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Fires Update

The number of fires has been reduced to a dozen, and more help is arriving all the time, including help from the US with fire aftermaths, including protecting the water shed and preventing erosion if it does rain. They are also doing some controlled burning, now that the weather is cooperating, to remove fuel from the next fire, as well as increasing the containment of the current fires.

It is important to remember that there are about two months of summer to go in Australia, so the threat is nowhere near over.

February 14, 2009   Comments Off on Fires Update

Doing It Right

For the first time since 1950, Toyota is not going to make a profit, so it is making some changes to weather the GOPression. CBS reports that Toyota Cuts Exec Pay, Eliminates Bonuses.

It is doing a lot of other things that affect the pay of all Toyota workers, but it started at the top to cut costs. Apparently they aren’t afraid of losing executives, and they don’t think you have to put all of the pain on the workers. You have to wonder if that’s why they have overtaken General Motors as the number one car maker in the world. They seem to think that the people who actually make the cars are just as important as the people who make management decisions.

In Asian companies the people who make decisions are expected to feel the pain when the decisions are wrong, as well as benefiting when the decisions are right. The concept is know as accepting responsibility.

February 14, 2009   4 Comments

They’re Off

Sled DogThe first of 29 teams left at 11:00 AM local time on the trail to Fairbanks. The current conditions at race time were partly cloudy and -9 °F, so the trail should be fast. The time difference between the teams is made up at the Dawson City layover.

You can get Race Updates here, and this is the official trail map.

The Daily News-Miner has a Google map, but they haven’t updated it for this year, although they do have a web cam for current conditions in Fairbanks, a stifling 19°F. The temperature is expected to return to the normal 0° high next week. [Note: that is hot for February in Fairbanks, and it means taking off a set of long underwear.]

The list of mushers is below the fold, with the R indicating first time competitors. In addition to Canada and the US, Austria, France, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, and the UK are represented.

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February 14, 2009   Comments Off on They’re Off


HeartWhy are you being hustled by street vendors to buy sad and drooping former roses, vegetative matter that missed the cut for bouquets, or were too late to the hospital?

Blame Esther A. Howland (1828 – 1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her guilt is writ large by the Greeting Card Association’s Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary. She imported the concept to the US from Britain to bolster her father’s stationery store in 1847.

Of course, it wasn’t long before the stationers had infiltrated school boards and imposed the now mandatory exchange in the classroom to push the low end product of Asian children and prisoners.

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February 14, 2009   8 Comments