Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dear Sesame Street: Let's Count To 100!

Dear Sesame Workshop,

I am 40 years old.  4, 0, FORTY years! [Thunder, lightning] Ah, ah, ah, ah. . . . .  Yet I distinctly recall playing hide & go seek as a 4 year old boy.  My uncle asked me to count to 100 so everyone else could go hide well before I went searching for them.  But I had to tell him I didn't know what that was.  I had only learned to count to 20, because that was the highest number Sesame Street would teach at the time.  Even then, none of the other kids took the time to teach me what they knew, they just wanted to play the game.  But I'm certain I could have learned how to count to 21 & beyond, if only they had taken a moment to explain it.  I missed out on learning that until the 1st or 2nd grade.

I think children are capable of learning much more math, much sooner.  If the Sesame Workshop had just played some shorts explaining numbers up to 100, I think I would have quickly figured out that the pattern of increasing numbers and their names continues to at least 999, at which point I certainly would have asked adults on my own, "What comes after that?", and they could easily handle explaining 1000+.

There is one problem with numbers in American English that is invisible and built-in.  The teens and their names.

10 should be called "tenty"
11 should be called "tenty-one"
12 = "tenty-two" and so on up until 19 = "tenty-nine"

When you consider that all numbers above 20 have the same naming pattern, but the numbers 10-19 don't, then you realize that teaching numbers just up to 20 means a child is going to presume every number has a special name that someone else must share with you before you can name it, or use it, just like people have names that are unknown until an introduction is made. 

So please consider increasing from 20 to 100 the maximum number that Sesame Street teaches.  You could even make a song about how it makes no sense that number eleven should be "TENty-one", but that sounds too similar to "TWENty-one", especially on the phone, so we call it eleven instead.  You might make a joke that maybe we could call it "ONEty-one", but that too sounds too much like "twenty-one" on the phone, the radio, or TV.

You might find it helpful to present the number and the word for the name of that number at the same time.  I know Sesame Street hasn't normally done that in the past, but I think it might be time to start, with the basic numbers especially, as this could help children learn to read much faster too, as spelled-out numbers are everywhere around us.

You might determine I'm wrong, that this is too hard for children this age (for all I know, you may have already tried it before).  Maybe trying to explain how the teen numbers break the normal pattern is too much for your TV show.  Perhaps just a few rare showings of segments about these larger numbers & teen-names is all that older children will need to clue in & pay attention that this is important, because they rarely see the skit about this.

But whatever else you do, please increase from 20 to 100 the maximum number that Sesame Street typically teaches.

Your friend,

Ace Frahm

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ONLY Good Murder Avoidance Policies Can Stop The Mass Murders

Sheriff Bill Brown said:
"It was apparent he was very mentally disturbed"


    2013 July 21 - He talked to officers at the hospital, saying he'd been the victim of an assault. Officers thought he might have been the aggressor.  One of Rodger's neighbors said that "he saw Rodger come home, crying" and said that Rodger claimed that he was going to kill the men who attacked him, and "kill myself."  He wrote in his manifesto that the incident was the final trigger for his planning of the killing spree.
    2014 April 30 Elliot Rodger was so disturbed that a family member asked law enforcement officers to check on his welfare , Brown said. They went to his residence, found Rodger "polite and courteous," and left, Brown said.  He wrote in his manifesto that he had already planned the killings and purchased his guns by that time, and that officers who interviewed him at his apartment would have found the weapons if they had conducted a search of his bedroom.  At the time of the deputies' visit, Elliot Rodger had already bought at least two handguns, which had been entered into the California gun ownership database under his name, as required by California's universal registration law.  The deputies were unaware of that fact however, because they did not check the statewide gun ownership database.  They also did not view the YouTube videos that had caused Rodger's parents to contact them.


The rampage left six dead and 13 hurt, with eight suffering gunshot wounds, four hit by the suspect's vehicle and one suffering a minor injury.
The action covered so much ground that officers worked 12 different crime scenes.


    Elliot Rodger encountered a sheriff's deputy who was on foot and exchanged gunfire.
    He kept driving and hit a bicyclist.
    He shot more pedestrians on the sidewalk.

