A Conservative Learns Some New Facts

The Far Away Brothers is one book which I recommend. It is history, political science and social studies all rolled into one. Auren Markham did a fine job of unraveling the complexities of US policies which did not make any sense to me like DACA. I’ve written a few blog pieces on GrumpaJoesplace.com about how befuddled I was about the thousands of kids migrating to the USA from Central America. How could little kids do that by themselves? That is one of the questions she answered for me. Another question I asked is why did the USA advertise its DACA policy in Central America? Had our administration gone nuts? What she leads me to believe is that our Department of Homeland Security did just the opposite. Why I heard that the USA encouraged Central Americans to migrate is still a mystery, but I think it might have been Fake News that did it.
Markham exposes why kids from El Salvador are leaving in droves. It is simple and it has nothing to do with America. It has everything to do with Central American government’s inability to improve conditions in their countries, their inability to control gangs, and their excessive corruption. Where have we heard that before? In the meantime, the USA in its compassion, and mercy tries to legislate solutions to solve problems that we know nothing about. In my years as an engineer we learned to find to the root-cause. DACA legislation resulted from being unable to reach the root-cause. The frustration of passing laws without knowing what problem the law deals with in a country we have absolutely no intimate  knowledge of. Even if did have intimate knowledge, how would we go about implementing laws in a foreign country to solve their inner problems? Meanwhile the people of Central America look to the North as a place where the ‘streets are paved in gold,’ and look upon the USA as the answer to all of their problems.
All along I wondered how young kids could travel over a thousand miles without any resources. They didn’t, they paid big money to hire a Coyote to get them into the USA. I should say, their parents paid big money by borrowing at ridiculous interest rates ( 20% +) , and expecting their liberated kid to work it off. What they don’t realize is the infinite maze of agencies, and systems legislated to insure only those who seek political asylum qualify, and not easily. Why these same people didn’t pay to get their kids a passport and visa before they paid for the coyote remains a mystery. In the meantime, we Americans swallow the bill to pay for the exorbitant court costs for years of needless red tape. I can now see why groups like La Raza want open borders, and free passage across borders to prevail.
Author Markham tells this story by telling the story of  one family with nine kids from El Salvador whose one son gets in trouble with a gang that threatens to kill him.  His loving parents pay for his escape. After he leaves, his twin brother who looks exactly like him fears the gang will kill him by mistake, so the parents take another juice loan to get the twin out-of-town. The story of their escape and arrival in the US is a mind-boggling drama that none of us would want to live through, but they make it.

I gave this book four stars.

A New Merit Badge

ALMKE, GERMANY – JULY 31: Scouts singing prior to their dinner at the camp on July 31, 2010 in Almke near Wolfsburg, Germany.

During my lifetime I spent twenty-five years serving in the Boy Scouts of America as a volunteer. I love Scouting, and all things Boy Scouts. As a father, I often wondered why my daughter had to belong to the Girl Scouts, and not to the Boy Scouts.My daughter loved going camping with us as a family, but never got a real camping experience as a Girl Scout. My beautiful wife Barbara served as a leader for her daughter’s troop, and I served as a leader for our son’s troop. So, we both knew what the other was doing, and we often traded experiences. Except, that Barb’s experiences with the girls were so different from ours in the Boy Scouts. I can only say, well, they were girly things. I often voiced my opinion that my daughter would have had a more meaningful experience had she been in one of my scouting groups. Actually, she was. She traveled with us to scout family camp, and had that close experience, and she visited her brother’s campsite with her mom, and got that experience, but it just wasn’t the same. Her merit badges were so girly while the boys had he-man type badges to work on.

Too many years have passed since my kids were in scouts and now I find myself in a conundrum about letting girls into BOY Scouts. I think the feminists are reaching too far into the man’s world. If God wanted girls like men he would have granted them testosterone instead of estrogen. Except, that once in a awhile nature screws up, and grants a bit too much of testosterone to women, and too much estrogen to men, and we have a new conundrum of knowing which sex we really are. I do know one thing, i.e. that boys of scouting age are developing their testosterone supply, and experiencing it’s effect on their bodies, like becoming basso instead of soprano, and developing huge muscles, with hair all over. In the meantime the estrogen is making women’s bodies soft, and their breasts big, and their voices stay sopranoish, and they learn their mother’s coy attitude toward men.

Now, I have a new conundrum, i.e. should the Boy Scouts add a new merit badge for sex, and another one for motherhood?

So many questions, so little time left to know what the future holds.

LIFE 3.0

I just completed reading “Life 3.0, Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.”  This was not one of my better selections, but I read it to the end anyway. The subject intrigued me. I first heard the term Artificial Intelligence used some thirty years ago, and it didn’t hurt me to finally learn something about the topic. Artificial intelligence refers to super computers with programs that learn, and adapt quickly. The only real example of AI that I know of is the IBM computer that beat the world champion Russian chess player at chess.

Behind the scenes that I am familiar with there is an army of people developing software and hardware to think like humans. The current rage of robots need AI to exist. Author Max Tegmark is obviously a genius at AI. He teaches at MIT and writes about two miles over my feeble brain level. I thoroughly enjoyed the Prelude titled The Tale of the Omega Team. This is a well drafted story of robots gifted with AI, and how they develop into a force we don’t want to reckon with. When I began reading The Tale of the Omega Team the story was totally believable given the advanced level of today’s technology. The story hooked me into complete concentration, but as the narrative developed I began to suspect Omega Team was toying with me. It was. As Omega used its experiences to learn, he quickly adapted to become smarter and smarter surpassing his creator in intelligence. The story became more and more preposterous, but still very believable. The Tale of the Omega Team could very well become a TV series.

