Thur. Jan. 16, 2020 – civic engagement, I haz it

Warm and wet. [70F and 99%RH] You were thinking it would be something else?

Well, first meeting of our course in how our school district works is under the bridge. First half was about the Board, and what they do vs. the Administration. Second half was about safety and security.

Questions, I haz them. SO I asked, and asked, and challenged, and disputed. They were going to do a dog (really) and pony (not really) show. Look at us, we’re so experienced, trained, and [fat]. Oh, did I use an “a”? Yeah, meant it too. It was going to be a whitewash and a handwave. Notsofast….

I asked enough sharp questions they ganged up on my and promised they’d tell me all, if I’d come in and see them LATER. We ran out of time. So I stayed late and asked them questions. To their credit they seem to be moving on some of the things I want. They are doing ‘stopthebleed’ classes for staff. They are buying and distributing bleeding control kits. I pointed out that having them in the nurses office does NOTHING for the kid on the second floor bleeding out during an event. The Director even gave me two kits. I’ll put them in my classroom. I’ll be meeting with him later to get some of my technical questions asked. I’ll be going through the kits later today.

I met a couple of the other folks there and started some conversations. Meatspace!

Plenty to do today. Wife and girls will be doing a girl scout sleep away camp starting Friday night so I’m already planning the wild women and parties….. or I could sleep the whole time, and get over this snotty head and cough. Either way, stuff to do….

n

46 thoughts on “Thur. Jan. 16, 2020 – civic engagement, I haz it”


  1. It was going to be a whitewash and a handwave. Notsofast…

    Not unique to your school board. I have challenged the local city over issues. It got to the point where I was escorted out by the police. Not because I was out of order, I was asking tough questions with no answers. I persisted in requesting answers. Their solution was to make me leave.

    The next meeting I got on the agenda again. I had my five minutes and I used those minutes to blast the administration. Before I started to speak a motion was made to adjourn. I pointed out, personal privilege according to Roberts Rules of Order, that I was on the agenda and not allowing me to speak was a violation of state laws on public meetings. It was on the local TV station, evening news. I was asked to run for the mayor position to unseat the current mayor. A lot of people were upset over the same issue. The sitting mayor and council were not at all happy about my statements and questions.

  2. Funny, when asked how to get something on the agenda, the Board admitted that only a board member could add something to it. So you need to first convince a Board member… They do have a public comment period, but it is almost never used. All Board meetings are video recorded and posted online. The LINKS to the recordings are not so clear. The General session, which is pretty much a rubber stamp, those links are emailed to the parents of kids in the district. The “Workshop” sessions (sounds like something innocuous and lightweight) are where all the discussion and presentations are. THOSE links are so well hidden I never saw them. They’re included in the monthly “feel good” email blast that no one reads. (actually, they’re not. There is a link to media, then you have to do two additional drill downs to find them.)

    n

  3. Oh and the guy who has been leading our Fifth grade science class had a stroke, so I guess I’ll be leading Fourth and Fifth grade for the next couple of months….

    I better take a look at the material.

    n

  4. Phone interview this morning. The new assignment at work was supposed to come with a promotion and pay raise, but now the compensation increase part isn’t happening for three months, minimum.

    I’m guessing never. They think they can get away with it because I’m classified O.L.D. at a lot of places around Austin, but, when push comes to shove, I don’t need the job to eat.

  5. @greg,

    A good programmer, especially with UI design experience can make $1200/day implementing control systems for home and office automation. AMX, Crestron, and Control4 are the three most popular, with Crestron and Control4 being the easiest to start with because AMX tightly controls access to the toolchain and IDE.

    As an independent, it would take time to get established, but the AV companies are always looking for talent. Onsite debugging of controls is very expensive so a good programmer is a valued asset. There is usually a fair bit of travel once you are established, and lots of on site time, but the bulk of the work is done in the office or before getting to site.

    One of my friends does cash jobs for high end home systems and fills shoeboxes with money.

    n

  6. Oh and the guy who has been leading our Fifth grade science class had a stroke, so I guess I’ll be leading Fourth and Fifth grade for the next couple of months….

