Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What is the Problem?

Before you can fix something you have to know what is broke. In my more advanced schooling we did not try to answer a question first, we made sure that we were asking the right question. Two examples...

First, for my MS thesis I was trying to solve a distortion problem during a heat treating process. One of the ways we were trying to quantify the distortion was by measuring the distortion at every step of the process instead of just the beginning and end. It turns out there were some surprises and a large part of the distortion was coming from part of the process that had not been considered a problem before. By asking what the measurements were after that step we were better able to answer the question of how to reduce distortion.

Second, something is wrong with me. The doctor does not know what it is. My X-rays (which I have on a cd on my desk with a .exe file extension I can not open and look for myself because I have a six year old mac) came back clean. The doctor thinks I still have kidney stones. From the reading I have done on the internet that seems likely. A thought occurred recently, could this be stress manifesting itself in my body? I really hope it's just a kidney stone or infection because I don't really know how I am supposed to reduce my stress.

First, define the problem, then address the problem.

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