Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Big Mouth

 


For news and features on Corvette - the American made classic car - check out the C4orce Corvette website - an online forum, blog and arcade site. The site offers a forum feature where members could chat and exchange their views.


In case you wonder why the site is called 'Home of the Bigmouth', it's actually the name of the air dam sold in the site. The air dam helps the Corvette travel faster and more efficiently. It's the invention of Eric Simochon - a Greenville - South Carolina native.

Register and be a member and check out the features, play poker and the other classic arcade games available in the site and rise up in the leader board.

See you there!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Florida Court Sets Atheist Holy Day







In Florida , an atheist created a case against Easter and Passover Holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians and Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized day.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, Case dismissed!"

The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying,
"Your honor, How can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others.
The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays..."

The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant."

The lawyer said, " Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists."

The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is April Fool's Day. Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that, if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned..."

You gotta love a Judge that knows his scripture!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gay Radar




Gaydar automatic and more accurate for women's faces, psychologists find

By Molly McElroy

News and Information

After seeing faces for less than a blink of an eye, college students have accuracy greater than mere chance in judging others’ sexual orientation. Their "gaydar" persisted even when they saw the photos upside-down, and gay versus straight judgments were more accurate for women’s faces than for men’s.

The findings, published May 16 in the open-access online journal PLoS ONE, suggest that we unconsciously make gay and straight distinctions.

"It may be similar to how we don't have to think about whether someone is a man or a woman or black or white," said lead author Joshua Tabak, a psychology graduate student at the University of Washington. "This information confronts us in everyday life."

Vivian Zayas at Cornell University is the other author of the paper. Funding was provided by Cornell University and the National Science Foundation.

Tabak says that our ability to spontaneously assess sexual orientation based on observation or instinct conflicts with the assertion that if people just kept their sexual orientation to themselves then no one else would know and discrimination wouldn't exist, an argument frequently used by opponents of anti-discrimination policies for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.


Tabak JA, Zayas V (2012) The Roles of Featural and Configural Face Processing in Snap Judgments of Sexual Orientation. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36671.

Examples of faces used in the gaydar experiment.

In the study, 129 college students viewed 96 photos each of young adult men and women who identified themselves as gay or straight. Concerned that facial hair, glasses, makeup and piercings might provide easy clues, the researchers only used photos of people who did not have such embellishments. They cropped the grayscale photos so that only faces, not hairstyles, were visible.

For women's faces, participants were 65 percent accurate in telling the difference between gay and straight faces when the photos flashed on a computer screen. Even when the faces were flipped upside down, participants were 61 percent accurate in telling the two apart.

At 57 percent accuracy, they had a harder time differentiating gay men from straight men. The participants' accuracy slipped to 53 percent – still statistically above chance – when the men's faces appeared upside down.

The difference in accuracy for men’s and women’s faces was driven by more false alarm errors with men’s faces – that is, a higher rate of mistaking straight men’s faces as gay.

This may be because participants are more familiar with the concept of gay men than with lesbians, so they may have been more liberal in judging men's faces as gay, Tabak suspects. Another possibility is that the difference between gay and straight women is simply more noticeable than the difference between gay and straight men, Tabak said.

He was surprised that participants were above-chance judging sexual orientation based on upside down photos flashed for just 50 milliseconds, about a third the time of an eyeblink.

Don't think you have gaydar? You're not alone. Tabak says that in his experiments there are "always a small number of people with no ability to distinguish gay and straight faces."

It's unclear why some have better gaydar than others, since studies have only tested this aptitude in college students. Tabak speculates that "people from older generations or different cultures who may not have grown up knowing they were interacting with gay people" may be less accurate in making gay versus straight judgments.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sick Man of Asia get's better




Interesting article in Bloomberg by old Asia hand Bill Pesak.

Is the Philippines on the way to recovery?

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S&P’s Reward Awaits One-Time Sick Man of Asia: William Pesek


It is often a fool’s errand to predict turning points in the more erratic Asian economies. Nowhere is that truer than the Philippines, whose greatest consistency seems to be disappointing the optimists.

With Europe sliding, America limping, Japan shrinking and the once-unstoppable China slowing, it’s anyone’s guess where the Philippines might be in three years. At the risk of looking foolish in, say, 2015, I think it will be in a far better financial place than it has been in a decade.

My faith rests on four things that Benigno Aquino has done since assuming the presidency in June 2010. These were moves that mark a keen understanding of what ails Asia’s 12th-biggest economy and flashes of courage that were absent in his three predecessors.

