Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 17th, 2015

Tiny hamster is a giant monster!! (Episode 7)

leave a comment »

Written by Leisureguy

17 October 2015 at 4:36 pm

Posted in Video

Gillette Milord (gold-plated version of 1940’s Super Speed) now up on eBay

leave a comment »

Open case

My 1940’s Milord is now up on eBay. Full description at the link. This one really is in amazingly good condition. I found I didn’t use it (which is why I’m selling: got to pay for my KME knife-sharpening system), preferring my 1940’s Super Speed with the unnotched bar and somewhat intimidated by the beautiful condition of the razor and box.

The blades, I’m sure, are anomalous. I believe that that time they were still using the blades in the blue package with the signature and likeness of King Camp Gillette (what a monicker!).

And just to say: my kitchen knives are now really sharp. I used a 20º, resetting the bevel as needed. (The X-Coarse diamond hone was very handy.) Once the bevel’s right, the other three stones and the strop go very fast. They seem to be simply polishing the bevel.

Written by Leisureguy

17 October 2015 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

Benign treatment of those in Arizona government who discriminate against and harass employees

leave a comment »

Rob O’Dell and Craig Harris report for the Arizona Republic:

Editor’s note: This story about government employees’ claims of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation contains graphic language.

It began with her boss touching her legs and staring at her breasts.

The woman later alleged he also kept showing her videos of hard-core porn. Once, the boss asked if he could “strip search” her.

Male co-workers mimicked the supervisor’s behavior, engaging in a litany of seedy come-ons. They asked her what color underwear she wore. They kissed and hugged her against her will. One guy stroked her inner thigh and crotch. Another tried to bite her.

The woman and the alleged culprits were guards at an Arizona Department of Corrections prison in Tucson, according to court records. The men’s behavior was so egregious that the U.S. Justice Department intervened and sued DOC on her behalf. DOC never admitted liability, but the state settled for $182,500.

Hers was one among 57 discrimination, harassment, retaliation or other workplace settlements that cost taxpayers more than $6 million from 2009 to 2014. About one-third were for $10,000 or less, while nearly half were $25,000 or more. Four of Arizona State University’s nine settlements cost the state more than $100,000 each, excluding legal costs.

The Arizona Republic’s investigation of the settled public employee cases also found:

 

  • Payouts averaged more than $72,000. The biggest was $949,288. Some of the largest settlements went towomen at state agencies and universities whose claims described harassment ranging from groping to sexual demands. One female correctional officer said she was handcuffed to a railing and pepper-sprayed. Two ASU students said they were propositioned by their professors.
  • Unequal pay for women remains a problem. In one case, a woman who complained was retaliated against withfalse allegations of sexual harassment. The accusations against her were eventually discredited, with a judge saying she was “exonerated.” But the state fought her claim, costing taxpayers 40 times what it would’ve cost to raise her pay.
  • The Republic found five of the accused named in settlement agreements were disciplined in connection with their alleged activities. One person was fired.
  • It took nearly two years on average for the state to settle, The Republic’s analysis found. The lingering cases sometimes cost taxpayers more because the state ended up picking up everyone’s legal tab. When employees went to court, it often took years to resolve because the state often didn’t settle until facing an adverse judgment in court.
  • The state Governor’s Office of Equal Opportunity was created to help agencies mediate problems and minimize harassment and discrimination. But its budget has shrunk, it no longer issues regular progress reports, and it wasdown to one employee most of this year.

 

“Anyone who has litigated (against the state) knows the culture. It’s one of secrecy, silence and concealment,” said civil-rights lawyer Stephen Montoya. “Something can be done and something needs to be done for the sake of taxpayers.” . . .

Continue reading. At the link are links to various stories, both by topic (“few consequences,” “court secrecy,” etc.) and to stories about particular individuals.

Written by Leisureguy

17 October 2015 at 10:16 am

Colorado laws give fired police officers from other states a second chance

leave a comment »

Christopher Osher reports in the Denver Post:

As a Los Angeles police officer, David Guiterman shoved a handcuffed homeless man into a squad car and leaned in to drench his face with pepper spray.

Video of the incident showed Guiterman closing the car’s door, a move that cut off ventilation and created what critics later called a “gas chamber” of horror. The mentally ill suspect pleaded for help, his face twisted in pain.

Despite Guiterman’s past in California, which also included a $50,000 settlement of an excessive-force lawsuit, he found work across state lines.

