Category Archives: Other Stuff

Bankruptcy

bankruptcy

The town of Paradise, CA being engulfed by fire

Funny that I just wrote about visiting the epicenter of the Camp Fire, the most destructive wildfire in California history, and all the news today in Northern California is about the impending announcement of declaring bankruptcy by the utility that covers most of Northern California, PG & E (Pacific Gas and Electric).

“Under California law, utilities are exposed to liability from wildfires regardless of their negligence.” 

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More than Puzzle Solving

I have always believed that the world has had very few true geniuses. My definition of a genius has been one who changes the world in a fundamental way, often against the thinking of the society at the time.

Sir Isaac Newton. For his laws of motion. Albert Einstein, of course.  Wolfgang Mozart, who started composing at age 5, and whose compositions are still enjoyed over 200 years later.

There is a component of perseverance and lots of work to change the world. I read somewhere that Thomas Edison tried 1,000 different ways to make the incandescent light bulb until hitting the right formula.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Great accomplishments depend not so much on ingenuity as on hard work. This is a saying of the American inventor Thomas Edison.”

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Energy Independence

Energy Independence

The 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo

For the last 50 years, we have had an unhealthy dependence for oil on the Middle East. Sometimes our interests have aligned, other times not. Countries act from their own interests.

In 1973, OPEC – the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries – had simply decided to not sell us oil, and we had a huge dependency on them *. I was trying to find the percentage and could not readily find it, although 40%  seems to come to mind.

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Environmentalists vs Environment?

EnvironmentalistVsEnvironment

While my town is not in danger from what has become California’s most destructive  wildfire (I am about 100 miles south), we have felt the effects. So far, just for the Camp Fire up north 63 have died, with more than 600 unaccounted for. As far as property damage, as of this writing 11,682 structures (including homes) have been destroyed. It is, I believe, California’s most destructive wildfire.

The smoke is pervasive, looking like a morning fog that is starting to lift. Visibility today was hampered with 1/2 mile visibility on the freeway I was using.

The effects are even felt in one’s home, with some coughing and burning eyes.

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What’s Your Consumer Score?

No, I’m not talking about your credit score.

Years ago, 46 to be exact, I found myself one early morning at the draft reception station in Oakland, CA. Even though Vietnam was winding down, there was a Marine LT there. There were times when people would be drafted for either the Army or Marines – they would count off by 2. (During WW2 they would go into any of the services)

Anyway, the Marine LT told us about the “10% Rule”.

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Making It Cheaper

Last evening, I had yet another small revelation about something that had a rock-solid reputation for years. I blame MBAs and conglomerates.

I’ve had a 22 year old Mercedes-Benz SL500 for the last 5 years – and have put 70,000 miles on it in the interim. Only the last few years I had been plagued by a rattle that was driving me nuts (is there any other kind?) . At slower speeds it  sounded like metal clanking on metal, and just to show you how in our diagnosis (of anything really) we can get tunnel vision, and not look for anything “outside the box”, I “assumed” all this time it was a loose heat shield either lining the engine or exhaust system.

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One Reason The Internet Is A Hoot

I have mentioned others, but this evening I am watching a new series (for me) called Lilyhammer. It is a Norwegian production that Netflix has. It’s about an American mobster who, in exchange for testimony, is in the witness protection program and his choice of venue was….Lillehammer, Norway.(update: Norwegian spelling)

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