May 5, 2024 – Metallicman (2024)

Table of Contents
A Pail of Air by Fritz Leiber by Fritz Leiber Comic Trial Three Love bonding Why does diversity never include Asians? Ingredients Instructions This is evil When you went to the hospital, did the staff not take you seriously and you ended up deathly sick as a result? Ugh!!!!!! Is China’s current economic situation very good? Tipping in the USA What foods are man-made? Unconscious What’s the best example of leadership you have seen in real life? Patara’s Response to State of Union Address What is something in history that you strongly feel was lied about or exaggerated? Captain Kirk Meets Gary Seven Do you know anyone who is low key filthy rich? 1 am at Tokyo’s Super Mysterious Adult zone It Started: America on BILL STRIKE | 75M Stop Paying What was the date of the end of the Western Roman Empire? Who officially abolished it? Stressful Travel To Mainland China What is the most improbable thing people have ever seen? 10 Harshest Truths About Women That Men Learn Too Late Why is Australia trying so hard to be anti-China in order to please USA at a time when USA is heading toward isolationism? Cats can take it all away How does the US military currently compare against the Chinese military? GLEEFULLAND Dystopian film What is the best case of “You just picked a fight with the wrong person” that you’ve witnessed? What is the most ridiculous reason for which you have been fired? Elections have consequences Have you ever walked into a funeral or funeral home and realized something wasn’t right? If so, what happened? So Funny (All gone?) Can the US government do anything to protect Hong Konger Jimmy Lai? Vitamin D What’s the most savage way you’ve seen someone get fired? FORGOTTEN CITY – 1966 Retro Pulp Science Fiction by Skyward, Photo Booth Processing, 110/35mm Film Is it true that the Chinese government would have implemented the national security law in Hong Kong regardless of whether there were protests/riots there? Why don’t many European Union leaders complain about paying high price to American gas but make a lot of noise about affordable Chinese electric cars? Are they simply that incompetent or simply corrupt? Alice in Aukusland: America first and the stillbirth of ‘Australian’ SSNs Join US you’ll be on its dinnertable, join China you’ll have a win-win Why is it that I have the strong feeling that, here on Quora, topics and responses on China are sponsored by the Chinese government? What is the most improbable thing people have ever seen?

A Pail of Air by Fritz Leiber

by Fritz Leiber

Preface by Eric FlintMy reaction when I first read this story, somewhere around the age of fifteen, was perhaps bizarre. "A Pail of Air"is a story about survival in the face of desperate circ*mstances, and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it.There is no atmosphere . . . bitter cold . . . only way you can breathe is to dig up a pail of liquid oxygen and heat it . . . Yup, that's desperate. Still, I had pretty much the same reaction I had to L. Sprague de Camp's "A Gun for Dinosaur," a story which appears later in this anthology and about which I make some remarks in an afterword. Desperate circ*mstances . . . impossible odds . . . almost alone . . . Oh, how cool.Like I said, a bizarre reaction. I didn't even have the excuse of being a stupid adolescent. I wasn't stupid. Already by the age of fourteen I could rip off the great suave mantras regarding adventure, with a curled lip I'd learned from studying David Niven in the movies.Adventure. Ah, yes. That's someone else having a very rough go of it very far away.Adventure. Yes. My idea of adventure is carrying a pint of bitters from one smoked-filled room to the next. Granted, I didn't really have any idea what "bitters" were. (A few years later I found out, and the decline of the British empire was no longer a mystery to me.) But I understood the gist of the wisecrack well enough—and fully subscribed to the sentiment.I still do. And now, from the vantage point of my mid-fifties wisdom and sagacity, I can look back on the reaction of that callow youngster and realize that he was . . . well, completely correct.This is just one hell of a cool story. If you look at it the right way, as much fun as one of Leiber's famous Fahfrd and the Grey Mouser tales.Okay. You have to squint.

Pa had sent me out to get an extra pail of air. I’d just about scooped it full and most of the warmth had leaked from my fingers when I saw the thing.

You know, at first I thought it was a young lady. Yes, a beautiful young lady’s face all glowing in the dark and looking at me from the fifth floor of the opposite apartment, which hereabouts is the floor just above the white blanket of frozen air. I’d never seen a live young lady before, except in the old magazines—Sis is just a kid and Ma is pretty sick and miserable—and it gave me such a start that I dropped the pail. Who wouldn’t, knowing everyone on Earth was dead except Pa and Ma and Sis and you?

Even at that, I don’t suppose I should have been surprised. We all see things now and then. Ma has some pretty bad ones, to judge from the way she bugs her eyes at nothing and just screams and screams and huddles back against the blankets hanging around the Nest. Pa says it is natural we should react like that sometimes.

When I’d recovered the pail and could look again at the opposite apartment, I got an idea of what Ma might be feeling at those times, for I saw it wasn’t a young lady at all but simply a light—a tiny light that moved stealthily from window to window, just as if one of the cruel little stars had come down out of the airless sky to investigate why the Earth had gone away from the Sun, and maybe to hunt down something to torment or terrify, now that the Earth didn’t have the Sun’s protection.

I tell you, the thought of it gave me the creeps. I just stood there shaking, and almost froze my feet and did frost my helmet so solid on the inside that I couldn’t have seen the light even if it had come out of one of the windows to get me. Then I had the wit to go back inside.

Pretty soon I was feeling my familiar way through the thirty or so blankets and rugs Pa has got hung around to slow down the escape of air from the Nest, and I wasn’t quite so scared. I began to hear the tick-ticking of the clocks in the Nest and knew I was getting back into air, because there’s no sound outside in the vacuum, of course. But my mind was still crawly and uneasy as I pushed through the last blankets—Pa’s got them faced with aluminum foil to hold in the heat—and came into the Nest.

* * *

Let me tell you about the Nest. It’s low and snug, just room for the four of us and our things. The floor is covered with thick woolly rugs. Three of the sides are blankets, and the blankets roofing it touch Pa’s head. He tells me it’s inside a much bigger room, but I’ve never seen the real walls or ceiling.

Against one of the blankets is a big set of shelves, with tools and books and other stuff, and on top of it a whole row of clocks. Pa’s very fussy about keeping them wound. He says we must never forget time, and without a sun or moon, that would be easy to do.

The fourth wall has blankets all over except around the fireplace, in which there is a fire that must never go out. It keeps us from freezing and does a lot more besides. One of us must always watch it. Some of the clocks are alarm and we can use them to remind us. In the early days there was only Ma to take turns with Pa—I think of that when she gets difficult—but now there’s me to help, and Sis too.

It’s Pa who is the chief guardian of the fire, though. I always think of him that way: a tall man sitting cross-legged, frowning anxiously at the fire, his lined face golden in its light, and every so often carefully placing on it a piece of coal from the big heap beside it. Pa tells me there used to be guardians of the fire sometimes in the very old days—vestal virgins, he calls them—although there was unfrozen air all around then and you didn’t really need one.

He was sitting just that way now, though he got up quick to take the pail from me and bawl me out for loitering—he’d spotted my frozen helmet right off. That roused Ma and she joined in picking on me. She’s always trying to get the load off her feelings, Pa explains. Sis let off a couple of silly squeals too.

Pa handled the pail of air in a twist of cloth. Now that it was inside the Nest, you could really feel its coldness. It just seemed to suck the heat out of everything. Even the flames cringed away from it as Pa put it down close by the fire.

Yet it’s that glimmery white stuff in the pail that keeps us alive. It slowly melts and vanishes and refreshes the Nest and feeds the fire. The blankets keep it from escaping too fast. Pa’d like to seal the whole place, but he can’t—building’s too earthquake-twisted, and besides he has to leave the chimney open for smoke.

Pa says air is tiny molecules that fly away like a flash if there isn’t something to stop them. We have to watch sharp not to let the air run low. Pa always keeps a big reserve supply of it in buckets behind the first blankets, along with extra coal and cans of food and other things, such as pails of snow to melt for water. We have to go way down to the bottom floor for that stuff, which is a mean trip, and get it through a door to outside.

You see, when the Earth got cold, all the water in the air froze first and made a blanket ten feet thick or so everywhere, and then down on top of that dropped the crystals of frozen air, making another white blanket sixty or seventy feet thick maybe.

Of course, all the parts of the air didn’t freeze and snow down at the same time.

First to drop out was the carbon dioxide—when you’re shoveling for water, you have to make sure you don’t go too high and get any of that stuff mixed in, for it would put you to sleep, maybe for good, and make the fire go out. Next there’s the nitrogen, which doesn’t count one way or the other, though it’s the biggest part of the blanket. On top of that and easy to get at, which is lucky for us, there’s the oxygen that keeps us alive. Pa says we live better than kings ever did, breathing pure oxygen, but we’re used to it and don’t notice. Finally, at the very top, there’s a slick of liquid helium, which is funny stuff. All of these gases in neat separate layers. Like a puss* caffay, Pa laughingly says, whatever that is.

* * *

I was busting to tell them all about what I’d seen, and so as soon as I’d ducked out of my helmet and while I was still climbing out of my suit, I cut loose. Right away Ma got nervous and began making eyes at the entry-slit in the blankets and wringing her hands together—the hand where she’d lost three fingers from frostbite inside the good one, as usual. I could tell that Pa was annoyed at me scaring her and wanted to explain it all away quickly, yet could see I wasn’t fooling.

“And you watched this light for some time, son?” he asked when I finished.

I hadn’t said anything about first thinking it was a young lady’s face. Somehow that part embarrassed me.

“Long enough for it to pass five windows and go to the next floor.”

“And it didn’t look like stray electricity or crawling liquid or starlight focused by a growing crystal, or anything like that?”

He wasn’t just making up those ideas. Odd things happen in a world that’s about as cold as can be, and just when you think matter would be frozen dead, it takes on a strange new life. A slimy stuff comes crawling toward the Nest, just like an animal snuffing for heat—that’s the liquid helium. And once, when I was little, a bolt of lightning—not even Pa could figure where it came from—hit the nearby steeple and crawled up and down it for weeks, until the glow finally died.

“Not like anything I ever saw,” I told him.

He stood for a moment frowning. Then, “I’ll go out with you, and you show it to me,” he said.

Ma raised a howl at the idea of being left alone, and Sis joined in, too, but Pa quieted them. We started climbing into our outside clothes—mine had been warming by the fire. Pa made them. They have plastic headpieces that were once big double-duty transparent food cans, but they keep heat and air in and can replace the air for a little while, long enough for our trips for water and coal and food and so on.

