recentpopularlog in

jerryking : paradoxes   25

The Zen of Weight Lifting
Nov. 22, 2019 | The New York Times | By Brad Stulberg.

There’s an old Eastern adage: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” It’s great training advice too.......A favorite movements at the gym is called a farmer’s carry. You hold a heavy weight in each hand and attempt to walk with a solid, upright posture for between 30 and 60 seconds...... the farmer’s carries work your grip, core, arms, legs and even cardiovascular system — an utterly elegant full-body exercise. .......The physical and mental health benefits of weight lifting are well documented. Weight training can help us to maintain muscle mass and strength as we age, as well as better mobility and metabolic and cardiovascular health. It may help ease or prevent depression and anxiety, and promote mental sharpness.......lifting weights becomes a transformative practice to be undertaken primarily for its own sake, the byproduct of which is a nourishing effect on the soul.....Weight lifting offers participants a chance to pursue clear and measurable goals with outcomes that can be traced directly back to oneself.....In the weight room, however, it’s just you and the bar. You either make the lift or you don’t. If you make it, great. If not, you train more, and try again. Some days it goes well, other days it doesn’t. But over time, it becomes clear that what you get out of yourself is proportionate to the effort you put in. It’s as simple and as hard as that. A kind of straightforwardness and self-reliance that gives rise to an immense satisfaction, a satiating feeling that makes it easier to fall asleep at night because you know you did something real, something concrete, in the world. This doesn’t mean that progress happens fast or is always linear. Consistency and patience are key. If you try to rush the process or force heroic efforts, you invariably wind up getting hurt. Weight lifting, like so much in life, demands showing up day in and day out, taking small and incremental steps that, compounded over time, lead to big gains.
Whether you like it or not, there will be plateaus, which in my experience tend to occur right before a breakthrough. Weight lifting teaches you to embrace them, or at the very least accept them.....For most, the plateau is a form of purgatory. But to advance beyond the low-hanging fruit in any meaningful discipline — from weight lifting, to writing, to meditation, to marriage — you must get comfortable spending time there. Weight lifting shoves this reality in your face since progress, or in this case, lack thereof, is so objective.......
you don’t keep showing up and pounding the stone.

But here’s a paradox: Pound too hard or too often, and you’ll run into problems. The only way to make a muscle stronger is to stress it and then let it recover. In other words, you’ve got to balance stress and rest. Exercise scientists call this “progressive overload.” Too much stress, not enough rest, and the result is illness, injury or burnout. Too much rest, not enough stress, and the result is complacency or stagnation. It’s only when yin and yang are in harmony that you grow — another lesson that applies to a lot more than lifting weights.

It is true that from the outside, weight lifting can seem dull or boring — same movements, same barbells, same people at the same gym. 
Weight lifting fulfills three basic needs:
Autonomy: The ability to exert oneself independently and have control over one’s actions.
Mastery: A clear and ongoing path of progress that can be traced back to one’s efforts.
Belonging: Being part of a community, lineage or tradition that is working toward similar goals.
 
The Zen of weight lifting — the joy, fulfillment, hard-earned calluses and growth — lives in the process, in the journey. 
cardiovascular  compounded  consistency  core_stability  efforts  exercise  fitness  functional_strength  incrementalism  metabolism  movement-based  objective_reality  paradoxes  patience  plateauing  small_wins  soul-enriching  strength_training 
november 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | What Does It Mean to ‘Look Like Me’?
Sept. 21, 2019 | The New York Times | By Kwame Anthony Appiah. Mr. Appiah is a philosopher.

Minorities can find it gratifying to see people who resemble them on-screen. But resemblance is a tricky thing........It’s a formula that we turn to again and again to affirm the value of inclusion, especially in the realm of popular culture: the importance of people who “look like me.”......The “look like me” formula appeals because it feels so simple and literal. We can think of a black or Asian toddler who gets to play with dolls that share her racial characteristics, in an era when Barbie, blessedly, is no longer exclusively white. The emotions it speaks to are real, and urgent. And yet the celebratory formula is trailed by jangling paradoxes, like tin cans tied to a newlywed’s car.......For one thing, nobody means it literally. Asians don’t imagine that all Asians look alike; blacks don’t think all blacks look alike.....What the visual metaphor usually signifies, then, is a kinship of social identity. ....the complexities don’t end there. When it comes to representation, two cultural conversations are happening at the same time. One is about “speaking our truths” — about exploring in-group cultural commonalities......e.g. the cultural conversation put on by comedians whose jokes you “get” — the in-group references that resonate with you, that trigger a knowing “nailed it!” smile......That’s one way of “looking like me.”.......What films like Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther deliver is a way of “looking like me” that’s as much about aspiration as identification. We say that their characters look like us; maybe what we mean is that we wish to look like them.....What these fantasies ask is, Who gets to tell you what you look like? It’s not a representation of identity so much as it is a renegotiation of it.......How identity relates to identification is, of course, a complicated matter.........The truth is that our best stories and songs often gain potency by complicating our received notions of identity; they’re less a mirror than a canvas — and everyone has a brush. It takes nothing away from the thrill of feeling represented, then, to point out what the most ambitious forms of art and entertainment are always telling us: Don’t be so sure what you look like.
==================
How did children develop self-worth and an identity before movies and tv? People have to stop looking to mass and social media for self-esteem.
==================
The trouble is that racial and ethnic iconography, including color, eye shape, nose length etc . govern our responses to people the second we see them.
cultural_appropriation  cultural_conversations  culture  emotional_connections  identity_politics  inclusiveness  Kwame_Appiah  paradoxes  popular_culture  representation  self-identification  self-worth  visible_minorities  visual_cues 
september 2019 by jerryking
Bagehot by James Grant — an engaging biography of a purveyor of punditry
August 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by John Plender

Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian, by James Grant, WW Norton, RRP£19.99/$28.95, 368 pages
19th_century  biographies  books  book_reviews  economics  financial_crises  financial_history  journalists  magazines  paradoxes  politicaleconomy  pundits  Victorian  Walter_Bagehot 
august 2019 by jerryking
Lina Khan: ‘This isn’t just about antitrust. It’s about values’
March 29, 2019 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar.

Lina Khan is the legal wunderkind reshaping the global debate over competition and corporate power......While still a student at Yale Law School, she wrote a paper, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox”, which was published in the school’s influential journal..... hit a nerve at a time when the overweening power of the Big Tech companies, from Facebook to Google to Amazon, is rising up the agenda......For roughly four decades, antitrust scholars — taking their lead from Robert Bork’s 1978 book The Antitrust Paradox — have pegged their definitions of monopoly power to short-term price effects; so if Amazon is making prices lower for consumers, the market must be working effectively.....Khan made the case that this interpretation of US antitrust law, meant to regulate competition and curb monopolistic practices, is utterly unsuited to the architecture of the modern economy.....Khan's counterargument: that it doesn’t matter if companies such as Amazon are making things cheaper in dollars if they are using predatory pricing strategies to dominate multiple industries and choke off competition and choice.....Speaking to hedge funds and banks during her research, Khan found that they were valuing Amazon and its growth potential in a way that signified monopoly power..." I’m interested in imbalances in market power and how they manifest. That’s something you can see not just in tech but across many industries,” says Khan, who has written sharp pieces on monopoly power in areas as diverse as airlines and agriculture. " Khan, like many in her cohort, believes otherwise. “If markets are leading us in directions that we, as a democratic society, decide are not compatible with our vision of liberty or democracy, it is incumbent upon government to do something.” Lina Khan has had a stint as a legal fellow at the Federal Trade Commission, consulted with EU officials, influenced competition policy in India, brainstormed ideas with presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren and — recently joined the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. The 2008 financial crisis she thinks “about markets, and the government’s response to them, and certain forms of intervention that they do take, and that they don’t take”.....Khan, Lynn and others including the Columbia academic Tim Wu have developed and popularised the “new Brandeis” school of antitrust regulation, hearkening back to the era in which Louis Brandeis, the “people’s lawyer”, took on oligarchs such as John D Rockefeller and JP Morgan.....Lina sees Amazon as not just a discount retailer but as a marketing platform, delivery and logistics network, a payment service, a credit lender, auction house, publisher and so on, and to understand just how ill-equipped current antitrust law was to deal with such a multi-faceted entity......a Columbia Law Review paper out in May 2019 will explores the case for separating the ownership of technology platforms from the commercial activity they host, so that Big Tech firms cannot both run a dominant marketplace and compete on it. via a host of old cases — from railroad antitrust suits to the separation of merchant banking and the ownership of commodities — to argue that “if you are a form of infrastructure, then you shouldn’t be able to compete with all the businesses dependent on your infrastructure”....“The new Brandeis movement isn’t just about antitrust,” .... Rather, it is about values. “Laws reflect values,” she says. “Antitrust laws used to reflect one set of values, and then there was a change in values that led us to a very different place.”

.
21st._century  Amazon  antitrust  Big_Tech  digital_economy  financial_crises  FTC  lawyers  Lina_Khan  monopolies  multifaceted  paradoxes  platforms  policymakers  predatory_practices  Rana_Foroohar  regulators  Robert_Bork  Tim_Wu  wunderkind  Yale  values  value_judgements 
march 2019 by jerryking
Jevons paradox
In economics, the Jevons paradox (/ˈdʒɛvənz/; sometimes Jevons effect) occurs when technological progress or government policy increases the efficiency with which a resource is used (reducing the amount necessary for any one use), but the rate of consumption of that resource rises due to increasing demand.[1] The Jevons paradox is perhaps the most widely known paradox in environmental economics.[2] However, governments and environmentalists generally assume that efficiency gains will lower resource consumption, ignoring the possibility of the paradox arising.[3]
economics  Jevons_paradox  paradoxes  Wikipedia 
march 2019 by jerryking
Globe editorial: Why the Meng case feels like a replay of 2001 - The Globe and Mail
On Sept. 10, 2001, if you’d asked a random collection of international policy experts to name the biggest challenge to the global order, most of them would have given a one-word answer: China.....And then 9/11 happened. Nearly two decades later, it’s as if the world has awakened from that detour to find itself at its original destination, and much sooner than expected.

A China once rising has now risen – by some measures, it’s already the world’s largest economy......It’s why the arrest this month of Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, and China’s response, feel like a kind of replay of the Hainan incident – but under very different circumstances. Compared with 2001, today’s China is far more powerful. It is also more than ever at the centre of the global economic and political system. Yet, it doesn’t always follow the rules and norms of that system. And that has created a paradox – the paradox expected by pre-9/11 analysts. China is part of the system. It is also an antagonist.

