Friday, January 23, 2015


One thing is obvious about terrorist groups they care not for human lives. Not even their own especially not the lives of their foot soldiers. Killing a leader is just a promotion opportunity for his subordinates. They do treasure the weapons that give them superior firepower and peasants armed with farm implements are no match for AK47s. There are some schemes to reduce the supply of AKs, but it’s like fighting ants, there are always more. Fortunately some of the rifles are in other hands.

There is one weapon system that seem exclusive to terrorist organizations, popularly known a technical. Heavy machine guns mounted on pickups. These give the organization overwhelming power. Unlike an assault rifle, a technical is difficult to hide and expensive to replace. Unlike a leader a technical is difficult to disguise as just another soldier. A campaign to rid the unsettled part of the world of technicals would accomplish two things. Reduce the organizations firepower and punish them by taking away their favorite toy. Missiles, drones, bombs or gunfire can do it. Destroying them relentlessly would make merely being near the machine gun a death sentence for the intended operator, taking away their motivation.

So if a drone can find, identify and kill a specific man finding and destroying a technical ought to be really easy

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Zen of motorcycle maintainance

I used to prefer working on motorcycles to working on cars, because everything was on the outside. I have changed pistons on the side of the road with just the tools that came under the seat. Not so any more bikes have become more reliable, but also more complicated and style has replaced accessibility. Now to change a spark plug I have to remove the gas tank. To remove the gas tank I have to remove two fairings, 4 hoses and the seat. To remove the seat I have remove two side covers, and it seems like each screw takes a different tool.
To check the battery, again, I have to remove the seat.
Fortunately these have become yearly not monthly (weekly) chores,

Until recently, being a fair-to-middlin' mechanic was a prerequisite, since many bikes were not as reliable as they could have been. Many bikes literally shook themselves to pieces. It has been claimed that Locktite® was invented to hold Triumph® motorcycles together. Motorcycle mechanics were far apart and often worked on only one brand, or nationality.  Most car mechanics would have nothing to do with motorcycles. Modern motorcycles can be about as reliable as cars, but their maintenance needs often require special skills, tools or materials.


Recycling is good, reuse is better, but they are a means to achieve a goal. They should not be the goal. Otherwise we could recycle more by insisting on more wasteful packaging. Sometimes the highest and best use of surplus material is to extract the energy. Unfortunately there are some materials, like composites, that cannot be recycled, but can be burned.
The measure is not how much we recycle, but how little we consume unnecessarily.

 Charging people to discard trash in order to encourage recycling sounds like an expensive management nightmare with our dispersed population.

First let me say I support reuse/recycle but there is a recycle at any price mentality just as there is a wasteful mentality. The recycle at any price mentality leads us to pay about $140 a ton to ship low value recyclable materials to the mainland where most of it will hopefully be recycled.  On the other hand using it for fuel worth maybe $40 a ton is summarily rejected. So the actual cost is closer to $180 a ton. Then there is the environmental impact of shipping it over 2000 miles

A power plant that can convert trash to energy can also burn other waste, like garbage, the100,000 tons of green waste that is collected annually and the uncountable green waste rotting by the roadside. Hawaii used to be powered by bagasse- sugar waste. If adding burnable recyclable material to the mix can make it viable that should not be arbitrarily ruled out.

Charging people to discard trash sounds like an enforcement nightmare. Are they going to inspect everything thrown in the recycle bin?  The whole disposal issue needs to be examined on strictly health, environmental and economic issues not ideology. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Kona Community College

One of the fundamentals in economics is called Say’s law. “Availability creates demand” often paraphrased “if you build it they will come.”  UH denies the need for a Community College in Kona because there is not sufficient “student population”. How can there be a student population with no place to be a student?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Palestinian, Hawaiians and other dis...

Palestinian, Hawaiians and other disenfranchised people have some legitimate gripes and some not so legitimate ones.

Hawaiians lost the ownership of their land, but actually under the old system, the King owned the land and the kanaka were little more than serfs. The King gave some of the land to his people, many of whom who did not understand the new system were tricked into relinquishing their claims. No doubt they did not get a good deal. On the other hand compare the condition of Hawaiian people today with the rest of Polynesia. For the most part kings bled their subjects to purchase luxuries they did not need and often could not use.

Palestinians lost their land three ways. Some sold it to Zionists. Some fled Israel on the advice of other Arab politicians, who promised them restoration. Some were driven out by Israelis. Of course as soon as they left Israel the Palestinians were told "But don't come here". So they remain trapped in two tiny enclaves adjacent to Israel. If the Arab world so loves their palestinian brothers, why can't they make room for them?

Those who study history realize that the same story has two outcomes. Some disenfranchised people just can't move on and become habitual victims.  Others make the best of the hand they have been dealt and prosper. No one has been kicked around more than the Jews, but everywhere they land they are soon envied for their success. Poles survived a hundred years of non existence as a country, 80 years of Soviet domination and then emerged as one of the strongest economies in Europe.

