Do 97% of climate scientists believe in climate change?

I’ve just read my dozenth or so column where the author lambasted his poor readers for not “believing in climate change.” My thoughts on the subject have been difficult to put into 140 characters due to the branching nature of the questions and conclusions, so I decided to make a flowchart outlining my thoughts on how most of us may experience the conversation of climate change and what ought to be done about it.

Do 97% of climate scientists believe “yes” to the final portion of this chart? Of course not, but that’s what your neighbor expects you to believe when they say it over a beer while playing pool. It’s an emotional argument and an appeal to authority. It’s designed to end debate like a MOAB.

The 97% could be saying “yes” to the first question on the chart, or the fourth question on the chart, and that would make total sense, but it’s far from the only question. In additon, the scientific method avoids “belief” in things that aren’t consistently reproducible. Climate models and predictions routinely fail over and over again. Is it that the believed consequences of our collective inaction have caused stoics to turn into zealots?

It’s my belief that absent generalized political associations or dogma that each of us would move through some process like this to determine our course of action. At each diamond shaped question, I believe some percentage of people choose “no” and thus become what many will call “climate deniers.” I think the same people that would bandy about a pejorative will inevitably be the same people who get all the way to the very end deciding that any action at any cost is preferable.

I’m fine with people concluding that, by the way. I have quite liberal friends and I can appreciate their sense of dread at what they believe to be our inevitable destruction at our own hands. For myself, I’m more doubtful. If this were a trial, and I had to condemn a man to death with 100% certainty and I had to move through a chart like this I would never be able to pull the lever. There are too many variables and possibilities vs. the ultimate cost of what many would like us to do: give sweeping powers to governments, both domestic and international and impose regulations, taxes, and fines on all areas of life. In my opinion, it’s simply a bridge too far.

Globalwarming

Conversely, if you find yourself getting to the end and you take any issue with my layout or construction, please don’t hesitate to comment or drop me a line and let me know. I only worked on this for about 30 minutes and I’m certain it’s far from complete or wholly representative of the views of my cohorts that find themselves on the left side of the political aisle.

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D-Day, Logistics, and Student Housing Turn

Today is the 74th anniversary of D-Day (aka, Operation Overlord); the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe by Allied forces. The “D” just stands for “Day” and was a term used for any important military day, though now it has become synonymous with Overlord.

No doubt you’re familiar with D-Day, if only because you’ve seen “Saving Private Ryan” which begins with the beach landing. It was (and remains) the largest amphibious military invasion in the history of mankind, and it was a massive success.

Thinking about D-Day made me think about General Dwight D. Eisenhower as he was the Allied supreme commander for the invasion, and further how Eisenhower thought about logistics. In fact, it was his experience with logistics during his time in the military that influenced his decision to create the Interstate Highway System as President in 1956. One of the provisions was that every five miles of the system needed to have a stretch straight and long enough that a fully loaded C-130 should be able to use it as a runway in the event of war.

Eisenhower_d-day

The invasion was really a culmination of several other operations which required the build-up of men and materials. Infantry, ships, boats, ammunition, supplies, rations, fuel, everything needed to support the invasion had to be amassed and then put into motion flawlessly. Can you fathom?

bythenumbers2

Instead of warships, this isn’t much different than the maintenance supplies you may need for turn.

The fact that they knew what they needed, got it where it needed to be and when it needed to be there is an accomplishment so vast it’s impossible to fully appreciate.

If you’ve seen “Saving Private Ryan” then you have a snapshot of what the initial landing likely looked like to the first guys that showed up.

Dday beaches

A lot like a Turn schedule if you think about it.

In the world of Student Housing, our D-Day is “Turn” or the period where students move out en masse around the end of July while a new set moves-in a couple of weeks later. In the middle of our operation, we’re gathering intelligence, making repairs, painting, cleaning, moving furniture, replacing flooring and fixtures as needed, and getting everything ready for a new group of students and their parents.

At Knights Circle, we have some 2,500+ rooms, and we’ll typically turn between 1300-1650 rooms in about two weeks. Every room is unique and we have to record its condition, schedule the work, and ensure everything is shiny by move-in day – regardless of how the previous college student left it. Clearly, you can see how logistics matter, if you’re not already familiar yourself.

