Someone Moved the River

This one never hit my viewing screen until my pastor mentioned it to me this last weekend.  He knows I blog about disruption and how change can catch us by surprise.  He studied this story because it has a lot to do with how congregations of believers can leave a religious organization with a “bridge to nowhere” as the analogy goes.

Here is one of many posts about the now famous “hurricane proof” bridge given to Honduras by the Japanese. 

People who see disruption on the horizon are often criticized by those who would side on the position that there is not yet enough information to do something.  In a sense, you can’t “monetize” the solution until you clearly have the problem.  That is a lot like justifying buying fire insurance after you have had a fire and can clearly show the benefits of insurance.

My wife calls me Dr. Doom because I tend to be one of the people who can see multiple calamities working together.  That didn’t just happen by chance.  I worked on nuclear power submarine power plants for six years under Admiral Rickover and after I finished my masters in operations research and statistics went to my boss with proof that Rickover’s insistence on avoiding multiple calamities was statistically improbable to say the least.  My boss then put me on the mailing list to see the operational problems operating submarines had at sea.  After about a month of reading those, I pleaded to stop sending them to me.  It was clear that Murphy’s law was true.

We are prone to become cocky about our engineering prowess.  Perhaps we should instead always be asking “what if” about things that seem unlikely but if they did happen might put us on the rocks.  Walking humbly … nah … not popular at all.



How much are Americans Willing to pay?

A recent article on customer attitudes toward climate change and what energy companies should do about it is really telling.  To no one’s surprise, customers may want something to happen, but are less than willing to pay to make it happen:

 “To combat climate change, 57 percent of Americans are willing to pay a $1 monthly fee; 23 percent are willing to pay a monthly fee of $40.  Party identification and acceptance of climate change are the main determining factors of whether or not people are willing to pay, with Democrats being consistently more inclined to pay a fee.”

You can read all the details here.

But, the obvious missing data is whether even $40 per person will make much of a dent in the climate change forecast.  I was watching the news this morning where an astrophysicist was talking about how some things might change over the next 100,000 years.  No offense, but I simply do not care nor should anyone else for that matter …

I have enough to worry about that is in the here and now.

Sometimes you just get lucky.

I was shocked to see that the latest trend in hair color for this year is … wait for it… perhaps you guessed it … it is GRAY!  Yippee … I am finally on the trendy side of things.

As you must know, I have always been a bit out of phase with where the trends were.  I was a geek decades before that was trendy.  I stopped wearing a tie or even a tie tac (remember those) way before that was trendy.

So, gray hair is now in.  Read about it for yourself.

Could it be Déjà vu all over again?

Photo by GIAN EHRENZELLER/EPA-EFE/REX (10070269fk)

I have to admit, I never expected to read this in the Washington Post news-feed.  I started my career designing nuclear power plants for military submarines under Admiral Rickover in his Nuclear Navy.   I lived through the period where nuclear promised power “too cheap to meter,” and then watched the Three Mile Island incident virtually eliminate that concept from consideration.

Now, we have the strange confluence of politics and innovative thinking, there may be an answer here. Read the article in the Washington Post

As you read the article you will see that this is not going to be a slam dunk.  But, then again, Bill Gates already tackles things on this scale.  Because I live here in

Georgia, we are living through the only new nuclear power plant on the horizon … we will see.  It remains far from a slam dunk.

Yet, few of us would dismiss the intrinsic beauty of nuclear in the fuel portfolio as an energy source.  Unfortunately, today we need rapidly ramping capacity, not energy … we have plenty of low cost energy.