Monday, 4 July 2011

Declaration of Independence - George III's Managment Analyst Replies

The Court of King George III
London, England

July 10, 1776

Mr. Thomas Jefferson
c/o The Continental Congress
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dear Mr. Jefferson:

We have read your "Declaration of Independence" with great interest. Certainly, it represents a considerable undertaking, and many of your statements do merit serious consideration.  Unfortunately, the Declaration as a whole fails to meet recently adopted specifications for proposals to the Crown, so we must return the document to you for further refinement.

The questions which follow might assist you in your process of revision:

1.  In your opening paragraph you use the phrase "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God."  What are these laws? In what way are they the criteria on which you base your central arguments?  Please document with citations from the recent literature.

2.  In the same paragraph you refer to the "opinions of mankind."  Whose polling data are you using?  Without specific evidence, it seems to us the "opinions of mankind" are a matter of opinion.

3.  You hold certain truths to be "self-evident."  Could you please elaborate.  If they are as evident as you claim then it should not be difficult for you to locate the appropriate supporting statistics.

4.  "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" seem to be the goals of your proposal. These are not measurable goals.  If you were to say that "among these is the ability to sustain an average life expectancy in six of the 13 colonies of at least 55 years, and to enable newspapers in the colonies to print news without outside interference, and to raise the average income of the colonists by 10 percent in the next
10 years," these could be measurable goals.  Please clarify.

5.  You state that "Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government..."  Have you weighed this
assertion against all the alternatives?  What are the trade-off considerations?

6.  Your description of the existing situation is quite extensive.  Such a long list of grievances should precede the statement of goals, not follow it.  Your problem statement needs improvement.

7.  Your strategy for achieving your goal is not developed at all.  You state that the colonies "ought to be Free and Independent States," and that they are "Absolved from All Allegiance to the British Crown."  Who or what must change to achieve this objective?  In what way must they change?  What specific steps will you take to overcome the resistance? How long will it take?  We have found that a little foresight in these areas helps to prevent careless errors later on.  How cost-effective are your strategies?

8.  Who among the list of signatories will be responsible for implementing your strategy?  Who conceived it?  Who provided the theoretical research? Who will constitute the advisory committee?  Please submit an
organization chart and vitas of the principal investigators.

9.  You must include an evaluation design.  We have been requiring this since Queen Anne's War.

10. What impact will your problem have?  Your failure to include any assessment of this inspires little onfidence in the long-range prospects of your undertaking.

11. Please submit a PERT diagram, an activity chart, itemized budget, and manpower utilization matrix.

We hope that these comments prove useful in revising your "Declaration of Independence."  We welcome the submission of your revised proposal.  Our due date for unsolicited proposals is July 31, 1776.  Ten copies with original signatures will be required.


Management Analyst to the British Crown

(I don't know who really wrote this and if anyone does please let me know and I will of course credit them with the writing of it - I picked it up from Dan Galvin's 'Thought for the Day Email list')

Aparently George III's actual response to the Declaration of Independence was to write  in his diary that nothing of note happened that day!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Henry Ford on "Experts"

No one ever considers himself expert if he really knows his job. A man who knows a job sees so much more to be done than he has done, that he is always pressing forward and never gives up an instant of thought to how good and how efficient he is. Thinking always ahead, thinking always of trying to do more, brings a state of mind in which nothing is impossible. The moment one gets into the "expert" state of mind a great number of things become impossible.

-Henry Ford Sr.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Taking Beekeeping to a Higher Level - Part 2

Finally got around to updating the "story so far". Just before Easter I put together some equipment.
The modified crown board is equiped with a porter bee escape which only allows the bees out but not back in again.  A foam rubber strip around the edge compensates for uneveness of the stonework.
The other side has a plastic ready-meal container with a hole in the bottom to take a plastic 1 inch basin overflow pipe.  I have also put a one inch hole in the back of a standard brood box.  There are a couple of frames with stores in and a couple of frames with old comb.
I took this lot back to the site and was very pleased to discover that the whole lot including my tool box could be lifted up to the top of the scaffolding with a fork lift crane.  I put the box in position and put the board over the holes in the chimney.  A piece of stone and a lightweight concrete block held it in place.
I left the site and because of the extended Easter and Royal Wedding Bank Holidays had to leave them for rather longer than I was anticipaing.  Unfortunately, in the intervening period the board must have shifted a bit and the bees have worked their way around the foam at the top.
The other day I went back and with the help of one of the carpenters we have repositioned the board and sealed around the outside with expanded foam.
 Spot the handsome beekeeper in the high vis jacket!  Hopefully this will now encourage them to use the box as the entrance and move their operations and queen there!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Taking Beekeeping to a Higher Level

