Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

As someone who’s read a lot of NTSB reports, my God this is a damning indictment [pdf] of the Navy’s oversight of the Arleigh Burke class destroyers:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision between the destroyer John S McCain and the tanker Alnic MC was a lack of effective operational oversight of the destroyer by the US Navy, which resulted in insufficient training and inadequate bridge operating procedures. Contributing to the accident were the John S McCain bridge team’s loss of situation awareness and failure to follow loss of steering emergency procedures, which included the requirement to inform nearby traffic of their perceived loss of steering. Also contributing to the accident was the operation of the steering system in backup manual mode, which allowed for an unintentional, unilateral transfer of steering control.

The NTSB is really good at not scapegoating humans unless those humans circumvented established procedures. What I take from this synopsis is that the sailors on the bridge of the McCain were undertrained and using touchscreen computer systems that were overly complicated. Here’s some more proof:

Following the incident, the Navy conducted fleet-wide surveys, and according to Rear Admiral Bill Galinis, the Program Executive Officer for Ships, personnel indicated that they would prefer mechanical controls. Speaking before a recent Navy symposium, he described the controls as falling under the “‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’ category,” and that ship systems were simply too complicated. He also noted that they’re looking into the design of other ships to see if they can bring some system commonalities between different ship classes.

The Navy is going to refit the Arleigh Burke class with physical controls.

Why should you care? Obviously few (if any of you) run a ship. But all of us are buying new cars that put an ever-increasing amount of functionality into touch screens. It’s so much cheaper to have one big touch screen where the behavior of the controls can be updated via a software fix. But we’re humans, and we are much more effective when we have simple mechanical controls.






186 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    But we’re humans, and we are much more effective when we have simple mechanical controls.

    Except for Baud.

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  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    Most people will experience fatigue with less than 7–8 hours of sleep in any 24-hour
    period; sleeping less than 7–8 hours in any 24-hour period leads to acute fatigue, whereas
    habitually obtaining less than 7–8 hours results in accumulated sleep debt leading to chronic
    fatigue. The John S McCain lee helmsman did not sleep during the night prior to the accident. The
    conning officer had about 3 hours sleep, and the helmsman, BMOW, JOOD, JOOW, and OOD
    had 5 hours or less sleep. In addition, the accident occurred during a time period considered to be
    a circadian low (roughly 0200–0600), when the body is normally more fatigued and prone to
    diminished alertness and degraded performance. Furthermore, the ship was operating under a
    watch schedule that shifted each 24-hour period; consequently, sleep periods for watchstanders
    were continually changing

    From the report’s section on Fatigue.

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  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    The Burke class has been in service for a long time (Wiki says the first one commissioned in 1991). Presumably this fancy networked touchscreen control system is a retrofit or a new feature in the later variants of the class, not something which was part of the original design. So, I’m sure they have the records on how the original helm controls worked. Right? Please?

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  4. 4
    RepubAnon says:

    Whoever decided that touchscreen controls were a good idea should be keel-hauled. Lengthwise.

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  5. 5
    Mary G says:

    Trump always talks about going back to steam catapults on aircraft carriers. That makes it hard to agree with this. Seems to me they need more training and not run around the world all the time. Pro Publica did a great series of investigations. Also, better commanders.

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  6. 6
    MattF says:

    However, the ‘feel’ of controls like brake pedals and steering wheels is only indirectly connected to what the tires on the road are doing. It’s a fictional narrative composed by an electromechanical computer.

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  7. 7

    But we’re humans, and we are much more effective when we have simple mechanical controls.

    I think it’s less about mechanical controls than it is about dedicated controls that do just one thing. As long as a control is always in the same place and does the same thing, it’s easy to train yourself to work well with it. That doesn’t matter if it’s a mechanical control or one on a touch screen. Similarly, a mechanical control that changes what it does depending on the state of other controls can be very confusing. The latter are less common, but an example are the volume buttons on many phones, which the programmers can change to control different things. I’m never sure which volume on my phone they’re controlling, and they can also be repurposed to do other things, like flip pages forward and backward in an ebook.

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  8. 8
    LanceThruster says:

    That’s quite sad (the report) on so many levels.

    If only the US military had an adequate budget for operations and maintenance. How can anyone be expected to perform while being so horribly short-changed? Well… sell the lot to some foreigners and earmark a couple of bucks for the latest shiny object the MIC wishes to market.

    (that part’s snark)

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  9. 9
    jeffreyw says:

    @RepubAnon:

    Whoever decided that touchscreen controls were a good idea should be keel-hauled. Lengthwise.

    Yeah, they need to get with Amazon and figure out how to get Alexa to do all that stuff.

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  10. 10

    @LanceThruster:

    If only the US military had an adequate budget for operations and maintenance.

    I know this was intended as snark, but it’s closer to the literal truth than you realize. One of the biggest problems with our military is that too much of the budget is spent on fancy equipment and not enough on the people who use it. Our budget priorities are way out of whack.

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  11. 11
    prostratedragon says:

    The slightest excuse to listen to Catherine Russell for a moment will suffice:

    “Just Because You Can”

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  12. 12
    MattF says:

    @dmsilev: I suppose the original edition of the 265 volume instruction manual is safely stored somewhere. Right next to the Ark of the Covenant.

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  13. 13
    jeffreyw says:

    A recent software upgrade now lets you assign an app to the otherwise useless as tits-on-a-boar-hog Bixby button. All they need now is an app to run the bridge and all those sleepy watchstanders can finally get them some shut-eye.

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  14. 14
    guachi says:

    As someone currently in the Navy, I’m not surprised in the slightest that fatigue played a role.

    It’s like the Navy has never heard of sleep before.

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  15. 15
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    I guess I’m pleasantly surprised that we still have a NTSB and that conservatives haven’t killed it because it interferes with business.

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  16. 16
    Keith P. says:

    I’m a software developer and I loathe touchscreens, except with slate tablets. Smartphone touchscreens are a particular abomination.

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  17. 17
    TenguPhule says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:

    I guess I’m pleasantly surprised that we still have a NTSB and that conservatives haven’t killed it because it interferes with business.

    Year isn’t over yet. Give them time.

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    trollhattan says:

    It always seemed improbable a tanker could ever mow down a modern destroyer because it seems akin to a giant sloth mowing down a border collie. But I suppose if the border collie just plops in front of the sloth, the improbable can happen. Especially in a very busy shipping lane.

    Since “science & technology” tag, last week I introduced jackals to new Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Well this didn’t take him long.

    The US federal government has announced an overhaul of the way it enforces the Endangered Species Act, a law credited with preventing countless extinctions.

    Trump officials say the new plan will reduce regulations, but environmental groups warn it will “crash a bulldozer” through the landmark 1973 legislation. The plan removes automatic protections for threatened species and allows economic factors to be considered. Critics say the new rules will speed extinction for vulnerable wildlife.

