Monthly Archives: July 2013

Great comparison – great recession, great depression

Very interesting comparison of Great Depression and Great Recession.

NR Market Watch

Cheryl Russel’s work is always some of the most insightful I read. After you read through this you will want to sign up for her newsletter. and buy her books.

Score One for the Great Recession

How do you measure bad times? Specifically, how does the Great Recession compare with the Great Depression? Economists typically use GDP as the measuring stick. During the Great Depression, GDP fell by a stunning 27 percent. During the Great Recession, GDP fell only 4 percent. Using the GDP measure, then, the Great Recession was only 15 percent as severe as the Great Depression (4/27 x 100 = 15).

Something is missing from the GDP comparison, however: a human face. GDP and other macro-level economic statistics fail to capture the human experience of hard times. We need something that measures the personal dimension of economic downturns. One way to measure the personal is with…

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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Politics


Kraut Bierock, With A Twist, or Two

Kraut bierock is a German dish my father passed along to me and my siblings. It is a very typical German dish; bland with few ingredients to help us poor Germans to feel we are experiencing a grander meal. The original recipe begins by preparing dough, allowed to raise overnight, and kneaded twice. The recipe for the stuffing we learned consists of 1 part ground beef, 1 part cabbage, and about 1/4 part onion. (Often we used unscaled measurements as 1 lb beef, 1 head cabbage, and 1 onion.) These are cooked together with salt and pepper, to taste, until the cabbage is soft. After cooked, you spoon about two scoops into a square cut of bread dough and form it into a closed roll (or pocket) of bread dough. Finally, you bake this at about 350º for 25 to 30 minutes until browned.
Now that I live in Arizona, I wanted to try to change the recipe a little. The obvious was to add spice. I added approximately one-eighth part jalapenos. I also added a little more spices; garlic and cilantro.
Because of my laziness and procrastination, this is not a viable process; I always wait until it is too late to finish the preparation work. So I sought methods to shorten the total time. By luck, I found Pillsbury has sheets of dough, refrigerated not frozen. This allowed me to open packed dough, lightly roll it, and prepare the bierocks. I opted to purchase 4 containers of this prepared dough. I decided to cook these upside down to help keep the edges closed. This resulted in them looking identical to Hot Pockets. I also purchased cole slaw mix; shredded cabbage. That eliminated another time-consuming step. To try to match the recipe, I approximated one package per pound of ground beef.
Unfortunately, my measurements were not very well approximated. The dough ratio of four was perfect. However, the cabbage, jalapenos, garlic, and cilantro measurements need adjusted. It needs more cabbage; I would suggest about one and a half packages of cabbage per pound of ground beef. My bierocks had zero spice; they were nearly identical to the original recipe. I suppose one could look at that as a plus; meaning, I did not screw it up. But it did not gain the southwest flair I really was looking to add. I will double the approximations I used for the jalapenos, garlic and cilantro.
In the end, here is what I will apply to future attempts and modifying kraut bierock recipe. First, add more jalapenos, probably twice the amount I added. Second, cooking the bierocks upside down was a plus; it helped keep the bierocks closed. And, finally, the use of prepackaged dough and shredded cabbage greatly reduced the preparation time.

Posted by on July 21, 2013 in Memories, Writing


Up In Smoke: Introductory View

This is an opening paragraph to my Up In Smoke! paper, written in 2009. I wrote this paragraph as a third person view to introduce the balance of the paper, but it was never included in the final. I stumbled across this while cleaning out some old class work and thought I would record it here for nostalgic purposes.  

More than 30 years has led Bud to this resolute moment. These last few steps taken to stop the suicidal trek he had embarked on as a child. Tomorrow will be given as a birthday gift to his mother; a gift she’s requested numerous times. The strong resolve in his actions masks the fear of failure restrained in the pit of his stomach. His hand quivers as it comes to his mouth. He drags on the cigarette but almost hesitantly. As he exhales the last puff, the billow of smoke vanishes in the air.

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Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Class Writing, Memories, Writing


Dr Genichi Taguchi

Dr Genichi Taguchi

1 January 1924, to 2 June 2012

To understand Dr Genichi Taguchi, I sought out a little background information. An article published in Production and Operations Management (POMS) highlights his association with the other quality directed people mention in the textbook (Genichi). He built upon the work of Sir R. A. Fisher, P. C. Mahalanobis, C. R. Rao, Walter A. Shewhart, and others to advance the statistical analysis of quality assurance that we studied in this class. I believe he has a more striking influence on current methodologies because of this more recent arrival in this genre of scientific review. The textbook, POMS, and other sources discuss his involvement with such organizations as Bell Labs, Ford Motor Company, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, and various scientific societal organizations, such as Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers. Dr Taguchi received numerous commendations, including, but limited to, the Walter A Shewhart Medal, Willard F Rockwell Medal, and the Blue Ribbon Award from the Emperor of Japan.

If these achievements are not enough to highlight his significance, the application of his method to my day-to-day work also adds significant value to his techniques. As a computer programmer and data analyst, I have used, without foreknowledge, the methodologies discussed in the textbook, and especially Dr Taguchi’s methods.

“The Taguchi method is a valuable tool for achieving Six Sigma quality by helping to develop robust designs that are insensitive to variation” (Foster, 302). The simplicity behind Taguchi’s concept of robust design strikes to the heart of quality assurance. Table 2–7 of the textbook categorization demonstrates this. Taguchi shared a narrower focus on the intended purpose. The textbook highlights the key factors of the approaches. For Taguchi the focus of the variables is on quality assurance of products and services, philosophy driven, and project/team-based improvement (Foster, 44).

The software development process falls right in line with the Taguchi Process. In programming, we begin by identifying a problem through customers (computer users), data quality tests, or software needs. Brainstorming is used to identify a direction for finding potential solutions. Developers have to understand whether the information about the problem is caused by coding or other influences. This could be an existing software bug, data acquisition problem, data entry problem, or a problem with the analysis. Taguchi categorizes these elements as control factors and noise factors.

Software programming follows the Taguchi process with experimental design, experimentation, and analysis. In these steps, the developer will create an initial design, and run various predetermined tests to evaluate if it is achieving the desired output. Finally, in the confirming experiment step, the software is delivered to the end user who decides if further adjustments are necessary.

Further, concept design highlights a key point in the process of software development. Information technology professionals, in the software design work, manage the development process from acquiring consumer information and applying that knowledge to the product design and implementation. Taguchi focuses strictly on managing controllable variables. This is key in computer programming; it necessitates considering all possible inputs and determining how to manage those to achieve the desired outputs.

Works Cited

Foster, S. Thomas. Managing Quality: Integrating the Supply Chain, Fifth Edition. Pearson, 2013. eText.

“Genichi Taguchi.” Production and Operations Management 17.5 (2008): 2,I,II. ProQuest. Web. 29 June 2013. Retrieved from


Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Class Writing


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