Isla Vista holds legend status as the most densely populated square mile in California
Of 20,000 people -- 13,000 of them are students
The streets are lined with bicycles


    He encountered four deputies on foot near a park and they exchanged gunfire.
    Rodger may have been hit in the hip.
    He drove away at a high rate of speed and hit another cyclist, who tumbled over the car's hood and hit the windshield.

Inside the car, police found three handguns -- all legally purchased -- and more than 400 rounds of unused ammunition, all loaded into 41 ten-round magazines.


A father of one victim said his son died because Congress had failed to act after a mentally ill gunman killed 26 people in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut:
"Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights, what about Chris' right to live? When will this insanity stop?"
"We’re all proud to be Americans. But what kind of message does it send to the world when we have such a rudderless bunch of idiots in government?"
"These people are getting rich sitting in Congress. And what do they do? They don’t take care of our kids"

Mental Health & Gun Control.
Elliot Rodger had been prescribed Risperidone, an antipsychotic, but refused to take it, stating, "After researching this medication, I found that it was the absolute wrong thing for me to take." Now, what if Elliot Rodger had just posted the same mindless "govmn't ain't gettin' my gun" picture Costas Constantinou just did?

Costas Constantinou's Thoughtless, Child-like Opinion
Elliot Rodger says:
"Hey, Costas!: Shouldn't the government have taken away my gun?
I literally wrote that they should have done so in the screed
I posted right before I murdered 13 people and hurt 7 others."
Why should the endangered public or a responsible government permit stupid people like Costas Constantinou to empower psychotics to keep their arms?  Morons like Costas Constantinou have an infantile fantasy that there's some kind of magic big bad wolf tyranny that his personal firearm frightens, yet his real vote in real elections is powerless against. Guns don't prevent mass murders.  Even guns in the hands of trained police aren't very effective at stopping an on-going rampage, as this case shows.  Clairvoyant knowledge of the future, which doesn't exist, would also be needed before guns stop mass shootings, because guns don't magically erase the perpetrator.  Guns are particularly bad at stopping a murderer armed with a vehicle.


The only truly effective way to prevent shootings like this is to stop them BEFORE they start. In particular:
  1. Our mental healthcare system should be required to inform law enforcement of 
    1. Any diagnosis of psychosis
    2. Any prescription for a citizen of an anti-psychotic medicine
  2. Our law enforcement agencies in turn should be REQUIRED TO ACT on such information
    1. Suspending all firearms licenses AND drivers licenses for all persons who reside in the same domicile with the patient
    2. Take physical custody of all firearms, ammo, and vehicles registered there as well, until such time as the owners no longer live with the patient, or the patient is "cured", no longer a danger

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Raising The Legal Age Of Tobacco Use:A Response That Is Too Long For Facebook

The legislation aside, most people who are legally adults still have the minds of children --> hence rampant religionism, a matter we all know about :-)   Why should we make all the legal privileges & responsibilities of adulthood available all at once to everyone at some magic age number?  Each one requires a different skill set to handle, and reaching an age number is no guarantee you have that skill set.  It is just a lazy, cheap, pragmatist's way of dealing with the complexity of these disparate issues with the lowest expense that is "good enough" to avoid massive, widespread, unacceptable problems.  Otherwise, we'd need some kind of testing for each person for each dangerous thing, like taking a driver's license test or a earning a gun license for everything: voting, running for office, getting drafted-enlisting, smoking, drinking, getting married, taking out a loan, working for a capitalist, having sex, performing surgery, parenthood, starting a business, investing your savings.  A "get all adult rights & responsibilities at once" approach is an argument for pushing the magic age back to the most conservative age at which you could reasonably handle the hardest one well, or least harmfully.  If the worst issue is the physiological one for smoking, that might be as old as 23 or even 24, and then all the other rights would have to wait that long.  The go-to-war age is an argument for shifting the magic number much, much older, until the person understands just war theory and the Geneva conventions, and is smart enough to resist illegal orders, and not to enlist when the sitting president orders torture or fails to arrest previous presidents for torture.  I'd like to point out that this is the case RIGHT NOW, and has been for 12-13 years, and is likely to continue up to a total of 18-23 years at least, a time period that could encompass an entire military career.  Enough for a whole lifetime during which it is unethical to enlist, due to our own nation's well-documented yet unprosecuted war crimes.

