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What´s up with water: Pouring water into your corporate strategy (VI) The cycle of water explained Part A

Have a delightful and relaxing weekend. As always let´s begin with our status in the timeline of the “What´s up with water” saga. See where we stand by now.  Additionally to our outline, we also add the whole material of the slides prepared as support for our writing today.

If you wish to download the material please click here

What is hydrology? Hydrology is the scientific study of the properties, distribution, and effects of water on the earth´s surface, in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere. Hydrologists do all their work based on the water cycle or the hydrological progression of the water transformation. For hydrologists, their core business is establishing the dynamic flow of water on earth.  In a series of active conversion of water that circulates all over our planet and atmosphere, evaporating from the bodies of water, condensing in the sky, precipitating in forms of rain-fall and snow, and then returning to those bodies of water again. It is a continuum flowing of water from and to the wetlands. Humans take water from those freshwater wetlands, for their consumption and storage, meanwhile, the flowing water continues to return to the sea, either above or underground. That is what we were taught about water in school and universities. Or at least that is what we know about the water cycle until now. We will stay with this introduction about the water cycle, and then we will dive deeper to explain the details next week.

Origins of the hydrological cycle concept. As I have repeatedly mentioned to you, it is clever to always try to start with our past. Why? Because knowledge has the beauty to travel from generation to generation, and sometimes there are things that are dismissed because of “lack of evidence” reasons by rational scientists when we switch from one cohort of studious to the next one, and then the intuitions of our ancestor sagacious are lost.

Illustrative and non-commercial image. Photo Source: Public google pictures.

Corporate strategy starts with history, archeology, and historic traces of art/literature. In reality as strategy researchers, we are commanded to be extremely studied about all the details of our industries, starting with information and well-known reliable details about these industries as far as 10,000 years B.C. or more. We can´t advise companies based on digital new tech (NAIQIs) if we don´t understand how things were done in the past. Yes, my adorable director consultant peers who read our articles every now and then – particularly those from prestigious leading consulting houses such as BCG, Bain, McKinsey, Deloitte, PWC, etc. Those who believe that you know it all by storing your data in your analytical-AI powered software… the challenge to change our mindsets today is so imperative and humbly introspective: we can´t run all those NAIQI (Nanotech, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Quantum Supremacy, and the Internet) software if our data is insufficient, or if it is wrong, or if it is too dynamic that we can´t handle its variability.   It is our responsibility to remember, to be in the know of each industry and the economic sector as far as we can get and grasp information from our predecessors. Strategy consultants and strategy professors/researchers are here to understand things from a different perspective. That is why I have been in the spotlight to write the saga “Corporate Strategy as an Art” which sadly is on hold, and I am still praying, waiting yet, for my academic sponsors to fund my project.

Anyway, landing into hydrology; the history of hydrological thought has left records since the times of the ancient civilizations. And the water cycle has a streaming history of its own. To go back in time helps us to make sense of intuitive flashes of comprehension, insights that were forgotten, in such a way that when we re-read these past traces again after so long, then we might understand things now in an elevated perceptive dimension. Our past traces in hydrological observations were written and documented for a reason. Our planet earth´s cycles, as much as the water cycle does not only start and finish with our lives (average 80 years), sometimes these earth pattern series of sequences take hundreds or thousands of years of records, and if we don´t make sense of our past, then we are paving the road for future disasters for our industries, supporting biased or incomplete decision making. And this was simply because we did not want to go back in time to the origin of our current industry problems. Gloomy to realize these observations… But since our water saga, is trying to be a role model on how to analyze the problem of water from the corporate integral strategy perspective, I have to reveal all these things.

Water is all around us. In everything we do. Illustrative and non-commercial image. Photo Source: Microsoft Office Library.