    Kinda scary how many people my age or a little younger are having strokes these days.

  7. At LHI, a VA exam company, for my back issues. Need to get the rating increased. Hoping to get to 50%. Hopes are not high but one must try.

  8. I’m beginning to understand why Jose can’t read.

    I’m taking a look at the Board meeting stuff, now that I’ve found where they actually do the work, and according to them, half of our kids are reading “below grade level” which is a pretty low bar to begin with.

    They are using a “Balanced Literacy approach” to teach reading.
    Balanced Literacy on the wiki has phrases like this one…. “The purpose of Guided Reading is to systematically scaffold the decoding and/or comprehension strategy skills of students who are having similar challenges.”
    Guided Reading has it’s own page, as does “scaffolding”.

    It’s nested abstractions all the way down. Students don’t “learn” they “experience learning”. That’s an abstraction.

    FFS- “Through joint activities, the teacher scaffolds conversation to maximize the development of a child’s intrapsychological functioning.”

    “From a Vygotskian perspective, talk and action work together with the sociocultural fabric of the writing event to shape a child’s construction of awareness and performance”

    n


  9. A good programmer, especially with UI design experience can make $1200/day implementing control systems for home and office automation. AMX, Crestron, and Control4 are the three most popular, with Crestron and Control4 being the easiest to start with because AMX tightly controls access to the toolchain and IDE.

    How do I get in on this? I got laid off last year and I’m still looking. I know almost nothing about these automation systems though.

  10. @Mark, it’s basically UI design, implemented on touchscreens, to control connected hardware. My understanding is that it is mostly OOP and that the IDE comes with drivers for most existing hardware. The “program” runs on their proprietary hardware , crestron and amx. I’m not really familiar with control4, other than it started as a more open alternative to those two.

    there is a lot of legacy crap built into how you program for the systems according to my guys, but you get used to it.

    Most of the programmers I know came into the industry thru installation, then they learned more and more until they focused on control programming. BTW, most are either AMX or Crestron, few are both. IDK why.

    https://www.jpatrick.com/our-blog/how-to-become-a-crestron-programmer-in-the-av-industry

    Crestron is way more open to people using their tools and working with their stuff than AMX, so there are more people doing it.

    https://www.crestron.com/training

    I’m sure there are guys posting projects on youtube…

    n

    It might be worth talking with your local AV installers/dealers/integrators and just telling them you are an experienced programmer, looking to move into crestron or amx programming, and would they be open to training/intern/exploratory options. Maybe you could have them sign you up for online classes, if you pay? It’s definitely worth looking into if you aren’t finding stuff where you normally look. There are a lot of mediocre guys making a good living at it, so there is always a need for rockstars.


  11. I’m beginning to understand why Jose can’t read.

    ProgLibTurds and ESL are destroying our kids. I bet they don’t even teach phonics in Pre-K on up. Poor Jose can barely speak English, so dumb everyone down to his level. Our kids went to a private Baptist school and started phonics in Pre-K 3. One Twin reads 50+ novels a year. I learned on phonics, and English classes always had novels assigned and discussion throughout K-12.

    And it never ends. Kid #3 went to a magnet HS in San Antone. The HS and Texas Education Agency couldn’t decide on an algebra book. So they decided to make handouts as they went along. I was also asked to leave after complaining. “Where are they getting their info…Why can’t the kids have that book.” Smart kids couldn’t even read ahead, only what the HS divvied out. I accused them of teaching the STAAR (whatever it was called then). That’s when I got the “move along WHITEY!, nothing to see here.” I had several algebra books my kids could use.

  12. It’s been a 2 plus hour rabbit hole of nested concepts and circular references, all for ONE agenda item from November.

    D.Ed is the problem. Every PhD student needs a freaking research project and dissertation so they’re always looking for an experiment. They typically work in inner city sh!tholes, because that’s where the colleges send the indentured servants/student teachers, since no one goes there voluntarily. So their student population starts out F’d up, and they get a constant stream of inexperienced teachers experimenting on the kids. No wonder there isn’t any improvement in outcomes.