Having one cigarette will not kill you.  Having one smoking habit can.  Sometimes the issue is framed as a "personal liberty!" concern, completely ignoring the 3rd party externalization of costs effects, especially the corrupting power of that tobacco money on our politicians, which legally places this known cancer agent out of the restricted drug class it otherwise belongs in. 

As a matter of public policy, the commercial production & sale should be shut down.  Even a transition to "do not light this on fire" version of THC hemp would be better than the current tobacco industry.  I'd like to see a transition to a single-payer system of health care.  Nobody wants to indirectly subsidize the tobacco industry through a national health care program, so the industry stands in the way.  (Even though we are indirectly subsidizing tobacco right now.)  Tobacco taxes will never be high enough to compensate taxpayers for the long-term medical costs, or renumerate dead smoker's families for defective product wrongful deaths.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Mythical "Perfect Conservative"

The fantasy tall tale of a fictional character that never actually existed is a bad guide to life.
Nonetheless, that's what Herman Cain is using. In 2010, he wrote an awful piece on how ultra liberal fantasy character jesus is supposedly a conservative who agrees with Herman Cain's dorked-up worldview.

I just met 2 atheists yesterday. One of them mentioned how little sense Herman Cain's "The Perfect Conservative" made, & how it helped him lose his bad religious thought system. This is probably the best thing to ever happen in part from any of Mr. Cain's writing.

Herman Cain was of course, running for president of the united states at the time, as a black man on the GOP party ticket, a party known as a welcome home to racists, because it fails to be an unwelcome home to them. His odds were never really good. But had an entertaining personality, so people liked to watch him, whatever the outcome of the politics.

photo by Gage Skidmore

His original post can be seen here:

I thought I'd give my 2 cents on what's wrong with Cain's "perfect con" claims for the gratification of my new friends:

He was not born into a royal family, but He left a royal impression on the world.
So what? Lots of non-privileged-by-birth-luck people do great deeds.

For 30 years, He learned the ways of the world without becoming of the world. He then changed the world for the better.
So he wasn't actually here. If he wasn't composed of matter or energy, then he didn't exist. And this fantasy has definitely hurt the world far more than it helps.

He led without a mandate. He taught without a script. His common sense parables filled people with promise and compassion, His words forever inspiring.
Lots of people lead "without a mandate", whatever that mushy weasel-word is supposed to mean to you. Fantasy jesus has not taught anything, even in its own story it disinforms & dissembles, creating confusion instead of clarity. The glaring educational omission of a supposed god to ancient humans would be quite unethical. Cain uses the word "script" as though we are supposed to glean negative connotations from it, but a teacher without a lesson plan isn't as good as one with a syllabus. The parables are ambiguous nonsense that allow anyone to read into them anything they most wish to hear. The content is useless. No thinking person would feel good about the drivel.

He never condemned what others believed – just sin, evil and corruption.
This is not correct. Your belief system is the 1 thing mythical jesus damns you for more than anything else, when he's not part of it. This statement makes me wonder if Mr. Cain has ever read any part of the New Testament. Fantasy jesus explicitly condemns anyone who thinks he's a fantasy to hell in matthew 10:33 "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.". Myth jesus constantly damns anyone who quite naturally asks for a shred of proof:matthew 16:1-5. romans 14:23: "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." If absence of belief in myth jesus is a sin, but that doesn't count as condemnation, then you have a non-sequitor in your logic that isn't just invalid, it is BAD.

He helped the poor without one government program. He healed the sick without a government health care system. He feed the hungry without food stamps. And everywhere He went, it turned into a rally, attracting large crowds, and giving them hope, encouragement and inspiration.
Fantasy jesus also has reality warping magic powers that cost nothing and produce instant results. Myth jesus did not share any part of those powers with us to use for good. Reasonable people know that it is not plausible that such arbitrary violations of the physical laws of the universe have ever taken place. Here in the real world, excellent government workers require actual resources to do good work, in the form of taxes, and it takes time to perform that work. Not one of our beloved public employees has the power to violate the physical laws of the universe at a whim, for free, instantly. I image anyone who can perform such miracles would become very popular very quickly, but I have never met anyone like that, nor heard plausible reports of such from credible 3rd parties, and neither have you.

