Not All Experts Have PhDs

Expertise comes in so many forms--I just saw a garbage collector empty a bin on a street corner; the type with a large hard plastic container that sits inside a more aesthetic permanent fixture. He took out the plastic can, walked to the truck and emptied it...then heaved it 20 feet through the air into its metal streetside housing. The pitch looked unlikely at best; it wobbled and spun in the air...and landed absolutely perfectly, nothing but net so to speak, saving him the time and effort of the expected course.

Corollary: the occasional tyrrany of bureaucratically derived standards: the way in which the lowest common denominator becomes the mean, or even above. The bell curve atrophies when manipulated. There is no doubt an ISO 9001 procedure which describes the proper and approved way to replace an empty trash can into its receptacle. Happily, this standard was ignored.

I'm not railing against standards in general; on the contrary, they are absolutely vital to everyday life. But the garbage collector and high-tech designer alike should know when to ignore them.