Total Lunar Eclipse January 31…Western United States

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The last day of January will start with the second Full Moon of the month (a.k.a.:  a Blue Moon.) It will then transform into a total lunar eclipse. Asia, the Pacific, and western North America will be able to watch the Earth’s shadow move across the Moon.

However, there’s a catch. It is an early morning eclipse in western North America and it will happen just before the Moon sets in the west. Locations with mountains to the west may see the Moon set before the total lunar eclipse ends.

In some places, the rising Sun will be brightening the eastern sky as the totality ends. The Sun will be rising on Earth as the Earth’s shadow moves off of the Moon. The Earth’s Shadow is almost four Moon diameters wide, but for most U.S. cities it will pass through the southwest quadrant of the shadow. Totality will last just over an hour.

Location of Moon in Earth’s shadow at Maximum Eclipse for Reno, NV

Eclipse When?

The times for the eclipse for several western U.S. cities:

       City            TOTALITY    Begins         Maximum           Ends         Moonset

Denver, CO (MST)                  5:51 am           6:29 am            7:07 am        7:10 am

Salt Lake City, UT (MST)   5:51 am           6:29 am            7:07 am        7:41 am

Phoenix, AZ (MST)               5:51 am           6:29 am             7:07 am        7:27 am

Reno, NV (PST)                      4:51 am           5:29 am             6:07 am        7:11 am

Los Angeles, CA (PST)       4:51 am           5:29 am            6:07 am        6:54 am

San Francisco, CA (PST)  4:52 am           5:30 am           6:08 am        7:20 am

Portland, OR (PST)             4:51 am           5:29 am            6:07 am        7:37 am

Seattle, WA (PST)                 4:51 am           5:29 am            6:07 am        7:41 am

 

NASA’s Orion Capsule: A ‘Look Busy’ Project?

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NASA has a publicity campaign for the next generation of spacecraft. It is the Orion capsule, and it is touted as the spaceship that will take us back to the Moon and beyond. The problem is that all the talk doesn’t match reality.

8 July 2011, STS-135 – The final launch of a USA spacecraft

On 8 July 2011, I stood several miles away from Kennedy Space Center and watched the end of the United States manned spacecraft program. I stood in the warm sunshine of Florida as the last Space Shuttle (STS-135) soared into the sky. Since then NASA has put our astronauts in space by paying Russia to take them to and from the International Space Station (ISS.) 

A few months before that last Space Shuttle flight NASA announced the development of a new spacecraft called Orion. The announcement came so abruptly that it seemed that NASA was unaware it wouldn’t have a spacecraft until just before the end of the Space Shuttle program.

Orion – A Spacecraft of Contradictions

The Orion program, for all its hype, seems to have major flaws that NASA doesn’t seem to notice, or perhaps, hopes the public won’t notice. NASA’s description of the purpose of Orion:

For the first time in a generation, NASA is building a human spacecraft for deep-space missions that will usher in a new era of space exploration…and this new spacecraft will take us farther than we’ve gone before, including to the vicinity of the Moon and Mars…the Orion spacecraft is designed to meet the evolving needs of our nation’s deep space exploration program for decades to come. Orion deep space exploration missions…will help put NASA and America in a position to unlock the mysteries of space and to ensure this nation’s world preeminence in exploring the cosmos.

Orion a USA Spacecraft????

Lockheed Martin Corporation is designing and building the capsule of Orion. Like the Apollo capsule, Orion can only be separated from the Service Module for a short period of time.

The Service Module is the business section of Orion. It supplies all the power, fuel, oxygen, and is the primary propulsion of the spacecraft. Anyone familiar with Apollo 13 knows what happens to the capsule when the Service Module is non-functioning. The Service Module is being built by Airbus, a French corporation, for the European Space Agency.

Orion Capsule: A Human Storage Shed in Space

In Space, Size Matters

The Apollo capsule had a volume of 5.9 m³ (210 ft³.) Apollo astronauts were able to use the 6.7 m³ (235 ft³) space in the Lunar Module (LEM) during the three day trip between Earth and Moon. The total volume of the Apollo capsule and LEM was 12.6 m³ (445 ft³) for three astronauts. On the return, the Apollo astronauts were restricted to the capsule. Each astronaut had about 2 m³ in the capsule or 4 m³ in the capsule/LEM configuration.

Orion has 8.95 m3 (316 cu ft) of habitable space for four astronauts. This is slightly more than the Apollo capsule and much less than Apollo’s capsule/LEM configuration. The idea that Orion is capable of taking four astronauts on an eight-month journey to Mars is absurd. Orion is only for use in short-term, near-Earth missions.

NASA has briefly acknowledged the space issue in a video. Amber Gell of Lockheed Martin briefly touches on the need for an add-on crew habitat. She implies that it is an issue that NASA has yet to address. If it takes NASA twelve years to design and build a slightly bigger version of the 1960’s Apollo spacecraft, how long will it take them to build a crew quarters that four people can live in for up to three years?

NASA’s Misleading Video about Orion

NASA has been pumping out videos of engineers explaining how Orion is the next great achievement of the space agency. The videos cover a variety of subjects and some are pre-test and post-test news releases of Orion’s systems and structure. One video features Kelly Smith, a NASA Engineer, who explains how Orion is being designed to deal with the radiation from the Van Allen Belts around Earth.

The 2014 NASA video, titled, “Orion: Trial By Fire,” describes the challenges of the first test flight, including a dramatic description of the dangers of flying through the radiation of the Van Allen Belts above Earth. He explains that Orion will be designed to protect the astronauts as they fly through these dangerous regions.

The problem is that NASA already solved that problem with Apollo. They either fly around the Van Allen Belts, or through the thinner sections, as described by a video by Amy Shira Teitel of Vintage Space, and a video by Paul Shillito of Curious Droid.

There is a radiation issue in space, namely cosmic radiation, and it is a problem on long trips beyond Earth orbit; however, as Lara Kearney of NASA’s Orion Crew and Service Module’s Office explains in another NASA video, that they don’t have the answer to the cosmic radiation problem. This video contradicts the enthusiastic Smith video and raises the question:  Does NASA know what they are doing?

Orion:  The NASA Glacial-Paced Project

In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy asked Congress to fund a space program to take to the Moon and safely back. From the time of his speech in 1961 to the end of 1972, NASA launched the five of the six manned Mercury missions, designed, tested, built, and launched 10 Gemini manned missions, designed, tested, built, and launched 11 Apollo manned missions, landed men on the Moon, and overcame a disaster that delayed the manned launches for 21 months. Eleven years, three complete rocket programs, 27 manned missions, six successful Moon landings, no prior experience.

Orion, a slightly larger version of the Apollo capsule, only useful for short-term habitation in near-Earth orbit, is taking twelve years. Something is amiss.

NASA’s ‘Look Busy’ Project?

