How Bad Is Oil? A Brief Historical Analysis

E. Forrest Christian Uncategorized 1 Comment

We keep hearing about oil prices and how they have plummeted. But what do you really know about them? If you’re like me — living in a non-oil producing region, getting most of your exposure from price of gas and roofing — it’s high time to take a look. This is strictly from an American point of view, mostly because …

Business Writing Speaks Truth, Albeit Unintentionally

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While sorting through my notes, I came upon the following, which was published by some self-important systems architects at a major financial institution. They were later all “made redundant”, poor sots. But perhaps their habit of writing without ever saying anything (see previous post) didn’t help their company succeed. The Detail Recommendation List is a collection of recommendations that have …

Vance, a Trapper Boy, 15 years old. Has trapped for several years in a West Va. Coal mine. $.75 a day for 10 hours work. All he does is to open and shut this door: most of the time he sits here idle, waiting for the cars to come. On account of the intense darkness in the mine, the hieroglyphics on the door were not visible until plate was developed. Location: West Virginia. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine, 1908 September.

Corporations Exist To Stifle Innovation, Not Encourage It

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There seems to be an attitude in most of the innovation & creativity discussions that innovation is always good. At least the shareholders, management, employees and others may not want the innovation that results. Remember that unions were innovations. Also, within cultures innovation is rarely welcome. Al-Qaeda is an innovative organizational form and many of their attacks have been extremely …

Luc Hoebeke on the IT’s Tower of Babel

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It’s interesting to consider that most people will interpret my title as being the mishmash of too many languages spoken in IT. Actually, that’s not the point of the story: Babel was disrupted because they all spoke one language. It’s in part a warning about the futility of single, monolithic human solutions. Hoebeke, in “Against Scarcity in Science and Knowlege …

Unclassified top secret document

Your Idea “Craves Light, Likes Crowds, Thrives on Crossbreeding, Grows Better For Being Stepped On” (LeGuin)

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Ursula K. LeGuin, the noted science fiction author, uses her stories to talk about issues of the day. What’s interesting is when she throws out a side comment that is loaded with great stuff. In The Dispossessed (1974), LeGuin talks about why people need to be colocated to spur cross-disciplinary “open source” conversations that drive innovation: It was a revelation, …

Is Emotional Intelligence a Bankrupt Concept?

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In a recent comment to a Jim Heskett post on Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge blog (“Neuro Economics: Science or Science Fiction?“), Dick Meza of Chapman University College said: Emotional Intelligence in the past few years has had to suffer through similar scrutiny like “The Fadification of Emotional Intelligence” or “Business Susceptibility to Consulting Fads: The Case of EI.” Both …

“It is often not the job that burns you out, but the organization.”

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InformIT has an interesting article on recent research out of Wharton by Sigal Barsade and Lakshmi Ramarajan (“More than Job Demands or Personality, Lack of Organizational Respect Fuels Employee Burnout” Dec 8, 2006). Barsade and Ramarajan were especially interested in health care because many of the lower-level jobs in that industry tend to be difficult, and because a lot of …

Using Mobile Phone Numbers For ID

E. Forrest Christian Computers/IT, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

In an attempt to thwart spammers, Google Mail has started using mobile phone numbers to provide customers with gmail invitations. This is an interesting development, one that has been predicted for at least since the miniaturizaion of mobile telephones. With number portability in the United States, this finally becomes a possibility for many corporations. Mobile numbers stay with you. Although …