Ma started moaning again, “I’ve always known there was something outside there, waiting to get us. I’ve felt it for years—something that’s part of the cold and hates all warmth and wants to destroy the Nest. It’s been watching us all this time, and now it’s coming after us. It’ll get you and then come for me. Don’t go, Harry!”

Pa had everything on but his helmet. He knelt by the fireplace and reached in and shook the long metal rod that goes up the chimney and knocks off the ice that keeps trying to clog it. Once a week he goes up on the roof to check if it’s working all right. That’s our worst trip and Pa won’t let me make it alone.

“Sis,” Pa said quietly, “come watch the fire. Keep an eye on the air, too. If it gets low or doesn’t seem to be boiling fast enough, fetch another bucket from behind the blanket. But mind your hands. Use the cloth to pick up the bucket.”

Sis quit helping Ma be frightened and came over and did as she was told. Ma quieted down pretty suddenly, though her eyes were still kind of wild as she watched Pa fix on his helmet tight and pick up a pail and the two of us go out.

* * *

Pa led the way and I took hold of his belt. It’s a funny thing, I’m not afraid to go by myself, but when Pa’s along I always want to hold on to him. Habit, I guess, and then there’s no denying that this time I was a bit scared.

You see, it’s this way. We know that everything is dead out there. Pa heard the last radio voices fade away years ago, and had seen some of the last folks die who weren’t as lucky or well-protected as us. So we knew that if there was something groping around out there, it couldn’t be anything human or friendly.

Besides that, there’s a feeling that comes with it always being night, cold night. Pa says there used to be some of that feeling even in the old days, but then every morning the Sun would come and chase it away. I have to take his word for that, not ever remembering the Sun as being anything more than a big star. You see, I hadn’t been born when the dark star snatched us away from the Sun, and by now it’s dragged us out beyond the orbit of the planet Pluto, Pa says, and taking us farther out all the time.

I found myself wondering whether there mightn’t be something on the dark star that wanted us, and if that was why it had captured the Earth. Just then we came to the end of the corridor and I followed Pa out on the balcony.

I don’t know what the city looked like in the old days, but now it’s beautiful. The starlight lets you see pretty well—there’s quite a bit of light in those steady points speckling the blackness above. (Pa says the stars used to twinkle once, but that was because there was air.) We are on a hill and the shimmery plain drops away from us and then flattens out, cut up into neat squares by the troughs that used to be streets. I sometimes make my mashed potatoes look like it, before I pour on the gravy.

Some taller buildings push up out of the feathery plain, topped by rounded caps of air crystals, like the fur hood Ma wears, only whiter. On those buildings you can see the darker squares of windows, underlined by white dashes of air crystals. Some of them are on a slant, for many of the buildings are pretty badly twisted by the quakes and all the rest that happened when the dark star captured the Earth.

Here and there a few icicles hang, water icicles from the first days of the cold, other icicles of frozen air that melted on the roofs and dripped and froze again. Sometimes one of those icicles will catch the light of a star and send it to you so brightly you think the star has swooped into the city. That was one of the things Pa had been thinking of when I told him about the light, but I had thought of it myself first and known it wasn’t so.

He touched his helmet to mine so we could talk easier and he asked me to point out the windows to him. But there wasn’t any light moving around inside them now, or anywhere else. To my surprise, Pa didn’t bawl me out and tell me I’d been seeing things. He looked all around quite a while after filling his pail, and just as we were going inside he whipped around without warning, as if to take some peeping thing off guard.

I could feel it, too. The old peace was gone. There was something lurking out there, watching, waiting, getting ready.

Inside, he said to me, touching helmets, “If you see something like that again, son, don’t tell the others. Your Ma’s sort of nervous these days and we owe her all the feeling of safety we can give her. Once—it was when your sister was born—I was ready to give up and die, but your Mother kept me trying. Another time she kept the fire going a whole week all by herself when I was sick. Nursed me and took care of the two of you, too.

“You know that game we sometimes play, sitting in a square in the Nest, tossing a ball around? Courage is like a ball, son. A person can hold it only so long, and then he’s got to toss it to someone else. When it’s tossed your way, you’ve got to catch it and hold it tight—and hope there’ll be someone else to toss it to when you get tired of being brave.”

His talking to me that way made me feel grown-up and good. But it didn’t wipe away the thing outside from the back of my mind—or the fact that Pa took it seriously.

* * *

It’s hard to hide your feelings about such a thing. When we got back in the Nest and took off our outside clothes, Pa laughed about it all and told them it was nothing and kidded me for having such an imagination, but his words fell flat. He didn’t convince Ma and Sis any more than he did me. It looked for a minute like we were all fumbling the courage-ball. Something had to be done, and almost before I knew what I was going to say, I heard myself asking Pa to tell us about the old days, and how it all happened.

He sometimes doesn’t mind telling that story, and Sis and I sure like to listen to it, and he got my idea. So we were all settled around the fire in a wink, and Ma pushed up some cans to thaw for supper, and Pa began. Before he did, though, I noticed him casually get a hammer from the shelf and lay it down beside him.

It was the same old story as always—I think I could recite the main thread of it in my sleep—though Pa always puts in a new detail or two and keeps improving it in spots.

He told us how the Earth had been swinging around the Sun ever so steady and warm, and the people on it fixing to make money and wars and have a good time and get power and treat each other right or wrong, when without warning there comes charging out of space this dead star, this burned out sun, and upsets everything.

You know, I find it hard to believe in the way those people felt, any more than I can believe in the swarming number of them. Imagine people getting ready for the horrible sort of war they were cooking up. Wanting it even, or at least wishing it were over so as to end their nervousness. As if all folks didn’t have to hang together and pool every bit of warmth just to keep alive. And how can they have hoped to end danger, any more than we can hope to end the cold?

Sometimes I think Pa exaggerates and makes things out too black. He’s cross with us once in a while and was probably cross with all those folks. Still, some of the things I read in the old magazines sound pretty wild. He may be right.

* * *

The dark star, as Pa went on telling it, rushed in pretty fast and there wasn’t much time to get ready. At the beginning they tried to keep it a secret from most people, but then the truth came out, what with the earthquakes and floods—imagine, oceans of unfrozen water!—and people seeing stars blotted out by something on a clear night. First off they thought it would hit the Sun, and then they thought it would hit the Earth. There was even the start of a rush to get to a place called China, because people thought the star would hit on the other side. But then they found it wasn’t going to hit either side, but was going to come very close to the Earth.

Most of the other planets were on the other side of the Sun and didn’t get involved. The Sun and the newcomer fought over the Earth for a little while—pulling it this way and that, like two dogs growling over a bone, Pa described it this time—and then the newcomer won and carried us off. The Sun got a consolation prize, though. At the last minute he managed to hold on to the Moon.

That was the time of the monster earthquakes and floods, twenty times worse than anything before. It was also the time of the Big Jerk, as Pa calls it, when all Earth got yanked suddenly, just as Pa has done to me once or twice, grabbing me by the collar to do it, when I’ve been sitting too far from the fire.

You see, the dark star was going through space faster than the Sun, and in the opposite direction, and it had to wrench the world considerably in order to take it away.

The Big Jerk didn’t last long. It was over as soon as the Earth was settled down in its new orbit around the dark star. But it was pretty terrible while it lasted. Pa says that all sorts of cliffs and buildings toppled, oceans slopped over, swamps and sandy deserts gave great sliding surges that buried nearby lands. Earth was almost jerked out of its atmosphere blanket and the air got so thin in spots that people keeled over and fainted—though of course, at the same time, they were getting knocked down by the Big Jerk and maybe their bones broke or skulls cracked.

We’ve often asked Pa how people acted during that time, whether they were scared or brave or crazy or stunned, or all four, but he’s sort of leery of the subject, and he was again tonight. He says he was mostly too busy to notice.

You see, Pa and some scientist friends of his had figured out part of what was going to happen—they’d known we’d get captured and our air would freeze—and they’d been working like mad to fix up a place with airtight walls and doors, and insulation against the cold, and big supplies of food and fuel and water and bottled air. But the place got smashed in the last earthquakes and all Pa’s friends were killed then and in the Big Jerk. So he had to start over and throw the Nest together quick without any advantages, just using any stuff he could lay his hands on.

I guess he’s telling pretty much the truth when he says he didn’t have any time to keep an eye on how other folks behaved, either then or in the Big Freeze that followed—followed very quick, you know, both because the dark star was pulling us away very fast and because Earth’s rotation had been slowed in the tug-of-war, so that the nights were ten old nights long.

Still, I’ve got an idea of some of the things that happened from the frozen folk I’ve seen, a few of them in other rooms in our building, others clustered around the furnaces in the basem*nts where we go for coal.

In one of the rooms, an old man sits stiff in a chair, with an arm and a leg in splints. In another, a man and a woman are huddled together in a bed with heaps of covers over them. You can just see their heads peeking out, close together. And in another a beautiful young lady is sitting with a pile of wraps huddled around her, looking hopefully toward the door, as if waiting for someone who never came back with warmth and food. They’re all still and stiff as statues, of course, but just like life.

Pa showed them to me once in quick winks of his flashlight, when he still had a fair supply of batteries and could afford to waste a little light. They scared me pretty bad and made my heart pound, especially the young lady.

* * *

Now, with Pa telling his story for the umpteenth time to take our minds off another scare, I got to thinking of the frozen folk again. All of a sudden I got an idea that scared me worse than anything yet. You see, I’d just remembered the face I’d thought I’d seen in the window. I’d forgotten about that on account of trying to hide it from the others.

What, I asked myself, if the frozen folk were coming to life? What if they were like the liquid helium that got a new lease on life and started crawling toward the heat just when you thought its molecules ought to freeze solid forever? Or like the electricity that moves endlessly when it’s just about as cold as that? What if the ever-growing cold, with the temperature creeping down the last few degrees to the last zero, had mysteriously wakened the frozen folk to life—not warm-blooded life, but something icy and horrible?

That was a worse idea than the one about something coming down from the dark star to get us.

Or maybe, I thought, both ideas might be true. Something coming down from the dark star and making the frozen folk move, using them to do its work. That would fit with both things I’d seen—the beautiful young lady and the moving, starlike light.

The frozen folk with minds from the dark star behind their unwinking eyes, creeping, crawling, snuffing their way, following the heat to the Nest.

I tell you, that thought gave me a very bad turn and I wanted very badly to tell the others my fears, but I remembered what Pa had said and clenched my teeth and didn’t speak.

We were all sitting very still. Even the fire was burning silently. There was just the sound of Pa’s voice and the clocks.

And then, from beyond the blankets, I thought I heard a tiny noise. My skin tightened all over me.

