Tuesday, 21 January 2014

11:01 – I just finished shipping the backlog of science kit orders that built up over the holiday. Danny, our regular mailman, left me a handwritten note Saturday, saying that he was off today and that they were expecting a blizzard of packages. He suggested that I file a pick-up request to make sure that his replacement didn’t miss picking up our stuff. I did that last night, so whoever is running Danny’s route today got a printout of pickup requests first thing this morning, including ours.

Business this year appears to be picking up substantially over last year, which has gotten me started thinking about long-term inventory. Over the relatively slow months between now and this summer, we need to build up component inventory significantly. If we have the components and subassemblies in stock–chemical bags, small parts bags, individual items, and so on–it doesn’t take long to assemble the actual kits. I want to start July with 100 to 150 kits built and the components for at least 200 more on hand, August with at least 300 kits’ worth on hand, and September with at least 200. If growth continues on the current curve, we’ll ship several hundred kits in the last five months of the year. With our limited resources, that will require planning to make sure we don’t run dry.

18 thoughts on “Tuesday, 21 January 2014”

  1. OFD told me that he is at 3 F and very happy. We hit 80 F yesterday but gonna bounce off 32 F tonight. Brrrr!

    You easterners can have all this cold weather (below 50 F). I just want our rain back!

  2. So, do you think OFD will come back here or continue to sulk?

  3. I think we need to sacrifice a few atheists to entice him back. Any volunteers?

  4. “I think we need to sacrifice a few atheists to entice him back. Any volunteers?”

    Well, I can be mistaken for one from time to time. However, I consider myself to be a “pantheistic deist.” That is one who in using the Grand Method of Science to answer the question: “Who created the universe?”
    Answers as: “There is no evidence that any existing thing could have created itself. Consequently, I will designate that unknown creator as ‘god’.”

    Now that I have completed the first two steps of the GMS, observation and hypothesis, I am working on the third step, corroboration. Be back with those results in several thousand years, if ever.

    So, for a pantheistic deist, that is where it currently ends. No other members of the deity, no after life in h or h, no jesus, no allah, none of the above nor below.

  5. Seriously, a guy who hates how his government has people under surveillance and abuses their rights and he’s posting on Facebook AKA NSA’s Public Collection Facility? LOL!

  6. I leave my tethering activated on my iPhone, with a complicated access key of course. But I named my iPhone, “NSA Com. Int.” which is what shows for the access point name. Hopefully someone has noticed when searching for WIFI. Hopefully when I was in Washington DC for three days some government goon noticed.

    Note: I have seen no black helicopters or drones hovering over my house. But that black van across the street is annoying.

  7. Pournelle and I used to talk at length on the phone frequently. Any time one of us heard a click on the line or something we’d comment about black helicopters hovering over our houses. Then one day I heard a loud racket on Jerry’s end and asked him what it was. He said to hold on while he went and looked. A minute or so later he came back on the line and said, “There’s a black helicopter hovering over my house. Seriously.”

    As it turned out, IIRC, it was the cops searching for some armed robbers who’d had a shootout with law enforcement and made a run for it in their car and then on foot in Jerry’s area.

  8. “Wall Street adviser: Actual unemployment is 37.2%, ‘misery index’ worst in 40 years”

    I see stuff like this and get worried. Too many of the folks wandering around looking for a job. Many of them cannot pass a drug test (mostly marijuana). It has gotten expensive to hire people and getting more so each day. Automation of jobs is getting cheaper by the day.

  9. The 37.2% includes everyone that doesn’t have a job: stay-at-home spouses, retired people, the disabled, students, etc. the key is that if the labor force participation rate is dropping, so “real” unemployment is a bit over 11% if the participation rate was constant.

  10. But that 11% does not include “underemployed” people, of whom there are millions, with tens of thousands added every week. A 40-year-old person with a college degree working for $8/hour at WalMart shouldn’t count as a full employed person. Half, maybe.

  11. Depends on the degree. If you majored in “Feminist and Minority Grievance Throughout History”, you should count yourself lucky to have any income at all, and at minimum wage you’re probably ripping off your employer.

  12. I track only my industry, including print. Chicago radio, TV, and newspapers are laying people off at heavy rates. Every week several people are ejected from their jobs (almost all of these people have college degrees these days). One of the latest is 30 year radio veteran Tom Marker at what used to be known as the ‘hippie station’, WXRT. They got bought out by CBS some years back. Marker had a high salary—6 figures, and management went after that. Now it is not that XRT is not making money—they are. Plenty to pay all the costs of the station, but revenues are shrinking slightly, not growing (9% down from last year’s $18.4 million), so Marker got the boot so the NYC execs can keep their millions in bonuses.

    But here’s what they did to Marker. There has been such an outcry over his ouster—thousands complaining in comments on the WXRT site (most of which are removed, but there are people out there with the time to count them before they are removed), and just as many to the newspaper articles that covered his getting the axe, that CBS management gave him a severance package that hinges on his cooperation with them. The terms demand his silence about everything relating to his forced departure, and requires him to return to the airwaves part-time for a period, at an hourly wage paid to union freelancers—well below what his 6-figure salary got him per hour. Marker is doing it. He will reappear on WXRT later this week. CBS hopes this will calm the ruckus.

    You know if broadcasting is doing this, others industries out there are doing the same.

  13. We live in a dog eat dog world now. If you cannot justify your salary, you will be weighed and measured. If found wanting and there is another person waiting in the wings, you will be cut. This has been the means of running baseball teams since time immemorial and the philosophy is spreading around to all businesses.

    There is a tremendous amount of unemployed / underemployed people out there and they want your job. Especially if you are paid well and your skillset is common.

    This will get worse before it gets better. The amount of people waiting in the wings needs to drop severely. I have no idea how to do this other than drop federal, state and local regulations.

  14. I left out a crucial piece in the above. Please change “If found wanting and there is another person waiting in the wings, you will be cut.” to “If found wanting and there is another person or robot waiting in the wings, you will be cut.”

    The amount of job automation going on is unnerving.

  15. I’ve been reading Jeremy Rifkin’s book “The End of Work” (published way back in 1995 – almost 20 years ago !!). He foresaw almost everything that’s been happening lately.
    Here’s links to the Wikipedia articles about him and this book …

    Jeremy Rifkin – Wikipedia article

    “The End of Work” by Jeremy Rifkin – Wikipedia article
    The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force
    and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era

    He has a couple of new books that also look very interesting …

    “The Empathic Civilization” by Jeremy Rifkin – Wikipedia article
    The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness
    in a World in Crisis

    “The Third Industrial Revolution” by Jeremy Rifkin – Wikipedia article
    The Third Industrial Revolution; How Lateral Power
    is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World

    There’s also numerous YouTube videos available to watch for free.
    Here’s just a few …

    Jeremy Rifkin: The Empathic Civilization

    Jeremy Rifkin On Entering The Third Industrial Revolution

  16. Here we have 300,000 employed by CA state as in-home care at $10+ per hour to care for their own family members. How is that for a scam? No college degree nor state medical license, registration required.

  17. Here we have 300,000 employed by CA state as in-home care at $10+ per hour to care for their own family members.

    It is a welfare program. And much, much, much cheaper than nursing homes.

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