Archive for the enabling the Wow! Category

What’s wrong with education today?

Is it our content?  Is it our method?

Frankly, its both.  But even though both our content and our method need work, the real problem lies far deeper.   All of the usual suspects regarding content and method of our teaching could be eliminated, and we’d still have a set of institutions that deserve to be on life support.

Because our content is flawed because our method is flawed.  And our method is flawed because our epistemology of “learning” is flawed.

In brief, our governing philosophy of education is outdated.  Our entire education system is optimized for preparing people for an industrial world.  We no longer live in an industrial world.

For example, the industrial world demanded mass production and mass consumption, led by a core elite of broadly educated professional class.   (As opposed to the artisanal/agricultural world which preceded it, which required primarily agricultural production and local craftsman for small markets.)

But the world of the 21st century is no more an industrial world than the 20th century was an agricultural world.  Just as the fraction of agriculture during the industrial period fell from 80 percent of the economy at the beginning to less than percent at its end, manufacturing today is at most 10% of the modern economy.

The binding limitations on economic and social improvement in the agricultural world were land.  The binding limitation on improvement in the industrial world were labor and capital.  The binding constraints in today’s world are human ingenuity and its primary product, innovation.

Mass production and mass consumption is about conformity and submission to rules about time and the control of effort.  And, unsurprisingly in such a world, a big part of the story becomes control and power over the means of production (yes, Marx had that part right).  And since the key means of production were labor and capital, it’s not at all surprising that battles between “corporations” and “unions” became a critical component in the path of change over the industrial period.

But where mass production and mass consumption are a declining fraction of economic activity  (how many people know that 99 percent of business in America today is done by enterprises with 20 or fewer employes?), it’s no longer a battle over power by labor and capital.  Its about providing and enabling maximum opportunity for innovation.

But that’s not what most of education does.  In fact we are going the opposite direction, focusing on development of “standard” curricula, “standard” credentials, “standard” practices, and “standard” standards.  Progress in a world limited by labor and capital depends on exploiting economies of scale.  Progress in a world limited by human ingenuity depends on increasing the ways things do not depend on “standards” and “conformity” and “scale.”

Until “educators” figure out better ways of inspiring and enabling the practices of human ingenuity, we will find what we do as of increasingly marginal importance — and deservedly so.

Just like the industrial world that spawned us.


Academics love to talk about excellence.  You can bet that as terms start all over the country in the next month, convocations and lecture halls are going to be full of people proclaiming its importance and its connection to the education tasks being embarked upon.

Yet even if we agree to the silly distinction that used to be made between “liberal arts” and “vulgar arts,” and look at just the liberal arts, that which one would think would be the province of academics, even if we look at the century (the 20th) where American higher education reached its pinnacle, what do we find?

The greatest American poet of the twentieth century was an insurance man.*
The second greatest American poet of the twentieth century was a family physician**.
As to poetry coming out of the academy? Sell, can one say obscure, pedantic, self-absorbed?  Even, ahem, boring as hell?

And the greatest 21st century American philosopher?   He was a longshoreman***.

The smartest, most creative person I’ve ever known was a plumber who never went to college****.

Four is too small a sample to generalize upon.  But you’ have to admit, they’re three examples to get you wondering.  If higher education is not the place where the best of the best are to be found, should it be the place that we look to when we seek to credential “excellence”?


*Wallace Stevens
**William Carlos Williams
***Eric Hoffer
****My dad


How the worst managers are addicted to their own urgency?

If you want a list of “12 managerial practices guaranteed to ensure employees [or collaborators, or students] listen less rather than more, and do so sooner rather than later,” put “constantly press for the urgent” near the top of the list.

Every urgent request interrupts the employee’s workflow.  “Urgent” says put aside that long to do list I’ve already given you.  “Urgent” says put aside that thing I’ve already got you working on.

“Urgent” says, “I can’t manage my own work flow, so I’m just going to push it off on you.”

Well, I’m sorry, you’re the manager.  That’s ass-backwards.

And if you keep doing it?

Trust me, no one likes constantly having to smell a certain part of the anatomy.  If you press your employees constantly about what’s urgent?  They’re going to find ways to avoid you and that smell.

And guess what *that* will do to your to do list!


One downside of my now having a mission, after not having had on for most of a half century, is that “outside” interruptions of that mission tend to inspire too much anger.

