March 5, 2014
Unless you are new to my postings, you know that I rarely (very rarely) do politics. I think politicians are fascinating only because I think all people are fascinating. Culture, background, ethnicity, language, etc. all intertwine to produce a mosaic that essentially defines who we are individual. We are one of a kind. There is no one like us. I also think the act of being political is a huge impediment to progress. One example, Congress. In my lifetime, I can never remember such a contentious and mean-spirited group of losers. The “us versus them” mentality is alive and well. If I hear the word “brand” one more time or the phrase “appealing to my base”, I think I just might scream. Adding to my disgust was the following cartoon in this Sunday’s paper. It really hit a sour note; a very sour note indeed.
The sargent on the left is the emodiment of the entitlement mentality. The little guy on the right is the United States military. The entire article addresses cuts in spending for the DOD, specifically the reduction in benefits to men and women who serve in uniform.
Merriam-Webster defines entitlements as follows:
- Noun—“The condition of having a right to have, do, or get something”
- “The feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something, such as a special favor”.
- “A type of financial help provided by the government for members of a particular group.”
The Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776, addresses our unalienable rights and states these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This marvelous document in no way indicates we are entitled to anything over and above these three rights. In looking at the first ten (10) admentments to the Constitution, we are guaranteed the following: 1.) Freedom of Religion, 2.) Freedom of Speech, 3.) A Free Press, 4.) Freedom to Assemble, 5.) The Right to Keep and Bear Arms, 6.) Freedom for Unreasonable Search and Seizure, 7.) Security in Personal Effects, 8.) Freedom from Warrants Issued Without Probable Cause, 9.) Indictment by a Grand Jury for any Capital or “Infamous Crime” and 10.) Guarantee of a Speedy, Public Trial with an Impartial Jury; and Prohibition of Double Jeopardy. These first ten admentments are called the Bill of Rights. Please note: nowhere in the Bill of Rights are we guarenteed “free stuff”. It was assumed by the creators of the document that the average individual would accomplish in accordance with his or her abilities and would strive for personal improvement in the process. Allowances such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, in my opinion, do not fall under the term entitlements. These services have not been free. They are paid for by withholding from income. This is how we pay for these benefits. Free mobile phones, food stamps, subsidized housing and many others were not comtenplated by our founding fathers. I feel certain they would be rolling over in their graves if they had an inkling as to where we are in this country. Please don’t get me wrong, there are those individuals who need help from their federal government from time to time BUT cutting benefits for our military is JUST WRONG when these cuts are done to provide additional entitlements. OK, reduce “head count”. Shrink the force. Cancell or mothball weapon systems but don’t alter benefits. Don’t freeze pay grades. Don’t cut commisary access. Don’t reduce insurance. Don’t raise the grocery bill for the uniformed military. Don’t alter training due to cutbacks in spending. Having been in the Air Force for four years, I can tell you it is not always a picnic. The monthly income is not why we serve. This can be borne out by the fact that a great many uniformed personnel are using food stamps. I worked on ICBMs carrying nuclear pay loads. No one at me and times were still tough due to very low comparable wages and long hours. In my opinion, the uniformed military deserves decent pay for services rendered and some assurance benefits will be available at retirement. The world remains a very dangerous place. The United States will continue to engage, and that takes a strong, well-trained, optomistic uniformed military.
March 1, 2014
Over the past three or four weeks we have been advised of several tragedies resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning. Due to the ridiculously cold winter we have experienced this year heating systems have been running just about non-stop. I have several friends in the northern part of our country that have heating bills topping the $700 per month level. Gas-fired heating systems MUST operate properly or death can occur as a result of an over-abundance of carbon monoxide in the products of combustion. This, unfortunately, has happened all too frequently this winter. Let’s take a very quick look at how this can occur, and why proper maintenance of heating systems is absolutely critical.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas that is decidedly poisonous. CO is NOT found in natural gas but is generally the product of incomplete combustion. The presence of carbon monoxide in the products of combustion has an important relationship to combustion efficiency. CO (2) is a measure of complete combustion whereas CO is a measure of incomplete combustion. The American Gas Association (now the Canadian Gas Association) says a maximum of 800 parts per million (PPM) for CO (carbon monoxide) must not be exceeded for safe operation. In the United States, the two most-used gases are natural (primarily methane) and liquefied petroleum (LP). Every gas-fired burner must exhibit CO levels below 800 PPM for acceptability. The effects of carbon monoxide may be seen from the following chart:
You can now see why the 800 PPM is considered to be the very maximum level of CO in products of combustion. CO can be a very DEADLY constituent resulting from incomplete combustion.
