Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Media bubble is real.

A new study today reveals that yes, the US national media lives in their own special cone of silence, devoid of input from outside itself. Journalists think they are fair, balanced and generally doing a great job.

As we know, no one else thinks that.

To say there's a disconnect between many journalists and the public they serve is a gross understatement, according to a new in-depth survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. 

Per Pew, 65 percent of the nearly 12,000 journalists surveyed say the media do a solid job of "covering the most important stories of the day" and reporting news accurately. But a solid majority of the American public at large has the opposite view, with just 35 percent feeling the same way. That's a 30-point perception gap. 

When asked if journalists perform well when "serving as a watchdog over elected leaders," 52 percent of journalists agreed. But the number dropped precipitously again when the general public was asked, with less than 3 in 10 agreeing with the assessment. 

When asked if journalists manage and correct misinformation consistently, 43 percent of those in the industry said yes, while just 25 percent of the general public agreed. 

Quite apart from anything else, this is a catastrophe for the media in general. They literally have no idea who their audience is or what those people need or want. So, big brains, why is  this happening?

So why the disconnect? Perhaps it's like the old saying about the key to good real estate: Location, location location. Most of the national media are located in two places: New York City and Washington, D.C. 

In the 2020 election, just 9 percent of Manhattan voters voted for Donald Trump. In D.C., the Trump support was just 5.4 percent, underscoring that those who live in or near these cities exist in overwhelmingly liberal silos. It's only human nature that a journalist's perception of issues will generally conform to the places and people with whom he works and lives.

Longtime newsman Bob Schieffer dove into this subject a few years back, explaining just how insulated journalists have become.

"In 2004, one reporter in eight lived in New York, Washington, or Los Angeles," Schieffer notes in his must-read book "Overload: Finding the Truth in Today's Deluge of News." "That number is now down to one-in-five who live in those three places."

The article goes on to talk about the death of local newspapers and television, leaving people stuck with the NY/DC/LA news drip. Which leads to local corruption of course, because nobody but a paid journalist would be interested in wading through the megatons of bullshit in local politics to find the guys with the sticky fingers, stealing wholesale from the public purse.

Essentially the cannibalization and centralization of the national media in the USA is complete. All of them that matter work out of New York and Los Angeles, they keep a dreary outpost in Washington DC so they can report on the eye-catching antics of the President and the big cheeses of Congress and the Senate. That's about it.

Now, in Canada this dynamic has been going since roughly the 1980s to my eye. If it didn't happen in Toronto or Ottawa, it pretty much didn't happen. Outside chance to hear about it from Vancouver, Montreal, maaaaybe Calgary/Edmonton/Winnipeg. (To the Canadian media those are all one city, by the way. They think of it the same as Toronto/Mississauga/Oakville. Despite the thousand mile distances between them. To the media, Saskatchewan does not exist.) The "national" newspapers are both 100% based in Toronto, and report basically on Toronto.

This concentration has become so pronounced that the Federal government was able to essentially -buy- the Canadian media for $600 million bucks a couple of years ago. They didn't call it that of course, this was a "subsidy" to get "select media companies" through "tough economic times." But, since 2019 it has been pretty tough to find inconvenient coverage of the Liberal Party of Canada. Easy to find it in the European media though, they've been calling the Shiny Pony a dictator.

The bad part of this media bubble is that stuff like the Uvalde, Texas shooting situation occurs. I use this as an example of really quite amazing incompetence in local government. Their incompetence started with the police department letting 21 people die (and the more comes out about this atrocity the more we know that they fucking well let it happen) but the freight train of Fail keeps on going, as the middle management minions hurry and scurry to cover up their misdeeds, mistakes and outright sabotage by all pointing fingers at each other as hard as they can.
The people of Uvalde Texas showed up armed and dangerous to the event, and in one case went in and rescued their kids themselves when the cops wouldn't do it. So I very much think that those people did not vote for this shit. It all happened behind closed doors and in smoke-filled rooms with ideologues and corrupt assholes horse trading among themselves.

In Canada the best example of no media oversight is windmills. They're everywhere. They are the most visible taxpayer fleecing scam in this country, and nobody in the media will ever talk about it.

