Archive for December, 2005

Lance as Lance

Posted: December 23, 2005 in Bicycling

I finally got to read the VeloNews.com interview (Part 1 and Part 2) with Lance Armstrong. Lance was forthcoming, to say the least. What struck me most was how he talked about the Postal / Discovery team as if he were one of the principals instead of just being a rider. I’ve always said that to be a top athlete you also needed a large ego. Well, despite the post-cancer humility, Lance’s ego is alive and well. And yes, I am still a Lance fan.

I also give VeloNews credit for posting Lance’s much less than favorable comments about their publication.

Fox (So-Called) News

Posted: December 21, 2005 in Miscellaneous

I was watching the emergency landing of Midwest Airlines Flight 210 on CNN this evening. The reporting on CNN was not stellar but it was fair and reasonably accurate. I switched to Fox News after CNN switched to one of their regular news programs and I was almost immediately shocked and disgusted by what I heard.

The anchor person, “Catherine,” was interviewing a spokesperson from Midwest Airlines and was discussing aircraft safety systems (a technical topic of which I have some first-hand experience). She noted that some modern airliners have video cameras in the wheel wells of the aircraft so that the aircrew could better evaluate an emergency situation. She asked the spokesperson if the Boeing 717s in Midwest Airline’s inventory had this kind of system. The spokesperson said that he was not a technical or maintenance person so that he could not answer the question with certainty, but he did not think that the aircraft had that capability. Immediately, Catherine asked if Midwest Airlines had considered such a system or would consider such a system given the evening’s events. The spokesperson gave a bit of a non-answer, noting that these types of failures were rare but if there was a significant safety issue they would consider it.

Catherine, at this point, put words into the Midwest Airlines spokesperson’s mouth saying that he thought that such a system wasn’t cost effective. She immediately went to a former airline pilot and again said that Midwest Airlines thought that the video system wasn’t cost effective and whether or not the pilot thought the same. The pilot replied very diplomatically and indicated that Midwest Airlines, to his knowledge, had a great safety record.

If this is Fox News’ example of fair and balanced reporting then their definitions of those words is far different than mine.

BTW, Catherine kept calling the airline Midwest Express instead of its proper name, Midwest Airlines.

Posting on Forums

Posted: December 14, 2005 in photography

Saw this funny link on this photography forum that I visit daily.

In addition, you should count to ten and take a deep breath before you click the send or post button.

More on Drugs in Sports

Posted: December 8, 2005 in Bicycle Racing

This is no longer news, but I still wanted to comment on Roberto Heras’ positive drug test (both A and B samples) following this year’s Vuelta a Espana. As with Tyler Hamilton’s positive test, I want to believe that Roberto’s test is faulty, but at the same time I do believe that drug testing, properly administered, is the only unbiased arbiter in deciding if an athlete is clean.

I still feel that the spectre of drug testing is not enough of a deterrent because if it was bicycle racers would have stopped using performance-enhancing drugs many years ago. Instead, there is still enough rationale and reward to use drugs for the purpose of winning. We need to start eliminating the reasons that exist for using drugs.

Are the tests perfect? Are the testers saints?

The answer to both of those questions is probably no. Yet we don’t have anything better at the moment.

Going to High School

Posted: December 7, 2005 in Miscellaneous

Can someone please explain how we “evolved” to our current state of applying to high schools in Long Beach? The past few weeks have been just short of the process that I went through to decide which college to attend. Reading propaganda about various educational programs within and between high schools, listening to schools pitch the virtues of their programs, and visiting high school campuses to hear even more propaganda has been just a part of this insanity.

My eldest son has to literally apply to high schools and specific programs within those high schools. He has to decide which program or school best suites his academic needs and he has a score which is an accumulation of his GPA and standardized test scores.

Now I am somewhat overstating the overall effort required for this process as, for us, it definitely is easier (or at least I anticipate that it is easier) than what we will encounter when he starts applying to colleges. However, it is orders of magnitude more difficult and complicated than the process that I had of going to the high school that was in my district (where my family lived).

Will my son receive a better education because of the “choices” provided by this process?

Arguably, he might. But consider this, educators who knew my aptitude and some of my educational goals, recommended me for enrichment programs and advanced courses offered within our school district. I would like to think that educators could advise him in a similar manner. I just hope that in the intervening three years before my youngest goes to high school that the process does not get any worse.

GM to Ax 30,000 Jobs, Close 12 Facilities

Posted: December 2, 2005 in lean
Tags: ,

(sfgate.com, Nov. 22, 2005)

GM has been crippled by high labor, pension, health care and materials costs, as well as by sagging demand for sport utility vehicles, its longtime cash cow.

I find it quite amazing that business reporters and business professors just don’t get it. Toyota’s current and strategic advantage is not based on its labor contracts, health care costs, gasoline prices, or… Toyota’s ability to “make cars more cheaply and offer vehicles with designs and features that increasingly appeal to American buyers” is because of their commitment to the principles of the Toyota Production System.

GM will not rise from their current situation by laying off workers and reducing production capacity. I fear that we will see another great American manufacturing company decline to the point of extinction as we have witnessed the extinction of Douglas Aircraft Company and its commercial airliners. We as a country need to stop being so superficial in our business thinking and approaches else the United States will become inconsequential in the global economy.