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Mesmerizing Machine

As you study the blue ball machine, it is easy to see how you can be mesmerized by a process that doesn’t actually do anything. See if you can find the part where the ball replaces the worker’s head. Then find the little sign that every now and then flashes NO. It never says yes

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Visualize in KIWI 1.5 – Available Now!

Speed and agility is more important than ever as the demand for M&S increases. KIWI 1.5 allows you to easily select and compare parameters estimates and diagnostic plots across multiple candidate models in one view to make decisions quickly and confidently, and delivers high quality graphs to inform team decision making and put in regulatory documents- all formatted, all validated!

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Get over it!

Brené Brown is a researcher at the University of Houston who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.* She speaks to many different audiences, including corporations and universities. Often, the person arranging a presentation timidly suggests that it might be better if she does not mention vulnerability or shame in her presentation. When asked what they want to hear about, the reply is “innovation, creativity, and change.” Her emphatic retort is that, “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change!” To learn more, watch her second TEDTalk, Listening to Shame, here:

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It’s not gloom and doom if it helps to frame the problem.

I know, I know — you don’t want to read another doom and gloom blog. But, in a recent article in the National Review* (link is no longer available), Peter Thiel does an excellent job of linking the desperate necessity of advancements in technology and science with the broader societal crises we are now experiencing. Thiel posits that there is a mistaken, but nearly universal, background assumption about easy progress that underlies our unwillingness to tackle difficult problems.

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What if the constants we take for granted are not really constant?

Seems like every time we learn something new, whether it is in biology or cosmology, we learn something else that just makes us sit back and say Wow. So it is with a recent story in The Economist about new information regarding one of the universal “constants” alpha.

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Lean Production

I have been reading The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production (1), by James Womack and others from MIT’s International Motor Vehicle Program (Content no longer available) research team. This book caused a sensation 20 years ago with its description of the Toyota Production System. The blurb on the book’s back cover says, “The hallmarks of lean production are teamwork, communication, and efficient use of resources. The results are remarkable cars with one-third the defects, built in half the factory space, using half the man-hours.”

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Conceptual Schemas

The central focus of MBR&D is not the mathematical equations but rather the conceptual synthesis process that integrates all available information and rational extrapolations to better understand drug pharmacology in the context of the disease process.

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How a tax begat bebop.

During World War 2, a federal excise tax was imposed on supper clubs to raise funds from their wealthy patrons. According to Eric Felton in The Wall Street Journal, this so-called cabaret tax imposed a 30% tax at venues that featured dancing to a live band and served food. Clubs that provided instrumental music with no dancing were exempt. Within 5 years, the big band sound was dead, replaced by “a new and undanceable jazz performed primarily by small instrumental groups – bebop. . ..” The cabaret tax was finally eliminated in 1965, but by then the rock-and-roll revolution was well underway.

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Optimism in a time of pessimism.

Back in 1974, Stewart Brand’s advice was to “stay hungry, stay foolish,” as a way of bringing a beginner’s mind to new challenges. He still follows that advice, and he now says, “The phrase allows you to open your mind and explore. It means putting aside the explanations provided by social constructs and ideologies.”

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Kinda like standing in front of a development team, huh?

G.H. Hardy* said, “A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns. And just as in poetry and painting, the mathematician’s patterns must be beautiful. Beauty is the first test,” he said. “There is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.”

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