THE PACKAGING GUYS - 05.03.2022
May 4, 2022
Good Wednesday morning! I'm novelist Richard V. Rupp, writing from Burbank, California. Welcome to RUPP'S NOTES/FBI SPECIAL AGENT HARTMANN SERIES posts.
As an author of crime novels, I am familiar with bulletproof vests made from DuPont's Kevlar. Costco's packaging guys seem to have found a new use for this material.
I think Costco is training us to become serial killers. There was the day when I could unwrap a roll of paper towels by puncturing the plastic wrapper with my thumb and ripping it off. That no longer works. Now I must take a sharp knife to open it. And then it's not just one puncture and rip. You have to stab and stab and stab in multiple spots. Frustration arises with the third stab and rip.
My frustration caused me to wonder if other people were having the same problem. So I Googled "Costco packing," and up pops a site titled "The Costco Packaging Guys," where I learned Costco spends a significant amount of time and money developing packaging specifications. If you want to be a purveyor, you better follow their specs.
Here's a quote from "The Costco Packaging Guys" – "Let me say that another way; Failing to follow Costco's packaging specifications can be a financially devastating mistake. If you've been following this blog, you've heard us reiterate countless times that packaging is critical because Costco is a no-touch supply chain-- meaning, there is no extra handling or stocking of shelves. Once your shipping materials are removed, the Feature Pallet Display is ready to be shopped."
Here's what I gleaned from others who have the same Costco problem.
One person needed these tools "to get into the thing: a box-cutter, a wrench, and a no-longer-sharp knife."
"I had to spend a good fifteen minutes hacking away at thick, almost impenetrable plastic."
"I had to carve out every single separate piece in this kit. To do so, I risked injury and infection: all the edges where the box-cutter sliced through the plastic are sharp as a razor. And so is the box-cutter itself."
"Each one was sealed shut with a strip of plastic that could not be lifted with the fingernails and peeled off. Now I had to go and get a kitchen knife and slice each of the five vials along the seam where the lid meets the jar. Besides taking forever (by now, I was running late to choir), this, of course, wrecked the edge on my knife."
In SKYWARD, the novel I'm currently working on, Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays an essential role in the race between the USA and China to colonize space. It's interesting for me to follow what is happening concerning these subjects in the press.
China State Council announced on Thursday a three-step program to become the world's leader in developing AI by 2030. It appears to be an offshoot of their Belt and Road Initiative, sometimes referred to as the New Silk Road. Their plan to dominate the world. The State Council document states, "Artificial intelligence has become a new engine of economic development." They believe AI is critical to their advancement in such things as their military and city planning. AI and robotics will significantly change how many jobs are done.
The United States and China are increasingly engaged in a competition over who will dominate tomorrow's strategic technologies. No technology is as vital in that competition as artificial intelligence.
MI6, the British foreign intelligence agency, reports that combined with its Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese government is laying "data traps" to expand its efforts to collect the critical data needed as part of their new AI initiative.
Both China and America recognize that AI will drastically change how society operates. China's Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba, said it could cause decades of pain through its disruption. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk warns that AI could mean that a basic universal income policy might have to be employed.
On this subject, it is also interesting to note how the science community has responded to Google's firing of another AI scientific researcher from their Google Brain unit for questioning how Google was using the AI tools they were developing. A NEW YORK TIMES article notes it's the "latest example of discord in and around Google Brain, an AI research group considered a key to the company's future." Google has poured billions of dollars into hiring top researchers and computer automation innovation but has faced "many complaints about how it builds, uses and portrays those technologies."
AI can be dangerous to your health. According to an insurance industry report, there have been numerous injuries to people using virtual reality headsets. Overenthusiastic users have submitted the following claims: A man hitting his ceiling fan with this fist; a woman slamming into her furniture; a player smashing through a lighting fixture, and busted television sets galore.
My novel touches on all these comments.
I have joined the Burbank Senior Artist Colony acting class. We were asked to write "Where I'm From" during the first session I attended based on a set format she gave us. Here's what I came up with –
Where I'm from, people came to ascend to the stars.
Their photos often appeared under the Spanish tile roof of our white stucco home, which was looked down upon by a famous sign on the nearby hills.
I knew a neighbor who grew beautiful fields of poinsettias on that hillside, adjacent to a now-famous street below the famous sign. He took his fields south.
I grew up where there was space between the communities. Each with its own personality. Then they grew together into a megatropolis.
I rode the rides at the nearby amusement park. There was a carousel that went round and round. Ah, yes, there was a Faris wheel and pony rides. All replaced by a shopping mall.
From the dairy just a short jaunt away, the milkman delivered fresh milk in bottles to our doorstep. There is a famous hospital, loved by those who ascended to the stars now where that dairy stood.
I remember the smell of the blossoms of the orange groves as I rode the red streetcar to high school. They, too, are long gone.
I could freeze my face as I sipped a chocolate malt through a long straw with friends.
A big, blue-colored building replaced where the red cars rested during the night. They call it a design center.
Where I'm from is long gone.
But pleasant memories remain.
I was brought up in Happy Days.
In case you're wondering, the sign was the HOLLYWOOD sign. Our neighbors were the Ecke's, another German family who moved their fields of poinsettias South from above Sunset Boulevard to Encinitas. The Pacific Electric streetcar I road to Hollywood High School used to go through Gardner Junction, where there were still a few orange groves. Cedars Sini Hospital is located on what used to be the Arden Dairy. The Beverly Center is located on the land of an amusement park I used to frequent. Times do change.
Ops. I have rambled on and neglected, as promised to tell you about the Bowman Colony Rules and Guidelines and the Philosophique. You will have to wait one more week.
Until next Wednesday,
Richard V. Rupp, Author
Website – www.richardvrupp.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright©2022 by Richard V. Rupp