Monday, December 31, 2012

Some cool things from 2012..

I know a lot of people are happy to say goodbye to 2012, but I have to say  2012 held some really great moments for me and the family and friends..  just some snapshots from the year in no particular order..

I was part of a team at work that was awarded a US Patent .. My first one..  Cool.  

I got to travel to Thailand and spend 10 days there..

Celebrated Dad's 80th birthday with a lot of family and friends..

Our oldest graduated from college with his BS in Electrical Engineering, #1 in his class and he has already found full time employment.    

Our younger son graduated from High School after a great academic and sports career and aced his first semester in college.  

I got to travel to South Africa and spend 10 days there meeting wonderful people and seeing incredible scenery and wildlife.. 

Molly had another awesome year with dance and competitive cheer leading and still managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA her Freshman year in HS. 

My family has stayed healthy and together..

I got to play a lot of games of Scrabble with mom

I got to meet and work with some great kids at John Trix elementary school in Detroit. 

I got to rock out with the guys in the band many times and many places..  

And I've managed to write 118 posts here at Pathteacher and over the year slowly keep attracting more traffic from around the world and building up momentum for what I have no idea.  I hope I am lucky enough to be able to do this again next year.  Cheers! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Shadow of Your Smile

A really nice duet featuring Barbara Streisand and Johnny Mathis.   

A few thoughts for the GOP as they try to figure out how to reformulate the damaged brand.

A few thoughts for the GOP as they try to figure out how to reformulate the damaged brand.

1. Recognize that when church and state intermingle in each other's business that both are harmed. Purge religion from science and politics and vice-versa.
2. Recall the root of the word conservative.. conserve, as in to eliminate wasted consumption.  That would reduce carbon emissions and drive prices lower at the same time. a real win-win scenario.
3. Promote higher education for American students so we don't need to find ways to import more engineers and scientists from other nations.
4. Support American commerce and find ways to keep reducing the trade deficit.
5. Make health care more affordable by eliminating waste and increasing the supply of services.
6. Give the US Military a leadership role in eliminating blight and restoring the infrastructure in urban America.
7. The economy is based on confidence. Government should be a foundation for confidence.
8. Confront evil as soon as it looks you in the eye. 
9. First point out how you agree with your political foe before proceeding to disagree with them.   
10. Consider every idea but never be loyal to one beyond what the facts and reason say.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

NRA Chief says we already have enough gun laws! while they quietly push through dozens of new laws across the USA..

Wayne LaPierre had this to say earlier today when asked about gun control legislation.  

The NRA leader dismissed efforts to revive the assault weapons ban as a "phony piece of legislation" that's built on lies. He made clear it was highly unlikely that the NRA could support any new gun regulations.
"You want one more law on top of 20,000 laws, when most of the federal gun laws we don't even enforce?" he said.
From that statement one might get the impression that Wayne LaPierre and the NRA are opposed to making any new gun laws when there are already 20,000 existing laws on the books.  But that wouldn't be true at all.  It turns out the NRA loves new gun laws   The NRA has been on a legislating rampage the last four years pushing all sorts of new gun laws in States across the Country.    Mother Jones: The NRA Surge: 99 Laws Rolling Back Gun Restrictions

Since 2009, the NRA and its allies in state capitols have pushed through 99 laws making guns easier to own, easier to carry in public—eight states now even allow them in bars—and harder for the government to track. 

The list in the Mother Jones article doesn't include the Bill passed by the Michigan Tea Party legislature the day before the Newtown Massacre that would have allowed concealed weapons to be carried in schools, churches, hospitals and bars.  Governor Rick Snyder surely would have signed that Bill into law if it had not been for the poor timing of the massacre at Sandy Hook.

Wayne LaPierre is a raving gun nut. When I have heard him speak these last few days in response to the mass murder of young children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut he was bombastic, callous, insulting and raving in anger.  Gun control advocates ought to pay LaPierre to speak on National TV against gun control measures in order to get the general public to support gun control.   Yes, he is that bad of a spokesperson.  He is Rush Limbaugh without all the charm.