    Our district is using Balanced Literacy. One feature of that is “Groups are created around reading levels, and students move up when they note that the entire group is ready. ” So quick learners are held back to the lowest level in the group. Way to encourage that, and no pressure at all to just pass the bottom quintile up so the group can progress….jebus wept.

    Also, they’re basing off of some Columbia long term research project, and something provided by

    http://www.abydoslearning.org/abydospro-curriculum

    which has a website that makes me think of tea cozy and lace tablecloths….

    n

  13. Balanced literacy takes a mix of phonics, whole word, and ENglish lit and mashes them together. At least there is some phonics mixed in. I feel very bad for anyone counting on the school to teach reading to their kids.

    n


  14. I feel very bad for anyone counting on the school to teach reading to their kids.

    That’s the million dollar quote. I’d wager that all the parents here taught their children to read, along with many other things.

  15. From @JimB yesterday:

    Lynn, I read that link, and then did some searching. Nowhere could I find whether aerobic treatment is required or merely recommended in Texas. I also looked for California regulations. I only found some vague revisions in 2012 that don’t appear to affect me. I have had a 1000 gallon two chamber concrete tank and gravity drainage field for over forty years. It has been pumped twice for this household of two adults. The first time, the service said it didn’t need pumping, but as long as they came out they might as well. It was cheap then. The second time it was similar, but much more expensive because disposal rules are now different.

    I read some about home septic systems a long time ago, and know how to inspect them, but determining their health is a bit tricky. BTW, the first chamber is aerobic and the second is anaerobic. [CORRECTION: Someone had told me that years ago, but it appears to be wrong. Just checked, and both chambers are considered anaerobic. The aerobic idea for the first chamber appears to be that some air is brought in by open pipe flow in the sewer lines; makes sense to me, but I guess not so.] The whole thing operates by gravity. I have heard of three chamber systems, but never looked into them.

    About thirty years ago, we were considering building a new home across the street, but didn’t. As part of that exercise, I learned about a NASA engineer who replaced the drainage field with an impermeable trough filled with porous soil and planted with some special plants. The idea was to clean the effluent and preserve as much of the water as possible. I intended to do that and use the water for irrigation, but the cost of electricity to pump it uphill on our site was about the same as buying water from our water company. I was going to use gray water also, but that was illegal. It may have changed since then.

    Anyway, why would someone opt for a complex system that consumes electrical energy to provide water that seems not needed? Is it that the ground is too wet for a leach field?

    Aerobic septic systems are required on a county by county basis. Generally as the county hits 250,000 people then people start getting upset about nasty smells coming from septic systems. Both of my aerobic septic systems are licensed by Fort Bend County and I must pay a maintainer about $300 per year for three visits a year. Plus any problem such as the aerobic fan failing ($700 each). Or the sprinkler pump failing ($500). It is about $500 to pump the systems.

    Leach fields don’t work in Texas due to the high clay soil. @Greg nailed it with his reply. However, I have seen a leach field recently. There was a huge pool of water on the surface that was rejected by the soil. The pool of water was about 100 ft by 30 ft and and an inch in depth. Nasty since no chlorine !

    When I was a kid, a lot of my relatives out in the country had outhouses. Dig a hole and build a bench with a round hole on top of it. When the hole gets full, dig a hole …

  16. I feel very bad for anyone counting on the school to teach reading to their kids.

    That’s the million dollar quote. I’d wager that all the parents here taught their children to read, along with many other things.

    Being raised by a single below 100 IQ parent is a grim situation.

  17. From BH in the Fort Bend Journal:

    “Wish I’d said it”

    “Don’t trust everything you see or read. Even salt looks like sugar.”

  18. That’s the million dollar quote. I’d wager that all the parents here taught their children to read, along with many other things.

    Our kids taught themselves and read fairly well by the time they started Kindergarten. We had tons of kid books around the house, and it just happened.

  19. These guys used to be called betas. And they used to build most everything in society. But a lot of them do not get jobs anymore. And a lot of them never leave home anymore. Until mom and dad pass on, then the disaster comes. And they are harmless, after all, they are not alphas.

