All content on this blog from Tim McGhee has moved to the Tim McGhee Substack, and soon, Lord willing, will be found only on that Substack.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Florida to help you avoid traffic

"State transportation officials are close to launching an expanded traffic-information system that will allow drivers to get details on backups and other road conditions simply by dialing 511.

"What's new is the information won't be just for I-4, where 511 has been available for years. The system will now extend to more than 200 miles of Central Florida highways—from the Western Beltway and BeachLine Expressway to State Road 436, U.S. Highway 17-92 and S.R. 50, one of the country's deadliest roads."

"It's all part of a package of high-tech highway improvements called iFlorida that includes electronic speed-limit signs along 11 miles of I-4 through downtown Orlando.

"The signs will display speed limits that may change at the blink of an eye from John Young Parkway to Maitland Boulevard based on weather conditions or congestion. The speed limit will only go down, not up, from the normal 50 mph to 55 mph along the stretch of interstate. The idea is to slow down traffic gradually, ahead of any problem, to keep conditions from getting worse."

"In addition to road backups, the 511 system will offer information about severe weather conditions and estimated travel times. People also can use 511 to dial into the international airports in Orlando or Sanford, Port Canaveral and Lynx's carpool and fixed-route services and vans for the disabled." Florida to help you avoid traffic

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Scientists: Earth spins faster at center

"The solid core that measures about 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) in diameter is spinning about 1/4 to 1/2 degree faster, per year, than the rest of the world, scientists from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

"The spin of the Earth's core is an important part of the dynamo that created the planet's magnetic field, and researcher Xiaodong Song said he believes magnetic interaction is responsible for the different rates of spin."

"Since the planet is divided into 360 degrees of longitude, a core spinning one-quarter to 1/2 degree faster than the outer surface could take between 700 and 1,400 years to get one full revolution ahead." ...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Drunk With Power, Spending Out of Control

"Perhaps the single member of Congress most afflicted with arrogance-of-power syndrome is Virginia Rep. Tom Davis. Davis headed up the GOP's campaign to retain control of the House in 2004, and today chairs the House Government Reform Committee.

"Earlier this spring, it was Davis' committee that began investigating the use of steroids in Major League Baseball. Of course, Congress has no constitutional authority to tell a private organization what its rules ought to be. No matter. When MLB asked Davis what jurisdiction he had to hold hearings, Davis sent a letter in reply asserting that his committee has jurisdiction 'at any time, over any matter.'

"Any time, any matter. So much for limited government. And this from the chair of the committee in charge of keeping government in check!" ...

Small Town USA May Offer Solution to Outsourcing

"The rural town of Sebeka, Minn., population 710, is not exactly Silicon Valley. It's hardly the place computer programmer Dave Lareau expected to find employment.

"Lareau, who had been job hunting for years, answered a help wanted ad from CrossUSA—one of a half dozen companies actively recruiting workers to small towns in at least eight states."

"High-speed computer lines now make it possible for farm country to compete with foreign countries." ...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Senator to Question Roberts on Federal Powers

"Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican overseeing hearings on Judge John G. Roberts Jr.'s nomination to the Supreme Court, laid out plans on Tuesday to question the judge closely on his views of the tensions among conservative approaches to the scope of federal power.

"Mr. Specter's plans, outlined in the second letter he has sent to Judge Roberts, drew applause from Democratic senators and liberal groups, who said Mr. Specter appeared to be pushing Judge Roberts to choose between conservative calls for 'judicial restraint' and efforts by other conservatives to shift power from Congress to the states.

"Hadley Arkes, a professor at Amherst College and a leading social conservative legal thinker, called the letter delicious because of its elucidation of potential tensions among conservative views." ...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Techie, Absolutely, and More

For computer science students, "expanding their expertise beyond computer programming is crucial to future job security as advances in the Internet and low-cost computers make it easier to shift some technology jobs to nations with well-educated engineers and lower wages, like India and China.

"'If you have only technical knowledge, you are vulnerable,' said Thomas W. Malone, a professor at the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of 'The Future of Work' (Harvard Business School Press, 2004). 'But if you can combine business or scientific knowledge with technical savvy, there are a lot of opportunities. And it's a lot harder to move that kind of work offshore.'" ...

"Jobs that involve tailoring information technology to specific industries or companies, like software engineers who make applications and specialized systems, have grown. Total employment among information technology professionals, the government reports, reached nearly 3.5 million by the end of last year, surpassing the previous high in 2000, when the technology investment boom peaked.

"At the same time, the march of computing is rippling across all academic disciplines. Even as computer science students are being encouraged to take more courses outside their major, students in other disciplines are finding more often that they need to use, design and sometimes write computer programs."

"'Computing has become the third pillar of science, along with theory and experiment,' observed Daniel A. Reed, director of the Renaissance Computing Institute, a collaboration of researchers from the University of North Carolina, Duke University and North Carolina State University."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Police Scramble to Keep Up With Accelerating Gas Prices

"A police officer's Ford Crown Victoria often doubles as an office. An office that has to be heated in the winter, air-conditioned in the summer and go from zero to 60 in seconds. All that takes gas.

"Virginia state troopers burn about 200,000 gallons in their cruisers each month. Sheriff's deputies in one Southern Maryland county drive more than 430,000 miles a month, and state police officers there routinely use a tank of gasoline on every eight-hour shift.

"As fuel prices rise steeply across the nation, the region's police departments are bracing to blow their budgets and, in some cases, are considering strategies to conserve." ...

Redskins owner Snyder sets eyes on Six Flags

"Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is seeking to oust the board of Six Flags and raise his stake in the theme park company, according to media reports." ...

"Oklahoma City's Six Flags (PKS) said that the board will consider the Snyder bid and communicate with stockholders after their evaluation of the bid. The company operates 30 amusement parks in North America."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Joy-full Work

"Before he became founder and CEO of Applied Energy Services (AES), one of the world's largest energy corporations, Dennis Bakke and his business partner talked a lot about the elements of a successful organization. That's when Bakke got an idea—a big idea. 'Let's try to make this company the most fun workplace in the history of the world,' he proposed." ...

"If you're looking for insights into leadership, Bakke won't send you to Fortune or Harvard Business Review. He points to the parable of the talents instead. 'It is a story about decentralization,' he says. 'Work is about letting people take risks and try to make something useful happen with their talents, gifts, and resources. And when they come back, you say, "Well-done, good and faithful servant."'

"Too many Christians shy away from the business world, asserts Bakke: 'They get kind of stuck thinking that the only way they can make a difference is through the church, through ministry. But most heroes of the Bible didn’t work in the church. Joseph was working for a secular king, and he saved hundreds of thousands of people from famine. At AES, we met the needs of over a hundred million people by making their electricity. I think that’s significant to God, as is driving a taxi cab or growing wheat.'"

Dennis Bakke's Ode to Joy

"When he was CEO of 40,000-employee international energy corporation AES, maverick entrepreneur and Christian philanthropist Dennis W. Bakke realized that many of his employees were missing something God meant for them to have at work: fun. By fun, Bakke means the kind of co-creative thrill that Adam must have felt while naming the animals." ...

"Some people find it hard to utter the words joy and work in the same breath. Is this idea even biblical?
"Of course! I was teaching from the parable of the talents at a church stewardship class. The boss sends folks out to make all the decisions. He doesn't guide them from afar. He says, 'Come back when you've risked all, invested things, made decisions.' The people who take the biggest risks are the ones rewarded. The one who didn't take any risks gets soundly chastised. Someone in the class pointed out this little tag line that follows after the master says, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' And what does it say? 'Enter into the master's joy.'

"When did you first realize that your employees weren't having fun?
"When I visited our plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, I was told that after a person joins the plant—often right out of high school—within two weeks of doing shift work, that person will figure out the day they can retire, and circle that date. That's like a jail sentence: You go in, and now everything you think about is when you can get out. Many people feel that way about their job, because they're told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. But when they talk about sports or games, what do they say? It's something they get to do; it's great; it's fun! So I said, 'Maybe I can figure out something from games and lasso it and bring it back into the workplace.'"

"What was stopping your subordinates from experiencing joy?
"I was. I was the manager, instead of being a leader. I had to sacrifice some of my fun. All bosses have fun. I understood why—because I had the ball all the time. I had control. I went to Harvard Business School, which teaches you that you are God and you can make all the decisions and control the world. But God gave up his power—he still has the power, but he gave us the chance to make the decisions."

"Our board meetings were really fun. We never voted. Each board member would give their advice on the phone to an employee who was, say, going to buy a billion-dollar plant in England, and most board members had never met the person. It takes a lot of trust. They were a little skittish about this. After everybody would get their advice in, we'd hang up the phone. We'd say, I wonder what Jim's going to do. And three days later we'd find out."

"What makes Joy at Work different from similar workplace management books, such as Good to Great by Jim Collins?
"These kinds of books contain good ideas, but some have turned respecting an employee's dignity into a technique. That's a troublesome thing to me."

"How are CEOs responding to your book?
"Unfortunately, most Christian CEOs have bought into the idea of a segmented society, and they would like to protect employees rather than free them. They want to be nice to them, and treat them, they say, with dignity. They tend to live out their faith in terms of personal piety. But they don't understand the implications of falling into the Industrial Revolution trap of structuring a workplace. Servant leadership is about giving up. It's about loving people enough that you're willing to sacrifice some of your own power to give them a chance to use their skills and gifts to make a difference in the world."

"What should be the local church's relationship to the business world?
"We prize lifestyle and workplace evangelism as being very important, which they are. But God cares just as much about the economics. When was the last time your church prayed to commission the carpenter or an executive?

"I don't think churches should run social services or businesses. They shouldn't own clothing stores to serve the community or run food pantries. Churches are usually terrible at running them. They're not economically sustainable, and they don't really help the poor as much as if you just had a really good business. Churches should send their people out to start businesses to serve people's needs.

"The church does not pay much attention to the mission we have to steward resources and to meet needs in the world and, along the way, meet our own needs. The pastor ought to be figuring out how we are going to equip somebody to go be the president of AES or the secretary at AES. And how you're equipping them is not teaching them the skills. Your mission is just like Daniel's mission and Joseph's mission, and you ought to be doing it as unto the Lord. This is not primarily for evangelism, but for delivering services to others. You are there to do the stewardship mission, the Genesis mission. As a church, we're all called to both discipleship and stewardship."

Terrorists Publish Metro Map

"A map of of the Washington Metro system has turned up on an al-Qaeda website that advocates terrorist attacks against Americans. The map, which can also be found on Metro's website, appeared Aug. 11 on a 'password-protected al-Qaeda-affiliated message board,' according to the Site Institute, a terrorist watchdog group.

"The author of the web message encouraged a chemical attack on Metro, saying it could produce 'amazing results.' The writer also said that to ensure 'a true effect in the world,' attacks must be launched upon American soil."

"There was no specific threat against a particular Metro station. Metro officials say they are aware of the message on the Jihadist website. The transit terror threat level was reduced from Code Orange to Code Yellow last week." ...

Senate legal staffers burning midnight oil

"While the rest of Capitol Hill has cleared out for summer vacation and beach reading, the lawyers on the Senate Judiciary Committee are reading memos, law review articles, legal opinions and hearing transcripts to prepare their bosses." ...

"Michael O'Neill, chief counsel to Specter" and "a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas who is on leave as a law professor at George Mason University," said, "Roberts' nomination 'is somewhat of a disappointment.'"

"'He is such an outstanding candidate and so well qualified for this position,' he said, that the lawyers don't have as much work as they expected."

Monday, August 15, 2005

Justifiable Homocide

"A student at a large university labored in vain to find one single professor who would express a pro-life stance. In fact, she encountered more than one professor whose defense of abortion was: 'the fetus is indeed a human being, but killing it is justifiable homicide because its birth brings violence to the woman's right to live her life as she chooses.'"

Jeff Myers

Black Republican group will focus on recruitment

"Black Republicans are forming a national organization to recruit and register black voters that will be in step with the strategy of Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

"The National Black Republican Association (NBRA) officially will announce its arrival on the political landscape today, as well as the creation of its fundraising arm and the opening of its national headquarters at 601 Pennsylvania Ave in the District.

"'The NBRA wants to empower the people to control their own destiny, hold politicians accountable and vote for candidates for the content of their policies not the label of their party,' said Frances Rice, interim chairman of the group and co-founder of a black Republican club in Sarasota, Fla. 'Having the black vote taken for granted by the Democratic Party is not a good thing. The Democrats have been running urban black communities for 40 years, and blacks are complaining about the same problems.'" ...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Pope, Jesus, and Paul

Pope Benedict XVI: "It is 'beautiful to be a Christian.'"

Jesus: "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows."

Apostle Paul: "If we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Giant Waves Found in the Earth's Oceans

"Last year's Hurricane Ivan generated an ocean wave that towered higher than 90 feet at one point, says a study that also suggests such giants may be more common than once thought.

"Research indicates these are not 'rogue waves but actually fairly common during hurricanes,' said David Wang of the Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

"The giant wave was detected 75 miles south of Gulfport, Miss., by instruments on the ocean floor that measure the pressure of water above them. Using those readings, scientists can calculate the height of waves from trough to crest." ...

"The giant wave did not reach land. Unlike a tsunami, which reaches down to the sea floor, this was a wind wave, generated on the ocean surface by the powerful forces of the storm."

"'In 1969, Hurricane Camille produced a 44-foot wave by an oil rig near the storm's center,' he said. 'Only two other buoy reports exceed the 52-foot mark set by Ivan, both of which occurred in the North Pacific where winter storms are larger than hurricanes,' Wang said."

New IE browser catches up with rivals

"Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer browser has been showing signs of aging. Over the past few years, the company has made security improvements and added a pop-up blocker but not much else.

"That's about to change as Microsoft prepares IE 7, a major update that, in its early incarnation, plays catch-up with newer browsers for the Windows operating system, including Opera Software ASA's Opera and the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox.

"The early version of IE 7, called Beta 1, was released largely for software developers to test for compatibility, so it lacks many planned features. More will come in Beta 2, expected later this year."

"IE 7 requires Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and should be available in final form by early next year. It will also come packaged with the forthcoming Windows Vista operating system, due late next year." ...

Google vs. CNET

"Mike Langberg posted a column in which he quotes Eric Schmidt from the May 19 press day at the Googleplex: 'When we talk about organizing all the world's information, we mean all. And we mean all people. And we mean universally accessible.'

"Just over a month later Elinor Mills wrote The Article that got CNET damned by Google, in which, to demonstrate privacy concerns surrounding Google, she pointed to several documents revealing business and personal information about Schmidt—all excavated via Google's search engine." ...

President Bush, Podcasting

"George W. Bush is now doing one of the hippest things on the planet besides blogging or choking on pretzels—the President is podcasting!"

"The White House's Podcast can be found on the President's Radio Address page at the 'Subscribe to Radio Address Podcast' link.

"Another cool link on this page is to FirstGov's US Government RSS Library which is full of news RSS feeds from most divisions of the Federal Government." ...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Allen listens across Commonwealth, hearing a lot of presidential talk

"Lately George Allen is one of the hottest Republicans out there. A 'Today Show' crew followed him around a pig roast on Monday. Last month, conservative columnist George Will touted Allen as a top tier presidential contender with Reagan qualities. And Allen has spent a lot of time out of state, raising money and giving speeches in early presidential primary states like New Hampshire and South Carolina." ...

"Before America can decide Allen has to get re-elected to the Senate in 2006. Many early polls show Democratic Governor Mark Warner leading Sen. Allen. Allen is well aware of the potential threat."

Dear Mr. President

"The World's Longest Letter, comprising nearly 4,000 letters handwritten by 8- and 9-year-old school children from across the country, will be officially unrolled at a public ceremony on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, September 15th at 11:30 a.m.

"Sponsored by Pilot Pen Corporation of America, The World's Longest Letter set out to encourage America's children to think about-and write about-their aspirations and concerns for the future of our country. Classes (3rd and 4th graders) from one school in each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia were selected to contribute their letters- addressed 'Dear Mr. President' and incorporated into a half-mile long scroll." ...

How To Use Wikis For Business

"Content management systems will always have their place in the publishing world, but they've never been the best tools for business collaboration. A simple open-source app called the wiki may soon rule the knowledge management roost.

"Anyone who's worked on even one team project in an enterprise can tell you what a nightmare document management can be. E-mails follow divergent paths. Spreadsheets and Word documents get passed around, and nobody's quite sure who has the most recent version. The admin who's been taking meeting notes and storing them on her hard drive goes on vacation. Marketing strategies change, but nobody remembers to ask the Web folks to update the company intranet.

"Enter the wiki: collaboration software that solves all these problems yet, unlike many traditional content management systems, remains simple enough for non-technical employees to use." ...

Online Courses for home schoolers and high school students

"Bryan College decided last spring to build an online campus and with the help of the Learning House the first session begins on August 22, 2005. Bryan College's first online program is focused on high school students interested in getting a head start on college." ...

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Will Congress Ban Municipal WiFi?

"Municipal wireless took another hit recently when Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada) introduced the Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act of 2005. The 74-page bill, which is generally regarded as a rewrite of the broad Telecommunications Act of 1996, includes a section that specifically limits local governments' abilities to deploy public broadband systems." ...

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Download the Internet


Tom Coburn: Bill should die by veto

"As a practicing physician and two-time cancer survivor, I am intrigued by the potential of embryonic stem cell research. However, liberalizing President Bush's stem cell policy would be both unethical and unnecessary.

"The bill Majority Leader Bill Frist recently endorsed would, for the first time, direct the federal government to use taxpayer dollars to destroy human embryos. This proposal is based on a false hope. Not a single treatment has been developed from embryonic stem cells. Yet more than 60 treatments have been developed from stem cells in umbilical cord blood and adult tissues." ...

"Twelve years ago, then-president Bill Clinton permitted research on discarded fetal tissue from abortion clinics because he was told that it was the best avenue to reach vital cures. No cures were produced. Today, supporters of embryonic stem cell research are making similar claims.

"Congress can help scientists realize the promise of embryonic stem cell research without authorizing the destruction of human life in the process. The president would be wise to veto this legislation."

Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, maintains a family medicine and obstetrics practice in Muskogee.

Nick Cannon Says His Pro-Life Song No Statement on Abortion

"Nick Cannon's latest hip-hop single 'Can I Live' has generated a nationwide buzz in the pro-life community because of its very direct appeal against abortion. The song tells of Cannon's near abortion death, but Cannon says he's not necessarily standing up against abortion.

"In the song, Cannon shares the story of how his mother walked away from the table at an abortion facility minutes before she was scheduled to have an abortion." ...

"The video for Cannon's song depicts his mother as a teenager, lying in an abortion facility, as Nick's spirit pleads for her not take his life, saying, 'That's life inside you, look at your tummy ... What is becoming Ma, I am Oprah bound ... You can tell he's a star from the Ultrasound.'

"Despite Cannon's reasons for making the single, pro-life groups say it helps the cause.

"Brandi Swindell of the youth pro-life group GenLife says the tune 'represents the emerging passion in this generation speaking out on the issue of abortion.'

"'This is the first wave of a post Roe v. Wade generation telling their side of the story,' she added. 'No one knows what it's like to be open prey in your mother's womb unless you were born after 1973.'"

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