Category Archives: Technology

The Apogee of Social Media, by Chris Farrell

Chris Farrell thinks the existing social media behemoths have peaked. Let’s hope he’s right. From Farrell at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Most famously, of course, is the banning of the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump. But there are many, many others.
  • Journalist friends from center-right outlets saw tens of thousands evaporate. Colleagues were suspended for reposting something they had said on multiple occasions for a year.
  • The social media giants are still flush with cash, convinced they are righteous and enlightened, and, most of all, are exceedingly arrogant. They believe they will continue to define and influence society – and they may – but only half.
  • The nearly consistent claim from established social media companies against their start-up competitors is that they are guilty of some “ism.” Take your pick: racial, ethnic, political, religious, sexual, whatever. Some crime, syndrome, or deplorable belief – some “ism” – is usually attached to any platform other than themselves.
  • This is not the stuff of right-wing conspiracy theorists. It touches on press freedoms and landmark legal cases such as New York Times v. Sullivan. In that 1964 case, the Supreme Court established that a plaintiff in a defamation case concerning a public figure must prove “actual malice” in reporting false information. Actual malice is the publication of a false statement with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.
(Photo of logos by Denis Charlet/AFP via Getty Images)

When a business turns on roughly half of its customers, treats them like criminal suspects or seeks to deprive them of their services, can they prosper? The answer is “No.”

Social media is dying, they just don’t know it yet. All the so-called “giants” of Silicon Valley: Twitter, Facebook, and their ilk cannot continue successfully “as is.” In the lead-up to the 2020 election, and certainly in the aftermath of the January 6th Capitol riot, persons and organizations not subscribing to the new orthodox socialist ideology of the American Left have found themselves “de-platformed,” suspended, erased, minimized and banned.

Continue reading→

The Great Regression, by Eric Peters

Once upon a time progress meant things got better, but under the new definition of progress, that’s not necessarily true, especially when it comes to government-favored technologies. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

 
 
 

Volkswagen is touting the 260 mile range of its new ID.4 electric crossover, up 10 whole miles from what the EPA had previously estimated.

This means you can travel as far as 130 milesone way – before you are forced to stop for a long time in order to keep going that way. Or you can turn around and make it home – maybe. At the risk of maybe not quite making it and having to wait for a long time before you can get home again.

This is what you get for $40,000 to start, the base price of the ID.4.

Well, technically, $39,995. Gotta keep it “under “40k,” which appears to be the new benchmark for EV entry-level.

Here is what you used to be able to get from VW for $22,460 back in 2015 – which was the year before VWs like the TDI diesel-powered Jetta TDI sedan got in trouble with Uncle:

652 miles before you had to stop for a couple of minutes in order to be back on your way again.

To be fair, that was on the highway.

In city driving, the Jetta TDI could only go 449 miles – which is only just shy of twice as far as the ID.4 can go, anywhere – for just shy of twice as much.

Only in a world gone loopy could such a reversion and diminution be cause for anything other than embarrassment – and ridicule. But it is of a piece with the bizarro oh, thank you massa eructing from people who have been graciously allowed to walk around again, provided they wear a Face Diaper and provided they don’t stand too close to anyone else. Or the curious, obsequious gratefulness of restaurant owners allowed to open, provided they only serve half the people they used to be able to – while still being obliged to pay all of the rent and taxes, etc. 

It’s pathological.

That goes double-plus-good for for the car press, which in saner times would have ridiculed a car that went half as far and cost twice as much being purveyed as some sort of boon to the car-buying public.

Continue reading→

What I See as Retail Landlord, One Year After (and we’re STILL Forgiving and Deferring Rent for Our Hardest-Hit Tenants) by John McNellis

Who’s going to survive and who’s going to succumb to the economic dislocations stemming from the coronavirus measures? John McNellis’ at wolfstreet.com insights:

Some Green Shoots, but Finding them Is Tricky.

A year ago, our shopping centers were shuttered, and our tenants so crushed we forgave their April rent. Believing the world would reopen by mid-April, we thought our merchants would have a couple weeks of free-rent to make up for March’s closure. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

A year later and we’re still forgiving and deferring rent for our hardest-hit tenants. And hoping the Governor will finally permit them to operate at 100 percent capacity.

Where are we today? Starting with what you already know, second and third tier malls, particularly enclosed malls, are dead and gone and aren’t coming back. Their dinosaur anchors—Sears, J.C. Penny, Macy’s, and the like—were sinking in the tar pits long before the virus’s coup de grace.

In counter point, discounters like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and Ross have thrived in the last year—Ross’s stock has doubled—suggesting it’s neither the virus nor e-commerce that killed off the mall habitués; rather it’s the mismanagement of the Jurassic retailers themselves.

Continue reading→

Scarcity Cred, by Scott Galloway

Scarcity can be a value, which is one explanation for the people scratching their heads about the popularity of cryptocurrencies. From Scott Galloway at profgalloway.com:

Any firm that approaches $1T in value has tapped into a basic human instinct. Consuming, signalling, loving, and praying have been the fuel of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google’s ascents, respectively. That the crypto asset class universe has reached $2T reveals, I believe, that it taps into two attributes we instinctively pursue: trust and scarcity.

Trust

Our superpower as a species is cooperation, which requires trust. It’s the reason banks, traffic lights, and anesthesiologists exist. Even before crypto, creative minds have been drawn to finance, as trust creates opportunities for leverage and securitization. In 1997, seeking more control over his songwriting catalog, David Bowie raised $55 million with Bowie Bonds. The bonds paid 7.9 percent interest over a 10 year-long term — a scant premium to a U.S. 10 Year Treasury Note at 6.4 percent. What made Bowie Bonds unique was the collateral, or source of trust: future royalties on Bowie’s music, which the bondholder felt people would continue to value. Moody’s rated the bonds A3 and Bowie used the proceeds to buy out his former manager, shoring up the bonds and securing long-term control of his music.

Though innovative in its collateralization, the Bowie Bond was on its face a vanilla financial instrument, no different in form than a bond issued by GM or P&G. In order to connect his art and potential investors, Bowie had to rely on the (expensive) apparatus of traditional gatekeepers in finance and entertainment to imbue his bonds with the essential attributes of trust and scarcity. The royalty stream (trust) was mediated by lawyers and accountants in big publishing houses, and the legitimacy of each individual bond (scarcity) was dependent on the financial powers of Wall Street.

What if Sir David Bowie (note: he declined knighthood in 2003, but it’s my blog) fell to earth in 2021? What might Bowie have done … with crypto?

Continue research→

Man Who Carries Smartphone Everywhere He Goes Worried Government Might Track Him Through Vaccine

From The Babylon Bee:

PHOENIX, AZ—Local man Greg Chandler is worried that the government might put a tracking device in the vaccine.

He expressed his concerns on social media, furiously typing on his smartphone, which he carries literally everywhere he goes. The device is always either in his pocket, in his car, or in his hands. He says he’s lucky he had it on him today, so that he could warn his social media followers of the government’s sinister plan to track his every move.

“The government is putting tiny tracking microchips in the vaccine, and they can spy on you no matter where you go! Don’t fall for this!” he wrote on the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram apps. “We must stand up and say enough is enough! Big brother is watching you!”

He then recorded a short video rant which he posted to TikTok and checked in at the restaurant he was meeting some friends at.

At publishing time, the NSA agent watching Chandler through his smartphone’s front-facing camera had denied the man’s claims that the vaccine has any sort of tracking device in it.

https://babylonbee.com/news/the-government-can-track-you-through-the-vaccine-says-man-who-has-carried-around-smartphone-since-2009

The Built-In Defect, by Eric Peters

There’s only one teeny tiny little problem with electric cars: sometimes they spontaneously combust. And the fires are hard to put out. But other than that, they’re perfect. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The infamously exploding Ford Pinto was recalled because of a design defect with the Pinto. That particular car. But cars – as such – weren’t defective, so only the Pinto was recalled for its proclivity to burn when hit from behind.

But electric cars have this defect designed into them.

All of them.

And unlike with the Pinto, you don’t have to get hit – or hit anything – for an electric car to burn. The things can – and have – caught fire when parked. Actually, “caught” is not the right word to describe what happens.

Spontaneous combustion is better.

It is because of the nature/design of electric car batteries, which are not like the small 12 volt battery that starts the engine of a not-electric car. That battery is generally lead-acid and fires are very rare because it requires at least two predicates: A spark – as caused by jumper cables contacting the battery’s terminals – and leaking hydrogen gas. If both of those predicates aren’t present, a 12 volt starter battery fire is highly improbable.

It’s almost unheard of nowadays because almost all 12 volt starter batteries made since the ‘90s are sealed. Hence, no gas can escape, all-but-eliminating the possibility of a fire ignited by a spark during a jump-start operation.

You can break the case of a 12 volt starter battery and it will leak – but not burn.

Electric car batteries, on the other hand, are very high voltage batteries – 400 volts is typical; 800 volts is becoming common – and they are fire-prone by design.

A process called thermal runaway can trigger a fire without a spark – or an impact. This most commonly happens when the electric car is being charged – and it is why electric car fast-charging is always a potential fire problem.

Continue reading→

Tanzania’s Late President Magufuli: ‘Science Denier’ or Threat to Empire? by Whitney Webb

Heart failure is the supposed cause of his recent death. Magufuli certainly is not the first world leader who’s stepped out of line and met an untimely demise. From Whitney Webb at unlimitedhangout.com:

While his COVID-19 policies have dominated media coverage regarding his disappearance and suspicious death, Tanzania’s John Magufuli was hated by the Western elites for much more than his rebuke of lockdowns and mask mandates. In particular, his efforts towards nationalizing the country’s mineral wealth threatened to deprive the West of control over resources deemed essential to the new green economy.

Less than 2 weeks ago, Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan delivered the news that her country’s president, John Pombe Magufuli, had died of heart failure. President Magufuli had been described as missing since the end of February, with several anti-government parties circulating stories that he had fallen ill with COVID-19. During his presidency, Magufuli had consistently challenged neocolonialism in Tanzania, whether it manifested through the exploitation of his country’s natural resources by predatory multinationals or the West’s influence over his country’s food supply.

