Monday, April 27, 2009


Differentials, integrals, statistics, oh my,
Differentials, integrals, statistics, oh my….

There’s nothin’ like having to teach yourself calculus all over again. I should have majored in philosophy and got a job in construction….

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Spending all my philosophical thinking time taking a class and studying for a work related certification.
So, I'll be back in force come June....

Monday, April 06, 2009

Philosophical Isolation

I find that knowledge of philosophical concepts, argumentation, so on, are quite isolating. It’s difficult to engage people in a conversation about, say, religion, when they’re not basing they’re knowledge on anything aside from the bible or they’re fundamental camp.

For example, this happened to me today:
One of the engineers I work with says to me tangentially in a conversation,
“Did you here the latest?”
“No, what?” I respond.
“They say the trees that giraffes eat from are getting taller.”
“Sure” I said, “And thus the giraffes will get taller – evolution at work my friend.”
Then he comes back with, “Well I don’t know about that, I’m not an evolutionist.”
“You’re not one of those who believe the universe is only 6000 years old are you?” (Of course I said this quite jokingly)
He Responds, “Well there’s pretty good evidence for it.”
“Steve” I said, (which isn’t his real name), “You gotta’ be kidding me. You’re an engineer, an analytical minded individual and you seriously think the universe is only 6000 years old.”
“Why not?” He says.

At this point I’m dumbfounded. I left the conversation with, “To each his own I suppose.”

What do you say to this? Here you have an intelligent, middle class, college educated person with an engineering degree. How do you have this conversation with people? Any idea? It truely bothers me, not to mention it's quite isolating.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

"Stars of Leo"

I waited a long time for this new release from M. Ward - it oozes into the soul like hot molasses rolling off the end of a leaf...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Condoms and Quality Engineering

WARING: This is a rant, it was a long day, and, well, it was a long day. I plan on making sense of it later.

For one reason or another I’ve been unable to get the
Popes condemnation of condoms out of my mind. And since I had a shitty day, I want to rant irrationally about it.

So then, I’d like to start with an analogy from experience in my day to day work on the job. Part of my function as Quality Engineer is to perform D.O.E.’s (design of experiments), which is in short a failure mode analysis of a new product through the design of certain experiments geared towards fleshing out, as stated, particular failure modes. Another function I serve is the statistical analysis of defects, whether it be from the field or suppliers, and implementing SPC (Statistical Process Controls) within our manufacturing processes to prevent defects from occurring in the first place.

What I’d like to talk about here is the formal Corrective and Preventive Action process (CaPA), which is generally related to a specific defect that has been identified internally, from the customer, or the supplier. Later, I’d like to relate my methods and findings in this process to the issue of aids in Africa and teen pregnancy in America.

Let me begin with a simple defect mode wherein we receive a product back from a customer where a wire has come loose from a crimp. In the generic photo below you see a set of wires that have the ends crimped, which will of course be inserted into the connector. So again, the problem is simply that one of the wires has come loose from its crimp.

Upon seeing a number of issues such as these we open up a formal corrective action which contains, but is not limited to, the following elements:

Problem: In this section we state nothing more then what the problem was, “Loose Crimps”, and perhaps what product or customer was involved.

Containment Action:
This is merely a short term corrective action that’s aimed at addressing the effect of the problem – in this case, “Loose Crimps”. Since we don’t yet know the cause of the problem (and assuming we were the ones who performed the crimping), a containment action may involve inspecting inventory of already crimped wires, and verifying that in process procedures and tooling are in place. Essentially, prior to us addressing whatever the problem is - which may take up to 2 months - we need to do some short term things to make sure that no further product leaves the building. Perhaps we do something as simple as implement some short term inspections, or even put the product on hold. The key (again) is that in this process we’re addressing the effects, we don’t know the cause, but we’re going to do whatever is necessary to mitigate the problem.

Root Cause:
This should be obvious enough – what was the cause? Much work may have been done to get to this point, and once we get here it should be understood that all we know is one thing, the “Root Cause”, i.e. no solutions have been formally postulated. So we state simply what we’ve discovered as the root of the problem. Lets suppose we discover that the operator was not using the tooling properly which led to crimps that weren’t tight enough on the wire to sufficiently hold it in place - for the sake of simplicity.

Corrective Action:
Unlike the “Containment Action”, which addressed the effects of the issue, the Corrective Action addresses the “cause” of the issue. Now that we know the issue was improper tool use by the operator we may do a couple things to correct the problem; A.) Insure that the operator has been properly trained on the use of the tool, B.) insure that the operator is familiar with the instructions and is following them accordingly. Once we know these things have been satisfied, even though we still have the human element involved, we can to a certain degree say we’ve corrected the problem, but not yet prevented it.

