Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Bitchin' Dave's newsletter - July 25


July 25, 2023

Insights, news, ramblings, and other serious nonsense from Dave 
Dave’s Musings
There is much chatter about “Bud Light stock tanking” due to the controversy about the beer company sending some special cans to a trans person. This has come up again recently; the governor of Florida has threatened to sue Bud Light over the controversy because … reasons!

The problems I have with the whole notion are (1) what childish behavior to even regurgitate such nonsense, (2) there is a bunch of misunderstanding of stock and the ownership of Bud Light (Anheuser Busch was bought by INBEV some years ago and they also own many other brands), and (3) there’s something weird going on. 

The beer was given to the personality on April 1st. The stock did in fact go down by almost 20% - but not until May 31st (two months later!), and has since recovered to just a bit over 10% down. 

Is this due to the public outrage? Or is this another case of GameStop and the Robin Hood effect?

Or is the shift in stock price not even related?

That gap in time does make me wonder what is going on….


A few months ago, SpaceX attempted a suborbital flight with "Starship" - one of the largest rockets we have ever conceived - using 33 engines. It was spectacular, but ultimately a failure as it pitched out of control, and it also destroyed the launch site.

Undeterred, the company upgraded the launch pad, and fixed a few issues with the rockets themselves. And now they are getting ready for another test.

Except that they still need FAA approval - which is going to be a process. But stay tuned. It will happen eventually.

Researchers have developed a way to cool the air using no electricity!

The concept is to use "radiative cooling, thermal insulation, and evaporative cooling" - essentially using solar rays to cause evaporation in what you might think of as an igloo cooler.

Its a very smart, and fundamentally simple design that could provide a low cost alternative in places where the power grid isn't designed to be rapidly expanded in a warming world.

Zero electricity cooling

The Disney brand is struggling, and their stock is not where analysts think it should be.

The problem started during the the pandemic; Disney needed to borrow heavily to keep themselves solvent.  Now they have to repay that, while they struggle to grow and while they are reporting losses in most business units, for a lot of reasons. (Though not “because of woke” whatever that means)  

Their problems were compounded by Bob Iger not really thinking about succession planning, and leaving Bob Chapek to take over. Chapek made decisions that probably weren't in the best-long term interests of the company.

Now Iger is back to clean up the mess he made.  The Motely Fool notes a quote from Warren Buffet: "When a manager with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, the reputation of the business remains intact."  Which suggests that maybe Iger is not the answer.

But the Disney board thinks he is, because they did extend Iger's contract, and have high hopes that all of the properties that they own will pay dividends in the long run.

It may seem obvious, but simply painting things white can have a cooling effect.

In Los Angeles, the Cool Community Project added reflective coatings to surfaces, and tested the results. And they showed that this did reduce the ambient temperature!

You can read more here: Cool Community Project (Forbes)

And meanwhile Purdue University has created an ultra white color that they say can get the cooling effect of 10KW when painted on 1,000 square feet. That would go a long way to reducing the need for AC.

You can read more here: Purdue press release

Its relatively simple advances like these that will change the world. 

One Little Spark … 

… for your imagination

Florida is a leader in the (absurd) anti-immigration space, in spite of the non-citizens making up only about 8% of the population, and only a small portion are what might be considered “illegal” (the majority have green cards, or temporary protection status)… and also in spite of Florida being the place where Cuban refugees settled (remember the wet foot/dry foot policy?). 

Yet, among the laundry list of laws that Florida passed was one that requires various establishments verify citizenship status in order to provide services. 

I recently had an appointment at the hospital, and a new question they asked was whether you are a citizen - because if you are not, they can only provide services under very specific circumstances. How very un-American. 

The state also considers drivers licenses issued in states that offer them to non citizens to be invalid in the state of Florida. Meaning if you have a license from about a dozen states, you are not legally allowed to drive in Florida because you don’t have a valid license. That’s not okay. 

There is also a law that people from certain countries (China, Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela among them) are NOT ALLOWED to purchase property in Florida unless they can prove citizenship. 

And of course the legislature authorized more “migrant flights” to increase the political theater. Gee. Maybe that money could be used to upgrade school facilities. Or to, I don’t know, go to services that benefit the citizenry? 

This state gets dumber by the minute and it singles out people who are immigrants to our great nation. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” not so much. 

Dave’s latest video

I took a road trip up to Disney World in my Model Y, which has a longer range than my Model 3.... I talk about the trip, and how it was kind of the same as taking the shorter range vehicle.


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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Bitchin' Dave's Newsletter - July 18


July 18, 2023

Insights, news, ramblings, and other serious nonsense from Dave 
Dave’s Musings
In an interesting twist, the GOP is pivoting from outright climate change denial, to something more nuanced. But don't be fooled. It still doesn't address the underlying causes related to climate change, and has many gifts to corporations that are at the forefront of climate change.

The currently stated goals are:
  1. to have more US oil and gas production because "its cleaner than foreign sources" and would "lower energy costs" (which are dubious statements), but does nothing for the environment nor does it actually reduce consumption
  2. to plant "a trillion trees" which sounds noble, but that number would cover the entire US; the threat of wildfires goes up (possibly exacerbating the climate situation); and these trees would be made available to the logging industry.
  3. to allow for mining of materials used in electronics, and electric vehicles. The questions are where and how? This would have to be carefully managed.
Which means we still have a long way to go. But I will accept the baby steps, and hold out hope that maybe someday soon, we could find some middle ground, and actually go further than this.
Quick correction: last week, I noted the resumption of my podcast, but I mistakenly provided a link to the LAist, which I wanted to share this week. The correct link for my podcast (Just What Do You Think You're Doing Dave?) is this: https://anchor.fm/david473

I've been listening to a podcast series from the LAist called "Blood, Sweat, & Rockets" which is a look back at the early pioneers in rocketry.