Below are some other Wayne LaPierre gem quotes.   This guy is batshit crazy.
"With all the money in the budget, if we can't come up [with the money] to do this, there something wrong in this country," LaPierre said in an interview on Sunday with NBC's Meet the Press.
"If it's crazy to call for putting police office and armed security in our schools, then call me crazy," LaPierre said.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,''
But is that what it really is? Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?
"The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn't planning his attack on a school he's already identified at this very moment?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

WSJ: Embrace global warming for it is good.

In a Wall Street Journal Op-ed, Matt Ridley makes the case that 1 or 2 degrees Celsius of global temperature rise caused by the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere is no big deal so chill out people.  In fact, its going to be a good thing!  F* Yeah!

 Matt Ridley: Cooling Down the Fears of Climate Change
The conclusion—taking the best observational estimates of the change in decadal-average global temperature between 1871-80 and 2002-11, and of the corresponding changes in forcing and ocean heat uptake—is this: A doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6°-1.7°C (2.9°-3.1°F)...
A cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good—that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland's ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on.
Growing season will last longer, but there will be more extreme high temperature days in the middle of it.    And more rain overall does not mean there will be more rain everywhere.

For a start, water vapor may not be increasing. A recent paper from Colorado State University concluded that "we can neither prove nor disprove a robust trend in the global water vapor data." And then, as one Nobel Prize-winning physicist with a senior role in combating climate change admitted to me the other day: "We don't even know the sign" of water vapor's effect—in other words, whether it speeds up or slows down a warming of the atmosphere.
Wrong.   As the oceans and atmosphere warm, of course  there will be more water vapor in the air.   This is a question where the numbers aren't important because the shape of the curve tells you the answer.  Warmer air has a much higher propensity to absorb water vapor than does cooler air.  This is pretty simple stuff here..    Pathteacher explains the Psychrometric Chart

As the effects of AGW cause average temperatures to rise in the oceans and atmosphere, one effect will be more water vapor absorbed from rivers, lakes and oceans into the atmosphere. But more water vapor in the air does not equate to more rain across all geographical areas including those where the farms are. Humid air must collide with enough cold air to bring the mixture below it's dew point temperature to create precipitation. But if humid air isn't chilled below it's dew point the water vapor moves along in the wind and eventually falls to the ground somewhere else.

No net cooling or heating occurs when water vapor evaporates or condenses. Both are adiabatic processes. Energy moves around, but no work is done. Clouds do affect how much sunlight reaches the earth's surface, so there is a self-correcting factor built into the water vapor cycle. But regardless, warmer air will mean more rain and snow somewhere.
I think it is reasonable to say the amount of precipitation will tend to decrease in areas where the atmosphere is typically the warmest and the amount of precipitation will tend to increase in areas where the air is the typically the coldest. So we will see more desertification along with more random destruction wherever the occasional Megastorms form. This doesn't bode well for the agriculture or property insurance industries, or for our prospects in general.

The Gun Bill Rick Snyder vetoed

Last week on the last day of the 2012 lame duck Tea Party Michigan legislature, Senate Bill No. 59 written by ALEC interns paid with US taxpayer subsidies passed along with about 50 other Bills and was sent to Governor Rick Snyder's desk for the obligatory rubber stamp.  But then hours later, a suicidal psychopath committed mass murder at an elementary school in Connecticut using the assault rifle he stole from his mom after he killed her.  So unfortunately for the gun nuts, Rick Snyder had to veto the Bill he would have surely signed otherwise.  That Bill rolled around the committee for over a year getting tweaked and retweaked dozens of times.  They didn't pass it in the last minute without knowing it was destined to be signed.    

Here is the steaming turd that Rick Snyder was forced to veto due to the poor timing of Adam Lanza's rampage.   Read through this saga of GOP inspired legalspeak gobbleygook and remind me again which Party always bitches about how the US already has a gazillion too many gun laws and why it is silly to write any more new ones.

Enrolled Senate Bill No. 59.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Guns not permitted at National Shooting Sports Foundation convention

Whenever firearms of any sort are involved in a mass murder, the pro gun lobby is very quick to point out that we would all be safer if there were MOAR GUNZ!  never fewer guns.   How many of these people have recently commented that school teachers ought to carry firearms around their classrooms in order to make elementary schools safer.  jeesh.

