Unfortunately I haven't bought a new diesel for a few years. I think
kits are still made here, and their RTR line is assembled overseas from
American parts, except for the steam which is (I think) made in Japan,
yes? I always thought classic Athearn was the best value available for
the money, regardless of the raillery that seems to crop up against
blue boxes from Compton.
I wouldn't worry _excessively_ about China. I used to, and then the
picked up on the topic, which tells me that it has just become
problem, and we will have new troubles for the media to ignore.
All kidding aside, your vote of confidence was much appreciated by this
employee of American industry. :) Monetarily speaking, a $45 purchase
means little, but it always makes my day when somebody shows support
for the Free World. This of course also goes for stuff made in Japan,
Germany, France, Canada, etc.
You're also voting your confidence in engineering creativity in making
and selling stuff in the same wage market, against hunting for a
gold mine. That's another thing I liked about Athearn locomotives.
were also quite easy to fix.
I have always had this notion to buy a Bachmann 0-6-0 tank and an old
Mantua Booster, get them cleaned and tuned up, and do a DESTRUCTIVE
runoff - operating both nonstop until one or the other is reduced to
component form. Cost has prohibited it, alas.
Pardon me whilst I fetch my asbestos unionsuit. I just KNOW that I
it after using the term 'Free World'.
Thanks, I just find it shameful that we can't even make the simplest
things in America anymore. All this Global economy stuff is bunch of
crap, IMHO. If I have the option of buying an item made here as opposed
to anywhere else (Japan, Canada included) I do.
I was pleased to see my My Atearn Blue Box Kit was made in America. As
far as my other trains go, I've been collecting vintage Varney from the
1950s, which were all made here.
Bunch of crap or not, it's an economoic and legal reality. The movement
of manufacturing offshore is just "increasing shareholder value". Some
US court ruled some time ago that the duty to shareholders trumped all
It's more than that...
I suggest you read Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat" to get a
perspective on what's happening, why, and how to deal with it. I don't agree
with everything he says, but the book is illuminating.
When the personnel at the call center in India speak better English than
most US high school graduates, and have significantly better technical
skills, maybe it makes sense to hire them, even if the price were the same!
in article ykwDf.2994$ email@example.com, Wolf Kirchmeir at
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 1/30/06 2:25 PM:
For a number of years we had a very difficult time finding people who
could do takeoffs from blueprints and architectural spec's for estimating.
We went through person after person with no luck. Then we looked for only
people with a college education. Same thing.... problems with basic math,
some could just not get things done on time and others though they could
read the words could not understand what the specifications said to do. As
time went by we found four people that learned fast and do excellent work.
One is a girl from India who moved here with her husband about three years
ago. She has two girl friends in India who we now send plans and specs too
via the internet and email. She comes from a very affluent family in India
and her husband makes a very good living so she is not eager and hard
working because she was once poor but because of the way she was brought up
in the world. She doesn't work real cheap either. The fourth is from Viet
Nam and she went to school in England. They all do the work well, do it
fast and are always ready for more. Its not that we can't find decent people
who want to work. In our situation the real problem reading and even more
regarding basic math skills. All we really need is folks who can handle
basic math problems and once learning a little new terminology be able to
comprehend rather plain straight forward text. People should have all those
skills down pat coming out of high school. Here is an example of a problem
I've actually had to teach people over and over......... If you have 3580
feet of ceramic tile wall base measured and the tile product specified is 8
inches long how many pieces will you need to order. So many just can't
figure out that there are 1.5 pieces per foot and to simply multiply 3580 by
1.5 . I'm serious......many people struggle with this and have to be taught
not because they are stupid but because they didn't learn how to work
through simple stuff like this in our schools. Others when faced with
something new ( usually the same thing presented in a different way ) hit
brick walls. They want a set formula for everything. They seem uncomfortable
or not confident they can figure things out correctly on their own even when
they surely can. It's as if our whole system of learning does not trust
people to come up with their own solutions to even the smallest problems.
It seems such over used popular phrases such as "Just do it" and "thinking
out of the box" really mean "show me exactly how to do everything then I
will try to just do it if I can and "thinking out of the box is neat to say
as long as you don't actually get out of the box to do any thinking." Bruce
I sympathize with your plight. There are many who want to blame schools and
teachers for all these problems, and we have our share of poor schools and
teachers, the basic problem is deeper.
