Posts tagged ‘cabinet’

Greatest Thing Since Duct Tape

Don't let Amazon's placement of it in the "craft" section fool you.  E-6000 is the best all-purpose, stick-any-two-arbitrary-things-together adhesive I have ever found.

I made my daughter a Christmas present which was a reproduction of the painting in the Disney Haunted Mansion where the man in the picture slowly turns to a skeleton.  I will post a build report at some time, but I had to anchor a heavy computer monitor to a wood box and an Ikea plastic frame, and E-6000 welded the whole thing together.  I also have used it recently to glue studs to a concrete floor to support a cabinet and to put a rubber weir under my garage door.  It takes a day to cure, and will not go on thin and sometime can be messy, but it makes an awesome bond.   I almost never touch epoxy or  Liquid Nails any more.

Update:  I know Gorilla Glue has its adherents.  The problem is that it expands so much (it kind of foams), it is really hard to control and get good results, at least in my opinion.  Neither of these replace ACC when you need to bond something fast or when you want your fingers stuck together all day.

Getting Really Close

I have decided to save the photo-essay of my speaker-building project until the project is finished and I can put it all in one long post.  However, just as an update, I am really close to done.  The three speakers (left, center, right) will go behind my accoustically-perforated projection screen.  As you can see, the enclosures are complete and primed and the crossovers are complete and installed.  The special paint I ordered arrived today so I can paint this weekend and install the drivers.

The funny shape of the openings at top are due to my choice of drivers -- the tweeter will be a horn-style driver, an approach I wanted to try for home theater in a large room (movie theater speakers use the same technology).  The cabinet is ported for bass response -- that is what the rectangular opening is in the upper right.   These are based on a design by Pi speakers.

Knock on wood but given my total and complete lack of carpentry skills and experience (think Anthony Michael Hall in the Breakfast Club, the geeky kid who fails shop), I am just thrilled with how they are coming out.

Just a teaser -- all will be explained soon....

Shouldn't This Guy Be In the Obama Administration?

I was watching the Elizabeth Hurley remake of Bedazzled (mainly to see, you know, Elizabeth Hurley) and thought the guy in the video below should be in the Obama cabinet.  Y'all may know the story - guy gets 7 wishes from the devil, and each wish goes wrong in some way.  In this wish, he wants to be really sensitive to get this girl he is after, but he is unable to take any meaningful action because he is just too caught up in expressing the depth of his caring.

Changing Face of Patronage

I was listening to a lecture on the politics of reconstruction when I encountered something that seemed quite quaint.   By 1877, a lot of the country was tiring of reconstruction, and was ready to move on.  Southern Democrats were taking the opportunity to re-take control of their states (through voter intimidation and outright murder) and, unfortunately, institute a race-based social system that would be enforced by government officials for almost a hundred years.

In this background, enter the contested Presidential election between Republican Hayes and Democrat Tilden.  The electoral college vote turned on three close southern races that no one to this day probably knows who really won, particularly if one factors in the voter intimidation in those states.  Never-the-less, Republicans found themselves in control of the vote counting and later the special committee to investigate and certify the election, and predictably Republican Hayes was certified the winner.

Southern Democrats were ticked off, and threatened to throw every wrench they could into seating the new government.  So, in a back room compromise, Democrats exchanged agreement on accepting Hayes as President for agreement by Republicans to pull troops out of the South and effectively allow Southern Democrats leeway to do whatever they liked with blacks in the South.

This is all grossly simplified, but what caught my attention was one side-bargain of the deal.  The Southern Democrats wanted a cabinet position under Hayes.  What did they want?  State, maybe War?  No, they wanted the Postmaster position.  The reason was that the Postmaster had by far the most patronage positions to award of any of the Cabinet positions, because it employed so many civil service positions.

Doesn't handing out a few jobs as rewards to your political supporters seem such a quaint form of political corruption today?  Now, of course, with the power to tax or regulate whole industries out of business, or to step on one group of competitors in favor of another set in a high-stakes market, this seems so benign.  I wish that were all we had to worry about today.  Instead, we have a President who can, without any enabling legislation, take two of the largest corporations in American (GM and Chrysler), cancel the debts owed to their secured creditors, and then hand control of these companies to his strongest political supporters (the UAW) -- an act of political patronage that makes a joke of selling a few postmaster positions.

