July 2007

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June 19, 2007 R #

Hired Minds available on Amazon!!!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hired-Minds-Engineering-Students-Graduates/dp/1563478765
AIAA: http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=360&id=1590

Actually, it's been available for over a month now. I've just been doing a terrible job of publicizing it. Hopefully this weekend I'll send some emails to those who have expressed interest.

And the ironic thing is, I still don't have a copy! It has been over nine weeks since I had a home address.

Pictures from my brother

You know you have a cool job when you open your hood, and this is what you're transporting.

Lean Supply Chain

My job on the other hand, doesn't generate such cool looking images. But I did gather a meeting and generate my first Value Stream Map.

Well, actually, it's just a narrowly confined process flow map. But it was my starting point, from which I've been moving throughout all the operations of the place. Super interesting.

Stereotypes of Americans

I went to a proper English pub with some co-workers the other night, expecting to share a few good laughs. I certainly got one this time from a good English chap in serious but good humor:

"You know what I don't like about Americans? All American's think their country is the only country in the world! Now don't get me wrong, you don't seem that way, and I've met a lot of American's, and not one of them has been that way. But! All Americans... "

And he was only half way through his first pint! Eventually we pointed out the inconsistency in his judgment, but he wouldn't budge in his conclusion. A fine educated folk, the English are:).

What Europeans don't realize is that, in America, traveling across the United States is not only geographically equivalent to traveling across European countries , but also culturally equivalent. For example, let's compare traveling up the coast of California to traveling from Spain, to France, and then Germany. If you start in San Diego, all the signs are in Spanish, just like in Spain. By the time you get to Hollywood, everybody is vain, full of themselves, and think they're the most important influence in the world, just like Paris. Then when you get up to Silicon Valley, you find a population who is intent on technologically taking over the world, just like Germany. See? It's the same thing

Never Buy French

Even though the conclusions drawn by some English pub crawlers may be entertaining in their inconsistency, I have yet to meet a rude Englander... including the motorway police. I was driving back from work, and the inexpensive used Peugeot I bought to make it through the 6 months suddenly decided to throw a cam belt. I met a very helpful English woman, and two very helpful officers who helped get me to a garage.

It's a 2001, with over 100K miles. For the Japanese, that's just getting broken in. Over the last few years, I've seen many Ford and GM cars with well over 200K run fine. I thought the French couldn't be too far behind the US. Shortly after buying it, I got to the section in The Machine that Changed the World, where Womack and Jones point out that while the US is 20+ years behind the Japanese, Europe is 20+ years behind the US. I tried to console myself saying "but that was in the early 90's. Well... sometimes you just have to take the hit. From now on, I'm buying Japanese.

Terrorism Enforcement Bureaucracy

I was walking out of the Tube in London with my backpack somewhat full. I was stopped for a "random" search by a police guy. I thought: "Good. They're actually searching people who are the age and carrying the gear of a possible terrorist. My blue eyes are obviously not from an Islamic nation, but at least they're not stopping a grandma like in the US airports."

It took about 40 seconds to search my bags. Then the guy pulled out a document pad to document the search. FIVE MINUTES LATER, I was finally free to continue on my way.

I'm all about monitoring for terrorism, and at the airport and on the tube (especially in London), I'm more than happy to help, even if it takes six minutes. However, I want to help, not hinder. Once it was clear that I only had clothes, the officer should be free to monitor for other people. Instead, he had to manually write out my description,. including that I "was stopped under S44 62 Terrorism Act." Far from monitoring for terrorists, he spent six times as long looking at this paper pad, as he did inspecting for bombs. I asked why all the paperwork? He responded about a high profile legal case some time back, where somebody sued the govt.

I don't know the circumstances of that case, but does that dumb idiot realize that in suing the country, not only did he cause himself extended inconvenience from whatever the initial problem was, but he made it far more difficult for the govt to combat terrorism? Stupid people really need to get over their tender sensitivies to inconveniences, and stop such frivilous law suits that just make the world more inconvenient. If I were a terrorist, strategically acting to overthrow the West, I would consider that legal ruling a landslide victory for the cause of jihad. It makes Al Quada's operation so much easier.

Harry Potter

And since I'm in England, I got to see Harry Potter on opening night before the rest of the world! As always, this one is really good, but I think it's one of the best of the whole series.Definitely worth a go.

Macro-Lean vs. Micro-Lean

And since I'm in

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