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Interview with Pat Metheny | Bob Barker | April 24, 2013 | jazz.fm91 December 14, 2013

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Risk taking in casual sessions with peers now lacks intimacy, says @PatMetheny, since observers can make every event a world premiere by recording anywhere at any time.  Private sessions are the exception rather than the rule.  In the JazzFM91 interview, around 21:25:

Bob Barker: On the technology front, you live in New York City, arguably kind of the heartbeat of the jazz world. You’ve also been known, over your career, to be the guy that shows up somewhere and jams, pulls out a guitar, unannounced, and walks in and starts playing with musicians. Has new technology, and where you are now in your career, changed any feelings you have about that kind of casual nature you used to have with showing up and playing with people?

Pat Metheny: I am really sad to say this, but it’s impossible now. You can’t do that anymore, or at least you can’t do it on a casual basis. There is a way to do it, which is to accept that now we do live in a different era. But, there is no intimacy anymore. Everything you do is a world premiere, because the minute you do it, somebody somewhere could be — they may be or they may not be, but we have to assume that they probably might be — recording or filming it. You can’t just do a little thing in Rimouski anymore, and try something out. Everything you do — it doesn’t matter if you’re at the North Pole — the minute you do it, it’s everywhere. That’s going to change things.

To a certain degree, there’s an aspect to this that I also acknowledge and accept, which is that it’s an age thing. I’m old school, to the degree that I want to feel a direct connection to the people I’m performing to, and what’s happening at that momemt.

Bob Barker: Is that an age thing, Pat? Is that passé?

Pat Metheny: I’ve got a feeling it’s passé. We’ve moved into new territory,now. I also anticipate that there will be a generation of musicians who will thrive in this environment. I probably won’t be one of them, because I do represent myself in a way, much like we’re having a conversation right now. You and I are speaking, but I am aware that there is an audience of people listening. There are certain things I’m not going to say right now, and you would probably get fined, if I did. Certain words, or this or that.

Bob Barker: There are boundaries to it.

Pat Metheny: There are boundaries to it. There used to be an environment for musicians where you were boundary-free, where there were no consequences to trying this or trying that. Those days are over. We are in a world now where everything is kind of public. That fights a little bit against the idea of risk-taking, unless that’s baked in.  Unless, that’s baked in.  I anticipate it will be, with the next generation of people.

The interview begins with an introduction by Bob Barker:

Pat Metheny has been redefining the sound of jazz for close to 40 years.

He’s taken the music to places its never gone before as well as always celebrating  the history of jazz and the musicians that have come before him.

From 1976’s Bright Size Life to the recently released collaboration with John Zorn, Pat  Metheny has released countless albums as leader of the Pat Methney Group,solo recordings, duets…soundtracks….all in all Pat has multiple Gold records and 20 Grammy Awards to his name.

Constantly searching, pushing, inspiring  and educating Pat Metheny joined us at our JAZZFM91 Studios to talk about his amazing career, the Orchestrion project and more!

Interview with Pat Metheny | Bob Barker | April 24, 2013 | jazz.fm91 http://www.jazz.fm/index.php/listen-mainmenu/podcasts/8119-interview-pat-metheny.

[MP3 audio]

Bob Barker and Pat Metheny at Jazz FM91, April 24, 2013

Learning how to learn | Rodrigo Arboleda | Apr. 10 2013 | TEDxCMU November 3, 2013

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Computer programming is a way of learning to learn, says @rarboleda2, with @OLPC now releasing the XO Tablet putting Sugar on top of Android.

Rodrigo Arboleda is Chairman and CEO of One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPCA), a not-for-profit entity seeking to provide equal opportunity of access to knowledge to small children in Developing Nations and in some communities within the USA.

OLPCA’s mission focuses on socio-economic and cultural change via education, with primary interest in children of 3 years and up.

Arboleda is in charge of worldwide operational issues related to the project. More than 2,700,000 laptops have been distributed so far to children in 41 countries and in 21 languages including many indigenous languages.

Arboleda has been also a Visiting Scholar at the Media Lab of MIT, where he worked on the Digital Nations Consortium project and on the Education for Peace initiative, E4P. He has served also as a Board Member of the 2B1 Foundation, which made possible some of the projects developed at the Media Lab.

He was born in Medellin, Colombia and completed his Bachelor Degree in Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in 1965.

Learning how to learn | Rodrigo Arboleda | Apr. 10 2013 | TEDxCMU at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhEFEyD7Pc8.

An slightly longer extended talk, with a little more technology, was presented shortly afterwards at Google.