The good part is that this monoculture is self-correcting. As Netflix just found out, being the biggest guy on the top of the hill just means you have the most to lose. Netflix is the biggest in streaming, and they are bleeding customers this year in a huge way. This is happening, again, because all the people who work for Netflix live in New York City and Los Angeles. All the people who make content for Netflix live in NY and LA. All the people who buy foreign content for Netflix live in NY and LA. They are in the bubble. The AUDIENCE, the people who actually pay for all this, do not all live in NY/LA. They do not share cultural values with NY/LA. And therefore they are quitting Netflix. Because what rational human pays for a streaming service where there is nothing that they want to watch?

Thus the good part, if you can call it that, is that the NY/LA Axis of Media can and will go out of business if they keep ignoring their audience. Netflix did an emergency U-turn in May by firing a bunch of Wokester employees, but given their inventory is All-Woke-All-The-Time they are going to have to scramble for content their audience likes. I doubt they can do it.

This is very much the case in Canada as well. Without that federal "subsidy," most media in Canada would be going out of business right now.

Something foreigners would not necessarily appreciate or know about Canadians is that we all hate Toronto. You ask any random person in Canada on any street corner outside the 416 area code how they feel about Toronto, you will hear some bad words. Fuck Toronto. Toronto sucks. Toronto steals all our money. You'd have to be crazy to live in Toronto. Etc.

Canadians do not want to hear about Toronto. They will not pay for media content and news that talks about Toronto. Where is ALL the frigging media in Canada? Toronto. Therefore they are doomed to bankruptcy. Government can prop them up for a while, but eventually the Toronto-centric Liberal Party of Canada will be forced out of office by the rest of the country.

Podcaster Joe Rogan slammed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his recent comments that Canadians do not have the right to own a firearm for self-defense. 

On last Tuesday's episode of 'The Joe Rogan Experience,' Rogan played a clip of Trudeau's appearance on the podcast 'Pod Save the World,' during an interview with his guest and gun rights activist Colion Noir. 

'He said you don't have the right in Canada to own a gun to protect your life. It is one of the most wild things I've ever seen anybody say, because first of all, I don't believe it's true,' Rogan said on his show. 'I don't believe he is correct in terms of what — what do they have up there? They don't have a constitution. It's not the same, whatever it is.'

In the podcast clip that aired on June 8, Trudeau said Canadians were only able to obtain firearms for hunting and sports shooting, and that people in his country who want a gun for self-protection do not have that right.

The Prime Minister of Canada came right out and said that Canadians do NOT have the right to own a firearm for self defense. Where do we hear about it? From Joe Rogan, an American, and the article is in the Daily Mail, a British newspaper.
What did we hear about it in Canada? A quick DuckDuckGo search reveals that ZERO Canadian media outlets carried that tidbit. We heard nothing from them. Crickets. Coincidence? I think not.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Moores Law at work.

 Randomly, from Slashdot today, a story about running Doom on a chip out of an LED lightbulb.

The system runs a downsized version of Doom that requires less RAM. The chip from the Ikea lamp has enough processing power to play the game at 35 frames per second over a cheap 160-by-128-pixel display.



Remember when Doom was used as a benchmark so you could brag how awesome your PC was? Now it can run on part of a lightbulb that costs $15 at Ikea.

Kinda makes me wonder what else an enterprising lad could fit in a cheap lightbulb. Microphone? Camera? Internet connection via Ethernet over powerline?

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Why do Greenies always lie about solar power?

Today's Greenie Lie comes to us from Slashdot, where a  large number of people who ought to know better are having a rapture about solar power in Australia.

Dr. Saul Griffith, the author of "Electrify" and the founder and chief scientist of Rewiring America, Rewiring Australia and Otherlab, writes in a column: I recently moved back here to my home country partly because I believe Australians can show the world how much money households can save through simple climate solutions like rooftop solar. How is it that Australia, a country that historically has been a coal-burning climate pariah, is leading the world on solar? The four-bedroom house we recently bought provides a hint: It came with two rooftop solar systems of 11 kilowatts of combined capacity and a battery with 16 kilowatt-hours of storage. This system should produce more than enough to power my family's home, one electric car and both of our electric bikes with some left over to send back to the grid. Solar is now so prevalent in Australia that over a quarter of households here have rooftop panels, compared with roughly 2.5 percent of American households.

Oh? How interesting. Say on, Dr. Griffith.

Why has America been significantly slower to adopt this solution to high energy costs? The failures are mostly regulatory: local building codes and zoning laws, state rules that govern the grid connection and liability issues. Permitting can take as little as a day in Australia and is done over the web; in the United States permitting and connecting to the grid can take as long as six months. Many customers just give up. America also generally requires a metal conduit around the wiring; in Australia, the connections can be less expensive soft cables, similar to extension cords.

