Newer Whirlpool Dryers Have Thermistors and Not A Thermostat

I recently had a problem with a dryer that was tumbling and not heating. Being lazy I immediately assumed it was the ignitor. When I went to school they taught me to do all the troubleshooting steps all the time and not make any assumptions. But the real world rewards cheaters nine times out of ten and so mostly I don’t do that. But if you play that game, you have to be willing to pay the price when the 10th times rolls around. In this case, it was not ignitor but I was not too upset about that.

I did a little checking with my meter, found that the thermostat was bad and moved on to order the new parts. The problem is that even though the part is called a thermostat, it is not a thermostat. At least in my education, a thermostat refers to a complete temperature control unit. Historically, this is a switch connected to some kind of temperature control. As the temp rises (or lowers depending on the type) the switch opens and visa versa as it closes. You can have other things that meet the definition of a thermostat but regardless you should not call something a thermostat unless it has all the control elements contained in it.

What the new Whirlpool dryers have is a thermistor. A thermistor is a resistor that changes voltages based on temperature. This voltage is in turn interpreted by a computer that is usually located some distance away although a lot of modern residential HVAC electronic thermostats have everything in one wall mounted package (and hence why they are called thermostats). However, in a dryer, the board that interprets the signal is separate from what they are calling the thermostat and so I don’t think they should be calling it a thermostat. It is a thermistor and should be trouble shot like one.

I am just throwing this out there because I did not recognize this just by looking at the part (in retrospect I should have but I have been running a desk for a long time) and I got confused by what my meter was telling me. It was a lot harder then a lazy person like me wants to work to figure out what was going on. All my normal google and youtube searches kept giving me instructions that took for granted that I had a thermostat even though that is not what I had. In the end, I figured it out it was no big deal. But in the off chance that google will work for somebody, I thought I would throw this post out there to help anyone who might be puzzled by what their meter is showing them when they go to check what they think is a thermostat.

The below is how you check a thermostat.

The below is how you check a thermistor.

Should the US Navy Protect All Commerce?

The below video is full of good information if you have time to listen to it (even though it is a video, you will not miss much by just listening). But in my opinion, it fails to address the complexity of this topic in a realistic way even though all the background information is good. The bottom line is that it is easy for any redneck to give the right answer to the above question. It is harder for people regardless of their education to understand and articulate the costs of that answer.

The root of the problem is that US economy is deeply intertwined with the world wide economy. When a ship got stuck in the Suez canal, the resulting supply chain disruptions were felt by factories in small town America. And that was true even though the issue was resolved relatively quickly and it was mostly non-US ships that were impacted. By the same token, it don’t matter who owns the ships or what they have on them, if the Houthi are impacting shipping, the US is going to feel the pain same as everyone else.

Moreover, these things don’t happen in a vacuum. Some people on the left thinks that this is only happening because of the Israeli conflict and if that goes away this will go away. But once you let something like this go unchallenged, why should other people who care about other topics or even just want to make money not try the same thing? If the Houthi get away with doing this with very little costs, it will encourage others with different goals and locations to do the same thing. In the end, failing to stop the Houthi will very quickly (over a period of years to be sure but that is quickly in my book) move us to the law of the jungle ruling the sea and resulting high costs for world trade.

But the problem is, America is the only nation in the West that is has any plausible ability to deal with this threat. Other nations could solve this problem if they made it a national priority and built up their forces over a period of years but right here and right now America is the only one who can plausible shut the Houthis down (that fact that America has failed to do that has more to do with America being unwilling to do things like massive bombing of population centers then any lack of ability).

This is one thing that video below fails to address. It is true as the video says that historically American has only protected American shipping. But what the video fails to address is that historically lots of other nations were more then capable of protecting their own shipping but no longer can. Even as recently as the 1980s, other nations had navies that enabled them to project power effectively (see the UK and Falklands although that was on the very edge of what they could handle). But it is no longer the case anymore and has not been the case for at least 20 years. This means that the safety of the Western World’s economic lifelines is almost entirely in US hands. Other nations can contribute a ship or two, but they can’t sustain the projection of power needed to deal with things like the Houthi on their own. And it does not matter if some abstract notion of fairness says that other nations should protect their shipping. The fact is that they can’t and US will pay the price for their inability along with everyone else.

