YuMi takes Center Stage

Like in previous performances held under the fresco-covered ceiling of the beautifully elegant Teatro Verdi, in Pisa, Italy, musicians sit attentive, instruments at the ready, eyes focused on the Maestro. Soloists stand ready as well, waiting for the conductor’s upward motion with the baton to begin. Yet this is no ordinary performance, and no ordinary conductor. Here, ABB’s YuMi, the world’s first truly collaborative dual-arm robot, is making its conducting debut.

That was the scene last night, as YuMi directed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli in a program of Verdi at a charity concert for the gala of the First International Festival of Robotics. Over 800 illustrious guests from around the world enjoyed the program titled A breath of hope: from the Stradivarius to the robot.” Among the guests of this special performance was ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer under whose leadership YuMi was developed when he was responsible for the turn-around of the Robotics business.

“In one of the most beautiful theaters of Italian tradition, Maestro Bocelli sang as YuMi directed “La Donna è Mobile,” the famous aria from Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” YuMi continued conducting as soloist Maria Luigia Borsi sang the classic soprano aria “O mio babbino caro” from “Gianni Schicchi” by Puccini. To conclude, YuMi also conducted a passage from Mascagni’s intermezzo from the opera “Cavalleria Rusticana.”
Maria Luigia Borsi on stage with YuMi  A 15-minute interlude in the evening program, this unique event showed that collaboration between humans and robots can work perfectly.
Maestro Bocelli, was exuberant in his praise of the performance. “It was so much fun to perform with YuMi, ABB’s collaborative robot. It showed that a robot could really conduct an orchestra, but only with the excellent work of very talented engineers and a real maestro. Congratulations to the team that pulled this off,” he said afterwards.

“I think tonight we’re truly making history and writing the future of robotics applications,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer after the performance. “YuMi demonstrated how intuitive, how self-learning this machine is – how wonderful our software really is in learning the movement of a conductor, sensing the music, and really conducting an entire team.”

Conducting an orchestra is one of the highest forms of art – it is about shaping the diverse voices of the musicians into a single expression in service to the composer. YuMi is one of the highest forms of robotics technology, changing the way the world looks at human-robot collaboration. The two forms coming together so smoothly during the performance is a testimony to the evolving nature of how man and machine can work together in entirely new ways.  Maestro Andrea Colombini, director of the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra, who helped prepare YuMi for the event, was excited by YuMi’s sophisticated technology. “Setting up the interaction between the elbow, forearm and wrist of the robot, making use of its versatility in repeated and demanding attempts to break down the upbeats and downbeats, was very successful,” he said. The gestural nuances of a conductor have been fully reproduced at a level that was previously unthinkable to him.

YuMi achieved a very high level of fluidity of gesture, with an incredible softness of touch and expressive nuancing. This is an incredible step forward, given the rigidity of gestures by previous robots and proves how easily YuMi can be programmed to do the most delicate jobs in electro- mechanic assembly.  YuMi’s performance was developed in two steps. In rehearsals, Colombini’s movement were captured with a process called “lead-through programming,” where the robot’s two arms are guided to follow the motions with great attention to detail; these movements were then recorded. The second step involved fine-tuning the movements in ABB’s RobotStudio software, where the motions were synchronized to the music. With ABB’s technical expertise, the lead-through programming let Colombini focus on doing what he does best, bringing the music to life.

The first International Festival of Robotics has been a place for spreading awareness of robotics, and of robotics applications, including collaborative industrial robots like YuMi.  While this performance gives an inspiring peek at the future, it is unlikely robots will ever prove capable of combining the scholarship, artistry, technique, interpretation and charisma of a skilled human conductor. The simple goal is to develop industrial robots that are easier to use and perform better with less human intervention.

Just as YuMi delighted the Maestro, robots bring unique experiences and excitement to their worlds.