For example, I’ve spoken before of my aging mother and her propensities to nag and interrupt.  I haven’t handled this well.  Too often I’m on a short fuse.  Snappish. Quick to anger and yell and mutter under my breath.  Combine the fact that I’m on a mission now with my certainty that my disregard of my health over my first half century means a significantly shortened life span, and the urgency takes me too far.

Impatience often rules.

It’s not a small irony, given how often I’ve given others grounds for their own impatience.  How many times I’ve procrastinated, even with important things.  How long I’ve taken to get some things done.  How often my own lack of focus has got in others’ way.

But there’s no doubt.  As my mission has become more clear, my impatience has grown more powerful.  And so has the anger.

Part of it may be good.  It shows I’m concentrating on the path.  It shows I’m more focused.

Yet impatience, and the way it shapes one’s response to interruptions, must remain proportionate to the interruption.

A bit of anger can be good, cathartic even.  Just as a bit of salt when cooking can bring out amazing flavors.

Too much salt, however, and all you taste is salt.  Worse, nasty things start developing with the rest of your body as you become addicted to that taste.  The retention of excess fluid.  Heart disease. Key system after system screwed up.

Unfortunately, just as taste-inspired salt use is far easier to build up than to reduce, so it is with mission-inspired impatience and anger.

I’ve struggled.

With practice cooking, I’ve become much better at using salt.  I’ve learned to substitute other spices that do even more.  I’ve learned more about “when” in the process to salt.

But the spices of impatience and anger?  Those have, so far anyway, evaded improvement.

How do you deal with those who would interrupt your pursuit of mission?  How do you strive to correctly season with impatience and anger?  Have you discovered substitutes that bring out more good flavors and fewer bad ones?  Have you discovered anything about when a touch of the salt of anger helps and when it simply feeds your addiction to it?


What’s your mission?  What do you do?  What’s your purpose in life?

Questions like that used to annoy me.  In fact, for the longest time, I considered “mission statements” and the like to be the epitome of useless corporate management-speak.

Now that I have my own mission, of course, I see the world differently.  I see how the annoyance I used to feel was one part frustration at those who, yammering on about mission and its importance, weren’t being clear and precise in what they were talking about.  And three parts (maybe more) the consequence of my not having one of my own.  Of never having had one.

Because, never having had one, I had been so unfocused for so long that I had no idea how to go about finding mine. All I heard was abstract gobbledygook.

So when it came to writing my own personal mission statement, much less making it part of my daily life, I kept putting the ask off.  Oh, periodically I would try following the advice of the gurus of mission, the Coveys and the Palmers and the Attwoods and the others.  But always there would be something missing.  Something that didn’t quite fit.  I might follow them part way, but no farther.  And, because I didn’t go all the way, any partial “mission statement” I might come up melted away.  Disappeared into the depths of my hard drive or the mess on the desk, never to be seen again.

(Somewhere on the other end of a tiny wormhole, there’s a planet where nothing lives, a planet-sized landfill containing nothing but discarded and forgotten mission statements and resolutions.  A landfill in which I own prime real estate.)

Now, of course, things have changed.  I have a mission.  To help people listen better.

And, to quote the Blues Brothers, it’s “a mission from God.”  Or to quote the letter of Paul I’ve been focusing my Bible study on this week, its a mission in “the obedience that comes from faith” (Romans 1:5).

Oh, even now, I’m nowhere near as focused as I ought to be.  Having a mission hasn’t prevented me from getting distracted from its path multiple times per day.  It certainly hasn’t stopped me from getting discouraged, even deeply depressed, about the pointlessness of life, about my failures of competence.  From wallowing in self pity for days, sometimes even weeks, at a time.

And, despite all my pontifications about listening, here and elsewhere, I’ve clearly a good ways to go before I might become a master at that mission.  Yes, I believe I’m onto something with the “iterative listening” paradigm. Yes, I believe, in this little piece of human understanding anyway, I see more clearly than 95% of the world.  Yes, I believe I have something worth sharing.   Something worth my selling and your buying.  But notwithstanding being above the 95th percentile, I’m so far away from mastery of the listening thing that it’s scary.  And stays scary despite my faith in He who defines mastery.

