Monday, January 30, 2017

Human Factors Engineering During the Age of Aquarius

From the Marginal Revolution - - 

"“There is the problem of designing and fitting a spacesuit to accommodate their particular biological needs and functions,” explained one NASA official during the fall of 1960.  The Apollo spacesuit, added another spokesperson more than a decade later, “would be damaging to the soft structures of the feminine body.”  There was also the issue of bodily waste.  By the mid-1960s the space agency had already spent millions of dollars developing a urinary collection device that slid over each crewman’s penis, but the female anatomy, NASA administrators claimed, presented additional engineering difficulties in the weightlessness of space.  “There was no way to manage women’s waste,” argued NASA’s Director of Life Sciences, David Winter. “If you can’t handle a basic physiological need like that, you can’t go anywhere.”  The national media became obsessed with this particular issue, publicizing NASA administrators’ concerns to the broader American public."

What Our Mayors Think About Trump's Infrastructure Plan

Link to the Politico article.

Industrial Engineering for Slowness

Sunday, January 29, 2017

NACTO Global Street Design Guide is Available

Simple, clear plan diagrams communicating instantly the accommodation of people moving that could be achieved when a shift from a car oriented to multi-modal street is pursued / NACTO

The Book We Hope Steve Bannon Doesn't Read

Engineers Always Get the Hardest Jobs

Why all the fuss? Immigration is good for U.S. - SMU

Why all the fuss? Immigration is good for U.S. - SMU

Project Sansar

One in Seven Global Citizen is a Migrant

"Migration has become a defining issue for development, and there is substantial scope for strengthening cross-sectoral collaboration and knowledge sharing on this growing agenda. With over 200 million international migrants and over 700 million internal migrants within countries, nearly 1 out of every 7 persons in the world is a migrant. South-South migration is currently larger than South-North migration, and is likely to continue growing rapidly. In the coming decades, demographic changes, persistent income disparities, declining communication and transportation costs, and increasing access to information, will strengthen the impetus towards migration. Climate change also has the potential to displace large sections of the population in some parts of the world.
Migrant remittances provide a lifeline to the poor in many developing countries. Estimated to have reached about $400 billion in 2012, remittances have exceeded the volume of official aid flows to developing countries. In many countries, remittances are equivalent to more than 10 percent of GDP and constitute the largest source of foreign exchange. A country’s diaspora can be a major source of investment, technology, business contacts, and development assistance. At the same time, the loss of skills associated with migration can affect the delivery of basic services in the countries of origin, especially small countries. In destination countries, migrants can be an important economic resource, but they may also compete with native workers and affect cultural and national identity. Along the way, migrants need to be protected against fraud, abuse and exploitation."

The Optimism of Automation

From Urbanomics -

"Automation does indeed substitute for labor—as it is typically intended to do. However, automation also complements labor, raises output in ways that lead to higher demand for labor, and interacts with adjustments in labor supply. Indeed, a key observation of the paper is that journalists and even expert commentators tend to overstate the extent of machine substitution for human labor and ignore the strong complementarities between automation and labor that increase productivity, raise earnings, and augment demand for labor... The frontier of automation is rapidly advancing, and the challenges to substituting machines for workers in tasks requiring flexibility, judgment, and common sense remain immense. In many cases, machines both substitute for and complement human labor. Focusing only on what is lost misses a central economic mechanism by which automation affects the demand for labor: raising the value of the tasks that workers uniquely supply."

8-80 Cities

A Paragraph to Ponder

From the New York Times today by Danielle Ivory and Julie Creswell - Trump Sees a Wall, Contractors See Windfalls:

"An infrastructure build-out could also increase the cost of cement and other materials, say analysts.  Currently, the United States is operating at 90 percent of its capacity levels, estimates Garik Shmois, an analyst at Longbow Research of Independence, Ohio.  "We're going to be effectively sold out by 2018 based on current projects," Mr. Shmois said.  "So any additional period of growth, such as an infrastructure cycle, will put upward pressure on prices.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Trump Wall Might Be Shorter Than Planned

One of the Very Best Engineering Movies - Hidden Figures

Dream Big Trailer

The Three Lines of Our Future

Productivity and labor force participation dominant the trajectory of the third - GDP growth.

