Untangling: What’s Happening in Chicago? How Much Is Violence an Issue?

Hypothesis:

The nicest parts of Chicago (top 10%) are now much nicer, the safer parts much safer. The skills required by media to explain what’s going on are now much greater than what would be needed in the past. These issues combine to make it difficult to decipher what’s happening in the city from afar. Both patterns – the actual events, and the observation of the events, are fracturing – experiencing a fractal as a result of wealth concentration brought on over the past two years.

Background:

“What’s happening in Chicago?” asks a friend over the phone, “I can’t tell.”

On cable news, on television, Chicago is violent. 44 are shot in one weekend. 8 die. (Link to August 2022 news) My friend lives in Los Angeles, his wife is from South America, they travel the world. “The news can’t be trusted to be accurate,” he says, “what did you see when you were there?”

I visited Chicago to see customers in the suburbs in June, at that time nearly 1,000 people had already been shot in 2022 (Link). My hotel was downtown, in The Loop. Violence occurs nearby (2 killed in Downtown violence, Michigan Avenue Crisis Worsens, Gunfire Near ‘Bean’), but I saw none. Chicago is full of tourists. The violence I see on cable news, on television is similar to that seen by my Angelino friend. Cable and television news does not stop tourists. My personal experience and that of the media does not agree.

The violence is real and does not stop tourism. What’s going on?

“I have a theory,” I say, and attempt to overlay how Mandelbrot’s fractals explain the impact of lockdowns and the past three years. He listens and helps formulate this hypothesis.

  1. The nicest 10% of Chicago is much nicer than the bottom 90%. With the concentration of wealth that has occurred, the nicest 10% of that 10% – the 1% – is now even that much nicer than the 10% – 2% of niceness from which it has emerged.
  2. Likewise, safety has stratified. The safest 10% has now been stratified, such that within it, the safest 10%, the overall top 1%, is now much safer – perhaps truly safe. This area includes the wealthiest neighborhoods and tourist areas most of the time.
  3. The nicest neighborhoods in Chicago are the same (link); near North Side, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Old Town, The Loop, Streeterville, Lake View, Wicker Park, River North, Marina City, etc. When the stratification happened, it didn’t knock a neighborhood out wholesale – it created stratification within the neighborhood.
  4. 10% of Gold Coast is even safer than the 90% it as now left behind – the same for Lincoln Park, and all the neighborhoods above, etc. Maybe one building is now much safer than the next. Maybe one floor is safer than another. A fracture has occurred.
  5. How do you know if you’re in the safest part post-fracture? If you have to ask, you are not in it.

Within the nicest and safest parts of Chicago, parts become even nicer, even safer.

Watching cable news, watching television in South America with his wife, my friend sees the same confusing coverage I see in New England because the same stratification has happened to news coverage. The changes from the new stratification to the neighborhoods are too fresh. Media coverage is also stratified, making it less likely for a proper understanding to occur.

In the past, the best 10% of media coverage caught the stratification. Now only the best 10% of the 10% – the 1% – detects the change.

Beforehand, it took the top 10% of media to articulate what was the safest 10% of Chicago:

.10 * .10 = .01

Post fracture, we require the top 10% of the 10% to describe the safest 10% of the 10%:

.10 * .10 * .10 * .10 = .0001

The region of safety decreases from 10% to 1%, making detection more difficult. Because my Angelino friend and I depend on a fallible news media to digest what’s happening, because we’re not locals, the lens used is also lower in quality.

What Would Prove this Wrong?

Crime statistics could show that Chicago is less dangerous, making this whole topic moot.

We could learn that past reporting on crime was no more accurate, making the compounding effect of reporting irrelevant.

If there is a source of information reporting on this accurately – it could be that my Angelino friend and I are the only two people who seem to think violence in Chicago is an issue.

What Would Prove this Right?

If over time, certain areas continued to show less crime – and if those areas were subsets within the previous ‘nice’ areas of no crime. A map would emerge like the illustrations of WW2 airplanes with bullet holes showing what hasn’t been hit.

This could only be proven correct with multiple studies over a long period of time. Socioeconomic and crime data is not quickly gathered.

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Visit New England! 7 Day / 8 Night New England Trip Based out of Church Landing at Mill Falls Resort in Meredith, NH

This is an update of the Visit New Hampshire post, which has led ~50+ to come through since we moved to NH.

Possible Itineraries

  • Boston 2 nights => Meredith 4 nights => Portland 2 nights: 6 hours driving \
    • Detailed day-by-day list of activities for this agenda is below – leave us a note if you’d like similar detail on another agenda
  • Boston 1 night => Meredith 3 nights => Bar Harbor / Acadia 3 nights => Portland 1 night: 11 hours driving
  • Boston 2 nights => Meredith 2 nights => Bar Harbor / Acadia 2 nights => Portland 2 nights: 11 hours
  • Boston 1 night => Meredith 2 nights => Bar Harbor / Acadia 2 nights => Portland 1 night => Portsmouth, NH 1 night: 11 hours

Drive Times

  • Boston to Meredith takes 2 hours
  • Meredith to Portland, ME takes 2 hours
  • Meredith to Bar Harbor / Acadia takes 4.5 hours
  • Bar/Harbor / Acadia to Portland, ME takes 3 hours
  • Portland, ME to Boston takes 2 hours

Saturday

  • Arrive BOS 11 am
  • Stay in Boston
  • Duck Tour (link)
  • Stay in Boston Seaport area – Seaport Hotel

Sunday

  • Library tour (link)
  • Massachusetts State House (link)
  • Faneuil Hall (wikipedia) (National Park Service)
  • Bunker Hill Monument (National Park Service)
  • ‘Freedom Trail’ (link) – this links everything together, you’ll wind up doing most of it
  • Boston Commons – big park in front of the state house – the Duck Tour will take you through it
  • Dinner in North End – lots of good Italian food – Mike’s has really good Cannoli’s
  • Tea Party – not as good as Faneuil, may be more convenient as you walk around
  • Old North Church (link) – 1 if by land, 2 if by sea – the crypt tour tries to be like Europe, but is pretty short and not that impressive.
  • Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA.org)
  • Gardner Museum (link) – great fine art museum that is the home of the original collector, so you get two tours in one – very unique, very impressive

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Hike flume gorge (link)
  • Bretton Woods
  • Breweries in Lincoln, NH
  • Mt Washington to the top (link)
  • Dinner in N Conway area

Thursday

  • Day on a boat – tube, ski, sandbar, swim (link)
  • The Dive
  • Sandbars
  • More efoil?

