• first time watching Battlestar Galactica: unexpectedly this isn't the scifi trash the title suggested but a show with a revolutionary style, articulate realism and searing dialogue and the most stellar cast in history; it uses a truly fantastical premise to highlight a dark, yet idealistic truth about our most basic human nature
  • second time: wow this truly is the perfect simulation of a genderblind society that still has to deal with classism and racial issues whilst combating complete moral bankrupcy in the face of extinction
  • third time: every time i watch this show i discover new nuances and still enjoy the stories
  • fourth time: gaius baltar toilet jokes
Refuse to pay? Feel the credit pinch.

First of all: This happened way back in 2002 and to a colleague to me, who referred the story to me. I have not been able to confirm it. I believe it to be true.

This happens back in a time where there were still a lot of people that thought of IT and programming as the pass-time of nerds and not real work.

I worked at a salt mine call center doing Internet support and had a collegue that ran a development business on the side, trying to build it to support him.

He got an order for a small program from a large power company (revenue around $500 million), by far the largest company around. A price was agreed, a contract drawn (he had lawyers in his extended family that had helped him draw up a good standard contract) and signed by a authorised part in the large power company. He developed the program, delivered it and even got a sign-off that he had delivered to satisfaction.

Then he sent the bill.

And did not get any money.

He contacted the manager who had signed the contract, who said he had authorised the payment, but that it was stuck with his manager.

The higher manager had looked at the bill and basically said “This is not real work, we’re not paying.” The fact that my colleague was 18 and a one-man business (and not even full-time) probably made him think he could get away with it. My colleague send reminders of his invoices but did not get the money. When he finally managed to get through to the higher manager and was told that they would not pay, he threatened action, to which the higher manager replied something “Well, you can try. We have a legal team and a lot of resources.”

My colleague, fuming, did not admit defeat though.

Instead of suing the large power company in civil court (which would have taken time and been expensive), he went the courts and started bankrupcy proceedings against the power company. He knew he had no chance to win, as the company had plenty of assets, but he had his contract and his invoices, which was enough evidence to start bankrupcy proceeedings.

The problem for the power company? They traded electricity and heating production certifications and CO2 permissions a lot, as was and is standard among power companies here. And just having bankrupcy proceedings against them affected their credit score, potentially costing them millions in interests and higher pay for certifications and permissions, as other companies and authorities would be less willing to sell to a company with non AAA-credit rating.

My colleague was paid very quickly with the understanding that he would withdraw his bankrupcy request, which he did.

The Arms Industry’s Icarus: Colt and the 1990′s

Colt. A name that holds around 250 years of experience in the gun world, and one rife with problems. Nowadays Colt seems like the downed prize fighter, trying to get up after a long bout of getting humiliated, so let’s look at how one of the largest and oldest gun makers in the US became a joke in the span of 10 years.

The 1950′s and 1960′s were some of Colt’s best years. Robert McNamara shut down the Springfield Armory, and ArmaLite sold Colt the rights to make the M16, something Colt made tons of money off of. At the same time, Colt was making money off of handgun sales like the M1911A1 and their long line of revolvers such as the Colt Python, Detective Special, and others. 

Colt began tinkering with new designs as well, the first being an attempt to replace the Colt M1911A1 with the Colt SCAMP. A machine pistol, the SCAMP never managed to usurp the M1911A1 and disappeared into history. In 1985, the US Army switched to the Beretta 92FS over the older M1911A1, but that didn’t injure Colt as much as they had stopped production of US Army M1911′s for a while.

What did was the United Automobile Workers Strike.

In 1985, most of Colt’s workers went on strike for higher wages, as most were part of the UAW. This strike required Colt to use replacement workers, which severely cut down on the quality of their products, and had them pump out a lot of older designs like a “revised” Colt Agent to stay afloat.

At the same time, Colt was working with the US Military to begin standardizing on the new M16A2, and with this strike, the quality of those dropped as well. This led to the US Armed Forces switching to FN Herstal to make them M16A2′s and most of the M16′s since.

With two sources of income gone, Colt submitted to the UAW’s demands and the company was sold to a number of private investors, the UAW and the State of Connecticut as a result. With new management, Colt began eyeing the new and upcoming “wondernine” market, dominated by companies like Beretta, Glock and SIG-Sauer.

This led to the first new design, the Colt Double Eagle. Effectively a 1911 with a double action trigger mechanism and decocker, the Double Eagle was a flop as it really wasn’t too different from the other guns in Colt’s production and despite coming in about 3 different models and 6 calibers, the Double Eagle was only in production from 1989 to 1997.

Then there’s the Colt all American 2000. The one we all know was bad. This was Colt’s attempt to stick it to Glock with a polymer frame double-stack 9mm service pistol. The original design was from both Reed Knight and Eugene Stoner, however they sold the rights to Colt who modified it to their liking.

The basics were from a single stack to a double stack, extended the length of the barrel and slide, made it a polymer frame from a steel frame and probably the worst, going from a 6 pound trigger pull to a 12 pound one. 