Most of the industry uses something like a dry erase board or a legal pad. If you’re turning 100 rooms, maybe that works, but for most places turning 500 or more rooms, that’s insane. Could you imagine Eisenhower overseeing D-Day with a clipboard?

I created an all-in-one solution which we dub our Placement Book or Turn Board, depending on what we’re doing. We use a spreadsheet as opposed to a Google Sheet due to the sheer size and number of calculations necessary to track the mammoth amounts of data. For smaller communities, a Google Sheet is a great solution as it can be accessed anywhere and multiple users can access it in real time. However, I recommend having as few chefs in the kitchen as possible, lest the broth be spoiled.

PB

Placement Book, aka Turn board for managing 2500+ beds.

We keep it updated throughout the year with who lives where, and who have renewed their leases in their current unit. This allows us to do all kinds of things without confusion and creates instant access to information for everyone on the team. Early move-ins? Late Move-outs? Transfers? Need to track carpet replacement for 786 rooms scattered among 2500? No problems at all.

TurnStats

Turnover Stats by building and by phase. This allows us to adjust which days we want to do which buildings depending on how many beds there are to turn in that building. 

Our latest iterations have also integrated real-time move-out inspection data so we know what level of painting, cleaning, or maintenance we may need to assign to our vendors. And our vendors LOVE working with us for this reason as they can get as many printouts as they want.

Due to how much automation we’ve built into our operation, we’re able to run full audits of various databases, conduct our roommate matching, get solid estimates for turn, and keep an accurate picture of our capital inventory by the unit and overall.

Turn is the most difficult part of the business and it hinges entirely on logistics. Accuracy ensures efficiency, which means people don’t get burnt out through long hours, which means their quality of work is better, which leads to fewer mistakes. Everything starts with accuracy and speed – two things most people don’t get at the same time.

The entire operation is a massive logistics game and winning it means winning your whole year. If you’re in Student Housing, and you want a consultation on how you can make your turn the best it can be with what you have, feel free to drop me a line. I love talking to other people in the industry about turn.

I’m no Eisenhower, but the lesson of D-Day hasn’t been lost on me.

 

When you think you know what you’re looking for.

In this undated video (probably 2008), Best Selling Author Malcolm Gladwell explains how we have a fundamental mismatch problem in how we assess which people will be successful in a given field. He starts with the differences between NBA scouting combine results and how players actually wind up fairing in the league and then goes on to point out all sorts of other gaps as only Gladwell can

The whole talk is fantastic as Gladwell may be the greatest storyteller of our time. I could listen to the man read a Swahili phone book and I would swear it was Les Miserables.

Gladwell’s point here is that we absolutely suck when it comes to using criteria that will give us a meaningful incite to the how well a person will perform in a given role. For Teachers, we require all manner of certificates only to find these have virtually no impact on the actual performance of the teacher. Job interviews are generally only good for finding out if you’re attracted to someone, it turns out. Or perhaps they’re only useful for discovering if someone is very good in social interaction, but for all sorts of other jobs, how well one does in an interview translates poorly to the ultimate role they’ll have should they be hired.

Around ten years ago we had a major issue in a tough market where our newest Community Managers were getting their clocks cleaned. Their teams couldn’t sell to save their lives, and these new Managers were grossly incapable of teaching them how to sell as they’d never done it before themselves. How did this happen?

It turns out that we’d been promoting “Rental Managers” aka “Assistant Community Managers” who were responsible for collecting rent, running reports, and that’s about it. They avoided sales related work like it had two types of the plague. So, of course, when they got promoted to their own ship they had no idea how to hire for sales ability or how to teach it.

Why would we do this? Because the people in charge of minting the new Community Managers were people who lived in glass offices and who dealt a lot with reports. Guess who typically had great reports? Rental Managers. They were two peas in a pod. Of course, the Brass new that sales mattered, but they overlooked this factor when hiring because they liked the cut of the RM’s jib. They could see a bit of themselves in these up-and-comers, and did you see how clean their reports were? Plus they tended to LOOK like Community Managers.

