Hal Turner Radio Show - Russia's Military Warns "ANY Inbound Missile Will be Viewed as NUCLEAR ATTACK" by christnmusicreleases in WarWatch

[–]mantra 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

They are actually referring to/directly the threat at China, not the USA.

Why do shops sometimes end up with empty shelves? by Lastrevio in EconomicsTheory

[–]mantra 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

The specific reason why TP shelves were empty has NOTHING to do with profiteering or hoarding or even anything the store can control!

It's actually stupider: it's the upstream supply chains and how inflexible, brittle and rigid they are in "modern" 2020 American. This has recently been the most dangerous aspect of major economic disruption: supply chain collapse.

TP isn't even the only example - meat, veggies, etc. all have the same flaw and will empty out because of over or under capacity any time there is a major change in demand. That's why milk is being dumped, cows slaughtered and ground up into fertilizer, and meat shortages are occurring even with slaughterhouses getting back online.

So the problem is that supply chains are "tuned" to work with no more than 5%-20% volume variance. This is because we primarily have "Just In Time" aka JIT supply chains now. The reason we have laser scanners at checkout is to facilitate JIT: nothing is ordered by the store until someone buys the thing. The laser scanner dumps ever purchase into a database and an order for more is only triggered when the inventory hits a threshold point.

And then the same thing happens with the upstream supplier/wholesaler (which might be the same company for big supermarkets or is a generic grocery wholesaler): they will not ship anything until they get an order for a store and they often only fulfill the order once THEIR orders hit a threshold of shipping volume in a geographic area.

And then the same thing happens to them (e.g. with bleach or lysol) where the manufacturer of the product also only ships once they get enough orders to hit a certain shipping volume - often the manufacturer has ZERO inventory and they manufacture the product once they get enough orders.

And similarly the raw chemicals required for bleach or lysol only get ordered once the manufacturing run has been committed and only get delivered by that supplier once the order is in hand, and these suppliers do not manufacture the chemicals for the order until they get enough orders as well. They they have their suppliers doing the same thing.

The key is demand must percolate step-by-step up the supply chain and no one is holding any inventory anywhere along the supply chain. To avoid inventory at any given node, everything is carefully tuned to a volume level that is based on previous order statistics (I had an entire course in this for my MBA).

There are a few exceptions to this for supply nodes that simply can NOT NOT hold inventory or have a long lead time. The classic example is farmers - they are slaved to the season and the weather, and pretty much have to take whatever orders come. For this reason most US farmers now use commodity futures to lock in a price and to "buy insurance" for bad harvests. Another is clothing manufacturers in Asia.

The intent is to have as close to ZERO inventory in the supply chains as possible. Usually each node in the chain has 1% or less inventory. Any inventory you keep is taxed by state and federal governments and subtracts from your profit margin - it's like income tax - and it's avoided at any cost. Plus NO ONE pays you to plan ahead and worry about unpredictable exceptions like a pandemic or war or economic crash. So no one does.

So start with that and now change demand by more than 20%. TP demand changed by 30%-40% this spring due to COVID shutdowns. The inevitable result is the supply chain chokes out on the increased demand.

And the problem is made worse because nearly every supply chain has at least 2 separate product forms. Some have more than 2.

For TP there is industrial and retail product forms with 100% separate supply chains for each of them. Retail is what you buy at the store for your home. I has very specific quality standards and very specific legally-required labeling. The other type, industrial, is very different. It's a different size, it's typically 1-ply, it's labeled differently, etc.

So now you have a pandemic where you have most of the population staying home instead of being at work. At home you use retail TP. At work you use industrial TP.

And because of the supply chain and product differences, you can NEVER substitute industrial for retail due to legal, logistic and customer expectations/preferences differences. So once you shutdown the demand for industrial and push that demand to retail home use, you suddenly have a major retail shortage and major industrial surplus because the supply chains are super brittle and inflexible. But you can NOT sell industrial TP in a retail store. You may have seen labels on products that say "Not for resale" - that's how industrial TP is because of legal and tax reasons.

It literally takes several months to quarters to re-tool the production if you can change over at all.

For example near me is an industrial TP factory - that's ALL they make. They buy 20 foot wide, 8 foot round bulk rolls of 1 ply paper, unroll it, cut it up and roll onto typical 12"-18" TP rolls you see at work or in public restrooms, and all their machines are designed only for that input from THEIR supply chain and they machines can not be changed to make retail TP. And most of the people at this TP plant have been furloughed indefinitely - adding the current super-depression unemployment rate.

This is typically of the level of specialization that now exists in every supply chain in America. Because it profit-maximizes to do it this way. But it can NOT handle disruption and change well. In fact, it's what Taleb would call "Fragile".

Because of similar issues, veggies similarly have retail packaging and wholesales packaging with completely different supply chains once the product leaves the farm. And similarly you can not sell wholesale/restaurant channel veggies through retail stores.

And we actually saw this coming - or should of - basically anyone who truly claims to be surprised is liar or a moron. We saw "supply chain" collapse with Hurricane Katrina. Most grocery/supermarkets only carry 3 days of inventory because of JIT. With Katrina, all the supply chains into Louisiana, Alabama and East Texas completely collapsed in just 3 days. There were plenty of articles about this but not everyone was paying attention.

So this is how we ran out of TP, and hand sanitizer, and other things.

It was made even worse because if you hop more than 2-4 steps up the supply chain, you are suddenly relying on a factory in China. Most of these essentials were intentionally kept from export by China. China knew about the COVID-19 infection far earlier than they publicly claim. The evidence is very clear. So they halted export of PPE masks and gloves, ventilators, chemicals for bleach and hand sanitizer, etc. so they could use them for themselves. This halt came in December.

You can't really blame them. But you can absolutely blame the US and its leadership here for being so stupid as to become that dependent on China! We must recover manufacturing to the US because this is what happens. And we need to change inventory taxation laws to allow larger inventories of critical commodities and create emergency exceptions for things like food sales limits when they are in separate supply chains.

Ghost of Tsushima called racist by Kpop fans by scrubking in KotakuInAction

[–]mantra 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Yeah, well, Koreans have always hated Japanese and vice versa so things means exactly nothing.

This boat makes its own hydrogen fuel from seawater. The Energy Observer is a 100% energy self-sufficient boat, sailing around the world to prove the usefulness of cutting-edge technologies, including a hydrogen fuel cell made with help from Toyota. by Chop_Chop in Energy

[–]mantra 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

No such thing. Energy is always conserved so it has to come from somewhere. Presumably the energy is actually from the solar cells. Based on the description it's super vague. The only point of legitimacy is that's Toyota parts are involved but it's not clear how much involvement they actually have.

Going to hydrogen is NOT going to be more energy efficient that simply saving power in lithium batteries.

Woke-hating Lefty, here after the GenderCritical ban by RuinedSpiral in Introductions

[–]mantra 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

You may be more centric than you realized. It's all good BTW. You are among friends regardless of your position/opinions.

"People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." Alan Kay by liz_ in quotes

[–]mantra 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

A motto I've long lived by.

My own corollary: People who are serious about hardware should make their own software.