The Unseen Hand

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A stylish and functional feature that used to be a common car feature was pillarless side glass. When the front and rear side windows were rolled down the car’s interior was wide open. It was almost like having a convertible, without the inevitable fraying and leaking. It also made it feasible to drive a car without AC – in the summer – without arriving at work in need of a shower.

Pillarless cars (coupes and sedans) are part of the past, of course – and that’s part of the reason why you can’t buy a new car without AC.

One guess as to why.

The government issued regulations – this was back in the early ’70s pertaining to rollover/roof crush resistance – that effectively outlawed pillarless side glass (and also nearly did the same to convertibles; this is why the ’76 Cadillac Eldorado convertible was – at the time – expected to be GM’s last convertible and was marketed and marked up accordingly).

Italics to emphasize the devilish cleverness of the effectively thing.

The government rarely flat-out forbids us to buy a certain type of car; rather, the bureaucrats who operate the wheels and gears of the government issue regulatory standards that the car manufacturers must comply with. If a car isn’t compliant, it either cannot be sold or it is made more expensive and so harder for most people to buy, as for instance in the case of what are styled “gas guzzlers,” a term of opprobrium used to slander cars that are not . . . compliant with federal fuel economy regulations.

A Frau…

It does not matter that  the people who choose to buy these “gas guzzlers” (or the pillarless cars, including sedans, people used to be able to buy) choose to buy them – and so, presumably, choose the supposed weaknesses and deficits the bureaucrats say they ought not to want – and must be effectively forced not to have.

Government knows best.

Another example of this – of what we’re not allowed to choose to have anymore in a new car – is low-back seats. You have to go way back – to the mid-1960s – to find cars that had these as none have had them ever since the government decided, on our behalf, that such seats were “unsafe.” And maybe they were, in the sense that if you ran into something – such as another car – at high speed, you were probably more likely to be injured, because there was nothing to restrain or cushion your back from roughly the shoulder blade up.

You might get whiplash, etc.

On the other hand, you could see what might be coming up behind you sooner – because a tall seatback wasn’t in the way of your rearward line of sight.

Also, you could easily turn your head to look. That was arguably a “safety system” all its own. Now, you need a remote-view camera to see what’s coming up behind you. Because it’s harder to see – using your own eyes – what’s coming up behind you.

But even more to the point, if your car had low-back seats, you could easily and comfortably drape your arm around your girl, which is something that’s effectively impossible (because extremely uncomfortable) to try to do in a government-approved car with high-backed seats.

Some people say these considerations ought to take a back seat – couldn’t resist! – to “safety.” No one ever asks these people how other people’s “safety” came to be their business. If it is, then – logically – so is other people’s health. So – inevitably – is literally everything else.

And here we are.

Now you know better why.

It is also why even the most expensive luxury cars come standard with the same plastic bumper covers that cover the front and rear ends of the least expensive cars – because the government has effectively outlawed chrome plating. It’s not illegal to offer chrome-plating. But it is extremely cost-prohibitive, as a result of “environmental” regulations that have pretty much ended the chrome-plating business in the United States. So – rather than elegant chrome – you get cheap, painted plastic no matter how much you spend that (adding insult to the injury) isn’t inexpensive to replace when it is damaged. Which happens easily – because it’s cheap plastic, with all the physical strength of the molded plastic inserts used to hold the made-in-China junk you just bought at Wal-Mart.

And now you’re driving it.

Here’s a subtle thing we’re no longer allowed to have: Air conditioning that’s cold.

Government-approved air conditioning is cool. Not in the Fonzie sense. There’s a big difference there – and those old enough to remember when Freon was the refrigerant used in automotive AC systems will remember how cold automotive AC systems once were before Freon was effectively banned. Ostensibly to save the ozone layer but in fact, to save DuPont the money it was losing because Freon was almost free (see in this regard the recent and corollary case of the 50-cents-each incandescent light bulbs you used to be able to get but can’t find anymore).

And that could not stand.

So Freon was taken off the shelf and put behind the counter – where it was only available for sale to “qualified” (that is, government-approved) “technicians” who were “certified” to work on AC systems. No more buying a $1.50 can and doing-it-yourself. Freon was thus replaced by R134a, which cost more and didn’t work as well. Kind of like the battery powered devices – i.e., electric cars – they’re effectively forcing onto what’s no longer the market, by effectively outlawing cars that aren’t battery powered devices.

By making them cost-prohibitive to sell as well as increasingly unappealing to buy.

The economist Frederic Bastiat referred to this phenomenon as the unseen hand. More precisely, that which is seen – and that which is not.

But we’re all affected by it, whether we realize it or not.

. . .