The most vital component in a Community Manager at the time (in the toughest student rental market in the country) was the ability to rent units, the ability to hire people who could do likewise, and the ability to train the uninitiated on their team. And here we were hiring without any real regard for that fact. The people we should have been promoting to these roles were our best salespeople who lacked any of the care or ability for the paperwork reporting. That’s a relatively easy problem to solve – at least far easier than a whole team at a community that can’t sell ice water at noon in Phoenix.

Maybe the answer would have been to split the job into equal halves; give two nearby communities to a pair of Managers. One would be in charge of the sales and training for each while the other handled the books and reporting. The two would compliment one another and with any luck, some of their skills would rub off on each other. Maybe an Area Manager would have been the way to go, with a couple of executive salespeople put in place to cover the selling and training. There’s any number of solutions, but we were wildly wrong on our criteria for assessing a simple promotion and it cost us big.

I’m sure this mismatch is all too common for you as well. How many times have you experienced one in your life, where you or your organization made decisions on things by assessing criteria that mattered not a bit in determining the outcome or the best course of action? What blinded you? How did you eventually see past it, or have you?

How To Be A Dad

Being a dad is a slightly weird. Perhaps, as I’ve spent 30 of my first 33 years being a son and not a dad, I’m just new to the process.

Sometimes I think I’m supposed to act a certain way: “dad-like.” And then I think, “nah, just be awesome to your boys, man” and that’s what I do.

Odd requests like this from kids are pretty common. I’m all like, “hey, this coffee mug isn’t a hat!?” and they’re all like, “Daddy’s silly, that’s not a hat! Mommy! Daddy’s funny!” And I’m all, “Hahaha, clearly I know this isn’t a hat – but this is!” and then I put a tube of diaper butt cream on my head.

Needless to say, my wife is incredibly proud when I do this sort of thing in public.

Kids are great.

Edit: the above was posted 5 years ago on another of blogs, so I’ve learned quite a bit more over that time. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Sometimes, kids just need a hug when they need a hug, not when you want a hug. Those are the best hugs.
  • Being asked an infinite amount of questions is an honor (never a bother)- they think you’re that smart. Don’t hesitate to say you don’t know and then work to find the answer together.
  • Gut laughs are the best laughs. Finding a genuinely silly thread, and then pulling it just right until you get them having hiccups, that’s where it’s at.
  • Getting them to like new foods like, snow crab, steak, and lobster, is always a double-edged sword. You’re happy for broadening their horizons, but damn did you just lose half your snow crab for life.
  • They don’t say “are we there yet” as much as I would have imagined. Though they do have a DVD player, and I was lucky to have a comic book.
  • After one of your kids drops his pants and craps in your neighbor’s yard like the dog, little else will surprise you.
  • They’re going to love mom more than you. That’s more than ok, and perfectly natural. We each have roles, and I know what mine is. There’ll be a time when I’m the go-to, and I can totally wait for that moment.

 

“Rich people exploit, poor people are exploited”

Howpeoplegetrich

Honestly, I hate this graphic. Not based on its artistic merit, but because of what the repercussions mean for those that buy into the message.

If one agrees with the graphic, one must necessarily agree with the following, more than likely, unconsciously:

  1. Being wealthy is either immoral, or purely the product of luck.
  2. Since wealth is obtained by either of these means, we’re completely justified in expropriating said wealth, and distributing in a way we prefer – either as punishment for immoral wrongdoing, or to adjust for fate.
  3. I wasn’t born to wealthy parents, therefore the only avenue available for me to enrich myself is by immoral means, which I’m not going to do.
  4. My actions are immaterial since I’ll never be wealthy anyway. I am exploited and acted upon by outside forces which deny me my fair share.
  5. People who have achieved, earned, received more, were fortunate, and anyone could be fortunate. Those with more don’t deserve what they have.

These ideas are poisonous. 