The 1st International Robotics Festival in Pisa, Italy, September 7-13 aims to spread awareness and develop knowledge in this field in all areas and applications. Institutions, universities, museums, foundations and many research institutes have come together to bring about this unique and comprehensive event. The rich program has included conferences and debates, both scientific and didactic, a film program, educational robotics exhibitions and applied robotics demonstrations.

Why I CC’d You…

How Many Emails Are Sent Every Day


Statistics, extrapolations and counting by the Radicati Group from February 2017 estimate the number of email users worldwide was 3.7 billion, and the amount of emails sent per day (in 2017) to be around 269 billion.  205 billion email messages per day means almost 2.4 million emails are sent every second and some 74 trillion emails are sent per year.   By contrast, the Radicati Group’s estimate for 2015 was 205 billion emails per day and the estimate for 2009 247 billion emails sent per day.

DMR offers these other fascinating statistics on email, compiled in August 2015:

  • First email system: 1971
  • Average office worker receives 121 emails a day
  • Percentage of email that is spam: 49.7%
  • Percentage of emails that have a malicious attachment: 2.3%
  • Top country where spam is generated: United States
  • Top country where spam is generated (per capita): Belarus
  • Open rate for email sent in N.Am: 30.6%
  • Mobile click-to-open for US marketing email: 13.7%
  • Desktop click-to-open for US marketing email: 18%
  • Average open for political emails: 22.8
  • Length of subject line for highest read rate: 61 – 70 characters
  • Top day for email volume: Cyber Monday
  • Company that sent the most per user: Groupon
  • Percentage of mobile users who read an email based on subject line: 33%
  • Percentage of opened emails that are opened on a desktop: 55.2%
  • Percentage of opened emails that are opened on a smartphone: 25%
  • Percentage of opened emails that are opened on a tablet: 7.3%
  • Most popular mobile device for email opens:  iPhone (with 33%)
  • Percentage of users who made a purchase based upon an email received on their mobile device: 6.1%
  • Most effective day of the week to send an email (based on open rates): Saturday
  • Least effective day of the week to send an email (based on open rates): Friday
  • Least effective day of the week to send an email (based on click rates): Wednesday / Friday

How Clean is your Mirror?

How well do you really know yourself? Do you have clarity on how others see you?

As I often say in workshops which involve body language and voice (which is many of them, as it’s so important in many professional scenarios), most people don’t have a good idea of how they appear to others. This is simply because unless we have a camera follow us around, it’s very hard to see how we really move, gesture, use facial expressions etc. In terms of voice, a recording is rarely true to reality either. So unless, we have had feedback from others or worked with experts who have fed back to us and helped us to develop, we really have no idea. This extends beyond body language to behaviour and interaction too.

All the 1-2-1 work I do starts with understanding where my client is at and running a mocked up session that they and I feedback on i.e. the mirror. That might be a job interview, a meeting scenario, a presentation, amongst others. The key is to distil what is holding that person back – both in how they feel about how they come across and what they are communicating to others and the perception that creates.

Everybody can build their self-awareness, know what to work on and improve how the come across

Take my enthusiastic and experienced client working with me on her impact at interview who had no idea she cut off interviewer questions early and tapped the table with enthusiasm, as she started to answer. Or, my client needing to run working groups who continually rubbed his hands together as he spoke. They might be small things but they detract from making a positive impact on the person or people you are trying to engage. They decrease credibility too. Can you be sure you aren’t negatively impacting others and detracting from your great experience and skills?

What to work on

So we work on the less good things, those that are reducing personal impact, but until we are aware of them we can’t do a thing, so a ‘clean mirror’ is essential to develop and progress. We also work on the elements of impact to enhance, so my client achieves what they want to, whether that is the promotion, the new role, the decision in the meeting they want, by being the best they can be. The list of professional scenarios where personal impact and relationship building matter goes on.

What about you?

Imagine if you knew how to improve from where you’re at? How could that help your progression and confidence? Which professional scenario is holding you back?