Friday

Saturday

  • Whale watching

Sunday – Depart Logan 5 pm

  • Stop at LL Bean Flagship store (link)
  • Drive to Logan

Open Questions:

Portland, Maine or Portsmouth, NH?

Answer: Go to Portland if you want to say you’ve been to Maine. Portsmouth feels younger, more up and coming, a little more authentic. Wentworth by the Sea is nice, we prefer it to Inn by the Sea. If it’s up to us, we go to Portsmouth. Both have lots of local breweries, slightly more in Portland.

Is Acadia wort the effort?

Yes, if you like hiking, and if you are ready for a ‘visiting a national park in peak season’ experience. It can be almost as busy as the Grand Canyon given it is the only park in the Northeast and it is very nice. We’ve stayed at The Harborside Hotel before, it’s nice. Many hotels will have minimum stays. It can feel like Cape Cod with specialty local hotels – but there are chains in Bar Harbor like Hilton Make sure to schedule a bike tour, use an ebike if you can – the park is known for its great network of gravel trails.

What about Vermont?

Vermont is beautiful, Lake Champlain is nice, it is great for new skiing options in the winter. Also, there is a Ben and Jerry’s in Meredith, which is pretty much the same experience. If you need to go, to say you’ve been, it’s 1 hour from Meredith and there are nice spots just past Dartmouth.

What else could you do?

There are lots of other options – Cape Cod, the islands including Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard – but from our perspective the Newport Rhode Island area (link), with the gilded age homes and nice beaches is a great visit. The Breakers was the beach home for the family that built the Biltmore Estate. We often visited it as a day trip, because like Cape Cod, it can be tough to find the right hotels.

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Covid Hysteria: A Snapshot

Red States Are Winning the Post-Pandemic Economy (wsj) July 6, 2022

Harmatology (link)

why public health “experts” never want to fight “the amateurs” (gatomalo) June 2, 2022

The Lies & Hypocrisy Are Getting Worse (IanMiller) June 28, 2022

Revenge of the Locked-Down Voters (wsj) June 22, 2022

One may admit that the first months with the mysterious Covid-19 virus were a time of generalized panic, and governments defaulted to the epidemiologists’ standard fix of social quarantining. But then leadership essentially let the public-health bureaucracies take over their countries’ economic life.

Unvaccinated workers are heading back to the office. It’s going to be awkward (Toronto Sun) June 19, 2022

Bundestag Expert Committee Draft Report Finds No Evidence That Lockdowns Did Anything (Eugyppius) June 8, 2022

This is more evidence that the report is trying to drive a stake through the heart of the lockdown regime. In addition to relying on modellers and avoiding international comparisons, the lockdowners like to elide the crucial distinction between mitigation and containment. Mitigation measures to “slow the spread,” including temporary regional closures, are categorically not the same as “broad restrictions on contact and movement” like lockdowns, border closures and mandatory quarantines of the healthy. Mitigation is when your schools close; containment is when your kids can’t play with their friends. Thus the WHO report, which Berndt misrepresents, says that “Contact tracing,” “quarantine of exposed individuals,” “entry and exit screening” and “border closure” are “not recommended in any circumstances” (p. 3) – to say nothing of lockdowns.

Pharma chief caught with fake covid passport (Link)

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Supply Chain and Manufacturing in the News: May 2022 – Baby Formula, Food Supply Chains, Chinese Lockdowns, and American Semiconductor Production

Baby Formula Shortage Could Persist Until July: FDA Commissioner (ZeroHedge) May 27, 2022

Abbott said the plant is due to resume production on June 4, but previously noted it would take six to eight weeks for the products to arrive in stores. The company said it would prioritize supplying its specialty formula EleCare on or about June 20.

TSMC And Intel Are In A Mad Dash To Hire Semiconductor Technicians For Their New Plants In Arizona (ZeroHedge) May 27, 2022

Over 6,000 workers are currently on site trying to get the facility up and running by its targeted 2024 timeline, the report says. While it was tough to find construction workers, finding the skilled technicians necessary to work at a chip plant is proving even tougher.

Rash of parts thefts is leaving Freightliner trucks inoperable (FreightWaves) May 23, 2022

A Class 8 truck has about 17 chip sets controlling everything from power windows to safety systems.

FDA Chief: COVID, Mail Mix-up Delayed Action on Baby Formula (NewsMax) May 25, 2022

Califf is also facing questions about why his agency didn’t anticipate the shortage, given that Abbott’s plant supplies roughly one-sixth of the U.S. formula supply. FDA regulators did not contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture about impacts to the formula supply until Feb. 11. Califf’s testimony states that his agency does not have the “authority, resources, or dedicated staff” to track supply chain disruptions. He asked lawmakers for new powers and resources to monitor the information.

The China evac – Companies finally want to leave. But can they afford to? (Noah Smith) May 26, 2022

For years, people have been predicting a multinational corporate exodus from China. Rising labor costseroded the country’s advantage as a platform for cheap low-end manufacturing. The Chinese government regularly appropriated foreign companies’ technology and gave it to domestic champions.

Supply Chain Diversification in Asia: Quitting China Is Hard (Macro Polo) March 31, 2022

Short of unpredictable cataclysmic events, supply chain composition in the foreseeable future isn’t likely to deviate from the observed trend, with China remaining by far the “factory of the world” when it comes to consumer electronics production.

