Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A German Story

It's an interesting German story.  One of the 'legends' of Germany is the Gorch Fock....a mast & sail boat that the German navy uses to train junior officers.  It's a vessel out of the 1800s and routinely used today to take junior cadets out on long voyages and introduce them to the harsh environment of sailing.  If you bring up the topic....everybody in Germany knows the Gorch Fock.

A number of weeks ago....there was a cadet to fall from a full mast to her death.  Things kinda went downhill in a hurry when the Captain tried to order crew to continue the mast duties.  Yes, you still have to climb to the top to rig up the masts.  Well...the remaining crew took the climbing duty as unnecessary and too harsh.  They rebelled and refused.

In essence.....a mutiny took place.

They ended up in a port, and the German navy ordered the Captain to fly out, and a crew was flown in to sail the boat back....minus the Captain and his student crew.

A number of folks came up to blast the German military....especially the Secretary of Defense....Von Guttenberg.  It was thought that the leadership of the German military had allowed a number of things to occur.  It was discovered that the instructor crew allowed boozing and various unauthorized activities to take place.

This week.....it came out that this female student that fell.....was severely overweight.  She stood around 5'2" and weighed near 180 lbs.  Based on US regulations....the max she could have weighed and been allowed to stay in the military would have been around 135 lbs at that height.  She was basically 45 pounds overweight and likely the worst possible candidate to send forty feet up on a mast.

Why did the instructors allow her to remain onboard?  No one has explained that.  The folks who dumped on the chief of German defense?  Well....they've kinda shut up now and avoiding any negative comments at all.

There are simple rules that the US military keeps in effect to ensure you don't have people of great weight trying to accomplish thing that are practically impossible.  I'm guessing that the German navy probably had some rules but just chose to overlook most of those because they needed volunteers and were desperate to  keep anyone who raised their hand.

If Only We Had Listened

We had a committee meeting in DC yesterday....to discuss the woes of the great unanticipated snow storm of two weeks ago.  The real topic behind the meeting....to talk about why everyone was stuck for hours and hours.

Usually, when a bunch of folks meet like this.....they expect politicians to fix their problems.  The issue here....is that snow is snow.  You can't predict an outcome like this.  People meet....release their frustrations....tell about their hours upon hours in the mess....and the politicians just shake their head, and then they shake their fist.  Yes, we need action.....that's the feeling as you watch this unfold.

At the end of this entire discussion....actively covered by the media of DC....everyone decided that people had simply not listened to the government (federal and city) and left their jobs between 2 and 3 PM that day.  Yes, if only the people had listened to the government.

You could tell this final note by the government repre's had disturbed the media guys covering this.  It was like attending a fake party and having high expectations.  There was barely anything said as each segment on this meeting was reported (I watched it on two channels).....and folks just kinda dumped the story and went onto a car accident story or the weather.

Yes, if only the people had listened to the government.  That's a pretty nifty idea, but we shouldn't have such high expectations.

Bits & Pieces

Amongst all of the news from yesterday.....Huffington Post, a liberal sort of blog site which was run by Arianna Huffington got itself bought for $315 million  by AOL.  To be kinda honest, AOL reputation in business is such....that I'd doubt that the $315 is ever recovered and it likely dooms AOL in some fashion.  How would the Huffington Post fit into the AOL business model?  Well....that wasn't really explained.  What drove the purchase?  The Post folks had a fair amount of money invested from 3rd parties who were expecting an eventual profit, and had never seen it arrive.  I'm guessing some idiot from the management side of AOL got talked into this deal and will jump out the back of the bus within a couple of months.

Other news?  Folks are finally talking about the Egypt riots running out of steam.  How long can you run chaos on the streets before folks loose interest?  If you look around, with the exception of China and it's Tianenman Square crowd.....most of these episodes run out of enthusiasm by the tenth day.  Folks get tired of just listening to political speeches....then they start to chat about soccer or girlfriends....and finally, there's the lack of a paycheck.  So the news folks will be shocked by this Friday when the crowds are half of what they were last week.  The think-tank guys will analyze and try to convince you that it's not true but numbers are what counts in a moment of chaos like this.

The one thing I got out of the Super Bowl?  No, it wasn't the half-time show....which was 2-star in nature anyway.  No, it wasn't the screw-up of the National Anthem....which I expected anyway.  It was strange for me to flip the channel two minutes after the game ended, and here was QVC ready to sell you Green Bay Packers junk that quickly.....all live.  They had jerseys, hats, and even footballs signed by various Packer players.  Two minutes.....and it was all 'sell-the-Packers'.  I'm guessing they had a 'sell-the-Steelers' package ready to go just as well.

Some giant warehouse in the midst of Rio caught on fire and burnt to the ground.  Folks are out in the streets and weeping opening.  The loss?   A whole bunch of floats and costumes from one district for the upcoming Rio Carnival.  Well over $5 million in assets....burnt to the ground.  Replaceable?  Yes, but it'd take months and Carnival is just weeks away.  There are a dozen-odd parades in Rio for Carnival and this would have been one group by itself.

Folks have now come out and admitted that there is a wild pig problem in America.  Even by the modest estimates....four million in existence.  There's this circle....Florida to New York to Michigan and down to Texas.  Adding to the mess is a pro-wild pig agenda where various groups think that wild pigs should be left alone and allowed to breed wildly.

Finally, there's this psychologist.....Maya Tamir....out of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who did a study on anxiety.  Basically, she discovered that there are people who crave and desire anxiety.  Once folks got past one or two problems....they went into their favorite feeling of anxiety and started to fumble around with their feelings and emotions at double what you'd expect. Another researcher, Brett Ford of the University of Denver, came to discover that happy people....tend to be happy....no matter what comes along in life.  What you have to worry about here....is that some company will eventually realize all of this....hire up a HR department and demand that they devise tests to pick only happy folks to work for the company.