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Category Archives: Social

Whiteness

Just a little experiment here, let’s take a look at the current cabinet:

22 positions.  1 African American, 1 Chinese American.  6 women.

90.9% White, 9.1% Non-White, 4.5% African American, 4.5% Chinese American, 27.2% Women. 0% Hispanic/Latino.

For the United States, the general demographics are:

62.0% White, 17.3% Hispanic or Latino, 12.6% Black/African America, 5.2% Asian.  50.5% women.

If you have any doubt about how the current administration views woman and minorities, the proof is here:

 

United States Secretary of State

Mike Pompeo official photo (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Mike Pompeo

since April 26, 2018

United States Secretary of the Treasury

Steven Mnuchin official photo (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Steven Mnuchin

since February 13, 2017

United States Secretary of Defense

James Mattis official photo (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Jim Mattis

since 20 January 2017

United States Attorney General

Jeff Sessions, official portrait (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Jeff Sessions

since February 9, 2017

United States Secretary of the Interior

Ryan Zinke official portrait (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Ryan Zinke

since March 1, 2017

United States Secretary of Agriculture

Sonny Perdue headshot.jpg

Incumbent
Sonny Perdue

since April 25, 2017

United States Secretary of Commerce

Wilbur Ross headshot.jpg

Incumbent
Wilbur L. Ross

since February 28, 2017

United States Secretary of Labor

Alexander Acosta headshot.jpg

Incumbent
Alexander Acosta

since April 28, 2017

United States Secretary of Health and Human Services

Alex Azar official portrait (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Alex Azar

since January 29, 2018

United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Ben Carson headshot.jpg

Incumbent
Ben Carson

since March 2, 2017

United States Secretary of Transportation

Elaine Chao official portrait (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Elaine Chao

since January 31, 2017

United States Secretary of Energy

Rick Perry official portrait (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Rick Perry

since March 2, 2017

United States Secretary of Education

Betsy DeVos official portrait (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Betsy DeVos

since February 7, 2017

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Robert Wilkie official portrait (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Robert Wilkie

since July 30, 2018

United States Secretary of Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen official photo (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Kirstjen Nielsen

since December 6, 2017

Office of the United States Trade Representative

Robert Lighthizer
Robert E. Lighthizer official portrait.jpg

Director of National Intelligence

Dan Coats official DNI portrait.jpg

Incumbent
Dan Coats

since March 16, 2017

United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Nikki Haley official photo (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Nikki Haley

since January 27, 2017

Office of Management and Budget

Mick Mulvaney
Mick Mulvaney official photo.jpg

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Gina Haspel official CIA portrait (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Gina Haspel

since May 21, 2018

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Andrew Wheeler official photo.jpg

Incumbent
Andrew R. Wheeler
Acting

since July 9, 2018

Administrator of the Small Business Administration

Linda McMahon official photo (cropped).jpg

Incumbent
Linda McMahon

since February 14, 2017

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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in Political, Social

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20 Years

It is the year 2018.  Everyone in the developed world carries a supercomputer in their pockets now, with instant access to the sum of human knowledge.  How much has changed in the last twenty years?  This is a personal perspective of how much has changed.  I am not here to bemoan our current state of affairs, with a undying affinity to days long past, no, I am here to show how life was different for me and a good percentage of Americans 20 years ago.

First off, computers were developing rapidly at the time.  Most computing was done on desktop computers, Pentium MMX and K6 chips in the 200Mhz range were most common.  64mb of RAM was the standard at the time.  Windows 98 was released pretty late in the year, so most people are running Windows 95 or still clinging to Windows 3.1.  In August of 1998, Apple would release the iMac.  The computer that saved the company.  With a G3 processor running at 233Mhz, it could go toe to toe with any windows machine and was cute as well.  Many people were already online, via American Online, or other dial-up services.  33.6Kbps modems were the standard at the time.  Google didn’t exist yet.  Yahoo, Alta-Vista and Hotbot were the search engines at the time.  Only hard core enthusiasts had their own websites.  Cyberphreak.com started in June, 1998.  CRT monitors were the standard display technology.

Portable computers were popular, with the Palm III released and the first Palmtops from HP and Casio out as well.  The smartphones we use today owe a debt to Palm, the interface is virtually identical.  They were monochrome, but they worked and great ways to store contacts, calendars, and tasks.  Cell phones were gaining in popularity, but the plans were expensive.  Everyone still had a home phone and that phone line was usually used for connecting online.

In the living room DVD’s were released the year before and the uptake of DVD’s remains as the fastest media transition.  Everyone still has a VCR and it was the only way to record television.  If you wanted to watch a movie at home, you would have to take a trip to the local video store or Blockbuster.  You would watch these movies on a 21 to 32 inch CRT, in 4:3 aspect ratio.  Other exotic displays are available, but far out of reach for the average consumer.  Streaming services are a decade away but cable TV did have video on demand at extreme prices.

If you want music on the go, you will probably be using a portable CD player or cassette.  Records never really went away for home use, but most people listened to CDs at home.  For books, you bought them at a bookstore, or maybe Amazon, there were many bookstores at the time, or you went to the library.  E-readers will be coming, but nowhere in 1998.  If you wanted the news you could get it online, or watch TV news, or just buy a newspaper.  Most people still got their news via TV or the paper at the time.