    Ten state attorneys general have announced plans to sue over the new regulation.

    The Endangered Species Act, which Republican President Richard Nixon signed into law in 1973, protects more than 1,600 plant and animals species today, and is credited with saving the California condor, the Florida manatee, the gray whale and grizzly bear among others.

    What’s in the new regulation?

    The new rules, which go into effect in 30 days, will for the first time allow economic factors to be considered when weighing what protections should be provided to vulnerable species. Under current law, wildlife management decisions are only allowed to be based on science and “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of determination”.

    Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, announced the change on Monday, saying the change allowed the law to “ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal – recovery of our rarest species,” he said.

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  20. 20
    Kay says:

    NEW: AG Barr on the “failure to adequately secure” Jeffrey Epstein:
    “We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation.”

    It’s shocking to watch his face and body language as he woodenly recites this, because he so clearly doesn’t give a shit about any of this- he’s so clearly just working for Trump and this is a distraction on his desk. You wait for him to take a peek at his watch.
    They don’t even phone it in convincingly.
    BTW, has anyone ever asked the AG why his father got Epstein a special job at a private school? What was that about? Seems relevant, since the fuck up happened on his watch. Old family friend? That’s…odd.

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  21. 21
    StringOnAStick says:

    I inherited a Prius, and I don’t like the touch screen at all. As a 61 year old with some typical vision stuff going on, it is hard to switch focal lengths to go from the road to the screen, especially if I am wearing my glasses for nearsightedness even though they are a very mild correction. And, in certain glare conditions you can’t read the screen at all. Things like fan knobs and dials for temperature control are something you can adjust without even looking at them. With the Prius I have to take my eyes off the road to any of this stuff, and I think that ups the accident risk. Touch screens are stupid in cars!

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  22. 22
    TenguPhule says:

    Anger at being labeled racist is the new ‘cultural anxiety’ for Trump supporters

    /lips pursed

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  23. 23
    Yutsano says:

    @StringOnAStick: This is why I am very grateful that the vast majority of my controls in my Volkswagen are analogue.

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  24. 24
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay: They know how to take care of their friends.

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  25. 25
    TenguPhule says:

    @trollhattan:

    Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, announced the change on Monday, saying the change allowed the law to “ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal – recovery of our rarest species,” he said.

    I assume this is a new slang for “Kill em all.”

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  26. 26
    Mike in NC says:

    I just read “Destroyer Captain: Lessons of a First Command”, written in 2008 by now retired Admiral James Stavridis. He was CO of USS Barry (DDG 52) in 1993. Kind of a lightweight memoir overall but at least he acknowledges that he was usually tired and close to burn out, and that ships’ crews are drastically overworked. On a destroyer at sea pretty much everybody works 18-20 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are a few exceptions. It was that way back when I was deployed in the early 1980s.

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  27. 27
    Spanky says:

    This is just incomprehensible. How long do they think touch screens will last if they take battle damage? Was that even tested? An acceptance criteria? Jesus.

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  28. 28
    Jeffro says:

    Back to mechanical controls, eh?

    Does this mean I can have a cassette player and roll-up windows in my next Civic? I’ll pay extra

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  29. 29
    Baud says:

    It’s like when they put the mute button next to the hangup button.

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  30. 30
    Bill Arnold says:

    Our nuclear-powered cruise missiles are more advanced than the ones that the Russians are testing. DJ Trump decrees that it is the Russians who suffer from a missile gap! :-)

    The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia. We have similar, though more advanced, technology. The Russian “Skyfall” explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2019

    I am giggling.

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  31. 31
    Eljai says:

    @RAVEN: My goodness! The things they can do now! That looks like fun!

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  32. 32
    LanceThruster says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Agreed. I expressed myself poorly in that regard. I compare it to university donations. Always available to get one’s name on a building, but for the day to day outlays… not so much.

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  33. 33
    BroD says:

    I had to go through a 15 minute training course in order to order a piece of fast-food fried chicken the other day. Some one convinced the chain that it was sooo cost effective. My ass. The chicken sucked too.

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  34. 34
    Yarrow says:

    @TenguPhule:

    sleeping less than 7–8 hours in any 24-hour period leads to acute fatigue, whereas habitually obtaining less than 7–8 hours results in accumulated sleep debt leading to chronic fatigue.

    I mean, yes, can confirm. But….really? Who gets 7-8 hours sleep every 24 hours? Is this common?

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  35. 35
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Keith P.:
    As someone who started out coding with punch cards and thermal teletypes at 300 baud, I’ll take any interface available today.

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  36. 36
    Baud says:

    I also hate those self checkouts. They never work without problems. Unless the cashier lines are exceptionally long, cashiers are quicker and easier.

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  37. 37

    @Yarrow: In the era of Dump? I doubt it. Liberals don’t sleep because of him; his supporters don’t sleep because they’re terrified of their own shadows. I would be fully unsurprised if the median and mean amounts of sleep Americans got declined sharply after November 8, 2016. Not even joking.

    Ceterum censeo factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

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  38. 38
    Jeffro says:

    Btw when even “The Mooch” says you’re losing your marbles…doesn’t that automatically DQ you from the (re)nomination?

    I mean..this is THE MOOCH we’re talking about here!

    LOL

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  39. 39
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @TenguPhule: Dang. I need to get more sleep.

    ReplyReply
  40. 40
    trollhattan says:

    @StringOnAStick:
    Hated driving my MIL’s Prius, although the touchscreen was only one of several reasons.

    A physical knob/button/switch means not taking one’s eyes off the road. We’re not supposed to fiddle with our phones whilst driving but what if the equivalent of several phones are splattered around the cabin?

    I do like a big ol’ display for the GPS map, however.

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  41. 41
    Yarrow says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): Agreed. The US is a nation on edge. Lack of sleep has to be contributing to it.

    @Jeffro: At this point I think all of those people are performance art. Mooch can say what he wants. Until he DOES something different it’s all noise. See also: Conway, George.

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  42. 42
    trollhattan says:

    @Baud:
    I primarily boycott them to preserve checker jerbs, but yeah, it ain’t my jerb to scan and bag for the privilege of giving you my money.

    ATMs won me over by being available 24/7. Otherwise I’d rather chat with the teller (who effectively don’t exist).

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  43. 43
    Yarrow says:

    @Baud: My local supermarkets are removing all of the fast lane (15 items or less) lanes and replacing them with self checkout lanes. Plenty of times I’ve gone and there is only one real cashier available. Usually has a long line.

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  44. 44
  45. 45
    Sayne says:

    But but but…

    In Star Trek they have fancy touch screen controls! We all want to be like Star Trek!

