Definition of Industrial Philosophy

For a little over a year now I’ve been thinking on industrial philosophy. In that year, what I’ve come up with is: I have yet to really define it. The idea came to me after seeing lean industry methods in practice. I found it incredibly interesting that it was such an easy system to deploy and to train engineers on, yet in the department solely dedicated to process engineering, no one seemed to have the underlying root cause of what it was about. Everyone was extremely good at implementation, but the why is not required because the method is so good. Hence, the idea of industrial philosophy. Why is it some methods of efficiency work? Why do we constantly strive to make industry (and I would lump every endeavor of work into industry at this point) more productive? What purpose does the productivity serve? Important to philosophy, what is the nature of knowledge of industrial practices? Can we ever know that something is as efficient as possible? Is there a definition of perfectly efficient? How do some people get it and some don’t? What factors go into that equation? This and so many more questions are being asked by me, but so far the most important I’m running into is: what is the definition of industrial philosophy?

Industrial philosophy could be defined as the way human and machine work together to achieve productivity. It could also be defined as the shared knowledge and learning that goes into the building of knowledge by human and machine, which I’m somewhat leaning toward.

Perhaps, as with so many things in my thoughts, once I get many pages written out, I can come back and finally have a definition. For now, I’m going to be exploring the knowledge we build upon for making processes more efficient and productive.


Review of What’s The Matter With Kansas

What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of AmericaWhat’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I guess I now know what people mean by the echo chamber. It was more a book that reinforced what I already knew with adding some new little bits. It did get me a little more upset with the Democratic party than usual, so that was a nice positive.

The thing I really liked about the book was Thomas Frank’s genuine curiosity. I would not say this is a neutral book at all, but Frank seems to have set out to genuinely understand and inform and did a great job doing so. He never belittled those he had interviewed and seems to have respect for everyone involved. It’s a really good eye into what’s going in all of America when it comes to backlash and frustration even a decade after being published.

View all my reviews

Chosen One Outline

Our evil character finds himself in his tower. Possibly cliche, but go with what you know. I don’t want to feel like I’m outlining, but this is what may currently be happening. The evil character will be sending some minions out to search for the chosen one because he has finally discovered the location. A spy will be telling the brotherhood of light, or whatever the name for the good guys I’ve come up with that the chosen one has been found. It’s amazing to them, of course, because they never had any idea the chosen one was still around and assumed perished on the way to the monks of training. They will now be sending a hero of their own to gather the chosen one and guide him to the North to be trained.

Can’t start a paragraph with the same word as the last paragraph. Learned that in 3rd or 5th grade.

Our other hero… well shit I guess I will start it that way, but can always go back and change it. After hearing of the chosen one our other hero is summoned to head East to the old capital crossroads and gather up the chosen one.

How does the hero know about this? Who is the spy? How does it happen? An imp is the spy, which is an interesting choice for a spy. Imps do love chaos, though. I’ll have to dig into my monster manual at some point to see what imps think of this situation. Oh for christ sake. Although, I need to stop back spacing when I make a spelling mistake.

The raven comes to the window and perches on the windowsill. Wizard comes over and leans down to hear its message and immediately walks over to his bookcase.

“Well, imp, after decades of searching, we have finally found the chosen one.”

Eventually, the wizard is deep into something or another and the imp is able to get away to inform the good guys of what is going on.

The good guys send someone to go find the chosen one in our crossroads town.  Perhaps I should start with the journey toward the town and fill in from there.

Rosalyn set out from the capital on horseback never quite realizing what she was getting herself into. For almost 30 years or more the evil wizard has been controlling the nation’s every move. Only the savages of the North have been free of his grasp. With only the pack on her horse and her trusty sword, Ralph, she set out to take the nation back from the Wizard. Shitty first draft, keep telling that to yourself, ben, it’s a shitty first draft that with some editing will do incredible. Do incredible? Who knows. Jess is talking to the dog and possibly this isn’t the most comfortable position I’m in. I’m fumble fucking the keyboard, for sure. For sure!

I now have to figure out if I’m going to be explaining the journey from the capital to the crossroads. It is a fantasy novel, and although it’s supposed to be somewhat amusing, it does need some of the elements found in all good fantasy. And as we know, all good fantasy has lots of descriptive travel. Do I enjoy the descriptive travel? Tough call.

Rosalyn traveled East on the trade road passing full caravans heading into the capital. From the sea, things came into the port town of ___ and traveled to the city of ____. The city was a crossroads into the rest of the nation and she was on her way there. One would only suppose that a hero, the chosen one, would be in the crossroads. The journey isn’t quite dangerous, but isn’t easy, either. It’s a two day journey through the woods with only 3 towns in between. It’s possible we could discuss Rosalyn’s stop in a town, but that isn’t quite into the story just yet.

