Category Archives: ideas

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Vox does maps well

It’s a quirky feature of vox.com that explains things with diagrams versus “listicles”. I like it, and of the various posts that they’ve done, I got the most from this one: 40 maps that explain the Roman Empire

Should you share this with kids? It depends: one of the 40 items talks frankly about sex. If you are ok with that, then yes! for the overall piece is highly education. Kids or not, I highly recommend it to you.

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The best, easiest, and most effective New Year’s resolution to make (perfect for procrastinators, too) is

The best, easiest, and most effective New Year’s resolution to make (perfect for procrastinators, too) is this: I resolve to make a new resolution every week (or month, or quarter or season, or….you get the idea).

It sounds like a lame suggestion, but think about it for a minute. By making this resolution, you have already made a resolution. Good for you! One down. That out of the way, you can decide what is a schedule you are most likely to stick to. Once a week? Possible, but tough. Monthly? More likely. I personally like quarterly or seasonally. The idea of having a new resolution every season is a great way to kick off a season. In spring you can resolve to plant new / more plants. In summer you can resolve to go to the beach more, or go on that trip you always wanted, or spend more time in the park reading or exercising. In fall you can resolve to get out and take in more culture. And in winter you can resolve to get in shape for next spring and fall.

Whatever you do, keep a list. You will be surprised at the end of the year how many resolutions that you made and kept.

The other good thing about this approach is that you keep up the resolutions, rather than making a bunch in January, only to have them die off.

Good luck!

One of the greatest disrupters is one never mentioned in that way

The word “disrupters” is very much in vogue (see here and much of what comes out of start ups from Silicon Valley). Although not spoken of in those terms, one of the great disrupters of the 20th century, Mikhail Kalashnikov, creator of the AK-47, just died. Most disruption is a destructive action as well as a creative one. The AK-47 allowed more disruption to occur than almost any other technology in the last 100 years, and while it brought death, it also brought great change. I don’t support change brought on that way, but when people heap praise on disruption, ask them what they think of the AK-47. If they don’t have a good answer, they don’t have an opinion on disruption worth listening to.

What if life follows Moore’s Law

A fascinating idea: what if life on earth follows Moore’s Law? If it does, as discussed
here, then it could explain why there are no beings in the universe advanced much beyond ours. It could also mean that life on Earth came from somewhere else.

The article in MIT’s Technology Review is well worth a read. It also makes me think that Moore’s Law could be a fundamental way of understanding much more than integrated circuits.

How to be a creative person? follow these rules

From the excellent tumblelog, Daily Meh

P.S.
It mirrors some of the ideas from the book, Art and Fear, that I blogged about earlier.

Six Degrees vs The Tipping Point and the problem with metaphors.

Kevin Kelly writes on something that is getting a fair amount of attention: the new book by Duncan Watts (Six Degrees). Watts critiques another book by Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point), and Kevin Kelly does a good job of commenting on it.

My problem with all this analysis is the use of metaphors. Using metaphors of disease or forest fires helps model and understand the characteristic of certain activities (e.g. the success of failure of certain forms of communications), but they are just that, models. And limited ones at that. It’s good that Watts has shown the limits of Gladwell’s metaphor. But I suspect his metaphor is just as limited.

Philosophical podcasts from Schopenhauer to Plato

When everyone else on the bus is bopping along to hip hop, you can be grooving to Schopenhauer’s “The World as Will and Idea” if you surf over to here.

For truly smart people. (I didn’t know they had podcasts in Plato’s time! :) )