Wednesday, May 22, 2019

This Week in Musk World

Busy week in Musk World.

SpaceX has rescheduled the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink satellites for Thursday at 10:30 PM EST. This is the third launch attempt with the payload with the other two times being pushed back due to weather concerns. I'm on record being skeptical of the Starlink program not just because of adoption concerns but also because of logistical ones (like launch delays).

The plan is to have 12,000 LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites providing broadband service. Starlink has FCC approval to launch 4,409 satellites but that approval is contingent on SpaceX launching at least half of those satellites in the next six years. Then the company will have just 3-years to launch the other half. But even if they are successful in meeting those combined 9-year timetables - that still leaves them short about 7,500 satellites from the 12,000 final goal. And a lot can happen with terrestrial broadband in 9+ years.

The launch of the Starlink satellites may be the sexy thing today but I think when history looks back at this week in Musk World it will be the acquisition of Maxwell Technologies that will be considered the big deal. Here's an interesting video outlining 5 reasons why Tesla bought Maxwell. Could lead to a big jump forward for the company.

In other news:

Tesla's dashboard cams save a Model 3 owner from an apparent insurance scam. Meanwhile the Sentry Mode records vandals who unaware they were being recorded who did about $2,000 in damage to another Model 3. Also as a Rick & Morty fan I love the idea of a "Keep Summer Safe" mode.

Tesla is lapping its competitors in battery capacity and in charging time. And this is before the acquisition of Maxwell Technologies!

This Consumer Reports article says, "Tesla Driver in Fatal March Crash Was Using Autopilot, NTSB Says: Car hits side of tractor-trailer at 68 MPH with no sign of stopping." The report also says that autopilot was engaged just 10 seconds prior to the crash and that the accident was caused by the truck changing lanes into the lane occupied by the Tesla. Why is Consumer Reports slanting their coverage in such a negative light? The truck caused the accident. Has Consumer Reports been reduced to click-bait tactics? Sadly the misinformation or negative reporting in the MSM seems to be across the board (I think much of this is due to the fact that Tesla doesn't buy ads like the rest of the major car manufacturers).  But when you hear all that doom and gloom keep this in mind.

Tesla has also dropped the base price of the Model S by $3,000 and the Model X SUV by $2,000 while raising the base price of the Model 3 by $400 to $35,400.

Despite my skepticism I wish SpaceX all the luck in the world with their Thursday launch.

Joe Biden and China

With so many Democrats running for President it is inevitable that some of the candidates at the bottom of the polling will be taking shots at those at the top. And currently the one at the very top is Joe Biden.

You will see references to handsy, creepy Uncle Joe. Many will also be holding their breath waiting for the Biden gaffe machine to kick into high gear. But one issue that might be a better road to taking Biden down is his stance on China.

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va) the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee has no problem saying China is a threat. Joe Biden? Not so much.

China is posturing that they are prepared for a long trade war. But if Joe Biden is forced to change his tune on China because of pressure coming from the Left (Bernie Sanders also sees China as a threat) then that may change the equation. China may be thinking that they may be able to out-wait President Trump but if it looks like Trump will win re-election while the Democrats also agree that China is a threat then it would be in China's best interest to do a trade agreement sooner than later.

The anti-tariff folks say that it is the US consumer that is paying the tariffs not China. And they are right. What they don't include in their argument is the fact that instead of paying higher prices the consumers will soon look for alternatives. We are not talking about life essential products. We are talking about products that could easily be manufactured in Vietnam or some other nation with low labor rates. And once that manufacturing moves from China to another country - it's not coming back.

That's permanent damage to the Chinese economy. Instead of risking that China could instead acknowledge they need to have a fair trade policy with the US including promises to stop stealing IP (Intellectual Property). I think that's the most likely outcome.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- 50 things no man over 40 should own. Good list but do have some minor disagreements like #8, #10 (my wardrobe is at the point where every day is casual Friday and I like it that way), #14 (I have a pair of leather LL Bean sandals that I wear constantly during the summer) and maybe #16 (thinking of getting an American flag one to wear at the beach to make others uncomfortable as a joke). Via Cultural Offering

- Of the 70,083 abortions in Florida in 2018 less than .05% were for incest, rape or the life of the mother being in danger.

- Amelia Earhart on motivation, education and human nature in letters to her mother.

- Heh Heh

- NASA's full Artemis plan revealed: 37 launches and a lunar outpost. The big question is going to be "How are we going to pay for this?" Legitimate question - keep in mind that the Democrats wanted to kill the space shuttle program in 1968 because of the costs. The election of Richard Nixon is what saved it.

- Heh Heh - these are pretty good.

All in the Family (Redux)

So there's going to be a live show of both Norman Lear's All in the Family and also of The Jeffersons.  Count me as being not interested.

There is a version of an All in the Family re-make that I would be interested in seeing. In my version Mike and Gloria stayed together (on the original show they got divorced). Mike Stivic (played by Rob Reiner) became a professor at a local Queens college but he's having issues.

First off Mike and Gloria (played by Sally Struthers) have both now put on so much weight that they need to get around on scooters. Second, Mike's 70's hippy-ethics are no longer in tune with today's woke students and he finds himself getting into trouble at the college for voicing his opinions. Mike can't believe he's getting in hot water simply stating what he believes to be the truth (echoes of Archie). And he's really worried about being fired before his pension kicks in.