NASA definitely needs more funding, but something else is wrong. NASA’s Orion project doesn’t make any sense unless they are attempting to create the appearance that they are moving forward with a manned space program. The Orion project is, at best, an Earth to orbit elevator. It can’t meet any of the stated manned spaceflight goals of NASA. The question is, why isn’t NASA aware of these issues, and if they are aware, what is the agenda that is causing them to promote a project that is meaningless to the stated goals of deep space flight?

Government Shutdown An Opportunity

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DACA protesters in San Francisco 5 September 2017

Time for Democrats to take a stand

A government shutdown is a bad thing. It creates a lot of problems and it affects a lot of people. Typically, one political party is blamed, and that creates a risk of losing elections.

But this is a different moment in time. People are tired of being mowed over by the Republican party. People are tired of the Democrats always giving up concessions only to have the Republican take more away later. It’s time for Democrats to take a stand and not flinch.

Provisions To Avoid a Government Shutdown

Democrats can’t take the stand for just one issue. It has to be for several core issues and they cannot negotiate away any of the issues. Democrats should demand the following Provisions:

  1. All DACA recipients will be given a 20-year deferral and shall have preferred status in obtaining citizenship provided they are employed, a full-time student, are not convicted of a felony and pay all taxes as required.
  2. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be restricted from taking any action on any immigrant unless the person has committed a felony. All immigrants in custody that have not committed a felony will be released.
  3. Net Neutrality must be restored.
  4. All measures passed by the House or Senate must achieve a two-thirds majority for the remainder of the 115th Congress, and for the 116th Congress if Republicans maintain a majority in the House or Senate.
  5. The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act is repealed except for those tax cuts for those earning under $250,000.
  6. All Trump appointees must be removed from office and all acts by those appointees are to be rescinded. All new appointees must be meet Provision 4, above.
  7. President Donald Trump will not be allowed to make any Executive Orders for the remainder of his term, and all of his previous Executive Orders by President Donald Trump are rescinded.
  8. All funding for a wall between Mexico and the United States will be void, with the exception of sections of the border that both Mexico and the United States agree upon.
  9. President Donald Trump will not be allowed to have a Twitter account.
  10. President Donald Trump must pay for all services and costs when not staying in the White House or other government-owned facilities.

Shutdown Better Than Alternative?

These ten provisions may seem harsh. The alternative may be mass work stoppages, strikes, and protests, which is what will likely happen if the Democrats fail to stop the Republicans from destroying our country.

Should the Nuremberg Code Be Applied to Internet Data Collection?

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From the war crimes trials of World War II came a set of rules of human research

Privacy and dignity of the customer or user is not a big concern to business in the post-Internet world. Before a person can use software or a smartphone application (app) they are typically required to consent to an extensive agreement that only a lawyer could understand. Businesses may skip a signed agreement and collect personal information on the customer or user regardless of whether the person knows or consents to the data collection.

This type of collection of data on personal activity is often bought and sold for profit. It raises the question of why the business world is exempt from research restrictions that are applied to all other research involving humans. The possession of personal data also presents the opportunity for abuse of less ethical companies and by political and criminal organizations.

Post-WWII Guidelines For Human Experimentation

Prior to World War II, Germany established a set of standards required in human research. When Hitler came to power he wiped these standards away and Nazi researchers were allowed to experiment as they saw fit.

After World War II trials were held in Nuremberg (or Nürnberg,) Germany to bring justice for the crimes against humanity by Nazi war criminals. Among the crimes were medical experiments performed on prisoners without their knowledge or consent. Many people were harmed and some died as a result of these experiments.

The judges of the trials, moved to action by the testimony, created a set of rules called the Nuremberg Code, to define appropriate research from harmful research. This Code is not law; however, it can be used to determine a legal standard when a researcher violates any of the ten rules of the code. Human research in most civilized nations is governed by the Nuremberg Code.

However, the Nuremberg Code has always been applied to medical and scientific research, not to business situations. In 1947, the idea that business would be invading the privacy of their customers and collecting data on human interactions wasn’t a reality that anyone could envision. 

The Codes Governing Human Research

In 1972 a 40-year study of African American men in Alabama, known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experimentwas uncovered. The study was performed by the U.S. Health service and they did not follow the Nuremberg Code. They did not inform the participants that they were part of a syphilis experiment, nor did they tell the patients they were infected with syphilis, and after an effective treatment for syphilis was discovered, they continued to leave the men untreated.

After this incident, a conference was held to establish guidelines for all federal research. That conference created the Belmont Report that established three guidelines:

  1. Respect for persons: protecting the autonomy of all people and treating them with courtesy and respect and allowing for informed consent. Researchers must be truthful and conduct no deception;
  2. Beneficence: The philosophy of “Do no harm” while maximizing benefits for the research project and minimizing risks to the research subjects; and
  3. Justice: ensuring reasonable, non-exploitative, and well-considered procedures are administered fairly — the fair distribution of costs and benefits to potential research participants — and equally.

If a college professor is studying the interaction among college students they cannot collect data on their students without their knowledge, nor can they try different stimulus on their students without their knowledge. All research, even social research, requires oversight by a research committee. Strict guidelines restrict all the aspects of the data collection, and how it is used. This applies to all federal research and all organizations receiving federal subsidies.

Once again, the rules for human research established by the Belmont Report occurred before the Internet was being used by businesses to collect data on consumers.

Business Data Collection 2018 

It is common in business, and especially on the Internet, for companies to collect data about their customers or users. The problem is that some of the data has nothing to do with the company or application being used. The organization collects this data to sell to other companies for any use they see fit.

There is a start-up company near Seattle that created a phone app for people to buy and sell personal items. All a person has to do is take a picture of the item they want to sell, post it on the app, set a price, and wait for other users to contact them. It’s a garage sale on a smartphone.

The company received millions of dollars in venture capital, not because the app was expected to make money. The app is free and there is no fee collected on any user transaction. The investors were interested in the data that the app would collect to be sold to other companies.

This is the gold mine of the business world. Save money in advertising by only reaching the people who might need, want, or qualify for the product or service.

Violations of the Nuremberg Code in Business

Under the Nuremberg Code, every business would be required to clearly inform the customer of the data collected, what the data would be used for, and obtain her or his voluntary consent prior to collecting data. The use of the data would have to aim for positive results for society, not just for the financial benefit of the company. The business would also have to prove that it couldn’t be collected in another method.

Data collected would have to be proportion to the humanitarian benefits. It would have to be done by people that understand and are qualified to do the research.

Clearly, the restrictions of the Nuremberg Code are not being followed by most businesses collecting data on their customers. This collection and selling of personal data is so insidious that most people will never know what data is being collected, nor how it is being used to manipulate them. 

At this point, there is no oversight of the data being collected. It is an issue that lurks in the background of the business-as-usual environment. It is a practice, like the Tuskeegee Syphilis Experiment, will likely be misused, if it hasn’t been already.

