It’s an interesting drive. Between Dawson Creek, BC and Fort Nelson, there are miles and miles of miles and miles. The terrain is mostly taiga, that great northern forest that encompasses the globe in the northern hemisphere. Between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake, Yukon Territory, where we spent last night, there is a mountain range and about five hundred miles of no internet connection, almost no gas stations and not much of anything else – besides rocks, trees, bison, elk, and a million other kinds of critters. It was a lovely drive; I hope one day to repeat it in nicer weather. Here are a couple of samples. More tomorrow!
Thanks as always to The Other McCainThe Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Whores and Ale and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links! No regular news post today, just some brief thoughts and an image from our trip from the Denver area to (so far) Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
We have a long ways to go yet, so brevity is the order of the day, I’m afraid. So far, in two days, we’ve spent almost twenty-eight hours in the truck. Saturday saw us from the Denver area all the way to Shelby, Montana, just a few miles short of the Canadian border. On Sunday, we crossed into Canada, spent two hours (!) at Customs establishing our bona fides, then drove as far as Dawson Creek, British Columbia, which has us at the southern terminus of the Alaska Highway. Tomorrow’s goal is Watson Lake in the Yukon, assuming we hit no bad weather or other delays it’s a long day but doable.
It’s an interesting drive, but the really interesting part is just beginning. Watch this space for more. Meanwhile, here’s a shot of the vast plains of Alberta. More tomorrow.
Later today, after I take care of some work chores, we’ll be loading our cargo trailer, packing up all of our remaining office equipment and supplies as well as what firearms and ammo I still have remaining in Colorado. In fact, we’ll be packing truck and trailer with probably a third to half of all the stuff we’ll be hauling from Colorado up to the Great Land.
Next, posts: Tomorrow we’ll have the Saturday Gingermageddon as usual. Next week, instead of placeholders while we’re on the road, I’ll probably post some photos of random, interesting scenery along the 3.200 mile trip. Normal posts should resume on either April 1 or April 2, unless we encounter some difficulty along the way.
Mrs. Animal and I always enjoy road trips. We have taken a lot of them together over the last thirty years or so, and we inevitably end up talking, planning and laughing the entire trip, just like a couple of kids. I guess we just enjoy being together, even (especially) after all this time, and given that this road trip is the penultimate act in the culmination of our twenty-plus year plans, it’s going to be even more fun.
And, of course, there’s the trip itself. About half of the drive is on the Alaska-Canada Highway itself, which we’ve wanted to drive for years. Problem is this: Canada is hurrying people through right now because of the ‘rona, so no time for sightseeing, and frankly this isn’t the best time for that anyway, not to mention we’ll be towing a trailer and have a canoe tied atop the truck, so not the best vehicle configuration, either. Not to worry; we have plenty of time, and we’ll plan to make the drive again sometime when we have time to sight-see.
Speaking of that drive, here’s how the itinerary looks, for any of you True Believers that might be curious as to how this works:
Day 1: Denver, Colorado to Shelby, Montana. Shelby is about twenty miles south of the Coutts, Alberta entry station into Canada. So in the morning we’ll want to get an early start to deal with the bureaucracy at the border.
Day 2: Shelby, Montana to Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Dawson Creek is where the Alaska Highway proper begins. I’ve done some reading about the town, and it seems like it would be a hell of a fun place to spend a few days, once the Kung Flu panic dies down.
Day 3: Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Watson Lake, Yukon Territory. This is where gas stations and so forth get thin on the ground, so it’s prudent to keep the tank topped up.
Day 4: Watson Lake, Yukon Territory to Tok, Alaska. Tok is where we leave the Alaska Highway, which continues (officially) to Delta Junction, while the highway continues up to Fairbanks. Now we’re back into the States, and officially into the Great Land!
It’s going to be interesting and exciting! Mrs. Animal will still have to fly back to Colorado to meet the movers to load the remaining stuff for the trip north, then to arrange for the Colorado house to be cleaned up and sold. Denver real estate is crazy right now, so we expect to do well on that deal. But when that’s done, she comes home, and we settle into our rural Alaska home for good.
