Some tools to drool over.  Image (c) 1998 Jock Dempsey.  Click for enlargement. WELCOME to the anvilfire!
Virtual Hammer-In!

This page is open to ALL for the purpose of advancing blacksmithing.

March 2007 Archive

WHY THREE FORUMS? Well, this is YOUR blacksmithing forum to use for whatever you wish within the rules stated above. It is different than the Slack-Tub Pub because the messages are permanently posted and archived.
This page is NOT a chat - it is a "message board"

Our chat, the (Slack-Tub Pub), is immediate but the record of it is temporary. DO NOT post permanent messages there. We refresh the "log" every 24 hours now and your message will be lost.

The Guru's Den is where I and several others try to answer ALL your blacksmithing and metalworking questions to us.

Please note that this forum uses an e-mail encryption system that prevents spam harvesters from collecting your e-mail address.

J. Dempsey  <webmaster> Rev. 7/98, 3/99, 5/2k, 6/2k, Friday, 04/06/01 16:43:25 GMT

Henrob Torch: I have a Dillon 2000 torch (The same as a Henrob 2000 torch) that is just sitting around and has been for years.

I tried it once and went back to my old Victor.

No gages or hoses, just the torch & the tips that came with it. Oh and the "Training wheels" to help make straight cuts too.

The new list on these things is about $350, but that includes a video and more tips than I have. . .

To make me an offer, click on my name to start your e-mail client with my address.
John Lowther - Thursday, 03/01/07 18:03:27 EST

Domain Name Registrations:
Several times a year someone we know loses their URL or domain name registration. This has included businesses, blacksmithing groups and today, sadly, it was Uri Hofi. He no longer owns HIS-NAME.COM. There is nothing he can do. The causes of loss are varied but are generally ignorance of a highly competitive and morally corrupt system.

If you do business with Verisign/Network Solutions they treat your domain name as if it was legal title to realestate and make it very difficult to maintian your records through a system of code numbers and long assigned passwords. But the milisecond your registration lapses you will find that it has been PRE-SOLD to a name merchant or link farm. Other registrars are better about this than the once government sanctioned monpoly Network Solutions

WHY do they do this? Simple, MONEY. Every day a thousand or so registrations expire. Often the owners do not know they have expired because they changed their e-mail address and did not get their notice OR they lost the information to renew. Others may have registered through a service provider and did not know their domain name was not registered in their name but in the name of the service provider.

Some sites are just orphaned. Abandoned by their owners.

Almost every web site has some links to it from somewhere. Uri's site had dozens from anvilfire and sites I maintain. There are three pages of links on That means these orphan or stolen somain names will have traffic coming to them until until ALL those links disappear. Many webmasters (including myself) often do not check EVERY outside link on their pages regularly. So when a domain name changes hands and has different content than you linked to it will still get traffic.

I call this "Link Inertia" or Internet Inertia. Traffic continues going to places even though the place is not the same. . . The people that buy and sell domain names in bulk rely on link inertia. They setup dummy pages with paid links on them and reap the benefits of any promotion the original owner had gone to. The sites that have nothing but advertising links to other sites are called "link farms". Sometimes they are for advertising, in other cases they are simply to sell links to pages in order to make their "link popularity" look better on the search engines.

For the domain registrar these expired URL's are a gold mine if they sell them in bulk. Instead of trying to collect $10-$20 each from hundreds of individuals they sell large lots of domains in single sales. This is so profitable that some registrars PRE-SELL names before they expire. If the domain is paid it is taken off the sell list but if not it is GONE in time it takes a database to refresh. I lost two valuable names registered with Networksolutions/Verisign while I was on the phone trying to clear up the contact information with them. It is theivery by computer system and it makes millions off of unwary individuals.

So the registrars make money, the link farmers make money and they people that thought of the names and promoted them or made their content worthy of linking to lose.

One common problem is small organizations such as blacksmithing groups. One of the members registers the group's name. They build a web site and everything is fine for a couple years. . . THEN the person leaves the group, or they change their email address. Nobody else in the group knows how to get to the site, to the registration or gets the billing notices. . then it is GONE.

Although a domain registration can cost as little as $10 it quickly becomes worth more. It can be your identity, your trademark, your business or group name. It can quickly have links to it if someone contacts owners of likely link lists. It gains link inertia.

So what only cost a few dollars to setup quickly becomes worth more.

If you register a web name do it with someone you can trust. Preferably do it in your own name and be sure to maintain the record and e-mail address.
- guru - Friday, 03/02/07 19:40:26 EST

What happened?: The Hammer-In seems to be missing posts, and has a lot of blank space. This is a test to see if posting works.
vicopper - Saturday, 03/03/07 02:16:09 EST

Posts: Nope. . I just archived a couple days too soon. . . didn't leave enough overlap.
- guru - Saturday, 03/03/07 11:18:34 EST

Guru...I have also lost my domaine name,The company my web master used went belly up or just sold all the domain names to another business, my website has been down a couple months. The new owner wants about five times what I paid a year to release it. It is a mess and it's all about the money.
R Guess - Saturday, 03/03/07 15:43:40 EST

I just checked the Anvilfire links. My website is back up. Waiting to hear from the web designer about the domain name problem.
R Guess - Saturday, 03/03/07 16:11:12 EST

Domain Name Problems:
Registrars do not go "belly" up. They can go out of business but all their records would be turned over to the U.S. Government or ICANN. They would then be transfered to a commercial registrar.

If your name was SOLD or extra or exorbitant fees applied, then it was NOT in your name. You did not own it. You probably do not now. It is owned by a third party who registered it and legaly owns it.

In order for YOU to own your name it must be registered through an ICANN Accredited Registrar or one of their resellers. It must have your name and address on it and your email as contact and billing.

When your register your domain name it can be hosted ANYWHERE including your desktop if you want to operate a server. In that case you must also have a registered name-server name.

If you do not have access to your name to update and maintain the record then you do not own it. Someone else does.

- guru - Saturday, 03/03/07 16:58:34 EST

Domain: I have a domain registered through another system,so if I lose the domain,I still have the files(it's a small free page server,I paid a little so it's registered for way more than my lifetime....)

And I can run my home computer as a server if need-be.
But I can't right now,parents would complain if I changed my computer over to Linux.
- Chris - Sunday, 03/04/07 02:03:25 EST

domain names: Guru, I had no idea that I did not own the donain name. Thanks for the link to ICANN. The information there will take a while to absorb.
R Guess - Sunday, 03/04/07 14:49:56 EST

Domain Ownership: Randal, Here is the whois record for your domain.

Edwards Investment Development
7756 Milton Ave
Whittier, CA 90602

Summer Page is the legal owner of the domain name you are using.
- guru - Sunday, 03/04/07 15:31:13 EST

Domain Names:
In truth the name on the domain registry means little in some cases. The true "owner" is the one that has the login and password to the account it is held under. I hold a number of registrations for various folks. Some are in their name, some in mine. But I am the one that has the keys and pays the bills. We also host those accounts but that is a seperate issue.

Many places sell registration with hosting. You do not have to get both from the same place. However, they often price things so that it is very attractive to do so.

Where the problem lies is when you register a name and buy hosting through a web developer that you do not really know. If they go out of business, sell their business, move or something happens to them you are stuck.
- guru - Monday, 03/05/07 09:28:48 EST

CSI Hammer-In:
Cybersmiths International is looking for demonstrators for our April 20-21st Hammer-In at Ken Scharabok's farm in Western Tennessee. We would prefer a couple volunteers but can pay some expenses depending on the demonstrator.

There will be two forges, one coal, one gas, a power hammer station and an outdoor station.

Drop me a line if you are interested.

Last year we had a dozen or so tailgaters and a small attendance of about 60-70. We hope to be a little bigger each year.
- guru - Monday, 03/05/07 14:10:15 EST

CSI Hammer-In Demos:
Well. . Ptree has volunteered to demo making Wizard heads and I am going to demo on the power hammer.

We could still use some more.
- guru - Tuesday, 03/06/07 00:21:05 EST

CSI Hammer-In:
I'm going to have to pass on it for another year; between the new house, the new forge building (God(s) willing), the barn repairs, and preparing for taking the ship to Norfolk in June for the big Tall Ships event; not to mention the Park Service (bound for NYC Monday) I just don't have the flexibility.

Maybe next year. :-)

Visit your National Parks of New York Harbor (...I'm workin' on 'em!)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 03/07/07 09:48:03 EST

Demos: I'd volunteer, but late March/April/early May is NEVER a good time to try to get me to do anything. Way too many longstanding prior commitments.

Speaking of which: If you (Jock or anyone else) are interested, Larry Harley's Holston mountain bladesmith's hammer-in is May 4-6 this year.
Harley's Hammerin info
Alan-L - Wednesday, 03/07/07 11:32:39 EST

Henrob: John Lowther, be advised I have mailed you twice about the torch. Was wondering if it is still for sale ? Thanks
- Steve O'Grady - Wednesday, 03/07/07 20:08:48 EST

Hofi new web site: Uri Hofi has his new web site on the internet. Please change your links to the new URL.
- Ntech - Wednesday, 03/07/07 21:40:39 EST

Hofi new web site:
- Ntech - Wednesday, 03/07/07 21:42:49 EST

Henrob: John, I also mailed yo about the torch, and got no reply. If the answer is no, it is okay to say so, but I would like to know one way or the other so I can budget accordingly. Or if you have a counter-offer, I'd be willling to entertain that.
vicopper - Wednesday, 03/07/07 23:49:06 EST

#7 BEAUDRY FOR SALE: good condition... has motor asking price 5000 location va....... interested parties feel free to email me thank you
- pete - Friday, 03/09/07 09:25:30 EST

pete - Friday, 03/09/07 09:26:08 EST

Pete, Nobody knows what a "#7" is. How about giving some specs. . . ram weight, motor HP, phase.
- guru - Friday, 03/09/07 11:43:18 EST

guru.....if they dont they really need one ???? hammer is rated as a 250lb machine....not sure what hp this motor is rated at......the one for 300lb beaudry was 7 and 1/2
pete - Friday, 03/09/07 14:50:31 EST

Wanted Steel Plate: I am looking for a piece of 1/2 inch thick mild steel plate cut to approximately 16 inch wide by 5 feet long. If you have some, let me know how much you want for it. So that you can calculate shipping, here is my zip code. 31211

Thank you

- TMurch - Friday, 03/09/07 21:35:38 EST

- TMurch - Friday, 03/09/07 21:36:07 EST

Floyd Daniels Memorial:
Saturday May 19, 2007 at 12:00 p.m.

There will be a memorial service for Floyd at this time at the SBA conference. Clyde Payton will perform this ceremony, where the ashes from Floyd’s last forge fire will be sprinkled on a burning forge. Blacksmith blessings and memories will be shared at this time. Any one that wishes may speak at this time.

After the ceremony, everyone will have the chance to ring the anvil for Floyd. An anvil and hammer will be set up to the side and each person will strike the anvil for him one last time.

John and Dot Butler

Southern Blacksmith Assoc.
- guru - Monday, 03/12/07 13:12:18 EST

'Ow do all!

