Technology for the Bowling Alone generation

by LimbicNutrition Shorts on April 8, 2016

Technology for the Bowling Alone generation

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An email popped into my newsletters folder the other day from OR Books. They were promoting a new book by Daniel Williams called Forsaken, about the persecution of Christian’s in the middle east. Here is the blurb:

Across the Middle East, Christian communities today find themselves the victims of widening repression: massacres, expulsions, and brutally enforced restrictions on the right to worship have all become commonplace. Such persecution has now reached the point where, in the region that was once its birthplace, Christianity’s very existence is under threat.

Radical armed groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) justify their offensive against the “infidels” with reference to new interpretations of jihad, the Islamic tradition of holy war, that have burgeoned in the region since the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq at the beginning of the century.

The impact on Christian communities is visible for all to see. In Iraq, the Christian population has withered from well over one million to just 300,000. In Syria, where the word “Christian” was first coined more than two millennia ago, at least half a million Christians, one third of the total, have fled their homes. In Egypt, where the Coptic Church, with its seven million adherents, is as old as the Church of Rome, Christians are emigrating in waves after being squeezed between those who blame them for the 2013 ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood government and a new military dictatorship that is heedless of their civil rights.

The book was published on the 10th March 2016. A few weeks later, on Easter Sunday, a bomber target Christian women and children at a park in Lahore, Pakistan murdering at least 70 innocents and maiming hundreds more.

It is not just the middle east. Pakistan, India, Iraq, Burma, North Korea, Eritrea, Nigeria..there is a long list of places where Christians are viciously oppressed. Even the Pope has started speaking out about it.

The Western media has been pretty muted on this topics, but I notice it is getting more attention now. Here are some articles prompted by the Lahore bombings.
Where are Christians most persecuted around the world? – The Independent

The Lahore attacks are just the latest atrocity in a war on Christians – The Spectator

The Persecution of Christians – Wikipedia

Open Doors – a charity devoted to helping persecuted Christians

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A wonderful letter on censorship from Charles Bukowski that I found on the Farnam Street Blog. Bukowski had one of his books removed from a library and this was his response to the person warning him about it. The emphases are mine. It was written in 1985:

The thing that I fear discriminating against is humor and truth.

Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere, in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence. They were only taught to look one way when many ways exist.

I am not dismayed that one of my books has been hunted down and dislodged from the shelves of a local library. In a sense, I am honored that I have written something that has awakened these from their non-ponderous depths. But I am hurt, yes, when somebody else’s book is censored, for that book, usually is a great book and there are few of those, and throughout the ages that type of book has often generated into a classic, and what was once thought shocking and immoral is now required reading at many of our universities.

I am not saying that my book is one of those, but I am saying thatin our time, at this moment when any moment may be the last for many of us, it’s damned galling and impossibly sad that we still have among us the small, bitter people, the witch-hunters and the declaimers against reality. Yet, these too belong with us, they are part of the whole, and if I haven’t written about them, I should, maybe have here, and that’s enough.

may we all get better together,”

Absolutely wonderful.

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Communication is Failure

by Limbic on March 26, 2016

An interesting discussion last week over on the Pickax retailers episode of the Exponent podcast . Ben and James were discussing Ben’s hugely popular Amazon article The Amazon Tax.

It is a great discussion and well worth the listen, especially about how in many ways Apple and Amazon resemble their org charts. Apple has a single P&L – and they go all in for perfectly integrated appliances that fit perfectly into their ecosystem. Amazon is like AWS, an assembly of modular “primitives” (storage, compute, DB) all interacting through very well defined protocols and interfaces. So much for Steve Sinofsky’s “don’t ship the org chart” !

One thing I learned is that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos considers communications to be a sign of failure failure failure. Increased communications signals issues a failure to define interfaces. At Amazon they do not use PowerPoint because Bezo’s says “the details get lost between the bulletpoints”. Instead they us Word documents for meeting briefings. Maximum 6 pages . No powerpoint in Amazon meetings only max 6 page Word doc because if you cannot explain it in writing you have not thought about it enough to justify a meeting.

Love that.

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Trend is Not Destiny

by Limbic on March 26, 2016

The-trend-is-not-destiny-1-300x292

 

Stop and just go read the superb Farnam Street Blog on “The Central Mistake of Historicism: Karl Popper on Why Trend is Not Destiny“.

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The Four Elements of Leadership

by Limbic on March 26, 2016

Michael Lombardi, former General Manager of the Cleveland Browns and current member of the coaching staff on the New England Patriots enumerated four elements of leadership:

  • Management of attention, aka plan. Systems and processes are offshoots of management of attention.
  • Management of meaning, aka communication – explain the plan.
  • Management of trust – consistency and no double standards.
  • Management of self – self-criticism and humility. Honesty. Admit mistakes and correct course.

He also quoted Bobby Kennedy – “Guide your life by principle not ambition”. Not sure if its accurate but I like the quote.

From The Knowledge Project podcast

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Michael Mauboussin

by Limbic on March 26, 2016

Just heard an interview with Michael Mauboussin on The Knowledge Project podcast (a Farnum Street blog production) and he was super interesting.

A few quotes form the podcast. These are paraphrased:

  • “An expert is someone who has a predictive model that works.”
  • “When it comes to decision making, Daniel Kahneman advises us to use the statistical baseline first (system 2) then Overlay your intuition (system 1), not the other way around or you have confirmation bias.”
  • Evaluate your decision making – track your results. The objective is to make quality decisions over time (like Munger and value investing which is more about avoiding loss than making huge gains).
  • Lessons from Colonel Blotto – if you are dominant player you want to keep It as simple as possible – fewest possible battlefields.    Also for weaker then dilute the power Of the powerful opponent.  Create more complexity, more battlefields.
  • Advice for Parents: Instill Growth Mindset (praise for effort not characteristics) , consider opposite viewpoints and learn how to bet ( decision tracking). Teach kids that even though they win a bet, if it was an irrational/reckless bet, they will lose in the long run. Offer them recommendations, not orders. If you are right, they will learn to respect your recommendations.

He recommended these books:

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Visions of the Future [NASA Posters]

by Limbic on March 20, 2016

Visions of the Future

Visions of the Future by NASA

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  • Easy Linux tips project – Very nice guide to setting up Linux Mint and Ubuntu systems
  • Alex de Betak’s dream home in Spain [PDF] – Absolutely stunning place.
  • Information cascade – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – "An information (or informational) cascade occurs when a person observes the actions of others and then—despite possible contradictions in his/her own private information signals—engages in the same acts. A cascade develops, then, when people “abandon their own information in favor of inferences based on earlier people’s actions”.[1] Information cascades provide an explanation for how such situations can occur, how likely they are to cascade incorrect information or actions, how such behavior may arise and desist rapidly, and how effective attempts to originate a cascade tend to be under different conditions. By explaining all of these things, the original Independent Cascade model sought to improve on previous models that were unable to explain cascades of irrational behavior, a cascade's fragility, or the short-lived nature of certain cascades."
  • Information cascade – Lesswrongwiki – An information cascade occurs when people signal that they have information about something, but actually based their judgment on other people's signals, resulting in a self-reinforcing community opinion that does not necessarily reflect reality.
  • Blockspring – A spreadsheet or Excel for web services. Also see Guestimate.

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