September 16, 2010


It's been 27 years since I've had Chemistry. You'd think some of it would come back.


Evidently, Chemistry is not Algebra or like riding a bike...

Yesterday was the first day we had to buy crickets to feed our new pet Ghecko, a pet that will be leaving our home in 24 days, as it's just on loan for a Boy Scout badge.

When I picked up said 'pet', I was told "Sometimes you'll buy crickets and for some reason, they're noisy. Some are quiet, some are noisy. We just kept them on the back porch."

First batch... we got noisy crickets. We got the chirping kind.

I think... they need to die. I think the Ghecko needs a cricket binge. It's coming...

I've come to the conclusion that Valedictorians and Salutatorians and the kids who vye for the positions, are kids who mature faster than the others... and they're driven.

That's it. They come into their own quicker, for whatever reason. They're eye on the ball, no foolin' around, they're ready for the world. All the rest of the teenagers are too caught up on trying to figure out who they are and if they can get a kiss on Friday night.

I don't have any Valedictorians, Salutatorians or kids who will vye for those positions in this home.

It's all good...

Work kind of sort of sucks right now. We have three people retiring at the end of the year. The beginning of the baby boomers are starting to truly leave the work force.

For some work areas, that might not be so bad. In the high tech arena, it does not bode well. We're talking years and years of technical knowledge... *POOF!*, gone.

They've been predicting this nasty trend in the aerospace industry for awhile and... it's here.

I'm ready for Saturday. I need sleep.

Posted by Boudicca at September 16, 2010 09:12 PM

So, with 3 boys in scouts - are they all doing the badge at the same time, or is only one into reptiles?

Posted by: Web at September 17, 2010 07:38 AM

Web- Actually, Bones won't do Scouts. He is scared to death of bad weather while being in a tent. So... instead of fighting him on it, I realized everyone has to be different. It's funny because he attends as many Scout meetings as he can. He LOVES the kids... he just hates the requirements. On Fun days, he just hangs with them. It could change, but I'm not holding my breath...

As for my other two, only T signed up to do Reptile study at summer camp. My eldest signed up to do... musket loading and rifle shooting. So the ghecko is T's, although lately there have been fights between he and Bones as to who gets to release the cricket into the cage.

It was quiet last night. I think ghecko may have feasted on chirpy cricket last night. Hope springs eternal...

Posted by: Bou at September 17, 2010 09:38 AM

Crickets - as soon as you said that in the other post I cringed. They are as annoying as hell. Many is the night I have searched my house looking to kill an errant cricket that was chirping and keeping me awake. Guess I should've bought a gekko.

I didn't have any Valedictorians or Salutatorians either. I think my kids have turned into terrific adults anyway. LOL.

As for Boy Scouts - my son refused utterly. Wanted nothing to do with it. As with everything else it depends on the personality.

It always amuses me that young techy types seem to think they know everything and they disdain older people who have been in the business a long time and have learned more than a few tricks along the way. I hope we can survive this aging thing but I don't know.

Posted by: Teresa at September 17, 2010 11:22 AM

The tech retiring trend is happening in all tech area's.

Not alot of people in Michigan are going into Engineering much anymore and we are losing valuable skills.

And hardly anyone is going for Masters and beyond in tech area's. Everyone wants an MBA instead.

People are more into the "soft" area's instead of the tech areas (engineering, science, math, etc).

Who's going to the be innovators of the furture?

Posted by: Quality Weenie at September 17, 2010 11:27 AM

Bou - I know this is silly, but I saw an algebra problem once that talked about the number of cricket chirps per hour as a function of the temperature. I can't remember if it was linear or not, or if there was a positive or negative correlation. But you might try tinkering with their temperature or light levels or something to see what works.

When we visited my aunt and uncle in Nebraska one time, there was a cricket somewhere in the room our daughter slept in. Every night it would chirp, and it about drove her postal! So, I am thinking that light and heat may actually stifle their chirping. OTOH, if you freeze the little buggers, I'm sure that would shut them up as well!

Posted by: PeggyU at September 17, 2010 03:08 PM

By "linear", I meant roughly linear over the temperature range the problem looked at. Obviously, this would not be linear over all temperatures, since neither frozen nor baked crickets would chirp ;) .

Posted by: PeggyU at September 17, 2010 03:10 PM

For the last eight years, I've been a volunteer for the annual Team America Rocketry Challenge. Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and run by the National Association of Rocketry, the idea is to expose students to aerospace technology and science via model rocketry. It's working, as in the last few years there have been former competitors coming back and mentioning that the rocket contest was considered a huge positive on their resumes when they got hired by aerospace firms.

In fact, it's working so well that England started their version three years ago, France started just last year and Germany and Japan are also going to start in the next year or two. Each country will have the same contest rules each year, so they can directly compare to each other.

I've written quite a bit about it over at my blogs, for example:
(links from those articles to more too)

You can google "TARC" too for more info.

Posted by: Ted at September 17, 2010 03:55 PM

I had a cat that hated would gnaw the legs off the crickets and then leave them still alive...yeah, I have weird pets.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at September 17, 2010 08:40 PM

Oh come off it Bou, chemistry is just like accounting using shillings and pence ... except in the opposite direction.
2S + 6P + (whatever the next one was) ... its been since 1969 and 1972 for me, so I may have forgotten some.

And as QW mentioned we are starting to see the retirements ... particularly among the engineers in their mid-70s. As Murdoch says in Lethal Weapon ... I'm getting too old for this ...

My old boss gave it up at the beginning of the month to spend more time fishing ... others are looking toward the end of the year.

The younguns who intended to retire before they reached 50 looked at their investments and pushed the date out another eight years.

Its not the regular innovative engineers I'm starting to miss, but the truly moon-struck inspired engineer/salesmen who sold ideas that were two orders of magnitude beyond what was currently being done, then challenged us to produce the magic.

Back in the 70's we saw bad-crazy ideas go from concept to market in around 10 months, now it seems like it takes 10 years (and the ideas aren't that bad-crazy).

Its not the presence or absence of process ... we have more paper evidence of the process now, but we used to be more collegial and talked the design to death so that any one of us could code it before the design escaped into code. Those sorts of design tend to work first time when everyone feels the design in their bones.

That and it didn't help that Herm was sent to Eglin for a 3 week assignment that turned into 3 years. We would have gotten it to market faster if we had him in the room with us for those early discussions.

Posted by: The Thomas at September 17, 2010 09:51 PM

Regarding the valedictorians being more mature; I suspect that parents who push their children into school a year early are setting them up for a tough row to hoe.

Posted by: Carl Brannen at September 19, 2010 09:38 PM