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79 COMMENTS

  1. That mythical ozone hole started when a NASA satellite with a new camera in a different frequency went into space and “photographed” this supposed ozone hole over Antarctica. Never mind that 90% of the industry was located in the NORTHERN hemisphere, where the “hole” should have been. The whole story was a farce to hike the cost of AC for the middle and lower classes. That “hole” could have been there for millions of years. I never saw anyone ask the question of how this “hole” caused by industrialization could have appeared over the most desolate area of the planet with no industries within thousands of miles.

  2. In related news, Leftists sabotaged a Tesla plant in Germany in the early morning on Tuesday.

    An unseen hand at the moment did some believed to be 500 million dollars in damage.

    Piled tires around a power line pylon, which is not very environmentally sound, burning tires emit an acrid smoke. Very bad.

    If you are a leftist, you can pollute at will and do as much destruction as you can.

    You get some brownie points.

  3. In unsurprising EV news:

    Georgia gets ripped off by Rivian.

    https://accesswdun.com/article/2024/3/1231799

    “California-based Rivian had planned to start building its new R2 midsize SUVs at the Georgia site east of Atlanta. State and local governments offered an incentive package as large as $1.5 billion, one of the largest ever offered for an American auto plant

    But as the company unveiled the new SUV and made the unexpected announcement of additional R3 and R3X crossover models at an event Thursday, CEO RJ Scaringe said production of the R2 will instead begin at Rivian’s existing plant in Normal, lllinois.

    He said the move would allow Rivian to get the R2 to market more quickly, sometime in 2026. It would also save $2.25 billion in capital spending for now, Rivian said in a news release. The company has been burning through accumulated cash quickly, even as it hasn’t met production targets at its Illinois plant.”

    “State and local governments were projected to spend more than $125 million to buy the nearly 2,000-acre (810-hectare) site near Social Circle for Rivian, clear trees and grade land, documents show. That work has been finished, with the state turning the site over to Rivian. The state also has completed most of $50 million in roadwork that it pledged. But signs for Rivian Parkway at a new traffic signal on U.S. 278 had been removed Thursday.”

    Of course the article tries to put rose colored glasses on. I’m not a betting man, but if I was, I’d bet the plant never opens. Further I bet that Rivian eventually goes bankrupt.

  4. Bench seats front and back, yeppers! Rolling petting zoo then some, well . . .

    Buddy borrowed the family car (high school kid, Saturday night date night). Mom and Dad and the grandparents off to Sunday church. Bob had some ‘splaynin to do that afternoon – “ROBERT! Explain please the footprints on the headliner!”

  5. Maybe somebody mentioned this already, but they were called “hardtops.” Most were 2-door, but some models could be 4-door.

    I had a ’65 Impala 2-door hardtop, 283 Powerglide. It was a rat, but ran great. This was around ’73-’74.

    A big ’60s Caddy back then, 4-door hardtop, were sharp looking cars with the windows down.

  6. I remember all those times I rolled a car with no B pillar and died.

    Every time I roll a car, I now thank Uncle Sam for those life saving devices /s/

  7. Eric,

    I have a couple of thoughts on this. One, freon based car A/C systems were cold; I know, because my mom had one. She had a 1969 Mercury Montego MX. It was maroon color with a black vinyl top and black interior; that is to say that this car absorbed heat like a dry sponge soaks up water. Even so, when she cranked up the A/C in that old Merc, it was as cold as a MEAT LOCKER; even on the hottest summer day, that car was as cold as a meat locker with the A/C on! I kid you not. No modern car’s A/C comes close.

    Secondly, I did some research on when R-12, the freon refrigerant originally used for car A/C systems; I was curious as to when it was patented. The original patent was granted in 1928. Not only that, it went to Frigidiaire, not DuPont; DuPont owned the name, Freon, but the R-12 patent wasn’t theirs. Since the patent for R-12 was originally granted in 1928, wouldn’t the patent have expired decades before R134a was even a thing? Since the patent should’ve expired some time during the 1940s, why did DuPont wait until the 1990s to replace it with another moneymaker? Also, since DuPont didn’t receive the patent, why would they go to the trouble to force R134a onto the market? Something doesn’t make sense here; something doesn’t add up here.

  8. I remember the car a/c that could fog the inside of the windows! I don’t remember using “max” air very often back when I was a kid. Now I use the max air almost every time because it just not that cold.

    • The AC brothers in my ‘79 Pontiac controls, “NORM” and “MAX”

      R12 memories, oh my. First experience with the 134a was a rental in Palm Springs, wasn’t even that hot in October but that Buick early adopter of 134a spent most of the week on full cold just to try and cool the car after sitting an hour. A r12 system would have pulled that down in minutes then you could blend with the temp level to make it perfect.

  9. 65 Pontiac LeMans. Nice chrome bumper (that was impervious to my buddy’s Subaru), V8, cool stacked headlights and, most importantly, a bench seat. Just the ticket for a suburban punk like me (and Otto).

    We’ve clearly been bitch-slapped by the unseen hand.

  10. My dad bought a 1965 Ford Galaxie hardtop, new in 1965, it was a great car, wish it was still around. It even had a V8!

