Applied Statistics for Engineers

William Volk in his Preface pointed out that his take of applied statistics is traceable to a course he had taught in 1951. The McGraw-Hill Book Company published the first print in 1958. Its frontispiece reads: “for Dorothy whose confidence is without limits”. What a touching view on confidence without limits! I bought my first copy in the 1960s when I was working in the Port of Rotterdam. I have placed Jan Visman’s 1947 PhD thesis on coal sampling and William Volk’s Applied Statistics for Engineers side-by-side on the same bookshelf. I have tried to find out more about Volk after we had come to Canada in 1969 but to no avail. I wanted to write a Wiki page about Volk, his textbook, and his grasp of variances as displayed in Section 7.1.4 Variance of a General Function and in Section 7.3 Confidence Range of Variances. I still wonder whether or not Volk was of Dutch decent.

It was fortunate to have met Jan Visman and Greg Gould on ASTM Coal and Coke. I found out the hard way that TUDelft did not teach Visman’s take on coal sampling. I have learned most about Visman and his sampling theory after he went from Ottawa to Edmonton. I wrote a Wiki page about Dr Jan Visman and his work. His sampling theory underpins the interleaved sampling protocol. It was readily accepted for mineral concentrates simply because it gives a single degree of freedom for each sampling unit. ASTM recognized me for 25 years of continuous membership in 1995. Good grief! All I really did was do what I like to do! The more so since Matheron’s curse of his novel science of geostatistics had not yet impacted my work. On a trip to Australia I lost a copy of Volk’s Applied Statistics for Engineers. What’s more, Australian customs confiscated my bag with red and white beans. I knew a bit about toads and rabbits but never thought red and white beans were as bad. I used my beans to prove that large increments give a higher degree of precision than small increments. Simple comme bonjour! Testing for spatial dependence between measured values in ordered sets was straightforward with on-stream analyzers. When Volk wrote about the power of Student’s t-test to detect a bias, he showed how to derive Type I errors and Type II errors. I have taken to talking about Type I risks and Type II risks.

Gy’s 1979 Sampling of Particulate Materials and Volk’s 1980 Applied Statistics for Engineers still stand side-by-side on the same shelf. Gy had mailed me a copy with his compliments and his invoice on Christmas 1979. Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company has released it as Part 4 in Developments in Geomathematics. Part 1 is Agterberg’s 1974 Geomathematics and Part 4 is David’s 1977 Geostatistical Ore Reserve Estimation. Missing in Gy’s textbook between degenerate splitting processes and degree of representativeness are degrees of freedom. Gy points in Section 31.3 on page 381 to “a Student-Fisher’s t distribution with ν=N-1 degrees of freedom (DF)”. Gy was almost on the mark. His wordy gems struck me as Gy’ologisms! His references to Matheron’s new science of geostatistics are beyond the pale. Next to Gy’s 1979 Sampling of Particulate Materials, Theory and Practice on the same shelf stands David’s 1977 Geostatistical Ore Reserve Estimation, Journel & Huijbregts 1978 Mining Geostatistics, Clark’s 1979s Practical Geostatistics, and Mandel’s 1964 The Statistical Analysis of Experimental Data.


What Matheron and his disciples cooked up at a geostatistics colloquium on campus of The University of Kansas, Lawrence on 7-9, 1970 will not stand the test of time. Matheron conjured up Brownian motion along a straight line. His disciples stripped the variance off the distance-weighted average and called what was left a kriged estimate. Infinite sets of variance-deprived kriged estimates and zero kriging variances added up to the genuine scientific fraud of geostatistics.

Use and Misuse of Statistics

“Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write.”
H G Wells (1866-1946)

Wells was a prolific writer with a keen sense of rights and wrongs in his life and time. What had inspired him to praise statistical thinking were the works of Karl Pearson (1857-1936), and of Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher (1890-1962). Pearson worked with large data sets whereas Fisher worked with small data sets. That was what inspired Fisher to add degrees of freedom to Pearson’s chi-square distribution. Thus was born a feud between giants of statistics. Degrees of freedom converted probability theory into applied statistics, and sampling theory into sampling practice. Fisher and Pearson were both outstanding statisticians. They inspired H G Wells and scores of statisticians. Applied statistics shall stand the test of time until our sun bloats into a red giant and Van Gogh’s Sun Flowers are bound to burn to a crisp.


