The Coming Storm

 

I tend to do what I do best, procrastinate. Well, to feel better about myself, I like to think I am prioritizing. Either way, I have felt compelled to write about this supply chain crisis since White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed President Joe Biden saved Christmas on Dec. 22. Nothing gets my blood boiling more than utter lies thrown in my face. How can someone say something so stupid, and how can so many people actually believe it? We have all seen the empty shelves for randomly illogical items, starting with toilet paper and now cat food.

With a very small engineering firm, there is a larger supply chain crisis that will be coming to a head in three to six months. We can’t get parts. I could go off on tangents, but let’s focus on just one major device. A PLC, or programmable logic controller, is a computer that runs actual stuff. Not things like a washer and dryer but how about the water that comes into your house, the water that leaves, the drawbridge that needs to go up, the MRI you desperately need. Almost everything you touch that is manmade uses one of these controllers at some point in the process.

To fulfill orders, my competition and I have been looking for other sources and substituting wherever we can. This is from sketchy suppliers to used parts on eBay. Now these people jacked the price up tenfold, and they are running out. New bids, which are mostly municipal, are getting a huge surcharge because we have no idea what something is going to cost or even if we can fulfill it. Many parts now have a six-month lead time. That means we won’t deliver, but we will be glad to take your money.

My medical controls experience is limited to a heart catheter surgical kit. It isn’t much, but I can’t change a fuse on the machine without a trail of paperwork, and don’t even try substituting anything. Major production companies will start slowing or shutting down because they are unable to get spare parts.

In the wastewater industry, most communities have 20-year-old equipment and older. That’s like 105 human years. Should one piece of this system fail, they may find replacement parts are just not available. When this happens, all you’ll hear on the news is there was a water main break. Here is an insider secret. It is almost never a water main break. It’s usually someone like me who hit the wrong key.

Other machines and systems are not so dramatic. But the problems are starting to add up and will soon hurt you in ways you will never know. Perhaps they are a product of these random shortages we are seeing. Toilet paper and cat food use the same controller. The terrible thing is we have a lot of work pending and are about to lay off workers that have nothing to do because we just can’t get parts. I have never seen anything like this, so I can’t even speculate.

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  1. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I don’t know – I was thinking everyone. The gov. would go to probably Cheyenne Mtn. or CO.?

    Maybe the elites will go to Cheyenne.

    I’ve been in Cheyenne Mountain. There are worse things than death. Like spending the remainder of your days under a mile of granite competing for limited resources. No thanks.

    I have no real idea what it would take to evacuate to Cheyenne Mountain.  (By the ay, I’ve heard there’s another, newer one in Virginia  or someplace a lot closer to DC.)  And I don’t have any idea how long one would be forced inside.

    My question is, Do the have a lap pool?  Where I can swim and listen to my favorite music piped in?  “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s go-o-ne.”

    • #91
  2. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Flicker (View Comment):
    My question is, Do the have a lap pool? 

    They have a lake, with ducks, as I understand it. Poor things. 

    I was confined to the windowless office space when I was there. And the whole damn thing is windowless! Ack. Not for me. 

    Fortunately, I was never there when they had a drill and locked everyone in for 48 hours. Oh my heavens!

    • #92
  3. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    My question is, Do the have a lap pool?

    They have a lake, with ducks, as I understand it. Poor things.

    I was confined to the windowless office space when I was there. And the whole damn thing is windowless! Ack. Not for me.

    Fortunately, I was never there when they had a drill and locked everyone in for 48 hours. Oh my heavens!

    I was just kidding about the pool, but expected one.  But a pond with ducks.  Wow.  Sounds like heaven but without the sunshine, the breeze, the blue skies and the chirps of the birds.

    (Did they have whales?)

    • #93
  4. Phil Turmel Inactive
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    and can’t be push-started

    You keep saying this. Big lead-acid batteries and the starter hardware/wiring of typical diesel engines are not susceptible to EMP. Nothing delicate to be fried by induced currents. If the stuff that permits the engine to run survives, the starting hardware certainly will too. (Same for gasoline engines.)

    That depends. Electric start requires some more delicate electronics than the starter motor itself etc. Especially if there are computer-controlled circuits involved, such as for electronic fuel injection. Which is why I specified earlier the mechanical fuel injection.

    Nope.  That’s just ridiculous.  If the engine doesn’t need electronics to RUN, it doesn’t need them to start, either.  Even in my rather electronics-dependent 2014 Suburban, the starter circuit is entirely electro-mechanical.  From the physical key on the steering column to the solenoid on the side of the starter motor, there’s NO electronic components in that chain.  If you burn out the ECM, the motor will still crank with the key in the “start” position.  It just won’t run.

    Claiming you’ll need a push start is simply false.

    • #94
  5. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Sure, food, water, a way to keep from freezing to death. But, think how dependent we’ve become on our phones. If we don’t have transportation energy and can’t communicate (with our bank, our doctor, our family, . . .), we’re screwed. I don’t think we can prepare for what might be coming.

    Mr. C and I have set up the crudest of emergency communications — we’ve agreed on a drop box (our valve well) to leave a message in case of the need to get out in an emergency. “Honey, I’ve taken the kids and the dogs and I’m going to get as far as I can on the tank of gasoline I have. Head [north] [south] on this route and try to catch up. Our final destination is [Texas] [South Dakota] in [this] city if we can make it. If not, we’ll see you somewhere along the way. Love you!”

    That is a good idea – review your routes and have a system to communicate – after 9/11, I was told by some folks that worked in DC that if they heard a certain phrase, they were to activate the bug out protocol, as in get out of Dodge and have your bug out kit ready and with you. My sister lives in a mountain town and it was one of the areas where they were told there would be evacs from DC and Baltimore. She had to go through training on how to set up and run a shelter – Homeland trained all the state workers.

    Is this for everyone? Or just for the government few? :)

    I don’t know – I was thinking everyone. The gov. would go to probably Cheyenne Mtn. or CO.?

    Maybe the elites will go to Cheyenne. But the population of metropolitan DC and Baltimore is 7.6+ million. I may be wrong, but this seems like an awful lot to put into camps. It may be just for key government workers. But who knows.

    We would quickly discover who in the USA are the subjects and who are the citizens.  

    • #95
  6. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I don’t know – I was thinking everyone. The gov. would go to probably Cheyenne Mtn. or CO.?

    Maybe the elites will go to Cheyenne.

    I’ve been in Cheyenne Mountain. There are worse things than death. Like spending the remainder of your days under a mile of granite competing for limited resources. No thanks.

    I have no real idea what it would take to evacuate to Cheyenne Mountain. (By the ay, I’ve heard there’s another, newer one in Virginia or someplace a lot closer to DC.) And I don’t have any idea how long one would be forced inside.

    My question is, Do the have a lap pool? Where I can swim and listen to my favorite music piped in? “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s go-o-ne.”

    I can only “imagine” the war over the playlist.  

    • #96
  7. Mark Alexander Inactive
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Sadly, too many people still believe the supply chain crisis is due to ignorance, incompetence, or general lack of something. 

    Some “storms” result from planning.

    • #97
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Sadly, too many people still believe the supply chain crisis is due to ignorance, incompetence, or general lack of something.

    Some “storms” result from planning.

    The Wall Street Journal headline writer now refers to all adverse economic forces as “headwinds”.  It’s now headwinds that keep the economy from doing well, and never Biden’s policies.  (I don’t read the articles. If the headline writers don’t read them, why should I?) 

    • #98
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