Just listen to this and you'll probably get angry at them, and particularly The One.
(H/T Maggie's Farm)
I had an enjoyable discussion with one of my fellow employees this afternoon. It dealt with working, the differences between small and large companies, the advantages and disadvantages of both, and the recent dearth of qualified candidates for a number open positions within our company.
Without going into a lot of detail to protect the identity of my co-worker (and my job), let's just say we've been running into a couple of problems in regards to some candidates, the two biggest being that too many of them are well credentialed but not necessarily well educated, and lack of experience in the areas we really need. Apparently this is not a problem unique to our company.
While there are plenty of jobs open begging for people to fill them, there aren't enough people applying for them because they feel the jobs are beneath them ("I didn't spend all that money for a degree in Transgendered Native American Studies just to take a job working in a factory!"), or those applying for them have neither the experience or the capability of doing the job.
I caught a piece on Fox News this evening covering this particular issue. (No, I'm not going to link to it because I don't feel the need to do so.) A number of the companies they talked to said pretty much the same thing my co-worker and I had during our discussion. One manufacturer said they'll hire someone qualified even if they don't need them at the time because someone like that has been hard to come by.
As the WP Dad said about that report, "Is this because our incompetent education system hasn't been teaching our children what they need to know to make it in the world? What good is all that self-esteem they've been ramming down their throats the past 20 years if they can't get a job because they have neither the knowledge or ability to do it?"
And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where Irene has tried to do her worst, failed for the most part, and where we now have our power back on.
For the most part, things went swimmingly today.
Work went well, with a start on a couple of new projects. BeezleBub and I went to the town of Epsom to pick up his new (at least new to him) truck - a used Dodge Dakota 4X4 with less than 80,000 miles on it. Deb had the day off and was able to spend a small portion of it with a friend from work. (She also took care of the weekly grocery shopping, picking up a few extra items in light of the approach of Hurricane Irene such as a set of batteries for each of our portable radios.)
All in all it had been a pretty good day...right up to the point when the ceiling in the dining room of The Manse collapsed, accompanied by the sound of water and the thundering of 8 sets of feline paws scrambling up the stairs to the second floor and to safety.
Apparently one of Deb's favorite ways to relax - sitting in nice hot water in what we call "the whirly tub" - led to the disaster. Though I have not yet confirmed it, it appears one of the pipes or hoses that circulate water in the tub sprung a leak. This in turn led to water leaking onto the bathroom floor and between the ceiling of the first floor and the subflooring of the second floor. Eventually enough water pooled in one place and it weakened the drywall to the point where it finally gave way.
Mopping up gallons of water and clearing away sodden and broken drywall is not what I had planned to do on this Friday evening. But there it is.
So first thing Saturday morning I will be placing a call to our insurance company to make arrangements for an adjuster to come out to The Manse and assess the damage.
It will be interesting explaining to the insurance company how it is we had flooding in our home a good day and a half before Hurricane Irene even arrived.
"I'm so old, I can remember when phone calls came on wires and television came over the air."And to add to that, phones had dials rather than buttons. (How many kids even know how to use a dial phone these days?)
...a startup company named Lytro (Mountain View, CA) is launching a new digital camera technology later this year that could change this reality forever: a camera that lets you adjust the focus after you've taken the picture.Here's an example of what one might see with this technology. Both images are from the same picture. The only difference is the computer used to view the images changed the focus from the cat in front to the cat in back with a click of a mouse (no pun intended).
Lytro founder and CEO Ren Ng is also the inventor of what he calls the Light-Field Camera. Ng's 2006 PhD thesis dissertation from Stanford University--which won the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) 2007 Doctoral Dissertation Award--explains how a microlens transforms an ordinary 2D imaging sensor into a 3D world of "living" digital data.1 The user can view a light-field image on a computer screen, click on an object of interest, and watch the image change as that object moves into sharp focus--all without compromising image quality by reducing the aperture size to increase depth of field.
Computer hackers can force some cars to unlock their doors and start their engines without a key by sending specially crafted messages to a car's anti-theft system. They can also snoop at where you've been by tapping the car's GPS system.Not good. I would think OnStar equipped vehicles would also be vulnerable to such hacking as well. One must think of the downsides to some of this technology before employing it, otherwise they may find their neato wizbang new toy has gone missing because someone with an iPad or smart phone hijacked your car's electronic systems and made off with your ride.
