Pioneers On the Wild Frontier — A Blast From The Past From May 2013

The WEIRD thing is how pertinent this post still is.  And also how much someone… okay me, needs to take her own medicine – SAH.

Pioneers On the Wild Frontier– A Blast From The Past From May 2013

There is a very powerful paragraph in one of Heinlein’s juveniles, a note repeated again when he’s talking about American exceptionalism, and again when he talks of the need to go to space.  It is apparently a paraphrase of a well known quote, which I found attributed to Albert Schmidt, and also as anonymous, and also as being written in some museum, but as that page is no longer available, I can’t say where.  Also, apparently Maya Angelou (!) mentioned this quote.  Of all of the people who made this statement, it fits the spirit of Heinlein’s juveniles the best. “The cowards never started. The weak died on the way. Only the strong arrived. They were the pioneers.”

This in Heinlein’s juveniles is often related with going to space, but it occurs to me that it’s any new technology and any major change in society driven by technology (not the vapid ideas of politicians.)

Changes – major changes of any sort – are always scary to an established society.  History has shown time and again that people will endure near-unendurable conditions rather than revolt, but they WILL revolt against change.  Because we know we are surviving – sort of – right now, but will we after the changes.  And most of us want to be able to visualize what things will look like after the changes.

Which is why when tech starts changing too much too fast and hitting the social structures, people go nuts.  The French revolution was the fruit and manifestation of the industrial revolution.  So was our own revolution, think on.

And if you look at it right the fourteenth century and its unending barrel full of misery was not because things were getting worse, but because there had been some developments that had made life better.  Hence, war plague and famine, of course.

Now, think about it, the fourteenth century was the result of changes accumulating through the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth, but that was still too fast for us.

The twentieth century… there’s a reason that it was even more blood soaked than the fourteenth.

And now, it’s much faster and much worse.

The revolution we’ve facing, in a hundred different ways of doing things, from manufacturing to data processing (including that peculiar form that involves fiction writing) to a million other things, is so radical that it might be that long waited trans-humanistic thing, even if it doesn’t mean we’ll all live forever or look like the borg.

Just computers will affect the way we mate – both by bringing together unlikely mates (I managed it the old fashioned way.  By stealing time at the phone booth!) and by moving the nexus of work to the house (no, not yet, but like the ebook revolution it’s coming and it will be sudden when it comes) and thus favoring mates in the same profession, who can share work.  It will affect the way we live – I am one of those people who like people, and for me it probably means going very urban so I can, you know, live where I can go out to a coffee shop, or something.  But for other people it means living in the middle of nowhere, working in the big city and shopping wherever you want.

My guess is that no one alive today will see the end of this transformation.  It’s that huge and shattering and it feeds other transformations.

As for people who say “but it’s always changing.”  Sure it is, but it’s punctuated equilibrium.  For a while things seem to be stationary and then it accumulates and it comes crashing on society as a disruptive and sudden force.

Writing is going through it.  I’ve given my opinion a lot of other professional fields are headed for it.  I’ve also said, until you’re probably all tired of it, that this in conjunction with the current political insanity might meant the end of jobs as we know it.  In the future we’re all contractors, with both the risks and the benefits of it.

It’s not a lifestyle that suits everyone, but neither was 9 to 5 and yet mid 20th century it consumed almost everyone who needed to work, and influenced everyone else’s life.

So, in that spirit, and based on what I’ve seen in my own field, here is my take on what will happen and what you need to know.

1 – If your job entails prestige, be willing to make a choice between that and making money.  Right now a lot of writers are not just refusing to go indie, but screaming at everyone who does, and complaining it undermines the prestige.  A result of the “indie revolution” coming everywhere will almost certainly be an end to credentialism.  People will respect what you can do, not where you went to school.  Sometimes they’re related.  More often they’re not. Right now institutions, particularly large ones, rely on credentials to avoid complaints of discrimination.  But when hiring contractors for the job, the job will be more important. Fortunately for me, I was born without any social graces!  But you might have a bigger adaptation.

2- You must work.  This is the biggest barrier, and why managers still dislike sending people home to work.  They’re under the impression people just won’t.  This is silly, since if they don’t, they can be fired.  OTOH because we’ve equated work with time throughout the 20th century, they might be afraid you’re working very fast and goofing off the rest of the time.  Both the stupid laws penalizing employers over a certain number of employees and a certain number of hours, and tech will defeat that.  My kids are used to doing their homework and tests (even) by computer, and to doing group work via computer too.  When their generation rises to managers, they won’t have our prejudices.  And perhaps they’ll be better at working remotely.  My guess, though, is “no.”  Unless you set up a completely separate place in your house, keeping up work surrounded by home and family is difficult.  Almost everyone I know who works from home has issues with it.  It’s a skill, though.  Learn to cultivate it.

3- You must have time off.  Yes, yes, I know.  Sarah, take your own medicine.  But I’m in the time when to launch my career I MUST work hard – very hard – at many things for a few years.  Still, I’m considering taking Sundays off.  I must read SOMETIME.  The point is, if you’re of a certain type (my husband and I seem to be) working from home means working ALL the time.  You forget to quit.  You must control that because

4- Regardless of whether you like people or not, you need to have some people contact, now and then.  In person, not just over the computer.  Even if it’s just your family.  Also, make sure the family knows you don’t hate them, you’re just busy.  Make time for time with them, or you won’t have them.

5- This is important because, you should never, ever, ever count on indie/contractor being easy, or even easier than whatever you’ve been doing.  Yes, going contractor or indie gives you freedom to work the way you want to.  That means you places your bets, you takes your earnings – and sometimes you’ll goof.  (Everyone does.)  It’s important not to build up a beautiful image of the fleshpots of Egypt in your mind.  What I mean is, don’t, in retrospect make “jobs” and the way things are done now into a wonderful thing.  Remember it too had difficulties.  Also remember if you’re one of the ones breaking out in your field, or whatever, that you’re a pioneer.  You might not be on one of Saturn’s moons, but some things as unpredictable as ice storms will destroy your hard-earned stability.  Look at what happened with Rusch and Ella.  Sometimes you’ll be knocked to zero and have to start again.  This doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.  Just that the high-change state is unstable and the landscape changes ALL the time.

6 – Related to five.  Stay alert.  Keep up with what’s going on.  Ever since I came into writing, people have given me advice that’s out of date.  This is how I ended up writing short stories for years, because I thought that’s how one broke into novels.  This was no longer true when I tried it.  However, people could still give you advice a year or two old and it would work.  Now?  Ah!  I keep up with Rusch and the Passive Guy and a dozen other blogs, plus take recommendations from friends more plugged in than I am, and things still blindside me.  As in an alien planet, keep moving, keep ahead of the shifting landscape.  And evaluate each mutie on his own.  Some are friendly.  Some will eat you as fast as look at you.

7- There are no guarantees.  The future is being built under our eyes.  NO ONE CAN PROMISE what you try will work out.  So keep your fingers in as many pies as you can without killing yourself.  What moves might NOT be what you expect.  (For instance in publishing I’m doing large press, small press and indie.  Because I feel safer that way.)

8 – Help others on the way.  This is not necessary so much as it will help you in the long run.  Except for some right bastards (actually mostly left, but that’s neither here nor there) most people return good with good.  You don’t need to make the trade explicit.  You help a lot of people, some will be there for you when you’re down.  And all contractors have ups and downs.  Cast your bread upon the waters and spread your generosity widely.  And remember to pay it forward.  (This is already making relationships between writers much better than the old hierarchical model where publishers picked winners and losers.)