Why did geoscientists get into geostatistical thinking? All it took was a young French geologist who went to work at a mine in Algeria in 1954. He measured associative dependence between lead and silver grades of drill-core samples. But he did not count degrees of freedom. So, he did not know whether his correlation coefficient was significant at 95%, 99% or 99.9% probability. What is more, his drill-core samples varied in length. As a result, the number of degrees of freedom is a positive irrational rather than a positive integer. He did not know how to test for spatial dependence by applying Fisher’s F-test to the variance of the set of measured values and the first variance term of the ordered set. His first paper was not peer reviewed. Nobody asked him to report primary data and give references. As luck would have it, he was without peers. Professor Dr Georges Matheron and his magnum opus were accepted on face value. His students thought of him as “creator of geostatistics”. Dr Frederik P Agterberg in his eulogy called him “founder of spatial statistics”. Yet, between 1954 and 2000 Professor Dr Georges Matheron did not teach his disciples how to test for spatial dependence and how to count degrees of freedom.

My son and I wrote Precision Estimates for Ore Reserves. It was based on applied statistics as it had been developed by Fisher and Pearson and was praised by Wells. We did test for spatial dependence by applying Fisher’s F-test to the variance of a set of measured values and the first variance term of the ordered set. We had studied David’s 1977 Geostatistical Ore Reserve Estimation. Professor Dr Michel David did not show how to test for spatial dependence and how to count degrees of freedom. Our paper was submitted to CIM Bulletin on September 28, 1989. We did not criticize geostatistics nor did we refer to it. CIM Bulletin rejected it but Erzmetall praised and published it in October 1991.

Bre-X Minerals was selling stock and getting ready to drill at Busang. The internet would not be ready for a while. The mining industry liked unbiased confidence limits for masses of metals contained in mined ores and mineral concentrates. What it did not like in the 1990s and still does not like in 2010 are unbiased confidence limits for masses of metals contained in reserves. I had sent to CIM Bulletin on September 21, 1992, an article on Abuse of Statistics. The Editor advised that articles of a controversial nature can be published in CIM Forum. I was asked to cite a specific reference for the quotation in which H G Wells spoke so highly about statistical thinking. I had found it long ago in Darrell Huff’s How to lie with statistics. Penguin Books published the first edition in 1954 when young Matheron worked in Algeria. Matheron and Agterberg would have been pleased had Wells praised geostatistical thinking.

Geostatistics messed up the study of climate change. Spatial dependence in our sample space of time may or may not dissipate into randomness. Sampling variogram shows whether, where and when it does. High school students ought to be taught how to construct sampling variograms. It would have made H G Wells smile.

Brownian motion along straight lines?

Professor G Matheron didn’t grasp in 1965 how to test for spatial dependence in sample spaces. What he did in 1970 is evoke Brownian motion along straight lines. He was scheduled to speak about it at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kentucky. He had taught A Marechal and J Serra all about kriging and smoothing at the Centre de Morphology Mathematique, Fontainebleau, France. Matheron has never explained why he stripped the variance off the distance-weighted average and called what was left a kriged estimate. Neither did The Founder of Spatial Statistics put in plain words why the distance-weighted average had metamorphosed into a kriged estimate. It was not D G Krige who called it a kriged estimate but Matheron! That’s in a nutshell why Professor Matheron could do so much with so little!!

Professor George Matheron had decided to talk about Random Functions and their Application in Geology. That’s when he talked about Brownian motion along straight lines. But a global estimation problem surfaced. Marechal and Serra did in Random Kriging in 1970 what M David would do in his 1977 Geostatistical Ore Reserve Estimation. In fact, M&S’s Figure 10 showed in 1970 what David’s Figure 203 did on page 286 of Chapter 10 The Practice of Kriging. One cannot possibly trust geostatistocrats who reject the Central Limit Theorem, the concept of degrees of freedom, and the power of Fisher’s F-test.