In looking at atmospheric gas burners, we note that two (2) sources of air are available; i.e. 1.) Primary and 2.) Secondary.
Air which is mixed with gas before that gas/air mixture is ejected and ignited at the ports is called primary air. A definite minimum amount of primary air is required for complete combustion no matter what gas type is being used. That minimum percentage of primary will vary depending upon the type of gas, its specific gravity and its heating value.
All other air supplied to the burner is called secondary air. In an ideal case, primary air and secondary air should be 100% of the air needed for complete combustion. All air supplied is called total air.
Ideally, 10 cubic feet of air is needed for 1 cubic foot of natural gas if complete combustion is to be accomplished. Suppose that 15 cubic feet of air is supplied to a burner for each cubic foot of gas. The total air is 150% (15/10 X 100%). Excess air is 50% (150%-100%). Now suppose that 5% of the air supplied from that 15% is primary air. The remaining 10 cubic feet would be secondary air and excess air.
Approximately 20 cubic feet of air is needed for 1 cubic foot of propane and 30 cubic feet of air is needed for butane. Please note that this is a volumetric measurement with the respective flow rates being in FT³/ Hr. It is proper to consider Ft.³/Hr of fuel gas combined with Ft.³/Hr of primary air for complete combustion. This mass flow rate would be the total mass flow rate for the mixture of gas and air entering the mixing tube.
Ideal burner characteristics may be noted as follows:
IDEAL BURNER CHARACTERISTICS:
- Blue flame with possibly some yellow tips when using propane or butane as the fuel. ( NOTE: These burners are firing natural gas with a heating value of approximately 1075 Btu/Ft³ )
- Distinct individual flame pattern. You can count the number of ports by counting the number of individual flames emanating from those ports.
- No blowing or lifting of flames; i.e., separation of the flame from the burner port.
- No lazy flames. (This is an indication of too little primary or secondary air.)
- No flash-back of burner flames.
- No offensive noise during ignition, operation or extinction.
- No offensive odors emanating from the combustion process.
- Flame heights are uniform around the burner periphery. (NOTE: In looking at the simmer burners below (smaller burners), you will notice that the flame heights are not equal. This is by design and involves the configuration of the burner grates mounted above the burners themselves. )
The burners above show flame patterns producing complete combustion with minimal CO in the products of combustion.
POOR BURNER OPERATION:
Now, I would like to show you a picture of a burner system that is NOT firing properly. Sometimes it is easier to discuss proper operation by looking at a burner behaving badly. This design, shown below, breaks ALLof the rules given above. This is a gas grill basically used for “tail-gate” cooking. The propane tank and grill are integral parts of the trailer. The trailer is attached to the car with a bumper hitch, and then towed to the game behind the vehicle. I was asked to “pass judgment” on the design and indicate to the designer what corrective actions I would recommend. It did take some time.
Here is what we know:
- Yellow flames; an indication of inadequate primary air and incomplete combustion. This condition will produce sooting (or carboning) and will generate an intolerable amount of carbon monoxide. If this product were used in an enclosed space, there would be definite issues with the accumulation of carbon monoxide. We can expect some yellow tipping because the fuel gas is propane. Typically, propane and butane produce yellow burner tips but this is much too much and represents a condition that must be rectified.
- Flame height is very irregular which tells me there are real issues with primary air injection, burner alignment and issues with the burners being level relative to the mounting system. The orifice size metering gas to the burners is very suspect and, as I discovered, much too large relative to the design capability of the burners for propane.