As Rosalyn arrives the crossroads she is greeted by another member of the order of the Paladins, an order long thought to be extinct. This paladin, of course, is a traitor and a spy. A fight ensues, which Rosalyn wins, we assume.

Rosalyn then meets our non-hero, Archibald(?). Archibald has become a cobbler in the last 30 years instead of becoming an epic hero and the chosen one.

Of course, we have to go through a period of non-belief by the chosen-one. Acceptance isn’t easy, even when they are betrayed and attacked and Rosalyn has to save his life and get him on the path to the North, forsaking all he has and all he could have as a cobbler. Perhaps he was about to franchise his shoe store into the capital and finally be able to retire.

“Do you know how many people are able to retire in this business? None, absolutely not a single one.”

Rosalyn and the chosen one… interesting how I’ve come up with a name for our Paladin, but not the chosen one. Rosalyn and the chosen one travel along the trade route North to the monastery where the chosen one needs to get some training. On the way they go ahead and get lost or get forced off the path by the wizard’s minions. Better to get forced off by the wizard’s minions and then get lost. A clusterfuck, for sure. They get chased off the path to some town and then get lost and then somehow eventually find their way to the monks in the monastery up north.

The training is the hard part to me. I’m not so sure where to go with this. How long does the training become? Is it a significant chunk of the book? Is this the book that shows the hero becoming a hero and it’s a large part of it? Or is it somewhat short and we go back to do what needs to be done? It could be a large part of it before he goes back to the final conclusion of confronting the wizard. Obviously I’m open to suggestion.

Training is open. He obviously does horrible at it, because he’s 55 years-old and way past his prime. Eventually we have to make it through the training phase, because I has to come to a conclusion somehow. Is there some sort of trial after the training? Should there be a trial of some sort? A transition is what I meant to go with. A transition of some sort before the journey to the capital to defeat the wizard. Depends on if it’s a short story or a novel? I don’t know. The outline may work for both a short story and a novel.

The final showdown:

Possibly the journey to the final showdown. Needs to meet somewhat of his match on the way? Something happens to Rosalyn on the way? Hell if I know. Rosalyn is an interesting character in my mind and I’ll have to flesh her out quite a bit. The chosen one obviously thinks at some point he is going to sleep with her, although Rosalyn is 30 years his junior. He just assumes since he is the chosen one that he is sexually desired. The strange baldness does not help. Someone named Archibald is obviously bald. Can’t be any other way. Friar Tuck type bald, I presume. Somewhere else I have him named Henry. Who knows.

The journey to the capital for the final showdown should be a little longer, because once again this is fantasy and there has to be lots of fucking walking. Somewhere along the way, they run into trouble. The evil wizard and master o the land figures out they are heading toward him. He’s cocky and knows they can’t defeat him, but doesn’t want to be troubled with the burden so sends some strong minion to shut them down. The battle ensues and the chosen one isn’t so great at fighting things. Rosalyn ends up killing the bad guy. Perhaps as foreshadowing of the end of the story where the chosen one completely blunders things? Maybe Rosalyn in being the real hero of the story is telling us that these idiots never needed a chosen one to stand up to their oppressors anyway.

So, they finally make it to the capital and have to do some in-between stuff, I’m sure. Shopping for herbs or whatever; who knows. They go to the hideout of the last of the paladins and they have all been murdered or maybe they lead the enemy to the hideout and then everyone but the chosen one and Rosalyn get murdered. We’ll see. They get caught! That’s always a good idea. They got caught and taken to the wizard’s tower so he can finally meet his undoing. Rosalyn slips free and gets the chosen one free of his bindings and together they take down the evil wizard and return the realm to the rule of sometimes evil and sometimes not kings. Democracy is stupid, I suppose. Oh yeah, completely forget the wizard is elected to his position, because people vote stupidly and are easily swayed.

Shaping the future of the Democratic Party

To say the party is in turmoil is a gross exaggeration by all, but the party could be a better representation of the large chunk of Americans who have somewhat similar ideals and ideas of where we should be going as a nation. I’ve read it will never be the same and I can only hope that’s true for the sake of all of us. Democrats will continue to be a political party as they have been, trading seats and power with Republicans. Despite the utter blow on the national scene this won’t change and it doesn’t help the country. Can we turn it around and make it something better from the inside, though?

Grassroots efforts are nothing to laugh about. Just ask members of the Tea Party who have been able to shape American politics for several years now. Democrats need to think smaller, not bigger. The ground up. It’s time to restructure the party: not one district at a time, but one block at a time. It’s time for the left wing of the all too conservative Democratic party to plant roots. Folks need to get the word out, to run for offices, to put together meetings town hall style. Listen to the people you live around. Hear their worries… and their hopes for God’s sake. Make them tell you hopes. Everyone needs a little bit in their life. The fear is more than understandable. Everyone wants to tell you what government is doing wrong, what the nation is doing wrong. Force them into telling you what they want to do right. Then go make things right. Push ordinances then push state laws. Take over the state legislature, one block at a time. This isn’t a losing battle. We haven’t lost to gerrymandering or election rigging, voter ID laws or misinformation. We’ve lost the neighborhoods, because we aren’t neighbors anymore. We’re social justice warriors on the internet who don’t know the name of the woman across the street. Being on the left is easy, all you have to do is help someone. That’s what it’s all about. Make life a little easier for everyone. Don’t let people think the pie is only so big. We don’t live in a zero-sum world.

Just listen. Listening would get you so much farther than talking. Don’t just listen to let someone talk, though. Listen to help provide answers.

Response to Robert Reich’s 1st 100 Days of Resistance

I recently came across a plan of Robert Reich’s and being quite the fan I had to stop my clicking and check it out.

I’d love to do nothing more than put up a resistance, but this isn’t an occupation and I haven’t purchased a single case of bottled water yet. A lot of it sounds great: grassroots politicking and letters to editors, but the first bullet of his hit me where it hurts. Reich states, “Get your senators and representatives to pledge to oppose Trump’s agenda. Reject his nominees, prolong the process of approving them, draw out hearings on legislation.” How different is this than Republican tactics for the last eight years? Democrats spent the last eight years crying foul at Republican obstructionism and now this is what they would like to be doing?

Don’t get me wrong, these are tactics that work and work well. Republicans control all branches of the federal government and most states. What will happen when Democrats use the same tactics, though? Sure, they are legal and they work, but they won’t work for Democrats. Democrats aren’t the party of scorched earth and backlash will be immediate on the right and lead to more apathy down the middle. How can the party that has been crying foul start using the same playbook? They can’t. It’s hypocrisy and that only works when you’re on the right.

I support the rest of what Professor Reich is pushing people to do, but to draw on hearings and prolong approving nominees just for the sake of resistance is not a good strategy for those on the left. Fight nominees and legislation, scream at the top of their lungs how horrible they are for America, but at the end of the day let a vote go through.

An intellectual supper club

This will not turn into a blog about my 100 some year old house and what we’re doing. There won’t be photos of renovation or nifty little ideas with pictures you can post to pinterest.

I will say a few things and not make any promises to never say anything in the future, though. Jess and I have a home. We bought it, because renting is no longer financially viable. Funny how that works, huh? Our American dream was a nice apartment the rest of our lives and here we are with a mortgage.

One thing I would like to discuss that may not be in a lot of places, is a supper club. I’ve been to one in my life and tried to start some before. My plans are a little different than what I’ve attended or tried to start, but perhaps it’s time to rethink and redo. I’d like to invite 8-10 people once a month to participate.

I’ve attended one intellectualish supper club in my life; over ten years ago now, and I still think how I would like to do the same. Discussion of current events, science, literature, and philosophy. A space to share the intellectual with the intellectually curious.

We can opt for a paper, essay, book review, whatever one would like to present on. Every month a topic put forth by someone they would like to present and take questions on. From there things can digress somewhat. As long as it relates to something to bring forward the community.

Is this somewhat too much for most? Probably. People don’t do these kinds of things any longer, do they? Nowhere is this done. Why was this a practice gotten rid of? Do we no longer have time or do we no longer have an interest in the intellectual? I may be somewhat ashamed to share my idea of this with co-workers. Fear of ridicule may drive me to keep things to myself, but no longer to stop the idea from becoming reality. People don’t care for such things any longer.

Doesn’t matter to me, it’s time to follow through with an intellectual supper club. I should put together my list of 9. I have 10 seats at the table and can invite 9 others and I need to work on who it will be.

Why President Trump is actually a return to the status quo

The response to a President Trump is that America is fed up with the status quo and is wanting change. In some parts that is true, but in others it can’t be farther from it. It’s true in that people are sick of what they see as a corrupt Washington not paying attention to their needs and wants. Other than that, the whole thing is just business as usual, and even when it comes to corrupt Washington, only time will tell. As my boys The Who say, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Something I said in 2008 when President Obama was elected and now I say in 2016 for the election of President Trump.

Cultural ideals and civil rights will continue to be defended and assaulted. All sides will continue to believe they are defending against the other. That hasn’t changed at all. A rollback to previous years that would include heavy restrictions on abortion, gay rights, women’s rights, minority rights are all a return to the status quo; not some radical shift of American policy. As a matter of fact, the recent gains in the field of civil rights, aren’t that radical at all. Small evolutionary gains have been made that are never set in stone. There hasn’t been some wide acceptance of all that is different and we are now seeing the cultural push back.

Economic changes will be minimal, as well. Perhaps a Trump administration will push toward tighter trade controls. What effect this will have I cannot say. I doubt it will be a return to any glory days we may have had with manufacturing, though. Regulation here is the key, not trade. It’s not like the Obama administration got a lot done in terms of regulation. Whether the blame can be placed on a Republican controlled everything else, who is to say. His political capital has never been high as a President. An administration of President Trump would be much more open to the slashing of any regulation gains made since 2008, but then again, we have seen in the last 8 years mega-companies merging with other mega-companies to form monopolies, Wall Street run amok once again, and banks back to their same game. Status quo, as I said. Even if President Trump wanted to reign in any of those, he doesn’t have that kind of power. That is reserved for the ideological capitalists in the legislature.

Foreign policy may see a slight shift, but like everything else it is a pendulum that swings slightly one way and then snaps back pretty quickly. We have always been a quasi-isolationist state who ventures out only for the defense of our own interests. And by our own interests I, of course, mean the interest of our corporations. Becoming more isolationist won’t be anything revolutionary.

For all the talk of immigration on both sides of the aisle, not a whole has been done by anyone. Ever. People come and they go, it’s tough for some and not so tough for others. Their skin color, country, or creed often dictates what the loud-mouthed members of the right-wing do or don’t want in regards to immigration, but not a whole lot is ever done.

What can be said then? Where is this outsider change to the landscape? Once again we find ourselves having things same as the old boss. We are a slow-moving, conservative nation. Any slight gains made in the name of liberty and rights have often snapped back suddenly to the status quo. We can only hope, though, that like all other returns to status quo in the past, this is just temporary and the forward progress of the nation marches on, albeit as slow as ever.

The Toyota Way Review

Took me some time to finish this book, because I’d read it before going to bed and get fidgety and ultimately depressed. Often, I’d lay there thinking of my current or former places of employment and think how easy it would be to implement some changes. Of course, I had tried at places in the past and failed spectacularly. Ultimately, I enjoyed this book as a good overview of the Toyota methods. It does lack in detail on developing a culture, but even Dr. Liker seems to admit the incredible challenges in that. Of course, that’s what every company could use the most. I go back and forth on the effectiveness of Toyota methodology. Sometimes, when looking where I am, I see it as the tool box, but other times I can see the full picture of what it should be. This book is a great introduction to the world of lean.

The Tinker Project: Thoughts on Starting a Non-Profit

Sometime in 2008 when sitting in my dorm room at Michigan State University the idea of The Tinker Project was born. Refurbishing newer laptops that business were cycling out of use and putting Linux on them to be able to give to those in need. This was something I thought of instead of going to class, possibly to my detriment.

Flash forward way too many years to April of 2014 when I decided I would finally pull the trigger. Then to June of 2016 when the trigger was partially pulled, I suppose. Paperwork was filed for a non-profit in the state of Michigan and off we go.

Currently, the plan for a pilot program is finishing up and we are ready to receive product, get a trial group and get it in their hands.

Tinker Pilot Plan 001

As you can see we did some work on the pilot project. My organization goal is to keep things on one page where possible. The individual completion plan items and details of metrics that are needed can be kept on different letter sized pieces of paper and kept in a binder to keep track. Limiting the amount of the information required and the places it lives is part of the organizational goal.

The pilot program will run concurrently with the ramping up of the rest of the program and data used during the pilot will be used to improve upon the final product and the business model as a whole.

Starting a Think Tank

Why not?
Listening to the radio this morning, yet another person came on the air from such and such a think. I thought to myself, “man that is the job I want, thinking about stuff all the time.” It then occurred to me in the state of Michigan it costs 20 dollars to incorporate a non-profit, so why not. I can start my own think tank for 20 bucks and then for 10 dollars a year I can keep my website up and running. From time to time I can publish some stuff on the website and send it off to the local radio stations and newspaper.

So, that was easy enough. Think tank started, right? Well, as with everything it’s a little more than just having an idea. Ideas I’m great with; execution isn’t so much my strong suit. I should probably be specific in my think tank outline, right? Education? I love thinking about education. Perhaps others do, too. I can recruit people I know to think about it. Technology in education and bridging the digital divide if I so desire. If I get hyper specific, it will be more apt to succeed. If I just say “education” I’m fucked. So, I’ll come up with a cool name and then talk about technology in education and bam! I’m good to go. Well, I’m sure it’s a little tougher than that, but we’ll see what can’t be done. I’ll have to recruit some people I think are experts to participate. Start with some lit reviews and then work our way into real research. Lit reviews are good to start, right? The think tanks on the radio seem to just analyze what has already been done. I can analyze and base my logic upon that. I have a degree in philosphy, I’m sure it can be done. If only I could spell philosophy correctly, we’d be in business.