A colleague of mine, David Mantey (editor of Product Design and Development ), wrote a column a while ago titled, “ We Landed On The Moon, Big Deal .” There’s no mincing words here; it’s easy enough to tell what his stance on NASA is. One of David’s main contentions is that NASA does not, and cannot, invoke the same soaring heroics and national pride it used to back in the moon-landing era, which is a fair assumption.
Professionally, I’ve always considered myself a fairly progressive and forward-looking individual. Not the smoke and mirrors forward-looking that you can find at the bottom of nine out of 10 “news stories” that cross the wires, but the type that looks at something new and either sees value or, I see it as a potentially never-ending crevasse into which we will always be able to dive, but no amount of money will ever cushion the fall.
It’s not a new problem, per se. The need to improve energy usage trends and implement more efficient approaches has been a relevant topic long before Al Gore invented Power Point presentations or President Obama campaigned on a pledge to overhaul our national grid. What is new is the debate surrounding the slew of potential solutions.
Although it’s an instance that is becoming more and more rare as we grow older and our responsibilities increase, my friends and I like to get together on the occasional weekend night and spend hours at a long, lavish dinner out. We give ourselves time for wine and coffee and dessert, and do our best to catch up.
October 28, 2009 Last week I attended a webinar on the EPA’s mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) rule, hosted by U.S. Steel and Wenck. The presenters did a great job of highlighting all of the important points from the rule, and the areas that could be confusing.
Baseball season within the IMPO family leads to several interesting and often heated conversations — many of which offer a unique parallel to the competitive environment you see on the plant floor. Our family resides in two different homes. Out on the east coast we have Chuck Marin.
My friends and I like to play a lot of off-the-cuff word games. For example, my friend posed this question to the group last night: If you were able to ride any animal, real or fictional, into battle, which would it be? The eventual winner, by group vote, was Falkor—the giant flying dog from The NeverEnding Story .
Beijing Autos (BA) says it doesn’t know anything about the ex-engineer who photocopied thousands of documents and coincidentally took an overseas vacation to shop his merchandise to the highest bidder. Yeah, and I denied it when the side view mirror disappeared out of my father’s truck and a bird was left to take the rap.
It’s the culmination of over 40 years work, combining technology developed by NASA in the 1950s with cutting edge biofuel production techniques using purpose-built microorganisms. Coskata appears to be doing what no other cellulosic ethanol startup has done: Proving that the technology works on a large scale.
Two weeks ago, Newsweek released its 2009 Green Rankings , rating America’s 500 largest companies for environmental sustainability. Not surprisingly, food and beverage companies rated below the curve. In comparison with finance, insurance and tech companies, it seems rather intuitive that companies in the manufacturing sector would have a significantly greater impact on the environment.
First of all, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce myself to all of IMPO ’s readers out there. For the last three or so months I’ve been working behind-the-scenes (along with a number of other people) to get the IMPO Insider Daily delivered to your inbox, well, on a daily basis.
I suppose that the hair would be parted on the other side and I’d be wearing a lavender vest rather than a kindergarten blazer featuring an assortment of arts and crafts, but the photo could just as easily come as the result of an evil motherly plot to sabotage my cool factor (pause for guttural laugh), as it did from a few minutes of Photoshop 101.
Before I decided to study literature in college, I took the typical freshman approach: I changed my major again and again, based on the whims of my current fascinations, causes and favorite professors. It’s scary looking back, considering I could have based my life’s career goals around an affinity for a class that happenstance scheduled following my afternoon latte boost.
Appropriately, I write this blog from the comfort of bed — pillows stacked up behind me, tissue on my right, orange juice on the left, laptop whirring on my arched legs in the beautiful Gaylord Hotel in Orlando, FL. Considering that I flew here specifically to be at the Emerson Global Users Exchange (in amazing Floridian weather whilst my native Wisconsin is getting pummeled by rain and even hail), I couldn’t help but think what a waste.
Since my Milwaukee Brewers won’t be joining the high ranks in the playoffs this year, I’ve been cheating with other teams. Busted. One of the more interesting races to the pennant to watch this year has been the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers bid for the American League Central.
Wednesday was my first day in the office last week, as the first two allowed for a dynamic range of visits that ran the gamut from medical equipment firms to a private label chocolate processor. No offense to the good people at the surgical device companies, but the tempting smells and allure of the subject matter (along with a couple of sweet samples that were so graciously provided) made the chocolate company portion of the trip a definite highlight of this sabbatical from the office environment.
Yesterday marked 20 years since IBM researcher Don Eigler became the first person to move an individual atom , using the tip of his custom-built scanning tunneling microscope. Needing to show that he could do it with a high level of precision, Eigler later arranged 35 xenon atoms in the shape of his company’s logo.
Perhaps it’s because it’s one of the most visible brands out there, but Starbucks has been all up in my face in this recession. I remember vividly when I knew this whole economic collapse was real… and it was literally the day last summer I read in the paper that Starbucks—one of the most ubiquitous and iconic brands of my generation—was going to close the doors on several hundred stores.
Last week I had the pleasure to join some of my PD&D comrades at the Design & Manufacturing show in Rosemont, IL. I had the chance to see what’s new in the industry, scout out potential column ideas for PD&D , and work on my pitching skills to help promote our publication. I learned a lot about the industry and the ins and outs of the business, but I was quite disappointed on how the experience ended.
While it’s not the first time a trip to Starbucks has helped propel my work, it usually has more to do with the caffeine kick than any topical inspiration. However, a visit last week offered some insight on both the innovation and challenges that lie ahead for the processing industry.