The Smile Curve predicts supply chain value and has changed little globally over 20 years

Ideas to boost Japanese growth (Part 1) (Substack) May 25, 2022

A good initial goal would be to raise exports from 15% of GDP to 20% of GDP.

Snap Plunges, And There Goes Social Media’s Online Ad Biz (WSJ) May 25, 2022

Snap’s shares closed down 43% Tuesday following Monday’s disclosures. Facebook parent Meta Platforms sank 7% Tuesday on the news, while shares of Pinterest fell 23%. Shares of Google parent Alphabetand Twitter fell 5%. Even Amazon, which only recently began disclosing the size of an online-ad business that now generates nearly $33 billion in annual revenue, saw its shares slip 3% following Snap’s warning.

Bullwhip Effect Ends With A Bang: Why Prices Are About To Fall Off A Cliff (ZeroHedge)

Templeman’s conclusion was accurate: “As inventory levels have fallen to multi-decade lows at retailers, there are likely many businesses that will not have enough inventory to satisfy customers as economies recover and pent-up demand is unleashed. This is particularly the case as retailers are far more reliant on just-in-time supply chains than they were in decades past.”

Chinese Regime Locks Down Mega Port City of 14 Million Under ‘Zero-COVID’ Policy (Epoch Times) May 23, 2022

Tianjin is one of China’s four cities that are directly controlled by the central government, and a major port city in the north. The authorities announced on May 19 that they would implement a closed “static management” policy for the population of nearly 14 million, restricting the free movement of people and vehicles.

PHOTOS: Mexico’s Shelves are Stocked with Baby Formula amid U.S. Shortage (Breitbart) May 18, 2022

Within the past week, the FDA announced that it would ease regulations to allow for the importation of formula. Experts cautioned that shelves would not be stocked with the imported goods for more weeks to come, however.

1/2 of America Could Experience Blackouts this Sunmer (ZeroHedge)

Across the Western US, power generation capacity has declined 2.3% since last summer, even as demand is expected to increase.

The Coming Food Catastrophe (Economist) May 19

…emerging economies spend 25% of their budgets on food—and in sub-Saharan Africa as much as 40%. In Egypt bread provides 30% of all calories.

Shanghai Ports Reopen (SCMP)

Supply chains are never returning to ‘normal’ (Freightwaves)

There is a conflict between environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals and supply chains optimized for cost and speed. If we prioritize ESG, we will need to contend with supply chain risks

Emergent Hid Evidence of Covid Vaccine Problems at Plant, Report Says (MSN) May 11, 2022

nearly 400 million doses of coronavirus vaccine manufactured by Emergent had to be destroyed “due to poor quality control,” including about 240 million doses in late 2020 and early 2021. Previous estimates of lost vaccine were far lower; no contaminated doses were ever released to the public.

Charlie Munger Is Right: China Is Making The U.S. “Look Foolish” On Bitcoin (QTR) May 11, 2022

China could be making an exceptionally prescient move: sidestepping a coming global economic crash that could happen at the hands of the crypto market, which earlier this year was worth more than $2 trillion.

Rivian Doesn’t Need Cash Like Many Other EV Start-Ups. Why the Stock Is Tanking. (Barron’s) May 9, 2022

One reason Lordstown needs more capital is that sales didn’t come in as fast as expected. The company’s initial projections called for $1.7 billion in 2022 sales. The actual sales figure is likely to be about $25 million, according to Wall Street estimates.

Opinion: The baby formula shortage is an outrage. A sane country would fix it. (WaPo) May 11, 2022

In 2008, three companies made 98 percent of the formula Americans bought; Abbott alone accounted for 43 percent of the market.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 84 percent of babies are breastfed at some point in their lives. But almost three-quarters of U.S. infants will eat some formulaby the time they’re 6 months old.

“The nationwide baby formula shortage is getting worse” (CBS) May 6, 2022

“Anatomy of the American baby formula shortage” (link) May, 2022

Logistics Firm Loses $40 million in Hack (@aaronandml)

Is the Shanghai Shutdown Stopping China’s Property Market? (@ChinaPropFocus)

US supply chain pressures ease as transportation capacity grows (freightwaves)

California’s Population Shrinks by over 100k (link)

California lost 117,552 people in 2021, putting its population to 39,185,605, the California Department of Finance said. That’s still the largest state population in the country ahead of second-place Texas.

But after years of steady population growth for California that put it close to having 40 million residents, the state’s population is back to where it was in 2016.

Long Term Impact of Lockdowns (NBER)

We estimate the size of the COVID-19-related unemployment shock to be between 2 and 5 times larger than the typical unemployment shock, depending on race and gender, resulting in a significant increase in mortality rates and drop in life expectancy. We also predict that the shock will disproportionately affect African-Americans and women, over a short horizon, while the effects for white men will unfold over longer horizons. These figures translate in more than 0.8 million additional deaths over the next 15 years.

May 2, 2022: “US Manufacturing Slows Further in April” (newsmax)

U.S. manufacturing activity slowed for a second straight month in April, but supply bottlenecks appeared to be easing, with the pace of increase in prices for inputs and the backlog of unfinished work at factories moderating.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Monday that its index of national factory activity fell to a reading of 55.4 last month from 57.1 in March.