Update: Don Boudreaux discusses the rise of government-controlled fire fighting in the context of political patronage.

Back to the 1970s

I have argued for a while that the US appears to be regressing back to the 1970s.  George Bush is showing every sign of rivaling Richard Nixon for the award for most heavy-handed, misguided economic interventions by a President nominally espousing free market principals.  And there is no reason to think that Obama's outsider appeal and leftish economics will clean things up any better than did Carter.

Another sign the 1970's are back is Obama's appointment of Paul Ehrlich buddy John Holdren as his Science Adviser.   The Reference Frame has more on his work and "credentials", but suffice it to say there is very little there.

He is a strong practitioner of what I call post-modern science, where being fact-based and rigorous is far, far less important than coming to politically correct conclusions that are wrapped in just enough pseudoscience to wow science-illiterate media and most of the public.  His only highly cited works are Club-of-Rome type stuff with Ehrlich in the 1970s, and, not surprisingly, climate alarmist work today.   He is the type of scientist that is more comfortable (and better received) on an Oprah episode than in a detailed science debate.  He has a tendency to declare issues settled without having ever produced any evidence, and a history of eventually backing down from ludicrous positions he adopted without evidence in earlier phases of his life, only to then make the exact same mistake again in a slightly modified form.

The title comes from perhaps his most famous work, and is a great example of exactly what this guy is about.  I=PAT is supposedly an equation to measure man's impact (generally interpreted to be negative impact) on the Earth.  The letters stand for Impact (or Influence) = Population x Affluence x Technology **

The fact that he has an "equation" makes it look like science.  But in fact, it is not an equation at all.  He never tries to put any numbers to it, and in fact one cannot put numbers to it.  It is merely a political point of view popular on the left - that growth and technology and wealth are all bad - made to look like there is some science behind it.   It gives the scientific impremateur to something that is no such thing, so limits-to-growth supporters could yell back at their critics that is was "settled science."  Its a kind of voodoo, where activists could wave Holdren and Ehrlich at their critics, to try to keep the fact-Gods at bay.  Similar forces are at work in climate, though climate scientists have learned not to put their equations on paper (since then churlish outsiders can criticize it) but to bury them in a black box climate model.

In fact, even as a concept I=PAT fails.   Because at least two of the three terms have exactly the opposite relationship.  What do I mean?  Well, I guess I could be convinced that, all things being equal, rising human population has a net negative impact on the environment.   But affluence and technology should be in the denominator, not the numerator.  I won't bother with an extensive proof, since Holdren never proves his equation, but I will offer up a couple of thought experiments:

  • Imagine 6-7 billion people on the earth today but with the wealth and technology of the pre-Jethro Tull 17th century.  It would be a freaking disaster.  The catastrophe, to humanity and the environment, would be unimageable.   We are able to have the P we have today only because it is offset by A and T.  Or, in a point made in an earlier post, poverty is not "sustainable."
  • America is demonstrably less polluted and cleaner than in 1970, despite a higher population.  Many areas are cleaner than in 1920, and we have more untouched land and more forest coverage today than we did in 1920.  Why?  Technology and affluence.

If one really wanted to be scientific about it, and studied actual data, I think he would find that environmental impact follows a parabola with development.  Initial increases in population and industrialization lead to messy problems, which are then fixed with increasing wealth and technology.  There are many places in the world where halting growth would merely freeze the country at the top of this parabola.  China is a great example.  China's environmental problems will get solved through increasing wealth.  Stopping it from growing would actually increase the negative impact on the environment.

Anyway, I just spent more time on the proposition than it deserves.  If Holdren ever steps down, I suppose there's always Rosie O'Donnell to replace him.

** This is based on the popular interpretation of the equation.  In fact, in its original form, T was not technology but just a plug factor, something like impact per population-dollar.  At this level, the equation is certainly true, as mathematically it is hard to argue against the equation impact = population x dollars x impact per population-dollar!  So, at some level, the finding was not wrong but simply trivial.  However, in popular mythology, T was changed to technology, and the authors really did nothing to correct this interpretation, because essentially they agreed with it, even if they hadn't proved it.  (more here)  This approach, of proving one thing that is trivial and then claiming the proof is of something broader and more robust is now typical of climate science.

My Education Secretary Pick

Obama has picked Arne Duncan of Chicago as Secretary of Education.  Unwilling to send his own kids to schools run by Mr. Duncan, he is never-the-less putting Duncan in charge of the rest of our schools.

