To be cheap or not to be cheap, that is the question

first_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr After being in the credit union industry for 28 years, I am amazed at how many credit unions of all sizes default to a “that’s too expensive” mantra. This could relate to anything from audit services, data processing, credit card vendors, cleaning services, compliance assistance, bank reconciliation, new member service programs, home banking, or practically anything on which the credit unions spend money. Have you ever thought of rephrasing it to just say, “I’m too cheap to spend the money.” Are you of the mindset that you always want the cheapest or least expensive option?  Be careful what you choose, as with many things in life, the cheapest option is not always the most cost effective way for the long term.As I called around recently to car repair places, including the dealership, to repair an issue on my vehicle, I was amazed the car repair place charged $139.99 an HOUR!!!! That is more than many professionals charge for an hour of service, except lawyers (but that is for another day). Of course I thought, “Where can I get it less expensive because I don’t want to pay that hourly rate?” However, after the initial emotional reaction, most people settle in to the idea of what is a reasonable cost to get it fixed, provide me a peace of mind and can I trust the mechanic.   That is the same in business with vendors. Where can I obtain a service, widget, or consultant that will provide the peace of mind with the service or product? Can they be trusted to have the credit union’s best interest at heart or are they driven for themselves. continue reading »last_img read more

MIT Cosmologists Take Our Advice

first_imgAfter getting a snubbing in our 02/21/2005 commentary, which advocated he and his MIT colleague Alan Guth take up truck driving, David Kaiser, took our advice – with a thinly veiled smirk:Well, at least someone is still reading Science with a passion.  As for the rest of us in the cosmic-evolution business, we’ll just have to keep on truckin’.This was the ending of an article by Kaiser in the November-December issue of American Scientist (not to be confused with Scientific American), a publication of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society.1    In his article, Kaiser undertook to explain why creation groups, long targeting the biologists and geologists, have “only lately taken on physicists and cosmologists” after a long period of what he considers peaceful co-existence (e.g., Einstein, Lemaitre).  His two-fold conclusion was that (1) recent “bans on teaching the big bang” (only one ineffective and unrepresentative example given) have brought the abstruse issues of cosmology into the public awareness, and (2) the prestige of physics has plummeted since its pinnacle after World War II, in part due to funding cuts but also “physicists’ internal divisions and the obviously speculative nature of recent work” — thus a new “concerted attack” by critics who have “learned to leverage the power of the internet.”  That’s where CEH comes in:I stumbled onto this thriving, wired network two years ago, after my colleague Alan H. Guth and I published a review of recent cosmological research in Science.  About a week after our article appeared, Guth received an e-mail message directing him to a rebuttal of our piece, posted on a creationist Web site.  That response included dozens of hyperlinks to like-minded “refutations’ of the big bang, inflationary cosmology, string theory and the rest.  These sites boasted high production values and good graphics.Noting all the hyperlinks to creationist and intelligent design resources here, Kaiser seemed to have demonstrated a vast lightweight conspiracy to attack the hallowed halls of the cosmologists.  All that seemed necessary to demonstrate the point was to mention the advice about truck driving.1.  David Kaiser, “The Other Evolution Wars,” American Scientist Vol 95, No 6), November-December 2007, pp. 518-525.It was nice to get some compliments from Dr. Kaiser for the graphics and high production values, but of course he was not about to concede any point of substance to creationists.  That would be anathema inside The Guild, even a minor blush to the suggestion that a little shame might be in order.    A little investigation by an unbiased observer, however, should reveal that modern cosmologists do not need any creationist help looking silly: viz., 07/27/2004, 03/11/2004, 06/20/2003, 06/18/2003, 05/02/2003, 08/16/2005, 07/23/2007, 04/13/2007, etc.  If they are worried about possible nonsense that might come from creationists, why not rein in the secularist popularizers, who are truckin’ all over the sidewalk? (11/01/2007, 03/08/2007).    Anyone familiar with the history and philosophy of science would surely realize that there is no way under God’s starry heaven to scientifically justify many of the things being claimed by modern cosmologists today.  To be off by 120 orders of magnitude, to require a universe composed of 96% imponderable substances and occult forces, and to seriously consider we each have clones in countless parallel universes is to invite scrutiny if not ridicule.  Much of that comes from within the ranks of The Guild already.  But then to posit a Cosmic Lottery with 101000 universes (none of which is observable even in theory) should turn the heads of any philosopher or logician.  It looks like a dodge from a clear inference of design, tantamount to escaping falsification with magic.  What would Popper think?    It would have been nice to see a little humility, therefore, just a hint of a possibility that cosmologists might be on the wrong track and maybe should consider non-materialist alternatives seriously, like intelligent design.  If listening to creationists is beneath their dignity, how about listening to Paul Davies or Robert Jastrow who, both appearing in The Privileged Planet, acknowledged the design inference and the inability of materialism to account for it?    Similarly, Astronomy columnist Bob Berman applied his own down-to-earth, common-sense analysis to the current situation.  Without creationist input as far we know, it was clear to him that cosmology needs a serious “time out” because “cosmologists are starting to resemble naked emperors parading before the mass media.”  He scorned how “each pronouncement is delivered with pomp and flair” when in fact it is a shameful display of arrogance and ignorance.  Instead of scientific rigor, imagination rules: “Throw the math this way, that way, tweak the equations, set fire to the physics building, nothing matters,” he exclaimed.  “It’s Alice in Wonderland meets Stephen Hawking.”  That was in 2004, but he just recently let the cosmologists have it between the eyes again (09/29/2007), indicating that nothing has improved: “It would be nice, however, if cosmologists would put a lid on their arrogant ghetto-talk about their latest theory of everything and admit – just once in a while – that their knowledge is a single snowflake in the blizzard of the unknown.”    That’s why we didn’t need to say much in the 2005 entry but to quote the wizards at length and let them air their own arrogance and fall on their own folly.  We hope the suggestion to take up truck driving was an act of mercy.    Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip is sometimes the perfect parody of adult misbehavior.  One story appeared in the collection There’s Treasure Everywhere (pp. 50-52) that seemed apropos.  (Note: The names might need swapping, because the materialist was Thomas Hobbes and the theist was John Calvin, but subsitute whatever living characters you think fit.)    In this episode, Calvin has an assignment to write a paper that debates some issue.  He asks Hobbes for ideas.Hobbes: What do you care about?Calvin: I don’t care about issues!  I’ve got better things to do than argue with every wrong-headed crackpot with an ignorant opinion!  I’m a busy man!  I say, agree with me or go take a hike!  I’m right, period!  End of discussion.Hobbes: Umm… right.Calvin: There, see?  Everybody’s happy!Still, the homework deadline looms.  Calvin has an idea – a Thinking Cap!  He finds a metal collander in the kitchen and sets to work.Calvin: Next we’ll need to attach those 1 and 0 strings and a grounding string.Hobbes: Why a grounding string?Calvin: It’s like a lightning rod for brainstorms.  I want to keep my ideas grounded in reality.Hobbes: I think you’re too late….Work all completed, Calvin puts on the Thinking Cap and has Hobbes turn it on.  Click.  Brzap.  Nothing apparent happens, except Calvin claims he feels smarter already, and Hobbes perceives that Calvin’s head has grown larger.  The knowledge begins to flow:Calvin: My powerful brain is unraveling the mysteries of the universe!  It’s amazing!  All natural laws can be reduced to one simple, unifying equation!Hobbes: Really, what is it?Calvin: Already my powerful brain is bored with such simple problems and is now working on why girls are so obnoxious.Substitute creationists for girls and some remarkable parallels emerge in the local universe.(Visited 68 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Connecting sustainability with reducing input costs