9- Have a hobby that can become your main profession if you need to.  Yep, if this writing gig goes south, I’m a recreational clothes ironer (totally a word.  Deal.) and a middling filet crochetter – for the win.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I’ll rant at people for a living.  Actually have two hobbies that can become your main profession.  And accumulate as many abilities as you can.  Yeah, okay, I learned seven languages because I thought it would improve my chances of employment.  Then I moved here.  Not the smartest move.  BUT some of them work.  I’d carefully cultivated a knowledge of science fiction for instance (otherwise called how I wasted my youth) and it came in handy.

10 – Don’t brow beat others.  Yes, you’ll be very afraid at times, but projecting your fear onto others and saying if you can’t do it no one can is contrary to the bread upon the waters thing.  It’s also contra productive.  The cowards never started – but lower than a coward is the one who tries to make other cowards.

On a related note, my post at Mad Genius Club today is on Fear.

Now go forth and instead of being scared of these innovative times of ours, be excited about them.  You’re a pioneer.  That means you get to shape the future landscape for your grandkids.

Like most pioneers, you’re being forced onto it by circumstances and by the status quo becoming untenable.  But it doesn’t mean you can’t take the opportunity to build something better.

Now go and do it.

183 thoughts on “Pioneers On the Wild Frontier — A Blast From The Past From May 2013

  1. “The cowards never started. The weak died on the way. Only the strong arrived. They were the pioneers.”

    Also attributed to Christopher Houston Carson, better known as “Kit” Carson.  Who knows the original source?

  2. History has shown time and again that people will endure near-unendurable conditions rather than revolt, but they WILL revolt against change.

    I have wondered if that was part of the issue that led to the assassination attempt on  Tsar Alexander II of Russia after a first round of serious reforms.  Then, after the proposal of a second round, he was assassinated.  After that not only was the reform movement abandoned and a crack down occurred.

    Then again it could be that the revolutionary planners of the Narodnaya Volya involved, in spite of their assertion that they were targeting government officials in order to bring about reforms, did not want a second round of reforms to go through as that would make it harder for them to rally people under their banner.

    History is replete with possible interpretations.

    1. Consider Richard Nizon after his landslide re-election: 61% of the popular vote and 49 states!

      He announced his new “Federal II” program, which was, among other things, going to cut the size of the Federal bureaucracy by at least half.

      While the public approved heartily, the bureaucrats are defensive of their phony-baloney jobs and inflated salaries, and things started to move rapidly downhill after that…

      1. It was an understandable reaction, as bth the public and the bureaucrats thought Nixon had stated a desire to cut the bureaucrats in half.

    2. One cause of the public zeal for revolution is the tendency for folk to get carried away when they perceive their side gaining. For example, observe the calm deliberation affecting the Democrat party as they imagine their presidential candidates victorious.

  3. By stealing time at the phone booth!) and by moving the nexus of work to the house (no, not yet, but like the ebook revolution it’s coming and it will be sudden when it comes) and thus favoring mates in the same profession, who can share work.

    UM … might make that: back to the home, and once again favoring mates in the same profession.  Farm wives took part of the business of the farm, and shop keeper’s wives often helped out in the shop.  It was with the rise of industrialization that we saw a substantial portion of the population working away from the home.

    1. Yes. It’s the re-establishment of an old pattern.
      All the woke womyn (Wocats, since they don’t want “men” in their word) who think women didn’t work because most of them didn’t work outside the home misses the fact that all peasant women HELPED their husbands. (And many of them had their own side business too. “milk and butter money” was from selling dairy for farm wives. And in my region they all had some craft they did for money. Often a very creative craft.)

      1. There was once a cartoon (Family Circus/Circle) that had a young woman doing a survey and was talking with the Mother (of the cartoon family).

        First she asks the Mother about having a outside job (IIRC) and when the Mother says no, she starts out the survey by saying “as a non-working woman”.

        When the young woman says that, we see what the Mother “does all day” and the Mother then shuts the door in the face of the young woman.

        IE She may not have a “paying job” but she sure & the heck worked all day. 😈

        1. Yeah, but stay at home mothers throughout most of history unless VERY rich had a money making job too. It just might be done at the kitchen table. (And I think we’ll regress to that.)

          1. Productive job. Whether it brought in money turned mostly on how money-oriented the economy was. Most of what a woman, say, spun would be used on the family’s clothes.

      2. And the household stuff was serious work – no vacuums, no fridge, no washer/dryer, no dishwasher, etc

      3. In my neck of the woods a job that’s there to provide extra cash above and beyond the main income is still called “egg money”. Even if it has nothing to do with eggs.

      4. Grandma called it her “Egg & Milk” money. It supplemented the household budget. She’d even take some of the money & bought turkey chicks, raised them, sold them for Thanksgiving & Christmas. Only difference between how she raised them in her own household & how it was growing up, was they actually had a small shed to protect the turkeys while they were roosting. While when she was growing up, it was the two youngest job to be out at dusk to ensure the turkeys took to the trees in the field to roost there & not be on the ground at night. But that was when they were on various portions of the old homestead. Once they moved onto town lot, that option was gone.

        Grandma also baked. She baked all her kid’s wedding cakes, quite a few extended relatives (usually got paid for those). I’ve seen pictures, she could have made a career out it. Since Grandpa died when she was 48, with 4 of 6 children (9 to 15, one of which could never leave home) still at home, baking was an option. Part of the problem was she didn’t drive. She opened an in home 24 hour day care instead.

      5. Helped? More like “Turned raw materials into eatable meals and wearable clothes.”

        Part of my planned “How People Lived” book will cover the shift in the domestic household economy caused by the Domestic Industrial Revolution.

    2. As a “farm kid” I was quite aware of the fact that my “home” based labor was economic labor. All the talk about how kids should “do chores” (which they ought) and I realized that the “chores” that people were talking about were un-economic chores. Useful and necessary for daily comfort… a clean room and meals made and a pleasant living space, a tidy yard, a cared for pet…

      But economic labor has a different feel to it.

      And other than the very wealthy, women and children all “worked” at economic labor, always, from the beginning of time. And for most of that, even whoever passed for “wealthy”.

      In fact, probably right up until a group of wealthy and bored women got together for a meeting to discuss their plight as women, with the sound of the maid doing laundry with a modern washing machine in the background, and created modern feminism.

      1. “Modern Feminism”. I know how it presents in media/news. But for most, it is a matter of survival. For some it is keeping up with the Jones.

        Once family units weren’t on the farm, young women are expected to support themselves, even if they lived at home, until they were married. Then likely continued to work as well as take care of the “domestic” portion of the household, until the kids started coming. Then generally they no longer worked for wages. At minimum they might go back into the wage work force once the youngest was in school, part time, or seasonal (Christmas money).

        THEN came the realization of what happens in case of (I’ve seen all of these, luckily not experienced any):

        * Divorce – rare is it that the incoming money keeps the family out of poverty.
        * Death or disability of wage earning spouse. Insurance, if even considered, for most won’t be enough long term.
        * Wage earner loses job.
        * Inability of wage earner to earn enough to pay bills. For some households, in some areas, even two wage earners are not enough. But this is a more modern “recent” requirement.

        Now what? Trust me. Enough discussion in the past about trying to get a job at 45+ when YOU HAVE working history. Try doing this without one! (There’s no age discrimination? Who’s fooling who?) Employers don’t count non-wage “work”. Volunteer work not related to your children, they MIGHT count.

        For most, “Feminist” is why should a mother be paid less, offered fewer opportunities, with in an organization, than father, given the same experience and education, for the same job. Not only is there a difference, but, in general, there is a bigger difference than the difference in any time off taken to have kids, than is reasonable. At that, most, still won’t complain.

