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Flexible organic light emitting diodes—OLEDs—as below (NYT).  Note the reference to the OLED rifle attachment.

Good advice for university students—how to get used to making an argument (NYT).

The 21st century city.  Certainly the OLEDs above bring to mind Blade Runner, also mentioned here. (Forbes)

Let them eat cake drink coffee.  It’s hard to know even where to start with this one.  Can you imagine being rolled into hospital and making sure your doctor has not yet reached his sixth cup of coffee for the day—and that he has in fact had enough.

There’s no reason, of course, to think that an organisation such as Hezbollah should be any less vulnerable to Ponzi schemes than any other group, given that the confidence trick is based on social relations and a constructed reputation.

The most dangerous job in the world?


A couple more OMG contingencies the White Paper forgot.  No mention of end-of-civilisation-as-we-know-it death rays at all.

Buildings with forest skins and buildings with algae coatings.  Aesthetic design and saving the planet.

Incompetence as a signalling device.  Fascinating.  It can’t be restricted to the Italian academic world; I’ve seen too many examples elsewhere.  And as noted in the comments, it’s a side effect of the Peter Principle.  (Crooked Timber)

The Beloit College Mindset list for the class of 2013—enter the world of the 18 year olds.

Philip Tetlock reviews three books on predicting the future.  Worth reading.

Wartime emoticons (The New Yorker).

Nouriel Roubini looks at those countries that have come through the recession reasonably well (Forbes).  The challenge for countries like Australia will be to return to—or reinforce—those liberal, market-based fundamentals that helped them get through the crisis, rather than succumbing to the temptation of control.

The US military is starting to take the security implications of climate change more seriously.  (New York Times).  Anything that gets us away from shopping lists of possibles.

When Bad People Rise to the Top. (MIT Sloan Management Review; subscription required).  Contains a ‘spotting guide’.  Prevention is all about due diligence.

The Augustine Panel is likely to suggest ‘deep space’ missions as a means to get to Mars. (New Scientist)  Sensible really, even if it means I’ll never get to go.  Don’t want to risk it all on badly planned or prepared rush job, nor do you want to make Mars as far as we ever go: the point is to get beyond the Solar System.  The immediate problem will be sustaining the effort.

Brewing brew with 45m year-old yeast (Wired).

Working on maker’s schedules, versus manager’s schedules (H/T Dan Drezner)

Finger painting on the iPhone (New Yorker)

Black Swans and Dragon Kings. (Technology Review)

Very busy–the lead up to the end of financial year and projects to finish.  Somewhere in between, I’m also trying to keep an eye on the Kang Nam, unrest and cultural imperatives in Iran, and readings on CAS and COIN, risk and strategy.

Update: And then there’s Tweets–21st century statecraft vs war crimes.

China’s pollution problem: it could ‘put an abrupt end to China’s economic growth’ and there’s the minor matter of causing ‘mortal havoc in societies and ecosystems throughout the world.’ (Mother Jones)

Programmable matter via DARPA (Danger Room, Wired)

The hollowing out of families and the middle class in American cities, resulting in ‘places that, despite celebrating diversity, actually could end up as hip, dense versions of the most constipated suburb imaginable.’  (The American)

Throwing at the batter‘–a baseball expression; I suppose the equivalent would be a bodyline ball–and its expression in the workplace (Pink Slip) 

12 of the world’s most fascinating tunnel networks (OOBjects, via BLDGBLOG)

The evolution of the house cat. (Scientific American)

Twitter is less a peer-to-peer social networking tool and more a uni-directional, one-to-many publishing tool. (Harvard Business)

Ray Kurzweil reminding us of the continuing exponential growth in information technologies, and announcing the launch of Singularity University. (TED)

Thinking of lessons learned: Confessions of a Car Czar. (Free Exchange)

A reminder that cyber security is not all about the pipes, networks or software.

Good bureaucracy is a matter of doing small things well: reward ordinary competence and be wary of feats that come too easily.

A report from the UK Royal Academy of Engineering on synthetic biology:

“Many commentators now believe that synthetic biology has the potential for major wealth generation by means of the development of major new industries, much as, for example the semi-conductor did in the last century, coupled to positive effects for health and the environment.”

The architecture of the enemy, including aliens, tends to the gothic, and definitely disturbing when ambiguous (on the excellent BLDGBLOG).

What makes us happy: “That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”: the key outcome of the Grant Study, a longitudinal study of Harvard men.  The key conclusion of a different longitudinal study, the Glueck Study was that “What we do affects how we feel just as much as how we feel affects what we do.”

Something I’ve been meaning to link to for a while: Ten principles for a Black Swan-robust world.  I particularly like numbers three, five and ten.

Fan reaction to the new Star Trek film (h/t Instapundit)

Evolution and reassortment in flu viruses (NYT)

The strategic effect of conspiracy theories, once believed, in Pakistan (Times)

Walt: how to scare your friends for fun and profit (Foreign Policy)

Paying attention: the myth of multi-tasking (NYT)

October 2019
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