Category Archives: Tech

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Watch this:

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson is an American treasure, and he has more intellectual power on his worst day than either Joe Biden or Heels-Up Harris ever did on the best day they ever lived.  In this clip, he lays out something I’ve been saying for years, only Dr. Hanson does it far more eloquently – and he brings receipts.  Give it a listen.  It’s worth fourteen minutes of your day.

Now then…

On To the Links!

Yeah, he’s running.

Get woke, go broke – the streaming services adjust.

Here we go again.

Arizona, doing the jobs the Imperial City is supposed to do but won’t.

Beef – it’s what’s for dinner.

Abolish the FBI.  Yeah, I think we’ve likely come to that point.

Robot dogs.

Do the elites want to stave us to death?

That’s actually racist.

Good guy with gun.

No shit, Sherlock.

Probably not.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation’s John Nichols (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

The New Republic’s Jason Linkins is an idiot.

Dan Goldman is an idiot.

Vox’s Rachel Cohen is an idiot.

This idiot fails to understand:  We want the (un)civil service gutted.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

One of the most talented songwriters and performers of the Seventies was Carly Simon, best known for tunes like Anticipation and You’re so Vain.  But one of my favorites of her work is the 1971 tune That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be, from her debut album Carly Simon.  I enjoy the song in spite of its rather pessimistic outlook on marriage, which I don’t share; my parents enjoyed a happy marriage for 71 years, and while my first marriage ended after only six years, I have been married to my own dear Mrs. Animal for over thirty years and we couldn’t be happier.

Anyway – I still really enjoy this song, and Carly Simon’s vocals.  Here is a live performance, again from 1971, in which Carly Simon shows eloquently how beauty and talent can go together.  And you know what’s great?  Look at that audience.  No cell phones held up, no heads turned down towards their little screens, just a lot of people watching the show.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Manual Transmission News

A manual transmission?

Before we start, check out the final episode of Legionnaire over at Glibertarians!

The Atlantic’s Ian Bogost recently chronicled the upcoming end of manual transmissions.  Excerpt:

In 2000, more than 15 percent of new and used cars sold by the auto retailer CarMax came with stick shifts; by 2020, that figure had dropped to 2.4 percent. Among the hundreds of new car models for sale in the United States this year, only about 30 can be purchased with a manual transmission. Electric cars, which now account for more than 5 percent of car sales, don’t even have gearboxes. There are rumors that Mercedes-Benz plans to retire manuals entirely by the end of next year, all around the world, in a decision driven partly by electrification; Volkswagen is said to be dropping its own by 2030, and other brands are sure to follow. Stick shifts have long been a niche market in the U.S. Soon they’ll be extinct.

I’ve always kind of liked a manual transmission myself, especially in a truck, for reasons I’ll go into in a moment.  First, though:  I’m not surprised by the car companies decreasing the availability of manual transmissions.  In today’s market, with plenty of folks increasing their dependency on technology, it’s no shock that the demand for manual transmissions is dropping off.  I suspect that this is the reason for the various auto manufacturers dropping manual transmissions; there likely just isn’t a lot of demand.

The one vehicle we have here in the Great Land is a newer (2017) Ford Expedition, Mrs. Animal’s primary vehicle.  It has an automatic transmission, which was the only thing available, but for Mrs. Animal’s primary vehicle, that’s as must be in any case, as she has neurological damage and chronic pain issues on her left side that make operating a clutch difficult.

But my last pickup, the inestimable Rojito, now in the able care of loyal sidekick Rat, was not only manual transmission but manual everything, and I liked that – so does Rat, for that matter.  It remains to be seen what I’ll be able to score for a new pickup here in the Great Land, as the needs will be different – a small, somewhat underpowered pickup like the 1999 Ranger won’t work for the towing/camper hauling chores we have in mind here.

I do like a manual transmission on a truck, either way.  I like having more direct control over the RPM range of the motor, especially when climbing, towing, off-roading or even descending hills, especially when towing.  Also I just plain enjoy driving a manual transmission.  It adds to the driving experience in some intangible manner.

