May 31, 2009

Sunday Silliness - Elitism :o)

It's lonely at the top, but it's comforting to look down upon everyone at the bottom.

May 30, 2009

AOL To Be Spun Off From Time Warner

Time Warner (TWX) just put out the the press release about the move, which has been long expected since former top Google (GOOG) advertising exec Tim Armstrong was named CEO of the long troubled AOL.

This certainly comes as no surprise to those of us that are J-Land transplants and have witnessed the steady reduction in services available on the AOL platform.

To read more, go to Bucko Bucks :o)

May 28, 2009

CDC Medical Alert :o)

The CDC has issued a medical alert about a highly contagious, potentially dangerous virus that is transmitted orally, by hand, and even electronically. This virus is called Weekly Overload Recreational Killer (WORK).

If you receive WORK from your boss, any of your colleagues or anyone else via any means whatsoever - DO NOT TOUCH IT!!! This virus will wipe out your private life entirely.

If you should come into contact with WORK you should immediately leave the premises. Go to the nearest liquor store and purchase the antidote - Bothersome Employer Elimination Rebooter (BEER). Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

You should immediately forward this medical alert to five friends. If you do not have five friends, you have already been infected and WORK is, sadly, controlling your life.

May 27, 2009

Increase Your Productivity :o)

Exercise on workdays boosts productivity. A recent study identified that more than 70% of employees who exercised before or during lunch reported improvements in time management, workload management, ability to deal with workday stressors, and mental and interpersonal performance compared with days they did not exercise. They were also less stressed.

So, take the time in the morning to get in a workout, or take a walk during lunch, to help reduce your stress and improve your workday outlook.

May 24, 2009

Sunday Silliness - Effort :o)

Hard work never killed anybody, but it is illegal in some places.

May 23, 2009

Moving Mom :o)

As you are reading this, we are off on our little moving assistance adventure.

Saturday morning, we are heading to Springfield Missouri (Misery as I like to call it :o). We will chat and visit and such on Saturday evening, and then on Sunday the fun begins.

We will be loading all my Mom and Step dad's possessions into a rental truck, and on Monday, we head back to South Bend, IN. Beth and I will arrive Monday night, and Tuesday morning will head to their new apartment to start unloading. We expect my Mom and ex-brother-in-law to arrive around noon on Tuesday. We will get them situated on Tuesday, and start showing them the local venues on Thursday and Friday.

Keep your fingers and toes crossed, because they are forecasting chance of showers in Missouri on Sunday and South Bend on Tuesday, our loading and unloading days, respectively.

Please understand that reading and commenting will be severely limited for the next several days.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend, and thoughts and prayers to loved ones lost in service of our country. Happy Memorial Day :o)

May 22, 2009

Conundrum: Bad Economy - Good Health :o)

Did you know (courtesy of BottomLine Personal) that.... a bad economy can be good for your health? U.S. death rates dropped during the 1974 to 1982 recessions and rose during the recovery of the 1980's. Theory: Time is more valuable when the economy is good, so people work more and spend less time exercising and with family, leading to stress, which can be bad for health. During downturns, people spend more time taking care of themselves and their children, which is good for health.

What a conundrum, do you embrace a strong economy and stress, or a downturn and health? Not an issue for me, I desire a strong economy, and find avenues to ensure that my stress levels remain on an even keel. Even now, when I work these crazy hours (getting up at 2:30 AM, at work at 5:00 AM, and not home again until 6:30 PM), I ensure that I take the time each morning to get in my workout - the adrenaline push helps my day start with energy and has the side benefit of keeping me awake on the 45 minute drive. The stress piece has never been a big deal for me, because laughter is the best medicine, and I laugh a lot each and every day. You see, I am a clown at heart, and that is just the way I roll.

May 20, 2009

Science Scene - Electric Power, Just the Facts

So what are the facts when it comes to electrical power generation, and what is our energy mix? The markets in the United States have evolved naturally to the current generation portfolio:

49% Coal
22% Natural Gas
19% Nuclear
05% Renewable (excluding hydro)
03% Hydroelectric

Notice that "oil" does not make the list since it is a fraction of 1%.

When we talk about making our country becoming energy self-sufficient, the focus needs to be on vehicles and other users of petroleum products (plastic, asphalt, etc.), and not just electric power production.

When looking at renewable generation options, it becomes all about location, location, location. Geothermal in the Northwest, Solar in the Southwest, Wind in the plains, and Biomass in the Midwest.

As they say in Dragnet, just the Facts Ma'am.

May 18, 2009

Living In Exponential Times :o)

I know that this has made the rounds before, with various links and such, but it is amazing enough that I wanted to post it here again.

This recently came to my attention again because the Nuclear Industry is using this video as a tool to focus on continuous improvement, changing times, and to reiterate that the "bar" is always moving, and what was "excellent" before becomes substandard as others move ahead. We showed it during our leadership communications meeting (all supervisors and above).

At the very end, it asks, what does it mean? I would be interested in your perspective.

May 17, 2009

Sunday Silliness - Dysfunction :o)

The only consistent feature in all of your dissatisfying relationships is you.

May 14, 2009

Charitable Donations - Kick It Up A Notch :o)

Okay, I am a big supporter of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), to ensure that our athletes have a chance to compete. However, I was shocked and laughed out loud at the below text from an e-mail I received from the USOC. The logo is from an article titled "Vancouver Olympics in Trouble?", and based on this request, there may be merit.

I have noticed that the more you give, the more they ask for, regardless of the charitable organization. I am happy to do my part, but hiis is just over the top :o)

"The 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver are just nine months away (February 12-28) and I can't wait for you to join us in Canada!

