Feb 29, 2012

Untroubled Spirit.

" The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are. "

- Marcus Aurelius

Feb 28, 2012

Fort Oswego/Ontario and other things Oswego NY

 While I was in upstate New York last week, I had an afternoon to do some site seeing.

First up, Fort Oswego:  In August 1756, French forces defeated the British in the Battle of Fort Oswego, capturing the fort during the French and Indian War. Fort Ontario was rebuilt, but Fort Oswego was only used as a cannon emplacement. During the American Revolution, American forces captured Fort Monroe, but it was retaken by the British and remained in their hands until well after the war was over. During the War of 1812, a weaker American garrison at Fort Oswego was overwhelmed by superior British forces, in order to stem the flow of supplies from the interior of New York state. Throughout the 19th Century, the U.S. military maintained a presence at Fort Ontario.

Some views of the harbor and lake: Oswego is home to the port of Oswego and once was a major railroad hub for the New York CentralLackawanna/Erie Lackawanna, and NY Ontario and Western railways. Three stations remain: two passenger (D&LW and NYC) and one freight (NYC) as does a rather large trestle over the Oswego River. The tunnel on a local hiking trail in the city was the north end of the NYO&W.

Not pictured, but part of Fort Ontario was the Safe Haven Museum which I toured.  I think this was the most informative part of the day:  Oswego was home to almost 1,000 Jewish refugees during World War IIFort Ontario was the only attempt by the United States to shelter Jewish refugees during the war. 

Last stop of the day was:  The H. Lee White Marine Museum is located in Oswego, New York. It was founded in 1982 by Rosemary Sinnett Nesbitt (1924-2009), a local professor and the City of Oswego Historian.[1] Nesbitt retired from directorship of the museum in 2008 after completing 25 years of service.[2]
It is the current home of the tugboat Nash, a National Historic Landmark, one of the only remaining US Army vessels from the Normandy Landings.

This was a monument at Fort Ontario, and I loved the chiseled inscription: "FROM THE HEARTH OF AMERICA COMES THE HEART OF AMERICA".

Feb 27, 2012

Free Climb In NY

While we were doing our Outage Readiness Assessment last week in Oswego NY, three of us decided to head out Thursday night and try free form rock climbing.  Two of us had climbed once before, using harnesses, but none of us had tried free form (they have lots of padding on the floor).

One of the keys to being able to climb like this is the ability to do pull-ups.  Another thing is to use your feet and legs and try not to exhaust your upper body muscles.  I was good on the second one.  However, even with the weights that I have been lifting over the past several years, I have only within the last few months started working on pull-ups, a completely different muscle set from the standard gym workouts.  This rock climbing showed me how much work I have left to do.

We had fun, and I will definitely try this again after I develop better muscles for pull-ups.  Then, the next step is finger-tip only pull-ups, even harder.

Here is a picture of each of the three of us (Bill, Jim, and Ken).

Feb 25, 2012

Protect NOLA

More than six years after Hurricane Katrina plowed into New Orleans and the Mississippi River delta, a plan has finally emerged to protect the area from future storms. It relies heavily on the restoration of wetlands to cut down high surges of ocean water like those that flooded the city in 2005.   If all its provisions are carried out, the work would require $50 billion over 50 years.  

Below are the type of before and after improvements that can help restore what used to be a natural barrier.  I love NOLA, and I hope they can continue to make improvements to the protection of this great city.


Feb 24, 2012


Students creating the words Ugly, Hateful, Stupid and Knucklehead.
Working with someone you hate can be distracting and draining. Pompous jerk, annoying nudge, or incessant complainer, an insufferable colleague can negatively affect your attitude and performance. Instead of focusing on the work you have to do together, you may end up wasting time and energy trying to keep your emotions in check and attempting to manage the person's behavior. Fortunately, with the right tactics, you can still have a productive working relationship with someone you can't stand.

Avoiding people you don't like is generally a successful tactic but it's not always possible in a workplace. Consider the following advice.