Posted by Joanna Gaudoin

Product as a Service

ron palinkas global technical services managerMost of you who know me professionally will think the title is a mistake, I am a strong advocate of technical services and the role it plays in large and especially manufacturing organizations.  What I frequently preach is “Service as a Product.”  Today, I wanted to talk about Product as a Service (PaaS.)  Long before Saas and PSO systems came into being there was the first adopted PaaS — CPC programs or “cost per copy.”  In this sort of revenue model, the supplier produces all equipment up-front –copiers, paper, supplies of toner, even specialized machines for different department machines, all with one goal–billing a charge each time a meter clicks.  This has some benefits for the customer, there are no upfront charges, and they are paying to click the meter, so anything that interferes with that–toner, paper, machine fault, all interferes with that–they simply contact the supplier and ask for a new one.  Seems very little risk to customer although they are being charged a premium for the service.  The supplier benefits in that he has full control of the supply ecosystem– he picks the model copiers/printers, the toner, the paper, the number of machine–he just has to be sure that he can provide everything needed for the customer to produce “clicks.”

ron palinkas global technical services managerBut what I am referring to is a strategy of PaaS outside of this established realm.  A former employer Martin Engineering had a program called “Clean Belt.”  In other words the customer paid for a clean belt, not all of the equipment and adjustments that went into to it.  Just a guaranteed clean belt, week after week.  Why worry about the details when the only thing you are concerned about is results—keeping the belt clean.  Beyond programs such a clean belt and CPC, some companies have moved into the problem-solving mode of PaaS.  For example an electric pump company recently changed their tag line to “We move water.”  It is an interesting development in the product space.  I look forward to hearing of more and more innovative models.


What’s in a Name?

Bringing a product to the Chinese market can be a major hurdle for a burgeoning company looking to expand abroad. But according to new research from a University of Illinois expert in consumer behavior and global marketing, for a Western brand to crack the Chinese market, the name’s the thing.

“China is challenging for Western companies, and the name-translation issue is particularly challenging. But there is the potential to strategically decide whether you want to be seen as more of a Western brand, more of a Chinese brand, or seen as a brand seeking a happy medium,” he said.

The study, which will be published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, examines how integrative responses to culture mixing, in the context of Western brand names translated into Chinese, can influence consumer evaluations of products.

“Specifically, we examine young, educated Chinese consumers’ evaluations of three types of brand name translations: by sound, by meaning and by sound plus meaning,” Torelli said.

Results show that younger, more educated and more cosmopolitan Chinese consumers tend to favor “phonosemantic” brand translations, which integrate both sound and meaning into a product’s name.

“What we found is that if you’re targeting young Chinese consumers, they tend to be more bicultural,” he said. “The established view of Chinese consumers is that they are conservative in the sense that they value tradition and conformity, whereas Westerners tend to be more open to new experiences or are individualistic in the sense that they emphasize new things like autonomy and pursuing one’s own goals.”

Younger Chinese consumers, however, were born after the one-child policy and have much more exposure to the West than previous generations.

“When they are the target, since they are much more Westernized in their values, they have a more bicultural mindset. So young Chinese consumers fall somewhere in the middle, modulating between those two poles of valuing tradition and embracing what’s new.”

Because of that, the researchers hypothesized that young Chinese consumers would respond much more favorably to cultural mixing.

“We found that the foreign name connects them with that aspect of cosmopolitanism that they valued, but the Chinese understanding of the brand also connects with their Chinese identity, which is also important to them,” Torelli said.

It also signals that the company is being sensitive to their language.

“It’s a foreign brand that’s making an effort, and is respecting and valuing the culture, thereby integrating the Western values of self-expression and autonomy while also paying tribute to traditional Chinese value of conservatism,” he said. “So there’s a double path that leads to positive feelings toward brands.”

But why go to the extra effort if you could just do a phonetic translation?

“That’s what most American companies do when they go somewhere else – they don’t rebrand, they simply translate the name,” Torelli said. “If the country uses the alphabet, then you don’t have to do anything. It’s maybe how you pronounce it that changes.”

The problem is that Chinese is a logographic language.