Well, Australia is very nearly a wrap. Just a few days left before I'm on a plane bound for the old country. Had a complete ball over here, you guys in the states really ought to try the "Lucky Country" for yourselves, it's a great place with some world class Smiths.
Been real busy and am a lot further down the road skills wise thanks to the Blokes here, looking forward to getting over to the states when I've rebuilt the fighting fund. TTFN
Ian Lowe - Monday, 03/12/07 21:42:47 EST

CSI hammer-in: Jock any other suckers... uh I mean good spirited folks sign up to demo?
ptree - Tuesday, 03/13/07 18:13:54 EST

Not so far. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 03/13/07 19:02:29 EST

Ian's Homecoming: Congrats on your tour Ian. Best wishes for your flight home, and hurry up on that fund so you can make it to the states.
-Aaron @ the SCF
TheSandyCreekForge - Tuesday, 03/13/07 22:51:35 EST

The Industrial Decline:
For years the politicos have been saying that we will stay ahead of other economies because of our advanced technology and R&D. They said we didn't need big steel or textile manufacturing. So it has all gone to other parts of the world. . .

Now outfits like Texas Instruments are closing their research facilities in the US and moving them overseas (to China and Korea). While making 12 billion dollars a year in profits last year but are closing their billion dollar Texas research facility. . . 600 high tech workers just lost their jobs. And THAT is just the immediate fallout. Dozens of businesses supplied materials and services to TI. Those 600 workers paid rent, bought autos, groceries and sent children to school. . . The blight of these closings spreads nationwide. I sell Kaowool to several small chip foundries. . will one of them be a victim of exporting this entire plant to SE Asia?

So the Japanese dominate the automobile industry, Chinese dominate the steel industry and everything that we use daily is made in Korea, Taiwan or China and NOW research is moving off shore. . .

So what is left now? Our "service" economy will consist of workers at Hardies eating a McDonalds and workers at McDonalds eating at KFC and. . . We are hurting our tourist economy by forcing travelers to the U.S. to pay high fees and ALL be treated like criminals when they pass through security on entering the U.S.

So WHAT will be left? For years I have told people that prostitution is the ultimate service economy. That is followed by and supports bars, resturants and hotels. And when there is no industry that is all that left. The ultimate Reagonomic service economy is to become the prostitutes of the world. And even THAT will be a very poor economy if will continue to make it unpleasant for people to visit the U.S.

And this is what will happen if we do not immediately start protecting our manufacturing industry and start making steel, machine tools and automobiles again along with electronic goods such as cameras and TV's.

Protectionism was a dirty word when WE wanted everyone else's markets open to us and WE had the ecomomic advantage. It meant nothing to open our markets in exchange because those small "third world" economies could not make a difference the trade balance. But now WE are becoming the "third world" economy by exporting raw materials and importing finished goods.

Someone said "What does this have to do with blacksmithing?" A good strong industrial economy has EVERYTHING to do with blacksmithing from the availability of raw materials and tools to clients that can afford your products. We are also in a world market where ironwork is being imported from Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico, India and China. This includes everything from components to finished products AND complete custom railing jobs. . .

Eight years ago an Indital employee told me that besides components they were starting to ship container loads of decorator items like towel racks, wine racks, kitchen pot racks. . . At the time that manufacturing was in Italy and Europe and now much of it is in Mexico where it crosses the border duty free.

A fellow in India told me he was the major dealer for the German ornamental ironworking machines like the Hebo. He said they were too expensive and that they were going to start manufacturing their own in India. This would greatly increase the number of shops with those high production machines and multiply by the 100's the amount of work they could produce.

WE blacksmiths are also being hurt by open access to our markets. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 03/14/07 11:25:00 EST

Industry: Guru
It is the true reality we all face today you speak of. I listened to Hillary Clinton at a NY conference. She wants to keep manufacturing here, do something about free trade and bring the steel industry back. I am not talking politics it was just good to hear someone else realize it too. I cry for our nation. I live in middle of America's industry and saw it all leave and now nothing but economic poverty.
- Hit & Miss - Wednesday, 03/14/07 13:08:25 EST

Big BLU Hammer-In:
Big BLU is having their annual hammer-in this Saurday. Everyone is welcome. Demo's will be by Amit Har-lev the fellow in their new Forging Solutions videos and Johnny Keirbow a popular instructor from John C. Campbell School.

No admission. May be a small fee for the lunch but it is always worthwhile.

I have been trying to get our AnvilCAM page updated and working for this hammer-in. Will try to setup and test Friday night at the pre-hammer-in party. Look here for announcements. The CAM will have a new address.

DAVE BAKER, Call me!

Big BLU 2007 Hammer-In
- guru - Thursday, 03/15/07 17:53:57 EST

For sale, Tool Steel: I have S-7 2"x4"x12' 3pcs. 150.00ea
Also Premium H13 3" round x 10" 150.00ea.
I will accept REASONABLE offers.
Thanks, John JB Bergman
email jfbergman AT fedex DOT com
- John JB Bergman - Thursday, 03/15/07 18:55:40 EST

See Above: S-7 is 2"x4"x12" not 12 feet! Sorry
John JB Bergman - Thursday, 03/15/07 18:57:10 EST

Modern Toolmaking Methods (1920)

A Treatise On Precision Dividing and Locating Methods, Lapping, Making

Forming Tools, Accurate Threading, Bench Lathe Practice, Tools for

Precision Measurements, and General Toolmaking Practice.

Compiled and Edited by Franklin D. Jones:
Associate Editor of MACHINERY
Author of Turning and Boring and Planing and Milling

[URL removed]

Diemaking and Die Design (1920)

A Treatise On The Design and Practical Application of Different Classes

of Dies For Blanking, Bending, Forming, and Drawing Sheet Metal Parts,

Including Modern Diemaking Practice and Fundamental Principles of Die


Compiled and Edited by Franklin D. Jones:
Associate Editor of MACHINERY
Author of Turning and Boring, Planing and Milling, Gaging Tools and


[URL removed]

Cast Metals Handbooks - 1940 Edition
Published by the American Foundrymen's Association

- Bargain Books - Friday, 03/16/07 00:30:13 EST

Bargain books. Please see our policy about blatent commercial advertising (RULES - link top of page).

We have a number of book sellers that advertise here and would gladly set you up. Advertising on anvilfire is affordable and PAYS. Ask Ken, Poor Boy Tools. He also runs an ebay store.

See the Advertising link next to the banners at the top of the page.
- guru - Friday, 03/16/07 01:04:21 EST

Big-BLU Hammer-In AnvilCAM:
Well, our anvilcam hardware and software has been setup and tested from home. Now to see if we can make it work in the shop in Morganton, NC. We will know about 6 or 7PM EDT tonight.

The link below and on the home page are the only links to the new cam at this time.

NEW AnvilCAM testing
- guru - Friday, 03/16/07 12:01:09 EST

WE ARE LIVE!: After some technical Difficulties we now have the AnvilCAM Live!
- guru - Saturday, 03/17/07 09:33:19 EST

Quick tip: If you want to do some quick anvilfire searching, google works great, so long as you constrain the search to anvilfire only sites. This is easily done using the "site:" keyword"

For example, I just did some searching for oxy propane on anvilfire, so my google search string looked like the following: oxy propane

If you don't use the site: parameter, anvilfire forum entries are usually buried pretty deep.
- Tom T - Saturday, 03/17/07 12:08:51 EST

Dominion Forge Trip Hammer: Has anyone ever heard of a Dominion Forge Trip Hammer???

I had a lady friend call and ask if she should take this trip hammer, I have never heard of them, does anyone have any info? She doesn't have pictures and it will be quite a drive to get it, although it is free, she will still have the moving costs.

If you know anything about them, I would sure like to hear.

Thanks Daryl
Daryl - Saturday, 03/17/07 22:53:51 EST

guru?: Hello, I sent you an email about the handbook. Don't know if you got it. I sent Sherron the money in late January. Have not heard anything. Let me know.
- Mark Singleton - Sunday, 03/18/07 22:35:12 EST

Mark, Tried to e-mail you to get address but mail is delayed or bouncing. Our screw up on the book. Is packed, needs address.
- guru - Monday, 03/19/07 13:03:30 EST

Tool Maintenance - Cleaning / Rust Prevention: I picked up a Di-Arco 6" shear for my wife to use in cutting copper and silver sheet in her jewelry work. The shears are just plain dirty. They are tacky and full of dust/debris. If I clean them with mineral spirits, what is the best method of keeping the parts that are not painting from rusting. For example the table that stock would be placed on to cut is not painted, nor are the shear blades.

Dennis M - Tuesday, 03/20/07 09:48:45 EST

Rust Prevention: I prefer a light wipe with Vaseline, Dennis. It will prevent rust, doesn't harden and wipes off easily when you want to. I live on an island in the Caribbean and it works here, so it should work anywhere.

Vaseline is pretty much the same as the old mililtary gunk called Cosmoline, which was use to protect steel parts during shipping and storage, only it is cleaner and removes easier.
vicopper - Tuesday, 03/20/07 10:11:58 EST

When I lived in AR and worked ina custom wood shop we would always coat the table of the 100 year old machines with paste wax used for wood floors opting for as high a carnuba percentage as we could get cheap. Less messy than vaseline. Though the climate was not so "salty".

Out here I have removed 1" 100 year old nuts from exterior ironwork without even using oil or a cheater.---where did you say you were at again?

Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/20/07 10:38:29 EST

Rust on Cutting Tools:
Nothing will prevent rust from occurring on cutting edges because their use wipes (shears) off the oil or wax. You just have to repeatedly re-oil the cutting surfaces every time you use the tool. This applies to shears, saw blades, cutter bits, drills.

Where this is problematic is as Thomas noted, on wood working tools. Machine oil will ruin a good piece of wood AND wood and sawdust will thouroughly remove all the oil from a machine. Wax is a good substitute. I use light oil (WD-40) and wipe it off before cutting wood.
- guru - Tuesday, 03/20/07 11:02:07 EST

Rust Prevention: Vicopper / Thomas P: Thanks for the replies. I'm located just north of Atlanta, GA. This particular shear will be used in a basement workshop, where we have a dehumidifier installed.

Items such as punches and dies are covered by a linen cloth which is lightly sprayed with WD-40. So far, rust hasn't been an issue on those.

Dennis M - Tuesday, 03/20/07 11:04:20 EST

I don't if any of you know that I live about 20 mintues or 12 miles from where the boy Scout has been lost. But they found him this morning , Safe and Sound. I'am sure the many news media outlets will have a story on it, if they don't already. Locals say "he was mad and didn't want to go camping, but his dad made him go". We may never know.
daveb - Tuesday, 03/20/07 15:34:46 EST

baby powder: here in pennslytucky we Poof a little baby powder on the table saws top it sucks up the moisture and it keeps our wood baby fresh. not like it is a big problem anyway..but it helps.
- coolhand - Tuesday, 03/20/07 16:33:16 EST

Most baby powders are cornstarch now, in places where you get a lot of condensation it might not be such a good idea, sounds like a glue receipe...

At least the missing fellow was dressed appropriatly for the weather! Sounds like he could have used a bit more survival training though.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/20/07 17:55:46 EST

Guru - The Industrial Decline: I completely agree with your discourse here. When I was looking into buying an anvil, I had settled on one of the Czech imports, based on perceived value for the dollar. Then I woke up and decided that I needed to support the American foundry industry. I needed to do my part in supporting what is left of vital industries like that.
That left me with TFS and Nimba, and Nimba won out. I am very happy with my purchase on all levels.
I do my best to buy US made, but that is getting ever-more challenging.