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Supply Chain & Manufacturing Stories in the News: March – April 2022

In nearly 25 years of working in manufacturing with global supply chains, the business and financial coverage of the industry feels like it has really grown. Here are some articles that had good detail and insight:

Can the World Feed Itself? Historic Fertilizer Crunch Threatens Food Security (Bloomberg)

Intel Says to Expect Chip Delays Through 2024 (Daily Wire)

Can the US Navy Keep Ships “Rust-Free”? (Link)

Boeing Finds Dreamliner Flaws Everytime it Looks (WSJ no paywall)

Is Manganese the EV Answer? (IEEE)

How Many EVs Can Be Made? 3.8 mm < 1/2 of the 2022 Target (The Electric)

The Great Resignation Impacts Supply Chains by Impacting Talent (Industry Standard – No Paywall)

Food Supply Chain: Marmite in Short Supply in South Africa (The Economist – No Paywall)

Shanghai Shipping Container Jam (link)

Samsung’s Chip Struggles are Driven by Culture (link)

The World’s Largest Port is Closing (Armstrong)

Baby Formula Shortage Leads to Rationing (WSJ)

Los Angeles port hits records (freightwaves)

Europe’s Chip Plans (link)

Driver Shortages Explained (link)

Are China Port Closures to Blame for Continued Supply Chain Disruption? (link) (from @cmroberson06)

Top Supply Chain Stocks (link)

Warehouses and Ports by NPR (link) shared by Twitter

Why are US and European Semi Tractors Different? (Link)

Ford Bronco Delays (Link)

3M Slows Semiconductor PFAS Production (eetimes)

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Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan: Page by Page, Chapter by Chapter Summary and Review – The Very First Billionaire Space Race

Kurt Vonnegut (wikipedia) published The Sirens of Titan in 1959 (wikipedia),it was nominated for Science Fiction’s Hugo Award in 1960. At 326 pages, it is his second book and is perceived as one of his best.

Book Summary:

An alien, Salo, stranded in Earth’s solar system manipulates humanity over eons to produce and deliver a much needed spare part. We learn of the plot through the eyes of Malachi Constant / Unk, who appears to be manipulated by Winston Niles Rumfoord, who himself is manipulated by Salo, who is a machine that lacks free will. Malachi and Winston are in a love triangle with Beatrice, who has a son with Malachi / Unk while they are with the Martian army; Rumfoord creates the army and has it launch a failed invasion of Earth to spawn a religion with Malachi / Unk as its failed mesiah. Malachi/Unk and his family are exiled to Titan, where they serve to deliver the needed part to Salo. Beatrice and Rumfoord die on Titan, where they are surrounded by statues – including three that are the eponymous ‘Sirens of Titan.’

Themes of the Book – Deep Ideas

Vonnegut, in his second published work, is not shy about going after big topics and big ideas. The book touches on all of the following concepts:

  • Free will
  • Mind control – Direct, memory wiping
  • Manipulation of the masses – creation of a new religion (page 176)
  • Sacrifice for the greater good – Mars’s military is created to make a better religion on Earth
  • Profiteering – deliberate and through willful ignorance (page 176)
  • Friendship – the nature of it; as told between Boaz and Unk / Malachi – a false friendship, and Unk / Malachi with Stony – a real friendship
  • Creation of a New Religion
  • The Nature of God
  • The Nature of Luck
  • Parenthood – in the relationship between Chrono and Unk
  • Profiteering from religion
  • The role of good luck charms – Chrono’s good luck piece
  • Sexuality, purity, chastity, rape and relationships with Bee / Beatrice and the love (really abuse) triangle between her, Winston Niles Rumfoord and Malachi / Unk.

Malachi Constant visits the estate of Beatrice Rumfoord, whose husband is billionaire Winston Niles Rumfoord (“WNR”). During an adventure in space WNR passed through a a chronosynclastic infundibulum (“CSI”), which causes him to appear at the estate on regular intervals. Constant meets with WNR during one of his apparitions, where WNR tells Constant what will become of him – another aspect of the CSI is that WNR knows the future.

Best Writing:

“The bounties of space, of infinite outwardness were three: empty heroics, low comedy, and pointless death.” Page 2

Constant flees the meeting in a helicopter and retreats to his home where he parties to forget the experience. Rumfoord appears to Beatrice when she is broke. Constant also loses his fortune. When WNR appears to Beatrice, who protests that she doesn’t like her lack of autonomy and free will, that he too is a pawn being used in a larger game.

Favorite Sentence and Writing:

“The million-year period to which the burned junk related would be summed up in history books in one sentence, according to Koradubian: Following the death of Jesus Christ, there was a period of readjustment that lasted for approximately one million years.”

Vonnegut’s Sirens of Titan: Pg 46 The false story of Koradubian’s account of the meeting between him and WN Rumfoord’s apparition.

Malachi Constant learns that his business is bankrupt, reads a letter from his deceased father written in case this should happen, and signs up to join the Martian Army, which has engineered this situation. The same Martian spies are with Beatrice Rumfoord disguised as business advisers when we see The Whale, rechristened the Rumfoord, take off.

Favorite Writing:

“Nobody thinks or notices anything as long as his luck is good. Why should he?”

Noel Constant to his son Malachi via Letter – Page 89 of The Sirens of Titan

This chapter is the best fiction writing about the dangers of propaganda, brainwashing, censorship, and centralized control. A man wordlessly strangles another in front of a crowd of ten thousand, unable to communicate, unable to object, and unable to think for himself.

Chapter 4 Summary

  • Unk, a 40 year old Martian soldier, is ordered to strangle a man to death in front of his battalion of 10,000 fellow soldiers.
  • Unk strangles the man, whose dying words are about a blue stone, because he – like all of the soldiers, is under mine control from radio antennas.
  • In addition to the mind control, soldiers are sent to the hospital for brainwashing – where Unk was told he is best soldier in his unit, despite the fact that his superior, Brackman, believes him to be the unit “f-ckup.”

Best writing:

“An observer would have been at a loss to who was really in charge, since even the generals moved like marionettes, keeping time to the idiotic words:” Page 104

Unk, the soldier from Chapter 4, meets his friend Boaz, who does not appear to be a good friend, and is apparently secretly in charge of the mind radios and Unk’s entire battalion. Unk finds the letter – written to Unk by someone cataloging their knowledge of Mars, while being subject to frequent mind wipes – which tells Unk about the mind control, the invasion plans, his best friend Stony Stephenson, that he has a partner, Bee, and son, Chrono, and that he should not trust Boaz. The letter was written by Unk before his mind wipe. After reading the letter, Unk learns the assault on Earth has begun.

This section is an epistolary, that refers back to the title of the chapter.

That is the first thing I know for sure: (1.) If the questions don’t make sense, neither will the answers.

