Modern Gladiators

Photo courtesy of  EPA/Christian Charisius
Photo courtesy of EPA/Christian Charisius

Has it struck you as odd that we are now considering very tough rule changes and stricter helmet designs in football, yet we seem to turn a blind eye to boxing and the related martial arts?  Do you hear any public outrage at all?

Check this out down under:

This this article from The Conversation

Then check out the opinions posted on

I am beginning to wonder whether there should be some form of a test before we allow people who say what they do on to vote.  Do we really want public policy based upon the consensus of idiots and the unthinking?  Or, is it that intelligent people have to put up with stupidity?

Democracy … I guess it is a lot like sausage.  You really don’t want to know how it is made.


Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

ForrestThere is great wisdom woven into the Academy Award winning movie Forrest Gump.  As you know, the plot is a stream of successive surprises from a mentally challenged man many would dismiss as irrelevant.  Yet, despite almost impossible odds, he continually makes innocent forward progress despite obvious special needs and handicaps.

What I like best is Gump’s attitude toward his friends and associates.  He always stayed optimistic and chose the high road.  He never seemed concerned about his own personal well-being.  Some may say he was too “simple” to consider what he was really doing.  Or, one could take the position that he had no fear for or focus upon his reward.  He simply did what he needed to do.  What he considered the “right” thing to do.  Sorry … I see a clear love for people that was unstained by the traditional life and business motives.

Perhaps most powerfully, the movie illustrated many of the reactions to this self-effacing generosity.  Lt. Dan perhaps is the one we best remember.  Having lost his legs in combat, he had become bitter and self-destructive.  He became very upset that Forrest rescued him from what some might declare a suicide mission, and then when he lost his legs, Forrest would even see beyond his infirmities.  Through Forrest’s love for him and his promise to a fallen comrade “Bubba,” he decides to start a shrimping business with Dan that ultimately results in him moving well past his infirmities.

I know some of you will criticize me as a romantic.  Guys are not supposed to be this way.  I am OK with that criticism.  I am a romantic … and proud to be one.  I do understand how people become cynical … after all … I am an engineer … my wife calls me Dr. Doom.  I guess the reason I cherish this movie is that being honest about a situation is not the same as giving up.  I am and have been fully willing to charge Hell with a water pistol … just at least give me something that resembles a water pistol and I am in.

The movie also points to a higher calling for all of us.  It shows that the love of one another and the striving for a noble goal is so intrinsically attractive; it draws the talent needed to make it a reality.

So, what is your excuse?  Why are you still holding pity parties?  Stupid is as stupid does.

Isn’t it time to move on?  Invest your ping-pong winnings in a fruit company …  And, it is ironic that Steve Jobs is known for having said this:  “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And, while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people, who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”



Big Ideas Sometimes do Come in Small Packages

tiny_homesI have been watching a “movement” in home design that is starkly in contrast to the historical bigger is better home design.  As everyone knows, American homes have grown a lot over the past decades.

But … perhaps there is a counterculture movement brewing.  And, it isn’t surprising to see where it has taken root.

Watch the New Tiny House Village Under Construction

Of course, it is a bit too early.  This could be another pet rock, beanbag, bar in the rec room trend.  Then again, it could be a revolt against tradition something like the flower child movement of the late 1960s.  Then again, it could just be showmanship by architects that you don’t have to live in big space to live a good life.  They are certainly clever designs.  And, they do raise important questions about how we define the space we feel we need.

I am glad people are pushing the envelope rather than just sitting on their hands hoping some government program is going to give them an incentive to do what they believe they should be doing.

Will they catch on?  Is this another real estate business opportunity?  Does this mean the McMansion is dead or dying?  We will see.  Hard to predict, but fun to watch.



The SEER-Sucker Theory

Young military nurse shades her eyes from the desert sun

As I have blogged before, it is amazing to me how easily we become lazy thinking we can predict the future.  Autonomous cars … drone warfare … you pick your favorite.

As many of you know, I own a Tesla Model S.  When I pick someone up at the airport I often comment that, at some time in the future, I will likely be able to simply send my car to do that without me and have it transport the person to where they need to go.

It was telling this week that Public Utilities Fortnightly took a look back to the end of World War II.

Here is what they wrote:

Public Utilities Fortnightly, August 2, 1945.  It was the issue just before the Japanese surrender and the ending of World War II.  The lead article was entitled: “Effect of Recent Population Trends on Utilities.”  It was impossible to foresee the approaching boom:

“As a nation our population increase has diminished and, according to the Bureau of the Census, our total population will approach a stationary figure sometime after 1980.”

The article, reflecting contemporary thinking, predicted that U.S. population in 2000 would be 150 million.  Slight miss.  The 2000 Census counted 282 million Americans.

I remember Jimmy Carter’s fireside chat, wearing a sweater, telling us that foreign oil was the moral equivalent of war.  It was the same year that natural gas was forbidden in baseload power plants … only to be repealed about 10 years later.  Coal was then considered the savior of our nation.  Not now.

Solar and wind are now the heroes.  Population growth continues but the energy use per person seems to have been turned through better device and appliance efficiencies.  Fuel cells still seem to be five years off … maybe further.  They were five years off thirty years ago when I managed projects at MTI and Plug Power was a division of MTI … so some things don’t seem to change at all.

What has changed is American attitudes about almost everything.  Plus, we have an “always on” mentality.  Go ahead the next time you are together with friends and loved ones and see the addiction to the electronic leashes. maslow

Maslow’s hierarchy has changed as a result.  Food and shelter were at the base of it … until recently.  Now it is WiFi and battery power.  Watch how quickly people freak out if they lose either of those …even when they are sitting in a restaurant with friends and loved ones.

Not sure where this all leads, but it certainly leads somewhere different.  It does seem most prognosticators agree the electric industry’s traditional business model is dead.  Perhaps they are right.

I don’t know.   I just know that for every SEER there is at least one sucker.