Wednesday, 23 October 2013

By on October 23rd, 2013 in earth science, science kits

10:04 – I was just looking up some of the “official” definitions of “bullying” and they’re simply bizarre. They include, for example, not choosing a student for a pickup team or not inviting a student to an impromptu party or other social event. The real definition of bullying is a lot simpler than they’re making out. It’s assault and battery or simple assault that would lead a reasonable person to believe he was in danger of death or injury. Teasing, no matter how vicious, is not bullying. Bullying requires that an actual threat of death or injury be conveyed, by words or actions. In other words, “Drink bleach and die” is not bullying; “I’m going to force you to drink bleach and die” is, if that threat is credible.

There are two equipment items that I’d like to include in the earth science labs, but it’s just not practical to supply them with a kit. The first is a stream table, and the second is a wave/ripple tank. Commercial products are extremely expensive, a minimum of several hundred dollars. They’re also large, heavy, and expensive to ship. And, if designed properly, one piece of equipment can serve both purposes. Not ideally, but adequately. So I’m going to have customers build their own combo unit from a 1×12″ and some 1×6″ boards, using nothing but hand tools, screws, glue, paint, and caulk. And, of course, duct tape.

42 Comments and discussion on "Wednesday, 23 October 2013"

  1. OFD says:

    The concept of “bullying” has now been predictably expanded exponentially to cover all sorts of rotten behavior, by the usual suspects who specialize in this sort of thing. I would stipulate, however, that sending someone to “Coventry” or the public humiliation of the ‘silent treatment’ can constitute bullying. Social ostracism is powerful juju and it was used and is currently being used on at least two of my nieces.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    It may be vicious, but in my opinion it does not meet any reasonable definition of bullying. It’s free speech, protected by the First Amendment.

  3. Miles_Teg says:

    Okay, why aren’t threats of physical harm also protected?

  4. Dave B. says:

    I found the following link online, and I am quite skeptical that it is true, but I’m starting to wonder? Pro-lifers, tea partiers and evangelical Christians a terrorist threat? Really? Has the former Constitutional Law Instructor ever heard of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution?

    I attend a church and I’m not going to quibble over whether I’m a mainline or evangelical protestant. Personally speaking, I am pro life. I have even been to a Tea Party event.

    If that is the case, can any Canadians or Australians out there offer me advice on applying for political asylum?

  5. MrAtoz says:

    Don’t go to Canada! They fucked up ObuttwadCare. lol Just kidding.

  6. Lynn McGuire says:

    “Report: U.S. Spent $3.7 Trillion on Welfare Over Last 5 Years”

    “”We have just concluded the 5th fiscal year since President Obama took office. During those five years, the federal government has spent a total $3.7 trillion on approximately 80 different means-tested poverty and welfare programs. The common feature of means-tested assistance programs is that they are graduated based on a person’s income and, in contrast to programs like Social Security or Medicare, they are a free benefit and not paid into by the recipient,” says the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee.”

    Amazing. All of that money was borrowed and does not include Social Security, Disability or Medicare. I’ll bet the lion’s share is Medicaid.

  7. OFD says:

    Kanaduh and Oz are hardly safe places of exile if one wishes to avoid the tender ministrations of our de facto national security empire.

    And by any stretch of the imagination with these various “potential terrorist” lists online, most of us on this board would easily qualify, none more so than myself, a pro-life traditionalist Roman Catholic, NRA Patron Life member, board of directors for an international right-wing political organization, and straight married veteran. Icing on the cake being that we stock up on canned and freeze-dried goods and ammo when we can find it.

    Yeah, the gigantic entitlement house of cards is about to come crashing down, finally; the insurance companies are now dumping hundreds of thousands of people off their rolls; a previous food stamp temporary raise has been rolled back as of November 1, just in time for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the holidays; and the ObummerCARE mess is gonna snowball after January 1 when the coverage/claims stuff is scheduled to begin. Things are gonna get real interesting over the next ten weeks.

  8. MrAtoz says:

    Of all places to brief troops that “evangelical christians” are a threat to the nation. Ft. Hood! Geez! Who came up with that? Some Obummer flack:

  9. brad says:

    I dunno about your definition of “bullying”. I had a couple of memorable years in Junior High – no physical violence, but being spat on and other lovely things. Certainly seemed like bullying to me. Junior high kids can be vicious, and I am reliably informed that it is often worse for girls than for boys.

    Being socially excluded (not being invited to a party) certainly does not qualify; nerds can go organize their own parties. Nor does having your team lose a game 91-0, or being picked last for a game, etc.. That’s just life.

    The point is: it’s not black-and-white. There’s a big gray zone between social exclusion and life-threatening violence.

  10. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, Todd Starnes is definitely lunatic fringe. I’d take anything he says with a bag of salt.

  11. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I dunno about your definition of “bullying”. I had a couple of memorable years in Junior High – no physical violence, but being spat on and other lovely things.