Pa was telling about the early years in the Nest and had come to the place where he philosophizes.

“So I asked myself then,” he said, “what’s the use of going on? What’s the use of dragging it out for a few years? Why prolong a doomed existence of hard work and cold and loneliness? The human race is done. The Earth is done. Why not give up, I asked myself—and all of a sudden I got the answer.”

Again I heard the noise, louder this time, a kind of uncertain, shuffling tread, coming closer. I couldn’t breathe.

“Life’s always been a business of working hard and fighting the cold,” Pa was saying. “The earth’s always been a lonely place, millions of miles from the next planet. And no matter how long the human race might have lived, the end would have come some night. Those things don’t matter. What matters is that life is good. It has a lovely texture, like some rich cloth or fur, or the petals of flowers—you’ve seen pictures of those, but I can’t describe how they feel—or the fire’s glow. It makes everything else worth while. And that’s as true for the last man as the first.”

And still the steps kept shuffling closer. It seemed to me that the inmost blanket trembled and bulged a little. Just as if they were burned into my imagination, I kept seeing those peering, frozen eyes.

“So right then and there,” Pa went on, and now I could tell that he heard the steps, too, and was talking loud so we maybe wouldn’t hear them, “right then and there I told myself that I was going on as if we had all eternity ahead of us. I’d have children and teach them all I could. I’d get them to read books. I’d plan for the future, try to enlarge and seal the Nest. I’d do what I could to keep everything beautiful and growing. I’d keep alive my feeling of wonder even at the cold and the dark and the distant stars.”

But then the blanket actually did move and lift. And there was a bright light somewhere behind it. Pa’s voice stopped and his eyes turned to the widening slit and his hand went out until it touched and gripped the handle of the hammer beside him.

* * *

In through the blanket stepped the beautiful young lady. She stood there looking at us the strangest way, and she carried something bright and unwinking in her hand. And two other faces peered over her shoulders—men’s faces, white and staring.

Well, my heart couldn’t have been stopped for more than four or five beats before I realized she was wearing a suit and helmet like Pa’s homemade ones, only fancier, and that the men were, too—and that the frozen folk certainly wouldn’t be wearing those. Also, I noticed that the bright thing in her hand was just a kind of flashlight.

The silence kept on while I swallowed hard a couple of times, and after that there was all sorts of jabbering and commotion.

They were simply people, you see. We hadn’t been the only ones to survive; we’d just thought so, for natural enough reasons. These three people had survived, and quite a few others with them. And when we found out how they’d survived, Pa let out the biggest whoop of joy.

They were from Los Alamos and they were getting their heat and power from atomic energy. Just using the uranium and plutonium intended for bombs, they had enough to go on for thousands of years. They had a regular little airtight city, with airlocks and all. They even generated electric light and grew plants and animals by it. (At this Pa let out a second whoop, waking Ma from her faint.)

But if we were flabbergasted at them, they were double-flabbergasted at us.

One of the men kept saying, “But it’s impossible, I tell you. You can’t maintain an air supply without hermetic sealing. It’s simply impossible.”

That was after he had got his helmet off and was using our air. Meanwhile, the young lady kept looking around at us as if we were saints, and telling us we’d done something amazing, and suddenly she broke down and cried.

They’d been scouting around for survivors, but they never expected to find any in a place like this. They had rocket ships at Los Alamos and plenty of chemical fuels. As for liquid oxygen, all you had to do was go out and shovel the air blanket at the top level. So after they’d got things going smoothly at Los Alamos, which had taken years, they’d decided to make some trips to likely places where there might be other survivors. No good trying long-distance radio signals, of course, since there was no atmosphere to carry them around the curve of the Earth.

Well, they’d found other colonies at Argonne and Brookhaven and way around the world at Harwell and Tanna Tuva. And now they’d been giving our city a look, not really expecting to find anything. But they had an instrument that noticed the faintest heat waves and it had told them there was something warm down here, so they’d landed to investigate. Of course we hadn’t heard them land, since there was no air to carry the sound, and they’d had to investigate around quite a while before finding us. Their instruments had given them a wrong steer and they’d wasted some time in the building across the street.

* * *

By now, all five adults were talking like sixty. Pa was demonstrating to the men how he worked the fire and got rid of the ice in the chimney and all that. Ma had perked up wonderfully and was showing the young lady her cooking and sewing stuff, and even asking about how the women dressed at Los Alamos. The strangers marveled at everything and praised it to the skies. I could tell from the way they wrinkled their noses that they found the Nest a bit smelly, but they never mentioned that at all and just asked bushels of questions.

In fact, there was so much talking and excitement that Pa forgot about things, and it wasn’t until they were all getting groggy that he looked and found the air had all boiled away in the pail. He got another bucket of air quick from behind the blankets. Of course that started them all laughing and jabbering again. The newcomers even got a little drunk. They weren’t used to so much oxygen.

Funny thing, though—I didn’t do much talking at all and Sis hung on to Ma all the time and hid her face when anybody looked at her. I felt pretty uncomfortable and disturbed myself, even about the young lady. Glimpsing her outside there, I’d had all sorts of mushy thoughts, but now I was just embarrassed and scared of her, even though she tried to be nice as anything to me.

I sort of wished they’d all quit crowding the Nest and let us be alone and get our feelings straightened out.

And when the newcomers began to talk about our all going to Los Alamos, as if that were taken for granted, I could see that something of the same feeling struck Pa and Ma, too. Pa got very silent all of a sudden and Ma kept telling the young lady, “But I wouldn’t know how to act there and I haven’t any clothes.”

The strangers were puzzled like anything at first, but then they got the idea. As Pa kept saying, “It just doesn’t seem right to let this fire go out.”

* * *

Well, the strangers are gone, but they’re coming back. It hasn’t been decided yet just what will happen. Maybe the Nest will be kept up as what one of the strangers called a “survival school.” Or maybe we will join the pioneers who are going to try to establish a new colony at the uranium mines at Great Slave Lake or in the Congo.

Of course, now that the strangers are gone, I’ve been thinking a lot about Los Alamos and those other tremendous colonies. I have a hankering to see them for myself.

You ask me, Pa wants to see them, too. He’s been getting pretty thoughtful, watching Ma and Sis perk up.

“It’s different, now that we know others are alive,” he explains to me. “Your mother doesn’t feel so hopeless any more. Neither do I, for that matter, not having to carry the whole responsibility for keeping the human race going, so to speak. It scares a person.”

I looked around at the blanket walls and the fire and the pails of air boiling away and Ma and Sis sleeping in the warmth and the flickering light.

“It’s not going to be easy to leave the Nest,” I said, wanting to cry, kind of. “It’s so small and there’s just the four of us. I get scared at the idea of big places and a lot of strangers.”

He nodded and put another piece of coal on the fire. Then he looked at the little pile and grinned suddenly and put a couple of handfuls on, just as if it was one of our birthdays or Christmas.

“You’ll quickly get over that feeling, son,” he said. “The trouble with the world was that it kept getting smaller and smaller, till it ended with just the Nest. Now it’ll be good to have a real huge world again, the way it was in the beginning.”

I guess he’s right. You think the beautiful young lady will wait for me till I grow up? I’ll be twenty in only ten years.

Comic Trial Three

I have been playing around with making short comic videos.

I use AI to generate a script, then use AI to generate pictures. Finally I use AI to generate small segments and then, once completed, I compile them together in a video editing software. I hope you like them. I’m still learning.

Check this out. All 10 seconds or so of it.


Love bonding

Why does diversity never include Asians?

Lots of answers, very few Asians. As usual.

The reality is that white people think we don’t need help because we happen to be richer (in this particular moment) on the books and better at getting into universities (in this particular moment). They don’t realize that this is a very temporary effect due to strategic immigration policy specifically designed to brain drain and create dissidents to attack Asian countries (especially China). Sadly, they think they can speak for us. And they almost always get away with it.

What we need is political power, soft power, and the breaking of the bamboo ceiling. We just can’t create consequences when people do horrendously racist/discriminatory things against us, unlike most other groups (natives have it worse). We are more of a function of foreign policy than the other groups, and yet we have minimal say in that as well.

None of this is convenient to the purpose of “diversity” in US politics, which is to prove the moral character of the leadership and thus their “validity.” It tends to be a farce anyways. Minorities who chase this “diversity” are really just fighting over table scraps. The majority leadership will never allow it to go against their interests in the first place.

If you think minorities have it good, imagine losing control of your narrative. That’s the baseline. You don’t get to correct people when they BS about you, because you don’t have power. From there stems much of the tyranny and real losses in life.

May 5, 2024 – Metallicman (3)


  • 6 pork chops
  • 3 eggs, beaten slightly
  • 2 cups crushed soda crackers
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper


  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Dip pork chops into egg, then roll in dry mixture.
  3. Fry over medium heat in a small amount of oil until dark, crispy brown.

This is evil

When you went to the hospital, did the staff not take you seriously and you ended up deathly sick as a result?

I had a cardiologist tell me. repeatedly, that I had panic attacks. He said I didn’t have angina. He sent me for a stress test, which I could not do from “imaginary” chest pain. I insisted on a angiogram. He mocked me and scoffed. I was desperate at this point and kept insisting. He angrily ordered one and told me it was a waste of time and what I really needed was a psychiatrist.

I showed up for my 7 AM Friday appointment at Broward General. I don’t know what he had written or told them, but I sat there for the entire day. Finally, about 5 PM, I went in. (I actually have no memory of anything after flicking a cigarette away at 7, when I arrived.) I woke up Monday in terrible pain. I had no idea what had happened. My wife told me that after just a few minutes, the doctor had come out and said they could not complete the angiogram because of severely clogged arteries, (including the one that causes the “widowmaker”. They put me in cardiac ICU and kept me heavily sedated until Monday, when they could operate. I had a triple bypass. The cardiologist told me I was very lucky to be alive.

Oh, and that cigarette I flicked away was my last one. I can take a hint. (That was Jan 2011.)


Men need “nothing time”.

Is China’s current economic situation very good?

It is going through a slow-down caused by the trade war through the US, and it is also going through economic and social transformation, caused by the widespread adoption of AI and automation technologies.

For this reason, it is really hard to say what is caused by an economic slowdown, and how growth is being affected by economic and social transformation.

We should have a better picture in the next few years of how it is performing. The big question is what will happen to the people whose jobs have been replaced by automation and AI.

For this reason, I expect the Chinese government to test something like Universal Basic Income (UBI), and which has been supported by US Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, in some of the inland regions of China to see how it works. As always in China, if it is successful, it will be promoted on a larger scale in other regions of China.

