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“The most profound technologies are those...

...that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”

Mark Weiser in Rus, D. (2015). The Robots are Coming. Foreign Affairs, 94(4), 2–6.

Posted on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 07:10AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The Essential Hayek

Your attention is called to this small book (85 pages) summarizing the thinking of Friedrich Hayek, a Nobel laurette in Economic Science (1974), and arguably one of the great thinkers of the last century (Boudreaux, D. J. (2014). The Essential Hayek. The Fraser Institute).

I particularly call your attention to Chapter 9: The Challenge of Living Successfully in Modern Society.

You can find a free pdf on the web. 

My LEAD 101 students need to be alert to this as an assignment.

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 06:09PM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

What are the characteristics of a good question?

I have long believed that good questions yield good answers that lead to good decisions.

Some time ago I came across Quora and posted thereon "What are the characteristics of a good question?"  I usally check on Quora every day and this morning I saw the following notification:

Elynn Lee merged What are the characteristics of a good question? into this question. 7 answers were moved.

What has emerged is a set of interesting answers to which I specifically direct my students.

Posted on Friday, June 19, 2015 at 06:42AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Where does talent go?

From Wladawsky-Berger, I. (2015, May 12). Imagination as a Journey of Survival and Discovery

The study concluded that while digital, virtual interactions are important, they are not sufficient.  “As computing, digital storage, and bandwidth performance improve exponentially, virtual [knowledge] flows are likely to grow more rapidly… However, physical flows will not be fully replaced by virtual flows.  As people become more and more connected virtually, the importance of tacit knowledge exchange through physical, face-to-face interactions will only increase, leading to more physical flow… Talent migrates to the most vibrant geographies and  institutions because that is where it can improve its performance more rapidly by learning faster [emphasis added]…  Increasing migration suggests virtual connection is not enough - people increasingly seek rich and serendipitous face-to-face encounters as well.”

Posted on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 07:27AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Renewables Are Disruptive to Coal and Gas

This is from a blog post by Tyler Cowen.

This article suggests significant changes in the structure of geopolitical power due to disruption in state economies.  There would also seem to be the possibility of major disruption in the global distribution of bulk commodities.

Posted on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 06:42AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The test of time for a society, institution, and individual is...

...their capacity for change to remain relevant.

Posted on Monday, May 18, 2015 at 06:26AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

I think to myself, That’s the problem, all right, where to start.

From page 63 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.  This starts an extended section the compares and contrasts the classic and romantic views of the world.  I commend this section to your attention.


Posted on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 06:25AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

A New Way of Thinking

I was reading Toolkits of the Mind in the May/June 2015 issue of the MIT Technology Review and I came across the following:

Software developers as a species tend to be convinced that programming languages have a grip on the mind strong enough to change the way you approach problems—even to change which problems you think to solve.

I struck out the last part of this extract because I'm a bit uncomfortable with the notion that the language dictates what we think about it.  On the other hand, it may well be that the language we use -- differential equations, economics, visualization, diplomacy as examples -- may well be a constraint that that keeps us from understanding and potentially resolving some of the intractable issues of the day -- the Middle East, income and capability inequality, race relations.

If all one knows is arithmetic then all one can resolve is issues that can be described in arithmetic.

I think of some of the issues I face, most often the need to modify human behavior (sometimes my own), and think that maybe I'm using the wrong language.

Most successful programming languages have an overall philosophy or set of guiding principles that organize their vocabulary and grammar—the set of possible instructions they make available to the programmer—into a logical whole.

Posted on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 07:56AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

How to run a company with (almost) no rules 

From TED Talks.

What if your job didn’t control your life? Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler practices a radical form of corporate democracy, rethinking everything from board meetings to how workers report their vacation days (they don’t have to). It’s a vision that rewards the wisdom of workers, promotes work-life balance — and leads to some deep insight on what work, and life, is really all about. Bonus question: What if schools were like this too?

This is worth attentive listening and consequent thought.

Posted on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 08:49AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Defining quality on Quora — what a helpful answer looks like

The title of this post is from a post of the same title on Quora.

I encourage discussions in my teaching.  At the heart of quality discussions are quality questions and quality answers.  By quality I mean the delivery of relevant value.

For example, a quality question is one the provokes a new way of thinking about a topic.  A quality answer is one that delivers new insight.

Same-o, same-o is a no-go.

Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 05:17AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment
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