H5N1 NYAS, Matchmaking???, and a bit of seriousness

3 Feb

I’m following this evenings NYAS H5N1 discussion on twitter…. and all of a sudden the following pops up.


I’m hoping that the hastag format is the issue rather than digital matchmaking firms discussing H5N1 and ferret research…. 

On a more serious note, CIDRAP nailed the issue with the following tweet.

Lipkin: two different world views, how do you get the ball down the field?  

Alan Dove presented the following advice earlier… 


The virologists need to state their counter-arguments once more, but in the process they need to insist on direct responses from the NSABB. Don’t let them simply restate incorrect figures for the fatality rate, or just stipulate that redacting the data will prevent a terrible harm. Be nice, but press firmly. Don’t take “because we said so” for an answer. However, be sure you listen to the responses – it’s likely that NSABB members have some criticisms of the data you’re citing, and you’ll need to answer those as directly as you expect them to answer you.

The NSABB should begin by explaining their decision process, transparently and plainly, and acknowledging that it may have been flawed. Hey, we’re all people, and we all make mistakes sometimes. Next, address each and every one of the virologists’ counter-arguments directly. No dodging or pretending not to hear. Be prepared to concede any arguments for which you don’t have solid, evidence-backed answers. That will actually boost your credibility. Being wrong isn’t a character flaw. Being wrong while insisting you’re right is. On issues where you do have evidence, though, go ahead and press on. You had reasons for making the recommendation you made. Explain them.


Initially the tweet streams seems to suggest that the two worldviews are still not listening to each other…. now as it comes close to ending, it seems they are venturing into other arenas, global issues and the PR mess. I was hoping to hear some real debate on the bottom line divide.

It makes me wonder about external factors limiting what NSABB can really talk about. I remember picking up a similar vibe in a class w Mike Osterholm many years ago.

You can’t buy authenticity

28 Jan

A social media sales guy comes in, and the tune he’s singing sounds great. His org can get you rolling fast with a turn key solution. Simply pay them a modest amount of cash, and they will get you a twitter, a facebook, a blog, and for recurrent fee, even ghost write them for you. The whole idea of having such a wide ranging online presence sounds good. You think, hey, this is going to be great, and its a ton cheaper than traditional media, its a no brainer. You also like the idea that this whole social media thing can simply be thrown over the wall, and it will run all by itself. 

A 3d friend who I met on twitter a couple years back, and I were discussing this exact scenario… and it was like, egads, we can’t believe businesses are falling for this. Yes, such sounds like an ideal situation, but its built on falsehoods. It doesn’t take much time for a potential client to see right through low budget ghost writing. It doesn’t take much time to see right through half baked marketing driven/automated twitter accounts. In other words, authenticity is key, and if you try to short cut it, most folks will see right through it.

I came across the following from @KentBottles this morning, http://kentbottles.blogspot.com/2011/01/who-should-manage-your-social-media.html and he absolutely nails it. Some key points which I believe transcend nearly every market,

When you reduce it to its fundamentals, social media strategy isn’t complicated. It’s social. It’s about establishing and nurturing authentic relationships in ways that will build loyalty to your institution.

Websites and social media aren’t primarily technical matters, and social media may eventually take 50% or more of your social media manager’s time (your social media manager should have responsibility for your website too). The rest of his or her time might be spent on content development for your website and keeping up with the literature.

….social media can’t be effective if it’s automated in any way, and for the same reason outsourcing your social media strategy and execution to a marketing agency or other vendor is almost always a bad idea. 

….your social media manager is going to be out there on the front lines every day, using his or her own name, showing people who you are  and doing and saying things that give people reasons to be loyal to your organization. That’s got to be done in-house by someone who understands your organization and is personally committed to it.

Otoh, as @KentBottles states A smart, creative consultant with significant experience in healthcare social media can fast-track the process by explaining the basics and best practices, and by helping your social media manager learn how to consistently create content that interests your target audiences.

In a lot of ways, this parallels the discussion my 3d twitter friend and I had back when, albeit we were discussing social media in general rather than health care focused. A consultant, if they come in with open eyes and ears, rather than canned solutions, AND if the org will commit the needed time to share their real culture with said consultant, a whole multitude of mis-steps and wasted time and money can be avoided. Sadly though, what happens far too often is things are thrown over the wall, and then folks are going “how come this isn’t working…. or social media is just a big timer waster etc”. You cant buy authenticity… it never worked in the days of snake oil salesmen, it doesn’t work today either.