In the months leading up to his death, Magufuli had become better known and particularly demonized in the West for opposing the authority of international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) in determining his government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. However, Magufuli had spurned many of the same interests and organizations angered by his response to COVID for years, having kicked out Bill Gates-funded trials of genetically-modified crops and more recently angering some of the most powerful mining companies in the West, companies with ties to the World Economic Forum and the Forum’s efforts to guide the course of the 4th industrial revolution.

Indeed, more threatening than his recent COVID controversies was the threat Magufuli posed to foreign control over the world’s largest, ready-to-develop nickel deposit, a metal essential to electric car batteries and thus the current effort to usher in an electric, autonomous vehicle revolution. For instance, just a month before he disappeared, Magufuli had signed an agreement to begin developing that nickel deposit, a deposit that had been previously co-owned by Barrick Gold and Glencore, the commodity giant deeply tied to Israel’s Mossad, until Magufuli revoked their licenses for the project in 2018.

Continue reading→

Googled by Ford, by Eric Peters

Ford has agreed to turn it’s cars into data streams for Google. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

For generations Ford worked closely with Firestone, which not only provided the tires installed on new Fords but also developed them to work with specific Ford vehicles. That relationship soured in the late ‘90s, when Ford – and Firestone – got very publicly Johnnie Cochran’d over Ford Explorer SUVs sometimes rolling over while being driven on Firestone Wilderness A/T tires.

To this day, debate rages over whether the rolling over was caused chiefly by subpar Firestone tires, under-inflated subpar Firestone tires, rollover-prone Ford Explorers, or reckless Explorer drivers. It was probably all of these elements to one degree or another, acting in concert.

The proverbial perfect storm.

In any event, Ford is developing a new relationship – with Google – that may make you roll over.

CEO Jim Farley made the announcement recently that Ford will be using Google tech already built into all of its new cars to “provide new revenue opportunities” – which translates as monetize the data streamed by the vehicle.

Continue reading→

Would You Buy an Automobile Designed by a Woke Engineer? by Robert Bridge

An automobile embodies a myriad of components and processes invented by white men, and awaits a thorough redesign to comport with woke principles. One question: so redesigned, will it run? From Robert Bridges at strategic-culture.org:

“Sometimes 2+2 could equal 5. You know, just like a born male can sometimes suffer menstrual cramps.”

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the leftwing cancel cult now running amok through the unguarded halls of academia is that highly intelligent people, with absolutely no racial or political ax to grind, are being forced to defend themselves and their respective fields from the most outrageous accusations, time that would be much better spent on valuable research.

While mathematicians over the millennia have successfully solved some of the most perplexing problems, like the Poincaré Conjecture and Fermat’s Last Theorom, they will probably have more difficulty arriving at a solution for appeasing the woke mob now banging on their door.

Difficult as it may be to fathom, the radical progressive inquisition has a beef with the cloistered community of number crunchers, made up as it is, according to the woke crowd, of closet racists and white supremacists. Needless to say, this latest accusation has sent shockwaves through the academic community.

This month, Sergiu Klainerman, professor of mathematics at Princeton University, explained to the journalist Bari Weiss how he has personally witnessed “the decline of universities and cultural institutions as they have embraced political ideology at the expense of rigorous scholarship.” Klainerman admitted that he had “naively thought” that the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) would be not be touched by this “ideological takeover.” Much to his chagrin, he was mistaken.

Continue reading→

A Pothole in the Path of the Electrification Agenda, by Eric Peters

Batteries for electric cars run down and are costly to replace, not to mention the issue of what’s to be done with the used batteries. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

 
 
 

A number of problems stand athwart the Electrification Agenda, which is supposed to be accomplished fact less than nine years from now – come 2030. Perhaps the single biggest problem is the fact that even if every car maker makes nothing but electric cars by then – or sooner, as several have “committed to” already – there will still be a lot of non-electric cars for a long time to come.

Well beyond 2030.

This is so because non-electric cars have a much longer useful service life – functionally and economically – than electric cars. Almost any car bought today, in 2021, will not only still be in service come 2030 it will still have many years of functional and economically viable service life left.

A nine-year-old car is a middle-aged car.  It is routine for cars with 100,000 miles to go another 100,000 miles, often without a major repair being needed. This is why the average age of a car currently in service as a daily driver is 12-plus and also why it is common to see cars much older than that still in service. Especially exceptionally durable models such as the Toyota Corolla and Camry, the Honda Accord and a number of others that routinely keep on keeping on for more than 20 years and 250,000-plus miles.

There are not many ten-year-old electric cars still in service  – and won’t be – because of the inherently shorter functional and economically viable lifespan of electric cars, especially when they are used as daily driver cars (which most aren’t; see here for more about that).

The reason for both of those problems is the battery problem, which is a problem that hasn’t been overcome and will not be overcome until there is a new type of battery – one that somehow defies the known physics of batteries.

Continue reading→