October 31, 2004

Sports as a metaphor on life

With baseball done and basketball starting, football is in the death march of mid-season. How many people can relate their life in terms of the sporting events burned in our memories. My life has been jaded by being an 11-year old rooting for Tom Seaver, Tug McGraw and the miracle Mets in 1969. Ya gotta believe

Now, Dr. Lenny is a free-agent. I cut the tether on my last contract and go forth boldly into the world on a quest to bring science to the status of sports. People need to follow (ie watch) science and see what those folks are actually doing. Science today is badly broken, partly because most people find it too difficult to think about. Only because they believe what they are told.

If you can calculate batting average and ERA, you can do science. Science is asking simple questions and pursuing the answers. It's thinking about things before you believe them. It's seeing that the numbers match the performance - just like sports.

If the Red Sox can win a World Series, then the average person can think about science, and life.
Opening soon at howdt.com will be the howdtfield, with commentary from right field, left field, and the middle infield synthesis. Science, sports and life.

October 29, 2004



A new community can spontaneously generate when it achieves a critical mass of matter and energy, plus some spark to set off the mixture. The dynamics depend on the goals - at a basic level, survival of the community may be the only goal. Rules that govern need to provide side-boards - the underlying philosophy needs to be fundamental to the system function. Query - does evey effect have a logical cause?

October 28, 2004

ootfray oopslay

As rosanne rosannadanna used to say, its always somethin. Escaped into the wilds of the pacific northwest to pick chantrelle mushrooms with doctor bugaboo and creepy claude. The topic was deep ecology and living systems, with the philosophy of Fritjof Capra being poked and prodded for discussion. The triage of form, process and matter require creative genius to bring it together in an adaptive system that works for all contributors. Cooperators have to see immediate benefit potential, which can be realized on demand. But the key is to allow the investment to grow, to leave the pot ripe for development and spin out the most productive aspects to generate employment opportunities. True environmental advocates are not necessarily tree-hugging fruit loops, some of the best enviros are the farmers, ranchers, loggers and woodlot owners that run the day-to-day operations of managing land. Start wearing different hats, seeing thru different eyes and thinking with curiosity. If you want to really learn, show up at a public meeting and ask pertinent questions. You might be surprised at how you get answers.
(my apologies to my tree-hugging friends - comments are made with love and skill and meant to make you get up off your ass and comment.)(Claude's nickname was donated by a DHS junior in last spring's water zone.)

October 27, 2004

Life, in game terms

Life, in Game Terms

Enthusiasm ebbing
Reality dawns
The ride will soon be over
Power plays
Depend on bluff and bluster
Folding not an option
Opponent drawing
To an infrastructure supported
Inside straight
The deck is stacked
The game is rigged
But the means to play
Still rests in control
Of a simple chess piece
Once a pawn achieves
Knight or Bishop status
In the external community
Building value via
Plans to establish castles
(Attempting not to get rooked)
Reaching the seventh rank
Bypassing en passant
Near to the pinnacles
Yet no choice to be king
Upon reaching the eighth
Just another tool
Enabling the downfall
Of the opposition's flag

(c) 2004 lemme howdt

Science and Sorting, sorta

Sorting is one of the most important science tasks. Everybody knows how to sort - the laundry all ends up in different drawers - so the concept is universal. Good sorting technique is essential to good science, yet people never really train to sort.

Your brain acts like a file to keep your life sorted. Computers are also set up like filing cabinets. Set up your system to be able to find documents later, by using footers on documents, placing date codes in file names and identifying keywords. The better you understand where you would put things, the easier it is to retrieve them. They go to the logical slot. Your system, Your logic.

As a packrat, I rarely throw anything away. My hard copy files are cross-referenced, but I do not routinely generate hard copies of interim documents. A new tool from Google, a desktop search program, is in beta testing to solve this info retrieval problem. Another tool that I use is Save This - a tool button in my favorites that catalogs document URLs for quick retrieval. It also has share capabilities, so I do not have to e-mail columns.

So - to sum up, if you organize your system to find the knowledge that you have dumped from your brain, then you can be more effective in sorting through your stored information. Effective sorting makes for good science.