So, stand by for news from the road!
President Trump is doing his best to make the 2022 elections a bloodbath for Democrats. Excerpt:
There has been one thing that the left have been hoping will save them, though. Namely, that a civil war within the Republican party leads to a suppression of victories come 2022. For that to happen, Democrats were banking on Donald Trump just going scorched earth, with no care for whether the GOP takes back the majority or not.
Well, the former president just blew that notion up, and that sound you hear is millions of liberals crying out in agony.
This is Trump saying that he’ll be prioritizing policy over petty politics in the mid-terms, and honestly, good for him. That essentially defuses any major in-fighting within the party and sets the GOP up for success. The fundamentals already heavily favored them. Now, without another variable to gum up the works, Trump can be a positive force toward sending Nancy Pelosi into retirement, and that benefits him in the long term as well.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Trump is going to endorse Liz Cheney or the like, nor should he. There still need to be real primary fights, and anyone who voted for impeachment is going to suffer the political consequences. But it does mean that, for the most part, Trump is willing to get behind candidates that fit their districts and are positioned to win, even if they’ve thrown a little shade in his direction in the past.
With the border situation worsening, inflation beginning, and more worries over foreign policy building, Democrats are not in a good position. Without a GOP civil war to save them, their path to retaining their majorities in 2022 becomes a very tall task, and once Republicans take over again, Joe Biden’s life is going to turn to misery.
Now we see why the Democrats are pushing H.R. 1 so vigorously, although it has little chance in the Senate unless Chuck Schumer (Sanctimonious Prick – NY) can blow up the filibuster and hold every single Senate Democrat in line. H.R. 1 would codify election fraud as a matter of course, and ensure a California-style one-party rule in the Imperial City; of course, if we could rely on the courts, the clearly unconstitutional H.R. 1 would be swiftly overturned, as the Constitution clearly extends almost all control of elections to the states.
It’s way too common to say “this is the most important election in our history,” and most of the time that’s just rhetoric. But 2022 will be a key election. Both parties are undergoing major changes, the Dems turning things over to “woke” urban progressives while the Republicans are moving to populist policies. 2020 redistricting and current Democrat overreach will be the keys to the 2022 and 2024 elections, and, yes, this will largely determine the path forward to the country for the next generation.
Personally I’m not too optimistic, but we’ll see what happens.
I swear, you can’t make this shit up. Take a look:
I distinctly remember Ronald Reagan meeting Mikhail Gorbachev in Iceland. Reagan landed first, and was waiting when Gorbachev’s Aeroflot airliner landed – in the Icelandic wind. Gorbachev deplaned in a typically Russian heavy overcoat and fur hat (say what you will about the Russians, they know how to dress for cold weather) and Reagan was outside waiting for him in a regular business suit.
As Gorbachev approached, he slipped on a patch of ice. He did not fall, but before his aides could react, the older Reagan ran to his side and steadied him, as though he was the younger, stronger man, representing his younger, stronger country.
It was a great visual. Now we have doddering, senile old Joe Biden, sending the world just the opposite message.
Great. Just great.
On To the Links!
Holy shit! Watch the embedded video – there was sure as hell automatic weapons fire on the Mexico side of the river. Believe me, I’ve heard it before – and not an automatic rifle. That was an M-60 or something of that sort, a crew-served machine gun. (But they have such strict gun control in Mexico!)
The Navy is still looking into fusion. Not surprising, the Navy operates a lot of reactors and has plenty of nuke experts.
This Week’s Idiots:
Slate’s Jane Hu is an idiot. I’m sensing a pattern here.
Boy, this one brings back some memories. I remember going to the Ben Franklin’s Five and Dime when I was a little kid. They had bins of little plastic toys, dinosaurs, birds and the like. My Mom would give me a nickel each trip, if I had behaved myself, so I could buy one.
