Monday, 17 December 2012

08:03 – Crunch week, and we’re down to single-digit numbers on finished-goods inventory of all our science kits. Fortunately, we have all of the components on hand to build more of all of them on-the-fly, which we’ll do so that we can continue shipping kits right up until the last possible moment for Christmas delivery. The USPS doesn’t guarantee delivery times on Priority Mail. It’s usually one to three business days, but that may slide a day or so with the Christmas rush. Any kit we ship by Wednesday should make it to any US destination by Christmas Eve, but anything after that is iffy, particularly if it’s headed west of the Mississippi.


40 thoughts on “Monday, 17 December 2012”

  1. Last week (12/13 to be exact) an FCC rule went into effect that prohibits commercials on a given TV or cable channel, from being louder than the programming content. Actually, like nearly all government regulations, the wording is confusing, and seems like it addresses only commercials WITHIN programs and not adjacent to or between them. But the FCC is confident that the ruling applies to ALL commercials on any given station. Stations and cable operators have been given the past year to buy the equipment necessary for this to happen, and now that time is up.

    The objective is that you set your volume for a station once, and you should never have to adjust it again because of commercials sounding louder than the programs. The FCC calls the Act CALM—Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (what bureaucrat did we pay to come up with that acronym?).

    As most of you know, I do not own a TV because no one will pay me to watch it, but reports on the broadcasting boards are that no one has noticed any change, and commercials are still louder than programs on the stations that have classically condoned such activity.

    FCC notice to the public about the ruling:

    http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/loud-commercials

  2. I just don’t buy stuff from advertisers who have loud ads. In the Seventies a South Australian grocery chain called Foodland had a screeching television ad that opened with a very loud “WHERE DO YA GEDDIT?” I was seriously annoyed by this, and as I did most of the family’s grocery shopping it was very counter productive since I avoided Foodland for that reason.

  3. I’m sure Chuck can tell us the details, provided but even a layman like me can image a zillion ways around any possible rules. It all depends on what is measured. Average loudness? Maximum? What range of frequencies? Over what time period?

    Commercials on US television are incredibly annoying. The solution is simple: the off button. Cheap, too: no need to pay bureaucrats to invent stupid acronyms.

  4. I can’t say I’ve noticed, but then I see so few TV commercials that I don’t have a valid sample. The vast majority of what Barbara and I watch on TV is either DVDs or Netflix streaming. I simply refuse to watch any program that has commercials. Or a laugh track.

  5. I can’t say I’ve noticed, but then I see so few TV commercials that I don’t have a valid sample. The vast majority of what Barbara and I watch on TV is either DVDs or Netflix streaming. I simply refuse to watch any program that has commercials. Or a laugh track.

    I’ll admit I’m probably the “big” commercial viewer around here. I don’t know the last commercial that motivated me to buy a product or service. The last commercial that caught my attention and caused an action was the one that told me Rizzoli and Isles had new episodes.

    That said I watch a lot of Netflix, and routinely DVR the cable or broadcast shows I watch. Which would be Elementary, Bones, Castle and NCIS and Major Crimes, in addition to Rizzoli and Isles.

  6. No broadcast or cable TV for us, but we’ve been around MIL’s and others’ tee-vees and I find the noise and commercials in the midst of clearly shitty programs to be inexcusable and unwatchable. What a colossal waste of time and bandwidth and if anything it’s gotten WORSE since the day we gave it all up six years ago.

  7. The interesting thing is that many TV series gain at least a couple of stars when you watch them without commercials, and ideally straight through rather than one episode a week. With commercials, Buffy was 3-star; without commercials it’s 5-star.

    There’s a lot of crap on TV, certainly, but there’s also some really good stuff. Barbara and I watch a lot of British and Canadian series, but the US also turns out a lot of first-rate programs.

  8. Here’s a self gift idea for the holidays: buy large capacity magazines for all your guns or potential guns. You know it’s coming. BAN THE THOSE DAMN HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINES! THAT’S WHY THOSE KIDS WERE MURDERED!

  9. I would pay money for the chance to get the usual suspect pols and hacks and media rumpswabs in a room for just ten minutes. Just my hands and feet.

    Meanwhile OFD has been doing zackly as MrAtoz suggests and looking into hi-cap mags accordingly.

  10. I would imagine that firearm, magazine, and ammo sales have already skyrocketed in anticipation of knee jerk gun control legislation.

    I remember right after Obama was elected in 2008 you could hardly find handgun ammo anywhere as it was selling as quickly as stores could stock it.

  11. OFD says:

    Your link in your OFD is busted and points to a non-existent server. And that is some really bad nooz.

