Tuesday, February 18, 2020

So what does your "smart" car do when it can't get on the 'net?

Rental car won't start because renter drove it to a park in the boondocks.  Rental agency recommends she sleep in the car and see if it starts in the morning:
Over the weekend, a trip to the Californian boonies by Guardian journalist Kari Paul turned into a cautionary tale about the perils of the connected car and the Internet of Things. Paul had rented a car through a local car-sharing service called GIG Car Share, which offers a fleet of hybrid Toyota Priuses and electric Chevrolet Bolt EVs in the Bay Area and Sacramento, with plans to spend the weekend in a more rural part of the state about three hours north of Oakland. But on Sunday, she was left stranded on an unpaved road when the car's telematics system lost its cell signal. Without being able to call home, the rented Prius refused to move.
But I'm sure that the software in autonomous cars will be able to anticipate problems like this and figure out a way around it.  Suuuuuuure.

Young scientists better not step out of line

Ten years ago I posted this, which looked at the dark underbelly of how the "Scientific Consensus" is enforced.  Sadly nothing has changed in the past decade, except the public has shoveled $30B down the rathole of the scientific establishment.  The only thing I'd change since then is that I said this was "probably" the greatest scientific scandal of all time.  I think that we can now strike that "probably" - this is definitely the greatest scientific scandal of all time.

Originally posted 18 February 2010.

"Nice career you have here. It'd be a shame if anything happened to it."

Someone left an anonymous comment to my post about Global Warming and the canals of Mars. I'm reproducing it here in full:
I am a scientist, in the alternative energy field. Every conference I go to, people are afraid to speak about AGW - except in their papers and presentations, which invariably use AGW as justification for their research.

Nobody believes in it, everybody knows it's a lie, but that's where all the money is coming from. If a scientist publishes a paper that doesn't affirm AGW, not only is that paper less likely to get published but any other future papers are in question as well. And he can forget about grants, forever.

Who controls the textbooks owns the next generation, and who controls the science funding gets to dictate what "science" says. 
I don't find this at all surprising. While you usually have to take anonymous comments with a grain of salt, if the commenter actually is a scientist, he (or she) certainly would have strong motivation to remain anonymous. Consider:

It's widely discussed that climate scientists are nervous about being seen to stray off the :consensus" reservation. I posted about that six months ago:
You can almost smell the fear - the article discusses a series of climate changes over the centuries (not a surprise to either of my regular readers), strongly correlated with changes in Solar activity. But the author feels the need to add a non sequitur about Carbon Dioxide. E pur si muove, indeed.
As to the funding, there's a lot of it, so long as you toe the line. As I said in Make Big Money Doing Climate Change Research From Home:
Well, I don't know about the "work from home" part, and whether you need to stuff envelopes, but the money's sweet: $79B since 1989, just from the US Fed.Gov. Add in the fellow traveler Euro.Govs and you've maybe doubled that.
As to the peer-review process and the motivation to keep the "doubter" bullseye off your career, we've seen example after example of subversion of peer-review in the ClimateGate emails. This one is particularly interesting, from a very prominent scientist (who presumably has little to fear, as he is retired):
Thanks for the extensive and detailed e-mail. This is terrible but not surprising. Obviously I do not know what gives with these guys. However, I have my own suspicions and hypothesis. I dont think they are scientifically inadequate or stupid. I think they are dishonest and members of a club that has much to gain by practicing and perpetuating global warming scare tactics. That is not to say that global warming is not occurring to some extent since it would be even without CO2 emissions. The CO2 emissions only accelerate the warming and there are other factors controlling climate. As a result, the entire process may be going slower than the powers that be would like. Hence, (I postulate) the global warming contingent has substantial motivation to be dishonest or seriously biased, and to be loyal to their equally dishonest club members. Among the motivations are increased and continued grant funding, university advancement, job advancement, profits and payoffs from carbon control advocates such as Gore, being in the limelight, and other motivating factors I am too inexperienced to identify.
As the Mythbusters would say, Anonymous' comment sure is plausible - each of his points is confirmed by independent data. And data from a two-bit blogger like me - imagine what you could find in a well funded and strongly motivated investigation from, say, the National Science Foundation.

But we won't see one, will we? And that is what's at the heart of the issue now - the public distrusts the scientific community on Climate Change. Not only does this issue poll very poorly, but there's a political revolt in progress against the policy agenda that uses Climate Change as its justification:
AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline)-The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency relied on flawed data to issue its endangerment finding that greenhouse gases pose a public health risk, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said Wednesday.

In a lawsuit against the federal government, the Republican attorney general said that the Lone Star State's economy could be harmed as the result of the EPA's finding, issued in December.
And while we can thank the Lone Star state for leading the way, other, lesser states look like they're falling in line, too:
The federal government's ruling that greenhouse gases are a public health threat is based on erroneous science that will destroy jobs, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said Wednesday.

Speaking at an afternoon press conference in Richmond, Cuccinelli said the Environmental Protection Agency is relying on "unreliable, unverifiable and doctored" science in its bid to regulate greenhouse gases.

He was referring to the work of the International Panel on Climate Change, which shared a Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore in 2007 for linking greenhouse gases to global warming. The IPCC came under fire last year, however, after irregularities and errors were found in its reports.
"Irregularities"? Boy, howdy - it's much, much more than that.

Quite frankly, the public should feel skeptical. Not only do we see repeated mistakes that a High School student knows not to make (I'm looking at youIPCC AR4!), not only do scientists refuse to release their data even under Freedom of Information Act requests, not only have the scientists (repeatedly) lost the data.

Most significantly, anyone who questions the "consensus" is not met with reasoned, scientific arguments.  Shut Up, they suggested.  Hey you Denier, get off my lawn! The public is right to smell a rat.

I believe that this is probably the greatest scientific scandal of all time. An entire field has probably been subverted by a political agenda backed by crates of Government funding, to produce spurious theories and results in support of the agenda. It's Lysenko on steroids, and if the scientific community doesn't come clean on this, then the relationship between the community and the public will never be the same.

Those on the left like to say that it's Republicans who are a threat to science, with creationism and stem cell research*. They should look at the polls, about how the public does not believe the reported "science" by a huge margin (more people believe in UFOs than in Man-made Global Warming). Then they should look in a mirror.

Yeah, I'm more than a little steamed about this.

Thank you, anonymous, for giving us the view from inside the House Of Mirrors.