So I find it ironic that at the annual gun industry convention and trade show in Las Vegas hosted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (based in Newtown Connecticut) that NO guns are permitted inside the convention hall.  Even the guns on display have to have their firing pins removed and pass inspection.  

Here is a link to the homepage for the The SHOT Show 

The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) and Conference is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries. It is the world's premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics and related products and services. The SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. The SHOT Show is owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and is produced and managed by Reed Exhibitions

Well if you are planning to attend the SHOT Show to hang out with thousands of other fine Americans who know the right to keep and bear arms is more important than the right to keep and bear children, you will have to leave all your guns back in the hotel room safe.  If they fit inside.  If not, hide them in the sock drawer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are personal firearms or ammunition allowed?
NO personal firearms or ammunition allowed. Only firearms on display by exhibitors whose firing pins have been removed (and have been inspected by SHOT Show Safety Advisors) will be permitted on the show floor.
That means all those gun aficionados are going to be trapped helpless to defend themselves if one of the exhibitors or another person at the SHOT Show wigs out and goes on a rampage.   What hypocrisy.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation advocates eliminating state restrictions on carrying concealed weapons inside bars, schools, restaurants and churches because MOAR GUNZ! make you safer, but when they host their yearly party they make sure all the Yosemite Sams are unarmed.

Hmm. The firearms trade association is based in Newtown Connecticut.

Just too weird to be a coincidence.

Firearms trade association based in Newtown Connecticut 

Odd coincidence that the National Shooting Sports Foundation the trade association for the firearms industry is based in Newtown Connecticut.
About the National Shooting Sports Foundation
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 7,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers.
Here is a link to their online publication, The Range Report
The Range Report, published four times per year by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, is dedicated to serving the needs and to helping meet the challenges of today’s shooting facilities.
So maybe Newtown Connecticut is not just another random sleepy rolling hills town out in the country and perhaps there were some people around town in the bars and restaurants that over a wine or three coaxed Nancy Lanza into becoming a patron of the local gun ranges and advised her on collecting assault weapons, expensive rifles, and ammunition clips.  Everyone in town seemed to know she was divorced and loaded and living in a big house.  She would probably be an easy sales “target” for a pro.

Here is the senior management team of the National Shooting Sports Foundation as shown in their 2011 report.   I would post the current team, but for some odd reason that link isn't working currently.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Assault weapons, mental illness and lame excuses

Well I finally found the quote that sums up how stupid and morally decrepit the gun lobby has become.
Robert Crook, head of the Hartford- based Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen dropped this quote in response to the mass murder of 26 people including 20 small children.  link.. 

“We already have a lot of good gun laws on the books,” Crook said. “You can’t control people who have never done anything wrong before and then just go off the deep end.”   

That's not what happened in Newtown.  With Nancy and Adam Lanza, there was a toxic mix and none of it was much of a secret in town.   She was preparing for doomsday warfare by stockpiling assault weapons, ammunition and 30-round clips, and he was a very troubled young man with a long history of mental illness, erratic behavior, and temper tantrums.

This incident was preventable.  Nancy Lanza was extremely irresponsible as a gun owner.  If she could not prevent her son from somehow gaining access to the weapons in the house then they should have been stored somewhere else.

The pro-gun people should be the first ones to be pointing out why this event resulted from unsafe weapon handling and how everyone can learn from it.   Instead of taking part in a rational debate on this subject and helping find ways to reduce the possibility that people with mental illness will gain access to assault weapons they have decided to turn into Mickey the Dope and go with the "Who coulda saw that coming?" excuse.  Despicable.


Friday, December 14, 2012

American gun culture on horrible display ..

I can not even begin to imagine the horror of being involved in any way. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and the community. The ones who perished and the ones who lived through it, scarred forever. Unspeakable evil.  How can any person become so diabolical and insane with rage.  How did weapons purchased for self defense become tools for mass murder.      

The gun rights advocates will say that the very rare tragic events like this are just a necessary evil that comes with the goal for unfettered gun rights and no new gun control laws.