The Nuremberg Code

  1. Required is the voluntary, well-informed, understanding consent of the human subject in a full legal capacity.
  2. The experiment should aim at positive results for society that cannot be procured in some other way.
  3. It should be based on previous knowledge (e.g., an expectation derived from animal experiments) that justifies the experiment.
  4. The experiment should be set up in a way that avoids unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injuries.
  5. It should not be conducted when there is any reason to believe that it implies a risk of death or disabling injury.
  6. The risks of the experiment should be in proportion to (that is, not exceed) the expected humanitarian benefits.
  7. Preparations and facilities must be provided that adequately protect the subjects against the experiment’s risks.
  8. The staff who conduct or take part in the experiment must be fully trained and scientifically qualified.
  9. The human subjects must be free to immediately quit the experiment at any point when they feel physically or mentally unable to go on.
  10. Likewise, the medical staff must stop the experiment at any point when they observe that continuation would be dangerous.

Why Trumpsters Don’t Understand Anti-Trump Reactions

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Trump is the manifestation of what Trumpsters think

Trumpsters are mystified. Why doesn’t everyone love Donald Trump? Recent questions on Quora are typical of Trumpsters.

Why don’t liberals treat Trump with honor?

Question added by Anonymous

And…

Why are some liberals so condescending toward Trump supporters? Do they really feel they are superior?

Question added by Anonymous

Donald Trump is adored by Trumpsters. It doesn’t matter what he says or does, they adore him. What seems to befuddle them is why everyone else doesn’t see his greatness. They don’t understand why people say such negative things about him. They don’t understand why people say negative things about Trumpsters.

It’s simple. Trump is a horrible person and Trumpsters are horrible people. Trumpsters seem to recognize that it is not proper to publicly say the things they think about women, immigrants, other countries, etc., but when Donald Trump says it, he gets away with it. To a Trumpster, Donald Trump is a god. 

Trumps says,

Why do we have to take in people from these shithole countries?

It’s what Trumpsters are asking.

Trump is the person who acts on a Trumpster’s thoughts. Trumpsters believe that only white countries are good, all the rest are bad. They don’t see it as being racist, because, in their mind, it is the natural order of the universe. Trumpsters operate under the concept that ‘if it is not white, it is not right.’

Trumps Tweets,

Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed.

It’s what Trumpsters believe.

Trumpsters believe that almost all the problems in the world are because the world is not all white. They believe that the United States of America is a white country and non-whites are trespassing on their property.

This what Trumpsters think, but they don’t say it in public unless it is anonymous. Trumpsters know that their thoughts are offensive to a decent human society so they try to hide behind a mask, but Trump makes them feel good about their inhuman thoughts. 

Trump is the symptom. Trumpsters are the horrible people who put a horrible person in power to do what is wrong. Trump is the manifestation of what exists in their heart.

Why You Won’t See A Tax Cut

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Republicans are happy about the tax cut for the wealthy, oh, and the small temporary tax cut for the middle class

The Republican slant on the Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed last month is that it is primarily a temporary tax cut for the middle class. The problem is that the temporary tax cut is minor and few families will actually notice any change. The temporary tax cut will be given in small increments on the paycheck, not a lump sum at the end of the year.

By The Numbers

So how much can a person expect to see their paycheck increase? Here are examples of the average temporary tax cuts those earning between $25,000 and $75,000 per year, paid every two weeks (NOTE: Total Tax Cut/paycheck is for each wage earner in a married family):  

(Source:  NYTimes Tax Cut Calculator)

Situation    Dependents   Ave. Tax Cut    Tax Cut/paycheck

Married                    2                     $1,420                     $27.31 ($54.62 total)

Married                    1                       $  970                      $18.65  ($37.31 total)

Single                        2                      $1,290                     $49.62

Single                        1                      $1,000                     $38.46

If you live in the   states (California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C.,) the tax cut is less:

Situation    Dependents   Ave. Tax Cut    Tax Cut/paycheck

Married                  2                       $  470                     $  9.04 ($18.08 total)

Married                  1                       $  370                     $  7.12 ($14.23 total)

Two to three trips to Starbucks every week* will wipe out the tax cut for most of the middle class.

Inflation Will Swallow At Least Half

Inflation is forecast to be at 2.3 percent for 2018. That means that for every $100 spent on groceries, gas, clothing, etc., the consumer will pay $2.30 more in 2018. If a person spends $30,000, the cost of living will increase by $690. That will wipe out almost half of the temporary tax cut for most of the middle class.

In the end, the only citizens that will notice a tax cut are major corporations and the wealthy. The middle-class citizen will mostly notice what they can no longer use as exemptions.

(*Assuming one $5.00 drink per visit x 6 times per paycheck)

What will the wealthy get back?

A family making over $750,000 could pay a middie class worker’s annual salary with their tax cut.

Situation    Dependents   Ave. Tax Cut    Tax Cut/paycheck

Married                   2                   $39,360                   $ 756.92  ($1,513.85 total)

Married                   1                   $34,050                   $ 654.81  ($1,309.62 total)

Panamá’s Caribbean Afterthought

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The Spanish cannons of Fort San Lorenzo on Panamá’s Caribbean coast lie out in the open, unprotected

The Carribean coast of Panamá has played a significant role in world economic development; however, today it is an afterthought for most of the world. It is isolated and relatively undeveloped. All that may be about to change.

Panamá’s Carribean  History 

Panamá has been the center of Transocean trade routes for centuries. Before there was a canal across Panamá connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic, there was a railroad. Before there was a railroad, there was a mule trail. Crossing the fifty kilometers of Panamá has been a much better alternative than the thousands of kilometers around South America by ship.

columbus-journeys-to-the-americas

It wasn’t until Christopher Columbus’ 4th and final expedition that he landed in what would be Panamá

Christopher Columbus reached Panamá on 16 October 1502, and he was told of a path to another ocean, but it was not until 1513 when Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed Panamá by land that a link to the Pacific (then known as the South, or Sur, Ocean) was confirmed.

After it was learned that Panamá was a narrow isthmus of land between two oceans, the country became the center of ocean trade routes between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Naturally, this activity led to the development of Panamá City on the Pacific side of the trade route. What is interesting is that on the there is not a sister major city on the Caribbean coast.

The Streets of Colón. At 78,000 (2010) it is the largest community on the Caribbean coast of Panama

The Caribbean Afterthought

The Caribbean coast of Panamá is a victim of its history. Pirates pillaged the area to steal the wealth that Spain and France were stealing from Latin American countries. Now the forts that protected the coast lie in ruins with cannon barrels scattered among the neglected sites.  

Banana plantations imported thousands of African slaves until the banana market was flooded and plantations shut down, leaving a population of people who had no power or authority, to exist in the vacuum of a society. Crime is higher, especially in Colón, and the economy of the Carribean lacks a consistent source of jobs and income. 

The Caribbean side of Panamá missed the wealth and attention that would be expected at the end of a critical trade route. The only significant town on Panamá’s Caribbean coast is Colón, at the northern end of the Panamá Canal, and it is not held in high regard to those who have seen it or know it.