Though it’s put itself and its products at the centre of the international economy, China also operates with one foot outside of the international order. For example, it’s part of the WTO and its free-trade rules, from which it benefits. But it takes advantage of the rules more than it follows them.

It’s part of a global co-operative of organizations such as Interpol....but earlier this year, the man it placed at the head of the organization was effectively disappeared by his own government.....It’s also a government that responded to the arrest of Ms. Meng by kidnapping two Canadians on invented charges...The case is a reminder of the two big China challenges that Ottawa, and its allies, must grapple with.

The fact that China is part of the international economy and the largely open movement of goods and people is a good thing.....However, China has abused the invitation to join the international trading system. The Trump administration is right that China is an unfair trader. The trade relationship has to be realigned. The goal should not be to shut China out. It must be to ensure that China is made fully part of the system and is bound by rules imposed by the rest of the developed world, which together is much wealthier and more powerful than China.
Canada  Canada-China_relations  China  China_rising  developing_countries  editorials  foreign_policy  Huawei  international_system  Meng_Wanzhou  multipolarity  paradoxes  piracy  reprisals  rogue_actors  U.S.-China_relations  WTO 
december 2018 by jerryking
How to Be a C.E.O., From a Decade’s Worth of Them
T OCT. 27, 2017 | The New York Times | Corner Office By ADAM BRYAN.

It started with a simple idea: What if I sat down with chief executives, and never asked them about their companies?.....not about pivoting, scaling or moving to the cloud, but how they lead their employees, how they hire, and the life advice they give or wish they had received....C.E.O.s offer a rare vantage point for spotting patterns about management, leadership and human behavior....What's the best path to becoming a chief executive? No one path... too many variables, many of them beyond your control, including luck, timing and personal chemistry. Bryan cites three recurring themes.

First, they share a habit of mind that is best described as “applied curiosity.”...They make the most of whatever path they’re on, wringing lessons from all their experiences.
Second, C.E.O.s seem to love a challenge. Discomfort is their comfort zone.
The third theme is how they managed their own careers on their way to the top. They focus on doing their current job well, and that earns them promotions... focus on building a track record of success, and people will keep betting on you.
The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part I - understand that leadership as a series of paradoxes.
The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part II - the most important qualities of effective leadership? trustworthiness, “If you want to lead others, you’ve got to have their trust, and you can’t have their trust without integrity,” A close cousin of trustworthiness is how much you respect the people who work for you....“By definition if there’s leadership, it means there are followers, and you’re only as good as the followers,” he said. “I believe the quality of the followers is in direct correlation to the respect you hold them in. It’s not how much they respect you that is most important. It’s actually how much you respect them. It’s everything.”
‘Culture Is Almost Like a Religion’ - “No matter what people say about culture, it’s all tied to who gets promoted, who gets raises and who gets fired,” he said. “You can have your stated culture, but the real culture is defined by compensation, promotions and terminations. Basically, people seeing who succeeds and fails in the company defines culture. The people who succeed become role models for what’s valued in the organization, and that defines culture.”
Men vs. Women (Sigh) - distinctions in leadership style are less about gender and more about factors like whether they are introverts or extroverts, more analytical or creative, and even whether they grew up in a large or small family....the actual work of leadership? It’s the same, regardless of whether a man or a woman is in charge. You have to set a vision, build cultural guardrails, foster a sense of teamwork, and make tough calls. All of that requires balancing the endless paradoxes of leadership, and doing it in a way that inspires trust.
I Have Just One Question for You - If you could ask somebody only one question, and you had to decide on the spot whether to hire them based on their answer, what would it be?.....“So if I ask you, ‘What are the qualities you like least and most in your parents?’ you might bristle at that, or you might be very curious about it, or you’ll just literally open up to me. And obviously if you bristle at that, it’s too vulnerable an environment for you.”
My Favorite Story -..... It’s work ethic,” he said. “You could see the guy had charted a path for himself to make it work with the situation he had. He didn’t ask for any help. He wasn’t victimized by the thing. He just said, ‘That’s my dad’s business, and I work there.’ Confident. Proud.”

Mr. Green added: “You sacrifice and you’re a victim, or you sacrifice because it’s the right thing to do and you have pride in it. Huge difference. Simple thing. Huge difference.”

Best Career and Life Advice - biggest career inflection points, he told me, came from chance meetings, giving rise to his advice: “Play in traffic.”

“It means that if you go push yourself out there and you see people and do things and participate and get involved, something happens,” he said. “Both of my great occasions in life happened by accident simply because I showed up.”“I tell people, just show up, get in the game, go play in traffic,” Mr. Plumeri said. “Something good will come of it, but you’ve got to show up.”....from Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University. Her suggestion to students:

“They should never assume that they can predict what experiences will teach them the most about what they value, or about what their life should be,” she said. “You have to be open and alert at every turn to the possibility that you’re about to learn the most important lesson of your life.”
howto  human_behavior  CEOs  career_paths  Managing_Your_Career  curiosity  discomforts  values  hard_work  trustworthiness  paradoxes  pairs  organizational_culture  gender_gap  work_ethic  playing_in_traffic  compensation  rewards  beyond_one's_control  guardrails  inflection_points 
october 2017 by jerryking
Mental bias leaves us unprepared for disaster
August 14, 2017 | Financial Times | Tim Harford.

