Category Archives: Technology

The Realistic Rebuild, by Eric Peters

A lot of people would rather have older model cars than today’s cars essentially designed by the government. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

As America goes Cuba, politically, it is becoming Cuban – vehicularly.

You have probably read about the aging of the vehicle fleet – that the age of the typical car in service right now is now pushing 12 years old, an age at which most cars would have been scrapped 20 years ago.

But 20 years ago, new cars were better than 12-year-old cars – and so people bought them.

Today, most new cars are more expensive – and much more intrusive. It is almost impossible to find one that doesn’t come standard with an electronic hydra of “assistance” technology that many people simply do not want – either to pay for or to have to deal with. Steering wheels that try to jerk you back into the lane you’re in when you attempt to exit the lane without having signaled first. Even if there’s no one around to see your signal.

Brakes that slam on when the car thinks you’re too close to something. Engines that shut themselves off at every red light. Etc.

There is very little market demand for it. So why is it becoming almost impossible to find a new car that doesn’t come standard with it?

It is the same reason for all the rest of it. The corporations that build cars are increasingly controlled by people who not only prefer to sell virtue – as they define it – but want to force everyone to buy into it. Have a gander – if you can stand it – at the commercials purveyed by major car companies nowadays. They do not tout the sex appeal or tire-frying fun of cars anymore. Or even reliability.

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NATO’s Plans to Hack Your Brain, by Ben Norton

The globalists live for the day when people will no longer have individuality and souls. From Ben Norton at consortiumnews.com:

NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded cognitive warfare, Ben Norton reports. 

NATO is developing new forms of warfare to wage a “battle for the brain,” as the military alliance put it.

The U.S.-led NATO military cartel has tested novel modes of hybrid warfare against its self-declared adversaries, including economic warfare, cyber warfare, information warfare and psychological warfare.

Now, NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded cognitive warfare. Described as the “weaponization of brain sciences,” the new method involves “hacking the individual” by exploiting “the vulnerabilities of the human brain” in order to implement more sophisticated “social engineering.”

Until recently, NATO had divided war into five different operational domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyber. But with its development of cognitive warfare strategies, the military alliance is discussing a new, sixth level: the “human domain.”

2020 NATO-sponsored study of this new form of warfare clearly explained, “While actions taken in the five domains are executed in order to have an effect on the human domain, cognitive warfare’s objective is to make everyone a weapon.”

“The brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century,” the report stressed. “Humans are the contested domain,” and “future conflicts will likely occur amongst the people digitally first and physically thereafter in proximity to hubs of political and economic power.”

The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare.

While the NATO-backed study insisted that much of its research on cognitive warfare is designed for defensive purposes, it also conceded that the military alliance is developing offensive tactics, stating, “The human is very often the main vulnerability and it should be acknowledged in order to protect NATO’s human capital but also to be able to benefit from our adversaries’ vulnerabilities.”

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Your Money AND Your Life, by Edward Snowden

If they can track every cent you receive or spend, how much freedom, if any, do you have left? From Edward Snowden at edwardsnowden.substack.com:

Central Banks Digital Currencies will ransom our future

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Green Policies Return the World to Coal, by Clarice Feldman

Renewable energy is not yet ready for prime time, and mistakenly thinking that is has meant that coal, the dirtiest of energies, has had to pick up the slack. From Clarice Feldman at americanthinker.com:

There’s scarcely a place in the modern world that will not be feeling the high cost and discomfort of a shortage of energy supplies and their increasingly soaring prices. Lebanon already is. Due to a shortage of oil, the two power plants that supply 40% of that country’s electricity shut down. There is no electricity in Lebanon and will not be any for some days.

It’s an extreme case, but even the United Kingdom, the EU, the U.S., and China are running up against diminishing ability to obtain the necessary energy supplies to keep things running smoothly. Some of the shortages are due to accidents, like the cutting of an undersea cable to the UK, but most are due to green policies and stupid political choices, ironically shutting down oil and gas-fired power plants and fossil fuel exploitation and transport at the demand of the greens, who grossly overestimate both global warming and the ability of air, sun and water to take their place. Ironically, this means coal — the dirtiest possible fuel — is back in huge demand,

Despite an import ban on Australian coal, China relented and has begun unloading Australian coal because of an extreme power crunch. Coal is now in demand in Europe as gas prices soar and the EU’s energy policies are in large responsible:

The ideological split will drive a wedge between the European Union, a long-time champion of a coal phaseout, and corporate interests as market conditions favour gas-to-coal switching. The switching ratio has slid in coal’s favour in the last weeks of June 2021 and judging by the current futures structure, it will stay in place until at least Q2-2022 [snip] Given the natural limitations to further coal utilization, in Germany the main interaction in the upcoming weeks will be between coal and wind. Coal-fired electricity generation rose to multi-year highs in the first weeks of September when every single day saw wind generation only a fraction of its usual strength and speed. Now, the situation has changed somewhat as wind started blowing again, dropping hard coal generation to an average generation rate of 7.5-8 GWh, still some 30-35% higher than at this time of the year in 2020. Yet still, Germany’s travails are far from over, especially with December looming large on the horizon. According to preliminary plans, that month alone three nuclear plants will stop operating in Germany — Brokdorf, Grohnde and Gundremmingen — with a combined (non-intermittent) capacity of 4 GW, representing the penultimate wave of nuclear phase-out closures before 2022 sees the last 3 reactors decommissioned. Such substantial capacity would need to be replaced with either coal or gas, with profitability skewed overwhelmingly towards the former. [snip]

