Marshmallow Test

I was reading a review of Hive Mind by Garret Jones in the WSJ. The discussed a well-known marshmallow test:

Young children were presented with the agonizing choice of receiving one marshmallow right now or two if they waited 15 minutes: Those who held out for the greater reward went on to have higher SAT scores and social competence in later life.

Behavioral economists have confirmed this relationship, Mr. Jones says, finding that, on average, smarter people are more patient and more interested in saving. And indeed national savings rates correlate with IQ scores, Singapore heading the pack with a 45% savings rate and an IQ of 108. Bringing up the rear are several profligate countries that he is too tactful to name.

Another finding from behavioral economics is that the cognitively well endowed are more cooperative and “nicer than most other people,” at least when playing games such as the prisoner’s dilemma. They tend to trust one another more and so work well in groups. The virtues of high IQ, frugality and cooperativeness multiply together, helping to explain the large disparities in national economies, in Mr. Jones’s view. “On average, nations with test scores in the bottom 10 percent worldwide are only about one eighth as rich and productive as nations with scores in the top 10 percent,” he reports.

New Content Added to Website

I added a couple of new sections to the website”

  • Article on Value Delivery Chain for Drones – This is in the knowledgebase (link) and is the first of several articles I intend to write related to the drone industry.
  • Videos — Page of professional presentations was added and will be used to speaking engagements when the videos are available.

Seeq Corporation Launched

I have been studying options for what is next.  I considered staying in semi-retirement, but decided to jump back in the fray.  During the last year I was working as an advisor for Ice Energy Technologies (IET) and met my future partner in Seeq, Brian Parsonnet.  I discovered that many businesses use process historians, but due to their architecture and evolution, they don’t support big data analytics.

So we decided to launch a company using big data technologies to support the collection and analysis of time-series data for process industries.  We named the company Seeq Corporation.  We use a tag line of:  Decision Support for Time-Series Big Data.  Our website is here:  link.

My partner in this business is Brian Parsonnet.

Our Co-Founders are:  Mark Derbecker and Jon Peterson

Our Founding Partners are:  Tabitha Colie, Dustin Johnson, Corinne Ilvedson, Mike Daly, and Bob Moll.

We raised money from angel investors associated with Insitu, some of their circle of friends, and from friends of the company.

We are starting to develop relationships with customers and expect to have shipping products in 2014.

Sliwa Gives Talk at NASA Langley Colloquium

I was invited to return to my first professional employer after graduation, NASA Langley to give a talk entitled “Aeronautical Entrepreneuring – A UAV Case History.” I covered background on Insitu, some interesting anecdotes and lessons learned.  The format was to give one talk in the afternoon at the center in the old Harry Reid Conference Center, the location of my first professional meetings and presentations.  In the eventing I gave the same presentation at the Virginia Air and Space Museum in downtown Hampton.

It was great to see many former colleagues and friends including Tom (& Nancy) Moul, Duncan McIver, Doug & Kelli Arbuckle, Dana Dunham, Marna & Leonard Mayo during social activities before and after.  On site I visited with Dave Hinton, Carey Buttrill, Ken Goodrich, Dave Raney, Marti Waszak, Gene Morelli, Dick Huschen, Ray Montgomery, and many others.

Here is the story carried in the NASA Researcher:  link || NASA_LaRC_Colloquium

Here is the story in the local paper, the Daily Press:  link || LaRC_Colloquium_Daily_Press_Article

Wright Brothers Army Signal Corps Contract

The story of the Wright Brothers original contract is compiled nicely here: link link2.  The solicitation follows below:



To the Public:

Sealed proposals, in duplicate, will be received at this office until 12 O’clock noon on

February 1, 1908, on behalf of the Board of Ordnance and Fortification for furnishing the Signal Corps with a heavier-than-air flying machine. All proposals received will be turned over to the Board of Ordnance and Fortification at its first meeting after February 1 for its official action.

