Thursday, March 27, 2008

The pollution factory is back.

Operations at the American Smelting And Refining COmpany (ASARCO) were suspended back in February of 1999 but it just recently received a permit to reopen its smelter by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Not many people (at least my age group anyway) know what ASARCO's smelter actually did. In 1972, ASARCO installed an acid plant and then in 1978 they installed another one. That is not all they produced. In 1948 they installed a zinc plant but shut it down in 1982. In 1911 they installed a copper smelter which has not been put out of commission yet. It still sits there dormant. In fact the ASARCO we know wasn't part of ASARCO until 1899 (yes, it is that old). The plant was founded in 1887 as a LEAD smelter which was not shut down until 1985. That is almost 100 years that they operated a poisonous material smelter. Did I forget to mention that the acid plants produced SULFURIC ACID and in 1993 they had to install equipment to reduce their sulfur emissions.

The big argument that supporters of ASARCO keep stressing is that reopening will bring jobs to El Paso. Well duh, of course any factory opening brings jobs. I wouldn't mind if we were talking about a box factory or a bottling company, or an assembly plant, or anything else I would be fine with it; as long it did not have a history of poisoning El Paso!

We don't need blue collar work that badly. El Paso/Juarez is a huge metropolitan area and the maquilas have already moved. We need jobs where you need more than half a brain. If for whatever reason you're looking for work, check out or or or any place else to find work. We don't need ASARCO and we're better off without it. Keep up the fight against ASARCO, Mayor Cook. I know I'm not the only one out there who wants to see them stay closed.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hail to the Chief!

The finalists for the a new police chief are in!!! These people are NOT up for your vote but one will be selected by the City. HOWEVER... you have a chance to put in your input on what you want to see from our new chief by attending a community forum on Thursday March 27, 2008 @ 6:30 - 8:30 pm @ the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce Office @ 1359 Lomaland.

Up for selection are:

I'll post some info on these folks soon. If you feel like conducting your own research is a good place to start.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sherlock in pop culture cont.

As I wrote in an earlier post Laurie R. King is one of the many authors who have written additional mysteries featuring the great detective. King herself studied theology and earned a B.A in comparative religion. She later earned an M.A. in Old Testament Theology. Her Mary Russell series has Russell as Holmes's partner and wife as they solve mysteries together. Old friends in the series include Watson, Mycroft, a relative of Lestrade, and a relative of Moriarty. Russel matches Holmes in observational skills albeit has a lot less experience in crime solving than he, Russell manages to keep her cool and catch criminals.

Novels in the Mary Russell series: The Beekeeper's Apprentice, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, A Letter of Mary, The Moor, O Jerusalem, Justice Hall, The Game, and Locked Rooms.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice is probably my favorite as it has a great plot. We hear a lot through Russell who is a young student studying theology at Oxford.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women involves another twisted mystery, this time occurring in a women's rights organization in London.

A Letter of Mary is close to The Da Vinci Code as the main focus of the plot involves a letter written by Mary Magdalene.

The Moor takes the reader back to Baskervilles, as other strange goings on are appearing. A real tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle.

O Jerusalem actually takes place during Beekeeper's and involves a trip through the holy land (lots of history).

Justice Hall brings back some old friends from Jerusalem and reveals some secrets of the characters.

The Game involves a trip to the Indian subcontinent and introduces Kipling's most famous soul searcher, Kim.

Locked Rooms takes place in San Fransisco after the fire that nearly destroyed the city. Involves hidden memories, buried treasure, and murder.

Check out Laurie R. King's web page at for more information about the author and her writings.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sherlock in popular culture.

Not all of the mysteries solved by the great detective were written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There exist hundreds of other novels and short stories featuring Sherlock floating around the world. One of the most notable authors of what is deemed "fan fiction" is a woman named Laurie R. King. Her Mary Russell series (which I've read all of) has a heroine who meets Sherlock, quite aptly, after he's retired as a beekeeper near Sussex. King's first novel in this series The Beekeeper's Apprentice or On the Segregation of the Queen was immediately hailed by the Holmesian world. Rumor has it she published this series without permission from Doyle's relatives but they liked them anyways and let her continue. Russel is an intelligent and observant young woman who matches Sherlock with his powers of observation and even marries him. A great read that I highly recommend. Also check out her Kate Martinelli series.

King is not the only fan fiction writer although I believe her to be the best. My grievances with other fan fiction writers is that they: make the mystery so easy that we solve it before Sherlock, have Sherlock know a lot of literature (which he's not supposed too), make him arrogant, make Watson/Lestrade/Mrs. Hudson the real hero, make Sherlock and Watson lovers, or are just way out there in left field.