    No unseen hand back then in the auto industry.

    1965 is long ago now, those were the days.

    The Biden regime has another seven months to make things worse and it will.

    You’d think Biden would get tired of listening to himself. Everything about him is a barrier event.

  11. I read the text of the SOTU, & caught some of the video, this seems like a good quick summary:

    “… Tl;dw: Biden’s Speech tonight …

    * Fund Ukraine.

    * Trump is threat to democracy and America itself.

    * Abortion is good.

    * American Economy is stronger than ever.

    * Inflation wasn’t Biden’s fault.

    * Illegals are Americans too.

    * Republicans are responsible for the border crisis.

    * Trump is bad.

    * Biden stands with trans-children.

    * J6 was the worst insurrection since the Civil War.

    (h/t @TCDMS99)

    Tucker Carlson’s response sums it all up perfectly:

    “that was possibly the darkest, most un-American speech given by an American president. It wasn’t a speech, it was a rant…” […]
    “There was not a meaningful word for the entire duration about the things that actually matter to people who live here.”

    Victor Davis Hanson added some excellent color, but this was probably the best line on Biden:

    “he doesn’t care… he lives in an alternative reality.””…

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/democrats-nervous-ahead-bidens-state-union-address

    P.S.
    The comments by Pug & the others way below about the vents, so true,… I wonder how many younger people today even have a clue about those great things.

  12. “Freon R-12” was banned because the patent protections ran out. Nothing more. The chlorine molecule is too “heavy” to make it to the upper atmosphere. The scientific “justification” for the banning of Freon R-12 was based on faulty science–not unlike that being pushed by the “global warming climate change” crowd.
    The replacement for Freon R-12, (R-134) is still not too expensive and is easily obtained.
    The “kicker” is the replacement of R-134 for newer vehicles which is R-134yf. The replacement (R-134yf) costs around $45.00 per can.

    • Same as R12 to R134A….. every new refrigerant is always less efficient.

      [R-1234yf and R-134a systems are very similar, though one needs to consider slight design differences when servicing, diagnosing, and repairing systems. R-1234yf has a reduced cooling capacity compared to R-134a systems, generally between five percent to 25 percent lower. Combining this reduced cooling ability with more minor charges in a system means less leeway when it comes to system health. Small leaks, dirty condensers, or evaporators will reduce cooling and lead to customer complaints much sooner than a conventional R-134a system. This leads to more service opportunities and dictates a new level of system analysis to ensure a proper first-time repair. ]

      https://www.vehicleservicepros.com/service-repair/article/21253657/moving-from-r134a-to-r1234yf

    • Freon R-12 was originally patented in 1928. Wouldn’t the patent protections have expired in the 1940s then, i.e. decades before R134a was developed? I’ve never heard of patent protections running that long.

    • The patent thing is a myth. govt banned it for being a CFC.

      Heavy stuff can make it into higher atmostphere, dust can get pretty high.

      I have an issue with the ‘science’ part where cfc are broken down by UV light and depletes ozone, but apparently mostly over antartica.

      yet, uv light also creates ozone, so cfc destroys ozone, which allows more uv light which creates more ozone.

  13. That low-seat-back thing: on my first car, a 1970 Dodge Dart, the seat back was indeed low, but there was also a small headrest, about the width of my head, that was supported on two chromed steel uprights. Didn’t interfere with the view backward, you could crank your head around to back up and it wasn’t in the way … and yet, if you got tagged from behind, it did indeed prevent your head and neck from hyperextending backward. What was the problem with that arrangement? How was it any less “safe” than having the whole seat back grow skyward until it’s taller than the driver? I don’t get it.

  14. Good stuff Eric. Love the old yachts.
    Some observations:
    The rear headrests in crew cab pickups is dumb and dangerous. You used to be able to remove them, not now.
    The new CC pickups, while big for sure; to me are the current land yachts and I am in vehicle nirvana with my 20 footer, with the added capability of go anywhere and do almost anything with the insides equal to a luxury car. Granted, big money too, but there’s a reason people buy millions a year.
    I’m ok with the the current window setup. Granted it was better then, but I live at 75 +/- and wouldn’t have any windows down anyway.
    The Freon thing was just corp./gov corruption, as many things are.

  15. Being somewhat of a masochist, I watched most of the rant last night, missed parts when I had to vomit. Paraphrased in one word it was “Kill”. He is one sick puppy.

  16. I just want to know how the heck Biden managed to stand at the podium and read for one hour and 12 minutes. Yes I understamd he was reading but based o; the manner in which he conducts himself every other time he is on camera I cannot connect the half asleep stumbling, bumbling old man who looks lost every time he leaves a podium to the fiery guy who didn’t miss a beat during his speech. Do they give him drugs? I just figured someone with dementia may still be able to read a sentence or two but not clearly and for over an hour. Very puzzling.