Later, as a teenager, I worked at the Woolco in Cedar Falls, selling guns and fishing gear. Woolco was, of course, a branch of the famous Woolworth chain of five and dime stores. I never fell in love with a co-worker there, although I did date one of the girls from the Garden Center for a while. Nanci Griffith did a wonderful song about that happening, however; this is Love at the Five and Dime. And (let’s say this softly) compare this marvelous display of talent, class and skill with what passes for music today, say, for example, at the recent Emmy Awards. Anyway. Enjoy.
This just in: No less an authority than Toyota is warning folks that moving to eliminate gasoline-powered cars isn’t a good idea. Excerpt:
A senior Toyota executive will express skepticism before U.S. senators Tuesday about aspirations by rival automakers to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles, saying those goals must overcome many obstacles.
Robert Wimmer, director of Energy & Environmental Research at Toyota Motor North America, will testify at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.
“If we are to make dramatic progress in electrification, it will require overcoming tremendous challenges, including refueling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance and affordability,” he will say according to an advance copy of his remarks.
He will say that while rivals have made aspirational statements, less than 2% of vehicles sold in the U.S. last year were battery electric. He will also note it took Toyota 20 years to sell more than 4 million U.S. gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.
Toyota plans to begin selling two new electric vehicles in the United States next year, but also aims to keeps boosting sales of hybrid cars.
Many automakers and policymakers in Washington are eager for the U.S. government to take steps to speed the adoption of EVs.
The problem always comes down to energy density. The same folks who agitate for all-electric cars, with their limited range and long recharge times, are the same nincompoops who agitate for windmills and solar panels. These do not produce energy on the scale or with the reliability of natural-gas or nuclear plants, and will not maintain the energy requirements of an advanced technological society – but then, that may be a feature, not a bug, eh?
As for hybrids, when someone builds a hybrid pickup that will carry a slide-in camper and tow a boat for 3-400 miles a day, on roads that pass through mountain ranges and into remote back-country destinations, then maybe I’ll give it a look. But, as with so many things, color me skeptical.
I found this pretty interesting, both as a biologist and a science-fiction writer. Excerpt:
On the website for the department of zoology of the University of Cambridge, the page for Arik Kershenbaum lists his three main areas of research, one of which stands out from the others. Kershenbaum studies “Wolves & other canids,” “Dolphins & cetaceans” — and “Aliens.” Granted, science hasn’t yet found any aliens to study, but Kershenbaum says that there are certain things we can still say about them with reasonable certainty. Topping the list: They evolved.
“The bottom line — why animals do the things that they do, why they are the things that they are — is because of evolution,” said Kershenbaum, a lecturer and director of studies in the natural sciences at the university’s Girton College. He argues that evolution is a universal law of nature, like gravity — and that studies of plants and animals here can therefore tell us something useful about potential inhabitants of worlds far beyond Earth. He finds evidence for this in the process of evolutionary convergence, in which unrelated lineages of organisms evolve similar features as adaptations to similar environmental challenges. It’s an argument he presents in detail in his new book, The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals on Earth Reveal About Aliens — and Ourselves, which draws on comparisons of animals’ physical adaptations as well as his own research (and that of others) into animal communications.
In science-fiction, it’s common (I’m guilty of it myself) to portray intelligent aliens as just humans with funny features, and that’s more an artifact of story-telling than it is science, as your characters have to have a degree of similarity enough to make social interaction possible. But it’s far more likely that even intelligent aliens would be truly alien, to the point at which we probably wouldn’t even be able to communicate with them in any meaningful way.
But how different would they be, in the broad strokes?
Well, look at life here on Earth. Thanks to a set of genetic instructions called hox genes, most multi-celled life is organized fore-and-aft, with a mouth at one end and an anus at the other. Sensory apparatuses are at the fore-end, near the mouth, because their original purpose was to detect food. The central nervous processing center, that would eventually become a brain, would usually develop near those sensory inputs, the better to reduce reaction times. And as organisms become more complex, they would have to have some kind of ways to move, and then, later, to manipulate their environment – limbs.