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  46. 46
    Baud says:

    @trollhattan:

    ATMs have real convenience value. So do those credit card readers built into gas pumps, truth be told. Sometimes tech works. But it’s not a panacea.

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  47. 47
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @trollhattan:
    My Prius has most of the touchscreen functions available as buttons on the steering wheel (2007). I assume it’s the same on other Prii.

    ReplyReply
  48. 48
    Baud says:

    @Yarrow:

    That’s no good. They’re effectively forcing it on you then, rather than making it a convenience.

    ReplyReply
  49. 49
    Yarrow says:

    @Baud: Yep. Pretty sure that’s their goal. Employees are expensive. Get rid of them.

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  50. 50
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Yarrow: The day they do that here is the day I shop someplace else.

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  51. 51
    prostratedragon says:

    @Keith P.: “Smartphone touchscreens are a particular abomination.”

    Yes!! The only thing easier than sitting or bending your way into an unintended call is failing to answer a call because the screen suddenly responds only to a hammer.

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  52. 52
    Jay says:

    @Mike in NC:

    A key part of the “new tech” introduced on USN Ships, was to reduce crew sizes and rather than training the crews on the new technologies, they are supposed to use CDRom instructionals to learn the technology.

    They reduced the full crew size by 50,( not that they often muster a full crew), a 15% reduction with the first version of the control systems.

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  53. 53

    @Baud:

    Unless the cashier lines are exceptionally long, cashiers are quicker and easier.

    But cashiers cost more than automated checkout kiosks.

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  54. 54
    Betty says:

    @Yarrow: And more jobs are lost and people !ose an opportunity to interact with another human. If this is the future, I am glad I am old.

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  55. 55
    Yarrow says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I appreciate the sentiment but it’s not always an option for me to go to supermarkets that are not doing that. I make an effort to use cashiers to keep jobs but sometimes I don’t have the 15 minutes to wait because I’m on a tight schedule. So….

    I also think most of the supermarkets will be moving in this direction. Not sure how we stop it.

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  56. 56
    David Evans says:

    @trollhattan: My sentiments exactly. I sometimes don’t change channels on my Nissan Note’s touchscreen radio because it would just be too dangerous to do so. Especially when the sun is shining on the screen. Give me discrete push buttons any day.

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  57. 57
    Ruviana says:

    @Baud: My Lowe’s does this. ONE human checker and a raft of self checkout lanes. I’m going to avoid them for as long as the local hardware stores hold out.

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  58. 58

    @Yarrow: A way to make customers do unpaid labour for them while getting rid of paid employees. I get that automation is inevitable, but this goes beyond that, because in addition to eliminating paid labour, it forces that task upon the customer. As others have said, the day a place does something like that is liable to be the last day I shop there. Fuckem.

    Ceterum censeo factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

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  59. 59

    @A Ghost To Most: My 2010 Prius has all the driving and environmental controls as buttons. The only things that are exclusively on the touch screen is play/pause for music and the maps.

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  60. 60
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Yarrow: Oh, I understand. I just won’t do it as long as I have a choice. And the next town just isn’t that much further away.

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  61. 61
    Nelle says:

    @guachi: My husband has been out of the Navy since 1972 (Naval Academy grad, Rickover boy, 3 years on subs, 3 tours in Vietnam (got stop-lossed for the last two years). So he is 75 now and still thinks he should be able to do all sorts of things on minimum sleep. It’s dangerous and ignorant and drives me nuts. Sometimes, I think he is still trying to keep himself in readiness condition. For what, I don’t know. I keep waiting for him to relax but it occurs to me that that might not happen. He’s 75 and just got back to the weight he was when he graduated from the Academy. And he still flies with Civil Air Patrol.

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  62. 62
    Yarrow says:

    @Betty: Yeah, there is more lost than just cashier jobs. I think human interaction will be a field of investigation and study in the coming years as we isolate more and have fewer opportunities for real human interaction.

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  63. 63
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    I figured. Toyota does things right. It’s why when our asses are up on a rock shelf road, I can trust my vehicle to get us down.

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  64. 64
    NotMax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly

    Was in a Home Depot when in NY with ONLY self-checkout. Looked intensely and walked around to make sure but nope, not a cashier nor a register at all. Not only that but only half of the self-checkout stations accepted cash as payment, something I found out when I tried to pay – ended up having to call over a worker to cancel me out on that machine and transfer the purchase to another. The checkout at the other end of the store for contractors and the like did still have live cashiers.

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  65. 65
    Raven says:

    @Ruviana: And you can’t get your vets discount at the self checkout!

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  66. 66
    RobertB says:

    @Baud: My usual supermarket has hand scanners that you use while you’re rounding up groceries. You scan them and bag them while shopping, then you check out at the self-checkout lane. Self-checkout still sucks, but that self-scanner actually makes it work. Since I like it, they’ll probably drop it in a year.

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  67. 67
    Yarrow says:

    @Raven: Another way they save money.

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  68. 68
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Nelle:

    He’s 75 and just got back to the weight he was when he graduated from the Academy. And he still flies with Civil Air Patrol.

    It’s better than hanging out at the corner tavern, drinking beer with a bunch of bitter retired autoworkers bitching about “kids these days don’t know how to work.”

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  69. 69
    Jay says:

    @trollhattan:

    @Yarrow:

    Studies up here have shown that self checkouts in grocery stores cost the store on average a 20% increase in stock losses.

    Fill a bag with bulk macadamia nuts or pestachio’s, click the icon on cheap peanuts and pay $0.43 a kilo for a $2.25 a kilo item.

    Fill a paper bag with $4.75 nanimo bars at the bulk bakery but tap it in as dinner rolls.

    Fill a bag with avacados but tap the cheap potato icon.

    Make your own self scan barcodes. Paste the “on sale” cheap ground beef barcode overtop the filet minon barcode, or go for the prime rib.

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  70. 70
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NotMax:

    The checkout at the other end of the store for contractors and the like did still have live cashiers.

    Just use them next time.

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    patrick II says:

    @Baud:

    Several times while at the local Kroger I have seen lines at the self-checkout when the lines to the cashiers were nearly empty. I have no idea why, but I was thankful for the shorter line at the cashier.

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  73. 73
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @RAVEN: And use the “Contractor’s Parking” too.

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  74. 74
    patrick II says:

    @Baud:

    Several times while at the local Kroger I have seen lines at the self-checkout when the lines to the cashiers were nearly empty. I have no idea why, but I was thankful for the shorter line at the cashier.

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  75. 75
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: We have vets parking here!

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  76. 76
    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    On YOUR watch, AG Barr!

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  77. 77
    Llelldorin says:

    @TenguPhule: Oy. The Royal Navy was better than that at setting watches in the eighteenth century, when their primary recruitment technique involved clubbing drunks.

