Friday, May 28, 2010

In Memorium

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What happes in Vegas, stays in Vegas... or does it?

Back in February, Obama said the following:
Responsible families don't do their budgets the way the federal government does. Right? When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. It's time your government did the same.


Monday, May 24, 2010

What happens when you get in too big of a hurry?

You make mistakes. And apparently Congress was in one heluva hurry... Not only did they eliminate their own insurance prematurely, they also forgot to write in a severability clause. For those who are not familiar with the law, a severability clause allows the remainder of a contract or law to remain valid and in force if for some reason one part of the contract or law was found to be invalid. And since there are several parts of the health care law that may well be found to be unconstitutional (the use of the commerce clause as the vehicle to make you buy health insurance chief among them.), without such a clause, it is all or nothing. If any of it is struck down, it all goes down in flames.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Klein ISD penny wise and pound foolish.

During Klein ISD's surrogate campaign to pass the bond election two years ago, one of the things that was promised was the replacement of physical textbooks with a laptop computer that would be issued to all high school (and eventually junior high) students district wide. It was to have been implemented on a school by school basis over a couple years. But like most political promises, this one too is impacting face first with fiscal reality. Each of these specially designed ruggedized laptops (which are heavy as hell due to the structural reinforcement) would have cost over $2000 each, and require a $200 yearly insurance premium from each parent. But just like the promise to completely bulldoze KHS and rebuild it from the ground up instead of either upgrading it or converting it to another purpose, this promise is being broken because the district simply does not have the tax revenue coming in to pay for it. Klein ISD has come up with an alternative plan that would supply every high school student with an iPad instead. But there are still several problems with that plan.
First off, it has a 10 inch touch screen and no physical keyboard, so you cannot touch type on it. Secondly, even the most powerful iPads only have 64gb of flash memory.
Third, the current iteration of the iPad OS does not allow multitasking for most applications.
Fourth it is an Apple product which means it costs an arm and a leg for the hardware which is incompatible with everything except Apple hardware and software.
Fifth, there are numerous reports that the WiFi versions have a hardware flaw in which the network adapter cannot reliably connect to WiFi networks due to antenna shielding issues in the case and there is no external antenna connection as a workaround. Apple is attempting to solve the issue with a software update. Presumably by increasing the radio output power and increasing the gain (and thereby lowering the S/N margin) on the receiver, but this is likely to be a lackluster fix at best, causing heating issues and causing the battery to die much quicker and network connectivity to suffer due to the lower S/N ratio of the receiver. This is frankly a crippling design flaw of Apple's vaunted design studio and really needs a hardware redesign to fix.

The most powerful WiFi-only 64 Gb iPad sells for $699, the least powerful 16Gb one sells for $499, with a midrange 32Gb one selling for $599.
Now I'm sure Apple is offering an educational discount but given the hardware costs alone, it can't be a whole lot.

While that is a far cry from the $2000 that they had planned to spend, it is still a buttload of money for what is essentially a crippled netbook. A cursory check of Fry's website under 10" screen size netbooks comes up with several that are under $300, have far more storage (most have 250Gb Hard drives and 1Gb of real memory that is expandable to 2Gb, which is not the case for iPads), will run most PC software as well which is FAR more available than iPad apps. And they all have real (if small) keyboards as well. Oh, and the iPad won't run any of the district's required software either....

So your average low end netbook has more than quadruple the storage of the highest end iPad, has a real keyboard, has expandable memory, and costs less than half what the iPad does.

So explain to me why they are even considering the Apple product again?

And of course there is still that little thing called privacy that they need to sort out....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yet another terrorist that Obama freed

Meet Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani: Terrorist. He has killed over 166 people since Obama freed him in 2009. The World Cup Soccer Match in South Africa next month is expected to attract 400,000 foreign nationals to South Africa. This was his planned target. He was arrested two weeks ago and has confessed to planning a coordinated attack on the World Cup. This is the second terrorist THAT WE KNOW ABOUT, that Obama has allowed to slip through our fingers.

Is that buyer's remorse kicking in yet?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Is it time for the tyranny of the "Company Man" to come to a close?

It is becoming apparent that in the Deepwater Horizon disaster that a number of decisions made by BP's representative on the rig, the so called "Company man" were irresponsible and may have lead to the disaster. Decisions about continuing operations after an accidental movement of the casing while the BOP pipe rams were closed, causing damage to the sealing elements in the BOP and decisions about opening the rams and replacing the heavy mud with seawater when pressure tests indicated that there was pressure on the wellhead side of the BOP when there should not have been any are just two of them.

Now, deepwater offshore operations are extremely costly, and the Company Man is obligated to keep the schedule (or beat it) and this job was already overdue. But he should not be allowed to risk the ship or the crew (or the entire offshore oil industry as well as the fishing industry) in doing so. Currently the command structure is such that nobody on the rig can countermand the "Company man" and not expect to be summarily dismissed. I would suggest that there should be some way in which the Driller, or one of the other managers on the rig should be able to call a halt to operations and bring people from MMS and representatives of the companies to the virtual table (remember this is a costly endeavor so a conference call/video conferencing should probably be the mechanism used.) to discuss the commands of the Company man in situations where safety may be compromised without being in fear of losing their jobs.

Comments? Thoughts?

Further thoughts:

My thinking is that instead of having a single person in charge, you need a committee, and a small one at that so things don't get bogged down. 3 or 4 people at most. The Captain or the first officer depending on the watch, the Driller or his appointee for the specific watch, and the company man or his appointee, and a representative from the MMS. With representatives from the various contractors in a non-voting advisory capacity. Meetings should be held at least once per watch/shift and recorded and copied to the bosses onshore. And those four people should be joined at the hip even when the meeting is not in session. In that manner, all of the major constituencies get a say in the operations and the owner of the rig has the most say since he has two representatives on the committee. I'm not sure how a tie should be broken, I need to think about that a bit more, perhaps in the event of a tie the non-voting advisers should get a collective vote as a tie breaker. That way you don't have one person shoving things down everyone's throat and anyone who is risking the safety of the rig must do it in front of everyone, including his boss.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Obama removed Times Square Bomber from Terrorist watch list

Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit is reporting that Faisal Shahzad had had contact with the Mumbi Massacre mastermind and radical American-born Muslim cleric Anwar Awlaki and was removed from the DHS Terror watch list some time after Obama took office.
ABC reported:

Shahzad also had a web of jihadist contacts that included big names tied to terror attacks in the U.S. and abroad, including the figure who has emerged as a central figure in many recent domestic terror attempts – radical American-born Muslim cleric Anwar Awlaki.

Besides Awlaki, sources say Shahzad was also linked to a key figure in the Pakistani Taliban, its Emir Beitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a drone missile strike in 2009. The Mehsuds had been family friends of Shahzad, who is the son of a former high-ranking Pakistani military officer.

A darn good idea

A couple gentlemen have come up with a dead simple and CHEAP way to clean up oil spills.


Yes, you read that right, hay, like you feed cattle and horses. It does a darn good job of glomming onto floating oil and making it easier to collect it and clean it up. See for yourself:

Monday, May 03, 2010

What does banking regulation and dietary supplement regulation have in common?

Henry Waxman. That is what. Seems he has a bur under his saddle about dietary supplements so he has inserted language into the banking bill that requires the FTC to order conventional human drug trials for every dietary supplement on the market.

What does that have to do with banking?

Not a damned thing!

Oh, and guess what other little "easter eggs" have been inserted! Internet sales regulation as well, because apparently buying books from Amazon is a threat to the economy of the nation too...

Oh yeah, this is definitely the most open and transparent administration ever....NOT!