I hope you do not mind this constant stream of articles from GeoPoliticalFutures that I like to reference. If it is too much, please tell me. As I mentioned earlier, I am trying to find the right mix of content for this website.
GPF has a strong analysis department spread all over the world and if I am trying to make sense of something, they often have good apolitical (or minimally political) data summary somewhere.
That's why when I drink my coffee in the morning, and look through my overnight e-mail, anything from GPF deserves a closer look.
With George Friedman, who I typically reference, I really like his well thought out opinion pieces.
With other authors at GPF, I mostly look at the analytical bits, but most of what they produce is worth reading. Naturally, I usually have my own take on things.
This particular piece is looking at the reasons behind the spiking energy prices. There are some nice charts in there, so rather than copy and paste it, I am attaching a PDF.
Look at the charts in their and pay close attention to what they project in terms of energy demand. We are essentially in a cold war of sorts with China and if we are looking to really squeeze them (and we should), energy is definitely where it is at.
In principle, another is manufacturing. There has been a lot said about all of the US manufacturing base being shipped over to China. Some of it is true. Some of it is hyperbole. Some of it is looking at the wrong things.
Traditional labor and material intensive manufacturing always ends up leaving places with high wages and going to places with low wages. China seized on that years ago and, by strongly subsidizing their manufacturing base, created the industrial juggernaut that they currently are. I think their long term power is somewhat overstated and that totalitarian political system can not co-exist with somewhat free market economy for very long, but time will tell. This is probably a conversation for another day.
China is no longer the cheapest place to make stuff, so some of the most labor intensive manufacturing is moving to other places, while China is trying to move upmarket. That requires energy and they are usually in some sort of an energy crunch or on the verge of one. That is an opportunity for countries worried about China's power (and that should be all of them).
Another thing to consider is that arguably the biggest reason China is maintaining it's industrial power is not just the labor costs, but also efficiency. Huge manufacturing regions in China created this incredible infrastructure where everything you need is comparatively nearby and even rather complex manufacturing processes can be accomplished quickly without shipping things back and forth too much.
As companies quietly trying to diversify from China (and there are quite a few of them) learned, that infrastructure is hard to set up from scratch in places like Vietnam and Thailand, for example. That infrastructure, or lack thereof, is also one of the reasons it has become so expensive to manufacture things here in the US.
We sorta had it, then we shipped it all overseas. Rebuilding in the same it used to exist is not feasible without a major decline in the standard of living here.
The big question is whether it is possible to do it more efficiently. Well, if EPA wasn't mucking things up, there is a lot more high tech stuff that we could do here, especially within the semiconductor and biotech world. There are some steps being taken in that direction. It started under Trump, so naturally it is quite possible that the crack team of imbeciles currently occupying the White House might screw it up (elections matter people, especially the one coming in 2022).
How about more traditional manufacturing? That would be hard. Doing that on large scale is a huge infrastructure investment that I just do not see happening and the more boutique stuff never left.
I think there is a real opportunity there with additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing. That brings us back to where I started this conversation: energy.
In principle, all you need is for additive manufacturing is energy and pre-processed, to some degree, raw materials. There is very little waste. You can do very complex shapes. Additional machining is often limited to just cleaning up the surfaces if that.
All you need is a building with power, 3D printing machines, software control systems and the means to feed them with raw material.
If we invest into nuclear power, use hydrocarbons we pull out of the ground to make composites and invest into additive manufacturing, we could see a significant uptick in industrial activity right here.
In many ways, despite the Democrats persistent efforts to screw it up, US is an energy superpower and we should always remember that.
I gave it a couple of days and figured it is time to do a live show on intermediate magnifications in LPVOs and a couple of other updates.
I am budgeting 30-45 minutes for this, but it might go to a full hour depending on how it goes.
I'd like to do a quick overview of how the hog hunt went, the gear I was looking at and why I love doing this stuff.
Let's aim for tomorrow (Tuesday, October 12th) at noon Mountain Time.
Here is the wrap up of the Steiner M1050r LRF bincoulars that I have been playing with for a quite a while now.
Observation optics is a pretty involved subject as is, further complicated by the fact that most observation optics are not made for shooters. Here is a live show I did on observation optics that touches on this:
This binocular is decidedly not intended for birders. As the name implies, it is squarely aimed at military and law enforcement applications. It is a very competent overall design, but there is a feature that is sorely missing.
Let me know what you think once you watch the video. The binocular in question is the Steiner Military 10x50r LRF: https://bit.ly/2WA88hY
It is a solid design overall with excellent optics and good LRF performance. There is, however, one critical feature missing.
The registration for SHOT 2022 is finally open and I am in the process of making something resembling a schedule for it. The way it usually works, I make a detailed schedule and it goes to hell in a handbasket eight minutes after the show starts. Still, I have to make plans.
Interestingly, the Safari International event is in Las Vegas this year and overlapping with SHOT.
SHOT is Tuesday through Friday and SCI is Wednesday through Saturday.
I normally do not go to SCI given that it is more of a hunting oriented event. However, given that I am gearing up for my4th hunt this year (aoudad sheep in April, spring black bear in Alaska in June, hogs in Texas two weeks ago and New Mexico elk coming up in December), I can no longer say that I am not really a hunter with any sort of honesty.
I may not be a good hunter, but I am a hunter. Apparently.
With all that, I may be able to sneak over to the SCI show on Saturday. I always run out of time at SHOT, so I doubt I will be able to give up...
Folks, I am going to do another livecast tomorrow focusing on LPVOs and FIxed Power scopes when both are equipped with an offset RDS.
Matt of Everyday Marksman and Jacob of Pro-gun Millenial will join me tomorrow.
Yesterday's livecast, once we got done with the original topic of discussion veered a little bit toward other aspects of shooting quickly with conventional riflescopes and the topic of OEGs (Occluded Eye Gunsights) came up. I figured that I should probably write a short article on how they work when I realized that I already have and that Guns and Ammo makes this one available online.
It went into the 2019 Retro issue when they asked to write a little bit about OEGs since they were famously used in the Son-Tay raid.
It did make me want to re-visit the subject, so I pinged the good folks at Armson USA to see if I can borrow a modern OEG form them and go over the subject in more detail.