Page 124 – The Letter

Unk deserts the army, and finds his son, Chrono – who has no connection to him – Chrono goes back to his game of German Batball. Next Unk finds Bee, who has a job teaching soldiers how to breathe in a vacuum, she hides Unk with a new group of trainees as his pursuers find them. Unk comes to in a spaceship with Winston Niles Rumfoord, who tells him that Bee is Beatrice Rumfoord, and that Unk – as Malachi Constant before his memory wipes – had raped her, fathering Chrono, during his trip to Mars. After his assault, he fell in love with her, and they spent their time on Mars getting their memories wiped in attempts to connect.

Examples of great writing in Chapter 6:

“Salo, Rumfoord’s crony on Titan, was a messenger from another galaxy who was forced down on Titan by the failure of a part in his space ship’s power plant.” Page 138 – Salo has a Martian month named after him, he has been waiting for 200,000 years for the part.

“The history of the good-luck piece was this:” Page 143

“There was a rebus of her name on her sweatshirt.” Page 151, wouldn’t a rebus of her name – Bee – simply be a bee? Vonnegut wrote a joke for me.

“The recruiters have a saying about a male recruit like that – that he has named his balls Deimos and Phobus,” said Rumfoord, “Deimos and Phobus being the two moons of Mars.” Page 161

“She’d been married for several years before she got to Mars,” said Rumfoord. “But when the hot-shot lieutenant got to her there in the space ship bound for Mars, she was still a virgin.”

“Pretty good joke on her husband, eh, Unk?” he said. – Page 166

Chapter 7: Victory (Page 167 – 186) (Vonnegut Sirens, Ch 7)

The Martian Army’s invasion is inept, and they are defeated by the overwhelming violence and arsenal of the Earthlings. The reader learns more of the origins of the war, how Winston Niles Rumfoord financed it with his butler, Moncrief, and how the Tralfamadorean Salo gave him the designs for spaceships and half of his Universal Will to Become to power them. Rumfoord uses Earthling guilt at the force of their victory to create a new religion, The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent. Unk destroys Boaz’s mind control device after they are stranded on Mars, and Bee and Chrono are stranded in the Amazon – some of the few survivors of the botched invasion.

Best writing in Chapter 7:

“Winston Niles Rumfoord chose 75,000 words so well for his Pocket History of Mars that nothing remains to be said, or to be said better, about the war between Earth and Mars.” Page 167

“Earth thought otherwise.” Page 170

“A single, badly scorched man named Krishna Garu attacked all of India with a double-barreled shotgun.” Page 171

“As he says in his Pocket History of Mars: “Any man who would change the World in a significant way must have showmanship, a genial willingness to shed other people’s blood, and a plausible new religion to introduce during the brief period of repentance and horror that usually follows bloodshed.” – page 176

“Last night, while you were asleep, old buddy, I took that fool thing out of your pocket, old buddy, and I opened it up, old buddy, and I tore the insides out of it, old buddy, and I stuffed it with toilet paper.” Page 180 – Unk informs Boaz that his mind control device will no longer work on him, mockingly using his same style of diction.

Chapter 8: In a Hollywood Night Club (Page 187 – 198) (Sirens Ch 8)

The poor design of the Martian space ship auto-pilot traps Unk and Boaz deep in a cave on Mercury, where they cannot escape. The creatures of Mercury, known as Harmonium, spell out the words “It’s an intelligence test!” with their shimmering bodies.

Top quotes from Chapter 8:

“They have only two possible messages. The first is an automatic response to the second, and the second is an automatic response to the first.” Page 189

“Not believing it was the thing that saved them from panic.” Page 195

Chapter 9: A Puzzle Solved (Page 199 – 217) (Sirens Ch 9)

Over three years, Unk searches for a way out of the caves of Mercury, climbing higher and higher – returning to the spaceship less and less. Boaz becomes a friend and overseer to the harmonium, playing them music and even having some live on him. One day, the harmonium on a wall have the answer to the puzzle spelled out, “Turn the ship upside down.” Boaz decides to stay with the harmonium on Mercury.

One new theme explored is whether or not Boaz is doing anything positive for a creature with no intelligence, or is he anthropomorphizing the experience of the harmonium for his own benefit.

Best writing and quotes:

“Don’t truth me,” said Boaz in his thoughts, “and I won’t truth you.” Page 205, Boaz on recalling Unk’s murder of Stony Stevenson.

“Boaz had invented the plea, and its meaning was this: Unk was to stop telling Boaz truths about the harmoniums, because Boaz loved the harmoniums, and because Boaz was nice enough not to bring up truths that would make Unk unhappy.” Page 206

Chapter 10 Plot Summary:

Unk lands on Earth, where he lands on Cape Cod. He is escorted to Newport, where the Rumfoord home is now a religious compound where survivors of the Martian invasion – the former invaders – work at concession stands supporting the prophecies of WNR when he appears to the crowd. Survivors include Beatrice and Chrono, Unk’s wife and son.

Favorite Writing or Sentence:

“He was filled with the heedless, tender violence of a man who has had his lifetime cruelly wasted.” Page 220 – Unk, landed on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA at age 43, having fled his banishment to Mercury.

Chapter 11: We Hate Malachi Constant Because… (Page 256 – 269) (Sirens Ch 11)

Unk / Malachi Constant / The Space Wanderer is led in to the outdoor worship area constructed by Rumfoord, where he is sentenced to exile on Titan with his wife, Bee, and son, Chrono. Unk briefly thought he had a future on Earth and he yearns for his friend Sonny, who he learns he killed.

Favorite writing examples:

“Tell me one good thing you ever did in your life – what you can remember of it.” Page 263

“His poor soul was flooded with pleasure as he realized that one friend was all that a man needed in order to be well-supplied with friendship.” – Page 264

“Feel more like a vitally-interested participant now, Mr. Constant?” called Rumfoord. Page 265

Chapter 12: The Gentleman from Tralfamadore (Page 270 – 307) (Sirens Chapter 12)

On Titan, Salo and Winston Niles Rumfoord await the arrival of Unk/Malachi, Bee and Chrono; Chrono carries the needed part in the form of his good luck piece. Humanity’s history was secretly guided to deliver the spare part, Salo is worried that WNR will find this out and be upset. WNR dies before Salo is able to divulge the secret message he is to carry for another 17 million years, his death drives Salo mad and he destroys himself.

