Friday, May 27, 2016

More clear cuts for the environment

Hmmm.....would it be possible that the reason you need a 1 ton (or bigger) pickup to tow "tiny homes" just might be that they're using 6x6s to frame the ceiling? 

Maybe.  Keep in mind here that you also need to hold those big beams up; we are talking about some serious tree-killing here.  Never mind the coal you need to build a tow vehicle, and the oil you need to fuel it--some of those "tiny homes" have three axles on their trailers, meaning they weigh about 7 tons and are at the load limit of even most one ton pickups.

Beautiful?  Yes.  Cool? Yes.  But please; don't tell me you're doing the environmentally responsible thing when you're using 15000 lbs of material to make a home that's about the same size as a 19', 4000 lb Airstream or large garden shed.

Nope, not possible

There is no way that high school males would possibly, ever, use the Obama administration's diktat that boys can use the girls' restroom (or vice versa) as cover for prohibited activities.  Nosirree.  Never.  By no means is it smart to have separate spaces for bodily functions.

On a brighter note, Dr. Henry Heimlich has finally gotten a chance to use his famous maneuver to save a life.  You almost want to choke on a cough drop or something just to get the chance to meet him. :^)  (just kidding....)

Clear-cuts for the environment!

In Buffalo, MN, the developers of a solar power complex have gotten things going by clear-cutting 11 acres of mature hardwood forests.  So even apart from the energy used to create solar cells (close to what you get out of them in reasonable use) and the environmental impact of the wafer fabs and other things you need, you've got environmentalists who are blissfully unaware of large treeless areas suitable for mounting solar panels.  Like, for example, Buffalo High School, the Buffalo Civic Center, or any number of other large buildings with flat roofs.. It's worth noting that mounting them there would also reduce cooling costs by keeping heat away from the actual roof and provide power at peak times for A/C.

But of course, installing these things sensibly appears to be beyond the ability of people making their money not from solar power, but rather from federal subsidies.  Three Bronx Cheers for green brown energy!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Attack of the psycho pothead sheep!

No, it's not a B movie (though I think it could be a great one), but rather is a real event in Wales.  Apparently a herd of sheep got the munchies for a load of illegally dumped marijuana in the village of Rhydypandy.  Which would also be a cool name for a band--either Rhydypandy or "the Psycho Pothead Sheep".   Maybe a wool sweater at next year's hash bash

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Some more reasons to vote against Hilliary

For starters, I think she'll be losing all of the Great Plains and mountain states after this one; she's come out in favor of reinstating the "double nickel" speed limit.  My take is that anyone who favors this really needs to take a trip from San Francisco to Chicago on I-80 at that speed; there are stretches in Utah and Nevada where you have basically the same view for well over 100 miles and no services for that same stretch.  Beautiful country, but after a dozen hours of it, you're ready for a break--and that break comes a lot more slowly if the police are enforcing 55mph!

In other news, Walter Williams is taking on the Democratic penchant for accepting people's nonsensical self-identifications by describing himself as a springbok.  This is apparently a big shift in his self-identification, as he'd previously identified as caucasian to avoid the worst jobs when he was deployed in Korea.  However, the reality that springboks are not required to file income taxes changed his mind, and, apparently, his DNA.

I think I'm a black bear now.  Hopefully Mark Dayton doesn't start taxing them as a result.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Actually, yes they do

In hilarious testimony before Congress, the head of the VA claimed that Disney makes no measurement of hours spent waiting in line at Disneyworld, and made the argument that since (as far as he knows) Disney does not do this, neither ought the VA.

Now apart from the fact that in general, nobody dies waiting to get a ride in Space Mountain, it struck me as a quality engineer that if I were working at Disneyworld, I would in fact take a look at how long lines are, because that does in fact impact the customer experience.

And so I googled "Space Mountain Wait Time", and can find wait times for Space Mountain here.  Note as well that you can get something called "FastPass", and it's been said that many visitors to Disneyworld actually hire line waiters to get around this.  I believe I remember seeing signs in the waiting lines telling you how long you would have to wait the last time I visited as well--it's been a while, but they were certainly there.

Closer to the area of medical care, our little clinic here in Rochester routinely asks about and measures wait times.  So what can we conclude?

The head of the VA not only hasn't been to a major amusement park in the past four decades, but he also has no clue about what best practices are in his own industry.  I recommend we just get it over with and impeach the guy and remove him from his position.  Yet another brilliant hire by the community organizer in chief.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bottled something or other review

I would honor Fraters Libertas and do a "beer review", but maybe that's a little bit premature....well, maybe a review of this type, I any rate, I suddenly found a few bottles of something with mountains on the label courtesy...oh, wait, I'd better not ignore Exodus 20:12 by naming who left them in my fridge...but here are some of the comments my fellow reviewer and I made while sampling this mass market drink.