GoogleTalks features Rodrigo Arboleda | May 8, 2013 | OLPC | laptop.org at http://blog.laptop.org/2013/05/08/googletalks-features-rodrigo-arboleda

GoogleTalks features Rodrigo Arboleda

Ronald Coase | On Externalities, the Firm, and the State of Economics (MP3 audio)| May 21, 2012 | EconTalk October 28, 2013

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In Ronald Coase interview, surprised to hear the “price system is a very expensive system”, agreeing that “firms act like socialists, because it’s cheaper”. On the recording, around 27:00:

Ronald Coase

Roberts: How did you come to write that paper as an undergraduate?

Coase: I was interested in how firms actually operate. And if you start studying how firms actually operate, you find that they are not concerned with prices directly, at all.

A person who is working in a firm does what he’s told. That’s the way it operates.

Roberts: So, a firm is an island of socialism in a capitalist world.

Coase: Oh, when I was a socialist at that time, I had some influence on the items starting with the views that I now have. I was a socialist. My parents voted for the Labour Party. And one Ernest Bevin, who was General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, which was the largest union in Britain. In those early days, I was a socialist.

And that may have had some effect in leading me to the Nature of the Firm. I don’t know. Very likely.

Roberts: So your insight was that firms act like socialists, because it’s cheaper.

Coase: That’s right.

Roberts: And it’s cheaper because it’s not free to use the price system.

Coase: It’s cheaper because the price system is a very expensive system. If you think of all of the things you have to know in order to make a bargain, it’s obvious it’s not a cheap system. In a system that avoids negotiations, it’s one that saves a lot of costs.

Roberts: So, one of the things that I love about that paper is it forces you to think about these costs, which you might not notice. It forces you to notice that some systems that you think might not work so well, actually work better than you think. But it’s hard to test those ideas, right? One of the implications of the paper is that when transaction costs are high, you’re more likely to use command-and-control, but it’s hard to measure transaction costs. It’s hard to quantify the theory. Is that correct?

Coase: Yes.

Roberts: Or is it irrelevant?

Coase: No, it’s very relevant. But the state of economics is that people don’t try to measure these, or try to study them. People try to engage in discussion and explanation without any real knowledge of what happens in the real world.

On the Econtalk page, in addition to the downloadable audio, there’s some text highlights from the talk.  Here’s the description of the interview.

Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his career, the current state of economics, and the Chinese economy. Coase, born in 1910, reflects on his youth, his two great papers, “The Nature of the Firm” and “The Problem of Social Cost”. At the end of conversation he discusses his new book on China, How China Became Capitalist (co-authored with Ning Wang), and the future of the Chinese and world economies.

[MP3 audio]

Coase on Externalities, the Firm, and the State of Economics | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty at http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/05/coase_on_extern.html.

Some of the content from this interview turns up on “Ronald H. Coase” | The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics | The Library of Economics and Liberty, at http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Coase.html

Mike Cohn | Prioritizing Your Product Backlog (slides + web video) October 1, 2013

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After agile estimate and agile planning, prioritizing the product backlog has a few more techniques worth watching.  Mike Cohn has a variety of techniques described in prior years, but this set of slides hasn’t been as popular as the ones on planning and estimating.  The content tends to run:

Approaches to prioritizing include:

  • Kano analysis
  • Expert opinion
  • Theme screening
  • Theme scoring
  • Relative weighting
  • Financial analysis

Kano analysis maps the presence of features against satisfaction, as:

  • Mandatory / Baseline:  must be present for users to be satisfied
  • Linear:  the more of it, the better
  • Exciters / Delighters:  Features a user doesn’t know she wants, until she sees it

The other approaches are more typical scorecarding approaches.

Here’s a slide deck dated June 8, 2010.

The Agile 2008 presentation is unfortunately not embeddable in this blog post, but viewable in a browser at http://www.infoq.com/presentations/prioritizing-your-product-backlog-mike-cohn .

A June 19, 2009 presentation from the Norwegian Developers Conference can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfcTORR2dBM

A variety of slides over many years is available on Mike Cohn’s web site at http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/presentations/prioritizing-your-product-backlog .

Chinese Dining Etiquette | Sept. 18, 2013 | Off the Great Wall September 22, 2013

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Chinese Dining Etiquette by @ntdOTGW explains practices commonly adopted by children regularly attending parents’ dinners, which may be unknown by others.  Entertaining 5-minute video describes how Chinese parents should have taught their children:

1. Where to sit?

  • Seat of guest of honour faces the door.
  • Next most important to right of guest of honour, and to the left of guest of honour.
  • Person paying the bill faces the guest.

