Monday, October 31, 2005

The Value of the Military Skill Set - Part XIII

Part XIII - Constructive Plagerism Short advertisement before the main feature: Valour-IT Project details are here. Help fund computers and software for wounded service members, so they can use vioce activated technology to send emails and write. A worthy cause if I every heard of one....Thanks for your interest. Index to the Series: Part I: Initiative, marketing, sales, project planning and program management skills Part II: Auditing Skills Part III: Operations 24/7/365 Part IV: “Point Papers” Part V: Collateral Duties Part VI: The “Git ‘er done!” Factor Part VII: “Total Care” Part VIII: Communications in the Workplace Part IX: "Give a smart person with potential a chance" Part X: Process Engineering, Continuous Improvement, Total Quality Management, Total Quality Leadership, or what ever you call it. The bottom line title: Making “it” better Part XI: The Military's Supply System Part XII: “Red Blood or Red Ink” Part XIII: Constructive Plagerism Yep, that's right...plagerism. In any sort of management position, from the non-commissioned officer level to the top, we learn to scope out what the other person did/does in order to make our unit more effective. Is that bad? Well, certainly it's not a bad idea in an environment where there is no copyrighted material or trademark issue to worry about. In the "outside world," this translates into a set of eyes and ears that can be constantly tuned into articles, news clips, conferences, or conversations that have something of interest. Toss into that mix that we generally have no shame about asking "can I get a copy of that?" because we see two positive fallouts of the condition at a personal level, beyond the larger implications of the benfit to our employer: 1) We look like a more valuable asset when we come back and either present it, or implement it and 2)it certainly shortenes the time it will take us to "re-invent the wheel." You might call that being lazy. I see it as making more time available for other pursuits...:) What dis this look like in my career (and emulated by just about anyone else): It was November, and we had a big inspection coming in mid-February. I whad been in the billet for about 5 weeks and the CO asked for the Plan of Actions and Milestones (POA&M) for the upcoming major, shipwide inspection, INSURV. I paled, when I realized I hadn't had one turned over by the outgoing XO, but I said "I'll find out and get back to you, sir." The first call I made was to the Squadron Material Officer, and he told me of the ship in the squardon who had had one recently and had done well. Next item was to see where this ship was. Luckily, it was not at sea, but right there a few piers away. I hiked over, introduced myslef to the XO, and over a cup of coffe, asked for a copy of his POA&M. He had one copied and I was on my way back to the ship. The net result, we did very well, many thanks to the success of the other crew. We regularly spent time asking leading questions of our counterparts, looking for the "gouge" for all types of things, then we shared and things went well. How does this play out in real life? Two very astute Naval Aviators retired and used their working knowledge of the Navy's Tag Out system. In the OSHA/civilian terms, this is called "Lock out/Tag Out" and is a system by which you prevent people and equipment hazards while preforming maintenance by making sure everyone who needs to know knows not to turn things back on. The Navy system was developed after some hard lessons, but is very effective. By the way, it exceeds OSHA standars in it's implementation. These two smart men are not for hire, as they created their own successful company. You can see their product line, TagLink, here. In another case, as I worked with the PQS Development Group, they told me the story of a retired Navy Captain that came back to them and asked for some materials, so he could implement a personal qualification program for the company he worked for. Bottom line: "We" look for ways to make business easier by borrowing ideas. The ex-military person can not only bring to you a wealth of ideas from the time in, but then they are acclimated to keeping their sensors out for more of the same in your industry. It's a valuable resource for your company. Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Postand Outside the Beltway for the Traffic Jam! See Little Green Footballs for the Open Thread... Another "THANKS!" to The Political Teen for an Open Post...

Technical Eye Candy

How about a nice panoramic view from the top of Mt Everest? Maybe a scene from a small canyon during a white water rafting trip suits you better? Anyhow, while scanning the 'net to see if I had an orignal idea, I found someone else is using the term "blogvel" for online novels, and I tripped across Panoramas on the way. So, take a virtual vacation for a few minutes and see some pretty cool a climb up The Matterhorn or save the 24 hour Quantas flight and the jet lag for another time and see a sunset from the plaza in front of the Sydney Opera House. BTW, don't foget to look up and down, too. Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Every Self-Respecting Navy Guy Needs One of These

I spent last evening ravaging the magazine shelfs, reading several November issues. I enjoy CPU Magazine and look for that one first during my forays into Borders around the 20 something of the month. In the November issue of CPU, they had a short article on the Bionic Dolphin. No, it's not Flipper and Col. Austin merged, but a you can buy it (for $60K) real thing that will do about 55 mph on the surface and also do about 10 mph submerged. Two people sitting in tandem and it can boach the surface and slam back down and keep going. Update 11/1/2005: Bionic Dolphin on a trailer I'll have to start looking for a source of disposalbe income in that range. I feel the same as Capt Hiller (Will Smith) in "Independence Day." How about Subsunk and Chapomatic? Thing we can even talk Neptunus Lex into getting one? I think Skippy San could use one as the ultimate babe magnet in the far east, too. Of course, Cdr Salamander would need one... After a while, we'd have enough for a squadron, then we'd have to put someone in charge of operations. Hmmm...maybe not as much fun as I first figured. Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Marine SOCOM Unit?