Finally, their daughter has grown up to be a Tea Party Republican who supports Trump.

The comedy would basically write itself. That's a remake I'd take the time to watch.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Is this heaven? No it's Stockholm.

- Five reasons capitalist Chile is better than socialist Venezuela. There's a lot more than five reasons but the data here is pretty eye-opening.

- Heh Heh (related from VDH)

- I've gotten so confused about Brexit. Shouldn't England be out of the EU by now?

- Interesting - the Air Force wants a flying taxi to retrieve soldiers trapped behind enemy lines or in bad situation. That's the first step - the second step is to use flying taxi's to ferry robot super soldiers to and from battle.

- These actually fit pretty well

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Technically nobody ended up sitting on the iron throne. Dany touched it but never sat on it. So I wonder how the casinos treat that prop bet. Was there an option that nobody would end up sitting on the iron throne?... This guy is awesome!... Maybe Bernie Sanders is so against millionaire baseball players because A) he doesn't know how the economy works or B) they didn't play baseball in the Soviet Union. Can you imagine how racist he would have come off as if he complained about millionaire NBA players?... Heh Heh... If Mel Gibson announced he was running for President as a Democrat would his antisemitic views now be considered "mainstream" or "progressive"?... Can you imagine the number of wedding proposals this woman received. And the types of tattoos the guys proposing were sporting?... Pretty sure that the Boston sports teams have been conspiring for the past 20-years to murder my liver... 

Socialism

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." - Winston Churchill 1945.

I think nothing illustrates Churchill's quote better than the photo of the Korean peninsula taken from space. Very easy to see which nation is the capitalist one vs the one "enjoying" the fruits of socialism.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

I Am the Highway - Audioslave



Chris Cornell died two years ago yesterday. He is greatly missed.

Books

This article - Books: why the Internet hasn't killed them off left me wondering if people needed it to be explained that books are awesome. That's why the Internet hasn't killed them off.

The article does make the point that the Internet has actually increased the awareness of books and their availability. It doesn't mention Amazon by name but Amazon and the Internet has made access to lots of new and used books easily available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Before the Internet Amazon didn't exist and I did not have a book wish list - now I do. And what's on that list are primarily books I've heard recommended on podcasts or read about in articles or interviews or blog posts. All from the Internet.

I buy at least one book from that Amazon list every 2 weeks. Combined with the books I pick up from used book stores or libraries (who are always selling excess books) - I have stacks of unread books which I try to chip away at best I can.

I also try to unclutter my life by getting rid of one possession a day. That could be a piece of clothing, an old work notebook, an old file that's no longer relevant, something. But that something rarely includes a book. That's the one thing I allow my self to accumulate without guilt.

Because books are awesome.

Currently (Re) Reading

Currently re-reading Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens.

The third time I've read this book (so I guess it's fair to say I've enjoyed it). I wanted to re-familiarize myself with the work before the Amazon Prime mini-series comes out at the end of May.

The 6-episode TV production was helmed by Neil Gaiman himself and I'm really looking forward to it.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Preakness

Strange as it may sound we will probably know the winner of today's Preakness horse race before we "officially" know who won the Kentucky Derby. That's because the owner of Maximum Security has filed a lawsuit to overturn their horse's DQ in the Derby after finishing first.

I feel for those who backed Maximum Security but I'm firmly against turning to the courts to decide what should and always has been decided on the field of play. I feel for fans of the New Orleans Saints but getting the courts to order a replay of the NFC Championship game because of an obviously missed pass interference call by the referees is ridiculous.

In the case of the Kentucky Derby - would backers of Country House be forced to refund their winnings? If they are not forced to return that money - then who pays the backers of Maximum Security? And what about people who have already thrown away their tickets on Maximum Security? How is that resolved? A whole can of worms which should never be opened.

Neither Maximum Security nor Country House are racing today (which I think is BS). A matter such as this could easily be settled on the track or better yet go completely "old school" and let the owners of Maximum Security and Country House resolve the issue with dueling pistols at 20-paces.

As an aside I was told last night a story of a local Mass guy who bet $40 on Country House to win and who ran that ticket 80 times! His take was over $240,000. I'm guessing that guy definitely doesn't want the outcome changed by the courts.

As far as who I'm betting on today - I've learned over the years that if I post my picks they rarely win. I've become a convert to the Al Swearagen dictum that the best way to make God laugh is to announce your plans (or in this case your Preakness picks).

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Recognizing the lies we tell ourselves to help make better decisions.

- Well that explains that

-  Interesting - What to do with Fannie, Freddie. (Via Stephen Landry)

- Why eating processed food might will make you fat. Eat real food!

- Join the resistance!

- Tiger Woods being sued for wrongful death of a bartender who worked at his Florida restaurant. After reading the facts of the case I'm on Team Tiger on this one. I wonder if all the publicity from winning the Masters and this lawsuit contributed to his poor showing at Bethpage Black?