2. How to order?

  • One person orders for table, sometimes with host ordering a few dishes and then asking others for additional dishes
  • Even number of dishes

3 and 4.  How to Pour Tea and Show Gratitude

  • Tea handle with right hand, top with left hand
  • Teapot top partially off signals for more water, teapot top entirely off is bad luck.
  • Verbal thank you, or tap the table with two fingers.

5. Chopsticks handling

  • Chopstick is extension to fingers, so don’t point
  • Don’t stand chopsticks upright in rice, which looks like incense in dishes left to honour the dead

6. How to Eat Your Food

  • On the lazy susan, the most senior person selects first
  • Take a small portion to ensure everyone gets some

7. How to Eat Fish

  • When whole fish is served, once one side is eaten, never flip the fish over; lift out the backbone of the fish

8.  How to Pay the Bill

  • Guests should never split the bill, as that would be ingracious, saying that the host could not afford the bill, or that the hospitality is not appreciated.
  • Guest should offer to pay the bill a few times

Chinese Dining Etiquette | Sept. 18, 2013 | Off the Great Wall at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkyE2rPac3s.

Chinese Dining Etiquette | Off the Great Wall | Youtube

Cantonese Vs. Mandarin | Aug. 25, 2013 | Off the Great Wall September 14, 2013

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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 the new world English.  This meant conversations with multiple translations from the 92-year-old grandfather down to the pre-school great grand-daughter.

“Why Use Traditional Characters? | April 23, 2013 | Learn Chinese Now September 14, 2013

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The shift from traditional Chinese characters to simplified is compared to Orwell’s 1984 newspeak. Our sons who studied in Mandarin language classes at university in Beijing may have missed the deeper cultural understanding of the original ideograms.

Mike Cohn | Advanced Agile Planning (web video + MP4) | June 6, 2012 | Norwegian Developers Conference July 27, 2013

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Release and iteration planning described in a 57-minute video, is better as a third in series, following the video on Agile Estimating.  Mike Cohn presents:

  • after the user stories have been created, and duration (as story points) have been estimated …
  • velocity is the amount of the work completed per iteration;
  • planning in five scenarios:
    • 1. a team with historical data;
      • where confidence intervals can be calculated from historical data
    • 2. fixed-date plans;
      • with partitions of “will have”, “might have” and “won’t have”;
    • 3. fixed-scope plans;
      • where a date range can be provided;
    • 4. a team with no velocity data;
      • where a first iteration breaks features (backlog items) into tasks, and hours are estimated for each task; and then
      • the second iteration may be estimated as a range, and/or compared with other teams; and
    • 5. a team changing size
      • where the average velocity change can be tracked.

Mike Cohn – Advanced Topics in Agile Planning from NDCOslo on Vimeo.

Velocity is perhaps the most useful metric available to agile teams. In this session we will look at advanced uses of velocity for planning under special but common circumstances. We will see how to forecast velocity in the complete absence of any historical data. We will look at how a new team can forecast velocity by looking at other teams. We will see how to predict the velocity of a team that will grow or shrink in size. Most importantly we will look at the use of confidence intervals to create plans we can be 90% confident in, even on fixed-price or fixed-date contracts.

The slides for this presentation are also available at http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/presentations/advanced-topics-in-agile-planning .

There’s a velocity range estimator available at http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/tools/velocity-range-calculator .

Mike Cohn | Agile Estimating (web video + MP4) | June 6, 2012 | Norwegian Developers Conference July 27, 2013

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This 59-minute video on Agile Estimating is better sequenced for viewing secondly, following the video on User Stories.  Mike Cohn presents:

  • estimating size (before) deriving duration (with a range);
  • story points as relative effort for a user story in a product backlog;
  • ideal time (to complete) as compared to elapsed time (with interruptions);
  • “Planning Poker” as an iterative approach to estimating (collaboratively).

Mike Cohn – Agile Estimating from NDCOslo on Vimeo.

The first step in creating a useful plan is the ability to estimate reliably. In this session we will discuss how to do this. We will look at various approaches to estimating including unit-less points and ideal time. The class will present four specific techniques for deriving reliable estimates, including how to use the popular Planning Poker® technique and other techniques that dramatically improve a project’s chances of on-time completion.

The slides for this presentation are also available at http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/presentations/agile-estimating .

Planning Poker is a free (no-charge) collaborative estimation tool at http://www.planningpoker.com/

Mike Cohn | User Stories (web video + MP4) | Norwegian Developers Conference | June 6, 2012 July 27, 2013

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This 52-minute video is a comprehensive introduction to User Stories, as practiced in Agile Development.  Mike Cohn presents:

  • resource allocation under imperfect schedules as a shared problem between developers and business people;
  • user stories as 3 C’s:  the Card supporting Conversations with Confirmation (of conditions of satisfaction);
  • story details as (i) conditions of satisfaction, or (ii) sub-stories;
  • epics as large stories, and user stories clustered into themes;
  • story-writing workshops as supporting participative design.

