Tuesday, January 31, 2006

... You Believed In Superstitions, Then Maybe You'd See The Signs....

Heh, thought this could be kinda fun. If you haven't noticed, all of my posts have interesting names. Can you guess where they are from? Either a movie or a song. You tell me.

By the way, don't worry about the first post, that could be from a lot of things.

People Are People, So Why Should It Be? You And I Should Get Along So Awfully...

Well, this is a blog, right? And we all know what blog really means: a safe place for people to rant. It seems as though my time has come. Now, I don't really view this as a rant, more of something I would love to start an indepth debate/conversation about. Alright, now that the preface is done, let's get into the good stuff.
As I was surfing the limitless void that is Blogspot, I came across the blog a of former Science teacher (whom I greatly respect, and thus, had to read the opinion of). He had an article concerning the issue of Outsourcing. The interesting part was that he gave a rather human view to a extremely dehumanized topic. Here's what he had to say:

So, after I have calmed down a little, I talked to my wife. (Go figure, I have time to do that when I am also doing this stuff.) We talked about how and if the world is becoming "flat." She works for a health care company in an after-hours clinic (nice since I work days and can then hang with my daughter). Sometimes she needs to consult an "expert" like an orthopedic doctor. The other night she said there was a call for a consult and the person on the other end had a strange accent and lots of noise during the phone call. It seems that the "after-hours" consult call went to an orthopedic doctor in New Zealand! Since it was the daytime there the doctor was "in." The x-ray was sent via e-mail and the doctor looked at the film and decided there was a break. She could not believe that the help came from that far away. The two of us are now talking about what this means for our children (yes, there will be another soon) and for the students that I teach. We do not think that this type of outsourcing is a "bad" idea and I am wondering what other people think?

Seems like a perfect reason to encourage global outsourcing. It helps everyone in need. The patient gets aid, the doctor gets work, and the clinician gets her job done effeciently. These are the scenarios that should be reported more. Instead we get the humdrum of blatently biased and depressing news. As a comment to the post, another teacher gave his take on the situation.

Despite my impeccable liberal credentials, I think outsourcing is just fine (with a couple of caveats that I will explain in a moment). My opinion has always been that people are people - just because someone was born American doesn't make them better or more deserving than someone born in India or China. So when folks object to outsourcing by talking about "American jobs," I cringe. Yes, I live in America. And yes, I think our way of government is the best we've discovered so far. And yes, I would like Americans - especially my wife and I and eventually our daughter - to have good jobs. But that doesn't mean that folks in India and China don't deserve good jobs as well.My concern over outsourcing is simply are we giving our students (children) the skills/knowledge/habits of mind they need to be successful and happy in the 21st century? This project we are involved in is probably a direct result of that. So, the two caveats about outsourcing are these. One, I think we need to do a better job of re-training workers whose jobs are outsourced so that they can move into other fulfilling and economically viable jobs. Two, I believe that companies that outsource need to make sure that they provide safe working conditions and a livable wage in the countries they outsource to. As long as those two things are happening, I believe outsourcing - in addition to being inevitable - is actually good for the human race.

I definitely agree with most of this reply. To start off, the poster is absolutely correct in saying that outsourcing is the inevitable future. Whether it will be better for the economy or worse is something I cannot say. I'll leave that to future historians and present corporations. After all, corporations are the drive of this entire issue. Which is why I believe that the second caveat in the posters comment will never occur. If a corporation spends money making sure that the workers in other countries have job "quality" (read: conditions, pay, etc.), the corporation will lose the money it was trying gain by outsourcing the job in the first place. No corporation will ever do this. They would be better off just keeping or hiring employees in this country and save on long distance calls and shipping supplies and the like. It is an unfortuante circumstance, but the parties in question (corporations and foreign [probably formerly third-world] countries) are not the most moral of parties. Speaking of foreign countries, therein lies another problem. These countries are aware of the dispicable working conditions of some of their companies. And because of this, there is not a whole lot that the Good Ole' US of A can do about it. Let's not get ourselves into another war now. But I digress.... The first caveat seems like the best solution, however it is just not practical. Who would train these now workless workers? Their former companies will never spend money helping former employees. Prospective companies? There are no such things unless you have the qualifications. The Government? What department would that fall under? Besides, the government is already spending outrageous amounts of money on who-knows-what, let's try to solve our defecit spending problems before we spend some more. But hey, other than that, I totally agree.

Now I know what you are thinking. "Great, another typical blogger. Complaints without solutions." That would be where you are wrong. Interestingly, this "problem" has no "solution". As previously stated, corporations are the driving force behind outsourcing. Thus, the only reason they will stay in this venture is if it produces a signifigant profit. If outsourcing produces a decent yeild, corporations will stick to it, and if customers accept it, then it won't end. Even if the government tries to ban, slow, or regulate it. Corporations aren't exactly keen on listening to the Feds. Enron, anyone? If customers begin to reject outsourcing, then it will die off. Simply because the corporations will lose money. As unfortunate as it is, outsourcing is not a human issue, it's a currency issue.