I do enjoy life in the Cotswolds, and particulaly the challenges that pop up from time to time once word gets around that you are a rural beekeeper.  I got a call from a construction company with a bee problem the other day.  They are renovating an old farmhouse and have discovered that not all the previous tenants have moved out.  It would seem that a colony of bees has made itself at home in one of the chimneys.  I usually view such requests with some trepidation.  Most beekeepers, me included, tend to like to have both feet on the ground when dealing with bees.  Catching a swarm in a tree can be challenging and often taking the easy way out (leave them to it!) if they are too high to be retrieved safely is the the best option.
With houses, chimneys and roofs there is no "leave them to it" option.  Fortunately the construction company in question is very keen to do whatever they can to conserve wildlife and particularly ensure that bees are looked after.
When I arrived at the site I realised that this was not a "balance on the top of a ladder" type job and after signing in and getting my hard-hat I was guided to a two storey ladder and onto scaffolding.which has been placed around the house and gable end chimney. On a gloriously sunny day with wonderful views of the surrounding countryside, I could see what attracted the bees to their current property!
Donning my bee jacket I went up on the chimney scaffolding and had a look at the situation.
There were a lot of bees coming and going through gaps in the mortar on the face of the chimney.  Aparently there are two flues, one that will be relined and opened up and one that has been blocked off, Fortunately they are in the blocked off side and by the number of bees I would say that they have been there since at least last year.  It is probable that they will be swarming soon.  As you can see  the entrance is actually at a very convienient height given the scaffolding! However it would be better to try to avoid taking stone blocks out of the chimney and pulling them out enmasse if possible  Having discussed timescales I was very releived to discover that there is plenty of other work that can be done on site so we have the luxury of a few weeks to sort this out.

I am proposing to put a cover over the entrance with a short pipe attached which I can insert into the back of a spare broodbox with some foundation and old comb to make a new hive.  This will have the effect of moving the entrance to the otherside of the brood box and encourage them to expand the nest out into the box.  After a few days I will put a no return valve in so that all the flying bees and newly hatched bees will have no choice but to take up residence in the box and hopefully the queen will then join them there and establish this as the new home.  After a few weeks there should be no more bees in the chimney and we can then seal up the old entrance with mortar and take the colony back to the apiary.
That's the plan anyway.  If any of you beekeepers out there have any suggestions or "gotchas" that I might need to consider please leave comments below or talk to me on Twitter.
I will, of course, keep you posted on how this works out!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A Warm Spring Afternoon

Another lovely warm day in the Cotswolds today. Went for a walk with camera and bee jacket. The Magnolia is out, and looking very splendid it is too. This has been a key feature of the village for a long time and its blossoming a keenly awaited event.

Further down the road I passed one of our neighbour's fields. He is helping out the Donkey Sanctuary by giving a home to some abused donkeys. Why anyone would want to treat donkeys badly, I can't imagine but it looks like they are having a nice time now. They have a large field to themselves and are clearly enjoying the spring sunshine.
I had a quick look at the bees, they seem to be building up nicely and there is plenty of pollen and nectar coming in. The Dandelions are out which is good. The bees love them and they make very nice honey.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Spring Blossom

I had a wander around the village this afternoon. Another brilliantly sunny day. The cherry blossom at the church is out and was covered in bees of all sorts. This picture is of a bumble bee getting stuck in! The air was alive with the sound of bees buzzing and birds singing.
A lot of my bees had found there way up here and were grabbing as much nectar as they could carry away.

Here is a bit of video I took of the activity.

We had a group of 12 potential beekeepers over to have a look at our bees yesterday afternoon. They had had a days introductory course a couple of weeks ago and this was their first oportunity to experience the real thing. When I arrived to meet them, Chris, our training officer was over the road with them watching the bees working the catkins at the stables. I had a look this afternoon and they were still at it!

We walked down to the apiary fully suited (probably looked like some environmental disaster was in progress!). We had a good look through most of the hives and it would appear that we have four very strong colonies, two a bit on the small side (gave them a feed in the hope that it would tide them over till they have enough foragers), and one colony that didn't make it through winter. They were very small in autumn and I was probably being over optimistic.
On the way home I noticed the Grape Hyacinths were also receiving attention from the bees. So it looks as though there is plenty around to keep them busy.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Spring is coming along nicely

Spring seems to be coming a little earlier than usual this year and we are all enjoying a spell of warm sunny weather. There are lots of flowers blooming early, particularly the daffodils. The bees are also enjoying the weather and there are signs of an early start to laying by the queens. When eggs are hatching the nurse bees need lots of pollen and honey mixed to feed the new grubs so they will have been digging into what is left of the winter stores. As you will see in this bit of video I took this afternoon, there is plenty of pollen being brought in.

As the main nectar bearing crops arent out yet there is not a lot of nectar about yet so this can be a problem. If they are running short of honey then there is a real danger of starvation even in the warm weather. I popped down to the apiary to have a quick look under the crown boards and establish how things are going. There are two colonies that are very light so I will give them a supplimentary feed of 50/50 syrup (1ib to 1 Pint of water). The other 4 colonies are very strong and the brood boxes are heavy so they should be OK. One colony didnt make it through the winter - they were very week at the end of last season.
Of course the early start to the season may well mean an early start to swarming so we will have to keep an eye out for that and manage accordingly. We normally have first swarm around the end of April but something tells me this year will be a lot earlier.