Mar 052011

Sample Time

By David Satterlee

The miserable old man lay in his hospital bed, staring at the clock on the wall. The nurse had just left after waking him from a vivid dream to take a sample of his blood. They were probably checking to see if he still had elevated amylase and lipase in his blood; indicating pancreatitis. “Hell,” he mused, his stomach was still distended; anyone could see that. “Hell,” he mused, “if the disease doesn’t kill me, all this bloodletting will.”

He hated that dream. It haunted him from before he retired; before his wife had died; before he started drinking. Always, he was railing against an illogical way of doing things at the gasoline refinery where he used to work. Sometimes he was complaining to other engineers; occasionally to supervisors, managers, or even the working stiffs whose only concern was to follow orders. Always, nobody seemed to think that his issues were important enough to worry about, to say nothing of making the major changes for which he lobbied. It was the way that things had been done for years. It had become codified into operational software and work habits. Nobody seemed to care—nobody had ever cared except that noble champion of what was right and true that he used to be; this impotent, disillusioned, and very desolate old man that he was now.

In his dream, the engineer, still an earnest, idealistic, and fastidiously through young man, is speaking: “I have reviewed our new plant-wide data acquisition and reporting system. It has several design flaws, related to time, that need to be corrected. The first issue has to do with sample times for analytical laboratory tests. The system is designed to record real-time measurements of continuous process temperature, flow, pressure, and level at intervals down to one second. One of the benefits used to justify our new data acquisition system is the ability to incorporate laboratory test results, such as boiling point or viscosity, into the same displays and reports as the continuously metered measurements. The problem is that our laboratory preprints labels to be placed on sample bottles and these labels only show the time that the sample is scheduled to be picked up at the unit by the lab’s collection truck. It would be nice if we recorded the time that the lab test was completed, but that is a minor issue. The major issue is that the only thing that ties the sample test results to our continuous process measurements is the actual time that the sample was removed from the process stream! And… there is no provision for recording the actual sample time. When we look at the ‘sample time’ on a report, we are actually seeing the scheduled sample pick-up time. It gets worse. Because all samples are due at the same time, unit operators begin drawing these samples early, sometimes hours ahead of pick-up, at arbitrary and variable times according to their individual convenience. I was shocked to discover another distressing issue. For whatever reasons, some units keep reserves of previously-extracted process samples, which they send to the lab instead of new samples. Do you remember the fire that shut down our catalytic hydrocracker last week? The reports showed that two hours after the upset, while all the vessels were still being dumped to flare, several product streams, although having zero flow, were still on spec.

“Secondly, we are corrupting our data every time we shift to or from Daylight Savings Time. The policy is to simply reset the system clock. The result is that every spring, the units appear to disappear for an hour, before reappearing out of nowhere, and every fall, every instruments’ measurements for one hour are intermixed with their history for the previous hour. Both events make hourly and daily averages inaccurate. We are responsible to OSHA and the EPA to maintain accurate records that can be used to reconstruct and analyze exception events. Especially in the fall, we are systematically making that impossible. Unfortunately, the only solution I can think of is to operate refinery processes on Standard Time even when everything switches to Daylight Savings.” And so it went, in one version or another, to one person or another; the argument sound, the effort futile.

The nurse had interrupted that dream. He would have been grateful for that interruption, but for the irony, as we shall see. It had happened in this way: “Time for a blood draw Mr. Dawson.” Glancing at the wall clock, he challenged her, “It’s only 5:06 in the morning. I thought Doctor Wallent had charted it for 7:00 o’clock.” Nurse Betty looked annoyed. “It’s okay, it won’t make any difference. I’ve got a lot to do before going off-shift so I’m getting some of my work done early. And besides, I’ve actually got four patients with blood draws scheduled for seven o’clock; I can’t do all of them at the same time, can I?” This seemed to settle the issue.