Nonetheless, despite the continuing distractions, despite the recurring bouts of depression, despite my grokking that I remain “only an egg,”  I’m something different now.   Because with apologies to Grandmaster Heinlein and Michael Valentine Smith for stealing their metaphor, now I’m a fertilized egg.

And so, mixing my metaphors even more, there’s something, when I fall off the “helping people listen” wagon, that’s worth getting back onto.

Put me in the ranks of the mission speaking.  In the group who tells you that if you can’t put yours in a sentence, trust me, you’re asking for trouble.

And it needs to be a simple sentence, not one of those academic sentences with multiple subjects, verbs, and objects.

Single subject:  “My mission…”
In the ‘aspirational passive’ voice:  “… is to …”
Single mission:  “…help people listen better.”

That’s mine.  What’s yours? Why are you here?  What connects you and your life to the rest of life, the universe, and everything?


140 words or less?

I woke up this morning and before I even logged on, I realized I had screwed up yesterday.  I was tempted to lie and say that my reference to the “150 character limit” of Twitter was a typo.   But no one would believe me anyway, and, besides, a mea culpa offered a better blog opportunity.  (Thanks again to Mark for  pointing out the error and demonstrating, again, just how quick error correction happens in the Internet age.)

The error wasn’t a typo.  It simply reflected the fact that I’m not as far along Internet-wise as I need to be.

I got the length limit wrong.  Because while I believe that Twittering demonstrates an essential skill for the flat world, I don’t Twitter much.


Because, to be honest, I’m just not very good at it.


When you spend most of your adult life acquiring the skills of the verbose, it takes more than a little effort to shorten things up.

For me, learning to speak in bullet points was the first step; learning to reduce things to a page or less in the manner of executive summary was the second.  And now I’m more or less on the third step, learning to write a short email.

And of course, there’s the regular falling off the wagon.  “A few bullets” can quickly explode into several pages in the corned powder of an academic-in-recovery.  The executive summary remains the hardest part of any report for me to write, and write well.  And anyone who reads here knows I have real trouble keeping blog articles under 1000 words.

Too, David’s comments on my last post crystallized something for me.  I’m used to seeing words as making arguments, as existing for persuade.  And persuasion of an educated person should only take place after the presentation of evidence.  And presenting evidence within 140 words is hard enough.  In 140 words?

But “persuasion” is more than argument.  Persuasion is also becoming interested, being provoked into thinking differently.  And those parts of the process ought not to be focused on evidence.  In fact, are less productive if they are.

Entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity….these things come about because people refuse to worry constantly about the “can’ts” and the “what if’s” and the “what about’s”?  Because they only insist on evidence at particular parts of the process.

So  back to Twitter…well, can I just say it scares me and leave it at that?

No?  Crap.

You’re right.  I can’t.  And neither can you.  Because, and I can guarantee that 90+% (probably 99+%) of academics are going to disagree, being able to Tweet well is at least as important a thinking skill as being able to write a term paper.

No, I’ll go farther.  It’s a more important thinking skill.

Writing term papers, writing reports — those are skills of an entry-level tiny-cubicle employee.  One with no more career upside than Milton Waddams in Office Space.

Tweeting?  Tweeting is a skill of project managers.

No, of CEOs.  CEOs have to be good at weighing evidence, of course.  But they also have to be good at seeing opportunities and judging well in the absence of evidence.

And in a world of constant technological and cultural change, where three strategic moves have to be made before evidence on one is in, it’s a skill more valuable than ever.

Much as I enjoyed Stephen Root in his role as Milton, I’ll give you one guess whether I think we should be emulating his approach to skill development.

So, excuse me.  I’ve got to cut things short.

I’ve got to go follow some CEO tweets and see if I can figure out how they do it.


Observation #1:  “Students don’t read anymore.”
Observation #2:  CEOs write a lot shorter emails than I do.

If I’ve heard the sentiment of Observation #1 expressed once by colleagues and fellow teachers, I’ve heard it a thousand times.  When I’m not thinking carefully about my own language, I still say it sometimes myself.

But we’re mistaken.  Very mistaken.

The problem isn’t that students don’t read.  The problem, when it is a problem, is in what students read and how they read it.

The young read.  Watch their surfing of the Internet.  Oh, sure, they probably watch YouTube videos more often than most of the people reading this blog do. The cliche about this being a visual generation does, as most cliches do, have a large amount of truth in it.  But they’re also reading.  A lot.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say they process nearly as many words via reading as we do.