While this talk was the last for the day, it’s better as the first for viewing as an easy introduction to the agile way.


Mike Cohn – User Stories for Agile Requirements from NDCOslo on Vimeo.

The technique of expressing requirements as user stories is one of the most broadly applicable techniques introduced by the agile processes. User stories are an effective approach on all time constrained projects and are a great way to begin introducing a bit of agility to your projects.In this session, we will look at how to identify and write good user stories. The class will describe the six attributes that good stories should exhibit and present thirteen guidelines for writing better stories. We will explore how user role modeling can help when gathering a project’s initial stories.

Because requirements touch all job functions on a development project, this tutorial will be equally suited for analysts, customers, testers, programmers, managers, or anyone involved in a software development project. By the end of this tutorial, you will leave knowing the six attributes of a good story, learn a good format for writing most user stories, learn practical techniques for gathering user stories, know how much work to do up-front and how much to do just-in-time.

The slides are also available at http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/presentations/introduction-to-user-stories

Sustainable Development Goals must sustain people and planet, experts say | March 20, 2013 | sciencedaily.com March 24, 2013

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Six Sustainable Development goals from U.N. to supersede Millennium Development Goals that expire 2015, based on new appreciation of anthropocene.

In the wake of last week’s meetings at the UN on the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a group of international scientists have published a call in the journal Nature today, arguing for a set of six SDGs that link poverty eradication to protection of Earth’s life support. The researchers argue that in the face of increasing pressure on the planet’s ability to support life, adherence to out-dated definitions of sustainable development threaten to reverse progress made in developing countries over past decades. [….]

The team asserts that the classic model of sustainable development, of three integrated pillars — economic, social and environmental — that has served nations and the UN for over a decade, is flawed because it does not reflect reality. “As the global population increases towards nine billion people sustainable development should be seen as an economy serving society within Earth’s life support system, not as three pillars,” says co-author Dr. Priya Shyamsundar from the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics, Nepal.

The researchers say that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set to expire in 2015, have helped focus international efforts on eight poverty-related goals. However, despite successes in some areas — the number of people living on less than one dollar a day has been more than halved — many MDGs have not been met, and some remain in conflict with one another. Economic gains, for example, have come at the expense of environmental protection. Politicians are struggling to link global environmental concerns with addressing poverty.

The new set of goals — thriving lives and livelihoods, food security, water security, clean energy, healthy and productive ecosystems, and governance for sustainable societies — aim to resolve this conflict. The targets beneath each goal include updates and expanded targets under the MDGs, including ending poverty and hunger, combating HIV/aids, and improving maternal and child health. But they also define a set of planetary “must haves”: climate stability, the reduction biodiversity loss, protection of ecosystem services, a healthy water cycle and oceans, sustainable nitrogen and phosphorus use, clean air and sustainable material use.

Sustainable Development Goals must sustain people and planet, experts say | March 20, 2013 | sciencedaily.com at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130320155228.htm.  The full article is Griggs, David, Mark Stafford-Smith, Owen Gaffney, Johan Rockström, Marcus C. Öhman, Priya Shyamsundar, Will Steffen, Gisbert Glaser, Norichika Kanie, and Ian Noble. 2013. “Policy: Sustainable Development Goals for People and Planet.” Nature 495 (7441) (March 21): 305–307. doi:10.1038/495305a. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/495305a.

The new graphic has earth’s support system with society inside, and the economy inside of that.
Redefining sustainable development

“Ending poverty and safeguarding Earth’s life support system must be the twin priorities for the Sustainable Development Goals, says Johan Rockström, centre director and a co-author of the Nature article.

Together with the international team he identified six goals that, if met, would contribute to global sustainability while helping to alleviate poverty. [….]

The new set of goals — thriving lives and livelihoods, food security, water security, clean energy, healthy and productive ecosystems, and governance for sustainable societies — aim to resolve this conflict. The targets beneath each goal include updates and expanded targets under the MDGs, including ending poverty and hunger, combating HIV/aids, and improving maternal and child health.

But also a set of planetary “must haves”: climate stability, reducing biodiversity loss, protection of ecosystem services, a healthy water cycle and oceans, sustainable nitrogen and phosphorus use, clean air and sustainable material use.

