When You Run into History, and it’s My Lai

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Wait – did he just say had served under Lt. Calley? The Aged Relative and I had stopped at a diner somewhere in western Virginia (not to be confused with West Virginia, which is a different state) to get some food and break up my long drive. I stepped out to wash my hands, and when I returned, I saw …

How Bad Is Oil? A Brief Historical Analysis

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, …