Well, no. Not really.  That business about the "less expensive soft cables similar to extension cords" thing really brings it home. In the USA and Canada, you can't have a multi-kilowatt solar system on a roof without conduit for the wiring. The reason is simple: snow. Also rain, hail, lighting, birds, mice, raccoons, all sorts of things which will make the insulation fail and cause a fire.

I'm not talking about a little puff of smoke here, this is a burn-your-house-down sort of fire. Little known fact, solar panels do not have an "off" switch. If light is hitting them, they are making power. You short them out, they just keep going. 11 kilowatts is going to make for a hell of a fire. I don't want that on my roof in Canada unless the wiring is running through a hefty conduit. So yes, putting that stuff up there is going to cost you and batteries are expensive.

The grid connection is the real issue. The cost of the system is too high to pay out if you can't sell power to the grid. Is there a way to connect millions of small solar generators in a grid that maintains an even voltage and amperage with low line-noise?

Here in Ontario, 15 years ago or so the McGuinty Liberal government offered to pay ~$0.50 per kilowatt hour for solar generated electricity. Lots of farmers and people with big roofs jumped at that and hurried to install solar panels. This was at the same time that the government was busy erecting huge windmills all over Southern Ontario. (I can see one of the damn things from my kitchen window, idle about half the time.) They also de-commissioned and demolished the Nanticoke coal-fired generation station on Lake Erie. (You never saw government contractors move so fast in your life.)

Well, there was a problem with all that. The problem is that the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow all the time. You have night, you have clouds, and you have calm days. Solar power supplies fluctuate from zero to max output every morning and night. They have an output drop with every cloud. Windmills are the same. Lots of power and then very little, unpredictably, all the time.

Electric power grids don't work like that. There is a very smooth and constant power supply from generation stations, and there is a similarly smooth and constant load from all the houses and businesses connected to it. The load increases and decreases in a predictable way. This can be summarized in one notion: no sudden movements.

Wind and solar are nothing but sudden movements. In principle, you can't just attach a solar generator to the power grid. It will melt the power lines every morning, because sunrise dumped 11 kilowatts-per-household into the already fully-supplied grid. Wires can only take so much electricity before they get hot. If they get hot enough they melt. That's how welding works.

Well, how did the McGuinty Liberals (and the sexy librarian Wynne Liberals) solve this problem? The solution was ingenius, my friends. They just didn't connect the windmills and solar panels to the grid. Ontario Hydro had a "permitting process" which did not begin until you already bought and installed your solar panels. Basically they didn't tell you if you could be connected to the grid or not until after you spent $100k on a system. Then the permit process worked away until after the provincial election, and they told you no. Lots of farmers got screwed. Big time.

The big, giant windmills stood and turned for years before any of them were hooked up. Even then, most of the power was sold to the Americans at a huge loss. Nine billion bucks as of 2014 and still counting They could save a fortune by unplugging those windmills and selling them for scrap.

Did the Ontario Liberal Party know this? Yes, they absolutely did. Every power engineer at Ontario Hydro told them exactly what was going to happen. It wasn't going to work. They did it anyway. For votes and money, one supposes. The long term results so far  are A) manufacturing businesses have fled Ontario, B) we have the most expensive electric power in North America, C) lots of hooked-up Friends of the McGuinty Regime made absurd, obscene amounts of money on this scam and D) the Ontario Liberal Party is no longer a party with standing in the provincial parliament. They have seven (7) seats. Too bad we couldn't have turfed them -before- they fucked over the grid, eh?

And that's the real, actual reason why there are no solar panels on houses in the USA and Canada. They don't pay. Simple as that.

If you live on an island far from electric grid power, then they're feasible. For grid connected houses? Nope. Well, not unless your local grid is so unstable that you have blackouts all the time. Then it might be worth it to add a diesel or propane generator, because it will most definitely be cheaper/easier/better than screwing around with solar panels and batteries.

Given that, why do people like Dr. Saul Griffith keep on lying about it? Probably money, would be my guess. Or possibly they're just stupid. Greenies generally are, in my experience. The type of people who think if you just wish hard enough your wish will come true, and Santa will bring you a pony.

Wish harder, Dr. Griffith.