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Today's Opinions

  • Economic policy: a long-ignored issue

    BY JOE D'ANNA
    Los Alamos

  • Debates stay mum on smart tools

    BP’s lengthy oil spill in the Gulf and the Keystone Pipeline are issues long familiar to people of all walks. In sharp contrast, who ever heard of Structural Health Monitoring?  
    I first heard the term just two months ago. I was quickly amazed to see the extent of new techniques available to guard against leaky oil pipes of all kinds. Why does anything so relevant stay hidden from public news?  
    Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is well explained in Wikipedia. SHM refers to methods of gauging damage in materials and other safety aspects of engineered structures. Devices tied into structures detect changes as materials age. From the changes, computing parts assess safety. Call them “smart tools.”
    The tools can check and report frequently on the well-being of structures such as bridges, airplanes and pipelines. The results, in turn, point to in-situ methods of timely repair. “In-situ” repair means repairing in place without tearing things open.
    SHM is no mere glint on the horizon. It thrives now and keeps improving. The discipline of SHM has an international society of its own with its own technical journal. The 10th International Workshop on SHM was held last fall at Stanford University. Princeton offers a graduate course in SHM. The topic clearly has history and substance.

  • Oregon protestors lost in court of public opinion

    At the first news of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, some of us wondered if it could happen here. The way it played out, that’s not likely.

    It began with Oregon ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven being convicted by a jury of arson, but the sentences jumped from months to five years because of a federal anti-terrorism law passed in response to the Oklahoma City bombing. The sentences sparked a protest by ranchers and militiamen in Burns, Oregon, and a few armed protesters led by Ammon Bundy took over the nearby refuge. 

    We’ve learned more about the players. In interviews, current and former employees of the wildlife refuge describe decades of hostility and death threats from the Hammonds. 

    “They said they were going to wrap my son in barbed wire and throw him down a well. They said they knew exactly which rooms my kids slept in,” said a former director. 

  • How to accelerate ’word of mouth’ business

    W

    e all know that Los Alamos is a “word of mouth” town.

    But that doesn’t mean you should sit with your hands folded and wait for people to say nice things about your business. There are several things that you can do to speed up the process. Read on for some inexpensive marketing tactics that build your reputation and encourage your customers to tell their friends about your services.

    Let’s get started!

    First, ask yourself: Who do I want to reach?

    Do you ever worry that there are still people in town who have never heard of your business? Stop worrying, because you don’t need everyone in town to know that you exist. Identify the small group of people who will be your best customers, and direct all your energy to reaching those people.

    Address your ideal customer to the exclusion of everyone else in your ads, your press releases and on your website. For example:

    • Parents of toddlers are invited 

    • Are you going to prom this year?

    • Read this if you’re about to retire.

    • Do you own a stucco house?

  • New Mexico begins process of debating open primary law

    Last week, two Democratic members of the state House, Reps. Antonio “Moe” Maestas of Albuquerque and Stephanie Garcia Richard of Los Alamos, introduced a proposed amendment to the state Constitution making it possible for voters registered as independent to cast their ballots in state primary elections.
    Also last week Donald Trump, the bloviated New York billionaire and self-advertised “frontrunner” for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, pulled out of a Fox Cable TV “debate” with the other contenders in that race.
    Seems Trump declined to submit to questions posed of him by the moderator of that debate, Megyn Kelly, because he feels she doesn’t “respect” him. Fox News and Ms. Kelly, on the other hand, dismissed Trump’s tantrum with the suggestion that he doesn’t like difficult questions when he’s in the spotlight performing.
    You pick. My guess is both camps are probably correct.
    But Mr. Trump’s latest campaign stunt was at least a novel way to put on a show without the bother of putting on a show. It also underscores one of the chronic challenges associated with popular self-government.

  • Groups seek state override of local wage regulations

    A vast business coalition has massed behind a proposed state law that would preempt local laws. The proposal comes in the form of House Bill 211 from Rep. Jason Harper, a Rio Rancho Republican, and Sen. Mark Moores, an Albuquerque Republican.
    The Association of Commerce of Industry leads the effort with Jason Espinosa, ACI president, as the campaign’s public face.
    I presume HB 211 in part comes in response to the so-called Fair Workweek Act introduced last summer by Albuquerque City Councilors Isaac Benton and Klarissa Peña. Much tearing of hair was the Albuquerque response to the detailed regulations of the Benton-Peña proposal.
    ACI’s Jan. 26 release cited “the recent wave of local governments developing complex mandates for employers.”

  • Donald Trump, National Review and the battle for the conservative mind

    The editors and writers of National Review recently did something extraordinary. They came out en masse against a Republican candidate during the primary. Their “Against Trump” symposium and accompanying “Editors introduction” offer up a barrage of attacks on Donald Trump’s surprising presidential candidacy.
    For the symposium, National Review assembled an enormously diverse group of conservative thinkers, from “movement conservatives” to more “establishment” types, to “conservatarians.” Clearly, this is no monolithic bloc. Yet there they are – an eclectic bunch of odd bedfellows making the same core argument: Donald Trump is not a conservative based on any meaningful definition of the term.

  • Workshops help creatives learn business basics

    BY APRIL M. BROWN
    Marketing Director and Managing Director, WESST Enterprise Center