Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 20, 2019

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2019-60

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Clinton's wacky claims came after the NYT published a smear piece about Gabbard: What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To? Both seem to be part of concerted effort.

The predicted Streisand effect:

Mike Cernovich @Cernovich - 4:12 UTC · Oct 19, 2019
Tulsi Gabbard has gained more than 40,000 Twitter followers today - more than she gains in an average month.

More nonsense from Hillary:

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton - 00:06 UTC · Oct 19, 2019
When I was a little girl, I wrote to NASA and told them I dreamed of being an astronaut.
They wrote back and said they weren't taking girls.
A new generation of little girls watched today's historic spacewalk. May their dreams of reaching the stars have no bounds.
Oregon Designer @Easycure - 6:40 UTC · Oct 19, 2019
You were born in 1947, NASA wasn't formed until 1958 and we didn't have an astronaut in space until until 1962 when you were 15 years old.
You didn't write a letter to NASA when you were a little girl and you should definitely stop drunk tweeting.

Moody's Analytics' Presidential election model predicts that Trump will win: 2020 Presidential Election Model (pdf)

Other issues:

During our last requests for donations several people asked if I would take bitcoins. I said no because those crypto-currencies are in my view largely a fraud. They are also not, as claimed, anonymous: Huge Child Porn Ring Busted as Authorities Cite Ability to Crack Bitcoin Privacy

In case there was any doubt that Boeing knew it was selling a bad airplane: Stunning messages from 2016 deepen Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis

The exchange of messages in 2016 between the two lead technical pilots on the Boeing 737 MAX program was released Friday after regulators blew up at the company for belatedly disclosing the matter. The messages reveal that the flight-control system, which two years later went haywire on the crashed flights, was behaving aggressively and strangely in the pilots’ simulator sessions.

It is not only Boeing that is unable to deliver decent engineering: The Navy’s Accountability Crisis Over A Bet Ensnares Its Top Leader

At the USS Ford, the extent of America’s massive systems engineering failure is impossible to understate. The aircraft carrier does not work. As of October 9, only two of eleven advanced weapons elevators actually function, making it impossible for the carrier to safely receive and store weapons.
Sources say that one, maybe two elevators are nearing completion. But then, even if the advanced electromagnetic elevators work, the USS Ford must go through a shock trial, where the ship is jolted by a series of explosive charges near the hull. The rickety elevators–along with several other critical subsystems that require tight tolerances to operate correctly–are unlikely to survive intact.

Electromagnetic elevators work like Maglev trains. The magnets that move the elevator must always be in a fixed distance to the rail. That requires that the rails are kept very straight. But ships are rather flexible structures that flex and twist (vid) all the time. The idea to put electromagnetic rails into them is conceptually misguided. The Ford will need new elevators before it can be put to use.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on October 20, 2019 at 13:49 UTC | Permalink

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Iraq admits it has used live ammunitions against protesters and excessive force.
They were asking for "jobs, an end to corruption, and better public services" i.e. the same as the Lebanese are asking for (with corruption first). But of course, this is translated with emphasis by French media as "they want the end of the system". I can bet they will find a way to mention Nasrallah in their reports one way or another, and say that the protesters put Hariri and him together in their denounciation of the "system".

Posted by: Mina | Oct 22 2019 20:43 utc | 201

@ Oct 22 2019 20:07 utc | 201

Oh my! Well, if you say so who would doubt it?

Try digging an oil well...

(man, they're made of sand...)

But if you knew more, then you say something else.

All the best.

Posted by: Walter | Oct 22 2019 21:18 utc | 202

@Walter #203
You can actually get fossil fuels a lot of ways, just not at industrial scale, by hand.
But let's talk scale. Renting a rig for one well is in the low 7 digit range. You can buy a producing well for a 5 or 6 digits in the right region that produces 50 barrels or less a month.
You cannot, however, build a solar cell with anything less than a $400 million dollar production line. That's just the ante. Then there's input materials, workers, tech licensing, waste disposal, list goes on and on.
The materials are also much closer to the tip of modern industrial processes than the base: indium and the other doping materials require enormous energy expenditure to mine and refine.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 22 2019 21:47 utc | 203

"New map of northern Syria that shows patrol line and SDF/YPG withdrawal line."

And Outlaw US Empire troops continue to leave via convoy and helicopter--200 more today!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2019 21:58 utc | 204

The 10k line he has marked as Russian SAA patrol, according to the agreement, will be a Russian Turkish patrol line.

