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The "Immigration Problem"? Instant Runoff Elections Fixing Congress Term Limits Teaching Capitalism Drive Education No Fed Taxes
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  • A simple solution to several annoying problems ... Alan's Dots 10.25.2015:

    This idea actually had its birth about thirty years ago at HP. I found myself going from building to building on the 'old Cupertino Campus' (now the Apple Flying Saucer Site) and repeatedly mashing a wrist because the doors with 'crash bar' exits didn't always open to the left or right, so it was a crapshoot as to which end of the bar to push to most-easily open the door!

    So, naturally, I suggested that the Maintenance Folks put large green Dots, about 2" in diameter or so, on the side of the door opposite the hinges.

    No takers. I thought of doing it myself, but figured that the Anti-Dot Maintenance Police would only remove them, so I didn't.

    Fast-forward a few decades and I'm retired and lots older and thanks to bariatric surgery and other normal aging situations, I have to take a variety of vitamin supplements and medicines.

    Each of which comes in a different-sized bottle and often with a screw-off OR 'adult-proof' OR flip-top cap, and often no way to easily see which kind of top it is.

    So, potential solution: Manufacturers of the lids could put an easily-seen mark on the lid to show which kind it is... A round one in the center for 'twist-off' or a dot or arrow at the edge where the flip-top gets flipped up... and even another to indicate 'adult-proof press or squeeze-and-twist.'

    Well, whom could I send that idea to? Yep, I don't know, either, so if I describe it here, maybe some entrepreneur looking for a patent or a raise could suggest this to their boss and we'd both be 'winners.'

    Here are two photos of examples of 'before and after' such labeling is in place. And it would still work for crash bar doors, too...

    Before:

    After:


  • So, I'm hearing all this crap about how folks are afraid of 'drones' ... 12.24.2014:

    When it occurs to me that even simple, limited-function drones could help out 'everyday people'...

    Problem Statement: Muggings, rapes and other nefarious deeds on hiking, biking and jogging trails in and around cities. No cops, no witnesses.

    Solution Concept: Drone Dispensers. Like paying for parking at the automatic kiosks at airports like RDU...

    Going for a jog? Pop your credit card into an automated machine and key in a password (or not). Machine dispenses a Smart Receipt with an encapsulated receiver/transmitter embedded in it. These will be returned at the end of the jog/walk/ride into another kiosk, reprogrammed and reused.
    Upon verification of your credit card, the machine will (remotely and securely) launch a small drone into the air above the kiosk, where it will lock onto your Smart Receipt and hover a safe distance overhead.
    Either continuously or upon command by pressing a Panic Button on the Smart Receipt, your personal drone will begin recording hi-def video views of you as you go upon your way.
    Mugged or whatever? Press the Panic Button and the video is immediately sent to the local police, triggers a siren/alarm in the drone and calls for backup. And the drone then continues to stream real-time video to secure servers which the police can monitor. Next step: facial recognition of anyone and everyone close to your transmitter. You and possible perps.
    At the end of your run/walk/ride, pop your receipt into any kiosk and the recording is deleted and your credit card is charged for the 'security rental.'

    Any problems with such a system that you can imagine? Well, instead of just saying 'hell, no!' to the concept, try brainstorming ways to eliminate the issues, problems or shortcomings you've identified!

  • For bad bruises and post-surgery chilling ... 12.22.2014:

    Wifey bruised a knee and needed ice packs for multiple days.

    Problem Statement: The regular ice packs would slip off her knee if she moved her knee, rolled over in bed or whatever...

    Solution Concept: A strap with a hole in the middle to fit the filler cap of the typical ice pack, with two Velcro ® straps that would wrap around the leg, arm or wherever to hold the ice pack in place during normal daily movements. Enjoy!

  • Potential treatment for Psoriasis?... 10.25.2013:

    When my wife went through chemo for breast cancer, I noticed that her psoriasis nearly disappeared during the course of the treatment, only to return some months later.

    What if some ingredient in the chemotherapy chemicals could be tested as a topical treatment for psoriasis?
    I suggested this to one of her oncologists. His reply? "Those chemicals are only used internally via IV drip."

    Pardon me, but I was not suggesting intravenous... I was suggesting topical...

    My wife mentioned that to him again, recently, and he said that some folks are now looking into it. Thank you SO much...

