Friday, September 29, 2017

Spengler On Planning and Execution

Similarly, the verbally managed enterprise led to the separation of thought from those of the hand. In every  enterprise planning out and carrying out are distinct elements, and, as between these, practical thought henceforth takes the leading part. There is director's work and there is executant's work, and this has been the basic technical form of all human life ever since. Whether it is a matter of hunting big game or building temples, an enterprise of war or of rural development, the founding of a firm or of a state, a caravan journey or a rebellion or even a crime--always the first prerequisite is an enterprising, inventive head to conceive the idea and direct the execution, to command and to allot the roles--in a word, someone who is born to be a leader of others who is not so.

For in this age of verbally managed enterprises there are not only two sorts of technics--these, by the way, diverging more and more definitely as the centuries go on--but also two kinds of men, differentiated by the fact of their talent lying in one or in the other direction. As in every process there is a technique of direction and a technique of execution, so, equally self-evidently, there are men whose nature is to command and men whose nature is to obey, subjects and objects of the political or economic process in question. This is the basic form of the human life that since the change has assumed so many and various shapes, and it is only to be eliminated along with life itself.

Spengler, Oswald; Man and Technics; University Press of the Pacific, Honolulu, HI; 2002, pgs. 62-63.

Sign over the door of a elementary school in Minnesota. If this is a school that specializes in producing leaders, where are the corresponding followers indoctrinated?

Spengler believed in two kinds of men, born leaders and born followers. But, these individuals are, indeed, born, not manufactured. Much as various institutions would like to be able to produce leaders, the military service academies and universities, for instance, the fact is that they cannot mold followers into leaders. In their efforts to do so, unsuitable individuals are placed in positions where their efforts to lead result in failure or disaster.

In a small society, where most members have personal knowledge of most other members, the leaders are quickly sorted out. This is not the case in large, complex societies, especially those where individual merit is ultimately determined by some kind of democratic or institutional process. Additionally, Spengler fails to mention that often the executant is himself a leader and the commander might very well be a follower that has plodded down the pathway to a position of ineffective leadership.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Robert Ardrey

Humans were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres however frequently they may be turned into battlefields. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk, but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses. 

OSIRIS-REx Mission

On Sept. 8, 2016 the OSIRIS-REx Mission left Cape Canaveral, FL to begin a multi-year project that involves intercepting the asteroid Bennu, securing samples of it and returning to earth with them in 2023. The space craft was seen from the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham near Safford, AZ on Sept. 1.

While the OSIRIS-Rex Mission is a mind-boggling scientific and engineering achievement, the true wonder in all this is how little it relates to everyday life. That is, that while the US has the capability of sending mechanisms far into space to perform tasks and then successfully return, at the same time American law enforcement uses 14th century technology that involves the use of a rapid chemical reaction to drive metal pellets through the body of individuals who decline to do as they are told, often with fatal results.

Monday, September 11, 2017

National Shortage of Construction Workers

A recent article on the website visits the increasingly visible issue of a national dearth of carpenters, electricians, plumbers and laborers needed to build the homes and commercial buildings of the US.

As with other commentary on this problem, the contractors mention the things being done, and that should be done, to encourage workers to enter the construction industry. Yet nowhere in the article is it suggested that wages for these craftsmen be increased or working conditions be improved, the two things most likely to spur an increase in interest in the field. The same viewpoint is expressed here.

Economist Scott Sumner speculates on wages and other factors in this essay but doesn't approach the issue of working conditions, as outlined here.

The fact of the matter is that if the construction industry wants to fill all of its available job openings it will have to compete with other occupations in wages and conditions.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Alijah Beatty On The Track In Italy

Junior cycling star Alijah Beatty has returned from her trip to the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Montichiari, Italy to begin her freshman year at Marian University in Indianapolis as a member of the prestigious Marian Knights cycling team. Soon she'll be competing in the US collegiate national track championships and then it's off to Bergen, Norway for the UCI World Road Championships in the women's U-23 division.

Here she gives us some of her impressions of the competition in Europe:

 "My first race was the scratch race (Wednesday). I was really nervous just because this was my first world championship event. We started out pretty easy but after about 5 laps it started to get harder. Eventually it became a race of who could just hold on and sprint at the end. I got 8th in the scratch race final.

