The co-star of the book Hunt For Red October - which came out thirty years ago this coming year – was the USS Dallas, a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine.
(Yeah, I know – Ramius was the co-star, Jonesy, Ritter, yadda yadda. I got that. But in all of Clancy’s novels, technology was a co-star as well).
Tom Clancy’s Cold War thriller made the Dallas famous, but in Navy circles it is better known for being the first attack submarine to carry a dry-deck shelter, which houses a vehicle for launching and recovering special operations forces.
“Of all the submarines that would be finishing up their service life, there are a couple out there that people know by name, and Dallas is one of them,” said Capt. David A. Roberts, who commanded Dallas from 2007 to 2009. “It kind of adds to the moment. ‘The Hunt for Red October’ submarine we all know and love from the movies is going to be finishing up its service life soon.”
Via Dave Thul, an Army guy.
…these days, that whenever I wonder “whatever happened to…?” about some person from some scrap of history, the answer will pop up online before too long.
Monday, I wondered – for the first time in decades, probably – “whatever happened to Cecelia Cichan, the four year old girl who was the sole survivor of an airliner that crashed in, I think, Detroit?”
And sure enough, badda bing, there we go.
It’s been a long, long time since TV stations “signed off”, at least in major metro areas. TV’s been a 24/7 business ever since cable became a dominant part of the media world.
But when I was a kid, the sign for “now it’s time to be tired” came when Channel 4 in Fargo would reach the end of its broadcast day – it may have been around midnight, if I remember correctly – and the orchestra would get rolling, and this piece of film would start:
And then, for the next minute or two…:
And then? Lulled by Leo Mann’s voice-over and the silent test pattern, you’d be jarred back to reality by REALLY LOUD STATIC as the carrier signal went silent, turning the frequency over to a universe full of random electromagnetism.
It always felt and sounded jarring; to go from the orderly humdrum of late-night small market TV to the transcendent ethereality of “High Flight”, to silence – and then, cacaphony. It was unsettling – that feeling of going from “something” to “nothing”, of going from watching a coherent signal from Fargo to random, formless signals that’d skittering about the universe for billions of years, ending up as “snow” on a cathode ray tube.
I usually wished I’d fallen asleep earlier – and eventually learned to hit the power knob before the “Indian” was done.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Gun control laws and background checks will be obsolete, as soon as these machines become more widely available.
Of course, ammo is still the weak link.
My bet is that the government only allows 3D printers in government offices…
Speaking for myself, I can’t wait ’til Kinkos has 3D photocopiers.
Generally, when I get involved with someone, I try to do it for the long term.
But I’m almost tempted to try to get into a serious relationship – ideally something with a hip-hop theme, no matter how convoluted - if only so I can break up using the line “you got 99 problems, but a Mitch ain’t one”.
OK, just so you don’t have to ask your kids…
…I don’t read legal filings for the sheer fun of it.
But this one’s worth it.
I like my iPhone.
It’s not only functional, it’s a pretty amazing bit of design.
But as a matter of principle, I want to jam a pie in the face of every single subject of this article:
“Keeping your iPhone in its most minimalist state is always preferred in design circles,” says Shayna Kulik, brand strategist and founder of trend forecasting site Pattern Pulp.
It’s about people who don’t buy protective cases for their iPhones – as a matter of principle:
So who is this creative cult potentially sacrificing hundreds of dollars or more for the sleek look and feel of their case-free iPhone? For one, they seem to worship at the altar of Apple…Aubrie Pagano, CEO and founder of made-to-order clothing site Bow & Drape, agrees: “To throw a $5.99 plastic bedazzled cover over an iPhone corrupts its integrity.”
Sorry, millennial dweebs. I have no money to waste on replacing something that is hugely useful but – I stress this – very expensive outside of my biennial contract.
And so I use an Otter Box.
And until iPhone screens are less fragile than Lindsay Lohan’s sobriety, I will.
(Android people: Yes, I know. I’ve heard it all before. Don’t care. All of your comments will be mutilated for my pleasure).
Priggish neighbors threaten the nation’s Sriracha Sauce supply.
I’m heading down to Huong Sen to lay in a five year supply tonight.
A lot of my readers, like me, work in IT.
And if you’re in the Twin Cities and are in the IT contracting community, you may well have heard the rumblings from the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange project, either at hire time or from people involved in the development process.
Capsule Summary: It’s been a Bulgarian Goat Rodeo.
And it reflects how things have been going in most every other state involved in the Obamacare Exchanges, and of course at the Federal level.
Megan McArdle breaks down the federal registration site meltdown at a level that’ll make sense to all of you bit-chasers and code-monkeys out there.
To me, the UX guy?
That’ll be worth a post on its own.
I can’t stop laughing at this.
But you’d have to be a real language geek to know why.
1013 years of the European map.
I’ll be broadcasting live from Gander Mountain in Lakeville (I35 at the County 50 Exit).
You’re going to want to make it out there; they’re having another of their big defensive firearm days; you can actually try out sample firearms from factory representative for free at the Gander range. It’s fuuuuuun! (And I’m looking at the CZ75 in a whole new way)
I’ll be talking with Mark Walters and Rob Pincus from Armed American Radio about the victory in Colorado and the battle we Real Americans face in the coming year.