Even if we could clearly see a crisis coming, would it have made a difference?

The 2004 storm, Hurricane Ivan, weakened and turned aside before striking New Orleans. The city was thus given almost a full year's warning of the gaps in its defences. The near miss led to much discussion but little action.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the city, evacuation proved as impractical and the Superdome as inadequate as had been expected. The levees broke in more than 50 places, and about 1,500 people died. New Orleans was gutted. It was an awful failure but surely not a failure of forecasting.

Robert Meyer and Howard Kunreuther in The Ostrich Paradox argue that it is common for institutions and ordinary citizens to make poor decisions in the face of foreseeable natural disasters, sometimes with tragic results.

There are many reasons for this, including corruption, perverse incentives or political expediency. But the authors focus on psychological explanations. They identify cognitive rules of thumb that normally work well but serve us poorly in preparing for extreme events.

One such mental shortcut is what the authors term the “amnesia bias”, a tendency to focus on recent experience (i.e. "disaster myopia" the human tendency to dismiss long-ago events as irrelevant, to believe This Time is Different and ignore what is not under one’s nose). We remember more distant catastrophes but we do not feel them viscerally. For example, many people bought flood insurance after watching the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina unfold, but within three years demand for flood insurance had fallen back to pre-Katrina levels.

We cut the same cognitive corners in finance. There are many historical examples of manias and panics but, while most of us know something about the great crash of 1929, or the tulip mania of 1637, those events have no emotional heft. Even the dotcom bubble of 1999-2001, which should at least have reminded everyone that financial markets do not always give sensible price signals, failed to make much impact on how regulators and market participants behaved. Six years was long enough for the lesson to lose its sting.

Another rule of thumb is “optimism bias”. We are often too optimistic, at least about our personal situation, even in the midst of a more generalized pessimism. In 1980, the psychologist Neil Weinstein published a study showing that people did not dwell on risks such as cancer or divorce. Yes, these things happen, Professor Weinstein’s subjects told him: they just won’t happen to me.

The same tendency was on display as Hurricane Sandy closed in on New Jersey in 2012. Robert Meyer found that residents of Atlantic City reckoned that the chance of being hit was more than 80 per cent. That was too gloomy: the National Hurricane Center put it at 32 per cent. Yet few people had plans to evacuate, and even those who had storm shutters often had no intention of installing them.

Surely even an optimist should have taken the precautions of installing the storm shutters? Why buy storm shutters if you do not erect them when a storm is coming? Messrs Meyer and Kunreuther point to “single action bias”: confronted with a worrying situation, taking one or two positive steps often feels enough. If you have already bought extra groceries and refuelled the family car, surely putting up cumbersome storm shutters is unnecessary?

Reading the psychological literature on heuristics and bias sometimes makes one feel too pessimistic. We do not always blunder. Individuals can make smart decisions, whether confronted with a hurricane or a retirement savings account. Financial markets do not often lose their minds. If they did, active investment managers might find it a little easier to outperform the tracker funds. Governments, too, can learn lessons and erect barriers against future trouble.

Still, because things often do work well, we forget. The old hands retire; bad memories lose their jolt; we grow cynical about false alarms. Yesterday’s prudence is today’s health-and-safety-gone-mad. Small wonder that, 10 years on, senior Federal Reserve official Stanley Fischer is having to warn against “extremely dangerous and extremely short-sighted” efforts to dismantle financial regulations. All of us, from time to time, prefer to stick our heads in the sand.
amnesia_bias  biases  books  complacency  disasters  disaster_myopia  dotcom  emotional_connections  evacuations  financial_markets  historical_amnesia  lessons_learned  manias  natural_calamities  optimism_bias  outperformance  overoptimism  panics  paradoxes  perverse_incentives  precaution  recency_bias  short-sightedness  single_action_bias  Tim_Harford  unforeseen  unprepared 
august 2017 by jerryking
We Survived Spreadsheets, and We’ll Survive AI - WSJ
By Greg Ip
Updated Aug. 2, 2017

History and economics show that when an input such as energy, communication or calculation becomes cheaper, we find many more uses for it. Some jobs become superfluous, but others more valuable, and brand new ones spring into existence. Why should AI be different?

Back in the 1860s, the British economist William Stanley Jevons noticed that when more-efficient steam engines reduced the coal needed to generate power, steam power became more widespread and coal consumption rose. More recently, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led study found that as semiconductor manufacturers squeezed more computing power out of each unit of silicon, the demand for computing power shot up, and silicon consumption rose.