The U.S. Olympic Committee's VIP donor program is designed to accommodate a variety of interests, contribution levels and time frames. You and your guests are provided with premiere accommodations, ground transportation and fantastic event tickets (we've selected ice hockey, skiing or snowboarding and figure skating to name a few). In addition, program participants access benefits available only to friends and family of the Olympic Movement, such as a tour of the USOC performance services area, receptions with guest athletes and USOC leadership, passes to the exclusive USA House and special apparel.

Come to the Games as part of our Olympic Friends and Family! Weekend getaways are priced at $50,000 per couple; four- and five-night stays are available at $150,000 for two persons and $300,000 for four. Package prices include a donation to the U.S. Olympic Committee to help us continue to serve America's Olympic and Paralympic athletes." [It better be a sizable contribution, WTF? :o)]

May 13, 2009

Bucko's Bucks :o)

I have created a new blog to provide occasional financial tidbits and such. Take a look at my sidebar and click the link if you are interested :o)

May 12, 2009

Science Scene - Energy Efficient Lighting

Did you know that the average residential light socket is used about 700 hours per year? [if you do the math, that is about 1.9 hours per day, which passes the sanity/gut check]

The Department of Energy (DOE) has instituted the "L Prize", a competition that challenges lighting designers to replace the commonly used 60W light bulb with the PAR 38 halogen lamp with ultra-efficient solid-state lighting products. A future L Prize program will call for development of a new 21st-century lamp that delivers more than 150 lumen's per watt.

So what does it all mean? The L Prize competition focuses on development and market adoption of a solid-state lighting replacement for the 60W lamp that uses only 10W - a savings of 83%. If every socket in the United States converted from 60W incandescent lamps to the 10W L Prize winner, the country would save 34 terawatt-hours of electricity per year; enough to power the lights of 17.4 million households (twice the consumption of Las Vegas). That also equates to 5.6 million tons of carbon emissions).

Do you use energy efficient lighting? If not, why not?

For a listing of current light bulb options and information, click here.

May 10, 2009

What? None for ME???

I can honestly say that I have been called a "mother" before, but do I ever get best wishes on this day? Nooooo :o)

In all seriousness, this is a day where we stop to take the time to recognize and honor our mothers, who nurture and protect us, who give of themselves and then some, who love us no matter what we have or have not done. The best image in my mind is the one at the right. My philosophy has always been that this is part of every day, but one day is better than none at all.

So here is hoping that if you are a true Mother, that you have a glorious day. If you are a son or daughter, I hope you had the chance to tell your Mom how much she means to you, and most importantly, that you love her.

Happy Mothers Day!

Sunday Silliness - Dreams

Dreams are like rainbows. Only idiots chase them.

May 5, 2009

How High Will You Go? :o)

One man in the classroom earned more than $100,000 framing tract homes during the building heyday. Another installed pools and piloted a backhoe. Behind him sat a young father who made a good living swinging a hammer.

But that was before construction jobs vanished. Hard times have brought them to a classroom to learn a different trade. Tonight's lesson: how to avoid death and dismemberment.

This is Wind Technology Boot Camp at a local Community College, where eight weeks of study and $1,000 in tuition might lead to a job repairing mammoth wind turbines.

The work requires smarts and stamina. It is potentially dangerous. Candidates need good knees, a cool head -- and a stomach for heights.

"I've seen guys just freeze halfway up the tower," said the instructor. For those who can hack it, starting pay ranges from $15 to $20 an hour. Crack technicians can make six figures a year. Wind farms are hiring and probably will be for years to come.

As in previous recessions, this economic downturn is boosting enrollment at community colleges and vocational schools. Classrooms are swelling with workers from hard-hit industries who are looking to change careers.

Educators say the difference this time is the surging interest in so-called green-collar jobs. President Obama wants to create 5 million of them over the next decade. What isn't clear is how the U.S. is going to prepare this work force.

Technical education for renewable-energy workers is scarce, particularly for the fast-growing wind industry. Only a handful of wind programs operate in community colleges.

The U.S. last year surpassed Germany as the world's No. 1 wind-powered nation, with more than 25,000 megawatts in place. Wind could supply 20% of America's electricity needs by 2030, up from less than 1% now, according to a recent Energy Department report.

California is the No. 3 wind state, behind Texas and Iowa. A slew of developments are in the pipeline. The economic crisis has dampened growth in the renewable sector. But the U.S. wind industry is clamoring for skilled technicians to maintain the 30,000 wind turbines already in the ground. The best workers combine the knowledge of a top-flight mechanic with the endurance of an alpine mountaineer.

"It's like [working on] a school bus on top of a really long pole," said a marketing manager for sensing and inspection technologies for General Electric Co., one of the world's top turbine makers. "It's complex. This isn't some Jiffy Lube job." A typical 1.5-megawatt GE unit costs $2.5 million installed. It sits about 30 stories above the ground at the hub, where its three 100-foot-long blades connect to the tower.

Just behind the hub is the housing for the gearbox, drive train and other components. Think of this as the wind technician's office. Except there's no elevator. Reaching it means climbing rung by rung on a narrow steel ladder attached to the inside of the tower. An agile worker can do it in less than 10 minutes, several times a day. "You earn every dollar you make in this industry. It's plain hard work."

Advice to hopefuls: Quit smoking. Lose that gut. And don't try this with a hangover. Technicians must be hyper-vigilant in an occupation that combines dizzying heights, tight spaces, high-voltage electricity and spinning metal. Fatalities are rare but unspeakably gruesome. Workers have plunged to their deaths, been electrocuted and been ground to a pulp by rotating machinery.

May 3, 2009