    Robert Francis before the billionare’s daughter came along.

    They’re half of the crowd at a big anime show in San Antonio or Austin.

  20. @Nick: Sounds like someone swallowed a dictionary, and it is coming back up in random order. I hate doublespeak like that – it is a sure sign that someone with a PhD in education (and zero actual experience) wrote it.

    I would love to see the central education bureaucracies closed. Let each school do it’s thing. Under local control, parents will have more influence. Some schools will do well, some will do poorly. Which is better than *all* of them doing poorly, as happens under the central control of clueless educrats.

    Teach kids to read? For us, it “just happened”. You read to your kids. They show interest in the process, you explain. Same with math – both our kids could read and do basic math when they went’to kindergarden.

    That said, somewhere the older one somehow took a detour. We don’t know what happened inside that skull, but he reads incredibly fast. However, for most of his school career he couldn’t spell worth a damn. It wasn’t dyslexia – he just had no idea what letters went into which words. Suddenly, in his mid-teens, almost from one day to the next, the spelling clicked. He still reads at a crazy speed.

    – – – – –

    I fight the clueless idiots on a different level: “learn to code”. It’s exactly the same thing: people with no real experience telling me that I can teach *anyone* to program. And the counterpoint, which is an increasing number of absolutely hopeless students showing up in college, expecting to learn to code.

    In my first-semester programming course, I usually fail around half the incoming students. This year, it’s going to be two-thirds. The school administration has invited me to a meeting tomorrow to discuss the grades. I’m taking the exams along, because the ones who failed aren’t even remotely subjective – their exams are mostly blank.

    I think the problem comes from the fact that anyone can memorize a bit of syntax that solves a known problem. That’s not coding. Coding is creating the syntax required to solve a new problem. Which requires abstract thinking. Which requires – I don’t know what, go ask a psychologist – but a lot of people don’t have it.

  21. Learn to code is like saying learn to be a novelist. It’s all just words in a certain format, and many of the problems have been solved, but DAAAAMMNNN, just because you can operate a typewriter doesn’t make you a novelist, and just because this is the iphone generation doesn’t mean they can learn to code….

    Plus, I suspect that it’s similar to the old days when they were telling all the kids to become teachers. That drove down the cost of teachers by increasing supply, the same as having a larger native base of coders would, and as a bonus you don’t have to get up at 2 am for conference calls with India.

    n

  22. I think the problem comes from the fact that anyone can memorize a bit of syntax that solves a known problem. That’s not coding. Coding is creating the syntax required to solve a new problem. Which requires abstract thinking. Which requires – I don’t know what, go ask a psychologist – but a lot of people don’t have it.

    We administer a thinly-disguised IQ test in order to advance to the next step in our group’s interview process. I don’t know our statistics, but back when we did something similar at GTE, in order to interview 60 new grads for 15 slots in the training program, we usually had to test 300 people.

    Management applies tremendous pressure to eliminate the IQ test in the interest of diversity.

  23. Plus, I suspect that it’s similar to the old days when they were telling all the kids to become teachers. That drove down the cost of teachers by increasing supply, the same as having a larger native base of coders would, and as a bonus you don’t have to get up at 2 am for conference calls with India.

    In my experience, India isn’t about reducing costs as much as increasing subservience. We just lost a key contributor right after the holidays, and management’s plan for the situation was to convince the individual to either stay or work nights/weekends on an hourly basis.

  24. It’s a running joke – but sadly true – that the people studying education are among the dumbest in the whole university.

    Thirty-something years ago a friend decided that his BS in sociology wasn’t exactly opening any doors to lucrative careers. He investigated getting a teaching degree but decided against it because, in his words, “the only qualification for that line of work was really, really wanting to be a teacher.”

    He became a librarian instead. :-\

  25. Which requires abstract thinking. Which requires – I don’t know what, go ask a psychologist – but a lot of people don’t have it.