  • The "Immigration Problem"?... 10.02.2010: What to do? What to do?

    Available at YouTube --- "Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs - Updated 2010"

  • Instant Runoff Elections... 08.29.2010

    Available at YouTube and Jason Kelly and here. [Note: 5+ MB video file .flv]

  • Fixing Congress... 08.25.2010

    Congressional Reform Act of 2010

    1. Term Limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options below.

    A. Two Six year Senate terms
    B. Six Two year House terms
    C. One Six year Senate term and three Two Year House terms

    2. No Tenure / No Pension:

    A congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

    3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security:

    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund moves to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, Congress participates with the American people.

    4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as all Americans.

    5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    7. Congress must equally abide in all laws they impose on the American people.

    Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work. Or go to jail, if appropriate.

    8. All contracts with past and present congressmen are void effective 01/01/2011.

    The American people did not make this contract with congressmen, congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

    Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

    If you agree with the above, pass it on to all in your address list.

     

  • How to solve the "Term Limits" dilemma.. .. 07.26.2010

    I suggested the one-term limit idea to a VERY bright guy I met at my money manager's investors' dinner. His reply was that single-term limits won't work either!

    He said they do that in India now, where he's originally from, and what the Indian politicians discovered is that, with only one term in which to skim, graft, screw, rob, and otherwise rip off the citizens, they've got it down to an art form. So in their ONE term, they still do as much damage to everyone around them in order to maximize their take-home loot.

    I don't think the morals and ethics are any better over here in that way. I abandoned a LOT of hope about the effectiveness of term limits after that chat...

    But somehow I still hope that some kind of single-term policy could work, under the right rules and limitations. How about this: Establish the single-term limit, but then when the elected official leaves office, they're not allowed to participate in ANY branch of government OR lobbying at all, NOR be employed by any company that has contracts or supplies any product or service to any government...

    But: give each a retirement package of a about two million dollars: enough to live very comfortably on at a 5% yearly withdrawal, but the money has to be their ONLY source of income... no other pensions, speaking engagements, lecture tours or ANY paying jobs... then when their own policies and laws that they'd enacted while in office fail, they'd get just as screwed as the rest of us. THAT might make 'em a BIT more thoughtful or hesitant to run for those powerful positions...

    What do you think of that kind of idea?


  • Teaching Capitalism to Congress and the Presidents...

    If anyone's going to teach our kids Capitalism, it's going to be through Home Schooling.

    The public schools don't wallow in capitalism or competition, the mass media don't care to touch critical thinking, and most blogsites are knee-deep in anti-capitalists, despite the fact that capitalism has given them just about every "good" thing they have today.

    We can try to teach critical thinking and capitalism, but my prediction is that if it's not one-on-one at home, there ain't nobody else gonna do it...

    Look at every capitalist or free-market think tank or commentator, from Friedman to Stossel to Cato to any others..... LOTS of great ideas; TONS of things you and i might agree on, and in the end, TOTAL FAILURE to move the needle on what "joe the plumber" thinks is the right direction to go.

    And with morons like Reid, Pelosi and a few others who keep dragging the needle into negative-learning territory every day.

    Maybe the right "retirement plan" for everyone in congress and the presidency should be: Upon retirement, each and every one is given a small company to run, where their entire food, clothing, shelter and retirement funds would come ONLY from the profits of their own little company.

    Addendum, 07.06.2010... Rather than "give them a company," how about "giving them each about $2 Million as their entire "retirement payout"? $2Mil at 5% is $100k a year, if all thrown into a reasonable mix of stocks, bonds and cash. $2Mil is also a nice pension, equivalent to a paycheck of $200k a year for ten years. Not too shabby, eh?

    So, if every congress monkey who made it into office and was then term-limited out got that much money as payout, along with some stipulations like "no employment in lobbying or by any industry you had any dealings with before, no lecture tours or appointed or elected government positions at all for the rest of your life," and a few others like that I'm sure we could dream up, well... it just might keep them out of trouble long enough for the rest of us to repair the country. Ya Think?


  • From Jim S., and a big thank you to him! "This is a FASCINATING presentation. I wonder what organizations today are willing to try it??," he asks...

    Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us... Video: 10:48.

    I forwarded the link to most of the people in my email directory. Here are some of the replies from them...