It seems affluent parents demand that their kids get good grades so they can
make Harvard (whatever), and whine incessantly if their kid gets a deserved
"B" or worse. It is bad that schools respond to the whining by inflating
grades, but also, their kids pick up on the entitlement attitude.
Then, where there are poor (economically) schools, it seems we have adopted
low expectations: "These kids are poor, so we can't expect them to be able
to learn this stuff." So, they don't teach it, and viola! They don't learn
Then we hold teachers in low esteem, so is it a surprise when qualified math
and science majors don't go into teaching? So there are phys ed majors
teaching math. (Nothing against PE majors, but they are teaching outside of
their expertise, kind of like a math major running the strength training
class: without training, both will do a poor job).
We need an attitude adjustment more than curriculum revision: school is
actually work, it costs actual money, no one is guaranteed success or good
grades, and it is the students' and families' responsibilities to become
Unless these things happen, the flat world will globalize marginally
educated folks right out of a job. Those who did the work, here or
elsewhere, will continue to succeed.
in article JkYDf.20529$ email@example.com, Bruce Favinger at
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 1/31/06 10:14 PM:
Bruce Favinger wrote:
[...] In our situation the real problem reading and even more
Well, actually the shortcut is not that obvious. The obvious method is
to multiply 3580 by 12 and then divide by 8, which is only one button
push longer on the calculator than the shortcut.... :-)
Well, of course, that's the natural result of training kids to pass
tests. If you want good test scores for your school, you train kids to
recognise question types and plug in the formulas. It takes much longer
to teach them how to think things through, and if you try to do that,
your kids will score low on the tests, which could cost you your job and
will cost your school district some federal and/or state dollars.
Well, your "systemn of learning" doesn't even trust the teacher's
judgment, does it? Only the "objective test" counts, not the teacher's
knowledge of how far his or her students have come this school year. If
you don't trust the teacher, how can the teacher convey confidence to
US students are tested more than any others, anywhere. US school
districts are rated on their students' test results. So US students are
trained to pass tests. They are not taught how to think, which is
something entirely different.
FWIW, at our school we explicitly affirmed as a staff that at about half
the questions on our own, teacher-generated, tests would consist of
presenting old material in new guises, thus requiring students to think
through the same problems from different angles. That lasted until Mr
Harris imported the US mania for testing into Ontario.
But this thread is getting off topic. When does thread not get off topic
if it goes on long enough? :-)
in article UB7Ef.8056$ email@example.com, Wolf Kirchmeir at
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 2/1/06 11:05 AM:
If that's all they did, you would be correct. The tests could be better, but
I remember taking a lot of tests (like weekly) during school to asses my
mastery of the material; it's just that the results were not compiled for
the whole school and compared to national or state standards. So we've
always "taught to the test."
Without any standardized testing, we have no way to assess the performance
of students, teachers, schools, etc. So the argument should be for tests
which measure understanding of material, not parrot like responses to
multiple choice questions. And it is a good thing to make the tests standard
along with the curriculum, so that broad assessments are possible, including
(heaven forbid) measuring teachers and schools.
In nearly every other occupation, we are measured by our results, and if we
don't perform, we may be a chance to retrain or two, but generally, you hear
those famous words, "You're Fired!" Educator should not be the exception.
This "testing mania" has only been with us since about 2001 or so (No Child
Left Behind), and the problem with low performance by students and certain
schools predates the standardized testing. And lots of countries test at
about the 12 or 13 year old level to determine your educational future:
trade school or university track, and it is difficult to go back. At least
we hold off on that until we test 17/18 year olds for college admissions,
and even those who are not ready can get a do over: Jr. colleges are our
venue to constant adult education for those who need retraining, or who
finally decide that maybe, just maybe, those math and literature classes
On Wed, 01 Feb 2006 14:05:57 -0500, Wolf Kirchmeir
Yes, but if you allow 1/16 inch for grout, the answer is 5330 -
and that allows one for breakage!