        1. Truth is… it *wasn’t* that for the founding feminists. They were part of an economic class that didn’t “have to” work and my point was how that didn’t, doesn’t, and never has applied to women historically. So why them and not poor women? Because poor women were working.

          If you want to talk about how that relatively new notion of status seeking through having a wife who “didn’t work” was completely crazy-making and soul-killing, we could talk about that because I experienced it as a DW on Clark AB. I have sympathy for those idle-rich women.

          If you want to talk about the difficulties entering the work-force at 45-50 after staying home with children, we can have that discussion too because I have first hand experience. It sucks balls.

          1. “Truth is…”

            Yes. Exactly. Agree. Was trying to expand on what you were saying about historical and women working. Into the more “recent” ages. Early 1900’s, forward.

            “Status seeking of having a wife that didn’t “have to” work.”

            Watched my mom do this. She is extremely picky about household chores, still is at 84. We weren’t “rich” (or not society rich?), but obviously not poor, either (never got my horse 🙂 ) Yet, because of more modern appliances and no farm work, even tho she had a garden, did the yard work, & didn’t have a dishwasher until after I left for college, gave her hours to play bridge or do coffee clutches, etc., with the neighbors (there were 3 of us kids). She was the one I was thinking about … having to get a actual “I need to work” job at older than 50, with little to minimum work experience, because of dad’s stroke. I watched my SIL’s do the same thing after staying home with the kids. One was an accountant (divorce), one was a pediatric nurse (husband died).

            Mom with no experience, no degree (beyond HS, which since that was ’54, can debate on how “worthless” it was) was asked why go to work now, for minimum wage at best … her answer “medical insurance”. The other two at least had some options beyond minimum wage.

            I’ve been in the “not working category”, myself. OMG. Talk about bored. Pretty sure the first go around, by the time I went back to school, extended family was ready to help pay for it (got into crafts …) Third time was about 6 months. Fourth time was 17 months, all three times drove me batty. Last time I was looking for work I was over 45, with 20 years experience in my field, with an extensive portfolio … so yes. Been there, done that.

            Note. Second time I was off about 9 months, with a newborn. Employer was letting all employees go due to lack of work, but kept me on knowing he wouldn’t have to hire me back (too small) and I was “quitting” just before baby was born. Didn’t try to stay home beyond 6 months before looking for work; just got lucky with first job applied/interviewed for. Hubby’s job meant he was going to be laid off minimum of 2 weeks a year. Further down the seniority chain the longer the lay off. Nature of his profession. Got lucky at that, we were never off at the same time. Couple of bad scares, but not bad enough to dip into savings that triggered penalties for using.

            Coping better at retirement than I ever did when not working between jobs. Don’t know why. Attitude adjustment? Maybe?

  4. For a while things seem to be stationary and then it accumulates and it comes crashing on society as a disruptive and sudden force.

    It’s not a lifestyle that suits everyone, but neither was 9 to 5 and yet mid 20th century it consumed almost everyone who needed to work, and influenced everyone else’s life.

    Change has been moving at an accelerating speed since the end of the eighteenth century.  That period of stable factory and office work was a short respite, not lasting an entire generation in the U.S..  It came at a time when many were desperate to create a feeling of stability.  They promoted it as back to normalcy, but it never had been before — it was an idealized myth.  It was not the first time and wasn’t the last time people have viewed some part of the past through heavily rose tinted glasses.

    1. More importantly. The people who choose to rebel against it endlessly don’t a) seem to understand it no longer exists. b) that it only existed a very short time.

      1. Rather.

        Yesterday The Spouse showed me a piece where Bill Whittle argued that we suffer from a growing historical ignorance, particularly of U.S. history, and being unable to think — and these people are an example of the result.

        Meanwhile many of these same people who decry industrialization also mourn the benefit and pension packages that were once available to the workers in Detroit because of that short period of combined rapid market expansion and industry dominance.

        1. Funny that, it’s almost as if there were a concerted effort to keep the young ignorant of history. But how ever could that be with such a fine well thought out and designed educational system such as ours?
          Need I add the /sarc flag?
          I suppose so.

          1. Would that were so, but far from being ignorant so very much of what they are taught is just plain wrong.

            Ignorance is far easier to treat.

            1. It becomes easier to sell the false information and interpretations the less the truth is known.

              So, for example, not knowing about the changes in thinking about government that produced the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States, no less the documents themselves, it becomes much easier to swallow the argument that the US was not and is not exceptional.

        2. Not to mention the price of that short period of rapid expansion and dominance owed much to the destruction that was WWII.

          I, for one, would not like to burn down the rest of the world so libtards can restore defined benefit pensions.

          Yet, somehow, I’m an exploiter and oppressor.

          1. Don’t you just love the irony of a Left that mocks and derides the 50’s consumer culture as some kind of Levitt town lockstep, and then goes on to pine for the 50’s labor culture, with pensions and benefits and all that.

            1. Not any more…the hypocrisy of the left quit being the human comedy when Obama was president. Now, with the open efforts to silence and remove from society (attacking jobs and bank accounts) it is just a reminder that the only way is probably blood.

              Because that is their preferred way out.

              I know every Sunday Father Gabriel, like every other priest, chants “May the Lord God love those who hate use”, but I am not far enough on my Christian journey to be able to those who want blood if they are not given rule.

          2. … owed much to the destruction that was WWII.

            I suspect that the U.S. imposed savings which occurred during WWII and provided an infusion of capital both for household spending and business development helped.  (After years of the Depression and the War limitations people were eager to live a better life.)

            Consider, the mass production techniques Abraham Levitt learned taking military construction contracts allowed the development of his housing projects – Levittown NY, PA & NJ – and the savings accumulated through War Bonds enabled families to make the down payment on a house.

  5. If your job entails prestige, be willing to make a choice between that and making money.

    Prestige don’t butter the bread. How do you tell the successful authors at a gathering?  They are the ones discussing investments.

    1. After Dad died, Mom managed to get a job as a senior secretary for an officer in the AMA in downtown Chicago. Great perks, lots of travel, and she quit that after three years to work for a consulting firm nearer home. No travel and the dress code wasn’t quite so upscale.

      She worked that until her Social Security and pension plan was fully vested, then she was ready to retire. Life in the secretarial pool was a lot less stressful.

  6. Both the stupid laws penalizing employers over a certain number of employees and a certain number of hours, and tech will defeat that.

    The progressives will fight such change tooth and nail.  How can they build a successful planned economy if everything is not all neatly compartmentalized, supervised and notarized?

    I am less than amazed at the proposal to give everyone who wants a job and cannot find one a job with the government.  I am still trying to wrap my head around the proposal that government pay people who ‘don’t want to work.’  I suspect it is a first step to requiring the recipients, under the rubric of not being a burden to society and contributing their fair share, to also work for the government.  To the socialists everyone should be working for the government whether directly or not very indirectly.

      1. Widespread, endemic corruption follow the black markets, because even the families of the state security apparatus need to eat.

  7. You must have time off.

    If you don’t your body will make you and that is not likely to be pleasant.

    1. PPPPPP
      That big fire down by Houston? The makers of the firefighting foam never keep enough in stock, and are unable to ramp up production, so the workers will be working nearly every day for a couple months just to catch back up. Lots of OT was planned just for regular orders, now they need even more asap.
      All boils down to bean counters complaining about inventory on hand.
      They Can’t figure why morale is so low, and why they can’t find “good workers”.

      1. If the persons making the decisions on inventories had been a government bureaucrat who had never worked in the field do you think things would be better? No. But someone is going to try and tell us that the solution to the problem would be to put in government oversight.