Yes. 12 pounds for a duty pistol.

To say this flopped was an understatement. Colt made this gun to attempt to recapture the lost law enforcement market and lost it even quicker. It didn’t help that the reviews at the time were very skewed, with lavish claims of how it will “define the 21′st century like the 1911 did for the 20th”. The All American 2000 lasted only 2 years, with under 20,000 made and that every Colt historian said was a mistake.

This entire event led to Colt filing for Chapter 11 bankrupcy in 1992 and being bought Zilkha and Co, run by John Zilkha. Zilkha got Colt the M4 Carbine production underway but when CEO Ron Stewart stated that he would favor a federal permit system with training and testing for gun ownership, it shot them back down.

After swapping CEO’s to Steven Silwa, Colt began working on a new gun, in part with CZ.

The Colt Z40. This was a gun idea made by CZ during the 1994 AWB that was effectively a CZ75 in .40 S&W, with a 10 round magazine and sold well.

Until Colt started making smart guns.

Colt’s entire R&D department was moved to the idea of creating a “smart gun”, a concept that we all should know at this point. If you dont, it’s basically shoving electronics into a gun to make it work with it’s user over someone who’s stolen it. While this was a great political boost for Colt, it was absolutely hated by the gun community, police and so on.

And the gun they showed off in that, was a Z40.

Colt ended up shooting itself in the stomach with the entire smart gun debacle. States passed laws making it so that if smart gun tech came out, all other guns had to be retrofitted, Colt lost a large amount of cash, leading to them ceasing revolver production in 1999 and ever since have been floating in financial limbo.

The early 2000′s saw William M. Keys take the helm of CEO and managed to bring Colt out of a nosedive and ever since, Colt’s been floating with threats of bankruptcy and new products, and all in the span of 30 years.


November 11th marks the day which hostilities on the western front were ceased. It only took effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, although it was signed a couple of hours before it. 
Today most countries see as a great celebration day, by that time, the central powers, especially Germany, would feel like they were betrayed by their political elites, as the soldiers weren’t ready to give up on the western front. Fact is,  the economic crisis in German territory almost made it go into bankrupcy, and a series of revolutions started popping into german territory, those would last until the end of the 20′s. The german Kaiser, Wilhelm II would go into exile into the Netherlands were he would spend the rest of his life.
In general, I myself would call it a remembrance day. Let us not forget those who fought and fell on the battlefields of The Great War (and all wars), no matter the side they fought for.
Lest we forget.

Pictures: People celebrate all over London on the day the armistice was signed, 11 November 1918.
New York Times’ front page on 11 November 1918.

i watched Joy so you don’t have to

by god, david o russell has done it again. and by “done it again” i meant hes once again basically shouted “GIVE ME AN OSCAR” at you for 2 hours

the story opens with this title card, which is pretty hilarious bc as everyone knows, david o russell hates woman and is literally a sex offender

the v first scene is a flashback to when Joy was a little girl. shes playing make believe with her friend and her friend says “you need a prince!” and then Joy says “no, i DON’T need a prince.” finally a movie for us #feminists

then we cut to present day 1980s Joy. shes a divorced mother of three. this is pretty funny bc jennifer lawrence literally just got done playing a teenager in the hunger games. rmbr when she also played a mother and christian bale’s wife in american hustle? david o russell literally has no concept of women or time or women being over the age of 25

Joy is stressed out bc… well i dont rly know why. i guess bc her family is a pain in the ass. whose family isnt? whatever. shes so exhausted they dope her up with childrens tylenol so she’ll fall asleep. its dramatic and funny to see jennifer lawrence weakly clutch this teeny cup of baby medicine

david o russell did not stray away from expositional dialogue in this movie holy shit. im p sure his entire creative process during this was “why show whats happening, when i can TELL it”

literally we see Joy open a box and unload the mop stuff and then she says ”the shipment from california is here so we can start assembling!” …we literally just saw you open the box and take it all out but thank you for reiterating that that is whats happening rn

this happens again when Joy’s phone bill is overdue. i straight up had to watch this scene twice bc i was so confounded

Joy comes home and we clearly see the mail on the door. “phone service terminated.” got it

but then joy walks in and her annoying mom goes “the phone isnt working!” and joy says “i know, i just got the notice”

then her kid picks up the phone says “mommy why isnt the phone working?” and joy says “bc im late on paying the bill” yes thank you we undERSTAnd. also, why is a 5 year old suddenly trying to use the phone? who is she calling?

also Joy is a mother of three but we only ever see this little girl.

