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  • Investment Options Are Much Less Comforting Than Normal These Days

    I really don’t know of a time more disconcerting than the last 5 years (other than during the great depression, World War II and right after World War II). Looking back it is easy to take the long term view and say post World War II was a great time for long term investors.

  • Police State

    The USA (and maybe other countries) seem to think that police states are only police states if the police are consciously, actively, only interested in evil. Most of those creating and maintaining police states are not evil. They are just doing what they can within the system. The individual actions make sense to someone trying to do good. They just neglect liberty a bit in order to get things done and then a bit more and then a bit more but don't see themselves as creating a new police state.

    The USA constitution has fairly good protections in place. McCarthyism gives a extremely clear example of the dangers when those with power allow a few to abuse the system. And we have many more than a few abusing the system now.

  • Providing background material in advance of discussions

    I see a systemic failure to provide background material in advance of discussions in many organizations.

    In meetings when lots of data is provided on some issue, that normally would be better handled by an email in advance (or could be some reporting system or whatever - but an email to look at urls of certain data...) to let people review the data.

  • Introduction to Fractional Factorial Designed Experiments

    Scientific inquiry is aided by sensible application of statistical tools. I grew up around the best minds in applied statistics. My father was an eminent applied statistican, and George Box (the person in the video) was often around our house (or we were at his)...

  • Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Batu caves is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia. To reach the caves you must climb 272 concrete steps up the limestone formation that make up this site...

  • Security Theatre Thinking is Damaging the USA

    We need our watchman to care about our society. We need them to see themselves as servants of society. We don't need bullies. We need to stop accepting horrible practices from proponents of security theatre and we need to find watchmen in the vein of Sheriff Taylor not those that see SWAT teams as a sensible reaction thousands of times a year.

  • Theory of Knowledge: Can We Trust Our Memories?

    people may well overestimate their ability to predict. They therefore may under-appreciate the problems due to poor prediction. They may also not see that their predictions are not very accurate and therefore should call into question the theories upon which those predictions are based.

    Also this shows the importance of trying to cement the understanding of agreements. Sometimes people will think writing down what was decided in a meeting or in a discussion is not needed because we will remember. But memory is very malleable.

  • Effective Communication is Explicit

    Making communication explicit creates a process that is less likely to result in problems that stem from communication failures...

    Writing on a flip chart what was decided in a meeting along with all the action items (including who is responsible) is another example of a practice to make communication explicit.

  • Examining the Scientific Basis Around Exercise and Diet Claims

    As I have said before, scientific literacy is critical to allow us to make those judgements about what is credible evidence and what are outright lies, foolish claims or highly suspicious claims tainted by conflicts of interest.

  • Distorting the System, Distorting the Data or Improving the System

    In Fourth Generation Management (I highly recommend this book, by the way), Brian Joiner provided an excellent summary of the options to get better “results” (as measured by the data used).

    The options are to:

    • distort the system
    • distort the data
    • improve the system
  • But, That Won't Work Here

    George Box, a good friend (and a close colleague to my father), put the problem of getting new ideas adopted this way (from Management Matters by John Hunter):

    1. It won’t work
    2. It won’t work here
    3. I thought of it first
  • The Wonderful Coconut

    One of the treats of living in a tropical climate is drinking coconut water. I love drinking the water from fresh coconuts. This video provides insight into the many uses of all parts of the coconut tree.

  • 94% Belongs to the System

    I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to the proportions something like this: 94% belongs to the system (responsibility of management), 6% special.

    Page 315 of Out of the Crisis by Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

  • The Art of Discovery with George Box

    Great video of George Box on the process improvement process.

  • Good Journalism Aids Society by Shining the Light on Corruption

    That police departments cover up abuse by their own to the public is pitiful. So many good police officers serve these systems that are failing to stop criminal behavior against the public. It shouldn't fall to journalist to protect the public, but when the police perpetrate such bad practices journalists are a potential protection to the public. If we don't support real journalism we risk great damage to our society.