Friday, February 21, 2020


This insightful hashtagstory is based in Japan (adapted from the book- ICHIGO ICHIE) For many arts and traditions, there is no school where one can learn the skill. The knowledge is transmitted from the master to apprentice. One such case is of people who make Katanas, a form of Japanese sword. With only 300 active swordsmiths left in Japan, the swordsmithing knowledge is imparted via apprenticeship. Forging a good Katana is mighty hard. hashtagWhy ? Because the best Japanese sword blades contain only 1 to 1.2 percent of carbon. It is extremely hard to attain such levels of carbon. Apparently, it happens only after blade is 3 days straight in fire at a temperature range 2200 and 2800 degrees. There is no ornamental significance about the Katanas but it symbolizes something bigger- strength, hashtagperseverance, and simplicity. Chasing these rare virtues provide determination to the swordsmiths to go through the grind and a myriad of repetitive work to produce the sword. If there was a weak hashtagpurpose, the swordsmiths would have produced the swords lacking any distinctiveness, just like any routine effort would have produced. With a stronger hashtagpurpose, they put in the best effort to eliminate the unnecessary to get to the essential. In essence, WHEN THE WHY IS CLEAR, THE HOW IS EASY.

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts

(Story shared via WhatsApp)

The importance of perspective and intelligent analysis...

During World War II, numerous fighter planes were getting hit by anti-aircraft guns.

Air Force officers wanted to add some protective armor/shield to the planes. The question was "where"?

The planes could only support a few more kilos of weight. A group of mathematicians and engineers were called for a short consulting project.

Fighter planes returning from missions were analysed for bullet holes per square foot. They found 1.93 bullet holes/sq. foot near the tail of the planes whereas only 1.11 bullet holes/sq. foot close to the engine.

The Air Force officers thought that since the tail portion had the greatest density of bullets, that would be the logical location for putting an anti-bullet shield.

A mathematician named Abraham Wald said exactly the opposite; more protection is needed where the bullet holes aren't - that is -around the engines.

His judgement surprised everyone.  He said "We are counting the planes that returned from a mission. Planes with lots of bullet holes in the engine did not return at all."


If you go to the recovery room at the hospital, you’ll see a lot more people with bullet holes in their legs than people with bullet holes in their chests.  That’s not because people don’t get shot in the chest; it’s because the people who get shot in the chest don’t recover.

Remember the words of Einstein - " Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts."

Story source

From the book - "How Not To Be Wrong" by Jordan Ellenberg