Just in case anyone was interested what I have been up to these days. First and foremost I have been busy with a few career moves. I am stable there so that has given me a chance to clean up some projects I had been working on for the past few years ...
About a year ago I started it all back up, used it as an excuse to learn about JQuery and decided to make a page that is more "real time". The result is Weather Scout. I have made numerous enhancements to the logic that detects hail sizes and wind speeds. The result looks something like this:
Some highlights: High divorce rates amongst the performing arts High divorce rates for those in caregiving fields where irregular hours are common and night shifts are the norm Low divorce rates for engineers
Fitzgibbons also called attention to employers' responsibility to be mindful of their employees' family lives -- not as a luxury, but as the foundation of society. “Employers,” he emphasized, “should commit themselves more to the common good and the virtue of solidarity rather than to greed.”
There are dire consequences to society as a whole for treating people without consideration to their family lives.
OK, its pretty clear I have not posted on this blog in ages and there has been a good reason for that. I have been looking for a job. I have not been unemployed but I have had the threat of unemployment hovering over my head for over a year. That ended earlier this week as I will be transitioning to a new company and a new part of Louisiana. Throughout the process a few things struck me but I want to focus on one of them.
Too many people are willing to treat you solely as a commodity.
Let me give you a prime example of what I am referring to. I had a recruiter send me a job listing that matched my skill set very well. I expressed interest in the work. I also indicated that I strongly preferred longer term work. The recruiter told me that the job "might go contract to hire" so I forwarded them my updated resume. They had me fill out a skills assessment that they also forwarded to the company. I got the interview. During the interview I asked about contract to hire (after all I was told it was a possibility). This eliminated me from consideration despite performing well on all other aspects of the interview. I didn't have a problem with that. After all, I wasn't a match for them and I was going to be miserable moving my family 1200 miles away only to turn around in 6-9 months and move them right back. I received a letter with the notes from the interview and a nastygram chastising me for asking about contract to hire. I was further told that they wouldn't have submitted me if had they known that. The problem is they DID know that. I made that very clear in our first correspondence. I also noticed that the skills assessment was modified before sending it to the company to make me look more experienced than I was. It was profoundly evident to me that they were not interested in a legitimate match. They had no desire to make the client happy. They had no desire to place me in a job I was qualified for. Their goal was to collect a commission and I satisfied the warm body with JUST enough skills to get through the interview. I had to wonder if the purpose of the post interview followup was so that they could get the next person to answer the interview questions correctly even if they were not really qualified enough for the work.
This process sadly wasn't uncommon over the past year. There were countless times where I would tell a recruiter that I had 2 years of experience in one skill only to see it typed in as 3 or 4 years on the letter they sent to their client. There were even more times where it was clear my resume wasn't even read. All they saw was C# on there and never noted that all I have done in C# is debug some code and manage a project where it was used to develop a few small helper applications. Understanding where it fit came from reading my resume, not scanning it with a keyword tool. In this process too often I was made to feel like a commodity. I was not a person with a family. I was not a person with likes and dislikes. I was not a person at all. I was a resume. I was the result of a keyword search. I was a collection of skills. I was a commission.
I am a person though and persons should not be treated as a commodity.
I want to point out that I did have great interviews with recruiters and companies. I would still be looking for work otherwise. I had people show interest in my background and ask good questions about what I had done, where I was from and what I am interested in. They wanted to know the person because that is what they are hiring. I sincerely appreciate all the people during this past year that granted me my dignity during the job search process. May all of you hire the best and most talented people out there.
On an ending note, yesterday a real estate agent uttered the following cliche to my wife -- "It's all about the money you know".
It is almost a daily thing that someone is hammering Beck for his history lessons and they are not all liberal hacks who have it out for conservatism and the Constitution.
You criticize your opponents on bad policy and facts. Glenn Beck makes stuff up and his viewers by and large trust that he knows what he is talking about. Sometimes he does. But all too often he does not. Beck is dangerous to conservatism, especially of the mold that demands rigor in ensuring that debate is about reality and not about a conjured up world based on storytelling and twisting history. For whatever good he has done (especially with ACORN) he is discrediting himself and his viewers.
--Adding this to the ignorant hit job he did on "social justice" And Charles Murray who busts Beck putting a fake Thomas Jefferson quote on his blackboard.
To put it another way, I as a viewer have no way to judge whether Beck is right. I have to trust that the snippets are not taken out of context, that the dubious association between A and B actually has evidence to support it, and that his numbers are accurate. It is impossible to have that trust.
Caller angry at the weatherman over severe weather coverage
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Or ... television, the true American idol
Listen to this and ask yourself:
How would we fare as a nation if all of the sudden a solar flare took out 80% of the grid in this country?
