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Monthly Archives: May 2016

A Dogs Vacation at Lake Wabunsee

Keeping an eye out for other boats and jet skis at Lake Wabunsee.

A little tired from the swimming.

Smelling for fish.

Trying to stay awake. Again!


A storm trying to move in.

Just hanging around

TSA on Verge of Being Fired.

TSA has been in the news a lot lately with its problem of long lines and failure to catch things in the screenings. We do need better security at airports but the rate TSA is going they are almost ruining an industry.  The staff that deal with the public on daily bases are overworked and short staffed. The problem is the lack of staff and inability to retain staff. Here are any number of ways to resolve these issues.  But I a sure they have thought of them by now or at least I would hope so.  

Many airports are wanting to switch to private security.  Some airports already do have private security.  It would be nice to have consistency when traveling through airports.  Maybe it is not even TSAs fault. Maybe it is the fault of the architect who designed the air ports and dos not plan for better security.  Ultimately, I think it boils to poor management, whether it is the supervisor, manager, VP or whom ever something needs to change. But needles to say it is a problem that needs fixed.

History Majors…. Critical Thinking Still Valued?

La Times backs the idea that History Majors are not a useless major.  There are lots of ways to use a history degree.  It is not all about learning names, dates and major events.  You have to analyze all sorts of information and sort through the bad information to find the quality information.  Granite, jobs in the history field are on the decline since the recession, history majors are more than qualified to do many jobs.  History majors poses the ability to use critical thinking.  

When I was in school we had a joke about business majors.  That they were getting a degree in tream work, slide shows and counting to 10.  With a business degree you needed groups to track a market trend or whatever and make a slide show.  With a degree in history we could give you that with one person and give you sources and were the trend was going and the target demographic and have original research that we could do on our own.  Almost anyone can put up a graph and say here! look! Look! . It takes a certain kind of logic to analyze the data and know why it is that way and make predictions. 

People with a degree in history tend to be fiercely independent.  We take pride in our work. As do many professions, but it seems like history gets knocked around as an unneeded major. History is one of the few where you can stand out and say you wrote this or worked on this project. One of the nice things about history is that it is multi facited.  They can understand politics how they evolve in the past and currently. Historians can be a great asset for governments needing a cultural advisor at an embassy or even just for an HR department.  Who better than someone that studied and experience it it first hand.

Part of the problem maybe the economy and the education system are out of sync. There become bubbles in certain degree fields much like the housing market. Eventually, the bubble pops.  Many people want to major in subjects that will pay well, which makes sense.  But, there was a time in IT degrees were a dime a dozen.  When one person was making to much money or was underbid for a project they could be replaced without much thought.  You would have to also keep up on certifications and new programs to keep relivent.  Yes, technology is a growing field, but most people are going for website design or security.  Fewer people are going into the areas that need it. The ones that do it can be difficult to get those jobs. With IT it is less critical thinking and more creativity and patience.  

With a degree or masters in business there is not much to make yourself to stand out from the other twenty people with the same degree from similar schools. With many people becoming managers, supervisor or business owners. With a business degree you do not need to be able to think for yourself. You just have to regurgitate data, often times without always knowing why sales are up or down other than a marketing pitch. But to truly understand the data you need people to analyze it for them. 

Another problem with the economy and education is the medical field.  It makes sense to have standards to make sure we get the best and brightest. But if they only allow x amount of students into medical school or nursing school it creates a shortage.  Where when you have a surplus of people it makes jobs the degree almost worthless.

At the end of the day critical thinking is still needed in society. People seem to be losing this skill and it is a skill we as a people can not afford to lose.

Nicaragua Throw Back part 2

Laguna de Apoyo or crater lake. There is not much nearby the lake.  There is a small entrance that has a bathroom for changing and I think you can buy some basic chips and sodas there.  While we were there they were in the process of building small cabins to rent.  They were no where near being completed any time soon.  I am sure at this point they are probably completed. At least I would think so it has been about three years since we were there. 

Masaya Volcano. The walk up the side. You can see the brown volcanic deposits left by the lava.

The next few pictures are on the top.  Our guide said this is what they think Mars will look like on the surface.  It has lots of methane and other gases.  We were only allowed to stay up there for maybe 5-10 minutes before we might be affected by the gasses.

The trail up the side.

Up the trail.

The next two photos are in the parking lot. They have the wall there so people do not fall in.  You are able to lean over and see lava at certain times.

Train Travel….. Lost in Time? Forgotten? Making a Come Back?……….

The Washington Post has an article By Melanie D.G. Kaplan about a cross country trip she took on Amtrack. The trip took her 48 hours.  Described in the article were all the amazing things she was able to see and experience. Experiencing other travelers on the long journey.  Such an experience can only be matched by an international flight.  International flights you miss out on the sights and are cramped in like sardines in a can. 

Many European and Asian countries have trains and actually have bullet trains. This would be nice to have The Untied States start using. Granite you would miss out on some of the scenery because of the high speeds but realistically if you are in that kind of hurry the scenery may not matter. 

Traveling by train is long passed its hay day or at least in The United States. A day when big buildings with American Gothic architecture were a thing to be marveled. Union Station Kansas City. Buildings like this have a history worth keeping.  This is an iconic building in the Kansas City sky line.  If you go out to the front of the building you can still bullet holes from the FBI and mobsters shoot out. The FBi was escorting Frank Nash at the time.  The shoot out led to some changes in the FBI. June 17, 1933

Union Station Omaha which has been converted to the Durham Museum.  The old ticket booth has been converted to a gift shop.  The old train platform holds an old train you can tour.  Granit it does not move but nice to see history being preserved. 

Chicago Union Station. It is more like an airport.  It is massive.  But still has the historic architecture. 

An observation car from the Kansas City to Chicago route.  You can not get these views from a plane.  One of the last ways to see America and its landscapes.  You can visit national parks, go rafting or even camping/hiking/hunting but this is the only way to truly see and appreciate the natural settings.

Traveling by train remindes me of a different time.  Not necessarily a better time, but a time when people were not in a such a hurry.  When people could actually enjoy their surroundings and the adventure.  In today’s fast paced society it’s all about the here and now with immediate gradifaction and are we there yet mentality. Sometimes, we should all just take a step back and slow down, even if just for 48 hours. Enjoy the trip! The adventure! Make the journey the trip! If you blink, it may be gone before you get a chance to see it all.

Israeli Military Refusal 

Popular Resistance published an article about some young Israelis who chose not to serve in the military.   I understand it is a cultural thing there, but they should be allowed to not serve and not be frowned on for being an observer.  It is nice to see these young people giving a discussion panel about what it is like for them.  By doing that it shows that they can be patriotic just in a different way than being in the miltary.  I think people forget that being in the military is not the only way to be patriotic. Being a cultural embasador is a great way to serve your country, and peacefully.