Actually, you’ve got that backwards. MS-DOG was a hacked copy of CP/M-86.
It was. The Reader was referring to the 8 bit version of CP/M that ran on Z80s and other related 8 bit processors. CP/M-86 was a noted improvement.
CP/M was written on and for the 8080. Zilog’s Z80 was backward compatible with the 8080, with added registers and operations, and some new instructions wedged into the cracks in the 8080 instruction set.
The best operating system of the time was Microware’s OS-9 for the Motorola 6809, and then OS-9/68K for the Motorola 68000.
If only IBM had used the MC68000 instead of that POS 8088, the whole history of computers would have been vastly improved.
And they all stole freely from RT-11 and Tops-10.
My husband learned to code on an IBM 360. When we cleaned out his mom’s house after she passed on to her reward, we found several boxes of punch cards from his classes. A lot of young techies, if they’re not into the history of computer technology for its own sake, don’t even know what a Hollerith card is, or why it’s called that.
1999 in our IT shop we had a mid-20s intern who was ex-mil and a 3rd yr Computer Science student at a local but very major university pull an 8″ floppy out of her bag and ask a couple of us if we knew what it was. Seems a classmate had found it somewhere and brought it in because he didn’t know what it was and no one in the class did either (I assume the prof wasn’t there). . When the boss and I (over 50 years in IT between us) stopped laughing long enough to start breathing again we told her and she did not believe it. She had never seen nor heard of a “toaster.”
The next day I brought in a 5 1/14 floppy, one of my old slip sticks, and a tape cart from an MTST, she was astonished to say the least, that such things existed nd were once in widespread use. I explained the organization she was interning with for still used CDPD to up- and download data with people in the field so she could believe the old stuff was real. “What’s CDPD?” She didn’t believe that either.
Ahhh punch cards! I wrote several programs on punch cards back in the 1970s, including one that predicted the beginning of the resource crunch around 2014…Now, I call our kids if I have problems on the MacBook, because I have no clue….
What I did in Fortran class. (Acoup,e of friends from the Science Fiction Society were in the class with me, so I always had help. I needed it).
Yup did WatFive (Fortran 77 variant/predecessor) and BAL (IBM 360 assembly) on cards on an IBM 029 keypunch. Had a buddy that taught me how to put sequence numbers in columns 73-80 with some features on the 029 . Saved my ass one time. I had a complex 350+ card assembly deck for a quick Sieve of Eratosthenes (extra credit in the BAL course). Operator on duty was a klutz (cute, but a klutz). On her way to run my deck she tripped and dropped the deck. Rubber band holding the cards let go and they went EVERYWHERE. I had less than 24 hours to turn the deck in with a good run. She scooped the cards up popped them in the sorter and voila, except for 8-10 cards without numbers (recent additions I was hurrying and lazy). The deck was mostly restored and I quickly had it fully restored.
U of Redacted EE department had their own computer; it used 1″ mag tape, and the Hollerith code was only compatible with the 026 keypunch. A few ’26s were on campus; the EE computer was acquired for a long-running DOD project and kept going with baling wire and chewing gum. I had to do the class assignment on that, coding in Fortran II.
Within a year, TPTB at the U made all departments limit spending on computers. Anything that went above a certain threshold was verboten, and terminals/links to one of the campus mainframes (usually IBM 360s, with some exceptions) were strongly encouraged. As it stands, this was about a year before the 8080 hobby computers hit the market.
Yup early in the life of DEC that was their bread and butter. PDP-8, small PDP-11 (running RT-11) and PDP-12 could all sneak in under those kinds of thresholds and took root in labs doing lots of real time analysis work. One of DEC’s biggest Charlie Foxtrots were the Pro-350 and Pro-380. The stuck a kludgy version of RSX on them and pointed them at commercial stuff. If they’d focused on a multiprocess version of RT and getting boards to talk to the lab equipment they might have beat Sun and Apollo to the workstation market. There’s an interesting counterfactual for you. Although they were so unfocused at marketing they probably would have screwed that up too.
A lot of young techies don’t realize that a “computer bug” was originally a moth caught in a relay, first documented by Grace Hopper.
My understanding of the story is that “bugs” had been blamed for electronic problems for quite some time, even back then, and the moth was logged as the first bug caught in the act, rather than as the ur-bug.
Once upon a time, bug meant “bad thing,” not “insect.” that’s why you have bugbears. And why ladybugs were originally ladybirds.
So this is a revert to the original.
And given the sense of humor RADM Hopper showed the one time I got to see her talk the wordplay of the actual “bug” being caught in the relay probably amused her greatly.
Try CP/M or VMS.
I explain Sneakernet.
Adding to Heinlein’s “A human being should be able to…) list; shoe a horse and program a computer to identify if 125299 is a prime number.
If one can do that augmented list of should be(s), he/she/they/we should be well able to deal with anything including either the rise or fall of civilization as we know it. Anything whatever this century throws at us. Ride the growing wave, fall in the deep trough, get stuck in a back eddy, with that broad skill set you, me, etc. otta not only get by but prosper and enjoy as well
Parenthetical aside; (Some years back I wondered if three prime numbers multiplied equaled my phone number. 125299 was one of the three. I wrote a 12 or 15 line basic program to test it to be sure it was a prime.)
Thank you again Sarah, for your insight. As an author with only three published titles, (well, there *was *a ghost novel when I was really broke) and a bunch of political essays (I am AKA as The Grumpy Libertarian) I fully understand that my impulse to storytelling hasn’t had resultant financial reward. So I’ve had to survive with other activities whilst impelled to write. Thanks again, Lady.
The average “info power” of a person went from “go to libraries” to “internet” in one generation.
Cities are no longer the hubs of societal progress or personal advancement.
The upheavals of those two items have just barely begun.
The real limit on that right now is transportation. Given magical “stepping discs” or even fast flying cars, cities as understood today would probably become irrelevant.
Still gotta move cargo. Make the standard box truck really fast/cheap to run, and you’re dead on.
I’ve thought for some time that standardization of the frame, power plant and running gear would make sense; design a long-life vehicle that, by adding individual features, goes from 10K to 30K GVW capacity (currently 26K GVW is the break-point for driver licensing), flat bed to box truck (of different sizes) to local mid-size bus (people hauler). Use a simple diesel V-8, same 8-cylinder block but populate only 6 cylinders, or all 8, depending on power requirements. Which could be done with different crankshafts, camshafts and injector setups, or shrink the cylinders and use all 8. Generic long-life base unit, different add-ons.
The Greenies get all exercised about any fossil fuel consumption at all, but we’re about to enter the middle part of proving electric vehicles absolutely do not work; what they should be concentrating on is more efficient use of fossils, not eliminating them but their Green Religion will not permit that. The cars being built today with tiny little highly stressed turbo-charged engines to get the power back up – power that was always there with larger, simpler engines – won’t have 300-500K mile engines (think: the old 283 Chevys, 289 Fords, 318 Chrysler engines, or everyone’s entire line of 290-330 CID truck 6 inline cylinder engines) , getting 150K with today’s buzz bombs will be abnormally high.
They are fixated on “miles per gallon” but what they never consider is the energy consumption, and the entire life cycle cost, required to replace the entire vehicle when it wears out to the point of requiring replacement at 60% of the life of older, slightly less efficient vehicles. An extra 4-8 mpg – over a shorter vehicle life – is meaningless when 2-3X the energy and resources are expended replacing it early.
If they order you to make it work, you will make it work. It is possible because they say so.
Not -their- fault if it fails. Order harder. Find those saboteurs and wreckers. More control. More obey.
Oh yes. They will.
I was driving on a major US highway, and observed 1) a Tesla trying to conserve power and 2) non-turning wind turbines and 3) sleeping solar panels [thick, high overcast and dust on the glass]. Sun and wind on a large scale ain’t gonna keep that electric car running.
Know of one rural farming neighborhood who are very not happy with one of the local landowners. The ones who allowed a solar farm on their land. Now every single time that solar farm flips a switch it blows the neighborhood transformer. The neighbors power company will not come out to fix the problem until the owners of the solar farm pays them to do so (guessing not owned by the local power company). This means the farmers, who depend on the power for wells, other watering systems, and green houses, do not have power. This means they are investing in backup generators for their critical systems.
None of this can be know about the solar farms seen from the freeways and highways as one goes by at speed. Can see the wind turbines NOT moving in high wind or stormy conditions. The solar stuff can’t tell if it isn’t producing, except deductive reasoning on a solar panel covered snow or dust, or in the dark, or stormy day. Or see any disruption to grid itself.
Honestly, the best place for a solar farm is on a parking lot. Lots of local med clinics have gone to that. It provides shade AND power in a very hot area, what’s not to love?
“You know, it’s such a nice day I think I’ll go for a walk.” Bonus points if you can name author and title from the last line of the story.
That sounds familiar. I am pretty sure it was Isaac Asimov who wrote it but I cannot remember the title. I remember a kid who spent time outside and a psychiatrist trying to cure him.
Indeed it is Issac Asimov. I believe it is the last line of his short Story, “The Door”.
Even before the jump to full info on the net having a decent search system for finding articles and monographs in a library had already sped research up beyond what could easily be done with a card catalog. Although sometimes there would be serendipitous finds from a card catalog or citation index. And for some of us hunting in the card catalog was like browsing an Encyclopedia Britanicca raised to the Nth power.
My brain swapped the image at the top with the version that turns it into Cookie Monster. 😮
Happy new year!
Shoot Greens! What’s the score? 😀
Hey when does Green Season Open? And do they have Bow or Black Powder Seasons. They probably make damn poor eating they’re all freaking Vegans except for the ones that eat bugs.
I’m sure some of them eat snails. 😛
Escargot is actually damned delicious.
My last exposure to such was really unfortunate. Never ate at that place again, and I’ll skip the escargot, thank you very much.
Perhaps just to show solidarity with certain countries… It won’t improve their flavor much although the large quantities of garlic should mask some of the gaminess and the butter will fatten them up (presuming they don’t cheat and use vegan butter substitutes).
Well, 2022 has limped off and 2023 has arrived. Happy New Year, Guys.
(As I see my granddaddy in a diaper and a sash, as the New Year sometime in the 1930s in Raleigh, NC).
I wouldn’t have blamed 2023 if it looked around and said, “F*k this, I’m outta here!” 😀
Operation Enduring Charlie Foxtrot, year four.
Not yet. We are a year off from Charlie Foxtrot, year four.
Year 2022 isn’t letting 2023 to walk away. Pretty sure 2022 is going “OMG. I’m soooo out of here. 2023 it is your problem now.”
We’re a year off from the end of Charlie Foxtrot year four. We are at the beginnongof that year.
AARGGHHH! “beginning of”
Arrrrr. Correct. Beginning of Charlie Foxtrot year 4. I forget to count year 0 (2020) as actually year 1 … sigh.
Fencepost errors are forgivable especially 0/1 ones if you code in most modern programming languages 🙂 .
Be gentle. I’ve been out of programming now for 7 years (OMG! Time still flies!)
Last night, some of the North Texas Troublemakers toasted out the old year and in the new. As well as eating black-eyes peas, greens, corn bread, and a really good ham (and other wonderful food). We did our part!
Sitting here setting up this year’s files and happened to glance up at another example of change: my beloved had the weather radar app up on his phone. How many lives has being able to get a real-time radar map of the severe weather headed your way have these apps saved? Not to mention the planning aspects (do I have time to get a walk in before the rain arrives?).
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