Air Force Tests IBM's Brain-Inspired Chip as an Aerial Tank Spotter

Air Force Tests IBM's Brain-Inspired Chip as an Aerial Tank Spotter: The U.S. Air Force Research Lab is exploring whether brain-inspired computer chips could give satellites, aircraft, and drones the ability to automatically identify vehicles.

An Engineer Thinks About Four Years of Trump

After the first week of President Trump, I thought it would be good idea to outline my thoughts on dealing with the next four years.
  1. Information exhaustion on what 45 is saying, doing, and/or tweeting is real.  Disconnect and take information free breaks. Look for information fee zones in public spaces - - like a museum.
  2. Pick up a basic macroeconomics textbook.  Read the chapters on international trade, economic growth, taxes, and inflation.  It seems these economic themes will dominate the news and outlook over the next four years.
  3. Watch for updates on what is planned for infrastructure.  Who gets what and where will be interesting to watch and understand.
  4. Your 401(k) is probably driven by equity markets and what is happening in the global stock markets.  But the next four years will be impacted by the bond markets.  What are the bond markets telling you about the future?  The bond markets are the ones in charge.
  5. Watch two key growth metrics - - demographics and productivity.  With retiring baby boomers, look for less people in the work force with this same group buying less stuff.  In terms of productivity, look for new gizmos and whatnots that allows you do get more stuff done - - something on the same scale as CAD or your smart phone. The national growth trajectory is a function of these two variables, regardless of what 45 says or does or doesn't do.
  6. Watch The Wall construction as a case study in terms of project promises versus project realities.  How long will it take to construct The Wall and what is the per mile life-cycle cost?
  7. History tells us that populist revolutions always end up delivering the sharpest fall in living standards to the the people who are their biggest supporters.  This will be important in 45's fourth year.
  8. The strength of the dollar is important the next four years.  Watch the dollar versus other currencies.  Might be a good fours years to travel overseas!!!  If your livelihood depends on exports in the era of a strengthening dollar, you might want to swim to the shallow end of the pool.
  9. Watch the federal deficit.  This might go off the charts over the next four years.
  10. The rising star over the next four years will be the U.S. Constitution.  Adams, Madison, and Jefferson had someone very like 45 in mind when they designed the Constitution.  The Constitution will be a welcome calming influence over the next four years.

Echo Comes to Construction

AI Coming to Raspberry

A Paragraph to Ponder

A study published in 2015 by the Brookings Institute, an American think-tank, reckoned that the 11.5m American jobs counted as manufacturing work in 2010 were outnumbered almost two to one by jobs in manufacturing-related services, bringing the total to 32.9m. A British study conducted by the Manufacturing Metrics Experts Group in 2016 came to a similar conclusion: that 2.6m production jobs supported another 1m in pre-production activities and 1.3m in post-production jobs.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Trade With Mexico - Think About Corona

Preview of Super Bowl Ad

Dallas - Fort Worth: Knowledge Hub Desert

The Seven Fatal Flaws of Thinking

A timely review - from Winning the Brain Game: Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking.
  1. Leaping - Leaping to solutions, jumping to conclusions or brainstorming in an instinctive or reflexive way almost never leads to an elegant solution to a complex problem.
  2. Fixation - Fixation is the umbrella term for our deeply-grooved thinking patterns - mental models, mindsets, biases, assumptions - that can make it hard for us to think different.
  3. Over-Thinking - Over-thinking is the art of complicating matters, and causing problems that weren't even there to begin with, which we tend to do because our brains abhor uncertainty.
  4. Satisficing - Satisficing is Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon's term for our tendency to glom onto solutions that are easy and obvious but mediocre, thus failing to solve our problem in a creative way.
  5. Downgrading - Downgrading is a close cousin of satisficing and is a formal revision of a goal in what amounts to preemptive surrender, simply so that we declare victory.  No one likes to fail.
  6. Not-Invented-Here (NIH) - NIH means if we don't come up with the idea, it won't work.  We naturally reject strife and dismiss ideas simply because we didn't think of them ourselves.
  7. Self-Censoring - Self-censoring is the mindless act of rejecting our own ideas, usually out of fear before they see the light of day.  It is the deadliest of the fatal thinking flaws, because it stifles creativity.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Modular Construction Infographic