Still.  The auto manufacturers are reacting to the market.  I’m an outlier.  In this, as in many other things, I’ve had to accept being in a market minority.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Democracy is the theory that the people know what government they want and should get it, good and hard.

While our hearts go out to the lovely and innocent girl who was attacked for no conceivable reason other than the insanity of the attacker, I can feel very little sympathy for the people of California in general and Los Angeles in particular.  They voted for this, they got it, and if they didn’t see it coming, they were probably too stupid to be voting.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the area, most recently in 2009.  Back then, things were already getting pretty bad.  I remember a Saturday afternoon when, out of curiosity, I went down to hang around in Hollywood.  I was expecting some glamour, kind of a ritzy area.  The reality?  Not even close.  It was a dump.  Bums hit me up for money on every corner.

All I can say to California, today, is “you asked for it.”

Now then…

On To the Links!

One more rat leaving the sinking ship.

“I’ll take Shit That Never Happened for $500, Alex!”

This is what having “fuck you money” looks like.

Let them eat cake!  Honestly, how could the optics of this be any worse?  Maybe if she was having enslaved orphans rub her feet?

Now there’s a shortage of veterinarians.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assassinated by nutjob with a homemade gun.  There’s a point to be made here, but I’ll make that point later.  For now, PM Abe was a man who had a family who loved him, so we’ll just offer condolences, and stop there.

This just in!  People are fleeing blue states for red ones.  No shit.
Inflation, Crime, Court Defeats Haunt Biden Admin.  Not to mention incompetence.

Trust in government is now lower than it was after Watergate.  Remember what I said about incompetence?

Fucking savages.

Late to the party.

I’m sure they just came here to make a better life for their families.

Honestly, replacing Heels-Up is the only hope they have for 2024.  Old Joe is losing it by the day and she’s unelectable.

The red wave is still growing.

The Roaring Twenties.

Emphasis on the “clueless.”

This Week’s Idiots:

USAToday’s Rex Huppke is an idiot.

The LA Times‘ Robin Abcarian is an idiot.

The Nation’s Jeet Heer is an idiot.

Mother Jones’ Abby Vesoulis is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

The LA Times’ Nicholas Goldberg is an idiot.

Vox’s Ian Millhiser (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Just when you think we’ve hit peak derp.

Herpa derpa derp.

USAToday’s Carli Pierson is an idiot.

VanityFair’s Emily Jane Fox & Joe Hagan are both idiots.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

I remember when Aerosmith’s album Toys In The Attic came out in 1975, a bunch of us drove down to Waterloo, Iowa, to stand in line outside a record store.  It was a four-hour wait before we could get our copies of that fantastic album.  Twelve years and several albums later, they released Permanent Vacation, which included the fun song Dude (Looks Like A Lady.)

That was in 1987, of course.  Imagine the… interest this song would have generated were it released today.  I wonder how much the members of Aerosmith would care, as long as it sold albums?  Anyway, here is the official video of that great mid-Eighties tune.  Enjoy.

Rule Five Energy Reality Friday

The energy blog Master Resource ran this a while ago, but I stumbled across it while on an airplane last week and found it an interesting read:  Antidote to Magical Thinking.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow:

In an article filed under “climate crimes,” The Guardian claims that environmental nirvana is reachable if only politicians stop listening to Big Oil and start listening to social scientists. Author Amy Westervelt argues that the technology needed to achieve “net zero” carbon emissions is at hand; we just lack the will and the laws to implement it. She quotes from a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

Factors limiting ambitious transformation [to address climate change] include structural barriers, an incremental rather than systemic approach, lack of coordination, inertia, lock-in to infrastructure and assets, and lock-in as a consequence of vested interests, regulatory inertia, and lack of technological capabilities and human resources.

At least this quotation refers to real limitations, which contradicts Westervelt’s claim that:

The report made one thing abundantly clear: the technologies and policies necessary to adequately address climate change exist, and the only real obstacles are politics and fossil fuel interests.

