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Well Looky There… February 18, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

…looks like all those posts dating back to 2006 were, how you say in your country? Frickin’ prescient?


Manufacturing Jobs Experiencing Bloating February 8, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

Like the employment numbers described in the preceding post, the Bureau for Labor Statistics made some revisions to their data in this report. This is an annual thing, so no cause for alarm. I’ve updated the data back to 2016.

Caveats in place, let’s take a look at the manufacturing jobs story:


The mind, she is boggled.

You Didn’t Actually Want to Use Your Electric Car in the Winter, Did You? February 8, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.
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Fast on the heels of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ill-fated “Green New Deal” nonsense, we find that physics once again intrudes on the good intentions of environmentalists:

As freezing temperatures plague much of the country, electric vehicle owners may experience a decrease in driving range, compounded by the use of the vehicle’s interior climate control. New research from AAA reveals that when the mercury dips to 20°F and the HVAC system is used to heat the inside of the vehicle, the average driving range is decreased by 41 percent.

So all those subsidies paid for electric car purchases ended up saddling car owners with a car that really can’t cope with winter. I mean, 20°F ain’t that low, and using your heater when it’s 20°F is not unreasonable.

I don’t have anything against electric cars, except when they are pushed into the market prematurely by government subsidies. Which you and I pay for.

2nd-to-Last Employment Post February 8, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

Been swamped with work lately, so little time for blogging. Seems like the better the economy is doing, the less time we have to blog, but when it’s hurting, we have plenty of time to whine online.

Anyway, I’m a week late in getting the employment graph out. The data is a little weird this month, because the Bureau for Labor Statistics made some major changes in the population estimates (they disappeared 800K people).


A little downtick, but well above 0.5. Here’s the big picture, going back to 1990:

Gotta warn you guys: I’ve been tracking employment for almost 10 years (started in April ’09 with The Chart), and I think I’m going to put it to bed next month, making it exactly 10.

Try to stifle your sniffles.

Death Can’t Stop Justice February 1, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

Amid questions concerning whether Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is alive, and certainly hoping that she is (though I wouldn’t mind her retiring, quite honestly), I’m reminded that perhaps it doesn’t really matter. [I have this set to start at 0:55, but it’s worth watching the whole thing.]

Slippery Slope of Taxation January 29, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.
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The problem with government spending is that it almost always increases, eventually exhausting normal revenue sources and credit. Then you have to start looking elsewhere for money

Gov. Ned Lamont wants to end Connecticut’s cycle of budget deficits, deliver property-tax relief and amass a fiscal bulwark against the next recession. But to do it, he may push wary legislators to extend the sales tax for the first time to groceries, medications and other long-exempt items.

As with the income tax, which grew from modest beginnings to today’s behemoth, government will always seek more revenue. Even if they have to sacrifice their facade of distaste for regressive taxes.

And if Elizabeth Warren ever succeeds in taxing the wealth of the top 1%, you can guarantee that in a few decades they’ll be digging into the wealth of the top 10% or top 25%.

A Veteran Laid to Rest January 28, 2019

Posted by daveintexas in Honor, News.

They could not find his family members. So the Central Texas Veteran’s Cemetery asked that members of the community attend his service this morning.


They hoped he would not be buried alone. He wasn’t. Hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to a man they did not know. Overwhelming support and honor.

Killeen is very much a military town. There are lots of retired veterans here. I expected people would show up this morning. I did not expect the hundreds that I saw. When I crested the hill on 195 this is what I saw. I have no idea how long the line was behind me but I saw something today that was fine and good.






State Tax Burden, 2019 January 27, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

The Tax Foundation has their annual assessment of the state & local tax burden for these United States. This includes sales tax, property tax, Here’s their map:

Your mileage may vary depending on your personal circumstances, but here are the 5 lowest-taxed states:

  1. Alabama
  2. Tennessee
  3. South Carolina
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Florida

If you live in Alabama, you pay ~$5800/year less than in new York. For a family of 4, that’s $1900/month extra income.

They note that this simple analysis (total taxes collected divided by population of state) distorts the situations of states where much of their tax revenue is collected from out-of-state payers, such as Florida, with its huge tourist revenue, or North Dakota, with its oil revenues (levied on consumers across the country).

Brushing Your Teeth Is Not Going to Be a Magic Alzheimer’s Remedy January 25, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

There’s a story making the rounds that could use some context:

The Cause of Alzheimer’s Could Be Coming From Inside Your Mouth, Study Claims

…scientists are saying they’ve got one of the most definitive leads yet for a bacterial culprit behind Alzheimer’s, and it comes from a somewhat unexpected quarter: gum disease.

In a new paper led by senior author Jan Potempa, a microbiologist from the University of Louisville, researchers report the discovery of Porphyromonas gingivalis – the pathogen behind chronic periodontitis (aka gum disease) – in the brains of deceased Alzheimer’s patients.

There are a lot of factors that have been implicated in Alzheimer’s:

  • Metals: iron, copper, aluminum, mercury
  • Viruses (Herpes), Bacteria (the one above and Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme disease)), Fungi
  • Air pollution
  • Insulin resistance (“Type 3 Diabetes”)
  • Leaky blood-brain barrier
  • Genetics (of course)

Those are just the ones off the top of my head. But the emerging picture is that all of these may be true. It’s starting to look like:

  1. Some chronic insult to the brain occurs (as in one or more of the causes listed above).
  2. Amyloid beta accumulates as an immune response to the invasive species, as the brain clearance mechanisms become exhausted.
  3. Somehow amyloid beta encourages tau proteins to get an extra phosphate group, which causes them to leave their normal stations, mess with the nucleus, and tangle up in the neuron.
  4. Corrupted (hyperphosphorylated) tau propagates from cell to cell, and it is the infiltration of bad tau in various brain regions that correlates with impaired function in those regions.
  5. Eventually inflammation occurs, accelerating the decline of neurons and brain function.

So, sadly, just brushing your teeth and seeing a dentist regularly are unlikely to protect you from Alzheimer’s – you’ll have just dodged one of the easier bullets to dodge.

Still, that’s plenty worth the small effort it takes to steer clear of that particular bullet.

[Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or medical researcher, but I read a lot of Alzheimer’s literature. The summary above is my own best guess as to what’s going on, but incorporates the Massachusetts General Hospital theory of the amyloid beta function and disease states as well as the results of recent tau PET scan studies.]

Heading Briefly to Parts Southeast January 22, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

Vacationing in Florida tomorrow through Monday, so posting from me will be light to nonexistent.

But I’m sure all the other authors, almost all of whom have seniority over me, will be deluging the site with wit and pith.

Pretty sure.

When the Moon is Hit in the Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie January 22, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

Apparently the lunar eclipse Sunday night was more eventful that I’d thought:

I’ll admit that I only watched the eclipse action briefly, opting to stay inside and watch movies/drink beer instead.

Hey! It was cold outside.

And the beer was cold inside.

Finally Some Hope in Earlier Pancreatic Cancer Detection January 20, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

Pancreatic cancer took my dad a little over 9 years ago. He had some mystery ailments for months, but when they finally figured it out, it was far too late. He died 3 weeks after diagnosis.

So I’m heartened to hear this news (via Instapundit):

A new pancreatic cancer test could detect the disease before it progresses to later, deadly stages, new research says.

Scientists have developed tests that pinpoints close to 70 percent of pancreatic cancer with less than 5 percent false-positive rate, according to a study published this month in Clinical Cancer Research.

The article says that pancreatic cancer accounts for 7% of cancer deaths in the US. It’d be nice if early detection and intervention could save some of those 42,000 people (per year).