The Design of Crash-Only Societies

by Ryan Tanaka 11.14.2014

Ryan Tanaka is a resident blogger, visiting us from his home turf at http://ryan-writer.com.  The improv session that inspired this article can be found here. Crash-only software: it only stops by crashing, and only starts by recovering.  It formalizes Murphy’s Law and creative-destruction into an applicable practice, where the end-of-things and the worst of outcomes […]

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Don’t Surround Yourself With Smarter People

by Venkat 11.05.2014

There is an idea that I have been guilty of uncritically parroting and promoting in the past: surround yourself with smarter people. Another popular version is never be the smartest guy in the room.  Beneath the humblebragging  in both versions (your cut-off for smart is a de facto declaration of “look how smart I am; only Einsteins are […]

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Crash-Only Thinking

by Venkat 10.29.2014

A few weeks ago, I learned about something called crash-only software  (ht, Robert Greco). This is software that has no normal “start” or “stop” mechanisms. It can only be stopped by crashing it. Often this means unplugging the computer physically. It can only be restarted through some sort of failure-recovery routine, with a hard reboot being […]

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Playing Games to Leave Games

by Sam Bhagwat 10.21.2014

Sam is a 2014 blogging resident visiting us from his home blog at Moore’s Hand. When I was a kid I played a lot of chess. On Saturdays my mom and I would get up early and drive an hour to a high school somewhere around Michigan. She would bring a box of old New […]

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The Adjacency Fallacy

by Venkat 10.08.2014

Lately, I’ve been having quite a few conversations with people who are trying to reinvent themselves for the new economy. The most common pattern is MBA-types trying to reinvent themselves as entrepreneurial types. The second most common pattern is mid-career types who would normally be moving into either middle management roles trying to reinvent themselves as […]

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The Political Hangover of Prohibition

by Editor 09.30.2014

This is a guest post by Craig Roche, a data scientist and artisanal landlord. Whiskey is very easy to make.  Farmers used to make it at home using their crops, and Henry Ford designed the Model T to run on home-distilled ethanol.  George Washington distilled 55,000 bottles/year when he retired from being President. Even the mutineers […]

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The Rhythms of Information: Flow-Pacing and Spacetime

by Ryan Tanaka 09.24.2014

Ryan Tanaka is a blogging resident visiting us from ryan-writer.com. For every article that he writes, Ryan also improvises a live musical piece as means of organizing his ideas. (Below, or here.) “Flow Pacing” is a phrase used in chemical, sewage, and water facilities in order to describe the treatment methods of its contents, often referring […]

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We Have Them Surrounded in Their Tanks

by Jordan Peacock 09.17.2014

Jordan is a 2014 blogging resident visiting us from his home turf on Google+ and hewhocutsdown.net. “We have them surrounded in their tanks.” So spoke Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, the infamous Iraqi Information Minister in the first days of the American invasion. His missives should be an inspiration to public relations personnel everywhere; he was unshakably on-message even as the […]

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Geopolitics for Individuals

by Kartik Agaram 09.09.2014

Kartik is a 2014 blogging resident visiting us from his home turf at akkartik.name. I recently spent a month playing a board game called Diplomacy, and it turned out to be a surprisingly mind-broadening experience. Pretending to be the German Empire before the First World War, exchanging missives all day with the other “great powers” […]

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How to Fall Off the Wagon

by Venkat 09.03.2014

Self-help ideas generally belong to one of three schools of thought, whether the originators realize it or not: values-first, goals-first or process-first. Norman Vincent Peale (Power of Positive Thinking, 1952), Wayne W. Dyer (Erroneous Zones, 1976) and David Allen (GTD, 2002) are the authors of the pioneering mainstream classics of each sub-genre. Those dates are significant: the schools […]

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