In a free market, the forces of supply and demand are well understood, though seldom reflected upon when talking about the labor of people. Perhaps, because we can easily get emotional about a public school teacher making $35k a year, while raising two kids on her own, but it’s harder to feel that way about the price point of a blender.

Nearly half of the millionaires in this country are business owners, and they have risked mightily to start and sustain their businesses, while employing the majority of people in the US. Eighty percent of Americans with a net worth of north of one million dollars are first generation affluent. From The Millionaire Next Door:

“As a group, we are fairly well educated. Only about one in five are not college graduates. Many of us hold advanced degrees. Eighteen percent have master’s degrees, 8 percent law degrees, 6 percent medical degrees, and 6 percent Ph.D.s”

Hard work, doesn’t count for much, because hard work is in abundant supply. You don’t get a cookie for breaking your butt stocking the shelves at CostCo. Working at CostCo is what you get for playing it safe. For failing to procure an education for yourself that has value. For failing to see the world in such a light that you can provide a greater value than the next person. And CostCo pays little, because there are millions of people capable of doing that job with no training.

It’s also the same reason Lebron James NBA salary this year tops $30 million. There’s only one of him, and there’s more than 4 million people in retail, earning an average of $25k per year.

That sucks. I’m sorry. I know. I worked a ton of odd jobs in early adulthood, and a ton of manual labor. I get it. But believing the lie in the graphic above isn’t going to help you. It’s not going to add a dollar to your pocket, but it will keep more dollars from finding you.

Every moment you tell yourself one of the things listed above, is a moment you’re not telling yourself that you can have whatever you want, as long as you want it bad enough. Losers play the wall. They shy from engaging in actions that can meaningfully improve their financial situation. Playing it safe, and making $40k a year is fine, as long as that’s what you want. But if you want more?

Scarcity value, is where the real money’s at. If you have, and develop, a set of skills that will make your work more valuable, because your work is more rare, congrats – you’re going to be wealthy.  If you think a college degree alone is the ticket, you’re in for a real jolt.

Becoming a: welding apprentice, plumber, window setter, or contractor, are all easy (ha!) ways to become a millionaire in a few decades. But as the Wizard of Menlo Park said:

Opportunity.jpg

Eric Thomas does a great job of communicating a better mindset in this video from 2012. He makes the point in the first minute of this video, so don’t be scared away by the running time. You’re going to love it.

“Some of you want sleep more than you want success.” And that’s the truth. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t be hypocritical about it.

I could stand to lose 25-30 pounds. Having a shorter, endomorphic body type, of hearty German and Irish ancestry, with a deep rooted love of potatoes and pizza, keeping weight off for me is a real chore. Meanwhile, my friend can eat  whatever he likes and can’t gain a pound.

That monster. I should shove his thin-privilege in his face like so much delicious hickory smoked bacon… mmmmm, bacon….but I digress.

I could bitch and moan about how it’s not fair that he doesn’t have to work hard to be thin. I could dwell on how I wish the government would take away choices from me, so there was a greater chance I wouldn’t purchase sugary drinks. I can put my place in the world on everyone and everything else, but that doesn’t drop a single pound off this frame. That doesn’t change my situation in any way.

Likewise, people preaching “Rich people are lucky or immoral” are the leper’s bell. They’re not focused on success, they’re making excuses for their failure, before they’ve even failed. All the while, it takes the typical millionaire 32 years to get there.

If you don’t want to be a millionaire, fine. But stop lying to yourself about why you are where you are, and why the guy who’s taking four cruises a year is where he is. You could get there, in your own fashion, but it’s easier to upvote the distraction – the gewgaw that tells you you’re a good person, and those with more are bad or merely just lucky.

Try instead, to tell yourself these five things:

  1. I can likely have whatever I want, as long as I’m willing to be proactive in my pursuit of it.
  2. I understand success, of the uncommon variety, requires substantial risk, sacrifice, and deferred gratification.
  3. My future success means more to me than my immediate comfort and hobbies.
  4. I can set myself apart, and increase my earning power by learning new skills, and marketing myself.
  5. My path is my path, and focusing on those more or less successful has no impact on my path, it only distracts.