Mein Gott, that was quite the post. I do believe I rubbed my fingerprints off. With this I'll leave it open to discussion. I would love to hear your view. And please correct me if I am wrong about anything. Or if my opinion is just wrong. Let me know.

Thanks very much to the two teachers involved in this. Once again, I am not trying to say anyone is wrong or to offend anyone. This is just a very interesting topic of discussion and I would love to hear what others have to say.

P.S. I was listening to Depeche Mode while writing this. (Don't know what I am talking about? Google the title.)

Been A Long Time Since I....Posted

Well, I never thought I would do this, but due to some encouragement from a brilliant English teacher, I'm going to post a bit more of my novel idea. The first paragraph may seem a bit familiar. That's because it is actually the same paragraph as the last one from the last post, I just tweaked it a bit. It needed some editing. So, without further ado, chapitre deux (heh, that rhymes):

The express elevator seemed to crawl up the sixty stories of the sleek Rhinehart building. Built just three years prior, the lower levels of the building were occupied by the Rhinehart engineering corporation. The top five floors were bought from the company for a hefty price, but they were perfect for the research that went on inside. Claymore was almost lulled to sleep from the background noise of the elevator. Thankfully, the Rolling Stones were playing softly on the speakers, and John hummed along with the song to keep himself occupied. The doors opened and Claymore was greeted to not only a fully lit office, but the entire staff had been called in. Strange, on most mornings the office was barren. Claymore walked hurriedly through the halls. Finally, he reached a large wooden door.

“Claymore! Jeeze, I thought you might not come in!” John wished he hadn’t. “Look, I just finished analyzing the data you found in Africa.”
“Wait, wait, you analyzed something?”
“Well, not me per say, I had some assistants do it, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, we discovered something disturbing in the data. We cross referenced the seeds from the Kenyan soil, and we found something.”
Claymore looked deeply into the eyes of the short, bald man he called his boss. Commander Spencer Ross had been heading up the operation Claymore had been involved in for over 25 years. The National Institute for Archeology and World Affairs or NIAWA, was created by Ross so he could fulfill all of his “Indiana Jones” fantasies, and get it federally funded. John Claymore, an ex-marine living off of his pension, heard about the institute through a friend who also used to be in the Corps. He met the Commander a few weeks after hearing about it, and went on a few ventures. Claymore moved out of his old home in Seattle and settled into a nice apartment only a few blocks from NIAWA’s original headquarters on top of an Army recruiting office in downtown Denver. Once the institute moved Claymore had to drive a bit further, but the space fit the growing organization well. Claymore had been on many missions, but his results had never turned up anything like this.
“What do you mean ‘you found something’?” Claymore showed a bit of concern, a rare occurrence.
“The genetic structure of these seeds is unlike any other plant on the planet.” Claymore was utterly confused; the Africa trip was a routine inspection. He was sent by NIAWA to make sure that Kenya had not been using anything illegal in their soil. Traces of pesticides outlawed by international law were left in the dirt and seeds after use. Other chemicals could be traced too, things much more dangerous and much more outlawed. NIAWA had volunteered to take samples from around the world and turn them in to the US government. The most tedious of his missions, Claymore purposefully booked trips to countries with little money or few conflicts. Chemicals had turned up before, some DDT in southern Asia, and some nerve gas in the Middle East, but nothing that ever alerted the institute before. “But hey, don’t take my word for it. Go down to the lab and see what the nerds have to say.”
Claymore headed down a couple floors. The lab was sealed in three airlock type doors; sometimes they were used for sterilization after a scientist used a toxic chemical. After waiting a few minutes for the third door to open, Claymore just about lost his patience. What was so important that the Commander couldn’t tell him? He was about to stop punching in the access code and just turn around when he saw the expectant smile of the worker through the small window on the door. Claymore chuckled whenever he saw the small, round and freckled face behind the stereotypically taped glasses.
“Johnny!” A frail, squeaky voice seemed to sneak through the air-tight doors. It came from NIAWA’s resident chemical specialist, Leroy Archeck. The poor engineer hardly ever left his fluorescently lit lab, but this was by choice. “Boy, do I have some stuff to tell you about.”
Claymore always listened intently to what Leroy had to say, John tried to be a friend to the friendless. Leroy stood about five-foot three-inches, with large, red, curly hair. The poor technician was nearly blind without his glasses, and it showed. The spectacles were about two centimeters thick. Always in his lab coat, Leroy never seemed to leave the office, and that showed too. There were crumbs and stains all up and down his white coat.
“Alright Napoleon,” Claymore used Leroy’s nickname, of course referencing to the cult hit movie Napoleon Dynamite. “Lay it on me, what did you find?”