Dr F P Agterberg and his Autocorrelation Functions in Geology caught my attention when I perused his article. He was in those days no longer with the Kansas Geological Survey but with the Geological Survey of Canada. Figure 1 shows what Agterberg in 1970 had called:

Figure 1. Geologic prediction problem: values are known for five irregularly spaced points P1-P5. Value at P0 is unknown and to be estimated from five known values.


Fig. 64 Typical kriging problem; values are known at five points. Problem is to estimate value at point P0 from the known values at P1-P5.

This figure is also a take on Agterberg’s work. He is the author of Geomathematics, Mathematical Background and Geo-Science Applications. It was published in 1974 by Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam New York. Dr F P Agterberg, in his 2000 tribute to Professor Dr G Matheron, remembered him as the Founder of Spatial Statistics. Yet, Matheron had never tested for spatial dependence between measured values in ordered sets. On the contrary, he was a master at assuming spatial dependence where it didn’t exist. Matheron could not have tested for spatial dependence at his Center de Morphology Mathematique. Why teach Fisher’s F-test if students are taught to assume spatial dependence? Agterberg’s tribute to Matheron taught me a lot about his thinking. When he was a graduate student at the University of Utrecht young Agterberg presented at the Technical University of Delft (TUDelft) a seminar on the skew frequency distribution of ore assay values. But that’s another part of my narrative!

Flunking his PhD thesis

Put it on paper; call it a PhD thesis; get it approved! Simple comme bonjour, n’est-ce pas! But the PhD supervisors at Université de Paris Sorbonne did not approve Professor Georges Matheron’s PhD thesis. On the contrary, they wanted to know what I have wanted to know for a long time! The title of Matheron’s thesis was “Les variables régionalisées et leur estimation: une application de la theory des fonctions aléatoires aux sciences de la nature”. How about that? Thank goodness French was my very first foreign language!

How did Matheron test for spatial dependence in sample spaces and sampling units? He never did! That is why Matheron got stuck on the very first page of his PhD thesis. He didn’t know in 1965 how to test for spatial dependence between measured values. His PhD supervisors had posted on his thesis two (2) sets of whole numbers with the same central value. One set was ordered and the other was randomly distributed.  Matheron’s PhD thesis added up to 301 pages of dense text and scores of symbols. But his PhD supervisors deemed it not enough to merit a PhD in his novel science of geostatistics! It’s rather silly that the Creator of Geostatistics and the Founder of Spatial Statistics did not know how to test for spatial dependence between sets of integers. But why didn’t he know?  Applying Fisher’s F-test and counting degrees of freedom have never been part and parcel of his novel science. His failure to test for spatial dependence was part and parcel of what he fondly called his new science of geostatistics when he took it to North America in June 1970.

Professor Georges Matheron came with his most gifted disciples. Neither knew how to test for spatial dependence by applying Fisher’s F-test to the variance of a set and the first variance term of the ordered set. His disciples believed Matheron was teaching a new science. His PhD supervisors were aware that his new science was an invalid variant of applied statistics. Matheron’s thinking was alive in the eyes of his disciples. He had always taught that a distance-weighted average AKA a kriged estimate does not have a variance. How about that? Strip the variance off the distance-weighted average and call what’s left “a kriged estimate”. Good grief! Distance-weighted averages have variances but kriged estimates no longer do! D G Krige had not come all the way to Lawrence, Kansas. M David and A G Journel were busy writing textbooks about Matheron’s novel science.

A colloquium took place on campus at the University of Kansas, Lawrence in June 1970. D F Merriam, Chief of Geologic Research, Kansas Geological Survey, kept a record and Plenum Press put it in print. No list of visitors was kept. The event was useful to those who do work with applied statistics. Koch and Link, the authors of Statistical Analysis of Geological Data, talked about their work. Part I was published in 1970 and Part II came along in 1971. Both the famous Central Limit Theorem and the concept of Degrees of Freedom are still alive in Koch and Link’s work. I have had copies of both parts since the 1970s. I have used a data set in Sampling and Weighing of Bulk Solids. Tukey’s WSD test has also played a role in my work. Some Further Inputs describes what Professor Dr J W Tukey had seen in real time at Lawrence, Kansas. He wondered what would happen in two-dimensional sample spaces. Good grief! I was already working with three- dimensional sampling units and sample spaces.

