Rose-Marie Davidson passed away March 31, 2014

Rose-Marie Davidson, 87, passed away Monday, March 31, 2014 at Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, FL. She was born April 30, 1926 in New Rochelle, NY, the daughter of Ernest H. and Rose (Bormann) Vogel. She grew up in Larchmont, NY, Fairfield, CT and Fort Wayne, IN, where she graduated from South Side High School. She attended Indiana University and was a member of Alpha Chi sorority.  She received her BFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI.


At Cranbrook she met her future husband, Robert Edwin Davidson, and they were married December 20, 1947. Robert’s career as a painter and art professor took them to Oregon, Canada, western New York and Mexico, and they raised four children along the way. In 1975 they moved to Redington Beach, FL, so that Rose-Marie could care for her elderly mother. After her husband’s death in 2000, Rose-Marie lived in Madeira Beach and Seminole before moving to her son’s home in Palmetto in 2006.


Rose-Marie loved animals of all kinds. Her life revolved around her family, and she taught her children to appreciate art, books, and the natural world. When she lived in Redington Beach, she volunteered at the Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores. She was a familiar sight riding her bicycle around town and enjoyed walking on the beach early every morning.


She is survived by her four children, Owen Davidson of Amherst, MA, Andrea Farnham of Lebanon, NH, Robert Davidson of Palmetto, FL and Brian Davidson of Tampa, FL; seven grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and eight nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband and her brother Ernest. A private memorial service will be held by the family at a later date. Image

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In response to Jim Kim’s question about how to end poverty

The effective theme of the long term sustainable solution to poverty is to focus on the gap between the poorest and the poverty level within each sovereign area and ask each sovereign area which has minimized poverty to then wage prosperity on its poorest neighbor. Below a certain level of destitution it is impossible to “fish.” Given a baseline my bet is that enough will work hard that we can tolerate any long term self selected parasites as long as we do not spend money and resources trying to manage them.

In the US, for example (even with its very high definition of the poverty level as compared to desperate people around the world facing a real possibility of near term starvation) we could very nearly eliminate poverty for the persons legally resident here for the amount we already budget if we simply stopped trying to evaluate who “deserved” help and issued funds as a negative income tax along the lines agreed to by the surprising trio of pre-Watergate Nixon, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Milton Friedman.

If no barriers or “welfare traps” are erected and you get to keep in net about 75 cents on each dollar earned the side effect savings (such as elimination of crimes of desperation)would generate huge increases in funds available to help Mexico. Reducing the prosperity gradient at sovereign area borders is key to ending illegal immigration as a criminal enterprise. In the very long term, low country to country prosperity gradients make international relations easy. (Consider the US and Canada.) This may sound a bit Utopian, but we can actually make this happen if we simply stop trying to regulate who deserves the poverty level. And we should start this right here in the US and the sooner, the better.

We miss you Jim, but my classmate Phil seems to be doing a great job.

As for the World Bank, I would suggest you use some of your resources to calculate for various countries whether they are spending too much trying to regulate the distribution of baseline support and whether it is practical to experiment with just giving it. My hunch is that this is applicable in many sovereign areas, but I don’t have the resources to do comprehensive data gathering and calculations. I’m supposing that you do. It is likely even profitable to determine the current beneficiaries of the slices of foreign aid that are taken by corruption and pay them off above the table to just not interfere.

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Book Review: Anvil of God (Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles)

Anvil of God (Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles)
by J. Boyce Gleason brings to mind “Game of Thrones” with a factual
historical setting instead of dragons (although there is a dragon reference in
the extensive footnotes and historical record). Gleason creates a complex and
delightful (at sometimes violent and blunt, at others subtle) set of characters
assigned with plausibility mostly to actual historical figures. As he weaves
his tapestry with fictional details added to the actual historical record you’ll
find yourself rooting and admiring some and hoping the hammer falls on some
others. I doubt you’ll put it down until you take a break to be fresh for the
Author’s Notes. You’ll want to be fresh as Gleason takes you through the
historical references that justify his character choices. Now don’t read the
notes until you finish the rest, but don’t skip them either.

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Justification of Laws Limiting Individual Freedom

Justification of Laws Limiting Individual Freedom

Humans have a right to seek joy by any means that does not prevent or reduce the joy of others. Any other stance is an expression of religious views, which I respect, but which should not be promulgated by the government.

Therefore, any law must be to either:

a)      Create facilities for the joy of all
b)     Restrict freedom for the purpose of preventing one person from depriving another of joy or the possibility of joy.

In the cases where law is promulgated in support of the creation of facilities for the joy of all, the laws should be as efficient as possible.

In the cases where law is promulgated in support of prevention of the preemption of the joy of others, the minimum restriction must be sought, and any notion that limiting any person’s joy because others might be jealous or envious of greater joy must be rejected.


Category A:

  • Interstate Highways
  • Sewer and Water facilities
  • Public Schools
  • The Common Defense

Category B:

  •                Thou shalt not kill (or even assault) other humans
  •                Don’t steal (with exceptions, such as taking a car to get a trauma victim to a hospital)
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ACA: Good name, Possibly a good notion, Horrible implementation

