Numbers for Life and Work

Some people love numbers, working with them, playing with them, and thinking about them. Others do not. Many don’t even have a basic understanding of how to use numbers in their work. Here are the basics…

While serving in Iraq, an officer colleague of mine was called upon to estimate the exposure from a radiation source that our soldiers found on a rooftop in Baghdad. He did the calculations and gave them to me to check. This officer was industrious, dedicated, and smart, but he had made a decimal place error and overestimated the exposure by a factor of 1,000. My colleague hadn’t made such calculations for years, and his mistake could have happened to anyone. But had this estimate gone to the commanding general, he would have had to evacuate the area and send many troops back home for medical monitoring.

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Useful Quotations on Work and Labor

Pithy Prose for Politicians, Preachers, Professors, Pundits, and Public Speakers.

Proverbs 22:29 – Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.

Proverbs 18:9 – He also who is slack in his work Is brother to him who destroys.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 – Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.

Philippians 3:13 – Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

14 – I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

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The Long Shadow – How to Follow a Superstar

We may pity the person following someone who is widely acclaimed in their field. But they are doing really important work, and we should thank them. 

A Tennessee democrat who was firmly committed to the Union, Andrew Johnson had a distinguished career as congressman, senator and governor of his state. Hoping to send a message of reconciliation to the rebellious South, Lincoln chose Johnson as his vice president in 1864. Johnson’s debut on the national stage went poorly, with a rambling and perhaps drunken speech when he assumed office in March 1865. Lincoln followed with a masterpiece, his Second Inaugural Address. Little did anyone know that in only six weeks, at one of the most crucial times in American history, the rambler would be President.

A Missouri democrat who came to national prominence investigating fraud, waste and abuse on the Committee of Military Affairs during the Second World War, Harry Truman had earlier served as farmer, haberdasher, judge and US senator. With President Franklin Roosevelt in declining health and many expecting that he would not survive his fourth term, the party looked for a vice president who could succeed in the top job. Eighty-two days after the Inauguration, Roosevelt lay dead, and Truman took the top job.

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