  12. Oh yes. Smith & Wesson just reported BEFORE this latest incident their sales were up 48%, and they are a big firm. Ruger has broken records repeatedly. Ammo prices are up and certain calibers are hard to find. Nosferatu II has been the firearms industry’s best salesman in their entire history, combined; they should put up a monument to him.

    The usual suspects in the political and media worlds got right on this, of course, before any of those children have been buried. And some of the “smart” libruls are now waxing “moderate” and saying that gee, doesn’t common sense dictate that we not operate like the wild West anymore, etc., etc. and how bad does it have to get here before we find some “common ground” concerning all these guns, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. Why is the gun nut lobby so crazy? Etc.

    I usually just respond now, when I bother at all anymore, that the genie is outta the fuckin bottle, ass-hats! There are a half a billion to a billion firearms in the hands of Americans now and you can get the entire UN armed forces and those of the next ten largest countries to come here and take them away from us and good luck with that! The Imperial Japanese forces were some pretty aggressive and hostile mofos back in the day and even THEY backed off from that idea.

    So they will hound the manufacturers, outlaw ammo, outlaw reloading equipment, etc., etc., and we’ll buy it, make it, sell it, fix it, whatever, ANYWAY. But another solution will come up before we reach that stage, I am pretty sure.

  13. “… points to a non-existent server.”

    Yeah, I been meaning to fix that. It was a Windows 8 server and it crapped the bed. We’ll be migrating to a Linux or maybe an OpenVMS machine Real Soon Now.

  14. I do not see how Mr. Obama could do anything at this point to seize all existing guns and ammo. That would cause the civil war to start almost immediately. He will never get any legislation through the US House either and he knows it. We might see a 100X increase in the guns and ammo excise tax though as an “emergency” measure. $10 a bullet would make their hearts grow warmer.

    Of course, two “stalwart defenders of the faith XXXXX NRA” democrat senators have jumped ship:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9751588/Connecticut-school-shooting-two-US-Senators-call-for-assault-weapons-ban.html

    I do not trust Republican Senators as far as I can throw them. And that is not far nowadays as those days when I could bench press 330 lbs are long past me. And Democrats? All worthless!

  15. I simply refuse to watch any program that has commercials. Or a laugh track.

    Does that mean you won’t be watching Obumble’s State of the Union address?

  16. Repubs are mostly fuckin worthless, too, Lynn; as has been my experience for a long time now; they happily stab us in the back as soon as look at us and smile while they do it. After the latest incident they have remained utterly silent, looking like the ass-hats they are.

    I bailed on the Repubs in ’98 and good riddance to bad rubbish; they are the Stupid Half of the War/Money Party and the Dems are the Evil Half. They all suck and the exceptions can be counted, again, on one hand. Paul was one, but he committed Presidential nomination suicide when he piped up against the wars. Can’t do that, no sir. America runs on Dunkins but it also runs on endless stupid clusterfuck wars in foreign places we have no business being in; as the very late Randolph Bourne used to say “War is the health of the State.”

    I only have a few libertarian streaks and am mainly a paleoconservative but that is one libertarian sentiment that really strikes home.

    Bench press guy, eh? My next younger brother does that still; been doing it since he was a kid; he’s now the Master’s Class (over 50) Champion for New England. He can probably knock me through a brick wall but he knows he wouldn’t get the chance. And we’re like twins anyway, though I am six inches taller and about the same weight (265).

    Littlest brother, ten years younger than me, is the same size as me and was a long-distance runner; I did middle distances and the wonderful old-skool high jump, smacking the shit outta my knees and legs on that goddam metal bah. Or having it crash down on top of me.

    OK, family athletics memory lane rant over.

  17. If you find yourself short of firearms or ammunition, ambush a government employee. An awful lot of them are armed. And if, by chance, you ambush and smite a government employee who happens not to be carrying, well, at least you gone and smited a government employee, so the day hasn’t been wasted.

  18. I shoulda, woulda, coulda; if I’d stayed in the military I woulda dead sure been dead in May of ’75, no question of it at all. If I’d stayed in cops I’d have well over thirty years now and retiring on MA State Police pension but screw that; I saw the writing on the wall back then and bailed; affirmative action; shit for backups; brain-dead brass; political shit nonstop; civil liabilities going through the roof; totally thankless and negative shit night after night and day after day…stop me anytime here, Chief…

    And…if ambushing a gummint employee, make sure it ain’t a retired Seal or Delta guy. Just sayin…

  19. And…if ambushing a gummint employee, make sure it ain’t a retired Seal or Delta guy.

    They make up, what, about .001% of the government workforce? I like those odds.

  20. What OFD said: Even if you might support gun control, there’s just no point to it. With the number of firearms out there, it is simply unrealistic to suppose it will *ever* be difficult for a nutcase to get hold of a gun. Given that cold, hard fact: The question becomes: so what *does* one do, to make mass murder of innocents more difficult?