He ended up in Colorado, a state that does relatively little to keep cops with blemished records from being rehired in law enforcement. Soon Guiterman was causing controversy again after his new employer, the Vail Police Department, arrested him on charges of domestic violence and stalking.

RELATED: Colorado laws allow rogue officers to stay in law enforcement

Colorado is vulnerable to officers such as Guiterman coming from other states seeking to resurrect their careers, according to experts. Only a criminal conviction on a felony charge or certain misdemeanors automatically bar a cop from getting hired in law enforcement in Colorado, a lesser standard than in many states.

But the extent of the problem is unknown, in Colorado and nationally.

“We know it happens,” said Roger Goldman, a nationally recognized expert on officer misconduct who has helped write laws establishing state police review panels. “But we don’t know how frequently it happens. Anecdotally, we know there have been high-profile cases of it.”

He noted that malpractice litigation and adverse licensing actions are tracked federally for physicians, but no such system exists for law enforcement officers, who have the power to take a life and make arrests.

“We have it for docs but not for cops,” Goldman said. “That’s a problem.”

RELATED: Colorado Rep. to push bill against second-chance cops

The Denver Post made multiple requests for a state database of certified and decertified law enforcement officers from the state attorney general’s office to research the backgrounds of those trained in other states. The office refused to release key information to enable that analysis.

The state provided limited data that revealed that nearly 1,100 of the officers who held police certificates in Colorado in the past 10 years had received their original training outside the state.

But the attorney general’s office refused to identify those officers still working or the state where they received their training. Also excluded were all the agencies where those officers had worked in Colorado.

In a letter denying the newspaper’s request for information, David Blake, Colorado’s chief deputy attorney general, said making the database available to the public risked revealing the identity of officers working undercover. He refused to redact those undercover officers from the database. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 October 2015 at 10:09 am

Posted in Law Enforcement

Interesting (and useful) perspective on Russia’s assistance to Syria

leave a comment »

Gordon Adams, a professor emeritus of international relations at American University, and Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international affairs at Harvard, suggest a new way of looking at Russia’s involvement in Syria:

FOR four years, American policy toward Syria has been built on a wish and a prayer: a wish that President Bashar al-Assad would leave and a prayer that the “moderate” Syrian opposition would be more than it is. Now Russia has stepped up its game, and the response from the American government and many commentators seems to be to wish harder and pray more, while condemning Russia for intruding where it supposedly doesn’t belong.

As much as many Americans and Europeans may abhor what PresidentVladimir V. Putin of Russia did in Crimea and Ukraine, Moscow’s intervention in Syria may offer the first glimmer of hope for ending the quagmire there. Mr. Putin is right that only stable governance and security will allow Syrian refugees to return home.

Rather than pursue decisive victory, America must seek to end this war with a less dramatic, less satisfying settlement.

The United States should have two goals in Syria. First, bring order to those parts of the country that the Islamic State does not control. Second, strive to build a coalition of forces that can contain the Islamic State and eventually replace it. Russia’s “intrusion” could offer a chance to achieve both.

This means setting aside American prejudices and heated political rhetoric. Russia isn’t an intruder in Syria; it has been involved there for decades, just as America has been involved throughout the Middle East for more than 60 years. Mr. Assad is Russia’s protégé, and Syria is an operations base for the Russian military. The United States has its own, significantly larger set of friends and operating facilities in the region.

At present, both powers have an interest in regional stability. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 October 2015 at 8:36 am

Useful site: ReviewsOfBooks.com

leave a comment »

Here it is.

After reading about Obama’s meeting with Marilynne Robinson and how much he liked her second novel, Gilead, I downloaded a sample of the novel for my Kindle and was blown away by how good it is. Superb writing. So I wanted to read some reviews to see what others thought, and discovered the book review site, which seems useful.

Try reading a few pages of Gilead sometime and see what you think. Amazing writing.

Written by Leisureguy

17 October 2015 at 8:31 am

Posted in Books

An engineering theory of the VW scandal

leave a comment »

A plausible explanation of how the VW scandal came to be without anyone deliberately making the choice to commit fraud, by Paul Kedrosky in the New Yorker:

Last week, Volkswagen of America C.E.O. Michael Horn told a House subcommittee investigating his company’s ongoing emissions scandal that it wasn’t a corporate decision to cheat emissions tests by installing “defeat” software in eleven million diesel cars. Instead, Horn said, it was “a couple of software engineers.” His interlocutor, Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, reminded Horn that he was under oath and then asked him when Volkswagen’s senior management in Europe learned of the tampering, which reportedly began in 2009. When Horn replied that they found out only this September, Barton expressed incredulity.

