Tag Archives: science

Math is COOL!

30 May

YES it IS! I know you said “Nu uh!” But it is! It is very cool.  I just wish more people who understood math were…um…more cool?  Because then they’d think up more cool ways to explain how cool math is!

Like this guy! Check out this video!

So, if the 6th grade algebra teacher had taught things with cool tricks, how much more would you have paid attention?

Have a great weekend!


Is it Any Wonder Cultures Clash?

19 May

Click here to read a  fascinating look at the way cultures of the world approach negotiations.

To quote the article “By focusing on the cultural roots of national behavior, both in society and business, we can foresee and calculate with a surprising degree of accuracy how others will react to our plans for them, and we can make certain assumptions as to how they will approach us.”

Well, that could be pretty handy, no? It has me recall a time when I worked in the Sheraton Hotel at the Brussels Airport. I was an intern and working in control of the food and beverages. The hotel had four restaurants plus room service, not to mention it fed its own employees. There was a lot of food and drinks being consumed.

All I had to do was measure yesterday’s levels against today’s levels and cross-reference that to the orders being submitted by the various restaurant chefs. Pretty easy I thought. Until cultures started clashing.

In other words, If there were four bottles of a particular wine yesterday and there were only 2 today, I should see that two bottles were ordered at some point in one of the restaurants that day.

I had noticed that the cheeses of one particular restaurant were at lower totals than their corresponding orders. “How should I reconcile this?” I asked my boss, a very uninterested and rather dumb fellow.

“I’d ask the Chef!” he said.

“I have already done that. He believes my math is wrong. It isn’t. Someone is stealing cheese. What is my next step?” I said.

“I’d ask the Chef if he is stealing cheese.” m boss said sarcastically. I could see he wasn’t going to offer me guidance.

I did go talk to the Chef and it turned into a raging argument with both of us accusing the other of lying. I ended the conversation with “Look, I’m just an intern, I could care less if you’re stealing cheese. Don’t call me a liar. I’ve got a report to turn in, I’m going to turn it in with my numbers. I’ll be in America by the time the GM reads it. Your call, Frenchie.”

Had I only had this chart, I’d have known his yelling was simply step three in French negotiations and I would have been so much better off! See how us Americans lay the cards all out? “Where is the missing cheese, Monsieur?” I spelled it out, I confronted and provoked him, we had a fight…but we did not ever reach clarity.

Had I understood their culture better, I could have simply restated the logic and we’d be good. This sort of chart could be so useful for folks in international business. I just found it very interesting.

Can You More Easily Overdose on Water than on Pot?

30 Apr

That is a catchy headline, isn’t it?  I thought so too, which is why I clicked on this article from Forbes.

I find it interesting how much misinformation and mythology exists on drug use. Whether it is performance enhancing drugs or athletes or marijuana for stoners, true scientific data is sparse.  Which means bogus stories can grow to become legitimate.

It is pretty clear that marijuana and PEDs and the overuse of anything, even water apparently, can have adverse effects on people.  What isn’t as clear is if any of the PEDs or if pot can be used safely.

Even if not safe, are there moderate levels that the user can know about? We know that smoking and drinking alcohol are inherently bad in large doses. But we Americans allow these products sold by and large.  But if a multi-million dollar ballplayer wants to heal more quickly from injury, he is banned from such an idea.

We know that our system of weapon regulations is flawed.  Yet a elder who just wants to keep a meal down after a recent chemotherapy session is still forced to buy marijuana in a somewhat clandestine manner.

Isn’t all that a bit hypocritical?

Iron Cage of Bureaucracy

28 Apr

German philosopher Max Weber coined the term “Iron Cage” in the early 1900’s to describe an instance where bureaucracy grows too large an unwieldy.  Where the unchecked nature of the system stops serving the people it was created to serve and now only serves the interests of those within the bureaucracy.

Is that California today?

The news that Toyota is pulling up 5,000 jobs and sending them to Texas isn’t be good. The fact is, large or small, California, with intense, over-reaching regulations and law and very high taxes, is a difficult place for businesses to succeed these days.

In the annual Chief Executive magazine “Best States / Worst States” ranking that surveys CEOs for their opinions, Texas has been holding on to the No. 1 spot for a while; California seems permanently relegated to No. 50.

Why? Why do we continue to vote for such inefficient fools? There is no question the majority of fault can be laid upon the feet of the Democratic party in California.  The idea that laws and regulations can save us all form ourselves is showing quite a few holes.

But if the Dems are so bad, how is it the GOP can’t find a way to point that out constructively and make a case to be elected? probably because the GOP is worried more about their God (instead of the planet their God created), my bedroom and their extreme stances on such things that have little to do with our day to day that they actually make the Democrat morons look…good. Ugh.

Can we just push the power button and ‘power cycle’ this state? How can we restart us?

I hit upon an analogy the other day coaching my kids in lacrosse.  We do sprints at the end of each practice. No one likes sprints.  But if you play basketball, lacrosse, football, soccer – you know you need to do sprint work to be in shape.

