Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Avon HS Lip Dub

A totally impressive, inspiring, uplifting video by a bunch of HS kids who just rock it!  America Strong!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Justifying what you think

For a moment, you can fall into the trap of interpreting this blog title in a sort of chronological sequence.  First comes the justification - the theory, evidence, reason for thinking a particular way; then comes the thought part.  Who would be so foolish to start with the thought and end up with the justification.  But I think that is exactly what people do.

I've caught myself.  An idea pops into my head.  Usually uninvited, unanticipated and without warning.  I believe that is the clearest evidence of my adult ADHD.  I can't stop them.

But later, as I mull over the idea, I seem to find all kinds of exciting, self-affirming, confidence inspiring justifications for it.  Recently, it finally dawned on my just how backward that is.

Rationally, we should all have ideas that are based in truth, or at least facts.  But it seems to me that more often than not we have an idea pop into our head and we try as hard as we can to justify it.  Exactly backwards, but I think that protects our self image somehow.  How smart could I claim to be if bad ideas popped into my head.  I'm brilliant!  I must have only good ideas!

Of course, that's stupid.  Random ideas are probably randomly good and bad.  So I need to recognize that abandoning many of them is necessary if I'm not going to waste my time attempting to resuscitate ideas that should have been dead on arrival.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

STEM: Necessary but insufficient

I love Sir Ken Robinson's approach to education.  In this talk titled: How To Change Education from the Ground Up he indicates that STEM is a necessary but insufficient component in the bundle of knowledge we desire to pass along to our children.

His epic TED Talk: How Schools Kill Creativity has been viewed over 25M times!  Right up there with Lady Gaga!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

L. S. Starrett - Mechanical Entrepreneur

I fancy myself a Mechanical Engineer + Entrepreneur.  This country has been blessed with many MEEs since our founding.  Any list would leave many out.  But just so you know the type of person I'm talking about here are a few: Deere, Whitney, McCormick, Singer, Otis, and so many more.  Their names have become household words and labels for the machines they invented that changed the world.

Yesterday I acquainted myself with another MEE: Laroy Starrett - inventor of measuring devices, without which, the manufacture and quality control of nearly any industrial product would not be possible.

The Starrett website is a treasure trove of information about precision measuring and offers many free resources...several of which (like the Metric and Decimal Equivalent Cards and Tools and Rules Booklets) I hope to employ at our upcoming MechanicsCamp hosted on March 1, 2014 at ConnerPrairie Interactive History Park.

My wife is amazed that I could be so fascinated with rulers and conversion charts and calipers and micrometers.  I guess it comes down to my desire to know things - and measuring things is just a part of that.  With today's measuring tools you can (and some people to) make a career out of it.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of Laroy Starrett's story is how he had to overcome so many struggles to establish his tools and his company as the leading innovator in that space.  Doubt, disloyalty, financial trouble and hard times were just as much a part of his story and his accomplishments.

Two items from Bulletin 1216: The Starrett Story are most notable.  The first is a quote attributed to: Thomas Caryle (1795-1881)

“Man is a tool-using animal. Weak in
himself and of small stature, he stands
on a basis of some half square foot,
has to straddleout his legs lest the
very winds supplant him. Neverless,
he can use tools, devise tools; with
these the granite mountain melts into
light dust before him; seas are his
smooth highway, wind and fire his
unwearying steeds. Nowhere do you
find him without tools. Without tools he
is nothing, with tools he is all.”

The second is a quote from Starrett himself that defines his purpose as an entrepreneur:

“I have believed that I could do no greater good than help create a
business that would give people employment 
and a chance to earn an honest living.”

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Life and Donuts

This is worth top-posting. Other good stuff is a page or two down.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Envy and Fear are the two deadliest sins

The President speaks all the time.  I watch little TV and listen to random bits of radio.  I'm afraid to say my consumption of real news is no better than vegetables.

But I do read Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winning economist and solid thinker.  So when he recommended that a recent speech by the President on income inequality was note worthy I looked for it.  It turned out to be very good.

I am worried about income inequality.  I believe the chasm of hope it creates between two peoples who occupy the same country is dangerous.  This speech lays out where we are and a little about what we need to do.  Nothing will change until a major event requires power to shift.  And I'm afraid that will be near revolution in its impact and destruction.  The combination of Fear (that a family's children won't succeed) and Envy (that other children's prosperity will be unfairly earned,) is a powerful force for upheaval in a society.  

I'm sure others have studied this trajectory and know a lot more than me about the outcomes and risk.  I'm just an observer.  But I don't like what I see and it makes me afraid.