Until recently, access to Panamá’s Caribbean coast was difficult, and there was no real tourist attraction. It has been the ghost of Panamá’s past that no one thought about, or cared; however, that may soon change.

The Coming Caribbean Extreme Makeover?

No one can accurately predict the next real estate boom, but there are indications that Panamá’s north coast is about to explode in new activity. There are five reasons:

Access

The completion of the Colón Expressway, driving to the Caribbean coast is relatively easy. What was an eight or nine hour drive from Panamá City is now slightly over an hour, making it the same travel time as the Pacific beaches west of Panamá City.

New Tourist Attraction

Prior to the 2017 completion of the new canal locks, the only public viewing area of the Panamá Canal was near the Pacific side, near Panama City. This Visitor Center sits adjacent to the century old Mira Flores locks.

The control tower of the new Agua Clara locks of the Panamá Canal

However, with the new locks, a second Visitor’s Center was built adjacent to the new Agua Clara locks on the Caribbean side. Because many people want to see the new locks, and because the old Visitor Center doesn’t view the new, bigger, Pacific-side locks, the new Caribbean Visitor’s Center will draw in more tourists to the Panamá’s north coast.

The New Caribbean Bridge

A new, third bridge crossing the Panamá Canal is being built at the mouth of the north end. Once completed. it will give easy access to the west side of the canal on the Caribbean coast. This area is largely undeveloped.

Towers for the new bridge over the Panamá Canal the Caribbean side

Great Beach Settings

The Pacific coast has cloudy water and more populated beaches. The Caribbean coast is the classic has clear, blue water and remote beaches.

Quiet, out-of-the-way places make Panamá’s north coast very attractive

Undeveloped

A developer operates on a desire to find undervalued property that can turn a profit. It would seem that the Caribbean coast is ripe with undervalued property. A developer that has connections with the correct people in Panamá’s government could reap big profits over the next two decades from inexpensive land on Panamá’s north coast.

About This, About Writing

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In the Beginning

Eight years ago I started writing this blog. I had assumed that writing a blog would put me in front of a broad audience anxiously awaiting my next post.

It didn’t….but I kept writing. I wrote about business, human behaviorhuman resourcesmanagement, social media, my personal life, Rotary, public relations, history, timeblogging, travel, Nevada, global warming, spaceflight, politics, my stroke, April Fool’s Day, religion, science fiction, science, photography, media, more history, Panama, gay marriagethe future, great peoplenot-so-great people, education, Moffat County, patriotism, more politics, and fantasy.

There were a few bright moments when I touched upon a topic that caught some attention, but for the most part, my writing has simply been an expression of my opinions and ideas. I’ve discovered, writing is more important than being read.

Writing, For Me

A blog is like writing a diary or a book. It is meant to a personal statement. Someday, my children or my children’s children may read it and know more about me. I find comfort in that thought. 

My articles became less frequent in the last few years, but recently I have experienced a rebirth of writing. I suspect that my sleep apnea may be one of the issues causing the decline in writing. My brain was starved of oxygen and sleep every night for many years. Now that I am being treated for it, my cognitive functions seem to be reengaging.

Writing a blog has improved my communication skills, and has helped me organize my thoughts. This, this thing I’m doing, is an unfinished novel about the world from one perspective. I’m not a great writer, but I’m better than I was eight years ago.

For the last month, I have been publishing a new article every day. I don’t know that I will keep up that pace, but it is forcing my brain to think, and that is the goal.

Rebranding My Writing

I have decided to rename my blog. First, the term ‘blog’ has developed a negative meaning to many people, so I needed to drop the term. Second, my last name is not as relevant as it was a year ago, before I discovered that biologically, I am not a ‘Kiser.’ 

I tried several title ideas but finally settled on PAULx talks. It is the 2.0 version of Paul Kiser’s Blog. I don’t have a destination in mind for my writing. I never have, but I’ll see where this takes me.

ICE Solidifies Itself As Trump’s SS Police

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The Trump Vision for ICE

Early in Trump’s administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) became the President’s ruthless thugs in his racist agenda. Moving away from intelligent, common sense enforcement of immigration policies, ICE began acting as Trump’s SS police to target people who have been contributing to the country’s economy and have not been involved in any significant criminal activity.

ICE has now become a white terrorist organization seeking to scare and intimidate immigrants whether they are documented or not.

ICE As Trump’s SS Police

In the past year ICE agents have:

10 January 2018 – ICE agents made an unannounced raid of almost 100 7-Eleven stores across the nation as part of a terrorism campaign to build fear among immigrants. In an announcement following the raids, Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan declared that his agency would be targeting small businesses and commercial operations that hire undocumented workers. He stated that these businesses are attempting to gain a competitive edge, but completely ignored the fact that small businesses and agricultural operations can’t find reliable U.S. citizens willing to work the types of jobs they have available.

17-21 September – ICE had planned on launching ‘Operation Mega,’ targeting 8,400 immigrants nationwide in order to meet a deportation goal by 30 September. U.S. Immigration Service canceled the operation after NBC News reported the plan earlier in September. ICE stated that the cancellation was because of the diaster recovery efforts after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

23-26 July 2017 – ICE agents arrested 650 immigrants, of which, only twenty percent had any criminal charge or conviction. The other 520 were noncriminal arrests.

1 May 2017 – ICE had arrested 21,000 immigrants and began masking the information of the criminal records of the detainees from public disclosure by combining minor offenses and a lack of documentation as a criminal offense. Prior to this, the Justice Department was demanding each ICE regional office report the three worst records of the detainees to be used as a propaganda campaign to justify their actions. Several offices reportedly could not provide the information sought by the Trump administration.

February 2017Operation Cross Check picked up 675 immigrants. Half had no other criminal convictions or only traffic offenses. Less than ten percent had drug-related convictions and less than 15% had convictions for assault. Only two had homicide convictions. (It would be interesting to compare these records to the criminal records of Congress members; however, as soon as the 115th Congress convened in January 2017, they passed a measure that protects them from revealing any personal information to any criminal investigation.)

ICE Above the Law…Just Like the SS Police

ICE agents no longer operate under the scrutiny of the citizens of the United States. ICE is intentionally hiding data regarding the offenses of detainees so that no one can question their actions. They are also using terrorism tactics to brazenly question and arrest people of color without regard to sufficient cause, and they are targeting cities and states that offer sanctuaries for immigrants.

These are the exact same tactics used by Hitler’s SS police force to intimidate the Jews in Nazi Germany. The SS officers were given broad authority with little or no regard for civil rights or common sense. This is the same tactic being used by Trump’s ICE force, and they are planning to double the size of the ICE force, even though they are not finding immigrants to justify their operations now.

Rapid HR Hiring Process Required In Professional Environment

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Apollo Mission Control sits empty now. Just like a lot of professional offices.

Highly Skilled Workers are MIA and HR is part of the problem

Large organizations, especially government organizations, are losing great applicants because Human Resources is not keeping pace with the reality of the recruitment environment.

