Walkabout Wednesday

This “fact” has nothing to do with real life, but in my current computer football league (24 teams whose rosters–drafted at random–and names, for the most part, bear no resemblance to the real thing) the Texas Tornadoes have won their last two games by a combined score of 107 to 71. Yes, I wrote football, not basketball.

The Tornadoes, who always play in the first game of the new week, are the first team to ten wins at 10-1, but they have allowed 71 points to two teams with a combined record of 7-14. (One of those teams has, of course, not yet played its 11th game.) Can a team predicated on an elite of elite passing attack and little else win a title, even in a computer league? They always play first because they are a lot of fun to play.

This is not fantasy football where someone drafts players and then their team result is based on how those players play in a given week. This is also not a video game. Games are played with the teams using the game program/engine; I call the offensive plays for both teams and the computer makes the defensive calls for both teams. A radio type of description for each play appears on the computer screen.

I started playing statistics-based table top sports games when I was 12. It would be hard to conclude that was a waste of time given my eventual real-life career as a pioneer of the application of analytics to sports, a father of Moneyball and author of a sports book that The Wall Street Journal called without a doubt the best book of its kind ever written. Obviously, I still enjoy playing these games much as some people enjoy card games or Monopoly for most of their lives.

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Moving to real football, the Nebraska-Northwestern game was watched by 4.4 million people on Saturday. That is twice the average of Nebraska’s per game TV audience from 2021. ESPN and Major League Baseball were ecstatic at the audience for last year’s American League Wild Card game between longtime bitter rivals the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. How many people watched that game? 4.8 million. In case you don’t know, that’s essentially a one-game playoff where the winner keeps playing for a shot at the World Series and the loser is eliminated.

The recent Detroit-Pittsburgh NFL preseason game (the NFL doesn’t want them called exhibition games) had a larger audience than any of the regular season NBA games broadcast last Christmas when, supposedly, they have a captive audience. The first round of the NFL Draft was viewed by about 10 million people this past April. That was a large decline from the audience of 15 million in 2020. In 2022, what was the average number of viewers for NBA first-round playoff games? 3.5 million…

There’s a reason why the NFL and its teams will receive $113 Billion in national media rights over the next 11 years, ratings. The primary, but not only, reason the Big Ten Conference just made a TV deal that will pay it $1 Billion a year for seven years is Big Ten football. Nothing comes close to football in sports popularity.

I think one reason why football is so popular is that each game is very important. NFL teams play 17 games in the regular season; college teams play 12. There are 162 games per team in a baseball season and 82 per team in an NBA season. With the fierce competition for eyeballs and the declining attention spans of the population, the significance of each game drives TV traffic.

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These words are by Steve Szymanski, an automotive builder and fabricator, via Philip Maynard, long-time reader and commenter on this blog and–in the interest of full disclosure–a relative.

 

“Vehicles are not commodities, but rather consumable goods. They wear out, and auto manufacturers make more money selling new cars than providing repair parts. The push for EV is a godsend for the automakers. Makes them much more like cell phones, in that you will want the latest tech gadgets as the older vehicles become obsolete.

The battery issue is a feature, not a bug in this instance. There is no mass recycling program for the batteries, at this time anyway. And with copyright protections on software, your “right to repair” has ended. “Closed hood” is the norm now. Joe Six-Pack has no chance to rebuild, and those that try to circumvent the protocols get blocked. The software is not updateable and will be about as useful as a 10 year old cell phone.

GM has lead the way with in-vehicle purchases with their on-board navigation maps. You have to pay $90 a year to get the “updated” maps, On Star is at least a service with some side benefit, but to gain functionality, you have to pay monthly. Recently BMW upped the game, want your heated seats to work? You will have to pay a monthly fee for that.

Expect more of this. A lot more.”

 

I think that the push “to go green” by people on a certain part of the political spectrum has less to do with environmental concerns than to do with the old socialist/communist agenda of redistributing wealth and income: from rich nations to poor nations, from rich people to poor people.

In the same vein, I think the car companies are diving head-first and blindly into the EV pool because, in large part, they see more certain streams of recurring income. On somewhat of a tangent: Volvo is advertising their new line of EVs and the ads draw much attention to Google being pre-loaded. Sorry, I don’t want the Evil Empire knowing every detail of my driving.

Some even more cynical than I think the push to EVs is the first step in either the constant monitoring of driving by government or the eventual elimination of privately owned vehicles. Even if those scenarios eventually manifest, I won’t be alive to see them. For the nth to the n time: EVs are not the answer and they are certainly not the only answer. Although I’m not the only voice in this chorus, it wouldn’t bother me if I were a lone voice in the wilderness.

Give me one of these every day and twice on Sunday instead of any EV:

 

 

By the way, I think that’s one of the greatest front three-quarter shots of any car ever.

 

#WalkaboutWednesday

#FootballIsKing

#EVsAreNotTheAnswer

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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4 thoughts on “Walkabout Wednesday

  1. “from rich nations to poor nations, from rich people to poor people.”

    I feel that we are seeing the opposite with EVs, transferring wealth from the poor to the rich. With the cost of replacement batteries (there is a photo of a repair quote for battery replacement in a Chevy Volt going around the internet showing a cost of $28,000) can the single mom that can barely afford to keep her 10 year old Toyota running afford that? When our own government tells us that if we don’t like gas prices, just buy an EV (at an average cost of $50,000) that, to me, is quite telling.

    Are there some instances where an EV makes sense? Sure, same as there are times when riding a horse makes sense. But for probably 3/4 of the population it makes no sense at all. And the cost to charge them is going up. I’ve seen studies where the cost to charge one is about the same as the cost of a tank of regular gas. “But I’ll just charge it at home.” That’s fine, but like everyone else I’m paying more per Kilowatt hour now than I was last year, about $200 more per month (yes, I use a lot here). And this is coming from an EMC, which is structured to be non profit. The cost to PRODUCE electricity has gone up, due to rises in natural gas prices.

    The biggest “lie” about EVs is how green they are. Electricity to power them has to come from a power generating plant, usually coal or gas powered. The mining process for the materials to build the motors and batteries is no less destructive than drilling for oil, actually probably MORE destructive (can you say “strip mining?). And as you pointed out, there is no cohesive plan for recycling most all of the drive train.

    But too many people have “drank the Kool Aid” and now we are rushing headlong into the unknown. I’m certainly not a conspiracy theory person, but when what was a conspiracy theory a few years ago, becomes reality now, it tends to make you go hmmmmmm.

    (climbs off soapbox, again, and kicks it back into the corner)

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    1. DDM, as usual you make some good points. While I do believe that much of the motivation for the “green” push is really wealth/income redistribution, like many plans formulated by people this idea comes with unintended consequences. I totally agree that now and for the foreseeable future, EVs will be toys for wealthy urban dwellers.

      On a slight tangent: Argentina (ironically the largest source for lithium) has millions of vehicles powered by LNG. The US has huge natural gas reserves. Why don’t we have a large fleet of LNG-powered vehicles? Of course, most of us know the real answer to that question. Ideology winning, again, over common sense.

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  2. The real push to EVs and other government dictates is all about control over the individual. Those who push these agendas think that if the government controls everything instead of the individual the world will be a better place, especially if they are in control. They are obviously smarter then we dumb pawns who have to obey their rules. Garry Kasparov the former World Chess Champion posted a meme that speaks the truth. I will send it to you. The last line of which is this: “There would be no game of chess if the pawns refused to play.” The best way to fight them is the refuse to play. Think about it.

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