america could bring back tech manufacturing if we had the political and business will, new deep sea telescope to help understand the universe

In terms of internet attention spans this is a long read. In real terms it is rather short, yet contains a lot of information to mull over. If anyone stills mulls. How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work

But while Apple is far from alone, it offers a window into why the success of some prominent companies has not translated into large numbers of domestic jobs. What’s more, the company’s decisions pose broader questions about what corporate America owes Americans as the global and national economies are increasingly intertwined.

“Companies once felt an obligation to support American workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice,” said Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist at the Labor Department until last September. “That’s disappeared. Profits and efficiency have trumped generosity.”

Companies and other economists say that notion is naïve. Though Americans are among the most educated workers in the world, the nation has stopped training enough people in the mid-level skills that factories need, executives say.

To thrive, companies argue they need to move work where it can generate enough profits to keep paying for innovation. Doing otherwise risks losing even more American jobs over time, as evidenced by the legions of once-proud domestic manufacturers — including G.M. and others — that have shrunk as nimble competitors have emerged.

The article does kill the conservative meme that unions or the minimum wage are responsible for so much of our electronic manufacturing moving overseas. As the article notes it is not labor costs that compelled Apple or other tech firms to move their manufacturing overseas.

It does not come out and say it, one has to put a couple easy pieces together to understand that it is not excessive regulation. Apple did manufacture the MAC here until as recently as 2004. If you went by what the conservative trolls in the comments say it is as if they had not read the article at all. They just made sure they got their talking points posted, facts be damned.

They might be right about needing some kind of mid-level education attainment for American workers – something like a one or two-year degree in modern factory technology. In the sense that we have the facilities and capacity, but we do not have the financial or educational commitment to having that kind of degree. We do have the physical infrastructure. Even small towns have a community college. There are two near me and they both have multiple branches. The universities have night and weekend classes. As in every state they have had budget cutbacks. If American business and government wanted to team up and create the kind of education and training that Chinese factory workers get, that is well within America’s ability.

The article also notes that the Chinese government partners with industry. Factories can go up within weeks because businesses in China have the government to lean on in terms of risks and initial finance support. I wonder about how much difference there really is. If you’ve ever lived near a city or town, or state which a large company was considering locating you’re familiar with how trying to get that business to locate in your area is an embarrassing profile in obsequious behavior by local politicians. They promise the world, tax incentives, tax deferments that last for years, stream-lining any building permits or demolition permits and often ignoring or making only the most cursory environmental studies. So these attempts to attract business also becomes a game of low-level corruption. The south is littered with old textile factories that could be made into a modern factory – Your sheets and towels are most likely made somewhere in Asia or the Marshall Islands as well as your iPad. Detroit has shuttered factories that are good to go in terms of zoning and permitting. One of my cousin lives in a city where three old factories have been closed and vacant for several years. I tend to think that we could match the Chinese, South Korea and other Asian countries if there was a business sector and government will to make it so. We had the Manhattan Project and the Apollo program to make certain national goals a priority. Those are just two of many examples that show we could create jobs for factory workers, various mid-level engineers and mid-level supervisors if we made it a national goal.

Foxconn Technology has dozens of facilities in Asia and Eastern Europe, and in Mexico and Brazil, and it assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony.

“They could hire 3,000 people overnight,” said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple’s worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”

American workers could probably be convinced to adopt such a lifestyle, but doesn’t that aspect of it sound like some science fiction dystopia ( really, WordPress and Firefox spell check doesn’t know the word dystopia). Much of America’s vacant manufacturing centers are right next to suburban communities and cities. In the age of smart phones, getting people to come in for an extra shift shouldn’t be that difficult. In the article several people in the tech industry seem to actually believe that America does not and cannot match the kind of flexibility and speed required to compete. Have you ever seem Americans react to a flood disaster or hurricane. We tend to get things done very quickly when motivated. There seems to be some lazy thinking in the business sector. Everyone and everything is getting done in Asia now. As they often do, American business jumps on the next new boat and stays there until there is a paradigm shift. What will push business to have an epiphany about American made technology and the all too obvious long-term benefits. It is not about costs, unions, regulation or the environment. It is about the will to do what needs doing.

history, business, black and white, technology

bernice, switchboard operator. mid 20th century


Telescope to be built in depths of Mediterranean sea

The £210 million deep sea observatory will detect elusive particles known as neutrinos as they bombard the Earth from outer space.