The “Jevons paradox” is true of information-based inputs, not just materials like coal and silicon......Just as spreadsheets drove costs down and demand up for calculations, machine learning—the application of AI to large data sets—will do the same for predictions, argue Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, who teach at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. “Prediction about uncertain states of the world is an input into decision making,” they wrote in a recent paper. .....Unlike spreadsheets, machine learning doesn’t yield exact answers. But it reduces the uncertainty around different risks. For example, AI makes mammograms more accurate, the authors note, so doctors can better judge when to conduct invasive biopsies. That makes the doctor’s judgment more valuable......Machine learning is statistics on steroids: It uses powerful algorithms and computers to analyze far more inputs, such as the millions of pixels in a digital picture, and not just numbers but images and sounds. It turns combinations of variables into yet more variables, until it maximizes its success on questions such as “is this a picture of a dog” or at tasks such as “persuade the viewer to click on this link.”.....Yet as AI gets cheaper, so its potential applications will grow. Just as better weather forecasting makes us more willing to go out without an umbrella, Mr. Manzi says, AI emboldens companies to test more products, strategies and hunches: “Theories become lightweight and disposable.” They need people who know how to use it, and how to act on the results.
artificial_intelligence  Greg_Ip  spreadsheets  machine_learning  predictions  paradoxes  Jim_Manzi  experimentation  testing  massive_data_sets  judgment  uncertainty  economists  algorithms  MIT  Gilder's_Law  speed  operational_tempo  Jevons_paradox  decision_making  steam_engine  William_Jevons 
august 2017 by jerryking
The Coming Productivity Boom: Transforming the Physical Economy with Information
March 2017 | Michael Mandel and Bret Swanson.

DIGITAL INDUSTRIES VERSUS PHYSICAL INDUSTRIES

Physical Industries
Where the main output of the industry is
predominantly provided in physical form
All other industries, including agriculture;
mining; construction; manufacturing
(except computers and electronics); transportation
and warehousing; wholesale and
retail trade*; real estate; education; healthcare;
accommodations and food services;
recreation.

Digital Industries
Where the main output of the industry
can be easily provided in digital form
Computer and electronics production;
publishing; movies, music, television, and
other entertainment; telecom; Internet
search and social media; professional
and technical services (legal, accounting,
computer programming, scientific research,
management consulting, design, advertising);
finance and insurance; management of
companies and enterprises; administrative
and support services
atoms_&_bits  booming  digital_artifacts  digital_economy  e-commerce  knowledge_economy  paradoxes  physical_economy  productivity  productivity_payoffs  value_migration 
august 2017 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Has an Empathy Vacuum - The New Yorker
By Om Malik , NOVEMBER 28, 2016

Whether self-driving cars and trucks, drones, privatization of civic services like transportation, or dynamic pricing, all these developments embrace automation and efficiency, and abhor friction and waste. As Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, told MIT Technology Review, “Productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs. People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up.” It is, he said, “the great paradox of our era.”
empathy  technology  Silicon_Valley  Donald_Trump  Campaign_2016  efficiencies  empathy_vacuum  automation  Om_Malik  Erik_Brynjolfsson  productivity  paradoxes 
december 2016 by jerryking
A 25-Question Twitter Quiz to Predict Retweets - NYTimes.com
JULY 1, 2014 | NYT | Sendhil Mullainathan.

how “smart” algorithms are created from big data: Large data sets with known correct answers serve as a training bed and then new data serves as a test bed — not too differently from how we might learn what our co-workers find funny....one of the miracles of big data: Algorithms find information in unexpected places, uncovering “signal” in places we thought contained only “noise.”... the Achilles’ heel of prediction algorithms--being good at prediction often does not mean being better at creation. (1) One barrier is the oldest of statistical problems: Correlation is not causation.(2) an inherent paradox lies in predicting what is interesting. Rarity and novelty often contribute to interestingness — or at the least to drawing attention. But once an algorithm finds those things that draw attention and starts exploiting them, their value erodes. (3) Finally, and perhaps most perversely, some of the most predictive variables are circular....The new big-data tools, amazing as they are, are not magic. Like every great invention before them — whether antibiotics, electricity or even the computer itself — they have boundaries in which they excel and beyond which they can do little.
predictive_analytics  massive_data_sets  limitations  algorithms  Twitter  analytics  data  data_driven  Albert_Gore  Achilles’_heel  boundary_conditions  noise  signals  paradoxes  correlations  causality  counterintuitive  training_beds  test_beds  rarity  novelty  interestingness  hard_to_find 
july 2014 by jerryking
Sandra Day O'Connor and Jeff J. Curley: Founding Principles in the Digital Age - WSJ.com
April 21, 2014 | WSJ | By SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR And JEFF J. CURLEY

The College Board and Khan Academy—a nonprofit digital education platform—will partner to provide "free, world-class test prep" for the new exam.

These changes may sound unrelated, but they represent a fascinating paradox in education today: What is old in education has never been more important, but it may take what is new in education to truly prepare students for success in college, career and civic life.

Teaching the Constitution and the nation's other foundational texts is as old as public education itself. America's public schools were founded on the idea that education is vital to the success of democracy. But these texts are demanding and complex. Understanding them takes hard work and concentration. The effort is invaluable, though, not least because it instills the discipline that will equip young people with the knowledge and the habits of mind necessary to become powerful actors in civic life.

Millions of students taking the SAT will now encounter texts like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as well as the writings of individuals from James Madison to Martin Luther King Jr. But old test-prep methods like flashcards and rote memorization will not be sufficient. Students will need more sophisticated tools to help them understand the material and engage with it. Digital technology will be essential to achieving that goal.
civics  SAT  Khan_Academy  high_schools  students  tools  digital_media  standardized_testing  engaged_citizenry  public_education  constitutions  hard_work  foundational  education  paradoxes  platforms  judges  lawyers  Sandra_Day_O'Connor 
april 2014 by jerryking
Canadian business, heal thyself
Oct. 18 2013 | The Globe and Mail |Jeffrey Simpson.

