‘Theory helps us to bear our ignorance of facts’

I was doing some spring cleaning in my home office and I came across my old study guides when I studied development administration at the time when I was working for the Development Bank. I did this course as an engineer to have a better understanding of development and the work I did at the time. One of the things I learned was that there is no single all-encompassing definition for the theory of development that fully describes all aspects of development. I also read that Higgott (1983: xii) said: “There is no theory of development in the formal sense of hypothesis which have been verified in a systematic manner through empirical study”, and then further a warning by George Santayana: “Theory helps us to bear our ignorance of facts”.

Read more: ‘Theory helps us to bear our ignorance of facts’

Keep your pencil sharp

I have been writing a letter to a family member about the importance of putting important ‘things’ in writing and I thought perhaps I should share my experience with you. I know that there are many people who do not appreciate it to put important issues, decisions and matters on paper, (now a days on your laptop, smartphone, tablet, or computer), but it is an extremely important and essential activity that prevents problems, disputes, issues, and even expensive litigation and fruitless time in court. The times when I have not put things on paper was the times when I was in trouble, which is Murphy’s Law and it was lessons learnt and never forgotten.

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It’s a matter of time management

I want to discuss a sensitive matter with you and I would really appreciate your feedback on how you feel about this issue. I have previously discussed this matter but I feel we must talk about it again – the matter of selection of piping material at design stage and for construction.

Read more: It’s a matter of time management

Get your people qualified and registered

In the engineering business the majority of the lower tier staff falls in the category of not being registered and their competencies acknowledged and we need this people and we need to up-skill them and record their competencies and control them to be responsible for what they are doing.

Read more: Get your people qualified and registered

From plumbum to plumber

I was thinking (because I now think more than I work), where the words plumber and plumbing come from? The internet told me this:

  • The terms ‘plumbing’ and ‘plumber’ come from the times of the Roman Empire and it was an indication of civilization and the then state-of-the-art engineering and public health. The Romans used lead pipes, which were called “plumbum”.

Read more: From plumbum to plumber

Knowledge, or lack of, is a risk

Quality Assurance on projects is not a popular activity and the value, if it is not appreciated, is undermined with sometimes disastrous results for everybody on the project

This morning I was on the N1 highway North on my way to the WSP office, just past Malibongwe, when I went past a man on his scooter with an umbrella fixed to his scooter handle bars. This is what I call innovation and entrepreneurship.

When I saw him I almost fell out of the car laughing and I had a smile the whole day and something to share with everybody that came over my path that day, isn’t it wonderful. It made me think about another umbrella story, which was told by an American Evangelist who visited South Africa some time ago.

Read more: Knowledge, or lack of, is a risk

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