Blog Archives

2013/07/27 Beau Lebens “Taking WordPress to the Front End with O2” (web video)

The WordPress O2 plugin with P2-Breathe theme results in a Facebook-like or Twitter-like streaming interface.  The idea was first presented in 2013, evolving from the P2 theme in 2009 (originally launched as Prologue in 2008) when hosted on wordpress.com. “Beau

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“alphaWorks 10” (web video) | Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Rod Smith, Gina Poole | Oct. 4, 2006

Rod Smith, VP, Emerging Technologies-SWG, Gina Poole, VP, Innovation and University Relations, and Irving Wladawsky-Berger, VP, Technical Strategy and Innovation, talk about alphaWorks celebrating ten years of ushering in emerging technologies that have helped shape the technology landscape. And, as

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Watch “IBM Design Lab – Part 2 of 2: Factoring” on YouTube

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Cantonese Vs. Mandarin | Aug. 25, 2013 | Off the Great Wall

On our family visit back to our ancestral village at Lougang (or Lowkong), the members of the collective group mostly spoke no more than two of four dialects, from the heritage Toisanese, to local standard Cantonese, the modern Mandarin, and

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Geoffrey Bowker, “Memory Practices in the Sciences” (MP3 audio) | Feb. 5, 2008 | Library Cafe, WVKR-FM

Scientific knowledge has changed from its19th century origins, through 20th century industrialization into 21st century information economy.  Have practices changed? Geoffrey C. Bowker, Regis and Dianne McKenna Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at

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Comment on Getting better at working at the office | sacha chua :: living an awesome life

@sachac While working, I find jazz better than classical music to keep me energized. On web radio, I like The Grooveyard at http://www.jazz.fm/player/streams/index.htm , the Jazz Music Stream at http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ or Attention Span Radio on Live365 http://www.live365.com/stations/bamman Comment on Getting

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Sean Quinlan, “Storage at Scale” (MP3 audio), O’Reilly Media Velocity Conference, IT Conversations, 2008/06/24

When massive volumes of data is expected to always be available on the Internet, how is that engineered? A one in a million hardware fluke would happen every day at Google, so reliability must be handled by smart software. In

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Daniel Klein on Adam Smith “The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 1 — An Overview (MP3 audio), Econtalk, 2009/04/06

Although many cite Adam Smith, few have actually read him.  Economists who have read Adam Smith’s writings find more clarity in the work that preceded The Wealth of Nations. Dan Klein, of George Mason University, talks with EconTalk host Russ

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Dambisa Moyo, “Is Aid Dead? Foreign Aid and Development” (MP3 audio), Council on Foreign Relations, 2009/04/21

Does foreign aid help the development of third world countries, or inhibit it? Roundtable Meeting: Global Health Roundtable: Is Aid Dead? A Discussion with Dambisa Moyo on Foreign Aid and Development Is Aid Dead? A Discussion with Dambisa Moyo on

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Christopher Coyne, “Exporting Democracy after War” (MP3 audio), Econtalk, 2008/04/07

After wars, countries may be helped in economic recovery. Christopher Coyne of West Virginia University and George Mason University’s Mercatus Center talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy. They talk

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Rick Prelinger, “Lost Landscapes of San Francisco” (MP3 audio), Longnow Foundation, 2008/12/19

San Francisco has a long and interesting history. Rick started out in 01982 as an amateur collector of the un-collected. He began by collecting film out-takes, esoteric commercial films, and all the other ephemera that is usually discarded by archives

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Stephen Marglin, “Marglin on Markets and Community” (MP3 audio), Econtalk, 2008/03/10

Community and markets are two different ways in which human being interact socially. Stephen Marglin of Harvard University and author of The Dismal Science: How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the markets

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Vernon Smith, “Markets and Experimental Economics” (MP3 audio), Econtalk, 2007/05/21

When I was in graduate school in the 1980s, experimental economics was a new area of research. Vernon Smith, Professor of Economics at George Mason University and the 2002 Nobel Laureate in Economics, talks about experimental economics, markets, risk, behavioral

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Michael Meyer, “Last Days of Old Beijing” (MP3 audio), Tech Nation, 2008/09/04

The urbanization of Beijing means that the old parts of the city are disappearing. Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with Michael Meyer, author of “The Last Days of Old Beijing,” about the transformation of a city. IT Conversations | Tech Nation

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William McDonough, “Sustainability And The Next Industrial Revolution” (MP3 audio), Total Picture Radio, 2007/07/05

William McDonough is a designer with creative approaches to sustainability. “Reflect on this: It took us 5,000 years to put wheels on our luggage. How smart are humans?”  William McDonough “My goal is very simple. It’s to help create “a

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George Dolbier and David Laux, “IBM’s Gaming Business” (MP3 audio), AfterTV, 2007/01/30

Although most people think about IBM as “business machines”, the company is a significant presence in the growing business of video games. Do they play games at International Business Machines? Yes, they do and, like most other things at IBM,

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Ted Leung, “Open Source in the Corporate World” (MP3 audio), Herding Code, 2008/10/03

It’s interesting to hear first-hand accounts of histories of successes and failures in Silicon Valley. Ted Leung … works on dynamic languages and tools at Sun Microsystems and is a member of the Apache Software Foundation. We discussed a variety

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Daniel Bell, “China’s New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society” (MP3 audio), Big Ideas, tvo.org 2008/08/10

The government in China has been promoting Confucianism both internally and throughout the world. Daniel Bell is a Professor of Philosophy at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. His lecture is entitled “China’s New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a

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Nassim Taleb, The Black Swan (MP3 audio), Tech Nation, 2007/05/10

The “Black Swan” has become a common phrase in contemporary language as a highly improbable event. Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of The Black Swan, about the role of the improbable in our lives. IT

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Clay Shirky, “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations” (MP3 audio), Principled Innovation, 2008/04/14

The new social media provides both threats and opportunities to business. … Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations … [has] profound implications for how we are going to think about the future of associations. [….]