, the lessons BlackBerry/RIM once followed still seem urgent for the Canadian economy: research, innovation, productivity improvements, global perspective beyond the United States.

On Oct. 1, the Council of Canadian Academies summarized seven years of studies into Canada’s capacities in science, technology, innovation and productivity, releasing a report, Paradox Lost (the title must have come from the fertile brain of the brilliant Peter Nicholson, a member of the advisory group), that laid it on the line.

The government has been doing its part, especially in funding university research, the council concluded – although more money would always be welcome. What’s lacking is an “aggressively innovative business sector.”...Canadian companies rely excessively on U.S. innovation. They are content either to play an upstream role (extracting resources) or as subsidiaries of foreign companies. Too many Canadian businesses settle, the council reported, for a “profitable low-innovation equilibrium” (a fancy way of saying second-best) that conditions Canadian business’s behaviour and ambitions.....This problem of lagging innovation and inadequate R&D coincides with four major trends that will slow Canadian growth. First, the United States is in relative decline. Second, the growing global appetite for commodities means environmental challenges and volatile price swings. Third, scientific revolutions in fields such as genomics and nanotechnology will shape business and social life, but Canadian firms are behind the curve in both areas. Fourth, our aging population will be a drag on economic growth (and government revenues).
Jeffrey_Simpson  R&D  innovation  economic_stagnation  resource_extraction  America_in_Decline?  commodities  volatility  aging  complacency  Peter_Nicholson  aggressive  beyondtheU.S.  genomics  nanotechnology  productivity  paradoxes  laggards 
october 2013 by jerryking
The Ideas Behind the March
August 26, 2013 | NYT | By DAVID BROOKS.

As we commemorate the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, it’s worth remembering how close it came to not happening at all. When A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin started shopping the idea, the Urban League declined to support it, the N.A.A.C.P. refused to commit one way or another, and Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were too busy with other challenges to get engaged. President John Kennedy argued that the march would hurt the chances of passing legislation...It’s also worth remembering that while today we take marches and protests for granted, the tactics of the civil rights movement had deep philosophical and religious roots...They wanted a set of tactics that were at once more aggressive and at the same time deeply rooted in biblical teaching. That meant the tactics had to start with love, not hate; nonviolence, not violence; renunciation, not self-indulgence. “Ours would be one of nonresistance,” Randolph told the Senate Armed Services Committee all the way back in 1948. “We would be willing to absorb the violence, absorb the terrorism, to face the music and to take whatever comes.” ...At the same time this tactic was not passive. It was not just turning the other cheek, loving your enemies or trying to win people over with friendship. Nonviolent coercion was an ironic form of aggression. Nonviolence furnished the movement with a series of tactics that allowed it to remain on permanent offense. ...

The idea was to reduce ugliness in the world by reducing ugliness in yourself. King argued that “unearned suffering is redemptive.” It would uplift people involved in this kind of action. It would impose self-restraint. At their best, the leaders understood that even people in the middle of just causes can be corrupted. They can become self-righteous, knowing their cause is right. They can become smug as they move forward, cruel as they organize into groups, simplistic as they rely on propaganda to mobilize the masses. Their hearts can harden as their enemies become more vicious. The strategy of renunciation and the absorbing of suffering was meant to guard against all that. ...In short, [nonviolence] relied upon a very sophisticated set of paradoxes. It relied on leaders who had done a lot of deep theological and theoretical work before they took up the cause of public action...So that’s what we are commemorating: The “I Have a Dream” speech, of course, but also an exercise in applied theology.
A._Philip_Randolph  African-Americans  anniversaries  Bayard_Rustin  biblical  David_Brooks  civil_rights  commemoration  JFK  MLK  NAACP  nonviolence  paradoxes  protest_movements  self-righteous  self-restraint  speeches  suffering  Washington_D.C. 
august 2013 by jerryking
The Problem With Too Many Millionaires - NYTimes.com
June 20, 2013 | REUTERS | By CHRYSTIA FREELAND.

The rich are getting richer....the very, very rich are doing best of all. The ranks of the ultrarich, whom the report defines as people with investable assets of at least $30 million, surged 11 percent, an even greater rate than the mere millionaires....“We are increasingly becoming a ‘winner-take-all’ economy, a phenomenon that the music industry has long experienced,”...The lucky and the talented — and it is often hard to tell the difference — have been doing better and better, while the vast majority has struggled to keep up.”... the problem is that the rise of the ultrarich isn’t occurring in isolation--it takes place in lock step with a darker phenomenon — the hollowing out of the global middle class. What is worrying is that: (a) labor productivity — which used to be the secret sauce for making everyone better off — has a diminished impact on wages.
(b) declining social mobility. The 1 percent is very good at passing on its privilege, and those born at the bottom are finding it harder to climb up.