        For all that FDR was enamored of central planning, one of the things that went right as the U.S. geared up for WWII was the government decision to let those who knew their production lines and capabilities make decisions about them.

          1. I had the impression that it was President Trump that makes the government, the Democrat Party and the gaslight Media (But I Repeat Myself) foam.

        1. I got rushed there.
          to further elaborate, the way the foam is made, takes so much longer than it needs, because some goofus (Lean manufacturing flow/kaisan “expert”) said “No, you should do it this way.” then an engineer did a poor job translating that way into reality, then when that proved too slow, they added a second station to make stuff (though didn’t expand packaging it out, so that isn’t any faster) and when they tried it both got so slow it was slower than one station, and there were too many ways to ruin both batches being made (see previous poor designs) so they reverted to a single point. They were close to the limits of production of their contracts and sales, so corporate then bought a competitor/supplier, added their sales later by closing that location, so now even more must come out, but no added expansions or redesign is coming anytime soon.
          Texas had 6 guys doing it in 2 shifts.
          Up here has 15 (and iirc has 3 open positions) in 3 shifts, only managing well less than the output of both places when the acquisition happened. Before the merge, Texas was pretty much matching the output up here with half the people and nearly no OT full days (the day shift often worked 5 – 9 or 10 hour days, sometimes a saturday, often 5 hours only, night shift only did 4 – 10s, and rarely came in on Friday.)
          Up here, the guys and gals live in the damned place. So they get to work everyday with maybe 2 sundays a month off.
          Oh, by the by, wanna job? They are hiring!

          1. See, Lean is a good method in its place, but there are a lot of dumbasses applying it inappropriately.

            1. Lean works well in areas where Management & Labor act cooperatively (e.g., Japan) but where there is enmity between the two it is a disaster in waiting. Detroit learned that when a strike at a windshield wiper plant shut down the entire industry, forcing companies to pay wages to laid off workers which in turn paid dues which funded the striking workers.

      2. Not bean counters. Remember, inventories are taxed.

        The ruling on that by tax courts is a huge part of why publishing thought it had to kill the mid-list in the 90s and 00s.

        1. How much Economic Sanity could restored by making taxing inventory illegal? “Just in Time” sounds suspiciously like “no margin.” And Nature IS the Ultimate Margin Call. Happy October 1929.

          1. Inventory does have carrying costs and not just taxes. Most items do have a self life, even if they aren’t perishables.

            So inventory has its uses.

            What do not is inventory taxes. At least not if you want a working economy.

              1. Correct…you can get out a spreadsheet and do a good estimate of spoilage, warehousing, inventory management, and obsolescence cost and compare it to lost sales, emergency supply buys, and overtime costs to find the sweet spot.

                Taxes move where that sweet spot is and are less predictable. A big issue is taxes are on full sale price if sold off the assembly line and thus force you to take spoilage and obsolescence costs out of the calculation (which beforehand was done via depreciating the value of inventories).

                The odd thing is the tax ruling probably cost tax revenue. As you right down the value of inventory then sell at it regular price you lower cost of goods sold thus increasing profit thus increasing taxes. At worst it is a “pay it now versus pay it later”. Inventory taxes mean paying on the potential profit every year.

          2. ‘Just in Time’ and ‘Zero Tolerance’ are terms that became popular due to Demings work on manufacturing efficiency, problem is, people see the term and don’t bother to learn exactly what Deming said they meant.

            1. JIT works okay for widgets that are all the same, and your raws are easy and common. Not So Much for Chemicals, not so much . . . especially when some of your items needed, originate in China and are prone to not being available because the commies decided to withhold supplies to drive up price.When the suppliers in Germany and Japan will only sell you a container full or sod off, you buy the damned container when you can, or you can’t operate for months on end. After 7 years or so and buying one of the suppliers (because when that happened, they were the only one buying over a years worth just to have it), and then ridding themselves of anyone who knows what’s what, this has finally sunk in to some extent, then there was yet another buyout/merger, though now the new company seems to have needed only two explanations to realize, if near a years worth is needed to be purchased in order to be able to buy, you buy that years worth. Even when it is expensive as hell (say a million plus) and inventory is coming up

          1. yeah
            really doesn’t help when you work toward reducing an inventory that sits ready in case of emergency, then an emergency happens, and you have no inventory to rectify the issue.
            Two things were always brought up in relationship to this issue. The stupid taxes, yes. but also “Why do we have $X.xx tied up in on-hand inventory? Shouldn’t that be shipped to X customer to fill an order instead of being stored in X place?”
            For years the replay has been either “The company is required by contract, to maintain a ready supply of 200 on hand at all times” or now “You own the company and they require 300 to be on hand in case of emergency because of contracts they have with customers”
            The people with that part of the company changed it to 300 in hopes nearer 200 would be actually in existence. There wasn’t, so luckily a customer down the road at another refinery allowed them to come take their foam, but this now leaves that refinery unable to fight a fire. And if a disaster was to strike again within a week or maybe even longer, there is not enough at other locations to cover this easily. Widget managing of non-widget obligations, exacerbated by bean counters trying to keep the tax bill lower, so they can keep the beans.
            What’s happened here is they shipped two orders just made for someone else, two “Off Spec” batches (Feh, they have a QC issue that is the QC dept, not really the product. Puts our fires just fine, QC can’t read the viscosity right to save their lives. QC methods are a whole ‘nother rant) and used all the on hand inventory in Texas (well that got used first, of course), then grabbed inventory from the customers near there. (a small amount of inventory was taken from two other customers other than the big refiner. Just that attached to equipment they loaned, though, they have other stock on hand, but not much . . . smaller facilities) so now all that needs to be replaced, and before the fire, the department was looking at working too much overtime. and now another 46 days of needed work has to be squeezed in.

        2. The company who’s name is on the foam is constantly on the case to have enough on hand in case of this. To avoid the inventory taxes, not just the actual bean-counters, but the “make-my-numbers-look-good” management types slow-roll things. Then something goes boom, and enough is not directly to hand, so it is borrowed from customers, etc. But great, fire’s out. They will still be spraying it until it is cleaned enough to not start again, and there is a dearth of foam if another emergency happens.
          There used to be plenty of buffer, but they cut that operation.

            1. Wood-chippers will be the guillotine of any future American revolution.

              And like the original, I suspect many will go into it living.

  8. Ehh, some jobs are going to stay in the office for a long time. Mostly jobs working with protected data (classified, personal/medical/financial and/or IP), jobs where humans are making things (Chris Byrne did a little explanation of why were hitting certain limits on automation again, yesterday or the day before on farcebook), or jobs where the company just plain wants to keep people under their thumb.

      1. I think the ‘proprietary IP’ claim is going to keep the VFX business locked into CA and Vancouver for awhile. I’d explain why but I’m really the only person that is relevant to.

    1. I think one of the cogent arguments given by Our Esteemed Hostess regarding the change in towards at home work is that this is how those in schools now are now employing their computers.  The future managers will have grown up with this. 

      As usual it will probably be the newer companies will employ it first, they are not hidebound.  If they are successful then the older and larger ones will do so as well.

      1. I recall that when Apple (computer) went to having a (more traditionally stodgy) dress code, I figured it was best to just give up on them. For myself, that was right. Ma might be fine with a Mac mini (less hassle than Windows nonsense), but… I’ve now run Linux so long that installing Windows is a Hellish experience that has me cussing more in a few minutes than I am used to doing in years at the software.

        1. There is no company that has thrown away more chances to get my business (four in the past 18 months) than Apple: laptop, phone, and desktop.