But if you want to test the logic in a theory apply it to an extreme example.  The horrible senseless evil tragedy in Newtown Connecticut earlier today is the extreme example to test the "Guns make us safer" logic we hear from the whole spectrum of pro-gun activists.  Their logic eventually leads to a safe Utopia where every single person is armed and ready to fire at the bad guys.

Dozens Killed in Connecticut School Shooting

NEWTOWN, Conn.—A gunman opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked, killing 26 people, including 20 children, law-enforcement officials said, in what could be the worst mass shooting at a U.S. elementary or high school.
The shooter was found dead inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, a community of about 27,000 located about 65 miles northeast of New York City. State police said another victim was found dead elsewhere in Newtown, putting the total toll at 28.
A federal law-enforcement official said a .223 Bushmaster rifle was found in the back of a vehicle at the scene. Two firearms were recovered near the alleged gunman's body: a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both handguns.

Oh and on a semi-automatic note it was Ted Nugent's birthday yesterday.  I only know this because someone tagged me in a few pictures of Ted looking like a raving lunatic freakazoid and on a day like today the very last thing I want on my FB wall is a picture of a full metal whack job anti-social gun nut freak show like Ted staring out from the screen.  

It's a day late, but for his birthday I'll post the first few random Ted Nugent quotes I snipped from pro gun rights websites.  Behold the intellectual giant of the WT red state gun culture.
"There are hundreds of millions of gun owners in this country, and not one of them will have an accident today. The only misuse of guns comes in environments where there are drugs, alcohol, bad parents, and undisciplined children. Period."
- Ted Nugent
"To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic."
- Ted Nugent
" ... Though oft repeated in rags like his, a handgun IS NOT forty-seven times more likely to kill a family member, unless of course, you and the whole tribe are in the crack runnin' trade and/or on parole as a lifestyle. That ramrod figure is as false as Jann's (Wenner of Rolling Stone) wedding vows. After he left his wife and children to go off into the sunset, ass in hand, with his new boyfriend, he turned up his antigun heat by increasing his hateful editorials and free magazine ad space with outrageous twisted lies about guns and gun owners."
-Ted Nugent
" Every study on crime and or firearms proves time and time again, that 99.99999% of American gun owners do not commit crimes or use our firearms in any dangerous or improper way."
- Ted Nugent

Enough of that.  

As for that statistic,  99.99999% means there is 1 criminal or dangerous gun owner out of every 10 million gun owners.   So by Ted's math there are about 20 or 30 of them in the entire country.  Bravo for spouting the most ridiculous made-up statistic to sum up this horrible tragic day, only off by a factor of 1,000 or so.  He must have been home-schooled in math.  

Update:  It turns out the shooter Adam Lanza used his mom's firearms in the attacks.  He killed her in the rampage with weapons she bought for protection.  I added this snip for more context on this case and the pro-gun  logic.
An article on Michigan’s RTC law: “Concerns that permit holders would lose their tempers in traffic accidents have been unfounded. Worries about risks to police officers have also proved unfounded.... National surveys of police show they support concealed handgun laws by a 3-1 margin....There is also not a single academic study that claims Right to Carry laws have increased state crime rates. The debate among academics has been over how large the benefits have been.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just how F-ed up is Michigan's Tea Party Legislature

While Democrats were sleeping during the 2010 midterm elections, white trash racists, religious fanatics, and Tea Party dolts across the state were working hard to get like minded dipshits elected to the Michigan State legislature.   And being illiterate themselves, these new politicians had to outsource their actual legislating jobs to the interns at ALEC the 501(c)(3) charitable tax-exempt right wing lobbying group that writes thumb drives full of model legislation to hand over to the Gomer Pyle GOP legislators across the USA so they can focus on real important things like keeping constituents mad at the world and tossing doggie treats to police and fire fighter unions.

Example "A" of how low this outsourced legislature has sunk. They just eliminated the $600 tax deduction for children on 2012 Michigan state income taxes but now they want to add a new deduction for fetuses who have not been born yet.  I am not making this up.

