Archive for June, 2012

Coal Smoke

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Ever wonder what a city looks like when everyone is burning coal, for everything from home heating to moving trains?

Wonder no more.

Amazing that an industrial city used to look like this, and just seventy years later people get upset when a single car with an oil-burning problem goes rolling by.

Kan’t Klean Kurbs

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Just another day in Georgia, your typical KKK members wanting to adopt a highway mile and the state legislature contemplating abolishing the Adopt-A-Highway program so they can’t. What’s the big deal? I mean, really, it’s not like they hate Black people anymore:

“Today, while some factions of the Klan have preserved an openly racist philosophy, others have tried to enter the mainstream, describing their agenda as “civil rights for whites.”

Hanson said his group espouses white pride in much the same way groups promoting blacks and Hispanics do.

“I love my race. Does that make me wrong? I’m proud to be white,” he said.

“We are good, decent Christian Americans, and what we’re trying to do is to work with the local community.””

I believe them…don’t you?

Niagara Falls Housing Grants

Monday, June 11th, 2012

This is a great idea.

Niagara Falls, like Buffalo, is a city that has suffered from decades of post-industrial population loss. To rebuild their city and bootstrap their economy, they need people. Young, educated people. Lots of them.

So, they’ve come up with a program. Live in a certain neighborhood in the falls, and we’ll pay $3500 a year on your student loans.

I hope it works.

Hot Air Balloons

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Nothing says “romance” like a proposal in a hot air balloon. Gently wafting through the sky, the wind carressing your hair, the powerful shock from the electric lines you hit knocking the pilot unconscious…

Wait, what?

Error 451, Author not Found

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury, Science Fiction author and valiant defender of the First Amendment. He was 91.

I’m not familiar with any of Bradbury’s works other than the ubiquitous “Fahrenheit 451” and a short story I read once in junior high about a planet where it rained all the time, except for one day when the sun came out for an hour, and a little girl got locked in a closet by her classmates and missed it. I should check out more of his work.

I did see the movie based on F.451, and it was…interesting. Not sure I’d recommend it; the book was far better. The movie was made during that period in the 60’s and 70’s when things got very strange, stylistically. It works, sometimes, but not with this story.

I kindof want to hold a book burning in his honor.

Pedal Power

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Happy Wednesday. Here are some cool pictures of bicycles.

Unemployment Dissection

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

The latest unemployment numbers are out, and the results (surely to the chagrin of Mr. Obama and the delight of Mr. Romney) fall somewhere between “dismal” and “mediocre“. There seem to be two main theses being disseminated as to why unemployment continues to churn along at this relatively high-ish rate: Employers hand wringing that they can’t find qualified employees, and the unemployed masses howling that there’s just no jobs.

In some respects, these two arguments are contradictory. And, in fact, there are signs that point to the real cause of modern unemployment. First, because the unemployment rate has been hovering around a fairly high rate for so long, employers have become convinced that there are lines and rows of people just waiting to bang down their door to find a job- and as a result, they have become extremely, almost myopically selective about their potential candidates. Because of this, they likely pass over qualified applicants searching for that perfectly-suited person. Lacking additional personnel, business can’t grow.

The other unique characteristic of modern unemployment is technology. As much as technology has made applying for jobs much easier, it has also allowed employers to become more efficiently selective in their hiring process. Electronic resumes and online applications allow thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of applicants to submit their resumes for consideration. Faced with this onslaught of paperwork, H.R. departments have thus turned to automatic resume screeners to expedite the selection process. With so many resumes never even seeing a pair of human eyes, it’s likely that otherwise-qualified job seekers are being summarily dismissed simply because their resume didn’t fit the exact mold that the computerized resume screeners were after. Of course, job applicants often shoot themselves in the foot and perpetuate this problem by applying the buckshot approach and applying to any and every job they come across- whether they meet the minimum requirements or not. And H.R. departments are forced to sift through this chaff.

Strange times to be unemployed, indeed.