Boy, you can sure taste that Rocky Mountain water!  (hopefully without the giardia!

Reminds me of an unsweetened ginger ale.

Good thing they're not aggravating shortages of hops and malt in making this.

Remember when know....the canoe?

Just like gin and tonic, hold the gin.

Reminds me of the sparkling water I had at lunch today.

Maybe give it to the donkey a couple more times?

Subtle hints of hops and malt with an overall aroma of carbonated water.

Never mind that last comment.  There were no hints of hops or malt that we could detect, actually, and it reminds me of something I wrote earlier about things that are optimized for drinkability--they are designed to get the drinker to drink the most possible, and with 4.7% alcohol in this particular seltzer water, that's a recipe for trouble, especially among inexperienced drinkers.  Even if drunkenness does not become a problem, the phenomenon of "beer guts" ought to remind us that excessive weight, heart disease, and diabetes might.

Want a great reason to try a good pumpkin peach ale?  There you go.  And once again, my hearty thanks to the people of Germany for ruining me forever for mass market American beers, chocolate, sausage, bread, coffee, pastries...

When you mix politics and science

....what you always get is politics, of course.  Today's example is how First Lady Michelle Obama has apparently "guided" the FDA to require nutritional labels to not only list total sugars, but to differentiate "added" sugars from "natural" sugars.  The total cost?   A cool $1.4 billion--and of course the biggest victims of the First Lady's new tax are going to be those who eat foods with added sugars--read "poor people."

And surprise, surprise, a review of the FDA cost/benefit analysis finds it to be "deeply flawed", overstating the benefits by a factor of 300.  While the criticism was generated by those hit hardest--sugar producers, bakers, and the like--the ugly fact of the matter is that the body does not care whether it gets sucrose and fructose from grapes, apples, oranges, corn, or sugarcane.  It's the same chemicals that have exactly the same effects--a spike in blood sugar followed by a release of insulin and the rendering of those sugars into ATP, glycogen, and fat. 

I would actually go a lot further than the criticism did--I'd argue that by separating "added" sugars from "natural" (apple juice is OK, sugar not?), the FDA is actually harming the ability of people to make intelligent food choices, and hence the net benefit is substantially negative for all but the sons of dieticians who know how to read these labels. 

Which is to say that the First Lady has about the same expertise in chemistry and nutrition as her husband has in economics and the law.  Either that, or they do know better and they don't care.  Beating up on the sugar industry is a lot easier than coming up with good ideas, after all.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Now that's a good question! Here's an answer

In a review of Hill Harper's book The Conversation, dear sister Elspeth quotes a wonderful, wonderful question:  How is it that so many black men grew up fatherless and worship their mothers but have so little respect for women?

And of course, it's not just black men--just ask the loved ones of any number of white country & western fans that grew up fatherless, revere their mothers, and yet treat women like dirt.  To answer why this is the case, let's take a look at 1 Corinthians 7.   A single mother is a woman who most likely requires a husband, according to Paul, but because of various perverse incentives in the tax code, welfare code, societal attitudes, and the like, does not.

And because she requires a husband but does not have one, she burns in lust, meeting and bedding a series of men, and...

....her children start to think that's normal, and they repeat and deepen the pattern.  More or less, the world modern feminists have asked for--no fault divorce, presumption of maternal custody and generous child support, favoring the single in welfare and tax laws--is found to be a war zone for man and woman alike. 

And it's striking as well--see Elspeth's original post--that Ivy League-educated Harper does not seem to clue in to this, or for that matter a number of other things.  It is almost as if elite education and a lifetime of privilege can inoculate a man against the truth.

Which is exactly what I would have guessed from his long term friendship with this guy, who also seems quite immune to facts, and also has multiple Ivy League degrees and a privileged background.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gotham: slow on the 1st Amendment, too.

New York City is apparently not just slow on the uptake regarding the "right of the people to keep and bear arms", but also about free speech.  How so? 

They've come up with a regulation saying that fines of up to $250,000 can be assessed if an employer or landlord fails to use the "correct" pronoun for those who are transgendered.  It is not entirely clear whether "I couldn't tell" would be an adequate defense, but given the size of the fines they're proposing, I'm guessing "no". 

And they're doing a great job protecting those with gender dysphoria, too; a transgender "woman" was recently sexually assaulted in the Stonewall Inn (yes, THAT Stonewall Inn). 