Its an intriguing look at the men (and even a few unheralded women) who helped push us into the rocket age through experimentation, bravado, and a lot of luck.

And it deals with their personal lives - some of which is decidedly controversial.

I highly recommend giving it a listen.

Blood, Sweat, and Rockets on Pocket Casts

Tesla is in the process of acquiring a small company called Wiferion.

Wiferion's niche in the market is that they have developed a method to provide wireless charging to batteries.

They do this using inductive charging; in broad terms, they create a magnetic field that is converted into electricity that charges the battery.

This could be a "game changer" where you park your car over a mat and it charges without having to plug in.

In the words of Rebecca Tinucci (director of charging at Tesla) this would "do cool s**t"

An analyst for Needham (an investment banking firm) by the name of Laura Martin posited that Disney will be acquired by Apple over the next few years.

This is a rumor we've heard bandied about pretty much since Bob Iger retired, and became more prominent when he came back. But her suggestion that it *will* happen is something new.

She cites Disney's park attendance woes, their recent box office flops, trouble with streaming numbers, and sports cuts among the possible reasons for such a move.

I have my doubts, but its an interesting thought. We'll see if anything comes of this.

There's a story (sadly, behind a paywall) at Fortune magazine about Motorola.

In the TL;DR sense, they dominated the market for two way radios. And then, they pioneered a cellphone that piggybacked off of it so you could use the radio network, instead of cell minutes, to communicate.

But in the new world we live in, they found a way to repackage and brand themselves as a provider of safety: a way for police and firefighters to communicate in a more modern way than 2-way radios.

Their success in this area again allows them to dominate.

Motorola's turnaround

One Little Spark … 

… for your imagination

Henry Rollins, who you may know as a Punk Rock icon, and member of the band Black Flag, defies what you may know about the Punk genre.  He currently is on tour talking about his experiences, his personal history, and about societal issues. (more on the tour at henryrollins.com)

A while ago, he gave a (longwinded) talk about gay marriage, which I found recently and thought was worth sharing.  Indeed, why does anyone oppose the idea?

Dave’s latest video

On this episode, I talk about how car companies are sending diagnostic information back to the car company - rather than leaving it in the car itself. This has led to new "Right to Repair" laws being created.


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Friday, July 14, 2023

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Bitchin' Dave's Newsletter July 11


July 11, 2023

Insights, news, ramblings, and other serious nonsense from Dave 
Dave’s Musings
Lots going on, so its been a some time between newsletters. My plan is to produce something weekly, but there may be some gaps here and there.

Anyway, here are some hot topics that have come up recently:
  • The Supreme Court finds itself at the center of controversy based on recent rulings, ethics questions, and what might be called "judicial activism"
  • The Tour de France started! For some reason, I find this to be one of the more intriguing events each year, and I pretty much have it on in the background every day during its month
On a related note, I am getting back into podcasting, to talk about topics of interest on a decidedly (for now) irregular schedule. I'm picking up with the "Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?" and recently shared my thoughts about the court, and last year talked about the Tour. Feel free to check it out:


There have been some recent articles about Voyager 1 & Voyager 2, which launched a few weeks apart (amusingly 2 launched first), in 1977.

No one anticipated they'd last for more than 40 years, and continue to transmit data. But they still do!

We've learned more about interstellar space and the universe than we could have ever imagined. And we still do.

You can read more about the missions here: https://www.space.com/17688-voyager-1.html

Nature always continues to astound. There were two scientific discoveries recently, that caught my attention.

The first was that an entirely new species was discovered: Miami Herald: New Species

The second was that scientists discovered a new material that they had never seen before:

Science Alert: new material

I find these to be amazing discoveries!

Over in Disney World, we see a number of reports of "thinner crowds during the summer."

And no one has a logical or rational explanation for it - there's a lot of speculation and innuendo about it.

The first question is whether this report is accurate. It seems like even some of the unbiased reports may be a little biased. And the second is, assuming it is true, what it means.

Set aside the stupid rhetoric and realize that

  1. Disney has made good on its promise of spreading crowds throughout the year,
  2. the price point is fairly high (and even the CEO admits it) which will keep some people away, and
  3. in a general sense, people have money saved up post-pandemic and want to travel. It's possible that Disney is not at the top of their list today.

There's a really cool visualization of working hours by country over here:

Visual Capitalist Working Hours

I love how they use graphics and a line graph to represent the data in a simple and easy-to-follow way.

One Little Spark … 

… for your imagination

Climate change is real, and a concern to us all.  I see no real harm in taking action.  I mean, heck, the budget for the US military was $877 billion (more than the next 10 countries COMBINED!).  Why not take a portion of that, say 5% and put it toward research and action?  

5% isn't much of that total, but is still $9 billion dollars. That would go a long way toward helping, and would maybe be a better use of our resources that continually spending on war, prevention of war, or weapons of war.

There are those who say climate change isn't real, or isn't important.  Here are some  cogent answers to some of these items.

Dave’s latest video

I've recently taken up hydroponics as a way to garden. I made a video about my getting started:


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