Wednesday, April 23, 2014

VIDEO: Lee Strobel's The Case for the Resurrection

Lee Strobel outlines at 101 level, the case for the resurrection:

(A follow-up to the previous post on answering Hume.)

Food for thought. END

PS: For more details and issues, cf. here on as a first stop-off.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rom 1 reply, 49: Hume's argument against miracles defeated by probability . . . NEWSFLASH (not): in 1838, by Charles Babbage in the Ninth Bridgewater Treatise

On Good Friday, it is quite timely to remark on one of the hardy perennials of skepticism in thinking about God, scriptural reports and miraculous acts. Namely, David Hume's arguments  that in effect assert:
1 --> A miracle is a "violation" of a law of nature

2 --> But the laws of nature are established by firm, universal and unalterable experience

3 --> So that in principle a miracle must be established by evidence of such credit that it would be a bigger miracle for it to be wrong than for an error or cheat to have happened.

4 --> However, it is effectively always arguable that, that some error or fraud has happened is a likelier explanation, where also

5 --> Invariably, reports of miracles do not reach a standard of credibility that they are worth taking seriously
In Hume's words, from his An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding:
A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined . . . It is no miracle that a man, seemingly in good health, should die on a sudden: because such a kind of death, though more unusual than any other, has yet been frequently observed to happen. But it is a miracle, that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed in any age or country. There must, therefore, be a uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit that appellation . . . . 
The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), 'That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish . . . . '
When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened . . .
Sounds pretty conclusive, doesn't it.

 Yes, maybe we can accept a Jesus of history who got in trouble with the local and imperial authorities and came to a sticky end. But don't bother us with silly fairy-tales of his rising from the dead as the Christ of God.

Not so fast, pardnuh.

When you say:
But it is a miracle, that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed in any age or country

. . . you are begging some very big questions and -- worse -- without even bothering to seriously assess, you are hyperskeptically dismissing some pretty serious testimony and record paid for in blood. 

Martyr's blood.  Christian martyr's blood.

As in, the standard Greek word for witness became our word for one who peacefully surrendered to death at the hands of persecutors, rather than recant or deny what s/he knows is true as the foundation of his or her Christian faith



And, I also have a bit of an inside track that you are definitively wrong in that dismissiveness about the possibility of miracles. 

You see, absent a miracle of supernatural guidance that saved my life I would not be here to be typing this

And for that matter only a few weeks past I saw -- far too up close and personal for comfort, in the presence of many others -- a DOUBLE miracle. One, demonic (a physical impossibility I will not give details on lest I give credence to Evil), the other . . . the restraint of Evil leading to the rescue and deliverance of the victim . . . clearly a manifestation of the power of the name of that risen Christ and of his sacrifice on the cross c. 30 AD.

When therefore, someone comes to me with the sort of cynical dismissiveness and implied accusation of feeble-mindedness or fraud that is a root of bitterness in what I have just cited, all it tells me . . . and many others, too . . .  is something about the unfortunate want of character and selectively hyperskeptical delusions of the one who swallows that talking-point list, hook, line and sinker. For, given literally millions of lives all around us rescued and transformed by encounter with that same risen Christ, for good reason, every person of reasonable intelligence is duty bound to know better than that sort of cynical skepticism.

Sorry if you find that offensive, but sometimes smug cynicism needs to be pointedly rebuked.

Then, perhaps, we can pause to find and fix some of the crucial errors in Hume's argument that has carried away ever so many; at grave peril to their souls.

(And you do not have to accept that you have a soul, to find yourself in sobering danger of losing it.)

Charles Babbage, C19 Polymath
Let us therefore now begin the correction, by making reference [HT: VJT of UD] to Charles Babbage -- yes, THAT Charles Babbage, the father of the digital, programmable computer (and BTW, when they built a complete unit from his drawings, to precision achievable in the Victorian era, it worked . . . if the British gov't had persisted, the IT revolution would have got off the ground 100 years early . . . ). 

