Economics 201: Foreign Workers

Foreign workers need to be treated with respect, but most of them shouldn't be here.

Foreign workers are useful in cases where certain skills are not available in the Canadian employment pool.  Using a foreign worker in this scenario gives a company the ability to move forward with business, and hopefully adding incentive for Canadians to acquire that skill.

But in the cases that have come up in the media recently, the "skills" that certain employers seem to be seeking is "a willingness to work for ridiculously low wages".  And with all due respect to McDonalds, that isn't what the program should be used for.

If McDonalds can't hire Canadians to do these jobs, then there are a couple of possibilities:
  • Canadians are not willing to do that work for the wage paid; or
  • the job sucks
In either case, McDonalds is competing for workers willing to do that work, and therefore must adjust the wages paid for the job, or the terms of the job itself, in order to attract willing workers.

In the case where businesses can not afford to attract willing workers, I would argue that business is not economically viable.  And just not being economically viable should not qualify said business from benefiting from what is effectively a subsidy program.

If you can't find people, you have to offer to pay more.  Or do something else to make yourself an attractive employer.

Or find a more lucrative business to be in.


Day 89: Some Assembly Required

Continuing on with the orbital assembly of Texaco-1.

I decided to be optimistic and launch two habitation modules and one cupola modules tied together, as well as a robotic tug module.  The robot consists of a remote control module and one large monoprop tank with RCS jets bolted on the side of it.  The whole thing is somewhat ungainly, but with appropriate struttage made orbit with a ton of fuel to spare:
Piloted By Jeb "Balls Of Steel" Kerman, of course
It was really heavy and took a long time to make orbit.  However I suspect that there was enough fuel in the upper stage to have sent it to the Mun had I been so inclined and not been fussing around with trying to rendezvous with the already orbiting spine.

Once I arrived on station, I undocked from the upper stage -- it is still floating around there as I write this -- and then disconnected the robot from the habitation module.  I discovered that although the cupola module has RCS tanks, they appeared to be empty by the time it came time to use them.  No problem, I chased the habitation module down with the robot, topped it up with its 10 units of monoprop, and then undocked the robot again.

Turns out that 10 units of monoprop is not a lot for a module this big and heavy, and after trying to rush the docking I went sailing past with empty tanks.

No problem. send the robot to collect it again.  I decide at that point I'll use the robot to bring the habitation module in to any docking point, and then settle things down before putting the module where I want it.

On this second pass, I had an accident with the time acceleration Jeb had a brain fart and we went sailing past again.  By the time everything was settled down, the habitation was 9km away and receding at 30m/s.

A gratuitous burn of monoprop later (over 100 units) and I had it going back in the right direction again.

Third or fourth "final" pass
This time Jeb didn't rush things and successfully docked with one of the back rings.

Docked, initial position 
I could then shuffle Skippy-II to another of the back rings, and then gingerly send the robot and the habitation modules to the front:
Habitation docked, by the tug in the final position
And then with a simple back-out, disconnect-the-robot move, then slide-back, and the habitation module is where I want it.

Tug removed, habitation in the final position
...crooked, but where I want it.  I will probably straighten it out.  But now the boys have someplace more comfortable to hang out than a Skippy/Silverado (which is actually identical accomodations, as the only differences are aft of the command pod).

And that drive section I disconnected from is still on the scene, less than 3km away, so I could send the robot out to collect it trivially.

One thing this has shown is that the docking rings at the back on the side are probably not going to be useful unless the relevant gigantor is retracted first, otherwise there will be a collision.  But frankly I can't see there being that much traffic here.

The next step is to lift an orange tank; the step after that, to fill it.

All this has actually taken place over three or four gameplay sessions, and it was only the last session when I didn't have a time crunch that I relaxed and just let physics do most of the work.  Most of my problems occurred when I got impatient and then time-acceleration got in the way.

One thing that does bother me a bit is that when I'm concentrating on performing a maneuver I don't think to take pictures of what is going on.  So my misses, and the rather clever (if I do say so myself) slipping out of the robot and redocking is lost.  I keep thinking that a mod that took a screenshot every second would produce a ton of crap, but would automatically collect most of the moments I want to collect.  I'm not sure I want to get into programming for this game, but I can't see that mod being terribly difficult to make... this probably won't be the last time that "how hard can it be?" gets the better of me.


Docking Exercises

So after beginning with a pair of mapping missions, fully intending to proceed to robotic landers and rovers, I've switched to manned (kerballed?) missions for absolutely no good reason.

This sequence has had four launches: Skippy I, which was a launch vehicle and orbital dynamics test (ie: would the launcher get into orbit, be able to maneuver, and return without killing the occupants?):
Skippy I  Launch
This was such a success that before it even returned I launched the identical Skippy II with an eye towards trying for a docking.  I modified the lifter a bit because Skippy I ended up on orbit with less fuel than I would have liked; the extra boosters made enough of a difference that I ended up with plenty of fuel on orbit in Skippy II. 
Skippy II: solids for a little extra push into orbit
....and after chasing Skippy I all over the sky and not getting any closer than about 20km, I gave up and returned Skippy I to Kerbin while there was still fuel aboard to make that a worth while pursuit.  The immediate follow-up mission was Skippy III, which was also targeted at a docking with Skippy II.  Interestingly, the exact same crew from Skippy I, Jeb, Bill, and Bob, was drawn for Skippy III.. well I found it interesting.  

