Category Archives: Politics and Culture

The College Cheating Scandal

What has surprised me is not the cheating – there have always been those who have cheated to gain an advantage – but the depth of this scandal. And it was in 2 forms. Someone would take the entrance exams for the applicant, and that person would bribe those who administered the tests to allow this fraud.

Singer arranged for a third-party — usually Mark Riddell — to take the test secretly in the students’ place or replace their responses with his own….

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Filed under Life, Politics and Culture

Political Discourse in America

I treasure a time during the 1980s, when I worked as a programmer about 20 miles south of my home. I used to carpool – me and my boss, who was more to the left of me, and another worker, a woman from Belgium who I would describe as the younger European “Green” generation.

We had wonderful, respectful conversations as we meandered our way through the traffic. For me it was enjoyable hearing other viewpoints. To open my mind to them, and weigh my beliefs against these new viewpoints.

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Facebook and Privacy

Back in the 80s, I had a boss who, during the 1960s, worked at Aerojet-General while they were developing the rockets for the Apollo Lunar Module. I programmed their HP 3000, which was a mini computer – the kind of computer that enabled thousands of small and medium sized businesses who had no hope of having a mainframe to have a computer.

IBM had recently legitimized the microcomputer with their Personal Computer, and they were just startling to make inroads.

People were asking in the very early days what do they do with it? Many salesmen would reply that one could store recipes – to which the rejoinder was “you can also store them in a metal box”. 

Anyway, my boss would say that Lotus 1-2-3 (the predecessor to Excel) wasn’t really new  – they had a program on their mainframe at Aerojet that did essentially the same thing – on printouts, of course as there were no CRT terminals.

On the encroaching PCs in the business, he made the proclamation “toy computers – nothing will become of them”. 

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DNA Testing

Last year, a 40 year crime mystery was solved, thanks to DNA testing. Back in the 70s, a criminal known as the East Area Rapist terrorized women and confounded police.

I can remember talking with my business partner of some 20 years, who came to this country from Finland when she was 18. Went from Finland to Redondo Beach in So Cal (talk about a change!) initially.

She was immensely proud of her late father, who was one of the ski troopers who frustrated Stalin’s army back in 1940.

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Filed under Politics and Culture

On the Basis of Sex


Courtesy of Focus Features

A couple of years ago at a dinner, I had the honor of meeting a well-dressed elderly woman while sipping a martini (both of us!). I learned that she was one of the 1,000 or so female pilots in WW2 who became known as WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots).

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Fifinella, the official Mascot of the WASPs

The WASPs weren’t the Army’s idea, but the idea of famed aviatrix Jackie Cochran, who, with so many men going off to war, suggested the idea of women ferrying new planes to bases to Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor made it happen, but the WASPs were not really taken seriously by the Army Air Force.

They were issued used mechanic’s overalls that the women called Zoot Suits, men’s sizes only, 44 and up. Of course these were too big for most women. But the women actually turned lemons into lemonade, making them look fashionable (with the sleeves rolled up).

They were not even integrated into the military, but seen as a civilian auxiliary.

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Filed under Navy, Politics and Culture

Dude logic

March 22nd, 2008

I guess I dropped track on NY state politics after ex-Governor Spitzer took the long walk. Turns out that things didn’t stop hoppin’ upstate, even after Spitzer split. In the NY Times, columnist Gail Collins notes that the ink hadn’t dried on his replacement’s contract before New Yorkers learned of new Governor’s serial infidelities:

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Politics, Politics and Culture

Energy Independence

Energy Independence

The 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo

For the last 50 years, we have had an unhealthy dependence for oil on the Middle East. Sometimes our interests have aligned, other times not. Countries act from their own interests.

In 1973, OPEC – the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries – had simply decided to not sell us oil, and we had a huge dependency on them *. I was trying to find the percentage and could not readily find it, although 40%  seems to come to mind.

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Filed under History, International Affairs, Other Stuff, Politics and Culture, Remember