The party of the rich is . . . ?

I note that the recent mid-term elections have produced one interesting result that hasn’t received much comment. California, New Jersey, New York and Virginia dominated the top 10 wealthiest congressional districts. Out of the wealthiest 50 districts, 13 are located in California; eight are in New York; five in New Jersey; and four in Virginia. Massachusetts, which didn’t make the top 10, still sports four of the nation’s richest congressional districts. Here are the 10 richest congressional districts in the U.S. by median household income: . . . Among the top 10 richest congressional districts, Democrats now represent all 10. Out of

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Close-range air-to-air footage of the Sukhoi Su-57

Russia’s attempt to produce a fifth-generation fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57, has apparently not been too successful in technical terms;  the aircraft is reputedly not nearly as “stealthy” as it needs to be when measured against the US F-22 Raptor.  Also, Russia has announced that it won’t put the aircraft into mass production, probably because it can’t afford it in large numbers.  Nevertheless, it’s probably a pretty capable “Generation 4½” fighter, and a dozen will be built for the Russian Air Force. Recently an air-to-air photo shoot was held for the Su-57.  An Antonov An-12transport (similar to the US C-130 Hercules) was the camera plane.  It

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Smartphones and what they really cost you

When you add up the cost of smartphones over time, they don’t look very appealing. If you think your family’s smartphone addiction is bleeding you all dry, you don’t know the half of it. Based on typical smartphone costs and usage patterns, your kids will end up spending a staggering $75,000 apiece on their phones over the course of their lives, according to valuation company Flipsy. And even they’re only scratching the surface, because they missed out the biggest cost of all: The opportunity cost of all that money. If you factor that in, the true lifetime cost of your kids’ love affair

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Close-range air-to-air footage of the Sukhoi Su-57

Russia’s attempt to produce a fifth-generation fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57, has apparently not been too successful in technical terms;  the aircraft is reputedly not nearly as “stealthy” as it needs to be when measured against the US F-22 Raptor.  Also, Russia has announced that it won’t put the aircraft into mass production, probably because it can’t afford it in large numbers.  Nevertheless, it’s probably a pretty capable “Generation 4½” fighter, and a dozen will be built for the Russian Air Force.Recently an air-to-air photo shoot was held for the Su-57.  An Antonov An-12transport (similar to the US C-130 Hercules) was the camera plane.  It lowered

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Smartphones and what they really cost you

When you add up the cost of smartphones over time, they don’t look very appealing. If you think your family’s smartphone addiction is bleeding you all dry, you don’t know the half of it. Based on typical smartphone costs and usage patterns, your kids will end up spending a staggering $75,000 apiece on their phones over the course of their lives, according to valuation company Flipsy. And even they’re only scratching the surface, because they missed out the biggest cost of all: The opportunity cost of all that money. If you factor that in, the true lifetime cost of your kids’ love affair

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“The 10 most stolen cars in America”

That’s the title of an article in the Minnesota Post-Bulletin.  It looks at the most frequently stolen vehicles in the USA during 2017.  I’ll leave you to read the details for yourself at the link. What I’m curious about is, why those particular vehicles?  What is it that makes a car or SUV or pickup more or less likely to be stolen?  I can think of several factors, but there must be more: Local popularity – if there are more of a given make or model of car in a given location, it’s more likely to be stolen by sheer weight of

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Belt knives at bargain prices

Now and again I come across products that are so useful, and offer such good value for money, that I have to recommend them to my readers.  I don’t get paid or compensated for doing so – that would make it a commercial transaction, rather than a personal recommendation, and I don’t do that here. Fixed-blade knives are usually stronger than folding blades, although that’s not always the case.  There are general-purpose blades, and more specialized ones such as skinning knives used by hunters, fishing filet and bait knives, and so on.  A good general-purpose field knife is a very, very useful tool. 

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Floating drydocks, accidents, and ingenuity

The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has been damaged during the sinking of a floating drydock.  It’s shown below in the dock before the undocking maneuver. The news reminds us, once again, that floating drydocks are enormously useful, but also potentially very hazardous.  They require very well-trained operators to partially submerge the dock, bring a ship into it and secure it to the dock, raise up the dock, and (after repairs are completed) submerge it again to let the vessel out.  The whole operation relies on pumping water into or out of various tanks along the length and breadth of the drydock.  Any

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A reader weighs in on the Tac Tool debate

Yesterday’s post about the Ka-Bar Tac Tool produced a number of comments and e-mails among those who know about and use such things.  One extended reply was submitted by reader Raven, who agreed to share it with all of us.  Given his background and experience, I found it interesting. My comments are not too well organized but do come from 50 years of manual labor- mechanical, logging, commercial fishing, woodworking etc. Modern life is packed with gadgets- any hobby or vocation is filled with trinkets to part people from their money- newest and best gimmick on the block syndrome- everyone looking

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The Ka-Bar Tac Tool: way overpriced for what it offers

In a great many markets for self-defense, security, do-it-yourself, “tacticool” and similar products, there’s a high volume of hype and exaggeration in advertising.  Most of it is completely without foundation.  It’s meant to appeal to the “boys and their toys” market, where (sadly) many men can be seduced into buying something because it’s the latest and greatest and “coolest” thing out there.  Whether or not it’s worth its asking price is seldom asked.  We looked at earlier manifestations of this in 2014, in terms of wilderness and survival tools and knives, and also last August, when we examined two wrecking tools from the same

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