Thursday, July 12, 2012



In the journey ahead, we will examine the vast extent of our illusions, or at least our suspicion, that the facts we “know” may not be facts after all. No rigorous proofs. No geometry theorems or a scholastic dissertation. Rather, there will be observations with suggestions sometimes spelled out, sometimes just implied. This book provides some thoughts on how we can be part of the solution. How you use it is up to you. Your options might include reading it as:

1. A fresh set of observations with some societal challenge.

2. A humorous and honest look at ourselves with suggestions.

3. An offensive claim with barbs spread equally/ randomly with respect to race, sex, politics, beliefs, and national origin.

4. An amusing way to spend a weekend without cable.


Chapter Four

...if it has aspects that are evident to the public along with a mystique and vocabulary that make it sound special and requiring training. One such innovation—actually a natural development from existing innovation—continues to live today as a marketed methodology. It is known as Sick Sigma.

[Note the following is meant to question some of the claims and folklore that go with six sigma methodology. You might be able to take a valid idea and apply it excessively.]

“Where did Sick Sigma come from, Dr. Pinklance?”

“Sick Sigma27 originated as a set of procedures with the purpose of improving manufacturing and eliminating defects. The original term was Six Sigma—indicating operation on the error or defect probability distribution where the probability of error is very low. I am using the parody term Sick Sigma here to 1) indicate that the actual number can vary depending on your goals, and 2) to suggest that blind faith in a new methodology might have unhealthy results. This can be paraphrased as having a new line of talk to make it appear things are different. The bottom line is that we are doing this to get better results, so everyone makes sure that we get better results. The process guarantees this, so if that’s not the outcome, the defect must be with the people involved!”

“Its application was extended to other types of business processes as well. Any improved practice with a patent and a sponsor can become a marketable industrial...


Chapter Seven

If the other slit is used as a single slit, it’s the same result in a different position. If you open both slits, the screen pattern looks like a wave going through the two slits and interfering. The geometries and two slit patterns are shown below. Everything’s cool.

“But then other experiments showed light came in quanta called photons. So how does the presence of a second hole affect the distribution? If we have a very dim source emitting only one photon at a time, we can see where each photon hits the screen. Seems like it went through one hole or the other. So if we did one hole at a time, we should get the same distribution of photons on the screen. But we don’t.

“This was all very interesting and seemed to make sense. Physics didn’t get itself into trouble until it tried to apply common sense to the next step. When one photon was emitted at a time, they thought each would go through one and only one slot. No interference would occur. But it did. Oops. Let’s rewrite a little physics.”

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