The technologies to achieve what these people want – zero carbon emissions – do no exist, and will no exist in the foreseeable future, for a number of reasons.  As Vaclav Smil points out:

In a recent interview with the New York Times, energy expert Vaclav Smil offers an antidote to Westervelt’s magical thinking. Smil’s latest book, How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We’re Going, examines what he calls the “four pillars of modern civilization: cement, steel, plastics, and ammonia.” Creating these requires burning huge amounts of fossil fuels.

Given this reality, Smil maintains, we are not going to achieve decarbonization by 2050, much less 2030. “What’s the point of setting goals which cannot be achieved?” Smil asks. “People call it aspirational. I call it delusional.”

Check the China statistics. The country is adding, every year, gigawatts of new coal-fired power. Have you noticed that the whole world is now trying to get hands on as much natural gas as possible? This world is not yet done with fossil fuels. Germany, after nearly half a trillion dollars, in 20 years they went from getting 84 percent of their primary energy from fossil fuels to 76 percent.

Can you tell me how you’d go from 76 percent fossil to zero by 2030, 2035? I’m sorry, the reality is what it is.

Yet, Smil does not counsel despair:

[W]e are constantly transitioning and innovating. We went from coal to oil to natural gas, and then as we were moving into natural gas we moved into nuclear electricity, and we started building lots of large hydro, and they do not emit any carbon dioxide directly. So, we’ve been transitioning to lower-carbon sources or noncarbon sources for decades.

Exactly so; carbon dioxide emissions in the Western world have been declining steadily for decades now, not because of the maniacal shrieking of climate activists but because of basic economics; improvements in technology delivering more product (energy) more efficiently, therefore cheaper.

One of those facts, of course, is that we do have a source of electricity generation right now that results in little or no carbon emissions and is cheap to boot:  Nuclear power.  But, at least in the United States, the regulatory process is so onerous that it’s difficult (and in some places impossible) to open a new nuclear power plant.  We keep hearing as well of the possible advent of small modular reactors that could power a neighborhood or a small town, but one would expect that the regulatory burden placed on those would render them impossible as well.  And that’s a shame, because I can tell you from experience that would be a damn fine solution for places like our little rural Alaska community.

The article concludes:

Amy Westervelt in The Guardian implies that all that is needed to solve global warming is will. Politicians, properly schooled, can wave their legislative wands, creating good and banishing evil. Green energy sources will pop up like mushrooms across the land, and fossil-fueled power plants will vanish into the mist.

Smil reminds us that physical laws and resource scarcities matter. Economics matters. Reliability matters. National, regional, and personal interests matter. Time matters.

Indeed.  We solve today’s problems with tomorrow’s technology, and in many cases a lot of those technological solutions are unforeseen.  For example, I can tell you with great certainty that in the 1970s nobody predicted the Internet, and yet here we are today, with a tool that has literally changed the world and ushered in the Information Revolution.

But facts matter.  Reality matters.  And the reality is that the climate activists, including Amy Westervelt, have been drinking too much Kool-Aid.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at the Casa de Animal, and we’ve got some busy weeks ahead.  Snow is still melting, but we’re starting to see patches of actual yard surface.  Getting hit by two major winter storms in February left a lot of snow on the ground even for south-central Alaska, and with the snow’s melting comes a lot of spring cleanup.

We’re also tilling up the garden plot and prepping the greenhouse for sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes and whatever else we can grow.  Right now, given the current state of national affairs, being as self-sufficient as possible just seems like a good idea.

If possible, True Believers, I suggest you do likewise.

Now then…

On To the Links!

No shit, Sherlock.

Grafters gonna graft.

The New York Post belabors the obvious.

Welcome to the 1970s.

Why humans sleep less than other primates.  Interesting.

I’m not anxious to try Windows 11, and my big main computer is “not compatible,” but if you’re wondering how the roll-out is going, here’s where to find out.