From “Redefining sustainable development” | March 20, 2013 | Stockholm Resilience Centre at http://www.stockholmresilience.org/21/research/research-news/3-20-2013-redefining-sustainable-development.html

The sidebar at the Stockholm Resilience Centre has a pointer to “Future Earth” as a 10-year international research initiative at the ICSU International Council for Science.

Johan Rockström introduces Future Earth | February 2013 | at http://vimeo.com/5720929 from http://vimeo.com/futureearth.

What Most Schools Don’t Teach (web video) | Feb. 26, 2013 | code.org March 10, 2013

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“Over the next 10 years, there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer science, and only about 400,000 grads qualified for those job”.

Learn about a new “superpower” that isn’t being taught in 90% of US schools.

Starring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, will.i.am, Chris Bosh, Jack Dorsey, Tony Hsieh, Drew Houston, Gabe Newell, Ruchi Sanghvi, Elena Silenok, Vanessa Hurst, and Hadi Partovi.

Directed by Leslie Chilcott. Executive producers Hadi and Ali Partovi

What Most Schools Don’t Teach (web video) | Feb. 26, 2013 | code.org at http://youtu.be/dU1xS07N-FA

code.org

Dr. Lorelei Lingard | Collective Competence (web video) | September 13, 2012 | TedX Bayfield March 7, 2013

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Not infrequently, competent individuals come together to form an incompetent team, says Lorelei Lingard.

Joe got competent care in hospital. He recovered from his pneumonia. He got competent care from his family doctor, his diabetes specialist, his homecare nurses and the pharmacist. Each of those individuals, within their scope of practice, and acting on the information at hand, did the right thing for Joe. But the sum total of those care events is not overall competent care for Joe. [around 4:50]

Now this is a very complex problem, and it’s being tackled from a number of different angles. Systems engineers are trying to understand it better, to improve the situation. Organizational scientists are trying to work on it. Sociologists are working on it. Tonight, I’m going to shed some light on this problem from my perspective of a communications researcher trying to improve medical education. [around 5:20]

There are significant barriers that make it difficult for individual competence to translate into collective competence. I’m going to focus on three. [around 5:45]

The first is scientific reductionism. This refers to the way that we tackle complex scientific phenomena, by breaking them down into their component parts. [….] [around 6:00]

The second barrier between individual and collective competence is specialization. [….] [around 6:20]

The third barrier between individual and collective competence is the very concept of individual competence itself. The goal of producing an individually competent healthcare provider, with their own specific tightly-bounded expertise drives everything: in health profession education generally, and medical education specifically. [around 7:00]

[….]

Together, and kind of paradoxically, these three factors combine, to produce one of healthcare’s greatest weaknesses. That is, that providers work in isolation from one other, each person focused on the particular issue about which they are an expert. When that happens, patients can fall into the cracks between the individually competent healthcare providers. [around 8:00]

[….]

What do we need to adapt from? I would argue that we need to adapt from our exclusive focus on the goal of individual competence. Individual competence is a set of pervasive, and rarely challenged assumptions. It’s not unique to medical education, it’s true of education everywhere.

I would like to touch on three ways in which we are, right now, moving towards collective competence. [around 12:20]

[….]

Joe travels through the healthcare system more quickly than his healthcare information does. We have the technology to address this problem, to move information more efficiently. One example … is the global medication electronic record. [around 13:40]

[….]

The shift to delivery primary care through family health teams. [….]

The third way in which we’re moving toward collective competence is a more strategic way. [….] Take a look at the healthcare system, find those points in the system where a failure of collective competence can have dire consequences, and build initiatives to support collective competence in those moments.

Dr. Lorelei Lingard | Collective Competence | September 13, 2012 | TedX Bayfield at http://www.ted.com/tedx/events/4674, video at http://youtu.be/vI-hifp4u40

Lorelei Lingard is founding director and senior scienist at the Centre for Education Research and Innovation, at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, at the Western University.  Here’s her bio:

Dr. Lorelei Lingard is a leading researcher in the study of communication and collaboration on healthcare teams. She is a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and the inaugural Director of the Centre for Education Research & Innovation at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Dr. Lingard obtained her Ph.D. in Rhetoric from the English Department at Simon Fraser University, specializing in rhetorical theory, genre theory, medical discourse, and qualitative methodology. As a rhetorician, she investigates ‘language as social action’: that is, how social groups use language to get things done, and how that language acts on them, their identities, their purposes, their situations, and their relationships. Her research program has investigated the nature of communication on inter-professional healthcare teams in a variety of clinical settings, including the operating room, the intensive care unit, the internal medicine ward, the adult rehabilitation unit, and the family health centre.

Via TedX Bayfield, Theme: Adaptation at http://www.ted.com/tedx/events/4674.

