I’m Not Making This Up, You Know

Twitter has tagged this morning’s astronomy post as “sensitive” …… even though they have removed the tags from several earlier astronomy posts.When I responded to their survey, I pointed out the lack of transparency in their appeal process. The only response I’ve received was the notification shown above. Because they have continued tagging (eg., this morning’s post), the process is either still random or out of control. In no case can it be considered “fair” yet.

A Busy Day

Blogging has been light for the past couple of weeks as I’ve been hustling to clean up some odds and ends of a work project on top of the usual year end business. Today will be consumed with hand making some custom electrical parts for a test fixture.

I’m looking forward to using some of the six weeks of time off I’ve accrued during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

No “Safe Space” for a Pro-Life Lawyer

Robyn Keller was a successful lawyer, a retired partner with the power firm Hogan Lovells. She described how she was fired in a piece published by the Wall Street Journal.

After the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, global law firm Hogan Lovells organized an online conference call for female employees. As a retired equity partner still actively serving clients, I was invited to participate in what was billed as a “safe space” for women at the firm to discuss the decision. It might have been a safe space for some, but it wasn’t safe for me.

After she express a reasoned support for the Dobbs decision, she was attacked as a racist.

Someone made a formal complaint to the firm. Later that day, Hogan Lovells suspended my contracts, cut off my contact with clients, removed me from email and document systems, and emailed all U.S. personnel saying that a forum participant had made “anti-Black comments” and was suspended pending an investigation. The firm also released a statement to the legal website Above the Law bemoaning the devastating impact my views had on participants in the forum—most of whom were lawyers participating in a call convened expressly for the purpose of discussing a controversial legal and political topic. Someone leaked my name to the press.

She filed her own complaint which the firm had investigated by an outside law firm. Her firing stuck.

[M]y contracts with the firm were terminated, and other firms, wary of the publicity, blackballed me—all after an unblemished 44-year career.

The response of the rabidly anti-Dobbs participants on the call wasn’t surprising. What was shocking, at least to me, was how eagerly Hogan Lovells kowtowed to a woke faction inside its workforce. Several women on the call—as well as male lawyers at the firm—contacted me later to offer private support for my right to express my views. Those former colleagues must now realize that they are in a hostile work environment. If this could happen to me, anyone who expresses a disfavored opinion—even on a matter of law—can expect the same treatment: immediate cancellation without concern for client interests, due process or fairness.

Hogan Lovells is the law firm providing pro bono representation to Brett Kimberlin in his latest attempt overturn his Speedway Bombing convictions.

20 % of the Customers Drink 80 % of the Beer

That version of the the 80/20 Rule is attributed to an English pub keeper. It’s an informal summary of the Pareto distribution, a power-law probability phenomenon that describes a great deal of human behavior. The Pareto distribution suggests it is usually the case in an organization with a statistically large population that a group about the size of the square root of the total population produces half of the organization’s beneficial work.

This tells us why Elon Musk is probably right and Robert Reich is probably wrong.

If Twitter had 7500 employees when Musk took over, something on the order of 87 were probably carrying half the real productive load. Firing only half the staff wouldn’t get rid of enough deadwood.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Twitter will be reshaped.

Cleaning House at Twitter

Elon Musk has announced Twitter 2.0 and is taking the company back into startup mode. At midnight PT, employees received an email telling them to expect long hours and high performance standards. They were given until close of business Thursday to either sign on to the new program or take three months’ severance pay.

A few dedicated hardcore engineers will generally deliver a better product than a large team of 9-to-5ers. Think of the Macintosh computer ecosystem versus Windows 95 or the reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 versus the finally flying SLS.

I’ve been on several the kind of engineering teams that Musk is trying to form at Twitter. I’ve even had the privilege of leading one. It can be exhilarating. It can be draining. And it’s for the young. I’ll be 75 on New Year’s Eve, and I’ve had to slow down a bit, but I still find myself working overtime to get things not just right but the best they can be.

Twitter is noticeably better since Musk bought it. I look forward to seeing what he can do with the deadwood out of the way.

UPDATE—Corrected the drop dead date for getting with new program.

When North Korea Is Embarrassed To Be Your Ally …

The AP reports

North Korea says it hasn’t exported any weapons to Russia during the war in Ukraine and has no plans to do so, and said U.S. intelligence reports of weapons transfers were an attempt to tarnish North Korea’s image.

Really? Do the NORKS think being associated with Russia in the war with Ukraine would lower their standing in the world?

North Korea and Syria are the only countries other than Russia to recognize the independence of the occupied oblast Donetsk and Luhansk, and the NORKS have expressed interest in sending workers to help rebuild those “pro-Russia” regions.

But selling arms to Russia is a problem for them?


What’s Your Reputation Worth?

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I ha’ lost my reputation, I ha’ lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial!

—Cassio, Othello, II, iii

My podcasting partner Dianna Deeley has a new post up at her blog. Based on her 25+ years of experience in the not-for-profit world, Dianna’s consulting firm offers practical, early-stage advice for individuals and non-profits who want to operate effectively. I’ve relied on her to investigate not-for-profit organization.

Her post tells the story of how one “charitable” grift took advance of well-meaning donors.

Before long, there was a fundraising campaign to refurbish this property, plus lots of people coming in and donating lots of labor, including removing carpet and refinishing floors, fairly extensive interior repairs, and painting. Other nonprofits and civic organizations donated materials, including appliances and furnishings. Then there was a campaign to raise funds for the roof…and then…


The house was sold! Social media went silent! The website had no more posts! The offices were apparently empty! What of the women relying upon this charity for services? Where could one find the plausible and engaging face of this organization?

Where did the money go?

Read the whole thing.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

This episode of Blogsmoke first ran eight years ago today.

* * * * *



ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) Around Twitter Town and in the territory of the net—there’s just one way to handle the harassers and the stalkers—and that’s with an Internet Sheriff and the smell of “BLOGSMOKE”!


ANNOUNCER: “BLOGSMOKE” starring W. J. J. Hoge. The story of the trolling that moved into the young Internet—and the story of a man who moved against it. (MUSIC: OUT)

JOHN: I’m that man, John Hoge, Internet Sheriff—the first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It’s a chancy job—and it makes a man watchful … and a little lonely.


Sauces, Geese, and Ganders

This appeared on the Twitterz from a group that thinks that’s is OK for a private company to refuse to carry someone else’s disinformation but not theirs—BTW, over-the-air broadcasters who have a license to use the public radio spectrum do have certain requirements to accept political advertising as a condition of their licenses. However, Hulu is an unlicensed entity using the Internet and has no such legal obligation.

When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be There Overnight …

… I can no longer trust FedEx to keep an overnight delivery commitment.

On Thursday, I determined that we need to add an additional switching function to a piece of custom test equipment in the lab at Goddard Space Flight Center. One of the critical components we needed was available in stock at a company in Texas. I ordered it for overnight delivery via FedEx. Late Friday afternoon, FedEx said that the package would be delivered on Monday instead of Friday.

Calling their 800 number sent me through a maze of phone menus. When I finally got to a human being , I was told that the shipment was delayed because of high volume at FedEx’s Linthicum, Maryland, facility. No help was offered.

@FedExHelp was also unhelpful. I was told was in a container that would not be available until Monday.

This not the first time this year that FedEx has failed meet the delivery commitments I paid for. I don’t believe I will ever use FedEx again if another option is available.