It turns out that if you read the documentation on the navball *before* trying an intercept, the glyphs make a lot more sense.  This time the intercept happened much more smoothly, and shortly before orbital dusk I had Skippys I and II in the same postal code ready for final dockings.  And of course this meant that this attempt was going to happen in the dark. 
Like two teenagers fumbling around in the dark
It wasn't totally unaided -- I had Kerbal Engineer going to give me the separation and velocity vector component values.  But I did fly it in, and...
First Docking!
Success!  I took the requisite screen shots and transferred fuel back and forth because I could now.

So the whole point of docking is to have something to dock with, right?  Right.  So even before separating the two Skippys, I built a primitive space station spine, and sat it on a modified Skippy called a Silverado, and then put the whole thing on a suitably-overkill lifter arrangement: 
Station Spine with lifter
Launch went so well the station found itself in a 150x150km orbit after only a few tweaks.  And then I thought... why not send one of the Skippys up to it?  I put all the fuel in Skippy II, and sent the three rock stars in Skippy III back home (well, back down anyways -- landing navigation is something we still need to work on) on the strength of the RCS (which was totally sufficient for that).  And then I sent Skippy II chasing off after the space station.

I like this picture since it shows Skippy II approaching the space station, while conveying how vast and empty even near-Kerbin orbit is.
Skippy II approaches Texaco I
This time I had the extra Docking Port Alignment plugin enabled, and after a bit of trying to figure out what it was trying to tell me it guided me right in: 
Between watching the Navball, Engineer, and the DPA I didn't spend much time actually watching the docking.  I'm doing more and more by flying the ball and instruments rather than looking at the screen, so I'm thinking I might have to actually start recording my dockings and intercepts so that I can actually watch them later.

But I am pleased that I've managed two rendezvous and dockings this weekend and figured out a bunch of the plugins.

My ultimate goal is a couple of orange tanks on the space station, and I'm thinking I need some proper orbital facilities for Kerbals to live in, as well as both a manned and remotely operated tug vehicle.  So we'll probably do the tug next, and then send up some habitation modules as well.


Review: Captain America - The Winter Soldier

This is the lead up to the second Avengers movie, where the world is supposed to be irrevocably changed. And they delivered. It had the usual plot holes, and seemed a bit more blood thirsty than previous Marvel offerings (to wit: the bad guys emptying semi-automatic weapons at other cars across traffic -- the body count for this movie is probably horrendously high) but it is pretty much what you want in a superhero movie.


Now That's A Good Song

You know a song is good when you get it suck in your head as a ear worm through, and during, the "active" parts of a gastro bug -- and you don't hate it afterwards.

"Do you want to build a snowman" from Frozen. Last night. All night.



Being a separatist is like being a Maple Leafs fan: the only people left doing it are old men lost with dreams of glory from the past, and young people who don't know any better.


Mission Report: DMap2 "Macroscope"

And so here we are with mission 2.

"Macroscope" atop a "Javelin" IPL.
The objectives for "Macroscope" are pretty straight forward:
  • Flight test the "Javelin" IPL
  • Test a more immediately optimal polar orbit
  • Conduct a high-res scan of Kerbin
  • Conduct a biome scan of Kerbin
The "Javelin" lifter was better than the first one.  I discarded the fully-fueled transfer stage rather than use it, to simulate the amount of delta-v that the orbiter alone would have.  I still had to use half of the orbiter's fuel to circularize (for 220km x 145km values of "circular") and in that elongated orbit, we began scanning.

The goal about a more immediately optimal polar orbit: DMap1 goes behind Kerbin once per orbit.  This starves the solar panels.  Now S.C.A.N. doesn't use any electricity right now, but I like to play fair.  So we launched at dawn, which put our orbit in view of the sun throughout the entire orbit.  At some point in the year as Kerbin moves around the sun we will go into shadow, but I'm betting that the mapping mission will be complete before then.

Revised Orbit
One interesting thing that this map shows at this point is that the high-res scanner doesn't work near the orbital periapsis of 145Km. So I raised the periapsis up to 219Km -- making this probably the most circular orbit I've ever manually flown -- and the scanning of the southern hemisphere almost immediately improved.

Mapping with the high-resolution scanner is slower, but after 7 days and 10 hours, we had more than 92% of the surface covered, resulting in this map:

That looks like more than 92% to me
I've inspected all the dark spots -- as you can see, most of them are over the water, and the rest are very small ones that don't look like they are in interesting locations.

"Macroscope" is also flying the "multispectral" scanner, which is the biome/anomoly mapper.  So at this point I shut down the high-res scanner and started the "multispectral" scanner in its place.
Oooh -- Extended Multispectral
This scanner seems to have a wider footprint, so if DMap1 is any guide, the prediction was for more or less full coverage in less than another week -- a prediction which was hilariously overkill.  Again less than two days to get the biome map:

...and the slope map:

...and a beautiful composite map showing the anomalies:

So while I could probably continue on in order to try to pick out the missing data, I think at this point this mission can be classified as almost a complete success.

Lessons learned:

  • The revised "Javelin" may not be sufficient for interplanetary missions.
  • The flight path for polar orbit was better executed this time.
  • The high-res scanner is slow, and doesn't seem to work below 170km.
  • The biome scanner is about as fast as the low-res scanner.
  • Both scanners can be operated at the same time.
The next mission will be a polar mapper to either the Mun (because it is closer) or to Minmus (because it is easier to get a polar insertion around Minmus because it is out-of-plane with Kerbin).

I will probably also upgrade to 23.5, and I might add MechJeb to assist with the interplanetary navigation.  Or I might try to find another interplanetary navigation plugin -- I would like to fly these missions myself, but sometimes you need robotic help...