The Low Wage Page

low_wage_assistanceI got tired of discussions about low wages getting derailed by Minimum Wage talking points, so here’s a resource page on low wages in the U.S.

Updates will be added from time to time.

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Seeds that are hard to germinate and hard to transplant? (Carrots and many root crops). Here’s a pot that lets you germinate the seeds indoors and then set them out with minimal disturbance. The SproutSetter is a specially-designed indoor pot with removable ends and sloping sides.

  1. Germinate the seeds indoors, under ideal germinating conditions
  2. Set the SproutSetter in the trench
  3. Backfill around it with dirt
  4. Remove the ends
  5. Slide the sides out, leaving young plants undisturbed, right in place.

Assembled Sproutsetter. (Snap-together)


Filled with starting soil.


Filled Sproutsetter ready to seed. Slot at bottom provides excellent, even drainage.


Controlled conditions mean excellent germination


Straight, unhindered growth


Put SproutSetter in prepared trench, backfill, remove ends, and remove sides.


Seedlings set with minimal disruption.

straight_carrot (2)

Carrots outgrew direct-seeded, and were nicely-formed, too.

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Tall Guy Privilege


Ok, it’s not all gravy, but it’s still a lot of gravy for free.

I didn’t earn it. I didn’t cheat anybody out of it. It just happened. I ended up being 6’4″ tall.

How is that a privilege? Oh, come on — when the waitress walks past my boss in his 3 piece suit and asks jeans-and-sweater me, “How many in your party?”, it’s pretty obvious how she chose who she’d ask.

Tall guys are perceived as healthier, more mature, smarter, and more competent. We have a distinct advantage in hiring and promotion — it’s measurable. When I work hard, I get every benefit of my work — and that’s as it should be. I didn’t cheat! It should be that way for everyone, but . . . it’s not.

However, I came by my tallness late. I was late maturing, and was nearly two years younger than most of my classmates. I was only a bit over 6′ tall when I got married. Two years later, my wrists stuck two inches out of the sleeves of my wedding suit. So, I know first hand that shorter guys usually have to work harder, be luckier, be more connected to get what I got for free, just by cleaning my plate as a kid. They didn’t do anything wrong, it just came to them.

Now, if I’d always been exceptionally tall, I might have thought that was the world everybody lives in, but I know it is not. Short guys have to struggle for the status I’m accorded for free. I’ve seen it, and even experienced it — remember, I wasn’t always exceptionally tall.

I could pretty much date girls of any size I liked — people might offer amusing comments if my date were very much shorter than me, but that was about it. I’ve seen how people look and act when he’s much shorter than she is. So, effectively, I had a bigger selection than a shorter guy.

Then there is the physical world — granted, I have to get into a catcher’s crouch to see the bottom shelf in the fridge, but I can also reach the top shelf at the grocery, the top cupboards in the kitchen. My shop goes all the way to the ceiling, because I can reach there. Free!

It was all free, and I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TO EARN IT. It just came to me. Some of it should come to everybody just as effortlessly, but it doesn’t. That’s what they mean by “privilege.” It’s not the right word, but it’s the word that’s being used.

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Make your decisions easier!social_theology_simplifier

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Do I Like to Argue?

Argue: from Latin arguere (“to  make clear”)

The point of argument is not to show what’s correct, far less to show who’s correct. Argument is used to make clear, to clarify the evidence and logic around a point at issue.

I like things to be clear, but that really doesn’t say that I like to argue. Argument is hard work, conducted according to techniques that have been tested for at least 2,500 years. Liking to argue is, for me, like enjoying ditch-digging (I don’t.) It’s work. Worthwhile work, when done properly, but too much effort to waste on squabbling.


Like soccer, argument is only worthy of the name when it goes by the rules. Soccer without rules is just a tedious squabble over a ball. Argument without rules is just plain tedious. Even when an opponent proves your case for you, it is tedious to watch.

So, if one side is playing soccer, and the other is just squabbling over a ball, it is just a squabble. It takes two to make an argument, but only one to turn it into a squabble by ignoring the rules.

Many times when I stop responding to Facebook posts, it is because my opponent has made such a cringe-worthy logical blunder that it is too painful to continue. Besides, leaving that blunder as the last post on a thread means that I actually have the closing argument, even though it is written by my opponent.

So, do I enjoy argument? I can appreciate a good argument, but I have no time for the usual barrage of ad hominem, straw men,  and non sequiturs that so often turn it into a mere squabble.

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NIH — Follow The Money

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 7.52.45 AM

I have some questions about how the NIH sees priorities:

Is it reasonable to spend 6x more on 174. smallpox (0 cases since 1980) than 226. CFS/ME? (1 million people, right now).

Or 141. anthrax — how many cases do you know, personally? Yes, with a few rooms full of specialized equipment and a half-dozen experts in various fields it can be weaponized. Otherwise, it’s “wool sorter’s disease,” and you have to catch it from a sheep. Most years, no one does.

For that matter, $72 million for 140. Adolescent Sexual Activity? What exactly are we accomplishing, there?

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Rails 4 update: multiple file upload with HTML5 and Paperclip

Again, I am trying to make this the most understandable code, without any regard whatsoever for elegance. In a previous post I made a do-nothing uploader, just to get some feel for the whole HTML5 file upload process. I recommend that you also make one and play with it to get a good feel for what goes on.

This time, we’re actually going to upload, attach, and display files using Paperclip and Rails 4.

The Summit County Engineer keeps track of Road Records. A Road Record can have a bunch of attached files of varying formats, e.g. tif, pdf, jpg, and doc. There’s a bunch of fields about which road, which section, what kind of work, etc. These, you can ignore.

For this tutorial (and my app,) I’m going to call the attached files Road Record Assets.

For the most part, this is just typical Paperclip. Most of the non-typical work gets done in the road_records_controller, so let’s look at that first. (Rails 4: turn off protect_from_forgery for the add_assets function)

It just adds a new RoadRecordAsset for every file it gets. The fact that the file gets stored in /tmp/ for a bit gives you the chance to rename it, sanitize it, or whatever before it actually gets attached. Don’t forget to add the route:

The RoadRecord model is simplicity itself.

And the RoadRecordAsset model is nearly as simple.

Notice that you can do all the usual Paperclip magic, just as you’re used to.

All that’s left is the upload part, which is very similar to what was shown in the last post:

I scrounged all over the web for bits of this; hopefully, you won’t have to. Thanks to all those who posted demos, tuts, and gems!

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