“There are no letters in Chinese. There are characters that have sounds,” he said. “So the project started out of the notion that, when you translate to Chinese, you have a decision to make at the get-go. And that decision is, when you tell whoever it is who’s going to take that name in China, do you translate it phonetically? If you take that route, then it’s going to sound weird to Chinese consumers. It will sound similar to how it sounds in the home market, but it will sound foreign to Chinese consumers. OK, then why don’t you just translate the meaning? Many brands have meaning, like Pampers or Suave. Others, like 7UP, don’t. These are names that are suggestive in the home language. So you can’t do a straightforward translation.”

According to Torelli, it all points to the broader cultural mixing phenomenon.

“The idea is that, more and more in everyday situations, we’re starting to see symbols of two cultures juxtaposed in the same place. Sometimes we like that, sometimes we don’t. And that has marketing and branding implications.”

For marketers, the benefit is if you’re an American or Western European company trying to break into the Chinese market, “you might want to think carefully about adopting a phonosemantic translation for your product,” he said.

“That might be the best approach, especially if you’re targeting this young, affluent, cosmopolitan market.”

Original Post: https://phys.org/news

Managing Remote Teams

Ron Palinkas Technical Services Manager Ron Palinkas
Ever heard the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind?” Too often, that’s how remote employees feel. But just because they’re not physically present doesn’t means they should be left out of important conversations and culture-building activities.  Speaking from personal experience, I’ve seen what a morale damper it can be when colleagues perceive our company to be too “San Fran centric,” as one put it. Instead of being reactive, the best thing you can do is show you value each and every employee — regardless of where they work — on a consistent basis.
Here are five best practices you can implement right away.

1. Make communication seamless. 

This may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: If you have remote team members, invest in all of the necessary tools to ensure that they feel connected. From HipChat to Skype or Slack and Asana, finding ways to limit the amount of email and also help everyone understand where a project stands will make their lives — and yours — much easier

However, simply having the tools available isn’t enough: It’s about using them. It’s not an all-hands meeting if all the hands aren’t aware and plugged in, which is the home office’s responsibility to make happen. Hold your team accountable to themselves and to each other, and find ways to incentivize collaboration and communication across offices.

2. Cultivate social interaction. 

Ideas happen out loud. In a best-case scenario, your remote employees are working at satellite offices with other colleagues. But for individuals who are clocking in from a home office, the lack of conversation — whether on work topics or not — can limit perspective and squelch innovation. To improve the latter scenario, see if it’s possible to have your team member work out of a co-working space. Not only do these places offer access to conference rooms, a kitchen full of snacks and even a game room for that much-needed break, but they also help foster a clear distinction between home and office. If a co-working setup isn’t available, consider giving your team members an extra nudge to get out of the house (and resist the temptation of crawling back into bed) by sending them a gift card to a local coffee shop.

Alternatively, if you have the budget, consider purchasing a telepresence robot like the ones from Vgo or Double Robotics. These allow remote workers to have a physical presence in your office even when they’re miles away, so they can feel more connected. Even something as simple as engaging in office chatter can make a huge difference.

At one of my previous companies, when a team from another office was in town for a week-long project, they immediately set up an always-on video conferencing presence with their home colleagues. What made them great was that they didn’t allow distance to interfere with their ability to collaborate as a team.

3. Schedule regular visits. 

Commit to flying your remote employees to headquarters at least once each year. Make their trip worthwhile in terms of business goals and company meetings (it should go without saying that the best time to host an offsite is when everyone is present)  but allow time for team-building as well. Organize a happy hour, take them out to lunch and invite them to pinch-hit in the company softball league. On and off the field, make them feel like a part of the team.

By the same token, leadership must visit remote offices regularly. Don’t make these visits feel like inspection tours, but go for a few days, work remotely yourself and make sure your teams get to know you as more than a voice on a conference line.

