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{ Author Archives }

Saving Lives with Systems Thinking – Atul Gawande and the 2014 Reith Lectures

  A three-year old drowning victim is alive and thriving today because someone in Switzerland cares about systems. Atul Gawande, surgeon, polymath, and author of The Checklist Manifesto, recounts the tale as the second of four BBC 2014 Reith Lectures on the future of medicine. The podcast of “The Century of the System” is well worth […]

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xkcd on Efficiency

Once again, xkcd captures an important truth: I wish I didn’t fall victim to this as often as I do. 

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Thirteen years

Still holding down this outpost on the web. My life and the world seem to have gotten more complex over that interval. When I started this, Facebook, Twitter, etc. did not exist. A few pioneers like Dave Winer seemed to have it well in hand and I felt as though I was late to the […]

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David Reed on What The Internet Is, and Should Continue To Be – #ccourses

      David Reed is one of the creators of the underlying protocols and design that is the Internet. Here is a lengthy reflection from David on why those design decisions worked so well and why we ought to be very cautious about messing with them. It’s long and a bit dense. Read it anyway. […]

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Why I Teach – Learning to Think Like the Web – #ccourses

I’ve been struggling to keep up with the torrent that is Connected Courses, a microcosm of my daily existence. I’ve been at this long enough now that I’m no longer surprised or upset to find myself out of sync. I prefer to treat falling out of sync as an opportunity for serendipity. Several weeks back, […]

Knowledge is a sobering thing

I sometimes wonder whether the thing that scares people about knowledge and science is how it can make you feel small and insignificant. This image is a visualization of the newest knowledge about where we on Earth fit in the universe. They’re calling it “Laniakea.” It’s a very long way from when we thought that the Sun […]

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Connected Courses Course – An Experiment in Collaboration – #CCourses

I’m carving out time to participate in what I see as a worthy experiment in collaboration. It’s been organized by some of the most interesting people working on online learning and seems to be attracting an equally interesting collection of people interesting in participating. Here’s what they have to say: We invite you to participate […]

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Using Moore’s Law in Reverse: Alan Kay on Invention vs. Innovation

I’m an unapologetic fanboy of Alan Kay. This can be problematic given that the average person has no idea who Alan is even though they benefit from his work on a daily basis. Earlier this year, Alan presented at the Demo 2014 conference, offering his reflections and insights on the relationship between invention and innovation. It’s […]

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Book Review – Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

  Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace,Random House, New York, 2014   This is an excellent case study of creativity and collaboration at scale. Ed Catmull was one of the co-founders of Pixar. With co-author/collaborator Amy Wallace, Catmull reflects on the lessons he […]

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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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