The current coal demand surge should force the European Union to reconsider its position on coal — as polluting as it might be, it could still help alleviate energy crunches across Europe when the situation demands it. As things stand today, the upcoming four years would see at least seven countries phasing out coal: Portugal (2021), France (2022), UK (2024), Hungary, Italy, Ireland and Greece (all 2025). As Europe has seen nine consecutive year-on-year increases in aggregate coal burns, perhaps more switching flexibility and less bans could still be the way forward.

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A Global Fiat Currency: “One Ring to Rule Them All”, by Thorsten Polleit

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One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

We’re fighting Sauron. From Thorsten Polleit at mises.org:

1.

Human history can be viewed from many angles. One of them is to see it as a struggle for power and domination, as a struggle for freedom and against oppression, as a struggle of good against evil.

That is how Karl Marx (1818–83) saw it, and Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) judged similarly. Mises wrote:

The history of the West, from the age of the Greek Polis down to the present-day resistance to socialism, is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders.1

But unlike Marx, Mises recognized that human history does not follow predetermined laws of societal development but ultimately depends on ideas that drive human action.

From Mises’s point of view, human history can be understood as a battle of good ideas against bad ideas.

Ideas are good if the actions they recommend bring results that are beneficial for everyone and lead the actors to their desired goals;

At the same time, good ideas are ethically justifiable, they apply to everyone, anytime and anywhere, and ensure that people who act upon them can survive.

On the other hand, bad ideas lead to actions that do not benefit everyone, that do not cause all actors to achieve their goals and/or are unethical.

Good ideas are, for example, people accepting “mine and yours”; or entering into exchange relationships with one another voluntarily. Bad ideas are coercion, deception, embezzlement, theft.

Evil ideas are very bad ideas, ideas through which whoever puts them into practice is consciously harming others. Evil ideas are, for example, physical attacks, murder, tyranny.

2.

With Lord of the Rings, J. J. R. Tolkien (1892–1973) wrote a literary monument about the epic battle between good and evil. His fantasy novel, published in 1954, was a worldwide success, not least because of the movie trilogy, released from 2001 to 2003.

What is Lord of the Rings about? In the First Age, the deeply evil Sauron—the demon, the hideous horror, the necromancer—had rings of power made by the elven forges.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

But Sauron secretly forges an additional ring into which he pours all his darkness and cruelty, and this one ring, the master ring, rules all the other rings.

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The Energy Transition Will Take Decades Not Years, by Tsvetana Paraskova

You’re not just going to flip one switch off and one switch on and seamlessly shift economies and consumers from coal, gas, and oil to renewable energy. From Tsevetan Paraskova at oilprice.com:

  • With natural gas, coal, and oil prices all soaring this summer, it is clear that a successful energy transition will take decades not years
  • Some energy transition proponents may have confused Covid energy demand destruction with a change in consumer behavior
  • The truth is that an energy transition can only occur when clean energy can be provided both cheaply and reliably

This year’s global demand for all three fossil fuels has sent a message to overly enthusiastic proponents of the energy transition – hold your horses.

Those who predicted last year the demise of oil, gas, and coal after the pandemic and those who said that peak oil demand was already behind us because lasting changes in consumer behavior would reduce the use of crude are now facing reality.

Global oil demand is just a few months away from reaching pre-pandemic levels, while natural gas and coal demand have already exceeded the 2019 volumes.

Sure, international airline travel is still struggling because of COVID-related travel restrictions in place in many countries. But economies are bouncing back, industries are growing, and the world needs a lot of energy, once again.

Fossil Fuels Support Economic Growth

And fossil fuels continue to supply most of that energy and will do so for years to come. Last year’s slump in fossil fuel consumption is being erased, and those who expected oil, gas, and coal demand to never return to pre-COVID levels now know they were wrong.

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The Ugly Math: GM, Ford, other Legacy Automakers Throw Hundreds of Billions at EVs, Only Auto Segment that’s Growing. Tesla Made Them Do It, by Wolf Richter

The question remains: if electric utilities right now are having trouble supplying enough juice in places like Europe and China, where does the extra juice come from for millions of EVs? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

It’s a zero-sum game that’s eating up a huge amount of cash. But Electric Utilities are loving it.

In the press release for its investor conference today, GM said that it plans to double its annual revenues by the end of the decade as it transitions to EVs. In terms of the math, 8% in price increases a year for nine years would do that without having to jump through the hoops of selling more vehicles. GM’s average transaction price in Q3 in the US jumped by 20% year-over-year. So…  I don’t see this statement as sign of an increase in volume, but an increase in prices.