Shopping was done almost entirely in real stores.  Department stores still ruled.  Shopping online at the time was pretty rare, except for Amazon and eBay.  In 1998 Amazon was an online bookstore, but not much else.  eBay was for everything else, and I remember using eBay, even back in 1998.  Anything household was still bought in real stores.  Electronics were at Best Buy, Radio Shack, or Circuit City.  This is also where you went if you wanted to purchase CDs, DVD’s, computers, and cell phones.  You did a lot of driving back then.  Speaking of driving, I hope you like paper maps.  Practical affordable GPS is a few years out as well.

The greatest change I have noticed in the last 20 years is just how connected and dependent we are on the internet.  Today, most homes have high speed, always connected internet.  All of our phones have high speed, always connected internet.  We order just about everything through the internet.  We pay all of our bills, talk to our family, read the news, watch movies, and 1,000 other things through the internet.  I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, it is just different.  For anyone too young to remember 1998, it was a different time, but we still had the internet, we could still listen to music on the go, and still meet people on the internet.  I guess the real reason I look back on that time fondly is I really came of age in 1998.  I graduated from college in 1998.  I met my wife online in 1998.  We were looking forward to the new millenia.  Jobs were plentiful and real wages were rising.  Real changes were all around us.  We were looking forward, instead of backwards.

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Posted by on August 10, 2018 in Computers, Social

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10 years and some advice to young people

Looking back 10 years.  

I was looking back at blog post from 10 years ago, and I was reminded just how bad those days were.  The economy took a terrible hit; it was the start of the great recession.  At the time, our son was only a year old, so that consumed most of our time, but it was hard not to notice how bad the economy was going.  

Over the next year or so, there were two rounds of layoffs where I worked.  Eventually, I think they shed over 40% of their workforce!  I weathered the recession fairly well, except for the fact a ‘new normal’ was set with no raises, unpaid time off, and a cutbacks at every level.  As a word of warning, if the company you are working for switches from Spoons, Knives, and Forks to Sporks in the lunchroom, they are in trouble.  I think we, as a country, were really changed by that recession.  The whole employer/employee relationship changed.  You could no longer just ask for a raise, you should be happy that you have a job.  For the generation that entered the workforce at the time, they will always have a skewed sense of what is appropriate or not.

For the young people out there:  You should expect a raise every year.  You should get paid vacation and sick days off.  Your raises should be more that just inflation.  If they are not, you are actually making less every year.  You should have decent health insurance.  I have heard of some nightmare plans out there, where you are more or less given a credit card, and when that money is gone, it is gone.  Your employer should work hard to retain you, not you having to justify your position every 90 days.  You should be able to work for years at the same company, no more of this ‘gig’ economy crap.  You should expect free or inexpensive coffee.  Most importantly, men and women died for you to have a 40 hour work week.  Do not let their sacrifice be in vain.

Don’t let employers take advantage of this new normal.  There are a lot of jobs out there, looking for skilled people.  If you have any skill in engineering or mathematics, the industry really needs you.  Get a STEM degree or a practical trade certification.  There are not enough graduates or tradespeople to fill the positions.  Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.  Programming is great and all, but those willing to build and fix real things in the real world are well rewarded.  Enough of my graduation speech, get out there and live!

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Posted by on September 27, 2017 in General Comments, Social

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The Challenger

24 years ago the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated shortly after it was launched. I was 11 going on 12 years old at the time. I was sitting in an English class in 6th grade at the time. I still remember the look of shock the teacher had that day when she told us what happened. I guess it is like you will always remember where you were when you first heard about the World Trade Center on 9/11 or when Kennedy was shot, or where you where when man first stepped in the moon. I didn’t get to see it live, since I was in school and most of my siblings were home sick that day. It was a sad day for Americans, and a sad day for space exploration.

Today, it is used as an engineering and management example of what not to do and how important communication is in an organization. I think most problems stem from communication issues. 9/11? Lack of communication between Federal agencies. Marriages breaking up? Lack of communication between the partners. Mars Lander failure? Lack of communication between the designers for what system of measurements was used. Hurricane Katrina? Lack of communication with FEMA and the inability to warn the residents in timely matter. In this day and age of world wide communication, it is the lack of proper interpersonal skills and clear understanding that gets us.

Unfortunately, this mistake gets repeated over and over and I really don’t know if it will ever be fixed. I think it is really part of human nature. It could be because we evolved to deal with relatively small groups and our genetic heritage just fails us when we pass a certain point of people. Where I work, word of mouth is so much faster than formal e-mails it is not even funny. It was like that at my last job as well. I would be willing to bet it is a pretty common problem not just in American culture, but a world wide phenomenon in corporate culture with companies with over 15 people.

So, in th end, if we just communicated more effectively, a lot more people would be alive right now. Thank you for teaching us an important lesson, flight crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger, but I doubt it will really sink in for a long time.

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Posted by on January 28, 2010 in Social

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