October 25, 2004


World turning with Orwellian spin
Order of the day: Doubletalk from Minitrue
Ashcroft's psycho yarns
Beleagered people respond
Fourth generational warfare
Protecting the homeland
Securing population centers
From all apparent and perceived harm
Soon our streets are occupied
By blue-helmeted soldiers
As rockets whiz thru
Striking a vehicle with minor
Colligative damage (only two
children dead) this time
Flood the labor markets
Outsource the presidency to india
Common strategy seems to be
Ostrich - head in the sand
Anything we do not choose to see
Cannot be real - only WMD
Which we can never see, are real
And jumpin George in his jump suit
Claims victory over a tactic
The other George - Orwell -
Spins rapidly in his grave

(c) 2004 - lemme howdt

Depths of Societal Interaction

I am currently working on developing a sense of what bonds people together. At the basic level, we have the strongest bonds with family and friends. Friends have different depth level profiles - there are the inner circle, the share and occaisonal dinner level, the go out on weekend outings together friends, and the at least one good deep conversation type. The depth of a friendship might be judged by how well you can ask questions about the status of the family. Certainly, common outside interests are necessary for good friendships.

When you have personal relationships, you leave yourself open to disappointment, when the other persons cannot keep up with personal standards of ethics and morality. When public and personal lives cross, then there are some distinctly sticky ethical issues. If you live your occupation, as I do, outlookers see motives as self-serving. They are - the better I do as a consultant, the more successful I will be in accomplishing my work goals. But my measure of success is non-monetary; I measure success based on on-the-ground improvement in the approach toward natural resource extraction.

Our society must stop charging blindly into the future. However, the precautionary principle approach offered from some quarters is economically devastating - it sways the pendulum back to 'no effective management criteria' and penalizes attempts at innovation. Management criteria must include reality based data - collected without bias - that forms the basis for asking 'is this better?'. Currently, we reduce information to quantitative measures that demonstrate progress, as defined in terms of those measures. We need to define some new metrix - ancillary units of activity that provide support for resolution of the hypothesis - a means that tell us that we are in fact addressing the right questions.

More on this topic in a later post -

October 24, 2004

Rant against the medix

How does the medical profession get privileged status. Death is one of those things that nobody has figured out how to avoid - so why do they do everything to the limit of ones purse strings to extend existance. Shouldn't we develop a hospice environment. Nobody asked for MDs to play gatekeeper to the pharma world - and natural remedies should be encouraged rather than prosecuted. The clowns really need a refresher in basic biochemistry. And who came up with the idea that cost savings could be achieved by inserting insurance companies between doctors and patients. The whole system is broken - let people pass when they can't afford the care. We do not have an inate right to health care. (Only an inane right) Grrrrr

October 23, 2004

Resource Building

From time to time, my colleague Lemme Howdt will entertain with his radical poetry. Please be careful not to feed his cynicism too greatly, as it goes to his head. Having no hair, most everything that pleases doctor lenny is based in his gut.

Resource Building

Swift Water runs fast
Sweeping away Anxiety
Under an ever-present Cloak
of Cognitive Dissonance
Unfiltered Information
Buried below Layers
Leads to Conclusions
Owls are not What they seem
Stewards of the Resource
have little Time for dollar Games
Value accrues from Work
Knowledge vests from Time
spent Accumulating, first Hand
Eyes, Ears, Hands, Minds
Engaged in a Practice
Such that when the Time comes
Some will know how to Lead

(c) 2004 Lemme Howdt

October 22, 2004

That didn't work, but this one did!

How is it that the most simple things can be made most complex? Life is very simple - breathe in, breathe out. As Dori says, Just keep swiming...
Science is a seriously unknown commodity these days. The press like to have dueling data - each group brings their own and whoever yells the loudest wins. No thanx.
My intent is to blog anything and everything with a science spin. The zone will eventually be connected to a website, where more journalistic type postings will housed.
So the rules of this blog are - screw the rules. Say anything, just think about what you say and what others say. I'm sure that I'll have lots to say. Afetr all, it only took me about 2 weeks to figure out how to blog.
BTW - a Luddite is a person that disdains technology. As a scientist, I like placing technology into other peoples hands and pushing things to their limits. We'll see how long it takes to blog to the outer limits. With respects to Rod Serling, welcome to The Zone.

The Luddite learns to Blog

October 13, 2004


This is the first blog.