Online church… not exclusively, but not that far either

31 Dec

A comment I made at Brian Merrits blog


Church could happen online but not exclusively, ie the Lord’s supper, Baptisms, marriages, etc dont mesh, at least not at this time… but with scaling of the priesthood of believers, perhaps such could happen at some point down the road. Ie physical presence of a multitude of small groups consisting of localized online participants with a virtual connection to the larger whole. 

Its a similar deal with how online groups I’ve worked with have dealt with substance abuse, suicide interventions, and deliverance as concerns their participants. Online alone is not prudent… but in my experience, it may be the only place folks are initially willing to talk… and if systems are in place for a timely handoff to qualified in person resources, the combination does work.

Beyond that aspect, the following have occurred within many online groups

Elder shepherding
In a lot of ways, the online world can fill a huge need in this area in part due to its asyncronous nature… with the caveat, that nothing online will ever compare with a year of CPE in a hospital environment, but the combination can be very beneficial.

Loving Elder Accountability/Discipline when needed
Again, within the online world, this has occurred, and just by the nature of the ability to turn off a laptop, it better be done with love and skill, or folks will bail. Its a much tighter rope to walk than in 3d, but I’m not so sure thats not a bad thing. There are just too many horror stories of untrained and inept attempts at accountability in the 3d world… not that the online world has such a great track record either, but it can work.

Significant “one-anothering”
Over the last years of online ministry involvement, I’ve experienced deaths, births, marriages, hurricanes, floods, natural disasters, cried with folks, rejoyced with others, fed the poor, arranged for housing for the homeless, arranged for in person suicide intervention, substance abuse interventions etc. Yes, spending an afternoon on the phone trying to get help for someone a thousand miles away is way different than pounding nails building a house. Or in other cases, having a prepaid pizza delivered to a guy outside abcdef library..but the outcome for the person who needs housing, or is lacking food is the same.

Someonline holes, which can be good or bad…. (not part of the comment)

Outside of leadership roles, online politics is pretty easy to hide from, vs it is often in ones face in 3d. Politics otoh does force growth even if unpleasant.

Online prayer can be near instantaneous, rather than having to wait for folks to show up in 3d, or waiting to call the prayer phone during office hours… and then pray that someone answers it timely.

Online deliverance is a disaster waiting to happen… yet, there are multitude of 3d deliverance ministries run by well meaning folks who are not versed in the field at all.

Online background checks are a huge time killer… but they are a must for those in positions of spiritual authority,

More later

Pickle Picking Using old Car Frame

12 Nov

From Jan 1950 pop mechanics magazine.


This isnt just a kindergarten thing… o-chem & pilots

15 Oct

Back in my o-chem seminar days, I sort of assumed chemistry seniors were competent in 2nd year organic, which turned out to be a really bad assumption. They were trained, but they didnt know. Its like a pilot going to a weekend ground seminar. They are pretty much guaranteed to pass their test, often with flying colors… but no way, no how would I consider them safe, or even competent enough to pass the oral exam.

What’s tricky, says Guddemi, is that children can be trained to perform tasks (called “splinter skills”), such as writing names or counting. But just because “April” can pen her name doesn’t mean she can perceive letters with oblique angles. “You can train them, but the knowledge and understanding—the true learning—has not happened,” she says. “Our country has this hang up that if the child can perform, that they know.”


Bicycle Spreadsheet w calculations for Wind Drag and Road Grade

23 Jul

Some friends are doing RAGBRAI this summer, and one of them was asking about the differences between wind drag and road grade, so I put together a crude spreadsheet such that some scenarios could be run. Via my own experience, I’ve found that wind seems to be much more of a headache than a steep grade (granted, there are exceptions), so I wanted to see what some numbers might show.

The model is pretty crude, and a number of approximations were made for simplification purposes… Also, its not very user friendly, being I cranked it out so fast, thus a bit of textual explanation may prove helpful.

The key user entered variables are in light blue, namely total weight of the bike+rider+pack, windspeed, and the road grade. Windspeed is positive for a headwind, and negative values can be entered for tailwinds. The road grade or hill gradient is rise over run, with a typical max value of 0.12 rise/run which covers 95% of all roads.

The output of the model is located in the two columns names trained athlete and average Joe… which are color coded green, yellow, and red. Green corresponds to the ability to consistently maintain a give speed. Yellow is for short sprints, and red is pretty much impossible. The color shading changes based upon fixed values due to limitations of google docs speadsheet functionality.

The spreadsheet is open for anyone to modify, thus if you get some weird values, you may want to check the revision history, and revert back to the last version saved by me (mnphysicist).

You can access the spreadsheet at??


