Monday, February 18, 2019

Quote of the Day

If you set out to design a conceptual system to make weak and timid people who can’t operate in the world, you couldn’t do a better job than to create what constitutes the safe-space culture that currently permeates university campuses.

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You see this in the broad political scale. There’s tremendous — what do you call that pining for the past? What’s the word for that? Nostalgia. Nostalgia for the former Soviet Union in Russia. You see that in Eastern Europe as well. “Well, the good old days were much better than what we have now.” It’s like, “Well, yeah, the tyranny had its advantages.” And now you’re cast out into horrible, horrible freedom. And that is a desert through which you wander.


- Conversations with Tyler - Jordan Peterson

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Radical Optimism


Optimism is radical. It is the hard choice, the brave choice. And it is, it seems to me, most needed now, in the face of despair—just as a car is most useful when you have a distance to close. Otherwise it is a large, unmovable object parked in the garage.

These days, the safest way for someone to appear intelligent is being skeptical by default. We seem sophisticated when we say “we don’t believe” and disingenuous when we say “we do.”

History and fable have both proven that nothing is ever entirely lost. David can take Goliath. A beach in Normandy can turn the tide of war. Bravery can topple the powerful. These facts are often seen as exceptional, but they are not. Every day, we all become the balance of our choices—choices between love and fear, belief or despair. No hope is ever too small.

Optimism is our instinct to inhale while suffocating. Our need to declare what “needs to be” in the face of what is. Optimism is not uncool; it is rebellious and daring and vital.

The American writer Theodore Sturgeon once said: ”Ninety percent of everything is crap” and I believe he was right. But surely that also means that “Ten percent of everything is worth the damn effort.”


And so it goes time after time, choice after choice, that we decide to leave behind a biography or an epitaph. Look around you now and decide between the two.

Inhale or die.

Guillermo Del Toro sends this much needed message (this is not to be confused with regular bull shit optimism) and remember Albert Camus had "settled" this a long long time ago: 





Quote of the Day

The miracle is this: The more we share the more we have.

- Leonard Nimoy

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Wisdom Of The Week

My personal and political character was formed in a different era that was kinder, if not necessarily gentler. We observed modicums of respect even as we fought, often bitterly and savagely, over issues that were literally life and death to a degree that — fortunately – we see much less of today.

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Please note: All of these challenges were addressed by Congress. Maybe not as fast as we wanted, or as perfectly as hoped. The work is certainly not finished. But we’ve made progress — and in every case, from the passage of Medicare through the passage of civil rights, we did it with the support of Democrats and Republicans who considered themselves first and foremost to be Americans.

I’m immensely proud, and eternally grateful, for having had the opportunity to play a part in all of these efforts during my service in Congress. And it’s simply not possible for me to adequately repay the love that my friends, neighbors and family have given me and shown me during my public service and retirement.

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In my life and career, I have often heard it said that so-and-so has real power — as in, “the powerful Wile E. Coyote, chairman of the Capture the Road Runner Committee.”

It’s an expression that has always grated on me. In democratic government, elected officials do not have power. They hold power — in trust for the people who elected them. If they misuse or abuse that public trust, it is quite properly revoked (the quicker the better).

I never forgot the people who gave me the privilege of representing them. It was a lesson learned at home from my father and mother, and one I have tried to impart to the people I’ve served with and employed over the years.

As I prepare to leave this all behind, I now leave you in control of the greatest nation of mankind and pray God gives you the wisdom to understand the responsibility you hold in your hands.

May God bless you all, and may God bless America.


John Dingell: My last words for America

Quote of the Day

Advocates of team science have claimed that a shift to larger teams in science and technology fulfils the essential function of solving  problems in modern society that are complex and which require interdisciplinary solutions. Although much has been demonstrated about the professional and career benefits of team size for team members, there is little evidence that supports the notion that larger teams are optimized for knowledge discovery and technological invention9. Experimental and observational research on groups reveals that individuals in large groups think and act differently—they generate fewer ideas10, recall less learned information, reject external perspectives more often and tend to neutralize each other’s viewpoints. Small and large teams may also differ in their response to the risks associated with innovation. Large teams, such as large business organizations, may focus on sure bets with large potential markets, whereas small teams that have more to gain and less to lose may undertake new, untested opportunities with the potential for high growth and failure, leading to markedly different outcomes. These possibilities led us to explore the consequences of smaller and larger teams for scientific and technological advance, and how such teams search and assemble knowledge differently.

- Full Paper, Large teams develop and small teams disrupt science and technology


Friday, February 15, 2019

Quote of the Day

The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back.

- Abigail Van Buren


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Importance Of Goal Alignment

So if you're a leader of a government institution, business, organization, or otherwise want to accomplish something that you cannot do by yourself, how can you do this?  What "force" can change people's trajectory?  Well, there is a massive amount of literature on the subject of change, so we clearly can't even scratch the surface here.  But what we can do is cut to the chase and tie this back together to "goal alignment" and why this matters.

And this is where ideology comes in - or - put a slightly different way, the power of ideas.  And this is where true leadership shines.  Great leaders authentically represent a particular idea and inspire people (oftentimes, even extremely diverse populations) to act in accordance with the goal that the leader wants to accomplish by relating the goal to the population's values and getting them to contextualize the goal within their personal frame of reference.

There are numerous examples throughout history of leaders who excelled at this.

  • Ghandi was a tremendous leader who exemplified the ideals he espoused of non-violent protest and inspired hundreds of millions of people to succeed at creating a self-governed India.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. fought against the status quo of racial segregation and drove the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

  • John F. Kennedy inspired the United States through a time of national crisis in competition with the USSR and is largely credited with leading the efforts to successfully put a man on the moon - and let's talk about this for a moment, because this is a great example of leadership.

I mentioned in the previous entry that "a problem well stated is a problem half-solved".  When you apply that concept to the challenge of leadership, some leadership responsibilities quickly become apparent.  Leaders must:

1. Identify the right problem to solve (ie. set the correct goal.)
2. Clearly communicate WHAT the goal is and WHY it is important
3. Own the responsibility of execution and inspire confidence that the goal is achievable

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At the end of the day, the bottom line is that the way you drive meaningful change with humans is by getting people aligned on a particular goal and inspiring them to take effective action.  This happens by getting people to appreciate why the goal is important and inspiring confidence in people that it CAN be accomplished.  This requires authenticity, commitment, creativity, a willingness to challenge convention and many other elements.

- More Here

Quote of the Day