After Cutting Child Tax Credit, Michigan Republicans Want A Deduction For Fetuses   

The great Barney Frank (D-MA) said that anti-abortion-rights Republicans believe “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” Michigan Republicans must not have realized that he was joking.
House Bills 5684 and 5685, which were given a hearing in the Michigan House Tax Policy Committee on Tuesday,would give a tax exemption for fetuses that are at least 12 weeks old. This would follow a cut in the tax credit for actual living children signed into law by Republican governor Rick Snyder last year, according to Progress Michigan. The progressive organization notes that Michigan is rated 44th in children living in poverty.
2014 elections can not get here soon enough.  Hopefully by then the IRS will awaken from their deep slumber and eliminate the taxpayer subsidy for the political lobbying groups like ALEC, Heritage Foundation, Heartland Institute and ProEnglish and the hundreds of other political shill organizations feeding at the public trough, cheating the IRS out of revenue.

One small way unions fight back.

Perhaps labor unions might just have a window of opportunity in light of the new Right to Work laws in Michigan.  I think the unions should consider a pitch to take on all administrative and financial functions of the personnel department for their major employers.

The manufacturer would save money by outsourcing all of the plant level administrative functions.  The manufacturer would simply tell the union how many operators were needed each shift and provide the standard work instructions.

The union would make sure enough trained people were there every shift to run the place.   The manufacturer could concentrate on design and engineering of the product instead of getting bogged down in the mundane tasks of  actually having to build it.

The future of the labor movement is best enabled by helping manufacturers be more profitable.  This is just one way.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why did MI exclude Police and Fire unions from Right to Work?

The Michigan GOP Legislature and Rick Snyder will need to twist into pretzels to explain why Right to Work legislation excludes police and fire fighter unions.   Here are some examples of attempts to do so..

Lansing State Journal: Right-to-work bill exempts police and fire unions
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday the exemption is meant to respect the “unique circumstance” police officers and firefighters are in because of the “dangerous nature of their work.
But critics say the exception will create class warfare among public employees and it leaves out other dangerous occupations, particularly corrections officers in the state’s prison system.

Detroit News: GOP defends right-to-work exclusion of cop, fire unions

They also expressed concerns about creating divisions within the paramilitary ranks of first responders who rely on each other in life-and-death situations...
In arguing for a right-to-work law, Snyder and GOP leaders acknowledged it could create divisions in firehouses and police departments if union membership or fees was optional — as will become the case for all other unionized workplaces when Snyder signs the bill.
"These are men and women who must respond and rely on each other in ways no other union must," said Speaker Pro-tem John Walsh, R-Livonia...

..Another reason cited: Republican legislators get fewer complaints about the political activities of police and firefighter union leadership than others who, for instance, represent unions with ties to the Democratic Party.
 "I know a lot of people in both organizations, and they're happy with how their unions treat them. They're not clamoring for choice," said state Rep. Jeff Farrington, R-Utica.

That is some really weak tea there, none of it means anything, it's all just mush.   But even so, when asked why those exclusions don't apply to unions that represent prison guards, the answer is downright laughable.
..Some rank-and-file GOP lawmakers said there are other reasons why police and firefighters are getting a better deal than their union brethren who work in other dangerous jobs in prisons, construction and utilities.
"They behave more like value-adding trade associations than unions," said state Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, the leading advocate for the drive to make Michigan the 24th right-to-work state...
He can't actually be trying to say that unions representing prison guards behave more like trade associations than unions?  Trade associations are organizations that represent their industry at large, promoting cooperation and standardization between businesses and attracting customers and new business opportunities.  If there is a prison industry trade association it isn't there to represent the rights of the workers.  

Perhaps Shirkey meant to compare them to trade unions and not trade associations?  But, if so, he is essentially saying that prison guards are pretty much just like plumbers with a different toolbox.  Neither explanation is a good one.

Further, are police and fire truly the most dangerous occupations and regardless are they the only ones in which co-workers must rely on each other for safety and protection?  

Perhaps the explanation is that the GOP is exhibiting the soft prejudice of lowered expectations for police and fire fighters.  The message is that all the other unions will work it out and not let divisions between employees affect job performance or safety but the same can't be assumed for police and fire fighters so they need special privileges to keep them from squabbling.  This is stunning hypocrisy from Rick Snyder and his Tea Party legislature.