Lorelei Lingard, Western University

The Complicated Chinese Family Tree (streaming video) | Feb. 26, 2013 | Off the Great Wall March 7, 2013

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Addressing Chinese extended family members is complicated, as it’s about each individual’s relation to the other.  Relatives are called not by their given names, but by the social tie.  The complicatedness is further confused as as person older than yourself (e.g. younger cousin) gets address differently from an person younger than yourself … and the gender factors in, too.

Did you know that every member of a Chinese family is called something different? Depending on whether it’s from your mom’s side or your dad’s side and their seniority? It gets quite confusing, so we will draw it out for you in a family tree and hope you can learn some Chinese along the way!:) Please don’t mind our terrible handwriting!

Watch the behind the scenes on how we created the family tree:http://e.ntd.tv/WefUsf

Note: There are still many more ways to call the same person, for example husband’s mother can be called 家姑,家婆,婆婆 or 奶奶. This all depends on where you are from. To keep it simple, we just chose the more generic terms.

Subscribe for more Off the Great Wall:http://e.ntd.tv/SubscribeOTGW

Another reason for trepidation in visiting the ancestral village this summer!

Video at The Complicated Chinese Family Tree (streaming video) | Feb. 26, 2013 | Off the Great Wall http://youtu.be/nCFRoILS1jY

Nassim Nicholas Taleb “The Fragility Crisis is Just Begun” (MP3 audio) | June 3, 2010 | Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon March 4, 2013

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In 2010, @nntaleb said newspapers give over-causation about a system’s environment, @RadioOpenSource read as “newspapers make us stupid” with their explanations. In the interview by Christopher Lydon with Nassim Nicholas Taleb (starting about about 27:00):

nassim-taleb.jpg

Taleb … In economic life, we don’t know, because we have a lot of superimposed complicated networks.

Lydon: Can I ask, what are the media implications of all of this? When Fox News can hold an enormous audience, that people dreamed of in the past, but in all of those local institutions, particularly newspapers, symbolically, and the idea of local opinion is fading out.

Taleb: I am against the news. I am not against the media. I am against supplying people with news about the environment that is very unnatural and causes collective consciousness to be divorced from one’s local one.

Lydon: You say newspapers make us stupid, and I’m not quite clear why.

Taleb: Because they always give you an explanation to events so that you have the feeling that you know what’s going on. They tell you the stock market went down, because of fear of a recession, and that’s false causation with uncertainty there. They check their facts, but you can’t check their causes. So, you have the feeling of over-causation from newspapers. That’s number one, the first one.

The second one: newspapers aren’t going to tell you “we had 280 deaths on the roads today in America”. They’re going to tell you about the plane crash killing 14 people. So, you have misrepresentation of the math of risks. They are driven by the sensational. And the statistical and the sensational are not the same in our modern world.

There’s a third thing about newspapers. Supplying someone with news reduces his understanding of the world. It’s more complicated than I can go into here, but let me tell you how I cope with it. I don’t mind knowing the news, but I go by a social filter. I each lunch and dinner with other people. (I try to. I still have people who won’t eat lunch or dinner with me, even after writing the Black Swan). And I make sure. You can eavesdrop on conversations and stuff like that. I can tell if something is going on.

If there’s an event of significance, I know about it. And then I go to the web, or go buy a paper sometimes, or something like that.

Lydon: Or go to Facebook, and get the real news!

Taleb: I don’t know. Facebook I don’t like, for some reason.

Lydon: But it does serve as kind of newspaper or a gossip place. You’ll hear about a great movie, or a great book, or a good restaurant.

Taleb: I don’t like these social things, on Facebook. Anything that draws me away from face-to-face contact with people is harmful to my health.

I fully believe in nature. I try not to spend too much time on the web, except to set up an appointment with someone, to contact my publisher, to complain to my banker, or to run the small businesses I’m in. I think that the Internet can take on a life of its own. It doesn’t make people happier. I’m happier living a life that is closer to my genetic background and what makes me happy. Socializing on Facebook is equivalent to eating these meals you used to see on science fiction movies, the meals that would make airplane food look like three-star Michelin.

The full interview covered content on fragility versus antifragility (i.e. robustness).

Taleb has revised and extended his cult classic, The Black Swan. His anomalous “black swan” (since swans are by definition white) has three properties: it’s (1) any one of those unforeseen developments that comes (2) with big consequences and (3) a concocted cause-and-effect after-story. In conversation, Taleb is trying to get us to let go of “causes” and fix on the word “fragility.”

Audio interview of Nassim Nicholas Taleb “The Fragility Crisis is Just Begun” | June 3, 2010 | Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon at http://www.radioopensource.org/nassim-nicholas-taleb-the-fragility-crisis-is-just-begun/.

