2/23/2018

CNN School Shooting Town Hall Fallout

We've read and seen all of the hoopla over CNN's so-called 'Town Hall' meeting with survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shootings. One of the best comments I read in response to this post on Instapundit stated the case perfectly:

"Last week these kids were eating Tide Pods and couldn't figure out which bathroom to use. This week, we're supposed to take firearms policy advice from them."

Heh.

2/18/2018

Thoughts On A Sunday

We had a bit of a surprise overnight, with a forecast dusting to 3” snowfall turning into almost 10” of snow. Many of the road crews were caught off guard and weren't quite prepared to clear the roads, meaning many side streets didn't get plowed until some time past noon, about 6 hours after the snows ended. That's unusual around here.

I cleared the driveway in anticipation of Deb's having to go into work early due to mandatory overtime and she made it out without difficulty. Of course the snow plow came by some hours after I had finished and filled in the end of the driveway. At least clearing that out only took about 10 minutes.

Ironically we are expected to see temps in the mid 60's to lower 70's during the middle of the coming week which means much of Sunday's snowfall will be nothing but a memory by Thursday.

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The arguments, debates, and back-and-forth over the school shooting in Parkland, Florida continue apace. My biggest problem is that to many involved are focusing on treating the symptoms and not the cause. A lot of people seem to think that the problem is guns. It is not.

The problem is the people who think their only answer to their problem(s) is to kill a whole bunch of other people. Many of these are mentally ill, feeling that no one gives a damn about them or the problems that are plaguing them. Whether that is through neglect or a side effect of a major societal shift that has marginalized the role men as fathers is something we need to figure out. Further disarming potential victims of such deluded souls isn't how you get less of these shootings, but guarantees even more of them.

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Speaking of the Parkland shooting, Skip brings up some interesting points about how the MSM actually encourages mass shootings by giving over-the-top coverage to them. Skip writes:

Here is what the media coverage conveys to every potential shooter out there:

1. You will be famous
2. The world will come to a stop for you and talk about nothing else for days
3. A school is the target that will get you the most attention
4. You should use an AR-15; they are the most dangerous and cool
5. No one will shoot back at you at a school—and we’ll make damned sure it stays that way!

After all, schools are Gun Free Zones, also known as Free Fire Zones.

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Powerline has the right of it, in this case Mankind vs Peoplekind.

Nothing more I can possibly say about this.

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CNN is a 'dead network walking'.

As they've all been told more than once, roll left and die.

The next network to fold unless it cleans up its act?

ESPN. Goodness knows they don't really do sports so much anymore, having abandoned it more for politics. Their viewer numbers have been plummeting as well and it's all their own fault.

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I like Rush Limbaugh's suggestion in regards to the DACA situation: Permanent citizenship for illegal immigrants under one important condition: They will be ineligible to vote for between 15 and 25 years.

That would certainly cut off the Democrat Party's supply of new 'voters' for at least one generation. No more built-in constituencies.

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The PC chickens are now coming home to roost, with college students now pushing back against political correctness, seeing how it instills an a “climate of fear” in anyone seen by the PC crowd as being outside the fold.

PC focuses on identity politics rather than the individual. By doing so it diminishes the strengths of individuals and the true diversity they bring to college campuses. The color of your skin or the makeup of your chromosomes takes on an unhealthy importance. You are no longer judged upon the content of your character. In effect, you as an individual become invisible. Only the collective to which you have been pushed into matters. One's accomplishments mean nothing, and that can destroy the human spirit as much as the overblown racism/sexism and all other -isms that the PC crown seem so enamored of promoting as some kind of inherent 'ism' that doesn't really exist any place but in their minds.

How that helps anyone is beyond me.

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And that's the (abbreviated) news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the cleanup from the unexpected snowfall has completed, the local ski areas are loving it, and where I wish I actually had President's Day off for a change.

2/11/2018

Thoughts On A Sunday

Another weekend has come and gone, the weather has been a bit indecisive as it can't seem to make up its mind whether it will be (freezing) rain or snow, and chores still need attending to.

This is the first weekend since September where there is no football (though I can't say I miss it as I usually would considering the whole leftward shift of the NFL by allowing politics to pollute the game).

About the most exciting thing that took place in my little town is the annual town and school district meetings to go over the upcoming budgets. (More on that below.)

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NEWS FLASH: It's cold at the Winter Olympics!

Apparently the news media never bothered to check what the actual conditions might be like in South Korea this time of year. This has caused some equipment failures and, horrors upon horrors, the water-based makeup used by on air reporters to freeze, making it difficult for them to speak.

Gee, who'da thunk that it might be well below freezing in South Korea...in winter? Obviously not the the media.

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My home state has a big problem with voting fraud as it allows non-residents to vote in our elections. (A vast majority of them are out-of-state college students who have an out-of-state drivers license, an out-of-state home address, yet are somehow considered legal residents for the purpose of voting.) It also appears New Hampshire is the only state that allows such fraud.