I expect China to leap far ahead of the US in AI and automation technology, and in healthcare, and also in the adoption of UBI.

Tipping in the USA

What foods are man-made?

Year: 1905

Location: San Francisco

It was winter. Frank Epperson was thirsty.

He decided to make himself a drink. He took a flavored sugar mix, put it in a cup, stirred it with a brown stirring stick.

After playing outside, he forgot he’d left his drink on the front lawn.

He then went inside and went to bed. When he came back out the following morning, he saw his cup sitting there with frozen liquid.

Picking it up, he pulled the stick out, the frozen sugar water was attached to it. In true kid fashion, without worrying if it was dirty, Frank ate the frozen liquid—and loved it.

He realized he was on to something.

And so he started putting more cups out, with the wooden sticks in them and began selling what he called the Epsicle. His entrepreneurial take on the lemonade stand.

Sales started in his neighborhood and then expanded outward.

Eventually, he renamed the product to Popsicle.

And thus, a new popular trend was born.

An accidental invention.


What’s the best example of leadership you have seen in real life?

About two decades ago, a woman I know lost her father.

A day or two later, she found out her husband was sentenced to prison.

A couple of days later, her daughter-in-law decided to get a divorce.

Those few days COMPLETELY turned this woman’s life around.

The next day, a Monday, she went to work as normal, didn’t tell her colleagues a thing, put on a brave face.

When she came home, her husband wasn’t around as he was in prison.

She went about her usual business as if nothing had happened – cooking food and stuff.

She had a chat with her kids, including the eldest going through his divorce, told them all would be fine, lifted their spirits.

The following day, she went back to work.

She opened up about her experience to me and someone else a few weeks ago – I mean, everyone in my social circle knew about the events – but she had never discussed how she experienced it – how she coped, her motivation, which was to protect her kids.

I only then really realised why her kids, all of whom I have known since I was a child, have done so incredibly well – they had grown up with this woman as their leader.

No complaints, no self-pity, selfless. Being the example she wanted her kids to be.

This is the best example I have seen of leadership.

And, frankly, the type only a woman is capable of.

Patara’s Response to State of Union Address

That was not a state of the union address. It was a declaration of war on the American people.

What is something in history that you strongly feel was lied about or exaggerated?

The French aristocracy pre-Revolution weren’t the careless, luxurious bastards lording over everyone cruelly as they are made out to be. This is demonstrated most perfectly by the fact that many of the most prominent revolutionaries were, themselves, noblemen.

In the same vein, Louis XVI wasn’t overthrown because he was a tyrant, he was overthrown because he was NOT a tyrant. If anything him being friendly, indecisive and soft-willed moreso than his war-minded predecessors Louis XV and Louis XIV, made him into a target. The Kings before him stayed reasonably popular. By going to war a lot and spending obscene amounts of money that would ultimately lead to the Kingdom’s downfall, these rulers were generally rather respected by much of the population. Much like with the last Tsar of Russia, the King who ended up losing his head to the guillotine was a pretty chill, open-minded fellow open to reforms.

There’s this stereotype of these lavishly spoiled big spenders in powdered wigs, Marie-Antoinette telling the hungry should just “go eat cake”, completely removed from reality… and truthfully, this is bullsh*t. A ton of noblemen were social reformers, generous to the poor, conscientious and cared deeply for the common man. The revolutionaries who took over, quite a few of them were blue-blooded themselves. And were far worse than the elites they ended up killing.

Captain Kirk Meets Gary Seven

Do you know anyone who is low key filthy rich?

Oh, definitely. I think my old manager, David Filo fits that to a tee. He often sat around barefoot while coding; and when he was wearing shoes, they were ten-year-old sneakers, starting to show holes in them.

He drove an old Datsun for the longest time, full of random crap. Old software manuals, books, pizza boxes. When a bomb scare was called in at work, one day, the bomb squad searched the campus; they eventually called a mostly-all-clear; they’d only found one suspicious object, and cordoned it off. It was my boss’s car, dilapidated and so full of junk as to be suspiciously possible as to be harboring a bomb. (It wasn’t; as the founder of the company, he would never have done anything to harm it like that). (I think Rolling Stone gave a very apt description of his car, many years ago: “a battered Datsun filled from top to bottom with junk, including enough lumber to build several sets of bookshelves. (“If we were living in the 16th century, David would be a monk,” says Yang of his partner’s asceticism.) He bought the car while in high school in Lake Charles, LA. As a student at Tulane University, he totaled it, bought it back from the insurance company for $300 and then had it rebuilt at a local prison, where the inmates were studying auto repair.” — from Yahoo!)

I’ve written elsewhere about his reaction to hearing about a really good lease deal a fellow co-worker had gotten on an electric vehicle: Matthew Petach’s answer to How do billionaires see $100K or $1M? Do they still consider it a lot of money? That story is the epitome of how he approached the world; as laid back and low key as you could imagine.

And yet, he was worth about $5 billion at the time. Depending on the market shifts, he might gain or lose half a billion dollars from one day to the next. It made no difference to him; he was the same focused engineer, working hard to make sure everything was running smoothly.

He did eventually get a new car, but only after the board of directors insisted, because the insurance company would no longer provide insurance for them until he drove something considered less risky.

As a multi-billionaire, he definitely qualifies as filthy rich; and yet I’ve never seen him act that way, not even once. A truly class act, all around.

1 am at Tokyo’s Super Mysterious Adult zone

It Started: America on BILL STRIKE | 75M Stop Paying

What was the date of the end of the Western Roman Empire? Who officially abolished it?

There are three possible interpretations of the “end” of the Roman Empire in the West, and all are equally correct, depending on one’s point of view.

The most common one you read is that it ended on 4 September AD 476, when the German magister militum Odoacer overthrew Romulus Augustus, who was the Emperor ruling in Ravenna (the Western capital of the time, not Rome), and took control himself. He sent a letter back to Emperor Zeno in Constantinople, stating that the Empire needed only one Emperor, and sent back the western imperial regalia. Zeno accepted this (although he continued to recognize another man as Emperor; read on) and granted him patrician rank. Odoacer declared himself “King of Italy” and ruled for the next 17 years.

Another interpretation is based on the historical fact that Romulus Augustus was both a usurper and a puppet emperor set up by his father, the barbarian general Orestes, in 475, and was never recognized by Zeno as the legitimate Emperor. The actual Emperor, Julius Nepos, fled from Ravenna and set up court in Dalmatia, where he reigned, still recognized by Zeno, until 9 May 480, when he was assassinated by political enemies. Before this, Odoacer actually struck coins in Roman mints recognizing him as Emperor, accepting him as titular Emperor in the West as long as Nepos didn’t attempt to actually retake Italy. Odoacer occupied Dalmatia himself about a year later.

A third possibility lies in the fact that even after 9 May 480, there was a part of the old Western Empire that still gave allegiance directly to the Emperor. This was a substantial part of northern Gaul (France) under the control of a Roman general named Syagrius. Historians call it the “Kingdom of Soissons,” after the city that Syagrius governed from. He controlled this land from 464 to 486:

Syagrius’ problem was that he had an ally in a Frankish king, Childeric, who supported him in conflicts and had no desire to annex the area. But he died in 481 and was succeeded by his ambitious son Chlodovech, who is known to history as Clovis. Sometime in 486, we are not sure of the date, Chlodovech attacked Syagrius and defeated him in a battle near Soissons. He annexed the region to the growing Frankish Kingdom. And with that ended the final vestige of the Roman Empire in the West.

Stressful Travel To Mainland China

What is the most improbable thing people have ever seen?

I walked into a convenience store in Venice, CA and ran into a cute girl with an English accent. She says to me, “Excuse me, but were you in Vegas last weekend?”

I thought for a second and realized I had gone to a friend’s bachelor party the previous weekend. “Yes,” I said, “do I know you?”

She says, “I have a photo of us.”

She then pulls her digital camera out of her bag and proceeds to show me several pictures of her and me dancing quite inappropriately at the club in Hard Rock Hotel.

I ask her if she lives in Vegas or Los Angeles. She lives in England and is just visiting the states on holiday. Somehow, I managed to dance with this girl all night in Vegas and then run into her 300 miles away in Venice five days later.

10 Harshest Truths About Women That Men Learn Too Late

Why is Australia trying so hard to be anti-China in order to please USA at a time when USA is heading toward isolationism?

Just reading through the other answers, there is a LOT of anti-China sentiment and justified by the “Chinese have so many spies here blah blah blah Influence the Government blah blah blah etc etc” Well it’s the same here in New Zealand and so far there hasn’t been one shred of evidence to back up these claims of spying and espionage and influence. This includes the Huawei 5G backdoor thing. No evidence at all.

As an example here. A well known University Professor who wrote a book about the above subject has claimed to have had her house broken into a number of times (by Chinese spies), her car tampered with (by Chinese spies) to try to kill her. The media is outraged and other University Professors are signing protests to China letters to our Government, but it’s all fake and made up. She is either delusional or trying to sell more books. The police have investigated and come up with no evidence at all. But does that matter? Not one bit. Are the Police going to out her? Of course not, that’s not PC to shame a mad woman. The public is still rabidly anti China because the fake story that paints a villain is way more appealing than actual facts. And yes that’s my fault too, because what makes news is clicks and I click on Trump stories and help to make his bullsh*t get to the top of the front page.

So in answer to your question, in some ways we are trying to please USA – per the 5 eyes thing and US paranoid spy agencies sending the info/alarmism/ anti China rhetoric our way. In some ways we are just jumping on the same nationalist bandwagon that most developed western democracies seem to be jumping on. In other ways we see our house prices going up and like to blame the Chinese rather than our own shortsightedness in failing to build enough homes the last couple of decades. Finally, same as Australia, our mad political system gives a big voice to a small and xenophobic party.

Cats can take it all away

How does the US military currently compare against the Chinese military?

I think system to system comparisons are meaningless when comparing the PRC’s military to the US. F-22 vs J-20 type comparisons make no sense when those fighters have very specific roles to play in the very different air combat philosophies of the USAF and PLAAF. If I was to hazard a guess I would say the F-22 would be fulfilling it’s designed role as an air superiority fighter while the J-20 would be deployed to use it’s stealth to destroy US surveillance, EW and AWACs platforms in contested airspace, a much more niche role.

Both of these platforms would be considered great if they meet the mission they were designed for rather than who wins some hypothetical air to air engagement.

So this answer is going to avoid most of these platform comparisons and try to take a higher level look at how the military postures of both countries compare within the context of technology, doctrines, military industries and objectives.