Favorite writing from Chapter 12:

“The atmosphere of Titan is like the atmosphere outside the door of an Earthling bakery on a spring morning.” – Page 270

“Salo was punctual – that is, he lived one moment at a time – and he liked to tell Rumfoord that he would rather see the wonderful colors at the far ends of the spectrum than either the past or the future.” – Page 273

“The name of his home planet was Tralfamadore, which old Salo once translated for Rumfoord as meaning both all of us and the number 541.” – Page 273

“Civilizations would start to bloom on Earth, and the participants would start to build tremendous structures that were obviously to be messages in Tralfamadorian – and then the civilizations would poop out without having finished the messages.” Page 278

“The Pocket History of Mars,” said Rumfoord, “makes no mention of the fact that I have been powerfully influenced by forces emanating from the planet Tralfamadore.” – Page 293

“Against all orders from Tralfamadore,” said Winston Niles Rumfoord, “against all your instincts as a machine, but in the name of our friendship, Salo, I want you to pen the message and read it to me now.” – Page 293

“As far as I’m concerned,” said Constant, “the Universe is a junk yard, with everything in it overpriced.” – Page 295

Everything that every Earthling has ever done has been warped by creatures on a planet one-hundred-and-fifty thousand light years away. The name of the planet is Tralfamadore.” – Page 302, Rumfoord’s admission

“Sooner or later, Chrono believed, the magical forces of the Universe would put everything back together again.
They always did.” – Page 307

Epilogue: Reunion with Stony (Page 308 – 326) (Sirens Epilogue)

Beatrice dies on Titan at age 74, Constant buries her and Chrono mourns her loss with a flock of Titanic bluebirds. Salo surprises Constant, who thought his repairs had not worked. Salo offers to take Chrono and Unk to Earth, Unk accepts. Unk is dropped off at a bus station in Indiana, where he dies. In Unk’s final visions – induced by Salo’s hypnosis – Stony Stephenson appears in a starship to reunite Unk with Beatrice in paradise.

Favorite writing of the Epilogue:

“There isn’t much more to tell.” – Page 308

She was probably a little crazy. On a moon with only two other people on it, she was writing a book called The True Purpose of Life in the Solar System. It was a refutation of Rumfoord’s notion that the purpose of human life in the Solar System was to get a grounded messenger from Tralfamadore on his way home again.” – Page 314

“Anyone who has traveled this far on a fool’s errand,” said Salo, “has no choice but to uphold the honor of fools by completing the errand.” – Page 320

“I would say, ‘Is there anything I can do?’ – but Skip once told me that was the most hateful and stupid expression in the English language.” – Page 320

“You are tired, so very tired, Space Wanderer, Malachi, Unk,” said Salo. – Page 322, Salo hypnotizes Unk.

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Peloton’s 20 Minute Beginner Core Classes Helped Alleviate Hip Pain and Improved Mobility

In November of 2019 I was told I’d need surgery to alleviate pain in my left hip. With the world shutting down thereafter, I focused on exercise and conditioning to remove pain by doing every five minute Peloton core class. Then I did all of the ten minute Peloton core classes.

Then I moved on to the twenty minute classes, when I had a realization.

What I should have done first was the 20 minute ‘Beginner’ classes first:

  • The coaches spend a lot of time introducing the movements and how they scale.
  • There is more time to warm up and prepare.
  • After doing these courses, it is easy to go back and knock out the five minute courses on a daily basis.
  • Here’s an earlier post where I discussed my approach – “getting to ab-box zero

If you’re making the commitment to improve core strength, I also highly recommend:

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Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan: Page by Page, Chapter by Chapter Review: Epilogue: Reunion with Stony

Beatrice dies on Titan at age 74, Constant buries her and Chrono mourns her loss with a flock of Titanic bluebirds. Salo surprises Constant, who thought his repairs had not worked. Salo offers to take Chrono and Unk to Earth, Unk accepts. Unk is dropped off at a bus station in Indiana, where he dies. In Unk’s final visions – induced by Salo’s hypnosis – Stony Stephenson appears in a starship to reunite Unk with Beatrice in paradise.

Themes

  • The nature of sanity – Beatrice writes her book, which she knows is absurd.
  • The nature of free will – humanity existed to serve Tralfamadore.
  • The nature of reality – with Salo’s hypnotism of Unk.
  • Life after death – again, Salo’s hypnotism of Unk.

Plot Summary of the Epilogue of the Sirens of Titan

  • “There isn’t much more to tell.” – Page 308
  • The three live out their lives on Titan; the good luck part appears to fit, but with Salo no longer alive, there is no one to fly his complicated spaceship.
  • Bee and Malachi don’t want to return to Earth, but they want Chrono to be able to do so – he has slowly gone mad integrating his life into those of the Titanic Bluebirds.
  • After burying Beatrice, Constant finds Salo alive. Chrono and a flock of Titanic bluebirds mourn his mother. Salo will deliver his useless message and offers to give him and Chrono a ride to Earth.
  • Constant asks Salo to take him to Indiana, where he is left at a bus stop in the snow and dies.
  • The book closes with Stony appeared in a starship to take Unk to Paradise, where Beatrice awaits, because “Salo had hypnotized him so that he would imagine, as he died, that he saw his best and only friend, Stony Stevenson.” – Page 325

Begin – Page 308

“Only the Titanic bluebirds know for sure what happened, finally, to Chrono, their son.” – Page 308, Beatrice and Malachi live to the age of 74 on Titan and die within a day of each other.

