Priorities

As a country, we need to think about what made us great a generation or two ago. What is it about America that caused a politician running on “hope” to gain so much ground when he really didn’t offer up much substance?

The problem is our particular set of cultural priorities. We have gone from a country that worked hard, understood devotion and sacrifice and was willing to earn our way, to a country of victims, whining about what we don’t have while not even realizing what gluttons we really are.

I know this post doesn’t seem very positive yet, but it’s because there are some really negative things taking place in our society. Our schools are becoming training grounds for entitled, self-indulgent losers that live only to mooch off the system. Universities and churches are overlooking the abuse of children to avoid a scandal and protect ball teams. Politicians pander to the lazy and to special interest groups for votes, then ignore what is right, or what their constituents want, in favor of some huge corporation that lined their pockets on the campaign trail. Some religious groups rally against freedom fighters and soldiers while others try to brow-beat people with the bible when they’d be better off appealing to their humanity.

All these negative things, one way or the other, will eventually work together to change our society: either through collapse from within or by people becoming so disgusted that they activate change.

Positivity and hope can come when we change our focus from entertainment and entitlement back to work and innovation. There’s nothing innovative about a university football team. A professor of mine said that “a university is a forum for the exchange of ideas.” I agree and I think football is not an idea, nor is it a worthy educational pursuit. This applies to all the meaningless fluff that has invaded our educational system. We would be much better-served to place those pursuits in the private sector and left to the scrutiny of the free enterprise system, while our educational efforts focus on the arts and sciences.

“Arts?”, you ask. Yes. Every tool you use to do your job, every recipe you cook, everything you use to perform the thousands of tasks you do each day was designed. It may have components that were engineered for their function, but nothing is functional without form.

If you need an explanation for Sciences, I’m afraid there may not be much hope for you.

My point is that with concentration on the right things, our society can begin to innovate again. Work has become something we do until we can be entertained again. Few people care about what they do because they’ve been raised to think that playing games is more important than bringing real value to the lives of others.

In order to make these changes we need to make changes in our systems, our politics and our way of thinking. The government leaders in charge today have a remarkable opportunity to change the way of life for every American. They can come together and change their priorities so that Science, innovation, creativity are the hot topics. NASA, a government agency, can be a key component in the change. It’s up to politicians to make the right decisions and set this country back on the course to greatness.

Each time they want to address our economy, our workforce or our place in the global economy, they need to remind Americans that NASA is a true change agent, perfectly positioned to generate jobs, new technology and subsequent markets. Americans also need to show interest in this positive change as well. That’s going to be the hardest part.

 

/rant

White River, AR

My family and I love playing in the White River. We camp near there a lot. We float it, wade it and fish it. It’s a beautiful river that’s easy for beginners to float, filled with trout and well-maintained by the Corps of Engineers as well as the locals.

Millage didn’t pass!

I’m glad.

http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2012/jun/27/millage-vote-fails/#c128884

The millage is not the issue. The problem is what the school board planned to do with the money. It was a complete waste. I posted a pretty hot-headed comment on the page above.

 

I’m not against a millage increase and neither are most of the people I have talked to about this issue. The problem is the horrendous misappropriation of the funds. $23 million for a sports complex, that only a portion of the children will benefit from, and will require an expensive upkeep plan, is a ridiculous proposal.

A plan so obviously asinine makes me want to call for an investigation of the administration; the board and the superintendent. For this plan to even be proposed, corruption has to be behind it. What kind of money can members of the administration funnel to their own pockets or their personal interests by increasing the size of the athletic complex and padding the expense of the expansion? I would seriously like to propose that the District hire an independent forensic accountant to make sure there is no corruption. When the cost per sq.ft. is twice the nearest most-expensive expansion, an investigation needs to be opened about the use of each and every dollar. How high up do we have to go before the red flags are acknowledged?

In the unlikely event that corruption is not a factor, it would mean they lack true concern for the students. The school boards EXACT purpose is to make decisions that benefit the education of our children. The kind of expense on athletic facilities (which EXCLUDE many students) does not have the welfare of the entire student population at heart. No other department is allowed to exclude students from their curriculum based on anything other than meeting prerequisite courses.

There are many ways to reduce over-crowding without the kind of rampant spending that was proposed. If you want to see how it works, look at poorer school districts in the state. Personally, I grew up in a poorer school district than my children are privileged to attend. When the buildings filled up, the district filled the playground with portable buildings. One of the problems we have in Bentonville is that so many wealthy people in the area either never knew or forgot what it was like to not have money. The athletic department is not the only issue. The cost per sq.ft is double Siloam Springs BEFORE the inclusion of the athletic complex. Are we going to build a school, with education as its primary goal, or a “Six Flags Over Education” just like “Six Flags Over Jesus” down the road? Both lack the conviction and substance of smaller and more thoughtful approaches.

So, school board and superintendent, what do you prefer we think of you? Corrupt, Inept, or Irresponsible?

STILL upgrading the HD in my Mac…

Yeah. Spent the $20 on Winclone, but it still won’t boot under Bootcamp/Win7.

Frustrating. I’ve formatted, imaged, and restored this thing 4 or 5 times now. I’ve swapped hard drives 6 or 7 times now as well. I kinda need this to work…

I’ve never had this much trouble upgrading the HD in a Windows machine or a Mac. I don’t know why having a dual-boot system makes it so much more complicated.

UPDATE:

I never got it to work. I sent error logs to the software folks and they offered me a refund. I ended up creating a new partition and installing Win7 from scratch. I couldn’t get any of the Windows Restore software to work either; the problem with that software is that it requires a boot to DOS/other media in order to make the image from which to restore. With Bootcamp on the Mac, that doesn’t work because it won’t let you go into the proper diagnostic mode automatically.

The other problem now is that Windows Authentication still thinks I’m running my license on “another PC”, when its actually on an old HD, so I guess I’m going to end up calling Microsoft to tell them what happened in order to get rid of that message.

Upgrading the Hard Drive in my Macbook Pro…

…has turned out to be more difficult than I would have imagined. I had a 500GB drive with Mac OS and Win7 partitions. I got a good deal on a 1TB drive and getting the disk images moved over has been a bear. The Mac side is working so far. The Win7 image is on the partition, but the dang thing won’t boot. I’ve tried a few things I found online to no avail… Guess I’m hitting the sack tonight and will try again tomorrow.

Or maybe not. Camping weekend. :)

Windows 7 Theme

Windows 7 has some really nice features. I’m going to start a new category for my favorites and post them as I have time.

One of my favorites, that never seemed to work well in Vista, is Themes.

I can change the colors of the windows…

…and set the theme to flip through an entire folder of desktop backgrounds on a customizable interval.

With a right-click on the theme’s icon, I can even save these themes to share with others who happen to be running Windows 7.

I know this seems like a small thing, but when you consider the amount of time a computer user spends looking at the screen, what that screen looks like becomes pretty important.

If you’re running Windows 7, download the file below (~14.5MB) and give a theme I created a try. (Thanks to Social Wallpapering for the cool car pics!)