Challenges to Hiring Highly Skilled Workers

The issues:

  1. the workforce has not kept pace with the growth in highly educated and skilled jobs
  2. unemployment is now nearly down to four percent
  3. professional salaries and benefits have flattened as executive salaries have fattened
  4. executives have become more insensitive to workers and less humble about their value to the organization
  5. Human Resources have created a massive bureaucracy that is inhibiting the hiring process 

The problem often comes down to the Human Resources department. About the time the Personnel Department became Human Resources, the wizards of bureaucracy established an elaborate maze of hoops and ladders that managers and departments had to push a candidate through to hire a person. Their stated justification for their hiring procedures was to avoid liability and discrimination issues.

The truth is that the policies and procedures of Human Resources also keeps their hand in the organizational functions, and that is job security. 

What Human Resources is Required to Do

Every company should have safeguards in place to verify the qualifications and backgrounds of potential employees, ensure that all applicants are considered without discrimination (regarding race, color, religion, sex – including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy, national origin, people age 40 or older, disability or genetic information,) and determine a fair and competitive salary/benefit package.

However, only discrimination issues need to be determined for all applicants, and that process must happen before the final selection is completed. Everything else only involves the person that is going to be offered the job.

Once the selection process is completed, Human Resources should be verifying the background and determining the salary and benefits package for the candidate being offered the job. There is no excuse for the final offer process to take longer than a day.

Checking References BS

Wait, I just heard every Human Resource recruiter tell me that the verification of references of a potential employee take forever. References are a joke. Anyone who offers a poor reference is risking a lawsuit, so the time-honored process of checking references is absolutely unnecessary.

Most large organizations complete an I-9 verification, a criminal background check, a credit check, and sometimes a Google Search. A reference is not going to offer as much information as other methods of background checks.

Under the current environment, checking a reference after a job is offered would be acceptable because only something that uncovered a lie by the applicant would be significant, and that would be cause for termination.

Organizations that can’t whip their Human Resources department into reality are risking more failed recruitment searches and watching great people go to their competition.

Highly skilled labor jobs outpacing unskilled labor

Zuma Fail: Why Space Is No Place For Private Business

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SpaceX Zuma Launch: What went up, but what came down?

On Sunday SpaceX launched Zuma, a super secret, we-can-tell-you-but-then-we-have-to-kill-you military satellite built by Northrop Grumman. It was the most important, most expensive military satellite that we know nothing about…except that it may, or may not have made it into orbit, it may or may not have separated from the second stage booster, it may or may not have burned up as it came back down into the atmosphere, and it may or may not have come down in the Indian Ocean.

Like two boys standing in the backyard after a window has been broken, SpaceX yelled, “We didn’t do it!,” and Northrop Grumman is looking down, kicking the dirt and saying, “We’re not gonna say anything.” It feels like the 1960’s and the Soviets are running our space program. 

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

This is why private business has no place in space. Private business is incapable of telling the truth to the public and they are hiding behind the skirt of the military hoping no one will notice that there is no state secret about whether a satellite made it into orbit or not.

The United States Government has to be an adult. If they send a rocket up and it fails, they have to tell us what happened. Private business, like the 1960 Soviet space program, believes that the public only needs to know about how great they are, and anything negative is to be a secret.

In the absence of the truth we can only assume that both SpaceX and Northrop Grumman are at fault and no more taxpayer money should be spent until they both can act like adults.

(SEE:  CBS article with full SpaceX Zuma launch video)

(SEE: Independent YouTube video of SpaceX Zuma launch)

The Zuma Fairing Mystery?

During the Zuma launch, the SpaceX announcer pauses his commentary for ninety seconds after saying the fairing would deploy (eject) “…any second now..” He then came back on and switched topics, then finally confirmed the fairing deployment. Why the long pause?

  • T+0:50 seconds (50 seconds after liftoff) – A SpaceX announcer begins a live and nearly continuous commentary regarding upcoming events with the Falcon 9 rocket, pausing only for those events to be confirmed by SpaceX control.
  • T+2:03 – SpaceX announcer pauses as four events related to second stage separation are about to begin.
  • T+3:06 – SpaceX announcer resumes commentary and confirms a successful second stage separation, and explains at T+3:15 that fairing separation “…should occur any second now” (ejection of protective nose shell around satellite.) He continues on to say that he will confirm the fairing separation after it occurs.
  • T+3:26 – SpaceX announcer begins a pause that lasts for one minute and thirty seconds.
  • T+4:57 – SpaceX announcer says, “Alright, so we’ll address the fairing deployment in a second once we have more information, but for now we’re going to shift our transition back to our secondary mission…”
  • T+5:17 – SpaceX announcer says, “…ah, quick sidebar here that we did get confirmation that the fairings did deploy.”

 

Panamá versus Oklahoma: Transportation

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The highway from El Valle to the Pan American Highway can have surprises for an unsuspecting driver

Transportation in Panamá may not be quite as civilized to a citizen of the United States would be accustomed. Many people who visit Panamá plan ahead and use experienced local drivers, Uber, taxis, or buses to navigate the streets and highways of the country. In eight visits to Panamá, I have gained some insights on a country that is almost schizophrenic in its society. To understand the ‘why’s’ of Panamá, it is easier to compare it to a more familiar place to United States citizens, like Oklahoma.

Transportation IN Panamá Versus Oklahoma

Panamá is about half the size of Oklahoma, but with almost the same population. Panamá has 132 vehicles per 1,000 people, and Oklahoma has almost six times that number (765 vehicles for every 1,000 people.) Personal ownership of vehicles is much less common, especially outside of Panamá City. Taxis and buses are the most common transportation for the working class of Panamá. 

Road signs can be more of a hunting experience for the driver

Because Panamá is smaller than Oklahoma it naturally has fewer roads. Streets in small communities may have some main roads that are paved, but those that are paved are narrow with no gutter or curb, and the farther away from a primary road and/or a resort area, the more likely the road is unpaved.

Outside of the few highly used highways between significant communities, most paved roads in Panamá consist of a thin layer of asphalt on a graded road base. This results in roads that can develop cracks and potholes relatively easily. Maintenance of these roads is limited and potholes are a part of life in driving in the country.

Panamá City: Experienced drivers only

In Oklahoma, it is common to have a maintained gravel road; however, in Panamá, these types of roads are rare. This is probably due to a lack of funding to maintain unpaved roads, and conditions in the tropics that make roads slimy, muddy, rutted trails that quickly become overgrown.

Colorful buses are part of Panamá‘s roadway experience

The rule in Panamá is driver beware. Even on the Panamerican Highway, potholes are common and some have the potential to do significant damage to a car if an unwary driver hits it. Unlike Oklahoma, there is not a larger federal government where tax dollars collected in more populated states are funneled back to increase road maintenance.

The quality of roads in Panamá, like so many other things, is determined by what is absolutely necessary, not what would be best.

[NOTE:  Thanks to my guide and friend, Will.  This post is dedicated to Carole Poling, a classy and adventurous woman who will be missed.] 