That is the great paradox of today’s winner-take-all economy. At its best, it is driven by adopted dropouts like Steve Jobs or struggling single mothers like J.K. Rowling, who come up with something amazing and manage to prosper — and to enrich us all. But the winner-take-all economy will make such breakthroughs for anyone who didn’t make the wise choice of being born into the 1 percent harder and harder in the future, which is why we urgently need to come up with ways to soften its impact.
breakthroughs  Chrystia_Freeland  compounded  elitism  high_net_worth  hollowing_out  income_inequality  Matthew_effect  middle_class  paradoxes  productivity  self-perpetuation  social_mobility  special_sauce  The_One_Percent  virtuous_cycles  winner-take-all 
june 2013 by jerryking
Skills Don’t Pay the Bills - NYTimes.com
Illustration by Peter Oumanski
By ADAM DAVIDSON
Published: November 20, 2012

As the instructor Joseph Goldenberg explained, today’s skilled factory worker is really a hybrid of an old-school machinist and a computer programmer. Goldenberg’s intro class starts with the basics of how to use cutting tools to shape a raw piece of metal. Then the real work begins: students learn to write the computer code that tells a machine how to do it much faster....many believe that the manufacturing's future (and, to some extent, the future of the American economy) lies in training a new generation for highly skilled manufacturing jobs — the ones that require people who know how to run the computer that runs the machine.

This is partly because advanced manufacturing is really complicated. Running these machines requires a basic understanding of metallurgy, physics, chemistry, pneumatics, electrical wiring and computer code. It also requires a worker with the ability to figure out what’s going on when the machine isn’t working properly...yet, even as classes like Goldenberg’s are filled to capacity all over America, hundreds of thousands of U.S. factories are starving for skilled workers....The secret behind this skills gap is that it’s not a skills gap at all. I spoke to several other factory managers who also confessed that they had a hard time recruiting in-demand workers for $10-an-hour jobs....Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of skilled jobs has fallen and so have their wages... “Trying to hire high-skilled workers at rock-bottom rates,” the BCG study asserted, “is not a skills gap.” The study’s conclusion, however, was scarier. Many skilled workers have simply chosen to apply their skills elsewhere rather than work for less, and few young people choose to invest in training for jobs that pay fast-food wages. As a result, the United States may soon have a hard time competing in the global economy....It’s easy to understand every perspective in this drama. Manufacturers, who face increasing competition from low-wage countries, feel they can’t afford to pay higher wages. Potential workers choose more promising career paths. “It’s individually rational,” says Howard Wial, an economist at the Brookings Institution who specializes in manufacturing employment. “But it’s not socially optimal.”...this isn’t a narrow problem facing the manufacturing industry. The so-called skills gap is really a gap in education, and that affects all of us.
skilled_trades  skills  skills_training  skills_shortage  manufacturers  BCG  education  low-wage_countries  talent_allocation  skills_gap  paradoxes  global_economy  young_people 
november 2012 by jerryking
Weekend Essay by Jonah Lehrer: How Power Affects Us - WSJ.com
AUGUST 14, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By JONAH LEHRER. The
Power Trip Contrary to the Machiavellian cliché, nice people are more
likely to rise to power. Then something strange happens: Authority
atrophies the very talents that got them there.
power  paradoxes  CEOs  authority  Jonah_Lehrer  Niccolò_Machiavelli 
august 2010 by jerryking
Address by Mike Lazaridis, PI Board Chair, to the Public Policy Forum - Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
April 2, 2009 | Address by Mike Lazaridis, PI Board Chair, to the Public Policy Forum

First Principles: The Crazy Business of Doing Serious Science (Paperback)
by Howard Burton (Author) . It's an account of how the Perimeter Institute was built from scratch.

This year’s testimonial dinner was held on April 2, 2009, and honoured several Canadian leaders, including Mike Lazaridis, Founder and Board Chair of Perimeter Institute, who conveyed the importance of long-term thinking by those involved with shaping policy relating to science and technology. The following text, building on those remarks as reported by the national media, shares the messages provided to the PPF.
+++++++++++++++

So imagine this story. A granting council has been tasked with driving the economy, really building commerce and commercializing technology and doing important things for the country. And so, of course, what are they thinking? They’re thinking we need more horses, we need better ways to clean up the streets, and we need to figure out ways to build better stagecoaches and carriages. Now this physicist comes into the room and he sits down. And they ask him, "Dr. Einstein, why are you here?" He says, "Oh, I’d like to have an office and a stipend." "For what?" they want to know. So he explains, "Well, I need a desk and blackboard and maybe a shelf for my books and my papers. And I need a small stipend, so I can go to a few scientific conferences around the world and have a few postdoctoral researchers." They ask, "Why?" And he says: "Well, I have these ideas about light and it’s very complicated, but light can …" And the council members start wondering, "What’s that got to do with horses?"

So, that gentleman actually had to go and get a day job. He went to work at a patent office, where he came up with, a few years later, the four most important papers of all time. Ideas that transformed everything we knew and put mankind in a new direction. He came up with one of the basic ideas leading to quantum technology, when he predicted the quantum properties of light, explaining an observation called the photo-electric effect. He came up with special relativity, a new understanding of space and time. He also discovered that mass and energy are the same thing at a fundamental level. By thinking and calculating the way he did, he came up with E=mc2, the most famous equation of all time. These discoveries, over time, led to nuclear energy, semiconductors, computers, lasers, medical imaging, DVDs and much more. The powerful ideas happened from pure thought and research by someone who basically would have had to give up a comfortable salary at the patent office to take a research or teaching position at a university.

Now let’s fast-forward to today. We have all these issues. We’re running out of energy any way you slice it. And the energy sources that we have today are changing our climate and the environment catastrophically and irreparably. At the same time, we have this enormous need for value creation because our financial system basically ran onto a coral reef. We’re taking on debt to try to get ourselves off the reef, and there’s all this need for value creation and innovation. It’s kind of staring us in the face.