modular vs traditional construction infographic

Messing With Texas

From Vice News  on the Trump Wall -

"But even those price tags might underestimate the actual cost. The complicating factor, as many others have already pointed out, is that Trump will have to acquire much of the land for the wall from private property owners in Texas, which could end up costing a fortune in legal fees."

American Copper Buildings - A Story of Resiliency

Project Personalities

From HBR:

"A useful way to think about teams with the right mix of skills and personalities is to consider the two roles every person plays in a working group: a functional role, based on their formal position and technical skill, and a psychological role, based on the kind of person they are. Too often, organizations focus merely on the functional role and hope that good team performance somehow follows. This is why even the most expensive professional sports teams often fail to perform according to the individual talents of each player: There is no psychological synergy. A more effective approach (like the mission to Mars example) focuses as much on people’s skills as on their personalities."

"I'm walking here!!!! I'm walkng here!!!!"

Great post on what it might be like in a driverless car and human interface world.  Probably more like Blade Runner than Midnight Cowboy.

Heard on NPR this Morning

90% of Ford's profitability is concentrated in their truck line.

The Era of Trump Tolls

Johnny Carson Management Tip of the Day

From the great one - - "To be successful in the United States, you have to be successful in the Central Time Zone."

Also applies to politics - - Trump was successful in the CTZ.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Clothing Manufactures Might Come Back to the United States, but . . .

Robot Sewing Demonstration from Sewbo, Inc. from Jon Zornow on Vimeo.

Graph of the Week

The Trump Wall in 6 Minutes

Where Populist Movements meet Technological Realities

UTA Looks at TxDOT Inspection with Drones

Have We Hit Peak Idea?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A List of Trump's 50 National Infrastructure Projects

Engineers Need to Explain Design Like Landscape Architects

Every Strategic Plan Should Have This Statement

From Secretary of State and civil engineer Rex Tillerson - -

"The main thing is the main thing, and the main thing for [fill in the blank] is [fill in the blank]"

Driverless Hits the Road

An Overview of What Low Cost Education Looks Like

The Schumer Infrastructure Plan

Monday, January 23, 2017

Is Data the New Oil?

I thought water was the new oil.  Either way, good LinkedIn post from Kshitij Kumar:

"Just as oil is a very valuable and expensive commodity, so has data quickly become a very valuable commodity. Information is power. Data provides information when processed properly, and therefore is capable of providing power.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are both applied to data and can be used to generate value. AI without data is like a car without oil - each might look very cool, but neither will function and is practically useless on its own.

From Customer Experience management to generating targeted advertising information, from providing the Next Best Offer for a customer browsing an organization's website, to predicting and preventing a fraud event before it happens for a financial organization, data can be used to generate immense value.

Data is the new oil because it is invaluable, powers pretty much everything in the online world, and will soon power all aspects of our lives. Those who learn to harness the power of data will benefit immensely from it - monetarily and otherwise, just like those who learnt to harness oil benefited from it."

When Economists Debate Infrastructure Investment

When Change Becomes Catastrophe

The current issue of the Economist has an excellent profile of Peter Navarro - the head of President Trump's new National Trade Council.  Navarro has promised "a seismic and transformative shift in trade policy."  The critical issue that we face is what policies the new administration will put in place to increase manufacturing employment and reduce the trade deficit.  From the article:

"When manufacturing production moves overseas and then returns, productivity has usually risen in the interim; so far fewer jobs come back than left.  Messrs Edwards and Lawrence find than even though the trade deficit in manufactured goods in 2010 was about two-and-a-half times what it was in 1998, the number of lost manufacturing jobs the deficit represented rose only very slightly, from 2.5m to 2.7m.  In any case, if China lost low-skilled jobs, manufacturers would relocate to other low-cost emerging economies, not America, says Eswar Prasad of the Brookings Institute, a think-thank."

