ON THE 2020 EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL DISTRICT ISSUES AND THE CORONAVIRUS

May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020

 

May 1 articles are normally devoted solely to the EWSD budget vote. But due to the corona episode, I will only devote one short paragraph to the budget. Because of the crisis we are experiencing, I am also providing my thoughts on the coronavirus and the conduct of a handful of the major players.

 

The budget vote? It’s the same old story. Our district has fallen on hard times, thanks to the earlier self-serving behavior of David Israel and Susan Bergtraum, plus the present school administrators and board. Is there a solution? I doubt it, as the deck is stacked against the students, parents, and seniors; the waste, ridiculous salaries, and indifference to the plight of our seniors are the main culprits. Maybe the Village will finally decide to take action. It’s now obvious, and a fact, that spending money like a drunken sailor on education will not correct the problem. In the meantime, is there any chance this incompetent board will demand the teachers take a pay cut during this period when so many of our community are suffering financially? Sorry, you already know the answer. So do yourself a favor and vote NO on this year’s budget sometime after June 1. Yes, it’s OK to vote NO. Don’t be a glutton for punishment and stop being taken for a fool.

 

On to the Wuhan Chinese coronavirus. There are traitors amongst us. A good number of them are our elected representatives to Congress and the media. These are the individuals who put their own interests above all else. These are the same individuals who shockingly savaged both Kavanagh and Gorsuch plus chose the impeachment path to destroy our President, plus….  .  And now, these same individuals are at it again; this time doing immense damage to our nation.

 

Fortunately , we have a President who has somehow withstood merciless attacks from not only his own party, but also the democrats, the unions, educators, Hollywood, fanatics/liberals, and (worst of all) a totally biased corrupt media. Trump is an executive who surrounded himself with experts, and drawing on their knowledge and experience, reached sound decisions and then delegated authority. It’s exactly what you want out of a CEO and that is why our nation prospered like never before prior to the virus. It is frightening to think what would have happened if Obama, or Biden, or the Hill, or … were in charge: corruption would reign supreme and all businesses and other decisions would be based on politics, not the best interests of our nation. You don’t believe this? Look how the Democrats conducted themselves during the Kavanaugh hearing and the impeachment trial. They belong in jail for the way they behaved.

 

In any event, it is essentially impossible (I mean impossible) for two large groups of individuals (Democrats and Republicans) to vote in a totally polarized manner without one group being corrupt. It is simply impossible from a statistical perspective! And, I leave it to the reader to determine which group is corrupt.

 

My thoughts on some of major individuals and organizations follow. Here are eight (8) 1-liners:

 

Pelosi:  An evil, wicked woman who is mentally deranged and a traitor who commented that Biden “is the best individual who can solve our nation’s problems”.

Biden:  Three years ago I wrote: “Joe Biden is the dumbest individual in Washington” and I repeated these words three times since; you can also add: perhaps the most corrupt. Maybe I’m a little smarter than I look.

Obama:  Lazy and incompetent best describes this guy.

Pence:  Has come up smelling like roses during this virus episode.

New York Times:  All you have to do is read the headlines to realize how corrupt this paper is. This appeared last Sunday: “GOP Planning is to Make China its Scapegoat – A Way to Deflect Virus Blame from Trump”. Truly pitiful.

CNN:   Traitors galore; it is sad to watch their behavior on clips on FOX.

Newsday:  Local paper that has seen better days.

Democrats in Congress:  Almost all traitors. Playing politics with taxpayers’ money when it comes to the virus.

 

A short paragraph on Cuomo. What a loser–worse than his father. Cuomo is presently frantically trying to place the blame elsewhere.  He obviously is thinking about running for President despite his failures to purchase the ventilators recommended by his own committee in 2015. His daily chats, where he lectures us and insults the President, are sickening; it is his attempt to act presidential. But most importantly, he should explain to us why our state’s virus per capita death rate is astronomically higher (yes, astronomically) than in not only our country but also the world. Incompetence led to his mismanagement of the virus crisis. No wonder we lead the nation in numbers leaving our state.  We would not be experiencing a pandemic if New York State and New York City had been so totally unprepared or if New York were not factored in the virus analysis.  Prediction: He will continue to blame Trump for our problems and demand a bailout.

 

I close with my thoughts on elected officials and career bureaucrats. It is important for all Americans to understand that most (not all, but mostly all) government employees have never earned an honest day’s pay and/or had a legitimate job. They are not only adverse to putting in an honest day’s work but also fearful of making decisions. They are the main reason our government has been effectively paralyzed in the past. The arrival of Trump three years ago, who works 16 hours a day and prides himself on making decisions, even difficult ones, has created numerous problems for these freeloaders. As far as the upcoming election goes, we should not underestimate the stupidity of many of the voters — there is still a chance that Trump will be defeated. Ouch!!! A colleague recently commented to me that Trump is a bully. Well , yes! In government and academia you get promoted if incompetent or lazy. With Trump, you get fired! It is now apparent that the only hope for the media and the liberals is to successfully portray Trump as a liability to our nation. They know if they fail they will add Republicans to the Senate and lose the House.  That is why they can’t say anything (and I mean anything) positive about Trump, his appointees, and his supporters.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

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NEXT POSTINGS:

 

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day V

JULY 1:                      On Four Issues II: The New York Racing Association (NYRA)

AUGUST 1:                On the Coronavirus

———————————————————————————————————————

 

Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

 

  1. If playing on the visiter’s court, check the integrity of the basketball rim before, and if possible, each half.

 

  1. Practice should include big players bringing up the ball; this could prove invaluable against a team with a great defensive guard.