* Yes, yes, I know that it's not this simple: embryonic vs. mature cell lines, yadda yadda.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Christopher Lee's Special Forces career

I was attached to the SAS from time to time but we are forbidden – former, present, or future – to discuss any specific operations. Let's just say I was in Special Forces and leave it at that. People can read in to that what they like.
- Christopher Lee, 2011 interview in London Daily Telegraph
I have posted before about how Sir Christopher was a total badass and the real Most Interesting Man In The World.  I just stumbled across this interview from Belgian TV where they located an impossible to find special forces unit patch, which they presented to him on camera.  It's quite a moment, with Sir Christopher expressing how grateful he was in that manner that shows what a Gentleman used to be in an older and more vigorous age.  Bravo to the Belgian Television channel for making that happen.

And more vigorous it was indeed.  He talks about his time in Popski's Private Army (for American readers of a certain age, think Rat Patrol).  It's said that their Jeeps are the only wheeled vehicles that ever drove in Venice's St. Mark's Square.  When I said Lee as a badass, I hadn't quite realized just how badass he really was.  In reality, when Christopher Lee spoke, Chuck Norris got quiet and listened.  Here is a short list of Lee's badassitude:

  • His mother was an Italian Countess whose family got its coat of arms from Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.  He died in the Second Crusade around 1100 A.D.  One of her great great uncles was a Cardinal and was buried in the Pantheon in Rome right next to Raphael.  A painting of the Cardinal hangs in Windsor Castle.
  • He was engaged to a woman who was Swedish nobility, and had to ask the King of Sweden for permission to marry her.  Permission was granted but the wedding did not go through for other reasons.
  • He witnessed the last public execution by guillotine in Paris.
  • He served with the Gurkhas of the 8th Indian Army Division at the battle of Monte Cassino.  
  • He was cousin to Ian Flemming, author of the James Bond novels.  Flemming tried to get him cast as Dr. No but the role was already filled.  Lee had to wait until Man With The Golden Gun to play a Bond villain.  Interestingly, in the novel the villain was basically a thug; Lee played him as the dark opposite of Bond.
  • He was in over 200 films, not counting dozens of TV appearances.
  • When he was filming The Lord Of The Rings, director Peter Jackson told him that he wanted Lee to make a particular sound when he got stabbed in the back.  Lee said that's not how people sound when they get stabbed in the back; Jackson asked how he knew, and Lee just said "Oh, I know."  Maybe he learned what that sounded like when he was fighting with the Gurkhas.
  • He is the only cast member of that film to ever have met J.R.R. Tolkien.
  • He was the oldest person to ever record Heavy Metal, releasing a song on his 90th birthday in 2012.  The following year he release a Heavy Metal Christmas Album (!); the song Jingle Hell reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making him the oldest person to enter the music charts at 91.

Here's an early performance of his rock genre, from Rhapsody of Fire's 2005 album, singing a duet with Fabio Lione:

Regular readers of this blog will remember that we've seen his basso profundo voice here before:

That's quite a life.  Here is a photo of Flight Officer Lee looking out on the liberation of Rome in 1944.

Yeah, that all qualifies as badass and the actual most interesting man in the world.  I'm glad that they found the unit patch for him.

In which I am a Dumbass

I put up a recent blogroll update post and asked folks to email me if I hadn't added them.  Boy, howdy, how did I miss these folks?  I mean, they're in my RSS feed and everything.  Err, no fair peeking in the blog post title for the answer ...

The Feral Irishman has been blogging like forever.  I don't expect that I need to introduce him to any of our readers.  So how the heck did I not get him blogrolled?  (yeah, yeah, answer in the post title and all that).

And I've been linking to Comrade Misfit at Just An Earthbound Misfit, I for years and years.  Again, how did I not have her blogrolled?

Hokey smokes, this is embarrassing.  Sorry, guys.  Fixed now.

And as a request to you, Gentle Reader - can you please let me know when I'm being a Dumbass?

Virginia Opts For Sanity

The Virginia legislature has decided not to ban the sales of modern sporting rifles and regular capacity magazines.

So farmers are too dumb to understand hi tech?

Michael Bloomberg says farmers don't have the "grey matter" that's needed to understand technology.  (Hat tip to commenter Libertyman via email for the link)

The Queen Of The World tells a story about a new sales rep being taken around his region by his sales manager.  They end up out in the sticks, and pull into a diner for lunch.  A bunch of farmers are at a nearby table, dressed in overalls and John Deere hats.

The new sales manager sniffs at the spectacle.  "Man, they they sure look like a bunch of dumb hicks," he said.

His boss smiles.  "You see that field across the road?"

The young guy says he does.  "How much fertilizer do you think that would need for a corn crop?"  The young man doesn't know.

"If you wanted to plant soybeans, how many plants per acre would give you the best yield?"  Again, the young man doesn't know.

"When should you plant to minimize the risk of late frost while maximizing the growing season?"  Again, nothing.

"Well, if you go over and ask those 'dumb hicks', every one of them can give you the answer."

And if you go to your local County Fair, you can see all the computer monitors in the tractors and combines.  Oh, and the latest GPS farming tech.  Just sayin'.

Little Mike showed once again that the intelligence of the political class can be pretty stupid.  The Re-Elect Trump 2020 Campaign thanks him for his support.
Education, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.
- Ambrose Bierce

President's Day - Best and Worst Presidents

Today is (the observed) President's Day.  This is my annual posts of the best and worst Presidents.  The one addition this year is a Lincoln de-mythification from the son of John Tyler, America's tenth President: Lincoln The Dwarf.  This will give you a taste:
Tyler catalogued Lincoln's crippling deficiencies: He was coarse, too coarse to be a hero; his reputation for kindness and humanity was grossly overblown; he was an overrated statesman, a vacillator who had trouble making decisions. He was too deferential to his cabinet, indeed was dominated by its stronger personalities. He started the war, then meddled in its conduct, prolonging the bloodshed, was a poor judge of generals, and allowed political expediency to guide his appointments. In constructing his argument Tyler relied as much as possible on sources he considered unimpeachable, such as Lincoln's friends Ward Hill Lamon and William H. Herndon and distinguished Northerners like Charles Francis Adams.
Sharp eyed readers will recall that we've seen (Union General) Charles Francis Adams here before.

(originally posted 20 February 2012)

It's not a real President's birthday (Lincoln was the 12th, Washington is the 22nd), but everyone wants a day off, so sorry Abe and George, but we're taking it today.  But in the spirit intended for the holiday, let me offer up Borepatch's bestest and worstest lists for Presidents.