Before we start down the trade policy change path, it is important to remember the words of Nassim (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable) Taleb - - "Don't mess with complex systems, because we don't understand them."

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable Fragility" (Incerto) by [Taleb, Nassim Nicholas]


Sunday, January 22, 2017

First Time the Word Infrastructure Used in Inaugural Address

How to Count a Crowd

What Happens to Global Footprints in a World of Walls?

Construction equipment maker Caterpillar is just one example - - the firm is designed and managed for a globalizing world.  What happens to their financial strength and opportunities if their global footprints turn to dust in a nationalizing world?

The Foresight of Jack Welch

Legendary GE CEO Jack Welch once said of businesses, "If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."  Every city has monuments to this - - the old Blockbuster, Sears, and Macy's buildings constantly remind us of the risk of getting blindsided by the likes of Netflix and Amazon.  The old yellow cab is probably up next - - the outside forces of Uber should be visible in the rear view mirror of every cab in the US.

The Welch observation also holds for politics.  The negative forces of globalization produced a rate of external change (i.e., job loss and community decay) greater than the rate of internal change (i.e., job training and re-investment in regions and communities).  The politics of old is giving way to the politics of new across the globe - - outside > inside is an important inequality to monitor.

Can We Get Organizations and People Moving?

Good article on the Newgeography website relating to housing affordability.  One thing that would potentially help with inequality, regional re-investment, and free and fair trade is increased mobility of companies and people.  It seems we have an opportunity to design programs and tax schemes that could take advantage of lower cost housing regions.

Keeping an Eye on the Performance and Cost of the Trump Wall

What Keeps CEOs Up at Night

In my mind, the #1 source of sleepless nights has to be the uncertain role technology will play in disrupting your industry.  The music industry illustrates this perfectly.

Texas Border Wars

Engineering a New Tumbleweed

Engineering Looks at Instagram


Econofact might be an important source of economic data in the coming years.  Non-partisan data and information will be at a premium - - I hope not, but I am getting a little concerned.

Infrastructure Systemic Risk

Venice Backstage

Book Recommendation

I enjoyed Gillian Tindall's The Tunnel Through Time: A New Route for an Old London Journey. The book explores the new Crossrail Tube line underground in the context of the history of London and human existence over the line.  Given the social, political, cultural, and economic history of London, the Crossrail Tube line rests over layers of fascinating history.  The illustrated maps show the route today and what was over the line in say 1500.  The maps illustrate an important point for engineering - - understanding transportation needs and projects has a path through history.

A fun read!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Federal Walls vs Texas Doors

This will be an issue in the coming months as The Wall debate heats up.  Texas has a huge economic stake in trade with Mexico.

Find Out About Your Congressional District

All Politics is Local

Are America’s Cities Doomed to Go Bankrupt?

Are America’s Cities Doomed to Go Bankrupt? - - the idea of dividing cities into infrastructure "profit and loss" zones based primarily on population density is interesting.

No Sign of Stagnation

From Building the Skyline by Jason Barr:
"The new One World Trade Center will have the fastest cars in the Western Hemisphere, operating at a top speed of 2,000 feet a minute, though a relative snail compared with the Burj Khalifa, which delivers its tenants to any of its 164 floors at a rate of 3,543 feet per minute.
…Maximum [elevator] speed has increased at an average annual rate of 1.7% since 1913."
Product Details

Re-engineering Old Retail Experiences

Friday, January 20, 2017

Is Engineering an Elite Profession?