Specifically, let us examine a remark he made in Chapter X of his Ninth Bridgewater Treatise:
The word miraculous employed in [Hume's well-known] passage is evidently equivalent to improbable, although the improbability is of a very high degree. 

The condition, therefore, which, it is asserted by the argument of Hume, must be fulfilled with regard to the testimony [that a miracle has happened], is that the improbability of its falsehood must be greater than the improbability of the occurrence of the fact.

This is a condition which, when the terms in which it is expressed are understood, immediately commands our assent. It is in the subsequent stage of the reasoning that the fallacy is introduced. 
 In short, Babbage accepts the challenge and intends to answer on the issue of relative improbabilities. 

(And of course, I note with C S Lewis, that the actual as alleged improbability of miracles very much hinges on the prior issue of the reality of God as Creator, Eternal Lord and Redeemer, who set up a world that reflects his Divine Order but reserves the right to speak and  act in the world beyond that usual order for good reasons of his own.  Once such is seriously at the table -- and absent inexcusably question-begging hyperskepticism, such must at minimum be at the table for discussion -- then it is by no means a given that miracles, though rare, are vastly or vanishingly improbable. Indeed, as God is a serious candidate necessary being, we may note on the famous S5 axiom, that if such a being is possible, it is actual . . . cf. here on in context. Let us also note Plantinga's observation on S5 clipped from Wikipedia speaking against general ideological interest:  
". . .  under S5, if X is necessarily, possibly, necessarily, possibly true, then X is possibly true. Unbolded qualifiers before the final "possibly" are pruned in S5. [NB: --> S5 is in effect the pruning axiom.] While this is useful for keeping propositions reasonably short, it also might appear counter-intuitive in that, under S5, if something is possibly necessary, then it is necessary.
Alvin Plantinga has argued that this feature of S5 is not, in fact, counter-intuitive. To justify, he reasons that if X is possibly necessary, it is necessary in at least one possible world; hence it is necessary in all possible worlds and thus is true in all possible worlds.  [NB: --> per basic meaning, necessity of being entails existence in all possible worlds, e.g. 2 + 3 = 5 is so in all possible worlds.] Such reasoning underpins 'modal' formulations of the ontological argument."

 . . . Hume's argument thus implicitly pivots on dismissing God as a serious candidate necessary being, or on the suppressed, implicit inference that he is effectively impossible. So, my further challenge is, if THAT is the real issue, debate it, not side-issues and strawman caricatures. E.g. cf. here recently at KF.)

Now, Babbage wants to meet Hume on his own ground, so he immediately continues, picking as target a fatal flaw:
Hume asserts, that this condition cannot be fulfilled by the evidence of any number of witnesses, because our experience of the truth of human testimony is not uniform and without any exceptions; whereas, our experience of the course of nature, or our experience against miracles, is uniform and uninterrupted.

The only sound way of trying the validity of this assertion is to measure the numerical value of the two improbabilities, one of which it is admitted must be greater than the other; and to ascertain whether, by making any hypothesis respecting the veracity of each witness, it is possible to fulfil that condition by any finite number of such witnesses.
He then drives the nail home:
Hume appears to have been but very slightly acquainted with the doctrine of probabilities, and, indeed, at the period when he wrote, the details by which the conclusions he had arrived at could be proved or refuted were yet to be examined and arranged. It is, however, remarkable that the opinion he maintained respecting our knowledge of causation is one which eminently brings the whole question within the province of the calculus of probabilities . . . . 

Let us suppose that there are witnesses who will speak the truth, and who are not themselves deceived in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. Now, let us examine what is the probability of the falsehood of a statement about to be made by two such persons absolutely unknown to and unconnected with each other.

Since the order in which independent witnesses give their testimony does not affect their credit, we may suppose that, in a given number of statements, both witnesses tell the truth in the ninety-nine first cases, and the falsehood in the hundredth.

Then the first time the second witness B testifies, he will agree with the testimony of the first witness A, in the ninety-nine first cases, and differ from him in the hundredth. Similarly, in the second testimony of B, he will again agree with A in ninety-nine cases, and differ in the hundredth, and so on for ninety-nine times; so that, after A has testified a hundred, and B ninety-nine times, we shall have

99 X 99 cases in which both agree,
99 cases in which they differ, A being wrong. 
Now, in the hundredth case in which B testifies, he is wrong; and, if we combine this with the testimony of A, we have ninety-nine cases in which A will be right and B wrong; and one case only in which both A and B will . [129] agree in error. The whole number of cases, which amounts to ten thousand, may be thus divided: — .

99 x 99 =9801 cases in which A and B agree in truth,
1 x 99 = 99 cases in which B is true and A is false,
99 x 1 = 99 cases in which A is true and B false,
1 x 1 = 1 cases in which both A and B agree in a falsehood.
10,000 cases 
As there is only one case in ten thousand in which two such independent witnesses can agree in error, the probability of their future testimony being false is 

1/10,000 or 1/(100)2
The reader will already perceive how great a reliance is due to the future concurring testimony of two independent witnesses of tolerably good character and understanding. It appears that, previously to the testimony, the chance of one such witness being in error is that of two concurring in the same error (1/100)1 is (1/100)2 and if the same reasoning be applied to three independent witnesses, it will be found that the probability of their agreeing in error is (1/100)3; or that the odds are 999,999 to 1 against the agreement. 

Pursuing the same reasoning,
the probability of the falsehood of a fact which six such independent witnesses attest is, previously to the testimony, (1/100)6 or it is, in round numbers, .
1,000,000,000,000 to 1 against the falsehood of their testimony. [ --> 10^12:1]
This is the crucial step. Babbage here shows the mathematics behind the telling proverbial saying Jesus cited,  
"in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall a word be established." 

That is, in absence of credible evidence of collusion, in the presence of detailed agreement among independent witnesses, we have excellent reason to accept that the common core testimony is so.  Where of course, it is a hallmark of true testimony that we will have diversity of perspective or emphasis and even disagreement on details, but a solid core that emerges all the more as we cross-check and confirm.

Babbage then summarises in light of an estimate of the odds of a man being raised from death: 
The improbability of the miracle of a dead man being restored, is, on the principles stated by Hume, 
1/20 (100)5or it is —
200,000,000.000 to 1 against its occurrence. [200 billion to 1 (--> he gives the basis)]
It follows, then, that the chances of accidental or other independent concurrence of only six such independent witnesses, is already five times as great as the improbability against the miracle of a dead man's being restored to life, deduced from Hume's method of estimating its probability solely from experience.
That is worth noting, but the pivotal point has already been made: coherent, credibly independent testimony is a powerful inductive proof.  Babbage, aptly, concludes:
 it results that, provided we assume that independent witnesses can be found of whose testimony it can be stated that it is more probable that it is true than that it is false, we can always assign a number of witnesses which will, according to Hume's argument, prove the truth of a miracle.
Where also, because of the exponential nature of the result, the requisite number, n, is surprisingly small.

Now, of course, the obvious case of a man being raised from the dead that Hume refused to directly identify by name and address on the specific merits is the resurrection of Jesus

So, let us cite the classic primary source text in Paul's first epistle to Corinth, c. 55 AD, which documents -- some 25 years after the event while most of the eyewitnesses were still alive --  the standard, summary statement of the testimony of the leading witnesses . . . altogether about 20. 

A summary that in the underlying oral form credibly dates to 35 - 38 AD, i.e. within a few years of the event; namely:
1 Cor 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers,[a] of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:
  •  that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 
  • that he was buried,
  •  that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and 
  • that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
  •   Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
  •   Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
  •   Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me . . . .
 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

  14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope[b] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 

 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. [ESV, bullets added to highlight the list of facts and witnesses.]
Now, too, there is another factor that we must reckon with.