Come on out to Lakeville between 1 and 3PM tomorrow!
Joe Doakes from Como Park:
Hey Mitch, do SITD readers eat Booya?
I’m trying to decide whether to put it on my Bucket List, or give it a pass. Let’s take a poll: what’s the readership’s opinion?
For the first time since before the 2008 election – actually, probably since 2006 – I re-read my 2004 series, “Secession Diaries“, the other day.
After the 2004 election, pouting lefties proposed allowing the blue states to secede and unite with Canada, creating two countries – the “United States of Canada”, the progressive blue/Canadian union, and “Jesusland”, the red states.
My series explored the results of a potential split. And it was fictional.
In rereading the series, I was a litte amazed at how many of my comic japes from nine years ago have actually come to pass. Example: in the story, a hurricane devastates the Mid-Atlantic. Relief efforts are hampred by union goons ejecting non-union relief workers. Fact or fiction? Both!
I will submit it for your approval. And partly to start my head churning for an update.
Since the end of World War II, the mantra of government and business is that “we need more kids to grow up to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Math” – aka “STEM”.
And yet if you work in technology, you know that in vast swathes of the field, there’s no real shortage of people. Especially in IT; even as baby boomers retire, there is plenty of unemployment among IT people; even as demand for IT workers booms, the supply seems to more than keep pace. Have you checked out the contract rate for web coders or support analysts lately?
And yet the government keeps cajoling our “best and brightest” to go into STEM.
To keep the costs down, perhaps?
As this piece in the IEEE Spectrum notes, not only is there no shortage of STEM professionals, there’s an apparent skills mismatch, with many “STEM” careers being held by non-STEM degree-holders (I’d be one of them, by the way), and many STEM degree-holders working outside science and technology.
And yet the establishment keeps driving more people into STEM, and importing more programmers, engineers and technicians from overseas.
Clearly, powerful forces must be at work to perpetuate the cycle. One is obvious: the bottom line. Companies would rather not pay STEM professionals high salaries with lavish benefits, offer them training on the job, or guarantee them decades of stable employment. So having an oversupply of workers, whether domestically educated or imported, is to their benefit. It gives employers a larger pool from which they can pick the “best and the brightest,” and it helps keep wages in check. No less an authority than Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said as much when in 2007 he advocated boosting the number of skilled immigrants entering the United States so as to “suppress” the wages of their U.S. counterparts, which he considered too high.
And it helps inflate the higher-ed bubble, too:
And the perception of a STEM crisis benefits higher education, says Ron Hira, because as “taxpayers subsidize more STEM education, that works in the interest of the universities” by allowing them to expand their enrollments.
An oversupply of STEM workers may also have a beneficial effect on the economy, says Georgetown’s Nicole Smith, one of the coauthors of the 2011 STEM study. If STEM graduates can’t find traditional STEM jobs, she says, “they will end up in other sectors of the economy and be productive.”
The problem with proclaiming a STEM shortage when one doesn’t exist is that such claims can actually create a shortage down the road, Teitelbaum says. When previous STEM cycles hit their “bust” phase, up-and-coming students took note and steered clear of those fields, as happened in computer science after the dot-com bubble burst in 2001.
Emphasizing STEM at the expense of other disciplines carries other risks. Without a good grounding in the arts, literature, and history, STEM students narrow their worldview—and their career options. In a 2011 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Norman Augustine, former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, argued that point. “In my position as CEO of a firm employing over 80 000 engineers, I can testify that most were excellent engineers,” he wrote. “But the factor that most distinguished those who advanced in the organization was the ability to think broadly and read and write clearly.”
For all the sneering people are doing at humanities these days – and I have a BA in English with minors in History and German – the selling of the STEM “crisis” seems to be a move to commoditize technical skill. Communications is no commodity, though – and it seems to be what still what separates a bench engineer and their supervisors.
So is the education system short-changing students by preaching STEM as the be-all and end-all of opportunities?
If you packed the entire world’s population together equal to the densities of some of the world’s major cities, how much area would that entire population cover?
This, and many other questions, are answered among the “40 Maps that will Help you Make Sense of the World”
This stuff is like crack to me.
“No guns in capitol!”,
Michael Paymar says amid
The only real question is
which “Fail” to start with.
The NARN is Fair-bound!
Again, the constant battle
against the cheese curd.
Chaos in Egypt.
How often must I explain
it’s not that “Morsi”.
as Minneapolis votes.
“Instant” runoff? Hah!
The history books
Say we’re created equal.
Some, moreso, I guess.
Ryan Winkler called
Clarence Thomas “Uncle Tom”.
Thomas: “Sorry – who?”
Zygi Wilf? A crook?
He seemed so above reproach!
Who woulda thunk it?
sees Alida, starts to sweat.
“No more shock collar!”
Welcome, darling kids!
Time to meet your new sitter
Sal “Bug-Eyes” Rossi.
