In Pursuit of Design

I returned from my last trip on the 10th of May. Since then i have been trying to "degauss" my mind from life in Africa and re-orient my self to the reality of accomplishing my doctorate degree. My entire focus (or most of it) is firmly focused on achieving my research objectives. The very first weekend I went to work? My office computer was not working and the HP netbook I took on my 5 week trip also chose to pack up. Fortunately in England there are institutional methods to resolve such "down time". The office IT group instantly went to work on my CPU and discovered it was a burnt power module. Similary the HP netbook is barely 6 months old therefore PC World is obliged to repair it for free. It did take me an unplanned 3-hour stretch to back it up. Two things here, they knew like I did that the problem was a burnt power chord but still insisted in "due process" even though painfully that meant 10 days of my life waiting forthe replacement power chord. Is due process good or bad? Secondly they made me back up all my data even though the software on my system should ideally not be touched. Again were the three hours of my life spent backing up the system germane or not?

Since the past weekend I have been getting up to speed with my gym sessions, refreshing my mind with the research achievements and focussing on the new CST Microwave Studio software while preparing for a Journal Club Presentation on Friday 25 May 2012. Today is a monday and two things caught my attention.

Nigeria and her Debts
The first is a right of reply in ThisDAY Newspapers titled, 'Downside of DebtSustainability Claim' where the spirited writer pointed out several things. He said and I quote, "A growth of 151% in debt stock within a five year period when no new power plant was built, electricity supply from existing plants declined rather than improved, no new airport, no new refinery, in fact, no major facility was added to our decayed and moribund infrastructure, does not show proof of sustainability" He also pointed out the common sense truth that "If the country’s debt binge is not reflective of her GDP growth, then how sustainable is the debt situation?". 


At the risk of preaching to the already converted I dare say that this is NOT just true of the Nigerian nation. It is mostly true of our personal lives. It is indeed the "African national culture". We do not believe in delayed gratification or investing in the future. Oil and gas provides instant harvest for Nigeria so why sow? I'm reminded of the true life story of a pastor in Ajegunle. It was 2002 and the elders of his church wanted to get him a birthday present. They narrowed it down to two options. Either fix the leaking roof of the young church or buy the pastor a tokunbo Mercedez Benz 190 so he could stop using buses. When the votes resulted in deadlock the beleagured elders asked the pastors opinion. Guess his choice? No, it was NOT to fix the church roof. Indeed his logic was simple, how could he continue to preach "prosperity" when he was riding buses? This symbolizes the national psyche. Let us buy airplanes or charter private ones RATHER than fix the airports. Let us buy brand new cars for all the government officials and traditional rulers EVERY FOUR years RATHER than repair the roads. Let us buy fuel and generators rather than pursue sustainable energy solutions.

CST Microwave Design
According to page 84 of the Getting Started Tutorial, "The steps above have demonstrated how to enter and analyze a simple structure.However, structures will usually be analyzed in order to improve their performance. This procedure may be called “design” in contrast to the “analysis” done before". It follows from this that the process of analysing a situation, circumstance or person in order to improve performance is known as design. What is the process? You first analyse a situation and make changes to the template model as new information suffices. A case in point, every 30th of April the UK further refines (or in my opinion) tightens the immigration process to make it more difficult for people to come in to the country. This may satisfy some pseudo-nationalists who think that all the ills of their society is brought on by immigrants but for students like me it sends the very strong message that "England is closed for business".  The new information should help parameterize or enhance the engineering design. This is true for Radar engineering as it is true for social or business engineering. Alas in my country everyone knows what the problem is. We all know how to approportion blame, moan and complain but no one does anyone to improve the situation, circumstance or even their very own person. How many times have I let my mind wander from the ardous nature of my work to facebook or hi5 or Tagged? It may be understandable since I work long hours but what do we all do when we are confronted by our weaknesses? Do we toe the utilitarian pragmatism of the british, the revolutionary hastiness of the french, the reflective thoroughness of the germans or any combination of approaches in between?

I believe with God on your side, success and progress can be deliberately engineered in to existence. First remove the beam in your eye before you complain about the government or your boss or your neighbour or the banks or your locality.

It begins with you.


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