John’s Recon

January 11, 2010

The Name Game

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 4:01 pm

No not the fee-fi-monana song that hit number 3 in 1964. In the 30 years that I worked as an engineer, I came to realize how very important a name can be. Technical types don’t really care about names of things when the specifications define it … you can call it what you want … but the rest of the world does. The name of your project, activity, company, or whatever, is the one-second introduction that happens before you ever get to the elevator speech. The name precedes your arrival to explain to the unfamiliar what the task is about.

For example, lets say that Bob was driving along in the mountains around a turn and there were rocks on the road. He swerved to miss them and hit the guard rail which saved him from going over the edge of a ravine but damaged the rail. Now there is a big job to fix/repair the mess. Well you realize that if you named the job “Clean Up Bob’s Mess”, there is going to be a lot of non-productive questions to the job at hand. Who’s Bob? Why did he hit the rail? Shouldn’t Bob clean it up … he did it? Shouldn’t Bob be sent to driving school? Should we make guard rails stronger? There will be a bunch of finger-pointing and not a lot of constructive thinking. If you named too specifically then you exclude thinking. “Guard Rail Repair, Hwy 6, marker 143” is a good name and will definitely help to focus task new comers but it doesn’t have foresight to accommodate warning sign installation. So not comprehending these guys in the overall task description will tend to make them under-funded and under appreciated and use lesser talent to draw the sign. Something like “Mountain Crap Ahead”

Mountain Crap Ahead

So getting the name right is important because it can help deflect negativity and can help build support. The last thing you want is politicians explaining your project before you can explain it yourself.

The big point I am getting at is … why keep the name Global Warming? It suggests a part of the problem and nothing toward what needs to be done in some unifying project to confront it. In fact this name even got scientists pointing fingers instead of throwing facts. Who is to blame? Who continues to help the warming trend? Maybe Mother Nature did it or is doing it? If we have Global Warming then why is it so cold in North America? All of these questions and remarks and accusations do nothing to help in the solution.

The project should be named something like “Dealing with Global Climate Shift” or something cute with a good acronym for the layman to use. The earth is a closed system. If you heat one spot then another spot has to cool to keep equilibrium. So a desert might go to a wet area and a farm rich area might end up like Australia Outback. If you trap some heat in the system then there will be re-balancing all over. You know how much energy it takes to heat your pool 2 degrees F? Just think how much energy there is to heat the world’s oceans 2 degrees F. If you dump a few million gallons of fresh water a month into the ocean then it will change its salinity at that spot which in turn will divert a stream like the Gulf Stream that heats NY and London. Deflect the Gulf Stream southward and you get an Ice Age coming out of the north in no time flat. The Greenland Ice Field is melting just that fast. These are not points to argue … they are just facts … most actually agree to the “If … Then” statements. They may disagree that it is stoppable or that the time lines are too fast/slow or exactly where what would happen BUT in principle they agree. This is what you leverage … you don’t spend too much time on the cause … you spend time on the computer model feeding it with fact from all over the world. You don’t wrestle in a life boat or row the oars in two different directions … the world is our life boat.

What we should be doing is working on solutions to dump this energy … that is if we want to maintain our current lifestyle … maybe buying land in Mexico is a better idea. We should be looking at solutions and if the problem is too big then we should be looking at damage control on a global scale. But first you have to change the name so that it is a project everybody can get behind … one that can’t be used to point fingers or mis-communicate intentions.

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