5. Starting 12.00 noon of October 23, 2019, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will enter the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border, outside the area of Operation Peace Spring, to facilitate the removal of YPG elements and their weapons to the depth of 30 km from the Turkish-Syrian border, which should be finalized in 150 hours. At that moment, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will start in the west and the east of the area of Operation Peace Spring with a depth of 10 km, except Qamishli city.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 22:11 utc | 205


Worth a thought about what it would take to build and engine from scratch. Plenty of surface iron ore, that can be found anywhere. A bit copper tin lead ect would be required for bearings. they are alittle harder to come by.
Making the iron is relatively easy though a bit of coking coal may be necessary to produce molten steel that willbe relatively free of impurities and can be cast to shape or forged to shape. Next some machine tools are required for finishing to sufficient tolerance and engine would run. A basic lathe would do most of it, So that means casting and forging more parts, making hand tools such as files, saws scrapers drills ect and painstakingly construct a lathe.
Then the engine would need some electrical stuff for spark, diesel injector pump requires too finer tolerance so the engine would need to be petrol....

On the other hand, better of looking at the energy cost of building and running diesel generators verses the energy cost of building and running solar panels.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 22 2019 22:30 utc | 206

@ c1ue with the comment about Cloudflare

In the networking security world Cloudflare is what is known as a Man-in-the-Middle agent.

Maybe you might spend some time at the web site of Bruce Schneier and learn about what that means about Cloudflare's ability to disrupt internet communications like we have seen here at MoA...which is what I was suggesting as the alternative of being on the inside of Typepad which is also possible.

Living close to Cloudflare offices does not make you a network guru

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 22 2019 22:44 utc | 207

Peter AU 1 @207--

Did Dr. Diesel use an injector for his initial creation designed to run on peanut oil?

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2019 22:45 utc | 208

RT overview article of the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit that's due to begin in a few hours in Sochi: "Russia offers African leaders no-strings-attached business and protection from Western pressure" is the headline. Within the article is a link to an interview Putin conducted with TASS on the 20th, but is only available in Russian and is close to 17,000 characters, which may overload some machine translators. But as with all Putin interviews, much can be learned.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 23 2019 0:06 utc | 209

Check out the cut-away views of the early diesels and consider the level of technical skill required to produce a functional engine. Then consider modern versions. Designing and manufacturing functional internal combustion engines, even 'simple' ones, requires a highly evolved set of skills and manufacturing techniques. Can't be done in your garage. Yes, PV tech is not garage work either, but it is still evolving and perhaps the manufacturing processes can be simplified and scaled down as time passes.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 23 2019 0:29 utc | 210

karlof1 210

Been try trying to find a bit on the injection system he used. "Rudolf Diesel's original system employed a cumbersome 'air-blast' system using highly compressed air"

Pressure is pressure no matter if pumping air or liquid. From what I can find his initial running motors had compression of 3 to 3.5 bar which is lower than I expected. Airblast injection would I think have been used to atomise the fuel. Cannot find much on injection pressure but I would expect it to be two to three time cylinder compression pressure, higher the pressure, the more finely the fuel will be divided.

Did another search and found this in a pdf.
"The operating principle of most air injection systems has been similar to the one first used by Rudolph Diesel. Fuel oil was metered and delivered by a pump to the atomizer,which was in communication with a high pressure air storage tank supplied by an air compressor,and injection occurred when the injector valve was opened by a cam actuated mechanism. High pressure air then flowed into the engine cylinder carrying along with it the metered fuel as a finely atomized spray"

So high pressure air pump, air storage tank, metering devise, and fuel pump vs magneto and spark plug. Both in the too hard basket I think.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 23 2019 1:47 utc | 211

Village elders in Burkina Faso making steel the way it was made for centuries. Collecting the or and flux from local pits, making charcoal from a specific tree, and building the kiln with ant bed clay and a specific straw.

Attempting to recreate wootz damascus steel with ore from one of Saladin's mines in Jordan.
The ore contains 0.02% vanadium which can greatly increase toughness of steel.
Ore is first made into bloomery iron which is then made into crucible steel.
Careful forging and heating cooling cycles while forging went into recreating damascus steel.
US blacksmith working with a retired metallurgist.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 23 2019 2:39 utc | 212

Peter AU 1 @214&5--

Thanks for your replies! I have one of those How They Did Things Way back When books, but never looked to specifically see if they included the construction of engines--mills powered by water and air, yes--but anything requiring fuel I'd have to look. But yeah, tool making to make more tools is very key component to higher industrialization. There're a great many things people today have zero clues about but they depend on them being there for them constantly.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 23 2019 3:35 utc | 213