Sherlock pop culture is not restrained to books. In fact, the short story element transfers perfectly to the small screen. The famous production company DIC created an animated feature based on one of the theories that Sherlock is still alive called Sherlock Holmes In The 22nd Century which had Holmes cryogenicly thawed, Watson's brain was programed into a robot, and Lestrade had a great great great great granddaughter named Beth Lestrade who worked for New Scotland Yard.

If you want to see some of the episodes I found them through AOL video although you need an SBC username and password to play them. If you know anywhere else I can find them please post a comment.

Of course not all references to Sherlock are so obvious. In the hit television show House M.D. the writers admitted to basing their main character House off of Holmes (get it), played by brilliant British actor Hugh Laurie. House's best friend is Dr. Wilson and House's address is at 221B.
Holmes mysteries were also some of the stories told on the hit television show Wishbone. Anyone remember Wishbone? From what I recall, Wishbone performed three of mysteries from the canon including: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and The Boscome Valley Mystery. If they did more please let me know.
Sherlock is also popular on continents other than North America and Europe. You can find groups devoted to Sherlock all over the world. There are especially large groups in Russia, India, and Japan. Sherlock is so popular in Japan that he inspired a manga and an amime called Detective Conan. In America the show is called Case Closed. You can find all 400 episodes at only the are in Japaneses with English subs. Here is episode 1 from the English version Case Closed.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Just a little update.

The results are in! unofficially >_>
Hilary won with almost 70% of the vote.

McCain got about 67 % and his closest competitor, Huckabee, won about 22%. Everyone else on that ticket got about 3%.

Silvestre Reyes obtained about 80% ^_^

For district 78 representative the winner was Margo (Craddick's lackey) with about 5,100 votes while Haggerty got about 3,900 votes. This was in the Republican primary for that seat. On the democratic side Louis Irwin lost with about 5,000 votes and Joseph Moody won with about 12,960. A lot of people were upset when they learned that they could only vote in one primary and from what I understand, those people would have voted for the more liberal Republican candidate, Pat Haggerty.

In the DA's office it looks as if Esparza received 60% of the vote.

I know someone who used to work for EPPD and asked him whom I should vote for to represent my self interest. He told me that he knew almost everyone who was running from his days on the force. Some that he knew very well were Serna, Carrillo, Leon, Wilkins, and Almonte. He'd never worked with Wiles but he'd heard he had a good reputation. He informed it would be wise for me to vote for either Leon or Wiles. I voted for Leon who received 20% of the votes. Wiles got about 41%.

A word of caution. Don't pay any attention to numbers that include Super delegates. These delegates are unpledged until the national convention so they can change their vote. The delegates selected through the primaries though are pledged so it is ok to count their votes.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sherlock deduced solutions to crimes, didn't he?

Most people know or think they know the difference between deducing and inducing something but most have probably never heard the term "abducing". Indeed why should they? The term doesn't even exist in most dictionaries. In layman's terms it is a cross between deduction and induction.

Deduction (deductive reasoning) is defined as: a process of reasoning in which a conclusion follows necessarily from the premises presented, so that the conclusion cannot be false if the premises are true.

Induction (inductive reasoning) is defined as: any form of reasoning in which the conclusion, though supported by the premises, does not follow from them necessarily.

Abduction (abductive reasoning) is defined as: a method of reasoning in which one chooses the hypothesis that would, if true, best explain the relevant evidence. Abductive reasoning starts from a set of accepted facts and infers to their most likely, or best, explanations.

Currently there is a belief floating around the Holmesian (aka Sherlockian) world, that Sherlock never used deductive reasoning at all but was rather an abductive solver. I can understand why this may be accepted, however Sherlock was a deducer.

From my understanding of the canon, Sherlock never made any hypothesis without first eliminating all of the impossible. With regards to the abductive definition of course, Sherlock had to make some hypotheses, but he wasn't trying to best explain the evidence, he was explaining the evidence. Sherlock never states multiple solutions. He states only one, which is always the correct solution. If he does not have enough evidence to truly solve the crime, then he goes to collect more until there is not a shred of doubt that his solution is the truth.

Everyone around Sherlock jumps to conclusions and providing possible explanations for evidence, which can be considered as abductive, but is in reality inductive reasoning. Read "How Watson Learned The Trick" (it is really really short) for examples of inductive reasoning.

Holmes sought only the real answer to any problem. As stated in a television series inspired by Sherlock called Case Closed (in Japan it is called Detective Conan): "One truth prevails!"