 

  1. If applicable and possible, attempt to have the opponent’s weakest defensive player guarding your best offensive player.

I – On Solving the Greenhouse Gases Problem

January 1, 2020

 

January 1, 2020

 

This article is concerned with the general subject that has come to be defined as global warming / climate change. Well, is it global warming or is it climate change? It depends on who you talk to. What one can say for certain is that many have come to believe that both are related to the so-called greenhouse gases.

 

The greenhouse effect appears to some to be a completely man-made phenomenon in the world today – one that some engineers (not your author) and scientists feel is leading the planet to the brink of disaster.  The term “greenhouse effect” describes two separate but interpendent occurrences: (a) the increase of trace greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, methane, tropospheric ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons) in the earth’s atmosphere, and (b) the absorption and re-emission of long-wave radiation by these gases. In theory, the greenhouse gases act like the glass in a botanical greenhouse, trapping heat and warming the planet. The increased concentration of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide, i.e., CO2) in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution is a well-documented fact; however, the predicted effects of this increase are still in debate among the technical community in the environmental field. Current debate centers around questions such as: (a) Have greenhouse gases affected global weather as yet? (b) How high will the temperature rise once the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reach higher concentrations? (c) How long does it take for changes in greenhouse gas concentrations to affect global climate? However, keep in mind that a half century ago, environmentalists were claiming that the Earth was cooling.

 

Here is my take on the global warming / climate change issue. The entire issue is bogus at this time. The policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are bogus. The changes recommended and advocated by environmentalists are bogus. The present ideologies of environmentalists are bogus. Why bogus? There simply are no hard facts to back up their doomsday predictions. It would therefore be reasonable for one to conclude that any effort to curb CO2 emissions into the atmosphere that involve significant economic changes that can impact man’s social behavior cannot be justified. Any effort to reduce and/or eliminate CO2 emission is thus certain to downgrade the quality of life and lead to an increased state of poverty and world instability; in effect, it would have a dramatic negative impact…and only a minimal effect on global CO2 emissions.

 

Society needs to come to grips with the reality that environmentalists and their supporters are probably the greatest threat to society.  They are a frightening group that is fanatical.  This group will do anything – lie, manipulate, deceive, etc. – to achieve its misguided goals, including to save Mother Earth from itself.

 

Environmentalists justify their conduct by arguing that over 90% of the technical community, based on the flimsiest of hard data that has not been adequately peer reviewed by opposing viewpoints, support their position on global warming. But nearly all of the 90% they refer to have vested interests in the existence of this catastrophic problem facing society.  If there is no problem, most of these so-called experts will be out of a job.  At a minimum, there will be no tenure, no promotions, no articles, no consulting, no books, no government grants and contracts. The environmental organizations who also support this scam will have greater difficulty in generating funding, donations, and government support. And, government bureaucrats will no longer be able to justify to the electorate that they, and they alone, are capable of addressing and solving this contrived problem. Many of my colleagues, authorities in the environmental field, disagree with these environmentalists. Gone are the days when scientists and engineers were beyond reproach.  The reality is that today’s scientist/engineer is as corrupt as the lawyers society has come to detest.

 

You are no doubt aware that lawyers are adept at creating problems while engineers are noted for their ability to solve problems. In days of old, some lectures to my chemical engineering students emphasized how to solve problems. Here is basically what I had to say. First, clearly define the problem. Then apply my 3 Cs concept: Cause, Consequence, and Cost. In effect, what is the cause, what are the consequences, and what will it cost to remedy/eliminate the problem. Here is what we have when this simple concept is applied to global warming and climate change: We really don’t know the cause and we really don’t know the consequences. The solution proposed by the fanatics (they are either dumb or crazy…or both) would bankrupt our economy and probably lead to WWIII; their proposed green agenda is absolutely nuts.

 

Some of my critics claim that I often complain about problems but never offer any solutions. Well, here are seven possible solutions to this potential environmental problem by your favorite author that will have little to no adverse effect on society.

 

  1. Plant 500,000,000 trees. The journal Science (Newsday: 7/5/2019) claimed a trillion trees would do the job in the most efficient manner.
  2. Convert totally from a coal energy economy to one totally based on natural gas. I have previously shown that it would halve (actually 46%) CO2 This partial energy conversion in the U.S. accounts for our achieving the goals of the (ridiculous) 2015 Paris Climate Account.
  3. Convert to a natural gas/oil energy economy. Oil emits approximately 25% less CO2 than coal per unit of energy generated.
  4. Embark on more aggressive domestic and industrial energy conservation programs. This can include converting to electric cars, capping unused wells, controlling CO2 and CH4 (methane) emission from fracking operations, landfills, etc.
  5. Convert to nuclear power. Don’t believe Ralph Nader – the man is clueless. It’s simple, safe, and economically attractive AND there would be no CO2 This is obviously the cheapest and most effective solution.
  6. Halt World Bank funding to China for potential coal-fired power plants since China is no longer (2015) classified as a developing nation.
  7. Any combination of the above.