Another interesting point I found when looking to the past smelting casting blacksmithing metallurgy ect, military has always been the leading edge of development.
In the video on traditional iron and steel making in africa, magnetite ore was used for weapons and lower grade ores used for gardening implements.
Middle east - damascus steel was leading military tech and Japan the sword making from magnetite sand and high carbon steel over an iron or low carbon steel core was leading edge tech. European bladed weapons were poor quality compared to asian and middle east weapons. The vikings may have had just a few very high quality blades. India also would have had high quality steel as they were producing crucible iron and steel from early times whereas Europeans were beating slag out of bloomery iron until relatively recently.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 23 2019 4:13 utc | 214

John Helmer's latest:

The Sultan Blinked, The Tsar Agreed to Close His Eyes, The Ottoman Empire Expands by 118 Kilometers of Syria

"New Putin-Erdogan pact gives Turks less of Syria than they demanded - too much to restore Syrian sovereignty, contain Ottoman expansion..."

Posted by: John Gilberts | Oct 23 2019 9:12 utc | 215

@ (about metals and industry) a fun digression @ search "the knight foundry" in/on YT...

several found there.

Several of the men in video KF were friends, alas - gone to dust. One of those men designed turbopumps for Saturn engines...and knew v Braun and the fellas professionally back in th' day.

Posted by: Walter | Oct 23 2019 11:28 utc | 216

@ "s a fossil fuel electricity generation plant can be literally metalsmithed by hand in the form of a diesel generator.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 22 2019 20:07 utc | 201 "

'Cmon! craft a dg by're outa reality.

Even primitive one lungers (which I have worked with, including blastinjected diesel and idi and di and gas, etc, require copper, lead, tin, coke, special clays and sands...laquers, machine tools (many of the MT @ KF were made there)

Takes a critical level of infrastructure, including the educational aspect, the shipyards, the rail-steels and, oh, an endless array of prerequisite stuff.

Posted by: Walter | Oct 23 2019 11:37 utc | 217

Walter, Peter: Don't worry, now that Adam Neumann is free of WeWork he will come up with a blacksmithing app that knows all about metal and that will fix everything.

Seriously, a good fucking tool does not have ANY batteries in it, no little clocks and radios, and it's made of metal, good metal, and it does not annoy you while you are using it with advertisements either. Just to start with. People spend huge amounts of money on ephemeral crap like a Tesla, and all they do is crap up their lives. How many Amukins are drowning in all the crap they own? Think of all the storage facilities people rent to store their crap, paying more money for crap. My own house is about half full of my wife's crap, there are paths, and I put up with it because I'm very fond of her.

Some day all those "primitives" making things and feeding themselves by hand still are going to come in handy.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 23 2019 12:12 utc | 218

@ Bemildred. Yes.

Primitives were the ones that survived, a few in the hardscrabble hills.

In "collapse of..."

(1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Eric Cline, PhD) )

Among other probable features of collapse of industrial societies (those were) is interruption of critical metals - mostly, I think, tin in example Cline gives.

I sometimes cast brass, aluminum, bronze...this would end if I needed coke, though spongy Fe I might hammer out to steels using charcoal. It would also end if I had no propane, acetylene, O2, and so forth. Of course, for our collapse there will be mountains of scrap steel...

I would then go fishing...

Posted by: Walter | Oct 23 2019 12:43 utc | 219

Walter: a world littered with spare parts, a giant puzzle.

I'm a bit envious of your work with metals, I never had time for that. I had a father-in-law who liked to make steam engines from scratch with a lathe and a few power tools. Very cool. My son still has a few. He's a carpenter, very like his Grandpa.

Up in Eureka, California they have a museum for old mill machinery, foot-drive drills and lathes etc. very interesting. I was always manual labor in my blue collar days so I never got to do that much.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 23 2019 14:29 utc | 220

karlof1, 180, you wrote about US ... the false history and political-economy it's been fed over the last 2 generations .. has to be unlearnt.. no small or easy task.

With Trump, the Presidency and Party-system as democratic institutions are revealed as not working. (see b’s other post. 1). Only a figure-head anointed Prez. such as Bush J., Obama, who caters to a major part of the PTB (corps, rogue alphabet agencies, MIC, Banks, special interests, see Isr. for ex) can be accepted, supported, and stay the course. (The power-sharing and corruption circuit is implicitly set to make up losses to x, y over time.)