- Very probable that there is an issue with delivery pressure. A “lazy” flame indicates the pressure needs to be checked and corrected if inadequate. A system firing on propane should have 11.00 inches water column (W.C.) downstream of the regulator and available at the burner orifice(s). It is difficult to see from the picture, but the gas delivery system to the orifices was almost serpentine in configuration; tubing everywhere! The tubing was 0.25 inch in diameter with each of the four burners orificed to fire 50,000 Btu/Hr. This was truly a “master blaster” but with a gas delivery system very suspect relative to pressure losses. Please remember—pressure losses in a gas delivery system are the enemy and are to be avoided at all costs.
- In looking at the “superstructure” of the burner system, there is a real issue with misalignment of the burners during movement of the trailer. The burners can become displaced, thereby creating a hazardous condition. This definitely needs to be corrected to provide additional stability of the entire system.
- This last point is somewhat academic, but the designer did not consult any design standard prior to initiating the project. It was all “off-the cuff”. Cut and try. If it works fine, if not fix it. No real attempt at obtaining the ANSI standard for gas-fired grills or gas-fired products and following that standard.
Believe it or not, there were corrections made to the design and much better performance did result. That product is now is in the “field test” phase and will be introduced in late summer—ready for kickoff.
Now let us examine the basic operation of an atmospheric gas burner. We do so by looking at a typical atmospheric the gas burner design shown as follows:.
BASIC BURENR OPERATION:
Gas is supplied to the burner orifice by virtue of pressure from the distribution system or the gas bottle; i.e.; propane or butane. For natural gas, that pressure is generally delivered between 9.00 and 12.00 inches water column. The gas is then regulated to a delivery pressure between 3.5 and 4.00 inches W.C for natural gas. If the gas is propane or butane, the delivery pressure will be between 10.5 and 11.00 inches W.C. A regulator is located on the gas bottle so adjustments may be made to achieve the proper delivery pressure. It is not uncommon to have an additional regulator mounted on the gas-fired device. All regulators have “pressure ports” from which the gas pressure may be measured so if there is any doubt about delivery pressure, please check. A simple “U” tube manometer is completely adequate for this measurement. Simply measure the difference between the heights of the columns. This difference is the pressure relative to atmospheric.
As mentioned earlier, the air for combustion is called primary air and is provided at atmospheric pressures from outside the appliance. Gas is metered by virtue of the burner orifice. Primary air is drawn through the air shutter as the gas is “streamed” from the orifice opening. The injection of the gas creates a negative pressure relative to the ambient pressure so atmospheric air is entrained through the air shutter and the mixing face. The orifice diameter controls the gas flow rate, generally measured in Ft³/ min or Ft³/Hr. The combination of gas and air occurs in the mixing zone or burner tube. It is very important that the internal design and length of the mixing tube allow for proper combination so a homogeneous gas /air mixture can result and be delivered to the burner head prior to ejection through the burner ports. The venture “throat” serves as a converging / diverging nozzle to increase the velocity of the gas/air mixture prior to entering the mixing tube. The mixture is then swept into the burner head and distributed to the individual burner ports for ignition. The ports act as a restriction to flow; thus, port loading has a great effect on primary air injection. (I would again direct your attention to the glossary in the appendix for the definition of port loading.) It is also important to note that internal burner roughness has an effect on the injection of primary air through friction losses. It is definitely possible to increase primary air by enlarging the burner ports, thereby reducing individual port loading. When this occurs, care must be taken to make sure that no flashback results. Flashback occurs when the velocity of the ejected gas/air mixture is less than the velocity of the flame front through the individual ports. When this occurs, burning may actually “flash back” to the burner orifice. This condition is prohibited by ANSI (The American National Standards Institute). Ignition takes place at one port with carryover to the remaining ports. Again, ignition time should be at or less than four (4) seconds to preclude an accumulation of uncombusted gas. This time is also prescribed by ANSI. Continued ignition takes place around or along the burner ports until gas is no longer supplied to the burner. This control is generally accomplished by virtue of a thermostat that senses temperature or closure of a gas valve done manually by the user.
I definitely hope this very short explanation will help AND provide needed information relative to safety that must be considered when operating heating systems.
February 22, 2014
Data used in this post come from the following sources: 1.) Industry Week and the 2.) International Trade Administration.
