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jerryking : shorthand   5

Hidden language of the streets - FT.com
March 6, 2015 | FT| Edwin Heathcote.

Each city has its own visual and filmic shorthand for its streetscape (should read "cityscape"). There are the monuments — the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Empire State Building and so on, but at street level there are markers of urban identity as potent as the great monuments and which, in fact, have a far more meaningful impact on everyday life, as the fragments that form the backdrop against which we live our public lives.
...Street furniture and the in-between architecture that populates the pavements defines the experience of walking through the city. ...Streets and their furniture are designed for an ideal public but they can also be vehicles of control....The question is, what kind of meaning does our contemporary streetscape communicate? Throughout the history of public space, urban markers have been used to convey a sense of place, of centre, connection and of context. ....Then there is a rich layer of what we might call in-between architecture, the market stalls, newsstands, food carts and hot-dog stands, caramelised-nut vendors and seafood stalls. To a large extent these are among the elements that make up the experience of the city yet they are rarely regarded as architecture. Instead they represent an ad-hoc series of developments that have evolved to an optimum efficiency....This layer expresses the story of the desires, the fears, the entrepreneurialism and the attitude to privacy of a city. But the most intriguing thing is that it is simultaneously an expression of the top-down and the bottom-up city.
cities  design  identity  architecture  public_spaces  furniture  cityscapes  iconic  top-down  bottom-up  street_furniture  streetscapes  overlay_networks  streets  landmarks  shorthand 
march 2015 by jerryking
GoPro Sees Opportunity in Its Amateur Daredevils - NYTimes.com
By NICK WINGFIELDJAN. 30, 2014

GoPro, the video camera maker, wants to also be known as a media company....GoPro has built a large and passionate following on YouTube and other Internet sites with its adrenaline-soaked and professionally made videos of surfers riding through barrels of waves and skiers parachuting off snow-covered cliffs. Customers have independently uploaded millions of their own videos, too. And many happily label the clips with the term GoPro, which has become a sort of shorthand for action shots.
camera  web_video  YouTube  GoPro  Red_Bull  extreme_sports  stunts  sports  shorthand  digital_media 
january 2014 by jerryking
The need for an analytical approach to life
November 3, 2013 | FT.com | By Rebecca Knight.

Risk analysis is not about predicting events; it’s about understanding the probability of possible scenarios, according to Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, professor at the Stanford School of Engineering.
In her latest research, she argues that expressions such as “black swan” and “perfect storm”, which have become journalistic shorthand when describing catastrophes, are just excuses for poor planning. Managers, should “think like engineers” and take a systematic approach to risk analysis. They should figure out how a system works and then identify the probable ways in which it could fail.
So does a black swan event exist?
The only one that I can think of is the Aids epidemic. In the case of a true black swan, you cannot anticipate it.
And what about ‘perfect storms’?
A combination of rare events is often referred to as a perfect storm. I think people underestimate the probability of them because they wrongly assume that the elements of a perfect storm are independent. If something happened in the past – even though it may not have happened at the same time as something else – it is likely to happen again in the future.
Why should managers take an engineering approach to analysing the probability of perfect storms?
Engineering risk analysts think in terms of systems – their functional components and their dependencies. If you’re in charge of risk management for your business, you need to see the interdependencies of any of the risks you’re managing: how the markets that you operate in are interrelated, for example.
You also need imagination. Several bad things can happen at once. Some of these are human errors and once you make a mistake, others are more likely to happen. This is because of the sequence of human error. When something bad happens or you make a mistake, you get distracted which means you’re more likely to make another mistake, which could lead to another bad event. When you make an error, stop and think. Anticipate and protect yourself.
How can you compute the likelihood of human error?
There are lots of ways to use systems analysis to calculate the probability of human error. Human errors are often rooted in the way an organisation is managed: either people are not skilled enough to do their jobs well; they do not have enough information; or they have the wrong incentives. If you’re paid for maximum production you’re going to take risks.
So in the case of a financial company I’d say monitor your traders, and maybe especially those that make a lot of money. There are a lot of ways you can make a lot of money: skill, luck, or through imprudent choices that sooner or later are going to catch up with you.
So you can do risk analysis even without reliable statistics?
We generally do a system-based risk analysis because we do not have reliable statistics. The goal is to look ahead and use the information we have to assess the chances that things might go wrong.
The upshot is that business schools ought to do a better job of teaching MBAs about probability.
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“Numbers make intangibles tangible,” said Jonah Lehrer, a journalist and
author of “How We Decide,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). “They
give the illusion of control. [Add "sense of control" to tags]
engineering  sense_of_control  black_swan  warning_signs  9/11  HIV  Aids  business_schools  MBAs  attitudes  interconnections  interdependence  mindsets  Stanford  imagination  systems_thinking  anticipating  probabilities  pretense_of_knowledge  risk-management  thinking_tragically  complexity  catastrophes  shorthand  incentives  quantified_self  multiple_stressors  compounded  human_errors  risks  risk-analysis  synchronicity  cumulative  self-protection  systematic_approaches 
november 2013 by jerryking
If Machiavelli were prime minister
Mark Kingwell

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013

Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, that classic manual of harsh political wisdom. The Florentine intellectual’s defence of deceit, cruelty and fear in the pursuit of political power, his merciless advice to potential rulers about hiring mercenaries and dispensing favours, have made “Machiavellian” a handy shorthand for realpolitik.

The students love what everyone loves about Machiavelli’s story: the early ambition and connections to crazy Florentine politics, the tangles with the mad monk Savonarola and the suave Medicis, his eventual torture and exile. The famous letter in which Machiavelli describes donning his robes of court before entering his study (“Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where I am unashamed to converse with them”) offers an unforgettable image of a political thinker whose fame and influence have far outstripped that of the men who defeated him....Not only does Machiavelli vividly describe the contingencies of politics, using the figure of Fortuna and her fickle wheel. Many politicos and pundits like to cite the idea, as if losing an election were equivalent to being slain on the battlefield, burned at the stake or punished with the shoulder-tearing torture known as the strappado, all proximate realities in Machiavelli’s time. In addition, and despite all his apparent cynicism, Machiavelli has a clear idea about why political power is worth seeking in the first place.

The answer, he says, is glory – but not the merely personal kind. The successful prince is not some incumbency-shadowing hack, hanging on to this privileges and influence as a matter of entitlement or arrogance. Nor is he willing to use any means at all to gain victory: “By such methods one may win dominion but not glory,” Machiavelli notes. The great leader is a servant of history, using the sharp-edged tools of the political trade to carve out a legacy – in this case, a glorious Florence, whose culture, art, architecture and lasting presence will inspire generations to come. Glory is a gift, and it alone justifies and motivates the true prince....A prime minister who blandly abuses position – the muzzling of MPs, the casual prorogues of our only house of representation – is, if nothing else, nicely calibrated to widespread citizen indifference and a culture of trivial distractions....Machiavelli knew better; he was, finally, a humanist. And if he could still believe in the idea of glory after torture and disgrace – no soft return to Bay Street or Harvard for him – then surely the rest of us can exercise our citizenly spirit a bit more. Can we not demand a more glorious Canada, and leaders who will work to realize it? Bonus: We could even keep the words to O Canada – except it’s all of us, not God, who should do the heavy lifting.
Stephen_Harper  Niccolò_Machiavelli  leaders  legacies  shorthand  political_power  politicians  glory  Florence  mercilessness 
october 2013 by jerryking

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