Wednesday, September 4, 2013
I graduated in 1993 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and many questions arise because I am not, nor have I been involved in the aviation industry directly. Yet, I spend between 50,000 and 200,000 miles per year on planes. So, perhaps it is still in my blood.
Like many little boys, it started with curiosity fulfilled by my father. The trips to EAA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the worlds largest airport for a week - Oshkosh, Wisconsin; the 7th grade science show on Bernoulli's principle - the magic that give birth to flight. The flight so my father could take pictures of the lake house and me being fascinated with being able to see the WORLD!!
Who would have ever thought that a small difference in air pressure over an airfoil would create lift and a couple bike guys - the Wrights - would figure this out and launch this life changing thing called flight?
My love affair started in earnest with a trip to the Air Force Academy in 8th grade. The sense or order, pageantry, sacrifice, honor, duty and privilege took hold deep inside me. So did the opportunity to fly a fighter jet. Top Gun came later and was further reinforcement of this love.
Life rolled by in high school, the concept, the idea, the dream of flight growing more strong. Then...being nominated and appointed to the Air Force Academy but only as the alternate candidate - a let down, a failure that reverberated long into my life. So. I did what people do - move to plan B.
Plan B was St. Louis and Parks College and Aerospace Engineering. Going to a small school with a bunch of boys who had the same dreams I had was pretty cool. I realized then that I was a nerd and a bit of a dork....and vastly underpowered in intelligence compared to so many of my peers.
After a few years of realizing that, while I may have an engineers mindset, I absolutely did not want to be an engineer. Fortunately, international politics, two US presidents and a recession helped. So I started my career outside of flight.
Fast forward to the mid-2000's when I find myself on flights...every week...every day in some instances and flight, my dream, started to feel like a chore, a bus in the sky. Fortunately, though my flights didn't decrease, I rediscovered the joy of flight.
From the northern lights brighter than I had every witnessed before on my flight to London, to meeting interesting people,, to staring out the window and realizing how PEACEFUL the world looks from 35,000 feet. And perhaps, that's where this is going.
I can only imagine the view of God over the universe. And the next time your in plane, after trudging through an airport, accosted by security, offended by behaviors, and all the other "burdens" of travel, look out the window. What do you see?
I see a world that looks so peaceful. From 35000 feet, the lights of a police car or ambulance looks like twinkles from the lights of a Christmas tree. The baseball or football fields bring back memories of "playing under the big lights" for the first - or last time. The fields, organized in their patterns of blocks and colors, providing food and nourishment. The snow-covered peaks, the sunsets and sunrises. We get to see them all....from above. We should be overwhelmed and thankful, not ungrateful because we only get a minuscule bag of peanuts and an armrest covered by a neighbor.
I haven't publicly published to this blog in years so rather than shoot for
Perfection, up this goes.
Remember to LOOK OUT THE WINDOW AND SMILE the next time you get to have a portion of the View of God. And then pray that someday you will be privileged to have the same view.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Friday, April 22, 2011
Since I work for a company that helps other large companies manage their sustainability efforts and reduce things like waste, water, electric energy and the sort, you would think we have a HUGE celebration for Earth Day and treat it like a National holiday.
But, like the rest of the world, we simply shrug our shoulders, smile at a tree (hugging just seems…well…wrong), and go on with our day. Despite all the hysterics, moral imperatives and business reasons to do things that apparently save the earth, the majority of people across the world simply don’t care. “So What!” is the collective cry.
And…with very good reason. If I think about what our clients deal with as they attempt to gain engagement throughout their organizations and with their clients – who tend to be all of us – consumers who buy stuff in retail stores, “sustainability”, “environmental efforts”, “energy efficiency”, “corporate social responsibility” are all a VERY TOUGH SELL.
Remove the politics and the moral imperatives for a minute. Take what I would call a “pragmatic approach to fill in large word here denoting reduction of use” and try to get people engaged. It’s not easy and one of the best parts of my job goes into effect.
Like a three year old, I have the luxury, and the imperative, of continually asking “Why?” And when I do that about the struggles in adoption of “sustainability” and everything else, it’s a pretty easy answer for me.
Unlike so many aspects of our lives, especially in the ADD society of today, those intangible things, like electricity, sustainability, carbon footprint, environmental impact are difficult to grasp, hold on to, and become passionate about in our everyday lives. Now, add on the global turmoil, the crummy job market, and the continual depletion of our incomes, all of these things become less important.
If I think back across my career, 18 years in energy, sustainability, etc., I can emphatically state that well over 85% of the people I’ve met, have no clue what actually happens when they flip a switch to turn on a light, a computer, or the television. So, replacing an incandescent lamp with a CFL, something many people do everyday, I believe is done because of herd mentality and moral imperative!
I believe if the average person actually understood the true cost of electric energy or the real cost of water use rather than the subsidized, monopolized and sanitized costs we are exposed to, radically different decisions would be made. But, until that happens, and since I cannot SEE the request for electricity going from the switch to the transformer to the substation to the powerplant and the actual supply coming all the way from the powerplant to the device…INSTANTANEOUSLY…I don’t think about it.
Whether it’s CFL’s (that horribly ugly white light), 100% post-consumer recycled content(huh?), solar panels(you mean the $15,000 I spent covering my roof with these things so I can turn on all my ugly CFL lamps for four hours per day?) or the more intangible subjects of coal versus nuclear( men covered in soot and trapped 3 miles below ground versus Chernobyl), smart grid(you mean the meter and higher utility bill I’m paying?), carbon footprint(blame the cows) or hybrid cars(the guy in the left lane going 45 in a 65 and SMILING), the average person does not understand the engineering marvel that makes up the electric grid, the entire process that occurs before you buy the loaf of bread or the new shoes.
Our failure to understand how things are made, how stuff is produced, how products are delivered, what we consume, all lead to decisions we MAY not make if we took the time to understand its “history.” And I am absolutely not one to force anyone to make a decision on any of their choices but, wouldn’t it be helpful if you had all of the information you need to make an informed decision?
Earth Day is silly. I’d rather celebrate “Information Day” where we get to discover the true environmental comparison of purchasing a Toyota Prius and the potential petroleum I might save versus the long term impact of trying to dispose the lead batteries it uses instead of gas! Or, how about the production costs and energy use of producing the hybrid car versus the 1967 Fastback Mustang that guzzles the gas and let’s be honest, is SOOOO much more fun to drive?
So what? Yep, so what! Enough with Earth day! We’ll achieve the same or BETTER result by starting, celebrating and embracing “INFORMATION DAY!”
Now, go hug a database.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
- Your brain takes things in, breaks them down, and puts them on shelves.
- As new information comes in, your brain does a massive Google search to see how this information might fit in with other, previously stored information.
- When you find a match, old memories combine with new to create a thought.
- That process, one of breaking down and storing - is analysis.
- Searching and combining - is intuition.
- As familiar patterns emerge, you don't really "think about it."
- However, as new pieces of data create new patterns you arrive at "AHA!"
“What happens in our bodies really does appear to influence what goes in our minds. We should be careful about following these gut instincts, however, as sometimes they help and sometimes they hinder our decision making,” says Dunn."
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Welcome to 2011!