The word elite is much in vogue these days around the globe.  The word highlights are present conflict between the forces of global populism (i.e., mainly non-college educated working class) versus the notion of ruling elites (i.e., college educated in mainly service sector professions - education, government, banking, medicine, law, and engineering).  This tension and conflict will undoubtedly play out over the coming decades.  Technology will be one of the key drivers of this tension - - advanced robotics, AI advances, and increasing automation will continue to put pressure on job creation in traditional working class jobs.  Engineering will be at the pointy end of the spear on this issue.  We have always been the designers and builders of disruptive job and career changing machines and processes.  It is important that engineers remember an important point - - technology revolutions always take longer than predicted (i.e., self-driving vehicles), but arrive faster than anticipated.

A good article on elites from The Economist.  From the article:

"In China, the influence of engineers is partly explained by history and ideology. In a country where education was buffeted by the tempests of Maoism, engineering was a safer field of study than most. In fact, communist regimes of all stripes have long had a weakness for grandiose engineering projects. The Soviet Union, which also produced plenty of engineer-politicians (including Boris Yeltsin), wanted to reverse the northward flow of some great Russian rivers, for example.

The presence of so many engineer-politicians in China goes hand in hand with a certain way of thinking. An engineer's job, at least in theory, is to ensure things work, that the bridge stays up or the dam holds. The process by which projects get built is usually secondary. That also seems true of Chinese politics, in which government often rides roughshod over critics. Engineers are supposed to focus on the long term; buildings have no merit if they will collapse after a few years. So it is understandable that an authoritarian country like China, where development is the priority and spending on infrastructure is colossal, should push engineers to the top."
 Image result for pictures of automated manufacturing

Trinity River Authority on Instagram

The Arrival of 45

The 45th president

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Will Trump Focus on Climate Change Infrastructure Resiliency?

From economist Matthew Khan:

"I am listening to Jimi Hendrix and I'm trying to think about predictions I'm willing to make about environmental regulation under President Trump.  Both Don Trump and I both lived in New York City in the early 1970s.  This was a time when Manhattan was dirty, dangerous and disillusioned.   Real estate prices were low.  Don Trump has made huge amounts of $ as Manhattan has become a more livable "green city".  He knows what the capitalization effect is and knows that "location,location, location" mantra of real estate both means a property's proximity to employment and cultural centers and quality of life hubs such as central park. This logic implies that President Trump will not gut regulations that protect the air and water. I actually think he will invest in increasing our nation's climate resilience because he owns so much coastal real estate!  Self interest will nudge him to invest in adaptation!  (sounds familiar?)."

Site Scan

Could Domino's Tracker Improve the Delivery of Public Infrastructure

If it works for pizza, why not the water line project in the front of your house?  Domino's Tracker allows customers to follow their pizza from the oven to their door - trust and transparency to a process where "Have they forgotten my order?" historically has been a key concern.  Why not give customers and citizens the same service and piece of mind with a click in terms of the infrastructure projects in their community?

A Paragraph to Ponder

From The Financial Page of the current issue of the New Yorker - - Big-Ticket Transit:

"Conservatives often reflexively dismiss infrastructure spending as a boondoggle, and liberals, perhaps in reaction, often reflexively defend it, no matter how wasteful.  But the pool of dollars available for something like public transit is limited.  The result of extravagant spending on subways and the like is that we end up with fewer of them than other cities.  For the price of what New York spent on Calatrava's PATH station alone, Stockholm is building nineteen kilometres of subway track and a six-kilometre commuter-rail tunnel.  Worse, cost overruns fuel public skepticism toward government, making it harder to invest the next time around.  It's good for government to do big things, great things.  But it's better if it can do them under budget."

Related image

Think About Animated GIFs For Your Next Presentation

45 Lays Down His KPI

Growth in the 3 to 4 percent range.

Treasury Recommends 40 Infrastructure Projects

Link to the list of the forty infrastructure projects that have the largest economic payoff.

Cedarville Engineering Group - 3D Reality Modeling

Link to information about the technology and firm - - very interesting.

Why Don't We Have a Presidential Engineering Adviser?