Marechal and Serra’s Random kriging and Matheron’s Random Functions and their Application in Geology had both been cooked up either at the Centre de Géostatistique or at Centre de Morphologie Mathématique. The variance had been stripped off the distance-weighted average and the concept of degrees of freedom was dismissed. Why did the geostatistical mind have distance-weighted averages morph into kriged estimates? The odd geostatistocrat may still remember the “famous Central Limit Theorem”.  All it would have taken is a passing grade in Statistics 101.

Matheron talked about Random Functions and their Application in Geology. He set the stage with a bizarre paradigm of Brownian motion along a straight line in deep time. It made counting degrees of freedom an exercise in extreme futility. Those who would have been tempted to count them would have scored a failing grade on Geostatistictics 101. Ranked high among vagaries in Matheron’s take on spatial dependence was his reference to the “quasistationarity” condition! Good grief!

Marechal and Serra talked about Random Kriging. Terms such as punctual kriging put into perspective what this new science of geostatistics was all about. Figure 10 did as little for Matheron’s new science as it would do for David’s 1977 Geostatistical Ore Reserve Estimation. David refers to the same infinite sets of distance-weighted averages cum kriged estimates in his textbook


Figure 10 – Grades of n samples belonging to
nine rectangles P of pattern surrounding x

A facsimile of Marechal and Serra’s Figure 10 is given in David’s first textbook as Fig. 203 on page 286 in Chapter 10 The Practice of Kriging. The National Research Council of Canada has given generous support to David’s imperfect thinking. It did so with its Grant NRC7035. NRC did not engage in statistical quality control in those days. NRC has a new name but approves Markov chains. So much for SQC!

What’s wrong with Matheron’s 1965 PhD Thesis

Once upon a time a young geologist in Algiers derived the degree of associative dependence between lead and silver grades of drill core samples. What he didn’t derive were length-weighted average lead and silver grades. Neither did he test for spatial dependence between metal grades of ordered core samples. This geologist did do it with a bit of applied statistics so he called his article Note statistique No1! In time, one of several scores of dedicated disciples decided to change it to Note géostatistique No1. Somebody do so after the Internet was born! The same disciple is still the custodian of Matheron’s magnum opus. He may well want to play with Matheron’s new science of geostatistics from the 1950s to eternity. Good grief! That’s long time! And it’s a headache already! The more so since Note géostatistique No28 shows “krigeage” in its title. Did Matheron ever ask Krige whether he wanted his name to become a genuine eponym?

Matheron was a master at working with mathematical symbols. He couldn’t possibly have taught his disciples how to test for spatial dependence between mathematical symbols. What’s more, he didn’t even know in the 1950s how to test for spatial dependence between measured values in ordered sets. Neither did he know how to test for spatial dependence in his 1965 PhD thesis! As a matter of fact, Matheron has never tested for spatial dependence between measured values in ordered sets. He did not know how to apply Fisher’s F-test to the variance of a set and the first variance term of the ordered set. Degrees of freedom for both sets ought to be counted and taken into account. Matheron is remembered either as the Founder of Spatial Statistics or as the Creator of Geostatistics. I don’t care what his disciples called him. What I care about is that he didn’t know how to test for spatial dependence by applying Fisher’s F-test! Why did Matheron strip the variances off distance-weighted averages cum kriged estimates? And why did he assume spatial dependence between measured values in ordered sets?

Those who were to judge Matheron’s PhD Thesis on November 10, 1965 may well have asked him to put in plain words the nitty-gritty of his thesis.  Matheron had called it “LES VARIABLES RÉGIONALISÉES ET LEUR ESTIMATION”. His PhD supervisors were Professor Dr Swartz, President, Professor Dr Fortet and Professor Dr Caileux, Examinators. This team proposed a second thesis with the title “PROPOSITIONS DONNÉES PAR LA FACULTÉ”. Did Matheron’s supervisors ask him to jump hoops? And how far would Matheron jump to defend variance-deprived distance-weighted averages cum kriged estimates? The very first page of a whopping 301 pages of Matheron’s 1965 thesis mesmerized me. Why had Matheron cooked up a pair of prime data sets? Why were both inserted under INTRODUCTION on the very first page? Why didn’t he show how to test for spatial dependence? Why didn’t PhD candidate George Matheron know how to test for spatial dependence and count degrees of freedom?