The way out from under all this is scary, as it implies major shake-ups, like revolution / civil war, break-up (actually the best option..)

mina at 192, afaik, Trump has refused twice? to fund the White Helmets, and now capitulates on that topic, so as to give in on something. (Embassy in Jerusalem was also a symbolic move.) Idk, there might be other reasons.

1. If the Dems had put forward Sanders in 2016 and he had won (imho was very possible), and the war machine had been curbed very severely (Sanders domestic policy acceptable, say, foreign pol. not so good) the US could have survived as is, and had hopes to go on to become a ‘respected country’ in a ‘multipolar’ world. That moment has now passed.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 23 2019 14:35 utc | 221

@Peter AU 1
The capability to design to close tolerances is far different that it was in the original Newcastle steam engine era.
Among other differences: high accuracy gauges already exist. The problem medieval and early industrial age manufacturing had wasn't in the capability to create, it was in the capability to create towards a close tolerance at scale, because these high accuracy gauges didn't exist (and couldn't even be made with the metal types in everyday use then). Designs also already exist - proven to work with an entire engineering background to draw from.

As for efficiency: I've looked at the actual total energy of production for fossil fuels vs. solar PV. The difference is actually very small: solar PV has a huge initial investment followed by a much smaller "production" use. Fossil fuels are the opposite: much smaller initial investment followed by higher production use. But the net difference isn't much - except for marketing purposes, and the problem of demand vs. production mismatch.
If we look at the infrastructure/grid upgrades needed to enable solar/wind baseload, then the overall energy/cost overhead for solar/wind is enormously greater.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 23 2019 15:25 utc | 222

@psychohistorian #208
You won't admit that you're plain wrong, that's fine.
Man-in-the-middle is nothing more than a restatement of content delivery/DDoS protection.
Yes, Cloudflare is in the middle. Customers pay them to be in the middle to provide content delivery smoothing, load balancing, DDoS protection, etc.
The fact still remains that Cloudflare is a public service used by tens to hundreds of thousands of companies, and that there is nothing inherently good or bad about Cloudflare any more than there is anything technologically good or bad about Akamai or other similar services.
Your supposed networking expertise is still lacking if you don't understand why Cloudflare and Akamai and similar providers exist.
Equally, if you really knew anything about networking, you would understand the ways by which you can find the underlying servers hidden (by design) by Cloudflare and other service providers.
Simply doing a DNS lookup, then typing the resulting IP address into Whois doesn't constitute expertise nor does it reflect the realities of any type of major public platform.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 23 2019 15:30 utc | 223

@Peter AU 1 #212
If you're trying to recreate a modern car engine by hand, that isn't going to be possible because of the electronic control.
However, engines have been created and used for a hundred years. There is an enormous range of efficiencies to choose from.
With enough time and effort, you can still create extremely close tolerance parts with the right gauges and time.
However, you cannot create a semiconductor manufacturing plant with anything but hundreds of millions of dollars, dozens of expert engineers and purchased equipment from Applied Semiconductor. China has been trying to insource semiconductor manufacturing for literally 3 decades; they're still way, way behind the mark - which is why Huawei and other companies are still extremely dependent on US and Taiwan companies for the core silicon chips in Huawei products.
Solar PV is much less demanding, but the killer there is yield. There is still a great deal of expertise required to take the correct inputs and output at industrial scale and yield. The cost overhead is also such that there is very much a floor on how cheap solar PV is ever going to cost; a major reason for the reductions in solar costs recently is because the chip industry, overall, hasn't been doing well - which rolls capacity downstream to solar. 2 decades ago, the solar PV output was literally the waste from the "prime" semiconductor manufacturing lines.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 23 2019 15:37 utc | 224

@Walter #218
Unlike a re-enactor or archaicist, I'm not restricted to creating from literal dirt.
We have, all around us, literally millions and billions of parts to work from.
Car alternators, lawn mower engines, etc are extremely easily obtained. The ability to create a functional diesel generator from these parts is quite straightforward.
I challenge you to do the same for solar PV, although you can create a wind generator using similar resources.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 23 2019 15:42 utc | 225

More PG & E fun: apparently $2.5 billion is too cheap for PG & E's SF infrastructure.
Just shows what PG & E is really about: monopoly over infrastructure.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 23 2019 15:44 utc | 226

And in other news: Softbank indeed bails out WeWork for $5B in financing with $3B to buy out stockholders. Neuman walks away with even more cash than he already has.
WeWork ends up being valued around $8B - so Softbank is going to take an enormous hit to Vision fund since they had already put in $10.5B and are going to put in another $5.5B to $6.5B cash.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 23 2019 15:49 utc | 227