What I think many do not realize is that by buying imported goods, they are exporting a small amount of the ability to buy whatever goods they themselves are involved in producing. In other words, the money exported (by buying import) leaves this economy and diminishes the amount of money available to buy what we make here.

Mike Berube - Tuesday, 03/20/07 19:32:13 EST

Industrial decline: While Henry Ford was a rotton mis-begotten racist, he had it right when he decided to pay his employees $5.00/day. This was a very good rate in that day. He loyalty, good attendance, and a huge base of folks that could afford to buy the very product they made. All the other employers had to follow suit, and pretty soon many many folks could afford Ford's cars, and all the nice things we tend to hold dear.
If we don't buy from the folks that produce in the US, they can't buy from other floks that produce in the US and pretty soon we have an economy that based on my trying to sell a service like raking the leaves for the fellow that works at the hamburger joint. A service economy is a FAILED economy.

We have to decide some important things in the US. Like if we want to be able to produce the everyday things we want in life someone, somewhere, has to allow the factory "in their backyard".
We need fair trade, not free trade. Match EVERY restriction tit for tat.
- ptree - Tuesday, 03/20/07 20:02:17 EST

Industrial Decline - Buying American:
I used to try hard to buy products made in the U.S. as a matter of principle. However, there are no PC's made in the US, no digital cameras, no automobiles (those supposed made here have huge forign content, especially engines). It is very difficult to find U.S. made products in the U.S. anymore. .

Sadly there are places all over the globe that WANT U.S. products because they used to be good dependable products worth the money. The "best" used to be products made in the USA. Then as long ago as 1984, there was the shocking statement in the movie, "Back to the Future", "All the BEST stuff is made in Japan". At the time it was somewhat of a shock to hear it, but it was true. The Japanese had taken over the consumer electronics industry and some of the best automobiles where being imported from Japan. The U.S. machine tool industry was being relentlessly attacked by dumping of Taiwanese and Japaneses machine tools.

That was 23 years ago. Our steel industry was being dumped on by both Japanese and European steel makers. We were offered NEW structural steel from U.S. mills at 10 cents a pound!

Our government has done nothing except pass NAFTA which just increased the volume of that giant sucking sound that Ross Perot had predicted. Now they are ready to sign CAFTA (the Central American Free Trade Treaty) which does nothing except damage the economies of Central America worse than they are now. CHINA is manufacturing products at cheaper rates than Mexico or Central America and if we don't do something SOON we will all be driving Chinese cars and wishing we could afford Japanese cars. . .

Currently our economy is running on inertia and borrowing at all time high rates. The multi-nationals who are skimming profits off "free trade" via derivatives control our stock market for their own gains. We do not control our economy and as long as politicians can raise millions for election campaigns and keep the "extra" the difference between rich and poor will become greater and greater.

Ask your elected representitives how they feel about "W" sacrificing a feeble attempt to protect our steel industry in exchange for soy-bean exports? The Chinese are willing to let their poor STARVE rather than let us put duties on Chineses steel. . . What are WE willing to sacrifice to protect OUR industry?

The US is still the last largest consumer nation. As such we have TREMENDOUS financial power. Yet we let the world run rough shod over us. Our presidents (Republican and Democratic alike) have sold our wealth to the multinationals. They are bought, every last one of them.

Look at the economic conditions in Mexico. A few very rich, and a lot of very poor. No jobs, no futures. Graft everywhere. We are headed that way. The difference is instead of lots of small time graft in everyday lives the graft is big time at the TOP.

We need a government that cares about its citizens first, others second, and taxes and controls corporations.
- guru - Tuesday, 03/20/07 22:34:00 EST

While I agree with your general point, you are incorrect that no automobiles are made here.

My Honda Element, which was made in Marysville Ohio, was over 85% US content, which is better than the Ford Mustang- and the engine was made in Anna, Ohio, where Honda makes over ONE MILLION engines a year.
Toyota makes almost 500,000 engines in West Virgina, and another 400k plus in Kentucky.

And neither company is entirely foreign owned- I have shares of both in my IRA.

The Indians are investing heavily in upgrading steel mills in the USA, and Nucor keeps doing better and better every year. We will still make steel for the foreseeable future, but never again in the quantities of the past- for things like steel, China is the growth market, and it makes sense to have the mills near the market.

Things are grim, sure, but not as bad as you describe.
I still get plenty of things made in the USA- my hossfeld bender, for example.

But in general, the economy is changing- the largest manufacturing town in the USA these days, particularly when it comes to machining, is Los Angeles- hundreds of 5 to 20 man CNC shops can turn out much more quantity, and quality, then old new england shops with rows of bridgeports.

In the west, and in the south and southwest, there are many small, under the radar manufacturers making all kinds of stuff, from satelites to lasers to T- shirts (American Apparel, again in LA) which are exported around the globe.

I feel that we are through being the low cost mass producer of commodity items, however, and companies that will succeed in america will make the highest quality, cutting edge, innovative things, along with art, music, film, and other creative things, and, of course, fashion, such as Harley Davidson, RocketBuster Cowboy Boots, and Corvettes.
- ries - Wednesday, 03/21/07 14:12:18 EST

John Lowther: While the US is pretty much a has-been when it comes to non-agricultural commodities, there are niche markets where US makers still play a significant role: In consumer electronics, the cloud-cuckoo high end audio market is very much dominated by US (and British) makers. The Japanese can't afford to make stuff in such small volumes.

Some, like Martin-Logan (based in Lawrence, Ks.) even make stuff that is (sort of) affordable, as well as their costs-as-much-as-a-house stuff. They sell more speakers in Japan than they do in the US.

Likewise, perhaps the best guitars EVER made are being made today in the USA. You'll be looking at $1,000+ for a good one and $8K or $10K for a top quality one with not terribly fancy inlays, but that sort of quality isn't coming from Japan or China period.

I'm not as familiar with 'em, but I hear tell that some of the violins being made today will probably give the great instruments from the 17th & 18th centuries a hard run for their money after they get a few decades under their belts. Again, made in USA.

I see US manufacturing as becoming more craft oriented, making absolute top-dollar, top-quality, limited production products, as mass market manufacturing moves to markets with less expensive labor. Even high-tech is subject to this, with outfits like Microsoft and Google opening offices in China and India. LARGE offices. And not just phone centers either.

The problem is, what will become of all the comparatively low-skilled workers who don't have the skills to become either craftsmen or tech workers? This is a huge problem, social as well as economic. We are accustomed to having a middle class which includes a very large number of comparatively low-skilled workers.

The Economy is ready to simply jettison them into the category of “poor.” The Society, however, is not, but at the same time the government is chary of spending money on training and re-training.

There seems to be a mean-spirited streak to the American character, which is just terrified that someone, somewhere will get something more than they deserve. I know I've suffered from that particular malady myself, and have been fighting it for some time. The antidote is called “generosity,” and I have to admit it is hard to learn when it doesn't come naturally. . .
John Lowther - Wednesday, 03/21/07 18:18:22 EST

OOPS: The subject above should have been Manufacturing.
John Lowther - Wednesday, 03/21/07 18:27:20 EST

I would agree, John, that this is the real problem- how do we, as a society, deal with the 50% of our citizens whose IQ is below 100?

Not just low skilled, but people who will never be computer software writers, or Corporate CEO's, or Heart Surgeons.

In the past, where I live, these people lived full and productive lives as farmers, loggers, fishermen, sawmill workers, and Boeing riveters.
But these jobs are all automated and changed now- I still know plenty of fishermen, for example, but it only takes 3 guys now to run a big boat, and pull in tens of thousands of pounds of salmon. We just opened 2 new sawmills where I live- both running with 1/10th to 1/5th the number of workers of old mills, usually 25 guys a shift now, running computers as well as cranes, instead of 300 to 500 at the old mills. These guys have to be computer literate, have CDL's and Heavy Equipment training.

There is still a lot of low skill manual work to be done- but it usually doesnt pay a living wage, which is why we have so many "guest workers" from south of the border doing it.

I would propose that if we had spent the 1 trillion dollars we just threw into the wind in the middle east, instead on worker training programs, public works, infrastructure replacement, and living wage jobs rebuilding america, we would have come out far ahead in every way.

But I am not the "decider" and nobody asked me.
- ries - Wednesday, 03/21/07 18:43:38 EST

Q.: the real problem- how do we, as a society, deal with the 50% of our citizens whose IQ is below 100? A.: We are already underway with a massive and still-growing program for handling that-- government clerical and administrative jobs, seats on city councils, county commissions, in state legislatures, the U.S. House and Senate and, of course, down toward the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 03/21/07 19:40:40 EST

Miles, I know you kid the government, as Bill Maher says- because I also know you spent time in DC, and know how smart some of those guys really are.
My mother was an elected official from about 1970 to 1995 or so- and she still sits on a state board. And through her I met a lot of the people you joke about- and unfortunately, they arent dumb. It would be so much easier if what you say is true.

We do have some dummies to blame, though- it us, the voters.
- ries - Wednesday, 03/21/07 19:48:41 EST

rant: Reis, My Mother too was an elected official. A small town mayor for 13 years, the town clerk and judge for a few years before that. I suspect that your mother, like mine was in the job as a service due the country she lived in rather than to make money. My mother's first act as mayor was to return her whopping several thousand dollar a year salery to the town treasury so that a full time police officer could be on duty 24/7. She took $1.00/year for 13 years for a 35 to 50 hour a week job. She served on and retired from the planning zoneing commision after 30 years of thankless hassles. She is much in demand at 81 years of age on various boards and commisions as she has a straight thinking common sense, pleasent manner. The fact that she takes short hand at 100 words a minute, and types 70 wpm on a manual may also contribute! She usually ends up takeing the minutes.
And the next so and so who lumps every person in gov't service in the catagory of thieves, idiots etc, will here this same rant till it sinks in that there is a class of citizens who serve us in the gov't sector who don't get money, or graft, just hassles and insults, and yet they continue to serve.
There are also the grafting, dirty rotten egg sucking curs that steal from us all. Just don't blindly lump them all together.
ptree - Wednesday, 03/21/07 20:10:09 EST

on American made cars: While I agree that it almost impossible to buy an American made car, some are indeed more American than others. PT cruisers? Assembled in Tolluca Mexico. Mini vans by Chyrsler? Most in St Loius, but many in Canada.( I like Canada, they trade pretty fair)
Toyotas? yes many are made in the US with many US parts, but I believe that the majority of both Toyota's and Hondas are still made in Japan and imported. In the KY area, where I work, there are many Japanese transplants making parts to feed the local assembly plants. Good paying jobs for Americans, in clean, well managed,safe factoreies. The management is mostly long veiw type. Manage for several years out instead of the next quarter or the next week as I experienced in the US owned auto part plant I worked in.
I mourn that we in the US seem to not be able to make a profit in a clean, safe well run plant,while other can, here in our backyard. I mourn the loss of primary industry, like steel, but not the loss of the pollution. Who of you on this thread want a primary steel mill and coke ovens in your backyard? I don't have an answer.
ptree - Wednesday, 03/21/07 20:19:16 EST


I suspect the reason the low skill jobs don't pay living wages is because we have so many "guest workers," not the other way around. Of course it's not that simple -- for example more of the jobs might be automated if the employers had to pay decent wages to fill them. And no doubt fewer immigrants would come if there were no opportunities for them here. But I don't think people would stay in Mexico in droves if landscapers started paying $20/hour instead of $5.
Mike BR - Wednesday, 03/21/07 20:29:42 EST

ries: I would would like to challenge the validity of a study that claims 50% of the US has an IQ score of 100. Not to mention the measure of IQ has always been subject.

