Our Universe is Flat!

Well, just when you thought you had all this figured out, some really smart people prove your paradigms are wrong.

Take a look at this article in the Wall Street Journal and bear with all the math and tech talk.  You will see that the universe is flat.

Now, one could rightly ask “who cares?” or “what difference this makes?” and you would be in good company.

But I ask you, why don’t you care?  When we have the opportunity to learn, challenge our pre-conceived notions, and consider a world bigger than ourselves, perhaps it can make a difference.

Does it matter in what I will do and think about today?  I think so.  Everything you take in matters.  Eat unhealthy food all the time and see the consequences.  Feed your mind stifled old school primitive ideas, and your mind is unable to think through the challenges we now face.

Listen, challenge, dialogue, and seek higher ground.  Notice I did not say common ground … higher ground.

Add what you can, and thank those who do so around you for what they bring to the game.


Who Would Have Thunk?

windmillsIt is fascinating to see how “public” opinion shifts over time.  I remember when college campuses were considered really good cogeneration candidates, especially if they had medical facilities.  It used to be that true economics and operating complexity were the underlying fatal flaws.  Now it appears that greener alternatives are the competitor.

Read the Energy Central article about Duke University here.

Once again, however, a holistic point of view seems missing.  As I have blogged over and over again, there is a huge difference between energy and capacity.  Solar and wind are energy … not capacity.  There are times when you need power that doesn’t coincide with the sun shining and wind blowing.

Then of course, there is a huge difference between the control systems to assure power reliability and power quality on a campus like this.  Cogeneration is synchronized with the grid and does not produce harmonics.  Wind and solar are inverted from DC sources … there are serious problems here with a system at this scale when you try to run it together.

If you want to build a wind farm somewhere in the woods, go ahead.  To me, it is clear that the protesting students are not studying electrical engineering or engineering of any kind.


Someone Moved the Retail Cheese

Watch Amazon Go!

I remember when retired American Airlines executive Jack Jackson would speak at our industry events lamenting how the upstart airlines were changing the rules to flying.  Some in our industry may remember his famous stories of wondering whether those new paradigms really worked.  He told of his trip from Houston to Dallas where he argued with the ticket agent … who did not give him a ticket (only a cash receipt) and it had no seat number or even his name on it!

She asked him if he knew his name and he said yes he did.  Then she told him he could write his name on the slip of paper if he would like to do that.  “But what about my seat number?!”  She calmly replied that he could have any open seat he wanted, and if he really wanted more seat choices, he should arrive earlier next time.

Oh the times they are a changin’.  Well, Amazon has once again moved the retail cheese in the same way.  Only time will tell, but watch this video and decide for yourself: Watch the Amazon Go video here.

I have blogged and spoken about Amazon’s relentless desire to be The Everything Store for all people.  There is a book about that by that title.  It is easy to criticize Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.  It is easy to criticize Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk.  That does not stop them from trying, adjusting, and pushing forward.  You have heard me reference this over and over again in my quotes from the late Steve Jobs about the “crazy ones” yet our industry still thinks in small, incremental steps, afraid to move boldly.

Of course, if Amazon fails at this the crowds of rear view mirror thinkers will cheer.  They simply do not want to turn around and look into the future … If Amazon fails at this, they will have learned something ahead of everyone else and have moved on.

That is what truly makes a difference in a company:  Trying things, testing the waters, going with what works, and moving on from the rest.


The Right Thing to Do

"It was the right thing to do."
“It was the right thing to do.”

How many times do we stand by, watching what is going on, saying to ourselves: “I am not going to get involved; let nature run its course.”  Several of my friends have gotten in trouble trying to help people in distress or experienced “collateral damage” or even death trying to help someone.

Watch the video that aired recently, it is encouraging. 

Sure, it’s a story about a real cowboy detaining a would be thief.  The story ends well.  But, what if he had broken the thief’s leg in the process?  What if the thief sued him for some God-forsaken reason?

The story is a good reminder of the gentle kindness of so many, and the special gift that just happened to find a just cause for use in this woman’s hour of need.

I personally appreciate his answer to why he did it: “It was just the right thing to do.”