Coping: Digtal Fasting

Peoplenomics Wednesday revealed something that amazed me.  Not just that gender, gay, lesbian, and racial curriculum swamp conventional ideas like Science and Math in terms of curriculum availability.  That was shock enough for this old man.  But…

It was the HUGE preoccupation with teaching writing.

This looked to us – and to a couple of commenters on the article – like a Biggie to keep and eye on.  People are not spending enough time on the input side.  And the wildly disproportionate focus on the output side is very bad for the country, as I see it.

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For one, people who are “outputting” are mostly spewing.  Blathspeak of opinions and forecast of things to come that don’t and bullying and…well, it’s all social…  Just not my kind of social.

Unless someone devotes their Life to one of research and 12-hour days to think through issues and evolve a consistent, viable viewpoint (like our Everything’s a business model), they should just shut the hell up.  Why pay attention to people who play emotions and don’t provide answers?

I know you probably saw where Tony Robbins ran afoul the #MeToo’ers last week when he explained such people who attacked Robbins for an anecdote he told, were engaged in (essentially) intellectual doo-doo.

People hate others calling it like it is.

The worst, though, was that on one of the discussion boards we scan, some whack-o snowlake wrote “I didn’t pay $150 to hear Robbins this garbage.”

Robbins had underscored that digital streetcorner activist people are posting to contrive personal significance they would not otherwise have.

Pathetic?  I mean the guy who made up a claim to have paid $150 for a ticket?

You bet.  I’ve got a hundred dollar bill for him.  IF he can produce his ticket stub, IF he can produce any evidence (video, picture with himself in it) proving he was there, IF he can remember any part of Robbin’s presentation other than the #MeToo sidebar, and IF he could prove he was the one who made that horrifically STUPID post.

My hundred dollar bill, alas, will remain in my pocket.  Because I figure the odds of this mouthing-off social perp stepping up are about the same as one of the Kardashian’s inventing time travel or a dylithium powered warp drive.

COULD THAT happen?  Sure.  Eventually 10,000 monkeys will write a political speech…oh, wait.  that happens every year.  But is it, oh, Likely?  With a four parts test?  Doesn’t seem so, does it?

Ure’s comment this morning is that people need to begin digital fasting in order to regain a grip on their sanity, again.

Instead of Output, Try Input

There are two items on my list of “right reads” that I can’t recommend highly enough.

But first, a concept:

I think people should have “intellectual heroes.:  People who they look up to for their brains and analytical abilities.  Given a choice, I would spend even more time reading…which after all my eye operations is not the easiest thing.

I have a large number of “Thought Heroes.”  Some I have the good fortune to know personally while others offer ideas that occupy the MOG (*mind of George) on Spring afternoon’s like Wednesdays after running full-time around the ranch all day from 4 AM on…

I’ve mentioned Andrew Odlyzko’s works many times (more on the Peoplenomics side, where we are more thoughtful and less reactionary on the paid side).

Odlyzko’s latest paper here is “Isaac Newton, Daniel Defoe and the Dynamics of Financial Bubbles.”  Read, savor, watch the tape.

Since a great deal of our time and studies are in the bubblicious end of finance, this is marvelous grist and it bakes fine columns and spurs our own noggin.  Better than a cigar and brandy.

Second BIG BRAIN I admire is Dean Radin, who’s been head of the Institute Of Noetic Science.  (Noetic means roughly “intellectual.”)

Radin’s new book popped onto my Kindle and because of the workload around the ranch (and, and, and…) I haven’t opened it.

Radin’s book will be mostly read before I open by new plasma cutter…to give you an idea on priorities.  And the ham radio stays off, too…

Title?  Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe.  For devices and in print.

I’m declaring this an INPUT DAY (in the same spirit of my rare days before retirement with I would “call in well.

I’ve given you two absolutely current, absolutely worthwhile things to read since you get a short column this morning.

If you make the choice not to read either and press on – going to social to catch up on drivel – I dub thee  Mushroom.

That is. a person who lives in the dark and eats sh*t.

We all make choices.  That one isn’t mine.

I’m going to read, instead so when I write, I can continue to offer useful and original content.  I’ll be turning off our Facebook feed today, too.

Write when you get rich,

How-To: Do Your Own Self DNA Study

A good while back, we made the decision to have our DNA run by  It was $99 a person.

Took a while.  Sequencing DNA is not a fast technology, but it’s a cool technology.  Like 3D printing in a sense:  cool but not yet fast.

Eventually – a month back, or so – we received the basic summary of results.  But, that’s just where the real fun begins…

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Your DNA is huge.  The text file of each of our data is on the order of 5.7 megabytes.  There’s no way on earth this makes any sense, either….without computational help.

There are lots of approaches, but to begin sorting things out, we decided to go light on the budget and pay $10 bucks each to toss our data into

It’s important to understand the process here, so let me run through it.

You select an organization to actually do the sequencing. and are popular.

Now you wait for the DNA “spit kit” to show up.  About a week, here.

When it does, you will need to spit what seems like gallons of spit (let’s about a tablespoon, or less, but you’ll get dry-mouth so take your time and think of lemons and pickles…).  Mail in the kit.