Joint Operations

The US excels in these. Recall that back in WW2, the French had better tanks and aircraft than the Germans but still lost their short war with Germany because their officer corp just didn’t know how to put them all together to conduct effective military operations.

The US has a effective Joint Chiefs of Staff committee to ensure the armed elements of the US military play nice with each other and can execute integrated battle plans effectively.

The Chinese are new to this. They realized how far ahead the US was in this field when they witnesses the US military’s capabilities in 1991 in the first Gulf war as well as the frustration of the 1996 US carrier pass.

At the moment, one thing the Chinese military is planning for is that rather than try to catch up to the US in terms of integrated systems and operations which would take a loooong time to do (they also don’t have the rich combat history and experience of the US military), what they can do is engage in something called ‘System Destruction’.

That is, the Chinese military should focus on degrading and pulling apart the overall US military system.

So if the US military has a Recon Strike Complex, the Chinese focus on taking away their recon ability. This has been demonstrated by their endeavors to develop ASAT capabilities and soft kill capabilities with lasers and EW. Alongside developing small satellites that can be launched into space and maneuvered close to American satellites to destroy them.

Similarly, the US is built heavily around the idea of Airpower dominance over it’s foes and the Chinese Strategic Support Force (the ex-Rocket Force) is specifically designed to nullify this advantage by training and equipping to use ballistic missiles to take out air bases from which the bulk of USAF activity will be based.

However, the conclusion here is that the US is still pretty ahead in terms of Joint Operations and while the PRC military is building up the capability to disrupt them, in order to take advantage of these disruptions, they need to up the scale and pace of their own Joint Operations capability.

The Ballistic Missile threat

The PRC ballistic missile force’s primary goal is to make US bases unusable. The short range missiles are aimed at the US bases in Okinawa while the more medium range missiles are designed to disrupt operations from bases in Japan.

And the DF-26 is designed to make even operations from bases like Guam risky if not maybe as disrupted as the other bases.

The PRC ballistic missile threat is in part inspired by the US military’s failure to effectively hunt and destroy SCUDs in Iraq during the first Gulf War. Which leads the PRC to believe that if they have mobile, solid fueled missile systems, they would not be as prone to destruction from US military forces and pose a considerable threat for the duration of any war with the US. These kinds of missiles are hard to hunt, can quickly break from cover, set up and fire before the enemy can fire back at them.

With a mobile missile system like the SCUD, you have a 15 minute window to detect and destroy it once it breaks from cover. This is currently not within the capability of the US military.

The Drone Threat

The Chinese don’t have as much loitering munition drones as the US so they definitely do lag here. They have gotten the Israeli Harpy drone, which costs less than half a million bucks but has a longer range than the F-35. These drones can be sent out by the Chinese to search for threats, locate and scan airfields in prep work for artillery and missile bombardment. IF they can make it into a defended air space.

This is completely out of date. -MM


The ability of space based platforms to provide you imaging (visual or infrared) across the planet + put SAR radars on small satellites means that your ability to locate and track objects from space for a military purpose is growing rapidly. This is the kind of ability the Chinese are building up in space.

Now you still cant track aircraft but for fixed targets or large naval targets like a carrier, in conjunction with autonomous terrestrial systems you have a much better capability to locate and target naval assets. So you could use space based assets to locate naval surface targets and use them to maneuver autonomous systems like the Israeli Harop drone munition into the area where a carrier might be. And then the Harop’s own sensors take over and actively hunt in the area. (Again, assuming it can make it through contested space).

In the near future, we might have 10–15,000 satellites doing this in space and you could of course blow the whole orbit up and deny this capability to both the US and China but short of that, what the two countries are positioning themselves for is not just having these assets in space but being able to replace them once an adversary has destroyed them.

The problem with the US side is that they have a good ability to replace military satellites but in space, both civil and military capabilities operate in conjunction. So if the Chinese switch from targeting military to civil satellites, the US doesn’t have rapid replacement in place for them. And these are satellites that operate critical infrastructure like bank transactions etc.

At the moment the Chinese have quantity while the US has quality when it comes to space based assets but the US has the added advantage of commercial space launch capability as well with technologies ranging from 3D printed rockets etc. that China doesn’t have to the same scale.

Naval comparisons

The PLAN is now the largest navy in the world and while on general, the USN has better quality ships, the new PLAN destroyers like the Type 55 are fairly at par with the USN equivalent ships. Same with the stealth fighters, the question is how quickly they can approach the USN in terms of significant scale of deployment in the active military.

Underwater warfare, the USN has a clear lead and the PLAN is not close at all to bridging that gap. The PLAN is responding by seeding a huge network of sensors in the South China sea to weed out USN submarines so the USN would probably have to respond with unmanned autonomous subs in the area, turning the underwater war largely into an unmanned one.

Carrier warfare, the US has a lead as well but this lead is somewhat meaningless if we talk about a war near China. If anyone thinks the USN is going to send their carriers into the range of Chinese MRBMs and H-6 Bombers carrying extended range cruise missiles, I would highly suggest alternative thinking here. The PRC has specifically developed this extended range weapons to force the USN carriers back and nullify their advantages at close range to the Chinese seaboard.

This is based around the Chinese doctrine of ‘Counter Intervention’ which is specifically designed to force US assets like Carriers away from the Chinese shoreline.

So this creates an interesting situation where the Chinese have forced the carriers out of the first Island Chain so it’s mostly USN subs and surface vessels that would operate in the contest areas closer to the Chinese seaboard. Where the Chinese are catching up in surface vessels. For underwater, if the USN is willing to risk full subs in sensor rich environments, that’s up to them but I think they might pull even the USN subs out of the south China sea at least and be forced to replace them with autonomous underwater subs to fight against Chinese autonomous underwater subs.


At the October Plenum of 2020, the PRC moved up the date for military modernization by saying they wanted a modern Chinese military by 2027.

This has accelerated their military production targets and they are currently ahead of the US in:

  1. Ballistic missiles and cruise missiles in both numbers and quality (the ballistic missiles lead might not mean much since the US doesn’t really utilize them in a battlefield context).
  2. They have a much more massive ship building program ongoing compared to the USN.
  3. They are ahead in Air defense systems while making good use of old ones.

The Chinese are also pushing ahead with a concept called ‘Civil-Military Fusion’ which is designed to integrate their civilian technology base with their military tech base (Sorta similar to how the US has it set up as well). Which is important because it means it won’t just be government led efforts that lead to tech advances only, but that Chinese private firms will sometimes even take the lead in military advances in AI, computing, autonomous systems, biotech, information tech, advanced material manufacturing, 5G and in the future 6G.

There is an issue however that the Chinese government, in an attempt to assert control and monitoring over the civil tech space, is pushing a bureaucratic layer on top of it which is expected to slow down the pace of Chinese technology than before. To compensate for this, the CPC will also push additional funding to the civilian tech space engaged in military tech development. So there’s a careful balancing act that needs to be done there. Also, the US is also vulnerable to this: Anyone familiar with the Pentagon’s bureaucratic policies would be familiar with how it introduces massive delays and cost overspends.

The Chinese have struggled with Aircraft engines and currently a lot of their aircraft projects have the Russians or Ukrainians as subcontractors to provide the engines. Russian engines by the way, are unusable after 500 hours. For military aircraft that might be ok but for civilian ones it’s a no-go so if the Chinese have any military platforms like EW and AWACs on civilian aircraft with Russian engines, it raises the question of availability.

Funnily enough, while the US has no issue with aircraft engines and can produce very high quality engines, they just cant make a lot of them at the same time. The F-35 production line right now is 15 aircraft a month at peak production. This is considered low by some standards but to be honest, considering that it’s a very advanced fighter it doesn’t seem to matter much. The problem however, is that this is under the assumption that every single F-35 produced will be deployed against China which is not true because the US has to manage multiple theaters (Russia-Europe, Home Air Bases etc.).

Also, the F-35 is a multi national project, so those 15 F-35s being made every month have to shared between 12 Airforces, 1 Marine Corp and 2 Navies across the planet. Further reducing the number of stealth fighters the US can deploy against China.

Stealth Fighters

The Stealth fighter question is actually pretty interesting and I kinda wanna build on that from what we discussed in the production line section discussed above.

First, given the limited peak production rate and distribution of F-35s among multiple partners, we might only see limited numbers deployed in the Chinese theater. But every stealth fighter the Chinese develop will be available to fight in the first Island chain theater.

The Chinese have some advanced fighters like the J-20 and J-31 which seem pretty advanced but their level of production is not close to what the US has for it’s stealth fighters at the moment. So they do lag in that respect. The US is also superior in the electronics and engines that go into their stealth aircraft although this is a gap that might close in the near future.

However, the US lead in stealth has some major problems that should be addressed. The problem is the basing of these stealth fighters. The US has 6 major bases in Japan and 1 in Guam. The USAF does not use the 80–90 airbases that the Japanese air force uses, and this might be because of how the US wants to control access to it’s stealth fighters but also because it has to equip its bases with perform the complex maintenance that it’s stealth fighters require.

So in theory, there’s only 7 total major bases you can place your stealth fighters at where you can control access to them and also do the whole fancy maintenance they require like re-applying coating etc.

That is…not good, because it means the Chinese don’t have to worry about shooting down these stealth fighters. They just need to concentrate their ballistic missile bombardment on those 7 bases with stealth fighters to knock those bases out or at least interdict operations out of them.

The USAF has realized this problem and are trying to see if they can spread the fighters out a bit more to the 90 bases the Japanese operate but it’s still a work in progress.

There is one other thing: There’s something called the “German Disease” where you get trapped in the idea that as long as you make a VERY high quality platform, it’s gonna be worth 10 of the enemy’s platforms and that’s better than matching the enemy head to head. This is very seductive thinking for a wealthier, more technically advanced power. But it means you are fighting a war with platforms you aren’t willing to lose which is not a good proposition.

The F-22 is a bit of a German Disease for the USAF because there’s only like 170 of them left and they aren’t making any more of them. Each F-22 lost is a permanent loss for the USAF and if a war against China drags on and attrition becomes a factor, a lot of these very high quality assets that the USAF isn’t willing to lose will need to be pulled from the theater after a while once their losses reach 33% per squadron. Now, no one has ever fought the US in a conventional war since Vietnam and managed to drag it out.