    Whoever spit on you committed assault and battery. All that I insist on is that to be considered bullying the actions in question must rise to a traditional crime. Mere words, no matter how vicious, are a matter of free speech, other than as modified by traditional criminal law, such as a charge of assault or criminal threat. Things like destruction of property or vandalizing someone’s locker are crimes and can be treated as bullying. But not mere words.

  12. Dave B. says:

    Well, Todd Starnes is definitely lunatic fringe. I’d take anything he says with a bag of salt.

    That seemed off the wall to me.

    Kanaduh and Oz are hardly safe places of exile if one wishes to avoid the tender ministrations of our de facto national security empire.

    Yes, but, I’m limited to countries that speak a language that I know. Since I speak only English and a very little bit of French where else can I go? At least in Oz, I could shorten my political classification from classical liberal to liberal. Where else is there to go, Switzerland? Although I would have liked to go to grad school at ETH, but I never applied myself enough in school.

  13. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Starnes is an absolute nutcase, with delusions of persecution. He actually believes that treating religious people equally instead of giving them preferential treatment is persecution.

  14. OFD says:

    “…Since I speak only English and a very little bit of French where else can I go?”

    Check out Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Andorra, and I bet you could pick up Spanish in a flash; Chile and Uruguay are looking real good.

    I have the same language ability as you but am sticking to the northern Vermont/border area for the foreseeable duration. If I was thirty years younger I’d go to one of those Euro countries with Chile a strong second choice.

  15. SteveF says:

    Chile is looking good now, but I don’t know how long it will last, especially if its shaky neighbors (ie, all of them) get shakier as the global economy gets shakier.

    Singapore is to a large extent a police state, but it is (or was, anyway) a well-run police state and there’s a lot of economic freedom and English is an official language. Disadvantages include high cost of living, beastly climate, and being a police state.

  16. Miles_Teg says:

    Is this an overreaction? I don’t know much about picric acid…

    “Police say at about 11am (AEDT) university staff found two bottles of picric acid had been exposed to air and crystallised, making the chemicals unstable.”

  17. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    It may have been an overreaction to evacuate the entire campus, but I’d certainly have evacuated the building. Picric acid is a high explosive. Even fresh picric acid is an explosion risk. Old, degraded picric acid is much more dangerous. I would certainly treat old bottles of it with extreme caution. From the description, calling in the bomb squad was probably a good idea. Two 250 mL bottles is a lot of picric acid.

  18. Chuck W says:

    Tell me again how Singapore is more of a police state than the US of A? Last time I checked, their NSA was not listening in to phone calls of all the French and Angela Merkel—the largest terror threats in the world.

  19. Rolf Grunsky says:

    The SS Mont-Blanc was carrying picric acid (along with other explosives) when it blew up in Halifax Harbour in 1917.

  20. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Picric acid is very similar structurally to TNT. IIRC, picric acid is actually more brissant and has a higher detonation velocity than TNT. The only difference is that TNT is toluene (methylbenzene) with three nitro groups in the 2,4,6 positions, while picric acid is phenol (hydroxybenzene) with the same three nitro groups. Picric acid was a popular military explosive in the late 19th through early 20th centuries because bulk supplies of phenol were a lot easier to come by than bulk supplies of toluene.

    I made picric acid as a teenager, but only a couple grams at a time and only because the local drugstore didn’t carry it. I needed some for some biology/histology experiments.

  21. SteveF says:

    picric acid is actually more brissant…I needed some for some biology/histology experiments.

    The only briss I know is the Jewish rite. It never would have occurred to me to use explosives for circumcision or hysterectomies. Learn something new every day.

  22. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Oops. Too many s’s.

  23. brad says:

    “…Since I speak only English and a very little bit of French where else can I go?”

    In the major cities of most countries, you can get by on English. Working in IT, you can even find jobs that only require English – many international companies have defined it as their “neutral” company language.

    That said, it makes sense to learn the local language, once you are their. With a basis in French, there are quite a number of possible places to go: France (obviously), Belgium, Switzerland. But French also provides a good basis for learning Spanish or Italian – opening up Spain, Italy and most of Central and South America.

    Heck, one shouldn’t overlook Africa. South Africa and Ghana are both English speaking, and both are insulated from the continual upheaval that seems to affect most of the rest of the continent. Someone with a bit of Western income and/or investments can live very well indeed.

  24. Ray Thompson says:

    Someone with a bit of Western income and/or investments can live very well indeed.
    That thought has indeed crossed my mind.

  25. OFD says:

    South Africa fifty years ago, maybe; not now. Violent crime is sky-high. And the current regime is looking a little shaky. I’d investigate several countries in Europe and maybe a couple in South America.

    @Ray; Lots of our fellow vets, as you probably know, either stayed or went back, and settled in Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, etc. Usually marrying local women and by now speaking the lingo pretty good. They’ve lived on retirement pensions, SS, etc., pretty much what would pass here for upper middle-class, except for those guys way out in the sticks. It crossed my mind decades ago but I belong here.

  26. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    There is no better place to be than the US or Canada. That’s true now and will be even more emphatically true as the years pass.

  27. Miles_Teg says:

    Australia is a better place to be than Canukistan, period, and probably better than the US.

