JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 99 : September 27, 2002
Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
- Soft Solutions - 12 steps to a kinder, gentler world
- More on the scientific search for human longevity
- Book: The Molecular Future
- Honeywell I.S. has new President - Siemens deal still on?
- The Tyco follies
- Jack Welch deserves his perks
- Robotics is simply continued hype
- Industry mags on a downward spiral
Soft solutions - 12-step program for a kinder world
The world moves ever deeper into a pervasive fear of terrorism.
Now a war against Iraq raises the frightening possibility that
this may perhaps be the catalyst for further conflagration.
The hard problems of the new century cannot be solved with
conventional hard fire power. I continue to be involved with
"thought currents" that propose "soft solutions". Gentle at first,
these "currents" are generating waves of involvement, of individual
recognition of our apparently insoluble "hard problems", of growing
realization that it is only the social conscience of all the peoples
of the world that can generate true solutions.
In an essay posted on the World Future Society's Global Strategies
Forum, futurist Gene Stephens offers a 12-step plan for creating
a society that trusts more and hates less. He outlines the keys
to creating not only a gentler and safer world, but also a more
interesting and vibrant global society.
Among Gene Stephens' solutions: Embrace the unifying forces of
globalization and the transition of human society into a global
village. Recognize the homogeneity of the human species and
celebrate the diversity of its cultures. Reject violence in
the name of religion. Stop perpetuating violence in all forms.
Can We Create a Kinder, Gentler World
Visit Gene Stephens's Web site
The scientific search for human longevity (continued)
Our feature on the technologies of human longevity stirred up
a lot of interesting discussions. So, I thought I'd continue
to tweak your interest on this interesting topic.
As a futurist speaker (my primary avocation) I always generate
a laugh when I suggest that when I'm 120, I'll be dating a cute
90-year old chick. But then seriously, if indeed the average human
lifespan extends to 200, who would want to be married to the same
person for 160 years? And, would you enjoy the same kind of work
for a century? Indeed, your resume might include your past careers
as a doctor, politician, engineer, lawyer, fireman and rock-star.
Modern biomedical researchers have made great progress in unraveling
the mystery of aging. Physical immortality may not be possible,
but within the next few decades science may indeed be able to
radically postpone death. The chances are that most babies born in
the last decade will live well into the next century.
But, before science can catch up to extend your own life, probably
the most promising immediate thing you can do to increase your
chances of seeing your great-grandchildren is to stop eating so much.
Calorie restriction is currently the only known technique for
increasing the life spans of many different organisms.
If calorie restriction doesn't appeal to you, regenerative medicine
with therapeutic cloning is the next best bet for near-term success.
If you need a new heart or liver, it will soon be possible to grow
a new perfect transplant using your own cells. The process would
involve transferring the nucleus of one of your skin cells to a
human egg, which would then grow in a petri dish, from which stem
cells would be harvested and transformed into the desired tissues
for your own transplant.
Medical nanotechnology is already on the horizon - computer-controlled
molecular tools much smaller than a human cell and with the accuracy
and precision of drug molecules, to remove obstructions in the
circulatory system, kill cancer cells or take over the function of
But, life extension is not just a biological challenge - there are
social and even political problems as well. Many believe that no
social good can come from prolonging human life. Just think of
ballooning social security costs!
In Eastern Europe, some tobacco companies have sought subsidies because
tobacco addiction clearly reduced the average lifespan, and hence
saved government expenditures for social welfare. Ouch!!
Forever Young - The new scientific search for immortality
If you're interested in all this, you might like to attend the
5th Alcor Conference on Extreme Life Extension on Nov. 16 & 17
2002 at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel, California.
Ray Kurzweil is among many excellent speakers. Others will
describe the impressive potential of therapeutic human cloning
and the impressive potential of nanomedicine.
Alcor Conference on Extreme Life Extension
To end this item on a humorous note, here are some tidbits
sent by my friend, Dr. Ted Mohns:
Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not live
forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we
would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why
I would not live forever."
--Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.
"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important
part of your life."
--Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson
for a federal anti-smoking campaign.
"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because
we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you.
You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."
--Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina
Book: The Molecular Future
JimPinto.com eNews regularly discusses breakthrough technologies:
nanotech, robotics, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence.