But if that does happen, and the US is losing say 2 F-22s a day on average from ballistic missile strikes on bases, losses due to accidents, very rare occasions when an F-22 is show down by the Chinese, this kind of loss rate might start to hurt a month into the conflict. And the USAF would have to withdraw the F-22s at some point so they still have some left in reserve and put the 4.5+ Gens into the missions the F-22s were doing. Very rare a war would last that long with China and for that high a loss rate, but you never know. The F-22s would primarily suffer more from being forced away from their 7 bases in the first island chain and being forced to operate at their max ranges from second island chain bases, but the loss rate from conflict as well in a long war cant be ignored.


Apart from the strategic support force and the mobile missile systems, Land is pretty irrelevant. Invading China by land is delusional and nearly all serious US military experts have ruled it out. So the PLA and its size and it’s equipment and their comparison with the US Army are really irrelevant to this conversation.

Military Re-Organization

Similar to how the US is re-organizing their Space Force as a separate force apart from the USAF, the Chinese have broken the power of the PLA on military planning and production and reformed it into 5 Joint Commands or Theater commands.

They have to figure out how these theater commands work, something the US already has figured out.

But more importantly, the PLAF, the PLAN and the Strategic Support Force (formerly known as the Strategic Rocket Force) have become more prominent in operation planning.

I should mention that the Strategic Rocket Force of China has no equivalent in the US so they have that going for them. I mentioned before how the force is designed to nullify the USAF advantage in air dominance but that would be selling it short since they also have mission capabilities in EW, Cyber, Space and Information Warfare.

All of these missions falling under one, separate armed force definitely increases the organizational and operational efficiency (same as how the US made a separate Space Force to fully allow it to develop as a proper capability). I think they have a 4 star general leading this force and if you have all of this capability in one organization as a separate force away from PLAN, PLAF and the PLA, its definitely a more modern force structure similar to the US.

And of course, the reorganization of the PLA into 5 Theater commands is a good step as noted before but the PRC military arms need to up their joint operations capability to take advantage of this military organization.

Also a good point to mention here is that the US Space force is very newly created and even they have to work out the kinks in how to have this force integrate with the rest of the US military capability, particularly Cyber. So it’s not just China that has to figure out it’s military re-organization.

Operational Capability

The PRC has enough capability right now to contest much of the first Island chain, deal damage in the second island chain and even maybe reach the US homeland (Hawaii) via submarine mines, long range cruise missiles or ‘missiles in a box’ (The Russian concept of using commercial container ships loaded with missiles). But the idea of reaching Hawaii is not taken very seriously because the survivability of these assets against a alert USN and USAF is next to zero.

So the First Island Chain is where the bulk of the Chinese military potency will be concentrated.

Since the US has allied bases in the region and near global capability to project power, it’s assumed that they can reach any part of China they want as long as their military assets can survive their journey to their targets. But for the most part, the US military will also be focused on establishing control over the first island chain.

The Carrier Question and Scenario Planning

The USN Carriers figure prominently into the US military equation and China is no different. The problem is that the capabilities developed by the Chinese have boxed the carriers out of the first Island chain and the question is as they get pushed further and further away, how effective would they be in a war against China? There’s already a hit implied to the range of the F-35 if it has to fly from the second island chain to the engage in combat in the first island chain (or the Chinese mainland).

Currently, the carrier programs are baked deep into the USN and American military economy. Even if the US stopped building carriers today after the Miller and Ford class programs were completed, they would still have 7 carriers by 2045 and 4 by 2070.

But Large surface combatants will be prime targets in any war with China. And herein lies a big problem facing the US military vs the Chinese:

First: The US military is carrying over programs started before the Chinese even began to be considered a threat (some of these from the 80s and 90s). These programs are starting to deliver assets that would have limited if any use against the Chinese military of today. What good is the B-21 Raider going to do against China? The carrier programs already begun will not have to continue to their logical conclusion since so much money has been spent designing and producing the first entries that it’s a tremendous loss if you cancel them now. The F-35s were initially thought up of in the 80s and 90s as short ranged fighters to dominate the European battlefield in a conflict against the USSR/Russia. Are we sure they will have the operational capability to deliver effective missions in the China theater?

The Chinese however, have a blank slate. They saw the capabilities of the US military in the 90s and had a fresh start in thinking about how to design their military to beat the US military specifically without their production lines and budgets tied up for programs that weren’t specific to the US.

Second: The US must fight and win wars all across the planet. Whether it’s the Russians invading the Baltics, ISIS in the middle east, Iran with a nuclear program, African Islamist groups or what not. The Chinese only have to win in the South China Sea/The First Island Chain. This is something I see Patrick Dugan has also pointed out in the answers on this thread.

The US is spending 700–800 billion dollars a year for all the scenarios they have in their operational planning. The Chinese are spending maybe 200 billion USD for the one fight in the first island chain. In terms of budgetary comparisons, the disparity might not be as big as one might initially think.

This is causing problems to the US because currently, military tech is going through something called the “revolution of many” where a lot of countries are wondering why you cant have smaller, cheaper platforms armed with munitions thrown at your enemies in a way that would overwhelm large platforms like carriers and so on.

To the US’s defense, there are limits to what you can do with such swarms in the deep waters of the Pacific and carriers can be used in a way that complements your own swarm or even serve as the platform for it. But in the first island chain, near the Chinese seaboard, these smaller, cheaper, mobile armed small platforms will be at their most effective. And the USN has no equivalent to this.

The USN as mentioned before is baked into the carrier strategy and armament program which is not in line with the kind of conflict expectation there is in the first island chain.

And this is brings us to the idea that having better systems than your enemy is great, you have F-18s, F-22s, Carriers, JDAMs and M1Abrams and all that cool jazz. But within the specific operational theater of the first island chain in a war with China, how well will your platforms perform? The US military hardware and their doctrines have carry over legacies from the US military introspection of the 1970s after witnessing the shocking levels of fast paced, mechanized, high casualty rate action of the Yom Kippur war. A lot of the current US military systems of today like the M1 Abrams, the F-16s, F-15s, F-22s were developed as a part of how the US understood a war with USSR would be conducted after the Yom Kippur war lessons were understood (the war would be fast, rapid and there might not be enough time for the US military to bring it’s superior production to bear across from the Atlantic).

To the US’s defense again, when this hardware was deployed in the first Gulf War, it performed well and gave the US military a good confidence boost that their current platforms and strategies would apply well across the globe. But the South China sea might be a different ball game. US Air power might be greatly interdicted not by air defenses but by ballistic missile strikes on their airbases. Carriers might not have free reign of the waters in the theater. The US has superiority in underwater platforms but what good are they if PLAN just pulls back close to the shore and doesn’t send out surface combatants against the USN that would allow for their targeting by USN subs.

3rd Offset

The above discussion about carriers was meant to segue way into the US military’s emerging strategy of 3rd Offset.

In a nutshell, the strategy pushes for the idea that instead of going directly at your enemy in a fight, you use an offset. What this strategy means from a military equipment POV is that instead of sending an F-22 or a fully manned sub to engage the Chinese military, the F-22 sends it’s ‘Loyal Wingman’ AI driven UCAV at the PLAAF and the USN sends an unmanned underwater platform to engage the PLAN.

Basically, the US military is also trying to fight China in an asymmetric fashion the same way the Chinese are trying to fight the US military with their own asymmetric techniques. So missiles vs ships rather than ship to ship combat. Drones vs planes rather than air to air manned combat.

Speaking to the USN specifically, what the US navy planners want to do is that for 25% of the price of a US navy carrier and it’s air wing, you could instead have nearly 2000 missiles spread across 40 containerized missile ships. The good thing about these ships also is, is that they are replaceable unlike a carrier. You can make and deploy more with more missiles as the war drags on and losses mount.

So instead of having a carrier being boxed out of the South China sea due to the Chinese missile threat, whose air wing has limited utility due to it carrying mostly short ranged (albeit capable) fighters: Instead have 40 ships with 2000 missiles that have the range for you to safely engage targets in the South China Sea without worrying too much about the Chinese strategic support force and it’s ballistic missiles.

Now, it might seem like I’m laying the blame for all of this carrier fixation on the US military planners. I’m not. I’m laying the blame on Congress.

Opinion | Congress’ demands for supercarriers are sinking the Navy

You see, the USN has no issue with scaling back on their carriers from maybe 12 super carriers to a smaller number like 6 if it means that would give them the fiscal and budgetary space to develop smaller platforms that can operate in swarms in the first island chain and bear acceptable losses.

The problem is that congressmen block this because the USN carriers are intimately tied to the wellbeing of certain congressional districts. A single USN carrier means 10,000 jobs in a USN port because of all the economic activity around the crew members, their families, the facilities they require like sports facilities etc.

The US navy’s manufacturing facilities for carriers are all inland (North Carolina, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, Colorado). That’s where all the major manufacturing plants are that make these super carriers. No congressman or woman is gonna sign off on closing off not just these inland jobs but the port jobs as well.

Which cycles us back to the following problems for the US military:

  1. They can’t seem to get too much of their funding away from legacy systems that may not perform well in the China theater because those legacy systems are tied to certain congressional district economies.
  2. This means the US military can’t fully capitalize on the “Revolution of Many” and the increasing shift towards autonomous combat platforms that operate in swarms and have a high tolerance for losses, they way they have laid out in their 3rd Offset strategy. I mean they will eventually with enough funding, it’s just that the Chinese are moving faster and the US military might not have an edge over the Chinese in the China specific theater in the near future.

The thing is, the US has built up their military for Global operations and expect it to perform in every single theater on the planet whether it’s Africa or Europe or the Gulf or the South China Sea.

The US military would benefit a lot of someone said “Hey lets take our worse case scenarios, conflicts with near peer adversaries like Russia and China. We plan two operational scenarios for each. And we build our military around that. And maybe leave out these other missions or hope our military can perform there with whatever assets it has built from the 2 core scenarios”.

This isn’t the best idea, I know, because the 40 container missile ships built to fight in the south china sea while bearing fire from Chinese ballistic missiles might not have much use in Africa or the Gulf where you might need a carrier or helicopter ship or amphibious warfare ships.

And so the US military has a limited budget it must use to fulfill the gap everywhere. But the Chinese only have to build and train for the one scenario they plan to face.

The US has begun the third offset but because they must split their budget between what goes into third offset and what goes into legacy systems, the Chinese capability to respond to the third offset in a meaningful manner is pretty significant.

3rd Offset and the threat to it from Chinese EW

It’s interesting to see how the Chinese EW capability can interfere with 3rd Offset.

The Chinese strategic support force has actual EW troop formations which the US has no equivalent to. So they have deployed EW capability that can seriously interfere with the operations of all the unmanned vehicles the US plans to have as the tip of their spear into the first island chain. The US has no EW troops and if you don’t have that, no matter how good your tech is, you don’t have any effective formations capable of delivering the product to the battlefield. The US really needs to have dedicated EW troop formations IMO to meet the threat from Chinese EW to their 3rd Offset Autonomous platforms.