DeSantis on Constitutional Carry in Florida.

Color me skeptical.

Imagine a Darwin Award for an entire state.

Sooner or later this kind of shit is going to explode.

Joe Manchin (D-WV) endorses a Republican.

It took a Carter to bring us a Reagan.

I’m your huckleberry.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Guardian’s Siva Vaidhyanathan is an idiot.

The New Republic’s Daniel Strauss is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Dr. Charles Darwin, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

Brian Stelter (Repeat Offender Alert) is a potato, and an idiot.

CNN’s David Zurawik is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

MSNBC’s C. Miller-Idriss is an idiot.

Biden deserves no respect, Juan, you idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

One of my favorite John Wayne movies for a number of reasons (at least one of which should be obvious) is the 1960 film North to Alaska, which also starred Stewart Granger and featured a great performance by Ernie Kovacs as Frankie Cannon, the slimy antagonist of the piece.  Check out the trailer:

One of the best bits of this film was the soundtrack, led off by Johnny Horton’s song of the same name, North to Alaska.  Here, then, is that song – enjoy!

Animal’s Daily Twitter News

Before we start tweeting (hah) check out the final installment of The Deal over at Glibertarians!

I’ve said for a long time that Twitter has the worst noise-to-signal ratio on the Internet, excepting (possibly) YouTube video comments.  Well, as reported by RedState.com’s “Bonchie,” now closest thing we have to a real-life Tony Stark, Elon Musk, is buying Twitter.  Excerpt:

The social media giant confirmed Monday the Tesla CEO and billionaire will acquire the company in a deal worth $44 billion. Once the deal is complete, which is expected by this year, Twitter will become a privately held company.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” said Musk in a statement. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.” 

Shares of Twitter rose more than 5% in afternoon trading Monday. 

“Twitter has a purpose and relevance that impacts the entire world,” its CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet. “Deeply proud of our teams and inspired by the work that has never been more important.”

Earlier Monday, Musk said: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”

OK, Elon, then now that Twitter is to be your personal hobby business, let’s see you fix the “algorithms” and “misleading information” decisions made by plenty of Twitter employees of late.  I know that ownership transfer isn’t instantaneous, but we’ll know when it happens – and will be expecting a level playing field, according to your own words here.

Now, predictably, lefties from every corner of the internets are threatening to leave Twitter.  While I’m inclined to say “good riddance,” we all know they won’t.  Of course none of those people are going to flee Twitter, just as all the assholes who routinely threaten to leave the country if (insert GOP Presidential candidate) is elected President never actually leave.  They’re just taking a dump; they know it and we know it.  And honestly, the worst thing the Left can do for its own cause is to stay there and keep talking.

I’m not sure what to think of this.  Elon Musk, remember, is no friend to liberty-minded people.  I enjoy the guy poking fun at the Left, but he’s no conservative, either; what positions he has taken on the issues of the day are all over the map.

Of course, the one thing he has made very clear is his support for unfettered, uncensored free speech.  If he ends up owning Twitter, as seems is going to happen, he’ll be in a position to make this policy.   Don’t get me wrong – Twitter will almost certainly remain horrible in the noise-to-signal department – but it might improve some.  We’ll see.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Whores and Ale, Pirate’s Cove and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!  Thanks also to our blogger pals at The Daley Gator for the link.

This seems like a good idea for voting reform, at least on the surface.  I’ve written a few words here and there on the ideas of a modern, electronic voting system, and this looks like the kind of thing I was thinking of.  Maybe.  Here’s the description:

Your elections officials create millions of digital ballot records in several separate files before the election. They use a software tool provided by Redo Voting and the source code for this tool is publicly available for ANYONE to review. Our software security is based on peer review. If software is kept secret, it’s not secure. We don’t want you to trust us or anybody to create perfect software. We want you to trust the world’s experts to assure you that what we are doing is as secure as it is transparent.

Next, our ballots are printed on the very same secure printers used to create lottery tickets. The same ones used by state lotteries. Fun fact: these secure machines cost $50 MILLION!