· Manage your own reaction to the behavior first
· Practice emotional detachment so the person's behaviors don't bother you
· Spend time trying to get to know the person and better understand what motivates him

· Assume that it is all about the other person — you likely play some part
· Commiserate with others who could be unfairly influenced by your negativity or may judge you for your complaints
· Give feedback unless you can focus on work issues and can avoid a personal conflict 


Feb 23, 2012

Whole Man!

"Unless he has been part of a cause greater than himself, no man is truly whole."
- Richard M. Nixon

What makes you whole?

Feb 21, 2012

Walk This Way!

I apologize for the Christmas Video, but it is the best representation of this technology I could find.  Watch the video then see below.

PaveGen makes slabs of recycled rubber which use the kinetic energy from people’s footsteps to create electricity for nearby appliances. The slabs will see their first commercial use on a pathway between the Westfield Stratford City mall and the London Olympic stadium. Though only 20 tiles will be used, an expected 30 million people will use that path in its first year – overall they will provide enough power for half of the mall’s outdoor lighting. That’s a lot, considering its coming from something as incidental as a front door or a lamppost.

While each panel provides very little energy on its own, a large amount of the tiles can produce quite a bit of energy, and since they take so little effort – no more effort than we’re already making, in fact – they can be a nice backdrop for sustainability.

As with most new technology, it’s unclear if the use of these green sidewalks will ever be quite that prominent. Largely, it depends on how much they cost to produce – if they’re too expensive, they’ll probably never become widespread. It’s the struggle of most environmentally friendly technology: it has to be not only innovative and energy efficient but cheap, too. Like the mechanism that makes them work, the price of the slabs is currently unknown – but the creator insists that their current price is much higher than what it will be in the future.

The pavement slabs are engaging because they let anyone get involved in sustainability just by taking a few steps, and they are easy to install virtually anywhere: they can be made the same size as existing concrete slabs, so they can replace outdated sidewalks. Overall they’re a really creative way to look at energy and electricity, and hopefully they’ll inspire more innovative designs.

Feb 20, 2012


Will you achieve your goals for this year?  We are almost two months into the year.  If you had not made progress on your goals or resolutions, do not despair.  Recommit to your resolutions!
  1. Write down your top goal or goals for the year (or quarter). Choose no more than three, and be very clear if there is one you are most committed to achieving. 
  2. Dump all your current and upcoming tasks or projects into the spreadsheet. Put everything in one column, with one task or project per row. The goal is to get everything that you're working on, or even considering working on, written down in one place. 
  3. Freak out. This is a very important part of the process. Seriously. Look at the list of everything you've been trying to work on concurrently, or meaning to work on, and see how infeasible that list really is. Then look at the one or two or three things you really really really want to accomplish, and let yourself soak in the truth: you are not going to get your most valued goals accomplished when you are trying to do this many things.
  4. Review your list of tasks, and categorize their importance and urgency.  
  5. Cull your tasks.
  6. Review your committed tasks and cull again. You should now have a smaller list of tasks and projects that you plan to execute on: the items that are goal-aligned, the items that are urgent and can't be delegated, and the items that are in some way regenerative for you.
Now that you've got a feasible game plan that will allow you to work towards your key goal(s) for this year, your resolutions should feel like a firm commitment rather than a vague aspiration.

Feb 11, 2012

Syracuse, Here I come!

Headed off to Oswego NY (Nine Mile Point Nuclear Plant) for a Peer Assist Visit (PAV).  I will be helping assess project planning and execution associated with refueling outages.   We gain by bringing back a few tid-bits that we can use to improve our processes.  It is a Win-Win.  

I hope the weather cooperates!

Feb 10, 2012

Live all you can...

"Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven't had that, what have you had?"

- Henry James

Feb 9, 2012

Are You Having Fun?

"Whether you are talking about education, career, or service, you are talking about life. And life must really have joy. It's supposed to be fun."