Nutek Bolt Off appears not lame….

16 Jul

A few weeks back, Ace Hardware was promoting Nutek lubricants… they were pretty much free after rebate, so I thought ok cool, anything is worth a try. As green as I try to be, I do hold to the impression that green usually equates to lame products that barely work. To add insult to injury, they packaged their product line in a tiny container, and didn’t even bother to add a nozzle tube… so I was figuring this would be a major flop, but hey at least it was free.

So, I had a trailer tire which needed changing, but it hadnt been touched since 1989… and has spent the last 20 winters outside, with some winters ending up with enough snow, that the snow plow actually covered the wheels. As such, corrosion city… I could barely see the threads on the stud. So… time to give this Nutek Bolt Off a shot.

I figured ok, this is a consumer product, its going to make a mess all over the place, and the nozzle tubes I had didnt fit. At least I thought, well if it dribbles all over, at least its green. I was surprised in that it actually shot a tight stream of liquid, rather than an aerosol. Granted, I would have liked more pressure behind it, but with careful positioning, it works pretty well. In a lot of ways, its better than using a nozzle tube, plus by designing out the nozzle tube, you can’t loose it. :_

So I sprayed the lugnuts, and then waited half an hour, sprayed again, waited another half an hour, and then tried to break the nuts loose. My compressor took a header, so all I had was a 18″ breaker bar… and well a seven foot square tube that I normally put over the breaker bar when I can’t break things loose. As I’d rather not replace studs, I always start out with hand pressure first, and then if that fails I the square tube, and then jump on it.

Surprisingly, 2 of the nuts came off just by using the 18″ breaker bar. 3 of the nuts took me standing on the breaker bar, but there was no need at all to jump on it, much less get out the 7 foot square tube. I’m amazed… this seemed to work even better than PB Blaster and JB80, my old standbys. As such, tomorrow I’m going to try it on a stuck Saab assembly and see how that works. If it does… they by golly, they may be approaching Kroil (which is amazing but near impossible to get retail, and very spendy too)

I think they have a winner, both in performance, and in the nozzle tube concept. Now, if only they’d loose the lame small package. Then again, there have been a number of times where I’ve fought stuck exhaust manifolds where there was no way to get anywhere close with JB80 even with a nozzle tube, so they may be onto something there as well.


Telephone Ring Emulator

7 Jul

This is a nifty implementation, and it also includes off hook detect.



On Pastorial Pay and Going Afoul

25 May

Since??seminary costs so much money, and really only trains pastors for one job, leaving them without many options,??THEN church should cost a lot of money and pastors should MAKE a lot of money.

SINCE medical school costs are absurd and outrageous and really only trains dcotrs for one job, leaving them without many options, THEN healthcare should cost a lot of money and doctors should MAKE a lot of money.

Something to think about….

Ideas and some text taken from What Med School can Tell us about Pastors??http://thecondition.net/354/

Subject 2, on going afoul

The blog autheor makes some really good points though, especially as concerns the need to tow the party line, not run afoul of the congregation, and especially not run afoul of denominational guidelines.A pastor friend left his church after 20 some years in the pulpit, as he just couldnt tow the denominational party line anymore… Another pastor friend left his church, as he could not in good conscience not run afoul of a whacked congregation who only wanted ear tickling.

Workflow Efficiency and System Knowledge

22 May

From lrd via the oil drum comments

...The concept of workflows is that understanding detailed sequences of work, together with the resources required for each step, allows efficiency to be improved by doing everything according to a standardized workflow. In a repetitive process, such as manufacturing or distribution, this can improve efficiency, reliability and safety, because nothing unexpected happens, and what’s more costs are lower because each person in the operation only has to know one part of the workflow. Knowing how to implement the workflow becomes much more important than knowing why each step is carried out.

The problem when such concepts are applied to drilling is that every well is different. The standard workflow may be neither the cheapest method nor the safest method in a particular well. The risks are heightened by having fewer people around who really understand what is happening when something starts to go wrong.


I think the guy nailed part of the underlying human factors…few understand the system as a whole, so when SOP’s replace knowledge, and the system goes beyond the SOP’s things go south really fast.

The reduction of system knowledge is also an interesting way to bypass engineering ethics… Ie, if you segregate things enough, there wont be enough of a knowledge base for an isolated engineering team to know how their judgment calls impact public health, safety, and welfare. Case in point, tell engineers they are designing water flow controls, rather than also for phosgene gas, and simply pass the design off for another team to copy… the cost will be much lower, but no engineer in their right mind would sign off on it.