          1. Since Woz wasn’t involved in the day-to-day… well, Woz save Apple from Jobs several times. Why jobs was consider a Wunderkind, I’ve no idea. More it vas a vunder da kid was still allowed to touch any of the controls. And now the wannabes try to copy Jobs, and fail at that (the company is still in business…) when they NEED a (new?) Woz. But Woz’s are not Central Business Casting and are Weird and Scary therefore.

            So… some little upstart will be “the new Apple” by NOT being Apple. Might be a while, but I have some hopes. Of course, I have hopes of a company with a motto, “Don’t Be Google” about not doing evil things. (Oh, a new game-streaming service? Cool, I’ll post all about on on G+… oh, wait.*)

            * And also, I’m not a gamer, so even if G+ wasn’t scheduled for vaporhood, I’d still not go on about it.

            1. Jobs was the self-promoter.

              He also killed the company by crippling Woz’s next generation computer, the IIgs, so it wouldn’t compete with the Mac.

              Jobs is both a big part of why I have been tempted and why I said no.

              When FL Studio came out with an Apple edition my ties to Windows could be severed. My BIL lent me an old Mac to test it had issues. After waiting 45 minutes for an Apple “Genius” all I got told “Too old, we can’t help you”.

              So the next month Acer got my Laptop purchase.

              With all the Android issues and privacy I was ready to go iPhone and iPod.

              Then Tim Cook said censorship was a moral obligation of companies like Apple.

              I’ll do all my writing on the TS1000 I talked about the other day before I buy an Apple after that one.

              1. Apple lost me with the Classic II. There had been a few Macs that had expansion capabilities, but the budget said try this new one. This being 1991, no instantly available reviews were there, so I didn’t learn until too late that the only way to upgrade the C-II was to toss it and buy a better machine. Not an option, but I vowed never to spend any money on Apple stuff again.

                (Not sure if Jobs was the boss at that time. Mr. Pepsi was around about then.)

                My current computers run Linux, though the Y2K vintage Sony needs to be swapped out eventually.

      2. Two of the players in my Friday D&D are a man a little younger than me and his 12 year old daughter. She routinely has “do school from home on your computer” days.

    2. “Ehh, some jobs are going to stay in the office for a long time. Mostly jobs working with protected data (classified, personal/medical/financial and/or IP),”

      Nope. Working a contract from home with the USMC now. Have to use a secure VPN to connect to the development and testing environments, but otherwise just have to have a standard level of disk encryption and anti-virus. Also working remotely advising a Canadian bank on automated testing. Contract before that was LA County Tax Assessor; same deal.

  9. “Which is why when tech starts changing too much too fast and hitting the social structures, people go nuts.”

    Speaking of things changing fast, witness the speed with which radical feminism has been thrown under the bus and run over by the Left. When this post was written in 2013, Martina Navratilova was a brave pioneer of the Gay Movement. Today, March 2019, she’s a TERF and being reviled in the popular media because she says men playing women’s sports are cheaters. Entire new crimes are being conjured from thin air, like “misgendering.” Two women’s rights activists are being investigated for that this week in Britain.

    One gets the feeling of a merry go round, being wound up to go faster and faster until the thing is howling like a jet engine.

    But that’s just a manifestation of the craziness. The Left is self-selected for crazy, too many contradictions for the sane person to stay very long. What’s -making- them crazy is very different.

    I’ve been watching a youtube channel by Abom79 lately. He’s a machinist, the channel is mostly him turning all kinds of different things in a metal lathe. Over the course of watching, I’ve come to some understanding of tolerances and fitment in metal.

    When I work in wood, 1/64th of an inch is about all I’m going to worry about. A single wood shaving off the plane is on the order of 1/128th, so getting things to fit is just a matter of taking a pass or two with the plane. Going to decimal inch measure, 1/128 is roughly 0.008 of an inch, eight thousandths. My critical tolerance of 1/64th is roughly 0.016 of an inch, 16 thousandths.

    Metalworking done by the lathe is holding 0.001-0.002 on a roller that’s eight feet long and six inch diameter. He’s within .002 for diameter, flatness, concentricity and taper along the whole thing. This matters because it has to mate up with another roller the same length, to roll out something to a specified thickness in eight foot wide sheets. Like paper, for example.

    That’s some impressive shit, and it is very hard to do. In my little workshop I’m lucky to hold .060 over eight feet, that’s a 1/16th.

    It is also 19th Century technology. The lathe they’re using is older than I am, made in the early 1950s. Its a huge monster made of cast iron and hardened steel. These machines are not made anymore in the USA. To turn the roller takes the skilled machinist all day.

    Enter the Morse company, and their grinding machines. These are machines that can reliably hold tolerances of 0.0001 or less. Meaning the tools to measure thousandths are made to an order of magnitude closer tolerance. With a Morse machines it is possible to create steel fixtures whose flatness, dimensional accuracy and feature location is within one ten-thousandth of an inch. You need a microscope to check features, you can’t do it with a micrometer.

    This is 1960’s technology. This is the kit that got the Americans to the moon. Still takes a guy all day to make a part, but that part is mirror smooth and will take a press-fit that sticks together just from the water vapor in the air.

    So what’s 1990’s tech look like? EDM robots that can mass-produce the same fixture it takes one man all day to make. They can do it in an hour, same tolerance. State of the art stuff is holding tolerances of 0.00001. One one-hundred-thousandth or better. You see that in jet engine bearings.

    What do you need that for? They make dies and punches for machines that can do things like this: take a ribbon of hard steel ~1/16th thick, size it to .001 accuracy thickness, punch ovals in it whose location and shape is good to within .001, bend little tabs over, then roll it into a ring and laser weld it together, then size and shape the finished part to within .001 tolerance for roundness, flatness and concentricity.

    The machine makes two of them in a minute, and you can walk away from it and leave it going all day long. That’s INDUSTRY STANDARD now. Not cutting edge.

    This is the difference between an 1850s steam locomotive and a BMW M5. Three orders of magnitude.

    How long before the smart guys move the decimal again? They already did it, we just haven’t seen the results trickle down yet.

    Because then there is the electronics world, where current-tech feature size on CPUs and memory chips is seven nanometer. They’re in your phone if you bought one this year. New AMD Ryzen CPUs and Radeon graphics cards have them.

    One nanometer is 3.9370×10−8 inches. Seven zeros and a three.

    A ribosome is 20nm. Visible light is 400-700nm wavelength. They’re going to bring out 5nm chips in the next couple of years. IBM had 2.5nm chips in their labs four years ago. DNA is about 2.5nm diameter.

    That’s why people are going crazy. Who can keep up with this shit? Even the guys who are doing it can’t keep up.

    We are all pioneers on the wild frontier. Yeeeehaw!

    1. It’s been several YEARS now, but I recall being shown an article that showed *power density* of the modern CPU… there was ONE (also artificial) equivalent: the fission reactor. So, be SURE of your cooling system. And the interest in lowering power requirements is not just about battery life.

      1. Speaking of cooling systems, here’s the state of the art welding/machining/3D printing setup making cooling systems for future spacecraft. My eyes are popping out watching this thing. Once they get it tooled up they can sit there and watch it pop out part after part.

        Friction welding. Holy crap dudes. Unbelievable tech.

      2. a modern CPU on a decent motherboard can handle an overheat failure just fine, it will throttle down the CPU massively, let you know and shut down

        (this is my problem with most liquid cooling systems for PCs: having both a fan and a pump adds an additional point of failure)

        1. Aye. I’ve had a sudden saving shutdown when a heatsink clamp failed. CPU survived. The clock & temp. dropped MUCH faster than my heart rate did.