My appointment for the Secretary of the Department of Education would have been the head of a liquidation firm.  As a libertarian, I can find fault just about everywhere in Washington, but nothing better illustrates the modern disregard for the Constitution and the 9th and 10th Amendments than the Federal education infrastructure.  My daughter asked me what I would do first if I were President.  I would put blowing up this department first (though its demise would be neck and neck with the Department of Energy).  I would even be willing to do it in a funding-neutral way, such that Federal funds currently allocated to education would still be so allocated, and simply distributed on some kind of per head basis to local districts.  Which, in fact, would actually increase real education funding, eliminating the great Washington leaky bucket as well as the cost of compliance with reams of rules and regulations that is born by local districts.

It is possible to find a few  (though very few, on a percentage basis) anecdotes of public schools that have been turned around  (in fact, I think there are few enough that a movie can and has been made about every one).  There are no examples that I know of a large school district being turned around.   As to this guy Duncan picked by Obama today --  I am willing to believe he had some point successes at individual schools.  But he certainly didn't turn around the whole district  (certainly not to the Obama family's standards, since they refused to send their kids to the schools Duncan ran).  So what hope does he have at a national level?  Answer:  none.  But I am sure he will ask for more money to do it.

Can We Get Over Our Obsession with Agriculture?

Dan Griswold writes today about our depressing continued subsidization of the agriculture business, up to and including gutting any reasonable energy policy in favor of subsidizing corn farmers.

Beyond shear inertia and the fact that Iowa leads the primaries, can anyone really explain this.  For God sakes, we have a cabinet-level position for agriculture, and, in case of a massive Cylon attack, the secretary of agriculture is 8th in line for the Presidency.

Here is some perspective:  Agriculture, even if you include fishing and forestry, accounts for 1.1% of US GDP.  $122 billion of total value added.  Computers and electronic parts is a larger industry.  As is entertainment and recreation.  As is the restaurant industry.  Heck, Exxon and Wal-Mart are probably more deserving of cabinet positions. 

Sample Environmental Requirements

Often businesses complain about ridiculously tedious environmental regulation and paperwork, and they don't seem to get much sympathy.  The usual opposing response is just to say "oh, you guys just are mad that you can't dump dioxin in the river any more."

But I am here to tell you -- many of the requirements are really, really detailed, time-consuming, and of questionable value.  To demonstrate this, I am going to let you into my life for a minute.  Among the many recreation facilities we operate (my business described here), we run a small pair of marinas on Blue Mesa Lake in Colorado.  At these marinas we rent boats, have a fuel dock, and do some light boat maintenance for customers.  We are renting the facility from the government (specifically the National Park Service), and as our landlord they provided all the facilities.

When we inherited the facilities from the previous tenant, they were in awful condition.  We have had to spend a lot of money brining the government's facilities up to standard, removing years of hazardous waste, etc.  Our reward was to get audited by the EPA and the NPS.  For those of you who are interested in what environmental regulation looks like to a small business, you may view a pdf of our audit results.  You can't possibly read everything, but skim through the findings to get the general idea.  And as you are reading, note that this is a GOOD audit -- we were actually commended in Washington for the work we had done cleaning up the place.  And still this work list remains.  Remember also while reading this that I don't run a chemical plant or a steel mill, this is a small marina on a lake.

For those who don't want to scoll through all 52 items, here is one, chosen at random:

Audit Finding:
Each container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace was not labeled, tagged, or marked with the following information:
- Identity of the hazardous chemical(s) contained therein; and
- Appropriate hazard warnings.

For example:

  • A white plastic bucket was observed with no label in the flammable cabinet at the maintenance yard;
  • Three unlabeled 55-gallon drums were observed at the maintenance yard, one of which had a sign of leakage;
  • An unlabeled plastic white bottle was observed on one of the blue drums at the maintenance yard;
  • A red flammable container was observed next to the flammable cabinet at the maintenance yard. The cap was not on. It was noted that the container was partially full with water;
  • Two red and one blue unlabeled drums were stored at the back of the maintenance yard. The blue drum had signs of leakage;
  • The carbon dioxide cylinder in use at Pappy's Restaurant had a worn label;
  • Two unlabeled spray bottles were observed in Pappy's Restaurant washing room;
  • An unlabeled bucket was observed in Pappy's Restaurant washing room under a shelf on which detergents are stored;
  • Unlabeled partially full buckets were observed in Pappy's Restaurant washing room;
  • An unlabeled spray bottle was observed in the maintenance room for the showers at Elk Creek; and
  • An spray bottle that contained purple liquid was observed in the shower maintenance room at Lake Fork.  The bottle had a worn label.