Persons wishing to submit proposals under this specification can obtain the necessary forms and envelopes by application to the Chief Signal Officer, United States Army, War Department, Washington, D.C. The United States reserves the right to reject any and all proposals.

Unless the bidders are also the manufacturers of the flying machine they must state the name and place of the maker.

Preliminary.—This specification covers the construction of a flying machine supported entirely by the dynamic reaction of the atmosphere and having, no gasbag.

Acceptance.—The flying machine will be accepted only after a successful trial flight, during which it will comply with all requirements of this specification. No payments on account will be made until after the trial flight and acceptance.

Inspection.—The Government reserves the right to inspect any and all processes of manufacture.


The general dimensions of the flying machine will be determined by the manufacturer,

subject to the following conditions:

1. Bidders must submit with their proposals the following:

(a) Drawings to scale showing the general dimensions and shape of the flying machine which they propose to build under this specification.

(b) Statement of the speed for which it is designed.

(c) Statement of the total surface area of the supporting planes.

(d) Statement of the total weight.

(e) Description of the engine which will be used for motive power.

(f) The material of which the frame, planes, and propellers will be constructed. Plans

received will not be shown to other bidders.

2. It is desirable that the flying machine should be designed so that it may be quickly and easily assembled and taken apart and packed for transportation in army wagons. It should be capable of being assembled and put in operating condition in about one hour.

3. The flying machine must be designed to carry two persons having a combined weight of about 350 pounds, also sufficient fuel for a flight of 125 miles.

4. The flying machine should be designed to have a speed of at least forty miles per hour in still air, but bidders must submit quotations in their proposals for cost depending upon the speed attained during the trial flight, according to the following scale:

40 miles per hour, 100 percent

39 miles per hour, 90 percent

38 miles per hour, 80 percent

37 miles per hour, 70 percent

36 miles per hour, 60 percent

Less than 36 miles per hour rejected 41 mi les per hour, 110 percent

42 miles per hour, 120 percent 43 miles per hour, 130 percent 44 miles per hour, 140 percent

5. The speed accomplished during the trial flight will be determined by taking an average of the time over a measured course of more than five miles, against and with the wind. The time will be taken by a flying start, passing the starting point at full speed at both ends of the course. This test subject to such additional details as the Chief Signal Officer of the Army may prescribe at the time.

6. Before acceptance a trial endurance flight will be required of at least one hour during which time the flying machine must remain continuously in the air without landing. It shall return to the starting point and land without any damage that would prevent it immediately starting upon another flight. During this trial flight of one hour it must be steered in all directions without difficulty and at all times under perfect control and equilibrium.

7. Three trials will be allowed for speed as provided for in paragraphs 4 and 5. Three trials for endurance as provided for in paragraph 6, and both tests must be completed within a period of thirty days from the date of delivery. The expense of the tests to be borne by the manufacturer. The place of delivery to the Government and trial flights will be at Fort Myer, Virginia.

8. It should be so designed as to ascend in any country which may be encountered in field service. The starting device must be simple and transportable. It should also land in a field without requiring a specially prepared spot and without damaging its structure.

9. It should be provided with some device to permit of a safe descent in case of an accident to the propelling machinery.

10. It should be sufficiently simple in its construction and operation to permit an intelligent man to become proficient in its use within a reasonable length of time.

11. Bidders must furnish evidence that the Government of the United States has the lawful right to use all patented devices or appurtenances which may be a part of the flying machine, and that the manufacturers of the flying machine are authorized to convey the same to the Government. This refers to the unrestricted right to use the flying machine sold to the Government, but does not contemplate the exclusive purchase of patent rights for duplicating the flying machine.

12. Bidders will be required to furnish with their proposal a certified check amounting to ten per cent of the price stated for the 40 mile speed. Upon making the award for this flying machine these certified checks will be returned to the bidders, and the successful bidder will be required to furnish a bond, according to Army Regulations, of the amount equal to the price stated for the 40 mile speed.

