Friday, May 10, 2019

11-year forced to bear rapist’s baby?

Laws are not abstract things to be used for making points with a politician’s base. They affect real people.

In this case, an 11-year-old who became pregnant after being raped must, by Ohio law, carry the fetus to term and give birth to it. I assume that any miscarriage will cause the opening of a criminal investigation.

Will this birth happen? I doubt it; there will be an abortion. Do the politicians care about the burden they have placed on this girl who is not even a teenager? I doubt it.

But we must stop passing these laws just to pander to the misguided. They can believe what they want but they should not be allowed to inflict their views on others.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

We need to prevent violent crimes

Our various law enforcement officers and prosecutors are very effective at stopping crimes being committed and also investigating and prosecuting crimes after they’ve been committed (but see Note).

Now we must move to the next level: Stopping crimes from being committed. From two fathers who shot their own sons in the face, to a shooter at a synagogue, to a truck driver who is unable to stop a speeding truck without killing people, we need to figure out where, when and how for the police to intervene before these horrible things happen.

This issue was tackled in the movie “Minority Report” (2002). In my vision, the PreCogs in the movie would be replaced by artificial intelligence programs running on supercomputers. For the sake of all of us, I think the research and development of such a system is more important than going to the Moon or Mars or self-driving cars. How many lives could be saved if even 10% of violent crimes could be stopped before they happen?

I predict that this is possible in my son’s lifetime. But is anyone working on this now?


Note: Not all departments are good at solving crimes. One glaring example is the inability of the Chicago Police Department to solve a string of 51 killings of women, going back to 2001, most involving women of color. Some suspect a serial killer is on the loose.

And then there’s the Baltimore Police Department, which has destroyed 521 rape kits without processing them since 2010. There will be no justice here.


Originally posted on my Facebook page on April 27, 2019.

Friday, February 22, 2019

One year anniversary of the shootings in Parkland, Florida

It’s been a year since 14 students and three adults were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The Miami Herald wanted to know how many children have been killed in the year by gunfire since that day. Their total: 1,157. They ran short stories of each of these victims in the paper February 12.

My opinion: It’s too easy to get a gun and bullets(!) in this country, especially those with a known mental illness or a felony conviction. In many cases, the problem is not a lack of of laws, but lax enforcement. I don’t want to take away the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns; I want small, incremental changes made in the existing laws and better enforcement until the problem is reduced to a level society can live with — and I have no idea what that level is.

[This was originally posted on my Facebook page February 17. The comments from that post are included below.]

Friday, November 23, 2018

Ignoring mental health crisis leads to tragedy — Guest blog

This guest blog is a Letter to the Editor of The San Diego Union-Tribune, published November 19 (on page B5 in the print edition). This letter, along with the earlier Letters to the Editor, were prompted by a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California on November 7, leaving 13 people dead.

Re “Another mass shooting has readers looking for answers” (Nov. 8): This California tragedy is another sad example of what can happen when parents, who know their son and can see he needs medication or treatment, call the police for help to get their child taken to a hospital on a 5150 evaluation hold and are subsequently told by the police crisis team that he doesn’t meet the criteria of “a threat to himself or others” or is “gravely disabled.”

When will our country change the laws and definitions of when persons with a neurological disorder can be involuntarily medicated and treated until they are returned to rational thought? This untreated state, coupled with our weak gun ownership laws, is the crux of why these shootings are occurring.

A doctor on NPR responded to a reporter’s question, “What we can do to stop this from happening?” His response: “If you see something, say something.” Exactly what his parents did.

Linda Mimms, Poway

Linda shared this Letter to the Editor on Facebook on November 19 with this comment:

When will our society's inhumane laws change in the treatment of neurological brain disorders? When the efforts of thousands of advocates for change—including families, doctors, legislators, and anyone who cares about improving the broken system now in place—force the issue and produce positive results.

Linda Mimms lives in Poway, California.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

When are people going to think about risks?

Houses in Paradise, California are not designed to resist forest fires.

Houses in Oklahoma are not designed to resist tornadoes.

Houses in the Florida panhandle are not designed to resist hurricanes.

Houses in Memphis, Tennessee are not designed to resist earthquakes.

In most of the country, power, phone and cable wires are placed on poles, which are subject to all of these Disasters, except for earthquakes

These are areas known for natural risks. Why do so many people die and so many others have their lives ruined due to society ignoring these risks?

Edited November 23 to fix errors and add labels.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Mining Bitcoins takes four times the energy of mining gold

I knew that "mining" Bitcoins took a lot of energy, increasing global warming and climate change. In fact, it takes so much energy that it is unsustainable as a currency.

According to this analysis, the energy cost of "mining" $1 worth of Bitcoin is 19 Mega Joules, which is almost four times the energy cost of $1 of gold, 5 Mega Joules.

Other metals, such as platinum and copper, have similar energy requirements to gold, but aluminum does stand out with the requirement of 122 Mega Joules per $1 of aluminum produced. Of course, that is why aluminum recycling is so common.


I am an annual subscriber to The Guardian to support its journalism. Although based in England, it does a great job covering stories in the United States that other media sometimes miss. If you wish to support it, start by downloading their app to your cell phone or tablet.

Lindsay Olives: Thinner steel in your cans?

Message to Lindsay Olives (Bell-Carter Foods, Inc.) today:


When I've eaten your olives (Lindsay Naturals Large Black Ripe Pitted Olives; UPC Code 0-53800-95000-6), I recycle the cans. To keep the lids from cutting anyone at the recycling plant, I crush the can so that the lid doesn't fall out.

In crushing the cans, I have noticed that the steel in your cans is considerably thicker than the steel in other food cans, say Kroger Tomato Sauce. If you can reduce the thickness of the steel, you can save on the cost of the cans plus the cost of shipping without compromising food quality or the risk of damage.

By the way, I love the "brown" (natural) olives over the "black" olives (due to the added ferrous gluconate). I wish restaurants would switch.

Let me know what you think.

Bruce Hobbs

I'll update this post when I get feedback.

Updated November 11 with email received November 6:

Dear Mr. Hobbs,

Thanks for your thoughts – we’re always delighted to hear from olive lovers! We are delighted that you enjoy our Lindsay Naturals Black Ripe Olives.

We appreciate your taking the time to share your suggestions with us. They have been shared with our Quality Assurance and Marketing departments. Our customer’s opinions are very important to us! At Lindsay, we constantly strive for perfection and honest feedback from people like yourself helps us monitor our products and continually improve our processes.

Thank you for your feedback. If you would like to provide your mailing address, we would love to send you coupons to enjoy towards your next can or jar of Lindsay Olives as a gesture of our appreciation for your support.