In 4-7 weeks, you will get the email saying your results have been run.

Now you go to the website and download your DNA as a standard text file laid out in a standard way.

Next, you select whose report you want.  We did Promethease (cheap) but there are lots to chose from (Self-DeCode and more) but from what I figured, most of the report generators were basing their reports on the content of

Their website describes their mission as:

“SNPedia is a wiki investigating human genetics. We share information about the effects of variations in DNA, citing peer-reviewed scientific publications. It is used by Promethease to create a personal report linking your DNA variations to the information published about them. Please see the SNPedia:FAQ for answers to common questions.”

SNPedia is interesting as hell, but they don’t process your file.

Which is why the Self-DeCode and Prometheus and….sites exit.

Going to the Promethease site, you agree to a bunch of checkmarks and then pop in a credit card ($10) and upload (*from your computer where you downloaded the 23andme results) to your local computer.

Then you wait because it can in some cases take 20 minutes for your DNA file to upload, look at that file, and pull out the proper results from the huge (and still growing) library of conditions connected with specific DNA types.

Finally, you download the Promethease results onto your computer, and extract the zip file.

What’s in the zip?  The way the data is arranged, you are able to get a “quickie/highlights” view (mine was 10-20 pages) and at the bottom of that it says 2X – which gets into more details.

And when you do that, you can 2X again – several times in fact – until you have around a hundred pages of details.

The basic report, though is a good starting point.  The results tell you (in descending order of importance) what the sample and the report figure your most significant health risks are.

For example, I already knew that I had an elevated chance of getting Alzheimer’s (because my father died of it at age 87) and yes, that is why we’re into the Alzheimer’s dietary, supplement, and lifestyle changes that seem to minimize the advancement of the disease.  Missing starches, already!

2x risk of Alzheimer’s disease You carry one APOE-?3 allele and one APOE-?4 allele. This results in 2x increased relative risk of Alzheimer’s disease. For non-caucasians the risk is increased, but SNPedia has not yet seen any reliable estimates. This is based on
• rs429358(C;T)
• rs7412(C;C)

Not a particularly happy report, but that’s my “worst risk” from the DNA perspective.  Besides, with word this morning of progress on attacking the apoE4 gene in the body to neutralize its effects, there is reason to continue following the End of Alzheimer’s recommendations  (KetoFlex 12/3 a “flexarian” diet) and wait for science to issue what in software would be a “hot-fix” or “patch” for my DNA.  Meat as a condiment, though? Down on starches and up on veggies…

Note to self: Remain cogent enough to realize when the patch is available!

My next major genome findings were OK with me:  I’m a slow metabolizer of NSAIDS and I’ve got a 7X higher risk of male pattern baldness.  From there we go into a hundred pages of details.

It’s important to understand the statistics a bit.

For example, when I read that I have a 2X risk, I’m guided by first knowing (from separate web research) that “One in ten people age 65 and older (10 percent) has Alzheimer’s disease. About one-third of people age 85 and older (32 percent) have Alzheimer’s disease.”

In my case, that sort of implies that my odds of Alzheimer’s 15-years out, would be on the order of 64%.  But in 15-years, will there be a pill to neutralize the gene?  And what about those coronary artery diseases?  Big progress there, too.

BUT that’s why we ran our DNA’s.  It confirms what I already knew (since dad had it, I might) and it underscores the lifestyle and eating changes to reduce risks.

The bonus points:  Running your body in the Alzheimer’s-reducing light-ketosis envelope is also how to lose significant weight.

All that said, the data is somewhat contradictory in that I have 112 markers that relate to Alzheimer’s – and some of them are good….really, really good.  Like this one:

Lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Higher good cholesterol. One copy of a longevity gene. This seems to raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Which gets me down to the bottom line personally:  My odds of making it to 100 are low –  less than 20% if I’m following the report correctly.  Since there’s still nuclear war on the timeline out in 2022-2024, hell, I’m in the home stretch.

BUT, knowing what’s in the report has helped me to clarify my relationship with the bag of skin and bones that the “MOG” (mind of George) currently inhabits:

You see, the DNA is like having your own “internal baseball team.”  You’ve got some very good players  (anything in the report with a green margin around it, or saying things like “rs3851179(A;G) — 0.85x decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease” is good)..

But, you also have (on your DNA team) some players who are very bad.  Those are the DNA sequences with the red borders around them.

Every morning when your feet hit the floor, the World Series of Life (inside, at the DNA level) begins.

This morning, I’ll have bacon, eggs, and fried potatoes (in coconut oil!).

One of our bad DNA players comes to bat:

1.5x increased risk for CAD 1.5x higher risk for coronary artery disease”

It’s a swing and a miss!  Next batter?  Ah, one of our good ones…

0.94 decreased risk for coronary heart disease”

Waffle for dessert?

As it turns out, there are more “bad players” on the coronary artery disease team than there are good ones…welcome to being a northern European male, huh?

This may all sound silly, but it’s how your food, nutrition, rest – and in the case of Alzheimer’s prevention – even the time you load on B vitamins and melatonin that matters.

