Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:
“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
It’s a pretty astute observation from a poet. That principles are far more important–and powerful, than methods. And when you consider that a lot of troubleshooting is conducted by trial of method, while principles are ignored, it’s not too surprising that the path is often long and torturous, with missteps along the way.
This story from Simon … continue reading »
A hungry donkey enters a barn in search of hay. Much to his delight he discovers two, identical haystacks, each on the opposite side of the barn. The donkey stands in the middle of the barn between the two piles of hay, not knowing which one to choose. Hours go by, and then days, but he still can’t make up his mind. Unable to decide, the donkey starves to death.
This short parable comes from the French logician and philosopher Jean Buridan’s commentaries on Aristotle’s Theory of Action, and so the story is known as ‘Buridan’s Ass’.
When he constructed … continue reading »
Back in 1991, the hydraulics company I was working for had supplied conversion kits to change the hydraulic piston pump on an ROV (remotely operated [submersible] vehicle) from an obsolete brand to Linde.
The kits had been supplied as an in-field replacement, so that the changeover could be done when necessary, in other words, when the existing hydraulic pump failed. The time came of course for the first of these kits to be installed in anger. The ROV in question was installed on a semi-submersible drilling rig which was preparing for a move to another location.
But UK North Sea … continue reading »