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Cutting input costs and meeting customer demands for sustainability are top-of-mind issues for farmers. The good news is that these two objectives do not have to be in opposition to one another. In fact, implementing sustainable practices on the farm can help cut costs and contribute to profitability.“It just goes hand-in-hand to be more efficient on our farms with the current lower commodity prices,” said Keith Kemp, Soy Checkoff farmer-leader from West Manchester, Ohio. “Those efficiencies today will make my farm more sustainable today and more profitable down the road.”One sustainable practice farmers can use to cut costs is utilizing no-till.“We managed things very closely when we got into no-till 30 years ago and we made sure we were completely ready as far as fertility, tile and getting compaction out of the soils,” Kemp said. “Once we got into no-till we got our worms, microbes and all the little critters working to digest a lot of the residue and put their own fertility in the ground so we didn’t have to use as much fertilizer as conventional farmers.”Another practice is analyzing all of the data collected on the farm to only apply the inputs each crop needs.“That data is the icing on the cake,” Kemp said. “There’s no overlapping whatsoever, we analyze all of our mapping and practice prescription, variable rate planting so that data makes us tremendously efficient on our farm.”A prime example of that efficiency was when Kemp saved 21 bags of seed on 900 acres, which led to big savings and becoming more sustainable, something that many of U.S. soybean’s customers around the world are asking farmers to do.last_img read more