    • RE: “Do they give him drugs?”

      …Do you ever look at his eyes? His pupils are so dilated his eye color is solid black. …Reminds me of a sharks eyes.

    • ‘Do they give him drugs?’ — RS

      Adderall, most likely: a peppy, can-do amphetamine that juiced up the old geezer for a precious couple of hours of lucidity. Now he’s comatose in a 15-hour sleep, trying to recover. One is reminded of Flowers for Algernon (1966):

      ‘Charlie Gordon is a 37-year-old man with an IQ of 68 who works a menial job as a janitor at a factory. He is selected to undergo an experimental surgical technique to increase his intelligence. Its great success was with Algernon, a laboratory mouse. The surgery on Charlie is also a success, and his IQ triples.

      ‘As Charlie’s intelligence peaks, Algernon’s suddenly declines. The mouse loses his increased intelligence and dies; Charlie buries him in the back yard. Charlie realizes his intelligence increase is also temporary and that his fate will mirror Algernon’s.

      ‘As the effects of his mental deterioration are becoming more evident, Charlie finds flaws in the experiment, which he calls the “Algernon–Gordon Effect”. By the time he finishes his work, his intelligence has regressed to its original state.’ — Wikipedia

      Last night might have been “Biden’s” last ride. It took so much out of him that he’ll never be the same. ‘Biden’ states he plans to “go away” from Washington, and his last wish is for someone to put flowers on Algernon’s grave. 🙁

      • >Adderall, most likely: a peppy, can-do amphetamine
        It is well known that the USAF injects its pilots with amphetamines before long missions. They have a saying, “Speed doesn’t kill, but fatigue does.”

        It is also well known that a certain German dictator who suffered from Parkinson’s disease was injected with all kinds of stuff by his personal physician, back in the 1940s.

        The more things change, the more they stay the same.

        • I have to disagree with you on your assertion that the “Austrian painter” was utilizing drugs to maintain his health.
          I’ll bet you get your information (propaganda) from the American History Channel.
          The “American History Channel” in the USA should be renamed the “American Hitler Channel” for all the falsehoods and propaganda that it portrays and disseminates about WW2, Germany and Adolf Hitler.
          According to programs on the “American History Channel”, Hitler was a drug addict, impotent, riddled with syphilis and other STDs, yet possessed highly technical “superweapons”, possessed “alien technology”, advanced flight and anti-gravity technologies, and still could not “win” WW2.
          Anyone with an open mind who watches the Hitler lies and fabrications on that channel can easily see that it is all BS, especially when the so-called “holocaust™” propaganda is inserted into just about all of these programming “gems”. The same old photos of emaciated typhus victim bodies due to the result of the camps infrastructure collapses, NOT “gas chambers” are constantly being paraded around to remind “us” how evil Hitler truly was. (Yeah, right).
          Germany was much more advanced than even the USA of the time, hence “Operation Paperclip” commenced in which the USA snatched up Germany’s greatest scientific minds after the summation of WW2.
          Looking at the big picture (which is usually ignored), the “German state” was attacked by the rest of the world, and held on to its principles for over 6 years, far longer than expected.
          Hitler’s greatest “sin” was the monetization of labor (giving labor true “value”) and going against the Rothschild banks. Going against the jew-run banks made him “enemy #1”. In fact, Germany’s recovery from the Great Depression and the excesses of the Wiemar Republic was much quicker than that of the western countries and the USA. In fact, it took a World War for the USA to recover from the Great Depression.
          He also KNEW that there was a subset of Bolshevik jews who were fomenting communist revolution within Germany. Most people are unaware of the secret agreements that he had with the zionists to “encourage” jewish emigration to what was then known as Palestine. These agreements were celebrated by both the German government and the zionist leaders at the time. A commemorative coin was even issued to celebrate the agreement. THAT aspect of history is never mentioned on the “American Hitler Channel”.
          When it comes to WW2, Germany, and even the Allies, the “American History Channel” is 99% propaganda and 1% truth.
          If those of “the greatest generation” could see the jew-run world of today and what it has become, being jew-controlled, they would have thrown off their American uniforms and fought on the side of the Germans…
          Observe the present genocide in Gaza and the West Bank. That’s what (((they))) plan for all of us (gentiles).

          • >Germany’s recovery from the Great Depression and the excesses of the Weimar Republic was much quicker than that of the western countries and the USA
            Yep.
            Anti-German sentiment has its origins in English-German commercial rivalries. Brits *knew* they were destined to rule the world (the “White Man’s Burden”, etc.).

            And who invented the concentration camp? Why, the British, of course. Who was in favor of “gassing the natives? Why, Winston Churchill, of course. Etc.

            I invite you to watch Leni Riefenstahl’s magnificent documentary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Then, if you can stomach it, listen to British propagandists describe that film as “propaganda,” which it manifestly is not. Decide for yourself who are the liars.