All it takes to test for spatial dependence is to compare observed F-values with tabulated F-values. Of course, degrees of freedom ought to counted and be taken into account. I have applied Fisher’s F-test to verify spatial dependence in sample spaces and sampling units alike. I have done so ever since I worked on ASTM and ISO Standards. Geostatistical software converted Bre-X’s bogus grade and Busang’s barren rock into a massive phantom gold resource.  I unscrambled the Bre-X salting scam by proving that the intrinsic variance of gold was statistically identical to zero. Of course, it is of critical importance to grasp the properties of variances.

It became Matheron’s new science of geostatistics when the variance was stripped off the distance-weighted average and what was left was called it a kriged estimate. Did Matheron really think had created a new science. Geostatistocrats thought he really  did! Good grief!

Six Things to Have Before You Call Your Recruiter – Help Them First and They Can Help You


Get this document as a PDF download here: “Six things to have” as PDF.

Recruiters can work miracles for you. That is especially true when you have your stuff together. Unfortunately, more often than not recruiters are either called too late in the game, or they are given incomplete information about what they are really supposed to do for you. There are also some people that expect recruiter Superman to show up and just pick up where they left off.

What I call “stuff” can be narrowed down to six very basic criteria. These may be basic, but they are extremely important for you to have in tow before you reach out to a recruiter. In fact, it is so imperative that you should have this all checked off the hiring list before you search for new employees, regardless of which type of placement firm you are using.

  1. Approval to proceed: Do you have the actual “go ahead” to proceed with the hiring process? It is one clear check mark you must cross off your list from the beginning. This is followed by the question of what kind of authority you have been given. Will you be able to make the offer yourself once it has been established that you want to hire a candidate? You snooze, you lose – candidates move on quickly.
  2. Time table: Often hiring teams have no concept of how much time it will take to find candidates and even when a suitable candidate has been found, the on-boarding schedule may not have been accounted for. The point is that when you have no idea how long the process will take, you may think you have more time than what you really have and great candidates could be hired right from under your fingertips.

Also, do not underestimate a hot job market and what that does to your interviewing schedule. Time may be of the essence and you need to be able to schedule interviews on short notice. That means you need to have your hiring team’s calendar cleared and ready for scheduling.

  1. Budget: This is different from point 5 below in that this has more to do with how much your hiring process is allowed to cost you. Do not call a recruiter with no idea how much money you are willing to spend filling this position. Preparing this figure in advance saves you and the recruiter time and headache.
  2. Job description: Most of the time this document is totally underestimated in terms of the time it takes to generate a good one (if you start with none), or to review an existing one. There are four different key criteria that should be addressed in order to provide a candidate with a good idea of what the new job will entail. Also, this document is essential in generating a good interview questionnaire, which will aid the hiring team. Finally, your recruiter can start looking for candidates immediately with a well-written position description. The following is a quick outline for your consideration.
    1. Responsibility and authority: What functions and responsibilities will your new employee have? What are the primary job duties? At the same time, how will the new employee fit into the hierarchical and functional organizational chart?
    2. Competencies: What are the behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that your new employee needs to bring to the table in order to be able to function at your organization? What is a competency set for a beginner and what does one look like for an advanced candidate? Is there a possible career path and advancement plan for this position?
    3. Physical requirements: Are there special lifting, reaching, vision, etc. requirements that you know of? If so, it is important that they are identified up front.
    4. Travel requirements: How much travel is required for this position? Make sure you are being honest and clear about the amount of travel required, and state the travel frequency and duration as accurately as you can.
    5. Competitive market compensation analysis: You may have an idea how much of a salary and benefit package you are willing to offer for this position. Great job. Now, go the extra step and study your local market. In fact, establish first what “local” market means. To some this reaches only county wide, but for others this may include a few surrounding states. is one tool, but make sure to include a least two more reliable sources when you research what this or similar jobs pay in the market. Remember that good candidates may have several offers to choose from; it would be a shame to lose a good candidate over this important detail.