Ryan Rhodes on the Twitterverse live-tweeting the Declation of Independence.
I’m hesitant to link it. Someone from the “Jon Stewart is the News!” set will write it down on an essay test.
Anyway, read it.
Hop to it!
Although there was a general assumption when I was in high school and college that I’d wind up in some kind of graduate school or another, I stopped with the formal schooling (as distinct from getting an education) with my BA.
I did it for a couple of reasons:
- Nothing that I’d want to get an MA or Ph.D. in – Linguistics, History, German, Writing – would enhance my career, or at least not to the point that there’d be a return on investment.
- I have absolutely no interest in a business degree.
- I’m not sure that I could find anyplace nearby to get the MA in my field; there are less than 10 places in the country to get a BA in anything like my field, and maybe 3-4 that I know of on the grad level.
- And if I did? Not only would getting an advanced degree in my current vocational field – User Experience – have little to no return on investment, it might actually slow me down.
So unless I hit the powerball – which might lead me to a design-your-own “Masters” in German, writing, history and filmmmaking from whatever institution that’d let me put it together – I strongly doubt you’ll see me darken the door of a grad school, ever.
But if this were closer than Boulder, I could see myself changing my mind.
The Goodyear Blimp is going to be replaced by the Goodyear Zeppelin.
Don’t know the difference (I did – as a result of a long jag of obsessive reading about lighter-than-air craft in elementary school and junior high)?
Well, you will.
For years, I’ve said that measuring relative incomes is a lousy way to gauging a society’s economic success; it’d be much more useful to try to gauge, on an individual level, upward and downward lifetime income mobility.
…and promptly turned it into a plea for more government intervention in the economy.
Climbing the income ladder occurs less often in the Southeast and industrial Midwest, the data shows, with the odds notably low in Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus. By contrast, some of the highest rates occur in the Northeast, Great Plains and West, including in New York, Boston, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and large swaths of California and Minnesota.
“Where you grow up matters,” said Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist and one of the study’s authors. “There is tremendous variation across the U.S. in the extent to which kids can rise out of poverty.”
I’ll take a break from the conclusions for a moment to show this pretty slick map from the Times piece:
It measures the probability that a child born into the bottom fifth of incomes would rise to the top fifth, which is noted in the graphic’s fine print as $70K by age 30 or $100K by age 45.
The “study” shows correlation and doesn’t attempt to find causations – although plenty of lefty commentators have tried to do it for them.
My native North Dakota shines, of course – the western parts of the state used to be relatively poor, and are now explosively wealthy. But even the oil-free parts of the state, like my native Stutsman County, are solidly in the 20% range.
As, for that matter, are the more Republican-leaning parts of Minnesota. And no, I’m not ascribing causation. Merely noting a correlation.
Back to the Times:
That variation does not stem simply from the fact that some areas have higher average incomes: upward mobility rates, Mr. Hendren added, often differ sharply in areas where average income is similar, like Atlanta and Seattle.
The gaps can be stark. On average, fairly poor children in Seattle — those who grew up in the 25th percentile of the national income distribution — do as well financially when they grow up as middle-class children — those who grew up at the 50th percentile — from Atlanta.
The article ascribes a few conclusions to the study; mainly, location matters, as does the proximity of wealth to poverty. Which might seem to make sense – if a poor kid can see the consquences of applying oneself, they may well stand a better chance to improve their lot in life, maybe, hopefully.
But as in the quote above, the article focuses on Atlanta (go ahead, read it) and juxtaposes it with Seattle, by way of noting that the Deep South is the biggest blotch of low income-mobility in the country.
I’m going to suggest (and it’s only a suggestion, since I have neither the time nor money to conduct a full-fledged study elaborating on these results) that the cause of it all ties back to local society’s valueing upward mobility. Big swathes of this country are descended fron pioneers and immigrants who saw upward mobility as an unalloyed good. But for much of antebellum (and a good chunk of post-bellum) southern society, upward mobility was historically either a serious risk (for slaves, getting “uppity” could have life-altering consequences) or irrelevant (for “white trash”, who were a peasant class in every way but name, upward mobility was just not part of the vocabulary).
So I’d say upward mobility is as much a matter of the part of society you were born into as it is geographical location (and the arrangement of “rich” and “poor” zip codes and the density of mass transit that goes along with it).
Again, just an opinion.
ADDITIONAL THOUGHT: I’m wondering – why can’t we do the same sort of analysis on schools? Specifically, instead of analyzing school test scores, look at the progress (or lack of it) by individual student. Especially when comparing traditional public school students with charter school students.
To: American Psychiatric Assocation (APA)
From: Mitch Berg, uppity peasant
To whom it may concern,
Please accept the following submission for the sixth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-6), whenever you release it:
Cyberphrenia: a personality disorder which presents with a complete dissociation between the subject’s “online” and offline personalities.
This usually (but not uniformly) manifests as a subject developing an “online” personality that manifests as negative ideation ranging from mild impulse-control and conduct disorders to symptoms resembling full-blown sociopathy or narcissistic personality disorder.
Keep me posted.
That is all.
…is when can I take it to work in the morning?: