Friday, January 30, 2004

Horizontal Snowing!

It has been so cold during the week that it's not even easy to walk on the streets. I have never felt cold like this since I came to Canada. It's snowing right now and it's horizontal snowing! It means if you walk you'll have snow flakes right in your face and makes walking almost impossible. Saskatchewan is the coldest Province, boasted the lowest temperature on earth Wed. Key Lake in the north of the province dropped to -52.3 ºC without the windchill, while Meadow Lake in the south dropped to -60 ºC with the windchill. Highways are covered with snow and schools are closed. So are the other provinces, mostly! The only warm(!) place is BC, which is 0 to 2 ºC.
It's -22 ºC now (getting warm!) but feels like -34 ºC because of windchill. According to forecasts this cold will last till next weekend.
(Photo: This picture which was taken in Apr 2014, more than 10 years and 2 months after this post is a perfect example of horizontal snow in Canada! I was driving from Vulcan to Lethbridge in southern Alberta and encountered this distance sign on Highway 23 and could not resist! I pulled over, pulled out the camera and took this photo. If you pay attention, there are two lines for two destinations. The first letter of the top destination is M and that could point to Milk River because that is the second most traveled community in the area after Lethbridge but I kind of see an O after M. So I'm really not sure! The second lines clearly reads Lethbridge. This was between 09:30 and 10:15 AM. Sun was going up and the snow has started melting)

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Oscar

The nominees of the 76th Academy Awards (Oscar) were announced yesterday. But what I wanna say here is not listing the movies. I'm talkin' about what you sometimes see in American movies including The Lord of the Rings. This movie is nominated for 11 awards!! But it's an offensive movie and Non-Caucasian people have been teased in it. If you get in to the detail of some other American movies, you'll find that it happens in many of them. Consider Bruce Almighty although I like it very much but there's a scene that bullies go for Bruce and beat him up. They have been all selected from colored guys. Hispanic and Black fellows. Same thing in many other movies. In Indiana Jones and the temple of doom, East Indian people and in Raiders of the lost Ark, Egyptian (and in a wider view, Arabs) are teased and looked down.
(Photo: Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston in Bruce Almighty)

An Example

I wrote about Hypothesis testing techniques for data that don't fit to any distribution which is called distribution-free or non-parametric. As this is a very useful technique I give u an example of Kruskal-wallis one-way Analysis of Variance by Ranks. it might help u to organize your QC plans:
Suppose u have 3 machines in a workshop, producing the same part. You are concerned with the process consistency and wanna know whether or not the machines produce the part with the same specification. As this is a mass-production, it's definitely not economic to check every single piece and also it's very time-consuming. The other thing is u r not sure if your process fits normal distribution and may think it's a non-normal one. Therefore what u do is u take small samples from each machine and formulate null and alternative hypothesis. Here r the samples from each machine and hypothesis:

the next step is to code the samples and rank them as follows:

After ranking the samples, you calculate the test statistic, H:

The calculated test statistic is compared to critical Chi-square with a degree of freedom of 2. (DF=k[number of sample test]-1. According to Chisquare table (which u can find in any statistics textbook) the critical Chi-square is 5.99 and as the calculated one is less than it, the null hypothesis is not rejected and we conclude that all three machines produce the part with the similar specifications.
Note: take a look at Chi-square distribution. It helps you to understand why the null hypothesis is not rejected:

The shaded area is the region that if the test statistic falls in, it's considered rejected. (There's no scale for this diagram)

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Both King George II, son of a Bush (George W. Bush!!) and Tony, the big liar (Tony Blair!!)have being criticized for the US led invasion to Iraq in last year. It's said that the reports shows that Iraq has no WMD. Blair is accused of sexing up the Britain's intelligence dossier to build public support for that war.
George Michael calls him a good dog for Bush in his music clip called Shoot the dog.
After all the bottom line is I'm very happy with the US led invasion to Iraq, killing thousands of Iraqis and capturing Saddam although I know it was Americans who supported and supplied him in his invasion to Iran and in that 8-year long devastating war. We should wait and see how it affect Saddam's trail, if there's any.
(Photo: Demonstrators hoist big cards with Blair, Strew and another guy's photos. As you see they call the prime minister, the B.liar and Strew (the foreign minister) jack of spades and the other guy (whom I don't know him) a liar. The cards are made according the deck that Americans made with Saddam and his top allies)