  1. Interview plan and process: Do you have a process and plan? It is always a good idea to keep in mind that you and your company are being interviewed at the same time you are interviewing actual candidates.

Not being able to tell a candidate what the hiring time table is and what the interview process entails will make you look unprofessional. At a minimum you will need to be able to tell potential candidates whether or not there will only be a face-to-face meeting, or if there will be multiple interviews with different people or panel interviews. What does the total hiring process look like?

I know, there are a lot of details to cover when growing your team. With proper advance planning and research, you and your organization will improve or maintain your professional image and make the training and onboarding process faster and more effective.

There seems to be a prevailing opinion amongst quite a few HR people that believe the above check list is what the recruiter should provide and help you work through. It is one of the most frequent misconceptions within the placement industry. Typically they should not be expected to do unpaid consulting. Your recruiter may be able to recommend consultancies that help generate this information.

Just remember, either spend the time and funds preparing properly first, or spend much more later on both when candidates either do not materialize, or you end up reviewing one unsuitable applicant after the other. With great preparation, your recruiter can work wonders and you should not be waiting for long before you have filled your open position.

Good luck with your next hiring endeavor.

Ralf Weiser

Abuse of Statistics

My take on Abuse of Statistics was put in print in March 1992. It didn’t end up in CIM Bulletin but in CIM Forum. That’s where “Articles of a controversial nature” tended to end up. Merks and Merks in 1991 had shown how to test for spatial dependence by applying Fisher’s F-test to gold grades determined in ordered rounds mined from a drift. What a pity that geostatisticians in the 1990s didn’t bother to test for spatial dependence between measured values in ordered sets. It is imperative in mineral exploration, mining and mineral processing that degrees of freedom be counted. On-stream analyzers measure and monitor metal grades of mill feed and tailings! That’s why unbiased  confidence intervals and ranges for metal contents and grades are easy to derive.

So it came about that CIM Bulletin had decided to print in CIM Forum a technical brief on Abuse of Statistics in 1992. But why then had Armstrong and Champigny’s “A study on kriging small blocks” seen the light in CIM Bulletin of March 1989. Why was Abuse of Statistics published in CIM Forum? Why was placing distance-weighted averages AKA kriged estimates between measured values deemed sound science in CIM Bulletin? Why do geostatisticians not test for spatial dependence between measured values in ordered sets? Why are degrees of freedom ignored? Simple questions but no answers!

Dr W D Sinclair, Editor CIM Bulletin, brought up CIM Forum in his letter of September 21, 1992. He was aware that I have served on various standard committees since 1974. Dr F P Agterberg was his Associate Editor in those days. Both were scholars with the Geological Survey of Canada. They agreed that CIM Forum was a fitting format but that my article should pass rigorous scrutiny. Dr Agterberg wanted to know when H G Wells had said: “Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary as the ability to read and write”. Surely, one cannot be rigorous enough when entrusted with peer review for CIM Forum. Was it perhaps Agterberg who had approved Armstrong and Champigny’s study in 1989? Or was it David himself?




It was in Darrell Huff’s 1954 How to Lie with Statistics where H G Wells’s quote was printed ad verbatim. Huff had also referred to Disraeli’s famous lament: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. But where had Huff found so much praise for statistical thinking? I had been reading Sherborne’s Another Kind of Life. I tried to contact Dr Sherborne and was pleased he did respond. He attributed Wells’s quote to Samuel Wilks’s 1954 presidential address to the American Statistical Association and ASA’s formidable website. Wilks had strung together a rambling train of thought when compared with that of H G  Wells.

Dr Michael Sherborne has tracked Wells’s train of thought to page 204 of Wells’s Mankind in the Making: “The great body of physical science, a great deal of the essential fact of financial science, and endless social and political problems are only accessible and only thinkable to those who have had a sound training in mathematical analysis, and the time may not be very remote when it will be understood that for complete initiation as an efficient citizen of one of great new complex world-wide Stats that are now developing, it is necessary to be able to compute, to think in averages and maxima, as it is now to be able to read and write.”