in beautiful Golden Bay, Western Oz, South 32.25.42, East 115.45.44 GMT+8
VK6 YAB ICQ 6581610 to reply, change oz to au in address
Typical specifications will require a 1/4 inch grout joint with an 8"
tile. A 1/16th inch joint is generally used only with the common 4.25" x
4.25" and 6"x6" wall tile used here for institutional work and for many
commercial projects. Once you figure the number of pieces needed for the
base we generally add 1% to cover for broken tile, miss-cuts and damage by
others. Specifications will often require another 2% - 3% attic stock for
future repairs. If things get real screwed up as they sometimes do such as a
section of wall being knocked down for some reason we generally go to the
attic stock and have enough to finish. After that its up to the GC and owner
if they want to buy more tile. Bruce
While I can't speak personally to your situation, I've heard way too much of
this "give us people with the skills and who are willing to work & we'll
hire them" stuff. I once scored the highest EVER on a company's so called
pre-employment aptitude test... and they still laid me off when it came down
Then again, I'm not sure that flipping burgers is worth the $15 an hour that
some people think they deserve. But there are skilled workers out there who
are grossly underemployed.
Having spent many years doing architectural work , take offs and many
times the total estimate for jobs , I sure do understand your problem.
It's so hard to teach someone how to do even the simplest of jobs.
Most of my estimating was large commercial buildings and many times
limited to the masonry work. Sometimes when doing take-offs ,
especially for something as complex as a hospital , usually an
addition , I felt almost alone in the world because there was hardly
anyone to fall back on with a problem. And when your numbers would
make or break there was a lot of stress at times.
When attempting to teach others it was so hard to get them to see the
job as so many small units , wall by wall , floor by floor instead of
being overwhelmed by the whole job....and then there were all the
different numbers for coverage by various products.. They usually
didn't last long
Many people think anyone can teach what they know. Fact is that the
better you are at your job, the harder it is for you to see it from the
uninitiated person's point of view. You have in fact forgotten what it
was like not to know how to do that "simple job." So you don't really
know where to start.
Fact is, a "simple job" rarely is. We all tend to assume that because a
job is easy for us to do it must be simple. No job is simple or easy for
a person who hasn't learned how to do it. A good teacher can figure out
what the student knows, and more importantly, what (s)he _doesn't_ know,
and go from there.
My experience has been vastly different than yours... the half dozen or so
times that I've neeeded to talk to tech support or my bank's service center,
both located "over there," the spoken English was poor and the technical
assistance matched. In a recent effort to get a simple report from my bank,
three different people sent me the wrong report three different times... not
good at all.
Anyway, to answer your question, it (sort of) depends on which
Athearn loco's you're talking about.
As compared to the Athearn Blue Box and RTR, I'd say Atlas is generally
better. It has a smoother, quieter driveline and somewhat better
detail, although the Athearn RTR with the old RPP shells aren't bad.
My experience with Athearn Genesis is limited, but their detail seems
to be as good or better than Atlas's. I've heard, though, that some
folks have experienced noisy drivelines with Genesis locos. They
generally seem to fetch a higher price as well. I'd call this one a tie.
All politics aside it all depends on the which Athearn you are comparing to
There is the older lesser detailed Atlas of the yellow/white boxes that were
made in Austria (roco) and there is todays Atlas in the black/red boxes.
The older Atlas's have chunky details compared to the later Atlas's.
There is Athearn "blue box" and Athearn "RTR" and then Athearn "Genesis"
Todays Atlas is considered amongst the best and Genesis is considered the
"top line" for Athearn. If you compare those two then Atlas generally come
out on top due to their very smooth, powerful and quite drive lines and
faultless current collection. Genesis however are a very close and may only
need a bit of tweaking to equal Atlas. Some have complained about the
reliability of the current collection in Genesis locos.
I have no Athearn RTR but have seen it running and I was somewhat
dissappointed in the general clackity noise it made out of the box. This is
all to do with the drive line and although you shouldn't have to, is easily
fixed by fitting better quality universals.
Athearn "Blue Box" locos are way out of date. Consider their F7's which are
mostly "wrong" and their Geeps with over width bodies they simply don't
compare by todays standards. They were grand in their day but not anymore.
Having said that their blomberg side frames are still considered the very
The Blue Box drive lines are clackity at best but for those of us who
enjoy this part of modelling trains can get a very quite, smooth and
powerful chassis from a blue box. Even the original motor (thats the gold
one with brass flywheels) is very good if tuned properly and run on a decent
control device (like a DCC decoder with BEMF). And replacing the universal
with something like NWSL type does them the world of good.
In summary and still no politics
The older Atlas is better then Blue Box but not as good as RTR
Newer Atlas slightly better than Genesis, better than RTR and dumps on Blue
Just a very short opinion.
Redline Race Controls
Western Pacific Model Railroad
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