Unless you have been living in a cave, you know the United States has, for the most part, lost much of its manufacturing base. I personally think this is a travesty, but that’s just me. Think about those items you purchase with some degree of regularity and the “MADE IN _________” tag you find prior to that purchase. Consumer goods such as: electronics, textiles, shoes, clothing, not to mention commercial products such as machine tools, hand tools, medical equipment, etc have gone “overseas”. Made in China is much more common than made in America. If you don’t believe that, take a stroll through Wal-Mart or Toys-R-Us. There is good news relative to individual states exporting to other countries. We are in the process of seeing “re-shoring” or a return to manufactured goods produced in our country also. Industry Week published a fascinating article indicating that in 2013 our country exported $2.3 trillion in goods to other countries. The top twenty-five recipients of those goods are as follows:
If we look at the percentages, we find the top five (5) are:
The top ten (10) states exporting to other countries may be seen by the spreadsheet given as follows:
1.) TEXAS with $279.7 Billion
2.) California with $168.1 Billion
3.) Washington St with $81.9 Billion
4.) Louisiana with $63.1 Billion
5.) Michigan with $58.5 Billion
6.) Ohi0 with $50.5 Billion
7.) Georgia with $37.6 Billion
8.) Tennessee with $32.4 Billion
9.) North Carolina with $29.3 Billion
10.) South Carolina with $26.1 Billion
Let’s take a look at what each state contributes to the total $2.3 trillion dollar figure.
- TEXAS: Texas merchandise exports increased 5.7%, growing from $264.7 billion to $279.7 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: petroleum products; computer and electronic products; chemicals; machinery manufactures; and transportation equipment.
- CALIFORNIA: California merchandise exports increased 3.9%, growing from $161.9 billion to $168.1 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: computer and electronic products; transportation equipment; machinery manufactures; miscellaneous manufactures; and agricultural products.
- WASHINGTON: Washington merchandise exports increased 8.4%, growing from $75.6 billion to $81.9 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; agricultural products; petroleum products; computer and electronic products; and food and kindred products.
- LOUISIANA: Louisiana merchandise exports increased 0.3%, growing from $62.9 billion to $63.1 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: petroleum products; agricultural products; chemicals; food and kindred products; and machinery manufactures.
- MICHIGAN: Michigan merchandise exports increased 2.6% growing from $57.0 billion to $58.5 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; machinery manufactures; chemicals; computer and electronic products; and primary metal manufactures.
- OHIO: Ohio merchandise exports increased 3.9%, growing from $48.6 billion to $50.5 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; machinery manufactures; chemicals; computer and electronic products; and fabricated metal products.
- GEORGIA: Georgia merchandise exports increased 4.2%, growing from $36.1 billion to $37.6 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; machinery manufactures; chemicals; paper; and food and kindred products.
- TENNESSEE: Tennessee merchandise exports increased 4%, growing from $31.1 billion to $32.4 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; chemicals; computer and electronic products; miscellaneous manufactures; and machinery manufactures.
- NORTH CAROLINA: North Carolina merchandise exports increased 1.6%, growing from $28.8 billion to $29.3 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: chemicals; machinery manufactures; transportation equipment; computer and electronic products; and textiles.
- SOUTH CAROLINA: South Carolina merchandise exports increased 4%, growing from $25.1 billion to $26.1 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; machinery manufactures; chemicals; plastics; and paper.
Every $1.00 billion creates 5,000 jobs in our country with ninety-five percent (95%) of the potential consumers lying outside our borders. I personally believe the work ethic demonstrated on a daily basis by men and women in our country is the best in the world. It always amazes me that many people never take ALL of the vacation time they have available, consequently losing a considerable number of days that cannot be “rolled over” into the next year. These days are simply lost, which is absolutely unique to our country. Many Western European countries take their “summer sport” and “winter sport” no matter what. I have dealt with companies in Germany, Italy, Austria, Holland and others that literally close down during August of each year. Everyone dealing with them knows that and plans for that certainty.
We could see a huge improvement in unemployment IF just the FED would agree to “buy American”. Can you imagine the boost in employment? It would be astounding and I can tell you from experience, the quality of purchases would improve tremendously.