GM confirmed that logic by pointing out that it expects its margins to increase as it transitions to EVs. It said that half its manufacturing capacity in North America and China will be capable of producing EVs by 2030.

Sales growth in this industry is obtained by selling higher-priced vehicles. But volume growth, in terms of the number of vehicles sold, is hard to come by in the auto industry. There are some developing economies where sales are still growing. But there has been no growth in developed economies in two decades.

In the US, sales peaked in 2000 at 17.4 million vehicles, then fell off, then plunged to 10.4 million vehicles in 2009, and then recovered to hit 17.5 million vehicles in 2016, and that was it. Sales have been falling ever since. Last year, the industry sold 14.6 million vehicles. This year, may be around 15 million vehicles.

But the one segment that is growing in leaps and bounds is EVs. And that’s what GM’s investor conference was about – creating investor excitement about this “transition to EVs,” from a Chevrolet crossover “priced around $30,000,” to the high-end Hummer EV pickup truck with 1,000 hp.

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“Keyword Warrants” – Feds Secretly Ordered Google To Identify Anyone Searching Certain Information, by Tyler Durden

Google is not “free” in any sense of the word. You’re the product and Google is under no obligation to hold your information confidential. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

An accidentally unsealed court document reveals that the federal government secretly ordered Google to provide data on people searching specific search words or phrases, otherwise known as “keyword warrants,” according to Forbes.

According to the report, the Justice Department inadvertently unsealed the documents in September (which were promptly re-sealed), which were reviewed by Forbes. In several instances, law enforcement investigators asked Google to identify anyone searching for specific keywords.

The first case was in 2019 when federal investigators were on the hunt for men they believed sex-trafficked a minor. According to a search warrant, the minor went missing but reappeared a year later and claimed to have been kidnapped and sexually assaulted. Investigators asked Google if anyone had searched the minor’s name. The tech giant responded and provided law enforcement agents with Google accounts and IP addresses of those who made the searches.

There have been other rare examples of so-called keyword warrants, such as in 2020 when police asked Google if anyone searched for the address of an arson victim in the government’s racketeering case against singer R Kelly. Then in 2017, a Minnesota judge requested Google to provide information on anyone who searched for a  fraud victim’s name.

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US Desperate For Coal Miners To Meet Soaring Global Demand, by Tyler Durden

There’s a shortage not just of miners, but of all kinds of workers who do the jobs that aren’t done behind a desk. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Coal supply shortages in Asia and Europe are pushing prices for the dirtiest fossil fuel to record highs and have become a challenge for US suppliers due to a shortage of miners, according to Bloomberg.

For the last three and a half decades, the number of coal mining jobs in the US has collapsed from 180,000 to 42,500 in August. The industry remains 9,500 miners short from pre-COVID times.

With coal prices worldwide screaming to all-time highs ahead of winter as China and Europe scramble for supplies, the US coal industry is failing to find new miners willing to do the dirty work as demand soars.

“That’s making it difficult for mining companies to boost production at a time when the global energy crisis is making utilities desperate for every lump of coal they can dig up. Even with coal prices surging around the world, the labor shortages are another sign that it’s going to be tough to shore up energy stockpiles,” Bloomberg said. 

Erin Higginson of Custom Staffing Services, which recruits miners in the Illinois Basin, said miners used to walk into their office for jobs, but now they have to “hold job fairs all over just to find a few miners.”

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Europe’s Energy Crisis Presents A Real Danger, by Daniel Lacalle

Europe’s governments have created an energy crisis for Europe. A severe winter could be disastrous. From Daniel Lacalle at app.hedgeye.com:

Europe’s Energy Crisis Presents A Real Danger - AdobeStock 9699481

This week the wholesale price of electricity has exceeded the psychological barrier of 200 euros per megawatt hour in most countries of the European Union.

Although the daily price currently only affects 15% of the energy sold, since the rest is locked for almost twelve months since last winter at much lower prices, it is a sign of future risk. Thousands of contracts are going to have to be revised with huge price increases in the next three months when the locked contracts expire.

The price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has soared to $34/mmbtu delivered in December and January. In comparable energy terms it would be about $197 per barrel of oil equivalent, according to Morgan Stanley. Meanwhile, the price of natural gas (NBP) has risen more than 200% in 2021.

The price of CO2 emission rights has increased more than 1,000% since 2017, and more than 200% in 2021. This concept, which is a hidden tax for which the governments of the European Union are going to collect more than 21 billion euros in 2021, adds to the inflationary spike.

These extraordinary tax revenues should be used to mitigate the price increases in consumer bills and avoid an energy crisis in Europe that will sink the recovery.

Two key factors explain the rise in energy prices and in both there is a responsibility of governments: The forced closure of the economy is a key factor to understand the damage generated in the supply chains, and the prohibition of investment in gas resources and abandoning nuclear in Germany has led to a more volatile and expensive energy mix in peak demand periods.

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