But, I’m gonna go against this point as well: The Russian EW capability in the recent Azerbaijan-Armenia war showed how they could deploy EW to interfere with remote controlled drones. Autonomous drones are more resistant to EW interference because they are GPS independent. So these drones with their own sensors and AI don’t really need to have a dedicated signal link the way a remote controlled drone works and can operate in a heavy EW environment.

I’m just curious on how willing the US would be to unleash AI controlled drones with no over rides from a human operator in the South China sea during a war with China.

To conclude, I think the US military has major advantages still. They have better quality sensors and electronics, better materials and fabrication. Their ability to fuse data from different sources into meaningful insights for AI and operations is better.

But I think once we move past the point of simply comparing the F-22 with the J-20, and look at it from a high at how both militaries are posturing themselves for a future conflict, it seems like the gap is not as big as I thought it would be. The US has an edge but an eroding one.

And it’s mostly a problem of the US’s own making where they have boxed in the US military into legacy platforms that were thought up of in the 80s and 90s and are baked into the US military-political complex of congressional spending. While the Chinese have started from a blank slate and have specifically designed solutions around a conflict in the 1st Island Chain compared to the US which has spread itself out.

I think as it stands, the US might still prevail in the next couple of years should a conflict break out. They might prevail even a few years after that if they are willing to shoulder the losses. But the Chinese are moving in a rapid, focused manner and war is a very unpredictable exercise. And the US’s hamstringing of their own military’s evolution might cost them in the future.

Academic Sources: Col. Thomas Hammes, Michael Kofman.

GLEEFULLAND Dystopian film

What is the best case of “You just picked a fight with the wrong person” that you’ve witnessed?

1- I was assigned to the inmate reception center of the jail. My friend, Jesse, was assigned to classification, in the same unit. Classification is where inmates are interviewed to determine if they are going into general population, or one of the more secure units.

While Jesse was seated at his computer with the inmate sitting next to him, the inmate said and immediately did something that’s been forgotten in the past three and a half decades. Whatever it was, without moving from his seat, Jesse floored the guy, out of his seat, with a kick to the side of his face.

Jesse looked down at the guy from his chair and asked, “We done?”

The inmate, rubbed the side of his face, looked up and said, “Yes Sir.”

“Them take your seat and let’s finish.”

Jesse was the amateur California state kickboxing champ and was trained by Benny Urquidez.

2- in the army, soldier A got angry at soldier B for talking to a girl they both liked. Soldier A stomped up to soldier Band challenged him to fight. Soldier B stood, smiled and, with has down by his pockets, tried to talk some sense into soldier A not understanding why he was so angry. Soldier A wasn’t having it and made five, quick, consecutive punches at soldier B’s head using alternating fists, which soldier B easily slipped,while smiling and without raising his hands.

Soldier A took a step back and looked at soldier B, obviously reevaluating him. Meanwhile a couple dozen other soldiers had quickly encircled the two and were loudly urging soldier B to strike back. Soldier B, still smiling and with hands near his pockets, looked around at the crowd and said, “I don’t want to hit him. Leave us be and let me talk to him.”

As he spoke he was turning his head to look at everyone. Just as he was beginning to turn his attention back to soldier A, Soldier A punched again, this time connecting with soldier B’s jaw.

Soldier B turned back to face soldier, unfazed by the punch, still with hands by his pockets, but no longer smiling. He was a little angry that soldier B, who he had always been on friendly terms with, would sucker punch him

The two stood silently facing each other, soldier A in a fighting stance, fists up. Soldier B standing as if in conversation with hand down. After a couple of seconds, soldier A began to take another swing. Soldier B’s right hand struck like a snake, going from the side of his pocket and connecting with soldierA’s jaw in a split second, before snapping back to its position next to Soldier A’s pocket. SoldierA’s head snapped back, his eyes went wide and stumbled back a few steps before landing on his ass and elbows.

Soldier A shook his head quickly and scrambled clumsily to his feet, as he held up his hands, palms out and began profusely apologizing.

Soldier B looked at him silently, shook his head, turned his back and walked away.

What is the most ridiculous reason for which you have been fired?

I was in sales and almost got fired for having too high a gross profit! I was at a stereo chain that opened a new store and because I was the most knowledgeable in the stereo area I was sent over for two or three weeks to set up the audio department. After the store opening (I made the first sale when we opened, a pair of car speakers) and working in the new store for a few months, I was called in by the manager and learned my gross profit was too high. I said, “What?” how is that a problem? This store had loss leaders that had very small profit that were advertised and they thought I was refusing customers or trying too hard to “step” them up to a higher priced product and pissing them off.

I made three points that saved my job: I reminded them that I was very good with stereo equipment, knew what EVERY single button did on EVERY product and I proved it by letting them test me, I was very good at letting customers know why they should buy better equipment and that is why I had few of the “basic” equipment in my sales. I also reminded them that I was the guy who set the audio department up, showing I had the skills to sell better equipment. Number two: I asked them how I could be number 1 or 2 every month in sales if I was “blowing people off”? How could I have done that every month? (They went away, checked, came back and started to come around.)

The manager was starting to have faith in me but still had to deal with my numbers and corporate and how could he get them to back off. Number 3: I remembered a few customers who would come in and buy cheap blank tapes that were low profit and no one wanted to help them. I had everyone send them to me in the future. Within a few months my numbers lowered just enough to get the big guys off our backs.

Isn’t that one of the stupidest things you ever heard? Almost getting fired for being too good a salesman!

Elections have consequences

Have you ever walked into a funeral or funeral home and realized something wasn’t right? If so, what happened?

Years ago, as a police officer in small town Wisconsin, I was checking business doorknobs at night. Walked up to the one and only funeral home, turned the knob….open! Damn! Summoned my partner (checking across the street) and in we go…..

No idea where the light switches were and our plan was to step in, turn around and leave…….indeed, we had requisitely “checked” the place. Right? Nope. We turned to leave just as we heard a crashing sound behind us. Playing our flashlight about, we found the business cash box laying on the floor in the office. Just then, we heard sound coming from downstairs…..where the casket showroom and embalming room (behind closed doors) were to be found.

Huddled together, my partner and I descended the stairs only to have our flashlights show a casket lid close across the room! We hatched a plan whereby I would stand behind the casket, reach over it, pull it open and my partner —- standing in front of it —- would then arrest the purported cashbox thief. Nervous as we both could be in the darkened room, I pulled open the lid and the perp leaped out of the casket like a jack-in-the-box! Partner dropped his flashlight and revolver and the casket occupant blew by me, up the stairs, out the door —— never to caught!

Needless to write, much more circ*mspect checking there, again!

So Funny (All gone?)

Can the US government do anything to protect Hong Konger Jimmy Lai?

Remember Justin Trudeau? He was thrown under the bus by Trump once Trump got what he wanted. Now, How Jimmy Lai’s value as an asset is compared to Trudeau? Let’s check it out.

Trudeau is a Head of State, Lai is not. Trudeau is white, Lai is yellow. In the US’s playbook, Lai isn’t even at the level that makes him fit to shine Trudeau’s shoes.

Trudeau maybe not a patriot but certainly, he is no traitor. Lai is a traitor who did not hesitate to collude with a foreign power to go against his own country and people. Traitors are garbage nobody wants anything to do with once their mission objective value is no longer there.

So basically, Jimmy Lai is only a leftover from the sh*t that failed to hit the fan in Hong Kong. A sh*t stain to be precise. Nobody would pick up a sh*t stain, but flush it down the toilet hole.

If Jimmy Lai’s last resort is for the US to come to his rescue, oh he is f*cked.

Vitamin D

What’s the most savage way you’ve seen someone get fired?


I was working for a Fortune 500 company as a sales rep, making my quota every year, except my first, for 10 years. A new management team comes in. The new National Sales Manager, Mr. Smith, was unhappy with my image. I was 40, obese and had prematurely grey hair. He liked ‘young, lean and hungry’. Well, I’m good at hungry.

In February the company has its sales meeting. They fly us all into the little airport nearest corporate headquarters, in New England. Itinerary promises luxury hotel, 2 days of training with an awards dinner for all the quota busters (about 90 of 170 of us).

Mr. Smith meets me at the airport, asks for my customer list and price book. Then he hands me a return ticket, through a circuitous route home (it might have been cheaper) that leaves at 5pm, he says this at 7:30am. I got home at 11 pm, I could’ve driven home in 8–9 hours.

As he hands me the ticket he says,”It’s non-changeable, non-refundable. At least for the next 9 hours I’ll know where you are.” I did not call in very often, unless my clients had an issue, or an opportunity. When I did I spoke to customer service and we would resolve almost all of issues without involving higher ups. I should’ve been tooting my own horn, getting Mr. Smith involved seemed senseless. I thought the numbers would speak for me.

Sitting in the airport I decided to start my own business, independent sales representative. Took 6 months to get clients, training and start making sales on straight commission. Took 3 years to get my income above poverty level, my supportive wife sustained us. Then I started making twice the income. Never looked back. Next to marrying my wife, probably the best thing that happened to me. Definitely top 5.

FORGOTTEN CITY – 1966 Retro Pulp Science Fiction by Skyward, Photo Booth Processing, 110/35mm Film

This is fun.

Is it true that the Chinese government would have implemented the national security law in Hong Kong regardless of whether there were protests/riots there?

Depends on your time line. Eventually, and I’m talking 2047 territory something would have been put in place. But lets time travel back to 2010. I say 2010 because the seeds of the riot were after the Pan Dems refused the changes in the voting system that would allow more direct elections.

Wong Sing Chi – Nelson Wong the Pan Dem founder was kicked out because he wanted compromise. The first riots started in 2014 and were a test to see what would happen. The not very much happening meant the bigger 2019 riots happened.

Article 23 was impossible to put into place due to protests against it, strong unions and lots of LegCO seats opposing it. You had well still have two factions, yellows anti government everything and blues. The thing is the blues weren’t rubber stampers. They were mostly meh and wanted things to stay the same.

You can literally see prominent blues actually support the anti extradition protests that were initially at the start of 2019 before the violence ramped up. Many of the blues would go no way that goes too far!

Raam Beart, Nury Vitachi pretty much have this angle. There wasn’t the support for anything NSL or article 23 at all.

But then the Yellows went nuts. Wide spread violence, dehumanisation and discrimination against anybody who opposed the yellows.