I find your points of view interesting and thought provoking. I just think the subjective opinion on the mean IQ score is likely a fundamental attribution error.

Social Science Degree
- Hit & Miss - Wednesday, 03/21/07 21:06:20 EST

ries: Above is a generalized thought. As I see basic truth in what you write. Again, thought provoking.
- Hit & Miss - Wednesday, 03/21/07 21:13:29 EST

sad state: My company recently lost a 10 million dollar contract. To make up for the lost sales, management has turned up the pressure for us to outsource more product to china (more profit margin). This means even less for our home plant workers to do. They've already announced more shut down days for this year at the plant, and layoffs will probably follow at the end of the year. The contract we lost went to someone who's going overseas for their stuff.

Bartering for our blacksmith skills may well help feed us sooner than we think.
- Mike Sa - Wednesday, 03/21/07 21:22:08 EST

The average IQ is 100- that is the way the tests are graded.
Now I dont think that everyone in the USA has had an IQ test, much less somebody has sorted them all out, so 50% above and 50% below is not a proven fact, no.
But it is the results of most large testing groups.

Now whether or not an IQ number means anything or not, the basic point remains the same- half of all people are below average, and half above.
I know, we are all in the upper half- in fact, anybody you ask will always say they are.
But in reality, somebody is always, as Arlo Guthrie used to say, "the last guy". And half of the population is, by definition, in the bottom 50%.

The United States in not broke.
I went to high school with at least 5 guys who are now Billionaires, including old Bill the Billionaire Numero Uno- the richest man on earth.
We have lots of money, but its how we choose to divvy it up that causes the problems.

By the way, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Subaru all export American made models back to Japan- my Element, for example, is not made in Japan, only Ohio. Toyota alone employs around 335,000 people in the USA.
And as I said before, I OWN A PIECE of both Toyota and Honda, so stop calling em foreign owned- they are no more foreign owned than Ford and GM, which both have lots and lots of foreign stockholders.

Mercedes and BMW also export lots of USA made cars- the sporty little BMW Z4 is only made here, as is the X series BMW SUV's.
- ries - Thursday, 03/22/07 00:06:22 EST

Your element is assembled in Ohio. Many of the parts are made in the US. Most of the primary materials come from off shore. The tooling the parts were made on was most likey made off shore as well as most of the machine tools themselves. The transplants tend to import huge amounts of the basic materials, and all the dies and jigs etc, and then use US labor to produce an American made part.

You description of the IQ curve is correct. The ability of the potential workers we test for hiring, for what are seen as good jobs is depressing. Most can't read at the 6th grade or do 6th grade math.
ptree - Thursday, 03/22/07 05:49:36 EST

There are honorable, capable, talented, dedicated public servants. They toil in a vast, self-replicating bureaucracy that is strangling this country.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 03/22/07 10:36:39 EST

Thank you miles.
ptree - Thursday, 03/22/07 11:21:34 EST

Ptree- I am sure we are actually trying to say the same thing, more or less- but every quibble you had about my Honda being "offshore" applies equally to any "american" car made in the last 30 years. And my Honda has MORE "domestic content" than at least half the cars sold as "american" by Ford, GM, and Chrysler.

Since the demise of the vertically integrated River Rouge business model, where Taconite and coal came in one end and Model A's went out the other, all autos, wherever they are made, are international in content.

Even old Henry Ford had to use "offshore" things like Chromium from the Congo, or Rubber from Fordlandia in Brazil. As far as I know, there has never been a domestic rubber plantation in the USA- so the domestic content of cars has never been 100%, and never will be.

It is a sad truth that with the introduction of CNC in the early 70's, the major american machine tool companies dropped the ball, thinking that they could keep making 1940's designs of transfer lines for the big 3 forever. So the Austrians, the Germans, and the Japanese all ate their lunch with CNC machining centers and auto parts building machines.
So yes, you are right that most of the equipment used by Honda, Toyota, Ford and GM is imported. The japanese, for no good reason, have a big lead on us in robots, as well as automated paint lines.

Interestingly enough, I have a friend who works full time as a quality control inspector and liason man for american companies having tooling made offshore- and he says for the really high end stuff, not the molds for happy meal toys, but precision stuff, the chinese shops are now coming in only 10% to 20% below US and western european prices. Of course, they make sure they are still low bidders, and get the work, but their costs have gone up quite a bit in the last few years- a 5 axis CNC machining center costs the same in China as it does in Kentucky. So he is actually starting to source some of his molds and tooling from eastern europe these days.

This indicates to me that the trends in China, and the world economy, are moving so fast that by the time any of us learns enough to make a statement, its probably outdated. This could be good, or bad, for us as a country- but I think a lot of it depends on us.

If our kids watch idiotic reality shows, and want to grow up to wear rolexes, drive ferrari's, and do nothing but watch big screen tv, then yeah, we are in trouble. And the behaviour, and spending habits, of america's top earning executives, bankers, and captains of industry are certainly not a good example. But we have the brains, the resources, and the abilities to do whatever we want, as a nation. Its the willpower we seem to lack.
- ries - Thursday, 03/22/07 12:26:28 EST

Ries thank you for your input.
ptree it is always a bell curve. everything is a bell curve. maybe the things you guys test for are not the right things. They may be correct for your hiring requirements. Certainly not an IQ measure.
What I am saying is everyones observations and information bites are subjective. Unless you are a social scientist and apply all variables and know how to construct the study i don't think anyone here can be definitive concerning IQ. As a bell curve happens. We know their are people on the lower end for a wide variety of factors. Surprisingly some of those may have a 160 IQ. Enviornmental factor, mental disease, socialization, family, exposure to education, drugs and many many other things play a roll. A math test doesn't tell you an IQ. They may never had a math exposure, but can build things beyond anyones comprehention using paths of math we can't understand that they created. Just because they appear, talk and act dumb doesn't prove anything. It is a 50/50 gamble.
- Hit & Miss - Thursday, 03/22/07 13:04:50 EST

IQ's not sure of mine but I can spot when people keep changing their name every month or so.....
- John N - Thursday, 03/22/07 13:34:50 EST

IQ, Education: When we were hiring welders in 2000 the verbal math test we gave was quite simple.

How much is one inch divided by 2? "half inch"
How much is half a half inch? "one quarter inch"
How much is half a quarter inch? "an eighth inch"
What is half of one eighth? "One sixteenth"
What is half of one sixteenth? One thirtysecond"

At about half of a quarter most of the guys we interviewed would stumble. All stumbled at the 1/32 including one fellow that had his own business and wanted to work for us as a sub-contractor.

The problem is not inteligence it is ignorant teachers that transfer their fear of fractions to students and do not challange YOUNG students with the "hard" fractional math. . which is in fact the beginning of algebra.

The fact is this is second or third grade math and I have taught MUCH more complex fractional problems to a six year old (What's 1/3 of 27? 1/6 of 2?, 2/9 of 45?) You should be able to work these in your head and with practice a six year old can do it easily. *I* had more trouble coming up with problems and the answers than my son did the answers.

The welder we finally hired that had 13 years experience in the Norfolk ship yards and claimed he was a "fitter" did not know the difference between the inch and centimeter side of his tape measure. This cost us a big piece of plate that was cut to 39% of the dimensioned drawing size which was clearly marked "ALL DIMENSIONS IN INCHES".

Its not IQ, its the failed educational system. Its the George Bush attitude that it is OK to teach to the test and if test scores are not high enough then toss out the kids who score low. . . THAT was the educational "revolution" that Governor George W. Bush left Texas with and has tried to foist off on the rest of the country.
- guru - Thursday, 03/22/07 13:55:13 EST

As the parent of a child who has been doing fractions this year, I would have to disagree.
The problem is indeed intelligence.
My kid can do fractions in his sleep. His "ignorant" teacher spent all the time she could with the half the kids in the class who cant- but she is only one, and there are 32 of them. And hour a day of math class equals about 4 minutes per slow kid, if she did nothing else, and let the "smart" half of the class just sit and twiddle their thumbs.

The problem is that to teach EVERYBODY basic math requires a student/teacher ratio of about 3 to 1.
I know- I have volunteered one day a week in math class, doing just this. And to get the slower kids to keep up, I would have to spend a LOT of time with each one.

How much are your property taxes? Willing to double em to pay for more teachers, so everybody can get the attention it requires to learn fractions? How about are you willing to go in and coach 4th grade math once a week?

IT IS IQ! Not everybody can learn at the same speed. This is because we are all different. You dont have to call people dumb- but you have to acknowledge that not everybody can learn fractions at the age of 6. And not every teacher is "ignorant" just because they cant teach every kid fractions in an afternoon. There are always a few kids who "get it" right away- and a few who require a LOT of time.

Spend some more time in the schools, and you will see that the amount we put into teaching these kids is just not enough.
I am lucky enough to have 2 smart, quick to learn kids. But I do not judge other kids by how mine learn, or judge a teachers talent or dedication by mine either.
- ries - Thursday, 03/22/07 14:06:07 EST

Japanese manufacturing in the U.S.:
There are a lot of reasons Japan moved manufacturing operations here. One was the growing backlash against their market share and our failing auto industry. By making cars HERE they look better in the public eye.

Another was that labor is cheaper here than in Japan and you can hire college kids to do manual labor jobs. Realestate to build plants on is also much cheaper here.

AND we can be trusted. When Japan built plants in China the Chinese cloned the plant, and the tooling, in fact the entire car design. They marketed THEIR version cheaper. . well of course it was, there were no engineering or design costs and even the plant architecture and layout were free. . . In China that is considered the "free market" and since they do not observe copyright or patent rights (they are still a communist nation where these rights only exist in treaties NOT in actuallity). Yeah, yeah, they crack down occasionally for the new cameras put that is temporary.

So the Japanese backed off building entire plants in China and just have components made and shipped elsewhere to have assembled, like in the U.S. ANY U.S. business that outsources their product to China is shooting themselves in the foot. That product that THEY designed will be made in another (or the same) Chinese factory and sold competitively against the original maker.

The last American car I rented was a full sized GM something. . it had bright orange "Made in China" stickers all over it but no "Made in USA".

I have no love for the American auto industry. They are their own worst enemy. Back in the 70's instead of reacting to rising fuel prices with smaller more efficient cars they just built bigger. When small pickup trucks became popular they bought Japanese trucks and put their name on them. THEY became the importers. . . When Congress mandated imission controls they put add on junk parts that were intended to create a public backlash . . that backfired when Japanese makers redesigned engines without add-on junk that surpassed the standards. Instead of the public going to congress they bought Japanese cars.

The global economy is a complicated thing. But the fact is when you sell natural resources in liew of manufactured goods that are in turn sold BACK to you then that is the definition of a third world ecomony. Currently we are selling lumber, coal, scrap iron and other resources to China and Japan that should be staying here. When Ford bought rubber and chrome from overseas it was NOT as finished products. We did not buy TIRES from Brazil, we bought raw natural rubber. We made the tire here and put them on vehicles that were sold world wide.