The last two chapters were also very engrossing. Tegmark’s discussion on consciousness is very insightful, and one realizes that making an AI machine into a real human requires consciousness. How to do that is another monumental task. The last chapter deals with the people who are currently developing AI. However, they agree that developers need a set of rules by which to guide themselves to keep from creating AI monsters.

The chapters in between the Prelude and Consciousness were so steeped in physics, philosophy, and mathematics that I found them about as exciting as I did during college reading my books on differential equations, and meta-physics. The physics discussions were so far beyond my comprehension that I could have skipped them and been just as satisfied. Most probably, that is because my knowledge of physics peaked in 1960, and the physics in this tome has developed since then.

I enjoyed reading this book, but I am glad I finished. Because of the level of difficulty I have to rate this book at three stars. However, I rate the prelude, The Tale of the Omega Team five stars.

 

How Not To Solve a Problem


Most people who are problem solvers, or in business know that you spend your effort on things that are relevant. As an engineer, I was taught the Pareto principle which simple states that 80% of the benefit comes from 20% of the effort. I used this rule on every problem I could. When you have limited resources like engineers, salespeople, and machinists why try to solve every stinking problem at the same time? The first thing I thought of when I spotted the list above is the Pareto Principle. Using the Pareto method I can tell you that more lives would be saved if we attack heart disease or cancer first. Seven million people die from cancer worldwide. That is more than all the lives lost due to the problems in the entire list below it. I guess liberals cannot do math nor figure out that the number of lives lost to shootings is minimal when compared to heart disease and cancer.  We have all lost someone due to heart disease and cancer, yet few of us has lost someone because of a shooting. I don’t mean to disrespect any person’s life with my comments, but facts are facts.

The only time we came close to losing that many lives due to violence over disease was in WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. So why are people so outraged by mass shootings? I have no clue, but it is a waste of energy to try to solve the problem when there are so many other pressing problems to solve first.

I’m thinking that the horror of mass death is too great because most of the people killed were young and vibrant, and filled with life. They had families and goals to reach. Well, how about the 1,960 kids who die from cancer every year? Dying a slow death from cancer is a lot more horrifying for the person than dying in an instant from a bullet.

Death brings out emotions within us when we hear about them, especially when they are senseless. So why spend untold amounts of money on writing laws that we will forget about within a month? We should instead spend some money on the grieving people who are outraged by these acts because they are in mental anguish. Having experienced grief myself I feel for the loved ones who survive. It is they who will suffer from grief for years, and you know what? Banning guns will not solve their problems. Chicago is a fine example of how useless gun bans are. More people are killed in a Chicago weekend by guns than were killed in Las Vegas. People who want guns get them and use them to kill regardless of the laws on the books. I read a news article this week that in London where guns are banned, and there is a ten-year prison sentence if you are caught with one, that gun crime is on the rise. In the meantime, people are still being killed by knives, hatchets, and rocks. Where are the bans on these items?

NFL Racism

How does the NFL get away with its racist policies? It seems to  me that any organization that is made up of 75% of one race is tilted in the direction of being racist.  Where is the outrage by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson? Better yet, where is the outrage of whites? Why didn’t Obama and Eric Holder begin legal measures aimed at making the NFL more racially balanced? This country is so afraid of being criticized by Leftists, and the news media that we are no longer sensitive to the pin pricks of abuse against us. The NFL is not alone in this situation the NBA is even more racially unbalanced. We adore our sports heroes, but cast aside people of color who under perform in schools, or who no longer marry to have families. Instead we pay for their care via welfare, and laws promoting single motherhood, or we promote abortions to people of color because by reducing the population we hold our welfare costs down. What have we become?

My friends will argue that only the best athletes are selected to play in the NFL. Yes he is correct, but how come when it is time to go to college the laws favor the under-educated kids of color over the really smart white kids? Shouldn’t we be selecting kids for college that know how to read instead of on the color of their skin?

Life is not fair, and racism isn’t either, but neither is racial favoritism. Is there any difference between racism and racial favoritism? Not really, except racism carries the stigma of hate while racial favoritism sounds less hateful. The best thing we can do today is to repeal the stupid welfare laws that make having babies out-of-wedlock profitable. It is a practice worse than running for Congress because they have a good pension plan. My guess is that if we were to repeal these laws there would be total war in the country the likes of which we have never fought.

Things will only get worse as time moves on. All the jobs that poorly educated people could hold have been 1.) exported to another country where there is no welfare, and people value work, or 2.) the same job that didn’t require an education now does because the process machinery is computer controlled, and not everyone can handle that. As our country now moves into the information age, our worker force must also, and just like the NFL, and NBA only the best will be chosen for the jobs.

My argument above about why uneducated people can’t hold is fallacious. We love illegal immigrants because they are uneducated, and will take the mundane jobs at low pay that our poorly educated people of color will not.  Why should they take jobs at low wages when welfare pays more? One argument for a higher minimum wage is so that a minimum wage job pays more than being on welfare.

What the USA needs is to shut down and reboot. We are so over-burdened with stupid laws and benefits that we can no longer function without constant trouble. A reboot may be a way to begin with fresh uncluttered programs, and allow us to be productive again.

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