Any of my solutions would have a dramatic positive impact on our economy with a corresponding reduction on elimination of carbon emissions. My plan would ensure our nation’s energy future without the inevitable loss of jobs. It would replace Obama’s Paris “agreement” – his success story – that allows China to operate nearly an infinite number of coal-fired boilers and India planning to build 23 new coal-fired plants; this was indeed another Obama Administration whopper. Now really, how does the above compare to the green agenda currently being proposed by the liberal progressive Democrats?

 

Bottom line: For the past 4.5 billion years, the Earth’s temperature has varied from year to year, decade to decade, century to century, millennium to millennium, etc., and the changes, at times, were really significant. The same can be said about Earth’s climate. None of these changes were man-made, and only some of these changes have been satisfactorily explained. Yet here we are, not only having survived but also prospered. At the present time, the cause(s) for today’s changes are unknown, the consequences are unknown, and therefore, any attempt to address these phenomena with massive economic expenditures and altering present lifestyles would be insane. Case closed. Next case.

 

Any questions or comments? Bomb away!

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www.theodorenewsletter.com

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NEXT POSTINGS:

 

FEBRUARY 1:           On the Ultimate Quiz II

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXIX

APRIL 1:                     On the Hofstra 2018-19 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                       On the 2020 East Williston School District Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day V

JULY 1:                      On Four Issues II: Climate Change

Here are this month’s three offensive basketball suggestions from the 2nd edition of my “Basketball Coaching 101” book.

 

  1. Every shooter should either follow their shot or get back on defense; he should not just stand there (as with most players today) like a prima donna watching to see if the ball is going to go in. Players were always instructed in earlier times to “follow your shot,” since the shooter, better anyone else on the court, knows where the ball might go.
  2. Whenever possible, shots should be attempted from the head of the key or center position (dead center if possible) of the court, not from the side or end line.
  3. Always fast break – always! One cannot beat taking layups which often results in a fast break.

ON PURELY, CHASTE, PRISTINE AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXVIII

October 1, 2019

Hard to believe. The 28th! Here’s another 25 thoughts of yours truly.

  • It’s a new football season, but I still maintain that Eli Manning is the most overrated and luckiest individual to play the game of football…ever! The football Giants are toast if they don’t go with another quarterback.
  • Had contact with a recently graduated college basketball player who confirmed that two players on his team were paid. Now get this…he attended a mid-major
  • The Mets failed us once again. I thought nobody could be worse than Terry Collins. I was wrong.
  • I maintain that the bulk of the media continues to peddle lies and distortions.
  • Mets reliever Diaz doesn’t deserve the bad press. I believe he has the highest swinging strike ratio in the league – and that is an excellent measure of how good a pitcher is.
  • Just returned from a 3-day visit to Saratoga Springs. It was my 63rd year in a row. Lost some money but had a great time with the family. Finally had dinner at 15 Church Street; it was a unique experience.
  • Recently met democrat Judy Bosworth, Supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead, and was impressed…so much so that I might vote for her next time around. Ditto with Councilman Pete Zuckerman.
  • It’s World Series time. The Mets are dead but I’m still alive with the Yankees (ugh!) and the Braves.
  • My new book on “Water Management” will be out before the end of the year.
  • Mary still gets mad at me when I ask the maître d’ at an upscale restaurant: “Are franks and beans on the menu?”
  • Winter is just around the corner, and I’m not looking forward to it.
  • Lost Richie Dreyer (St. Francis), one of my players, last month. He brought a toughness that was lacking on my Killeen’s Tavern basketball team. He mellowed in his old age and did some wonderful things for AA.
  • I believe that one of our nation’s biggest problems is that family life has been displaced by government subsidies for far too many people.
  • Travel by any mode is terrible in Manhattan. Ditto Brooklyn.
  • Visited Quebec City in late June to attend the annual Air & Waste Management conference and presented two papers. Loved the Canadians and what a great city.
  • When are baseball pitchers going to wake up and figure out that the key to success is to not walk anyone and batters realize to go the other way when the shift is on?
  • Only got to Lot #6 at Jones Beach twice this year. I still maintain it is the most beautiful beach in the world.
  • The New York Racing Association seems hell-bent on destroying thoroughbred racing at Belmont Park. I paid for a season pass but won’t be going back this year; it simply isn’t an enjoyable day anymore. The level of incompetence of this organization is beyond belief. Hello Nassau OTB. I’ll have more to say about this in January.
  • The level of hatred for de Blasio continues to mount; it is almost as bad as that for Trump.
  • Still involved with developing potable (drinking) water processes via the desalination route, but have recently extended my work to include non-desalination methods. This has really been exciting work.
  • Traveled to Monmouth Racetrack (twice!) with several of my players. We visited my dear friend Steve “The Greek” Panos, the toughest Greek since Alexander the Great.  I am forever indebted to Steve for probably saving my life during a riot at one of our basketball games in 1963.
  • It’s all Greek to me. I still love lamb and pastitsio.
  • Recently attended a Kourtakis (maternal) family reunion in New Jersey, and it was just great. Some of us reminisced about life growing up in New York City.
  • Dear friend and noted sports historian Arthur Lovely keeps hitting the nail on the head with his “every day is a blessing”
  • My new quote to those close to me? “I hope misfortune follows you but never catches up.”