I do not lack sympathy for the disenfranchised peoples. but it is hard to think of an ethnicity that was not conquered at some time in their history. War seems to be the natural state of humanity. You cannot un-fire the gun or turn back the clock. Even if you could it won't turn out to be the way you remember it. Romantic images of pre-conquest peoples living on perfect harmony with nature ignore the fact that many of them suffered devastating famines.

Look to the Koreans, the Germans or the Vietnamese for inspiration and get on with it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Influential people who did not do well in school

Jesus (Carpenter)
William Penn, expelled from Christ Church, Oxford
Ben Franklin (Printers apprentice, no college) Americas first millionaire
Daniel Boone (Frontiersman)  Settled Kentucky, judge
Alfred Russel Wallace (Inspired Darwin)
Charles Darwin (Clergyman) turned biologist)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Child prodigy)
Juan Bautista DeAnza Moved 400 families safely from Monterey Mexico to CA 

George Washington (Planter)
Andrew Jackson (Farmer)
Martin Van Buren
Zachary Taylor (Soldier)
Millard Fillmore
Abraham Lincoln (Farm boy, self schooled)
US Grant (finished 21 out of 32 at West Point)
Andrew Johnson
Grover Cleveland
(Rutherford Hayes was the first college graduate president 1877)
Harry Truman (Haberdasher)

Sequoyah, illiterate blacksmith taught the Cherokee nation to write
Oliver Winchester w/ B Tyler Henry (Shirt salesman) Repeating rifles
John Hall gunsmith, truly interchangeable parts
Christopher Spencer (Repeating rifles)­
Davy Crockett (Frontiersman)  lawyer, Congressman
Samuel Colt (salesman) Revolver, “American system” of mass production­­
James Eads (Salvage Diver) Engineer- Famous Bridge, New Orleans South Pass
Thomas A. Edison (Telegraph delivery boy)
Robert Hooke (dropout) Hooke’s Law, metallurgy
William F “Buffalo Bill” Cody
Edgar Alan Poe
John Moses Browning, 128 gun patents, BAR, BMG, M1911
George Hearst (Semi Literate Miner) found “blue goo”, turned out to be silver $20million

William Randolf Hearst (Flunked out of Harvard) Publishing Empire, Fathers fortune
John C Garand  M1
Albert Einstein (Patent clerk)
Wright Brothers and their entire team (Bicycle Mechanics)
Henry Ford (Pipefitter)
Walter Gryzler (Railroad Mechanic) Chrysler
Lim PO survived 100 days on a 4’ raft in the south Atlantic with nothing but his wits
John Mulholland, LA DWP
Adolph Hitler (Corporal, House Painter)
Josep Broz Stalin (Expelled from school)
William Lear, (8th grade) car radio, Lear jet
Ferdinand Porsche (Hid in tech school balcony until caught, thrown out) VW
Dennis Weatherstone (dropout, JP Morgan director)
Suleiman Olayan (Truck driver) JP Morgan Director
Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov (soldier AK47)
Les Paul, (dropped HS to play guitar) invented electric guitar and most modern recording
Rose Blumkin (Immigrant, no school, no English, furniture chain)
Aristotle Onassis (13 year old orphan Banana Peddler) to World’s richest man, shipping
Soichiro Honda (Mechanic)
Percy Spencer(Grade school) Invented microwave oven
Barry Goldwater
Johnny Cash (Never had a music lesson), best selling album ever
Vivian Taylor Black HS grad pioneered heart surgery

Lech Walesa, (Electrician), Solidarity Union, brought down Communism
Woody Allen
Ted Turner (inherited small local billboard company)
Karl Rove
Wayne Huizenga (Garbage Man) Waste Management Inc, Blockbuster Video, Car Nation
Steven Jobs (College Dropout) Apple Computer, iPod, iPad
Steve Wozniak (College Dropout) Apple Computer
Bill Gates (Harvard Dropout)  Microsoft, Worlds richest man
Michael Dell (Built computer business while still living in dorm)
Paul (Kinko) Orfalea (Started Kinko’s copying business while still living in dorm)
Richard Branson (High school reject) Virgin Records, ~ Atlantic, ~ Fuels, ~ Galactic  etc.
Jim Sinegal (dropout) Costco
Dean Kamen, Segway and dozens of patents
Larry Ellison (dropout) Oracle
Roman Abramovich ( orphan) Gazprom
Kirk Kerkorian (dropout) TWA
Sheldon Anderson (Cab Driver) Las Vegas Sands
Mark Zuckerberg (Harvard Dropout) Facebook
Mark  Walberg, Actor
Jose Mujica Uruguay's President never finished HS
Elizabeth Holmes,  youngest self-made female billionaire 30 year old college dropout.