A new book by Douglas Mulhall(pub. July 02) "Our Molecular Future"
discusses developments that will create major changes in the century ahead.
Among his predictions:
These things might seem unbelievable, but don't simply skip this
item as "too futuristic". You might start thinking about how these
new technologies will affect you, your business and your life.
Book: Our Molecular Future
- A supersonic tunnel will link New York, London, Berlin, Moscow,
Shanghai, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. Travelers will zoom around the
world at 2,500 miles per hour.
- Neural implants will allow us to read at super-fast speeds and
enhance our retention of what we read.
- Marriages between septuagenarians and 20-year-olds will be
common as genetic therapy reduces the impacts of aging.
- Synthesized food will replace animal-based food; animals will
no longer be killed for food or clothing.
Honeywell I.S. gets a new President - Siemens deal still on?
At a 'town-hall meeting' in Phoenix this week (24 Sept.02)
Jack D. Bolick was named Honeywell Industry Solutions president.
Bolick was previously VP & GM of Honeywell Electronic Materials
from Sunnyvale, CA., a strategic business unit of Honeywell
The next day (25 Sept.02) Jack Bolick sent a voice mail
message to all US employees (extract here):
"This is Jack Bolick, your new global leader for IS.
I'm glad to be on board. I'm excited to be here.
At the Phoenix town-hall meetings, Jack Bolick assured employees
that Honeywell I.S. is not for sale. Some employees, who had heard
this several times before, wondered whether Jack Bolick would last
longer than his predecessors Terry Sutter or John Weber.
"I was with Honeywell's Electronic Materials business for
approximately 12 years. I leave that business in good shape
and I'm joining to do the same here - to grow it and position
it for the future in the control market.
"I've been in industry over 20 years - as a process engineer
doing controls, up through laying out and designing MES systems.
I'm certified in production and inventory control, quality
engineering in several different disciplines. I really look
forward to joining our global team and driving it forward.
"I do firmly believe that everything begins with the customer.
Our image with the customer is strong. With new products such as
Experion PKS I know that we have a winning formula moving forward.
"I'm glad to be here and look forward to seeing all of you.
I join formally on October 1 and from that point we will drive
forward together as one global team."
A senior ex-Honeywell manager recently confirmed that when the
United Technologies buyout of Honeywell was announced internally
(on a Friday) they were also told that concurrent with that deal,
that IS (then IAC) was being sold to Siemens. All this fell through
on Saturday when GE made their counter-offer. At that time GE
wanted to keep IAC, so the Siemens deal was off.
We have to wonder why Siemens hasn't yet followed through on
buying IS - I believe the deal is still on the table. Is there
some regulatory reason why Honeywell might want to wait until
2003 before agreeing to a buyout?
A knowledgeable industry observer suggested that Siemens may be
hedging on the deal because they realize that any announcement
of IS being sold will cause Honeywell customers to stop buying.
Warning to Siemens:
Forcing another 6-12 month wait to find out if the deal gets
approved, plus another year to find out the new product
direction, would likely give the Honeywell installed base
enough reasons to give up on Honeywell IS altogether.
Read the interesting commentary on the JimPinto.com weblogs.
Or, post your own.
The Tyco follies
Last week Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski (former CEO), Mark Swartz (former CFO)
and former General Counsel Mark Belnick were indicted for enterprise corruption,
securities fraud and grand larceny. Kozlowski narrowly avoided going
to jail at Riker's Island (one of the toughest US prisons) because he
could not post $10m bail - the judge ruled that his funds were
tainted; he avoided jail when his ex-wife bailed him out. CFO Mark
Swartz posted his $5 million bail in the form of 500,000 shares of
Tyco stock (current value $7m).
The millions in company funds grossly misallocated, unreported and
misrepresented by Kozlowski and his cohorts far supercedes most of
the corporate wrongdoing and self-dealing that has plagued the market.
This is not to minimize Enron, whose complex dealings brought it down;
or Worldcomm whose $7b in capitalized expenses kept share-prices up
for a while, and indicted David Myers and Scott Sullivan (still the
owner of that palatial home in Florida).
WorldCom's $408 million loan to former CEO Bernie Ebbers had a 2.3%
interest rate (it has not been repaid). The Tyco executive loans
carried no fees and many were forgiven by Kozlowski, who granted
them in the first place. In fact, the unreported loans and misuse
of company funds snowballed as Tyco's stock shot up, fueled by
debt-funded acquisition-related growth. The judge commented that
Kozlowski had used Tyco funds as his personal 'piggy-bank'.
In a recent SEC filing by Tyco, nowhere is there even an iota of
remorse or conscience.
The lawyers are ever present - Kozlowski's lawyer said the charges
are unproven; Swartz's lawyer said his client will be acquitted;
lawyer Belnick's lawyer denied the charges.
Forbes - The Tyco Follies
Tyco Execs Out On Bail - For Now
Perhaps we're pointing the finger at everyone but the real
culprits in corporate scandals: lawyers.
Who Gave Lawyers a Pass?
Mitch Carr [firstname.lastname@example.org] is a strong Jack Welch supporter:
I have to admit I am appalled by the recent stink over Jack Welch.
Let's face it - the man used his intellect to make a lot of money
for himself, his friends, his employees and his vendors. It would
be interesting to learn what percentage of US cash flow is a direct
or indirect result of his efforts. He kept his position based on
his merit, which is the democratic thing to do, and the way this
country is run. The man did not retire from 20 years as shipping
clerk for a local auto parts store. He retired as an icon of
modern capitalism which, I may remind you, is the stuff of which
this country is made.
Dennis Wisnosky, also known as "The Wiz" [email@example.com] was
cynical regarding the recurring hype about Artificial Intelligence:
"From what I can see, Jack Welch did a terrific job and trained
many talented people in this country to do the same. For this,
he does deserve a reward. How much? Speaking as a capitalist
and one who is planning to retire some day: as much as he can get!"
"The Red Herring guy has it right. What is really going on is that
we can process the algorithms faster - that's it. I am not saying
that significant things can't happen. What I am saying is that they
won't happen with the usual suspects doing the usual things.
Regarding Robert Greenfield's comments on the current state
of control and automation magazines in the US, Andrew Bond,
[firstname.lastname@example.org] - publisher of UK-based
"Industrial Automation Insider" - wrote:
"Around 1984, I was the guest on a National Public Radio show
called "Science Alive". It originated here in Chicago at the
Museum of Science & Industry and was carried by most NPR stations.
At the time, I was running a robotics company that went from start
up to 2nd largest in the US and 5th in the world in 5 years.
We did everything different than the other companies - from how
our robots looked to how they were programmed, and it worked.
"The popular notion at the time was that there would be a robot
or 2 in every home by 1990. Heath Kit, long since gone, had a
robot kit that they said could be programmed to do routine
household chores. VCs were throwing money at ventures like this.
"So there I was on national radio saying it wasn't going to be so,
certainly not by 1990, and probably not in my life time - I was 41
at the time. The host did not want to hear this and argued for
a while. Then at the break we came to terms and talked about what
the laws of Physics and Mathematics would really allow.
It was fun, and turned out to be true."
"For once, the US can look to the UK to see the way things may
well turn out. We now have no major magazine specifically devoted
to industrial automation and process control - and no major
exhibition either. This has been brought about by a combination
of publishers' and exhibition organizers' greed and consolidation
of the industry itself. Just count up the number of separate vendors
who have been swallowed by, for example, ABB, all of whom used to
take 3, 6 or even 12 full page or double page spread ads in full
color each year, and then look at how many ad pages ABB itself
takes and you can see where a lot of the paging has gone.
"Could engineers be persuaded to pay for their magazines? What
evidence there is suggests that the major achievement of the
publishing industry here over the past 30 years has been to
convince readers that information is a commodity that they can
and should expect to receive free of charge. Convincing them
otherwise is going to be a long process.
"The choice in the long term is not going to be between paid for
paper-based magazines and free digital titles - how are the latter
meant to finance themselves? - but between paid for digital titles
and nothing. Said to say, and a salutary lesson for everyone involved
in the publishing industry, most automation and control engineers
in the UK currently seem to be happy to settle for nothing."
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