We fought a revolution against England to get out of being a third world supplier of raw materials and consumer of finished goods so that we could reverse the situation. In the past 30 years we have given up that hard fought position by simply letting others take it from us.
- guru - Thursday, 03/22/07 14:27:28 EST

Guru & Ries
You both have great views and valid opinions of the current education system.
- Hit & Miss - Thursday, 03/22/07 15:09:36 EST

Reis, I lived and worked through the demise of the American machine tool industry in the late 70's and 80's an on. The reality is that in the 70s and 80s the Japanese Gov't rationalized the machine tool industry and picked companies to specialize in a particular type of tool. Under the table funds were supplied, paid for from dog racing tracks to these companies to pay for R&D. I suspect you will find it if you research. American companies are not without blame, but they did make CNC's and made Darn good ones too, and did it before pretty much anyone else. The valve company had more Warner & Swaseys than mostpeople have seen machine tools. Good tuff second generation tools, that made money and were maintainable. Not competive against imports that were dumped.
And yes, many US companies thought that they could continue as they had for a century.
And yes Ries, I think we are both pretty much saying the same thing. I truely believe that it is a global economy now, I just would like it to be fair. And I don't have the answer. As long as folks want something for little or nothing, things will continue.

I agree with Ries on the teachers being spread too thin. I had a gifted child, that was bored so badly since the teachers had to spend so much time with the ones who did not get it quickly, that he was constantly in trouble. And the school system had a gifted program, 45 minutes a week where they were pulled from class to get "advanced" work. He was in effect learning disabled as he was so bored that he simply read through class and was a problem.
ptree - Thursday, 03/22/07 15:22:49 EST

ptree-- ˇpor nada! My late father worked for the U.S. government's Maritime Administration as a marine engineer for the last 15 years of his working days. My sister works for the same federal government. Another sister retired from an administrative and teaching position with the state university. A niece is an administrative assistant to a high state official. Our youngest son is a gun-totin', bulletproof vest-wearing commissioned state law enforcement officer, a game warden. I KNOW there are scads of smart, dedicated people working in and for government. But my point is, given the exponential growth of the bureaucrazy, that still leaves plenty of room for the full-employment program that seems to be aimed at solving the above-mentioned problem. John N-- I only change my name every couple of years. And I don't even exist, being as I am a mere chimera of pixels on your screen, a totally fictitious entity.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 03/22/07 16:05:15 EST

Names: Miles,

John N wasn't referring to you. I suspect the object of his post knows who he is.

I wish you'd bring back your full cast of characters, though.
Mike BR - Thursday, 03/22/07 17:24:42 EST

Guru, you are wrong about the japanese building plants in China- they did not back off, in fact, they are still building new ones.
Honda has a huge plant in China, building all of the Honda Fits which are sold worldwide, including exporting to europe.
While the Chinese were making a 50cc motorscooter called a "Hongda", Honda actually sued, and won, in Chinese court, and they have changed the name.
Many, Many Japanese companies do heavy manufacturing in China.
The theft of intellectual property you describe has certainly happened, and is still happening, but it is lessening.
As I mentioned before, the chinese economy and reality is changing FAST.
- ries - Thursday, 03/22/07 19:32:33 EST

Miles, I too enjoy the full cast, and I too think John N is referring to another.
By the way, I discovered a unique addition to the vortex generators for hammers last weekend. A hand lotion that utilizes electromagenetohydrodymanics to provide a shock free hammer use as well as an improved grip. You should try some.
ptree - Thursday, 03/22/07 19:33:02 EST

IQ's, curves, etc.: I do know what my IQ is, but I don't really care that much and I don't share it. I find it relatively meaningless, given that many situations require specific knowledge and not general intelligence or the ability to learn new concepts. Other situations DO require those attributes, and in those, IQ may have some relevance. Or not.

NOT everything is a bell curve, by any means. Takle the death rate, for instance. So far, everybody dies sooner or later. Thus, 100% of the people all have the same attribute. Hardly fits the standard Gaussian Distribution Curve, does it? With respect to IQ though, Ries is right, since IQ has always been measured with `100 as the "norm", or mean. In a Gaussian distributin, half wil be below the mean, and half above. The median, however, may vary from that significantly. The smaller the statistical universe, the more that the sigmas will be skewed, and the larger the universe, the less they will.

IQ measurements are not the result of a "study", but rather the result of testing on standardized examinations. There are several of those, ranging form the Stanford-Binet through the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale to some more current ones that supposedly better accomodate social and geo-political differences as well as varied ethnicities.

None of the IQ tests are perfect, but they DO offer a yardstick against which we can measure people and form some impressions of their general capabilities. They are a tool, like any statistical device. When they become so so doggedly relied upon that no other factors are counted, then they fail. As do most rigid systems. A foolish consistency, and all that, as Ralph Waldo said.
vicopper - Thursday, 03/22/07 19:45:39 EST

Education: I learned one well 2 really valuable things out of a not so great school system (Taos NM ).Its remarkable what you can learn if you want to and are interested and how little if you do not want to and are not interested.
Its not tne size of the IQ it is what you do with it.
- aaron craig - Thursday, 03/22/07 20:19:10 EST

IQ: To build on what Vicopper wrote, I think there are different types of intelligence. There are probably rocket scientists who'd be total failures as brain surgeons, and vice versa. Likewise, there are probably people who get lousy scores on IQ tests but can do well in certain skilled jobs.

This may be pie-in-the-sky, but I'd like to think that the U.S. does reasonably well at getting people inot jobs they fit. My wife, who grew up in Taiwan, majored in law -- not because that's what she wanted, but because of how she scored on a test. If I understand it correctly, it wasn't that the test showed an aptitude for law, but that an overall score in a certain range qualified you for a certain career.

When I was in Taiwan in 2004, the radio (yes, they have an English-language station), said two island had two kinds of manufacturing companies. Those that had already offshored their production to the mainland, and those that were on their way out of business.
Mike BR - Thursday, 03/22/07 20:23:30 EST

Mike BR, ptree-- Thanks! But those cats are wayyyy off in a distant land, the Fifties, in the Dizzy Club on Holabird Avenue in Dundalk, Md., drinking Gunther's and Natty Boh, playing shuffleboard and listening to Joni James and Earl Bostic 45s. A better place and time than this dismal era. Cracked Anvil and his faithful segundo Chastity Dangerfield, her aide Yummi deLisch, and henchperson Swarf are not my cast-- they are totally independant entities whom I merely happened to be privileged to know slightly. And envy greatly. ptree-- thanks, but we got enough manics around here already, without any hydros. But it sounds promising.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 03/22/07 21:27:33 EST

Aaron Craig: You are absolutley right. There is however the notion that a "good" teacher is supposed to be able to gather the interest of more of the students. Having had some good and some not so good teachers I think there is merrit to this idea. I allso had some teachers who were competent in the subject they were teaching, but not effective in teaching it to students.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 03/22/07 21:49:48 EST

Everyone You know is above average?: This may say something about social stratification. Those of us on this forum can all read and wright [but maybee not spell] We can all do at least basic math. So most likely can everyone We know, and work with, but there are many other people who are iliterate, can't do basic math etc. WE JUST DON'T KNOW THEM.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 03/22/07 21:58:27 EST

Pity the teacher: I received a teaching certificate in the late 1950's. The Ed courses were dreadful, Educational Psychology for example. In another course, we had to read John Dewey, who may have had some valuable ideas, but dang! Dull as dishwater to read. The one good thing was a practicum called "Student Teaching" where I spent several weeks teaching a real class in a real school while the regular teacher monitored me. I wonder what teacher prep is like nowadays on the university level.

One of our instructors told us that some teachers had a certain indefinable spark, and some didn't. That "spark" allowed them to be fantastic teachers. The instructor could not convey that spark to the students, however. My big sister, a successful teacher, told me, "Nobody can teach anybody anything. All you can do is share experiences."

I do feel for a teacher who is in an overcrowded classroom situation, a teacher who is wondering how to fill the car's gas tank and how to fill the propane tank for the coming winter. I think that most teachers can legitimately plead distraction.

Frank Turley - Friday, 03/23/07 00:01:26 EST

Ed Courses: I have no idea what they're like these days, but I tok a few of them back in the late 1960's. I had the notion that I would get a teaching certificate along with my metalsmithing degree. A half dozen courses in the Ed. department certainly cured me of that. Boring, boring, boring! And, in many cases, chock full of unrelieved nonsense. I gave it up and decided that I would only ever be able to teach at the college level, where no certification was needed.

In my final year at CSU I wound up teaching a sophomore course in metalsmithing, and learned more by the actual teaching than I had in all the Ed courses, plus it cetainly sharpened my own metalsmithing abiilities considerably. Teaching a subject/skill certainly makes you look critically and analytically at the processes you use in order to be able to explain them to others. Through that analysis, I found that I improved my own understanding and abilities considerably. As a bonus, I had a real ball teaching people who truly wanted to learn the subject matter. The ones who were just coasting through the class were much less fun to teach.

The whole experience gave me a much better appreciation of what teachers have to endure and a great respect for the really good ones who can motivate the average student.
vicopper - Friday, 03/23/07 07:22:47 EST

How teachers teach is a mystery that cannot be taught. However, I have found that those with a deep understanding of a subject AND are excited about are the best teachers.

I've been teaching things my whole life as well as learning. In kindergarten through high school I taught others how to draw and taught elementary school art classes as a volunteer. In my early teens I taught other boys how to work wood to build their soap box racers. I've also taught computer programming basics in middle school (actual logical programing, not step, step, step).

But I have spent most of my life teaching myself. I think those that learn well often teach themselves as well as taking guidence from teachers.

- guru - Friday, 03/23/07 11:09:13 EST

Teachers: in public schools these days have horrible problems with discipline and lack of support from parents. The children (in general) are MUCH different than 40 or 50 years ago. They have no respect for the authority of the teacher OR school. Teachers on the other hand have had any authority they had to discipline students away from them.

I hear the same stories from parts of Europe but in less developed countries such as Latin America things seem to be much the same as they were here 50 years ago. I personally think that the "boob tube" baby sitter is a majority of the problem and that video games have increased the problem of violence and general trouble making among young people. Otherwise the situation would not be so similar among developed nations and less of a problem among the less developed.

While student teacher ratios have a LOT to do with the quality of education I know that when I went through school the number of students in 95% of all my classes for ALL the time I was in school was 32. Today it is not unusual for the average in a US public school to be in the mid twenties and many classes have as few as 15 students.

However, discipline was not the issue it is today. If it had been like it is today then classes of 32 would have been more like a riot than a class room.

I think the other problem teachers have today is trying to teach too many things the way the bureaucracy wants it taught. I remember having many days in school when we worked on only ONE or TWO subjects for the entire day. This works better than rigid schedules where you must move on no matter how excited the students are about the subject TODAY.

Its a complicated problem and no simple answers. But teaching to the test ("W's" favorite) is still cheating the same as it was 30 years ago. It also cheats students of a well rounded liberal education which has been what made a U.S. public education great for nearly 100 years.
- guru - Friday, 03/23/07 11:36:48 EST

As I said, I have volunteered a lot in the schools in the last 10 years or so, and seen a lot of this up close.
For a few years, I would go in one day a week, for an hour, and help with a class- one year it was a 4th/5th grade math class, another year was 1st grade writing and spelling, and so on.