- Welcome to Boston

Friday, May 17, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

So the Boston Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup finals and last night right after the game I checked for ticket prices for Game 1. Tickets start at $549 per with the best seats going for $2,300 each. Guess I'll be watching the finals from a bar (as usual)... I am convinced that Irish Car Bombs were invented by a bartender who hated gullible young people. What a terrible drink choice... Many fingers of blame are being pointed for the disappointing season turned in by the Boston Celtics but lost in many of the discussions is the awful "C us Rise" motto they tried foisting on the fans. Let's hope that motto is tossed into the dustbin of history... "Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds." - Shakespeare... Speaking of lillies that fester - statistically Kyrie Irving had the best season of his career yet the Celtics only finished 4th in the Eastern Conference. Pretty sure Boston could finish 4th (or better) without him. Now firmly in the hope Kyrie packs his bags and leaves camp... You can go to jail for renting a car from Hertz. I crossed them off the list of companies I'll do business with long ago... There are 3-month old babies in New England who have never known the joy of a championship parade. Won't someone please think of the children? Go Bruins!...

Bruins Going to Stanley Cup Finals!



And they have home ice!

Me so happy!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Lilium's Flying Taxi

Lilium, a German company, has an interesting design for a 5-person "flying taxi".

Unlike most of the other flying car designs which look like rotor-based drones on steroids (from the article):
The "Lilium Jet" uses 36 electric powered ducted fans. Inside each, a small rotor ingests air from the front and pushes it out of the rear at higher speeds. They're not technically jet engines (so the aircraft isn't a "jet").
The flying taxi's will start with a live pilot (just in case) but the plan is to be completely remotely operated. The vertical take-off and landing vehicles can fly 186 miles in an hour - roughly the distance from Providence, RI to New York City (normally a 3-5 hour drive depending on traffic).

The vehicle's "shape allows for gliding in the event of a complete power failure, and it will carry a ballistic parachute just in case."

We are on the cusp of a brave new world when it comes to travel - remote controlled air taxis and autonomous Tesla's. 

Inspiration


Confession

This morning's confession is prompted by this post Heights: fear of falling or urge to leap plus a recent conversation with friends.

Let's start with the recent conversation.

Last Saturday I was playing cards with some friends at a bar. I had just returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon and talk turned to the recent people who had died from falling/jumping into the canyon.

I said that I wasn't surprised because some people get the sudden urge to jump just from being so close to the edge. I admitted that I know because I'm one of those people. There were four of us and two of my friends looked at me like I was crazy. "Why would you think like that?" they wanted to know. Before I could answer my friend Brian admitted, "Yeah I'm the same way."

Neither one of us is suicidal but if you put us too close to the edge we think of jumping. Neither one of us suffer from anxiety as that post I linked to would have you believe. Brian has a great life and I'm about as relaxed a person as you'd be likely to meet. Yet both of us feel the urge to leap. Always have.

I remember reading that Winston Churchill admitted that he didn't trust himself on the top decks of navy destroyers and other ships because he'd often get the urge to jump into the sea. I also get that same feeling sometimes when I'm on the top deck of a ferry or cruise ship. (And yes I did just compare myself to Winston Churchill.)

There's probably a reason people like Brian, Winston and myself get these urges to leap but the answer isn't close to what is suggested in the post I linked to. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- This is interesting - nuclear power is the future. No idea of the scale of that product but if small enough it reminds me of Mr. Fusion from Back to the Future

- Jury returns $2 BILLION verdict against Monsanto for couple with cancer who blamed the cancer on Roundup. Will be interesting to see if this verdict survives appeal.

- F. Scott Fitzgerald's list of things to worry about and things not to worry about

- Yesterday was Rob Gronkowski's 30th birthday. The Patriots put together a highlight reel to celebrate.

- Free Solo and Economic Growth. Interesting read.

- China loses more from this trade war. I've long had the same opinion which is why I think we'll see a Trade Agreement within 6 months.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Tuukka Rask is the best goalie in Boston Bruins history. He was a monster with 35 saves last night (too bad the Red Sox couldn't manage a single save)... Interesting - Vlad Jr. breaks Danny Ainge's record for youngest player to hit a HR for the Toronto Blue Jays (people forget how great an athlete Ainge was)... "Either Shit or Get Out of the Kitchen" - Neil Gaiman (or maybe Terry Pratchett) from Good Omens... Am I alone in thinking Attorney General Bill Barr looks like Patton Oswalt's older more responsible brother?... Spherical Bastards would be a good name for a band (bastards no matter what angle you look at them)... Excellent advice... People had a good laugh at Elizabeth Warren's expense last October when she released the findings from her DNA test but that move was correct.  Her (falsely) claiming Native American heritage has pretty much disappeared as a talking point by her opponents. Credit where credit is due. Thought it was a mistake at the time...

Heh Heh


Via

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Boston Celtics Thoughts

The Boston Bruins are just 6 wins away from their 7th Stanley Cup but I can't help stop thinking about the Boston Celtics.

Tonight we'll find out if Boston has 3 or 4 first round picks in the 2019 NBA Draft. And more importantly, where that 3rd and possibly 4th pick would be in the order.

Best case the Celtics will get the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th pick. Worst case they will have two picks in the teens and 2 picks in the 20's (20 and 22 to be exact). As far as worst cases go - many teams would love to have Boston's worst case scenario. Plus there's a lot of time between tonight and the June 20th draft - plenty of time for Danny Ainge to try and work some magic.