This is what drives the Biden administration towards conflict with the Houthi. I don’t think they really want a war and if they do want a war the they are sure going about it in a half ass way. But almost any president or possible future president you can think of would do the same thing. They might do it more competently. They might do it with more gusto. Or they might be even more reluctant. But in the end, most of them would come to the same place because they know the voters don’t want another war in the Middle East and they know the voters will blame them for any economic problems resulting from trade disruption. So the incentive from the American voters themselves is to try to find some kind of half measure that squares the circle. It is hard for democracies to produce leaders capable of making effective hard choices because a hard choice is one that voters are not going to like either way.

In the long run, it don’t matter. Based on current trajectories of the US debt, American will soon be forced to stop funding a Navy that can handle such threats. Sooner or later the law of jungle will come to the seas. The demographic forces that are leading to the demise of the modern world will ensure that nobody is able to pick up the mantle when the US is forced to give it up. That is why on a practical level I think the redneck answer is right all along. Shipping disruptions are coming no matter what. The US will not be able to support the burden of keeping the world order from collapsing for very much longer no matter what. So we might as well start the adaption process sooner rather then later. The Houthi might be doing us a favor to help ease us along on the adaption process to what is going to come anyway.

But it bugs me nonetheless to see the issue addressed solely in terms of legalese or fairness with out an honest reflection on the real costs involved. It is a lot easier to blame Biden then it is to contemplate the nature of the systems that produce people like Biden and guide them towards the choices they make. It is a lot easier to say that “we should not be fighting the Houthi” then it is to say, “we should not be fighting the Houthi even if it means 10% inflation and the occasional empty shelves in the stores.” So most people go down the road of imagining that their preferred course of action has no real cost associated with it.

Russia’s Strategic Vulnerability To Long Range Precision Fires

It annoys me when people bounce around from thinking Ukraine is losing to thinking that Ukraine is winning based on short term factors. But my last post on the “One New Aspect of Warfare That The War In Ukraine Has Revealed” could have appeared to fall into the same trap of group think and going with the prevailing winds. Currently it is quite fashionable to be pessimistic about Ukraine’s chances due to short term issues and my post on long range fires (a military term I am appropriating and using to cover more systems then the US military typically does) could be seen as contributing to it. So to correct that unbalance let me elaborate on a throwaway line in my last post where I said “The West can easily give the long range tools to Ukraine to cause Russia a lot of pain but then they have to worry about Russia going to nukes.”

In absolute terms, the Russian strategic position is extremely weak. To be sure, if you measure Ukraine alone against Russia, Russia has the advantage. But Ukraine was a basket case before Russia invaded so saying they have the advantage does not mean much. I predicated that Russia would fall apart years back and nothing that has occurred since then has caused me to think that prediction was wrong. It remains one of my biggest fears.

People who are gloomy about the future of the West as I am often seem to fall into the trap of thinking that the West’s enemies are better off. But that just goes to show how much their view of the world is based on mood affiliation and not on facts. Some enemies of the West are worst off then the West is and Russia is certainly in this category. One of my biggest fears in the near term is what the collapse of Russia would mean for me and those I care about. In this fear, the ruling class of the West and I have a lot in common and that is why they don’t really want to see Ukraine win.

I am not going to go into detail in this post about all the long time term factors that make me expect the collapse of the Russian state (although I will note that in Russia’s case it is even worse than the lack of babies). Instead, I want to make a simple point about how the logic of my post about the new nature of long term precision fires means that Russia is a hair’s breadth from losing this war overnight. The only thing that is keeping them in the game is the West’s fear of their nuclear weapons. But West’s calculations about what they can get away with are constantly changing. All that has to happen is for their perspective to change slightly and Russia will have face the choice of complete collapse or getting out the big bombs.
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A World Without A Future

This is the second part of a thought process that was started with The 80 Year Crisis Cycle of The United States. While the core argument will stand on its own without any need to reference what came before it, there are things taken for granted in this essay that will seem bizarre if you have not read the previous essay.

It would also be helpful if you have read the following essays but all of them will only serve to provide more depth to the below argument and are not strictly necessary.

A Rant On Japan’s Demographics.

Why you should panic about the US Deficit

The Ukraine Conflict And The Coming End Of Pax Americana

Now on to the essay proper…….

An 80 year crisis pattern has been the rule of the United States since it began as a nation. As we start a new year, it has been almost 80 years since the ending of the last crisis that the US faced. If this pattern holds, we should be entering another major crisis any day now. But is there any reason for thinking that American is soon to be faced with another crisis other then superstitious numerology?