That is possible because car alarms, GPS systems and other devices are increasingly connected to cellular telephone networks and thus can receive commands through text messaging. That capability allows owners to change settings on devices remotely, but it also gives hackers a way in.
Researchers from iSEC Partners recently demonstrated such an attack on a Subaru Outback equipped with a vulnerable alarm system, which wasn't identified. With a laptop perched on the hood, they sent the Subaru's alarm system commands to unlock the doors and start the engine.
"Never have so few, done so much, to hurt so many."
This is just another example of the political media game in which a simple declaration of a position is "bizarre". What is expected of the modern politician is an insidious hedging of opinion in a fog of sophistry. One of the ways in which the media thinks it protects Obama is in ignoring his simple declarations while celebrating his opaque meanderings. The latter, while useless in negotiation, leadership, or self-understanding, seem smart to the smart set.Oh, the horror!
Of course, as the commenters at the Think Progress make clear, those on the left are happy to express blunt opinions. West is a "Scumbag. Ignoramus. Idiot. Fool. Tool. Clown. Psucho. (sic) Nutjob. Whacko." But their mealy-mouthed leaders keep letting them down. How demoralizing!
And here's this West guy, and Perry, and Palin, and Bachmann, who keep saying blunt, disagreeable things.
I knew it was coming, but hoped the inevitable would hold off for just a little while longer. Today was the day the inevitable happened.
The Official Weekend Pundit Main Computer bit it.
I got home from work, took care a few things in the kitchen, went into the office and turned on the computer.
Press the power button again. Nada.
So I opened the side panel of the machine too see if there was anything obvious, like a loose connector or some other loose thing that shouldn't be. Nothing. I saw the 'Power Good' indicator was on, meaning all the power supplies were operating, but the machine wouldn't start. The fans didn't start. The drives didn't spin up. Nothing.
The computer was dead.
It wasn't a surprise as I'd been having problems with it for months. I did the smart thing and backed up all the data files on to DVDs and a spare hard drive just in case. (Since this failure isn't drive related I should be able to pull everything off the main drive and onto another computer. The back ups I made won't have the most recent data on them.)
I can't really complain as this machine has been in constant use for six years. It had a few minor upgrades along the way (A new video card after the first one died. An additional hard drive and second DVD-RW drive. Additional memory.) All in all it did its job with few hiccups.
But it was getting slow. Keeping it up to snuff was taking more time and effort. Storage capacity on the hard drives was dwindling away and would have required a major upgrade. It was probably going to require a complete re-stage (back up all data and reinstall the OS, run all of the OS updates, then reinstall all of the programs). I wasn't looking forward to that at all. And that was on top of all the problems I'd started seeing some time last winter.
And now it's dead.
So it looks like I'll be shopping for a new machine starting first thing tomorrow.
Posting may be a little spotty until I get the new machine as there will be three of us sharing the same computer for the time being.
I moved to Nevada 23 years ago, not from California, and we've seen a massive influx of former Golden State residents during that time. Californians are infamous for exporting their problems with them.We saw a similar problem here in New Hampshire when Massachusetts tax-exiles started moving here back in the 80's and 90's. They thought the low taxes (no state income or sales tax) were great, but they disliked the lack of services they were used to seeing back in Massachusetts. When they managed to get some of those services in their new home towns, they then complained their property taxes went up. They couldn't seem to make the connection between services provided and the cost of providing them. It was then that many of those same people started calling for a statewide income or sales tax to pay for it all, recreating exactly the same conditions from which they'd fled. Fortunately for the rest of us they were ignored and eventually they accepted (for the most part) the fact that if they wanted those services, then they would have to pay for them themselves.
Far too many California refugees make no connection between the conditions that caused them to leave and the policies that created those conditions. They complain about the high cost of living in their former state then demand the same level of regulatory controls, government "services" and tax burden in their new home.
Nevada has gone from a relative bastion of libertarianism to a state with an increasingly stifling regulatory morass, a glacial bureaucracy and an ever-intrusive nanny state.
Yup. I'd say the above pretty much explains it in terms we can all understand.
Federal Budget 101The U.S. Congress sets a federal budget every year in the trillions of dollars. Few people know how much money that is so we created a breakdown of federal spending in simple terms. Let's put the 2011 federal budget into perspective:
U.S. income: $2,170,000,000,000It helps to think about these numbers in terms that we can relate to. Let's remove eight zeros from these numbers and pretend this is the household budget for the fictitious Jones family.
Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Recent budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000 (about 1 percent of the budget)
Total annual income for the Jones family: $21,700So in effect last month Congress, or in this example the Jones family, sat down at the kitchen table and agreed to cut $385 from its annual budget. What family would cut $385 of spending in order to solve $16,500 in deficit spending?
Amount of money the Jones family spent: $38,200
Amount of new debt added to the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
Amount cut from the budget: $385
It is a start, although hardly a solution.
Now after years of this, the Jones family has $142,710 of debt on its credit card (which is the equivalent of the national debt).
You would think the Jones family would recognize and address this situation, but it does not. Neither does Congress.
The root of the debt problem is that the voters typically do not send people to Congress to save money. They are sent there to bring home the bacon to their own home state.
To effect budget change, we need to change the job description and give Congress new marching orders.
It is awfully hard (but not impossible) to reverse course and tell the government to stop borrowing money from our children and spending it now.
In effect, what we have is a reverse mortgage on the country. The problem is that the voters have become addicted to the money. Moreover, the American voters are still in the denial stage, and do not want to face the possibility of going into rehab.
A Progressive, a radical Muslim, and a Libertarian disturb an old oil lamp and a magnificent genie appears. The genie, thankful for his release, addresses the trio, "Thank you. To show my gratitude, I shall grant each of you a wish."I might have asked for a diet Dr. Pepper.....
The Progressive pushes himself to the front and says, "I would like all of my progressive brothers and sisters to be whisked away from this barbaric county and placed into a beautiful Utopia where the government will cause everyone to live correct and happy lives!"
The genie exclaims, "Shazzam, Socialist Utopia!" and the Progressive disappears.
This excites the radical Muslim who then quickly blurts out his wish. "I would like all my brothers that believe in the one and true God to be whisked away from this barbaric country to a beautiful oasis where Allah and Sharia law will cause everyone to live correct and happy lives!"
The genie exclaims, "Shazzam, Sharia!" and the radical Muslim disappears.
The Libertarian smiles but makes no request.
The genie, having people to see and places to go, queries the Libertarian, "So, what wish may I grant you?"
"You really granted their wishes - all of the Progressives and radical Muslims are gone?" asks the Libertarian.
"Yes." replies the genie.
"Wow," says the Libertarian, "Then I'll just have a Coke."
Raising the debt limit solves the government's spending problem like raising the maximum legal blood alcohol content will solve the drunk driving problem.I'd say he nailed it.
But there was also something about this story that rang a bell. It took a few minutes, since I'm getting old and decrepit, but then I realized that "blighted areas" was an eerily familiar term. Didn't Ayn Rand use that term in one of her books?When I reread Atlas Shrugged a couple of years ago, the hairs on the back of my neck rose. Everything Rand had created in her novel was happening at that moment. (I have to admit I had little appreciation for the book when I read it the first time over 35 years ago. I guess history gives one a little more perspective.) Many of our present day "betters" are characters right out of the novel. What makes matters worse is that their ignorance of how the economy works is not so much a lack of exposure to it so much as willful ignorance on their part. They don't want to know how things work in the real world because they know better how to remake things into their version of utopia. Too bad they're wrong because their version of utopia is hell on earth for everyone else.
Indeed, she did. Thanks to the miracle of Google Books, here is one of several passages in Atlas Shrugged that references Detroit--oops, I mean "blighted areas":
No railroad was mentioned by name in the speeches that preceded the voting. The speeches dealt only with the public welfare. It was said that while the public welfare was threatened by shortages of transportation, railroads were destroying each other through vicious competition, on "the brutal policy of dog-eat-dog." While there existed blighted areas where rail service had been discontinued, there existed at the same time large regions where two or more railroads were competing for a traffic barely sufficient for one. It was said that there were great opportunities for younger railroads in the blighted areas. While it was true that such areas offered little economic incentive at present, a public-spirited railroad, it was said, would undertake to provide transportation for the struggling inhabitants, since the prime purpose of a railroad was public service, not profit.Fifty years ago, the book was viewed as a dystopian fantasy. Today, Greece, Illinois, and Detroit are making Ayn Rand seem like a prophet.