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

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Lack of oxygen does bad things to a brain. A lack of quality sleep is almost as bad. Dreaming is a part of quality sleep, but for many years my quality of sleep was being compromised by my obstructive sleep apnea.

When I would try to sleep I would lay down. I would relax. I would drift off to sleep…and then my tongue and soft palate would relax and prevent me from breathing. It’s called obstructive sleep apnea.

My body would react and wake me up just enough to breathe again. I ignored this problem for decades even as it continued to worsen. The result was a constant state of bone-weary fatigue, waking up feeling like I needed a nap, and an inability to focus. I also stopped dreaming.

Finally, my daughter convinced me that I needed to do a sleep study, and I asked my doctor, who then referred me. After the study, I learned that I have severe obstructive apnea (the airway blockage when my muscles relaxed,) central apnea (a failure to breathe automatically,) and hypopnea (underbreathing, or not breathing adequately.) Because of the severity of my problem, I was prescribed the use of a BiPAP machine at night to keep my airway open.

Now, I sleep. Really sleep. And I dream again. Some are odd, quirky dreams…okay almost all dreams are odd and quirky, but it was a surprise to discover what it was like to dream again.

I cannot stress enough how critical it is for a person to ask for a sleep study if they snore, or have been observed to stop breathing while sleeping. People with sleep apnea are; 1) starving their brain of oxygen, and 2) torturing themselves with sleep deprivation that puts them in a state of constant exhaustion. Apneas and hypopneas are an attack on a person’s physical and mental states.

Sleep is vital to our ability to effectively function when we are awake. Dreaming is vital to effective sleep.

1968 Mystery: Four Subs Lost In Four Months

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Israeli Sub: INS Dakar – Lost January 1968

In 1968, four submarines from four different countries mysteriously vanished in a four-month period (January-May.) Two were in the Mediterranean Sea, one was in the Pacific Ocean, and one was lost in the Atlantic Ocean. One of the four submarines was never found. The other three were found but the cause of their loss remains a mystery. No connection has been made between the four subs, and it is likely a coincidence; however, two of the subs may have been involved in unfriendly action between the United States and the USSR.

These are the four submarines that were lost:

Images of the wreckage of the INS Dakar

25 January 1968
Isreali submarine INS Dakar was purchased from the British Navy and was sailing from Britain to Isreal. Its last reported position was in the Mediterranean Sea near the island of Crete. Isreal lost contact with the sub and it was never found until 1999. Loss of 69 sailors. The sub experienced explosive decompression when it sank through its maximum structural depth. Cause:  UNKNOWN.

French Submarine Flore. A sister ship of the Minerve

27 January 1968
French submarine Minerve reported that it was one hour from returning to its berth in Toulon, France. Her position was in the Mediterranean Sea, but over 2,300 km (1,450 mi.) away from the Isreali sub lost two days earlier. The Minerve did not return and has never been found. The weather conditions were extremely bad. Loss of 52 sailors. Cause:  UNKNOWN.

Last suspected locations of the Soviet sub K-129

8 March 1968
Soviet strategic ballistic missile submarine K-129 last report was on 24 February 1968. It had conducted a test dive near its base in Kamchatka, USSR and surfaced to report that the test went well. It then was to proceed to its patrol in the Pacific Ocean in an area northwest of Hawai’i. It did not report in as scheduled again.

On 8 March, the United States SOSUS net recorded a single loud underwater event northwest of Hawai’i, but the Soviets had no audio net in the Pacific, and they were not aware of the event.

By mid-March, the Soviet Navy became concerned about K-129 and initiated a massive search during the third week of March, but did not find any trace of the sub. The United States began a low profile search based on the location of the SOSUS event and in August, the United States Navy located the sub on the bottom at almost 5,000 meters (16,000 ft.) depth. The CIA attempted to raise the sub and only was able to bring a small section to the surface; however, the Atomic Energy Commission has reported that two nuclear missiles were recovered in the area of the K-129 sinking. The CIA has classified all documents related to the event and has refused all requests for disclosure.

There can be little doubt that the CIA knows the cause, or at least, the probable cause of the loss of USSR’s K-139. The CIA also knows its exact location. 98 crew members were lost. Cause:  CIA will not disclose.

USS Scorpion

22 May 1968
Near midnight of 20/21 May the USS Scorpion sent a weak message indicating it was about to begin observations on Soviet ships near the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the last message from the submarine. It was due in Norfolk, VA on 26 May, and the United States Navy announced a search after it failed to arrive; however, there is evidence that the Navy began a search for the USS Scorpion soon after 21 May, indicating that they knew the sub was in trouble or was lost.

The USS Scorpion was found in October of 1968. Its hull was crushed, presumably because it exceeded the maximum depth its structure could withstand. Its crew of 99 were lost. Cause:  UNKNOWN.

Underwater photo of USS Scorpion wreckage

12 Days in 1968

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May 1968 – Student injured in France in clash with police

1968. Fifty years ago our country was in chaos. Only five years had passed since President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. The man who became President, Lyndon B. Johnson, had accomplished amazing milestones in civil rights, protections for the elderly (Medicare and Medicaid) and had expanded programs in public broadcasting and the arts, but the country was torn apart by the war in Vietnam, and he had increased the number of U.S. troops in the war to over half a million.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was still recovering from the  fire in January of the previous year that killed three astronauts as they sat helplessly in the command module on the launch pad, and the Apollo program had yet to launch a manned mission with only two years left to honor President Kennedy’s goal.

At the start of the year, everything in the world seemed to be collapsing. The year would test our society’s threshold of endurance. These are twelve days that defined 1968. (Source:  Wikipedia – 1968)

Captured crew of the USS Pueblo giving the finger to North Korea

  • January 23
    • North Korea seized the USS Pueblo, creating an international incident that remained in the news for most of 1968. North Korea claimed the ship was spying on their country and violated its territorial waters. Its mission was to observe and gather intelligence and at the time of capture, the crew attempted to destroy classified information on the Pueblo, but only succeeded in destroying a small amount of the documents and equipment. One crewmember was killed by North Korean fire in the attempt to capture the boat. The crew was tortured and starved during the eleven months of imprisonment. They were released just before Christmas 1968. The USS Pueblo is still held in North Korea and is still a commissioned ship of the United States Navy.
  • February 13
    • Civil rights disturbances occur at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This would be one of many protests, sit-ins, and riots, in the United States, England, France, Germany, and other countries over civil rights, the Vietnam war, and other social issues. Many of those involved in the year of civil disobedience would be injured or killed in clashes with law enforcement.
    • The Florida Education Association (FEA) initiates a mass resignation of teachers to protest state funding of education. This is, in effect, the first statewide teachers’ strike in the United States.
    • NET televises the very first episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
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  • March 16
    • Vietnam War – My Lai Massacre: American troops kill scores of civilians. The story will first become public in November 1969 and will help undermine public support for the U.S. efforts in Vietnam.
    • President Lyndon B. Johnson, the incumbent, narrowly won the first Democratic primary to a minor candidate on March 11, and U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy entered the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. President Johnson would end his campaign two weeks after Kennedy makes his announcement.
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  • April 4
    • Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TennesseeRiots erupt in major American cities, lasting for several days afterward.
    • A shootout between Black Panthers and Oakland police results in several arrests and deaths, including 16-year-old Panther Bobby Hutton.
    • double explosion in downtown Richmond, Indiana kills 41 and injures 150.
  • May 17
    • The Catonsville Nine enter the Selective Service offices in Catonsville, Maryland, take dozens of selective service draft records, and burn them with napalm as a protest against the Vietnam War.
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  • June 5
    • U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Sirhan Sirhan is arrested. Kennedy dies from his injuries the next day.

Pope Paul VI: The man who brought the Church into couple’s beds

  •  July 25
  • August 20
    • The Prague Spring of political liberalization ends, as 750,000 Warsaw Pact troops, 6,500 tanks, and 800 planes invade Czechoslovakia. It is dated as the biggest operation in Europe since WWII ended.
  • September 6
  • October 11
    • Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission (Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele, Walter Cunningham). Mission goals include the first live television broadcast from orbit and testing the lunar module docking maneuver. The United States is back in space for the first time since the Apollo 1 disaster.
    • In Panama, a military coup d’état, led by Col. Boris Martinez and Col. Omar Torrijos, overthrows the democratically elected (but highly controversial) government of President Arnulfo Arias. Within a year, Torrijos ousts Martinez and takes charge as de facto Head of Government in Panama.
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  • November 5
  • View of Earth from Apollo 8 as it orbited the Moon

  • December 24
    • Apollo program: U.S. spacecraft Apollo 8 enters orbit around the Moon. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William A. Anders become the first humans to see the far side of the Moon and planet Earth as a whole. Anders photographs Earthrise.

Trump Corrupt Public Relations: Using Business PR as the Model

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders:  White House Deception Secretary

The White House has a corrupt public relations strategy. On 19 December 2017, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stood before the nation and stated, “On the personal side, the president will likely take a big hit.” She’s talking about the tax cut for corporations and the mega-wealthy. Donald Trump even went farther to say that he’d be a “big loser.”

To be honest, I’m not sure if he was talking about himself or the tax plan.

Two days later, after trying to dodge a direct question about whether Donald Trump will personally benefit from the new tax plan passed by Congress, she said, “Look, the bottom line is that a lot of people are going to do really well with under this, the President is an American, and Americans are going to benefit…”

As the White House Press Secretary, Huckabee Sanders is known for her contradictory statements. She seems to have no ethical sense of honesty and factual disclosure. She is the model corporate public relations (PR) person.

Many corporations act as if they have no obligation of full disclosure. They seem to believe that full disclosure is contrary to their business interest. The concept of controlling information, never admitting a negative issue, and never taking responsibility are commonplace in the corporate public relations world. These corporations see the job of the PR person as a corporate cheerleader, not a provider of information.

Government is meant to serve the public and is required to give full disclosure; however, under the Trump administration, public relations is handled under the corporate PR model.

As with corporate PR, the strategy of Huckabee Sanders doesn’t have access to all the facts so that she can honestly say “I don’t know that to be a fact.” She references what other sources state rather than answer a direct question. She uses all the tactics of a corrupt approach to public relations that is designed to deflect and mislead questions and issues.

It is a self-destructive public relations strategy. It requires a constant stream of deception because the PR person has to continue to stay ahead of the discovery of the truth and expand the deception as facts come into public awareness. Eventually, it leads to the loss of all credibility and the PR person becomes the public fool that humiliates herself, and the organization she represents.  

Telsa Powerwall Has Product-Killing Questions Unanswered

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What is Tesla trying to hide about its Powerwall?

I have great respect for a person who pushes boundaries and engages in future-vision projects. We currently lack the great visionaries of the past who established our nations great growth in technology and commerce.

That said, I have no respect or love for someone who toys with great ideas in order to build up consumer and investor hopes for personal profit while remaining silent on the issues that may eventually kill the great idea.

Enter Elon Musk.

I have expressed my reservations about his idea to build a space program to go to Mars, and I have additional reservations about his Falcon Heavy booster that is scheduled to launch sometime later this month.

But it is Tesla’s ‘Powerwall‘ product that has gaping issues that seem to be ignored in all the hype and mystic of Elon Musk. Two issues have to do with lithium-type batteries and their limitations and dangers.

Fantasy Cycles?
Tesla has a ten-year warranty on their Powerwall system. That sounds great, but it is the same as saying if you leave raw fish on the counter at room temperature it will be safe to eat in a year.

There are rules in chemistry. Batteries are defined by these rules. Every battery has a limited lifespan even if it is not used. Batteries also have a limit to the number of discharge/charge cycles it can undergo before they are no longer effective in holding a charge.

Lithium-ion batteries are superior to other types of batteries because they hold more charge per kilogram and they can be recharged. This makes them a good choice for a home power application.

However, lithium-ion batteries begin to deteriorate the moment they have been built. They lose about 5% of their charge capacity per month, and even if they are never used the lifespan of a typical lithium-ion battery is two years.

According to one source, lithium-ion batteries in the Powerwall are limited to between 800 to 1000 discharge/charge cycles. Assuming the Powerwall undergoes only one cycle per day, its useful lifespan is less than three years. Considering that with both normal use, and the natural deterioration of the batteries in the Powerwall, it will fail in less than two years.

But they’re under warranty for ten years, so who cares?

The chemical limitations of the lithium-ion battery are a fact. If Tesla strategy is to deal with massive warranty claims, then both investors and customers should be made aware. If Tesla has come up with some miracle technology they need to explain how they have overcome the chemical limitations.

The danger is that Tesla is aware of the limitations and is preparing for an alternative strategy such as bankruptcy in three or four years after they have squeezed the profits out of the company. Without further explanation, an alternate business strategy is the most likely scenario.

Burn Baby Burn
There is a reason that the FAA required a ban on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 tablets on commercial flights. Bad lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries can overheat and burn or explode under certain conditions. If punctured they can burst into a fire that cannot be stopped by normal fire suppression tactics. The only way to prevent a lithium-ion fire from doing severe damage to the materials around it is to have a non-burnable barrier that can withstand the heat of a lithium fire.

The Powerwall encased in a metal, temperature-regulated, weather-proof housing. To my knowledge, there have been two tests performed on the Powerwall and its casing. Both tests were performed by a trade organization known as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA.) The NFPA is not a government, nor regulatory agency, and no information was found as regarding Tesla’s involvement in the design or limitations of the test.

One test performed a test of overheating one cell group to the point of failure. The fire did not spread to the other cells. The second test applied a steady flame to the exterior of the Powerwall. In that test, all cells overheated and failed, but the Powerwall did not explode, nor did the internal lithium fire breach the casing; however, the Powerwall was not mounted on, nor near any combustible material.