    Dave, you might enjoy New Zealand. I know Bill would… 🙂

  28. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    No knock on Australia, but geopolitically and geoeconomically I think Australia is in for a much harder time than Canada or the US.

    Parenthetically, even the europhiles are forecasting doom and collapse.

    FTA: “Citi’s team is headed by ardent euro-federalist Willem Buiter, and most of his team are from eurozone countries, so this is not an Anglo-Saxon report.”

    I think Citi are optimists.

  29. OFD says:

    Well, we’ve made our bed here in the northeastern rural border area with Quebec and Noveau Brunswick, i.e., Novacadia, and we shall lie in it. We have ties on both sides and the kids have dual citizenship. It’s also the devil we know.

  30. Lynn McGuire says:

    Parenthetically, even the europhiles are forecasting doom and collapse.

    I suspect that the EU is going to split into a North and South entities. And the North E.U. will have the neuro and the south will have nothing.

  31. Lynn McGuire says:

    Well, we’ve made our bed here in the northeastern rural border area with Quebec and Noveau Brunswick, i.e., Novacadia, and we shall lie in it

    Just be prepared to extend your home border to that Shell station in case of emergency.

  32. OFD says:

    If the southern tier goes, so will the northerners, in time.

    I’m sure the underground tank at the station will run dry at some point and not be refilled. We’re laying in firewood and a new woodstove this next month. Behind us is a town park; behind that a wildlife wetland refuge. Behind that dozens of square miles of farmland, mostly dairy and corn.

    But we’re also thirty miles north of a fighter-interceptor squadron and thirty miles northwest of a DOD artillery test range. Just up the road about two miles is the country sheriff HQ and another mile beyond that the town/city PD and the local SP barracks. Also in town Customs and Immigration and we’ve seen Border Patrol vehicles occasionally. Plus, an ANG/Army Reserve outfit about two miles to our own northwest. And a small county airport roughly ten miles north of us. Plus, the Amtrak and freight lines within two miles. Presumably the U.S. Coast Guard can also patrol up here in the Bay.

    Pretty soon we will have different definitions for “emergencies.”

  33. Calvin Dodge says:

    In high school I was bullied (actual fights, and ambushes on the way home), and I was also the last to be picked for a sports team. I think it’s ludicrous for the “anti-bullying” crowd to equate the two actions.

  34. Miles_Teg says:

    I wasn’t bullied much or at all in primary school but I was usually one of the last picked for teams, and so on. I wasn’t bothered hugely by this because I had some good friends, and that was enough.

    In high school I was bullied a bit, but tried to avoid getting in to fights. When I was 14 I was deliberately tripped by a guy on asphalt and fractured a bone. The other boys we we playing with made aggressive noises towards the guy who’d tripped me, but nothing happened to him.

    There was one guy and a small gang of his friends who seemed to delight in causing problems for me, and I avoided him as much as possible. I could easily have put him in hospital but that would have just caused problems for me, so nothing happened.

    When I got in to Year 11, by some miracle I got in to one of the three classes of smart, studious kids and the bullying problems went away completely. I didn’t have as many friends as others but I had enough. I look back now and wonder why I didn’t rough some of those bullies up, which I was easily big and strong enough to do.

  35. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I took my share of teasing, but I was never bullied. I was large, and I think would-be bullies understood that I’d not hesitate to hurt them if they physically assaulted me. I also studied Shotokan karate. After one incident early in my senior year, even the verbal abuse ended abruptly. That was at a youth group gathering where a local martial arts club was doing a demonstration. The guy set up a stack of nine half-inch boards and prepared to break them. Before he broke them, he asked if anyone from the audience wanted to give it a try. I stepped up and broke them. After that, no one at all bothered me. In fact, many of the mean kids seemed to want to be my friend.

  36. Miles_Teg says:

    Is there a trick to breaking that many boards or do you just need to be built like King Kong?

  37. OFD says:

    I got teased and bullied a bit because of having glasses and buck teeth, etc., in elementary school and junior high, briefly, but retaliated with twice as much violence immediately and that was an end to it. I was six feet by age thirteen anyway and on soccer, football and track teams, so no one bothered me.

  38. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Nah, anyone can do it, but most people are too cowardly to try. If you watch a slo-mo video of it, you’ll see that the martial artist actually breaks only the top board. The top board breaks the second, the second the third, and so on.

    Now, breaking bricks or concrete blocks is another matter entirely. I never even thought about trying that. Before you attempt that, you’d best spend months conditioning your hands to develop thick calluses on the striking edge.

  39. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, letting people know that you’re nuts helps. I think it was the summer between my junior and senior year when a group of bad kids surrounded me near the tennis courts where we played. They spread and started to surround me. It was obvious that they intended to beat me up, so I picked out the leader/biggest punk (always start with the big one…) and hit him in the head with a strong backhand, using the edge of the racket. Broke the racket on his head, but the others fled. I never heard anything more about it.

  40. Miles_Teg says:

    Damn, waste of a good racket…

  41. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I broke rackets so frequently on court that I didn’t begrudge that one.

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