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Columns

  • Android Adorations Anonymous

    The alarm clock is screaming and once again you fall out of bed, the cold floor reminding you that your eyes may be closed but you are unfortunately awake.  
    It’s morning and a pile of unprocessed paperwork is anxiously waiting for you at the office, or perhaps a hot stove, or maybe a quiet machine shop — soon to become quite noisy.  
    It’s a work day and as they say — some one’s gotta make the donuts!

  • Why I need a building permit

    Why do I need a building permit? On the face of it, it certainly seems like a pain in the neck. After all, you only want to replace a window or replace part of the roofing. Really, what’s the point? Well the point is – water and keeping it out! But it goes further than that…

  • System failings on display

    The failings of America’s public education system are, I suppose, clearly on display in Wisconsin.
    In recent weeks that state’s governor, Scott Walker, has found himself embroiled in a battle that, given the merits of the case, seems to fly in the face of common sense.
    Wisconsin, like New Mexico, like Illinois, like California, like Indiana – ay yi yi, we could go on, yes? – is basically broke. In the red. Still, thousands of public employees have stormed its capitol in Madison and demanded more.

  • Spaceport champions are gone

    New Mexico’s spaceport was not conceived as an operation to take rich people into space.
    The Las Cruces community and New Mexico State University began working more than 20 years ago to create a commercial spaceport that would take advantage of the area’s many benefits.
    Those advantages included good weather, high elevation, clear airspace, a strong NMSU science department and the proximity to White Sands Missile Range.

  • Money Watch: Think twice before tapping retirement

    Before the housing crisis, it wasn’t uncommon for people to raid their home-equity piggybanks to pay off bills. Plummeting home values and tougher lending standards helped curb that practice, leading some people to engage in a far more disturbing habit: borrowing or withdrawing money from their retirement accounts to cope with financial hardship.
    There may be times when a loan or withdrawal from an IRA or 401(k) plan is your best or only option, but you should be aware of the possible impacts to your taxes and long-term savings objectives before raiding your nest egg.

  • Taking a simple approach

    During the recent weather crisis, when schools were shut to save energy, several school districts were stuck going ahead with school board and bond elections. The voter turnout was as low as you guessed it would be.
    It’s past time to change the way we run school elections in New Mexico. If we think systematically, perhaps we can solve several problems at once, increase voter participation, and save taxpayer money.  

  • NASA is working to clean up trash floating in space

    “Space trash” and “space junk” are terms for the man-made litter that is floating in space or otherwise stuck there.
    Much of it orbits Earth. We know the problem is real when we hear about the Orbital Debris Program Office of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at Johnson Space Center, Houston.

  • If it’s broke - don’t fix it

    When I was 12 years old, I contracted a nasty illness and was forced to stay in the house for nearly four weeks.  
    My mother was a soap opera addict and having little else to do, I found myself watching “As the World Turns.”  

  • This ain't no scam sister

    Consultants to the Public Education Department have been in the news the past few weeks.
    Use of the consultants has been called everything from a waste of money to insulting to a scam, the latter epithet coming from an Albuquerque Journal columnist.
    Before addressing the charges, consider public education in New Mexico. In general, we spend more money and get less than nearly every state.
    According to the National Education Association, during 2009 we spent $10,999 for each student in our public K-12 schools.

  • Accessing federal funds

    The next-best thing to free money is available through two federal programs for small businesses involved in technology and innovation.
    The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program – the larger of the two – grants money to small and startup businesses to develop products, technology or services that solve pressing problems in agriculture, defense, education, energy, transportation, the environment, space exploration, health and other areas.