Found on Little Green Footballs Open Thread... A link to an NRO article on Unconventional Marines Thanks to MUdville Gazette for the Open Post!

This Could Be Interesting...

What will those scientists think up next? How about remote control for humans? I heard someone on one of the radio talk shows discussing this yesterday and it sounded interesting enough to look up. Later in the evening, it was on another talk show, and the editor of Christian Computing Magazine was talking about the technology. Beyond being able to have your spouse make you get up and take the garbage out, it's also being looked at as the method by which more realism could be added to simulators, in particular, PC gaming. By making you feel off balance, the sim program could provide the sensation of the movement of the vehicle, complete with the g force acceleration. I vote for use restricted to simulators, just to curb any impluse by spouses to control their partner.... When this comes around, then Neptunus Lex will know we really get what he's writing about in this serial web novel "Rhythms." Part XXXV, the most recent entry is here (in case you haven't been enjoying this fine work of digital literature).

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Difference Between Bill Clinton and Harriet Miers

This AP article is ludicrious. Let me get this straight, a 60 some year old person is held accountable for the places her parents chose to send her to public school as a teenager?
"Harriet Miers spent her teens in an all-white high school far removed from the racial and social upheaval of the early 1960s, consumed instead with academics, tennis and even a stint as the school newspaper's assistant sports editor."
I don't know about you, but I'm not even 60 yet and I recall I never figured out where I would be at 60 when I was a teenager. I think daily life was a more important issue. I can just see it. The libs/Democrats figure a conversation something like this SHOULD have happened around a dining room table after dinner one night about 45-46 years ago: Harriet: "Dad, Mom, I'm concerned. One day, when George Bush nominates me for the Supreme Court bench, that where we are now living, in this way whitebread neighborhood, will significantly limit my understanding of the Constitution of the United States of America, because I haven't had to live in poverty, and amongst those people who are minorities. Can we move to a low income neighborhood, so I won't be denied my ultimate purpose as a lawyer?" Mr Miers: "Sure, we will get right on that. Tonight go up to your room and record this conversation in your diary and remember which one it's in, so you can save it for when you'll need to produce it for the Congressional Hearings in 2005. Also, put all your clothes and shoes on bags to donate to the Salvation Army. I'll take them there tomorrow instead of going to work, then I'll start looking for a house." Mrs Miers: (Says nothing, just beams with delight) Then consider Bill Clinton, who signed up for ROTC in order to avoid the Draft, but then withdrew, explaining in a letter that it might hurt his future political viability. Then don't forget, after a number of people vouched for the letter, it disappeared, just like the Rose Law Firm files in the 90's. So, there you have it: Bill Clinton was working "thoughtfully" towards a long term political life back as far as his college years. My analysis: Some people just live life, and some work their hardest to manipulate it (evidence: Bill and Hillary Clinton). My question on relevance of this this all: When does where you have lived make a difference in your ability to read the Constitution and determine how it applies? Unless the expectation is you will warp the interpretation based on your own life experiences, then it is an irrelevant issue. Judges are placed to read an interpret the law, not to create it, but then...just one more bit of firm evidence on the death of knowledge in this country, and I'm sure the NEA and every liberal is cheering for more ignorance..... Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

You Always Hated How You Never Could Get Your Rubik's Cube Right...

From today's Open Thread at Little Green Footballs comes a Lego device, that when coupled with a computer can put your Rubik's Cube back to like when you ripped it out of it's box...

It Sure Beats the Celluose Type for Airplanes

I've been following the whole "bucky" thing since "buckyballs." Now, something with very intriguing applications: A new kind of paper.... I wonder how well it folds and if "paper" airplanes will be banned as potentially really, really dangerous weapons in the classroom...

Go Figure...More "Peace Dividend" from the Cold War

Wow...who would have every envisioned this happeneing? Note to kids still trying to decide what to major in in college: Make a note that easy to make it through majors like Engilsh and History sure won't help you land a job like the one discussed in the linked article... Isn't that interesting??????