I have to defend weathermen here. This is a case of public safety -- the greater good. You may THINK that they are just saying "look at me" during a tornado outbreak because it is crystal clear outside your house. They are not. Many weathermen have worked ridiculous hours to deliver timely information to the public about threats that affect them. Isolated supercells are particularly dangerous. It is not unusual to read accounts of some of the most historically violent storms coming out of nowhere on a sunny day to destroy lives.
It won't be long before some liberal parents will sue and say that the schools have no right to teach their kids something that they disagree with.
The juicy irony is that liberals applied the following in the service of their OWN policy preferences in California. I quote from the Ninth Circuits decision on the somewhat famous "sex survey" case
We conclude only that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on that subject to their students in any forum or manner they select.
Including text books right? So as it goes in the courts liberal states are free to teach liberalism and conservative states are free to teach conservatism. Got it!
To be thrilled with the Ninth circuit decision and indignant about what is going on in Texas tells me one thing. This isn't about how to apply the law according to a consistent political philosophy. It is about propaganda control. They want the LAW to make the conservative case go away.
Now since liberal parents in Texas will want to educate their children accordingly, how about joining with conservatives everywhere else to support vouchers and homeschooling?
I cannot tell you how many major weather events have gone underreported in the years since Katrina including the 3rd costliest hurricane in American history (Ike), flooding to two major southern cities (Nashville, Atlanta), numerous significant tornadoes (including two EF-5's), a widespread derecho that brought 100+mph winds to Illinois, the most intense hurricane to make landfall in North America (Dean) and a hurricane caused landslide in Mexico that buried a town killing well over 1000 (Stan).
All of these should have grabbed headlines -- especially Ike in my estimation. One day I hope that reporting on human suffering replaces reporting on human suffering used as cash in the big political game we call American politics.
Then again, the why sometimes has a simple explanation. Do you know who the first woman to fly across the English Channel was? Harriet Quimby. Her feat was rendered mute by the fact that the RMS Titanic sank the previous day.
A friend of mine on Facebook was lamenting about the state of discussion in this country. His example involved liberals pointing out the absolute biggest morons amongst the ranks of conservatives as evidence of complete rot and stupidity in the entire movement. No place has this been more obvious than some of the over the top slanders of the Tea Party. He finished up his post with the following quote
Real discourse engages the best-stated opposing argument, rather than just mocking the worst, which is corrosive to public life.
And this is true but it isn't limited to Democrats.
A majority of my friends are conservative. I have some liberal friends but by and large I find myself in the presence of an Obama outburst far more often than an angry Bush tirade. Therefore I am prone to see this happen amongst conservatives more than liberals. Amongst my conservative contacts the number of rants, threads, posts and blog entries outlining the sheer stupidity of some wingnut as evidence of broad stupidity amongst liberals as a whole is equally unfair -- or as my friend said "corrosive to public life".
Quite frankly this is why I have a strong distaste for talk radio. It takes the positions of opponents and then engages in rash judgment about how they are evil socialists who hate America and are aiming to destroy America so they can remake it in their image. It is a narrative that gets people emotionally riled up. It is a narrative that will certainly prompt phone calls.
As Catholics though, is it right to participate in these rash judgments? The CCC deals with rash judgment as follows
2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:
- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor; ...
2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:
Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.280 (source)
So the first question you should ask about a big assessment of character or intent is -- Is it TRUE?. What evidence can we provide beyond a shadow of any doubt that it IS true. For example, mere association with a highly questionable character does not define with certainty the outlook of a politician -- even if it was his mentor for decades. Cite the politicians OWN and preferably recent words. An ill advised paper he wrote when he was young, emotionally charged, idealistic and prone to rash judgment himself is useless in helping define how a person has matured since.
The process to avoid rash judgment is a meticulous process. It requires that we give due diligence to determining where a person is coming from now and how they understand our own position. This process of deliberate consideration has become less and less apparent in our age of quick headlines, editor free press releases and blatant attempts to smear and thoroughly discredit opponents.
I only posted this to make a simple recommendation. Prayerfully and deliberately consider where your opponent is coming from. Do not rashly apply evil, antichrist, bigot, racist or stupid. It simply isn't going to help us progress as a society. Also remember, true discussion does not happen in 15 minutes with quick sound bites. That pacifies the choir. It does not change the people standing outside the door. Changing peoples minds requires love which demands respect for the dignity of your opponent. It also requires humility, which I often find I could use more of, because sometimes the point your are arguing happens to be ill informed -- and wrong.
In an alternate reality I might get to find out how this would have been spun if Bush were president by both the left and the right. Would I hear an apologia from Rush, Hannity and the like? You know the left would hammer Bush for it.