For three years He was unemployed, and never collected an unemployment check. Nevertheless, he completed all the work He needed to get done. He didn’t travel by private jet. He walked and sailed, and sometimes travelled on a donkey.
Why would a mythical person who can warp reality need a job? Cain hates the unemployed because their lack of magic powers necessitates an inconvenient obligation on his part to help out so they don't die? Herman Cain admires a fictional character for having all the resources he needs (read:none of Cain's) for his work, but jesus' work is just talking, so he needs no actual material resources? Cain likes the fantasy figure for his lack of modern transportation modes, which didn't even exist at the time-setting of the story? If myth jesus was a god, why would he resort to slow walking, sailing & donkeys, if he's supposed to communicate to as many people as possible? Why wouldn't he at least create a bicycle & a bullhorn for himself?

But they made Him walk when He was arrested and taken to jail, and no, He was not read any Miranda Rights. He was arrested for just being who He was and doing nothing wrong. And when they tried Him in court, He never said a mumbling word.
Past police behavior was horrid, so we should have cruel, inhumane and unjust policing too? A guy who is supposedly the best philosopher ever won't even mount the slightest defense of himself in court? Isn't he supposed to be able to win over ANYONE? Wouldn't this be the perfect time & place to do it? This is not what someone deserving of our admiration does, even if wrongly accused.

He didn’t have a lawyer, nor did He care about who judged Him. His judge was a higher power.
This is a fantasy story that can not be verified by any legitimate record, from a time-setting that does not feature a modern justice system where lawyers exist. Is this supposed to make us feel sympathy, because an ancient mythical character didn't get the same treatment modern real citizens do? Then Herman Cain just makes an unsupported claim with no proof, reasoning, or logic.

The liberal court found Him guilty of false offences and sentenced Him to death, all because He changed the hearts and minds of men with an army of 12.
This is an absurdity, liberal courts by definition don't sentence anyone to death. And if it is not okay to find people guilty of false offences & sentence them to death, why does jesus constantly do just that all the time? If that is justice by his standards, shouldn't the SAME STANDARDS apply to HIM? Why would Cain characterize the apostles as an "army"? Who did they kill?

His death reset the clock of time.
No, it didn't. No good time measurement standards existed, and christians would have had motivated reasoning to force everyone to use their preferred choices. History is written by the victors. Still, other non-christian calendars are used today that have no christian markers in them. Seconds did not become longer or shorter, and their position & direction in the dimension of entropy did not change.

Never before and not since has there ever been such a perfect conservative.
"perfect conservative" is an oxymoron. This seems to be the illogical conclusion of the argument. It is not supported by the premises or structure, and it adds a superlative time-based component to the claim which is not supported anywhere else by any of your other statements.

For over 2,000 years the world has tried hard to erase the memory of the perfect conservative, and His principles of compassion, caring and common sense.
Herman Cain claims that there has been a 2 millennias long campaign (by who?) to censor all knowledge of the world's 2nd largest religion from existence. This has not occurred. And your mythical jesus does not posses "principles of compassion, caring and common sense". He refuses to heal the children of non-jews unless prodded to do so, and does so only then with contempt, mark 7:25-30

His followers are now millions and millions the world over, as those who resent Him have intensified their attacks on who He was and what His followers believe.
Is this Cain's idea of a status update? Perhaps it is a vague form of the "appeal to popularity" logical fallacy. The use of the word "resent" here reveals Mr. Cain is trapped inside a thought bubble, unable to conceive of the actual thoughts of anyone who doesn't think exactly like he does. Nobody "resents" a fictional character. That's like being angry with Count Chocula, it makes no sense, nobody does this. Mr. Cain's deliberately loaded use of the word "attacks" to describe legitimate, calm, anti-theological logic & reasoning is a petty attempt to portray the christian hegemony as though they are somehow "victims", somehow wronged.

