Disaster Dioramas: Titanic


From the Spitefuls.com website:

Spitefuls is proud to soon present the first of hopefully many dioramas to spiffy up your cubicle and help alleviate work boredom through a fun activity using common office supplies! Perfect for your cubicle, office, or desk… it’s sure to bring lots of hours of conversation and quizzical looks from fellow coworkers. And who doesn’t want quizzical looks from their coworkers.

Download the Titanic for free.

Look out for future disasters including the Hindenberg and the Alamo.

Via Boing Boing

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Foto Friday – Fishing Sailfish (National Geographic)

National Geographic - Sailfish fishing

This shot is one of an amazing series by Paul Nicklen and part of an article by Jennifer S. Holland entitled “In the Whirl” on the NationalGeographic.com. Please follow the link and check out the entire series, you won’t be disappointed.

BONUS: Because it’s the beginning of a holiday weekend here in the US, here’s a bonus video that will give you an even greater appreciation of how difficult it must have been to get the above photo and the linked to series. Enjoy! (note video is not part of National Geographic photo series)


Hat tip to Mr. Boat Blog

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Teamwork Afloat in the Harvard Business Review


In the September 2008 Harvard Business Review, Mark de Rond wrote an interesting short piece in the Forethought section entitled Lessons from the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (free article after accepting terms of use) which is derived from his recent book The Last Amateurs: To Hell and Back with the Cambridge Boat Crew Race. Here’s a link to the book blog.

In the HBR article, de Rond writes:

Few environments test the ability of team members to balance competitive and cooperative instincts as well as the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race does… Despite the public spectacle, celebrity treatment, and media circus, the race remains a profound, primal test of individual character in the context of a team. Indeed, the elite oarsmen who win coveted places in Cambridge’s Blue Boat are those who compete most ruthlessly—away from the glare of the cameras—to secure a seat and then collaborate seamlessly with whichever crew members are ultimately selected. How do coaches identify these rare individuals?

de Rond, Reader in Strategy and Organisation and Fellow of Darwin College at the University of Cambridge, explains seat racing, a process used in rowing to identify the most effective crew among a pool of individually qualified and competent candidates. Basically, teams of rowers compete with and against each other as individuals are swapped out after each training race until the most effective team is selected.

He then goes on to suggest a similar application in business.

Business teams aren’t rowing crews, of course, but the same principles of competition and coordination apply. The next time you’re trying to assemble a team, why not have two groups face off on a series of problem-solving challenges, swapping members between the groups until you arrive at an optimal combination? It may seem like a cumbersome exercise, but it could identify your strongest and most cooperative team. Not a bad way to get both oars in the water.

I always find it very valuable when new team members are introduced into problem solving since they often bring new skill sets and perspectives and can challenge the process already underway.  Of course, this has to be balanced against the potential disruption that can occur when you already have a high performing team. But if you are trying to build a team to tackle a tough problem, seat racing may help get you to the finish line before the competition.

Photo credit: crew by emurray on Flickr.com

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Narwhal Play Set with Magical Tusks & 3 Adorable Animals to Impale

Summer’s nearly over and before you know it Christmas will be here. So it’s not too early to begin looking for that special present for that budding marine biologist in your life.

Here’s something pretty unique but please heed the WARNING: Choking Hazard, Small Parts, Not Suitable for Children Under 3 Years. Otherwise, this looks like it will bring hours of enjoyment defending the narwhal against its fierce "natural enemies," the penguin, seal pup and koala bear.

The Avenging Narwhal Play Set

Via Neatorama

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Messing About In Ships Podcast Episode 29

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(30 minutes)

Download MP3: Messing About In Ships podcast episode 28

Subscribe Via iTunes HERE

Shownotes @ Messing About In Ships blog

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Foto Friday – At Play by OneEighteen

At Play by OneEighteen

Houston ship pilot and uber maritime photographer Lou Vest, aka OneEighteen on Flickr.com, shares with us another amazing photograph. Here’s what he has to say about this picture:

Taken on the Houston Ship Channel. For those of you who don’t spend a lot of time around ports and ships, this is a fairly common (but always enjoyable) sight. Dolphins love to get out in front of ships and other vessels and ride the pressure wave in front of the ship, sort of like surfing. When there is a lot of phosphorescense in the water at night the play of the dolphins under the bow like this can be spectacular. Weaving comets in trails of bright green. Out at sea I have seen dolphins from far away converging toward the tug I was on to come ride with us.

Check out the larger version on Flickr here.

I’ve previously posted Lou’s photos here, here, here, here and here.

As an avid amateur photographer, Lou’s work consistently blows me away and I’m totally jealous of his talent. ;-)

If you use Flickr.com, make sure you subscribe to OneEighteeen’s feed; if you aren’t on Flickr, it’s worth the time and effort to join just to see what Lou’s up to.

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ADMIRAL Thad Allen is my “Friend”

n1232028385_30023800_7217The great Unofficial Coast Blog reported today that ADMIRAL Thad Allen, Commandant of the US Coast Guard has a Facebook Page. (The 4 – 8 watch is secure)

I was intrigued so I went over there, found him and sent him a short note with a “friend” request. By the time it took me to get to the M’s in the ADMIRAL’s FB Friends, my picture miraculously appeared and I had a new “friend.”

I’m sure that he was impressed by my intelligent note and extraordinary profile. NOT!

Regardless of the why and how I acquired my new “friend” so fast, I think that this is a clever public relations strategy and one that most leaders at his level would not undertake. A quick search on FB for ADMIRAL Allen’s boss, Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, turned up zilch. (I have previously written about Secretary Chertoff’s use of social media here.)

As of this writing, ADMIRAL Allen has 303 FB friends from USCG Academy cadets to USCG officers to Harvard Kennedy School leadership professors and many others. His Wall is very active and he uses it to post lots of pictures of what he’s up to.

Here are a few things that add to the human side of leadership, something that ADMIRAL Allen clearly has a handle on.

Facebook - Thad Allen_1219286960383

Facebook - Thad Allen_1219286585278

Okay, my guess would be that much of what’s up on his profile is put there by someone else. But that’s okay. Reading ADMIRAL Allen’s pages it’s clear that he engages with FB directly and that let’s his followers in on a little slice of his life to which they wouldn’t otherwise have access. This should be mandatory reading for every Coast Guardsman and organizational leaders everywhere should take note.

You can read the opinions of both ADMIRAL Allen and Secretary Chertoff on the DHS Leadership Journal blog. It’s fun to contrast their styles!

Kudos to ADMIRAL Allen, my new “friend.”

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NY Times Investigative reporting at it’s Finest – “After Kite Boarder’s Accident, Some Say Winds Were Too Much”

Okay maybe it’s just me but that this NY Times headline seems rather obvious: After Kite Boarder’s Accident, Some Say Winds Were Too Much. Watch this and you be the judge:


Here’s an interesting side story in the NY Times article which seems to reinforce the notion that kiteboarders are persistent.

A permutation of the sport was featured in the first X Games in 1995 in Providence, R.I. Some of the competitors crashed into rocks, and one was blown off course to Newport, R.I. When he finally made land, he hailed a cab, loaded his kite in the trunk and rode back to the venue. The sport was dropped from the games for the following year.

Hope the kiteboarder, Kevin Kearney recovers swiftly.

Kitesurfing on Wikipedia

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Aren’t these Olympics great with Michael Phelps, the Redeem Team and those perky gymnasts.

Here’s an event that you might have missed due to the time difference in Beijing.


Closer to home, here is footage from the national training camp for the 2012 Olympics in London. (I still think they have time to shake that logo!)

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