 

Tata!

 

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

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NEXT POSTINGS:

 

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

JANUARY 1:              On Four Key Issues

FEBRUARY 1:           On the Ultimate Quiz II

 


ON GREAT EATS IV: DINERS

September 1, 2019

Food has been defined as anything eaten to satisfy an appetite and to meet needs for growth. It maintains all body processes and supplies energy to maintain body temperature and activity. So food is important. But the questions that remains is – where should the food be consumed? At home? In a restaurant? This fourth article on Great Eats is concerned with diners and servers as a follow-up to an excellent May 25, 2019 New York Times (NYT) diner article titled “A Last Cup of Coffee, to Go.”

 

As one might suppose, the word diner has come to mean different things to different people. Webster defines diner as “a small restaurant built to look like a dining car and equipped to serve meals” while the NYT offered “factory-made lunch cars, often with stainless-steel finishes and neon signs.” Others might describe it as something between a step above a simple eatery with a limited menu to a restaurant with an extensive menu, fancy booths, full bar, take-out menu, etc. The former would probably best describe my father’s “9 stool – 3 table business at the North end of Hell’s Kitchen prior to being evicted by Robert Moses, while the latter would best describe the first two of the diners to be described shortly.

 

But, then again, why a follow-up article? The NYT article keyed on diner history and diners located in New York City. This article expands the diner story to include not only those in Queens but also Long Island. What follows is a short writing on a diner in Queens and five diners on Long Island. I asked each diner owner to comment on their background, their business, the present state of the diner business, and the future of diners. Here is some of how these six individuals responded.

 

  1. The Old Westbury Diner (formerly Seacrest), 4 Glen Cove Road, Old Westbury.

The premier upscale diner on the Island. Owned by Stavros Dimas, who emigrated (legally) from Greece in 1980. He has expressed major concerns with rising labor costs and believes only the large diners will survive in the future. My Take? One of my favorites. Great breakfast, full bar, expansive menu, excellent food, easy parking, very pleasant owner who is concerned with the community, and excellent service. This place is also the closest thing to a classy restaurant.

 

  1. The Apollo, 630 Merrick Avenue, East Meadow.

The Apollo is owned by Jimmy (son) and Harry (father) Constantotos. Harry emigrated (legally) from Greece in 1963 and has owned the Apollo since 1976. Perhaps my favorite. As Jimmy put it to me, they “provide basic services, good food and a clean environment.” It features an expansive menu, full bar, ample parking, large portions, very reasonable prices, and excellent service (ask for Nicoletta to be your server). They appear optimistic about the future but expressed concerns with existing competition, labor costs, and the real estate market.

 

  1. Uncle Bills, 307 Stratton Place, Linden Place, Whitestone.

This one is owned by “Aki” (little one in Greek), a big brute by my standards. This lovable Greek emigrated (legally) from Cyprus in 1973 and has owned Bill’s for 16 years. Aki claims it is the cheapest diner in Queens (I think he is right). He is concerned about the future because of rising salaries, rent, and competitors. My Take? The place is a local gem with lots of good dishes, easy parking, and the price is definitely right.

 

On to the next two. Both are Mary’s favorites.

 

  1. Thomas’s Diner is located at 325 Old Country Road, Carle Place.

This place is Mary’s favorite. The diner opened in 1946 and has been owned by the (Thomas) Koukoulas family since 1973. Tom indicated that diners will have difficulty surviving in the future because of “chain restaurants where the quality continues to improve. The old school diner will not be around long as many families are not passing the business along.” The place has a limited menu with great food at very reasonable prices. Despite limited parking, this landmark joint is always (and I mean always) jammed. Mary’s favorite (not mine) and an absolute must for diner lovers.

 

  1. The Mineola Diner, 138 Jericho Turnpike and Willis Avenue, Mineola.

This is one that has survived the relentless passage of time. Michael Alpert purchased the diner (from a Greek) approximately 10 years ago. One of Mary’s favorites, it features excellent food at reasonable prices. The place is small, parking is a problem, and is only open for breakfast and lunch. The menu is limited but there are nearly 100 items to choose from. Not my favorite, but another landmark that has survived the times and one of the better ones that belongs on everyone’s go-to-place list.

On to the sixth one.

  1. Station Plaza Coffee Shop and Diner (breakfast and lunch) at 206 Station Plaza, North Mineola (facing South at the train station).

A newcomer and a relatively unknown, it is usually packed. Probably the cheapest diner to eat at. And, the good news is that the food is excellent and plentiful. Lots to like here even though it doesn’t look like a diner. But as the old saying goes – try it and you’ll be sure to like it. Only negative: metered parking is a problem. New owners, George Arniotis (and father) and Pete Vatakis – Greeks, of course – are there for 2 months and are optimistic about the future of diners. “Give them good food and they’ll keep coming back.”