What they don’t do — and this is, or can be, a problem — is read what we want them to.   They read in portions of 300 words or less, not long blog articles of 3000 words like I tend to write, and certainly not books of 30,000 or 100,000 words.

And — and this can be, and often is, a much bigger problem — they don’t read critically enough.

And, not reading critically enough, they also don’t write or speak or collaborate well enough.

But, short reading spans, by themselves, need not be bad.  In fact, if sufficiently focused, they can be better and more productive.

CEO email reveals the point.

For example, last week I found myself involved in a brief email exchange with a Silicon Valley CEO when a Luther colleague and fellow consultant brought me into a discussion he and the CEO had been having.  Despite my best efforts, however, each of my contributions to the conversation was longer than it should have been.    The first was about 500 words, the second coming in at just over 220.  By comparison, the CEO’s reply to my first came in under 100.

Five years ago, this might have bothered me. I would have treated his brevity as insufficient engagement with my ideas.

And I would have been wrong.  Deeply so.  For, were I to share the exchange here, were you to look at those three e-mails, you would see him engaging matters at least as deeply as I did  Probably more so.

His less-than-100-word e-mail was chock full of content.  Every word counted.  Every word moved my thinking along.  Every word required me to think.

Even though I’m guessing it took him very little time to write.  Much less effort than I expended in trying to keep my two even as short as they were.

Now, last week I was fortunate.  The CEO took the time to listen to my long-windedness. (Maybe he was stuck in a security line at the San Francisco airport.)  But I also know that if I want to have conversations with CEOs I must strive to keep each e-mail as short as I can get it.  Because I know, the longer I get, the more I risk losing their attention.

When it comes to real-world communication, the choice is not between “short” and “value-packed.”  The choice is between “short and value-packed” on one hand and “not read” on the other.

And the choice gets starker every day.  CEOs (and non-CEOs) are cramming that value into shorter and shorter spaces, via texting and via the 150-character limit of Twitter.

Which brings me back to the matter of student reading and (by inference) writing habits:

The problem should not be seen as getting students to read more.  It’s getting them to read better.  And realizing — as, unfortunately, more students do than teachers — that better isn’t always a function correlated with length.

Yes, I know.  Not everything of value can be encapsulated in 100 words, much less in 150 characters.  Students still are going to need to read and comprehend longer stuff.  Of course.

The CEO knows that, too.  My first contact with him was after that same colleague passed on his request for books on the history of technology.

He reads a lot of longer articles (though, alas for me, probably not my blog).  And he reads a lot of books, probably more than most of my teaching colleagues, even those non-stop readers over in the humanities.  Teachers, want to get your students to read more books?  Invite a few CEOs in, and ask them to mention how much they read.  The “Whooaaa!” you get from students will be priceless.

The point isn’t package everything in Twitters or 100-word emails or executive summary bullet points.  The point is that stuff packaged in Twitters and 100-word emails and executive summaries must be value-packed.

The problem isn’t that students have short attention spans.  The problem is that too many of those bits of short attention are spent on words with a low value content.

The governing criterion isn’t length at all.

It’s value-per-word.


Every adult should be able to set their own breakfast routine.

It’s often said that the most important meal of the day is breakfast.  That among the things screwed up with American’s approach to health is their approach to breakfast — hurried, a cup of coffee and toast on the go, or skipped altogether.

But the real problem with many people’s breakfast has little to do with their food choice.  It’s the lack of control over the routine itself.

Part of the routine is what you eat.  Of course.   And so it’s relevant.  But equally, or more important, is the approach to the time itself.  Is it leisurely, or hurried.  A time of quiet contemplation, or filled with chatter and household problems being brought up?  Is it used for “breakfast meetings” over croissants in the conference room?   With cheap coffee with the guys at a diner?  Reading the newspaper or watching the morning show on the little kitchen television?  A stop at the McDonald’s drive at the beginning of a commute?

The importance of breakfast routine — and what happens when that routine is out of an individual’s control — has been driven home to me, since I went on leave from the day job and as I’ve been learning to cope with the mental effects of my mother’s aging.  A leave is often considered to be a time of rest and relaxation, of recharging batteries, an extended respite from the demands of the work day.  And don’t get me wrong, I’ve found time for some of that in the 20 months since I left the day job.  But in one respect, my quality of life has seriously worsened.