Monday, January 26, 2004

Wicked Cold

It was really cold today. I have my Adidas jacket which I bought in Damascus on, sitting at the desk and typing! If I take it out, I'll be frozen in a min.! It's -29 ˚ C right now but feels -39 ˚ C because of the wind chill. I was goin' to post office, Safeway and then may be Roots to change a sport short, which I bought yesterday, but changed my mind and thought it was better to stay at home, study DOE and watch last part (I guess) of The simple life.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Bitter Cold

It's very cold today here in Calgary and also all over Canada. I was goin' out and it was chilly, almost -30 ˚C or less and when the wind is blowing it's even worse. You have to wait for at least a quarter to car gets warm. Drivers usually plug their car in but I haven't yet.
Today I went to Superstore to get a lobster but noticed it's almost $13 per lb. So If you buy two, you'll have to pay at least $25 'cause they are really big and one is enough for one person to be full. Lobster and crab is sold alive in Superstore. I asked a guy about how to clean it but he didn't know! (A stupid Oriental guy who didn't speak English well too!) I also asked him about cooking it and he said I'd have to cook it alive!! (He is right) It's sad! Therefore what I did was I just bought a small try of shrimp and left. I may get it next time I go there.
(Note: the link to Superstore has been added in a 2006 review. They just built the website in 2005! The idiots didn't have any website in 2004 and before!)
(Photo: Red lobsters are really big. One is enough for a person's meal)

Friday, January 23, 2004

Non-parametric Techniques of Hypothesis testing

The last section of CQE Primer is called Advanced Statistical Methods and it's an interesting but difficult and time-cunsuming section. (I'm still tackling with it as the text is very bad and I have to use another references, mostly online) A part which I'm currently busy with is Non-parametric Techniques of Hypothesis testing. This type of Hypothesis testing is used for the data and gathered numerical information which do not fit to any distribution. Chi-square, Z, F and t are the distributions used in hypothesis testing. There are three main techniques that mostly help Q. Engineers. They are: Kendall Coeficient of Concordance, Spearman Rank Correlation Coefficient and Kruskal-Wallis one-way Analysis of Variance. I'll give u practical examples in the next writings.

More on Arar case

RCMP officers raided the home and offices of an Ottawa Citizen journalist on Wed. regarding what she wrote about Maher Arar, in the paper. The report says that Canadian authorities were told by Washigton in Sep.02 of their plan to deport him to Syria, where he was born there in 1970. I was shocked when I heard that on CBC, the night before. If it's true it means Canadians are really bastards, which I thought they r not!
RCMP claims that there were clasified government documents there and the new Canadian government which took over a few weeks ago said there will be an investigation about what has been claimed about deportation of Syrian-Canadian telecommunication engineer. Arar came to Canada in 1987 and did his Bachelor and Master and used to work in the capital as a telecommunication engineer and was caught in JFK airport in New York in Sep.02 when he was returning to Ottawa from a vacation in Tunisia. He brings a lawsuit against American authorities in New York state and John Ashcroft, the US Attorney General, specifically. Americans claim that Arar has been in Afghanistan and was trained in Al-Qaeda camps. He denies that.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Tin Tin


It was the 75th anniversary of one of my most favorite books in my whole life, Tin Tin, a couple of weeks ago. (I guess it was Jan.06) The first book of Tin Tin was written by Herge, in 1929. I used to own a number of them when I was in elementary and junior. It was a very popular book in those days, esp. before the Revolution. I exactly remember that a copy only cost 200 Rls. for each copy and 200 Rls. was a lot of money on that time, which was 1975 or earlier. I still have one in English: The red sea sharks. I brought it to Canada!! I think I have read each story at least more than 30 times!!
Belgian government decided to launch a silver 10 Eur. coin for this. Thanks Herge. You gave us all lots of fun and amusement.
(Photo: Herge, pseudonym of Georges Remi, the Belgian author and illustrator [1907-1983] published the first Tin Tin adventure in 1929. It was Tin Tin in the land of Soviets, which was a children's supplement to a Belgian daily newspaper)