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  78. 78
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: I use them too. I never use the Handicapped parking tho. Some people actually need those.

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    Amir Khalid says:

    @Roger Moore:

    One of the biggest problems with our military is that too much of the budget is spent on fancy equipment and not enough on the people who use it. Our budget priorities are way out of whack.

    Money spent on hardware gratifies the all-too-common urge to have the bestest toys in the shop, and ultimately enriches wealthy donors and encourages them to keep donating. Money spent training personnel, not so much.

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    GrannyMC says:

    Anyone who thinks touch screens are a good idea for critical inputs has apparently never texted on their cell phone or tried to use an ATM.

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    J R in WV says:

    Will read the comments later, here’s my take.

    We just bought a new Mazda CX-5 crossover suv.

    But there’s this screen… I hate it. Everything about it. You can’t buy a nice vehicle without it. Perhaps one could go into business replacing the video screen with an actual after market stereo?

    Who would think that was a good idea on a ship??? No wonder they ran into big cargo ships!!! I stood bridge watches on a ship built from 1942-44 and it had the same controls that were invented back when propellers were invented. Worked well… why replace something that works well?

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  82. 82
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My late buddy was in the 173d and woe be to you if he caught you in a handicapped space. Dude was a bounty hunter and bouncer in a strip joint in Lauderdale and he took no prisoners on that issue.

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  83. 83
    raven says:

    @J R in WV: The North Carolina Fire Direction room has a big display explaining that the experimented with digital and found their analog FDC was just as accurate.

    “So why did the Navy never follow through with digitizing the battleship’s big guns? I asked retired Navy Captain David Boslaugh, former director of the Navy Tactical Embedded Computer Program Office, that question. And if anyone would know, it’s Boslaugh. He played a role in the development of the Navy Tactical Data System—the forerunner to today’s Aegis systems, the mother of all digital sensor and fire control systems.

    “At one time, my office was asked to do a study regarding upgrading the Iowa-class battleship fire control systems from analog to digital computers,” Boslaugh replied. “We found that digitizing the computer would improve neither the reliability nor the accuracy of the system and recommended, ‘Don’t bother.’” Even without digital computers, the Iowa could fire 2,700-pound “dumb” shells nearly 30 miles inland with deadly accuracy, within a circle of probable error of around 80 meters. Some of its shells had circles of destruction larger than that.”

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  84. 84

    @Betty:
    I notice that Trader Joes still has exclusively human checkers, and from what I’ve read, human interaction is a key reason they like human checkers. It’s not just that the people are friendlier, but they’re constantly talking to customers about the stuff they’re buying, which provides the company with feedback about its products. A self-checkout aisle won’t do that for the foreseeable future.

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    @OzarkHillbilly: Handicapped parking here is a pretty expensive parking space w/o the tags.

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    raven says:

    @Roger Moore: Aldi too. They both take Apple Pay too.

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    Jay says:

    One of the many emails I look forward to on Monday mornings is the bulletin of the Union of Atomic Scientists, a body mainly known for maintaining the Doomsday Clock.

    This week’s bulletin was a bit out of the ordinary. The first feature is about white nationalism’s solution to climate change – a world with a whole lot fewer brown people.

    https://thebulletin.org/2019/08/white-nationalisms-solution-to-climate-change-fewer-brown-people/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter08122019&utm_content=ClimateChange_EcoFascism_08062019

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Yep. I also despise people who feel like the loading zone is their personal reserved parking space.

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    Jay says:

    @J R in WV:

    Switching to touchscreens and other technologies allowed the USN to reduce crew sizes by 50 people, 15%, on the ships.

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    @raven:

    Aldi too.

    It’s not widely publicized, but the same company owns both Aldi and Trader Joe’s.

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    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jay: So every ship has a crew of 333 people?

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I don’t know what they cost around here but I rather suspect most people just don’t pay any attention to who is actually using them.

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  93. 93
    FlyingToaster says:

    I was an employee of Kroger back in the dark ages, so I learned to bag. I go to the self-checkout at [redacted] because I never have more than a dozen items, and I know EXACTLY how I want my stuff bagged in the bags I brought with me. Most stores don’t teach their checkers how to bag (I’m looking at Stop-n-Shop, Shaws, StarMarket, HomeDepot, plus at least two dimwit checkers at Target), which means if I’m only using one or two bags, I’d vastly prefer to bag it myself.

    Note: MarketBasket and Wegmans do train their cashiers. I prefer to go through their checkout lines if I have more than two bags worth of stuff, and they’re excellent at noticing my “bag -> stuff -> bag -> stuff -> bag -> stuff” order on the belt. MB doesn’t have self-checkout, which is fine since they’re faster than me.

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  94. 94
    Brachiator says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    My 2010 Prius has all the driving and environmental controls as buttons

    Back in the day, they were knobs and switches. Gal dern “improvements!”

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  95. 95
    Yarrow says:

    @Roger Moore: Costco not only has human checkers they often have two people at each checkout lane. One to run the cash register and another one to facilitate getting the heavy items that stay in the cart and loading the other items back in it. Several years ago my Costco had a fast checkout lane for a few number of items but then they took it out.

    ReplyReply
  96. 96
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Brachiator: Back in the day we had none of them new fangled “invironmetal controls”. You jist poured gas into the carbirator, pushed that sucker down a hill and slam it into geer.

    ReplyReply
  97. 97
    Ruckus says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I use the contractors checkout, about half the people do. Also I see that someone watches the self checkout lines at most stores here in CA, I’ve never noticed one that didn’t. Wonder if there is some law……
    On the navy ship issue I got out in 73 and was on the previous generation of DDG to the current run. But remember that we had the draft and I know of at least 2 others that are here all the time that like me, joined the navy rather than be drafted. And that described the vast majority of the 4 yr guys. The only thing that I’d bet gets one to join today is the money. It’s not near as bad as it was 50 yrs ago. Not great mind you but with duty pay on top of normal it isn’t bad for a HS grad with few prospects. The problem with the navy is that there’s a lot to do, not enough bodies to do it all and as long as that ship is under way, you are working or sleeping. And the navy always seems to try to do more than is realistic, so everyone is always tired, not to the extent of exhaustion but not that far away. Unless they don’t have enough bodies for a particular job. On the DDG I was on the biggest shortage was in firemen. That’s the guys that keep the boilers lit so that everything can work. They worked 6 on, 6 off as long as the boilers were lit. Which is normally a day before leaving port, at the minimum and possibly a day after as well. And in a foreign port that doesn’t have the same incoming electric that we have in the states, which is most places that is the entire cruse. So possibly 6 months, 6 hrs on, 6 hrs off. It beats you down. If the rest of the crew is now on a similar schedule, holy shit.

