About

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About the Site

Just some general musings by your host.  Whatever happens to have caught my fancy and headed me off to discovery of a new area of interest. For example, the picture is of the volcano at Chaiten, Chile. Yes, a real volcano really doing that. Nature is astounding sometimes

There will be some political commentary. Though much of this will have a political economy bent. Politics and the economy are inextricably linked.

I hope also that there will be some learning. In particular, I’m working my way through “GIStemp”, the computer code that NASA uses to turn temperature data into somewhat useless computer dreams. Some postings are education oriented (such as the GIStemp series that is all about explaining what their computer code is and does, step by step through the programs).

What Interests Me Now

Presently my major muses are the behaviour of the stock markets, the mass hysteria that is the Global Warming panic, and metrology – or how we measure things both present and past. Astrophysics and Stonehenge sneak in from time to time as well; and they are both related to each other and to the earlier topics. (Stonehenge is a giant stellar / planetary observatory for measuring time and space, while the cycle of sunspots has an eerie correlation with stock market cycles). I’m also interested in food related things, good beers and fine Scotch, but who isn’t ;-) And in good Eagle Scout fashion, I have an interest in preparedness, but it’s a minor sidebar.

The One. And there is only one… Plus EMAIL address in words

Please realize that there is only one of me. I sleep, cook, and eat meals with my family, take a shower, feed the cats; basically I will be AFK (Away From Keyboard) frequently. I will get back to it, but don’t be surprised if it takes just a little while some times. Life does happen from time to time between keystrokes…

I can be reached, sporadically, at:  pub4all ATSIGN aol DOT com but as noted, I am AFK frequently and sometimes don’t check email for a week or so.  Ah, the luxuries of being semi-retired (aka:  too young to retire and too old to get a job you like, but with enough money to grouse about it before you accept that pizza delivery gig ;-)

From The Wayback Machine

My background is in some ways very diverse. I grew up in Farm Country and have a strong interest in farming and agriculture. I started working for money at about 7 years old (helping my Dad build a restaurant – then washing mountains of dishes by hand for years…) and have not really stopped since.

Along the way I worked in hospitals for a bunch of years (during my “everyone wants me to be a Doctor” phase). Eventually I got a degree in Economics, but near the end of that process discovered that I really loved computers.

So my entire professional employment has been pretty much in the field of computing (modulo a couple of strange jobs my first year out of college) not Economics. I’ve spent about 25 years doing just about every kind of computer related job there is; from ‘grunt operator’ hanging tapes to Unix Systems Programmer and DBA and including managing a Supercomputer Data Center and being a hired gun management consultant for a decade or so. On one contract, I even turned a Microsoft Windows box into a 5 port router with QOS (quality of service filtering) turned on. On another, I managed the networking of a major campus expansion for Sun including CISCO routers. I know computing.

Paper Trails

I have an Bachlors in Economics from the U.C. system. I also have a pot load of credits from some various Community Colleges in everything from “Transistor and Semiconductor Theory” to “American Sign Language”. Oh, and a load of graduate level Education Theory units needed to get a teaching credential from the California State University system. And dozens and dozens of “industrial” classes that various employers sent me off to over the years. Everything from the RAMIS II database system on IBM mainframes (All of it. Every class for the 13 or 14 volumes of the manual set. I was a consultant on it for the maker and they had us “do it all”.) to “online automated” certification “classes” in Sun’s flavor of Unix so that a vendor I worked for could keep their sales certificate. And about 9 units toward an MBA (but that’s another long story…) that I may finish some day, or maybe not.

I did pick up a Lifetime Teaching Credential at the Community College Level from the State of California (they don’t make those any more, but I’m “grandfathered”) in Data Processing and Related Technologies and have taught for a few years at a local community college. Fun gig.

Wouldn’t mind doing it again. But lots of places now want a Microsoft Certification and, well, I’m just not interested in that, and never will be. (I can “do” MS stuff, and have; but see no reason to send MS even more money. Gates has enough.) The idea that a manufacturers certificate (for which you must pay a bundle every couple of years) would trump a formal Credential (and all the mandated training including graduate level education theory) is, IMHO, broken; but such is life. Why one needs Microsoft (or Red Hat) to tell you (for a large fee) “what you know”; is beyond me. That’s what the C.V. and Credential are for…

Oh, and the Institute For The Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) has what they called their “capstone” certification, the CDP, that I also hold. Why? Don’t ask why… it seemed like a good idea at the time…

Sidebar: Economics degree and Computer Credential? How?

For those folks GenX and younger, I need to point out that there was a time, not very long ago, when there was no Computer Science major. The computer was just a nifty new tool useful in many fields. When I was in college, you could get a Math degree, with computing emphasis (lots of software); an Engineering degree (usually EE) with computing emphasis (lots of hardware and some software), or an Economics degree (with optional computing emphasis often stressing accounting and similar systems but with some econometric modeling). That’s why I don’t have a C.S. degree.

Nor did any of my computer science teachers… Most of my computer classes were from the Engineering or Math departments, though one was from the medical school (Biomedical Applications of Computers) but while he taught in the Med School, the professor who taught the class had an Engineering PhD. Life is not as simple as putting things in hard categories or groups… And not one of them had a Microsoft certification. (Though, in fairness, one would not use MS products in a life and death situation like medicine. One “crash” would ruin your whole day…)

The Song of Money Still Played

But that Economic passion was always lurking in the background. I accumulated a very large library on finance and investing over the years.

I’ve invested some fair amount, and read a mountain of books on investing and trading. Now, for lack of a better offer, I make enough to “get by” trading stocks. I like it, and it keeps the bills paid. At some point I hope to either write a book about “how to do it” or make the method into a computer program to do the trading for me. It is fun, and it makes money. And it keeps those Economics skills sharp.

And Then Global Warming Came Along

But I’ve gotten pulled into showing that the whole Global Warming thesis is just broken. It is based on a belief that the computer generated fantasy is more accurate than reality. That is all too common in folks who have not had the experience of working with computers “down and dirty” in the code. So for now, I’ve dusted off those old FORTRAN skills and I’m working my way, one step at a time, through the code and the data, finding just were, and how, it is broken. Maybe a book will come from this some day, too.

Why? Because the “running out” paranoia and the “carbon cap” solution will destroy the American Economy. I want a better world than that for my kids. Simple as that. Because I hate error and waste, and the AGW thesis with the proposed “solution” is both. The rest flows as a natural consequence.