Or, agree with the graphic at the top. Let the siren song of abandoned responsibility wash over you and take you lovingly into the rocks of being poor and bitter.

Ultimately, it doesn’t alter my path. I offer this merely as a warning to those that I care about that could be lulled into the rocks of a terrible outlook on life – one that sacrifices their initiative at an altar of blame.

It’s all a Dream?

You know how they say in your final moments your whole life flashes before your eyes? It appears then, that I’m presently dying.

The only question is if it’s the slow, inexorable march towards entropy, or like, my severed head is replaying everything that’s ever happened to me? Where is my mind? If it’s the slow train to dirt-nap city, would that be enough to cause all of this sensory feedback?

Is it all a dream? 

But seriously, I feel unstuck in time, like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five; existing everywhere, and when, at once. I can feel the cushioning of my untied Nike Cortez ’72’s from 2001, and the spring of the concrete pads of the stairs in my apartment breezeway, and how they sang as I bounced down them on my walk to the office, where I worked.

vonnegut-1

Kurt Vonnegut wrote a book called “Breakfast of Champions” which is why this is ridiculous and great.

The way my hands looked on my balcony in ’99 when I stared at them trying to see what they looked like, via the memory of my 84-year-old self. The grips on my bike in fifth grade, tooling around the apartment community where I lived in Sarasota.

The feel of running behind my Tonka truck at age 4, and the subsequent rug burn that came with sliding on my knees behind it. The smell of the latrine at camp in ’91 and how I never wanted to be within 100 yards of it. 1995, the newspaper ink on the tread of my right hand, crossword puzzle being blackened like Prince William Sound.

I recently had the overwhelming compulsion to purchase this guy, for some inexplicable reason. It was my most prized possession when I was 7 years old. Thanks to Ebay, and $11.25 via Paypal, it was mine again.

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People have pointed out the resemblance. Penny for scale.

They were a series of toys called M.U.S.C.L.E. MEN, that came in little opaque trash cans and featured, hard rubber wrestlers, mutants, and stuff. The whole series ran about 140 of them and this guy was the rarest – likely on the account that he was the announcer and who the hell wanted the announcer?  Seven year olds, apparently, were not without a sense of scarcity-value.

But why did I think of it now? A sense of my own mortality in the face of the sea of dead celebrities? It certainly wasn’t to buy back my youth, I can tell you that. Cause they don’t sell that on Ebay – not that I looked.

I don’t know. Am I dreaming? Am I having a Jacob’s Ladder situation where I’ve actually been shivved for my little guy here, and in my last moments I’m imagining all of this? If so, bravo 7-year-old-Rob. You have quite the imagination.

Maybe it’s the holidays? The end of every year finds me with an insatiable hankering for creative expression, it seems. This year, I’m thinking of a retrospective through all of letters from friends from high school. I still have hundreds of them, in date order from everyone I corresponded with. I don’t know of anyone else that still has that stuff, but I think it could make for a cool project. Maybe I’m just a solipsistic pile of shit?

Maybe I need the project to distract me from the fact that I’m already dead? or “already dead”, in the respect that I’m aware that I’m a finite creature that is aware that we only have so much time left in this crazy world?

They don’t understand. What’s the master plan? …Yes my man, I’m true to that.

It could be the hallmark of the first introspection I’ve allowed myself to have in a while. I haven’t wanted anything in sometime. Not really, anyway. Not outside the superficial wants I think we perpetuate just to continue to feel human. Perhaps I bought that Kinnikuman figure because I should want it? Right?

I think when we want stuff, like really want it, we’re blinded to everything else around us until we get it. And then, when we get it? What then? You think Leo is made whole at the end of Gangs of NY? I don’t. I think Bill realizes the futility as well, which is why he declines to put another hole in him; which is why he holds his hand as he fades to black. It’s all over with.

Am I all over with? Hardly, unless I really am laying somewhere with my head in a gutter. If your head gets severed, they don’t tend to do open-casket, do they? Even with aid of a turtleneck?

extinction

Maybe time is a flat circle, heh, Rust Cohle? Maybe the detailed rememberings of simple and uneventful things is something everyone experiences from time to time? Maybe it doesn’t mean anything at all.