Here is a chart of workplace related fatalities in Michigan.
Tracking Acute Traumatic Work-Related Deaths in Michigan 

Here is some information about law enforcement fatalities.
Number of police fatalities up in 2011; Michigan saw five die in the line of duty

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Why does Paul Krugman hate robots?

I hold Paul Krugman in the very highest regard.   I do not recall ever disagreeing with his analysis before this post, but here we are.  Krugman is wrong.  What the hell is he even talking about?  The Rise of Robots is beneficial for the long-term prospects of the American economy and for our income levels and standard of living.

Krugman: The Conscience of a Liberal -  Rise of the Robots  

Catherine Rampell and Nick Wingfield write about the growing evidence for “reshoring” of manufacturing to the United States. They cite several reasons: rising wages in Asia; lower energy costs here; higher transportation costs. In a followup piece, however, Rampell cites another factor: robots.
The most valuable part of each computer, a motherboard loaded with microprocessors and memory, is already largely made with robots, according to my colleague Quentin Hardy. People do things like fitting in batteries and snapping on screens.
As more robots are built, largely by other robots, “assembly can be done here as well as anywhere else,” said Rob Enderle, an analyst based in San Jose, Calif., who has been following the computer electronics industry for a quarter-century. “That will replace most of the workers, though you will need a few people to manage the robots.”
Robots mean that labor costs don’t matter much, so you might as well locate in advanced countries with large markets and good infrastructure (which may soon not include us, but that’s another issue). On the other hand, it’s not good news for workers!
Krugman goes on to point out that the rise of robots is a capital-biased technological change which according to his old Economics textbooks means that income will shift from the workers to the owners of the capital equipment.  But he doesn't consider all the good things that come from investing in robotics that improve the economic viability of those companies and secure more jobs long-term.

Robots enable manufacturers and other businesses to become more profitable by improving build quality and reducing waste of raw materials and energy usage.  The higher quality levels reduce rework and warranty costs and the reduced utilities consumption brings lower market prices for commodities from which all businesses and consumers will benefit.

Robots eliminate a host of health and safety hazards that result in long and short term injuries along with costs for medical benefits and legal expenses.  Robots do dangerous work, helping keep human workers safe.  

Robots provide far more than just a few jobs as the article mentioned.  The robotics industry provides a wide variety of engineering, skilled trades, assembly, administrative and IT jobs in supply chain management, facilities, fabrication and construction as well as in the operation and service of robotic equipment and automation cells in diverse industries.  Those jobs didn't exist before the Rise of Robots.  Mr. Krugman should schedule a fact-finding mission to tour some of the high-tech firms along "Automation Alley" in the metro Detroit area.  There are companies based in this area that design, build and even export automation cells and automation expertise around the world.  That's a good thing for aggregate American income statistics, right?

Robots level the manufacturing playing field, which has long been a goal of labor unions in the industrialized nations.  Now, cheap direct labor isn't much of an incentive to relocate an entire manufacturing facility and all the peripheral jobs to a far-flung location in the developing world. The higher energy and infrastructure costs in those locations will likely offset lower labor costs when that cheap labor is replaced by robots back home.

Paul Krugman is tilting at robots.    His economics analysis may be valid, but his conceptions and assumptions about manufacturing are way-off base.

More here in a page at my favorite weblog, Little Green Footballs..

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Office Space without clutter..

Most people like to adorn the walls of their office or cubicle with pictures of their family, newspaper clippings, posters, joke sheets, decorations, their kid's artwork, and office memos.  Most people have stuff  laying around on their desk like files, memos, boxes, catalogs, to-do lists, knick-knacks, etc.  

As for me, I prefer my cubicle to look uninhabited when I'm not there at the stand-up desk. There are no pictures on the walls, no clutter on the desk, no garbage can under the desk, no piles of dust on the cabinets, nothing laying around. Just a plain calendar to mark a red X on vacation days and a small bin to collect paper for the recycling bin.   

Sometimes I get strange looks from my clutter collecting co-workers and suppliers who can't seem to grasp  how someone could actually have a cubicle that is so plain.      

But if I come across a red Swingline stapler someday, I'll bring it to work and leave it on the desk.   

Update:  01/08/13

My wife bought me what I always wanted to jazz up the cubicle.  And no, you can not borrow it..