If we review the past crisis America has faced, we see that they had demographic and technological antecedents that were observed by contemporaries even prior to the crisis. As a general rule, it was the demographic element that was most evident to those about to go through a major crisis. Long before the American Revolution, it was obvious that American Colonies were growing much faster than the mother country. The rapid growth in slavery and the fact that the population in the North was on track to overwhelm the South was widely known prior to the Civil War. And the rapid urbanization of America prior to Great Depression was known to everyone at the time. In all these cases, the nature of the crisis was a surprise, but the demographic forces leading to them were plain to all.

A common factor in all these crises is that they anticipated a demographic reality whose culmination was long after the time of the crisis. America did not equal the United Kingdoms in terms of population until just before the Civil War even though it was known that this was likely to happen at the time of the American Revolution. The culmination of the demographic submergence of the South into a larger America did not reach its fullest extent until about 80 years after the Civil War. And the widespread destruction of American small family farms did not take place until long after the Great Depression even though it was obvious that America was moving away from small farms long before that. If this pattern holds in the present time, America today should be heading towards another crisis whose demographic culmination we would have reason to believe is still a ways into the future. So does this pattern hold true today?

If we look at the world as whole, the answer to this question is simple. We know the modern world does not have a future. Continue reading

The Ukraine Conflict And The Coming End Of Pax Americana

Slovakia has a government that no longer supports giving aid to Ukraine. The largest party in the Dutch parliament does not support funding Ukraine. Significant portions of the Republican Party don’t want to give any more money to Ukraine and the support that is slipping away from the Democrats (largely African Americans and Hispanics) is composed of people who have no interest in Ukraine. There is increasing talk about how Ukraine needs to negotiate.

These things are not definitive. This trend towards looking for a way out of the Ukraine conflict was going strong on the part of Western Powers until the Kharkiv counteroffensive and subsequent taking back of Kherson city. These events gave the allies of Ukraine hope that just a little more military aid and Ukraine could win this thing. Perhaps a sudden Ukrainian victory will appear out of nowhere and once more the Western Powers will think that if they give the Ukraine just a little more money, this thing could be all over.

But the history of the West post World War II has been a history of half measures and perpetually frozen conflicts that never end. Korea is still sore spot ever since UN forces accepted a draw with the Chinese. Vietnam is resolved but only because the US decisively lost and Vietnam is too worried by China to hold a grudge. The former Yugoslavia is a powder keg held together by the threat of US air power. Iraq still has US troops in it and they are still conducting strikes in country. Syria has US troops in it who are still doing things that occasionally make for small articles hidden away from the front page. Libya is a frozen mess that nobody wants to put back together nor do they want to the wrong people to put it back together and so it is preserved in perpetual disastrous state.

The point is that only a fool would bet on the West having the staying power to see Ukraine through to the end. Ukraine’s only hope is that Russia is such a mess of demographic disaster and institutional dysfunction that maybe they will fail before the West does. But Ukraine’s own demographic disaster and institutional issues prevent them from having much agency in how this plays out. Their only card was that significant amounts of people were willing to fight for a Ukraine that was not under the thumb of Russia. But those people are a finite resource and there are indications that they are running out.

This realization is starting to creep into some Ukrainian channels. Continue reading

Looking back at my first “internet” essay

When I was in my early 20s and bored out of my mind, I created an essay website. The first essay that I put up on the website was called “Pondering the Battle of Bicocca” in which I noted how success lead to overspecialization and speculated a little bit on how that might apply to the US Air Force. I thought it might be interesting to revisit that essay now in light of the Ukraine war.

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Lately, my source of caffeine at work has been Scho-Ka-Kola. Half a tin of this stuff gives you a little more caffeine then a cup of coffee. If taken first thing in the morning, it can make a bad day a lot better. Since I try not to get too hooked on caffeine, I limit myself to two times a week (i.e. one tin). I am a little ashamed of this given the cost but I have not got up the willpower to kick the habit yet.

I first discovered this heavily caffeinated dark barely sweetened (the description calls it bitter but I think that is over-selling it) while searching for a source of contingency caffeine. The idea was to find something that I could take when I had been dragged through 20 miles of the high peaks by people younger and in better shape then me only to leave long past bedtime with nobody in my vehicle who could stay awake enough to drive. Being a history nerd, I thought that chocolate that the Germans issued as part of their “Iron Ration” might fit the bill but who still made that?

A quick internet search indicated that the stuff was still made but at first my research indicated that it is way to expensive for anything other then a novelty. On Amazon it sells for $9.96 a can. But for some reason Varusteleka (a company in Finland of all places and the link at the start of this post takes you there) can sell it for $3 a can if you buy 10 at time. At first the goal was only to try some to see if it was worth keeping around for contingencies but I got hooked on it and so now it has become a twice weekly habit. The primary advantage for me stems around how lazy I am and the fact that I don’t like coffee.

