Recently is was reflecting upon how much I would like to improve, change etc., And with the customary start of the year, now is as good as time as any other to think about change. However, i have been reflecting on what to change and why…
This lead me to consider the 4ts of risk management. Tolerate, transfer, terminate or treat. While change is not necessarily easy, it does require one to know what the goal is and a path forward. Offer we think we can do this alone, or supplemented by the naive assumption that internet searches can fix all one’s problems. For all four Ts, risk assessment begins with understanding. As we think about resolutions, I feel that is often were good plans become failed dreams as the follow through becomes the roadblock to success, and we tolerate more then anything thing else. The easy path is to continue, but that may not always be the best path
Almost ten years ago, I started raising my poultry, which led to selling poultry at a farmers’ market and a few restaurants. While I don’t sell poultry anymore, I still enjoy raising animals on my farm. But one has to consider some things when raising poultry or any farm animals: they need food, shelter, and water. (Sounds like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but I never asked my animals how they are doing on their road to self-actualization. But they seem content.)
Recognizing I needed shelters, I built several hoop pens based on the following design posted at a University of Kentucky website about poultry housing. These things work great! And they still work great, even after all these years of being out in the elements. I did not say they had to look good!
At various times I have raised squabs, brooded countless goslings, ducklings, chickens, etc., in addition to serving as a sick ward for sheep and poultry. The hoop pens have been temporary storage for feed and farm supplies, including a greenhouse, at one time. So, this simple design has become a mainstay on the property due to its versatility.
I found the following quote: “Do I like my coffee black? There are other colors?” (And there are other colors depending upon how much milk/crème/water one adds.) Most of the world, there are different varieties not listed here, such as Greek Coffee, but the world drinks coffee!
Here in the United States, the UrbanCoffee.com lists that 64% of American adults daily consume coffee. That’s a lot of people, but where do people get their coffee? Most brew their coffee at home, as this graph from Coffee Brew, but there are numerous places to get a cup of java!
But the real question is not much coffee we drink, but how dependent we are on coffee imports. Hawaii is the only state that grows coffee, with over 6,900 acres producing over almost 12,500 metric tons of coffee beans in 2020-2021. In 2020, the United States imported almost 1.5 million metric tons of coffee.
So, where did all this coffee come from? The top import sources are Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Guatemala, but all coffee producing area ship coffee to the United States. And as this is mostly shipped through the nation’s ports (except for Mexican beans that move through various land crossings), the largest import gateways are New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, Charleston, Baltimore. I am doing my best to help New Orleans be number one, but no one really knows where a roaster sourced their coffee!
So, when you have your next cup of coffee, and enjoy that first ship of goodness, remember that your coffee is the end of a global supply chain. I’m off to get my favorite cup of coffee, one that is “As Black as Night, As Strong as Death, as Hot as Hell, and As Sweet As Love.”
When I was a kid, my father often quoted, “The Eyes of the Master Fit the Stock”. (A little background: my father was a veterinarian. We grew up working at both his clinic and on a broodmare farm.)
The proverb refers to the master, the person responsible for the care, as responsible for the well-being of the animal (livestock). That care is not a single event, but fitting stock means preparing the stock for some future event, which means knowing what the future may be and knowing where the livestock is along that path. For example, preparing animals for winter requires managing pasture in the summer, while a racehorse has to be trained before it can race. Steers must be fattened before they are butchered.
The term does not identify any outcome, but rather where the responsibility lies. As animals can not read spreadsheets or attend training videos, they depend upon the master, either acting directly or through some other agent As kids, we did not understand anything about raising horses (except which end bites and which end kicks!) As we got older, we learned how to care for horses and other animals, and while my father did not feed the horses every day, these animals remained his responsibility. But every day, we were on the farm. For most days, this involved chores around school, sports, or other activities, but the animals required water, feed, and shelter. Regardless of how one felt, the weather, etc., every day we were doing something on the farm.
And today, I have a hobby farm. I don’t have any horses, but I have a few donkeys, geese, turkeys, chickens, and sheep. (I tried pastured pigs once!) And yes, I am responsible for them. I have to make sure they have access to water, shelter, and feed. I look at the pasture rotation, warming, and breeding cycles, Every morning, I go outside and check on the animals.
Yesterday, I listened to the following Art of Manliness Podcast “#731: A Futurist’s Guide to Building the Life You Want”. The podcast made me think that I am the master who is fitting my life. Like a horse, I will opt for easy when I can and not necessarily choosing the daily work to be as successful as I can be.