I have no doubt that the last federal election which saw then-incumbent US Senator Kelly Ayotte (R) ousted by then-governor Maggie Hassan (D), who won by a whopping 432 votes, did so because of a large contingent of out-of-state college students voting for Hassan. Yet this doesn't seem to bother the powers that be with the exception of New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner. Allowing non-residents to vote in our elections seriously skews the election results.

It's time for this illegal action to be stopped.

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As I mentioned above, this past week we held out town's deliberative sessions which went over all of the warrant articles for both the town and school district spending and other related issues. The tone between the two different meetings was the difference between day and night, with nary an objection raised about a $26 million+ school budget, but a but of controversy over the $13 million town budget.

One would think that with almost $39 million of our tax money being spent someone would have asked questions about the large budget items. But there wasn't a peep. However there were lots of questions and haranguing about smaller budget lines, the fiscal equivalent of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. This isn't the first time I've seen this phenomenon and I doubt it will be the last.

Spend a couple of million dollars and this and that? Sure, why not! But cut a $2000 line item out of one department and rending of clothing and tearing of hair was overwhelming. You'd think someone was stealing the food out of the mouths of starving children.

I just don't get it.

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One of the biggest problems we have when it comes to trying to determine past climate conditions – so-called paleoclimatology – is that too many present day climatologists have used localized paleoclimate conditions and tried to extend them to apply everywhere. That is erroneous at best and fraudulent at worse. That “[p]aleoclimate data still spotty and incomplete, leaving climate models vague, uncalibrated and filled with uncertainty” is something to many of the AGW faithful have chosen to ignore.

Vast tracts of the Earth's land surface remain unexplored when it comes to past climate conditions. How can someone comparing ice cores from Greenland say that the conditions outlined there in any way match conditions in the Arabian Peninsula or sub-Saharan Africa during the same period? They can't, just as we cannot make that correlation in present day. But that doesn't stop the true believers from assuming that the conditions on one part of the globe were affected the same way on another part.

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I thought “Legalese”, the lawyers version of English, was bad enough when dealing with laws and contracts. I was wrong.

Having dealt with patent law for some time now (I have applied for and been granted a number of patents over the years) I have found that “Patent Legalese” is far worse. Basically, it states the same thing – a concept, idea, or actual physical invention – a bunch of different ways, with only a word or phrase here and there changed slightly from the previous iteration. I don't understand the reason behind such recursive/repetitive phrasing within the patent claims, but it makes for really boring reading.

As part of my job I usually have to look at competitors' patents or patent applications to see if we are violating any of their patents. I also have to check now and then to see if any competitors' products infringe on any of our patents. If I find a competitor's patent might preclude us from developing or marketing a product, I then have to check for what is called 'prior art' to see if we were using their idea before they had filed a patent application. (On more than one occasion we've been able to prove that a product we sell did not violate a competitor's patent because we had marketed it well before they had even filed for a patent, in one case six years before they had applied for patent. That meant they couldn't file a patent infringement suit against my company because we could prove we had been using it a prior to their patent application.)

Sometimes the “Patent Legalese” makes it difficult to figure out exactly what a competitor's invention is supposed to do and how it does what it does. That can cause confusion. It also means you can receive a patent for a similar invention that does the same thing as a competitor's invention as long as it does that same thing a different way. I have seen that more than once when one company files a patent for an instrument and the patent claims are too narrow. That allows another company to file for a patent for their instrument that changes one or more elements of the original invention. If I had to guess the obscure language makes it easier to claim infringements because the average person would find it difficult to parse. Even patent attorneys sometimes have problems doing so!

So as bad as “Leagalese” is, “Patent Legalese” is far worse because it looks like plain English, but it isn't.

And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it's raining, the snow is being washed away (slowly), and where we're getting ready to return to work Monday morning.

2/04/2018

Thoughts On A SuperBowl Sunday

It's SuperBowl Sunday and almost all of the local news is focused on the coming game. That's not surprising considering the New England Patriots are playing in their tenth SuperBowl.

While I will be watching the game, it hasn't been my main focus as there have been plenty of other tasks and chores to attend to.

I will say this: I will be happy and sad at the same time because it's my two favorite teams playing each other.

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Some people just don't get it, do they? A portion of those “some people” are converts to a new religion, that being the 'Holey' Church of Climate Change led by his Holeyness AlGore.

Like any converts they tend to be fanatical, sometimes to the point that no one wants to be anywhere near them so they don't have to listen to their constant preaching and proselytizing, or worse, their virtue signaling and holy-than-thou attitudes.

Some of these converts have to learn how to shut the hell up, because nobody wants constant in-your-face discussions about something that a very large majority of people do not really care about. Not because they are ignorant about climate change, but because they do not see it as a problem and they do not believe it is anything but a natural cycle.

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Remember this?

Don't be evil.

Too bad the purveyor of that slogan has turned out to be evil in so many ways.

I am, of course, talking about Google, the high tech giant that is being sued by a former engineer who was fired for having the audacity to point out in an internal memo that it's efforts to ensure diversity has had a negative effect on the culture within the company.

For a company that has been pushing the 'Don't Be Evil' trope, they have created an environment of intolerance, racism and sexism that is far worse than what they have supposedly been fighting against. They have suggested (or in some cases embraced) policies that violate labor and civil rights laws. They judge people based upon the color of their skin and not the content of their character. They discriminated against employees based upon their political views, their religious beliefs, and anything else that was the Social Justice Theme of the Day. What's worse is that middle and upper level managers encouraged such behavior.

I hope then end up having to pay billions in damages. (This is quite possible because the case could be certified as a class action suit.)

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For yet another example of a business owner being splashed in the face with the cold water of reality, there's this from 2009 about a woman who started a women-only TV production company as she figured it would be a place of “harmonious workers benefiting from an absence of men.”

Dreams are nice. Too bad this one wasn't the kind she was looking to create.

It was an idealistic vision swiftly shattered by the nightmare reality: constant bitchiness, surging hormones, unchecked emotion, attention-seeking and fashion rivalry so fierce it tore my staff apart.

I can understand why people want to believe that women look out for each other - because with men in power at work and in politics, it makes sense for us to stick together.

In fact, there was a time when I believed in the Sisterhood - but that was before women at war led to my emotional and financial ruin.

Her dream left her bankrupt and far wiser. Maybe this is a lesson those running Google should take to heart.

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While the days of the shade tree mechanic are pretty much over (unless you are working on classic vehicles), I certainly believe that anyone who owns a vehicle or piece of equipment should also have the right to repair it. However you will find that many corporations like John Deere, AT&T, Apple, and a whole host of other companies disagree.

For many folks, this is not an issue. But for those of us who have no recourse because it is either impractical or too expensive to haul our broken down equipment to a store or dealer, the right to do it ourselves is paramount.

BeezleBub has spoken of this many times as he's struggled to fix some of the farm's newer tractors and finding out that he can't because he cannot access diagnostics or activate new part so the onboard computer(s) that control the equipment will recognize it and allow the tractor to run. This has meant an expensive service call or hauling the broken down equipment to a dealer to be fixed. Most farmers don't have that luxury as they need the equipment now, not tomorrow or next week when the dealer can schedule the repairs. This has certainly become a big deal in some states where Right To Repair legislation is in the works.


(H/T Knuckledraggin')

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Is there a #MeToo backlash growing and will it harm more women than men?

The answer to both parts of that question is yes. Call it an unintended consequence of the #MeToo movement which has since turned into a witch hunt.

I have often predicted that the #MeToo movement would backfire on feminists. The picture of angry women retaliating against men for sex crimes, real and imagined, made for compelling media drama. Of course, no one is really empowered by destroying other people… especially people with wives and daughters. And by delighting in the fact.

The backlash has not been long in coming. Men are now refusing to meet alone with females in the workplace. They are no longer willing to have private work dinners or to travel with women. Feminists have increased the risk without increasing the potential reward. 

The much derided Pence Rule has become a means of survival for men in business and politics. It is also undercutting many women in those fields because their ability to interact with male colleagues or mentors is being diminished or destroyed.

Can sexual segregation be far behind?

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Will truckers lose their jobs to automation? It seems it's possible considering we're seeing more autonomous vehicles being rolled out. Dan Hanson begs to differ.

I wonder how many of the people making predictions about the future of truck drivers have ever ridden with one to see what they do?

One of the big failings of high-level analyses of future trends is that in general they either ignore or seriously underestimate the complexity of the job at a detailed level. Lots of jobs look simple or rote from a think tank or government office, but turn out to be quite complex when you dive into the details.

For example, truck drivers don’t just drive trucks. They also secure loads, including determining what to load first and last and how to tie it all down securely. They act as agents for the trunking company. They verify that what they are picking up is what is on the manifest. They are the early warning system for vehicle maintenance. They deal with the government and others at weighing stations. When sleeping in the cab, they act as security for the load. If the vehicle breaks down, they set up road flares and contact authorities. If the vehicle doesn’t handle correctly, the driver has to stop and analyze what’s wrong – blown tire, shifting load, whatever.

Hanson delves deeper into the issue from the viewpoint of someone who has been involved in automation for 20 years, so I'd say his opinion carries a bit more weight than some of those making the predictions about the death of truck driving. He also points out that factory automation is easier because they are closed, static environments that lend themselves to automation while piloting a 40-ton tractor trailer in a semi-chaotic environment with constantly changing conditions and unpredictable obstacles isn't as easy as some people think.

A lot of pundits have a sense that automation is accelerating in replacing jobs. In fact, I predict it will slow down, because we have been picking the low hanging fruit first. That has given us an unrealistic idea of how hard it is to fully automate a job.

Read the whole thing.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where everyone has gathered their supplies for viewing the SuperBowl, nasty weather looks to bypass us (this time), and where I expect there to be a number of people calling in to work tomorrow suffering from SuperBowl Monday Syndrome.