One thing that stands out to me is the following regarding the theory that Mulsims will eventually take over Europe ...
The short answer is that I don’t foresee a Muslim-majority Europe in this century or in the next. Why? Mainly because Muslim birthrates are plunging both in Europe and the Muslim world. Already, Iran, Tunisia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and several other Muslim countries have replacement-level fertility or below. In the UK, Bangladeshi and Pakistani fertility has halved in a generation and is now under 3 children per woman. This means their long-term growth will begin to tail off. The other part of the equation is the rise of non-Muslim immigrant groups (African and West Indian Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and other Eastern faiths) who are also increasing and therefore making Europe more plural and, in the process, rendering it harder for Muslims to increase their share of the population.
That said, Muslim membership retention and in-group marriage is exceptionally high (over 90 per cent) and they are a much younger population than the host society. So they are on course for steady growth. My colleagues and I expect their fertility to fall to host levels by 2030, but they will still make up 5-15 per cent of most West European countries by 2050 and 10-25 per cent by 2100. This is a major change from the 2-6 per cent levels of today.
One only needs to look at the trends for fertility rates in the Middle East. It has taken 20-40 years for them to do what it took the rest of the west nearly 150 years to accomplish.
Since it has snowed in Baton Rouge twice in the last two years I decided to look into the 1895 event that stands alone in Baton Rouge snow lore. Around here snow is always a magical event that turns even the biggest curmudgeon into a little child. On February 14-15, 1895 Baton Rouge received 12.5 inches of snow. That is like fairly tale stuff to someone who grew up here. This amount exceeds the next highest measured snowfall in Baton Rouge by NINE inches. During this same storm other places in south Louisiana received as much as two feet of snow. This event extended from Brownsville TX (5-6 in) all the way to Jacksonville FL. The Galveston Daily news summarized the events for their area:
There had been some hint of an unusual weather pattern developing the week before as an extremely frigid cold wave sent the mercury in Galveston plummeting to 15 degrees on February 7. The high temperature that chilly day was only 25 degrees, matching the record for the all-time coldest maximum temperature ever observed on Galveston Island.
In the next few days, temperatures gradually warmed up to near normal levels, before another strong cold front raced into the area on February 13, 1895. The new push of cold air kept temperatures below freezing all day on the 14th. In contrast to the previous blast of cold air, however, dark clouds began drifting over the area from the west and southwest as the day wore on.
Late on the 14th into early morning of February 15, huge flakes of snow began to fall so rapidly that that visibility was reduced at times to near zero and a thick blanket of snow began coating surfaces across all of southeast Texas.
By the time the snow moved out later that day, 15.4 inches of snow covered Galveston and an amazing 20 inches of snow choked Houston and Orange. As the storm moved east the snow spread across Louisiana to New Orleans and eventually to Mobile. Even more remarkable were reports of snow depths of 30 inches in southwest Louisiana near Lake Charles. (source)
Here is a listing of snowfall amounts in Texas that I was able to glean from a monthly weather report for February 1895 in the United States (source). My assumption is that there was only one significant snow event during that time frame as the numbers for these deep southern towns match the reports I have seen elsewhere. The reports are truly astonishing:
San Antonio TX -- 4.2 in San Marcos TX (just south of Austin) -- 6 in Stafford TX -- near Sugarland, Houston -- 20 in Victoria TX -- 12 in Brazoria TX - 18 in Columbia Tx (I presume near Houston) - 20 in Corpus Christi TX - 4.3 in Cuero TX - 14 in Galveston - 15.4 in Houston - 20 in Orange - 20 in
Still none of this holds a candle to the mind boggling 30 inches of snow that reportedly fell in Beaumont TX during the storm. (source) -- Some accounts had similar amounts falling near Lake Charles.
Here is a listing of snowfall amounts in Mississippi according to the same journal
Biloxi MS - 6.2 in Bay St. Louis - 5.5 in Moss Point MS - 21 in (on the Mississippi gulf coast) Woodville MS - 5.5 in Hattiesburg MS - 8.6 in Leakesville MS - 8.0 in
And Alabama and Florida Mobile AL - 6 in Pensacola FL - 3 in Tallahassee FL - 2 in Jacksonville FL - trace
It appears that the snow events were not just confined to the 14-15th. During the first cold snap (Feb 7th) it seems that snow fell in St. Landry parish. We can also see that it fell over the course of 3 days in Rayne to set the Louisiana state record. From the Teche Today paper
1895 •(Feb. 7) This item from the St. Landry town of Sunset, dated February 7, appeared in the New Orleans Daily Picayune on February 8: “At 7 o’clock last night a very heavy gale from the northwest struck this place and by 4 o’clock this morning a blizzard came upon us in full force and by 9 o’clock the thermometer registered 17 degrees. There has not been the least cessation in the occurrences of the wind and everything is frozen tight all day with prospects of a very severe night.” •(Feb. 13) Fourteen inches of snow fell at Lafayette. •(Feb. 13-15) Twenty-four inches fell at Rayne, still a state record for Louisiana. The Lafayette weather form for February 1895 carries this note: “Snow began falling on the night of the 13th –stopped before daylight – began again about 6:30 a.m. on the 14th and kept up until about 10 a.m. on the 15th, about 14 inches of snow fall.” Lake Charles resident F. V. Gallaugher recalled in a memoir: “The St. Valentine’s Day snow of 1895 lasted for three days and two nights. I was 15 and the snow was up to my knees.”(source)
The most interesting thing about this event is that places closer to the coast seemed to get the most snow. With recent events higher snowfall totals were further north as you would expect. That it happened the other way around speaks volumes of the penetration of the cold air for this event.
