Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Mothers who take acetaminophen (Tylenol) during pregnancy are more likely to have ADHD children. Well, not exactly proven, but a study of 64,000 cases over a long period suggest this to be true.

Drugs have side effects. They are not completely safe.


This is not the first negative to be associated with Tylenol, either. Yes, aspirin has its negatives, too, but our ancestors have been chewing on willow bark for a long time.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Moore's Law

Again, passing along information that I did not write, but find interesting:

Moore's Law comes to us from Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS) and, later, Intel Corporation (INTC). In a nutshell, Dr. Moore wrote a paper in 1965 describing his observation that the number of transistors on a given cost integrated circuit had doubled each year since the invention of the integrated circuit, and his belief that the number of transistors would continue to double, at the same cost, every two years for the foreseeable future. The subtle detail that is often missed in casual discussions of Moore's Law is that the number of transistors doubles AT THE SAME COST. So the size of a transistor has continually become smaller and less expensive.
This is almost unbelievable insight at a time where we were still four years away from landing on the moon, and we still didn't have the ubiquitous, and almost free, four function handheld electronic calculator.
Moore's Law (Moore's Observation) has been driving the progress in semiconductor technology for the past 50 years, and quite accurately, I might add. The feature size or "node" has been reduced from 10 um (micrometer) for the first commercial microprocessor (4004) to 14nm (nanometer) for the soon to be shipping Broadwell microprocessor. That is a 99.86% reduction in the size of a transistor. The 4004 had 2300 transistors and the Broadwell is expected to have about 1.6 billion transistors. That is almost 700,000 times more transistors than the first microprocessor!

The benefits we enjoy daily have been largely influenced by this miracle. But the subject of the article is that Moore's Law must come to an end.

We are about out of physics, here people. But the ride has been a good one. And this insight, as is mentioned, is truly amazing.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Auto jobs getting out of Australia

I would like to make more of this than it is, but in a global economy, this may show that labor can price itself out of a job.
Not exactly like Detroit, but not that much different, either. Cheaper to make the stuff in China and Mexico, and BMW has just opened its first Mexican plant.
One thing to consider carefully, however, is the size of Australia. It is smaller than California, GDP of US$1.57 trillion versus US$2.0 trillion for California, and with a population of 23 million versus 38 million in California. Really not big enough to support a global industry like auto.
  • Toyota (TM) intends to end the production of cars and engines in Australia by the end of 2017, due to high costs, the strong Australian dollar and low economies of scale.
  • Toyota's move is not a huge surprise after the Japanese company warned about the future of its Australian operations last year following the announcement of similar plans by Ford and GM.
  • The exit by the car companies represents the end of an era for Australian manufacturing. Toyota's departure will hit 2,500 jobs directly, although the auto industry supports over 40,000 workers and 150 supplier companies. (PR)
Still a big blow for the economy. It won't be made healthy by manufacturing guns, either, since Australia rounded up the guns in 1996. Unfortunately, the guns didn't cure violent crime nor reduce suicides. 
The US has had a substantial decline in the incidence of violent crimes and crimes involving guns. Maybe due to the elimination of lead in gasoline??
Remember, the secret of the rain dance is TIMING!

My List, Spoiler Alert

As I promised, here is my list of the five people I would invite to dinner, a glass of wine and good conversation:

Ray Pitman.  A WWII vet, traveled the islands of the Pacific landing on beaches in the second waves.  Lots of stories.  Invented several INDUSTRIES, not just machines, including the “cherry picker” industry, digger derricks, trenchers, wood chippers and a few more.  Truly a remarkable raconteur with stories of dining with “kings.”

Queen Elizabeth I.  During her reign, the world was permanently altered.  Great things happened with regularity.  Shakespeare, Drake, the Spanish Armada.  The New World.  The Virgin Queen.

Will Rogers.  A man of uncommon wit and wisdom.

My Great Grandmother at Age 75.  The reason for the age—she lived to be 109.  I was 13 when she died, I knew her well and she was 16 when Lincoln was assassinated.  She was a widow for over 70 years, and at age 75, she had seen a lot—the year would be 1924.

Genghis Khan.  Established the greatest empire the world has ever known, stretching from Poland to Viet Nam, from the borders of Egypt to Korea.  How did he come up with concepts like freedom of religion, the postal system, diplomatic immunity, and free commerce?

Here is another list, from daughter Amy:

Jesus - because I think he would be an optimistic and peaceful person to meet - and he has changed the world more than anyone else in history.

Queen Elizabeth I - because she inspired my fascination with queens - powerful women.

Benjamin Franklin - his ideas probably align with mine and he was so instrumental to the foundation of our government.  And, he would probably be pretty fascinating to talk to - always curious and knowledgeable about a lot of things.

Abigail Adams - a "behind the scenes" woman.  She was married to a powerful man and probably inspired him as well.  If she had lived today, we probably would have known more about her contributions.

Mary Magdalene -
I believe she had a lot more to do with Jesus' ministry than we are led to believe in the Bible.  I would want to know the truth.  She is another "behind the scenes" woman who we don't know much about because of the role of women at the time.  And, she would keep Jesus company at the dinner party:-)

Amy Barnhill, Ph.D.
University of Houston-Victoria
Associate Professor, Literacy Studies
Coordinator of Teacher Education Program

Not surprising that both of us mentioned QEI, that has long been a shared interest. Anybody else??

Friday, February 7, 2014

Who would you invite?

Response to the following question:

You are giving a dinner party.  You can invite 5 people from anytime in history to join you in good food, good wine and, importantly, good conversation.  Who do you invite, and why?

MY GUEST LIST: I will post tomorrow or in a couple of days, including a spoiler alert.


POST YOUR GUEST LIST ON HERE OR EMAIL ME AND I WILL POST IT (a bit difficult to post on here sometimes...)
Always looking for new clients and folks who own businesses that want to sell them.