Most of the oxygen in any Celtics discussion is still getting used up with the Kyrie Irving will he stay or will he go back and forth. After reading an article like this I honestly am leaning toward the hope he leaves camp.  I do want to stress that the trade for Irving was absolutely worth it. Worst case Boston traded Collin Sexton (the 8th pick in the 2018 draft via New Jersey's pick) for two seasons of Kyrie Irving. Best case Irving stays and combined with Anthony Davis they bring another banner to Boston. I'd do that trade again in a heartbeat.

Even if Irving leaves Boston is still in great shape. Toronto plays Milwaukee for the right to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA finals but once the season ends and Kawhi Leonard leaves as a free agent the team will be left in rebuilding mode. Philadelphia? Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Reddick are all free agents. Chances are they lose at least 1 out of 3 (and maybe all 3). If that happens will the rest of the roster be enticing for another free agent to choose Philly? I'd take Boston's core over Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid every day (even without Kyrie).

However, having said all that, as long as Milwaukee has Giannis they remain the Beast of the East.

This Week in Musk World

Tomorrow is the target date for a Falcon 9 to launch 60 Starlink satellites (the 60 satellite payload is pictured left). To be honest, of all of Elon Musk's projects - this is the one that makes me most skeptical.

Most commercial communication satellites are launched knowing their transponders are 100% sold and as long as the launch is successful a profit is all but guaranteed (and an unsuccessful launch is covered by insurance). Starlink seems to be an "if I build it people will come" project for Musk. Perhaps there's something more going on behind the curtains but like I said - I'm skeptical.

Staying in SpaceX world - there was a problem with a parachute test on Crew Dragon in April. With President Trump adding $1.6 billion to NASA's 2020 budget it looks like issues like this will get magnified (and rightfully so when manned flight is involved). However, the amount of politics involved in any NASA decisions will also get magnified (and not rightfully so).

A cartoonist explains what it's like to own a Tesla Model S. Things like this just expand the legend of Tesla. Can you imagine any better advertising? Not that Tesla uses advertising (which is a whole other can of worms and why I think much of Tesla's coverage in traditional media may be slanted against them).

Meanwhile Tesla battery partner Panasonic debunks rumors about alleged Gigafactory 1 conflicts. There is still excess capacity at Gigafactory 1 for more batteries to serve the North American and European markets. It makes sense business and politically-wise to research a "local" Chinese battery supplier for Gigafactory 3. This seems to be a nothing story rebuttal made necessary by those who would try to find issue with Tesla no matter what.

Interesting Snapshot Analysis of the Economy



Sunday, May 12, 2019

2020 Boston Celtics

What the 2020 Boston Celtics look like is completely down to if Kyrie Irving wants to come back and if the Celtics want him back.

If Kyrie comes back then Danny Ainge has some moves to make. I really hope his first move is to sign Al Horford to a cap-friendly extension. And then maybe do the Anthony Davis trade.

If Kyrie decides to leave then the Celtics pretty much might be bringing back the rest of the roster as is (plus whatever new draft picks come to camp). Boston has no cap space and if Kyrie leaves the Celtis don't have the room to sign a top free agent. So keeping the team as is would have to be the course.

You'd be surprised at how much more popular option B is to many Celtics fans right now. Let Kyrie walk and keep the rest of the guys together. My head says keeping Kyrie is the right move but I'm honestly torn. Though I must say that I'm really fine either way. There's much more important things in life to fret over besides where Kyrie Irving decides to play basketball next year..

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Richard Feynman

Today would have been the great Richard Feynman's 101st birthday.

To honor him you may want to go out and buy his book Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman (one of 10 books Tim Ferriss recommends for every entrepreneur).

Here's a nice appreciation of Feynman written in celebration for what would have been his 100th birthday last year.

If you want to feel a tug at your heartstrings - read Feynman's letter to his wife 16 months after her passing. The last line is pure Feynman.

What "Impossible!" meant to Feynman. This article is well worth your time.

Finally, below please find a short film on Feynman and Curiosity. Reid Gower, the filmmaker, also has one on Feynman and Beauty. As well as one on Feynman and Honors. Bravo Mr. Gower - nicely done.



Advice for Today


Friday, May 10, 2019

Avengers Endgame Issue

OK so many people had an issue with some aspects of the time travel in Avengers Endgame. Not me. I had an issue with the "snap" that brought all the people back but five-years later.

Can you imagine what five-year gap did to a lot of relationships? Sure Hawkeye took out the frustration of losing his wife and kids by mercilessly killing bad guys. But the average guy who lost his wife and kids - he's been online dating for five-years and probably mercilessly having much more sex that he did during his marriage. Does he go back to his old relationship? How does he explain that he now has herpes?

What about the heartbreak of high school relationships? A couple falls in love in high school but one of them gets snapped away. Five years later one of them is probably just about to graduate college when the other is snapped back. Do they get back together? The choice there seems to come down to heartbreak for the returning one or statutory rape charges for the one who remained but is now five-years older.

These are the issues from Avengers Endgame that stick in my head.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- I would so watch a Tormund and Ghost adventure series.

- Broccoli sprout compound may restore brain chemistry imbalance linked to schizophrenia. maybe time to get some sulforaphane extract?