Spring 2017 For Trump Infrastructure Plan

Entering the Age of Autonomous Construction Equipment

Link to an article regarding the current state of affairs regarding self-driving construction equipment.  Self-driving is probably here in widespread numbers next decade.  I think people are a little off on the anticipated order when it arrives.  My guess - - (1.) Mining, (2.) Agricultural, (3.) Long-Haul Transportation - - Marine and Rail before Truck, (4.) Construction, (5.) Uber/Taxi, and finally (6.) Individual Auto.

Image result for pictures of self-driving mining equipment

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Is There a Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal?

From Vox:

"Many Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have long been open to “paying for” infrastructure spending in a very Republican-friendly way — effectively giving corporations with large piles of cash stashed tax-free overseas a long-term tax cut that raises some revenue in the short term, by allowing them to repatriate that money at a reduced tax rate. The Obama administration was dead-set against this.

But if Trump wants to do a deal, there is probably a deal to be done. Whatever its wisdom, the signing of a big bipartisan infrastructure bill would probably lend some sheen to Trump’s administration. Since the election, however, the Trump transition has mostly been touting an infrastructure funding plan built around tax incentives for public-private partnerships, which Democrats are more likely to see as an opportunity to accuse Trump of betraying his campaign promises than as grounds for compromise."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Link to the company website.  The world of acoustical engineering + deep learning = a better understanding of troubled machines and preventive maintenance.  Will sound/signal recognition be a key tool in the asset management toolbox this decade?

"This is B***S***" - - Should You Swear In Front of a Client?

Good post on the science of swearing.  From the article:

"Therefore, instead of thinking of swearing as uniformly harmful or morally wrong, more meaningful information about swearing can be obtained by asking what communication goals swearing achieves. Swear words can achieve a number of outcomes, as when used positively for joking or storytelling, stress management, fitting in with the crowd, or as a substitute for physical aggression. Recent work by Stephens et al. even shows that swearing is associated with enhanced pain tolerance. This finding suggests swearing has a cathartic effect, which many of us may have personally experienced in frustration or in response to pain. Despite this empirical evidence, the positive consequences of swearing are commonly disregarded in the media. Here is an opportunity for psychological scientists to help inform the media and policymakers by clearly describing the range of outcomes of swearing, including the benefits."

Is the Trump Style Infrastructure Plan DOA?

Populist Water Quality

Monday, January 16, 2017

Find all 58 Tower Cranes

Management Idea

Think about ending every staff/project meeting with a question - "Tell me something I didn't know."

Graph of the Week

The Era of the Side Hustle

The Leadership Secrets of General Mattis

My compilation from The Mattis Way of War: An Examination of Operational Art in Task Force 58 and 1st Marine Division:
  • Be a polymath - he had a love of history, leadership and the art of war.  We live in a multidisciplinary world with multidisciplinary problems in search of multidisciplinary solutions. 
  • Humble beginnings produce humble leaders.  Don't forget where you came from.
  • He was a man of many hats during his military career.  Seek out new opportunities and experiences in your career.  You can never have too many hat experiences in our career.
  • Develop "Brain Books" - - reference material to get new people and employees up to speed quickly.
  • Right people in/Wrong people out - - Good to Great Approach to management and leadership
  • Understand history and historical context of decision making - - gives you mental models that you can apply imaginatively.  History helps with practicing informed boldness.
  • Small staff size.  Reduces bureaucratic tenancies and speeds up decision making.  Remember that small staff size hurts lateral communications.
  • Create fraternities of shared risk and common vision.  Creating harmony and trust are key leadership functions.
  • Think conduits of speed when it comes to communication and decision making.
  • Visualize success across the entire organization - - they have to see and understand the success story.  If you need to order 6,000 Legos to visualize a battlefield - - order 6,000 Legos (great story in the book about this!!!).
  • Achieve speed through logistics.  Speed and risk are interrelated.  Speed is a cultural attribute and it can be developed.
  • Relationships with employees should be modeled in terms of teacher/scholar versus superior/inferior or master/servant.
  • Leaders coach and not command.
  • Delegate responsibility - - to the lowest possible levels.
  •  Mattis thinks in terms of two types of general officers - - ones that are briefed by their staff and ones that brief their staff on events.
  • Organizational messaging means everyone needs to understand organizational intent.
  • Command and feedback versus command and control for effective leadership.
  • Read - - get your staff and employees to read.  Reading widely allows you to learn through others' experiences.
  • War and business is a human endeavor - - understand the human terrain.
Image result for pictures of general mattis

Understanding Star Wars in One Chart

Is Driving Rule or Skilled Based?