The printer then prints a series of unique codes from the file under special scratch materials. These unique codes are revealed by YOU when you pick up a ballot and scratch it. YOU are the first person to ever see them.

The other files are encrypted by election officials and kept secure until after the election. The files are secured using the same cryptography used by the government to secure its most classified secrets. Ever heard of “crypto?” It’s just a short version of the word “cryptography.” We have built our infrastructure in the same way that many understand as Blockchain, or “crypto.”

You, the voter, pick up a secure ballot at your civic buildings OR at any participating retailer. When you pick up the secure ballot, the clerk scratches and scans one of the hidden codes and conducts the same digital ID check required to purchase cigarettes or alcohol. This allows us to track that Secure Ballot from the printer to the warehouses, to the store, to YOU, and to only you. You will be personally connected to your ballot and the chain of custody remains tied to you forever more, but no one can ever associate your personal identity with your ballot. You can verify that your vote counted and was correctly submitted at anytime in the future.

Here’s the best bit:

When the polls close, your election officials will decrypt the files created when the election started. Here’s the fun part: they can make the secrets PUBLIC now. In fact, every activation and every ballot cast can be made public DURING the election. THAT’S transparency and accountability.

On the surface this seems like a pretty good system – secure, simple, easy and accountable.  And being able to know, instantly, who won – added bonus.  No recounts, no fudging, no late night shenanigans, no sudden discoveries of boxes of ballots in the trunks of cars days after the election is over (and, let’s say this quietly, after one party has determined how many votes need to be manufactured to put their guy over the top.)

But here’s my concern:  Anything that can exist, can be manipulated, one way or another.  Could this system really be hack-proof?  Color me skeptical, but I admit I’m not all that knowledgeable about this kind of tech.

Any of you True Believers who know more about IT systems than I do, see any holes in this?  It appears to make a great deal of sense, at least on the surface – which is why I suspect pols of all stripes will be dead-set against it.  In fact that should serve as a caution, if pols start saying this is a good idea, that’s when it’s time to get really suspicious.

Animal’s Daily Brain Implant News

One of these people is real.

I admit to a kind of sneaky admiration for Elon Musk much of the time.  He’s kind of the real-world Tony Stark, and I like how his FY-money gives him license to tweak proggy politicians, which he does.

But this, which I gather is one of his ventures, really seems like a bad idea.  Here’s how it works:

We’re designing the first neural implant that will let you control a computer or mobile device anywhere you go.

Micron-scale threads are inserted into areas of the brain that control movement. Each thread contains many electrodes and connects them to an implant, the Link.

The threads on the Link are so fine and flexible that they can’t be inserted by the human hand. Instead, we are building a robotic system that the neurosurgeon can use to reliably and efficiently insert these threads exactly where they need to be.

Here’s the onion:

Neuralink is building a fully integrated brain machine interface (BMI) system. Sometimes you’ll see this called a brain computer interface (BCI). Either way, BMIs are technologies that enable a computer or other digital device to communicate directly with the brain. For example, through information readout from the brain, a person with paralysis can control a computer mouse or keyboard. Or, information can be written back into the brain, for example to restore the sense of touch. Our goal is to build a system with at least two orders of magnitude more communication channels (electrodes) than current clinically-approved devices. This system needs to be safe, it must have fully wireless communication through the skin, and it has to be ready for patients to take home and use on their own. Our device, called the Link, will be able to record from 1024 electrodes and is designed to meet these criteria.

What could possibly go wrong?

I’m far from an expert on these kinds of things.  I’m a biologist by training, but my particular field was field zoology and behavior, and it’s been years and years since I did any actual work in the field, although I try to stay current.  So, neurophysiology isn’t exactly my cup of tea.

But I’m concerned.  Could this be back-hacked?  It’s relying on a wireless signal.  Could someone literally put a thought in your head?  Or just give you a bad headache?  Or, looking at it from the other direction, could someone take control of your phone or other devices through this system?