 

I would be remiss if I did not comment on three other diners. Presently, the diner of all diners is The Neptune (Astoria Blvd. and 31st Street). It was my favorite 65 years ago while growing up in Astoria, and it still is, and is the diner by which all others should be compared. Unfortunately, its days are numbered; it opened its doors for the last time TODAY.   (Update:  Interestingly, the media had reported that the diner was closing but apparently, the lease was extended.)  Another is Mykonos (not the one in Great Neck) – a hole-in-the-wall, semi-diner; it is named after an island in Greece and located in Tarpon Springs, Florida, a community overrun by Greeks and Greek-Americans. Finally, one of my early (pre-teen years) memories that has yet to leave me was dining out on Sundays approximately once a month. It was a Greek eatery – The Acropolis, located on 60th Street, just west of Central Park. I wish it were still around. I can still taste the roast lamb and pastitsio, your author’s two favorite Greek dishes.

 

Finally, diners remain near the top of my list of restaurants to frequent. Why? Six reasons.

 

  1. The food is always fresh
  2. The price is right
  3. Expansive menu
  4. Generous portions
  5. The ambiance is usually casual
  6. Rarely a wait

 

In addition, I still think diners have a bright future despite concerns with dwindling customers, rising rents, lost leases, shrinking profit margins, etc. Some of this is true, but most of the new restaurants reviewed in the literature are hellaciously priced. I make every effort to stay away from these joints; they simply are not worth it. The diners have been hurt by credit cards and a more strict enforcement of the tax codes, i.e., they can no longer rely on patron tax charges that often served as the margin of profit. Two options that can help diners survive is to modestly increase prices and provide a more compact, rather than expansive, menu.

 

A closeout? I need to mention my current favorite of favorites. It is the Triangle Diner located in Saratoga Springs, home of summer thoroughbred racing in August; my recent visit to SS was the 64th year in a row (see pics below).  The diner is a “garage,” similar to an old-fashioned diner located in the middle of nowhere during the depression era.  It is surrounded by some really great 4-star restaurants, including 15 Church and Pennell’s. Yet, it is the 3rd highest rated restaurant in SS. Fantastic breakfast and lunch at extremely reasonable prices. A local gem and a must for all SS lovers.

 

 

 

Below are three pics.  One at our hotel, another at the racetrack and the third at the Triangle Diner.

 

Please drop me a note about your favorite diner.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

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NEXT POSTINGS:

 

OCTOBER 1:              On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

 


ON ENGINEERING AS A CAREER

August 1, 2019

August 1, 2019

 

We are approaching back-to-school time and many youngsters attending college in their freshman/sophomore years will be asked to select a major to study. This month’s article provides my pitch on why some should consider engineering as a career.

 

In a very broad sense, engineering is a term applied to the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied to the efficient use of the materials and forces of nature. The term engineer denotes an individual who has received professional training in both pure and applied science, but was often used in the past to describe the operator of an engine, as in the term locomotive engineer. In modern times, these occupations became known as crafts or trades.

 

There are five major branches of engineering, listed below in alphabetical order.

 

  1. Chemical Engineering
  2. Civil Engineering
  3. Electrical Engineering
  4. Environmental Engineering
  5. Mechanical Engineering

 

One could also add to this engineering list the following fields: aeronautical, astronautical, geological, industrial, marine, military, managerial, mining, naval, petroleum, structural, and the recent addition of nanotechnology. However, since I am a chemical engineer working in both the chemical and environmental fields, chemical and environmental engineering are primarily addressed in the sections to follow.

 

PROBLEM SOLVING

The engineer (and to a lesser degree the scientist) is known for his problem-solving ability. It is probably this ability more than any other that has enabled many engineers to rise to positions of leadership and top management within their companies. In problem-solving, considerable importance is attached to a proper analysis of the problem, to a logical recording of the problem solution, and to the overall professional appearance of the finished product of the calculations.

 

The value of an engineer is usually determined by his/her ability to apply basic principles, facts, and methods in order to accomplish some useful purpose. In this modem age of industrial competition, the ultimate definition of a useful purpose is usually based on a tangible profit of monetary value. It is not sufficient, therefore, to have a knowledge and understanding of physics, chemistry, mathematics, mechanics, stoichiometry, thermodynamics, the unit operations, chemical technology, and other related engineering and scientific subjects; he/she must also have the ability to apply this knowledge to practical situations, and, in making these applications, recognize the importance of the dollar sign.

 

Certain methods of logic and techniques of calculation are fundamental to the solution of many problems, and there is a near infinite number of methods. Words such as creative, ingenuity, original, etc., appear in all these approaches. What do they all have in common? They provide a systematic, logical approach to solving problems, and what follows is this author’s definition of a generic approach.

 

The methodology of solving problems has been discussed by most mathematicians and logicians since the days of Aristotle. Heuristic (“serving to discover”) is the term often given to this study of the methods and rules of solving problems. Nearly always, a stepwise approach to the solution is desirable. The broad steps are:

 

  1. Understanding the problem
  2. Devising a plan
  3. Carrying out the plan
  4. Looking back

 

HISTORY OF ENGINEERING

In terms of history, the engineering profession as defined today is usually considered to have originated shortly after 1800. However, many of the “processes” associated with this discipline were developed in antiquity. For example, filtration operations were carried out 5000 years ago by the Egyptians. Operations such as crystallization, precipitation, and distillation soon followed. Others evolved from a mixture of craft, mysticism, incorrect theories, and empirical guesses during this period.