Our driverless future will be interesting and challenging during certain weather conditions - - the recent national ice storm is one example.  How will the driving algorithm handle icy roads?  Will it have the truck just pull over?  Could an algorithm drive and react like this driver?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

How Will Trump Handle Out of Control Pet Medical Costs?

2017 - People Coordinating Transportation Resources in Real-time

Seattle Does Transit

HSBC Report on the Global Oil Outlook

Link to the report.

NCTCOG Looks at Our Driverless Future

Introducing Uber Movement

Available March 2017

Forty Data Analysis Techniques for Engineers

Link to a good list.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Feel The Bern!!

The latest on Bernie Madoff from Business Insider -

"Bernie really was a successful businessman with quite original insights into the market, and he's continued applying his business instincts in prison. At one point, he cornered the hot chocolate market. He bought up every package of Swiss Miss from the commissary and sold it for a profit in the prison yard. He monopolized hot chocolate! He made it so that if you wanted any, you had to go through Bernie."

Image result for feel the bern photography

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why Doesn't Television Look to the Future?

From Newgeography -

"Looking beyond recent elections, we can to [sic] detect a backward-looking trend in television, in programmes such as Call the MidwifeDownton AbbeyMad MenEndeavour, or the new Netflix series, The Crown.  In politics and popular culture, many seem to be happiest when living in the past."

California Drought Update

This Is Market Street

Voice Technology - Transforming the AEC Industry

Imagine the construction industry with the ability to talk to computers.

Can You Name the 5 Types of Cities in the Populist Era?

Image Recognition Coming to the AEC Industry -

Divergent Transportation Approaches - Texas versus the Feds

Old Engineers

The current issue of the Economist has a special section on lifelong learning - a paragraph to ponder:

"Fortunately, there is some good news to go with the bad. Psychologists distinguish between “fluid intelligence”, which is the ability to solve new problems, and “crystallised intelligence”, which roughly equates to an individual’s stock of accumulated knowledge. These reserves of knowledge continue to increase with age: people’s performance on vocabulary and general-knowledge tests keeps improving into their 70s. And experience can often compensate for cognitive decline. In an old but instructive study of typists ranging in age from 19 to 72, older workers typed just as fast as younger ones, even though their tapping speed was slower. They achieved this by looking further ahead in the text, which allowed them to keep going more smoothly.

What does all this mean for a lifetime of continuous learning? It is encouraging so long as people are learning new tricks in familiar fields. “If learning can be assimilated into an existing knowledge base, advantage tilts to the old,” says Mr Salthouse. But moving older workers into an entirely new area of knowledge is less likely to go well."

What Your 401k Won't Help You With

Incarceration Rates - Incarceration Trends - Vera Institute of Justice

Incarceration Rates - Incarceration Trends - Vera Institute of Justice

NCTCOG is Thinking About Autonomous Future

From the agenda of the Regional Mobility Council of the North Central Texas Council of Government on January 12, 2017:

"Vehicle technology is advancing that may result in the replacement of certified transit bus operators and truck drivers with commercial drivers' licenses. These employees could be replaced with lower qualified “pilots” or eliminated completely. Similar to previous North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) work with the aviation industry regarding airplane pilots, aircraft mechanics, and air traffic controllers, this item would initiate a conversation and advance a needs assessment that evaluates changes in these industries and possible implications to these employees. It is likely this initiative could be part of a larger coalition of other interested parties. It is anticipated that the RTC would engage the NCTCOG Workforce Development Board and companion boards of Dallas and Tarrant Counties."
Image result for picture of self driving bus