History Predicts “Buckle Up”

Updated on January 14, 2021 in General Stuff
39 on January 9, 2021

Here’s a link to an interesting article.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/12/can-history-predict-future/616993/?fbclid=IwAR0iYqoVhZjBNMzAOVSAVp1RkoSm0SKe-ArcYwM5Zwo68HAVJZ_1xymn2aA

Funny thing for me is I was the “elites” he describes in 2010 when I got the bum rush.

I guess I was just ahead of my time.

 
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2 on January 9, 2021

Some quotes

“The fundamental problems, he says, are a dark triad of social maladies: a bloated elite class, with too few elite jobs to go around [JDM note – this is Eric Weinstein’s ‘Embedded Growth Obligation’]; declining living standards among the general population; and a government that can’t cover its financial positions.”

And

“Elite overproduction creates counter-elites, and counter-elites look for allies among the commoners. If commoners’ living standards slip—not relative to the elites, but relative to what they had before—they accept the overtures of the counter-elites and start oiling the axles of their tumbrels. Commoners’ lives grow worse, and the few who try to pull themselves onto the elite lifeboat are pushed back into the water by those already aboard. The final trigger of impending collapse, Turchin says, tends to be state insolvency. At some point rising in­security becomes expensive. The elites have to pacify unhappy citizens with handouts and freebies—and when these run out, they have to police dissent and oppress people. Eventually the state exhausts all short-term solutions, and what was heretofore a coherent civilization disintegrates.”

Excellent stuff.

on January 10, 2021
At some point rising in­security becomes expensive. The elites have to pacify unhappy citizens with handouts and freebies—and when these run out, they have to police dissent and oppress people. Eventually the state exhausts all short-term solutions, and what was heretofore a coherent civilization disintegrates.From Fauxmaha

 

I don’t know how an entire  civilization can become “incoherent,” though I’m sure there are examples of the above rule.  

That said, I’ve often taken heart from Japan’s, Germany’s, and China’s survival, rapid recovery and rise from the ashes of war and revolution in the 20th century.  Maybe they did “disintegrate” temporarily, but somehow they got back on their feet. Ancient traditions in each country have reasserted themselves.  There are beers and I think breweries in Germany that go back 5 centuries. Their language is unchanged.  The elderly are still held in high esteem nd cared for by their children in China. (This may be changing.) I don’t know what’s left of Japan’s pre-ww2 civilization, but it seems that things have a way of working themselves out over time absent.  

What civilizations have recently disappeared?   

As to the power of elites, an argument I used to have with genuine hard core commies involved “rising inequality.” I don’t think inequality is very important, to be honest — is the increasing value of the stocks owned by elitists Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Elon Musk really hurting anyone?  How?  Inequality is used interchangeably by some with poverty, which I do think is important but am a loss to know how to eliminate.  Families that stick together and support each other, no matter what, and a higher regard for self reliance and discipline (speaking of the Japanese) of each family member, would go a long way.  

But “family” is a quaint idea, and growing more quaint as popular culture scoffs and government grows, but what’s the alternative?  A Great Society envisioned by strangers in Washington?  

 

 

 

 

 

on January 10, 2021

I am not going to try to edit the above post, but I do know what a paragraph is, and I had about 4 of them in the post before I hit “Reply.”

(Here comes a new paragraph)

I’m not complaining.  I think the architecture of internet forums is impressive, no matter how “buggy” the forums themselves are.

 

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0 on January 9, 2021

And speaking of Weinsteins, this goes directly to Bret’s contention that we carry hard-wired biological programming that can’t be suppressed.

When a population finds that it has exhausted an opportunity, it will inevitably either turn inward or turn outward to find a population to exploit.

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0 on January 9, 2021

I was thinking today that I’ve never really told the story of my DC career venture to anyone. The more I think about it, the more it’s relevant to this time and topic. Y’all may find it interesting. But I don’t want to bore anyone.

But if anyone is interested, I’d consider telling it here over a couple days and a few days.

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0 on January 9, 2021

Fire away!

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2 on January 10, 2021

OK, grew up in Dearborn, MI hometown of Henry Ford and the company that bears his name. Anything you’ve ever seen or read about Ford, I’ve walked those streets (and most of the buildings) much of my life. Took a field trip to the legendary Rouge plant in the 5th grade. Witnessed the blast furnaces pouring steel from a catwalk above. At like 10 years old.

Dad was a real estate executive for Ford, American Motors, and Chrysler. Brother worked for Rousch. I’m not so much an enthusiast as a genetic product of the auto industry.

Got my career start engineering controls (the actual programming that goes into the controller that makes the car run) for Ford. Sidhe’s ’85 Town Car is only slightly ahead of my time, but a couple years later and I probably had a small part in designing it. My world was dyno cells, test tracks, pre-laptop DOS in-vehicle programming tools, 8 inch thick binders of program documentation, etc.

And emissions regulation, testing, verification, penalties, agencies, etc.