You see, my mother is, how do I put this nicely, a chatterer.  From the time she wakes in the morning, to the time she goes to bed at night, she never meets a silence she doesn’t think needs filling.  She likes gossip.  She likes small talk.  And as her short-term memory has declined, she  is always asking questions about where something is, about what I want to eat, about whether I want this, that, or the other thing.  She’s never been much for listening, but even when she does listen to the reply, she won’t remember it 24 or 12 hours later, and so I get the same questions every day.

This makes for no little frustration, but I’ve gradually come to terms with it and have developed  ways of constructively tuning out some of the chatter.  Ways of dealing with the small talk.  Ways of ignoring, without seeming to be ignoring, the gossip.

With one exception:  the breakfast table.  Because my mother’s morning chatter is exactly the opposite of my ideal breakfast routine.  My ideal breakfast is one of slowing turning the mental engine on, thinking about the day ahead over the same food every day (currently: one egg, two pieces of bacon, cottage cheese with lots of black pepper, and ice water), and eventually wandering off to start work.  Chatter is a serious interruption, and constant repetition of having to answer the same questions every day (“Do you want toast?” (no), “How many eggs?” (one), “Have a cookie” (no thanks), and so on.)

The point is not that my mother is crazy.  She isn’t.  Nor is it that my routine is the sanest one.  By no means am I saying that “slow mental preparation for the day” is the approach others should take.

The point is that my preferred breakfast routine and my mother’s preferred breakfast routine are unavoidably in conflict.  Short of rising at 4:30 and doing my own breakfast before she rises (and I’m not *that* much of a morning person), I’m stuck with the conflict.  Because its not something I’m going to get her to change.   And while my ideal breakfast routine isn’t set in stone (two of the most productive periods in my life saw me going out for a sit-down breakfast every day), I’m pretty darn sure I’m never going to be particularly interested in small talk and answering the same inane questions every day.

Alas, things getting better will have to wait for my return to full-time teaching in August, when I can plead the exigencies of the job for not lingering at the breakfast table (and perhaps try that eating breakfast out option again).   C’est la vie.  As Master Ju my tae kwon do teacher, used to say (among the biggest costs of my going away to graduate school was that I quit tae kwon do and lost contact with a very wise man), “What cannot be cured, must be endured.”  (Actually he apparently still says it, just not to me; for among the biggest costs of my going away to graduate school was that I quit tae kwon do and lost contact with this very wise man.)

But my person bitching aside, it raises an important point for anyone who is tempted to control another’s breakfast routine.


Parents will, of course, continue to decide the routine for children in most households, and that is fine.  But, for adults, this is one place where the individual must be left to find his or her own way.

Because few things can have as big negative effects as interference with the breakfast routine.  Effects on the mental health of the individual concerned:  Even though I am a morning person, it generally takes me close to an hour after breakfast to get myself mentally settled.  And social effects through declining productivity and civility:  lacking that equanimity, it may be an hour before I’m concentrating, focusing, and getting anything done.  And it may be even longer before I’m going to be particularly pleasant to be around.

So if you’re tempted to interrupt your spouse’s, your friend’s, your employee’s, your co-worker’s breakfast routine, whether that interruption is for a trivial matter or for one of over-whelming importance to the future of world civilization, my advice is simple.


And if you are tempted to change a person by changing how they do breakfast, be warned.  It isn’t likely to make things better, for them, or for you.  And so my advice is the same.



I’ve always wanted to go to New Mexico.  Indeed, if family and job constraints could magically be dealt with, it is one of the two places I’d most like to move to (the other being Tahiti).

John Timmer of Ars Technica reports some good news here about how those planning a spaceport have passed the FAA’s environmental impact assessment and received a license for both horizontal and vertical takeoffs.

Oh, the launches of Virgin Galactic’s tourism flights are still a bit away.  But not quite as far as one might think:  Timmer quotes the spaceport director, Steven Landeene, saying that construction will begin in first quarter 2009 with most of the facilities open for business in 2010.

Yeah, it’s the desert.  But all I can say is …



“Traditionally in Mind Mapping, the branches are read from 12 o’clock clockwise, so for the moment, we will assume this is the way we want them organized.”
– from NovaMind “Tutorial 4 — Arranging and coloring your Mind Map.”