Noirette @221--

Thanks for your reply! On more than one occasion, I've explored the options for correcting the numerous problems we discuss: Whether peaceful or not, they're radical merely because of the overall scope of change required.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 23 2019 17:53 utc | 228

"1910: November 26, James McKechnie applies for a patent on unit injection.[72] Unlike Diesel, he managed to successfully build working unit injectors.[64][73]"

Posted by: arby | Oct 23 2019 18:15 utc | 229

Comic Relief Time. I can't paste the joke here as it'll work much better by clicking the link!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 23 2019 18:37 utc | 230

@ by: c1ue | Oct 23 2019 15:42 utc | 225

Essentially Victorian engineering>

Solar thermal steam Egypt, 1912, I think. 50 kw?

USSR made radios, tube radios, powered by thermocouples heated via kero...same would obviously work with solar and a bit of focus.

Pretty much 5 element physics.

Posted by: Walter | Oct 23 2019 21:17 utc | 231

And while everyone is focused on Syria the US Fed just increased the overnight REPO window from $75 billion to $120 billion a day as detailed in the ZH link below

The Fed also increased the 2-week term REPO from $35 billion to $45 billion.

So the private banks are not lending to each other but instead are assuaging their fears by oversubscribing the 4 new POMO that started last week by factors of 4.3x, 4.8x, 5.5x and 5.9x...this is meant to add $60 billion a month "Permanently" to the Feds books and onto the backs of Americans...socializing the losses of the PRIVATE finance system

$120 billion of liquidity per day?! What is The Fed not telling us?

And why can't I post a HTML link properly formatted c1ue, since you are so networking savy?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 23 2019 22:16 utc | 232

@Walter #231
Running a radio off a thermocouple is a lot different than running a water pump, ceiling fan or refrigerator.
I worked a bit on semiconductor based thermocouples - they generated something like 1 watt for 1.5 inch by 1.5 inch sheets with 100 degree C temperature difference.
So a 1 kw thermocouple with a "free" power source of hot and cold water would only need a stack of 1000 of these sheets. At $10-$15 apiece, pretty expensive.
Metal thermocouples are a lot less efficient.
But yes, you could build a solar water heating plus thermocouple conversion to electricity. You just won't be able to use it much when the sun isn't shining - which is at least half the day and more, seasonally, in most of the 1st world.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 24 2019 2:02 utc | 233

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 24 2019 2:02 utc | 233

So what would work?

As pointed out above we already have (in China mostly) a vast store of old steel, chips and boards and screens and car parts.

Check your neighbor's front yard!

Wind generator, diesel engine and generator combo running on leftover french fry oil.

You debunk, let's balance with some bunk.

What would Edison do? Or Tesla, Archimedes.

Posted by: jonku | Oct 24 2019 5:45 utc | 234

@ Oct 23 2019 15:37 utc | 224

The Si wafer process was being engineered into a continuous casting with QC and very large energy efficiency - I believe the Chief Technical Officer recently died... Coincidence. I believe he was at Boeing at one time.

Actually all of us would rapidly agree over beer... Tech is a big process. Our little hands are limited.

If you watched the Knight Foundry video you know I know what our little hands can do, and what not.


Posted by: Walter | Oct 24 2019 12:10 utc | 235

@jonku #234
What would work depends on what your goal is.
If your goal is to convert a 3rd world village to having light at night, that's achievable with thermocouples or what not. Of course, this 3rd world village won't have french fry oil or old automobiles sitting around, much less a bunch of solar cells or semiconductor chips. Nor would this 3rd world village be able to afford solar cells in any quantity due to their enormous cost.

If your goal is a 1st world infrastructure and standard of living - the capability to create that with solar PV and wind is highly suspect with present technology and infrastructure.

Ultimately, my view is very pragmatic. The oil industry worldwide is $2 trillion a year. The alternative energy industry plus the NGO climate change orgs are $1 trillion a year.
To say one or the other is anything but self-serving is delusional.

The fossil fuel industry pollutes, but so does the alternative energy technologies - the only difference is that the fossil fuel technologies pollute here where they are burned and continuously while the alternative energy technologies primarily pollute during their manufacturing process: overseas, somewhere else.

If carbon emissions is the issue, nuclear has the least amount of carbon footprint per kwh generated - but the $1 trillion alternative energy industry above doesn't accept that either.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 24 2019 16:59 utc | 236

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