Your government (not) at work

Reduce MY energy

governmentYour government (not) at work are a few stories that engaged my interest:

There was a terrible report about a young driver who killed seven motorcyclists in a New Hampshire crash this spring. In light of that, Massachusetts suspended more than 500 drivers licenses.

“The [Massachusetts] Registry of Motor Vehicles failed to act on information sent from other states that called for the suspension of some drivers’ licenses… The dismal driving history of the man charged with [the horrific accident] — coupled with bureaucratic failures in Massachusetts that allowed him to keep his license — highlight weaknesses in the state and federal systems designed to keep unsafe drivers off the road.

“The case of 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy has exposed a patchwork system of oversight that’s reliant on the actions of individual states, many of which use a slow-moving, paper-driven communication network.”


There were primaries in New York State in late June, and I noted these results in a town in Albany County.
KNOX COUNCILMAN (VOTE FOR) 2
(WITH 3 OF 3 EDs COUNTED)
Earl H. Barcomb . . . . . . . . 179 34.82
Dennis P. Barber . . . . . . . . 178 34.63
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 157 30.54
Of course, the two candidates won. But if the write-in count had exceeded 178 votes, the Board of Elections would have had to start differentiating WHO got those write-ins.


Last month, I got this message at work: “This is a reminder to turn your lights off today as a participant in this year’s ‘2019 Daylight Hour’, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. Daylight Hour is an effort to raise awareness of energy savings and the impact humans can have on saving energy. This message is to encourage all SUNY System Administration, SUCF, and RF employees to join this effort by shutting off all unnecessary lights from noon to 1 pm today.

“Many of our campuses have already signed up for this event. Plaza Operations will be lowering corridor and lobby lighting during this time period. We ask that all participants turn off their work space and office lighting where possible. Behavioral impact can be much greater than most people recognize. This event will help illustrate the impact our decisions have on our overall energy costs.”

I dutifully complied. I couldn’t get much done at work that hour because I couldn’t really read my keyboard. The dimmed lighting also made me sleepy. I wrote to a colleague: “Reduce energy AND kill productivity!”

D is for Daylight Saving Time is dopey

PLEASE stop the messing with our circadian rhythms via DST.

clockI’ve discovered that the process of blogging has helped me experience evolving positions on many issues. But it has actually hardened my point of view on one topic: Daylight Saving Time, which, I believe, is demented, and more importantly, destructive.

From CNN:

*Whatever energy savings may have been gleaned when we had a more agrarian society is no longer applicable.
Continue reading “D is for Daylight Saving Time is dopey”

E is for Energy eponyms

I’m more interested in those eponymous words that have “entered in many dictionaries as lowercase when they have evolved a common status, no longer deriving their meaning from the proper-noun origin.”

An eponym, if you don’t know (and even if you do), is one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named. For example, the Bowie knife or the sandwich (for some Earl of Sandwich) or gerrymandering.

From Wikipedia: “A synonym of ‘eponym’ is namegiver (not to be confused with namesake). Someone who (or something that) is referred to with the adjective eponymous is the eponym of something. An example is: ‘Léon Theremin, known as the eponymous inventor of the theremin.'” The most famous use of the theremin is on the Beach Boys song Good Vibrations.

There are LOTS of examples of upper case eponyms, such as parts of the body (Adam’s apple) or names of diseases (Alzheimer’s disease). I’m more interested in those eponymous words that have “entered in many dictionaries as lowercase when they have evolved a common status, no longer deriving their meaning from the proper-noun origin.” Among the nouns that have achieved this status, many relate to energy. Check out this list:
hertz (Hz), frequency – Heinrich Rudolf Hertz
joule (J), energy, work, heat – James Prescott Joule
newton (N), force – Isaac Newton
ohm (Ω), electrical resistance – Georg Ohm
volt (V), electric potential, electromotive force – Alessandro Volta
watt (W), power, radiant flux – James Watt
Most of these are fairly common terms.

But WHY these? I have no idea. The only eponym list I found comparably lowercase is those which derived from products that were once brand names but are now generic, such as linoleum and videotape.


ABC Wednesday – Round 13

Technology and Me

Once again, this weekend, I was the technological hero, getting papers to print for my wife.


As you may know, about three years ago, Congress banned incandescent bulbs in the energy bill by 2014 (or 2012; i’ve read both). Recently, a couple Republicans have offered up legislation called the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (or BULB Act, which would “repeal the de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb contained in Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.” Frankly, I’m not unsympathetic to their position. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. I read that in the last month, the last major U.S. factory making the traditional light bulbs has closed, with a “Virginia manufacturing plant [taking] its jobs to China, where making eco-friendly CFLs is cheaper.”

I must admit that I have not yet warmed the new CFLs for at least two reasons:
1. They take longer to illuminate a room, more noticeable with my aging eyes.
2. There are trace amounts of mercury in the bulbs, and I don’t know where/how to throw them away.
And the need to throw them away has already occurred; despite supposedly lasting 10 times longer – a good thing since they cost about four times as much – we’ve had a couple go on us already, and just don’t know what to do with them. I suspect there is/will be massive hoarding of incandescent bulbs, the epitome of the “good idea”.
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I was riding my bike home from church this week and I saw someone’s Blackberry lying in my path. It looks as though it had been severally damaged, either from the fall, or possibly from a car running over it. I couldn’t turn it on. I realize that, in all possibility someone is going to be devastated by the loss of their tool, and it made me think – do I really want one of these things? I’m likely to lose the damn thing. Then where would I be?
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Tuesday night, I want to record both The Good Wife and Parenthood, Tuesday at 10 pm. Normally the DVR would allow this, but no. And it’s because the Dancing with the Stars results show is running until 10:01 pm and I can’t record three shows at once; there’s no option to shorten the programming of DWTS back to 10 pm. And for a brief moment, I was a bit annoyed by this until I thought, “Hey, I can record two shows at once. That’s pretty remarkable!” Would have saved me some grief in the 1980s when St. Elsewhere and the Equalizer were both on Wednesday at 10 pm. In any case, the solution to the current issue is simple; stay up until 10:01 pm, record one of the shows and go to bed. In case you thought, “Stay up and watch it on our (non-existent) other TV,” I don’t watch TV in real time anymore, with the rare exception of some sporting events. In case you were suggesting, “Don’t record DWTS” – hey, it’s my wife’s show, not mine.
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Once again, this weekend, I was the technological hero, getting papers to print for my wife. And here’s the great secret: I cold rebooted the computer (Ctrl-Alt-Delete was NOT working); I unplugged, then replugged the printer, which bizarrely seems to have no on/off switch. In retrospect, I could have just shut off and turned on the surge protector. Here’s to rebooting, which people STILL insist has NOTHING to do with actually kicking your machines.
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I haven’t switched to WordPress 3.0 yet. I asked a techie if I should and he said, “Sure, just make sure you don’t lose anything you want.” Which, to my ears means, “Leave the damn thing alone.”