- Heh Heh

- As a Celtics fan the dysfunction of the Lakers does bring me joy. I'm a flawed human - agreed.

- This is so cool

- Super soldier contact lenses - cool

- So the Trump tax cuts brought in about $14 billion in extra tax revenue. Cut taxes and raise tax receipts? Win-win!

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

On the bright side - there no way I can lose any more money betting on the Celtics this NBA season... A cure for Lyme Disease? Faster please... Dunkin Donuts should counteract all the free advertising Starbucks got this week by hiring Tormund Giantsbane as a spokesman... This article gives a good rundown on most of the questions facing the Celtics this offseason... "Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask." - Tim Ferriss... This story is sad and uplifting at the same time. God Bless America indeed!... Thinking of changing my religious affiliation from the Flying Spaghetti Monster (blessed be his noodly appendages) to the Church of Tuukka Rask. Go Bruins!...

Chrysippus

Ancient Greek philosopher Chrysippus died of laughter. He got his donkey drunk and then couldn't stop laughing while watching the donkey trying to eat figs. 

That was the ancient equivalent of watching drunk David Hasselhoff eat a cheeseburger I guess.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains the Big Bang to Adam Carolla

Neil: Once there was a single point in the universe that was unimaginatively small and dense. So dense that all the matter in the universe was contained in that single tiny point.

Adam: Whoa, whoa whoa!  How could it be unimaginatively small if you egg-heads imagined it? Sorry but you can't sneak those things by me because of my hyper-vigilance.

Neil: OK! OK! Now suddenly this incredibly small point explodes. Trillions and trillions of atoms burst forth. Atoms of matter and anti-matter. The atoms of matter and anti-matter annihilate each other. For each 400,000 billion atoms of matter and anti-matter just a single atom survives the annihilation. And those surviving atoms are what end up making up the universe - you, me, the planets, the stars, everything.

Adam: So what you're saying is the Big Bang was like if God farted...

Neil: Dude - what?

Adam: Yeah imagine God's unimaginatively small clenched sphincter. Then suddenly boom! The universe's biggest fart. The air outside annihilates the air from the fart and all that is left over is a tiny bit of fecal matter. You, me, the planets, the stars, everything - we're God's leftover fecal matter.

Neil: Well I guess that's one way to look at it but Adam you know I'm an atheist right?

Adam: Me too - but if you can imagine that other shit why not this?

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- YouTube now has globally 2 billion monthly users, who watch 250 million hours of content daily.

- This is some football royalty - what a great picture

- The Munger operating system: how to live a life that really works. Great life advice.

- Couple of years old but always makes me chuckle.

- Excellent points - the errors I don't see. (Via A Layman's Blog)

- Steven Pressfield - write what you DON'T know

- Heh Heh

This Week in Musk World

SpaceX leads the news in Musk world this week.

Just yesterday morning the Crew Dragon capsule was captured and attached to the International Space Station. This comes after the successful Falcon 9 launch on Saturday.

Meanwhile more information was released on the "anomaly" that cause the destruction of a Crew Dragon craft a couple of weeks ago. This issue is troublesome and will cause delays in manned Crew Dragon missions to the space station until its resolved.

Tesla accounted for 78% of all-electric cars sold in the US in April. Who are these 22% who buy something other than a Tesla when buying an all-electric vehicle?

Tesla looks to raise $2 billion in new capital. This would basically double their current cash reserves. And in an effort to increase solar revenue Tesla will be slashing solar panel pricing to be more competitive. I haven't seen it broken out anywhere but I wonder how much of Tesla's $700 million loss last quarter was due to sluggish solar sales.

Long read about how a lawsuit over a Tesla autopilot fatality is likely to lose in court. And speaking of autonomous vehicles - Tesla's self-driving computer puts it 4-years ahead of the competition.

This is something I've long commented on - Tesla spends $0 on ads, still tops all automakers in organic social media engagement. The flip side of this coin is because Tesla doesn't advertise on traditional media - that traditional media has been quick to post negative stories about Tesla (especially content from those who engage in short-selling the stock). Those analysts and investors who defend Tesla seem to have their voices muted (which probably wouldn't happen if Tesla was buying ads on a network the way Ford or Toyota and the rest do).

Finally the below video of Elon Musk announcing the Tesla robotaxi service is fascinating. One of the details that stunned me a little was that Tesla is designing their cars for 1 million miles of service. This is a huge departure from the traditional gas engine cars where getting 150,000 miles is considered getting a lot out of a vehicle. I drive about 35,000 miles a year and at that rate it would take me just over 28.5 years to get to 1 million miles. Even if I doubled my miles by adding my (fictional) Tesla to the robotaxi fleet - that's still 14-years plus of ownership. This is really changing the paradigm.



Heh Heh


Monday, May 06, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Whenever you're thinking you are too old for a new endevour  remember that famed scuba-diver Jacques Cousteau didn't learn to swim until he was 40-years old... This was one impressive throw!... "I got some new underwear today. Well new to me." - Emo Phillips... This is another example of why Marcus Smart is among the most popular Celtics players. How can you not like Marcus Smart?... A blonde is a blonde, A redhead is a redhead and a brunette is a brunette. But what do you call a woman with black hair? You don't call her a "black head" and you certainly don't call her a "black"... Heh heh - drunk female fruit fly sluts... The JAWS character Captain Quint's name means "fifth" in Latin. In the movie he was the fifth person killed by the shark...