4. Empower local involvement. 

Find creative ways for your remote employees to become involved as a representative of your company. Industry events and local conferences offer opportunities to elevate the profile of your business among the broader community. Similarly, show your team that their region is a priority by offering to sponsor a Meetup or host a networking happy hour where they can serve as your brand ambassador. By facilitating their attendance at job fairs, encouraging them to speak at a school’s career day or sponsoring their membership to a professional organization’s local chapter, you’ll help employees understand that their presence makes a difference.

5. Model inclusive behavior. 

At the end of the day, it all starts with you. Show your employees how to treat long-distance colleagues by checking in with your remote team members frequently, prompting collaboration and finding ways to include them even if it takes an extra step or a few dollars. It’s easy to continue talking with the people in the room if a call drops but model good behavior by making sure that everyone is able to participate before continuing. Once they see that you’ve prioritized inclusiveness, it will become part of your company culture.

Regardless of what you choose to implement, you must lay the foundation for a strong company culture that transcends physical location. By showing all employees that you value each and every person that represents your brand, you’ll set the tone for the months and years to come.

Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior studies the factors that impact individual and group behavior in organizations and how organizations manage their environments. Organizational behavior provides a set of tools—theories and concepts—to understand, analyze, describe and manage attitudes and behavior in organizations.  The study of organizational behavior can improve and change individual, group and organizational behavior to attain individual, group and organizational goals.   Organizational behavior can be analyzed at three levels: the individual, the group and the organization as a whole. A full understanding must include an examination of behavioral factors at each level.   A manager’s job is to use the tools of organizational behavior to increase effectiveness, an organization’s ability to achieve its goal. Management is the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling an organization’s human, financial, material and other resources to increase its effectiveness.

Navy Collisions at Sea

Unfortunately, the errors uncovered, while inevitably “correct,” will inevitably be laid at the feet of a ship’s leadership. By tradition, it is always the case that the commanding officer (CO) failed in the execution of his or her responsibility. While that may be a satisfying conclusion, the truth is that these investigations are brittle and thin; they seldom reveal significant larger truths.

These investigations are conducted in something of a vacuum, and consequently, larger connections are seldom sought or considered. First, the mere question of those larger connections often is considered to be beyond the scope of a single investigation. Second, those connections might turn out to be “ugly,” which could take the Navy in directions leading to the most unwanted sort of questions and public curiosity.

The Root Causes

At this point, it is possible the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) and the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) collisions were coincidental accidents—i.e., lightning-bolts of disaster simply struck in rapid succession in Seventh Fleet. Having said that, the similarities between the Fitzgerald and John S. McCain collisions are suspicious and naturally beg questions that need to be asked.It is possible something bigger than simple miscalculation on the part of two destroyers’ watch teams may be afoot. There is a growing suspicion among a small circle of current and former COs that chickens may be coming home to roost.

To some extent, one can understand that the Navy may not want to turn over too many stones in these cases because it already is suffering a metaphysical and evidently incurable cancer named “Fat Leonard.” Seven full years into that investigation even more indictments are expected. Further, the Navy’s carefully described strategy of “distributed maritime operations” may be foundering on the rocks of fiscal reality. Understandably, Navy leaders must be asking themselves whether the Navy can endure the unearthing of yet another ugly issue.Still, if one were to consider that the John S. McCain and Fitzgerald (and USS Antietam [CG-54], which ran aground in March, resulting in another CO’s relief) were parts of a larger pattern, it would be understood that the problem could not easily be laid at the foot of a single root cause, like CO incompetence. Seasoned observers understand that, if these disasters are parts of a pattern, then the causes are multiple.

As it turns out, these possible issues should be well known by the Navy’s leadership. In 2010, then-retired Navy Vice Admiral Phil Balisle was asked to take a hard look at the state of the surface community. Admiral Balisle was uniquely qualified for this task. Not only had he succeeded brilliantly in multiple at-sea commands—including in a guided-missile destroyer, a cruiser, and a carrier strike group—but he also possessed expertise in combat management systems, ballistic missile defense, and shipboard engineering. In fact, he served as the Navy’s chief engineer when he assumed command of Naval Seas Systems Command. Not only did Admiral Balisle know what he was looking at, but he also had the independence to speak truthfully and without fear of repercussions. Specifically, he was charged by then-Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughhead to constitute a “Fleet Review Panel to assess surface force readiness across the man, train, equip domain areas, and provide recommended corrective actions.”

