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Things That Fail


“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life and lost everything: security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society, but for society to give to them when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

–Edward Gibbons, on the fate of Ancient Greece.




classic-fighter-planeI live near the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton Here and have found it beneficial and therapeutic to visit the museum often, perhaps once per quarter. I usually see it alone and focus on technology and human factors as a mental catalyst. The facility is expertly curated and very much worth the effort to visit.

A few years ago, I began building an engine and generator repair shop emphasizing specific models of Kubota diesel, Generacs, Hondas, and Briggs & Stratton machines. As time has passed, my shop built a pretty extensive inventory of these and the tooling to rebore cylinders and rewind electrical coils. I watch Craigslist throughout the USA and Canada to find used machines and snap them up either for parts or to rebuild.

Recent emissions laws make generators expensive, while competition from China pushes domestic manufacturers out of business. If the trends hold, soon an order from Chairman Xi or a move by the feds will make it challenging to purchase private power generation. Hence, my interest in building a large inventory and comprehensive repair capability. Once generators are outlawed, only outlaws will have generators.

So it was this week I wondered how the early aircraft engines were produced using primitive machine tools. This took me to the museum for a day to study 110-year-old designs.


Above is the Clerget Rotary engine used on the Sopwith Camel, one of WWI’s most successful combat aircraft. It has a simple design, made even simpler by the fabricating technology of the day. It is a rotary, not a radial engine because the entire engine rotates and the crankshaft is fixed. The propeller attaches to the engine body, not the shaft.

I did an internet search on detail, and just for fun, asked ChatGPT to draw a picture of a Sopwith Camel aircraft.

The A.I. came up with these:



Well, nice try, I guess. But these are not Sopwith Camels. These images were surprising, given ChatGPT’s access to the world’s online data repository. Apparently, no code in the system tests A.I.’s response for fitness to purpose. The Sopwith Camel was built to fly. These generated images represent machines that cannot fly.

A.I. produces answers to queries, but where is the quality control that validates that the solutions make sense?



The Electrical Grid

Please see this article for reference…

I began refurbishing home power plants and building out my repair facility when it became apparent that electrical supply and demand were approaching a crisis. There is no substitute for fossil fuel-fired power stations in the intermediate term—nor nuclear and hydropower over the long term.

PJM Interconnect is a regional electrical transmission company that aggregates power and sells it via high-tension transmission lines. The chart below is from their website and represents the hourly flow of electricity to Indiana, Ohio, and parts of Michigan. Today, at 3 pm, a spring windstorm with tornadoes is occurring within their region, boosting wind turbine output.


Federal regulations already promulgated with planned enforcement starting in 2024 will substantially reduce or eliminate coal, gas, multifuel (old tires and trash), and oil-driven electricity generation.

At the same time, EPA regulations will make home and portable electrical generators very expensive and subject to licensing if they are permanently mounted at a home or office. Owners can be charged a fine or fee when portable generators are operated more than 100 hours per year in some jurisdictions.

Rooftop solar and power walls cannot generate much power at the approximately 40 degrees north latitude at the center of PJM’s service area, with rated power only theoretically available between 11 am and 1 pm when the sky is clear.

The chart below lists the existing regulations and their expected impact on the electrical supply. Voluntary ESG standards are also included.

The death of ESG and CRT will occur when the lights go off and the looting starts. Diversity might not be our greatest strength during an extended power outage; even the blue-haired squealers will figure this out.


Electrical demand is increasing dramatically, making matters worse. Already, rolling blackouts are implemented in parts of the USA and Canada during peak usage. Expect these to be daily events within a few years.

I can power my home with an enclosed and water-cooled generator from Fischer-Panda of Germany Here. They are reliable and quiet, with Honda’s super silent design, modified to fire multiple fuels as a backup. If a crisis occurs, I will gift my neighbors rebuilt conventional generators that are especially loud. Should the baddies start prowling for generators to steal, I prefer the baddies to hear the units operating at the neighbor’s houses.

The bottom line is that we are heading for electricity shortages across North America, and generators might not be available for purchase or, in some states, licensing. Plan accordingly.



Scott Adams

dilbert-kanyeScott Adams, the cartoonist behind Dilbert, was canceled en masse after pointing out violent crime in black neighborhoods. Adams pointed out that there is a property valuation difference driven by the desire to avoid urban violence. This was a bridge too far, deemed racist, and resulted in cancellation by over 100 newspapers and media outlets.

Rather than the apologies and teeth-gnashing expected by the Woke Bramas, we are watching successful people pulling their output from the market and heading to Galt’s Gulch. It seems probable that neutralizing Scott Adams was a box to check before the 2024 election, and any provocation, no matter how slight, would have sufficed.

There will be more coordinated bans and silencing as the election approaches, but people are waking up to the media’s political agenda. Trump’s primary success was pointing out the machine behind the fake news.



Dunning-Kruger Effect

dunning-kruger-effectThe Dunning-Kruger effect occurs when the unskilled are unaware of their lack of skill and are overconfident, while the highly skilled are uncertain because they understand a subject’s complexity.

The entire Covid event, from top to bottom, was a lot like the A.I. software’s rendering of the Sopwith Camels. Institutions did not know how to respond and quickly took the default position of supporting anything proposed outside the government-media-regulatory complex.

Testimony before Congress this week is revealing this pattern. Institutions put institutional integrity and power first. The simplest way was to listen to nongovernmental types and do the opposite.

How much government policy is enacted as little more than opposition to the private sector? It is starting to look like a lot.

For example, surgical masks have many pores larger than virus particles and cannot filter the virus from an air stream. But as soon as the scientists outside the government pointed out the obvious, the masks became mandatory. Police broke skulls with nightsticks when encountering the unmasked.

It did no good to argue the technicalities. The emerging truth is that career government apparatchik put their positions within their institutions first. The government would have opposed their use if the private sector had demanded masks.

We learned this week that Pfizer produced the bulk of their vaccines in China and shipped the active ingredients to Germany for blending with propylene glycol and packaging into those little glass vials. China had access to Pfizer’s technology but chose not to use it.

How does a company produce a complex vaccine in facilities on different continents without disclosing that the critical components are made under contract? The existence of “hot shots” or specific lot numbers associated with most vax injuries occurred. It is unknown whether the hot shot batches were produced by Pfizer in contract manufacturing facilities and blended in Germany.

The world has a big problem, and it is the Dunning-Kruger effect. The only solution is to pursue merit and bona fide qualifications in government. Otherwise, we will end up with the private sector doing as the government does and rejecting the government automatically.

Covid and the Duning-Kruger Effect explain why we rapidly lose faith in institutions. They appear to be run by the A.I. that can’t draw a Sopwith Camel.



Her Pronouns are Over and Out

She lost. She lost big. She secured just 17% of the vote, even after forcing the 5,700 inmates in Cook County jails to vote for her or face penalties.

Lori lightfoot was the first incumbent to lose reelection in forty years. She was Chicago’s first black and lesbian mayor, presiding over Chicago as it became the murder capital of the USA.

She probably ruined the chances of the next unqualified black lesbian candidate.

If Chicago has given up on Lightfoot, then this is a significant sign that the collapse of faith in government institutions is affecting elections. The institutional candidates are in trouble.

Bye, Bye, Lori.


Mike Ryan is a chemical engineering consultant for the Iron and Steel, Minerals, Chemicals, and Fibers Industries.