    The answer seems obvious enough: you arm the innocents. More specifically, get rid of gun-free zones, and encourage your teachers to carry. But that isn’t enough. A never-used gun in some woman’s purse (or some guy’s jacket pocket) isn’t much good. They need education. Lots of employers pay for people to take CPR and first-aid courses. For the gun-toters, there need to be courses in how to deal with hostage situations, etc.

  21. I’ve ranted about it before: Due to the bad behavior of the US, blackmailing foreign banks, ordinary Americans have become pretty much unwanted as customers. Of course, if you were actually one of the rich tax-evaders, the banks would find a way to work with you. It’s us ordinary, middle-class people they don’t want to mess with.

    So we’ve started the process: My wife is off to the embassy to renounce her American citizenship. I can’t hand my passport back until April, but that’s coming up soon. Apparently, more and more folks are doing this, and the embassy must have been told to discourage it. So they’ve just added a whopping fee of $450 for the privilege.

    What is particularly sweet is that they make no guarantee that this will get the IRS off your back: The IRS has its own set of rules and regulations, some of which are pretty nasty. If you expatriate, they claim the right to tax your assets, as income, at their full market value. We’ll come in far under whatever threshold they set, so it only affects us in the sense that we have to file the paperwork. But still, it’s indicative of a really sick attitude: your income and possessions belong to the government first; if you are nice, they may allow you to keep some for yourself.

  22. She’s back, and the usual security circus. Latest: you’re not allowed to take your car key inside, please leave it in this little box…

    The consul said they are booked out on renunciation appointments, and with a 2-3 month processing backlog. Looks like we aren’t the only ones…

  23. Those who can are bailing from this punishing and confiscatory political and economic system as it is currently constituted; Americans in droves, and no, the IRS Gestapo will never let you go entirely; they are evil grasping demons. Same situation now in the UK, and in France, where the socialists have even driven out Depardieu.

    Best of luck, brad; I hope you make it OK.

  24. Brad, if you renounce your citizenship and live overseas what can the bad guys do about it?

  25. Turns out she wasn’t the only one. Apparently, they have quite the backlog.

    @Miles_Teg: Nothing, of course, at least nothing directly. However, I suppose the IRS would eventually cause an arrest warrant to be issued. So you could never visit the US again, or any US-friendly country that might extradite you.

  26. And I wouldn’t put it past the bastards for even a nanosecond that they’d somehow target other family members and/or property. Nor would I put it past them that in the event of a sizable enough windfall for them, they wouldn’t send a team to just kidnap someone and haul them back here.

  27. I’m rereading Colleen McCollough’s excellent Masters of Rome series, and am just past Sulla’s proscriptions. The more things changes…

  28. Mrs. OFD and I have read the Roman series by McCollough. Yes indeed; things still be a lot da same. But gee, man, try to polish up your English, willya? Being in a Brit province and all…

  29. Here you go on USA government cat regulations:
    http://todaytravel.today.com/_news/2012/12/11/15842617-cat-fight-pits-government-against-hemingway-museum

    Got a bunch of big foot cats? Maybe some flunky is going to show up on your doorstep with some new feddie regs for you. Of course, if you raise those cats for eating then that comes under the FDA and they don’t care about raised platforms and
    showing hours.

    Saw this first on Drudge then on Pournelle. I though it was a joke at first.

  30. My mother’s maiden name was Black…

    Yeah, hanging around you Yankees is doing great harm to my language skills.

  31. My maternal grandpa was born in BLACKburn, Lancashire, home of the infamous 4,000 holes of the Beatles song. He came here as a baby and grew to dislike the English and love the French for some reason, probably the froggie colonial wimmen in Algeria, Morocco, Libya, etc. during the big push against Rommel & Co. He could sing La Marseilleise (or however it’s spelled, too lazy to google it this late, ha, ha) in French.

    Also, a little tip for ya; not all of us are Yankees here; OFD is, but not these boys down in the Carolinas and Texas. They may take umbrage.

  32. Lynn:

    Thanks for the article about Hemingway’s cats. It sounds like those cats are being properly cared for by the museum staff. If so, the feds should leave them alone.

    By the way, my non-polydactyl cat is snoozing nearby on the top of a recliner.

    Robert, near Austin, TX

  33. English spelling was all over the map in American colonial days; the Yankees gradually standardized, as did their cousins in the UK, but Southerners have historically been a bit more relaxed about it. And Yankees, of course, most of them, are nosy buttinsky types who love to interfere and tell other folks how to live their lives; this is a vestige of their Puritan background. Genuine rural New England Yankees prefer to mind their own business and have a live and let live philosophy.

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