First, a nuanced focus on the economy. Gloria Arroyo seemed infatuated with raising gross domestic product during her tenure from 2001 to 2010. It was just talk. Arroyo, like Joseph Estrada (1998-2001) before her, was all about the cult of GDP that beguiles many Asian leaders. This obsession masks big cracks in economies with headline-grabbing growth rates that serve mainly to deflect political opposition.

One in four Filipinos (PGDYTY) lives on less than $1.25 a day. The Occupy Wall Street movement harps on the 1 percent. In the Philippines, it’s more like the 0.01 percent of politically connected citizens who reap the spoils of growth.
Moving Swiftly

Aquino wants to tighten mining rules, cut tax breaks and review contracts to make sure average Filipinos benefit from natural resources and limit the industry’s impact on the environment. He is upgrading infrastructure to attract foreign investment that would create jobs.

The president moved swiftly to get a handle on the long- term budget deficit. That’s a vital step to reducing the waste and graft at the root of the nation’s dysfunction, but also winning the investment-grade credit rating that would accelerate the process.

Second, attacking corruption. Aquino, 52, is both the right guy and the wrong one to fight this battle. His mother was former President Corazon Aquino (1986-1992), who made up with integrity what she lacked in governing skills. She was the moral compass after two decades under dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The problem is that the Aquinos are among the major land-owning families that benefit from the extreme concentration of wealth.
Marcos’s Billions

Benigno Aquino has had no qualms in going after the billions that watchdog groups say Marcos looted. Marcos is the man Aquino’s opposition-leader father was trying to unseat when he was assassinated in 1983. The Marcos family has been staging a political comeback in recent years. Marcos’s wife, Imelda, she of the infamously large shoe collection, now sits in the House of Representatives.

The president is holding Arroyo, her husband and her son to account for alleged corruption. Aquino also is working to oust Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, a last-minute Arroyo appointee, who faces accusations that include favoring Arroyo in court decisions. While some in Manila smell an Aquino-versus- Arroyo family feud, I sense a bold effort to clean up the nation’s tainted judiciary.

Third, addressing overpopulation. The nation’s ranks are outgrowing the number of good-paying jobs being created, forcing more and more Filipinos to work overseas. Any talk of family planning is suppressed by the powerful Catholic Church, which is too politically active for comfort. Aquino risked the Vatican’s wrath with a “responsible parenthood” bill. Let’s hope more such steps are on the way.
Exporting People

The remittances that expatriate Filipinos send home boosts growth in the short run. But the money does little to build a foundation for organic growth and is a dangerous addiction that must be kicked. Gaining control of the birthrate is a key part of the solution.

Fourth, a gutsy stance toward China. In Asia, it is striking to hear what politicians say publicly about China’s growing dominance and what they really think. No one wants to anger Asia’s nascent military superpower or offend the biggest customer for their exports. Aquino is risking just that as he demands fairness in China’s claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea and cozies up to the U.S.

The Philippines is among a handful of nations claiming the resource-rich Spratly Islands, along with Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and China. Aquino refuses to bow to China’s demands, something that has enraged Beijing and prompted calls to punish the Philippines economically.
Balancing Act

China’s rise poses a dilemma for Asian leaders. Aquino is showing Asia there’s scope for approaching China as a peer, rather than a subordinate.

Of course, the Philippines (PHLFUDRT) has demonstrated a unique ability to scuttle the most virtuous of cycles. All too often, its eccentricities pop up to remind investors why it’s often called the “Sick Man of Asia.” This track record is a big reason the Philippines is rated BB by Standard & Poor’s and Ba2 by Moody’s Investors Service. Both ratings are the second- highest for junk bonds.

Credit raters are perhaps too busy downgrading the top 10 economies to reward progress in the smaller ones. Investors who act in anticipation of Philippine upgrades are unlikely to regret it. Sometimes, foolishness has its benefits.

(William Pesek is a Bloomberg View columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bill Gates on H1B Visa



Gates Rakes Congress on H1B Visa. I am paraphrasing an article from www.internetnews.com on H1B Visas, as it seems people misunderstand Obama's role in the harm visited upon US Citizens by H1B visas. Instead of jumping into the bandwagon of people who think that Obama is the source of all the unemployment problem just because they said something hilarious, we should use more critical thinking that our education at UP gave us.Also, be careful about being persuaded that it is ok to hate Obama for his "black ass".