What I am sure of is that I’m definitely dying, as are you. I just don’t know if I’m doing my best impression of Usain Bolt, or Stephen Hawking as I beg Lachesis for a hefty pull.

An open letter of apology to President Obama

Dear Mr. President,

On the eve of your status as a lame duck, I’d like to take this moment to apologize to you, personally.

I haven’t always been a fan, and truth told, I voted against you. Twice. I’ve been a Republican my entire voting life (20 years!) and as a believer in smaller government, the idea of a community organizer and socialist(?) in the White House, didn’t sit well with me. Still doesn’t, if I’m being honest. Though I don’t think of you as only those two things any longer.

I was angry at a number of things you said and did while in office. I didn’t care for the “You didn’t build that” moment. Oh man, and the “bitter clingers” speech! And the idea of getting to a single payer system, particularly, sent me into hysterics. They were all anathema to my views on what a President should believe, and I didn’t hesitate in letting my displeasure be known. In fact, I think I even sent an email to the whitehouse.gov email address stating something about you being a commie – but that was back in ’08. I’m sure you saw it.

Needless to say, my words in regards to your; beliefs, actions, words, and general existence, have been far from glowing. However, now that we stand on the precipice of an election which is surely going to send us all to the bowels of hell, regardless of who wins, I can’t help but reflect on your performance over these past  eight years. I’m sure you’ve been waiting with baited breath.

First, I’d like to apologize for being generally shitty towards you. Yeah, I’m not proud of it. I get these timehop things in my Facebook feed and I’ve seen comments I’ve made over the years and I really wish I could take them back. Not all of them, mind you. But enough of them.

I’m proud to call you my President, and I’m proud of how you’ve handled yourself in office these past eight years. I haven’t agreed (obviously) with the majority of your choices or words, but I do respect how you’ve handled yourself. And for that, I’m grateful.

Far too often I think we’re truly awful to one another in the pursuit of partisan agendas. It’s easy to dismiss those who disagree with us and even easier to demonize them – not just “the other” but those directly opposed to our way of thinking. When we see and hear others demonizing us, it becomes even easier to return the favor – even to those that never did it to us in the first place.

Case in point, it sucks to repeatedly hear that you’re racist just for being a Republican. Please know, none of my negative views towards you stemmed from your being black. I love black people. Not in the “Jerry Maguire” way in which Cuba Gooding Jr. makes Tom Cruise say it, but genuinely, as I love all people. Except Muslims.

Sorry, that was a joke. I couldn’t resist. I have no issue with Muslims, but I wouldn’t mind if everyone on earth decided to become atheist. But I digress…

In the spirit of being fully honest, possibly my biggest gripe with you (and you know this) is that you’re so damn cool. No one has any business being that cool. Especially not a politician. No Republican has ever been that cool. Hell, most rock stars aren’t that cool. Do you know how infuriating that is? It’s like Shaq walking into a middle school gym – it’s just not fair. You are literally the other side of the pillow.

Please know, I haven’t switched sides. I believe there’s no smaller minority than the individual. I loathe collectivism with the fire of a thousand suns. I think free markets and free people are the best solutions to virtually every problem we face. But I don’t think you’re a bad guy.

I think you’ve been a phenomenal President and have honored the office far better than most people. God knows I would have been impeached within weeks if I had the gig, so my hats off to you. How you kept from mooning the press corps from the Truman balcony, I have no idea – or maybe you’re saving that for your last day in office? Well played, sir.

Finally, thanks for your sacrifice – because the Presidency is a massive sacrifice. I think we forget that. You don’t belong to you or your family, you belong to the American People for four or eight years. Every decision you make is going to piss off half of them, on any given day. For that, you deserve all of our thanks and appreciation.

If there’s anything I can do for you, maybe a letter of recommendation for your next job (I’m really good at those), please don’t hesitate to let me know.

With all of my sincere love and thanks,

Rob Myers

U.S. Citizen

P.S. I’m still pissed about ObamaCare, but what’s done is done – we don’t have to talk about it.