The report was an eye-opening dose of the unvarnished truth. The report was as celebrated as it was ultimately ignored. Nevertheless, Admiral Balisle’s conclusions should give a healthy clue as to what might still be troubling the Navy’s ships: training was drastically insufficient; ship maintenance had no constituency and was therefore persistently given the shortest of shrift; and the operational tempo for ships was crushing.

The Training Element

The history of training in the Navy is long and complex. Starting with World War II and continuing at an accelerating rate thereafter, technological advancements have exceeded the ability of commissioning programs to provide officers up to the task of operating upon arrival at their respective commands. The submarine and aviation communities, which since their respective inceptions had been confronted by advanced technologies beyond the scope of accession training, instituted professional courses of instruction to train and qualify their officers. This, however, was not the case for those officers serving in surface ships, who were increasingly challenged by the advent of advancing radar, sonar, gun, missile, and data link systems.

Eventually, it became apparent that additional professional training would be required by surface officers to maximize the operational capabilities of these new systems. In 1961, the Naval Destroyer Officers School, the forefather of the present Surface Warfare Officers School Command, was established. This was followed in 1970 by the first Surface Warfare Division Officer School (SWOSDOC) class. For the next 30 years, this was how division officers were trained for their first tours at sea.

In 2003, SWOSDOC was shuttered, largely for financial reasons, but also in a mistaken attempt to create efficiencies. SWOSDOC was replaced by computer-based training (CBT). Instead of attending SWOS and associated billet specialty programs for upward of 12-14 months of rigorous training prior to reporting on board their first ships, new officers went directly from commissioning sources to their ships with only a packet of computer disks. Now it was incumbent on the ship’s CO to replace a year’s worth of intensive dawn-to-dusk training, in addition to his or her other considerable responsibilities.

Vice Admiral Timothy LaFleur, who as Commander, Naval Surface Force Pacific Fleet, was the author of this decision described the change as one that would “result in higher professional satisfaction, increase the return on investment during the first division officer tour, and free up more career time downstream.” First-tour division officers would still go to Surface Warfare Officers School Command, but only after six months into their first assignment and then for only four to six weeks (later reduced to three) as a kind of “finishing school.” Mostly CBT saved money, and it was estimated that $15 million would be saved by shutting down SWOSDOC and shifting responsibility to the ships’ COs.   Soon officers who opposed this change were excoriated for not “getting it.” A decision had been made, and it was not to be questioned by the rank and file. Silence and obedience were enforced.

Then, CBT failed and failed badly. Commanding officers simply did not have the capability, capacity, or time to replace basic surface warfare officer training in their respective commands. But the Djini was out of the bottle, and the costs to reestablish SWODOC, both in terms of money and embarrassment, were simply too great to bear. Band-aid solutions were found. Eventually, an element of classroom training was reinstituted with the establishment of a four-week course established to provide “3M, division officer fundamentals, basic watchstanding and leadership” to ensigns en route to their first ships.

This training still was not enough. In 2010, Admiral John Harvey, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, publically condemned the CBT program as a “flat-out failure” during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on fleet readiness. Admiral Harvey went on to say that the Navy had failed by sending unprepared ensigns to ships, placing the burden of their training on commanding officers. Things were bad in the surface force, and it was at this point that Admiral Balisle was invited to examine the problem.

By 2012, the current approach to surface warfare officer training was set in place. The CBT method was terminated and replaced by more traditional Basic and Advanced Division Officer Courses (BDOC and ADOC), which are held in two segments before and after the prospective SWO’s first division officer tour.

