Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Four Deputies of Broward County

--- Speculation included within---

Medusa is a character from Greek mythology.  Looking at Medusa's face turned the viewer into stone.

I have no special knowledge of the four deputies from Broward County who failed to do their tasks. 

Other who are far more knowledgeable than I am chalked it up to personal failing:  Cowardice.

I want to throw an alternative hypothesis on the table before everybody's attention wanders off to "the next thing":  The decisions made by those four deputies were not wholly formed by defects in their personal character.

The evidence
The evidence is pretty skinny.

How many police are cowards?  My guess is that somewhere between 10% and 30% are extremely adverse toward "mixing it up."  Your estimates might be different.

If you choose the high end, then the odds of the first four officers on the scene being "cowards" is 0.30^4 or about one chance in a hundred.  If the actual base rate is 10% then the odds of are about one chance in ten-thousand.  That is, it would only happen ONCE in ten-thousand school shootings.  Pretty close to impossible, wouldn't you agree?

You might contend that the cowardice was contagious.  But the general effect of having a buddy is to make both people significantly braver. 

My gut feel is that some other dynamics are in play. 

Medusa was a control freak
I have seen several solid managers "lock up" when one of the bosses in the chain-of-command was a control freak.

Control freaks "break" initiative with classical conditioning.  They hand out draconian punishment for chicken-shit infractions.  That has the happy consequence of no-waves when the organization is coasting.

It has the unhappy consequence of completely destroying individuals' ability to operate faster than command-and-control can push instructions.  In other words, it guarantees failures during fast moving crises.

Any After-Action-Report should be on the lookout for control freaks within the department's chain of command.


"I am not going to be on the six o'clock news!!!"

You have to wonder if the withering spotlight that has been on law enforcement might have influenced the messages the rank-and-file received from their leaders.

As leaders, it is too easy to scrape the blame off on the individual officers, to call them "cowards".

As leaders, it is our responsibility to shape the culture so even "cowards" can turn in a credible job performance regardless of how it might play out on the evening news or get batted about on the blog-o-sphere.

There will be another school shooting
There will be another school shooting sometime in the future.

Failures are opportunities to learn.  It would be criminal if the Broward County Sheriff Department did not take a LONG, HARD look at itself and root out any mixed messages it has been sending about acting decisively during crises.

It would be criminal if the Department did not share those lessons-learned across the broader Law Enforcement community.

That would be brave:  To openly admit past failings with the goal of making everybody stronger.

Maybe the next shooting will end more quickly.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sometimes five shots are not enough

Don't mess with Oklahoma women.

Security video

The bad guy drove himself to the hospital.  He is expected to survive.

I wonder if a Glock 19 and hollow points would have made a difference.  Yeah, I know the goblin took the gun from the woman and tried to use it.  But the reason she stopped shooting him is because the gun was empty.

Some pictures from the orchard

I have been pruning in the orchard.  It is inevitable that trees grow too much "wood" high in the tree.  The fruit is prime fruit because the leaves feeding that fruit gets first crack at the sunlight.  As a fruit grower, that puts my best fruit where it is hardest to pick.  The picker needs a ladder and must fight his way through the lower branches.  He picks slowly because it is one-handed picking.

The answer is to take the big wood out of the top thereby exposing the lower branches to prime sunlight.

I left a mess on the orchard floor.

Tree shelters

Tree shelters or tree tubes protect newly planted trees from drying out and getting chewed on by deer and rabbits.  Unfortunately, they are a bit pricey.

I am playing around with using blue "recycling" bags.  I already cage the trees with a 10" diameter cage of 2"-by-4" welded wire fencing.

This is what it looks like from the side.  This is a 30 gallon bag and measures 30" wide (laid flat) and 36" tall.  The thing that looks like a white ruler is an identification label.

Looking down the opening.  The bags cost about 40 cents each although I think you could find them for half that price if you shopped around.
This is a Porcelain type garlic that is just popping up.  It is way behind the variety shown below.
This patch of garlic was written up in this post.  I think this variety is "Montana Giant" and believe it is a Rocambole type.
Clean-up project
An old barn foundation

Friday, February 23, 2018

Ghost Guns

Before you call BS on the strength of nodular iron, you might want to check out ASTM A897.

ASTM A897 is not a chemistry spec, it is a set of mechanical properties that can be wrung out of common nodular iron (like crankshafts and steering knuckles) via heat treatment.

Basically, heat to 1800 F and hold for an hour.  Dump into 700 degree molten salt bath (50% potassium nitrate and 50% sodium nitrite works) and hold for 20 minutes.  Then air cool.

Scrooge McDuck

David Dreman, an author of books on contrarian investing, claimed that a Scrooge McDuck segment formed his beliefs about wealth.

Scrooge McDuck is awakened by his three, mischievous nephews (Huey, Dewey and Louie) with the fake-news that gold, silver and currency no longer have value...that the new "money" is fish.  Having no fish, Scrooge is a pauper.

By nightfall Scrooge McDuck owns every fish in town.  The same focus, industry, social connections and negotiating skills that made him successful when precious metals were "money" made him successful when the rules changed.


Wealth distribution and job quotas
That is why wealth distribution and job quotas fail.  Wealth is not the medium of exchange.  Wealth is the ability to focus, the willingness to work, the cultivation and nourishing of social connections and the willingness to be your own advocate.  That is, wealth is a portfolio of character traits.

Of course, this is also why "revolutions" that advocate the massive transfer of assets and punishing of the successful are destined to fail.  The advocates see revolution as a shortcut to wealth.  History suggests there are few shortcuts to developing the character that is true wealth.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Texting emoticon

My niece is a gem of a human being.

She is cultured, refined, empathetic and urbane.  She is almost a different species.

So I was surprised when she signed an email with an emoticon that was unfamiliar to me:


I asked her if she was channeling her inner-redneck. 

I was sure it meant:

She informed me that <3 is a heart.

Really, I did not have a clue.

Rootstock for Honeycrisp apples

Honeycrisp is a very difficult apple to grow.  One of  the most vexing things about Honeycrisp is its vulnerability to Calcium deficiencies in the fruit.

Calcium transport within the apple tree is a matter of wing-of-bat and eye-of-newt.  There are root/soil interactions.  There are rootstock/cultivar interactions.  There are leaf/twig interactions.  And then there are interactions between other nutrients and Calcium; notably Potassium competing with Calcium.

Another thing that is vexing about Calcium deficiencies is that the fruit can go into storage looking beautiful and the fruit can break down even though refrigerated. More than one grower has signed a contract to deliver fruit that was in his cooler only to discover that he did not have a salable product to ship as he pulled the bins out to put them on the truck.

There is a lot of research going into breeding rootstocks that are specifically tuned to deliver much Calcium to the fruit.  One of the things scientists discovered is that there is a large amount of variation within existing, commercially available rootstocks.
Ironically, most Honeycrisp is probably planted on M9 rootstock...the worst choice for Calcium levels in Honeycrisp
Looking at this table, G.214 and G.969 look like good choices for Honeycrisp apples.

Commercial growers will keep spraying with Calcium supplements for additional insurance.  But choosing the right rootstocks is going to be critical to home growers.