Maybe my father’s real lesson was not about the animals (Sounds like the Last Lecture). Maybe his lesson was teaching his children values about responsibility, observation, etc., but the ultimate lesson may be that one has to “look at the stock” every day to be successful.
I was thinking about how to return to my martial arts training as gyms start opening up, especially about how do I improve both my conditioning and rusted skills. Unlike the Karate Kid, there is no Sensei telling me to “Wax On, or Wax Off”, as I must prepare before I can compete safely. The Karate Kid did not quite comprehend his situation until Sensei forced him to link his conditioning to skill development, but I know a little more than he did.
Frequently, the mind and the body tread divergent paths, unclear as to either the route or the destination. For Daniel, he had to have the techniques demonstrated before his eyes to see his own development. However, not everyone who trains learns, as the following video shows a young soldier struggling to feel secure in the African Savannah (Adumu).
In many ways, the lion killer was a warrior: he assessed, listened, and executed. The young soldier, scared, full of adrenaline, etc., was unable to defend himself, even with a more formidable weapon. In the end, the warrior remained a warrior, a weapon, even when he left the spear behind for the other.
In both videos, the more inexperienced fighter did not grasp what he learned until he was shown the deficiency of his training. So, not only must I prepare my body for training, but I must prepare my mind also.
The moral of the two stories could be summed up by a quote from Jason Bogden, “You must be the weapon before you can use a weapon”. Over the course of the Karate Kid, Daniel learns to effectively execute his training, much like the taller warrior was able to do at the moment of the lion attack. And frankly, that is good advice for anyone getting ready to face not only other fighters but life itself.
I came across a few notes I made when I was a volunteer wrestling coach at Mandeville High School. It was a very rewarding experience, but I am sharing these as I thought there were some useful nuggets regarding training in general.
Who is likely to be a heavyweight wrestler in high school:
An athletic football player – tends to have already played sports and can understand coaching
A boy who has just grown into his body, so he will be very awkward when he has gained two inches and 25 pounds. I think of them as the big puppy as they do not necessarily understand their new growth.
The kid who grew up fast, so he experienced a big advantage when he was younger. So while he learned how to use the body, his fight style may be influenced by subliminal messages received throughout his younger days about “not beating up on little kids or bullying” – creating a “gentle giant.”
The kid who played no sports nor does he understand the rigors of wrestling or even the challenges of moving his body. He may want to wrestle because of TV fighting (MMA) or his friends doing some other martial arts.
Techniques to Teach:
What not to teach: Do not immediately teach a single or double leg (Stay with Blast Doubles)- most big wrestlers will have problems coming up off the ground, especially if they let go of a leg and plant an arm on the ground. They may get discouraged and will be less willing to learn the technique until they have some success with fighting off the bottom.
What to teach: teach hip toss, over-under positions, bear hugs, or even old school blast doubles from a collar grip, Russians, etc.
The focus is on movement and angles, as if heavyweights don’t move, they are subject to certain setups from more experienced wrestlers.
A heavyweight wrestler should not stand in the same spot for more than 3 seconds, and if this is not broken earlier, it’s hard to “unteach” later. (I would teach hip toss after they mastered other positions.)
Always emphasized teaching confidence in the bottom before teaching any top techniques. A bigger kid will struggle to get up, so the fear of being out of position should be addressed first. As beginner top wrestlers will tend to push more weight onto the hands of the bottom wrestler, this makes “fat man rolls”, sit-outs, somewhat easier to execute.
Top position – remember to focus on pushing through, and not over the bottom position. While this sounds easy, the bigger frame can occasionally lead to wrestlers getting out of position easier.
Escaping from pins:
Generally, larger heavyweights are less flexible, so may give up a pin that a smaller, nimbler wrestler may not. As such, they may need more reminders regarding pin escapes as they have the potential for giving up a fall if they are out of position or fatigued.
The focus should be a progression on pins here and then incorporated with escapes to reinforce both positions. Stress pin escape drills that last 20-30 seconds to create a clear feeling of progress and control points.
Some Mental Aspects:
Do not stress that heavyweight wrestling is boring. This can create a negative message to your wrestler to not try as hard, or his contribution is not merited. In many ways, the creation of “boring” heavyweight wrestling is a lack of teaching sound standing techniques, which may result in wrestlers remaining locked in a clinch for most of the round.