Break 1 – Page 308

“The good-luck piece conformed to close tolerances and surrounding clearances in a way that would have pleased a swiss machinist.” – Page 309

Break 2 – Page 309

“By the time Constant was seventy-four, however, getting young Chrono back to Earth was no longer a pressing problem.” – Page 310

“The cries were for nothing and nobody on Titan.”
“They were for Phoebe, a passing moon.” – Page 310, Chrono’s life from age 17 onwards was with the Titanic bluebirds.

“Chrono made hundreds of these shrines.” – Page 311

“Tidying up the shrines was as close, spiritually, as Constant could get to his son.” – Page 311

“Constant may have thought his god or gods were doing it.” – Page 312

“At least,” she would say, “he isn’t a mama’s boy. And at least he had the greatness of soul to join the noblest, most beautiful creatures in sight.” – Page 312

Break 3 – Page 313

“Beatrice had plenty to eat and drink, and always would have.” – Page 313

“Beatrice did no cleaning, so Constant got rid of the worst of the refuse whenever he paid her a visit.” – Page 314

Break 4 – Page 314

“She was probably a little crazy. On a moon with only two other people on it, she was writing a book called The True Purpose of Life in the Solar System. It was a refutation of Rumfoord’s notion that the purpose of human life in the Solar System was to get a grounded messenger from Tralfamadore on his way home again.” – Page 314

“Worked into the tufts of the bedspread was the message, God does not care.” – Page 315 – Their clothes are formed from remnants of the palace, the palace was furnished with goods from the church.

“Ever since Constant had taken over maintenance of the pool, the algae had been building up.” – Page 315; while Beatrice talks about humanity’s free will, the absence of Salo leads to decay of the property.

“The pool’s bottoms and sides were lined with a blanket of viscid slime, and the three statues in the middle, the three Sirens of Titan, were under a mucilaginous hump.” – Page 316

“The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody,” she said, “would be to not be used for anything by anybody.” – Beatrice on Page 317

“She could eat with one hand and write with the other – and, more than anything else in life, she wanted to get everything written down.” – Page 317

Break 5 – Page 318

“Thank you, Mother and Father,” he shouted, “for the gift of life. Good-by” – Chrono’s farewell amongst the Titanic bluebirds after Malachi buries Beatrice. – Page 318

Break 6 – Page 319

“You did it right,” said Salo. “I just couldn’t make up my mind whether or not I wanted to peep.” – Page 319, Chrono finds that their attempts to repair Salo were successful.

“Anyone who has traveled this far on a fool’s errand,” said Salo, “has no choice but to uphold the honor of fools by completing the errand.” – Page 320

“I would say, ‘Is there anything I can do?’ – but Skip once told me that was the most hateful and stupid expression in the English language.” – Page 320

“It took us that long to realize that a purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” – Page 320

Break 7 – Page 320

“Salo wanted to let him off by a shuffleboard court in St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.A., but Constant, after the fashion of old men, could not be shaken from his first decision.” – Page 321

“The kind of people who’ll hang a white man for murdering an Indian – ” said Constant, “that’s the kind of people for me.” – Page 321, Constant on why he wants to go to Indiana.

“You are tired, so very tired, Space Wanderer, Malachi, Unk,” said Salo. – Page 322, Salo hypnotizes Unk.

“He pressed a bright red button.” – Page 323 – Salo’s ship is similar to those of the Martians.

Break 8 – Page 323

“Good luck,” whispered Salo.
“We don’t say that down here,” whispered Constant. – Page 324

Break 9 – Page 325

“Salo had hypnotized him so that he would imagine, as he died, that he saw his best and only friend, Stony Stevenson.” – Page 325

“Everybody’s happy there forever,” said Stony, “or as long as the bloody Universe holds together.” – Page 326

End – Page 326

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Supply Chain in the News: January 19, 2022

Today’s US supply chain issues result from the combination of; (1) outsourcing of US manufacturing to lower cost parts of the world which then require shipping, and (2) the impact of different global strategies around the pandemic. Pandemic restrictions impact labor availability, which impacts throughput for raw material producers and shippers. Perishable products don’t get to market. Durable goods get stuck in transit. Consumer tastes shifted as a result of different global public health policies for the pandemic – these changes could be absorbed were it not for the ripple that those same changes created on the labor market, which constrained downstream activities.

Top Stories

  • The Intel Split (Jan 18, 2022) @Stratechery, because it covers how the semiconductor industry roadmap drove capital expenditures, which drove business models, which drives today’s constraints.
  • Shipping Companies Had a $150 Billion Year. Economists Warn They’re Also Stoking Inflation – January 18, 2022 (Bloomberg, @markets) – by (@lauren_etter) & (@b_muzz) because it links individual companies, specific changes in pricing, and growing inflation.

Stories, Narratives, Imagery, Tropes & More

  • Empty store shelves – especially grocery stores. On a personal note, I was in a pharmacy with many empty shelves this week, mostly CPG.
  • The images of the area surrounding the looted Los Angeles container trains are very strong.
  • Lots of tie in to climate and sustainability issues.
  • For US readers, lots of talk about how spending initiatives can address supply chain issues.
  • As always, lots of cargo container pictures! Read The Box by Marc Levinson.