            >Hitler was a drug addict, impotent, riddled with syphilis and other STDs,
            No, not true. However, he did suffer from Parkinson’s disease, which is clearly apparent in films where he kept his left hand behind his back, because it shook uncontrollably.

            My “go to” source for accurate information on WWII would probably be David Irving, who did an awesome amount of original historical research, and appears to have no axe to grind. JMO. There are some other reliable sources as well.

            • I agree…Irving is one of the most knowledgeable sources on WW2. It’s a damned shame that the jew bitch lipstadt prevailed in Irving’s lawsuit. Of course, the holohoax (oops, I mean “holocaust”) grift is considered to be “settled” by most countries today, being a “religion” (holocaustianity) from which no dissension is permitted. The jewish freak shows called “holocaustianity temples” are the result.
              On another topic concerning Germany, the “book-burnings” were not of literary texts, but the same jew-imposed LGBTQXYZ texts that are routinely pushed on elementary and high-school students today.
              Best regards,

              • >from which no dissension is permitted.
                The proper word for which is “dogma,” dissension from which is known as “heresy.”

                >“book-burnings”
                Books were burned, in large numbers, in the U.S. during the Woodrow Wilson administration, as part of the campaign of anti-German hysteria promulgated by the U.S. government to drag the U.S. into the war in Europe. Videos exist, but you will have to dig hard to find them.

                The Boston Symphony Orchestra was reconstituted in a prison camp in Georgia, under the direction of its German born music director, Dr. Karl Muck:
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Muck

                Americans of German heritage, including some of my own relatives, changed their names out of fear.
                There were lynchings. In some places it was made illegal to teach, or even to speak, the German language. So much for “our freedoms.”

          • >“Austrian painter”
            Adolph Hitler created and sold his own original paintings. He was not commercially successful as an artist, but then neither was Vincent Van Gogh.

            Winston Churchill created forgeries of paintings by other artists and sold them, attempting to pass them off as originals.

            So, who is dishonest?

            • Actually, Hitler’s paintings were quite good. Of course the jews running the art world could not have a gentile painter in their midst.

          • There are many unanswered questions on Hitler that show that this alternative reading of history is also incorrect. How was he able to get out of Landsberg prison in 1924 after just 9 months on a charge of High Treason? His sentence was for 5 years. How was he then able to get German citizenship in 1932 with such a record? How was he able to be appointed Head of State in 1934 if he wasn’t a natural born citizen? How was he able to write Mein Kampf while in prison? Do they provide typewriters and paper in prisons? It’s a big book, too to complete in such a short time. Also, remember that during WW1, he was in intelligence and in charge of infiltrating the Germans Workers Party, which he joined in 1919. And then he led the famous Beerhall Putsch in 1923. It couldn’t be more obvious, could it? Why did he love Britain so much as to let the British army evacuate at Dunkirk in 1940? Then, there’s the important issue of financing. Hitler was financed by big money, e.g. by Fritz Thyssen and others. The resurgence of German economy in the 1920s was also financed by Wall Street.
            Considering all this, it is obvious that Hitler was controlled opposition, and he and Germany were simply set up as villains. His name is now a swear word, as is the word for nationalism (Nazi).
            See more on this here: http://mileswmathis.com/putsch.pdf.

            • Fascinating stuff, Yuri –

              Hitler certainly acted irrationally (assuming he wanted to win the war) when he failed to capture or destroy the British army backed into a corner at Dunkirk – which (had he done so) would likely have forced Britain to surrender.

              And when he failed to seize the French battle fleet – including several modern battleships that could have formed a powerful battle fleet sufficient to defeat the Royal Navy. And when he detached his armored cohort South when Moscow was in reach. On the other hand, Hitler was unlike Stalin in that Hitler was a kind of romantic who allowed his emotions to cloud his judgment. Stalin usually learned from his mistakes. Hitler rarely did.

      • If it is true that Biden uses meth, then he was a jet fighter pilot when he served in the USAF after graduating from the Air Force Academy. I don’t care about that, if Joe was a pilot, more power to him.

        The speech was canned, rehearsed, pun there, and delivered by the drug-addled nitwit occupying government for 50 some odd years now.

        You can make up stuff and that includes Biden’s work history. The Village Idiot speaks, strike that, caterwauls until the cows come home. Drugs help a lot.

        When you have Dependsᵀᴹ under your suit pants, you can let loose at anytime.

        All of the canned responses, analyses, are what you can expect.

        Another shit sandwich of bullshit and war for dessert, such a deal.

        Time for some changes.