For, generally speaking friends are highly unlikely to misidentify a colleague they have worked closely with for years, when they sit to supper with him. Similarly, we can fairly easily tell a live man from one brutally whipped and put to death by agonising torture culminating in a death-cry, made sure of by a spear thrust. Likewise, we commonly can tell which of a list of events across several days came first, second, third, etc. 

In short, the witnesses actually testify to quite ordinary (and sometimes very sad) things: supper with Jesus, his betrayal, unjust trials and sentence, public execution by the brutal means that were then all too common, etc. Nothing in these things is extraordinary in itself. That is, the miracle of resurrection does not lie in what was experienced directly, but in the implications of a timeline: Jesus had two suppers with his disciples, one Thursday night, one Sunday night. Only, between these two events, he was betrayed and judicially murdered, then buried and guarded (against terrified disciples who had literally run for their lives).

The miracle lies in the timeline, and in the list of encounters with Jesus across that fateful first Easter Sunday, culminating in supper on Sunday night.

So, skeptics like Hume have a problem.

The Disciples are NOT testifying to the extraordinary, save by implication.

Nor will it do to try to dismiss the chain of custody of the key documents:

That chain is as solid as we are going to get from events from 2,000 years ago.

And, we can identify about 20 of the witnesses listed. There are too many, under too diverse a set of circumstances to make dismissive notions like hallucination even remotely reasonable. Besides, hallucinations have to come from ideas in currency. Jesus' resurrection cut across the Jewish eschatological thought in that day.

So, we are back at 20 identifiable witnesses, and five hundred in total.

None -- none -- of whom could be turned, not in the face of dungeons, whips, fire, sword and worse.

Beyond that, across twenty centuries now, we have millions who have been transformed for the good by encounter with the Living God in the face of Jesus, through the gospels and scriptures that ever so many are inclined to despise and cavalierly dismiss today.

Let me close off by citing one of those witnesses, facing public crucifixion at the hands of the demonically mad Nero, who was hoping to divert suspicion regarding the July 18, 64 AD fire in Rome, by falsely blaming the Christians. 

Who were a despised minority; just as is again so, today.

Peter speaks, c.64 -  65 AD:
2 Peter 1:13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body,[h] to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.

  15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 

 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,[i] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 

19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.

  21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. [ESV]
So, now, whose report will we believe, why, to what result? END

PS: Lee Stroebel speaks out:

On this Good Friday, let us remind ourselves: "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming!"

As a reminder, let's link a past KF post on S M Lockridge's sermon, and also embed a video presentation:

(Full sermon here.)

Let us not become weary in well doing, even in the face of crushing discouragement, but instead let us look up as our redemption draws nigh. END

Video: A Bluefin 21 submersible may have something on Flight 370

As the Flight 370 search continues, it seems (HT: ABC/Yahoo) there may be a clue:

Let us pray that there will be some closure to what must be a nightmare for so many now mourning loved ones who seem to be permanently missing. END

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Video: Michael Behe - Life Reeks Of Design

Michael Behe, giving food for thought:

Observe, this screen-shot, a citation from Dawkins:

(Pardon the bars.) 

Let's type that out:
 CRD: "We may say that a living body or organ is well designed if it has attributes that an intelligent and knowledgeable engineer might have built into it in order to achieve a sensible purpose . . . [A]ny engineer can recognize an object that has been designed . . . just by looking at the structure of the object." [The Blind Watchmaker, 1986, p. 21.]

Yes, Dawkins et al try to suggest all sorts of rebutting arguments, but in the end, that stands there.

And, when we start by looking at just the cell, we see a gated, encapsulated, molecular nanotech metabolising entity with an integral self replicating facility that uses codes, algorithms, storage tapes and more.  

So much so, that this is what Michael Denton had to say, in his 1985 Evolution: a theory in crisis:

To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter [[so each atom in it would be “the size of a tennis ball”] and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometer in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecules. A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell. 

We would wonder at the level of control implicit in the movement of so many objects down so many seemingly endless conduits, all in perfect unison. We would see all around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines . . . . We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices used for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction . . . . However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours . . . . 

Unlike our own pseudo-automated assembly plants, where external controls are being continually applied, the cell's manufacturing capability is entirely self-regulated . . . .

[[Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler, 1986, pp. 327 – 331. This work is a classic that is still well worth reading. Emphases added. (NB: The 2009 work by Stephen Meyer of Discovery Institute, Signature in the Cell, brings this classic argument up to date. The main thesis of the book is that: "The universe is comprised of matter, energy, and the information that gives order [[better: functional organisation]  to matter and energy, thereby bringing life into being. In the cell, information is carried by DNA, which functions like a software program. The signature in the cell is that of the master programmer of life." Given the sharp response that has provoked, the onward e-book responses to attempted rebuttals, Signature of Controversy, would also be excellent, but sobering and sometimes saddening, reading.) ]

Time to think again, about the abundant evidence all around us that points to a designed world. Including, a designed world of life. END

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kirk Durston on “God and Science – Is there a Conflict?” . . . food for thought

Over at UD, I have put up a post on:

Kirk Durston on “God and Science – Is there a Conflict?” . . . food for thought

(Note especially the clip from a recent announcement on how Stanford investigators have compiled a simulaiton model of the simplest known independent life form, M genitalium, and their use of terms linked to the reverse engineering of life and the onward prospect of design of life in molecular nanotech labs. Intelligent design of life is now effectively a done deal, starting with existing genetic engineering. So, on vera causa, we are fully entitled to point to the known fact of such engineering, and to contrast the absence of observed evidence that blind undirected chance and mechanical necessity can create such sophisticated, organisation and information rich integrated functional systems. )

 I embed the video here:

Kirk Durston on God and Science: Is there a Conflict? from Power to Change - Students on Vimeo.

Food for thought. END

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sci-tech watch, 16: More on Bussard's suggested polywell fusion reactor

Energy is of course one of the critical technologies we need to watch for a K-wave breakthrough.

Accordingly, here is something more on the polywell fusion reactor (cf. the earlier KF post, here and HT the forum thread here):

(Folks over at Talk-Polywell, thanks.)

Food for thought, as are other ideas not on our radar screens. END

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Acts 27 test, 11: A thought on the importance of sound, timely policy and wise, prompt action . . .

Just thought it important to underscore this as we are apt to confuse the persuasiveness of rhetoric for the soundness of what one does as a result of being persuaded:

Policy must be sound, and it must be competently carried out in good time.

Sounds sooo simple, so commonsensical, even, so obvious . . . 

Sadly, not so. 

Often, the sound cuts across our every inclination, demands studious investigation, thought and careful reasoning and consultation; and, requires a setting aside of interests, desires and feelings we will find ever so hard to do. Then, not satisfied with so much effort, it calls for energy, competence, diligence and promptness in action. 

As in: no more wonderful (and duly expensive) studies sitting on shelves or in filing cabinets, unread and unheeded.

And so we are back to a familiar challenge: if not now, then when? If not here, then where? If not us, then who? END

PS: A test -- if you are speaking to or influencing decisions on (or even voting regarding)  matters economical, have you mastered the sort of issues that are pointed out here or the like? If not, do you find it a dreary burden to think about taking the sustained effort of reading, viewing and reflecting then drawing conclusions that make sound good sense this would require? What is such telling you?

BRIDGING: Product strategies and the product life cycle curve, opening up Mass Customization (including for tourism) . . . implications for a region on the wrong side of Kondratiev wave Schumpeterian creative destruction

As a footnote on the life cycle curve in the context of the Boston Consultants Group Growth/Share Matrix, let us observe a model of "typical" S-curve market growth and saturation patterns for strategic business units and their major products:

 A further perspective on strategic choices and patterns is here. It brings out how innovation creates value and head room for pricing across the range from penetration to skimming the cream . . . and thus for product ranges with basic to luxury features and customisation, across price points.

