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Comment How long is long enough? (Score 1) 220

I'm old enough to remember when even simple tools were built to last. On my grandfather's farm laborers had to shovel across 40 acre fields to allow excess rainfall water to drain into water furrows. Three hundred seventy eight 40 inch rows across a quarter mile, six different cuts down the length of the field, six or seven times during the season, on three different fields.

The shovels they used lasted for years. The older ones had a hole worn in the wooden handle where the workers thumb had gripped. Only when the metal blade had ground down too short was the shovel retired. Now if you put any muscle to a wooden handle it will break in two. You have to get a very expensive steel or fiberglass handle. Then after a few years the blade will fracture and break. You can find commercial heavy duty tools but sixty years ago or more all tools where considered heavy duty.

Lower quality consumer grade tools are fine for home owners, no way I'm going to use a shovel long enough to wear a hole in the handle. Just as long as the price reflects the quality. In case you want to know, today one man drives a hundred thousand dollar tractor equipped with an articulating 30 ft wide blade through the field to cut the cross furrows. At the right place in the field the blade is dropped and the sections use hydraulic cylinders to push in opposite directions to form a cut across the rows. Yes I did have some experience with the shovel method, the tractor is much nicer.

Comment Re:U.S. could lower carbon emissions 100% (Score 1) 346

The smoke stack on the coal plant ten miles from my house is about 500 ft tall. With a stiff wind what smoke you can see goes level for miles. In calm winds it goes straight up. I have never been able to smell anything, unlike the paper mill that is two miles from the power plant. A north-west wind brings the rotten egg smell that my father in law (he worked there for 45 years) says smells like ham and eggs to him.

Comment Re:Dogma is dogma... (Score 1) 510

I'll bite. Every six months or so this argument comes around. I consider myself a rational Christian. I define a god as a being who can defy the laws of physics. The Christian God is the creator of the universe. We see things the way he wants us to see them. All your science works because it is supposed to. I think it is stupid of religious politicians to push religion in public schools. It makes Christians look like idiots who can't believe what they see.

The religious part of our culture can be accommodated (Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah) and other faiths as they are integrated into the national culture. Public school is for teaching established facts, religious teachings should be left to parochial schools.

I fail to see how not believing in evolution prevents you from learning mathematics, history, or even biology. Abortion rights are what it all boils down to. Never fear, if you knock up your girlfriend, or you are the knockee you will always be able to get one. In Texas you might have to drive a ways.

Comment Re:And obviously, Ireland will rebate on the taxes (Score 1) 87

To negotiate with the IRS keep calling until you get a compatible agent. My business failed and left me with a $20,000 tax bill. Unable to pay that penalties and interest drove it to $50,000. I got a job and the IRS garnished any of my wages over $300 a week. That made providing for my wife and two children difficult. My wife called them to make other arrangements. Every one who had a particular accent told her pay up. After a while she got an agent who spoke with our accent. After a few questions she ask my wife what could we pay. I paid $200 a month for 10 years. The actual total owed actually went up a few hundred but I never missed a payment and by IRS rules any tax owed after making a good faith effort to repay is considered noncollectable after ten years and is no longer due.

Comment Re:Make a law saying that independent repair shops (Score 1) 279

I started farming 45 years ago. My 1971 3020 can still pull a load. I have worked with many different John Deere models. For me the 4440 and 4850 were perfect. I worked for a farmer who re powered every ten years or so. The 4020s were worn but drove well. I loved the 4440 and 4850. The 4960s were trash with the dashes falling off, alarms blinking and the ACs out. I had to buy a $75 crows-foot wrench to keep in the cab from the Snap-on guy because the output line from the hydraulic pump kept coming loose. His 8400? Captain Kirk might like it but you didn't drive it, you just suggested what you would like it to do.

I worked for a man who had a new King Ranch Ford dually pulling a horse trailer. It left him and his wife and three horses stranded outside of Atlanta on I-75 because an injector malfunctioned and a pollution sensor shut the engine down. After several hours a mechanic got it running only to have it stop again a few miles down the road. He got another truck to take the trailer and him back to Florida and left the Ford sitting on the side of the road. He told the Dealer to go get it if he wanted it. No limp home mode, just full stop for an emission problem. Electronics can make motors run more efficiently but you get little leeway if there is a problem. The software solution is to just shut down.

Comment Re:GMO itself isn't the problem. Its how its used (Score 1) 357

I was a farmer before herbicides were available. Cultivation to suppress weeds is time and fuel consuming and only partially effective. However using herbicides to control weeds does not make them super-weeds invulnerable to cultivation. If weeds become resistant to herbicides the farmer can always fall back to cultivation.

Even GMO seeds will grow without using herbicides but why pay the premium. Non GMO seeds are readily available for those who chose to fight weeds with hoes and discs instead of spray.

Comment Re:Google employees do this informally (Score 1) 258

A little story about discrimination. My wife is taking nursing classes. There were 13 students in her class. After the proctored test they had to pass to advance to the final six months of the course, all six of the black students failed. There was much screaming, crying, and accusations of discrimination for failing all the blacks, and one white student.

Two of the blacks who were a few points from passing were advanced so it wouldn't look so bad. I guess affirmative discrimination isn't bad. Oh, the student who had the highest score, in the 99th national percentile? My wife. Who at this very moment is texting with one of the passed black students trying to help her with her studying.

For the last year the teacher had been giving extra credit, throwing out missed questions, and curving grades to make all the students look good. With the independently graded test the slackers were found out. If racial equality was ensured in six months these losers might be handing out medications in a hospital near you.

Comment Re:Google employees do this informally (Score 1) 258

Statistically women earn 70% of what men earn, why? If Google ensures gender equality women's salaries will have to be equal to men's even if their performance is not. Just like affirmative action students in college have the stigma of were their grades good enough or were they just admitted to make quota? Of course women's performance metrics will have to be graded at least average, how could they not?

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