So a creature with a head with the senses on the head, a body, and some number of limbs, would seem to be a sort of biological default. And to evolve into a technological society, they would have to have not only the intelligence but the ability to use and make tools, so either hands or some approximation of same.
Now, there’s no requirement for bilateral symmetry or even a tetrapodal layout; you could have an intelligent, technological race that uses flashing lights rather than sound for communication, is organized in a trilateral rather than bilateral body plan, and is a hexapod rather than a tetrapod.
You know – alien.
I think I’ll grab a copy of Dr. Kershenbaum’s book. It looks to be an interesting read.
I first read this last week, but it took me a little while to digest. Excerpt:
The parents in the backyard say that for every one of them, there are many more, too afraid to speak up. “I’ve talked to at least five couples who say: I get it. I think the way you do. I just don’t want the controversy right now,” related one mother. They are all eager for their story to be told—but not a single one would let me use their name. They worry about losing their jobs or hurting their children if their opposition to this ideology were known.
“The school can ask you to leave for any reason,” said one mother at Brentwood, another Los Angeles prep school. “Then you’ll be blacklisted from all the private schools and you’ll be known as a racist, which is worse than being called a murderer.”
One private school parent, born in a Communist nation, tells me: “I came to this country escaping the very same fear of retaliation that now my own child feels.” Another joked: “We need to feed our families. Oh, and pay $50,000 a year to have our children get indoctrinated.” A teacher in New York City put it most concisely: “To speak against this is to put all of your moral capital at risk.”
Parents who have spoken out against this ideology, even in private ways, say it hasn’t gone over well. “I had a conversation with a friend, and I asked him: ‘Is there anything about this movement we should question?’” said a father with children in two prep schools in Manhattan. “And he said: ‘Dude, that’s dangerous ground you’re on in our friendship.’ I’ve had enough of those conversations to know what happens.”
That fear is shared, deeply, by the children. For them, it’s not just the fear of getting a bad grade or getting turned down for a college recommendation, though that fear is potent. It’s the fear of social shaming. “If you publish my name, it would ruin my life. People would attack me for even questioning this ideology. I don’t even want people knowing I’m a capitalist,” a student at the Fieldston School in New York City told me, in a comment echoed by other students I spoke with. (Fieldston declined to comment for this article.) “The kids are scared of other kids,” says one Harvard-Westlake mother.
What does that read like to you? To me it reads like the results of bullying, which I had thought was verboten in this modern era.
But to what else do you attribute these parents’ nervousness?
Here’s where I think these folks go wrong. When I was a kid, bullies never lasted too long, because sooner or later they ran into a kid that was bigger and tougher than they were, and got their asses kicked, which usually put an end to the bullying. That’s what needs to happen here, I think; these parents need to stand up to the assholes determining the curricula at these schools, demand that the schools react to their customers – the parents – and cease and desist the racist horseshit, forthwith.
Of course, the other side of that is that the majority of parents in this area may want this racist horseshit. What’s the answer then?
Pull your kids out of those damned schools.
I don’t give a rat’s ass if that will make it harder for Little Precious to get into that Ivy League school that will grease the skids for a life of indolent, upper-level government service. Hell, you think these kids are being fed horseshit now? Wait until they get to Harvard or Yale.
Your kids would be better off if you kept them home and, for what you’re spending for this private school, hire a tutor. Or why not have that group of oh-so-concerned parents here chip in and hire several tutors, for a wide range of subjects?
I understand that these folks are feeling put-upon because their kids are being taught racist horseshit that flies in the face of their parents’ evidently right-of-center views. So, fine – quit your damn whining and do something about it! Remember that fine old American can-do tradition? That good old American ingenuity? Try to rediscover some of that, grow some huevos, and abandon that awful, failing education bureaucracy. Frankly, at this juncture, that’s really the only option.
We’re in a time where any chance at national unity seems to be fading away. This (and, as always, please do read it all) article is just one more piece of evidence of that. May as well acknowledge it, accept it as inevitable and start figuring how to deal with it.