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01 January 2012


We Can Work Together

Sounds like you're channeling Bob Schieffer.
Michael A.

billy T

Reminds me years ago when Terry Bradshaw was asked on the eve of the Super Bowl what it would take to win the game. Terry answered "To score more points than the other team."

Russ Steele

Here is a prediction that will hold up in 2012, Blogs will continue to be important. The link below is to a PJ Media Video discussion between Glenn Reynolds at the Instapundit and Bill Whittle of PJ TV on the future of Blogs.


Todd Juvinall

Hey George maybe you know the answer to a question I have been thinking about for a while.

Since WW2, America has carried a huge defense burden in Europe which allowed them to have a very limited military. Is there any data to see how much money they saved by having us protect them? Since they are broke I was wondering how the left in our country can make any claims the military expenditures we make for ourselves impacts our deficit and debt as they claim.

George Rebane

ToddJ 1225pm - Europe shirking its own defense needs because of America's willingness to take up the slack is a much covered topic on these pages. It takes about $700B annually to fund our military (this excludes mid-east wars) which arguably maintains world order. Since the EU's population is now about 515M, compared to our 310M, its pro-rata share for such maintenance would come to about $437B. We spend 4.5% of our GDP on defense, the EU spends 1.63% or about $300B. Their military spending is contributing very little to world order, while ours is essentially shouldering the entire burden.

The problem with the EU's stepping up to the plate is that 1) Russia would feel threatened and do dumb things, and 2) unless integrated, the enhanced EU military spending would not provide the same bang per buck for security that does America's spending. Brussels is about as effective as the UN in making timely and correct decisions on anything (including the time of day). Until Europe becomes truly integrated politically, their militaries will remain marginal contributors to world peace.

Have they been getting a free ride in the interval? You bet, big time. And even with those savings, their socialism is an abject and crumbling failure as it now runs out of OPM.

Todd Juvinall

George, thanks. Your last paragraph was what I was thinking. Even with the trillions we spent since WW2 which allowed them to spend their dough on socialist programs, they have failed. The American people should be shown this over and over so maybe they will get it. Maybe it is time for us to charge the EU a prorata share each year or we get out?

George Rebane

Actually Todd, Europe is not in a position to be "charged" for anything in its current condition. And that condition will most likely get much worse as its debt crisis grows. My concern is that so little attention is being paid to the ideology that brought them to the brink, that there is little or no learning taking place (most certainly none by the Left in the US).

Here is a measured and well made short documentary on the EU crisis put together by the WSJ. Notice that only in the very end is a gentle question put to how Europe may continue its "socially fair" programs if it does recover without going into another period of continental warfare.

Todd Juvinall

With Putin under fire and the Russian people restless could he start something to divert their attention? I think the EU countries have small defense forces but other than nukes I don't know how they would stop Putin if he went nutso.

Todd Juvinall

George do you have any links to the results and aftermath to the bond holders screwed holding Chrysler and GM? Could you email me privately?

Douglas Keachie

Here's a New Year's chart/story to warm the carburetors of your hearts.


billy T

Here is my New Year's prognostication: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/yes-united-states-still-broke-1-11-first-135010416.html makes one wonder why in the heck we are cutting 1/3 of the payroll tax earmarked for Social Security and Medicare. Seems that 20 bucks a week is rather short sighted. I predict more short sighted policies and misguided bone head schemes coming from our Great Father in Washington. I also predict someone will tell me not to criticize the sacred cow in the spirit of getting along and going along, which always trumps freedom of speech. Darn, I feel like an orphan. What did Solomon write? Something about where there is no leader, the people perish.

George Rebane

Thank you for that informative link DougK (1132pm). For many years I have been a frustrated devotee of flywheels as energy storage devices. The bad news has always been that materials science has been slow to make wheels strong enough to withstand the g-force at the high rpms required to bring up the energy density of the device (not to mention the bearing and vacuum container problems). Apparently some breakthroughs in high carbon fiber wheels have made their use on race cars and locomotives/busses fairly common, the future looks promising for broader applications in cars. More here. http://www.economist.com/node/21540386

Douglas Keachie

What happens to the conservation of momentum for objects spinning rapidly. Would not a big flywheel also tend to make such objects move in straight lines only? Paging Dr. Greg....

Douglas Keachie

Good article on flywheels, thanks. Here's my completely unsubstantiated thoughts about frackinG: By volume, the energy contained in a space that would contain a huge amount of liquid oil, can only contain an itty biity amount of energy in gaseous form. So to get usable amounts of gas, you effectively hollow out far more space than you would for oil. Plus, gas is not a good lubricant, but the slurry they are pumping down there is an excellent one. Whole lotta shakin goin' on!
1/3/2012 — Oklahoma MAN MADE earthquake — 3.2 magnitude at “fracking” site

George Rebane

DougK 1018am - Yes, a flywheel is one hell of a gyroscope that likes to maintain its direction of rotation in space. I recall a story of an early application of ONE flywheel in an electrically driven bus; the damn thing flipped on its side when the bus turned a corner. (The reactive torque of a turned flywheel is perpendicular to its direction of rotation.) The solution was using two flywheels rotating in opposite directions, but that caused other problems and project went nowhere.


"Here's my completely unsubstantiated thoughts"-Keachie

Back when you were entrusted with a classroom of schoolkids, how often did your lesson plans include such things?

Gyros are the power storage devices of the future, and always will be unless the elusive friction free bearing is found. I've met a few perpetual motion machine developers and they're convinced it's possible but I remain a prisoner of all that BS I was fed in college.

Of course, the applications of flywheels in that fascinating article are all very real and valid, but I doubt they will do anything other than generate an increase in performance small in comparison to the lifetime cost of the machinery, a category I also put the current Hybrid vehicle fad into.

Low lifetime total cost is better served with a small engine in a simple and lightweight car.

billy T

Ah, the ole perpetual motion machine. That would be one highfaluting low polluting contraption. I don't got half the smarts as any of the posters here, but I think a little thing called friction kinda puts the kibosh on building the perpetual motion gadget. Its none of my business, but until you guys build a better mouse trap I would strongly suggest you keep an eye on the oil level on your dipstick.

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