The fundamental underpinning of the math and costs under mandated universal care NOT paid for by the government is people who have continuously paid for insurance are now pooled with folks who previously rolled the dice on the costs of chronic ailments. There is no reward for having paid to not take the risk over a long period and we are now burdened directly with the cost of the losers. Now, historically the culture in this country is that buying insurance is an individual risk choice. Don’t buy fire insurance? If your house does not burn down, big win. Most people choose to not take that risk and if you have a mortgage the bank makes the safe choice for you because their experience is based on a pretty good proxy for the entire risk pool. It would be entirely possible to craft a system that rewarded people for their past contributions to the shared risk, but that was not done. In the name of helping the poor, the ACA has taken advantage of and done damage to those who have previously paid for insurance. We would be far better off to deal directly with ending poverty for those legally resident in the US with something like the Friedman-Moynihan-Nixon plan and allowing a choice of whether to buy insurance. Or, in addition to a F-M-N negative income tax plan we could just pay for “A and E” (accident and emergency) care from the federal level with a credit over time to the folks who previously paid for insurance and let insurance for chronic problems remain a choice. Of course the most expensive choice is universal coverage of both “A and E” and chronic problems. There is zero chance we can meet everyone’s every need until we routinely have “Star Trek” era technology, so don’t hold your breath, and plan for rationed care if you want that option. Just like phasing out the Ponzi scheme of social security, we should pay off our obligations to those with sunk cost in the prior system when we completely change the rules of the “game.” This just in from the feds: The reason exchange coverage in Vermont is so high is lack of competition. Sigh. No kidding.

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Tuesday at Oracle Open World 2013

Another day at Oracle Open World: Oaktable World “Ted” talk about why you should join IOUG in particular and relevant users groups in general by yours truly, great hacking session by Tanel, using judgment and skill in describing performance by Cary Millsap, the best session ever by Jonathan Lewis and Maria Colgan (self appraisal by JL with which I agree) back at the official conference, and then a world class reception with the folks from Delphix. A bit exhausted, which I hate to admit, but I obsess over presentations and I’ve given 3 in 3 days and I’m glad today’s was only 18 minutes!

Now that’s the summary I put up on facebook.

The day actually started with a conference with IOUG super staff person Alexis Bauer Kolak, DBTA contacts, brand new IOUG executive director Josh Berman, and a follow up with Scott McNeil and Steve Lemme of Oracle. Seems like everyone wants to cooperate to make IOUG an essential source of truth and goodness.

Then I had a wonderful chat with George Buzsaki and Kevin Hudson at their Oracle demo pod about their choice to duplicate the file structure for the middle tier for editions based continuous run patching: They were a bit surprised to hear that I endorsed this choice, as they have gotten a fair amount of negative feedback. True, you *could* concoct something like symbolic link structure to avoid duplication of files that have not changed. But that would be a lot more moving parts and a lot more things that could go wrong. Disk IS cheap, and one duplication is well worth the cost to make the process more reliable. The editions “magic” in the database which makes this possible is complicated enough, but that just cannot be simpler and still work properly.

I followed the legendary Mogens Langballe Norgaard’s “Ted” talk at Oaktable world (which was fabulous: We do not use scripts that you (Oracle) will not certify are harmless to our system, in re: license audits.) I started my talk by saying you should always make sure you do not follow Mogens on any agenda, anywhere, because you’re bound to be a letdown. I let my passion about user’s groups show a bit and that seemed to be well-received. User’s groups are a requirement to make Oracle better, make the users themselves better leverage Oracle technology, and to aggregate a strong useful message from the users to Oracle that can be heard on essential issues. It helped that I also proclaimed at the outset this was a technical content free presentation that would be as short as I could make it while still delivering the message. My friend, Kyle Hailey, said one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten: “That was the first presentation about joining user groups I’ve ever heard that was interesting.” (Thank you, Kyle!)

Oaktable world continued after lunch with outstanding presentations from Tanel Poder, Kerry Osbourne, and Cary Millsap.

After an interlude at the beginning of the Delphix reception (Thank you, Kyle), we proceeded to the “Optimizer Boot Camp” that was billed as: Colgan vs Lewis, Oracle vs Independent, Irish vs Welsh, and woman vs man. Each giving 5 tips in alternation, Maria Colgan first and Jonathan Lewis in rejoinder. That is worth an entire blog post of its own. I’ll wait a bit to see whether someone recounts that adequately. For now I’ll just say it was brilliant from start to finish.

Then back to the Delphix reception. That also is a story for another day!

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Vague and/or misleading claims can undermine otherwise useful themes

I’m pretty much a green sneaker, tree hugging conservationist. (The Nature Conservancy, Audubon, and Arbor Day get annual renewals like clockwork, I helped write and implement Scenic Road and Wetlands Preservation legislation here in Lebanon, NH in the late 1980s.) So I’m really disappointed when loss of species and habitat headlines and statistics are so oriented to shock value that my reaction is “Is there a seed of truth in this obvious attempt to mislead?” instead of concern for the subject matter. Today’s entry for my #please_read_tufte hall of shame: “…facing 50 percent drops in their numbers within seven years if the current rate of decline continues…” I’ll save you the math: that’s about 9.43 % per year. Now that is bad enough, and it avoids stirring up all manner of thoughts about “you’re lying to me somehow.” Now especially if they added some information about whether last year’s loss rate was an outlier or whether we should expect that to be about the rate for the upcoming years unless we do something. (Plenty of populations in the wild have cycles much steeper than that.) But no, all they wanted to do was publish 50% and damn the context. For someone who spends a lot of time trying to be clear and concise about the meaning of data and statistics this is really annoying – even if the underlying truth supports the claim, they sound like a vaporware sales team.

This is related to my friend Cary’s blog entry

(which I consider a classic.)

So when you post numbers and commentary about numbers, tell me something useful and succinct: Give me meaning in context, not the mathematical analog to making an ethical point by proof texting a fragment of the bible.

… and if you find yourself writing you improved performance by more than 100% make sure you’re clear that you’re talking about throughput of some transaction and not response time or be prepared to show me your time machine, ’cause without a time machine the asymptotic ceiling on response time reduction is 100%

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