          1. Had a server fail at a client site a couple of weeks ago. Turned out to be thermal overload from a combination of a dead CPU fan and a heat sink clogged with dust.

            Half a can of canned air and the Wile-E-Coyote look later, I had it back up and running… looks like I might get paid to come in a few times a year and do preventive maintenance.

            Not exactly “Thrilling Adventures in System Administration”, but it pays just the same as poking around in software…

    2. The lathe they’re using is older than I am, made in the early 1950s. Its a huge monster made of cast iron and hardened steel

      In fairness, new machines are still monsters with considerable weight. Their sheer mass is part of how you get that tolerance. Yes, improvements in motors mean you can cut some mass without vibration screwing up tolerance, but you need tighter tolerance and at some point it starts to wash out.

      What amazes me is how this all pushes down. A coworker regaled with the story of drying to Savannah River Site (which has suppressed cell service so your GPS quits and you can’t call for directions…you needed to print them out) to pick up one of those 50s machines which was being sold as scrap despite being in good condition. Now he’s doing restoration work (including DC to AC conversion).

      What was cutting edge tech a decade before I was born is now what a hobbyist uses.

      1. I think I mentioned a trip to a shop down in south Arkansas that had a big (big enough to put a Class B motor home on, if you could chuck it) lathe that was made in the 1800s. It originally was driven from a steam engine from belts and overhead shafting. It had been converted to CNC in the 1970s or 1980s, with discrete ICs, servo motors, and a control program in interpreted BASIC; no modern g-code.

        Well over a hundred years old, it was still working and making a profit.

        It was built before heavier-than-air-flight.

        They were using it to re-cut booster motors for the Space Shuttle.

      2. and a lot of hobbyists are making these old things CNC in some way as well. Especially Mills, but i have seen a lathe made into a CNC with power feeds and DROs. Still skill in setting it up, so not as automated as a new Haas, but the stuff is out there if one is willing.

          1. You can get desktop CNC with gcode down to the Sherline size (about a 4 x 4 x 8″ workspace). Lots of CNC mill-drills available, judging from the adverts in Home Shop Machinist and the sister Village Press mags.

            1. the Ghost Gun one is a little bigger than that because it is meant to handle AR lowers and 1911 frames

              1. The Tormach PCNC 440 says it has a work envelope of 10 x 6.25 x 10″. Definitely big enough for the 1911; I don’t know ARs well enough to say.

                Looks like there are bigger ones from them.

                One outfit sells the machine for $6995. I can’t justify that, so I’ll stay with manual equipment. I keep lusting after a Bridgeport (or equivalent), but it’s not gonna happen for quite some time.

                  1. An attractive price. The Tormach seems to be targetted for the small shop or a bigger one that needs a turnkey CNC. I’ve seen kits offered for conversion of a mill-drill, but haven’t paid much attention lately.

          2. Somewhere I saw one of the mini Lathe-mill-drill Chinesium dodads converted and using g-code. I think This Old Tony is looking to CNC a little lathe too. He has one has has been improving.

            1. Just took a look in my latest HSM mag, and Little Machine Shop offers conversion kits and such.

              Several years ago, the same magazine did a series on converting a mill-drill to CNC. There’s a sister publication Digital Machinist that probably gets into more detail. Not familiar with it, though I follow one of the columnists online. (Ed Nisley, his blog softsolder dot com has a wealth of 3D printer, CNC, arduino, and other bits and pieces.)

                1. softsolder has been doing a bit with a MPCNC (Mostly Printed brackets) router setup. I have a use for a gantry router, though no plans for a 3D printer. I think the printed bits are available, or I could machine them out of aluminum.

                  My mill-drill would need upgrades for CNC; I’ve considered one or another of the ways to reduce backlash in the leadscrew to make manual work easier. Somebody sells a ballscrew setup for the Taiwan RF-30 machines for full CNC conversion.

            2. yes, but most of those work in plastic, wood and ‘soft metal’

              and the chinese making them by the thousands is the fault of their designers, who made their own designs open source.

              1. A ton of the cnc routers are flexy underpowered things. Tony has his homebuilt able to do steel, but it is exceedingly slow, and he has the right equipment so he’s only done it to prove it.. The mini-lathes etc are a “know which to buy” sorta thing as well. I think TOT is back channeling Clickspring and a few others to do an experiment.

                1. About 20 years ago, an experienced machinist (Chris Lego, for the Model Engineering and steam engine builder set) gave a review of the 7 x 10 mini lathe. Key takeaways: 1) Think of it as a kit of parts and you’d be fine. 2) There must not be a Chinese word for “deburr”. OTOH, there are some brands (I’ve heard) where the worst of the problems have been fixed before you buy.

                  Once again, Village Press: The Complete Mini-Lathe Workshop, a collection of articles on making the thing work really well. (www dot homeshopmachinist dot net This one is $28, spiral bound.

    3. Remember when Kirk relayed that story he heard from a black woman with a Chicago background about Michelle having originally been a man, and Sasha and Malia were the result of a state sanctioned kidnapping from a poor woman? I recently heard from someone who had been disgusted to hear a tea party organization trying to fund-raise from claims that Michelle had originally been a man. Not because of wokeness, but because that sort of statement would not have been acceptable in the mores they were raised to. I think the fundraisers should have had more sense about how the messages might be received, but the changes that prevent custom from being any sort of guide are a serious problem. Sure, Trump embraces an offensive rudeness. How is it possible not to be rude and offensive in these times?

      Lots of interesting things going on in fabrication. Making full use of those will also require work in design and in inspection. Which all has to be economic before we see it in the real world. Change makes the economics a pain to navigate.

        1. Yeah, but they have Rudeness Privilege because they are speaking Truth to Power and conservatives are all a bunch of poopy-heads.

            1. making shit up“??? Please! I understand they prefer the phrase “Pther than fact based narrative.” Until you are Woke and in tune with the Universe you cannot understand the Deeper Knowledge that comes out your butt.

            2. It’s also interesting that members of the Legacy Victim Class try to keep the “truth to power privilege” even when they are members of congress beating on an ordinary citizen who happens to be a white cis-male.

              We’re not supposed to notice that it’s speaking Power to Truth.

              1. Or are the editors and gatekeepers in sf/f, beating on mere writers. Yeah. We have power because… I got nothing.
                Considering their idiocy cost me my job, I’d like it to be clear they were and ARE speaking power to truth.
                I also want to make it clear that we’re not done. Not nearly. They apparently think it’s a “very good idea” TM to fuck with me as the relatively powerless one in the group. Yeah. Like I don’t have practice at this.
                There shall be so much f*ckery.
                As for Ms. Three Names, she got one bite. She has one more, and then I unleash the kraken. She won’t like me when I’m angry.

  10. I worked for a government agency during the 80s, 90s, and oughts and IT was one of my “other duties as assigned.”
    I was heavily involved in the progression from a single shared computer for a team of engineers to every employee being issued their own workstation or laptop. We also went through the whole telecommute thing pushed as an energy saving initiative. Had a lot of female employees initially very enthusiastic about the whole idea right up until we imposed the rule that anyone with preschool children had to show proof of daycare enrollment. Once they realized they could not stay home with the kids for full pay they tended to lose their enthusiasm.

    1. Makes sense. Women want jobs where they can have the kids around. And frankly, I think the rule is blinkered, now that I know several friends who work from home in computers. BUT I suspect it seemed sensible.