  • 04.19.2010: Re-designing the United States' Educational System: an Engineering Approach.

    Is our education system designed to impart knowledge or "teach to grade level"?

    Proposal:

    Re-design the US middle- and high-school education systems so that students are graded for proficiency in every subject from gym to math at the end of every year, independent of their age or traditional "grade or class level."

    Based on each student's proficiency test results, they become eligible to move to the next level of "proficiency learning" in any given subject.

    A student who's gifted in math, for example, could advance to even the highest level of proficiency long before they're "of age" to be graduated from high school. Students who, for whatever reason are slower to learn any or several subjects, do not advance to the next level until they're ready to. The concepts of "skipping grades," being "held back" for academic or social development reasons would vanish. All students would be able to advance at their own pace. Gifted students whose parents decide that they don't want them to enter college yet, for personal reasons, could get "extra credits" by becoming mentors for students not yet operating at the highest levels.

    If a student has high proficiency achievement levels in eight subjects that would qualify them for acceptance to higher education institutions, the choice is for the student, their parents and the higher education institution, not the award of any "all encompassing and averaging" high school "diploma."

    A student who's ranked "12th grade" in math, physics, language, speaking, reading and chemistry might be accepted into a technological university if the university agrees, even if their "civics" and "gym" achievement levels are only that of 10th or 11th "grade."

    If a student exceeds "level 12" learning on all of the required disciplines, they could also become eligible for independent study at the university level in some or all of the subjects, no matter what their age was, or define their own study plan to get proficiency-ranked in areas outside the "basics" but including anything they're interested in.

    For students who, for any reason, are considered "slow learners," special instruction classes would, just as today, give them the special attention they may need in order to advance. This is done today; it would continue to be implemented. They would not be shoe horned into "regular classes" where they might be disruptive or distracting to other students, or as is often suggested, "slow the rest of the class down."

    In many socio-economic situations, key encouragement for learning and advancement may not exist. To manage this kind of situation, the concept of "Education Villages" could evolve to provide a strong "parental influence environment" for students who'd otherwise not get that due to lack of parental interest, capability or involvement, and for any number of reasons. It very well might "take a Village" to educate a child, too.

    To determine "readiness to advance to the next teaching level," standardized national tests would be needed. Much like Scholastic Aptitude Tests or Regents Exams, these tests would need to have certain inherent designs:

    1. The tests must be created for each level of every area of education.
    2. Tests must be created "outside the schools' educational community in order to ensure uniformity and equality.
    3. Point (2) would ensure that "teaching to the final exam" would not be possible.
    4. Proficiency would be measured by general measures related to each and every discipline, such as grammar, math, science, etc., not by rote-learning or ability to answer "standard questions."
    5. Multiple versions of tests in each discipline would be required.
      • Versions would be randomized to the state, county or even individual levels.
      • Randomization eliminates "answer key theft" or "selling copies of last year's tests."
      • Randomization could extend down to the individual level, so that "looking at your neighbor's test answers" would be of no help at all. The questions would be different, or in a different order, or written to have different answers. Cheating is defeated.
      • Due to the complexity of the randomization, scoring would be done centrally by the creators of the tests, to avoid any local influences of any kind. Only "final grades" would be reported back to schools and individuals.

    Schools might not change very much, as viewed from the outside. Similar numbers of teachers, instructors and assistants would be needed, but a child who, for example, is socially immature and "bullied" could simply drop the field of study where the bad environment exists and pick it up some months or a year later, after the bad elements had "moved on" or left the program altogether.

    In this way, every student would be able to advance as quickly as they are able, to the highest levels they're capable of, in any and all disciplines. In doing so, the best and brightest will never again be slowed down by any environmental limitations in the classroom and all students will be able to progress at a rate that is comfortable to them and their parents. Pushing students too hard as well as social stigma of being "held back" would disappear. Every student would have their own rating of proficiency, reflecting their individual needs and capabilities, enabling each one to get the best possible match of themselves to their potential achievement.

    Students who, for whatever reason, can not achieve certain levels or don't want to can be tracked to many different educational or vocational directions. Job requirements at all levels of most industries could match up students to the real job requirements.

