Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I'm not sure if you can count the following items as wisdom, but they come from my observations of life. Read, relish and reflect on them if you wish.

Knowing how to operate the controls doesn't mean you know how to run the machine.
You might know how to start the car, shift the gears and press the brake pedal, but if you try to shift into first or drive before you put the key in the ignition, you're not likely going anywhere.
A larger application of this is that you can have good basic life skills such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc., but you could still make bad decisions about which job to take, using drugs, or continuing a bad relationship.

It isn't what you have that counts, it's what you do with it.
I have 2 stories that go with this one.
First, when I was young, my family liked to play a game called Moon. It is similar to Spades, but you play it with dominoes. When 4 people play, they usually play as 2 teams of partners. One time, my oldest brother and I were playing a 3-way game with my best friend, and he started to gloat over his success. Well, my brother and I "teamed up" to keep him from winning any more.
Later, when I was working at an auto parts warehouse, some of my co-workers liked to play regular dominoes in the breakroom during lunch. One time this one guy looked at what his hand and made a sound to express his disgust at not drawing anything he thought was useful. That's when I remebered the earlier incident and said, "It ain't whatcha got that counts, it's what you do with it!" I decided to polish up the language a bit for here.

Numbers don't lie, but they don't tell the whole story either.
I could have said that "Numbers don't lie, but people do," but that applies mostly to statisitics.
What I'm really talking about is how math is sometimes limited in its applications. For example, if a toddler sees 2 balls in her yard, one green and one blue, and if she picks up one and throws it, the laws of physics expressed as equations will tell how far the ball will go if we know how much force she applied to it. What math can not tell us is if she will pick up the green one or the blue one, which direction she will throw it, or if she will even pick one up to beign with.
If you need further proof of this, Google or search YouTube for "Abbot Costello math" and watch some of the videos.

The best way to keep up is to stay ahead.
I'm not necessarily talking about competition. This applies to business and technology. These fields change so much and they affect each other so much, you need to be aware of and ready to adapt to the changes. AutoCAD is 25 years old now, and the latest release (AutoCAD 2008) barely resembles the original. The 3D capabilities introduced in ACAD 2007 resemble the work environment of the higher-end 3D products. Those higher-end products are changing the way some companies work because they can create models of large complex assemblies, make changes to the assemblies or parts as needed, visualize everything, use the model data to produce the parts or prototypes, and also use the model data to generate bills of materials or other information for accounting or sales purposes.

Read the sky, taste the wind, find the the lightning!
This is my signature on, a discussion board for stormchasers, and it's similar to the Numbers saying. Many stormchasers will do their own forecasting so they don't spend a lot of time, money, and effort on a busted chase. The numbers in the forecast model can give an indication of what could happen and where it could happen, but to actually find the storm, you have to get out there and use all your senses, maybe even use some intuition. Even when this approach works, don't forget safety and common sense.

Most rules can be summed up in two words: Play Nice!
I think this one is self-expanatory. If there's anything to add, it would be that this statement is not an endorsement of pollitical correctness, something I regard as oxymoronic and a poor substitute for the Golden Rule.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Illegal Immigration - I finally get political

I skirted around politcs in my posts on Global Warming, but this time I get political. The following opinion is my own viewpoint, and even though it may resemble or coincide with the views of others, I am not merely echoing what someone else has said.

For most people, school is where they learn the basic rules of society. I'm not talking about laws or morals, but the practical guidelines that keeps society more or less functioning normally.

One of those rules is: Don't cut in line. Those that cut in line, unless they have a good reason, or are given special premission, are acting unfairly. Everyone needs to wait their turn.

Illlegal immargants, no matter which country they come from, Guatamala, Mexico, or China, are cutting in line. They are unfair to all the legal immigrants who have waited for their turn to enter the United States. They are even more unfair to those still waiting.

Yet, these illegals have the nerve to protest laws against open borders, hiring of illegals, etc., and they claim these laws are unfair! It seems to me they want us to just accept them with open arms and let them have their way with our country.

Maybe our immigration policy and procedures do need a good review to loosen things up a bit. But a whole scale amnesty is out of the question. We need stricter enforcement of current laws and more security of our borders - FIRST! Then we can talk amnesty.

Even then, the only amnesty I would support is for those who wish to become citizens. I would also have a limited enrollment period and enrollment happens only at designated processing centers. The processing centers would be given 3 months to prepare for the enrollment period. The centers would be open for limited time, where the illegals come in, give their information, and receive a card that gives them permission to stay. The cards will be only temporary. After the initial intake period, the immigrants would come back and receive a card that is good for one year. During that one year they have to start a citizenship course. Those caught with an expired card will be arrested and deported. Those without any amnesty card will be arrested and deported. If someone has an amnesty card and they are found guilty of a felony or major misdemeanor, they will be kicked out of the amnesty system.

I know this sounds like a new bureaucracy, but I would also give the entire program a limited lifespan of no more than 5 years without a chance of renewal. At the end of the enrollment period enforcement of immigration laws would be stepped up.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More on Global Warming

I have been thinking more about Global Warming.

I am not a highly educated, trained, or experienced meteorologist or climatologist. That might work to my advantage because I have to stick to the basics in my understanding of scientific issues.

One of the basics of physics is the Conservation of Matter. Matter can be neither created or destroyed, but it can experience a change of phase such as when ice melts into water. The mass of the matter undergoing the phase change remains the same, but the volume (amount of space taken up by the mass) usually does change.

Much of the GW debate nowdays focuses on the amount of carbon dioxide added to the air by human acitvity. In my previous post on GW, I brought up the question of whether or not we are changing the compostion of the atmosphere. This time I wonder if the GW scientists have considered the role of Conservation of Matter.

Let's say the atmosphere has a mass of x, and the amount to carbon dioxide added to the air is y. That means the mass of the atmosphere is now x + y. The mass of the atmosphere has increased. My question then is, are the GW studies based on the the assumption that the CO2 content of the atmosphere = y / x, or y / x + y ?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I finally got started!

I wrote a story treatment a couple of months ago, and I finally got started on writing it today. The story is a cross between a spaghetti western and science fiction. I'm not going to give away many details, but I'll share a few nuggets.

The story mostly takes place in an area called The Corridor, a strip of planets that do not belong to any kind of an alliance and most are lawless like the Old West, at least the West depicted in spaghetti westerns.

I am a big fan of the Clint Eastwood westerns, and the hero of my story does borrow from The Man With No Name. My guy is refered to by only one name.

The principle outlaw is a crude and ruthless cretin. But the hero counters this crudeness with shrewdness. It also helps that he's handy with guns.

The planet where the most of the action takes place is partly tamed, and partly wild. The authorities have a law that as long as you don't break their laws while you're on their planet, they'll leave you alone. So, some outlaws hide out there. Some that want to leave the outlaw life will go there to live a normal life. Because of this law, it is often called Sanctuary. So, far the working ttile for this story is Sanctuary.

I've written most of the opening portion that introduces the hero and his motivation for becoming a bounty hunter and why he targeted the outlaw he goes after.