Here is an image of snowfall totals for the month of February 1895 in Louisiana. The snowfall for the month is on the far right. All of the south Louisiana totals happened during this event:
Snow in Houston
Snow in Galveston
Snow in New Orleans
The journal also produced a map of snowfall for the United States that month.
I'm a student studying Environmental Civil Engineering (most of our courses deal with water treatment and contamination issues), and I thought you might be heartened to know that this problem been brought up by professors and discussed in class several times. . . so not everyone with an environmental focus is as blind to the obvious as one might think.
Is it just me or does all correspondence from our reps look something like this ...
Dear [my name]
Thank you for taking the time to contact my office.
[standard bi-partisan first paragraph: -- Replace with actual sentences. -- Blather about the democratic process and how every voice is important. Presume underlings failed civics in high school]
[standard bi-partisan second paragraph: Check out all the AWESOME laws I helped get passed. Check out how awesome I am. Seriously, did I mention how awesome I am?]
[standard Republican third paragraph. Delete if you are a Democrat. Statements about how awesome it is to be right + boilerplate talking points. Presume underling agrees with you -- remind people of how things used to be and mention any of the following: morals, life, small government] [standard Democrat third paragraph. Delete if you are a Republican. Statements about how awesome it is to be in the know + link to web site to "get the facts" -- Underlings are not intelligent enough to understand your position. Remind people of their dreams and aspirations. Mention any of the following: poor, struggling middle class, corporate interests]
** note, it is better if your response actually deals with the topic that you were mailed about but it is not necessary. When in doubt, today's current topic is: HEALTH CARE
[standard bi-partisan we know what is best for you and we will fight for -- enter information about where you used to live before you came to D.C. --]
I wanted to take a quick moment to apologize to my few readers. I will resume blogging sooner or later. My life is going through a difficult transition right now. I would prefer not to reveal all that is going on except that it is challenging me in ways I would have never expected.
Its not as bad as what we went through in March but it is scary still.
Cabon emissions by country .... all those who don't emit should contracept?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So next time someone feeds you a line about how reducing population in some non-industrialized nation is going to reduce carbon emissions dramatically ask them why it hasn't helped in countries where contraceptives are readily available.
It seems that the wealthy and more educated are suffering less from divorce, whereas the numbers in poorer circles are getting worse. Here are a couple of choice quotes. Read the whole thing though ..
The bottom line here is that the West’s current preoccupation with personal happiness often conflicts with the value of marital permanency.
There is no going back to the divorce laws of yesteryear. No-fault divorce will not be repealed. But I think we can make divorce law more just by factoring in marital conduct into decisions about custody, property division, and alimony on a more consistent basis. What is crazy about our current system is that one spouse can, for instance, commit adultery and then walk away with primary custody of the children and a substantial share of the marital property. This is patently unjust. Some lawmakers, jurists, and family lawyers are beginning to think about ways to make the divorce process more just. If they succeed, this would also have the indirect effect of reducing divorce because people would be less likely to divorce in an opportunistic fashion if they know they will pay a serious price when it comes to child custody or the division of marital property.
Can Catholics be united on health care in the face of abortion funding?
Friday, September 4, 2009
I am curious to see if the more conservative members of St. Blogs will still overwhelmingly reject just about any plan even if it doesn't include abortion funding citing the free market as the true means of handling this properly.
I am also curious to see if the more liberal members of St. Blogs will argue that we have to pass something even in the face of the "divisive" inclusion of abortion funding arguing that private insurers do it anyway thus we aren't REALLY changing the abortion landscape at all.
This is a "fresh" blogroll. It tends to list blogs most frequently updated at the top. It will also drop blogs not updated for a few days. Never fear though, if you post, it will show back up. If you are interested in how I did it see this post.