Monday, January 19, 2004

New Plans of Eastman Kodak

Eastman Kodak is planned to stop selling film rolls and regular cameras in North America and Western Europe. They are trying to replace digital cameras with the regular ones. The company also stops making regular cameras as part of its new plan.
I was goin' to buy a tripod and a good zoom lens for my Yashica camera, which I bought 10 years ago in Tehran and you see some of the photos here in the blog. But ... should I change my mind? Should I save to get a digital one?
I really love my camera and although it's not easy to have a good photo with it, if you know how to use it, you'll get a good one. I may be able to use it for a couple of more years. Check this one. I took it with my camera.
(Photo: Sunset in Glenmore Park reservoir, Calgary)

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Lean Manufacturing (2)

I found interesting material on the net about Lean Manufacturing. It also leads me to the history of Toyota Co. This is what I found, plus more things that I'm adding:

1)At the end of the World War II, Toyoda Sakichi, founder of Toyota Spinning and Weaving company, dreamed of providing cars for the general public, much like Henry Ford’s dream thirty years earlier.
He chartered (hired) Taiichi Ohno to put in place an efficient production system to produce high quality automobiles. Over the next three decades, Ohno developed the Toyota Production System, now known world-wide as Lean Manufacturing. The foundation Ohno’s system was the absolute elimination of waste.

Ohno studied the US manufacturing techniques, and learned a lot from Henry Ford’s pioneer work in assembly line flow. However, the assembly line produced large lots of identical cars. Ohno didn’t have the customer base to imitate the US practice of manufacturing in economic (i. e. large) lot sizes. He was captivated by the US supermarkets, however, where a small quantity of every product was placed on shelves, and as shoppers removed products, the shelves were rapidly replenished (filled or made complete again). He decided to place inventory supermarkets throughout his plant, and found that this technique dramatically lowered the waste of in-process inventory. He named these inventory supermarkets kanban.
Because Ohno was converting a spinning and weaving company to an automobile manufacturer, he already knew how to avoid making bad product. Founder, Toyoda Sakichi had invented an automatic shut-off mechanism that stopped a weaving machine the minute a flaw such as a broken thread was detected. Ohno moved this concept to car manufacturing, where he insisted that each part be examined immediately after it was processed, and the line stopped immediately if a defect was found.
To maximize product flow, standard work sheets were created, but these were not developed at a desk by engineers. They were developed on the shop floor by the workers who know the process. Standard cycle times and kanban shelf space for each item was determined and workflow was leveled. Production workers were like a relay team, handing off the baton (product) to the next person. The handoff required 100% quality and tight timing. If things got delayed, teammates were expected to help each other set up a machine or recover from a malfunction.
Ohno’s aggressive elimination of waste led him to the twin values of rapid product flow and built-in quality. Over time, Ohno discovered that these two values led to the highest quality, lowest cost, and shortest lead time products possible.

2)Traditional manufacturing philosophies stress high utilization of machinery and manpower with little concern for cycle time or manufacturing waste. Conversely, Lean Manufacturing is a philosophy of production that focuses on creating greater production efficiencies through maximizing value-added activities while minimizing waste.

Therefore Lean Manufacturing employs differet methods to minimize the waste and lead time. The methods include:

• The 5S System
• Value Stream Mapping
• Setup Reduction
• Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)
• Cellular/Flow Manufacturing
• Pull Systems/Kanban

A Bad Night for Canadian Teams

This Hockey Night in Canada (Last night) was not a good night for Canadian teams. Calgary was defeated by Dallas in Saddledome, 3-2. They were ahead at the end of the second period but Turek, who returned to games after a long time, let two pucks in and Calgary lost to the Stars. Besides that Iginla was out in the second with a leg injury.
The Canucks, also lost to the Ducks in GM Place and the worst was The Flyers defeated Toronto 4-0 in Air Canada Centre, Toronto! The only winning team was Ottawa who blasted Boston 4-0 as a guest team.
(Photo: Roman Turek accepts a puck in the first period against Dallas in Saddledome. The Czech goalie is back after he left the team with an injury months ago)

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Eastern Canada is Frozen!

It's been really cold in the east as I heard in the news, these days. It's between -51° to -25° in different cities in the east!! Calgary is nice these days. It's around -5° which is a warm temperature here! It was -25° for a couple of days, 1 week ago.

Statitical Inference

The last chapter of CQE Primer is about Statistical Inference. The phrase indicates that when u r studying a population, u take a sample and calculate sample statistics, like mean, standard deviation, range, median, etc and derive a logical conclusion using those statistics and certain distributions. It's an interesting section but it's hard if not enough attention get paid.

Reminder: I haven't forgotten to write about Lean Manufacturing. I'm just goin' to read about it and then write.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Troublemaker!

You might have noticed that, this is a Troublemaker's story is it's written on the top right of the blog! But u may don't know why I'm called a troublemaker. The first time that I was called this was last year in SAIT and a Canadian classmate of mine called me that 'cause I was telling everybody that I'm gonna write a letter to the president of the institute and complain about the Quality Planning instructor. She was a stupid moron and knows nothing about quality. The second person is Andrew my Canadian buddy who we used to work together. I have written about him.
The last time was today! Tina the young, pretty girl in the office called me that! I asked he for a date last year but as Andrew suggested the wrong way, I lost her. I met her today after a long time and she said she studies in Mount Royal College and she works here as a part-time employee and just for 2 days. She's a very nice, slim and pretty girl and I don't think if she's more than 21. I asked her about student loan and she explained everything in detail for me.

Lean Manufacturing

There's a Canadian guy in the plant whom I usually talk to. (I don't even know his name!) He's kind of strange guy, looks like he's not OK! never! not at all! He works in night shift and is a part-time student of U of C. I think he takes math. I asked him about Lean Industry and what he said is interesting. I found something on the net too. The idiot recruiter should have said Lean Manufacturing! It wouldn't have made a change, though! Lean Manufacturing is kind of process or a type of manufacturing. It's not a product! I'm sure he (the recruiter) didn't know what he was talking about! I'll check the sites and will write what I find.

Monday, January 12, 2004

A Career in Manitoba

A recruiter in Winnipeg had left a message in my mobile phone voice mail box and had asked me to call him back. I called him today in the morning and he said there's a company working in Lean Industry which needs a Quality Manager. He also asked if I have any experience in that Industry? I didn't know and I still don't know what that means!! Therefore I said no and he said so I should say that you are not qualified for this position.
I think he was disappointed with me as he noticed I'm from Iran and tried to get rid of me somehow. I don't know. 'cause he said it's very interesting to see somebody with this qualification from Middle East!! Bullshit!
I also mentioned that I'm goin' to write CQE exam. and I'll be a Certified Quality Engineer soon. I don't know what his reaction will be.
I had a phone call months ago from a person like this in Edmonton and he asked if I know MS Project and I said my experience is in Quality field! And never heard from him after that.
I keep trying.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Calgary is Optimist

The Flames beat The Panthers 4-2 in Saddledome last night. Panthers goalie is one of the NHL's best but couldn't make it. Calgary made a score which was invalidate by video goal judge. The overview camera showed that the puck crossed the goal line but a Panthers hit that out!
Luongo, who is a French Canadian, the Panthers goalie, was not lucky last night. He stopped a shot with his left hand but the puck hit the ice after striking his glove and went to the goal. Calgary has 50 points from 41 games and is in the fifth place of overall western standing.

Mad Cow Crises is Still a Concern

As Alberta's and also some other provinces' economy is relied on beef industry, I listen to the TV news every night. Beef industry and related businesses like tracking, dairy, ranching and many many more is in jeopardy. The thing is Canadians think they are smart and claim they are a G8 country but see what they did to their cattle industry? The latest news shows that only 1 out of 3000 cows in Canada is tested for possible diseases!!!!!
Smart people!! Educated!! Civilized!! Genius!! Oceans of wisdom!! That's what Canadians are!! Traceability which is one of the requirements of ISO 9000:2000 standard is being performed by French in their slaughter floors. It was shown on CBC and I saw that every single piece and carcass has a paper attached like an I.D. card shows where the animal was born, when it was slaughtered and other useful information to find where the infection comes from if there's any.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Healthy Food

There are many concerns about healthy foods in North America and specifically in Canada and the funny thing is you find mostly the worst food in the world, here!!
I sometimes see people are drinking Coca-Cola for their breakfast!!!! And this is really stupid. Soft drinks has nothing but colour, sugar and water. I call them WCS(!). Another thing is most of the food you find here in supermarkets and grocery stores are artificial. The only natural or as it's said here organic food is found much more expensive in some isles. I went to a Safeway last night to get some food and noticed there's a special section of the store called Natural Market. I had paid no attention to that section before. You can find most of the food, that are in the other isles here but in organic kind and with higher price. For instance a bag of bread which is usu. $1.99 must be purchased at least $3.5 if you want an organic one.
There was a show on CBC last weekend, I guess and it was about bread. A food specialist probably from Atkins was saying that bread is a fattening food and people should cut that off their diet!!
So what should we eat now? Beef is not good because of Mad Cow Disease and it has also cholesterol. Bread, rice, potato and pasta are all fattening. Vegetables and fruits are genetically grown and have nothing in them!! Fish, specially as it's said on CBC, farm salmon, has toxic in it!!
The specialist was also saying that McDonald's and Wendy's must be questioned for giving too much fat to people.
As a high concern to teens safety, Canadian schools are going to remove soft drink machines from the schools but students say if they can't get coke from the school, they'll get it from somewhere else!! It's hard to give up a bad habit, that is eating bad food. I, myself, hardly touch soft drink. Very very rare. I just started sticking to V8. It's great. Even beer is good. It has something for your body but coke... it's just junk.
(Photo: Goji berry in a Natural Foof Store, Calgary. I added this photo years later. The price tag reads $22.99. I have not bought yet. There are so many good thing being said about them but there are controversies too)

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

It Doesn't Take A Hero

I just started a book by H. Norman Schwarzkopf. It's called It Doesn't Take A Hero and it's the General's memoirs. I can say the book is basically an autobiography of an American soldier, ending to the first invasion of the US to Iraq, which liberated Kuwait in 1991. I read part of the book first in 1992 when I still was in Iran and the book was a supplement to Ettela'at newspaper.
Although I don't trust the author as he's American because he doesn't write without supporting his own country but it may answer a few questions that I have had in my mind since the end of the war in 1992. Questions like:
1- How did the Kuwaiti royal family flee the country before the Iraqi forces catch them? It's said Americans had informed them. Therefore it means they knew that Iraqis are goin' to attack. Of course they knew!
2- Why Americans didn't go all the way to Baghdad and didn't finish Saddam's regime on that time and postponed it?
3- ...
And many many more questions that may lead me to what really Americans up to.
(Photo: The cover of the book. The General has written it with the help of Peter Petre)

Mad Cow

Americans claim that the infected cow in Washington state is from Canada. They say the DNA test shows the cow was born in Alberta. It's also believed that the cow is infected by the feed which has parts of cattle, sheep or other animals!!
What will happen to cattle industry of Canada is not clear yet but seems it won't be good. The industry lost almost $2 billion just because of a single mad cow case, last summer. Japan stopped buying beef from Cargill Foods, one of the biggest plants in Alberta since then. They probably never turn their face to Canadian beef.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Mission to Red Planet

Spirit rover of NASA landed on the red planet, Mars, successfully. The rover is much bigger than the previous one which was sent to Mars in 1997 (I guess). It's as big as a ... let me see ... a small car. I may say a Mini. A bit smaller. The cameras are mounted on a camera-head, as high as a regular human being's eyes. Therefor the photos which will be sent by the rover, gives us the same view as we are on the plant.
The above photo is one of the first ones sent by the rover. NASA is waiting for colour photos but I have no idea why the first series are not coloured. May be they are setting an apparatus on the rover, remotely.
(photo: Is taken by the cameras of Spirit from itself on Mars)

Thursday, January 01, 2004

New Year's Day

2004 finally. I didn't do anything special, Just stayed at home, washed the dishes, reviewed section 9 and organized the rooms. In the afternoon, went to a Tim Horton's and planned for my M. Sc. application and finished section 9 review. It's so cold today that I was shaking in the car. Almost -20.
I was goin' to Al's but didn't dare! I may invite him to an NHL game. I will make up a story and tell him tomorrow. Hope to be accepted!
I'll call Farshad and ask my questions about M. Sc. application. I have to start soon. Might be able to get it this Sep.

New year's Eve

It's New Year's Eve and guess what I did? Nothing! Al said he'd call me and we'd go out for a drink I said OK but when he called I didn't answer the phone! All I did is I reviewed section 9 of CQE primer which is the best thing I could do I guess and also did cooking, washing the cloths and watching the news.
I also watched a documentary about Pink Floyd and it said everything about Syd Barrett one of the leaders of the band who disappeared from the band after awhile. The reason was he was doing too much drug. There was also another guitar player who started with the band but left shortly after for some reasons which was told in the documentary.
They interviewed everyone from the landlord whom they rented a house from, the former guitar player, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Rick Wright and David Gilmour. The topic was Syd of course. I learned many things.