This training is still not nearly enough. The results are plain to those commanding officers who have the experience of a more robust training process. For example, there is an almost inexplicable overreliance on electronic aids, including automated radar systems and the automatic identification system (AIS) on the part of these new-school officers. Proven techniques, including the use of maneuvering boards, lookouts, adherence to the “Rules of the Road,” and, most important, watch-standers actually looking out the bridge window, are mysteriously archaic to officers who have become convinced that technology cannot fail them. Commanding officers can no longer serve as safety back-stops. Instead, they must be the “super OODs” in any risky evolution, lest disaster befall their ships.

This shedding of methods that kept mariners safe for years, for the lure of easy technology, is dramatically complicated by the fact that these officers are on a qualification time-clock from the moment they arrive in their first ships. The either qualify quickly or their COs are forced to qualify them. Consequently, much of these officers’ first tours are spent checking what can only be dimly understood blocks, without developing a deeper understanding of what they’re doing, and why.

Then, when next at sea as department heads, these officers spend their time largely standing watch as tactical action officers, learning how to “fight the ship.” After this, they are selected for command. The days of an executive officer tour, which could serve as the last fire-break of judgment prior to an officer attaining command, are over. These officers, who came to ships without the benefit of the deep and challenging training provided to their predecessors, are soon to arrive in their own commands. Collectively, they have spent little time as an officer of the deck. Collectively, they don’t understand concepts such as relative motion. It is entirely possible that few of them have ever conducted a “Med Moor” or moored to a buoy or even executed a Form Foxtrot. In short, these undertrained officers never had the opportunity to become real, serious, expert OODs, absorbing the lessons that will keep his or her ship out of harm’s way when disaster looms.

Whose Fault Is This?

While the commanding officers of ships such as the John S. McCain and Fitzgerald may themselves have had the full benefit of the old system of training—of SWOSDOC—they preside over wardrooms of officers who have no such training. In short, when the crunch came, they were supported by officers who did not possess the wherewithal—sufficient real experience to assess problem situations and act promptly on them to avoid catastrophe—to truly support the COs.

As an aside, there is chatter regarding a steering casualty that may have occurred in John S. McCain just prior to the collision. Whether this is true or not matters little. These ships have several modes of steering—computer-assisted automatic, controlled by computers; computer assisted manual, also controlled by computers. Then there is backup manual, which takes the computer out of the loop and controls steering through old-fashioned synchros. In addition, there are redundant channels in all bridge steering modes. Finally, there are two steering modes where control is taken from the bridge and is held locally in after steering. Both of these modes are also manual, and one actually takes all electronics out of the loop and is hydraulic.

One of the most basic skills that traditionally has been exercised in every ship, during every underway operation, and daily thereafter is the drill known as “loss of steering control.” In that drill, every steering mode is sequentially tested. It takes no more than a minute or two for a well-trained crew to regain steering control, even if it means going all the way to the last possible local mode.

It is also worth mentioning that even if all steering was lost, which is highly unlikely, a trained crew would simply stop engines and turn on signal lights indicating the ship was “not under command.” All other traffic would then steer clear of her.

In short, and barring some unexpected aspect uncovered during the John S. McCain investigation, it is possible that two guided-missile destroyers’ collisions are harbingers. It is possible that we have arrived at a place where our COs are poor and inexperienced mariners, and that this situation was authored by none other than their own, the surface community’s leadership.

Captain Eyer served in seven cruisers, commanding three Aegis cruisers: the USS Thomas S. Gates (CG-51), Shiloh (CG-67), and Chancellorsville (CG-62).



Templar’s Oath

Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath.”
— Kingdom of Heaven

I wrote a column here at Clash a few weeks ago about why I am disgusted with my generation. I still stand by what I said but I realized that there is a group of people I left out. These are the Conservatives and Christians who don’t know how to become the hard charging political warriors that most of us are. Many of them are afraid. I mean what will people think of them when they say, “No, I don’t agree with gay marriage” or when they say “Look, man abortion is wrong”?

The quote at the top of this article is from a stellar movie and I would encourage all of you to check out Kingdom of Heaven. Ladies, it features Orlando Bloom and Liam Neeson, so I shouldn’t have to say much more.

Back on topic. There is a scene in this movie where Orlando Bloom is receiving his knighthood in the Holy Land of Jerusalem during the crusades. The quote is the oath that he must take. I have always enjoyed reading and learning about the brave Crusader Knights of the Catholic Church and the Templar Knights. These guys were the first special forces after all. I liken myself and all other Conservatives who risk reputation and public ridicule everyday to tell the truth to Templars. Yes I said it: vocal unafraid Conservatives are Templars.

Part 1: Be Without Fear

Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee.” Be without fear. Do not fear these people who will tell you that your views are backward or antiquated. These are the last arguments of a movement who has run out of ideas. If you believe something, never let it go. There is nothing more pathetic than a warrior who has lost his or her convictions.

Do your research and educate yourself on the issues you feel passionately about and be ready to tango at all times. The Templars we experts with the sword. Our swords are facts and history, they are on our side, but just like a sword, it is useless in unskilled hands. So be brave.  Especially college students. Don’t be afraid to question your professors during discussions. When I was in an intro political science class I had a teacher who was a socialist. He was a great guy and we still talk to this day, but he would fill these young kid’s heads full of garbage about socialism and it’s superiority. He and I would argue every class. I always heard nothing but silence for the first couple of weeks of class. No one would agree with me or speak up. But then about four weeks into class several students began to come up to me and ask me about my opinions and before the end of the class I had ignited an army of Conservatives.

You can do it to. Be a leader not a follower. Point man is always the scariest position but it is only the point man that can lead the platoon.  Finally be upright. What does that mean? Always respect your debating opponents even though sometimes they will not respect you.  If you do these things always remember that when it seems everyone else is looking at you funny and talking about you, God will love you.

Part 2: Speak the Truth, ALWAYS

Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.” My first writing gig was at a place called the College Conservative. I was friends with the guy who started the site. I met him in the class with the Socialist professor. My first article there was Speaking Truth to Power. I believe it is still there. We must speak truth in order to do battle.

As I said before the facts are on our side. The Templars believed that the truth was worth dying for and in fact many of them did when they spoke out about corruption in the Vatican. Now, luckily, we aren’t even risking our lives.  Doesn’t sound so bad now huh? But you must be ready to lose friends and maybe even a few close friends for what you believe. Being a warrior requires sacrifice. I promise you though, your true friends will respect you for sticking to your beliefs and knowing how to argue for them in a respectful fashion. One of my best friends, Derrick, is totally opposite from me on a lot of issues and we fight continuously but he will tell you he respects me as a fellow thinker and that he counts me as one of his close friends. So speak the truth, ALWAYS.

Part 3: Safe Guard the Helpless

Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.“ Finally, always look out for one another and those you sense have something to say and are afraid to say it. Encourage them and inspire them with your boldness. A true Templar always protected those who needed protection sometimes even putting themselves in harms way in order to protect them. Don’t be afraid to back a person up in a debate even if that person is being sneered at by an entire group of people. Two committed minds are more powerful than a mob of those simply repeating what they have been told.

So, Conservatives young and old, this is your oath. Are you prepared to follow it? I know I try to each and everyday. I argue with a lot of people especially now that my morality and “backward” way of thinking has become so unpopular. But in the end would you rather have popularity or honor?  I encourage you to be a Templar and fight with me. If we are going to go down then we will go down fighting. I just don’t want to be the one standing around in twenty years saying, “I wonder if I did all that I could while there was still time left.” Do you?

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

(Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy Name give glory)

About the author, Mark Mayberry: Mark Mayberry lives in Tennessee and is pursuing a Law Degree. He hopes to work in politics and law after graduating. He is also a staff writer at TruthAboutBills.org and is the operator of http://www.guerrilla-politics.com. Mark is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys spending time hunting and fishing as well as with his family. You can reach Mark on Facebook and Twitter as well as his website http://www.guerrilla-politics.comView all articles by Mark Mayberry