First, the Porter value-producing chain sets a context:

 Then, we look at key competitive advantage factors that make best use of this chain, through enhancing value to customers and controlling costs, thus opening up pricing room for a product range across price-points:

Also, cf. below on the "stuck in the middle and/or stuck with high cost undifferentiated goods or services problem (i.e. overly costly "commodities")  -- a problem not without relevance to the Caribbean . . . just say, sugar and bananas:

This pattern can be extended to considering the market for a key technology innovation, and how it can dominate the world, starting from one or a few initial centres then diffusing across the world along trade routes. This leads on to the K-wave (Kondratiev wave) pattern as seen previously. Simplifying the curve and summing as a series of cumulative Solow production functions joined up as successive S-curves, we can see how major innovations would naturally give rise to a long wave growth pattern:

 A more complex model would bring out recessions and depressions, as well as shorter cycles that "ride" on the long wave pattern, creating a much more typical bouncy or jerky pattern, and shocks and general noise would also create further disturbances. Thus, on the whole there is an underlying cumulative trend of progress, but there are also periods of boom and recession. 

For instance:

In this context, while we can hardly expect the Caribbean region to dominate the world economically, we can probably find profitable niches . . . and a challenge is to allow BCG problem children or question-mark products and dogs to develop into profitable niche markets . . . that give us sufficient prosperity and stability to have a base for sustainable development.

It is noteworthy that in a networked world with automated, computer controlled manufacturing systems, mass customisation offers a potentially decisive advantage of high differentiation and penetration pricing . . . "value [for money]" pricing. 

Wiki summarises usefully:
Mass customization, in marketing, manufacturing, call centres and management, is the use of flexible computer-aided manufacturing systems to produce custom output. Those systems combine the low unit costs of mass production processes with the flexibility of individual customization.

Mass customization is the new frontier in business competition for both manufacturing and service industries. At its core is a tremendous increase in variety and customization without a corresponding increase in costs. At its limit, it is the mass production of individually customized goods and services. At its best, it provides strategic advantage and economic value . . . .
The concept of mass customization is attributed to Stan Davis in Future Perfect[2] and was defined by Tseng & Jiao (2001, p. 685) as "producing goods and services to meet individual customer's needs with near mass production efficiency". Kaplan & Haenlein (2006) concurred, calling it "a strategy that creates value by some form of company-customer interaction at the fabrication and assembly stage of the operations level to create customized products with production cost and monetary price similar to those of mass-produced products". Similarly, McCarthy (2004, p. 348) highlight that mass customization involves balancing operational drivers by defining it as "the capability to manufacture a relatively high volume of product options for a relatively large market (or collection of niche markets) that demands customization, without tradeoffs in cost, delivery and quality".
For instance, our region has ever so many clothing factories, which (HT: Emerald Insight) are subject to mass customisation approaches, once relevant barriers. . . mostly digital system and network development related . . . can be crossed:

And just as a thought sparker, let's look at mass customising tourism -- said to currently be 50% of GDP and 40% of employment in some Caribbean islands, with special reference to Montserrat: 
  • how could we use high security server side web technologies and fibre optic bit pipe technologies to market and customise tourism services such as day tours for excursionists and/or activities and events for those undertaking longer stays? 
  • Including, cycles of festivals and celebrations, a nature heritage trail, adventures [e.g. the volcano park] and a cultural heritage trail?
  • Could we create an "online virtual tour" or at least a" virtual shopping Mall" experience,  and set up options in a game-like format?
  • Could we then convert that into a package deal that can be bought on a schedule and paid for by credit or debit card, up-front?
  • Could we then organise ourselves to deliver on time, on cost? 
  • What about taking care of  visa, customs and immigration issues online, tied to this?
  • Could we set this up and support such a customised tourism product as a freebie game-style App, for the iPhone, iPad, Android Smartphone/Tablet, and Windows 8 PC markets?
  • Support and promote it in the social media space?
  • Set up an Amazon Mall? (As well, our own e-Mall?)
  • Etc.?
At any rate, this interview with a former head of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) should give us pause:

Caribbean Journal Presents: A Conversation With Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace from Caribbean Journal on Vimeo.

