Gott’s Future Duration, …., and this too shall pass

Bet you thought I was going to wax eloquent on some deep philosophical or socio-political issue, a behavior for which I have a weakness as witnessed numerous times in these pages. Fooled you. In another life I am currently working on a couple of very intriguing technical projects involving uncertainty and algorithmics, the kind that I often have to take off at least one shoe in order to get past the sticky parts. One of them involves a nifty and little known method to calculate probabilities about the termination of a kind of realworld and practical processes.

The compete technical note can be downloaded: tn1411-1-and-this-too-shall-pass

Derivatives of Complex Functions – A Structured App

Students of calculus often hit a speed bump in learning how to generate derivatives of more complex functions that they will see in their advanced science and math courses, and when they finally enter the workplace. Modern symbolic processors are having the equivalent effect that numerical calculators have had on people’s ability to understand numerical calculations. Today fewer people can come up with in-the-ballpark answers to everyday arithmetic problems; they all reach for their calculators and then have no idea whether the answer is at all reasonable, given the problem inputs. Derivatives are fundamental to calculus and all kinds of error estimation and sensitivity analyses that occur every day in technology careers. Understanding the derivative and the means and methods of its derivation is a skill I have found that is often poorly taught and then soon forgotten. The purpose of this technical report is to introduce a graphical approach that should be easy to remember and apply.

The complete report can be down loaded: TR1411-1_Derivatives

Income Inequality

The distribution of wealth or income over a population is of great interest to economists, sociologists, and politicians when advancing or defending various types of governance – e.g. capitalism, socialism, communism, etc.  A widely adopted measure of such a distribution is called the Gini Index. Click the report title for a short technical note ‘TN0903-1: Gini Index Made Simple’ where we explain how the Gini Index is constructed so that it reduces the income distribution over a population to a single number.

The complete report can be downloaded:  TN0903-1 Gini Index

Unfunded Liabilities – Our Community’s Fiscal Time Bombs

The County of Nevada, City of Grass Valley and the City of Nevada City each promise tax payer funded defined benefit pension plans to their employees. Each agency has hired California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) in an administration and investment management role to help aid them in responsibly funding their pension plans. Today the taxpayer funded public employee pension plans for Nevada County, Grass Valley, and Nevada City are drastically unfunded. Our local governments have made promises which they have not backed up with adequate funding. This fact should be alarming to both Nevada County taxpayers and its local government employees. Past and present management of these pension plans have the potential to significantly compromise the financial integrity of our community.

The complete power point can be downloaded here :NevCO_UL_BOS_27oct09_final_MCM

The complete report in PDF can be downloaded here: TR0712-1_UL071228b

Foothill Furor – Seeking Basis for Public Policy on Ozone Pollution

The technical note TN0709-1: Foothill Furor – Seeking Basis for a Public Policy on Ozone Pollution has been revised and expanded. This (4oct07) revision supersedes the original 15sep07 version of the report which was reviewed in detail by Northern Sierra AQMD. The review led to in-depth work sessions with that agency that corrected and expanded on important details about how the federal government determines that Nevada County is in non-attainment, and the process through which the county must now reach attainment. These procedures are detailed graphically and explained in the report.
Most people know that the county can do little to impact its ability to reach the federally mandated standards. So far the county’s only countering argument has been that its ozone is transported from large upwind sources. The report introduces two new and significant factors to this issue. These are 1) the government’s assessment of non-attainment is based on an arbitrary interpretation of unknown county ozone levels, and 2) the government has no reasonable (science supported) process in place by which it can either prescribe or evaluate any county attainment plan submitted to it – i.e. it cannot follow its own procedures.
The complete report may be downloaded TN0709-1_4oct07-1

Brain-Draining Our Future

Very few of us think about the country’s brain drain. Our attitude seems to be, ‘So what? Instead of technology and its products, we’ll just sell the world our highpowered legal and business services.’ We expect the income from this shift will not only cure the trade deficit but also make up losses from our historical role as world leaders in inventing and developing new technologies – the technologies that have always fueled our industries and created jobs for the masses of fellow Americans less educated, creative, or entrepreneurial.’ We forget that such innovations over the last two centuries have produced a broadly shared quality of life that no country in history has matched. Current trends in critical skill demographics say that all of this is rapidly coming to an end. Is then our destiny to become a second-rate country returning to an agrarian economy comprised of mega-farms owned by multi-national corporations?
George argues that we have a brain drain due to 1) fewer US kids going into high-tech careers, 2) fewer foreign-born technologists coming here or staying here, 3) the resulting brain drain will have near-term cataclysmic results on our quality of life, and 4) the hope for a better future starts with action at the grass roots level instead of waiting for more government programs of the kind that got us there in the first place and keep us there now.

The complete report can be downloaded: TM0705_1_Brain_Draining_Future

Affordable Housing

A vast array of characteristics make up the issue of affordable housing in Nevada County. What can community leaders and citizens do to improve the issue? What is the definition of “affordable housing”? What role does supply and demand play in affordable housing? Are government regulations to blame? What government programs exist to improve the affordable housing issue? What affect do income inequalities play within a community? Such questions have led SESF on a quest for answers, and this is our updated report. The latest version includes Influence Factor Diagrams, developed by George Rebane.

The complete report can be downloaded: TR07-02-07_SESF_Affordable_Housing

A Foundation for Community Planning

Generating plans to deal with a community’s development, traffic, air quality, workforce housing, growth, safety, health, and other issues continues to be an exercise that ranges between comedy and farce. In this technical note we seek to introduce the notions of systems science to planning for smaller communities.

the complete report can be downloaded: TN0605-1CommunityPlanning_060516toc(2)

Large-scale Emergency Preparedness in Nevada County

This informational memorandum highlights the current lack of large-scale emergency planning and public education in Nevada County. We discuss this situation from the perspective of the impending ‘bird flu’ pandemic, the most probable large-scale emergency to impact Nevada County in the near future.

The complete report can be downloaded: M0606_1_Large-scale Preparedness

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