        Canned music, canned music
        Playing on the radio
        Canned music, canned music
        Without a dime it do not go

        Favorites on the jukebox are only half the show
        When it’s canned music, canned music…
        – Dan Hicks, Canned Music

      • … while all the Ecstasy went to Senator Katie Britt (R-AL), who offered 17 minutes of pure emoting in a squeaky, shaky, edge-of-tears Valley Girl voice that transfixed every 15-year-old girl in the nation.

        https://youtu.be/K1MtpIOMh_0

        Arizona’s Gov Katie Hobbs talks exactly the same way, like a shallow, gushing 10th-grader whose pet gerbil just died. Where do these arrested-development Stepford wives come from? And who teaches them to talk like that?

        • Hi Jim,

          I just watched about 90 seconds (all I could take). To be fair, maybe she’s not the best public speaker. But – I agree – the obviously contrived (and over-done) smiling and emoting is off-putting. I think this accounts for the appeal, by the way, of RFK Jr. among lots of people like ourselves – his collectivism notwithstanding. His squeaky voice notwithstanding (and he can’t help that). He speaks like an adult. And that is sorely missed.

          This woman sounds like an elementary schoolmarm placating a roomful of sixth graders.

          • Ed Kilgore of New York magazine nails it:

            ‘If Britt’s speech was alternately lurid and banal, it was the delivery that really grabbed you, and not in a good way. Watch the high-school Shakespearean drama with which she indicts Biden’s China policies.

            ‘Like she was auditioning for a soap-opera role that required a broad range of over-the-top emotions, Britt went from weepy to furious to gleeful to solemn, and executed abrupt changes in pitch and volume.

            ‘Perhaps Britt felt the need to talk down to her audience, or maybe she was over-coached. Personally, I fear I will encounter Katie Britt in my nightmares, whispering “we see you” until I wake up screaming.’

            https://tinyurl.com/7xfcf7xk

  17. People really can’t comprehend the real productivity gains of the last 30 years. And they really don’t understand the actual knowledge gained by being able to perform very complex mathematics in seconds. Early engineers could plug data into formulas, run a few calculations, make models and iterate based on the physical model. Think wind tunnel testing. Build, test, refine, repeat. Get a few data points, plug ’em into the model and crunch the numbers again. For big projects get a room full of computers (people) to run the numbers for you. Check their work for errors and build again. Even “fast prototyping” factories like what was found in Lockheed’s famous Skunk Works employed thousands of engineers, draftsmen, secretarial and typing pools, file clerks… all costing what would be billions of dollars annually in today’s depreciated money.

    It’s often said that the phone in my pocket (indeed, the watch on my wrist) is more powerful than the computer that claims to have put a man on the moon. That’s absolutely true, but it pales in comparison to the thousands of people employed, the dozens of mainframe computers and millions of miles of communications cable used on the Earth to feed data to that tiny computer in the Command Module.

    But it keeps getting closer. And with every iteration it gets a lot cheaper to do what used to require a lot of people. First they did the complicated stuff that was too difficult with much precision, like model airflow over complex shapes. Then they did more complicated stuff, like model the propagating flame front in a piston engine cylinder, then built models based on the results. Iteration took hours instead of days. In the case of cars, the slop from a mechanical ignition system was replaced with extremely precise timing, followed by fuel injection. These real gains led to efficiency and massive boosts in power, and Moore’s Law meant they would reduce cost over time too.

    Then they started using computers for communication and things really took off. We all laughed at the “paperless office” of the 1980s but we’re more than there today. All the gains from not having to ship paper around kept prices low, but of course the fed (who claims to use many of the same techniques to “scientifically determine” the perfect interest rate), was afraid people wouldn’t buy these new productivity gaining devices so Greenspan the Traitor (spits on mention of his name) did what his Keynesian textbook told him to do and kept interest rates far too low, eating up all the gains.

    And of course the rest of the government Apparatchiks piled on. Why not steal a little HP from that engine to haul around airbags? It’s just a few more pounds. And those extra dollars might save your life. Oh but then they find out the airbags don’t work because the windshield pops out when they go off, so now you need a thicker glass. Just a little thicker, a little heavier. But that means you need a bigger support structure to hold it. No problem, just a little more steel bolstering. Then they find out that if the drivers and passengers (occupants?) are not in the exact correct position when the airbag goes off not only won’t the airbag “protect” them, it will do more harm than good. No problem, we’ll just build in adult child seats that lock them in place. Customers don’t like the new seats? Well, we’ll add in a bunch of electric motors and pipe AC, “magic fingers” massage motors, and how about a few more airbags too? How much does that weigh? What’s that gonna cost? Pretty soon that car weighs more than a 1970s truck. So the feds took away all your performance. Thanks, Mr Bureaucrat!

    • >People really can’t comprehend the real productivity gains of the last 30 years.

      Hi, RK,
      When I purchased my present desktop computer (~5 years ago), I was curious to see how far we have come. As best I could determine, the box which sits on my desk, and which runs at room temperature, uses ~100 watts, and cost me ~$1500, is approximately equal in computing power to what, in 1986, would have filled a small room, run at liquid nitrogen temperatures, and had the brand name “Cray” on the side.

      Not only that, the graphic processor (a mid level Nvidia chip, graphics board price ~$500) is more powerful than the CPU. The Intel chip in my 1989 F150 runs the fuel injection system flawlessly, making possible a much cleaner running (i.e. more efficient) engine than was ever possible with carburetors.

      It is worth recalling that the entire Manhattan Project was accomplished with mechanical calculators, rooms full of them. A major task of applied mathematicians was to figure out how to split up complex problems so they could be calculated by “computers,” which were in those days human beings who operated the mechanical calculating machines.

      By the 1960s, it had become possible to contemplate calculating solutions to complex problems electronically which had been far beyond the limits of available machinery only a decade earlier. And of course, the computers of the 1960s (IBM System 360, etc.) are primitive by today’s standards.

      • I recall upgrading from an XT class clone to a 386. Trying to play Sim City was an experience in futility as the days went by in seconds, meaning it became impossible to make any adjustments to the game. Prior to the upgrade I’d let it run all night just to get a few days to go by.

        One of the reasons why modern computers seem slow is because we humans love our beautiful displays. Refreshing all those pixels chew up enormous numbers of compute cycles. Going back to a non-GUI raspberry pi SBC really does show what’s available to the average person for almost nothing.

        Yet despite the Keynesians insistence that humans will put off future purchases, we continue to upgrade, often annually.

        • >upgrading from an XT class clone to a 386.
          I still have my gen-u-wine IBM PC-XT w/ 8087 math coprocessor, Hayes 1200B & 14″ Amdek amber monitor., which I bought in 1983, primarily for use as a remote terminal to run structural engineering problems on the CDC Cyber 730 at CSU Fullerton. Direct stiffness method
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_stiffness_method#:~:text=The%20direct%20stiffness%20method%20is,elements%20interconnected%20at%20the%20nodes.
          was only possible on mainframe computers at that time, but is now routine on desktop machines.

          >One of the reasons why modern computers seem slow is because we humans love our beautiful displays.
          Yes. As I mentioned previously, it is now almost routine for the GPU to be more powerful than the CPU. My current system uses (2) 27″ flat panel displays, plus one 30″. We’ve come a long way from CRT monitors.

          >for almost nothing.
          You get your memory for (almost) nothing,
          And your chips for (nearly) free.
          I want my
          I want my
          I want my own PC.
          🙂

  18. You used to be able tell cars apart just by their lines. Now thanks to .gov they all look the same. So why would someone pay more for a Mercedes instead of a KIA? Same 2.0 liter engine, tranny, touchscreen. Buy the cheap one and some knockoff emblems from flea bay and your styling for a third the price.

    PS- I miss svelte chrome bumpers.

  19. The narcissitic buirocrats will never leave you alone. They will hate you for existing. Even if they dont see how your freedom any negative influece they will either nitpick or invent reasons to limit it. You refuse to be part of their hierarchy of ass kissing and narcisism and they are there to “civilize you” just like pompous british did to primitive tribes.

  20. The Unseen Hand … of the Cheka:

    ‘Biden’ opened his speech last night with fiery denunciations of the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. As in the former Soviet Union, to be arrested is tantamount to conviction:

    ‘Perhaps the most remarkable Jan. 6 statistic comes from jury boxes in the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington D.C.

    ‘Every one of the more than 100 Jan. 6 defendants who chose a jury trial were found guilty of at least some of the charges. That’s a perfect 100 percent conviction rate for federal prosecutors, a statistic cited repeatedly in change-of-venue motions. One hundred percent of those motions have been denied.

    ‘The DOJ’s historical conviction rate in the District of Columbia is about 65 percent, lower than the 90 percent that is “more typical” in other federal court districts. In the past two months, 93 more people have been arrested and charged, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) reports.’ — The Epoch Times, via ZeroHedge

    Welcome to the Gulag. Good luck getting a fair trial in the District of Corruption, where only about 1,600 of its 712,000 residents voted in the R-party primary. What’s going on in the imperial capital is a total travesty. Beria Garland’s sinister police state now takes down anyone it wants.

    • Didn’t watch it. Don’t have the stomach to listen to a senile bolshevik.

      Watched comedy.tv’s “Funny You Should Ask” instead.

      • I am with you, Mike. I knew I couldn’t stomach it. It makes me ill every time I get a glimpse of him on the TV. I am just disgusted that this is the representative of our country. He doesn’t look physically or mentally tough and this is how the rest of the world sees us….as weak as our “leader.”

        We listened to jazz, watched a missed episode of ‘Farmer Wants a Ho’, and were in bed by 10.

        • I did not bother to watch, either, RG. I figured watching paint dry would be a more worthy and interesting past time. Biden has black eyes, a black soul, but what does one expect from someone who sold his soul to the devil long ago?