Teaching to the test is a horrible, stupid thing- and our current "decider" has made it worse. In our state, we have statewide tests, and way too many of the few resources we have are spent on trying to "raise" test scores.

I dont believe TV, or Video Games, by themselves, cause bad kids- but parenting styles, discipline, and societies expectations have sure changed, and all of that contributes.

When I was in school in the early 60's, we would sometimes have classes as big as 25, but not 30, or 35. And there is a finite amount of kids any one human can pay attention to, no matter how good a teacher they are. My guess is that optimum class size is around 15. I know that a 28 kid class really benefits from 3 adults- often, in the elementary school my kids went to, we would have one teacher, one student teacher, and one or two parent volunteers- and this ensured that everyone got the attention they needed. We were lucky enough to be a couple of miles from a state college with a big teacher training department, and would often get student teachers for 3 months at a time.

One thing that is different today, which makes teaching so much harder, is we actually try to educate everybody.
I know when I was a kid, there was a big percentage of kids we just gave up on.
"Retarded" kids were institutionalised- you never saw em.
"Discipline problems" went to reform school- and while we have more people in real jail nowadays, we have far fewer facilities like that now.
A lot of poor kids just plain didnt go to school.
I know a bunch of people in their 50's and 60's in my rural area who never finished high school- they went right to work instead.

But now, many many options for kids who dont fit in, one way or another, are gone. No logging company or fishing boat around here can hire a big, but slightly troubled 14 year old, the way friends of mine got out of schooling in the 60's- state and federal employment laws would prohibit it.
We dont have institutions for handicapped kids, which might be a good thing, but now they are all mainstreamed.

And when I was in school, you just didnt see the kids who had no visible mother or father, but instead slept on the couch of their drunken grandmother, and ate for the first two weeks of the month until their food stamps ran out.
I spent a few months working with a poor little ten year old girl like that- until one day she vanished, and never returned- could be the state put her in a foster home, could be granny just moved.
Another kid I knew dived under the table every time he heard a siren- conditioning from the years the police kept coming around for his crackhead parents.
Or the kid who would show up barefoot, because one of the many people crashing at his house stole his only pair of shoes that day.
The 7th grader who made money and acheived status by selling the pot she stole from her druggie mom.
The kid who bounced from foster home to foster home, never having known either real parent, who found that winning fights was the only thing he was good at.
The fat kid who got back at the world by picking on everybody smaller than him- again, maybe one parent, if he was lucky.
The large group of kids diagnosed as crack babies, or ADD, or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, many of whom are on prescription drugs like Ritalin during class.

All real kids I have known.
The public schools are full of em.
These are poor kids who will probably turn out bad, and in the meantime will learn little, and disrupt class.
All thru no fault of their own, but because of the rotten folks who brought em into the world.

When you have one kid like this, in a class, it makes it tough for the best teacher to teach. When you have 5, or ten of em, I dont care how good you are at discipline, or how old fashioned your values are, you cant get much teaching done.

In my old elementary school in the 60's, we didnt have these problems. Some of em are new problems, and a lot of em were just swept under the rug in those days.
But they are the reality of teaching now, and they sure make things harder.

I know a lot of teachers, and they are all really courageous people, fighting an uphill battle. I dont know a single one who doesnt put in a lot of extra hours, or spend a lot of their own money on supplies.
- ries - Friday, 03/23/07 12:37:41 EST

Education: In my above post I did not mean to bag on teachers. I have been out of school long enough that any faults I have now are likely all me. One of the worst things is that teachers wind up being looked down on with additudes such as " those that can do and those that can't teach".this from somebody I worked with and was mad that any kind of benefit should go to teachers.Teaching well is a knack like in any proffesion there are going to be more and less talented people and over all I am glad people have the desire to teach at all. I also am grateful to those whose talents run to Law Enforcement firefighters ECT.I also think travel to other parts of the world is a vital part of education every time I travel I come home feeling better about my lot in life. I spent ten days this month in the Ukraine felt much better about my lot in life upon returning, though less talented as a blacksmith after seeing whats being currently made in inthat country.
aaron craig - Friday, 03/23/07 12:59:07 EST

sorry for my terrible punctuation
aaron craig - Friday, 03/23/07 13:00:48 EST

Kids attitudes, money spent:
The last school demo I did was interesting. Mostly bright kinds in technology classes. Most of the kids had too many questions to answer in the short time I was there. However, there was ONE class with ONE dominant girl that did not understand why SHE had to be outdoors watching this guy play with a hammer. . . Her spoiled attitude effected the entire class. She never said anything but the look on her face spoke volumes and kept the rest of the class from behaving like the peers of the other curious kids in 5 other classes.

This was a beautiful, well dressed, intelligent looking young woman obviously from a well to do family. She just had a spoiled rotten attitude that pervaded her class.

So it is not all poverty and broken homes. It can also be personality or social tensions that Jane a dull girl.

I do not think poverty has a much to do with the situation as does the parents responsibility to educating their children. In Costa Rica I see kids going to school (walking) in clean school uniforms that look completely out of place when you look at the hovels they live in. The education system there that was once the best in Central America and much of the world is now stressed by population growth and a sagging economy, the kids relegated to going to school in shifts for only a half day. But they learn to read and speak well, do their math and study the world. Many go on to college and are not disadvantaged by there shortened school hours. They are generally better educated than U.S. children. So how much money you throw at the problem is not a solution either.
- guru - Friday, 03/23/07 15:42:08 EST

I hear this "more money is not the answer" arguement all the time, and I think its baloney.
First, I challenge you to find a single school in Costa Rica that would turn down additional funds for buildings, books, teachers, or supplies.

If they had more money, they would do more with it.

Second, Costa Rica, while I am sure a wonderful place, is not a direct comparison to the USA. To say that a relatively monolithic culture, both racially and religously, which is still primarily an agriculture based rural society, is equivalent to the US, with hundreds of different racial groups, religions, economic situations, and so on, is just not a fair comparison.

The old catholic, tight family based, insulated culture in Costa Rica makes for fewer problems, I am sure. But if you look at El Salvador, which is quite similar culturaly, you will see extreme gang violence problems, lingering death squad activity, and, I am sure, terrible education. Costa Rica is a unique case, even in Central America.

Here, we have a lot of kids who NEED HELP. For whatever reason, their parents have flaked out on them.
We do not have a law that requires parental responsibility in raising kids. If we did, it would be impossible to agree on the definitions, and equally impossible to enforce.
It just cant be done.

So we are stuck with the current situation- kids who dont get what they need, either materially, emotionally, or intellectually, at home, are dumped in schools.

And the ONLY way to deal with them is enough teachers, enough classrooms, and enough time spent to educate them. And this takes money.
We could send these same kids to Costa Rica, and they still would be screwed up. The egg is broken- the omelet is cooking. We have to deal with the situation we have now.

I am sure there are obnoxious kids in every school. But this whole discussion started when you blamed teachers for being Ignorant, and not teaching fractions, when you claimed you could teach a six year old fractions, and they must not be trying.

Doing a demo is far different from trying to actually help a kid learn math. I have done both, and Demos are more fun, but ultimatley we need both.

My basic point is that a lot of kids are being forgotten or overlooked by our present system. And we no longer have good paying blue collar jobs to give these kids, who dont do well in school.
As a society, we need to address both problems- how to educate these forgotten kids (and it WILL take more money) and how to integrate the people into our society who are not going to be investment bankers or computer programmers.

I dont doubt we can do both, if we actually address the issues. Who is to blame for these kids, or why we dont have the jobs anymore, while not irrelevant, are not the biggest problems.
- ries - Friday, 03/23/07 18:16:47 EST

Kids & schools: Ries: I agree with most of Your points. I am sure that a lot of the attitude and disiplin problems with kids is a reflection of the attitude and parenting skills of the parents. My cousin's wife was a teacher in Pocono school district [northeastern Pa.]prior to this school year. There are a lot of families that have moved there from New York City in the last 8 years. Many of these parents still work in the city, and in some cases BOTY parents are in the city ALL WEEK and the kids are home unsupervised. The sudden large increase has overwelmed a formerly small rural school system that was unprepaired to deal with drug, gang and violence problems of the present magnatude. It is a damn shame when the police have to patroll the halls of a school EVERY DAY and they get no respect from the problem kids, just like the teachers. In fact, some of the families moved there because the kids were expelled from the city schools. [They already owned these homes as vacation homes] These are not poverty stricken kids, or kids from destitute families. They are childern of people who don't have thier priorities strate. Ichibod Crane said "Spare the rod and spoil the child" I believe You can impart a lot of wisdom to a kid with the palm of Your hand - through the seat of His pants. But these are no longer popular views.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 03/23/07 22:06:00 EST

You are right that Costa Rica is different culturally than the U.S. but the way kids act there TODAY is much like my generation acted in the U.S. 45 years ago.

The problem with throwing money at a problem is that there must be a plan to go with it. Today in the U.S. the schools are often mandated to do things they do not have the funds for. So instead of cutting back and teaching the basics well they do everything poorly. Given more money without a good plan the bureaucracy often grows and the children do not see the benefit. There have been several occasions where our local county in Virgina and a least once when the state turned down Federal education funds because the paperwork burden negated the value of the program.

Somehow in the 1960's every school I went to had a school nurse. Today I see schools built with a clinic or nurse's office but without a nurse. So what has happened?

Now most schools have funds to light sports fields all night (a huge expense) while class room equipment for science is the worst junk you have ever seen.

To be "accredited" public schools must have a sex education curriculum. Books and materials are bought every year and in a vast majority of locations they are never opened prior to going to the trash. It is the great "don't ask don't tell" dark secret of many school systems. Money is literally thrown away because most teachers (like most individuals) are not prepared to teach this subject. The fact is this is a job for a specialized professional, perhaps the school nurses that no longer exist.

There are a lot of strange places that money goes in our U.S. school systems. There is money for teams to travel to sports events with the support of the school system but try to take a trip to the nearest art museum or historic site. . . Oh NO, the school system can't be bothered with that, it costs too much or would be too much of a burden on the parents.

The problem is often priorities and proper channeling of funds. Curricula are determined by folks too far from the reality and there are often too many strings attached. The bureaucracy gets bigger, less happens in the classroom.

- guru - Friday, 03/23/07 23:33:31 EST

children alone: My mother, who is now 81, spent many many years as a probation officer,foster mother and sunday school teacher. She also worked at a drug rehab hosipital. She has always said the 13 year olds are her favorites. She also told each of her children, as they started families that the single most important thing she had found out from all the above experience was " always have a compentent adult at home when the kids leave for and come home from school" She had found that the magority of kids gone bad had done so while unattended after school.
I moved into a rural area just outside a magor city about 22 years ago, and shortly after it became an upscale bedroom community for the city. Many 6000 sqft homes know! many dual income families that I would guess are at $300,000/year. The school system has much money, often spent badly, and the children are of two types it seems. Good kids with the gamut of teen issues, and drug/alchol fueled slackers with all the problems that entails.
My children have reported on things at high school like the girls that had the drinking game prior to school and collasped prior to making it to first period. They were freshman. A star athelete etc who killed a class mate in a dui fueled headon. etc.
Answers? I don't have em. Suggestions? "Have a compentent adult meet those kids as they arrive home from school"
ptree - Saturday, 03/24/07 09:17:58 EST

The "nuclear" family:
I always thought that was a funny phrase for the Nuclear age. . .