If you can't tell, I've been influenced, or some might say tainted by the likes of both Clive Cussler and Michael Crichton.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

So I Wanna' Be A Paperback Writer...

A while ago and idea struck me that I realized was not a bad plot for a novel. Now, I'm not going to reveal all here, but I wrote up a quick one page intro/first page, and felt like posting. So here you go, a quite taste of it all:

John Claymore awoke as the bright sunlight glinted through his window. He saw that the clouds from the day before had broken. He yawned and let out a long sigh. ‘What had happened last night?’ John thought to himself. He remembered nothing at all. John sat up on the side of his king sized bed and looked out the window again. The town of Denver looked small from his apartment on the thirtieth floor. Just as he got up he caught a small whiff of his breath. He coughed and realized that it must have been quite a night. John got up and walked to the shower, turned it on, and looked back at the message machine. It was flashing red. He trudged over and pushed the play button.

“Claymore? Where are you? I told you to come in today. Look, I know you don’t like to work weekends, but we need you to file those reports on the Africa findings. That really must have been quite the adventure; you know once when I went to Africa…” Claymore sighed, that man could drone on for ages. He cut off the message and deleted it. John hopped in the now warm shower and lost himself in thought.

After his brisk shower, Claymore made himself a bowl of oatmeal and read the paper. The ever more liberal editor was beginning to annoy John. Realizing that he probably should go into work, Claymore quickly tore out the crossword and grabbed his keys. He never noticed the blinking red icon on his laptop, Claymore had mail.

The parking complex looked the same as it always did. Cars parked where they should be, Mrs. Johnstone’s large Yukon SUV took up her usual spot and a half. Her neighbor, Craig Phillips, didn’t mind though, his small Grand Am fit nicely. Claymore walked quickly to his spot in the back corner. He didn’t really mind that he got the worst parking space. He was given by far the largest and best furnished apartment in the building. Besides, he didn’t mind walking the distance to his car, he liked a bit of exercise. Claymore arrived at his car, already unlocked by the keyless entry; he opened the door to his Audi A6. The big engine roared to life and Claymore backed cautiously out of the space. Waving a quick “hello” to Craig, Claymore sped quickly out of the complex and on to Blake Street. There were not many cars on the road this time on a Saturday, so Claymore made excellent time. He parked outside the lavish building. Thinking that he wouldn’t be there long, Claymore put about an hour’s worth of coins into the meter. He walked into the lobby and flashed his ID badge on the scanner. After quickly returning it into his back pocket, Claymore hurried to the elevator. He really did have better things to do this morning.

The express elevator seemed to crawl up the sixty stories of the sleek Rhinehart building. Built just three years prior, the lower levels of the building were occupied by the Rhinehart engineering corporation. The top two floors were bought from the company for a hefty price, but they were perfect for the research that went on inside. Claymore was almost lulled to sleep from the background noise of the elevator. Thankfully, the Rolling Stones were playing softly on the speakers, and John hummed along with the song to keep himself occupied. The doors opened and Claymore was greeted to not only a fully lit office, but the entire staff had been called in...

Heh heh, not exactly Nobel Prize, but hey, it's a start.

...Then Reality Is Simply Electrical Signals Interpreted By Your Brain...

This is a list of what I call "Realisms". I like to think of them as societal truths. I was mad at the media at the time.

1) The media cannot be trusted to cover any moral or catastrophic event truthfully. There is too much bias. Moderation is nowhere to be found.

2) Governmental election are always between a lesser of two evils. Even on state and local levels, any representative will make mistakes, and most will be at crucial times.

3)Anything, from horrendous crime to cover-ups can not only be immediately forvien, but completely forgotten. EX: MJ and OJ trials

4)War is extremely harsh and should be avoided at all other costs. None have ever been carried out flawlesssly, and there are always casualties. No war should ever be expected to run smoothly either.

5) Humans will care for other in times of need, but few will ever take action. Most will blame others for contributing too little. Those who do act and few, and they never last long enough. EX: Tsumani

6) Fear is the best motivator. However, it does not last long, and eventually mankind will outgrow a fear. That is why new fears are created every day. EX: DDT, SARS

7) No government can ever take the true meaning of its definition, and this is a good thing. EX: Greece, Rome, and USSR

8) People will blindly follow the opinions, and even rhetoric of others due only to comfort level and habit. Humans do not need truth to believe anything.

9) Scientific theories are not trustworthy. Most are proven wrong, and non should be followed blindly. EX: Dinosaur remains, Global Warming

10) Mankind will always adapt to any situation. Humans will use thier environment to prove a point. This is how we create an equilibrium with nature.

Ah, Now Doesn't That Feel Better?

This is definitely a much better set up than the last blog I used. I'm going to try to transfer all the interesting stuff over to this one. Should update a lot more, too. Since I have to use this bad boy for school. Until then,