Archive for January 3rd, 2013
The Wife pointed out this marvelous Web site: Riverwalkjazz.stanford.edu.
It would seem as though this problem could be solved instantly by one call from the president. Nick Bilton reports in the NY Times:
Over the last year, flying with phones and other devices has become increasingly dangerous.
In September, a passenger was arrested in El Paso after refusing to turn off his cellphone as the plane was landing. In October, a man in Chicago was arrested because he used his iPad during takeoff. In November, half a dozen police cars raced across the tarmac at La Guardia Airport in New York, surrounding a plane as if there were a terrorist on board. They arrested a 30-year-old man who had also refused to turn off his phone while on the runway.
Who is to blame in these episodes? You can’t solely pin it on the passengers. Some of the responsibility falls on the Federal Aviation Administration, for continuing to uphold a rule that is based on the unproven idea that a phone or tablet can interfere with the operation of a plane.
These conflicts have been going on for several years. In 2010, a 68-year-old man punched a teenager because he didn’t turn off his phone. Lt. Kent Lipple of the Boise Police Department in Idaho, who arrested the puncher, said the man “felt he was protecting the entire plane and its occupants.” And let’s not forget Alec Baldwin, who was kicked off an American Airlines plane in 2011 for playing Words With Friends online while parked at the gate.
Dealing with the F.A.A. on this topic is like arguing with a stubborn teenager. The agency has no proof that electronic devices can harm a plane’s avionics, but it still perpetuates such claims, spreading irrational fear among millions of fliers.
A year ago, when I first asked Les Dorr, a spokesman for the F.A.A., why the rule existed, he said the agency was being cautious because there was no proof that device use was completely safe. He also said it was because passengers needed to pay attention during takeoff.
When I asked why I can read a printed book but not a digital one, the agency changed its reasoning. I was told by another F.A.A. representative that it was because an iPad or Kindle could put out enough electromagnetic emissions to disrupt the flight. Yet a few weeks later, the F.A.A. proudly announced that pilots could now use iPads in the cockpit instead of paper flight manuals.
The F.A.A. then told me that “two iPads are very different than 200.” But experts at EMT Labs, an independent testing facility in Mountain View, Calif., say there is no difference in radio output between two iPads and 200. “Electromagnetic energy doesn’t add up like that,” said Kevin Bothmann, the EMT Labs testing manager.
It’s not a matter of a flying device hitting another passenger, either. Kindles weigh less than six ounces; Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs weighs 2.1 pounds in hardcover. I’d rather be hit in the head by an iPad Mini than a 650-page book.
In October, after months of pressure from the public and the news media, the F.A.A. finally said it would begin a review of its policies on electronic devices in all phases of flight, including takeoff and landing. But the agency does not have a set time frame for announcing its findings. . .
Continue reading. It’s quite clear that the FAA is making up reasons to have the rule, rather than basing the rule on reasons. Apparently it is just a sort of agency Viagra, to feel their power.
The evidence established by several studies, which took into account other factors, has been overwhelming: environmental lead is a social disaster. Kevin Drum has a recent article in Mother Jones that looks at the studies:
WHEN RUDY GIULIANI RAN FOR MAYOR of New York City in 1993, he campaigned on a platform of bringing down crime and making the city safe again. It was a comfortable position for a former federal prosecutor with a tough-guy image, but it was more than mere posturing. Since 1960, rape rates had nearly quadrupled, murder had quintupled, and robbery had grown fourteenfold. New Yorkers felt like they lived in a city under siege.