H G Wells

At the same time a budding geologist in Algiers did not know how to derive length-weighted average lead and silver grades of core samples with variable lengths. Yet he thought he was working with applied statistics. In time, he became Professor Dr Georges Matheron. On Matheron’s watch, the variance was stripped off the distance-weighted average, what was left was called a kriged estimate to honor D G Krige,  and the infinite set of variance-deprived kriged estimates seems alive and well!. Of course, Matheronian geostatistics is still as doomed as the dodo once was! Just remember what H G Wells wrote about real statistics!

Who else wants a productive and effective meeting?

Death by meeting. That may be the cause of death of many a business leader and a lot of corporate folks. Seriously, one important item that gets overlooked by the vast majority of meeting facilitators is the meeting room set up (Click to tweet this).

How a meeting is supposed to feel to the attendees should be on your mind. Seating arrangement, temperature, food, drinks, rest room access, etc impact how your attendees feel about the presentation / work shop you are trying to hold. Ever tried holding a speech in a stone cold room? Good luck with that one.

Effectiveness is largely driven by how people either face their team members or the facilitator. A class room setting will not work well if you want the team members to have a communication for interpretation or understanding. It just does not feel right.

It is these little bits of micro level information that provide each meeting attendee either with congruence to the meeting topic, or they mentally check out. Congruence is what you want to shoot for. There is a direct connection to your own personal brand and that of your company and the impression the meeting made on each team member.

It really does not take that much more time to plan this out ahead of time. In the download section please find a meeting room planning guide (there is also a meeting planner). Have fun experimenting with the different set ups. As always, please pass this info along to your friends.


Setting New Standards?

The Bre-X fraud inspired the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) and the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to set up a task force. Its objective was to take a close look at National Instrument 43-101. The Members of the task force are given in this Interim Report. Mr Morley P Carscallen, OSC’s Vice Chair, and Mr John W Carson, TSE’s Senior Vice-President, took on this task in April 1997. It is a fact that Bre-X’s bogus gold grades and Busang’s barren rock were made to look by hook and by crook like a gold resource. But who were the crooks? And who set the hook for Bre-X’s shareholders? OSC’s own qualified persons have yet to grasp the fact that geostatistics is a scientific fraud! Perhaps ironically, it was geostatistical software that made Bre-X’s bogus grades and Busang’s barren rock to look like massive gold resource!

I have put on paper why geostatistics is a scientific fraud. A few simple steps were all it took to cook it up! The first step was to strip the variance off the distance-weighted average. The second step was to call what was left a kriged estimate to honor D G Krige and his work. Matheron taught his disciples how to work with infinite sets of kriged estimates and zero kriging variances. It’s a shame that such a simple scientific fraud underpinned what is called a new science. Matheron has never counted degrees of freedom. Neither did Stanford’s Journel, UBC’s Sinclair, and similarly gifted scholars.

Young Dr A J Sinclair took to geostatistics in the 1970s. He may well have thought that Matheron had a fresh take on applied statistics. In those days Sinclair was entrusted with teaching UBC’s students all about Earth Sciences. CIM Bulletin asked Sinclair in 1990 to review Precision Estimates for Ore Reserves. My son and I had shown how to test for spatial dependence between a set of gold grades determined in ordered rounds in a drift. Given that interleaved bulk samples had not been selected, it was impossible to estimate the intrinsic variance of gold. Professor Dr A J Sinclair, PEng, PGeo rejected our article. We were pleased that it was praised by and published in Erzmetall, October 1991.

What a surprise that David’s peers wanted to praise his 1977 Geostatistical Ore Reserve Estimation! Why would his peers want to praise infinite sets of simulated values? The stage for an international forum was set at McGill University on June 3-5, 1993. It was called Geostatistics for the Next Century. What is so striking in retrospect is the fact that Bre-X Minerals was already drilling in Borneo when David was praised by his peers! Nobody was interested in the properties of variances in 1993! Yet, the additive property of variances in a measurement chain played a key role in unscrambling the Bre-X fraud.