The attacks are disguised as political correctness, or a misunderstanding of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Separation of Church and State does not mean Separation of Church from State. The State cannot impose Church on the people, but the people can display and say as much Church in the public square as they desire.
Again, with the loaded phrase "attacks". Mr. Cain seems to do a bait & switch, starting with "the state" but switching to "the public square". These are not the same thing. And, the Supreme Court has constantly decided over & over & over again, that the separation clause explicitly forbids the entanglement of peculiar religion in our governance. If access or respect is granted to any, than it must be granted to all, and if denied to any, then it must be denied to all. Everyone has a right to be unburdened by others' stupid religious claims, such as those of the church of england, the religion our nation was founded against, the one & only thing our founding fathers could agree upon.

Our Founders recognized that distinction, which helped to inspire the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the founding of this nation – The United States of America!
The word "that" is a unclear pronoun reference to his previous unclear statement, so I can't even be sure what he is trying to claim here.

We must be the Defending Fathers and the defenders of the perfect conservative.
Mr. Cain wishes to draw a similarity between himself & his audience with the founding fathers, presuming that his audience will like them all with a child's understanding of the founders. He's confounding myth jesus with myth dead old white men, as though our nation has magic anti-physics powers too.

That’s why I proudly wish one and all a very Merry Christmas!
Perhaps this goes a long way toward explaining the fall of the republican party. Their future success depends heavily on religionism staying in fashion, which is unlikely in the age of the internet. It is too easy to draw the distinction between what religion says is good, and what actually is good.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

gop Ideas Are Bad, Not gop Communications

The gop communications problem isn't its own stand-alone problem.  The communications problem exists because it is no longer possible to convince poor people ( 80% of Americans ) that gop plans which hurt them in so many blatantly obvious ways are "magically" good for them.Republicans aren't correct on ANY of the issues, and too many people have paid for it with too much misery in their lives for too long.  Nobody is voting for barrack obama because he talks of people.  They are voting against the gop.  They aren't going to forgive the gop for the harm they have caused the nation for the rest of their lives.
Republicans can think inside their own heads that they care.  But Americans are starving.  The gop tells them they don't even deserve minimum wage no matter how many productive hours they spend producing high quality work, or how much blood they leave on the factory floor.  This shows everyone that the gop doesn't actually care about them, the gop cares about hanging onto incorrect GOOFBALL fantasies about how the economy works, how it should work, and who is DESERVING of wealth in our society, and who is not.  The gop fundamentally gets the morality of proper wealth & power distribution WRONG.  Constantly.  The gop has screwed us up for so long that even the most unaware, uninformed, irresponsible voters have a general sense that this is so.

You don't have a communication problem about policies.

You have a "Our policies hurt people" problem, combined with a "We're too stupid to understand how our broken policies hurt people".  You have to gerrymander & steal elections to hold office now, because your thoughts upon what GOOD IS are wrong in ways that are obvious to everyone but yourselves.  The ultra-progressive liberal (not democratic) critiques of the gop are always completely correct.The two examples you give:
                limited government

                low taxes on the lives of everyday citizens
Limited government means that multinational banks rob us blind, and not one single prosecution takes place because there aren’t enough honest finance cops in our employment to prosecute them.  Not even an indictment.

When you speak of "low taxes", you mean NO TAXES.  And when you say "everyday citizens" you mean ONLY for the wealthy supercitizens who receive the benefits of everyone else’s taxes.

You can’t convince people that taking away:
             benefits  --> Anything that is a benefit has been EARNED by the recipient.  If you take it away, you are STEALING from them.  You're arguing that people should vote for thieves.  Good luck.