    I am offering this concept up for debate and development; feedback and critical analysis. Questions and challenges are invited. Out-of-hand rejection is discouraged or ignored. If the concept needs tuning, please help tune it. If key issues not listed here need to be addressed, please write me and I'll include them, or write your own and make them public.

    Thank you all for your interest and attention and feedback to   .

    This proposal, I believe, deserves merit. I "figured it out" just a few months ago, and as far as I know, this kind of concept has never been published anywhere other than here and as a comment at Linked-In.com .

  • Additional notes from feedback:

    Apply this only to middle- and high-school levels. Elementary school "teachings" are foundational and are the basis for further learning and may not benefit from this redesign.

    Extend the "concept" by redefining "public education" to be 14 years, not 12, and the last two years can be used for vocational training/teaching or advanced placement preparation prior to moving to college/university levels.

  • Other interesting links and ideas...
  • No Federal Taxes... Here's an idea: We stop paying taxes to the Federal government. We only pay taxes to our state. The federal government bills the states for the services provided for the country as a whole (defense, immigration, etc.). The proportion of the bill is based on the proportion of the population in each state. This eliminates the need for congress critters to try to get money back to their states.
    ... thanks, DW; 05.18.2010

  • "Those of us who can return to the budgeting philosophies and realities of our parents, will be the truly fortunate ones." ...10.19.2008

    Here's how to create a budget:
    Make a spreadsheet that's twelve months wide with each month labeled
    Create rows under that with EVERY recurring bill, especially yearly expenses like property taxes or auto insurance, etc.
    If you're on a strict budget, add lines for bills that must be paid every month, like utilities.
    Then go to the month where the yearly bills must be paid and enter the actual or approximate amount of that bill in the cell.
    Now divide that monthly amount by 12 and enter that into the cell of the month after the bill is due.
    Double that number and enter that in the next rightmost cell.
    Increase each next cell's entry by the monthly amount until you reach December.
    When you reach December, increment the monthly amount again by one twelfth of the total and enter that number for January and continue until you reach the month the bill comes due.

    Do this for every yearly bill, then create a new line at the bottom where the content of each cell is the sum of all of the cells above it.
    That row will show you the amount of money you MUST have on hand during each month so that when the bills come due, you will have the necessary cash on hand to pay any and all of the bills.


  • This excellent John Stossel YouTube video is a testimonial to the stupidity and failure of farmers all around the world who obviously are incapable of dealing with the vagaries of their markets and their environment [weather]. You should all be ashamed to death of your failures.
    ...10.21.2008


  • Buy poppy crops directly from countries which are sources and then give or sell the poppies to pharmaceutical companies or refiners for processing. Pay the farmers higher prices than drug cartels pay them; Pharma companies get raw materials at bargain prices, hard-drug-related crime withers.

  • Legalize marijuana. Turn it into an export crop for the US, compete with other countries by using technologically advanced farming techniques; utilize genetic engineering to make ours the best in the world.

  • All government-supplied economic indicators and reports must include "percentage of GDP." Estimates for proposed bills must include forecast effect on GDP; failure to achieve at least 80% of forecast results within 2-3 years immediately triggers sunset of original bill. Bill can be reintroduced after two years with revised forecast. Second failure triggers permanent sunset of goal/premise of bills. [This should also be applied at city and state levels.]

  • A simple feature upgrade to a wonderful flashlight ... SlydeKing Upgrade 03.23.2017:

    I love the SlydeKing flashlight. Brilliant light, adjustable beam, bright white worklight, red emergency light and red flashing light. Wonderful combination. I bought about four... one for each car, one for my stepson's family and one for 'the house'... great for night-time dog-walking (and picking up deposits made by the dog.)

    There was just one thing that irked me... the way the control switch is positioned, it's hard for me to find it without looking at the flashlight. The tactile feedback from the switch is very similar to the feeling from the USB charger socket's cover. I wanted something that would work better for me.

    So I created it: I found a rubber O-ring that was just a bit larger in diameter than the power button and VERY carefully ran a bit of cyanoacrylic glue (CA Glue) along the 'top edge' of it, flipped it over (carefully) and centered it on the switch.

    After the CA glue set, the thickness of the O-ring and the 'feel of it' made it very easy to determine where the switch is 'by feel' alone. There's no interference from the ring when I push the button on or off.

    Here are some photos of the "installation":
    Click image for larger view...