I would love to get your thoughts on this topic. Please drop me an e-mail and let me know what you think.
February 19, 2014
The following information was taken from an on-line publication called Reporters Without Borders and Industry Week.
Our founding fathers exhibited remarkable vision when structuring the Government of the United States. Three branches; Executive, Legislative and Judicial—separate but equal. Separate is easy because each branch has its own duties and responsibilities as spelled out by the Constitution. The equal is more difficult. Equal depends upon a free-flow of information between each branch, something in fairly short supply these days. For this reason, we depend upon the press. A free press, unobstructed relative to telling the entire story—supposedly the real truth. Admittedly our “free” press is definitely biased. You have media outlets leaning left; i.e. MSNBC, NBC, CNN, NPR. etc., and those leaning right; Fox News, Wall Street Journal, etc. We get to pick and choose and in the end, believe whomever we will. The issue is access to a story. The access provided by the “Fed” is absolutely critical to ensure basic freedoms we now enjoy. This access, by the way, includes stories and notifications involving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects. Can you imagine our Federal government withholding a truly groundbreaking announcement on a drug proven to be life-saving? That would be a definite travesty of justice.
The 2014 World Press Freedom Index that Reporters Without Borders publishes every year measures the level of freedom of information within 180 countries. It reflects the degree of freedom journalists, news organizations and news agencies enjoy in each country of those countries, and the efforts made by authorities to respect and ensure freedom of the press. It is based partly on a questionnaire sent to cooperating partner organizations (18 freedom of expression non-government organizations (NGOs) located on all five continents), to a network of 150 correspondents, and to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. The 180 countries ranked in this year’s index are those for which Reporters Without Borders received completed questionnaires from various sources. Some countries were not included because of a lack of reliable, confirmed data. The rankings are determined as follows:
The questions consider six general criteria. Using a system of weighting for each possible response, countries are given a score of between 0 and 100 for each of the six overall criteria. These scores are then used as indicators in calculating each country’s final score.
o Pluralism–measures the degree of representation of opinions
o Media independence—Measures the degree to which the media are able to function independently of the authorities.
o Environment and self-censorship– Analyses the environment in which journalists work
o Legislative framework–Analyses the quality of the legislative framework and measures its effectiveness
o Transparency–Measures the transparency of the institutions and procedures that affect the production of news and information.
o Infrastructure–Measures the quality of the infrastructure that supports the production of news and information.
Given below is a map showing the various rankings. Please note the color codes in the center.
If you study this map, you will find several very fascinating situations, one being the United States has “a satisfactory situation” relative to freedom of the press but not an outstanding ranking. Several countries in the Middle East and certainly China have very serious problems. The top twenty-five (25) rankings are as follows:
- New Zealand
- Czech Republic
- Costa Rica
- Cape Verde
The “bottom feeders” are as follows:
- North Korea
The United States is forth-sixth (46th) on the list. There are definite reasons for our ranking and the fall in that ranking relative to 2009.
In the United States, 9/11 spawned a major conflict between the imperatives of national security and the principles of the constitution’s First Amendment. This amendment enshrines every person’s right to inform and be informed. But the heritage of the 1776 constitution was shaken to its foundations during George W. Bush’s two terms as president by the way journalists were harassed and even imprisoned for refusing to reveal their sources or surrender their files to federal judicial officials.
There has been little improvement in practice under Barack Obama. Rather than pursuing journalists, the emphasis has been on going after their sources, but often using the journalist to identify them. No fewer than eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president, compared with three during Bush’s two terms. While 2012 was in part the year of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received his fifteen minutes of fame, 2013 will be remembered for the National Security Agency (NSA) computer specialist Edward Snowden, who exposed the mass surveillance methods developed by the US intelligence agencies.
The whistleblower is the enemy. Hence the 35-year jail term imposed on Private Chelsea Bradley Manning for being the WikiLeaks source. This is an extremely long sentence but small in comparison with the 105-year sentence requested for freelance journalist Barrett Brown in a hacking case. Amid an all-out hunt for leaks and sources, 2013 will also be the year of the Associated Press scandal, which came to light when the Department of Justice acknowledged that it had seized the news agency’s phone records.