    More levels of abstraction. There is a tree, a real thing right in front of you. Then there is a word “tree”, sounds we make to mean a real tree. That’s one level of abstraction. Then there are marks a page to represent the sounds of the word “tree”. That’s another level of abstraction. By the time you get to computer commands manipulating a data tree you are 7 or 8 abstractions deep. I would say most people max out at 3 or 4 abstracted levels.

    Those who can get to 7, 8, or more abstracted layers of thought are the ones who made all the wonderful things in the world.

  26. “I suspect that it’s similar to the old days when they were telling all the kids to become teachers.”

    I hadn’t heard that. I assume that was our parents’ generation? Anyway, if that’s what drove down the cost of teachers, is it also why there are so many incompetent ones? It’s a running joke – but sadly true – that the people studying education are among the dumbest in the whole university.

    I always heard it was the people studying journalism were the dumbest.

  27. Reading – We read a lot, and read (still read) frequently to our child. We didn’t specifically teach anything. She entered kindergarten knowing the alphabet song however couldn’t reliably name all of the letters. We weren’t concerned, we figured she’d get it. By the time she entered first grade she was reading Narnia novels aloud to us, sounding out words she didn’t know and often figuring out meaning from context.
    She’s in second grade now. Our public skools are utter crap by any measure. She’s enrolled in a ridiculously small prekindergarten – 8th grade school. 4 teachers, about 40 kids including the preschoolers. Ten kids in her class. She began cursive this year and has significantly better handwriting than I do.

    She reads at every opportunity, well above her grade level. Very old fashioned teacher and instruction methods. She thrives.

    Her math is not where I’d like to be however I have no real complaints. She’s got the concepts of addition and subtraction and is in the grunt it out phase of memorizing math facts. We point out the cool ways math is handy at every opportunity, and weave it into daily stuff. She’ll get there, it just requires more effort than reading for her. And that’s ok. Better she learn to overcome struggle now than have it all easy thru childhood then get a bucket of cold water at adulthood.

    I too believe our educational system would be better off without the US Dept of Education. Local control would go a long way towards actually getting children educated.

    Coding – If the goal were to really turn out great programmers I’d think you’d be better served feeding the youngest set a steady diet of math and word problems, with lots of Sherlock Holmes, original Star Trek (Spock!), Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew, and Encyclopedia Brown and his ilk. Get those brains working on the abstracts and mysteries. Get them into Physics and Calculus and things like boolean algebra in High School. The syntax and specifics of coding language aren’t much good if you can’t think logically in the abstract.

  28. Speaking of reading – the Pournelle estate and I are very close to agreement on re-releasing Mrs. Pournelle’s “Reading – The Learning Connection” reading program (originally written by Dr. Pournelle in BASIC, IIRC).

    The new version is web-based, and has text-to-speech to reinforce the learning to read process. All of the content is based on Mrs. Pournelle’s original concepts.

    I’m doing the final testing and tweaking of the program now. Hope to have it ready by the end of the month.

  29. @Lynn, here is a leach field replacement that would work in any soil. It assumes enough space, but needs no pumps, fans, electricity, or much maintenance. Don’t know if it would be approved in your jurisdiction.

    This is a concise two page article on the NASA drainage field:
    https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20020086370.pdf

    This appears to be the original article:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=CCmDfXWZSPwC&pg=PP5&lpg=PP5&dq=nasa+septic+drainfield+plants&source=bl&ots=ClOsogMw4E&sig=ACfU3U3XwQnOBmS1WI7AtJS84u2ipfcrFg&hl=en&ppis=_e&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjBmOPOlInnAhWwJzQIHYIqD3wQ6AEwGnoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=nasa%20septic%20drainfield%20plants&f=false

    This could be designed to use up all the water, or a shorter version could leave enough water for irrigation. I have read other articles, including a really short one inside a house, apparently built to prove that it is odorless. There is even a municipal scale one in operation in Louisiana, as mentioned in the first article.

    My plan was to place a tank at the end of the drainfield, and then pump the water uphill to a tree line, similar to your system, but without the aeration. I never built this house, and so the idea was never implemented. As I said, the cost of pumping was close enough to the cost of municipal water that I wouldn’t have done it for economic reasons. OTOH, the wife likes flowers, and the idea of using othersise free water to grow them had appeal.