- Barbara Bush

Feb 8, 2012

Leadership Lessons from MLK


  1. Great leaders do not sugar-coat reality.
  2. Great leaders engage the heart. While logic may compel the mind, stories and metaphors move the heart. 
  3. Great leaders refuse to accept the status quo. They are not passive; they are active. They are unwilling to acquiesce to their circumstances. 
  4. Great leaders create a sense of urgency. They are impatient—in a good way. They refuse to just sit by and let things take their natural course. 
  5. Great leaders call people to act in accord with their highest values. Call people to a higher standard.
  6. Great leaders refuse to settle. Persistence and Perseverance.
  7. Great leaders acknowledge the sacrifice of their followers. They notice the effort their people have expended. 
  8. Great leaders paint a vivid picture of a better tomorrow. Leaders can never, never, never grow weary of articulating their vision. They must be clear and concrete.

Feb 7, 2012

SuperBowl Ads, The Real Story

This was my favorite, just for the record.

A 30-second ad spot in this year's Super Bowl cost an average of $3.5 million. That's an 84% increase from 10 years ago and the highest amount advertisers have ever had to pay. While that is quite the price hike, it is in line with the growth in TV audience, which has just about doubled over the past decade. But despite spending so much to reach such a massive audience at once, the results are rarely impressive.
Between 2002 and 2011, companies spent $2.5 billion on Super Bowl advertising, based on 24/7 Wall St.'s estimate. The top 10 spenders were responsible for more than one-third of that. And one company, Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch, spent almost $250 million over the past 10 years on Super Bowl ads, a whopping one-tenth of the total.

24/7 Wall St. ranked total spending for all of the companies that advertised during the Super Bowl in the past decade. An analysis of the top spenders reflects how bad this investment can be. While some, such as Hyundai and Toyota have improved market share over that time, most have not.

These are the eight brands that wasted the most on the Super Bowl.

8. E*Trade

Total ad spending (2002-2011): $35.9 million
Super Bowls advertised in over past 10 years: 6
Average ads per Super Bowl: 2.5
Change in share price (2002-current): -91.1%
Change in market share: n/a

7. Ford
Total ad spending (2002-2011): $36.3 million
Super Bowls advertised in over past 10 years: 5
Average ads per Super Bowl: 2.2
Change in share price (2002-current): -17.1%
Change in market share: 20.2% (2002), 16.8% (2011)

6. Warner Bros.
Total ad spending (2002-2011): $48.6 million
Super Bowls advertised in over past 10 years: 4
Average ads per Super Bowl: 4.75
Change in share price (2002-current): -51.6%
Change in market share: 11.7% (2002), 17.9% (2011)

5. Coca-Cola
Total ad spending (2002-2011): $61.0 million
Super Bowls advertised in over past 10 years: 5
Average ads per Super Bowl: 2.8
Change in share price (2002-current): +51.8%
Change in market share: 44.3% (2002), 42.0% (2010)

4. Yum! Brands
Total ad spending (2002-2011): $67.8 million
Super Bowls advertised in over past 10 years: 9
Average ads per Super Bowl: 3
Change in share price (2002-current): +366%
Change in market share: 37% (2000), 28% (2011)

3. General Motors
Total ad spending (2002-2011): $135.2 million
Super Bowls advertised in over last ten years: 8
Average ads per Super Bowl: 5.5
Change in share price (2002-current): filed chapter 11 in 2009
Change in market share: ~29% (2002), 19.6% (2011)

2. PepsiCo
Total ad spending (2002-2011): $209.7 million
Super Bowls advertised in over past 10 years: 10
Average ads per Super Bowl: 7.2
Change in share price (2002-current): +32.4%
Change in market share: 31.4% (2002) - 29.3% (2010)

1. Anheuser-Busch
Total ad spending (2002-2011): $246.2 million
Super Bowls advertised in over last ten years: 10
Average ads per Super Bowl: 8.7
Change in share price (2002-current): N/A (was purchased by InBev in 2008)
Change in market share: 52% (2002), 48.3% (2011)

Feb 6, 2012

Ban the Book!

While we still have a ways to go before the white pages phone book can truly Rest in Peace, as you will see from the following infographic, 2011 helped to put a few more nails in the coffin. For example, 18 states across the US are now (in at least some parts) only delivering white pages phone books to those who ask for them. San Francisco has even enacted “opt-in” legislation for the delivery of the yellow pages. While this is still less than 30% of the country, it is surely a step in the right direction.
If the past year proved anything, it was that people don’t use or want the printed white pages, making the case for opt-in legislation even stronger. How’s this for a new year’s resolution: Show how your support in 2012 by joining our army of 100,000 people strong in the quest to Ban the Phonebook once and for all!

