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
  • eFeedback:
    • 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.

Click Can We Create a Kinder, Gentler World

Click 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 subcellular organelles.

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!!

Click 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.

Click 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:

  • 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.
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.

Click Book: Our Molecular Future

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 Specialty Materials.

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.

    "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."

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.

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.

Stay tuned.....
Read the interesting commentary on the JimPinto.com weblogs.
Or, post your own.

Click Honeywell weblog

Click Siemens weblog

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.

Click Forbes - The Tyco Follies

Click Tyco Execs Out On Bail - For Now

Perhaps we're pointing the finger at everyone but the real culprits in corporate scandals: lawyers.

Click Who Gave Lawyers a Pass?


Mitch Carr [mitchcarr@msn.com] 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.

    "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!"

Dennis Wisnosky, also known as "The Wiz" [dwiz@wizdom.com] was cynical regarding the recurring hype about Artificial Intelligence:
    "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.

    "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."

Regarding Robert Greenfield's comments on the current state of control and automation magazines in the US, Andrew Bond, [andrew@abpubs.demon.co.uk] - publisher of UK-based "Industrial Automation Insider" - wrote:
    "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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