Usually these high-energy particles pass straight through our planet unnoticed, but scientists hope that the new telescope will allow them to pick up traces the particles leave and use them to view the universe in an entirely new way.

The EU funded project, which has just been selected as a key priority in a review of European astrophysics infrastructure, promises to reveal new details about some of the most powerful events in our universe, including supernova and even the Big Bang.

The telescope, known as the Multi-Cubic Kilometre Neutrino Telescope or KM3NeT, is also expected to reveal entirely new phenomena that still remain undiscovered as they are undetectable using conventional methods for viewing the sky.

“It is really going to open a new window on our universe,” said Dr Lee Thompson, a reader in neutrino physics at the University of Sheffield who is working on the KM3NeT project.

A giant 'telescope' more than half a mile in length is to be built two miles beneath the surface of the Mediterranean Sea

When one thinks of a telescope the first thing that comes to mind is those big observatory telescopes. This one breaks the mold. It will be constructed out of 12,000 beachball-sized sensors which will be deployed underwater over a cubic mile. Since it is known that neutrinos  are thought to emanate from the remains of old exploding stars known as supernovas or from supermassive black holes they react minimally with other matter. Measuring them might provide some insight into parts of the universe where light does not reach from earth, such as supernovae and black holes. We’re bombarded with neutrinos all the time, but if scientists can put some massive amounts of sea water between the neutrino and the telescope they hope that will increase the chances they collide with an atom rather than pass through the earth as they usually do.


H/T to RD for this video – 30 Renowned Writers Speaking About God. Just for posting this I’ll lose another round of readers. Sometimes it, if not frequently, it can be interesting to listen to thoughtful people talk about things that – at least in most of the U.S. is a forbidden topic in everyday conversation.

Speakers in order of appearance:

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Science Fiction Writer
Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Laureate in Literature
Professor Isaac Asimov, Author and Biochemist
Arthur Miller, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright
Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate in Literature
Gore Vidal, Award-Winning Novelist and Political Activist
Douglas Adams, Best-Selling Science Fiction Writer
Professor Germaine Greer, Writer and Feminist
Iain Banks, Best-Selling Fiction Writer
José Saramago, Nobel Laureate in Literature
Sir Terry Pratchett, NYT Best-Selling Novelist
Ken Follett, NYT Best-Selling Author
Ian McEwan, Man Booker Prize-Winning Novelist
Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate (1999-2009)
Professor Martin Amis, Award-Winning Novelist
Michel Houellebecq, Goncourt Prize-Winning French Novelist
Philip Roth, Man Booker Prize-Winning Novelist
Margaret Atwood, Booker Prize-Winning Author and Poet
Sir Salman Rushdie, Booker Prize-Winning Novelist
Norman MacCaig, Renowned Scottish Poet
Phillip Pullman, Best-Selling British Author
Dr Matt Ridley, Award-Winning Science Writer
Harold Pinter, Nobel Laureate in Literature
Howard Brenton, Award-Winning English Playwright
Tariq Ali, Award-Winning Writer and Filmmaker
Theodore Dalrymple, English Writer and Psychiatrist
Roddy Doyle, Booker Prize-Winning Novelist
Redmond O’Hanlon FRSL, British Writer and Scholar
Diana Athill, Award-Winning Author and Literary Editor
Christopher Hitchens, Best-Selling Author, Award-Winning Columnist