    • Hi Jim,

      I watched the Biden Thing’s address last night, but I became so irritated by his constant demagoguery and lying I ultimately turned it off. And it also became obvious that he was at times taunting Republican Congress critters in the chamber, hoping that he’d get a reaction from them that establishment media would likely use to frame ALL Republican voters as racists, white supremacists, fascists, insurrectionists, rural white rage voters, etc.

      Someone who had his own state of the union speech last night that had far more truth and optimism than what we saw from the incumbent President is Independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy, Jr. His speech also had some history in it, which dark forces seem bent on erasing or rewriting.

  21. I just want the the triangle push out vent windows back. Especially since new cars don’t even have an outside air vent option on the “climate control” system. I just want outside air coming in as an option without having to open up the big windows. Is that too much to ask? (apparently yes, as oxygen is not needed since the face diaper covid me-too freakout)

    • Floor vents would be nice too. Which is why all new cars have air conditioning. You may not survive driving one at 90+ degrees.

      • Hi John. How about the vent directly under the steering column that AC equipped GM cars had back in the 70’s? Don’t forget that .gov is the reason we can’t have nice things anymore.

        • I wouldn’t know Landru. I didn’t have an air conditioned vehicle until 1989, and then only because the truck I picked off the lot had it. Even then I only used it on the drive home. Working out in the heat for the previous 16 years, it was very difficult to go back out into it from an AC truck cab.

          Soon to be why we can’t have anything, nice or not.

    • Hi Pug,

      I never fail to be startled – and depressed – by how elegant and substantial even average Joe cars once were. That ’68 Plymouth Fury, for instance. Just look at it! What a beautiful car. Full-sized five passenger coupe with a big V8. And it was a car a working class guy could afford when it was new. Plymouth was Dodge’s low-priced brand, recall.

      Today, the average Joe is lucky if he can afford a homogenous-looking crossover appliance with a tiny four cylinder engine.

      • Yes. People had it made back then. Things were getting better every year. That slowed beginning around 1967 and abruptly stopped around 71 or so when horsepower totals started dropping. By 73, smog controls, 5 mph bumpers were in. GMs redesign of their full sized cars pointed to lower quality materials and smogged engines. Thw 73 redesign of the mid sized cars did away with the pillarless cars. The colonnade cars were kind of an ugly box back then. They still sold because we still had an econimy back then.

      • Don’t forget sheetmetal that didn’t dent when you lean on it.
        The middle class is being eroded before our eye’s, fast.

      • You can still find some 1967/1968 Plymouth Furys out there for decent prices; they seem to be more prevalent than the later ’69 and up “fuselage” models. I bought my show-quality ’68 Sport Fury convertible with a 383 4V (Super Commando) locally from the original owner back in 1992 for $3800. The car is identical to one featured in the 1968 Plymouth model brochure, green/green with a white top. It was a trophy winner until a freak hailstorm marred the finish. I plan on giving it a thorough going over as my Ford-loving friend with a ’65 Galaxie convertible wants me to attend car shows with him.

        I can’t believe anyone would pay anything near $40K for a Honda CR-V or some crossover like that.

    • We had a Dodge Dart that dad ended up with when grandma couldn’t drive anymore. It had an AM radio, and I’m guessing power steering. That’s it. Vents and a basic heater. Red with a black vinyl top and black vinyl seats. Hot as heck in the summer.

      Until it got moving. With the windows down and vents open it would cool down to the outside temp very quickly. Airflow was constant but not annoying. But back then no one in Pennsylvania had air conditioning. If you wanted to cool off you went to the mall or a movie. I guess most offices had AC, if you wore a suit to work, but my dad’s office didn’t for sure. Open windows and fans. Now that I think about it, my first job was in a building that had a few pathetic window AC units that really didn’t do much of anything.

      One more thing I remember about that car was the dog shoving her whole head into the passenger floor vent, which was operated by opening a door on a box. The old 60-something Imperial had these fancy pull-knobs on the dash that were connected to the vent doors via a steel cable. Fancy.

    • Wing windows were the best! You could have them open in the pouring rain to get air circulation without getting wet, and if it wasn’t raining you could twist them around to get fresh air blowing onto your face. The busybodies have ruined cars in a scenario that’s death by a thousand cuts.

    • My father had an old Ford van that had those little triangle windows when I was a kid. I always thought they were neat. They also seemed to work great for venting cigarette smoke – my dad would hold his cigarette just inside the partially open window and the air flow sucked pretty much all the smoke outside.

      I’m just glad that my Dodge Ram has (like most pickups) that sliding window in the back. It does wonders for drawing fresh air from the front windows all thru the cab. I get plenty of air without even having to put the windows all the way down. My Honda CRV, by contrast, needs to have all 4 windows down to get that much air inside.

      Perhaps it’s no wonder that the people who used to buy land yachts with those little corner windows now buy pickup trucks….

  22. All criminal acts. The defunct US Constitution doesn’t even come close to permitting this kind of FedGov activity.

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