If you did not emigrate to the US in the 1960's and 1970's, you did not get a taste of overt racism. During those times, if you were not white and male, all you can get are clerical jobs no matter what your college diploma from the Philippines shows, even from UP. I know because I and several of my co-workers at the Pacific Telephone Co. went through that experience. It took the work of the Black People to change attitudes on racism and we Filipinos, benefited from it, even more than the black population at large. You want to go back to that time? Be careful what you wish for.Point 1: Who is for H1B Visas - Here is what Bill Gates says:

"The whole idea of the H1B thing is don't let too many smart people come into the country. Basically, it doesn't make sense," Gates said.

The lack of H1B visas is causing problems for Microsoft's hiring, he contended.

"You can't imagine how tough it is to plan as a company where we say, 'let's have this engineering group and staff it.' Note that Bill Gates is completely for unlimited influx of immigrants through the H1B program. - He does not even have the courtesy of mentioning anything about qualified US Citizens who are unemployed.Point 2: Bill Gates assigns the blame: the core of the problem rests with members in Congress who want to step back to U.S. isolationism. - Bill Gates definitely identifies who is responsible for the H1B program, the US Congress. Obama does not have the power to act unilaterally to mandate changes in laws. He did not sign the H1B visa law. Congress has to act to repeal the law or make sure that the US is not issuing H1B visas beyond the need for them and without taking into consideration the effects on US employment.I do wish that Obama shows moral guidance so that Congress does its job.

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WASHINGTON -- For Bill Gates, it's just another week: Host Bono over the weekend, give an almost two-hour keynote at WinHEC on Monday and tweak Congress today.

What's politically eating at Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect? H1B visas.

Gates was on Capitol Hill to promote science education, research and development funding and to participate in a Library of Congress panel discussion with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Ver.), Rep. David Drier (R-Calif.), Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Phillip Bond, under secretary of commerce for technology.

When asked what he would do if he could make the laws, Gates quickly stated: "I'd certainly get rid of the H1B cap."

An H1B visa is a non-immigrant classification used by foreigners who are sponsored and employed in specialty fields such as technology. The current H1B ceiling is 65,000 workers per year, following caps as high 195,000 employees in the early 1990s.

The huge cuts, prompted by national security concerns and protectionist lawmakers who think the jobs should go to Americans, are a longstanding sore point for the technology industry.

"The whole idea of the H1B thing is don't let too many smart people come into the country. Basically, it doesn't make sense," Gates said.

The lack of H1B visas is causing problems for Microsoft's hiring, he contended.

"You can't imagine how tough it is to plan as a company where we say, 'let's have this engineering group and staff it.' You get a few and then you go through these periods where nobody can come in," Gates said.

He continued: "So, we'll have Canadians waiting at the border until some bureaucratic thing happens where a few more get opened up. That's just wounding us in this global competition."

According to Gates, the core of the problem rests with members in Congress who want to step back to U.S. isolationism.

"It's very dangerous because you get this reaction: 'Okay, the world is very competitive, let's cut back on trade; the world is very scary, let's cut back on visas,'" he said.

Leahy agreed with Gates, but Drier politely demurred.

"The post-911 effort to cut down on visas, I think that's a bad mistake, I think we should be increasing them," Leahy said. "We should be opening our borders more, not closing them. It does not improve the security of the United States by thinking we can become Fortress America and not interact with the rest of the world."

Drier countered: "We can't be so naive as to believe that there is not a very serious border security problem with which we have to contend. We need to ask ourselves why it is that so many of these people who are educated at Princeton and other great institutions, why it is they leave?

He added, "It behooves us to spend time looking at our polices that create disincentives for people to remain working right here."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Car Woes



I love all the Engineering stuff. I am in awe how such productivity could be programmed into an assembly line. Is that 20 second Takt time still valid today? The post war Japanese generation made super human sacrifices to build a new industrial Japan. Are the present generations still willing to make the same sacrifice?

So what is the Takt time in a Michigan auto plant? Is it anywhere near 20 Seconds?

That is about what it takes to work up a good fart. If you had 100 assembly line persons and they had to fart every hour, you already lost 55 production units in a day. Imagine if you had 2000 workers! Japanese are not known to be farty people because their diet seldom includes dairy fat. We all know that those living up North consume lots of cheese and butter and a lot of meat.

The dream factory would be the one designed in Germany. Was that real? That was almost a 100% automated system. The entire building was a giant mechanized unit including floors and walls. Amazing what engineers can do.

They already have (in a smaller scale), self-perpetuating machines. Wow! Imagine if you could do this in major industries. But we may end up like "Matrix" or what was that Arnold movie about the future sending in prototype robots to kill the ancestor of a rebel?

Nothing important. Just oiling the old rusty brain.

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"Each worker pulled a box of parts from a computer controlled conveyor and must install the parts on the moving engine block for not more then 20 seconds. The line produced different engine models at the rate of 20 seconds per and based on the needs of the final assembly line in another part of the plant. Ā The final assembly plant was also a wonder.

Human beings were needed to install the various components of various models, from the smallest to the largest Crowns, also at the rate of 20 seconds each".

The 20 seconds time interval is called thetakt time. It's also called the "beat" of the production line because the conveyor carrying the engine, moves to the next station every 20 seconds. Whatever component that needs to be installed or added on to the engine at that particular station (and at every station throughout the entire length of the conveyor line, needs to be installed in less than or exactly 20 seconds. It also means that at the end of the line, there is one complete engine coming out every 20 seconds.

In 2006, I was part of the Operational Excellence team of my employer W.L. Gore and Associates that went to benchmark the assembly line of Apache attack helicopters in Meza, Arizona. The assembly process was in the form of a big U shaped assembly line running around the building. There was no traveling conveyor belt since the helicopters had wheels and they were just pushed around from one station to the next. The fuselage which was made in another adjacent building gets mounted on to it's wheels at the start of the U line. Other components are also attached to the fuselage. After three days, the first helicopter is moved on to the next station where the avionics are mounted. Meanwhile another fuselage is being mounted at the start of the line. After three days, these two helicopters move to the next stations and another new fuselage gets started. Meanwhile the first helicopter which is now on the third station is being mounted with propellers, and so on. The takt time was three days and there was a complete helicopter coming out at the end of the line every three days.

These helicopters were used extensively in the Persian Gulf war. We saw a white flag of surrender used by the Republican guards of Saddam Hussein. It was a souvenir that was displayed on the wall. According to the plant people, the Republican guards dreaded the Apache helicopters because of their deadly armaments and once it corners a group of enemies, it could hover over them and they don't leave until the US soldiers arrive to capture the enemy. Aside from US armed forces use, they are also supplied to US allies but these are not equipped with the latest instruments.

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You can add to your list the brand names: Nissan, Mazda, Volvo, Audi, Volkswagen, and soon Citroen.

Back in the 1960's, Lee Iaccoca headed Ford and, being concerned with the bottom line of his operations, he suggested to the Board that they install Mazda engines in some Ford models. Ā His timing was bad as the Board members were still very mad at the Japanese being that World War Two was just 16 years ago. Ā HIs reasoning of course was that Mazda could sell its engines at a profit for $ 300.00 each F.O.B. any point in U.S.A., a cost that no American engine manufacturer can ever match.

In 1976, with a group of 11 other Filipino Service managers from the Philippines, we toured the Toyota Engine Plant in Toyota City. After about 20 minutes of awe, one of our group asked the Japanese guide "Where are the workers?" After a few minutes of searching we came upon a trio in overalls in a tiny break room, one with his feet up on the round table was reading a comic book while the others were sipping soda with a lively discussion at another table. Another 20 minutes of resumed tour and we came upon the real workforce, the assembly line for the engines. Each worker pulled a box of parts from a computer controlled conveyor and must install the parts on the moving engine block for not more then 20 seconds. Ā The line produced different engine models at the rate of 20 seconds per and based on the needs of the final assembly line in another part of the plant. The final assembly plant was also a wonder. Ā Human beings were needed to install the various components of various models, from the smallest to the largest Crowns, also at the rate of 20 seconds each.

Amazing, what automation they had set up. Automation that the Americans first started and should be able to also do. That is the answer for the productivity of the American workers, for any product.

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Just a reminder

toyota, honda, hyundai, bmw build their cars in America and hire americans. In fact, they are better than ford which has plants in mexico, only the f150 is built in michigan. within the last 3 years American cars are a lot better and should have no problems going over 100k miles. i believe thats the recommended first tune up. the only problems with them seems to be the heavy use of plastics in the interior and exterior. that's the main complaint with the corvette, they should have the same interior as a german car specially with the zr1, over 100k and you can push the body at the back because of the plastics. on the mechanical side they are just as good if they they were produced after 2009. if you go to the car shows like the one in sf, thats the main complaint about American cars, they have cheap looking interiors and the choices are very limited. i believe the battery of the chevy volt is made in south korea funded by American stimulus funds.

The engines of the new mazdas with the skyactive, have good reviews.