So is it worth $110 bucks?  Oh yeah, I think so because there’s more to the report.  For example, you get (up to) several pages of how you genetically are expected to react to various medications:

There are several pages which will be printed off for my doctor to ponder.  Since my doctor is younger than me, I expect my medication reactions ought to be something he’d want to have in file.

That way, at age 93, or so, when I’m wheeled into the hospital with coronary issues, my doc will be able to say to the cardiologist “Yes, we expected something like this…”

To which, the cardiologist would ask “What did he eat today?”

Said something about bacon and eggs and DNA Baseball that didn’t make sense.  May have Alzheimer’s…”

Or, an oncoming car on a county road with a drunk driver at the wheel could take me out.  Or, lightning while I’m cranking down the ham radio tower…. High voltage shock from a linear amplifier when not “fully present” mentally while working on one?

Risks are everywhere.  And one day, one of them, will get me. So far, I’ve beaten auto risks, flying/pilot risks, motorcycle risks, offshore sailing risks…see the point?

Yes, it was worth the $110 bucks.  It doesn’t change the fact we’re all going to die.  But, it does narrow our “medical suspect list” a bit and helps make informed lifestyle decisions.

OK, so DNA Baseball is about to get underway over at the house.  Time to park the keyboard.  Someone out in rural east Texas is probably already drunk.  Trade war becomes depression becomes war with China by 2024….so, uh, yeah….let’s keep this all in context.

Strip of bacon?

Write when you get rich<

Global Whating?

Cool summer comin’ seems to us.  NOAA Solar Cycle Progression hints that way:  The Sun’s output has gone into sleep mode.  As it cools, sunspots stop happening as often.  Guess what?

There has already been some discussion in the scientific community about…

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…the possibility of another Maunder Minimum.

So not only is the sun going to sleep, but a good deal of “man-caused climate change” has been outed as shear statistical falsehood recently when actual NOAA weather records from decades past were compared with modern times (and it was shown the old data was adjusted down to building the warming narrative, but we now face the possibility suggested by Robert Felix in his 1999 book “Not by Fire but by Ice: Discover What Killed the Dinosaurs…and Why It Could Soon Kill Us.”

We note that while the “UN food agency urges ‘agroecology’ to fight famine,” that doesn’t grow anything.  You can’t talk tummies full.

Oh, sure, the (easily distracted and highly agendized) mainstream media do cover the topic now and then, but we see Solar Cycle Progression as the key data driving our future.  But instead, we see news summaries like “Syria, North Korea, ‘Mean Girls’: Your Monday Briefing.”

Reality Check:

Let’s assume you visit UrbanSurvival for a little deeper-thinking than the webmaze of crap.

Ask which news is most important (and actionable) personally:  Getting set for famine (and the running out of resources in general), or worrying about:

  • A war in Syria which is likely driven by oil and gas pipeline plans, defense spending, and spheres of influence that you or I can do nothing about,  Or…
  • North Korea talks which will likely be held because they don’t want to be bombed back into the stone age.  But again, it doesn’t matter to your, or me, since forces no longer responsive to the electorate are running the show.  (You know, politically accountability ends on election day, right?).  Or…
  • A 2004 movie adapted as comedy and opening on Broadway which is (driving) 1,549.7 miles from here, plus or minus a pee stop.

Point is, in our world (reality) There are steps we can take every day to work on the coming global food crisis if the Sun does indeed stay blinked out as it did with the Maunder Minimum.  Which matters because?

“The Maunder Minimum roughly coincided with the middle part of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America experienced colder than average temperatures. Whether there is a causal relationship, however, is still controversial.[13] Research at the Technical University of Denmark and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has linked large solar eruptions to changes in the Earth’s cloud cover and clouds are known to affect global temperatures.[14] The current best hypothesis for the cause of the Little Ice Age is that it was the result of volcanic action.[15][16] The onset of the Little Ice Age also occurred well before the beginning of the Maunder minimum.”

We noted temperatures here this weekend into the mid 30’s.  While climate bull-sh*tters (with their jiggered-data and wet dreams of a global climate tax are hyping the daylights out of “has to get cold to get hot” (and other pap), we defer to the BBC headline:  “Big increase in Antarctic snowfall.”

Shoot-damn, there goes the narrative.  But we can still salvage it.  All we need is millions more in grant money (which will only be doled out ONLY to scientists who support “climate change” – and we’ll see the Global Panic Tax, yet.

DMR Rolls On

Short for Digital Mob Rule.

Facebook, Twitter, and generally ALL social media, in our view, have been (possibly illegally) manipulating the politics of America down the “victim” “#metoo” and all the rest of the runaway narcissism path.

Any of these social moguls have backup citizenship in other countries, by chance?  With enough dough, you can be a citizen of almost anywhere.

Inciting Mob Rule?  Howzat work?  Easy!

This is done by silencing opposition.  Go read the story of how censorship and DIGITAL MOB RULE was promoted by Social(ista) Media:  “‘Unsafe to the community’: Facebook takes on pro-Trump Diamond and Silk.”