Some big guys will rely upon up outmuscling their opponent, which may result in initial victories, but without additional technical development, they may see frustratingly slow progress. This default towards outmuscling tends to lean itself to a slower match. A better focus would be on footwork, teaching the wrestler that movement will generate more opportunities, especially if they are in better shape than their opponent.
The heavyweight wrestler should learn to use his weight to “wear out” his opponent where possible while catching his breath in a match.
Big guys can fall into a counter wrestling mindset, as they learn that their size will enable them to counter techniques from other, smaller wrestlers. Avoid this at all costs, as they will turn into wrestlers who will only be able to beat opponents who make mistakes. They will learn to be less aggressive and will actually move less, as they wait for the other person to screw up.
A Special Note on Football Players
If they play football, wrestling should teach:
Beat the man in front of you.
Leverage and footwork can outperform weight only.
They will likely quit wrestling to focus on football if they feel this wresting is too hard, or if they completed a football season and want a break. The problem is this these players may lose the gross motor skills and mental disciple that wrestling will afford them, both in high school and beyond. And their opponents are not taking training breaks.
Techniques for incorporating football players into the middle of a wrestling season:
Start them on the stand-ups and bottom first. Once they are conformable in not getting pinned, then start with standing and turnovers. This is because the other kids will already have had the benefit of two months of training, so you have to get them where they feel they will see progress fast, which means “you are not being pinned!” If they know they can escape, they are more comfortable learning how to wrestle.
Also, many will quit if they get repeatedly pinned after a few days of practice, so one has to learn to manage expectations. Football is not wrestling: one is a team sport, the other, an individual sport on a team.
Several will see powerlifting as getting them stronger. It should be stressed they can still do both. Oh, if I had the recovery time of my 18-year-old self!!
After traveling for work (i.e., with a laptop) for a long time, I have settled on what I carry in my laptop bag. This is my standard packing for all trips, assuming that overnight trips will have personal items in a separate bag.
The broad categories: Power, Audio, Other
Power items (All the charger cables are in a separate GREEN bag)
Power chord for laptop
Charger cable for personal phone
charger cable for iPad
charger cable for iPhone
backup portable charger
small multiple outlet adaptor
power converter (if traveling overseas)
Audio (All these cables are in a separate orange bag)
Headphones with mike/boom and 3.5 audio jack (Don’t want Bluetooth devices to die or worry about them not being charged)
Converter lightening to 3.5 jack (for calls on iPhone)
USB-C 3.5 jack (for Teams meetings on iPad)
Other computer supplies (in a red bag)
a USB/flash drive
Generally have a few AA/AAA batteries
Knowledge creation (sometimes you need to write something down!)
Bag with pencils/pen/highlighter (in a blue bag)
Notebook (I use the TUL system)
Eyeglass cleaner/eyeglass repair kit
I am curious to learn what others. Seems like everyone has their own list of “must-have” items!
Many have postulated what generates transportation corridor development, especially regarding new service options. Often, these discussions involve many users seeking someone to help them solve “their” problem. For example, the shipper will want service alternatives that are reliable and/or at a lower cost than their current operation. Carriers want more cargo on their network. Public sector groups want to see more economic activity, expressed as freight traffic, through their region. (The same could be applied to intermediaries, such as labor, freight forwarders, brokers, etc.). There seems to be no single word that encompasses the “why” regarding how transportation services start and continue over time.
In organizing my thoughts on this topic, I came up with two alternative lists to distill what maybe needed for a transportation service to begin and remain successful. I really don’t know which list is better, so they are presented here for your consideration.
First, the 7 C’s. (I was thinking of something catchy. I think this works..)
Capital-It takes money to get something started. There are barriers to entry, costs of renting/purchasing equipment, etc., as transportation may require large upfront costs before the first shipment occurs.
Carrier-A carrier (or multiple carriers) must be willing to offer that service, possessing the right equipment, skills, etc. to satisfy a shipper’s needs.
Connectivity-The trade lane must service a network, or be tied to networks, so that the cargo does not stop at a midpoint. For example, there are many ports in the U.S., but not all are served by multiple Class I railroads. This could put these ports at a disadvantage for rail dependent cargos. (There are other connectivity issues related to pipelines, roadways, shipper locations, channel characteristics, etc., so don’t think I am only picking on railroads!).
Cargo-There has to be cargo operating in both ways (to spread out the revenue costs for the carrier) or someone is willing to pay for the empty movement, but cargo must be available and willing to pay for that freight service.