Chronicle of the hydrologic cycle. According to Raymond Nace (1), written observations about the water-cycle concept, weather, and climate challenges were made thousands of years ago. Each of these transcripts is a reflection that corresponds to the mental development of our ancestors (who had no technology or gadgets of today but were extremely observant of the delusions and continuum variety of the water transformations).  Let´s see what Nace has written for us in the following general summary:

  1. Mesopotamia and Egypt: The Sumerians and the Egyptians cherished observations about water because it was related to a problem of their society: floods and irrigation to crops. The Euphrates-Tigris system in ancient times was wild and unpredictable. The principal water sources of the Mesopotamia region were geographically remote, and flooding happened because of the meteorological conditions of their topography. The Nile river also was a matter of investigation for the Egyptians. They were interested in flood heights and were recording annual observations of them as far as 3,000 B.C.
  2. Asia: In China, observations of rain, snow, and wind were recorded about 1200 B.C. Rustic rain-gauges were used as early as 1000 B.C. and for centuries the Chinese established a process of systematic records that helped them to emerge with the idea of the hydrological cycle at around 900 B.C. Sadly all the records before 200 B.C. were destroyed. Chinese observers of water recognized the concept of the unity of water linking the fluctuation of the tides, the rivers as threads of the sea, precipitation, and evaporation. Nevertheless, the Chinese history of hydrology is also fragmented, and there is a lot of work to do there in relation to an inventory of the Chinese hydrologic history.
  3. Greece: The early Greeks had curious thinkers who were also observing the water phenomena. Thales of Miletos (600 B.C.) supposed that all substances originally came from water and eventually would return to the water. Thales thought that rivers are derived from the sea (in the reverse direction of what is in reality). Each of the following greek thinkers established critical observations that were passed on to the next cohort of researchers: Xenophanes of Colophon (570-470 B.C.) established the idea that the sea is the source of all waters, clouds rivers, and winds. Anaxagoras of Clazomene (500-428 B.C.), teacher of Pericles also added the concept that the sun raises water from the sea into the atmosphere, from which it falls the rain. Rainwater then is gathered in great underground reservoirs from which rivers flow. River water returns to the sea.  Anaxagoras developed a concept of the hydrological cycle that is so similar to what we already know, and it was qualitatively essentially correct. His ideas were known 100 years later, when Aristotle summed them, but then rejected them all together with Plato too. For 1,500 years afterward, the hydrological cycle concept of Anaxagoras was dismissed. Theophrastos (371-288 B.C.) left his writings about his understanding of the complete hydrological cycle hidden until Marcus Vitruvius Pollio from Rome discovered them again about 15 B.C.
  4. Roman Empire: The Romans took the influence of the Etruscans who were masters of swamp drainage and irrigation. The legacy of the Etruscans converted the Romans into the first state-of-the-art hydraulic engineering architects and builders of all times. For the Romans, the practicality of using water and transporting it for their wants and needs was more important than studying the hydrological cycle that the Greek Theophrastos left on hold. After the fall of the Roman empire, the decline of intellectual work reigned for centuries. Many historians do not recognize the Romans with innovations in the theory of the water cycle, but all remark that the Romans were absolute geniuses in water practical alterations, which we see in their remains of water infrastructure. The lack of understanding of the hydrological cycle in the Romans led to environmental repercussions, sometimes ruining previous fertile lands in Europe since that time.
  5. Middle-Ages:  The 1000 years of the Middle-Dark ages imposed sovereignty all over Europe, and the scientists’ jobs were barred for several centuries in Europe.  Much of the following awakening credit must be given to the Arabs who preserved many contributions from the times of the Greeks’ theoretical writings, adding exceptional observations in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. Muslim libraries were brought to Europe through Spain.
  6. Reinassance and the Enlightenment:  It was Italy that put back on track the scientific awakening. Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519); Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) were hydraulicians (in between other occupations) rather than hydrologists. But they took the hydrological cycle very seriously. Thereafter, Inventions to measure the water popped up, such as the barometer, attributed to Evangelista Torricelli (1628-1647); and the thermometer by Ferdinand Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1641. These gadgets were used by other scientists such as Mariotte in France, who instituted the idea of scientific experimental methods in France. Domenico Guglielmini (1655-1710) introduced the importance of the field observation rather than the laboratory experiment, and he analyzed the role played by torrents and rivers in what for the first time was named “the hydrological cycle”. Meanwhile, in England,  Robert Boyle originated Boyle´s law. In parallel, other studious as Bernardo Ramazzini (1633-1714) explained the hydrodynamics of artesian wells. And Antonio Vallisnieri (1661-1731) published the correct explanation of the source of the water at Modena.
  7. Eighteen and Nineteenth century: In our next chapter.

What is the water cycle?. We will land on this subject next Tuesday, after explaining to you the evolution of the concept during the XVIII, the XIX, and XX centuries. I do hope that by reading our episode today, you could have understood how important is to go back in history to every single problem that we wish to analyze, and more important is to go back in history to analyze the background, contexts, and problems of the product and service that we wish to innovate. Our past ancestors have taught us so many details that can´t be forgotten. Many little pieces of knowledge were dismissed by the theory that was privileged in the past. Since the issue of water is immersed in every single activity of human beings, including the tech, we can´t dismiss water again. See you next week and thank you for reading to me. Let´s continue with our harmonic segment.

Strategic Music Section:

Why did we choose Elman and Katha Zinn? Mischa Elman (1891-1967) was of course one excellent Russian-American violinist. In fact, he was born in Kyiv (Ukraine) but won his American citizenship in 1923. He was a violin virtuoso in the Romantic tradition of the 20th century. He owned the 1722 Stradivarius that we show you in the first video last Tuesday. We selected him because he is one of the most remarkable violinists who left his oeuvre recorded. His Jewish roots, permitted him altogether with other Jewish people in New York, to help several scientists, writers, and artists that were persecuted by the Nazis. Many of those Jewish descendants are infinitely grateful to Elman, otherwise, their grandparents wouldn´t have been able to leave Europe and save their lives at that time. Knowing the current situation of war between Russia and Ukraine, we want to acknowledge that many virtuoso artists and intellectuals (with amazing brains), and kids/youngsters with prodigious talents are in jeopardy, living a condition of refugees all over Europe, and they need a helping hand. Otherwise, their intellectual-artistic development will be stopped. About Katha Zinn. She appeared on our radar, as an educator about violins. As someone who took the time to visit Elman´s device – his 1722 Stradivarius- and granted us her time to explain it. Many of these honorable instruments are not in the hands of the youngest violin professionals such as Katha, but hanging in museums or inside collector boxes. So pity. These remarkable violins are losing their core mission on earth: that is to be played with love. Ms. Zinn, as a Julliard alumnus, is also trying to rise with her Atonal Hits efforts in a duo with  Illya Filshtinskiy (piano). Zinn is dedicating her time to shaking the dust of contemporary and lesser-known works of music to light ( ) . When I saw Zinn’s heart’s desire for a Strad, I thought, “Oh my God, may she find a way to be the receiver of a Strad, that she can encounter the Strad that is meant to be for her”. We hope she can be blessed with that gift, so she will be able to have the opportunity to rehearse and stand up to a brighter future ahead too. I truly hope some day, if I am able to travel to NYC with my beau Alejandro, I would like to go to one concert in which Katha Zinn is playing the blessed Strad that God will prepare for her.

Songs of today belong to Janine Jansen. We have chosen three videos. The first one is a trailer about a documentary “12 Stradivarius” that we truly wish you to take the time to watch it. The second one is a piece of Antonio Vivaldi, Four Seasons, Violin Concerto No. 3 in F Major, RV 293 “L’autunno” – I. Allegro. And the third one is “Après un Rêve” performing with Itamar Golan at the piano. You will find out why we selected Janine today. Enjoy the music.

See you next Tuesday, with the seventh episode of “What´s up with water: Pouring water into your corporate strategy”.

“Violin Maya”. An aquarelle exercise by Eleonora Escalante 2019. I started to paint this artwork in Starbucks Los Proceres, San Salvador. Montval 300GSM watercolor paper. Size: 48 cm x 38 cm.

Sources of Reference utilized to prepare the slides and the material above:

  2. Micklin, P. “Man and the water cycle: challenges for the 21st century”. Springer Geo Journal , July 1996, Vol. 39, No. 3, Global Change and Environmental Issues: Research and Pedagogy (July 1996), pp. 285-298

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, most of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated. 

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