Friday, April 29, 2011

The obtuse idiocy of US capitalism in one small paragraph

Here is a recent article from the BBC website: 

How long is the ideal nap?
Air traffic controllers in the US have been advised to take 26-minute naps, after a string of incidents involving workers falling asleep. So is 26 minutes the ideal length of time for a nap?  Five cases of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job have been revealed since March. In three of those cases, disclosed by the Federal Aviation Association, workers have been fired.

Now the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling for "controlled naps" to be built into night shifts.  Referring to a 1995 study from Nasa, which he co-authored, NTSB member and fatigue expert Mark Rosekind said that a 26-minute nap would improve performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.  There was other supporting evidence that said naps of between 20 minutes and 30 minutes were beneficial, he said.  His call for work naps is supported by the controllers' union, which wants naps to be allowed in both overnight and day shifts.

Beyond the aviation industry, combating fatigue is an issue that affects many people across all professions, working day and night, although it carries obvious risks in jobs that involve motoring or machinery.  But other experts are doubtful that 26 minutes is the optimum napping time.  It's a bit too long and risks you falling into a deep sleep, says Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Council in the UK, which advises the government on guidelines for drivers.

"What we recommend is that a nap is combined with a cup of coffee so you have some caffeine, and that takes about 20 minutes to kick in.  "Have a cup of coffee and get your head down. Done together it has a more powerful effect."  It probably works out that a nap of about 15 minutes is best, he says, because once you get beyond 20 minutes, you risk a deep sleep and you can be much more groggy when you wake up.  "A lot of people take caffeine after they wake up, but you have a window of opportunity of 20 minutes, so it will help you wake up. It works, there's no doubt about it."

People can't instantly fall asleep, so it's impossible to exactly time how long you will be asleep, he says. But even 15 minutes of dozing is beneficial.  "At least by having caffeine, you know that in 20 minutes you will feel more alert."

If you haven't had a wink of sleep the night before, then this tactic won't be enough to refresh you, says Mr Horne, but for those that have had merely a poor night's sleep, it will work.  Longer naps would work if they became part of your daily routine, he says, because your body would get used to it and could wake up quite easily without feeling too groggy.

Health writer Linda Wasmer Andrews, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, also believes 26 minutes is too long. She says a nap of between 10 and 20 minutes is enough.  The timing of the nap is also important, she says. Putting your head down too early means your body may not be ready to sleep yet, but a nap that is too late in the day might make it harder to fall asleep come bedtime.  Early afternoon is often the best time, between 1-3pm, she says, when people experience a post-lunch dip in energy.

Whatever the best strategy is, it's unlikely that the US air traffic controllers will be adopting any such tactics soon.  Transport Secretary Ray LaHood has dismissed the proposal for on-the-job naps to be implemented in the aviation industry.  He said workers would not be paid to sleep, and instead ordered for more managers be hired to supervise nightshift workers and ensure they don't fall asleep on the job.
[I pull up my soap box, take a deep breath, and begin my rant]

This last paragraph really sums up all the boundless stupidity of the capitalist thugs: I mean, GOD FORBID!!!! that anybody would be paid to 'sleep on the job', oh NO!!!.  It's much 'better' to hire 'managers' (aka slave drivers) regardless of the fact that the salary of the said managers will be bigger by several orders of magnitude than whatever money Uncle Sam might 'loose'  by letting his workers (slaves) to take a short nap on the job.  And (a most American touch now:) nevermind the science.  And nevermind the experience of the rest of the planet.  And if the controllers union supports this kind of "socialist" laziness, they can all go to hell.  What are unions anyway, but a bastion of commie parasites?!

We are A*m*e*r*i*c*a*n*s!!  We 'pull ourselves up by our bootstraps', we are proud of our 'pioneer spirit' and our 'rugged individualism', right?  Social right?  They are for that effeminate bunch of Euro-trash fags on the Old Continent.  We are real men!

And if those lazy air traffic controllers cannot get with the program, we will fire them and hire new ones, just like our beloved Ronald Reagan did.  And if an exhausted air traffic controller makes a mistake, we will send him to jail for a long long time, where "Bubba will make him his girlfriend" and where any resistance will be punished by sending him to isolation.

I call this the "plantation mentality" which, I am sorry to say, is still EXTREMELY prevalent in large segments of the US society, in particular the South.  Slavery was never truly abolished in the USA, it only changed form (several times): the salves changed, but the slave-owners did not.  Now they are called CEOs, politicians, commentators and all the rest of the plutocracy running the USA.  The top 1% if you want.  And the slaves are pretty much everybody else or, at the very least, the bottom 80% or so.

With no health-care, no social security, no unions, no workers rights, a frightening level of unemployment, a minimal level of education, a super policed society with the highest cop/civilian ratio in the world combined with the highest incarceration per capita figure in the world (followed by Rwanda and Russia if I remember correctly), absolutely insane minimal sentencing laws, a prevalent death penalty, an all-knowing Uncle Sam spying on their every communication, the USA has become one big plantation, run by unrepentant slave-owners who see their fellow Americans as little more than cheap spare parts for their wealth producing machine.

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave

What a sad joke!

[Having vented my outrage, I get off my soapbox and kid myself into thinking that somebody actually paid attention to my rant.  Well, even if nobody paid attention, it felt good to "scream" the truth out loud as best as I can. Now I can go and store away my soapbox until the next time I feel like ranting]

The Saker