Top Five:

#5: Calvin Coolidge

Nothing To Report is a fine epitaph for a President, in this day of unbridled expansion of Leviathan.

#4. Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson is perhaps the last (and first) President who exercised extra-Constitutional power in a manner that was unambiguously beneficial for the Republic (the Louisiana Purchase).  He repealed Adam's noxious Alien and Sedition Acts and pardoned those convicted under them.

#3. Grover Cleveland. 

He didn't like the pomp and circumstance of the office, and he hated the payoffs so common then and now.  He continually vetoed pork spending (including for veterans of the War Between the States), so much so that he was defeated for re-election, but unusually won a second term later.  This quote is priceless (would that Latter Day Presidents rise so high), on vetoing a farm relief bill: "Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character." 

#2. Ronald Reagan

He at least tried to slow down the growth of Leviathan, the first President to do so in over half a century (see entry #5, above).  He would have reduced it further, except that his opposition to the Soviet fascist state and determination to end it cost boatloads of cash.  It also caused outrage among the home grown fascists in the Media and Universities, but was wildly popular among the general population which was (and hopefully still remains) sane.

#1. George Washington

Could have been King.  Wasn't.  Q.E.D. 

Bottom Five:

#5. John Adams.

There's no way to read the Alien and Sedition Acts as anything other than a blatant violation of the First Amendment.  It's a sad statement that the first violation of a Presidential Oath of Office was with President #2. 

#4. Woodrow Wilson.

Not only did he revive the spirit of Adams' Sedition Acts, he caused a Presidential opponent to be imprisoned under the terms of his grotesque Sedition Act of 1918.  He was Progressivism incarnate: he lied us into war, he jailed the anti-war opposition, he instituted a draft, and he was entirely soft-headed when it came to foreign policy.  The fact that Progressives love him (and hate George W. Bush) says all you need to know about them.

#3 Lyndon Johnson.

An able legislator who was able to get bills passed without having any real idea what they would do once enacted, he is responsible for more Americans living in poverty and despair than any occupant of the White House, and that says a lot.

#2. Franklin Roosevelt.

America's Mussolini - ruling extra-Constitutionally fixing wages and prices, packing the Supreme Court, sending American citizens to concentration camps, and transforming the country into a bunch of takers who would sell their votes for a trifle.  At least Mussolini met an honorable end.

#1. Abraham Lincoln.

There's no doubt that the Constitution never would have been ratified if the States hadn't thought they could leave if they needed to.  Lincoln saw to it that 10% of the military-age male population was killed or wounded preventing that in an extra-Constitutional debacle unequaled in the Republic's history.  Along the way, he suspended Habeas Corpus, instituted the first ever draft on these shores, and jailed political opponents as he saw fit.  Needless to say, Progressives adore him.

So happy President's Day.  Thankfully, the recent occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue haven't gotten this bad.  Yet.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sunday, puppy Sunday

Wolfgang got worn out at the dog park.

Even the squeaky monkey toy is worn out.

Blogroll update

How on earth have I not had McThag on the blogroll here?  Good lord, he'd been blogging longer than I have (actually, by quite a bit).  That's fixed now.

And an incoming traffic spike from Intrepid Reporter showed that he's blogrolled me there.  Thank you kindly, and back atcha.

I expect that there are other folks who have be blogrolled but who are not listed here.  Leave a comment or shoot me an email to borepatch at gmail and I'll add you here.

Maurice Jarre - Overture to Lawrence of Arabia

I hadn't realized that a recent reader's poll in the UK (by the London Telegraph paper) showed that Lawrence of Arabia was the UK's favorite film of all time.  Even if you don't agree, you can certainly do a lot worse.  A lot worse.  You can also make a case that the soundtrack for the film is the greatest in motion picture history.

I should say "the Academy Award winning soundtrack", which catapulted the unknown composer Maurice Jarre to fame.  He later won Oscars for the music for the films Passage to India and Dr. Zhivago - and his "Lara's Tune/Somewhere My Love" from that last film spent almost a year on the Billboard charts.  Oh yeah - he also contributed to the score for The Man Who Would be King (great flick) and was nominated for an Oscar for his soundtrack to Ghost.  Not to mention Fatal Attraction, The Year Of Living Dangerously, and Dead Poet's Society.  I'm not sure that he was the greatest Hollywood composer of all time, but I'm not sure he wasn't.

Full disclosure, I believe that if the music to this film isn't the greatest in cinema history, it's because it was beat by Jarre's Dr. Zhivago.  What's interesting is that he almost never got the gig - he was #3 on the list of composers but the first two had other commitments.  You have to wonder if they kicked themselves on missing that change.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

How Science goes off the rails

Ten years ago today I put up this post about how Science wanders into the weeds.  Not only has it held up particularly well, I think that this is one of the top ten posts I've ever done here.  Plus, Brother-From-Another-Mother ASM826 took me to his shooting range.  Not a bad day, all in all.

(Originally posted 15 February 2010)

The Canals of Mars the Climate Research Unit

In 1877, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli observed faint lines on the surface of Mars. He called these lines canali - channels. When his findings were (mis) translated into English, they appeared as canals, and ignited the imagination of the world.

Rather than natural causes (as you would expect for channel), canal implies artificial construction. The thought of intelligent life in our solar system - an ancient race fighting a desperate battle for survival on a dying planet - caused legions of astronomers to rush to their telescopes. Others reported that they also saw canals. Some published maps. But nobody saw as many canals, or published such detailed maps, as Percival Lowell from his Flagstaff observatory, whose map appears here.

It wasn't just scientists whose imaginations were captured by the Martians. The press promoted the story almost hysterically, giving Orson Wells his opportunity to create mass panic with his radio dramatization of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds. But the Barsoom novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs were the best.

John Carter was the human hero, mysteriously transported to Mars. Caught up in the epic battles there, as the slow drying of the planet led to desperate wars among the populations, his adventures amidst beautiful Martian princesses and noble Martian warriors fired the imagination of this young boy, back around 1969.

Alas, by then we knew that it was all impossible. Mariner 4 reached Mars in 1965, and photographed the entire planet from orbit. No castles holding Martian princesses, no Orovar cities, and most definitely no Zodangan canals. So how did the entire scientific community spend three decades chasing a Will o' the Wisp? I mean, this stuff was peer reviewed.