Themes About ‘Supply Chain’

Top hits in Google (1.9 Bn hits):

  • New York Times: Supply Chain Woes Could Worsen as China Imposes New Covid Lockdowns (link) January 16, 2022. “At least 20 million people, or about 1.5 percent of China’s population, are in lockdown, mostly in the city of Xi’an in western China and in Henan Province in north-central China.”
  • Shipping Companies Had a $150 Billion Year. Economists Warn They’re Also Stoking Inflation – January 18, 2022 (Bloomberg) – written by Lauren Etter (@lauren_etter) & Brendan Murray (@b_muzz)
    • “The spot rate for a 40-foot container to the U.S. from Asia topped $20,000 last year, including surcharges and premiums, up from less than $2,000 a few years ago, and was recently hovering near $14,000.”
    • “The largest, Mediterranean Shipping Co., is a closely held company based in Switzerland that is controlled by Italy’s powerful Aponte family.”
    • “A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s second-largest container carrier, was on track for an annual profit last year that would match or surpass its combined results from the past nine years.”
  • From Yahoo! Finance on YouTube – “Grocery shortages abound amid supply chain issues and Omicron” (link) – The interview is with an IBM employee – IBM Global MD of Consumer Industries.
    • Target’s CEO claims, “people will make fewer grocery trips, order out less, eat out less.”
    • Retailers will pursue a ‘hybrid model’ of delivery – pick up at the store, delivery, etc. Of course, there is an IBM product line that will help with this – demand sensing, AI, ML, etc.
    • Albertson’s CEO expects issues to continue for 4 – 6 weeks. “Shopping tastes shift from week to week to month to month. Look for products that people can stock up on.”
  • Seattle Startups may benefit from Supply Chain Woes (link) – This article also covers the US funding of port infrastructure covered in the local news article below.
  • LA freight train looting ‘out of control’ as thieves worsen supply chain bottlenecks (link).
  • Local news from Indiana: Army Corps of Engineers gets $14B to help ease supply chains (link). These funds go mostly to ports and harbors:
    • $858 million to replace locks on the Ohio River
    • $470 million for a new lock in Michigan
    • $8 million spent on navigation that will allow larger and more ships to pass at the Port of Long Beach
    • $69 million to expand its capacity, after handling 67% more shipping containers in 2021 than it did 10 years ago – Norfolk, VA.

Themes About ‘Manufacturing’

Top hits in Google (1.8 Bn hits total) include:

  • FT article on how ‘NetZero’ energy goals will impact heavy industry. Personally, I view this as a costing issue – if services and support are fully accounted for, NetZero appears to be an inevitable outcome. The Manufacturer trade magazine has an article along these lines for the textile industry.
  • VW and Bosch collaborating on standards for battery production. “In Europe alone, various companies plan to build cell factories with a total yearly capacity of around 700 gigawatt-hours by 2030.”
  • Top Trade Magazines; The Manufacturer, Manufacturing Global (whose header currently focuses on BlockChain), and Quality Mag.

The top seven YouTube videos for manufacturing (420k – 85k views) are all ‘how to’ and educational videos – none are specific to new issues in manufacturing. The first of those shows up in spot #8, and covers three minutes on an Indian capacitor, battery, and cleantech start-up. The #10 spot is an MSNBC video that covers how ‘Workers are Leaving Manufacturing Jobs at Record Numbers.’ The MSNBC article was mostly an interview with a Washington Post reporter who cites increased pay in warehouse and supply chain jobs, an inability to do remote work in manufacturing, and increased covid risk due to the in person nature of manufacturing.

From the

Washington Post columnist Heather Long and Detroit Free Press business reporter Adrienne Roberts join Stephanie Ruhle to discuss their reporting on how the manufacturing industry has changed during the pandemic and why workers are quitting their jobs at record rates.

MSNBC

Questions this leads me to ask:

  • How do those numbers compare to resignations in other industries?
  • How does it compare to the past?
  • How do these numbers compare globally?

Best Strategic Article

Stratechery on Intel.

  • Wafer fabs are enormously expensive – TSMC is looking to spend nearly $45 billion in 2022, a 50% increase from last year. This makes the US press on ports – $14 billion, seem miniscule.
  • TSMC makes chips – integrated circuits (“ICs”) for anybody, not just for internal consumption.
  • Intel remained vertically integrated, and when the CapEx for fabs grew higher, which drives manufacturers to focus on utilization, they lost out to the foundry business model by definition.
  • Stratechery covers this in detail, including how Intel’s decisions led it to the current position.

Best Non-Traditional Source

Zero Hedge – Experts Are Warning That Empty Shelves And Food Shortages Are Going To Continue For Many Weeks To Come (link).

  • This was originally written by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse.
  • “Social media is rife with images of empty supermarket aisles and signs explaining the lack of available food and other items.”
  • From one CEO, “We typically will ship, East Coast to West Coast – we used to do it for about $7,000,” he said. “Today it’s somewhere between $18,000 and $22,000.”
  • “Birds Eye frozen vegetables maker Conagra Brands’ CEO Sean Connolly told investors last week that supplies from its U.S. plants could be constrained for at least the next month due to Omicron-related absences.”
  • “The consumer-packaged goods industry is missing around 120,000 workers out of which only 1,500 jobs were added last month…”
  • The big take-away from this article; “The elephant in the room that nobody really wants to talk about is the fact that our supply chains will never fully return to the way they were in 2019.”
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The Easiest Way to hit Inbox Zero for Peloton Ab Classes

The easiest way to hit ‘Inbox Zero‘ for the Peloton ab classes is to start by knocking out the ‘Beginner’ level courses at the 20 minute classes. These are great because they introduce all of the movements and show scaling for everything. As of 1/15 there are nine such classes.

A Gym Mat Makes This Easier

To Find these Classes

  • Under Strength classes
  • Sort by time = 20 minutes
  • Sort by easiest, or sort by ‘Beginner’ level
  • Here’s a link to all the exercises in these nine classes (Google Sheet), an image is listed below

What Next?

  • After that, pursue all of the 5 minute or 10 minute courses
  • Do one every day, or do as many as you can
  • Try to knock out a whole category
  • You’ll do so with a good set of fundamentals based on those 20 minute courses

All Current Classes

  • 5 minutes: 110 classes – There are 110 five minute Ab classes right now.
  • 10 minutes: 291 classes
  • 15 minutes: 51 classes
  • 20 minutes: 139 classes
  • 30 minutes: 11 classes
  • 45 minutes: Zero (no ideas please, Chase Tucker)
Starting with the easiest 20 minute ab classes makes life easy.

Since November of 2021, Peloton has removed nearly ten hours of Ab programming, the bulk of it coming from the removal of 244 five minute classes. With this challenge – that’s not your problem. Your goal is to do all of the classes in a category, that’s it.

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