As Facebook sends out first notices this week to 87-million users who may have been scraped, there’s a report the outfit could face record fines.  Couldn’t happen to a….

Not to gloat about calling it right in our December 14, 2013 Peoplenomics piece ” As we look ahead, we’re troubled by the increasing number of “time-circular” business plans emergent in social media” But….

If you haven’t figured it out yet:  Facebook uses the same basic marketing plan as crack and heroin dealers.  Give it away FREE until everyone is hooked.  Then charge up the ying-yang and watch crime soar.

Crime in social?  Mean like scraping and personal information collection?  Government getting data?  See the data here.

If you aren’t following, find a dumber website…something you can grasp.

That and the marketing of alternative lifestyles…to kids. Another outcome from Digital Mob Rule.  Look here for an example, lol.


The Mob is Digital!!!  Run for your sanity!

The Week Ahead

The Boring Bounce today.  Futures are up.

Producer prices and small business optimism tomorrow.

Wednesday consumer prices.  Import – Export data Thursday and some retailers report.

Friday, consumer sentiment…but we all know it’s not too bad just from looking at the Help Wanted ads.

Outlaw Cutlery!

I’ve joked about registering cutlery in the distant past…it’s where DMR has to go after attacking guns.  But here we go:  “London’s Mayor Declares Intense New ‘Knife Control’ Policies To Stop Epidemic Of Stabbings.

Stand by for registration of baseball bats and a 24-hour wait at Tractor Supply to be cleared to buy short lengths of chain.

Digital Mob Rule!  “To the Clickercades, comrades!”

Peoplenomics Reader Note:

China eyes Yuan devaluation as tool in trade war.”

But, as we suggested recently, they could go the other way and lead a global de facto devaluation of the US dollar.  With our trade imbalance, we would very quickly spend ourselves in hyperinflation.

That’s it!

Off to work on my next book and run vacuum hose in the shop.  If it ever warms up from all this “climate change.”

Moron the ‘morrow, then….  Dow futures up 150… but both our “best case” model (replaying the left side run-up of 1929 and the “worse case” (in collapse now, just not feeling it hard, yet) argue that today should be a net negative for the market.  4% down in the historic line-up, so look for real big BAD NEWS as a possibility in mid-session today.

I might go short after the “amateur hour” runs things up a ways… TTFN.

Coping: With the Rites of Spring

There are lots of ’em.  Some show up in the news, others don’t.  Around here, we’ve been working through the list and it’s a prodigious one.

Before we get into the Rites themselves, a book recommendation.  Might help you with all the “Springly Chores.”  Dominic Mann’s book Self-Discipline: How to Develop the Mindset, Mental Toughness and Self-Discipline of a U.S. Navy SEAL.

May seem like an odd opening to the Rites of Spring, but there are several very valuable mind-set items in this book that are worth holding onto.  Oh, and it’s a compact, quick read.  And we’re ALL about those.

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The first benefit of the book is I think it helped Elaine understand me better.  The first rule is “You’re in charge of Everything.”

My ex-SF bro-in-law was over this week and he concurred.  “No complaints and no excuses…ever.” 

How many people do you know like that?  Especially under 40 and not having had military service?

To be sure, everyone I know accuses me of being a control-freak – which is all true, of course.  But I have never been accused of not getting things done, on time, generally on-budget, and to specifications.

Problem in the world today is that in what is increasingly a feminized world, being an in-charge man is not a worthy goal, so much.  Ah, but being an in-charge woman?  Much more vogue. Equality just can’t seem to find the middle.  (This part isn’t in Mann’s book…but in my view, kick-ass people (sex doesn’t matter) just do what my buddy Gaye and I called MSH (make shit happen).  A term we coined in 1973 or 74…been  a while.

Elaine now understands that although I was never in anything more elite than accelerated math classes in my life, the being in charge part does form a cornerstone me, the MSH person.  And it ain’t all bad.  Tax returns say so…

Back on track: one of the other points in Mann’s book is to have big goals and break it down into bite-sized chunks.

This is useful stuff to have in mind when the Rites of Spring are due.

There are so damn many Rites, it’s hard to keep track of ’em all.

Wednesday was a good day.  Bates got the lawn mower fired up while I was losing a small fortune to the market turn.  But that set off the Spring Rite of Tree Trimming.

You see, one of our three on-ramps to the net is ViaSat and if the NRTC can ever figure out how to let the local electric co-op put customers into the computer…  Still, we had 10 MB down and 2 or 3 up…until this week.

What had changed?  The Trees Sprouted.  Huge leaves and these soak up signal (and microwave frequencies) like crazy.  So, if you have an old over-the-air (*but it’s free!) television antenna, look around for leaves.  Want more signal?  Call Bates-Bunyan.

Trimming the fence line used to be a pain, but I got that one licked now.  I have this $25 weed burner from Harbor Fright (sic) that works dandy.  I take a 20-pound jug of propane from the collection (country people never run out) and bungee the tank onto my $19.95 hand truck.  A hand truck, like a good marriage should last for life.  The one purchased back in 2004 at the local Tractor Supply store is still working great.  Hand trucks are a godsend to the serious homeowner with designs on changing everything.