Eric Raymond has an interesting thought that seems to apply to both the science of Mars and the current theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (the theory that human production of Carbon Dioxide is causing the planet to warm). Most scientists are caught up in an error cascade:
scientific error cascade happens when researchers substitute the reports or judgment of more senior and famous researchers for their own, and incorrectly conclude that their own work is erroneous or must be trimmed to fit a “consensus” view.


In extreme cases, entire fields of inquiry can go down a rathole for years because almost everyone has preference-falsified almost everyone else into submission to a “scientific consensus” theory that is (a) widely but privately disbelieved, and (b) doesn’t predict or retrodict observed facts at all well. In the worst case, the field will become pathologized — scientific fraud will spread like dry rot among workers overinvested in the “consensus” view and scrambling to prop it up. Yes, anthropogenic global warming, I’m looking at you!
When a few influential scientists publish important work, younger scientists will often defer to "established" results that contradict their own, even if the established results are wrong. Science tends to self correct this sort of thing, although it can take a while - the mass of the electron was incorrectly specified for years and years, because everyone who measured it got a different result than Robert Millikan. Millikan had received the Nobel Prize, and they hadn't, so their results "had to be wrong".

And so with AGW. Strong evidence opposing it "can't be right" and weak evidence supporting it "must be right", and as a result, AGW is an astonishingly weak theory. In the last twenty years its proponents have made many predictions, most of which have been falsified. Michael Mann said that the Medieval Warm Period wasn't warm, contradicting recorded evidence from the period like the Domesday Book that showed wine vinyards in England in the eleventh century. AGW computer models predicted a warm layer in the middle Troposphere in the tropics; MIT's Jim Lindzen and others looked and looked - no warm zone. NOAA's Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN) is the most comprehensive store of historical climate data; people are finding that the data has been frequently, consistently, and mysteriously adjusted so that older temperatures are lowered below what the thermometer readings showed, and recent temperatures are raised above what the thermometer readings showed.

It's an error cascade of epic proportions. The situation is almost like an astronomer in 1965 continuing to insist that the Mariner 5 pictures are irrelevant, because there is a mountain of peer-reviewed literature supporting Ptarth hydrological engineering. Phil Jones of the CRU admits that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today, and that the climate is not getting warmer lately - despite the theory predictions, and that his data is a mess (which is why he refused to release it, even after a Freedom Of Information Act request).

And yet the Climate Scientists still see canals.

Raymond points out why:
There an important difference between the AGW rathole and the others, though. Errors in the mass of the electron, or the human chromosome count, or structural analyses of obscure languages, don’t have political consequences (I chose Chomsky, who is definitely politically active, in part to sharpen this point). AGW theory most certainly does have political consequences; in fact, it becomes clearer by the day that the IPCC assessment reports were fraudulently designed to fit the desired political consequences rather than being based on anything so mundane and unhelpful as observed facts.
When a field of science is co-opted for political ends, the stakes for diverging from the “consensus” point of view become much higher. If politicians have staked their prestige and/or hopes for advancement on being the ones to fix a crisis, they don’t like to hear that “Oops! There is no crisis!” — and where that preference leads, grant money follows. When politics co-opts a field that is in the grip of an error cascade, the effect is to tighten that grip to the strangling point.
Eisenhower famously warmed of the growing Military-Industrial Complex, an alliance between the Government and Industry to justify and fund continuing increases in Government and its Industry allies. Follow the Money. How is this not identical to what we see happening in climate science?  Billions of dollars of Government grant funding flowing to academic organizations, whose research (surprise!) provides justification for large Government programs like Cap And Trade. Government funding maintains the momentum of the error cascade.

The challenges to the AGW "consensus" have almost all come from outside of this "Environment-Academic Complex", as they would have to. Outsiders are free to report what the data actually say, without fear of losing their funding. As Raymond said:
If politicians have staked their prestige and/or hopes for advancement on being the ones to fix a crisis, they don’t like to hear that “Oops! There is no crisis!”
Thus the emphasis demonstrated by the ClimateGate emails on controlling the Peer Review process. If the narrative can't be directed at the front end, it must be channeled at the back end. The canali of the modern scientific process are indeed man-made.

And so, the debate isn't about science at all, any more than the debate over the XM2001 Crusader self-propelled Howitzer was about defense. I expect to hear any day that NOAA plans to appoint Dejah Thoris to head the new office of Climate Change.

I hope they don't make her wear a brass bikini. It wouldn't provide the dignity that the office demands.

UPDATE 15 February 2010 22:28: Boy, I picked a bad day to toss out a post and then head out for 8 hours in the car and 4 hours at the range (not that it's ever bad to spend 4 hours at the range). Welcome visitors from View From The Porch! Thanks, Tam, and the beer is on me. Anyone interested in a somewhat long-ish overview of the science of AGW might want to start here.

UPDATE 15 February 2010 23:43: This is another interesting comparison.

Huey Lewis and The News - One Of They Guys

In this day of Country Pop, where do you go for some real, old school country music?  No fair peeking at the post title.

Huey Lewis and the News is out with a new album, their first in a decade.  The Queen Of The World was a big fan (as was I), and so the Brown Truck of Happiness rolled up to Castle Borepatch with the CD.  It's quite interesting, with rock, jazz, blues, and this throw back to the daya when you actually heard country music in Nashville.

Party on, Huey!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Her funny valentine

I may be funny (err, not in the "Ha Ha" way), but I'm her funny valentine.

This is a great performance for Valentine's Day.  If you're lucky, you'll share it with someone who doesn't have any idea just how amazing they are to you.  Err, like The Queen Of The World doesn't understand quite how wonderful I think she is.

Which is strange, because I find that I wrote my Valentine to her a while back:

(originally posted 7 October 2017, on the anniversary of the motorcycle accident that joined us together.  I know, romantic.  Amirite?)

The day I fell for her

Three years ago today, The Queen Of The World and I were on a motorcycle trip to the beach. We'd only been dating a few weeks, and she was fun (and pretty as a picture), so off we went.

It ended in an accident. The bike went down fast, and hard. I broke a lot of bones and was in the ICU for days. Fortunately the fall didn't hurt her badly.

But I was the lucky one, because over the next few days I saw what an extraordinary woman she was. She arranged a rental car and trailer, got the bike loaded, and got the (very drugged up on pain killers) Borepatch home. And then took care of me for the weeks it took me to heal.

She could have run from a suddenly high maintenance (and often grumpy and rarely much fun) Borepatch. She didn't.

It was an unusual experience for me to be wrapped up in unconditional love and care. A nice experience. REALLY nice.

Unconditional, even when I was stubborn and dumb, like trying to get back in the saddle before I was capable, like trying to drive the manual shift Jeep with my arm in a sling. To this day I've never seen her as angry. She knew I would hurt myself, which I did. In her mind I was under her care, and I was messing myself up because of hard headedness. She hated to see me hurt myself.

And so I realized that I hadn't fallen three feet that day, I'd fallen hopelessly in love with an extraordinary woman. Sure she was fun (and pretty as a picture), but she also was fiercely loyal and had a spine of tempered steel. I didn't stand a chance, and quite frankly would have had to have been the biggest fool on earth to let her get away.

Three years later we're coming up on our second wedding anniversary. That was sure a lucky fall, one that opened my eyes to the amazing woman who was right in front of me.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Save the environment - clearcut the forest

Well, the Scottish forest:
excluding wind farms on privately owned woodlands, we end up with figures

6994 hectares were felled

13.9 million trees were felled.

I suggest another FOI request be made for windfarms on peat bogs, especially in the Flow Country.
Now this is just Scotland.
It would be interesting to get the figures for England  and Wlaes on how many trees have felled, hectares of farmland lost, and hectares of moorland and peatbog affected.
The greenies cut down 14 million trees to put up windmills.  All in the name of "saving the environment".  And this is just in Scotland.  We know it's going on other places because we've seen this before:
These towers are being installed in one of the FEW locations in the state where there is no evidence the area has EVER been logged. Now there will be 30 concrete platforms and a 30' wide gravel road across the top of these ridges. Why don't we install the towers, 1 on top of each of those skyscrapers in the cities? Those are already an eye sore, can't make them any worse. This project is turning 'God's Country' into disaster.
And before:
The Danish environment minister Troels Lund Poulsen decided, on behalf of the government, on 30th September 2009, that the clearing of 15 km2 of forest in the north west of Denmark will take place. A test centre for the development of offshore windmills is planned to take up 30 km2 of land in the Thy region, near Østerild. 
It's all chasing subsidies.  Oh well, at least it isn't using electric lights at night to power solar arrays.

US Military Prepping For Coronavirus Pandemic

From Military Times:

"The Navy and Marine Corps messages, issued Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, reference an executive order directing U.S. Northern Command to implement the Department of Defense Global Campaign plan for Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Diseases 3551-13."

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Butt-hurt automotive journalist is butt hurt

Every now and then I cruise on by over at Jalopnik, to see what the auto journalism crowd thinks about, well, most things transport.  I've even linked a few things here.  It's generally a palate cleanser from the political civil war raging pretty much everywhere you look.

But lo!  What to my wondering eyes does appear:
Since the Kennedy Administration, the light-blue and white jet carrying the president has been more than just transportation for American leadership. It has been a symbol of what that leadership was meant to represent. An internationally-minded, forward-thinking ethos steeped in Modernism and Internationalism. Now, though, the White House is more America First than American Century and Air Force One is getting a new look to match.

An Air Force procurement publication revealed yesterday as part of the Department of Defense’s 2021 budget has confirmed what we had been fearing for months. The next plane to serve as Air Force One, which the Department of Defense hopes to have in service by 2024, will have a new livery supposedly designed by President Trump himself to look “more American.” The new paint will mean the Air Force is doing away with the classic Modernist scheme we’ve known for decades. And frankly, I think the new one looks awful.
It seems that Donald Trump is the Worst President Ever® because he is painting the new Air Force One differently than Marilyn Monroe's boyfriend.  Oooooooh kaaaaaaay.

Because gear heads love them some Modernist Art Theory with their rides.  Give me Modernist Art Theory, or give me death!

Filed under WTF because, well, you know.  The post there is way longer than you'd imagine, and is actually worth a view for the complete "WTF" experience.  Stuff like this:
The idea was to use the avant-garde as a way to demonstrate what American freedoms and values could offer on the world stage. A really excellent book called Cold War Modernists by historian Greg Barnhisel lays out the whole story: The State Department was working with world-famous Modernist architects to bring impressive, occasionally even challenging design to capital cities around the world. These embassies would hold reading rooms filled with books that critics adored as the best America had on offer but some Congressmen (Joe McCarthy among them) wanted to ban. The State Department brought modern dancer Martha Graham and jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong on tour to demonstrate that American tastes were as sophisticated as any, and they even surreptitiously published high-brow magazines for European audiences, asserting the legitimacy of American voices in left-leaning intellectual circles to tilt Western Europe away from the Iron Curtain. If America was going to face off against a comprehensive ideology like communism, it needed its own philosophical and aesthetic ethos to rally the West behind. It found one in Modernism.
All this sound and fury over an airplane.

Jalopnik - come for the Big Block V8s and get the avant-guard Modernist theory aimed at effete European intellectuals.  Riiiiiight.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Well, I don't have bronchitis after all

I have pneumonia.  Holy cow this has been miserable.

Gun pr0n

Lawrence has some .50 BMG goodness.  Some of the videos are silly (does anyone really need to wonder what one of those does to a ballistic gel dummy?), but some are quite instructive about the round's purpose (i.e. what it does to a V8 engine).

Of course, there's always the video of how you can use it to format a hard drive.  Or heck, you could just use 12 gauge slugs.  Man, those are old posts.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Last RAF Battle of Britain ace takes off on his final flight

RAF ace Paul Farnes passes on at 101.  He was the last surviving RAF ace from the Battle Of Britain.  Dwight has the obit, as you'd expect, along with Robert Conrad, Orson Bean, and others.  It's his biggest obit summary I can remember with lots of really interesting people.

But Wing Commander Farnes led a particularly interesting life.

Paul Farnes with the Prince of Wales in 2017 CREDIT: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
I must confess that I am not a big fan of HRH Charles, but HM the Queen is a much different story.  I imagine that this meeting was a thrill for Farnes (and hopefully for her):

You can click through from Dwight's post to the NYT obit which describes his quite touching childhood, and the Sky News obit (from whence I got the pictures) is also worth a visit.

Ave atque vale, Wing Commander.


I haz it.  Don't like it much, especially with chasing tornados and getting generators set up.

Posting will resume when I'm a little better.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Three minutes of power

A tornado touched down yesterday morning only a mile or two from Castle Borepatch.  Fortunately nobody was killed but there was (as you'd imagine) quite a bit of mayhem.  Falling trees took down power lines and suddenly the Castle was without electricity.  That was a little after 0730 yesterday.  The power was still out late in the afternoon and I began to think about the food in the refrigerators and the chest freezer.  That was an investment I didn't want to replace.

And so I headed off to Orange Big Box Hardware Store and lo to my wondering eyes there was a palate (!) of 6500 W generators.  I gritted my teeth at the price and wrestled one to the car, driving home in the dark.  By the light of the headlights I put the wheels on, filled the crankcase with oil, poured 5 gallons of gas into the tank, and pulled the starter rope.  It barked to life, and the lights on the chest freezer shone once more.

Guess how long it took after that until the power to the neighborhood was restored?  No fair peeking at the post title.

Oh, well.  It's probably not a bad thing to have a generator around.  This is the second tornado we've had in these parts in six months.  Still, I would have liked to enjoy for a little longer the neighbor's envy  of the lights on in the Castle.

Dan Hicks - How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away

Mitt Romney is back in the news.  Like a bitter ex-wife, he keeps coming back where he isn't wanted, pretending to be something that he isn't.  Yup, there's a country song for that.

Dan Hicks was a songwriter who never really got the attention he deserved.  On the other hand, it might have been his work ethic (he more or less dropped out of recording for ten years) and the alcohol and drugs.  Then again, he wasn't the first recording artist who took that path.

Country music often shows a streak of humor, and Hicks was known for that.  Hicks' style was hard to categorize, ranging from psychedelic rock to folk and to this which is unmistakably country.  He always called the style "folk swing".

How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away (Songwriter: Dan Hicks)
I've talked to your mother and I've talked to your dad
They say they've tried but it's all in vain
I've begged and I've pleaded, I even got mad
Now we must face it, you give me a pain

How can I miss you when you won't go away?
Keep telling you day after day
But you won't listen, you always stay and stay
How can I miss you when you won't go away?

Your never ending presence really cramps my style
I dream that it won't always be the same
At first I was attracted but after a while
Have you ever heard of the hard-to-get game?

How can I miss you when you won't go away?
I keep telling you day after day
But you won't listen, you always stay and stay
How can I miss you when you won't go away?
And I mean it, too

Out of three billion people, why must it be me?
Oh, why, oh, why won't you cut me loose?
Just do me a favor and listen to my plea
I'm not the only chicken on the roost

How can I miss you when you won't go away?
I keep telling you day after day
But you won't listen, you always stay and stay
How can I miss you when you won't go away?

Friday, February 7, 2020

Chinese Bioweapon? Maybe

We'll know how bad this is in a month. 

Clarification on A Gun Owner's Bill Of Rights

I'm getting a lot of comments on yesterday's post generally along the line of "shall not be infringed" means exactly what it says.  Well, sure, but that hasn't helped us so far.

The Queen Of The World points out that one of my (many charming) foibles is that I often don't explain myself in these posts.  She's clearly right on that here.

This Bill Of Rights is not intended to restore second amendment liberty, bringing back the status quo ante 1870.  Rather, it is to arm our legislative allies with a pre-packaged, soundbite-worthy legislative answer to the endless series of "ZOMG THERE's BLOOD IN THE STREETS WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING FOR THE CHILDRENZ!!!eleventy!"  Every time this comes up, they just open the filing cabinet and pull this out.  Then they can say well you always talk about compromise; how about some of this?

The point is that it needs to be seen by the great mass of voters as reasonable, understandable, and common sense.  Then the repeated refusals of the Brady crowd et al will begin to be seen as unreasonable infringement on our rights.  And after five or six or twenty of these episodes these voters might just listen when we say "shall not be infringed" means exactly what it says.

Maybe.  Or maybe not.  However, I would suggest that what we've been doing hasn't been working for us.  "Do it again only harder" doesn't seem to be the high percentage shot, either.  Maybe this won't work, but we have to make it easier for friendly legislators to fight our battle.  This Bill Of Rights proposal is my attempt to help.

Look, my personal view is pretty much as a 2A absolutist.  I think it would be cool to have a tank - a real working one, with live ammo.  The Queen Of The World rolls her eyes at me when I say this, and my pocketbook whimpers in pain, but it would be cool.  But that's not (yet) the majority view in the Republic.  I want to bring the majority view closer to where we stand.

Right now, Bloomberg's flying monkeys are inflicting death by a thousand cuts on us.  I want our friends in the Legislature to be able to start slicing back.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

A tragic date in Bernie Sander's life

Thirty years ago the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union voted to dissolve the USSR.

A Gun Owner's Bill Of Rights

If all you ever play is defense then you're going to lose.  Heck, the Roman Empire played defense and played it well, but there's a reason that we don't have an American Ambassador to the court of Augustus.

This is why Michael Bloomberg and the gun control crowd have been pushing their disarmament agenda.  We react, react, react, and they tell a bunch of lies to a population who mostly doesn't pay much attention.  The long term prognosis for gun owners is not good.

And so we need a long term plan, one that will allow us to counter the gun banner's proposals with counter proposals of our own.  Our proposals should be simple, easy to understand, and seem reasonable to the population that really hasn't been paying much attention.  Bringing up this "Gun Owner's Bill Of Rights" will let us educate voters while making our opponents look strident and uncompromising.  Since that's exactly what they are, this shouldn't be difficult.  If they want, say, and "Assault Rifle Ban" then we should roll out one or more of these as demands.  A compromise is a two way street, after all.

Of course, since they don't want compromise, these will be a poison pill.  We will take the fight to them for a change.

Immodestly, I would like to offer a draft Bill Of Rights here.  This list is by no means exhaustive, and could be fleshed out with even more (hint, hint: start fleshing out).

1. A concealed carry permit issued by any US State shall be valid in all other US States and Territories, just like State issued driver's licenses and marriage licenses.  After all, these permits require a background check by the police, so what possible justification exists for not recognizing them, other than a desire to disarm lawful gun owners?

2.  All States shall issue a concealed carry license upon application as long as the applicant passes a criminal background check.  It is a long established principle to exclude felons from possessing weapons but since the Second Amendment explicitly recognizes the right to keep and bear arms, no other exclusion is permitted.  After all, you don't need a license to go to church or to discuss politics with your neighbors - the First Amendment recognizes these rights and you don't have to provide justification to the Government to exercise them.  As long as you're not a felon, you shouldn't have to justify this, either.

3.  Citizens who hold a valid concealed carry permit from any State should be permitted to purchase a firearm in any of the 50 US States or Territories.  This is currently illegal, but this is a holdover from the 1960s when the technology did not exist to do instant background checks and when very few States issued concealed carry permits.  Since all firearm purchased from gun stores require an instant background check, there is no reason to prevent law abiding gun owners from purchasing a firearm wherever they are - unless the goal is not to reduce crime but rather to prevent people from buying guns.  If you are on vacation in the United States then you should be able to exercise your rights.

4.  The current $200 tax (and the very slow application process for the tax stamp) on noise suppressors is to be repealed.  Hollywood and TV shows are wildly unrealistic about how quiet these make firearms - even with a suppressor a firearm is as loud as a chain saw.  All the current law does is cause hearing damage to law abiding gun owners.

Each of these are sensible proposals to 80% of the population.  These are common sense proposals that we can use bring those people onto our side.  These all can be presented as restrictions only on the law abiding who (duh!) are not the problem in this country.  These let us start going on the offense.

As I said, this is by no means a complete list.  Anyone who wants to add a suggestion feel free in the comments.  One thing that I would ask is that we keep suggestions to the following:
  • Provide an explanation as to why the suggestion will reduce burdens on law abiding citizens
  • Keep suggestions to what will get 80% support from the Great Undecideds.  Sure it would be fun to have fully functional tanks, but this isn't the hill to die on
I'll take the suggestions and compile into a clean post in a week or so.  But the battle is joined, the game afoot.  It's time to cry havoc and unleash the dogs of war.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Movie Music

The Danish National Symphony performing the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Mitt Romney is a jerk

He says he'll vote to convict Trump.  What a small, petty man.

Of course, we've known he's like that for a long, long time.

Update from ASM826: I had to go back to my old blog to find it, but here's what I thought of Mittens in October of 2012.

If Romney Needs My Vote, He’s Screwed

I got slammed in the comments, told I couldn't be reasoned with. I still like this post, still think we were better off without him.

Donald Trump is completely reshaping politics in America

First he broke the Republican establishment who - while still with us - are cowed and have lined up behind his agenda.  Last night we saw how he is breaking the Democratic party.  That's not too strong a term.

What struck me watching the State of the Union Address last night was how the Democratic caucus is so visibly split.  The thing to watch for is applause (especially standing ovation).  The Republican side did this every minute or two during the speech.  The reaction from the Democrats fell into three camps:

  • Standing ovation.  IIRC, this happened twice on the Democratic side.  I can't remember what it was for but it sure didn't happen almost ever.
  • No applause at all.  The Democrats sat silent, not clapping, about half the time.
  • A split caucus, with some clapping and others not.  This was the interesting bit.  It looked like about half of the time some Democrats would sit without applauding while others applauded with vigor.  Some of that applause was standing.
That last one is the tell.  The Democrats have been impressively united for the last couple years (particularly Nancy Pelosi's impeachment farce), but this looks like it is over.  Dramatically and visually over.  This must frustrate the Democratic leadership, and we saw Nancy Pelosi lose it last night.

I can't remember a major political figure act in such a petty and, well, useless way.  She did nothing to help her political situation by ripping up the printed copy of the speech, and likely damaged her ability to bring together a divided Democratic caucus.

And Trump did this.  Four years ago during the campaign I remarked here that I didn't know if Donald Trump would make a good President or not but that we were fixin' to find out.  It's kind of amazing to see this unfold before us.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Sure, It Might Have Been The App

Having advanced to the point where the modern equivalent of "the dog ate my homework" is "the computer crashed and I lost the files", it's possible that Iowa just lost the data. Possible.

It's also possible that a particular candidate was trending up (or down) and those results were just unacceptable so they went away.

I'd like to suggest the Dems try a different method to pick the person who's name will become a trivia answer in a couple of decades.

Planet Borepatch

Ten years ago I put up what may have been the strangest post I've ever written.  What's funny (both funny ha ha and funny weird) is that it ended up as a reference on a Wikipedia page (!).  And it got a comment from early blogger Steven den Beste (fanboi squeee!).

Automatic pistols, the Burgess Shale, and the evolution of design

Warning: this is a strange post, probably the strangest I've ever written. In a way, it's a transmission direct from Planet Borepatch. Don't say I didn't warn you.

In the beginning, nobody knows how something "should" work. When a new opportunity to do something differently comes around, you typically see a lot of different things get tried. This applies to people, when a newfangled way of doing something gets proposed. This also applies to nature, where a major ecological shift opens up new evolutionary pathways.

Paleontologists call this Adaptive Radiation followed by Decimation, and is best illustrated by the sudden appearance of almost all modern animal families in the Cambrian Explosion (ca 540 M years ago), followed by the extinction of many other animal families soon after. Many of these extinct organisms are captured in the Burgess Shale, probably the most important fossil field ever discovered. The definitive work on the subject is Steven Jay Gould's Wonderful Life.

The Burgess Shale is important for two reasons: first, it's very, very old, dating back almost all the way to the Cambrian Explosion itself. It gives a record of the animals alive only ten or twenty million years after the beginning of the Cambrian period. Second, it preserved as fossil not only hard shell and skeleton remains, but soft tissue as well. This is incredibly unusual, and the combination gives us an extremely detailed record of life in the Early Cambrian, when modern animal forms had only just emerged.

But there were strange forms as well, ones that have not been seen since. You might think of them as experimental designs that were briefly viable but which were out-competed. Designs unrelated to any living species. Designs like Hallucigenia, where scientists aren't sure if the blob on the end is the head:

And Opabinia, where different scientists have proposed very different reconstructions of the animal. This is one:

And Anomalocaris, originally thought to be three different creatures, from the fragments of its very different body parts:
All initially viable designs in the Brave New Multicellular World, but soon gone in the subsequent Decimation.

We see this when evolution is driven not by mutation but by human ingenuity, and weeding not via Natural Selection but via the Market. Automatic pistol designs exhibit a very similar "radiate and decimate" pattern.

Autoloading pistols also appeared suddenly, with a flurry of experimentation in the 1880s and 1890s. The "Cambrian Explosion" event seems to have been Hiram Maxim's invention of the recoil-operated machine gun, which set tinkering minds to work on a miniaturized design suitable for a pistol. What we saw was an explosion of initial designs (including from Maxim himself), rapidly followed by a decimation to the remaining pistol families we see today.

But some of those early designs are as wild as Hallucigenia.

The Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver, with one foot in the old and one in the new. The top of the revolver recoiled backwards on a track in the top of the base; a pin mounted on the bottom caused the revolver to rotate, as it moved in the groove in the cylinder.

Schonberger-Lauman 1892, the precursor to the Schonberger 1893, the first commercially sold automatic pistol. The late Ian Hogg describes it in his Illustrated Encyclopedia of FirearmsThe mechanism is absolutely unique in pistol design, since it relies upon the setback of the cartridge cap due to the explosion pressure in the case. The bolt is locked by a cam surface on a forked arm; when the pistol is fired, the cap sets back about 0.18 of an inch, imparting movement to the heavy striker before the cap is stopped by the face of the bolt. This slight movement is sufficient to cause a lug on the striker to disengage the locking cam, so leaving the bolt free to recoil, swinging the forked arm back against a spring ready to close the bolt once more.

Schwarzlose 1908 Blow Forward design. The breech block was part of the pistol's frame; firing the cartridge caused the barrel to run forward. There is no slide - rather, the pressure of the expanding gas and the friction of the bullet drove the barrel forward against a spring. The expended case was ejected, a new cartridge was loaded, and the spring pushed the barrel back into place ready for the next shot.

The Pieper 1907had a tip-down barrel, below the recoil spring unit housed in a tunnel on the top of the pistol. The design was unique for how slender the final product was, which resulted in a continuing popularity despite its very high manufacturing costs.

Both the fauna of the Burgess Shale and the early automatic pistols went through a Decimation phase, where a large number of designs were weeded out. The Burgess fauna converged on the major phila that we see today - arthropods, chordates, gastropods, etc. The automatic pistols market was revolutionized first by the Luger, and even more so by the 1911. Why?

Steven den Beste wrote about the Burgess Shale years back, in the Pleistocene Age of the Blogosphere. I found his conclusion to be more compelling than Gould's, who said that it was pretty much luck that determined which survived and which died out. den Beste thought there was more to it:
There's a deeper reason, and it is the thesis here. It's a natural switch from non-zero-sum to zero-sum competition. At the time of the Burgess Shale, that switch hadn't yet taken place, and in the non-zero-sum "Expansion" phase, things are more forgiving. Once you switch to the zero-sum "Competition" phase, creatures which were viable before cease to be, and will die out.
This sounds right, and seems to apply to pistols as well. Initially production runs are small and the novelty is itself a selling point. But eventually customers begin to figure out how to discriminate more effectively. Some designs were too expensive to be competitive (Pieper), some too cumbersome (Webley-Fosbery), fragile (Luger), or requiring bizarre and hard to find ammunition (Schoenberger). We're not sure why the Burgess fauna suffered so many extinctions, but the reasons could very well be similar: some bred more slowly (like today's tigers), or ate specialized food (like today's Koalas), or were too fragile to deal with evolving predators (in particular, this may have been Anomalocaris' fate).

In the long run, designs rapidly converged on what has been proven to be long-term stable. Tam comments (in a different context):
Materials science moves on and yes, we're living in The Future, but as it turns out, round is still a good shape for a wheel and rubber makes pretty good tires.
Ingenious design is a marvel to behold, but a pistol's business is serious work. Reliability, ease of maintenance, availability of ammunition all provide incremental but (over time) irresistible pressure towards what works. Even an advantage of a few percent in efficiency can be enough for a species to win out over thousands of generations of evolution, or for a pistol to guarantee Great War contracts.

A note to anyone who actually read this far: there is an excellent Web site that deserves your attention. The Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Reading, UK has an outstanding collection of historic weapons, automatic pistols among them. I wish I had know about their museum back when I lived in Blighty. To any UK readers, this might be worth a journey.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Why government services will always stink

I posted this ten years ago and nothing has changed.  But the persistence of bad ideas is the only truly renewable resource, and with "Medicare for All" being a major campaign theme this year, it's back to the future.

TL;DR: Medicare For All will stink.  I have proof.

Originally posted February 1, 2010:

The definition of insanity ...

... is thinking - despite repeated examples to the contrary - that this time the same thing will give you different results. Don Surber looks at the UK.Gov's National Health Service, and finds them gaming the metrics:
Here is how it works: In order to cut down on waiting time, people are put in the hospital quicker, even though there are not enough beds.
No problem.
“They say the targets put pressure on hospitals to discharge people early to free up beds and have turned the NHS into a ‘revolving door’,” the London Daily Mail reported.
It is the National Health Service Hokey-Pokey. You put your patient in, you take your patient out…
Here’s an idea: Add more beds.
Oh wait, that would cost money.
At the risk of hurting a bunch of people's feelings, this is precisely what would have been predicted, even by people of marginal intelligence. At least if anyone looked at the decades of experience from places that rejected a market:
My informal survey suggested that some of the longest lines in Moscow were for shoes. At first I assumed that the inefficient Soviet economy did not produce enough shoes, and for that reason, even in the capital, people were forced to line up for hours to buy them. . . . Then I looked up the statistics. I was wrong. The Soviet Union was the largest producer of shoes in the world. It was turning out 800 million pairs of shoes a year--twice as many as Italy, three times as many as the United States, four times as many as China. Production amounted to more than three pairs of shoes per year for every Soviet man, woman, and child.
The problem with shoes, it turned out, was not an absolute shortage. It was a far more subtle malfunction. The comfort, the fit, the design, and the size mix of Soviet shoes were so out of sync with what people needed and wanted that they were willing to stand in line for hours to buy the occasional pair, usually imported, that they liked.

At the root of the dysfunction was the state's control of information. Prices are information--the information producers need in order to know what and how much to produce. In a market for a product as varied in material and design as footwear, shifting prices are like sensors taped to the skin of a patient in a medical experiment; they provide a constant flow of information about consumer needs and preferences. When the state controlled prices, it deprived producers of information about demand.
So, we see a system set up to achieve scores on particular metrics, whether or not the end consumer of the service is any good or not. As the post points out, the end consumer isn't the person getting the shoes (or medical care), it's the State. How on earth could you expect shoes that fit, or people being cured of their sickness?

But I'm sure that it will be different here under Obamacare. I mean, this isn't Russia, for crying out loud. Or even Britain (I mean, look at their teeth; srlsy, how can you expect tehm to understand modern medical technolo9gy?). The program here will be much more carefully crafted, with particular attention to what has not worked in the past, and without being gamed by all sorts of politically well-connected special interests.

Oh, wait ...