The next race I did was Friday, the Omnium. For this you have 4 races and you get scored for them and at the end of all the races you get an overall score and that is what they go by to determine the omnium winner. But first we had to do a 30 lap point race qualifier so that we could eliminate people so there wouldn't be as big of a field on the track at one time. The qualifier went great. I lapped the field with a girl from Barbados. I ended up 2nd in the qualifier.

The first official race for the omnium is a scratch race. I ended up 11th in the race. The second race is a tempo race. This race gives points every lap to the leader of that lap. I was sitting in 7th place when two girls went down in front of me on corner 4. There was nowhere to go and I hit them both and crashed out. I had hit my head and my hip pretty bad and it was hard to get up and walk on my own. I ended up going to the ER to get X-rays. I didn't break anything! but was unable to finish the rest of the races for the omnium.

The last race I had scheduled to race was the points race. After crashing the day before in the omnium I wasn't sure that I would be up to race. After getting on the trainer and working my muscles I felt good enough to race and wanted to represent my country. So I was put in the race. On our neutral lap the officials told us to slow down because a girl had missed the start. So we slowed down and on the first corner we were going so slow that we had our first crash of the race. Little did we know that we would have 4 crashes in the whole 80 lap race. I was involved in the 2nd crash.

I crashed twice within 24 hours and I was in so much pain. But we were already half way through the race so I decided to get back on the bike and finish the race. I ended up 15th in that race and felt pretty good about it due to how much physical pain I was in. That race definitely messed my my mental capacity also. Having the crashed and having been in two I really just wanted to get off of the track.

 All in all it was a fun time and the coaches taught me a lot about gearing and warm-up/ cool down and I feel that I am ready to go to worlds again."

We hope that her future racing experiences aren't quite as painful as her Italian ones.

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  Velodromo di Montichiari, Montichiari, Italy

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Backward Ballcaps

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Maybe you've wondered about the slow-to-die phenomenon of the ball cap worn backwards. What could this dopey variant of haberdashery possibly signify? Some people probably think that it's a fad from the eighties that refuses to go away. Actually, there's another, more sinister explanation.
 A Rohingya refugee man cries as he take part in Eid al-Adha prayer near the Kutupalang makeshift refugee camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 2, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
Yes, that's right. The costumes of dim bulb American males have been influenced by the dress of the Muslim ummah. The Muslims are coordinating their attempt to take over dar al-harb, beginning with Western headgear. It's hard to say how far this might go. It seems unlikely that US fraternity boys will make the Muslim thobe a part of their campus wardrobe but the backward ball cap was unpredictable decades ago as well. Maybe the near future will include thobes with college insignia to match the backward ball cap.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Salt Lake City Cop Handcuffs On-Duty Nurse

On July 26, 2017, 36 days ago, Salt Lake City detective Jeff Payne was attempting to draw blood from an unconscious patient at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City without fulfilling any of the conditions necessary for this procedure. Body cam footage released today, Sept. 1, shows him physically assaulting and handcuffing supervising nurse Alex Wubbels and shoving her into a squad car.

 Wubbels was released without being charged some 20 minutes later and Payne has supposedly been taken off the vampire squad without further punishment. As is invariably the case, no personal responsibility is shown to have been an issue in the matter. When cops foul up it's always due to a "lack of training". 
In Monday's news conference, University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy apologized to Wubbels and hospital staff for his early response to the incident. He said he didn't watch the body camera footage until Thursday evening and realized then that he didn't take it seriously enough.
"I was able to see firsthand how poorly this situation was handled," Brophy said. "This is not how law enforcement professionals should act." He added that Wubbels "should not have been subjected to arrest for doing her job" and vowed to put his officers through de-escalation training.

It's important to remember some things about this incident. First of all, Wubbels couldn't legally give the cop permission to withdraw the blood. She would have been liable for prosecution and could well have lost her own job had she done so. Second, the behavior of Payne was in no way acceptable regardless of the circumstances. An employee of a private business would have been fired for what he did but law enforcement personnel have no concern for this. He demonstrated no knowledge of the law and no ability to handle a confrontational situation, one, in fact, that he had personally created. People like this can't be allowed to carry guns and badges. Finally, the University of Utah policemen displayed shameful behavior themselves in not intervening immediately.