more help --> You're arguing that help is bad?  You're a fool.  "Help" is inherently good.
programs  --> The economy of scale we benefit from when the American government acts for us on our behalf is the BEST deal an American could ever possibly get in their life.  We should insist that everything the government could do for us together, it should, because we get so much more out of it than if we try to supply goods & services individually, or privately.
subsidies --> ONLY wealthy corporations who don't need them get subsidies.  If an American is very lucky, he can get some survival.  Some more existence.  Hardly an undeserved luxury.
is somehow, counter-intuitively, good for them.  Because this harm is demonstratably not good for them, and the painful demonstrations have already occurred.  Austerity has RIGHT NOW failed completely in Europe, once again proving John Maynard Keynes completely correct.  If there are magic benefits of hurting people this way, why can’t we detect them?
Your thinking is broken at its core when you say:
                ". . . .conservative policies will bless the lives of real people, making them strong financially and morally."
This means your plans depend upon MIRACLE MAGIC being real.  It means your plans are fundamentally bad, because magic is not a feature of our physical universe.  It means your mind fails to recognize the problems because it holds conservative thoughts for religious reasons, not good reasons.  It means that when presented with irrefutable proof that a conservative plan will hurt everyone, you will not alter your plan, or your warm feelings toward it.  Your self-identity is wrapped up in your bad plans.  Rather than separate your identity from your bad plan and change the plan, you preserve your self-identity by preserving the bad plan. 
You say:
                "We need to make the moral argument for free enterprise and individual effort."
These are two different things, and one doesn't exist.  "Free enterprise" is not "Free" as in "Freedom".  It is free as in "devoid of any laws".  There is no such thing as a valid moral argument for an enterprise that isn't bound by the same laws living, breathing, human citizen are bound by.  It's like making a moral argument for the squareness of circles.
As for individual effort, conservatives have a goofball notion of what this is.  They think a capitalist who steals labor instead of insisting on a minimum fair profit distribution has performed more "individual effort".  Everyone knows that almost all wealthy perform no useful work whatsoever.  Almost all wealthy, with exceedingly FEW exceptions, inherit and/or steal their wealth.  Everyone knows it now, thanks to the internet:
You say:
                "We need also to make the case that some programs, particularly when too generous, actually hurt real people instead of helping them, especially over the long term."
The only example I can think of that meets this description is defense contracting.  We overpay and get more wars, when we could hire actual warriors instead and create more peace.  
You say:
                ". . . . we need to make the case that we can make the transition from an entitlement society to an achievement society without undergoing a terrible wrenching of society. . . . . . making the case that people will be far better off in the long term."
If this was EVER going to be true, the bush tax cuts would have produced a TIDAL WAVE of demand for labor.  This never occurred.  Your beliefs were disproven upon the pain of our lifetimes, yet your beliefs about it failed to change in spite of concrete proof that hurt us so very badly.
You say:
                "It’s a difficult communications challenge. Conservatives need to do much better."
This is wrong.  You have a difficult HUMILITY challenge.  Your plans have deep inherent flaws, and even after you hurt us with them, you insist that we should get hurt some more.  You ran your experiment upon us, but you didn't alter your experiment when it failed.  You insist the experiment should have worked, that we should do it again, exactly the same way.
Conservatives need to admit that they have been bad.  They must apologize for the harm they caused.  Then they must alter their brains to create plans that acknowledge that no one is independent.  Every last one of us depends upon all the others. 
Your thoughts and plans are bad & wrong, NOT THE WAY YOU TALK ABOUT THEM.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rolling R's

I accidentally figured out how to roll my R's yesterday while singing parts of ranchero music to myself.  I've been listening to 102.3 "La Grande" to help pick up some words.  Sometimes I can follow the general theme of a song.  Most include some sentence about returning to your lover.  I don't know any whole song in español, really, I just have earworms for the interesting parts.

To roll an R, you first start off with an normal R sound, but while doing that you switch to an almost complete D sound, and then back to an R.  This hapens quite fast in practice, but you can go slow to learn it.  You'll know you've got it when you feel the vibration in your head during the middle part of the rolling R sound.  The R sound allows lots of air out of your mouth.  A pure D sound requires briefly holding your tongue against your top palate, just behind your top front teeth.  The D sound restricts the airflow, and you release it to make a plosive "Duh" noise.  But when rolling an R, the tongue doesn't completely restrict the airflow, because you leave a tiny sliver of space between the tongue and the top palate in the D-like position.  This tiny space with air rushing past causes your tongue to vibrate like the reed of a woodwind instrument.  Your tongue is extended to the top front of the mouth, making it stick out just enough like a lever fixed on one end.  The lower-jaw area is like the fixed end of the lever.  Your tongue muscles give the tongue just enough springiness to bounce back as the air rushing past between the small sliver of space tries to push the tongue away.  This sets up an oscillation.  The top palate is fixed, it can't move anywhere, so the air under pressure ( you are exhaling to make a rolling R sound after all ) tries to expand, but if all of the air can't slip through the thin space left by the tongue, the tongue gets pushed down.  The space is ever-so-slightly wider now, and so more air can escape past your top teeth.  This relieves the air pressure, so the tongue moves back into position.  This cycle will repeat and repeat for as long as you have a breath to exhale.  You can make the rolling R sound in an extended fashion until you must inhale once more.  This makes the rolling R a lot more like an extended L sound which can be held as long as you have breath.  But in the L, the air escapes around the sides of your tongue, not the tip.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

APM Marketplace's Bad "Promised Land" Fracking Journalism:Fire Scott Tong

In response to: APM Marketplace "Promised Land" Fracking Movie Report

Marketplace needs to fire Scott Tong for cause. This article violates basic standards of journalism.

Scott Tong says:
A plot twist at the end confirms the corporate villain. Ok -- bye bye reality. 
This was not presented as sarcasm.
For this statement to make any sense, Scott Tong must believe that our reality has NO corporate villains, or he is selfishly willing to benefit himself somehow even if it harms everyone else.

As a news organization dedicated to business news, APM Marketplace above all should know that our capitalism is littered with ample examples of such corporate villains. To have an attitude that is in such obvious conflict with we know is true suggests Scott Tong is happy to ignore evidence that conflicts with his preconceptions about what he thinks is true, or he knows the truth but wants to actively disinform the audience anyway.

Scott Tong also makes an extraordinary whopper of claim:
industry has fracked without incident for decades.
He lets this fish-tale of a proposition go completely unsupported in an entirely non-journalistic fashion.

If I knew nothing else about this situation, I could not help but notice this story seems to follow the common patterns of corrupted journalist seen today:
  1. Lobbyist front group makes false claims to press.
  2. "Journalist" asks no questions, challenges nothing, writes down claims as though he is just a stenographer.
  3. "Journalist" presents industry's false claims as "fact" to large audience by repeating them without doing any research that could have disproven false claims.
  1. Ideologue holds mental model of reality that has huge discrepancies with actual reality. These discrepancies are easily discernible to the common man.
  2. Ideologue gains access to a broadcast medium. Pretends to be a journalist or an analyst with a normally respectable opinion.
  3. Ideologue presents goofball claims as facts to large audience, abuses access to a broadcast vector to create false impression of credibility.
  4. Ideologue unjustly earns lots of attention for his verifiably incorrect ideas.
  5. Station does not notice or care the Ideologue is clearly wrong. Station may benefit from the false drama the Ideologue creates, willfully allows the corrupt situation it is fully aware of to continue.
If basic journalism had occurred here, there are some basic questions about the statement "industry has fracked without incident for decades." that Scott Tong would have provided answers to:
  • WHO:Name all the companies who have supposedly fracked safely. WHO:Are they same companies that want to frack now?
  • WHAT:Are these frackers using the same people, materials, equipment & methods now that have supposedly been used safely in the past?
  • WHAT:Were the very same mystery chemical that they want to use now used during the supposedly safe fracking?
  • WHEN:On what dates decades ago did this claimed safe fracking occur?
  • WHERE:Scott Tong should have provided the geographic coordinates for the locations of this supposed safe fracking of decades ago.
  • WHY:If fracking as it is understood today has truly been around "for decades", why are we only finding out about it now?
  • WHY:If past fracking similar to modern fracking has occurred, does it appear safe due to a lack of oversight at that time? Was there a comprehensive monitoring program put in place in advance to detect water contamination?
  • HOW:Do frackers use company specific chemical markers in their fluids so they can be held accountable when their chemicals show up in our drinking water?
  • HOW:Are frackers prohibited from conducting an operation unless EPA inspectors are present for the duration of the activity?
  • MONEY:Are there corrupt incentives? Do some landholders of towns that permit fracking take the money & run, so they never have to suffer the consequences of contaminated drinking water they leave behind for their neighbors?