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  98. 98
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @jeffreyw:

    I need to look this up. I hold my Galaxy S10e left-handed, and the damn Bixby button is right where my thumb wants to go. I’ve trained myself away from it, but what a nuisance. And I can’t think of any circumstances under which I would ever use Bixby for anything.

    ReplyReply
  99. 99

    @OzarkHillbilly: Minimum fine is $251 per the sign @ The Huntington I saw Saturday.

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  100. 100

    @Yarrow: Only thing I wish Costco had was a “No Cash” line.

    ReplyReply
  101. 101
    TenguPhule says:

    @Sayne:

    In Star Trek they have fancy touch screen controls! We all want to be like Star Trek!

    Star Trek has a casualty rate in their fleet that would ground any peace time navy.

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  102. 102
    ola azul says:

    Just finished last gel-coat app (w/wax!), waiting for it to kick, then departch for king opener. Prolly drift offa Cape Edgecumbe this eve (fair weather), get up at o’dark-thirty n dump the trinkets in the agua n see what rings the bell.

    Not sure if I qualify as a “ship” (53 feet, 40 gross tons), but speaking as a person who is limped his “boat” into dock with a pipe wrench on the rudder stock, can say mechanical stuff breaks, too (with distressing regularity — boat maintenance is a river that’s allus different ever time you step in, but it just keeps on flowin).

    That said, notta fan of the touchscreen tech for boats. Decidedly prefer mechanical controls. Know a few lads who is put in navigation software that uses touchscreens. As a person who is in and outta the wheelhouse all day long, sometimes with sideways wind n rain, salt spray, fish gurry and blood, diesel fuel, oil, bilgewater, ’bout the last thing I wanna count on is having a clean, dry finger at the ready to avoid an imminent collision.

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  103. 103
    trollhattan says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):
    Bixby is Clippy for a new millennium.

    ReplyReply
  104. 104
    Jay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    281, the USS John S. McCain had 280 on board

    ReplyReply
  105. 105
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @TenguPhule: “Smith! Jones! Go see what’s behind that rock.”

    ReplyReply
  106. 106

    @TenguPhule: Yes, but they were going where no man has gone before.

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  107. 107
    trollhattan says:

    @ola azul:
    As the piece is titled, “Calm seas and prosperous voyage” to you! [Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt]

    “Heh-heh, he said ‘Fahrt.'”

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  108. 108
    Jay says:

    Apparently some business owners in The Hamptons want to keep their support for Trump on the DL. Later today I’ll post lists of everyone from Southampton to Montauk who contributed to Trump’s 2016 campaign. And I’ll throw in Fire Island just for fun.— Dave Quast 🇺🇸 (@davequast) August 11, 2019

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  109. 109
  110. 110
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattF: Not necessarily true. Try driving a Morgan.

    ReplyReply
  111. 111
    Jager says:

    A friend has a new Tesla 3, everything is on the touch screen, including the god damn door locks. The Tesla is driving my friend crazy, adjusting the seats with a touch screen is insanity!

    My Grand Cherokee has a touch screen but has knobs for the audio system, the A/C and heat, The heated seats have a button, etc.

    ReplyReply
  112. 112

    @Jay: He’s just going to make Maggie sad.

    ReplyReply
  113. 113
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Yarrow:

    I think human interaction will be a field of investigation and study in the coming years as we isolate more and have fewer opportunities for real human interaction.

    Indeed, my good man! I formerly spent my evenings at the local salon having enlightened discourse with my fellow intellectuals, but now I just post lame jokes on an obscure pet and gardening blog.

    Steve at a luxury resort/spa masquerading as a Hilton Garden Inn off I-10 in Beaumont, Texas

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  114. 114
    Jay says:

    @ola azul:

    When they first brought out digital charts on touchscreens tied into the autopilots, a bunch of yachties started running into stuff, because they input navigational markers as waypoints, to autohelm a course.

    That +/- 15 feet thing bit them hard.

    ReplyReply
  115. 115
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Jay:
    That and the linked The Atlantic piece are good to see, finally a little broad awakening. Any talk of securing the southern border of Canada?

    ReplyReply
  116. 116
    L85NJGT says:

    I’m pretty sure they’re talking about putting more traditional HiDs on a fly-by-wire control system.

    @Spanky:

    They’re one hit ships.

    .

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  117. 117
    TenguPhule says:

    Speaking of things you can do, but shouldn’t.

    Trump, McConnell campaigns sell ‘Back-to-Back Supreme Court Champs’ T-shirts

    Somebody is going to get hurt, probably badly.

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  118. 118
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Steve at a luxury resort/spa masquerading as a Hilton Garden Inn off I-10 in Beaumont, Texas

    Heh, sucks to be you.

    ReplyReply
  119. 119
    Immanentize says:

    I’m a little unclear when ships ever had “mechanical” controls. Speed was not affected by the bridge, but was signalled from the bridge to the engine room. The wheel on warships hasn’t turned a rudder since they retired Old Ironsides.

    Your car has no mechanical connections. The gas pedal and breaks nowadays works sensors and engineers have given you the illusion of mechanical effect. I’m not sure about steering, but the steering box long ago was changed from mechanical to electronic assist.

    Touch screens may suck, but let us not have any illusion that the throttle lever in an aircraft carrier bridge fires up the boilers.

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  120. 120
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Steve at a luxury resort/spa masquerading as a Hilton Garden Inn off I-10 in Beaumont, Texas

    Working or being punished for something?

    ReplyReply
  121. 121
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @trollhattan:

    Truth.

    ReplyReply
  122. 122
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: All the more reason to put a new engine in my 2005 Dodge p/u when it finally goes.

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  123. 123
    TenguPhule says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Yes, but they were going where no man has gone before.

    Yes, but when the primary causes of death on board the ships seem to be “touch screen blew up in my face” and ” randomly wandering around a corridor near the outer hull during a battle and subsequently sucked out of a hole caused by an enemy attack” you have to wonder about their professional standards.

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  124. 124
    JPL says:

    @Steve in the ATL: So how many times have you heard about Babe Zaharias and Janis Joplin being born near by. Beaumont is my old stomping grounds.

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  125. 125
    J R in WV says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Some time ago, when handicapped parking was just being introduced, I dropped by a city gym to swim — as I walked into the front door, I saw a new Mercedes swing into a handicapped space right by the front door.

    A very healthy looking guy hopped out and jogged into the gym with a lifter’s workout bag, big waist belt, the works.

    I stopped by the front desk, passed them the make, model, licence number. As I walked down the steps to the pool locker room, I heard them pass the word, 5 minutes to move the car or it will be towed. And they weren’t kidding at all… made me smile!

    That big public facility has a lot of disabled people there, all the time.