      1. Hinged on the fact that Federal Civil Service are technically hourly employees and were expected to put in 40 hours of productive work a week. And mostly pushback from middle managers who hated the idea that their employees were not right there under their thumbs where they could be counted as a part of an ever expanding mini empire.
        Personally, I have always gotten sideways over the idea that how long you worked was more important than what you actually accomplished. I am very good at some things and can get them done substantially quicker than what would be considered an average time. Yet some bosses would get all bent out of shape when I finished an eight hour task in six then spent the last two reading a book. They acted as though I was somehow cheating them, and proving that my production was as good as or better than that done in a full shift just managed to make things worse.

        1. Yep. When I’m running hot (which granted hasn’t happened for a while) I can write a book in three days. … and one of those books did way better than any of my other books. Time means nothing for production.

          1. If a master potter can throw a vase in two hours that an apprentice would need a full day to throw, should we pay four times as much for the apprentice’s vase?

            When I read a book I don’t care how long the author spent writing it. Heinlein reputedly wrote Door Into Summer in a day; does that make it worse than For Us, The Living on which he spent far longer?

    2. I probably do need to get a little more babysitting help, but I’d be pretty peeved if my employer tried to insist on daycare enrollment. They get my assignments back, and so far that’s enough.

      1. Yeah, it’s changed. As I pointed out this is MOSTLY a generational thing. The generation before mine and mine (Uncle Lar is on hte border) largely aren’t used to “real work” being done in hte home.
        As someone who wrote her best received novels while she had toddlers? It’s possible.

  11. Are you keeping up with your days off, Sarah?

    I only ask because I love you, and thus I must nag.

      1. More reason to do what’s necessary not to burn out.

        I’m one to talk as I don’t do much of anything that I’m supposed to, but that doesn’t mean I’m not right.

  12. “The cowards never started. The weak died on the way. Only the strong arrived. They were the pioneers.”

    And so the revolution against Progressive-Socialism commenced.

    1. Socialism/Communism are the meth of governing systems. The trial run seems awesome. “Regulate all the things! I can do ANYTHING!” Later, the race to the bottom has no end. Like a meth user dehydrating their urine in the oven for a chance at a second high, the socialism user will be griping that their daughter didn’t give them enough of the canned food she sold her body to obtain.

      1. Like a meth user dehydrating their urine in the oven for a chance at a second high,

        I wish I could ask you to say that isn’t true.

        I’m pretty sure I can’t, so I’m going to go hit my head against a steel door for a while.

      2. “Like a meth user dehydrating their urine in the oven for a chance at a second high”

        You have GOT to be kidding. Are you pulling my leg on that?

        1. I have no personal experience, but my instructor back when I took a U.S. Army urinalysis class often worked with law enforcement and he collected plenty of awful anecdotes over the years.

          It seems the chemical composition of meth, being synthetic, does not mesh well at all with the human body compared with something derived from more natural processes, e.g. cocaine. So a body really being able to process the meth molecules will tend to send them out with the waste mostly intact. I’m not sure how the addicts figured that out, but it is possible to recycle meth crystals from urine, according to that instructor.

  13. But for other people it means living in the middle of nowhere,

    Yes, please.

    As it is, today the news just got to be too much and since we’re still in the awkward phase I shutdown Instapundit and YouTube notifications and put Mac Davis on the player.

  14. Just computers will affect the way we mate

    I remember in Expanded Universe the Lt. writing that there was an existing invention that would change mating even more than the automobile. He wasn’t sure what it was, but said it might be the microprocessor.

    That was in 1980.

    It’s sad he didn’t live to see it (or to see SpaceX land a rocket correctly).

  15. Re. time off. I developed a dental condition that will a series of very, very intensive cleanings to make it stop. The techs and I were trying to sort out what might have led to the problem, because it means something in my biochemistry has shifted. I mentioned my stress levels (the stop in the HI setting broke and the needle is now hanging at the 6 O’clock position), and they allowed as how that may well be the source of the change.

    Don’t be me.

    1. Oh, honey. Until younger son graduates AND finds a job, my stress levels are explosive. To the point of “if I survive this.” I’m trying to take up running again, to deal with it.

        1. 1996. IP sells the division I worked for. Companies that bought the assets weren’t hiring programmers. Other divisions for IP, way, way, out of the PNW, where hubby would not have job, my salary would not have covered both; if that really had been an option. So, we know I’m out of work, a month after the transaction was announced. Two weeks after the announcement, because hubby’s company had 20 contracts with IP, hubby got layoff notice … I threw up for 3 months. Doctor diagnosed stress (you think?). Hubby’s notice was retracted before the official shutdown, but the stress trigger had been pulled. To add insult, I didn’t lose any weight … I mean, really?

            1. “Unfortunately I GAIN on stress”

              Yes. I generally gain weight when stressed. But 3 months of not being able to keep anything down? You’d think I’d lost weight. Nope. Didn’t gain as much as I might have. But, damn …

              Also, weight was one of the clues that things were really out of control at work. I was up to 260 & I’m only 5’4″. Lost 60#, didn’t keep all of it off. Need to get back on the program again (calorie counting, exercising etc.) Have a new incentive, a new app that just walking & triggering it to track provides $.30 per mile to the charity you choose for that walk, paid monthly.

              Not much, but just starting last week, this month I’ve accumulated over 10 miles with my pup. That and I’ve gotten the pup a FitBark. So I must get her numbers up 😉 Need to find less boring places to walk her.

    2. I helped destroy my gums by smoking a pipe and by misunderstanding the best way to floss. FWIW, on the advice of my dental hygenist, I’ve been using a Waterpik waterflosser (their word) for over a decade. It’s amazing the amount of gubbage it cleans out, and that’s after the proxi brushes, flossing, and toothbrushing.

  16. “Computers changing the way we mate”…one of the exhibits in the Computer History Museum is a Lois Lane comic book from 1961. It seems that a friend, knowing that Lois will never get anywhere with Superman, tricks her into appearing on a TV program in which the UNIVAC computer is used to find ideal matches for people. When she is called on stage, Lois agrees only because she thinks it might make a good story for the newspaper.

    How does it turn out? You can read the whole story here, at the price of some eyestrain:

  17. I met my wife in a bar. I was just back from leave, and she was one of four new maintenance officers. Five years after she died, my two neighbor ladies set me up to meet a woman. We met at a restaurant with three ways to escape, should either of us want to. We didn’t.

    ” People will respect what you can do, not where you went to school.” I suspect a lot of people will still think better of Ivies…until they get to know them.

    1. Well, it is easier for me to think better of the Ivies than I do, and did before the recent scandal.

      I have watched Pit Rats take apart Harvard students and dealt with the lesbian student group at Brown rejecting a friend. Places near both plus Yale were haunts when I lived in CT.

      I wasn’t very impressed with the typical student at any one of them. They knew they were superior to you because they were there so I know they weren’t learning.

      Not sure if I told the story, but I had a friend whose daughter was valedictorian of her class at a private high school in western Ma. The salutatorian was always angry at coming in second. Although my friend’s daughter got into several expensive private schools she would have needed loans for all of them. UMass Amherst offered her a free ride. When the salutatorian learned my friend’s daughter was going to UMass her direct quote was, “I’m going to Yale, so I am smarter than you.”

      My friend beamed when she told us her daughter’s response, “Maybe, but I’m better at life.”

      I think that exchange sums up my view of the Ivies nicely (and proves one apple fell very close to the tree).

      1. Many of us have familiarity with the tendency for graduates of the Ivies to downgrade one standard deviation anybody with a strong Southern accent.

        It can come in handy when trying to sell some Yankee city slicker a perfect site for a ski lodge in the Smokies.

      2. At HP, there were enough Stanford graduates that they knew they couldn’t get away with that crap, but the MIT grads were impressive. Not in a good way.

