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  • 3d Printers Can Already Save Consumers Money

    I first wrote about 3d printing at home here, on the Curious Cat Engineering blog, in 2007. Revolutionary technology normally takes quite a while to actually gain mainstream viability. I am impressed how quickly 3d printing has moved and am getting more convinced we are underestimating the impact. The quality of the printing is improving amazingly quickly.

  • Living Through Your Society Becoming a Police State

    I don't like the USA government hiding its actions from the citizens of the USA. I don't believe claims that most of what is hidden is for national security reasons. It is hidden for the simple reason that it is politically unacceptable to admit what they are doing and so they seek to hide what they are doing.

  • Medical Study Findings too Often Fail to Provide Us Useful Knowledge

    A very significant part of the problem is health care research is very hard. There are all sorts of interactions that make conclusive results much more difficult than other areas.

    But failures in our practices also play a big role. Just poor statistical literacy is part of the problem (especially related to things like interactions, variability, correlation that isn’t evidence of causation…). Large incentives that encourage biased research results are a huge problem.

  • Change has to Start from the Top – Presentation by David Langford

    You are the top of your system. Change your thinking, change your process – you change your system. As soon as you start to modify your system you are going to have an effect on the larger system: the way you organize, the way you manage what you do everyday, how you process the work that you are doing [will impact the larger system].

    David Langford

  • Giving and Accepting Advice and Feedback

    If the core issue the person raises with feedback is something you should address, do so. Don't have how your respond determined by how successfully they gave feedback.

  • I Can Spy on You, But You Can't Spy on Me

    My guess is Germany does nothing, other than making a few harmless noises. Pretty much Europe has been limited to voicing a bit of displeasure occasionally but for anything that requires action acting like a vassal state and going along with the USA (which often means big USA campaign contributors). Maybe Germany, or others, will want to step out from the shadow they have been in basically since the end of World War II, but I doubt it.

  • Setting Goals Can Easily Backfire

    I achieved my goal by not my aim. That happens a lot, we honestly translate aims to goals. And then we do stupid things in the name of the goal get it the way of the aim. We forget the aim sometimes and put the goal in its place.

    Mike Tveite

  • Experiment by Cole Porter

    The lyrics were included in the book by George Box, my father and Stu Hunter: Statistics for Experimenters.

    You all have learned reliance on the sacred teachings of science
    So I hope through life you never will decline in spite of philistine defiance
    To do what all good scientists do.
    Make it your motto day and night.
    Experiment and it will lead you to the light.

  • Pine Hill Trail, Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia

    Pine Hill Trail is the longest trail in Fraser’s Hill.  I found it to be a wonderful hike. It is quite a bit of up at down at the beginning.

  • Blog Readers (for Reading RSS Feeds)

    If you read blogs and are not using a RSS feed reader you really should try using a reader. It something I can't imagine doing without.

  • Improving Problem Solving

    suggest reading this excellent paper on Improving Problem Solving by Ian Bradbury and Gipsie Ranney. As they note, problem solving is not a substitute for innovation and improvement as solving a problem solving only returns you to the status quo. The paper also considers the relationship between problem solving and system improvement.

  • The Risks of Too Big to Fail Financial Institutions Have Only Gotten Worse

    I think the risks are real and potential damage is serious. Where to hide from the storm is a much tricker question to answer. When in that situation diversification is often wise. So diversification with a focus on investments that can survive very bad economic times for years is what I believe is wise.

  • Apply Management Improvement Principles to Your Situation

    take principles first (and then tools) that are helpful and apply them to your situation/system. The business type will affect decisions (likely software businesses or hospitals will be more similar to those in their industry than others due to some features of that that of business) as will your specific organization.

    If you design a system to have much more cross training of people then it will allow you to take advantage of that compared to another organization that instead focused more on specialization.

  • Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why Placebos Are Getting More Effective

    Medical research presents significant difficulties. The funding of the health care system also distorts behavior and pushes companies to focus on being able to justify selling drugs instead of focusing on finding effective solutions. Even without incentives distorting behavior, the challenges are difficult enough. Adding the distortions just makes it worse.

    It is wonderful we have so many scientists accepting these challenges and spending their careers fighting the odds to help find us wonderful health breakthroughs.

  • Give People Enough Rope (and the Right Rope) to Succeed

    You want systems that let people take on challenges without too many restrictions but with enough support and training that you don't leave them hanging.