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  126. 126
    TenguPhule says:

    FBI agents are furious with Donald Trump for amplifying conspiracy theories regarding the death of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, .

    Agents who spoke with the publication said the response to the death of Epstein, who had ties to high-profile politicians, was already “hypercharged” when Trump retweeted a baseless conspiracy theory tying the death to the former president Bill Clinton.

    “The last thing investigators need is the president of the United States fanning the flames with these bulls – theories that have no basis in reality,” an anonymous agent told Business Insider.

    Rooting for injuries in this conflict.

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  127. 127
    J R in WV says:

    @Jay:

    Switching to touchscreens and other technologies allowed the USN to reduce crew sizes by 50 people, 15%, on the ships.

    Well, actually not, if they can’t avoid big cargo ships in a crowded shipping channel.

    It let them fantasize that they could drop 50 sailors off those ships, but they were wrong!

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  128. 128
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: yup, though my wife suffers more

    @TenguPhule: the difference being what?

    @JPL: yeah, quite a few of those references ‘round these parts. Not as annoying as all the trucks in the left lane on I-10 though.

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  129. 129
    ola azul says:

    @Jay:

    Worked onna squid seiner down San Pedro way for a buddy some years back. After season, we wuz bringing boat back (three of us: my buddy, who was cap, deck boss, and flunkey me). SoCal to Bellingham, Wa., wheel watches, 4 hours on, 8 hours off.

    Just finisht my watch rounding Cape Flattery (outstretched dainty pinky on NW Wash. coast), Neah Bay next. Deck boss was next on watch, following a track line, just after midnight, so blacker’n inside of a cow as they sez in Minnesoooota. I slept blissly unaware thru whole thing, but sperience reminds me a that old joke: “What’s the most sensitive portion onna adolescent boy’s body?” (Women never get this joke, cuz it has no physical resonance for ’em, and even guys, dullards that we oft are don’t get it.) Answer: His ears! (Cuz he’s worried about getting caught jacking off.)

    Joke pertains cuz *anything* don’t sound right, or off, or suddenly and inexplicably *differnt*, peeps that are onnit turn shit over till they figger out what it is.

    Well, as chance would have it, deck boss were a very fine deck boss but not sucha good navigator. Following track line put vessel betwixt two blips on the radar, widely spaced. Figgered could make it. But what deck boss failt to ascertain is that them blips was moving *ex-fucking-zackly* in concert w/e/o. Got within 100 yards, and deck boss (thankfully) got concerned and confused enough to slow vessel down.

    Pace the silly joke, that sudden arrest of the steady hum at a constant running speed to idle woke my buddy up outta a dead sleep. Like the Night Before Critmas guy, he leaps into the wheelhouse, ascertains our sitch and takes corrective action.

    Twere a tug and barge, cable connecting two not shown on radar. Woulda crushed us like John Belushi stoving a beer can on his forehead.

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  130. 130
    TenguPhule says:

    The Trump administration is advocating for the dissolution of a federal immigration judges’ union that has been critical of the president’s policies.

    The Justice Department argued in a Friday court filing with the Federal Labor Relations Authority that immigration judges are actually management officials and therefore ineligible to be represented by the National Association of Immigration Judges.

    NAIJ’s president, Ashley Tabaddor, found that argument laughable. “This is nothing more than a desperate attempt by the DOJ to evade transparency and accountability, and undermine the decisional independence of the nation’s 440 Immigration Judges,” she said in a statement. “We don’t even have the authority to order pencils.”

    The union has previously complained that the administration’s metrics for evaluating immigration judges undermine judicial independence and due process.

    I wonder how it feels to take years of law school in order to become a member of the bar only to discover that the legal standards have been reduced to crazy banana pants.

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  131. 131
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    the difference being what?

    Your billable hours, I assume.

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  132. 132

    @TenguPhule: Remember, I’m old and that usually wasn’t a problem on TOS. Most of the casualties where Redshirts which usually got offed as OH noted above.

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  133. 133
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steve in the ATL: You brought he with you??? Why do you hate her so? More to the point, why hasn’t she divorced you yet???

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  134. 134
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: lord no. She suffers simply by being married to me. She does usually come with me though when I’m speaking at a conference at an actual nice place, such as the Hotel del Coronado or the Westin St. Francis or the Brown Palace.

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  135. 135
    Yarrow says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Enjoying the heat?

    Question for you and any others who travel regularly. I don’t travel as much as I used to but had to fly somewhere last week. On the return flight the TSA security experience had something I hadn’t seen before. They put all of us into two chutes. Two by two we were told to walk forward at the same pace. There were white arrows on the floor just in case we weren’t sure where to go. Just behind us as we walked a TSA officer had a dog sweep the floor. The officer and dog would go from one side to the other, then wait. Another pair would go forward and the officer and dog would go back to the first side. Over and over.

    Felt like we were animals heading to the slaughter. Really unnerved me and not much bothers me about the security theater at TSA checkpoints these days. They even split up the couple that was in front of me. No, they couldn’t go forward on the same arrow with a third person from the other chute on the second arrow. They had to split up and each walk on an arrow.

    So my question is, is this a typical security thing at TSA checkpoints now? The whole two by two, follow the arrows, go forward at the same pace, dog sweeps the floor just after you? I’d never seen it before but my travel had been limited of late. It’s seriously authoritarian and creepy. Did not like.

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  136. 136
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: “They’re dead, Jim.”

    @Steve in the ATL: Whew, that would be cruel and unusual, which I have to say labor lawyers are pretty unusual, but they mostly leave the cruelty to their opponents.

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  137. 137

    @Steve in the ATL: The Brown Palace is nice, I’ve stayed there a couple of times.

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  138. 138
    frosty says:

    @StringOnAStick: I went shopping for a Mazda3 a couple of years ago. The 2014 had dials for the heat/AC and pushbuttons/dial for the radio. The 2015 put everything on a touchscreen. I bought the 2014. I hope it lasts until this touchscreen nonsense goes away.

    PS no satnav either.

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  139. 139

    Went to The Japanese Garden yesterday, took some IR pics.

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  140. 140
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Yarrow: it’s rare, but happens. More common is routing everyone on a winding theme park-ride style path that passes by a drug and bomb dog. Still rare, though, at least in my experience. Maybe some airports are worse?

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  141. 141
    tony in san diego says:

    @prostratedragon: thanks for the tip! I never heard of her! I just cued up her 50 you tube videos!

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  142. 142
    Yarrow says:

    @Steve in the ATL: This was a fairly large city airport. Not a huge city like NYC or LA but a major international airport. For me it was unnerving. We were all in these chutes. The TSA guy kept having to repeat “walk forward at the same pace” to each pair. The long queue went by the dog/arrows-on-floor section so we all got to watch it in action prior to our arrival at the front of the line.