What would happen before Scho-Ka-Kola is that I would try to make myself a cup of tea. Odds are, I would not be able to do that first thing in the morning because I would be too busy. Then I would get some time to heat up some tea in the microwave and then I would get busy again. The microwave would be forlornly beeping at me and annoying the office assistant who was closer to the microwave then I was. Eventually I would get the tea and work on it between crisis. Most of the time I would drink the bulk of my tea cold and often later then when I wanted to get my caffeine in me.

With the Scho-Ka-Kola, I can wolf down half a tin down while reading emails and in a few hours my whole day will be better (I don’t metabolize anything fast). Varusteleka will tell you that it is “Not recommended for children, pregnant women, or those with a high sensitivity to caffeine” and I normally consider myself highly sensitive to caffeine. But if you drill down into the numbers, a tin of Scho-Ka-Kola has 200mg of caffeine in it. According to my sources, an average cup of coffee has 95 mg of caffeine in it. So if you only eat half a tin per day you are barely getting more caffeine then by drinking 8 fluid ounces of coffee. In other words, Varusteleka is overselling the caffeine just like they oversell the bitterness of the chocolate. That is all right for me. I don’t need it any stronger then it is. But I suspect that people who drink a couple of cups of coffee a day would find that it is pretty lame fare.

For my purposes, Scho-Ka-Kola is pretty much perfect except for the price and the tins. At a $1.50 a day, there are much cheaper ways of getting the same amount of caffeine. As for the tins, they are awesome but it seems like a shame to throw them out. And if you use a can a week, soon you have so many cans you don’t have much choice. I would rather it come in a cardboard box and be cheaper over all then come in the tin. But these issues have not been a deal breaker for me so far and I suspect that I will keep buying it until it gets so expensive I can’t stomach it or the supply dries up. It just works so much better for my life and tastes buds then all the alternatives that I am aware of.

Why you should panic about the US Deficit

*Note: This is an informal note that is not directly related to my last essay. The second part of that is still to come.*

Notwithstanding the headline, I don’t really think that panic accomplishes anything useful. But I am amazed that we are looking at a catastrophe and hardly anyone is talking about it. The current situation is the opposite of the “food crisis” that I addressed last year. At the time I talked about how even though there were a lot of bad headlines when you looked into the actual numbers there was no crisis in the immediate near term (it might be different now at least in terms of rice, but I have not really dug into the numbers yet for this year). But in terms of the US deficit, very few people seem to be panicking and yet when you dig into the numbers they are really bad.

So I thought I would write a short informal piece to break down the headlines that I have been linking to and explain why they represent a catastrophe in the making that will directly impact your life. Let us start with a recent CNN story titled “Federal budget deficit expected to nearly double to around $2 trillion.”

Now, if you are a typical American redneck, you will see a head line like that and sagely tell whoever is next to you “the politicians are going to bankrupt this country” and then go on with your business without giving the headline another thought. And who can really blame the typical redneck for reacting like that? In 2020 the Federal Government ran 3.1 trillion dollar deficit and in 2021 the feds ran a 2.8 trillion dollar deficit. It is true that in 2022 the deficit was just over a trillion dollars but if the world did not come to end back in 2020 or 2021 then, why should a mere 2 trillion dollar deficit be a cause of panic today?

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The 80 Year Crisis Cycle of The United States

Life in the United States has changed dramatically every 80 years since the country’s founding. There was about 80 years from the end of the Revolutionary War to the end of the Civil War (81 years 3 months and 25 days if you want to be autistic about it). It was about 80 years from the end of the Civil War until the end of World War II (80 years 3 months and 24 days from the end of the Civil War if you want to be precise). And it has been exactly 78 years (and one day, this essay was supposed to go up yesterday for cool points but I failed) between the end of World War II until the date of this essay going on line. If the 80 year pattern holds, we are on the cusp of a profound change in America.

In the context of this pattern, the profound change is the appearance of something brand new and never experienced before by Americans. Superficially, these changes are obvious. In the case of the Revolutionary War, the brand new thing was the creation of a new country. In the case of the Civil War, there was suddenly no slavery in the United States whereas before it had been a major economic force. And after World War II, America went from being a country that had no “entangling alliances” and a small federal government to being a nation that was embedded in a worldwide network of alliances with a massive federal government. But the superficially obvious changes conceal deeper changes that lay the ground work for the next crisis and attendant profound change.

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