Back on track . . . 

To go towards the emergent mass customisation sweet spot . . . one that clearly has potential to be one of the emerging cluster of dominant technology innovations for the next K-wave . . . our region's workforce has to be retooled towards digital productivity, which implies first a transformation of our education system with Computer Science -- as opposed to "IT" (AKA how to use MS Office products . . . ) -- at the heart of the transformation.

DV, let's go there next, as we look at the other wing of the required strategic thrust for sustainability transformation, Education [to unlock the almost infinite potential in our heads, hearts and hands . . . ], population issues and welfare:

For reference, as a footnote and bridging post. END 

PS: Cf KF pamphlet on Economics challenges facing the Caribbean here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Russian fishing show on sponge -- yes sponge -- and hair baits (complete with vid shots of performance in an aquarium), also ideas on making a simple "roll yer own" rod

Sponge lures and similar items:

(After that one you may begin to pick up some Russian words! Red seems to be "krasny . . ." or something like that.)

This vid of a boat fishing session for European Bream and the like may also be interesting:

 In the second video, I am impressed by a design for a simple rod for panfishing, especially the swing-tips:

My thought is, on how something like this can be improvised, in a context where I am thinking on how people may struggle to support their families -- bearing in mind the hard times Russians have repeatedly had.

In that spirit, thoughts on swing/ quiver tips and legered feeders similar to those in the Russian video, from a French site

And, floats:

Taking this further (thinking of a longer, castable rod), we could look at the old Aetna Foulproof guide (often Monel, but Stainless will do -- or a safety pin in a real pinch . . . ) which is more or less like these from Mudhole outfitters:

Flattened "feet" are hard to make, but bend wire back in a narrow "U" and it will do. For a tip-top, bring out the two legs on the same side . . . might work for one-foot guides better than the U-bend idea. To attach, use thread to whip to the rod as is common in rod-building: under-wrap the first end to start then wrap and put a little U in as the end approaches and wrap over it at least 8 - 10 times, then pass the end through the loop and pull it out and clip close, coat with varnish. 

A quiver-tip rod extension can be spliced in at the tip, maybe with a fattish rubber sleeve to "break" when a heavy load -- a hooked fish -- is on the rod: stiff enough to hold for nibbles but straightening out after the rubber "breaks" when a fish is "on."

 BTW an advantage of the flexible foulproof is it imposes less of a dead spot on the rod blank. And no, ceramic inserts are not actually a necessity.

It would be easy to extend this to a bamboo or fibreglass or similar pole, giving a "roll yer own" rod. (A rubber hose can be force-fitted over the bottom end to make a handle, or one can do a cord wrap.) 

A simple centre-pin line holder reel can be improvised or bought, and with a turntable can be treated much like an Alvey for casting -- turn it to spin line off the side.  

For a drag, a leather tab can be used as a reel brake, easing the pressure on the proverbial burned thumb. (And yes, in my time I have had my thumb burned from braking a conventional reel in the surf. Hint: first an easy lob and reel-in to get the line wet, or even pour on a bit of fresh water . . . in the surf, salt water is not just corrosive but liable to have fine sand, an abrasive.)

Going whole-hog, you may find the idea of building something like the old calcutta bamboo-pole surf rods interesting, try here. You need the right -- stiff -- kind of canes for those old beasts, often 12+ foot long!

Guides for such a surf rod are often made from welding rods.

With care, such rods can last decades. 

Sparkers for tinkering . . . and for thinking about survival (or even camping or scouting) type situations. END

The Nelson - Velasco debate on Evolution -- a video

I have just seen notification of a posted video of the recent Nelson - Velasco debate on evolution, here:

Food for thought, and CH's write-up here may be helpful. END