    It reminded me far too much of the photos I’ve seen of Nazi officers dealing with people being sent to concentration camps. The uniforms. The dog. The lines. It felt way too authoritarian.

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  143. 143
    MomSense says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I spent the weekend at a family reunion on a cattle farm in a remote area in Northern, Maine. No cell signal. No tv. We did have running water, the tastiest corn and tomatoes, and homemade ice cream. They have about 1,000 acres. It was a lot of fun to go exploring.

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  144. 144
    Jay says:

    @ola azul:

    Took a course on nav lights, how to identify them at night, how to chart bearings off them, and how to change angles to ensure that the lights were not being masked by bad angles.

    #1 rule of a small sailboat at sea, is don’t be a speedbump for large shipping.

    Never had radar. Learned DN from an old Newfie and how to navigate in fog, even make landfall in fog. Fishing for 60 years in small trawlers and not getting run down in the busy shipping channels were his qualifications.

    Relying on one tool, dominanty, rather than the full kit, can get you extinct.

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  145. 145
    NotMax says:

    re: some of the above

    I like having the option for self-checkout. As most often am buying only a few items, no waiting on long lines at the express lane. Also too, chatty cashiers drive me buggy; my attention is focused on the monitor screen as each item is rung up.

    One of my innate mutant abilities is to have among my purchases one item which either doesn’t scan or scans at the wrong price – really, happens better than 80% of the time*. Have consistently found the employees staffing the self-checkout much, much quicker about dealing with those cases than are the regular cashiers. And I don’t get the feeling of holding up people behind me on a line while it is being corrected as there is no one waiting for that specific self-checkout machine.

    *One time at a Whole Foods the cashier and the manager insisted they didn’t even carry an item until I walked them to the shelf.

    @OzarkHillbilly – @OzarkHillbilly

    Am way too straight arrow honest to do that and would feel bad about it for days afterward if I did.

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  146. 146
    Jay says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    It’s already crossed the border.

    And the venom and misinformation is being bankrolled by the same batch of Kochsuckers internationally,

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/sweden-nationalism-neo-nazi-riksdag-far-right-europe-donald-trump-a9052161.html%3famp

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  147. 147
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Yarrow:

    Felt like we were animals heading to the slaughter.

    Yes. Yes. YES. back in 2004, I was in RTP airport, waiting for my flight home, and heard a muffled voice over the tannoy, saying something-or-other. Then saw some guys go by with sniffer dogs. And thought to myself: “when Fascist America arrives, we’ll all be well-trained, b/c we practice what it’s like to live there, every time we spent time in an airport”.

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  148. 148

    @NotMax:
    One thing I like about the self-checkout is that it’s less of a problem to spend a bunch of coins. If you try to pay the cashier at a regular checkout with a couple of bucks in loose change, everyone gets angry at you for holding up the line. Nobody complains when you do that at the self checkout.

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  149. 149
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Yarrow: yeah, that’s creepy AF.

    @MomSense: fun exploring because of the lovely natural area, or fun exploring because that keeps you away from your family? I know how it would work with the flakes and crazies and occasional RWNJ if we had a family reunion….

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  150. 150
    zhena gogolia says:

    I just now found out who Green Shirt Guy is. These memes are moving too fast for me.

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  151. 151
    Ruckus says:

    @Immanentize:
    All true 50 yrs ago but the control concepts were the same. Engine order telegraph for example. Yes it was electrical but it worked on the same concepts for the operators and engineers.
    I think a major problem here is the numbers of crew, and the training and that there was someone who’d done this for a while in most of the sections of the crew. Some didn’t have a lifer with experience, for example my rate. We had an E6 for about 2 months, and he was worse than useless, my second year on board I was an E5 in charge of 6. Some rates had E6 and E7. They at least had done the work prior even if they didn’t actually do much other than stand around and be self important. And some of them got their hands dirty. But people learned. Jay commented that there were 280 on board the McCain. Same basic ship we had 300 and were short handed. Different propulsion and that would have an effect on crew size, steam takes a lot of effort and manpower to work at 1275 psi without blowing up.

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  152. 152
    KithKanan says:

    @Roger Moore: Not actually true. Aldi in Germany split into two parts after a disagreement between the two brothers who owned it in the early 1960s. Aldi Nord later bought Trader Joes while Aldi Sud expanded into the US under the Aldi name.

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  153. 153
    TS (the original) says:

    @Baud:

    I also hate those self checkouts.

    Dogs gift to the the store owners. And some days people queue to not be served. I’ve never used one.

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  154. 154
    SectionH says:

    @NotMax: When Kroger’s had an “item free if it scans over actual price” policy, we got free cat litter for ~3 months once. The stuff was on a substantial mark-down, so yeah, he’d complain, they’d go check, he’d get the bag free, and he always expect that they’d fix the computer. It only started ringing up correctly after the sale went away. Don’t know why the sale lasted so long, but apparently he was the only shopper who noticed, so I guess they were still coming out ahead.

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  155. 155
    MomSense says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Lovely natural area and everyone was nice but they aren’t exactly talkers. Lots of nodding and ayuhing.

    They do have homing pigeons, though. Ooooold school email.

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  156. 156
    Ruckus says:

    @Yarrow:

    It felt way too authoritarian.

    Wanna bet that was the reaction you are supposed to get from it?

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  157. 157
    WhatsMyNym says:

    Video tour on the bridge of a product tanker. Lots of physical controls matched with very nice displays.

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  158. 158
    J R in WV says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    thought to myself: “when Fascist America arrives, we’ll all be well-trained, b/c we practice what it’s like to live there, every time we spent time in an airport”.

    But actually, most Americans never even visit an airport, except maybe to pick up a relative who took the chance to visit a big city.

    ;-)

    Seriously, I agree with you. Fortunately, we fly seldom enough that we can afford Business Class tickets, which give you priority at the TSA checkpoint. Customs & immigration, on the other hand…

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  159. 159
    TS (the original) says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    The day they do that here is the day I shop someplace else.

    Someplace else is rapidly disappearing in my part of the world. The evolution of the grocery store as I know it

    Queue & wait for the grocer to get your items one at a time
    2 operators at each checkout, one registering from a tag price, one packing
    2 operators but items now have bar codes with price
    1 operator who registers and packs (or if you are in the UK, you pack yourself & the queue moves at your pace)
    No operators, you do it all yourself

    Staff goes down, cost of groceries still goes up

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  160. 160
    NotMax says:

    @Roger Moore

    Yes indeedy. Good point.