But a good sober stay-at-home mom is probably the best cure for a lot of problems. I was lucky, I have two college educated parents and my mother stayed at home until the all the kids were in school. But the fact that she was not at home for the youngest immediately after school may explain why they are different. But it could just be the changing eras or just the different personalities.

My children had the same much of the time.

I do know that children are born with a personality that does not change much through life. Anything this complex that is not part of the environment after birth is probably very sensitive to drugs and alcohol.

Love and TLC makes a huge difference no matter what the circumstances.
- guru - Saturday, 03/24/07 12:43:25 EST

When I lived in Columbus OH in the inner city I had my kids in Public Schools to the horror of my suburban coworkers; Howerver they were in the "Lottery" Magnet Schools. To get in one had to fill out a lot of paperwork and then be selected by lottery. These were *great* schools; much better IMNSHO than the rich suburb schools. And the kids did great even if they were in 100 year old buildings with a wide mix of ethnicities and races.

The reason was that each kid in there came from a home that prised education and went to the trouble to fill out all those forms.

The other schools were mainly unpaid baby sitting services.

My oldest daughter had the choice of Russian, Chinese Japanese, Arabic, Swahili as well as French, German and Spanish in her middle school and my youngest who was not so academically inclined flourished in an Arts/College prep high school---even though it was in a rented building and most of their classroom equipment was discards and donations.

Thomas P - Saturday, 03/24/07 13:26:49 EST

Old punch dies: Friend of mine was handed an old punch. He's pretty scared of this interweb thingie so I said I'd dig around for him.

He's got a "Lightning Portable Punch" made by American Lock Nut Co. Patent date is 1904.

Very cool punch, goes through 12g like it wasn't there, and has a double cam so it punches on the forward and on the back swing.

Any idea where a guy might look for some dies for this thing?

Both of us would like to get it to useable status.
- mattmaus - Saturday, 03/24/07 14:41:50 EST

Old punch:
I doubt you will find the manufacturer. However, Cleveland punch and die company supply a lot of the same to fit tools by numerous manufactures.

Roper Whitney also sells punches and dies for the Little #5 Junior which fit other brands as well. I suspect you will need to get out the dial calipers and do some serious measuring and cross checking.
- guru - Saturday, 03/24/07 15:00:26 EST

IQ's in America: This E-mail from a Friend of mine, while meant to be funny, has a disturbingly realisticing to it.

Last week I purchased a burger and fries at McDonalds for $3.58. The counter girl took my $4.00 and I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and handed it to Her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies. While looking at the screen on her register, I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While He tried to explain the transaction, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell You this? Because of the evolution of teaching math since the 1950's:

Teaching math in 1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching math in 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching math in 1970: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

Teaching math in 1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: underline the number 20.

Teaching math in 1990: A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do You think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers)

Teaching math in 2007: Un ranchero vende una carretera de madera para $100. El cuesto de la produccion era $80. Cuantos tortilla se puede comprar?

What do You think? True or not?
- Loren T - Sunday, 03/25/07 19:34:24 EST

I don't know about your schools, but here in S. Indiana, my high school freshman is doing alegbra, and the Juggle Guy, a Junior in is pre-calculus.
In the 70's when I was in school, in a rural system I attended the high level math and got alegbra and geometry. My kids were doing the same alegbra in middle school.
Other schools may vary, but i would suggest that anyone who wants to test a current schools math teaching product test out the juggleguy at a hammer-in. I think he will keep up with the best.
ptree - Sunday, 03/25/07 19:53:58 EST

Touchy Feely: The touchy feely question (1990) is not funny. They threatened to EXPEL my son from our local high school when he would not write a paper about his emotions towards his teach and classmates in a health class. He did not just not do it, he openly refused. *I* agreed that they school had no business mucking around in a teenage boy's mind, his mother (a school teacher) thought he should write the paper. There are some good reasons we are now divorced.

IMAGINE if an openly honest answer was written. Many sophmores would like to have sex with their teacher (or possibly toss them out a window) and perhaps a number of the other students, kill the bullies and teases, and tell the rest to get over it and piss off.

THIS would then come to the attention of the authorities no matter that the teacher promised absolute privacy. Then the sophmore would be labeled a danger to society and strapped with seeing shrinks until he was 21 or went crazy (from the shrinks) and killed himself.

These touchy feely questions are part of many state's health or family living curriculum. They are a sideways attempt at giving every student a psych evaluation without the parents knowledge and benefit of a lawyer or trained psychologist.

I've had psych evaluations as part of security clearances and the things the school was asking were the same that a job at a nuclear power plant required.

My son is a perfectly adjusted 30 year old now, never been in trouble and has good friends. He was right to refuse to expose his innermost teenage thoughts to the government (no matter what they were, we could only guess).

When I went to our city schools in Lynchburg (1970's), IF you were on the A-list college track you took algebra, geometry, algebra/trig then calculus. If you were on the B-list (non-college, non-vocational) you took, general math 1,2,3 (new math advanced algebras) then geometry. In the C-list vocational an accounting class replaced geometry. In Virgina all the schools, city and county has the same basic curriculum. What the counties lacked was good science labs and a machine shop. They had Ag classes instead, but the math, English and History were the same. So it sounds like your rural system was about 30 years behind.

I had a cross between the A-list and B-list math because they started ONE class of us in elementary school in a new-math track then didn't know how to dovetail it into the A-list. . . so much for being a guinea pig.
- guru - Sunday, 03/25/07 22:47:54 EST

Loren's Burger Clerk & more: She is just diferently abled, that is all, where it is still OK to say that the Juggle Guy is smart, somebody with a deficiency is just "Differently Abled" The actual intention of education reform is to bring ALL the schools up to an equal high level, but the legislaters are differently abled in their ability to make this happen.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 03/25/07 22:49:18 EST

Guinea Pig: In 1st and 2nd grade I was in an experimental class where We were taught to read and wright a made up phonetic alphabet. This didn't help anything, and left us to play catch up in 3rd grade. Our "New Math" was a second generation from what Jock had, still a bunch of conceptual crap that was never mentioned again in later years. I happened to be in a 8th grade algebra class that due to poor planning on the teachers part never finished the book. They had a special 9th grade class that was supposed to bring us in step with the others, I transfered to VoTec after 9 weeks, and in doing so took algebra all over again there. Higher math and science was offered at both schools, but wasn't required.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 03/25/07 23:06:36 EST

Educational Side note:
Many times I have noted that our children's high school English books had dumbed down, sanitized politically corrected versions of the "literature" they were supposed to read. As an example the version of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" by Mark Twain had all mentions of the anti-science church being his enemy taken out. This is a primary part of the plot and removing it makes a mess of the story. Besides which it is no longer what Mark Twain wrote which (to my mind) is the point of teaching it.

Woe be the student that reads the REAL story (as my son did) and then take a test on it. . . Yep, the stinky stuff hit the fan and we had another argument with another really DUMB teacher who believed that the school text book version was the CORRECT version. . .

Apparently Virgina has taken action and posted the entire original story AS-WRITTEN on the web site.

These kind of stupidities work their way into our educational system if parents (and the public) do not pay close attention.

THEN there was the Virginia "Standard" factoid that said that ice shrunk when water was frozen. . . they wanted 3 authoritative references and a report written by 2 teachers to correct the error. The text books from the previous 100 years were not a satisfactory reference. . .

You cannot tell me that the bureaucracy is not out of control and much of the money is not squandered.
- guru - Sunday, 03/25/07 23:10:23 EST

I had a grade 7 geography teacher tell the class I was in, that gravity was caused by centifugal force. I had asked what caused gravity it did not go over well when I argued that logically this was impossible. I have always had much more respect for teachers that would admit that they did not have an answer but would try and find out rather than try to BS. As it turns out apparently scientists are still working on the answer to my question.
- JNewman - Monday, 03/26/07 00:16:04 EST

stay at home parent: on the subject of mums staying at home with their kids.
tell me the difference, I'm a widowed dad of 2 kids now 11 and 9,when my wife passed in 04 i had a year off to sort myself and my kids out. before the year was out i had many people asking me when i was going back to work? would this have happened if it was me who had gotten the brain tumour and not my wife?
what is the difference between a mum who stays at home looking after the children and a father who does it , the kids still need the same amount of attention either way. in my case taking the role of father/mother.
i have gone back to work , mainly for my children .in that ,they see dad " going to work".
so have conformed to how society perceives things should be . thus forcing it onto my kids as well?
if the roles were reversed would anyone look down on my wife if she chose to stay at home and look after the kids after I'd died?
i agree with all who have said it's always good to have a parent at home , life is definitely too sort. kids only want you around for a short amount of years. why not do as much as you can, while their still interested.
parenting -the best job in the world and the worst job in the world.
no idea what this has to do with blacksmithing,next demo - brookfield show (thats something i guess)

Brisbane Australia
cooling down finally 28cel. need rain ,lots of rain
- Wayne - Monday, 03/26/07 08:20:03 EST

Loren's question: WHile I know that anumber of people won't agree, I found that bit on the McDonald's "experience" not merely incorrect, but actually offensive. What, precisely, was the reason to slander Spanish-speaking people? The implication is that they are somehow responsible for the current inability of some to do simple math. Simply not so, and grossly jingoistic and reeking of xenophobia. And this in a country that is comprised of a multitude of ethnicities and founded on the principle that all are entitled to equal rights and treatment. Further, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (under which we aquired the Southwest Territories from Mexico) absolutely forbids the US form taking away the language and customs of the Southwest peoples. That treaty overrides even the Constitution, and is not abridged by later Statehood.

Sorry folks, blaming one person's ignorance or inabilities on a whole language is just ridiculous and narrow-minded. The real problem, as Jock said, is that parents are not involved sufficiently in the educational processes of their children. Don't blame it on "immigrants"; your ancestors were "immigrants", even if they arrived on the Mayflower.
vicopper - Monday, 03/26/07 08:22:09 EST

Math in 2020: Teaching math in 2020: What's a logger?
- Marc - Monday, 03/26/07 08:23:38 EST

Don't forget: This forum, like all of Anvilfire, is read by people all over the world. Postings that offend people of other nations, races, languages or customs should be avoided. The post of Loren's would have been okay, had it stopped at the touchy-feely jab. Going beyond that to cast aspersions at Spanishs-speaking peoples is simply wrong.
vicopper - Monday, 03/26/07 08:28:50 EST

2020 Math: Logger. A guy what don't like to be called a lumberjack.
Frank Turley - Monday, 03/26/07 09:35:20 EST

I thought the Spanish speaking bit had to do with the fact that many of us (the world over) are becoming strangers in our own land. There are a great number of places in the U.S. where Spanish only is spoken. As long ago as the 1980's I got lost in Baltimore, MD and when I stopped at a 7-11 the response to my query for directions was no-habla English. . .

This is also true in many parts of Europe where refugees from many parts of the world are flooding. The languages are different but the problem is the same.

- guru - Monday, 03/26/07 11:01:52 EST

Stay at home parents: Mother Father, it makes little difference if the parent is a caring loving person that actually communicates with their children.

