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Help J.R. get his Master's Degree [Apr. 15th, 2009|09:04 pm]
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[Current Location |Cleanup on aisle five]
[mood |Survey Says...]
[music |The Police - Message in a Bottle]

Below you should see a survey I posted to Google Docs to help gather requirements for my Systems Engineering Master's project. If you don't see the embedded survey, you can fill it out here.
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No longer a rocket scientist [Jan. 31st, 2009|11:42 am]
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[Current Location |in the Matrix]

Over the next few weeks I'll be transitioning from my job as a rocket scientist to being the team leader for a software development project. I'm still working for the same company, just a total change of duties. This is the kind of opportunity that doesn't come along very often, and it just fell into my lap... the timing was unbelievable. Now I just have to finish up my master's in Systems Engineering so that I can have some paper to prove that I know what I'm doing.
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My plan for the US Auto Industry [Nov. 18th, 2008|07:39 pm]
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[Current Location |Detroit Rock City]
[music |Once More With Feeling (Soundtrack) - I've Got a Theory]

So the biggest problems facing the US Auto Industry are labor costs and a horrible business strategy... but the horrible business strategy of "More SUVs, More Trucks!" is actually part of the labor problem. The US Auto Industry's labor rates are so high that they can't afford to make low-margin cars unless they can also pad their books by selling trucks and "light trucks". I propose two solutions:

1) The Federal Gov't offers to buy out any UAW member's health benefit by putting them on a pilot program based on Obama's new healthcare plan. This would give the Obama administration a chance to test their program on a very small scale -- mostly in a single region -- so that any macroeconomic downsides would be correctable. The Dep't of Public Health would also provide safety-net emergency coverage via DoD's semi-successful Tricare Prime coverage (i.e. a Union Card is as good as a DoD ID for getting health care in Michigan) during the transition to ensure that the UAW members don't die because they were the first Federal guinea pigs. Using FEHBP is another option here.

2) 50% of Federal vehicle purchases in FY09 shall be hybrid vehicles made in America. 75% of FY10 vehicle purchases, 100% of FY11 purchases. Hire extra temporary Federal workers (or contractors) to administer the mega-purchases, if need be. Break the buys up by cabinet department over the Big Three -- that is, divvy up the pie into three roughly equal pieces, and give the biggest piece to the automaker that has the best proposal. Exceptions for Park Service vehicles intended primarily for austere or rugged environments (Park Police Clown Vics get replaced), or any other vehicle where the batteries are a safety hazard. This purchasing decision may cost slightly more up front, but the money is going to US companies and will reduce Federal gasoline consumption (money which ends up overseas).

This two-part strategy forces the automakers to build a capacity for hybrids, while drastically cutting their labor costs. Boosting capacity will stretch the market for hybrids, cutting the costs for specialty parts and boosting the supply of inexpensive hybrid options. Labor costs drop as well, making other US auto products more affordable.
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CDS = MIRV [Oct. 15th, 2008|09:16 am]
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[Current Location |the coastal town that they forgot to bomb]
[music |10,000 Maniacs - Everyday is Like Sunday]

So I was reading up on the Commodity Futures Modernization Act ... Read more...Collapse )
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(no subject) [Sep. 13th, 2008|04:56 pm]
Taking Ben to Yappy Hour (dogs!) then after he goes to sleep, I'm going to go catch Food Will Win the War at 10 North Ave, Baltimore MD - 8PM, no cover (I think).
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The Palin Train Wreck [Sep. 3rd, 2008|11:10 pm]
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[Current Location |St. Paul Minnesota]
[mood |befuddled]
[music |Bug! - Idle Sarah]

I heard an energy policy that was cribbed from Obama, a fascist approach to law enforcement, a unilateralist approach to foreign policy, and outright lies about the two parties' tax policies. I heard a fairly long-winded biography that was heavy on family and pretty light on her public service. I did hear two examples of reform but I'm pretty sure that one was patently false. I heard her empathize with a torture victim, which may be the first time a Republican has dared to use the "t" word in public in the last year. I heard some calls to class warfare, and a crowd that would have been perfect for pro wrestling cheering her on, but I'm not sure what exactly they were cheering for. I saw stars and stripes, a New York City skyline, and a politician kissing an honest-to-god baby, who was being passed around like a trophy for the cameras.

