Archive | culture

Rudolph and the reality of reindeer

Parents: don’t let your children read this article… Reindeer are so closely associated with Santa Claus that many people assume they don’t really exist. Unlike Kris Kringle, reindeer are real and are indigenous to the Nordics, northern Russia and China, Canada and Alaska. Oh yes, and the Arctic – home of the North Pole. Most people…

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Twain on Germany

My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. – Mark Twain, “That Awful German Language” Twain was likely making a joke but, in my experience, he is directionally accurate. He provides several examples…

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How To Avoid Getting Sick

For the first time in a few years, I made it through last winter without getting sick. What was my secret? Like the title of the best-selling book, almost everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten. Here’s my 6-pronged advice to avoid getting sick this winter: 1. Wash your hands Yes, germs are…

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Keep an Open Mind

Keep an open mind but not so open that your brain falls out. As part of a recent talk around creating a culture of innovation, I included this quote which is commonly attributed to physicist Richard Feynman. After the talk, a reporter asked me for the source of the quote to use in an article….

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Blue Juice, Tarmac, and Other Air Travel Slang

We’re still sitting on the tarmac… Given how much I travel, I’ve used that phrase countless times over the last several years but never thought much about the word tarmac. It turns out it’s short for tarmacadam, or tar-penetration macadam. Macadam is named for John Loudon McAdam who invented an effective and economical road construction method…

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An Aerospace Engineer’s Guide to Winning Tennis

Simon “Si” Ramo is a remarkable person. Ramo is a world-renowned scientist and engineer. He was the chief architect of the US intercontinental ballistic missile system. He was the ‘R’ in TRW, the multibillion-dollar aerospace company now part of Northrop Grumman. And last year, at the age of 100, he became the oldest person to be…

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It’s Hard To Ask Good Questions

It’s amazingly hard to ask good questions. I’ve been in investigative mode over the last month; trying to understand the root cause of a performance issue and also designing a potential new business model. Both projects mean I’ve had to ask a lot of questions. And they also mean I have had to remind myself…

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