January 31, 1934

Last night I worked up a table to eliminate some routine computations for the substation reports. The saving in time of the operators will amount to possibly ten minutes a day; this in face of the fact that the operators are occupied with their duties only about three hours out of the eight on the job. All of which reminds me of an incident during the last straggling days of the greater engineering department. It was proposed that a mechanical eraser be purchased for a small sum, about five dollars I think, to facilitate this dreary operation. The requistion passed all approvals until it reached a well-known executive, who is noted for his operating economies rather than his breadth of vision, and he sent it back with the terse note: Why save time which would otherwise be lost? That floored us, of course, and since the pastime of flooring is a favorite diversion of the man in question, he scored again and we continued with elbow grease. Now who was really right? Should the improvement of intollerable originals be applicable to present contingencies exclusively? I suppose my resentment is due to a violation of an artistic sense (for want of a better word) which urges me to improve on any crudity just for the sake of the improvement. In a practical sense this should be kept well with reasonable bounds; but the cultivation of the habit of improvement can very well be justified on the basis of equipping oneself for the larger problems which eventually arrive. This is my rebellion against the automatum complex which so many good men eventually drift into. I have written this to get it out of my system, and realize it will never do me any earthly good.

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