    We have decent, but not ideal soil for a leach field, but it is practical enough to build one and simply forget it. Although our soil appears to be sandy, it has just enough fine material to have only moderate permeability.

    Our soil is good in other respects. Undisturbed soil is sandy, and easy to dig, although it does tend to collapse when a trench is dug. But, when it is compacted, it gains strength, and can be a decent road or driveway. When it rains, there is no mud, and the roadway stands up to moderate traffic. A road so constructed can last for years with little or no maintenance. Of course, this also serves as a good base for pavement, with no need for a gravel base. Drainage is not a problem in the desert.

  30. I don’t remember much about learning to read. My Mom helped me decipher the letters. Pronunciation? I’m all over the place there.
    I remember the Dick and Jane books being really boring after a month. And we had to keep reading them.

    Is it the William-ette River or the Will-am-ette? And how would I know? And thanks a lot for calling me an idiot. Hey, ever try reading Chaucer in Old English? They talked funny back then. So do you.

    But 5th grade and reading at College Freshman level…. well.


  31. They talked funny back then. So do you.

    I live in the south. A transplant from Oregon. I talk normal, the others are strange. Here every soft drink is Coke when it should really be called “pop”.


  32. I’m taking the exams along, because the ones who failed aren’t even remotely subjective – their exams are mostly blank.

    I’ll bet you a nickel you’re wrong on that. The exams will be examined with a gimlet, and subjective, eye. They’ll be found to be too difficult for the course level or for the students, or non-representative of the course goals, or possibly an indication that you didn’t teach very well to the course objectives. (I’m not sure about that last part; you have years of experience and I don’t know how confident some chair warmer will be in calling you a bozo.) You’ll be asked or advised or directed to grade on a curve, to discount certain problematic questions, or even to throw away the final entirely and grade on classroom participation. C’mon, Brad, let’s make a bet. I got my nice, shiny, plugged nickel right here.

    re reading, I expressly taught all three phonics and the sound-it-out method. The one son I had with me only half the time at that age but he was reading before he started kindergarten. The stepson didn’t learn English until he came here at almost 9, but he was fluent in speaking, reading, and writing within a few months. The youngest was reading Magic Tree House books when she was four — I know it was really reading and not just mouthing the words of a book I’d read to her because she was reading new books aloud and asking what the occasional word meant.

    But 5th grade and reading at College Freshman level

    When I entered 3rd grade I had a high school senior reading level. When I left 3rd grade I had a college senior reading level. -modest cough-

    And, because I went to school in a small town during one of the “keep all the kids together by age group” crazes in the 1970s, jumping a grade or three was not allowed. Independent study was not allowed. Instead, the entire class moved at the speed of the slowest member. And he was borderline retarded.


  33. Is it the William-ette River or the Will-am-ette? And how would I know?

    Will-am-ette damn it.
    (only way I remember)

  34. I was poking around in the refrigerator yesterday.

    Why do I have a jar of olives stuffed with garlic and jalapenos? Where did this come from? But no olives? What was the plan for garlic soaked in pickled olive juice?
    Chile Bean Paste (whatever) is nice to add to stir fry. This jar smelled odd. Not spoiled, just not like I remember. Old….
    Same for a few other things. Chopped pickled jalapeno peppers in a squeeze bottle. Yeah, unscrew the cap and a whiff of bell peppers is a No.
    A few more things that had “too much to throw away” at the time but actually “not enough to make anything with”.

    A jar of pickle-less pickles. That’s one on me. Ok, I used that to top off the juice in the dill relish. As planned.

    Then I hit the wall pantry. Uh, yeah, the jars of mole and curry sauces are only two years out of date. But the wall pantry is seven years old. So I’ve had this stuff for a future special occasion that has never happened in the last ten years.
    The suddenly leaking large can of Rotels was a surprise, it was fine a couple of weeks ago.

    The septic system ate well last night.

    Then there was a 2# bag of frozen shrimp from HEB. Headless but still needing shucking and de-veining. I didn’t look at the date. That it had turned into a block of frost was enough. I like shrimp. I don’t like messing with it. And there was a zip-lock bag of chicken. I think.