Stanley Cup

Did you know that the Stanley Cup was the result of Arthur and Algy Stanley asking their father, Lord Stanley, for a trophy to award to the champions of the Amateur Hockey Association in Montreal? The silver cup only cost $48.67 and was first awarded in 1893.

The first “Stanley Cup” tournament was held in 1894. Lord Stanley never actually attended any of the Stanley Cup hockey games. 

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Kentucky Derby Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous Kentucky Derby related thoughts and observations.

The New England Patriots were once again well represented at the Kentucky Derby with both the Hall of Fame coach and QB looking spiffy... Richard Nixon remains the only sitting US President to attend the run for the roses. He's alo the only President to meet both Elvis and Robocop... How funny would it be if instead of elaborate hats women (and Johnny Weir) had to wear elaborate fake beards? My mind works differently than most... As far as my bets I did not have either the winner Country House (or the DQ'd winner Maximum Security) in my five-horse trifecta box but I made money on the day because I loaded up on Code of Honor to show. I figured with a sloppy track the experience of jockey Johnny Valazquez  would make a big difference and that Johnny V would find a way to get his horse into the money. I was right.

Game of Thrones (Smooth Jazz) Theme Song



Time to lighten up a bit after last week's "dark' episode.

Ghosts

I've decided that I'm not going to believe in ghosts. Why? Well the reason is pretty simple.

Every kid is taught that ghosts say "boo!" Who decided this? It's become unanimous. According to our culture and accepted norms - ghosts say "boo". But why would your spirit in death be saying something you never said in life? When was the last time you said "boo"? Were you impersonating a ghost?

The only explanation is that nobody has ever spoken with a ghost. And that must be because they don't exist. Logic.

As an aside - I think it would be funny if someone re-cut the movie Ghost so that Patrick Swayze's dialog after he dies is replaced by someone just repeating "boo!" over and over.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- How the news took over reality. Long but interesting read in which the bottom line is step away from your phone and other screens. For your own good - step away from the screens.

- Heh heh - what do we say to Socialism?

- Pat Forde handicaps the Kentucky Derby

- How darts became the second biggest TV sport in England. I'd watch darts all day!

- Is nuclear fusion about to have its 'SpaceX' moment?

- Fascinating look at the recruiting and training of our Special Forces - the Green Berets - the Quiet Professionals.

Life Advice

"A learning experience is one of those things that say, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that." - Douglas Adams
I think living a good life can be boiled down to three simple rules.

1. First simply try to live life by the Golden Rule - treat others as you'd want them to treat you.

2. Try to make good decisions in life. For the most part you know instinctively a good choice from a bad choice. Try to make good choices.

3. You will make some bad choices - it's unavoidable. However when you do - treat your bad choice as a learning experience and take the words of Douglas Adams to heart and try not to make the same mistake twice.

Rinse, lather, repeat. A good life doesn't need to be complicated.

Friday, May 03, 2019

AG Bill Barr and the Mueller Report

Fascinating inside baseball look at "How President Trump's Legal Team Outfoxed [Robert] Mueller."

The article explains why Bill Barr was the only person considered by the Trump Administration for Attorney General. It also gets me a little excited for when AG Barr gets to be the one to ask the questions.

Pat Tillman


Sports Illustrated's cover 15-years ago today.

Where do we find such men?

Thursday, May 02, 2019

8 Factors of Happiness


Great stuff from QAspire.com

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Ultimate Spinach would be a good name for a new cryptocurrency or a new strain of medical marijuana... They don't make athletes like they used to... Do female centaurs wear bras? Now that I've put that image in your head... Kids today don't know some of the simple pleasures in life - like rocking on through to Electric Avenue... They say that Saint Augustine did something very bad as a youth and it was his guilt that turned him to Christianity. There's no way though that what he did was worse than the re-make of Murder on the Orient Express... For the record I did not order the code red. You're goddamn right I didn't... "A million Marines could not take Tawara in a 100-years," a Japanese Admiral shortly before the US Marines took Tawara in three days... According to the Bible, Noah's Ark would have been about half the size of the Titanic. Good thing Noah didn't hit any icebergs...

Avengers Endgame Explained


Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Expectations in Boston are such for the Bruins that any season that ends before the May 5th anniversary of Bobby Orr flying through the air after beating the St Louis Blues in 1970 is deemed a failure... Crossover movie idea - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Infinity Stone... This is 100% true... Is it just me or did the entire national media agree to forget that Senator Dianne Feinstein employed a Chinese spy as her personal driver for years? Seems to me that should have been a bigger story... This is insane! And this zoomable photo is just our galaxy. We are so infinitesimal... "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin... A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you but don't start anything."... 

Deadwood (the Movie)

Alan Sepinwall has a must read article on the upcoming Deadwood HBO movie for any self-respecting Deadwood fan.

The movie is made all the more poignant by the fact that show creator David Milch is suffering from Alzheimer's.

The movie debuts on HBO at the end of May and I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ted Williams

67-years ago today, Ted Williams reported for duty in the Korean War as a Marine Corps fighter pilot.