Preventive Action:
This action is always a little more tricky, but simple for this example. Since we know we have a human being as the sole element of assurance, and we know people make mistakes, the above corrective action is highly insufficient. All we’ve said is, “We’ve addressed the issue with the operator, reviewed our process and procedures, retrained, so on, and now we’re good to go”. But the question the customer will always rightly ask is, “What’s preventing the operator from getting lazy?” So that’s where preventive action comes in. In this case, since we have a human operated process we’ll institute SPC (Statistical Process Control), where we sample wire crimps by performing pull tests. Without getting into the details of how this works, through statistical analysis we’re able to tell if problems are arising in the crimper, operator, wire, so on, by looking at the pull test data over time – it’s highly effective.

Walla! Problem fixed!

To Summarize:
Problem:Statement of the problem

Containment Action:
Address the effect.

Root Cause: Define the cause.

Corrective Action:
Address the cause

Preventive Action: Prevent and monitor the cause.

So what’s all this have to so with condom use, aids in Africa, and teen pregnancy? Well, it all has to do to with “Cause and Effect” and how we as a culture deal with both such cases. It is slowly becoming the case that secular society does less and less to address Root Cause, and simply focuses on Containment activity.

For example; In the case of Africa we have aids, which is the effect. When the Pope arrived and stated that condom use wasn’t the answer, he was merely recognizing the fact that condom use is nothing more than a containment action, a tool that addresses effects, and not the cause – not to mention the fact that sexual activity outside of marriage is a no no for the Pope anyway, which is really the real answer for him. The cause of aids – and / or its spread - while not being necessarily the Root Cause per se, is due to rampant and complete unadulterated sexual promiscuity; whether it’s premarital sex, adultery, what have you (now this is not withstanding the other causes of aids, but it has been identified that the “other causes” are not the main cause). Those who criticize the Pope for his stance are generally those who don’t recognize, or who fail to want to address the human element and consider the Containment Action as the best solution to the problem. But in the long term this is nothing more than a mitigating solution and doesn’t address the main contributing factor – which is personal responsibility.

Let me switch [quick] to teen pregnancy in America as this has been a hot topic for many years. Over the past number of years it’s been the case of the Left that the solution to all our problems is getting condoms in the hands of our children, and the right to abortions. If we can educate our children about safe sex, then we can mitigate pregnancy and lower STD rates. YEAH!. The (helping myself) idea is, kids are going to have sex whether we like it or not, so it should be our job as liberal “friend to your kids” parents, to make sure our kids are safe…. BULLSHIT.

Everyone is far to afraid in our increasingly Leftist Liberal society to address issues of morality and it has become quite fashionable to do whatever it is we can to implement as many Containment / Effect Management issues as possible such that people can simply do and choose as they please. Drawing on the video from Schwartz below, I completely agree that people in the western world have too much choice, and I believe that much of that choice has arisen out of an inability of people to want to deal with others so called rights and moral attitudes. It’s no wonder that the decline of the western moral sense has followed in tail by the decline of the western worlds appeal to religion (there I go helping myself again).

The bottom line is that condoms and abortion are containment actions, both of which I have no serious issues with in and of themselves, but certainly we have to wean ourselves off these things as the crutch for our social problems. So again the issue for me surrounds the fact that our society treats them as corrective and preventative actions, plain and simple. More and more they are both pushed out into the forefront and into our children’s faces, such that, it teaches our children [wrongly] that given these mitigating factors I can behave and act as I choose to. In effect, it gives them license to do as they choose with no real consequences.

Back to my QA example; if I was to tell my customer that I hadn’t addressed the behavior of the operator who was the cause of the problem, but simply mitigated the issue by putting tape on the crimps (which wouldn’t have nearly the pull force and may only help in certain applications), they’d have my balls in a pickle jar to be sure. In the manufacturing industry, especially in the military and aerospace environment I work in, there’s no room for unadulterated liberalism, touchy feely bullshit, and hop skipping around dealing with people. If you can’t do the job, you're river side for sure.

Clearly I’m ranting here, and I’m by no means offering any solutions or in any way advocating a call to religious fundamentalism; but for Christ’s sake, this fundy new wave Liberal environment we’re in these days which continually pokes fun at religion and it’s causes is opening the doors to problems that didn’t exist to such an extreme in years past. Granted the past was sacked with its own problems; with communities in themselves being strong, moral, but extremely racist and ethnocentric where cultures of people suffered off the backs of the so called moral. But today we’re slowly trading that system for one large fucked up culture which is spiritually and emotionally bankrupt and aims at rotting out the cores of everyone equally.

WELL FUCK YOU and all you dick flingin’ son’s a bitches. The next Liberal program will surely be “COMDOMS FOR GUNS”. Don’t kill the bitch, just fuck the crap out of her and make her feel like a dirty whore.

The Return of Religion

The Return of Religion

by Roger Scruton

This has some resonance to it…. Came accross it through Stephen Law and James F. Elliot...