 

In a very real sense, the chemical industry dates back to prehistoric times when people first attempted to control and modify their environment, and it developed as did any other trade or craft. With little knowledge of science and no means of chemical analysis, the earliest “engineers” had to rely on previous art and superstition. As one would imagine, progress was slow. This changed with time.

 

Industry in the world today is a sprawling complex of raw-material sources, manufacturing plants, and distribution facilities which supply society with thousands of products, most of which were unknown over a century ago. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, an increased demand arose for individuals trained in the fundamentals of these processes. This demand was ultimately met by engineers.

 

The technical advances of the 19th century greatly broadened the field of engineering and introduced a large number of the aforementioned engineering specialties. The rapidly changing demands of the socioeconomic environment in the 20th and 21st centuries have widened the scope even further. One need only review the various branches of engineering listed earlier.

 

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING

Chemical engineering is one of the basic tenets of engineering, and contains many practical concepts that are utilized in countless real-world industrial applications. A discussion centered on the field of chemical engineering is therefore warranted before proceeding to some specific details regarding this discipline. A reasonable question to ask is: What is chemical engineering? An outdated, but once official definition provided by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is:

 

Chemical engineering is that branch of engineering concerned with the development and application of manufacturing processes in which chemical or certain physical changes are involved. These processes may usually be resolved into a coordinated series of unit physical “operations.” The work of the chemical engineer is primarily concerned with the design, construction, and operation of equipment and plants in which these unit operations and processes are applied. Chemistry, physics, and mathematics are the underlying sciences of chemical engineering, and economics is its guide in practice.

 

This definition was appropriate until a few decades ago when the profession branched out from the chemical industry. Today, that definition has changed. Although it is still based on chemical fundamentals and physical principles, these have been de-emphasized in order to allow for the expansion of the profession to other areas. These areas include environmental management, health and safety, computer applications, project management, probability and statistics, ethics, and economics and finance, plus several other “new” topics. This has led to many new definitions of chemical engineering, several of which are either too specific or too vague. A definition proposed by your author, is simply that “chemical engineers solve problems.” Today, this engineering discipline offers the student the largest number of professional options to pursue on graduation, including medicine, law, education, the environment, etc. This would be my first choice for anyone interested in pursuing a career in engineering.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING

Traditionally, the scope of environmental engineering (originally termed sanitary engineering) was confined primarily to water supply, sewerage, and general environmental sanitation. Since the middle of the 20th century, however, the profession has expanded – due in part to the author – to include increased responsibilities in municipal and industrial waste treatment, air pollution, solid waste management, radiological health, safety, etc. It was originally viewed as a branch of civil engineering, but because of its importance, especially in dense urban-population areas, it acquired the importance of a specialized field. As noted, it now primarily deals with problems involving water supply, treatment, and distribution; disposal of community wastes and reclamation of useful components of such wastes; control of pollution of surface waterways, groundwaters, and soils; air pollution; control of atmospheric pollution; meteorology; housing and institutional management; rural and recreational-site management; insect and vermin control; industrial hygiene, including control of light, noise, vibration, and toxic materials in work areas; and, other fields concerned with the control of environmental factors affecting health. The field of accident and emergency management/health and hazard risk assessment has as its object the prevention of accidents. In recent years, “safety” engineering has become a specialty adopted by individuals trained in other branches of engineering.

 

With the expanding effort to provide a healthier environment for the industrial worker, environmental engineering techniques are employed to rid the air of noxious dusts and gases in plants and other working areas. The problem of atmospheric pollution resulting from discharging waste into the atmosphere in large industrial settings became a major concern soon after 1970, a time when I entered the field.

 

 

MORE ON ENGINEERING

 

Other Engineering Disciplines

Civil Engineering is the oldest and broadest of all engineering branches. It is in turn subdivided to include specialization in such fields as structural, sanitary, public health, hydraulic, transportation and other established engineering disciplines. They design bridges and tunnels, construct roads, install water-supply and sewage-disposal systems, erect dams, lay out railroads and other transportation systems and plan buildings of all types and sizes for public, private, and industrial uses.

 

Electrical Engineering, another important branch of the profession, deals comprehensively with power generation and its transmission and distribution, electronics and its many applications, transportation, illumination, and all types of electrical machinery. The electrical engineer designs, directs and supervises the construction of electrical systems for the production and utilization of power for the multitudinous purposes of business, industry, and the community.

 

Mechanical Engineering is one of the largest branches in the engineering field. This branch of the engineering profession is subdivided into heat, power, and machine design options with electives in aeronautical, metallurgical and industrial engineering. Devices for heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, engines and other mechanisms for the propulsion of vehicles and missiles on, under, or over land, sea, and air. tools, motors, and machines for all types of industrial production or research are just a few examples of the mechanical engineer’s contributions to the world.

 

Salaries and Rewards

Beginning salaries for inexperienced engineering graduates vary according to the type of agency seeking their services, geographical area in which the individual is employed, level of responsibility and nature of duties for particular positions, and the competition for engineering positions at any given time. Due to the shortage of engineers in recent years, graduates with no experience have commanded salaries ranging from an average low of $70,000 to an average high of $100,000 per year. Possessors of the Master’s degree begin at higher levels; those with a Doctorate in Engineering receive considerably higher starting salaries.