John Hagel | Rethinking Race Against the Machines (web video) | Dec. 17, 2012 | Big Think (on Youtube) February 23, 2013

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Innovate by Racing WITH the Machine, says @jhagel, extending @erikbryn and @amcafee Racing Against the Machine where technology is an engine of change, leading to automation taking away jobs.  Counter with new work practices and institutions.

The traditional industrial push model of right people, right place, right time, following tightly activities to respond to demand where creativity not required can more easily be taken over by machines that are more predictable and reliable than human beings.

Opinion expressed by John Hagel | Rethinking Race Against the Machines (web video) | Dec. 17, 2012 | Big Think at http://youtu.be/XPHwzJS8mRY

Russell Ackoff’s 87th Birthday Celebration (video) | UNAM, Mexico City | February 2006 February 17, 2013

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What’s the difference between a forecast and an assumption?  Ackoff illustrates through the metaphor of preparing for a flat tire.  What’s the difference between development and charity?  Teaching a man to fish, versus giving a man a fish.

Ackoff at UNAM — The National Autonomous University of Mexico

Javier Livas kindly shared the video that he took from the talk given by late Russell Ackoff at the conference on “Participation and Development: The Mexico of the Future.” The conference was in Mexico City: Celebrating Russell L. Ackoff’s 87th Anniversary, February 14 – 15, 2006.

Russ Ackoff had a long history of collaboration with Mexican scholars and professionals since the early 60’s. His planning methodology has been put into practice in several instances along a variety of institutions and corporations. All of the projects he has been involved in are unmistakably geared towards development with emphasis in stakeholder participation. His books in systems thinking, organizational design, development and other topics are widely used in Mexican universities. Many Mexican students as well as professionals have benefited from his thought by directly interacting with him as graduate students, in seminars, consulting or through personal communication.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) through the Institutes of Applied Mathematics and Systems (IIMAS), Engineering (II) and The School of Engineering (FI) organized the Symposium honoring Dr. Ackoff, focused on participation, development and the Mexico of the future.

To watch the video, click on the following link: ACKOFF AT UNAM

Video surfaced at “Ackoff at UNAM — The National Autonomous University of Mexico” | February 8, 2013 | Ackoff Collaboratory for Advancement fo the Systems Approach at http://ackoffcenter.blogs.com/ackoff_center_weblog/2013/02/ackoff-at-unam-the-national-autonomous-university-of-mexico.html.

[The video is supplemented with a photographic montage at the outset, and then settles in to a hand-held lecture]

2006_Ackoff_UNAM

“How to design breakthrough inventions” (David Kelley and IDEO profiled by Charlie Rose) | 60 Minutes | January 6, 2013 January 7, 2013

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Design thinking profile by 60 Minutes (via @jp2consult) of David Kelley at Ideo and Stanford U.  Includes history with Steve Jobs and Apple, and ties with Stanford D-School.

“How to design breakthrough inventions” (David Kelley and IDEO profiled by Charlie Rose) | 60 Minutes | January 6, 2013 at http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50138327n (where “web extras” are available).

Ward Cunningham | “Federation” | Oct. 24, 2012 | Realtime Conference December 13, 2012

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@WardCunningham suggests the feedback loop is faster with a publish-and-review strategy, rather than a review-and-publish strategy.  The Wikipedia Neutral-Point-of-View works for history, but for future-oriented or individually-oriented content, there needs to be room for a chorus of voices.

[0:45] What does open data really need, especially in corporate environment, to be able to be share, and not be afraid of sharing?

[0:55] I’ve developed a new wiki, and it’s called the Federated Wiki.

[1:00] The project, which started before this application, was called the Smallest Federated Wiki, and did that at the Indie Web Camp.

[1:15]It reminded me that I was always guiltly that the everybody was bringing content to my site. When they finally said “why I am making Ward famous, I ought to start a blog”, I said yeah, you should. A lot of the real talent that was authoring on wiki — which was about patterns, and then design, and then extreme programming, and then agile — it was all hammered out on that site.

[1:50] Wikis have settled in, and made me famous.

7:15 Instead of having a review and publish strategy, I had a publish and then review strategy. [….] The feedback loop is 10 times faster, in some cases 100 times faster than on a traditional publication. […] It had good signal-to-noise ratio, because I had a good feedback loop.

[9:00] Another thing that happened was the notion of recent changes. you could always find out about what people were talking about now. [….] That meant that you go away for a week, and come back, and catch up in an hour.

[10:30] This brings me to federation. [….]