Granted that latter one can happen in a number of ways already; it’s a risk we take when using modern tech.  But the “brain implant” part of it, to me, seems fraught.

If folks choose to do this kind of thing, fine.  Every cat its own rat.  But you can count me out.

Animal’s Daily Automotive News

1979 Thunderbird Ad

Ars Technica asks:  Was 1980 the worst year for American automobiles?  Well, having owned cars back in those days, I’ll say that if it wasn’t the worst year, it was probably in the top five.  Excerpt:

Quick, what’s the worst year in American automotive history?

Recent bias might lead you to select 2008, when an unprecedented modern financial crisis slammed the overall economy and led to a government bailout of GM and Chrysler (those carmakers received $80 billion after taking a 40 percent nosedive in sales and having some 3 million jobs at risk). But the near-death experience yielded vehicles and automakers more closely aligned to consumers’ needs and desires.

Arguments could be made that 1929 proved far worse, as the stock market crash and the Great Depression that followed drove many automakers out of business. But that period also yielded some of the finest cars ever produced, ones with names like Marmon, Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, Stutz, and many others. Or perhaps it was 1957, when the last of the independent automakers, Nash and Hudson, disappeared from the market, and Packard was gasping its final breath as a poorly disguised Studebaker, a company that would disappear a decade later.

No, it’s 1980. With the arrival of the second OPEC Oil Embargo the year before, a recession took hold of the country. Sales of US-made cars came in at 6.58 million units, down 20 percent from 1979, as import automakers claimed a 26.1 percent market share, up from 21.2 percent in 1979. Ford lost a record $1.5 billion as domestic sales plunged 33 percent and worldwide sales declined 29 percent. Chrysler, having lost $2 billion in the past year and a half, was in such bad shape that banks wouldn’t lend it money. Instead, Congress did, providing a $1.5 billion loan guaranteed by the federal government. Even General Motors was hit by a $763 million loss, the company’s first since 1921.

But bad numbers alone don’t earn 1980 the title of ‘Worst Automotive Year Ever.’ Having to engineer cars with new technology for the first time in decades, the Big Three struggled to meet the unprecedented demand for small fuel-efficient cars. And in the face of profits and market share declining, Detroit responded by, frankly, fielding some of the worst cars it has ever produced.

Peruse the article for a list of some of the worst offenders.  And yes, my manufacturer of choice, Ford, has some well-deserved entries on that list.  What Ford did to the proud old names of Mustang and Thunderbird in those years was a travesty.  Fortunately, they managed to salvage some of that in the mid-Eighties; I had a 1984 Thunderbird and it was a big step up from the 1980 Fairmont-chassis abomination.  But then, I had also had a 1979 Thunderbird, long, sleek and black, with a hood big enough for a soccer field, and other than the notoriously leaky T-Bar roofs, it was a pretty decent car.

But then, when I married my first wife, she had a 1972 Pinto – objectively one of the cheapest pieces of crap I had ever driven – but the damn thing was perversely reliable.  It could be twenty below zero, and that car would start and run.  It never ran well; the body rusted out, the doors sagged, the hood was so far out of alignment that you had to pull it to the right to close it, but the damn thing always ran.  Go figure.

.

As to the point of this article, yes, American made cars in 1980 were pretty bad.  Fortunately they’ve come a long way since, and that’s a good thing, since I’m figuring on dumping a substantial piece of cash into a new F-450 in the next few months.

Rule Five Power Grids Friday

Programming note:  Next week I’ll be afield with loyal sidekick Rat in pursuit of antlered ungulates, so we’ll have some placeholder totty while I’m out of contact.  Tomorrow and the following Saturday we’ll have Gingermageddon as usual, then normal posts resume on Monday the 8th.

The bloodwind calls!  It’s time to hunt.