Feb 5, 2012

Super Bowl 2012 - Game Time

For the last two years, below are food statistics for the big game.  We are getting ready to make our 2012 contribution :o)

26 million avocados – 13.2 million pounds – were consumed in 2011. That's enough to cover the field at the Louisiana Superdome to a height of 40 inches.
8 million pounds of popcorn were popped in 2011.
28 million pounds of potato chips were mindlessly munched on in 2011.
In 2010, 225 million chickens made the ultimate sacrifice, involuntarily donating 450 million chicken wings (about 90 million pounds) to the Super Bowl food cause.
To wash everything down, Americans guzzled 49.2 million cases of beer during last year's game.
No statistics were available for antacid sales.

Sunday Silliness - Idiocy

Idiocy Demotivator

Feb 3, 2012


"I take it that what all men are really after is some form of, perhaps only some formula of, peace."
- James Conrad

Click the picture to go to Nagasaki Peace Park info

Feb 2, 2012

Wear Red Tomorrow

This Friday, February 3 is National Wear Red Day - Heart disease is still the number one killer of women, taking the life of one in three women each year. Wear red this Friday to promote awareness around our site and around the community. Make others aware of heart disease, its impact on women and how to fight back. Take care of your heart by being physically active, eating a heart-healthy diet and being educated about heart disease and its risk factor. Make it a mission to save lives by raising awareness. Together we can make a difference.

Feb 1, 2012


Figure 3. Fabrication of more complex shrilk materials. a) Micropatterned surface topography of the fibroin covering layer of shrilk containing tightly packed rectangular lacunae created using a micromolding method (scale bar, 50 ìm). b) Higher magnification view of (a). Horizontal bands on the walls correspond to marks on the original mold used for imprinting that resulted from deep reactive-ion etching (scale bar, 5 ìm). c) Shrilk formed into a cylindrical shape that contains a structured region containing the micromolded topography shown in a and a smooth unstructured region. The white arrow indicates a defect in the fibroin protein film that reveals the underlying chitosan layer. (scale bar, 1 mm). d) Schematic of a multi-laminate design composed of three tightly bonded shrilk bilayers. e) A scanning electron microscopy image of a cross section of a microfabricated multi-laminate material with the design shown in (d) (F, fibroin layer; C, chitosan layer; scale bar, 50 ìm). 

Taking design cues from insects and shrimp, materials scientists at Harvard have created a material that’s as strong as aluminum alloy but only half the weight. The substance, dubbed “Shrilk” by its creators, is a material analog for insect cuticle--the material found in the exoskeletons of insects--and is the synthetic equivalent to one of nature’s strongest, lightest, and most interesting materials.

Insect cuticle is nature’s way of providing serious strength and protection without adding weight that would inhibit movement or flight. Moreover, it exhibits a variety of properties, often being rigid through the bulk of the insects body but flexible in the appendages and wings and elastic through joints. It is composed of specific proteins and layers of chitin, a polysaccharide polymer found in biological materials like shrimp shells.
That’s exactly where the researchers started. Using chitin derived from discarded shrimp shells, the team was able to mimic the mechanical and chemical interactions that make insect cuticle so remarkable between their chitin and a fibroin protein from silk, which they organized in laminar structure. The result is a thin, clear film that exhibits the same properties as real, natural insect cuticle. It’s cheap, biodegradable, and offers the strength and toughness of a metal alloy at roughly half the weight.

Potential applications include a biodegradable replacement for many plastics, making everything from trash bags to diapers to packaging more eco-friendly without sacrificing strength or integrity. The researchers from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering also envision Shrilk becoming a strong biocompatible material used in medical practice for everything from load bearing wound sutures to scaffolds for regenerative tissue therapies. Meaning that someday soon, human beings may repair their bodies with the stuff of insect exoskeletons.

Source 1                             Source 2