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I Hope This Isn’t the End July 10, 2011

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Uncategorized.
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The space shuttle Atlantis launched Friday. It’s the last shuttle mission that will ever be launched. Assurances are coming from many quarters that we shouldn’ t worry, it doesn’t mean the end of American space exploration, manned or unmanned. But those in our government whose vision is limited to the day to day and mundane are already looking at NASA projects to cancel. Others say that they look forward to what the private sector will do. Well, the private sector isn’t going to be making the kind of investments in pure research and exploration that are still needed. They are currently focused solely on what will return on their investment in the relatively near future. While their hearts may be in the right place in terms of their hopes that their businesses will lead to further explorations of space I just don’t see how it will happen if the types of payloads that only NASA has been willing to underwrite vanish into the maw of unreasoning budget cutting. I’m just not optimistic on this issue and that saddens me tremendously.

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Way Too Long Away July 10, 2011

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Uncategorized.
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Wow. It’s been over a year since I wrote something here. Well, I certainly still hope to create a blog hosted somewhere else but felt I had to come back and start posting regularly.

What do the BP oil gusher, bad cyber security and bad customer service have in common? May 27, 2010

Posted by Jim Satterfield in bad news, Business & Society, Environment, The Internet, Uncategorized.
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A certain mindset in most of American business, that’s what. Basically what it comes down to is a categorization of people, departments and activities as either contributing directly to the bottom line or not directly contributing. And if you don’t contribute directly then you are second class in the company at best. This leads to a strong drive to cut costs when it comes to second class activities and people. Computer security falls into this class of lesser being, unlike production programmers or the people who keep the network running. People in charge of trying to meet safety regulations are also lesser beings in the socio-economic hierarchy of businesses. Customer service is definitely viewed purely as a cost center that’s pretty worthless when it comes to actually generating income.

Then comes the breach of computer security. Then an oil well or drilling rig blows out, killing people and causing an environmental disaster. Then a well known blogger or someone else in the public eye starts griping about how bad your customer service has become and how angry it makes him. Then his readers chime in and link after link is made to his rant, making it a wide spread PR nightmare that even makes it into the mainstream media.

Let the finger pointing begin and all too rarely does anyone recognize that the core problem is a lack of understanding on the part of many executives that their business, like everything else in our complex world, has an infrastructure that it depends upon and that it isn’t just the stuff on the surface that is meaningful.

It’s Good to Finish the Article April 18, 2010

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Uncategorized.
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A new NYT/CBS poll of the Tea Party movement is getting this phrase printed in a lot of places:

In the results of the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, they are better educated and wealthier than the general public.

This sentence has caused a lot of people to leap to the defense of the Tea Party activists since the defenders know that this is not how “liberals” and “the mainstream media” have described them. Their defenders also really try to portray them as non-ideologues who are not dominated by one political party. But…it’s always good to dig and see what the basic article isn’t telling you about a poll. So here is a link to the actual poll results. Over and over again the answers from the Tea Party respondents are far more conservative and Republican than the general public. They overwhelmingly have positive opinions of Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and other people from the right. 75% of them think that President Obama doesn’t share the values that most Americans live by.  This compares to 37% of the general public. Does any of this sound like the typical Americans that some are portraying the Tea Party as? I certainly don’t think so.

Coming out of “retirement”, slowly but surely March 7, 2010

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Uncategorized.
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I’ve let this blog languish for over a year now, in part because I just had so much other stuff happening and also because I was reconsidering what I wanted this blog to be, including the title. While I still will be commenting on politics, economics and related subjects I’m interested in posting more about science fiction, tech, science and pretty much whatever strikes my fancy. Whether “It’s the 21st Century, Stupid!” is an appropriate title I still haven’t decided on. I’m also planning on switching from WordPress free hosting to hosting on another service and possibly playing with designing my own unique appearance.

Silly Thing for a Court to Be Deciding February 17, 2008

Posted by Jim Satterfield in The Courts, Uncategorized.
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You’ll notice that Dispatches from the Culture Wars is on my small blog roll. How can you not love someone who starts out this article on a Circuit Court decision like Ed Brayton starts this one?

Merry Christmas December 25, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Uncategorized.
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It’s Christmas morning. Family arrived last night. Toddlers and children wander around, waiting for Grandma to finish preparation for the Christmas dinner ham and slip it into the oven and for their aunt, uncle and cousins that live in town to get over here so presents can be open. I did cleanup work for her all day yesterday so I get to sit here reading news and blogs and drink some coffee as I wait (Now that I’ve pulled the turkey out of the oven for her, that is.) for the chaos of opening presents with little ones to begin. Not a bad morning.

Lies, damned lies and economic statistics September 30, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Uncategorized.
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Angry Bear and The Big Picture both post about this Bloomberg article. Basically it calls the government on using questionable methods when coming up with the CPI. The numbers don’t even come close to accurately accounting for some of the biggest costs of living for the average American. It doesn’t reflect medical costs or housing costs realistically at all.

Compare and Contrast August 5, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Does Not Compute, Politics, The War in Iraq, Uncategorized.
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I don’t think I really need to say a whole lot about this one. Just read this article from Newsweek entitled “Surge of Suicide Bombers” and then follow it with the one from the New York Times entitled “Top G.O.P. Candidates See Signs of Progress in Iraq”. I just have to say I wonder about some people’s ideas of progress and their definition of victory.

Oil Industry Venality on Display August 5, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Business & Society, Economics, Government, Politics, Uncategorized.
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Also in this morning’s Star was an op-ed on oil company hypocrisy concerning their refusal to install equipment to handle the hot fuel issue. For those who might not be aware of this, it is a simple fact of physics/chemistry that when liquids or gases are heated they take up more volume. this applies to pretty much everything much less volatile liquids like gasoline. So when you buy gasoline on a day like today around here, when it’s going to reach 96°F and it’s been that warm for days, you are in reality getting less actual fuel for your vehicle than the pumps are measuring out since it measures by volume. The oil companies scream loudly about the idea of replacing pumps with ones that can adjust to account for this fact. They say that it would cost too much. Customers aren’t really being hurt by it. The litany is long.

A commenter on the article said that he just doesn’t see where there is any hypocrisy involved. Apparently he missed the very telling part about oil company operations in Canada. There they do not complain about pumps that adjust for temperature at all. In Canada, where the temperature differential has to do with “cold” fuel instead of “hot” fuel the pumps work in their financial favor instead of hurting their customers. Hypocritical, indeed.