While my children had both their parents I was the one that stayed home with them fir several years while my wife worked. Eventually we had to put them in child care but it was with a woman that kept a very small group of kids and treated them like her own. But by that time we had done a lot of what was needed for very young children.
- guru - Monday, 03/26/07 11:06:17 EST

One of my sons was in a "combo" class in the second grade, 15 second graders, 8 third graders. I don't think is was a good idea. It helped him as he was a second grader who could do the third graders work (in addition to his own ), But some of the other children could not concentrate on their work and the teacher had a very difficult time switching gears from second to third grade level and back. Our curriculum in NC has shifted down about three years, Eight grade is now taught in the fifth and so on. My wife's nephew actually cried because he could not work some of the math my boy's were working. He was from another state and on the honor role - straight A's and three grades ahead. 7th verses 4th. Apparently different standards.

I strongly agree which Vicopper, this site is no place for degrading remarks of any kind. Even though I can not read the offending words. Anvilfire is a place to exchange information and ideas without the fear of prejudice. Sometimes we may pick at one another, as a family members may, But it is never at the level of racism. We hold ourselves to a little higher standard than that. Well that’s my 6 cents wroth, ( adjusted for inflation) : ).
daveb - Monday, 03/26/07 11:46:05 EST

The other problem with Loren's joke is that its not true.
I am sure there are bad schools all over america.
But there are also good ones, and this is directly related to how much parents are active in their schools. School Boards are elected. If you participate in the schools, at any level, you can affect change.
I know, and talk to, school board members in my area- they are not mysterious red headed strangers from mars- they are real people, volunteering time because they care. And you can walk right up to em and give em what for if you dont like what is happening in the schools- I sure do.

Its easy to sit back, having not set foot in a school for 15 or 30 years, and pontificate on whats wrong with "kids these days".

But I have not seen the decline in math teaching he describes. My kids, at several different public elementary, middle, and high schools, were expected to memorize multiplication tables, do long division by 4th grade, be able to add, subtract and multiply fractions in their head, and so on.
No loggers were mentioned.
In fact, on Friday morning, at about dawn, I was sitting in the hot tub with my younger one, discussing the important issues of our day, as we often do, and he was doing, in his head, a problem he had due- 16% of 72. No environmental issues were mentioned on the worksheet he showed me later- just percentages.

My older one, like Ptree's Juggleguy, will be able to run rings around most of us here in the math department, courtesy of the public schools- he is considering taking Advanced Placement Statistics next year, because its considered to be such an "easy A" class.

Speaking as someone who has consistently employed young people, I have to say,
You underestimate the intelligence and education of today's youth at your own risk.
- ries - Monday, 03/26/07 12:09:47 EST

Change: Going back to the change at McSatan's, um, McDonalds, thing: Yes, there are stupid people, they come in all ages and the world is awash in them. However: The change-back issue is one I understand since I grew up in a grocery store, running the register from the time I was tall enough to reach the keys. Kids are no longer taught to make change the way we older folks (HAH! I'm 37...)were. Well, they have a unit on that in math class, but those who work retail are not ALLOWED to make change that way anymore. The reason? Accountants. See, when computerized accounting and inventory systems came along, it was no longer enough that the end-of-day totals on the reciept log matched the amount of cash in the drawer. Every transaction had to saved as an entity unto itself. This made it easier to track cash flow and product sales, but rendered the mathematical ability of the cashier moot. Under this system, you tell the customer the total, enter the payment given, and give the change the machine tells you to on pain of being fired. You the customer can still give the cashier an amount such that you get the desired even change back, the machine doesn't care. IF, however, you try this after the transaction has been entered, that makes *you* the bad guy because now you're trying to screw with the books.

That said, it still annoys me when folks can't count back change in their heads. (grin!) They're no longer taught that if something costs $4.73 and someone pays with a $20 bill, you simply count forwards and grab two pennies ($4.75), a quarter ($5), a $5 bill, ($10) and a $10 bill to make $20. I have seen 16-year-olds go crosseyed trying to wrap their brains around that, but it's just because nobody has ever shown them how it works.
Alan-L - Monday, 03/26/07 13:25:45 EST

My daughter is a Highschool Senior, she's reading Don Quixote de la Mancha for a class---the whole thing out of a "not for school" translation published for the open market. They also read "Fast Food Nation"

Thomas P - Monday, 03/26/07 13:50:38 EST

The change thing.: I have seen that look of panic in the cashier. But I am very good about handing them the change BEFORE they punch in the numbers. Sometimes it is a rather odd amount so that change is not even to the nearest dollar but often to the nearest five.

When I had a service station we had a 40 year old (would now be 75) cash register. All it did was total the sale and register it on an accumulated counter. We counted change by hand. I would have to think about it today.

The last place I have been that counts change by hand is the local mini-market where the Indian family has their children work after school. They have the children count the change back, just like they did in India. . . AND they double check against the machine. When I give THEM an odd amount to make the change even you can see the wheels whir a moment and then a big smile on their face. It is part of their after school education that will put them well ahead of the kids at home playing video games.

I do not doubt the intelligence of the average child (or person). Very few are born dumb and IQ is more a measurement of your environment than it is of native intelligence. People are taught to act dumb and not show interest in the world around them. At some early point "dumb" becomes an identity.
- guru - Monday, 03/26/07 14:39:11 EST

The change thing: 1. The McDonalds thing was in no way meant to cast aspersions on spanish speaking peoples. I simply passed it on verbatim as I received it.
2. Guru hit the nail on the head about strangers in our own land.
3. My grandparents all came from Norway between 1860 and 1870. It was the job of the children, who pick up a language very readily, to teach the adults english. They learned it with pride.Now we are expected to supply teachers, instructions, books, etc. in not only Spanish, but other languages as well. What's wrong with this picture?
4. Nobody can listen to anything said by anybody about anything without somebody taking offense. This is the world we have created. Deal with it!
5. It occurs to me that we all, as blacksmiths are a rare breed who know how to think, and expect the same from our children. I have a bumper sticker on my car that says," We successfully raised 4 children who left home".
- Loren T. - Monday, 03/26/07 18:14:24 EST

Juggleguy and school: Ries,
I am sure that the Juggle Guy, and all my kids can already run rings around me. You would not know, but I was born left handed, and went to a Catholic school, starting in 1962. The old nun, brought out of retirement along with many others to handle the baby boom, simply made me switch to right hand. With 56 kids in the class and her by herself, and her advanced years, she taught right handed writing and nothing else. She lasted almost a month and then went into the hosipital and died. The next retreaded retired nun lasted about a month and a half, and the third about three weeks. We were at that point three for three, all dead! Then we got a fresh out of school teacher who wore everyday clothes, and tried to teach us. The second grade was new math, taught by a Nun who knew math from teaching probably 50 years, but the new math concept did not compute. The reading method underwent some change here as well.
Next we moved to a rural school, and in the third grade my mother spent several hundred dollars on an encylopedia. Best $ she ever spent, as I was unable to read even simple words at the point. Clever? Yes. Otherwise they would have figured that I was unable. I love airplanes, and in paging thru the A book I found airplanes. I was facisinated and from the A book, taught myself to read. In a couple of years I was reading far in advance of the other kids in my class, but doing very badly in school, as I did not understand my need for a different learning style. I had to go through the ARMY, and several years in college to hit my stride. I do NOT take notes like every one else. I LISTEN. Works for me.
My kids are not learning impaired( or lazy as the teachers said) They are all learning stuff I was never exposed to in the rural system in KY. (And that would not have been gainable by me in those days) My graduateing class was for the entire county and was 108 souls.(lost 3 to car wreck death prior to graduation)
The Juggle Guy is taking an honors course in programing at the high school, and also doing the vocational school at the same time in programing. He like his older brother, who won the State competetion in programing is off to New York for the nationals. I could not hold a candle to their knowledge in computers and math, and all from the public school system. Come to Quad State, you will enjoy the Juggle Guy.
ptree - Monday, 03/26/07 20:30:18 EST

Please be advised that the next scheduled meeting of CSI will be 3/27/07 tomorrow night at 8:00pm. All CSI members are welcomed and encouraged to attend.
- dale - secretary - CSI - Monday, 03/26/07 21:32:09 EST

Wayne: You do what You have to do. While I believe a stay at home parent is a good idea, this assumes having 2 parents, and plenty of families don't. 1 parent who cares and is involved with the kids is better than 2 who don't, even if BOTH stayed home.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 03/26/07 21:40:54 EST

Dave, I have to agree, a interested parent who cares beats two who don't hands down.
ptree - Tuesday, 03/27/07 18:17:33 EST

handbook arrived: guru, thanks for your time and trouble. Paw-paws old handbook arrived in good condition, and has a new home is my little collection.
- Mark Singleton - Tuesday, 03/27/07 23:56:45 EST

Bloomery Furnace For Sale: I've got too many smelters in my yard, and I'd like to sell 'Big Bertha". This is a modular bloomery furnace, steel skin, mizzou refractory. It couild be adapted to use as a cupola furnace as well. Details at website below
- Lee Sauder - Wednesday, 03/28/07 05:24:48 EST

Blacksmith Job: We are an outdoor boys camp located in Western North Carolina. We are currently seeking a Blacksmith for the summer season. This person would teach the art of blacksmithing to campers ages 6 to 16 at our on-site blacksmith shop. We offer housing, meals, salary and the opportunity to work in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. If interested or know of anyone interested please contact me anytime @ 828-692-1123. You can also check out our website @ and apply there as well.
Benjy Darnell - Thursday, 03/29/07 12:00:46 EST

OLD STYLE: I ran across this while surfing the net, Kids don't try this at home.

erred. After 'being hardened, they may be tempered as
follows : String them, if possible, on a wire, and fry them
over the fire in a pan or tray containing enough lard oil to
well cover them,-and heat the oil until it will blaze all
over the surface, then turn the springs over and over in
the blazing oil, letting them blaze long enough to be sure
that the thick parts of the spring are equally heated with
the thin parts. If a single spring requires tempering, it
may be tempered by fastening it to a wire, and just above
it put a small roll of wire to retain the oil. Heat the
spring over a very slow fire, and apply oil, letting it run
down the wire to the spring. Keep the spring supplied
with oil, and let it blaze a minute or so. If it has a light
or thin part to it, pour cold oil on that part of it during
the early part of the blazing process.
Large springs are first hardened, and then blazed off in
whale oil, containing 2 Ibs. of tallow and \ Ib. of beeswax
(or, instead of the latter, \ Ib. of black resin) to every
gallon of whale oil. If a spring is made of cast-steel it
must, after blazing off, be left to cool of itself without being
quenched off.
- ML - Saturday, 03/31/07 16:38:31 EST

Blazing off: I love those old timey descriptions. They tell you just enough to get you into trouble. I had read about the process before. I had wondered about the tempering of long springs such as one finds on fine carriages, for example. I suppose that blazing off was a method that was used. I think Schwarzkopf says that the blazing off can be repeated using the reserved heat from the previous blazing. There is another brief description in Tiemann's "Iron and Steel". It seems simpler than that in the "Complete Practical Machinist". You simply coat the spring with oil and heat it over a fire until the oil flashes and blazes off. If that isn't enough temper, you quickly coat the warmed spring with oil again, and repeat the blaze off. Theoretically, this should give a higher temp than the first try.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 03/31/07 18:20:55 EST

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