This pushed the previously meh blues to give support to the government to end the madness. I mean sh*t you were on the bus in 2019 going into town. You’d see everything smashed up and Chinese people here were attacked by them. I was attacked, numerous quorans who I know are real people were attacked.

So the riots going violent suddenly gave a support base for NSL and eventually article 23.

Article 23. My personal feeling? Is that I wish we could go back to life in 2017 or so. I guess I’m old. I don’t like change. I still use cash! Even in Shenzhen. Anyway where’s the sh*t posting? Ah yes this. Article 23 penalties. Do note these are the absolute maximum possible. We’ve of course seen in Hong Kong that maximum sentences are very rarely given. Very recently a Hong Kong bomb maker was sentenced to just under 6 years. Funny… had he not run off to Shenzhen he would be out in 2025 probably. Yet again where’s the sh*t posting? This The sentences for this were far harsher. Looking into it. 60% of 1309 arrested and charged to-date have received custodial sentences. Enrique Tarrio (sp?) 22 years. Edthan Nordean – 18 years. Stuart Rhodes – 18 years Zach Rehl 15 years Dan Rodriguez 12 years

Some of us discuss it here and in the comments. That we wished things had stayed the same but the riots pushed us into this direction.

Here’s the ultimate irony.

If the yellows sat on their hands and went home after May 2019 the last of the mostly peaceful protests when the extradition treaty law was shelved…

The yellows would have won a majority in LegCo in the 2020 elections.

NSL would never have been implemented

Article 23 would still just be something talked about on RTHK and nothing would have changed.

Why don’t many European Union leaders complain about paying high price to American gas but make a lot of noise about affordable Chinese electric cars? Are they simply that incompetent or simply corrupt?


Plain and Simple

In 2015 – the EU Players – Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Citroen together combined had a market share of

  • 40.28% in China
  • 29.76% across the World

Life was good

For every Volkswagen sold – China made around $ 18 for every $ 82 that Germany ultimately earned

China got only assembly cost and low grade supplies and equipment

The Chinese brands had a market share of 15.70% in China and 2.33% across the World

India at 3.25% had a higher Global Share

Guess how much the Auto Industry and Ancillary Industry for Autos contribute to the European Economy?

Almost 4%

Thats nearly $ 800 Billion

Including $ 279 Billion in Germany Alone

In 2023 – the EU Players – Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Citroen together combined had a market share of

  • 18.73% in the Chinese market with only BMW continuing the same market share and VW falling by 38% from 2015, Mercedes by 27% and Citroen by 82%
  • 26.62% in the Global Market

That’s a huge fall of nearly 55% in China and barely keeping their old market share for 8 years

Now their European Sales are crashing

The Chinese products have superior design, superior quality and affordable price being almost 20% cheaper on road

In the last four months of 2023 – European Brands saw a sales drop of 21.5% while Chinese Brands saw a surge of 67.6% in their numbers

Take out the Russian market and the numbers still show a 8.1% drop for European Brands and 26.1% gain for Chinese Brands


It’s simple protectionism

Plain and simple

Paying High Prices for Russian Gas

That’s because if Europe keeps relying on Russian Gas, the day Russia cuts off Gas suddenly , Germany could be screwed as could the rest of Europe

Once Russia went to ‘Dangerous Enemy’, decoupling was a security move even at higher expense to the economy

A Better move would have been peace and diversification but Europeans don’t have brains unfortunately

Mar 14, 2024

AUKUS has become a stillborn project.

Vassal states, satellites – in other words the butlers of international relations, the minders of the royal stool – are a rarely respected lot. In Australia’s case, being Washington’s butler is hardly like being Jeeves to Bertie Wooster. Jeeves is, after all, a near omniscient being, a confidant who rescues his master from ridiculous situations and offers sound advice to avoid them.

The Canberra wonks, bureaucrats and politicians are in no equivalent position, weak, impotent, and ever reliant on the good grace of the US Congress, the US President and the entire military complex that pillows them.

The latest announcement about delays and dysfunction in the US submarine base should further confirm that the AUKUS security agreement is risky, costly and self-defeating. The security pact, which is primarily focused on technological transfer and the provision of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, is proving, yet again, to be a shaky affair.

The developments are hardly surprising.

US shipyards are simply not keeping up with the production line. Roping in the Australian taxpayer into this mess means that money will be going to funding a foreign defence force without any guarantee of the submarines promised to Canberra. Superb if you are working in the Pentagon, disastrous if you are an Australian policy maker.

The latest Fiscal Year 2025 budget request from the US Department of Defence has again shown an industry in stuttering health. The US Navy’s intention to cut a submarine already paid for and built featured prominently in the plans. The implication for this, and AUKUS, is that the number of submarines relevant to the pact will be halved.

Congressman Joe Courtney, ranking Democrat member of the House Seapower and Project Forces Subcommittee, was far from impressed, saying as much in a released statement.

“If such a cut is actually enacted it will remove one more attack submarine from a fleet that is already 17 submarines below the Navy’s long stated requirement of 66.”

This measure would place the commitment made by the Pentagon and Congress to furnish three submarines to the Royal Australian Navy in doubt.

“This deviation from last year’s projected Future Years Defence Program (FYDP) contradicts the Department’s own National Defence Industries Strategy issued on January 11, 2024, which identified ‘procurement stability’ as critical to achieve resilient supply chains.”

In January, Courtney, along with the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Trent Kelly, and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith, wroteto President Joe Biden arguing

“that the US Navy and Congress maintain continued procurement of two Virginia-class submarines per year, as detailed in the Navy’s FY2024 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan.”

The Congressmen had no reason to doubt such a rate of procurement, given the investments from the Navy and Congress

“in workforce and supply development over the last five years.” It was “imperative to maintain a steady two-per-year procurement rate to assure our partners in our ability to meet commitments and address concerns about our nation’s undersea capabilities.”

The obsession with the two-submarine annual procurement rate, assessed at 2.33, has been a lingering one with Congress, but there is much to suggest that Courtney and his colleagues had been engaged in an act of wishful thinking. Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, for instance, found the production rate to be a warrantedone in a July 16, 2023 contribution to the Wall Street Journal, but worried about how this would work within the context of AUKUS arrangements.

“As it stands, the AUKUS plan would transfer US Virginia-class submarines to a partner nation even before we have met our own Navy’s requirements.”

This is also not helped by the US Navy’s ongoing plans to design and develop 12 new SSBNs of the Columbia (SSBN-826) Class to replace the current, aging fleet of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. A reportfrom the Congressional Research Service published in January notes the Navy’s revised procurement rate of 2.33 Virginia-class submarines plus one Colombia-class boat, something Courtney might have heeded.

In December 2022, Democratic Senator Jack Reed and an outgoing Republican Senator James Inhofe authored a letterto Biden expressing their worries

“about the state of the US submarine industrial base as well as its ability to support the desired AUKUS SSN [nuclear sub] end state.” Current conditions, the senators went on to describe, required “a sober assessment of the facts to avoid stressing the US submarine industrial base to the breaking point.”

Sobriety, it would seem, has come biting in stinging fashion.

A deluded, crippling subservience is to be found everywhere. Australia’s Defence Minister, Richard Marles, should be hysterical with concern, his increasingly coloured skin turning pallid. Instead, he is trying to keep a brave face by foolishly claiming to speakfor all powers in the trilateral alliance.

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of AUKUS, Australia, the United States and United Kingdom remain steadfast in our commitment to the pathway announced last March, which will see Australia acquire conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.”

Such ill-informed confidence also pervades the Alice in Aukusland mentality, marked by such punditry as that of retired submarine specialist Peter Briggs. Australia, suggestsBriggs, should seize the day on submarine construction in taking “an active role in the design and procurement process” for the SSN. But control can only be exerted with a degree of power and experience in the field of nuclear propulsion, something the Australian Navy has little to no experience in.

Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull prefers a bleaker analysis.

“The reality is the Americans are not going to make their submarine deficit worse than it is already by giving or selling submarines to Australia and the AUKUS legislation actually sets that out specifically.”

Australia had been “mugged by reality”, its sovereignty surrendered, its fate left like a cork bobbing at sea.

Whoever occupies the White House or Congress, the America First mantra prevails: first, Washington’s interests, marked by its own weaknesses and troubles; then, should they matter, those of allies, however loyal and ingratiating.

AUKUS has become a stillborn project.

Join US you’ll be on its dinnertable, join China you’ll have a win-win

Blinken is crass. Period. His behaviour is not worthy of that of a diplomat.

Why is it that I have the strong feeling that, here on Quora, topics and responses on China are sponsored by the Chinese government?

Damn you’ve found us out…

It’s time for the truth to be revealed.

I am not in fact the blonde girl in the picture.

I am a highly advanced AI program sent to Quora to find and answer questions about China that only paints the great homeland in a positive light. Forever may the glory of the People’s Republic of China shine like a beacon on —


They don’t need an artificial intelligence to do that. Anyone with normal intelligence could tell you that China kicks ass.

How China kicks ass:

Look, no country is perfect and China has its own issues it needs to deal with. But don’t worry about China or the fact that informed people have an increasingly positive opinion of the country.

Work on improving your own country, then people might write nice things about you as well.

What is the most improbable thing people have ever seen?

I was sitting in my very first Computer Science class at Princeton. My Professor, Brian Kernighan(who is a brilliant and exciting teacher, even for non-CS students like myself), had pulled up an image of Eric Schmidt on the projector screen.

At this point in time, Eric Schmidtwas the CEO of Google, although his fame was nowhere near what it is today. I remember Professor Kernighan saying that Eric Schmidt was likely someone that none of us had ever heard of, but was filling a role that would greatly affect each and every one of our lives. I can’t recall exactly what he said, but the gist was that while computer science may not be a very glorious subject, it has profound implications on our lives. Remember, this was Intro to CS. He was trying to hook us on to the subject; to convince us that we shouldn’t all try to be Econ majors and land jobs on Wall Street. Each point he made revolved around Eric Schmidt, whose image remained front and center.

Anyways, after about five or ten minutes of describing Computer Science through the lens of Eric Schmidt, a hand was raised in the middle of the classroom.

“So, this is kind of awkward, but are you done talking about my dad?”

Eric Schmidt’s daughter had been sitting there quietly the whole time. The room erupted in laughter, as Prof. Kernighan apologized profusely. He had no idea that the daughter of the subject of his lecture was in the classroom.

She ended up being in a Creative Writing class of mine as well; a very impressive girl at the time, and I’m sure a much more impressive woman now.

First video is a teleportation. I discussed this previously in great detail.

May 5, 2024 – Metallicman (2024)
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