 

Aside from financial rewards, the successful engineer enjoys unlimited opportunity for creative achievement, the satisfaction of contributing significantly to the improvement of standards of living, and a distinctive position of trust and respect in the community.

 

It should be noted that college engineering programs are very difficult. The student cannot expect to succeed without devoting himself entirely to his work in school and to related home assignments. Unless the student is willing to curtail or even forego a great many of the social activities generally associated with attendance at college or with young people of his age, academic problems will probably arise. Although the road to success in engineering is not an easy one, a career in the profession can be realized by a student willing to accept the obligations for required adequate preparation.

 

With Women

Finally, careers in engineering are projected to expand rapidly in the next decade. In this technologically advanced world, the discoveries and solutions being made affect the lives of everyone. Historically, women have been underrepresented in the industries that drive these advances in engineering technology. This mindset, however has been quickly changing. It is exciting to live at such a pivotal moment in history when women have such an incredible opportunity to change the face of industries, not only in engineering but across a variety of fields. Thankfully, our nation draws its intellectual power from 100% of the population, not 47.9%, as with many other nations.

 

When I retired some years ago, 50% of my students were women. And, more often than not, they outperformed the men. Maybe they felt they had something to prove.

 

 

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NEXT POSTINGS:

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

OCTOBER 1:              Great Eats IV; Diners

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

 


ON THE NEW YORK RACING ASSOCIATION (NYRA)

September 30, 2018

OCTOBER 1, 2018

Saratoga. Saratoga Springs. Thoroughbred racing. The Mecca of thoroughbred racing. The summer vacation spot to be in August. The grand old lady. Streets lined with historic homes. Sweet corn and tomatoes practically off the vine. Etc. etc. Sounds great. Well, there’s only one problem: The New York Racing Association (NYRA). NYRA runs thoroughbred racing in Saratoga (as well as Belmont and Aqueduct).

 

The thoroughbred racing meeting ended on September 7, so I figured it was time to release some of my earlier thoughts, comments, recommendations, etc., about NYRA. Here are three of my oldies but beauties from the past when I had predicted that weekday attendance would drop from 15,000 to 2,000. How little did I know.  And how wrong could I be?  It is now under 1,000.  I’m certain two absolutely beautiful 750 Fall days (9/26-7) had less than 250 betting fans  at Belmont.!

 

“On NYRA” (The Williston Times, 9/16/96):

“Quite frankly, I am both flabbergasted and disappointed in the media’s coverage of NYRA and NYRA-related activities. There appears to be an unwritten law among turf writers not to provide any bad press on NYRA. As indicated earlier, the two words commonly used by the racing group I associate with to describe NYRA is incompetence and arrogance. The net result of NYRA policies is that more and more of the fans are not coming back. The two extremes – the young and the old fan – no longer find a day at the NYRA races a pleasurable experience. More than anything else, the writing of this article was prompted by my participation in the 1976 National Crime Commission Hearings (President Ford) as a representative of the horseplayer”.

 

“There’s Another Side to Saratoga” (Daily Racing Form, 7/27/97):

“Á significant portion of the racetrack is a firetrap. Standing in line is a ritual that NYRA has come to expect from its customers. The track contains the most uncomfortable seats I have ever encountered at a racetrack. In addition, the spacing between rows is so narrow that it is extremely difficult to navigate. Expect to be gouged. Here is what Bill Finley and Surabhi Avasthi had to say in their May 5, 1996, Daily News article titled “A-Z Guide to Horse Racing in New York.” “G is for Gouged. What you will get in Saratoga Springs. The local businesses – which only have six weeks to capitalize on tourist dollars – usually jack up prices during racing season. Expect to fork over an ample portion of your winnings for a good dinner and a hotel room.”

 

“Blame NYRA for Empty Plants” (Daily Racing Form, 4/26/98):

“The players major concern was that  NYRA has chosen to squash the betting public into a cramped space with poor lighting, lousy TV monitors and limited seating for simulcasting. They also cited long betting lines and the unkempt filthy conditions of the whole area. If NYRA could somehow treat its customers like it treats breeders, owners, jockeys, politicians and the media, the racing industry will be on its way to solving its problem at the turnstiles.”

 

The Queen and I along with the kids and grandkids visited Saratoga late this month and spent two days there. As usual, the experience at this dilapidated firetrap track featured the aforementioned long lines, $5 admission, $10 parking, concession rip-offs, uncomfortable seating and standing, poor race viewing, 38 minutes in between races, etc. etc. To make matters worse, the ass who runs the place (where do they find these people??) essentially closed off the seating in the upper stretch of the grandstand for most racing days. Fans did have the option of sitting on the grass or standing for 5 hours. Thank you NYRA management.

 

We stayed at the Gideon Putnam – a historic landmark – and the entire family (but not me) loved it. Notwithstanding my feelings, it was my 64th straight year (this has to be a record) of attending the races at the Toga. I stayed at John’s Farm in the Catskills in 1955 and the Holiday Inn ($19 /night) in 1956. As always, dinner the first night was at Parnell’s and a brief chat with owner/chef Bruce followed by breakfast the next morning at the Triangle Diner.