 Measurement variance included
 Measurement variance subtracted

The Mining Standard Task Force released its Final Report in January 1999. Why had MSTF not pointed out that geostatistical software had converted Bre-X’s bogus grades and Busang’s barren rock so slickly into a massive phantom gold resource? MSTF’s Final Report was made public in January 1999. On a positive note, Dr A J Sinclair no longer graces National Instrument 43-101. On a negative note, Setting New Standards still didn’t explain at all how the Bre-X fraud could have been nipped in the bud. So it was that the Mining Standard Task Force ended up as a farce. The properties of variances were nowhere to be found. Sinclair still teaches students at UBC’s Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences how to assume spatial dependence, krige, smooth, and rig the rules of applied statistics with impunity. So much for scientific integrity!

I have set up several sources of information on my website. Under Correspondence are listed all sorts of letters in a context of source and time. Academic freedom to teach a scientific fraud makes no sense at all. The fact that “geostatistics has flourished in the scientific literature for more than four decades” does not imply that spatial dependence between measured values in ordered sets may be assumed. Neither does it imply that degrees of freedom need not be counted.

13 ways to increase productivity at work

Time is money, right? Well, not everything can or should be expressed in form of cold hard cash. One thing that is the most precious resource that we never have enough of is time.

There are plenty of time wasters every day that are annoying as they are wasting time you do not have. Here are a few concepts that can help you get another hour back per day.

  1. Make a list of the top three to five things you will get done the next day. Nothing beats being prepared for the next day.
  2. Set a time of the day that you want to use for working on a particular issue. Then provide your coworkers a visual signal that you are not available. Close the door (if you have one) and most importantly tape a sheet of paper to the door or the back of your chair with “work session in progress, please do not disturb. Set your phone to “do not disturb” and put in ear plugs if your co-workers are too loud.
  3. Declutter your desk every night. Do not let piles of paperwork and old parts let you start the next day wondering where you left off. Clean it up; once and done.
  4. Institute a To-look-at-later drawer. Clear out a drawer in your desk. I am certain you have all sorts of magazines, documents, memos, pet projects, etc that you would like to look at later. When you look at your in-box clean it out over the recycling bin for starters. Then put the really hot and important stuff on top of your desk. Put what is left in this empty drawer. After four to six weeks throw everything in the drawer out. Yes, you read this correctly. Just throw it out. If you have not needed to look at any of it this long, you do not need it. Do not think about reading it again. Just put it into recycling.
  5. Only answer e-mails that have your name in the “To” line. It will take a while for your folks to get used to this, but trust me, you will later be glad that you instituted this rule. What is the purpose of putting you in the CC field and expect that you read and react to each of these mails? That is why there is a To line. This can save you hours. People will adjust to your rule sooner than you think.
  6. Never check e-mails early in the morning unless the headline reads “emergency”. Most people will say that the early morning is their most productive time. Do not waste this time checking mail. If you do, you will find yourself having answered mails and it is almost lunch time. Before you know it you will not get your work done anymore. Check it midday. It takes discipline, but most mails do not need your input anyway because people are too lazy to look for information themselves and they rather ask you to save time – that is your time!
  7. Let new vendors sent you a mail or ask for their web page. Vendors love to speak to you in person. Unless you asked for them to call you, most of those calls cost you time with very little return on your time investment. Get them to drop you a mail and / or ask for their web page information. Take a look at it right as you speak and bookmark it for later use.
  8. Install a second monitor. If you have to beg for a second monitor for your computer. It saves so much time to be able to look at two programs, documents etc. It will do wonders for your stress level as well.
  9. Get Swype for your mobile smart phone or other mobile devices. Instead of typing you just need to swipe on your keyboard.
  10. Tell your meeting appointments where you are and how close you are to making the next meeting without having to call. Use Glympse. It works with any software and phone.
  11. Use Pocket for looking at all the web sites, etc you get mailed at a time when it is convenient for you. It keeps track of the sites and you do not have to bookmark them.
  12. Use Doodle for setting up meeting across all mail platforms. A great time saver that lets your meeting participants pick a meeting time that is convenient for everyone.
  13. Use Wikisend for sending large files up to 100mb. It is a free service and saves many a headaches when you have large files to share with others.

Some things you cannot change at work and they cost you time. Then there are others that you have control over. Make sure to eliminate as many time wasters as possible. The future has not happened yet and the past is the past. You only have the current moment. Make it count and use any tools to give you more time to dedicate to really important matters.


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