So in honor of how well Gotham is honoring our Constitution and protecting the rights of all of her residents, I propose each of us go out and smoke a few cigarettes and drink a Super Big Gulp.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Thoughts on the new combatants

With the promise of women and even the transgendered entering into combat ranks, even those of infantry and cavalry, I had the opportunity to remember my failed attempt to get into one of the service academies.  I had the grades, I had the varsity letters, and I had the character, but I also had something else; a history of asthma.  The DOD wisely declined to accept me for two reasons.  First, there was the small, but very real chance that I could have been disabled on the battlefield by an unpredictable asthma attack--that could kill really everyone under my command.  My pride was simply not worth the likelihood of 30, 100, or 1000 Gold Star mothers and widows!

Second, the materials I needed to deal with my allergies and asthma--Albuterol inhalers, kenalog injections, prescription antihistamines and the like--would have made the supply chain more complex.  "OK, what was that medicine that the 2 Lt. in Company B needed again?"  It's hard enough for Amazon and Wal-Mart in peacetime; imagine the difficulty when you're trying to do it in the fog of war.  Hence when I was young, the DOD was very, very picky about who they took and who they didn't. 

So what does this have to do with women and transgenders in combat?  Well, for starters, we're talking about two groups who will not have good levels of natural testosterone and strength generally required for combat--that issue, along with other sex-related differences, has of course been discussed at length.  There is also the very real issue--also discussed by many others--of that these new soldiers will do to unit morale, especially when they are sexually active with their fellow soldiers.  I'm acquainted with several retired officers who noted they did a LOT of damage control with sex-integrated units. 

But perhaps even more importantly, we can count on female soldiers requiring feminine hygiene supplies, feminine undergarments, and a variety of contraceptives.  In the same way, transsexual soldiers are going to require different garments and generally various types of hormone treatments as well. 

Now it doesn't seem like a huge imposition on the supply chain, but remember that the tradition is to drop a pallet of ammunition, weapons, food, and spare clothing where the unit is fighting--so you would go from a very standardized delivery system to a very customized one that will make mistakes in the fog of war.  Suffice it to say that we just might want to shake these things out before risking lives with it. 

From physical strength to supply chain, these changes are clear evidence that the FMEAs have not been done well, and we could be filling body bags as a result.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Um, hold the chicken

Oxfam reports that workers at poultry producers have been denied bathroom breaks to the point that they resort to wearing diapers and seriously restricting fluid intake while working.   Now I would be tempted to just ignore this report except for a couple of factors.  First, a 1997 U.S. News & World Report article that indicates that chicken manure is a significant factor in beef diets, a practice which appears to continue, and second, an offhand comment I heard in a former job about line workers being afraid to go to the bathroom.

So while I never personally observed any coworkers wearing diapers, I am well aware that there are places where the pressure to produce is so intense, even the necessities of biology take second place or worse.  And if you wonder why you should wash your hands after handling uncooked chicken, there you go.  I'm all for efficiency and productivity, but there is a certain line that we really shouldn't cross.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Potemkin news, I guess

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has confessed that the Obama administration set up an "echo chamber" of "experts" to sell their deal with Iran.  Well, I guess at least he's being honest about that, but one would think that any sane leader would understand that in light of the hazards of international affairs, an echo chamber is the very last thing anyone would want to have.  People really should have been resigning in protest as they realized what was going on, because quite frankly, echo chambers in this kind of thing get people killed.

Even more embarrassing is the apparent fact is that they knew journalists were (either unknowingly or willingly) clueless, and that the Obama administration actually tried to keep adverse news off the wires until his SOTU address.   They apparently nearly got away with it, too.

I don't know what you call people that fall for this line, but I do know you can't call them journalists.  Or national security experts.   

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

What if they're all right?

Well, that's my thought after John Boehner's comments about Ted Cruz.  Politicians slamming each other brutally for advantage in the polls....ignoring Reagan's "11th Commandment" willfully...and hence I've got to wonder if all those ad hominem attacks are, by their ubiquity, factual.

It is really, really scary that in a nation with our level of debt--well over GDP officially, 5-10x GDP with honest accounting--we've descended to something that P.T. Barnum might have designed.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Wisdom from U2

Apparently U2 front-man Bono has collaborated with Eugene Peterson of "The Message" to deliver a nice criticism of "Christian Contemporary Music" (CCM) that goes beyond the standard criticisms of formulaic lyrics in code, chord repetition, and the like.  More or less, the question is the same that our Reformed/Regulative Principle brothers and sisters have been asking us for centuries; why don't you consider the Psalms?