The Powerwall does include a system of heating and cooling to keep the batteries within the range required to prevent failure leading to a fire; however, I cannot find any test of a complete cooling system failure in a hot environment, other than the controlled test done by Tesla and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA.)

I cannot find any testing as to the result of a puncture to the Powerwall. YouTube offers many videos on what happens when a lithium-ion battery is punctured. A puncture test of the Powerwall has not been released to the public, to my knowledge. 

If the Powerwall does not have extensive testing in various environmental situations then it may be impossible to know how dangerous the Powerwall is to mount on or near a wall that is combustible.

To my knowledge, Tesla is silent on this issue. On their website, I can find no information as to these issues about lithium-ion batteries or the safety testing done on the Powerwall casing.

In fact, Telsa is extraordinary reactive to journalists and media. In 2015, Tesla security guards used their ATV to reportedly ram a vehicle with journalists from the Reno Gazette-Journal, smashed their vehicle window, and cut their seatbelt to remove them, throwing them to the ground.

The journalists were taking pictures of the Tesla Powerwall plant under construction in Nevada. According to the newspaper’s attorney, Tesla security guards demanded the camera equipment and held the journalists against their will, created an alternate story that the journalist attacked them, and held them until the sheriff’s department arrived.

Image of inside of Reno Gazette-Journal’s vehicle after encounter with Tesla security guard

The incident suggests that Tesla is extremely sensitive to any unmonitored, unbiased release of information about its Powerwall product. The question remains: Why?  

Nevada’s Pot Business About to be Smoked

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Welcome to Nevada, where citizens watch other people get rich

Nevada has relied on being the rebel for decades, and it always fails to provide a reliable economy.

When gambling was taboo in the nation, Nevada became one of the few places people could gamble. People flocked to Nevada to gamble. Nevada had a ‘gaming’ industry.

In 1988, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act opened the door to legalize gambling on Indian Reservations, and over the next three decades California built up an Indian Gaming industry that didn’t require taking chances with a trip to Nevada. Nevada’s gaming industry stagnated.

When a quick marriage and/or a quick divorce was taboo in the nation, Nevada made divorce easy. People flocked to Nevada to officially end or begin a relationship. Nevada had a marriage industry.

Then divorce became a fact of life and most of the rest of the country decided that government should be trying to inhibit the desires of a couple, so they made marriage and divorce easier. Couples no longer had to travel to Nevada to say their vows, or go their separate ways and Nevada’s marriage and divorce industry collapsed. 

Gambling, divorce, prostitution have all been part of Nevada’s economic plan, and they all have created more problems than money for its citizens. It’s a consistent trait of Nevada’s leadership in pursuing big money that comes with little or no foundation in what is best for the average citizen.

For the last six months, Nevada boosted its economy with legalized recreational marijuana sales. Again, people from California flocked to the state to get what they couldn’t get at home. Pot. And again, Nevada’s economic boost will be short-lived as California recreational pot business gets underway in 2018.

Nevada is a state where a few people become filthy rich and pay very little in taxes. Nevada compounds the problem by prostituting themselves for marginal industries that are not stable and corporations that seek to avoid paying their share of taxes while reaping big profits.

The result has been that Nevada has no money to improve schools that are ranked near the bottom in the United States. Nevada’s poor education record has resulted in businesses needing a highly educated workforce to go elsewhere despite the seductive tax environment.

Nevada has to stop lusting after short-term economies and start building a real economy…or watch the hopes and dreams of its citizens go up in smoke.

Need a New Plan for Gaining Political Support

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About thirty percent of my emails are requests from political interests. They implore me to give them money to avoid the dire consequences that will surely happen if their cause is not successful. These are from progressive causes targeting liberals, not wealthy conservatives who actually have spendable incomes. 

Begging for money works on the street sometimes, but I can’t imagine any intelligent person that will be motivated by street tactics. It is embarrassing that the liberal viewpoint is being represented by groups that have all the skills and tact of a late-night, off-channel, ACT NOW television commercial.

If you want my attention, tell me what you’ve done and why you’ve done it. Tell me how you’ve spent money up to now. Give me a link to a website that I can go to if I want to learn more. Don’t threaten dire circumstances. Don’t beg for money. Don’t send me emails on a daily or even weekly basis. If I support your cause I might follow-up on it, but not if you annoy me.

We have major problems in this country and if a group’s best plan to solve the problem is to send me an email begging for money, then they’ve failed. Political causes HAVE TO STOP listening to political media hacks that tell them how they raised money in 2008 and start thinking of how to mobilize people to respond to the issues of 2018.

In case they haven’t noticed, the wealthy have figured out how to win politics with money, and they are really good at it. It’s time to out think Soviet Republicans and that shouldn’t be difficult, but outspending mega-corporations and the wealthy is not a competition in which I will participate.

Why a Bigger Government is Being Fiscally Responsible

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Where the investor takes our money to spend

Ask a Republican about his core beliefs and he will say, “I believe in being fiscally responsible.” That is conservative-speak for, “smaller government, lower taxes, more money for me, me, me, me!” The words ‘fiscally responsible’ make he or she sound like they are doing the mature thing in attempting to destroy the government so they can have more money.

They are not.

To be fiscally responsible should mean that she or he supports growing the economy, growing wages, growing jobs, and creating a better world for future generations. That is not accomplished by a smaller government and lower taxes.

Investor As Thief
A dollar sitting in a pocket does nothing. A dollar sitting in an investors bank account accomplishes the same thing as a dollar in a pocket. Nothing. The word, ‘investor’ used to mean a person that puts money into a company or business to make it expand so that it will make more money. It actually works when it is done, but today that is not what investors and companies do with money.

Today, an investor puts money into a stock option of a company with the expectation that the company will give more money back. He doesn’t care whether the company expands or not, he just wants his money back. If the company is able to give more money back by shrinking the company, paying employees less, reducing benefits, decreasing the quality of service to the customer then the investor is happy.

Investment today does not grow money, it just takes existing money and moves it back to the investor.

When is a Dollar a Million Dollars?
For many years our country knew how to grow money. They took a percentage of every dollar exchanged and gave it to the government to spend again. That created new businesses, new jobs, higher wages, more benefits, and more money for everyone to spend again, be taxed again and create more money for the government to spend again. The money didn’t die in someone’s pocket because we kept it working.

Fiscal responsibility is NOT done by destroying government and lowering taxes. That is what we have been doing for the last 37 years and it is not working. Yes, it makes the stock market go up, but that is done by sacrificing business growth, jobs, and the rest of the economy.

Every time the stock market hits a new high it is telling us how much money is being sucked out of our economy to make a few people with bulging bank accounts. We can’t go on this way.

The government doesn’t waste money, it spends money. Every dollar that the government receives is accounted for, and paid back out to the citizens. Every dollar that an investor receives is money taken away from growing the economy. 

We have to start taxing the wealthy as we did before President Reagan started destroying our government. We have to make our government grow again so that our economy can grow again.