Shashi Tharoor slams BJP for surge in mob-lynchings

first_imgCongress MP Shashi Tharoor slammed the BJP for the surge in mob-lynching deaths since the party’s ascendancy following the 2014 elections and said its idea of Hinduism was a “narrow political ideology” with no connection to its beliefs. Addressing a session organised by the All India Professional Congress (AIPC) in the city, Mr. Tharoor, criticised Union Home Minister Amit Shah for his push to impose Hindi as a common language over regional ones, saying Mr. Shah’s pitch for “one nation one language” was inimical for unity.Detailing the number of mob-lynching deaths since 2014, Mr. Tharoor said: “What have we seen in the past six years? It started with the killing of [IT professional] Mohsin Shaikh in Pune. Then Mohammad Akhlaq [in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh] was killed on suspicion of slaughtering his cow and consuming beef.”Recounting the grisly killings of Tabrez Ansari and Junaid Khan, the MP said: “Is this our Bharat? Is this what Hindu Dharma says? I am a Hindu but not of this kind… Further, victims are being forced to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’. It is an insult to the Hindu Dharma. It is an insult to Lord Rama that people are being killed using his name.”Remarking that it was appalling that one election result (BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha win) gave so much power to such elements to do anything and kill anyone, he observed that Pehlu Khan (who was killed by cow vigilantes in Alwar in Rajasthan) was lynched despite having a licence to carry cows for dairy farming.Asked about Mr. Shah’s pitch to impose Hindi as a common language, Mr. Tharoor said the three-language formula that had worked so well for the past 70 years ought not to be tinkered with today.“There was a discussion in the Constituent Assembly on this issue [of Hindi as a common language]… at the time, many opposed this move owing to the wide range of languages spoken in our country. By the BJP’s proposed imposition, for those whom Hindi is not their mother-tongue will feel disadvantaged and national unity will suffer,” he said.He said 60% or more of the parliamentarians today speak in Hindi. “But those who cannot speak it must be made to feel that India is their country as well where they will be heard,” he said, adding that English had proven useful as a “linking language” in transcending communication barriers.In the event that Hindi was decreed as the language to be used for all administrative and bureaucratic purposes, Mr. Tharoor observed that non-Hindi speakers, especially those in the southern States, would feel like second-class citizens compelled to master a second language just to know what their rights were.“We have been trying to make the BJP understand these problems over the common language imposition issue both within Parliament and without, but they simply aren’t willing to even listen,” the senior Congressman said.Asserting that the BJP’s intransigence over the issue was the main reason why the party had failed to make any significant electoral gains in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, he said the BJP’s perpetual promotion of its idea of ‘Hindi, Hindutva and Hindustan’ was “dangerous” for the country’s unity.He said while Prime Minister Modi deserved respect in foreign countries as a representative of the nation, the Opposition and citizens had the right to ask him questions when he is in India.Refuting suggestions of a crisis at the top, he said the Congress was gearing up for crucial State elections as the reins were now firmly in the hands of its president Sonia Gandhi.“She [Ms. Gandhi] is very capable and is working very hard… I think the question of our leadership crisis following Rahul Gandhi’s resignation ought to be put to rest by now,” Mr. Tharoor said.Commenting on the spate of defections bedevilling the Congress in Maharashtra ahead of the Assembly polls, he said the party had no difficulty finding new candidates.“We have taken the stand that if people want to leave for opportunistic reasons, then let them leave because they don’t have the conviction that makes for a committed Congress.” He said those who had stood by the party in tough times were the ones whose hearts were enshrined with the values and principles of the Congress.last_img read more

Batangas stint chance to play, improve for Forrester

first_imgMOST READ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Veteran Vince Carter headed to Kings Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ But that changed quickly knowing he has coach Eric Gonzales still on his side.“That faded away when I went home and thought about it. Coach Eric and I go a long way since our days in Arellano and I know that he’s always looking for my best interest and it was his way of helping me to get some games in. I haven’t been much playing time in the last four years so getting any kind of games in, any kind of minutes is only a positive thing,” he said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“It’s an opportunity to play, an opportunity to better myself, and focus on the things I need to work on. It’s not really a redemption thing. It’s all part of the process and for me trying to grow.”Unfortunately, it was a forgettable debut for Forrester, who tallied five points and two rebounds but committed five turnovers in the Batangueños’ 70-66 loss to Cignal HD  in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup on Thursday. Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games “I just want to bounce back next game and hopefully, get them a win.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The Fil-Canadian guard’s biggest gaffe came in the final minute, when he threw an errant pass which was easily intercepted by Pamboy Raymundo with the Hawkeyes leading by just two points.Forrester owned up to his mistakes and understood that he had a bigger role in Batangas compared to the job he has with the Batang Pier.“Unfortunately, today I felt I lost the game for them. I didn’t realize how much I have to be a leader for this team. I haven’t been in this position for a while, so I have to lead this team, offensively, defensively, and leadership-wise, be vocal with the guys,” he said.The 27-year-old then vowed to come out stronger in Batangas’ game against Tanduay next Thursday.“There is pressure, but I just want to help this team as much as I can. I know most of the players and I know most of them are trying to get to the PBA. I don’t want to come here and step on anyone’s shoes. Technically, I have a contract and these guys are trying to get a contract so I don’t want to be in the way of these guys getting to the PBA,” he said.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena James Forrester. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netJames Forrester didn’t deny that he saw his two-game loan from GlobalPort to Batangas as a demotion.“To be honest, my initial thoughts were a little negative,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Nikki Valdez rushes self to ER due to respiratory tract infection LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more