Our Benevolent Government at Work

The Information Age certainly has it's advantages for the private business sector, but, as I blogged before, the Government seems to find ways to shall we say "leverage" advances in technology before there is law to regulate some it a fallout of unintended consequences. I admit, it's an exceptionally fine balance between safety of the people and the ability to experience freedom, as intended, by our Founding Fathers..... Anyhow, I just found Space Daily yesterday, and then when scanning the infosphere this morning, I found this article..... Just stash it in your memeory banks for another time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Today is Remarkable Battle Day

October 25th. No year attached, just a day of the year. As I researched some connections I have to this day in 1998, I have discovered it's interesting how so many battles of historical note happened on this day. I am most attached due to this day due to my Naval career, which included a tour aboard USS CARR (FFG-52). Gunner's Mate Paul Henry Carr, USN, of Checotah, OK, is the namesake for the vessel. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions aboard the USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS (DE-413) at the Battle Off Samar on October 25th, 1944. My post last year, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the last great sea battle held in the history of mankind is here. The best book I have read on this battle, which brought together many first person accounts was "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by James Hornfischer. I highly recommend it. Walking backwards on the timeline of history to October 25th, 1854. The Crimean War was raging and the 13th Hussars of British cavalry rode to their deaths and immortality at Balaklava in the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. The last stop on this October 25th journey is a day of special significance is the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. The recollection of this battle is usually provided in the form of the stirring and often quoted call to the troops to rise to the challenge of the day before them in Shakespeare's play "Henry V:"
This day is called the feast of Crispian: He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars. And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.' Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember with advantages What feats he did that day: then shall our names. Familiar in his mouth as household words Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
I'm amazed that these several battles of major significance would all fall on this day in history. Each battle can be rightly described as courageous, filled with honor and sacrifice for a higher calling, that have been noted by history as something out of the ordinary. That's today's history lesson. Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post! Update 10/26/2005: Check out ANYDAY Today in History to see what happened on any day of the year!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

TQM and al-Queda

I know about TQM and "off-sites." They are special in their own way. Anyhow, it seems the Dr. Demming methodology has been adopted by the terrorists and al-Zarqawi reports he got a memo:
"Anyway, I’m in the middle of Xeroxing some ammonia nitrate receipts Friday morning, thinking about what I needed to pack for the weekend family trip to Damascus, when I get another memo: From: A. al-Zawahiri To: All Associates Subject: Mandatory Weekend Retreat"
It's worth the read, if for no other reason than to understand how universal the feeling are about some of the TQM driven meetings.... Oh, make sure the kiddies aren't shoulder surfing, and depending on where you work the memo might not be work safe, so plan accordingly before you click the link to get "the rest of the story." Hat tip to Little Green Footballs for the lead to IowaHawk. Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post opportunity!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

If Things Are So Bad in Iraq.....

The HBM/MSM constantly bombards the media channels with how bad it is in Iraq. If that's the case consider the first person stories I discuss below. I read many of the blogs over here on my left hand side regularly, and I have noticed in the past year, the stories the boots on the ground tell have transisitoned from mostly combat stories to mostly one such as Thunder 6 writes about on Oct 6th about selfless action. The Media of days gone by hangs on every death of our service members, but fials to tell us about how the people in Iraq have seen something special, a thing called democracy, and selfless action of men and women, not only from the pool of American citizen, but those from other nations, who came to the US and enlisted in our Armed Forces, in order to give back to us. The lack of "balance" weighs on me. People on the left have these cute bumper stickers on their cars such as "Commit Random Acts of Kindness" and "Visualize World Peace," yet they are constrained to trumpet their ideas by covering some chrome or tinted high impact plastic, as they drive to their jobs and coffee shops and book store and malls, safe and sound with in the borders of America. The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and countless federal agency people live through 130 degree F summers wearing about 70 pounds of armor, water and ammunition, so the people of the Middle East might see there is a path that Martin Luther King, Jr and Ghandi would have mankind pursue. It wears on them. Many have blogged about it, but not as consisely, and deeply transparently as Thunder 6 did just days ago. The California Army National Guard Officer also graces his readership with his response to one of those people I spoke of above, the bumper sticker action campaign type in this post. In that post, you are allowed a window into his motivations for his service, as he refutes the anonymous (read: Cowardly and most likely, I'd guess, never put on a military uniform) writer's supposition that T6 is part of an empire building entity. Quite honestly, I'd think the liberals amoung us would rejoice at this sort of independent thinking, as well as revel in the simple moments of a man who is highly skilled in the art of war, taking time to build a relationship with a few young men half way around the world, and them make sure the shy girl also received a gift, let alone him noticing she gave it to her little brother. But, then that's just me thinking those moments are changing history forever, for the better. A personal testament to the power of these words was posted in the comments on the "Selfless Action" post:
"from a frenchman trying to understanding our complex world. before I was stupidingly thinking that you were all poor soldiers going to be killed in an useless and unjustified war. now I've changed thanks to your blog and realize through your emotions and humanity that all is not so simple. thanks a lot and long life patrick"
Don't just read T6's writings, select a few of the links on the side for the Army and Marines who blog, and get some balance in your view of the world to offset the lack of same in the HBM....