Now then:  Go and read this treatise on California’s new energy “infrastructure.”  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

The leaders of California and China have at least one thing in common: fear of blackouts. In late September, following widespread and economically debilitating losses of power, China’s vice premier Han Zheng ordered the country’s energy companies to ensure sufficient supplies before winter “at all costs” and added, ominously, that blackouts “won’t be tolerated.” A month earlier, California governor Gavin Newsom issued emergency orders to procure more natural gas-fired electrical capacity to avoid blackouts. And in a possible sign of more such moves to come, earlier in the summer, California’s electric grid operator “stole” electricity that Arizona utilities had purchased and that was in transit from Oregon.

Energy is far from the only thing the leaders of California and China have in common, of course.  But the energy issue is a big one.  China, of course, is addressing this by building coal-fired power plants, and plenty of ’em.  California?  Well, they’re trying a different approach.

In late August, in pursuit of that “transition” vision and while skirting the edge of widespread blackouts, California brought online the world’s biggest-ever grid-scale battery, located at Moss Landing, just 60 miles south of Silicon Valley. Proponents of an all-wind/solar grid seem to be saying that all we need to do to get past the volatility of conventional fuels for electricity is to build enough such batteries—the sooner, the better.

The Moss Landing battery is about ten times the size of the previous world-record-holder: the grid-scale battery that Elon Musk built, to global fanfare, for the South Australia grid in 2017. States and countries everywhere are in hot pursuit of grid-scale storage, including New York City, where the state Public Service Commission recently approved construction of a battery “plant” in Queens roughly the size of Tesla’s Australian project.

Three basic constraints work against building enough batteries to solve the intermittency of wind and solar power, however. First, there’s the time it takes to conquer the inevitable engineering challenges in building anything new at industrial scales. Second, there’s the scale issue itself and the deeply naïve reluctance to consider the utterly staggering quantity of batteries that would be required to keep society powered if most electricity is supplied at nature’s convenience. And finally, directly derived from the scale issues, are the difficulties involved in obtaining sufficient primary minerals to build as many batteries as the green dreamers want.

Ay, and that’s the rub; there just aren’t enough of those materials.  It’s not a matter of economies of scale, nor of lack of will; there just simply aren’t enough materials:

Building enough Moss Landing-class systems for 12 hours of storage for the U.S. alone would entail mining materials equal to what would be needed for two centuries’ worth of production of batteries for all the world’s smartphones. That doesn’t count the additional minerals needed for the transition to electric cars or the “energy minerals” needed to build the wind and solar machines themselves. It’s a little-noted fact that using wind/solar/battery machines to deliver the same amount of energy as conventional hydrocarbon machines requires about 1,000 percent more primary materials for fabrication.

The world isn’t now mining, nor is it planning to mine, a quantity of minerals and metals sufficient to build as many batteries as the transition roadmap requires. About this fact there is no dispute, even if it’s being ignored. In a surreal disconnect, the International Energy Agency’s own analysis of the astonishing, even impossible mineral demands required for the wind/solar/battery path was quickly followed by a different report proposing an even more aggressive pursuit of the energy transition. Meantime, another recent study from the Geological Survey of Finland totaled up the overall demand that the transition will create just for common minerals—for example, copper, nickel, graphite, and lithium—never mind the more exotic ones. They concluded that demand would exceed known global reserves of those minerals(Emphasis added by me.)

So, in other words, what nitwit Gavin Newsom and that idiot Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex and her ilk want to do to our electrical grid just simply isn’t possible.  There is an existing source of clean electricity, of course – nuclear power.  But the nitwit brigade doesn’t want to discuss that.

What’s left out of this article is this:  The Powers That Would Be in this country don’t care if the peasantry has to deal with rolling blackouts and prohibitive fuel costs.  They figure they’ll have theirs; like the old Soviet Polituro had their Zil limos and their dachas in the woods outside Moscow, the new American Politburo figures on still having their Congressional auto service and their tony Georgetown mansions.  The agenda is all for these idiots, facts be damned, and they’re willing to stomp all over you and I to shape things as they think they ought to be.

Read the whole article.  It really reduces the “green” energy issue to what it is – an absurdity.