 

After reading the last paragraph, you would have to conclude that I am a glutton for punishment. And, you would be right, but old habits don’t die easily. I said good riddance on leaving Saratoga but will be back (God willing) next year. Don’t say it. I can’t be that bright, but then again, those others in attendance can’t be too bright either.

 

So, it’s now back to Belmont for nearly two months followed by the Aqueduct winter meeting where NYRA will once again continue to exploit the hapless horse player. Attending has dropped below 1,000 on weekdays and the idiot in charge has yet to figure out how to fix the problem. But dozens of “suits” regularly patrol the stands and I can’t figure out what they do. Ordinarily, the individual in charge would be fired…but this is NYRA.  The end result is that the most beautiful of ALL racetracks is essentially barren during racing days.

 

I close with a tale (without details) about NYRA’s arrogance . . . they are more than just incompetent.  I sued NYRA in small claims court for $22 in 2010.  They were a no-show on trial date.  The judge rescheduled the trial.  Once again they were a no-show.  The judge found in my favor.  NYRA chose not to mail me the judgement.  I had to hire a sheriff to collect.  They sheriff walked into one of their offices and requested the money.  They informed him that it was impossible but they would mail it to me in due time.  He started walking out with two of their computers.  Fifteen minutes later they gave him a check for ALL the charges.

 

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NEXT POSTINGS:

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day III

DECEMBER 1:          On the 2018-19 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Team

JANUARY 1:              On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

FEBRUARY 1:           On Basketball Coaching 101 II

 

 

 


ON THE 2018 EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL BUDGET VOTE

May 1, 2018

 

May 1, 2018

It’s amazing what can happen when incompetent people with self-serving interests and a near total lack of what quality education is all about running a School Board. We are all aware that the EWSD is now just another school district, no longer one of the quality premier ones in the country. I’ve already detailed in the past how this came about: Entine’s massive and senseless giveaway programs, the ridiculously incompetent Bergtraum (remember the 4th building?*!?) and self-serving unethical policies of union leader, Israel. And, let’s not forget the pitiful, embarrassing and comical PTO that has been successfully duped by the teachers and their union. The bottom line is that the EWSD is no longer a school district that we can all be proud of.

 

I believe the Board and Superintendent are beginning to get desperate and have pressed the panic button. Why this belief? Last month, the Superintendent sent out a questionnaire requesting input from residents to provide their top academic related priorities for the next 5 years. Is it possible this brain-trust (?) doesn’t know what they should know? Certainly, the residents don’t know. Thus, in the final analysis, the residents could be held to blame for the district’s precipitous drop in its reputation. I taught engineering, served as academic advisor, participated in admission decisions for 50 years…and can honestly say that I don’t know what the priorities should be at this level. (Note: I’d love to find out about their Project Lead the Way, a 4-year engineering program. It might be enlightening, but I doubt it). And, does anyone think that they are really interested in your thoughts? I had two solid recommendations last year that were totally ignored; no one got back to me — No One! Anyone want to try to convince me that they really care about our thoughts/concerns/recommendations? In any event, if they don’t know, and we don’t know, what does that say about the people running the asylum…I mean school.

 

The Board and superintendent Kanas recently claimed that “…continue the tradition of fiscal responsibility…”. Surely, they were joking. I know no one (maybe I know the wrong people) who ever claimed that the EWSD was fiscally responsible. All residents have to come to grips with the fact that the EWSD has never really concerned themselves with the best interests of the students, the parents, the seniors, and all other members of our community.

 

Here again are some general thoughts. The EWSD continues to do damage to our community with both excessive waste (particularly at the administration level) and indifference toward the taxpayer (particularly with seniors). Increasing numbers of incoming high school students are opting out of Wheatley in favor of private schools. This “migration” has gone uncontested by the Board-perhaps for good reason. In addition, the mode of delivery of education is changing, and changing at a near exponential rate, at all levels – and the EWSD has not attempted to adopt to these changes. I have been involved with several programs that have reduced or essentially eliminated the need for teachers. There is a need for accountability for not only these upstart programs but also for traditional programs. Unfortunately, there is little to no accountability at Wheatley. To further exacerbate this point, the EWSD teachers count has increased despite the drop in enrollment. On the positive side, I believe absenteeism has decreased; although there are more cars in the North Side parking lot, and there is less of a reduction of cars on Monday and Friday. Finally, I stand by my earlier statements that at least two members of the Board simply cannot be trusted; the community should not expect them to act in the best interests of the students and taxpayers.

 

The salary of teachers has skyrocketed and the quality of education has plummeted. What would a reasonably intelligent individual conclude from these 2 FACTS? What about the college level? When I went to school, tuition was below $2000 per year, a sum a student could earn over the summer and Christmas recess. I don’t think a student could come close to earning dollars $60K plus during the same period today. What do I conclude? The teachers’ union is in the process of destroying quality education at levels.

 

Remember, it OK to vote NO on the budget on May 15. A NO vote represents a call for better education for our students, fair and responsible treatment of seniors, a call for new leadership for both the Board and the District, and a rejection of the corrupt self-serving policies currently in place.

 

I close by issuing a call to members of our district who are concerned about taxes, seniors, and (most importantly) school children, to consider running for the Board in the future. I hate to put it this way, but almost anybody would be better than what we have now.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

JUNE 1:          On Great Eats III: Greek – Edition

JULY 1:          On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVI