Nov 30, 2011


In a culture obsessed with measuring talent and ability, we often overlook the important role of inspiration. Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. Inspiration may sometimes be overlooked because of its elusive nature. Its history of being treated as supernatural or divine hasn't helped the situation. But as recent research shows, inspiration can be activated, captured, and manipulated, and it has a major effect on important life outcomes.

Inspiration has three main qualities.  evocation, transcendence, and approach motivation. 

First, inspiration is evoked spontaneously without intention. Inspiration is also transcendent of our more animalistic and self-serving concerns and limitations. Such transcendence often involves a moment of clarity and awareness of new possibilities. "The heights of human motivation spring from the beauty and goodness that precede us and awaken us to better possibilities." This moment of clarity is often vivid, and can take the form of a grand vision, or a "seeing" of something one has not seen before (but that was probably always there). Finally, inspiration involves approach motivation, in which the individual strives to transmit, express, or actualize a new idea or vision. 

Inspiration is the springboard for creativity. 

Inspiration facilitates progress toward goals.

How can you create the proper environment?
1. Using strategic vision to motivate and inspire
2. Empowering employees at all levels
3. Accumulating and sharing internal knowledge
4. Gathering and integrating external information
5. Challenging the status quo and enabling creativity

To become personally inspired, the best you can do is set up the optimal circumstances for inspiration. As a society, the best we can do is assist in setting up these important circumstances for everyone. 

Nov 29, 2011

Do Right!

"A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality."

- John F. Kennedy

Nov 28, 2011


"The truth always turns out to be simpler than you thought."

-Richard Feynman

Nov 26, 2011

Blue Beats Brown?

This week's step forward in conforming to the beauty standard at any cost is a laser that can turn brown eyes into blue ones. The treatment, developed by Stroma Medical's Dr. Gregg Homer, takes only 20 seconds to perform, but is irreversible. Aside from giving you the piercing stare of an Arctic wolf, the procedure could also impair your sight, experts warn. Brown eye pigment helps to prevent problems such as glare and double vision. Removing it could leave the eye with no way to control the light getting in.
Homer assures the BBC that the laser only affects pigment on the eye's surface and that the frequencies used are absorbed by the dark pigment on the iris, so there is no danger of eye damage. After testing on cadavers, he has moved his operation to Mexico, where he says there has been no evidence of injury thus far. His seventeen short-sighted patients have been offered lens transplants in return for taking part in the procedure.
You won't be able to have your eyes burnt blue in America for another three years, due to a longer wait time for regulatory approval. A survey by Stroma Medical suggests that 17 percent of Americans would want the treatment, if they knew it was completely safe. For now, though, we recommend contacts.
A reason to ensure we do not cut back on our regulations, this does not seem like it can end well.  If it sounds to good to be true...

Nov 25, 2011

Perfectionist Feedback

Giving feedback to perfectionists is tricky business. Here are some ways to approach it:

Be clear about your goals and expectations for their work. When left to their own devices, perfectionists may fall into the trap of setting unrealistic expectations for themselves.

Encourage a perfectionist to share a work-in-progress with you. Perfectionists are notorious for wanting to show only end products, fearing that a work-in-progress might be seen as the best they can do.

Perfectionists can be obsessed with not wanting to make mistakes. An unhealthy perfectionist can lose sight of the difference between a minor mistake (finding every spelling error in a 20-page, in house report) versus a major error (misspelling the name of a client in a one page marketing ad). As a manager, underscoring the value of focusing on weaknesses as an opportunity to improve performance can be critical in keeping them on track. Also, help to soften or deflect a perfectionist's excessive self-criticism by highlighting what you like about the work he or she is sharing with you and engage in some brainstorming about ways to address what is still missing.

Sometimes perfectionists get stuck because they use the same strategies over and over again, even when they stop working or aren't working in a particular context. In this case, acknowledge the individual's effort (i.e., how hard he or she is working), but encourage a shift in strategy. More is not always better. If more isn't paying off, it is time to try something different.

Nov 23, 2011

Deep Fry Turkey, Oh My!

Oil and water don't mix: it's an old saying, but it's never more true than when you're talking about a pot of hot cooking oil and the moisture condensed on the surface of a frozen turkey. it's pretty incredible the amount of fire that simple combination can create.

Cooking oil is flammable, but it doesn't catch fire in a deep fryer because it never approaches the approximately 800°F required. Even if you drop a match in the fryer, the heat is conducted away from the flame and dissipates into the oil, and the fire goes out.

But oil dispersed into fine droplets is another beast entirely. individual droplets heat up very quickly, and the burning of one drop creates enough heat to ignite the one next to it, and so on, making a cloud of oil droplets extremely flammable. Where might a cloud of oil droplets come from? From that big, frozen bird.

The recommended oil temperature for a deep fryer is 350°, well above the boiling point of water. When you drop food in, you immediately see bubbles; that is the water in the food boiling off. Put too much moisture in by lowering in a frozen turkey, and the vaporization of the water throws oil droplets into the air. a few of the droplets hit the burner under the pot and catch on fire, beginning a chain reaction that ignites a large cloud of droplets. The result is the smell of a county fair-and a towering inferno that can ignite everything around it.


"Put a grain of boldness into everything you do."

-Baltasar Gracian

Nov 22, 2011

Persistent Optimism

Pervasive, persistent optimism is one of those uniquely human traits/flaws - we tend to believe things are better than they really are, or that negative consequences won't befall us, even if they befall others. It stands to reason that people would adjust their expectations when confronted with harsh reality, yet they don't.

Nov 21, 2011


"A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life."
-Muhammad Ali

Nov 19, 2011


The Navy’s ultimate stealth fighter drone has achieved a new milestone — it flew in cruise configuration for the first time, stowing its landing gear for a streamlined flight.
The jet-powered, autonomous X-47B is designed for aerodynamic flight — it doesn’t even have a tail — partly to improve its stealth capabilities. But until now, its flight tests hadn’t retracted the landing gear, making it difficult to test its aerodynamic attributes. Further tests will help engineers prove the aircraft’s performance under a wide range of altitude, speed and fuel conditions.
Northrop Grumman is developing the X-4B on behalf of the U.S. Navy, which plans to use them on aircraft carriers. The drone is designed as a robotic strike aircraft, capable of taking on a multitude of missions at much higher speeds than its prop-powered kin, the Predator and Reaper.
It will be the first unmanned aircraft to take off and land on an aircraft carrier deck. As such, the Navy is also studying drone intelligence, so each X-47B will not need to pester the tower when the pattern is full.
Look, No Wheels:  Northrop Grumman

Nov 18, 2011

Apology Accepted

Apologizing does not always mean you're wrong, and they're right. It means you value your relationship more than your ego. 

Don't you wish there was more of this?

Nov 16, 2011

Electric Plane


Pipistrel's Taurus G4 NASA HQ Photo
NASA has awarded the single largest prize handed down in aviation history to Team for designing and demonstrating its Taurus G4 electric aircraft. Per the rules of the NASA- and Google-sponsored CAFE Green Flight Challenge, Pipistrel’s Taurus G4 covered 200 miles in less than 2 hours and did so on the electricity equivalent of less than one gallon of fuel per passenger, scoring $1.35 million for the effort.
But the cash, substantial though it may be, is only part of the story here. The CAFE (that’s Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency) Challenge was created to push aircraft engineers toward new, more efficient airplane designs that would perhaps usher in a new era of ultra-efficient flight, based on either electric engines or extremely efficient fuel-burning engines.
So while you can argue the day belongs to Pipistrel--and we certainly don’t mean to diminish that achievement--the CAFE Foundation and NASA are the real winners here. Consider: The challenge asked teams to average 100 miles per hour over two hours, and to do so on the equivalent of one gallon of gas. Not only did Pipistrel manage this, but so did California-based e-Genius with its electric-powered plane (for which it netted a second place prize of $120,000).
The kicker: both teams did so on just a little more than a half-gallon of fuel equivalent. That means both Pipistrel and e-Genius did twice as well as NASA and CAFE asked them to do (and Pipistrel slightly better than e-Genius, hence the distribution of prizes).
That’s pretty amazing, considering that just a few years ago engineers were still trying to figure out how to get an all-electric powered plane into the air for any considerable length of time, much less at sustained triple-digit speeds and while using very little energy.

Nov 15, 2011

Big Mark from Omaha

It was so great to hook up again with my friend Mark, originally from Detroit, but now a resident of Omaha.  We talked and got caught up on Saturday night while watching the Fighting Irish kick some butt, had a great workout on Sunday, and watched the first half of Da Bears on Sunday.   I am glad we left at halftime, because he may have put a hurt on me during the second half :o)  Just a couple of small guys having a big time.  Love and Rockets!

Nov 9, 2011

Omaha Bound

Off to Omaha for a Project Management regional meeting, and to visit Big Mark.

Be back on Tuesday.

Nov 8, 2011

Emergency Alert System Test on Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, November 9 at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern) and may last up to three and a half minutes. On November 9, the public will hear a message indicating that "This is a test." The audio message will be the same for both radio and television. A Nationwide EAS Test will help the federal agencies and EAS participants determine the reliability of the system and its effectiveness in notifying the public of emergencies and potential dangers nationally and regionally.
The public is used to hearing these tests on radio and television, but not for the expected three and a half minutes. This message is to be broadcast additionally on cable and satellite television as well as satellite radio, which in the past, have not fully participated. This message will be on every channel and every station that some one could be expected to be listening to. The EAS participants will then report back to FEMA on the outcome of forwarding this message through their respective systems.
This notice is being sent, as will other public service announcements to come from the Federal government, to inform you of this test and to pass this information on to your employees and/or citizens where possible. Our main concern is people not being aware of this test and flooding 911 centers with questions about a national emergency. This test could be postponed if conditions warrant, such as a real emergency or severe weather conditions so as not to confuse the public. 

Nov 1, 2011

Last Travel Vacation This Year.

We are off for out last travel vacation
this year.  First off is to head to Philadelphia, meet a long time online friend, then to visit Eastern State Penitentiary.

After our Philly visit, it is off to Manhattan and the Big Apple where we will be visiting another long time friend and visiting Ground Zero.