Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who Can Tell How Events Will Be Transformed

Symbol of Taoism
Taijitu by Nyo
April has been an interesting month so far. Some of the events in our industry and our country have been very disturbing. But bad news is seldom as it appears.

The Tao Te Ching contains the following parable:

A poor farmer's horse ran off into the country of the barbarians. All his neighbors offered their condolences, but his father said, "How do you know that this isn't good fortune?" After a few months the horse returned with a barbarian horse of excellent stock. All his neighbors offered their congratulations, but his father said, "How do you know that this isn't a disaster?" The two horses bred, and the family became rich in fine horses. The farmer's son spent much time riding them and one day fell off and broke his hipbone. All his neighbors offered the farmer condolences, but his father said, "How do you know that this isn't good fortune?" Another year passed, and the barbarians invaded the frontier. All the able-bodied young men were conscripted, and nine-tenths of them died in the war. Thus good fortune can be disaster and vice versa. Who can tell how events will be transformed?*

 I don't know how things are going to turn out and neither do you.  In the absence of a personal Tardis, we can only travel the stream of time in one direction. Our best option is to move forward with the understanding that we will encounter obstacles and the confidence that we will overcome them.

You might also like:

Rainy Days and Mondays

When Your Name Becomes an Adjective

Looking Forward


*Tao Te Ching, Chapter 74, translated by Stephen Mitchell

The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Paradox of Certainty

Melting Dice
Probability Stories by Iruhdam
The world we live in is a complex place.  The impact of any event or
policy change is the result of a chaotic interplay between millions or
billions of individuals acting in ways that may not always be
rational. The probability of any particular result is almost never 0%
or 100%.

Whenever I hear a talk radio host or television commentator
belligerently proclaiming  the certainty of their particular view of
the future, I wonder whether they haven't thought things through
carefully or they're just being dishonest.


You might also like:

Changing the Odds
Collision of Ideas
Choose the Difficult Assignment


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Postcards from the Netherlands

Amy Williams and Hugo Grotius in Delft

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled with my wife Terri and daughter Jennifer to visit our daughter Amy who is studying international law in the Netherlands. That's Amy above with her mentor Hugo Grotius, the "Father of International Law."

A beautiful canal in central Utrecht

Amy lives just a few steps away from this beautiful canal in central Utrecht.

Bicycle parking in Utrecht


A bicycle is one of the best ways to get around the city center, but you have to park it somewhere. This parking area is near the Utrecht central train station.

Nine O'Clock at the Dom Tower

It's easy to know what time it is in Utrecht.  It was nine o'clock when we walked past the Dom Tower and its bells began to ring.

Footbridge in Maastricht

We took a weekend trip to Maastricht where it had snowed the day before.  This water channel which feeds the moat surrounding the old town walls no longer has much defensive value. But it's great for a quiet walk.

Maastricht Town Hall in the moonlight

The Maastricht Town Hall, which was across the square from our hotel, looks a little eerie in the moonlight.

Route 66 neon sign

I was surprised to see this in a shop window on the square in Maastricht.

Snowing in Utrecht

When we returned to Utrecht, we were able to take a walk with these gigantic snowflakes falling. I particularly like the way the orange backpack contrasts with the dull colors of the cobblestones and bricks.

We had a wonderful time exploring the Netherlands with Amy and Jennifer. Where are you planning to vacation this year?

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Inspired by WPPI

Wide and Wonderful

November in Columbia


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It Started with Stereolithography

Stereolithography diagram from Wikimedia Commons
Stereolithography diagram from Wikimedia Commons
As I have mentioned in previous posts, 3D printing is one of the fastest growing technologies and is poised to transform manufacturing over the next decade. This is the first of several posts I have planned to describe how specific 3D technologies work.

The first 3D printer was developed by Charles Hull in Valencia, California in the 1980s.  He first used the term stereolithography in his patent entitled “Apparatus for Production of Three-Dimensional Objects by Stereolithography” issued on March 11, 1986. Hull later relocated to Rock Hill, South Carolina and formed the company 3D Systems to manufacture the 3D printers.

Stereolithography works by sweeping an ultraviolet laser beam across a vat filled with a liquid photopolymer resin. Where the laser beam hits the resin, it solidifies to form one layer of a solid part. The part is lowered by a distance of .05mm to .15mm and a resin filled blade sweeps across the part to coat it with a fresh layer of liquid resin. This layer is also solidified by the ultraviolet laser and the process is repeated, layer by layer, until the full 3D part is completed. After printing, the parts are submerged in a chemical bath to remove any excess resin and cured in an ultraviolet oven.

The .stl file format, which is often used to store 3D dimensional data, was also developed by Hull to enable the transfer of the shape data into the stereolithography machines. 

Stereolithography was originally intended to accelerate the engineering process by allowing the creation of rapid prototypes and is still used primarily for that purpose. The process is also used to make molds for investment casting. The machines are typically large, expensive and produce parts with extremely high resolution and accuracy.

You might also like:

3D Printing Crosses an Inflection Point

Additive Manufacturing Pioneers

Focus for 2013


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.