Update:  From the looks of this fish, maybe we are putting something odd in the lake!

Update:  Here is another good one:

Audit Finding:
Concessioner staff had not submitted an ozone-depleting substance (ODS)-containing equipment registration form and fee with the State of Colorado.

Good old Colorado.  Colorado is one of the states I have to have a special license to sell eggs

Here is a quick contest -- I will send a free  copy of my book (my global warming book or my novel BMOC) to the first reader who can email me with a link to the correct Colorado web page with information and/or forms for the ODS-containing equipment registration.  I can't find it.

Update 2:  I can be a man and admit when another man has bested me.  So I must admit that though it is my environmental audit, TJIC has a much better post on it than I have.  Maybe because he seems to have read more of it than I have.

I need 24 Help

I have no tolerance for watching TV series on the network's schedule.  If a series gets good reviews, I will watch it on DVD (e.g. Serenity, Deadwood, Rome, Sopranos, Alias, Wonderfalls, etc).  In this same vain, I watched the first season of 24 straight through and really enjoyed it.  The second season was OK but weaker and less believable (even a hard-core libertarian paranoiac like myself had trouble buying the cabinet coup).  Plus I got about the same feeling when the Kim Bauer character was on-screen as I did when there was Anakin-Padme dialog in the last Star Wars movie.

So I am a third of the way through season 3 and I am having trouble really getting into it -- maybe the threat is not immediate enough at the mid-point.  Should I stick it out?  Is there anything out there left worth seeing?  Is there anything interesting in seasons 4 or 5 that bring back what made the first season great?

Beware Staples Internet Site

I am always suspicious when retailers try to pursue a parallel channel model.  Most tend to screw it up.  Office supply retailer Staples gets my screwed-up online retailer of the year award.  We tried Staples online service when a sales person visited us and offered us a corporate discount to try their remote order service.  The first several orders failed to show up on the promised dates, a hardship for a small office where someone often has to explicitly wait around for such a delivery.  Their delivery windows are worse than even those provided by the cable company, promising only to show up sometime between 9 and 5. 

This week, I waited all day for a couple of filing cabinets, which showed up battered and beaten up.   It was clear that the cabinets were damaged just from looking at the boxes.  I hope no one in my company would ever ship something that looked so banged up to a customers without checking on it.  Sure enough, the cabinets were a mess, and I insisted on sending them back.  The driver said, sorry, you already signed for them, I can't take them, call customer service. 

So I called customer service and they did what?  Scheduled another pickup/delivery.  So I again waited all day today for the replacements.  The driver took the old ones, but the new ones were again in beaten up boxes - one had black electrical tape patching it up.  But I had learned.  I said I would not sign for them until I had opened and inspected them.  The driver said I was not allowed to inspect them until I signed for them.  Great.  Well, like an idiot I signed and then immediately upon opening the boxes found that they were both beaten up.  Obviously they had a bad lot of these type cabinets, and I had begged them to inspect my two replacements first before they came out, but no joy.  And of course, the driver would not take them back because ... I had already signed for them.

This restrictive approach to customer acceptance of merchandise, which I would summarize as "you have to accept the merchandise without inspection" stands in marked contrast to how this works in their stores.  I believe that I would certainly be entitled in the store to look at the actual cabinet, rather than the box, before I decided to accept the merchandise.  Heck, I am pretty sure it was my local Staples store that, when they sold me two chairs, unboxed them and assembled them for free.

 

So tomorrow is yet another visit.  I again begged Staples to inspect the cabinets before they put them on the truck to make sure this third set would be OK, since they obviously were pulling from a bad lot.  The Staples customer service guy said that their warehouse folks don't do that kind of thing.  No shit.

Update: OK, I give up.  The replacements were battered as well.  Why through this no one in the warehouse would have the initiative to check on what is obviously a bad lot they have received from the manufacturer is beyond me.   I have left them on the curb for Staples to get whenever they want them.  They were good about my credit.