Collaboration-For the carrier, shipper and other engaged parties, the service must be seen as an important relationship, not a “one-off” item, to encourage shippers and carriers to be confident the service will continue into the future. This may also require a champion to ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal. (Yes, Champion is a “C” word, but in this context, it is a visionary pushing for collaboration.)
Costs-There is no free lunch. Costs must be set at a level where carriers benefit while shippers receive their desired service levels, and where possible, there are little significant cost on other users/groups.
Climate-Does the business climate support this service? Can the service handle any disruptions or adopt to changing conditions? Given discussions on resiliency, climate may be a good word when discussing risks outside of operational activity.
My alternative term is OARS (like row your boat?)
Operations – The right equipment, permits, labor agreements, etc., to make a transportation service run,
Assets – This category includes the actual transportation equipment and infrastructure (roadways, vessels, trucks, cranes, docks, etc.), and the labor (truck driver, train, customs, services…),
Reliable– Everyone has to commit to making the service “work”, where service risks are minimized, and revenue streams can be managed so that everyone benefits.
Support– Everyone involved understands their role, and works to ensure the cargo, equipment, service, etc., work as expected. In some ways, this final category may be the hardest to maintain over the long term as markets/costs, can change over time.
In reviewing these two lists, there exist many nuanced concepts, but one “C” word seems to be an unspoken, but vital, element: commitment. This requires a commitment to provide the service (carrier), use the service (shipper), and to support the service (public sector/other agents).
The Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis held their annual meeting in Washington, DC last week. There were some great presentations, (although I missed quite a few because of overlapping panels), but I did find James Scouras‘ presentation titled “Analytical Challenges Surrounding Analyses of Nuclear War”, very engaging.
I made a presentation on my PhD work Thursday afternoon, Session 3G, “Transportation on Waterways: Keeping Afloat using BCA”. Our Discussant, Joe Devlin, said the session should have been called “Big boats are fickle, fragile, and frustrated”.
My other panelists presented some very interesting work. Tim Skeel discussed how he proposed changing bridge closures in Seattle based on the value of time and normalized shipping activity. (The study examined how to change operations on a bridge built in 1910 for today’s traffic conditions.) He did a very through job on showing how these changes would benefit Seattle commuters, but the Coast Guard was not interested in changing their bridge hours. Tim was followed by Douglas Scheffler, U.S. Coast Guard, on estimating the safety benefits of deploying the Physical Oceanic Real Time System, PORTS. Doug’s presentation showed how to evaluate physical deployment of monitoring systems to assist the maritime community. Oftentimes, safety becomes “assumed away”, as how does one count for what may or may not happen.
My presentation and PhD largely centers around the question of managing investment risk in ports for large infrastructure projects. The topic has interested me for years, as evident by many of my presentations over the years. The discussion could be summed up by the slide, where the horizontal is the public sector space and the vertical is the private sector.
The outline: Ports need different types of infrastructure investment There are public and private sector actors involved in port projects Port Capacity dictates a ports competitive advantage, so growth remains the perpetual goal Sensitively in the forecast provides some risks to the infrastructure owner The Port Prioritization Program in Louisiana My Research Methodology (factor analysis and Monte Carlo Simulations)
After the presentations were finished, Joe Devlin and Henrik Andersson, chair, led a very engaged back and forth between the panelists and the audience. So, thanks to those people who attended the session and engaged in a great dialogue!
There was quite a lot of discussion on this chart from the European Union regarding Cost Benefit Analysis.
I am looking forward to submitting an update on this work next year (although presenting at the Society for Benefit Cost Analysis European Conference sounds interesting…)
So, over the next few months I will begin getting more into the data/analysis as I work on my PhD!
A few weeks ago, I made a presentation for a class at the University of New Orleans. As with a lot of my general freight speeches, I start with the following question.
For the few paying attention, most talk about water, tea, soft drinks and coffee. Eventually someone brings up beer or wine, which always gets a laugh, but the irony is most people do not think about their ability to access something safe to drink. As we have expectations regarding its cost, taste, and general characteristics, we have some general idea regarding our willingness to purchase a coke at a vending machine or a soft drink at a fast food restaurant. Oftentimes, we do not think about what it took to get that product, to that place, at that time, for you to make the purchase decision. Someone designed the bottle, made the beverage and filled the bottle, only for it to be carried to that location. It was logistics that took the beverage from the plant to where you are now.
So, as you enjoy your purchase, just stop and think that there was more to this purchase, namely that the distribution/transportation system works so well we do not marvel about drinking something that literally came from around the world, or in some magical place, as in this Coca Cola Ad.