To calibrate our position, let’s take a look at other countries to see where they stand relative to freedom of the press.
- United Kingdom 33rd
- Japan 59th
- Turkey 154th
- Morocco 136th
- Israel 96th
- Guatemala 125th
- Georgia 84th
- Brazil 111th
- Russia 148th
- China 175th
- India 140th
Please keep in mind that only 180 countries participated in the survey. There is no doubt that governments control their people by controlling the press and yet, it is absolutely mandatory that we have unfettered freedom of the press if we are to continue as a viable republic.
I definitely await your comments on this one.
February 10, 2014
“Of all the virtues we can learn, no trait is more useful, more essential for survival and more likely to improve the quality of life than the ability to transform adversity into an enjoyable challenge”. Those words were spoken by Mihalyi Csikszentmihaly.
Csikszentmihalyi is noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity, but is best known as the architect of the notion of flow and for his years of research and writing on the topic. He is the author of many books and over 120 articles or book chapters. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, described Csikszentmihalyi as the world’s leading researcher on positive psychology. Csikszentmihalyi once said: ”Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason.” His works are influential and are widely cited. Csikszentmihalyi received his B.A. in 1960 and his PhD in 1965, both from the University of Chicago.
In his seminal work, “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience”, Csíkszentmihályi outlines his theory that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.
Personally, I really don’t think this is a theory but an actual fact. Have you ever been so absorbed in a project or endeavor you lost track of time? I think we all have. I can remember one incident where I continued to work long after “the bell rang”. Friday evening, eight o’clock and I was still working. My wife called me to ask “are you coming home tonight”? It was a difficult project needing complete concentration on my part and I simply lost track of time. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi indicates this “zoned-out” feeling is one means to survival and can have a great influence on improving our quality of life. It is one way to “turn lemons into lemonade”. According to psychologists dealing with cognitive issues, there is a wide array of responses to adversity, but the one that can be most debilitating is catastrophizing. People catastrophize when they turn everyday inconveniences into major setbacks and those setbacks into disasters. Catastrophizing often involves destructive rumination over bad events. These ruminations represent the most damaging connections you can make. Catastrophizing is a definite, remarkable barrier to flow. There is no “zone” if you are in a panic or bent double with worry or doubt.
One extraordinary book discussing adversity is “Adversity Quotient” by Dr. Paul G. Stoltz. I can definitely recommend this book to you. It’s a marvelous “read” where questions are asked and results given to determine your AQ. In your brain, Catastrophizing is like any other response to adversity. You are merely following a subconscious neurological groove, a pathway made more efficient and discernible from repeated use. To halt this pattern, you must interrupt or stop it dead in its path. You may create the neurological interrupt by using any of the following eight (8) techniques.
- Slam you palm on a very hard surface, shout “stop”. This sounds a little sophomoric but it has been proven to work. The very act trains your system to interrupt the “gloom and doom” scenario and get back to reality.
- Focus intently on an unrelated object. A bit quieter and less dramatic, thus better in public situations.
- Place a rubber band on your wrist and snap out of it. This is a very physical reaction producing a very slight pain but that just might snap you back into reality.
- Distract yourself with an unrelated activity.
- Alter your state with exercise. Of course, this is somewhat impractical in some (maybe most) situations. You can’t drop and start doing pushups when your mind wonders to the adversity at hand.
Reframers are devices to put the adversity into perspective. Your focus becomes intense and inward.
- Refocus on your purpose. “Why am I doing this?” This reminds you of the reason you were originally involved. It can provide the “big picture” and allows you to focus. Why did you choose this job, this project, this company, this location, etc.
- Get small. Getting small involves consciously putting yourself in a situation where you are dwarfed by what surrounds you.
- Help someone else. Without a doubt, one of the most powerful tools to manage adversity is putting your problems into perspective by helping someone else with bigger problems than your own.