The fence lines look sharp as a tack, now.  And I evened-up the driveway edges a bit too.  E’s convinced I’m a  pyromaniac, but the reason is I’m a fireman’s son…As such, you learn how to use fire.  Everything from soldering / sweating copper to welding and up.

The difference between  a pryo and a fireman (I assume you know this?) is simple:  The pryo has his sexual jollies during the fire.  The fireman waits to get home and it has nothing to do with fire.  Lest you doubt that there are people who can get sexually “off” on fires, have a beer or two with an arson investigator, sometime.

Face it:  Is getting off on fire any weirder than bestiality porn?  But again, I digress.

The calendar has been duly marked with the first day of the lawn needing mowing.  It’s a week later than last year.  Cool spring so far.

With Easter out of the way, we are now ready for another Rite of Spring. Easter’s timing is somewhat borrowed from wiccan spring and pagan festivals and such.

In more modern times, people from protestant states (Washington was…once upon a…) Easter was so important that the State opens the lowland trout season the week after Easter.

Seems to many of the men were taking off to go fishing, rather than church on Easter Sunday, that the religious community lobbied to have the State “support” their agenda.  Look at the calendar, Easter, and when trout season opens.  Some states make it two weeks after Easter….

Sports of other kinds are encroaching on Easter weekend’s. now.  Take the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio, for example.  With this, unlike a full day of lake fishing, people could still go to church and pray (for Villanova?) and get home in time to see whether prayer worked.

Might have been football that started spinning holidays into commercial festivals.  Football and turkey…and we’ve gone down hill from there.  Interesting measure of who we are/is/were/gonna-be as a country.

Bugs are starting to come out.  Oh, boy.  Scooter, our bug guy, will be by in coming weeks to get the fresh ones.

The shop has had its first dose of clove oil around the entrances.  The trick is that watered down clove oil (2:1 in water) with a Dollar Store sprayer tends to keep mud wasps away.  I’ve got another of experiments in bug death pending, but don’t let on to PETA.

Speaking of our animal friends, Elaine’s got the first jugs of sugar water out for the humming birds. Four of them were dog-fighting over dinner last night.  The migration path is through this part of Texas, so we can have clouds of the humming birds darting and dashing about.

Another sign of spring is Zeus the Cat.  He’s moved from begging to get into the house to wanting out now.  His two favorite hunting spot?  One is under a huge bush at the storage building, the other is under the bushes that hem-in the screen porch.

The birds will be having their hatchlings in not too long.  Zeus, the patient hunter, will be the main incentive for new chicks to get their flying skills right – the first time.

Zeus, who spent his youth as a feral cat, so from now to October, between the bugs in the forest and slow critters, we don’t worry about him finding food.

Everyone has their own spin on Rites of Spring.  His is eating an occasional black toad.  Afterwards,  he’s nuts.  Ayatoader journey, we think.  That and the mushrooms which will be along shortly…

Another Rite is the shop.

It’s still evolving (along the workstation discussion Monday).  Each of the “stations” has to get air to it, and 50-foot coiled hoses and the compressor manifold will be finished this weekend.

After that, the dust collection system will be installed. I wear a  filter/mask now, but when the dust collector is in, it will be nice and a lot quicker come clean-up time.

Since no one really works on Friday, mornings like this are a fine time to sit down with a yellow pad and make up the “wish list” for yourself.  Under cover of the Rites of Spring (which includes the weed and feed for the lawn in a few weeks, I’m still trying to find a way to sneak the pilot arc plasma cutter into the budget.  Might not make it, but it won’t be for a lack of effort…

Last, but not least, the annual spring into summer change is happening on the ham bands now.  Worked into France (with old-fashioned Morse code) Thursday.  Great signals on 20-meters.  But summer, 20-meters should be back to excellent conditions.  In the Winter months, it’s typically open only a few hours a day – if that – depending where we are in the solar cycle.

Time now for more coffee while we await the jobs report and the open.  All the while pondering “How do blue jays and cardinals fly while gestating an egg?  I wonder if anyone has studied the change in performance at different density altitudes…”

Seems one Rite of Spring here is daydreaming.

Write when you get rich,

Coping: Men & Machines vs. Men & Computers

There’s a story (and song done most notably by Harry Belafonte) about John Henry.  It’s where our discussion of 3D printing this morning springs from…

Song dates back to the 1870’s and the building of a mile-long tunnel for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.  Big Bend tunnel, also called the Great Bend Tunnel.

John Henry, says legend, swung a mighty hammer –  and in a race with a steam-powered Machine?  Well, you see, that’s one of the great debates in this this stuff called “making.”  Recently, we talked about my all hand-made paper towel holder  (last week) but it has now been bettered by reader Larry R.  And a machine…  Here’s how he did it…

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Came as an email – shared with his kind permission:

Maybe it wasn’t really a challenge, but I did want to see how my techniques compare to yours.

A few years ago (pre-retirement) I was thinking of setting up a typical shop, but funds and space were limited.  Then I found 3D printing.  The choice was obvious – one device to replace a room full of equipment.  Sure, I’m limited to plastic, but that is fine for the majority of my projects.

Anyway, here’s the paper towel holder I made recently.

?I know you are interested in the numbers.


  • Finding and downloading the design:  10 minutes

I used this one:

  • Setup and machine startup: ~55 minutes  (3 parts = 3 cycles)

This includes a fat finger mistake on part #2 that required a restart.

Call it ~15 minutes labor per cycle.

If this was for production I’d print all three parts at once, reducing my labor time.

Machine Time:

  • ~12 hours

Material cost:

  • ~$3

Electricity cost:

  • ~$0.36 (est)

You have me beat on these numbers, BUT…

My front end costs were quite low.

  • The printer was $600 (used)
    Add a little for repairs.
  • The laptop was $50 (used)
  • All in, I’m about $700.

What value to you put on space?

This setup fits on a small desk.

Supplies fit in the drawers.

No, I won’t be making furniture but this works well for me.

Thanks for the idea to run this comparison.

Thanks also for your work on Urbansurvival.  It is the most enjoyable of my few daily reads.


I gotta tell you, that’s the kind of reader contribution (and photos!) we love around here.

Anyone can spout off (especially academics) but this is a front-line report on some first-class experience.  From a real maker.

This really got me to thinking about “what is the right approach” to making these days?

Seems to be a matter of what more than anything.  If I was making smaller items, no question, 3D printer is the way to go.  But they do have limitations to them.

For example, I have a new ham radio (the ubitx HF radio transceiver) I mentioned some time back.  There’s a fellow out in California, I think it was, who for $27-bucks would custom print a front and back panel for a standard equipment box.

Mine were done, alright, but if you look closely, you can see the granularity of the printing if you zoom-in close.

This is where we get into a LONG discussion about all the trade-off in the design process.  I’m pretty sure reader Larry’s machine is more dialed in, but the material graininess of 3D printing is still something of an issue.

On the other hand, it was worth it for me to print (and paint) my front panels because the marketing and cutting of plastic is not one of my strongest skills.

Also, the guy on eBay is a pioneer on the front of the “custom mass manufacturing movement” that has really been spearheaded by people like my friend Jim Lewis of which literally invented the space.  Go there, download their software,. and they will made anything you need.  Need a milled stainless steel part?  Coming right up…

All of these new – and exciting techniques are differentiated in a number of ways.  Some emachineshop orders can take a while (weeks) while the home shop or 3D printer is a “right now” deal.

On the other hand, the emachineshop parts will be to spec.  So will the 3D printer outputs, but unless you have access to a high-end metal-printing machine (oil patch, anyone?) forgetaboutit. Doing it at home?  Don’t know how good my milling of stainless would be on my Harbor Fright (sic) mill/drill platform, but I assure you it would take oodles of set-up time if I were to need closer than 50-thousandths.

Larry’s right on with space, too.  My shop is expansive.  In all, there’s 45 feet of counters, and that’s NOT counting the tops of tool roll-arounds or the table saw (which also has a wood cover for projects).  But, when you have 1.25-million square feet of land to play with and the shop/office is 40X40 to begin with, there’s no real size constraints.

On the other hand, if you don’t have all the room on Earth, then Larry’s going to be able to do a lot more “making stuff” because there’s just no way to put a machine shop in a desk in the rec room.  3D printer?  Sure, you betcha.

Some of “the call” depends on the kind of world you want to prep for.  In one version of the world, the post apocalyptic one-second-after EMP world, the no microprocessor tools will have incredible value.  Especially, if there is solar (protected with transient protectors) to run it.

On the other hand, banking of the End Times has been a bad bet for 2,000 years (so far) and if silly humans keep grinding ahead, then Larry’s approach is way smarter than mine.

Best option?  (lowest cost, highest return)?

Get to know someone like Larry – and some one like me.  Then if you ever need something, for a few bucks we’ll be glad to help…time and other commitments notwithstanding/.

Best part of that option?

Doesn’t require any upfront cost in time or equipment.  And that leaves more “treadmill time” to plot how to make more money,  lol…

Write when you get rich (or “make” it)

Making: A One-Hour Shoeshine Box

Saturday – Peoplenomics done.  Good week in the market.  Time to make something.

My eye has come to rest on the Hangerworld Premium Cedar Wood Shoe Shine Care Box Kit with Foot Rest while cruising shoe polish boxes on Amazon.

Fine unit.  But, at $29.95, I wondered “What could I make in under an hour from scrap materials on hand?  My times gotta be worth $30 an hour, even on weekends….”

(Continues below)


Off to the well-appointed (but occasionally messy) shop.

As long-time readers know, there is very little to actually “making” anything.

That’s because in our process-oriented view of the World, there are only a few simple operations involved.  Namely?


This part was spread out over a day, or so.  Started when I wrote up how good Lincoln shoe polish was and how people today have mostly become absolute slobs.

But then the plan evolved.  This is what treadmill and weight machine time is good for.

It’s my observation that you can learn a tremendous amount about someone’s likelihood of success in life by going to the gym with ’em.   If they get on the machines and start talking “gossip and filler” (which includes anything having to do with social media) the person is a loser who will never amount to much.

On the other hand, if the person gets on the machine and has a definite purpose to their workout, that is the mark of a person who will be successful, no matter what obstacles are ahead.

On a business trip, some years back (I was in my early 60’s) the COO suggested we begin the day’s work at the hotel workout center.

I arrived a few minutes after him…he was already into his half-hour of 3.5 mile per hour walking.   Point:  He was watching an assortment of news channels – flipping through the ones he was interested in for the headlines and then  the financial channels for anything he felt was near worthy of his time.

As I got on the machine, I had my yellow pad at the ready.  Over the next 20 minutes of walking we mapped out our approach to a client sales meeting.  By the time we were done with the buffet, I had started to modify the PowerPoint and supporting linked spreadsheets to drive the meeting, just so….

That’s a prime example of how many people waste their lives.

RATHER than get on a machine with some goal in mind, they wander off into useless.

Nowadays, out of corporate life, I have given up the yellow pad and use the Alexa app ion the Echo Dots (2nd Generation) – Black, that have sprung up around the home, office, shop, and gym.  I use the note-tasking, list-making, and reminder functions.

Not to dig in too deeply here, except to pass on a point.

If you get on a machine with the idea “What do I want to do today to really move my life forward?” it will dramatically improve the quality of your work-out.  Those muscles will work all by themselves (magic!) but the brain doesn’t have enough to do.

And when you run out of planning?  I’ve got Brian Tracy’s CD series on “The Luck Factor” tee’d up in case there’s nothing worth spending “PPC’s”  (personal processor clicks) on for that session.  (Afternoon workouts after 8-10 hours in the office tend to be more input-oriented.)

To wrap up, plans of Ure are often hatched as in-gym “out of body experiences.”

In the end, the “plan” would kill many birds:  Save money, get my shoe polish box essentially free, enjoy using the shop tools, and oh, yeah…write an article.”  A “four-fer.”


Stack up what I wanted in the box and measure it.  This is how big the box oughta be…

You know, this being a home handy-bastard-stuff isn’t so hard, after all.

The truly retentive would have spreadsheets indicating volume of the box in cubic inches at this point, but me?  Hell no, this is a one-hour project.


Go to the home scrap lumber assortment:

“Victim Boards”  (cellulose offerings to the saws) are then walked thru the various machines processes.

  1. Cut to length on chop saw.
  2. Turn on air compressor for nailer in a minute.
  3. Sand everything to taste on the belt/disk sander


  1. Assemble with glue and nailer
  2. Turn off compressor.

Done with the hard part.

Put wood filler in seams and nail holes to seal well.

Set aside to dry.  30 minutes gone by.

I’ll get back to it Sunday.


  1. A bit of touch-up on the belt sander (for the filler).
  2. A few spots with the palm orbital sander.
  3. Cover dusty bench with paint paper.
  4. Wipe down with turpentine rag as a tack cloth.
  5. Apply whatever’s old and aging as a finish. Cabot’s Spar Varnish, gloss, gives a nice warm look to it.

Behold the one-hour shoeshine box!

After a day and overnight of drying, I will invade Elaine’s collection of stick-on furniture pads stickies for its feet and it will be complete.

For my 75th birthday, I made a note in Outlook to hit it with the palm sander and lay two or three more coats of spare varnish on it.  Want it to cure good and six years ought to about do it.  Now let’s see if Outlook still works…

For the 80th birthday, I will add a name plate.  That’s in case by that age my memory is that bad.

Project’s done.   Local materials, fun doing it, and (effectively) made $37 per hour – which is what I’d need to make pre-tax to net what the Amazon product would cost.

And both would get here in two-days.

Now, if only everything else in Life ran this smoothly, it would be a much happier world.

The Box is a Metaphor

About here, some of our readers will be saying “Gee, George, was a simple (verging on dumb) project – why even bother?”

Because, you dolt, it’s a metaphor.  Everything we set off to accomplish in life runs by the same set of rules.

Plan, measure, cut, assemble. finish….the box only ended up with 15 parts.  (4 feet, 4 top inserts, bottom, 4 sides, top, and handle.)  For a computer or ham radio, just add more parts to the count.  This is really about the process – that’s what people don’t fully appreciate.

One of these days, a more complicated project…but today’s point?

Process rules.

Software Quest

I have a particular economic modeling problem I’m thinking on that would be much easier to deal with in an antiquated product called Javelin.  If you have a copy of Javelin Plus 3.5, and are willing to part with it, please let me know how and how much.  I found Javelin Plus 1.0…and Plus 3.1

The product was only around a short while in the 1987-1988 period.  If your memory of the Halt & Catch Fire days is dim…

Unlike models in a spreadsheet, Javelin models are built on objects called variables, not on data in cells of a report. For example, a time series, or any variable, is an object in itself, not a collection of cells which happen to appear in a row or column. Variables have many attributes, including complete awareness of their connections to all other variables, data references, and text and image notes. Calculations are performed on these objects, as opposed to a range of cells, so adding two time series automatically aligns them in calendar time, or in a user-defined time frame.

A version of the product was sold through about 1994…  You could also draw a curve and Javelin would “make-up” the data for you.  That’s what I want it for.  I draw the curve, Javelin would back-fill with data, and then I can extract the functions necessary without breaking a sweat.  Only got so many processor clicks left in the old brain, right?  (No, but go with me on this…)

This is an oddity on the side…Immediately upon realizing this was really the “right tool” for my problem, it brought back memories of the John Titor story.  He’s the supposed time traveler who posted for a while on the net after coming back to this timeline to get a specific IBM computer (or part of one).

Like Boeing Calc – which pre-dated the multisheet linking in Excel, there was some software from “back in the day” that is still better at general problem-solving that the head-down, stuck in stupid social mode we’ve descended to as a culture.

The Titor post only had so much credibility with me…until I figured I could use Javelin most effectively and then?  Well, maybe that John Titor/IBM parts story ain’t so “out there” after all…

Write when you get rich,

Coping: The National Toilet Paper Survey

Does which way the toilet paper comes off the roll define your income?

About 10-years ago, we did an information survey and it seemed that when the paper comes off the front of the roll, rather than the back, that there’s a weak association with higher household income.  Or, at least there was when we asked back in 2,000-something or other.

(Continues below)


The question came up again because one of our astute readers noticed that in my shop, the paper towels come from the back noyt the front.

I mean, I totally get the logic:  If you have to hold the dispenser from letting the towels spin, that hand will contaminate the otherwise clean next towel.

Same theory (after a fashion) holds with toilet paper.

The flip-side is that when I was raised, it was an article of housekeeping that either a) the toilet paper can down behind (ahem…) thus hiding the visual clutter of what might be a ragged edge.

Or, b) if you do the “paper over front” then at each use, you put a couple of folds in so the paper has a more strack, fnished, designer-look to it.

Going further (as my decorating skills improved) things like an occasional bow around the spare roll happened.  Butt then, that didn’t give a sufficient ROI, so that idea was eventually flushed.

There are a ton of questions about toilet paper – and I suspect the number of economists probing this data is limited.  After all, anyone with a good stats background can get a climate grant and anyone who can make money is off trading.  Which leaves only a handful of people like me to flush out the important stuff.

So here’s the survey:  Copy and past into a comment form below and sent it along.  Ready?

  1. Does your toilet paper roll off the front  or back of the roll?
  2. What is your more or less honest household income (in 000’s so 40 would be $40,00-0)  $_______
  3. When you get toilet paper ready to use, are you a folder or a clumper?

Regular TP (single ply, cheap) or butt-friendly 2-ply, quilted, woven, scented, upscale butt-treats?

This  may seem incredibly stupid, but(t) here’s the thing:

In business, every since Frederick Winslow Taylor did the original time-motion studies in the late 1800’s, people in management science have been into measuring everything looking mainly for hidden variables.

People who go to the bathroom more than x,xxx times per day may not be serious workers, for example.  Or, sales people with coke habits may be exceptional at sales until they get busted.

As a professional manager you learn to collect all kinds of data, no matter how rude or politically-incorrect.  We don’t get a (well, you know)…we’re only interested in getting to the bottom of things in any case.  We’ll roll-up the data as its flushed out.

Thank you for participating.

Don’t forget to wash Ure hands..

Spring Blows

This being the first day of Spring, it’s also when the Tornado season lights up here in the flat-spot of fly-over country.

With our usual advisory to hit a few tornado safety sites, if you weren’t raised on the plains, we went looking for some trends on Tornado frequency.  And sure enough…not only do they have running total data but ALSO an inflation-adjustment!

It took me about 7-hours Monday to understand their idea of inflation is the over-reporting of a single tornado.  (Just kidding, I’m not that stupid.  It was only 4-1/2 hours…)

Notwithstanding the comments of Al Blowhard on Climate, there is some concern about how the alarmists will fare through the upcoming solar minimum.

I mean it’s going to be a terrible time – solar minimum, actual data coming in colder and colder requiring bigger and bigger fudging…why, I almost feel sorry for them!

OK, I’m over it.

Reality on climate:  Humans still spew significantly less than volcanoes…so let’s find a way to turn down the frequency, fury, amplitude, magma-tude *(a word of our own invention, it’s available for rent, write for details) as well as Sulphur dioxide emissions from volcanoes.  Oh, plus all than damned ash…

Here at Olde Man Labs our crack-science study group has come up with a low-cost way to ease both global climate change AND reduce the natural level of emissions.  They call it?

Human Sacrifice to Pele.

I know, you’re thinking “Butt, that was back in the time of savages and uncivilized people…it would never fly in today’s world.

Yah think?

Look at social media, politics, and finance.  You call us better?

Beside, human sacrifice to volcanoes required no permits or impact statements…it gets grandfathered in.

Democrats and anarchists to the front of the line!…Pele’s awaits  your personal contribution to climate change reduction!  Schumer to the high board!

Write when you get rich (or your coating of basalt cools).  (Hmmm…where’d I put my meds?)