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By comparison, my sixteen year old 1995 Toyota Camry has logged 128,000 miles when I got it back from my daughters in 2003. It now has 154,000 miles plus. Except for accident damages and regular oil filter changes with engine oil, the only parts replacements I have had were for front brake pads (twice), tires, timing belt (changed at 120,000 miles) and oil pan gasket which should not have failed had not a greenhorn mechanic over zealously tightened all the nuts under the car, resulting in the gasket having been squashed and so leaked. The engine's oil pan bolts must never be tightened, as they are supposed to be designed to last almost forever.

Toyota recommends that the spark plugs be changed every 90,000 miles, (compared to every 5,000 miles for regular plugs) but my mechanic asked me if the engine was misfiring and to my negative answer, he said I should just keep them until the engine misfires.

And my records show that my gas consumption is at about 32 miles per gallon for my (and my daughter's) total mileage, city and highway. At the time I bought it there was no american car that could match those records.

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The 2002 GMC Envoy XLT that I bought in December 2001 has about 110,000 miles, still runs good and also still looks good because I've been parking it inside the garage. The only major expense on it has been the replacement of the set of shock absorbers, change of the brake pads and change of tires. I'm very happy with it's quality and performance.

For the same price of an equivalent foreign car, you get the top of the line model with an American car complete with the bells and whistles. In my case, the SUV came with an a/c, sunroof, running board, leather seats, heated driver and passenger seat, dual temperature control, power seats and windows, Bose stereo system, automatic windshield washer that turn on as soon as it rains, and automatic adjustment of your driver seat and side view mirrors to their programmed positions as soon as you put your key into the ignition slot. It even has a small compressor so that you can inflate your own tires wherever you are and can also use it to inflate your bike tires and basketball or volleyball.

For a foreign car, it will cost you an arm and a leg assuming that they have the same features available. The best feature that sold my wife to it was that there is a covered vanity mirror embedded on the sun visor both on the driver and passenger side. As soon as she flips open the cover, the light turns on so that she could easily take a quick look at her make up even in the dark, before alighting from the vehicle. For her, this is the deal clincher. The foreign brands we looked at in 2001 don't have this feature. Approved and funds were released.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Denver Bronco QB Tim Tebow Helping the Philippines




If you are not a football fan, you will not know who Tim Tebow is. Here's an article we share with you about what he does outside the football fields. Please read on.

Tim Tebow, His Foundation and the Philippines: Fan’s Perspective
By Deborah Braconnier, Nov 26, 4:02 pm EST
 
Whether you like Denver Broncos QB as a football player or not, you can't deny that he and his foundation are doing a lot to help children all over the world. His newest venture teams the Tim Tebow Foundationwith CURE Internationalin the construction of a children's hospital in the Philippines.

Why the Philippines?

Before Tebow became the football giant that he is, he first had to move to the United States. Tim Tebow was born in Makati City in 1987 while his parents were Baptist missionaries. For this reason, the Philippines are very close to Tebow and he knows that many of the children in the poorest areas are unable to access medical care that they need.

Type of Hospital

The hospital is set to be built in Davao Cityand they hope to break ground in January 2012 with construction being completed in mid-2013. It is estimated to cost around $3 million and costs will be shared by both the Tim Tebow Foundation and Cure International. It will be a 30-bed surgical facility that will focus on treating conditions such as club foot and bow legs. While these are simple surgeries, the families in this area do not have access to this type of care. They hope to be able to treat at least a third of the patients free of charge. In addition to providing medical care, they hope to provide the message of faith, hope and love while spreading and teaching Christ's Gospel.

Other Projects in the Philippines

This hospital will not be the first operation the Tim Tebow Foundation supports in the
Philippines. Uncle Dick's Home, an orphanage founded by the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association also receives support. This orphanage is located in Lamsugod, Surallah, South Cotabato, Mindanao, Philippines and is currently the home to 49 orphans, according to the Tim Tebow Foundation.

The Real Tebow

While the critics may call Tebow a joke when it comes to his play as an NFL QB, his devotion to his religion and helping those in need is something to be admired. He brings this belief, strength and determination into everything he does, including on the field. His teammates and coach agree that he is the real deal.

Coach John Foxsaid, "He's real. He walks the walk. A guy like that in today's society, in my mind, ought to be celebrated, not scrutinized to the level that he is." Teammate Eddie Royasays, "He really is genuine and the emotion and the passion that you see him out there playing with, he has the same passion off the field with those type of things, the charity things and the missionary things."

Tebow is making a difference so far this season with the Denver Broncos both in the way he plays and the fact that there are now wins on the board. However, I think the biggest difference Tebow will make in the long run will be off the field and in the lives of many