I read a fascinating article in “Psychology Today “regarding personality types that call every negative event a catastrophe. To my great surprise, these are for the most partType “A” personalities. The movers, the shakers, people needing to get on with it. Those of us who make a mountain out of a molehill. I suppose I should have expected this. At any rate, there are methods to lessen the effects regarding the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”
I certainly hope you enjoyed this post. It’s different than what I normally write about but fascinating at any rate.
February 8, 2014
About two (2) years ago I posted a blog relating individual obesity to our national debt. I made the correlation based upon lack of discipline from a personal level relative to lack of discipline relative to the national level. This past week, Congress passed the long-awaited farm bill. I am quoting from the Congressional Record as follows:
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013, on July 11, 2013, by a vote of 216-208.
In looking at HR 2642, you will find it replete with entitlements representing pay-offs for votes given and corporate welfare. It is highly unlikely that taxpayers will reap any so-called “savings” from the almost $1 trillion spending bill. H.R. 2642 marks a 49 percent increase in cost over its 2008 predecessor and is packed with new crop insurance subsidy programs intended to lock in returns on commodities at record-high prices. These alone have the potential to cost taxpayers billions on top of the bill’s baseline. For example, corn prices have dropped nearly one half from their record highs in 2011 and 2012 when the farm bill was first being written.
We really have not learned our lesson at all. Well, we are failing the test on a personal level also. Let’s take a look:
- One out of three children are overweight or obese
- Two out of three adults are overweight or obese
- $190.20 billion dollars (approximately) is spent each year on medical issues resulting from obesity-related illnesses.
- 21% of annual spending for medical purposes is obesity-related.
- $4.30 billion each year is lost by businesses due to obesity-related absences
- 37% of adults are pre-diabetic.
- 8% of adults have diabetes
- In the years 1971 through 1974, the average number of calories consumes on a daily basis was 1,996. From 2005 through 2008, that number was 2,234.
- On any one given day, 30 to 40 % of children and adolescence eat fast food.
- 20% of the weight gain between 1977 and 2007 is due to sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages.
We are actually killing ourselves slowly but surely on both fronts. We just can’t quit spending and we just can’t quit eating. Now, in some ways this is like the pot calling the kettle black. I exercise six (6) days per week to keep this boyish figure. It ain’t easy but at the tender age of seventy-one, I know it can be accomplished. I welcome your comments.
February 2, 2014
Several months ago I posted an article entitled “GREEN AVIATION”. That blog (hopefully) indicated several efforts to bring about improvements in the GPH (gallons per hour) of fuel used by commercial aviation. Those efforts are significant and involve the following:
- Investigations into the use of “bio-fuels”
- Improvements in aerodynamics of aircraft bodies including the flight surfaces
- The use of adhesives instead of rivets and screws used as fasteners for outer surfaces
- The use of composite materials to lessen the overall weight of an aircraft
That effort continues by companies such as BOEING and governmental agencies such as NASA. We also must factor into the “mix” educational institutions. All three contribute greatly in the search for improvements relative to reducing the use of precious, non-renewable fossil fuels. The following is one such effort.
Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., recently installed this 15-percent scale model based on a possible future aircraft design by the Boeing Company in its Transonic Dynamics Tunnel. The 13-foot model is “semi-span,” meaning it looks like a plane cut in half. It is being used to assess the aeroelastic qualities of the unusual truss-braced wing configuration. (“Aeroelastic,” or “aeroelasticity,” is the study of how an aircraft flexes during flight in response to aerodynamic forces. The “truss” is the diagonal piece attached to the belly of the fuselage and the underside of the wing.)
Boeing designed the concept as part of SUGAR (Subsonic Ultra-Green Aircraft Research) to help conceive of airplane technologies and designs needed 20 years from now to meet projected fuel efficiency and other “green” aviation requirements. According to Boeing engineers the wind tunnel tests will help validate the analysis done during the SUGAR study, which predicts that the truss-braced wing would improve fuel consumption by 5 to 10 percent over advanced conventional wings. Boeing’s SUGAR work, as well as that of other teams studying advanced future aircraft concepts, is funded through NASA’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program’s Fixed Wing Project.
I will certainly keep you posted as to further developments in the “GREEN AVIATION” world. It’s a fascinating technology.