Monday, August 19, 2013

Rally Riding Lessons Learned, it's all about the minutes, man. Part 2

To continue my gripping tale of riding in a rally, that literally tens of people read and two learned something, we move on to (fanfare of trumpets)


In the first installment, we covered many areas, including planning, time management, strategy and other amazingly insightful points.  We then moved on to an imaginary rally and how time is lost while out on your route.  We will now move on to more pressing and interesting matters.

I am behind.  Now What?

As you go through the rally, if you are the anal Type A persona, you will know when and where you are supposed to be.  There will most likely come a time when you realize you are behind and won't make your planned route in the time allotted.  Something has to change.

There are several ways to deal with this situation.
  1. If there is a penalty window, determine if you will still finish, without dropping anything off your plan.  If so, I say, go for it!
  2. Riding faster is not an option.  Many people ride a little over posted limits.  In order to determine if you can gain back time, you really have to look at percentages.  For example, if a rider rides 10 MPH over in a 50 MPH zone, he is gaining 20%.  If you ride 10 MPH over in a 25 MPH zone, you are gaining 40%.  So as you can see, riding a little over in the lower speed zones gains you a lot more time, than doing so in a faster speed zone.  If the balance of your ride is made of slower zones, then maybe you can pick up a little, but if you are staring at a lot of highway, you are up a creek and that creek doesn't smell so good.
  3. Drop some bonii.  No one likes doing this, but sometimes you have to do it.  Now, there is a science or art to dropping bonii.  It takes careful up front planning to figure out which to drop.  Let's explore this.

Dropping a Bonus

In designing your route, you should know how much each bonus costs, relative to time.  The points per minute value of each bonus should be known.  For instance, if there is a bonus that takes you 10 minute to gather and it is worth 2,000 points, the value is 200 Points Per Minute.  Now lets assume there is a bonus that will take 30 minutes, but is worth 9,000 points.  The value of that bonus is  300 Points per minute.

Clearly it is cheaper to drop the first bonus rather than the latter.  BUT, you only gain 10 minutes vs 30.  How much time do you need to make up?  As an added quandary, WHEN can you give up a bonus?  Does it make sense to drop a bonus early in the rally to get back on track, time wise, or continue the rally behind the whole way and drop a bonus later in the rally?  What if you have time constrained bonii?

All of these factors must enter into your calculations.

In my case, I know which bonii I MIGHT drop and how much time I will pick up and how many points the drop will cost me.  I also have them scattered throughout my route.  If there are time constraint bonii, I pay very careful attention to my drops and exactly how much time I can pick up.  To make it even more complex, I may have two, three or four separate routes for each segment that might only be different by a few points, but several minutes, and as we have found minutes matter.

For example, let's say I have a bonus that can't be missed because it is so valuable, but it is time constrained.  I will put this bonus as 25% of my total plan, but it must happen between midnight and 1:00 AM, in our hypothetical rally.  If our rally started at 6:00 AM, that bonus is 18 hours away. 

Time to do some work.

While on the route, I may find myself 30 minutes behind.  I will know which bonus I need to drop to get that 30 minutes back.  That is easy.  But what I probably will also have is a different route that may drop a bonus that gives me 45 minutes and picks up another that takes another 10 away for a net of 5 minutes.  Now the most important part here is WHEN I find myself behind.

If I am behind very early in the rally, I will not panic.  I will not start dropping bonni.  I WILL keep a close eye on my times.  If I am falling further behind with the passage of time, my planning will change.  If I stay 30 minutes behind, and don't lose any more time as the day goes on, I have my plan, and it was ready to go since before the start of the rally.

Is some of this over the top?  Yes.  But it is how I have managed to win.  It may not work for you, and it may not be the best system, but it is what has worked for me so far.

You can easily participate and enjoy rallies without going to these extremes.  You may even do well and get into the top 5-10.  But if you want to win, against the serious competition that is out there, you will need a system, plan and tenacity to get there.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Terrorist Watch List gun law in NJ A3687

I know I usually write about riding, etc, but this law that was just signed really has me upset.  I sent this information to various representatives and even hand delivered several copies of this to some.  It appears that logic and fact have no place in our legislature.

Won't someone PLEASE think of the CHILDREN?

Amends N.J.S.2C:58-3
Amends section 1 to add:
c.9 To any person named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by Terrorist Screening Center administed (typo in bill) by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Relevant sections of the code:
f. (removed for clarity) A firearms purchaser identification card shall be valid until such time as the holder becomes subject to any of the disabilities set forth in subsection c. of this section, whereupon the card shall be void and shall be returned within five days by the holder to the superintendent, who shall then advise the licensing authority. Failure of the holder to return the firearms purchaser identification card to the superintendent within the said five days shall be an offense under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-10. (Removed for clarity)

This bill would disqualify a person named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Terrorist Screening Center from being issued either a firearm’s identification card or a permit to purchase a handgun.

Point one:
As per the Department of Homeland Security website: “The U.S. government does not reveal whether a particular person (emphasis added) is on or not on a watchlist.” Given this information, it is impossible to check if a person who is applying for a firearms ID card or purchasing a firearm is or is not named on the list.

Point two:
The Terrorist Watch list has 2 sections, the “No Fly” list, made of people who may not board and airplane. Secondly, the “Selectee” list, made of people who must undergo further screening before boarding aircraft.
The bill does not designate which list is to be used for reference. While the No Fly list is more likely to be populated with “known terrorists”, the Selectee list is populated with names. If your name matches one of these you are likely to be included.
Since the US Government does not share whether a particular person is on the list or not, many people are on the list simply by name, with no way of identifying a particular person. I.e. John Adams is on the list, so any and all John Adams fall under the auspices of this law, since you cannot check the list for John Adams of 123 Main Street, as the federal government will not share that specific information.

Point three.
There is a redress procedure for applying for what is known as a Redress Control Number. This number is received after proving to Department of Homeland Security that you are wrongfully on the Terrorist Watch List. This DOES NOT remove you from the list. You are merely given a control number to identify you as being wrongfully on the list.
Additionally, 99% of those who seek redress are granted redress. Meaning, that 1% of those on the selectee list are on the list with good reason. 99% do not belong on the list.
The FBI does not accept redress applications from individuals. An individual must go through the “screening agency” to request redress. There is no language in the bill relating to redress or which agency to go through.

Point four.
According to section f of the code, if section c.9 is added, when a person is flying and finds themselves detained, they have to turn in their firearms ID card within 5 days or face criminal sanctions. Unfortunately, those persons would not KNOW whether they were on the Terrorist Watch List or not, as that information is not shared.

Suggested actions:
Bill should not be brought to the floor of the Senate.
Amend the bill to only apply to those on the “No Fly” list, as the “Selectee” list is too broad.
Amend the bill to allow purchase of firearms when a Redress Control Number has been acquired and allow Redress Control Number to be used when flagged for future purchases.
Amend the bill to require the AG or NJSP to establish redress procedures before bill is enacted.
Amend the bill to modify section f to exempt c9 from the list of disabilities, as a person cannot know if they are on the list, but could inadvertently violate the law as written.

Reference items:
The following set of data was obtained from the Department of Homeland Security web site or the FBI website on one or more of the following pages.

Only the relevant portions of the pages are included, to enhance readability. No edits to content have been made, except emphasis which is followed by (emphasis added).

When Should You Use DHS TRIP?
DHS TRIP can help you work to resolve travel-related issues when
You believe
  • the U.S. government's record of your personal information is inaccurate
What is the terrorist watchlist?
Two subsets of the terrorist watchlist are the “No Fly” list and “Selectee” list:
  • The “No Fly” list includes individuals who are prohibited from boarding an aircraft. You are NOT on the No Fly list if you receive a boarding pass.
  • The “Selectee” list includes individuals who must undergo additional security screening before being permitted to board an aircraft.
How do I know if I am on a Government Watchlist?
The U.S. government does not reveal whether a particular person (emphasis added) is on or not on a watchlist.
Because the contents of the consolidated terrorist watchlist are derived from classified and sensitive law enforcement and intelligence information, the TSC cannot confirm or deny whether an individual is on the watchlist (emphasis added).

Ninety-nine percent (emphasis added) of individuals who apply for redress are not on the terrorist watchlist, but are misidentified as people who are.

DHS TRIP uses an online form that you complete using your computer and an Internet connection. It takes just a few moments to complete the screens and submit your complaint. You will be asked to submit documentation to complete the redress process..

For U.S. citizens
Please provide a legible copy of an unexpired U.S. passport. If you do not have a U.S. passport, please provide at least one legible copy of an unexpired government-issued photo identification document from the list below.
How the Information You Submit Will Be Used

The information that you provide will be used to process your request for redress. To process your request, DHS TRIP will share this information within the Department and outside the Department with components or entities that can help address the underlying issues regarding your redress request. DHS TRIP may share information about you with airlines or other third parties where necessary to implement the redress resolution.
In very limited circumstances, information from an individual may be shared for reasons not related to the redress process (emphasis added). For example, if a person were to submit information indicating illegal activity, such as providing a fraudulent passport or driver's license, this information may be turned over to appropriate authorities for proper investigation.
Redress Control Number

When you submit your DHS TRIP Traveler Inquiry Form, the DHS TRIP system automatically assigns you a Redress Control Number. You will be able to use this number to track the status of your inquiry. After your inquiry is completed, you will also be able to use the number when you make an airline reservation.
When you make an airline reservation, provide your redress number when requested by your travel arranger or airline representative, or when prompted by an interactive reservation system. This will enable your airline to determine quickly your identity and reduce the likelihood of mistaken identity during future trips.

After the Issue is Resolved

DHS TRIP is designed specifically to help travelers improve their travel experience and correct inaccuracies in government records that may contribute to difficulties when traveling. Security procedures and legal concerns mandate that we can neither confirm nor deny any information about you that may be within federal watch lists; we also cannot reveal any law enforcement-sensitive information. (Emphasis added)
You Disagree with the Resolution

If you feel that your request for redress was resolved incorrectly, please follow the instructions that you received in your resolution letter.

FBI - Filing a Redress Inquiry
The TSC does not accept redress inquiries directly from the public (emphasis added). Instead, members of the public should contact the relevant screening agency with their questions or concerns about screening. The screening agency is in the best position to identify and resolve issues related to that agency's screening process.