It would be Williams second tour of military duty after serving his country in WWII as well.

Williams is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Marine Corps Hall of Fame and the Fishing Hall of Fame.

Where do we find such men?

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- When Earth Day predictions go predictably wrong. Even Reason is saying it's time to stop freaking out about the world's imminent demise.

- A reminder from a year ago that the stamina of President Trump is pretty impressive

- 10 Principles to living an "Antifragile" life

- I truly want one of these

- Game of Thrones: Battle of Winterfell. Two military experts explain Jon and Dany's sloppy plan. (Spoilers)

- Wired also has a tactical analysis of the Battle of Winterfell (Spoilers)

- Russ Roberts (tongue in cheek) asks if Bill Belichick is just lucky. Yes this is from 2-years ago but I'm just finding it now.

"A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the true value of life." - Charles Darwin

So very true!


Monday, April 29, 2019

Some Thoughts on China

Before Richard Nixon opened China to the West in 1972 the US's trade with China was less than the US's trade with Honduras. It wasn't just exposure to the West that helped start the economic revolution in China. It was practicality.

And when it comes to practicality it's tough to beat farmers who always seem to have both common sense and courage to do what's right (especially when it comes to their families). It doesn't matter if it's in China or in Plymouth Plantation.

Interesting stats (if correct) - "Top 100 companies by market cap in 2007: Europe 40, US 35 and China 10. Today: US 55, Europe 20, China 10." Seems to be an indictment of the European Union. But if China doesn't have a big percentage of the top market cap companies - how has their growth been accomplished? From small and mid cap companies of course - just like the backbone of the US economy. And speaking of...

The US economy grew a "surprising" 3.2% in Q1. I like to think the growth is due in part to the Trump Administration actively getting rid of unneeded regulations that hamper small and mid-size business.

Now just think on how the US economy will do when the China trade tariff disputes finally get settled.

Top 5 - Observations About the Patriots Draft

Here are my Top 5 thoughts and observations about this past weekend's NFL Draft as it relates to the New England Patriots.

1. Nobody really knows who the "winners and losers" are from the draft and won't know probably for five years. That's how long it takes to see if draft choices actually pan out. (Unless you're the New York Giants then yes you're a loser in this draft. Daniel Jones WTF?)

2. The New England Patriots are pretty unique in that once the players are assembled it is what you do on the field that determines if you play or not - not where you were taken in the draft or how big your contract is. It starts with a sixth round QB unseating the number one pick in the entire draft and extends to the entire roster. That's one of the reasons it appears that the Patriots don't do a great job drafting. If an undrafted free agent performs better than a second round pick then in Foxboro it is the undrafted free-agent that plays.

3. New England didn't draft a tight end but they did take N'Keal Harry with their 1st pick and Harry might have been the best receiver at catching balls in traffic in this year's draft. Catching contested balls was one of Rob Gronkowski's strengths and while Harry doesn't play TE he can possible replace the retired legend on some of those jump balls Brady used to throw Gronk in the corner of the end zone.

4. With the Pats drafting Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham you have to wonder what that means for Danny Etling who was third on the depth chart last season.

5. One of the things that bugged me leading up to the draft was the theme that the Patriots do such a poor job in drafting players that get named to the Pro Bowl. In New England the players don't play for "all-pro" or Pro Bowls. Patriots players play for championships. How has New England done in that regard?

On a local note - Boston College had more players taken in the first three rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft than powerhouse Notre Dame. Just saying.

Heh Heh


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Two Weeks in Musk World

In the past two weeks perhaps the biggest news out of Musk World is the fact that Tesla will be offering car insurance on their vehicles.

Elon Musk is quoted as saying that regulatory approval is "almost there for larger US states." And that it would be "at least" 6-12 months for Europe and the UK. This is genius! Tesla will own the end to end consumer experience for buying (or leasing) the vehicle, charging the batteries at Supercharging stations (or at home with Powerwalls) and also the vehicle insurance. No middlemen. All revenue going to Tesla. And as Warren Buffett showed with Berkshire Hathaway's purchase of Geico - the "float" between the insurance premiums coming in and payments for accidents going out provides a tremendous cash flow for investment. Like I said - genius!

And it doesn't even end there! Three weeks ago Musk announced that Tesla would be creating a fleet fleet of autonomous ride-shire vehicles to compete with companies like Uber and Lyft. Some Tesla enthusiasts may never have to step into another brand of car ever again! And be happy about it!

Being innovative like this is how a car company can go from being less than 3.5% the size of Ford Motors to being valued at more than $8 billion than last century's American icon in less than 10-years.

Of course some may argue that the release of the fully autonomous driving feature was the true big news but that news was expected. Who expected Tesla to announce they will be competing with Geico? Though it must be said that the amount of data that can be collected in just a few seconds by the cars cameras is very impressive. The "from scratch" FSD (Full Self Driving) computer is not just impressive but game changing. Meanwhile:

The Model 3 whipped the BMW M3 in performance testing performed by Top Gear.

Tesla's Gigafactory 3 in China is on track to break China's record for fastest factory build out.

Tesla is also considering constructing a Gigafactory in Germany.

Google Maps will now show if charge stations are in use.

Not all the news was rosy though as Tesla posted a $702 million Q1 loss. Revenue was up $1.1 billion year over year but things aren't always that simple.
 