This is the back story.

on January 10, 2021

Engineers aren’t paid enough ….

 

But I thought you were going to tell about a rasslin’ match you had with someone on Bella Abzug’s staff or something.  

on January 10, 2021

Patience my friend. We’ll get there.

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“8 inch thick binders…”

NOW you’ve got Jeff’s attention.

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0 on January 10, 2021

So I started with Ford in 1989. My original ticket in was my English degree which let me write service manuals (the ability to bootstrap an English Lit degree into an engineering career died with ISO 9000 in about 1994, but that’s a story for another rant). But my music background (surprisingly) helped me to graduate to programming control systems. I was literally told by my first boss at Ford that musicians seemed to have a knack for that. We seem to have a mental orientation that coordinates multiple intake streams to produce music.

So skipping up a couple years, we got into something called OBD-II which is an expansion of the standard control system diagostics which simply flag open or short circuits (Easy. Voltage goes to zero- open. Voltage goes to infinity- short). OBD-II, mandated in cars by 1996 became a leap in programming sophistication. Comparing exhaust gas oxygen signals to deduce catalysts out of standard spec. Measuring negative crankshaft velocity to find misfire. Monitoring warm up times to determine stuck thermostats (which don’t allow the engine to go closed loop). Adjusting injector timing to track injector wear and keep fueling right in the emissions window.

And my ties to service meant that I did all the agency/political dances. Meetings with EPA and SAE working out the industry mantra of, “please God, let’s figure out how to do this ourselves before the Feds and California fuck it up beyond all recognition”.

So increasingly, my wierd personal life at the intersection of engineering and government was growing.

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0 on January 10, 2021

OK, so that’s the diagnostic side of a control system. The other side is the actual running of the engine. Suck, squeeze, boom, blow. Over and over again. Technology used to constantly narrow the distance between perfect air/fuel ratio (stoichiometry- 14.7 to 1 with petroleum based fuels) and the wild west of constantly changing cylinder pressures, temperatures, and volumes. Get that wrong and you get imperfect combustion and pollutants like NOx, CO, unburned hydrocarbons, and particulate matter (rolling coal). EPA’s been regulating those levels since 1972. California’s been doing that since before that. That’s why there are 2 standards for everything. California beat EPA to the punch and continue to be able to do thier own thing.

Note that CO2 is not, and has never been on the list. That’s because CO2 is the goal of perfect combustion. If you do everything right, you get CO2. And water. H2O. period. If you don’t want CO2, don’t burn anything. Ever. Don’t fire your kiln. Don’t roast hot dogs. Don’t barbeque. Just fucking don’t. Let me know how that works out for you.

This is physics. It can’t be changed. Period.

Fuel consumption is by definition CO2 and water production.

And the Feds have been regulating fuel consumption since the mid-70s. It’s called CAFE. But that is not run by EPA. It’s run by a division of DOT, namely NHTSA. A small couple of people within NHTSA. And it’s a vastly different regulatory framework. It’s pretty weak courtesy of the legendary John Dingell of Michigan who simply refused to ever tighten it. Period. I’ll spare you the details unless you force me to explain, but trust me, it’s been the definition of cluster for decades.

Next up- Moving to Virginia Soon, Going to be a Regulatory Tycoon.

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0 on January 10, 2021

Somewhere in early 1998 I ran across an ad for a regulatory guy with a start up heavy truck manufacturer in Virginia. I had a relatively freshly minted MBA and due to the aforementioned ISO 9000 stuff, had grown somewhat stiffled in my vaguely defined career ambitions. Plus, my wife’s family is from backwoods Norton, VA down in the southwest corner of the state and she REALLY wanted to go there. So we made the trek and I interviewed. I was apparently the only guy they interviewed that knew what NOx was and so I was hired. We moved to Winchester, VA, conveniently 70 miles west of DC and 50 miles south of Hagerstown, MD where Mack Trucks had an engine plant (gaming the bailout plan).

So I became a corporate Compliance Manager. As it turns out, heavy duty trucks are a completely different game and really don’t have the same EPA regulatory structure so that turned out to be an incidental part of the job. But they do have OSHA standards and EPA waste standards and DOT commercial trucking regulations applying to heavy duty vehicles which greatly expanded my knowledge of industrial regulation. So basically, if it moves I know how it’s regulated.

That gig lasted a little more than 2 years (it was called Bering Trucks for the Google minded) and after bouncing through another couple of plant closures (Winchester ain’t no Detroit when it comes to automotive-like industry), I wound up as an engineer designing diesel engine emissions control systems at Volvo (who had acquired Mack around 2000) in Hagerstown working on inventing Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) for the 2007 model year requirements and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems for 2010. This involved a lot of road work and travel (visited Cornflake when in Phoenix burning up DPFs on a test track out there), but it was mostly standard engineering work.

Next up- Serendipity Strikes and I’m off to DC for the Education of a Lifetime.

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