        “You can tell an MIT graduate, but you can’t tell him much.”

  18. I can’t decide whether I’m a coward or weak based on that quote.

    Part of my problem is that I need a leader. I want the ability to carefully choose said leader and the option to revisit the decision if needed but I am definitely a follower.

    1. Several years ago I found (and then lost) an essay from a woman who’s a born follower about the importance of being a good follower. One of her major points was that needing a leader doesn’t mean you abdicate all responsibility. You leave the big decisions to the leader, and then always have ways to support your leader if needed. And to take care of yourself (and any dependents) until the leader can take over and resume giving orders/dealing directly with the mess.

        1. I really wish I’d done a copy/paste when I found it. It disappeared, and I’ve been hunting intermittently for about ten years now trying to track it down. It started as a submissive (both by personality and lifestyle) defending learning basic self defense, and shifted into a meditation on followership.

    2. And, to add to TXRed, to be a good follower you also have to be able to know when it’s time to get out of Dodge because the leader’s going off the tails.

    3. It’s a big thing in the Navy that good leadership is good followership. The leader takes input from his subordinates and makes the decision, and then leaves it in their hands to carry out the decision, because he has to think about the next big decision. It’s especially important for those of us given to analysis paralysis and running off in a thousand different directions after the shiny squirrels to have someone who can make the decisions and give us direction. But it’s also important for us to GIVE our best analysis and thinking outside the box (WHY is that squirrel in armor? How else would it fight its battles against the tunneling voles?) to our leader so he has the best information with which to make decisions.

      1. Haven’t been in the military. But Scouting does the same. Consequences generally are not as dire, as scouts aren’t expected to face enemy combatants. But, they can and do face emergency situations (as seen on the news.)

        We had a group of scouts get lost on a campout (how is another tale). But, when they realized they were lost. They did stop, discuss the options, took a vote, then deferred to the oldest, who made the final decision.

        Which were: Made sure everyone was dry, and relatively warm, no need for a fire (Oregon March weather, it rained the entire time they were “missing”). They were staying together no matter what. They were headed down the drainage to the nearest road, to find a house, to get directions back to camp area. Which is what happened. The house they knocked at knew where they needed to be, knew they were going to be already missed, and someone(s) in a panic, gave them a ride back to camp.

        Yes, the lecture that they didn’t stay put, once they figured out they were lost, was mentioned a time or two or … oh heck at 4 of the 6’s Eagle Court of Honors, immediately after, and other times. OTOH it was also always pointed out what they did RIGHT. FWIW, staying put was part of the information discussed.

        The scouts who got lost were fine. The adult scouters who were there, OTOH all had panic attacks latter that week …

        The call I got (emergency procedures were triggered, just scouts were back at camp before full mobilization happened) … “There is a problem on the campout, 6 boys are missing, your son is one of them, your husband said to stay put; stay home. Do not drive out to camp site. Emergency protocol and personnel are being mobilized. Stay home.” Hardest thing I’ve ever, ever, done. But I stayed home. My son was 13.

        Yes. Son’s Eagle Court of Honor was one of those where the tale was retold.

  19. The thing you miss, Sarah, is that Heinlein has been stolen from us.

    David Brin has lied and said that he wasn’t that big on guns. Since Brin, being a Democrat, has absolute power, from here on out Heinlein will be recorded as an anti-gun leftist. Brin actually was called on his lies about Heinlein by Eric Raymond in this article:

    –and yet he repeats the exact same lie here 4 years later:

    In effect, David Brin, using his absolute power as a leftist traitor with a megaphone, has changed history. From now on, because the true history has been suppressed, everything will follow as if Heinlein had been an anti-gun leftist.

  20. Just FYI, something new on this page sucked a huge amount of CPU for about 30 seconds before the page finally condescended to load (earlier today it wouldn’t load at all). Meanwhile it was making a lot of calls to Have not seen this before. WDE, but you might want to check for malware; not getting this problem elsewhere.

      1. A wordpress blog I was on, may have been hosted by WordPress even, once had an issue with odd code. Had the time and energy to look at things with ‘view source’, and found that some odd things had been done to the template. Might’ve been someone had cheated temporary access to an administrative account.

        These days I surf pretty much everywhere with javascript turned off. Years back when I did come here with javascript on, I found that it took longer to load, and slowed down my machine more than I cared for.

        I don’t have the time to manually look at this site’s code, even when the new post goes up and the comments on it are few. I don’t have the skills for any sort of better or faster check.

    1. WP is also doing the random delays before posting replies tonight. Usually it’s a few seconds, but a couple have needed several minutes before they showed up.

        1. Improving? Yeah. Is that what they call it?

          I will believe it when and if I see decent results.

  21. The full impact of the ability to do a lot of work from home won’t be understood for decades…but it may be worthwhile to observe that this is precisely how most jobs worked prior to the Industrial Revolution. You lived over the shop/mill/forge. The idea of traveling somewhere ELSE, on a daily basis, to work was relatively unusual.

    1. Go back a few decades, and local print shops were a thing. If you needed 100 copies of a report, or whatever, you had to go to the pros. Then came photocopiers, and then printers & software.
      Or, if you had a camera, you went to that tiny little hut in the parking lot of the shopping plaza. Now it’s all digital, again with printers & software.
      In the next couple of years, we’ll see something similar with 3d printing, computer controlled routers (already putting a hurt on traditional guitar making), and other computer controlled building stuff.

      1. I was cleaning up in the shop the other day and found a box full of parts for a CNC gunstock router. It was one of the several things I had going when ITAR decided carving a piece of wood made me an armaments manufacturer subject to their regulation.

        1. I think they’ve had their minds changed on that. But the point is valid…the regulations are decades behind the power curve.

      1. Sending your teenage boys off to have them raised by strangers wasn’t super odd throughout history. The squires of knighthood, or various “hostages” in the courts of foreign kings for instance.
        But that wasn’t done with babies and small children.

        1. Young men had Apprenticeships. Young girls were often servants to the more wealth classes. That is if you were in the household of working class of a non-merchant.

          Essentially, if you weren’t needed to work on the farm at home, you got farmed out for pay to send money home (if you were extremely lucky, some of those wages would have been held in trust for you), until you were of an age, and founded your own hearth. FYI. The money thing was regardless of gender. Everyone who was able to provide for the core family was expected to, not just the parents.

          1. A kitchen maid who plucked the fowl got to keep the feathers for her future feather bed.

        2. Girls, too. I read a book of Elizabethan advice that stated you could keep one daughter at home IF your wife was suitably prudent and wise. It recommended places for the rest: one, I remember, was a lawyer’s household so that daughter could find a young lawyer.

          The one you kept at home should marry a yeoman, because they’d be so impressed at her marrying down that they wouldn’t ask for much dowry.

  22. OTOH because we’ve equated work with time throughout the 20th century, they might be afraid you’re working very fast and goofing off the rest of the time.

    When I worked from home doing ad copy I had a manager who seemed to think that just because I was home, I had nothing better to do anyway, and liked to increase quotas because I typed very fast and could get my work done quickly. Considering that they were paying me based on output, not how much time I spent on work, this was a stupid thing to do, as it resulted in very fast burnout. That company fell over rather quickly shortly after I left, though not just because I left (the leaving was an inevitability since I was moving to Australia.)

    From d’s comment up above:
    Everyone who was able to provide for the core family was expected to, not just the parents.

    This is how it is with most Filipino families still. Good ones, anyway; at least until it was time for the eldest (then the next, and the next) to set up their own households; and then the grandparents and grand-aunts/uncles would start looking after the grandkiddies, supported in their old age…

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