Saturday, October 25, 2014

Put 'em on paid leave, 'cause you can't fire 'em.

Fox has been running pieces about the 57,000  Federal civil servants who are drawing pay but not coming into work.  That's a lot.  People like Lois Lerner, who ought to have been fired and prosecuted two years ago is still on the payroll, but she doesn't come into work. 
   The root cause of this problem is a civil service HR system that makes it impossible to fire a civil servant, no matter what.  We caught a couple of 'em stealing parts out of the base warehouse.  We prosecuted, obtained a conviction, but we couldn't fire 'em.  That was forty years ago. 
    The country would be better served if upon genuine cause, and concurrence of a reasonable number of supervisors, a civil servant could be fired. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Words of the Weasel Part 40

"What did he know and when did he know it."  Classic newsies' slam going back to Watergate in the '70s.  Too bad it is a meaningless question.   Knowing stuff ain't a crime.  Unless we a willing to allow prosecution for thought crime, which I am not.  Doing stuff, now that can be illegal, big time. 
Real men ask, "What did he do, and can you prove it?"  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NH Candidates NRA ratings

My election issue of American Rifleman came in today.  As usual, for the issue before the election, the NRA lists every candidate for every office and rates them on their support of the right to bear arms.  Since the election is close at hand, I thought I might share the NRA's thoughts with you. 

  (R) Scott Brown          ?   (Scott did not reply to NRA questionaire)
  (D) Jean Shaheen       F
US House District 1
  (R) Frank Guinta         A
  (D) Carol SheaPorter  F
US House District 2
  (R) Marilinda Garcia   A
  (D) Ann Kuster            F
  (R) Walt Havernstein  A
  (D) Maggie Hassan    D
Executive Council District 1
  (R) Joe Kenney          A-
  (D) Mike Cryans         ?   (Mike did not reply to NRA questionaire)
State Senate District 1
  (R) Mark Evans          A
  (D) Jeff Woodburn     ?    (Jeff did not reply to NRA questionaire)
State Rep  District 2
  (R) Peter Nightingale  B
  (D) Rebecca Brown    C
State Rep District 14
  (R) Brad Bailey           B
  (D) Douglas Grant      ?   (Doug did not reply to NRA questionaire)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mr Fusion under development at the Skunk Works

Well, it's bigger than the little white appliance on Doc Brown's De Lorean, but it's tiny compared to the ITER machine.  The photo in Aviation Week shows a barrel shaped device, maybe 4 feet in diameter and 10 feet long.  A cut away drawing shows superconducting magnetic coils wrapped around the device to contain the plasma.  The project is being done by Lockheed Martin, presumably on company money.  The project leader, Thomas McGuire, holder of a doctorate from MIT,  acknowledged a debt for some ideas from the Polywell project. 
Lockheed Martin has been in business for 80 years and is a pretty canny company.  They did the Lightning fighter of WWII, the Constellation airliner, the F104 (Chuck Yeager's favorite jet fighter) the cold war U2, the L1011 airliner, the SR71 Blackbird, the F22,  and recently they beat out Boeing for the F-35 project.  They know what they are doing.  They clearly think they can make Mr. Fusion (compact fusion reactor, CFR for short) work.  They are talking prototype in 2019 and production in 2024.
   The CFR project is just getting going.  They don't have any results, no evidence of neutron production, time or temperature achieved.   My electromagnetic field theory is no longer strong enough to even estimate whether their device can achieve fusion, so I am going by Lockheed's reputation.  If they think they can do it, they probably can. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ford comes thru

The TV news is reporting a massive recall (4.7 million cars) of nearly every make of car on the US markets.  Except Ford.  The problem is a defective airbag part that can explode and throw shrapnel thru the driver and passenger instead of inflating the airbag. The part is purchased from a parts house named Takata.
   I wonder how this happened?  Was Ford's quality control so effective that they refused to buy the Takata parts?  Were Ford buyers able to obtain a better price from some other supplier?  Was Ford just lucky? 
   Anyhow, as a Ford owner, and long time fan, I am OK with this. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Winter is coming

Mt Lafayette. "Possible snow in higher elevations". 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Driving down to Beantown

Eldest son was in Boston on business, so I drove down to see him yesterday.  The good news, it only takes two and a half hours driving from Franconia to Logan.  Used to take three and a half a few years back.  Trusty Mercury does 80 mph, no sweat.  Car would be happy going even faster, but Driver worries about sneaky NH state troopers hiding in the center strip bushes.  So I keep it below 80. 
   Coming down from the north, the old Sumner Tunnel route off the Big Dig tunnel is shorter than the new tunnel from the Mass Pike.  Logan parking is ridiculous, $19 for two hours.  I parked on the roof of Terminal B, which is all covered with fancy solar cells.  I wonder how much they cost and what the payback time is.  Betcha the airport is using the $19 parking fees to pay off the solar cells. 
   So for old times sake we spent the day in Harvard Sq.  The Head of the Charles Regatta was on and the crowd was huge.  Much bigger than a few years ago.  So big we couldn't even get into Charlie's Kitchen.  The Sq hasn't changed much since last time I was there, all the nice places are still there, no new places groovy enough to catch my eye. 
   So I dropped eldest son off at a hotel on Atlantic Ave.  Drove right down Mass Ave, thru Central Sq, out Main St and crossed the Charles on the Longfellow Bridge (better known as the Make Way for Ducklings bridge).  Infrastructure fans will be glad to hear that Longfellow bridge is getting rebuilt.  The two inbound lanes are all tore up and closed, inbound traffic is rerouted on the outbound lanes and outbound traffic has to find another bridge.
   On the way home I checked out the NH Liquor Store on I93.  They been rebuilding it; it isn't all finished yet; but it is open to cars (only).  Truckers suck hind teat.  They now sell gas, big self service Irving station which was only $3.16 a gallon.  Cannon contributed one of the old Tramway cars which is mounted on display at the convenience store.  I looked at it, and I do think it's real, rather than a mockup.
   Stupid Beast was pleased to see me when I got home.