    @Stev in the ATL

    Appreciated a small concession from the TSA people while leaving Maui this year. Was carrying along the replaced (but not really all that old) PC in order to give it to Mom in NY. It just fit into the carry-on bag which slides under the seat. Cumbersome to get it maneuvered into the bag and left room for little else – a book, a snack, a couple of very small odds ‘n’ ends. When the time came to take out all electronics and put them into the baskets, explained that was carrying a full-on PC to the TSA person, who asked me to open the bag, took one look and said I could simply take the other items out, leave the bulky unit alone in the bag and she’d tell the person at the scanner what it was.

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  161. 161
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @MomSense: I believe you meant “honing” pigeons, looser

    Or perhaps you weren’t here the day that someone was talking about “honing in” on something.

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  162. 162
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @J R in WV: TSA precheck is way less expensive than business class tickets, and adding Global Entry doesn’t cost much more

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  163. 163
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @TS (the original): damn that Clarence Saunders and his Piggly Wiggly!

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  164. 164
    Ruviana says:

    @J R in WV: For years I was my mom’s caregiver. She had COPD and used a disabled plate. One day we were getting out of the car at the market when a dude pulled into the other handicapped spot. I leaned against the handicapped sign and my mom, who was on oxygen, got out of the car. We just stared at him and after a few minutes he turned his car on and peeled out of there. Made me feel great it did.

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  165. 165

    @TS (the original):
    It seems like there’s a pivot in the middle of that transition from changes designed to make the process faster and more efficient to ones intended to make it cheaper even if it slows things down.

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  166. 166
    zhena gogolia says:

    WTF happened to YouTube?

    ReplyReply
  167. 167
    SectionH says:

    @J R in WV: If you buy Business when you fly on vacation, you might as well pop for Global Entry. $100 for 5 years (or it was).

    Eta: I see Steve got there first.
    And GE works as Pre-check for domestic

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  168. 168

    @Steve in the ATL: No problem for me, I ain’t going anywhere.

    ReplyReply
  169. 169
    zhena gogolia says:

    Does this blog only function from 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM?

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  170. 170

    @zhena gogolia: Did it disappear? Works here.

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  171. 171
    Ruviana says:

    @trollhattan: Has anyone told TaMara about this?

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  172. 172
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @J R in WV:

    Fortunately, we fly seldom enough that we can afford Business Class tickets

    With respect and gentleness, I don’t think this changes anything. The essence of Fascism is that until you’re a target for the “pointy end of the stick”, you’re just a random citizen, and the worst you’ll experience is annoyance and wasted time. Standing in line. Getting exausted doing that. But when you’re a target, they’ll bring the entire body of that “rights-free zone” down upon you. And THAT is what I really mean: indecipherable announcements from the tannoy, which if not followed, can land you in a world of shit; teams of popo with sniffer dogs, who if they alert on you or your bags, can again land you in a world of shit. And throughout, you have no rights, no recourse. You gave those up when you set foot inside the airport.

    I avoid flying like the plague it is.

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  173. 173

    @Chetan Murthy: Yeah, but don’t you feel safe? //

    ETA: Then again, I’ve only flown twice in the last 15 years.

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  174. 174
    zhena gogolia says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    The format changed — instead of being able to see lots of little screens with possibilities, there are just two big screens.

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  175. 175

    @zhena gogolia: I still get a bunch of thumbnails, odd.

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  176. 176
    zhena gogolia says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    My thumbnails are now palm-sized. I hate it.

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  177. 177
    Eric S. says:

    @Roger Moore: I’m late so this will probably be lost. A friend has a 190? car. It has a pedal that functions as brake, clutch, and emergency brake depending on how far down you push it. It is wicked hard to drive for just the reason you explain. One control does too many things.

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  178. 178
    Bill Arnold says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    My Prius has most of the touchscreen functions available as buttons on the steering wheel (2007).

    At least on mine (a little newer) they overload the display button on the steering wheel a bit. Press and hold in trip mode and it resets the trip distance to zero. Press and hold in odometer mode and it switches between miles per hour and kilometers per hour.

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  179. 179
    catclub says:

    @NotMax:

    The checkout at the other end of the store for contractors and the like did still have live cashiers.

    Sounds like an 80-20 rule in action.

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  180. 180
    catclub says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    ETA: Then again, I’ve only flown twice in the last 15 years.

    This ‘new controls and incomplete training on the new software’ is oddly familiar -like 737Max familiar.

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  181. 181
    StringOnAStick says:

    @frosty: I thought I was wrong based on what Ghost said, but I must have the bottom end 2007 Prius because the only things I can do from the steering wheel are cruise control and radio volume, no temperature or fan speed controls.

    My BIL gave it to me right before he passed away from an exceptionally rare cancer, telling me my husband/his brother isn’t allowed to drive it because he has “heavy foot” and BIL was very particular about getting the best possible mileage. I love how it drives, the back up camera is a revelation and everything else about it is perfect. I just wish the environmental controls were analog. I can even get my mountain bike inside it with just the front wheel off a d the rear seats folded down. It is a bit squirrelly in snow but that’s b because it is so light.

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  182. 182
    sm*t cl*de says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia. We have similar, though more advanced, technology. The Russian “Skyfall” explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!

    I believe the official position is that the US does not have fission-powered cruise missiles because the technology is inherently crap, but for Trump it is more important to side with the Russian state claim to a grievance.

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  183. 183
    Procopius says:

    @Roger Moore: The reason the budget goes to fancy equipment instead of training people to use it is that the pension for a retired admiral is totally inadequate for his/her needs. /s The complex and fragile equipment is not intended to be used, indeed would be hazardous to the health of anyone so foolhardy as to actually try to use it. It is there to channel funds to where they will be used to hire the retired admiral as a consultant. That’s why, for example, the Littoral Combat Ship turned out to be a complete failure, and, because so much has been spent on them we can’t just throw them away, they are being repurposed as a light version of a frigate. That’s why, two years after it was supposed to be delivered completed the aircraft carrier Gerald Ford hasn’t even begun sea trials, although the Navy “accepted delivery” so the builder could be paid. It. like the F-35, was ordered while some subsystems had not yet been designed. This was expected to save both time and money. LOL!

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  184. 184
    Procopius says:

    @StringOnAStick: I have read that the Tesla has, or will have, all functions on a screen in the middle of the dashboard. It will also serve as an entertainment center for the passengers. So looking at the speedometer will mean not just glancing down, but having to shift your attention considerably to the your right (or left depending what country you’re driving in). What could go wrong?

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  185. 185
    Procopius says:

    @zhena gogolia: YouTube changes their system every so often so people can’t download videos, if that’s what you mean. A few months and the new apps to download videos will be back. Oh, wait, I just had to use Firefox because I was testing a Linux distro and they still work. Chrome helps YouTube block downloading because they’re owned by Google.

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  186. 186
    Lynno says:

    Clearly the Navy is not training the sailors. They should have simulators like the jet pilots get trained on. If you can’t master the simulator you should not get to pilot the ship.

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