    And hey, back to the fridge! A tub of some fancy brand of cream cheese (perhaps) with parsley sprinkled on top. Pretty for a party. Last year. Smelled and tasted ok but into the trash.

    I hit the spices above the stove. Various “rubs” were dumped into a larger bottle of BBQ rub. A few other things went in there too. It’s going to be the best ever brisket and we’ll never be able to do it again. 🙂


  35. When I entered 3rd grade I had a high school senior reading level. When I left 3rd grade I had a college senior reading level. -modest cough-

    Yeah. I don’t rightly recall exactly. I was like almost 10 at the time. The grownups seemed to think it was a really good thing. So there’s that. All the noise after that was “he reads at 3rd year college level”.

    Whatever.


  36. You’ll be asked or advised or directed to grade on a curve, to discount certain problematic questions

    You’ll be asked or advised or directed to grade on a curve, to discount certain problematic students

    Fixed it for you.

    the entire class moved at the speed of the slowest member

    Training for a union job. Where promotions are based on longevity, not capabilities.

  37. Public school is daycare so the parents can earn the taxes to pay for it. Any knowledge transfer is essentially a bonus.

    Hopefully the Pournelle program is the germ of a self/home teaching system that grows into an InterNet for actual education and bypasses the government’s monopoly. Skillshare and the Kahn sites are other Model T efforts.

    I was a bookworm all through public school. I’d rush to my next class to get a few minutes/pages before the teacher demanded my attention. To this day, though, words of French derivation give me auditory difficulty. Think “facade”.

  38. @Paul, Your descriptions of stored food cracked me up. Maybe I just needed some cheer. I hope you intended at least some of it to be funny. Right?

    I’d better quit before I get into real trouble.

  39. @Lynn, here is a leach field replacement that would work in any soil. It assumes enough space, but needs no pumps, fans, electricity, or much maintenance. Don’t know if it would be approved in your jurisdiction.

    I highly doubt anything other than the standard design would be allowed without a million dollars of sponsored experimentation. Here is the county’s feelings on any changes to your existing system:
    https://www.fortbendcountytx.gov/government/departments-e-n/environmental-health/on-site-sewage-facility-permits-packets

    Note that the systems do not use much electricity. The aerator fan is a small squirrel cage fan at the house or an plain old propeller fan at the office. In either case, less than 1/4 hp. And the sprinkler typically runs every other day pr so for 20 minutes at a time. And the county requires a sample from finishing tank annually which always seems to fail at the office and then they give an exemption. My septic guy says that the standards are too high and unachievable.

  40. “I’m doing the final testing and tweaking of the program now. Hope to have it ready by the end of the month. ”

    @rick, that’s great news. I was afraid that would be lost.

    n

  41. @Lynn, I had no idea Texas was so bureaucratic. I compared my county’s web site to yours, and the requirements looked the same as when I applied in 1977, except they are conveniently on line. I was able to hire a guy who certainly wasn’t a “Professional Engineer or Registered Sanitarian” to do the job according to my plans. No perc test was required, since we made the leach field large enough for the worst case soil type in our area. The extra cost for that was trivial. It appears that a perc test is now required, but can be performed by anyone in the business of installing tanks.

    I wonder how hard it was to get that NASA designed system approved in Louisiana? There were “several” homes that used the design, plus a municipal sized system. It seems to me that sanitary requirements and not designs should be specified, and any design that meets those requirements should be allowed. You do raise a good point about getting a design tested and certified. I actually have experience with that mess in another field, and it ain’t pretty; nor cheap.

    As for “less than ¼ hp”, that is the same as I use to air condition my whole house, and my system does not run continuously. I do use water, however, and that costs. All utilities are getting more expensive.

    That reminds me. In our area, natural gas rates have been increasing, in spite of the fact that gas at the wellhead is ever cheaper. CA has a corrupt Public Utilities Commission. I don’t have nat gas, and probably won’t get it because of the cost. Your gas rates are probably incredibly cheap, since you are so close to many sources.

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