This report was so bad, American Public Media needs to ascertain whether or not Scott Tong has any kind of financial interest in fracking or "good old boy" corruption network interest in pushing disinformation upon the audience.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Good Helmet Bill

Mr. Gehrke,

I like your proposed helmet law article.

Helmets Picture
Photo © by Jeff Dean

I would like to say so in the comments, but the tribune is blocking my comments simply because I prefer to write them on my own blog,, where I can spell check them, and post a link in the comments section of the tribune's articles.  Can you get them to stop blocking me?  It looks like the tribune is corruptly trying to force readers to never follow any links that take them off the tribune's website, or it doesn't like the possibility of criticism it can't control.  It's one thing to block a spammer, but quite another to block locals with valid viewpoints. 

I find it odd that people who want to ride recklessly claim a "freedom" argument, never acknowledging that their freedoms are limited by what can harm others.  This is basic civics, so obvious that it is stunning that anyone ever needs to point this out to anyone.  It is weird that no one makes the case for crashes completely avoided (thus not counted in statistics) because of the protection of a full face visor.  We don't allow car drivers to drive without windshields.

As a former taxi driver, tow truck driver, and officer responsible for the safety of a mobile communications squadron, I say kudos to Senator
Todd Weiler for this one sensible thing.  Most folks are terrible at assessing risk in daily life, and even those who actively manage risk can have a hard time doing it well.

I hope
Senator Weiler's colleagues are sensible enough to proceed, as it is clearly a positive, good change for our state.  Though I have no statistics to prove it, but logic would suggest that those against safety aren't the kind of people responsible enough to vote in elections, so the senators should have no fear of ballot box reprisals.

I urge Senator Weiler to make sure the bill requires full face helmets, and forbids the less safe open face helmets.  Reckless riders claim they get in the way of hearing, and thus supposedly reduce safety.  But hearing is not a reliable way to maintain safety, only vision is, and only full face helmets provide vision protection.  This is why deaf drivers who can see just fine are allowed to drive. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gov. & Lt. Gov. Fail To Think Critically About Higher Ed

In response to:

Lt. Gov. Greg Bell writes:"Gov. Herbert has set a state goal for 66% of our workforce to hold a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2020".  But Herbert won't be governor in 2020, and our population is suffering under low pay wage slavery right now.  There is no indication that 2 of every 3 jobs requires a degree, nor is it likely that this will ever be true. 

Bell reports:"Gov. Herbert then asked our colleges, universities, and technical colleges to prepare the numbers of students with the degrees and skills necessary to align with these workforce projections."  This is a dumb thing for anyone to do.  OF COURSE when you ask higher ed if more graduates are needed they will tell you we need more, more, MORE, MORE!  The governor should have looked at what is actually happening in the job market instead to determine for himself what is needed in reality.  The last thing Utah needs is a populace saddled with student debt & no corresponding excellent career opportunities, only lousy jobs that pay badly with no benefits.

If the governor wanted to help, he would demand that public school teachers be paid well enough that professors who can teach advanced calculus want to teach in our middle & high schools instead of in private universities.  He would decrease public school class sizes until those professors move to public schools. 

If the governor want to help, he would write a law that says no college can charge more for a degree than that school's last graduating class actually earns in their 1st year after graduation, counted only by grads who are using the knowledge from the degree program.  He would write a law that inserts into every student loan a clause that says repayment is limited to a fraction (no more than 10%) of the actual pay received by the graduate.  Herbert would insert a clause that says this income-based charge is only paid when earned by employment that actually uses the degree.  He would insert another clause that says the full debt is discharged after 4 years, so that if the student doesn't earn enough money with the degree after 4 years to repay the loan, then the degree and the loan weren't actually worth the price the school charged, and the student doesn't have to pay for value not delivered.

Education does not magically create careers.  It doesn't even create jobs.  The very best thing the Lt. Gov. could do to solve the problems of education is to demand a huge increase in the minimum wage.  This is the only thing that gives demand the ability to pay, thus generating work and enabling students to have money to solve their own problems.