13. The price quoted in proposals must be understood to include the instruction of two men in the handling and operation of this flying machine. No extra charge for this service will be allowed.

14. Bidders must state the time which will be required for delivery after receipt of order.

JAMES ALLEN, Brigadier General, Chief Signal Officer of the Army.


WASHINGTON, D. C., December 23, 1907.

Here is a complete view of the original spec and contract:  Wright Contract

9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People

Jeff Haden wrote a column for Inc. Magazine on this topic.  It is well worth a read here:  link.  As  a teaser to get you to read the article here are the 9 Beliefs.

  1. Time doesn’t fill me.  I fill time.
  2. The People Around Me are the People I chose.
  3. I have never paid my dues.
  4. Experience is irrelevant.  Accomplishments are everything.
  5. Failure is something I accomplish; it just doesn’t happen to me.
  6. Volunteers always win.
  7. As long as I’m paid well, it’s all good.
  8. People who pay me always have the right to tell me what to do.
  9. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.

Path to Success Sketches

I saw a cute sketch the other day related to the path toward success.  I have added it to the homepage slideshow and is shown here.

Sketch attributed to Demetri Marin in this book: "This book"

I think it illustrates the obvious point that those outside of success feel that successful people just plotted and plodded toward a simple professional path toward success.  Those that have actually succeeded see it as much more tortuous.

Interesting, I couldn’t remember where I saw this sketch so I started searching for it online.  I ran into a couple of other interesting success paths.  Here is Paths to Success attributed and signed by Grant Snider:

But I also found the “Caruso Ca’t Touch You”: A Road Map to Success.  It was inserted by Frank Jacobs into Strange Maps on the website.  He attributes receiving it from Varun Chablani who found it here.


A reader indicates that judging by the allegoric content, the detailed artwork, and the illustration style in general, he makes the guess that the cartoon could be by Winsor McCay, a great 1900’s contemporary artist doing editorial cartoons on similar subjects in the Hearst newspaper, “The American.”

This map of the Road to Success depicts an actual road, winding up to success signified by a lyre.

This (literally) lyrical prize is achieved by first entering the Gate of Opportunity. People are running through, but some have already settled in to the sit-down life of ease and comfort in what looks like the Beer Garden of Bohemianism.

Some manage to pass by those delights to check in to the Hotel Know It All, because they hold to mottoes such as Nobody can tell me, or I don’t need to practice, or I’m a born genius, or yet: I don’t need system.

Similarly misguided cries are heard on the patio of the Mutual Admiration Society: You’re the Hit of the Age, You’ll Set the World on Fire, You’re a Wonder My Boy, or (my favourite): Caruso Can’t Touch You.

Those who avoid those three establishments of ill repute might still fall victim to the deep, dark well of Illiteracy, or the spinning, disorienting wheel of Conceit. A select few manage to board the train called Right System at the Railroad Station.

That doesn’t stop some from running along the rail track towards Success, only to succumb to the ugly hand of Vices, the spinning fan of Bad Habits (blowing its victims towards Oblivion), or the pitfall of Bad Reputation. Others fall prey to Charlatanism, or get tangled up in the webs of Jealousy and Do It Tomorrow.

Those who overcome all these perils will enter the gates of System. But while the train crosses a bridge across the river Failure, those on foot are threatened by the Cauldron of Misrepresentation, and tempted by Short Cuts.

Some do manage to wade across the river to the other side, but there must overcome Bad Temper, Carelessness, Shiftlessness and Bad Memory. Then there’s Lack of Preparation, a giant rock which the train can tunnel through effortlessly, while the surviving pedestrians must trek across it.

Sprees, Laziness and Bad Business Methods then still threaten them, until at last they come before two gates, the one for Weak Morals remaining forever closed, the Gate of Ideals open to the train (and some on foot).