I missed the part where she explained why she was even remotely qualified to serve in any public office, let alone the Vice Presidency.

Edited to add:
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The More You Know (DING) [Aug. 14th, 2008|06:18 pm]
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[Current Location |WGS-84]
[music |Daft Punk - Around the World]

If you ever need to find the surface distance between two points on the globe, or find out exactly what point is a given distance and direction from a known point on the globe, you should use Vincenty's Formulae.

Boring details insideCollapse )
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Benjamin's first birthday! [Aug. 12th, 2008|06:20 am]
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[Current Location |Naptime]
[music |P Puff Sean "Daddy" Diddy Comb "Puffy" Sean P. - All About the Benjamins]

Lots of parties to go to, but a quick update for posterity. As of his 366th day, Benjamin is not quite walking, but cruising very eagerly. He will do "up-down" (stand/squat) holding the edge of a piece of furniture, and he will also do something similar to up-downs but faster and with more wiggle -- this is in response to the word "dance" or "dancing".

His spoken vocabulary is pretty limited: Mama, Dada, Bottle, and Bird are all distinct. Duck and Dog are distinct to me and Erica, but nobody else. Truck/Bus (any large vehicle) is not yet distinct but he's trying out the same sounds whenever he sees one. Hat is another one that is distinct to me and Erica but just sounds like a vocalized laugh to everyone else ("Haaa!"). Ball means any football, and Book means he wants a story, but these two are very hard to tell from random "BA" sounds. Oh, and if he falls or something crashes to the ground, or if there's thunder, he'll say "KABOOM".

Sign language is coming along well - we mostly use it for body parts, or to signal that an event is going to happen. For example, he can sign Change (for changing a diaper), Eat, Birds (waving hands around), and point to his ears, nose, toes, belly, head, and (sort of) his shoulders. The most important sign in his vocabulary is, of course, MORE.

His comprehension vocabulary is solid. Mostly animals: bird, dog, horse, camel, zebra (and yes, he can tell the difference), and sheep. He has a little stuffed toolbox with plush tools so he can identify his screwdriver, drill, and hammer (hammer is sometimes vocalized mimicking daddy's "bang bang" sound). He knows a few kinds of sentences, mostly questions like "Can you bring me X" and "Where is X".

And today, for the first time, he stood up on his tiptoes and used the doorknob to open a closed door.

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Name a song with a livelier pedigree... [Aug. 7th, 2008|08:26 pm]
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[Current Location |En mis botas viejas]
[mood |pensivepensive]
[music |Beck - Burro]

Bob Dylan's It's All Over Now, Baby Blue was inspired by a song by Gene Vincent. Van Morrison's band Them covered the song in 1966. 31 years later, Beck heavily sampled the Morrison cover version (basically a cover itself) in his song Jack-Ass. Then Beck re-arranged and re-recorded the song without the sample, added a mariachi band (Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cana), and translated the lyrics into Spanish, and released it as a B-Side called "Burro".

So "Burro" is a cover of a re-imagining (remix?) of a cover. You could argue that a techno version of U-2's All Along the Watchtower would come close, being a remix of a cover of Jimi Hendrix's version of the Dylan classic... but does any such version exist?

Mental note: take Benjamin to see a mariachi band sometime soon.
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Ben's YouTube Debut [May. 1st, 2008|06:29 pm]
[Current Location |At the top of the steps]
[mood |Excelsior]
[music |Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven]

Please ignore the commentary from daddy, who is apparently channeling DuffMan.
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