Mind-mapping software, to my mind, resides near the top of the “1000 cool things about the Internet age.” It has come to the point that were I forced to give up either my word-processor or mind-mapping software, I’d give up the word-processor.

Most of what I use Word for now I can do fairly easily with just a text editor and the ability to Google for the appropriate HTML tag. In fact, much of the time now I do. Right now I have seven TextEdit documents open, and zero Word documents.

But it’s a rare day indeed when I don’t have one or more mind-map files open. Right now, it’s three files using NovaMind and one using MindManager. (It’s still early. By the end of the day, I’ll probably have twice that.)

The reasons I use mind-mapping software so much are legion, far too many to go into in a blog entry, even one of the length I usually put out.

[Advertisement: Stay tuned, though. Iterative Listening should be releasing a special report on the value of mind-mapping before this month ends. And I hope to follow it with a more extensive e-book sometime next year.]

But I do want to talk about one of the cool biggies that differentiates mind-mapping software from word-processing software. I don’t know why — whether it is because it is mature technology with close to 30 years of development and tweaking behind it, or because both its developers and users tend to be hardwired with the same 20th-century ways of thinking — but word-processors have a pretty annoying learning process associated with them.

Think of it this way — how many times over the years have you been frustrated by your word processor because you want to do something (perhaps some kind of formatting) and you can’t figure out how to do it without a bit of slogging through menus and help files and WordForDummies books? That in fact is how we always approach our word processor: we already know we want to do X in Y way.

Now, that’s sometimes the case with mind-mapping, too. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see a sentence like the one quoted above from a NovaMind tutorial. Most mind-map programs are like NovaMind are indeed set up to portray your thinking in this clockwise fashion.

However, notwithstanding such “default” features of the software, which you would think would encourage users to find and conform to “usual” ways of thinking, mapping software enables exactly the opposite. There is hardly a week goes by that I don’t discover a new situation in which the software can be used or a new way to use the software in a particular kind of situation.

Here’s a partial list of the possible uses of mind-mapping for business copywriters, for example: brainstorming a new project; fleshing out the picture of a prospect; outlining a letter; managing an ongoing project; making a presentation to a client. And within each of these areas, you get an amazing increase in flexibility for “how to do things”, flexibility that doesn’t distract you from the projects at hand but instead speeds things up.

Take me.

When I first started with mapping software, it was as a brainstorming tool. Then I discovered that Inspiration (the first mapping program I used, and still one I use for a lot of different projects) allows you to toggle between “diagram” and “outline” mode, and soon I was using the tool to prepare lecture outlines. This morphed into a way of putting together syllabi for new courses.

Then I started finding different ways of linking — to other maps, to non-map files like pdfs, jpgs, and docs, to the Web. Now complicated projects like the Technology and Education book or a major marketing presentation use multiple maps, linked in all sorts of ways.

I use mapping to do a ten-minute SixHats exercise. Or ust to jot down three or four semi-connected ideas on a project I’m not going to be working on for some time — I don’t really want to be distracted from the work at hand, but I also don’t want to lose those ideas in the the interim. And in no more time than it takes to write a post-it note, I’ve created and saved a mini map of connections for future reference, and then I’m back to the day’s main tasks. (Since starting this blog entry, I’ve added two of those post-it-note equivalents.)

I’m using the collaborative potential of web-based mapping via programs like MindMeister. And in the last two weeks, I’ve discovered new ways of organizing notes to projects (Curio), tracking the progress on a project (both NovaMind and MindManager), and ways of making presentations that will knock the socks off those tired and boring Powerpoint things (using either NovaMind or Curio). I’ve always felt a bit guilty that I haven’t mastered more of Powerpoint. But I don’t think I’m going to bother. Powerpoint looks to be less important than Word now.

Oh, I still don’t know why so many people (and software developers) want the default of maps to proceed in that clockwise direction. But since it’s pretty easy on almost all of the programs to re-arrange map branches as I want them, I don’t think I’ll worry about it much.

I’m too busy having new ideas and discovering ways to develop them.

Like clockwork, even.


All content of this blog, except comments added under names other than "Wade," are copyright © 2008, 2009 Wade E. Shilts