[10:50] Let’s not all have our own wikis and just write to our own and read everybody else’s. It’s kind of like the blogosphere, except that we put enough affordance in there that it really does feel like a wiki. […]

[11:10] There’s so much that we do with distributed computers, so that that distributed computer feels like one computer. Making that distributed computer feel like a bunch of computers is going to be good way to be for a number of things.

[11:30] In decision making, there’s something called groupthink. You have a pretty good idea, but somebody else mentions his pretty good idea, and it just shuts you down. You say, his pretty good idea is actually better than my pretty good idea, I’m going to forget my pretty good idea. But if you’re in a small community, isolated from that other pretty good idea, you can bat your idea around with a few people near you, and get it to be a really excellent idea, and it might have more potential than the other one. So, keeping thought leaders separate for a little while actually improves the quality of thinking.

[12:10] This is something that doesn’t happen on Wikipedia. They have a different rule. They say, everyone is editing the same pages, but you’re required to have a Neutral Point of View. If you’re talking about history, where it is possible, with enough consulting and references to assert that you really do have a Neutral Point of View, you can get away with it. It works on Wikipedia.

[12:35] But if you’re talking about forward-looking things, where it’s not clear what the right way to go is — and my work recently has been in sustainability, and I know there’s going to be change in the future, and I just want to inform that with good data — anything that is future oriented or individually oriented, there needs to be room for a chorus of voices. There needs to be a lot of ideas where we can make them all possible to express.

[13:15] With the idea of federation, I’m thinking that everyone brings something to the conversation. If all you’re bringing is spam to the conversation, you’re not going to get much attention.

[13:35] You bring some of your own storage, you bring your own bandwidth, you bring some of your own value that you might find unique. You have the opportunity to make your voice heard.

[14:00] On the blog, every time you start, you start on a blank page. On a wiki, you found a conversation, and improved it just a little. You take that idea that no one starts from a blank slate.

[15:30] One person asked me once, he said wikis are pretty neat, but do they have to be so ugly? The answer is yes, basically they do. If you make it beautiful, then anyone who can’t match your beauty is closed out of the conversation.

[19.30] This [page] comes up, and looks for something useful to its left. I don’t look anywhere, I just look to my left. These came off different websites. One came off my home web site, but the graph came off of my laptop. This data doesn’t meet until it shows up in my browser.

[21:40] As I write on this, I’m making stuff for myself, and then just sharing it widely. If somebody finds value in it, that’s great. I don’t have to write carefully. I said does wiki have to be ugly? It helps to be able to write casually.

[22:00] I call it incremental paragraphs. I write fragments, just thoughts, and I want to type as fast as I can. [….] But then I evolve into more powerful words. Here, I’m taking this fragmented ideas, and saying “if I had to name that today, what would I name that”? What are the powerful words that I should use in a sentence. This is inching towards making a new page.

[23:20] I write paragraphs that are standalone. Sometimes they get a little bigger. But it they get much bigger than that, hyperlink. I already thought about those names, push it off onto names.

[23:35] Sociologically, I think this is profound. I don’t like writing, but I do like being in a community. This is wiki for the Twitter generation.

[32:30] I’ve been focused on three things. Federation, refactoring, and applying those two to open data.

More videos by Ward Cunningham on Federated Wiki can be found at http://wardcunningham.github.com/

Ward Cunningham | “Federated Wiki Mashes Data in Your Browser” | May 31, 2012 | Fluent 2012 December 13, 2012

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Ward Cunningham, inventor of wiki, rethinks wiki as a way of sharing data.

Our new wiki innovates three ways. It shares through federation, composes by refactoring and wraps data with visualization.

Returning to the pattern language research that predates the wiki, this rethinking supports the space as being alive, with computations on the page.  This Javascript-based wiki lives in the browser, with ties back to a server.  The Smallest Federated Wiki was demonstrated at Fluent 2012.

The result is computing where content can be copied and forked with personal points of view, learning from the distributed parallelism featured in Git technology.  Cunningham says (about about 11:15):

This is going to make a  kind of wiki where it isn’t a promise of a Neutral Point of View, but it’s a promise of attention to outcomes, attention to measurement.  You can have an opinion about how we should live our lives in the future, but you’ve got to tie that to realistic data.  In the blogosphere, you’ll have people off on one side yelling at people on the other side.  On Wikipedia, you have one place, and they all have to get along with this kind of Neutral Point of View.  I have something in between, where it’s kind of like the blogosphere where you get to be yourself, but it’s kind of like the wiki, where there’s a lot of incentive for understanding each other through all of this  the copying, and there’s data to be explained.

This is one of a series of videos on the Smallest Federated Wiki at http://wardcunningham.github.com/

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