In Space X news the Crew Dragon had an "anomaly" which is disturbing. The "anomaly" is not expected to cause any delay in Tuesday's International Space Station re-supply mission.

Heh Heh


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Heh Heh

- Ask yourself if you would have been among those that helped. I'd like to think that I would have stepped up.

- The world is literally a greener place than it was 20-years ago - led by (surprise) China and India

- Interesting list - 23 emotions people feel but can't explain. Love to be able to add some of these words to my vocabulary.

- Explain to me again why college sports is tax-exempt. If I were President I would tax all revenue from college sports and use those monies for increased funding for community libraries and the GI Bill.

- Looks like the Space Force is going to become a very real thing

- Speaking of space - the science of "STEVE"

John Havlicek

Celtics legend John Havlicek has passed away at age 79 after a battle with Parkinson's.

I say Celtics legend but I easily could have said NBA legend as he was one of the top 20 players in league history (I would put him about equal to Kobe Bryant). I also could have said Ohio State legend as Hondo was perhaps the greatest athlete that school ever produced (he was drafted both by the Celtics and by the Cleveland Browns as a DB).

Havlicek won 8 NBA Championships (he was 8-0 in the Finals) and an NBA Finals MVP. He made 13 straight All-Star games, was All-NBA First Team four times and second team seven times. Havlicek could easily have played in today's NBA - how many players from the 60's and 70's could you say that about?

He was one of those rare athletes who played his entire career for one team and of whom you never heard a single negative thing said about. Think about it - have you ever heard a single bad thing about John Havlicek? He hustled and worked harder than any player (maybe ever) and was always a gentleman.

The Boston Celtics and the Havlicek family issued a statement on his passing.

Personally this is how I prefer to remember John Havlicek - chilling shirtless in Mexico with Dr. J (the two most popular and respected players from the 1970's).

John Havlicek "He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again."

Happy Boy by the Beat Farmers



Haven't heard this in years. Still always puts a smile on my face.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Avengers Endgame - We Didn't Start the Fire



Avengers Endgame comes out tonight and I hope to have a chance to see it this weekend.

HT Big Stupid Tommy

ANZAC Day



Today is ANZAC Day, the national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, which to me always brings to mind The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (the best version is by The Clancy Brothers sung by Liam Clancy).

Happy April 25th


From the movie Miss Congeniality

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Bill Burr on the NFL Draft



(NSFW) Tomorrow night is the NFL Draft and Bill Burr's the reason I don't watch the draft anymore (some comedy hits close to home).

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Sorry but I can't help but think that Iron Man would make short work of the Night King and the army of the dead. Maybe half-hour worth of work tops... Heh Heh...  Remember when Adam Schefter wrote "Robert Kraft is 'not the biggest name' involved in prostitution bust"? Well Adam we're all still waiting... "If you don't know what your top three priorities are, you don't have priorities." - Donald Rumsfeld... I too would want this as my reading room... Fact of the day - Alaska is so big that t could fit the state if New Jersey into it 75 times... My guess is that the one thing the people on Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2019 all have in common is that none of them subscribe to or read Time Magazine... 

Boston Sports

Two straight years now the Boston Bruins have knocked the Toronto Maple Leafs out of the NHL playoffs with a game seven victory.

This year's game seven win had two interesting wrinkles. David Pastrnak owning Justin Bieber on Twitter and Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy thanking Patriots wide receiver (and Super Bowl MVP) Julian Edelman for chugging a beer to get the crowd going (not that a game seven crowd at the Garden needs any help).

The Bruins victory means the Boston Slam is alive! The potential still exists for Boston to hold the championship in all 4 major sports. The Red Sox and Patriots have done their part and the Celtics and Bruins have just won their playoff series. This is most likely not going to happen but it doesn't diminish the great accomplishment of Boston teams on a streak of winning 8-consecutive playoff 'series'. The last Boston team to lose a playoff series was the Celtics in last year's Eastern Conference Finals vs LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

The Bruins winning the Stanley Cup is not a far-fetched proposition. Boston has the best record of the teams remaining so the Bruins would enjoy home ice in all remaining playoff series. And we saw last night how important home ice can be.

One final thing for the record - Tuukka Rask is the best goalie in Bruins history. He'd be the biggest sports star in so many NHL cities but unfortunately in Boston I think he's vastly underrated.

Next up the Columbus Blue Jackets. Go Bruins!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Alex Trebek is the best.

- After a long winning streak, Netflix's vulnerabilities becoming clearer.

- Why Bob Kraft's ordeal should alarm us all

- Good advice

- You're going to see a lot of stories like this - and not just on Joe Biden.

- I like Tim Apple Cook.

Shakespeare

Today is not just the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth (1564) but also his death (1616). On top of that - today is also Talk Like Shakespeare day. One of my favorite facts about Shakespeare was the fact that perhaps the greatest writer of all-time was married to a woman who could neither read nor write.

21 phrases people use without realizing they are quoting Shakespeare

11 strange Shakespeare adaptations. I'm actually interested in checking out The People vs Friar Laurence.

- 7 of Shakespeare's best dirty jokes

How Shakespeare changed everything

The Shakespeare insult generator

The Big Lebowski written as a work of Shakespeare's