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This content is syndicated to Twitter. For professional perspectives, look to Coevolving Innovations; for a photoblog, look to Reflections, Distractions.
  • Socio-Technical Systems, Service Systems Science
    In order to move forward, the Systems Changes Learning Circle has taken a step backwards to appreciate the scholarly work that has come before us.  This has included the Socio-Psychological Systems, Socio-Technical Systems and Socio-Ecological Systems perspective, from the postwar Tavistock Institute for Human Relations.  The deep dive on “Causal texture, co […]
  • Causal Texture of the Environment
    For those who haven’t read the 1965 Emery and Trist article, its seems as though my colleague Doug McDavid was foresighted enough to blog a summary in 2016!  His words have always welcomed here, as Doug was a cofounder of this web site.  At the time of writing, the target audience for this piece was primarily Enterprise Architecture practitioners.   [DI] Pub […]
  • Causal texture, contextualism, contextural
    In the famous 1965 Emery and Trist article, the terms “causal texture” and “contextual environment” haven’t been entirely clear to me.  With specific meanings in the systems thinking literature, looking up definitions in the dictionary generally isn’t helpful.  Diving into the history of the uses of the words provides some insight. 1. Causal texture 2. Conte […]
  • Trist in Canada, Organizational Change, Action Learning
    Towards appreciating “action learning”, the history of open systems thinking and pioneering work in organization science, the influence of Action Learning Group — in the Faculty of Environment Studies founded in 1968 at York University (Toronto) — deserves to be resurfaced. 1. Trist in Canada 2. Environmental studies, and contextualism in organizational-chan […]
  • Remembering Doug McDavid
    The news that Doug McDavid — my friend, colleague, and one of the original cofounders of the Coevolving Innovations web site in 2006 — had passed, first came through mutual IBM contacts.  More details subsequently showed up on LinkedIn from Mike McClintock. Doug left us on May 9, while working at his desk, likely in the very earliest hours of the morning. Hi […]
  • Pattern language, form language, general systems theory, R-theory
    One of the challenges with the development of pattern languages is the cross-appropriation of approaches of techniques from one domain (i.e. built physical environments) into others (e.g. software development, social change). The distinction between pattern language and form language is made by Nikos Salingaros. Design in architecture and urbanism is guided […]
  • 2020/07 Moments July 2020
    Daytimes full of new work assignment and training, evenings and weekends bicycling around downtown Toronto as it slowly reopens from pandemic.
  • 2020/06 Moments June 2020
    Most of month in Covid-19 shutdown Phase 1, so every photograph is an exterior shot. Bicycling around downtown Toronto, often exercising after sunset.
  • 2020/05 Moments May 2020
    Life at home is much the same with the pandemic sheltering-in-place directives, touring city streets on bicycle, avoiding the parks on weekends.
  • 2020/04 Moments April 2020
    Living in social isolation in our house with 5 family members, finishing off teaching courses and taking courses.
  • 2020/03 Moments March 2020
    The month started with a hectic coincidence of events as both a teacher and student at two universities, abruptly shifting to low gear with government directives for social distancing.
  • 2020/02 Moments February 2020
    Winter has discouraged enjoying the outside, so more occasions for friend and family inside.
  • 1969, 1981 Emery, System Thinking: Selected Readings
    Social Systems Science graduate students in 1970s-1980s with #RussellAckoff, #EricTrist + #HasanOzbehkhan at U. Pennsylvania Wharton School were assigned the Penguin paperback #SystemsThinking reader edited by #FredEEmery, with updated editions evolving contents.
  • 1968 Buckley, “Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist: A Sourcebook”
    Resurfacing 1968 Buckley, “Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist: A Sourcebook” for interests in #SystemsThinking #SocioCybernetics #GeneralSystemsTheory #OrganizationScience . Republication in 2017 hardcopy may be more complete.
  • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
    Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
  • It matters (word use)
    Saying “it doesn’t matter” or “it matters” is a common expression in everyday English. For scholarly work, I want to “keep using that word“, while ensuring it means what I want it to mean. The Oxford English Dictionary (third edition, March 2001) has three entries for “matter”. The first two entries for a noun. The […]
  • Systemic Change, Systematic Change, Systems Change (Reynolds, 2011)
    It's been challenging to find sources that specifically define two-word phrases -- i.e. "systemic change", "systematic change", "systems change" -- as opposed to loosely inferring reductively from one-word definitions in recombination. MartinReynolds @OpenUniversity clarifies uses of the phrases, with a critical eye into mo […]
  • Environmental c.f. ecological (Francois, 2004; Allen, Giampietro Little 2003)
    The term "environmental" can be mixed up with "ecological", when the meanings are different. We can look at the encyclopedia definitions (François 2004), and then compare the two in terms of applied science (i.e. engineering with (#TimothyFHAllen @MarioGiampietro and #AmandaMLittle, 2003).
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