Throughout the campaign, Giuliani embraced a theory of crime fighting called “broken windows,” popularized a decade earlier by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in an influential article in The Atlantic. ”If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired,” they observed, “all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.” So too, tolerance of small crimes would create a vicious cycle ending with entire neighborhoods turning into war zones. But if you cracked down on small crimes, bigger crimes would drop as well.Giuliani won the election, and he made good on his crime-fighting promises by selecting Boston police chief Bill Bratton as the NYPD’s new commissioner. Bratton had made his reputation as head of the New York City Transit Police, where he aggressively applied broken-windows policing to turnstile jumpers and vagrants in subway stations. With Giuliani’s eager support, he began applying the same lessons to the entire city, going after panhandlers, drunks, drug pushers, and the city’s hated squeegee men. And more: He decentralized police operations and gave precinct commanders more control, keeping them accountable with a pioneering system called CompStat that tracked crime hot spots in real time.
Interesting short, narrated by Ed Asner:
Note that the different amounts of taxes paid are roughly equal in value to the taxpayer: the modest payment from the poor person means as much to him as the bigger amounts paid by middle class people and much bigger amounts paid by the wealthy: all are parting with (roughly) an amount of equal value to the taxpayer—the “widow’s mite” idea (or the marginal utility theory of the value of fungible things).
Texas continues to amaze me. Read about this traffic stop and how it escalated for no reasons that make any sense whatsoever.
My resolution is to eat one of these:
Totally wonderful shave. A reader suggested I try Spencer & Devon shaving cream. I chose the Spice fragrance and used it this morning with the Mühle silvertip brush shown. The cream has a very nice fragrance and is of the soft variety: wet brush well, shake it out well, and twirl the tips to coat them with cream. Brush that on your (wet, washed) beard to coat the entire beard, then run a driblet of hot water into the center of the brush and work up the lather, adding additional water as needed.
This is a premium (read: expensive) shaving cream and contains shea butter, which doubtless increases the moisturizing properties. Shea butter is a favored ingredient in many shaving products: from l’Occitane, Insitut Karité (of course), Shea Moisture Three Butters Lotion, and quite a few of the artisanal shaving soaps and creams (e.g., HoneybeeSoaps.net, Strop Shoppe, and others). Not to put too fine a point on it, you can get the benefits of shea butter at a lower price. Still, this is an excellent shaving cream.
The lather comes up quite readily—the sort of lather that really doesn’t give the shaver much to do, unlike soap lather (which is perhaps why I prefer lather from soaps: I feel then as though I contributed). It feels nice and shaves well, this morning with the bakelite slant (treasured now all the more since the supply is exhausted), holding a Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge blade.
I realized recently why some don’t like this razor (without trying it that is: a dislike similar to those who say they dislike a food they’ve never tasted): their criteria include the material of which the razor is made (i.e., the criterion is “metal”) rather than the characteristics of the material of which the razor is made (i.e., the criteria used to define the material that will be used). The former is more like a marketing criterion, the latter more like a materials engineering set of criteria.
For example, looking at the criteria for the material to be used, one thinks of things like:
- Stable over time and in the special environment of shaving (e.g., it must withstand constant exposure to water and humidity, be unaffected by alcohol and relatively high temperatures (as high as the boiling point of water));
- Light in weight (a significant advantage for a slant, whereas for a straight-bar razor this criterion would be the opposite: a massive head aids a straight-bar’s chopping action);
- Low heat conduction (several have commented how nice it is to rinse the razor under very hot water and then touch it to their cheek and not feel heat-burn);
- Amenable to molding and mass production; and
- Ideally, inexpensive (i.e., cost-effective: getting the biggest bang for the buck).
Using these criteria, stainless steel fails easy molding, low heat conduction, and inexpensive. Regular steel fails badly in stable in the shaving environment. Brass plated with some other material (nickel, gold, rhodium) fails only heat conductivity and (relative) cost.
I did not start out with these criteria, but rather came up with them after discovering what a superb razor this is and got to wondering why they decided to make it from Bakelite. That made me think of the criteria one would use to select the material from which to make a slant-bar razor. As I thought about the criteria, I realized that Bakelite really is an optimal solution.
In any event, I enjoyed an excellent shave, followed by a splash of Pashana so I will be in top form for the dentist this morning.