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Learning to see systems – wolves and rivers

Systems in the real world are messy and complex. There’s a reason that Aldo Leopold was so cautious about interventions: “The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand […]

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Interested in being part of a unique problem solving team?

For the past several years we’ve been working to create the world’s largest high-performance team for problem-solving. This two-minute video captures the essence of what we are trying to accomplish: We’ve been actively recruiting for the next stage in our development, which will be a beta test that will run over the next six months. […]

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How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists « Violent metaphors

I only wish I had been this organized and diligent when I was doing the research for my dissertation. Or that I had had this kind of excellent advice available when I did.  How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists « Violent metaphors: “What constitutes enough proof? Obviously everyone has […]

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Never let “being realistic” get in the way of real problem solving

The good folks at xkcd always have something useful to say. Too many problem solving efforts are sabotaged when someone decides to redirect the conversation towards “being realistic.”  xkcd: Realistic Criteria I’m planning on posting this little gem somewhere close by to remind me to view these requests more skeptically.  When is a request to […]

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Twelve years at McGee’s Musings

Still here. Not so many posts here over the past twelve months. Working on making that change. When I started this, blogs were pretty much the only way to share your thinking. A lot more choices today, although of late the emphasis seems to have shifted more toward ‘sharing’ than ‘thinking’. Both make the world a […]

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Wise advice—hard practice. Do the work—share it.

I discovered this in the usual way—by ignoring the advice and following a trail of breadcrumbs that started on Facebook. I’ve paired this talk by Neil Gaiman with a related one by Ira Glass below. I wanted to have both of them ready to hand when I needed some encouragement and a kick in the […]

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Poking effectively on complex systems

Here is a brief clip from an interview Steve Jobs did in 1995 while he was at Next. It neatly captures an important attitude about dealing with complex systems: Whenever you poke at a system, the system pokes back. If you grew up with siblings, you learned this at a visceral level.  Too many of […]

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Eleven Years and Counting at McGee’s Musings

Yesterday marked the eleventh anniversary of the first blog post on McGee’s Musings in 2001. In two weeks, we’ll practice the American version of democracy, choose a President, revolution will not occur regardless of who wins and, despite the rhetoric, life will go on. We (the U.S. and the rest of the planet) will still face a […]

KM Chicago: Collaborating Minds: Solving Tough Problems with a Unique Team

David and I will be talking about the work we’ve been doing on collaboration at next week’s KM Chicago meeting. We’re looking to have a highly interactive session.  KM Chicago: Collaborating Minds: Solving Tough Problems with a Unique Team: ” Thursday, August 30, 2012 Collaborating Minds: Solving Tough Problems with a Unique Team At 5:30 […]

Celebrating NASA’s Curiosity

I didn’t last until 1:30 EDT this morning, but this is still worth sharing An awesome accomplishment. Shows what is possible if you put in the work in math, science, and engineering classes.

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