Being a well-trained professional phlebotomist, Nurse Betty did an efficient and commendable job of extracting her sample from Mr. Dawson’s right-side median cubital vein on her first try, and with a minimum of discomfort to the patient. Nurse Betty put a pre-printed label on the sample tube and started packing to leave. Mr. Dawson scowled with annoyance. “Aren’t you going to write down the actual time that you took my blood sample?”

Nurse Betty scowled with annoyance. “It’s preprinted. They don’t give me a place to enter that information. Like I said, it’s not a problem; don’t worry about it.” She didn’t realize that Mr. Dawson had been worrying about precisely this for several decades. Nurse Betty had the grace to turn down the lights when she left at 5:13.

Mr. Dawson, realized that the universe had just shown him, as clearly as two billboards in a row with bright flashing lights, that now was the time to finally do something definitive about his frustration. He poured himself a glass of tepid water. He fastidiously wiped up the ring of moisture left by a little remaining condensation on the outside of his plastic pitcher. Fishing in the drawer of his bedside table, he removed all the tablets of narcotic painkiller that he had been palming. He took them methodically; each swallowed with a sip of water. He finished at 5:18, coded at 5:56, and was pronounced dead at about 6 o’clock or somewhere thereabouts. Mr. Dawson’s corpse was logged into the basement morgue at 6:42. Nobody ever noticed or cared that a laboratory report showed that his blood, supposedly drawn 18 minutes later at 7:00 am, contained elevated enzyme levels.

Writing context:
The author’s actual recurring dream. It’s Monday, December 20, 2010. I woke up at 5:06 am with the same damn dream and couldn’t go back to sleep. Here is the crux of the matter: it was a real issue. And, I still can’t do anything about it but whine to another audience.

Copyright 2010 David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

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Feb 272011

Religion, Science, and Truth

by David Satterlee

Both religion and science build theoretical models to explain observations. Sometimes the models work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes sacrificing infants to Baal brings productive crops, sometimes bleeding a patient breaks a fever. Most cultures have rejected both of these discredited concepts (religious and scientific, respectively) while even science often fails to distinguish between correlation and cause.

Even having a thoroughly-consistent theory does not establish truth. Traditional Chinese Medicine successfully treats “spleen deficiency” for problems totally unrelated to our anatomical spleen’s function. Both religious and secular authorities have found themselves needing to adjust their accepted doctrine from time to time. Most religions hold a very tenuous claim to truth by faith when you consider that current beliefs (like language, culinary tastes, and DNA) can usually be traced to the intersecting influences of earlier cultures and societies. Continue reading »

Nov 172009

Source: Integral Institute – Scholars

Allan Combs, PhD, is a contributor to the Integral Consciousness Studies at
Integral Institute. He is a consciousness researcher, neuropsychologist, and
systems theorist.

Center for
Yoga and Health

Allan is a Professor of Transformative Studies at the California
Institute of Integral Studies and director of the Integral Concentration of the
doctoral program. His background is in consciousness studies, neuropsychology,
and systems science.

Allan also holds appointments at the Saybrook Graduate School and the
Assisi Conferences, and is Professor Emeritus at the University of North
Carolina-Asheville. He is Co-Director of the Integral Studies program leading to
an MA in Conscious Evolution at the Graduate Institute of Connecticut.

Allan is author of over 100 articles, chapters, and books on
consciousness and the brain, including The Radiance of Being (2ed):
Understanding the Grand Integral Vision; Living the Integral Life, winner of the
best-book award of the Scientific and Medical Network of the UK, with a foreword
by Ken Wilber; Changing Visions: Human Cognitive Maps Past, Present, and Future,
with Ervin Laszlo, Vilmos Csanyi, and Robert Artigiani; Chaos Theory in
Psychology and the Life Sciences, edited with Robin Robertson; Nonlinear
Dynamics in Human Behavior, edited with William Sulis; Synchronicity: Through
the Eyes of Science, Myth, and the Trickster with Mark Holland; and Mind in
Time: The Dynamics of Thought, Reality, and Consciousness, with Mark Germine and
Ben Geortzel.

Allan is a co-founder of the Integral Foundation and The Society for
Chaos Theory in Psychology and the Life Sciences. He is a member of The General
Evolution Research Group, the Integral Institute, the Forge Guild and the
one-hundred member Club of Budapest. He is Co-Editor of the Journal of Conscious
Evolution, Associate Editor of Dynamical Psychology, and serves on the Editorial
Board of Science & Consciousness Review. Allan was the winner of the 2002-2003
National Teaching Award of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs,
and in the same year the held the UNCA Honorary Ruth and Leon Feldman

Allan is a student of Swami Rama and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait at the
Himalayan Institute and served as Chair of the Board of a public five county
mental health center in the Midwest. His personal website is:

This title offers a thorough and insightful exploration of human
consciousness in all its forms. "Consciousness Explained Better" offers
readers an insightful, down-to-earth, and above all, easy-to-understand
exploration of consciousness in its many facets and forms. Grounded in
the author’s thorough understanding of the various aspects and
development of consciousness, this superbly written volume examines
human consciousness from a wide range of view-points – its historical
evolution, its growth in the individual, its mystical dimensions, and
the meaning of enlightenment – giving readers a greater understanding of
how these aspects of consciousness combine to create the kaleidoscopic
yet lucid experience that is the essence of humanity.
Here is a very exciting book, reflecting a very exciting time in the
exploration of consciousness and evolution. With the possible exception
of the rise of the great Idealist movements two centuries ago, today is
the most gripping period of research in consciousness that we have ever
seen. For the first time in history we have access to almost all
accumulated information about human consciousness and its potential. Zen
Buddhism, shamanism, body/mind disciplines, the great contemplative
traditions, mysticism, and many more have given us an extraordinary map
of human consciousness based on direct meditative experience, right up
to contemporary marvels of scientific research, giving the enquiring
mind an all-inclusive model of human consciousness and its unfolding.
Carl Jung coined the term "synchronicity" to describe meaningful
coincidences that conventional notions of time and causality cannot
explain. Working with the great quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli, Jung
sought to reveal these coincidences as phenomena that involve mind and
matter, science and spirit, thus providing rational explanations for
parapsychological events like telepathy, precognition, and intuition.
Synchronicity examines the work of Jung and Pauli, as well as noted
scientists Werner Heisenberg and David Bohm; identifies the phenomena in
ancient and modern mythologies, particularly the Greek legend of Hermes
the Trickster; and illustrates it with engaging anecdotes from everyday
life and literature.
In this clear, engaging book, Robin Robertson draws parallels
between alchemy and chaos theory and shows how to apply them to our
inner development. He is not proposing they replace traditional
spiritual paths, but rather that they reflect deep structures in the
psyche that any inner journey awakens. The model they provide
necessarily underlies all paths of spiritual transformation and
describes a framework for the stages through which any seeker goes. No
matter what your particular calling, these insights enrich understanding
of the transformative process, whether outside in the world, or within
your life.
In an increasingly interdependent world where once antagonistic
societies and economies now exist within a global network, the need to
foster and maintain cooperation has never been more vital. Cooperation
explores an extraordinary growing awareness of the centrality of
cooperation from the perspectives of a variety of disciplines, including
biology, ecoscience, psychology, political science, business and
economics. The essays question the age-old maxim that our existence is
dependent on, and even prospers via competition, and offer keen insight
into the far-reaching challenges of this fascinating, uncharted period
in world history.
The four authors of this book recognize that no one on the common
human journey to the 21st century can pick the best route without
consulting a "map"–that is to say, an interconnected set of
understandings about what in a given situation is important, what
demands action and attention, and what does not. The problem, they
contend, is that the picture of the world we each carry in our mind may
not be a true mapping of the reality that surrounds us. This picture,
the cognitive map, could always be sharper. The authors prompt us to
become more conscious of our own cognitive map, and explain how it can
be adapted to the exigencies of our changing world so that it can be
better-used to guide our steps toward the 21st century.
This volume presents a collection of essays that all share a
common concern with time, process and consciousness. The chapters
represent a variety of different perspectives and the authors span the
disciplines of psychology, mathematics, physics and psychiatry.
Nov 172009

Source: Integral Institute – Scholars

Leo BurkeLeo Burke,  MA, MS, contributes to Integral Business and Leadership studies at Integral Institute. He is the Associate Dean of the Mendoza College of Business and Director of Executive Education at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining Notre Dame, Leo worked twelve years at Motorola, Inc. as a leader and innovator in education.

Source: Mendoza Directory

Leo Burke is Director of Integral Leadership at the Mendoza College of Business, the University of Notre Dame. From December 2000 through June 2008, he served as Associate Dean and Director of Executive Education. During his tenure as associate dean, Notre Dame Executive Education increased total revenues nearly 200%, successfully inaugurated a new Executive MBA program in Chicago, achieved a top 15 worldwide ranking (Business Week) for custom executive programs, and launched several new executive programs, including the highly acclaimed Executive Integral Leadership Program.

Read Dr. Burke’s Welcome to the Executive Integral Leadership program.

Prior to joining Notre Dame, Burke served in a variety of roles at Motorola, Inc., including Director and Dean of the College of Leadership and Transcultural Studies within Motorola University. He was a key architect of premier leadership development programs in both China and India.

Leo Burke holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, a M.A. in Political Science from Indiana University, and a M.S. in Organization Development from Aurora University.

Nov 172009

Source:  ZD Net – Zack Whittaker

"With experience of hindsight, with a number of events which social networking from ordinary members of the public (”citizen journalism”) from the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the Hudson river plane crash and the death of Michael Jackson; Twitter especially has been a key point of communication.

"Twitter is instant and is accessible from anywhere with mobile signal. However the big issue with the London bombings is that the explosions were underground, some closer to Tube stations than others, but most had no signal while they were down there. Yet videos and texts were still sent to be delivered as soon as a trailing signal came into focus when they reached the surface."


Nov 032009
Hassan Abbas, a former Pakistani government official and senior advisor to Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, recently spoke to Simon Shercliff, First Secretary Foreign Security and Policy for the British Embassy, about the future of Pakistan. Their conversation touched on a range of topics, including the militants’ recent attacks on the Pakistani military, Pakistan’s relationship with India, Pakistan-UK relations, and U.S. aid to Pakistan.


Also of Interest:


AP Photo

Nov 032009


The Futurist: Coming Soon: A Smarter Internet

"Less Web searching, more Web finding."

The founders of a new U.S. start-up called SemanticV have come up with a new weapon in the war against information overload: a search engine that actually learns the meaning of words for which it’s searching…. For example, the word tank could refer to a piece of military equipment or a storage container for oil. Plug the word tank into the Google query box and you’ll get a wide variety of results. If you’re not sure what type of tank you want to find, you won’t be able to add any relevant tags to narrow your search. The less you know about the subject you’re looking up, the more laborious and inefficient the research process becomes as you’re forced to spend more time going through bad leads."

Additional resources on SemanticV:

Oct 272009 reports on a Wall Street Journal report research by German biologist Anna Katharina Braun and others.

"Braun focuses on degus, small rodents tied to guinea pigs and chinchillas. The mother and father raise the degus in nature.

The Journal’s money quote:

When deprived of their father, the degu pups exhibit both short- and long-term changes in nerve-cell growth in different regions of the brain. Dr. Braun, director of the Institute of Biology at Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg, and her colleagues are also looking at how these physical changes affect offspring behavior.

Bottom line: Degu pups without fathers are more aggressive and impulsive than others with two parents."

Source: Freebase

Source: Freebase