then Joy goes and meets bradley cooper, who gives the most lazy phoned in performance ive ever seen on film. i swear to god he stares into the camera for like 12 minutes and gives the history of qvc. who asked? not me

then Joy’s grandmother dies and its a really super dramatic scene bc the grandma was joy’s like, #1 supporter and encourager and has also been narrating this entire story. it’s supposed to be really sad but that doesnt stop Joy and her dad from straight up having a business meeting at the funeral

then shit hits the fan and isabella rossellini shakes her glass and yells “I NEED MORE VODKA!” then theres some more great dialogue and bob de niro says “we have to declare bankrupty” and isabella rossellini says “yes, i have to declare bankrupcy… to try to contain my losses… i have to write it off.” in case you didnt know was bankruptcy is DOR just gave you a quick lil lesson there

then joy cuts her hair off in the mirror bc that means shes taking charge. which is not true, bc i cut all my hair off in the mirror a couple months ago and my life is still a disaster, but i guess its symbolism or something, idk. im not a smart screenwriter like DOR is

it cuts to the future and theres this hilarious shot of bob de niro in older age makeup. he looks like a low rent colonel sanders or something

then we see Joy in the future all dolled up in her power suit. are you feeling the #feminism?

then it goes back to Joy with her short hair and bad ass aviators and leather jacket. literally idek what the climax of this movie was. she like, makes a couple calls and solves everything in 5 min, then walks off with her sunglasses on NCIS style

don’t watch this movie
Billions in Debt, Detroit Tumbles Into Insolvency

Monica Davey and Mary Williams Walsh on the downfall of Detroit:

Founded more than 300 years ago, the city expanded at a stunning rate in the first half of the 20th century with the arrival of the automobile industry, and then shrank away in recent decades at a similarly remarkable pace. A city of 1.8 million in 1950, it is now home to 700,000 people, as well as to tens of thousands of abandoned buildings, vacant lots and unlit streets.

Crazy. But interesting to think about in the context of the current industry-driven boom in Silicon Valley. Nothing lasts forever.

In 2012, Detroit had the highest rate of violent crime in the nation for a city larger than 200,000, a report from Mr. Orr’s office showed. About 40 percent of the city’s streetlights do not work. More than half of Detroit’s parks have closed since 2008.

Just sad. For four years I lived about 40 minutes outside of Detroit (in Ann Arbor). I think I was there a grand total of eight times. And six of those were to go to a casino. Hard to see how they turn this around.

'I've been told I'm not a good candidate because they feel someone with my experience will bolt at the first opportunity'

I’m sure like many respondents, I’m probably not being counted as unemployed any longer because my unemployment benefits ended long ago. I lost my job in November of 2007. I was working for Citifiancial Auto as a dealer development rep when the cuts came along. At first I wasn’t too worried, as I’ve never had trouble getting a job, and have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a major in finance. After a few months it became apparent to me that jobs were disappearing at an alarming rate.  

In my case, having been working in financial services, and having my career tied to the credit markets was especially impactful. The bank I was working for, as well as other financial institutions which contributed heavily to the bursting bubble and deep recession we are (in my opinion) still experiencing, regardless of what the economic data says, have held it against me that I’ve had such a long job gap.  Which is something you don’t read about, and nobody is talking about. 

You have people working in sectors that really haven’t been affected, and are pretty clueless about what has really been going on. Understandable, but it’s like hearing about an event in another country … “Oh man, that’s too bad.”  

I’m still unemployed, and seeing new college grads get most of those few new jobs popping up, as opposed to experienced workers.  I think primarily because a lot of the jobs starting to come back are lower level and entry level jobs. And believe me, I’ve tried to get a job in other industries, but there I’ve been told I’m not a good candidate because they feel someone with my experience will bolt at the first opportunity.  And all the times I’ve been told “you’re over qualified."  So sick of hearing that. This is the first story I’ve seen that even comes close to discussing the deeper issues of unemployment I’ve mentioned.   

I went bankrupt, lost my home, and had to move in with my parents like I’m a kid again. Really demoralizing, and difficult to keep that fighting attitude that things will get better. NEVER EVER thought I’d be in this position.

I even tried returning to my alma mater to earn a second major in information systems.  But that’s a no go, because the university has a policy that someone can’t earn a second major under the same degree (in this case BS in Business Admin) consecutively. I could return and take classes as a non degree seeking, but not being in a degree program means I don’t qualify for financial aid (not even a student loan).  Really a catch-22.

The university screams because they had $50 million cut from their budget, but have a silly policy, which won’t allow an alumni to come back and learn a new skill, in order to re-enter the job market.  Interestingly, if I had earned my BS in Business Admin from a different university, they would allow me to pursue a different major under the same degree program. So, in reality they punish their alumni.   

Where I’m at now. Well, basically I’ve lost everything, and I’m unattractive to potential employers in my field because of my extended gap in employment created by the recession, which has a compounding effect month after month. I’m hoping to get a job driving trucks after I get my commercial drivers license.   

You can bet there’s plenty of people like me out there, viewed like stale bread nobody wants, who have fallen though the cracks, and aren’t even being counted anymore.  I used to think the United States was the greatest country in the world, but no longer.  I hope to drive trucks for a few years, put a lot of money in the bank, and be able to get out of the U.S.
Patrick C., via email