We only have to flashback to that gentleman thinking about light to realize that we need to fund our scientists and our researchers and our students. We not only need to fund them imaginatively, we need to have faith that what they are doing is going to be important in 20, 30, 40 or 50 years from now, and that we haven’t got a chance of understanding its relevance today.

And so we need to be very careful with policy, not to try to put everything in short-term context – not to try to figure out how something is only relevant today – because, if we do, we will make a mistake. We will go the wrong way. We will be investing in horses, carriages, and cleaning manure in the streets instead of fostering the research that can give rise to an idea or super technology that’s going to change the world.

Right now, there is some pandemonium in physics because we are running up against some paradoxes and some data that don’t make any sense. For example, Moore’s Law, which describes the miniaturization of computer chips, will reach its limit in 10 years. Everything we built our telecommunications industry and information age on is going to hit this limit, if we don’t find a new base. We need a new discovery. It’s going to happen, and we need to put major investments in these esoteric studies like quantum computing, quantum information science, quantum gravity, string theory and other areas, because I can guarantee you that one of the discoveries that will emerge is going to solve one of those scientific paradoxes and make sense of that weird data. And when that happens, 20 or 30 years from now, you won’t recognize things.
Albert_Einstein  Blackberry  books  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  first_principle  fundamental_discoveries  Mike_Lazaridis  miniaturization  Moore's_Law  paradoxes  Perimeter_Institute  physicists  public_policy  quantum_computing  RIM  semiconductors 
april 2009 by jerryking
Engineer a smooth takeover with five proven tips
https://hbr.org/2007/09/rules-to-acquire-by

09-17-2007 The Globe and Mail by Schachter, Harvey
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS - Taken from "Rules to Acquire" By Bruce Nolop, of Pitney Bowles. FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2007 ISSUE of the Harvard Business Review.

A close look at the world’s most successful companies reveals that, in general, they rely heavily on acquisitions to achieve their strategic goals......acquisitions can be faster, cheaper, and less risky than organic expansion. It’s a seeming paradox, until you realize what’s going on: Some acquirers have figured out how to do it right. Many have not.......Pitney Bowes embarked on our acquisition program.....they believed that they should develop a disciplined approach to making acquisitions and learning from them as an organization......More than 70 acquisitions later, they have a process firmly in place.......What’s behind the program’s success? ....a due diligence checklist that now covers 93 separate points of concern.....and a few key guidelines.

* Stick to adjacent spaces

Too many companies reach far afield when making acquisitions......Pick acquisition targets that are logical extensions of your company's current business mix, so they can be taken on incrementally. Such additions take advantage of the organization's tacit strengths - management know-how, customer insights, and cultural orientation - that are often ignored by more grandiose strategists. And they keep your brand consistent...... a 2001 McKinsey study: adjacent acquisitions correlate with increased shareholder value, whereas diversification into non-related areas actually reduces shareholder value. ....Profit from the Core author Chris Zook, looked for patterns in 2,000 companies’ growth initiatives and concluded that adjacent moves were the most successful.......Q: Can you really add more value to the target company than any other acquirer can?

* Bet on portfolio performance

Manage acquisitions like an investment portfolio, trying for multiple smaller acquisitions rather than one or two gargantuan bets. He notes that a Bain & Company study found the economic returns from acquisitions are greater if the purchase represents 5 per cent or less of the acquirer's market capitalization - so smaller is better. A portfolio approach keeps acquisitions to manageable size and hedges the risk that any one will go awry, producing more predictable financial results over time.......The classic benefit of a portfolio strategy, whether for acquisitions or any other type of investment, is that it produces more-predictable financial results over time.

* Get a business sponsor--No exceptions!

A clearly defined leader has to be personally focused on executing the business plan for the acquisition, assuring revenue targets and those often-elusive cost synergies.

That sponsor must drive the behind-the-scenes infrastructure projects that are essential to operational success, such as the integration of IT systems and HR policies, and develop strong relationships with the newly acquired management teams to ensure talent retention.

This can't be left to a corporate development group - it must be in the hands of an individual who is held personally responsible for the acquisition's success, and who reports regularly to the CEO and the board.

* Be clear on how the acquisition will be judged

You need to know exactly what you are seeking - what do you mean, exactly, when you talk of growth potential, or market development, or near-term synergies? For bolt-on acquisitions, which neatly fit into a business or market, financial returns should be more short term, while it will take longer for those benefits to accrue when the acquisition is a platform that takes you into a new, albeit still adjacent, business space or activity.

* Don't shop when you're hungry

What applies at the supermarket applies in corporate acquisitions. If you buy when you are hungry, you're likely to grab more than you need and be less price sensitive. On a strategic level, hunger can occur when you are seeking a missing element that you feel is urgently needed. Also problematic are acquisitions made to compensate for poor performance in existing operations.
adjacencies  bolt-on  buying_a_business  buyer's_remorse  CAMEX  checklists  Chris_Zook  clarity  due_diligence  emotional_discipline  growth  guidelines  Harvey_Schachter  HBR  leadership  M&A  McKinsey  mergers_&_acquisitions  metrics  organizational_learning  paradoxes  Pitney_Bowes  platforms  portfolio_management  process-orientation  rules_of_the_game  tips 
march 2009 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read