What always happens is one or two boys aren’t giving their all.  The result, they all get to run more.  That makes the boys who were lazy the target of the boys who gave their all. It creates divisions.  So, we encourage them all to work as a team.  And with 15 boys, we can get our result.

But with the 40 State senators and 80 Assembly members, we have 100 not sprinting and only 20 who really are working their hardest.

What does a coach end up having to do when he has so many on his team not giving their all? Not pulling the rope in the same direction? He has to cut those players and remake his team. The only other solution is to walk away from coaching the team.

Toyota walked away this week.  What company is next before we Californian’s figure out that we need a new start?

Can the Damaged Brain Repair Itself?

3 Mar

People with Alzheimer’s, former NFL players, returning veterans from war may find this video very hopeful.

All of us, I believe, will find this information very intriguing.  After all, is there anything more important for our lives than the brain?

Siddharthan Chandran does a very nice job of making a complicated topic quite understandable. If you’re interested in how your brain works or how it might even work better, take 15 minutes to check out this video. Truly inspiring science.

How about a hand?

17 Feb

Twelve years ago, when my first child was born, she was immediately whisked away by the nurses to a table far across the room from Mom.  That wasn’t how we were told it would go. We had expected the baby would be placed in mom’s arms right away.  Not taken away to an examination table to be surrounded by nurses and doctors.

My former wife was in such a state of fatigue and relief, I don’t know that she even noticed. But I very quickly began to wonder why we weren’t holding our new born.

I asked one of the nurses “What is happening? Why isn’t the baby over here? Why are they staring at her hand? Why does that hand appear to not have fingers?”

The nurse looked at me with sad eyes and told me “She was born with a deformity, so we must check her to be sure noting else is missing. We want to be sure the hand is the only issue.”

Thankfully, no other part of Madeline was out of the norm.

At first, this was a difficult thing. Often, folks would say to us “How is the new baby? All ten fingers and toes?” It wasn’t a question meant to stir our emotions. Just to be friendly. But it was a difficult one to answer. Months and years later, the original shock and sadness wore off. We realized at our annual visits to Shriner’s Hospital that things could have been much worse for our little one.

Today, she is an over-achieving young lady. Tops in her 6th grade classroom, she sings, dances, dresses and acts like any normal twelve year old girl. You’d likely never notice she lacks the five left fingers the rest of us take so much for granted.  She wants it that way.

The experts at Shriner’s told us to never expect much in the way of prosthetics or limb regeneration. Science fiction, they would tell us, is mostly fiction.  But I always held out hope scientific advancements might one day allow her to have better use of her left hand.

There are all kinds of advancements happening today.  This Economist article caught my eye last week and truly inspires me to believe that by the time Maddie is an adult, people like her will have so many options were once there were few.  This new discovery of touch sensation being re-wired is absolutely astonishing to me.  Hope you enjoy the read.

Why Are So Many Americans Obese?

7 Nov

Bet you think you know! I bet you think it is because they eat wrong and don’t exercise, right? Well, that is probably partly true. But this video suggest perhaps there is more to the puzzle.  This is a courageous man.

This topic means so much to so many. It is quite personal for me. My dad died of complications of diabetes. Like the surgeon in this video, there have been many times I’ve found myself judging my dad for what I perceived to be his lack of discipline or will power.

Of course, I struggle to maintain healthy weight. So does Sarah. So do my own children. So do so many Americans.

I watched this video two times. I just was so shocked by his hypothesis.  That perhaps obesity isn’t the cause of diabetes but a symptom of it. A reaction the body makes to insulin issues. Not the commonly held understanding that being fat brings adult diabetes. What if he is on to something?  Worth looking into.


Dark Matter

5 Sep

Dark Matter

Mass and energy have been mysterious to physicists and science fiction writers alike for decades.  In the late 90’s the term “Dark Energy” was coined referring to an ever accelerating expansion of the universe.

Recently, new studies seek to crack open some of the mystery of Dark Energy. From time travel to the foundations of simply being, this mystery has important meaning to us all.  If, that is, it actually exists. 

Bring Back the Dodo Bird?

14 Aug

Did you like the movie “Jurassic Park?” It wasn’t as good as the Michael Crichton book, that’s for sure. But both explored the idea of bringing back dinosaurs. The result of ‘playing God’ was a bloody disaster. Crichton’s made the point that maybe we should not really be toying with such things.trex


But back in the 1990’s, the idea was pure science fiction.  Apparently, not today.  Scientists around the globe are working to bring back extinct species. In some cases, albeit brief, they have succeeded!

This article from the National Geographic Magazine does an excellent job of painting both sides of the issue.  I enjoyed it. I see both points of view. I’m not sure what to think.  You?

National Geographic Article


Amazing Technology!

27 Jun

This is such a touching little video.  It is so amazing how far science has come in regards to understanding hearing difficulties.  Can you imagine not being able to hear?  And then having these doctors ‘flip a switch’ and turn on your hearing?  If not, look at this little boy’s face the first time he hears the voice of his father.

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