“I agree, it’s very hard to believe,” Horn said.
Indeed, it was hard to believe. A couple of rogue engineers took it upon themselves to write and install software that slashed emissions on Volkswagen diesels, but only when the cars were being tested, then kept it from senior company figures? Sure, rogue financiers get caught up in scandals, but rogue engineers? And rogue German engineers, no less, from a culture famously fond of rules? Sag, dass das nicht wahr ist!
The explanation was at least mildly plausible, initially, though, because a modern high-end car is staggeringly complex. It requires something like a hundred million lines of code, about two hundred and fifty hundred times the number of lines in the Space Shuttle. No one could know every line of that software, making it theoretically possible that engineers could have sneaked in the emissions-defeating protocol without Volkswagen’s upper management knowing. Microsoft engineers did something like that decades ago, when they slipped a flight-simulator game into the shipping version of Excel 1997.
But on Wednesday, Spiegel issued a report, based on one of the many investigations taking place at Volkswagen and around the world, saying that at least thirty managers were involved in the cheating. This squares with Barton’s skepticism, not to mention common sense. Volkswagen engineers didn’t smuggle in software that allows you to play Tetris on in-car G.P.S. screens. They wrote code that fundamentally changed how the company’s diesel cars worked. The altered software affected engine emissions, mileage, cost, and power—all things that auto executives care about. In other words, while it’s technically possible to install such software, it’s hard to imagine that it could have gone unnoticed. Modern automobile engines are made by teams that design, build, test, and tune everything to produce the desired effect. Companies have been building these engines for more than a hundred years, refining a process the leaves no room for mysteries or magic outcomes. When a car produces more power, there is a reason; when a car produces fewer emissions, there is a reason. And when, at Volkswagen, its diesel engine produced forty times more nitrogen oxide when it wasn’t being tested than when it was, many people inside would have known why.
In a powerful book about the disintegration, immediately after launch, of the Challenger space shuttle, which killed seven astronauts in January of 1986, the sociologist Diane Vaughan described a phenomenon inside engineering organizations that she called the “normalization of deviance.” In such cultures, she argued, there can be a tendency to slowly and progressively create rationales that justify ever-riskier behaviors. Starting in 1983, the Challenger shuttle had been through nine successful launches, in progressively lower ambient temperatures, across the years. Each time the launch team got away with a lower-temperature launch, Vaughan argued, engineers noted the deviance, then decided it wasn’t sufficiently different from what they had done before to constitute a problem. They effectively declared the mildly abnormal normal, making deviant behavior acceptable, right up until the moment when, after the shuttle launched on a particularly cold Florida morning in 1986, its O-rings failed catastrophically and the ship broke apart.
If the same pattern proves to have played out at Volkswagen, then the scandal may well have begun with a few lines of engine-tuning software. Perhaps it started with tweaks that optimized some aspect of diesel performance and then evolved over time: detect this, change that, optimize something else. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 October 2015 at 8:19 am

Posted in Business, Technology

Wonderful BBS finish from a bad shave

leave a comment »

SOTD 17 Oct 2015

“A good shave” means for some that the final result is good, and in that sense today I had an excellent shave: fully BBS with sign of a nick or burn. However, I use “a good shave” to refer not just to the result, but to the entire experience, from turning on the hot-water tap at the start to splashing on the aftershave at the end. In that sense, my shave today was not so good.

The problem began when I started the shave and realized I had forgotten to wet the little horsehair brush I was going to use. Normally, I will wet the knot of a boar or horsehair brush before I shower and let the wet brush sit while I shower. By the time I shave, the knot has absorbed water and is soft and ready for lathering.

I wet the brush immediately, then washed my beard and rubbed the Ogallala shave stick against the grain, and started brushing briskly with the wet brush, but nothing much happened. A little lather, but very little. I again rubbed the stick over my beard, thinking the problem might be too little soap, wet the brush a little, and tried again. I got some lather, and I did the first pass, using the Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements double-comb razor (both cap and guard are open-comb).

For the second pass, no joy, and I threw in the towel, grabbed the RazoRock angel-hair synthetic, and used Dr. Jon’s Savannah Sunrise. This time I got an excellent lather with no problem, and the shave after that was good (in both senses).

A splash of The Holy Black Gunpowder Spice aftershave, and I’m enjoying an impeccably smooth face. I’ll have to return to that brush and that soap soon and figure out what the problem was.

Written by Leisureguy

17 October 2015 at 8:09 am

Posted in Shaving

%d bloggers like this: